Going Viral: Making Awesome Videos

Do you remember this video going around just before Mother’s Day this year? It was posted quietly on YouTube sometime in April, and by the time Mother’s Day came around it was being shared on social media networks everywhere.

I have to say, that little twist towards the end had me tearing up a little, too.

It was a great move by American Greetings, and a very well-made video. There’s little surprise that it became so popular and went viral so quickly. It had all the right elements to be perfectly shareable.

There’s more than enough reason for brands to want to create and use viral videos in their marketing.

But not all brands can get the hang of creating awesome videos that are compelling and shareable.

So here are 5 tips to help you with making an awesome viral video for your brand:

1. Make it relatable.

Videos that your audience can relate to on a personal level will be able to strike a chord in your viewers’ emotions – which is right where you want to hit them.

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The “World’s Toughest Job” video that I just posted above is definitely relatable. Only heartless people wouldn’t get a little teary-eyed when being reminded about the sacrifices their mothers made and the unconditional love they gave, right? (Or parents, for those of us whose dads did just as awesome a job raising them.)

You either want to go with something that resonates with a lot of viewers, or something that resonates with your target audience specifically – though the former will of course ensure that a lot more people may like (and share!) your video.

Videos that are relatable also allow you to reinforce the culture and personality of your brand.

2. Don’t make it too long.

The problem with long videos these days is that they tend to cause people’s eyes to keep shifting down to the bar at the bottom of the screen, as people decide whether they’re willing to invest the time to watch the rest of your video.

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In order for a video to be 5 minutes or longer, it has to be really good. You have to be able to hook your viewers with some really amazing content, otherwise they won’t be willing to watch all of it (especially in this age of decreasing attention spans).

The optimal length for a viral video is apparently no longer than one minute and 45 seconds.

So condense your marketing message, and make things too long-winded or convoluted. That will help make things clear to your viewers – as well as make it easier to catch and keep their attention.

3. Plan your distribution strategy. 

In order for your target audience to watch any of your videos, you need to make sure you put the video on a distribution channel where your target audience will actually see it.

You’ll need to do some research on your audience. Find out their usual online discovery habits, then use that information to structure a plan of distribution.

Getting a video onto the right channel can help to maximize the chances of it going viral.

4. Tell a story.

People are natural storytellers.

Stories help others to relate more to your brand and your product, and opens the door for great conversation.

It also encourages people to share their own experiences or speculate about what they’d do in a similar situation, which is a great starting point to encourage people to share your video as well.

The story doesn’t even have to be something amazing. It could be as simple as this little girl who doesn’t want her baby brother to grow up… while being all adorable about it.

There’s barely a story in there – yet look at that view count!

5. Write a viral title.

You need a title that rolls of the tongue, and is chock-full of keywords, and yet still describes the content of your video well.

Think of a title that goes well with the sentence: “Have you seen the video of _____?”

Say you made a video of yourself learning to dance ballet.

Here’s a bad title for that video: “My Journey of Dance: The Road To Ballerina-dom”

This is not much better: “Learning To Dance Like A Ballerino”

This is good, but not the best: “Man Learns To Dance Ballet”

You need a title like this: “Guy Learns To Dance Ballet In 3 Weeks! [SPED UP]”

It contains the required keywords, tells viewers exactly what they can expect to see, and informs them that they don’t have to worry about the video being too boring or too lengthy (because it’s sped up, so it’s probably a montage-like piece with appropriate music or something).

 

So what happens once you do go viral? 

So you managed to get your 15 minutes of fame.

During those 15 minutes, you want to open as many opportunities as you can. There’ll be time to bask in your fame later – for now, make sure the media can get hold of you, respond to emails and tweets, accept interviews… and most importantly, have a clear idea of where you want to direct your traffic from all this exposure.

Yeah so…. break a leg.

4 Social Proof Strategies For More Persuasive Marketing

Ever gone out for dinner, only to find a place with a few different restaurants that offer similar food, with similar prices? The only difference between them is that for one restaurant, there’s a long line of people waiting to be seated, while for the others there’s no line.

What would you think upon seeing this kind of situation?

