“Happy” One Year Anniversary, Pandemic

“Happy” One Year Anniversary, Pandemic

World pandemic

Unprecedented. 

In these uncertain times.

In these challenging times.

New normal.

Now, more than ever.

If you hear those phrases one more time you’re going to scream, right?

It’s been one year since a world pandemic shut down most of the United States and the way we conducted business and marketing activities drastically changed. As marketers, now that a year has passed, we are forced to take a good look at the ways marketing has (rapidly!) changed in ways that might be permanent. 

Preserving a focus on community and empathy was brought to the forefront of marketing efforts during the darkest days of the pandemic – and is definitely a marketing “trend” that is here to stay. The shutdown certainly caused anxiety and stress to be consistent emotions in our daily lives. As marketers, ensuring that messages are empathetic and compassionate is something that is necessary to continue, even a year later. You want to make an effort to be human and speak to consumers without the sales pitch. (Remember- marketing is all about creating that connection!)

And when was the last time you checked out those buyer personas you created? You may have had a crystal clear picture of your buyer persona in the past, but, as we know, things have changed! Businesses are finding all sorts of new buyers for their products or services. Think of all the family members that have learned how to use Zoom just for family get-togethers; Zoom isn’t just for businesses any more.

Have you started doing more online ads since the pandemic started? Well, that is also a “trend” that is going to stay consistent as consumers continue to go online to find the answers and solutions to their problems or needs. Additionally, your digital marketing efforts should still collect data in order to help craft your buyer personas and create impactful digital marketing campaigns using social media, email, paid ads, and more. Your data can help you decide where you’ll need to double-down on marketing efforts that are working and where you need to make tweaks to efforts that aren’t.

You know those 5 statements we opened this blog with? Hard truth: Those statements aren’t unique anymore! Consumers have become “blind” to seeing those statements and they are likely to just keep scrolling past your message. Continue to use phrases and words that are engaging and eye-catching and create that connection. Think outside the box! Remember, you need them to realize that your product or service is solving a problem of theirs!

The pandemic might have shifted the marketing landscape, but it has also created opportunities for brands to effectively reach and engage with consumers at different stages of the buying journey. As the economy continues to recover, there could be an increase in consumer spending, so you want to make sure you’re staying in front of your current and potential customers’ needs. 

And of course, there’s social media! Many people have turned to social media for socializing and are now active on a variety of social media platforms- even those who swore they wouldn’t be on TikTok when the pandemic started! This surge in social media use has led to businesses putting a higher focus on building and maintaining strong customer relationships on social media, allowing marketers more efficient and effective communication with their audience.

So while we’ve passed the one-year anniversary of the COVID shutdown, it’s not necessarily a time for celebration. We’ve all adapted in personal and professional ways, and as marketers, we’ve adapted our marketing strategies. That being said, the primary goal of marketing efforts still stays the same: generate brand awareness, increase customer leads, create consumer loyalty, and ultimately grow your business.

Optimal Video Length for Social Media

Optimal Video Length for Social Media

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

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

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.

 

Twitter

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.

YouTube

You Tube 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!

Let’s Get REEL: Instagram Rolls Out Reels to Compete with TikTok

Let’s Get REEL: Instagram Rolls Out Reels to Compete with TikTok

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.

Instagram Reels

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.

TIKTOK:

  • 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

REELS:

  • Launched August 5th in the U.S.
  • 30-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)
    Instagram Reels versus TikTok

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.

TikTok versus Instagram Reels

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.

via GIPHY

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!

Social Marketing During a Crisis: Prepare to Surf

Social Marketing During a Crisis: Prepare to Surf

My family moved to Hawaii when I was in the 7th grade. We lived on the south side of Oahu and across the street from Ewa Beach. I never learned to surf, although I did try several times. I just loved spending hours out on the water watching surfers catch wave after wave. The “Golden Hour” was the best time to be out there. Right at sunset.

When the waves died down, many of the surfers would head in to party on the beach or go home, but those who had the patience to stay out on the water, were often rewarded with more big waves.

