How do you market cannabis with all the marketing regulations?

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Cannabis companies are having to start fresh with new ideas and markets. The only question now is, how?

Rundle Social Solutions has taken a big step over the past month. We have stepped into the cannabis industry helping one of our clients create and implement their brand, marketing strategy and social media plan. As we get further into the process we started to ask ourselves, how do you market an industry that cannot be marketed? 

According to Statistics Canada from a 2018 cannabis statistics study, 4.9 million Canadians used Cannabis in 2017 spending over $5.6 billion on cannabis products. This just goes to show how much potential there is within this market, and how it will only grow once recreational consumption is legalized in October.

As our client is working to get the storefront and product ready for the upcoming cannabis legalization, they initially ran into a major roadblock. They can’t advertise their products. Laws and regulations are changing often as the legalization of cannabis quickly approaches. Similar to the prohibition of alcohol, companies have to start fresh with new ideas and markets. The only question now is, how?

Cannabis companies cannot provide promotion, packaging or labeling of cannabis that could be considered appealing to the youth, and must ensure that product information is clearly presented to consumers. Restrictions on cannabis advertising and packaging will generally mirror what is in place today for tobacco. This advertising law will prove difficult to brand and market a new product, industry and market.

Advertising will be restricted to locations where there are no minors, and there will be limits on displays and in-store promotion, not to mention the already long and strenuous process to obtain permits and city, provincial and federal licenses.

The solution? Getting as creative as possible to market cannabis while following Canadian regulation. With conventional advertising essentially prohibited in Canada, a need for social media, monthly newsletters, events and trade shows are becoming the top platform to spark dialog with customers without using celebrity endorsements, daring behaviors or anything other than recreational cannabis usages. This is difficult but also exciting! We are having to create new and exciting ideas rather than relying on traditional marketing tactics to help our client rise above its competitors. 

Do you have any questions on the best way to market your product? Do you feel like it is impossible? Contact us for a free one-hour consultation! 

 

 

Digital marketing in the age of video

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Video marketing has become a driving force in the world of digital advertising. Recent studies have shown that 92 per cent of customer prospects consume online video, and that one third of shoppers will purchase a product after watching the video ad. Using video as a part of your marketing strategy can help you reach and educate audiences faster than traditional marketing tactics. See our recommendations below to ensure you are using video in the best way possible:

  • Analytics are your best friend. Use the data you collect from your web and social analytics to ensure you are targeting audiences that are most likely to engage with your content. Facebook also offers the option to re-target users who have watched a certain percentage of your video content. This is a great reminder for those who were intrigued by your concept, but perhaps didn't have the time or weren't quite convinced to convert into a sale. 
  • Mobile users are watching video more and more. If you interact with the majority of your audience via mobile, consider creating vertical-oriented video that fills the screen of the average smartphone (as opposed to landscape, which appears best on a desktop). In addition, consider adding closed captioning for those who aren't able to listen to a video with full sound. This is great for late night shoppers. 
  • Search engines love to promote video. These companies put a priority on video content, pushing you higher up in the rankings if you are consistently embedding your video content on social media, blogs and your website. 
  • Videography can tell a story. In just a few seconds, a video can show why a product or service is relevant, unique and necessary to purchase. Some of the most effective communication techniques can be incorporated into a video story line, plus it offers the visual component that will stick in a users mind as they continue on their purchasing journey. 

Do you have questions about how to integrate video into your digital marketing strategy? Or, are you looking to start creating your own content videos? Reach out to us today for a no-charge consultation. 

Five common website mistakes for small businesses

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Using poor quality or overused photos

Your website may be the first introduction a potential customer or supplier has to your company. High quality, unique photos make a strong first impression. Using generic, overused photos can make you look unprofessional, and influence your client to look elsewhere for a more aesthetically pleasing, modern and thoughtful brand. There are some amazing resources that provide free, community-created, high quality photos. Contact us if you want to know more about these!

Creating a website that is not mobile friendly 

The majority of potential customers will access your website on a mobile phone or tablet. It is great to have a stunning, easy to use website on a desktop, but if it does not translate to mobile, you are telling over half of your customers that you either do not understand the new technologies or you do not care about their web experience. 

Assuming that the longer the page, the better the site

It is important to keep content clear, clean and concise. The average attention span on a webpage is only three seconds, giving you limited time to catch your customer's attention. Often, we don't even watch full videos anymore and we have resorted to gifs, memes and images. Too much information can overwhelm your viewers and make them work too hard for information. Not only do long, text-heavy pages take more time and effort to create, but they are also not an effective use of your website. Instead of focusing on long text, focus on shorter pages that are search engine optimized. If you don't know how long your content should be, contact us and we can help optimize your content.

Under-planning your website

You wouldn’t want to walk into a meeting with a customer or supplier without a plan. You would be unprepared, and likely would not get the outcome you were looking for. Before an important meeting you want to research, plan, and decide which direction you would like the interaction to go. You need to treat your website like a first customer experience and ensure your plan of action is solid before jumping into building your website. We can work with you to develop this plan to resonate with your customers. 

Putting your social media icons on the top of your e-commerce site

This is a common mistake many organizations make. Having these icons on the top of the page encourages your audience to leave your page to go to their own social media account, where they can easily get distracted by competing content. Of course, connecting your socials is important, but within e-commerce it is more effective to put them on the bottom of the page so customers can visit them after they've interacted with your content. There are some exceptions to this rule, including small businesses that have built their strategy around social media marketing (bloggers, influencers and public figures). 

If you have any questions on how to make your website the best it can be, contact us and we can provide a full website audit and analysis.

The value of strategic positioning

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The competitive landscape of Alberta business presents a significant need for strategic messaging and positioning. Before you plan the launch of your business, it is vital to identify the role it will take within the market. This is where public relations comes in.

In reality, every business wears many different hats. From distribution and sales, to marketing and financial management, there is a great deal of information to be considered when developing the identity of your organization.

We have compiled some of our preferred tactics for effective positioning within competitive environments:

1. Start simple. A basic strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis can provide insight into both internal and external factors that can affect the success of your business. A SWOT can illuminate your unique value, giving you a foundation to build your strategic messaging upon.

2. Write a positioning statement. This one-sentence talking point is something you can build your strategy around. Be mindful not to write this is an insult to your competitors, but instead use it as a tool to prove why you deserve your clients’ business.

3. Write clean, clear and concise key messages. These will be your most valuable tool when promoting your business. Weave these messages into all forms of your communication so clients always remember why your business is unique.

4. Identify the audiences that directly influence your success. Your key messaging should be created in consideration of and targeted toward these groups.

5. Repeat, repeat, repeat! Start off each day with a reminder of your mission, vision and mandate. The better you know it, the better you can communicate it.

Are you looking for advice as to how to strategically position your business? Email us at marketing@rundlesocialsolutions.com to get started.

5 Effective Facebook Marketing Tips

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"Social media is not about the exploitation of technology but service to community. "

                               - Simon Mainwaring
 

Effective Facebook Marketing Tips

1. Target Your Specific Audience Using Facebook’s Targeting Features

Did you know you can find your target market on Facebook using demographics?

Facebook offers a feature that allows you to find your target demographic by utilizing the information users have on their page such as occupation, location, likes and interests. This helps you deliver the right content and the right time to help drive your customers deeper into your brand.

2. Optimize Your Profile Picture and Cover Photo

The first step to showcasing your brand using Facebook is creating an optimized profile picture and cover photo that will connect with your audience.

Make sure your profile picture is:

  • A high-resolution photo of your company’s logo or brand specific picture.
  • Sized down to a 180px x 180px square.

Your cover photo should be:

  • The same theme as your profile picture. This helps reiterate your brand with your audience. 
  • Should tell a story about who your organization is with pictures of products, services and other social media tags 
  • Sized correctly. Right now the correct size for a cover photo (or video) on Facebook is 815px x 215px.

3. Ensure you have a Consistent Posting Schedule

Consistently posting to your Facebook page helps get your audience into a rhythm. This includes both the times you are posting and what type of posts you are posting. Who doesn't like a good meme Saturday? This rhythm will help remind your audience to check in.

4. Schedule Your Posts at the Best Time

Facebook’s algorithm makes it difficult for companies to reach their full audience. This is because Facebook is constantly reshuffling content to ensure users have new content all the time but limits the organic reach of your company’s post.

According to industry research, scheduling your posts at 9 am, 1 pm and 3 pm (especially on Saturdays and Sundays) will give your content the best chance at getting the viewers you need.

5. Use Video To Attract Your Audience

The current Facebook algorithm pushes video content to the top of your audience’s news feed! This video content is important and is becoming a staple part of social media plans. We have the capability to do amazing video content with Calgary video professionals!

Social Media Tips: How to optimize your YouTube channel and increase engagement

Finding your Potential Audience on YouTube

YouTube can be a great resource for your company in hosting all your video content, but did you know it can also be a great way to attract new clients!? By creating and optimizing your YouTube channel, you can be seen as an expert in your field. YouTube is an important part of your online marketing plan for practically any company in any industry. Used efficiently, video marketing can help to build trust and establish an organization as having authority.

Did you know that YouTube is the second largest online search engine!?

Here are some tips to finding your potential audience and helping your potential audience find you!

  1. Search www.youtube.com for keywords about your topic. Filter the results by Channel so you can see the various users that utilize your specified key words.

  2. Look through the results for relevant profiles that match your target audience. Continue this for various keywords.

  3. Look at what kind of content has been posted in these channels.

  4. Start engaging with these channels content.

Much like Hastags, YouTube uses keywords to help your content be seen and place your content in the correct areas. Check out these tips to find the best keywords to increase the engagement and awareness of your brand. 

Find your Keywords with VidIQ

The VidIQ plugin for your web browser delivers detailed information on any YouTube video, that goes beyond what is publicly available using YouTube Analytics. You can see things such as a keyword research tool, historical analysis of any YouTube video and a video scorecard that scores how well your YouTube video is optimized. 

  1. Install the plugin to your Google Chrome Web Browser by following the instructions here

  2. Sign up for a free VidIQ account here

  3. Go to any video on YouTube you want to analyze

  4. View Tags for the video and how effective the tags are and make note of any relevant tags for your project. The more relevant tags you add, the easier your content is to find

If you have any more questions on optimizing your YouTube channel or creating exciting videos for your online presence, give us a call for a free 2 hour consultation! 

Rundle Social Media Tip: How to find the best hashtags for your business

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"Social media is the ultimate equalizer. It gives a voice and a platform to anyone willing to engage."

               - Amy Jo Martin
 

Hashtags are everywhere and are an important part of your online presence. The question we continuously receive is how should businesses use hashtags and which hashtags they should use to reach their target audience.

Click here to learn more about finding your target audience on Facebook.

In 2007, Twitter started to put a # in front of words or phrases to create groups. Then in 2009, Twitter listened to what their users wanted and created the ability to link hashtags. Hashtags took social media by storm on all major social networks, at events and even in movie trailers! The adoption rate of hashtags has been huge and is an important part of marketing in 2018. My younger family members now call the pound button the "hashtag button", man how things change!

When you create a hashtag on any social networks and your followers click it, it will automatically showcase all other public posts that include the same hashtag. This is incredibly valuable for a small business because it can expose your content to a wider audience that may have never been found otherwise. Hashtags give you a great opportunity to get your information in front of potential customers without the large cost of other lead generators!

Hashtags are great tools, but too many hashtags can hurt your engagement and can get you unfollowed by important customers. If you’re using hashtags to help your business, it’s best to hashtag the keywords that are related to your business and industry. It may be tempting to put 20+ hashtags on a post to get more engagement, and it might sound counter intuitive, but posts with more than three hashtags decreases the engagement of you post. Check out this graph for more information!

Let me guess, you are sitting there saying, "So Alyssa, you want to use hashtags, and I know they are important, but you shouldn't use too many. How do I meet that happy medium that actually pertains to my customer?" Don't freak out yet! Follow the simple steps below to find the hashtags that will be the most influential to your target market. If you have any more questions, feel free to contact us for a two hour free consultation on the steps your should take to make your social media to the next level!

1. Go to hashtagify.me

2. Enter a keyword or hashtag that relates to your organization or industry in the search field

3. Look at the relationship between the hashtags in the search results. This information will show you how popular the hashtag is, whether the hashtag is trending, related hashtags and the top locations it is used

4. Use this resource on all the social media hashtags you have in your social media plan to determine which ones will be the most successful! 

How-To Find Your Potential Online Audience using Facebook

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"Facebook was not originally created to be a company. It was built to accomplish a social mission - to make the world more open and connected."

- Mark Zuckerberg
 

In the changing way we connect with our audiences, one of the biggest complaints we receive is companies not being able to easily access of find their target market online. With our expertise and the extensive tools we utilize, we can make your online presence reach your target market 100% of the time. Check out this one tip on how to find your target audience using Facebook advertising! 

  1. Go to http://www.facebook.com/advertising/.

  2. Click the "Create an Ad" button at the bottom of the page.

  3. Log in to Facebook (create a new account if needed).

  4. Select "Send people to your website".

  5. Enter your website URL

  6. Scroll down to the "Audience" settings section in Step 2.

  7. Fill in information for Location, Age, Gender and Interests to select your target audience. Need help figuring out your target market? Give us a call!

  8. View the right column, under "Audience Definition" to see Facebook's estimate of the number of people on Facebook who fall within your selection. This is also known as "Potential Reach".

Want more information on how you can leverage this information to reach your target market? Give us a call or click here to book a meeting!

The Story

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Rundle Social Solutions was founded in 2018 by two passionate, public relations specialists with a love for their community. Having seen a need for marketing and social media in the entrepreneurial sector, Rundle began partnering with industry leaders to uncover their potential. Having both graduated from the Bachelor of Communication - Public Relations program at Mount Royal University, Lisa and Alyssa worked together during a number of community projects and within corporate communications at one of Calgary's leading oil and gas companies. Their synergy and shared passion sparked into a unique agency that continues to strengthen entrepreneurial industries Nanton, High River, Calgary, and beyond.