Economic Development Done Right

In the broadest sense, economic development describes a type of state interventionism policy which aims to improve social well-being and economic productivity. In the more narrow sense, it describes the various initiatives and strategies that governing bodies put out with the aim of attracting investments, residents, and visitors. For the purpose of simplicity, this article will not dive into the economic analyses of fiscal policies, government interventionism, or the effectiveness and morality of investment attraction policies such as tax breaks for businesses, etc. Instead, this article will focus on economic development initiatives from a marketing point of view, namely how governing bodies promote themselves to potential businesses and residents.

For the most part, Government economic development promotional strategies can be pinned down to a few generic categories: Claims about “high quality of life”, assurances on “low cost of living”, or something about employment opportunities. A common mistake that many municipal governing bodies make when implementing an economic development plan is their failure to differentiate themselves from one another. These marketing strategies are often overused and commonly seen in our everyday lives. With over hundreds and thousands of regions and districts just in Canada alone all competing with one another to attract potential investors, tourists, and residents; it can be easy for one to start subconsciously tuning out these repetitive statements over time.

A successful economic development plan should be built upon a foundation unique to your community, something that can set yourself apart from the rest of the crowd. Job opportunities and quality of living are certainly important aspects to address, but they are merely supporting factors to assure livability for target audience already captivated by your community’s unique attraction. A good economic development strategy should encourage community and third-party engagement. In fact, involvement from existing business owners and investors is essential to the promotion of a community. As existing stakeholders, these individuals will be motivated to see that an economic development plan succeeds, and their involvements will bring major expansion and referral opportunities. Remember, a single mention from a credible third-party is worth a thousand of your own words in promoting for a community.

A good example of this would be the City of Surrey’s new economic development initiative. As a member of the Metro Vancouver Regional District, Surrey is often overshadowed by the long-established brand of Vancouver city. To the point where those not familiar with the area often assume Surrey to be just another part of Vancouver, instead of an entity of its own. However, in recent years the City of Surrey has invested many recourses into differentiating itself from the rest of the Greater Vancouver area through its economic development programs. Through an emphasis on the City’s diverse culture and leading-edge innovation in technology, Surrey has been able to promote itself as the “smart city of the future” that is unique within the region.

It is imperative to understand that a comprehensive marketing and branding campaign is crucial to any successful economic development strategy. Living in an increasingly digitalized world, the internet and world wide web are rapidly becoming the most effective marketing techniques that one can implement for an economic development plan. However, this does not imply that traditional marketing tactics have no place in the business.

Quite the contrary, planned visits to corporate executives and potential investors in real life remain important in an age where people come across (and tune out) hundreds of online marketing messages every day. The internet is a crucial platform to gain exposure and publicity, but businesses are still done in real life at the end of the day. Having an amazing website without any meaningful real-life interactions with the targeted audience is like shouting into a void, no matter how great your message is (and how much people agree with your message), most people would just move onto the next webpage within minutes if that is all that you have to offer.

Which brings us to the next point, the website itself. A good website is not a database of numbers and figures intended for one-sided consumption. Instead, it should encourage interactive engagement with visitors. Web analytics gathered through a well-designed website also provides crucial information for identifying your target audience. Being able to pin down on the type of people who showed interest in your community’s web resources allows for Business Development teams and Economic Development officials to engage with the right people, on topics that interest them.

Take the City of Prince George’s economic development strategy for example. Their MoveupPrinceGeorge initiative website not only shows essential data and information about the City, but it also includes a number of interactive interfaces that make navigating through these resources easier. Instead of making vague claims about employment opportunities and displaying a generic list of jobs available, the site includes a custom search tool that caters employment opportunities to the interests and requirements of the site visitor, which is displayed alongside with a comprehensive map view of these opportunities. On the other hand, this enables the City to gather valuable information on which specific types of opportunities attract the most interests, and constantly refine its promotional strategy in real time according to real-time web traffic data.

This is a perfect example of what a well-thought-out economic development website should look like. Don’t just tell people about how great working at your community will be, show them. Demonstrate that you put the thought and effort into curating resources for specific audiences, instead of merely throwing stuff into a wall and seeing what sticks.

