Des Moines: Taking Social Media Marketing by Storm

There is no denying that social media can take your brand above and beyond if done right. Over the years, we have seen an abundance of big-name brands such as Coca-Cola, Nike, Starbucks, and National Geographic, to name a few, wow and engage consumers through effective social media marketing. And while the big-name brands are bringing in consumers through creative marketing, so are small businesses in their own right.

Let’s take a look at the evolution of social media marketing and the Des Moines brands that are nailing the social media game in our own backyard!

The Evolution of Social Media Marketing

More than a decade later, social media has officially transitioned from being just social media channels to key business marketing tools that are crucial to modern marketing. But when did it all officially start? 


We can all admit that social media didn’t really explode and reach new heights until Facebook got its official start in 2004. As one of the fastest growing websites in history, Facebook has become one of the most influential  social channels ever to exist, thanks to founder Mark Zuckerberg. What started as a platform meant to connect people, the social media channel has quickly transformed into something so vast that only big-name players like Google and Amazon compare.

With more than 1 billion members, Facebook has quickly turned its ‘connection platform” into a lucrative business that helps marketers, advertisers and publishers alike. There is no denying that Facebook is an opportunity for businesses of all sizes to engage with current customers, find new ones and build their brand while doing so.


As the second largest social media platform (Facebook being the first), Twitter is a force to be reckoned with. After getting its start back in 2006, Twitter's user base began to grow, and we haven’t really seen it slow down since. Known for “spreading the word” via its cleverly named “tweets,” Twitter has revolutionized social media. Though in the last few years, we have seen them flounder and try to make up for a few mishaps, Twitter is still everywhere. It is undoubtedly the place that the world goes to “chat” during award shows, spread breaking news stories, read everyday trending topics, and see what their favorite brands are talking about.


This visual bookmarking tool that helps individuals discover and save (pin) creative ideas made a major splash when it launched back in 2010.  Since then, Pinterest has helped small and large businesses alike share their products and services while reaching people who were already looking for them or didn’t know they “needed” them yet. Today, Pinterest has over 100 million active users and is the second-largest driver of traffic from social media aside from Facebook. That being said, is your brand on Pinterest yet?


From the very beginning, Instagram was bound to be a major success on the social media front. Launching in 2010, Instagram reached 1 million users within the first two months and hasn’t slowed down since. Today, Instagram is the No. 1 photo social media platform with over 150 million active monthly users and is positioning itself as the perfect platform for small businesses to establish a presence for themselves and dominate their niche market.


This trailblazing social media platform launched in 2003 by a team of old colleagues from PayPal and SocialNet. Though progress was slow at first, growth quickly ensued. It was in 2010 that the company experienced “hyper-growth” and hit nearly 90 million members with over 1,000 employees.

Last year, LinkedIn officially surpassed Facebook as the "most important social platform for b2b marketers" and the third-most used social platform among business owners. Therefore, whether you are looking to effectively recruit new talent for your business or want to catapult your company to new heights and get more eyes on your product or service, LinkedIn is the place to go.


Getting its start in June 2011 as Google's fourth try at social networking, Google+ experienced large growth almost immediately. With options and features for individuals and businesses that included interest-based communities, circles, hangouts, etc. the social platform did well.

Though Google+ doesn’t hold the same intrigue that other social platforms do (average time spent on Google is 7 minutes), it should not be written off as an ineffective social media marketing tool. With over 300 million monthly active users and reach hitting nearly 38 percent of the U.S. digital population, Google+ is still a beneficial platform for all brands.


The world’s most popular online video site got its start in 2005 by three previous PayPal employees. It was in 2006 that the video site became one of the fastest growing websites at the time, and we haven’t seen it slow down since. After being acquired by Google in 2007, YouTube propelled into a mainstream social medium that drastically changed everything about TV and how the public views major networks. That being said, in just one decade's time, YouTube has created a culture of its own and a place for people to catch up on the latest highlights, trailers, previews, recaps and more.

