Monthly Archives: March 2014

An Introduction to Youtube

Youtube_logoVideo is a very powerful tool for a business of any size.  Many businesses already use YouTube as a place to showcase their products and services.  However, like any business tool, you need to manage your YouTube channel in order to get the most out of it.

In this video, I have some general dos and don’ts of using YouTube from a behind-the-scenes perspective to help you get the most from your videos and your YouTube channel.  If you are looking for video production hints or content tips, we have those too, just check out one of our other videos (below?).

First, the bad news: you are not going to be able to stop people from adding negative comments to your videos or channel.  The good news:  you have the power to delete offensive or any remarks from the worst offenders.  However, taking advantage of this option requires good judgment on your part.

You should never instantly remove any negative or critical comments, especially relevant ones, but you can certainly remove any spam or comments that use offensive language.

Instead of removing negative or critical comments, respond to them – in the comments.  This shows visitors you are proactive and will correct mistakes.  It also lets visitors know you care about what other think.  If you remove negative comments, it will look like you are trying to hide criticism.

If you do remove spam or offensive remarks and someone challenges you over the removal, make a simple statement to the effect that you do not tolerate such comments.  If a particular person is seriously spamming or posting abusing comments, you can block that user, but this should be a last resort.

YouTube also has options for moderating comments before they go live.  This can be helpful in stopping problems before they start.  To find out how to do this, click the Help button at the bottom of your channel and enter the search term “moderate comments.”

My next tip – Engage with the YouTube Community – takes moderating comments one-step further.  YouTube is a social platform, so make it a habit to check out other content on the site.  If you find a channel or video that is suitable with your site, mark it as a favorite.  It is to your advantage to make suitable YouTube “friends.”  The rule here is don’t be like Switzerland and remain neutral!

If you really cannot, or do not want to associate your company with other companies or individuals, then think in broader terms.  Why not look at content or channels that cover your local area or that might be a good cause you or your company to support.  Consider ‘friending’ the local animal shelter or causes that are a good match for your business; anything in the automotive field, like child safety seats or not texting while driving are possibilities.

As well as engaging with others, be sure to stay up to date with YouTube’s own news.  The site goes through changes from time to time as well as adds new features on a regular basis.  It is well worth following the official YouTube blog for keeping up to date with site and community news.

Finally, Do Not Neglect Your Channel.  You have invested the time and effort to get it up and running.  Don’t quit now!  There are many neglected YouTube channels.  Some are even from social firms – those you would think should realize the value in an up-to-date video resource for their company.

Now we are not suggesting you should create needless video content just to have new content.  Just don’t let your resolve or enthusiasm for the service dwindle a couple of months after you’ve started.  Even if you have no new content to post, log in on a regular basis to stay on top of comments and friend requests.  Search for new videos to add as your favorites.  This will give you ideas for new, relevant videos.  Just don’t relegate your channel to the ranks of the unloved and forgotten.

Choosing the Right Network for Your Business

Hand holding a Social Media 3d SphereWe spend quite a bit of time explaining what to do and what not to do when it comes to your social media strategy.  From what times to post, how to use certain networks and how to maximize your pages engagement, we like to cover our bases in social media.  We haven’t, however, really talked about choosing the social networks that best fit your business.  We strongly advise against joining every social network with your business because you will end up spreading yourself too thin. Instead, focus on the networks that are most active for your industry and will suit your business best. I’m going to break down each of the most popular networks by what they can do for you.

Facebook: The most popular social network across the board, so it would be very advantageous to have a page here if you already don’t.  Facebook offers the ability to post various multi-media like photos and videos with ease. Another perk is that Facebook has it’s own metrics built in for easy monitoring, not to mention you can schedule your posts in advance. Having an active presence on Facebook is essential for small and large businesses alike.

Twitter: Has a large population as well, but more for updates and news. If you are interested in branching out, Twitter can help you reach a less targeted audience than Facebook. This is also the birthplace of the hashtag, so utilize them if you are going to tweet.

Instagram: Very popular with millennials due to heavy visuals. Recently introduced 15 second video capability to much success. Great for businesses that have tangible products or services. Also uses hashtags to reach a broader audience.

LinkedIn: Professional networking site. Profiles of users are based around careers and exchanging information.  Establish yourself as an expert in your industry here by getting involved in groups.

google-plus-1Google+: Not as many active users as other sites but great for the technical crowd.  LOTS of SEO benefits by Google automatically indexing any content posted to Google+. The interface is similar to Facebook for multi-media postings, so be sure to link your website with lots of images.

Pinterest: Like Instagram, a good tool for brand exposure with visual elements of products, services, etc. Followers can repin your pins, so great for putting on contests. Can be used to drive traffic to your website.

Youtube: The second largest search engine after Google, Youtube is a powerful social networking tool using video. Showing off your work, doing a product demo, or highlighting customer testimonials all make for great video and are a worthwhile investment for your brand.

We’ve just scratched the surface of what social networks can do for you, so be sure to look for more in-depth breakdowns of social media marketing on our Youtube channel or here on our blog.  Good luck and happy networking!

