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Add Emojis for Fun, Creative Connections

Yellow emoji "thumbs up" character with yellow starburst around it

Does your business speak emoji?

There are more than 3,000 emojis at our fingertips⁠—and we are making use of them!

Facebook statistics show an average of 5 billion emojis are sent each day on Facebook Messenger. And as of mid-2015—a few years after emoji keyboards became standard for most Apple and Android users—half of all Instagram comments included an emoji.

It’s true: Millions of social-savvy communicators use emojis in creative ways on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. These small digital icons of faces, symbols, objects, and more make up a unique language.

For most businesses, adding emojis to your social media messages can help your business stand out. They can also encourage people to engage with you. Emojis can make a business feel more personable.

However, it can be difficult to incorporate emojis in a natural way when you’re representing your business. While your thumbs might be emoji-happy in your personal life, you might not know how to use them for your business profile.

For example, organizations and businesses with a more serious mission may want to stay away from emojis. At the very least, you should use them sparingly. You don’t want to upset clients or the public by accidentally creating a lighthearted message when the tone should be somber.

We enjoy using emojis and gifs on our social media channels. Why? Because it is engaging and fun.

Here are a few tips on adding emojis to your social media messaging:

  • If you aren’t sure what’s best, or if you generally want a cohesive look for your social feeds, make a guide of all your brand-approved emojis.
  • Think of emojis as an elevator pitch. Your audience should get the message—fast. One or two symbols should let people know exactly what value you’re bringing to them.
  • Use emojis to catch attention. Drop in a few to spice up your posts, but don’t leave readers guessing your message by leaving out relevant information and links. You can still use hashtags and images, too.
  • An emoji can help when you don’t have an image, or play off a photo to create a clever theme. Add an emoji arrow directing folks to “click here” or “look up.”

Think of adding in emojis as using all the tools in your toolbox, but not overdoing it with any one option. They create visually interesting messages that convey emotions sometimes better than words and add a human element.

Emojis remind your audience there are people behind your accounts, and that encourages engagement. As always, the more engagement you can encourage, the better you will do overall.

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Make Time to Relax

Illustration of yellow snail crawling on the top of a green leaf

Slowing down is just as important as speeding up.

With so much on our to-do lists, taking a quiet moment to yourself can feel counterintuitive. Sitting still—away from your devices and the endless scroll—may at first encourage your mind to wander and count down the minutes until you can get back to work.

But think about this: According to the nonprofit group Mindful, meditation can help us lower stress, improve focus, and connect with others.

When we decide to hit pause, we give our brains a needed vacation. As marketers and social people, the opportunity to reconnect with ourselves is very much needed. Being so busy communicating can wear down some of our most valuable skills.

In an industry where it’s important to build relationships, shouldn’t you watch out for your own relationships and health? When we’re healthy, we’re part of a healthy community—both online and in the real world.

If you need further convincing, check out these three TED Talks for thoughts on the benefits of taking a breath, and what you can do to live a more mindful life.

All it Takes is 10 Mindful Minutes with Andy Puddicombe

“We live in an incredibly busy world. The pace of life is often frantic, our minds are always busy, and we’re always doing something,” says mindfulness expert Andy Puddicombe in this TED Talk on refreshing your mind. “So with that in mind, I’d like you just to take a moment to think, when did you last take any time to do nothing?”

The Art of Stillness with Pico Iyer

“Some people I know, just before they go to sleep, instead of scrolling through their messages or checking out YouTube, just turn out the lights and listen to some music, and notice that they sleep much better and wake up much refreshed,” says travel writer Pico Iyer in this TED Talk that encourages people to take is slow.

How to Make Stress Your Friend with Kelly McGonigal

“Now I wouldn’t necessarily ask for more stressful experiences in my life, but this science has given me a whole new appreciation for stress,” says psychologist Kelly McGonigal in this TED Talk that turns the concept of stress on its head. “Stress gives us access to our hearts. The compassionate heart that finds joy and meaning in connecting with others, and yes, your pounding physical heart, working so hard to give you strength and energy.”

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Make Your Social Media Move

Closeup of video camera recording a person with text overtop reading "ACTION!"

In online marketing, words alone don’t cut it.

According to molecular biologist and Brain Rules creator John Medina, “Vision trumps all other senses.”

For example, Medina says that three days after hearing a piece of information people will remember 10 percent of the message. But what if that information came with an image? Then they’ll remember 65 percent.

This is just another example why we need to give our audiences something to see. But what if you don’t have extensive experience as a videographer? Video can work for you.

No matter your skill level or price point, these options will help users make memorable marketing materials.

Make Whiteboard Animations with Video Scribe

More than half of Video Scribe subscribers use the software for marketing. With Video Scribe, you can create whiteboard animations automatically for use on social media and websites, and in emails and presentations.

Seeing these whiteboard animations come alive, it’s easy to understand why this is such an engaging medium. The videos are fun, visual, and memorable. In using Video Scribe, you can break complex topics down so they are more easily understood. You can also make data-heavy stories more engaging and persuasive.

The software is quick to learn, making Video Scribe a simple process. As you work, you will be presented with different options. You will see familiar fonts, and be able to choose from stock images or upload your own.

The software requires a yearly subscription, but there are free trial options and different plans available.

Turn Text into Social Videos with Ripl

Photos, music, logos, and movement. With social video app maker Ripl, you can create marketing videos to share on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn even when you have limited resources.

Thanks to its library of options and templates—and especially the way Ripl allows you to add easy animation to text and photos—you can have videos without a video team.

The Ripl app allows you to customize, share, and track engagement on social videos. These three capabilities mean you can maximize your time while investing in content for all your social channels. To top it off, the engagement tracking allows you to get feedback and insights, even if you are on a team of one.

Additional features, like daily inspiration that changes based on what themes you follow, and a calendar to track previous creations, make Ripl a good option for quick social ads.

A free basic version and paid pro version are both available.

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Everything Is Shareable Online. Or Is It?

Text of "all rights reserved?" in typewriter font overtop three red question marks

Let’s take this back to the college lecture halls: Do you understand copyright law?

We don’t mean to scare you! In fact, learning about the dos and don’ts of copyright might be easier than you think. It’s definitely important.

Online, it can feel like everything is free, accessible, shareable, and oh-so easy to use. But there are times when just because you can do something doesn’t mean that you should.

For example, it’s acceptable to download content for your own personal offline viewing…but it’s not acceptable to do that if you are trying to make money off someone else’s content. It’s also acceptable to add free music to the videos you make…but that music needs to be free of royalties.

Are you following along?

Copyright may seem annoying at times, but it’s here to protect you and people like you—aka creatives.

Think about the last time you worked long hours, trying over and over again to generate something new, something memorable. If you make something, you want to share it, but not at the cost of losing it.

To understand copyright is to be a better creative.

When you have the understanding of something, you can reach new heights in your own work. But you don’t need to go to school and earn a degree to brush up on the meaning of fair use and work for hire.

Check out this series of 12 videos from William W. Fisher III, the WilmerHale Professor of Intellectual Property Law at Harvard University.

Don’t worry! They are free and available for you to access under a Creative Commons license. What’s that? Find out by heading to Fisher’s lectures.

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5 Ways Small Businesses Can Add Video

"Open" sign hanging on business window

You own a small business and want to try video. Where to begin?

As business owners look to incorporate more and more videos into their marketing strategies—and report positive results—you may be wondering how video can fit into the marketing plan for your own small business.

But, with social platforms making video even easier to use, there’s no need to worry about downloading complicated software of buying expensive equipment to try your hand.

You still, however, need to decide what stories to tell. We’re here to help with a few ideas for your small business video marketing plan.

Announce who you are.

You may have a written mission or vision statement somewhere on your website or perhaps even hung on the walls of your office. If you met someone at a cocktail party, how would you quickly and effectively describe the value and purpose of your business?

Having that human voice and casual contact can drive home the importance of who you are and what you do. How could you express this through a video? Take a minute to say hello to your followers and give them a tour of your office.

Introduce staff and leaders.

It’s time to get personal. Great people make great businesses, and clients and customers want to know the people behind their favorite products. Who are your employees? What are their thoughts and specialities?

Using video to connect the public to your employees strengthens your relationships—and could maybe even convince people to bring their needs to you.

Launch a new product or service.

If you’ve got it, flaunt it. With video, you can give folks a mouthwatering view of a new dish at your local restaurant, show off how your latest invention works, or demonstrate the quality of your service. Just as you can introduce people through video, you can introduce what you do and sell as well.

Go behind the scenes.

Everybody loves to be an insider. Use video to offer a glimpse into the behind-the-scenes work that goes into their favorite product. Be there with your smartphone or camera to record key moments not everyone normally sees.

Get to know fellow customers.

You aren’t just creating a business when you work at the local level. You are creating a community. Chances are, you may already see some of your biggest fans chatting and tagging you on social. If they love you, they want to show it. Invite them to your platforms to share with others who they are.

What’s great about each theme is that they build on what you already know. Talk to your clients, customers, teams and loyal staffers. What do they have to say? What do they want to know about you?

Keep these video content themes in your marketing rotation, and we know you’ll all find a deeper connection.

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Make a Splash with Live Video

Water splash from pool with text "jump right in"

When you aren’t sure how exactly to use a new tool or platform, sometimes it’s best to jump right in.

For those who haven’t tried incorporating a video strategy into their social media and marketing routines, or don’t feel like they have the ability to invest time or money in pulling together a more polished video, live video can be a great entry point. It can be fun, easy and done with equipment you already have on your phone, computer or tablet.

It might feel scary to go live, but that raw and personal aspect is also what makes live video so enticing. Live video hasn’t been edited and glossed over. People respond to real people in real situations. Now is also an especially important time to test the live video waters, with audiences increasingly interested and influenced by video.

Grab your phone and go. Recording live can be exciting, in part because you don’t know what will happen. That’s OK! You already have the tech and tools you need, so turn your camera on yourself and others for quick in-the-moment reflections, interviews from the conference floor or a behind-the-scenes view of your launch party. Live video can enhance your existing social media strategy and complement any produced videos you are already doing as part of a campaign,

Once you feel more confident and comfortable with live video, consider traveling with a small tripod for a cleaner look. Be prepared at any moment. At first, it might not feel natural, but you can work on your delivery over time.

Put your people up front. You might feel at a loss of what to put on the screen. A great company has great employees and great clients. Put your people out there. Think about what makes your community unique and share that with others. Live video can spotlight your company and build connections. Consider having employees do an Instagram takeover once a week to document their routine. Press record and try a timelapse video of a busy day in the office.

Step back and make a plan. Once you get your feet wet, it’s your time to enjoy and explore. Don’t give up. Perhaps your audience didn’t respond to your first live video. Don’t worry—this is new for them too. Once you have the rhythm of posting, they’ll have the routine of checking in to see what you’re up to. Set a goal of trying a certain number of live videos over several months, then check in and think about building your strategy. What worked and what didn’t?

Have fun experimenting and encourage others within your organization to do so as well. If your people aren’t on YouTube, try Instagram Stories. Tease your videos in your newsletter and social media posts.

It might be easier than you think!

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Inspired to Go Viral

Mobile phone about to watch video

When it comes to going viral, there’s a certain X factor that remains unknown.

Sometimes, it seems that going viral isn’t something that one so much achieves as inadvertently accomplishes. It’s as if, suddenly, it’s happened to you! Even more confusing is that, over the years, the definition of “going viral” has included earning a million hits to generating noteworthy buzz.

Today, going viral has become even harder, and there’s no permanent definition as to what it means. Although there’s an unpredictability to viral videos, there’s always a heavy dose of hard work and application required.

Launching your own video efforts can feel like a herculean task, especially if you feel overwhelmed by everything else that is out there. Seeing the amazing responses others receive can make tackling your own videos feel daunting. Additionally, you may find you measure your video success differently for your niche than other video-makers. So instead of looking at viral videos as something to copy or repeat, look behind the creativity and tenacity for motivation.

Let these video pros and their stories inspire you. What stories will you tell? What will you make the markers of your success?

“Viral videos aren’t just about being funny. They’re about identity creation. You send the video to your friends to say something about yourself. You’re saying, ‘I get this. Do you get it?’”

Ricky Van Veen, co-founder of CollegeHumor and current head of global creative strategy with Facebook in New York magazine

“It’s very easy to make a viral video, but longevity and consistency, that’s hard.”

Michelle Phan, YouTuber and makeup entrepreneur in Vox

“The number one question I’m asked as a YouTuber every day is, ‘How can I get my videos out there; how can I make my videos go viral?’”

Todrick Hall, entertainer and YouTube personality, in Screener for The Daily Dot

“When I gave a talk at TEDx, I thought that if I did a good job, the video might go viral. But…it has 140,000 views while Colin Powell’s (who spoke at the same event) has only 2,700.”

Cameron Russell, model and activist, on the TEDBlog

“We live in an age where people are becoming more aware of their own creativity and their own interest in visual expression and sharing of their experiences.”

Nick Woodman, founder and CEO of GoPro, to Mashable
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The 3 Steps to Making Video Work For You

Image of paused video with text "Be creative"

Sometimes, it’s helpful to see what others are doing. It can drive inspiration, collaboration and connection. Other times, it can be distracting.

With 5 billion videos being watched on YouTube daily, it can be both inspiring and overwhelming to see what others are doing. You know there’s a thirst for video and a push to produce it, and you may be wondering how to translate that into your own video strategy. Instead of getting caught up in what works for everyone else, take a breather to think about what’s needed for you.

What do your viewers want to see? How do they like to hear from you? Where do they like to hear from you?

You can find answers by looking inward, and that can help you drum up ideas for your existing audience as well as attract new eyes. You know your brand. Use what you know to create the best viewer experience.

Choose an approach. What are you trying to tell your audience? Why are you trying to get this message out?

Think about the tone you typically use in communications and the purpose of your video. Is it to entertain, inform or educate? Understanding why your audience digests your content and what you want them to see can help you shape the approach of your video.

Think about the story. If you don’t grab your audience in the first 10 seconds, chances are you’ve lost them.

The average video is under two minutes long (although that’s not to say you can’t go longer—when the situation calls for it and if you do it right). Tight, compelling storytelling is key. We love to tell and hear stories. And now it’s increasingly important to tell interesting stories with so much content for folks to choose from.

Ask yourself: Why should audiences hear my story?

Optimize your video for your audience. You’ve made your video. Don’t post it on YouTube and sit back waiting for views. Think about how your audience will want to watch the video. Are they on YouTube? Facebook? Instagram?

Make adjustments to your video so it plays well on each platform—and make sure it’s on your audience’s preferred platform. Don’t forget about your own communications either. Push your video out to your clients in an email newsletter and tease behind-the-scenes or promo content when appropriate.

Think about the different ways and times folks may view it. Then continue circle back to promote again, at different times and in different ways.

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Analyzing The Success of Social Media Marketing

analyzing social media success

 

Guest post from Jonathan Leger

 

Social media is a modern phenomenon that presents incredible marketing potential. The problem lies in knowing just how to harness that potential to get the results you want. That’s why it’s so important to have a game plan in place for measuring the results of your social media efforts. In this article, we will share some doable tips and provide advice on keeping track of and increasing your return on investment (ROI) in social media marketing. Read on to learn more.

 

Six Smart Strategies For Assessing & Improving Social Media Marketing ROI

1. Set goals! Before you begin, decide exactly what you want your results to be. In that way, you will have some sort of guideline in place for measuring your success. Decide how much effort you want to focus on concerns such as lead generation, brand awareness, networking and reputation building. Set a target for the precise number of leads, fans and followers you want to generate in a given time period.

2. Make good use of tracking codes. Be sure to include tracking codes in every part of your social media marketing campaign. That way you will be able to tell which parts of your campaign are generating the most interest and you can tweak accordingly.

3. Do a thorough cost analysis on each lead. Determine how much each conversion costs as compared with how much you earn on each lead you generate.

4. Perform thorough demographics analysis. Be sure to use all the tools put at your disposal by Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites to determine who is showing the most interest in your product or service and why they are attracted. Track interest from start to finish to determine the interests of your visitors, their location, age and gender. This information will help you target your best prospects.

5. Provide plenty of opportunity for feedback. Ask questions and encourage discussion. Create surveys, questionnaires and contests to engage your visitors. These activities will provide you with valuable information about what it takes to encourage and excite members of your target audience. It will also help you avoid doing things that will discourage them.

6. Find out how your visitors get to you. Use tools such as those provided by Alexa or Google Analytics to determine where your visitors come from and where they are headed. This will help you perfect your content to both attract and direct them.

 

Social Media Background

 

Is That All There Is To It?

While quantitative measurement of the success of social media marketing campaigns is important, it is also necessary to understand that qualitative results are even more important. The six simple techniques discussed above can help you get people to your social media pages where you can direct them in ways that will help you increase your ROI, but there are also many important aspects of customer service you should practice to optimize your results.

Remember that a very big part of social media involves making friends and building trust. There is a certain amount of finesse involved in this and success can be elusive if you are too focused on your business. You have to learn to set just the right balance between building authentic relationships with your followers and mentioning your product or service naturally and in an encouraging manner.

With social media, you can build your reputation as a trustworthy human being who has the best interests of others at heart. This may take a while and it is difficult to measure precise results. In this area, you will simply have to believe that with the passage of time, your consistent honest and trustworthy behavior will eventually pay off.

 

Frequent Involvement = Higher Numbers!

A successful social media marketing campaign will result in increased numbers of followers on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and other social media sites. It will also result in increased and positive activity. If you are simply attracting people to “follow” you and then never hearing from them again, your campaign is not successful. Your goal should be to have lively, active interactions on all your social media pages.

Be sure to visit your pages frequently and update your information on a regular basis. Create positive, interesting posts that engage your followers and encourage them to open up. Always keep in mind that you are working on building an ongoing relationship based in trust. Even if your potential customers are on the other side of the world, this is possible and desirable thanks to the internet.

 

Social media graph chart in 3d on blue and black

 

Think Of It As Building A Long-Term Relationship!

Don’t become discouraged if your sales figures do not climb as rapidly as your social media interactions. Your profits may not initially be an indicator of your success. Social interaction is a delicate activity. Success takes time to develop.

Focus on courting your target audience and building trust. This is a long-term investment that will surely pay off handsomely with the passage of time. By tracking and monitoring all of your activities closely, you will be able to look back through your records and see which of your efforts had the most success. This will allow you to repeat these efforts and improve your rate of conversion and ROI in a steady and reliable manner.

 

Jonathan Leger has been a successful Internet Marketer for over 11 years. He owns an SEO Tools suite at KeywordCanine.com.

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