Forum Marketing -The Smart Approach

Forum Marketing -The Smart Approach

Forum marketing the smart way.

Pretty much everyone on the internet has visited at least one forum, and most have visited many of them. Although Facebook has replaced forums for some users, a lot of people still prefer the standard forum format.

Reddit is one of the world’s biggest online forums. For years, they have been receiving millions of unique visitors per month, and they have consistently been in the world’s top 100 websites. They are just one example of how much traffic and money there is to be had from forums.

The trouble is, if you’re not careful, you can do something that can cause irreparable harm to your forum. Running a forum successfully is not the easiest thing. In fact, even Reddit has learned this the hard way. A combination of politicking, ham fisted moderation, and server problems, has recently caused Reddit to drop from over 15,000,000 unique visitors per month to around 6-8,000,000. It was a sudden, massive drop, and it could have been prevented.

In this guide, you’re going to learn how to do forum marketing the smart way. We will discuss how to run a successful forum, from choosing a platform and setting it up, to populating the site with posts, to getting traffic, and preventing the loss of that traffic.

So let’s begin!

Forum Software

The first thing you must do is decide which forum software you’d like to use, and there are a lot of options to choose from.

One website has a wizard that will help you choose which software to run by answering a few questions:

> http://www.forummatrix.org/wizard.php?d%5Bgo%5D=1&x=72&y=8

The site also has comparisons and information about most of the popular forum platforms, so you can choose the one that is right for you.

Some of the most popular forum platforms include:

>> https://www.phpbb.com/

>> https://www.mybb.com/

>> https://vanillaforums.org/

>> http://www.simplemachines.org/

If you use one of the popular cPanel hosting companies, they will often have an installer program that will make it easy to install your forum software with just a few clicks. Ask your hosting company if they have something like Softaculous.

You could also hire someone to install the software for you if you don’t feel like you can handle it yourself. Search Fiverr or another freelance website for “script installation” to locate someone who can do this for you. Just keep in mind that if your host offers something like Softaculous, you can easily do it yourself.

You may also want to hire someone to create a logo and theme for your forum if you can’t find one that is right for you. Most forum packages have some free themes available, but a custom theme will go a long way toward making your forum stand out. People prefer visiting sites that have good layouts and are easy on the eyes, so that is one way you can attract more users.

Initial Posts

Once your forum is up and running, you need posts.

No, not traffic. Posts. Sound odd that you need posts before you even get traffic?

Just imagine going to a forum with no posts. Would you want to be the first one to start a conversation, not knowing if anyone will ever even see the post, much less respond?

Most people wouldn’t want to do that. They prefer to jump into threads that are already active rather than start a new thread, especially if they see very little activity on a particular forum.

The biggest attraction to get people to sign up to a new forum is activity, so you need a few users posting on a regular basis in order to get others to join the forum and participate.

The best way to accomplish this is to hire people to post for you. You could do that on a place like Fiverr, or you could use a service that specializes in forum posts, such as PostLoop.com.

> http://www.postloop.com

PostLoop.com is a broker that has a large number of people ready and willing to posts on your forum for pay, and it really doesn’t cost much. Most of the users are students, disabled individuals, stay-at-home parents, etc. They really don’t need to earn a great deal of money, so you can get posts very inexpensively, and usually very quickly.

The site even screens applicants to be sure they can post intelligent discussions and use proper spelling and grammar. They don’t have to be perfect, but they have to be at least as good as the average forum user, so don’t worry about getting a bunch of incoherent posts from people who barely speak English or just paste a bunch of translated nonsense.

You want your forum to look busy, so it’s a good idea to have at least 10-15 individuals posting, and to have at least 10-15 different topics in each area of your forum, as well as several posts in each thread. You want the forum to look as busy as possible.

You, as an owner, should also be active. Make sure users see you posting often, because they want to know you care about the forum before they invest their time into it.

Once you have a good number of posts and your forum looks active, you can start looking for real users for the forum.

Getting Traffic

Okay, your site is running, and you have a good number of initial posts to get the discussion rolling. What next?

It’s time to find some people to come post on your forum, and that can be easier said than done. Not only do you have to find people who are interested in the subject of your forum, but you also have to find a way to convince them to start posting!

One of the easiest ways to start doing this is to raid other similar forums. Look for people who post often and seem pretty knowledgeable on the subject, and people who rarely, if ever, have conflicts with other members. The last thing you want is a bunch of rude personalities chasing off other potential members!

NOTE: Before you do the following, be sure to check the forum rules to be certain you won’t get banned for it!

Send those people a private message and let them know you have started a forum, and that you are extremely impressed with their posts and you would be very pleased to have them post on your forum in addition to their current forum.

You might also set up a gamification system in which top posters are given prizes each month or are entered to win a nice prize. This is a great way to encourage users to stay active!

Another way to get traffic is to create a blog in your niche and link to your forum from as many spots as possible, potentially mentioning your monthly prize(s) in order to get more people to click.

Ads are a near sure-fire way to attract new posters. Facebook ads are particularly effective if done correctly, and you can even mention your prizes in your ad to attract attention. Ads are easy to target in most niches, so you can locate the people who are most likely to be interested in your forum.

Moderation

Moderation is a critical element of running a forum, and it can be very time-consuming if you choose to do it all yourself. You don’t necessarily have to read every single post on the forum every day, but you need to be ready to act quickly if you receive any complaints about a particular post or user.

What type of complaints are you likely to see?

  • Arguments, name calling, and other personal attacks
  • Spam
  • Pornography or other offensive or illegal content
  • Hate speech or threats of violence
  • Plagiarism (yes, it can happen on forums)

In order to keep your visitors happy and returning, it’s important to take care of any of these issues quickly. Allowing tempers to flare further will only end up in the potential of additional members becoming involved and taking sides, and even more users possibly leaving the forum.

You should institute a clear policy for repeat offenders. You might, for example, give three warnings before a ban, unless the user commits such a bad offense they must be banned immediately. Always consider the severity of the issues before deciding whether or not to ban a user. Every member is important unless they are causing nothing but problems.

If you find you cannot keep up with moderation on your own, you have two choices. You can hire one or more people to moderate the forum, or you can ask for volunteers from your member base.

Before inviting someone to be a moderator, there are a few things you should consider:

  • Are their posts always helpful?
  • Are their posts always fair and kind?
  • Do they get along with other members easily?
  • Have they been posting long enough to be trusted?

You want your moderators to be fair and impartial at all times, and you want to be sure you can trust them not to make decisions that could hurt the forum, or worse, to damage it on purpose. For this reason, you might want to avoid volunteer moderators until your forum has been active long enough to have members who have enough history on the forum to be trusted.

Avoiding Problems

Forum members can be very quick to abandon a forum if there are a lot of problems, so it’s vital that you keep a close eye on potential issues so you can cut them off before they chase away your key members.

Moderation is one of the essential keys to avoiding problems, but there are a few other issues to be on the lookout for.

First, make sure you keep your forum software updated. Hackers are constantly looking for new ways to exploit different software, and they could find a way to hack your site. If you keep your software updated with the latest patches, you’ll be less likely to suffer such a breach.

Also, be sure you use a good hosting company. If your server goes down a lot, users will grow frustrated and abandon the site. This is one reason the traffic at Reddit has declined, because the servers have had issues and people have grown tired of the downtime.

It’s important to listen to your members and give them what they want whenever you can. If you make changes to the forum that upset a lot of users, be sure to apologize, politely explain your position, and then reverse your decision if you can. If you aren’t able to, you should explain why, and let them know you’d have preferred not to make the change, but it was absolutely necessary. Communication is essential if you want to keep members happy!

Making Money

Once the forum is running and has a decent number of active users, you can consider monetization methods. I wouldn’t even worry about making money with the forum at first, because ads and other monetization methods may slow the forum’s growth. Instead, keep the forum mostly ad-free until its growth has begun to slow.

There are many different methods you can use to make money with your forum. Some monetization methods may work well with one forum and be disastrous on another, so it’s important to test various methods.

The most common form of forum monetization is advertisements such as Google AdSense or other ad network placement. The majority of forums use this as their main (or sometimes only) monetization, but this is not usually the most profitable form. Eventually, visitors will become “banner blind”, and will begin to ignore the ads. (And most people are already banner blind to some extent.)

You could also sell advertising to individual buyers. You can do this on a flat-rate basis, charging a flat monthly fee for each ad spot, or you can charge by the impression, click, or even sale.

You could also market affiliate products to your users. This could be especially lucrative in niche markets where there are a lot of passionate users. For example, golfers are extremely avid, and are likely to buy a lot of products over the years, such as balls, gloves, clubs, bags, tees, and how-to products.

Amazon is a great place to start. While it may seem like they don’t pay much, purchases can really add up. Plus, even if you only sell a $6 fishing lure through your affiliate link, you’ll also earn a commission on anything they purchase for the next 24 hours. That means if they decide to purchase a $500 fishing raft, you’ll get commission on that item, too! Their cookies used to last much longer, but 24 hours still gives you time to cash in on multiple purchases.

Amazon has a massive number of products you can promote in just about any niche you can think of, so they’re a very good place to start.

ClickBank and JVZoo also hold a wide variety of products, and because they are all digital products, the profit margins (and thus commissions) are typically high. If you can find a product that would appeal to your members, you can potentially make a lot of money with information products.

Another good option for some forums is charging a small fee for membership. This could be a monthly fee or a yearly one, and it could be for the entire forum, or just a section of it. You could also make membership optional, giving members that pay some kind of special benefit.

The Warrior Forum (http://www.WarriorForum.com) has a number of ways they make money. They charge for a membership, which is required if you want to access certain areas of the forum and if you want to post ads on the site. They also charge for posting an ad in their Special Offers section.

Dirty Discourse (http://www.DirtyDiscourse.com) has a forum that charges a small monthly or yearly fee for access. Members must pay if they want to use the forum. Because their market is relatively small, they don’t have a lot of good competition, and members feel they need to access the forum’s information in order to be successful in self-publishing, they are successful with this model.

Keep in mind that not every forum is well suited for a membership model. If there are a lot of active forums in your niche, you may find that people will just go elsewhere if you decide to charge for access.

You must find a way to get your members to see the value of paying for membership without upsetting them, and without making them flee to another forum.

If there are plenty of forums in your niche that offer what your members are looking for, you might want to keep most of your forum free for public access and have a separate paid area for in-depth discussions, or perhaps have a membership level that is voluntary, but offers some kind of benefit, such as a forum rank, or the ability to post advertisements.

Finally, there’s the option to sell the forum once it has a decent number of active members. Sites with large user bases have the potential to sell for thousands of dollars on a site like Flippa.com.

Conclusion

Running a forum is no easy task. Although the initial setup is relatively simple, it’s the daily maintenance in the form of seeking new traffic, managing ads, and moderating the forum that takes time.

Despite the effort required, running a forum has the potential to be extremely lucrative. If you’re willing to put in the time and effort into forum marketing, you could end up with a forum that makes you a significant income each month, and that could potentially sell for thousands of dollars down the road.

In fact, WarriorForum.com was acquired by Freelancer for a whopping $3.2 million in 2014, so you can see that active forums can sell for a lot of money!

Once you have some trusted moderators to handle most issues, you really won’t have to invest a lot of time in forum marketing, or your forum anymore and it will practically run itself. All you have to do is update the software regularly to ensure the forum stays secure, and be sure to keep in touch with moderators to be sure they’re doing their jobs correctly.

Good luck with your new forum! I wish you much success!

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Snapchat Marketing – The Basics

Snapchat Marketing – The Basics

Snapchat marketing. Here are the basics.

Snapchat is a social network that allows users to send “Snaps”—pictures and videos—to their followers. It’s a bit like Instagram in some ways, but in other ways it’s definitely not. We’ll talk more about how the app works later, but the closest thing I can think of to describe it to you is sort of like a cross between Instagram and Periscope.snapchat marketing

Think Snapchat can’t help your business? Think again. Take a look at some of these statistics:

  • Over 150,000,000 people use the app daily
  • Over 10 billion videos are watched on Snapchat daily
  • 41% of 18-34-year-olds in the U.S. use the app daily
  • Over half of new signups are over age 25

Not only does Snapchat get a massive amount of traffic each day, it’s also incredibly effective. Their ad platform did a study that tested things such as eye tracking, emotional responses, and surveys, and the results were impressive.

It found that Snapchat ads:

  • Got twice the visual attention of Facebook ads
  • Got 1.5 times more visual attention than Instagram ads
  • Were 1.3 times more effective than YouTube

Let’s take a look at what makes it successful.

What The Heck Is Snapchat?

Okay, I get it. Snapchat is one of those social networks that a lot of people don’t “get”. But remember, Twitter was once also misunderstood by a lot of people, and now it seems most people have a Twitter account.

A lot of people think it’s only for younger audiences, but a pretty big chunk of Snapchat’s user base is actually 30 . It’s definitely not just for teens and tweens, nor is it just a sexting platform like so many people seem to think.

As I mentioned before, the best way I can think of to describe Snapchat is a bit like a cross between Instagram and Periscope. (Periscope, if you haven’t tried it, is a live broadcasting app where your content disappears after a short period of time.)

Snapchat users post “Snaps”—photos or videos—to their followers. Users only have 10 seconds to view those snaps before they disappear forever, but they can take a screenshot during that time. There are tools that can automatically save all the Snaps you post so you can post them on other networks like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. So don’t think that just because Snaps appear for only 10 seconds that they’re not worth posting!

Better than Snaps are Stories. Stories appear for 24 hours, and they are much more effective than simple Snaps.

Think of a Snap as being a bit like a television commercial in the days before DVR and rewinding live TV. You watched the commercial, and once it’s gone, it’s gone (at least until the next time it aired). If you wanted to write down a phone number or address, you had to be quick. But those commercials still accomplished a lot!

Snapchat isn’t some “perfect” marketing method by any means, but then again, none of the social media sites are “perfect” for marketing. Each one has their own set of flaws that makes them tricky to use. You just have to learn how to make the most of each one.

Fortunately, Snapchat is ridiculously easy to use. If you’ve struggled to get the hang of sites like Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook, don’t worry! Snapchat is crazy simple.

It’s also a lot more effective for marketing than you probably think, especially if you want to appeal to the coveted under-30 age group, which makes the bulk of the Snapchat user base. Of course, as I mentioned earlier, there are plenty of users over the age of 30, too!

They also have an ad platform, but they are reportedly asking for $750,000 per day to advertise on their platform. Fortunately, marketing on Snapchat for free can be just as effective, and that’s what we’re going to focus on in this guide!

So let us begin.

Getting Started

The first thing you need to do is download the Snapchat app. It’s available for both iOS and Android, so if you have a fairly recent smartphone, you’re probably good to go. The app is free, and it’s available on the iTunes app store and Google Play.

Once you have the app, you’ll need to create an account. It’s important to choose a good username, because this is how people will identify you on the site, and you can’t change it. For this reason, be sure you type the username you want correctly.

Most people either choose some form of their name as their username, or they use the name of their website or company. You’ll want to choose whatever you want to brand with your Snapchat marketing—whether that is you personally, or your company or website.

Many people use the same username on Snapchat as they do on Twitter to keep things consistent. It’s easier for people to remember to message you @yourname on both Twitter and Snapchat if they follow you on both platforms.

You’ll also probably want to get an email address specifically for Snapchat, such as snapchat@yourdomain.com or yourdomainsnapchat@gmail.com.

Once you’ve signed up, you need to find some people to follow. You can tap the ghost logo at the top of the screen to bring up the user menu, and then click “Add Friends”.

On this page, you can add people in different ways:

  • Add by Username – This lets you look people up by their Snapchat username, but you either need to know their username to add them, or search for it and hope they used an easy-to-find username. For example, to find Taco Bell on Snapchat, you just enter “tacobell” without quotes and tap the button to add them once they show up in the search results. See why it’s important to choose an easy-to-remember username?
  • Add from Address Book – This will search through your contacts and let you add any of them who are on Snapchat.
  • Add by Snapcode – Snapcodes are those little yellow squares that fuction like QR codes. You can take a picture of one or download one and then choose it from your camera app to add that person on Snapchat. Apps like GhostCodes help you find people to add by interest, and you can download their code to your phone and upload it in the Snapchat app to follow them.
  • Add Nearby – This will use your current location to find other Snapchat users and add them. But be aware that other people will see your username locally, so if you’re worried about privacy, don’t use this feature.

Once you’ve added some people, you’ll want to make sure your settings are ready for marketing.

To find your settings, tap the ghost icon to open your username page. Then tap the cog at the top right. This will open your settings.

The first setting to look for is “Contact Me”. This is set to “My Friends” by default, but you might want to set it to “Everyone” to allow more people to contact you about your products or services.

Next, under “View My Story”, you’ll want to set that to “Everyone”. This way, if your friends share your stories, other people will be able to see them, getting you more views.

Finally, in “See Me in Quick Add”, you might want to be certain this is on. This way, you will appear to the friends of your friends, thus potentially garnering more followers with no effort.

Don’t forget to add a picture to your Snapchat code! To do this, just tap the ghost icon, then tap the yellow QR code thing. This will let you take a picture (it will be animated!) to show up inside the ghost on your code. Most companies use their logo here, but you can also use a moving picture of yourself. Be prepared, because it will take a couple of seconds of video to create the animation. If you want to show your logo, hold your phone still while the image is taken.

The previous image is an example of what a Snapchat code looks like once it’s been customized. GrubHub has simply used their logo.

Don’t forget to announce your Snapchat on your blog, website, and other social media accounts. You can either post your Snapchat username so people can manually add you, or post your Snapchat code so people can download the image and scan it within the app.

 

Snapchat Marketing Plan

Creating a marketing plan for Snapchat is actually extremely important, because it’s just so different from other social platforms. When you send a user a Snap, it’s generally a lot more personal than media on other platforms, because you must send Snaps directly to users. This gives it a much more personal feel, which increases engagement and response.

Let’s take a look at some of the types of content that have seen success on Snapchat:

  • Behind-the-scenes footage
  • Real-time news and updates
  • Contests (especially flash contests)
  • Short instructional content (mini-tutorials)
  • Product previews

These are a few examples of the types of things you can share on Snapchat, but just about any type of content can work as long as it fits within the short format.

But remember, content must be memorable to be useful on Snapchat. Because content disappears so quickly, it’s vital to post only content that will really capture attention and interest.

When you create a marketing plan for Snapchat, it’s a good idea to observe some other successful brands on Snapchat, such as McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Sour Patch Kids, and Gatorade. These brands have had some truly inspired campaigns that really got their companies a lot of attention, increasing their profiles considerably.

Make sure you have clear goals in mind when you create your campaign. Snapchat’s strength isn’t direct selling, so it’s best to use the platform to increase your profile on other outlets, or just your brand in general.

For example, you could hold contests to increase your follower count on various platforms. Or you could just post silly behind-the-scenes pictures and videos as a way to connect with potential customers and increase brand awareness.

Goals will help you choose the best types of promotions to add to your Snapchat marketing plan.

Sending Content

There are two types of content you can send on Snapchat—Snaps and Stories. Snaps are single pictures or videos that can be up to 10 seconds long. Stories are basically collections of pictures and videos, and they can be viewed multiple times over a 24-hour period.

Sending Snaps

Snaps come in two varieties—pictures and videos. To take a Snap, you either tap the circle in the center of the screen at the bottom to take a picture, or hold down the circle to take a video. Remember, videos can only be a maximum of 10 seconds.

Once you take your picture or video, you have the opportunity to delete it if you don’t like it. Just tap the “X” at the top left of the screen and you can then try again.

To change the length of time someone can view the content before it disappears, tap the clock icon at the bottom left. This will let you choose any length of time up to 10 seconds for your Snap to be viewable. Remember, people can take screenshots during this time!

If you want to write on your Snap, tap the center of your screen. Then you can type a caption for your picture. You can move the text around on the screen by holding it with your finger and moving it around.

You can also draw on your Snap (yes, even videos) by tapping the pencil icon, or add stickers by tapping the square sticker icon (that has a peeling corner). This is a great way to get more attention to your photos or videos!

If you like the Snap, you can also download it for use on other social media sites by clicking the download button, which looks like an arrow pointing downward into a box. This will save the Snap to your camera so you can use it elsewhere.

When you’re ready to send your Snap, tap the white arrow on the blue circle. Then you can choose a recipient (or multiple recipients) for your Snap.

Snapchat Stories

The other form of media you can use is called Stories. Stories are collections of media that appear in your account for any of your friends to view for 24 hours from the time you create them. They can be watched by anyone who follows you an unlimited number of times during that 24-hour period.

Stories are great, because they allow you to send multiple related pictures and videos all at once instead of spamming your followers with a bunch of individual messages. These Stories can be much more powerful than individual Snaps, but they must be a cohesive unit to be effective.

So what makes a good Story, and when should you use a Story instead of a Snap?

Well, Snaps are great for quick, one-off images, such as a picture of a new menu item at a restaurant, a new clothing item you just bought, or a picture of your current location.

Stories are meant for things such as live events (like concerts, for example) where you’d like to add multiple photos or videos, or for things like instructional content where you could take photos or short videos of the various steps involved, such as for a craft project or recipe.

