According to a 2019 survey, 81% of onsite workers thought that the ability to work remotely would make them happier. Happiness aside, however, small businesses now must figure out how to make these work-from-home dreams a reality—and on a severely condensed timeline—in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Here is some information I found that I really think you will find very useful and interesting.
With 45 states to date issuing stay-at-home orders in response to the COVID-19 crisis, more of America’s workforce is working remotely than ever before. But what do you do if remote work capabilities weren't part of your company’s DNA before the current public health emergency?
While you work through the financial impact that the current economic uncertainty has on your business and the small business relief programs that are available, you’ll still need to keep your virtual doors open and your team productive even when your physical doors may be closed.
These tips can help your small business quickly establish work-from-home protocols, especially if your company has never operated remotely. You'll find communication best practices, tools for staying connected and tech to help keep your business moving through the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.
In an office or storefront, everything is more visible and accessible. You can stop by a colleague’s office for a quick clarification or rally your team for an impromptu meeting in the break room. Even body language informs your typical in-office day-to-day communications. As phone calls, chats and videoconferencing replace in-person interactions, the ability to “read the room” becomes more complicated for both leaders and their teams. Communication can slow. Intention and interpretation of messages can become muddled. The shift to remote work demands small-business leaders rethink both how and how much they communicate.These tips can help you rethink the ways and the frequency with which you communicate:
Establishing a schedule for the workday helps the entire team show up for work when their living room becomes their office. Consider ditching text messaging in favor of email or a work-specific chat app, so that employees feel they can protect their personal devices and time after the workday is done.
Set clear expectations.
From priority projects, to normal work hours and delivery timelines, don't leave anything to chance. Clearly stating expectations can help your entire team orient themselves toward a common goal.
Trade in-person discussions for phone calls.
Every time you’d typically go see a colleague to resolve an issue, abandon the tech and go old school with a phone call. With a real-time conversation, you can quickly find a resolution while avoiding miscommunications that often can arise with chats and emails.
Since remote work removes the comfort of physical proximity, it’s more important than ever to promptly return your team members’ calls and emails and participate on that chat thread about a pressing project. Prompt replies will help alleviate some of the anxiety that comes from not being able to see your colleagues when a concern arises. Promptness also lets employees know you’re tuned in to their dedication to the company’s objectives.
Invest in virtual connection.
Maybe it’s a video huddle every morning to replace the typical break room chatter or a weekly happy hour to collectively wind down; however, you accomplish your virtual “connections” with your team, know that these routines are important during times where your team lacks a daily physical workspace to gather. Work-from-home orders can’t erase the comfort that comes with seeing the people who show up every day to make your company run.
Double-down on the grace.
Working from home, especially in the times of COVID-19, means more distractions. Kids home from school, pets excited about a favorite toy, the inevitable leaf blowers and other intrusions are going to invade your conference calls with situations you never encounter at the office. Take a deep breath and remind yourself (and everyone on your team) that people are doing the best they can within their given environments. A bit of grace in the face of unexpected disruptions will bring some much-needed humanity to these unprecedented times.
Now that you’re equipped with practical leadership tools to help you rethink your work-from-home communication protocols, you can tend to the daily business of making your business run remotely.
As you establish priorities and craft a plan for your business to continue operations, you’ll need to keep your team connected to keep goals on track. The good news is that several low- to no-cost tools can help you immediately ramp up your virtual communications.
Chat apps, videoconferencing platforms and conference call lines can help keep the communications flowing and offer a wide range of formality to mimic the different ways you typically communicate in the workplace.
Instant messaging and chat apps can help your team stay connected and get quick answers to simple questions that crop up throughout the business day. As you consider which chat or messaging app to adopt, consider your business’s security demands. You’ll want to weigh the security features of each platform with the need for privacy and then establish protocols with your team for topics that should not be discussed via a digital messaging platform.
The messaging apps below are no-cost and among the most widely used among small businesses:
When your team needs some face time, videoconferencing can help you bridge the gap between working in the office and from home. While many chat apps come with videoconferencing features, you may prefer to use a platform where videoconferencing is the primary function for your virtual face-to-face needs. The features are typically a bit more robust than messaging apps and also incorporate chat features into your calls.
By and large the most talked about videoconferencing service in recent weeks, Zoom offers small businesses a free version to keep your teams connected. While the free version limits group calls to a maximum duration of 40 minutes, you can have a unlimited 1:1 meeting. You'll also enjoy features like call recording and screen sharing. Before using, be sure to review Zoom’s guidelines for hosting a secure video conference to avoid having unwelcome attendees join your meetings. While Zoom has been in some hot water over this very issue with privacy and unsecured data, it still continues to very popular and they are said to be working out those issues.
The most well-known videoconferencing platform, Skype has everything you need to get your team visually connected. With call recording, file sharing, screen sharing and built-in chat functions, your team can easily connect via group calls with no time limits. A bonus? If your home office isn’t in tip-top shape, Skype has a built-in background blur function to keep the focus on you, not your pile of laundry. Skype is accessible via desktop or mobile app.
(yes, it is still around) Like Zoom and Skype, Google Hangouts offers robust videoconferencing capabilities. At no cost, your team can be up and on video in a matter of minutes, and all it takes is a Google account (you already have one if you have a Gmail email address). To stay in touch throughout the workday, your team can install the Hangouts app from the Chrome Extension Store (Note: You must use the Google Chrome browser) to get alerts for new conversations and meetings. Google Hangouts is accessible via desktop and mobile app. There is also Go To Meeting, WebX and others.