I’ll tell you – your thoughts would probably be along the lines of: “The one with the long line must have better food. The other places probably suck.”

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In internet marketing terms, you just got influenced by social proof.

(I’ve already explained what social proof is in a previous blog post, by the way.)

The stats are pretty impressive. 70% of people nowadays will look at product reviews before deciding whether or not to make a purchase, and product reviews are 12% more trusted than product descriptions from the manufacturers.

But product reviews aren’t the only types of social proof out there. In fact, in her blog post, “Social Proof is the New Marketing”, blogger Aileen Lee talks about the five types of social proof that are currently most effective on the Internet.

  1. Expert social proof - social proof from a credible expert in the industry, such as a prominent blogger or business leader. This could be in the form of a blog post, a press quote – or even something as simple as a Twitter mention.
  2. Celebrity social proof – this is an endorsement of your product from a celebrity. This can backfire though, if the celebrity is not properly matched to the brand, or if they have a bad image.
  3. User social proof  – approval from people who have actually used your product/service. Customer reviews, case studies – some brands even get people to create videos of themselves using the brand’s products/services.
  4. “Wisdom of the crowds” social proof  – approval from a large group of people. It’s social proof that speaks about the popularity of a product: “X Billions Served”, “Most Popular Tunes”, etc.
  5. “Wisdom of your friends” social proof – approval from your friends who have used the product. You’ve probably seen it on Facebook widgets that show you how many of your friends have “liked” a certain product or brand page, or on Twitter where it displays how many of your followers are following another person.

Of course, you’re not limited to only these 5 types. There are other effective social proof strategies that you can implement in your business. Here are a few:

  • Testimonials

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You should definitely have seen these around before – basically, they’re user reviews from people outside of your brand.

The power of testimonials is in their objectivity. Because they come from people who don’t have any connection to you or your brand, in theory, they have more credibility.

If you haven’t already, you should start collecting testimonials and sprinkling them generously over your website. Put them on the pages that will be seen most by your website visitors.

For example, it’s a good idea to have some testimonials on the page where you’re offering say, an eBook download. That will increase conversions by a whole lot.

It’ll help even more if you can provide real photos of the people who gave the testimonials, or even a video.

  • Subscriber Counts

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Numbers matter. People feel more comfortable about “joining the crowd”.

That’s why you’ll find that your call to action will be a lot more successful if you include numbers – especially if you’re asking for opt-ins or subscriptions.

“Join 200,000+ of your peers! Get more articles delivered to your inbox, as well as our monthly newsletter!”

Something like that will work very well, especially if you mention the benefits of subscribing, and mention that joining is free and easy.

In fact, the “join XXXXX  of others” tactic has been shown to increase the subscriber conversion rate by 1400% – so if you have a sizable mailing list, you might want to consider showing it off in this way.

  • Ratings and Reviews

These often come along with testimonials, but the powerful part of this strategy is in the rating or scoring system.

By itself, a review may not be powerful enough to convert – but adding a score for the product can change that.

This is because the ratings are usually the average scoring provided by a large number of people – and as I mentioned earlier, the wisdom of a large crowd can go a long way to convince people that something is worth buying.

  • Influencer Endorsements

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According to Andy Crestodina: “The more relevant and influential the endorser, the more powerful the social proof.”

If your business has ever received a compliment from a well-known person who’s respected by your audience, you’ll want to take it and put it up on your website or landing page.

Conclusion

Social proof equals sway. If you want to have more sway among your prospects, you’ll want to develop some strategies to put social proof to work for you in all your online marketing endeavours.

The 5 Things Every Awesome Story Needs

Ever heard the saying, “Facts tell, stories sell?” 

Well, they do.

Whether you know it or not, or whether you intended to or not, you’re telling a story in everything that you do to market your business.

But that’s okay. Stories are a fundamental part of how we communicate as human beings. By telling someone a story, you can capture their attention, entertain, enlighten and persuade them.

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Also, stories are memorable and shareable – two of the most important components of great content.

Heck, even my About page isn’t some informative “this is my site and it’s about bla bla bla” kind of page. No, my About page tells my story. Why?

