top of mind marketing keyword journey

Keywords: It’s Where the Online Journey Begins

By | PPC Advertising | No Comments

Our economy has moved online and those businesses that can’t be found online will be challenged to succeed. Keywords are the building blocks that are fundamental to every journey that results in our landing on a website.

Here are some ways that keywords are deployed.

1. For Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

This is the most obvious–we need keyword research to optimize for organic search. Organic search is what we do a gazillion times/day; we key a word or phrase into a search engine such as Google, hoping to get an answer to our question. SEO helps Google bots crawl and index our websites to rank on search engine results pages (SERPs). One of the ways that search engines decide what to rank is by crawling for keywords that show the relationship between the user’s search query and the content on a corresponding website.

2. For maximizing content strategy

We’ve all been told about the relationship between SEO and content. Without content on your website, strong SEO will not follow. Building a comprehensive presence in the online space means updating your website and social media sites with fresh content.

“Effective content strategies start with keyword research,” says Search Engine Land columnist Nate Dame. “Modern keyword research provides significant insight into what audiences want and need.”

Content should have a relationship to keywords

Every single piece of content on your site—a 300-word blog post or 5,000-word white paper, should be related to keywords that strike the right balance between high search volume and competition. To keep in mind: Maybe you did keyword research four or five years ago when you created your website. It might be time to redo this. Google changes its algorithms some 500 times/year and this affects search terms and competition.

3: For Paid Campaigns/Pay-per-Click (PPC)

Paid campaigns–PPC ads, display ads, remarketing or social media campaigns–are also keyword focused. Paid search is an auction where you bid on individual keywords

Keywords once again are the building blocks that make up ad groups, and these ad groups are the basis of campaigns. If your keywords have low search volume, then your ads are going to get little or no traction. If your keywords aren’t relevant to your target audience, you won’t be attracting the audience you’re courting–completely wasting your marketing dollars.

The bottom line: Keyword research is ground zero for all search marketing campaigns

But more than that, identifying your keywords and using them throughout all of your online communications is critical to their success.

Do you need help with your PPC or other online marketing program? Talk to us at Top of Mind Marketing. We’re internet marketing specialists.

top of mind marketing PPC

Is It Time To Add Pay-Per-Click To Your Marketing Mix?

By | PPC Advertising | No Comments

With increasing online competition, pay-per-click (PPC) is becoming a critical way to get your content in front of your potential customers. Those who rely on organic strategies may find themselves frustrated that their blogs, social media posts and newsletters are just not enough anymore.

Here are three myths that may be keeping marketers from implementing successful AdWords campaign.

Myth #1: People don’t click on Google ads

Google is a publicly traded company—anyone can access their financial records that tell the story. Google generates more than $100M in revenue every single day from people clicking on their ads. With an average cost per click between $1 and $2 that’s more than 50M clicks/day. Google experiments constantly to make their ads entice more enticing. They’re not going to present you with a free, organic result at the top of the search engine results page (SERP) when they could showcase several ads that generate revenue. Start paying attention: The first few line items at the top of every search is an ad.

One more thing: Think about your own behavior

When you see an ad that entices you, do you click on it? Of course you do! Smart companies are using remarketing efforts that identify customer tastes to present you with items that you may have been looking at earlier in the day. They may serve up similar items or those by the same designer or manufacturer. I shop almost entirely online, and I’m fascinated by remarketing, which illustrates how marketing has gotten smarter.

Myth #2: My competitors can just click on my ads all day, costing me money

Google has extremely sophisticated technology to prevent “click fraud” and “invalid clicks”. This involves the analysis of several click-pattern factors.

Google provides very good reports on AdWords campaign performance, and any suspicious activity is quickly exposed. If a business is concerned they are victims of click fraud, they can contact Google directly to launch an investigation. Google reimburses questionable clicks.