Once you find your perfect videoconferencing match you are good to go but let us look at some other tips that can help as well.
If videoconferencing puts a strain on your at-home internet service, you might discover your colleagues look more pixelated than professional on-screen. If that’s the case, a no-video conference call may be a better solution. These services also can save your productivity bacon if there’s a service outage with your internet provider.
Now that you have the tools to keep your remote team in touch, you’ll need tools to track productivity and keep everyone at home on task. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce offers some simple tips for keeping the work at home teams productive like daily check-ins and a recommended dress code. One of the leading tips for small businesses, however, is to leverage the range of productivity tools designed for small businesses. With built-in tasks, reminders and accountability features, these tools can help empower employees to adapt to remote work and remain productive in their new environments.
Designed to be a simple project management tool, Trello can help small teams track projects (on Boards) and tasks (on Cards). Trello makes it easy to track assignments and keep track of progress in a highly visual, easy-to-read interface. If your business has never used project management software before COVID-19, Trello can quickly get you organized and keep business flowing.
For small businesses with multiple moving parts and clients, Basecamp Business offers a 30-day free trial to help you get up to full speed during your work-from-home stint. With the power to create multiple individual projects for several clients or business segments, Basecamp is designed to help a single business track productivity across multiple projects from a single dashboard.
Box, Dropbox Business and Google Drive.
Remote businesses need collaboration tools, which is where file-sharing comes into play. Box, Dropbox and Google Drive all offer ways to share files with multiple team members without jamming up someone's email inbox with overly large files. Google Drive offers free storage for up to 15 MB of documents. Box offers 100 MB of storage and a 14-day free trial, and Dropbox offers up to 5 TB of storage and a 30-day free trial before you have to choose a paid plan.
DocuSign and HelloSign.
Need customer signatures but stay-at-home orders have your hands tied? Online signature services can get documents out to your customers fast. Both DocuSign and HelloSign offer free 30-day trials before you have to commit to a paid plan.
The above as well as some other out there will help you stay connected and keep previous projects moving. You may, however, want to take a minute to go the extra mile for one of your most valuable company assets: your employees.
Boost Employee Morale
Tips, tricks and tools aside, don’t forget to spend some time during this work-from-home time to nurture your team—even from afar. While you’ll be skipping the cake and candles to celebrate happy occasions, you can take some steps to make sure your team feels connected throughout the week.
Here are three fun ideas to inspire connection while your business adapts to its new work-from-home normal:
If (or when) you find your chosen techniques and tools aren’t working as well as you’d hoped, go back to communication. Ask questions, collaborate with your team and, together, you’ll chart a path forward that keeps you physically apart for as long as necessary but working together in the best ways possible.
Tags: #working from home, #remoteworking, #business, #communications
During the COVID -19 pandemic, some SMBs focus is shifting to remote work. For many small businesses that means learning a new norm including live streaming from home. Small Business owners who are not used to using this media may find themselves at a loss as to what and how to do proceed with live steaming from home to keep their business afloat yet keep their employees safe and the customer flow going. Here are some great tips we found.
Look Good Live Streaming
Start by highlighting some advantages to consider given the pandemic.In the time of social distancing, video conferencing can help you have more open and engaging conversations with customers than simple emails do. For brainstorming with your team, video conferencing can also help you connect and communicate in ways emails don’t allow for, because they are fluid and live.
Choose a Tool
If you’re brand-new to video conferencing, selecting the right tool is the first step. You should pick one that’s popular. Try and use one that other people already have, like Skype, Google Hangouts, Zoom, etc. And remember to skip free trial versions, as they can limit call time.
Position Your Camera
Your camera needs to be at eye level. It shouldn’t be above or below you. Lie with big television studios, the trick is you should put your monitor or laptop on some books if you need to so it is in fact eye level so it appears you are looking right into the camera and at your audience. Look at the camera and not the screen. That way it looks like you’re making eye contact. You’ll also need to remember there’s some differences from other technical aspects of meetings. Remember, A live stream is not the same as a conference call. It’s a live video of you doing something. Looking good on camera in a business-related. Live stream can help your customers feel comfortable working with you.
Practice A ‘Script’
With the live stream you need to keep it going and professional. To avoid long pauses, practice your key points ahead of time. And have a simple checklist off camera that you use to organize your thoughts as you deliver the live stream.”
Choose the Right Locale
It’s better to live stream from your computer and not your smart phone. This type of videoconferencing looks more professional from a quiet place. Picking the right location in your home means a place away from pets, the kids and other distractions. You might want to fashion a home office location if you haven’t already.
Play to Your Base
Like any media, the best tip for getting started is, ‘know your audience. As a small business owner, you know your audience. You know if they prefer professional or funky. You know if they’re stay-at-home parents, or on-the-go people. Cater your video content and video conferences to your audience and be willing to test different tactics until you find what works for you.
Finally, small businesses need to remember the differences between a live stream for national television and one for your client base. A national news appearance is all about understanding different factors like the short amount of time you have.
A ‘live stream’ for your business might go on for two hours while you assemble a car engine. A news segment might be over in one minute. They’re very different animals.
I hope these tips help you get off on the right foot with live streaming. Especially if it is something new to your business and marketing scheme.
