Visual Content Is The Next King

I’ve read recently that 2014 has been the year of visual. Well, it hasn’t passed yet, we have two more months to go but up to now, this statement seems accurate. Visual content has become extremely popular in the recent year or so; many companies have adopted the strategy in order to increase sales, make their brands more noticeable, grab their target audiences attention etc. But what is it that makes visual content so successful?

12930785_s

In the first place, its innovation. The market is overwhelmed with content and it’s becoming more and more difficult for your story to stand out of the crowd. In the second place, visual content is quite engaging; it catches the eye, is easier for the human brain to process and therefore generates more views, clicks and conversations. Everyone is recognising the importance of visual content nowadays. Social media platforms are constantly improving their image and video news feeds, visual sites like Pinterest and Tumblr are gaining more and more popularity every day. Twitter which was almost an entirely textual platform, has now updated its feed to show pictures and videos and has made its users’ profile photos and headers bigger and more visual.

b2b-social-media1

It has been proven, that the brain processes visual content 60,000 times faster than text. Have you ever wondered why textbooks and children novels are full of pictures? To catch children’s attention of course. When I was a child, I was learning more things from the pictures than from the text. For instance, during my Biology classes I’d understand the structure of the cell much better when I’d seen it pictured out rather then read about it and than try to imagine it myself. It is the same principle with content marketing as well. We may grow up but some habits never change. And taking an interest in the visual rather than the textual is one of them (I, personally, do not read blogs or any type of articles which lack images or videos).

winner

Infographics and Vine videos are all over the web these days. It’s easy to notice them and twice as easy to remember the messages they are spreading, especially if offered in a creative way.  Basically, visual content could be applied to anything- any industry, any type of social platform, any type of business, interest etc. Not only the professional but the academic world is using visual content too. The research papers and text books are full of graphs and charts and models, showing in a much more understandable way the complexity of a certain theory, invention, discovery and so on.

creativity-illo

So, if you haven’t integrated visual content to your marketing strategy yet, you’d better do so now. Be innovative, be brave, but most of all be creative. After all, creativity is intelligence having fun!

Lidiya Kirilova

How To Make Profit From Your Blog

This is something that has been of interest to me for quite a long time now. Since I can call myself a blogger who’s absolutely loving every aspect of it, I was thinking it would be great if I could get money out of blogging. “Find something you love and you will never work a day in your life.

So, what would be the first thing to start with when your blog is set up and ready to go live? What I did was to make sure I have good content first- something properly researched that is worth reading. After having my first posts live, I thought it would be good to work out some strategies for growing my network and the number of my readers. The thing is you have to get yourself noticed. The logical first step woulimagesd be to start following other bloggers who are blogging on the same topics as you are. What I did was to set aside some key words such as social media, content marketing, crisis communication, technology and so on and look for bloggers who are discussing these topics. I followed them and some of them followed back. This was a good start but of course you cannot rely on this strategy alone, if you want to make profit from your blog. The second step I’d recommend, would be to start commenting on other relevant posts. Yes, I know it’s very difficult to make people comment on your blog but once you achieve this, it will pay back. I have to admit I read a lot of blog posts and articles but I’m extremely lazy in terms of commenting. However, when I see a post with a number of comments below, something inside me makes me want to leave a comment too. There you go. That’s how it works.

Getting yourself noticed, however, is still not enough to generate enough traffic to your blog and grow your network. So you need to get even more noticed. How do I do that, you’d ask. Well, guest blogging would be a brilliant start. For example, I am a really big fan of a blog which is discussing spiritual science & technology. This blog is extremely popular and has tens of thousands of readers. As it happens they are on the search for guest bloggers who’d love to contribute to their site; and as it happens, my other blog- Something For Everyone And a Pinch of Salt– is discussing similar topics. If I get myself published on this blog, this would be a great step forward for me. So my advice is: always aim for the best!

steps-to-success

Content comes as another essential brick in building your blog community. There are so many blogs out there. For instance, when I searched for materials for this post, namely “how to make profit from your blog”, there were so many blogs and online publications giving hints on that, I could hardly decide which ones to open. Therefore, you should add value to your content; you have to find a way to be unique and provide your readers with content they cannot find anywhere else. No one would read your blog just for the sake of reading it. You have to have an engaging content and you have to know how to promote it. And don’t forget the importance of key words. Find out which key words related to your blog topic are the most searched for and use them to attract audience.