Gutenberg Editor in WordPress 5.0

There is a new WordPress visual editor that will soon be part of the WordPress core. It’s called Gutenberg and it is named after Johannes Gutenberg, a German inventor who invented the printing press. As of writing this article, WordPress 4.9.8 is the stable release. With the release of WordPress 5.0, Gutenberg will be the new editor that will replace the beloved visual editor in WordPress that we all know and love.

Gutenberg Block

A block as seen in the Gutenberg editor.

The new Gutenberg editor is based on blocks. Each paragraph is considered a block. Each block can be a title, a paragraph, or any rich media content. I don’t want to go into too much detail because I’m sure you can find hundreds of articles on the Internet about Gutenberg. But simply put it, the new Gutenberg editor is a page builder.

Sounds exciting right? But am I looking forward to this release? Not really. Being a web developer, I am always excited to try new programming scripts and software that will make my life easier. But with the release of WordPress 5.0, I am not excited about the release of Gutenberg.

Wordpress Gutenberg Editor

The Gutenberg editor measures 610 pixels in width. This is very narrow and leaves a lot of empty space when viewed on a desktop web browser.

Why you might ask? I have tried the Gutenberg editor and I am not impressed. For one thing, when I post a new blog article, I noticed that the new Gutenberg editor is very narrow. It is 610 pixels wide to be exact. What’s up with that? My computer monitor is 1920 pixels wide and this Gutenberg editor takes up only 610 pixels which leaves a lot of empty space on my desktop screen. That’s not efficient use of screen real estate if you know what I mean.

Secondly, the first time that I used Gutenberg, I got a warning message that says Updating failed just after 5 minutes of using it. Now, I really don’t know why it produced that warning but I suspect it has something to do with the autosave interval that I have set in my WordPress configuration file. Even though I have configured the autosave function to save every hour, the Gutenberg editor does not take that into consideration and attempts to do an autosave of my posts every minute or so. I find this very concerning. I later got a second message that says There is an autosave of this post that is more recent than the version below which I find very puzzling because I have customized the autosave function to save every hour – so why is Gutenberg autosaving my post just after 5 minutes of editing?

WordPress Gutenberg Errors

Error messages as seen in WordPress after using the Gutenberg editor.

As you can see, these are the reasons why I don’t like using Gutenberg. I suspect there are many issues and bugs with this plugin that I have not yet discovered. I have read the reviews on the Gutenberg plugin page and there are more negative reviews than positive reviews which lead me to believe that the Gutenberg editor has not yet matured.

Being a WordPress web developer, I find that Gutenberg is not a requirement for me because I do all of my edits using the text editor anyway. Gutenberg may be a great user experience for someone who does not know how to code. But for me, I find that it takes more mouse clicks to actually edit a post using the new Gutenberg editor than it does with the classic editor. That translates to inefficient use of my time.

One thing to keep in mind is that the Gutenberg editor applies to only the default post types in WordPress such as Posts and Pages. It does not affect Custom Post Types, at least not yet.

For now though, I will avoid using the Gutenberg editor and will install the classic editor that I am familiar with. As another option, if you’re like me and you don’t want to use the Gutenberg editor after WordPress 5.0 is released, you can install the Disable Gutenberg plugin which will disable the Gutenberg editor altogether. The funny thing about doing this is that people normally install WordPress plugins to add a feature…not disable a feature. It’s like installing a plugin to uninstall a feature. Sounds ironic doesn’t it?

So is this the demise of the classic editor? I think not, at least not in the near foreseeable future.

Written by Thanh Nguyen

The Value of Community Branding

Most of the “branding” practices we understand and come across nowadays stem from the corporate world. Yet, a quick venture onto the internet and it would seem like every major city in the world is coming up with new community awareness and branding campaigns every other day. To understand why this form of marketing strategy is becoming increasingly popular amongst the public sector (and specifically amongst economic development officials), one needs to first recognize what a brand entails exactly.

What does a brand mean?

A common misconception of the term is that a brand is simply a memorable logo combined with a catchy slogan or tagline. While these are certainly crucial brand elements to make a lasting impression, it is important to understand that a comprehensive “brand” goes way beyond what was mentioned. A brand is the embodiment of a range of values and beliefs, as upheld by the respective company or entity. For instance, Lamborghini’s commitment to luxury and exclusivity make up a big part of the Italian carmaker’s brand, that is the perception that people have of the company when they speak of Lamborghini. Compare this with Toyota, while this is not to say that the firm doesn’t produce luxurious products, but affordability definitely forms a larger part of their brand. Hence the reason why the Japanese automaker chooses to release many of their higher-end vehicles under its more premium Lexus brand. The company is aware that the Toyota brand attracts a more mainstream crowd, its customers expect their vehicles to be affordable. While Lexus caters to a more premium market, promising to deliver on a deluxe experience with the vehicles under this brand.

A brand represents what others think of something, whether it be Lamborghini the company or the City of New York.

What is community branding?

Just in the same way a commercial brand is a set of values or beliefs that the company promises to deliver to its customers. Branding a community is to uphold and maintain a consistent image that one may want others to think about the region. Thus, a community brand can be understood as the perception of what others think of some place in particular. Take the City of New York for example, it’s glamorous perception has served as poster child of the American Dream for the most part in history; and it has been extremely successful in this regard, few in this world don’t know about the Big Apple and all the opportunities that it offers.

A community branding campaign gives a voice to cities and towns; it illustrates the dreams and ambitions of a place.

Community Branding Examples

Las Vegas maintains one of the most successful city brands of North America. An internationally renowned travel destination, Las Vegas is world famous for its entertainment, nightlife, and gambling industries. The city and its stakeholders fully embrace this image, crafting a resilient community brand that incorporates Las Vegas’ unique culture and eventually claiming the title of “Entertainment Capital of the World”. To this day, Las Vegas still prides itself as one of the most visited tourist destinations in the world and remains a popular setting for films and literature, holding a remarkable position in pop culture.

Branding your community

Developing a strong branding campaign would raise community awareness, in the process evoking emotions to foster a collective community identity that residents are proud of. This vision should be representative of the region, so that the promised perception can be upheld and delivered. Keep in mind that while tourists may be the primary targeted audience of a marketing campaign, they are hardly the ones to deliver on a promise made about the community they’re visiting. A community brand which doesn’t resonate with local residents will not work; it should ideally encourage residents to aid with economic growth instead of being catered exclusively towards tourists.

A successful community branding strategy delivers on a memorable and unique vision that sets oneself apart from other communities. It is of utmost importance for a community to have a well-defined brand if one wants to remain competitive, both in capturing people’s attention and in making a lasting impression on them.

The Difference Between Logomark, Logotype & Combination Mark Design

A well-designed logo can strengthen your image and corporate brand; providing you with an advantage over your businesses competition and increasing appeal to your customers.

Whether you design your own or hire a professional agency, it is important to know some of the differences between three main types of logo branding designs – logomark, logotype and combination mark. Each style has its own unique advantage and the art of logo design itself is more intricate than most people realize.

Logomark

Logos of Android and Apple

A logomark is used to enhance brand identity and is an image or symbol used to represent a company. Logomarks do not usually have the company name attached and can give designers the opportunity to create strong branding identity.

Why Choose Logomark?

  • Depending on your budget and type of business, using a logomark can project a strong visual appearance for your company and can have a large impact on brand identity.
  • Logomarks tend to be more ‘abstract’ and sits as a symbol without being attached to a brand name.
  • Well-recognized and established leaders in a particular market use logomark. Facebook, Android, Pepsi and Apple all use this style.

Why You Might Avoid Logomark:

  • Considering that a logomark doesn’t include the name, this can be a disadvantage for a new, unrecognized company. If you are a new business, you may want to have your company name seen. Once the company grows and becomes more established in the broader market, a mark can be added.

Logotype

Logo Facebook

Also known in the design industry as “word mark” the main focus here is typography. This style strongly ties a brand’s visual identity to the company name. Because of the strong focus on text, it’s important to choose a font with care as the style, colour and even the shape of lettering can communicate just as much meaning as the words themselves.

Why Choose Logotype?

  • You’re a new business and would like to have your company name seen.
  • Your brand’s name is short and simple and won’t look crowded as a logo.
  • Your name is your brand. Logotypes can help strengthen the tie between visual memory and name recognition.
  • Facebook, Google, Disney and Skype all use the logotype style.

Why You Might Avoid Logotype:

  • If your company name is long, you may not want to use logotype as your name may look crowded when placed as your brand logo.
  • If you don’t plan on updating your logo font over time, you may not want this type of logo. A certain font may be the current fad, but over time, it might feel dated. Even well-known brands like Pepsi and Coca-Cola must update their logo font from time to time to stay fresh and current.

