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The Power of Visual Storytelling: Responses

visual storytelling responses

Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio, authors of the book The Power of Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Market Your Brand remind us that anything can happen at a moment’s notice online. Companies need to identify common occurrences, both positive and negative.  It means looking for opportunities to create visual storytelling responses all around us.  Some strategies include:

 

  • Understand the most important factors that can influence sales and customer leads
  • Weather may be an important theme to craft content around
  • At key times of the year, companies can announce awards, rankings, events, speeches, partnerships, and make other announcements
  • Understand the most frequently asked service inquiries and comments, both positive and negative
  • Develop a robust content library to allow time for real-time opportunities
  • The best storytellers play off their audience responses to hit the message home
  • Extend the life of conversations and engagement as long as it is relevant
  • Look at the content fans are sharing each day

While on the topic of user generated content, there is a higher barrier to engagement if it is not natural for fans to share visual content.  Reward sharing behavior with a campaign, contest, and/or rewards.  Look for themes in the most common types of photos, videos, hashtags, and sentiment.

Choose a clear call to action such as a unique hashtag available across all social media channels.  Make full disclosure to customers how and where their photos and videos will be shared.  Highlight examples to show a range of creativity.  Give rewards and recognition by having an “image of the week” or randomly sending a thank you.

Customers can share their own content through videos shared on social networks like YouTube, Instagram, and the Vine.  Look at your content calendar to determine which video(s) will help tell your visual story in a way that other media cannot.  Think about your target audience, desired end goals, and what resources are available.  Evaluate the needs of your audience and show off your personality.  Mix up the content to a variety of different types and lengths of videos. Common videos include:

  • Announcements
  • Behind-the-scenes
  • Case studies
  • Celebrity partnerships
  • Community involvement
  • Company overview
  • Demos
  • Event highlights
  • FAQs
  • Goals
  • How-to
  • Live streams
  • Office tours
  • Parodies
  • Testimonials
  • Video blogs
  • Visual portfolios

Fan shared content as well as company made videos can show another side to a business. The key is to make the most of what customers are saying about you.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

The Power of Visual Storytelling: Facebook

visual storytelling Facebook

The Power of Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Market Your Brand is written by authors and social media experts Ekaterina Walter and Jessica Gioglio. They devote a whole section of their book to informing the reader about Facebook statistics and giving profitable strategies for businesses using Facebook.

With over 1 billion active users, Facebook allowed brands and organizations to set up public pages in 2007.  Text, image, and video posts can all be seamlessly integrated in a user-friendly design.  Businesses can encourage comments, likes, and shares from their followers.

Facebook Statistics:

  • Half of Facebook fans prefer the brand pages to company websites
  • Posts between 100-250 characters get about 60% more likes, comments, & shares
  • Post at least one to two times per week to stay top-of-mind and relevant
  • Pictures receive 120-180% more engagement from fans than text-based posts.
  • 200 million photos get uploaded to Facebook on an average day
  • 80% of social media users prefer to connect with brands through Facebook.
  • Facebook is available in more than 70 languages
  • Facebook accounts for 1 in every 7 minutes spent online
  • Facebook accounts for 3 of every 4 minutes on social networking websites
  • U.S. desktop users spend an average of about six hours every month on Facebook
  • U.S. mobile users spend an average of eleven hours every month on Facebook
  • 2.5 billion content shares a day on Facebook
  • 2.7 billion likes a day on Facebook
  • 15 million brand pages on Facebook

Facebook Strategies:

  • Create photos specifically to generate conversations
  • Ask fans to upload their own videos
  • Create campaigns specifically for Facebook fans
  • Photos and videos work really well
  • Great creative with your header photo by choosing something eye-catching and inspiring
  • Change the header photo now and then to keep it fresh
  • Offer creative visual contests to engage your fans in a sustainable way
  • Ask questions to spark engagement
  • Improve customer service by talking to fans, encouraging feedback, and sharing images
  • Encourage user-generated content
  • Followers relate more to brands
  • Fans feel like they are an active part of the product experience than a passive consumer

The authors recommend that businesses use Facebook in order to attract fans, build brand awareness, and increase customer loyalty.  The key is engaging in conversations with fans, sharing useful content, and posting pictures and videos (from the brand itself as well as from the fans). Facebook is a valuable social media platform with which businesses can tell their story and interact with their fans.

