Changes… again and again

Changes… again and again

 

Facebook Changes and What They Really Mean!

“Research shows that strengthening our relationships improves our well-being and happiness.” – Mark Zuckerberg

I’m sure you’ve seen the breaking news story regarding the Facebook changes that Mark Zuckerberg put out last Thursday (1-11-18) afternoon. Facebook, as we know it, is changing forever. Everything about that statement is true. But what isn’t breaking news is the fact that Facebook is actually changing. Doesn’t that happen pretty much every week lately?!?!

Seriously though, the algorithms have been changing so often lately that it’s become hard to keep up with, unless you’re a marketer and love this stuff (*raising hand). What worked a week ago may not work this week, and will definitely change next week. You’ve finally gotten a rhythm down, your stats up, and can rest at night knowing your marketing is working, only to have to throw it all up into the social media air and see where it lands.

I get it, I really do. But we don’t have to be scared of the change to Facebook, or #facebookageddon as it’s been so affectionately tagged. The changes that you will be forced to make, are changes that we really should have been focusing on all along. So what’s really going on?
 

Every year Mark Zuckerberg announces a personal challenge. This year his challenge is about “fixing”.

“The world feels anxious and divided, and Facebook has a lot of work to do — whether it’s protecting our community from abuse and hate, defending against the interference by nation states, or making sure that time spent on Facebook is well spent. My personal challenge for 2018 is to focus on fixing these important issues. We won’t prevent all mistakes or abuse, but we currently make too many errors enforcing our policies and preventing misuse of our tools. If we’re successful this year then we’ll end 2018 on a much better trajectory.” – Mark Zuckerberg

In short, there are going to be significant changes in the Facebook algorithms. And yes, it’s going to affect most businesses. But this is not the time to throw in the towel and switch social media platforms. Zuckerberg wants to bring Facebook back to what it was originally built for… a social platform. And businesses can use this to their advantage if strategized correctly.

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ve seen it coming this past year. There have been constant changes in the algorithm. If we’re being honest with ourselves, most of us haven’t gotten past the aggravation of it, to look at the “why”.
 

The answer is simple.

Mark Zuckerberg says it best: “By making these changes, I expect the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down. But I also expect the time you do spend on Facebook will be more valuable.”

He has realized that we are getting frustrated with Facebook and that there needed to be some changes. Honestly, I think he got sick of slapping us on the wrist and decided to just lay it on us. Sometimes we don’t take a hint, apparently.

FB is changing the newsfeed algorithm by taking into account things like comments, like, clickbait, etc. This will continue to be analyzed and adjusted, with the focus being on creating more meaningful social interactions. FB is prioritizing what shows up in newsfeeds to show what family and friends have to say first and we can expect to see fewer posts from businesses, and publishers.

Facebook plans to promote posts that generate discussion. The more interaction there is on pages – like, comments, shares – the more likely it will be to show up in your newsfeed. So things like live videos, groups, celebrity posts and profiles with a lot of interaction will be prioritized on your newsfeed.

Gone are the days of posting random links, without much thought. Posts need to be thought out and strategized… inviting engagement. We cannot just use FB to drive traffic anymore. It HAS to be meaningful engagement.
 

What changes should be made?

One of the most basic ways to do this is to get to know the people that are interacting with your page… get to know your community. A great way to do this is in groups, but it can (and should) be done in your business pages as well.

There are also things to think about as a consumer. What pages do you want to see on your newsfeed most? Interact with those. You can’t be a silent observer on a group or page anymore, that will actually hurt your newsfeed. The point is to contribute and be part of something bigger than yourself. You’ve got amazing ideas too… share them.

Here are some things to do to help build your community, whether you are a business owner or not…

  • Build page interaction
  • Build group interaction
  • Engage on pages you want to see more of in your newsfeed
  • Have meaningful conversations
  • Actually build a community
  • Network, network, network
  • Offer advice and post questions
  • Select “see first” for pages you want to see more of

“This will be a serious year of self-improvement and I’m looking forward to learning from working to fix our issues together.” – Mark Zuckerberg

To sum it all up, because I could seriously talk about this all day… If you want to see more of a particular page, make sure to engage in actual conversation on that page. Only time will tell if this turns out to be a positive thing, or if it backfires on Zuckerberg and the Facebook team.

What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear them!!!
 

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Press Record for Live Video

Press Record for Live Video

 

Afraid of being on camera? Have you shied away from doing either pre-recorded or live video? If so, you aren’t alone. Tons of small business owners, entrepreneurs, and bloggers are missing out on the huge upside of using video on social media. Yet, with the explosive growth of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, video is at the forefront of effective content. What is most important to your business? It’s getting more clients and making more money. Both of these can improve drastically through the strategic use of live video or pre-recorded video on social media.