I think of this every time I go to a movie and insist on sitting in my seat until every last credit has rolled across the screen because I have been rewarded with seeing great bloopers or shorts that the filmmakers put at the end as a gift to those who were patient. (I know there are websites now that will tell you if the movie has anything worth waiting for, but I never check. I sit and wait, mostly to torment my family.) Here is one of the best from Monsters Inc.

Right now, a lot of surfers have paddled back to shore and are heading in because their business has slowed or come to a complete stop during COVID-19. During tough financial times, many people cut all marketing and then they sit complaining that their business has been killed by the crisis. I want to urge you… stay on your board. Stay out in the water. When that big wave comes, and it will, you want to be out there in front ready to ride.

surfers heading in dont stop your social media during crisis

Here are 3 Things You Can Be Doing on Social Media While You Wait for That Wave to Come:

 

1. Start showing up on your social channels via LIVE video.

Whether it’s Instagram LIVE, Facebook LIVE, YouTube LIVE or even Periscope (to go LIVE on Twitter). Go LIVE! (If you have been approved by LinkedIn earlier in 2019 you can go LIVE on LinkedIn as well)

LIVE streaming allows you to connect on a different level with your audience. It is where you are actually CONNECTING personally, not just promoting or sharing information. Sure you can (carefully) promote or share information, but when you’re LIVE you can actually have conversations with your audience. Answer their questions. Call them by name (which often freaks people out because they suddenly feel EXPOSED as if they were suddenly put on camera in their underwear) and let them know you see them. Use a tool like StreamYard to add branding elements and be able to have multiple people on screen together.

Don’t just go live once. Schedule a live broadcast at least once a week. If you can pick the same day and time it will help others start to expect it and even put it on their calendars. Be there for your community. Ask how people are doing and what you can help them with. If you are wanting to promote something, make sure it is something that would be truly helpful to them at this time.

I was listening to a podcast by Mark W. Schaeffer and he said communicating with your community during a crisis is like being at someone’s funeral. It’s great to ask, “What can I do to help?” but it’s not ok to ask, “Would you like to buy my latest book?” Be wise and be considerate of what people are going through in these difficult times.

2. Make sure you are staying active on your social channels daily.

You might think you don’t have anything to say right now, or that you don’t want to be promotional at a time like this. When we say show up, we mean share helpful and interesting content daily. Maybe it’s a poll, asking your audience what books or podcasts they are enjoying right now. Maybe it’s a tip that most people don’t know.

Ask how you can help. Ask how people are doing. Share what you’re doing to stay active or what you are learning during this time. Write down the top FAQ’s that you hear about your industry and answer them one or two a week. There are so many ways you can show up right now. Stay out there and be visible.

3. Go through your older content and look for ways to repurpose it.

Do you have a blog that lists several tips? Perhaps you can elaborate on it and turn it into a helpful tip sheet to use as a lead magnet. Can you take a topic you wrote about years ago (or months ago) and create a new video or podcast on that topic with a fresh twist? Make a commitment to reviving one old piece of content a week. You probably have a treasure trove of content. [check out this old blog post of mine about mining your attic to repurpose and create new content].

This is the time to be planning, stay active, and watch the horizon. You should already start to see the swell happening. If you are staying in front of your audience and offering helpful tips and resources, you can bet this is going to be a great ride … perhaps your best GOLDEN HOUR yet!

I’ll see you out there… SURF’S UP!

surfer in wave be ready for your business to come back

@GinaSchreck

5 Ways to Rock Facebook for Your Local Business in 2019

5 Ways to Rock Facebook for Your Local Business in 2019

As a business owner, I know there is a love-hate relationship we have with Facebook. We hate the time-suck that it is and that it seems no one is even listening or seeing anything we are doing there, and yet it is still the most heavily used social networking channel. We know we “should” have a presence there, just like having a website in 1999 was an important form of legitimacy.

