The homepage of your website invites visitors to “join our mailing list” or “subscribe” and yet there is nothing on your site that evokes enough trust for people to want to give away their contact information.
How can you begin a relationship with your potential customers the moment they land on your website? We have 6 tips to help you start establishing trust:
If you want to earn someone’s trust, offer to help them … for free. Provide helpful resources, informative articles or blog posts, and invitations to contact you to help further. This is the stuff that relationships are built on. After all, if I find you to be smart and helpful with your website content and then I decided I need to hire a team, why would I go anywhere else? You don’t have to “sell me” on what you can do if you show me first how helpful you are.
Be sure your website copy isn’t all about you. If all the reader sees is you talking about you and how great you say you are, they probably won’t stick around for long. Often a website will look as if it were written by Captain Obvious, giving general information but offering nothing that shows that this company is uniquely qualified to help. “We are the best, most innovative solution-oriented…”
Your website copy should talk about your customers and the solutions you offer. Pack it with answers to customer’s most pressing questions about your products, services, and industry.
Does your copywriting match the personality of your brand? Does your website copy have a personality at all? When your copy sounds like a robot wrote it (or a really bad SEO company wrote it to appease the Google gods), or if it sounds like a technical manual, it will not engage the reader and evoke trust. When your writing is more conversational and very targeted, your reader will feel as if you are speaking directly to him.
So often web copy is written in an overly formal or technical tone. Write your website copy with a personal tone as if you are writing to a friend. I like to imagine sitting across the table from a good friend who has asked me for advice. If your friend asked you for advice, would you respond with “We set the industry standard for responsive customer service”? I hope not! Speak to your potential customers as friends. [See our recent post: Relationship Building with Your Buyer Persona]
Whether your business is made up of only you, or you have a team of 500, find ways to let your potential customers know who they will be working with. If your website is filled with only stock photos, and worse, most of them the corny stock images you see on every other website, the reader will question who they are actually dealing with or if you are a legit company at all. (If you have any of those images of perfectly diverse teams of smiling people giving each other a high five around the boardroom table, just know that we all know they’re not your real team members!)
Trust is built through transparency and authentic communication. Use real photos or at least a good mix of them on your website. There are so many great photo sources today, that there really is no excuse to use those horrible and very dated images on your website. [see our list of resources on: Stop Using Those Crappy Images On Your Website
If you feel you have to wait to share a photo of yourself until you color your hair, or lose 10 pounds, or buy a power suit, it’s time to get over that and realize that you can change out photos as often as you’d like. Stop waiting…get those photos loaded on your site.
While we are talking about getting real, let’s talk about posting some video on your site of you and your team answering the most frequently asked questions or interviewing customers and other experts. Video is the fastest way to establish trust if you can’t meet and spend time face-to-face. Don’t make them too overly-produced or they look like commercials that are trying to sell us something. Customers want to get to know you and like you. Video is a great tool to accomplish this.
WHAT DO OTHERS THINK ABOUT YOU?
You can tell me all day long how amazing you and your team are, but if I hear it from another customer of yours, it’s more believable. Share client testimonials and quotes. If they allow you to share their name and photo with the testimonial, it’s best. If you are using “Jane E” alongside a stock image of a businesswoman that just might be on that web visitor’s website, you’re busted!
Social proof comes from the mouths of others, not you. Sharing quotes, case studies, and video snippets from clients you have worked with will establish trust much faster than a paragraph of snappy copywriting about you.
Links to your social media accounts can also add to this social proof if you have people talking about your products and services there. Perhaps you have reviews left on Google My Business, Yelp, or even Facebook. Take a screenshot of those reviews and place them on your website.
SHOW WHERE YOU’VE BEEN FEATURED
Have you shared your expertise on other websites or on media outlets? Be sure to post those videos, links to podcast interviews, or even the logos to those media outlets you have been mentioned in or had articles or posts featured in. (Pro tip- put the logos in black and white to avoid issues around copyright infringement) You want to show that others trust you and so can your new viewers.
The original HTTPSprotocol was released in 1995 (Secure Socket Layer, or SSL, in case you’ve wondered what it actually stood for), and it enabled companies to handle credit card transactions online by protecting your payment details and helping to prove that the merchants you visited were who they said they were. Today many of the top search engines require you to have that SSL certificate on your site whether you deal with eCommerce or not, just to help weed out the riffraff spam sites. If you get the error message warning you that a site is not secure and to TURN BACK, you can relax a bit. Your computer is not about to explode. It’s just letting you know that the site you are trying to reach doesn’t have an updated SSL certificate.
