Monthly Archives: September 2013

Why Your Social Media Content Needs Visuals

social-network-mapSocial media networks are ruling the world, so that should be no surprise to anyone with an internet connection.

Over 1 billion people are using Facebook and over 300 million are on Google Plus. Twitter and Linked In have almost as many users in well over 200 million.

So why does that mean you must have visual content?

For starters, think about how people process information.  90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual and it’s processed 60,000 times faster than text.  People, as a rule, only really remember 20% of what they read but remember twice that when given visual information.

Photos are liked twice as much on Facebook than text updates and videos are shared 12 times more than links and text posts combined.

Data shows that viewers spend 100% more time on pages that have videos over pages that don’t. Over 700 videos are shared on Twitter every minute. So how does this drive results for your business’s social media presence?

Just on Facebook alone, engagement with videos and photos has increased 65% after the new timeline was released. Want people to engage on your page? Video posts attract 3 times more inbound links than plain text posts. 70% of online search results are videos. Take a how to guide or information report and turn it into a 2 minute video or infographic. Writers are often told to “show, don’t tell” and a simple visual representation of the information can do this well. For marketers, charts and illustrations can be very effective tools—for example, seeing the difference between percentages can give users a better picture of the significance of the statistics.

Screen Shot 2013-09-10 at 2.55.23 PMPhotos of your products let your audience know what you have to offer.

Use more than one photograph of your product to entice shoppers and try to show your product in use. This helps people think about how it will work for them.  Also try asking your fans to submit images of them using your products and feature those on your social sites. Fans will not only love seeing their work on your page, but they will also know that you are listening and paying attention to what your audience is doing.

Most people consider a website’s design when discerning the credibility of a company.

The same is true for your social media pages. Make sure that you are not only posting visual content, but that your page itself is visually appealing.  Is your Facebook cover photo interesting? Does it change? Does your company Twitter profile have a custom background image? These are things that must be considered across all social media platforms.

Visuals are exciting and grab your viewers, so make sure your pages pop with imagery and you will be reeling your audience in.

Common Mistakes to Avoid with Social Media

Measuring_SocialMediaSocial media is not an exact science, nor is it something that you can get a degree in. Posting to Facebook should be easy, right? Tweeting is not brain surgery, so anyone can do it, right?

No one debates the user friendliness of social media sites (well almost no one) but very few people fully understand how to use social media effectively for business pages and marketing.

After scouring the web, here are a few tips to avoid the most common mistakes in social media:

  1. Using the wrong metrics: Most people feel that the number of likes your page has on Facebook is the final indicator in how well your page is doing, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.  Facebook has recently updated their page Insights to make tracking your metrics easy and more user friendly, but you’ll notice that more emphasis is placed on engagement than simple page likes.  Other services also offer social media metrics and analytics, such a Youtube and Sprout Social.  Use these to monitor your brand more closely.
  2. Too many channels/pages: Years ago when social media started booming, companies jumped at the opportunity to have a social presence online.  Many companies ended up with multiple (sometimes even hundreds) branded handles and pages.  The rush also pushed brands to stretch themselves thin by trying to have a place on every social media outlet.  Avoid this by consolidating your pages/profiles into a unified front and just pick the outlets that will be most effective for your brand.
  3. Social-Media-Listening-Image-twoAll About You: No one likes to listen to a person talk only about themselves all the time. The same is true for your businesses’ social media profiles. Obviously you want to sell your products and services to an audience that is interested, but the focus should be on what you can offer that’s of value. Listen and respond. Your content should center around knowing what your target audience wants and providing them with interesting information. Feature your fans and give shout outs to those who use your products and you will notice an increase in engagement as well as loyalty for you taking notice.
  4. Social Media in One Department: Marketers market, customer service helps clients and human resources recruits, right? Wrong! All of these departments have something to contribute to your social media pages, so limiting social media to one department leaves out valuable resources and information. Make sure everyone in your company is on the same page with your social media presence and encourage participation from everyone.
  5. No Direction: So now that you have your whole company on board to contribute to social media, what now? You have to establish a clear path for your social media profiles and individual purposes for all.  Set up a group calender with a posting schedule and determine customer response protocols so you don’t have duplicate posts or things flying under the radar.  Meet often and keep the lines of communication open and active, because above all social media is just that.

Hopefully now that you have a better understanding of what not to do with social media, you will experience better results with your marketing strategy. Good luck!

Using Instagram Video and Vine for Business Marketing

instagram-vineWe don’t need to tell you how important video is to social media engagement, but you should understand the marketing benefits to services like Instagram video and Vine.

Here are a few ways to capitalize on Instagram video and Vine for business:

#1: Shoot a Product Demo and Answer FAQs: Sometimes, a simple how-to video can answer your customers’ questions quickly and efficiently. Make a list of the most-asked questions your customer service department gets and use video shorts to answer them. This is a great way to add value to your  brand.

