Here’s how to successfully prepare your brand for a digital launch before even getting started.
“San Diego is an incredible place to live, and an even cooler place to launch.” That’s the mindset at San Diego Startup Week, the weeklong celebration of entrepreneurship we attended in June. Our purpose for attending: see what businesses in their startup phase are doing & how things are going. We had a blast, learned some valuable networking tactics & also got a feel for how businesses are going about handling their content & social media online.
One important thing we noticed is that many companies were struggling with their pre-launch startup phase. Many have solid, amazing ideas – from apps to services – they just need a process in place before launching. So we pieced together our notes, your pain-points & wins into a list of seven pre-launch strategies. Browse below before presenting your great idea to the digital world.
Do your research. Is now the right time for your business to be in the market? Is now the right time for you to launch your business? Factor these important questions into your initial research & analysis, before deciding to move forth with your big launch.
Know Your Vision. “Beyond just a memorable logo, good branding increases the value of a company, provides employees with direction and motivation, and makes acquiring new customers easier.” (source) From the tone, audience, pricing to credibility – it’s important to know the message you want to send to your online audience. Have your team (or if solo, yourself & close network) review your brand goals, packaging, product, catalog, etc – if you know & love it, others will do the same.
Brainstorm Your Higher-Level Goals. A one-day, meeting of the minds to organize your launch vision. Before even contacting an agency, before looking for new employees or placing Craigslist ads out of frustration – talk it out, think it out and write out. Ask yourself & others: What is my digital vision? Who is my target audience? What can my company do to make an impact? Record your meeting so you can make sloppy, ugly, all-over-the-place notes & doodles that help your mind relax. Then, listen to it all over again (and again).
Develop a Business Plan. Assign one person on your team to take all the mumble-jumble from your brainstorm, organize the key takeaways and write one-page, high-level action plan for your business. (If you are rolling solo, well then look yourself in the mirror and give yourself a pat on the back). Make a simple-one sheet to start, like this.
Focus on 3 T’s – Time, Team & Trust. Every moment counts – set tasks and goals to make sure your team is on track to prepare for your brand launch. Investing in measuring your time, creating a solid internal team built on trust and dedication, will prepare your company for larger goals beyond your push – like culture and consistency.
Develop a Digital Content Strategy. Here’s where you might need an extra hand. First off, a content strategy is the “process of planning, creating and sending the right content to the right audience in the appropriate timeframe through a repeatable editorial framework.” Did we mention – this process is vital to a successful outcome? Organize or recruit a team of experts – like our visual storytellers – to create content magic for your brand.
Set Your First Campaign Milestone. When will your big launch, be? You know your brand, you have a solid action plan, a great team, a strong content strategy & a promising idea- heck it’s time to piece it all together. Here, you will align your brand vision with your digital strategy to creatively share your brand online. – think visual content, video, social media content & more. Additionally, it is vital to distribute & track your content to assure you are seeing the KPI’s (key point indicators), like sales, that you want to see! Make sure your efforts are showing results to assure your first campaign is a success on all fronts. Need a little help? Learn the details of our visual launch campaign service, here.
Prepare for Takeoff. Don’t miss your milestone – keep with your launch date. Why? “Don’t let fear of failure paralyze you from even attempting to start your small business. If you keep waiting around for that “perfect” moment, it will never come, and the opportunity for success will have passed you by.” (source) Here’s an extra tip: A/B test your content before its public. Soft-launch with your family & friends, share it with old coworkers or personal Twitter followers. Get feedback before your launch milestone for fine-tuning.
Need an extra hand (or paw)? Learn about our Launch Campaign Service & don’t forget to share your tips & strategies for getting your digital ducks in a row on social, using the hashtag #LifeIsReel.
94% more total views on average are attracted by content containing compelling images than content without images – source
Before you go out and add some awesome, perfectly manicured stock photos to your social feed, we recommend using stock as only one resource for your branding. Turns out, realistic & emotional forms of visual content tap into you audience’s psyche & newsfeed.
Create a solid social media strategy around visual content
We recommend you always have a social game plan in mind when preparing to dominate with visual content.
