Yeah, yeah, I know. It’s pretty ridiculous that I’m writing a blog post about not writing blog posts.
Anyway, indulge me, and maybe you’ll find something of value here.
Typically I like to write for this blog as my publication dates approach every Monday and Thursday. It allows me to write about the things that I find to be relevant in the moment, and pass along as much of that information to you.
As I’m sure you can relate – particularly if you work for, or own, a small business or start-up – life and work can get a little crazy at times. Work piles up, due dates approach, new opportunities present themselves, and who knows what else.
Things get busy, time is at a premium, and something has got to give.
For me, today was one of those days. Just unbelievably busy, but busy with great things. Lots of work and lots of opportunity. So, I worked on those things because they are important and took priority over pumping the same amount of time and effort into my blog that I typically do. And that’s okay.
It’s easy to get hung up about executing a social media strategy and ensuring that you never miss the publication due dates you place upon yourself. While it really is a good idea to get in the habit of making social media a part of your regular routine, you shouldn’t let other business obligations slip as a result.
So, what does this mean for you?
Don’t worry about ensuring that your social media activity is executed with 100 percent precision. Producing killer content and having high-quality interactions on a regular basis are important, but if you miss one of your own publication due dates, don’t sweat it. People will value the experience they have with you on social media, and they’ll stick around. Most people probably won’t even notice.
Social media is only going to work for your business if your business is in amazing shape. So make sure it is. Don’t sacrifice your ability to handle more important business-related responsibilities for social media. If you’re spending all sorts of time on your social media marketing, or writing for your blog, but you’re not making things happen for your business, your priorities are probably out of whack and it’s time to re-think how you’re going to achieve your broader business goals.
Have you ever caught yourself prioritizing social media activity over things that are probably more important?
Let me know in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
Image Credit: Veer
Video is a great addition to virtually any content mix. It’s highly engaging, is a great way to humanize your brand, and can provide incredible value to your consumers, to list just a few benefits.
For small businesses, producing video content can be challenging for several reasons.
Hiring a production house is expensive.
Self-shot video can lack the quality and polish of professional video.
A lack of experience makes the thought of producing video content nerve-racking.
All of these reasons are valid, but none should deter you from producing what could be amazing video content.
So, how can you produce killer video content for your small business?
Following are 10 steps to get you started:
1 – Dive in
Arguably, this is the most important tip I have to share. Just dive in and commit to producing video as part of your content mix. If you’ve never produced a video before, this will be the biggest barrier.
2 – Figure out how you can add value to your consumers with video
Probably the worst thing you can do is not having a plan for how you can add value to your consumers with your video. You’ll need to educate, entertain, or provide utility to your viewers, so before you get going, figure out what your approach is going to be and what the basic subject matter of your video will be.
3 – Script what it is that you want to convey
To ensure your video tells a cohesive story and adds value in the way that you’ve planned, do yourself a favour and write a script.
If you’ve never written a script, not to worry.
An easy format to follow will be to create a document with two columns and write your dialogue or audio in the left hand column, with corresponding video in the right hand column. This format will allow you to map out what the finished video should sound and look like.
4 – Get your equipment in check
Chances are that you already have a few equipment options for shooting a video in your possession. Virtually all digital cameras have a video recording function, most smartphones are recording video in HD these days, and a huge number of computers are equipped with webcams. Each device has its own pros and cons, but which is the best choice for your early videos is up to you, though they’ll all probably do the trick.
5 – Determine where and when to shoot
This can be really important. If your video requires shooting on location, then you’re set. If you’re video is an educational piece that could be shot anywhere, choose a location that is well lit, and is quiet with little to no ambient noise so as to not interfere with your audio. It’s pretty bad when a video that relies heavily on audio can’t be heard.
6 – Set up your camera
A tripod can be your best friend. If you don’t have a tripod and you’re just getting into shooting video, try setting your camera up in a stationary location so it doesn’t shake around, which can result in jittery video that’s difficult to watch. Desks, shelves, tables, stools, and ledges are everywhere – take advantage of them.
