Learning to Speak to Strangers with a Personal Brand

Most of us were told as children that we were not to speak to strangers. When we grow up we forget that talking to strangers is actually how you grow your business. Yet, as success comes, we almost revert back to relying on present connections or even supply chains – that’s a mistake, the wider you want to grow your influence the more you need to connect with strangers.

So how do you step outside of the comfort zone and leverage your experience within the marketplace? Have you considered a personal brand? 

Becoming a personal brand will connect you with a lot of strangers that you would not have otherwise met. You can start to trade on the basis of your knowledge and insight rather than just on the strength of your product. If we all learn by our mistakes, why not share so others don’t have to make the same mistakes – that’s called being nice, and being nice actually wins friends. It’s not dog eat dog, its more about helping everyone win!

There are many ways to start a personal brand journey, and before the expensive photo shoot and brand build, you can start where you are – which will also give you time to get into shape and acquire a new wardrobe!

With social media and in particular LinkedIn, its easier to become accessible and empowered to “give something back” – to become a thought leader you need to start sharing your thoughts!

CEOs with plenty of experience in their sector and life experience too are now in a position to give helpful information to a younger generation in a straightforward manner and can help share connections that are mutually beneficial. 

Creating a personal brand can be the gateway to your organisation with a commitment to adding value above the direct sale. People are interested in how much you care before they buy. Those people you help are far more likely to want to know more about what you have to say.

In the past people wrote a book (often pulling together principles after the events, on how they got successful), and then promoted it. Today, a book is just part of the story. Yes, we highly recommend writing one, but don’t let the length of time it takes to pull one together hold you back from beginning the journey of speaking up.

So here’s how you can start:

1. Link up with LinkedIn:

Start using LinkedIn more as it has the biggest organic reach of the social platforms. It’s free and people can connect with you directly (don’t hit them up to sell direct though- see last week’s blog post)

2. Share your humanity:

Use platforms which are known as “business to consumer” such as Instagram and Facebook to demonstrate more personal content so that people get more insight into who you are and why you do what you do. 

3. Define your ONE thing:

Have one clear, simple thing at the centre of your message, a theme for which you become known and spread the message about what you do, who you work with and the impact you make around it.

4. Dress for every occasion:

Come up with a look and feel that is unique to you – Steve Jobs (black polo neck), Gary Vee (hoodies and beanie combo), or wearing a distinct colour.

5. Share your thoughts to become a thought leader:

Writing blogs is your way of communicating your thoughts, done well and often this content can become a platform for a book.

6. Don’t just watch videos, contribute by doing your own shoot:

With well over 80% of content consumed via mobile being video, you too can join the journey. Using Social LIVE feeds by taking Q&A’s, sharing what’s new or even producing short content snippets on your journey so far (Vlogs). The small screen can really add to your big picture.

7. Make an impression last with a podcast:

Create a regular podcast (and if you are filming video series you can use the same soundtrack for your podcast) on a subject or series. Interviews work well. Think about inviting people you really want to connect with for interview and once edited get them to share it to their following as well.

8. When you have momentum, get things in one place, online:

If you’re getting attention through Press, Radio, PR – it’s good to have a website where all that media is housed in one place. This can also feature your blog and videos. Purchase a URL as close to your name as possible, and over time when people search for your name, your site and content starts to rank. Google rewards content!

9. With a website in place, use email to notify your following:

Email can be triggered to your growing list of followers every time you release new content or want to invite people to a speaking engagement. It may be one of the oldest digital technologies but still is one of the most trackable.

10. From being up top, go out front with public speaking:

Get speaking in front of people. From small networking events to seminars and conferences, your personal brand will require you to talk to people. So get out there and start building credibility and visibility. The more you do it, the more confidence you’ll get. Don’t be shy, get out there and try. 

11. Get social on social by commenting on content, not just creating it:

Social media is more than just posting, its about joining in. When people write back, write back. Getting traction and sharing, adding value all aids your voice and influence.

12. Stay committed, consistent and courageous:

The truth is: people don’t care about your products or services until you make them care. Your personal brand tells them why they should care – whether the story has to do with your company’s origin, the mission-driven approach behind your businesses or the helpful hints and tips you keep offering. The more you demonstrate value through your posts, the more likely people are to buy from you. Stay at it. 

