How and Why Periscope Might Make Sense for Small Business

Click to watch this archived Periscope recording from Katch.me

Over the last few years, I’ve seen one of my roles as the practical beacon for new technologies and trends that I believe small business owners can make use of.

I don’t report on new technology just because it’s hot as much as try to figure out if there’s a way to apply its value to make life better for the typical small business owner.

One of the newer and increasingly talked about social technologies is something called Periscope.

Now, I’m guessing you can tell from the headline of this post that I’m still lukewarm in terms of recommending it, but I did want to share my thoughts on it.

What is Periscope?

Essentially, Periscope is a mobile app that allows you to easily live stream video to other Periscope users or on the web via a link. The app is owned by Twitter, so there’s a tight integration into Twitter and every live stream can push a Tweet so people are alerted to the “scope.”

Now, live streaming is not new and pretty much any Google+ Hangout can be pushed to Twitter, so what we really have here is convenience that relies on the mobile device – both key to adoption of tech these days.

A few social media experts have certainly jumped on it as a way to expand their “guruness.” I mean everyone knows the best way to be considered a thought leader in social media is to be the first one with a course telling people how to profit from a new social network. Of course, it helps if most of your course and value comes from relentless self-promotion. (For those who cannot read sarcasm – that was it.)

Here’s the deal – always. When looking at new network, technology or platform the only test you must pass in order to consider it this: Will you be able to use this new network to add value to your relationships with your clients. If yes, then dive in.

From what I’ve seen so far there are three kinds of videos going on Periscope. Complete self-promotion, total goofiness and some cool behind the scenes looks.

The first is mostly the social media gurus running three or four scopes a day spent mostly on telling other people how to be gurus on Periscope. (You can spot them through their generous use of emojis ) The second consists of very bored people talking about what they did on their walk today. The third, however, is where I believe the potential for Periscope lies.

Live, raw, unscripted videos can send a very strong brand message and let people see how stuff is really done. I think that’s where you can use video and the ease of this platform to build relationships with your current community.

You may actually find that you can turn this into new leads, but I think the real value is building community.

There are a handful of useful features for community building, sharing and learning. But, there are also some goofy gamification elements that in my view actually devalue the tool.

You can build a following, push your live scope to Twitter and interact live with participants as you record. I love these features, but you can also vote or “like” a scope while viewing by tapping the screen and giving a stream of hearts out during the broadcast. Watching people ask for these hearts like candy is pretty silly so try to look past this popularity contest feature.

After you complete a scope you have the option to save it to your phone’s photo roll for future use as the archive on Periscope only stays available for 24 hours. I understand why that might be necessary from a platform standpoint but I think the full archive of your scopes could have lasting value so I recommend adding a tool called Katch.me so you can build a library and even embed the scopes as I’ve done above.

Again, there’s nother revolutionary about the technology, but the ease of use is what might make it take hold.

What could you post on Periscope?

You can post anything, so the real question is what would add value to your community? What would make someone take note of the value you deliver? What would help your stand out in a way that would make people want to join your community?

My friend Michael Port shot his recording the audio book for his upcoming book. Now he’s a known expert, but there was something very real about watching him do interesting work.

Anyone can show the office staff interacting, show how their product is made, or do candid interviews with clients as a way to showcase the human elements of the brand.

Consultants should consider doing live Q and A session on a schedule. Mini webinars are sure to be a hit on Periscope. My guess is that brands will start holding press conferences on Periscope. Events will certainly tap the portable nature of this network to promote event happenings. Look for large scale announcements to start cropping up.

Imagine new product demos and even customer service via Periscope. The face of a real human interactive live via video could be powerful for brands. I can’t imagine it will be long before flash sale promotions come to Periscope.

Some other considerations

If you have a large Twitter following already and you like doing video Periscope might make total sense. If you have already have a large following in other networks, you could certainly use this tool as a way to create a greater connection as long as you promote your scopes.

If you’re not that active in social media, don’t enjoy talking into a camera phone and are a bit nervous about anything raw and unscripted, don’t give Periscope a thought – there are other things to work on.