Logotype + Logomark = Combination Mark

Logo Starbucks

A combination mark is simply logotype and logomark combined into one logo. Text and image or icons are combined to enhance the branding message and helps clarify what a business is all about.

There are however integrated and stand alone combination marks. For example, the Starbucks logo has text with the graphic integrated, whereas the AT&T logo has the icon separate from the text.

Why Choose Combination Mark?

  • Combination mark logos tell a story about your organization creating a memorable visual of your brand.
  • Offers flexibility for the use of either or both the brand name and/or the symbol.
  • A well-designed combination mark is effective with both elements together or separated, offering wider flexibility for branding. Also perfect for new businesses.
  • Starbucks, Dove, NBC and Pizza Hut are all examples of the combination mark design.

Why You Might Avoid Combination Mark:

  • If your brand is focused on simplicity, it might be difficult to decide whether it is appropriate to use the word mark or the entire logo (do you put the whole logo on your business card or just the logotype?).

It’s Not Always About the Logo – A Common Misconception

There’s no question that every brand and business needs a logo – it is after all an important part of your brand identity.

Along with strong visual identity, successful branding also involves effective strategy, clear messaging and emotional appeal. In essence, your businesses’ brand design, identity and logo work together to convey all of the non-visual elements, so your current and future customers can understand what your business is all about.

Create a Winning Political Campaign with Smart Branding

Establish Your Brand

A solid campaign strategy with smart branding at the forefront will set you apart and create a strong connection between you and your public. Brand awareness, brand identity and brand positioning all play a key role in winning elections — this also drives your core message and content strategy.

Once your brand has been established, there are key components you should always be aware of:

User-Friendly, Optimized Website

A professional and user-friendly website that is aligned with your messaging is essential for smart branding. Keep in mind, the average person spends 8-10 seconds on a website — therefore, content should be easy to read, and the overall design should be intuitive; with a crisp, clean layout with high quality images in order retain the reader’s attention.

Hiring an experienced web development team that specializes in online branding is an invaluable long-term investment. Professionals will work with your campaign team to create a fully optimized and user-friendly website that matches your branding strategy.

Smart Logo Design & Colour Scheme

Choose a colour scheme for your logo and website with care. Colour and design has been known to have a powerful psychological influence on people’s behaviour and decision-making. Certain colours convey different emotions:

  • Orange – Cheerful, confidence, optimism
  • Blue – Trust, dependable, reliable
  • Green – Peaceful, tranquillity, power
  • Red – Bold, youthful, sense of urgency

Invest In Content

We now live in a world where ‘Content is King’ but if your content isn’t created for your target audience, it may fall flat.

Focus on your target audience. Understand the demographic you are trying to reach and provide value by keeping your readers updated with fresh and informative content on a regular basis. Remember – Google values an authoritative website that provides user friendly, well-maintained content and will rank you accordingly if you put in the effort. Keep in mind, photos, infographics and video are all considered to be content!

Smart Brands Have Personality

Personal branding can go a long way when connecting with people. Much like marketing products, showing off your personality can form a powerful connection with the public. Don’t be afraid to let your persona shine through — share your values and story — what makes you stand out from other candidates?

Get Involved On Social Media

With the average person spending two hours each day on social media, why wouldn’t you connect with your audience via social? Having a presence on at least two major social platforms is an effective way to connect and learn about your audience’s concerns and behaviour. By understanding patterns, lingo and habits, analyzing user data can be an effective tool when building your overall social media ad campaigns and overall brand strategy.

Branding yourself on social media also provides you with the opportunity to tell your story in a different medium and builds trust with your supporters.

Smart branding for a political campaign does seem like a lot to take on – and it is — however there are agencies that specialize in branding and web development that can help take your next political campaign to the next level.

The Evolution of WordPress

Launched back in 2003, the evolution of WordPress has been really noticeable. WordPress has evolved from a basic blogging platform, into an absolute juggernaut in the online content creation space. Today, celebrating 15 Years as a CMS in 2018, WordPress has grown to impressive proportions, actively supporting over 30% of all websites on the Internet today.

