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Using Facebook Live to get your retail store’s fans back.

Using Facebook Live to get your retail store’s fans back.

Over the past year you let Facebook go a bit, didn’t you? Instead of posting every day you started posting five times a week, then three, then … well, whenever the mood struck. Now it’s gift-giving season again and you want your customers back.

You’ve noticed that although you have 500 followers to your Facebook page only about 50 are seeing your posts. As pathetic as that appears, that percentage actually beats the average, which is 7%. All that work over the years building your fan base, and Facebook only allows 7% to see your posts?!

The main reason this occurs is because you are getting little or no engagement – likes, comments and shares – on the few posts you are creating. This takes a lot of time to turn around, but there’s a faster way to get started on rebuilding your audience.

Facebook Live!

This feature was introduced earlier this year, probably in response to Snapchat’s live broadcast capabilities. There is one big difference. You can post your video to your Facebook page after the live broadcast, and repost it again and again. But the best thing about Facebook live is the notification that ALL of your followers get when you begin broadcasting. People who haven’t seen any of your posts in months will be reminded that you are online, and still in business.

Setting it up couldn’t be simpler. Once you are logged into your Facebook account on your phone, hit search for your business page. Click on “Publish” and in the drop-down menu click on “Live Video”. Describe your video and then click “Go Live”.

Now that you know how it works, when can you use Facebook Live?

In-store events

Are you planning a trunk show or other special event? You will want to promote it both BEFORE and during the event if you want in-store traffic to show up the day of the event. The “before” clip can be a very short commercial just advertising the particulars of the event. The video you take during the event can be as long as you wish, but we recommend that you stop when the excitement wanes a bit.

Product showcase

Have you recently geared up your inventory for holiday sales? Video is a great way to show tons of new products a lot faster and better than it would be to shoot each piece individually and create posts. You can use models, if appropriate, or just hold up an array of products on hangers. Plus you have the benefit of being able to show your products from every angle, exploring designs and features, even doing demos for products that need more explanation than just a picture.

Get to know us

Here’s where you get to put a human face on your establishment. The owner(s) and staff introduce themselves and say a few words about their background, expertise or even family and hobbies. You’d be surprised how many people like knowing details such as this about local stores and the people who work there. This is also an opportunity to talk about extra services such as volume discounts or punch cards, layaway and gift certificates.

Customer feedback

This takes a bit of planning. Gather three or more of your best and happiest customers in the store at one time. Show them shopping and also “interview” them, making sure they mention why they shop in your store, what they like about it, and what they are looking for on that day. You could also show one of the sales staff in action helping them. These video testimonials are gold to retailers!

There are so many ways to use Facebook Live to promote your retail store, and so many benefits, too. Remember, once your broadcast is finished your video becomes a permanent Facebook post that you can boost to your fans and their friends. You can get quite a bit of promotional mileage out of this terrific Facebook feature!

Need help with content creation or social media? #WeAreHereToHelp! Call us at 610.937.5187 or email info@contentandcreativity.com

 

 

 

 

Storytelling for Marketers

Storytelling for Marketers

I’ve signed up for literally hundreds of webinars over the last few years. Why? Because I always hope that after investing two hours of my time I will be rewarded with at least one useful piece of information that will help me. Sometimes I get that one gem. Sometimes I get much more than I hoped for, and sometimes I get nothing.

After countless of hours spent listening to people who begin by recounting the story of their life I think I have the formula down. Nearly every single marketer started out in some kind of dire straits. Their story invariably included three elements:

Poverty. Illness. Death.

Sometimes all three. Honestly, had I taken out stock in Ramen noodles years ago I wouldn’t have to work so hard today. Better than the Xerox APO. Much better than buying gold at $500 an ounce.

Just once I would love to hear someone say, “I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth. I didn’t need extra money, but I decided to try internet marketing anyway. And guess what? I made more money and it was fun!” This would be someone I would be happy to associate with.

It’s very important for anyone trying to establish a presence on the web to convey their personal story effectively, especially marketers. It should be interesting, easy to relate to, and most important, it needs to be authentic.

Most marketers have little or no problem making their story interesting. The problem is that too many of them seem to have had the exact same experience with only minor differing details. When “things got really bad” they would end up having to sleep in a substandard place – their parents’ basement, their friend’s sofa, their car. They disappointed their parents, wives, children and friends by being an epic failure. Then one day, miraculously, they discovered the Secret to SuccessTM that Made Them MillionsTM that they are willing to share with me for a mere $47, $67, $97 or $497 dollars.

Okay, I get that you are pitching a product. That’s fine. I am somewhat more likely to buy that product since I committed to watching the webinar. But some of the personal stories I hear have no benefit to me, I find them hard to relate to, and they do nothing to convince me of the goodness of what is being sold.

Edit, please?

A popular internet marketer, whose products are very good I should add, is so enamored of his own story that he tells it over and over again. Word for word. Verbatim. And the telling of it lasts over 30 minutes! At this point I could repeat his story myself – word for word and verbatim. I am fairly sure it’s not a good thing when a prospective client attending your webinar knows that she can mute the sound for a full 30 to 40 minutes and not miss anything important. Please, don’t change your story, but change the telling of it once in a while.

Define “nothing”.

Sara was recently disappointed to learn that a famous marketer she was following, who always described himself as “coming from nothing”, actually came from a family worth two million dollars. While recognizing that everything is relative, this stretches credibility, don’t you think?

My parents came to the US from war-torn Europe with virtually nothing. They were fortunate to have family members here who were willing to provide a roof over their heads while they got jobs, learned the language and culture, and became model citizens. After they met and married life certainly was not easy. I would claim that we didn’t have enough to eat when growing up but my father was in the food business so that was never an issue. My clothes were all hand made by my aunts, which usually is indicative of modest means, but since my aunts were professionally trained in Europe my clothing was of exceptional quality and fit that could never be found in a store off the rack. My brothers and I went to college; two of us have advanced degrees. College was cheap back then, and we paid for it ourselves for the most part because we started working and saving at a very young age. When we couldn’t pay tuition our parents helped us. My father worked for a shockingly low salary but my mother was such a good manager of their very little money that they were able to buy a house, cars, and take a vacation now and then. In the end, they were well-respected members of the community who imparted stellar values to their children.

I would NEVER say that I “came from nothing”. I came from EVERYTHING. We just didn’t have much money.

My story.

I could tell you my own story of poverty, illness and death and it would be absolutely true. It would also rip your heartstrings out and make you feel sorry for me, even though I don’t feel sorry for myself. (Heaven forbid if you could relate to my experience because then I’d have to feel sorry for you!) While authentic, this part of me is not important for people to know.

Here’s what I want you to know about me: I love what I do. I love it as much, if not more, now as I loved it when I started decades ago. I adore writing and designing, branding, marketing and advertising, creatively communicating and solving problems. I also love that I get to learn something new every single day. After “practicing” my craft for so many years I have reached the Carnegie Hall stage – I’m good at what I do. If we are ever fortunate to work together I am sure we will benefit one another. At the very least I believe we will enrich each others lives just by our connection.

End of story.

Any questions? Call me at 610.937.5187 or write rhonda@contentandcreativity.com.

The Great ReBranding

The Great ReBranding

How do these things happen? All I wanted to do was get new business cards, and the next thing I knew we were getting new head shots. Then the process somehow morphed into a complete redesign of our company’s corporate image.

Designing Women

We are the kind of people who will redesign a room on a whim. A colorful new pillow will result in completely new paint adventure, which we do so often that I am always fearful that the walls will collapse under the weight of each new coat. And that’s just our winter activities. In the spring and summer I become the Queen of Transplants, reconfiguring every single section of the garden for a totally new look. So I was not in the least surprised when Sara decided that we needed a new logo after only one year in business. Not surprised, but instantly terrified.

Combine two creative people, each with their unique style and perspective – not to mention generational differences – and you have the recipe for disaster. Well, perhaps that’s stretching the point, but getting the two of us on the same page insofar as our new logo design was not pretty. I had to put my foot down when Sara suggested we change the name of the company. Us old folks can only take so much change before our heads explode.

Thank God for Photoshop!

If you grew up playing with Mr. Potato Head, as I did, you know how much fun it is to work with Photoshop. We started with a couple of constraints – the name of the company plus the desire to keep “Creativity” as a multi-colored word. We were able to switch the “+” to an “&”, since the URL has to have “and” in it. The ampersand is tinted and behind the words to create a watermark effect.

Choosing the much-beloved (by me) American Typewriter font for “Content” was practically a no-brainer. It replicates an old typewriter style and perfectly represents the writing aspects of what we do. But while we agreed that “creativity” should be a script font, we couldn’t decide on the one we should use. I Mr. Potato Headed our logo with about 25 different scripts and took three Advil (twice!). Two weeks later we settled on a font named “Channel”.

Funneling Sales

Up until now our the services we offered only consisted of long-term social media management on a monthly retainer basis and limited time consulting for businesses who wanted to do it on their own but needed help getting started. We realized that this involved sizable commitments of time and money for many companies, as well as us. And for us, a company with a good, albeit short, track record, this still involved a lot of time selling ourselves.

Our solution is to develop a menu of additional services that are smaller and finite. This is what the information marketers call a “sales funnel”. You draw people into your community by giving them something very inexpensive or free, offer more services at a higher cost, and finally selling them on your main product is easier because you have established trust and already delivered good value.