How to get started

  • Download the IOS or Android App
  • Create your username
  • Connect to Twitter
  • Find some people to follow and watch a dozen or so to get the hang of it (Periscope will suggest from your Twitter following.)
  • Fire up the app and start recording (others will find your)
  • Create a name for your session that’s very compelling – it’s the ad for your scope
  • Once you start recording you can flip the camera by double tapping the screen
  • To end a recording swipe down and hit the stop button

Of course now comes the hard part. How can Periscope technology help you add value to your existing and future client relationships?

I plan to run regularly scheduled scopes talking about marketing related tools as a way to connect with even more folks that choose that platform and like to participate in a more interactive experience.

I would love to hear your ideas on using this new technology.

 

10 Simple Ways to Generate Blog Post Ideas

light bulb imageBrainstorming blog post ideas off the top of your head only goes so far. Thankfully, there are a number of ways to get into your reader’s mind to generate post ideas you know will be helpful and relevant.

Here are ten simple ways to keep your blog post ideation machine cranking:

 

1. Hop on a call with readers.

A quick 10-minute phone call can provide tons of ideas in a short amount of time. Plus, you’ll get the actual language your readers use to articulate what they want to learn and their problems that need solving.

Here are a few questions you can modify for your own business:

  • What are the roadblocks you are facing with [insert your topic] right now?
  • What [insert topic] problems have you or your team researched recently on Google, books, or blogs to learn more about?
  • What are you curious to learn more about with [insert topic] here?

2. Send a survey asking what folks want to learn.

Using a tool like SurveyMonkey, ask your readers the same list of open-ended questions in the above phone call example. You could create this as an automated email to new people who sign up for your blog digest update or as a one-time send to the existing readers on your opt-in subscriber list.

3. Research Google autosuggest results.

Open an “incognito window” in your web browser and do a Google search of topics you are interested in writing about. When you do, Google will autosuggest keyword phrases people are already searching for. These are perfect for modifying into blog post titles.

For example, let’s say you are a winery who is interested in generating more blog post ideas. When you type in “how to wine” into Google here’s the autosuggest results you see:

autosuggest screenshot

You could write a post called “The Beginner’s Guide to Wine Tasting in Napa” or use the direct phrase for a piece about “How to Wine Taste in Napa.” By using what people are actually typing into Google, you will increase your chances of ranking in the search results.

4. Peruse what people are saying on social media.

Twitter, Facebook, and other social media channels are a goldmine of information. Do a search of your target topics and see what people are saying about their problems, needs and wants. From there, turn those into blog post ideas.

5. Browse Amazon book reviews.

Find the top 3-5 books on Amazon that cover your blog post topics and/or you know your readers love. Look at the written reviews and keep your eyes peeled for a) what people learned and b) what they are still interested in learning about the topic. You can write a short, informative post to fill in their knowledge gap.

6. Study what’s working for similar bloggers.

This isn’t about stealing or copying, it’s about seeing what readers of other blogs in your industry are responding to, then putting your own spin on it with your own unique voice and language.

7. Discover keyword volume using Google.

The Google Keyword Planner gives you the volume of searches for keywords and phrases and can also be used to generate new keyword ideas.

For example, our team is focused on the “customer journey” which gets an average of 880 searches a month. After plugging “customer journey” to get new keyword ideas, here are the results:

keyword volume

Posts that could be created from this list are “Everything You Need to Know About Customer Journey Mapping” or “How to Understand the Customer Decision Journey”.

Get the idea? Transform the keywords in clickable, irresistible blog post titles.

8. Check out questions people are asking on Quora.

Quora is a popular question-and-answer website. And there is a lot of questions on Quora. One estimate says there has been nearly 11 million questions asked and that number is growing daily. Similar to the other strategies in this article, search for your blog topics and take note of the questions people are asking and repurpose them into blog posts.

9. Read the table of contents in industry books.

Take a “look inside” books about your topic on Amazon, specifically at the table of contents. Chapter titles are meant to draw people in and can spark inspiration for your own post ideas.

10. Share what your company is learning.

People love learning from companies they like. What are some insights your team has learned recently? What’s a strategy you’ve implemented that’s been successful? Share it with your readers.

 

Brian Sun headshotBrian Sun runs the blog at Autopilot, a marketing automation platform that helps small business owners automate the customer journey, visually. Check out Autopilot’s most popular blog post, 7 Lead Nurturing Secrets to Turn Strangers into Customers.