WordPress 5.0 Update Will Make Content Management Easier

With the latest update planned for this summer, WordPress 5.0 (codename: ‘Gutenburg’) is on-track to replace the long used TinyMCE editor and bring on a number of features that will allow previously untapped functionality for a more user-centered experience, including:

  • Simplified and intuitive interface
  • ‘Block’ style visual editor for managing content
  • Integrated HTML 5 output for future compatibility
  • Advanced formatting without the need for coding
  • Developer options for creating custom blocks

WordPress Customization Offers Flexibility & Better Website Performance

With a focus on user experience, WordPress has made content management easier than ever. However, you still need to ensure that your website is fast and efficient for visitors – and keeps up with the ever-changing demands of SEO!

Creating a fully customized WordPress website also allows you to grow your site as you scale your business, ensuring a positive user experience and a website that can keep up with the growing demands of your organization.

A customized website can be built from the bottom up by experienced developers, using existing WordPress tools and the latest programming techniques to create a website that will adapt to your vision and specific needs. Whether you would like to add more features, modify existing plugins for capability or simply modify a theme for the unique look and feel of your industry – customization is key!

A Professionally Customized Website = Increased Security

Chances are, your site handles some pretty sensitive information – whether it’s customer details, product data, or financial transactions – leaving it vulnerable can damage your business and your reputation.

Creating a custom WordPress site can eliminate many common security issues that affect websites today, whether it’s malicious code or backdoors (commonly found in free or out-dated themes), misconfigured plugins (more common than you might think), or simply not having a properly configured server – can be drastically improved by customization. You can also have peace of mind knowing that your theme is from a trusted source and your entire WordPress framework and plugins are up to date and as secure as possible.

Migrating Your Existing Website to WordPress is Easier Than You Think

Having a professional and responsive website has become an absolute MUST in 2018.

Not only do you need to create a great experience for your visitors, you also need to ensure that you are keeping up with current SEO best practices for maintaining that competitive edge in the online space. So, what do you do when your website is running slow due to older, or outdated development? Believe it or not, migrating your existing website to a modern and secure WordPress framework is a lot easier than you might think.

A professional development team can manage all the necessary aspects of your migration to a fully functional WordPress website, including:

  • In-depth evaluation of existing site framework
  • Creating a new WordPress environment
  • Importing of existing content & design elements
  • Mapping and restructuring of links
  • Testing and Debugging
  • Much, Much, More…

Your time is valuable – which is why hiring a strong team of experienced developers with the technical know-how for customizing your site has such a huge benefit, not only giving you peace of mind, but also giving you back the time to focus on the goals that matter to you.

Social Marketing For The Development Of A Better World

Most of the marketing that we come across is about getting people to make a purchase or informing us about an organization. There is another type of marketing that is increasingly visible, and its goal is to change the world. Social marketing is the marketing approach used to encourage healthy, sustainable behaviour that benefits society and everyone within it. A social marketing campaign will usually stand out because it’s not trying to sell you something; it’s asking you to consider your behaviour or habits, usually something you do that goes unexamined. With that being said, let’s take a closer look at what social marketing is, why it’s beneficial, and how it can help your organization.

What Is Social Marketing?

Government or not-for-profit organizations run the majority of social marketing campaigns. The main reason for this is that there aren’t many financial or business incentives for running a social marketing campaign. Sales boosts and mainstream publicity aren’t likely to follow. Despite this, we still see dozens of behaviour changes campaigns every year. Whether they tell us about the dangers of smoking or drunk driving, the benefits of exercise or composting, or the need to register to vote, these campaigns are prominent on all media channels. They are often used to fill in the gaps in our economy, taking care of the issues that businesses aren’t necessarily incentivized to solve or manage.

Voting image

What Are The Benefits of Social Marketing?

At their core, social marketing campaigns are a way for governments to reinvest our tax dollars into the health and well-being of the population. They are also a way for not-for-profits to push their causes into the public mindset. Using these campaigns as a guide, social marketing is also a way to get corporations to consider the social aspects and consequences of their actions. Once these big players see the effect and engagement generated by social marketing campaigns, they are more likely to follow suit with their organizational practices. This starts a positive feedback loop, in which healthy and sustainable behaviours are prominent in the public eye, and backed by powerful organizations in the public and private sectors.

How Does Social Marketing Help Your Organization?

Social marketing can provide a range of benefits for your organization and your reputation. Creating a link between your core business processes and a socially conscious initiative can go a long way to positively influencing consumer perceptions of your brand. An example of this is TOMS Shoes, whose core marketing effort is their ‘One for One’ policy, which provides a pair of shoes to underprivileged children for every pair purchased. A key concern when using social marketing campaign is authenticity. There are few things more damaging to your brand than being called out for exploiting social causes without actually making a difference. In order to navigate this situation, it’s important to seek the help of a marketing agency, who can guide you down a path of social marketing success.

Kim Pickett Guest Column for Crush Magazine: Leveraging Social Media To Grow Your Winery’s Brand

This Calls For Wine

People love wine, and they especially love talking about it on social media. They reach out to friends and followers to see if anyone is interested in opening a bottle that evening. They post pictures, quotes, and memes about wine’s superiority over work. They even share the latest in “wine innovations,” including the wine glass that can’t spill, and the device that turns a wine bottle into a single massive glass. However, for such a strong wine consumer presence on social media, wineries are surprisingly absent. Here are a few tips for how your winery can bridge the gap to turn these wine enthusiasts into loyal customers, by leveraging social media.

Devise a Social Media Strategy for Your Winery

The backbone of a social media presence is the strategy. You need to establish a plan in order to accurately represent your brand on social media. Since there are so many advertisers on each social platform, it is crucial to carve out a niche to help you stand out. Luckily, wine is such a diversified good that it is easy to find things about your wine or winery to highlight.

Once you know what you want your social media presence to showcase, it’s time to strategize an approach for each social channel. A tailored approach is necessary because the demographics on each platform are unique. Facebook’s average North American user is 40.5 years old, and the user base covers the widest range of ages, with the highest percentage of 55+ users of any platform. Over 90% of Instagram’s users are under the age of 35, while 41% of millionaires use LinkedIn. Understanding these nuances, and tweaking your social content for each platform, is a must. It’s one of the best ways to capitalize on the power of social media to reach customers, and create brand loyalty in your target market.

Crush Magazine Article

Showcase Your Wine’s Unique Value

Social media is all about producing added value for your customers. Your content must inspire them to make a choice that they might not otherwise make. The best way to go about this is through effective creative. Having a campaign that sticks in people’s minds, changes the way they feel and think about your wine, or appeals to their lifestyle, helps to create associations that can shift their habits when purchasing wine. This marketing approach helps your winery sell culture and identity to consumers, along with a great product.

There are plenty of examples of wine brands that have accomplished this. Dead Bolt Wine, from California, took a brand-driven approach to creating a unique social campaign. They took the traditional associations that people have with wine (food, romance, etc.), and flipped them completely. Deadbolt instead aimed at millennials, associating its wine with rock music, and the arts, to create a radical new look for their customers to identify with.

Encourage Customer Engagement Through Social Media Tactics

Creating brand loyalty involves getting customers excited about your product specifically, to forge an emotional connection with it. One of the best ways to achieve this is by getting them involved in a conversation on social media. With a beloved product like wine, bringing out this excitement can be easily accomplished. Using hashtags to have people share their best wine-drinking experiences, or holding a contest to give away a free bottle are both simple yet effective ways to differentiate your brand on social media. This differentiation can often be the difference between securing a loyal customer for life, and fading out of the public eye altogether.

Social Media Audit Success in Just 4 Steps

Everyone is on social media, but is your organization using the correct approach to it? Do you even have a plan for your social media work? If your answer to these questions is ‘no,’ or even ‘I’m not sure,’ it’s probably time for a social media audit. Your social media impact is complex. However, there are a few simple steps that will help you outline your plan and goals. This will make your spending and efforts more successful. You will now understand your initial outlook. Then you can work with a marketing agency to develop a better social media strategy.

1. Outline Your Goals

A social media strategy is only as strong as its goals. A social media audit is only as effective as its direction. You need to outline concrete goals for your social media channels. Without goals, any attempts to audit your organization’s performance will be useless. The main purpose of a social media audit is to gauge how your performance is aligning with your goals. Every bit that you can decrease the gap between these two means an increase in engagement with your target audience. This process begins with understanding what value you are trying to extract from your social media activity.