To ensure your customers and readers don’t see that frightening warning message, make sure you have an updated SSL certificate. Most hosting companies can add that to your site for free or a small fee.
When we grew up our parents worried if we stayed out past the streetlights or they feared us doing something stupid and the next-door neighbors finding out.
Today we have bigger things to worry about with our kids (and our businesses) online. Reputation and brand management starts very early! Instead of worrying about what the neighbors will think, we need to worry about what the world will think when Google finds out! What will job recruiters, future customers, and college admissions counselors think when they check out our social media channels? I have 4 kids, all grown thankfully, and as my kids were growing up in the new digital age, I was constantly teaching them how to keep a clean digital footprint. I taught them (and their friends) early about the importance of having positive content showing up when someone Google’s their name. If you have nothing out there on the web (hard to do these days) and then one negative thing is posted, it’s very hard to dilute that. When you have 20 positive articles or posts about the good things you are doing, the one negative thing get’s folded in and it’s less painful. I’ve had directors and heads of organizations who have no blog posts, media interviews, or any trace of their existence online and then someone writes a negative article about them… that stings.
Last month I got a call from a father asking if he could hire us to help his son who got into some social media trouble. I explained that we were neither a crisis management firm nor a group of attorneys but I’d be happy to offer any help I could. The entire family came in. The son and a few friends had created a mean-spirited (and plain STUPID) social media account that they thought was anonymous. They posted some mean posts about a few other students and then as if that wasn’t stupid enough, they each liked the posts from their personal accounts. This family wanted to know how they could take down all of the posts that people were spreading. Well, lesson one is, nothing is private…NOTHING! Someone told someone and screenshots were taken and spread around with their names with petitions to get all students to write to the college admissions offices that each of the boys was heading off to. The boy who sat in front of me had been awarded a full-ride scholarship for sports. Lesson two, once it’s out there… IT’S OUT THERE! I used to say, “Once you tweet, you can’t delete” but it really is “When meanness is spread, your reputation is DEAD… almost!”
I wanted to put them all on the “naughty bench” for a 5-year time out! First, what teen hasn’t been taught the lessons of online management by the time he or she is in high school? Second, what parent doesn’t stay involved in the tools of the day so they can advise and teach their children how to use them wisely. It really does have to start when kids are in grade school. Perhaps earlier. After I lectured that boy as if he were my own son, I told them the sad truth… you can’t remove it. The posts and retweets are out there. I advised him to stay out of trouble, spend the next 6 months doing community service, and find new friends.
Today’s youth have grown up social. They have their own YouTube channels and Facebook pages by the time they are 10 (or younger). Some have blogs and websites before junior high. They manage complex social circles and post photos of themselves and their friends EVERYWHERE. Their parents are also blogging about them, sharing embarrassing photos with others on Facebook, and posting videos of little Johnny playing the tuba in the school play on YOUTUBE (usually not in a channel or set to private because mom and dad haven’t figured out how to do that). One study commissioned by security company AVG found that 92% of infants have an online presence by the time they are TWO! Moms post sonograms and infant pics all over their networks.
In business, we want to know where our name and our company brand is being talked about, and we even have tools to find out and manage our brands. You can set up Google Alerts, and use services like Brand Mention to send you notices when your name (or keywords) are mentioned in blogs, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and other places. What about for your kids? Don’t be naive and assume they are not using any of these tools. If they are old enough to text message or type on a computer (approximately age 2 these days), they are creating Google tracks.
Remember a brand isn’t just about the information YOU put out there. It is what your customers and others say about you out there. When I say Walmart, what is the BRAND IMAGE you get? Low cost, cheap, yellow happy face-dude? When I say Comcast or any other cable company, what is the BRAND IMAGE you get? And that doesn’t come from what they are saying out there…it comes from what others are saying about them. When was the last time you Googled your name? Your company’s name? Your KIDS names? Do it…with them sitting right next to you…so you can have these conversations. Don’t only check web results, but check images, videos, etc.
The fear of having one’s kids show up in ANY Google search can send chills of fear down the spine of most parents and cause many to pull internet cables out of the house altogether, but we can’t cripple our children by not allowing them to build a positive brand for themselves online either (after all your child just might become a gazillionaire for creating the next Facebook or Shopify). NOW is the time to teach them about reputation management and a safe online presence. Now is the time for YOU to learn about the importance of online brand management and reputation building.
