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Zack Jackson

Three Dirty Words … “Social Media Manager”

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As someone who helps small businesses with their branding strategies and digital presence, I’ve always loathed the term “social media manager,” because in my opinion that isn’t the true path to brand success.

Sure, having a strong presence on social media is important, but if you’re putting all your eggs into that basket, then you are doing your brand a disservice because you are now completely reliant on the “algorithm overlords” of a handful of billion dollar tech companies.

And since I don’t want my The JPG Agency clients putting all their eggs into that basket, I sure as heck don’t want to be putting all of MINE in there either. To me, true brand success is figuring out methods for owning your own audience engagement by figuring out how to engage with them directly through methods controlled by YOU. Social media management is just one piece of that puzzle.

The role of “social media manager” needs to evolve, and you can see that evolution in this Social Media Today report.

Are you afraid of the Metaverse?

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Personally I think the metaverse (or VR/AR in general) has a ton of potential to do great things, but I don’t blame the people in this study one bit who said it made them “more scared” about the future. I’m not exactly excited to trust Zuck as our virtual leader either.

Here’s the reality (or maybe it’s the VIRTUAL reality … ba-dum-tss) … VR/AR will absolutely continue to grow and become a bigger part of our lives. There’s simply too many billions of dollars being sunk into it for it to not happen. So as a brand you need to start asking yourself, “How are ways that my brand can use this avenue for the GOOD of my business and my customers?” It about finding new ways to engage with your people on a personal level, and that can always be made into a positive thing when done properly.

Nearly a third of U.S. adults are more ‘scared’ of the metaverse than ‘excited’

Approach Your Business With “Little Dog Attitude”

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I have a little dog named Francy.  She’s a muttley rat terrier(ish) sort of dog that weighs all of about 14 pounds (we have a cat that’s bigger than she is).  She spends most of her life curled up on a pillow, a lap, or a blanket … to the point that I’ve always said she’d be perfectly content if she was a dog with no legs that had to be carried around everywhere she went.  She’s super sweet, cuddly, and friendly to just about anyone and anything on earth … until she sees a big dog.

Then … “little dog attitude” kicks in and Francy ain’t gonna take no crap from nobody.

I’ve seen this little dog launch herself into the air, land on top of a dog four times her size, and pin them to the ground in a growling fit of unexplained rage.  Why? I honestly have no clue.  I don’t know why this dog spends 98% of her life perfectly content to be in some sort of snuggle position, only to turn into a rabid beast with more attitude than Conor McGregor’s pre-fight interview.

But what I do know is this … that’s “tiny dog attitude,” and that’s how every small business owner should operate.  Don’t be afraid of the big guys … attack them!  Better yet … COPY THEM!!!!

These large corporations can spend millions (or billions) of dollars on marketing, advertising, and branding on a level that a small business will never be able to equal.  However, what a small business can do is study the big dogs, and then emulate these practices for their own brand.

Before Wal-Mart was … well … Wal-Mart … Sam Walton built his empire by doing one thing amazingly well … studying his competition.  He walked around other stores, paid attention to how things looked, where items were located, how shoppers behaved, etc etc. He then took this data back to his own store and used it to improve his own customer experience to a level that nobody else was even considering.  He had “tiny dog attitude” back then that allowed him to grow into one of the biggest dogs of them all.

Soooo … that brings us to the present, where we can see what the big dog is up to, and that my friends, is first-party data collection.  That’s right, the JPG Agency mantra of OWNING YOUR AUDIENCE is in full effect! (Excuse me while I sprain my shoulder patting myself on the back for a minute.)

Wal-Mart knows that the key to their continued dominance is to know, first hand, everything they possibly can about their customer, their wants and needs, their purchasing patterns, their lifestyle interest, their moods, and just about anything else they can get their hands on.  And while this data leads to an enhanced shopping experience for their customers, what it also does is give them an additional cash cow that they can use with others.

Did you know Wal-Mart made $2.1 billion dollars in ad REVENUE last year?  That’s right, other brands are paying Wal-Mart to get access to the data they’ve collected, and the home of “Everyday Low Prices” is poised to become one of the top ten ad agencies in the country within the next five years.

So how do we apply this to our “tiny dog attitude” lesson for the day?  It’s simple … we OWN OUR AUDIENCE.  We don’t rely on some social media algorithm to reach our customers or PPC ad spend or whatever.  We develop ways to obtain the contact information of our customers in a way that allows us to directly engage with them without having to depend on anybody else to do it for us.  Nobody … and I repeat … NOBODY is going to understand your business better than you, so why in the world would we put all of our reliance onto somebody else to do it for us?

Is there a place within our success path to do things like social media marketing, digital ad spends, and things like that?  Absolutely!  And we here at the JPG Agency are happy to help you do that, but we also believe very strongly in helping you develop ways to grow your direct data streams with your customers, because we know that is the true key to growth and long term success.  Don’t let the big dogs strut around like they control everything … launch yourselves into the air and pin them to the ground yourself!

