Carlos’ First Week Blog Post

A Little Bit About Myself

Finding the right career can sometimes be frustrating. Not all of us have a clear idea of who we will become after our studies. Figuring out on what we will be working on for the rest of your life can be intimidating. How are we supposed to identify the field of our career? Are we supposed to try everything out and work in every industry?

My name is Carlos. I recently graduated from Trinity Western University with a BBA in Marketing and Design, and like most of you, I have asked all the questions above. When I started my studies at TWU I was certain I was going to become an accountant. One year later I learned about stocks and moved into finance. After completing a Summer Internship in Finance, I realized I wasn’t meant for the industry, so decided to go back to school and specialize in marketing. My first marketing class was eye-opening. I questioned myself – what I had been doing with my life? Numbers were amazing, but creating stuff was awesome. Once I discovered I was a creative person I decided to enroll myself in various design courses and learn digital design, photography, and videography. I had never felt so at home, I was extremely excited that I finally found something I felt comfortable with, but most importantly something that I love to do. From that moment on, work was never really work.

My Perspective On Internships

After graduating from TWU I went to my home country, El Salvador. During my stay, I had the opportunity to complete a three-month internship at a local dental clinic (Orthoestetic Center). The internship focused on Social Media, and I was responsible for attracting possible prospects to the clinic. Throughout my internship at Orthoestetic, I learned how to use Facebook and Instagram paid ads to generate leads, something I had never done before. Internships are all about trying out new stuff, failing, succeeding, learning from our mistakes and most importantly, learning new things.

Personally, I believe that internships are what prepare us to be great, they provide guidance and help us identify our career. After my internship at Orthoestetic, I knew social media marketing and content creation was my thing, so decided to return to Canada and look for a full-time job.

Looking For A Job & My First Week As An Intern At ElementIQ

Finding your first job is certainly harder than I expected. For a moment I questioned myself if I was doing something wrong, or even if my skills were not good enough. It was frustrating to see how most “entry-level jobs” were asking for two or more years of experience. Yes… two or more years for an entry-level job. Something impossible for someone that graduated four months ago. After realizing that almost every entry-level job asked for two or more years of experience, I decided to once again, gain more experience with a second internship. This time, I had the opportunity to join an amazing team at ElementIQ. Many of you will ask, why a second internship? To be completely honest, I asked the exact question myself. However, the internship at ElementIQ wasn’t simply an internship, it was the best internship I have heard of, certainly one of a kind. Asking myself if I wanted to once again be an intern was never a question.

Day One At ElementIQ: Onboarding

My internship at ElementIQ began on April 1st of 2019 at 10:00 AM. I had never been so excited about an internship or a new job. My first day was full of meeting team members, learning about daily meetings, learning about weekly meetings, being overwhelmed, and my favorite part of the day – eating tacos for lunch. I spent most of my day with Andrea (Project Manager at ElementIQ), who introduced me to what my four months of internship were going to look like. With Andrea, I learned about time management and daily planning. Essential skills that will be useful not only throughout my internship, but my whole career. By the end of my first day, I felt excited and driven to grow while being part of an amazing team.

Day Two At ElementIQ: First Huddle Meeting

Day two of my internship was full of learning about the culture at ElementIQ. My day started off with a daily meeting at 9:08 AM. Daily meetings at ElementIQ are called Huddles and happen through a video conference. Those who are present at the agency gather around a laptop and start a live meeting with those who are working remotely.  Daily Huddles happen every day and start exactly at 9:08 AM. They exist to bring the team together and provide everyone with clear daily goals. Huddles follow a specific structure:

Wins – work-related and personal accomplishments of our previous day. Each team member shares a big win on a task they were working on the day before.

Blockers – reminders that call for immediate action on other team members that are preventing you from moving forward on a project or completing a task. Blockers are not used to call anyone out, but instead, serve as reminders to work on a task and speed up project completion.

Big Rocks – big tasks or projects you will be working on during that specific day. 

Chatter – open discussion of things happening at ElementIQ.

Share – a team member shares something with the team, usually a quote or something relevant to the agency or clients.

The rest of my day was full of meetings with different team members and learning more about their role at the agency and the roles they play with clients. Before the end of the day, I had a photoshoot with camera experts Stivian and Greg. We had lots of fun shooting and playing with lighting and cameras. Overall, an amazing day.

Day Three At ElementIQ: First Remote Day

Before joining ElementIQ, I had been working on some freelance projects where I would spend most of my time working from home. Despite the fact that I had already worked from home, my first remote day was still something new and felt somewhat different.

Remote days also start off with a Daily Huddle at 9:08 AM. To be honest, I was quite nervous for my first remote Daily Huddle. Unlike Daily Huddles at the office where all team members gather around one laptop, this time it would be more like a video conference with nine different members.

After my first remote daily Huddle, I worked on small tasks that different team members had assigned me the day before. My first remote day went really great, I had lots of fun working from home.