If nothing shows up when you search your name or your company’s name (aside from the website that you hopefully have with the same domain), what can you do to change that so positive posts and threads of your brilliance show up in searches? If you have a common name, what can you do to capitalize on your product or service brand? Perhaps starting that blog you’ve been talking about would give you enough regular Google tracks that you can rise to the top of your name search! Offer to write articles or blog posts (pretty much the same thing these days depending on where it is shared) on other people’s websites or magazines. Creating content in any form (video, audio, written) on a regular basis and sharing it, will help you begin to build and influence the brand you’d like to have.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this and any tips on how you keep your kids safe, while still allowing them to utilize the tools of their generation. If you don’t have young children in this digital age category…LUCKY YOU! What advice would you give those who do (it is usually the child-free who give the best advice to parents 🙂
With so many tools available to leave Google tracks around town or around the globe, we must be intentional to build positive reputations and avoid any negative press. After all…what would your neighbor’s think?
As always, let me know if I or the team here at SocialKNX can help you and your organization use today’s technology tools to build your business and manage YOUR brand!
What’s the first thing you do when you see a video as you scroll through your Facebook feed? I’d guess that you first check the length of the video to decide whether or not it’s worth the time to watch it. Even if you do press play, how often do you actually watch the entire video?
Only 52% of viewers actually watch a video all the way till the end. If a video is under 60 seconds, that number jumps to 68%. These days, it’s hard for marketers to hold the attention of consumers- small bites of consumable information are what people seem to crave right now- as a result, marketers are tailoring content to consumers’ short attention spans.
While the long-standing “2 minute” rule is still a good guideline to go by in regards to your video length, it’s important to tailor each video length to the specific platform on which you are posting the video. Odds are, someone is more likely to watch a 4-minute long video on YouTube, but only last a minute if the same video is on Twitter.
How Long Should Your Videos Be?
In a nutshell, your video really should only be as long as it needs to be in order to convey the message you are intending. The video should be engaging all the way through – providing information that is valuable or that tells a compelling story without any “fluff.”
Facebook videos can technically be up to 240 minutes long, but let’s be honest, nobody wants to watch a 240 minute video on Facebook. On Facebook, videos organically get exposure on a news feed when they are at least 3 minutes long. That doesn’t mean that all of your videos need to be 3 minutes long – you want to focus on the message of the video rather than time limits. The video itself is what captures interests and sparks engagement, not the length of the video.
Some other things to keep in mind when creating a video for Facebook: use eye-catching imagery early on in the video as the first few seconds will automatically play as viewers scroll through a newsfeed. In these first few seconds, it is crucial to include only the information you need to get your point across.
Instagram essentially has three different options for posting videos: Instagram Feed, Instagram Story, and Instagram TV (IGTV).
Instagram Feed Videos posted in your Instagram feed can be up to 1 minute. That being said, Instagram is now set up so that if a video is posted to IGTV (more on IGTV below!), a 10-15 second preview will also show up in the regular feed. According to Hubspot research, videos that are, on average, 26 seconds receive the most comments on Instagram. Similar to Facebook, people are scrolling quickly through their Instagram feed and may not want to stop to watch a long video.
Instagram Story With Instagram Stories, each video uploaded directly to your story can be up to 15 seconds, but you can also post a longer video that will be broken up over multiple 15-second Instagram Story scenes. Statistics say that a story with 3 “parts” tends to be the most engaging.
Instagram TV (IGTV) IGTV was designed with long-form videos in mind, so like Facebook, your video should only be as long as it needs to be in order to get the point across. Previews of your IGTV video now show up in the Instagram feed, and users must then tap “Keep Watching” to watch the rest of the video.
Originally, Twitter had a 30 second limit for video uploads, but it has now been extended to as long as 2 minutes and 20 seconds. However, since Twitter users are used to short updates, it’s usually best to keep your videos on the shorter side. You could always consider creating short teaser videos and linking out to the full video on another social media platform like YouTube.
The audience for YouTube is different from Facebook, Instagram and Twitter because users turn to YouTube specifically for video content! As a result, viewers are prepared for longer videos as they are not aimlessly scrolling through a feed. Similar to Facebook, YouTube rewards videos that have more engagement (watch time) and will feature them more prominently in search results. 6 to 8 minutes is usually the ideal length of a video on YouTube, BUT if you can get the information across in less than 6 minutes, avoid stretching the video out with filler content.
While we do live in a fast-paced, ‘results NOW’ world, a benefit of longer videos is that they can build loyalty and create engagement with your brand on social media – as long as you make sure you are optimizing the videos for the correct social media platform to maximize your views and engagement. When a viewer spends more time watching your video, it typically means the content resonates with them personally, increasing their interest in your company. Video content can help your target audience get to know your brand, create that personal connection and establish that long-standing loyalty!
Here at SocialKNX, we know that different social media channels may require different strategies. Reach out to us today to see how we can help you break your content into byte-sized pieces that get shared across the social media universe!