Myth #3: AdWords is an outbound marketing tactic

AdWords is designed to showcase your content when potential customers are initiating a Google search. It’s the only inbound marketing tactic that guarantees your content will rank high on Google when a user performs a search. This is one very attractive reason to be using Google as your PPC platform. The sheer number of Google searches/day makes you part of this community.

PPC delivers a better user experience for the searcher

Think of the information you provide when you set up your Google account. This all becomes part of a huge database, and databased information makes it searchable. Because of this information, when you create a Google ad, you are able to drill down by location, demographics, interests, etc. This is not specific just to Google—Facebook, Linkedin and other social channels also provide rich search preferences.

Integrating AdWords with your inbound marketing strategy

Along with your existing content marketing and SEO efforts, PPC is becoming a critical component of an inbound marketing strategy.

Do you need help with your PPC or other online marketing program? Talk to us at Top of Mind Marketing. We’re internet marketing specialists.

top of mind marketing creating personas

Creating Personas to Define Your Business Audience

By | Internet Marketing | No Comments

A new client’s website was nine years old and she wanted help showing up in search engines. I explained that search engines discriminate against those sites that haven’t been adapted for mobile devices. She was sabotaging herself with her current site. “Zoe” was talking about a little enhancement; I was talking about starting over. A nine-year old site is really not redeemable.

Who was her audience? “Everyone” is the wrong answer

Zoe had a fairly extensive collection of blogs on her site, and as I read through them I wasn’t getting a clear sense of who she was, which is a problem. But more importantly, I didn’t have any idea who her audience was. When I asked her about this, I knew what her answer was going to be: “Everyone is my audience; some of my readers are 16, I have grandmothers reading my blogs as well as industry professionals.” Wrong answer. This is marketing 101—everyone is not your audience. As a small business owner, you really can’t be successful without identifying the niche that really is your audience.

Time to create personas

I explained to her how we were going to create personas. I wanted her to think about whom she visualized when she closed her eyes and pictured a typical client. I wanted her to describe that person for me. I wanted her to be making an emotional connection with that person, to think about that client when she was writing a blog. The scope of our work together included keyword analysis, a new website, a newsletter and pay-per-click advertising (PPC). For PPC, especially, identifying a persona and keywords is critical to the success of a campaign, but it’s also important for her website’s landing pages.

Personas help define our audiences

By understanding demographics, we learn to communicate more effectively with our audiences. Facebook’s powerful advertising appeal lies is its ability to drill down to the details of people’s lives. Every Facebook field that we fill out provides data for someone to mine. For Zoe, as with most of us, we well may have more than one persona. And for each of these, we’re going to create a comprehensive persona based on the following information:

  • Age and gender.
  • Communication preferences. How do they get their information? Text, email? Do they hate telephone calls?
  • Technical experience and background. Do they love instructional videos or prefer to read directions?
  • Job title and major responsibilities.
  • Education, ethnicity and family status.
  • Pain points or frustrations. Important clues for how we can help them solve problems.
  • Industry and working environment. A quiet office or the emergency room.
  • Biggest challenges and how they deal with them.
  • Shopping preferences. Favorite stores or online?
  • Food and drink. Favorite area restaurants and bars.
  • Persona names and photos. Giving your personas names and uploading photos provide an identity.
  • Interview real clients to discover what they like about your product or service.

Creating personas is a valuable exercise that will help you market more effectively to your audience.

Do you need help with your online marketing program? Talk to us at Top of Mind Marketing. We’re internet marketing specialists.

top of mind marketing_creating an online marketing strategy

Marketing Efforts Jumpstart Client’s Lead Generation

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I encourage my clients to develop case studies and post them to their websites, social media and anywhere else where they have a forum. Real-life stories provide compelling insights into how we successfully help our clients solve problems. This is one of my own case studies.

“Oliver” found me on Yelp—the app we love to hate–but it can also be a legitimate source of new business. Oliver fled a boring corporate career and began designing and selling furniture made from reclaimed teak wood. Everything is sustainable—he’s created processes for sourcing old structures in Indonesia, disassembling them beam by beam to create the materials that will become his beautiful furniture. He has a Berkeley showroom and sells furniture online.

Here’s the problem . . .

Oliver had built a fairly steady stream of online sales from his e-commerce website. A year or so ago, he upgraded his WordPress site with enhanced visuals and navigation. Once he rolled out the new site, that online sales stream completely dried up. He gave this enough time to confirm that this wasn’t just seasonal or a little economic downturn.

Our goal: Restore online sales

Our goal was to restore online traffic and sales, so we began troubleshooting his site. We peeled back the layers and found that there were more than 20 WordPress plugins that hadn’t been updated, and these were creating conflicts. A vast array of plugins is one of the things that makes WordPress so powerful, but they’re not all compatible with each other, and they need to be upgraded. As we cleaned up the infrastructure, we kept finding anomalies and bugs, and a simple project grew more complex.

Keyword research, image labels and alt tags

Along the way, we did keyword research to identify those words and phrases that our audience might be keying into search fields to find us—this helped us know what words and phrases to be using in our content. We labeled every single image, created alt tags and descriptions for literally hundreds of product pictures. We finally rolled out the upgrades, and we’re all delighted that our client is starting to get online orders again.

We added a monthly newsletter to the marketing mix


We began doing a monthly newsletter in MailChimp. We keep this simple, highlighting three products and including a promo code so we can track responses. We’re getting an astonishing 45-55% open rate, a high click-through rate and conversions with our mailings. The newsletter is easy to turn around and looks great; the ROI on this makes it easy to include this in our marketing plan.

Up next: Pay-per click advertising


Our website blues aren’t completely over. We still find issues that befuddle us, but among us, we solve the problems as they arise. With the website stabilization, we’re planning to add Pay-per-Click (PPC) advertising to our marketing mix. We’ve identified a budget, and we’ll carefully monitor our campaign, adjusting as we go, to make this another component of our marketing program.

Do you need help with your PPC or other online marketing program? Talk to us at Top of Mind Marketing. We’re internet marketing specialists.

top of mind marketing big baller brand

Big Baller Brand: Learning about FB Advertising from the Ball Family

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You don’t have to be a basketball fan to have heard of the Ball family. LaVar Ball and his sons regularly make headlines. There’s no coincidence here–LaVar is constantly working it. Oldest son Lonzo is an NBA rookie who plays for the Los Angeles Lakers. His other two boys, LiAngelo and LaMelo are both future NBA prospects, though they’ve taken a detour and are currently playing in Lithuania. LiAngelo was on a trip to China with the UCLA basketball team, arrested for shoplifting and suspended for a year.

LaVar thought the suspension was too extreme

LaVar pulled his kid out of UCLA and sent the two younger boys to some kind of Lithuanian league—apparently there was little interest in sticking around a prestigious school like UCLA to get an education. Note that the shoplifting was in China—a communist country with a terrible human rights record. LiAngelo could have spent the next 20 years in isolation. A year away from college basketball was a gift.

If you talk to any sports fan, commentator or coach they’ll tell you that LaVar needs to shut up and let his kids play ball. LaVar Ball’s endless commentary has made him one of the most polarizing figures in sports today. Most of us find Ball’s constant boasting about himself and his sons offensive, especially those of us who were taught that if we’re really great, people will know that by our actions.

Big Baller Brand embraces endless self-promotion

You may/not be aware that Facebook has a video platform, and LaVar and his sons are one of the channel’s most popular reality programs. They also have their own sportswear label, Big Baller Brand, and they’re using Facebook to market themselves and their products.

­­Here’s what we can learn from the Big Ballers

The Ball family has created multiple Facebook and Instagram pages for all of the individual Ballers and the Big Baller Brand itself. They also leverage Facebook Live, Instagram Stories and Facebook Groups linked to their Pages to further expand their brand reach, along with the Facebook Watch show. Facebook lays out a basic playbook for how Big Baller Brand has utilized Facebook ads. This is what we can learn from them.

  1. They installed the Facebook Pixel to see how successful their ads were, and how close customers came to purchasing an item from the Big Baller Brand online store.
  2. The Balls used Facebook Ads Manager to build and deploy ads on Facebook.
  3. They created textbook-perfect ads—a clear call-to-action, crisp images showcasing specific apparel items and links to that featured item.
  4. Built Engagement Custom Audiences in Ads Manager to target known fans, such as those who have interacted with one of the Ball Family Pages or have watched their videos.
  5. Created lookalike audiences to expand the reach of the campaign to send new ads to people with similar qualities to those completing purchases on bigballerbrand.com.
  6. Deployed remarketing techniques to retarget fans who visited the online store but didn’t complete a purchase.

If you’ve done Facebook advertising or are just beginning to experiment with it, you’ll see that this is a comprehensive effort to boost a Facebook campaign strategy.

Remarketing is key: You’re reaching a vulnerable consumer

Remarketing focuses on those who may have gone to the Big Baller store, put a product in their carts, but failed to complete the purchase. This segment is more than a warm lead; it’s red hot. It’s a potential customer who is vulnerable—he’s been to your store, is familiar with your merchandise and liked at least one item enough to add it to the cart. There’s a good chance that, with a little nudge, he might be convinced to go back and complete the purchase. One thing that would help him decide? Tell him that it’s almost sold out, that there’s limited inventory, or only 4 items left.

This formula has been very successful for the Big Ballers

Facebook advertising success is going to depend on how much time and money you are prepared to spend on this effort. But this process has driven results for the Balls. Their Facebook ads drove:

  • A 17.76% purchase lift during the campaign
  • A 16.9% conversion lift
  • 140,000 outbound clicks to the BBB online store

Keep in mind that we’re dealing with celebrities here—a young athlete with a promising future and a father who never misses an opportunity to get in front of a camera—so the numbers are going to skew high. Nevertheless, this is a good Facebook marketing strategy that any business can replicate.

Do you need help with your PPC or other online advertising strategy? Talk to us at Top of Mind Marketing. We’re internet marketing specialists.

top of mind marketing Facebook algorithm change: what this means for you

Facebook’s Algorithm Change: What This Means for You

By | Social media | No Comments

If you’ve been paying attention, you know that Facebook has rolled out a major algorithm change. They’re veiling this as an effort that will take us back to simpler times, to Facebook’s origins, before social exploded, when things were purer, warmer and fuzzier, when it was about connecting with friends and family. According to Zuckerberg:

“We’re making a major change to how we build Facebook. I’m changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.”

The first place we’ll see these algorithm changes will be in our News Feeds. We can expect to see fewer posts from brands and businesses, a greater focus on our friends and family and groups. “And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard — it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”

So what does this mean?

It means that it just got a whole lot harder to grow your reach on your Facebook page. The classic Facebook engagement tips haven’t changed. If you expect to engage, these are the guidelines:

  • Create meaningful, high-quality content. So who decides what is quality content? It must be true. It can be funny or sad and makes us think.
  • Add value. I always think of value as providing information that will help someone do his/her job. It informs, educates.
  • Get consumers to genuinely interact with you. It’s really, really hard to elicit a response from our audiences, but it happens by building trust and familiarity.
  • Avoid clickbait. Clickbait is apparently dead, but I still see it all the time. I get news flashes from a range of news sites. They are all promising breaking news about the Trump administration and Russiagate. Tantalized, I click on this little clickbait morsel, knowing full well that the information I’m dealt likely will be a tired rehash old information.

How Facebook’s algorithms will affect your posts

In the near future, posts from brand and publishers will be scored differently from posts from friends. The score is based on your relationship with the poster, your interaction history, the type of content—all calculated by Facebook’s News Feed algorithm. Facebook is using your engagement history to determine which posts are most likely to keep you clicking. Sound like power tripping? Well, yes.

