Archive For The “Social Media” Category
A friend who is also in a content development field once told me: We’re so conditioned to drown that when we aren’t, we feel like there is something missing.
That simple sentence resonated with me and made me stop for a moment to question what was so very important taking place within my phone that was more important than the reality in front of me.
And then I got a Twitter notification and went back to my phone.
My days consist of data input overload from every angle. I’m often multitasking, doing something on my phone while in the middle of something on the PC and possibly on a conference call waiting for my turn to update on a project, all at the same time. Sound familiar? It’s the life most of us lead now, whether we’re in the media industry or not.
With the holidays upon us, people are trying to carve out more time for family and friends. So that leaves your content fighting even harder in the melee arena of customer attention spans, pitting your blog post against a gladitorial white paper and a news article that’s been the reigning champion for the past several eight-second-long matches.
So how do you stand out, especially during this time of year?
Be shiny. Make your posts sparkle and look festive. Sure, everyone else is, but in contrast, you don’t want to be the one darker hole in the content everyone is scanning.
Be interesting. You know your brand voice, so use it in every format you can. Surveys, Podcasts, video tutorials, infographics (everyone knows how much I love a fancy infographic!), quizzes, whatever other powerful took you can leverage to mix it up and make your message a multimedia extravaganza!
Acknowledge the holiday season. Sure, you can carry on with business as usual, but at this time of year you want to make sure that to a degree, you go with the flow. This is not the proper time to make an attempt to be an industry disruptor in your message.
Don’t get mushy. Over the holidays, people tend to want to veer toward the nostalgic, the feel-good message and the fluff. But when you de-fluff the message, all that is left is the quality content. Go ahead and wish your audience good tidings for the season, but don’t gloss the entire thing over with a warm fuzzy feeling.
Be on point. Don’t meander off the core message. Especially when dealing with reality as opposed to just other messages, you need to get in, leave your message and get out quickly. Be like Santa. Zero in on what you want to leave the audience members and be gone before you know it.
Stay on point. Develop a theme list for your content through this time. You should have one already, just make it tighter to avoid any topic dilution.
Check what’s worked. Look what has had the most engagement in the past few months and focus on the high points. Be it a specific day/time, a type of format (video, blog, infographic, etc) or a message, stick to the high points.
Instead of thinking of it as a one-size-fits-all holiday promo, focus on your core customers and provide something that is of interest and use to them. The more targeted and personalized the message, the more they will be likely to take you up on whatever you offer. In turn, they will be more likely to share it with their own network and that will drive word of mouth and boost subscribers.
Someone recently asked how to incorporate an Instagram account into a law firm’s social media. He didn’t think they necessarily needed to be on that platform, but the client insisted.
On behalf of all social media and digital marketing professionals out there, please understand that we probably know best when we tell you that just because you heard a platform is the latest and greatest requirement to reach your target audience doesn’t necessarily mean you need to be on it.
Though each platform has a series of pros and cons that your local digital marketing professional can talk your ear off about, let’s focus on this specific instance with the law firm wanting to use Instagram.
The first thing you need to ask a client like that is WHY they want to be on that platform? Why does a law firm, that does not have a tangible product or visible service and often deals in secretive engagement with their clients, want to have a presence on a visual site? Is it because they heard it’s the best way to reach millennials? Is it because they, personally, use that platform? Is it because they have a presence on each of the other main social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, etc and now want to branch out? Figuring out the underlying reason for it may give input in how to best answer the question of whether they should actually be on there or not.
You should always carefully choose your channels and see what works best for your audience specifically. Not everything will. Not every brand has a successful presence across the board. Maybe a company or firm has a popular Twitter where they are absolutely killing it but they’re not that prominent on Facebook. Maybe their voice doesn’t translate well to a new platform. And if they haven’t found a centralized voice yet, the branding issues go far deeper than simply trying to figure out what platforms to try out!
Since law firms don’t exactly sell a product in the most traditional sense, the main goal should be brand recognition rather than trying to improve sales. Instagram is a bit unique since it’s more of a visual rather than textual format, but the idea is the same to reach out toward your audience, engage with them and inspire them to want what it is you have to offer. Pushing services on the audience is a surefire way to fail. The best method in this case would be to educate. Be seen as a leader in helping people. Sending out some posts with tips or bite-sized bits of information is a great way to achieve that.
Seriously, though. Non-visual brands should avoid a visual platform. Otherwise, it is likely a waste of time. A good rule of thumb to remind them is: Find your audience, don’t make your audience come find you.
If you’re going to be visual, do it professionally.
They’ve decided that your law firm absolutely positively needs to be on Instagram. So you start an account for the practice. They’re logged in and browsing Instagram. They’re looking at this beautiful shot of a group of people from an office. This other company has shared a great candid picture of employees engaging each other in laughter and conversation. There is an amazing image of employees volunteering for the community. They’re all great pictures that resonate well.
And they’re all probably professionally taken with real cameras and likely staged and edited for maximum impact, not taken on the fly by an intern with a smartphone.
If they don’t have someone in place on your team already who has a creative mindset and the resources to give that level of output from a staged photo and don’t want to shell out the money to hire a photographer, they need to stay off Instagram. It may sound harsh, but it’s a photo-sharing app and most people don’t have the understanding of lighting and angles to capture the most visually interesting image. The corporate version of a selfie is not going to get anyone very far.
Remind them that people are judging the brand and the brand’s ability to deliver quality based on pictures. Poor resolution images are the fastest way to get people uninterested.
It is also important to make sure all posts are thematic, not just with the brand as a whole (this is where that ever-so-important branding guideline their marketing team came up with comes into play!) but also thematic with each other. There is a natural flow that you want to achieve with your posted shots that lead to your compelling visual story line. You want a defined look and feel and a solid message that each post reinforces. If they can’t understand that, they are doing themselves a disservice by being on the platform.
In short, don’t mistake simply having a presence for quality marketing.
But what about my competitors?!
Their competitors are on Instagram and they’re going to get all the business of the people who are age 35 and younger who are the main demographic of Instagram users. They’re worried that they’re going to look uncool. Everyone else is doing it. They’ll fret about things like “What if we lose out on an opportunity because we’re the one law firm in the city who isn’t on there?!”
Well, that’s a risk. The trick here is to have an educated guess as to what their law firm’s audience is going to be looking for and seeing what the best ways to provide that are. It’s not set in stone. Just because something doesn’t work at this juncture doesn’t mean it won’t work shortly down the line or in a year or three. Not having an Instagram until you are ready is far better than having one that is dormant. Sometimes, not having one at all and using the resources on another more appropriate platform is best.
How do I know if I’m using it right?
Misuse of an app is one of the most common pitfalls of a business venturing into social media. This is why hiring a brand consultant or a social media firm is a great idea, even for small companies with a limited budget. So we’ll imagine that the law firm has gone over all other social media platforms to determine if they are right for them and now we’re left looking at Instagram. We know it’s a great platform for creatively showing off your products and services, but we don’t really have a way to do so as a law firm. There are some ways to work within the parameters and still have the potential to be successful on the platform, but you need to have a much lengthier consultation with the firm to determine what ways those are.
#Engagement – What the client will need to be told
Other things to remember when choosing to utilize a platform are:
You have to engage your audience, not just post things in hopes that they like it.
You need to be consistent in your message and visual aspects.
You need to know the appropriate way to use the platform, both the technology and the community/culture of the users. (How and when to hashtag, what acronyms are commonly used, what memes and other inside jokes users may have developed, etc)
You need to proofread everything. Seriously. Everything, every time.
You need to take the time to understand the support tools that will make using a successfully implemented app easier.
You have to be patient. You aren’t going to start your account, then log in the next morning to find you have 50,000 followers. It’s something you have to work at and build.
You have to learn metrics. Analytics. What all this data means, how to get it and what to do with it.
If your client can’t agree to all these items, their social media plans will never work out the way they want them to. Be sure they know it!
It seems every new platform requires a new set of skills that I need to learn. I work my day job come home rack my brain in front of the computer and still try to be a husband and a father… All I Want for Christmas Is to shorten the learning curve.
This post appeared in a group of content developers in a thread that discussed utilizing social to get more viewers and subscribers to a YouTube channel so it can become effectively monetized.
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