How-to-make-Money-Blogging_thumb2Being yourself will help you on your way to success. If you want a successful blog, brand yourself. For my blog, I decided to create a logo which is unique and recognisable and once I get followers and frequent readers, I’ll be sure they differentiate me from the other blogs out there. Share personal experience and success stories. People are not likely to read something that contains just dry information without a pinch of personal analysis. Once you build the basis, the rest will just follow. When you have a good number of subscribers and unique readers (and don’t forget to link your blog to social media sites too!) you can decide how to make profit out of you site. You can do it through advertisisng or why not developing your own range of products or services you can sell. There are plenty of ways you can do it.

Using platforms such as WordPress and Google Blogger make things difficult as they limit the way you can advertise and the types of ads you could allow on you site. The best option would be to create your own site but you need to have a good understanding of web design or know someone who does. For now I’m planning to stick to WordPress as I am still not an experienced blogger. But once I learn enough, I’m planning to create my own site which will represent my own vision in terms of design, layout, branding, advertising, product/service offering etc. Until then, I’m planning to continue researching and experimenting on blogging techniques and ways of attracting an audience and improving my readership, because I know success only comes after hard work.

Lidiya Kirilova

Most Effective Ways To Grow Your Twitter Followers – Digital Information World

___________________________________

Receive a FREE daily summary of The Marketing Technology Alert directly to your inbox.To subscribe, please go to http://ineomarketing.com/About_The_MAR_Sub.html (your privacy is protected).

Source: www.digitalinformationworld.com

View original post

What Is a Social Media Crisis and How to Avoid It

Most businesses nowadays are using social media. It is an amazing and free tool and it is understandable that the number of companies which are recognising its qualities increases every single day. However, social media could be quite tricky as well, because one of the major problems related to it is the fact it is uncontrollable.

In this post, I will be discussing what a social media crisis is and how it can be foreseen and avoided or in case it hits, how to effectively respond to it.

thAs discussed in my previous blogs, the most important thing for companies is to be prepared for a crisis. If you don’t have a crisis response plan in hand, you’d better go back to work and create one. Of course, as mentioned earlier, social media is uncontrollable and therefore you cannot know where exactly the crisis will come from, but when you have a few possible crisis response scenarios, this should make things easier. The first thing we need to clarify is what a social media crisis is and how to distinguish it from a social media issue. An issue is not an existing problem but the chance there might be one, if not handled well. This could be a negative comment, a rogue tweet, a wrong hashtag etc. On the other hand, a crisis is a much more serious thing. It is an existing problem which is affecting a company’s reputation in a long-term. However, an issue can easily develop into a crisis, so be careful!

An interesting example of a social media crisis that turned out to have positive consequences for the company is the case with Burger King. Some time ago someone hacked Burger King’s Twitter account and changed the name to McDonald’s, tweeting on its behalf. During the time Burger King/McDonald’s account gained 30,000 new followers before they restored the control over it. However, not all social media crises end in such positive way. That’s why companies need to learn how to recognise a crisis and how to avoid it. Here are some useful tips that save lives:

th (1)

1) Have a crisis plan in hand- This is the thing I’ve been talking about in all my posts and research papers- “be prepared”- because most crises that affect companies in an extremely negative way are those, companies themselves have not been prepared for. You cannot stop a crisis once it happens, but you can minimise the consequences of it.

2) Train your people- Having social media crisis simulations from time to time doesn’t hurt anyone, it could only help. Knowing what to expect and how to react to is always a good way to start. And remember, even if the crisis happens, don’t panic!

3) Identify potential risk areas- Do your research! Get to know your weaknesses! Work on crisis response messages that could be standardised and applied to most crisis cases. Not so complicated, is it?