Diversify Your Content

FinalUsing social dashboard tools like Sprout Social and Hootsuite has helped save time for many marketers in today’s world of social media.  They allow you to preprogram content from one location to multiple channels at once, but this has spawned a particularly bad habit, posting the same material across all channels.  Users have developed each social network to have a different personality, which means that one size fits all content simply does not work. Learning the difference between reusing and repurposing content can be the real game changer in your social media strategy. In order to be successful with your fans, you need to get to know your audience and what they are looking for from you on different social media channels.  If you have the same content across multiple channels, your fans will pick their favorite and ignore the rest. If this seems daunting, we have some quick tips to get you going in the right direction.

  1. Learn the personalities of each channel and the expectation of your fans for each. Facebook is a great medium for fans to ask questions and see multimedia posts from you like videos and picture.  Twitter is better suited for sharing news about your company or products.  Instagram is almost purely visual, so fans expect to be blown away by great images.
  2. Do audience research. Use the metrics tools that your dashboards have. Learn where you audience is listening to you and tailor your content to suit them. Listen to what your fans are saying and keep track of the data.
  3. Learn to re-purpose.  Telling your story on different channels is different that regurgitating the same information over and over again across all your networks. Find different angles on the same stories and use that to your advantage.  Delegate those angles to different social networks and you will find that your audience will enjoy seeing multiple sides.

Giving fans channels specific content requires a paradigm shift, but once the change is made, the boost in engagement will be well worth it. Look at your channels and content through the eyes of your fans and make sure you are giving something that is worthwhile. Once you do, your content will never be the same. Good luck!

Choosing the Right Image

visual-content-panoramaPeople are visual.

We’ve covered why your content needs visuals before, but we’ve never really touched on what kind of images work best for your content. 80% of what people learn is visual, so your images need to communicate your message just as much as your text, if not more.

 

Stay Relevant

This may seem like a no brainer, but make sure the images you attach to your post are related to the post you make.  If you are talking about business advice, a cute picture of a cat would not be relevant, no matter how many likes you think it will get.  You want people to take you seriously, so make sure your posts are focused and tie in to your marketing goals, images included.

Don’t Rely on Memes

Everyone loves a good meme. We aren’t saying don’t use them at all, but make sure they have something to do with what you are saying.  Also, Facebook, having recently changed it’s edge rank system, has made it harder for businesses to get into the feed of their fans. Facebook felt that meme based posted are “low effort”, so they are especially hard to get in front of fans. As far as we’re concerned, that’s enough reason to avoid using memes altogether.

Get the Right Permissions

This may come as a surprise to you, but most images you find online are copyrighted. Fair-use allows certain use of these images, but if you are using them for marketing purposes, you will need to have permission to do so.  Memes, cartoons and stock images especially are copyrighted and using them without permission could lead to a lawsuit. Avoid sticky situations with your images by looking for things that are public domain or go ahead and pay for the rights.

PrintDimensions are Important

Each of the social networks has their own size for images that appear in the news feed.  Take special care to make sure you image works for the network you are posting it to. Don’t have include text that could be cut off. Make sure the main part of your image is centered because all the networks, no matter what size they crop to, will center your graphic.  Learn the image sizing for the networks you post to and preview your graphics before posting.

 

A picture is definitely worth a thousand words, and these days, a bunch of likes and shares. Spend just as much, if not more, time choosing your images as you spend crafting your text. Size, color and readability matters, so make sure your relevant images are impacting your campaign in a helpful way. The right image will boost your reach, help ensure your campaign’s success and may even go viral.  With the right image, the possibilities are endless.  Good luck!

Generating New Content

Marketing business salesHow do we engage our audience with interesting content? Is coming up with content a challenge for you? We understand that developing engaging content is the toughest part of any marketing strategy, so we looked at some questions to ask yourself while trying to find ideas.

1.  What are the challenges that face our industry?

By figuring out the pain points of your industry and what your customers need, you can work with your team to develop helpful content to address the challenges that arise. Create case studies showing how businesses have overcome the challenges that face your industry and the lessons to be learned from common experiences. Addressing pain points is a great way to get conversation going.

2.  What are people talking about?

Are your customers asking questions? Every question a customer asks is a potential for a new piece of content, so do your best to answer them. Explore Linked In groups or Google+ communities for what is being talked about in your industry. Join the conversations taking place online and establish yourself as the go to source for relevant information.

3.  What are your competitors doing?

Monitoring what your competition is up to is a great way to see what is working in your industry as far as content is concerned.  See what content is finding traction and find a way to use a similar strategy yourself.

Social-Media-Listening-Image-two4. What is happening outside your industry?

Research a completely different subject and figure out how it applies to your industry. See what you can learn from different industry sectors and identify what could be applied to your business specifically.

5.  What is the latest industry news and trends?

If you are truly immersed in your industry, this should be the easiest source of content. Knowing the latest trends and industry news can help spark conversation. as long as you keep ahead of industry reports.  Conduct your own surveys and conversations to increase engagement and provide new insights that you may have overlooked.

Every insight is potentially a piece for great content.

Hopefully, if you ask yourself these questions while coming up with your content, you should find that it should be easier than anticipated.  Remember, don’t be afraid to ask your audience questions and use user generated content.  With these questions in mind, coming up with dynamic, relevant content should be a breeze.