Tags: #videostreaming, #videoconferencing, #workingfromhom, #video
As more organizations postpone or cancel events to contain the spread of the coronavirus, officially called Covid-19, many companies,non-profits, heck even small business owners are moving their events they had planned entirely online. On March 15, the CDC recommended cancelling or postponing events of more than 50 people for the next two months. The White House has urged people to avoid social gatherings of more than 10 people. The good news is you can still hold events by bringing them online.
Virtual may be more affordable and simpler. They lack the hassles caused by travel, hotels and dining. However, virtual events present their own set of challenges. Don’t expect that throwing together a few webinars or posting a couple of Power Point Slide charts online will produce success. It will more than likely will bore your followers and you will lose them quickly. So what and how can you achieve any kind of success? Here are a few tips I found and we typically use as best practices with our own customers and clients when they call upon us for digital help.
Test the platforms. In addition to webinar platforms, social media networks like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube, offer video and live streaming services. They offer many of the same basic features. Selection is a matter of personal preference. Most services offer a free trial allowing you perform dry runs before the event. This allows you to familiarize yourself with their basic functionality and test their services, such as the timeliness and helpfulness of live technical support. Most smaller companies simply go on Facebook or Instagram and do a simple smart phone shoot which can work if you do it right.
Keep Sessions Short.. Holding the audience attention is far more difficult at online events, Many – maybe most – people multi-task during online meetings. A 60-minute keynote or breakout session, standard fare at face-to-face events, won’t work for a virtual event. Shorten time slots by 15 or 30 minutes. Try a “webinine,” a webinar that lasts just nine minutes. This best practice is for larger more marketing oriented companies.
Do A Dry-Run. A dry run can spot faulty equipment links and other issues. Even veteran presenters may not understand the nuances of various online event software platforms. Be sure to test the audio. Visitors will leave if they can’t hear, he warns. Do presenter run-troughs in the same room and with the same computer that will be used for the event. Consider sending USB headset microphones to presenters. Seriously, this helps them so much and keeps them on track and their voice balanced as many times you will have a few second delay on live streaming. It is shocking how often presenters at online events just figure they can talk into their laptop, with no regard for room acoustics, background noise, dogs barking, people walking around in a room or if you are outside, it can even be worse. Consider your surroundings. We have also found sadly that many presenters who are animated at in-person events are flat in their online delivery. Record the run-through and let them see themselves as the viewers see them. Urge them to punch up their delivery. Often this can be achieved by simply having them stand for their delivery as they would in an in-person meeting, instead of sitting at their computer.
Publicize the event. Publicize the online event through blogging, social media posts, email blasts and earned media mentions. Encourage social media followers to share news of the event with a branded hashtag. If your budget allows, paid advertising is an option. Make sure session titles and descriptions for your virtual conference programming are fully descriptive and compelling. Tell the target audience what they will learn and how they will benefit from the virtual conference.
Stand out with a specific topic. Narrow the focus to a niche topic such as strength training for women. If you are doing an event for health, Make sure you stick to a single niche topic. A virtual event for everyone is really for nobody.”
Exciting Offers. "Create irresistible offers to attract attendees."
Some ideas could include or be: :
Audio files of sessions,
Transcripts of sessions,
PDF action guides.
Special offers from sponsors or partners.
Now don't do the above just to do it. It will backfire on you. Do something special. Even a gift card give-a-way is fun.
Make it social. Virtual events may lack the networking and social benefits of face-to-face events. But organizers can still replicate at least some social aspects with abundant use of webinar platform’s chat and Q&A features. To spark exchanges, ask relevant, provocative questions when sessions begin and while they continue. After sessions conclude, participants can continue interactions in private Facebook or LinkedIn groups.
Monitor internet chatter. Social Media platform listening can reveal what attendees talk about during and after the event. Their comments can provide ideas for new online sessions and other ideas on how to improve your virtual event.
Consider experienced help. OK our selfless plug. If you are considering doing something on line during these difficult times, feel free to reach out to us. We can help your business or organization.
In Conclusion: Virtual conferences and other online events offer an option for organizations postponing or canceling in-person gatherings to stem the spread of Covid-19. But organizing virtual events presents unique challenges. Thorough technical, speaker and content preparation along with strong publicity will make most virtual meetings successful.
Tags: #socialmedia, #virtualmeetings, #video, #marketing, #coronavirus, #covid19
Although I kind of knew this already, a report I recently came across and read just verifies my though process. Video is dominating mobile Internet use, according to a new Sandvine mobile video report. Video is 60% of downstream traffic and 62% of traffic overall, according to the report, titled Sandvine Mobile Internet Phenomena Report.