Visual storytelling can take place on Pinterest, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Slideshare.  We will look at more social media platforms as the Visual Storytelling series continues.

 

What Makes A Blog Post Go Viral?

what makes blog post viral

 

 

Every blogger dreams of a bigger audience.  It is human nature to want to be recognized and to receive attention and praise.  So just what makes blog post viral?

 

 

1) Have you grabbed their attention with your title?  Opening lines should pique interest and curiosity, show a benefit, highlight a need, promise to entertain/inform/teach, or offer something of value.  Work hard early on at hooking your reader into your post.

2) Have you made it easy to read?  Readers scan pages online looking for keywords, phrases, and visual clues like numbers and bullet points. Use lists or other formatting techniques to emphasize points.  Your content must be appealing, entertaining, engaging, and interactive.

3) Does anybody really care about your topic? No one wants to know what you had for breakfast–unless maybe you had breakfast with a celebrity.  Giving people the “inside scoop” on a famous person’s thoughts and secrets will make your blog incredibly popular.

4) Have you had personal experience involving your blog topic?  Accomplishments speak volumes to your readers.  This does not mean you have to be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company or featured on the cover of People magazine.  What lessons have you learned along the way? People tend to respect you more if you share past obstacles or mistakes and how you overcame them.

5) Is this a brand new topic?  If you are in the fields of medicine, science, or technology you may very well have cutting edge information to share with the world.  We are listening!

6) Is your perspective different and maybe even controversial?  Sometimes blunt opinions can get people in trouble, but they can also get passed along.  Do you have a hot topic that will lure comments?  Be sure to respond to your comments.  This is what makes your blog interactive.

7) Is there something fascinating about your topic or are people sick of reading about it because everybody in the world has been covering it?  There is only so many times people can take hearing about the celebrities that tend to get all the media attention.  It can be annoying when they compare two celebrities who wore the same thing and then make comments on “who wore it better?”  Most people don’t care!

8) Is there something hilarious, quirky, or unbelievable about it?  There is a large dog in my neighborhood who, from behind his fence, will jump up and down like he is on a pogo stick all across his backyard when he sees my dog and I walking together.  I need to get that on video! Speaking of…

9) Do you have a good graphic, photo, or video available?  Humans are very visual creatures. That is part of the reason why Pinterest other image sharing social media sites like Instagram have done so well.  Did you know Pinterest has over 70 millions users?

10) Have you shared your blog post on every relevant social media channel?  You may want to describe the post differently depending upon the platform.  Since Linked In is for business and career-minded people, you may have a different way of promoting your blog post to your Linked In connections than to your Facebook fans and friends.

How will you know if your blog post was successful?

  • Number of unique visitors to your blog post
  • Re-tweets, shared links, social network mentions
  • Quality of the blogs and websites where your blog post is referenced
  • Frequency of approaches by people interested in working with you
  • Quantity of traffic where sales take place
  • Amount of paid opportunities that result from your blog
  • Blog subscriber numbers
  • E-mail sign ups
  • If people who have powerful influence refer to your blog
  • The number and quality of comments from your readers

Trust me, you will know!  Do you have any ideas about what makes a blog post go viral? Please share below.  I read all comments and respond when appropriate.

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Hosting The Business Traveler

the business traveler

 

Have you thought about promoting your bed and breakfast to the business traveler? Your B&B may be in a quiet area that is not too far from major companies.  You can offer a discounted rate to corporate business people.  One bed and breakfast called their promotion code “BIZRATE”.

 

 

You can emphasize all the reasons why the business traveler should want to stay with you:

  • Their own desk area with comfortable office chair
  • Wi-fi
  • Fax machine
  • Alarm clock
  • Located near a copy store like Kinko’s
  • Peace and quiet
  • Free parking
  • Flexible check-in times
  • Adjustable breakfast arrangements (including “to go”)
  • Lenient cancellation policy (ex: no penalty for canceling by noon on the day prior to your scheduled arrival)

Some B&B’s choose to limit this offer to specific rooms or do not make this promotion available at certain times of the year.  As an innkeeper, you can offer the traveler a certain percentage off their room.  One bed and breakfast offers 20% off the first night and 33% off all other nights.

