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Yes, You Can Use Video on LinkedIn

Laptop with speech bubble saying "Let's connect"

Everybody’s on LinkedIn—even celebrities are on this social platform known for networking. And while this may not be the platform you go to for fun, it is the platform you should be on for professional connections.

According to numbers from LinkedIn’s Sophisticated Marketers Guide, there are more than 400 million professionals are on the platform. If you want to talk to leaders, savvy thinkers, ideators, marketers, communicators, head to LinkedIn. If you want to grow your business, and show off your skills to current and potential employees and clients, head to LinkedIn.

But don’t just be there—be part of the community.

This is how you can set yourself apart from the millions of users. This is how you can position yourself and your company as a thought leader and drive your business.

Increasingly, one way to do this is through native video on LinkedIn, which launched in 2017. You can start a video ad campaign, embed videos or upload and create on LinkedIn’s platform, which, it should be noted, are often more effective. You can share product launches, promote company news, drop insider offers and exclusive looks, and tell stories and introduce key figures.

Sure, you could similarly share these updates through static images or text. Video is one more avenue to connect. Additionally, data from LinkedIn suggests viewers spend more time with video and may be more likely to start conversations around video content.

LinkedIn is interested in pushing its community toward using more video too: In February, the company launched a live video feature in beta. The company continues to pilot live video streaming with a few broadcasters. The feature isn’t currently available to all members, but LinkedIn does offer an option to apply to become a live video broadcaster.

For everyone else, LinkedIn also offers support and encouragement to pursue the creation and uploading of original videos.

LinkedIn Marketing Solutions has a quick guide to using video on LinkedIn, and even goes as far as helping participants consider why video might be important to their strategy. (There’s also LinkedIn’s special Tech Marketer’s Guide to B2B Video.)

If your objectives include building brand awareness, encouraging clicks and new viewers or driving leads to your website, LinkedIn argues posting video on the social media platform is good for you.

As with any video strategy, it’s important to do what’s right for you and your audience. Come up with an idea and see it through, then look at the feedback and adjust. Adding in video doesn’t mean eliminating all other content and touch points. But it does offer a way to set yourself apart from others and create another opportunity for viewers to connect with you.

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3 TEDTalks to Pique Your Social Media Curiosity

As marketers, we love to think about why and how. How can we connect with this group? Why is this connection special? It’s important to stay sharp and remain open so we can absorb all the information and data. At the same time, that overload of content can be a lot to sort through.

When this happens, sometimes it’s important to take a break for yourself. Find an outlet that will excite and motivate you. Checking in with a TEDTalk, especially one that’s only about 10 minutes long, can be a powerful way to recharge without losing focus on your tasks at hand.

The three below caught our attention for the creative ways they delve into social media needs and interests. Sure, you can learn a thing or two while watching, but they’re also simply fun.

What makes something go viral? with Dao Nguyen

From baby goats in the office to exploding watermelons, Buzzfeed publisher Dao Nguyen explores viral videos, which, Nguyen says, is really about understanding what videos do for viewers. Do they want to laugh? Are they looking for affirmation?

“The question I get most frequently is: How do you make something go viral? The question itself is misplaced; it’s not about the something. It’s about what the people doing the something, reading or watching—what are they thinking?” Nguyen shares.

A funny look at the unintended consequences of technology with Chuck Nice

“So are we more connected, or are we just more connected to our devices?” asks comedian Chuck Nice in this TEDTalk. If you’ve ever scratched your head at the thought of designer babies, driverless cars and trolls, Nice has a lighthearted look at how we can navigate the future and remember to laugh at the technology that scares us.

3 ways to (usefully) lose control of your brand with Tim Leberecht

As more and more companies push to empower their employees through social media and turn their clients and staff into their biggest brand advocates, author and marketer Tim Leberecht’s TEDTalk can only become more applicable.

“I’m a marketer, and as a marketer, I know that I’ve never really been in control,” Leberecht shares. “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room, the saying goes. Hyperconnectivity and transparency allow companies to be in that room now, 24/7. They can listen and join the conversation. In fact, they have more control over the loss of control than ever before. They can design for it. But how?”

Surprise campaigns, humble companies and free publicity all come up in this talk.

Remember, TEDTalks are also searchable by topic and length, so you can explore 3,000-plus videos and transcripts for the motivation you need. And, since the talks already happened but remain part of the community online, you can comment and continue the conversation no matter when you watch.

Stay curious, friends!

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Don’t Forget These Personalization Tips

Data, data, data. People crave a personal connection online and in the real world. Thanks to the wealth of social media and marketing insights we’re now able to collect, we can easily innovate to customize the user experience in ways previously unimaginable.

Among the social media and marketing trends that stand out this year, personalization is a big one. It’s connected to email marketing, online advertising and influencer partnerships, and, when used effectively, it can increase customer loyalty.

But this is no robotic trend. We can’t just press a button and see personalization in play. Well, we can, but that doesn’t mean we should. In fact, blindly personalizing messages without thought of how, when or why can hurt a relationship.

A customized user experience happens when we employ technology with a human touch. Working with both our intuition and our insights, we can focus on bringing the best to our clients and audiences.

Although some of the toys for customization may be new, the thought process behind it relies on old standbys. Asking the right questions about your clients can make a world of difference. We know this from our beloved audience personas, who—by the way—can really help sort out which customization options are key. Who is in your audience? Where are they on social media? How do they like to connect?

Research shows that consumers crave relevant customized experiences. Why wouldn’t they, if it makes their daily lives easier and their choices more meaningful? When we talk about customization, we’re talking about putting the focus on the client and creating a connection through thoughtful choices and options.

It may be tempting to act fast and surge forward to maximize the returns customization can bring. But don’t be afraid to slow down. In fact, you may have to. Remember that data, data, data? It takes time to go through it.

You have to consider what your customers want, including:

  • How they want to connect
  • What a meaningful interaction looks like to them
  • How they would like to be addressed (are you on a first-name basis?)
  • Where they like to consume their news (are they likely to follow a link or would they prefer to stay within a platform or email?)

Truly thinking about these answers can improve the experience for both you and your followers. Think about customization from all sides. Sometimes it can be as simple as choosing the right time to send your email.

That’s right. Perhaps the most important factor when it comes to customization is choosing the right time to hit send. Scheduling an email for a Friday afternoon won’t reach office workers who have already checked out, but planning an Instagram post that will catch their eye during their evening scroll might be a better fit.

Don’t get distracted by bells and whistles. Dial it back to your core questions and think about what would make for a meaningful interaction. That’s the best form of personalization.

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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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Find your zen at work

Background image of balloons with zen proverb "Let go or be dragged"

It’s happened again—you were writing that report, but then you took a break to check your email. Also Twitter. And Facebook. What can you do when a world of discovery and distraction is at your fingertips?

Sure, it’s not a bad thing that our lives have become hyper-connected. The doors to exploration have opened wide online, making us more flexible, curious, and inventive. But at the same time, it can make it difficult to complete a task when you’re not totally focused. Instead of concentrating on one thing, you’re jumping from email to email, post to post, and easily put off track.

Sometimes, we aren’t even the ones to blame. Thanks to changing workplace and social expectations, folks often anticipate a prompt response. And those notifications are so enticing! It will only take a minute to check what they mean…

What were we talking about? Oh, that’s right—staying focused!

We’re here to help with a few tips, tricks and apps to help you concentrate and turn the computer into your virtual zen zone.

Set the mood

Perhaps one of the reasons why you go searching for distraction is because you legitimately need a break. Feeling uncomfortable at your workstation can be a real drag, and it’s natural to want to shift your focus elsewhere.

Perhaps it’s not your task that’s giving you a headache, but your setup. If you feel blinded by your computer screen, think about downloading f.lux, which adapts your screen brightness according to the time of day. If on a phone, double check your settings or download a filter app.

Block out the noise

Some people need silence to work. Other people need what they would consider a health level of noise.

The gentle hum of instrumental music can trigger creativity while helping you zero in on a single activity. Close your random tabs, forget about email and plug your earbuds in. Subscription music service Focus at Will promises to boost your concentration with background music. You can also search “concentration” or “study music” on your favorite listening platforms like YouTube and Spotify.

Searching for something a little different? If you work alone or from a home office, you might crave the office environment to keep you on track. Enter Coffitivity, a site that invites you to listen to the ambient noises of such locations as a “Texas Teahouse” or “Lunchtime Lounge” Perhaps a little noise can help you shut out those inner voices (and maybe even outer ones too) and stay on your A game.

Place limits

Sometimes, you have to set limits.

If you think you can’t keep yourself from visiting certain sites or checking your phone, you may need to give yourself some hard boundaries. The Google Chrome productivity extension StayFocusd will help you limit the time you spend on certain websites. Similarly, Freedom can help you tune out noises across your computer and smartphone. For phone users, apps like Moment help track which apps you’re using most and coach you into different habits.

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Catch attention with GIFs

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a GIF might be worth two. They can help tell stories in fun, memorable ways, and can keep a conversation going on social media.

via GIPHY

Although they may seem like a new trend, GIFs actually predate the internet. These looped, animated clips were created to share digital images without taking up too much space. They’ve made a comeback in recent years thanks to social media and meme culture.

via GIPHY

It’s possible to incorporate GIFs into your own social media and digital marketing strategies. You can make your own GIFs through software like Adobe Photoshop or Camtasia, and there are also plenty of free or low-cost GIF tools available online. These online tools include Animatron Studio, CloudApp, Gifs.com, GIPHY, and Make a Gif.

Even if you think GIFs are too casual, they are important and can lead to clever communication ideas. That element of movement can catch people off guard and invite people in. Consider adding them to an e-newsletter to break up text, using a GIF as a cover for your Facebook page to stand out from the crowd, or including on social media to help create a unique voice.

GIFs aren’t only for fun, either. Consider adding GIFs to a how-to blog post to better show each step or adding GIFs to show data changes.

via GIPHY

Keep in mind that GIFs, like emojis and other images, can have hidden meanings. Don’t be afraid to experiment, but do a little homework before you post without thinking. Sites like GIPHY will include hashtags associated with existing images, and that can give you some clue as to how that GIF is used.

Oh, and one more thing: GIF was 2012’s Word of the Year, but the debate continues over the correct way to pronounce it. Since GIF stands for “Graphics Interchange Format” many folks prefer to pronounce it with a hard “g.” However, Steve Wilhite, who is credited as the inventor of GIFs, has said he prefers the other way, which sounds more like “jif.”

via GIPHY

Happy GIF-ing!


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Developing Your Social Media Strategy

Social Media

Social media can be a powerful tool and help you engage with and grow your audience. You’ll need a strategy to help you manage and maintain your social media presence. Engagement is key when it comes to social media. Additionally, each social media network you choose to be active on serves a purpose for your business and your business’s growth.

 

Identify your goals and objectives.

First and most importantly, identify your goals and objectives. What are you hoping to get out of your social media networks? How do you want to utilize them? What do you want to accomplish? Make sure you know how each platform works and know the audience for each platform. For example, LinkedIn has a different audience and purpose than Instagram. So you would not want to post the same thing on LinkedIn as you do on Instagram.

 

Create a calendar and post regularly.

When getting started, you’ll need to have a plan to post regularly. You’ll also need to decide what to post about. Create a social media calendar, and be sure to add all of your upcoming events, blog posts, and other important information. This will help you stay organized and build a strategy around each of your social media accounts. Use a social media management platform such as Hootsuite or Sprout Social to help you schedule posts ahead of time. Here at Epic, we use Sprout Social to help us manage our social media accounts.

Create a plan and calendar that works for you and brings in more engaged followers. Once you have one, stick to it and do what is working more often. If you find something that works really well, stick to it and create more posts like it.

 

Understand your audience.

Understanding what your audience needs will help you be able to interact with them better. Knowing what they want to read about and what they believe in will help you understand what type of posts they will most likely react to and engage with. Once you understand this, your interactions will be more productive.

Each type of business is going have different experiences on social media – for example, a credit union is going to have a completely different plan than a clothing store. Take the time to research other ways to get more likes and follows to your social media accounts. Learn everything you can about growing your social media presence for your specific market and target audience.

 

Be relatable and be human.

Social media is all about engagement and connecting with others. Let your audience see the character of your brand. You want to engage with those who post on your social media pages, so be sure you are interacting with your accounts and your audiences often. This means when someone posts something, talk back to them. Let them know you are listening to your audience on social media. Then, give them more of what they want to keep them coming back to your social media pages.

 

Produce valuable content.

Content is king. Your audience will need to see the value in interacting with your social media pages – and this comes from your content. You want to be sure that you are providing and producing the best content for your audience. Is it interesting? Is it fun? Does it provide value and answer ‘what’s in it for me’? Give your customers a reason to like and engage with your page and follow you. Having the best content will help showcase your brand.

 

Be responsive and provide great customer service.

Social media was created to be just that – social. Once you open yourself up on social media not only will you get good feedback, you also need to be prepared to handle complaints. Often, how you handle complaints publicly far outweighs how you handle praise. Respond quickly and be professional – even if they aren’t. Acknowledge their complaint and answer their questions. Try to go above and beyond to resolve any issues. Remember, your audience is watching.

 

Get training.

We have partnered with the University of Delaware to teach social media marketing. We’ve always taken the approach of educating our clients about different marketing channels, including social media. If you can’t take a classroom course, there are a lot of resources for courses online. Being a social media expert means being a lifelong learner due to the constant evolution of the social media climate.

 

Remember social media is a powerful tool. It can help you engage with your audience and better understand them. Make sure you have a plan and stick to it. Social media requires continuous effort and engagement to be effective. If you have questions or need help with your social media strategy, contact us today at connect@epicmc2.com.

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Social Media Marketing Education Programs

Social Media Education

We are happy to announce our very own CEO, Nancy Dibert, has partnered with the University of Delaware Professional and Continuing Studies to teach Social Media Marketing.

UD’s Social Media Marketing program now includes two new powerful programs: Fundamentals of Social Media Marketing and Advanced Social Media Marketing for Business. These programs will provide broad and deep coverage of in-demand social media marketing skills, including social media monitoring and listening, audience engagement, content curation, strategic planning, campaign execution, paid placement, measuring results and ROI and more.

Nancy’s deep understanding of social media and social media marketing is vast, expanding to a multitude of platforms, with a long list of proven results for many projects and clients. Being a social media expert means being a lifelong learner due to the constant evolution of the social media climate. We’ve always taken the approach of educating our clients about different marketing channels, including social media; partnering with University of Delaware for these programs just makes sense – it is what we do everyday. We hope you join us in one of our upcoming classes.

Learn more about the programs and register at http://www.pcs.udel.edu/socialmedia/ or download the flyer.

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Why Credit Unions Should Be On Instagram

Why Credit Unions Should Be On Instagram

With over 700 million monthly active users, Instagram’s primary age group is 18-29, which is the prime demographic for credit unions to target to grow their membership. What’s more? The photo-centric app shows a human side of your credit union, giving your credit union an edge over megabanks. It’s a great resource for business development and community engagement.

Getting Started

When you visit an Instagram page the first thing you see is a username, a photo, a short description, and the only clickable link on Instagram (barring ads). When choosing an image for your Instagram photo, note that it will be a circular image; we recommend using your logo for branding purposes. Your bio is your introduction to your audience: and you only have 150 characters including the ever-important link to your website! Make sure your mission and brand are clear. There’s also a place to update your contact info: add a phone number, email, and address so that Instagram viewers can easily get in touch with you. Now you’re ready to get going!

What should your credit union post on Instagram?

Imagery is key when it comes to Instagram. Use branded imagery consistently throughout all your posts, whether elements of your brand are included or you always have a your logo present whether on someone’s t-shirt, merchandise or buildings. Instagram is a great way to showcase pictures of your staff and overall community involvement. Money tips and quotes could also be shared in a picture format.

To be successful on instagram and social media platforms, you need to actively engage with your audience creating a conversation. Follow local businesses, organizations, and influencers within your community. Engagement is key, like and interact with their posts. You don’t want your Instagram channel to be one-way.

If you can, get employees involved. Employees, like your business development team, can capture the most humanizing moments of your financial institution.

Don’t be afraid to use hashtags! In fact, Instagram allows you to use up to 30 hashtags per post. Try including:

  •      3-5 popular hashtags (In the millions of followers) ex: #instagood
  •      5-8 moderately popular hashtags (In the hundreds of thousands of followers) ex: #personalfinance
  •      3-5 keyword targeted hashtags (In the thousands of followers) ex: #netDE
  •      1-2 branded hashtags i.e. the name of your credit union

Creating branded hashtags allows people to follow your brand specifically and creates a visual index of your financial institution.

To recap, creating a presence on Instagram allows your credit union prime access to Millennials & Xennials, extends your brand’s digital presence, gives your audience a behind-the-scenes look, creates meaningful relationships, and gives a face to your financial institution.

Need help getting started? We can help! Contact us today for a social media consultation.

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Facebook Algorithm Update: What Your Business Needs to Know

Facebook Algorithm Update - What Your Business Needs To Know

Well, Facebook has done it again on us: time for another Facebook algorithm update. Whenever Facebook posts an algorithm update, the social networking giant changes the types of content people see in their News Feed: some types of content get higher priority, while others are pushed deeper into our News Feeds.

So, what is Facebook’s newest mission to tweak its News Feed?

Facebook is going to prioritize the following 3 types of content:

  1. Posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions between people
  2. Posts that you might want to share and react to
  3. Posts from friends and family

 

Perhaps the most alarming News Feed change for brands and businesses is part 3 of the update: making posts from friends and family a higher priority than posts from brands and businesses. But hasn’t this always been Facebook’s mission? To serve only the most relevant, shareworthy, and meaningful content to its users? Simply put, yes. Facebook has spent years making sure you see only the posts you want to see in your News Feed.

It isn’t all bad news for brands and businesses. Parts 1 and 2 of the update largely speak to what businesses have already been doing on Facebook up to this point. Create content that people are compelled to like, comment, share, and react to or as Facebook says it themselves, “Page posts that generate conversation between people will show higher in News Feed.” You want to show up in the newsfeed alongside wedding and baby photos, create content that is buzzworthy and that gets people reacting. Facebook recommends the following types of content to keep your audience engaged:

  • Facebook Live (which may average 6x as many interactions as regular video)
  • Videos that explicitly prompt discussion
  • Posts in Facebook Groups
  • Posts especially relevant to local fans
  • News that starts conversations regarding important, timely issues

 

To recap: Facebook has changed its algorithm (again). What’s changing: more updates in your News Feed from friends and family. What’s not changing: share engaging content to reach the most of your audience. See, not so scary after all!

Need help getting your Facebook Business Page to reach the right audience? Send us an email at connect@epicmc2.com and we can help you right away!

 

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