Ring Communications is a badass public relations agency in Boston (and recently expanded to Nashville) and my go-to experts on social media trends and strategy. This post is from the always fabulous, Jessica Poillucci.
Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter are evolving at rapid speeds. If you’re worried about being able to keep up with the latest features, don’t be – we’ve got you covered.
Instagram and Facebook Split-screen Live
In a world where people are connecting from states and countries away, this feature is truly what dreams are made of – though, I’m not sure even Hilary Duff could have predicted such awesome technological advances when she sang those lyrics at the end of the Lizzie McGuire Movie. Now, in a FaceTime-like fashion, people can go live together from different locations, making live interviews easier than ever. For Instagram, simply go live, tap the icon at the bottom right of the screen (it’s shaped like 2 smiley faces), and select who you are going live with. For Facebook, just swipe left during your live broadcast to see “viewers” and select who you would like to invite to join the live. This incredibly easy to use feature will have you making your list of interviewees a whole lot bigger!
Everyone loves zooming in on a cute dog’s face – although there are many other options for how to use this cool new feature! Instagram has made stories even more entertaining with their new Superzoom feature, which zooms in on a subject with 3 hard motions set to music. Whether you are highlighting a new product or showcasing one of your employees, why not do it with dramatics?
Instagram Stop Motion Stories
This is such a fun new feature that is being totally underutilized. Lucky for us here at Ring Communications, we have brilliant minds on our team and our very own Ainsley Winship came up with a prime example of how to use Stop Motion Stories. As a female-led PR company that embraces our love of fashion (and lipstick… seriously, we love lipstick) we are implementing a new Instagram series that gives our followers a look into our bags. Using stop motion, Ainsley was able to show off each item in her bag, tagging the different brands that were shown for #Marketing! How could your company utilize this fun feature?
Twitter Periscope Live
Once again, social media is bringing all of our daily activities to one place. Instead of going to Youtube to watch your favorite daily shows, you can conveniently watch many within the Twitter app! AM to DM, a live morning show from Buzzfeed News is using this feature to broadcast their shows, allowing them to market and broadcast all within one place. “What makes this live feature different from those of Instagram and Facebook” you may ask – Twitter is used more often than the other channels as a timeline for news, making it a much more fitting outlet for daily shows and news shows. Plus, a Twitter-only show keeps people engaged by giving exclusive content that keeps them on the platform!
With a Youtube-esque feel, Facebook Discover allows users to follow different shows and “discover” new shows related to their interests. While in some ways this feature is similar to Twitter Periscope, it has an entirely different feel. Twitter’s new live feature feels perfect for news and daily shows, whereas Facebook Discover aims to make the most of everyone’s love for sharing viral videos by turning many of their concepts into weekly shows – for example, that video of kids listening to and trying to name songs from before their time has become a recurring show called “Do They Know It?” I highly suggest keeping a watchful eye on which videos are performing well and considering how you could turn them into a weekly or bi-weekly show.
For more great social media strategies, tips and trends follow the RingComm Girls at:
@JESSPOILLUCCI, @RINGCOMM and, of course, their Founder and President @RINGPRGIRL
Whenever someone asks me how to attract their ideal client or how to engage their audience, my answer is always the same…CONTENT. Every online business knows (or should know) that demands for original, high-quality, online content are higher than ever. But with a little creativity and a decisive strategy, you don’t have to stress over having enough content to attract inbound traffic. Having a content strategy in place will set you apart from the competition, let your audience get to know you, and allow you to express your personal brand. Why? People buy from those they know, like and trust. Think of the online space as though you are throwing a cocktail party in your home. Would you ignore your guests? Of course not. You would pour them a drink. Ask them what’s new in their life. Offer them some yummy appetizers (i love dip!) Not having content is the equivalent of standing in front of your ideal client at the party and not saying a freakin’ word. So here are six steps to planning and creating a month’s worth of content in one day.
Step 1: List all KPO’s (key promotional opportunities)
Those “special” days like National Friendship Day may seem silly, but they’re a great way to tell a story and connect with your audience. Here’s an example of the first few weeks of a month. Some of the KPO’s that will be included in September are listed below :
Sept. 1 – Emma M. Nutt Day and National Cherry Popover Day: Explore and celebrate the history of the first woman telephone operator — or elaborate on the origins of the cherry popover. Tie it into a new offer and tell your audience you have a deal as sweet as cherries.
Sept. 2 – International Bacon Day: If you’re enthralled by the great bacon trend that has become prominent over the last several years, you can dedicate a blog to writing about the history of bacon, where to buy bacon cupcakes, or how to make chocolate-covered bacon. And if you would like to show your healthy side, plan a great article about different types of vegan and vegetarian alternatives.
Sept. 5 – Cheese Pizza Day – Write an article about the top ten places (locally, regionally, nationally and internationally) where people can get the best cheese pizza around. In addition, you can write an article on how to acquire or make pizza with the highest quality ingredients — from cheeses to the sauce to the crust. Have a picture of you and your family enjoying some pizza together.
