By Kylie Jane Wakefield
In our series of small business tools: doing your own social media marketing, we've discussed creating your own blog and participating in social networks. One increasingly lucrative area of social media marketing is media sharing, on sites and platforms that disseminate video and images, as opposed to text. "Visual aid is one of the biggest platforms to create ripples amongst your fans, followers and potential clients," writes Paras Singh of EvoMantra. "Visuals bring about a fine quality to the content which cannot really be expressed in words." Small business owners looking to integrate media sharing into their social media campaigns shouldn't fret: It's easy, user friendly, and can result in excellent outcomes such as increased engagement and highly visible brand marketing. Here are some channels on which small business owners can participate in media sharing.
YouTube has been gaining clout online recently among social media marketers and companies. It is hugely popular; according to the website, it receives more than 800 million unique visits each month, and every minute, 72 hours of video are uploaded. It has influence in 43 countries and is translated into 60 different languages. The branded channel is the initial introduction to your small business, so it has to be memorable. Jeffrey Harmon of Orabrush says to stick to the four C's when managing a channel: Content, Call to action, Collaboration, and Consistency. The content needs to be relevant and understand "its audience and purpose," and videos — and the channel in general — should include links to the company's website to encourage a call to action. Videos need to be consistent, whether that means they're posted on a daily or weekly basis. "All the big YouTubers release once a week, or twice a week, or multiple times a week," says Harmon. "It just increases their momentum." The first step for small business owners is to create the channel for their company. The page should be branded, which means including company pictures, colors, and copy. An official comprehensive guide on starting a channel can be found here: "Creating a Brand Channel." Once the channel is set up, owners should upload the content. YouTube has an official help guide for that as well. To edit and manage the videos, check out even more tutorials here. The types of videos that should be put up depends upon the business. Tutorials and how-tos are helpful, and meeting a need will gain your company recognition. "For example, if you're a plumber, a how-to video on fixing a leaky toilet is a great way to get the attention of someone with that problem," says Morgan Brown of ReelSeo. "You create interest in your service by not only showing how to fix their problem but also providing some additional tips that the viewer might not have considered." Owners can also post behind-the-scenes videos that showcase the company's employees. Customers will be able to relate and see who the faces of the business are. Blogger and small business owner Marcus Sheridan says, "People like putting faces with products. That’s what we do. We like stories. We think and make decisions on logical, but also emotional, levels." He also points out that testimonials and demonstrating a product are great subjects for videos. Remember: The main goals are to get hits and foster engagement. Here are some guides on how to accomplish that: "Secret Sauce: What Does It Take to Create a Viral Video?" and "6 Ways to Grow YouTube Subscribers and Your Exposure."
Videos aren't the only effective forms of visual social media marketing out there: Pictures are extremely influential as well. As reported by blogger Sean Clark, a study by content curation agency Curata found that there was a 47% increase in engagement on articles that included images, compared to those lacking images. "When it comes to grabbing attention online images play as an important role as headlines," says Clark. "The right image can have a massive impact on getting your content read and shared." According to WaterMarquee, Flickr has over 80 million unique visitors every month and boasts more than 51 million registered users. The site suggests only putting up high quality photos, buying the Pro account and having an unlimited number of uploads, and marking photos as "Creative Commons," which means other people can use the photos. That way, they will be seen throughout the web if picked up. Photos should also include tags and descriptive titles (for search purposes), along with location information. The community aspect of Flickr can be cultivated by commenting and favoriting other users' images. After signing up for a Flickr, small business owners can start uploading. As the site's guide explains, uploading can be done through its uploader, third-party tools or email. HowCast uploaded a nifty video on to get started. Just like on YouTube, on Flickr, businesses can post employee photos or showcase products. When it comes to content, as long as it fits the demographic, it can be posted. If an owner runs an athletic store, he or she can post photos of the woods (for the hikers), the ocean (for swimmers) or health products (for all the athletes).
Media sharing platforms are crucial parts of any small business' social media campaign. YouTube and Flickr offer small businesses the ability to get out there and connect with their users in a visual fashion. In part 5 of our series on DIY small business tools, we'll take a look at review sites. Another easy was to go about engaging new customers is to market to them leading up to the holiday season.