Don’t Underestimate Us – The Power of LinkedIn, Flickr, and Periscope in Marketing

Yesterday, I highlighted three social media platforms which are often overlooked when it comes to digital social media marketing. Today, I’ll highlight three more social media underdogs: LinkedIn, Flickr, and Periscope. All three platforms can become marketing gold mines if used correctly.


LinkedIn

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  • What is LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is a business and employment-oriented social networking service that operates via websites. It’s the world’s largest professional network with 400 million users (source).

  • How Can LinkedIn Help Market my Business or Product?

Brandon Doyle, blogger at Business 2 Community, advises not to underestimate the marketing power of LinkedIn. In an article titled How to Use LinkedIn as a Digital Marketing Tool, Doyle gives three simple steps on how to use LinkedIn to your advantage.

  1. Keep Your Profile Updated
  2. Unfortunately, once businesses create a profile, they then forget about it. Make sure that your profile stays up-to-date. Check the information periodically to make sure nothing has changed (addresss, phone number, etc). Keep you status updated and fresh. This will keep your followers engaged in your business.

    twitter-linkedin-613x340Doyle also recommends that you Tweet more since LinkedIn integrates Tweets from your professional Twitter account into your LinkedIn account. He advises that you allow Twitter to do “double duty” for you. I’m not sure I completely agree with this. I don’t see a problem integrating Twitter with LinkedIn, but I’m not sure I would want the same content from Twitter being reused on LinkedIn. Keep your content fresh. If you do integrate, make sure you’re also providing new information and fresh content.

  3. Increase Visability Through Community Features
  4. Community features allow you to interact with specific audiences. Some examples of community features include

    • groups
    • answers (this allows you to ask questions to get feedback and allows for interaction with others in your niche)
    • company pages

    One great way you can use company pages is to keep an eye on your competitors. See what is working for them (or not working). Watch how they interact with their customers and followers. Do a little reconnaissance.

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  5. Market, Market, Market!

Use LinkedIn for its marketing power. Reach out to prospective clients through mutual connections. Use LinkedIn’s paid advertisement feature. Take advantage of LinkedIn’s own anayltics tools. Use the information provided by this tool to check how you’re doing against your competitors and to identify your target market. If you’re not hitting the mark then you need to reassess and refine your strategy.


Flickr

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  • What is Flickr?

Flickr is an image hosting and video hosting website and web services suite. In addition to being a popular website for users to share and embed personal photographs, and effectively an online community, the service is widely used by photo researchers and by bloggers to host images that they embed in blogs and social media (source).

Flickr’s website boasts of 13 billion photos, 120 million people, and 2 million groups.

  • How Can Flickr Help Market my Business or Product?

I love Flickr’s tagline: “Find Your Inspiration”. Isn’t that awesome?

Brian Conlin, content marketing manager for Cision (a PR software and service provider), in an article Cheat Sheet: Flickr for Marketing and PR says that Flickr is best used for visual storytelling. Due to the fact that Flickr allows for 1 terabyte of free storage (which allows for high-resolution uploads), Flickr has a leg up on its Facebook and Google+ competitors.

You can present your story in its full glory, not in the reduced resolution version that Facebook offers. Even Google+ pales in comparison to Flickr. While you can upload full-resolution photos to Google+, they count toward the space available with your Google account.

Conlin offers other tips to utilize Flickr’s social media marketing appeal.

  • Make Your Photos Easy to Find

Use relevant tags and file the photos under proper catagories. You want your target audience to find your pictures easily.

  • License Your Photos

You don’t want to only use Flickr for archive purposes; your want to share them. Make them available with a Creative Commons License.

  • Use Groups

Conlin suggests “if you want to create connections and empower your fans, join groups or start one“. Groups bring users together to share a common theme and find stories that are relevant to them.

  • Avoid “Salesy” Photos

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Flickr is primarily a photo sharing site; it’s not a selling site. Flickr can get pretty finicky about this, so be sure that you’re avoiding the salesman pitch. Instead, post print-quality photos for your users to enjoy, and treat Flickr like a supplement to your combined social media presence.


Periscope

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  • What is Periscope?

Periscope is a live video streaming app for iOS and Android developed by Kayvon Beykpour and Joe Bernstein and acquired by Twitter before launch in 2015. It currently has 10 million users (source).

  • How Can Periscope Help Market my Business or Product?

Crystal Washington, social media marketing strategist for Personal Branding Blog, in an article entitled 4 Simple Ways to Use Periscope for Business says that Periscope allows businesses to “have the capability to share their stories and perspectives to add value to their viewers in the form of entertainment and/or education” through video. She offers four tips to help businesses add Periscope to their social media campaign.

  1. Utilize Insider Videosinsider-information
  2. Allow your followers to see Live videos showing how your product is made or used. Let them see behind-the-scenes action at your company or give a product demonstration. Letting people have a peek at some insider information can be attractive to new customers. Use it!

  3. Provide Q&A Sessions
  4. This is an excellent way to interact and create a relationship with your target audience. Washington suggests that you allow viewers to submit questions during a live broadcast and then answer them “on air”. This showcases your knowledge and expertise in your given field/area.

  5. Hold Focus Groups
  6. focus-groups1

    This can be especially useful if you’re debuting a new product or service. Utilize the Live feature of Periscope to allow for instant feedback. You can allow viewers to vote on style, color, and other features. This shows your customers that their opinion matters, and it may inspire loyal followers.

  7. Create How-To Videos

While YouTube appears to be king of how-to videos, Periscope allows viewers the ability to ask questions for clarification during the spot during a how-to video. YouTube does not include that feature.


Conclusion

LinkedIn, Flickr, and Periscope all offer unique features that can add richness to a social media campaign. Used wisely, you can focus on your target audience’s needs while showcasing your business or product. Develop your social media campaign from every angle using all the tools at your disposal to create a three dimensional experience for your audience. With that kind of surround-sound experience, your business or product will be irresistable!

