How to Choose the Best Social Media Platforms for Your Business

So you realize that you need to be social. But where do you start?

It can be overwhelming. There are numerous platforms and every social media advice website will tell you something different. Here is what it comes down to – you need to evaluate your brand message and your marketing goals and find platforms that match the “persona” of your business.

“But how do I know which platforms match my business?” Luckily, I am here as a social media expert to break it down the main platforms for you.

Via Flickr by marcopako

Via Flickr by marcopako

Facebook. Many say Facebook marketing is as dead as paper marketing, which, if you follow my posts, you know is not the case. It is good to have some Facebook presence no matter what your business is (however retail, restaurants, and local businesses do the best). It’s a numbers game – there are over 1.2 billion active users as of January 2014. You can’t ignore that big of platform. Granted, Facebook’s algorithms make it hard for your messages to reach that platform, but if you do a little bit of research you can greatly use organic reach Facebook to your advantage.

Via Flickr by mkhmarketing

Via Flickr by mkhmarketing

Twitter. With the right hashtags, you can do anything on Twitter. Yet the best businesses on Twitter are the opposite of the best businesses on Facebook. This is because retail, restaurants, and local businesses have a dedicated customer base while other businesses have more casual relationships with the audience. This is where Twitter comes in. Twitter allows you to connect with other businesses, prospective customers, and industry enthusiasts who will promote you for free – as long as you use the right hashtags. I insist the majority of my clients get both a Twitter and Facebook. They are the two powerhouse platforms you can’t ignore.

Via Flickr by Link Humans UK

Via Flickr by Link Humans UK

LinkedIn. LinkedIn is THE platform for B2B marketing. Yet LinkedIn can be tricky. You need to have one employee be the “face” of the company, meaning they create, manage, discuss, and make connections on the company’s behalf. It can be tricky to outsource your LinkedIn marketing. Usually it is best to do in house after researching the best way to use LinkedIn as a connector tool, not as a spam marketing robot.

Via Flickr Zack D. Smith

Via Flickr Zack D. Smith

Google+. I admit, I have a love-hate relationship with Google+. There is a lot to be desired and I don’t see its use as a social media platform – outside of its affiliation with Google. With Google’s search engine rules, having a Google+ page is practically a must. With a Google+ page, you get higher search engine rankings and more credibility in Google’s (AKA – Internet God’s) eyes. If you rely on high search engine rankings for your business, get a Google+ page.

Via Flickr marioanima

Via Flickr marioanima

YouTube. YouTube is more of a supplemental platform for your marketing plan. Only certain brands are good for YouTube. If you have the opportunity to make instructional videos, product reviews/highlights, or “commercials” online with your product or service, then YouTube is a great platform for you. Just make sure your videos are professional and high quality!

alicegop

Pinterest. Pinterest is a great platform if your business is highly visual. If you have high quality product photos or offer services that are eye-catching, get your boards started! The pinning platform is best for craft, home decor, home improvement, wedding, food-related, and retail businesses.

Via Flickr Play Among Friends

Via Flickr Play Among Friends

Instagram. Like Pinterest, Instagram is great for highly visual businesses. The difference in Instagram – you need to be very interactive as well. On Pinterest, you can get away with throwing up content without a whole lot of interaction. On Instagram, you have to be involved. You have to know the best filters, know the hashtags, and know your audience as well as constantly communicating with your audience.

Via Flickr by manoftaste.de

Via Flickr by manoftaste.de

Blog. Bottom line – blogs are important for pretty much every business. Blogs are your opportunity to showcase your knowledge about your industry. The golden rule is to never write an entire blog post as self-promotion. You should always blog to give away “free samples” of information to your audience so they want more.

Originally posted on LinkedIn

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How to Use YouTube to Boost Your Online Presence

First and foremost, I am so excited to be featured on Spotistic! They interviewed me about being a social media manager for multiple companies. Check it out and tell me what you think! You should also follow their blog because their posts are helpful and hilarious.

