The end is nigh for Google’s failed social media experiment Google+.
Really, “failed” seems a bit harsh – Google+ did actually facilitate a range of well-informed, engaged communities, just not enough to make it viable for Google to maintain.
As you may recall, back in October, Google announced the coming G+ shutdown, giving it a deadline of August 2019, but they then updated that advice on the back of a privacy bug, expediting the closure to April. The final official day of Google+ has now been locked in – April 2nd, 2019. The day that Circles will come to an end.
“On April 2nd, your Google+ account and any Google+ pages you created will be shut down and we will begin deleting content from consumer Google+ accounts. Photos and videos from Google+ in your Album Archive and your Google+ pages will also be deleted.”
If you have anything you want to keep from G+, you can download and save your content here. Note that photos and videos backed up to Google Photos will not be deleted.
“The process of deleting content from consumer Google+ accounts, Google+ Pages, and Album Archive will take a few months, and content may remain through this time. For example, users may still see parts of their Google+ account via activity log and some consumer Google+ content may remain visible to G Suite users until consumer Google+ is deleted.”
In other words, the ghosts of Google+ may float around the web for a while after April 2nd, but that is what they’ll be – ghosts. The platform will be gone, no more. Time to say goodbye.
Google also notes that Google+ community owners and moderators can download and save their data, with additional information available for download from early March 2019, “including author, body, and photos for every community post in a public community”.
“If you sign in to sites and apps using the Google+ Sign-in button, these buttons will stop working in the coming weeks, but in some cases may be replaced by a Google Sign-in button. You’ll still be able to sign in with your Google Account wherever you see Google Sign-in buttons.”
Basically, the closure of Google+ is now being put into motion, and any and all G+ connected tools are slowly going to stop functioning. This is probably most relevant for your email signatures and contact options on your website – if you’re a social media advisor, probably best to remove that G+ link soon, or you could risk looking like you’re out of touch with the latest developments.
As Google+ winds down, Google has been putting more focus on adding in social-like features to search in order to provide more business connection options through its main offering. It’s not the same, it’s not a social network, and it is a bit sad to see all those impacted communities on the platform. But the time has come, and you need to prepare.
The countdown to the end of G+ is now reaching its final stage.
Instagram is the hot platform of the moment, but what many users – and businesses in particular – have found when trying to connect with people on Insta is that building an audience can be difficult.
People are more selective on Instagram, with the lessons of Facebook and Twitter dictating new habitual behaviors. When Facebook and Twitter were new, everyone connected with everyone – you sent a friend request to all the new people you met at a party, and you followed thousands of profiles on Twitter in the hopes that they’d follow you back. Many people, on Twitter especially, have built massive audiences this way, but users who did this also found that their feeds ended up being rubbish, a steady flow of random updates from folks they could barely remember.
The result is that people don’t follow as readily on Instagram – which poses a new challenge for brands, making them work harder for attention. The benefit, however, is that once you do win over new followers, they’re far more likely to become customers, because they’re following based on actual interest in what you post.
So how do you do it? How do you win over more resistant Instagram audiences and build an engaged following?
That’s the focus of a new report from parent company Facebook, which provides insight into what users are looking for from brands on Instagram, and includes tips on how to take action based on their findings.
First off, Facebook notes the rising potential of Instagram, with 57% of the 21,000 people surveyed indicating that they’re now using the platform more than they did a year ago, and 44% saying that they’ll use it even more in the coming year.
That likely comes as little surprise, Instagram’s added half a billion new users within the last two years, while Instagram Stories, originally launched in August 2016, just this week hit a new milestone of 500 million daily users. It’s clear that Instagram is getting more attention – though it is interesting to note the propensity with which current users are planning to go back to it, underlining the potential.
But a particularly relevant finding of the study for marketers is that many users are actually going to Instagram to connect with brands.
“When we asked people what they associated with Instagram, some of their top responses were that the platform allows interaction with celebrities and influencers. Additionally, 2 in 3 respondents (66%) told us that Instagram is a platform that allows interaction with brands. These interactions might take the form of a snack company using polls in Instagram Stories to let fans vote on a new chip flavor, or a fashion brand reposting photos of chic #OOTD posts.”
Granted, interaction with family and friends was another key reason for people to use the platform, but the responses do indicate that Instagram users may be more open to brand communications than they are on other platforms.
That’s particularly relevant when you consider that Facebook has been actively working to boost interaction with friends and family members in order to increase in-platform engagement. The findings for Instagram almost reflect the opposite, with users coming to see content from influencers and brands, and welcoming such within their feed – when they choose to follow those profiles.
In terms of overall usage, younger Instagram users are more likely to come to the platform daily, which is largely reflective of broader digital platform trends.
That, too, is no surprise, but it is interesting to note that despite the differences in older brackets, a lot of those users are still coming back to the platform daily. If you’re looking to reach younger audiences, definitely there’s value there, but older users are still fairly active. There’s a broadening range of people on the visual platform.
So how can you reach these people – what do Instagram users expect to see from brands on the platform?
Respondents indicated that they want to see the following types of marketing content:
Short and well-targeted, with specific creative designed for Instagram. That makes sense, given the visual nature of the platform, and the focus on eye-catching content. If you are looking to utilize the platform, you need to familiarize yourself with what works, and not just in terms of posting like-baiting inspirational quotes, but in regards to creating content that both works to promote your business, and connects with what your target audience responds to.
Given the aforementioned habitual changes, building an audience on Instagram is not easy, it’s not as simple as liking every post from every person who engages with a certain hashtag, or using the old ‘follow back’ approach to build up your numbers. Both those strategies may work to some degree, but whether the people you’re reaching are within your actual target audience is another question.
The best way to approach Instagram is to go in with a strategy. Research the platform, look at what others in your niche are posting, what their audiences are responding to, scan through the relevant hashtag lists to see what people are posting. Once you’ve got a handle on what you should be sharing, set out an adequate time frame for results, then stick to a schedule and build up response data.
It takes time, but with the right focus, you can tap into the rising Instagram stream.
You can read Facebook’s full “How to Connect with New Audiences on Instagram” report here.
Google My Business Attributes are highly visible statements about your business that appear on your Google My Business listing. They indicate things like Payment Options, Amenities, Accessibility, and Highlights. Does a business provide parking? Does it have a fireplace? Can customers pay with a debit card?
These and many other facts about a business can be shown to both customers and just as importantly, to Google. They are used in combination with other aspects of an online presence to help Google rank the listing.
Google My Business Attributes are important to consumers and they are important to Google in making sure the right results are shown to a searcher. It is a quick and effective way for an owner to communicate what may be important to a customer.
Some of these attributes are optional and others are more subjective and not editable. All attributes importantly communicate to Google and to customers both who you are and what is available.
The History of GMB Attributes
Google began making attribute management available through the Google My Business API in May of 2016. It was very limited in scope and was expanded in September of 2016.
In December of 2016, Google began rolling out the new attribute features in the Google My Business dashboard to allow business owners the ability to manage their own attributes. These attributes were only available to a select number of industries such as Food and Service-related industries. The number and choices for attributes were limited in this rollout.
Google My Business Attributes Today
We now see Attribute Management in nearly all forms of industry and verticals. The choices and number of attributes has grown exponentially, as is seen in the image to the right. Businesses in different categories will have different choices available to them in the attributes menu. GMB attributes are currently broken into two separate types – Objective and Subjective.
Objective attributes are still subject to updates from Google and from users, but these can be mitigated through the Google My Business dashboard. Choose attributes that only describe your business in reality. Providing false attributes could result in the removal of those attributes by Google. Another possible result from an untrue attribute could be a negative review.
Google describes these as “What your business is known for.” These are attributes given to a business by Google through a number of sources including user-generated responses. Users who frequent a business may be asked by Google what they know about the location, and those responses are calculated. These attributes cannot be influenced directly by the listing owner through the Dashboard the same way Objective Attributes are managed. For popular locations, the results from those responses can be viewed through the insight dashboard:
How Attributes Are Featured In Your GMB Listing
Attributes can be used in searches and both attribute types can be viewed in the knowledge panel of any listing both from desktop and from mobile:
As Google’s results become more personalized, we can expect this feature to become even more important. Google will attempt to provide searchers with more tailored results, based on these attributes when voice search is employed. A good example of this would be when a long-tail keyword is searched such as, ”where is a pizza restaurant that has a kids menu and parking”. Google will be able to quickly index the request and based on what business owners and customer have provided.
The importance of proper attribute management cannot be understated and it’s just a part of the many things we manage with the Local SEO Service at V Digital Services. Contact us today and let us manage your local customer’s user experience.
What Digital Executives should know about Web ADA Compliance
If your business operates online, there are many pieces of legislation that you need to keep updated with to make sure you are operating on the right side of the law.
Many of these laws are self-explanatory, and you may already be implementing the necessary procedures.
One that isn’t quite so obvious is the ADA—or the Americans With Disabilities Act.
This act protects disabled people by making disability discrimination illegal. This means that your business should have the necessary measures in place to ensure disabled people can access your business without restrictions.
You might think this doesn’t apply to you because your business operates online, but not true anymore.
In 2018, to reflect modern society and new technology, the ADA passed a new set of regulations specifically targeted at website ADA compliance.
This means that you need to make sure that your web property can be accessed by disabled people, some of whom may use devices to help them do so, to avoid being sued for inaccessibility.
It’s easy to think that this ruling doesn’t apply to you if your company doesn’t cater specifically towards the disabled.
When 1 in 5 Americans are disabled, however, it’s almost a guarantee that your website will be visited by a disabled person at some point, and it’s not worth waiting until you’re sued to take action.
Even celebrities are suffering the consequences of their websites not being ADA compliant.
Most recently, Beyoncé is facing a lawsuit after a visually impaired individual could not access features on her website.
It isn’t just big names that will face these lawsuits, either.
In fact, even if you’re a small or medium sized business, you can face a fine of $55,000 if your website isn’t ADA compliant, and that’s only for a first offense!
It’s true that you making your website ADA compliant costs more money initially, but as we can see, the charge for not doing so is far more costly.
Here is what you need to know about ADA compliance to make sure your business is operating as it should be.
Non-text content must have an equivalent text alternative
One of reasons for Beyoncé’s lawsuit was that her company had failed to include text-based alternatives for pictures on her website.
This meant that those with visual impairments couldn’t fully immerse themselves into the website in the same way as those without a visual impairment could.
It might not seem important to you, but not including text attributes for all your images on a website is illegal under the ADA legislation because it directly prohibits equal use and discriminates against the individual.
At the same time, this infringement is easy to rectify if this is one of the issues your website is facing.
The easiest way to fix this problem is to type a detailed description of each image on your website in the alt tags during the editing process, before you hit the publish button.
You can also have a text-only website page, CAPTCHA audio alternatives, or decorative graphics that are made invisible to assistive technology.
Audio must be controlled separately from the main computer audio for automatic audio that plays for longer than 3 seconds
If your business has implemented audio or visual media that plays automatically, users should be able to turn this off without muting their computer sound altogether.
The exception to this rule is audio that plays for less than 3 seconds, which limits you to notification sounds, like when an individual receives a message on social media.
Seizure-Causing Content Is Strictly Prohibited
People with photosensitive epilepsy, and other seizure disorders, can have seizures triggered by flashing lights, or content with lots of flashing imagery.
