Happy Freakin’ Monday Ep 45 – Why Use Instagram Stories

I am admittedly late to jump on the Instagram Stories bandwagon. It is January 2019 and I posted my first story last week. The reason? I just never had the time or the interest to flip through the stories of those I follow and so I never felt the need to post my own. However, I know that is a terrible excuse! When it comes to choosing your marketing channels, it should never be based on anecdotal evidence but true, honest data and the data is pretty clear.

Why use Stories

Instagram Stories is a trend that is not going away and in fact becoming more and more popular and I cannot ignore it anymore. How popular you ask? Well between June and October of 2018, the number of users grew by 100 million to an estimated 400 million users daily. So at least I’m not the only one who is late to the party.

Here is a chart of that growth up to june of last year. Source: Statista.com (click the image for direct link)

Now in my defense, the demographics using stories does tend to be younger which is not exactly my target audience. That being said, some of my clients do fall into that age range and therefore it is a channel that I want to explore.

It is also a channel that my followers are using and by not being there, I’m definitely missing an opportunity. According to Ad Espresso, 80% of all daily active instagram users are watching stories as often as they are browsing their feed.  Source: AdEspresso 

So here is a very active and popular media space that you need to be exploring. Last week I spoke about capitalizing on “Micro-Moments” and stories was a prime example of how to do that. If you are trying to get your message in front of Instagram users and keep your brand top of mind, then you need to diversify your messaging and understand some users might be looking at their feed while others are looking at stories.

Stories are fantastic at keeping your audience engaged with short messages and there are lots of creative ways to make that message fun and entertaining. Not to mention, you can and should use those to expand your Instagram profile by creating Highlights. These are saved stories that remain at the top of your profile which is a perfect way to showcase different products or services that you provide.

The point is that Instagram is an amazing channel for engaging your audience and advertise your business. However, if you’re not using stories, you’re not getting the most out of the platform and you’re missing a huge portion of your audience.

Stay tuned next week when I continue to spread the Insta love and talk more in-depth about HOW to use stories for your business.

Have A Great Week!

Happy Freakin’ Monday Ep 44 – Instant Marketing

The landscape of digital marketing is changing. In fact, it has always been changing and evolving, the trick is trying to stay on top of change and lasting trends. One of those lasting trends that I want to talk about and focus on for myself even, is the Instant marketing trend.

What is instant marketing? Well there are 2 aspects to this concept of Instant marketing and the best way to illustrate them is to think about how you consume media. The first part is about our expectation for “instant” as consumers. For example, if you have a problem like your toilet is backed up, you will probably google plumbers and hope to have a solution within minutes. The same goes for shopping with sites like Amazon really pushing that instant solution, and speedy delivery.

As consumers, we are all becoming increasingly demanding with our need for instant solutions to our problems, and as marketers we need to be aware of that, and cater to it.

The second aspect is how we actually use our devices. Statistics show that we are online a lot but that’s a total amount that is generally made up of many short bursts. So if you think about your day you probably looked at your phone when you had time. You might have spent 10 min here, 15 min there, checking social media, or shopping when you had a few minutes to spare.

Google actually coined the term “Micro-Moments” to define this behaviour of usage and demand that seems to only be getting more micro as digital media continues to evolve. The fact is that the window of time that advertisers have, to be in that right place at the right time, is becoming shorter and shorter.

Digital marketing may have always been considered “instant” but new channels and tools are making your regular Facebook posts look like a week old newspaper because of their increased immediacy. To stay on top of this trend we need to think micro, think instant, and even right now.

Here are 2 ways to stay on top of this and deliver your marketing to consumers in an effective way:

1. Live streaming

Live video is a very powerful tool that I have talked about before but I will say it again that you should be live streaming things like events, sales, and special promotions to cater to that “in the moment” mentality. You want your message to be shorter but more frequent and across more platforms. Live streaming is instant because it is happening right this moment and your followers will get notified when you go live.

