Answer: Not as stupid as you think.
So now that we've gotten that out of the way. Let's talk about how to jump in to video during the holidays. This is a great time of year to post video on social media.
You already know video is huge right now. You'll read about it in industry publications, online articles, hear about it from consultants and marketing peers. Plus, I'm telling you about it right now.
Here's the one thing I want you to remember. There are a lot of really cool things you can do with video and I don't want you to worry about that yet. Because first I just want you to focus on getting your first video out there before running down rabbit holes of "cool stuff" you can do. Here are 5 tips to help you get started in video:
1. Get out of your own way
From all of the clients I've talked to, the ONLY thing holding them back from creating and posting a video on social media is themselves. I get it! It's a new world! Suddenly you have to make your own videos - from your phone! - and post them yourself. But if you think about it - this is actually a blessing. It's more affordable then finding a studio. It's faster than booking a studio and acting talent. And it's much more personable. People LOVE seeing the owners and employees of businesses on social media. It helps them connect to you.
2. Get some inexpensive equipment
There are a few (cheap) things you can buy to make your videos look a bit more profesh (i.e., professional).
Get a tripod to keep your phone steady (and then you don't have to use your laptop camera which might give you that "second-chin" look you weren't going for.
Use lapel microphone to cut out background noise.
Employ a selfie light to brighten up your video. Makes your eyes look brighter!
3. Grab some help
So this sounds crazy, but just asking someone to be in your video with you (even if they're just standing there nodding at the camera) can calm you down, make you less nervous, and help you perform better. So grab a co-worker and ask them to nod into the camera while you talk.
It also doesn't hurt to ask around to see if any employees/co-workers LIKE to be on camera. Hey, maybe they want the spotlight and you can be behind the scenes.
4. Have fun ... please just have fun
Because people can tell when you're not. Talk about awkward. You're worried about your hair and outfit and sounding stupid. Your audience is wondering if they should call 911 because it looks like you're having a stroke. I'm serious when I say, don't be so serious. SMILE! Breath. You'll get through it - promise!
5. Put on your Nikes and Just Do It
(You don't really need Nikes.) Set a date/time for when you're going to make your video (or even go live on Facebook!) and crank it out. Force yourself to do it. Get it done. Check it off your list. Then sit back, relax, and enjoy because you'll see it wasn't so bad and you didn't look stupid.
Thank you for donating!
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to everyone who donated pads and tampons. And deodorant and soap and so much more! Together, we donated 1,464 pads and 634 tampons to homeless women!!! This is so amazing! One of the employees I spoke with was grateful and practically shouted, "yes! We are ALWAYS VERY MUCH in need!" Melted my heart when I realized how many we had and that we doubled what we donated last year. You all came through and I'm very grateful!
Pads. Tampons. Periods.
Say it with me three times. Get comfortable with it.
Our uncomfortable reaction to this completely normal part of being a human with female reproductive organs is holding us back from helping homeless women who need pads and tampons.
Women who don't have access to these items often skip work because they know it's going to be a horrible embarrassing mess. Then they get fired. Image getting a job, feeling positive, and then BAM, your period comes. Women who use "make-shift" items (ex. fabric from old t-shirts) often have to reuse those items and can end up getting infections. And other women end up ruining the ONLY pair of underwear they have. The only pair.
It's up to us to help these women. Luckily there's enough of us to make a difference!
I'm Collecting Donations Through October 17th
I have some pretty amazing friends and they're helping me collect in their places of work, too. I will drive to pick up your donations if you'd like to collect these items where you work, go to church, host your book club, etc. Let me know!
These superheros are collecting donations where they work:
What should you donate?
We're needing pads and tampons. Packaged from the store (not from the already-opened box in your bathroom). Last year some women also donated deodorant and body spray - that's fine too! Keep in mind that tampons are GREAT but can cause TSS if left in too long. Sometimes pads might be a safer bet for a woman trying to make ONE sanitary item last as long as possible. But we will take ANYTHING - pads and tampons.
