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Closed captioning for videos is important for accessibility

Accessibility and Social Media

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Accessibility has become increasingly important in website development and companies like Baseline Creative are using WCAG 2.1 standards to build ADA-compliant websites. Social media platforms are also working toward more accessibility, especially for those who are visually impaired and the Deaf and Hard Of Hearing community.

Instagram recently launched a new automated caption feature for Stories. In September 2020, Instagram added captioning capability to IGTV available in 16 languages. Automated captioning for Stories starts with English and English-speaking countries, but Instagram is looking to expand to other languages. In addition to captioning for Stories and IGTV, Instagram is working on bringing the same technology to their “Reels” product, which is a similar format to TikTok. While third-party apps have been helpful to creators to add captions in multiple platforms, the ability to caption natively is ideal.

As a primarily visual platform, Instagram can be difficult for those with visual impairments to navigate. If a user who is visually impaired clicks on a post and there is no alt-text, they won’t know what the image is supposed to be—especially if the caption doesn’t describe the image. However, creators can manually add alt-text to Instagram posts by editing their photos as usual and then click on Advanced and Accessibility. This is an extra step, but it’s critical to connect with your followers who experience vision loss.

Instagram creators can also make posts more accessible by using more descriptive language in IG Stories or with IGTV and in the captions of the posts. Hashtagging is essential on Instagram but be sure to use CamelCase when you post. This means instead of a hashtag like this, #itsgonnabemay the creator capitalizes the first letter of each word, like this, #ItsGonnaBeMay. This allows screen readers to read the hashtag as intended.

Other social media platforms have implemented captioning or are rolling out similar features. TikTok has announced an auto-captions feature that automatically generates subtitles on videos. Creators can then edit the captions as necessary for clarity before uploading a finished video. Twitter also allows users to add alt-text to the images and gifs used in tweets. Facebook has had closed captions on videos for several years and allows users to edit photos in posts to include alt-text.

Social media is meant to create a community for its users. If a group of people such as those with visual impairments or those who are Deaf or Hard Of Hearing is left out, it’s not a true representation of the whole community. Adding captions, being descriptive in captions and posts, creating accessible hashtags, and adding alt-text to visuals used in social media help create a more accessible and inclusive experience for all users.

Baseline Creative is committed to inclusivity and accessibility in the work we do. From creating websites compliant with WCAG 2.1 standards to using accessibility features in social media, Baseline is working toward creating a more accessible experience for all users. If you’re looking for a digital company to help you with accessibility efforts, contact us.

Page Experience is the next algorithm focus

Google’s Next Algorithm Update

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Anytime Google launches a new update to their algorithm, it makes marketers sit up and take notice. Coming up in June, Google is launching an update that will focus on Page Experience. As this rollout happens it’s a great time to make sure that your website is optimized for the new Google focus.

What is Page Experience?

The key to any website is user experience. If your website isn’t user-friendly or doesn’t meet security standards, many potential customers will drop off, and may not return. These are the features that Google is focusing on in this latest update.

Core Web Vitals – Your website needs to load quickly and links need to work. Google will label the pages on your website as Good, Needs Improvement or Poor.

Mobile Usability – Google has made mobile responsiveness a key ranking factor for several years now so it’s no surprise that this is part of the Page Experience update. Most people now access the internet on their mobile devices so it’s vital that your website appear and function well on those smaller screens. Errors for mobile usability can include content that is wider than the screen, or text that is too small to read. Enabling Google Search Console can help determine these issues so they can be fixed.

Security Issues – Google doesn’t want to send users to websites that could have security issues. This includes having Hyper Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) on your website. You may notice when you click on a website if it doesn’t have a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate because, in the address bar, the site may say, “Not Secure”. If you own a website that collects any kind of information—from contact information to e-commerce, having an SSL is vital. If you don’t have it, Google will determine it’s a Poor page experience.

Ad Experience – If your website serves up ads in addition to your content, Google wants to ensure that your users are having a positive experience. If your ads are distracting, interrupting, or creating a poor user experience, Google will fail your website in Page Experience.

Ensuring a Good User Experience

Sometimes it’s easy to think that once a website is built, you’re done. Building a site that is user-friendly and is secure is important. However, maintaining the website with security updates and monitoring the Page Experience reports is also important. If you would like to see how your website stands up, contact us!

A smartphone displays Instagram Stories

The Power of Instagram Stories

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Instagram stories made their debut in 2016, giving users a chance to highlight and capture experiences and share everyday moments. Since that time the popularity of Stories has grown, and there is good evidence that creating Instagram stories should be part of your social media strategy.

Why choose stories over posts?

There are several reasons to choose Instagram stories over regular posts. First, 500 million Instagrammers use stories daily, which translates to more than 1 billion stories posted every day. While the number of stories increases each year, the number of posts decreases.

  1. Stories relieve pressure from thinking of a carefully-crafted post, and how it fits into your Instagram grid.
  2. Stories are a more authentic and organic way of sharing the highlights of your business.
  3. Stories are a quick and easy way to share daily content to your profile.

A great marketing tool for your business

Stories provide businesses an opportunity to connect with customers—both new and existing.

Whether you’re using stories to spark engagement with your current audience, or pique the interest of potential customers, there are several tools to use to your advantage. For instance, you can use stickers, music, effects, and GIFs to animate your stories.

Brands like Starbucks use stories to share new products and post interactive content. For example, Starbucks utilizes polls and open-ended questions to gauge its audience’s interest in food and drink preferences. This is a great way to generate engagement and to learn more about their audience.

Brands can use stories to receive feedback from the public on new ideas and product launches, and then pin their favorites to the highlights section on their account.

Benefits of Instagram stories

To really utilize the benefits of Instagram stories, you should be posting stories at least a few times a week—or daily, depending on your industry.

Stories are a great way to create and build trust with your following, generate engagement, and to promote general brand awareness.

Are you ready to utilize Instagram stories for your business?

If you’re looking to tap into the world of Instagram stories but aren’t sure where to start, we can help! Baseline Creative has a solid team of digital marketers that are equipped to develop the best strategy for your business. We’d love to learn more about your goals and how we can help you achieve them. Contact us to get started!

A man is shooting video for social media with a tripod and smartphone

Tips for shooting good video for FB, Instagram

By Blog

A recent study showed that people watch an average of 16 hours of online videos per week and 84% of consumers say they have been convinced to purchase a product or service as a result of watching a video. As video becomes increasingly more important online and on social media, you should be aware of the best practices for shooting good video particularly for Facebook and Instagram.

Tips for Effective Videos

1. Know your video specifications for each platform. Facebook videos are the most common and can be shot in portrait or landscape and should be saved as .mp4 or .mov files. Instagram’s in-feed videos can be landscape, portrait or square and should also be saved as .mp4 or .mov files. Keep in mind that most videos are shot vertically and it’s often easier to keep this format.

2. Ensure you have the right environment. Are you shooting indoors our outside? What possible interruptions could occur in those locations? For instance, if you shoot outside, will the traffic be too loud? If you are indoors, will a phone ring? Determine if ambient noise or movement will be too distracting.

3. Lighting is key! You can choose natural light, just make sure you don’t have too much light behind you or the person in the video will be too dark to see. Indoor lighting may need the boost of the ring light to remove shadows from faces that is cast from overhead lighting. Ring lights are fairly inexpensive and often include a tripod.

3. Speaking of tripods…your videos will look more professional if you use a tripod. Depending on the feel you are going for in your video, investing in a small tripod is wise. You can also brace your phone against another object if a tripod isn’t available or wouldn’t provide the best angle.

4. Quality audio Is key. Block wind if you are shooting outside. Investing in a microphone is also a good idea. You can find good options on Amazon or at any electronics store. Make sure your microphone is compatible with your phone—you may need to purchase an adapter.

5. Don’t be afraid of shooting your video from different angles. If you have a product you are highlighting, use props to make the background more interesting. Be creative!

6. If you are shooting video for Instagram be sure to take advantage of their filters or GIFs to enhance the look of the video.

Videos, Social Media Management & More

If you need assistance with videography or social media management, contact Baseline Creative! We have experienced videographers and a digital marketing team that can help you reach your business goals.

A man divides his attention between a laptop and a phone

Navigating the Attention Economy

By Blog

The internet has “rewired our brains” according to Michael Goldhaber, a former theoretical physicist turned predictor of how the internet has affected our collective attention spans. Goldhaber asserts that attention is transactional, and in paying attention to one thing, we ignore something else and the internet has created even more of a strain on our attention spans. This is the attention economy.