Thoughts, comments, or questions? Leave them below!

(orginal header image can be found here. Images are not my own and are used for educational purposes only)
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Pin Your Microblog to the Bulletin – Marketing Thoughts about Pinterest, Tumblr, and Reddit

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The spotlight shines brightly on social media star celebrities such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. But, what about the lesser known stars of social media? Are they any less important? Should businesses include social media platforms such as Pinterest, Tumblr, and Reddit in their social media campaign? Depending on your marketing strategy, the answer may be yes! Let’s take a deeper look into these B-List social media platform celebrities.


Pinterest

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  • What’s so special about Pinterest?

Pinterest is a wonderful way to organize content useful for your target audience in a visual way. Boards, based on ideas, interests, and plans, allow you to pin web pages to that board in an organized manner. These pins save content found on the internet much like a visual bookmark. Constant Contact, an online marketing resource website, in an article entitled 5 Pinterest Tips for Small Businesses believes that with simple planning and organizing, a business could be well on their way to building a Pinterest page which will benefit their organization.

  • Tips for businesses who use Pinterest

Constant Contact gives five tips for businesses who want to use Pinterest in their social media campaign:

Separate Business and Personal Accounts

It’s unprofessional to have your personal pins available to be seen by the public. Here’s a hint: Utilize Pinterest’s secret board feature. Yep, you can make some boards private so only you can see them.

Stay Organized

You’re going to lose your audience if your pins are unorganized and all over the place. Make sure pins are in the right catagories and have a purpose for being there. You want your viewers to be able to locate what they’re looking for right away. This will help your product sell better.

Think Visually

Constant Contact says that “creating engaging content is the most important thing you can do on Pinterest”. You want to capture your audience’s attention and get them to interact with your brand. Do so in a visually compelling way.

For example: Saucony (my favorite brand of running shoe) has a great Pinterest account. It displays visually compelling content with some great eye-catching colors.

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Plan Ahead

Sure it may take some time, but plan out your boards on paper before creating them. This will allow you to present your material in an organized and clear manner.

Be active

181iv7orxmci2jpgMake sure that your content is fresh. It’s easy to forget to update your board, but don’t you dare forget! You want viewers coming back to your board. If they come back and there’s nothing new to see, that might be their last time visiting your account.


Tumblr

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  • What’s so special about Tumblr?

Shopify, in their e-book 50 Ways to Make Your First Sale, includes a chapter on using Tumblr for business. They define Tumblr as a micro-blogging platform.

As a micro-blogging platform, Tumblr is a lightweight platform that let’s you add content almost as quickly and seamlessly as writing a tweet on Twitter. Simply select the icon describing the type of content you want to add and you’re good to go.

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The majority of Tumblr users fall into the 18-34 crowd, so Tumblr is an excellent way to reach that target demographic (who are too cool for their parents’ Facebook and Twitter).

  • Tips for businesses who use Tumblr

Create a Tumbr Name and a Theme

Be picky! Take your time in choosing what you want your name to be (you don’t want it to include the name of your business). Strategize your market angle. How do you want your audience to see you? Shopify suggets that you should “really make your Tumblr blog ultra-specific and highly thematic“. This will make your blog resonate with your target audience which will in turn generate shares, backlinks, and followers.

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…would smell as sweet. Or would it?

Utilize Strategic Tagging

Just like Twitter, businesses can use tags to attract more people to your blog. As usual, make sure that your tags are relevant and specific. Don’t only think about what your blog is about, but also what your blog is associated with.

For example, in the picture of the rose above, we could use tags such as “Shakespeare”, “Rose”, “Romance”, and “Poetry”. Again, it all depends on what audience you want to attract to your blog.

Include Tumblr in SEO Strategies

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Use rich keywords for your SEO stragegy across all platforms. If you’re selling “pumpkin spice muffin candles” and you use those keywords and rank high on Google’s search page, then create a Tumblr post with those keywords in the blog title. Make sure the content of the blog is unique and different, though. This could help you claim more real estate on that coveted first results page on Google!

Target the “Cool Kids”

As the e-book mentioned earlier, Tumblr mainly appeals to the 18-34 age demographic.
Make sure your blog posts are relevant to them. Stay current with pop culture and write blog posts that would interest them (if they are part of your target audience).


Reddit

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Emma Siemasko, content marketing manager at Grasshopper, in an article entitled “Why Startups and Small Businesses Should Pay Attention to Reddit and Snapchat” described Reddit as “the self-advertised ‘front page of the Internet’, is essentially a digital white board and message board populated by millions and millions of people“.

  • What’s so special about Reddit?

Reddit is a bit of a mix of everything that can be found on the Internet. From pictures, to memes, to original content, Reddit will have it. Reddit runs on a vote system. The more “upvotes” that something receives the more it gets pushed to the top of the slush pile. Conversely, you can also “downvote” something, and it can eventually get buried and forgotten under other other information. The trick is to get your content as close to the top as possible.

  • Tips for businesses that use Reddit

Siemasko gives a few tidbits of advice for those who want to use Reddit in their social media marketing campain.

Do NOT Advertise

No, seriously. Unless you’re going through a legitimate, paid advertisment route, don’t do it. Siemasko warns that Reddit users will deal quite harshly with anyone who attempts to sell them something. Instead, she recommends that businesses present something useful and worthwhile without expecting anything in return.

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Allow Things to Happen Organically

Siemasko gave an example of a company that sold t-shirts. Instead of attempting to sell directly to Reddit users, they uploaded a picture of their t-shirt design and placed it under /r/pics. The users like the design so much that they asked if they could get a t-shirt with the design on it. Advertising in this way can pay off better than attempting a cold sale.

Choose the Appropriate Subreddit

iconimadethisA subreddit is a forum dedicated to a specific topic on Reddit. Make sure that your content is strategically placed into the right subreddit. Perhaps you’re a baker who makes amazing themed cakes. You can post to /r/IMadeThis to show off your amazing baking skills. Posting content into the correct catagories can set you up for those coveted “upvotes”. More visibility means more interaction, and that’s usually a good thing.


