Digital and Social Media Marketing is low cost and has the potential for high ROI.
ocreations has the experience and capabilities to handle all your digital marketing needs.

Q: Does Digital Marketing really create a return on investment?
A: Depends on who does it and how it’s done. Simply putting some posts up on Facebook or throwing your web-banner into the vast space of the internet and hoping for money to boomerang back is not how this works. Turns out that good Digital and Social Media Marketing is the result of carefully planning out the psychological aspect of what we want people to think, feel and say about your company when they interact with your brand online. Simply put: we put a real human behind the digital face.

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The core tenets of Digital marketing strategy.

ocreations jumped into digital marketing at the dawn of its creation. Our owner, Shawn O’mara was an instructor at the Art Institute in 2000 when Digital Marketing was born as Google opened up the first digital ads. Since then a lot has changed, but one thing has remained the same: Digital Marketing needs a thoughtful and effective Strategy.

  1. Define expectations for using Digital marketing
  2. Set reasonable goals when choosing Social Media Platforms
  3. Research target audience and define a demographic
  4. Define metrics – ‘Key Performance Indicators’ (KPI)
  5. Make content that people will actually want to engage with
  6. Do real competitive analysis
  7. Timely and prudent social presence is key
  8. Constantly evolve

01 – Define expectations for using Digital marketing

Digital and Social media strategy starts with setting some expectations. We need to ask hard questions like “Will a plumber be able to find good business on LinkedIn?” not likely, but maybe on Facebook. “Will an injury Lawyer be able to find new clients on Instagram?” That might be a stretch, but they may have great success using LinkedIn.

At ocreations we often find that one of the primary reasons a digital marketing campaign fails is simply because the ads did not show up in front of the right people at the right time. This is a core philosophy and demands investigation.

“There are only a few simple real reasons for doing digital marketing in the first place…”

  • Generate leads/sales – direct ROI for business
  • Brand awareness – let people know you exist
  • Grow an audience – best for entertainment
  • Engage with a community – great for politics or social movements
  • Website traffic – important for news websites with advertisements

When we go to investigate the likelihood of your demographic seeing your digital marketing “at the right time in the right place” we do more than just guess, we pop open the ad tools and demographics data on the social media platform and look to see how many of the people your business needs to reach even exist on that platform, where they are, who they are and what they do.

ocreations knows how to find the right demographic at the right time and on what platform to guide your target audience into a sales funnel and help you set expectations. Take a look at our existing Digital Marketing portfolio for fresh ideas and new concepts to inspire your next campaign.

02 – Set reasonable goals when choosing Social Media Platforms

Each of these social media platforms attract very different audiences, there are intersections but there are also clear lines too.
Knowing what we “want to have happen” is just as important as setting expectations. If a Plumber or a Lawyer decides to target Facebook for digital marketing what is a reasonable thing we can expect from the users? Will they share the digital ad, comment on it, will they troll it, or will they just hit “like” and move on? What is that even worth to you?

Ideally in that case we want the customer to take action: we want them to hire you. You might think this is as simple as “let’s just put up the phone number and they will call us!” and you would be right if this was the YellowPages back in 1990, but it’s not, this is the 21st century and ‘this is Multimedia Sparta’.

Those rules and examples change drastically for Entertainment websites, News, Blogs, Politics, Social Issues or communities – but none of that applies to a local business.
We think it is therefore “unreasonable” to assume that a goal for a business should be “likes and comments” or even measuring how many times something was “shared” in social media.

It is also equally unreasonable to measure success by the number of “views”. So what if your Digital Marketing agency got you 1 million views, likes and shares – did you get even 1 single job from that?

If you are running for a public office, well, then 1 million views is super important – but not so much if you are selling a local service or operating a restaurant.
The volume of views and shares may work well for politics or news websites or as impressive statistics in a boardroom to get “oohh’s and aahh’s” from Executives – but we are betting that you are not a politician and your product is not “the news” – you just need customers, right?

ocreations therefore take a hard stance on reasonable goals, we consider a real ‘conversion’ to be measured in how many customers actually called, booked and paid you – that is what we call a “reasonable goal” – the number of people who actually hire you VS the number who just look.

03 – Research target audience and define a demographic

Every client we work with believes they know their target audience and demographic perfectly, and many times they do indeed know a lot, but never have we worked with a customer where we did not also find new demographics, associations and target audiences.

Let’s first talk about regional demographics – Pittsburgh Locals, for example, since ocreations is located in Pittsburgh. Every city has local names for people, places and things. In Pittsburgh, one example would be East Carson St. Turns out, if you advertise for the term “East Carson St.” your business will get some traffic, but it will be mostly out-of-towners. Folks here in Pittsburgh would likely type in “South Side”. So here is where that becomes important: if you want to attract business from out of town into Demographic A but you also want local business in Demographic B that means you have 2 different sets of digital marketing creative to build!

In Demographic A, the out-of-towners, they might just want to find “the best cheesesteaks near me” and when they see the digital marketing assets we create, we will show them great looking cheesesteaks of course, with nothing extra… but Demographic B, the local folks? Well in that case we want our digital marketing assets to show one of the Pittsburgh Steelers eating that cheesesteak because we know folks will recognize that local football star immediately.

This is where it gets interesting. We can reasonably assume the people who are out of town perhaps dislike our local football team, so we would not necessarily want to make a big deal about that sports star visiting your restaurant. In fact the idea “they might see one of the Steelers there” might even annoy that visitor. In that case the target audience just wants to see a photo of some tasty food.

The opposite is true for the locals. The idea “they might see one of the Steelers there” is exciting, perhaps a fantasy, but one that might be the difference between which restaurant they choose.

Ocreations knows how to carefully target audiences and define demographics: the whole point of that is to show different demographics different things.

04 – Define metrics – ‘Key Performance Indicators’ (KPI)

TKPI’s, a fancy acronym for ‘Key Performance Indicator’ – which really just means “is it working?” – That’s what every business owner really wants to know: did we succeed at what we set out to do in the first place? Let’s take a look at how these KPIs change for several business types:

  • Reach – number of unique users who saw a post.
    • Is that valuable to a local business or service? Not so much, you care more about how many people spend money.
    • Is that valuable to a news or entertainment site? Sure, maybe a little – but it takes a back seat to visits.
    • Is that valuable to a social or political goal? Yes, indeed it is, the more people who simply “see” your digital marketing the better.
  • Clicks – number of clicks on content.
    • Is that valuable to a local business or service? Very important, it is essential to understand what drives people to click and then buy.
    • Is that valuable to a news or entertainment site? Very important, it is essential to understand what makes people curious enough to click and then interact.
    • Is that valuable to a social or political goal? It is, but less so than the previous two examples – the exception here being if your goal includes getting people to sign up
  • Engagement – number of interactions divided by impressions.
    • Is that valuable to a local business or service? Moderately important, if too many impressions show up but not enough interactions, then we need to make changes.
    • Is that valuable to a news or entertainment site? Moderately important, simply because someone can look at your news information and an impression is valuable, but not as valuable as getting that click.
    • Is that valuable to a social or political goal? Very important, more so than the others because both impressions and interactions have value.
  • Hashtag performance.
    • A whole book can be written here about this topic full of overly elaborate strategies and theories, but at the end of the day your hashtags have a value that is relative to 2 simple factors:
      • How much did you invest to advertise the hashtag?
      • What is the viral significance of the hashtag?
    • For many businesses hashtags are worthless, for others with a more savvy or sophisticated brand or campaign they can actually create new business.
    • When it comes to social/political phenomena, thats where hashtags become really effective.
    • The way you want to leverage a hashtag for a news/entertainment website is different, in theory you want to anticipate, watch and use other hashtags rather than create your own or attempt to ‘make something go viral’.
  • Likes and Sentiment
  • These should be taken with a grain of salt for businesses, but they do come in handy in gauging how people view your business in general. There are rare cases where having “angry likes” is better for a company than having “excited likes”.
  • When it comes to news, politics and entertainment it does not matter if people are happy, angry, sad or glad when they see content: if you engage them enough for them to admit how they “feel” about the content? Well, you have won in a sense. They say “no news is the only bad news”, and the same rings true for sentiment and lies for a news/entertainment site “no feelings are the only bad feelings”.

05 – Make content that people will actually want to engage with

Pumping out some square graphics for social media that say “10% off, click like and subscribe” is not only absurd in today’s market, it will be ignored or worse – get trolled. The internet is a harsh and cynical arena. Here we need to pay close attention to the fact that people are already “naturally resistant to advertising”, and now they are also cynical, skeptical and can be plain mean. For example, did you use the right emoji on your post, or should you not have used one at all?

Creative copywriting plays an important role here. If the content you create for any situation, business, news, politics, social, anything – is simply 100% self promotional and “obviously advertising” people do not like that. In fact, they often get angry.

ocreations understand this and can help you navigate the often confusing landscape. There are traps all around: gender, religion, politics, race, etc…. If your creative attempts to be funny but ends up being a “faux pas stereotype” that’s going to have consequences. If your digital marketing creative is just too plain and obvious people ignore it, or act out in apathy.

We know how to challenge clients to be more creative where necessary and how to encourage clients on good ideas that can be made better. The name of the game here is simple: “Would you click on that and interact with it?” – we strive to make that answer “yes, that looks interesting!” and we have the experience to anticipate what people will do when they see your Digital Marketing. Take a look at our article on Blogs VS News for details on the subtle differences.

We build thoughtful engaging content for your business by creating themes and trying out new themes – whatever works that is what we stick with. If your “theme” is local we go with sports and the local team colors. The “theme” of your business in Digital Marketing needs to be consistent, when someone sees your ad on social media it needs to match your brand, when they walk into your store they should see the same colors, graphics and style they just looked at online.

Then, there is storytelling. You have to have a great story. “Click this and get 10% off!” – That is not a great story, but “A local restaurant owner take’s time out of their own day to feed Firefighters during the disaster!” – that is a cool story people will want to read, interact with and become patrons to the business. Show the human site, but make sure it is real, if people show up to help you feed those Firefighters and you are not there? That could backfire too…

Here are 16 Ways to Generate More Social Media Content that are tested and true.

A great tactic for all of the above is “short form video” – if you can show someone in under 3 seconds something that evokes any kind of emotional response that causes them to act/react, then you are “doing it right”. At ocreations we are the masters of short form video.

06 – Do real competitive analysis

This is short and sweet, but important: truly look at what competition is doing. We investigate their ads, their social presence and even use SaaS tools like SEMrush and MOZ to look at ads that maybe we can not see immediately.

If everyone is claiming the exact same thing in their digital marketing creative “Best Mexican Restaurant near you” and you do that too? Well, the customer just thinks “how can they all be the best?” and you do not stand out at all. ocreations can help you stand out by really taking a close look at everything and anything your competition is doing. We want to get an idea of what works, but also we need to make sure what you do is original.

07 – Timely and prudent social presence is key

Asking “What time should I run these ads?” is not the same as asking “What time do people look at ads for a business like mine?” – Many times we find that carefully studying a demographic reveals things that can save your business a lot of money.

Let’s use a restaurant as an example: if you are catering to the Lunch hour for busy executives you may think that you can run ads only between 12:00 and 2:00, and in many ways you would be right. However, it turns out many people make their decision starting that morning, and by 2pm, their lunch break is likely ending already. If that’s the case, the ideal time to start your ads is actually 8-10am in the morning so you can catch them on their 2nd or third click. You can also then safely end your ads by about 1:30 because by then people are done with the lunch break.

The rules change drastically for every industry. In many cases it makes sense for a service based business to run ads 24×7, because people will look for a service at home, in the evening and on the weekends late at night. They make the decision to hire you in the afternoon days later, but by then they have already made a decision on who they will hire, and if your ads reach them several times they are already sold on coming back to you.

When it comes to social events, news and entertainment the game is simply one of being vigilant, always ready to post or jump into the mix. There are advanced strategies to consider here like NewsJacking and anticipating social trends, but they all have the same core philosophy: try to be first or get there as soon as possible.

Many businesses launch digital marketing campaigns on social media and then just walk away and let them run… unattended! Never “leave the customers unattended”. That is a great way to convince someone that you are not interested in doing business with them. Other businesses are simply afraid to engage.

At Ocreations we train clients on how to interact with customers, deal with trolls, handle questions as well as how to respond to both positive and negative reviews making sure you are ready to react to shout-outs and reply to questions with useful human interactions.

08 – Constantly evolve

Across the entire scope of Social Media Management and Digital marketing we continually find that endless revisionism is the key to success. People only try to connect with content a certain number of times, if they see the same web banner, the same post, the same video too many times they become numb to it, resistant, even apathetic.

Continually evolving the creative copy, the banner ads and the imagery creates fresh perspectives, new opportunities and helps us learn what does work, what does not work and what deserves to be run again but with a slight variation. There are plenty of quick social media maintenance tips that are easily done – a sort of “social media hygiene” that helps out – but serious evolution is the key.

ocreations can help you create a digital marketing strategy that constantly evolves to stray fresh, relevant and interesting to customers. There is one thing we now know for sure about this brave new world of digital marketing: it never ends, and you can trust in us to be the partner that stays with you through the entire campaign.