We are settled
Many of you may be rolling your eyes saying, “Who cares?” While the rest of you are intrigued since you are probably among the masses who jumped on TikTok during the quarantine period to entertain yourself after finishing ALL OF NETFLIX. Now we have Reels to test drive. Aren’t global pandemics useful?
TikTok has been in the news A LOT lately with the announcement of Trump threatening to ban TiKTock in the US and telling Microsoft they have a month to buy the US division of TikTok and all kinds of other craziness. Picturing Microsoft users getting on TikTok is amusing in itself. Perhaps the RickRoll will make a comeback after all. I believe Twitter is now also in talks to purchase TikTok which worries me since Twitter bought Vine before that shriveled …on the vine, I’m not so sure that will go well either. While all the talks and bidding wars go on, Instagram rolled out Reels. Most people had no idea though since it seems to be a feature that is buried inside of stories.
Reels has been available for quite a while in other countries, but it began rolling out August 5th, in the U.S. Since I have been one those “over 40” (ok… over 50!) moms who are cluttering up TikTok with our SAVAGE moves and the Cannibal Dance. I thought I’d check out Reels over the weekend. I was sadly unimpressed. I really was hoping it would be more of a copycat app with the fun comedy and dance memes, but it reminded me more of… VINE.
Here are a few of the main points on each so you can consider where to waste… I mean, spend more of your time. Don’t get me wrong, I do see some amazing ways to use these apps for a brand, but it will take some time to sift through all of the 16-year-old dance videos and lots of creativity to create content that is worth sifting for.
- Launched in 2018 and already has over 2.5 billion downloads in the app store—almost a billion users worldwide and 100 million in the U.S. as of August 2020.
- More users spending more time on TikTok than on Instagram!
- 60-second videos
- Mostly entertainment- funny and fashion-oriented video challenges
- You can view TikTok videos without having an account
- Standalone app
- Launched August 5th in the U.S.
- 15-second videos
- Must have an Instagram account to view
- If you follow someone’s Reels you will also be following their Instagram feed
- It is mixed in with Instagram’s main app causing a bit of confusion and clutter with stories, IGTV, and the regular feed all mixed in with Reels
- More augmented reality filters (aka-deer face and sparkles spinning around your face to mask wrinkles and puffy eyes)
So after week one (and just two videos posted to Reels), I am not seeing much to get excited about yet. I’m sure there will be more features that get rolled out and perhaps it will take a few months for us “older folks” to find out about Reels since it’s buried within so many other Instagram features. Just look at the success (or lack thereof) IGTV has had. It was supposed to rival YouTube and I’ve never met someone outside of those in marketing who understand what it is, how to find it, or how to use it.
As popular as TikTok is, it will take a lot for Reels to snag market share. But then again, if TikTok gets snapped up by Microsoft and they blend it with LinkedIn (also owned by Microsoft), Reels could have a fighting chance. I’d better start practicing my SAVAGE moves for Reels now.
Like any new app, I suggest people get on there, poke around and watch a few videos or 87 hours of them (which is what will happen when you first get on TikTok) to see where your brand can find a space to fit in. It feels kind of like a junior high dance… stand against the wall looking awkward. Have a few of the mean girls tell you how old fat and uncoordinated you are and then throw your hands in the air like you just don’t care.
I’d love to know your thoughts or questions. Let us know if you are creating any Reels or if you find any super creative accounts we can all check out.
@GinaSchreck (on Reels)
Prefer video? Click here for REEL tips from SocialKNX CEO, Gina Schreck!
Do you remember the movie “Failure to Launch” with Matthew McConaughey? The basis of the movie was that he was the “grown” child that would not move out of his parent’s house… he was content with where he was…comfortable… and had no intention of changing that setup. We were not born to stay in one place. We were not meant to live in a state of comfort or complacency. Growth can be painful…and to grow we have to finally LAUNCH. We have to stop planning and talking about the thing and just DO IT! Have you been in that place in your business?