5 Online Assets That Are Worth Your Time

You know you need online assets, but which ones are really worth your time? I asked myself this question as I prepared to launch my company, HipHire, which is a new platform that connects companies with quality part-time candidates using a unique matching system.

While HipHire’s concept and our platform are new, the way we get in front of our best customer probably feels familiar to you. Skim through this list and you’ll see that we use opt-in offers, blogging, social media and more. You’re likely already doing most of these things to market your own products and services.

But is it working?

In the tech startup world, being able to launch and gain traction quickly is hugely important. To make sure I was spending time on the online assets that were truly worth it, I did a combination of hypothesizing, testing, tweaking, and testing some more. This process led to rapid adjustments when things weren’t working, which meant more efficiency and better success in the end.

If you’ve ever wondered if your online assets were worth the time you’re putting in to them, here’s how to start testing.


Landing Pages with Specific Opt-ins

landingpagesHipHire has two main business segments—companies looking to hire and candidates seeking part-time jobs. Instead of creating one opt-in offer for each audience, we created multiple opt-ins, each with their own specific landing page.

For example,

  • Our landing page for the Founders Club targets an elite group of Kansas City businesses who benefit from choosing HipHire early.
  • Our landing page for candidates seeking part-time summer jobs speaks directly to the needs of that particular job candidate subset.
  • We even created a landing page and opt-in offer specifically for you (yep, you!). Knowing what we do about the readers of this blog, we created something you’d find useful.

This focused approach makes readers feel you’re speaking directly to them. We tested a lot, and as we’ve fine-tuned this niche marketing, we’ve seen greater conversions.


Blog Content and Community

blogcontent

photo credit: pexels.com

In the months leading up to our launch, we provided information for job candidates and companies looking to hire. Even though our platform hadn’t launched yet, we kept in touch and kept people coming back to the site.

With the blog, as with everything else, I tested. I kept a close eye on analytics. When something didn’t work or when we found a vein that engaged people, we rebuilt the editorial calendar based on that knowledge. Being willing to change gears saves time and money by shifting energy from non-productive actions into profitable directions.


Social Media—Personalized

Social media

photo credit: pexels.com

Social media is about real connection.

I learned this lesson by trying to grow my number of Twitter followers. I followed 100 businesses in my target market each day. I had ditched using automated responses, so when somebody began following me back, I found relevant information about the person or company to create a personalized reply. I got creative, taking a picture of a handwritten note or making a video.

One person wanted to Skype to learn what I was doing because they were impressed that they received a custom message from me. This blew me away. The simplest level of communication and nobody is doing it? That strategy started adding 50 followers a week, but it wasn’t just numbers. Twitter became about real engagement and connection.

Personalizing each tweet may not be scalable, but focusing on quality personal connections makes a difference.


Mobile Ease

Mobile

photo credit: pexels.com

Our target market lives on mobile devices. We needed to go beyond mobile accessibility for the HipHire platform. We needed mobile ease.

One of the ways we did that was to show HipHire users that we can really deliver before asking them to set up a profile. We streamlined the profile process: type in a few key details (name and the like), then click, click, click, submit.

Making sure your site views correctly on a phone is pretty standard, but have you made your process simple for mobile users?


Visual Content

visual

photo credit: pexels.com

People want to know what the product looks like. They want to visualize themselves using it. That was a challenge for HipHire in the beginning because we started building awareness for the service before our platform was live. We got over this hurdle by providing “sneak peeks” throughout the process.

Since our audience was likely to be mobile, we showed mobile screenshots. This use of visual content demonstrated how clean and simple the process really is and helped build excitement as we neared our live launch.

To make your online assets really worth your time, focus on three Cs: customize, connect, and (when testing shows you should) change.

What tweak to online assets has been the biggest change maker for you?

 

Capture.PNG

Brian Kearns is an entrepreneur and the founder of HipHire. He’s passionate about connecting employers and workers who share a vision of the ideal workplace culture. He believes that the key to finding quality part-time people is through a better employee fit.

Supercharge Your Marketing Campaign with Visual Content

From choosing which products to buy, to interacting with other humans via a smartphone screen, much of our lives are now filtered through images. Research shows that in the age of tweets and Snapchats, humans now have shorter attention spans than goldfish! This has been further compounded by the rapid adoption of mobile technology, which now revolves around compact, clean, and concise visual information.

As the world’s volume of digital content grows by 200% each year, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for traditional marketing methods to reach consumers – hence why more and more marketers are incorporating visual content into their campaigns. However, unless a video is particularly well executed or an image is brilliantly composed, you’ll get passive views at best and people switching off completely in the worst case scenario. Your grasp needs to match your extended reach.

Types of visual content

Let’s do a quick rundown of the three most powerful forms of visual content available to us:

Video and motion graphics

Since the dawn of HTML5, video has become so utterly integrated with the web experience that we barely even notice it anymore. You might have observed that many sites, such as that of GoPro, have filled traditional ‘banner’ or ‘header’ space with full-screen, high-quality video frames. That’s because digital video – be it live action or motion graphics – is the cornerstone of digital visual content today.

Video content enables brands to speak directly to viewers through an audiovisual narrative – giving products a human voice. People are much more likely to give videos the time of day, and this is reflected in statistics: posts with videos receive 300% more inbound links than traditional text posts.

However, video falls flat in one major way. It is too inescapably linear; to communicate a message in its entirety requires that viewers stick with a video for a good few minutes. Striking a fine balance between grabbing attention and informing viewers comprehensively with video is difficult. Tools like YouTube analytics can provide some assistance, but unless a video is exceptionally well-made, the problem of attention span still remains.

Infographics

Simply put, infographics combine textual information and graphic representation in order to inform and explain. They do this by breaking down large chunks of information into small parts to create a succinct yet informative narrative. This is where the potential of infographics resides – in enabling viewers to quickly scan and process a lot of information.

If properly constructed and promoted, infographics can maximise engagement through capitalising on the combined strengths of visual and textual data. However, their efficacy rests largely on the quality of the layout, script and visual elements.

Designers (like us) have to juggle concise language with impactful imagery. If an infographic fails significantly in these areas, it will not be effective.

Presentations

Slideshare is sort of like a Youtube of presentations, allowing everyone easy access to an endless database of informative and well-made digital presentations. Most significantly, it represents the perfect platform to share concise, visual/textual content. In 2013, 45% of the presentations on Slideshare averaged 24 words per slide, and the number of images used increased by 53%. As the platform develops, the quality of presentations is rapidly rising.

Presentations offer one obvious advantage over infographics: they can convey much more information whilst retaining the benefits of visual communication. However, this has restricted them from the general public to an extent – many of Slideshare’s users are themselves involved in business. As such, any product or service you market using the platform must be very specifically audience-oriented.

Injecting visual content into a campaign

It’s important to note that each visual form has its own particular function and place, and is not appropriate in every circumstance. The primary function of visual content should be to inform or entertain first, and to sell second. For example, you wouldn’t use an infographic to advertise a product directly – and if you did, it probably wouldn’t be as effective as a good video ad.

Visual content shouldn’t just be seen as a fix-all bandage you can slap on any digital marketing campaign. It’s no replacement for market research, SEO analytics or blog campaigns, for example. However, if used in conjunction with conventional marketing techniques, visual content has the potential to truly supercharge your digital marketing campaign.

Visual dominance Final3

 

 

sterling wiliamsSterling Williams is the Lead Conceptual Designer at Mammoth Infographics. His background is in graphic design and internet marketing. When he’s not helping clients to turn their ideas into infographic masterpieces, he enjoys creative writing, playing with his labrador and honing his jiu-jitsu skills.

 

Twitter 101: How To Craft the Perfect Tweet

Two twitter birds fall in love holding a red heart background. Vector file available.

photo credit: bigstockphoto.com

You’re a small business owner, trying to make an impact in the wild world of social media. Twitter is tempting. It’s not only a slick way to share your branded content, but it’s also a great platform for sharing other news and tips you think your community would enjoy.

The fact that Twitter exists in the first place, however, suggests our own collective impatience as a culture. If we wanted lots of words and links filling up our smartphone screens, we’d head over to Facebook. The twitterverse is a different type of platform, where people want things short, fast, and very much within their control.

Here’s how to play by the rules of Twitter and craft great tweets in the process.

Keep It Short(er)

How much shorter can you get than 140 characters? We all have so much to say, it almost seems unfair. But, how about 120 characters? Why, you ask? Because shorter tweets are … well, shorter.

Shorter tweets are easier to read, and better for retweeting. Those extra twenty characters you’ve kindly sacrificed will now be more easily usable for your followers. The extra characters allow them to add their own handle and hashtag if they wish to retweet and/or create a modified version of your tweet. At 120, there’s less risk of your precious message being cut off or truncated – all the more reason to tweet those extra characters forward.

Front Load

When crafting a tweet, put the main topic of your message as close to the beginning as possible. Consider these variations.

  1. 25 ways to make customers smile through great service.
  2. 25 smile-inducing customer service tips.
  3. 25 retail tips to keep your customers smiling.

Which one of the above tweets tickles your fancy? If you guessed “1” … you’d be wrong. It’s okay, it happens. For best results, “3” is your best bet. Tweet “3” not only explains that you’re about to share retail tips, but it also details how many tips there are – all within the first three words. This is called front loading. Wait, am I suggesting that we’re all so impatient that we need to put the crux of our info at the front of our sentences? Yup.

Keep It Low

So much about Twitter is real estate. The available space you have to craft your tweet is a tiny one. Avoid the tendency to capitalize the first letter of every word, as we might do on other marketing platforms. Rather than Stopping the Eye with Random Capitalization … let the eye flow.

This may seem strange – to ‘not’ want to clash against the rest of your customer’s twitter feed. If all tweets look the same, isn’t it a good idea to use some varied capitalization to catch the eye? Nope. The Twitter experience is a smooth uncluttered scroll. It’s best to go with its flow. Think of random capitalization like bad fashion; you’ll stick out, but for the wrong reasons. Stick with lowercase.

No Tricks. All Tweets.

Recently, I saw a headline, “A Dolphin and a Dog Meet … and You Won’t Believe What Happens Next!” I immediately thought to myself, “Self, what do we know? We know that dogs are inherently friendly, and that dolphins are even friendlier. So, I’m going to guess that the dog and dolphin get along swimmingly.”

And, wouldn’t you know it, I was right. They got along just great. Which sort of annoyed me. These types of tweets and headlines are click bait. “Click-baity” headlines are like those faux-Oreo cookies your supermarket sells. They’re tempting. They’re cheap. And, they’ll make you feel bad as soon as you’re done with them.

People are on twitter because they want the facts and they want them fast, with no filler. Setting up a tweet so that people “have” to click the link to see which direction your story is going to go just isn’t nice. So, be nice. Be clear. Save your followers some time.

FoScreen Shot 2015-06-26 at 3.14.43 PMr instance, assuming you had the aforementioned stellar interspecies video clip, why not tweet something like: This dog-meets-dolphin video clip is a thing of pure joy. With only 140 characters, it’s not a time to be mysterious. Keep things honest, and you won’t hate yourself in the morning for tricking your followers for a cheap click.

 

Improve Your Images

A quick Google-ing will tell you that tweets with images work, big time. Tweets with images are 94% more likely to get retweeted, and 89% more likely to get favorite’d over tweets without images.

What kind of images work best? The easiest answer is relevant ones. If your tweet is in regards to a report or stat-filled article you’d like to share, include an image of a graph. Be sure it’s still clear enough to be read on a mobile device. If it’s not, use a screenshot of a portion of the graph.

If your tweet is not about data, add a cool, conceptual stock image that ties into the topic at hand. Twitter is a good place to have some fun and to express your brand’s personality, and images are a clever way to do just that.

Conclusion

Play by the rules that Twitter set up from the get-go. Keep things informative, short, fast, and clear. Doing so will keep your followers engaged and informed while building trust between them and your brand.

 

Screen Shot 2015-06-24 at 6.01.30 PMBrian Masefield is the social media and copy manager of Bigstock, an online marketplace for royalty-free photos, vectors, and video. For more design tips, you can follow Bigstock on Twitter.

The Demise of Facebook’s Organic Reach

Facebook Icon CCSince its launch in 2007, Facebook’s Pages have promised businesses a free online presence with which to connect to customers, offering the opportunity to publish updates and promotional content directly into their news feeds. Yet for the past year, SMBs have seen the organic (ie. unpaid) reach of their posts diminish significantly.

The data supports this conclusion. In fact, Facebook has been slashing organic reach for years. Research conducted by Ogilvy & Mather shows that changes to Facebook’s algorithm have reduced the average exposure of unpaid posts from 12% in October of 2013 to around 6% in February 2015. In April 2015, eMarketer published data collected by Adobe showing an average organic reach of 4.3% for posts by retailers, which lead all other industries surveyed (tech, hospitality, and financial services all fell below 4%).

In a blog post from last November, Facebook acknowledged this trend and noted that it will continue.

This squeeze is part of Facebook’s overall monetization strategy and applies across the board. It doesn’t matter whether you are a major brand with millions of followers and millions more in ad budget or a small business that has depended for years on Facebook to reach a loyal customer base in the hundreds or thousands. Going forward, brands that want placement will have to pay for it.

Small Business

The precipitous decline in organic reach means that SMBs should reevaluate the place of social media in their overall marketing strategy, and consider other methods for managing customer relationships.

  1. Publish content through your own site and maximize reach by adding social tools. Your own website can still be a powerful tool for publishing branded content. The key to maximizing the reach of your self-published content is to add social tools to your site that allow for easy sharing through Facebook, Twitter, and elsewhere. Facebook’s move to cut organic reach also grants extra weight to content shared directly by friends. The value of a customer sharing your content will increase, and you want to give them as many opportunities as possible to do so.
  2. Email marketing still works.  Businesses that turned away from email marketing in the advent of free social publishing services like Facebook and Twitter may want to rethink their strategy. Not only is email still an effective method for reaching customers, there is plenty of data to indicate that it was always more effective than social in the first place. In contrast to a facebook post, which gets delivered to a consumer’s feed around 2% of the time, emails are received 90% of the time and opened around 5%.
  3. Host FB-based videos on your own site. Facebook  now allows you to embed videos from Facebook on your own site. This move by Facebook has industry observers clamoring about the social network’s renewed competition with YouTube. The truth is, this competition is great for SMBs. Videos shared on Facebook already have the pedigree of being vetted by an audience’s social network — sharing them on your own site can boost your content offering and deepen engagement.

 

Ken Swanson is CEO of AffinityX, the leading white label creative and marketing services provider for companies that serve small and medium businesses (SMBs).

How to Use Infographics Effectively

Because of the constant bombardment of information we experience on a daily basis, the average human being now has a shorter attention span than a goldfish! In the digital era, marketers have to change and adapt their strategies in order to get their messages heard amongst the many other competing voices. Because humans are wired to respond more positively to visuals than text, infographics tend to get far more shares than traditional text-based content.

Additionally, infographics allow you to create an emotive story around a seemingly meaningless sea of data, allowing people to swiftly understand the key points without having to do any of the tedious reading. While anyone can pay to commission an infographic, there are certain factors you need to consider if you want your infographic to become a viral success!

Choosing the right topic

It’s important to remember that your infographic should never be a tout for your company; instead you should aim to tackle a contentious issue in your industry or cover a hot topic that you know will encourage sharing. In other words, aim to provide genuine value to people instead of simply promoting yourself. With resources such as Google Trends, Twitter hashtags, and numerous RSS aggregators, you’re sure to be able to find a topic that people will love to see encapsulated in a stunning infographic.

Content creation

When researching the facts for your infographic, always use reputable sources and ensure that they are airtight – particularly if your infographic is about a contentious issue – someone is bound to want to point out the flaws in your argument! You may wish to incorporate some quotes from industry specialists to serve as proof elements for your argument. Also, a few interesting lesser-known facts and quirky anecdotes may help to provide some light entertainment for readers.

When organizing your content, thinking visually is crucial. It’s important to remember that not every fact and statistic will make a good visualization, and conversely, not every great visualization will fit within the narrative of your infographic. In order for the infographic to work, the visuals must support the content and help to drive the narrative home. Never be tempted to sacrifice substance for style! As with any form of content marketing, well-researched, high-quality content is the cornerstone of an effective infographic.

Design

You may wish to design an infographic to match the branding of your company, and this may be a good idea if you are creating the piece for company presentations or other internal purposes. However, you should always avoid “over branding” the piece – in most cases you only need to include your company’s logo and website discretely in the footer.

In the design phase, less is more; if you’re used to creating long-winded text content, you may feel reluctant to omit certain pieces of data, even if they aren’t propelling the narrative forward. However, leaving in extraneous elements will only serve to clutter the infographic and confuse people. Always design from a holistic perspective and be prepared to sacrifice elements that aren’t contributing to the clarity and argument of the infographic.

Promotion

You may wish to create a specific landing page for your infographic, or you can simply post it as part of a blog post. Either way, you should make sure that the page has complete social media functionality so that people can share with ease. Additionally, it helps to include the HTML embed code directly beneath the infographic so people can post it on their websites with ease – this is particularly useful for bloggers within your niche who may wish to incorporate your infographic into their own unique content.

There are numerous infographic submission sites that will be happy to host your infographic and if you’re lucky you could even have it featured on Mashable. However, to get your infographic to go viral you’re probably going to have to do a lot of hustling. Promoting using social media is highly recommended, but don’t forget to leverage your personal network. If you know someone who has a large following online, persuading them to share your infographic can result in huge amounts of exposure, expanding your audience and bringing you new business!

infographics, infographic, mammoth

 

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Jack Knopfler is the Lead Content Editor at Mammoth Infographics. He has a background in digital marketing and has helped clients in a range industries to improve their presence online.

How to Leverage News Stories on Social Media

photo credit: Supreme Court via photopin (license)

photo credit: Supreme Court via photopin (license)

Social media has revolutionized the way people talk about news and major events. Really, it is just natural. When you hear about an interesting event or news story, what do you want to do? Most want to share the news with their friends and family, maybe even share their opinion. Over the past few years, people have turned to social media.

As a result, there is a huge spike in social media usage around major cultural events. This includes breaking news stories, major sporting events, really anything that spurs discussion.

For instance, the Supreme Court of the United States just recently ruled that same-sex marriage is legal across the entire United States for the first time. Social media users flocked to their favorite platforms to share their opinions. This is the activity chart for the week of the decision. The decision came on Friday, and you can see Facebook use increase exponentially.

For businesses and brands, this is marketing gold. They want to take advantage of the increased social media usage to try and get their message in front of as many people as possible. Unfortunately, these spikes are fleeting, and so businesses have to act quickly, and sometimes acting too quickly opens your business up for mistakes. Here’s how to leverage breaking news and events on social media.

Think Ahead

A lot of cultural events are scheduled. The Super Bowl, America’s largest sporting event, is always on the first Sunday of February and the teams are determined 2 weeks in advance. You can plan for both possible outcomes, and you’ll know when there will be the most attention on social media. Try to plan ahead whenever possible.

…But Not Too Far Ahead

While it is okay to think of a plan for scheduled events, it is never a good idea to schedule or automate your social posts in advance. You don’t know what could happen during the event that may affect the way your customers interpret the post. Be sure to give yourself a chance to re-evaluate your plan before posting.

Don’t get too cute

Most brands that get themselves into trouble posting during newsworthy events usually do so because they are trying to get too cute or use humor that some may find offensive. It is okay to keep it simple. You can mention an event and express your opinion and/or support without resorting to humor. This will mean you can take advantage of the spike in traffic to the social media sites without risking offense to a portion of your customer base.

Sometimes it’s okay not to post

This is probably the biggest tip of advice I can give you. Not every news story has to be commented upon by your business and brand, and your customers don’t expect you to say anything. Sometimes it is best to stay silent. When thinking about posting about an event, think about your brand and your strategy. If you don’t think a post will help you achieve your branding goals, you probably shouldn’t post.

For instance, a local plumber is considering posting about the success of the local baseball team. This plays into their strategy because it increases the use of their hometown in their social posts, which can help in their search rankings. In this case, it is a great idea to post. But most political news stories won’t necessarily improve the plumber’s desired branding. In these cases, further evaluation may be necessary before posting. It may be best just to stay silent.

The spike in social media usage during major events is too significant to ignore, but acting without strategy or a goal can actually be a negative for your business. Take the time to evaluate the issue or event before posting, and think about the potential consequences of your post before hitting send.

Is there a particular news story or event that your business posted about that got your page more engagement and more visitors? Tell me your story in the comments below.

Alex-Boyer-Photo-150x150-e1420769709443Alex Boyer is a Community Manager and Content Ninja for Duct Tape Marketing. You can connect with him on Twitter @AlexBoyerKC.