HubSpot has a great article on stories here if you want more information on using stories:

>> http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/how-to-create-a-snapchat-story#sm.0000hi1p2z7uzdd2t1q1hb8f82oek

Conclusion

As you’ve learned in this guide, Snapchat has a massive user base of millions of users who are active on a regular basis. Over 150 million people use the site daily! With this kind of built-in user base, it’s hard to keep ignoring it as a valid marketing channel.

Not only is there a massive user base, but the platform is also remarkably effective as a marketing tool. Snap Ads are reported to be extremely effective and profitable. Engagement is much higher than other platforms, and although direct selling isn’t one of its strong suits, raising brand awareness most certainly is!

Considering it only takes a few minutes to post content on Snapchat, and it’s free, there’s really no reason you shouldn’t be giving it a shot. What have you got to lose?

Remember, content should be short, and grab attention quickly. Snapchat is all about short and sweet, kind of like Twitter. If you don’t capture attention immediately, your ads will be ineffective.

All you have to do to get started is download the app. It’s free! So go download it and get started!

Best of luck!

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21 Facebook Live Tips For Business

21 Facebook Live Tips For Business

Make the most of your Facebook Live videos by taking note of these twenty-one proven strategies and ideas.

  1. Practice Privately

Yes, the purpose of Facebook Live videos is to, well, go live … but if you are timid about it, do a few practice sessions that no one will see.

Simply set your “Who Should See This?” privacy setting to “Me Only”. (You can do this from your desktop and it will apply the setting to your mobile app as well.)

Just remember to re-set your privacy setting, once you’ve finished your practice session!

  1. Create a Pre-Recording Routine

If you know you are going to do a Facebook Live broadcast, set up and follow steps in a pre-production routine so that your broadcasts are as distraction-free and professional as possible while still feeling one-hundred-percent spontaneous.

  • Have a glass of water at hand
  • Shut doors and windows
  • Turn off ambient noise sources such as fans
  • Put the dog out
  • Have the children babysat or entertained
  • Unplug the phone and turn off your mobile
  • Check your mic and light sources
  • Set any prompts you need in place
  1. Smile!

It can feel hard to be ‘natural’ at first. A great pro tip is to deliberately smile (and keep smiling) for a few seconds before you start to broadcast. Smiling relaxes your face muscles and pre-conditions you to a positive frame of mind.

  1. Create a Re-purposing Routine

Don’t just re-purpose your Facebook Live posts randomly: Create a routine that virtually automates the process:

  • Save your video to Dropbox or other project management software like Basecamp
  • Have your freelancers or VA re-process the recordings by stripping out audio, transcribing them, turning them into blog posts or podcast episodes and giving them titles and descriptions
  1. Check Your Signal

Always make sure you are in the best spot with the strongest broadcast signal—especially when planning to broadcast outdoors.

  1. Mine Your Facebook Live Videos

Get into the habit of re-watching your Facebook Live recordings for nuggets you can turn into image quotes or Tweets.

  1. Make ‘Bloopers’ Videos

Liberate yourself from fear of making mistakes while live and compile your funniest or most embarrassing moments into a ‘Blooper’ reel. Upload to YouTube!

  1. Stop the ‘Shakes’

One of the most detrimental practices is holding your smartphone yourself while attempting to film. Get a desktop mount or stabilizing stick for your smartphone and record as hands-free as possible.

This eliminates errors such as dropping the phone, accidentally brushing the speaker with your hand and creating noise distortion and uneven acoustics.

  1. Select the Best Thumbnail

No, you don’t have to be stuck with that shot of you with your eyes half-closed and your mouth half-open in your recording thumbnail. Change it by clicking on the time/date stamp, selecting “Option” and then selecting “Edit Your Video”.

You can also edit your description here too.

  1. Use a Visual Topic Prompt

Tired of breaking off to quickly let people know what your Live video is about whenever they drop in, late? Have a bulletin board, chalkboard or white board behind you—or even a tent card sign on your desk—with “Today’s Topic:________”. (Fill in the blank, of course!)

You’ll retain more drop-ins, and get a more instant, enthusiastic response.

  1. Watch Out for Reverse Imaging

Be aware that having text appear in your Facebook Live broadcast works best if you’re broadcasting from a desktop: When you broadcast using a smartphone (especially some Android models) your audience may see mirror-imaging of your text.

(Try turning your phone around and using the rear camera, to solve this issue.)

  1. Consider Using Facebook Reactions

People can select the six basic reaction emoticons during Live broadcasts, so encourage them to do so and they will appear, live, during your broadcast. Those used to Periscope applause icons will really enjoy this feature.

  1. Turn it into an Event

To get more viewers to a Facebook Live video, turn it into a Facebook Event and invite people.

  1. Use Facebook Live for Your Regular Weekly Q&A Session

Setting a regular, recurring time for a regular, recurring feature can be a real trust-and-community building strategy. It this gets people not only into the habit of turning up to gain access—in real-time—to your ear, but also gets them looking forward to it … as well as ‘saving’ their questions specifically for YOU.

  1. Keep the Discussion Going Afterwards

Remember that most of your fans may only catch your Facebook Live post after it’s recorded and in your Group or Page feed. Unless you invite them specifically to leave comments after the broadcast, they will regard your Live feed as ‘dead’—so thank people for attending and encourage everyone to leave more feedback.

  1. Turn on Airplane Mode

If you’re actively using your mobile for broadcasting, turn it to Airplane Mode, in order to stop calls from interrupting the Facebook Live session.

  1. Check Your Upload Speed

If you are streaming via a desktop service such as OBS Studio, make sure you have adequate upload speed. You can do this easily online, no matter who your internet provider is, by visiting Fast.com.

10 Mbps is considered acceptable. Any lower than that, and you might want to speak to your Internet Service Provider.

  1. Make it Participatory

Boost your engagement by talking to or asking questions of specific Live viewers (you’ll be able to see who’s viewing while you’re broadcasting). Encourage your audience to comment as you’re talking.

  1. Ask Them to Subscribe While You Are Broadcasting Live

Use calls to action within your actual live videos as well as for the recordings. Remind them to tap their smartphones and subscribe.

  1. Be Careful of Copyrights

Many people play background music (‘underscoring’) when presenting Facebook Live videos. If that’s you, make sure you use only music you have the right to play. Facebook does detect unauthorized use of copyrighted music and will ban you from Facebook Live.

Use a service that provides professional-quality, royalty-free, original music such as the variety of mood music you’ll find at Mike Stewart’s TwoBuckThemes.

  1. Check Your Facebook Insights

Get in the habit of checking your Facebook Insights to see how your Live broadcasts perform. Particularly check your “Video Views” tab and “Peak Live Viewers”. (The latter will report on people who stayed to watch your Live broadcast ten seconds or more.)

These twenty-one tips will help you make the most of your Facebook Live experience. Put them to use—and enjoy the benefits.

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Marketing With Live Video

Marketing With Live Video

Live video is quickly becoming one of the most powerful methods of reaching people.

Think about some of the major product releases you (or people you know) have been excited about in recent years. Maybe it was the newest iPhone or Macbook. Maybe it was a really cool I.M. product that was hyped up.

Chances are, live video had a part in all the product’s hype.

