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3 Places to Update Your Online Marketing

3 Places to Update Your Online Marketing

All of us in the events industry is seeing some stormy skies at the moment. Some have already felt the stinging rain of canceled events or missed payments, and the rest of us are waiting apprehensively, sure that a flood is headed our way. It’s in these unsure, stormy days when it’s wise to do everything we can to prepare for when there’s sunshine again. This is when systematizing your online marketing can be absolutely crucial to both making it through the storm in one piece, and also in thriving once we’re back in the metaphorical sunny days.

Every company’s marketing strategies are unique, but I’d imagine most will center around three primary outlets: Facebook/Instagram, your own blog, and Pinterest.

Facebook/Instagram

Conveniently positioned as “Everyone’s Favorite Quarantine Pastime,” Facebook and Instagram are a fantastic way to market your business broadly, and to encourage word-of-mouth sharing among your friends, your clients, and all their friends. Since pretty much no one is shooting right now, you may decide it’s a good idea to work through your back-catalog and highlight some favorite events or shoots from past years.

Showcasing past work has the double-benefit of:

  1. showing off your unique skill and artistry, and
  2. reminding people *just* how long it’s been since they had their photo taken.

Planting these seeds early and semi-often can help your business pick back up when all this is over, and might even give you the opportunity to pre-sell sessions or events and keep the income flowing in the meantime.

The best part is that you can do this for free, avoiding Facebook’s frustrating and confusing advertising metrics, and keeping your cash in your pocket. Facebook’s algorithm rewards photos that are easy to share and are widely embraced. That means that if your photos are beautiful and aren’t uploaded at too large a file size, Facebook will put them in front of more people. Additionally, the more engagement your photos get, the more people Facebook will show them to. So encourage likes, comments, and conversation, and be sure and put yourself in the middle of that to spur on further engagement.

BlogStomp can help you prepare your images for Facebook by sizing them perfectly and adding a logo/website watermark to ensure your friends’ friends’ friends can easily find where and how to get a hold of you to book their own session.

BlogStomp

Preparing Facebook images in BlogStomp

Your blog

Where Facebook and Instagram have the advantage of the breadth of reach, your own blog has the advantage of depth. No other place on the internet is a stronger resource for seeing the full catalog of your photography work than your blog, so making sure it looks the way you want it to, showing off the best of the best of your work, is paramount.

While you have a bit of downtime, use it to go back through your blog — publish any not-yet-blogged shoots you want to show off, revise or re-dress any older posts that need a freshening up, and thoroughly examine the look and feel of your blog, ensuring that your site visitors don’t get bogged down or confused by any elements that can be removed.

While you’re at it, give a thought to your SEO. Consider which keywords you’re including in each post, and check for readability and flow. You might even want to revise older posts, as your business direction may have shifted over the years.

BlogStomp makes it easy to maximize your SEO with custom file names, and you can include alt tags and title tags when you publish directly to your WordPress blog.

Pinterest

So we know that Facebook and Instagram have their strengths in “word of mouth” online marketing (tag your friends, their friends see it, they send it to their friends, etc.) and your blog has the depth of SEO pull and evergreen content.  Where Pinterest shines is in what we call “Stranger Sharing.”

Pinterest doesn’t rely on personal connections to serve up your content to people. If they get to pinterest.com and search “Springtime Farm Wedding” and you’ve got images on Pinterest with the phrase “Springtime Farm Wedding” in the description, they’ll see it. They may see it and like it. They may even see it and fall in love with your photographic style. There’s even a chance they’ll want to see more of your work.

Make it easy for them to find you by watermarking your images, being intentional about tags and keywords, and including your website URL in your descriptions and file names.

BlogStomp is essential in this online marketing process, too. You can create a style for Pinterest that is set to the width you want to share, then assemble unique collages sure to attract the right kind of attention to your website.  Potential clients will do their part and search up the stuff they want to see, and BlogStomp will have done its part to help make sure they see your images first.

Blogstomp

Create Pinterest collages in BlogStomp

And since many current blog themes allow you to activate a “Pin It” button on your blog images, using BlogStomp to rename each image or collage in a way that points people back to your website is invaluable when others share your work on Pinterest and forget to credit you in their comments.

Let’s get started

Ugh, sheesh — all of this sounds like just a TON of work.

Well, it sort of is. On the one hand, yeah, it’s a lot to get done. But on the other hand, what else have you got going on right now?  : )

While it can feel like a lot to do, BlogStomp makes it easy (and, dare I say, fun?) to get it done. Let’s admit it — none of us got into photography because we wanted to spend endless hours in front of a computer working on our online marketing. These days, we all have a stronger relationship with our mouse and keyboard than we do with our camera. I honestly don’t know if the biggest threat to one’s photography career is creative burnout or carpal tunnel syndrome!

But BlogStomp is your way around all of that. For over ten years BlogStomp has helped tens of thousands of photographers around the world to prepare their images and marketing pieces. It is built to execute many tasks quickly and easily, and then to get out of your way.


The original article by Chip Gillespie was originally published at Honeybook.com

About the Author:

Chip Gillespie

One of StompSoftware’s original founders and a Houston-based wedding photographer, Chip is the ultimate all-rounder helping to drive the development, user experience, online marketing and support of the business. He’s our man on the ground in our biggest market, and he wears one helluva mustache.


Featured Image Credits: Pixabay

 

The Definitive Guide to Online Reputation Management

The Definitive Guide to Online Reputation Management

There are a lot of misconceptions about online reputation management. Some people think it’s just social media monitoring, while others believe it has something to do with public relations, and still others literally have no idea how it can impact business and sales.

In this guide, I’m going to explain the role of online reputation management in today’s business and media landscape. Companies of every size can benefit from having a clear outline of their main concepts.

They Are Talking About You

Just a few years ago, the internet was very different. Companies were not engaging customers but just selling to a passive audience; people could not express their voice in a powerful way, and the overall communication landscape was very “top-down.”

The situation has radically changed. Today, websites are no longer static brochures. User-generated content is a must. And regular interactions on social networks are vital to any business’s success.

No matter the size of your business, they (prospects, customers, clients…anyone, and, potentially, everyone) are talking about you. They are tweeting about your latest product, leaving a comment on your blog, posting a Facebook update about their customer experience, and much more.

If you think you can skip this, or if you think you can make it without taking into account people’s voices, opinions, and reviews, think again.

The Transparency Risk

One of the most recent business commandments is “Be transparent.” Opening up to criticism and feedback seems to be beneficial for companies that embrace this new communication mode with their audience.

What does being “transparent” mean? Here are some examples:

  • Allowing employees to talk about products and services publicly
  • Establishing a 1-to-1 communication channel
  • Asking for feedback
  • Not hiding criticism, and addressing it publicly

Easier said than done! Most small and medium-sized companies do not invest much in communication, and they struggle with this concept. As a result, their efforts usually are incorrect or inconsistent.

Being transparent is risky. But in the long run, not being transparent is riskier.

Online Reputation Management “Failures”

 

The transparency risk led many companies to literally fail in their quest to be “radically transparent.” Being open, in fact, does not come without a price. If you and your brand accept feedback, customer opinions, and so on, you also must be ready to face them promptly.

Consider these scenarios:

  1. What if your product/service sparks too much criticism?
  2. What if your employees are not social media savvy?
  3. What if your competitors take advantage of this?

These are some of the reasons one needs to have a proper online reputation management plan in action before embarking on a “transparency journey.”

Here are three famous cases of reputation management failure in the digital era:

  • Dark Horse Café received a tweet criticizing their lack of electrical outlets for laptops. Their response was something like: “We are in the coffee business, not the office business. We have plenty of outlets to do what we need.” Needless to say, this kind of defensive/aggressive behavior doesn’t work in the online world. Many blogs reported the fact as a negative public relations case.
  • Nestlé received negative comments about their environmental practices a few years ago, and they did not address them. People started becoming aggressive and posted altered versions of the Nestlé logo, forcing the company to close its public page. Takeaway? Do not pretend people are not talking, and address criticism as soon as possible.
  • Amy’s Baking Company fought fire with fire against a one-star internet review. Their insults against the reviewer eventually were picked up by the local news. It is obvious that negative attention is not good publicity.

What’s The Sentiment Out There?

 

What are people saying about you? Good online reputation management is not only about reacting well to what people say about you, your brand, or your products and services, but also about whether to react at all and, if so, when. Sometimes a reaction is not necessary, and sometimes a reaction that is too late can cost you millions.

A proactive approach to the matter consists of monitoring your public reputation on a regular basis, and not just when you come to know about a specific event to deal with. How do you do this? The magic tools invented to solve this problem fall under the name of “social media monitoring.”

Simply put, social media monitoring allows companies to gather public online content (from blog posts to tweets, from online reviews to Facebook updates), process it, and see whether something negative or positive is being said affecting their reputation.

Social media monitoring can be both DIY (Google Alert is an example of a free web monitoring tool accessible to anyone) and professional, depending on the size of the business involved.

Online Reputation Bombs

 

Ted Mosby Is a Jerk

In the online reputation management scenario, there are two types of negative content that companies should be aware of. One is represented by complaints on social networks. They need to be addressed properly, but unless your company has serious problems, they do not pose a real challenge to your business.

The other is what I define as “online reputation bombs,” which affect your reputation and sales long term and can severely damage a business. They are very powerful because, unlike social network content, they are prominent in search engine results. What if someone googles your brand name and finds defamatory content? Let’s see what they are:

  • Negative reviews: Review sites allow users to express their opinion on your brand. Did they like your service/product? Would they recommend it? Negative content can affect your sales, and addressing the criticism on the site may not be enough. Websites like Ripoff Report and Pissed Consumer provide the perfect platform for this kind of negative content.
  • Hate sites: Some people go beyond simple negative reviews and create ad hoc websites with their opinions, some of them containing illegal content. So-called “hate sites” sometimes address companies and public figures with insults and false information. Needless to say, a search result like “The truth about NAMEOFYOURCOMPANY” or “NAME scam/rip off” will make your potential customers run away!
  • Negative media coveragePhineas T. Barnum used to say “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.” That may be true for controversial public figures like Paris Hilton, but many times unfavorable TV, print, and online media coverage impacts negatively on companies and brands.

Should We Call The Cops?

Article 19 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that:

“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

It is obvious that everyone has the right to express their voice about your brand. There are, however, certain boundaries that need to be respected. Some of the negative content online actually is illegal. Why?

  • It uses defamatory language
  • It reports false information
  • It is aimed at damaging the company’s reputation

How do you react to all of this? How do you defend yourself or your company from this kind of illegal behavior? Depending on the scope of the problem, several paths can be pursued in order to restore your online reputation:

  • Aggressive SEO: If someone googles your name, appearing on pages 1 and 2 of the search results will be much more important than your business card or website. They will show at a glance several high-ranking web sources talking about you. If they display false information, the first thing that you or your online reputation management company should do is devise a search marketing strategy that increases the ranking of positive content, owned by either you or third parties. The search engine game is too important to be ignored, and it is the first step in restoring your image.
  • Review removal: Did that user claim something false about your company? Is that review clearly aimed at destroying your reputation rather than providing feedback? Does it contain improper language? Legal liaison and speed of reaction will make it possible to remove the negative review.
  • Online investigations: In case of serious attacks on your brand image, it may be necessary to hire skilled online analysts to investigate untraceable threats and attackers via email tracing, data cross-indexing, and other information collection techniques. Cyber investigations are the definitive path to get to the bottom of difficult reputation management cases.

10 Online Reputation Management Commandments

Calling it “online reputation” really is redundant. Your online reputation simply is your reputation. In the digital era, nothing is protecting you from criticism anymore. This is good from a freedom of speech perspective; bad if your company has been defamed and attacked.

To conclude, ten practical tips that sum up what we have covered in this guide. The world of brand reputation will change in the coming years, but following these simple “commandments” definitely will benefit you and your brand:

1. Become well respected

According to several business experts, trust is a perishable asset and it is hard to gain. Making people respect you and your work is more important than any other online reputation management commandment.

2. Be radically transparent

After years of hiding critics, Mc Donald’s publicly forced egg suppliers to raise hens’ living standards according to the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals request.

3. Monitor what they are saying about you

 

Apart from the aforementioned reasons to monitor your online reputation, social media monitoring also can bring business! These days, lots of people ask questions via Twitter and Facebook because they are evaluating whether or not they should buy from you.

4. React quickly and politely

In case of a customer complaint via Twitter, for example, a prompt and simple “We are aware of the problem. We are working on it and will get back to you as soon as possible.” is better than a late reply with more information.

5. Address criticism

In 2009, Whole Foods CEO John Mackey’s WSJ op-ed on Obama healthcare reform caused a controversy among WF customers. Two days later, the company provided a response statement recognizing there were “many opinions on this issue, including inside our own company” and invited people to share their opinion on the matter.

6. Treat your Google page 1 as your business card

First impressions count, and we do judge many books by their cover. If the words “scam” and “rip off” are associated with your brand, then that is something you should worry about.

7. Understand your detractors

Criticism can be the chance to learn more about your audience and craft a better message in the future. Motrin’s controversial “babywearing moms” commercial sparked a lot of criticism. It did not come from competitors or illegitimate attackers, but from people in Motrin’s target audience who felt offended by their promotional content.

8. Attack your illegitimate attackers

Sometimes we simply have to fight illegal behavior. In 2009, Domino’s Pizza employees who posted disgusting videos of themselves playing with food were fired and arrested. Another example is people who post false information on the internet. Sometimes, if you don’t sue them, they might do it again.

9. Learn from your mistakes

 

Sony certainly learned a reputation management lesson back in 2005. The company placed copy protection (XCD) on its CDs which created computer vulnerabilities that malware could exploit. Instead of being upfront about their mistake, Sony stonewalled criticism and lost millions in class-action lawsuits.

10. Ask for help if necessary

If your online reputation management efforts are not enough to protect or restore your brand image, you have the choice to request help from a professional.


The original article by Dan Virgillito was originally published on neilpatel.com

About the Author:

Dan Virgillito is a content strategist for Massive PR, providing online reputation management services (i.e., helping companies monitor, defend, and restore their brand reputation on the internet).


Featured Image Credits: Pixabay

4 Teenagers Open Up About Social Media and Their Virtual Lives

4 Teenagers Open Up About Social Media and Their Virtual Lives

As part of a series of articles on iGeneration teens, the Listener talks to four teens about risk-taking, social media and their online lives.

Storm*

Northland school prefect Storm, 17, will be the first person in her whanau to go to university. She’s worked so hard in her senior years that she’s won a $20,000 scholarship that will enable her to study arts and law in Auckland.

She has never had a boyfriend, doesn’t get drunk when she goes to parties, and doesn’t smoke cigarettes or take drugs. She says she’s in a minority, but she’s typical of a growing group of teenagers who are doing fewer risky things than their parents did at the same age – though she does buck the trends by working part-time and getting her learner driver license at 16.

Storm has grown up surrounded by people who smoke, and the idea of smoking puts her off. “I’m the person who has to inhale it when I’m in the car. Even my mum tells me we could have gone on holiday if she hadn’t been smoking, or you see people who are grumpy because they’re trying to give up.”

Her parents drop her off at parties and buy her a bottle of lower-alcohol wine to take. Friends organise a sober driver to take them home. She says many of her peers tend to drink Vodka Cruisers and some dabble in shots. “We went to a ­massive back-to-school party this year and one girl – it was her first time drinking – drank so much she was taken to hospital. I don’t like to binge-drink; I like to be aware of what’s ­happening around me.”

Storm spends about four hours a day on her ­smartphone. She has Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and Spotify accounts but spends much of her time online researching ­assignments, playing music or texting friends.

She says she sometimes sees things online that make her yearn for what others have – a new dress or an overseas ­holiday, for example – but she’s been inspired and empowered, too, watching speeches by former US first lady Michelle Obama and singer Pink talking about their daughters, or by graduate students who’ve achieved their goals. “It makes you think, ‘If they can do it, so can I.’”

Storm is looking at life beyond Northland. “I want to make an impact on a national and global level. I can see myself being part of the United Nations.”

Siale*

“When my phone dies, it’s like my life has gone.” Year 12 student Siale, who attends a decile-one school in Auckland, says the only time she’s ­without her smartphone is when her family won’t let her take it to church on Sundays.

Online, Siale reckons she knows where to draw the line with her posts, and rolls her eyes at the friends who post increasingly explicit selfies on Instagram to get more likes. “If a normal photo doesn’t get enough likes, they need to show more of their body.” It’s odd, she says, how they might get hundreds of likes on Instagram, but never seem to have many friends in real life. She talks about an app called Melon that pairs you on video feeds with people based on your age and gender. Men use it to send girls dick pics, she says.

Most of Siale’s friends are sexually active and smoke weed. “I smoke weed. I’m just bored and get stoned. I’m not addicted to it; if there are more important things to buy, I’ll buy them. It’s the last option for me. It turns off everything going on around me and makes me feel like I’m in another dimension and I don’t have to worry about anything. Then the buzz goes away and it’s back to reality.”

Family dysfunction is her biggest stress, says Siale, who lives with her sister, brother-in-law and cousins. “Some teen girls tend to run away from home, but for me, running away would hurt my family more and it’s not going to help anything.”

She occasionally drinks alone, taking wine out of her sister’s cupboard. “I don’t get drunk and want to walk on the road. If I’m out and I get drunk, I know I need to be home at a specific time, so I can pass out in the house.”

She’s experienced cyberbullying first-hand, when she put a post on Facebook about a boy she was dating and discovered he hadn’t broken up with his ex. “They started to put mean ­comments on it. I couldn’t think properly. The only thing I could think of was giving them a hiding, but I knew if I were to touch them I’d get kicked out of school and it would hurt my family.” She talked to the school counsellor and the issue was resolved.

Siale says if she’s at a party where her friends get drunk, she does her best to look after them. “When they vomit and stuff, and it stays on their face, I make sure I clean it up. I talk to them when they’re sober; don’t shame them. I tell them about the outcomes of stupid decisions – what could happen to their safety, with viruses and stuff, and their reputation.”

Image Credits: Pixabay

Iosefa*

At 16, Siale’s classmate Iosefa has his future mapped out – he wants to leave school next year and start studying to be an accountant. He doesn’t drink, or smoke cigarettes or weed. His attitude when his friends do it? “Disgust,” he says, wrinkling his nose.

Iosefa says he’s on his smartphone “the whole day” – it’s a distraction when classes get boring. “I use it 24/7: Messenger, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram – anything to cure the boredom.” But he says if he lost his phone, he’d miss the music and videos, rather than social media.

He says friends invite him to parties so he can look after them. “I’m like the sober safety man. I’m there to stop them having sex with randoms or getting too drunk. They know I’m there for them. They don’t like me stopping them at the time, but they do when they sober up. One time, a mate tried to hit me when I tried to stop him drinking more.”

Iosefa’s from a strongly religious, conservative family and doesn’t tell his mum if he’s going to a party, even if it’s just to look after his mates, because he says she’d never let him. Instead, he tells her he’s going to a friend’s place.

His teacher reckons most parents don’t know the half of what their teenagers post online, but Iosefa says that doesn’t apply to him – there’s nothing he puts online that his mum and dad shouldn’t see. “No, my parents are my friends.”

Natalie*

Fifteen-year-old Natalie attends a high-decile co-ed school in central Auckland. She doesn’t drink, smoke or take drugs and has never had sex. She comes from a solid, Pakeha, middle-class nuclear family and lives with her high-achieving parents in a suburb where the average house price is around $1.5 million. “I’ve got friends who party and are in that crowd, and I also have a lot of innocent friends. I’m somewhere in the middle and wouldn’t want to be in one or the other.”

Natalie’s closest friends, though, are more like her, so she doesn’t feel pressured to grow up too fast or get a boyfriend. “I don’t think you need to do that. For me, there’s being mature, and then there’s being mature because you’re drinking and having sex. But I think that’s being immature. We can see what everyone is doing [online] and how it’s affecting them … we know what’s going on and what it involves, which is part of the reason we don’t indulge in that.”

She always keeps her parents in the loop by text as to her whereabouts, and parties are rare. Socialising more often involves watching films at a friend’s house, going out for lunch, to the movies, or shopping.

She and her friends worry about exams and schoolwork, but Natalie admits that’s pretty superficial stress. Deeper down, body image and comparisons with others cause the most anxiety. “You put exceedingly high expectations on yourself that are ­impossible to meet. It can really knock your confidence, which lets in all sorts of other stresses and makes school exhausting and living in general exhausting because you have all these doubts and concerns that amplify everything else.”

Natalie uses Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest for a couple of hours a day, but usually while watching TV or doing other things, and doesn’t post much herself. In the school holidays, she found herself in a messaging conversation with a friend for several hours after midnight, but that’s unusual. “I’m probably on Instagram more than the others, but only to look.”

She posts few selfies, because she’s afraid of being judged. “I care a lot about what other people think. I’m prone to comparing myself to others. I like to show I’m styley, because at school I look younger and I’m quite different when I’m wearing make-up and the clothes I like. I like people seeing that side of me more, but I don’t put it on social media. If there was a nice photo of me and my cat I would, because that isn’t me trying to look gorgeous. I get my self-validation in other ways.”

*Names have been changed.


This article was first published in the November 18, 2017 issue of the New Zealand Listener. And published on noted.co.nz on 4 January 2018

Featured Image Credits: Pixabay