Remember its not about being famous, its about adding value. The more you add value the greater your voice. It’s not about a me, myself and I mentality, rather a what, how and why narrative. 

Everyone has a story to tell, why not share yours today.

Eight Ways To Engage Your Audience

Communicate your benefits not just your services

It’s not about your product or service, it’s about your customer. What do they need? How can your product or service help them? Focus on building empathy, put yourself in your clients’ shoes by identifying their pain.

If you’re bringing something new to the market, your customer wants to know what’s different about your offering and how it will benefit them. Videos and infographics in your website will help to convey a lot of information or explain processes in a short space of time.

Stop chasing the sale before you know your audience, start collecting their data first

Get to know your audience. What’s your audience’s age range for instance?Who makes up the majority of your audience – men or women?

Demographic data will have an impact on how you address your audience. Measure and track your audience’s behaviour using great maps and analytics to give your customers the best user experience. Track how people use your website and adjust it accordingly.

In everything you do add value

A good example of adding value is offering free advice to your audience related to your product or service via your website. Practical-value content is any type that the audience can implement instantly and easily, without spending too much effort.

Invite, listen to, evaluate and execute feedback.

A consistent communication strategy between your team and your users will not only benefit your users but it will also help you know which direction to move as a company to make your users happy and inspire organic growth.

Keep complete answers to the most frequently asked questions saved in a Google doc for your team to simply copy and paste when they come up!
It’s also important to have a presence on social media, remaining active and responsive as a company, keeping it a priority to respond to Twitter and Facebook messages in a helpful and timely manner.

Eight Ways To Engage Your Audience

Communicate the purpose behind your brand.

The best brands tell their why as well as their what and how (Simon Sinek in “The Golden Circle).
Sinek’s theory is that successfully communicating the passion behind the ‘Why’ is a way to communicate with the listener’s limbic brain, the part of our anatomy that processes feelings such as trust and loyalty – as well as decision-making. This means that successfully articulating your ‘Why’ inspires your audience to act.

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes as you innovate. Fail Forward.

When you try something and it doesn’t work, it can be easy to wring your hands and adopt a woe-is-me attitude, but that won’t help you move forward. You have to correct your strategy.

Firstly, examine where you went wrong and get systems in place to prevent those errors from occurring again. Then, hire the right people and align them to your company’s core values.

Take time to understand that different generations communicate differently

Although this table is not 100% correct for everyone, it is a pretty good summary.

Table from – ‘Communication Among Different Generations’

Give your customers a voice – testimonials

Testimonials reassure customers that other people who have used the product like it and would use it again. You’re letting satisfied customers do the hard sales work for you. When it comes to selling power, a great testimonial outshines great sales copy.

If you need help to engage with your audience please contact us at Cre8ion.

The Twelve Digital Marketing Days of Christmas

On the first day of Christmas Cre8ion sent to me a workshop with a marketing strategy.

On the second day of Christmas Cre8ion sent to me two U.S.P.s
…and a workshop with a marketing strategy.

On the third day of Christmas Cre8ion sent to me three creative strategies (choose one),
…two U.S.P.s
…and a workshop with a marketing strategy.

On the fourth day of Christmas Cre8ion sent to me four statements of Mission, Vision, Values and Onliness,
…three creative concepts,
…two U.S.P.s
…and a workshop with a marketing strategy.

On the fifth day of Christmas Cre8ion sent to me a five star quality logo…,
…four statements of Mission, Vision, Values and Onliness,
…three creative concepts,
…two U.S.P.s
…and a workshop with a marketing strategy.

On the sixth day of Christmas Cre8ion sent to me six branded items,
…five star quality logo…,
…four statements of Mission, Vision, Values and Onliness,
…three creative concepts,
…two U.S.P.s
…and a workshop with a marketing strategy.

On the seventh day of Christmas Cre8ion sent to me seven social posts,
…six branded items,
…five star quality logo…,
…four statements of Mission, Vision, Values and Onliness,
…three creative concepts,
…two U.S.P.s
…and a workshop with a marketing strategy.

On the eighth day of Christmas Cre8ion sent to me eight in our logo,
…seven social posts,
…six branded items,
…five star quality logo…,
…four statements of Mission, Vision, Values and Onliness,
…three creative concepts,
…two U.S.P.s
…and a workshop with a marketing strategy.

On the ninth day of Christmas Cre8ion sent to me nine staff a working,
…eight in our logo,
…seven social posts,
…six branded items,
…five star quality logo…,
…four statements of Mission, Vision, Values and Onliness,
…three creative concepts,
…two U.S.P.s
…and a workshop with a marketing strategy.

On the tenth day of Christmas Cre8ion sent to me ten seconds of video story,
…nine staff a working,
…eight in our logo,
…seven social posts,
…six branded items,
…five star quality logo…,
…four statements of Mission, Vision, Values and Onliness,
…three creative concepts,
…two U.S.P.s
…and a workshop with a marketing strategy.

On the eleventh day of Christmas Cre8ion sent to me eleven websites growing
…ten seconds of video story,
…nine staff a working,
…eight in our logo,
…seven social posts,
…six branded items,
…five star quality logo…,
…four statements of Mission, Vision, Values and Onliness,
…three creative concepts,
…two U.S.P.s
…and a workshop with a marketing strategy.

On the twelfth day of Christmas Cre8ion sent to me twelve new clients,
…eleven websites growing,
…ten seconds of video story,
…nine staff a working,
…eight in our logo,
…seven social posts,
…six branded items,
…five star quality logo…,
…four statements of Mission, Vision, Values and Onliness,
…three creative concepts,
…two U.S.P.s
…and a workshop with a marketing strategy.

Have an amazing Christmas and New Year and we’ll be back at it on 2nd January 2019.

Much love

Team Cre8ion

Wooing Customers with your Website

Would you think a wedding proposal after a first date to be a little abrupt? The answer is probably yes. If you were on the receiving end of this proposal you might consider it at best over enthusiastic and at worst rude and presumptuous. Wouldn’t you want the person proposing to get to know you first?

Equally, one of the mistakes many companies make in their advertising is that they expect to get sales as a direct result of their activity e.g. a direct sale from a Facebook ad. The truth is that it’s presumptuous to place an advert and then expect to get a phone call and a purchase because today’s sales process should be a much deeper experience. The key focus of any advertising or marketing strategy is to gain data, to get to know your customer. This means that all your activities must be joined up to allow people to leave their data in exchange for value.

If you have placed a Facebook ad people will first see it, click on it and then it should take them to a landing page on your website where they can leave their email to gain a discount. The customer could then browse the website and make a purchase if they choose to, but if they don’t, because they have left their email address you can build a relationship with them which can lead to future sales. To remind yourself of the need to invest in this process of relationship with customers remember that you would hardly ever, having met a person for five minutes, get their phone number, phone them and propose marriage.

When we take time to get to know our clients and find out their specific needs we are empowered to then meet those needs in a specific way. We look at analytics and analyse customer behaviour, we see what they are searching for and clicking on, and then we can supply them with what they are looking for. We have become more intelligent as salespeople, saving our own and our customers’ time. Every piece of marketing communication we send out must direct people back to the website in order to acquire more data and thus the website becomes the hub of all our activity.

The website allows us to monitor what is working and what isn’t and also allows us to showcase our story effectively by showing video and embedding social media. When customers are on the website they can look at other products or services we offer. Our 360 ° marketing strategy puts the website at the heart of any strategy. If customers don’t buy straight away then this strategy offers the opportunity to sell later.

So just remember, show your customers respect, get to know them first, engage them and make a commitment, offering them something of value before expecting anything from them!

If you’d like us to lend you a hand to construct that path to purchase why not contact our expert builders?

How do you get your social media talking…?

Is your website the primary place to go? Well, according to new research among the younger generation that isn’t always the case – so where are they going? Social media!

Judging by our conversations from a few weeks ago at the amazing IntroBiz Expo event in Cardiff, Wales, a number of companies and organisations are aware of the need for social media but do not necessarily have the marketing strategies to execute it.

With 500 million instagrammers using the app every day and 2 million people using Facebook every month, businesses are engaging with consumers at a growing level. LinkedIn is also making an increasing impact into the business to business market with many people pressing the ‘connect’ button after their conversation at a networking event – a deeper level of connection than a straight business card swap. (BUT, please don’t sent me a DM selling, lets get to know how we can help one another in terms of referrals).

Measuring online activity via social marketing programs and campaigns is where grey areas are appearing. What you need to first understand is why you are using social media in order to measure your success. For a brand to stay relevant in the long term, social media must be a key part of building brand awareness, advocacy and cultivating a community.

Today’s audience want more from a brand. Is the brand contributing to major world issues like the environment? Is it sustainable and ethical? Social media helps communicate stats which change in real time, communicated instantly to a more savvy audience.

10 tips to make the most of your social media message:

Remember that social media is your shop window, Generation Y for example, often check social media first rather than your website.

Use Hootsuite to schedule up and post on different platforms: Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. As you get more proficient the end goal is to treat each network differently as you have differing audiences – but when starting out, stats are limited (for instance Instagram only allows you to see stats past 100 followers).

Integrate links to other marketing communication, offers, etc. on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to direct traffic to website – we recommend that your website should be the hub of all communication, where you collect people’s data and offer them something in return. Givers gain.

Use instagram/facebook photo ads to offer a smooth path to purchase with a clearer call to action, like the Shop Now button.

With paid Facebook ads you can choose your audience (aim for your customer base) and target ads to where people are at in the process of investigating your products – these work better than just boosting posts, which are only vaguely targeted. Ads allow you to be specific.

Let paid Facebook ads do your reporting for you, making it easier to measure results. Think about A/B testing. Trying differing methods to reach the same audience. There is no such thing as failure, it’s a win and learn, not win and lose culture you are trying to communicate.

Don’t forget that old chestnut…. post every day, three times a day if you want to get any traction. Those that are consistent win. Conversations are numerous and daily, social media should be just that, social.

Don’t forget, with Instagram you’ll need to put links to other communication into the bio, as, to date, you can’t add links like other platforms.

Don’t stint on links, the more links you put on your social media the better your SEO for your website will be.

Think incentives, what will get people to ‘do something’? How can you add value? By giving discounts or free stuff? For businesses what additional information can you offer?

A feast of activity:
Ultimately, social media is about telling stories, it’s not always about sales, but offers and incentives for your products are an important part of the journey. One of the ways to achieve that is by taking your brand onto social media, making post types ‘look and feel’ the same, while mixing it with a documentary approach (snaps as it happens). This makes for an interesting feed, giving consumers value and reward for investing some time in scrolling through your posts!

With these fundamentals in place you will have the tools to start building an organic audience, and by adding advertising spend (Facebook and Instagram for B2C clients or LinkedIn for B2B clients), you will then really begin to get some traction.

Social media will take time, just like relationships, the more conversations you have, the better you will understand your customers, the more you’ll appreciate their needs, values and behaviours and also how you can help them enjoy and enrich their lives.

Cre8ion: Meet the Team – Going Social with Tamilla

At Cre8ion, marketing via social media channels has become an increasingly prominent feature of what we do, so much so that we have engaged a new member of staff to undertake some of the daily responsibilities that social media marketing entails. We’d like to introduce our new Social Media Executive, Tamilla Haycock. Tamilla was born and brought up in Bristol and has a love of photography, music and all things creative. She graduated last year with a degree in Media, a course which covered photography, social media and digital content along with a lot of theory such as sociology, politics and copyright law. The practical side of things included everything from filmmaking and radio production to editorial design. After graduating, Tamilla focused on photography and image manipulation using Photoshop, and now she has her own social media photography account where she enjoys marketing herself online. Since joining the company a month ago she has been helping to create social media strategies, researching each of Cre8ion’s clients, catering content and ideas that can be put towards their social media accounts. The information gathered through the research forms the strategies, with social calendar planning, Instagram layouts and analytics.
We asked Tamilla “Why is social media so important as a marketing tool?” “Social Media as a strategy is a very creative marketing tool as you can not only give information about your company or yourself but, with photo based social media platforms like Instagram, you can give your viewers more of an insight into your company and product. The visual element increases your influence on what you are seeking to portray or create, telling the audience more. “What should a beginner start to post?” Knowing who your audience is and what they want to see on social is key to creating content that they will like, comment on, and share. What are your target customers talking about online? Take inspiration from others without plagiarising their work and try to be as original as possible as that will make you stand out. You could also check out the winners of The Facebook Awards or The Shorty Awards for examples of brands who are using social media to market most effectively. Also, find out who your competition are and what they’re doing well (and not so well) and strike a balance between quality and quantity in your own posts. “When is the best time to post?” Your posts should be consistent (post regularly and with the same frequency). In order to work out the optimum posting time you will need 100 followers, at which point Instagram will allow you to track the analytics and give you an insight into when your viewers are most likely to be active. Analytics will help you to post at a time when your audience is most likely to see you. “What have you learnt about social media marketing since you have been at Cre8ion?” I have learnt how to calculate analytics for each platform and from that information and data generate a constructive plan to help a business to reach their goals using social media. The first step to creating a social media marketing strategy is to establish your objectives and goals. Without goals, you have no way to measure your success or the return on your investment in social media. You need to focus on targets such as how many leads need to be generated, web referrals, and conversion rate. If you need help to build a social media strategy why not contact us at www.cre8ion.co.uk?

Make a Name for Yourself on Instagram TV

It has been a good three months now since the launch of Instagram TV (IGTV) and although opinion remains divided on its potential, it has been named as a winner for regular posters such as vloggers due to some of its features (have a look at Benjamin Brandon’s ideas).

As well as giving you the chance to reach a whole new audience, the fact that content can be uploaded with minimal or no editing means that it can be created on a more frequent basis. Maybe it’s a product launch, a behind the scenes look, a product demo or an ad of your latest sales campaign that you can present quickly and easily. However, IGTV can also be used to show off content that has been well shot with a decent camera and edited properly, for that professional look.

Eight Tips to Help You Get Started:

1. Although filming on a smartphone works well outside, be aware of the need for good lighting when filming on your phone inside.

2. Some editing may well be required in order to optimise your content. Centre framing, for instance, is important, but your videos don’t always need to be highly polished.

3. IGTV enables you to create personalised thumbnails and write a title and a short synopsis of each video. Make these count.

4. Use regular Instagram hashtag strategies in order to create a following and check analytics for optimum posting times.

5. Upload your content at least three times a week.

6. Let your followers know within the first hour of uploading your video, that first hour counts!

7. Edit and upload content straight from your desktop.

8. Re-purpose existing video content but make sure you edit content from the original files, remember that video, by default, is landscape.

For those of you on mobile follow the link and have a look at Maddox Gallery’s IGTV where Cre8ion has used their existing video content and edited it for use on Instagram TV.

Social Media: Create Amazing Content with our Top 5 Posts

Doing social media for your business can feel a bit like shooting with a blindfold on. While posting on a consistent basis is vital, posting random content won’t get you much engagement. To help you create content that converts, take a look at our top 5 posts on social media marketing.

1. Top 3 Best Social Media Campaigns of All Time

Humour goes a long way, especially when it’s paired with a great cause. Before you start building content for your own social media channel, learn some best practice techniques from top three best social media campaigns of all time – the ‘Old Spice Guy’, the #IceBucketChallenge and #likeagirl. We’ve summed them up in this blog post.

2. What social media channels should you choose for your business?

You might wear trainers when you go out for a jog, but you wouldn’t wear them to a wedding. It’s the same with different social media channels. The feeling of shooting with a blindfold on is often the result of a lack of understanding of what each social media channel is actually designed to do. Before you start creating your content, it’s worth deciding which social media channels are best suited for your business. Explore the key features of Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram (the three channels that we most often use for our clients) in this post to decide which of these you should focus your efforts on.

3. How do you engage your followers?

When it comes to social media, it’s important to produce a constant flow of content. But if you want to convert some of your virtual followers into real-life loyal customers, then what you’re really after is engagement. Learn all about ‘audience engagement’, the digital marketing buzzword in this post, plus some handy tips that you can apply to your own social media content to build engagement.

4. Short for time? Produce sleek content with your smartphone

Social media requires a lot of effort – you need to post often, and on a consistent basis. What’s more, research shows that visual content is 40X more likely to get shared on social media compared to other types of content. Of course, we’d love it if you hired us to produce all your visuals for you. But if you’re stretched for time, take a look at some simple tips on how you can frame a great shot, using your smartphone, in this post.