2. Understand Your Target Audience

Everyone is accessible on social media. You need to know exactly which group of people you need to reach. This will help you spend your budget on the audience that matters to your organization. Without an understanding of your audience, you can’t tell if the engagement that you get on your posts is actually leading to results. Let’s say 400 people like your Facebook posts. What if it’s always the same 400 people? If this engagement isn’t helping your organizational goals, it’s basically a waste. Your target audience should translate pretty seamlessly from your business plan to social media strategy. This is an easy starting point for your internal social media audit.

3. Differentiate Your Organization

Social media can be a double-edged sword. It gives every organization the capabilities to broadcast their services. Your organization gets this opportunity, but so do all of your competitors. A key aspect of your social media audit is differentiating your organization. This is where your vision comes in. Our clients often come to us with an idea for differentiation. What they lack is an approach for execution. That’s a perfectly normal scenario. Figuring out your vision is a great way to get your team engaged with a social media audit. Then you can partner with an agency to work out a new social media strategy.

 4. Get Expert Social Media Audit Assistance

Completing the first three steps is like a preparation checklist for a full social media audit. At this point, your internal team should have:

  • An outline of the goals for both your social media audit and strategy
  • An understanding of who makes up your target audience
  • A vision for differentiating your organization on social media

With these taken care of, it’s time to collaborate with an agency. A full social media audit consists of a brand audit, channel strategy development, paid media strategy, and many other factors. Balancing these on your own can quickly get out of hand. Collaborating with a team of social media experts will relieve this stress on both your organization and your finances. This will lead to the best possible social media audit.

Navigating Anti-Spam Legislation While Email Marketing

Digital and social media channels have opened the Internet to a new class of advertisers. Small businesses can now market themselves on the same platforms as multinationals. This freedom provides new opportunities for doing business online. It also involves increased responsibility. Just because you have access to new consumer bases doesn’t mean you have permission to contact them.

Now and in the past, a common marketing technique has been dropping flyers in mailboxes. There is an obvious digital equivalent for this: direct email marketing. What could be easier, cheaper, and more effective than this? Almost nothing. There is a problem with this approach. If your business has access to email inboxes in your local community, so do spammers and scammers.

Protecting consumers from annoying and dangerous spam falls on government legislation. As a digital marketing agency, we have an expert understanding anti-spam legislation. This is an important part of ensuring that our clients and their customers are protected, and the email campaigns we execute are successful.

What Is Anti-Spam Legislation?

Anti-spam legislation is the set of laws discouraging users from engaging in negative commercial electronic messaging practices. What does this mean? Basically, anti-spam legislation does exactly what its name says. It regulates the messages that businesses and organizations are allowed to send you.

Digital and social media makes our attention and inbox accessible by anyone around the world. Anti-spam legislation acts to protect us from hassle and thieves. It’s the reason that we don’t have to sift through thousands of emails from Nigerian Princes and Russian brides to find a weekly flyer from our favourite store. Both types of message come to you from a commercial source. So what separates legal marketing from spam? The illicit emails likely contain words that will be flagged by a spam filter. These filters learn common scams, and remove these emails from your inbox. How else does anti-spam legislation protect you? Let’s take a look.

How Does Anti-Spam Legislation Work?

The key to anti-spam legislation is consent. This is a necessary barrier for protecting consumers and their inboxes. To ensure that an email marketing campaign isn’t in breach of any laws, two types of consent must be clearly provided to the consumer.

  • First, people must allow you to send them marketing materials. This is often just a small check box at the bottom of a form, but it ensures that the only people who receive your marketing emails want them.
  • Second, people must always have the option to unsubscribe from your mailing list. This must be included as a link in all marketing emails, so that people can opt out at any point.

Consent is what separates wanted and unwanted commercial communications. You had to sign up for the digital flyer from your favourite store, while the Nigerian prince is contacting you against your will. Additionally, if you decide that you no longer want the digital flyers, you can unsubscribe at any time. The Nigerian prince won’t offer you this ability, because he never asked your permission to begin with.

Consent becomes trickier in some places, because many businesses rely on implied consent, rather than express consent. This means that they are able to contact you without you signing up for a mailing list, because they have acquired your information from another legal source. Navigating implied consent can be tricky, but our expert team will assist you in developing a marketing campaign that complies with anti-spam legislation.

Part of a KIMBO Design comprehensive marketing campaign is to ensure that all communications comply with anti-spam legislation. We want to facilitate successful digital communications, and allow our clients to never worry about being mistaken for a Nigerian prince.