Build a brand with purpose
Whether you are part of a brand that speaks volumes to your community, has been around for decades or is brand spanking new, you need a solid content strategy with purpose. Defining old values, new goals and overarching themes that fit into your marketing and advertising goals is key but what is golden? Knowing and understanding how speak to your audience from your brand perspective. We admire TOMS Instagram – they serve up daily content that ties back to their overall mantra of giving & helping others. Take a look:
Millennials find user-generated content 50% more trustworthy than any other media. While only 1% of marketers are on Snapchat, the growing platform is key to telling daily, unique stories where visual content is the key component. The next generation is teaching marketers a thing or two about opening up a new door to reality. Like, #DamnDaniel, a kid with white Vans and a smartphone who’s hilarious video with his friend ranked in 25 MILLION views on Youtube over night. Even The Ellen Show brought the duo on & gave Daniel a lifetime supply of free Vans. How’s that for “Insta” advertising? What is important to recognize your brand’s ability to capitalize on user-content & mentions, while appealing to the masses in a genuine and timely manner. As you inspire thru reality, from behind the scenes footage to blogger takeovers, fans will rely on your brand’s social media as a voice within their “social life”.
We’ve all heard the saying, “be so good, they can’t ignore you.” This rings true within the social media community, all day, everyday. One of the best ways to brand yourself is to be true to your culture, voice and brand mindset. We thoroughly enjoy scrolling thru Brittany Wright’s Instagram (below), it’s unique, colorful and effortlessly organized. But what is even better than the bright pop colors and OCD consistency? It’s grounded, the style doesn’t sway and neither to her designs. What niche are you in? More so, what story are you looking to tell?
A photo posted by Brittany Wright (@wrightkitchen) on
Stick to Share-worthy Visual Content Stories
So what types of visual content should you be integrating to inspire and naturally resonate with your community? A boatload, that’s a fact. But in reality, you should be developing visual messages daily around a larger story. Here’s the DL: content isn’t rocket science, but it takes time to create. Developing a solid social strategy to plan out your content daily will allow you to manage the varieties you will need for a consistent workflow for reel engagement.
Yup, Fast Company said it: Social Video Eats the World in 2016. And it could only remind us of one iconic figure: Pac-Man. Remember the 1980’s video game phenomenon? Metaphorically speaking, social video takes a bite out of its visual content pellets, perusing thru its digital maze, aware but unscathed by its competition. In fact, this small but might content trend is a brainer to most of us digital marketers. With Facebook alone reporting 8 billion daily video views, it is, without a doubt, a trend to build on for the new year. To make an impact online and jump in with the trend, we recommend reading the data, below and configuring how to defeat your enemies (not ghosts or goblins) but production cost and time for a digital strategy worth watching.
Instantly Impact Audiences With Shorter, Meaningful Video
Most businesses now recognize that in order to build your brand’s online community, you must understand your audience both on and offline. With over 8.3 billion spent last year on social media advertising it makes sense that 73% of companies are integrating social media teams into their digital activities. Just as it has become necessary to use and implement social media daily, so is the trend to use social video more often than not.
One of the reasons social video does truly munch and crunch in the race for digital domination: It has the ability to quickly and effectively articulate a brand’s message in a matter of seconds. Short-form, social video fuels and feeds one of the most important aspects of using social media for anyone and any brand – communication. Content is important – but perspective is key. Bringing a brand to life thru the content and the context, will surely prove valuable over time. Whether on an iPhone or thru a cinematic production, the real kicker to create emotional, visual experiences that tap into your audiences psyche. It’s not hypnotism my friend, its storytelling.
11 Reasons Social Video Just Makes Sense
Reports from 2015 prove that audiences are avidly watching and consuming video now more than ever. Which is why it is up to content producers to develop a visual experience that ties social media & video into one content umbrella. But we can’t tell this story alone, therefore we captured the most eye-catching social video data from the likes of Cisco, Hootsuite to ReelSeo & Hubspot that will leave you craving more content & dreaming about what’s “reel”y next.
Video will account for 80 percent of global internet traffic (source)
51.9% of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI (source)
Nearly a million minutes of video will be shared every second (source)
71% of Companies Plan to Increase their Video Marketing Budget – Because it Works! (source)
It would take an individual 5 million years to watch all the video that will be shared each month (source)
The number of video posts per person has increased 75 percent globally and 94 percent in the U.S. (source)
The amount of video from people and brands in News Feed has increased 3.6 times year-over-year (source)
Midway through 2015, mobile video plays exceeded 44% — up 74% from 2014 and up a whopping 844% since 2012. (source)
Between April 2015 and November 2015, the amount of average daily video views on Facebook doubled from 4 billion video views per day to 8 billion. (source)
In July 2015, Periscope users were watching 40 years’ worth of videos every day. (source)
On average, more than 50% of people who come back to Facebook every day in the US watch at least one video daily (source)
Why does Social Video Mean Business? Click here to watch more. Get connected with one of our visual storytellers – just shoot us an email here.