Day Four At ElementIQ: My First Small Project

As usual, day four started with our Daily Huddle. Team members shared their wins, blockers, big rocks and chatter. My fourth day at the agency was full of meetings with different members of the team. I met with Vikram to learn a little bit more about different accounts at the agency. I met with Joseph and learned how to properly use Teamwork, and finally, met with Stivian to work on my first small project. My first project consisted of opening social media accounts for a client and filling out the about us sections.

Getting involved with social channels for our clients was extremely exciting for me. In my interview, I mentioned I enjoyed working on social media platforms and creating content. Having the opportunity to get hands on was my highlight of the day.

Every Thursday we have a weekly meeting at the agency. Weekly meetings start at 4:00 PM and run until 5:00 PM. They are split into two main sections.

4:00 PM – 4:30 PM

Weekly Win – similar to wins for our Daily Huddles, we all share a big win for our week.

Numbers – We all share number-related accomplishments, such as increasing engagement by 70% on Instagram for a client.

4:30 PM – 5:00 PM

Deep Dive – a team member is in charge of conducting a thirty-minute presentation and activity of their liking. Ideally, both the presentation and activity should be related to improving the work we do at the agency.

Day four was really busy for me. However, right after the meeting I stayed and spent time bonding with the team and having fun playing ping pong.

Day Five At ElementIQ: Last Day Of First Week

Day five was a slower day. After our usual remote daily Huddle, I worked on adding my own tasks on Teamwork for the upcoming weeks. I also planned my meetings for the coming week and got used to using Google Calendar. After adding all my tasks and updating my calendar, I started brainstorming ideas for my first blog post. Later, I spent time getting to know more about our clients. I went over all our clients’ profiles, websites and social accounts.

My first week at ElementIQ as an intern was a unique experience. I learned lots of new things and made new friends. I am extremely excited to learn and grow with an amazing team.

Three Tips For Your Next Internship

As I mentioned before, there are countless reasons why internships are important. However, as interns, we have to be prepared to make the best out of such opportunities. After looking back over my first week as an intern, I came up with three tips that will guide and help you make the best out of your first or next internship.

Don’t Be Too Scared And Nervous

Losing sleep the day before your internship or feeling sick on your commute to your first day is unstoppable. Getting rid of such feelings is quite impossible. Sometimes, starting a new position can be intimidating and scary, making us act nervously and not think straight. The couple of hours before starting your first day will certainly be full of feelings, however, once you meet your new coworkers and settle down, you will feel more at home. Despite our nature to worry about the unknown, try not to be too nervous and too scared. Try to remain calm and confident. Remaining calm will actually help you to get to know your coworkers in a better way, and will help you to retain important information. Don’t forget to enjoy your first day, have fun and be the best you.

Make The Most Out Of Everything

Internships provide us with the opportunity to learn and grow. We can learn as much as we allow ourselves to learn. Internships will be full of challenges that push us to do things. Take on those challenges, even if you feel you aren’t fully prepared. Internships are made for us to learn from what went well or wrong. By trying, you will grow and develop new skills. Take every challenge and opportunity that comes your way, always be open minded and shine!

Be Confident In What You Have To Offer

Don’t be afraid of showing off your skills. New knowledge and skills are what agencies and companies need. Showing off your skills and contributing will make your experience better, but most importantly it will show your potential and the things you can accomplish. Feeling intimidated by the advanced skills that experienced coworkers offer is understandable. However, by not trying/failing and learning, you are limiting your learning experience. Never doubt yourself and be confident in your skills.

Conclusion

Internships are a unique learning experience. As an intern, make the most out of such learning experience. I have no words to describe my first week at ElementIQ. I was inspired to learn and grow, the culture at ElementIQ encourages me to always be my best. I am excited to be part of an amazing team and really look forward to what the future holds.

“Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow.” (Anthony J. D’angelo)

The Significance Of Work Efficiency

As humans, we have a limited number of hours each day to get our work done. No way around that. While we have no power over time, we do have control over how efficient we are. At ElementIQ, we work with a variety of clients in different industries, so making sure we put our best foot forward every hour is something we have to get right every time.

I sat down with our in-house Web Developer Kevin Hashimoto to discuss how he likes to tackle the challenge of maximizing your effort in a given time-frame. Take a look below.

Stivian: Hey Kevin, thanks for joining me today. You’ve had a pretty extensive post-secondary background so far, mind sharing what you’ve studied?

Kevin: I went to film school, business school and then I went into programming. I’m currently dabbling in design, so it’s been quite the range of experience.

Stivian: What do you like about development? Is it scratching that creative itch or getting to think strategically?

Kevin: A bit of both, actually. With development, it’s not so visual, but I love creating things from scratch. I’m a very do-it-yourself kind of person. If I need something and it doesn’t exist, I’ll just make it.

Stivian: Have you always had an interest in work efficiency?

Kevin: I think so. I’ve always wanted to work as efficiently as possible. It bothers me when things aren’t going as smoothly as they can be.

Stivian: Have you seen things at ElementIQ that could be more efficient?

Kevin: With ElementIQ, it’s more that everything’s always in the process of change. We’re continuously improving processes as we find them. There’s a lot to improve on, and there’s a lot that we do well.  

Stivian: What’s something you’ve seen implemented at ElementIQ that’s made a big difference in how we work?

Kevin: Me joining is one. *laughs*

I think how we structure our project management with Teamwork. Since we don’t have a dedicated project manager, getting organized with that tool has been keeping projects in order. If we misuse it, our communication gets disorganized and projects get chaotic.

On the design side, Invision has been really good. There’s a lot of tools inside of it that help with development workflows.

Stivian: How do you get ready for the day? Does your routine start in the morning or at night before work?

Kevin: I’m a night person, to be honest. I just work so much better at night. Somewhere from 10 PM to 2 AM is my sweet spot. My morning routine is pretty relaxed. I wake up and hang out for a bit until I get in the mood. I’ll eat some granola bars, drink a protein shake, check out Instagram and get to work. I’m not a morning person but I’ll get up and do what I need to do to prepare.

Stivian: There you go. I know you freelance on the side, do you find working at an agency 9 to 5 and working on the side to be difficult?

Kevin: Oh yeah, totally. Even if I were to be just freelancing full-time, it’d be really difficult because it’s so volatile and unpredictable. Juggling a full-time job at an agency and then freelancing right after that is pretty tough but I’ve got goals I want to get to, so they keep me going.

Stivian: Nice, what are some of these goals?

Kevin: I’m launching my own branding agency, and my other goal is working fully remote, preferably on a beach somewhere.

Stivian: That’s the dream. What’s the Pomodoro technique? I’ve heard you mention it before.

Kevin: It’s a technique where you work for 25 minutes at a time and take a 5-minute break, and so on. The urgency of the timer keeps you focused because you know you don’t have a lot of time. I find I’m more focused throughout the day with the 5-minute break in there. It’s a good power-hour.

Stivian: I guess you could call it a power-25. How do you like to spend your 5-minute breaks?

Kevin: I like to get up, get a glass of water and walk around a little bit. I don’t want to be in front of my computer waiting for the 5 minutes to expire, as I need to refresh my brain for the next session.

Stivian: Have you been using this technique for a while?     

Kevin: A little while, yeah. I’ve been experimenting with different times blocks, just because development has a different workflow. I tend to work for longer than 25 minutes at a time.

Stivian: What are some of the challenges with being a web developer compared to previous jobs you’ve had?

Kevin: Thinking ahead is a big one. You need to structure how you develop things ahead of time. You need to make things scalable and maintainable so you’re always considering the future when building.

Stivian: That makes sense. What does the ideal workflow set-up look like to you?

Kevin: In terms of development, I like to have the design finalized before I touch development, just in case things change because I have to go back and re-do my work. Getting everything finalized before actually building anything is ideal, and it’s what we’re in the process of standardizing here. On the design side, you want the scope of the project before you get to work. Having clear steps detailed before getting to work makes for smooth projects.

Stivian: At ElementIQ, we work two days of the week from home. How do you find remote work? Do you find yourself more productive or focused with the extra time to rest?   

Kevin: Honestly, it’s a mix. Some days I feel more productive, some less. Some, I’m more focused, others not so much. I find the flexibility to work at my own pace and catch up after 5 PM a bonus. It’s also a little more relaxing working from home. Some days I go to a café, grab a warm drink and some pastries and work from there.  

Stivian: That sounds pleasant. What do you think are your best habits that have resulted in professional success?

Kevin: Being straight to the point, and not too humble about things. When you sugarcoat some things, your points might not get across at times. I used to be pretty humble and sugarcoat everything, just because I wanted everyone to like me. The way this comes back to efficiency is if you want things to change, you can’t sugarcoat them.

Stivian: I agree. I think it’s important to acknowledge the difference between dishonest harmony and being truthful for the sake of productivity. Were you a disorganized person before? Did you have to work hard to develop good habits?

Kevin: I think I was pretty disorganized. In terms of school, I never liked it so I was disorganized from the beginning, but my accumulation of experience and experimenting with different methods has brought me to where I am today.

Stivian: Do you have any advice for people who might be disorganized and are trying to build good habits?

Kevin: Every person is different. I’d suggest exploring different methods of working and finding that zone that you’re comfortable in.

Kevin has recommended this video series from InvisionApp that goes over workflows for design teams, a must watch for anyone involved in design projects!

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Three Things I’ve Learned About Myself As A Digital Marketing Intern

camera and laptop on a desk

I’m just over a month into my internship at ElementIQ, and I’ve gone through some pretty big changes as a person in that time.

First off, this has been my first “real adult 9 to 5 job”, so that’s come with its own set of realizations. After having spent the last two years in film school, and the years before that working construction, landscaping, retail, and every other entry-level, no experience needed job out there, for the first time I feel like I’m on a promising career path. That’s pretty exciting (to me, at least). 

While I was expecting professional growth, I’ve also run into some changes that go deeper than my skillset.

#1 – I Had To Become Organized Or Fall Behind Fast.

very organized library
This is what my brain had to become.

Admittedly, I’m not the most organized person. Never have been. I’m more of a ‘leave it until the last minute and get everything done in an anxiety-fueled manic sprint’ kind of person.

My college years involved more 4 AM nights than is even remotely healthy for an individual. While this method worked and got me through the program with half-decent grades, it wasn’t something I wanted to continue, mainly for the sake of my own health. (Do you know how dangerous lack of sleep is? I didn’t until I looked into it. Now I’m terrified of not getting enough sleep. Start here.)

If there’s one way working at an agency differs compared to working for a brand, it’s the amount of work you’ll be doing for a variety of clients. While I learned to juggle a variety of projects at BCIT (and our course load was no joke), it’s a whole lot different when the work you’re putting out is affecting someone’s bottom line.

Disorganization just doesn’t cut it in an agency environment. To stay on top of your workload, you need tools. One of the biggest eye-openers was when I got introduced to the various project management and task tracking platforms we use. I was nervous seeing what it would take. I’ve never been this organized, and I knew I had to adapt quickly or fall behind and jeopardize myself.

So I did. I killed the old, disorganized me, and boy, it feels good.

I’ve been doing my best to be disciplined and log all my time, stay ahead of late tasks, and get help when I need it. This has also directly affected my personal life, as I’m becoming a more organized person. I used to be known in my friend circle as the guy who’s always late for everything, but now I come to work 20 minutes early most days and I love it.

#2 – Imposter Syndrome Is Real (But I Might Not Actually Be One).

“Imposter syndrome can be defined as a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success.”

Our current team is six people, plus two remote specialists. Each person brings such a different skill set, that in unity, we’re able to cover a lot of bases. Given my film school background and very minor education in digital marketing, I knew there were some things I could bring to the table, but I still wasn’t sure how I was going to fit in the puzzle and be a valuable team member.

What if I’m not good enough to do the job?

I was pretty nervous to see how things would play out, but those feelings were laid to rest when I sat down with Vikram on my first day and was shown my roadmap.

The first 8 weeks consist of a different mentor teaching you a new area of digital marketing each week. After each 101, you’re quickly assigned to work on a client project, utilizing what you just learned. Jumping into work that is meaningful (and affects a clients’ bottom line) has been incredibly fun. This approach is a fantastic way to figure out what you like and what you’re good at early on.

The second half of the internship is more intensive, as you decide on your primary and secondary responsibilities and take on a pet project of your own. While I haven’t gotten there yet, I’m excited to lead a creative project and really hone in on the type of marketer I want to become.

I honestly think ElementIQ has a really unique internship program. You’re doing meaningful work (I still haven’t gotten anyone coffee), and are spending a lot of time learning. It’s essentially school with real clients. I’m excited to watch myself grow and see how I can contribute down the road.

#3 – My Opinion And Creative Direction Is Encouraged.

white guy drawing on white board
This is not me. We just look similar.

I love strategy.

I love sitting down, auditing a brand, and coming up with creative ways to tell their story.

I’ve had the chance to sit down for a few strategy meetings with colleagues so far, and each time has been remarkably mentally satisfying.

Best of all, when I have an idea about how something could be improved, not only do I feel like my opinion is welcome, but if it’s a legitimate solution to a problem, it gets implemented.

I’m a big believer that discussing tricky subjects is better than dishonest harmony (though I also give better advice than I follow). It’s fantastic when egos can be put aside and critique is encouraged for the sake of better work.

I feel I can really grow as a marketer at ElementIQ, due to the fact that I’m actually trusted to experiment, try things the way I think they could work, and own the results. There’s always help if I ask for it, but I have the freedom to take ownership of tasks as I see fit.

Is there a better, more efficient way to approach something we do often? I can go ahead and create a manual for that. Is there an outdated page that could use a touch-up? I’m free to tackle that myself.

There are many ways to step up to the plate and take projects to the next level. At its core, it seems that many of ElementIQ’s foundations are built on pillars of self-initiative.

As I mentioned earlier, I come from a blue-collar background where you’re usually waiting for someone to tell you what to do all day. Giving employees the freedom to approach situations as they see fit is a fantastic policy that has only boosted my confidence in my own skills, both in and out of work.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a mentally stimulating career that isn’t going anywhere, consider digital marketing. With all the noise that’s generated every day, the ability to create content that people care about is becoming increasingly valuable. Learning how to do that is my obsession, and I’m forever thankful ElementIQ is taking a chance by giving me a shot.

The Importance of Call Tracking

What is call tracking, and why should you care?

You’ve probably heard that call tracking is important for your business, but why is this the case?

Online marketing campaigns typically drive traffic through multiple channels, such as paid search, email marketing, and social media. These channels work together to drive people to your website, where they can take any number of actions.

As a business owner, you want these people to eventually become your customers. However, when they reach your website, this probably won’t happen right away. Instead, they might show their interest or try to do more research before determining if your business best addresses their needs. Only then will they hand over their hard earned cash.

To understand and improve your marketing efforts, you need to be able to clearly visualize what is working for you and what isn’t. You need to know what activities are causing people to show more interest in what you have to offer, as well as understand their behaviours and how your internet presence can influence these behaviours.

One way of capturing marketing data is by tracking content form submissions. Almost all websites with contact forms will automatically track them. So why don’t we do the same for calls?

Despite the fact that we are living in an increasingly digital area, people are still calling businesses, especially when they’re interested. In fact, the number of calls to businesses is only increasing as smartphone capabilities improve. Phones now, making it easier to call a business than ever before. As well, according to digital marketing expert Neil Patel, calls convert 10 to 15 times more often than web leads.

If you don’t track calls, you are losing valuable data. Calls are far more important than you think.

How Does It Work?

Call tracking provides you with data that shows which marketing efforts are driving calls to your business. In fact, if you don’t track calls, you might not be tracking up to 80% of your conversions. Without accurate conversion data, you can’t appropriately allocate resources towards your most effective marketing efforts. You’re basically throwing money at all sorts of channels, with no idea of which ones are giving you the best ROI. You won’t have any idea which pages, tactics, and campaigns are effective and ineffective, as you will only be seeing part of the picture.

Check out this handy infographic we made to visualize how this works:

To track calls from different sources, digital marketers use something called dynamic number insertion. What this means is that your leads will see a different phone number to call, based on the channel and geographic location they are on. All of these numbers will lead back to your actual number, so the visitors will contact you directly. However, the usefulness of this is that you will receive data about the referring URL, search keywords, landing pages, and ads the caller came through. As well, the tracking code will remember the original channel for each visitor, so they will see the same tracking number each time they visit your site.

When Is It Useful?

Unlike traditional marketing, online marketing has the ability to clearly demonstrate which activities are yielding specific results. When you have this information, you can then make adjustments as needed and optimize your activities.

Imagine you’re working on an email campaign for your business which redirects visitors to a unique landing page. There might be a form on there for visitors to fill out, but there might also be a phone number at the top. If you only track the form submissions, you’re completely missing data about the email campaign. You won’t know how many people called your business because of that specific email. Call tracking will give you that data so you can see how successful the campaign is, and learn and make improvements for the next email campaign you do.

Call tracking can track calls from a wide variety of platforms. If someone calls your business from directly accessing your website, an ad campaign, Google My Business, or even from Yelp, you will know and be able to see exact data. This data will then allow you to better understand your consumers, drive conversions, and help your business flourish.

5 Easy Social Media Hacks To Better Engage Your Audience

Social media is a frequently overlooked realm of digital marketing. It tends to be an afterthought in business, with leads and immediate results as a priority. The truth is that your presence on social media is essential in modern marketing.

Your social accounts are like your digital business card. They represent what you want to reflect as a brand. They may not produce instant results or sales, but they are part of a larger concept of creating brand awareness. Social media is a company’s key to promoting their personal image and interacting with organic traffic.

They are a front-line for interacting with existing customers and potential leads. Your social accounts have the role of welcoming new users in, as well as pleasing and entertaining existing customers. The role of social media in marketing cannot be overlooked. It is a powerful tool for advertisement.

With that said, social posts, especially when there are multiple companies involved, can be very time-consuming. When you incorporate things like paid search, it becomes a full-time job to monitor social accounts, to be sure they are growing and doing well. Here are some easy hacks to quickly and efficiently jumpstart your social media campaign.

1. Schedule Social Posts In Advance

Scheduling your social posts is necessary. Especially if you are running more than one social account. The key to staying organized and on top of your accounts is proper planning in advance.

Keep a spreadsheet or document where you can plan out your social posts for the upcoming week. Designate specific roles such as content creation and copywriting. There are a variety of different tools that can help you schedule your posts:

HubSpot 

HubSpot, the inbound marketing tool for small to large businesses makes it easy to organize and schedule your posts on all social media platforms. HubSpot also notifies you when you receive comments or messages on your social platforms, so you won’t miss a thing.

Buffer

Buffer is another social media management tool. It allows you to schedule content, link to analytics and sync with multiple accounts, so you can ensure your posts are coordinated. Buffer can be used for all social media platforms.

Grum

Grum is a scheduling tool used specifically for Instagram. It allows you to switch between multiple Instagram accounts and schedule posts and captions.

These tools and many like them help to organize and align your social media plan. They give you a tangible way to control the timing and consistency of posts. They also give you insight on optimal posting times.

2. Adopt A Theme For Your Social Media Accounts

The highest ranking social accounts in marketing these days all have a certain theme. This theme accurately represents the brand and the content they want to be associated with.

Look at RedBull for example – the energy drink is associated with more than simply staying awake. They sponsor athletes and extreme sports competitions around the world. This commitment to action is reflected in their social accounts. They display the idea that drinking RedBull does more than energizing, it promotes individuals to go that extra mile and live an active life. Their social accounts attract younger target audiences with photos that all follow the brands’ theme. The social accounts play a large role in creating this consistent image for the company.

Just like this example, it is very important to have a specific audience that you tailor your content towards. This helps you determine what themes you would like to use. Arrange your posts in a theme that accurately reflects your brand. You can analyze your target market to gain insight on what they like to see. You can also do competitor research in order to set your brand apart.

Helpful Tools For Social Themes

Some great editing and planning tools that help to quickly and visually improve your social accounts include:

Canva

Canva is a very straightforward design app. It lets you quickly create beautiful images and promotions. You can also pick from pre-made templates and stock images for inspiration and practical use.

VSCO

VSCO is a mobile photography app that lets you design custom filters for your images. It is an interactive platform where you also have the opportunity to share a gallery and interact with a community of photographers. This app is useful if you are looking to create a unique or signature filter for your images across social media platforms.

Unum

Unum is one of the most straightforward planning tools for Instagram. It allows users to upload images to a mock gallery to see how they fit with your Instagram’s theme. The app connects to your account and displays your existing gallery, as well as blank spaces where you can upload images to see how they fit with your gallery visually. Unum also has a scheduling feature, so you can plan and schedule your gallery to post consistently.

A themed social media account is becoming less of a stylistic preference and more of a necessity. You want your accounts to reflect your professional abilities and your brand. You need to tailor your accounts and adopt a theme that’s consistent throughout for easy brand recognition and association.

If you are not sure what type of theme to adopt, check your competitor’s accounts. Look at other successful pages and draw inspiration from that. Chances are, you have a similar buyer persona, that will be attracted to the same style. Pay attention to what your followers post, and post things that would be relevant, attractive, and useful to them.

3. Be Consistent – Manage Brand Reputation

In the vein of creating a consistent image, ensuring external factors don’t negatively affect that image is also important. Have your brand guidelines in mind when you create social posts. Use specific colors or logos so that your viewers are able to associate your posts with your brand easily.

Manage your digital reputation carefully. Unfollow or block unsavory accounts. You want your followers to be organic and interested in your profile because they are interested in your brand.

Delete unwanted comments and block spam users. No matter what kind of business you are, there will always be a time when you encounter negative feedback. Take the time to create a plan for reputation management on all social accounts.

Clearly outline content that you want to be posting, sharing and associated with, as well as users and content that you want to stay away from. It is also important to note that you should have complex passwords for all of your company social accounts and change them frequently.

The biggest part of social media brand reputation management is ensuring your image stays far away from negative associations. You want to connect with buyer persona’s, people interested in your brand and filter out internet trolls and spam accounts.

These accounts can tarnish your online image. You can add a watermark to your content or your logo, to ensure it isn’t being used by others on the web. Having a clean and positive digital image promotes credibility towards your brand, and builds trust in your potential clients and customers.

4. Be Interactive Online

One of social media’s core benefits is that it’s inherently interactive. It is easy to connect with people when they have inviting images and a theme that projects your interests. Be approachable online, and know that social is a great place to generate leads. People connect with your image and message you.

Use Automated Messages

It is very common, especially if a user really likes one of your social accounts, for them to message you as a business. This is done directly through social channels via comments or private messages. If you notice this happening frequently, and you have a lot of private messages on multiple social media accounts, it is a good idea to employ an automated system.

This automatic reply can be pre-written and it assures the person interested in your brand that their message has been received and they will have a chance to connect with a human soon. This saves you time so you can prioritize responses for those who are messaging. Facebook has this feature built in and you can choose to enable it in your messaging system.

Facebook has an automated reply option on the platform, but you can also generate your own through external apps.

Hold Contests and Secret Sales

A great way to reward your dedicated followers on social accounts is by hosting secret sales, only accessible by social media. It is also a great way to get noticed and get your name shared with others.

Depending on what you are looking for, you can have followers share a photo and tag your company, or use a company hashtag to indicate everyone participating in the secret sale or benefits. Contests create a sense of community while promoting interest and excitement about your brand.

Run Polls

Polls allow you to gain greater insight into what your users like. They are also much more direct than simply observing user behavior. With polls you can ask your users what they like, fun questions to get them involved, or simply inspire conversation amongst your followers.

Respond And Interact With Your Users

Interact with your users directly on social media platforms. Test your knowledge of your buyer personas and use what your followers are posting and saying to help add insight into what they like and what they are interested in.

Your followers will identify with you more as a brand if you are always on their minds (or phones). When you personally reach out to connect, be it through liking other photos, commenting or responding to comments, you promote direct interaction with your brand. You make your followers feel welcome and heard, they will look at you more as a friend than as a brand.

5. Track Change And Monitor What Does Well

It can be difficult to know exactly how to manage your social accounts right off the bat. It is best to monitor your progress over time.

Base new posts on posts that have done well in the past. Use the process of trial and error to experiment with your posts, theme and subject matter and see what content does well. Get feedback from your viewers both directly and indirectly.

Hold a poll to determine a new online theme, or simply observe which posts perform best and why. Perform competitor research and look at what is trending, as well as ways to stand out.

The best way to perform well online is to be observant. If a particular one of your posts is doing well consider investing in ads and promoted posts. These boost your reach to viewers who may be interested in your business.

Social media mastery isn’t learned overnight. Due to its ever-evolving nature, some might argue that constant change and experimentation is the key to getting ahead with social media marketing. Use the platforms to your advantage and get your brand involved in social media.

Why Does Google Rank Some Sites Higher Than Others?

You often hear business owners saying “I want to rank first” for their targeted keywords. That is because on average, 71.33% of searchers click on results shown on the first page. Page two and three get only 5.59% of clicks. And on the first page alone, the top 5 results account for 67.60% of clicks.

So from a business perspective, potential customers are much more likely to find and choose your business if you rank highly on Google.

How do you get your page to rank highly on Google’s Search Engine Results Pages (SERP’s)?

Google uses about 200 search ranking factors in their algorithm.

The overall goal with all the different ranking factors is to deliver the most relevant search results for a given search. By finding the “best” content and delivering that to users, Google will not only be satisfying the searchers but they will also be keeping themselves as the preferred search engine.

More satisfied users, means more traffic on Google and the more Google can charge to advertisers.

To tailor your website to be perfect for every one of the 200 different ranking factors a lot of things would need to go your way. Instead, it is most efficient to focus on the most important ranking factors.

Which ranking factors does Google consider to be the most important?

How can you optimize your website to rank highly for these factors?

Continue reading to find out!

1. Content

The most important ranking factor for Google is the content on your website.

Google has bots that go through every page on the internet. These bots are often called “crawlers”. As they crawl the World Wide Web they index, or save, all the pages into Google’s database.

Then, when you search something in Google, Google scans all these pages using their algorithms to evaluate each web page and then gives you the best results.

So naturally, the content on your site is what Google will look at first.

There are a few different aspects of content that are important to consider

Length

Pages with more content do better than pages with ‘thin’ content. Algorithm updates like Hummingbird and RankBrain are all about optimizing search results to match the searcher’s query. This means that for the query to be answered an in depth examination of one topic in easy to understand language will rank first.

Keyword Usage

Throughout the pages, it should be clear what the page is about. It should also be focused on one central topic. This can be done by determining the keywords you want the page to rank for then creating the page around those keywords.

Use keywords in the H1 text and in the body. Your keywords should come naturally, if you’re talking clearly on the given topic. If you are talking about “Apples”, then the word “apples” will appear in the H1 and Types of Apples, How to Eat Apples and so on will end up being the sub headings.

Correct use of keywords will make sure Google knows what the page is about. But make sure you are not engaging in “keyword stuffing”, a term for unnecessary usage of keywords. Keywords should always flow easily in the paragraphs and be logically placed.

Comprehensiveness

Good content is important but it is also important for that content to be easy to understand for the user.

Correct usage of H1 and H2 text is a good way to tell Google (and the user) what your page is about. Subheadings can also make the page easier to read by sectioning your post.

Using multimedia is another great way to improve the user experience. So include image, infographics, and videos wherever applicable.

2. Backlink Profile

To measure a page’s legitimacy and credibility, Google will evaluate a page’s backlink profile. A backlink profile is made up of all the different sites with links pointing to your site.

How does Google make backlinks a measurable signal? It is done by evaluating the level of quality your links are and where these links are coming from, amongst other factors. Specifically, the number of backlinks, link authority and diversity.

Number Of Backlinks

The more sites you have linking to yours the better. Having links pointing to your site from great sites indicates to Google that your page is socially verified as a useful page. People view your page as relevant and credible enough to link to it on their site.

One thing to watch out for when trying to increase your backlink profile is spam links.

Because the number of backlinks is a ranking factor for Google there are a lot of black hat SEO sites out there which create pages for the sole purpose of getting backlinks.  However, Google has noticed this problem and taken action against it by prioritizing other link factors like quality of the links.

When Google crawls the web it marks pages that have a lot of outbound links and few inbound links as spam sites. Being associated with such sites will negatively impact your page.

In fact, in 2012 Google released the Penguin Algorithm Update. Penguin was designed to better catch sites attempting to inflate their search ranking position with spam links. Specifically, those doing so by buying links or obtaining them through link networks designed primarily to boost Google rankings.

Link Authority

The number of links is important. But what is equally, if not more important, is the quality of those links. Link authority will be determined by the authority of the domain linking to you. Domain authority is evaluated by looking at the number of links pointing to a site and the quality of those links.

The more links you have coming into your site (inbound links) the higher your domain authority will be. Links from pages with a high domain authority will have more weight than those from pages with a low domain authority.

Spam sites usually have a low domain authority so checking the domain authority of the pages linking to you is a good way to make sure you don’t have any spam links pointing to your domain.

Diversity

Google will typically only count links coming from the same domain once. So even if one domain links to you 5 times those links will carry less weight than if 5 different sites linked to you.

The primary thing to focus on will be getting links from a number of different domains. Also to focus on getting links from domains covering a variety of industries.

How To Optimize Backlink Profile

The first step to optimize your backlink profile will be getting your backlink profile.

At ElementIQ, we use the MOZ Open Site Explorer and Ahrefs to evaluate backlink profiles. This is a free and easy to use tool. It will tell you the domain authority of the site you are evaluating as well as all the inbound links.

If you are link building, checking your competitors SEO link profile is a great way to see what you are up against. It is also a great way to get ideas of websites and blogs you can reach out to for link building.

If you are working on link building, this blog post by Kissmetrics is a great resource.  

3. Mobile Optimization

Google is always working on improving their algorithms to make sure search results are as relevant as possible. Today, more than half of Google queries are coming from mobile devices. So it is logical for Google to be paying more attention to how sites function for mobile users. This was the premise for Google’s new “mobile first” version of indexing.

Up until now when Google was indexing sites they came from a desktop perspective. Now, they will be going through the web from a mobile perspective first and desktop second.

When building your site it is important to make sure it is responsive and optimized for mobile users first and desktop users second.

Additionally, the content on your website should be the same for desktop and mobile

How To Optimize For Mobile

Use Google’s Mobile-Friendly tool to test your website. The great thing about this tool is it will tell you how a Googlebot would rank your site, not just how users view it.

4. Page Speed

Page speed ties heavily into a good user experience and is an important ranking factor.

The rule of thumb is desktop websites should load in 3 seconds or less, and mobile websites should load in 2 seconds or less.

Page speed also affects other ranking factors such as the page bounce rate.

How To Optimize For Speed

You can evaluate your website’s mobile and desktop page speed with Google’s Page Speed Tool. This tool will also recommend ways to make your website faster so you can get started on making the improvements necessary.

Other Ranking Factors

These are just a few of the many different ranking factors for more information on some of the other ranking factors take a look at this infographic from Search Engine Land.

Ultimately your goal should be to make yourself visible to potential clients. As the digital world becomes increasingly important to how customers find businesses having a top position in SERP’s is a great way to increase leads.

Good focused content will be rewarded and the rest is improving your technical skills.

ElementIQ Partners With The Sharing Farm

BURNABY, BC  — ElementIQ will be contributing 1% of annual sales to support The Sharing Farm, a non-profit organization that helps grow food, farmers, and community through its various programs.
“We were so excited when we heard that ElementIQ wanted to partner with us for 1% for the Planet,” said Sarah Drewery, Executive Director of The Sharing Farm. “We are a small organization with limited funding and this contribution really makes a huge difference, enabling us to carry on growing nutritious food to donate to families in need.”

This is all part of ElementIQ’s commitment to give back to the community.

In April, ElementIQ officially joined 1% for the Planet, pledging to donate 1% of annual sales to support a non-profit organization focused on the environment.

The Sharing Farm is a community farm that produces food for those less fortunate in Richmond. In 2016, The Sharing Farm donated 20,500 pounds of produce to neighbors in need through community meals and the Richmond Food Bank.

ElementIQ has already begun its contributions and will also be doing a team-building volunteer day at the Farm in August. Stay glued to the ElementIQ blog for updates on this exciting new partnership.

ElementIQ Unveils New Name, Logo And Brand

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ElementIQ is a new digital marketing agency with an approach that is more specific and less vague, more accountable and results driven.

The Origins Of ElementIQ

The ElementIQ name stems from Search Engine Land’s Periodic Table of SEO. It comes from the realization that there are numerous channels (and sub-channels) under the digital marketing umbrella that a business can invest in and grow from. Within each channel (and sub-channels) are singular elements of digital marketing, which together comprise an entire channel.

For example, in the digital marketing channel of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), there are two notable sub-channels, onsite and offsite optimization. Within those channels are literally hundreds of elements that are important.

It’s important to know that, depending on your business industry, target market, geographic reach, and other factors that not every channel may work.

That’s where the IQ or intelligence of our team comes in. We’re experts, we know what will and may not be right for you. Consider us a member of your team. We’re as motivated as you are to grow your business.

A New Agency, A New Refined Outlook

Our past has taught us, and our future will define us. Since the beginning in July 2010 as ‘LocalTrifecta’. We have more seasoned professionals with a plethora of knowledge and experience in the digital marketing industry. We have more certifications and success stories.

Rather than focusing on the ‘trifecta’ of Search Engine Optimization, Paid Search Advertising and Local Search Marketing, we’ve expanded to include Content Marketing, Social Media, Analytics, Marketing Automation and Conversion Rate Optimization.

Best of all, we have more delighted clients who have seen their businesses grow significantly with us as their digital marketing team.

A Changing Industry

The ways in which consumers search and consume have also changed. This is reflected in search engines. So naturally, Google and its 200+ search ranking factors drive what we do and how we look at the world of search. We’re on top of algorithm updates as Google spits them out. It’s a function of any good agency.

That means some of the ways we Attract, Convert, Close and Delight have also changed.

With this new outlook for our new agency, we know that there is at least one notable constant: Our commitment to doing the best possible work for our clients and being the best in the industry.

We have always committed ourselves to being thought leaders in the digital marketing space in Metro Vancouver and the direction of ElementIQ reflects that.