#2: Create a Visual Portfolio of Your Work: If a picture is worth a thousand words, imagine what 15 seconds of video can communicate. With Vine, not having to shoot six consecutive seconds is a favorite feature for most and allows you to pack more into six seconds than you think. Shoot videos of the work you’ve done for recent clients to create a portfolio for potential customers to browse through.

#3: Highlight Special Offers and Events: Fifteen or six seconds is a significant amount of time to promote your special offer or event with video. Use the description field to emphasize and reinforce the video message and add a hashtag to track conversions or extend your reach.

#4: Invite Fan and Follower Submissions via Hashtags: Invite your audience to submit video with a hashtag to enter a contest or promote your live event.

mm-06-27#5: Humanize Your Brand: We often hear about how brands “need to become human.” Social media has blurred the lines with real-time, real-life engagement between companies and customers, creating a need for companies to be transparent and more open.  Use Vine and Instagram video to introduce your team in fun and interesting ways. This will help not only put a face to your brand, but it will make users feel more connected to you.

Videos and photos inspire the most user engagement across the social media board, so it should be no surprise that these new tools offers some rich possibilities for marketers.

With Vine and Instagram video, anyone can be a filmmaker. So, turn on the smartphone and shoot some video shorts today. You’ll be surprised how popular your videos could become.

 

Youtube SEO

WatchingYouTubeAtWorkWe often forget that YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world. Being a site that hosts videos, we tend to miss the factthat a lot of people also use YouTube as a search engine to find what they want and need.

Like any other search engine, you can optimize your YouTube videos and move their rankings up in YouTube search result pages just like in Google search results.

Here are a few tips to help make your videos more visible through the masses:

  1. Closed Captions: YouTube is becoming global now and captions not only enable more people to consume your video but YouTube also crawls the content in the captions! Recently, YouTube introduced a speech recognition feature, which automatically detects the start and end of each line spoken and matches it to the video’s audio. So all you need to do is upload the script of the video and the captions will appear exactly in sync with the video.
  2. Naming the Video File with Keywords: If you are uploading a video about the ‘Health Benefits of Organic Foods’ then the file name of the video should be something like organic-food-benefits.avi or something similar. The viewer of the video does not look at this but YouTube gives a relevancy credit to the file name because if your file name is named with your keyword then there is a better chance that your video is about what it says.
  3. Understanding how engagement affects ranking: This probably sounds straightforward and simple, but it is proven that more interesting videos gain higher SEO.  YouTube gives relevancy credits to videos where people watch it for a longer time because it is a good way to measure the quality of the video. So for example, keeping a video to two minutes and having viewer retention of 1:30 would rank your video higher than a 10-minute video with a 5-minute viewer retention.
  4. Don’t mix video channels: Don’t mix your business and personal videos on the same Youtube channel.  Youtube and Google rank your videos based on the channel it’s placed in and how well they match.  So, make sure you have a business channel that is strictly for content that directly relates to your business.
  5. Posting HD Videos Instead of SD: HD videos out-rank standard definition videos every time. If someone is investing the energy and resources in creating a HD video then the content could be equally good. So try to upload 1080P videos whenever possible and if you are doing screen cast or presentation videos – 720P should do the job.

So keep all these things in mind when uploading your content to Youtube and you should see improved search results for your videos.Youtube_logo

Pin Me!

Pinterest-for-B2BPinterest can be a fantastic tool for sharing anything and everything relevant to your business! Here are some tips to follow to maximize Pinterest for your business:

  • Think visually: Across all social media avenues, posts with strong images attached to them get on average three times more user engagement as those with no images. This is especially true on Pinterest. The more immediately captivating your pin is, the more likely it is to be repinned.
  • Have a guest pinner board: Getting your followers involved in your boards is a great idea for small businesses. It increases your user engagement, makes your followers feel more personally invested in your brand, and gives you automatic feedback and insight into the interests and opinions of your audience.
  • Introduce yourself: As is true on all social media, your small business will have a stronger brand if it’s built on the actual people running the social media outlets. Introduce yourselves! Pin a photo of an employee’s face, attached to a profile or fun interview with them. Post one per week, and collect them all on a board that serves as a truly personal, vibrant company profile. It’s the Pinterest version of an “About Us” page.
  • Pin videos: You’re getting the idea by now that Pinterest is a visual environment. Post videos either produced in-house, or from relevant industry sources. This can either be content that directly communicates something from your business to your customers, or something you think would interest them.
  • Think Pictionary!: Promote deals with graphics. Translating any deals, sales, or special offers into smart-looking graphic coupons is a powerful way to boost their circulation and further develop your company’s brand as one that doesn’t just offer great deals, but looks good while doing so.

The most important thing to remember is exposure.  The larger the presence your business has on all social media websites, the more your audience feels like they can connect with you directly, so get online and start pinning away!