Conclusion

Even though Pinterest, Tumblr, and Reddit aren’t your usual goto platforms for social media marketing, perhaps they should be. Again, figure out where your target market is and go there. Don’t be afraid of trying something unconventional. Internet users today have become cynical and savvy. They can spot a sales pitch a mile away; however, if you educate or entertain them, they can become customers for life.

What are your thoughts about the B-List social media platforms? Questions or comments can be left below!

(original header image can be found here. Images are not my own and are used for educational purposes only)

“If I Could Tell the Story in Words, I Wouldn’t Need to Lug Around a Camera”

220px-lewis_hine_selfportraitThis quote by Lewis Hine, American sociologist and photographer who used his camera as a tool for social reform, highlights the importance of a good picture. Social media platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube make good use of this concept. Sometimes words aren’t powerful enough on their own, and businesses need a great visual image or video to capture their target audience’s attention.

Business needs to help their target audience fire up their imagination. This reminds me of Severus Snape’s (a character in JK Rowling’s Harry Potter novels) descriptions of potions. He said that potions bewitch the mind and ensnare the senses. I argue that a good image or video can do the same.

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Instagram

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  • What’s so special about Instagram?

Two words: Social Engagement.

In an article, A Complete Guide to Instagram Marketing: Get the Playbook That Drives Results for Instagram’s Top Profiles, content crafter Ash Read says “Instagram, brands enjoy regular engagement with 4 percent of their total followers. On networks like Facebook and Twitter, engagement is less than 0.1 percent“. Those are some impressive numbers. Given that 93% of marketers turn to Facebook for their social engagement and only 36% turn to Instagram (source: SelfStartr), it appears that many businesses are making the mistake of underutilizing Instagram’s marketing appeal.

  • Why should businesses use Instagram?

Beyond the reason mentioned above, Instagram has over 300 million daily active users. In the article above, Read says that those who use Instagram do so in order to follow their favorite brands. Instagram users want to see interesting photos and videos. However, you can’t just start posting random pictures. It’s important to have a clear vision for the type of content you decide to display. For example, I follow a fitness clothing line called Emily Hsu Designs (their leggings are a little pricey but the BEST).

emily_hsu

Emily Hsu Designs focuses on sharing their customer’s “in action” photos. This creates a relationship with their customers (who doesn’t want to be featured in an Instagram post? Ok, fine, but you’re not normal). Customers send Instagram their pictures and then are tagged when featured. As you can see in the post above, in this instance the customers are a fitness studio so not only are Emily Hsu Designs advertised, but also the fitness studio. Then, those who follow one or the other account can see the picture and possibly gain more followers through the process (and more importantly a desire for those leggings).


Snapchat

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  • What’s so special about Snapchat?

Snapchat features temporary content. A picture is only available for an extremely limited time. A user takes a picture and sends it to another user. This picture is not stored anywhere (though the receiving user can save the picture onto their device if desired). While this may seem counterproductive for a business who is trying to sell a product, it can actually command more attention based on its immediacy.

  • Why should businesses use Snapchat?

Sarah Clark, president of Mitchell (a public relations firm), in an article entitled Why You Need to Add Snapchat to Your Marketing Arsenal says that “savvy companies are beginning to discover how messaging apps can be used as powerful marketing tools, and Snapchat has risen to the top of the heap, thanks to its unique features and sprawling reach across an audience of Millennials“. One unique feature that Snapchat uses is what is known as a “geofilter”.

Geofilters are special overlays that communicate the “where and when” of a Snap in a fun way, whether you’re sending it to a friend or adding it to your Story.

A geofilter allows viewers to creatively interact with your brand. Users take a portrait picture of themselves with your brand or logo on them. For example, here is a Snap of my husband using the geofilter for the new Lego Batman movie.

hubby_batman

Users are able to take pictures of themselves as Batman (which is totally cool). Obviously, they have to share it with their friends (who find it as cool as I did) and also take a picture of themselves as Batman and send it to their friends with a “We really need to see this movie!!” caption. Snapchat allows businesses to be creative in their marketing. Clark comments “Snapchat needs to be treated like the distinctive tool it is, so it’s important to avoid translating other prefabricated marketing campaigns to the service“.


YouTube

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  • What’s so special about YouTube?

Ask Bluleadz, an inbound marketing website, this question and they’ll simply point to many artists, celebrities, and comedians who have launched their careers through YouTube. In 7 Benefits Of Using YouTube To Market Your Business Online, Bluleadz says that nothing beats a creative YouTube video in captivating an audience. From YouTube’s own press website, YouTube boasts of “over a billion users (almost one third of all the people on the internet) and every day people watch hundreds of millions of hours on YouTube and generate billions of views“. As I’ve mentioned in multiple blog posts and as Bluleadz reiterates, companies need to go where the people are…and the people are at YouTube.

  • Why should businesses use YouTube?

Bluleadz believes that businesses should consider YouTube in their social media campaign. Here are their seven reasons why:

  1. Captures Attention
  2. Has High Traffic Volumes
  3. Generates Viral Marketing (“Hey, Joe! You have to watch this funny Doritos YouTube commercial!!“)doritos
  4. Allows for Multiple Video Marketing Channels
  5. Has Great Search Engine Rankings (after all, Google owns YouTube)
  6. Integrates Well With Other Social Media Markets (statistic from DMR: 323 days worth of YouTube videos are watched on Facebook every minute)
  7. Has World-Wide Accessability (statistic from Bluleadz:  YouTube is available in 61 languages and is being used in 75 countries)

So, as you can see, including YouTube in your social media marketing campaign can be a very lucrative and wise choice.