Statistic: Over 90% of mobile video consumers share videos to others

 

Sharing of content across social media platforms can take on a life of its own. People start engaging on your content posts, connecting to one another organically, and exploring your brand. The key to engagement with video is being yourself, standing out, and bringing excellent content. You don’t have to hit the makeup studio before pressing record either. People really don’t care if your hair is just right, or you have the most perfect of backgrounds. They want something real and they want something helpful.

It’s a fact that people would rather watch a video recording, Facebook live video, or something animated than to just read text. In this technology-driven society, video content trumps text and image only content. Memes are cool, but they get old and don’t attract enough attention. I think a long time ago the show America’s Funniest Home Videos had it right and we didn’t even know it. They were sort of a trailblazer for content. Their choice of content brought laughter to people and sparked a family atmosphere for those that just wanted to break away from stress. Now video is all the rage. Five billion videos are watched on YouTube every single day with over 1.3 billion users and climbing.

What businesses should use live video or even pre-recorded video? The short answer is all of them. Videos work for any niche market. Bloggers, life coaches, event speakers, retail commerce businesses, and fitness trainers can all take advantage of the marketing power of live video. So, no matter what you are trying to grow or brand, you can and should start using video right away.

The Benefits of Posting Video

Facebook loves it

Pages get rewarded for doing video. The algorithms adore you when you do live video. They notify friends and followers that you “went live” so they can join in. This allows you to interact with viewers right away.

Gives you a chance to create a call to action and sense of urgency

Want to run a promotion or explain a contest? Video is a great way to get that information out. It also allows viewers to hear how they can take advantage of the offer.

Provides rich content and explainer content

There are so many things you can do with video to include voice, music, animation, motion, and other cool effects. Don’t forget caption either, because sometimes you just want to have the sound off.

People get to know the person behind the brand

Connections come from relationships being built over time. Let’s face it. Even people on dating websites at some point want to see each other. Videos bring people close to your company. It provides of sense of belonging.

A wider audience to reach

Facebook calls this phenomenon “reach”. Reach is how many people in their newsfeed universe get to see your content. It’s not easy figuring out why some content works better over others, but it is evident that video scores really well.

Statistic: 75% of people would rather watch video about a product than read about it

 

What kind of equipment or software is needed? It really depends on the scope of quality you are looking for. Honestly, though you can use your handy iPhone or Android phone to record videos. Phones these days are pretty incredible when it comes to picture and video quality. You don’t need a camera crew with live mics and other sorts of production equipment. Now, if you can afford to hire a crew to handle all this, then, by all means, have at it. For the rest of us, just use your phone and use the record system that comes with Facebook or Instagram Live to get some video recorded.

In other words, there is no more excuse for not doing it. You have the equipment. You know what social media platforms appreciate video. Most of all, your target market would love to see what you have to say and how you can benefit them.

A very cool and easy to use video editing app that I use a lot is called Splice. It’s an editor and movie maker by GoPro. Definitely, check it out if you want to pre-record videos and edit them before posting across social media. If you have a mac you can use iMovie as well. Video editors will help you cut out a few seconds here and there and make the videos more professional. However, keep in mind, you must do live video as well. So, don’t be afraid. You got this.

 

Social Proof Brings More Business

Social Proof Brings More Business

It really is all about who you know or who knows you for that matter. In business, the people that you know should and can be the added push you need to grow your business. They call knowing certain individuals in business being “connected”. And, having those connections will without a doubt drastically increase your chances of success. You see, sometimes it takes more than hard work to get an edge on the competition. It takes a lot of building and fostering relationships with other entrepreneurs and business owners. In marketing, we call this Social Proof.

Social Proof is a sort of peer pressure. It’s all psychological. Basically, it’s a way to socially influence the behaviors of consumers completely through the actions of others. Let’s say, for example, you have produced and marketed some wireless headphones that have some technology superior to other companies, but you can’t seem to get sales. If you find a way to provide some social proof that consumers need to buy them, your sales will exponentially increase. Hmmm? So, what do you do? Well, let’s say you get a major music artist to try them out. And then they fall in love with them. At that point, you are getting social proof. With their permission, you can have them do a video testimony of how they enjoy those headphones. This credence will no doubt have consumers saying, “I need to buy those”.

Entrepreneurs, who are paid event speakers, gain a ton of social proof when business owners, media outlets, and other entrepreneurs give them KUDOS on how they’ve helped them out. Appearances on tv shows and news outlet features give them credibility especially when they use those big names on their websites. For example, check out Gary Vee’s site which shows what media giants he has been featured on.

Keep in mind, you don’t have to be on Fox News or appear in the Wall Street Journal to get social proof. Any business owner can gain some level of credibility no matter what scale it’s on. If you have clients that love your work, have them do a video testimony to expound on how extremely talented you are. Have other business owners share your social media content. Do a guest blog for another company and have it posted on their website and other media platforms.