If you work on these three simple tips and develop them, come up with your own etc. you will have made the first step in a crisis response cycle. And even if a crisis hits despite your efforts to avoid it, you will be now prepared to handle it. In my next post I will be talking about the next step in the crisis response cycle- how to handle a social media crisis. In the meantime, please feel free to share your opinion on this topic and give any suggestions on how to avoid a social media crisis.

Lidiya Kirilova

Having Great Blog Content- Now What?

Blogging is very important part of social media nowadays. Most businesses have company blogs, most professionals have professional blogs, and many people have personal blogs, where they share opinion and information on different topics. There are so many good blogs out there but the one thing in common they all have is the challenge to stand out of the crowd and make their target audience get an interest in what they have to say and most important- make it engage. But how do you achieve this, especially if your blog is new?

Blog word.

I’ve read recently in a post by Blog Marketing Academy that in order to achieve success with your blog, you have to do it all- be the ideas person, the executive, the designer, the writer, the researcher, the business person and so on- you have to wear all these hats at the same time. However, no one is good at everything so people are doing only what they enjoy in a blog- some love writing so they will have great content but presented in a boring way, others love design so they will have an attractive and eye-catchy blog, which, however, is not worth reading. That is why most people don’t get the desired results and give up too quickly. Patience and consistency are two virtues you must possess, if you want to have a great blog. It takes time and a lot of hard work before you get the results you want.

blogging-yr-2

Networking with other bloggers in your field is essential in order to increase your visitors’ number. This is one of the most effective ways to get noticed. Comment on other blogs, topics you are discussing in your blog as well and never forget to link to your blog. Follow other bloggers too as some of them will follow you back (You follow, I follow) and this way you will expand your network. Another very important thing is to link your blog to other social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Create Facebook and Twitter pages for your blog and expand them as well. Also don’t forget to attach it to your LinkedIn profile. Promote all new posts you produce and try to engage relevant people to discuss them on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

how to blog

To summerise, these are the steps you need to follow if you want to have a successful blog:

  • Come up with a great idea for a blog, create stunning design and write engaging content (don’t forget to do a proper research on the topics you’re discussing).
  • Brand yourself, create your own logo and unique style that is recognisable and memorable.
  • Be patient and consistent, don’t expect immediate results; if you work hard, you will achieve great results.
  • Prepare weekly plans with the activities you’re going to have on your blog.
  • Once your blog looks great and have a few posts (3-5) you find interesting and engaging, start promoting it.
  • Follow other relevant bloggers and engage on their blogs.
  • Create Facebook and Twitter pages for your blog and link it to your LinkedIn profile too.

With these simple tips you can achieve amazing results and make your blog popular among your target audience. And don’t forget simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication.

Lidiya Kirilova

Three Things That Will Boost Your Social Media Presence

Social media is gaining more and more popularity every day. There are thousands of new platforms and applications out there where you can share photos, videos, opinion on different topics etc. However, the challenge is to know how to use these effectively.

Many people still underestimate the power of social media and if I have to be honest, a few years ago I was one of them. I thought it was a waste of time and money and couldn’t understand how anyone, especially small businesses, could invest in it. However, last year I happened to start an internship in a small tourism company as a Social Media Executive (which I was quite sceptical about), and I have to admit I loved it from day one. After that I continued my career development in the social media field working as a freelancer for different clients. And three months earlier I was hired for the role of Social Media Account Executive. For this period I learnt so many things about social media, I could hardly list them all. That’s why I decided to pick three of them, which are quite key and if used in the right way, they can perform miracles.

engagementEngagement: Social media is about engagement with your key publics, no matter whether you use it for personal or business purposes. If you start interacting with relevant people (influencers and even potential clients and partners) through conversations on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, your Social Media presence is likely to blossom and your business to increase its revenue (remember how Obama won the elections in 2008).

Obama social media campaign

Blogs:  Blogging is a must if you want a successful business. However, almost everyone has a blog nowadays. But many people make the mistake to believe it’s all about the content. Content is king they say but for me if you don’t know how to promote it, it’s rather a pawn- it’s there, but no one notices it. Why? Because it doesn’t stand out. And it doesn’t stand out because blogging is not about throwing a piece of content in the air and praying for someone to read it. It is about engagement (yes, the magical word ‘engagement’ again). If you want to increase your blog’s visitors and make them engage, well engage first. Go and find other similar blogs and topics, people are writing about and give your opinion (and don’t forget to link to your blog as well). You’ll see how in a few weeks your readers’ number will double. Give in order to receive, isn’t it so?

Visual content: Yes, package sells and in social media, visual materials are the package you sell content in. This includes infographics, charts, graphs, pictures and so on. But again, there is plenty of visual content out there, how do you make yours stand out? The only answer I can give you is: be creative. Think about what describes you best and how to present it to your audience in an interesting and innovative way. For example, one of my ex-colleagues was using Lego to represent how a typical day at the office looks like. Quite creative, don’t you think?

miniature-Lego-office-Yard-Digital-1Social media is like a newly discovered continent- full of resources but still unexamined. So in order to conquer it and make it work for you, be innovative, be brave and follow the cycle: produce (visual) content, promote it, engage.

Lidiya Kirilova

Why Social Media Should be Part of Crisis Communication

Social media is now appropriate for all sorts of communication- B2C, B2B, H2H, P2P etc. but is it any good for crisis communication? The answer is yes. Social media has initiated a change in the way crisis communication functions nowadays. The influence it has is highlighted in the following ways: speed, engagement, control of the message, interactivity, authenticity, visibility & transparency, crisis facilitation etc.

Crisis-communications

The crisis life cycle has three stages- pre-crisis, crisis and post-crisis. The pre-crisis stage should normally be planning of the worst case scenario. In this stage, social media could be involved as a communication tool with some of the organisation’s stakeholder groups. Depending on the type of organisation and the type of the crisis, these could be affected customers, victims and the public in general. What is important for the crisis managers to recognise, is the right messages they need to address to their publics and the type of social platforms that would be most appropriate to use.

The crisis phase occurs when the actual crisis hits. I have actually participated in two crisis simulations, both of which were handled using social media. I had to manage one of the crisis communication teams and guide them throughout the whole period of the crisis. As mentioned earlier, social media is a perfect communication tool for the organisation in crisis, especially with the affected parties. In our case the organisation was a university and the crisis itself was a malware bug that had hit the system, deleting all files of a large group of students, meaning they would not have been able to graduate. So part of these students went on Facebook and Twitter, posting updates and comments, demanding answers to these rumours (nothing regarding the crisis was officially confirmed). So my team had to reply to the students in a polite way, giving them the information they were demanding, but not saying too much at the same time.

When talking to your target audience on social media, the tone of voice is the most important thing. Another thing of great importance is to make sure the message you are communicating is the most appropriate one. When a crisis hits, the first thing the affected parties will do sm-crisisis to panic. But you as a crisis communicator must not panic! If you act with composure, you will be able to calm your target audience down, at least to some extent. Why social media is very useful in a time of crisis is because you are able to communicate your message directly to your target audience without the need of an intermediary, which in 99,9% of the cases would be the traditional media (which sometimes results in the so called “broken phone”). Of course, the media will give its point of view (which in most cases is at the expense of the organisation in crisis- e.g. BP Gulf of Mexico crisis), but through social media, you have given yours as well.

The third stage of the crisis life cycle – post-crisis – occurs when/if the organisation survives the crisis. At this stage social media is also very useful because the audience wants to see, first of all, what lessons the organisation has learnt from the crisis and second of all, what steps it takes to prevent another.

Many crisis managers, especially those of smaller organisations, still underestimate the importance of social media, not recognising the need of two-way communication and engagement with their target audiences. However, as the popularity of social media is growing, it has the potential of becoming an integral part of crisis communication, providing organisations with the opportunity to “do things right”.

Lidiya Kirilova