Apple does live streaming events on a regular basis. Why? Because they work! They make product announcements cool and fun, and people feel like they’re learning something before anyone else, because not everyone is able to watch the live event.

People can make comments and ask questions. Sometimes you’ll even learn more than your listeners!

In fact, many people are using live video in place of webinars, which is actually beneficial for many reasons, such as:

  • Webinars usually limit the number of viewers to a relatively small number, while many live video platforms don’t have limits or have much larger viewer limits.
  • Many live video methods can promote your live stream for you, even to people who don’t follow you, something webinar platforms can’t do.
  • Most live video platforms are free, while webinar platforms usually charge you a one-time or monthly fee.
  • People are often more comfortable using Facebook or YouTube, whereas they may not want to download software or learn how to use a new website in order to attend a webinar.

There are many benefits to using live video over webinars!

In this guide, you’re going to learn some of the best ways to use live video to promote your own products and generate the kind of interest companies like Apple do!

Why Use Live Video?

live videoIn the introduction, we talked about how live video can be huge in generating buzz for a product launch, but that’s not the only use for it. There are several other ways live video can be beneficial to your business.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can use live video to bolster your business.

Generating Buzz

Obviously, live video is great for generating buzz. Apple reportedly had more than 20 million people tune in to watch their keynote address in the summer of 2014. 20 million! That’s absolutely astonishing, and you can imagine how much buzz it generated.

But you don’t have to be as big as Apple to make use of live video for generating buzz for product. Even if you don’t have a big list yourself, you can always promote your live event through partnerships and other methods. We’ll talk more about how to promote your live event in a later chapter.

Conducting Surveys & Research

Another great way to use live video is to conduct research. There’s no better way to get feedback than to ask people during a live broadcast, because people are more open to asking questions and giving their opinions during live broadcasts. This is probably because they see others doing so, which gives them the confidence to speak up themselves.

If you’ve tried doing surveys and didn’t get much in the way of results, this can be a great way to encourage people to give feedback.

Teaching Something

Teaching is another great way to use live video, because you can show people how to do something live, and then answer questions right away instead of fielding questions for days or weeks afterwards like you might if you just posted a video online.

That way, if you haven’t been clear enough about a particular step in the process, or you inadvertently left something out, people can let you know right away and you make changes.

Keeping Interest

Keeping interest is another great use for live video. If you have a list or a fan base on social media or some other platform, live events and streams can keep people interested in what you’re doing, what you have to offer, and who you are.

In this day and age, when thousands (even millions) of people are competing for the same eyeballs in certain genres, it pays to keep your audience interested. You want to keep all eyes focused on you as much as possible. People only have so much time to watch content online. Live streams are one way to ensure more people watch yours instead of someone else’s.

Replacing Webinars

You can use live video to replace any kind of webinar you might think of, and you won’t be charged a fee for the privilege. Webinars can be quite costly, and they have viewership limits, but using a platform like YouTube or Facebook is free and they usually have no limits on viewers or have much larger limits than webinars.

Additionally, most people are already comfortable using Facebook or YouTube, but may be reluctant to download special software or learn how to use a new platform just to attend your webinar.

Live video makes a great replacement for webinars, and once you start doing live events, you may never hold another traditional webinar!

Live Video Platforms

live video platforms

There are many different platforms you can use to go live online. We’re going to concentrate on a handful of the most popular ones, because those have the most viewership and are generally the easiest to use.

It really doesn’t matter which platform you use unless you already have a good sized following on one of them. In that case, it’s probably best to stick to the one that has the largest following.

Facebook

Facebook is probably the most popular platform for live video streaming. This is due in part to its immense popularity as a social media platform, but also because many people already have a substantial following on the site.

Facebook’s live streaming is also incredibly easy to use. It’s literally as easy as pushing a button and entering a little information.

To live stream on your personal page, just proceed as though you are going to create a post, and press “Live Video”. You’ll have to give Facebook access to your device’s phone and camera, if you haven’t already. Next, you’ll have to enter some information for your stream, including privacy settings and a description. Finally, set up your camera view so it’s facing exactly what you want to record and click “Go Live”.

To stream from a fan page, you can do the same as with a personal page, or you can use the Facebook Pages Manager app. To use the app, just load your page in the app and then:

  1. Create a new post.
  2. Press “Go Live”.
  3. Enter a description for your live session.
  4. Press “Go Live” again.

It’s that simple. And once your live stream is done, it will be saved so those who missed it live can watch it later!

You can broadcast for up to 90 minutes at a time, but a lot of people may get bored before that time. Keeping broadcasts under 30-45 minutes is best unless you have a special event that requires longer time.

YouTube

YouTube is one of the most popular platforms for going live, because a lot of people already have followers on the site, and because it’s already got a massive built-in user base that could watch the video after the live broadcast has ended.

Creating live videos can help you gain more followers on YouTube, as well, because people who come to your live event from other sources, such as partners or paid promotions, will likely subscribe to your channel if they like your content. YouTube actively promotes live streams that are currently happening, so this can really help you boost your subscriber base.

Keep in mind that if you want to stream on mobile, your channel must have at least 1,000 subscribers, but streaming mobile is a great way to add content when you’re on the go and you want to show people what you’re up to.

To stream live on YouTube, there are a few steps you need to take first to make sure your device is ready to stream live.

Go to this URL: >> https://www.youtube.com/live_dashboard

This page has a list of steps you need to take before you can stream live on Facebook, including:

  • Installing any necessary encoding software
  • Add stream info
  • Adding optional features

Streaming on YouTube has the added benefit of adding more content to your channel, because those streams are saved as regular videos after they are aired live.

Additionally, you’ll get 55% of any ad revenue earned by your live stream as long as you’re properly set up to monetize your channel!

Periscope

Periscope is an app that is owned by Twitter, and it makes it very easy to stream live. You may wonder why you’d want to use an app like Periscope to stream when you can use sites like Facebook and YouTube that are more universally recognized and have more users.

Well, Periscope is connected to your Twitter account, and anytime you go live, your Twitter followers will receive a notification. So if you have a larger following on Twitter than other sites, you might want to use Periscope instead of the other sites.

Periscope seems to have a more newsy vibe than other sites or apps, so it’s probably best to use it for broadcasts that include events and news-like broadcasts.

Instagram

Instagram now has live broadcasting, but there’s one major caveat. There’s no backup. Once you finish streaming, your broadcast is gone forever, much like Snapchat.

However, if you have a large following on Instagram, using the live feature can be quite beneficial, as not that many people use the function so it can really help you stand out from the crowd.

Tips For Great Live Shows

live video platformsCreating great live shows isn’t as difficult as you probably think. You can even watch some live events from people in your niche—if you can find any—to get some motivation and ideas. Don’t copy, obviously, but you can definitely gain some inspiration from others.

Let’s take a look at some tips that can help you create a better live experience for your viewers.

Don’t Be Afraid Of Mistakes

Many people are afraid to do live shows, because they’re afraid they’ll make a mistake and people will laugh at them or get upset. But don’t let this hold you back. In fact, the occasional mistake, if handled correctly, can actually make you appear more human and make people like you even more.

If you watch some of the more popular YouTube content creators, you’ll see this. They’ll make silly mistakes or screw something up, and people laugh at them (in a good-hearted way) in the comments. They find it endearing when their favorite creators make mistakes.

