Friday, June 29, 2012

How to Make a Viral Video - 5 tips from TED Talks

Anyone that knows me knows I hate the term "viral video" essentially because it describes something that does not actually exist.  It's really bad when someone claims they will be creating a viral video since that makes them a fortune teller a.k.a. a scam artist.

The truth is that you create content online in the hope that it can get spread and shared enough to get that elusive label of "viral." (On a side note isn't it funny how the word viral online is this holy grail for most companies but offline its association is with sickness and death?)

There are tons of tips from people out there on how to make your video content more likely to go viral.  I watched the below video from one of the people behind the successful TED Talks and she does an excellent job outlining how TED created their video content to increase their chances of being spread.

In case you don't have time to watch the whole thing here is the top points she makes:
  • Think like a filmmaker
  • Film for the super small screen(think tight shots)
  • Start strong
  • Evoke contagious emotions
  • Don't forget to tell a story

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Social Media Crisis Management 101

Everybody has a different definition of a crisis.  For some people a crisis could be a slow barista as Starbucks, for others it could be sending out a tweet to everyone instead of a DM.

If you are responsible for your companies social media then crisis management will inevitably come up.  It does not have to be a daunting task to handle.  Here is a simple framework to start with:
  1. Listening - ensure you are getting all mentions of your brand/products from the web coming into someone in your org.  That person has to manage the flow and be able to spot issues soon after they arise.  There are free tools like Google Alerts and paid ones like Radian6 that handle this.
  2. Escalation - there should be a direct line from first notice(the Listener) all the way to CEO if needed.  These people need to be informed and trained to understand what a crisis looks like.  An example tactic here would be to have a designated subject line for a crisis like ATTN: CUSTOMER NEEDS HELP ASAP ON TWITTER so when that e-mail comes in they know they need to act fast.
  3. Actions - who is responsible for responding?  It may not be the person with the best knowledge to address the crisis but this person can ankle bite the right people to get the right response.  Without a person designated with the task of sending a tweet or writing a Facebook post this whole process can grind to a halt.
I present the above as a mental framework for social media crisis management.  You should then flesh this out with specifics that suite your company size and needs.

Friday, June 15, 2012

What you want vs what your audience wants

If you've owned a business for more than 10 seconds you know the urge.  The unshakable feeling that is driving your every move to convince as many people as possible that whatever it is you are selling is the right solution for them.

You believe this deep into your bones.  If you could just have 5 minutes face to face with that prospect you could show them how wonderful your widget/service/etc is.  All they have to do is fill out that simple form on your website and they will understand!

Oh that thing I just mentioned, filling out that form?  There is the hard part.  In fact its the hardest thing your website will ever do and the most important.  The form could be to buy something on the spot or to speak with a sales rep, either way that conversion is the Holy Grail of your entire web presence.

Why is this such a problem?  On a good day 95% of the people who visit your site don't take a measurable action(buy something, fill out a form etc).

There is no way to get everyone to always convert but if you understand one thing about your audience it should be this:

How does your audience decide to buy what you are selling?

Match your site to the buying process not the selling process.  This doesn't just go for your website but for all digital content you create(Facebook updates, YouTube videos, etc).

Ask yourself how anything you create online matching the stages of the users buying process.  It could be high level or something close to the sale itself.  If you don't know how your content fits into the your customers mindset then they will probably ignore it.