Sandvine dug into the details of the nature of the growth. “Instagram grew in the upstream as more consumers share images and videos,” the report reads. “TikTok, Snapchat (video), FaceTime, and even Facebook Live were all in the top 50 applications worldwide on the upstream that are video-sharing-centric. Social networking represented 12.74% of overall traffic and 16% of upstream traffic. Other categories that grew were messaging applications, which were especially strong on the upstream and increasingly are video-based. Marketplace traffic (both for purchases and updates) and gaming both grew.” Global application traffic share broke down in this way among the top ten:
· video streaming (62.06% of total traffic, 65.5% of downstream traffic, 22.4% of upstream traffic);
· social (12.74%, 12.9%, 16.8%);
· messaging (6.77%, 5.9%, 16.9%);
· marketplace (5.64%, 5.9%, 1.9%),
· Web (5.46%, 4.2%, 19.5%);
· gaming (3.29%, 3.7%, 3.3%);
· cloud (1.80%, 0.3%, 7.0%);
· security/VPN (1.34%, 0.8%, 7.9%);
· file sharing (0.86%, 0.6%, 3.8%);
· audio streaming (0.04%, 0.2%, 0.5%)
Sandvine Mobile Video Report**
The top 10 app traffic generators globally:
· YouTube (25.49% of total traffic, 27.1% of downstream traffic, 7.4% of upstream traffic);
· Facebook Video (17.54%, 18.6%, 5.4%);
· Instagram (7.1%, 7.1%, 8.0%);
· Facebook (5.2%, 5.2%, 4.5%);
· Netflix (4.0%, 4.3% 0.7%);
· HTTP media stream: (3.9%, 3.9% 1.1%);
· Google Play (3.33%, 3.5% 0.1%);
· TikTok (3.0%, 3.2% 1.2%);
· WhatsApp (2.76%, 2.6% 4.4%);
· Snapchat (2.04%, 2.0%, 2.1%).
The overall top ten mobile application traffic shareholders in North America are:
· YouTube (39.79%);
· WhatsApp (10.57%);
· Facebook Video (6.81%);
· Instagram (6.59%);
· Google Play (5.64%);
· Google (3.38%);
· Facebook (2.61%);
· HTTP Download (2.37%);
· App Stores (1.44%);
· HTTP Media Stream (1.29%).
(**All figures and information from report)
As you can see, video is huge and if your business or service is not using it, you should.
Tags: #video, #videoproduction, #socialmedia, #mobility
The social media marketing landscape is so fast changing these days that it can be really difficult to keep up with all the changes and trends going on. Social media marketing is now highly integrated into various workflows, and increasingly technology-driven, and those very same innovations are disrupting the way consumers discover and buy products online, influencing purchase journeys, and changing the way that customers interact with brands.
In order to remain competitive, every brand needs to keep on the latest tech trends and innovations. I was surprised to find that in this new year, 2020, trends in how people view social media is quickly changing up as well. Here are a few things I found that I wanted to share with you.
1. Storytelling is quickly becoming the big leader!
Stories have become an increasingly popular social media format.
But while the Stories format does provide new engagement opportunities, brands do have one significant challenge to overcome. With such a fast-moving and crowded content format, how do you stand out? How do you create memorable Stories that will halt users from immediately swiping away at first opportunity?
One major key lies in utilizing the right tools to create your stories. There are few out there for your business to try. Some cost and some are free to use in limited forms.
2. Direct content is replacing the “Hey stop what your doing and check this out!”
Traditionally, social media marketing has been about interrupting whatever a user is doing at any given time (scrolling their feed, watching videos, etc.) to try and prompt them to engage with your brand. But interruption by content tactics are losing their impact - in the modern world, consumers have more control than ever over which ads they allow in their feeds, what content they engage with, and with so many messages competing for their attention, winning their time is key.
Advanced and omnichannel personalization tools cater to this, by providing more integrated marketing tools and tapping into data to customize messaging.
There's now a select number of tools such as Duda and others that make it easier to gather, analyze and implement campaigns based on advanced customer insights.
But, of course, when utilizing people's personal data, privacy concerns also need to be considered. You don't "own" someone's personal data just because they agreed to buy something from you, or registered at your site. In order to justify your data collection and utilization processes, you need to be able to provide value in return - so while gathering more insight may seem like the best path, gathering functional, helpful data, that will enable you to build better systems, is what you really need.
Consumers are usually willing to give companies their personal information so long as they see value in it for them (e.g. tailored experiences, ability to customize products, and personalized deals). Real-time personalization (i.e. data-driven personalization completed in less than one second) is another fast-growing trend powered by machine learning and imagine your site changing in real-time based on how a user is interacting with it.
3. Augmented Reality (AR) is offering more chances to connect
Augmented Reality (AR) is about overlaying virtual objects on top of a real-world environment, most often facilitated (these days) by using the camera on a smartphone.
But unlike virtual reality, which shuts the real physical world out completely, AR enhances your view, which can also make it a more effective tool for marketing, as it enables consumers to see things in a real-world context.
AR enables brands to create one-of-a-kind, immersive experiences, which facilitates even more connection and brand-building opportunities. With AR, brands will eventually be able to provide virtual tours, hold virtual events, and enable customers to try their products without ever living the comfort of their homes.
The future is unlimited
Social media marketing is entering the new era, which, as noted, is increasingly being driven by technological development. In order to accommodate these new technologies, brands need to build a cohesive marketing technology stack. The good news is, social media marketing technology is advancing at a fast pace in order to meet the demand for smarter, more integrated, cross-platform and machine-learning-enhanced marketing software.
Tags: #socialmedia, #contentmarketing, #socialtrends
It is a new decade in 2020. Social Media is a must for your business but you do not have to kill yourself over it to make it work. Here are some tips I found to help you plan your social strategy yet be able to breathe a little in doing it.
1. Focus on building a community
Social media isn't just about grabbing attention and growing an audience. It’s also about building an engaged online community.
As social media professionals, we have to know inside and out who we want in our communities, and what they want to hear from us. This is often why social media content falls flat - it lacks purpose and reason, and connection to its target audience. Basically, it's just promotion, traditional ad and marketing collateral in a new format.
Now, you may say 'well, we want to engage everyone, everyone with a pulse needs to be a part of our online community'.
