MILO and Me ft. Dmitri

Hi friends!

Today I want to tell you about Dmitri, a.k.a the (almost) black belt digital ninja. Dmitri has been a Digital Strategist for about eight years now. However, his journey to MILO was far from simple.

Digital Ninja Dmitri

 

The first time that I met Dmitri I knew he was dedicated, a natural born leader and one of the kindest people I’ve ever met. I haven’t known him for very long, but I do know Dmitri is someone you can count on.

Today I want to give you another glance behind the MILO Digital scenes and show you the people making MILO the strong, team-oriented environment that it is. Here is what I learned about Dmitri.  


Q: Can you describe your job and what you do here at MILO?

A: My official title is Digital Strategist. I take a look at the client and I come up with the best possible strategy to achieve their marketing goals on the Internet. Whether it’s sales, improving their social media, generating leads, or raising awareness, I put together strategies on how to make it happen using the latest digital tools. 

I also put out fires on a daily basis.

Firefighter Dmitri

 

Q: How did you get into the Digital Marketing world?

A: I wanted to be a psychologist/philosopher in college and then the economy crashed, so I switched to marketing. After graduating I did some copywriting and got into social media community management. My first account was PHI (PHI Air Medical) right when I got out of college and it’s still with me today. At my busiest, I managed up to 10-12 clients a day. Then I got into social media ads and Google AdWords, which helped me understand how everything in the digital world worked together and contributes to the bottom line.

 

Q: What is your favorite part about working for MILO?

A: My favorite part is coming up with the solutions for the clients. Each client is a different puzzle and each solution is custom fit for that puzzle. Sometimes you don’t really know what the solution is right away and you have to go and research.

Bringing the insights back to the client and seeing their eyes light up when you get it just right…that’s my favorite part.

 

Q: What is the most important thing you have learned in your career?

A:

A trait that I learned over the years is just embracing uncertainty and change.

It used to really bother me because I would want to plan everything out and execute on how I planned it out, but life does not work that way. Working at MILO has made me comfortable with being uncomfortable; no matter what changes, I always feel prepared to do my best and welcome the challenge.

 

Q: What’s one piece of advice you would give to those just starting in this industry?

A: If you’re starting out in social [media management] I would say that you have to look to the leaders in social media like Gary V or whoever the top dog is in your particular field. The first step is always imitation, learning the rules. Once you internalize the rules and have the guidelines for social media then you can start innovating and going outside of those rules.

The second piece of advice is to just start, just go.

A lot of people read hundreds of blogs about social and always put off actually doing. I say just do it, you’ll learn way more than just reading about it. 

 

Q: Did you have any major setbacks in your career?

A: At my first big job I actually got let go two weeks before Christmas. I only managed three accounts there. Then I went from managing three accounts up to 12 and learning how to run digital ads, write strategy, communicate with clients and show reporting that matters. I was the guy that standardized reporting in our organization and got us the Google Adwords certification.

It really gave me a lot of confidence, and that setback didn’t really matter that much anymore.

 

Q: How would you describe your leadership style?

A: I’m a big fan of Jocko Willink, he’s a navy seal and a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt turned author, turned podcaster/motivational speaker. He preaches something called extreme ownership where you own everything in your world. For example, if somebody on your team is underperforming, it’s your job to go and figure out why they’re underperforming, or spend time with them and get them up to speed.

Ultimately everything is in your court.

 

Q: Considering you had a long journey to get here, can you describe it?

A: I’m originally from Ukraine, which used to be a part of the Soviet Union. I was born around the time when the Soviet Union broke up and we got separated from Communism. It racked our economy to a point where it’s only now recovering. It was pretty rough. Then my dad won a green card in a lottery drawing to come to the United States. He came to the US and my mom and I followed after a year. We came here with no English and $100 in our (collective) pockets.

Throughout all of this, my family has been extremely supportive over the years and I owe them everything.

My mom for showing me the value of grit and resilience. My dad for always pushing me to do my best and not letting me settle. And my grandparents, Natasha and Nikolai, who showed me the value of hard work and planning ahead.

 

Q: What is it like being so close to your boss?

The Bromance

A: It’s a balance. There’s definitely a lot of trust involved. You have to balance being bros and doing the right things because sometimes what your “bro boss” wants to do is not what your “boss” needs to do.

The biggest thing I’ve learned is when to push back and when to drive home things that are important.

Ultimately, during work hours work must come first. After all is said and done, we can get a drink.

 

Q: Could you explain the company culture at MILO?

A:

MILO is very creative and innovative, and it reflects in our culture.

It’s very fun and friendly, always trying to make each other laugh. When it’s time to bunker down, the tone changes and we sit down and crank out what needs to be done. There’s a collective understanding of what we’re trying to build and the quality of work we strive for.

 

Q: What are the benefits of working at a small business as opposed to a bigger corporation?

Garlin Gilchrist After Party

A: You can make a lot of change very quickly. Whatever idea you have, if you get enough people behind you, you can execute it. Working in MILO, we’re very nimble. If there’s something that we want to do, we can turn it around pretty quick. In a big organization, you have to deal with bureaucracy, going through all the layers of managers and their managers. In contrast, at MILO, idea becomes reality very quickly.

 

Q: What is it like working in Detroit?

A: It’s very cool especially because I draw a parallel of the rebirth of Detroit with the rebirth of my professional career. As Detroit got bigger, and as people started to rebuild and the small businesses started to grow, so did MILO throughout the years.

Having worked very closely with Detroit-based businesses, I feel like I’m growing with them.

I’m learning and getting all the benefits that Detroit is getting. I feel very close to Detroit because of that.

 

Q: What’s your favorite thing about your job?

A: The people. Just being able to be creative and see the impact of your decisions. 


Dmitri has taught me a lot since my start at MILO Digital. From day one, he has been there to push me out of my comfort zone, which I’m terrified to do. In my first month at MILO, Dmitri told me that, “It’s okay to make mistakes, as long as you’re trying your best.” I have never been in such a safe learning environment as I have at MILO, and it’s all thanks to the people.

Without Dmitri, there is no MILO. Like he said, the people are the best part of working here. We all make up the heart and soul of MILO and we each play a key role in making sure this company thrives. I am so thankful for Dmitri’s constant leadership and dedication to making sure MILO is producing the best possible outcomes.

P.S. His favorite color is blue!

Reach & Impressions: What Does it All Mean?

If you’re a social media manager, you understand how important it is for your content to be seen and engaged with.

One of your main goals for social media management is to increase the account’s audience and  brand awareness. With that in mind, it’s important to know the difference between reach and impressions. Both terms have similar meanings, but provide different results on social media.

Reach vs. Impressions

Reach is the total number of people who can see your content and Impressions are the number of times your content is displayed, no matter if it was engaged with or not. For example, if a post was shown to the same person three different times, it would be 1 reach and 3 impressions.  

Clients wish that all of their followers would see and interact with every piece of content posted but it doesn’t happen. For instance, the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) has 7,200 followers, but the organic content doesn’t result in 7,200 likes, comments, and shares. Without a post being promoted (like the post below), the organic content only receives a small percentage of interactions.   

Why Reach & Impressions Matters (+ which is more important)

Both reach and impressions are important because they help increase brand awareness and grow the audience.  

Depending on an account’s goal, you might want to focus on just one or the other. If the main goal is to get content out to a specific number or people, then focus on reach. Shift the focus to impressions if your main goal is to increase brand awareness and you want your content shown a specific number of times.

However, Sprout Social reports reach may be less than impressions since one person can see multiple impressions. But knowing who your target audience is and what kind of content they like to see can help to increase both.

Something more important than reach and impressions is engagement. Engagement is the number of interactions people have with your content, whether it’s likes, comments, shares or retweets. According to AdWeek, it’s considered to be the most important metric for social media campaigns. If people are liking and interacting with your content, they may be likely to share it with their friends. If you’re receiving high-quality engagement on your content, reach and impressions will continue to grow.

If you think about it, engagement is the final step in this three-part process. Reach and impressions work together to drive engagement to your content. It all starts with content and what the audience likes to see.

Still don’t understand the difference between reach, impressions and how beneficial it all is? MILO’s team of experts are here to help increase your brand’s awareness! Contact us.

Surviving Facebook’s Algorithm Change

The Facebook algorithm: It happened to me and yes, it happened to you too!

The conversation surrounding Facebook in 2018 has been centered on the new algorithm changes. Designed to encourage more meaningful interactions between people, you’ve likely noticed how these changes apply to your newsfeed.

Gone are the days of engagement baiting, as brands now have to modify their methods to embrace Mark Zuckerberg’s vision of Facebook. Brands will need to listen to the druthers of their audience to curate content that resonates with the audience and garners their engagement. Social Media has created a paradigm shift where brands are encouraged to be more participatory with their clientele, and these algorithm changes further exacerbate the need to LISTEN.

Recent User Engagement Trends

The algorithm change was not totally unexpected, as recent user engagement trends demonstrate. TheStreet reports that the percentage of U.S. adults using Facebook remained flat relative to an April 2016 report showing 68% participation. The percentage of users who stated that they visited Facebook “several times a day” fell from 55% to 51%. Based on the dip in usage, and waning sentiments towards Facebook advertising, the new algorithm was developed.

These changes don’t spell out doom and gloom for brands. With a bit of creative thinking and adaptability, you can ride this latest wave without wiping out!

Ideas For Business Page Content 

Here are some areas to focus on when publishing content to Facebook:

  • Inspire fans with meaningful content. You’d be hard-pressed to find meaningful interactions on Facebook without meaningful content. Discover ways to convey your brand’s message in unexpected ways to avoid falling into the clickbait trap, as Facebook will be demoting those posts to the bottom of the newsfeed. Your focus now, more than ever, is to inspire, educate and inform those followers. Look back to older posts that earned high engagement, find the pattern and implement a strategy around it moving forward.
  • Jump on the video bandwagon. If you weren’t already utilizing videos and Facebook Live, there’s no time like NOW to begin doing so! The stats all confirm that video content drives higher engagement, why wouldn’t you be cashing in it? Plan out your video content, make it something that resonates with your followers and gets the conversation started.
  • Paid ads are still effective. Ads are Facebook’s primary source of revenue, so trust they aren’t going away anytime soon. By utilizing ads, you can customize your reach to areas such as location, interest and demographics. Do this right and you’ll be able to hone in on those Facebook users who are more likely to consider your brand and interact with it.

There’s nothing to be scared of regarding Facebook’s new algorithm – It’s not the first time they’ve switched things up, and most certainly won’t be the last. If you are still struggling to make your way through the Facebook algorithm changes or aren’t sure where to get started on the whole idea of meaningful content, MILO’s team of digital experts are here to help. Let’s talk!

MILO and Me – A Space Where I Found Myself

Hi friend, I hope you’re having a great day!

So, lately, I’ve been thinking about the amazing opportunities I’ve had because of MILO Digital. Over the past few months, I have been able to attend the Digital Summit conference at Cobo Center, visit the Google Ann Arbor office, work on the live social media coverage for TEDxDetroit, and do what I love – write for all of you. I would have never been able to have these experiences if it wasn’t for MILO.

Attending the 2017 Digital Summit conference at Cobo Center in September was very thought-provoking. Digital Summit says that it “is not only a place for keeping up with the trends, but also for being an active player in their creation.” Over the course of two days, I heard from many interesting people such as Jonah Peretti, the CEO/Co-Founder of Buzzfeed, and Morgan Spurlock, filmmaker and producer of “Super Size Me”. I learned a lot but also realized how much I had already learned at MILO, as I was already familiar with the ideas and topics presented by many of the speakers. I had come a long way in four short months. 

Digital Summit 2017

Another amazing experience I had through my internship at MILO was touring the Google office in Ann Arbor. However, on the day of the tour, Billy [MILO Digital CEO] and Dmitri [MILO Digital Strategist] had to stay back at the office and “put out fires”, so they were unable to join us. Although I was disappointed that I could not share this experience with my entire team, I learned a lot about leadership that day. Sometimes you have to sacrifice the things you want, step up, and take on the challenges facing you – even if that means missing out on opportunities like a private tour of Google. I really enjoyed the tour of the Google office and I hope you enjoy this selfie we took with our tour guide Aashka. 

Google Tour

 

Then later in October, MILO Digital ran the live social media coverage of the TEDxDetroit conference at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. This coverage included Facebook posts, live Tweets, Instagram pictures and creating a Snapchat story, along with engagement across all these channels. I love TED Talks, so being able to attend the event alone would have been incredible, but I also got to help tell TEDxDetroit’s story for the evening. I was in charge of Snapchat and for those of you who know me know, I am a die-hard Snapchat fanatic. The whole evening was so inspiring, listening to local Detroiters speak about their biggest accomplishments, while at that very moment, I was living out my own. 

TEDxDetroit

 

That night TEDxDetroit presenter Alana M. Glass, a sports entrepreneur, said, “sometimes you find your purpose when you’re not even looking,” and I think this encompasses my whole experience with MILO! 

Before I started working here, I hit a very low point in my life. I had just been let go from my previous job, where I was told I wasn’t “up to their standards”. In spite of this setback, that same day that I was let go, I went home in tears, composed an entirely revamped resume and applied to the internship I was introduced to through a guest speaker at school.

When Billy Strawter visited my Organizational Communications class a year ago, I had to write a response to his discussion with us about his company, MILO Digital. The only person that has read this essay was my professor, but I want to share an excerpt with you.

“Strawter’s description of the company he founded was very interesting to me because this is the industry I would like to go into someday. It was very exciting getting to listen to someone who started their own company and how it all works. Hearing the processes at MILO made me feel very hopeful for the future, pushing me toward my ultimate goal of working at a company such as this one.”

Now here I am, almost eleven months later, and I could not thank MILO enough for giving me a space to find myself. I have grown so much over these past few months and feel as though I found my purpose. Not many people can say this, but I love my job! I am truly lucky to be here, writing these words for you. I hope they were worth reading.

-Love, Ashley 

Yes, Millennials still use Facebook!

If you’re between the ages of 18-29, you’ve probably heard through the grapevine that millennials such as yourself are no longer using Facebook. Is this news to you? It sure should be, because according to Pew Research Center, 81% of millennials are still using Facebook!

With other platforms like Instagram and Snapchat capturing the attention of most millennials, Pew reports that Facebook is still utilized the most out of the four major social sites.  Wondering how millennials are using other social platforms? Pew reports that Snapchat falls second behind Facebook with 68% millennial usage, followed by Instagram 64% and only a surprising 40% of millennials use Twitter.

Why do Millennials still use Facebook?

According to the American Press Institute, many millennials turn to Facebook to see what their friends are up to, find entertaining and interesting articles, share content and find more information on what’s trending.

So how is Facebook managing to keep the attention of millennials in the ever-changing and growing world of social media? By constantly making updates and adding new features! Facebook is constantly upgrading and updating its platform, with advancements such as Facebook Live, Marketplace, Virtual Reality (VR) apps and Stories keeping it in the limelight.

Similar to Snapchat and Instagram Stories, Facebook Stories allow users to share what they are currently doing via videos or photos. Along with filters and lenses, users can interact with their friends by sending short stories.

With social media platforms implementing video and live video streams on their platforms, millennials are now attracted to this new way of sharing their personal lives. Facebook Live allows viewers to interact with the live post through comments and Facebook Reactions.

At the end of the day, millennials are just looking for technology that is simple and easy to use. With Facebook, users have access to all of the different features found on other social media platforms within one site.  

Why should organizations/businesses use Facebook?

Social media allows businesses to target a specific audience, target those based on their interaction with your website or target those similar to your existing customer base. Utilizing social media allows organizations to continue reaching their current customers along with interacting with a new audience.

Facebook is one social media platform that provides organizations the opportunity to build a community for viewers to voice their opinions, share their thoughts and provide valuable feedback. It opens up a dialogue where a business and its customers can talk in a more casual setting and in a timely manner. The more an organization interacts with its customers, the more those customers will be interested and want to stay connected.

Millennials have been using social media for quite some time to share their personal lives but as of now, they mostly use social to share their experiences with brands.  With this generation being open and honest about things, their comments can be the key to your brand’s growth and social presence.

Need more guidance on using Facebook to your organization’s advantage? MILO’s team of experts are here to help! Contact us.

5 Sprout Social Tools to Take Advantage of in 2018


If you’re in the business of social media marketing, how do you manage social media marketing tasks?

At MILO, we use Facebook Business Manager and Sprout Social to help us manage our clients social media activity.

Next to Buffer & Hootsuite, Sprout Social is a social media management platform that can help streamline workflows and ensure your content reaches the right audience at the right time. We’ve identified five tools that can help you integrate with the platform to maximize its capabilities.  These tools enable users to find content efficiently, review social media analytics in real-time, and connect with the audience all within the same web environment.

Tool #1: Find Content/Content Suggestions

Looking for content quickly? Turn to the Find Content section under the Publishing tab.

Sprout Social recently announced Content Suggestions as a way to find current and engaging content. This tool aggregates shared content from various social channels to help the user find articles from trusted sources, posts from industry blogs and other brand-related media.

The content is aggregated from links shared on Twitter and based on an algorithm created by Sprout’s Data Science team, each article is matched to one of the featured content categories.

Tool #2: Reports

Getting ready to present social media updates to a client? Turn to Sprout Social for automated analytics!

Using the Group Report option, you’ll be able to see all of the analytics for the channels you have connected on the platform. The report gives you the opportunity to analyze your social strategy and compare data to understand what works well for the account. Included in the reports are: Impressions, Engagements, Audience Growth and Link Clicks.

Sprout Social also gives you the opportunity to review each profile in full depth. This is an opportunity to analyze data for individual profiles including audience growth, total engagements, top posts and impressions.

 

                                                 

 

Tool #3: Messages & Smart Inbox

Interact with your audience without leaving Sprout Social by using the Smart Inbox! Located in the Messages tab, Smart Inbox provides users the opportunity to monitor and engage with conversations across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. It also allows users to customize their inbox feed, monitor keywords and hashtags, assign tasks to other team members and keep in touch with viewers.

Tool #4: Discovery

If you are interested in seeing what others are saying about a specific topic, use Sprout Social’s Discovery tool. This tool allows you to find conversations and people to engage with based on keywords relating to your business. You can even narrow the search by adding a location to find a highly geo-targeted audience.

Along with finding new conversations, you can increase your follower count by following accounts. Additionally, clean up your account based on Sprout’s suggestions. Using the Suggestions, you can see the account’s Twitter followers and who to follow back, accounts you’ve held a conversation with and those who have mentioned you at some point.

 

Tool #5: Hashtag Analysis

Studies show that tweets with hashtags get twice as much engagement as those without hashtags. Because hashtags can help generate engagement for an account, Sprout Social provides a hashtag analytics tool to help find popular topics and hashtags.

By utilizing the Trends Report, you can see the most commonly used hashtags and topics when the account is mentioned on Twitter. Apply the hashtags listed within the report to help increase your engagement.

Take advantage of the tools on Sprout Social to maximize your efficiency and improve your social outreach skills. Maximize your time and ROI on social media by implementing these time-saving programs.  

Looking for some more in-depth help? We’re happy to consult and/or bring you into the office for a one-on-one session with our in-house expert. Let’s talk!

 

5 Ways to Show Customers Social Media Love All Year

It’s Valentine’s Day and you know what that means – it’s all about love today! Throughout the country, brands are making sure their customers are feeling loved in the digital world, but what about all the days that aren’t Valentine’s Day? Are you making sure customers are feeling the love year-round on social media?

If you are unsure how to best show customers love on social media all year long, have no fear – MILO’s Digital Ninjas are here to help with 5 easy ways for your brand to connect!

1. Engage with them. Yes, it’s really that simple! Be there for your customers and brand-faithful. Answer their questions, acknowledge their comments and most importantly, do so in a timely manner. There are many tools available to help monitor your social channels, so no comments, questions or issues go unnoticed.

2. Ramp up your Facebook Live game. Everyone can do FB Live, but not all are producing quality content. This is where you can ramp things up and continue showing customers all the love! When going live, be sure the subject matter is relevant to your audience and that you’re providing value in the session. Watch for questions and answer them as they come in and enjoy showcasing your new products/services!

 

3. Roll out special social media sales. Again, this boils down to making the customer feel special and rewarded for interacting with you on social media. Drive sales and website traffic by offering a social media only deal; e.g “Mention that you saw this on Instagram and receive 25% off your order.” Increase your reach easily by boosting the post to ensure that it will be served to your followers.

 

4. Give your customers shout outs. This should be a no-brainer for your brand! The customers show you love by posting photos, leaving reviews or tagging themselves at your location, so why shouldn’t you return the favor? If you see a photo you like that a customer has shared, by all means, give them a shout out or feature them in an upcoming social media post!

5. Create a Facebook Group. Loyalty is always worth rewarding and by creating a Facebook group for your customers, you’ll be doing just that. Those in your group can get sneak peeks of new products or a first chance to buy them. You can also provide them with special sales and discounts periodically. The main purpose of this group is to keep the conversation going all while showing love to your loyalists

Happy Valentine’s Day from the team at MILO Digital and, of course, the Digital Ninjas!

We hope that you’re able to easily incorporate these 5 suggestions into your brand’s social media strategy! If you’re struggling to implement them or perhaps need some guidance on a solid digital strategy, we’re ready to get down to business for you. Let’s chat!

MILO and Me – Social Media Management

Hey friend, welcome back!

This week I thought I’d go over what my “normal” day at MILO Digital looks like – if there is such a thing!

Social Media Manager

Our company currently resides in the TechTown building in Detroit’s New Center, where all the MILO social, digital and creative magic happens. I’m a part of the social team, with my official title at MILO being “Social Media Manager/CEO/Creative Director/HR Manager.”

Ashley Bio

This may seem like a lot of responsibility for someone who’s only worked here for a few months, but I actually got these titles through my team joking around and putting me in positions that forced me to push myself as a worker and as a person. 

For example, we have creative briefs where a few people look over content that the creative team made. In order to get my opinion on the content first, they started calling me the “Creative Director”. From there the title evolved to include “HR Manager” and then to “CEO”. As you can see, I wear many hats here!

I manage some of our client’s social media accounts and co-manage the MILO page accounts. The social platforms that I handle for these clients include Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. I am responsible for daily postings, which means as soon as I get into the office each morning, my day is already in full motion.

When to Post

By using an online program, a majority of the posts that I create are scheduled out ahead of time to be published at different points during the day. Now, there is a certain “science” to picking which time you would like something to be posted. A general rule of thumb is to not post anything from 5 – 7 p.m. This is due to that fact that people are, for example, leaving work, running errands and figuring out dinner plans. There is not a lot of online traffic during this time so it’s best to post earlier or later in the day.

Original Content 

The explanation of when to post leads me to the discussion of what to post. Now this varies from client to client, however, the things I post range from original creative content to third-party content. Original content includes graphics, events, blogs, and articles that relate directly to the client, are made by the client or are created by MILO for the client. For example, our creative team made this original quote graphic for one of our clients. I would share this on all their social media platforms and vary the copy to tailor to each platform. This would involve using hashtags on the Twitter copy but NOT on Facebook.

Original Content

Another example of original content is when our client is hosting an event. I would be responsible for promoting this event on their social media, and when necessary, boosting (putting ad money behind) the posts related to it. Or, if our client writes articles or a blog on their website, I would make sure those go out into the social media world to receive some recognition. This is original content.

Third-party Content 

Conversely, third-party content includes articles and posts from other people/sources. I would either share or retweet these on the pages I manage. For example, if a local news organization posted an article about the QLINE, my audiences for the accounts I manage would most likely be interested in that content. So, I would share the article to my channels and give the news organization credit.

Engagement

Another very important part of my job is interacting with my audience on social. How I engage with our clients’ followers sets the tone for the account. I must weed out the negative comments (“trolls”) and respond to the positive feedback.

This must also be done in a timely manner because if there is a negative/hurtful comment on a post that I created for more than a day, other followers will see that and it reflects poorly upon our client. This also gives the impression that we don’t interact with the audience as an agency. We want to make sure each of our clients receives the attention they need to have a caring and attentive voice online.

Now that’s just a taste of what I customarily do here at MILO. Join me next time to read more about MILO behind the scenes. 

Being productive

See you soon!

– Ashley

5 Ways to Take Your Twitter to the Next Level in 2018

Next to Facebook and Instagram, Twitter is another social media platform that brands and organizations can use to connect with their audience across the world.  

According to a report by Hootsuite and We Are Social, there are currently 3.196 billion active social media users around the world. As of January 2018, their report lists Twitter at No. 3 behind Facebook and Instagram for the number of active users on the social media platform.

While there are more users on Facebook and Instagram, there are some key benefits to Twitter including increased brand awareness, ability to promote content, boost website SEO, drive website traffic and monitor brand reputation.  

Twitter allows brands to connect with their audience on a different social media platform without being subjected to the weird algorithm that Facebook and Instagram are. The algorithm limits the amount of posts from businesses, brands and media but allows users to see more meaningful content.

According to Twitter Marketing, people share positive experiences about the organizations they follow on Twitter with their own network of followers, spread the word about your organization through retweets and are also more likely to buy or interact with you in the future.

Followers play a huge role in how successful a Twitter account can be. One big thing to keep in mind is that you should interact with your followers, as this is the key to a successful Twitter account. It can lead to higher engagement numbers, more followers and increased exposure.

So if you are running a Twitter account for a business or organization, you are probably wondering how you can increase engagement and followers. Here are some tips to take your Twitter account to the next level in 2018:  

1. Use Promoted Videos, In-Stream Video Ads, Branded Emojis, GIFs & Photos

  • According to Twitter Marketing, all of these ways plus a few more are a great way to interact with your audience in a completely different way. It also allows you to showcase your brands personality and makes it relatable.

2. Twitter polls

  • It’s different from other ways to engage with your audience, but it’s a great way to interact with your audience and see what they are thinking.
  • Tip: Try asking lifestyle questions that relate to your business or ask followers what content they like the most from you.

 

3. Take advantage of hashtags

  • If you are struggling to find the perfect hashtag to use, try using tools like Twitter “Trending Now” section or Trendsmap. In need of the perfect hashtag? Sprout Social has a full list of tools to help you find the best one.
  • Tweets with hashtags get two times more engagement; stick to one to two relevant hashtags when posting (Buffer)

4. Make use of content posted by Twitter Business and Twitter Marketing

  • Both Twitter Business and Twitter Marketing provide content for creating a brand presence on Twitter, develop creative marketing campaigns that engage your audience and improve customer experience.

5. Use Twitter Analytics

  • Using Twitter Analytics will give you the opportunity to know who your target audience is, what they are interested in, engagement rates, and the best times to post.

 

Twitter Accounts for Inspiration:

Moon Pie & WingStop: Both accounts bring fun, entertaining content with marketing and selling their product

Bleacher Report: Features a wide-variety of content with photos, videos & gifs

Shea Moisture: Uses quote graphics, short videos and hashtags like #WednesdayWisdom and #FeelGoodFriday to engage with their followers

Adidas: Simple and straight to the point copy with videos or photos & hashtags

 

With these tips and recommendations, you can take your Twitter account to the next level and stand out among the rest.

In the end, Twitter is all about communication. Don’t forget that engaging with your followers and posting interesting content featuring photos, videos or gifs can help increase exposure and follower growth.

Need help taking your social media to the next level? MILO’s digital marketing team is ready to answer any questions you may have and work with your business to come up with a strategy that will make your digital presence truly shine. Let’s talk!

Should Your Brand Take a Stand?

Taking a stand.

With the current political and socioeconomic climate of the United States, taking a stand is something that every father, mother, brother, sister, etc. is doing. Be it through the stickers on their vehicles or what they post and share on social media, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who has not taken a stand on at least one issue lately. While it may seem like a controversial move, it is also important for brands to take a stand.

No, not just important – expected.

According to a recent consumer survey from Sprout Social, “66 percent of respondents said they want brands to take a stance on difficult issues, and 58 percent are glad to see it happen on social media.” Of those consumers who participated in the survey, it was discovered that “liberals are more likely than conservatives to expect brands to take a stand,” at 78 percent to 52 percent. Sprout Social also found that 44 percent of consumers are “more likely to purchase from a brand with a clear opinion,” with 52 percent saying it would case greater brand loyalty.

Brands leading the way

Brands taking a stand is clearly not unheard of and has become a common practice in the advertising and marketing arenas. While some of these attempts at taking a stand have fallen flat, here’s looking at you Pepsi, other companies such as Airbnb, Chipotle, Oreo and Patagonia have executed successful campaigns.

This past December, Patagonia’s website took a shift away from online shopping, choosing to instead share “The President Stole Your Land” in large white letters on a black background on its landing page. This was the company’s reaction to the president’s decision to reduce the size of two national monuments in Utah by a combined 2 million acres. Fellow outdoor retailers REI and North Face joined Patagonia in taking a stand on the issue.

How your brand can take a stand

When successfully executed, a brand’s ‘take a stand’ campaign can help their content have more views and higher engagement rates, such as what Yoplait saw in its “Mom On” campaign that tackled the topic of mom shaming. The campaign performed exceptionally well across all five brand lift metrics and produced a 1,461 percent lift in brand interest.

If the decision to see your brand take a stand continues to seem risky, keep these few tips in mind:

  • Be committed
  • Be relevant
  • Know your customer base

Sprout Social’s recent survey put up the data to prove that brands simply cannot ‘ride two horses with one ass’ anymore. Your customers want to know where you stand and want to see that you’re in touch with the issues they are facing daily.

Not sure where to start on your brand’s stand? MILO’s digital marketing team is ready to answer any questions you may have and work alongside your business to craft a campaign strategy that will ensure your stance on a hot topic truly shines. Let’s get the conversation started today!

MILO and Me – Company Culture

Welcome back! I’m glad you want to hear more about these “nutty” people at MILO Digital. Although, if I’m going to talk about them, I have to explain how they all operate. MILO Digital is a team composed of very hardworking individuals. We work together in order to function as a well-oiled machine. Although, I’d rather use the metaphor of a family. We bicker about day to day problems, but we also support one another. This work dynamic here is what every company should strive towards. I know this probably sounds like a bunch of mumbo-jumbo, so I’ll explain exactly what puts MILO ahead of the curve.

The communication within our organization is very open and honest. My very first day at MILO, I experienced this through our standing meeting. Our team stood around in a circle for 10 minutes taking turns talking, informing everyone of what was on our plates and how we were struggling. This is done every day here. Never have I worked at a company that has taken the time to do this. The benefits of a standing meeting are immeasurable. When “they” say communication is key, they weren’t wrong. The meetings are also a way to ask for help. One important thing I’ve learned here is that it’s okay to ask for help. It’s encouraged. You need to work hard, but you also need to be able to rely on your team.

What I found so refreshing at MILO is the honesty. Our boss Billy treats us as equals. Instead of running the company from behind closed doors, he is very open about what is going on in the business. He feels that we have the right to know about any changes or issues that arise because we are a team. Instead of just managing us, his leadership style allows us to grow within the company. My first week at MILO I talked with Billy multiple times about how my experience was thus far and what I hoped to get out of my internship. He wants me to learn as much as I possibly can. Before I started here, I assumed I would be doing simple intern tasks. However, after less than a month of working at MILO, I was already responsible for social media posting on two accounts. This brings me to my next topic: trial by fire.

Since my start at MILO, there have been several instances where I have learned by experience. Trial by fire (aka, the MILO way) has been a recurring instance with my experience here. One example of this is when I was asked by Billy if I wanted to run a new client meeting. I obviously assumed he was joking and so I said, “Ummmmm no,” to which Billy replied, “Okay you can run it.” Being that the meeting was the next day, I had a mini freak out. My co-workers helped me prepare as much as they could to lead me on the road to success. Finally when the day came, I found out that the potential new client was Billy. So it was just his way of giving me a taste of what running a meeting would be like with the buffer of it being my boss I was pitching to. He gave my team and me feedback as we ran the meeting, which was a very useful learning tool.

Another great piece of advice I received from my coworker Dmitri the other day is that “it’s okay to make mistakes, as long as you’re trying your best.” This came from me voicing my concern about a post I was writing copy for. I was asking him his opinion and I told him that I just didn’t want to mess anything up. This advice really hit home for me because I’ve been very cautious with the things I do in my life. Living with this fear of making a mistake has prevented me from taking risks that could have ultimately paid off. However, all that matters, in the end, is that you gave a hundred percent in everything that you’ve done. That is something you can be proud of when all else fails.

-Ashley

MILO and Me – The Beginning

Welcome to the very first installment of MILO and Me! My name is Ashley. Here you can follow me on my journey as I step into the digital marketing world for the very first time as a Social Media Manager. This is what I have experienced and learned at MILO Digital.

It all started in May of 2017. Being a poor, recently unemployed college student, I set out to find a job. My previous employers included retail chains and miscellaneous occupations here and there that I dragged my feet going to each day. I was done with investing my time into a path I no longer wanted to follow. I was ready to begin the road toward my future.

I am currently studying Media Arts at Wayne State University while minoring in Public Relations. I started off majoring in Journalism, but after I made the switch to Media Arts, I knew this is what I was meant to do with my life. The day that Billy Strawter, the founder of MILO Digital, walked into my Organizational Communications class speaking of an internship opportunity for the summer at his Digital Marketing company, I could not believe that this was the shot I had been waiting for.

After applying for the position and going through the interviewing process, I was brought on board at MILO Digital as a Social Media Intern for the summer. I was so nervous I wasn’t going to get the job because I had no previous experience in this field professionally, but the wonderful people at MILO saw potential in me that I could not see in myself. After meeting the MILO team for the first time, I could tell they were different. They were kind but tough. I needed that. Working for this company is so distinct from any other job I have had because these people are a little nutty, but that’s what makes them so fun to be around. The MILO dynamic has definitely seeped into my everyday life, and it’s taught me how to work hard, but not take myself so seriously.

The stipulations of this internship included a trial month period, after which the prospect of extending it to the rest of the summer would be discussed. My future, however, was decided by Billy after a week.

Now here I am, eight months later, and I have learned more than I thought I ever would about Media Arts, Social Media Management, Digital Marketing, and just being a part of a team oriented environment. The people here have no idea how much they’ve helped me grow into a professional, confident, and creative person. I will be forever indebted to them. Join me every other week to read what I have learned at MILO to receive some insight into our fun yet hard working dynamic. I will discuss the challenges I’ve faced, the lessons I’ve learned, and how I am growing in my career.

This is only the beginning. See you soon!

-Ashley

Pinterest Promoted Posts for Business

What comes to mind when you think about Pinterest?  Brides pinning wedding dresses.  Parents- to- be pinning organic baby food recipes. Moms pinning how to have the most organized dream home while maintaining a full-time job.  And then feeling like a failure because that is unattainable.

Pinterest has come a long way, baby.

Did you know that Pinterest for business is on the rise, and can bring more referral traffic than Twitter, and more leads than Google+ and LinkedIn combined?

Pinterest is a creative way to promote your business and reach a market that is already interested in what your business offers.

Pinterest Promoted Posts

Pinterest recently announced that they would be experimenting with “Pinterest promoted pins”.  These pins are tastefully placed in areas that users explore, and have special “promoted” labels that indicate which business is being spotlighted, and how the users can find out more.

Pinterest has committed to making these promoted pins transparent, relevant, and tasteful, with no flashy banners or pop-up ads.  Pinterest has always been open to feedback from its users, and these promoted pins are no exception;  they are constantly changing to meet the needs of their users.

So, now what?

  • Use the tools.  Pinterest’s analytics help you track what’s happening and who you are reaching.
  • Add the “Pin It” button to your products so people can share your stuff.
  • “Rich Pins” are ways to add extra information about your products to give consumers more information about what you have to offer.
  • Understand the brand guidelines of Pinterest, and use the logo and badges to let people know that you are active on Pinterest.
  • Research what your clients are pinning, and be sure to follow other relevant businesses.  Be social!

See what Pinterest can do for your business, and as they say, things could get Pinteresting!

AWRF Social Media Presentation 2013

AWRF Social Media Presentation 2013

When social media first arrived on the scene companies were scrambling trying to figure out how to take advantage of this new medium. While others were asking the question, “why should I bother? Especially when all people do is share pictures of what they had for dinner or their kids back to school pictures.”

What we forget is that social media is really nothing new. It’s something we’ve done since the days of AOL, America Online. Don’t you remember the 500 hour free cds and usernames like Kitty 902010? It’s really just a fancy way of describing how we communicate on the internet.

We know that Social Media isn’t going away. It’s the #1 activity on the web and when we pull out our cell phones, 91% of us are using them for social media related activities.

Here is a great example of the larger role mobile plays in our day to day lives. This is a picture of St. Peters Square in 2005. Nothing really to write home about. Fast forward to 2013 and you’ll notice nearly every person has a mobile device to capture the moment. But they aren’t just capturing the moment for their personal collection. They are sharing the moment in real-time on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. It’s what we call the real-time web.

So as business owners how do we take advantage of social media? With all that we have going on where do we start?

It begins with your website. Think of your website as your hub. Everything that you do should revolve around getting traffic back to your website. Facebook is not your website. Your activities on social media are the spokes that drive traffic back to your site.

Now if it’s been a little while since you’ve updated your website it may be time for a makeover. Sure we get busy, but we need to think of our website as our business card on the web. It’s the first impression we give when someone is researching our company. And with keeping mobile in mind it’s even more important that we take a mobile first stance to our design. What we like to call responsive. Responsive design allows your website to resize to fit whatever device someone may be using whether it be an iPhone, tablet, or desktop computer.

An example of recent redesign is the AWRF.org website. We wanted to put the social icons at the top for a couple of reasons. Number one was to share with people where they can find and two to let the search engines know what social media sites are connected to us. This way when someone searches out your company Google can return the social media sites as relevant results.

We also added an image that would quickly give a visitor an idea of what the website was about. You have roughly five seconds when someone visits your website to before they give up and leave.

Finally we made sure to have a clear call to action telling the visitor what we wanted them to do. All of these items were above the fold. Meaning when you visit from a desktop you can see all three items.

Now that we have our website in order we need a way to measure our efforts. It doesn’t make sense to put in all the work without understanding the return. One of my favorite tools is Google Analytics. Mostly because it’s free but also because it gives you great insights to how people are visiting your website and if the content you are sharing is working.

You can see how many people have visited your website. What country, state or city they came from. The amount of time they’ve spent on your site. All of this data will help you to understand how people are using your website. Don’t trust my word on going mobile, let the data guide you.

So we have our website in order and a way to measure our efforts. How do we choose a social network? It starts with connecting the dots with our traditional marketing goals. Who are the people we are trying to reach? Where do they spend their time? With over 200 social networks it can be overwhelming. Don’t forget forums they are great for niche communities and discovering conversations that can’t be found on more traditional networks.

Let’s talk a bit about blogging. Blogs are great way to easily update your static websites. For those who are a bit leary about the pressure to update often because of the name blog can name it something like news.

What are some of the things you can talk about? Stories of employees volunteering or doing good in the community. An employee spotlight. Share your company milestones. Customer stories and testimonials are great options. What about your frequently asked questions. Certainly you have customers that reach out with same questions over and over. Make them short blog posts. Blogs are a gift that keep on giving. Long after you’ve written a post you’ll reap the rewards of that content.

I’ve listed a few blogging platforms although my favorite is WordPress. It’s simple to update. If you can use Microsoft Word, you can use WordPress. Talk with the guys in your IT department about implementation.

As business owners you certainly wear lots of hats. Finding time to manage social media and digital marketing may be one hat too many. Where do you find the time? It’s a team effort. Look for subject matter experts within your organization that can contribute on a regular basis. Find employees that are active on social media. But make sure you put a social media policy in place to guide them on what is acceptable. What works for their personal Facebook account isn’t always what’s best for a corporate account. And be sure to make it a habit. Check your accounts first thing in the morning. Get in a routine.

Now that you have some pieces in place it is extremely important to listen. If you’re going to be involved you need to participate. This means knowing when a question has been posted about your company. Don’t let it sit for 2 or 3 days. Answer the question. You’ll know it’s out there if you take the time to listen and monitor your accounts.

I’ve listed a few tools to help manage your social media efforts. All of them are cloud based tools to allow you to manage from multiple devices from any location with internet access. Be sure to check out Bit.ly. It allows you to take a really long URL and make it tiny. You also have the ability to track where clicks are coming from and where your links are being shared.

Be sure to reach out if you have any questions. There are a couple more slides with additional tools and an example of how search engines return social media channels in search results.

Why Your Website Isn’t Getting Visitors (and what you can do about it)

You have a fabulous idea for an online business. You’ve done your due diligence by researching the need, target market, and even had the “talk”. You know, the “if only 10 people buy per day, that’s like and extra $2 grand a month” talk.

If only it were that easy.

Build It and They Will Come

Unless blessed already large, built in customer base, launching a website will generally get you crickets (nada). Simply putting up a website these days is not enough. If you want to increase your exposure, you’ve got some work to do.

Search Engine Marketing


Different than Search Engine Optimization (SEO), search engine marketing is the process of buying digital advertising for the sole purpose of driving traffic. Works wonders when you’re just starting out. You can serve relevant targeted ads based on location. For example I could target someone searching for “SEO Services” within 20 miles of Grand Rapids, Michigan. This would show my ad to anyone typing that search into Google, Yahoo, or Bing (if that’s where I advertise). Just be sure  to set a budget.  SEM can get extremely expensive if you dont’ watch it carefully.

 

 

Search Engine Optimization

If you’re going to do Search Engine Marketing, it’s important to know that SEO (search engine optimization) plays a role in the cost of advertising. The more optimized your landing page (the place people land when they click you ad) the lower your overall

cost per click will be. An example: A page on your site sells manly man soap. You decide to serve up ads for anyone searching your competitor. Nothing illegal about it, although this will cost your more on average than if you targeted individuals searching “manly man soap”.

Also make sure that the pages of your website are optimized. Does every page have a title? Keywords? Description? You can check by right clicking the mouse and selecting “view source”  (See image below. It’s missing keywords and description)

Social Media Marketing

Social media has come a long way since the early days. Companies now understand that less is more. You already know your target market, now figure out where they spend their time online. This could be forums, Twitter, Facebook, a blog, all of the above or or a combination of a few.

It’s really easy to get lazy here. Don’t just follow random people. Be intentional. Follow people in your area. In your target market. While it takes time in the beginning. You WILL reap the benefit in the long haul.

Did we miss anything?

 

 

 

 

 

Why Forums Aren’t Dead and How Your Business Can Make the Most of Them

I’m pretty sure the fact that I use forums may date me. But they are a useful tool when it comes to business.

I like to think as forums as on of the original social networks. You could come together with like-minded individuals for some pretty in-depth conversations.

forums plural of fo∙rum (none)  1. A meeting or medium where ideas and view on a particular issue can be exchanged.  2. An internet message board

 

1.  Forums are Niche

Sure there are forums that are wide reaching, but the majority of forums are specific to an industry, topic (photography, motherhood, business), group. Which leads us to:

2.  Get backlinks from relevant websites

Getting back links is good for Search Engine Optimization. One advantage to being a forum member is the ability to create a signature that links back to your website. There may also be a minimum requirement of posts before you can add a signature. Each forum is different. Some have a no-follow rule (tells Google not to follow the link), you’ll need to check the forums terms of service to see how they handle back-links.

 3.  Pick a Good Username

Try to avoid names like PinkyStar8047. Especially if it’s a business forum. Consider using your business or your real name. And be sure to add an avatar. Other users are more likely to interact with you vs. a logo. That being said, a logo is still fine just make sure you take the time to re-size it and that it identifies with your brand.

4.  Introduce Yourself

Most forums have a thread that allows you to introduce yourself to the other members. Take advantage of this as the more active members will generally take the time to welcome you. Let them know what that your goal is to contribute to the community. Don’t try to sell anything here. It will get you banned.

5.  Observe the Natives

Don’t be “that guy”, the one who jumps in to a conversation simply to get several posts so you can add your signature. See how the other members interact with one another to better understand the community you joined. It will help you figure out who the influential members are and allow you to fit in faster.

6.  Give to get

Don’t just be a lurker. The more involved you are the better the community is as a whole. You get to build relationships all while promoting your business. Win/Win.

When you’re ready to make the leap look for forums that are active or overrun with spam. Of note: Try to avoid one hosted by a competitor.  Even if you decide not to do the whole forum marketing thing, forums are worth considering for market research. You can find a wealth of information ranging from customer satisfaction to areas in the marketplace that need to be filled.

 

 

Social Media in Manufacturing

The first step in utilizing social media for manufacturing is determining if social media makes sense for your business.   I’m not entirely convinced that social media marketing makes sense for every business.

At it’s most basic form, social media is simply having a conversation online and can take shape in many different ways. Interestingly, most companies jump on Facebook and Twitter completely missing out on other opportunities. Having a presence on these to social networks doesn’t guarantee success.

Here are some basic steps for developing a social media strategy for manufacturing:

1. Start with the end in mind

What are you trying to accomplish? Are you trying to reach new customers? Existing? Will you be promoting a new product or service? Choose one. It can be difficult to be all thing to all people.

2. Where are you customers?

Where do your customers spend their time online? If it isn’t Facebook or Twitter, figure out where the conversations are taking place.

3. Listen

If all you do is promote and share links, you’re missing out on a great opportunity to “network”. After all there is a reason why it’s called “social networking”.   Tools like search.twitter.com, Social Mention, and even Google search can give you real-time insights to what those in your industry are talking about.

4.  Participate

Especially in forums.  Forums are a great way for you to do market research, understand frustrations within your industry, and connect with those USING your product.  There are some excellent forums for the manufacturing industry.  Look for ways to engage.  Think about joining a Twitter chat. #MFGchat is a bi-weekly chat for the manufacturing industry. A great opportunity to have one on one interaction.

5.  Connect

A great way to connect with customers is by just jumping in.  It’s like a big networking event, those who already know each other will be having a conversation and you have to find a pleasant way to jump in, but be careful, online communities don’t take kindly to spam.

6.  Evaluate

Are you seeing results from your involvement in social media?  Know what metrics you should be evaluating.  You’ll be able to figure this out based on Number 1.  Start with the end in mind.  If it’s about making new connections, were you able to convert those online connections into real world meetings?  If you’re trying to grow you newsletter, how many new subscribers came as a result?

If you’re a manufacturing company, how are you implementing social media into your business?

Social Media and the Insurance Agent

Social media for Insurance Agents. A regulated industry with do and don’ts to make your head spin. How does an insurance agent/agency even begin to take advantage of the social media options available? Should insurance agent take part in social media?

Absolutely.

Social media/networking gives you the ability to connect with existing clients and prospective clients in a way that traditional media does not. It creates dialogue.

Social networking goes beyond Facebook and Twitter.  While these are great networks for engagement and we’ll discuss, there are some other areas that offer a great return on your efforts.

1.  Blogging – builds your website content and keeps your website fresh and up to date.

  • Adding a blog to your existing website gives you the opportunity to write relevant content based on your audience.
  • Create a section dedicated entirely to FAQ (frequently asked questions).
  • Once a week address a FAQ on your blog.  If you’ve been in the industry for a while this shouldn’t be hard to do.

2.  Twitter – A great way to connect with other agent and build back links to your website

  • Use Twitter to connect with other insurance agents/agencies.
  • Use Twitter to share content created on your website.
  • Participate in industry specific Twitter chats (held once a week/bi-weekly/monthly).  Twitter Chat Schedule
  • Connect with local Twitter users
  • Answer industry specific questions

3.  Forums – Find a non-insurance related forum and become the part of the community.  Actively participate in discussions.  This takes time as regular forum users are highly protective and treat spam harshly and quickly.

  • Learn what people are talking about related to insurance issues
  • Answer industry specific questions
  • Market research the frustrations related to insurance
  • Creates dialogue with potential clients
  • Builds back-links to your website
  • Sets you apart

4.  Facebook – Facebook is the starting point on the web first thing in the morning for plenty of users.

  • Connect with existing clients.
  • Share content relevant to them.
  • Avoid industry lingo and focus on relevant content that encourages dialogue.
  • Create a simple welcome tab.  Make it the default landing page.
  • Interact with your fans.

5.  YouTube – Video is a great way to connect visually

  • Create short engaging video
  • Think “less commercial” and more “value”.  What usable information can they take away?
  • Be creative – don’t be afraid to bring in an outsider to help
  • Client testimonials, introduction to staff integrated on your website
  • Keyword optimize.

5.  Google Places – The percentage of smart phones continues to rise.  This means local search is becoming increasingly important.

  • Create/Claim your Google Places profile.
  • Integrate your profiles, pictures, and video.
  • Tag your profile based on industry.

These are just a few suggestions to get your started on Social Media with a touch of digital marketing.  Both should be integrated into a traditional marketing strategy, not as a replacement.

How have you integrated social media and digital marketing into your insurance agency?