The expectations?

Time spent on FB and some degree of engagement will decline. The exact impacts of the change are not yet known, but what is clear is that Page post reach will decline. How significant an impact that will have on your content distribution and performance will come down to your approach.

Ad prices expected to rise

Here’s the rationale. If people are spending less time watching funny videos and consuming fake news on Facebook, people will be less likely to advertise. Brands and publishers will spend more on Facebook ads to revive their declining organic reach.

The bottom line

Facebook will prioritize posts based on the amount of meaningful discussion they generate. Long responses and replies will do well in the new FB environment.

One more thing: Why did Facebook make this algorithm change? Remember that thing where the Russians spent $300K on political advertising during the runup to the 2016 election? Zuckerberg and other tech titans were hauled before Congress for a come to Jesus. To talk about corporate social responsibility. This well may have been a response. Or not. Zuckerberg is insanely wealthy, but he also has a social conscience. He and his wife started a nonprofit, but rather than make this a 501(c)3, the created an LLC. In this way, they would be free of the constraints on reporting, lobbying and political campaign activity that are imposed by nonprofit status.

Do you need help developing and managing a marketing plan that includes social media? Talk to us at Top of Mind Marketing. We’re writers and marketing experts.  

top of mind marketing superbowl ads

Super Bowl Highlights: Odell and Eli?

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The Super Bowl is over for another year. Enough of Tom Brady and the Patriots; this year we handed the Lombardi trophy over to the Philadelphia’s Eagles, the underrated underdog that never stopped winning. And now it’s over. Hundreds of players can begin to heal their bruised and battered bodies before another violent season starts again in the fall.

Not a fan? Not a problem. Tune in for superbowl parties and ads

But the SuperBowl is so much more than a ballgame. This has been a year of political upheaval, so we expected advertisers to be sharing their not so subtle anti-Trump views throughout the game. We started out with an ad from Mass Mutual that had an overarching theme of people reaching out across demographics to help others, to create community. I thoroughly expected this to set the tone for the evening, but there were relatively few of these kinds of ads.

The NFL scored big with Odell and Eli

Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. teamed for a Dirty Dancing tribute to the new touchdown celebrations that emerged across the league this season. But there was another takeaway. It clearly illustrated the relationship between dancing and athletics. Don’t underestimate the strength and athleticism of dancers . The Giants had a miserable season. Odell suffered an early season-ending injury and Eli sat out at least one game. I’m looking for the Giants to stage a comeback next year.

There was T-Mobile ad with adorable little babies

Notable was the T-Mobile ad, featuring a lineup of adorable little cross-cultural babies. “Some people may see your differences and be threatened by them, but you are unstoppable. You’ll love who you want. Change starts now.” The ad created a Tweet storm from Trump supporters who promised to end service with T-Mobile. This was clearly not the way to MAGA. These people accused the T-Mobile folks of being SJWs–Social justice warriors.

Tide may have been the big winner

Procter & Gamble, the company that’s not afraid to spend big on advertising, scored a win with their stealth campaign, starring David Harbour. Their four terrific commercials spaced across four quarters was easily the game’s best campaign. You have to hand it P&G—making laundry detergent fun and interesting ain’t easy.

  • Kudos to Toyota, who made a social statement by focusing on inspiring athletes with artificial limbs. “When you’re free to move, anything’s possible.”
  • Danny DeVito starred as an M&M, which dovetails with my curiosity about M&Ms—when did these little candy-coated chocolate morsels become cartoon characters?
  • We learned about the efficiency of a Pringles stack: Create all the flavors of a pizza by stacking three Pringles—spicy cheese, pizza and barbecue.
  • Coke introduced their four new diet coke flavors— Ginger Lime, Feisty Cherry, Zesty Blood Orange and Twisted Mango. I just learned that Coke tested more than 30 flavors with 10,000 people before deciding on these flavors which they hope will bring new fans to the brand.
  • Oz was the spokesperson for Turkish Airlines. Exotic Turkey, with one foot in the east and the other in the west. Dr. Oz, of course, is from Turkey.
  • Sadly, Budweiser chose to do endless dilly-dilly ads for Bud Light rather than the warm, fuzzy ads with puppies and horses that we have come to expect. Big disappointment from the Bud folks.

