Data trends: 7 metrics you need to be measuring

Your data’s essentially the backbone of your marketing efforts. It tells you what is and (perhaps more importantly) isn’t working. It shapes strategic decisions. It funnels your money into the marketing channels that give the greatest return. It helps you prevent dead time, maximize resources, and effectively utilize your budget. 

Knowing which numbers to monitor, and what they mean, is key to properly utilizing the data you’re collecting. Here are seven key marketing metrics you need to be measuring: 

 

1. Total visits

Your totals visits refer to the number of people who check out your website. You can monitor your total visits on Google Analytics for things like:

  • Your entire website

  • Specific pages of your site

  • Campaign landing pages

 Keeping an eye on this type of data is important when you’re trying to gain an understanding of the effectiveness of your overall marketing efforts or the effectiveness of a specific campaign.

Data trends: 7 metrics you need to be measuring  |  Hue & Tone Creative

2. Acquisition type

Looking for different ways to measure your traffic? Here’s our top four methods.

Acquisition is where your traffic comes from – for example is it direct, referral, email, organic, paid or social? This is a key metric to stay on top of, because it tells you which channels are top performers and which may need to be revisited. Either way, it helps you put your efforts into the areas that actually generate a return for you.

 

3. Bounce rate

Bounce rates tell you how many visitors enter your website and leave before exploring any other pages. For example, are people making it to your ‘About us’ page and then heading off the website without clicking on any internal links? 

Generally speaking, the lower your bounce rate the better. High bounce rates canbe associated with people not finding the content on your page useful, and low bounce rates are more likely to convert and perform meaningful actions.

Bounce rates can be measured on your overall site or for specific pages.

 

4. Conversions

 This is arguably one of your most important metrics. A conversion can mean different things depending on what your goals are -- for example, it might be a newsletter sign up, filling out a lead form, and or completing a checkout.  

Your conversion numbers help you measure the profitability of your marketing efforts and they can be tracked either directly on your site (depending on how it’s built) or by setting up goals in Google Analytics. If your conversion numbers are looking pretty low, it might be worth looking at your design, content, user experience or product/service.

 

5. Cost per lead

Quite simply, this is the amount it costs you to turn a prospect into a customer. Your cost per lead should be calculated on a channel-specific basis, and the numbers you retrieve will give you a good idea of which channels are most profitable.

To calculate your cost per lead, simply work out how much you’ve spent on each medium and compare it to how many conversions it’s earned you. For example, if you invested $1,000 into a PPC campaign and got 15 conversions out of it, your cost per lead would be $66.66. 

This cost per lead needs to be weighed against the cost of creating or delivering your product. If closing a customer costs $100 and it takes $400 to manufacture your product, you need to seriously revisit your marketing efforts. 

 

6. Open rate

Open rates tell you how many of the emails you’ve successfully sent are actually being opened. For example, if you send 600 emails to prospects and 75 of them are opened, your open rate would be 12.5%.

It’s important to keep track of your open rates to understand how a) far your email campaigns are reaching, and b) you can improve your subject lines. Low open rates mean your emails aren’t being read, which results in missed opportunities. 

 

7. Customer value

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Last but certainly not least, is customer value. This is how much a customer is likely to generate you per year (or whichever cycle is most relevant to you) and can help you determine your overall return on investment. 

If you’re a start-up this figure will be more of a forecast. If you’ve been in business for some years, you can use the past few years’ sales numbers to calculate out the average number of yearly sales, along with the value of those purchases.

You can work your customer value out as an overall average or based on clusters – and your clusters could be anything from age and geography to persona and profession. Knowing your customer value helps you set organizational goals and expectations. 


Hue & Tone: Greensboro Marketing firm

When it comes to your business’ numbers, everything from your design to your social media management plays a part in your success. To see how we can help give your bottomline a healthy boost, get in touch with our team today at (336) 365-8559.

Belief in business: 2019 is the year of woke advertising

You’ve likely seen and heard about Gillette’s ‘The Best Men Can Be’ ad. This ad reignited the debate on whether or not there’s a place for advertisers to take a moral, ethical, or political stance in their marketing. While the Gillette ad is the latest ad to provoke this debate, it certainly isn’t the first of its kind. Cause marketing ads have been around for some time – for example, Procter & Gamble’s ‘The Talk ’and Nike’s ‘Dream Crazier' promos.

 

What is woke advertising?

Woke storefront art, anyone?

Woke storefront art, anyone?

The slang term ‘woke’ refers to awareness around “important facts and issues - especially issues of racial and social justice.” Woke advertising doesn’t promote a product, instead, it focuses on real-life, political or moral topics.

Historically, brands have avoided contentious topics for fear of upsetting, disgruntling, or outright alienating their audience. But, in an increasingly polarized political climate, playing on identity and political belief can lead to a big buy-in. 

And, as a rule, we’ve seen it works. 

After Nike’s use of Colin Kaepernick in their ‘Just Do It’ ad, the company reported a 6.25 per cent increase in their stock post-campaign, which equated to a healthy $6.38 billion boost to the business’ overall value. 

It’s not always rosy though. Let’s take a look at Pepsi’s attempt to get in on the social justice action with their 2017 ad featuring Kendall Jenner, which took place against the backdrop of the Black Lives Matter movement. The soda company was criticized for trivializing such a sensitive subject, and they received some very frank feedback on social media as a result. 


Is there a place for it? 

When it comes to whether or not there’s a place for woke advertising, opinions are split. Personally, we see brands taking a stand on something as a positive step… but only if they back up their words and advertisements with their actions.

While consumers are practically demanding companies believe in something other than boosting their sales, promoting a political agenda in a country that thrives on call out culture is risky business. While relating to your consumers on a value level is a great way to stand out, if you don’t back your beliefs up with brand culture and moral business activity, you risk consumers writing you off forever. 

To us, successful woke advertising means aligning your beliefs to your brand’s culture and ethos, and going out of your way to support the cause you’re rallying around. It’s not enough to take an empty stand on a talked-about political topic for the sole purpose of boosting brand awareness. It’s transparent and empty. Most customers are attuned to the fact that woke advertising is a strategic plan to support sales, and it’s unlikely they’ll be easily fooled by hollow words.

Here’s a few examples of companies that put their money where their mouth is --

Belief in business: 2019 is the year of woke advertising  |  Hue & Tone Creative
  • TOMS: One for one. For every TOMS product that’s purchased, the company helps a person in need. You can find out more about their model here.

  • Cora: Cora’s an organic tampon company, and they put aside a percentage of their monthly revenue to provide people in India with sustainable period management solutions.

  • Patagonia: One of the first defenders of environmental ethics, Patagonia uses recycled materials and organic cotton, and, working with Fair Trade Certified factories in India, Sri Lanka and Los Angeles, is an advocate of labor ethics too. 

  • IKEA: For starters, IKEA sources 50% of their wood from sustainable foresters and 100% of their cotton from farms that meet Better Cotton standards. Secondly, they use hundreds and thousands of solar panels to power their stores, and strive to be powered by 100% renewables by 2020.

It’s not for the faint hearted

Keep in mind it’s impossible to please everyone - even the woke ads that positively boosted business revenue received negative backlash. 

They used to say there’s no such thing as bad publicity – but in the age of social media, that’s obviously not true. If you’re thinking about taking a bold political stance, make sure you’re fully educated on the issue and that you actually consult with the group or cause you’re talking about.

Don’t assume you know how others will feel or react – and don’t make your marketing choices in an echo chamber of homogenous decision makers. If you look around the room, and you’re staring at all white men, you probably shouldn’t put out an ad about the black community. If you do, we would suggest brushing up your crisis communication plan.  

Speaking of crisis communication plans, let’s see what happened when Pepsi decided to release their ad with Kendall Jenner… 

“Lmao Pepsi’s new ad Kendall Jenner ‘end racism’ by handing police men a Pepsi - way to degrade 50 yrs of black/minority struggle” @HanorahHardy tweeted.

And another Twitter user posted:

Once Pepsi realized the errors of their ways, they soon pulled the ad and released a statement explaining their intentions and apologizing for the damage done: 

“Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding,” they commented to the Associated Press. “Clearly we missed the mark, and we apologize.” 

There was nothing published to suggest the soda company suffered long-term financial repercussions, but there’s also good chance that kind of intel would be kept behind closed doors. 

Big brand names like Nike, Gillette and Pepsi can afford to take a gamble. If things don’t go as planned and their sales take a hit, they won’t go out of business. But is this true for you? Before you make a bold proclamation about the beliefs of your business, make sure you have a solid fall back strategy in place. 

What’s your opinion when it comes to woke advertising? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below or on our Facebook and  Twitter pages!


Hue & Tone: Your Marketing Partners

Whether you’re looking to make a big splash or just build your online community, we would love to help you fine tune your digital presence. If you need a fresh set of social templates, help with your general messaging, or a full-time community manager, we believe Hue & Tone Creative might be a good fit for you.

Real Estate: How to effectively use social media to market your listings

How to Effectively Use Social Media to Market Your Listings  |  Hue & Tone Creative

Most real estate agents have a social media presence – but having an account and using it effectively are two totally different things. 

If used properly, social media can help you create connections with potential buyers or sellers, help you share your expertise, and let people get a sense of your personality. It’s also a great way for new realtors to let buyers, sellers, renters, and other realtors know you’re joining in the game. 

Whether you specialize in working with first time buyers or seasoned investors, defining and refining your social media strategy will always benefit your business. From stories to geo-targeting and anti-spamming, we’ve got five on-trend tactics to help you give your presence a boost.

 

Use pictures to pique interest

Our pet peeve? Realtors who put the property listing link in their Instagram caption! That link isn’t clickable – and including it there not only annoys your followers, it makes it obvious you don’t know best social media practices. Need to include a lot of links? Check out Linktree 

Golden rule number one: don’t just post the link to your listing and expect people to click it. But equally, don’t forget to include the link altogether! If there’s one way to irritate your followers, it’s to post an awesome looking property, without a link, and expect them to trawl through your site to find it themselves.

To really catch peoples’ eye, get creative with your photography and consider venturing into the realm of videos. Instead of just sharing the property’s location and price, share your personality, throw in fun community facts, and highlight what’s unique about the house. 

 

Start sharing social stories 

Social stories are big no matter what business sector you’re in -- but in real estate, they provide the perfect platform to bring your properties and brand to life, give exclusive behind the scenes insights, and drive both engagement and authenticity with real-time content. 

The beauty of social stories is that they needn’t require cutting edge technology or editing skills, either. Raw footage can often be more relatable, so next time you’re checking out a property, why not grab some footage on-the-go and give your followers a bit of a teaser?

 

Don’t be a social spammer

This might seem contradictory given this article is all about marketing your listings, but don’t justpost about your listings on social media. If you do, you run the risk of overbearing your followers with relentless sales-lead content, which could result in them hitting that dreaded unfollow button.

Instead, mix up your feeds with a blend of listings, blogs, tips, advice, guidance, fun facts, ideas, and testimonials. It’ll ensure your feed doesn’t start looking stale, and will allow you to provide your audience with a variety of genuinely useful content.

 

Don’t forget to be…social

Social engagement is a two-way street. Whether it’s on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest - and every other platform in between, if someone’s made the effort to comment on one of your posts or send you a message, always reply - promptly.

Replying is especially important if you’ve received a negative comment – instead of ignoring the question, engage and stop a negative interaction in it’s tracks. Thoughtful feedback can often clear up a misunderstanding – and if nothing else, it will show that you’re responsive and reasonable. 

 

Tap into geo-targeting

If you’re looking to promote posts and you operate across a wide geographic area, be sure to utilize geotargeting with your ads. Instead of bombarding your entire base with listings that aren’t in the same city, take a strategic approach and target your audience based on their location. 

 It’ll increase your engagement ratio on the posts, and ensure you don’t become a nuisance by sharing irrelevant content. If you’re new to the world of geo targetinghere is a simple guide talking you through how to do the doing.


Hue & Tone Creative: Serving Greensboro and beyond

If you’re not sure where to start or simply don’t have the time to execute your business’ social media strategy, then we’re here to help. Contact us today at (336) 365-8559 or hannah@hueandtonecreative.com to see where we can fit into your business strategy.

Free Download: Valentine's Day Cards

We’re posting our blog a day early this week to help you prepare for Valentine’s Day!

 If you’re short on time – or if you’re just looking for something a little more creative than what you can buy in the store — than we’ve got three bright and bold designs for you to select from.

All cards can be printed on standard 8.5 x 11 paper so you can easily print them at home or in your office! No email is required, just click on your favorite card, print it out, and give it to your sweetie.

Happy downloading!

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Hue & Tone Creative: Your Design partner

Looking for your own custom designs? Whether it’s a greeting card or an entire rebrand, we love working on all things type, color, and design related. Let’s discuss how we can work together — contact us here.

Back to basics: Google My Business

Back to basics: Google My Business | Hue & Tone Creative

Need a new way to aid your organic traffic efforts? Then look no further. Google My Business is a free, easy, and proven method that will help improve your site’s visibility in search results, make key information more accessible, and enable your company to cut through the crowd with a competitive edge.

The proof is in the results — for example, websites with a business listing get 25-35 percent more clicks than those without? If you’re sold by the stats and want to get the wheels in motion, read on for the all-important ‘what’, ‘why’ and ‘how’.

What is Google My Business?

Google My Business lets you take control of how your business appears in Google search and maps, by letting you specify things like your name, description, location, opening hours and busy periods.

In addition, it enables you to monitor and reply to your customers’ reviews, add photos, and get more intel into how and where visitors are searching for you.

