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Austin, Texas
USA

512-693-7807

From cutting-edge social media guidance to traditional print services, we offer sophisticated marketing tailored for small business entrepreneurs.

WHAT IS "CONTENT"? 

 "Content" is the marketing industry term for all the original human thoughts that make social media platforms worthwhile, like clever sentences, delightful diagrams, and funny or helpful videos. Ironically, because of incredible technology, businesses need incredible amounts of things that only human brains - creative, linguistic, intuitive - can craft. Without strategic content telling your brand's story, all the social media networks in the world won't be able to grow your business.

 

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My Immigrant MBA

My parents were pretty heartbroken that I decided not to go to MBA school after being accepted at UT McCombs. Due to the high cost of business school, I nervously decided to start my first business without it. To my delight, it turns out that everything I needed to know, I already learned growing up as a first generation American.

The College Doctor: Why Testimonials Aren't Bragging

Ivy Le

Think your salesforce has it rough? Try asking a parent to trust her child's future to you. That's why 9Terrains made this testimonial video for The College Doctor, now live on their homepage. 

Especially when the stakes are high, prospects need to know that they're not the first ones to try something.

Companies spend a lot of time convincing investors and journalists their product is "new," "innovative," or "game-changing," but very few customers are out there hoping to be guinea pigs. Think about your own behavior. How likely are you to purchase a product online that doesn't have any reviews yet?

Some make testimonials by asking customers to brag on their behalf, but testimonial videos are more like case studies people will actually take the time to see.  If you don't have one yet, it's the very first piece of content to invest in when your budget allows. 

6 Warning Signs a Social Media "Expert" is Bluffing

Ivy Le

The world of social media is full of dynamic, smart people excited about making history. I'm grateful to have started my public relations career in an era when innovative thinking and quick learning could compete with seniority in the business world. Unfortunately for busy business owners, though, social media's low barriers to entry  allows pretty much anyone to claim to be a social media “ninja,” “guru,” or “rockstar.” 

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It's up to you to look out for these tell-tale signs when vetting social media agencies:  

1. They promise you specific results before they hear your business's goals.

 Not every business needs to double their followers. Maybe your business needs to attract a different kind of follower while another needs to build deeper relationships with the sales prospects who have already started following the company's page. Metrics should be based on your business goals, not what the "expert" is used to doing. 

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2. They talk about buying followers, links, or mentions.

Social media results aren't as free as people think they are. You must dedicate company resources like time and staff to build marketing momentum. However, “black hat SEO” tactics such as buying followers and links will get you bad publicity or worse, you can get banned from search results by Google. 

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3. They shame you ...

...for not being on Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn/Tumblr/Pinterest/Flickr/Youtube/Reddit/Vine. There are an impossible number of platforms. An expert should be able to help you triage confidently.

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4. They give you recommendations about what you should do, but they haven't looked up what you have already done.

An online marketing expert should have the Google chops to get a general idea of your online presence in about 15 minutes. 

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5. They make you feel stupid.

If the "expert" can't explain social media in a way you understand, that's a red flag that they may not fully understand how it works. Online activity should have an IRL ("in real life") counterpart or consequence, because real people are behind those "follows." If they are uncomfortable shedding their industry jargon to talk about these tangible connections - these people in your audience- buyer beware.

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6. They don't mention content strategy.

Social media platforms are channels. You have to say something! Setting up your Facebook page or your Twitter profile is the easy part, and some people will be happy to collect that setup fee and leave you hanging. 

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Bottom line: Don't let any social media Schwarzenegger make you feel stupid. Find someone who wants to tell your story to the world, because he or she believes in what you do. We think we know a bit about social media over here at 9Terrains, but you can schedule a meeting and decide for yourself by sending us a message here.  

Launch Party Highlights

Ivy Le

Thanks to everyone who came! About 100 people came through on a night packed with events across the city, not to mention the night of an NBA playoff game (Spurs vs. Heat).  

All the planning was worth it to gather family, friends, clients, and fans (of my Austin Chronicle beer column) together in one place. Countless connections were made, and I got to honor my parents, the ultimate bootstrappers, for inspiring the way 9T does business and seeks out scrappy innovations for our clients.

 

To see all the pictures, check out 9Terrains on Facebook.

Many clients came to show their support, and two event brought gifts! Hearthstone Bakery, a print customer, brought delicious bread rolls for launch guests. Bow Wow Chow food truck for dogs brought fresh baked dog treats - of course, with the labels 9T printed - and even volunteered to come early and help us set up! 

The "formal presentation" was about 10 minutes and barely formal at all. We debuted 9T's first client case study video. Dennis Borel, the executive director of client Coalition of Texans with Disabilities, came with his family. He stood up to introduce the video with a few inspiring words. 

These boards about 9T were posted throughout the space...mostly by drink buckets and lounge chairs. 

Please let me know about any surprising connections you made at the party. I love hearing those stories. Here's hoping that this time next year, I'll be inviting you all to the grand opening of 9T's own space!