Get Linked In

linkedinLinkedIn is a network with 65 million business professionals around the world. Currently, one person creates a page every second and nearly 50% of LinkedIn members have decision-making authority in their companies.

With that in mind, it’s easy to see why LinkedIn is considered the world’s largest audience of influential, professionals in one place. Like other social media sites, marketing a small or home business on LinkedIn is relatively inexpensive and provides a lot of bang for the buck. Here are some of the things Linked In can do for your business:

  • Search Engine Reputation Management (SERM) – Google gives LinkedIn company and personal profiles high authority and generally ranks them for queries that include a company name, brand or employee’s name.
  • Increase your brand’s visibility – By your employees and executives adding connections, answering questions and participating in group discussions, your company’s brand will be much more visible and your employees may be considered go-to professionals in your industry.
  • Lead Generation – By actively participating in the LinkedIn community you will have the opportunity to offer up your content with the purpose of helping people solve their problems.
  • Decision Maker Lead Tracking – Once you’ve generated leads and connected with decision makers on LinkedIn, they may move to another company.  As these contacts change jobs or switch careers, you’ll be able to track where they go and reach out to them at their new company, generating yet another lead.
  • Targeted Ads – LinkedIn will allow you to place text ads in front of the individuals whom you’d consider to be the most qualified prospects – i.e. CEOs, CFOs, Human Resource Executives, etc.  You can target them even more by choosing specific industries.
  • Product Feature – In addition to profiles, companies can now list their products and services with links back to their websites and YouTube videos.  Also, companies can have existing clients review their products and/or services on LinkedIn.

Now that you are filled in on how Linked In can help, get on and start you linking away!

Pet Marketing for Businesses

puppy-money-w724Pets equated to $53 billion of spending in 2012–a three-fold increase since just 1994. That’s almost the same yearly average spent on Collision Repair.

A 2012 survey found that 68% of US households have a pet and of that 56.7 % of them had a dog.

With all the added household pets, drivers are taking fido along for the ride at a sharply increased rate. In fact pet distracted driving is now #2 on the distracted driving list, right behind texting.

Did you know the crash risk for drivers who drive with their pets was double that of drivers who don’t.

The problem with having pets in the car isn’t that they are likely to physically interfere in the operation of the vehicle, but that they are distracting. Currently Hawaii is the only state that bans drivers from having a pet in drivers’ lap.

Two important aspects of any marketing campaign is a sense of community and providing context.

Pet Safety marketing is the perfect fit for a community action project because we can provide community and context on the issue of Pet Distracted Driving. As Collision Repairers we are the experts on the effects of distracted driving, accidents and how to ensure the safety of Fido in a collision.

Pet marketing is far more reaching then Texting and Driving Campaigns and you’ll have an unlimited amount of opportunities all year long to keep your message in front of your community. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Remember when before considering any marketing activity we must place it in one of the Three Categories of Communication: Advertising, Marketing, Public Relations

Screen Shot 2013-08-28 at 2.57.45 PM

For Pet Safety Marketing, it actually touches all 3 categories which further maximizes your limited marketing dollars.

We also have to Plan, what is our overall marketing budget for the year and can we afford this campaign.

  • Budget: $250
  • Resources: petspot.aaa.com

Activities:

  1. Contact local pet stores for a schedule of their Puppy classes (PetCo, PetsMart). Offer to be a free speaker to the class on properly restraining your pet in a car to prevent harm in a collision. Demo the seat belts and kennels sold in the store. Pass out cards with pet tips and statistics on one side, shop contact other. Offer to install seatbelt or cable systems free with proof of purchase from the store.
  2. If your local Humane Society or Rescue group makes scheduled appearances on TV or Radio, contact them about helping to produce a safety segment or PSA  on pet safety in cars.  Offer to donate a portion of every repair that mentions the TV/Radio spot to the organization. You’ll end up with free radio and TV time for the PSA vs a paid advertising.
  3. Reserve a booth at the local pet fair or fundraising dog walk. Demo pet safety and seat belt use. Hand out cards and offer to install seat belt and cable systems at no charge.

Just a tip use the removable seats from mini vans for your demo’s. With the Seat belt inside the seat, you can wheel your seat around a store or pet fair and easily demo proper installation of the dog seat belt.

If you want to take it a step further, purchase used seats from your local salvage yard and have them re-covered with your shop logo and contact information in the fabric. You an offer to leave the seats at the pet stores, Humane Society, AASP, or Kennel so their employees can help shoppers or new adoptive parents understand seat belt safety for their 4 legged family member.

social-media-billboardWhat ever you do, don’t forget to be social. Once you connect with people they’ll want to promote and praise you in the social world. But remember Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram are a communication vessel for any of your three chosen categories. You still have to shape, craft and deliver the content that makes your business one to engage with. So don’t just post photos of the events you do on your social channels, find interesting ways to engage the users beyond the events. Get Creative!

Good Luck!