The VPM Blog

Melissa Cook

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Pay to Play: Social Media Edition

Posted by Melissa Cook on Oct 30, 2018 11:30:00 AM

via GIPHY

So, you just created the best piece of content ever seen on the internet, but it isn’t getting the engagement or reaching the audience you want. What do you do? In the world of social media, there are 3 ways you can pay to play (or “promote” as they call it) on Facebook, and subsequently, Instagram. What are they? You can 1) boost a post, 2) pay to promote a post, and 3) set up an ad campaign.
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Topics: Social Media, facebook ads, Instagram Ads

Op Ed: Universities Should Be Transparent About Student Debt

Posted by Melissa Cook on Oct 2, 2018 11:30:00 AM

If you’re a recent university graduate like myself, you hear the words “student loans” and feel your blood pressure rise. Or, maybe you’ve been out of school for over a decade and look at your student loans as just another monthly payment like a mortgage, wondering to yourself if the debt will ever go away. We all have it and we all have more of it. Statistics show that the average graduate owed $39,400 in 2017, a 6% rise from 2016. But why? That’s another topic altogether. Today, I want to focus on the university side of this debt crisis, what they are doing, what they can do better, and why it matters. Let’s dive in. 

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Topics: higher ed

The Only Instagram Takeover Guide You'll Ever Need

Posted by Melissa Cook on Sep 5, 2018 9:00:00 AM

We all know the struggle of keeping up with the demand for fresh content, especially in the higher education space. Before you panic and put together another “5 Study Tips” guide or graphic, consider incorporating students. Think about it. Your students are a living, breathing, walking, and social media posting ad for how great your university is. Use them. How? Schedule an Instagram Takeover.

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Topics: higher education, higher ed social media

How to Create an Effective Instagram Ad

Posted by Melissa Cook on Jun 6, 2018 8:01:00 AM

You’re scrolling through Instagram, looking at pictures of dogs or friends and family on vacation, and then all of a sudden, you see an image that makes you stop and take notice. It isn’t until you click on the profile or the image that you realize it was an ad.

Good or bad, effective or not, they exist, and their usage is on the rise. But why? For a few simple reasons:

  1. Instagram/Facebook Integration
    1. As a business, you can (and should!) integrate your Facebook and Instagram pages (read more on this below). This allows you to take previously curated audiences, interests, forms, etc., and carry them over into Instagram ads.
  2. Aesthetic and Organic Feel
    1. Instagram ads tend to perform better because they flow naturally in your audience’s feed. They don’t feel disruptive and if done right will appear as natural and organic content, and not an ad.
  3. Audience and Engagement Rates
    1. Did you know that 80% of Instagram users follow a business? That means your business is more likely to have high engagement rates with your ads. 

Think you’re ready to learn how to create an effective Instagram ad? Let’s get started!

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Topics: social media analytics, Social Media, Inbound Marketing

Content Creation: Creativity or Strategy?

Posted by Melissa Cook on Apr 30, 2018 9:30:00 AM

Content creation has changed drastically over the years, as have all things in marketing. And it’s not just the content that has changed, it’s the way it is crafted and presented. Here’s a quick example: In the Mad Men age, companies needed a creative to come up with a witty slogan, a risqué image to accompany it, and bada-bing, bada-boom, you have a 5-star ad and your content is ready to roll out for the general public to see. Fast forward to 2007, the year that Facebook ads were introduced. Now, companies no longer had to buy an expensive billboard and hope people saw it and called, (all while driving…) but could now meet their customers where they were. Radical, I know. Fast forward a little bit more to 2018. The average consumer now sees as many as 5,000 ads per day, and I guarantee that few stand out enough to make an impact. So, what’s changed? In 2007, Facebook ads changed the game, but now the game changers are you. That’s right, it’s that guy 2 cubicles down from you who takes the time to research the subject, determine buyer personas, creates a plan, and uses a mixture of strategy and creativity.

Content creation is no longer just for the creatives, but the strategists as well.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, Social Media Strategy

Profits for Nonprofits: Inbound Marketing 101

Posted by Melissa Cook on Mar 20, 2018 5:00:00 AM

If you're a nonprofit or government-funded entity and I asked you what you are selling, could you answer? You might think practically and say tickets to get into a National Park or t-shirts to support a cause. You may even tell me that you aren’t selling anything and try to explain to me how a nonprofit works. Depending on how you answer, you are doing one of two things: 1) thinking too small or 2) ignoring the fact that everyone is selling something, whether you realize it or not.

Don’t believe me?

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Topics: Inbound Marketing

What a Job in Inbound Marketing Can Teach You Regardless of Major

Posted by Melissa Cook on Nov 9, 2017 12:00:00 AM

As someone who has always answered the cliché “so what is your major” question with a sigh and a long explanation, I’m used to having to explain the value in having such an interdisciplinary major. For a little background on myself, I am studying Natural Resource Management, Communication, and Hunger Studies. (Which according to @CodyLunsford_ means I’m the mayor of Zootopia or a professional tree hugger with a few other things mixed in…) So where does marketing fit in? To most people, I would appear to be vastly underqualified to work in marketing as I have no formal education on it, but a job in social media and inbound marketing is about so much more than formal marketing education.

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Topics: Internships, Inbound Marketing

Out-Of-State Series: How Students Find Universities

Posted by Melissa Cook on Oct 10, 2017 12:00:00 AM

via GIPHY

Determining what college or university to attend is a huge decision, and one teens make every day. These potential students for your university matter, especially the out-of-state students. Why? Let's take a look.

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Topics: higher ed, higher ed inbound marketing

Op Ed: Why Your School Magazine Should Be Online

Posted by Melissa Cook on Sep 15, 2017 12:00:00 AM

 

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Topics: higher ed, higher ed inbound marketing

A Day in the Life: Community Manager

Posted by Melissa Cook on Jul 5, 2017 9:00:00 AM

According to adweek.com, the average person will spend 5 years of their lifetime on social media. Shocking? (Let's be honest, not really...) We all spend hours scrolling through Facebook or Instagram, watching YouTube videos, and laughing at memes, so what we consume matters. But who is the mastermind behind the content you are consuming? If you follow a business, or even a college or university, there is a good chance that the content you see is from a community manager.

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Topics: Content Building, Inbound Marketing, Social Media

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