2. Stories

Stories should also be a key focus for you in 2019. So Instagram and facebook stories for example that allow you to craft simple but short messages that disappear in 24hrs. These are capitalizing on the immediate with an added sense of urgency as the posts are usually deleted after 24hrs so it’s a great place to post about a sale that your followers won’t want to miss.

I for one have been late to jump on the story bandwagon for my own business but one of my resolutions for 2019 is to kick that into high gear. So stay tuned for next week when I talk more about stories, why they are effective and how to use them to your advantage. See you next week!

Have A Great Week!

Happy Freakin’ Monday Ep 18 – Greatest Lesson In Customer Service

This is the greatest customer service lesson I learned when working in retail. It’s simple, it is “always return the toaster.”

Let’s say that someone came to your business, to return a toaster but the problem is that you don’t sell toasters. What do you do?

Well this actually happened once when I was working at a “Sporting Lifestyle” store. If you don’t know what that means, it’s just a pretentious way of saying that they don’t sell equipment that you might expect but instead mostly clothing and even Prada activewear. So they definitely were not in the business of selling toasters.

One day a customer came in with a toaster in a bag, no box, no receipt, and they wanted to return it. There was no convincing them that they did not purchase the toaster from that store. They were certain that they bought it there, paid $30 and they were not satisfied so they wanted their money back.

Now here is the situation, I’m not saying that you should let people take advantage of you but look at the big picture. In this case, the customer had a purchase history, they spent a lot of money at the store, multiple times in the past. We knew this because the store asked for your phone number and kept a record of sales by customer number. Despite that, there was no record of a toaster being purchased nor was that item even in the system. Yet the customer still wouldn’t back down.

Also I will say, in their defence, there was a small table near the checkout where a lot of odd nicknacks would end up. With that in mind, there was a slight chance that they did in fact purchase it from that store... but still unlikely.

So what did the manager do? They returned it and gave the customer a $30 in-store credit. Because at the end of the day that is the equivalent of maybe a 10% discount or less based on average sales at that store. It’s was nothing to make that person happy and to send them in to the store to shop instead of storming out to tell everyone about the terrible experience they had.

From that experience I learned the very definition of the cliche “the customer is always right” and I never forgot. So if you ever find yourself in a similar situation just remember to always, always, always return the toaster.

See you next week!

Happy Freakin’ Monday Ep 16 – 2 Tactics for Customer Retention

School’s out for summer. What does that mean for your marketing? Does your business slow down or speed up this time of year?

No matter what your seasonality it’s important to keep your marketing going even when your audience is on vacation. However, instead of focusing on acquiring new customers, a slow season can be a perfect time to focus on retention. That is holding onto your own customer base by bringing them back for more and here are 2 ways to do that.

  1. Focus on customer service. When you can leave your customers wowed, they are more likely to come back. Not to mention if your customers are raving about an amazing experience that can often be the best word of mouth marketing.
  2. Customer appreciation. Time to give back, to say thank you in a big way. Try throwing a party, mailing out coupons or gifts, or wow just one customer.

If you do a big giveaway consider capturing it on video. There’s often a marketing opportunity hidden within public events. A video is a great way to amplify that story. A great example is the WestJet Christmas Miracle campaign that WestJet runs every year.

Do you have a great retention strategy that you want to share?

See you next week!

Happy Freakin’ Monday Ep 15 – 3 Ways To Lock Down Your Brand Like A Bank

If your graphic designer asks you for your logo and you send them a pixelated jpeg, then you have a problem. Or worse, you say to them, “if that doesn’t work, try this one...” attaching an equally low resolution image that looks different from the original logo.

My experience with brand consistency came from working with banks. I’ve worked with some of the top banks in Canada and if anyone ever used a pixelated or altered logo, the brand police would shut it down faster than they can charge you arbitrary fees.

That’s because their Brand guidelines are like the law and rightfully so. Consistency in your marketing is so vitally important because it is repetition and recognition that will keep you top of mind. Your brand is the root that holds it all together.

