So how can you build your brand in an innovative way that generates meaningful consumer interest and industry buzz? From infographics and Q&A opportunities to live streaming and novel advertising solutions, there are several lesser-known ways you can expand the reach of your brand.
Below, 12 entrepreneurs from YEC discuss some of the more non-traditional media channels any business can use to strengthen their brand and appeal to a larger audience.
Quora is an amazing question-and-answer site where you can provide advice to entrepreneurs (and the rest of the world, too). Find questions that you have unique insight on and write detailed answers. If your responses are well-received, they’ll be “voted up” and your brand will earn a lot of attention.
There is so much information thrown at us each day and there’s only so much text we can read and retain — enter the infographic. An infographic is eye-catching, interesting and useful. Once you create it, you can add it to your blog articles, post it on social media, and contact journalists and bloggers within your industry who may find it interesting for some free promotion.
3. Dynamic Signs
Utilizing a truly unique approach when creating a sign or an ad has a strong influence on the top-of-mind effect of the ad. There are many great examples of ads that have gone above and beyond when it comes to outdoor signs. Integrate them with the landscape of the local city and the environment.
Whisper is a dark social media site that is now using advertising and allows businesses to have accounts. It certainly gets to an audience that is no longer using traditional social media sites and gives you an interesting way to build your brand with somewhat anonymous posts. Your brand could be included in the graphic element while the text on top of it provides a benefit.
I have obtained nearly one million views using SlideShare. It integrates through LinkedIn and gives you the ability to share your professional ideas with an intimate audience of followers. Followers can comment and expand on your ideas and the editing is free. If you remove your attachment to the idea and view the SlideShare as free editing by your audience, you are able to amplify exposure.
6. Live Broadcasting
Lately, I have been testing out live broadcasting like Facebook Live, YouTube Live, and even Instagram Live. These are such powerful tools for building your brand that not enough people are using. You can’t get any more authentic than a raw, unedited, live video broadcast. Show viewers what your brand is really about and stand out from the crowd through these new features on social media.
Go on podcasts, especially podcasts in your industry. Podcasters are constantly on the hunt for compelling guests, and everyone likes an underdog. So if you’ve got a great story to tell, you can do so via podcasts. You’ll be surprised how many influencers listen to podcasts and you’ll be able to cite them as proof of why you’re a thought leader.
8. Toll-Free Phone Number
Too many of us are obsessed with how our brands look visually, be it on our websites or on social media. But when was the last time you considered the impact you could have by getting a toll-free phone number for your business. It’s cheap and you only pay when people call you. The subtle message to your customers is that you want to speak with them — and you’ll even pay for the call.
Medium is a great place to deliver the content you want to get out to a large audience that is now using the platform to get information on a wide range of topics. It’s a place to build your thought leadership position.
– Angela Ruth, Calendar
10. Local Media
So many entrepreneurs focus on the big picture and sometimes forgot about the opportunities right in their backyard. If you are an entrepreneur from a smaller city, like myself (Pittsburgh), reach out to local media outlets and become a hometown hero. You can build a ton of credibility by being the go-to in your industry in your local area.
11. Cheddar TV
Cheddar TV is a live streaming online media platform. It covers finances, entrepreneurship, business and other topics. Its content is also syndicated to other major news channels and can help with getting one’s foot in the door to more traditional TV appearances.
12. Industry-Specific News Outlets
We saw the amount of traffic coming to our blog skyrocket when Ruby Weekly picked up one of the blog posts that our senior developer published. Since then we’ve started submitting blog posts to highly targeted technology newsletters that cover related subjects. DevOps, AWS, etc. — they all have their audience. It positioned our brand as a thought leader in technology.
