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Monthly Archives: July 2014

Kick-starting your Social Media Strategy

Date Posted: July 25, 2014 by

Hi, blog readers! This is Rachel, the summer 2014 Digital Media Intern at i76 Solutions. I’m studying Communication Arts and Business Administration at a small school in New England. My career interests range from professional crocheter to marketing maven, and I eagerly accepted a position at a digital marketing agency to try my hand at the seemingly more realistic of these two dreams.

Let me tell you, time has FLOWN by. How is it almost August?! My time at i76 has been marked by various fun and exciting projects (like this drone); however, my main task is to grow and maintain an interested audience across our social media channels. It has been quite the learning experience. Contrary to popular belief, we millennials a.k.a. “social media experts” do not know the first thing about strategy or how to successfully target an audience. If you’re reading this blog post I’m guessing you might be in the same boat. Today I’ll be sharing with you my newfound knowledge about crafting a social media strategy for success.social_strategy

First, stop whatever you’re doing. If you’re already present on social media without a clear strategy or if you’re a novice looking to jump into the social ocean, take a step back. It’s always better to look before you leap and, in this case, ask yourself a few questions before taking the plunge.

–       Who are you?

–       What distinguishes you?

–       What is your voice?

–       Who is your target audience?

–       What platforms do they frequent?

–       What are they interested in?

–       Who do they listen to?

–       Who are the influencers in your niche?

–       How can you associate with them?

–       What conversations can you join?

Once you have a clear grasp of your social media goals, you should think about content. Don’t post just to post—add value to your followers’ newsfeeds by creating conversations or adding to relevant and interesting threads. I love this part of social strategy because I love to read. When I was younger I used to say I wanted to work somewhere where my only job was to read and, honestly, sometimes I feel like that is what it takes to be a good social media manager. I scour news sites and news feeds for ideas daily, posting relevant news stories in real-time and bookmarking ideas for later. My taskbar might look insane with the number of bookmarks I have, but it’s always better to have content to fall back on when you’re feeling not-so-creative or need to plan ahead.

Then, make a schedule outlining posting frequencies for each platform. Different sources contradict each other, but the general consensus says:

–       Facebook user engagement is highest Wednesdays around 3 PM, peak hours on weekday afternoons

–       Twitter user engagement is highest Monday – Thursdays 9 – 3 PM

–       Instagram receives high user engagement daily since it’s a mobile app, but a high percentage of people post on Thursdays (#tbt for the win)

–       LinkedIn user engagement is highest early mornings before work, or early evenings right after work


Keep on track with your schedule but don’t be afraid to get ‘crazy’ and post something outside of it.

Once you have identified your goal, your content type, and schedule, start making an appearance on the web. A common mistake for people to make is to assume that others will discover their web presence and flock to their golden content—wrong! Half the time people won’t even know you’re there; you have to give some to get some. Start following local outlets, influencers, and people who might be interested in your content. See something interesting in your news feed? Thank the outlet who posted it or ask a question in response.

A few miscellaneous things to remember:

–       Starting low or from scratch is not a disadvantage! This is a prime time to experiment and see what works for your organization. Play around with different styles of content or scheduling without the risk of losing too many followers if things go awry.

–       Don’t feel like you need to jump on the bandwagon and be present on every social platform known to man. If it doesn’t make sense for your organization, don’t use it. Better to experience success on one platform than to be invisible on several.

–       Always be on the lookout for opportunities to join or create conversations. Join Twitter chats about your industry or topics of interests; scour relevant hashtags for people to connect with.social_conversations

Social media for business is a learned skill and one that must be practiced and honed on a regular basis. I hope that these brief insights will help you correct or create a social media strategy for success. Questions? Fill out the form below and we’d be happy to chat with you. We #THINKandDO and hope you will too!

P.S. if you’re not following us on social media after reading this post… you should be.