THE BOTTOM LINE

The bottom line to getting social proof is to be the best at what you do for all your clients all the time. Once you have clients loving your business or your products, you then will begin to see referrals coming your way. After you get the social proof, you absolutely have to use that positivity to its fullest potential. I mean, work it seriously. Brag like crazy in a humble way. Put the written content or videos on every platform your business utilizes. People that don’t know you or your business will come to trust you as they hear the testimonies of other satisfied clients.

Read this example of a client testimony my wife received recently about her and our company.

With the internet completely changing how business is done these days, it’s undeniably critical to take advantage of its advertising capabilities. There is a huge increase of people starting their own businesses right now in the U.S. alone, let alone the rest of the world. A great amount of these startups are online businesses. This is why you must leverage every ounce of client satisfaction and social proof you can to be successful.

 

Creating A Crisp & Clean SM Profile

Creating A Crisp & Clean SM Profile

Creating a social media profile sounds simple enough. Yet truthfully, although it may be easy and quick to set up, making sure you do it right is absolutely critical. There are many components that make up a social media profile. Of course, each platform is different and unique. Facebook for example, likely considered the most popular and hottest social media platform, has a decent amount of room available and categories with which to fully detail your business page. We will delve into a few of the different platforms but I really want to break down the essentials of what every business should have.

Where do we begin? Start with the basics which include business name, profile picture, and cover image. Utilize the branded logo of your company as the profile picture unless you are the face of the company. A lot of sole business owners, coaches, and entrepreneurs use their favorite photo of themselves, but you may opt for the company logo instead. As for the cover page, the photo or image should indicate clearly what this page is about. If you are a hair stylist, you probably don’t want to use a photo of construction workers building a house. Make the cover image accentuate the purpose of the page and the business behind it. Check out how the UFC uses it’s cover page to promote upcoming events.

The most important info that needs to be on a social media profile besides contact information is the bio or about section. Use as many available characters allowed. Here are the character limits for some popular social media sites:

Facebook

  • 155 characters for Short Description
  • 255 characters for About

Twitter

  • 160 characters for Bio

Instagram

  • 150 characters for Description

LinkedIn

  • 120 characters for Professional Bio

When you create and describe what your page is about, you will need to make the best use of the space allowed. Making the description interesting and full of important information is vital. Please don’t waste space either. Make it stand out so that people will want to follow it and understand exactly what it’s about.

Honestly, it’s all about how crisp and clean the social media profile is. No typos are allowed. Great grammar is suggested. The contact and other business information need to be up-to-date too. Remember, everything you put online about your business affects your reputation as a company.

Depending on the type of business page category you select may open up other profile fields such as company overview, history, and products to name a few.

Looking for suggestions on what a company page should look like? Check out these below:

  • Tervis – the tumbler drinkware creator
  • Red Bull – Energy beverage maker
  • Dyson – makes some killer vacuum cleaners
  • Canva – graphic design tool
  • IBM – computing

A profile page isn’t a one and done concept. Periodic changes and maintenance must be kept up with in order to maintain a current social media profile. Just like anything else, each business must be about innovation and staying fluidly flexible. If you already have profiles out there on Instagram, and Twitter, it’s time to analyze them and make any needed changes right away.

Click here to register for free Blog and other social media marketing info.

 

Creating & Expanding Your Brand

Creating & Expanding Your Brand

Business pages on social media platforms are essentially a showcase of the brand behind the company. The brand is simply the image of what people perceive your business to be. What are you showing for visitors to consume as they scroll your page? The obvious starting point is to craft your company logo effectively and with the best resolution possible. Brand presence is easily seen by the overwhelming success of both Apple and Nike for example. The Apple logo and the Nike Swoosh are globally recognized with no need for words or scripting. Their products are incredible without the branding, but their branding is just as incredible.

To brand your company successfully, there are many things to consider. Yes, you are right. It’s more than a logo and a website. What I am speaking about today is geared towards the social media end of things. I want to carefully lay out some of the most important areas to focus on when it comes to branding.

Provide a Modern and User-Friendly Website

With companies all over the world attempting to grab the attention of online users every second of every day, your brand must stand out. After all, the average attention span of us humans is about 8 seconds. That’s just shy of a goldfish. Now you see. You don’t have much of a chance to get people interested, much less maintain their attention. People want an easy flow visually on the website. You don’t want a lot of clutter and more is not always better. Crammed pages and menus can be stressful to consumers. Because of this, the layout design of your website is so important. It’s much easier these days to get nice templates and layout ideas.

