How Your Business Can Benefit From Live Video Apps Like Periscope

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Periscope is Twitter’s foray into live video content. After months of moderate success, the company is announcing an updated app that will allow brands to create permanent content and search for videos. The platform is now a lot more valuable to brands, but here’s how it can be useful to your small business:

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The obvious purpose of the platform is to create live streaming video that your audience will tune in to and watch in real-time, but now users can find the content you produce even after the initial broadcast and 24-hour period. With the new Periscope, live events never expire.

Being able to house permanent content makes your channel an important resource for your customers. Live news updates and press conferences can be saved. You can produce how-to guides, DIY tutorials, and Q&A’s and store them on the platform to create a library of videos that will be available long after the initial broadcast is over. Video resources are useful for almost any kind of small business, and Periscope allows you to create content without the need for a huge budget.

For the first time, users will be able to search for the content they want to see. The platform used to only filter by location, but now your customers will be able to browse through categories and follow hashtags, opening the door to making Periscope a live version of YouTube. Now you know that the videos you produce will be disseminated to the most relevant audiences who are already searching for your content.

Customer Service

About 67% of consumers use Twitter for customer service, so it’s the perfect platform for you to connect with your audience. Periscope’s video capabilities can be used in conjunction with your company’s service playbook to offer customers tips and advice based on the resources you are now able to build.

If you’re feeling really ambitious, consider implementing live video support through Periscope to provide one-on-one customer service through a private broadcast. Video support has been growing over the last few years, with the best example being Amazon’s Mayday button on their Kindles that summons technical support onto your screen.

Offering live video support sounds scary and too much work, but it allows for a very personable service experience. As Janet DuHaime, chief operating officer for Visterra Credit Union states, “Usually, there’s not a lot of opportunity for a teller to have much relationship-building with that customer — it’s really money in and money out.” Your support specialists will be able to form  lasting relationships with customers, which, in turn, will help them  form a bond with your brand.

Steer the Conversation

If you practice social media listening, then you know what people are saying about your company. Once you’ve identified what is being said, you can enact a plan to respond. Introducing Periscope to your social media playbook is a great way to help collect feedback and steer the conversation in the direction you want it to go.

In this age, online reviews are essential. According to BrightLocal, 79% of customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, meaning word of mouth is still very important. As good as positive reviews can be, a video review is much more genuine. Try engaging with your customers by asking for feedback in the form of video reviews. You can share the best ones to give your audience a sense of what your customers think of your company.

Periscope can even be used to showcase your product and get people talking about it. A few years ago, Adobe began using webinars to increase the conversation around their company, and they were able to improve their conversion to sales by 500%. By crafting the conversation around your brand, you can get more people talking and help generate interest in your product. Connect Periscope with your Twitter account to tap into a larger audience while you broadcast directly from your timeline.

How to Use Social Media to Manage Your Small Business’s Online Reputation

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Customer service is important for any small business, but there are ways to use social media to go above and beyond what people expect. As hard as you might try, not everyone is going to have a positive experience with your company, so what matters is how you react to bad publicity in order to manage your online reputation. What you say and do is key to how your audience feels about you. There are three great ways to u8se social media to turn a negative into a positive for your business:

Offer Support

According to a study, 58% of Americans would not use a company again after a negative customer service experience. On top of that, 59% of 25-34 year-olds share poor customer service experiences online. This is why good customer service is so crucial to the success of your company. A bad reputation will spread fast and can be hard to shake off, even if you go out of your way to turn things around. The best approach is to never fall into that hole in the first place, which means taking steps to improve customer service and your reputation right now.

Have a Twitter account? If not, it’s time to make one. You might not need to designate an account solely for customer service issues like many big brands do, but the platform is used by 67% of consumers for that purpose, making it a valuable tool for any company looking to build a relationship with their audience.

A strong customer service game will go a long way toward maintaining the goodwill of your audience, as 69% of Americans would recommend a company after a positive customer service experience. If there are two things that customers value the most, it’s expediency in resolving the issue and quick response time. 71% of customers say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do, and it’s essential that your audience doesn’t think that they are being ignored. Reach out and resolve issues quickly.

Monitor the Conversation

Just because customers are not tweeting to you directly, doesn’t mean they aren’t saying anything about you. Only about 3% of tweets about brands are actually directed toward them. Social media listening is essentially eavesdropping on the conversations happening on social, and it is a very effective method of staying involved in the conversation and getting ahead of any trends you start to see.