There is no doubt that Facebook still attracts the attention of 7 out of every 10 people in the United States. (You know the other 3 people just lurk from their spouse’s account) and that many businesses have seen great success using Facebook, Instagram, and other social sites as tools in their marketing.

So how can you successfully use this mega platform to actually convince people to leave their homes, where they can simply push a button and Amazon or Grubhub will deliver whatever they want, to come into your local business and spend money? Let’s take a look at some tips you can implement before the year comes to a close.

5 ways to use Facebook for your local business to build brand awareness and increase sales:

 

1. Get involved in local community Facebook Groups

Or better yet, start your own Facebook group for your city, town, or community interest. Facebook is more than Personal Profiles and Business Pages. It also has plenty of groups focused around specific interests, especially in the local community and neighborhoods. Most neighborhoods today have their own Facebook Group to share events, crime warnings, wildlife sitings, items for sale, recommendations, and more.

You can engage with your local community and let them know you’re more than a faceless business that wants to sell them things. You also get an idea of the issues concerning your local community, events you might want to attend or sponsor, and networking opportunities with other retail business owners in the area. Use the group to ask questions and share “BEST OF” lists– Best dog parks, best place to get dessert after 10pm, best picnic spots, and more. Throw out the question and have people comment with their answers and then offer to curate the list into a .pdf and share it back with the group.

What if you share the little league scores or high school sports scores weekly for the group? Who doesn’t want to be a part of a local group like that? The beauty of Facebook Groups is the members see every message, unlike a business page that usually has to work harder to get attention or use advertising and promoted posts.

2. Create PHOTO-WORTHY spots in your local business.

So perhaps you can’t get a giant blue bear sculpture outside your place of business, but fortunately, people will snap shareable photos with a lot less. It could be a great welcome mat that says “Great Shoes” and people will want to stand, snap and share. It could be something painted on the wall of your restrooms and people will snap and share there as well. Get creative and think of areas of your business that are brandable! Be sure to train your staff to spot groups snapping photos and go over to offer to take one of the whole party. That is great digital service.

3. Use targeted ad options on Facebook.

Facebook’s ad platform is pretty impressive, especially when it comes to the targeting capabilities you have for the audience. If you want to focus on Facebook users who live in a specific area, or who frequent businesses that are near your retail location, you can fine-tune who sees your promoted messages. Ads or sponsored posts appear in the newsfeed and look like a typical post, except that it’s marked as an advertisement. Make sure you monitor your ads that are running to respond to any comments or questions left on the ad post.

how to set up Facebook Page for business

4. Run special promotions and events for your Facebook and social media fans.

Give your customers and potential customers a reason to pay attention to your page, and reward them for doing so. You don’t have to keep the promotions solely digital, especially if you want to increase foot-traffic on slow days.

Consider having deep discounts and flash sales that are in-store only but promote them online to get customers to come in. You can offer an in-demand product or other items discounted for the first 25 or 100 customers who come in on certain days. This sense of urgency encourages speed and enforces scarcity.

A trend that many are capitalizing on today is in-store experiences! Use Facebook and other social channels to let your community know you have a band playing or offer a tasting, a demo, or a yoga class or some other event for your fans. Experiences will draw those digital shoppers out and Facebook is a great place to talk about it. 

social marketing in store experiences trends for business Facebook for local business

5. Engage with your customers and prospects on your social media posts.

Many local businesses are still afraid of allowing comments on their social channels, fearing negative comments or reviews. People love social proof and if you allow comments on your pages you have the control that allows you to respond. If they comment on their own profiles or other pages, you can’t do anything about it. Invite reviews where you can participate. 

People want to see that others like your brand as much as they do, so when you get a compliment in your place of business, ask if they would be willing to share that on your Facebook page or Google Review. Make it easy for people who are already happy, to share their feelings with the world. Today, “Word of MOUSE” is the new “Word of Mouth” when it comes to recommendations.