You can emphasize that they will receive the same great breakfast, same wonderful service, and they are staying at an awesome place.  Be sure to discuss this promotion on your website, in your blog, and through social media. You may even contact local area major corporations to let them know their out-of-town employees and customers can stay at your bed and breakfast.  Be sure to take advantage of your closeness to major businesses.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

B&B Guests: Shoppers and Antique Lovers

shoppers

Some guests consider themselves professional shoppers. They visit your bed and breakfast because of the terrific shopping available in your area.  Whether it is special boutiques, retail outlets, flea markets, or antique dealers, their mission is to find some great buys.  Some come as collectors to attend conventions for valuable items such as stamps, dolls, and cars. Whatever their reason, your website and blog can promote these opportunities and events.

B&B Guests: Adventurers

adventurers

 

Adventurers are guests who want to stay busy with physical activities since they love to stay active and explore.  Adventurers enjoy and seek exciting, and sometimes daring, experiences. This could be climbing mountains, golfing, hiking, horseback riding, skiing, or any other outdoor activity or sport.

 

If your bed and breakfast is located near anything that offers fun activities such as the ones mentioned, consider putting together a special promotion or package by contacting these businesses to get guests:

  • 36 holes of golf
  • passes to hiking trials or skiing mountains
  • horseback riding lessons or explorations
  • whitewater rafting adventures

By having a blog and a small part of your website marketing this, you will attract potential B&B guests who have adventurous spirits.  Be sure to think about what opportunities are available in your local and surrounding areas. Have fun with it and you can even create a guidebook of possible adventures for your guests!

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Maximizing Your Time

maximizing your time

We all have 24 hours in our day.  Since none of us can buy time, we must maximize (make the greatest and full use of) this limited resource. This means we must have a strategy (a plan for obtaining a specific goal or result).

So what are goals?  Goals are the results toward which our efforts are directed.  The best goals are SMART:

  • Specific–target a specific area for improvement
  • Measurable–quantify or at least suggest an indicator of progress
  • Action-oriented–state what action must be taken
  • Realistic–state what results can realistically be achieved, given available resources
  • Time-related–specify when the results can be achieved

As an innkeeper of a bed and breakfast, you may want to categorize your goals based on the different areas in your job. I have included an example of a smart goal for each category.

  • Cooking–I will learn at least one new breakfast recipe each week and serve it to my guests.
  • Decorating–I will consult with a professional painter and get an estimate on interior and exterior painting costs.
  • Events–I will host a local chamber of commerce meeting every week.
  • Finances–I will keep an organized record of my earnings and expenses.
  • Gardening–I will plant at least 3 trees and 5 bushes this month.
  • Housekeeping–I will hire a maid to clean our rooms regularly.
  • Laundry–I will arrange for a laundry service to clean our linens.
  • Marketing and Promotion–I will hire someone to write a blog for our website.
  • Shopping–I will stick to my list every time I buy groceries.

You may think of other categories or come up with different goals.  The point is to make the best use of your time. This will allow you, the busy innkeeper, to get everything done and still have a little down time to yourself.

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

The Hospitality of Hosting

hospitality of hosting

A gracious host is very welcoming and immediately sets you at ease when you arrive. Hospitality is the relationship between the guest and the host, or the act or practice of being hospitable. This includes the reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers. It is important, as bed and breakfast owners and innkeepers, that guests feel at home in your home.

Hospitality is associated with etiquette and entertainment. It involves showing respect for one’s guests, providing for their needs, and treating them as equals. The word hospitality derives from the Latin hospes, meaning “host”, “guest”, or “stranger”.

 

Hospitable Things To Say

  • “Make yourself at home.”
  • “What brings you here to stay with us?”
  • “Do you need more fresh towels or pillows?”
  • “Can I get you anything else?”
  • “Feel free to select from our DVDs and books to take back to your room during your stay here.”
  • “Would you like to know about some fun things to do in our area?”
  • “Your homemade fresh-cooked breakfast will be ready at….”
  • “Would you care for some tea this afternoon?”

As an innkeeper, you will need to know the fine art of how much to interact with your guests. Be available to answer their questions, but also be sensitive to their need for privacy.  Take your cue from the guests themselves since each person is different.  This way you tailor your hospitality to match the needs and wants of your guests. That is the hospitality of hosting!

 

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography