Today's websites are so much more changeling than they used to be aren't they?
Gone are the days of your websites just being a digital brochure for your company. A website now has many jobs including:
· Get found – The website should be optimized for search to help you get found online.
· Build trust – Your website is a key element to building trust. Once a person arrives on your website, it needs to validate their challenges. Your website needs to function the way your customers need it to and expect it to.
· Educate – Your website should teach people how to recognize what their problems and challenges are.
· Inform – Once a person has found you and trusts you, you need to inform them on how you can solve their problems.
· Nurture – Often people need to come back to your website numerous times before making a purchase. Capture their email address and continue to create valuable content that is relevant to their stage in the customer journey to nurture them through to the sale.
· Convert – A conversion can be many things from subscribing to a newsletter, to calling you, to making a purchase on your website. Conversion opportunities need to be an element of the design of your homepage to help guide the journey.
To get the most out of your potential clients or customers visit, consider implementing these elements below.
1. The promise
The purpose of the promise headline, above the fold on your homepage, is to show the visitor that you understand the challenges they face. You need to make them a promise that will solve their problems. Your branding headline is nice but having this as well will help get that call to action going which is point # 2.
2. Call to action
A call to action (CTA) is an image or text that prompts visitors, leads, or customers to take a specific action. CTAs help to guide people through their journey and advise them on next steps. Your call to action can be to request more information, schedule a consultation, or download a free report. Make sure it’s relevant and useful – the days when people simply signed up to receive an email from you are over, but people still want to be led to useful activities and resources that get them closer to solving their problems.
Many companies are beginning to feature video on their homepage, and for a good reason! Video allows you to give people a real sense of who you are, what you stand for, and let people hear your story. It’s also a great way to produce content to engage your audience. Some put this in the nice to have category, but I think it’s a must these days for small business websites. Contact us about your next marketing video. We can help you create a great short valuable branding package for your website at an affordable price.
4. Trust elements
You need to have elements that build trust on your homepage, whether they be logos of current customers or testimonials for your audience to glance over. Have reviews or accolades you want your audience to see? Make them easy to find and place them on the homepage. This is almost a content category for many businesses as things like reviews, case studies, and testimonials should be part of your ongoing content building efforts, but once you collect them use them to build trust and social proof.
5. Changing content
It’s a good idea to feature frequently changing content from your website on your homepage. For example, place a blog or social feed on the homepage that shows recent activity. It’s a great way to show your company is active and to keep content fresh on the homepage.
6. Content upgrades
A content upgrade gives people the ability to download premium content in exchange for an email address or capturing a lead. This is an essential element for conversion on your website. If they download this content, this expresses interest in what you do. Take this opportunity to give them more valuable content moving forward to nurture them through to the sale. This is an essential element for conversion on your website. If they download this content, this expresses interest in what you do. Take this opportunity to give them more valuable content moving forward to nurture them through to the sale.
7. Core services
Create boxes that feature your core products or services and include about 100 words of content with each. Since these are your core services, you’ll likely have full pages or sections of your site related to each, but by placing them on your homepage accompanied by descriptive content, you’ll also get some additional SEO value.
While you may not be able to deploy all of these points, try and least use some of them to bring your website up to date. Visit your analytics at least every two weeks if not more to see how your website is performing. If your business does not have a website, reach out to us and we can assist you in getting one up and going!
FDMC Social and Digital Media LLC
Did you know that one third of on line activity is watching videos? Really, it is.
We have known for a while now that video is only increasing in popularity, but I don't think people truly realize the huge influences of video content.
Here's some perspective: did you know that 45% of people watch more than an hour of Facebook or YouTube videos a week? In addition, over half of video content is viewed on a mobile device.
What's interesting, though, are what those stats mean contextually. Think about the turnaround of social content these days. By the time you've come up with a good idea, created it, and then posted it to your Facebook page or YouTube channel, people are onto the next thing. Sad but that is the world we now live in. No attention span because people are just too busy and trying to absorb all this “stuff” in their heads.
When people (brands especially) think about video, they think about it as a long-form, high value piece of content. And the truth is, video is a high value piece of content. It just shouldn't be thought of as an asset that requires thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment and months of work to create. Video is no longer a "professionals-only" content piece. Apps like Instagram and Snapchat (and its long-lost cousin, Vine) have made the barrier to entry for video extraordinarily low. SMB’s still need us video production professionals but yes, those apps do a pretty good job.
Which means, if you want to get into the video content game--and you should--then what's equally as important as coming up with good video ideas is your process for getting from start to finish as quickly as possible. In the world of social media, speed is as important (if not more important) than the idea itself.
Honestly, the same could be said for the blogging world--and really all social content, period. It's a game of attention with a very short lifespan.
It's just that video has been such a "luxury" type of content for so long that the vast majority of brands still consider it out of reach. They think, "Well, we don't have the equipment or we don't have the budget to make something professional," so they don't even try taking a step in that direction. Meanwhile, Instagram personalities are vlogging their daily lives on video in their Stories and not only attracting the most attention, but reducing the barrier of entry.
Video doesn't need to be a big production anymore.
But it's also about business goals. The vision has never been about just creating one amazing video, assuming the world will stop, look at it, and clap their hands. Social doesn't work that way. You need to create video content, quickly and easily. It's the consistency that drives business. Try and figure out what drives your customers. What drives your brand and put those thoughts into your video.
Here's another stat that proves the value of social video from a business perspective: videos on landing pages can increase conversions by 80% or more.
The habit of consistency is what differentiates the "one-hit wonders" from the brands, businesses, and influencers that create content on a regular basis--and actually build audiences around their video content. Consistency. That's what your video strategy should be based around. Remember, don’t spend months on a video project and no, you don’t need thousands of dollars anymore to hire equipment and an advertising agency to get your video out. You can do it! And if you feel you can’t reach out to us. We are happy to help.
FDMC Social and Digital Media LLC
Social listening is an important strategy that brands need to consider if they’re to stay up to speed with Millennials and rapid speed conversations.
But does social listening contribute to delivering a great customer experience? Can it help your brand in proactively meeting customer needs?
Yes, it does! And here are 5 ways in which Social Listening can take your customer relationships to the next level.
1. Engage with a large audience (larger than you could ever imagine!)
With a proper social listening software, you can effortlessly listen to those who are talking about your brand, your product or service and also about your competitors on social platforms. Furthermore, Nielsen has found that 33% of customers even prefer to contact brands using social media rather than the telephone.
When that is the case, listening can be a definite first step to understanding what the customer wants. It’s necessary to stay in-sync with the latest customer expectations else you run the risk of losing out to competition. And social listening is the ideal way to stay ahead in this race!
2. You get the ‘real’ scoop on social
Have you wondered why customers are sometimes too nice while filling feedback forms? One of the reasons is that they don’t have the time (hey, you might be asking too many questions!) nor the patience to explicitly express what they think.
How can social listening be of value here? It helps your brand filter out negative comments and get tangible insights from these comments. Let’s say a majority of your audience is criticizing the lack of information on your website. An intelligent social listening software will filter out these comments and deliver an actionable insight like “Working on availability of information on website can help boost website experience”
3. It’s where real-time customer service happens
The need for businesses to go real time would have been written in stone by now – It’s been repeated that often. Well, there isn’t any better place you can hope to achieve this than on social platforms.
You’d have come across the incident where Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, made sure to respond back to a valuable feedback on Twitter. If you haven’t yet, check out the story here. Customers want to be heard and they treat social media as a platform to engage with your brand and get instant remedies for their issues.
4. Make marketing personalized. Let social content drive engagement!
Personalization is the key to unlocking great experiences and social customer relationships.
Social listening tools can help you identify the way your target personas converse, the words they use, its tonality and unravels their specific needs and expectations from your brand. The insights you gather here can in turn be leveraged to run personalized marketing campaigns!
Moreover, a powerful and dynamic social listening platform can help you segregate your social audience into different categories which also helps in creating relevant content and offers for specific customer groups.
5. Staying proactive
Exceeding customer expectations can be a sure shot way to deliver customer delight. But unless your brand is well equipped with the necessary information and insights, going past expectations isn’t a cakewalk. By constantly monitoring what your customers, as well as other prospects, are talking about and engaging with them regularly, you can come up with a proactive and futuristic customer experience strategy for the long run. And social listening can help you monitor rapidly changing customer needs, anticipate trends and most importantly, deliver actionable insights on how to go about executing these changes.
Social listening is one of the most reliable means to make sense of the myriad conversations and comments on social platforms. Not just that, it provides a platform to learn more about your customers, their changing preferences, and expectations, and connect with them on a personal level no matter how far they are. Social media is already a huge repository of information. Now, converting that information into insights that can build customer experience is the advantage you have with social listening.
FDMC Social and Digital Media LLC
While I am not totally sold on the long term survival of Snapchat as Instagram continues to eat away at it's rival, Ad revenue continues to look strong for the mobile app. Marketing your brand on Snapchat takes some creativity. It can be confusing, especially when you're starting out. Something to keep in mind is that a typical marketing funnel is broken down into three main stages:
1. Awareness. Prospects learn about your business and what you have to offer.
2. Interest. Prospects from the first phase take the first step toward becoming a customer by signing up for a webinar or company emails.
3. Evaluation. Prospects from phase two take the final jump to buy from you, often as the result of a sales call or integrating email.
Snapchat is strongest during the second stage, when you're engaging your prospects and trying to create interest. In fact, research shows that Snapchat gets nearly a 4x higher engagement rate compared to similar platforms like Instagram but this is slowly changing as Instagram migrates many of Snapchat's features. Through Snapchat, you can deliver valuable content to your audience to let them see a different side of your business -- one that might not be as visible through another channel.
Here are three ways marketers can use Snapchat to grow their businesses:
1. Offer promo codes.
Brands have had success using promo codes on Snapchat because of how high the engagement rate is.
2. Launch products.
You can also use Snapchat to launch new products. One of the unique benefits of Snapchat is that it gives you permission to create low-budget, informal videos. Letting them see you “behind the scenes,” where you might be unpolished, will help build a deeper relationship over the long term.
3. Leverage influencer marketing.
By leveraging influencers, you can capture a much larger audience because your content will be viewed by both your followers and the followers of that influencer. It’s one of the quickest ways to build a massive audience of your own. Another way to use influencer marketing is by asking an influencer to do a takeover of your account. This basically means that they run your Snapchat account for a certain period of time, and post snaps on behalf of you.
Snapchat is still an up-and-coming platform. If it continues to hold on as a popular app then marketers will have something. Right now it is an app that has yet to become overcrowded. And, because of that, engagement levels are still significantly higher than many other platforms. Marketers who jump on it now will see significantly better engagement than those who get on board months -- or years later.
FDMC Social & Digital Media LLC
When Snapchat first took the mobile world by storm, most people assumed it was just another teenage fad. Six years and a $16 billion valuation later, one of the most talked-about IPOs to date has since made it clear that Snapchat’s influence goes far beyond silly pictures.
According to Snap Inc.’s recently updated Form S-1 SEC registration statement, the app boasts 158 million active users each day, and those users spend an average of 25 to 30 minutes on the app each day. Clearly, Snapchat has ingrained itself as the king of a social media niche that Facebook and Twitter never knew existed.
For businesses that use social media to interact with consumers, Snapchat presents opportunities no other platforms can replicate. Whether your company's goal is recruiting new talent, engaging current employees or marketing to the masses, Snapchat has something for everyone.
The many faces of Snapchat
Snapchat users become princesses, cowboys, aliens and puppies all the time. Why shouldn’t the app be just as versatile for business?
Direct consumer marketing is the obvious first step, but Snapchat works for internal communications and recruitment, as well. Certainly, a 10-second snap isn’t the best way to notify employees that their bonuses have been delayed. But, for small recognitions, company events, birth announcements, new hires and goals achieved, Snapchat provides bite-sized slices of company life that employees will actually look at A Snapchat channel of employee posts, such as the one Cisco uses, can also be a great tool to show potential candidates what life at the company is really like!
Cisco, for example, allows its employees to post on the channel themselves, giving viewers a live look into the company’s different roles, office locations and special events. The channel has been a great success: Cisco found that 70 percent of its viewers had watched its stories all the way through, and more than five million minutes of its content had been consumed.
What's more, the oversaturation issue doesn't apply here: Just because everyone else uses Snapchat for direct marketing doesn’t mean it isn’t worth looking into, yourself.
10 seconds to better business
With a platform as versatile as Snapchat, most businesses have trouble figuring out where to begin. The following five strategies will help businesses get the most from their Snapchat experience.
1.Keep your content candid. Creating custom-designed snaps is expensive and inefficient. Users of Snapchat want to see slices of real life, not heavily designed ads. So, let your employees post directly to a feed, or put a personable social media expert in charge of capturing moments to share. With brands now posting an average 13 stories per month and 11 snaps per story.
2. Bring in well-known guests. Social media influencers and niche celebrities provide excellent brand exposure. Let someone else take over the Snapchat story for a while, and see what develops. Not only will brand loyalists appreciate the shakeup, but fans of the talent that was previously unaffiliated with the brand might become new customers themselves.
3. Call users to action. Attention is great, but action is better. According to Sumpto, 67 percent of college age students want to receive more discounts and promotions from brands on Snapchat. Encourage followers to visit a website or share on other social media platforms. Incentivize engagement with special Snapchat filters or contests for prizes.
4. Build a following through consistency. Twitter followers may rally around hashtags, but how can brands create a following on an app that relies on transience? Simple -- by making Snapchat a bigger part of the branding outside the app.
5. Track snap data. Even though Snapchat lacks the more advanced analytic tools other platforms use, it still provides some interesting insights. Total views are useful, but story completion (how many people watched all the way through) and screenshots (how many thought it was worthy of sharing) pinpoint the most engaged users.
Don’t be fooled by its often-silly exterior -- when it comes to marketing, Snapchat is the real deal. Follow these strategies to start building better stories and engaging with more users.
FDMC Social & Digital Media LLC
While live streaming has been around for a while now, only in the last year or so has this particular form of online video become immensely popular. In fact, according to livestream, 81% of internet and mobile audiences watched more live video in 2016 than they did in 2015. Additionally, research from MarketsandMarkets predicts the video streaming industry as a whole will be worth around $70 billion by 2021. It should come as no surprise, then, that YouTube has recently upped its game to cater to this burgeoning interest in live video. The platform’s live streaming feature, which last year expanded to mobile devices for select users, has grown rapidly in popularity.
If your business has yet to experiment with YouTube Live for your video marketing purposes, you’d find no better time than right now. However, before you dive in blindly, you should make sure you’re following some of the best practices for this platform. Doing so will not only help you get the most return on your efforts, but also ensure you’re properly capitalizing on everything YouTube Live has to offer your brand.
For streams, you want to schedule in advance, instead select “Events,” which gives you the ability to preview your stream before it’s live, have backup redundant streams, and start and stop the broadcast at any time. Like impromptu streams, you will be able to fill in your title, add a description, and more. Scheduled streams can be up to 8 hours long, and their archived videos can also be set to private in your Video Manager.
On mobile, the process for going live is a little different. Users will load up the YouTube app on their phones, select the capture button, and click “Go Live.” They can then enter a title, take a small thumbnail photo, and edit various privacy, age restriction, chat, and promotion-based settings before starting their broadcasts, which are saved to the creators’ channels when the stream ends.
YouTube Live: 10 Tips and Best Practices!
Now that we’ve covered what YouTube Live is and how it works, it’s time to delve into some tips and best practices for the platform. Note that some of these suggestions only apply to the desktop version of Live vs. the mobile one, and vice versa; you should also be aware that as Live develops and grows, any of these best practices could end up changing. So staying on top of the latest news around YouTube Live will, of course, ultimately help your brand find success on the platform.
You’ll also want to test different live stream lengths and content types to see what most resonates with your audience. For example, in Tubular’s Q1 2017 State of Online Video report, gaming content ranked as the most successful type of live programming at 53%; technology (15%) and news and politics (12%) content is also popular with audiences. Depending on your brand’s industry and goals, see if you can’t incorporate these genres to help grow your viewership. To get the most out of your and your audience’s YouTube Live experience, follow these tips and best practices:
#1 Aim for Quality
This should go without saying, but you want to make sure your live streams are the highest quality (both visually and audibly) they can possibly be to provide your viewers with an enjoyable live experience. We’ll outline ways you can do this in more tips below; for now, keep quality at the top of your mind. Of course, a beautiful, problem-free live stream isn’t a guarantee, especially if you’re using the mobile YouTube Live option (thanks, wi-fi!), but that doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to ensure your broadcast is in the most tip-top shape it can be.
#2 Promote Early
If you’re not planning on doing an impromptu live stream, you can schedule one in advance via the “Events” option. This allows you to promote your YouTube Live stream far ahead of it actually going live. Using social media or your brand’s email newsletter, you can let your audience know when you’ll be broadcasting live. You can also create a live stream trailer to promote on your YouTube channel, in other YouTube videos, and across your social profiles. Finally, consider updating your channel art to promote the upcoming live stream.
#3 Use the Right Equipment
As part of your efforts to ensure your live stream is high quality, make sure you’re using equipment which can handle the broadcast. For example, you’ll need to have the following:
To use YouTube’s recommended settings for your live stream, check out this help article on which bitrates, resolutions, and encoder settings are best for your live stream. Note that broadcasts conducted through the “Stream now” option won’t require you to choose a bitrate as YouTube will automatically detect your encoder’s settings.
Also, make sure to provide information like metadata, title, thumbnail, description, and even closed captions if you want your stream to be found. Some of this is required, and is in your best interest to provide, anyway. However, the most important requirement to follow is clearing the rights to any third-party content (i.e. music, graphics, images, etc.) you might be using in your live stream.
#5 Plan Ahead and TEST
For pre-planned live stream events, it’s important to plan and test out all of your equipment to ensure streaming works the way you want it to. Some experts suggest testing at least two weeks in advance if you have the time; at minimum, you should test 24 hours before your live stream to ensure bandwidth quality, technical functionality, and redundancy. Test all video and audio settings and tools you plan to use in-stream for at least 30 minutes straight, and turn off any firewalls your computer may be running to ensure the best connection to the internet as possible.
Also, make sure you pick the right kind of streaming before you go live. As noted above, using the “Stream now” option gives you up to 12 hours of continual broadcasting, but the “Event” option is only 8 hours. Therefore, if you’re planning a live stream longer than 8 hours, you’ll need to use the “Stream now” option or your content won’t be saved past those 8 hours. Finally, keep in mind the YouTube Video Editor only allows editing of videos 3 hours or less, so if you want to be able to edit your livestream post hoc, you’ll need to keep it under that time frame.
As for mobile live streams, you should make sure you’re on the strongest internet connection possible before going live. To further prevent interruptions, try setting your phone to airplane mode, which should block incoming calls and texts that would interrupt your stream and draw your attention away from your live event.
#6 Include In-Stream Content
While you obviously have a reason to be doing a live stream in the first place, you want to make sure the broadcast is as engaging for your audience as possible, as well as growing your brand’s presence on YouTube. The easiest way to do this is by including in-stream content during your live event. For example, include both visual and verbal calls-to-action if you want to draw your viewers’ attention to a particular link or action, like asking them to subscribe to your channel. Just remember that if you use third-party content, you must have the rights to show or play it in your stream.
