The Arland Group is a boutique creative agency. We want to ask you an important question. Would you rather work with people who want to work with you? Or, would you rather work with people, who work for people, who make them work with you?

Facebook’s New Optimized Ad Options

by Joshlyn Polk

20 April, 2015

In an effort to give more companies the competitive edge, Facebook has announced plans to incorporate new product ads–a potentially lucrative new ad unit poised to benefit brands as they seek to reach large audiences on the biggest social media platform.

In the past, a solitary ad in a campaign would be delivered to the audience at large. Brands will now be able to run multiple ads in the same campaign with different targeting and maximize the performance of their efforts! Instead of a one-size fits all approach, companies have an increased chance of upselling products or appealing to consumers for which the original ad may not have been relevant. This translates to big opportunities for added revenue and is also friendly to the media-buying budget.

Large-scale advertising on Facebook has been difficult to master for small to mid-sized businesses but with the introduction of this new ad option, more brands will be able to take advantage of the endless potential of this new promotion practice.

Click here for more information »

Newest Content Marketing Expert Makes His Mark

by Kyle Gunning

7 February, 2014

I specialize in social media and content marketing and I come to The Arland Group with a background in anthropology, sociology and psychology. If you were thinking that means I’ll be mentally analyzing people and things going on around me, you’d be right. As creepy as that sounds, it’s what I think makes me effective at my job. It’s called applied anthropology. I try to take the theories of anthropology and the other social sciences and use them to understand and solve practical problems. Claude Lévi-Strauss, Erving Goffman and Ilana Gershon are where I pull most of my ideas and theories.

When Facebook and Twitter emerged, the term we used for them was “social network.” This was by no accident. Social networks are a topic explored extensively by anthropologists since the 1800s. Every user on Facebook, Twitter and the like are actors in this play or structure in society. Whether we want to admit it or not, our actions in this structure are quite predictable. We have less control over these interactions than you may expect. From trending topics to social advertising to “trolls” sending hateful comments: it’s all something that anthropology can help understand, predict and hopefully solve. That’s what I’m here to do and I’m very excited to be the newest member of the TAG team.

Our Attention As Currency

by Ryan Pattie

19 December, 2013

Advertising always has been part of our culture and economy. Companies gain business by reaching out to us and drawing us in. In recent years this process has become much more ingrained in our daily lives, as more of our lives exist through online interfaces, which are easily infiltrated by advertisers.

From the moment we become aware we begin to craft our resistance and develop a selective blindness to things in which we are uninterested. Ads are in more places than we realize, but we train ourselves to ignore them. Advertisers must become innovative and evolve to shift the viewers’ attention.

Our attention has become a currency in recent years. We often are given the option to pay for fewer or no ads, whether it be in between songs on an automated music streaming service, short commercials before videos, or in banners and pop ups on websites.

Through these ads, services like Facebook and YouTube also are able to stay free, while supporting themselves by selling ad space. In this way, we gain something from being advertised to.

Using our attention as currency (whether it is our choice or not) has nothing to do with your financial status. The playing field is leveled because everyone has as much attention to give as anyone else. Every human being has the same attention to give as the next.

The question is, what is our attention, energy and time worth? To advertisers it is worth quite a lot, with corporations spending millions upon millions of dollars to create widely distributed ads. But, what is it worth to the viewer? A 10-second ad on YouTube might seem like a nuisance, and the ads on the side of Facebook might distract and interfere with your feed, but a constant bombardment with content claims stake in our minds, the way we think, the way we see people, ourselves. Should we have more control over what we are seeing? In some ways it seems we’re paying not only with our time, but with our outlook on the world. Advertisements propel and influence the culture they are speaking to, and it’s a one-sided conversation. It might be a concern that so much information and influence in our culture is being provided by entities that do not have the general public in their best interest, but rather the bottom line.

The system is evolving, and advertising always will have it’s place in developed society, but an awareness of the ethics of advertising will hopefully lead to a positive role for advertisements in the future.

Facebook, Foursquare and Yelp Provide Useful Consumer Tools

by Alyssa Stahr

5 July, 2013

foursquare-twitterWe’ve been checking in one way or another our entire lives—with mom after we make it to our friend’s house on our bike—with our college study group partners on our gathering place—with our colleagues for after work meetings or happy hours.

Social media has elevated check-in status to a whole new level with mobile apps like Foursquare and Yelp and Facebook’s simple check-in button. Now, everyone can know where we are at all times with the push of a button. This may be a scary thought, but checking-in can be a positive, useful tool.

Checking in via Facebook probably is the easiest route to take, and friends can be “tagged” if they are with you in that location. It’s a great way to let friends know where you are and where they can meet up with you. A word of advice when tagging friends—ask first. In today’s day and age of little to no privacy, some people simply don’t want that kind of detection.

Foursquare was developed in 2009 and allows users to check in to certain venues via mobile devices. Foursquare takes things a bit further, as you can indicate exactly where you are inside of a building. Users also can add tips to the venue check in for other users to read. Did you have a great meal at your latest restaurant check in? Tell your friends about it on the spot. Earned badges and points for checking into venues and mayorship for most check ins at a venue add a game element to Foursquare.

Yelp, rating and review site is a useful consumer tool when looking for a rating or recommendation in your area. If you want your voice to be heard loud and clear when checking in, Yelp is the way to go. And, users can make restaurant reservations ahead of time via Yelp, adding even another convenience factor to mobile access.

Remember, when checking in, a certain amount of privacy is lifted. Use checking in and rating and review power responsibly.

The Hashtag: The Little Engine That Could

by Alyssa Stahr

21 June, 2013

small-business-marketingPressing pound for more options no longer works solely on the telephone. Now, the pound sign with the more-popular moniker—hashtag—is everywhere. Even Facebook has joined the hashtag game, perhaps as more of a “everyone else is doing it so we should too” factor than something that was a target on Facebook’s wishlist.

This little symbol is clearly a powerful tool. It somehow infiltrated one of, if not the largest social networks of our time that was never designed to have a hashtag. It’s so powerful that users misuse the sign daily, just as an excuse to insert it into their content. Let’s take a look back at the hashtag’s short journey into stardom.

The first use of the term “hash tag” was in a blog post by Stowe Boyd, “Hash Tags=Twitter Groupings.”

According to hashtags.org, the first hashtag was used by Chris Messina, a social technology expert, way back in August 2007. His Twitter post read, “How do you feel about using # (pound) for groups. As in #barcamp?” The purpose was to gather discussions and online exchanges regarding Barcamp, a worldwide gathering. Since that first Tweet, the hashtag soared and became more than a search function tag, despite that being its initial intended use. Twitter began introducing “trending topics” on its home page in 2010, giving a shout out to hashtag themes that were popular that day.

A symbol that is supposed to label groups and topics, however, quickly became used (or misused, however one looks at it) in other areas as a way to denote feelings or context. Facebook was a common victim of this happenstance, because there was no way to search on Facebook using a hashtag—until now. Thanks to various platforms that sync with Facebook, namely Instagram, the migration of the hashtag to Facebook was inevitable.

No matter how you use your hashtag, this mighty little symbol has changed the face of social media forever. #amazing

Job Searching Starts with a Strategy

by Ryan Stene

12 June, 2013

Although I am fortunate to not have been a job seeker for many years, I have many colleagues, friends and family that were affected by one our country’s most difficult economic tragedies. I have had the opportunity to help some of them in their job searches. The most important thing that I have stressed is building the foundation, which is the strategy. I believe that the strategy sets the tone and will make you or break you in your success—which is ultimately getting hired.

Throughout my travels, I have narrowed it down to six key points.

  1. Prep Work: Is your resume updated, clean and well-done? Do you have an online presence?
  2. Research, Research, Research
  3. Stay Focused—track your progress; go offline for at least 90 minutes of the day.
  4. Build Your Network. Are you online or building your network? Are you being social on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn?
  5. Practice: Work on interview questions, your body language and be prepared for last- minute changes.
  6. Follow Up

Prep Work: When it comes to prep work it can be in various levels and context. The first place I would start is “are you online?” We live in a digital “Web 2.0” world and recruiters live fully submerged in this world. They are going to Google you. Don’t think they won’t. When you Google yourself, what comes up? Is there something that you don’t want your mom to see? If nothing comes up with your name, then you have some work to do … get on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Be intentional online. When I Google myself, Friendfeed.com, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Plaxo all appear in the top seven search results. If you need some help revamping your online image, check out this article. Create an email address that you can take home to mom.

If you need help your with resume, research resume writing services, blogs and career development classes. See if a friend will share it with his or her human resources department and get feedback—they will know a good resume from a bad one; they look at millions of them a year. As your resume is your first impression, it is key to your job search. Go to Monster.com or a CareerBuilder.com for assistance; they have tons of content. Monster.com Cover Letter & Resume Articles

Research, Research, Research and Then Research Some More: Research is very important to the job search; it tells you what the market is like and who is hiring. So when you begin to go to a Monster.com or another job board to look for opportunities, take advantage of tools like job agents to push opportunities to you. Before applying, Google the company and review your connections on LinkedIn and Facebook to see if any know someone at your company of interest. Look at their careers page and gather as much information on them so that you can make a sound decision but also have knowledge for when you apply. Tailor your cover letter and resume to the ideal requirements of the job. It also will help you come interview time. Create a saved search on Indeed; it will help you save time and become efficient.