This is what Google My Business looks like in search results:

Back to basics: Google My Business | Hue & Tone Creative

And here’s how it looks in maps:

Back to basics: Google My Business | Hue & Tone Creative


Google My Business: the benefits

There are endless benefits to making the most of Google My Business, but here are our top seven:

  1. It’s free - so what’s there to lose?! 

  2. It helps your current and prospective customers find your physical location more easily

  3. It enhances your search visibility

  4. It makes genuinely useful information more accessible

  5. Your Google My Business profile opens another communication channel to talk with customers

  6. It equips you with useful analytics and insights into your visibility, engagement and audience, which can be used to shape future strategies

  7. Reviews are relied upon by many, so getting customers to leave them is key. Fortunately, Google My Business makes this easy, allowing customers to rate your business by simply googling your name (they must have a profile themselves, though)

How to create your Google My Business listing


Step 1: create your profile

First things first, you need to set your business’ listing up. To do this, either create a new Google account, or, if you already have an account you’re happy associating with your company, log in using that.

Step 2: Fill out key information

Then head to google.com/business and hit the “Start now” button towards the top right corner of the page. Once you’ve done this, you’ll be prompted to fill in all the details of your business. Be prepared to fill out the following:

  • Your name

  • Address - there are two additional options with this one:

    • You can hide your address if you don’t have a physical store

    • If you deliver your product or service to your customers rather than them coming to you, you can check a box to tell people this

  • Next you need to give delivery details by either telling Google you deliver within a region, city or postcode, or by pre-setting a specific number of miles from your business. The two choices will look like this:

 
Back to basics: Google My Business | Hue & Tone Creative
 

Step 3: Pick a business category

You’ll be asked to specify your business’ category. Your response to this will help determine who Google displays your listing to, so it’s really important your category closely reflects your offering.

Step 4: Contact info

The penultimate step is dropping in your phone number or website URL.

Step 5: account verification

And last but not least, you’ll need to pick how you want to verify your account (if you’re not quite ready to verify, you can opt to do this at a later date). Whether it’s now or later though, your options are:

  • Postcard: To verify your business listing by mail, enter your business address in Google My Business. They’ll send you a postcard with a verification code. 

  • Phone: If your business is eligible to get a verification code by phone, you'll see the Verify by phone option when you request verification. If you don't see it, verify your listing by mail instead.

  • Email: Not all businesses can verify their listing by email. If you don't see this option, try another verification method. Before trying to verify your listing by email, make sure you can access the email address shown in the verification screen.

  • Instant verification: If you’ve already verified your business’s website with Google Search Console, you may be able to verify your listing instantly.

  • Bulk verification: If you manage 10 or more locations of the same business, your business listings may be eligible for bulk verification. 

For more information on how to navigate your way through each verification method, head here.

 

Making the most of your account

To optimize your profile and make the most of all the fancy features we listed at the beginning of this article (like opening hours, reviews and photos), once you’ve verified your account, make your way to your Google My Business dashboard and select “Info.”

 You should then be presented with a screen that looks like this, for you to work your way through and edit the relevant sections:

Back to basics: Google My Business | Hue & Tone Creative

Hue & Tone Creative: All things marketing in Greensboro, NC

Whether you’re looking for help with branding, design, social media management, or email campaigns — or you just want to learn how our experts can help with your Google My Business listing — give us a call (336) 365-8559. We’re ready to connect and learn more about how we can help support you and your business.

Expand your sales by selling on Instagram

Expand your sales by selling on Instagram  |  Hue & Tone Creative

Sales are down, and you’re looking for creative marketing strategies to help boost them. Enter shoppable posts.

As Instagram’s grown in influence, so has the sophistication of its sales funnel. Shoppable posts take Instagram’s selling cycle one step further, streamline the user’s journey, and boost your business’ odds of converting followers into customers. 

With around 90 million Instagram accounts tapping on a shoppable post every month, they might just be that sweet spot your business has been missing.

Not sure how or where to start? Not to worry. We’ve covered the A to Z of everything you need to know to get going.


What are shoppable posts?


In a nutshell, shoppable posts enable Instagram users to complete the entire purchase journey - from discovery all the way through to checkout - without ever leaving the app. The benefit to you? Less steps. Less chance of distraction. Less chance of losing customers.

On or off Instagram, your customer journey is crucial. For starters, almost three quarters (76%) of consumers cite it as an important pre-purchase factor. But did you also know, 86% of customers say they’re actually willing to pay more for a great user experience?

Looking at Instagram alone, here are some successful case studies from brands who use shoppable posts as part of there social strategy:

  • Spearmint LOVE witnessed a 25% increase in traffic and 8% uplift in revenue

  • Tyme saw their web traffic rise by 44%

  • Lulus attributes more than 100,000 site visits and 1,200 product orders to shoppers who started on Instagram

Here’s what it looks like in practice:

 
 

With more than 200 million Instagram accounts viewing at least one business profile per day, shoppable posts unlock the door to a whole load of opportunities.