Because by telling my story, it helps people to relate to me and what I do. It helps me to set my website apart from others and create that important initial connection with a new visitor or reader.

So yes, stories are important when it comes to marketing. But how do you tell one effectively?

Well, according to Robert Dickman, the author of The Elements of Persuasion, this is the formula for a truly effective story:

  1. A story is a fact
  2. Wrapped in emotion
  3. That compels us to take action
  4. That transforms us in some way

So here are the five important elements that every great marketing story needs:

1. A Hero/Heroine.

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It wouldn’t be much of a story if it wasn’t about someone, right?

Think about it. Have you ever read a story that didn’t have a hero or heroine in it? Harry Potter, Twilight, 50 Shades, Godzilla – no matter what, every awesome story has a main character.

However, when it comes to marketing…. your main character shouldn’t be just anyone. And contrary to popular practice, it shouldn’t be youNor should it be your company or business.

That just makes for what we call “insecurity marketing”: “Buy our soda drink or you’ll look like a loser.” Which in turn makes for an easily-ignored, selfish marketing message.

Instead, the hero of your marketing story… should be the customer. 

You know, someone who is transformed as the story progresses, from a normal, regular Joe – into someone really extraordinary.

2. A goal. 

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The best businesses are all about solving their customers’ problems. If we follow the point I just made above, they’re about transforming your customers.

To craft a story that your customers can relate to, you need to know where they are today, and where they need to go.

You want to tell a story that answers questions such as:

  • What will your customer be able to do that they can’t do now?
  • What will they have that they didn’t have before?
  • What will they believe?
  • Will there be a physical transformation, and if so, what kind?

Without understanding your customer-hero’s goal, you won’t have a story, just a collection of anecdotes.

3. A problem/obstacle.

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If there is no problem, then your customer wouldn’t need you to solve anything for them.

Obstacles and problems are what make stories interesting. Your obstacle should be the thing that is currently in between where your customer currently is, and where they want to be.

Some obstacles are external, some are internal. But no matter which kind, you need to know exactly what is stopping your customer from reaching his or her goal.

This is part of the reason why you should really look into researching buyer personas for your target audience. They’ll help you to understand your audience better, and help you to craft a more authentic, compelling story.

4. A mentor/teacher figure. 

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Now I know you’ve been thinking: Hey, wait a minute. If my customer is the hero, what role is left for me and my business?

Well… remember in Star Wars, Luke had Obi-Wan Kenobi? Well, that’s you. You’re Obi-Wan.

If your customer is Harry Potter, then you’re Dumbledore.

If your customer is Frodo Baggins, then you’re Gandalf.

You’re the wise mentor/teacher who can provide the tools or information that the hero needs in order to achieve his goal.

Yes, you’re freaking Yoda.

This is why you shouldn’t portray your customer as a damsel-in-distress – because your company should not be portrayed as the hero who rides in on a white horse and rescues them. That infantilizes your customer, and makes them look helpless and dumb.

Instead, you want to make sure that you emphasize on how your customer-hero’s journey was the result of his or her own hard work and effort, while your business is always there to guide, mentor and help.

5. The truth.

[19th century copywriter] John Powers had given us all we’ve ever really needed to know. Be interesting. Tell the truth. And if you can’t tell the truth, change what you’re doing so you can. In other words, live the truth.”

Winning the Story Wars by Jonah Sachs

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Transparency in your marketing can really help you to get amazing results sometimes.

You may not think it, but it takes real courage to be open and honest about your business, about who you serve and what problems you solve. But the more honest you can be, the more customer loyalty you’ll find your business getting.

Of course, you may not be in a position to decide how honest you can be in your marketing. That’s fine. But in today’s world, honesty and transparency can really be one of the most valued story elements of all.

Split test and try it out. You may find yourself getting results that you never expected.

4 Ways That Marketers Can Use Foursquare

I have to admit, I never thought that Foursquare was particularly useful or interesting.

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A few of my coworkers used the app, but that was it. There didn’t seem anything too great about it – not even when one of them apparently checked in enough times to become “mayor” of the office. Woohoo.