Let’s get real for a second. Your mission and your message is not going to resonate with every single person. If you're a small business or nonprofit organization dealing with a niche issue or a local problem, you have to face the fact that your online community will be a lot smaller than a national organization.
Every day, go into your communities (let’s stop calling them platforms) and see what’s working. Answer comments and questions, be present, and don’t over automate. Always be learning about your community and what they're most interested in, what moves them, what drives them, what inspires them. Create content just for them and more will follow from there.
2. Set time to relax!
How much time do you have to spend on social media? Is this 100% of your job, or just 10%? The best way to determine how much time social media management is going to take is to clarify how much time you have to devote to it.
The truth is that getting results on social media is much like getting results out of an exercise plan - consistency and intention are key. If you have thirty minutes a day to get a quick walk in, that’s better than sitting at your desk all day, every day and getting zero activity. If you can fit an hour walk in once per week, your results will be even better.
The same goes for social media - no matter if you have all day, or just an hour a day, to focus on social media, you need to create a time management plan to avoid spinning your wheels and wasting time (which can be so easy to do on platforms that are designed to grab your attention and keep you clicking).
Social media management takes discipline and practice, but a time-based strategy like this can be a great way for social media managers to manage their various competing responsibilities. Take a 25-minute break from time to time.
3. Take mental health breaks
As noted in the introduction, mental health stress on social media managers is a real thing, and the ramifications are just beginning to be properly understood and reviewed.
The "always-on" mentality dominates pretty much every industry right now, but it's especially true with social media. But consistent use of social media can be very hard on your own mental health so taking a step back every now and again is essential, even if it doesn’t seem like an option because there’s just too much to do.
This may mean turning off social media notifications when you leave the office. If you absolutely need to respond to something, set aside 10-15 minutes of dedicated time after work to go into each platform, then shut it down for the night.
It’s also important to take digital detoxes and vacations - pausing for a moment to come up for air and give your eyes a break from the screen.
4. Just say no to perfectionism What??!!
Your content is never going to be perfect, and your social media 'To Do' list will never be fully complete. In many cases, we have to be ok with 'done and imperfect', as it’s better than simply not done at all. Now, by this, I'm not advocating lazy mistakes or letting awful content or automation to take over. But you shouldn’t be spending hours designing and tweaking one single Instagram post, or whiling away the days editing a smartphone video that's going to be 30 seconds long.
Attention to detail is great, but perfectionism can be a killer. Get that post up. Edit it later if you find a drastic mistake. Test, see what’s working, then do more of that.
5. Advocate for your own well being
Every job has its busy periods, but constantly feeling like you’re struggling to keep your head above water is not okay. Social media managers are often also expected to be marketers, creators, analysts and customer service people. It's no surprise, in the end, that so many of us end up stressed out.
If you are a team of one and your work responsibilities amount to three full-time jobs, you have to be honest with your superiors and managers in letting them know that this is not sustainable. Conduct a detailed inventory of your time, listing out as many tasks as possible, and how long it takes to accomplish them. Don’t be afraid to advocate for your work.
The social media landscape is busy, noisy, and overcrowded with a wide range of content types. Sometimes, people can be not-so-nice, sometimes the work feels thankless. Sometimes, it feels like you're doing it all alone.
In 2020, ensure you consider your own mental state, and the capacity and scope of the work you're taking on. Being constantly connected can feel addictive, involving - but if you're having to overlook other elements, like spending time with your family, in order to keep an eye on your mentions, that can have significant negative impacts. Take a step back, and assess your workload and habits, as you head into the new year.
Tags: #socialmedia, #contentwriting, #branding, #marketing, #advertising
If you haven't yet considered using video content to drive traffic to your blog, now is the time. Video content is engaging and compelling. It's also widely viewed on many online platforms and devices. Here are some tips that I found that do work. Some of them kind of bug me as a consumer myself but they do work and you can pick and choose what you think might work for your blog.
Using video is a creative way to drive more traffic to your blog. There are many video platforms and marketing strategies that can help you meet your business goals and make your blog grow. What's more, video content can lead to greater engagement with your brand. In a recent study on video, 53 percent of consumers overall and 66 percent of millennials engaged with a brand by visiting their site or doing more research after viewing the brand's video.
Use video platforms
While your blog should be the focus of your content creation efforts, it's essential to create content on other platforms, too. Reach a wide audience by creating videos on popular platforms such as YouTube and Vimeo, which make it easy to upload and share content.
You can also directly upload videos to your business's social media pages. These videos can help you drive traffic by directing viewers to your website for supplemental or bonus content. For example, a food blogger can create dessert tutorials on their video channel and divert traffic to their blog for the full recipe. Connecting information from a video to a blog is an inventive way to save time recording and to increase blog traffic.
Add video content to your blog
Written content is the most common form of content found on blogs. But adding a visual aspect, such as videos, can boost engagement and keep people on your site longer. In fact, the aforementioned study found that 29 percent of millennials find video content more memorable than any other content type. Images, movement and sounds come together to make videos highly engaging, thus creating more recall than other forms of content.
Make video creation a part of your content strategy with these ideas:
• Online courses and tutorials: People frequently search for videos to answer how-to questions and build skills. They are willing to spend time and even purchase access to such content. You can then send viewers to your blog to view supplementary resources and other materials.
• Live webinars: Webinars are appealing because they give people a chance to directly connect with a brand and ask questions in real time. This creates a deeper connection by showing that there's a real person behind the brand. You can gain more subscribers to your blog by offering attendees additional content or specials when they sign up for your blog or services.
• Vlogs: Vlogs, or video blogs, are personal and nonpromotional. They offer a glimpse into the "real" life of an individual or business. You can use this to build an online audience that's invested in your content.
• Interviews: Interviews with experts are exciting and informative. Invite experts in your field, and ask questions that interest your audience.
• Product reviews: People depend on reviews as part of their research before buying a product. Creating product and brand reviews can help draw people to your blog.
• Event live streaming: Another great idea is to livestream an industry-related event. This needs a video setup, but once done, it's an easy way to create valuable content.
Using different forms of video can help you boost your blog’s subscription rate. You can also create email marketing blasts inviting your email list to an exclusive video seminar. Find creative ways to leverage videos to draw in more people to your blog.
Take advantage of social media stories
Stories are present on virtually all social media platforms today. They are a popular way to share video content, consisting of short videos that last for a few seconds and disappear after 24 hours.
Create short video content on these platforms and use hashtags, stickers, polls and text to make people aware of your blog. Humor is a universal feeling, so try creating short stories that entertain and make people laugh. You can also create limited-time offers that create the fear of missing out (FOMO) and drive people to your blog. I personally as a consumer find this method kind of irritating and tacky, but it does work.
What's more, Instagram allows accounts with 10,000 followers to create a link to their stories. It's also possible to add a link to a description when using Instagram TV (IGTV). Lastly, don't forget to link to your blog in your profile description.
Video content is widely consumed, and is easier than ever to make. It's an effective way to add a face and personality to your blog, making it more engaging to people. Help your blog grow by making video content a part of your marketing strategy. Have questions? Reach out us here at FDMC Digital Media. We will be happy to help!
Tags: #video, #blogging, #vlogging, #contentmarketing, #socialmedia
Gone are the days when brands can rely on a single video and hope it will appeal to their entire audience, using generic content for mass appeal. Now, with users regularly seeing custom-for-them videos regularly on Facebook sharing birthday messages, their top fans, and their best memories from a year, consumers are expecting more personalization.
Considering the sheer amount of video content flooding the feeds, personalization is the way to make sure that your ads stand out and are memorable with your audience. They can also increase social shares, getting you more visibility, and help you make a bigger impact that can lead to more sales and improved customer loyalty.
What Does Video Personalization Look Like?
Personalization, of course, can be a little tricky. There’s a lot of work involved, and there are different levels of personalization. In this post, we’re going to take a look at how you can create high-converting Facebook video (organic and ads!) that are personalized in the best way.
Personalization at a base level can just mean creating ad campaigns that are tailor-made to very specific niches within your audience so that your video ads resonate with them.
Video ads are like apples and oranges. As an example, you could have one ad created for busy moms tired of cleaning up a baby's mess, one for pet owners who have dog or cat hair everywhere, and one for dads who like tinkering around the house. Each video will resonate more will each individual audience, increasing the likelihood of a conversion.
You can go further, though, and offer true personalization. Think about those videos lets say that Facebook creates every so often, sharing just-for-you videos, showing you how many birthday messages you got and your profile picture with a birthday hat. These are obviously difficult to do at scale… but not impossible.
If you remember the Coke ad campaign they did with names on their cans, they promoted their product as a community-builder, but people saw their own names (or the names of someone they cared about) and wanted to go find them in store. Personalized = high converting, even though coke was only doing something that magnets and keychains at tourist traps had been doing for years. It helps people see themselves in a way that relates to your business, and it didn’t require true video personalization.
How to Create High-Converting Personalized Facebook Video Ads
Creating high-converting Facebook ad video campaign based in personalization can be overwhelming. It’s a big, involved process, and you want to make sure you get it right. Let’s go step by step through the process of creating one of these campaigns so you can jumpstart your own.
1. Take an Audience Interest & Make It Scalable
Before you start trying to find quick ways to personalize an ad, it’s important to understand what types of content your audience will want to see on a Facebook video (organic or otherwise). Someone running a pet store, for example, might consider that people want to see videos that remind them of their own pets. You can show dog owners clips of dogs, and cat owners’ videos of cats.
You can even get specific, opting for content that’s breed specific. If we’re selling pet food to dog owners, see how this idea could become scalable and personalized:
2. Consider How You’ll Target These Users
When it comes to personalized videos, it’s important to understand how you’ll be showing the right content to the right people. In our example above, it wouldn’t exactly make a ton of sense to be showing a boxer owner the video of a Bernese mountain dog.
Something more generic, like our dog food example, however, can be a little easier to target. You can target by interest, or retarget based on certain actions your audience has taken. If they’ve checked out a page for breed information and recommendations, that’s a good one to choose. You can also use your database of information if you have any; you could ask new customers, for example, what breed of dog they have and then use custom audiences to reach segmented audiences.
3. Use Flexible Video Templates to Offer Personalization at Scale
After you’ve decided what you want to create and how to get in touch with your target audience, you’ll gather the raw video clips and images as needed. This can include free-for-commercial use stock photos if needed. Then it’s time to actually assemble the videos themselves, and the trick here is to use flexible video templates that allow you to swap out images, video clips, and/or text as necessary. This allows you to create a general video for the purpose and then swap out a video of the Labrador instead of the boxer and the text to match. It’s quicker than creating entire videos, and still gives your content that polished look that comes with background music, seamless integration, and special effects.