A few quick-fire facts:

  • You can tag up to five products per image or video

  • A maximum of 20 products can be tagged per carousel

  • When you tag products in Instagram, they’re shared on the explore section (where 200 million accounts visit daily) as well as with your immediate audience

  • Products can be tagged within stories too, by using what’s called a ‘product sticker’. We’ll delve into the detail of how this differs a little later on, but below’s a snapshot of how product stickers vary from shoppable posts

A step-by-step guide

So, let’s get started with the details of how to actually create your own shoppable Instagram posts. 

 

1.  Account requirements 

To be able to make the most of shoppable posts, there are a few boxes you need to tick:

  • Your business must be located in certain countries (if you’re in the US, don’t worry, you’re covered). For a full list of countries that are and aren’t included, head here

  • Your Instagram account must primarily sell physical goods

  • You must convert your account to a business profile

  • You must comply with Instagram’s commerce policies

  • Your Instagram business profile must be hooked up to a Facebook catalog

  • Your Facebook profile (which must also be a business page) can’t have any country or age restrictions attached to it

 

2. Facebook catalogs

As we just touched on, to enable shoppable posts, your Instagram account must be associated with a Facebook catalog. In its simplest form, a Facebook catalog is a hub containing information on each of the items you want to sell - like their name, price, condition and category, and looks like this:

Image via    facebook.com

Image via facebook.com

Now, there are one of two ways you can go about setting your Facebook catalog up:

  • Option A: Add a shop to your Facebook page. Find out how to do this in five simple steps here.

  • Option B: Use a catalog on Business Manager. This guide will walk you through the set-up process.

3. Account review

Once you’ve hooked your Instagram profile up to a Facebook catalog it’s a bit of a waiting game because, before you can start exploring Instagram’s shopping feature, your account has to be reviewed - this’ll happen automatically. Typically, it takes a few days for the review to complete, however, it may take longer if your account needs to be reviewed in more detail.

It’s worth noting that if you’re creating your very first Facebook catalog, the catalog itself will need to be reviewed before your automatic review can commence.

 

4. Start adding tags and/or stickers

The penultimate step revolves around actually adding your product tags and/or stickers on Instagram. Before you get going, here are a couple of points to bear in mind:

  • Before you can add tags or stickers, your Instagram account must be approved for shopping. If it’s not, you’ll hit a dead end; and

  • Make sure you’re using the latest version of Instagram’s app to ensure you’re utilizing all its latest updates.

If you’re up to speed with everything you ought to be at this point, then you’re ready to turn on your product tags. To do this, just work your way through these easy-to-follow steps:

 

1.  Head to your Instagram business profile

2. At the top right of your screen, you should see an ellipsis (…) - click on it

3. Look out for the ‘Shopping’ option under the ‘Business settings’ tab and tap into it

4. Hit ‘Continue’

5. See which product catalog you want to use within your shoppable posts and select it

6. Voila. You’re set-up and ready to start tagging products in your posts and/or stories.

 

5. Creating the actual post

So, you’ve got all the ingredients you need to create a shoppable post or story, now it’s time to pull the final concoction together. 

Shoppable posts 

As we touched on earlier, you can tag up to a maximum of five products per single picture and 20 products per carousel (i.e. a series of images within one post). 

Each tag will show the name and price of the item in question, and if you want, you have the option to go back and add tags into old posts, too.

Shoppable stories

Instagram stories work slightly differently. For starters, you use what’s called a ‘product sticker’ which showcases the product’s name - but not the price. You are, however, given a bit more personalization flexibility with stickers, in that you can edit their color and text. 

Unlike with shoppable posts, you can’tadd product stickers to already published stories. If you want to add a sticker to an already-published story, you’ll have to delete and re-publish it with the product sticker.

 

The creation process: 

1.   Create your Instagram post or story as you normally would.

2a. If you’re pulling a post together, click ‘Tag products’ on the ‘Share’ screen.

2b. If you’re making a story, tap the sticker icon and then hit the product sticker option.

3. Whether you’re following the instructions for a post or a story, you’ll be presented with your product catalog - choose which one you want to tag and drop it on or close to the item you want to promote.

4. Share your post or story and prepare to monitor the traction you get from your product tags or stickers - you can do this by heading to the ‘Insights’ section of the app (for posts, tap ‘View Insights’ on your chosen shopping post, and for stories just swipe up once you’re in the story).