#7 Start Ahead of Time
Starting your live stream a few minutes early will enable you to check the integrity of the live stream and your equipment before getting started. You’ll also be able to send out final promotional social posts or emails to help generate more interest in your broadcast. If you enabled chat, starting early also allows users to jump into the chat screen and talk with each other before you officially dive into the content portion of your stream.
#8 Monitor Feedback
During the live event, make sure you’re paying attention to the chat box. Sometimes you may receive feedback to help you improve your stream, like a viewer telling you to move your microphone closer to your mouth so they can hear you better. If you’re not able to keep up with chat yourself, make sure other team members from your brand are available to help monitor and respond to users’ comments.
#9 Always Have a Plan B
If you’re unable to have two encoders for redundancy’s sake, and something with your live stream fails, you’ll need to have a plan B. In the case of a desktop-based live stream, you might have your laptop next to your desk computer to use as a backup, or you could opt for YouTube Live on mobile. If you’re live streaming via the mobile version, you may not be near a computer should your broadcast fail; however, you can do your best to move to a position with better wi-fi or make sure you have a mobile wi-fi device to keep your stream rolling.
#10 Capitalize on the Finished Stream
Hitting the “stop streaming” button doesn’t mean you’re done with your work. If you want to make the most of the broadcast you just conducted, consider adding it into a playlist of related content, or starting a new playlist solely for your live streamed content. You can also edit your stream and turn it into smaller highlight videos for distribution on your channel, or embedding on outside sites. Finally, make sure to promote your live stream archive and related clips via social media, your newsletter, or your website. Always keep in mind that while "Live Streaming On You Tube is great, doing pre-recorded events for your brand is still the real way to go. Live events is obviously exciting and allows for you to create urgency, interaction and other call to action but also mistakes can happen. I hope this helps and as always email me or hit me up on how FDMC can help you!
FDMC Social and Digital Media LLC
Despite everything you read and no matter what anyone else tells you, there’s really no secret to success for marketers on social media.
Obviously, you can put the odds in your favor if you follow the industry’s best practices. But there are no shortcuts or tricks, no workarounds or hacks.
Big advertising budget or not, if you’re not careful to adhere to some of the channels’ most fundamental principles, any wins you experience will be short-lived at best.
Transparency counts for a lot in social media, as do authenticity and immediacy. Emerging technologies and newfangled tactics play considerable roles as well.
As if all that’s not enough, whether you’re talking about copy or design, still images or videos, memes or GIFs, you need to have an infinite supply of content in some shape or form queued up and ready to share with your followers, subscribers and connections.
Those principles I referred to above still reign first and foremost, though. There are too many of them to list here, but let’s talk about a few of the most important ones.
1. Have a solid strategy in place
Far too many businesses and brands decide to launch a campaign, only to realize not too far into it that they either don’t have enough content to sustain momentum or they have no idea what to do with it. That’s just one of countless issues to address before you dip your toes in the social media waters. Branding. Lead generation. PR. SEO. What are your objectives? Which channels are you going to use? Who’s your audience? How can you achieve better results than your competition?
You can easily get lost on social media if you haven’t mapped out your journey in advance.
2. Be persistent and patient
If you’re not a brand like Red Bull or a celebrity like Kim Kardashian, you’re not going to be an overnight success on social media. Attention on these channels is earned, not given to you.
Even if you put a massive budget behind your content and promote it like crazy, you still need a ubiquitous, bona fide presence on social media to be taken seriously. Social media levels the playing field between buyer and seller. The more you engage authentically with your audience on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and the like, the more likely they’ll be to respond affirmatively to what you have to offer.
3. Roll out the red carpet for your audience
You never get a second chance to make a great first impression. Treat the members of your audience like VIPs. Roll out the red carpet and greet them with open arms.
Thank them for following you. Ask how you can help them. Speak to their needs and interests, not yours. Give them props, credit, praise and kudos. Show them how much you appreciate the time they’re taking to watch, listen and learn from you.
Give them far more attention than they’re giving to you and chances are, your welcome and warmth will be reciprocated.
4. Be available, responsive and engaging
The good news is that social media has made it possible for you to engage with customers, consumers and constituents in real time, anytime. The bad news is that they can reach out to you at their own convenience. And the expectation is that you will respond to them immediately.
Banker’s hours are unheard-of on social media. Nights. Weekends. Lunchtime. It doesn’t matter what your schedule is in real life. On these online communication channels, you need to be there for your audience at a moment’s notice. If you snooze, you lose. There’s no rest for the weary on social media.
5. Show the human side of your brand
One of the biggest mistakes marketers, advertisers and professionals in general make is to underestimate the importance of the social in social media. People do business with people who are willing to engage as themselves, not logos behind a litany of promotional messages and corporate gobbledygook.
Be kind. Be generous. Be yourself. Cold, calculating and contrived content will get you nowhere on these channels. Candor and extemporaneousness will fly.
