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Regardless of your industry, what you do, and where you live, when a crisis hits, it’s bound to impact you and your business. Here are my 7 tips for your social media channelsjon-tyson-PXB7yEM5LVs-unsplash.jpg during a crisis, which is extremely relevant as the whole world addresses the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

 

DO

 

Pause and breathe: I know it’s not specifically for social media, but the first thing we all need to do in a crisis is to take a moment to evaluate everything from an emotionally calm state, if possible.

 

Review all scheduled posts. Whether or not the crisis directly impacts you, you may want to stop your scheduled posts. Inspirational posts after the initial impact may be appropriate, but overly upbeat or overly positive posts may not be appropriate for your entire audience.

 

For instance, if you are dealing with a natural or unnatural disaster that affects a section of the country or a certain industry - and your business is not impacted at all - stay out of the conversation. In the case of devastating tragedy, that means halting all posts. Give the crisis and the casualties the respect they deserve, and cautiously return to your regular schedule when it makes sense.

 

Right now with the coronavirus pandemic, thoroughly review your social media content and see if it makes sense to pivot or edit your tone.

 

Communicate. Use your social media platforms to stay in touch with your employees, as well as prospects, clients, and your community at large. Post news, announcements, and changes to how your business is functioning during the crisis.

 

Along with using your primary social media channels to communicate with your community, you may want to add new ones. For instance, start a new Facebook Group, Slack channel, or create virtual events for conversations specific to the crisis. A town-hall type interactive video may be just what your community needs, to share their feelings and know they are not alone.

 

Become a resource. Beyond being a conduit for information, your business can create new content for your audience that educates, informs, provides a source of relief and more. Explore new platforms and features, such as Instagram Stories, video, and live streams.

 

Not sure when and what to post? Take a cue from others in your industry or location. Watch how similar companies react to crises, and adopt strategies that make sense for your business.

 

Check out how these 15 businesses are communicating in the Coronavirus era.

 

DON’T

 

Panic. Your business may be going through a rough time and you are not alone.  Hold off on posting on social media until you know what to say and how to say it. There’s an opportunity in a crisis to step up to the plate and be a powerful leader in your community, industry and beyond.

 

Ignore what’s happening. When a crisis strikes, your company will want to address it head-on, although it may make sense to stay offline until the dust settles. Still, you don’t want to ignore or downplay a crisis, even if it doesn’t directly impact you. Approach your response via social media messaging with compassion. Keep a light yet respectful and informative tone, while being true to your brand.

 

If the crisis directly impacts your business, make sure you are accessible to your prospects and clients. Set “office hours” on Twitter, or live chats in your Facebook group, so people can ask you questions, knowing they will also get a response. You can set up a private group for similar conversations with your employees, resources, and partners.

 

Make things worse. Remember people’s emotions are running very high and you’ll need to be ultrasensitive and compassionate. Social media allows you to directly communicate with your community, especially when you can’t be together in person. But you want to remain professional and compassionate at all times.

 

When posting about or responding to a crisis, never:

  • Make fun of it
  • Profit from it
  • Cause more problems

 

The best fail-safe is to set guidelines for what you will post on social media during times of crisis. Have someone on your team double-check every post before publishing on your channels. Also, be aware that the people who engage with your posts may not be in the best mood.

  • If tempers flare, be ready to act quickly, take the conversation offline, and find necessary solutions.

 

When a crisis strikes, you may be able to make things better. And you definitely don’t want to make things worse. Take your time with your messaging, and be available to share news and information. Strive to be a voice of calm, integrity, courage and hope.

 

Ultimately, when things hopefully calm down and get back to some semblance of normalcy (even if it’s the ‘new normal’), your prospects, partners, and clients will remember how gracefully you got through the crisis.

 

About Mari Smith

 

 

Often referred to as “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on Facebook marketing and social media. She is a Forbes’ Top Social Media Power Influencer, author of The New Relationship Marketing and coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour Amari headshot.png Day. Forbes recently described Mari as, “… the preeminent Facebook expert. Even Facebook asks for her help.” She is a recognized Facebook Partner; Facebook headhunted and hired Mari to lead the Boost Your Business series of live events across the US. Mari is an in-demand speaker and travels the world to keynote and train at major events.

 

Her digital marketing agency provides professional speaking, training and consulting services on Facebook and Instagram marketing best practices for Fortune 500 companies, brands, SMBs and direct sales organizations. Mari is also an expert webinar and live video broadcast host, and she serves as Brand Ambassador for numerous leading global companies.

 

Web: Mari Smith or Twitter: @MariSmith

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Mari Smith to provide materials for informational purposes only, and is not responsible for, and does not guarantee or endorse any of the third-party products or services mentioned.  All third-party logos and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners and are used under license from Mari Smith.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.  Equal Housing Lender.

 

© 2020 Bank of America Corporation.

 

Bank of America, N.A. is providing these third-party websites and/or other sources only as a convenience, and does not monitor or maintain the information available on the external websites mentioned, nor represent or guarantee that such websites are accurate or complete, and they should not be relied upon as such.  Bank of America provides informational reading materials for your discussion or review purposes only.  Neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

There are so many rules for email marketing. Send email on this specific day at this specific time (great if everyone you mail lives in the exact same time zone and industry). Email must be this length and not any longer (or shorter). email marketing rules pic. resized. jpg.jpg

 

Rules, rules, and all of them very much based on “someone else said.”

 

I propose you break a lot of rules to make your email marketing work better. At every step of the way, ask the same question: does this make sense to me? I promise it all will - unlike a lot of the “rules” you are told.

 

Get More Personal

 

First, change your “from” address in your email marketing to something like “yourfriends@yourdomain.com.” So many people send their email from pleasedontemailmebackever@noneofuswanttotalktoyou.com and that starts the inbox relationship on the wrong foot. I never advocate that it come from the same address as your primary inbox, but something reasonable.

 

Mine comes from nl@owner.media and people know that the “nl” stands for newsletter. And let me explain why this type of thing matters.

 

Encourage People to Reply

 

I send out a letter every Sunday to about 24,000 people. We cull the list often (removing people who haven’t opened or clicked on anything in a few months), so that list is highly focused and responsive. I frequently encourage people to hit “reply”, and often, they do. A few hundred every week.

 

Eek, you say. Let people reply? Won’t that fill my inbox? YES! With prospective customers and existing ones. Companies pay tons of money for just this: access to their customers. And you get it for free sent to your inbox.

 

Get Naked When It Comes to Formatting

 

I send out the plainest email I can possibly send and still be technically html. It’s black letters on white background. It looks just like an email your mom or best friend would send. Because that’s the plan.

 

When you send very formatted and “pretty” html letters with big banners and lots of graphics, our minds see that in the preview pane and think: Oh, I can ignore this until I get some time later. (Later never comes. You know this.)

 

If you send something that looks like it came from a human, oddly humans will check it out before deciding whether or not to ignore it. That extra few seconds is worth a potential open and click.

 

Be Brief

 

I write my newsletters to be fewer than 500 words. When I’m feeling even more clever, I shoot for around 250. Everyone is overwhelmed. Why bury them with more to read?

 

Use Segmentation/Labels/Tags

 

Every email service provider software offers a variation of this, most of it automated and super simple to use. I’ll use the term “tags” but it might be something different on your platform.

 

Use tags to separate out different clumps of email recipients and then get even more specific and personal to those groupings. This means you can send mail to one group saying: “Hey, I know you haven’t yet purchased an event ticket, so I wanted to see if I could answer any questions.” To another, you can say: “How to prepare for your trip to our event.”

 

More and more, if you can be very specific as to who you reach with what content, the world will get better for you.

 

One Subject Per Mail

 

If you really want to wow people, get very specific when you send out a newsletter. Make it a single-serving message with just one specific idea to cover and one specific call to action involved.

 

This laser focus sometimes shakes a distracted “Netflix-scroller” out of their malaise and makes them sit up and take notice.

 

Sample: “If we offered a spring cleaning, would that be interesting to you?”

 

Send Out “Ask” Emails

 

This is a favorite magic trick of mine. We think of newsletters as content to consume.

 

Instead, flip this. Send out an email asking a question to get actual feedback. “What should we focus on?” “Do you need more help with installing our systems yourself?”

 

Ask something you genuinely want to know about and try to keep it as open-ended as possible. Sure, there’s work in reading and responding, but it’s couched in a conversational email tone and people will respond in a very different way than your “just take this very brief survey.” (They’re never brief.)

 

Try Any and All of These

 

All of these ideas are simple and modular. You can do any one of them and see what works and what doesn’t. None of these are deal breakers, but all have an opportunity to make a difference.

 

And like I said at the beginning, just keep asking yourself whether these make sense.

 

I can’t wait to hear how it turns out.