On to YouTube! YouTube can be a great platform to help market yourself online. However, you should never jump in without understanding some basics on how to use YouTube to better serve your followers and target audience. The most viewed and engaged with videos are humorous and easy to share with anyone. Think of Old Spice commercials and other SuperBowl-type TV ads. Even though it is marketing, people share the hilarity with their friends.

Via Flickr by thms.nl

Via Flickr by thms.nl

Best said by my lovely employers and fellow creatives  at CopyPress: “By using both correct strategy and creative appeal, your video will not only establish a solid online presence but produce tons of traffic.”

There are five types of videos that are easy to make and connect well with your audience:

  1. Interview. Interview an employee, a loyal customer, or an executive to talk about your brand or product. Don’t forget to make it fun and creative!
  2. Video testimonial. Slightly different than interviewing a customer. Instead, the customer talks freely about how your product or service helped them.
  3. How-to video. This is my favorite kind of YouTube video. They are very informative and helpful and can be a lot of fun to watch when you get creative with it!
  4. Documentary style. Make a video in the documentary style explaining a specific case where your product or service helped. Or it can be a highlight of your product or service.
  5. Case study. This only applies to certain businesses. A case study video allows you to show specifically how your product or service will help your customers.

How to Make YouTube More Social

When done correctly, YouTube can be an amazing revenue generator in your social media marketing plan. You can read my other blog posts on how to use YouTube correctly. However, even with my tips, many businesses only optimize their profile and throw videos onto the internet. YouTube videos are often considered a link to share on other platforms, but YouTube should be considered an actual social, interactive platform in its own right.

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Create Videos Inspired by Followers

Sure, you can plan a video content calendar that goes for months on end. But make sure you leave spaces for video content that your followers request. To find out what your followers want to see, ask them! Ask in actual videos or in your commentary when sharing video links. You can read their responses on other platforms or…

Read through Your YouTube Video Comments

There may be a lot of them, but try to scan through all of your comments on your YouTube videos. Mark spam posts as spam, but don’t mark negative posts as spam to get them off your feed. Only positive comments makes viewers suspicious. Try to respond to as many comments as you can. If you just enjoyed what someone said but have nothing to add to it, thumb it up to show your appreciation. Don’t try to force a conversation if it isn’t there.

Use Call to Action

Every business feels odd telling viewers what to do. But you need to include a call to action in every video. It can be spoken at the end, in a graphic screen with links at the end, or in the description below the video. Many of your viewers will follow your call to action and do what you want them to, making the platform more socially interactive.

 

The 7 Secrets of YouTube Marketing

In a world of DVRs where people can fast forward the commercials, advertisers are looking for new ways to reach their audience. YouTube is one solution. People love YouTube videos because they are entertaining and short. Even if a company is on YouTube promoting a product or service, like Old Spice, they feel like entertaining viral video marketing instead of commercials. Following these seven YouTube video marketing tips will help you discover the secret power of YouTube.