7 – Test shoot, review and optimize
If you haven’t shot video before, or are using new equipment, you’ll want to consider shooting a short segment and reviewing the resulting footage before filming your entire video.
Take a few minutes to check your footage to ensure everything looks great, the framing is as you envisioned, and that your audio is crisp and clear. If any adjustments are required, you’ll be thanking me that you made them after reviewing a short segment of footage rather than when you’ve invested more significant time to complete your entire shoot.
8 – Hit record and go for it
No need to look back now. Just hit record and go for it. Anyone appearing in your video should be comfortable and confident with all of the planning and preparation that has gone into this, so there’s no reason for them to be anything but. Not only will being confident make your shoot go more smoothly, but it will be picked up on in your final video and result in a better ‘performance’.
9 – Review and edit
When your shoot has wrapped, review your footage to ensure you’ve captured everything required and begin editing. Even if your entire video was shot in a singe take, there are some basic things you’ll want to edit. For instance, cut dead footage at the beginning and end of your video so that when your consumers press play, your video gets right to it. You might also want to optimize your audio levels, add a title, or include a call to action that will work toward your objectives.
10 – Publish
This is the best part; you get to share the fruit of your labour with your consumers. Publish your video to the social media networks that your community is actively engaging on – YouTube, Vimeo, Dailymotion, Facebook, Google+, and on.
If you have any tips for how small businesses can produce great video content, or you’re doing it yourself, tell me all about it in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
Pinning a post on your Facebook Page keeps an update at the top of your Timeline for 7 days which keeps it visible to your community, encourages engagement, and allows you to increase impressions for the pinned content amongst other benefits. In my experience, there are 3 main types of posts that work particularly well as a Pinned Post; 1) Time-sensitive posts, 2) High-engagement posts, and 3) Timeless posts.
Some posts are only relevant for a given period of time such as the date of an event or the duration of a promotional period.
There are certain posts that you might be able to predict are going to drive high levels of engagement such as a culturally relevant video or incredible photo. Alternatively, there may be some posts that drive engagement beyond what you expected and by pinning the post, you can make it visible to an even greater number of people, driving further engagement.
Whether it’s a FAQ or company or brand information, there is some content that won’t grow old and will continue to be highly relevant to community members now, and in the future.
Step 1: Create an update as you typically would.
Step 2: Post your update.
Step 3: Click the ‘Edit or Remove’ button in the top right corner of your post and click ‘Pin to Top’.
Later this week I’ll provide a few creative thought-starters for Facebook updates that are ‘pin-worthy’.
Feel free to contact me in any of these places:
Consumer reviews are incredibly important. I reported in a previous post that over 70% of consumers trust the reviews of others more than any form of advertising. Further to this, in a comScore survey, over 75% of review users reported that reviews have a significant influence on their purchase, and depending on the category, that number can be as large as 87%.
It is clear that reviews are important, but what if you receive negative reviews?
In my experience, I’ve had clients respond in a number of very different ways to negativity. Some want negative reviews pulled from their social media properties immediately. Some view negative comments as constructive criticism. No matter how you view the receipt of negative comments, don’t panic when you see them inevitably appear.
There are actually a number of reasons why the receipt of negative reviews can be very positive:
Consumers have been trained though experience, advertising, media, education, and many other external influences, to be skeptics of anything that appears to be ‘too good’. While I certainly won’t argue against the obvious value of receiving mainly positive reviews, the odd negative review can actually mitigate consumer skepticism by pointing out the flaws that exist in every product, service or anything they might be making a decision on. That’s right, you’re not perfect, and neither am I – gasp! The end result is that consumers will be able to formulate what they feel is a more complete picture of your product or service, and will make their purchase decision with increased confidence.
OPPORTUNITY FOR CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT
The pursuit of continuous improvement in today’s hyper-competitive business landscape is not a competitive advantage, it is a necessity. Negative reviews can function as a modern day comment box and provide you with valuable information and insight on how you can improve. Even negative comments that come across as spam or trolling can provide valuable insight if time is taken to understand their context. For instance, if comments that come across as trolling were posted by individuals that fall dramatically outside of your target demographic, it could solidify that you’re targeting strategy is correct, or save you from an ill-informed attempt to broaden the appeal of your brand.