I grew up in San Jose, California, where the Winchester Mystery House is located. We would go on field trips to see this odd house. Back in the late 1800s, Sarah Winchester was married to William Winchester, the founder of the Winchester Gun Company. Sarah faced a horrible tragedy when their infant daughter died, and then William passed away from tuberculosis a couple of months later. Sarah felt she was being punished and haunted by all of the people who had died at the end of a Winchester rifle barrel. She went to a psychic who told her that she needed to leave Connecticut and move to San Jose, California to start building a new home in order to rid herself of the regular visits from angry spirits. The legend was, she was told as long as she kept building this house every day, and every night, the spirits would stay away.
This Victorian-style house has 160 rooms, is approximately 24,000 square feet, and despite the many oddities, the place is incredibly beautiful. There are stairwells that go nowhere, doors that open to brick walls and rooms within rooms. Millions of dollars were spent but the house was never a truly livable home. A modern fun fact is the Winchester House was Walt Disney’s inspiration for the Haunted Mansion at Disney theme parks.
There are so many people in business, like Sarah Winchester. They keep building and building to avoid those scary spirits of doubt, imposter syndrome, fear of failure, and others from moving in. Before long they are building stairways to nowhere (or random content pieces to no particular audience), doors that open to brick walls (freebies or lead generation pieces that really don’t take people to a strategic spot in the funnel), and millions of dollars spent for items that turn out to be unusable.
I’ve always said, “You can’t get great until you get started.” You have to know when you first open your store or launch that book or podcast, you’ll be in beta. So if you have a course that you’re launching, you run a beta program so that you can test and tweak. You just have to stop the building and move in.
When I was getting ready to open our co-working space The Village Workspace, we had to open the doors before we knew what would truly happen. We had planned and prepared for the best we knew how, but we wouldn’t know for sure until we just opened the doors. You can’t tweak until you get started and once you launch, you will find things to change. So my advice always is… start your beta, and go from there.
Now, I’m going to actually flip the coin here and say there are some people who try to launch a program or sell a book before they have built an audience. You want to make sure that in your planning stage you look at your plan and ask yourself, “Have I built a network before I need them?” In your planning stage ask yourself realistically, “Do I have an audience made up of just peers who will never purchase?” There are a lot of people out there having a lot of conversations on social media, with audiences of all friends. It’s just a love-fest that happens every day on their social media channels, but none of them will open their wallet and pay for your service. So you need to look at that and say, “Who is my audience? Are these friends and family members? Or these people who will really become customers?”
We probably all know someone who has been building a website forever or creating a course for the past 5 years. Sometimes, we need to stop the building, stop the planning, cancel that course we signed up for (to stall some more), and just launch.
Here are 3 steps to take if you’re feeling a little like Sarah Winchester right now:
At least 2 years before we opened the doors at The Village Workspace, I was talking about the opening. I had already envisioned this space open. I just proclaimed it as if it were already so. I told people we would be open by January 2020 and then started moving In that direction every day. It’s that target you need to focus on every day. Will some think you are crazy? Sure. Will some tell you all the reasons you can’t do it by that date. Of course, they will. As Walt Disney said, “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.” He also said, “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” I love that guy!
Once you claim it, start telling people. This adds accountability. You don’t want to tell the world you are writing a book and then you never finish it. Share not only the idea you are working on but the daily progress.
Take your audience along for the ride. Build anticipation and involve them along the way so that they are excited when it’s ready. If you wait until you are finished before you start talking about it, there will be no one there to buy it or talk about it. Trying to build a network that you need after the fact is very hard. You are now going at it from a sales angle instead of a relationship angle.
TAKE DAILY ACTION
I’m not talking about the never-ending action Sarah Winchester took (every day for 36 years (😮), but I am talking about taking action toward you FINISH LINE. Poor Sara had construction going on until the day she died. Don’t be that project.