Stress the positive attributes of your brand, personal or professional, but don’t pretend you’re something you’re not. Honesty and personality will get you everywhere on social media.
We’re all familiar with slogans like “Just Do It,” “Live Más” (Spanish for "more") and “Because You’re Worth It.” These slogans have become synonymous with the brands they represent, so it’s natural that small business owners would associate the notion of branding only with big corporations. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
Branding should be a priority for small business owners, as well, despite its being one of the most difficult things to tackle. Half of small businesses close their doors within five years of launching. And one of the causes might be the perception that branding is too “difficult” for founders to dedicate time and brain power to.
Why is branding so important?
The answer is that it represents who you are and what your company is. It represents who you want to be and your core values and principles. The principles you set for your brand should be your guide, and compromising them means you don’t trust your own brand. Change is a constant in business and someone will always try to rival the services you provide; others may try to copy (or steal) your concept, logo and assets. But the one thing no one can copy? Your brand.
Here are four tips to develop a lasting brand identity:
1. Find your purpose.
A brand is nothing but a promise delivered; therefore, building a brand must be the core of your company. Your brand’s purpose is to answer the "why." Why do you matter and why you exist? Why did you start your business?
When I ask, “Why do you want to become an entrepreneur?” One of the standard replies I hear is, “Because I want to make money.”
Nothing is wrong with that; I love to make money too, but that cannot be the sole purpose. In this über-competitive world, your brand needs to find the one thing that makes it different.
As a small businessperson, you don't need a purpose that's going to change the world. An example: If you have a small restaurant that serves a type of food similar to that of the restaurant two doors down, but you use locally-grown products to feed your patrons, that’s going to be your calling card.
Your purpose? To help local farmers and help the local community. Customers know that you’re looking to make an impact and will reward you with their loyalty.
2. Find your voice.
Is your brand quirky? Fun? Adventurous? Giving a brand characteristics normally associated with human beings is one way to ensure that people identify with it.
In the beginning, your brand pitch helps you to create key phrases or descriptions and a checklist of touch points and then use those as bookends when interacting with customers. Opening and closing with a strong touch point leaves a lasting impression on the customer and helps you avoid derailing from your message.
If people are trying to get me to buy something and they launch into a hundred reasons why I should do that, I’m not interested, no matter how great the product. I don’t have time to stand there and listen to a whole sales pitch. So, take a lesson here: Don’t parrot your brand’s virtues; live them.
And, be short, concise and to the point: If customers feel and understand your passion, they’ll understand what the brand is trying to convey.
3. Make brevity and simplicity your best friends.
It’s tempting to think of the multitude of things that make your brand great; therefore, it can be overwhelming to try to simplify what to convey to the public. The key here is: simplicity is best. The most successful brands have the simplest brands. For example, Coke has not changed its brand overall since the 19th century. The company may have changed colors and style, but that’s about it. All of us are familiar with the brand, whether we drink soda or not.
Keeping things simple increases brand recognition and can help create an emotional connection, turning customers into brand loyalists. Also, avoid being vague with your messaging. It’s a trap that many people fall into -- if your messaging says nothing about your brand, your company becomes forgettable. Clichés are also a no-no. They make your brand look lazy and unprepared.
It’s tempting to use vague language to feel "safe," but it makes customers think you’re hiding something from them. Don’t be afraid of offending someone; just be honest. With all the changes taking place in society -- culturally, politically and economically -- more consumers are looking for brands that align with their beliefs.
4. Make them work for you.
Evangelizing your brand is already a part of your job and that of your employees’. It’s their job to tell your customers why you’re great and why they should buy from you.
When customers understand your brand, what you stand for, what you deliver for them and everything your brand conveys, they take on the role of "brand ambassadors" willingly. When your target consumers understand every nuance of your brand, you’ve hit the branding jackpot. When consumers identify with your brand, they become vocal about it -- on social media or through word of mouth, which is still a powerful medium.
When customers have that connection, they organically evangelize your brand; they are working for you. Reward them, especially when they’re not expecting it. A discount or special offer, especially if it’s unexpected.
Here’s a bonus tip for you: Every campaign should be personally authorized by someone who truly understands the brand before anything is revealed to the public. If it not you the owner or manager, never leave branding to chance, because even minor mistakes can have a long-lasting effect on your business.
FDMC Social and Digital Media LLC
How can you increase your organic reach on Instagram? Here are the 10 powerful tools to help you reach your audience with Instagram. Use them all or use some of them for your business. Regardless, make Instagram a part of your social marketing strategy so you are not missing out on your target audience whom today are very mobile.
1. Find your optimal posting times
Even though Instagram uses an algorithmic timeline now, optimal posting times are still important. It is a factor in the algorithm. Posting at the right times can help generate an initial round of engagement on your posts which can, in turn, prompt the Instagram algorithm to push your posts higher on your followers’ feed.
If you are using a Instagram Business Profile, you can check your Instagram Insights to find out when your followers are most active by the day of the week and the time of the day. To access your Instagram Insights (link to Instagram analytics post), tap on the profile tab in the Instagram app and then the bar chart icon () on the upper-right corner. There will be a section for your followers’ activity information, and you can tap on “See More” to see more detailed insights. Here’s an example of what you’ll see:
2. Experiment with videos
Studies have found that photos tend to get more overall engagement (i.e. likes and comments) than videos on Instagram. On first look, it might seem that photos are better than videos for engagement — and it could well be! On closer examination, we might draw a different conclusion. News Whip studied the Instagram accounts of 31 news publishers and made an interesting discovery. While photos, on average, get more likes (and overall engagement) than videos, videos generate more comments than photos. In fact, videos, on average, received more than twice the amount of comments than photos! It is not certain if the Instagram algorithm values likes and comments equally or one more than another. But since commenting requires more effort from a user than liking, it’s possible that the algorithm values comments more than likes and would rank posts with more comments higher than posts with more likes.
Last year, Instagram found that the video watch time on Instagram increased by more than 40 percent over a six-month period. At this growth rate, it could be great to experiment with videos to see if it increases your engagement and organic reach on Instagram.
3. Host contests or ask questions to encourage engagement
Asking questions or calling for an action is one of the fun ways to encourage your followers to interact with your Instagram posts. Hosting a giveaway contest is an effective way to engage your followers. Some of the call-to-actions you can do are:
Enter to win by sharing your favorite emoji party combo in the comments below
To enter, simply tag a friend below who you would “Vote” for as your favorite marketer and you’ll both be entered to win!
To enter tag a friend below who you know is rocking it on social media!
What’s on your reading list this week? Drop your book suggestions below for a chance to win a free book of your choice from the Buffer team!
While giveaway contests usually generate more comments than usual posts. Try to give it a few months in between each contest to keep things fun and exciting.
4. Curate user-generated content
Curating user-generated content can encourage those users to engage with and share those content. Since the Instagram algorithm considers users’ relationships when ranking content on their feed, building relationships with your users through Instagram might also help your content rank higher on their feeds.
Apart from organic reach, Crowdtap found that user-generated content is 35 percent more memorable and 50 percent more trusted than traditional media and other user-generated content. This makes user-generated content a valuable strategy to try.
5. Tell Instagram Stories
Typically, 63 percent of marketers use Instagram, only 16 percent have created Instagram Stories. There’s a great opportunity to stand out before it gets too crowded! Instagram Stories take a prominent position on the Instagram app — above the feed. This allows you to stay on top of your followers’ feed and grab more of their attention. If your followers view your Stories regularly, it could possibly even help your Instagram posts rank higher on their feeds. It’s worth noting that the Stories are also ranked by an algorithm. Spend the time to create cool stories and make them shine!
6. Go live on Instagram
A similar “trick” is to go live on Instagram. When you use live video, you will appear right at the front of the Stories feed, assuming no one else is live at the same time. The “LIVE” logo also makes your profile photo more prominent in the Instagram app.
Going Live though can have a weird effect on your content. A reason might be your brand is in front of your fans more often so the fans might go to your page to see your content more — even if the fans don’t watch the live video. This effect could play out on Instagram, too. Seeing your logo at the top of their feed might encourage your followers to check out your Instagram profile.
7. Use Instagram ads
This might sound a little counter-intuitive but Instagram ads can be an effective way to grow your organic reach.
If you have an Instagram Business Profile, you can promote your existing posts from within the Instagram app. (Here’s how!) By boosting an existing post and selecting the appropriate target audience, you can drive more engagement to the post and help it rank better on your followers’ feed. The paid reach can eventually help to drive organic reach!
So which post should you promote?
Here’s a quick way to pick a good post to promote:
Go to your Instagram Insights on the mobile app (tap on the profile tab and then the bar chart icon).
Tap “See More” under the “Top Posts” section.
Tap on “Impressions” at the top (a pop-up should apply to let you adjust your stats filters).
For the first filter, you can choose “All”, “Photos”, or “Videos” according to your preference.
For the second filter, select “Engagement”.
For the third filter, select “7 days”.
You will see your top posts by engagement for the last seven days. From there, you can pick a post to promote.
8. Post less
If you truly want to connect with your audience, it’s better to share one fabulous photo instead of 20 mediocre images. So next time, before you hit post, take a moment and consider how this content contributes to your brand, and does it effectively encourage engagement from your followers.
I believe this is about the allocation of your resources and time. Instead of publishing 20 posts a week, use the same resources and time for just one or two posts and make them great.
Quality content that is relevant to your followers has a higher chance of eliciting a positive response from your followers. In turn, this can help your posts rank higher on your followers’ feed.
9. Create specifically for Instagram
One way to create quality content is to create content specifically for Instagram. Instagram, being a very visual platform, has a greater focus on the photo or video itself than the text. So a post that would do well on Instagram is probably different from one that would do well on Twitter or Facebook.