One final thought

It appears that Tom Brady, unlike the rest of us, hates to lose. He refused to shake hands with Nick Foles. Instead, he sulked on his way to the locker room. Definitely time to pass the mantle.

Do you need help developing and managing a marketing plan that will help you prepare for growth? Talk to us at Top of Mind Marketing. We’re writers and marketing experts.  

top of mind marketing: fake news: tired of it and doing something about it

Exhausted by Fake News and Doing Something About It

By | content marketing, Uncategorized | No Comments

One year into the Trump administration and it feels like a lifetime. You’d think we’d be immune to it all, but we’re not. We’re shell-shocked. Crises followed by unspeakable tragedies. The assault on our democratic institutions is constant and aggressive. We’d never heard of fake news until Donald moved his ill-prepared advisers, family and hangers-on into the White House. Donald’s constant assault on highly regarded newspapers such as The Washington Post and The New York Times, calling them “failing” is his way of undermining our freedom of speech, a basic right guaranteed by our constitution.

Instead, Donald is glued to the real fake news . . .

Donald gets his news from Fox, Breitbart and other negligible institutions which have legitimized these “alternative facts”. So yes, fake news is a big problem. But the people who believe fake news are the same ones who believe everything they see in print. “I read it on the Internet”—so it must be true, right? Really, really wrong. They read the tabloids, the sleeze sheets at the checkout counters, and believe the headlines.

What’s most disturbing is the we’ve raised a generation of people who have lost the ability to think, to question, to differentiate  between legitimate reporting and that which is pure fabrication. People should have a fundamental sense of media literacy. A recent study released by Stanford University researchers, showed that many people don’t.

If you’ve completely lost hope, here are some ways to prove the legitimacy of a news story.

  • Pay attention to the domain and URL. Established news organizations usually own their domains and they have a standard look with which you are probably familiar. Sites that end with .com.co should tip you off that they may not be legitimate. This is true even when the site looks professional and has semi-recognizable logos. An example: abcnews.com is a legitimate news source, but abcnews.com.co is not, despite its similar appearance.
  • Read the “About Us” section. Most sites will have a lot of information about the news outlet, the company that runs it, its leadership, and the mission and ethics statement behind an organization. The language used here is straightforward. If it’s melodramatic and seems overblown, it’s a red flag. You should be able to find out more information about the organization’s leadership in places other than that site—it should be all over the web. Google the leadership and look at their credentials. If it’s questionable, so is the publication.
  • Be wary of the lack of quotes. Most publications have multiple sources in each story who are professionals and have expertise in the fields they discuss. If it’s a serious or controversial issue, there are more likely to be quotes–lots of them, from industry experts. Look for professors or other academics who can speak to the research they’ve done. And if they are talking about research, look up those studies.
  • Be equally wary of the source of quotes. Check the sourcing. Is it a reputable source with a title that you can verify through a quick Google search? Let’s say you’re looking at an article that says President Obama wants to take everyone’s guns away. And then there’s a quote. Obama is an official who has almost everything he says recorded and archived. There are transcripts for pretty much any address or speech he has given. Google those quotes. See what the speech was about, who he was addressing and when it happened. Even if he did an exclusive interview with a publication, that same quote will be referenced in other stories.

The internet means that content lives forever; we now have the ability to validate the news we’re receiving. It’s up to each of us to be a critical thinker. To support free and independent journalism. Our founding fathers understood its importance to a system of healthy checks and balances, the fundamentals of democracy.