Based on me being a smart @ss, I also threw in these little donations rules this year:
Let's Keep This Going
We did pretty good last year. We only collected at one office location. This time we're collecting at MULTIPLE locations so my dream is that we get even more donations! Contact me today if you'd like to help!
"Everybody wants to be relevant. We want to be relevant personally. We want to be relevant in our businesses." -Rick Warren TED Talk
Businesses are told to stay relevant and it's implied that you can do this via social media. So what does "staying relevant" even mean? And how do you do it? Let's look at "relevancy" together.
First, let's look at the Urban Dictionary
I mean ... they're not usually WRONG ...
"the most amazing group of people ever, having to do with things that are real and that matter"
The Urban Dictionary's definition revolves around a person or business wanting to stand out and make a difference, be heard. This is how most people think of "relevancy" and they definitely are not wrong. However, this definition can be a major turn off to a small-to-medium sized business who is just trying to keep in touch with their customers and not wanting to march in protests or host public talks ... and definitely don't want to post about private information - along with almost-nude photos - like the Kardashians. So let's keep looking ...
Next, let's look at Dictionary.com
Let's have a look-see at the actual dictionary's definition - they're never wrong.
"bearing upon or connected with the matter in hand; pertinent:
a relevant remark."
Whew, this is getting complicated. It's starting to sound like too much work, right?
Don't worry it isn't. To understand what it takes to stay relevant, maybe we should first look at WHY we want to stay relevant. Then I'll show you how a small-to-medium sized business can go about doing that.
Put your video camera down, luckily you won't need a sex tape, an activist tape, a parody video, or an extreme-sports video. Let's look at an example of relevancy on a personal level ...
Let's read a story
When I was younger I hung out with a girl ... let's call her Katie (that really is her name) ... we lost touch throughout high school and college, but then one day I saw that she was following me on Instagram. So I followed her back and was alerted to the fact that my "request" to follow Katie was "pending". And then I forgot all about her.
A couple months later I ran into her in public and was excited to see her - I mean she DID follow me on Instagram and I think maybe I was following her back? (I couldn't remember if she accepted my follow request or not.) So I ran up and said "hi, how are you?!" and she looked at me like she's never seen me before. So I told her who I was and she said "yes, I remember you," without offering up conversation or asking how I was or even answering my original question and telling me how she was doing. She seemed really put out about having to talk to me. I left totally confused!
A couple months later I saw that she liked one of my photos on Instagram so I clicked on her name to see her profile. It said I had to send a request to follow her. Again. So I did. Again. I mean ... maybe I got it wrong and our public face-to-face awkward reunion was all in my head? Maybe she thought it went smashingly? So I sent another request to follow her and was again told my "request" was "pending." And then I forgot all about her. Again.
A couple months later I ran into her in public. AGAIN. And we had the EXACT SAME exchange! Needless to say I was confused and a little pissed. Out of curiosity I went back into Instagram to see if she ever excepted my request to follow her - she hadn't. I could send it again if I wanted to. I didn't want to.
So why am I telling you this? What's the moral of the story? The moral of the story ... is WTF! Don't ever act like this! Katie's actions are turning people away, not helping her connect with them. She still likes my photos on Instagram and basically hides when she sees me in public. I probably would have went through life feeling indifferent toward her, but now I'm bordering on not even liking her that much. If she were a brand, I'd stop buying. I now consider her less of a social connection and more of an annoyance. She might come out of hiding to "like" a photo of mine (ohhhh, some would call that "engagement") but she won't actually connect with me on Instagram AND more importantly, she won't connect with me in real life.
Doesn't this sound awful and like completely bizarre behavior?
Well, what if I told you that unfortunately, some businesses act like this too. They're "pulling Katies" left and right - taking minimal effort to "engage" with a customer but don't follow through and aren't acting like they care that much. "Liking" a customer's content but not providing a way for the customer to engage with them. Or even worse, not replying back to comments a customer is leaving on their own posts.
This is the opposite of staying relevant, but it's also what a lot of companies are doing right now.
How can you stay relevant?
It's pretty simple. You can start by actually BEING THERE. Join a conversation, start a conversation, support conversations. You don't need to start controversial conversations - they can be simple conversations, but make sure you're having them.
The dictionary can't help us define relevance. YOU define it by jumping in and understanding your audience, joining their conversations, taking simple actions and following through with what you say. That's it. That's being relevant.
Now that we've all agreed to stop "pulling Katies" let's look at tips you can use to get started and stay relevant.
Tips for Staying Relevant
1. Become more aware
Get in the habit of continually taking a step back and assessing everything.
This helps form a picture of where you're currently at and where you should be going. Follow your prospects and clients so it's easier for them to connect with you. Don't make them find you ... because they probably won't! You need to find them and meet them where they like to hang out.
Take advantage of trends. What's going to change the way you communicate or do business in the next 6 months?
Get ready for it today.
2. Find out where your customers are & join them
Where is your audience hanging out online? That's where you want to be. Pay attention to:
Start following conversations that are already happening. You'll learn about their wants, needs, expectations, and more. Start by monitoring:
Once you start monitoring the conversations you can jump in, too. Start talking about what everyone else is talking about - just join the conversation. Now you're connecting with your audience in a way they want to connect!
(Psst ... keep an eye out - this is a great way to start planning your messaging and marketing content. You'll get a feel for what kind of content you should be creating and even how to word your headlines so they stand out to your audience.)
3. Join the conversation as a business
78.6% of sales people using social media to sell outperformed those who weren't using social media. Response was 23% higher! - Source: fastcompany.com
Who stays relevant?
The person or company who stays in touch, reaches out, and includes others.
Who doesn't say relevant?
The person or company who only reaches out when they want to get something out of it. Those whom you never hear from, never see active on social media, until they need something.
Moral of the story? Stay engaged. Don't pull a Katie. It's all about two-way communication now!
April 23rd is "Take a Chance Day"
I think it's great that we're given this nudge from the calendar. It's a reminder that we're still capable of great things ... or crazy things ... both, if we're lucky ... and we need to get out there and do those things.
From what I can tell this was a holiday that was started on the Internet and isn't official. ** BUT ** I don't care! I'm using "Take a Chance Day" to get over fears and try new things. I'm still deciding which big item I want to cross off my list. I'm thinking about trying rock climbing. I'm not a fan of heights and I'm not rock-climbing fit. But it looks amazing and I'd be so proud of myself if I accomplished it! (Inside, at a rock-climbing facility, with an instructor, and a safety harness. Let's not get too crazy!)
What are you going to do?
If you're not sure what to do on "Take a Chance Day" ... here are some ideas to try!
Try Goat Yoga
Join a Networking Group
Ask For a Raise
Try a New Workout Routine
End Toxic Relationships
Try Extreme Ironing
As you can see there are so many things to choose from! So, TODAY sit down and make a list of things you want to have done by or to do on "Take a Chance Day". Have your list narrowed down by April 1st and then know that you have 22 days to prepare and start making it happen!
I'm so excited! Comment below and let me know what you plan to do!
Spring cleaning. Sounds like a boring, over-used topic. But it isn't, well, it isn't if you do it right!
Cleaning up BORING marketing ideas
To get started, let's sweep out last year's ideas of "spring cleaning" so we can focus on creating your own, unique version.
Think, think, think ... how can you play off the topic of "spring cleaning" for your business?
Offer tips to help your customers clean up an area of their life ... any area of their life that has nothing to do with closets and junk. Get creative! Think about ...
(Hint, hint.) Of course whichever topic you choose will align with your business and your customers will need at least one of your products or services to complete the "cleaning" process.
Go Live With Your Ideas
You've probably heard a million times that video is BIG on Facebook right now and you absolutely NEED to start using their Live Video function for your business. It's true. And now is the perfect time! Gather up your tips and solutions and turn that camera on.
Nervous? Just remember that when your audience watches live video they are doing it because they want to experience what's happening WITH YOU in real time. They aren't watching just for entertainment, they aren't going to be judging you if you stumble over words. You can drop things and pick them back up. You can forget things and start over. Your audience LOVES that kind of stuff! Because guess what, it shows that you're authentic and real and that makes you endearing and trustworthy. Don't let your nerves stop you. I promise you won't regret it!