This season we are wrappin’ (or shall we say rappin’) up the best holiday e-commerce stats around to adorn your virtual tree with a twist. Rather than take you to the ghost of internet past or shoot you into the holiday e-commerce future of virtual reality – we bring you to the present with fascinating numbers that sing gloriously from the roof tops of every home or smartphone with a Wi-Fi connection or gigs of data. The goal? To prove social media goes hand in hand with digital shoppers purchases. It’s no surprise that shoppers are mobile and ready to visually click-to-purchase rather than browse and walk. Which is why we are paying close attention to online sales – who is shopping, what consumers are shopping for and what channels they are actively on.
[Infographic] #ReelTimeCarols In The House
Our visual storyteller elves have gathered five glorious numbers that prove its time to get creative with your online holiday campaign.
Let’s Wrap (or Rap) Up Holiday 2015
Before you run off and ramp up your online storefront or add extra glee to your social channels read on for a holiday wrap up, just for fun!
♫ Yo, so you wanna shop till you drop, no need to worry, plop on the couch and avoid the scurry ♫
Your thumbs might hurt from scrolling but your feet sure won’t. Most shoppers actually purchase the majority of their holiday gifts before Cyber Monday. But don’t fret! Rather-Be-Shopping.com points out that the best dates for some of our favorite gifts, like laptop deals and winter apparel, are actually between December 15th-18th.
♫ Make money, money, go shoppin’ ♫
If you haven’t noticed, Target is on point (no pun intended), but really – they’ve spent their budget wisely. AdWeek says that Target has allocated 30% more to social media this year than any previous year to date and have gotten with the online program like no-Buddy the Elf’s business. Just last week they launched Target Wonderland – building a 16,000-square-foot holiday-themed, digital and interactive playground located in Manhattan’s Meatpacking neighborhood. This should bring holiday joy to marketers. But more so, it presents the fact that online is important for brands and consumers alike. Hubspot reports that 25% of brands are investing in content marketing and 61% of consumers are more likely to buy from a brand that shares custom content – can we say REEL ENGAGEMENT?
♫ Saw it on Insta shiny & new – thought to myself, that’s how I do ♫
New & emerging brands are utilizing their social resources this season and with good reason; according to Fortune, “analytics company comScore is estimating that people will spend $70.1 billion buying gifts online during the holiday season, which is a 14% jump from the previous year.” With these efforts allows for more online opportunities and with this equates to more content from online retailers via their social channels to drive purchases. One of the best ways to allow new customers to understand your brand? With 15-seconds of social video – visually tell your storyin order to get your growing (and eager) online community to learn more about who you are.
♫ When dudes shop for gifts it’s like shoppin’ for bread, but you shop on Prime you’ll receive the best deal instead ♫
“Men spend more time than women shopping for their significant other (52 percent versus 34 percent)” says Businesswire. Let’s be honest, its as equally difficult to shop for bread as it is to shop for mom, but according to eMarketer online takes men’s stress away. This infographic comparing male and female online shoppers points out that when shopping online, men take about 10 minutes to complete a purchase vs. 14 minutes for woman. Would you look at that!
♫ Storytelling warms shoppers hearts and bring sales soaring thru the analytics charts ♫
Ain’t that the truth? Curalate (as usual) has us feeling all warm and fuzzy over in our visual content workshop. Connecting with 1 or a million consumers is honestly an amazing feeling for any marketer. But what’s even better? Having consumers feel connected to the brand. We must remember that we all are consumers – so its best to think of how we would like to experience and connect with one another. Isn’t this by far the most important part of creating one-of-a-kind visual contentfor the holiday season? Remember, to make your experience mobile and logistically possible (purchase, packed and shipped on time) and of course, visually engaging with a thoughtful omni-channel approach socially-savvy shoppers will return for holidays to come.
Ready to take your next campaign up a notch for 2016? Contact our visual content elves now or sign-up to receive a FREE copy of our Visual Services Lookbookhere.
