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.
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?
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
In the social media world we’ve moved away from merely bean counting our page likes and followers to getting those people to interact with our brands. It makes sense, right? In the real world your neighbor down the street may like you enough to say hi when they see you, but are they a real friend? Getting a page like or follower means you have acquired an acquaintance. Comments and shares means your acquaintances want to know you better, agreed with you, and hopefully want to tell their friends about you.
Marketers attempt to drive engagement in various ways. They take polls, conduct contests, post quizzes, have giveaways, and of course, provide useful information. They may even share viral content from other sources. There are other methods that work too.
The Great Peanut Butter and Jelly Dilemma
One of the best examples of customer engagement I have personally experienced happened many years ago in the offline space. I was writing and producing a quarterly hardcopy/email newsletter for a client who sold specialty hardware to the theatrical industry. Believe me, you couldn’t pick a more mind numbing subject to write about. The most exciting piece I normally got to create was a comparison of different ropes for various applications.
While preparing one of the issues we decided to throw in a silly item, just for a change. We asked, “How do you make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Peanut butter spread on the bread and jelly on top? Or do you put peanut butter on one slice of bread and jelly on the other?
Within days of mailing out our normal few hundred copies of the newsletter we started getting emails, letters and faxes (!!!) back from our readers. There were a lot of answers that matched our A/B test, but there were also a surprising number of folks who baked or toasted their PB&J sandwiches, added fried bananas or even bacon. By the next quarterly issue we had heard from about 30% of our mailing list. Respondents started agreeing or disagreeing with each other in letters that we printed. And by the third quarterly newsletter had received 15 requests to be added to the mailing list.
It’s called “Pattern Interrupt”
Pattern interrupt is a term first used by hypnotists to define the tool they use to break habits and open the patient up to changing their behaviors. In marketing this is one of the most effective ways of getting the attention of your audience. You break the pattern of what people expect to see on your Facebook page, as an example, and they will likely sit up and notice. After that happens your important promotional message will be presented to an already receptive audience.
How can marketers use pattern interrupt to their advantage? The simplest way is to post something entirely unexpected and outside your normal voice, whether it’s funny, controversial or just plain silly like my peanut butter and jelly example above. Be creative and break whatever patterns you’ve been using to communicate. Keep testing different ways to disrupt your audience’s normal expectations.
A final question
So, how do you make your peanut butter and jelly sandwich?
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.
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”.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: