Social media and reality TV have quietly changed what we expect from the people with whom we do business. We get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into lives of celebrities, entrepreneurs, and politicians. It’s called the “new normal,” and it’s why crab fishermen now have more to do with your small business than you once thought.
Your customers want to put a face to the name of your business. They want to see its raw, human side — even if that means showing them a less-than-glamorous work in progress.
You might be thinking, “Yeah, use Twitter and Facebook. I get it.” Not entirely. Although text-based information is still the main driver of the internet, visual media, such as photos and videos, are quickly becoming the way people want to consume content online.
Using Viddy and Instagram
This brings us to Viddy. Think of Viddy as the video version of Twitter. The smartphone app allows you to record and share videos of up to 15 seconds with the world. General Electric is doing it. The company has posted “Viddys” of everything from its factories to short commercials. After posting each video, the company directly interacts with customers who leave comments.
And then there’s Instagram. As on its now-parent site, Facebook, you can set up an account, follow, and be followed. There are plenty of ways to share photos, but at least for now, many of your customers are choosing Instagram as their platform of choice. That’s probably why 40 percent of the world’s top brands are on Instagram.
Instagram has more than 100 million registered users, but why use it instead of posting on Facebook? Because Instagram’s filters allow you to give your images a look and feel that matches your brand. Not only that, integrating Instagram images into your social media accounts is simple. You can do all of this with fancy graphic design software, too, but Instagram is simple, free, and faster.
Companies like Tiffany use Instagram not only to show off their latest wares, but also to share other images, including ads. Tiffany’s goal isn’t merely to advertise its jewelry to followers. The company wants its visuals to be shared — pinned on Pinterest, retweeted on Twitter, etc. — or, in other words, go viral.
How do you use these platforms to gain exposure for your business? Here are a few ideas.
1. Use hashtags. Just as Twitter supports hashtags, Viddy and Instagram do, too. Hashtags make it easier for users to find you. You can even use them to run a contest. For instance, the Deftones used Instagram to document its concert tour. Fans of the metal band posted 1,300 images with the hashtag #deftones, and the group gained 20,000 followers in three months. The contest winner received an autographed guitar.
2. Focus on the extraordinary. A boring video of you sitting at a desk and talking about your services isn’t going to attract much attention. Your images and videos should tell a story that speaks to your customers. Maybe it’s a photo of you volunteering at a community event or a short clip of a product being manufactured. You can also download free apps like Photo Collage to turn ordinary pictures into eye-catching collages to help give your business a unique online look.
3. Post frequently. As with all social media, in order to see results, you have to commit to using Viddy and Instagram. Uploading a single video or image every couple of weeks isn’t going to do much to help your brand. Not sure when to post? Check out Simply Measured. There, you can generate reports showing when customer engagement is highest. You can even measure which filters generate the most activity.
4. Interact with people. Use these visual platforms as conversation starters. Encourage people to comment, and reply to customers who take the time to engage with you and your business.
If there’s one thing we know about social media, it’s that everything changes rapidly. These platforms may not be popular in five years, but for now, embracing Viddy and Instagram can give your business a new way to communicate with customers while making it appear modern and trendy.