 

 

About Chris Brogan

 

Chris Brogan is an author, keynote speaker and business advisor who helps companies update organizational interfaces to better support modern humans. The age of factory-chris Brogan headshot.pngsized interactions is over. We all come one to a pack. And it’s time to accept that we are all a little bit dented. Chris advises leadership teams to empower team members by sharing actionable insights on talent development. He also works with marketing and communications teams to more effectively reach people who want to be seen and understood before they buy what a company sells.

 

Web: https://chrisbrogan.com Twitter: @ChrisBrogan

Read more from Chris Brogan

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Chris Brogan to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. The third parties within articles are used under license from Chris Brogan. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2019 Bank of America Corporation

Darth Vader, a Rabbi, and a talking bag of potato chips walk into a bar. The bartender says, “What is this? A joke?” humor pic.jpg

 

I love this humor for two reasons: 1.) You can replace all 3 characters in the first part and have endless possibilities. 2.) It’s pretty much a dad joke, and I have a soft spot for them.

 

We love to laugh. Nearly every human will tell you this. Both Alexa and Google Home (give this thing a human name, already!) respond to “tell me a joke.” Siri does too, but I have it on good authority that hers aren’t all that funny.

Why was the cheetah so bad at hide and seek? No matter where she hid, she was always spotted. (Google Home just told me that groaner.)

 

Should you - can you? - use humor in your marketing? Well, maybe.

 

Humor in Marketing is Complicated

 

More accurately, humor itself is complicated. If you’ve not yet watched the incredible Mike Birbiglia’s “Thank God for Jokes” on Netflix, you’re missing a master class in storytelling as well as an entertaining way of explaining the good and bad of humor.

 

The benefit of jokes is that we all generally love them. One problem with jokes is that some people are great at telling jokes, and others are so bad that it causes massive problems. We’ve seen multitudes of companies apologize for their attempts. So, I get it. It’s scary.

 

Another problem revolves around jokes and currency. If you make a joke about Fortnight right now, you’re about a year and a half past the zeitgeist (as of February 2020 - this could even be worse). If you tell a joke about something that was current a month ago, it might not even work. There’s a tightrope to walk between a joke feeling ancient versus a joke feeling like it’s past its expiration date.

 

The Good News: Humor is Powerful

 

I make a certain joke in a lot of my speeches. I talk about how we all keep our mobile devices very close to our heads, as if we are superheroes or brain surgeons eagerly awaiting a very important call or text that might come in around 2:30 a.m. I stroke my phone while telling this joke, calling it “My precious!” in my best Golem voice. People laugh. They get it because they can identify with it.

 

Jokes, in the language of my StoryLeader training, are called “belonging stories.” Simply put: a joke can make you feel like you belong to a certain group of people because you get the joke.

 

In his January 2020 comedy special “For India” (also on Netflix), Vir Das tells a bunch of jokes switching context between jokes that Indian people will totally get but might not make sense to people from other cultures, and then he’ll go on to tell a joke shedding humorous light on Indian culture from the eyes of people outside the culture. Both encourage a kind of belonging, plus his ideas invite a bridging of the two groups. Double bonus.

 

Should We Be Funny? Yes

 

People’s attention is fleeting. We also feel more and more every day like a number, as if everything’s just punched out. Like we’re on a conveyer belt.

 

Humor in marketing is a way to remind people they’re alive. That’s one benefit.

 

Another benefit: only wise and smart people (companies) can make fun of themselves and feel good about it. Topics that might even be sore spots within the organization might already be in the public eye, and the company has chosen to ignore it. I’ll give you an example.

 

Have you ever ordered a soft drink? (Don’t say no, you alien.)

 

“I’ll have a Coke, please.”

 

“Is Pepsi okay?”

 

You’ve heard it. Well, if you’re Pepsi, it’s likely that you hate this. It’s a poke in the eye about being the No. 2 soft drink brand. So, you ignore it for years. You do taste tests. You shoot tons of commercials.

 

Until 2019, when at the Super Bowl, you launch a bit “Is Pepsi OK?” commercial blitz with Cardi B and Steve Carrell and Lil John (the last of which only exists in these because his song “Turn Down for What” has a big loud “OK” in it).

 

The ad got a lot of press. It was responded to favorably by most accounts. People who loved one of the soft drinks over the other didn’t change their point of view, and I’m sure Pepsi still feels a bit annoyed when people mention them as a secondary choice.

 

But what it did do is signal to the world that Pepsi gets it. That they’re one of us. That they know what people say and can accept it. And so what? They like what they produce. THAT is the gold earned by Pepsi by using humor in this way.

 

Recipe Time

 

If you’re going to do humor as part of your marketing, here’s some advice:

 

  • Try ALL humor out internally before it reaches an external audience.

 

  • Run it by people who belong to multiple cultures and genders. You might miss a very significant cultural marker because it’s in your blind spot.

 

  • If it’s about a specific culture that isn’t yours, definitely find people representative of that culture to run it by.

 

  • Stay current. Make sure the joke is about something relevant right now. All your best Peter Falk jokes no longer fly. Sorry. (And if you say “who?”, that’s my point!)

 

  • Have a point of view but be clear that it represents the brand.

 

Remember that humor isn’t entirely built around telling a solid joke. Sometimes, it’s about bringing characters to life. Saturday Night Live is a series of sketches that bring out absurd takes on cultural and current event news. Shows like The Office and Brooklyn 99 and Insecure give us this by putting characters into funny situations or through dialogue.

 

It’s worth looking at ways to bring humor to your marketing. Just know that there’s a reason I gave you 75% caution and 25% encouragement.

 

 

 

About Chris Brogan

 

Chris Brogan is an author, keynote speaker and business advisor who helps companies update organizational interfaces to better support modern humans. The age of factory-sized interactions is over. We all come one to a pack. And it’s time to accept that we are all a little chris-brogan-headshot.jpgbit dented. Chris advises leadership teams to empower team members by sharing actionable insights on talent development. He also works with marketing and communications teams to more effectively reach people who want to be seen and understood before they buy what a company sells.

 

Web: https://chrisbrogan.com Twitter: @ChrisBrogan

Read more from Chris Brogan

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Chris Brogan to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. The third parties within articles are used under license from Chris Brogan. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2019 Bank of America Corporation

 

 

Quick. You need to change something about how you communicate with your customers (and probably with your employees, as well).pavan-trikutam-71CjSSB83Wo-unsplash.jpg

 

The thing is this: everyone’s overwhelmed with material vying for their attention. Think about this for a moment through the lens of your phone, let alone your computer:

 

  • Text messages
  • Netflix (new shows added!)
  • Podcasts
  • YouTube (people upload 500 new hours of content per minute)
  • Facebook/Instagram/Whatsapp/Messenger (oh - all the same company)
  • Email
  • Phone calls? (Hahahaha)
  • Do you still get newspapers or magazines?
  • Radio?

 

I could keep going, but you get the point. That’s you and your customer.

 

There are now “teaser” ads for ads. The 2020 Super Bowl advertising season showed a record number of 16-second spots teasing longer ads during the actual event. (Which you didn’t even have to watch because YouTube AdBlitz let you see it all before the game.)

 

This Changes Communication and Business Immensely

 

Here’s how: “Now” is the new “new.” We need communication now. And often. And then even more.

 

The gap between stimulus and response must shorten, and we now require more contact more often to feel better connected to the companies we use to serve our needs.

 

Let me explain.

 

The old days: your customer places an order. You tell them upon ordering that the product will arrive in two weeks.

 

The new way: the customer orders. You give them a tracking number. The package will arrive the next business day. You message them two or three more times anyway.

 

Customers (B2B or B2C) want their products now. They want communication even now-er. And more of it. And brief. And simple. And fast. And now.

 

I Know What You’re Thinking

 

My customers don’t need that. I know you’re thinking this. Or maybe you’re thinking “Oh, but not in my industry.” You’d be silly to think that way.

 

Doctors in the U.S. could never have anticipated that their businesses would come under attack from the speedy and simple delivery of services such as the CVS Minute Clinic and similar products.

 

Restaurants never anticipated being forced  to use a variety of delivery app technologies to compete with what used to bring them revenue: their dining room.

 

Taxis figured “when we get there” was as appealing as “your driver is 3 minutes away” of ride share apps.

 

And B2B companies are thinking, “Oh, well it’s different for me.” No, it really isn’t. Ask a customer if they want their products delivered slower and with less communication. I dare you.

 

People need to hear from you now. And often. And again.

 

Now What?

 

You see what I did there.

 

Look back at the writing in this piece. Did you notice something about it? The paragraphs are brief and easily scannable. The sentences are small. Some aren’t even sentences. It’s very easy to read this on your phone.