Conclusion

The power of an image, series of images, or video can’t be denied. Audiences appreciate a good story (i.e. Instagram and YouTube videos) and enjoy interacting with a brand (i.e. Snapchat filters and LiveStories–for more info about LiveStories see this article). Ash Read reminds us “social media has been proven to influence purchase decisions. And if you can find the right mix of content, your audience will soak it up – and even buy from you – without the need for a hard push or sales pitch. It’s the marketers dream“.

Let’s live the dream!

Questions, comments, and funny Snaps can be left below!

(original header image can be found here. Images are not my own and are used for educational purposes only)

Facebook, and Twitter, and Google+, Oh My!

dorothySimilar to Dorothy’s fears in the Wizard of Oz, businesses can feel slightly intimidated when it come to choosing a social media platform. With over 200 notable, well-known sites (a list can be found here), companies might feel overwhelmed with choices. In this instance, perhaps the best case would be to focus on some of the well-known giants: Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.


Why Facebook?

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In 3 Reasons Your Business Should be Using Facebook, Jennifer Smith of the Business Bank of Texas offers three reasons Facebook should be a business’ first go-to for social media marketing.

  • Helps Build a Relationship With Your Customers

Facebook has over 1.1 billion active users with $1.25 billion in generated ad revenues. First and foremost, as a business, you want to connect with your customers. Your customers are on Facebook. Smith believes that Facebook is a great place to engage with your customers. She suggests to highlight an “employee of the month” or feature charity work. This will make the company more human and relatable.

  • Drives Sales Through Facebook Advertising

What is Facebook Advertising?

Facebook advertising allows businesses to promote custom ads or content targeting a specific audience, with costs varying based on the reach and engagement the ad receives. Facebook ads can appear in your target audience’s News Feed or right column of Facebook.

Hoot Suite for Enterprise

Facebook advertising has some useful tools for business to help them reach target audiences. The “Custom Audience” feature allows businesses to target audiences using email lists, and the “Partner Catagories” allow businesses to reach out to other industries such as small business owners.

  • Provides a Way to Influence Your Prospects

Smith says that when you engage your customers with useful content, something powerful happens: they become your brand ambassadors which generates influence. Your customers will review and share your product thus marketing your product for you. This kind of marketing is much more powerful than any other kind of marketing since your target audience will listen to their peers more than they’ll listen to you.


Why Twitter?

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Twitter is a unique social media platform as it forces you to say what you want to say in only 140 characters (and this includes white space, punctuation, and @ tags). So, why would business want to use such a limiting platform? Harsh Ajmera, owner of Digital Insights, reitterates Smith’s Facebook reason: It’s because your customers are there. “At the end of the day” Ajmara says “your consumers are going to buy your products, not the ‘Number of Followers’. So whenever you long onto twitter next time, remember – Engage, Engage and Repeat“.

  • Your Customers are Talking

Whether for good or for bad, your customers are talking about your company. You want some influence over that conversation. If they’re talking positively, you can retweet. If they’re complaining, you can handle the complaint. This will help you protect and monitor your brand.

  • Twitter Analytics is Useful

Twitter has an Ads Dashboard that supplies businesses with metrics and analytics of your tweets. Using this (free) tool, you can monitor the success and reach of your messages. Then, you can use this information to reassess and refine your Twitter campaign.

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  • 3rd Party Applications are Helpful

If your business uses multiple social media accounts, a third party tool could be helpful to keep track of information and posts. These tools can help you monitor your posts and even prepare pre-release tweets. One such tool is TweetDeck which allows you to organize your information, manage multiple Twitter accounts, and schedule your tweets. TweetDeck has since pulled its support for other social media accounts to allow it concentrate on Twitter. If you’re looking for multi-platform applications, LifeWire has some good suggestions here.


Why Google+?

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Often Google+ is ditched in favor of more popular social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. So, why should companies still choose to use Google+ for their marketing needs? Brett Relander, Founder of Launch & Hustle and Digital Marketing Consultant, says business would be remiss in leaving Google+ out of their social media marketing campaign. Despite it’s less popular status, Google+ has more than 540 million active monthly users and the user base is still growing. So, why else should a business consider Google+?

  • Google Hangouts

With Google Hangouts, you can video conference with your customers for free. Businesses can make use of the video conferencing by interacting with its customers, dealers, and vendors at no cost (this is limited to 10 people per conference).

  • Google Connection

As a search engine giant, Google is the largest and most used search engine in the world. In fact, “googling” has become a word associated with “searching” online. With such brand awareness, business would do well to consider using that brand awareness in their campaign strategy.

There is sufficient anecdotal evidence to suggest that profiles that do well on Google+ get indexed quicker on Google. Add to that the fact that Google Plus business pages are beginning to show up on search engine results pages, and you have two very strong reasons to work on establishing a presence here.

~ Brett Relander

  • Google+ Reviews

Google+ reviews show up on search engines which can influence your target audience’s opinion of your company. “Nothing beats a favorable reference from one human being to another” says Relander. Again, it is paramount that you keep track of your brand’s reputation. Watch those reviews and handle negative criticism with understanding and an offer to make it right.


Conclusion

Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ all seem to pull in a huge number of users per month. As all three articles mention–go where the users are. The most important aspect of business is your customers. Communicate with them, engage with them, entertain them, reassure them, and above all build relationships with them. If you put your customers at the heart of your social media campaign, you’ll have no need for the wonderful Wizard of Oz.

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(original header image can be found here. Images are not my own and are used for educational purposes only)

Lights, Camera, Action! Social Video Marketing for a Digital Age

  • Video ad revenue will increase at a three-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19.5% through 2016, according to our estimates.
    ~ Tech Insider, Business Insider

From these statistics (and there were many, many more), it’s apparent that adding social video to your marketing campaign is a wise move. As stated before, a block of text can’t compare to an image or, even better, a video. So, how do you ceate compelling, inspiring and actionable online videos? In an article entitled 5 Secrets of Super Successful Video Marketing, the Digital Marketing Institute offers five suggestions on what not to do in your video for social media.