How to Build a Successful Brand through Content and Social Media
If you want to build a successful personal brand or even one for your business, it’s all about the content you provide and how you engage with your audience. It’s way too easy to throw up a website or blog and think you are going to make a difference with your content and message. This in itself won’t be as effective as you think. There are currently more than a billion active websites and blogs on the internet today — and that’s a lot of content you need to compete with! In addition to creating your own content and platform, you also need to get active on the various media outlets, engagement groups and Q&A sites mentioned above. There are billions of users spread across them and they are just waiting to hear what you have to say!
How to Manage an Emerging PR Crisis — Before It Spirals Out of Control
Many business leaders would say that handling a PR crisis is an eventuality. But in today’s always-on world of social media and brand communications, what is already a crisis can get out of hand very easily.
The solution may be to leverage social media to get out messages that take control of the situation and give brands a fighting chance to recover quickly. For example, after the incident in which two black men were arrested in a Philadelphia Starbucks, CEO Kevin Johnson apologized in a video shared across the brand’s online platforms.
For more ideas on swiftly getting in front of a crisis, we asked members of Young Entrepreneur Council to share tips on how to handle a PR crisis on social media.
1. Share a CTA
Inevitably, all corporations and businesses will have issues arise. Social media has given us a great platform to address these issues head on directly to our clients and customers. What lacks from many public apologies is a call to action. At the end of your video, you should offer some sort of call to action, such as a discount or coupon. Chipotle did this very well in 2017
2. Get Ahead of the Story
The first thing a brand can do to leverage social media is to immediately roll out an official statement regarding its position on the matter. Waiting more than a few hours can allow the media and the social universe to create and carry the narrative. After broadcasting their position, brands should be the first in line to create a public forum for ideas and discussion on addressing these issues.
3. Watch for Warning Signs
One of the keys to effective crisis management on social media is to be highly vigilant when it comes to complaints and controversy before it escalates. Social media can be very effective for getting your brand’s message out there quickly. It’s also likely the first place you will know of potential issues. Consider a media monitoring tool with alerts.
4. Be Authentic
Although it’s not something any brand wants to happen, the reality is that mistakes are made. At the end of the day, people want to see authenticity. They want to know that there are real, genuine people behind the brands and that they’re willing to take ownership of these mistakes. The key is to react quickly and take responsibility for the mistake.
5. Be Prepared
Social media is a wild environment and when an incident goes viral at scale, it can be almost impossible to control public opinion. Focus on addressing the issue in the best possible way and hope you’ll be judged as fair by the populace.
6. Stream Live on Facebook
Streaming live on Facebook offers a level of authenticity where the message cannot be edited or manipulated in any way. It also offers you the advantage of controlling the narrative of a PR crisis. It’s like tweeting with video.
7. Be Proactive
Every company needs a proactive approach to leveraging social media for crisis management. Proactive measures begin with smarter hiring decisions, continue through training for all levels of staff on professional social media usage and inform what it means to be a front-lines ambassador for the brand. Reactions to negative PR always lack authenticity. Showing staff that your company thinks proactively minimizes risk.
8. Handle Issues with Immediacy
Social media creates a rise in the sense of urgency, allowing you to streamline past the agenda of traditional media outlets. Live streams can be utilized for press conferences that have high urgency and need further reach.
9. Hold an Ask-Me-Anything Session
While live streaming may be an effective way to transparently connect to the public during a crisis, it isn’t always the best way to get on top of a developing crisis. Instead, aim for a form of communication that still allows for some control. An AMA (ask me anything) through Reddit is an excellent compromise between control and intimacy that can be helpful for navigating PR crises.
10. Own the Mistake
Fighting it on social media tends to add more fuel to the fire, unless you’re completely in the right. But in most cases, just owning up to something results in little downside and potentially averts a major PR disaster. There are countless examples of companies handling it the wrong way and sparking even larger outrage.
11. Hold Yourself Accountable
The public has less and less tolerance for anyone, whether they’re politicians or CEOs, trying to avoid responsibility. So the number one thing is to admit when you’ve made a mistake and apologize in a way that’s sincere. Then do what you can to make things right. It’s even better to create a positive and cohesive company culture so you avoid having problems like this in the first place.