 

Here’s your recipe for communicating now:

 

  1. Review the customer experience that’s in place currently, especially with an eye on communication and interaction. Where are the places where you stay silent right now.
  2. Decide on adding a few more interaction points. “Your HVAC system is at the loading dock” and so on. You don’t even have to automate these at first. Just make it a practice of order fulfillment.
  3. Can you say it faster? Review all interactions with customers for ways to make the message useful but briefer. What would a customer most need at any given point in the journey?
  4. Build in exception/error handling. When something goes wrong, you still have to use “now” communications methods, but the resolution might take longer. What can you do to keep up the interaction but not upset the customer?
  5. Explain more but still keep it brief. What ways can you equip the customer to feel part of the experience loop? Something as seemingly dumb as “your contract documents will be reviewed today by 4 pm” might keep the phone from ringing.
  6. Follow up. Most every business in the world fails here. Once the product/service is in hand, you go radio silent except to try and sell. Follow up. Get everything you want? Need anything? You might even make some add-on sales this way.

 

Review what I just gave you. Nothing there is especially difficult. None of it requires much in the way of intense technological purchase. Ask yourself whether your customers, who live in the now age, would feel better knowing more and knowing it faster.

 

I suspect you’ll want to implement this.

 

Chris Brogan is an author, keynote speaker and business advisor who helps companies update organizational interfaces to better support modern humans. chris+brogan.pngThe age of factory-sized interactions is over. We all come one to a pack. And it’s time to accept that we are all a little bit dented. Chris advises leadership teams to empower team members by sharing actionable insights on talent development. He also works with marketing and communications teams to more effectively reach people who want to be seen and understood before they buy what a company sells.

 

Web: https://chrisbrogan.com Twitter: @ChrisBrogan

Read more from Chris Brogan

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Chris Brogan to provide materials for informational purposes only, and is not responsible for, and does not guarantee or endorse any of the third-party products or services mentioned.  All third-party logos and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners and are used under license from Chris Brogan.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2019 Bank of America Corporation

The short-form video-content platform Vine left the social-media space just over three years ago. Vine’s desire to stay true to the original concept – users record 6-second videos mar image.jpgwith cool tools and effects – meant  they did not evolve nor find a way to monetize the business, ultimately its downfall.

 

Fortunately, some social media platforms embraced similar features (Facebook and Instagram Stories), while others (Snapchat and TikTok) focused specifically on micro video content. They picked up the torch from Vine and ran with it.

 

Today, this type of content and these platforms have been embraced primarily by Generation Z – those born after the mid-90s. If your business targets a younger demographic, and you are not creating micro-video content, you are missing out on opportunities to connect with your ideal consumer.

 

Here are 5 things small business owners can learn from the short-form video  trend, as well as tips for how to incorporate it into your social media marketing strategy.

 

1. Mobile Is Micro-Video Content’s Best Friend

 

As a business, you put a high premium on appearing – and being – professional. Whether it’s a video or podcast, when it comes to multimedia production, you want a high-quality product to match your company’s persona. In many cases that means you need expensive equipment, a skilled editor, and lots of money.

 

At 6 to 15 seconds, micro-video content is short and sweet. It doesn’t need high production value. In fact, that might make your content stand out in a bad way. A quality cell phone camera is perfect for micro-content campaigns.

 

Most of the teens and young adults create and consume micro-video content on their smartphones, rather than a desktop computer. They always have a camera in their pocket, so why not?

 

To better blend in, businesses should use mobile devices and related tools for creating micro content. You just need to amp up your creativity and use the tools you have at hand.

 

2. Community Leads to Content

 

More and more young people have a desire to capture, publish and share their every move throughout the day. They create and show off special (and not so special!) moments with nonstop photos and videos.

 

Whereas a platform such as TikTok doesn’t have specific communities like Facebook Groups, users tend to create them anyway. They find and follow friends with similar interests and share things with common themes.

 

Young people, in particular, build entire communities of online friends. Become part of that. Whatever your business, create relatable content for your users. From simple, day-to-day life wins to micro-mini adventures, give your ideal prospect experiences they can bond over as a community.

 

3. Micro Content Caters to Short Attention Spans

 

We live in the most distracted time of our history. Social media platforms are designed intentionally to hook us in and get us addicted.

 

The short time frame of micro content is a double-blessing. Shorter posts take less time to create and they are more likely to be consumed in their entirety. The key is to keep things interesting.

 

Just because a post is short doesn’t mean the story or objective gets ignored. It just means you must up your level of creativity every time you put together a piece of content. Challenge yourself to tell the story shorter and better each time.

 

4. User-Generated Material Makes for Great Trend Content

 

Catering to trends and related hashtags means businesses can meet the audience where they are at. Trends are seasonal, topical and sometimes just plain fun.

 

See what’s trending, especially as it relates to your business, and get clever about how you can get involved. After you’ve done this a while, you may want to engage with a good influencer to get on the trendsetter side of that action.

 

Trends also make for opportunities for user generated content. Get your social friends – aka prospect and clients – excited about a trend that relates to your business. Then, encourage them to get involved, share their own stories as they relate to the trend.

 

 

About Mari Smith

 

mari_0362xFACE_preview.jpg

Often referred to as “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on Facebook marketing and social media. She is a Forbes’ Top Social Media Power Influencer, author of The New Relationship Marketing and coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day. Forbes recently described Mari as, “… the preeminent Facebook expert. Even Facebook asks for her help.” She is a recognized Facebook Partner; Facebook headhunted and hired Mari to lead the Boost Your Business series of live events across the US. Mari is an in-demand speaker, and travels the world to keynote and train at major events.

 

Her digital marketing agency provides professional speaking, training and consulting services on Facebook and Instagram marketing best practices for Fortune 500 companies, brands, SMBs and direct sales organizations. Mari is also an expert webinar and live video broadcast host, and she serves as Brand Ambassador for numerous leading global companies.

 

Web: Mari Smith or Twitter: @MariSmith

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Mari Smith to provide materials for informational purposes only, and is not responsible for, and does not guarantee or endorse any of the third-party products or services mentioned.  All third-party logos and company names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners and are used under license from Mari Smith.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.  Equal Housing Lender.

 

© 2019 Bank of America Corporation.

 

Bank of America, N.A. is providing these third-party websites and/or other sources only as a convenience, and does not monitor or maintain the information available on the external websites mentioned, nor represent or guarantee that such websites are accurate or complete, and they should not be relied upon as such.  Bank of America provides informational reading materials for your discussion or review purposes only.  Neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

It’s easy to overlook YouTube as a business tool. Most people think of it as a place for unruly teenagers, cat videos and clips from Saturday Night Live so you never have to stay nordwood-themes-8LfE0Lywyak-unsplash.jpgup late to see it again. But that’s not the only value it holds.

 

First, realize that YouTube serves over a billion hours of video every day while  500 hours of video are uploaded each minute. Also, over 70 percent of YouTube views are on mobile, and that people streaming YouTube onto their TV instead of watching cable has jumped up to 250 million hours a day.

 

My point: Many people watch YouTube every day and if you’re not one of them, it’s more that you’re behind the curve and not that “only kids use YouTube.”

 

Second, remember that YouTube is the world’s No. 2 search engine in and it’s owned by the No. 1 search engine in the world.

 

So, what should you be doing to put a little more YouTube in your life?

 

Get a Lot More Out of YouTube

 

First, log in so that you have the option to subscribe. YouTube works hard at trying to guess what else you might want to look at.

 

Second, start by looking for things you want to watch yourself. Not for work. Just for you. Love pizza? Check out what it’s like to eat a $2,000 pizza. Want to watch people get their necks and backs cracked? It’s the oddities that make us start to get into YouTube.

 

Third is where we steer this a bit towards your business. Whatever you sell, search YouTube to see who else is talking about it. Let’s say you sell HVAC systems. I searched for “replace your hvac system” and got this. Now you can see how one group did it and decide whether you could make a better and more informative video.

 

Fourth, start thinking of YouTube when you’re looking for information of any kind. I have a Macbook laptop and wanted to swap out the hard drive for a bigger one. I used this video to do it, easy peasy. There’s an amazing amount of useful how-to information on the site.

 

To sum up this section: learn how to consume and use YouTube first.

 

Make Your Own Videos

 

Starting a YouTube channel is easy enough. If you have a Gmail account, you have a YouTube channel waiting for content. (You can search for “How to Start a YouTube Channel” videos, naturally.)

 

Your smartphone or the built-in camera on your laptop will get you started. If you want more, I wrote an article called Start Videoblogging on my website that can walk you through it quickly enough.

 

The content can be anything from interviews, reviews, installation guides, ideas on how to get more out of the product’s use, and any number of other pieces of media. That’s the beauty. Because you’re not a broadcast TV channel, you can use this opportunity however you want. If you look at my YouTube channel, it’s a bit of a potpourri. That’s because I’m not obligated to make a specific kind of a show.