Sept. 5 – As an alternative, show your wild side and write an article for Be Late for Something Day — listing all the benefits of letting other people wait on you for a change.
Step 2: Think about the buyer persona (or kickass client) that represents the market segment you’re trying to attract.
For example, if I’m writing to an older, more conservative audience, I’ll be sure to include national days like Flag Day, 911, and historical biographies. On the other hand, if I’m writing for a younger audience — like young mothers — I’ll include content on health and nutrition, and life hacks such as how to make family meals under 20 minutes and how to prepare your home and family for the holidays. Lastly, each month I revisit my buyer persona write-up to see if it needs tweaking or expanding. The bottom line is this: When you create content designed for your ideal client, you win. Every. Damn. Time. Learn more about this in the masterclass, How To Attract Your Kickass Clients.
Step 3: Brainstorm
I like to write down everything that comes to mind on post-it notes. For example, suppose my target audience is Millennials, ages 23 to 37, and I choose to dedicate every day of October to National Gourmet Adventures Month. I’ll make a list of appropriate themes, topics, quotes, exercises, phrases and anecdotes. Then I’ll group similar concepts together — fun quotes for Millennials and interesting places to visit and try out the cuisine, for example. And if I decide to dedicate October to writing about how to celebrate the fall with exciting outings for the family, I’ll research and write on topics such as pizza farms (not really..but you get the idea)…. The list goes on!
Step 4. Use tricks to fight off writer’s block.
If you’re having trouble brainstorming, I have a trick that can help: I like to “reverse brainstorm.” I write down every bad idea I can think of, asking myself: “What could I write about that would turn people away?” This is the Constanza Principle. Remember when George Costanza decides to toss his gut instincts to the curb and instead consider radical alternatives to what his instincts tell him to do—and it works? The same works for reverse brainstorming. For example, for my October Gourmet Adventures Month, I would compile a list of things NOT to write about for my adventurous, experience-seeking Millennial audience:
I will not write about ordinary staple foods unless they have a unique or holiday-oriented twist to them.
I will not limit myself to local, regional or national cuisine. (My target audience loves to travel!)
I will not exclude food that young family members can enjoy.
I will not exclude vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free options — instead, I’ll probably dedicate an article to each!
Step 5. Plan the frequency of your posts.
Write down how often you plan to post on each platform, how many lead magnets you will create, and how many blogs you will write — and commit to your plan. For example, you may wish to post on the various social media channels three-to-five days a week, and update your blog posts at least once a week. Be sure to construct a plan with a reasonable time-frame that works best for you. And most importantly, stick to it! Tip: I like to use the Chrome extension Momentum. Not only does it display a different gorgeous image every day but I can add my most important task like, Finish Blog Post On Content Planning. Every time I open a new tab, which is A LOT, I’m reminded of that task.
6. Locate your images.
Sometimes I find even more inspiration in the images I run across. Some of the sites I like are: stocksy.com, creativemarket.com and bloguettes.com. With the October Millennial gourmet food plan, for example, I’ll get inspired by international images of families and fancy food, global cuisine, and lots of pictures that illustrate unique twists on Halloween, Day of the Dead, and All-Saints Day foods and customs from the US, the British Isles, and Latin America. Finally, I organize my thoughts and… I write my posts.
And then …. Done!
With these six steps, you can create a full month’s worth of content. And you’ll have a lot of fun doing it. You’ll also tune in to your customers’ expectations and find creative ways to connect with them. And if you need some help, be sure to download this month’s Content Planner.
Social media is the lifeblood of many businesses these days. It puts you in contact with your existing customers, allows you to reach out to new ones, and it gives you a platform to stand on so you can be more easily found. However, you can’t just throw whatever comes to your mind onto social media and expect positive results; garbage in, garbage out, as they say.
So what do you do when you can’t think of what to post? Well, even though your deadline is looming, and you need to say something, don’t go off half-cocked. Take a moment, take a breath, and remember the following tips.
Tip #1: Know Your Audience
Before you decide on a message, you need to know who is supposed to be hearing that message. Take a moment to think about your ideal client, and what they’re going to be looking for on social media. Even if you don’t have any ideas at the moment, that is a good place to start digging. The more you know about who you are trying to attract, the easier it will be to plan your social media and content strategies.
Tip #2: Be You, And Be Unique
The first instinct people have, especially on social media, is to find something popular and ape it. Instead of just trying to do what everyone else is doing, try being you. Don’t ignore social trends, but ask why they’re working, and put your own spin on it. People are a lot more likely to come see something unique than to see yet another imitator. The best way to do this is to document your life. That doesn’t mean posting pictures of what you ate for lunch (unless, that’s of interest to your ideal client) but more showing the behind the scenes of your brand. Letting them into your business so they can really get to know you. Remember, people don’t buy what you do, they buy WHY you do it.
Tip #4: Go To The Well
You need to keep a repository of ideas on hand so that you aren’t depending on spur-of-the-moment inspiration every time you need to say something on social media. If you have a list then you can just open the file every time you need a new post, and bam, you have a list of stuff you’ve already thought of ready to go. In fact, you can double your money and write up posts in advance, setting them on a timed release. That way you can be truly ahead of the game.
Need some help with planning your social media? Click on the image below and download the August Content Planner.
As an entrepreneur, coach, and trainer, spreadsheets are my friend. They are the most used tool in my biz toolbox. Currently, I’m hopelessly and fiendishly addicted to GoogleDocs, and more specifically, GoogleSheets. I have a long, complex relationship with spreadsheets. My love affair with their straight lines and no-nonsense columns has gone on for so long that I can’t remember its origin. My love blossomed when I was working for a large retail brand and in charge of rolling out a major initiative. We were not a mandate culture, so I had to create a compelling influencing strategy. In order to do that, I needed to track loads of data. This strategy involved influencing ten very autonomous divisions at the top level and then working my down through every department of every division. So I had to have and influencing strategy that basically involved over one hundred people. It was a huge undertaking and spreadsheets had my back…and kept my sanity.
On top of that, I’m a self-professed data geek.
As a Six Sigma Black Belt, I know that you can’t change what you don’t measure ( i also love Peter Drucker quotes). Detailed information that’s quantified showcases a visual representation of matters far more efficiently than lectures or guesstimates. My predilection for data and the way I designed the tracking wowed senior management. I don’t know if it was really anything special, I just don’t think they had seen anyone create a massive spreadsheet where you could easily generate reports with the click of a button before. They were so impressed with my creation that we hired someone to manage it full-time. It was their job to slice, dice, and analyze the data that my calculations revealed. It was truly a work of beauty.
Now that I’m self-employed and loving it, I still live by the spreadsheet. Our love never died or waned over the years. It’s not uncommon for me during a client session to say, “Hang on, let me create a spreadsheet for that!”
I mean, what’s not to love about being organized and delivering results? To make things even better, in GoogleDocs, I can share my spreadsheet love with my clients and my team; AND, we can collaborate on it. Each person adds their own edits or information to complete a project. GoogleDocs is low-cost or free and applicable to so many uses. I rely on it for project management, goal planning, content planning, budgeting, monthly revenue projects, sales funnel mapping, launch checklists etc.
Beyond the 1-D level of spreadsheets, you create collaborative documents, slides, and forms with the resource! Over the years, spreadsheets have never let me down. In fact, our love has only grown more profound. I don’t just use them in my business. I use it for personal stuff as well. Everything is organized in folders labeled with Budget, Household Projects, Party Planning, Health and Nutrition..and so on. When my husband starts talking about household projects or budgets, I immediately stop him with a “Hang on. Let’s refer to the spreadsheet.” I know that beyond the rolled eyes he’s really thinking, “I’m so glad I married this woman. Without her awesome spreadsheets our world would be in chaos!! ” Okay, maybe not.
Would you like to know the best part about GoogleDocs? For busy gals and guys, no longer does one have to worry about closing a tab and screaming, “OMG, I forgot to hit save!!!” The automatic save function preserves my work (as well as glasses and vases from shattering due ear-splitting laments about unsaved files).
If you’re an entrepreneur, there’s a good chance you spend a whole lot more than 40 hours a week working. I know that’s always been the case with me. In fact, in my entire corporate career, I never once took an entire week off. Instead, I’d take long weekends, thinking I couldn’t afford to let business “slide” for longer than that. I was actually told that I couldn’t take any vacation time from September through December because my presence was too valuable during the holiday season. I always thought that was just part of the deal working for a large retailer. So, I’d just fly back to Boston from Cincy to celebrate the holidays with my family in January. No biggie. But it actually was a biggie. I didn’t realize it until after my Dad passed. Now, every holiday, I don’t think about all of the future holidays that I will miss with him but I regret all of the past holidays that I missed with my family because of work.
My thinking about the idea of losing productivity while taking time off has changed. Why? For the first time in my working life, I actually took a two-week vacation! Okay, technically I still worked remotely while traveling, but something remarkable happened during those two weeks. I found I was actually MORE productive when I did sneak in a little work. I knew that I only had limited pockets of time in which I could get things done, a fact that made me laser focused! There was no time for “shiny object syndrome” or social media breaks when I was working on a project. I had to be very diligent about how I spent my time. It’s classic Parkinson’s Law: “Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.”! In other words, if you allot only a certain amount of time to complete something, it motivates you to get it done! Here are a few other tips for navigating some well-earned time off …
Communicate your plans to your clients. Let them know you’ll be taking some time off, but you’ll still be working on a slightly condensed schedule. They’ll appreciate the heads up, and aren’t likely to begrudge you a little time off.
Take advantage of automation. Set up email auto-response. Set up a “splash page” on your website with an awesome freebie, and plan out your social media and blog posts before you head out.
Share your vacation with your audience. People ultimately are buying YOU. So let them see the person behind the brand. One of our clients, Kathy Jalali from Happy Cinnamon, is doing this brilliantly right now while she and her family are traveling in Spain. She’s taking amazing images while incorporating them into her brand messaging of Spice Up Your Wellness.
You can take time off! It takes a little planning, but the rewards — a change of perspective and the balance gained from a bit of time off — make it all worth it in the end!