Thursday, March 19, 2015

Leverage Videos & Virtual Events to Increase Your Reach.

“Show the readers everything, tell them nothing!” - Ernest Hemingway

Yes, show and don’t tell. It is a powerful storytelling technique that can help us gain attention from our audience. It becomes more important in this day and age when businesses are driven by technology, and videos and social media are also quickly becoming more important in our marketing strategies. Every business is competing for “eye balls” and “face time” so the question is, what do we do to increase our reach in less time?

1.     Videos
Video is the perfect format for quickly grabbing busy audience’s attention. Remember, facts tell, stories sell and here are 3 reasons why marketers use videos:
·         To put emphasis on showing (not telling)
·         A video becomes memorable due to the storytelling process.
·         Videos can be used to measure success using video analytics.

“A picture says 10,000 words and a video says 50,000 words!”

This year, in 2015, video marketing and the play button will take center stage. More marketers will realize the importance of video as part of their digital marketing strategies.

As our devices get smarter, so should we! More than 50% of viewers watch more than three quarters or a given video, and more than 70% of marketing professionals report that video converts better than any other medium. Take YouTube for example. It is a great channel for distributing videos because it can help us increase and expand our reach, and most importantly, attract new audiences.

Almost everyone I know, and especially business folks, either owns a computer, a smartphone, a tablet, or all three. So the fact that many are spending less time watching the TV and migrating to their favorite devices in search of “on demand content”, it is almost essential that every business leverage videos to reach their audience faster. At the touch of a “play” button, we are able to access the information and/or content, and the best thing is, we can do it on our time

2. Virtual Events
Virtual events are very valuable because they have the ability to increase and expand the reach of our events to an unlimited number of people who can attend from anywhere in the world. The best thing about it is, they don’t even need to leave their desks! Many companies are trying to serve a global marketplace and virtual events are the perfect tool to amplify the power and reach of events.

When Are Virtual Events Right for Your Business?
1.     If you want to expand the reach of your target audience beyond a specific region.
o    They help dramatically increase participation especially when in-person marketing tools like live seminars and large physical events are limited in scale by demography and behavior. This is why many companies and organizations that run large physical events are now adding a virtual component, enabling anyone to attend, from anywhere.
2.     Budget
o    Virtual events can be significantly more cost effective than traditional in-person events and they often deliver increased value for our investment.
o    Removing the challenges and expenditures required to deliver a brick and mortar event allows us to focus on more important content.
3.     Virtual events are savvy and cool because they help build and connect online communities!
o    In many post event surveys, virtual event participants say that they really enjoy the virtual experience. They are able to easily participate without disrupting their work and personal lives.

Zef Zan is an entrepreneur and the President and Founder of Entrepreneurs That SOAR!, a New Media Marketing company where she is known for being a “High Tech, High Touch Marketing Strategist” who helps entrepreneurs and business folks leverage videos, webcasts, and virtual events via Hangouts to increase reach and humanize your brand. She also aces at helping individuals and teams harness the power and reach of social media to build connectivity and communities globally.
Zef is also an inspirational speaker, and the creator, producer, and host of two web shows, Creative Chat Cafe, The Business Talk Show Hangouts, aired every Wednesday at 12:30 pm ET on , and Zef’s Zest TV on YouTube.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Steps to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy and Plan

With the massive number of people actively participating in online social communities, it's become a necessity for your business to get organized with your social media marketing.  As social media continues to change the way people communicate, it is an increasingly important tool for small businesses.

Here are some steps and tips to help you get started:

1. Define Your Goals
It's critical to specifically define what you want to achieve through social media. Your goals for social media should relate to your overall goals for your business and tie in with your sales and marketing plans.

For example, you may want to use social media to:

  • Build your brand-name recognition and credibility
  • Execute online customer support - answering questions about products/services
  • Increase sales through offers
  • Drive traffic to your web site or a landing page
  • Promote a new line of products
2. Define Your Target Audience and Where You'll Find Them

A business must have a clear understanding of who they are targeting.  Find out which social media channels your audiences prefer and what information they read, share and post.
If you need help figuring out where to find your target markets, check out research organizations such as Pew Research Center that publish valuable studies with this data.

3. Competitive Analysis
Check out your competitor's social media pages! Where are they and what kind of presence do they have?  How can you position your company in relation to the competition? Use a competitive analysis to help craft your own social media strategy and plan.

4. Content Strategy and Plan
Your content strategy needs to directly support your goals. For instance, if your goal is to increase sales through offers, then you might implement a strategy to issue a monthly discount coupon to existing customers or an introductory discount to new customers.
Also consider developing useful information that's of interest to your target audiences. Choose three to five hot topics or categories of information that you'll post about. Your content should be relevant and fresh, and focus on the clients rather than on your company. What does your audience want to read? What do they want to learn? Remember to plan a variety of content types( text, article links, photos, video, coupons, etc.)
-Posting Frequency
Instead of posting randomly, decide how often you'll post on each network . Remember- consistency is key.
-Create a Content Calendar
To ensure that you cover all the topics that you intend to, and that you pay attention to all of your chosen social medial platforms, consider creating an editorial calendar. Try using an Excel spreadsheet to plan out and outline what, when and where you'll be posting. Try using a social media management and scheduling application such as Hootsuite to schedule posts to social media sites in advance.

5. Track Your Progress
Measure your social media results based on the objectives you set. Check your each social media site's analytics such as click throughs (number of people who took action on your post) and click through rates (percentage of people who click on your offer out of all the people who saw it),
Make it easier to track your results by including a call to action in each campaign or on each platform. Use a unique promotion code or develop targeted landing pages.
In today’s connected world, where customers research purchases online and seek recommendations from friends and family, it is in the best interest of most small businesses to not only have a social media presence but an organized plan to get results.
Sources: Social Media Examiner and Investopedia/Jean Folger