 

By contrast, however, Good Mythical Morning is a YouTube channel that works hard to build themes, branding, and content consistency and that goes a long way towards earning them a rabidly passionate fan base.

 

Don’t Ignore YouTube

 

When I recommend that people start and run a YouTube channel, they almost always nod politely and then ignore the information. They worry. “I’m too fat, too skinny, too old, too something. I have a weird accent.” Join the club, people. There are few “perfect” people in the universe. And yet, plenty of people tune in and love what they see.

 

Tommy Edison is blind. Owen has some physical challenges. Samuel J Comroe has Tourettes. Shirley Curry is an 84-year-old gaming grandma (with about 750,000 subscribers by the way). Daym Drops is a food review channel by a pleasantly larger guy (you’ll love his energy). Your excuses are just that.

 

Remember that people want the information. Sure, they’d love to be entertained. But more than that, they need what you know. Make some videos and see if it earns you more business. It’s amazing when it happens, and there are opportunities waiting there. Remember what I said at the beginning of the article:

 

  • 1 billion hours a day
  • 250 million hours on set top boxes instead of regular TV
  • 300+ million hours on mobile devices
  • And it’s free to have a channel there

 

It’s yours to make happen.

 

Recommended reading: How to Use YouTube for Local Advertising

 

About Chris Brogan

 

Chris Brogan is an author, keynote speaker and business advisor who helps companies update organizational interfaces to better chris-brogan-headshot.jpgsupport modern humans. The age of factory-sized interactions is over. We all come one to a pack. And it’s time to accept that we are all a little bit dented. Chris advises leadership teams to empower team members by sharing actionable insights on talent development. He also works with marketing and communications teams to more effectively reach people who want to be seen and understood before they buy what a company sells.

 

Web: https://chrisbrogan.com Twitter: @ChrisBrogan

Read more from Chris Brogan

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Chris Brogan to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. The third parties within articles are used under license from Chris Brogan. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2019 Bank of America Corporation

Instagram has been testing what would appear to be a radical departure for the social network: removing likes. Facebook, which owns Instagram, is considering as well. Plus, kelly-sikkema-56w-xo2ZZM4-unsplash.jpgthere's buzz that Twitter may join the party and hide like counts.

 

While this may seem like a reason for marketer panic, it isn’t ... or shouldn’t be.

 

Although likes are a nice ego-boost metric, it’s well known that liking a post is the most low-maintenance way to engage. Rather, a comment, a share, or substantial video watch-time is a much better indicator of how much your content resonates with your audience. Therefore, it’s important to remember that removal of public-facing like counts is not the end of the world. In fact, it’s simply a reminder that you need to find other ways to analyze audience affinity and engagement.

 

Could Instagram actually be doing marketers a favor?

 

When Instagram first announced its decision to test removing like counts, I, like many others, questioned the reasoning. “We want your friends to focus on the photos and videos you share, not how many likes they get,” Instagram said in July 2019. “You can still see your own likes by tapping on the list of people who've liked it, but your friends will not be able to see how many likes your post has received.

 

The theory was that like counts foster competition, and the goal of Instagram was to encourage connection and community. A healthy environment was top priority. "We want [Instagram] to be a place where people spend more of their energy connecting with the people that they love and the things that they care about," explained Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri.

 

While the whole move was positioned as a mental health play - removing likes will help alleviate cyberbullying and downplay competition - I still had doubts. It just didn’t ring true that this was the genuine reason that Facebook/Instagram deeply cared so much. Of course, I believe the company cares about their users’ well-being. However, they also care about making money and ensuring the longevity of their platforms.

 

So how would hiding likes improve Instagram’s - and Facebook’s - bottom line? I got my answer when more information surfaced last month. Suddenly it started to make sense. 

 

Three former employees told CNBC that there is a hypothesis inside Facebook’s growth and data science teams: Removing “likes” may be an effective tactic for getting users to post more original content on Instagram.

 

“The theory goes that by hiding like counts, users may feel less self-conscious when they post photos or videos that don’t receive many likes,” the article states. “This in turn may serve as a catalyst for getting users to post more often.”

 

Translation: If users weren’t so hung up on public-facing engagement numbers, maybe they’d feel more compelled to publish more content. And, publishing more content means they would spend more time on Instagram. And more time on Instagram means there would be more users for advertisers to target.

 

Anyone who still has concerns about like-counts being removed only needs to look at Instagram Stories for proof that all will be okay. Social engagement metrics on Stories have never been public-facing. Users and marketers are not consuming other people's Story content, wondering how many people engaged with it, how many people responded to the poll, or answered the questions. They just engage. That’s what’s most important to businesses… and marketers: engagement.

 

Bottom line: Marketers need not worry too much about hidden likes.

 

Note that Facebook is also in the midst of testing hiding video view counts. Personally, I really like video view counts as invariably that gives me a strong indication - and sometimes legitimacy - of the content. I find it a tad frustrating when I cannot (easily) find the number of video views on other people’s Facebook videos! Whether that’s a long-term problem remains to be seen.

 

Moving forward, marketers need to concentrate on creating quality, relevant content for their followers. Focus on engaging with your audience in new ways, such as further integrating the Stories format, as well as video, including Live video and building community in Facebook Groups.

 

The removal of public-facing like counts should not make any difference to marketers on Instagram, Facebook, or any other social platform. While it seems to be affecting influencers to some degree, that may be a good thing. It will shake out any unethical behaviors, such as artificially inflating numbers, buying followers, etc. In its place will be highly engaged users on the friendly, community-building platform that Instagram wants to be.

 

About Mari Smith

 

Often referred to as “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on Facebook marketing and socialmari_0362xFACE_preview.jpg media. She is a Forbes’ Top Social Media Power Influencer, author of The New Relationship Marketing and coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day. Forbes recently described Mari as, “… the preeminent Facebook expert. Even Facebook asks for her help.” She is a recognized Facebook Partner; Facebook headhunted and hired Mari to lead the Boost Your Business series of live events across the US. Mari is an in-demand speaker, and travels the world to keynote and train at major events.

 

Her digital marketing agency provides professional speaking, training and consulting services on Facebook and Instagram marketing best practices for Fortune 500 companies, brands, SMBs and direct sales organizations. Mari is also an expert webinar and live video broadcast host, and she serves as Brand Ambassador for numerous leading global companies.

 

Web: Mari Smith  or Twitter: @MariSmith

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Mari Smith to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Mari Smith is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Mari Smith. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

When it comes to social media, there is never a shortage of new platforms, trends and tools to measure your efforts. It’s easy to jump on the bandwagon only to later realize you spent a lot of effort and got very low ROI.

 

So, I’d like to suggest three social media trends you can leave behind in 2019 to focus on activities that matter in 2020.

 

1. Jumping on the Hottest Social Media Platformssara-kurfess-6lcT2kRPvnI-unsplash.jpg

 

Every year, dozens of new social media sites try to make their way onto your radar. Whether they are based on video, graphics, gaming, community, or communication; a theme like music or sports; or a combination, they all want to be the next big thing.

 

Sure, you want to test new platforms to see if that’s where you’ll find new customers. However, give a new site time to find its footing before going all-in. There’s something to be said for being an early adopter … and you could discover the next big thing. But not every website becomes a Facebook, a WhatsApp, or a LinkedIn.

 

And even when an awesome new social media site bursts onto the scene, it may not be right for you, your customers or your business. For instance, TikTok (founded in 2016, launched in 2017, and one to watch in 2019) ended up being the No. 1 most downloaded app globally this year, but it was not necessarily a big platform for marketers.

 

Primarily adopted by users under 30, TikTok is like a mix of Vine (short-form videos on a loop) and Musical.ly or Snapchat (where you can add fun special effects).

 

Personally, I deleted my TikTok account and removed the app from my phone once I saw the growing buzz about U.S. investigations into data, privacy etc. Also, user growth finally plateaued.

 

Takeaway: Beware of flashy, trendy sites. Test them but spend your time sparingly until it’s been fully vetted, you find it has a proven track record with your demographic, and/or it serves a business purpose.

 

2. Obsessing Over “Likes”

 

It’s no secret in the social media marketing space: likes on posts are the least-relevant way to gauge audience engagement. Double-tapping or clicking to heart/like a post is the laziest way to interact with a post. When someone is willing to take the extra effort to write a comment or share a post, it indicates your content connected with them. That’s much more relevant.

 

To test this theory, Instagram is expanding its test of hiding like counts. Facebook is jumping on the bandwagon by testing hiding like and reaction counts (and video views too). Note: Publishers/account admins can still see this data, but the information will no longer be public-facing.

 

These tests are designed to shake out fake followers, encourage meaningful engagement, and, as a bonus, promote mental health and well-being. A quantifiable metric, such as like counts, leads to competition, which is stressful. Social media should be “social,” interactive and fun, not something that invites stress.

 

Takeaway: Embrace the change. You shouldn’t be focusing on like counts regardless. Instead, get to know your audience. Create content that speaks to your clients, prospects, and followers in a way that encourages them to meaningfully engage with your posts.

 

3. Doing Influencer Marketing … Without Proper Research

 

Influencer marketing happens when people who have an expert level of knowledge, lead a community and/or possess social influence in a certain area endorse a business, service or product. Although influencer marketing has been around for a while, in many ways, it’s still in its early stages.

 

Legitimacy is key when it comes to influence, and there’s a big industry-wide shakeout going on. Too many businesses and brands jumped in too quick and got blindsided with dismal results.

 

Now, businesses are tired of investing in posers - so-called influencers with fake followers and no real platform. Influencers who overcharge for little or no results will soon be a thing of the past, paving the way for influencers who have actual influence.

 

For influencer marketing to truly work, brands and businesses need to find better ways of identifying and collaborating with influencers. Remember, even a big-named expert will not get results when paired with an incompatible product or service.

 

When identifying influencers, search databases, but also get referrals and introductions from peers. Then, check their social media platforms, watch videos, and review posts to ensure their values and personal agenda align with your company.

 

Most importantly, make sure your influencer’s audience is a match for your audience. Don’t be shy to ask for case studies, examples, metrics, etc. The right influencer will be happy to accommodate you, since they are looking for amiable partnerships too.

 

Takeaway: The right influencer can make a huge difference for any company. It’s up to the businesses to get referrals and do the legwork to find the right match, and ultimately create a mutually beneficial situation.

 

Recommended reading: How to Vet Influencers for Your Small Business

 

Final Thoughts

 

Enter 2020 thinking forward. Leave flashy platforms, likes, and amateur, fake or over-priced influencers behind. Spend your time on the best social media sites for your business, creating content that encourages real interaction and is bolstered by the right influencers for your company or brand.

 

Happy New Year!

 

About Mari Smith

 

mari_0362xFACE_preview.jpg

Often referred to as “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on Facebook marketing and social media. She is a Forbes’ Top Social Media Power Influencer, author of The New Relationship Marketing and coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day. Forbes recently described Mari as, “… the preeminent Facebook expert. Even Facebook asks for her help.” She is a recognized Facebook Partner; Facebook headhunted and hired Mari to lead the Boost Your Business series of live events across the US. Mari is an in-demand speaker, and travels the world to keynote and train at major events.

 

Her digital marketing agency provides professional speaking, training and consulting services on Facebook and Instagram marketing best practices for Fortune 500 companies, brands, SMBs and direct sales organizations. Mari is also an expert webinar and live video broadcast host, and she serves as Brand Ambassador for numerous leading global companies.

 

Web: Mari Smith  or Twitter: @MariSmith

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Mari Smith to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Mari Smith is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Mari Smith. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

The new year is coming up, a year filled with new opportunities, fresh hope and exciting prospects. It’s a time to look ahead and not be held back by what you’ve done. So, before the year ends, take the time to examine your digital presence and clean up your old connections and your dusty, old content.

Here are 5 things you should do: shallow-focus-photo-of-man-holding-floor-brush-ceramic-434163.jpg

 

Dump Toxic Followers

 

Over the years, you’ve probably picked up plenty of followers and connections across your various social media platforms. They won’t all have been positive. You might have added people you barely know to your personal Facebook page, engaged with trolls on Twitter, or attracted unpleasant comments next to your Instagram posts.

Social media shouldn’t work that way. You should have a personal Facebook page that keeps you in touch with the people you really know, and you should have a separate business page that lets you connect with people who support your business.

The people who follow you on Twitter and who you follow on the platform should be people who make your life better, not angrier. And the images and stories you see on Instagram should enrich your life, not inject it with envy.

This step is simple. Write a post on Facebook stating that your contact list has become too long to be useful. You can blame Facebook’s algorithm if you want. Tell people that you’re deleting everyone who isn’t a close friend or relative, and tell everyone else that they can follow your business page if they want. Then review your contact list and cut out anyone you don’t need.

 

On Twitter, you can also mute people if you think they might be offended by an unfollow, but block anyone who brings negativity to your page. Social media should push you forward. If anyone there holds you back, let them go.

 

Delete Old Posts

 

The same goes for content. If you’ve posted something on social media that you’ve regretted, you’re not alone. The press is filled now with reports exposing public officials who wrote something 20 years ago that people now find offensive. Any angry, old posts you made back at the start of social media are still online. You might have forgotten all about them but they’re available to anyone to find if motivated.

This is the time to make sure that you find them first. This will take a little longer than cleaning up your connections, especially if you’re a regular online contributor. Scroll down to the start of your social media posts, and delete anything that could give you problems.

 

Secure Your Email

 

If the media isn’t reporting about old social media posts, it’s announcing data breaches. Just recently, hackers stole the personal information of 218 million Zynga players and 4.6 million DoorDash customers. Companies should inform customers when their details have been compromised but if you missed the announcement—or ignored it—now is a good time to make sure that all your passwords are secure.

 

  • HaveIBeenPwned.com is run by Troy Hunt, a Microsoft Regional Director. It keeps track of breached accounts. Type in your email address, and it will tell you whether it appears in any hacked database. You can then delete your email address from that account or change the password. And if you’ve used the same password on other accounts, change those passwords too.

 

Delete Your Unused Accounts

 

When you check whether your email address has been compromised, you might find that you didn’t even know your details were in that database. You’ve probably registered for all sorts of services over the years, most of which you’ve now forgotten. Those companies still have your email address, your password, and a host of other details about you, including permission to send you messages.

 

If you’re no longer using those accounts, delete them.

 

Registering at Deseat.me will give you an opportunity to unregister at lots of different sites at the same time. It will give you a list all the accounts associated with your email address. You’ll be able to delete or request removal at the click of a button.

 

Be Forgotten

 

A bigger challenge is changing how you appear in Google search results. When someone tosses your name into Google, they’ll see events from your life in an order generated by Google’s algorithm. That could mean that incidents in your past that are no longer relevant and which you might not want publicized could be at the top of the search results while your current activities are buried at the bottom.

 

People in the EU can apply to Google to have those old links removed by completing a form. Google doesn’t have to comply, but it must at least consider removing links to information that might be inaccurate or irrelevant.

 

Since 2014, the company has removed 1.3 million links from its search results, fulfilling about 45 percent of applications. Examples described in the company’s Transparency Report have included links to reports of criminal convictions, legal disputes, and the private addresses of politicians. But the law only applies in the EU.

People outside the EU should consider reputation management services. These are companies that fill the Web with rival content to push unwanted search results down the page. It’s a big move and not always worthwhile. You can always produce your own fresh content but above all, you can do your own forgetting: stop thinking about any mistakes you’ve made in the past and look forward to the opportunities coming up in the new year.

 

About Joel Comm

 

As an Internet pioneer, Joel has been creating profitable websites, software, products, and helping entrepreneurs succeed since 1995. He has Screen+Shot+2019-02-08+at+9.16.44+AM.pngbeen at the frontlines of live video online since 2008 and has a deep expertise in using tools such as Facebook Live, Periscope, Instagram or Snapchat to broadcast a clearly defined message to a receptive audience or leveraging the power of webinar and meeting technologies.

 

Joel is a New York Times best-selling author of 15 books, including “The AdSense Code,” “Click Here to Order: Stories from the World’s Most Successful Entrepreneurs,” “KaChing: How to Run an Online Business that Pays and Pays and Twitter Power 3.0.” He is Co-Host of The Bad Crypto Podcast one of the top crypto-related shows in the world and has spoken before thousands of people around the world and seeks to inspire, equip and entertain.

 

Web: https://joelcomm.com/ or Twitter: @JoelComm

Read more from Joel Comm

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Joel Comm to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Joel Comm is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Joel Comm. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

Ever since Facebook introduced advertising, it has been met with a mixture of enthusiasm and a hint of annoyance from those bothered by interruptions in their feed. pexels-photo-744464.jpgRegardless, the advertising potential of Facebook and its entire family of apps – including Instagram – remains huge for business. The opportunities and options for ads continue to grow, as do the millions of advertisers.

 

In fact, on the Facebook Q3 2019 Earnings Call, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said 140 million businesses use its social platforms every month. And, of Facebook’s 7 million advertisers, 3 million already advertise across Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger Stories.

 

This transition to expand advertising across its platforms has been developing for a while.  And as it evolved, Instagram and then Facebook, copied the horizontal-scroll tap-and-swipe format of Stories from Snapchat. This short-form, ephemeral micro-content is what advertisers would do well to focus on in 2020.