These seizures can be life-threatening, so to prevent people from being able to access the internet at all, the ADA has said that this content is strictly illegal.
The specifics of this legislation state that you cannot use content that flashes more than 3 times per second.
For extra security with this legislation, placing a warning on content that has the potential to trigger epilepsy sufferers may also be useful.
Your Website Must Be Completely Accessible By Keyboard
Many disabled people access the online world without using a mouse at all, relying on a keyboard to operate the websites they use.
This means that your website must be accessible through the use of a keyboard.
One of the best ways to do this is by making sure that keyword shortcuts, like the tab key, can be used to navigate between web pages.
Although this is difficult to achieve for many websites, and it is likely to cost money to implement, it’s an essential if you want your business to be completely ADA compliant.
To be ADA compliant, you need to make sure users are able to complete the following interactions from their keyboard. These include:
Click on a link or button
Select or unselect an item as a radio button or item in a drop down menu
Navigate the page
Auto complete text
Close out a dialog box
Adjust a slider UI element up or down
Scroll through the navigation/menu items/the page
Web pages should be predictable in appearance and operation
Digital is the name of the game in the world of marketing and has been for quite some time. Thanks to digital marketing techniques, even the smallest brands have been able to attract new customers, build lasting relationships, and expand their reach. This is easy enough for companies that operate on either a national or local level, but what happens when they do both?
In other words, how does a franchise marketing team adjust their digital marketing strategy to target local leads in their individual locations? In this guide, we will discuss some of the various tactics, best practices, and methodologies used in franchise marketing to achieve better local visibility and better targeting of local customers. This guide is not just for marketers. If you are a franchisee, franchisor, or handle local listing management for a franchise location, this guide is also for you. Now, let’s get started.
What is Franchise Marketing?
If you’re new to marketing for franchises, then it’s a good idea to quickly cover the essentials of what it is. Franchise marketing is a multi-tiered marketing plan whereby a company must craft marketing campaigns for franchises in specific locations, while also adhering to a broader strategy at the corporate level.
If it sounds complicated, that’s because it very well can be. When you own a franchise location, corporate will want to keep a hand in marketing to ensure consistency and quality control across the board. Local franchise owners will, however, be allowed some creativity to tailor ads to meet not just the cultural and socio-economic needs of an area, but also legal requirements.
Traditional vs Digital Marketing
From renting billboard signs to creating ads that run on game day and paying A-list celebrities to be brand ambassadors, traditional marketing is expensive. While these are still effective methods of generating leads and attracting customers, due to the high cost, they are better left to corporate. Local franchises who want to maximize their profits should focus most of their energies on digital marketing.
This helps to boost profitability by improving sales and cutting down advertising costs.
Even so, traditional marketing still serves a place as a complement to digital marketing strategies: a connection which we will discuss in greater detail later on in this guide. Here are some of the many marketing tools that are effective at the corporate and local levels.
Social media marketing
Website search engine optimization
Text message marketing
Keep in mind that not everything on this list directly boosts SEO. Some items merely boost visibility or awareness, which increases the effectiveness of SEO tactics. It is one thing to be discoverable, but even better to be recognizable when you are. Also worth noting is the fact that not all of these tools will be beneficial to your specific brand.
To decide which methods will best suit your marketing goals and business type, you must consider how the demographic you serve prefers to engage with brands of their choosing and what forms of communications resonate best with them. Once you have these figured out, you can implement the specifics detailed in the rest of this guide.
Social Media Marketing Strategies for Franchises
When it comes to digital marketing, one of the first tools that is often called upon is social media. That’s because social media is one of the best tools for increasing awareness of your business at both the corporate and franchise level if properly managed. If not properly managed, then you can create a mess of inconsistent messages intermingled with confusion over who has access to what account. Here’s the best way to organize this.
Corporate Level Social Media Marketing
There should be one social media account per platform at the corporate level, which is handled only by the professionals at corporate. Depending on your business and the demographic it serves, this could include LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. These main accounts should either forego using an exact physical location or use the address of corporate. In the case of Facebook, it is best not to use an address at all, so you can use the locations feature to pinpoint franchises in different locations.
As the fount from which the rest of social media marketing strategies will spring, it’s a good idea to create a Best Practices Social Media plan for franchisees to use. A good plan book will detail the following.
Basic social media marketing strategy guidelines
Tips on how to find local professionals to assist with marketing
Any social, religious or moral convictions that must be upheld in the branding
To what extent corporate’s social media posts and general content can be copied or duplicated
Keywords and hashtags used to boost SEO
Local Level Social Media Marketing
Before creating social media handles for a local franchise, it’s important to check with corporate to ensure this is allowed. Note that another franchise location receiving permission does not guarantee that you will. To increase your chances, have a hired social media agency at the ready to prove to corporate that you have professional assistance to steer you and your marketing campaign in the right direction. It may also be worth it to speak with other local franchises and propose shared social media accounts for the location, such as @VDigitalPHX or @VDigitalLA to complement a corporate handle of @VDigital.
Pay-Per-Click Advertising Strategies for Franchises
Most social media platforms offer some type of PPC advertising. The ones that are best for you will depend on the platforms you have identified as being best for your business.
Corporate Level Pay-Per-Click Advertising
Digital advertising on social media is a great way to get your ads in front of more eyes, while only paying for the level of engagement it attracts. Here are some of the PPC offers corporate should not miss out on.
Google: Almost every business uses Google ads. The reason for this is simple. Google owns the vast majority of the search engine market, so the searches you would most likely want to appear in belongs to Google. Why not pay for your spot?
Twitter: Twitter ads are one of the most expensive you may come across with monthly payments of $99 to use their Promote Mode option. However, if you have several hundred dollars to dedicate to this each month, it does pay off as the price helps to keep ad competition low.
Facebook & Instagram: Facebook ads are more affordable and tend to deliver more value for your money. Facebook pages are also arguably better formulated for generating business leads than Twitter.
Local Level Pay-Per-Click Advertising
When it comes to PPC advertising, local franchises are better off using Google, Facebook, and Instagram as PPC platforms. The effectiveness of these three outlets make Twitter ads an unnecessary luxury item. However, if Twitter is where most of your customers and clients hang out, and corporate okays the local use of Twitter, Twitter ads may be worth looking into.
Website SEO Strategies for Franchises
Website SEO is an integral part of marketing for businesses of all size. This is because SEO expands a company’s organic reach and continues to bring in website traffic as long as the keywords chosen remain relevant. When the effectiveness of a specific keyword changes, it’s a simple task to update content to reflect that. This helps to ensure that when someone googles relevant topics related to your business, your website will rank high in searches.
Your goal should be to land in the first three spots because most people don’t look beyond the first three results. Here are a few things you need to make sure you rank in the first three spots as often as possible.
A strong online presence to attract do-follow links from local news agencies, government bodies, and charitable organizations.
Content that is unique, engaging and provides a solution to the question asked or topic broached in the search bar.
A website that loads quickly and is optimized for mobile use.
A website that is properly coded so that search engines can easily find, crawl and index the pages.
As in all other areas of franchise SEO, corporate is expected to lead the way. If the corporate website is doing well and generating large amounts of traffic, then all others will benefit. This is true even when all local franchises are expected to build and manage their own websites, because a successful corporate website helps to spread awareness and boost credibility for the brand itself. If corporate has a formula that has been working well, it should pass on this information to the local franchises, so they can benefit from HQ’s wisdom and experience.
Local Level Website Search Engine Optimization
Not all franchise companies will allow you to build your own website. However, it doesn’t hurt to ask. And, while you’re at it, see if you can get a hold of the keywords corporate has been using. By using those same keywords on your own local website and social media pages, you will be able to piggy-back off corporate’s success. However, to boost your local ranking, you should add location tags, such as, “SEO services in Phoenix” instead of just “SEO services”. This indicates to Google that the services you provide are relevant to a specific location.
Another way to improve your local SEO ranking, particularly with Google, is to ensure your franchise is listed on Google with the following information.
Depending on your type of business, you may be able to add additional information. For example, if you own a restaurant, there is usually an available slot for a menu.
Quick Tip: Be sure to clean up local listings to prevent the SEO nightmare of duplicate entries. Duplicate entries will only cost you customers and needless embarrassment down the line. It may also not sit well with corporate, who may then seek to tighten the marketing reins.
Video Marketing Strategies for Franchises
Did you know that YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine? This shouldn’t be too surprising when you consider that Google owns YouTube. Naturally, because of this, the two combine forces in the SEO world to produce amazing results. In short, Google gives special favor to its own videos on YouTube and ranks these higher up in its search results.
However, publishing on YouTube isn’t the only way you can use video marketing to your advantage as a franchise. Here are some of the many ways video marketing is useful at both the corporate and local level of franchise SEO.
Use videos to humanize your brand and inject humor into your social media stream.
Tutorial videos are a great way to demonstrate how to use a product or service your business provides.
Videos can help you share the story of your brand and how your business grew to its current status.
If your company participates in local events or encourages workers to volunteer, use videos to showcase that involvement while giving your charitable employees a moment in the spotlight.
Videos are far more likely to go viral than a full-blown article, increasing your likelihood of exposure.
If your business features a service component, like personal training at a franchised gym, videos are a great way to create webinars or presentations to showcase your level of expertise.
Few businesses operate in a bubble. Most companies must partner with other brands to bring their businesses to life. If your business is contracted to work with a specific brand, consider exchanging product reviews. For example, a restaurant could review the brand of pasta they use for their secret in-house recipe, and the pasta company could review the restaurant that uses their pasta as a key ingredient.
Email Marketing Strategies for Franchises
Before saying anything else regarding email marketing, let us first emphasize that we are referring to opt-in email marketing. When people choose to receive your newsletters, it’s a good sign that they’ll actually open your newsletters when you send them. This helps to generate more leads and potential sales.
Corporate Level Email Marketing
While all other areas of marketing so far have primarily been aimed at reaching customers, corporate should consider using email marketing to grow the franchise business by focusing on more B2B communications. The primary groups you should try to reach are as follows.
Vendors and suppliers
Current and potential franchisees
Quick Tip: Be sure to utilize different mailing lists for each of these categories. This helps to ensure people don’t receive content that is not relevant to their interests.
Local Level Email Marketing
The great thing about email marketing is that it’s the one form of marketing so far that corporate may not try to control or curtail. This is because email marketing goes directly to individuals and is not published publicly.
Unlike corporate, local franchises should use email marketing to reach out to customers. Here are a few share-worthy ideas to send to customers and clients.
Recent accomplishments with thanks
Coupons and special offers
Involvement in local charity events
Quick Tip: If corporate won’t allow you to run your own branded website, use social media and a lead form to build your mailing list. If social media isn’t allowed either, then the next tip is for you.
Text Message Marketing Strategies for Franchises
Text message marketing is another form of opt-in direct marketing that can yield great results when done right. Because text messaging is more personal and informal, this strategy will be best used by local franchises, but there are some uses for corporate.
Corporate Level Text Message Marketing
When there are offers and promotions that are applicable across the board, sending text messages from corporate to customers is a good idea. Corporate can also utilize texts to send messages that encourage social responsibility in various forms, such as requesting donations on behalf of established charities after a natural disaster of national importance.