Today, if your business is not on YouTube, you’re missing out tremendously. YouTube is used by more than one-third of the entire population and half of those on mobile, therefore giving your brand an uncanny reach. And to add to those amazing numbers, on mobile and desktop, YouTube reaches more 18-49-year-olds than any cable network in the U.S. So, what is your brand waiting for?

Social Media for Small Business 

With no end for social media in sight, taking advantage of these vast platforms is crucial for businesses of all sizes, but especially for small businesses. Today, we have quickly surpassed the thought that social media marketing is just a fad and therefore, unprofitable. According to Social Media Examiner, 92 percent of marketers say that social media is important to their business and 90 percent state that social media marketing has increased their exposure and traffic. Let’s take a deeper look into why social media for small businesses and large businesses alike is essential to success.

Brand Recognition 

Social media offers brands a platform to showcase their personality, and what services or products they provide, in a unique light. That being said, it’s important for companies to spend quality time on their profiles, as well as put serious thought into what they will be posting since this is what customers will be seeing and associating with your company. When brands perfect their social personality, customers will take notice and begin to generate interest in what you have to offer.

Enriched Customer Experience

At the end of the day, social media is a communication channel and every customer interaction you have is a moment to showcase your brand's customer service publicly in a positive way. Therefore, when your customers share personal complaints or a positive experience on Facebook, Twitter, etc., you have an excellent opportunity to apologize, thank them, or take other actions to show you appreciate them and genuinely care that they have a good experience with your product or service.

Increased Traffic 

Let’s be honest, in today’s world your website’s inbound traffic directly correlates to your social media channels. Therefore, if you do not dedicate time to the various platforms and make a name for your brand, your inbound traffic can suffer. With every social channel you put effort into and create quality content for, the more traffic you will generate. With this in mind, 81 percent of marketers found that increased traffic occurred with as little as 6 hours per week invested in social media marketing.

Greater Conversion Rates 

In addition to inbound traffic, with quality content and the right nurturing, your social platforms will also bring in strong conversion rates. The overarching goal as a business is to put out helpful and informative content on your social channels that will lead to more traffic and, ultimately, increased conversions. Today, companies who spend as little as 6 hours per week on social media saw a 66+ percent increase in lead generation.

Therefore, it is important to look at each blog post, video, or image as an opportunity for a consumer to take action on your brand, such as clicking through to that blog post. From there, you could have a valuable conversion and loyal customer. Overall, social media marketing is an intricate cycle and needs to be treated with care. But when done right, it will show, and your goals will be met.

Elevated Brand Loyalty 

One of the best things a brand can do for themselves on social media is actively engage with their followers/customers. Social media gives brands the tools they need to effectively connect with their audience. A study done by Convince&Convert found that 53 percent of Americans who follow brands on social media will be more loyal to those brands. The more time you invest as a brand on social media, the more relationships you will build, which will ultimately lead to increased brand loyalty.

Des Moines Brands Dominating Social Media Marketing 

Social media marketing can be the key to a brand’s success. Right here in our own backyard, Des Moines brands have been doing a remarkable job on the social media front.

Check out these Des Moines companies that are making a splash and showing how it is done with their social media marketing!


When it comes to social media marketing, Raygun is one-of-a-kind. Known for their off-the-wall merchandise, Raygun has taken those unique and individual tactics used with their merchandise to social, and it works!

“Social media is one of the few places for intelligent, thoughtful discourse in modern times. We use social media to further that discourse …  or not. We usually just send out things we find funny if we want to make people laugh."

- Mike Draper, Owner


Gateway Market

A Des Moines landmark, Gateway Market is known for their impressive (and delicious!) selection of organic and specialty foods from around the world. While they are known for their tasty options, they are also dedicated to providing a customer-centered environment which is showcased through their social media.

“Direct customer engagement is a key part of Gateway Market and Orchestrate Hospitality’s marketing strategy - while we interact with guests on a number of levels, social media certainly plays a major role in that. Our social media presence is defined by photo-forward content with a consistent voice and seasonal, timely messages. With the diversity of products and services available at Gateway Market, our biggest challenge is being able to communicate all the exciting things we’re doing at the store!”