Via Flickr by RestrictedData

Via Flickr by RestrictedData

  1. Set and understand your goals
    Your goals for YouTube need to be specific and measurable. Many businesses only know that social media marketing is important and jump in blind. Each platform needs to have different goals, including YouTube. Even if you are hiring someone to do your marketing for you, you need to tell them what you want to achieve. Not only do you want views on your videos, but also traffic to your website and sales from that traffic.
  2. Minimize your video budget
    Many businesses feel the need to hire a video production company to help create their YouTube content. If you don’t have the budget, but have the in house skills, producing marketable YouTube videos for your brand can cost as little as $300. Most self-created videos cost this much. Don’t forget to spend some time, and possibly some of your budget, on creating a graphic-filled YouTube channel that attracts viewers.
  3. Don’t try to make viral happen
    Yes, viral videos get millions of views and great profit. Most often these videos become viral by chance. Trying to create a viral video will fall short of your creative potential and fall flat. Viewers may even find you inauthentic for trying to force viral to happen. Besides, page views on a viral video often do not turn into website traffic or sales.
  4. Ignore some analytics
    YouTube provides you with a lot of analytics, which is great. Businesses tend to obsess over perfecting every statistic which can detract from achieving your goals. Comments, likes, and subscriptions are meaningless when it comes to converting views to sales. What you want to look at are how many shares and reposts your videos get. The more shares your video has, the more exposure your brand will get, and the more traffic your website will get. This can potentially turn into sales.
  5. Don’t treat YouTube like traditional marketing
    The internet is not the place for traditional print marketing schemes. YouTube viewers do not like traditional, commercial-feeling videos. This is why brands, like Old Spice, are successful on YouTube. They create content that is entertaining and engaging while lightly advertising their men’s hygiene products. You also need to keep the videos between two to four minutes to keep engagement high.
  6. Get your customers to post videos for you
    Try to start a YouTube campaign where viewers post videos of them using your product as video replies. When your customers post videos about your product, it is more effective than posting your own content. This is because people outside of the company recommend it, acting as an interactive and positive customer review. Depending on your product, what you ask customers to do can vary. Make sure when you prompt customers to make videos that your request is creative and inviting so viewers take action.
  7. Be patient
    No marketing campaign is successful overnight, and this is especially true for YouTube videos. YouTube is indirect, so it takes at least six months to build a following. Once you do, you can start holding contests and other interactive topics in order to get higher lead generation and ROI.

The Importance of YouTube Videos for Your Marketing

The internet is an amazing tool that has made life easier and more accomplished in every way possible. However, it has also severely shortened the average user’s attention span. When you are trying to market your brand, this short attention span is the biggest hurdle you face. Statistically, you only have three seconds to grab the attention of an online audience. Many marketers are starting to focus on a visual content strategy to grab attention, but the YouTube video is still drastically under-used.

People love YouTube. Whether it is dogs and cats being adorable together or watching a fun video from a passionate creator explaining the healthcare law in layman’s terms, people love watching and sharing YouTube videos with their friends. Part of what makes YouTube videos a goldmine for your marketing strategy is the attention they require. For three minutes (the recommended time for videos to hold attention and get the message across perfectly), the viewer has to sit there and absorb your message.

They don’t get bored reading the first sentence of a blog post or article or click away if they don’t like your website design. As long as your video is high quality, professional, and fun, viewers will sit and watch the whole video. You have a better chance of getting your message across and a higher percentage of likes, comments, and shares with videos.

why visual content

Still not convinced? Here are some stats that are hard to ignore about the benefit of videos to your marketing plan:

  • 90% of information the brain transmits is visual. This is because visual content is processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text.
  • People remember 20% of what they read.
  • 40% of people respond better to visual information. This shows the importance of adding visual content (like videos) anywhere you can in your marketing strategy. It also means you cannot rely entirely on visuals since 60% of people still prefer to read articles on a subject.
  • Videos are shared 12 times more than links and text posts combined.
  • 700 YouTube videos are shared on Twitter every minute.
  • Viewers spend 100% more time on pages that have videos.
  • Social media posts with YouTube videos will attract three times more inbound links than text posts.
  • 70% of search results are videos.
  • 58% of B2B marketers believe videos are extremely effective.
  • 88% of businesses show that videos embedded in emails improve their campaign performance.
  • 76% of businesses say their emails have higher click through rates if there are videos embedded.
  • 72% of businesses say that prospective clients are more likely to buy their product or invest in their service after viewing a video in email.

video stats

How good are you about using videos in your marketing campaign? Let me know in the comments!

Ways to Optimize Your Business YouTube – Part 3

When it comes to search engines, YouTube is the second most popular one on the internet. If your business has the creativity, time, and budget for it, making YouTube videos to market yourself is a great way to engage your customers. Before uploading, you need to know how to make your YouTube channel SEO friendly and how to promote YouTube videos with optimization.

Optimization is necessary if you want your YouTube marketing campaign to be successful. There are 800 million monthly views on all YouTube videos with hundreds of videos being uploaded every day. There is a lot of competition. For your videos to be seen, you need to understand how to optimize every aspect of your channel and videos.