If someone is talking about your store, products or services, online, be sure to acknowledge them. Don’t leave comments, testimonials or questions on your Business Page unanswered. Let people know you hear them and appreciate every single comment left.  [read: RESPONDING TO SOCIAL REVIEWS]

If there is someone being social with your brand on a regular basis, why not reward them with a special coupon or offer. Let them know you appreciate them sharing or engaging with you. Reward the behavior you want to be repeated.

We hope these 5 tips will inspire you to begin looking at Facebook with a fresh perspective when it comes to marketing your business. With a little creativity, you will have fans talking about you and more importantly…coming in to spend money! If you have more questions or want more ideas, be sure to join our DIY.social Group on Facebook, where entrepreneurs share ideas, tools, and resources to build their businesses!

If you are just getting that Facebook page set up we have created a guide that walks you through the steps to SET IT UP CORRECTLY and START GETTING FANS TO JOIN YOU! Download this free resource today!

Get More Retweets Shares and Followers With These 5 Tips

Get More Retweets Shares and Followers With These 5 Tips

Writing Better Posts will Get Your Message Further in the Social Stream

The social marketing space is extremely crowded and loud.  Twitter alone has approximately 500 MILLION tweets flying out PER DAY! (approximately 6 million every SECOND) Twitter is a stream flowing wild and full with interesting content and … not-so-interesting clutter. Your goal on your social media channels is to share interesting and helpful content that others find good enough that they pluck it out of the stream and pass it along through ReTweets and shares.

To help your social media messages stand out and be read more often, here are 5 things to keep in mind:

 

1. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind.

Being controversial isn’t a bad thing on social media channels… occasionally.  Tell us how you feel about something, while still being civil. People want to chime in and agree with you… or disagree with you.  If you are just quoting everyone else, it gets old. It’s like that old saying, “Be yourself…unless you’re a jerk, then be someone else!”

2. Become a better writer!

blogger, blog, content marketing

Punch a bit of drama, humor or even intrigue into your tweets and posts where you can.  Can you say it in a way that is more entertaining or humorous?  “Craving that last piece of cake” can be tweaked to read, “I kept hearing my name being called in a seductive voice. I turned to find the last piece of cake winking at me.” Just more fun to read and pass along! “Busy day ahead” can be made more interesting AND helpful by telling us a bit about you with, “Working with clients to tame their clutter today-I love scary closets” or “Busy day ahead expanding minds–this could get messy!”     [READ: 7 Skills Every Social Media Marketer Needs]

3. Share it More Than Once.

We all know that once is never enough for anything great, so why not share your post more than once. Unless it is time-sensitive, put that post out today in the morning and then again perhaps tomorrow afternoon. Keep in mind that people are not sitting at their computer or on their phone JUST reading your posts (I know…shocking!). I’m sorry to burst that bubble, but people are reading lots of content and perhaps they missed your post today but will catch it tomorrow. Try adding two different images to your posts and see which captures the attention better. Speaking of images…

4. Add more photos and videos to your posts to allow people to SEE what you are saying.

photos for social media posts, images for social
Social media is all about photos, videos, and all things visual. Make sure and utilize this on your posts.  While there are LOADS of great sites to find stock images [see: STOP USING THESE CRAPPY IMAGES ON YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS] you can also create your own with photos you snap, images you create with tools like Canva or other tools, or fun Gifs you find or create!

5. Be quiet sometimes.

On any social media platform, my philosophy (that even I do not follow at times) is BE HELPFUL, BE INTERESTING, or BE QUIET!  If you post tweets when there is nothing interesting or helpful to say…you might start being ignored.  Of course, we are talking about SOCIAL media, so there are times you are socializing and chatting it up with folks, but if you are just posting what you are doing without asking yourself “Can I make this more interesting or helpful?” you might want to just go for a walk.

social media marketing, digital agency


YOUR TURN TO SHARE:
Of all the posts you have shared in the past week, what was it that grabbed YOUR attention and inspired you to pass them along?

Here is our FREE resource to help you use Twitter to build your business — Download Now:

How to build business with Twitter

@GinaSchreck