As social media becomes less of an afterthought among brands and more of an essential ingredient in the marketing mix, it is increasingly difficult to stand out on these online channels.
There is only so much attention from consumers and customers to go around, after all, and the social streams are overflowing with content in all shapes and sizes.
So unless you want to be like the wallflower at the dance, being boring is not an option on social media. Even if you’re a B2B brand in technology, a regulated brand in healthcare or the biggest brand in an industry of one, there are simply no excuses not to be sharing a deep repertoire of content on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and everywhere else your audience is hanging out online.
And I mean everywhere. If your customers and prospects are spending time on Pinterest and Instagram, you need to establish your own solid presence there. Same goes for Vine, YouTube, Tumblr and Snapchat. Be there or be square.
Industry events and developments. Company updates and corporate culture. Promotions, offers, news and opinion. What you share is important, but sometimes where – and how – you share it is of even greater significance.
That’s where Periscope enters the picture. Launched on March 26 of this year, this live video streaming app owned by Twitter recently eclipsed the 10 million user mark and reports that over 40 years of video are watched per day. To say that Periscope is kind of a big deal right now would be an understatement.
Of course, you can and should use other channels to share your videos, but to ignore Periscope is to overlook an unparalleled, unprecedented way to connect with people in instantaneous, unfiltered fashion. The brand that uses Periscope comes across as both transparent and authentic, unafraid to cede control of the conversation and willing to share its true identity. Greater trust, better business and a stronger bond between those on either side of the medium is a likely result.
To use Periscope:
1. Download the app to either your Android or iOS device.
2. Log in with your Twitter user name or phone number.
3. Adjust your settings.
4. Set your notifications.
5. Look for people to follow.
6. Prepare to broadcast your own videos live.
It really is that easy.
You can use Periscope for everything from streaming breaking news to giving your audience a behind-the-scenes tour of your office. You can conduct interviews on Periscope, give product demonstrations, take surveys, you name it. What’s streamed on Periscope is limited only by your imagination.
Here are three great examples of videos created with Periscope.
1. Ryan Pinkham’s Live Tutorial
Constant Contact’s Ryan Pinkham used Periscope to record a live tutorial from his desk entitled, Email Design Mistakes Your Readers Hate. He also turned his broadcast into a blog post and archived his recording on YouTube to give his content an indefinite shelf life.
2. Michael Hyatt’s Blog Commentary
Another excellent example of Periscope use is author and speaker Michael Hyatt’s discussion about his original blog post called No, You Don’t Have to Work 24/7 to Succeed. In the blog, Michael also mentions that he broadcasts on a daily basis during the week at 12:30 p.m. CDT.
Keeping a regular schedule like that is a great idea, regardless of what you’re going to cover, as an audience can grow accustomed to tuning in to watch you at the same time every day.
3. An Interactive Tour with the Mayo Clinic
Finally, the Mayo Clinic’s interactive tour of its Rochester, Minnesota campus was originally streamed on Periscope, like the two other videos above. This “after-hours, behind-the-scenes” tour has also been subsequently uploaded to YouTube.
Unfortunately, you can’t watch a replay of someone else’s Periscope video after 24 hours unless they’ve repurposed it elsewhere such as YouTube or Vimeo.
That same inconvenience, however, helps spur real-time viewership, creating a sense of urgency every time you see the words “LIVE on #Periscope.” Chalk it up to the fear of missing out.
Given its immaturity, Periscope is a relatively unproven app, of course, but that certainly hasn’t stopped many brands from having jumped on the Periscope bandwagon, tooting their own horns and throwing any fears of revealing who they are as people to the wind. If you haven’t already, now is the time to try the next big thing in social media.
When I give presentations on social media, I often refer to Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. After all, so much about social media is about building strong relationships with others. And that’s what Dale preached as well as anybody, especially in this classic book.
Yet I really only have to look as far as my parents for reference in this case. They may not be on social media, but so much of what I’ve learned about interpersonal communications I’ve learned from them.
And that’s what it all boils down to on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and the like. The most successful business people and brands on these channels are those that have a knack for engaging effectively with others as human beings.
Sure, it doesn’t hurt that they have either a wealth of knowledge and expertise or a line of ridiculously cool products and services. When all is said and done, however, they are simply themselves – which just might be their most endearing quality.
They are like my parents, in a way, who are nothing if not the real deal. Ages 84 and 90, respectively, my mother and father have always been as authentic and unassuming as they come, people I look up to as the embodiment of character in every way, shape and form.
Specifically, here are the lessons I’ve learned from my parents that can be applied to activities on social media by individuals like you and me as well as small and big brands alike.
1. Be trustworthy.
This should go without saying, of course, but when it comes to sales and promotion, even the best marketers have a tendency to push the edges. Don’t even think about it on social media. Everything should be kept on the up and up. We’re not making deals here. We’re making friends, followers and fans.
2. Don’t brag.
If honesty is the best policy, so is modesty. No one likes braggadocio. A small shameless plug every once in a while is okay. Your audience should be made aware of your strengths and accomplishments. But the more you talk about others, not yourself, the more inclined they’ll be to pay attention to what you have to say and to eventually do business with you.
3. Stay positive.
Remember that nobody likes a complainer. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about the Internet and not real life. There’s no difference anymore. Lift people’s spirits with your hope and optimism. Look on the bright side of life. See the glass as always half full. A positive attitude makes everything a lot easier not just for you, but for those around you.
4. Ask questions.
My parents are great conversationalists, always showing concern for what another person has to say. That’s why they’ve had so many long-lasting, mutually beneficial relationships with others over the years. They know that people are happy to share how they feel with you – and that they’re even happier if you actually take an interest.
I was taught as a child not to be selfish, to share with others, especially if they were less fortunate than me. While this notion that “sharing is caring” was ingrained in me at an early age, it applies to everybody on social media today. News and opinion, knowledge and information, activities and whereabouts. All of this is great fodder. All of this is what people and brands alike are expected to dole out to their friends, followers and fans.
6. Don’t knock others.
If you don’t have something good to say, don’t say anything at all. I can’t be the only one who heard this as a child. Such timeless advice applies to practically every opportunity we have to say something publicly. What you express on social media ties back to your brand. People want to feel good about their interactions with you, not deflated because you’re a downer.
7. Be empathetic.
If you’re there for your audience, they’ll be there for you. Listen to what they have to say. Respond in a supportive, timely fashion. Put yourself in their shoes. What can you say that will make them smile? What can you do to add dazzle to their day? What do you have to offer that will help them get more out of life? An empathetic ear and a kinder, gentler voice will go a long way toward winning over your audience.
8. Play fair.
If you look at social media as an extension of who you are in real life, this lesson is one of the most important. Be a good sport and don’t cut corners. Don’t step on any toes to get to the top. Be someone others can look up to for your values, principles and moral code. Play well with others. Corporate citizenship counts.
9. Take pictures.
When I was a kid, my dad loved his slide projector. That and stacks of photo albums were how our road trips, family reunions, summer vacations and campouts were documented. Pictures brought us together. And while they’re obviously still kind of a big deal, pictures aren’t just for families to share in the privacy of their own homes anymore. They’re to share with everybody on social media.
10. Look up.
As much as my parents appreciate what I do for a living, they’re the first ones to remind me to look up from my electronic devices as often as possible and to enjoy real conversations with real people. I can’t argue with them. Not only is it healthy and refreshing to go unplugged, it’s actually where most deals are made. Take your online relationships offline. Have lunch together. Play golf. Take a good long walk. Talk to each other face to face. Social media should be a complement to everything else you do as an individual or a brand, not the be-all and end-all.
I was having lunch with a colleague of mine a couple years ago or so, and as I began to take pictures of the food on my plate he asked me why I would do such a thing. I explained to him that food was a huge draw on social media, and that the restaurant where we were eating might reply to me if I tweeted about it, as might my followers. I was as convinced then as I am now that it’s a myth that no one on social media cares what you’re eating for lunch. After all, everybody likes food.
While there’s an art and a science to success on social media, there’s also a certain psychology of which brands should take note.
If you can identify your audience’s hot buttons and trigger points – that is, what’s going to capture their attention and cause them to respond – you can increase the chances of your social media activities resulting in more revenue as opposed to simply more effort on your part.
Of course, the majority of your content should be focused on your products, services and industry. But a portion of your posts should stray beyond those parameters every once in a while, highlighting your employees and corporate culture. The brand that portrays itself as interesting, entertaining and fun proves it has a personality, not just a pulse.
Which topics and themes are popular with almost everyone? What can you say or show that will resonate with practically everyone within ear- or eyeshot?
Here are 10 ways to find common ground with your audience on social media…
What the Beatles sang in 1968 is still true in 2015 in real life (IRL) and online, too – “all you need is love.” And by love, I mean love in all its incarnations. Heartfelt romance between two people is one thing. But brands can also show love for those who work for them, their customers, their families and friends. Gratitude. Fondness. Appreciation. Praise. Love in the broadest sense is what we’re celebrating here.
— NHL (@NHL) July 11, 2015
If love is too strong, at the very least you can acknowledge the presence of your audience. Surprise and delight them with free swag. Treat them like VIPs. Provide them with a discount. Give them a shout-out. Move them to the front of the line. Even if what you have to offer is only a favorite, like, reply or retweet, your followers and fans will be grateful for the nod.
Example: Earl of Sandwich
You know who's awesome? You are. pic.twitter.com/2PCdStl87e
— Earl of Sandwich (@earlofsandwich) July 7, 2015
You don’t have to be a restaurant to share pictures of food on social media. Everybody eats. But don’t share just anything that’s on the plate in front of you, anytime, anywhere. If you’re enjoying a gourmet meal on a very special occasion, that’s a moment to seize. If there’s an opportunity to associate your brand with food in any way, shape or form, take advantage of it and take plenty of pictures.
Example: WSM Partners LLP
— WSM Partners LLP (@WSMPartners) June 1, 2015
It’s something everyone can relate to, something everyone likes. No one can deny the magnificence of a colorful sky when the sun disappears below the horizon. No one can complain about seeing a beautiful sunset. One of the most popular images in our personal feeds should make at least an occasional appearance in yours.
Example: Carnival Cruise Line
— Carnival Cruise Line (@CarnivalCruise) July 5, 2015
As I’ve written before here on ClickZ, “many brands are going out of their way to let their hair down on social media, taking great pains to reveal their lighter sides.” The last thing they want is to be perceived as uptight and self-centered, unable to take – or share – a joke every so often. Humor shows you’re human, not some stiff corporate logo. Smile and the whole world smiles with you. Clown around from time to time and you’ll have your followers at your feet.
Example: State Farm
6. Current Events
Many trending topics are related to what’s happening in the news. A big game. Political elections. Awards shows. Celebrity gossip. National holidays. The whole world is paying attention. And sharing their opinions with hashtags. This is your chance to not just weigh in with timely, relevant commentary, but to newsjack the story, injecting yourself into the global conversation in order to be seen by a much broader audience.
Example: Goose Island Beer Co
— Goose Island Beer Co (@GooseIsland) July 3, 2015
Small talk can be a big deal on social media. No, really. It’s actually a great way to break the ice and strike up a dialogue with someone you’ve met for the first time. Ask them how the weather is in their neck of the woods. Tell them it’s raining cats and dogs where you live. You never know where the conversation is going to lead.
Example: WCVB Channel 5 Boston
People use social media for a number of different reasons – marketing, sales, networking, entertainment, gossip, news and information, you name it – but everyone could use a lift now and then. Pump up your audience with motivational sayings and stories, anything you can think of that fills them with confidence, boosts their egos, inspires them to achieve more than they could imagine and helps them to enjoy life to the fullest.
I’m not going to lie. Selfies are kind of a big deal right now. Take them. Share them. Ask for them. As I’ve written before here on ClickZ, “The selfie has gone from a silly little trend to a mainstream phenomenon, something almost everyone has embraced”…. Selfies aren’t going anywhere soon but onwards and upwards.
There’s a reason pet ownership in this country has more than tripled since the 1970s and that more than 60% of U.S. households today include at least one pet. Dogs, cats, fish and ferrets. Pets are wildly popular. Employee pets. Customer pets. Ordinary pets. Unusual pets. Include them in your content stream and you’ll get plenty of likes, favorites and retweets, never mind all the oohs and aahs.
Example: Steelcase Store
— Steelcase Store (@Steelcase_Store) June 26, 2015
Note: This post, “10 Ways to Find Common Ground With Your Social Media Audience,” was originally published on ClickZ on July 14, 2015 here and on the Overdrive Interactive blog on August 17, 2015 here.
As the number of breweries in the United States continues to grow rapidly, so does the number of beer brands that are establishing a presence on social media, especially craft beer brands.
Beer. It’s not just for the barroom or the ballgame anymore. It’s not just for radio and TV anymore, either.
Beer has never been more ubiquitous. People are coming together for a cold one or two in real life and sharing those same experiences with their audiences on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Vine.
Talk about social drinking.
But seriously, it’s only natural that beer is making such a huge splash online. Beer is part and parcel of so many happy occasions and celebrations, the good times of our lives that we can’t help but want to share with the world out of pride and posterity. And today’s digital and mobile technologies make it so easy to do so.
Here’s how 10 beer brands are rocking the scene on social media…
“The King of Beers” may be one of the oldest beers on the market, but it’s as cool as its competition on social media, as over 40,000 followers on Instagram would likely attest. Here you’ll see plenty of beer bottles posed to perfection and shiny, happy people toasting to good times, each pic accompanied by a short, catchy caption that may inspire you to throw one back yourself.
2. Schlafly Beer
Raising money for a charitable cause while enjoying a new, limited-edition beer? Yes, please! With over 40,000 fans on Facebook, here’s guessing this fundraiser for baseball slugger Matt Holliday’s Uncork for a Cause charity was a huge success. Good for Schlafly Beer. And good for everyone who participated in this unique cause marketing initiative.
3. Allagash Brewing Company
Even if you drink wine, not beer, these two beers might appeal to you. Brewed with grapes and “special wine yeast,” Victor and Victoria are being introduced here on Facebook in a rather impressive photo collage that includes both the red and white products themselves along with a team shot in the vineyard of the some of the players involved.
4. Stone Brewing Company
Excellent branding. Excellent pose. Even if that keg was empty, it still couldn’t have been too easy to capture this moment on camera.
5. Pabst Blue Ribbon
Like Budweiser, here’s another classic beer that’s been around the block more than a few times. But also like Bud, it tweets like a millennial. This tweet features a ridiculously cool shot of a skateboarder going vertical with a tall boy of PBR placed perfectly in the foreground. Their four words: “Pabst does the trick.” My four words: Pabst gets social media.
— Pabst Blue Ribbon (@PabstBlueRibbon) June 2, 2015
6. Jack’s Abby Brewing
It’s not always about the beer, as this family-owned brewery in my neck of the woods (Framingham, MA) demonstrates here on Instagram. In this case, it’s about a pair of “flippy-floppies” with a built-in bottle opener.
7. Michelob ULTRA
It’s only six seconds of video and simple six words, yet this Vine has been looped over 350,000 times (and counting). To say it’s to the point would be an understatement. It’s everything you could ask for in your own brand’s marketing outreach – attention-getting, well-targeted and strategically sound.
8. Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Many of those who are uninitiated to social media don’t understand how much you can get across in 140 characters or less on Twitter. Yet if you’re sharing the story of your business in a video such as this one, the possibilities are infinite. Great lakes. Great stories. Great tweet, indeed.
— GreatLakesBrewingCo. (@GLBC_Cleveland) May 29, 2015
9. Lagunitas Brewing Company
Sharing the label of an upcoming, new release in this update, Lagunitas establishes both strong brand recognition and a feeling of exclusivity among its fans on Facebook. While this pic may not be as exciting as seeing a tall glass of the beer itself, for a serious beer connoisseur, it’s actually more revealing.
10. Dos Equis
Like many of this Mexican beer’s ads, this tweet captures “the most interesting man in the world” in an unusually comical situation, in this case behind a heaping pile of paperwork on the day that income tax returns are due. He doesn’t always appear on social media. But when he does, he’s a riot.
— Dos Equis (@DosEquis) April 15, 2015
Today, August 6, 2015, my Dad is celebrating his birthday. But this isn’t just another birthday for him. This is his 90th birthday. That’s right, my Dad is entering his 10 decade of life here on earth.
It’s hard to believe.
Wow, Dad, so many memories. So many good times. So many accomplishments. So many games of Cribbage.
You, Dad, are a modest, unassuming and relatively quiet man, but to me, your family, relatives, friends and colleagues, your character has always spoken volumes. You have always been someone others can trust. A real man of your word. You have always been caring and kind to not just those who know you, but to even complete strangers. You have always treated everyone with the utmost respect. And because of all that and for countless other reasons, you have always been looked up to and admired not just by me, Mom, Tom and Cathy, but by everyone who has ever had the pleasure of knowing you.
You are not just my Dad, you are the quintessential role model.
I used to belong to a public speaking group called Toastmasters. One of the speeches I wrote in Toastmasters was about my Dad. In fact, he’s actually heard me give this speech twice, once at Toastmasters and a second time at his 80th birthday party. And then less than three weeks ago, at our annual family reunion, I read the following part of it to him again…
As I approached college age, I became a rebel of sorts. I listened to loud music, stayed out late and hung out with a rough crowd. Yeah, my late teens meant not always getting along with my Dad. In retrospect, he had every reason to disown me — which, of course, he didn’t, thankfully.
Instead, Dad demonstrated great patience. And stick-to-itiveness. In fact, I’ve never seen him give up on anything or anybody. He has taught me the virtues of being honest, loyal, conscientious and persistent. He has been generous when others may have chosen to be greedy. He has always said, “What can I do for you?” when others might have asked, “What’s in it for me?” He has always spoken softly and carried a big stick. And some of that, I hope, has rubbed off onto me.
And so, as a tribute to my Dad, and all Dads everywhere, I would like to quote from a book by Leo Buscaglia entitled Papa, My Father, A Celebration Of Dads, in which he speaks about his late father. My dad’s still alive, thank God, and this excerpt does not relate specifically to him, but it does serve as a rather eloquent pronouncement of what my dad means to me.
“Papa never climbed Everest or made the Guinness Book of World Records. He never read the classics or saw an original painting by Braque. He was proud, self-taught, and left no debts. If he had any hidden dreams, other than of being a good man, a committed father, and a loving husband, no one ever knew about them. If deep regrets, fears, or personal doubts tormented him, he never stated them. I am aware that years of having known and loved my father have transformed him from Papa, the simple human being, into Papa, the near saint. And I’ve come to the conclusion that there is nothing wrong with that.”
Happy Birthday, Dad. Happy Birthday to the “near saint” to me, your family, your relatives, your friends and everyone who has ever known you. I love you.