Don’t let a day go by without looking at your plan and taking some sort of action. Whether it is calling a graphic designer, getting that new business mailing address set up, or writing 1,000 words in your book, do something every single day. Talking about it is one thing. Planning and taking courses to launch is another, but actually doing… doing something that moves you closer to the launch date… that’s the kind of action that brings clarity and completion!
Don’t forget, you can stay in beta for a long time. So launch, tweak, keep going, keep tweaking, and before you know it, you’re out the door and this project is flourishing, and you’re starting the next project.
I would love to hear from you about what projects you have been planning! But be honest, are you still planning? Or do you have a launch date? Contact our rockstar marketing team at SocialKNX or Schedule a call with me directly about what you’ve been planning so we can talk marketing strategies, or figure out how SocialKNX can support you in other ways… but in the meantime, let us know about it, so we can be excited for you!
I’ve owned my own business for over 25 years, and we serve clients around the globe, so didn’t give much thought to our own local search marketing. Yes, I know, we are a marketing company, but I’ve always focused on creating content and staying active on social channels like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. But this year I opened a local coworking space, The Village Workspace, on top of running our marketing company (because why not open a space where people gather right before a global pandemic!) and that changed my focus completely around local search marketing not just for local brick and mortar companies, but for any business. There is a lot to consider and a lot you can do to help your business be more findable…especially a local business.
Here are the 5 steps you need to take (yes, NEED to take) to grow your business:
1. CLAIM YOUR LOCAL BUSINESS
I am amazed at how many local businesses do not claim their accounts on Google, Yelp, Facebook or other local review sites. Perhaps it’s a lack of time or just a lack of knowledge. I often hear both from business owners who tell me they don’t have time to manage yet another social platform or they don’t want to get negative reviews so they don’t even go there.
Consumers are more tech-savvy than most businesses and they use the tools that business owners refuse to get on board with. This is just crazy! If you are running a business, you’d better learn to use the technology to connect with consumers or hire someone who knows how to do it for you.
I hear people say “I hate Yelp. People just buy fake reviews” or “I refuse to get on Facebook, it’s all political junk now.” Here’s the deal: It doesn’t matter what you like. It matters that your consumers are using these tools and talking about you whether you’re listening or not. If you are ignoring them, you will be missing opportunities or worse, you will miss out on the feedback people have to help you improve. Now, with that off my chest, let’s talk about how to do this.
To claim your business on most of these accounts, you can simply type your business name into the platform (example: Go to Google and type in your business name). If it asks, “Is this your business?” or if you don’t see a page or profile at all… Claim it! If it is claimed you will typically see a section on the right that opens up with reviews, photos, a map, and more information.
On Facebook, when you search for your business name, you may find other pages that customers have “created” when they “check-in” and didn’t find a page already. These become Place Pages and they stay there collecting comments and reviews until the business owner claims that business. Now you have to do clean-up work to merge or delete those pages. The price to pay for neglecting your social audience all these years.
If you haven’t claimed it, you will have to verify that it is indeed your business, with Google, Facebook, or the other sites by having an automated system call the number that is publicly listed for your business or mail you a postcard with a code on it. This postcard often gets tossed out with junk mail so be on the lookout for it. You have to follow the instructions on the postcard and enter the code to validate or verify the account. It’s kind of a pain, but it’s not rocket science. Get it done.
2. GET YOUR LOCAL BUSINESS ACCOUNT READY FOR ONLINE VISITORS
Now many companies that have done step one think that’s all there is to it. WRONG! You are just getting started. If you simply signed a lease or purchased a building but did nothing else to the space, you are not ready to invite customers in. The same holds true with your online accounts. You are now ready to build out the space to soon invite people in.
Be sure to fill out your profile on any social or review platform as completely as possible. Include lots of photos, videos (if they allow it), details like your contact information, your business hours, information about parking, or finding your entrance if it can be tricky to locate the door. Anything that you can do to make it easy for people to do business with you.