Hue & Tone: Your Social Media Partners

Overwhelmed just reading this guide? Ready to see your business' Instagram sales shoot up? See how we can help amplify your efforts today by getting in touch with the team at (336) 365-8559. 

Our Favorites: More Great Free Fonts to Download

Finding the perfect font is no easy feat. For starters, there’s an unfathomable number of options to choose from. Even once you select a font, there’s a ton of variables that can interfere with what does and doesn’t work - Do you need the font for print or digital? Are you designing something colorful or monochromatic? Are you laying the font over an image or putting it on a blank background? The the list of potential factors goes on and on!

What’s worse, is that many popular fonts require purchasing a license — one that can often be quite pricey. We’ve already compiled lists of our favorite Adobe Typekit fonts (free if you have an Adobe CC license) and our favorite Google Fonts. But if none of those are speaking to you, we’ve pulled together another list of ten great free and easy to download fonts.


1. Hansief

Hansief is a simple and bold typeface offering a unique vintage feel. It comes with two styles - regular and rough - enabling it to easily adapt to a range of design settings. Download here.


2. Tuesday Night

For those pieces that need an elegant, classy and handcrafted touch, look no further than Tuesday Night. Download here.


3. Mr Grieves

 If you’re after something with a bit of texture, then Mr Grieves has you covered. It’s rough, ready, and raring to grab your audience’s eye. Download here.


4. Bosk 

A handmade brush font by nature, Bosk lends itself very well to artwork in need of that personal and custom feel. Better yet, it’s multilingual and comes with more than 400 characters, so you won’t struggle for choice. Download here.


5. Oraqle Script

Talking of choice, enter Oraqle Script. It’s got uppercase, lowecase, numerals, punctuation and multilingual characters, and also includes things like ligatures, stylistic alternate characters and swashes. Modern, striking and full of texture, it ticks all the boxes. Download here.


6. THE BOLD FONT

 If there’s one thing The Bold Font absolutely oozes, it’s trendiness. It’s streamlined and ideal for anything from logos and packaging to social posts and on-page headings. Download here.


7. Nikoleta

Simple, slim, refined and commanding, Nikoleta is good to go for things like posters, headlines and online ads. Download here.


8. Old Growth

Inspired by the old growth forests of the west coast, Old Growth is fairly new which opens up the door to testing something relatively untried and really standing out. In the words of the creator, it’s perfect for branding, quotes, headlines and more. Download here.


9. Buffalo

Now this one’s definitely different, but different is by no means bad. While we wouldn’t suggest overusing this one, we think it’s the perfect pick for key headlines and accents. Download here.


10. Bodoni XT

For those after more of a classic feel, Bodoni XT offers the right balance between traditional and on-trend. It’s also readable, making it a good fit for longer chunks of text. Download here.


Hue & Tone Creative: YOUR Graphic Design PARTNER

Whether it’s a complete overhaul of your branding, a one-off social media ad, an eye-catching business card, or a logo refresh, we’ve got the expertise you need to make your branding pop. Contact us at (336) 365-8559 or hannah@hueandtonecreative.com to see how we can start working together.

Forecasting for 2019: Social Media Trends

Social media continued to dominate the world of marketing through 2018. From an increase in live streaming and Instagram stories to customized chatbots and an ever-increasing emphasis on social listening, brands all over the globe have been improving their tactics by carefully tracking each platform’s changing trends.

Because social media’s constantly evolving, what works today won’t necessarily work tomorrow -so let’s take a look at what we predict is on the horizon for 2019.

Forecasting for 2019: social media trends  |  Hue & Tone Creative

Authenticity

Social scandals were rife last year. From fake news to personal data breaches, social media made the headlines for all the wrong reasons, causing users to really question who they could trust.

As a direct result, 2019’s expected to bring a change in what kind of content is popular. Instead of focusing on social reach, brands are likely to shift their focus to creating genuinely meaningful, transparent and personalized content. This’ll inevitably increase the time it takes to create quality social media content, but the level of engagement that comes as a result will likely justify the time investment.

 

Social stories

Social media stories grew at an exponential rate in 2018 and there’s no sign of that growth slowing down in 2019. According to findings published by Block Party, social stories are growing 15 times faster than feed-based updates, and some believe they’re set to surpass it completely in the not-too-distant future.

 If you’re not already on the social stories bandwagon, it’s certainly time to hop on board. But remember, stories require a different approach to be effective. Instead of being static updates (like with your feed), they should be live (even raw), provide a narrative, be personal, and give your followers a glimpse behind the scenes.

 

Instant messaging

 Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp now boast 2.8 billion users between them. That’s a whole load of potential interaction. The jury’s still out on whether instant messaging intrudes customers’ personal space, but there’s no denying that it’s worth trying out with your customer base. 