Website tools like WordPress are making it easy to start a cool and effective site. So, if you aren’t a genius web designer or very creative, using an online web creation tool will help you tremendously. Our company, virtualRVA, prefers to use WordPress when building and designing websites for our customers. As far as the graphical look of the website goes, consider thoughtfully what color scheme you choose and make it consistent across the various pages. The vibe and feel of your business logo should determine what color scheme that ends up being.

Create Flawless and Consistent Content

Every advertisement and mention of your products across social media and other marketing campaigns must have a consistent and flawless branding design. The brand has to be a major focal point of all content created. Content as with any company project or initiative must have a strategy behind it. That strategy should show a pattern of consistent and targeted execution to prove effective. Let’s say you come up with a grand idea to advertise a new product coming out. Although you may have some awesome content to deliver, you can’t just unload it all online at the same time like a barrage of gunfire. You have to give careful thought as to the timing of when you share content. The intent is to make the audience want more. Execution is paramount. The content you do put out in the digital space represents your brand. Therefore, make it crisp visually and emotionally engaging.

Communicate VALUE

Consumers can buy things at an innumerable amount of places both online and at physical locations across the globe. It’s highly unlikely that you are a monopoly offering products no one else is selling yet. If you are, that’s fabulous. For the rest of us who do have competitors, your business must stand out through the value it brings to the market. There must be a niche that sets you apart in some form or fashion. What is the value? Value is simply something that brings worth, usefulness, and benefit to someone.

Like, why is your mobile app any different than the zillion others being offered for free already? What about your web design skills helps you to build better and more valuable web pages than the competition? How is the blog you write more interesting than all the other blogs being sent to email addresses already? Within your overall business strategy, it’s important to note the key differences your products have that bring more value to prospective buyers. Once you know what those differences are, you need to market the hell out of them on social media. People must become aware because right now, they don’t know.

Target Audience

Who is your target market? What group of people make up the buyers you feel can most benefit from the value you are bringing? It’s good to know who your audience is and where they are. It’s also good to know where they spend their time online. What age group are you deciding is a right fit for your business? Yes, you can hang a door flyer on every house and business in your local city if you want to. However, being strategic about who you market to and what content you use to advertise is vital to success and profit. Focusing in on your target audience will save you money on social media ads and give you more bang for your buck. I think you get the point.

Brand Promise

What does your brand promise to consumers? A brand promise is a combination of the emotional connection you have built with people and the expectations people have about the value they will get from your brand. Buyers who become ongoing customers develop a belief in the products and services you put out in the marketplace. They likely will stick with you if they get a positive vibe after their initial experience with you. The more companies can build upon that brand promise with consumers, the more likely those consumer buy again and also refer your brand to their family and friends.

 

The brand promise of the Coca-Cola Company is to refresh the world in mind, body, and spirit, and inspire moments of optimism; to create value and make a difference.

Another example is Samsung Electronics who has a brand promise that simply says

“Inspire the World, Create the Future”

Brand Persona

What kind of personality does your business have? Are you on the serious side? Are you fun and playful? Do you seem artsy or more conservative and rigid? How your brand is delivered and seen relays what kind of personality it effectively has. This contributes greatly to how you market your business and how your content looks and feels. Whatever brand persona you have and want, make sure it stays consistent and connects well with your target audience. The main thing is to not let your business appear to be a Jekyll and Hyde company. If you don’t know who Jekyll and Hyde are, click here.

Brand Packaging

My wife has said from time to time that the packaging of a product is the reason I actually bought that product. She will laugh and say, “they got you with that package didn’t they?”. It’s true that brilliantly packaged products and services is so important. Creative imaging and use of the business logo makes a world of difference in sales. After all, who wants to buy a box that’s wrapped in newspaper? Product packaging is kind of a crazy phenomenon these days. The design of the bottle or can your beer comes in a lot of times determines which beer you might drink that night. Beer companies are constantly tinkering with the shape of the bottle and the artwork on their packaging. What’s better? Twist-off tops or tops that need a bottle opener? Obviously, the product itself must bring value, but the packaging at times seems to be almost as important.

Brand Communication

Now that you have your brand laid out and a strategy around what your brand personifies, it’s time to think about how you will communicate the brand to your target audience. What will this brand look like across the various social media platforms? What type of content will you use to share this brand consistently in the online space?

As we will discuss in future blogs over the next 10 weeks, brand communication and marketing can be delivered in several different mediums such as video, blogging, infographics, animation, and images to name a few. Mixing up the type of content used is a good idea, so don’t just focus on one of these. Careful thought should be put into each and every piece of content to be delivered. Content must communicate value and make that emotional connection. Consequently, it is better to have more quality content than a higher quantity of content. Brand communication across social media is a way to bring awareness and at the same time create a way for consumers to link to your website or product launch.

We will get into much more detail on these components of branding in the coming weeks as we continue the series on “What Your Business Must Do on Social Media”. Stay tuned and definitely engage with us on Facebook or at our website.

 

 

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