Social media users have higher expectations for video content. They want engaging, personalized, and even interactive content that feels tailor-made just for them. Fortunately for all marketers, there are a few ways you can offer personalized content that suit specific niches of customers without having to actually Facebook stalk and create videos for each individual one. Ultimately, having a solid strategy from the get-go and the right tools in place will make a world of difference.
tags: #video, #marketing, #socialmedia, #facebook, #branding
Have you gone Live on Instagram yet? If yes, then claps for you! If not, we get it! It can seem like a daunting task to plan a live video and perform under the pressure of real time. But for branding your business, it’s so beneficial that it’s time to start thinking about it. You don’t have to be a network video producer to go live with Instagram. Here are some tips I found that will make your video streaming great.
Why you should go Live
First, why should you go live? There is a bunch of benefits from going Live for your business. Here’s just a few reasons that you should start planning for your first Live video.
Going Live is a great way to show the algorithm that you are here and you are working it. When people join, comment and like your Live video, it shows that people care about your brand and that they want to see more. This makes it more likely that your content will appear in the top of their newsfeed and your Stories won’t get lost. Let’s be honest, we can only click through Stories and scroll for so long. And with all the content that’s being pushed out every day, it’s likely that unless someone highly engages with you, they won’t see it. So being near the top of the newsfeed and the front of all the Stories is important for your business. Anything that’s going to get you some love from the algorithm is something that should be taken advantage of.
Have you noticed when you open Instagram, the first Stories you see at the top say Live under the thumbnail? And they are "ALWAYS" at the front of the Stories? That’s what happens when you go Live! When you go Live, you have an option to post it to your Story after you end your video. Doing this will put your Live video right at the front of the Story feed. Many people just open up Instagram and start clicking through Stories. Since you’ve gone Live, your Story will be the first thing they click on! If it’s something that interests them, maybe they’ll click through to your profile or keep watching! If not, then they’ll keep swiping. But at least you gave them a chance to watch! Instagram Stories are organized similar to the feed. The people who show up at the front are people that you are more engaged with. That means that your Story could get lost way at the end of all of the other Stories from friends and family never to be seen. Going Live will help prevent your Story from getting lost because it will be right there when your followers open the app!
Answer questions in real time
Going Live is also a great chance to answer questions in real time. People who are watching can type in questions and you can react right away. This takes out the extra steps of having to DM or email to get a question answered. It also helps you seem more approachable and shows that you actually care about your audience. Having an open dialogue with your current and potential customers will enhance the overall experience they have with your brand. In turn, making it more likely for them to be repeat customers and suggest you to a friend!
Show your brand personality
Instagram is about building relationships! No one wants to engage with a brand that never answers comments, doesn’t have a face to the name and just tries to sell, sell, sell. Going Live helps build that relationship because 1. your face, voice and personality can come through and 2. it’s an open conversation with your followers. Like we said before, it’s about showing people who you are, what you’re about and why you’re awesome!
Build existing relationships and form new ones
Along those lines of showing brand personality, going Live helps nurture existing relationships and forge new ones. When you go Live, Instagram will notify users to try and encourage them to join. Sometimes I’ve even gotten notifications for people that I wasn’t following. So maybe someone stumbles upon your Live and tunes in just to see what’s up. You’re immediately able to see them join, welcome them to the party and start a conversation. People are more inclined to engage with (and buy from) brands that they trust. Congratulations you just made a new friend by welcoming them to your Live video! And now you have a lead and potential customer.
A lot of people don’t go Live because yes, it takes planning and yes, it’s real time. Which can seem terrifying (especially if you don’t do well in front of audiences). Some people are naturals with these situations, but some of us didn’t get so lucky. But seriously, don’t let the fear of speaking live keep you from gaining new relationships! Here’s five tips that might help ease the process:
1. Have a plan and purpose
This could be the deal breaker for some. Taking the time to plan out and have a purpose for your Live isn’t something that just happens. Figure out what day/time you have the most active followers so you’ll know when you’ll probably have the most viewers. Once you get more comfortable, sure you might be able to just pop on Live whenever you’re inspired for a quick convo with your followers. But make sure you have a purpose. “I just wanted to come on real quick to tell you guys I had the best coffee today.” Unless there’s actually a purpose to this anecdote, NO ONE CARES. So make sure your Live has purpose in some way. That story might make sense for a coffee shop debuting a new latte art collection, but if it doesn’t add value in some way, chances are people don’t care unless you are big celebrity that has thousands of followers then yea people log on because they are obsessed with that person. So anyway, ahead and think about what information you want to share, what questions or comments you might get and possible answers to those questions.
If you’re really nervous about performing under pressure, practice before you actually go Live. You can record yourself and watch it back to see what’s working and what’s not. You could practice in front of a friend that you trust and get their feedback as well! Going Live isn’t like a memorized speech; it’s a conversation! It’s okay to have notes to make sure you hit all the points you want to talk about. We understand if you hesitate and look down. Relax!
3. Have some company to relieve your stress
You might also find that it’s easier to have someone with you on your Live video so that you can have an actual conversation. It might seem more natural to have a co-host so you can play off of each other and it’s nice for someone to have your back! You don’t even have to be in the same room as the person because Live has an option to add other users to the Live stream! You could go Live with someone on the complete other side of the world, but it will have the same effect. Maybe you and your business partner are talking about a new product you’re launching. Maybe you’re recapping an event with a fellow social media manager. Whatever it is, it might be easier and more comfortable to have an actual conversation.