In an almost completely digital world, 89% of consumers are crying out for businesses to branch out into instant messaging apps for their customer service. However, the same study uncovered only 48% of companies are equipped to do so. That’s a lofty gap to close in order to meet consumers’ expectations – and we expect the gap will begin to close in 2019.

 

Dimensional ads

Over the years, social media ads have become saturated. Whether it’s a sponsored story, promoted post, or suggested follow, the majority of businesses invest in them, which has lead to increase in prices and a chance in consumer mindset. 

Social ad overload has begun turning audiences off – and many social media users are so inundated they’re starting to become oblivious.

Big brands like Spotify and Netflix have already taken their paid social approach to the next level by building them into full-fledged campaigns that incorporate videos, motion graphics, and narratives. These multichannel platforms are focused on driving engagement, upping discussion, and building trust. In 2019, it’s expected many other businesses will follow suit to stand out from an increasingly competitive crowd.

 

Groups 

1.4 billion Facebook users tap into the platform’s groups every month, and their usage saw a 40% uplift in the last year alone. Groups are valued by consumers for their intimacy, and because they allow consumers to hold more meaningful discussions in a relatively private forum.

Tapping into this trend requires additional patience and planning – but those who put in the work can expect to see big gains in trust in 2019. 


Hue & Tone Creative: Social Media Services

If you need a hand getting your business’ social media in shape for 2019 (and beyond), then you’ve found the right site. Get in touch with our team today at (336) 365-8559 to see what we can do for you.

5 ways to incorporate social media into your placemaking

5 ways to incorporate social media into your placemaking  |  Hue & Tone Creative

Here at Hue & Tone Creative, we love working on projects that contribute to a sense of place – especially if that place is our hometown of Greensboro, NC. 

Throughout our work with spaces like Revolution Mill, we’ve developed an interest in all things placemaking, economic development, and real estate related. Whether you’re a marketing generalist or, like us, you strive to take on more economic development projects, we believe placemaking is a concept every marketer should be familiar with. The methods used in effective placemaking can be applied to a number of campaigns across a wide range of industries. 

The Project for Public Spaces (PPS) defines placemaking as “a collaborative process by which we can shape our public realm in order to maximize shared value. More than just promoting better urban design, placemaking facilitates creative patterns of use, paying particular attention to the physical, cultural, and social identities that define a place and support its ongoing evolution.” 

Placemaking is all about creating spaces and places that people want to be – places where citizens feel comfortable living, learning, working, and playing. These places are people friendly, visually interesting, accessible, and memorable. 

Robert Steuteville, editor of Public Square: A CNU Journalargues that a Quality Place possesses the following features: 

  •  A mix of uses

  • Effective public spaces

  • Broadband capability

  • Multiple transportation options

  • Multiple housing options

  • Preservation of historic structure

  • Respect community heritage

  • Arts, culture, and creativity

  • Recreation

  • Green space

  • Quiet, unless they are designed to be otherwise

Now that you know what placemaking is, it’s time to figure out how to marry your social media strategy with more traditional placemaking efforts. That’s called Digital Placemaking – and PPS defines it as “the integration of social media into Placemaking practices, which are community-centered, encouraging public participation, collaboration, and transparency.”

As you start to incorporate social media into your placemaking efforts, here’s 5 ideas you can use as a springboard for your brainstorming: 

  

1. Use social to amplify temporary placemaking efforts

Temporary placemaking is the bootstrap version of true placemaking – and it’s perfect for activating areas people perceive as unsafe. It allows you to experiment with a variety of ideas on a smaller scale, and then grow what worked.  

Good examples of this are an interactive art project, an activity or game, or an event. Even something small like an Instagram-able mural or photo background can help transform an otherwise unused wall. 

 Once you have your project in place, set up a hashtag and a sign or photobooth that will encourage people to use and share their experience. 

5 ways to incorporate social media into your placemaking | Hue & Tone Creative

2. Use social media to establish your city/space as a tastemaker

Instead of hiring influencers, it’s time to set your own trends -- start utilizing your social accounts to amplify your subject matter expertise. That means using your accounts to show off your expert knowledge about a place – Where do you get the best Pho? What boutique do visitors need to check out? What downtown city corner has an incredible history?  

Answer those questions for your followers and you won’t have to hire someone to show off what’s cool about your city or space.

Hashtagging properly and regularly interacting with followers will help activate people who already live in your city -- and long term you’ll be enticing new people to visit your neck of the woods.

 

3. Establish transparency using open source data

Did you know City of Greensboro does a good job of making public data available? Their open data program, “Open Gate City” was launched in 2016 to facilitate transparency, promote community engagement, and stimulate innovation. Open Gate City is a collaboration with Bloomberg Philanthropies' "What Works Cities Initiative."

Check it out here.

The idea behind open data is that data should be readily and freely available to the general public to use and republish as they wish. Additionally, the idea of open government means that access to government documents and proceedings allows for effective public oversight and protects against extensive state secrecy.  

City governments and public agencies can leverage open data to help build positive relationships with the public. In addition to building general good will, these open data efforts are a treasure trove of potential content for municipal marketing efforts. 

4. Create a hashtag campaign that encourages citizens to share their views  

Create a unique hashtag and use it as the central sharing point of your campaign. Embed the hashtag across all your touchpoints – social, web copy, print collateral, direct mail, email advertising, and online ads -- and encourage people to use it when they’re talking about your campaign (or your city).  

Don’t just sit behind your screen though! Hit the streets with merchandise, handouts, spray paint, or banners, and get to know the people you’re targeting. In-person marketing efforts are sure to connect with a new group, not just the same old group of active users that are constantly retweeting you. 

 

5. Use social media channels as a tool for crowdsourcing data 

With its exponential reach, social media is an incredibly powerful - and free - tool for crowdsourcing. If you’re stumped on what the public wants to see in a space, use social media to start running polls, start discussions, or gather feedback. 

The insights you gain can then be built into future stages of your placemaking campaign! 


Hue & Tone Creative: Your placemaking partner

Ready to brainstorm some fresh ideas? Or, maybe you just need the creative muscle to execute your ideas? Let’s talk and see if we make a good fit: 336-365-8559.

Our Favorite Posts of 2018

Last year we shared our favorite posts of 2017 — and it was such a hit we wanted to capitalize on the chance to highlight a few of our favorite posts again this year!

While we put a lot of work into every post, we definitely have a handful of favorites that we can’t help but wanting to highlight a second time. If you haven’t been able to keep up with every post this year, we suggest just checking out these can’t miss picks:

How to do a social media audit  |  Hue & Tone Creative

Our favorite social media post: How to do a social media audit

If you’re finding it hard to remember the last time you reviewed your big picture social media strategy, it’s probably time to step back and do a social media audit. Regular audits will help you identify any weak points in your approach, give you more detailed information about your audience, and help you retool your strategy to match current trends. 


75 post ideas for Instagram  |  Hue & Tone Creative

Our favorite web post: 75 post ideas for Instagram

Are you lacking imagination for your next Instagram post? Everyone’s creative cogs stop turning now and then, but fear not, we’ve put our creativity to the test by coming up with 75 post ideas to help you through your creative block.


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Our favorite design post: Color Stories, City Views

To further explore the aesthetic and inspiration found in an urban environment, we’ve snagged Unsplash photos from cities all over the world. Cities are so much more than grey and concrete – and the colors we’ve pulled from these images prove that. 


Our favorite email marketing post: How to write a subject line that gets clicks

The world of email marketing is remarkably noisy. According to research conducted by The Radicati Group, a Technology Market Research Firm, 235.6 billion emails are sent and received worldwide every single day, and that number is only set to increase. If you’re struggling to see the click through rate your campaigns need to succeed, we’ve got a bank of ideas to help give them a boost. 

How to write a subject line that gets clicks | Hue & Tone Creative

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Our favorite business blog: Must have Marketing Assets for every new business

So, you’ve decided to start a business. You know you need the basics like a logo and business cards – but what other marketing assets should you make a priority? We’re here to tell you what you need it, why you need it, when you need it, and how you get it. We hope this run down of essential marketing materials helps empower you when you’re hiring a graphic designer or marketing agency.


Our picks for must read  |  Hue & Tone Creative

Our picks for must read: 

This year we couldn’t pick just one must read post! But, all three of the posts we did pick have something in common – they’re all about finding, hiring, and working with the right marketing professional for you. 

We love these three posts because they highlight the importance of a good working relationship:

  1. 15 Questions to ask your designer before hiring them

  2. How to give honest feedback without frustrating your designer

  3. Pros and Cons to hiring a DIY web designer vs a web designer


Our most read blog post: 7 (more) Squarespace Font Pairings

Our most read post last year was 7 Squarespace Font Pairings, and this year our follow-up piece, 7 (more) Squarespace Font Pairings, was also the most read!

7 Squarespace Font Pairings  |  Hue & Tone Creative

Hue & Tone Creative: Web Marketing, Social Media, and Design

Looking to market your business in Greensboro, Winston Salem, or the surrounding areas? Hue & Tone is a creative graphic design agency specializing in logo design, web design, social media management, and more.