Need help creating real news?

Talk to us at Top of Mind Marketing. We’re writers and internet marketing experts.

top of mind marketing Sarah hucklebee sanders is complicit

The Word of the Year: Complicit

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And the winner is . . . “Complicit”. Every year Dictionary.com identifies the one word that has impacted us the most. At Dictionary.com, the Word of the Year serves as a symbol of the year’s most meaningful events and lookup trends. Just as Time magazine names its person of the year–that individual who has most influenced the world’s news–the Word of the Year is that word that has popped up in the most conversations. Dictionary.com’s decision is data-based; they can track and review the number of searches over the course of the year.

Complicit means “choosing to be involved in an illegal or questionable act, especially with others; having partnership or involvement in wrongdoing.” Being, at some level, responsible for something . . . even if indirectly. Those who stay silent and do not speak out are also complicit; by not being against something, we are condoning it.

A year filled with political chaos

In a year that has been filled with an unprecedented level of political chaos, “complicit” is a word that has filled the headlines for a year. It began with the inauguration, and it steadily gained momentum. From Russian mafia to officials at the highest levels of government, the Trump administration seemed to be complicit with all of them.

Complicit experienced a huge spike on April 5

The largest increase in lookups for complicit–up more than 11,000%–was on April 5, when Ivanka Trump tried to redefine complicit. CBS’ Gayle King asked her about the accusations that she and her husband, Jared Kushner, were complicit in the actions of her father. Her response: “If being complicit is wanting to be a force for good and to make a positive impact, then I’m complicit.”

It’s important to note that complicit is not one of those words that can have both positive and negative connotations, depending on your orientation. There’s nothing positive about this word. Being complicit is negative. It means that a person is involved with someone or something that’s wrong. Politics aside, whether you’re a conservative or a liberal, the meaning of complicit cannot be construed subjectively. Ivanka Trump went on to cap off her own personal definition of complicit with “I don’t know what it means to be complicit.”

 Climate change and the Trump administration’s complicity

For years we’ve been learning about climate change and how we’ve damaged our environment. We all have worked to decrease our footprints, determined to become better stewards of the environment. Companies began rethinking their business models, communities incenting their citizens for embracing clean energy. Solar power and windmills became more affordable and the technology improved. Yet Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement, and his EPA chief has been complicit in his refusal to acknowledge that humans play a primary role in climate change. Information on climate change was removed from the government’s website this year. If only it were that easy. Removing it from a website won’t make it go away.

During the past year we have seen the extreme weather conditions that have brought widespread destruction that climate change can wreak. Terms like climate change, global warming, and carbon dioxide all showed up trending searches this year.

Power and sexual assault

In 2017, allegations of sexual assault were made against a growing number of powerful men, resulting in the resignation and firing of people across multiple industries. Film executive Harvey Weinstein emerged as a longtime predator after numerous women stepped up to tell their stories of sexual assault that lasted for decades. Even worse—his complicit staff covered up for him, often arranging his sexual shenanigans. Weinstein’s downfall inspired other assault survivors to come forward with their own stories.

Dictionary.com has used its platform to make a data-driven political statement. But the bigger message may be something we’ve always known, that words have the power to shape dialog and the way we interpret events.

Having trouble harnessing the power of words for your business? Talk to us at Top of Mind Marketing. We’re writers and internet marketing experts.

top of mind marketing_using emoji to make an emotional connection

Emoji on Social: Up a Whopping 776%!

By | Social media | No Comments

Looking back on 2017, I remember a year filled with gut-wrenching political turmoil and anguish, devastating natural disasters, protest marches and the rise of an aggressive right wing. It’s been a year filled with anxiety and dread. We have learned how important democracy, freedom of speech and the rule of law are as they are threatened and undermined on a daily basis.

Completely oblivious to the year’s upheaval, emoji are happily flourishing

Consider for a minute the outrage sparked across social when Google made a cheeseburger emoji with the cheese misplaced. Even the CEO got involved to make sure the cheese would be moved to its proper spot, above the patty where everyone knows it belongs.

Content that evokes an emotional response is more likely to be shared

With clickbait thankfully going extinct, there seems to be an emerging trend in the top content on social media: Content that provokes an emotional response is more likely to get shared.

Examining the top Facebook posts in September, the stats show that the posts with the most shares also had a higher percentage of reactions. And more publishers are using emoji in captions, perhaps to elicit that emotional response. It all goes back to the premise that good marketing tells a story. It reaches people on an emotional level. Clearly, emoji are helping to make that emotional connection.

Charting the growth of emoji 

The use of emoji in the top 100 headlines jumped from a mere six in fall 2015 to 28 in fall 2016. At 52 emoji-sprinkled headlines in 2017, it’s clear that this trend isn’t slowing down. The big jump in emoji usage is happening among news publishers. In fall 2015, there wasn’t a single emoji in the top 100 news posts. One year later, in 2016, this number jumped to 10; by the fall of 2017, the number had more than doubled to 24. This stat helps explain their popularity: Four out of every ten millennials would rather engage with pictures than read.

top of mind marketing emoji on facebook

News publishers are catching up to the trends that have been working for viral publishers

What types of stories use emoji from news publishers? Breaking news, hard news and tragedies are less likely to have emojis associated with them. So how do publishers strategically use emoji? Not really surprising—emoji are lighthearted and whimsical; they’re meant to delight and for the most part, they deliver. Emoji developers keep adding to the inventory, and they’re great fun! I like to think of emoji as the print version of adding a sticker to a letter or other document. A bit frivolous and totally unnecessary. Just as there are words and phrases that elicit the best response in your headlines—You need to, The greatest ever, That will rock your, etc.–are inappropriate for serious topics, so emoji are often a bad fit for hard news and serious topics.

Who uses emoji the most?

  • Soft news and human interest stories are most likely to have emoji in their headlines.
  • Brits may like emoji more than Americans. Daily Mail, The Independent, and BBC News all used emoji in headlines that appeared in the top 100 Facebook posts this November.
    As to be expected, happier emoji were generally the most used.
  • If we take a look at the Facebook graph of most-used emoji on Facebook, Fall 2017, clearly LOL has pulled into the lead, followed by the ubiquitous heart, clapping hands, etc. Hearts in some form made it on the list a total of five times. Yet clearly, if you’re writing an article that’s intended for a professional audience, there’s no place for a heart, a rainbow or any of the other emojis in Facebook’s top performers.

Emoji from brands

Brands have stepped up and are adopting emoji into their social posts.

  • Starbucks and Macy’s are using holiday-themed emoji in their messaging.
  • On the Fourth of the July, Bud Light tweeted an emoji American flag composed of fireworks in place of Old Glory’s stars and American flags and beers for the red and white stripes
  • Baskin-Robbins is using an emoji ice cream cone in their messaging.
  • On World Emoji Day, July 17, NASCAR Tweeted a photographic mosaic of some of the sport’s most famous drivers.
  • The Smithsonian, in a tweet about Louis Armstrong, used an emoji trumpet.

Using emoji comes down to a few considerations and knowing your audience. Ask yourself some questions:

  • What channels are you creating content for and do emoji make sense in that context?
  • What is your brand’s voice?
  • What’s your topic? If you’re writing something fun and light, this is the perfect landscape for emoji. If, on the other hand, you’re explaining a complex concept to a bunch of accountants, save the emoji for an audience who will appreciate them. This probably isn’t it.
  • What are you looking to achieve with emoji — is it to provide a more succinct message, encourage an emotional response in your audience, or cleverly punctuate your caption?

Do you need help managing your social media program? Talk to us at Top of Mind Marketing. We’re writers and internet marketing specialists.