Stay tuned for the introduction of these individual products that include short explainer videos, video extras, SEO and reputation management.

The Nightmare to Come

You might be thinking that with our fresh, new logo and updated business cards on the way that we can claim “Mission Accomplished.” You would be wrong. The next step it to totally revise our website design and copy, a task that has me terrified.

Not only that, but Sara just picked out a new rug for the family room and is looking at paint samples. I am going to need something much stronger than Advil!

Me and my #hashtag

Me and my #hashtag

After many years working in marketing and advertising I have learned that the big concepts driving these disciplines have not changed much but a lot of the little details in implementation are totally different. One of my biggest challenges is the smallest detail of them all. Hashtags. I always have to remind myself to use that one character “pound sign”, because when it comes to hashtags I am admittedly a late adapter. If you are humming, “… strolling down the avenue” right now you just may be in the same boat.

So what is a hashtag, and how and when is it used?

A hashtag is used for searching practically anything on most social media platforms. The word(s) that follow the # symbol can be a company name, brand name, event name or identifying abbreviation, a keyword or even a unique term used to start a conversation or promote a product. When using more than one word in your hashtag do not put spaces in between them.

Let’s say you own a shoe store and you sell Nike. Some of the hashtags you might use are #Nike, #NikeSale, #AirJordan, #WeLoveNike, #JustDoIt, #NikeGivaway, #CrossFit #NameOfYourStore and so on. How to use these hashtags really depends upon the platform.

Twitter

Hashtags were born on Twitter. They gained tremendous popularity as a way to search for information in real time, and from actual witnesses. A good example is the Egyptian revolution of 2011. Traditional news sources may have had trouble reporting due to censorship or the inability to get to the scene, but searching on Twitter for #Egypt resulted in hundreds of observations from folks on the ground.

These days hashtags are a must for businesses, and Twitter makes it much easier for a consumer to find exactly what they are looking for. Putting #Nike in the search bar brings up a page of options that include Live tweets, accounts with the word Nike in them, photos and videos and the most popular, this is retweeted and liked, tweets. For the most part, you won’t see more than three or four hashtags in a tweet, which is probably due to the character limitation on Twitter.

Let me take a detour here for a short discussion about trending topics. Twitter provides a list of the most popular current trends and how many tweets they are receiving. If a topic is relevant to your tweet you should absolutely use it as a hashtag in your tweet. If it is NOT, under no circumstances should you use the #trend – it is considered to be spam, turns people off, and may cost you some followers. You don’t want that, do you? On the other hand, if you can construct a tweet that comfortably incorporates your message with a trending topic by all means use the #trend.

Facebook

While a bit late to the party, hashtags are now quite popular – and in some cases quite overused – on Facebook. When you see a post with little content but a lot of hashtags you know that person is probably fishing for traffic more than attempting to provide useful content. This is not looked upon favorably.

When you do a search for #Nike on Facebook the first results will be any posts or mentions among the reader’s friends or groups they have joined. Then “Top” public posts appear in order of popularity, almost invariably with a great photo or video. Then you have the option of choosing additional search criteria such as People, Pages, Events, Apps, etc.

Instagram

On this popular photoblogging site hashtags are used extensively. The most important thing to remember is never use hashtags in the title of your post; always put your hashtags in the first comment below the photo. My partner Sara has a most excellent article on Instagram where you can learn much more.

YouTube

Hashtags are used minimally on YouTube, both in the video titles and descriptions. A search for #Nike brings up all videos that use the word, with or without the #, and in no particular order that I can discern.

Pinterest

Another site where hashtags are used sparingly by posters is Pinterest. A search for #Nike brings up all references to the brand, whether a hashtag is used or not. The pins that appear seem to in order of most popular, either due to the number of repins or the account itself. Pinterest also allows searches to be refined with choices such as (Nike) Shoes, Clothes, Outfits, etc.

LinkedIn

Hashtags are almost nonexistent on LinkedIn. The only people using them are either in marketing and social media, or they’ve copied and pasted a tweet or Facebook post and left the hashtags in. A search for #Nike brings up companies or divisions of companies named Nike, or people whose names have the word NIKE in them. My favorite of those is Nike than Nagula Raja.

Google+

If you are looking for additional hashtags related to the one you are using, Google+ provides a list of helpful #suggestions. A search for #Nike results in every post that includes the word, with or without a hashtag, in chronological order.

Every marketer and company dreams of launching a campaign that goes viral and brings in tons of leads and sales as a result. Creating a unique hashtag that takes off is just another tool with which you might be able to achieve that goal. With that in mind, I hereby present my personal hashtag in the hope that I can accurately convey my appreciation to anyone who made it to the end of this article:

#ThankYouForReading