Via Flickr clasesdeperiodismo

Via Flickr clasesdeperiodismo

Video Tags and Description

Your tags need to match the keyword research we talked about in Part 1 of our YouTube optimization guide. Use keywords that are part of your overall marketing strategy to connect all of your platforms. Also use keywords specific to this video and for YouTube search results.

The description needs to include these keywords as well, along with a few other things:

  • Using keywords in your description gives another boost to your SEO.
  • Descriptions let viewers know what you are offering.
  • Only the first 160 characters will show up right under the video without clicking Read More. It will also be the only part that shows up on search engines, so optimize the first two sentences with your keywords.
  • It works best when you use the same keywords at the beginning of your title and description.
  • Place a call to action at the end of the description.
  • Include links to the previous or next video.

Stat: 100 million people take a social action on YouTube every week.
Tip: Do not be stingy on the description. You have a lot of space and you need to use it! Always add links to your website, blog, and social media profiles at the bottom of the description.

Playlists

Remember all the different kinds of content you can create from Part 1? You can divide the different types of content into playlists. This allows followers to get to the content they want to see. And, since playlists automatically go to the next video in the set, they may stick around and give your videos more views. Some good examples of playlist categories include:

  • Products
  • Work Life
  • Industry News
  • How-To’s
  • Charity
  • Client Testimonials

Stat: Playlists increase engagement and tie into your video content strategy.
Tip: Get creative with your playlists! Make sure your categories fit the personality of your brand. So, if your brand is funny, make your playlists funny. If your brand is quirky, make the playlists quirky.

Via Flickr labnol

Via Flickr labnol

Engagement

The most important key to success with a YouTube marketing plan is engagement. When your viewers are engaged with the videos, they will explore the brand and become loyal followers. This is done a number of ways, including creating great content, but starting a conversation with your viewers is one of the best. When you interact with your audience, they feel valued by the brand and will become loyal to it. Here are three ways you can start conversations on YouTube:

  1. Give updates. When you upload a video about something that is happening in with your brand, update the description on how it is going, or create a new video about it. Make sure to link to the new video in the old video’s description and annotations.
  2. Respond to channel comments. Your channel is going to act as a discussion board for your brand. Take some time every week to go through the channel comments and reply to questions or great comments. Even reply to negative comments, but do so professionally. Do not start a flame war.
  3. Respond to video comments. Video comments are more specific than channel comments. The three days after you upload a video, respond to a few comments a day. Then check back on the video every few days for two weeks to respond to comments until you upload a new video.

Stat: Over 800 million unique users visit YouTube each month.
Tip: Not only do you need to start conversations, you need to be active in commenting. This makes your brand seem human and likeable.

Promote

You need to promote on three platforms: subscriptions, social media, and cross promotion. Promoting these three ways will help you build audience touch points and loyalty among your viewers. This is similar to the call to action we talked about in Part 2.

  1. Subscriptions. At the end of each video, either tell people or have an ending screen that tells people to subscribe to see more of this kind of content. End each video with an exciting look at upcoming videos so they will be more willing to subscribe.
  2. Social Media. Have buttons in your video, description, and channel that tell people to click to share the content or click to follow your brand on other platforms.
  3. Cross Promotion. Not only should you ask viewers to share content on social media, you should also share it on your own platforms. Every time you upload a new video, share it on Facebook, Twitter, your blog, and any other social media platform you use.

Stat: 500 years of YouTube video are watched every day on Facebook.
Stat: Over 700 YouTube videos are shared on Twitter every minute.
Tip: Instead of directly telling viewers to share your videos (which can get in the way of quality content), create an ending image that says they should like, comment, favorite, and share on certain social media site. Use annotations to put outside links on this screen.