Stay Focused: It is crucial in a search that you stay focused and positive. Track your progress, where you’ve applied and the responses you’ve received. Work your job search like you would a job. Take breaks, go to lunch and most definitely get offline for at 90 minutes (workout, gardening, cleaning)—this will help you clear your head and remain refreshed.

Are You Online or Building a Network?: Recruiters are spending a large amount of their time online—if they tell you differently, they are lying! So, if they are online, then you need to be. There are so many thought leaders and perspectives on what is a good online presence, so it is all about what you can manage or handle. I personally spend my time on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. When it comes to social networking, I consult my dear friend Paul DeBettignies. He has some great webinars and content. Just have fun with it and experiment!

Practice: Just like when you were growing up and were playing a sport, the only way you got good at it is with lots of practice. The same applies to interviewing. Practice in front of the mirror with your 30-second elevator pitch about you and your particular skills that will make you asset at “x-company.” Go out and get some frequently used interview questions or ones that will make or break your interview and practice with your spouse, neighbor or even your dog. Create a “last minute” interview kit for one at home and one in your car. There may be a case where you are out running errands and they want you in today to interview. This could give you a leg up being prepared and not having to tailor an interview to your schedule.

Follow-Up: Follow up can be the last deciding factor in a selection process. Invest in some thank you cards; follow up with an email not just thanking them for their time, but restate why you are good fit for the role and the company. Also, ask them if they are any unanswered questions that they want answered. Connect with them on LinkedIn—they may not hire you now, but you may want to connect with them in the future.  Ask for feedback.

STAY POSITIVE, there are going to ups and downs, good times and bad, but if you get defeated it is going to show. Good Luck!

 

 

 

 

 

Social Media and Strangers: The Changing Face of Interaction

by Charlotte Muscroft

7 June, 2013

For generations parents have warned their children not to talk to strangers. This advice is solid for those who contemplate accepting candy from windowless vans, but with the abundance of social media in this present day, is this advice still realistic?

According to Facebook research from Nov. 20, 2011, 4.74 degrees separated the users of Facebook. This suggests that strangers are not completely strangers, as 4.74 friends of friends connect you to someone on the other side of the world. And, I’m sure that number is even higher today.

Even parents that share this advice have broken their own rules. Today, many parents met each other online as strangers. According to a University of Chicago study, 35 percent of married couples that tied the knot between 2005 and 2012 met online.

Although it can seem quite scary that via social media a great abundance of people can see you, read your thoughts and see what you ate for dinner, social media provides great opportunities for people across the world to find others who can make their dreams a reality.

When looking for jobs, in many instances it is not what you know, but whom you know. Having a connection on the inside can help a job seeker more than a great cover letter or resume.

From a business standpoint, social media provides a window of reach that no other medium can compete with. The customer that a business wants and the human capital they need are closer than ever.

While “don’t talk to strangers” no longer seems to ring true, the advice of “thinking before you speak” has greatly increased its credibility and value in recent years.

When posting any sort of content online, save a few privacy settings, the owner no longer controls who sees it. This particularly finds prevalence with Twitter, as users can view the accounts and tweets of any user. This means that it is so important to think before you post on your personal accounts and especially on any business accounts you may handle. Just ask the Taco Bell shell licker guy, who may have gone viral, but also now is unemployed.

2012: The Year of Visual Marketing and Mobile Technology

by Keith Seiz

20 December, 2012

This year was the biggest year ever for social media marketing. No matter how social or what kind of social you wanted to be, Facebook, Twitter, Google +, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram and more, had you covered in 2012.

According to this story by the Content Marketing Institute, roughly nine out of 10 businesses now use social media to drive their message. This is a good idea considering we are such a technologically bound society. We seem to always be plugged in and looking for smarter, harder working instruments. Smartphones, laptops, tablets and televisions have taken over our world. In this world, digital photo sharing and online shopping emerged in 2012.

Read more about 2012 content marketing trends here.

Getting Social with The Arland Group

by Alyssa Stahr

13 December, 2012

We at The Arland Group are a creative agency that focuses strongly on social media strategy for clients. Therefore, it’s only fitting that we put some focus on our own social media, right?

The Arland Group’s Facebook page serves as our home of sharing. Whether it is sharing a client site launch or news; fun around the new office; or posting our weekly blog from one of us, Facebook is the place to go for the latest in Arland Group news.

Twitter also is growing by leaps and bounds. The Arland Group tweets multiple times a week, making sure we are up on the latest client news, as well as our friends in social media. We also are on LinkedIn and Google+, following and sharing job interview tips, blogs and job openings through these media.

Lastly, for those wanting a more visual presence, follow The Arland Group on Flickr and Instagram. Here you will get a chance to be upclose and personal with The Arland Group family … and their cute babies. And, who doesn’t love a cute baby photo?

House Advantage Swings to Google

by Keith Seiz

7 December, 2011

When we started The Arland Group six years ago, social media was not even on the list of services we provided. Facebook was for college students and Twitter wasn’t even an idea yet.

Today, social media is not only one of the most exciting segments of our business, it’s also the fastest growing. We now employ people just to develop mountains of content for our clients’ social networks.

To date, most of our efforts have focused on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. But there is a new player in town in the form of Google+. I’m a cynic when it comes to new social media networks, mainly because I think the big three are innovative and continually push for improvements on their platforms. It’s hard to be the new kid on the block when everyone loves hanging around with the older, cooler kid.

I have a Google+ account, but I don’t get it. I think the user interface is clumsy, the concept is contrived and not too many of my friends and colleagues have embraced it, so I feel pretty isolated when on the platform. Despite what I perceive to be its shortcomings though, Google+ has an immense house advantage: the algorithm.

The mysterious mathematical equation Google uses to determine the results of search engines is the holy grail of digital marketing. As an agency, we strive to make sure our clients are on that front page of search results when their clients look for them. Getting on the front page requires an immense amount of work, of which I won’t go into detail here (you can call me though!).

On a recent Google search of  “The Arland Group,” we were shocked to see our Google+ page was the third result posted! It was above our Facebook and Twitter pages, despite the fact that we only have five posts on Google+ and hundreds on Facebook and Twitter. Despite building a solid brand on Facebook and Twitter, Google played its house advantage and tilted the algorithm to Google+.

Kudos to them. If you have an advantage, you capitalize on it. They have singlehandedly forced our agency to start launching Google+ accounts for all of our clients. We’re not sure it’s the best way for them to promote their brand, but with a world of information driven by Google, it’s imperative that our customers are present and accounted for on Google+.

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

by The Arland Group

30 August, 2011

Let’s face it, we live in a world where success is measured in tweets per second, likes per post, and daily page views. This can seem intimidating and sometimes incredibly frustrating when orchestrating a social media campaign. I find that very often at the core of these frustrations is impatience and a lack of understanding of how to really build a successful network.

When The Arland Group launches a social media campaign, we try to really stress that social media is a slow build process that yields huge results. It’s something that needs to grow, requires a strategy and constant evaluation. Makes sense right? The concept is easy to swallow, but as I stated earlier we live in a fast paced world that craves quick results.

To put it in perspective, let me give you an example of another area where the quick results approach doesn’t work. The weight loss industry capitalizes on this concept only to leave consumers searching for another quick fix in the end. Consumers are on this cycle, even though they know weight loss is achieved by simply cutting calories and increasing activity. The problem is that lasting results take time and patience and it’s hard to have to wait for the end result.

Now, I’m not trying to say losing weight and social media are one in the same, but I am stressing that it’s often easy to focus on seeing big results too soon and lose sight of your real goal. That’s why it’s important to remember that we’re here to give you the tools for success and implement a social media plan that will, in time, allow you to reap lasting rewards!

Why We Hired a Content Marketing Manager

by Keith Seiz

22 February, 2011

It’s been a busy start to the year for The Arland Group. In January, we launched websites for industry leaders Nationwide Insurance and PSAV. In February, we welcomed our newest employee, Megan Gattung, as content marketing manager.

In six years, our firm’s growth has only been outpaced by the services we offer. When Jason, Jonathan and I started in 2005, content marketing wasn’t on our list of services. Nor was social media or video production. We were a creative house, and we did creative things on websites and print advertising campaigns.

Content was important, but content was viewed as a piece of a creative project, not the entirety. Content was words that fit on a website or brochure. Content’s sole purpose was to make an immediate connection. There was no content strategy beyond the immediate impact that the words would create when they were read.

Not anymore. Content is major player at The Arland Group, and an area we plan on dominating for years to come. Content is now offered throughout our services, from social media to webisodes to white papers to blogging and micro-blogging. Content is words, videos, books, articles, white papers, ideas, music and any other form of expression we generate on behalf of our clients for the sole purpose of making a connection with their audience. Content is a tool we use to promote our clients to their audience. Content is just like advertising, marketing or public relations. And, it is just as effective.

With Megan on board as content marketing manager, we will be able to expand our content services to all industries we serve, including consumer. B2B and employment branding. It is our job to get our client’s messages to the intended audience in the most effective way. Our content capabilities serve as the perfect complement to our creative capacities to accomplish this goal.