Host a Giveaway
Create a giveaway around your "spring cleaning" idea and promote it via social media, email, text message, on your website ... everywhere! You can give away a product or service. Or you can give away a free gift when a customer buys your product or service. Maybe they'd like a free bottle of wine to enjoy after they're done "cleaning up" an area of their life. Maybe someone can win a free upgrade in services for the month to help them finish their "cleaning". You get the point! Make it fun and promote it everywhere!
If you're not sure where to start, then start with me! I will help you map out a plan ... and even better, I can just do it for you! Let's talk! Email me: email@example.com.
Show Your Love This Valentine’s Day
I wanted to put a quick blog post together because I hear some local businesses are having a hard time planning Valentine's Day promotions. Are you struggling with promotion ideas for Valentine’s Day? Maybe you offer services that you can’t provide a discount on. Or you’re not in a place financially to offer 20% off. Or you’re just not sure where to start. Hopefully this blog post will help! Choose one or choose all to implement.
1. Give Gifts to Your Clients
What kind of gifts can you give?
• White paper
• Percent off a product/service in February
• Product samples
• Freebie after a purchase of a certain value
• Gift/value they can use in their business
2. Give Gifts to Your Top Clients
Give gifts to the top 10% of your clients. Use it as a “reward” opportunity. You can even turn this into a referral opportunity by asking them to select 1 person to also get the same gift. What a great way for them to “pass it forward” and for you to gain new referrals to your business!
3. Post a Love Message to Your Clients
Post an image … or better yet, use Facebook Live Video to post a message to your clients. Facebook Live Video has better reach and after the most recent changes made to Facebook’s algorithm, your regular image post might not even be seen.
You can also start a social media campaign called “Things I love” and post every couple of days. You can post about:
• Vendors (i.e., friendly delivery guy)
4. Highlight Gifts for Sale
Make sure you let your customers know what kind of Valentine’s Day gifts you have in your shop! Feature multiple products – post every day if you have enough inventory! Make sure you stay in front of those shoppers!
Another promotional tactic is to let your audience know what products/services have been the most popular for men, women, kids, etc. so they where to start shopping on your site or in your store!
5. Get Unique
Maybe your business sells B2B. That’s ok – you don’t need to have conventional gifts! You can still ask clients to “Share the love” by referring your services to a contact (make sure you throw in a special introductory offer!).
Don’t forget about the singles out there! “Galentine’s Day” is a fun favorite – started from the popular TV show Parks and Rec, it’s a way for women to use those “couples” coupons with their gal pals instead.
Re-purpose popular romantic quotes into funny quotes that promote your business. How could you re-purpose these?
• Love is in the air
• You complete me
• I’m just a girl standing in front of a boy asking him to love her.
6. Dedicate Marketing Dollars
Dedicate some marketing dollars to digital advertising:
• Facebook & Instagram Ads
• Twitter Ads
• Google Ads
Share Your Ideas!
Once you post on your social media pages or on your website, post a link in the comments so I can head over and “like” it! I can’t wait to see how creative you are!
Social Media Images
Feel free to use these on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and anywhere else!
Feature Customers To Show Appreciation & Strengthen Connection
Do you have a client who comes into your business often? Or has purchased products/services online more than once? A regular you know you can count on? Think of that client/customer and how you can feature them in your blog and on social media. If you don't feel like you have a "regular" yet, then choose someone who's tagged you on social media or a customer who's in your shop and seems chatty/open to having a photo taken of them. I promise it'll be easy to find someone!
There are a couple of ways to feature customers, depending on your time and resources.
Customer Spotlight on Social Media
If you're not ready to write blog posts or feel that route isn't for you, then let's just focus on social media. Make sure to share on all of your platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and any others! There are a few ways to feature customers on social media. Let's look at those so you can decide which is best for you ... maybe they all are! (I use all of these options with my clients!)
Use Photos From Your Store Or From Customers
If you can grab a photo of your customer while they're in your store or office, that's great! Another good option is to share their photos. This is what social media is made for! Share their posts on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Here's a perfect example of an online store sharing a photo from their customer.
Design A Template For Customer Spotlights
This is a great example because the image says "Customer Spotlight" on it which will help grab your audience's attention on social media. Designing a template dedicated to Customer Spotlights is a smart move!
Grab a Photo Of You And Your Customer
I love this one. Not only is the owner in the picture with the customer, but he explains that this guy is his first repeat customer. How memorable!
The most important thing isn't which option you use, it's that you get started right away. Make it a goal that you're going to take pictures with 2 customers a month, if you have foot traffic. If you don't have foot traffic, then your goal is to start asking every single customer to tag you in a photo on social media. This will help build your library of user-generated content.
Customer Spotlight Blog Post
This is such a great idea for promoting customer satisfaction and providing social proof! Dedicate a blog post to featuring your customers. Some businesses use a Q&A outline where they ask their customers set questions and then they paste in the customer's answers. Others will use a more narrative approach, where they talk about the customer from their point of view, but then add in quotes from the customer about how they use the products/services or what they love about them. Here are a few examples to look over.
Short And To The Point
This example from Tea Spot shows you how quick and easy this can be. They ask their customer which tea is his favorite, where he's from, etc. That's it! Fast work to show your audience that you're interested and invested in your customer base! (Click on the image to see the full blog post.)
Narrate The Story
This example from Gym Source shows how you can control the story in the blog post by narrating it from your point of view. There are quotes from the customer, which is key. There are also links to other areas of site which is a great way to maximize your traffic! This keeps your audience on the site longer by giving them more content to read. (Click on the image to see the full blog post.)
If you already have a blog for your business then I think this is definitely something you should try! Put together a list of questions and start asking customers if you can feature them! Although you don't need a photo, I think it helps to have one! Especially when it's time to promote your blog post on social media!
If you're not sure where to start, then start with me! I will help you map out a plan ... and even better, I can just do it for you! Let's talk! Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
“How’d you get here?!”
How are your clients finding you? Do you know? Like REALLY know (not just guessing)? Many business owners don’t and it’s one of the most important things you should know.
Here’s why you need to know …
If you’re like … well, everyone else … you’re probably switching from print advertising to digital advertising to help people find your business. As you make that switch, you need to keep your eye on your bottom line, but you also need to make sure your clients are responding to new mediums. This is especially important for businesses in smaller towns where print might still be necessary to help you reach specific demographics. You may find yourself moving back to some forms of print advertising to hit a niche audience and then using more affordable digital advertising to hit the others.
Here’s how to start collecting the info …
Ask clients how they heard about you the first time they contact you. Some people have a survey form. Some people ask before getting off the phone. Do what works for your business. As you gather this feedback from clients, start sorting the responses into two categories: Free and Paid.
Examples include …
Examples include …
Here’s how you take it to the next level …
Once you’ve started collecting responses and have categorized them, it’s time to start looking more closely at your list. How can you capitalize on each item in the list?
For example, do you have some customers coming by through word-of-mouth? Ask yourself …
While you’re looking at the paid category, ask yourself …
Now that you’re collecting responses and observing results you can start making small tweaks and changes to how you advertise. First, see how you can capitalize on the items in the “Free” category. Then start moving your budget around so you’re spending more money on the most successful items in the “Paid” category and decreasing your spending on the least successful.
Good luck and have fun! As always, if you need help you can contact me any time at email@example.com.
Post These Quotes On Social Media
If you're following my free monthly posting plan then you're probably looking for some quotes about the new year to post on social media. Here are a few to get started with. Enjoy!
“Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.” - Oprah Winfrey
“Celebrate what you want to see more of." - Tom Peters
"Ring out the false, ring in the true." - Alfred Lord Tennyson
First, I'm the mother of three crazy, sassy, sarcastic, hilarious children. Second, I work in the world of social media, email, digital marketing. Third, I'll probably try to tell you what to do.