Plus, it didn’t seem particularly smart to keep “checking in” whenever I went out somewhere – that’s kind of like posting a status that says: “Please rob my house, I’m not at home.”

But then I started noticing how some of the big brands were using it as a location-based marketing tool, and I realized that it’s more than just a “check-in” app. It’s a great platform for bridging the gap between your offline and online audience in an affordable and scalable way. 

(You can read more about location-based marketing here, here and here in some of my earlier posts.)

Foursquare’s a great place for offering deals to users, as well as for giving people more value when they’re searching for different things in a particular city.

And by the way, Foursquare has plans to introduce a new version of the app later this summer, with new, personalized ways to help people find the best places. As marketers, you might want to be keeping an eye out for that.

In the meantime, how are businesses currently using Foursquare?

  • Share deals and updates.

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Foursquare doesn’t just help people to discover your business – it also gives you a way to motivate people to visit your business.

You can do this by offering specials and deals that incentivize check-ins. For example you could offer a discount when people check in at your place, or run a contest, ex: “Tweet your check-in for the chance to win an iPad!”

Users will be able to see these special offers by tapping on “Browse Nearby” at the top of the app, and then on “Specials”.

These specials are a cost-efficient way to get Foursquare users to find out about your business, see your social side, build customer loyalty, and create a unique experience on the platform for your customer base.

  • Improve your audience’s event experience.

This could be either your company’s own event, or an event they’re involved with. You can use Foursquare to reach new audiences and generate more interest in your products and services.

It’s easy to add an event to your Foursquare listing – and that in turn will allow people to share their event check-in with their social networks.

That’ll help you increase visibility on other platforms, as well as engagement at your event.

  • Increase engagement with games and trivia.

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Take ESPN for an example here. They’re a brand that has nothing to sell, no physical business location to check-in at… and yet they’re on Foursquare. Why?

For the engagement with their audience, of course. 

If you like ESPN on Foursquare, you get sports tips on the best arenas, stadiums, baseball parks and etc from all around the world. You’ll also get fun tips and sports trivia.

So for brands that don’t have anything to sell or anywhere to check in at, you can definitely aim for audience engagement instead.

  • Share your favorites.

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Ever noticed how people love following celebrities they like? Everyone loves getting an inside look at the lives of famous people.

Take Ellen DeGeneres for example. She’s got one of the larger Foursquare followings out there, and her followers can see everything that she’s listed as her favorite places from around the world.

If they check-in at these places, they can win special prizes and offers, and even the chance to appear on her show.

If you’re marketing your name as a brand, chances are you’ll have quite a lot of followers, just like Ellen. You can learn from her example and offer discounts or special deals for those who check-in to places that are on your Favorites list.

Or provide value for your followers by recommending places you have been to before.

Converting Your Visitors: Getting Inside Their Heads

Humans are selfish. Your visitors are selfish.

When your visitors visit your webpage, they wish to gain something.

They browse through the webpage, the content and then they decide whether the products or services that you are offering are worth their dime or not.

“What’s in it for me?” 

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So ask yourself, “What do my visitors want?”

First of all, your webpage design is the face to your site and it has to be presentable.

If your visitors do not like  the look of your webpage, do something about it. 

A/B testing is a great way for you to determine the best look for your webpage based on your visitors’ liking. Refine and test your page regularly to achieve more conversions.

Remember, if your visitors are attracted to your webpage, they are more likely to stay longer in your page,

providing you a higher possibility of selling your products or services.

 

Now that your visitors have decided to stay and check out what you have to offer…. Figure out what will most likely be the reason that they purchase your products or services.

Studies have shown that the first 10 seconds is crucial in getting your visitors to stay and browse longer.

Still, though getting your visitors to stay longer is a great idea, it doesn’t mean you have to hard sell. In fact, hard selling in fact is proven to produce an adverse result.

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Convince them to take the first step and that they have nothing to lose.

Let them know that you are aware of their concerns and get rid of their concerns by displaying credible statements, facts and research.

Credibility is crucial for any business in the world.

Provide testimonials from individuals that are relatable to your visitors or credible spokespeople such as bloggers.

