I know our brand needs to get in on this social media thing, BUT…

“It’s confusing.” “How do you know which pages to join?” “I DON’T KNOW WHAT I’M DOING!”

If this is how you feel about social media, I understand. Branching out into an unfamiliar area is scary, especially if you’re unsure about taking the next step. However, if you don’t take this step, you and your brand are going to be left behind.

It’s no secret that social media is on the cusp of world domination (I’m joking, of course). The role social media plays in our daily lives is a big one and its influence is growing. Social media provides avenues in gaining the attention of your audience that traditional mediums simply can’t deliver. With this being the case, it’s extremely important for brands to develop a solid social media strategy. With new tools and platforms constantly emerging, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with the entire social media process. However, with the right focus and attitude, creating your own “social space” can benefit your brand in ways you could never imagine. Here are a few things to consider when embarking on your social media journey:

1)      What is your objective? The best social media strategies have a goal in mind. For instance, do you want to drive sales, increase awareness, attract a following, etc.?

2)      Create engaging content. Think of social media as a two-way communication model. This is your opportunity to communicate directly with your audience and their opportunity to communicate with you. Post questions, surveys and other items that will elicit a response. In this moment, you have the attention of your audience; make good use of this opportunity.

3)      Respond in a timely manner. If a follower has taken the time to comment on a post, or send a private message, respond, and respond quickly! This is your chance to make a great first impression!

4)      Listen, Listen, Listen! Your audience will give you a good guide on what they want to see and learn. Ask for their feedback.

5)      Do your research. Research your options. Learn about the platforms, and decide which are most appropriate for your brand. Don’t hesitate to ask for help!

6)      Set targets and measure performance. It’s important for a brand to measure social media performance. How do I gauge success? Some key performance metrics to track include:

–          Shares of social media conversations

–          Social media following (Is your audience growing?)

–          Reach: Is your content engaging? How many people are seeing your messages?

–          Overall engagement: Are you getting likes, comments and shares on Facebook, re-tweets on Twitter, pins on Pinterest, etc.

Now that you and your brand are ready to take the social media plunge, keep this in mind – “Brands should focus more on how to BE social, and less on how to DO social media.”

Stop and Think.

I once saw a poster on display in the “creative pen”, at an advertising agency that had retained my superior abilities, and knack, for running errands. At the time, I passed the poster everyday without regard, a proverb without much meaning, as seen on walls anywhere and everywhere, generic and typically ignored. The poster was that of an art director sketching feverishly, at a drawing board (yes it was THAT long ago), crumpled paper tossed about. A few pieces had made it into a trashcan beside the art director; most however, were dashed about haphazardly on the floor. Floating above a few of the discarded crumples were illuminated light bulbs; some brilliant in their color, some fading into the ether. The headline simply read, “Haste Makes Waste.”

To this day, that poster still stands out in my mind. As I’ve progressed in my advertising career and gained many experiences during my journey to become a creative director, I’ve seen more examples of that poster than I care to admit. At times, I’ve been that art director with great ideas scattered about due to my full panic in the moment. Other times I’ve been a silent witness to many wonderful ideas’ slow demise.

The one element all occurrences had in common was a lack of ability to focus due to, what at the time, was a crushing pressure of an oncoming deadline. A deadline that overwhelmed an ability to think properly. And yes, deadlines are real, even necessary, but if only in those times of panic we‘ll remember to slow down and imagine our idea a little further along we might just save ourselves some time and bring to life an idea otherwise lost to the ether.

In the end, there are lots of exceptional ideas out there, dazzlingly brilliant light bulbs just wanting to be brought to life. Unfortunately, most of their lights will be extinguished simply because in times of self-imposed panic we tend to lose sight and focus on the wrong object.

Einstein once said, “If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.” He was a much smarter man than I…

Develop a High Performing Online Ad

As the Advertising Coordinator at Midan, I develop advertising schedules for our clients each year. Through my years of experience, I’ve put together some useful tips for online advertising.  First you must ask one of the most important questions in advertising:  “who is the target?” In order to effectively market, you must know your audience.  The following tips will help you develop a successful online advertising campaign.

Know your target
An advertising campaign will not be successful without knowing your target. Become familiar with your target – know their age, ethnicity, geographic location, habits, behaviors, likes, dislikes, etc.  Ask questions like:

  1. What online publications does the target read?
  2. How frequently do they read them?
  3. Do they participate in social media?
  4. What “language” do they speak?

Do your research
Reach out to potential publications and ask questions to better understand who they are reaching. Here are a few questions to get you started:

  1. What is the best performing ad space?
  2. What day has the highest performing ads?
  3. What is their online editorial calendar?

Develop compelling creative
Develop compelling creative that speaks to your audience.  Ads should always include a call-to-action; a strong one gets clicks, which is important if you want your target to learn more about the product or service you are offering.

The imagery is the first thing people notice. Use strong visuals that relate to your product. Bold, bright, clear images will have a positive impact on your click-through-rate (CTR).

Make sure your ads are linking to appropriate landing pages. If your ad is talking about “Product A” and you’re linking them to “Product B,” there will be a disconnect.

Test your creative
Developing ad variations is a good way to test different messages or images that speak to your audience. It’s important to refine your ads when something isn’t working, in order to achieve the best results.
Here are some variations you can try:

  1. Test various call-to-actions (i.e. Click Here, Try Now)
  2. Test words that speak to your audience (i.e. Free, New, Exclusive)
  3. Test people and product images

Measure your results
Request an online advertising report from the publications after each campaign. Compare this report to the traffic on your landing page. These reports will reveal the value of your campaign. It’s also helpful to know the publications’ average CTR of the space you advertised in so you can compare your ads performance to the average.

Track what works and what doesn’t. Don’t be afraid to try something new. Rotating creative is essential to keeping your audience engaged and making your campaign more effective. I hope these tips will help you develop a successful online advertising campaign.

 

Kristy Finley, Advertising Coordinator
Also known as the “Photo Shoot Coordinator Extraordinaire”, Kristy is responsible for ad placements in trade publications and online.  She helps to make sure every detail is perfect in our mouth-watering, professional meat photography.

Point of View: Millennials

By Rebecca Riddle, Jr. Art Director


I am a Millennial. One of 80 million. The generation born between 1980-2000, Millennials compose the largest generation in American history. Yes, we are larger than the Baby Boomers. In three years, we’re forecasted to outspend them. We may not be your target audience now, but soon, we might be your bread and butter. Are you making an effort to reach us?

We look very different from previous generations. Only 60% of us are white. For many older Americans, this statistic is uncomfortable, but for Millennials, this diversity is normal. Race isn’t a big issue for us. A fellow Millennial Jess Rainer describes this view in his book The Millennials, “We know racism still exists. We know injustices still take place. But our world is so different from the world of the Baby Boomers. When I read about the racism and the Civil Rights Movement, particularly in the 1960s, it seems so distant.” He continues, “For us ethnic diversity is normative… [We] rarely describe someone first by their skin color or by their ethnic origin.”

We are a diverse group within ourselves. No stereotypical Millennial exists. However, common themes have impacted large segments of us. One such theme is the idea of making a difference. Jess and Thom Rainer’s research found that “nine out of 10 Millennials believe it is their responsibility to make a difference in the world.” Whereas Baby Boomers were “self-absorbed and narcissistic…three out of four Millennials believe it is their role in life to serve others.” The idea of “paying it forward” has made impact on us. We want to live great lives, not in terms of wealth, fame or power, but in terms of making a great difference. As the largest generation in American history, we have the power to do so.

The grocery store will soon feel our impact. Jefferies and Alix Partners has a study called “Trouble in Aisle 5” that signals the challenges and opportunities grocers will face as their main audience transitions to Millennials.  One transition point is the appreciation of diversity in food. Millennials are “much more willing to try different types of cuisines.” Since most Millennials consider ethnic diversity as normal, our willingness to try different ethnic foods is a natural expression of ourselves.

A lot of research is being done to accurately understand Millennials. Get to know us. What you find may surprise you!

If you’d like to learn more from “Trouble in Aisle 5,” the entire report is posted here.

If you’d like to read more from Jess and Thom Rainer’s book, you can find it here.

Rebecca Riddle, Jr. Art Director
For over a year, Rebecca has been helping to make Midan and its client look good.  She lends her graphic design skills to a range of print, online advertising and digital marketing projects. 

A Look Inside The Meat Industry

photo credit: grist.com

By Meredith Collins

Never in a million years did I think I would be working for a meat marketing company in my hometown of Stateville, NC.  I had never taken an ag class, but rather was interested in English, journalism and communications. Growing up, I had some exposure to agriculture with both my grandparents operating farms, but I was never directly involved.

In the almost five years of working here at Midan, I have learned so much about the meat industry, and I want to share a little inside scoop with you. A lot of these thoughts aren’t rocket science, but just little ah-ha moments I have had that may help you to better understand the meat industry!

More than a Job – It’s a Passion

A few years ago, I interviewed ranchers who raise cattle for a natural beef brand – Open Prairie Natural Angus® beef . In talking with these ranchers, I learned they are so passionate about what they do. This is not just a job, but a lifestyle. I clearly remember having a light bulb moment when asking one of the ranchers, Fred Wacker, about animal welfare and humane handling. He explained that of all people, he cares the most about how the animals are treated, because the stress they endure is directly related to the end result of the meat harvested, and whether it will be tender or not. Not caring for an animal properly would be like spending thousands of dollars planting a crop and then not doing anything to take care of it. Ranchers are passionate about what they do and take great pride in caring for their cattle.

It’s all in the Family

Our Midan team recently had the opportunity to visit Kempfer Cattle Company, a family-owned 25,000 acre ranch in Florida. I was again reminded on this visit that working in the meat industry is not just a 9-5 job – it’s a constant thing, it’s a lifestyle that involves entire families. You can’t take a vacation whenever you want and you may be called with an emergency in the middle of the night. We visited with Billy and Reed (fourth generation) and Henry, George and Jimmy (fifth generation). They talked about having their children and grandchildren help out on the ranch too. For the majority of the year, the only people working on the ranch are family, and they actually have brands created specifically for each family member. They are doing their best to set up success on the ranch for generations to come.

Everybody Knows Everybody!

It didn’t take me too long in working at Midan to realize that in the meat industry, everybody knows everybody! Between our two principals and others who have worked in other positions in the meat industry, when we go to an industry conference, everybody knows us. At one of my first conferences, I was able to tag along with Michael, one of our principals, and was amazed at how many people he knew and how many connections there are. It’s really a small world!

We have a Daunting Task

There are a lot of people who enjoy a thick, juicy steak, and want to continue to be able to purchase a steak at an affordable price. Alternatively, there are other people in the world who may only get rice with beans as their source of protein. With growing populations and limited resources, the meat industry has a daunting task of continuing to provide meat to feed the world. It’s vital to nutrition and health. The meat industry is working hard to adopt the latest technology and advancements so they can continue to provide nutritious, affordable protein to the world.

There are many more aspects of the meat industry I am not able to cover in just this blog, but I hope this helps you to get a glimpse of the meat industry! I encourage you to post anything you’ve learned or any questions you have in the blog comments below! Thanks for reading!

Finding Your Voice: Writing that Resonates

You never know when you are going to be inspired by the written word.

I recently read a great article written by Tom Hanks that was a tribute to his friend, Nora Ephron, the well-respected author, screenwriter and director. Ephron, who passed away from leukemia in June, directed Hanks in the movie “Sleepless in Seattle” in the early 90’s. Following that initial collaboration, the two developed a long-standing friendship. [Read more…]

Simply winning their heart, forever

I went on this date with a guy in college. The first thing I noticed was the huge name tag stuck on his forehead. I was about to point it out when he started telling me about all these different skills he had. He could chop wood with one arm, run a mile under six minutes and could draw ligers 1. He also saved a cat from a burning building. Before I could get a word in, much less a thought, our date was over. He had such a good time and was devastated when I turned him down for a second date. [Read more…]

The Midan Makeover

If you are friends or followers of Midan on Facebook® or Twitter®, you know that 2011 was a tremendous year of growth for our company!  Over the past 12 months, the Midan team nearly doubled; we added seven smiling faces with extraordinary talent.  Our market research and creative teams grew in both numbers and expertise.  We also changed some seats on our Midan bus to allow internal members who are very good at what they do to become even better developing other skill sets. Yes, 2011 was quite the year!

When we started the Midan journey [Read more…]

Define Your Target: Develop a Brand Persona

Do you ever feel like you have a target on your back?  Even if you’re not aware of it, you’re likely a target for dozens of consumer products.  Major companies spend a lot of time and energy thinking about who will buy their products.  Age, gender, income, and lifestyle are just some of the factors that companies consider when they target a market demographic and create a product for it.

To get tuned into the mindset of consumers they aim to influence,    companies sometimes develop a “brand persona” for a product – a personality created to embody the characteristics of the brand’s target customer.  A persona essentially becomes the imaginary target consumer for the product – it brings a brand to life. [Read more…]

The power of design

Last week I walked into Dick’s Sporting Goods® and was elated by their selection of Nike® Tempo Track shorts. There were so many colors and patterns. In a matter of seconds my mood changed from complacent to ecstatic. I was inspired and eager to be the best athlete in the world. I knew when I put on that running gear I was no longer ordinary me, but transformed into a super-fast, incredible athlete. I could achieve anything!

Isn’t it fascinating what a brand can do? How it makes you feel? What it makes you believe? The loyalty it creates? [Read more…]

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