Filtering by Tag: Social media

When You Don't Want Your Video To Go Viral

You're an attorney, a Pizzeria owner or perhaps you run the local bike shop, doesn't matter what your market is, you're looking for new customers.

Your Social Media Guru has told you that you need to “get into video” so you’ve bought your flip camera, a gorilla stand, you have a basic understanding of lighting and editing and you’re ready to go viral

Stop for a second and consider

There are 35 hours of video loaded to YouTube every minute - the competition for eyeballs is insane.  People latch onto the latest meme: Evian babies, the Old Spice dude, Rebecca Black’s dignity, that amazing VW super bowl ad.

Viral videos are funny, surprising, unorthodox and generally entertaining.  They’re passed around by people as little gifts of humor and interest to one another; when they’re good the views go through the roof.

What if your business is inherently unfunny?

What if you're the best personal injury attorney in the State, what if you know more about accident re-construction than anybody else?  Should you try and inject a little humor as you jokily relate how that poorly constructed armature sheared off your previous client’s arm?

We’d advise against this – sure you might go viral but you’re unlikely to land any new clients.

Non-viral content

When you’re landing a new client you want to present video content that is not funny, not surprising and often times not terribly entertaining.  We’re not saying it should be boring but when people are making decisions about their well being, their wallets and their future, they prefer to get their information served straight up.

Video on your website should actually be the exact opposite of what makes up a viral video.  Once you get your head round this it is a huge relief and makes the job of producing video content for your business a thousand times easier.

Yes, you should get into video

A video of you explaining, with compassion and brutal competence how you do what you do, is worth a thousand images (and remember – they’re worth a thousand words so you just saved yourself a crap load of writing!)

Video content is not about you being a YouTube superstar; it is about you representing your business in the stickiest way possible.

If you’re not sure where to start with a Video content strategy, give us a shout and we’ll show you how to get started

Image Credit: Alone at the Taj - Stuck In Customs - Flickr

Social Media – If it hasn’t changed you – You’re doing it wrong

2007 doesn’t seem too long ago does it?

The fairly unanimous business argument back then was that Social Media – Twitter, Facebook, even blogging - was a narcissistic waste of time with no measureable return on investment.  Jump forward three years to half a billion people on Facebook and Twitter at 175 million strong, the sound of businesses scrambling to get up to speed is almost deafening.

It’s about Change

What most businesses we speak to don’t initially get is that the culture of society has fundamentally changed.  The way that people receive information has radically shifted in the last twenty years and that change has accelerated in the last 5.

It’s about Marketing

Businesses adapt their processes as new technologies come along – the arrival of economically viable robotics fundamentally changed the manufacturing industry.  Does it not make sense then that the arrival of practically zero cost distribution would change the marketing world?  If you are trying to incorporate Social Media marketing as if it was another process that you need to fit into your already busy schedule then you will fail

It’s about Now

There are no lead times in Social Media; content is published immediately and reacted upon within seconds.  It’s not about spending days working on copy for an ad that will be published once and read by millions, it’s about publishing a hundred times to a hundred different people with different copy every time and then reacting to their direct responses.

It’s about Bullshit

Western culture is so immersed in media that we are all experts.  We’ve had marketing speak rammed down our throats for so long that any whiff of corporate messaging is quickly relegated to the spam bin and your brand is weakened.  To sustain a Social Media campaign you have to be yourself, you have to know your product and service inside out, the person operating the Twitter account, the Facebook wall, writing the blog posts, has to know and love your company, anything less and your customers will call you on it.

It’s about Time

For those business owners who know every inch of their company and every employee personally – a Social Media marketing campaign should change your life!  If you have a dedicated marketing resource in house, how they spend their working week should look radically different now than it did three years ago.    Think about those robots on the assembly line and how manufacturing companies were able to grow faster and more efficiently once they managed the change.

It’s about You

This is all so very new and from what we can see there are no cookie cutter solutions.  There are tools that make this easier, there are protocols and best practices that can enhance your actions, but ultimately it comes down to you and your business.  If you’re ready to join this brave new world, call us, we’d be happy to talk with you.


Image Credit: Car Manufacturing Robotic Arms by razvan.orendovici on Flickr

Content – Are You Sure You Can Handle It?