Photos are very important so don’t leave this to the few ugly photos you have with trashcans in the background or that are dark and creepy looking. (I’ve seen some photos on accounts –especially restaurants—that would keep me away for decades!) If you need to hire a photographer for a couple of hours, it’s worth it. Customers will often load photos of your business when leaving reviews and these will be added to your photo area on your profile. Be sure you are mixing in some nice, well-lit images on a regular basis.
3. MANAGE YOUR LOCAL BUSINESS ACCOUNT
Now that your place is looking sharp, it’s important to keep it that way. Don’t open the doors and then abandon the shop. Customers will likely post images to your Google account, along with their reviews. Be sure to check in on your accounts at least once a week, if not DAILY. Download the Google My Business App, the Yelp for Business App, or any of the sites you are using. They all most likely have an app to help make it easier for you to manage messages, reviews, and even upload new photos on the go and with ease.
If you are uploading regular images it will help to offset the occasional bad image of your business that gets loaded by customers. When I say “bad image” I mean those images of your business looking empty or with a dirty dish on the table. You can’t take them down, but you can help others see other images mixed in.
4. CONTINUE TO BUILD YOUR LOCAL BUSINESS ACCOUNT ON GOOGLE MY BUSINESS
Many don’t realize that Google My Business took the place of Google Plus, in the sense of allowing us to load a regular post and lots of information on our business pages to connect and inform our customers.
While you don’t have to post daily, it is ideal to update your posts at least every 7-10 days. Google keeps your post “in circulation” showing it prominently on your profile for about a week. Make a point to add a new post each week sharing events, promotions, or information that answers the questions of your customers.
Reviews are a huge part of your profiles on any of these sites…thus the reason they are called REVIEW SITES. Now you may think that if you build it they will come, but unlike Kevin Costner, we have to do a bit more work to get regular reviews flowing to our cornfields. (If you have no idea what I’m talking about here, Google field of dreams and add it to your list of must-watch movies this weekend!)
Google and other review sites want to see that you have reviews coming in regularly. If you get 10 reviews the week you open, and the people posting the review all have the same last name as you, it may seem a bit suspicious. Get those initial reviews but then make a point to ask for reviews monthly…or weekly! It’s never a great sign when you see a few great reviews all posted three years ago and nothing since.
When a customer compliments you on the service they’ve received, thank them and then ask if they would mind sharing that on Google, Yelp or Trip Advisor. Let them know where you’d love to have that review posted. Even better have cards printed up with a reminder to ‘Share the Love on ________.’ Send them a thank you email for telling you about the service they received and add a link directly to your review page on your favorite review sites.
Let people know that it is super helpful to your business and how much you appreciate it! If you do this on a regular basis, you will keep those reviews fresh and growing. This will definitely help new customers to not only find your business when they are searching, but they will see how incredible you are!
5. RESPOND TO ALL COMMENTS—GOOD, BAD OR INDIFFERENT
The last step is to manage your local search account and reply to every comment or question left for your brand. Yes, this means even the negative comments or complaints. It’s terrible when I see a business page and there are comments or great reviews and no one has bothered to respond to them.
The absolute worst thing you can do is delete a negative comment. The person will either come back and post again with even more fury or worst, they will post somewhere else where you have no control. On Google and Yelp, you can’t necessarily just remove a comment left by someone, but you can on Facebook or other review sites. DON’T DO IT! This will bring out every troll hiding under bridges and they’ll be wielding pitchforks. They can be relentless and ugly. Instead, use negative feedback as an opportunity to make things right in the public eye. Let people see how you step up and fix a problem. This will do more for your reputation than having 25 glowing 5-star reviews. Let people know how much you appreciate their positive reviews.
So when you sift through the many hats you wear as a business owner and you set that marketing hat on your head, take some time to show love to your review sites and they will in turn, show you love right back!
What other questions do you have about marketing your business? We are here to help. Be sure to jump into our DIYsocial Facebook group for tips and answers to your questions.