Technology Obsessed, Marketing Challenged: Part 1

Date Posted: July 17, 2014 by

Did you ever wonder what life would be like without technology?

Well, before you answer that…since everyone else on my team decided to introduce themselves at the top of their first blog post, I’ll do the same.  I’m Drew, co-founder of this fun little agency we call i76 Solutions.  I run point on the technology and operations for the business…in addition to replacing the hand-towels in the bathrooms when they’re out…Now, back to the initial question.  What would you do without that smartphone?  Your laptop? Headphones?  SmarCar?  Television?  In some ways, life would be much simpler.  But we’re beyond the point of no return – and now, we need to keep up the pace to stay relevant.
This isn’t my first attempt at a blog.  The wildly popular (cough, cough) “Tones in Your Headphones” was born back in 2009 and hasn’t been touched since 2011.  Maybe I’ll get back to it someday. Thank God I have our awesome intern Rachel to keep me on schedule with this one.  I feel good things coming…I’ve always had an obsession with technology—computers, video game systems, the internet—and have followed their innovations and advancements from a very young age.  I wrote my first “application” at the age of 12 (okay, it was a “basic” programming app on a Commodore VIC-20 but it worked.  All 1,811 lines of code!). Like some of you, I was on AOL when it had no GUI and was just a glorified bulletin board.  At age 15, I figured out how to connect my modem directly to my friend’s computer across town so we could chat by typing to each other. I’m pretty sure I invented peer-to-peer chat before AOL did.  Okay, maybe not.  But, yeah, I was a geek…Fast forward to my adult years, and I’ve never been more excited than about where the world is right now—from a technology perspective, anyway (we’re severely lacking in common sense).  Innovators much smarter then I could ever hope to be are constantly challenging the universe with advancements that offer new ways to communicate, interact, and live.

First, I have to say, I love what I do—helping people navigate the ever-changing landscape of marketing and technology.  What was once, for the most part, single-layer solutions to accomplish a client’s goals and objectives (although sometimes multiple single-layered solutions were run parallel to each other) has now become multi-platform, multi-channel, multi-device insanity!  And the best part about it all is that when you know what you’re doing, you can pretty much ensure that you’re getting a return on your investment.   Running lean and efficient—and EFFECTIVE.
So I thought I’d use my maiden post to tell you about one of our latest toys here at the office.photo_(2)-418070-edited
Meet “A.v.a.” (aerial video agent), the i76 drone. You might ask, “Why does a digital media agency need a drone?”  My answer is why the hell not!  :)  Actually, this amazing little piece of technology has tons of real-world applications outside of being super fun to fly!  Equipped with a hi-definition, 14 megapixel camera, the still shots and HD video that A.v.a. beams back to earth are spectacular. Looking at the world from a whole new perspective—literally—keeps my creative juices flowing and helps my agency to stay relevant by coming up with new ideas and strategies that could generate buzz and awareness for our clients.  We’re not the first company to adopt a drone and begin to integrate the technology into our thought process, but we do think exposing the technology to some of our clients allows us to stay ahead of the curve and promotes the forward-thinking conversations that can help differentiate our strategies from the rest.  Think about the real estate vertical, the commercial and residential home services industry, photographers, event and entertainment companies.  The list of possible applications goes on…
Now of course, there’s a whole lot of gray area when it comes to flying drones.  Some states are passing legislature to limit drone flying—and we’re keeping up with the latest news and information. If and when we have legislature governing what we can and can’t do with A.v.a., we’ll be sure to fall in line.  But until then, we’ll practice safe flying and keep our eye on the communications from the FAA.
So how does the title of my blog post and an introduction to A.v.a tie together?  Well, personally, the “technology obsessed” part absolutely refers to me as an individual—however, I use it in terms of referring to the majority of the world.  A.v.a. is just MY latest little obsession; however, when is the last time you sat through a meal where you or someone you’re dining with DIDN’T check their smartphone (See “23 Signs You’re Addicted To Your Smartphone“)?  Get it? This obsession applies to us personally as well as in our business life.  If people don’t respond to emails within the hour of them being sent it’s almost considered ignorant.  That being said, the majority of us can probably agree we’re constantly connected—and it’s hard to disconnect.

Smart marketers realize that in order to penetrate an “obsessed generation,” they need to talk to you through your technology—by way of advertising in your apps, on your lockscreens, embedded in mobile websites, through direct email and using text / SMS messaging.  The “marketing challenged” part of the blog title comes in here.  Which platform or content channel is most effective?  How successful are in-app banner advertisements?  Does a higher CTR (click-through rate) on a mobile banner campaign mean that people are truly more engaged with your brand—or are our fingers just too fat to click and browse on those small screens?  That’s where we’re focusing much of our time as an agency when we deal with the marketing and media placement portion of our business.  We have great relationships with our partners in the mobile marketing space (Google, MoCentric, to name a few) that have enabled us to really have some fun and do some real-world testing with the latest mobile marketing technologies.  Mobile marketing needs to be a core part of any marketing campaign in order to ensure success.  It’s where the people are….  The tough part is navigating through the options.  My agency loves that challenge and I believe it’s something we do quite well.  We are a technology and marketing company—so we narrow down the options and turn the best into opportunities for our clients.
But mobile marketing is only one piece of the puzzle.
In my next post, I’m going to spend some time taking a look at the process involved in building and executing a strong digital marketing strategy.
But before I sign off…take a look at some video A.v.a. shot of the i76 campus:

Where Technology and Marketing Meet

Date Posted: July 7, 2014 by

It’s been a few fun, hectic weeks here at i76 Solutions. As a digital agency that provides both technology and digital marketing services to clients in Philadelphia and around the world, we are constantly coming across marketing projects that are fun yet challenge us to live out our brand message of “Think and Do.” While you read in a previous post about our efforts to dig deeper into inbound marketing with our partners at Hubspot, in this post we wanted to focus on a great project that defines who we are as a digital agency.

Our business at i76 is driven by providing clients with digital solutions that enable them to conduct business better, quicker, and with a greater opportunity to accelerate their revenue and increase customer engagement. That means building responsive websites that can be accessed across multiple devices, developing mobile applications which can enable a field technician to troubleshoot a problem in the middle of nowhere, or upgrading a database so it can deliver better analytics and business intelligence across an organization.

In the case of Scriptacom, a medical transcription provider, i76 is providing an over-haul to their entire business process and, eventually, will set and execute their digital marketing and customer acquisition efforts. At the heart of Scriptacom’s business is a database engine which manages the uploading of audio content from physicians and transports that audio to their team in order to be transcribed and eventually shipped back into the physician’s patient file. This is a process that has many moving parts including a billing engine which records lines of type per audio file. Up to this point, Scriptacom has relied on a series of scripts and dated technology that required a lot of manual updating and prodding. With the updated technology platform being built using the latest in responsive design and a more robust back-end, Scriptacom will now have an automated workflow from end-to-end and will have the ability to add on layered services and, more importantly, account for them in more revenue. All of this will result in less human intervention, better business intelligence, and, most importantly, a better customer experience.

The other important part of the Scriptacom project we are working on currently at i76 is the redesign of their site so that it is a responsive website. Stating a bit of the obvious, but with almost 60% of web traffic now coming over from mobile devices, it is critical that Scriptacom’s site can be seen and function across any browser or device. Below is the initial look at Scriptacom’s responsive web site:Scriptacom

In an upcoming post, we’ll talk further about our digital marketing strategies which will include a deeper look at inbound marketing as well as other forms of digital marketing including search engine optimization (SEO) and pay per click (PPC) marketing. If you’re curious in the meantime, check out Katie’s recent blog postdiscussing digital media marketing. Until then, keep thinking and doing. #THINKandDO.