Three Specific Content Types for a Successful Social Video Strategy
If you were to contact our team of visual storytellers after you read this post and ask “how do you create our social video strategy”? We would tell you many things but one primary factor would be around how we manage our visual content campaigns thru a strategic framework focused around three specific content types. Like a tree, content’s roots stem from the ground up with core video being the trunk, where micro content is the branches and timely, current social content are the leaves. As a production agency at heart, video is the core of our strategy, it is the larger piece that ties your content together. Next up, we distribute and resonate with your audience thru micro content. Smaller pieces that help push your visual campaign forward. Once your core video and micro content (like shorter video clips and motionables) are developed, we manage your campaign with current content from timely to curated; to enhance the user experience and create brand awareness along the way. If you are taking a step back, you might be asking yourself “If core video is the crux of your visual content campaign, than why does divisible micro content matter?” Let’s take a closer look:
Take a bite out of time: micro content matters
If you had a puzzle of your favorite painting and you took out one piece, your story would have a gap, it wouldn’t be cohesive and you surely wouldn’t be framing it. Think of every video or visual content piece as a puzzle. Each bite-sized micro moment on video matters to visually captivate your audience and bring the entire campaign together. As editors and content creators we believe that the micro moments from clips, outtakes, buzz and so forth are how you keep the conversation alive, even long after your story’s initial launch. For example, before your video is launched, a teaser clip might be sent out to entice excitement. Then, shortly after your social video is released perhaps quotes or smaller pieces of the video are distributed to continue the conversation. Whether your visual campaign is informative or out-of-the-box imaginative, the smaller pieces of the larger pie are the visuals that help push the story along and relate to your target audience.
But don’t just take it from us, ReelSEO released an article that helps put the micro pieces of the video puzzle, together. Take a look:
Interested in creating micro moments that stand out for your business? Let us assist – click to download our lookbook of Visual Content Opportunities, here. (We think you really are going to love ’em!)
Insofar, this week has left us feeling one word: accomplished. We have been working the past couple of days on our upcoming shorty, Reel Engagement In Action. This afternoon, we finished! :happy dance: With our brains being as bubbly and nutty as Chester in his Albert Einstein finest, we had to babble (just a little bit) about it.
The Story of #ReelEngagement (in 60 seconds)
To make #ReelEngagement we started with this extreme grandiose campaign. It was epic, like Steve Jobs or Instagram-epic. The problem: We just didn’t feel like it spoke to us. You’ll realize this when you set out to tell a social video story, its better to be simple and concise than over the top. Hey, isn’t that kinda like Apple and Facebook? Maybe these guys are onto something BIG.
Anyhow, we pondered a couple of weeks ago about how to share what Reel Engagement meant to us in under 60 seconds. We looked at other agencies and influencers, too. Heck, why not be extra-inspired? Our heart strings were pulled and some made us giggle but none said Reelativity. So, we yanked out a few hairs, bit a few nails and watched one-too-many funny videos (like the one below) for distraction.
During our usual morning meeting, we met to discuss the elaborate campaign. The consensus: More coffee and dreary eyelids. When a light bulb moment happened. The Reelist smiled, grabbed a notepad and went into the other room to start storyboarding.
He silently sketched away as we eagerly awaited his return. When in just moments he came back with a Bob Ross-worthy set of quickly sketched drawings.
Bright-eyed and eager, The Strategist and The French stared at him with glee. Like the Holy Grail, his notepad lit up and the sound of a Superbowl-like touchdown filled the room. “It will be called Reel Engagement In Action”, he muttered in slight confidence.And just like a court room all in favor said: “BAM.” We all knew this was it!
With no location or venue in place for this brand spankin’ new concept, the team decided to act quickly. Why wait? The Strategist’s home was the center of the Reel Engagement apocalypse. Ferociously scouring every corner of each room, grabbing pens, post-it notes and printing trees by the dozen. In a matter of minutes, the house turned into a real-time stage (that we shoulda Periscope‘d!) Thus, in all it’s Buzzfeed-inspired glory, Reel Engagement In Action became a 60-second take on ALL our hard work. A short-form look into our visual production process. Genius! The day moved on and our goal moved forward – to capture ourselves and the visual dose of “reel”ity we add to the world. Yup, this my friend, is Reelativity.
The hands of the clock ticked while the visual storytellers worked until the infamous words: “That’s a wrap!” were shouted. Then, a comforting silence filled the room and the only sound was that of the tired French snoring.
Was it all a dream? Surely not, but it was a whirlwind. Our team chuckled and did a few back stretches. In relief and in amazement, we had finished our short story and at the same time proved Reel Engagement, at its finest.