For smaller social media teams or solo social media manager, it can be challenging to always create unique content for each platform. Cross posting and repurposing content from other platforms can be great, too. If you are doing that, it’d be best to craft specific caption for each social media platform as your followers likely follow you for a different reason for each of the platforms.
10. Be a great Instagram user
Social media algorithms are built to encourage genuine, positive behaviors on the platforms such as sharing, showing appreciation, quick replies, and more. Often, they would also try to discourage abuse or hacks. My gut feeling here is that being a great Instagram user will help you grow your organic reach over time. That includes:
Posting quality content that is relevant to your followers (be it informative, inspiring, or entertaining)
Answering questions on your posts quickl
Thanking people for commenting on your posts
Exploring other people’s profiles, engaging with their posts, and building a relationship with them
I hope this has been of some value to you and if you have any questions always feel free to reach out to us. Have a good one!
FDMC Social & Digital Media LLC
Video Marketing has become increasingly important for small businessesof all sizes. And YouTube is one of the most popular platforms for posting and sharing those videos.
If you have a YouTube channel for your small business, or are thinking of starting one, here are 20 ideas for type of content you can post. Hope you enjoy them!
Video Ideas for YouTube
If your business is a product-based one, you can use YouTube as a platform for highlighting specific products such as widgets, bar glasses, Tiki patio furniture..
Then when your business comes out with new products, you can create videos that offer a preview of all the new features.
Video can be a great way to show your products in action. This is especially relevant for products like video games. PlayStation often posts game play videos for the games available on its device. Locally you can do the same with your proucts.
If your product is something that might require a bit of an explanation, you might also consider creating videos aimed at simply explaining it to beginners. This can help them get acquainted enough with your offering to gain interest.
You can also create videos that compare multiple products to help your customers make more informed choices. An example would be if you sell air conditioners, you might show the difference of various sizes of the conditioners as to how many rooms it would cool. This would help your customers out!
If your business releases collections of products, like lines of clothing or similar items, you can also create videos around those releases, Say you offer a new line of home made soap here is your chance to make it a premier star out of it.
Your YouTube content can certainly be intended to inform or persuade. But don’t forget to entertain your audience as well. Lego does this with mini movies that feature some of its popular product sets. You can do it for your business as well. Having good editing software here is something I would suggest highly.
You can also share information about special offers or limited time promotions so that your YouTube viewers are constantly up-to-date with your offerings.
To create more engagement with your customers and share content that’s relevant to your audience, you can create videos that share some of your customers’ stories through interviews or similar formats. I did this for a local insurance company and it worked out well.
Behind the Scenes Videos
You can also create videos that show some behind the scenes views of your company or products. Doing a "Meet The Staff" video or "A day In The.." with one of your route drivers is another example.
When your company reaches a big milestone, or has a big accomplishment, you can create a YouTube video to celebrate and share the news!
People often watch videos to learn how to accomplish certain tasks. So you can make these helpful videos in a way that includes some of your products or services.
You can also create videos that offer simple tips on a particular subject. If you are a real estate person (and boy do we have real estate people all of a sudden here) you could do a video on tips on preparing your home for sale or showing. Tips such as painting or yard work. You get it.
Similar to how you might discuss various topics on a blog, you can create a video where you simply share your expertise or some thoughts on a particular topic. Let's say you own a gym and you do a series of videos on fitness or running. This would be a great example of discussion videos.
Video can also be a great format for showing off content from your audience, especially if you can collect clips from people as part of a contest. GoPro is one example of a company that has done this well but make sure you follow all laws before doing this.
Even if a video doesn’t directly relate to your products, it can still offer value to your target audience. Inspirational videos can sort of break up all those videos that specifically relate to your products or services. Assist a non-profit for example and shoot some video be kind and don't make a big commercial about yourself out of it.
If you create enough video content regularly, you can turn it into a web series. Red Bull does this with some of the behind the scenes content it shoots with various extreme sports stars as an example.
You can also partner with influencers relevant to your audience and ask them to star in your videos as a way of creating quality content and growing your audience. Examples would be factory reps or distributor reps that you buy your products from for re-sale.
On or around holidays, you can also make special videos intended to show some festive spirit and have some fun, We had a blast making a bunch of these for some of our customers last year. Yes, you can get them done professionally if you wish.
You can also simply have some fun with your audience by posting funny commercials or other video content on your YouTube channel. Brevard County Sheriff's Office has been getting thousands of hits and national publicity doing these while bringing up awareness on crime protection and safety.
I hope you enjoy these tips and if our company can be of any assistance to you in getting you started, please call or email us. We are YouTube certified partners and we can help you with that next video project as well.
FDMC Social & Digital Media LLC
Roy has over 30 years experience in the broadcasting and marketing fields. He carries strong credentials in mass media, social media, advertising, marketing, public relations, and video production. Mr. Garton is also a professional actor and voice-over talent.
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