Bloggers are potentially a bigger influence to your visitors compared to celebrities and this is why.

If you have worked with well known, esteemed organisations, put it on display.

Your experience and list of clientele will be able to assure them of the quality of your products or services.

People tend to be more convinced and they will want to be a part of something that others have already experienced.

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Your visitors will be pleased to receive detailed product descriptions.

Provide the best video or image quality of your products or services exhibiting clear benefits that you know your visitors want to see.

Also, penny-pinching will get you nowhere. 

Add more value to your products and services by offering your visitors extra benefits.

Your visitors will enjoy little rewards like this.

It is understandable that you may want to save costs but these costs will definitely benefit you in the long run.

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Apply the principle of scarcity and make sure your contents are easily accessible in the webpage.

Direct them into purchasing your products or service using the call-to-action element.

Your call-to-action should be fairly spread throughout your webpage and they should be able to direct them to wherever appropriate and relevant.

Keep it simple and clear. 

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It is also proven that labelling works as a catalyst to your visitors’ purchase decision.

For instance, your visitors’ purchase decision may be influenced if you label them in statements like this:

“Smart consumers like you will definitely not let such a golden opportunity pass you by.”

Do you see what this statement is doing?

By labelling your visitors smart, you are able to make them think that purchasing your products or services is a wise decision to do.

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So, what else do your visitors want?

Just like you, your visitors only want the best.

Just like you, they do not like to wait. 

Offer fast shipping options and anything else that can save them from their nightmare of anticipating.

Most importantly, increase the speed of your site.

No one enjoys spending time waiting for a page to load.

Studies have shown that almost 50 percent of visitors prefer a webpage to load in less than 2 seconds and 40 percent of them will leave the page if it is not loaded after 3 seconds.

If you think that providing a large variety of choices to your visitors is a good thing – then think again.

Your visitors/potential customers will suffer from choice paralysis.

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When too many options or choices are being offered, they will not be able to make up their mind, deciding not to purchase anything in the end.

So, limit their choice and display each choice’s unique characteristics.

Show confidence in your products and services with a long duration of return policy or even money back guarantee.

It will increase their confidence to purchase your products or services.

True enough, there may be customers that will misuse this guarantee and the number of refunds will increase.

However, in the long run, this feature will definitely benefit you.

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Last but not least, be reachable and stimulate interactions with your visitors via social platforms. Do not be afraid to receive feedbacks and reviews from your visitors.

Show them that you want to improve. 

Constructive feedbacks will help you to understand them better and to further improve your webpage in the long run.

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Remember after all the question is, “What do your visitors want?”

3 Steps To Becoming Relevant

Ever received a text or email on your smartphone at some ungodly hour telling you to go check out the latest sale/promotion for some product, or offering a coupon for a special discount?

Yeah, I figured most people have.

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You might even be one of the marketers who’s sending those out.

Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news… but that’s not a very good idea.

Your customers Nobody needs to be receiving advertising messages while they’re sleeping.

That means you’re not personalizing your marketing messages, and that annoys and frustrates most consumers.

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According to a survey of 1202 adults in the US:

  • 52% of respondents consider these types of images “intrusive” or “spammy”
  • 46% say they’re not relevant to their interests
  • 33% say they don’t offer any value

However, 41% indicated they would share more information with companies via mobile in exchange for relevant coupons or offers, among which the most common info they were willing to share was location and demographic data.

Basically, what you need to realize is that in this day and age, consumers want to see personalized, relevant content that is tailored and adapted to their needs and interests and uses their data in a responsible, transparent way.

It’s about delivering the right message to the right person at the right time.

Personalizing your emails can help:

  • improve clickthrough rates by 14% and conversion rates by 10%
  • keep people from unsubscribing (56% of people unsubscribe when they are sent content that is not relevant)
  • increase the view-to-submission rate for calls to action.
  • produce a 20% increase in sales opportunities

(You can read more about email personalization here.)

So how can your business successfully personalize its marketing messages?

Step 1: Segment your audience.

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Most marketers would already have taken this step, really. Still, it’s always good to revisit your audience segments and make sure that they make the most sense for your business.

If you haven’t segmented your audience yet, now’s a good time to start. Split your audience into separate categories depending on the type of message that segment would be most interested in receiving.

Alternatively, you could segment your audience based on their industry, where they are in the sales funnel, location, or some other defining factor that makes sense.

Step 2: Create and deliver your message.

Now that you have the segments, you need to create unique message content for each, that is tailored specifically for the audience segment that it’s intended for.

Different segments might need different styles of copy, images, videos and even landing pages. The calls to action should also be personalized, as well as the email subject line.

Step 3: Measure results.

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Despite everything I’ve mentioned, personalization does not work for all businesses. Implementing a personalization and relevance strategy for your email and mobile marketing is only worthwhile if it actually works for you.

That’s why you need to know your numbers. You need to test and tweak and measure your results and see what works and doesn’t work for you.

You can measure personalization the same way your measure the user-friendliness of your content. You know, stuff like the bounce rate, conversion rates, click-through rates… all of these are important for you to know.

Facebook’s Newsfeed Algorithm: What’s New

So last Monday, Facebook tweaked its newsfeed algorithm for probably the bazillionth time.

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What changed, and why? 

Well, this time, the changes are apparently to provide its users with better videos on the social media platform.

Remember I told you about Facebook’s plans to start rolling out video ads?

So now it seems Facebook’s trying to figure out which of its users like their videos so far, and which ones don’t even bother watching.

Now, the algorithm includes a brand spanking new video-ranking system, which takes into account whether people are actually watching each video, and for how long. That information is then used to decide who else will see that video in their feed.

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It’s actually more accurate than the previous algorithm, which calculated a video’s success by the amount of Likes and comments. However, the new measurement is aimed towards calculating how captivating the content of the video is.

According to Facebook, those who tend to watch more videos in their newsfeed can also expect to see more videos near the top of their feeds, while those who watch fewer videos can expect to see less. (However, the algorithm will only count the videos from Facebook itself, not the ones your or your friends share from YouTube and other video sharing websites.)

Also, users who prefer video ads will find that they see less of image ads, and more video ads in their feed.

The reason for this tweak was probably because of 2 things:

  • Facebook’s been trying to personalize each person’s newsfeed by letting them see the type of content each user is more interested in. So if a user prefers more videos in their feed, Facebook tries to make sure they get more videos.
  • Facebook also wants to see which users will be most receptive to their new video ads. The more they know about their users’ video-watching habits, the more successful their video ad format will be.

So what other algorithm tweaks has Facebook implemented over the past few months, and how does it affect us marketers?

1. Fewer Facebook ads

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Facebook recently announced that it will be showing larger, but fewer ads on the right hand side of your newsfeed.

This is good news for Facebook users, but not quite as good for marketers. Especially since it also means that buying one of those ads is going to cost more.

Not to mention that now, there’s going to be much fiercer competition over one of those coveted right-hand side ad spots – especially since now that there are fewer ads there, more people are finding the ads on the right more engaging, and advertisers are getting more value for their ad impressions.

2. Better quality news stories

Facebook’s been cracking down on what it deems “spammy content” – which means that if you were sharing any of this type of content in order to get more engagement, you might want to change your content strategy.

“Spammy content” according to Facebook is content that users repeatedly upload and share, or which explicitly ask for comments or Likes. Even memes are considered spammy – and so all of these types of content will appear much less in people’s newsfeeds.

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Also, Facebook will resurface old posts that perform well (those that receive more engagement and are considered “hot topics”) in your newsfeed, even if you’ve already read them. Which is why even if you set your feed to show “Most Recent” stories, chances are you’ll still see some popular content resurfacing at the top again and again.

3. More content from brands

Facebook has been doing it’s part to help brands expand their audience: If a brand tags another brand in a post, their posted content can now be seen by the followers of both brand pages.

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It’s a simple way for brands to increase their reach, and may mean more brand-related content in peoples’ newsfeeds.

4 Marketing Lessons From The 2014 World Cup

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Whether you’re the world’s greatest soccer fan, or someone who doesn’t really care about the game at all, I’m sure you’ll have noticed that it’s currently World Cup season.

“For 32 days, the whole world dreams the same dream”, as the Twitter ad goes.

Some of you might think I’ve lost it a little.

How can football (soccer, for the American readers) possibly be related to marketing? What lessons can marketers take away from the World Cup?

No matter what the event is, there’s always something to learn. 

So here are five of the top takeaways marketers can get from the World Cup:

1. Stay relevant.

Marketers always need to be in touch with all the current technology and consumer trends.

This year, FIFA really integrated all kinds of digital media and technology in order to promote the event and increase the worldwide hype.

Compared to the previous World Cups, they’ve really gone all out, even increasing mobile adoption and making it the primary medium of communication – a great idea, especially with today’s “mobile-first” generation.

2. Create and utilize engaging content. 

This year, the content we’ve seen from the World Cup advertisers is nothing short of outstanding. It’s been a steady stream of visual, engaging content that manages to create emotional connections to the event and the individual teams.

“Emotional connections” is really the keyword here. Ideas that spread are emotional. Only companies that can touch a person’s heart will likewise be able to touch that person’s pocketbook.

One great example of the kind of content I’m talking about is the “Game Before The Game” commercial from Beats, which you can watch below:

Find out what channels your customers use to acquire information. Then develop content that appeals to their needs. Find a way to create content that adds value to the World Cup conversation through entertaining content.

3. Get on social media.

The World Cup has sparked a real social media frenzy. Twitter anticipates this event to be “one of the most-Tweeted global events of all time”.

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74.2% of World Cup viewers are expected to be on social media while watching the World Cup. And from that number, 42% will be posting/tweeting about their favorite World Cup ads.

And 52% will be more likely to follow a brand after the World Cup as opposed to a team.

With all the passionate, energetic soccer fans online during this event, there’s no better time to get really active on social media. Be engaging. Be passionate. Be relevant, and helpful, and you’ll find yourself getting a ton of new followers before you know it.

Let me put it this way: if you’re not on social media when most of your audience are on it, then you’re missing out on a lot of potential customers and followers.

(If you need help figuring out what type of content to post, read this post on what types of posts are the most popular.)

4. Build/expand your community. 

Sports enthusiasts are some of the most passionate people in the world. They’ll eagerly come back any time there’s a new event that they’re passionate about, even with several years’ break in between.

That’s the kind of devout community that you’ll want to build for your company or brand through social media.

Good marketers know the value of building a long-term social following, whether offline or online.

And while you’re at it, take the opportunity to expand your own network while everyone’s online. Find others in the same, or related industries, and leverage them into your social circles. This helps you create new opportunities for growing and learning.

Twitter’s Latest GIFt

If you’re a regular Twitter user, you may have realized yesterday that Twitter now allows its users to share and view GIFs.

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Whether you’re on iPhone, Android, or use the web version of Twitter, you’ll find that GIFs now show up in your timeline with a video-esque Play button, presumably so users can choose to play the GIF or not.

Also, if you would like to upload your own GIF, you can do so the same way you upload photos – through the gallery button below the text box.

No longer will anyone have to go through the long and tedious process of uploading your GIF to a third-party site like Imgur and then share the link on Twitter. Just upload it directly to Twitter, and you’re good to go.

Now, as to why this is amazing: because being able to upload GIFs on Twitter opens up an entire new world for content marketers. 

  • GIFS stand out in the Twitter feed.

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A HubSpot split test discovered that when an image is added to a Tweet, there will be a 55% increase in leads. That’s because images stand out in the Twitter feed.

Just like images, GIFs have more weight in the Twitter feed algorithm, and can catch your readers’ eyes.

You can use them to get your audience’s attention, and make your Tweet more clickworthy, since readers would need to click on the Play button to play the GIF anyway.

TIP: Try not to use GIFs with a white background, as that can make the white Play button harder to see.

  • They’re easy to digest.

Twitter GIFs aren’t very complicated at all.

They don’t open in a new window (which some users find annoying), and they’re short and easy to consume.

Plus, they’re fun. People love GIFs. Most of us have been waiting for Facebook to allow GIF comments, but I guess we’ll have to keep waiting…

  • They can communicate emotions.