 

Stories

 

There are two fantastic aspects of using Stories. First, creators can publish an abundance of content and not worry about ‘jamming up’ the feeds of their followers. Second, followers can consume as much or as little Story content as they wish. In essence, both parties are in control.

 

Plus, with Facebook and Instagram adding more and more fun, interactive, highly engaging features to Stories, such as polling stickers, advertisers can also capitalize on this super popular feature that has a prominent top-of-feed placement.

 

To create an interactive Stories ad, choose Instagram Stories as your only ad placement in Ads Manager. Then, check the “Add an interactive poll” box. It’s in the same place where you upload your creative and edit the text. Spark a conversation, run a contest, get insights from your community, and more.

 

If you haven’t already done so, start testing what gets the most clicks and engagement now.

 

The other fastest-growing areas on Facebook and Instagram for users and advertisers are Messaging, Videos, Facebook Marketplace, and Augmented Reality.

 

Messaging

 

In August, Facebook started rolling out Lead Generation in Facebook Messenger. This new template within Ads Manager enables businesses to create automated experiences to help them qualify leads. With this feature, your business can ask custom questions - and remind people to answer them a way to nurture leads - and close the loop on the unqualified leads and integrate the information with your CRM. Businesses, such as the UK-based professional services firm RIFT Tax, have already seen meaningful results. In their case, RIFT increased qualified leads by 42%.

 

Videos

 

Facebook’s continued investment in video and the Watch platform is a major indicator of what will also be important in 2020 and beyond. Not only is it valuable to create more 15-second in-stream video ads, but marketers should also be publishing more long-form video, which is over three minutes.

 

IGTV (Instagram Television) could also be a big player in the coming year. As the platform is still under-utilized, explore how your business can use IGTV to engage and develop your audience of consumers.

 

Facebook Marketplace

 

While Facebook Marketplace is where customers can discover and purchase items, creating a paid ad to appear when people shop is much more effective than listing an item for sale. Create ads through the Ads Manager tool. Set your budget and select your ad placement. Choose Automatic Placements for your ad to appear on Marketplace, as well as other compatible placements on Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and Audience Network.

 

New Advertising Options

 

With the new year comes new ads and ad placement options.

  • Facebook Search. Reach people who are shopping - and therefore in the discovery mindset - with ads in Facebook Search Results. The ads, which look very similar to news feed ads and have the same control and transparency including a “Sponsored” label, appear in Marketplace or general search. If your ad is eligible, Search will appear in placement options.
  • Facebook Groups. Last fall, Facebook started trying out ad placements in the Groups tab in order to evaluate whether they would be beneficial for people and businesses. It is one more option Facebook found to increase ad inventory. Given how much Facebook has been prioritizing Groups, the test ads will most likely get results.

 

Also of note, in Mid-2020 Facebook is expected to limit the number ads pages can run simultaneously. However, this only impacts a small percentage of businesses. Stay up to date with what’s new in Facebook Ads Manager here.

Final Thoughts

As you create your Facebook and Instagram ad strategy for the new year, go with what has been working for your business and then slowly introduce new ad features into the mix. Experiment to see what features best impact your business in a positive way.

About Mari Smith

 

Often referred to as “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on Facebook marketing and social mari_0362xFACE_preview.jpgmedia. She is a Forbes’ Top Social Media Power Influencer, author of The New Relationship Marketing and coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day. Forbes recently described Mari as, “… the preeminent Facebook expert. Even Facebook asks for her help.” She is a recognized Facebook Partner; Facebook headhunted and hired Mari to lead the Boost Your Business series of live events across the US. Mari is an in-demand speaker, and travels the world to keynote and train at major events.

 

Her digital marketing agency provides professional speaking, training and consulting services on Facebook and Instagram marketing best practices for Fortune 500 companies, brands, SMBs and direct sales organizations. Mari is also an expert webinar and live video broadcast host, and she serves as Brand Ambassador for numerous leading global companies.

 

Web: Mari Smith  or Twitter: @MariSmith

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Mari Smith to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Mari Smith is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Mari Smith. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

While your audience may not be active on all social media platforms, these days it’s become easier to cover more of your social media bases.

 

With a simple selection, you can share your Instagram Television (IGTV) videos to Facebook. And, since IGTV gives you the option to include a preview of the beginning of your video, you may also share these clips on your Instagram feed, in Instagram stories and in Facebook stories.black-smartphone-2733675.jpg

 

That’s one video with elements cross-posted in five places. What could be better?

 

IGTV videos, which run between 15 seconds and 10 minutes, are the perfect way to share the faces and history behind your company, as well as your products and services. It enables prospects and customers to get to know you better, making your company the most likely buying-option when they need what you have to offer.

 

Note: for larger Instagram accounts, you’ll have the ability to upload IGTV videos of up to one hour in length. However, for now, I recommend sticking with shorter videos for more viewer retention.

 

Whether you create videos that educate, inform, entertain, or all of the above, memorable, shareable, thumb-stopping content is key to developing a relationship with your audience that inspires loyalty and advocacy.

 

Suggested reading: Tips and Tricks for Fast, Easy Video Content

 

IGTV Supports Both Vertical and Landscape Video Formats

 

Although Instagram initially launched IGTV with full-screen vertical (9:16) videos, the company later released support for landscape video (16:9) since most platforms - such as YouTube - favor the landscape format.

 

As well as more ways to connect with your existing fans, IGTV gives you more opportunities to be discovered by new ones. When people open IGTV, they'll see multiple channels including “For You,” “Following,” and “Popular,” filled with videos from creators they already follow on Instagram and others they might like based on their interests.

 

Check out this handy infographic by Later.com: Instagram Image Size & Dimensions for 2019

 

How to Share Your IGTV Videos to Your Facebook Business Page

 

If you have an Instagram account, you have an IGTV account. Install the IGTV mobile app or go to your account on the website Instagram.com to upload your IGTV videos.

 

Note: you need to be a Facebook page admin to cross-post from IGTV.

 

To share your IGTV Video to your Facebook page, go to the IGTV app or Instagram.com on the web. Upload your video. Then, add a cover photo (thumbnail), title, and description. A preview will appear unless you decide to turn it off once you post.

 

If you are posting from one of the apps, select to Make Visible on Facebook. (You need to connect the app first by authorizing it to have access to your Facebook page.)

 

Posting from a web browser? Below ‘Where Your Video Will Appear,’ connect your Instagram account to a Facebook page, if you have not already done so. Then, you may select IGTV and Facebook Page as where you want your video to appear.

 

Click "Post" and your video will post to your IGTV channel and your page.

 

Why Cross Promote?

 

Cross-posting your content on social media is a must for a variety of reasons.

 

First, different segments of your audience favor Instagram over Facebook, and vice versa so they will not see duplicates.

 

Keep in mind, people around the country - and even in your hometown - are online at different times during the day. Therefore, it’s unlikely people who follow you on multiple platforms will see the same post on Instagram, IGTV, and Facebook. And, if they do, that’s okay too.

 

This tiny portion of your audience that may see duplicate content is likely made up of your super fans, who are more than happy to see, share, and engage with your posts anywhere - and everywhere - they find them.

 

One more thing: When you cross-post from IGTV to Facebook, you can amplify the reach of that video with paid placements using Ads Manager. Depending on the length of your video, with automatic placements turned on, your ad will show up across a variety of platforms. This includes the Facebook feed, Instagram feed, Facebook and Instagram stories, and the Audience network.

 

Suggested reading: How to Create Irresistible, Thumb-Stopping Facebook Ads

 

Facebook to IGTV and Back Again

 

For your IGTV channel, you can either produce fresh content; download, edit, and upload your YouTube videos, or repurpose content from your Facebook lives.

 

Facebook recently released a Video Clipping option. Go to your Facebook Live, enter edit mode, and select video clipping. Then, use the scrubbers to select the segment you want to create as a standalone video, and click Add Clip.

 

Head over to your Creator Studio to edit and download your clips. Try using Wave.video to add effects, such as text overlay, animated GIFs, a watermark and more. Then, upload to IGTV, share to Facebook, and the cycle starts again.

 

When you take the same content, create multiple versions, and repurpose it on multiple platforms, it’s social media time-management at its best!

 

The latest updates to IGTV include sending notifications to fans and creating your own original IGTV series so our fans can binge watch!

 

About Mari Smith

 

mari_0362xFACE_preview.jpg

Often referred to as “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on Facebook marketing and social media. She is a Forbes’ Top Social Media Power Influencer, author of The New Relationship Marketing and coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day. Forbes recently described Mari as, “… the preeminent Facebook expert. Even Facebook asks for her help.” She is a recognized Facebook Partner; Facebook headhunted and hired Mari to lead the Boost Your Business series of live events across the US. Mari is an in-demand speaker, and travels the world to keynote and train at major events.

 

Her digital marketing agency provides professional speaking, training and consulting services on Facebook and Instagram marketing best practices for Fortune 500 companies, brands, SMBs and direct sales organizations. Mari is also an expert webinar and live video broadcast host, and she serves as Brand Ambassador for numerous leading global companies.

 

Web: Mari Smith  or Twitter: @MariSmith

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Mari Smith to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Mari Smith is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Mari Smith. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

It’s the dream of every social media marketer. Create a video ad that strikes a nerve, then watch it spread across the Internet. Followers share it with their friends. Friends share it with their relatives. Influencers pick up on it and share it with their followers. In no time at all, a piece of marketing that would normally be seen by a few thousand people is seen by millions around the world.

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Those millions don’t just see the video. They also see the company’s name, its logo, its offer, and its marketing message. The company lands the kind of exposure that would have cost millions had it tried to buy that reach through advertising. It’s like winning the lottery with a single ticket.

 

But while viral marketing can bring benefits, even a viral hit doesn’t beat a solid social marketing strategy.

 

First, virality is unpredictable. Although marketing companies might sell the promise of a viral hit, no one really knows what makes one piece of content go viral while another is ignored. Hollywood still churns out more duds than classics and it’s been making movies for a century. If studios can’t figure out the hit formula, businesses can’t be expected to do any better, even dedicated marketing firms.

 

But even if you could guarantee an ad will go viral and spread around the world, it still wouldn’t beat a social media marketing strategy because virality is also untargeted. You don’t know who’s going to see a viral ad. Most of the people who watch it will be interested in the content but they might never have been interested in the product. You might have giant viewing figures and enormous general awareness, but you could still only have reached a small part of your potential market.

 

At a time when advertising platforms let you target ads by demographic as tight as “single people aged 21 to 40 living within thirty miles of Duluth who like strawberry ice cream,” viral advertising’s shotgun approach can look very old fashioned. Billboard ads can be seen by thousands of people too, but they rarely result in direct, trackable sales.

Because you don’t know who saw that ad, you can’t turn to that audience again to follow up. Social media marketing’s big advantage might be its fine targeting, but today’s advertising also allows for re-targeting. No business can expect to make a large number of sales on their first contact with a lead. They need to repeat that contact and continue pushing their message. They need to build a relationship with leads that create trust.

 

Once a lead trusts a brand, they’ll come to like the brand. And once they like the brand, they start to buy from the brand.

From there, as long as the product has done its job, they also tell their friends about the brand, starting a new kind of virality but one powered by personal recommendation rather than funny cats

 

Social media marketing enables continued contact. It lets you reach an audience with a targeted ad. It then lets you continue the conversation with that audience, turning curiosity into interest and interest into intent.

 

Viral hits burn bright, but they burn fast and leave few traces behind.

 

Target your content by demographic and interest on social media. Build a following. Plan your content so that you maintain the curiosity of that first contact. Track the results of your content so that you know what interests your followers. Build trust and loyalty. Guide your followers through a funnel that leads to an attractive offer.

And don’t feel envious when a rival goes viral. They might have a hit video but you’re making a long-term impact on your market.

 

About Joel Comm

 

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As an Internet pioneer, Joel has been creating profitable websites, software, products, and helping entrepreneurs succeed since 1995. He has been at the frontlines of live video online since 2008 and has a deep expertise in using tools such as Facebook Live, Periscope, Instagram or Snapchat to broadcast a clearly defined message to a receptive audience or leveraging the power of webinar and meeting technologies.

 

Joel is a New York Times best-selling author of 15 books, including “The AdSense Code,” “Click Here to Order: Stories from the World’s Most Successful Entrepreneurs,” “KaChing: How to Run an Online Business that Pays and Pays and Twitter Power 3.0.” He is Co-Host of The Bad Crypto Podcast one of the top crypto-related shows in the world and has spoken before thousands of people around the world and seeks to inspire, equip and entertain.

 

Web: https://joelcomm.com/ or Twitter: @JoelComm

Read more from Joel Comm

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Joel Comm to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Joel Comm is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Joel Comm. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

Very few people take a formal class in how to send and receive emails. And that means that you essentially “wing it” with one of your primary forms of business communication.

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So, let’s talk about some tune-ups to get more of your email answered, and to improve the experience all the way around.

 

Get Your Email Answered

 

Everyone is busy. No one gives you their full attention. Think about you. Are you only reading this article, or do you have several browser tabs open? Are you answering texts in between paragraphs? Let’s start there: everyone is busy and attention is fragmented, and to that end, it means you must do the following:

 

  • Make your subject line solid - The first two lines are everything - Right after your salutation (Dear Chris), the line or lines that follow are the most important. “I need your decision on two very important points.” Or “Will you sponsor our next ‘Concert in the Park’ event for $5000?” For the love of Buddha, skip anything like “How are you?” or “I hope you are well.” We all hope the other person is well. It’s wasted. And worse, when our brains see what we expect, we turn off some amount of our attention automatically.
  • Be as brief as possible - People write as if they’re composing an essay for a college professor. Be crisp and to the point. “Hi Deb! Richard’s performance is down for the third quarter in a row so I’m going to promote Aiesha instead. Any reservations?” Brevity is vital in today’s world. Our gut tells us to write out the entire backstory, but in most cases, it’s not necessary.
  • Seek a next action - Once you’ve said what needs saying, be clear about what you want the recipient of the email to do. “Please let me know when you receive this message. I’ll follow up a few days after I hear that you have.” Or “No action necessary. Just keeping you posted.” Or whatever it is.
  • Short circuit the back-and-forth - The absolute second worst kind of email is a back-and-forth. “What do you want for lunch?” “I dunno. What about you?” “Oh, I don’t know. Anything come to mind?” (You probably just felt your anxiety raise just reading that.) The best way to do this is by making a suggestion, right or wrong and never ever sending an open-ended message to someone. “Want to get Thai for lunch?” “I think 3% is too little for the annual raise.” And if the message comes back to you more than twice, get on the phone.

 

Email signatures aren’t movie credits - Shorten your email signature. Somewhere back in the late 90s, it became cool to sign your email as if you’re a general on an aircraft carrier, with seven to ten lines of information, including 45 ways to reply back. Make your signature your name, your title, an email address, and a phone number. For the most part, that’s all anyone wants.

 

And before I let you go, I have a little drilling down to do.

 

Subject Lines are Your Secret Weapon

 

I’ve already told you that everyone is busy, everyone is skimming their email inbox and attention is minimal. Think about your own inbox. Look at the subjects there. Do some make you want to open? Do others make you want to delete without reading? Which ones get that worst distinction of being opened but not read, and not responded to forever until you guiltily delete it?

 

Your subject lines matter immensely. I want to give you a few samples to steal and adapt for your own uses:

 

  • I need 8 minutes of your time to get your perspective - one trick of this subject line is that I chose “8” instead of 5 or 10. Everyone says 5 or 10. The other benefit is that it’s clear what I’m asking for: someone’s opinion, not a sale.
  • Want to get Italian on Thursday? - This is obviously a lunch offer, a specific cuisine, and a day on the calendar. It gives the recipient three response options: no, not that cuisine, or not that date. (Or some combo.) This kind of concise email is a godsend. You can do it with work issues, too.
  • I want to sell you something, but I’m 87% sure you want to buy it. - Here I go picking a weird number again. In this case, the straightforward honesty is the “gimmick.” People hate feeling “tricked” by emails. This one is right across the plate.
  • This might make a better phone call - Here’s a play. You *know* what you want to cover can’t be handled briefly in an email, but you want to give the other person the right to refuse the call. Here’s a way to throw one extra “stop” in the way, in case the information is sensitive, or you’re not as certain about the outcome.
  • How would you solve this conflict? - This subject line is great because it gets right to the point of what you need to cover. It has a lot of variants if you think of it.

 

Turn This into a Checklist

 

If I were telling you what to do, I’d take a sticky note and put the details of this on it:

 

  • Solid subject line
  • Tight first two lines
  • Be brief
  • Seek a next action
  • Prevent back-and-forth exchanges
  • Simple email signature

 

There. All in one tight little package for you. What do you think? If you want to practice on someone, send me an email: chris@chrisbrogan.com. I’m always open to hearing what you think of what I write!

 

About Chris Brogan

 

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Chris Brogan is an author, keynote speaker and business advisor who helps companies update organizational interfaces to better support modern humans. The age of factory-sized interactions is over. We all come one to a pack. And it’s time to accept that we are all a little bit dented. Chris advisesleadership teams to empower team members by sharing actionable insights on talent development. He also works with marketing and communications teams to more effectively reach people who want to be seen and understood before they buy what a company sells.

 

Web: https://chrisbrogan.com Twitter: @ChrisBrogan

Read more from Chris Brogan

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Chris Brogan to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. The third parties within articles are used under license from Chris Brogan. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2019 Bank of America Corporation

Call a major company, and you’d be surprised if a real person answered the phone. It’s more likely that you’ll first be told which button to press based on your question. Pressing that button opens a new menu of options, which leads to another branch, and so on.

 

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For customers, the process can be frustrating but as you’re pushing your keypad, the company’s computer system is collecting information about you. By the time you finally get to speak to a customer service rep, you’ve already answered most of the questions that she would have needed to ask. She can read your selections then focus on the task that the computer can’t accomplish: identifying the details of the issue and solving your problem.

 

This process describes customer service automation in one of its most common and simple forms, and the benefit to the company is clear: the less time staff spend asking routine questions, the more time they’ll have for the more difficult problems. The company will become more efficient.

 

Call automation is just one part of a growing trend in both sales and customer service. That trend includes asking customers to select answers from a website FAQ instead of sending an email. It includes autoresponders whose content and sales recommendations are based on contact lists segmented by purchase, demographics or registration. It includes algorithms that make special offers based on previous choices. It even includes chatbots that turn up in the corners of websites and use text and natural language processing to create the illusion that the customer is talking to a real customer service rep.

 

All this artificial intelligence can be very effective.

 

When Smyths Toys, a toy company in the U.K. and Ireland, increased its online marketing, it found that it also generated significant volumes of abandoned shopping carts and customer service tickets. The company turned to an automation software firm to solve these problems. According to the software firm’s case study, the toy company focused first on tracking the customer journey on the website, and in particular on the checkout form. When customers contacted a customer care representative, that rep could see where the customer had been and precisely where they had got stuck. That quickly improved the response rate. When a customer used a promo code that expired before the transaction was complete, for example, the rep was able to quickly identify the problem and honor the discount.

 

The software was then able to use the data it collected to reach out to customers using chat, SMS, or voice based on their on-site experience. Because it was able to predict customer needs, a simple form of artificial intelligence, nearly two-thirds of the customers offered live chat messaging responded positively, reducing the number of support tickets.

 

It’s no wonder that a 2018 survey by The Economist Intelligence Unit found that 90 percent of respondents expected AI to improve growth, and 27 percent had already incorporated AI into key processes and services. Nearly half had at least one AI pilot project already under way.

 

Many of the automation systems made by firms like HubSpot, Salesforce and Genesys (which powered Smyth’s Toys’ software) are aimed at medium to large businesses. Service organizations generally use them to gather information, to automate routine customer issues such as resetting passwords and tracking orders, to route cases to the right agents, and to pre-fill fields for both agents and customers.

 

But complete systems aren’t cheap and their implementation requires re-training staff and making new technical demands.

 

Even small firms though can begin automating their processes themselves:

 

  • A FAQ page that predicts and answers common questions can be bought off the shelf.
  • Phone call branching software might irritate customers but its automated data collection improves efficiency and is easily available.
  • Customer tracking through website cookies can reveal bottlenecks, allowing the business to deliver better options and build a smoother path from recommendation through selection to checkout.
  • Contact list segmentation is a staple of email marketing and doesn’t require powerful, state-of-the-art technology to use. It just demands an understanding of customer demographics and a marketing team that can produce targeted content and track the results.

 

Even small firms have plenty of options to implement simple automation and AI-powered sales and customer service processes. But small firms also have an advantage: they can talk to customers directly. Automation works best when it improves a personal connection, not when it replaces it.

 

There still needs to be a friendly voice at the end of the phone.

 

About Joel Comm

 

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As an Internet pioneer, Joel has been creating profitable websites, software, products and helping entrepreneurs succeed since 1995. He has been at the frontlines of live video online since 2008 and has a deep expertise in using tools such as Facebook Live, Periscope, Instagram or Snapchat to broadcast a clearly defined message to a receptive audience or leveraging the power of webinar and meeting technologies.

 

Joel is a New York Times best-selling author of 15 books, including “The AdSense Code,” “Click Here to Order: Stories from the World’s Most Successful Entrepreneurs,” “KaChing: How to Run an Online Business that Pays and Pays and Twitter Power 3.0.” He is Co-Host of The Bad Crypto Podcast one of the top crypto-related shows in the world and has spoken before thousands of people around the world and seeks to inspire, equip and entertain.

 

Web: https://joelcomm.com/ or Twitter: @JoelComm

Read more from Joel Comm

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Joel Comm to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Joel Comm is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Joel Comm. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

Holiday spending in 2019 is projected to increase 4.9% from 2018, according to The Holiday Shopping Intentions Survey, with the average U.S. adult spending $683 on holiday-related purchases.

 

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A whopping 90% of those shoppers plan to visit physical stores to make purchases. How can you ensure they visit your store? Experiential marketing is the key.

 

What Is Experiential Marketing?

 

Unlike traditional advertising, such as print ads or TV commercials customers simply look at, experiential marketing invites them to experience and engage with your business in a memorable way. The goal is to make the customer feel part of your brand so they promote it to others and keep coming back to your store.

 

Experiential marketing has become a buzzword, with some retailers believing it requires immersive experiences like virtual reality technology. But that’s not true. In fact, in today’s increasingly tech-obsessed world, the way to stand out can be to offer a more hands-on experience.

 

The good news for small retailers: That means experiential marketing is something you can do, too.

 

Holiday Experiential Marketing Ideas

 

The easiest way to create experiential marketing during the holidays is the way retailers have always done it: Appeal to your customers’ five senses. Play holiday music, go crazy with holiday décor, use evocative scents and serve tasty treats like cookies or apple cider. Use touchable displays and fabrics to encourage customers to explore the merchandise.

 

Make your holiday experience unique and relevant to your brand; if you own a surf shop, play holiday surf music instead of classic carols, or plant a Christmas tree in the middle of a sand dune.

 

Here are some other experiential marketing ideas to get you started.

 

  • Give away samples: Nothing gets customers to engage with your products like letting them try the merchandise. You can hand out samples outside your store to attract a crowd. Include special offers for discounts if they buy the product.
  • Do a popup shop: A short-term or popup shop generates lots of excitement at any time of year and is a great experiential marketing tactic for the holidays. You could host a popup shop inside a complementary retail store or have a complementary business do the same in your store. Get more tips on how to run a popup shop.
  • Hold in-store events: When customers take the trouble to visit a physical store instead of doing their holiday shopping online, they want to have fun. In-store events such as live music, author book signings, art openings or fashion shows are memorable experiences that will get customers talking.
  • Offer educational classes: Give customers new ideas on how to use your products or make the most of your offerings. Art supply stores can hold painting classes, pet stores can teach customers dog grooming tips, housewares stores can host cooking classes—the ideas are endless.
  • Make it shareable: Unique and memorable events will spark social sharing. You can help it along by creating Instagrammable settings for customers to take pictures or fun moments they’ll want to remember.
  • Give it local flavor: Drawing on the local environment is one way to design an experience. For example, a camping supply store in the Pacific Northwest could use a rough-hewn, cabin-like interior, pine scents and cozy furnishings to craft a fitting setting for its wares.
  • Mix it up: Consumers are hungry for new experiences, so be sure to change your store’s experiential marketing on a regular basis. You can tie these changes to the season, to new product lines or to current events.

 

Whatever experiential marketing tactic you choose, be sure to promote it in advance, both in-store and online. Create a hashtag for your store and for any special event you’re holding. Use social media posts, email marketing and your website to build excitement about what’s going on at your store.

 

By making your in-store experience memorable and fun, you’ll boost your holiday sales, too.

 

About Rieva Lesonsky

 

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Rieva Lesonsky is CEO and Co-founder of GrowBiz Media, a custom content and media company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship, and the blog SmallBizDaily.com. A nationally known speaker and authority on entrepreneurship, Rieva has been covering America’s entrepreneurs for more than 30 years. Before co-founding GrowBiz Media, Lesonsky was the long-time Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Lesonsky has appeared on hundreds of radio shows and numerous local and national television programs, including the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, The Martha Stewart Show and Oprah.

 

Lesonsky regularly writes about small business for numerous websites and for corporations targeting entrepreneurs. Many organizations have recognized Lesonsky for her tireless devotion to helping entrepreneurs. She served on the Small Business Administration’s National Advisory Council for six years, was honored by the SBA as a Small Business Media Advocate and a Woman in Business Advocate, and received the prestigious Lou Campanelli award from SCORE. She is a long-time member of the Business Journalists Hall of Fame.

 

Web: www.growbizmedia.com or Twitter: @Rieva

You can read more articles from Rieva Lesonsky by clicking here

 

Bank of America, N.A. engages with Rieva Lesonsky to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Rieva Lesonsky is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Rieva Lesonsky. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2019 Bank of America Corporation

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