  • Don’t Center the Video Around the Salekirby

In other words, don’t be the equivalent of a pushy door-to-door vacuum salesman. No one wants that, and you’ll lose your audience. Instead, center your video around the story. People get pulled into a good story. In that story, appeal to your target audience’s needs and hidden desires. A little creativity can go a long way.

  • Don’t Make It Longer Than 10 Seconds

Studies show that 20% of  your viewers will click away from the video if it’s longer than 10 seconds. Try to grab your audience’s attention right away. They want to know why they should spend their time watching your video. Give them a reason! Use a good hook, question, or even better, make them laugh.

  • Don’t be Boring

Exciting x Boring creative sign with clouds as the backgroundThis kind of goes back to the first point. If you’ve created a piece of obvious marketing fluff, you will lose your viewers. Get your creative juices flowing and create well designed content that will capture your viewer’s attention. Digital Marketing Institute says that viewers “want to laugh, they want to feel enlightened, they want to be pulled out of their boring 9 to 5s and forget about their realities”. Give that to them.

  • Don’t Forget to Optimize

Remember my SEO blog post from last week? This a great time to use that information. Use relevant and unique descriptions so that search engines can find and rank your video. Also, make sure that you enable embedding on your video. What is embedding? When someone uses your video on their website, it will “embed” your video into their website (though the video remains with the original host–you). This means that whenever someone views the video, it will still be counted towards your video hits. It’s important to note that not all websites allow embedded videos.

  • Don’t Forget to Educate Your Audience

Do you have an amazing product? How can your audience best use it? What are people saying about it? How are other ways your can use this product? Take for instance a popular educationbrand of applesauce. Perhaps show a video on how to make healthier cookies by replacing the oil with applesauce. Educate your audience. Give them reason to need your product. You could also interview someone who has used applesauce as an oil replacement for the last three months and their cholesterol is down so many points due to the swap. A good success story is a great way to market your product.


Website Example: Kraft

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Kraft does an excellent job using social videos to market its product. It has a social media advertising campaign called “Kraft Recipes” that focuses soley on educating its audience in a variety of ways to use their product. Kraft doesn’t only give their audience suggested recipes in text form, but they also offer step-by-step videos which demonstrates how to make these recipes.
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Kraft offers recipes across its many social media platforms such as YouTube (their “cooking school”), Facebook, and Instagram. One very important social media platform that Kraft focused on is Pinterest. Since many people go to Pinterest for recipes, Kraft cleverly focused on its Pinterest social media platform. They have a main Pinterest page with many, many different boards to follow. A lof of the suggested recipes come with “how to” videos.

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How do you use videos for social media marketing? I’d love to hear from you!

(orginal header image can be found here. Images are not my own and used for educational purposes only)

Visual Storytelling–Why a Little Creativity Goes a Long Way

This last summer, my family and I went to England. My husband is orginally from England, and it was high time that we visited family.

My husband, four children, and I stayed in England for a month where we saw many towns, villages, and cities. We went to Bury St. Edmunds, Stradishall, Claire, London, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Oxford, Colchester, and many other fabulous places. We saw Big Ben, the London Tower, Buckingham Palace, the oldest village in England, CS Lewis’ gravesite, JRR Tolkien’s gravesite, Shakespeare’s birthplace and gravesite, many thatched cottages, lots of old castles and cathedrals, red double-decker buses, and we ate lots of yummy food.

Wait…

Did you all get through that entire block of text? Could you visualize the places I was talking about?

Why don’t I try something else?

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Which did you like better? A paragraph of text? Or watching our trip unfold through pictures?

In an article entitled “Why the Obsession with Visual Storytelling?”, website Groove Digital Marketing suggests that 40% of people responded better to visual information than plain text. That’s almost half! If almost half of your audience responds better to visual stimuli then perhaps it’s time to add some variety to your text. So, how does visual storytelling work?

  1. Visual Content Receives More Engagement
  2. Social posts and blog posts that feature embedded video will earn three times as many links as text posts.

    This statistic taken from Groove’s article shows why visual content is so important. Your audience will gravitate and engage with visual content. Whether it be a slideshow, a video, or even an amazing still photograph, using visual aids will boost your user’s engagement with your product.

    visual-vs-text

  3. Increased Engagement Leads to More Shares
  4. It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of BBC’s hit television show Sherlock. The BBC recently released a trailer on Facebook for season 4. Now, they could simply have told everyone what to expect in season 4, but instead they placed this on their Facebook page:

    sherlock

    Do you see that share count? 113,000 shares and over ten million views! Users watched the video and excitedly shared the video to either a specific friend or on their wall which reached all of their friends. So, this one video not only drew in a target audience, but also lead to more shares and thus more potential customers.

  5. Visual Content is More Click-Worthy
  6. Plain text won’t foster a strong connection between you and your customers, but visual storytelling will.

    Visual storytelling will reinforce all your other marketing efforts. In a highly competitive market (especially in the world wide web), you need to stand out from your competitors clamoring for your target audience’s attention. You want to be memorable to your audience, and one way to do this is through relatable visual elements. Dove did a great job at this when they released their “Choose Beautiful” campaign. Dove told their target audience that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. Women all over the world instantly related to this campaign. It was click-worthy and memorable, and Dove shared this YouTube commercial about beauty (it’s a bit of a tear-jerker, so be prepared).

    dove

  7. Visual Content Can be Repurposed

When something is reusable it can save you not only money, but also can save you in time and resources. Since creating visual content might cost a little more than writing a block of text, then it is even more important that it be repurposed and reused across multiple platforms. The Dove YouTube commerical above has also been cut down and repurposed as a commercial for television. Television commercials tend to be around 30 seconds long. The Dove YouTube commercial is over three minutes.


