Much like any ‘Camp’, ‘Social media camp’ conjures up visions of evenings spent chatting around the fire, making friends, roasting marshmallows, dreaming big dreams. The reality isn’t that far off. We sent our resident social media whiz, Ilona Soetemans, to Social Media Camp 2017 and while she reports that the bonfires and marshmallows were missing, it certainly delivered on the new friends, inspiring chats and big dreams – specifically big dreams for small businesses. She came back with plenty of inspiration and tips to take both our own business, and those of our clients, to the next level of social media greatness. Here, Ilona’s top 5 tips from Social Media Camp 2017 to take your small business from good to great this year.
Tip #1: Video Marketing… Just Do It Already
Yes, we’re banging on the same old drum. Video. Video. Video. Video is key. Video delivers results. We all know it, but lots of us are still resisting. Give in.
Dorien Morin-van Dam from More In Media provided some valuable tips to make it easier for you to go in front of the camera. Here, her route for getting over the fear of video or, as she puts it, the “Fear of FEAR”:
F – Failure: When you are yourself and you are authentic, you cannot fail.
E – Expense: Just because videos deliver big results doesn’t mean they have to cost big bucks. You can make videos on a low budget : we all carry a smartphone, use it! Smartphones have great features and are usually of good quality. A selfie-stick can also go a long way if you don’t have a tripod. Lastly, use the microphone in the Apple earbuds as a remote. It will act as a remote control to start and stop your video as well as the microphone.
A – Appearance: As anyone who goes on camera for a living will tell you, it does take some time to get “on-air” ready. To make this easier on yourself, make a series of videos in one go. Have a few specific outfits and accessories on hand so you can easily switch between them between videos. By making a series, you reduce the time you would otherwise be spending on staging.
R – Respect: People are scared of sounding like they are selling, and even more scared of the judgement of others. Advice from Dorien to knock both these fears on the head: find something that you genuinely love and don’t stop talking about it! That way you are being respectful of both other’s time and your own topic.
Other tips garnered from Social Media Camp 2017 to make this your ‘Year of the Video’:
- Use equipment that you already have. As mentioned above, we all have a smartphone, we all have headphones. They all do a great job, without you having to invest in an expensive camera.
- Master the video type you are choosing: master one and than move on.
- Smile before you start recording! The sound of your video will be different.
- Practice makes perfect: Record, watch and delete. In that order, 30 times. By doing this, you will become proficient in utilizing your gear, you will be more comfortable in front of the camera, and you will be able to get it done.
- Plan your topic and write yourself a script.
- Record a series of videos in one go – see ‘Appearance’ above.
- Start with an interview: Usually when talking to someone else, you forget you’re in front of a camera.
- Start off easy – share stories.
- Be authentic and define yourself this way. For example, give yourself a signature branding item, like brightly coloured spectacle frames, and keep that in every video you make.
- Start with recorded videos first: once you are comfortable using video, go live.
Finally, our own top tip for successful video production for your small business? Don’t strive for perfection because you will never publish. Strive to do a video, any video, and go from there.
Tip #2: Social Connection = Human Connection
Almost all speakers at Social Media Camp referred to the human connection as a key point in any interaction on your social media channels and beyond. There needs to be an understanding and a connection. As Bosco Anthony put it: “If people don’t feel related to you and don’t feel you’re authentic, they will not want to engage with you.” No pretending, even while being behind the screen.
Tip #3: Embrace Influencer Marketing
Are you tapping into influencers? Are you utilizing their network to promote your own. Building a network from the ground up is hard work, so utilize the opportunity to reach out to people and let influencers help you in promoting your business or service.
Note: when you choose to work with independent influencers it is important to always have a contract. Don’t expect that people will do things for you, just because they like you. It might happen on the odd occasion, but to cover your own back and not get disappointed, make sure you have a contract in place so both of you know what is required. Not only do influencers want to know what is required of them but also what’s the win for them. Be transparent in your message. Be authentic and explain them what the long term results are that you are after. This increases your credibility and authenticity. Finally, be open to what their needs are and accommodate: some influencers prefer to incorporate your brand in their own content, some prefer to work from a script.
Tip #4: Get LinkedIn
Narges Nirumvala, the world renowned leadership communication expert and international speaker, provided us with tips on how to build a powerful brand on LinkedIn. For many, LinkedIn comes across as the brother with the dry reputation, so while we’ve all been told it’s important to have a LinkedIn account, what many of us don’t know is the most valuable way to use LinkedIn to grow our businesses.
First and foremost, remember that LinkedIn is a social network. This means that connection with people is a key element of the network. Connections can happen in many different ways as you meet people at events, you can reach out afterwards, or thru discovery within the network itself. As a representative of your brand (personal and business) remember to be professional. If you are reaching out to connect with people, personalize a note to them. Explain why you’re connecting and make the connection personal.
Secondly, although a social platform, LinkedIn is also your business profile. Keep that in mind, even when ‘connecting’ on a human level. LinkedIn is equipped with a publisher in which you can write your own blogs and publish them – use it. The focus of this platform is the content. Update posts or blogs specifically for LinkedIn, making your content professionally focused. Even though your branding and message are the same across all your social media channels, not all information will be appropriate for LinkedIn so make sure to differentiate and optimize accordingly.
Tip #5: Have Fun
Connecting and building relationships in the real world is fun. The digital world should be no different. After all, it’s not called ‘social’ media for nothing!