CREATE BRAND EVANGELISTS
Receiving a negative review can be a huge opportunity to convert those individuals into brand evangelists. Because of the inherent consumer skepticism that exists, if you are able to over-deliver on how you address a negative review, you have an opportunity to parlay that negativity into a huge emotional swing for the consumer and shift them toward becoming a brand evangelist. Additionally, a similar transformation can occur as a result of instilling a sense of ownership in the brand to consumers whose negative comments are properly addressed.
As a community manager, it is important to leave negative reviews visible for all to see. This demonstrates a willingness of your business or brand to be transparent with consumers, which will result in increased consumer trust, greater value given to positive reviews, and a perception of increased legitimacy of brand or corporate communications.
Despite the positive effect that negative reviews can have for your business or brand, this is like anything good in life; it’s all about balance. In the case of reviews, you will certainly want them to primarily be positive. The purpose of this post, however, is simply to point out that the receipt of a negative review here and there isn’t the end of the world, but instead should be embraced as opportunity and even as being positive.
How do you handle negative reviews? Do you view them as being opportunities or a shot in the arm? Do you find constructive ways to utilize this information? It would be awesome to hear from you in the comments.
If you’d like to contact me directly, you can do it here:
To many, the thought of maintaining a blog for business can be daunting. Contributing to a blog, keeping a regular posting schedule, ensuring content is relevant and topical, and figuring out how a blog can fit into your social media marketing strategy are just a few of the many perceived barriers.
Despite the barriers, in this post I will outline 7 of the benefits a blog affords, and how it can work to support your business or brand’s broader social media marketing strategy.
1. THOUGHT LEADERSHIP
Contributing to your blog is a perfect place to demonstrate thought leadership in your industry or area of expertise.
2. HOUSING CONTENT
Blogs are able to house all types of content. Whether you are producing traditional written posts, lists, videos, video blogs, audio, podcasts, pictures, inforgraphics, or anything not listed, a blog can serve as a central hub for all of your content.
Dominating the first page of search results can be critical for maximizing your digital exposure to prospective clients. A blog that is properly optimized and is regularly maintained can contribute to this first page domination.
4. SOCIAL MEDIA CONTENT
Everything you post on your blog can serve as valuable and incredibly relevant content to link to and share with your social media communities.
5. ESTABLISH CREDIBILITY
For new brands, businesses, or businesses looking to enter new markets, a blog can assist with establishing credibility with new consumers or business partners. Your blog serves as an archive of your brand’s activity, authority in your industry, and history of thought-leadership to name a few ways in which it can help to establish credibility.
Your blog gives prospective employees a more complete view of your organization, the way it operates, the way it thinks, your expertise and experience, and anything else they might want to know about that wouldn’t otherwise be accessible. This can position your organization as one that is desirable to work at for any number of reasons, which will ultimately assist with recruitment.
7. PROMOTIONS & CONTESTS
As mentioned in one of my previous posts, most social media platforms have strict regulations about how they can be used for promotional or contesting efforts. In fact, there are some social media platforms such as Google+, that don’t allow promotions or contests at all. Because a blog is essentially an independently operated web site, you have free reign to run promotions or contests however you see fit, so long as they operate within the respective promotional, contesting and lottery rules and laws in your region.
While these are just a few of the many benefits of blogging for businesses and brands, hopefully you have either gained a greater appreciation for the value of blogs for business, can see how to better integrate a blog into your social media marketing strategy, or you have picked up an idea or two about how you can use your blog more effectively or more creatively.
How do you use your corporate or business blog? What are the major benefits you have experienced from blogging for your business? Is your blog integrated with your social media marketing strategy? It would be great to hear from you in the comments.
As always, if you’d like to contact me for any reason, please feel free to do so in any of the following places: