Author: doublezebra

Tips

How Brands Can Reach College-At-Home Consumers

October 15, 2020
brand engagement online college student

The college experience is changing rapidly, perhaps forever. Less frat parties, more Zoom. Fewer lecture halls, more…Zoom. Like it or not, Generation Z (18-23) remains bunkered up at home. As of this writing, only 21.3% of colleges have opted for a fully or primarily in-person class model for the Fall 2020 semester. And even with this reduction, there have been major issues across the nation’s top academic institutions.

As a result, college students are largely at home, in front of their phone and computer screens. Knowing this, it is important for brands and marketers to better understand this rapidly evolving landscape. How do we appeal to Generation Z college students in a way that is welcome and unobtrusive? Market ourselves authentically and compassionately? Address their immediate cares and concerns?

To illustrate, we lay out a day in the life of “Amanda,” a college student dealing with the realities of living at home and attending school online.

college home consumers brand engagement7:15 AM – Wake up

Amanda’s alarm goes off and she fumbles for her cell phone. A push notification reminds her of the activities that will filter through her day. She gives her social feeds a cursory glance.

7:32 AM – Breakfast

Amanda reaches for the cereal she likes (not the healthy one this time). It reminds her of a video she had seen on Tik Tok involving a PR stunt with a free box offer. She makes a mental note to send in her receipt and heads back to Tik Tok and social to see what’s new.

Brand Touchpoint Opportunity: High-visibility social videos and clever promotions can keep a brand top of mind and grow affinity and loyalty. Creative direction, strong execution, and the involvement of others (influencers, brand partners) will help grow the reach exponentially.

10:43 AM – Break

First round of courses complete, Amanda is feeling motivated today. A virtual yoga session fits her mood. She unrolls her yoga mat, pulls up YouTube on her computer, and searches for a yoga workout. She scrolls through a mixture of organic and advertiser-sponsored videos, pausing for a moment on a Fabletics workout gear advertisement. The ad is well made and she watches it all the way through. She chooses a popular yoga influencer’s video. She knows it will be good.

Brand Touchpoint Opportunity: Utilize video advertising by placing your branded pre-roll commercials on platforms like YouTube. Be strategic and intentional with well-made advertisements that mimic the programming in theme and quality to stand out and be relevant. 

12:34 PM – Lunch

Having completed another class and a quick virtual instructor one-on-one meeting, she takes a breather and checks Instagram. A chef-crafted entree from a better-for-you casual dining chain pops up, followed by a paid ad from GrubHub. The dots connect, reminding her that it is lunch, and she is getting hungry. Within seven minutes, lunch is ordered and on its way.

Brand Touchpoint Opportunity: Think about running your social media advertisements and posting content at times your audience will most likely interact with it. Also, use geo-targeting to ensure you’re hitting the right areas for ad placement.

1:50 PM – Study Group

Getting set up for her study session, she pops in her AirPods and sees a push notification from her favorite podcast. The newest episode features the founder of a company she adores. The first few minutes are the perfect backdrop to her prep, and she’s already hooked.

Brand Touchpoint Opportunity: Guesting on trending podcasts can be a savvy way to integrate into the daily lives of your audience and give your brand a definable personality, speaking to your own inspiration and values.

3:04 PM – Quick chat

As the virtual study group ends, a new message pops-up on her screen. A friend from the group wants to chat about an assignment where more help is needed. Amanda recommends an online course and tutoring system she uses herself. She sends her friend the link and her personal referral code.

Brand Touchpoint Opportunity: Word of mouth is still alive and well. Having easy and memorable ways for brand loyalists to share your content is key, along with a reward system to thank your valued customers.

5:36 PM – Dinner

Amanda’s friend group on WhatsApp is bombarded with messages. A couple of friends want to find a place to grab a bite. She Googles it. The first thing she sees is a well-crafted ad for an up-and-coming burger chain. They have WhatsApp for Business Messenger, so she sends the burger place a message, asking if they are open for dine-in. An autoresponder provides her with the answer, along with a link to frequently asked questions.

Brand Touchpoint Opportunity: As restaurants and other venues reopen for dining, close, and open back up, it is important to stay current with Google Ads and other paid media. As students search for their needs on Google, use these tools to communicate with your audience and uphold your reputation during times of uncertainty. If you have a service-based company, consider adding a personal touch with one-on-one message services like Facebook’s WhatsApp for Business.

9:17 PM – Downtime

The end of a long day. Amanda settles down to a recent movie on Hulu. Before the movie, a series of commercials appears. One of these is clever and entertaining and reminds her of that car she’s been thinking about. In fact, the commercial turns out to be better than the movie. So she browses the automotive company’s website and starts customizing her favorite model. She saves it for later and decides to look into it more over the weekend.

Brand Touchpoint Opportunity: Branded video advertising on streaming services like Hulu and Peacock may be a great way to capture audiences while they are enjoying their favorite shows. Branded media can also be a powerful way to associate your product with a popular show or celebrity. 

Reaching Coveted College-Age Consumers

Amanda’s story is similar to that of many college students who are dealing with the new reality of life (and college at home). Without Google, social media, apps, and other platforms, college would be a very solitary experience. As a result, students are more dependent than ever on screen time for entertainment, social interactions, and education.

Even as campus life becomes a reality again, it’s likely that the college experience will look very different: smaller class size, custom tailored academic tracks, and less of a centralized “campus” experience than generations prior. So for brands and companies looking to reach younger consumers, evolution is absolutely critical.

Get in touch with Double Zebra

Fortunately, our team is here to help champion brands grow and evolve.  It’s what we do.

Consult with a senior brand marketing expert who will evaluate what’s been happening recently with your existing approach (with kind yet honest feedback). Together, we will put together a high value, actionable plan for the coming year.

PS: Want more? Here are three quick foundational tips to help engage with the coveted college-age demographic:

Utilize Social Media Content

To reach a specific group of people, your best move is to go where they already are. In the case of younger consumers, that means having a strong social media presence for your brand, and devoting time, budge, and energy towards it as a priority. A well branded and curated social channel, with fresh and interesting content throughout the month, will put you in a better position to interact with a younger demographic.

Use Text Messaging

People open their text messages fairly quickly. If you have a customer’s phone number, and they have opted in, you can text them with offers, incentives, and requests for feedback. Using text messages makes it easy for customers to give feedback to your business so you can make it better. It’s quick, easy, and convenient. All of these are important to appeal to younger audiences who often feel like they already have too many demands on their time. Make it as accommodating for them as possible.

Stand for Something

Younger consumers are loyal to businesses that take a similar stance on issues relevant to them. Because of this, cause marketing (when it comes from a place of authenticity) can draw an affinity audience. Opt for causes that naturally align with your company’s brand. Produce media that helps get the word out without the hard sell. When done well, the result will feel genuine to those involved in your business, including team members, customers, and other stakeholders.

These three approaches (maximizing social media, using text messaging, and taking a vocal stance) are a good starting point to draw younger consumers, and to keep your brand fresh and relevant over time.

Tips

How to Use Social Marketing without Coming Across as Virtue Signaling

August 20, 2020
cause marketing virtue signaling

Does your company care deeply about societal issues? Do you want to make a difference in the lives of the communities you serve? It may be time to weave social marketing into your business practices. Social marketing is a marketing initiative or campaign that utilizes social issues to unite people. We call this approach Super-Aspirational because it makes us all want to be better as a society. But how do you accomplish this without coming across as virtue signaling — trying too hard to openly win praise or admiration?

What Is Social Marketing?

First, it is important to understand what social marketing is. Social marketing has a different motivating force behind it than product or service-centric marketing. Instead of focusing on encouraging people to buy only, you’re also trying to influence behavior change on a mass scale. By focusing on one or more societal issues, and taking a stance as a company, it helps people to identify with the values presented. This doesn’t stop at raising awareness, however. Social marketing involves implementing actual sustainable change that will make a difference not just now, but in the future.

Choosing Your Cause

However passionate your company may feel about global social issues, you cannot adopt every cause into social marketing campaign. Doing so would lead to overly ambitious messaging that would come across as either vague or convoluted. In order for your campaign to be truly effective, you must pinpoint the one cause your company feels most passionate about. Ask yourself these four questions:

  • Which cause speaks to the internal team?
  • Is there a personal connection to the founder that rings true?
  • Have you learned of something your audience is asking you to take a stance on (outwardly or implicitly)
  • Might there be a core feature of your product or service that solves for a human need that also has greater societal benefit?

The best advice here is to stay inside your lane and get involved with something you (as a company) actually care about. That way, your words will come across as authentic, as intended, without seeming like pandering. No matter which cause you choose, your company should have a direct correlation.

Let Your Actions Speak for Themselves

In order to get others to care about your company’s chosen social issue, you cannot just repeat the same mantra over and over again. Let your actions speak for themselves. Be a visible presence in the community. Sponsor livestreams with activists and thought leaders. Be vocal on social media with considered and articulate content. Doing so will show your customers that you are unwavering in your dedication — so much so that you are trying to influence change in the world, not just move more units than competitors.

At first, social marketing may seem like virtue signaling. But over time, with demonstrated commitment, you have the power to change people’s perceptions about themselves and their behavior. One post expressing sympathy or solidarity won’t do it. Your company can make a difference, but you have to step it up.

Interviews

Why I ❤️ Double Zebra

May 15, 2020
double zebra creative agency


by Lyka Ferry

  • 359,000,000 Google results for “Digital marketing best practices.”
  • 290,000,000 different listings for “Creative marketing strategies.”
  • 52,100,000 search responses for “Marketing specialization”

With such an overwhelming volume of ‘helpful’ information, I had no idea where to start. Between the guides, checklists, and free marketing consultation offers I felt buried in no time. Even though I consider myself knowledgeable about the foundational concepts behind marketing, I couldn’t grapple with one mind-numbing page of content after another. All the articles, YouTube videos, and countless email subscriptions snowballed into a compilation of “accumulated knowledge,” and it wasn’t getting me any closer to what I needed.

Fortunately, I connected with an actionable and formidable marketing leader – Aaron Wolpoff, CEO of marketing company Double Zebra.

Starting from our first conversation, he took the time to understand my objectives and challenges, and responded to the kind of questions that Google took thousands of results to answer. In no time, we were off and running. Awed and inspired, I stopped to ask him about his approach and methods, and about how he got started in marketing. Here is our conversation:

Q: How would you describe Double Zebra to someone who is having trouble differentiating one marketing company from another?

Aaron: If a business is at the point of hiring a marketing agency or another internal person, that’s when you would look to bring on Double Zebra. Instead of being limited to one person’s skill sets or committing to an oversized marketing company, you get a fast track to the exact expertise and services needed.

For example, let’s say you need to conceptualize a sophisticated app, design it, roll it out over time, and then promote it to the masses. These are wildly different skill sets. Handing all of it requires advanced technical proficiency and also high-level creative thinking. It also involves discipline, organization, and high-caliber execution. You’re probably not going to find all these skill sets in one person, or even two, since they’re vastly different specialties that require support and guidance.

So what we do is to create a customized ‘mini agency’ for each client based around the exact skills and specializations needed, without the filler. This starts at around the cost of one monthly employee and scales from there.

Q: What experience did you have prior to starting your own marketing company?

Aaron: I ran a creative studio, launched startups, worked in finance, earned an MBA, ran live events, wrote songs. Lots of different pieces to the puzzle that somehow make sense now. I’ve collaborated with some of the best creatives in the business and tackled the analytical, sales-driven side of marketing. I understand technical capabilities and limitations. Taking all these diverse experiences, I decided to create my own company around these strengths, for like-minded people. It has been growing ever since.

Q: What do you tell early-stage companies that say they can’t afford marketing yet?

Aaron: I’d say to push it as far as you can go on your own. Lack of marketing leadership will hold you back, so you have to find a way to press forward and bootstrap it. You will reach a point where your time is better spent elsewhere, like growing your company, and the time/budget equation will make way too much sense. Until then, avoid crowd-sourcing. Don’t let your nephew run your brand as soon as he gets around to that online course. Don’t try to be everywhere at once.

As soon as you can support it, pay talented people to work on your behalf. But do everything with quality, even at the early stage. Otherwise, it’s like getting food delivered from a restaurant where the food isn’t good. It doesn’t matter if there’s a lot of it, no one will want to eat it.

Q: How much advice do you give prospective clients?

Aaron: A lot, advice is very important. But there is a new level of connection and understanding that happens the minute we dig in and start our processes that doesn’t happen in discussions and hypotheticals. Once we are officially hired, something clicks into place, and momentum builds from there.

Now, I love marketing, and I could talk about it all day long. But talking without action is like sitting by the pool; I’d rather jump in and start making waves.

Q: How have your marketing experiences shaped you?

Aaron: Every single one of them rewired my DNA in some way. Back at UCSD, we studied theory. In my radio intern days, I did live remotes at 5AM and handed out thousands of free promotional keychains. In my MBA program, I had the opportunity to partner with the US State Department. Throughout my career, I’ve been fortunate to collaborate with incredibly interesting and magnetic people who sit atop their field. As well as marketing leaders from the golden age. I’m grateful for every experience, from scrappy early days until now.

Because I was classically trained, and because I spent time in the trenches and put in the work, I am now able to provide perspective and insight across many disciplines. I’m able to think strategically, creatively and technically, and to apply everything I’ve learned.

Q: What is a common intimidation tactic in the field of digital marketing that people shouldn’t really worry about?

Aaron: A lot of marketers will point out the things that your competitors are doing that you’re not doing. With the inference that you should be doing them also. But there is something to be said for charting your own course. For example, if you’re not prepared to outspend the competition exponentially, don’t try to copy what they have already done. Take note of it and then chart your own course. Don’t take it as a sign of weakness that you’re not following the same exact steps as your competitors. Wear it like a badge of honor.

Q: Now that you are a marketing leader and CEO, what advice would you have given yourself in the beginning of your journey into marketing?

Aaron:

  1. Say what you mean with honesty and compassion.
  2. Value and appreciate all forms of talent.
  3. Education is a worthy investment that never goes away.
  4. Think a lot and act fast.
  5. Keep learning and evolving for life.

Aaron was recently profiled in Fiverr’s Industry Leaders & Experts series. You can read the article here.

Tips

Why Do Marketing Companies Ask For Your Budget?

February 19, 2020
marketing budget

What’s your marketing budget?

“I don’t know.”

These three words drive fear into the hearts of courageous marketing companies. It makes our heads spin, and we need Advil and electrolytes to recover. If there is a fainting couch nearby, we might darn well use it.

Why?

Because knowing your budget is essential to making the best recommendations. It gives us parameters to work within, and tells us how to think and act.

When we hear a budget, we make mental calculations in real time and start gameplanning. If there is no defined budget, this could mean one of two things:

  1. “There is absolutely no money to invest into marketing.”
  2. “You know that one dream strategy you’ve always wanted to do but couldn’t justify all that A-list Hollywood talent on the payroll? That’s for us!”

The reality is probably somewhere in between these two scenarios. There is money to put into marketing, and there is (unfortunately) a ceiling into how far the budget will go (you’re off the hook, Clooney).

But here’s the thing – if you don’t know your budget, we don’t know it either. The best we can do is to make assumptions. We could dig deep into your financials, with your permission, but even that may not present the most accurate picture of what to spend. So how do you gauge your marketing budget, to provide an informed and confident answer?

To start, here are a few questions to consider:

“What Would A Highly Skilled Employee Cost?”

Think about what you are asking your potential marketing company to accomplish. Think about the skills and expertise it will require to work on your behalf. Now, take stock of what it would cost to hire an employee each month, with all the talents and skills you are after. What is this amount?

You can validate salary assumptions with job boards like indeed or ZipRecruiter. For equitable comparisons, look at listings for seasoned professionals, not early career postings. Got a rough idea in your head? Great – this is now your starting point for the budgeting conversation.

Keep in mind that a marketing company on a limited engagement will command a higher per-hour rate than an in-house employee. So it will likely be more cost effective to engage your marketing company on a monthly retainer, as opposed to an hourly billable structure.

Also, know that with a marketing company, your budget may stretch much further than hiring only one employee with a specific skill set. With a marketing company, you will have access to a full team of specialists with a diverse set of talents. So don’t look to undercut what you’d pay an internal team member. Instead, think of it as a redistribution of marketing funds to partner with an experienced marketing company, and all the benefits that come with it.

“What Do Our Competitors Spend On Their Marketing Budget?”

Think about your industry leaders, as well as your close competitors. How established are they, and how trusted? Is their website more effective than yours? Are they dominating search engine results? Try to see things as objectively as possible, without championing your own company for a moment.

If your competitors are ahead in one or several areas, then it’s very likely you’ll want to make marketing a top-level priority. This doesn’t mean you have to outspend them, or to carbon-copy their approaches. But it does point to devoting money towards marketing, and to investing a reasonable amount each year into building your presence, market position, and community engagement.

Do a little recon, if possible. How much do competitors spend each year on marketing? If your budget is in the same ballpark, with the right marketing team behind you, then you have a nice chance of going head to head. This is true even if you’re the underdog – marketers love a good fight. But if you’re spending a fraction of what they are, it’s likely you’ll end up with the same fraction of market share, year after year.

“What Does It Take To Become Our Customer?”

We can’t all sell umbrellas in the rain. Purchasing from your company may be a complex and nuanced process. Even if you sell a relatively simple product or service, consumers may agonize over the decision. They may want to read, learn, ask peers, and engage in any number of ways before making the commitment. And what if your product or service actually is complex and nuanced?

Education and behavior change are two of the more challenging types of marketing. Talking people out of what they know and are comfortable with, and into a new solution, takes time and patience. It can be very rewarding, but there is a lot of ramp-up that goes into educating consumers and giving them reason to trust you.

So how much do you spend? If your product or service is a new or revolutionary concept, then you’ll likely want to spend 1.5x or more the typical marketing budget to get the word out. Give your marketing team room to experiment, to prove out the concept, and show you what connects with consumers. This will give you a foundation to build from, and point the direction to next steps.

Once you’ve hit critical mass, and your product or service is virtually selling itself, then consider dialing back the marketing expenditure. But until then, you’re facing an uphill battle. Equip your team accordingly.

So, About That Marketing Budget…

All this is great, but how much should your marketing budget be?

If you go straight according to the numbers, look at spending 5-8% of your total gross revenue to maintain your current marketing position. If you are looking to grow, and take on competitors, then 10-12% of total gross revenue will be more appropriate.

Of course, this estimate varies by industry. It may not account for direct costs like ad spend, or your internal marketing team salaries. But now you have a benchmark to start with, and another way to determine how much to spend on your marketing initiatives. As goals are achieved, don’t make the same mistake that a lot of companies do and cut your spend. Instead, consider budgeting more towards marketing, to experiment, evolve, and gain a larger competitive edge.

Working With Your Budget

No matter your marketing budget, we will apply what you have to work with and use it most effectively. Healthy budgets let us cover more ground, and in many cases work faster. We are able to devote more team members, time, and higher level expertise to your projects.

Slimmer budgets give us a starting point. We may be able to cover one or two areas of your marketing, with the shared understanding that we are working within limitations. To take on your entire marketing program, or work with fewer constraints, the budget would need to be adjusted accordingly. But don’t be afraid to share your budget, and the figure you are able to devote towards marketing each month. We will always provide insights into how to apply this budget most effectively.

Marketing budgets drive business. They create excitement, momentum, and community around your company. They attract, educate, entertain, and inform your desired audience. They set you apart from the competition, and they set the trajectory for the next 5-10 years. They are an essential component of achieving your business and marketing goals.

So, with all this in mind, what’s your marketing budget?

Quick Updates

Double Zebra In Dining Out Magazine

December 31, 2019
restaurant marketing experts

Hungry for better marketing? Catch Double Zebra in the latest issue of Dining Out Magazine highlighting our expertise in the restaurant and marketing industries.

In partnership with Dining Out San Diego, we have the best team in town with longstanding knowledge and experience in marketing and beyond. This includes new restaurant launches, products, restaurant business consulting, and turnarounds for businesses that need revitalization.