Website Example: GoPro

gopro

GoPro does an amazing job at using visual storytelling to connect with its target audience. GoPro owners are encouraged to use their devices to record themselves and then send their clip to the company. So, in effect, the customers are actually telling the story through their recorded adventures. GoPro will then choose to highlight these clips across multiple social media platforms. Users, excited to see themselves featured online, share that video with as many people as they can. What a great, smart, and cost effective way to use visual storytelling to market GoPro products!

I can honestly say that this is one advertisement that has actually worked on me. I have a GoPro on my birthday wishlist.

What are your thoughts on visual storytelling? Questions, comments, or GoPro gifts welcome below!

(original header link can be found here. Images are not my own and are used for educational purposes only)

Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail–Why Social Media Strategy Matters

“What is social media strategy?”

A social media strategy defines how your organisation will use social media to achieve its communications aims and the supporting platform and tools it will use to achieve this. At a basic level it’s a simple statement of intent, outlining the goals and measurable objectives for using social media, and the target outcomes you want to achieve.

gurdThis quote is taken directly from an article by James Gurd in an article entitled “6 Reasons Why You Need a Social Media Strategy”. Featured on Smart Insights (a website dedicated to helping businesses with integrated digital marketing advice), this article stresses the important that social media plays in a business’ success or failure. Since social media has become the predominant place for people to hold conversations, it would be unwise for businesses to ignore these channels of communication. Businesses need to stay connected to their customers and really listen to what they are saying. Also, social media is a great way to communicate back to customers.

Still not convinced? Gurd offers six essential reasons why businesses need a sound social media marketing strategy.

  • Social Web Growth

Gurd attributes the huge growth in social media usage to two factors

  1. Mobile access
  2. Older user adoption.

Regarding older user adoption, statistics show that the 65 and older demographic have been driving social media growth since 2013.

screen-shot-2015-10-12-at-15-47-15

In all other age demographics, social media remains steady.

  • Influenced Purchasing

When thinking about purchasing an item what is one of the first things you do? Read reviews of course! Gurd claims that 46% of social media users use social media when thinking about buying an item. They check and see what their friends, family, and even strangers are saying about a company and the desired item.

Peer recommendation has the most influence on holiday gift purchases, more than blogger or celebrity endorsement.

That’s a bold claim by Gurd, but one that rings true. Who would you rather trust? Brad Pitt or your best friend?

94efb753b5fa711f399d8ba72fe57062

Actually, don’t answer that.

  • Competitor’s Advantage

Without a social media marketing strategy, you’re simply handing your customers over to your competitors. They’ve taken the time to plan, research, review, investigate, and strategically place themselves in the social media market so that they can be the most attractive to their target audience. If you don’t do the same, not only will customers be flocking to your competitors, but also how do you know if you’re successful or not? Without a thorough plan, there is no way to measure your direction or growth (or if you’re growing at all). How will you know when to post, what to post, and (sometimes more importantly) what not to post? Don’t give your competitors an edge.

  • Social Customers

Quite simply, social media is where your customers are. So, isn’t that where you want to be? Often, social media users turn to places like Facebook for customer service. Below, I captured a screen shot of such a scenario (Windstream is an internet service provider):
windstreamAs you can see, a Windstream customer used Facebook as a means to contact customer service. A lot of people are reluctant to use telephones and are much more likely to text or leave messages on social media.

  • Key Influencers

As I mentioned before, peer reviews weigh heavily into a potential customer’s purchasing decisions. Often, when buying an expensive item (say a computer), customers turn to what’s known as “key influencers”. Often, these people are experts in their fields or post reviews on social media websites such as YouTube. Included in this list are also self-made video or Instagram “celebrities”. One such example is Nikkie (Nikkie Tutorials) who does makeup tutorials on YouTube.

nikkie

Some of her videos have over three million views and on YouTube alone she has six million followers. If you are a makeup company, plan to be a part of her world.

  • Reputation Risks

For some reason, social media seems to fan the flames of drama. Bad experiences and scandal spread like wildfire. If your company becomes the subject of this drama, you need to be present to administer damage control. Even better, you need a strategy in place to deal with such an issue before it happens. This is one great reason why a social media strategy plan is so very important. Don’t wait to come up with a plan when disaster hits; already have a plan in place.


Website Example: Scholastic

scholastic

Besides the fact that Scholastic is one of my favorite companies (no, they did not pay me to say that), Scholastic utilizes a great social media marketing plan. Scholastic has over 10 million followers over 50 social media accounts (you can view all the accounts here). It’s obvious that they know what they are doing. Impressively, Scholastic is careful to keep its content fresh across all 50 platforms and uses unique posts and tweets for each one. They even have a Twitter account for customer service needs. Scholastic plans new hashtags each week to stay engaged with its customers. For its Google+ account, it realized that more educators were using Google+, so they switched their focus on Google+ to be more educational (you can read more about Scholastic’s success in Ragan’s PR Daily article found here).

Scholastic’s detailed and extensive social media marketing plan has definitely paid off for the publishing giant.

As usual, leave your thoughts, comments, and questions below!

(original header image link can be found here. Images are not my own and are used for educational purposes only)

It’s Time to Wave Your Banner–The Pros and Cons of Display Advertisements

First of all, what is a display advertisement? Marketing Land describes display ads as “a type of online advertising that comes in several forms, including banner ads, rich media and more“. They are usually comprised of text, images, flash, or video. Traditionally, you can find them at the top or down the side margins of a webpage though they can anywhere on the page (unless, of course, you have an ad blocker because then you might not see them at all).

nibusinessinfo

Now that we known what a display advertisement is, how can you know if it’s right for your company? Northern Ireland Business Info, a free service offered by Invest Northern Ireland and the official online channel for business advice and guidance in Northern Ireland, posted an article on their website entitled “Advantages and Disadvantages of Display Advertising“. In this article, they give 3 advantages and 3 disadvantages to display advertising. Check out the pros and cons and decide if display advertising is right for your company.

PROS

:

  • Visually Appealing
  • As I stated in a previous blog post, we need to be careful to show more than we tell. We live in a society that is constantly being bombarded with images and sound which make us sensual people (the “of the senses” definition). Our banner ads should appeal to those senses.

    For example, I could tell you that I think you should visit Scotland when the Northern Lights are at their brightest.

    Or, I could tell you to visit Scotland and share this picture with you from Visit Scotland’s website:

    scotland

    I close my case.

  • Brand Awareness
  • So far, we’ve only dealt with audiences who have the intent to purchase; however, display advertising reaches an audience who doesn’t (yet) know that they want your product. This new target market is known as an “initial interest” audience. Northern Ireland Business Info states “Display ads have a high reach and can be seen by large numbers of people“. This high reach includes that initial interest group.

  • Targeted Audience
  • Display ads can reach a target audience in ways that aren’t available in search marketing. One such way is something called “remarketing“. Remarketing is the process in which your target audience has visited your website, but hasn’t made a purchase. You then can place targeted ads on other pages they might visit to remind them of your website.

    remarketing

    I’m bet some of you have seen this in action before. You search for something on Amazon, say a balance ball chair. You decide not to purchase it and browse Facebook instead. Low and behold suddenly there’s an ad for the very thing that you were searching for.

    ball

    Hm. Maybe it’s a sign? Or maybe it’s remarketing at work.

CONS

:

  • Lower CTR (click-through-rate)
  • Again, a CTR is when someone clicks on your advertisment which will bring them to your homepage or a specific landing page. Display ads have a low CTR. Think about it: How often have you clicked on an advertisment banner? Yeah, I tend to avoid those, too.

  • Lower Conversions
  • A conversion rate is a certain percentage of users who actually do what you want them to do on your website (whether it be fill out a form or purchase a hatchimal). So, even if you’ve reached your target audience and have convinced them to click on your banner ad, they are still less likely to take the desired action.

  • Ad Avoidance
  • So, I’m completely guilty in this area. Ad avoidance is whether or not your audience actually sees the ad. Now, this could simply be due to the fact that we tend to look at the content on the webpage that we are interested in. Our brains automatically filter out the unncessary content, and we may not even pay attention to the banner at the top of the website.

    More than likely, though, the ad avoidance comes from your audience’s use of an ad blocker. This keeps the ad from even appearing on the page. Some websites choose to block access to their website if you have an ad blocker (Forbes does this).

    adblock

    Keep in mind if you refuse your target audience access to your webpage based on their ad blocker preferences then you run an even greater risk at losing a potential customer.


Website Example: Redbox

redbox

Redbox is a great example of a company who uses digital advertising well. Not only can you click on their banner ads to get to their website, but they often advertise a free or discounted rental on them.

redbox_banners

With their bright red color, engaging text, and images of current media, their ads are hard to miss. Redboxes are outside several businesses here in our city and since the cost is extremely low ($1-2 depending on format), impulse purchases are high which makes a banner ad a smart choice for Redbox.

Questions, thoughts, concerns? Let me hear them below!

(original header image link can be found here. Images are not my own and are used for educational purposes only)
http://www.nibletz.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/pay-per-click-marketing.png

How to Make Your Pay-Per-Click not be a Mistake-Per-Click

Pay-Per-Click (also known as Cost-Per-Click) Advertising can be a great way to direct targeted customers to your website. The concept is fairly simple: Websites use tools (such as Google AdWords or Yahoo Search Marketing) to display ads in a sponsored ad section of a page. The company gets charged for the ad when the potential customer clicks on said ad.

eric-siuIt may sound simple, but if not used correctly, it can add a lot of cost for a small return on investment. Eric Siu, CEO of digital marketing agency Single Grain, in an article entitled “5 Pay-Per-Click Mistakes That Can Cost You Money” gives 5 tips to avoid such a costly mistake.

 

  • Sending visitors to your home page
  • I think we’ve all been there: We’re reading up on the latest Facebook status updates from our friends when we spy an ad sandwiched between George’s self-congratulatory promotion and Susan’s announcement of the stomach flu. The ad grabbed a key word from a previous Google search on “Rogue One movie”. Guess what? The ad tells you that the movie is playing in your local theater and that you can click here to purchase tickets for today’s showing. Excited, you click on the ad only to be brought to the movie theater’s main (international) homepage.

    frustration

    Now, you have to work to get down to the right country, state, city, and then the right day and time…if you get that far.

    Don’t be that company. Your ad worked and now you’re undoing all that hard work by making your customer weed through your site to get the information they are (or were) interested in. More than likely, they’ll get frustrated and give up. Make sure your ad links to a product-specific landing page.

  • Sending visitors to your contact page
  • no_noThis is a big no-no. You may think that sending potential customers to your contact page is a win for you, but it’s not. Not only does it serve to frustrate customers, but it can also run afoul of your chosen tool’s guidelines. You’re requiring your customer to fill out a contact form in exchange for something free. Don’t do it.

  • Failing to split-test your ad
  • What is split-testing? Visual Web Optimizer defines split-testing as “a way of comparing multiple versions of a web page (homepage or landing page) to find out which one converts visitors best. When the test is run, traffic to the page is split among the different versions and their performance is tracked. Whichever version converts the most at the end of the test, wins“.

    split_testing

    Siu recommends testing your pay-per-click ad. This allows you to determine which specific wording leads to the most click throughs (the process of a visitor clicking on a Web advertisement and going to the advertiser’s website).

  • Relying entirely on ‘broad match’ keyword ads
  • Let’s go back to our Rogue One example. You’ve set your ad to target the phrase “Rogue One movie” with a broad match ad. This means that if someone searches for “Rogue One reviews” or “Hidden Figures movie” then your ad would pop up for them, too. In these cases, you’re wasting your money. Using specific targeted match ads might take away from your traffic potential, but it ensure that you’re actually targeting those who you want on your website.