Via Flickr FindYourSearch

Via Flickr FindYourSearch

Analyze

Analyzing how well your YouTube marketing campaign is doing is an essential piece of success. When you look at the statistics, you can see what areas you are struggling with and what areas you are excelling. This allows you to make changes where you need to and don’t mess with things that are working well. YouTube analytics will measure:

  • Performance. YouTube will tell you how many views each video and all of your videos. They will also tell you how many minutes have been spent watching your videos and subscribers net change.
  • Engagement. YouTube measures engagement in Likes, Dislikes, Comments, Shares, Favorites Added, and Favorites Removed.
  • Top 10 Videos. YouTube will not only tell you the top 10 videos on your account, but will break down their ranks by views, minutes watched, and Likes.

Stat: More video is uploaded to YouTube in one month than the 3 major US networks created in 60 years.
Tip: There is a pattern you need to follow for a successful YouTube marketing campaign – strategize, create, optimize, promote, and analyze. This is a circle that never ends.

For more ways to optimize your business YouTube, check out Part 1 and Part 2 of our series on the subject.

Ways to Optimize Your Business YouTube – Part 2

I was so excited to start writing about Vine videos for social media marketing that I forgot to talk about part two in my series about optimizing your business YouTube profile and videos! Without further delay, here it is!

When it comes to search engines, YouTube is the second most popular one on the internet. If your business has the creativity, time, and budget for it, making YouTube videos to market yourself is a great way to engage your customers. Before uploading, you need to know how to make your YouTube channel SEO friendly and how to promote YouTube videos with optimization.

Optimization is necessary if you want your YouTube marketing campaign to be successful. There are 800 million monthly views on all YouTube videos with hundreds of videos being uploaded every day. There is a lot of competition. For your videos to be seen, you need to understand how to optimize every aspect of your channel and videos.

Via Flickr marioanima

Via Flickr marioanima

Call to Action

You need to tell your viewers what you want them to do.

  • A call to action is the next steps a viewer should take
  • Usually, videos tell a user to like, comment, and share the video. They may also tell a user to visit their website or get on Twitter to post something with a hashtag.
  • Call to actions can be placed in the video, on the YouTube page, or in the video description.

Consider making the titles of your videos a call to action as well.

  • Make the title 70 characters or less including spaces. This helps YouTube index them for higher search result placement.
  • Use keywords at the beginning of the title.
  • Accurately represent the subject of the video in the title.
  • Include the episode number in the title if it is part of a series.
  • Titles need to be enticing so people click on them.

Stat: Generalized call to actions increase conversion by 10% while call to actions that are specific to the product or brand can increase conversion rates to 20%.
Tip: A call to action that is related to your product or service will convert better than a generic call to action.
Stat: Putting a call to action at the end of a video can increase conversion rates by 144%.
Tip: By placing a call to action at the end of a video, you force people to understand your message. They get excited about the product or service and are more likely to respond to your call to action.

Annotation

You need to be careful if you use annotations. There are some businesses who nearly cover their entire video with annotations that link to other videos or to their website. This is tempting, especially when users can easily turn annotations off if they don’t like it. However, this is seen as a desperate attempt at advertising from viewers, making them less likely to watch your videos. If you do use annotations:

  • Use them sparingly, at most two at a time. Space them out throughout the video.
  • Make your points clear with interactive commentary.
  • Add background information.
  • Highlight calls to action.
  • Link from within the video.

Stat: There are 500 Tweets per minute containing a YouTube link.
Tip: Consider using annotations at the end of the video, telling the user to share the video on Twitter with a link.

Via Flickr Lachlan Hardy

Via Flickr Lachlan Hardy

Thumbnail

An excellent thumbnail image can attract people to your video even if they do not have a particular interest in the subject. YouTube automatically generates thumbnails that are screenshots from your video, but you can also create your own thumbnail to insert into the video.

  • When creating your own thumbnail, they should be 1280px in height and 740px wide. Make sure the file is under 2MB.
  • Thumbnails can be a close up look at the product or service you are talking about in the video. For example, if you are talking about kitchen knives, make the photo a close up of the blade slicing through an onion.
  • Entertaining thumbnails pique curiosity about the video for people who do not become interested based on the title and description.
  • A representative thumbnail will accurately depict the subject of the video.

Stat: Thumbnails increase clicks from searches by 64% among men and 154% among women.
Tip: Make your thumbnails stand out in order to get more search engine clicks.

For more ways to optimize your business YouTube, check out Part 1 and Part 3 of my series on the subject.

Ways to Optimize Your Business YouTube – Part 1

When it comes to search engines, YouTube is the second most popular one on the internet. If your business has the creativity, time, and budget for it, making YouTube videos to market yourself is a great way to engage your customers. Before uploading, you need to know how to make your YouTube channel SEO friendly and how to promote YouTube videos with optimization.

Optimization is necessary if you want your YouTube marketing campaign to be successful. There are 800 million monthly views on all YouTube videos with hundreds of videos being uploaded every day. There is a lot of competition. For your videos to be seen, you need to understand how to optimize every aspect of your channel and videos.

Via Flickr MySign AG

Via Flickr MySign AG

Keywords

YouTube has a Keyword Tool you can use, or you can use another keyword research tool to find words that relate to your brand and videos. These keywords need to be searched often in order to give your videos a higher rank. If you use certain keywords on your website or other social media tool, then you should incorporate those into your channel and videos.

Stat: 75% of users do not scroll past the first page of search engine results.
Tip: “How to” keywords are very popular on YouTube.

Via Flickr Jonas B

Via Flickr Jonas B

Channel

Your channel needs to have an appealing, sleek design that is branded and engaging.

  • Your logo needs to be your avatar. It should be 800px by 800px.
  • Your banner should be custom for the channel at 970px by 150px. You can make it clickable so people are directed to your website or blog.
  • Your background needs to either match a logo color or be a custom brand background. If you create a custom background, remember that your content will be in the middle. The size should be 1500px wide by 2000px high.
  • Make sure to put social icons everywhere so people can connect with you easily on other platforms.

Stat: In a poll of 400 Americans, half subscribed to at least one YouTube channel.
Tip: Use the keywords you chose earlier in your profile information and tags.

Via Flickr opensourceway

Via Flickr opensourceway

Content Strategy

Do not treat your YouTube videos like television commercials. That is the quickest way to turn off a viewer. If you do create content strictly meant for advertising needs to be creative and entertaining, nothing like a commercial. All of your content needs to be diverse and engaging. Everything you put on YouTube needs to serve a purpose or solve a problem. The goal of your content is to:

  • Increase conversion rates
  • Improve brand awareness
  • Give users useful content that entertains or solves a problem
  • Create social engagement and sharing
  • Appear in SERP

In order to make great content, you need make a video schedule, produce the videos, deliver them to YouTube, then promote them across the internet. There are six main kinds of content:

  1. How-To. How-to videos are the most popular kind of YouTube video. Many people prefer watching how to do something rather than reading a set of instructions.
  2. Product Demonstration. Similar to a How-To video, you can create a video demonstrating all of the features of a certain product.
  3. Client Testimonial. Compile a bunch of clips submitted by customers talking about how your brand helped them. They do not have to be professional commercial quality. The more “homemade” they look, the more potential clients will trust they are real people.
  4. Trend Recap. If there is a trend or event going on that relates to your industry, recap it! For example, if you sell clothes, recap the fashion at the Oscars.
  5. Audience Poll. Create a video starting a poll where your audience has to answer a series of questions in the comments. This creates excellent engagement and customer interaction, plus you get a look at how your audience thinks and what they want to see.
  6. Illustrative Animations. Animations are a great way to illustrate a point in an accessible way. Make sure you have the talent and budget for animations.

Stat: 60 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, or one hour every second.
Tip: When your content is diverse, it will reach unique audiences that you might not have had access to before beginning your YouTube marketing campaign.

For more ways to optimize your business YouTube, check out Part 2 and Part 3 of my series on the subject. In the meantime, let me know which of the six YouTube content examples most appeals to you in the comments or on Twitter @HS_Writing!