Protecting Your Brand when a PR Disaster Strikes!
No one ever wants to deal with a media or PR disaster, but when they happen… they happen. The difference between those who can make it through these disasters are those who are prepared and are already well ranked in the search results. Follow these tips to make sure your brand and business is well protected online.
12 Tips to Reach Millennials on Social Media in 2018
Two of the most talked about things on the internet these days are social media and millennials. Consumers expect you to reach them on the platforms they use every day, and this is especially true for the millennial demographic. Many brands want to know how to leverage social media platforms to reach this audience.
But with so much misinformation out there about what millennials want, it can be tough to decide what to try as you take a hard look at your marketing plan. One of the most obvious things we can confirm is that visual content is now more effective than ever before, as mobile usage continues to rise. This is also why we are seeing more millennials leave social platforms like Facebook, while focusing more on Instagram.
We asked members of Young Entrepreneur Council to share their top tips for reaching the millennial demographic on social media. Here’s what they had to say:
1. Keep It Real
Millennials don’t like companies telling them what to do or feeling like they are getting the hard sell. Instead of offering ads and promotions, reach these consumers by portraying genuine, appealing ways of life. Also, they care about what their friends and others in the digital space are saying about a product. When you want to market to them, you need to speak their language. If your business can partner with a digital influencer, you are more likely to build their trust and earn their business.
2. Stop Trying So Hard
The most important lesson I’ve learned about engaging millennials, by hiring them, working alongside them and listening to them, is that they can smell a rat right away. They value your warts more than your shiny new widget because those are authentic. Whatever you want them to see, buy or try is last on their list. They want to know that you’re not fake, you’re consistent and you’re not all about greed.
– Robert J Choi, RJC & Company Transformation Engineers
3. Know Your Audience
It’s not enough to know that millennials like Snapchat and Instagram. “Millennial” is a broad category covering millions of people with different opinions, preferences and behavioral patterns. Rather than making sweeping assumptions, do your homework. Invest in a solid market and persona analysis to discover where your customers spend their online time, and target those channels.
4. Advertise on New Platforms
The matchmaking industry is alive and kicking! As more businesses start using social media, marketers will need to be savvier with their outreach techniques. Finding new platforms that the competition isn’t using is a smart way to get millennial attention.
5. Use Video
The best way to catch a millennial or anyone’s attention on social media is to incorporate video. Be sure that the video is captioned. Viewers are more likely to read content in a captioned video as opposed to plain text without visual content.
6. Share Daily Tips and Affirmations
Send tidbits of helpful information, almost like a daily affirmation that is positive and speaks to the audience’s desires and perspectives. Include an influencer or an example of a social cause in these tidbits.
7. Use Messaging Apps
Nobody wants to call your customer service number. Nobody wants to send an email. Brands that are ready to communicate via direct messages will win. Most simple Q&As can be automated through chatbots. With that said, make sure you do have a call center plugged in to provide a great experience when there’s added complexity.
8. Market to the iGeneration
Leveraging social media to effectively communicate with millennials requires two things: listening and engaging. Marketing platforms will continue to change. Facilitating personalized, two-way communication is key. It’s important to actively listen to what your audience is saying and tailor your responses as needed, especially if your goal is to engage a younger, digitally savvy audience.
9. Talk to Millennials
If you want to understand how to reach millennials on social media, talk to them. I asked my interns last summer about their social media habits and what platforms their friends use most actively, and I was surprised to learn just how popular Instagram was relative to every other channel. However, that could change tomorrow. So whenever you want to know what is in and what is out, ask.
10. Be Yourself Across the Board
Millennials want authenticity, so be yourself on several social media platforms. If you try to be something you are not, they won’t buy it and will dismiss you faster than you can correct your misjudgment.
11. Get Attention With Influencer Marketing
I think influencer marketing is the best source to reach the younger demographic. Influencer marketing gets the attention of most people. Find leaders with a huge following and have them post about your company. It works wonders and gets huge reach.
12. Hire Millennials
Who knows millennials better than millennials? The social media industry is filled with skilled and knowledgeable millennials, so why not hire some to join your team? They understand the demographic better than anyone and they know how to communicate effectively with them.
How to Grow Your Following and Reach on Social Media
Everyone is on social media, yet only a small portion of individuals and brands have the following and influence that we all try to achieve. What is the difference between those who have a massive following, and those who just have social accounts that sit there dormant? The difference is often the content that is being created and how social users are engaging with their audience. Just take a look at any of these top Instagram influencers and see why and how visual content is quickly becoming king. The same working methods for these individuals and celebrities work for brands and businesses as well.
If you want to see what’s working best for your competition, be sure to visit their social profiles and see how they are engaging with their audiences. Once you find a formula that is working, be sure to implement the same practices into your own social media efforts.
Seven Free Tools and Resources for Beginning YouTubers
Starting a channel on YouTube has become so affordable, just about anyone can do it.
Yet, once you launch one, you realize that blogging goes far beyond just shooting videos and publishing them online. Besides gadgets – lights, camera, mic – time becomes your main investment. Truth be told, that technical part between shooting and hitting the “Publish” button sometimes requires much more effort than expected.
Good thing, there are hundreds of free tools that can help automate your workflow when it comes to post-production, thumbnail design, tagging, and social media posting. Some of them are reviewed in this article, so be ready to bookmark.
Free video editing software for Mac: iMovie
Clearly, video editing software is where you’ll be spending most of your time with, so take a serious approach to choosing one. If you’re on Mac, iMovie will probably be your best option so look no further. Apple has made it available for free to every iOS device owner and feature-wise it is so capable, many famous YouTubers stick to iMovie even after surpassing a million of subscribers.
iMovie has a clear concise interface, it’s intuitive and offers just about every feature you might need as a YouTuber – including color correction, title templates, transitions, and a decent audio editor.
Find iMovie for iOS here.
Free video editing software for Windows: VSDC
PC users have a much wider choice of video editing software. There is a good dozen of great video editors available for Windows at zero cost, including Movie Maker some may still have installed on their computers. For relatively tech-savvy bloggers, VSDC Free Video Editor might be a workable solution to start with. It’s a lightweight, powerful, and simple piece of software with over 50 built-in effects and various transitions.
You’ll be able to quickly cut and merge footage fragments, zoom in, create timelapses, add contour text, replicate effects often used by bloggers (such as picture-in-picture) and publish clips to YouTube directly from the program interface. On top of that, VSDC has built-in screen capture and webcam capture tools which might come in handy when recording tutorials or, say, reaction videos.
Download VSDC here.
Those on the latest OS, may proceed to a detailed review of free video editors for Windows 10.
Free tools for creating thumbnails: Stencil and Fotojet
If you are a student of YouTube Creators Academy, you have probably heard that thumbnails are like billboards. They have a tremendous impact on the number of views your video gets. When someone is looking for answers on YouTube, and several relevant videos appear among search results, the choice often depends on the thumbnail. That’s why a well-designed image is so important for channel growth.
Luckily, you don’t have to educate yourself on Adobe Photoshop to create a decent visual anymore. Consider using Stencil or Fotojet – online image editors and absolute no-brainers to use. You get access to hundreds of templates, stock images, and icons to build your own creative from scratch by dragging-and-dropping elements on the canvas.
The best part about both tools is that you can instantly resize your image based on where you’re planning to publish it. While neither app is positioned as completely free, both have robust trial versions that should be more than enough for a beginning YouTuber.
Free audio-to-text transcription tools
Video transcribing is the most efficient way to create descriptions, subtitles, and repurpose your content for other social media channels. It saves a great deal of time and effort. Audio-to-text transcription used to be performed manually and that was quite a pricey service just a few years ago. Now, there are free automated tools available, and you’ll probably regret you didn’t start using them earlier.