Local Level Text Message Marketing
As previously stated, text message marketing better serves franchises at the local levels. Local franchises can use text message marketing to grow their customer base in a number of ways. Here are just a few.
Some companies have successfully created platforms to handle customer complaints through text messaging. Serious complaints are usually escalated directly to the manager.
You could use text messages to provide coupon codes that people can redeem online or in person, whether it’s a free cup of coffee or a complimentary hour with a personal trainer at the gym.
Text messages are a great way to rally support for local charity events the company may support, such as, charity 5K runs, blood drives, and toy donations. Even when it doesn’t lead to a big turn-out, it nonetheless sends the message—literally—that you are actively involved in the betterment of the community.
Data Analytics for Franchises
Truly, there is no point in investing in marketing or PR strategies if you don’t also invest in tools to track the effectiveness of the strategies you implement, and how well they complement your business goals. Here are a few questions you need to be answered regarding all the hard work and money you spend on your marketing campaigns.
What kind of content are your followers engaging with more than others?
What marketing channel is generating most of your high-quality leads?
What is your conversation rate?
What is the click-through rate on your PPC ads across various platforms?
What demographic primarily engages with and does business with your brand, and at what locations?
What time of day, week, month and year is busiest for business?
What time of day, week, month and year is slowest for business?
What is the monthly, quarterly and annual ROI of your marketing campaigns?
If social media is a big part of your marketing plan, then you may be able to take advantage of free insights and analytical tools from companies like Google, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. However, for in-depth analysis, you will need the help of professionals.
Get Professional Assistance From Franchise Marketing Experts
These days, the DIY culture is going strong. From businesses to individuals, everyone is looking to do more with less by getting some of the work done on their own. This is commendable, but some tasks are best left to the professionals. Due to the complicated and multi-layered level of marketing for franchise businesses, this task definitely makes the list of things better left to the experts.
The good news is, you won’t need to look very far to find a marketing agency that is accustomed to working on franchise marketing campaigns at both the corporate and local level. Like you, we are a large business with offices spread out in multiple locations, from Seattle to Miami.
We combine this personal experience with our professional qualifications to bring you marketing campaigns best suited to the complex needs of your franchise business. For more information on how we can help to streamline your marketing campaign and grow your business through improved SEO, email us via our contact page, today. We look forward to hearing from you.
While the impact of Stories is variable across the different social media platforms, it’s hard to deny the rising influence of the form more generally, and the way in which its changing user behaviors, much as Facebook has long predicted.
That means that Facebook now sees around 1.25b people using the Stories options across its familyof apps daily – which is a billion more users than Snapchat, the originator of the Stories format, has in total.
As noted, the updated Stories usage count reflects the rising influence of the option – if you’ve not considered how your business can use the Stories format in your social media marketing efforts, it’s likely worth giving it some thought. As more people become increasingly attuned to the layout and style of Stories, their expectations for content is changing, – and with Facebook maintaining a steady flow of Stories updates, it is becoming the primary sharing and engagement option for many.
Facebook now clearly owns Stories – which is not overly great news for Snap, but it’s not the only trick up Snapchat’s sleeve either. I mean, Snapchat has some issues to iron out, and it is under ever-increasing pressure to come up with new tools, but the Stories battle, really, was over long ago. If anything, the broader adoption of the format may help other platforms, as users look for the same on each surface (note: even LinkedIn is trying out the Stories format).
In addition to the updated user count, Facebook also noted that it’s working on more private sharing options for its Stories tools, while Instagram specifically will soon see new commerce and shopping features.
Facebook has long held that Stories are the future of social sharing, and whether by trend or by design, that does now appear to be coming true. Again, if you haven’t considered the potential of Stories within your planning, it may be time to give them a look.
Have you wondered why so many people are creating their own Facebook Live videos and shows?
Doesn’t it seem like a lot of work and pressure, just to broadcast 30 – 60 minutes of video content?
What if I told you that a single one-hour video that you broadcast live to Facebook will generate dozens and dozens of pieces of content that you can use to fuel your content marketing efforts both on your blog and on every other major social network?
And what if I told you that the combination of two or more of these tactics could have a multiplying effect on your audience, traffic, leads and sales?
Want to learn more? I thought so.
Start at the Beginning: Facebook Live
It’s worth noting that I’ve chosen to recommend using Facebook Live, as opposed to Instagram or YouTube or Twitter live video. There’s a specific reason for that.
When you begin a live video on Facebook, Facebook will “build your audience” by notifying your Page followers and placing your video into the feed of an increasing number of people whom Facebook believes may be interested in your content. And as each new viewer tunes in and engages with your broadcast, they increase the potential for that video to be seen by others.
For example, if I react to or comment on any Facebook post, the people connected with me on Facebook may see that activity, and therefore the post itself, in their feed, even if they aren’t already following the original Page or profile that created the post.
This means that the more people you get watching and engaging with your Facebook Live video, the more will be eligible to see it. This is a virality factor that either isn’t present at all, or isn’t as effective on other platforms. Getting likes and comments on your YouTube video won’t bring you more viewers, and sharing videos within YouTube still isn’t a thing. Same with Instagram. Twitter is somewhat better, but it still lacks the concurrent usage of Facebook.
In other words, can you assume that a good portion of your audience is actually using Twitter at the same time you are?
The other brilliant reason for broadcasting via Facebook Live, which my friend and colleague Stephanie Liu teaches, involves the use of Facebook Ads. As you get more and more people to view your videos, not only are you building a captive audience for your live broadcasts, but you’re also building an audience that you can target with Facebook Ads. If you’re utilizing live video to build ‘Know, Like & Trust’ (and you should be), targeting those audiences with relevant ads and offers can be a brilliant play.
So that covers the strategy behind using Facebook Live. If you want help with the tactics behind a successful broadcast, Stephanie Liu has a tremendous resource for you. What we’ll be covering through the rest of this article is 100% tactical after your Facebook Live.
Note that for the purposes of this article, I will assume that you’re going to do a regular weekly Facebook Live video, and that you’re going to interview a guest expert each week. You may choose to broadcast less often, broadcast by yourself or with a co-host, or even have a panel of people. They’re all equally viable options.
Tactic 00: Featured & Crossposted Videos
Ah, well, there’s a couple of things I forgot to mention which technically aren’t additional pieces of content – they still leverage that original Facebook video – but, damn, these are cool.
First off, every Facebook Page has a ‘Videos’ tab where all your most recent videos are listed. Just like on YouTube, you can also organize them into playlists, so consider the kinds of videos you’re creating, and how your audience might benefit from having them organized in what way.
But there’s one other really cool feature in the ‘Videos’ tab, and that is… well, ‘Featured’. Featured Video, I mean.
At the top of your ‘Videos’ tab, you can choose to display a single video the full width of the column. Take advantage of that real estate.
Sure, you can put a video about your business there that’s super boring. Or, you could rotate in some of your most exciting live videos.
Second, you can leverage partners with other Facebook Pages and crosspost your videos to those Pages.
In addition to getting your content in front of their Page audience, you also get the benefit of aggregated metrics, and as the video owner, you can check out the combined statistics for views and engagement.
Videos can be crossposted both while live and after the broadcast – it just depends on what the other Page owner wants to do, and wants to let you do. When we broadcast one of our 360 Marketing Live videos, we automatically crosspost the live broadcast to each of our respective Facebook Pages, adding exponentially more reach and potential.
Tactic 01: YouTube
Once your Facebook Live broadcast is finished, download the video file and upload it to YouTube.
Every other week, Stephanie, Jenn Herman, Amanda Robinson and myself have a live broadcast we call 360 Marketing Live. Once it’s done, I grab the video file and log into YouTube and our 360 Marketing Squad channel. There’s an upload button in the upper right that I can click, select my video file, and begin to upload.
A 30 to 60 minute show is going to generate a rather large video file, so be patient here.
While the video is uploading, you can change the title – don’t use the default file name – as well as enter a description. Typically, the title of your Facebook Live and show description will work just fine here.
Select tags for your video that are appropriate for the content (TubeBuddy is a great help for this) and, when the video has finished uploading, select a thumbnail image – this is a single frame from the video that YouTube viewers will see before they begin watching. It’s a good idea to upload a custom graphic that has the show title on it. I always create such a graphic to pre-promote shows and use them when creating Facebook Events. The same graphic works great for the YouTube video.
You can choose to add the video to an existing playlist, and even tweet it out for some additional exposure, then click on ‘Publish’.
PRO TIP: Go into your video settings, go to ‘Transcripts’, and review the automated captions that YouTube has created for your show. You can then download the entire text of the show as a text file. You can probably guess how we’re going to use that later.
The trick with Slideshare is that your content needs to be an infographic or a presentation file, like Powerpoint.
“But wait, Mike – I thought we were talking about video.” You’re right, Barbara, we are. Here’s how it works.
Open your Google Drive account and create a new Google Slides file. If you’re going to do this regularly, I would absolutely recommend customizing a template for yourself so you can keep your presentations branded easily. (Note you can absolutely use Powerpoint or Keynote for this step if you prefer.)
Create at least two slides for your presentation – an initial title slide and a closing slide. Feel free to add more if you wish, but your video is going to exist between two distinct slides, so you don’t necessarily need more than two.
Save your presentation as a PDF file.
Sign in to SlideShare.
Click ‘Upload’ and select your new PDF presentation file.
Fill in the relevant details and publish it.
Click ‘Edit’ under the presentation you wish to add the YouTube video to.
Click the ‘Add Youtube Video’ tab at the top of the page.
Enter the URL for your YouTube video.
Select the placement of the YouTube video within your presentation.
If you wish to insert another video, click ‘+Add another video’.
Once you’ve inserted all of your videos, click ‘Insert & Publish’.
The videos will now appear in your presentation.
To select the correct URL to insert into a presentation, copy the YouTube video URL from your browser’s address bar (when you’re on the “watch” page on YouTube) and paste it into the given space.
If you have a specific call to action within the video, that last slide is a great place to reinforce that, particularly if there’s a link you wish them to follow. (Quick Tip: if you use Google Slides and save to PDF, links will still work. If you’re using PowerPoint you’ll need to edit the PDF using Adobe Acrobat.)
Additional Pieces of Content: 1
Next, pull that video file into iMovie or Camtasia or whatever you prefer to use for video editing, because you’re going to work some magic now.
Tactic 03: Podcast
Save the audio as a separate MP3 file, which you can then use that to power a podcast. You can start a Libsyn hosting account for as little $5/month, and start uploading your audio files there. For most Facebook Live broadcasts, the audio will require minimal editing. It’s great to have an “intro” and an “outro” for your podcast – standard bits of audio that you’d splice onto the recording that add branding and standard information to every one of your podcasts. You can also choose to edit out any technical issues, or unnecessary conversation that might have occurred. And then you’re done.
You can actually launch a podcast and make it available on iTunes, Stitcher and Google Play with as few as one single episode, however I’d recommend that you have at least four episodes in the can that you can release weekly, or even drop all at once, ensuring constant activity. Podcasts, like Facebook Live broadcasts, benefit greatly from a regular schedule that your growing audience can rely on.
When you set up your Libsyn account,you simply create a feed for your podcast, including the title and description of the show (the entire show, not just one episode), and then set that feed up to distribute new episodes as soon as you upload them.
This tactic actually results in three pieces of content, thanks to the use of multiple distribution networks.
Additional Pieces of Content: 3
Tactic 04: Audiograms
Are you familiar with audiograms? You might have seen them on LinkedIn, where they seem to be extremely popular right now – they’re essentially videos, but instead of using actual video footage, there’s usually a static graphic with an audio wave line moving in accordance with an audio clip of someone speaking.
Here’s an example, a clip from an interview with Mark Schaefer:
In this typical audiogram, we have a relatively audio short clip, plus whatever information we want to include on the graphic. People enjoy listening to the recording, and you can provide them with a link to the Facebook Live or blog post, or wherever you’re looking to drive traffic. And these audiograms can be uploaded to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and even Pinterest.
The beauty of audiograms is that they’re incredibly easy to make. You can create audiograms for free using Headliner.app.
Upload your audio file (up to ten minutes of audio – I prefer to edit out the clip I want to use before uploading)
Select the audio you wish to use
Choose your aspect ratio and select a background image (which I just make using Canva)
Customize with different wave appearances, automatic captions, and more
While most audiograms are made square, you can choose landscape or portrait for use in, say, Instagram Stories. In fact, once you finish your audiogram and download it, you can easily convert it into another version, and size to easily repurpose the same audiogram elsewhere.
With Headliner, you can pull out one or more clips from your Facebook Live and share them out as quick segments. These might be quotes, answers to questions, or even funny moments from your show. The possibilities are endless.
Let’s assume that you find one great answer from your guest and create a one minute clip and audiogram. You can upload a square version to Instagram, landscape versions to Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, and portrait versions to Facebook Stories (personal, Pages and even Groups) and Instagram Stories (if you splice the Instagram Story video using app like Clip).
Additional Pieces of Content: 8+
Tactic 05: Twitter Videos
If you can upload an audiogram video file to Twitter, you can certainly upload regular video.
In fact, Twitter supports up to 2 minutes and 20 seconds of video content – that’s a golden opportunity to find a great soundbite, intro your interview, or share a funny segment.
Again, your video editing software is your friend here, as it will make it super easy to find the clip you want to share and edit it out.
But, before you create that 2:20 clip, consider some of the other networks you might want to share that to, as they all have different requirements.
Additional Pieces of Content: 1+
Tactic 06: Facebook Feed Videos
We started with a Facebook Live Video – so why am I about to suggest sharing segmented versions of that same broadcast back to video?
First, not everyone tuned into your live broadcast, no matter how popular it was, so sharing it or segments of it again just makes good sense.
And it’s possible that you might want to leverage your personal profile, Facebook Groups you’re a member of, or even other Pages you control, to share some key takeaways from that Live broadcast. One masterful technique I’ve seen utilized is to schedule a Watch Party for a Facebook Live after it’s aired, within a Group, giving your audience another opportunity to watch and engage with your content.
Plus, there’s a big difference in commitment between watching your one hour broadcast and watching a 60 second clip. Your audience might really appreciate being able to ’snack’ on part of the video before deciding to watch the whole thing.
So while you can technically upload up to an hour and twenty minutes of video, you don’t need or want to here. Just consider sharing whatever video segments you create, and you can even spread them out over time. Agorapulse, for example, will help you to schedule video content to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Additional Pieces of Content: 1+
Tactic 07: LinkedIn Feed Videos
The same video segment(s) that you created for Twitter or Facebook will work great for LinkedIn, and you can upload up to ten minutes of video to the professional social network, so length won’t usually be an issue.
PRO TIP: Remember how I mentioned earlier that you can download the captions for your videos from YouTube? Headliner automatically does the same thing for your audiograms, but what about these shorter clips? Headliner can help with those too – just choose “Video Transcript” instead of “Audiogram Wizard” for your new project.
Additional Pieces of Content: 1+
Tactic 08: Instagram Feed Videos
So far you’ve created one or more video clips that can be shared to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Since the video was originally recorded in 16:9 ratio (landscape), those segmented versions will work fine on those networks. Now, however, you do need to create a different version of that same clip.
Instagram’s feed is all about the square. Within your video editing software, simply look for the option to change the aspect ratio of the video(s) you created. This will likely give you a selector you can use to make sure the visible area of the video makes sense.
Note that in addition to being limited to 1:1 aspect ratio, Instagram feed videos can be 60 seconds maximum. Be careful to stick to that within your editor, as Instagram will simply cut your video at 60 seconds, whether it’s finished or not.
Additional Pieces of Content: 1+
Tactic 09: Instagram Story Videos
Creating video segments for Instagram Stories is a bit more challenging since it’s a 9:16 aspect ratio or ‘portrait’ style (no, you can’t just rotate your video 90 degrees). One option is to use the square version and it will simply appear centered on the screen with colored space above and below. Or, if the original recorded video allows creatively, you can try cropping it to 9:16. This generally only works if there’s a single person speaking who can still be framed within that box.
Either way, this is another great place to share quick segments, up to 15 seconds. If you use the Clip app (or similar) that I mentioned earlier, you can splice your longer video into 15-second segments, then simply upload them in order. Instagram followers will be able to watch them in succession easily.
Additional Pieces of Content: 1+
Tactic 10: Pinterest Video Pins
Did you know that Pinterest supports native video uploads? Up to fifteen minutes of video, in fact – so while it’s not enough for entire shows, it’s definitely long enough for a fun segment.
You can upload any of the versions you’ve created so far, particularly if you managed to create a tall portrait or square version of the video.
Additional Pieces of Content: 1+
Tactic 11: Quote Graphics for Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest
It never fails. When I have a great guest on a show, I’ll ask questions and they’ll start sharing the knowledge that’s in their head, and end up saying extraordinary things. Sometimes those things might be just a sentence or two, yet they’re simply brilliant.
Those statements can make for great quote graphics.
As you’re editing and re-listening to your interview, watch out for those one-liners and make note of them. Then you can open Canva and make one or more quote graphics. You can have these templated in advance, so that all you have to do is enter the text of the quote and the interviewee’s name.
I recommend landscape graphics for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, square graphics for Instagram, portrait graphics for Pinterest (and Stories).
Additional Pieces of Content: 5+
Tactic 12: Blog Post w/ transcript & notes
So far you’ve already created a tremendous amount of content out of that one video, but you’re about to pull it all together. The blog post is the one piece of content that will live on your website – your property – so it’s remarkably important and worth taking your time on. But fortunately, it won’t take you too long at all.
There are a number of ways you can go with the blog post version of your Facebook Live in terms of what content is actually included:
Easy Option – Use the title of your show, embed the Facebook Live video, and copy & paste the transcript from YouTube. Whip up some graphics in Canva and you’ll be all set in a matter of minutes. And there’s nothing wrong with this approach. But if you want your content to perform better long-term, you could spend a few more minutes and try the…
Moderate Option: In addition to everything outlined in the Easy Option, consider adding a summary at the beginning that’s based on your initial show description. Explain what the show was about, who was on it, and what you covered, letting your audience know up front what they’re going to learn and why it’s worth their time. This will encourage more people to keep reading, and/or watch the embedded video interview. Or you might choose the…
Advanced Option: This choice requires more time and effort on your part, but it will absolutely pay off. Instead of just a quick summary at the beginning, you’ll walk through all of the major discussion points from the show and draw them out, pull quotes, and share conclusions. You’ll create a piece of content that could easily be read on its own, without the video or transcript, and be just as easily understood.
Note here that no matter which approach you take, you’ll embed the Facebook Live video, not YouTube or any other. This is because as readers find your blog post, some will choose to watch the video. Each new viewer may choose to Like or Comment on the Facebook post, which they can do right from your blog post. Remember how we outlined earlier the benefits of getting engagement on your Facebook posts? Well that’s true, no matter how old the posts are or where they’re embedded.
Getting readers to engage with your embedded Facebook Live videos will push those videos back Into the News Feed.
Again, this goes back to the benefit of using Facebook over other platforms – it’s simply better for growing an audience. And as Facebook Watch develops, there’s even greater potential in the future.
Always include at least one image with your blog posts, as well as links to any individuals or resources mentioned in the post. If you’re leveraging the podcast channels, you can also embed the Libsyn player, and encourage readers to subscribe to your podcast if they like the audio version.
Additional Pieces of Content: 1+
In addition to the Facebook Live Video itself, and any crossposting you might have done, following these steps will give you at least 25 additional pieces of content.
The YouTube video, podcast and blog post can be edited and published relatively soon after the broadcast, while the additional content and social posts can be spread out over time – months. You can choose to let the social posts stand on their own, link to the Facebook recorded video, or link to the blog post. I tend to prefer to have all roads to lead to Rome the blog post, but that can vary depending on your specific goals and CTAs.
Finally, Twitter has added an edit option – just not the one that people are always calling for.
This week, Twitter has rolled out a new update which enables users to edit the images they upload on desktop, including easy re-sizing and cropping tools, and the ability to zoom in on the image.
Twitter Image Zoom
The options mirror what you can already do via the mobile app, though they do add improved capacity to desktop posting, which may come in particularly handy for social media managers. The tools can be accessed by clicking on the paintbrush icon at the bottom right of the uploaded image.
The update comes on the back of Twitter’s recent initial roll-out of its new desktop layout, which, when fully implemented, will enable Twitter to release more improvements, faster, while adding significant back-end functional improvements.
In addition to image editing on desktop, Twitter has also updated its Events pages, with extra social context (a listing of how many users are engaging with an event in real-time) and a new option to view the main video from an Events page in a smaller, pop-out version as you scroll.
What are Twitter Events pages you may ask? They’re not like Facebook’s events – Twitter’s Event pages, launched back in September, highlight in-progress events, including popular TV show airings, with a dedicated, curated feed of related tweets, and accompanying video where applicable.
Twitter TV Show Context
Relevant events, based on your tweet activity, will be highlighted at the top of your main feed as they happen, or you can find them via Explore. Also, when you tweet from an Event page, your tweet will be pre-populated with the hashtag for that specific discussion to help you take part.
The new updates (shared by user Renz Bernardo) are relatively minor in the broader scheme, but they once again underline the platform’s ongoing efforts to improve and streamline the Twitter process, particularly as it relates to participating in trending conversations. Twitter wants to make it as easy as possible for everyone to chime in, especially new users unfamiliar with the tweet process – and as such, it continues to explore easier ways to encourage more active engagement.
The image editing function, in particular, is worth noting in your process.
Google told us the Fetch as Google tool is going away and being replaced by the URL Inspection Tool. But some SEOs, well, seems like the majority of SEOs, want Google to port over the Fetch as Google tool as well. A Twitter poll with 88 results shows about 75% want both the Fetch as Google and URL Inspection tool.
#SEO do you think the URL Inspection tool is a fitting replacement for the Fetch and Render tool in old GSC? Or would you want both the tool and the Fetch Google Report? Which do you need?
I think the poll was worded in a way that lead to the results to be higher here. Who here wants more versus less?
But personally, I’d be fine with just the URL Inspection tool. I think it covers most, if not all, of what I’d personally use with the Fetch as Google tool. If you disagree, maybe Google will read the comments here but if not, use the feedback link in the new Google Search Console side bar to let them know you really want it.