Working with TD Bank several years ago, I saw their brand guidelines go from a pdf file approximately 350 pages to an extensive web portal with restricted access where they could control all of the assets and information as well as who has access to it.

You probably don’t have a multi-million dollar marketing budget but here are three simple ways to lock down your brand consistency like a bank:

  1. Ask for the working files. When it comes to your logo, make sure you ask your designer for the working files. Either a .eps or .ai file, whatever they used to design your logo, you need that original master. Store it in a safe place and make sure that any new designers use that file.
  2. Do not let anyone alter your logo. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve seen logos embellished with drop shadows, colors changed, or reoriented to fit a certain application. No, no, and absolutely no. the only reason your logo should be altered is if you’re doing a complete rebrand which involves changing every instance of your old logo that’s out there.
  3. Define your brand elements. You don’t need a 350 page branding guideline document, but if you can throw together a simple word document that outlines a few elements that will set you up for killer consistency. From print, to web, and digital, anyone who does design or even video production for you should know these key elements:
    • Brand colors - what are they include RGB (for web and video) and CMYK (for print) color values.
    • Secondary Colors - same goes for these.
    • Brand fonts - if you can include the font files too, I swear, your designer will hug you.
    • Any other design elements - include details about how they should be used.

When you understand the importance of brand consistency you will soon become your own brand police. It’s easy once you take these 3 simple steps to spot inconsistency when a designer hands you something with a logo that’s been altered or uses off-brand fonts or colors.

So when it comes to your branding, my advice is to think like a bank and protect it like gold. Just don’t charge as many fees... because no one likes that.

See you next week!

Happy Freakin’ Monday Ep 14 – Why Live Video is Important

I just saved myself so much time I almost don’t know what to do. To give you an idea, my typical Monday morning I spend a good chunk of time finalizing my Happy Freakin Monday videos. I need to export them for Youtube, Facebook, Instagram and then creating the thumbnails and captions... It’s a lot of work for anyone let alone an entrepreneur with a baby napping next door.

So this morning, (on my Birthday) I am giving myself the gift of a live video. Both on YouTube and Facebook. If you didn’t realize that YouTube does live video, I don’t think you’re alone. Pretty much every social media channel is making a push for live streaming and this is an important tool to use because it is a way to engage with your audience on a new level.

Certainly edited videos have their place. With an edited video, you have the ability to add captions, text on screen, graphics plus you can refine the picture and sound quality and selecting the best takes are all perfect reasons not to do a live video. Especially when you are as awkward as I am.

A live video on the other hand eliminates a whole post production workflow from your plate. It saves a lot of time but that’s not the only benefit. Your followers are notified when you go live and while you’re shooting you can see who is watching and their comments. This is an amazing way to engage with your audience by responding to their comments and questions right in your video. Plus once it’s finished you can post it so people can still watch it anytime and continue gaining views.

The great thing is that all you need is a phone, tablet or laptop which I’m guessing most of you own either one or all of the above. However, I would suggest a few small things to improve the quality of your videos especially if you are shooting on a phone or tablet.

  1. Get a tripod. It’s really easy to mount your phone or tablet on a tripod for your live videos. You will need an adapter but I got mine on amazon for under $10 and I use it all the time.
  2. A microphone will make a huge difference in the sound quality. Most cameras, tablets and laptops do not have the best onboard microphones. I picked up a small lavalier microphone specifically for phones and even mounting it to a stand about a foot from my mouth it picks up my voice really well. I like the fact that it’s not in the shot but you can also clip it to your shirt depending on the length of the cable.
  3. Lighting is really important too. If you don’t have any lights to brighten up your shot try shooting in front of or next to a window. My home office is not the brightest so I set up a small LED light to brighten things up. It’s important to remember not to sit with a window behind you as that will most likely be backlit where your face will be too dark compared to the bright outdoor light.

So that’s it, live video is really the way of the future but make sure you still plan out your content and plan your setup for the best possible results. And try to be less awkward than me 🙂

See you next week!