For starters, YouTube has a built-in tool that will transcribe your video and embed automated subtitles within several hours after you upload it. You’ll be able to access them in Creator Studio and download the entire text as a single document. Another way to turn your speech into text is using Google Docs.
Simply open a new text document in Google Drive, go to Tools and choose Voice Typing. One great thing about this feature – you can transcribe text in various languages, not just English. Note, voice typing works better if you’re using it in Google Chrome browser on a desktop. However, you can do it on a smartphone as well – just make sure to minimize background noise when recording.
Finally, there are few dedicated smartphone apps for converting speech into text. iPhone users may give Dictation a try. It is free and provides a pretty accurate transcription that can be edited, and afterword saved as a file or send via email.
Free keyword research tool – Ubersuggest
You may have heard about YouTube video optimization already, and therefore you know that tags have a significant impact on what search queries your video will be shown to. That said, using keywords in tags – as well as titles and descriptions – is quite important. Yet, what’s more important is using the right ones.
Keywords have few characteristics, but you should focus on two main ones: search volume and competition. The former shows how many times per month a keyword is searched for, the latter is a definition of how hard it will be to rank to the chosen keyword based on its competition level. As a beginner, you might want to target keywords and key phrases with high search volume and low competition.
There are quite a few great tools for keyword research and Ubersuggest is one of them. It’s free straightforward and doesn’t even require a sign-up. Simply type in the keyword you had in mind for your video and check the suggestions to choose the best option. Ignore the CPC column because it is intended for search engine marketers paying for ads placement among search results. Alternatively, you can perform the research using Keyword Planner from Google. It’s also free and intuitive, however, you’ll need to create an Adwords account first.
Go to Ubersuggest.
Free tool for social media posting: Buffer
Social media post scheduler is another timesaver. Once you publish a new video, you probably rush to all your social media channels to spread the word. Buffer helps you schedule post sharing on multiple networks simultaneously and make sure everything looks neat. When scheduling each post, you are able to see how it will look in the timeline, and whether text or image adjustments are required.
When it comes to videos, you can upload them directly to Buffer using the composer and they will be posted natively on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Instagram. Or you can publish a link to your video that is already on YouTube. You may want to use the former to post short video fragments or teasers to generate interest, and the latter – to generate views after your video has been published.
The free version allows for connecting up to 3 social media accounts and scheduling up to 10 posts per month. Note that if you sign up for Bit.ly to shorten the links before sharing them, you’ll be able to see the statistics on how your followers are clicking on them, and which ones contribute traffic to your videos.
Sign up for Buffer.
Free stock materials: Unsplash, Pixabay, AudioBlocks, and Envato Market
Sooner or later you will need high-quality media for your channel: background music for the videos, graphics, and images for thumbnails or creative effects. While there are millions of media files available on the Internet, one thing you want to avoid is violating copywrite laws. Therefore, it’s best if you find few stock resources in advance and bookmark them.
Unsplash is among the best destinations to go for free photos and images that don’t require attribution – meaning you can freely use them in your projects. Pixabay is another amazing source of photos, illustrations, vector graphics, and videos available for free even for commercial use.
For music, sound effects, and audio loops, you can check out AudioBlocks. This website is a huge library of royalty-free materials you can use for personal and commercial projects.
Finally, there is Envato Market, where you can get up to 8 media files for free every month after joining the community. That includes songs, pictures, templates, graphics, site themes, and much more. Bookmark the Monthly Freebies page on your browser to check what is available at zero cost. Besides free creatives, Envato is great at sharing inspiring materials. Just pick a topic on Envato Community, and explore the recent articles about trends, useful tips, tricks, and tutorials.
Making the Best Online Videos and YouTube Channel Possible
There is no right way to start a YouTube channel and lead it to success. Yet, whether you have a text blog or a personal channel, one thing is true for both – content is the king. Hopefully, with the tools shared in this post, you may be able to automate your workflow and far better focus on what matters the most.
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