Social

Social Media Resources: Our Top 10

Do you want to improve your business’ social media presence without having to use expensive tools? We get it. That’s why we’ve created this post on our ‘Top Ten Free Social Media Resources’. Happy posting!

Scheduling

  • Firstly, TweetDeck (and other in-website tools) are a brilliant platform for any business whose sole platform is Twitter. You won’t need to spend money on websites like Hootsuite for scheduling content across multiple channels. You have everything you need for your main social channel. With TweetDeck, you can schedule tweets and check your reach and engagements alongside Twitter Analytics, which are linked within TweetDeck.
  • Secondly, ColorStory is an app which you can use to edit your Instagram photos and schedule content. It’s very easy to use and, as it’s an app, can be done on the go, allowing you to make the most of those little pockets of time in your day.

News and social listening

  • Social Media Examiner is a good website if you’re not sure where to start with social media. They have free reports on how social channels are being used, articles on how to get the best out of social media for your business and a podcast for learning on the go.
  • Google alerts are an easy way of keeping up to date with news in your industry. You can set an alert for a key word or phrase and get notified when content appears on Google with this phrase in it.

Photos

  • With Canva you can add text over photos, which is great for posting a testimonial or inspirational quote. You can adjust the size of your image to fit a Twitter header or a Facebook post with an image attached. You can also create a flyer, blog banner, or a presentation.
  • Pixabay have copyright free pictures that you can use in your marketing and social media.

Blog and email marketing

  • MailChimp can be used to gather your email subscribers and market to them with flyers and newsletters. MailChimp makes mail merge a lot easier because you can create lists of contacts and personalise them to the receiver. However, be careful about GDPR and always get permission before you use someone’s email address.
  • WordPress is a blogging platform and a great website builder that is easy to use. Blogging is a good way of keeping your current and potential clients up to date with any news and updates without bombarding them with emails and content. Additionally, your blog can be shared across your other platforms, either in your ‘bio’ or in a post. Also, updating content on your website is key for SEO.

Videos

  • iMovie- If you have an iPhone, then this one is for you. You can combine photos and videos to create unique content for your channels, which is great if you have a video shy team! Photos can be put together in a slide show and are categorised as a video, which the Facebook algorithms value more than pictures.
  • Splice is an app that adds music to videos, which is a fun way to make your Instagram posts more engaging. You could even combine your iMovie photo slideshow with music from Splice.
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Guest Blog: That Pedal Show – a YouTube success story

Since my social media career began I’ve always been hungry to seek out (and be involved with!) amazing examples of social media being used above and beyond simply tools for content distribution – i.e. more than just tweeting links to latest press releases or a place you can pump out messages about why you’re greater than competitors. Social media has the potential to be and gives us the opportunity to be, so much more than that and you truly reap the benefits when it is, which is why creativity is always at the top of my advice giving and speech making! When you push the boundaries, look at how your communities use social and ask how you can use these channels to provide value – amazing things happen. The purpose of my guest blogs have always been to showcase this, with a particular objective (for now) to showcase businesses and organisations based here in Wiltshire, so it’s with great pleasure and excitement that this month Daniel Steinhardt of The Gig Rig and That Pedal Show wrote a piece for me about the phenomenal success of his YouTube channel…Enjoy.

 

Hi, my name is Daniel Steinhardt, in my professional life I’m a guitarist, small business owner, and dare I say it, entrepreneur. To be honest I don’t attach any real meaning to that word other than I’m a terrible employee so I had to find a different way of making money.

As I write this I’m watching our YouTube subscriber’s numbers, and any minute now we’re going to hit 50,000.

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I’ve always been fascinated by the guitar, the physicality of it, the way it takes not one but two hands to create a note. Since the age of 5 I have been totally engrossed in the instrument, indeed far more than appropriate for my modicum of talent. The sound totally connected with me, and when I discovered that you could plug this thing into an amplifier and turn it up loud, well, that was pretty much the end of any other possible career for me.

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One aspect of the sound of the electric guitar that I loved was the effect pedal. A little box that you can plug between your guitar and amp, and when you step on it, it creates a totally different sound. Distortion, compression, delay, reverb, chorus, phasing, flanging, the list goes on and on. And when you combine these pedals you can find some truly amazing and inspirational sounds. The issue at the time was if you wanted to create combinations you looked more like a professional tap dancer than a guitarist, so I came up with a solution that allowed guitar players to plug in all their effect pedals and pre-program combinations of these things. I found a business partner with complimentary skills and a company was born called ‘TheGigRig’, however, the challenge was, as this was a new concept, we needed to educate the market first, before we could really sell in any significant numbers. So we started a YouTube channel, posting instructional and product demo videos.

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YouTube was great but we didn’t see any real significant numbers for a long time. The videos we’re fine, I spent ages trying to make them the best I could, but I really didn’t have any idea what I was doing. I just knew that seeing as our product was so niche, and only available direct online, not through retailers, a video presentation was the best chance my customers were to have to experience the unit without actually being in front of one. We carried on with meagre results for years, then we had our first incredible YouTube experience. I was asked to build a pedalboard for Ed O’Brien from Radiohead. I filmed the process and graciously Ed agreed that we could film him when he came to pick up the board. I really had no idea that people would like it but to date that particular video has had over 400,000 views. It was amazing, it gave the business a real boost, and I really thought ‘this is it, we’re on our way’. I thought surely all our new videos would get fantastic numbers. Improved, yes, but a long way from fantastic. I even did another video with Ed but it had barely a quarter views of the first. The head scratching continued.

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2 years ago I was at a trade show in L.A. with a very good friend of mine who happens to be an amazing content creator. I was after some tips on how we could improve our channel but our conversation very quickly shifted to talking about gear and effect pedals, what was new, what was great, what we loved, and what was questionable. It something we’re both really passionate about. Then we had the moment that we will always be able to look back at and attribute our success to. Mick says to me, “This is what we should be filming, this, our conversation!”. We had no great ambition with it, we just thought we could literally film our conversation, show examples, and the most important decision we made right from the start, we wouldn’t be sales men, we wouldn’t take any money off anyone to demo products, we would only show what we wanted to show. There are other very successful YouTube channels that get paid to demo products, and they’re great but we wanted to do something different, the opinions on the show would be our own, not paid for. We would need to find a different way to generate revenue but we would work out the details later. We made a start and filmed the first episode of That Pedal Show.

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After 10 months on TheGigRig channel we knew that That Pedal Show needed its own home. It took just 9 months from our first show on our new channel to hit, literally right now, 50k subscribers. With over 2.5 million views, That Pedal Show is now its own brand, and even though I’ve never sold any of the gear that my company makes on the show, it’s of course on there every week, and it’s had a very direct effect on our sales.

 I realize now why the initial Ed video was so popular, it was his honest enthusiastic reaction to the pedalboard I made him. That Pedal Show is a success precisely for the reason that we’re not selling anything, we’re just speaking about things that we’re genuinely passionate about. It’s the genuine passion that comes across and connects with people.

We were invited to meet someone from YouTube who pointed out to us that our average watch time per video is over 12 and a half minutes, while the average view time on YouTube is less than a minute. So my only advice is engage with your audience over something you are genuinely passionate about, that’s where you’ll truly make a connection with people who care about the same things you do.

*If you know any businesses or organisations in Wiltshire using social media creatively I’d love to hear about them! Please get in touch

Monthly Facebook Live streams.

New Monthly Feature!

Starting in May, I will be going to my Facebook page to live stream monthly. I will give a round-up of the main changes, updates or topics in social media that have happened that month. The majority of this will be relevant to businesses and organisations who use social for PR / marketing / customer service. However, I’m also going to be touching upon anything I think is valid and useful to my viewers in a personal capacity too. This is because I’m passionate about helping everyone understand social and be safe online. (This month I mentioned the LinkedIn data breach and a WhatsApp virus doing the rounds)

Each stream will be 15 – 20 minutes long and will also include a top tip, trick or hack. This will vary each month, from beginner to advanced and will be specific to one channel.

As this develops I’d love to take questions from my viewers too and answer them on air. So, either submit them to me ahead of the broadcast (via comment or message) or send them through during.

You can get notified each time I stream live by turning on notifications to my Facebook page. Just click the drop down arrow next to ‘liked’ and the bottom option is ‘notifications’. Click ‘on’!

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Why Facebook Live?

To grow a business you need to become more established and to do that you need to make a name for yourself. Show your potential customers that you know your stuff! This can be done in many ways. For me, I’d had an idea in my head for a while about wanting to give value to my followers by giving (free) info about how to use social well for communicating/PR/marketing. However, I really didn’t want to do it in the form of a newsletter. So many companies send newsletters with listicles and links and by it’s very nature there’s plenty of information you can find online but it’s surely hard as a consumer to find the time to read and cut through all of that. Not only this, but as a business, it feels like a lengthy process. (By the way, I’m not dismissing email marketing by any stretch, but for me, my email strategy will be focused on something else.)

I was definitely one of the first lucky folk to get access to (or at least to have noticed!) Facebook live on my personal profile a number of months ago. I was instantly obsessed about the prospect and super excited to be using it…but while I was loving it in a personal capacity I still hadn’t had a go on my business page, and I’ve now put that down to a few things:

1. Tools.

I didn’t have the equipment or an extra person to help me live stream the things I was thinking of streaming. (I later told myself / decided that I didn’t need an extra person!

2. Time flies.

As quick as I had a thought about what I could stream, 10 days would have gone by without me doing anything with it. In hindsight I’m glad because it avoided a scatter gun approach to doing ‘whatever’ and brought me to a place where I have clarity about what I’ll be using it for and when.

3. Self doubt / fear or being judged.

Ok, I don’t doubt my ability or knowledge and I absolutely knew 100% (and more!) that live streaming would work and would have huge results, but, and I guess it goes back to the time thing, the more I thought about doing it, the more I questioned its value or success. And so it went back to a case of missed opportunities. It really surprised me that I was feeling like this, but I guess it’s human nature.

It finally came to  me though. A light bulb moment. And I sat on it for a few weeks until I told one person – someone I admire a lot – and when her response immediately was ‘yes!do it!’ I knew it was time to just get on with it.

How did it go?

Really well! It wasn’t perfect, but I really don’t mind that. I didn’t want it to be perfect and my advice to anyone looking to utilise live video is – do not strive for perfection. As time went on and more viewers showed up and reactions started to pop through, my nervous ‘wine allergy’ looking rash started to show, which was it was a sign I was starting to over think things!! But hey, it was my first time. In 12 months time that’s not going to be happening anymore…either that or I’ll be wearing high neck tops and shirts!!

I could definitely do with slowing down on the next one. Also, because I decided on the Wednesday my first round up would be the Friday of the same week, there’s a couple of things I missed. But, as I said, it can’t be perfect and I can’t touch upon it all. That would be impossible, boring and silly of me to try!

One thing I didn’t mention though was the ability to now broadcast live to your Facebook page via professional recording equipment. Hands up – I’d have to pass the code to a tech friend to implement but it is certainly possible to do and is a new feature under ‘videos’ in your publishing tools. Why is that important to mention? Because it’s moving live streaming away from relying on a mobile phone and a tripod, to giving the ability to stream business events and council meetings (hint hint!) via the professional video equipment your team / event management company will all ready be using!

There’s a few other lessons I’ve jotted down from the experience of doing it live and from watching the replay, but I won’t go on! I did want to mention though that I’m going to have a play with the times of day I stream and where I do it…just so I can get a good feel of what works best, so do stay tuned and Give me a shout if you want to understand in more detail the opportunities for you to use live video on Facebook yourself.

Nat x

Reminiscing about social…

When I started my career in social media management, working for a local authority, it was so very eye opening. It was exciting and it was captivating.

I dedicated a lot of time, day in, day out to get up to speed with the landscape in local government digital comms at that moment because I knew it was going to be worth it, and it was. I met some inspiring people, and saw some amazing case studies of councils pushing the boundaries on social to build meaningful relationships that put their communities first. I’d like to think I brought a sense of excitement to my team about the fact that ‘there’s so much more we can do then just post to Facebook and Twitter’ and I still think like that today.

Romanticism for social media aside, as the months went by and the use of social was growing, I was becoming more aware of promoted content and algorithms. It was proving complicated for users and boring for consumers.

After leaving the council and setting up my own business I’ve sadly become even more aware of the reliance and promise of PPC campaigns, promoted content and automation which puts me in the centre of a tough battle to sell…how do I sell my passion, creativity and understanding of what makes social media successful when agencies and companies are selling automation, scheduling and marketing tactics. Of course I could do all that, and tell people that, but isn’t it better to re-educate and remind people to put the social back in to social media? Perhaps public sector have more freedoms because they aren’t selling anything and their teams are still larger than the small businesses around the corner…so they’re open to hearing it. But they still have it tough, constant cutbacks, scrutiny and disgruntled tax payers…if you’re a business worried about bad feedback online,  you haven’t seen anything! Then again, perhaps they’re just better networked with experts, or maybe I share their values and so it resonates more. Food for thought as I find my way…

I’ve been told recently by a business advisor that ‘everyone does social media these days.’ But, do they? Are they doing it well? Are they teaching others how to do social media in a way that puts customers and communities first? I’m sure he was likely trying to suggest I find a niche, and that’s cool, but I couldn’t help walk way a little sad..that the market may well now be full of people promising quick wins and fancy tactics. Not customer focus and creativity.

I don’t like to call myself a social media marketer…I don’t particularly like the word ‘marketing’ (sorry!) but I do understand the utter importance and opportunity using social media channels offers for any business or organisation. Social media, done well, is about being  a person. One that communicates and adds value through entertaining, inspiring or educating their customer/citizen/client in the space those people  like to hangout in.

Before social media became (in my opinion) saturated with advertisements and brands, it was about connecting with others, in the moment. When something was happening in the there and then, the likelihood was that you shared it online. Those that followed you gained a sense of what you were doing as you were doing it. Scale that globally and it really is special….that you can talk to and hear from family or friends, thought leaders or your favourite celebrity, even your favourite artist at the touch of a button, gaining first hand exposure to what they’e doing in the moment, no matter where they were, is/was exciting. It brings people together.

Then the marketing came along, and the targeted marketing. Content was changing, tone was changing and authentic behaviours were disappearing.

Welcome the arrival of Snapchat. And Periscope. And more recently, Facebook Live. I’m excited again! I LOVE these channels and I know it’s already been blogged about but the fact that these are blowing up right now? Not only do they acknowledge user behaviour – mobile usage, rise of video etc but (for the moment) they’re authentic again. And that’s likely one of many reasons the younger generation are there.

It’s genuine, in the moment, and it’s real. You can’t schedule a snap, a scope or a Facebook live. There’s no script or backdrop, there’s no huge budget or at least there doesn’t need to be.

I’ve used Snapchat for a couple of years now and it feels really raw when you first get on board, like there aren’t many buttons or features and it reminds me of the early FB days when there was no ‘like’ button.

That can feel weird to some but it’s also amazingly clever – how it commands your attention. It’s full screen resolution puts me in front of that content and that content only. With ZERO advertisements (well, there’s some, but that’s for another day. It’s not a bad thing..it’s very cleverly done.)

Yep, Facebook rewards you for putting video up – you’ll get better organic reach for it. Yep the shear volume of content on YouTube and the way we consume information online is absolutely a compelling reason why we should be creating video and yes there are marketing strategies and statistics behind it all that can benefit and drive your social media efforts and help you “gain leads”.

But what underlines it all is a genuine reminder that if recognised, will excel your  strategy strategy: the ‘social’ in social media. The human element. The desire to connect with people and not simply sell or broadcast.