Don’t be afraid to search for your company’s name, look up certain keywords, or check out relevant hashtags on platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Accounts like @JetBlue do a good job of providing proactive customer service by reaching out to customers who are talking about them, but might not be talking to them. Committing to social media listening means that you’re always looking for the next problem that needs fixing and addressing issues before they hurt your reputation. Publicly admitting that you listened to what your audience was saying and are now taking the necessary steps to make the appropriate changes, will go a long way toward building goodwill with your customers.

Read the Reviews

If you’re a local business, chances are that customers are leaving you reviews on Yelp and Facebook. Just like customer service on Twitter, it’s important to monitor what customers are saying about your company. Word of mouth is key in the online world, as 79% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation, and 44% of customers base their decisions around reviews. It’s important that you know how to respond to both the positive and the negative.

A study proved that a one star increase in Yelp rating can lead to a 5-9% increase in revenue for a restaurant. This is why it’s a good idea to reach out and thank customers who leave positive reviews. You also shouldn’t ignore the negative ones, because 33% of negative reviews turn positive when you respond to them. Reach out to these unsatisfied customers, apologize for their bad experience, and figure out a way to turn it into a positive.

Once you’ve responded, it’s best to continue the conversation in private to find out more about the situation and how you can resolve their issues. Privately offer them an incentive to try your product or service again. Even if potential customers don’t see this interaction, just the fact that you answered a negative review will have a positive effect on how they view you. Who knows, maybe the unhappy customer will reevaluate their opinion and write an update on how you fixed everything.

Managing your online reputation is a job that never ends. Your audience’s perception of you will always be in flux, but if you’re serious about customer service, the positives will always outweigh the negatives.

Why Brands Need To Be Careful About The New Instagram Algorithm

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Instagram has introduced an algorithm that reconfigures the order in which users see content on their feed. As a sister company of Facebook, the move was inevitable, but that doesn’t mean users are happy about the change. Instagram was widely regarded as one of the few truly organic social mediums available, and though this change will make connecting brands with users easier, it also has the potential to backfire if they feel like your ad is being forced on them.

According to Instagram, users miss around 70% of the posts in their feed, and according to a Forrester Research study, user interactions with brands dropped nearly half in 2015–going from 4.213% to just 2.261% of followers. This change was enacted to both help remedy that problem and to ensure that brands connected with more people. This change from organic discovery to artificial promotion could turn users away and hurt your chances to have a positive interaction with potential customers. Now when your brand seeks to make connections on Instagram, there are a few things to keep in mind:

Don’t Forget to Be Organic

By eliminating the reverse chronological order of the Instagram feed, many feel that the social media platform has become less organic. The change has compromised what they once loved, so it’s easy to see how brands could become the victim of disgruntled users. This is where it is essential to continue to think organically. Maybe the algorithm has changed, but that doesn’t mean the very nature of the platform was altered. Because of the reliance on photography, Instagram users are looking for artistry, beauty, and emotions over a message or staged content. The spontaneity of the moment captured in a picture or video is what attracts users, so keep that in mind when crafting ads or simply trying to update your brand account.

360i’s VP of social marketing and strategy Orli LeWinter doesn’t believe “Instagram will go full-fledged Facebook with its suppression of organic reach for content,” and force all advertisers into a pay-to-play model they can’t break out of. However, Instagram is introducing artificial promotion, which basically goes against the spontaneity of the platform. It’s important to keep in mind how your audience might take to you jumping into their feed when they don’t want you there because, as LeWinter believes, “The Instagram community is just different and expects a level of authenticity and accessibility that isn’t reflected on Facebook.”

Quality is Still Essential

Even if you’re paying to have users see your ads, it’s essential that you continue to stick to the rules of Instagram and keep artistry as a top priority. The advertising gold rush might be upon us, but “there are concerns about a stampede of subpar creatives, running counter to the high-def appeal of Instagram.” The initial impulse of the new algorithm might be to pump money into advertising and get your brand in front of the most eyes, but a certain amount of quality still needs to be considered. As Larry Lac, director of social media marketing at Havas Worldwide says of the issue, “the moment when an Instagram ad starts looking like a banner, the ‘unfollows’ will come.”

Instagram is a visual medium, so it is essential to continue creating content that meets the assumed requirements. Brands must consider if the visuals in their advertising campaign are worthy of the platform because the new algorithm will be able to filter out poor ads by serving users with only relevant and targeted ads. The more that users engage with the ads they see, the better the algorithm can provide them with relevant advertisements. If an ad is performing poorly because the visuals are not up to snuff, it would be eliminated from circulation, essentially forcing the brand to provide Instagram-worthy images that will keep users happy.

What the Future Holds

While it has yet to be seen whether Instagram will simply go with Facebook’s algorithm, or one that is wholly its own, Tom Buontempo, president of KBS’ Attention, believes there is a way to differentiate the two platforms. By implementing image recognition and location into the timeline algorithm, the mobile-first app will be able to create a much more spontaneous hierarchy of relevance determined by location and people in the pictures.

Regardless of what the algorithm ends up prioritizing, the move aligns Instagram with Facebook’s marketing playbook. As it follows its sister company’s lead, expect to see more social shopping opportunities, and an implementation of its own version of Facebook Canvas, which will allow users to make purchases right in the app. Instagram is catering more to brands than ever before, but as new functionality debuts, it’s important to keep in mind what has made the platform so popular up until now.

Why Unbranded Content Should Be Part of Your Marketing Playbook

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Brands have operated as publishers for years now, but consumers have grown tired of overly-branded content and advertising pitches, and are seeking to distance themselves from companies constantly butting into their lives. Many brands have learned that their customers “prefer information rather than promotion, generosity rather than a sales pitch.” It’s why companies are now rolling out, and experimenting with, unbranded content. But why would a company that typically wants a return on investment start such an endeavor without a clear and direct benefit? Why follow their lead? There is actually a lot of potential in unbranded content and it can enhance the ways consumers interact with brands.

Advance the Conversation

The idea is that by creating more dialogue in a new category around sleep, it elevates and accelerates the buying process… It’s a very high-level brand play, a very high-level conversion play.

– Jeff Koyen, editor in chief of Van Winkle’s

Casper, the company revolutionizing how we buy beds, quietly launched a journalistic endeavor surrounding the activity of sleep called Van Winkle’s. They cover news, tips, and even information about bed technology, but you would never know that Casper was behind it at all. They don’t lead their readers to buy their products, they don’t impose their branding messages on the site, and they allow Van Winkle’s to be an independent entity.

Koyen sees Van Winkle’s as a journalist endeavor centered around sleep. They concentrate on traffic and referrals, but they let Casper handle the actual sales. “We want eyeballs, we want users, we want uniques, we want engagement, but we’re not converting sales.” Van Winkle’s is more about telling stories around a budding niche sleep market. Their goal is to establish the conversation, get people talking, learning and researching, and they will naturally find their way to Casper products without anyone telling them to do so.

Trust and Transparency

This is about neutrality, experience, and craft, not about a product destination.

– An Verhulst-Santos, president of the L’Oreal professional products division

L’Oreal is just one of many brands who have learned that “their audience will enjoy their content more—and revisit it more often—if the brand affiliation is dismissed from the spotlight.” Fab Beauty is a website devoted to covering the beauty industry, not just the company’s products. They offer beauty tips, advice, information, and aren’t afraid to talk about their competition because it is truly about the consumer, rather than the brand.

Consumers know brands sell to them, they expect it. When they don’t, it’s a nice change of pace that can help to promote trust and transparency for their publication. Fab Beauty is focused on creating quality engagements that will form lasting loyalty with their readers, not sell products. Some sites might hope to indirectly lead customers to their products, but if there’s no obvious agenda, readers will respond better to what they see in front of them.

Establishing trust is key to creating a strong brand following. By establishing Fab Beauty as an unbiased destination for beauty information, they set themselves up as a trustworthy brand that will have readers coming back for more. The site only launched in summer 2015, and already they boast a bounce rate of less than 25% against a 40-70% industry standard. They have viewers from 150 different countries who spend an average of two minutes per article on the site. Fab Beauty might not be dominating the industry, but they have managed to establish a loyal following only a few months into the endeavor.

Craft an Experience

It’s easy to say you are a lifestyle brand, but if you put money into non-commercial products, you are proving it.

– Dan Williams, planner at Leo Burnett’s luxury and lifestyle division

Branding is all about creating an experience and making lasting connections with potential customers. People don’t buy brands, they buy experiences and feelings. Brands that make consumers feel something through their content are often the most successful because people connect with what evokes an emotional response. Freshwire chief creative officer Sarah Amos says “the best type of content doesn’t make the brand the hero, and lightly or unbranded content often is the best structure for that.” It’s why brands like Chipotle have been producing video content with minimal brand presence for years.

Sometimes too much branding can get in the way of a customer connecting with the content in front of them. They might have a previously formed opinion about the company or simply reject the brand messaging, but by presenting content free of any branding, it allows the customer to truly embrace what is in front of them without being influenced by a logo. Unbranded content can break down barriers and allow consumers to take content at face value without worrying about some ulterior motive. They can then experience the content in a way that is unique to them and will consider the site as a trusted source.

Niche Resource

If you think a non-branded content site would be beneficial to your brand, make sure the content you hope to deliver will be something people want to read.

– Tim League, CEO and Founder of Alamo Drafthouse Cinema

At the end of the day, the goal of unbranded content should be to serve as a resource for potential customers. Entertaining, helpful, or informative content will quickly become a resource that consumers will revisit again and again. As League came to understand when he launched Badass Digest under Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, consumers will appreciate it more when that content comes without the restraints of a brand getting in the way. By serving a niche audience, whether it be beauty or sleep or movies, unbranded content can resonate easier with individual consumers.

Data Collection

Brands succeed when they break through in culture.

– Douglas Holt, Branding in the Age of Social Media

Unbranded content has already seen some success when it comes to traffic, but another benefit to getting in the game is gaining access to a pool of industry data concerning readers’ interests and habits. Brands like L’Oreal can use their platform to understand the culture of the beauty industry and use that information to improve their business when it comes to creating new products and testing marketing initiatives.
Unbranded content might be just one tool in the brand marketing toolbox, but it can do a lot for any business as long as they have something to say with the content.

It’s Time For Your Business to Support Social Shopping

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As our world continues to become increasingly paperless, consumers are flocking to their phones to pay back their friends. Social pay has become incredibly popular for peer-to-peer transactions on Facebook Messenger and Snapchat. Now when it comes to B2C transactions, social shopping–on desktop and mobile–is becoming all the rage, and it’s time for your business to adopt this practice.

The Traffic Problem

Before you come to accept the need for social shopping, you have to understand just what’s happening on social media right now. Facebook is shutting the gate for referral traffic, making it harder for web-based businesses to get clickbacks to their websites. Once upon a time, businesses could send out a link to their site, Facebook followers would click the link, and the business would reap the benefits of conversion. Facebook realized what it was allowing to happen, so they changed their algorithm to value native content, like pictures and video, over links that send users elsewhere.

The proof is in the numbers, as the top 30 Facebook publishers lost 32% of their referral traffic in 2015. The top 10 of publishers saw an even bigger drop of 42.7% in the same timespan. Facebook is making it harder for publishers to use them as a traffic funnel. The platform plans to make Instant Articles available to all publishers, which will allow their articles to load faster, and rank them higher in the algorithm, but it will also keep users on Facebook instead of traveling to other websites.

The Shopping Solution

Facebook’s introduction of Canvas now allows users to shop right on Facebook without ever having to travel to an external website. What this means is that small businesses are stuck between a rock and a hard place–go the traditional route without much help from Facebook and hope customers come to your website, or play the game but lose traffic referrals that could have been used for advertising purposes.

After abandoning traffic numbers, it’s not all bad. The introduction of Canvas and the Shop section on Pages has changed the game for online retailers. Facebook has found that around half of their users are looking to interact with brands on their platform. Around 37% of Twitter users will buy from a brand that they follow, making social media a place ripe with potential customers that have a high chance for conversion.

To make this potential a reality, Facebook and Twitter have begun adding calls to action in their advertisements. Now you can Call Now, Shop Now, Buy Now, Install, Sign Up, and more,  directly from the ads on the social platform. Pinterest has also implemented Visual Search that allows users to find an item in a picture, identify it, and purchase it, or something similar, directly on the platform.

The internet has been striving to make shopping simple for the last 20 years, and social shopping is the zenith of that endeavor. They say that when one door closes, another opens–traffic referral is down, but shopping is going way up.