4. Keep is personal
It’s a great place to show personality. No one expects you to be perfect! Try to talk like you would be talking to a friend (or actually talk to them if you aren’t alone). Don’t try to be something that you’re not. Live is a great way to show authenticity in your company. Talk about things that you are an expert in, are passionate about or that you find interesting. When you’re talking about something that you understand and care about, it comes through!
5. Have fun!
Live videos can be totally fun if you go into with the right mindset! If you’re freaking out about messing up then you probably will. But really, who cares if you say uhm or stumble over some words? No one! Like I said, it’s not a memorized speech. Laugh and have a good time and a proactive conversation with the audience that has joined! Mess around with some of the features and get feedback from people. Make jokes and laugh if you mess up. Just be real.
And now some live video ideas
Still thinking that you can cover all of your bases with Stories and regular posts. Need inspiration? Here are some of our favorite topics for going Live.
Go behind the scenes
People love to see behind the scenes! Maybe it’s the process for making that new color of lip gloss or a photoshoot for an upcoming event. Behind the scenes make your audience feel like they are part of the journey. They might learn something new about you or your brand, might think it’s cool how your products are made or might get inspired. Going "BTS" also shows your brand’s authenticity, which is a great relationship builder!
Pull out a list of FAQs that you get. Live is a great time to read through them and answer them. If someone asks a question in an email or direct message, chances are that someone else also has the same question, but maybe hasn’t reached out to ask yet. Answering questions on Live will help educate your audience and maybe even spark new questions that need to be answered. It’s also more personal to address questions in real time than through a message. Sometimes things get lost in translation over the internet, so answering questions Live makes sure your answers are portrayed how you intend them.
Tell a story
Like I said earlier, just make sure it has a purpose! Even if it’s just a funny story, that still has a purpose: entertainment. People love to see that your brand is approachable and relatable. Try to entertain, inspire, educate or add value in all of your Instagram Lives or people probably won’t want to tune in.
Adding value is one of the most important parts of building relationships on social media. Going Live to share your top 10 healthy breakfast recipes or 5 things to look for when buying a new car or whatever knowledge that you have to share is an awesome topic for Live videos. People can respond and ask questions, which just helps further the conversation and the relationship building.
Reveal products or your services
Going Live is perfect for launching products or your new service and getting people excited. Reveal your new eyeshadow palette or talk about a new service you’re offering. Show people how your products work, how your clothes look on people or demo a new feature! New is exciting and getting the chance to watch Live is kind of like going to a launch party!
Livestream an event
Maybe you’re speaking at a social media conference or showing your new product at a convention. Livestream the event! Show people what’s going on while giving them valuable information about your brand! The possibilities are endless!
How to get started
Once you have your Live video planned out and you’ve determined the best time to do it, here’s how to get the action started. You’ll want to start by updating your Story settings. Go to your profile and click the three lines in the top right corner to open settings. Click Settings > Privacy > Story. Here you can hide people from seeing your Story (and your Live). You can also decide if you want to allow messages from everyone, just people you follow or turn them off. For most of the purposes you’ll be using Live for as a business, you should probably allow messages from everyone. Once you’re all good with your settings, head back to the main page to get going.
There are a couple ways to get to Live. Act like you’re just adding a regular Story to your Instagram. You can:
Fun features on Live
Here are some fun things you can add to your Live videos:
Tags: #instagram, #videostreaming, #branding, #apps, #socialmedia, #video
Being in digital media, I am always digging around articles on my line of work. I would be silly not to. I recently came across from very interesting stats on digital media. For businesses considering or even brushing off the fact that they do not need to do any digital media marketing, I think you will find the information I came across a eye-opening for you.
The digital advertising landscape is constantly changing to meet the demands of our fast paced consumers. Sadly they are always in a hurry and to them, less means more. More consumers head to digital channels to research, shop and find product recommendations. Just as importantly, they have very specific attitudes towards how brands decide to engage them while they are online.
To better understand and for you to get a grasp on the online advertising landscape, here’s a look at some interesting stats that I came across. Much is from Lyfe & eMarketer, a good resource for us in the digital media field.
Digital video ad spend continues to climb, according to IAB’s 2019 Video Advertising Spend Report. Marketers report digital budgets have increased 25% year over year. Approximately 86% of marketers are using video content in their campaign outreach efforts.
One trend this year are shorter video ads, or bumper ads, that are compelling and grab a consumer’s attention. YouTube and Google both launched 6-second bumper ads as a way to offer brands a creative way to extend brand reach in a short time frame.
Advertisers are spending big on native advertising. These ads emulate the look and feel of the media format where they appear, gaining greater acceptance and engagement because they are designed to seamlessly integrate into social feeds and websites versus banners or pop-ups.
Some popular formats of native ads include:
Mobile advertising shows no signs of slowing down, In 2018, mobile’s share of the U.S. digital ad market climbed to 63 percent of total digital ad spending. Over 55% of the US population regularly watches video on mobile, and the average smartphone video viewer is estimated to have spent 44 minutes watching videos on their device in 2018. Table users spent 38 minutes. Now in 2019, mobile is predicted to “surpass TV as the medium attracting the most minutes.”
Tags: #socialmedia, #advertising, #marketing, #digitalmedia, #video