Here’s some additional articles/resources for the details discussed in this article today:

Walmart made $2.1 billion in advertising last year—here’s how

Walmart Media Group Rebrands to Walmart Connect in Bid to become a Top 10 US Ad Biz

Walmart moves further into livestream shopping

A Bad Digital Impression is Costing You Revenue!

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Having a strong digital presence isn’t a luxury in 2022, it’s a NECESSITY. This article will open your eyes when you see things like “increasing a customer’s satisfaction score can increase their spending by up to 37%. Reducing the effort required to complete a task online can lead to a 23% increase in the amount they spend.”

Plain and simple … making a sucky digital impression with your customers will cost you money almost immediately and probably send future business elsewhere. And small business often gets the shaft in this equation because they don’t have huge budgets to have large marketing departments or to hire expensive agencies.

That’s why at The JPG Agency we’re committed to providing those opportunities to small businesses at a price point they can afford. Small businesses are the backbone of so many industries, and they flat out DESERVE the same access to these resources as the big dogs. So happy to have a squad in place that feels the same way!

Thank you Nicole Cooper for sharing this article with me and MediaPost for putting it together https://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/372174/revenue-lost-by-poor-digital-experience-can-now-be.html

#digitalmarketing #socialmediamarketing

Meta vs. TikTok: The Short-Form Video War

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In the past year, TikTok has put a significant dent in Meta’s world of social media dominance of Facebook and Instagram. Facebook’s user numbers shrunk for the first time in the history of the company, and the brand identity of “Facebook is for old people” and “Instagram isn’t as good as it used to be” has continued to grow sentiment with younger demographics.

In retaliation, as outlined by Social Media Today, Meta is turning up the heat on TikTok and going all in on short form video. Facebook and Instagram Reels are rapidly adding monetary incentives for content creators and pushing their content out organically in an effort to get more and more users hooked on the short form video format. If you’ve made any kind of “regular” post recently on FB/IG (especially IG) and then made a Reels post as a reach comparison, the numbers aren’t even close. Meta is putting their eggs in the short-form video basket and doing so in a way that they hope will bury TikTok, or at the very least swing the pendulum of new growth back to their platforms.

Here’s a crazy idea … maybe had they not squashed the hell out of organic engagement in an effort to force people to buy more ads, this never would’ve happened in the first place?

I don’t know about you, but in the “good old days” of FB/IG when you could simply post good content on a regular basis and have organic growth, it actually made me WANT to spend money on ads to spread that content even further. Now I feel like I’ve gone to a restaurant where I’ve ordered a meal and they’ve served me a bunch of hot garbage on a plate, but tell me “well if you pay us a little bit more, then MAYBE we’ll bring you some better food. We probably won’t bring you the whole dish or exactly the food you wanted, but we’ll be happy to take your money and throw you a few more crumbs.” Doesn’t give me the warm fuzzies on the inside.

We’ve seen this pattern before … when Facebook first starting crushing organic growth, people started gravitating to Instagram. They could post nice pictures, get a bunch of likes, grab a handful of new followers with every post. Things felt fun and positive, and you felt like you could grow your brand in a simple and effective way. So what did Facebook (or Meta or Darth Zuckerberg or whatever you want to call it) do? They bought the company of course! Because while the old adage may be, “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em,” the mantra in a trillion dollar tech world is more “if you can’t beat ’em, copy ’em, steal their market share, crush their growth, and then buy ’em out.”

So that’s what Facebook did, and then began to apply the same practices to Instagram. Oh you actually want someone to SEE your post? Give us money and then MAYBE we’ll let our algorithm robot overlords expose it to a couple new people. Or maybe we won’t, but we’ll take your money either way. Pleasure doing business with you!

The battlefield is set yet again … this time against TikTok. So what will happen next? Will Meta win this battle too? Will TikTok be able to weather the storm? Social Media Today has some observations on how this could be a total disaster for TikTok, so it will interesting to see how it all shakes out.

Regardless of how this all shakes out, the real message here for the growth and success of YOUR brand is one that we preach over and over here at The JPG Agency … OWN YOUR AUDIENCE!!!!! Social media platforms certainly have a place in your branding and marketing strategies, but they should be a supplement to your primary objective of creating a direct line of communication with your audience that allows you to engage with them on YOUR terms.

Sure … you can make a post on Facebook, or Instagram, or TikTok, or [insert next big thing here] but you’ll always be relying on that platform to actually deliver that content to people. Meanwhile, when YOU are the one who owns your audience and has a way to reach them directly, you can do exactly that and not rely on someone else’s algorithm to do it for you. Yes … this method takes TIME to achieve, but once you have that direct line of communication, you own it FOREVER, no matter what new trend or delivery system emerges.