So please don’t be afraid of going live because you might mess up in some way. Unless you offend people, mistakes will only likely endear people to you more, especially if you laugh about it and don’t make a big deal about it.

Have A Script Prepared

Live events should always have a script, or at least a rough outline. The reason for this is that there’s too much potential for having long periods of dead air while you think of what to cover next if you don’t have a script or outline.

Don’t Follow The Script Exactly

Never, ever read your script word-for-word. While it’s a really good idea to

Know your Topic

When you write an article, report, or other content, or create a video, you don’t have to know a topic inside and out. You can just put in what you do know, or do research before you start, or even as you go.

But if you’re doing a live session, you really need to know the topic you’re covering very well. You won’t be able to look stuff up easily if someone asks you a question during a live broadcast.


Promoting Your Live Event

A live video is no good unless there are people watching it—aside, of course, from the fact that you can save the video and keep it online for others to watch later.

Promoting live events is actually pretty easy, even if you don’t have a big following. This is especially true if you’ll be broadcasting something extremely interesting or exciting, or if you’re offering some sort of major incentive for attendance.

Let’s take a look at a few methods you can use to promote your live events.

Partnerships

The best way to promote a live event, by far, is through the use of strategic partnerships. This can be accomplished in a number of ways, from simply asking people to promote your event, to paying them to do so, to developing deeper partnerships such as interviewing other people in your niche and having them promote the interview to their own followers.

Social Media

The most obvious way to promote your live events is through social media. If you don’t have a large following of your own, you can seek out groups to promote your event to or even use paid ads.

Since you may actually be holding your live stream on a social media platform like FaceBook, your event may be promoted for you, but this will only get you a limited amount of traffic. Promoting the event everywhere you can is smart.

Giveaways

Holding a giveaway during the live event is a great way to make sure people show up, and more people are likely to promote the event for you if you have an interesting giveaway, too. Some people may even promote you for free just because of the giveaway.

Conclusion

With all the noise online these days, it’s really hard to stand out from the crowd. There are thousands, even millions of people competing for attention from the same people in every niche, and you need to do something that will set you apart from the crowd.

Live video is one of the best ways to accomplish this, because most people are too uncomfortable with live video. They’re afraid they will do something wrong and look foolish, but what they don’t realize is that is exactly what can make them seem more “real” to their audience.

So don’t worry about making mistakes. Everyone does. Just relax and have fun. That’s what will make your live stream interesting and make people want to watch.

I hope you’ve learned a lot in this guide, so I hope you will apply what you’ve learned for great success.

Resources

Here are links to the resources found in this guide:

YouTube Live Dashboard:

>> https://www.youtube.com/live_dashboard

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Twitter Ad Specs & Using Twitter Advertising Successfully

Twitter Ad Specs & Using Twitter Advertising Successfully

Twitter is a great place to market your business, and you can certain use it for free. Lots of people have made big fortunes using Twitter as one of their primary marketing channels without spending a dime, however the nature of social media requires a lot of time and effort invested to get good results if you don’t want to spend any money. After all, time is money.

But if you don’t want to spend so much time on Twitter, you can spend a little money and skip the huge time investment.

Even if you enjoy Twitter, you can reach more people with advertising using the twitter ad specs outlined below, expanding your organic reach through selective targeting.

In this guide, you’re going to learn how to create highly effective Twitter ads, and to get the most out of the platform, no matter what you’re advertising.

So let’s dive in

twitter ad specs

Getting Started

Before we get started, you might want to go ahead and sign up for your Twitter ads account at:

>> https://ads.twitter.com/

This will let you kind of follow along and look at some of the features in your account as we discuss them, which helps you understand how the different features work a little better. You can always do this later if you want, but I recommend doing it now. This will just take a couple of seconds if you already have a Twitter account.

Twitter has been working on new elements for their advertising platform for a while now. By the time you read this, they may have added or removed features.

These are the options that you can choose from as far as the different types of ads you can run. You need to be sure you choose the right type of ad for your business’s purposes, not just the one that’s least expensive or seems to get the most traffic.

Let’s take a look at these different ad types.

Website Visits

This, of course, will get you visits to your website. You can include a “Website Card” which is a preview of your website that shows up directly in your Tweet. You are charged per click for this type of ad.

Followers

This is pretty self-explanatory. You can buy followers. Any impressions or engagements you get as a result of this campaign don’t cost anything. If you just want to increase your follower count, this is an easy way to do so.

Awareness

This campaign is priced based on impressions, not results. For this reason, you should only use this type of campaign on Tweets that have already been proven to work through some other method, because you don’t want to pay for impressions to an ad that may not perform.

Tweet Engagements

With this type of campaign, you promote individual Tweets for the purpose of getting engagement. You don’t have to pay for impressions unless they result in engagement, and you will not have to pay for organic engagements from users who see your Tweet like normal instead of through your promotion.

Remember that even promoted Tweets must still adhere to the same 140-character limit that regular Tweets must follow, so you’ll want to be as succinct as possible.

Video Views

If you want to promote videos, GIFs, vines, etc., you can use this type of ad to do so. You pay for impressions to your video, and the video will auto-play as users scroll in order to get more attention.

Website Conversions

This is similar to the Website Visits ad type, but instead of just paying for clicks, you can track conversions. You can include a Website Card in this type, as well.

App Installs or Re-Engagements

If you have an app, this is the type of ad you’ll want to use. You can use this to get people to install your app for the first time, or to get people who already have your app and haven’t used it in a while to use it again. You can include an App Card in this ad type, which will let you show a preview of your app, plus the app’s ratings in the Tweet. It also gives users the ability to open or install the app with a single click.

Setting Up a Campaign

When you’re ready to set up a campaign, it’s pretty easy. You’ll need to choose the type of ad campaign you’d like to use, name your campaign, and set up tracking and the dates you want to run your ad. Tracking (via DoubleClick) is optional, but recommended.

Next, you need to choose your targeting options. You can target by location, even down to specific postal codes, by gender, language, device, platform, and even their cellular service carrier!

You can also, of course, target by interest, behavior, etc. This lets you choose specific keywords based on what users Tweet about and things they are interested in.

After this, you have to set up your budget. You can choose a daily maximum (which is required), and also a total budget (which is optional).

Then you have a couple of options for setting your pricing. You can either bid automatically, or set your bid price manually by using their recommended bids for each type of campaign. Automatic bidding is the easiest option, but you may notice spikes in pricing that leave you with a nasty surprise later, so you will want to keep an eye on your campaigns if you choose automatic bidding.

Finally, you have to choose your creative. You can promote existing Tweets or create an entirely new one for your ad, including adding media.

Then just click “Publish Tweet” to launch the ad, and you’re done!

Creating Effective Ads

As you probably know, it’s not enough just to run an ad. Any type of ad must be optimized well for maximum conversions. Let’s take a look at some ways to get the most out of Twitter ads.

Tweet Length

Remember that a Twitter ad must fit within the 140-character limit (unless you’re using an ad format that doesn’t publish a Tweet, such as Followers). This means you must be concise with your ad. Say what needs to be said, but don’t go overboard.

Studies have shown that the most effective promoted Tweets have between 120 and 139 characters. So try to say what you have to say in a reasonable number of characters, but don’t keep it too short.

Use The Right Words

There are certain words that you can use in Tweets to increase your response. They’re a lot of the same words you may have heard work well in sales. Words include:

  • You – You is one of the most popular words in sales, because people want to know how things benefit them. Focus on what you have to offer your potential customers.
  • Free – This one is obvious. People love free.
  • Now – Now provides a sense of urgency, making people feel they need to respond right away. You can also use hurry, quick, limited, while supplies last, or other similar terms.
  • New – Anytime people think they can be one of the first to try something, it makes them happy.

Don’t Include Prices

If you want people to re-tweet your ads, don’t include prices. Ads with prices are 30-35% less likely to be liked and re-tweeted. So unless your prices are so low they are unbelievable, leave them out.

Use a Specific Landing Page

Try to make a landing page that fits specifically with your Twitter ad, because you’ll leave users with a much more favorable impression if the Tweet matches the landing page.

For example, if you have a promo code for Twitter users, create a special landing page that has that promo code on the page so it matches your ad.

Include Images or Cards

Ads without images or cards included get much less attention. Make sure you attach an image to your ad or use a website or app card as appropriate.

Ads with images or cards are several times more likely to be liked and re-tweeted.

Target Like A Boss

Targeting is definitely one of the most important elements of running an ad, but Twitter makes it WAY easier than some places.

For example, running an ad on Facebook can be a nightmare in some subject areas, because there’s literally nothing available to target. The best thing you can do is target something slightly similar. For example, if you want to target a very specific type of novel reader (in a genre that isn’t big enough to have its own “interest” or any authors that are traditionally published and popular enough to be targetable) on Facebook, the best you can do is target people who read a similar genre. Not very effective.

But on Twitter, you can target by #hashtag, by interests, by the TV shows they watch, and (best of all, perhaps) you can even target a specific user’s followers! That means you could, for example, find several people in your genre and target all of their followers! Super effective!

It should be relatively easy to figure out how to target for your particular product since there are so many options for targeting, but you may want to run different ads based on what you target. For example, if you have a retro-style video game you want to promote and you want to target fans of Pac-Man and fans of Donkey Kong, you would want to use two different images and two different forms of ad copy to adjust the ad to what you’ve targeted.

Targeting the fans of your competitors is probably one of the most effective ways to reach the audience you need to reach, so that’s a great place to start. If you don’t have any competition to target, such as when you have a product that is so new or innovative there’s no true competition, you can target complimentary accounts. For example, if you created a unique kitchen tool, you could target accounts like Food Network and Food & Wine Magazine.

Twitter has a great article on targeting best practices here:

>> https://business.twitter.com/en/targeting.html

Conclusion

Twitter ads can be remarkably effective if you are careful with your targeting and your ad creatives. You may want to experiment with different combinations until you find the ad that gets the best result at the lowest cost, but once you do you may find Twitter outperforms other platforms for the price.

Don’t forget to use some of the techniques you’ve learned in this guide for creating more effective ads. Use images, use the right words, don’t include prices. These tips will help you create ads that will get results.

Don’t forget to check out Twitter’s targeting best practices, as well. They have some very good tips for helping you find just the right methods for targeting just the right audiences.

I wish you the best of luck with your Twitter promotions!

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The Secrets Behind Emotional Viral Ads

The Secrets Behind Emotional Viral Ads

There’s a time for everything and the time of eyes-welling-up-with-tears commercials is now. It actually started a few years ago, and they’re still going strong, touching soft spots in us all.

Whenever a new one of those beautiful emotional viral ads emerges from the depths of the internet, it’s quickly shared across the Earth in a matter of minutes thanks to social networks and highly connected online communities. So, what’s the deal with these highly emotional ads? As you probably already guessed, that’s what I’ll share with you today and by the time you’ve finished reading this article, you’ll never see them the same again.

If you’re one of the 2 people online who that hasn’t seen these ads, here’s a little journey through a few of them to get you up to speed:

In 2013, Dove released a video that was going to become the viral campaign of the year and generate billions of dollars in earned media. The idea of the video came from an ad agency, Ogilvy & Mather (Brazil), and was filmed in San Francisco. The result was edited into a 6-minute short film and a 3-minute online commercial.

 

In 2014, Always launched the #LikeAGirl campaign. The campaign video also became viral and even got a spot in the Super Bowl commercial break.

 

In 2015, Ad Council, an American non-profit organisation helping both government agencies and non-profits create and promote public service announcements launched the “Love Has No Labels” campaign with a video that quickly became viral.

 

In 2016, Momondo, the travel fare metasearch engine, launched a video under the #LetsOpenOurWorld call to action and hashtag. The campaign later turned into a competition for people who would like to win DNA testing kits and free trips to their places of origin.

 

Two weeks ago, Heineken also launched a video called “Worlds Apart” which also became a viral hit. Many people saw the new video as a response to Pepsi’s awful, tone–deaf Kendall Jenner ad from a month ago.

 

I’ll let you dry your tears first… Go ahead, take a moment. So… damn fine ads, right? What truly gets something in our eye is the fact that they’re all based on very powerful insights. They also feature real people, not supermodels or celebrities. Also, they’re all using an experiment as a way to show us a reality that’s quite different than what the people in the ads expected.

So, how do ad agencies come up with these ideas? Well, it’s actually quite simple…

The Emotional Viral Ads Recipes for Winning Ideas

What happens in ad agencies is very different to our world. The creative teams working in an agency usually work on more accounts (different brands). We usually work on our own business, our personal brand, and some side gigs, but we usually address the same core target and we usually know what we want to say when talking to those buying our products and services. In the ad world, things are not as simple. The creatives work with various brands, managed by different brand teams, who focus on different core targets.

Generating hundreds of ideas on command is part of the agency life. Getting ideas is not impossible, but getting them in a matter of hours is nearly impossible without a trick up your sleeve.

In the ’90, Systematic Inventive Thinking was… well… invented. The idea behind it was simple – ideas have common patterns. By focusing on the patterns, you can generate dozens, hundreds of ideas in just a couple of hours. This is the part that ad agencies don’t really want you to know, because it takes the magic out of advertising.

Since then, there were developed various systems to help creative teams come up with ideas, many of them based on identified patterns. Usually, the ad agency hires a company that teaches the creative teams what new patterns can be used for coming up with ideas. That company teaches the same patterns for a couple of years, going from one agency to another. Soon, all of the world’s big agencies are following the same patterns in generating ideas.

Now for the fun part, one of those patterns is an ideation tool called Self-Validation. It was identified by The Mindscapes, a creative training company. This ideation tool instructs creatives to design an experiment using real-life situations in order to prove a brand’s point.

That’s the ideation tool probably used for coming up with the ideas for these emotional ads we can’t stop sharing on Facebook, but that’s not the only tool available, and we can also use them to come up with ideas for our own campaigns.

A popular tool is called the Extreme Challenge. It means you try to create a challenge that’s related to your product and get people to either participate in it or follow it developing because it’s so crazy. Think of the “Best Job in the World” campaign or Felix Baumgartner’s jump from space for Red Bull.

If you watch enough ads, you’ll start seeing the patterns I’m talking about, and when that happens you’ll know what to use in your own brainstormings. Or… you can just use a shortcut. Shortcuts are fun, right? Just watch this video of a workshop on patterns used in advertising for generating ideas. You can thank me later.

Emotional Viral Ads

The Connection Between Millennials and Emotional Viral Ads

What the ads we’re discussing have in common is that they were created with the Millennials in mind. They’re America’s largest living generation, and even if they’re not everywhere on Earth the largest generation alive, they are representing a powerful cohort of consumers that brands are trying to attract and keep on their side.

Millennials are an interesting group of people – very different from their parents, actively looking for content to consume, and, most importantly, knowing just how they like their brands.

Appealing to Millennials is good for business, and given their interests and lifestyle, it’s not bad for society either. Exactly because there’s such a big interest in getting your communication just right for Millennials, there are many studies that point to a set of rules in creating a campaign or a brand that they’ll love.

One team studying what Millennials look in the brands they buy and what drives them is the one made up of Joeri van den Bergh and Mattias Behrer. Back in 2011, before these ads started to pop up on the internet, they wrote a book called “How Cool Brands Stay Hot: Branding to Generation Y”. In the book, they talk about the CRUSH branding model – the 5 success factors of a youth brand. To be appealing to Millennials, brands have to score high on the CRUSH scale, and you’ll see how the emotional ads we’re discussing do that beautifully. 

The CRUSH Branding Model

“CRUSH” comes from the 5 success factors Millennials use to rate brands:

  1. Cool
  2. Real
  3. Unique
  4. Self-brand identification
  5. Happiness

Don’t get scared by the complexity of this, most of these things apply to big brands like DIESEL, Mini Cooper, Apple or Converse. By taking a look at the things they work with, we can also get some ideas for our own ventures. Let’s dig in!

Is It Cool?

Being cool as a brand is not an easy feat. You need to pay attention to what your competitors are doing and make sure you’re not becoming too edgy. The easiest way to make sure your brand’s as cool as possible is to innovate, involve Millennials in your creative process, run exclusive offers and promotions on new hip channels (like Snapchat).

Is It Real?

You gotta keep it real! Millennials are all about authenticity. They don’t like brands who copy others or use fake stories to sell their products. They want to be listened and talked to with respect. They also want to see brands hold their ground when it’s important, but also be transparent and open.

Is It Unique?

Young consumers care about a brand’s mission, but they won’t care about it if it only exists on a website and it never manifests in real life. They’ll look at what a brand stands for (through its actions) and try to find something they have in common. You need to really be able to express what makes you stand out from your competition, why is your brand different. You need to own that everywhere and in everything – from the logo to packaging, website, social media posts, tags and stickers.

Is There Self-brand identification?

Millennials will select the brands that show day in day out how they’re connected to their passions. They’ll self-identify with the brands that help them stand out individually but also fit in with a group they aspire to be a part of (a tribe).

Does It Bring Happiness?

When they experience an emotion, Millennials are likely to share the experience with other people. Research showed that only 10% of emotional experiences are kept secret, the rest are going to be shared. The impact of the emotion is also influencing how soon and how often it’s going to be shared. When your brand is removing negative emotions (like Dove), you sure have a winner on your hands.

Millennials are happy to share things that make them feel like they’re improving something, strengthen ties between people, help them lose self-consciousness.

This is why those emotional ads strike a cord. The brand positioning has been carefully studied and set up to please Millennials, the message of the ads clearly established. You can’t watch the Dove ad and don’t get what Dove stands for, what the brand’s mission is. You can’t watch the Ad Council PSA and not experience a strong emotion. Heineken proves just how cool it is by jumping into a conversation that not even individuals are brave enough to have over dinner.

Now, let’s get back to you… I know you don’t have those big budgets these global companies have, but that doesn’t mean you can’t apply a few things to your online marketing or product development or personal brand.

Here’s what I want you to do the next time you’re creating a product or a campaign:

1) Use the ideation techniques I mentioned (and those in the workshop video) to come up with at least 10 ideas. Write down any idea you have, no matter how crazy.

2) Select the top 3 ideas that you like.

3) Analyse the top 3 ideas by answering the following questions and giving a point to those for which you answered yes:

  • Does your idea have the potential to generate a strong emotion?
  • Does your idea fit with your core target’s passions or interests?
  • Can you present your idea with transparency, with no misleading claims?
  • Is your idea different from what your competitors have done in the past?
  • Is your idea innovative?

4) Select the one idea that scored most points.

5) Write down a description of your idea.

6) Think of who could describe the idea in front of a camera and how.

7) Think how could you produce a short video to present your idea.

Big brands got nothing on you. With a lot of work and dedication, you can be a champion at emotional viral ads in your own niche. Take what you can use, discard the rest. Use the inspiration as fuel for your own efforts and work to make your products household names.

Have you seen any great examples of emotional advertising for viral traffic?  Share it in the comments below, I’d love to see some more!

Tweet Your Way To More Shopify Sales

Tweet Your Way To More Shopify Sales

If you’re looking for a faster way to get yourself more Shopify sales, Twitter has an awesome feature that I absolutely love called ‘Twitter Cards’.

You can buy a deck of them, and you definitely don’t want to be a joker. Get it?  Cards… Joker?  Oh my gosh… ok, I even make myself cringe sometimes!!!

Twitter Cards completely changed the game when it came to Twitter. You can list a product, a couple of things about it like price and availability. You can also use 200 characters instead of the standard 140.

Why should you care?

This is something that I’ve used to increase sales to more Shopify sales in my store and reach more Twitter users in my niche.

There are several different types of ‘Twitter Cards’ for pictures, videos, music, etc, here are the two main layouts for Twitter Cards.

Using Twitter Cards means you can run ads to your products across a multitude of platforms on Twitter.

Here are a few ways to do just that:

more shopify sales

1. Run ads for discounts, contest, and giveaways.

If you add a picture to your tweets about the competition – you will get more entries. That means more leads. If you are using discounts then make sure the image is big, bold and grabs them by the eyeballs and makes them pay attention. You want them to click and retweet to their followers. This will also help you get more followers.

more shopify sales

2. Create and post tutorials is a great way to get more Shopify sales too.

If you are trying to brand yourself as an expert in your space one simple way to do this is to post tutorial videos to help your followers understand more about what you do, how you do it, why you do it – and why you are the expert in your space.

Or, you can record videos right from your phone talking to your followers, so they can start to see your personality and feel like they know you. Make sure not only are you posting content, but you are also giving them an opportunity to make a purchase as well.

3. Tracking eCom Sales With Twitter

There is an awesome feature I love called ‘Twitter Product Cards’. It helps eCom store owners track their eCom sales from their Twitter Product Cards.

This allows eCom store owners to optimize their stores to get massive results from Twitter ads.

It also shows the amount of traffic your Shopify store gets from Twitter, so you can find out where you’re getting more Shopify sales from and how many of your clients are on Twitter as well.

In addition, Shopify has a lot of different eCom tracking solutions with their apps, so you can keep an eye on the total amount of traffic that your products are receiving. Where and how it comes in.

Twitter can be a real game changer for your business to take things to the next level as long as you build a solid foundation and keep it simple. Don’t over think it. Take action. Test. Tweak and profit.