The Westmark Group Blog

A blog, short for “weblog”, is an online journal or informational website displaying information that relates to certain subjects. Blogs have become a significant part of a business marketing strategy over the past decade. Blogging allows you to provide quality content to your audience. In addition, it is a very effective way to enhance your company’s SEO or search engine optimization by linking relevant keywords to your website.

Blogging allows your company to boast its vast expertise within your industry. Blogging also brings your company more exposure within your target market. And blogs gives you the opportunity to rank on google with relevant topics related to your business and industry. But how does the length of your blog copy impact your company’s online exposure?
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In 2019, the use of Instagram and video in digital marketing campaigns is crucial. These digital marketing campaign trends are soaring due to their simplicity and visual appeal. In addition, there are a three more top marketing campaign trends emerging that should be considered as part of this year’s marketing strategy.

Considering Voice Interaction 

While voice-first technology is currently in an evolutionary state, experts predict it will and already has had an impact in the digital marketing industry. Talking to Forbes, Michael Dougherty, the CEO of Jellian audio advertising platform, said, “The goal of any marketer is to establish a genuine connection with customers. Voice is their chance to get one step closer.” Based on this,  businesses should begin strategizing in anticipation of the rise of voice interaction. (more…)

Every year the digital marketing industry advances with new technologies and marketing strategies. These marketing trends help your organization or agency optimize to give you and your clients the boost you need to reach goals. Here are a few of the top marketing trends emerging this year in the industry that you can use to optimize your marketing strategy:

Instagram is the New Facebook 

The Numbers Don’t Lie 

Although Instagram is owned by Facebook, its’ aesthetic and tools are exceedingly different. Since its inception in 2010, the photo-centric platform proved to be more popular with younger generations. Seven out ten people ages 18 to 24 use the app. Today, 800 million people log into Instagram once a month and 500 million once a day. And compared to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn, that number is significantly increasing each year. Research firm eMarketer predicts Instagram will reach 927.9 million users by 2021. (more…)

The Rise of Influencer Marketing 

While scrolling through your feed, you might notice a popular media personality showing off the new lipstick she “swears by”. Makeup masters from all over trust her opinion when choosing their new Saturday night lip color. Thus, investing in this influencer to endorse your latest lipstick would create a large reach over the market.

Influencer marketing is one of the most significant and effective digital marketing strategies. Not only can it be one of the cheapest forms of marketing when compared to TV ads and billboards, but it’s a great way to reach your target. A social media influencer is someone who has established credibility with a large following and persuades consumers through their authenticity. While establishing trust and brand awareness with your consumer’s social media, influencers can also increase your company’s overall ROI. (more…)

Technology always finds a way to evolve, simplifying our lives and giving us more opportunities to grow our businesses.

For commercial and residential real estate companies, it has never been more crucial to keep up with the times. Keeping up with latest trends means customer retention and more potential buyers. It’s time to crack down on real estate marketing.

Here are some quick tips to help you keep up and continue to grow.

  • Get Mobile-Optimized (as soon as possible). An astounding number of people have traded in their old desktops for the latest smart phones and tablets. A study done on Facebook showed that by 2017, 51% of people were using their cell phones for all of their online transactions. So make sure your website is mobile-optimized, and create an app if you haven’t already.

 

  • Get Involved. A study in Adweek predicted that people spend over five years of their lives on social media. Five years! People are on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter every single day, and it’s a part of their routines. As a real estate agent or agency, social media is one of your best friends. Brand yourself. Mingle with the online world. It will bring in clients and it will make you more personable.

 

  • Get Private! With everything that is bought and sold online, people are becoming more and more conscious of their privacy. The Washington Post Conducted a study in 2014 that said 7 out of 10 business practices do things that put people’s personal and financial data at risk. You can avoid this by protecting your clients with updated software and making sure your site is secure. Look to hosting companies for help if you need it.

February has been cold, but thankfully with the right relationships you can fight that bitter chill still hanging around! The Westmark Group is proud of the relationships it has formed working with businesses, and we’d love to introduce you to one of those businesses as they provide the fuel and equipment needed to keep your home comfortable!

With our February feature we’re going to introduce you to OSI Comfort Specialists. The company was originally founded in 1936 in Rockaway Beach by Mr. Levi. This was during the Great Depression, a time when neighbors helped neighbors out as best they could. It was during this time Mr. Levi was known to carry oil in snowdrifts to his customers homes. The business was in the blood and as time passed Mr. Levi’s son, Irving, joined him in the business. This continued with Irving’s sons Martin, Richard and Alan joining the businesses as well. When Richard’s son, Michael, joined OSI he became the 4th generation of family to become part of the business.

OSI Comfort Specialists success is based on 70+ years of experience, the high standards they set, investing in expertise and hiring the right personnel for the company. Their vision and understanding of new technologies allows their customers to have the best advantages for their home comfort needs. From utilizing the most modern equipment and the best maintenance practices their customers can consume less fuel while enjoying the most comfortable homes. Along with equipping your home with the right equipment OSI Comfort Specialists will also maintain it, deliver your fuel automatically, guard you from unchecked costs while also providing price protection and service plans.

The OSI Comfort Specialist team is comprised of technicians who are courteous, knowledgeable, thorough and neat. They are highly trained and install equipment to meet the standards set forth by the manufacturer ensuring optimal performance. Your home comfort needs will be greatly exceeded when using OSI Comfort Specialists.

We are grateful for the relationship we have formed working with OSI comfort Specialists over the past few years. The dedication to their customers and the high standards they set in the business are bar none. It is a pleasure to work with them and watch their amazing business continually grow! Be sure to check out their website to learn more about OSI Comfort Specialists, especially if you are looking for home comfort services and energy products!

January is off to an amazing start, and a major part of that is because of the amazing businesses and people we get work with! The Westmark Group is proud of its relationships formed with these businesses. We would love to introduce you to one of those businesses and share who they are with you!

For our January feature, we’re going to introduce you to Bregman Veterinary Group. Originally starting out in the 1970’s in Coney Island, it was there that Dr. Jack Bregman opened his first small animal practice. You could say practicing veterinary medicine runs in the family blood as sons Eric and Allan eventually followed in their father’s footsteps. Through their hard work, passion and dedication to providing the best care possible, they have built a foundation of great relationships with pet owners and their furry patients. Over the years this passion for care has grown to two animal hospitals in New York, two in Florida and two nuclear facilities.

With their growth, Dr. Jack Bregman has moved on to practice at their Florida locations while  Dr. Eric and Dr. Allan are still here in New York. Dr. Eric Bregman is a certified Radiation Officer and is licensed to administer radioactive iodine to treat feline hyperthyroidism. He is currently the Alternate Delegate to the American Veterinary Medical Association representing NYS and is active in the New York City Veterinary Medical Association. Dr. Allan Bregman is a Category II USDA Accredited Veterinarian and is well versed in performing and documenting International Health Certificates. Dr. Allan serves as the treasurer of the New York State Veterinary Medical Society. He is also a member of the Executive Board of the New York State Veterinary Medical Society. In addition Jack, Eric and Allan are all USDA Category II veterinarians.

We are honored by the relationship we have formed working with Bregman Veterinary Group over the years. The dedication to their clients and love they have for providing unprecedented care for animals has made it a pleasure to watch their practice grow into what it is today! Be sure to check out their website to learn more about Bregman Veterinary Group, especially if you are looking for a veterinarian!

livestreaming

The beauty of social media is the ability for all of us, the users, to generate original content. With the development of live stream video rolling out across a variety of social platforms, another world of creation has been born. From Facebook and Instagram live video to Snapchat Stories, it was recently reported that 89 percent of people who watched live streams have watched content from brands at least once. For brands, this way of connecting with the consumer is raw (think behind-the-scenes footage) and innovative. While Facebook Live is touted with being the most popular

platform for people to view live video streams on, other social platforms – both owned by the social media giant and standalone apps have taken note. Below, we review the various live streaming platforms.

 

Periscope: Periscope was created solely as a livestreaming app. You could argue they were ahead of their time when the developers introduced Periscope, but since the introduction of the below livestreaming services, Periscope failed to update with the changing times. The app started out at number 23 on the overall iOS app charges this past January, but currently sits at number 441. Owned by Twitter, Periscope lacks the easy-to-use features. The app has failed to maintain momentum largely because after it was acquired, the apps ability to remain independent of other social platforms was lost. This in turn caused Periscope to have no user base to build off, and instead was just an added feature for Twitter users. It is entirely up to Twitter to reinvigorate Periscope, who can be credited as one of the first apps to enter the livestreaming space.

 

Facebook Live: The only thing you need to do to “go Live” is your phone and a good internet connection. Part of what makes Facebook Live so appealing is how easy it is to stream a video. With little effort, you can record anything. If you “follow/subscribe” to people your friends with or one of the brands you have “liked” on the social platform, you’ll receive a notification when the person has gone live, and you can tune in simply by clicking the notification. For example, as we write this, we’re watching CNN’s livestream Eagle Cam in Southwest Florida, as we wait for two eagle eggs to hatch, all because we follow CNN on Facebook. What’s also neat about Facebook Live is that your livestreaming content is available long after you have shut down your camera. You can go back and look at what’s been recorded live whenever you want. In the event that your audience wasn’t able to see the content live, they too can go back and look at what was recorded. That, in a nutshell, is the beauty of livestream – you can watch a variety of things in real-time.

 

Instagram: Instagram rolled out live-streaming on their app just last month, but already it is taking over live content creation on mobile.  Unlike Facebook live, the content you livestream for your followers is gone once the user is done recording. The content will completely disappear altogether. While Instagram has been largely known for copying many of the features Snapchat is credited with creating, it doesn’t seem to be hurting the company for lack of original creativity Maybe

 

Snapchat: You can’t livestream using Snapchat, but we’re including it here because Snapchat has been a large part of the evolution of user-generated content. Instead of going live, you can create a series of content that can feature videos and images, and will play in a loop. While this content isn’t live, similarly to instant content that is livestreamed, you cannot edit your photos or videos once they’ve been published to your followers. For the immediate future, Snapchat plans on remaining as a photo/video sharing app, but there are rumors that the company plans to make livestreaming part of their app. From a brand perspective, there is the option for companies and the like to be featured in the “discover” page of the app. From here, brands can better target their audience by reading the data that suggests what users look at through the app.

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Interface of Snapchat’s Discovery page, courtesy of Tech Crunch.                                  

From TV to live streaming, we as consumers have been trained to watch a screen. Livestreaming is quite literally at our fingertips now, which makes what we watch and what we record instantly accessible. Since live streaming via social platform was introduced, we have seen monumental growth across all platforms offering the feature. Whether you use it to stay up to date on the latest brands, tune in for the breaking news aspect, or simply use it to livestream your child’s first steps, we’re positive social live streaming is here to stay.

 

customerserviceWe have all experienced the frustration of calling a customer service hotline only to “interact” with an automated person – sometimes for over a half hour. It is a nuisance when the problem you’re dealing with can’t be solved through an automated technology, and frankly, it’s annoying when you try several times to get through to a real person and fail. What happens next?

For Millennials, who hold close to $200 billion in purchasing power each year brands will continue to go out of their way to be there. For instance, when the item doesn’t work as it should, a package doesn’t get delivered at the right time, or an account issue comes up, brands utilize social media to resolve the issue. Plain and simple, social media has taken customer service to an entirely new dimension.

Recently, an employee of The Westmark Group ordered a salad from Sweetgreen, a popular salad chain. When she got back to the office to start eating her salad, she discovered the one thing no one likes to find in their food – a hair! She immediately took to Twitter, mentioning Sweetgreen in the tweet that explained her problem (even including a picture). While this might seem like putting too much effort toward an issue that frankly, happens more often than we’d like to think about, Sweetgreen immediately responded via a private message to begin resolving the issue

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A swift 10 minutes later, the issue was solved. Our employee found herself in a pleasant conversation with the person on the other end of the screen and mentioned that she had been a Sweetgreen customer for many years. The customer service representative immediately followed up the discussion with crediting our employee $15.00, in addition to asking for her address to send a little something extra. All of this for a hair in a salad might seem a bit out of the ordinary, but it’s really genius. The customer service representative was trained on how to handle what was a very public tweet, in a professional and unique manner. A few days later, our employee received a handwritten note and a Sweetgreen t-shirt.

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You might be asking yourself, why are we telling you this story? This is but one of the many examples where social media connected a person to a brand they already had a favorable attitude toward. Instead of the relationship being sabotaged because of one bad experience, their use of social media saved the brand from losing a loyal customer. As a business owner or employee of a brand, you never want to have issues between your products and your clients, but it happens, that’s the reality. Should you find yourself in a similar scenario, where you are instructed to provide the solution, remember what it feels like to be on the frustrated end of the problem. One person’s problem can give your brand the opportunity to not only save the day, but create strong brand loyalty if it is handled right!

spendingsocialmedia

Social media is paying off. Those are the findings of a recent study performed by Forrester Research Inc., which show that 76% of retailers are planning to spend more on Social Media Marketing this year than they did last year. The findings demonstrate that social media, which many may dismiss as trite or unnecessary, is actually growing faster than any other digital marketing strategy.

The sudden upswing in investment is most likely a result of new-and-improved advertising options, like Facebook’s dynamic ads option, which allows retailers to advertise products that are available in a user’s local area. Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter have also made tremendous strides this year, both in number of users and improved updates.

As for SEO, the report suggests that it will also see an investment boost this year, but not as much as social media will.

So, why are organizations from Denny’s to NASA deciding to invest more on social media? We have a few ideas:

  • Improved customer relationships: Social Media allows brands to demonstrate a clear, genuine commitment to customer satisfaction. By promptly replying to questions, addressing concerns, making relevant jokes, and engaging with their audiences, brands can convert simple customers into die-hard brand advocates.
  • Increased audience reach: A lot has changed in the marketing world over the past century, but word-of-mouth is still one of the most powerful selling tools in existence. Customers trust each other far more than they trust corporations, and are therefore far more likely to make a purchase based on positive referrals, reviews, and posts. Likes, shares, reblogs, and retweets can help spread the word about your brand like wildfire, which will convert into cold, hard sales.
  • Better brand performance monitoring: Social media allows retailers to discover what customers are saying about their products, their brands, and their competitors, uncensored and unimpeded. This allows marketers to keep their fingers on the pulse of the ever-shifting conversation about their brands and address concerns as they arise.
  • Highly customizeable ads: Social media ads, like those on Facebook, can target users according to highly specific factors such as location, education level, industry, purchase history, and “liked” pages. When your ads are only being shown to those who already have an interest in what you have to offer, they are far more likely to convert into solid leads and sales.
  • Cost-effectiveness: In terms of ROI, Social Media offers an astonishing bang for your buck. For example, a boosted post on Facebook may cost $0.12 per click, when it could cost $1 or $2 (or even $50) on Google AdWords, depending on the keyword used. When such a minimal investment can reap a huge payoff, it’s no wonder that more and more companies are upping their Social Media investment.

If these aren’t enough reasons why your company should invest in social media marketing, don’t worry; we’ve got more. If we’ve managed to convince you, give us a call. We have the skills, knowledge, and industry experience to craft a Social Media strategy that truly converts and grows your business.