- Adam Bartelt, Marketing Director



As one of Des Moines’  leading (and oldest) grocers, Fareway is committed to providing their customers fresh, high-quality meat and produce at affordable prices. Though they have expanded over the years, Fareway has always maintained their values, and they are sure to showcase that across social media channels.

“My goal when creating posts for Fareway includes engaging with customers young and old. Inspiration comes from reminiscing of old Fareway times, thinking of new promotions, and really just trying to post items that I would enjoy seeing!”

- Caitlyn Ferin, Corporate


One of our littlest Fareway shoppers!

A photo posted by Fareway Stores (@fareway_stores) on


Salon Spa W

Salon Spa W is second-to-none when it comes to their social media marketing. As one of Des Moines’ leading salons, they do an outstanding job of treating social media as an opportunity to continue to build relationships with their guests, Salon Spa W takes a creative and personal approach to doing so.

"Our goal with social media is to create an online destination that allows us to maintain a rich connection with our guests. When I publish a post, I always ask myself if it is something that our guests would consider interesting or if it is of value to them. When we created the #heartyourstylist campaign, we wanted to create something that had a personal connection to our followers. By featuring real guests with their stylists, we are able to showcase someone our guests know and can relate to. Having that authenticity is exciting and keeps everyone guessing who we will feature next! "

- Alex S., Director of Marketing and Communications


Cheers to a happy and safe Saint Patrick's day from the Salon Spa W Team! #SalonSpaW #??YourStylist

A video posted by Salon Spa W (@salonspaw) on



This fun little shop in Des Moines’ East Village is owned by former photo/film stylist Chrissy Jensen. Chrissy has set out to make Domestica “the visual background behind life's most memorable events + places,” and she has done just that! But it doesn’t stop there, she takes and translates these moments and places right to her social media channels in a fun and innovative way!

“Honestly, I've been interested in the social part of the internet for a long time - had a Squarespace blog almost the minute they offered it - was just waiting for an easy platform that looked great. I think what most drives my social media efforts is my excitement when I see something awesome that someone else created.  The creative process is fun but tough, and when someone hits a homerun, I think everyone should see it. Domestica's (hopefully) chock full of these home runs, so when I share something we carry, I'm not only promoting Domestica but hopefully introducing new fans to this artist/maker/designer's craft.”

- Chrissy Jensen, Owner



Here's the Iowa wall hanging also by @pinklinendesigns - we have this + other pretty colors! ????????: @pinklinendesigns

A photo posted by Chrissy Jensen (@iluvdomestica) on

Pink Print Company

This Des Moines company has been making quite a splash on the social media scene with their unique and beautifully personalized paper products. The Pink Print Company got its start in 2005 by two individuals who mutually shared the “love of letterpress and a sense of nostalgia for celebrating the milestones in life.” Their deep passion for design is translated right onto their social media channels through their simple and elegant posts.

"Our social media really reflects our brand, which is pretty minimal and classic.  We believe less is more when it comes to design; clean is calming, simple is strong.  These elements are applied to almost every decision in work and play."

- Stacey Gibbs, Owner


the valentine lineup. ???? #sendmoremail #ppcxoxo #PPCEV

A photo posted by Pink Print Company (@pinkprintco) on



what's the date today? 2016 calendars are half price. #2016ppcgoldfoilleapyear #creativityismessy #dontmissadeadline

A photo posted by Pink Print Company (@pinkprintco) on

DSM Girl Gang

You won't find any other organization in the Des Moines metro quite like the DSM Girl Gang. The mission of this remarkable group is to create a non-exclusive, female-driven, supportive community of Des Moines artists that share their creative ventures not only with one another but the public, and it definitely shows on their empowering social media channels.

“We utilize social media to reach anyone we can, to advocate for female artists and to show everyone all the talent that exists in Des Moines. Our message as a group is to cultivate a supportive and creative community.”

- Meanz Chan, Co-Founder


Details in FB group ?? / @ishgirl8 @meanzchan

A video posted by Des Moines Girl Gang (@dsmgirlgang) on



???? / ??: @alexcrahan

A photo posted by Des Moines Girl Gang (@dsmgirlgang) on

Des Moines Art Center

The brilliant Des Moines Art Center is a nonprofit devoted to engaging local and diverse audiences through art featured in their museum and school. Let’s cut to the chase - they do a fantastic job on all of their social media accounts. They give followers a glimpse into their mission by sharing beautiful photos that consist of personal moments of those viewing art, features on specific pieces of art, as well as events happening in the Des Moines metro that they are participating in.

“The Art Center’s brand tagline is ‘entirely unexpected’ so we aim to reflect the same sense of discovery and excitement through our social media strategy, whether that’s with a staff takeover of our Instagram account or behind-the-scenes videos tailored to our Facebook audience. When it comes to finding inspiration, we don’t have to look far—being surrounded by an incredible permanent collection, talented students in our studio classes, and passionate members helping plan events means we have an endless supply of content and ideas. More than anything our presence on social media has been a great way for our members and community supporters to feel constantly connected to what’s happening at the Art Center, even if they're not able to visit the museum as often as they would like.”

- Megan Bannister, Social Media Manager



Our newest exhibition, Arts & Letters, is now open! Stop by and discover this #entirelyunexpected collection of works inspired by literature.

A photo posted by Des Moines Art Center (@desmoinesartcenter) on

Preferred Pest

As a prominent pest control company in Des Moines, Preferred Pest is dedicated to providing safe and efficient pest services to Des Moines residents. Through their social channels, Preferred Pest shares helpful insights and tips about pests in the area in creative and innovative ways.

“The goal with Preferred Pest’s social media marketing is to educate our audience in creative ways about potential pests in the Des Moines metro and how it could affect their home or business. Through posts like ‘Catch of the Week,’ we hope to inform people in Des Moines while showcasing that we can help them solve these problems!”

- Brad Smith, Owner


FACT: The incidence of bed bugs are three times higher in urban areas than rural areas. At Preferred Pest, we understand...

Posted by Preferred Pest Control on Thursday, March 24, 2016

Bird mites are tricky critters that can wreak havoc on your Des Moines home if not taken care of quickly and...

Posted by Preferred Pest Control on Monday, March 21, 2016

Orchard Place

Orchard Place is the oldest locally-based charity in Des Moines that provides Iowa kids mental health treatment and expertise. This wonderful organization is committed to serving more than 10,000 children and youth annually through inpatient, outpatient and community programs. Through social media marketing, Orchard Place is able to effectively share their expertise, educate, and instill hope in the community.

“The inspiration behind the Orchard Place social media strategy is to help parents understand that if their child is facing a mental health condition; there are solutions and expertise within our own organization. Our online presence including social media is vital to our mission. Parents are more comfortable browsing our content and then reaching out. That means our content must be easily found. Additionally, social media allows us to spotlight employees, programs and success stories as well as help people realize that there is hope, and we are making a difference in the lives of more than 10,000 kids a year.”

- Craig Olson, Director of Communication


Sometimes a photo can express more than words ever can.

Posted by Orchard Place on Thursday, March 31, 2016

Des Moines Register's Daniel Finney highlights a family's struggle to get help for their daughter.

Posted by Orchard Place on Saturday, December 5, 2015

Animal Rescue League (ARL)

There is no denying the Animal Rescue League is a social media leader in the Des Moines metro. As Iowa’s largest animal shelter, the ARL is committed to each and every pet that comes through their facilities each year, and they let that show across each of their social channels.

“With our social media efforts, we go for fun, positive posts in a casual voice that celebrate pets and pet ownership. We want our social media platforms to be places where people want to engage and follow us, as well as communities where people can share their own photos and stories of the pets they love. We also include some advocacy and ask for the public’s help when we really need it.”

- Jessica Jorgenson, Website Coordinator



Want to Take Your Brand's Social Media to the Next Level

Our digital marketing team can help! As a leading Des Moines advertising agency, Blue Compass can take your social media marketing to new heights through industry-leading techniques. Learn more about social media marketing services and reach out for a free quote today!


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