5. Find some great stock images for your visuals

Authentic photos and videos can be costly. If they’re only going to be around for a few hours on your social media feed, it may be a good idea to use stock images for some of your posts. Learn the best platforms for sourcing stock in this post.

Of course, with stock, there is always a chance that someone else might be using a similar image. If you’re after some fresh photos and videos for your social media campaigns, contact our team and let us help you produce amazing content that converts.

Top 3 Best Social Media Campaigns of All Time

It’s no secret that social media goes a long way in digital marketing. How do you get it right though? There are no clear-cut answers when it comes to social media campaigns. But there’s certainly a lesson we can all learn from the top 3 best social media campaigns of all time.

1. The ‘Old Spice Guy’

‘Look at your man, now back to me, now back at your man, now back to me.’ Sound familiar? This was the catchphrase of the ‘Old Spice Guy advert, starring Isaiah Mustafa,  that went viral back in 2010. The funny video aside, this marketing ploy was so successful because of the ‘response campaign’ where the Old Spice Guy’s creative team filmed 186 video responses to fans from Twitter, Reddit and other social media platforms, within 3 days.

Lesson: Humour goes a long way. Break down ‘the fourth wall’ by creating a highly entertaining character whom your viewers can interact with. (Even if you can’t afford Isaiah Mustafa.)

2. The #IceBucketChallenge

Do you remember throwing a bucket of ice cold water over your head, recording it on video and sharing it on Facebook? All in the name of charity. The #IceBucketChallenge campaign engaged 17 million people worldwide and raised $115 million for ALS Association. It’s often referred to as the most successful social media campaign of all time.

Lesson: A great cause and an entertaining challenge equate to millions of shares (and tons of fun).

3. #likeagirl

It’s always good to challenge the status quo – and marketing campaigns should be no exception. Need evidence? Check out Always, the feminine hygiene products brand’s Like a Girl’ video that raked in more than 85 million views from over 150 countries, thanks to its attempts to question gender stereotypes. Not only that. The #likeagirl hashtag became a huge success, with women all over the world sharing their views on what it means to do something ‘like a girl’. It raised important questions, such as at what age does the phrase become an insult, and can we change that?

Lesson: Discover the ‘why’ behind your brand – the values that you’re most passionate about, the ethics you want it to represent. Be authentic and be bold.

Ready for a new bold and daring marketing campaign for your brand? Ready to discover the all-important ‘why’ behind your business? Then contact us today to see how we can help.

Brand Photography: The Pros and Cons of Stock

There are numerous websites offering stock photography. While original photography that showcases your unique brand and creates fresh content can’t be rivalled, there’s a case to be made for stock images, too. Here are the pros and cons of each approach.

When to use stock

There’s a number of websites offering free stock images (you can find a full list on one of our previous blog posts here). However, when you use stock, there’s no guarantee that a competitor won’t be using the same images to promote their business. Despite the risk, stock images can still provide great visuals for your regular digital marketing content, especially when it comes to social media where you need lots of visuals to fill your content daily. Stock images can be an inexpensive way to fill in the gaps in your social media calendar.

If you do this, we’d recommend that you overlay the images with a specific filter or template to ensure that your brand maintains the same look and feel across all posts. For instance, we use the same template for our clients Al Bacio when posting their Instagram content to ensure that the brand is easily recognised and consistent across their Instagram channel.

 

When not to use stock

Despite the pros of stock images, there’s still a case to be made for original photography. When you’re designing a new brochure or building your brand new website (content that will stay with your brand for the long term, as opposed to the short shelf-life of your social media posts), it’s a good idea to create unique photography that will showcase your brand in the best possible light and give it a professional look.

On that note…

We have a brand new studio at our new office at Filwood Green Business Park in Bristol where we’ve just finished our first photo shoot. This was for our clients Protechnic, the custom flight case manufacturers who asked us to design a new brochure for them.

Whether you’re looking to boost your digital marketing content with some fresh visual content or want to redesign the entire marketing strategy for your brand, contact us today and our talented team of professionals to see how Cre8ion can help.