I WANT YOU to write blog posts! by Search INfluence on Flickr

You get it!

Adding quality content to your website is the best way of moving up through the search engines – whether it’s text, video, audio, images – whatever – so long as it is relevant and interesting – the more new content you add the more likely it is that people are going to talk about you.

So why do the vast majority of people find it so hard to actually follow through and do this?

Producing Quality Content Takes Time

The majority of our clients are small to medium size businesses – if you’ve got less than ten employees it’s unlikely that you have the budget for a dedicated online marketer – so – whose job is it to write the copy for the website?

We can guarantee that the person with Marketing in their title is rushed off their feet with traditional channels - the longer term ROI of online / social media marketing just doesn’t stack up in the short term; phone a client or write a blog post – guess which one loses?

Writing Quality Content is a Skill

We’ve written this before but it’s worth repeating: just because you watch House religiously doesn’t mean you can diagnose your own illness and a passion for the Practice doesn’t make you a lawyer. Sure you’ve been writing most of your life but it doesn’t mean you’re any good at it.

Writing for the web is different than writing a letter or an essay or even a marketing brochure – there is a structure and an underlying logic to writing a blog post – it isn’t hard to learn but like the professions above, you have to practice it to get good.

Setting Yourself Up to Fail

As a small business owner myself I think the reason people struggle with producing copy is that they don’t allocate a significant value to it. Because they’re smart and capable individuals they look at the act of producing web copy and assume that they can do it themselves - why pay someone for something that you’ve been doing since you were three?

Of course what happens next is that life gets busy, time gets short and if they do actually allocate time to write they suddenly find that it’s hard to convey what they want in an interesting way. Be honest – if you have ten things to do – which do you do first – the ones you know how to do or the ones you have to work at?

Outsource the Writing of Content

We’re working with a couple of different clients who have some copy for their sites but need it optimized for SEO – keyword phrases researched, text tweaked, re-presented and organized. Good copywriters can charge anywhere from $35 an hour up to the $100+ - we tend to work with people in the $50 to $75 an hour range and are delighted with the quality we receive.

If you can establish a relationship with a writer who over time gets to know your business – where you can have a 15 minute Skype conversation with them where you relate the idea of what you want to get across – maybe provide a couple of links to sites – have them produce the copy, tag it and then post it to your site – how much is that worth to you?

This of course has sparked the idea for the next post – which will talk about online marketing spends shifting – I wonder what companies are doing with the hundreds of dollars a month they were spending on “SEO” – link building, multiple sites, etc – do you think they’re now spending it on copywriting?

Image Credit: I WANT YOU to write blog posts! by Search INfluence on Flickr

Adding Your Business To Yelp Is Easy

What kind of a business turns down ½ a billion dollars?

For local business owners who think that social networking is a fad and that sites like Facebook and Yelp are childish nonsense that have nothing to do with their business, this is your wake up call. Last week Facebook beat Google as the number 1 most visited website and back in December Yelp turned down a Google buyout of $500 million (and apparently later rejected another offer of $750M from a different party.)

The success of these sites is the clearest indicator yet that if you are not actively working the online space – you losing out. Yes we know there are only so many hours in the day and yes we know some of you can barely type, but to be in business in 2010 means you need these skills.

A while back we did a simple walk through on how to add your business to Google Local Business and we thought it might be fun to do the same for Yelp. Of course you can have us do this for you, we’ll work with you to get the right language, imagery, etc, etc – but if you’ve got the time – it’s pretty easy – here you go:

So first off - get yourself to the Yelp Business Home Page - you'll find it right here - https://biz.yelp.com/ - and it looks like this. Watch the video if you have time or go ahead and click "Get A Business owner Account"

Yelp Business Owners - Find Your Business on yelp

Here's where you type in the name of your business and the city - if you're well established it is likely that someone has already entered your business into Yelp - at that point you can "Claim" your business - but that's a tutorial for another time (it's pretty much the same as this though!) Anyway - go ahead and see if you're already in there

Yelp Business Owners - Find Your Business on yelp

If Yelp can't find you they'll suggest a few options - I kinda like the idea of tilted chaos - still - if nothing recognizeable appears - then click on the "Having trouble finding your business?" link

Yelp Business Owners - Find Your Business on yelp

..and you'll arrive on this nice entry form - enter your details using your business email address

Yelp Business Owners - Add Your Business on Yelp

And voila - you arrive here and your Business page is almost ready to be published, but Yelp needs to confirm your email addresss but this part of the process is pretty quick so by the time you go to your inbox you ashould already have...

Yelp Business Owners - Business ready To be published

This email - click the link and you arrive back at Yelp and your page has been created. But what next?

Yelp Business Owners - Verify Your  Email

If you read the above email again you'll see that the Yelp customer support team has to review your submission before you can claim your page and start editing it. So - you have to wait.

If you're lucky the following email will arrive within 30 minutes - but it can take longer - the last two we set up took 5 minutes.

Yelp Business Owners - Claim Business Page Email

So - having clicked on the link - you arrive here. In order to edit your Yelp Business page - you need a Yelp Business Account (it's free) and takes less than a minute to set up.

Yelp Business Owners - Set up Your Yelp Business owners Account Page

It's quite simple - you fill in the following form using your business email address and once again Yelp will send you a confirmation email which will take you to..

Yelp Business Owners - Set up Your Yelp Business owners Account Page

Ta Da! - You've created the page and now you have access to it. So it's time to get busy adding your information

Yelp Business Owners - Congratulations Page


Next comes a series of 6 screens where you get to enter information about your business, your logo, descriptions of what you do and how you do it as well as some info about you - the person behind the business. Seeing as business is all about time it seems fitting that the first screen is about your opening hours....

Right - we'd love it so that business hours are only 9 to 5 - hell - if you can get away with it - good luck to you. The strange thing about this page is that even though you will enter them here - for some reason the system doesn't take it and you will need to enter them again at the end of the process - so - don't worry too much about getting them in here - move on...

Yelp Business Owners - Business Hours Page

This is our favorite part of the whole Yelp business page - you can put an offer right in front of your reviewers - how cool is that. If you can - make it special to just your Yelp customers - i.e. - if you're reading this on Yelp and you come in and say the magic codeword (which today is Bananas) you'll get 20% of your check - try it out - you'd be amazed at the loyalty this kind of tool creates.

Yelp Business Owners - Offer Page

This is your elevator speech - you know - the one where you have a couple of sentences to say really succintly what it is you do and how you do it. Don't be over the top - you are writing for one person only - the person reading this page - you may be the best but really - there's so much over exaggerated crap that nobody is believable anymore - write the basics and let your customers and reviewers say that you're the best - capiche?

Yelp Business Owners - Business Specialties Page

You need a Square image - any size will do - but it has to be square. Load up as many as you like - maybe a few shots of happy smiley customers or you handing a big check to charity - that kind of thing.

Yelp Business Owners - Business Photos Page

Does the President use your services? This is where you choose to share that (or not!) make it relevant and avoid the hyperbole - write as if you were speaking to someone face to face - and for god's sake be honest!

Yelp Business Owners - Business History Page

Here's where you get to upload your smiling face - and yes - we strongly recommend that you have a picture of yourself. Icons and branding are great for business identity but this bit is about you and you have to appear human (even if you're really an evil cyborg.) Whatever your personality is - make sure it comes across in the text - if you're not a big talker - leave it very business focused - what skills have you learned along the way that will influence a reader to use your services - if you're a crazy gregarious person - let it rip - share as much of yourself as you are comfortable with.

Yelp Business Owners - Business owner's Bio Page

You will finally arrive on the following page. Annoyingly enough it isn't quite 100% complete - for some reason you have to go back and add your hours again. Not quite sure why it doesn't take it earlier - but there you go!

Yelp Business Owners - Summary Page

So - having added your hours - you can finally go and check out your new Yelp Business owner's Page:

Yelp Business Owners - Complete Business Page

Awesome!

Not exactly rocket science but it helps if you have all your information ready and in one place. And of course, if you're thinking strategically - you will be using the same information and visual branding across all of your social media sites.

having set up your Yelp page you now need to make an active effort to check it regularly and to respond to customers - again - more on that another time.

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