From rebranding to interior design to business strategy, and everything in between, we have a specialized team to match. Let’s make it a big year together!

Quick Updates

Double Zebra CEO Featured On SD Voyager

October 21, 2019

We are thrilled to share that our very own CEO Aaron W. has been featured on SD Voyager as part of the San Diego Inspiring Stories series. The interview talks about Double Zebra: our approach, perspective, and everything that distinguishes us from other marketing agencies. It’s great to be recognized in our San Diego, community and to know that the word is getting out about the work we’re doing. Thank you to SD Voyager for reaching out to us!

Check out the article with accompanying photos by the amazing True Photography.

Tips

How to Hire a Dynamite Content Marketer for Your Team

October 18, 2019
dynamite content marketing visual

Creating and executing the perfect content marketing strategy requires more than a goal. It depends on having the right people running your content program. Today’s business landscape demands high-quality content in order to be seen, and to stand out. However, hiring the perfect marketer can be a little challenging. The following list details some of the things to keep in mind when searching for your next content marketer.

Look for These Attributes

Everyone is different, which means you are going to see a variety of personalities when you begin to interview. According to TINYpulse, the best way to hire for the job is to understand which attributes you want in your content marketer. For example, a lot of content marketers and writers are introverts. Because of this, your candidates may not demonstrate leadership qualities in an interview setting.

Is this important? It may not be, unless you are hiring for a management position. Instead, focus on the specific needs of the content role. Seek someone who’s organized, has excellent communication skills, and who is honest. Look for an individual who can write snappy headlines and also long-form content. Narrow down to candidates who can effectively and concisely communicate your brand’s value with creative ideas and energy. This may sound simple, but these are the attributes that make all of the difference for a good long-term hire.

How to Identify Favorable Attributes in a Content Marketer Candidate

Learning about a person’s strengths is often impossible during one 5-minute interview. Therefore, we highly recommend implementing procedures that help you to get to know the potential employee, and vice versa. As The Hire Talent suggests, pre-employment tests can be used to measure a candidate’s behavior, personality, reasoning, competency, integrity, skills, and cognitive ability. These tests enable you to observe the candidate in action. They also ensure that you consider all qualified candidates equally, without inadvertent bias.

Specific Questions for the Content Marketer Position

There is no doubt that you will come across excellent candidates for the job. However, one of the most common mistakes made during the hiring process is choosing someone is not suited for the type of content you produce. Even if they are a strong writer, they may not understand the intricacies of your industry. Or, they may not be able to grasp the needs and pain points of your target audience.

Because of this, it is crucial to ask questions to determine the interest of the candidate. For example, do they like to research? Are they willing to dive into your company and industry to learn about the nuances? These types of questions will help determine their suitability for the position.

Whether you’re seeking to hire one or ten content marketers, the process will no doubt be challenging. However, by simply adhering to the list above, you will begin to lay down a solid foundation for your future interviews. And if you are looking for a high-caliber external marketing agency to take over your content marketing program, please reach out to us for a proposal.

Looking for more marketing tips? We recommend: 5 Tips for Being “Social” on Social Media.

Interviews

Of Likes and Lattes

July 30, 2019

It is a bleary-eyed morning, and far too early to be productive, let alone cognizant of the world around. Yet here we are at Communal Coffee in North Park, which holds the distinction of being both a coffee shop and a floral boutique. It’s the kind of spot that should appeal to the mysterious creator of the @cali_coffee Instagram feed. And of course, she already knows it well.

Thanks to her Instagram profile, @cali_coffee has become somewhat of a local coffee guru, amassing a dedicated and growing following who turn to her for the next “it” coffee shop. Her caffeine-fueled sojourns across San Diego County and beyond are well documented and artistically photographed, catapulting her over other similar feeds. The location we’re in is fitting, given that Communal Coffee’s own popular Instagram feed (36.5k followers to date) is itself a haven for coffee addicts.

Cali_coffee and I are two of the day’s first patrons, and likely the only ones here to chat about social media content. During our conversation, we talk about Instagram trends and the joys of social content creation. We also speculate about why a lovingly curated feed about San Diego coffee is outperforming many small businesses when it comes to likes and engagement. Fortunately, there is great coffee to guide our conversation (salted caramel latte), so we are buzzing in no time about the topics at hand.

Double Zebra: What was the initial inspiration behind your Instagram feed?

Cali_Coffee: Well, it just started in April of this year. Because I like trying a lot of different coffee shops, I would post pictures of them on my personal Instagram. And then, friends began asking me for coffee recommendations. And I realized that it was something cool, to have one place for all the best coffee shops in the area. Because I feel like they are always hard to find. So I started with pictures of coffee. And then I figured I’d put them all in one spot, and make them accessible.

DZ: Why did you select Instagram as your social media platform of choice?

CC: Because it’s so widely used, more than other social media platforms. And it’s easy to search, and it’s centered around pictures. I like photography, with the variety and angles and little elements you can incorporate. I like the artistic side of it.

images courtesy cali_coffee

DZ: You have more than 2k followers today on a relatively new feed. You consistently gain 2-4% more followers every time you post. People are turning to you as a coffee expert. Would you consider yourself an influencer, or micro influencer? Micro-micro influencer? Where does this designation even start?

CC: Oh, that’s a good question. I don’t think of myself like that at all. I never started it with the intention of becoming anything. It was just kind of a hobby of mine that turned into something.

DZ: Who do you tend to follow on Instagram?

CC: Other pages like mine that highlight places around San Diego, celebrities. A variety.

DZ: Has anything unexpected come from your Instagram activity?

CC: I mean, this interview is pretty unexpected (laughs). I think a lot of my posts were getting 40 to 50 likes, maybe like 30 to 40. And then one of them got 190-something one day. You don’t always know what will get attention, or why.

DZ: Have you experienced any negative reactions to something you’ve posted?

CC: Not really, I think everyone likes coffee. It’s one of those non-controversial topics. If you don’t like coffee, you probably wouldn’t be following me.

image courtesy cali_coffee

DZ: Your posts tend to be lighthearted, and you’re not afraid to break out a pun or two. Do you think Instagram, and social media in general, is taken too seriously?

CC: For sure. Social media brings a lot of good, but there are so many negative things that can happen in this age. I believe in putting something out there that is lighthearted and positive. So people remind themselves that life isn’t always so serious.

DZ: Our Double Zebra team works with clients on their social media strategy and impact. What would you say to a company that puts no effort into their social media, or they barely have a presence?

CC: I’d say they’re kind of asking to fail, because that’s where most people find companies and make decisions. Most of the time it’s through social media, looking at pictures that others have tagged. You can only find so much on Google. Usually, the first thing I do is go on Instagram, and look at photos and posts that match what I’m searching for.

DZ: What about companies that are trying their best, but still have low social engagement? What can they learn from your experiences so far?

CC: I think in order to have people engage with you, you have to engage with them. See what they have posted on their own pages. Get to know the content they are putting out. Then you can start creating content of your own that is meaningful and has value.

DZ: Instagram has recently announced fundamental changes, like hiding the number of public likes. What will the platform look like three years from now?

CC: I think Instagram will be different for sure. But it can’t change that much, because it’s already working pretty well, the way it is right now.

image courtesy cali_coffee

DZ: You’re on a self-proclaimed mission to drink all the coffee in California. Does this include bowling alleys and dive bars that have a coffee pot in the corner somewhere?

CC: Probably not my first choice. Maybe when I run out of all the other options. I never turn down a cup of coffee. So if I’m in a bowling alley, and I want coffee, then yes. Though I probably wouldn’t travel to a bowling alley for the coffee, unless it was really good.

DZ: That sounds incredibly hipster, a bowling alley becoming famous for its coffee.

CC: Yeah!

DZ: Is there a “holy grail” of coffee shops that you’re looking forward to visiting?

CC: I’m headed to Seattle soon, so I’d have to say Starbucks #1. That whole city is like a tribute to coffee shops!

Connect with Double Zebra to learn more about our team’s approach to social media engagement and content production for your business. And be sure to look for cali_coffee on her Instagram feed and at a coffee shop near you.