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This is probably one of the best thing about GIFs… they can elicit emotions from people.

Being able to see an animation of a response, for example, or a human face, can help people empathize or feel some sort of emotion connected to the one in the animation.

GIFs can help your followers to feel whatever emotions that you want them to feel, depending on how well you use your GIFs and craft your Tweets. This can help a lot in your marketing efforts!

 

Several brands have already gotten started with GIFs on Twitter, and are going all out with the playful new feature. (Check out 8 of the best ones here.) How about you? Are you ready to get on the bandwagon and start getting creative with your content?

 

 

The 4 Biggest Social Media Stumbling Blocks (And How To Resolve Them)

It’s not easy to consistently succeed when it comes to social media.

Even with all the free information online, putting things into practice and actually managing to get engagement isn’t as easy as theory makes it seem. And what works for one business won’t necessarily work for another.

So I have compiled a list of 4 of the biggest stumbling blocks when it comes to social media success… along with the solutions to overcome them.

  • Block #1 – Not Enough Time

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This is absolutely the most common reason given by marketers everywhere for their lack of a social media presence.

With all the other marketing stuff they’re dabbling in, there’s just no time for social media, they say.

The solution: One thing you can do is outsource your social media management. Even if you can’t afford to hire someone full-time, hire a part-time freelancer to handle your social media accounts. You can look around on places like ODesk and Elance as well. I recommend hiring someone for the long-term, so you won’t end up needing to train a new employee every few months.

Or, you could decide to spend say, exactly one hour each day on social media (no more, and no less). If you can dedicate a manageable , set amount of time to your social media efforts each day (without interruption from other activities), then you don’t really need to hire anyone. It’s only if you can’t find time to create content and respond to all your followers’ posts and comments that you may really need to hire someone to help.

You can also try and use online social media tools to help you cut down on the amount of effort you need to put in.

One last solution is to try and cut down on the number of social media platforms you’re on. Try and be on only the social media channels that are absolutely necessary for your business. You don’t have to be everywhere online.

  • Block #2 – Unable To Come Up With Content Ideas

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This is another common problem when it comes to managing social media. Sometimes, you just don’t know what to post.

There’s only so many motivational quote images you can put up, right? And maybe you don’t have a blog or website, so you don’t always have something to share.

Or maybe your product or business is something that you feel is just not “sexy” enough for social media. Maybe it’s something like construction or plumbing or life insurance, or so on.

The solution: For the first problem, all you need to know is that even if you don’t have your own content to share, like from your own blog or site, you can still link to content produced by other sites and people. As long as it’s relevant, it’s fine.

You can even share your thoughts and views on events or happenings that are related to your niche, or something big that’s happening at the moment.

For the other problem – not being “sexy” enough for social media – well, that’s not true. No matter what niche you’re in, you can always come up with new, creative content and take your product or niche out of its box.

As I explained in this previous post, you’re never too boring for social media.

  • Block #3 – Can’t See How Social Media Fits Into Your Overall Marketing Strategy

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If you haven’t yet defined how social media fits into your marketing strategy, you should take some time to sit down and do just that.

You may not be the boss in your business, in which case may need to sit down with your boss and colleagues and explain to them how social media will be able to help the company to reach its business goals.

The solution: Get a copy of your company’s goals for the year, and identify which of them social media can contribute to, and how. Then you can review your overall marketing goals and identify exactly how social fits in.

  • Block #4 – Don’t Know What Followers Want To See

This is related to the second stumbling block.

You may not have a clear idea of what your followers want to see from you, or what they want you to share or talk about on social media.

You may even find that although you post every day, you’re not seeing the type of results you want in terms of engagement and interaction.

The solution: The simplest solution for this problem is: just ask them. Create a poll, or post a few questions on potential topics for your followers, and let them tell you what they would like to see. You can even ask them to contribute content.

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If there isn’t much response, you could even consider paying to promote your post, or pinning it so everyone notices it.

Alternatively, you could take a look at other blogs to see what others in the same niche are posting. Either you could follow their example, or take note of what hasn’t been posted, then make a post to fill that information gap.

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