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The New Hot Commodity: Instagram

Posted on Sep 27, 2012 by Stacey Donelan

Most would agree that looking at streams of pictures is far more enjoyable than reading lines of text.  When Instagram launched in October 2010, the new app was perceived to be just another product whose popularity would quickly fade.  But little did they know, Instagram would become one of the most admired social media platforms and acquire over 100 million active users in the short two years the program has been active.

So, what is Instagram exactly?

As stated on their website, “Instagram is a fun and quirky way to share your life with friends through a series of pictures.”  The app is very similar to Twitter in the sense that the pictures posted by your followers are displayed in “feeds.”  But it also provides its users with the capability to “like” and comment on your favorite pics, a similar characteristic of Facebook.  BUT, not only can you post pictures in an instant, you also have the ability to choose from a variety of 17 different filters to make each photograph unique and eye-catching.

Can Instagram be used as a marketing tool for your Company?

Of course!  Instagram is one of the leading social media platforms today and is a perfect way to market your company. With the ability to link your photos to Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter or Pinterest, you are able to create a vast amount of reach without a whole lot of effort.  Instagram allows a company to display their culture, highlight their employees and advertise their work.  About 40% of the world’s top brands like MTV and Starbucks are dominating the app and about 25% of those brands are posting at least once a week.  In a study conducted by Facebook, it was found that photo posts received 50% more “likes” from viewers than text posts, so by using Instagram you are bound to gain more interest from customers.

Anything else you should know about Instagram?

Not only is Instagram enjoyable, but it provides an opportunity for your company to increase SEO.  But how, you ask?  By using alt tags, keywords and geo-tagging gives followers and those surfing the app an opportunity to come across your photos.  Are you interested in joining the Instagram phase?  All you have to do is download the app (which is free I might add), create an account, and start posting pictures.  With that said, start snappin’ some pics and join in the fun. But first, make sure to follow us on Instagram @hmgcreative!

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How One Nonproft Shatters Expectations with New Technology, Innovative Website

Posted on Sep 26, 2012 by Amy Kauffman

The OneStar Foundation, a preeminent state-wide organization based in Austin, TX providing resources for the entire nonprofit sector recently abandoned old, cumbersome technology to better serve its public.  The shift is one that sets an ambitious tone for outreach and opens up increased opportunities for all nonprofits in the state.

This week OneStar announced the launch of an updated, redesigned website and a refreshed brand image through a partnership with Austin-based HMG Creative to further initiatives for nonprofits in Texas.

OneStar Foundation connects faith-based and community organizations,one of the best car accident solicitor businesses, government and foundations to resources and information about the nonprofit sector as well as facilitating public-private partnerships to drive community solutions and ultimately, build a better Texas.

In efforts to stay ahead of toll free numbers technology and better serve its audience, OneStar Foundation and HMG Creative partnered for the robust rebranding and web development project.

“We conducted several interviews but selected HMG Creative because we wanted the best end-product possible; we believe that their services will result in a long-term advantage,” said Elizabeth Darling, President and CEO of OneStar Foundation.  “Among many requirements and expectations that are necessary to be a leader in our sector, the most important are an easy-to-manage web platform and an impressive brand image, HMG gave us exactly that.”

HMG Creative increased site functionality, accessibility to information and updated the overall look and feel of the brand to connect with OneStar Foundation’s central audience.  With a refreshed online image and updated technology, OneStar Foundation can further their mission of educating, connecting and providing resources to build a stronger nonprofit sector in Texas.

Check out OneStar Foundation’s new website at www.onestarfoundation.org.

OneStar Foundation’s thrive for innovation continues with the launch of the Texas Connector, an online nonprofit mapping tool which boasts the most comprehensive nonprofit statewide database of any state in the country. Texasconnects.org goes live today after its debut at the Texas Nonprofit Summit in Austin.

To learn more about this project or how we can develop solutions for your company email: amy@hmgcreative.com

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Facebook Vs. LinkedIn for B2B Marketing

Posted on Sep 24, 2012 by James Trumbly

LinkedIn is the go-to website for most B2B marketers when it comes to networking and expanding their client base. But is it really the best place to get the job done? According to some studies, Facebook offers just as much if not more opportunity to reach your professional audience. Let’s take a look at how the two sites stack up side by side.

Facebook Pros and Cons

The social media giant clearly leads the field in terms of B2C marketing. But how about that professional audience you’re trying to reach?

  • Pro: Facebook’s huge user base means that more professionals are on Facebook than on LinkedIn in terms of total numbers. Those professionals don’t turn off their business acumen when they’re on Facebook, so you can still market effectively through the broader platform.
  • Pro: Facebook allows direct marketing through Facebook ads, meaning you’re no longer dependent on buyer engagement in order to reach potential customers.
  • Con: Facebook posts may or may not appear on your fans’ walls, depending on their level of engagement with your brand.
  • Con: Marketing efforts must compete with non-professional posts. Music videos, cute puppies, and pithy quotes are all clamoring for the attention of your potential buyers. Your posts have to be good enough to earn a viewing amongst all the ruckus.

LinkedIn Pros and Cons

Most professionals rely heavily on LinkedIn for job seeking, hiring, and networking. But is it an effective way to market to business professionals?

  • Pro: Professionals tend to gather at LinkedIn. Nearly 60% of B2B marketers are on LinkedIn, meaning you’ll reach more professionals there at any given time than you will on any other social network. You can also count on your target audience checking in pretty regularly, with most users active between noon and 3 p.m.
  • Pro: It’s easy to network with serious professionals, view their profiles, and connect with the movers and shakers in any industry. Profiles contain lots of rich data that proves invaluable in your marketing and networking efforts.
  • Con: Total number of users, number of minutes spent on the site and number of high-level professionals fall far below the same stats on Facebook.
  • Con: Most people don’t think of LinkedIn as a marketing platform. Instead, they typically use it for job seeking and networking with others in the industry. That doesn’t make it a deal-breaker, but it is something to consider.

LinkedIn has established itself as a valuable tool for business professionals, but that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the best tool for every job. It’s important to consider which social media platforms offer the best opportunities for marketing to your business clients and then choose the one that makes the most sense for your business.

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Search, Lies and Content Marketing

Posted on Sep 20, 2012 by Amy Kauffman

You have probably heard the overused term: “content is king.” But what does that mean, really?

Search, Social and Strategy

It started when relevant, fresh content became a key factor for search engine optimization, which also plays a huge role to position your company as an industry resource and expert.  Then social media emerged as a viable channel, increasing the need to push consistent communication to your (hopefully) engaged community.

Search and social initiatives are a necessity. You have to be seen and heard by your potential and current customers. If you aren’t driving your brand or company to compete with the thought-leaders or become one yourself, you will be obsolete in the marketplace. After all, if you aren’t talking to your customers, you can be sure someone else is.

What are the thought-leaders practicing? Content marketing strategy.

Content Marketing and PB&J

So what exactly is content marketing? Entrepreneur Magazine’s concise definition is: “The creation and publication of original content — including blog posts, case studies, white papers, videos and photos — for the purpose of generating leads, enhancing a brand’s visibility, and putting the company’s subject matter expertise on display.”

Simply, it is the way brands gain trust, credibility and ultimate loyalty from customers by communicating messages that represent something they care and want to know more about.

One online expert recently described content marketing by using the symbolism of my favorite childhood sandwich: PB&J.  (Stick with this, it’s good.) Imagine that search and social is peanut butter and jelly and content is the bread that holds it all together. So the content, the foundation of the strategy, must be something customers deem it valuable, want to consume and then want to pass on to family, friends and anyone in their social or off-line network.

There is No “I” in Content

Now, with the internet becoming increasingly personalized in our multi-polarized world, content marketing is more important than ever. Budgets are increasing to develop deeper, thought-provoking messaging and strategy (evolving from, “Look at us” and “Wow, our product and services are fantastic,” to a storytelling technique that taps into the customer experience).

So how do you go from, “What’s in it for us?” to “What’s in it for our audience?” Simply, tell a story and stop talking about yourself.  (Sales reps, gasp here. Remember, there is no “I” in content marketing – well there is, but it’s a little guy.)

Stop Informing and Start Storytelling

How do you do content marketing and storytelling well? Tell a story that is personable, approachable, tangible and memorable. For more info please visit homeinsurance-companies.com .

For example, The Hartford sponsors the Paralympics every year, and after following the online advice of Facebook marketing companies, the company decided to tell this story last year. They launched a media and video campaign through the medium of Facebook highlighting the athletes themselves. The result was a successful and emotional story connecting with people on an individual and very personal level.

Check out the introduction video here: http://goo.gl/e0XPA

Say What You Know, Not What You Sell

Customers are not looking to read your blog or micro-site to see what you sell, they can view that in a catalog or on the products and services tab on your site. They are interested in what you know and what you stand for. It’s time to start communicating as a trusted and relevant source and not as a sales script. Storytelling is the new content marketing.

See where your expertise and your customer’s interests overlap to tap into your niche. Tell a unique story and communicate in a way that no other competition can touch.

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Website Redesign for Reel Picture Productions

Posted on Sep 19, 2012 by Stacey Donelan

We recently completed a website Flat roofing London redesign project for Reel Picture Productions, the Video Production Companies Singapore headquartered in Singapore.  Our efforts were aimed at creating a more functional and appealing website while keeping the overall theme intact.  The new website provided a quick link to the client portal, a rotating image display on the home page and a new layout for the main tabs.

Click here to view the redesigned website.

About Reel Picture

Established in 1997, Reel Picture Productions supplies DVD replication, DVD packaging, CD replication, CD packaging, and OEM packaging to software companies, Hollywood movie studios, video game companies, music companies, and various businesses.  Reel Picture began in a small 1,000 square foot space.  After quickly expanded, they are currently housed in their 50,000 square foot facility in Eastgate Mall.  They are proud to announce that their current initiative has been aimed towards creating a new and innovative Eco-friendly packaging product.

Screenshot of the OLD website

Screenshot of the NEW website