  • Not taking advantage of negative keywords
  • First of all, what is a negative keyword? Again, using our Rogue One example, if we set “free” as our negative keyword then anyone who types in “free Rogue One movie” would be less likely to see your ad. Siu recommends that you take advantage of the negative negativekeyword feature. This really goes back to the step above about reaching your target audience. In this way you could use a broader ad search while still narrowing the scope a bit. The only downside to this would be the work it would take to come up with all the possible negative keywords that would influence your ad campaign. Depending on your campaign, this may be a huge pain-in-the-you-know-where.


Website Example: Verizon

My daughter has been looking to purchase new technology. In doing so, I allowed her to use my laptop to search for new headphones, phones, and cases. Today, I recorded this screen-captured ad in my Facbook page:

verizon

This interested me because it picks up on the fact that I have children. Specifically, it targets me as a parent of young children who are into technology. Not only does the ad give specific recommendations, but it also shows me friends who have “liked” their page and also gives me an option to like Verizon’s Facebook page. So many options and so little time! Verizon does a great job at reaching its specific target audience and making its advertising dollar stretch to find the right customers for its product(s).

Though, in the end, I didn’t click on the ad, so I’ll leave it up to you to determine how successful this ad was in the end.

As usual, I welcome any questions and comments below!

(original header image link can be found here. Images are not my own and are used for educational purposes only)

Email Marketing–Cheap and Effective? It Can be if You Use a Little Elbow Grease.

Ugh, spam. That little four lettered word causes our spam filters to work overtime and our inboxes to become cluttered. We become so used to spam that we don’t even give it a second thought and hit the “delete” button before even opening the email. So, how do businesses reach existing and potential customers using an email marketing campaign? Is it even worth it?

kristenKristen Gramigna, Chief Marketing Officer at BluePay, says a good email marketing campaign is still a great way to reach customers. Gramigna argues that the cost for marketing through email is actually quite low. In her article 4 Email Marketing Conversion Tips, Gramigna states “an effective email marketing message has the potential to result in $38 in revenue, for just $1 of marketing investment“. Whoa. That’s quite appealing. So, how do we keep company emails from being banished into the spam folder? Gramigna recommends four key strategies:

  • Use Descriptive Tags
  • Descriptive HTML tags (also known as “ALT” tags) are available when you use an image in your email or website. Allow me to demonstrate why ALT tags are important:

    Here’s a picture of a book proof-of-concept to teach younger children about the importance of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). Cute picture, right?

    What would happen if the picture was viewed on a mobile device where the picture couldn’t be displayed? Or what if your link was broken (which wouldn’t happen because you always test your links, right)? You’d lose the impact of the picture. However, if you look at the (broken) picture now, what do you see?

    STEM ABC book written for children coming October 1st, 2016
    You should see a broken link image and a description. I added an ALT tag to my picture, so if for some reason the picture wasn’t viewable, you can still get information from it. This feature is also great for accessibility (defined as the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people who experience disabilities), so that if a blind customer received your email, reading devices would be able to detect the picture and read the ALT tag to the customer.

    Still uncomfortable with the use of ALT tage? W3schools.com has a great section on ALT tags along with examples.

  • Send Targeted Messages
  • targetNever, and I mean never, send out mass emails without having a specific target audience first! No one wants to get those emails where it begins “Dear Future Customer” or, even worse, an email that has nothing to do with your lifestyle or preferences at all. As a married mother of (almost) five, if I get an email that says “Find Singles in Your Local Area Today” that’s going straight into the trash bin. However, if I get an email that says something like “$20 Off Your Next Grocery Visit to Woods” then I may be tempted to read that email. Of course, this depends on what hoops Woods wants me to jump through to get that $20 off. Which brings me to Gramigna’s next point. . . .

  • Keep Requests Minimal
  • Do not require your readers to jump through many (if any) hoops. Gramigna recommends hoopsthat you “prefill special offers the email message may include so customers aren’t required to key special discount codes that are part of your email offer at checkout.“. She also mentions that you might want to partner with a reputable mobile payment provider to eliminate extra steps needed to complete a transaction. Though, some payment providers such as PayPal still require extra steps. Gramigna’s article mentions that PayPal has taken a little bit of a hit since they require extra action steps for added security purposes. She states that “evidence suggests that it kills conversion by nearly 15 percent (particularly when consumers are shopping on a mobile device)“. I personally don’t mind the extra security, but I can see how that could frustrate some.

  • Form Lasting Relationships
  • loveAbove all customers come first. You want to meet their needs, and one of the best ways to do that is to build a lasting relationship with them. You want to earn and build their trust so that they become loyal to your brand and/or company. You should build on previous emails and your knowledge of the customer. Gramigna offers this statistic in her article: “marketing firm Epsilon cites data indicating that ‘triggered’ emails targeted based on a recipient’s engagement with past messages have open rates that are 76% higher than those with generic messaging“. Those are some pretty impressive results.

    Below, I highlight a company who I believe expertly uses an email marketing campaign. I’ll give examples of how ModCloth uses the “targeted messages” strategy well.


Website Example: ModCloth

modcloth

ModCloth is an online retailer of vintage clothing and home goods. They excel in many areas and are excellent examples of a well-planned email marketing campaign. For example, if you are a new customer, they offer you an automatic 10% off your first purchase. This shows great targeting for new customers. Once they establish a relationship with you, you’ll get even further targeted emails from them. For me, I received an email letting me know that an item that I was interested in was in danger of being sold out. Or, conversly, an item I was interested in was back in stock. Modcloth used my activities on their website to send me very specific targeted emails. Another time, their website was down, so they sent an “Oops!” email and offered free shipping for the day to make up for the inconvenience.

Modcloth is a great example of a company who puts a little bit of elbow grease into their email marketing campaign. They work hard to establish a trusting and loyal relationship with their customers (and their stuff is pretty cute, too).

Do you believe email marketing to be worth the investment? Questions? Comments? Message me below!