As the world changes, and the internet has evolved, advertising and marketing have evolved as well. In the old days of advertising, with less options, attention was easier to grab. Now, with social media, apps, podcasts, online publications, and streaming services, our attention is much more divided.

In fact, our attention is now as much of a currency as actual money as platforms provide free services with interruptions for ads. Our attention to those ads makes these platforms money. Some companies, like Spotify, have developed a split model of revenue. Users navigating the attention economy can pay for the service with their attention and have ads interspersed throughout their listening experience, or they can pay for an ad-free experience.

So how do we, as marketers, compete for the attention of our target audiences? There are several factors to consider including design, and targeting.

Attention from Design

Banner ads at the top of websites used to be highly effective, until users started simply ignoring these kinds of ads, developing, “banner blindness”. Users are used to seeing ads at the top of and at the right on websites, so they don’t pay attention to the content in those areas. This happens with inline ads on mobile as well.

The types of visuals are also important. Taboola has created a trends platform that shows the kinds of images that people are responding to the most. This tracking system is useful to designers to help them keep a finger on the pulse of the target audience.

Knowing about these kinds of biases, designers need to look for alternative ways to place ads. A study from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) showed that ads placed alongside quality, compelling content were more likely to grab attention. In the same vein, ads served on reputable sites were deemed more credible and worthier of attention.

Attracting Your Target Audience

One of the most important keys for success in advertising is making sure you have the medium for the right audience. This has become even more important as media changes and users have even more options when it comes to their attention.

Choose the right platform. Looking to sell a product to Baby Boomers? SnapChat won’t be a good platform because Snap appeals more to Gen Z. Don’t waste your resources trying to reach an audience that just isn’t there.

Target your audience’s interests. The more you can target your audience, the more likely you are to capture the attention of the people who really are interested in your product or services. If you want to sell to auto mechanics, don’t just target people who like cars—go granular.

Choose the right time and place. When is your target audience online? Plan your ads to run during those times. In addition, use geofencing to put your ads in front of your ideal consumer when they are close to your product or storefront.

As the demands on our attention increase, marketers must be more mindful of how we create, place, and schedule ads. If attention is currency we must be sure that we are seeking it efficiently and effectively. If you need assistance with your marketing needs, contact Baseline Creative.

Andrea Anglin, A Woman Who Leads

By Blog

Andrea Anglin selected as a woman who leads by the Wichita Business Journal

Project Manager and Public Relations Strategist, Andrea Anglin has been selected as a Woman Who Leads – Board of Directors by the Wichita Business Journal.

Andrea has a passion for helping and a heart for serving her community in all that she does. Her serving endeavors include volunteering at her church, donating time and resources to nonprofit organizations, and having a helpful and friendly attitude in the workplace, with clients, and with coworkers.

Project Manager by day, leader and volunteer by night

Beyond her career as a digital marketer at Baseline Creative, Andrea fills her time by serving her community through various leadership positions. With a background working in the nonprofit industry, Andrea believes in servant leadership to make her community a better place.

Furthermore, Andrea uses her time and talent to make a difference in several nonprofit organizations. She serves as Secretary for the Alzheimer’s Association, and is involved with the Marketing Committee for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. In addition, Andrea serves as co-chair for the League of Women Voters Wichita, Metro’s Membership Committee.

When asked for advice to those who want to get involved and serve, Andrea says, “Find a cause and an organization you’re passionate about and don’t be afraid to roll up your sleeves and do the work.”

Our passion for serving others

Giving back to organizations and serving our community is an important part of who we are at Baseline Creative.

Executive Director, Bridgette West-Williams serves and as a leader and volunteer for various local organizations. For example, she serves as a board member and Membership Committee co-chair for League of Women Voters Wichita, Metro. In addition, Bridgette is a donor and volunteer for Camp Sunflower and as a board member, donor, and volunteer for ICT SOS.

Bridgette also supports and contributes to a slew of community organizations, including Rise Up For YouthProgenyBeauties & BeastsWAALKansas Humane SocietyLawrence Humane SocietyKMUWKPTS, and Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Streams.

Principal and Owner, Nathan Williams also supports local organizations through various efforts. This includes donating to organizations and serving as an in-kind sponsor through work at Baseline Creative.

Service is an important part of our company culture; and our entire team chooses to give back to organizations they are passionate about serving.

Organizations our team supports regularly through donations, volunteering, and serving as board members include:

American Institute of Graphic Arts – Wichita Chapter

AIWF Wichita Chapter

All Creatures Animal Welfare Trust

Alzheimer’s Association

Atlanta Humane Society

Art for Arthritis – Mentor Artist

Big Brothers Big Sisters

Camp Sunflower

Cigar Family Charitable Foundation

Kansas City Pet Project

Gridiron

ICT SOS

Kansas Humane Society

Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Streams

Kansas K9 ResQ

KMUW Radio

League of Women Voters Wichita, Metro

SCORE Wichita Chapter

St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church

Woods Humane Society

Fresh Hope

Run Wichita

Exodus Church

Girls on the Run of Kansas

Avenue Art Days

Young Latino Professionals of Wichita

West Ridge Community Church

Above all, we value serving others and love to find ways to give back. While volunteering looks different for each person, the heart for serving others is the same.

Baseline designed a new logo and website for ICT SOS

ICT SOS: A Case Study

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10 Years of Fighting Human Trafficking

A decade ago ICT SOS was created to help people in Wichita connect with the agencies and organizations that help victims of human trafficking. In 2016, Baseline Creative worked closely with ICT SOS on rebranding and website development. The result was a brand and new logo that conveyed the hope that the organization provides to human trafficking survivors and a new website. Fast-forward to 2021 and as ICT SOS celebrates its 10-year anniversary, Baseline Creative is again providing support.

Designers at Baseline created a special anniversary logo that ICT SOS will use throughout the year. In addition, Baseline Creative is donating website development and technology support, a 10-year anniversary logo, videography, and additional design and digital marketing assistance throughout 2021. “Overall, the work Baseline Creative is donating is close to $30,000 in support, and we have been excited to continue to assist ICT SOS in the important work they do,” said Bridgette West-Williams, Executive Director at Baseline Creative.

“Baseline designed our latest logo, and we love the way they incorporated the 10 into it for this anniversary.”  In addition to the special logo, ICT SOS is launching an updated website, also designed and donated by Baseline Creative. “As we’ve grown and added programs, we needed to update our digital space, and we love how this turned out,” White said.

The new website includes updated branding, podcasts, and new programs including an Adult Advocate program that the organization has recently launched. “We were so happy to work with Jen and her team,” West-Wiliams said. “We work hard to help ICT SOS reach people to get and give help to survivors of human trafficking which is one of the most rewarding projects we get to lead.”

In addition to the updated website, Baseline Creative is designing a 10-year logo for the Race 4 Freedom event. The annual race has raised more than $200,000 for organizations that provide direct services to youth. This year the Race 4 Freedom will raise money for ICT SOS instead of a partner organization. “The Race 4 Freedom is an event we’ve helped with before, and it seemed appropriate that we would help again this year, on the 10-year anniversary,” West-Williams said.

Kylie Jenner is a well-known influencer

Influencer Marketing

By Blog

Have you utilized influencer marketing in the past? If not, this may be the year to start.

Influencer marketing has gained traction in recent years as social media continues to be a growing medium.

What is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing is similar to the idea of celebrity endorsements, without the added costs of producing a fully fleshed-out advertising campaign.

Influencer marketing utilizes leaders to promote your brand message and drive sales. In addition, it is a simple and affordable way to get your brand in front of thousands of people who aren’t in your existing audience. To clarify, it’s readily available.

This helps generate brand awareness, increase traffic, and reach a broader audience of potential customers. The process starts by finding a content creator or figure who connects with your audience and aligns with your brand or product.

Influencer Marketing Campaigns

Think of your favorite brand that you know and love, and you’ll likely be able to recall a campaign or paid promotion that left an impression.

Influencers can be local figures, like fashion bloggers, beauty gurus, and they can also be a-list celebrities.

For instance, Kylie Jenner has been deemed the highest-paid Instagram influencer, making 1.2 million for a single Instagram post. Notable paid partnerships with Jenner include Sugar Bear Hair, Puma, and in-house brand Kylie Cosmetics.

Another example includes Joelle Fletcher from The Bachelorette who has a paid promotion with Heineken®. This campaign highlights their new Zero Alcohol Beer in a campaign to promote “Dry January.”

This commercial runs on ABC network during the premiere of The Bachelor episodes every Monday from 7-9 p.m.

Influencer Marketing and Beyond

Are you in need of a digital marketing boost this year? Or do you need help finding the right influencer for a partnership with your brand? Contact Baseline Creative for help with branding, design, or development. We’d love to help you achieve your marketing goals.

Lead generation often starts with paid ads.

Generate & Capture Leads

By Blog

Leads are important to nearly every business because each lead is a potential new customer. Lead generations start with your marketing efforts which will drive customers to your website and to lead capture tools on your website. However, you may wonder what options are available to you for lead generation and lead capture?

What is a Lead Generation?

Lead generation drives people to your website or social media channels through your marketing efforts. Lead generation provides multiple touchpoints for your customers to reach you, and find out more about what you offer.

Methods for lead generation include email marketing, paid advertising, referral marketing, and social media marketing. Email marketing and social media marketing also allow you to engage in lead nurturing which can convert to more sales. Examples of lead nurturing include inviting leads to webinars, sending case studies, or other kinds of helpful information.

What is Lead Capture?

Once at your website or social media channels, lead capture tools offer a reason for customers to take that extra step needed to covert a sale. Lead capture is when a customer provides your business with their contact information.

Lead capture can include signup forms, or a free demonstration, or downloads such as help guides, white papers, or e-books. When your customer fills out the form, they provide you with the information you need to move them from a lead to a sale. The quality of the kind of download you provide will make your lead capture tool more effective as it will be perceived as more valuable.

Lead capture is part of the end game, but customers must also be fully informed of how you will use their information. Do not bait and switch your leads and do not sell their information to third-parties. Once you have captured leads, respect their privacy or risk losing the customer and damaging your brand.

Lead Generation Options

As mentioned above, there are several ways you can engage in lead generation through your marketing efforts. Paid advertisements are a great way to target your potential customers.

Digital marketing is an affordable and effective way to do lead generation. Paid ads on social media and through Google Ads allow your customer base to be targeted fairly granularly. These ads can drive customers to your website where your product or service is explained and a lead capture tool is available for them to provide you with their contact information. Email marketing is another great tool for nurturing current customers or potential leads.

Need Assistance?

Baseline Creative can help your lead generation efforts through digital marketing and web development. Contact us today to see how we can help!

SMART goals help small businesses grow

SMART Goals Help You Plan for Success

By Blog

What Does SMART Stand For?

The acronym SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. As you write your objectives, do so with this framework in mind. As you start to plan a project, setting SMART goals will help you define and measure success. Only three percent of adults have clear, measurable, time-bound goals that are written down. However, those in that three percent accomplish ten times more than people with no goals.

How to Write SMART Goals

Specific – Your goals must be specific. Don’t just say that you want to increase sales—provide a number. Instead, get specific. Are you increasing overall sales or sales on a product or service that needs to be improved? Also, include the time frame you need to work within. You want to increase sales by 20% in the first quarter.

Measurable – Your goal needs to be measurable. In the example above if you want to increase sales, how do you measure that? How can you measure your objective? Usually, this will be through a conversion of some kind, in our example, we can measure sales by the number of products or services purchased. In this case, it is relatively easy to track the number of new sales.

Achievable – Keep your goals achievable. For instance, it’s probably not realistic to say you want to increase sales by 100% in the first quarter. For one, you may not actually have the capacity to increase sales by that much. You may need to order more inventory, or revamp processes to make this achievable and perhaps those efforts are just not realistic in the time frame you are working within. Achievable goals keep you moving forward and help you plan realistic implementation. Instead of setting a goal to increase sales by 100% in the first quarter, a review of your processes and inventory may show that a 20% increase is more realistic.

Relevant – Your goals need to be relevant. Why is this goal important to your business? For example, increasing sales by 20% in the first quarter will help you to launch a new product in the fourth quarter which is part of a long-term goal for the business.

Time-Bound – Deadlines are important because you need parameters to accomplish your goal. Setting a specific timeframe will help you and your team to stay on track, which will help you reach that goal. In our continuing example, the first quarter is the time frame. Set a specific date, such as March 31 as the deadline.

Reaching Your SMART Goals

Strategy, planning, and implementation are vital to helping any business grow. Whether you sell products or services, you need SMART goals to be successful. Whether it’s on the strategy and planning end, or implementation, Baseline Creative would love to help you reach your goals. Contact us to start a conversation.