How to Really Engage With Your Marketplace in the Social Media Age (Video)

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Your Three Pink Elephants (and how to tame them!) So you’ve nailed your market niche. It’s narrow. There’s definitely a gap in the market and your customers love and trust you. You have a finely tuned product offering loads of value (essential) and all your ducks are in a row to ramp up output and really make difference. At night however, when the world is quiet and calm, you’re still tossing and turning and dreaming of pink elephants. Three of them. Picture this scenario. We’ve all been there before. You meet someone new, maybe at a networking event or a trade fare. Let’s call her Donna. She’s really interesting. Definitely your type of customer and you know you’re going to hit it off. She tells you all about this snag they’ve hit with their business and inside you’re thinking, ‘Oh, you are so going to be my shiny new customer!’ Her current solution stinks, she’s talking about going with Acme&Co™ (who you know for a fact you can runs rings around) and then without warning Donna hastily shoves her business card at you and walks off to ‘work the room’. Eeesh! This was a no brainer. Donna’s going to spend a fortune now and twelve months from now she’s still going to be trying to figure out how to get past that snag. You, on the other hand, have probably lost about £20k of new revenue. This is a genuine lose-lose scenario. Download this free Visual Communications Primer workbook and complete the three step exercise to help you engage better with your marketplace. Jonas Stuart, Rocketland Media Pink Elephant #1: Authority This is the Grandaddy elephant. He’s been around for centuries. When it comes to buying, people want to know that you’re credible. Who are you? Why are you going to solve my problem better than Acme&Co™? Why should I trust you? What’s your track record? If you’d spent five more minutes with Donna, you would’ve had time to answer all these questions but in a world of 140 characters and six-second video-bites, people make up their mind in seconds, not minutes. You don’t get to make a speech, you get to make an impression. And that impression must be one of Authority. Pink Elephant #2: Clarity This guy’s been around forever but he’s grown in size over the past 5 years. We’re exposed to 174 newspapers worth of information every day. (This is up from 40 only three decades ago.) Email and messaging, social media, search, websites, television, advertising, online video and so on. As important and unique your message is, it represents a few more of those green characters cascading down the screen in the Matrix. If you want to cut through, you need to be succinct and clear. You execute every day on your core skill but is your message honed to a fine point? Clarity is king in a world of information overload. Pink Elephant #3: Emotional Connection This is the youngest pink elephant, but it’s probably the biggest. With the advent of Facebook and other social media platforms in the mid noughties, the world changed. As well as cash and commodities, we now deal in the currency of feelings. The era of company brand power is dwindling and now people want to buy from people. We comfortably live in this new Social World in our personal lives but don’t quite know how to translate that into our business communications. People are looking to connect with your emotionally. It’s big, it’s very pink and it’s not going away. Increase the trust in your brand by boosting your Authority within your marketplace niche, getting more Clarity in your messaging and creating an Emotional connection with your community. Becoming a Pink Elephant Whisperer Okay, I promised you a fix. It’s simple but it’s not easy. You’ll have to put in a bit of effort but anyone who really wants to can do it. It doesn’t mean that you’ll win over every Donna you come across but you’ll have better fighting chance. The beauty of the Social Media Age is that geographically, you can cast your net far and wide in a way that’s never been possible before. You can get in front of so many Donnas (and Donnies) that if you have your pink guys tamed you’ll manage to make an instant impression of Authority, make that Emotional Connection, and get your message across with Clarity. The answer is to Think Visually. It’s a game you’re already playing whether you like it or not. Visual information is processed 60,000 times faster than text and accounts for 90% of of all information transmitted to the brain. Your visual assets are telling your story. They’re either bigging you up, or they’re letting you down. There’s no neutral ground. Traditional visual assets such as stationary and brochures play a vital role, but the rise of social media has given way to a new universal language which is more bold and dynamic and enables a faster and deeper connection between you and your audience. We engage in this language every day on social media. Photos and montages, quote-cards and memes, infographics, icons and emojis, vlogs, videos, 2d & 3d animated films and those hilarious animated GIFs we all love °¬) Three Baby Steps You Can (and must) Start Today So now you know why Donna’s not listening. It wasn’t your fault. It’s a different world out there and you didn’t know. Unfortunately now that you know ‘why’, it is your fault. Sorry about that º¬) This is where you start to fix that. Chip away at it consistently and those elephants will shrink away and before you know it you’ll be sleeping like a baby. Before you get going, download this Visual Communications Primer workbook. Download this free Visual Communications Primer workbook and complete the three step exercise to help you engage better with your marketplace. Baby Step #1: Start Paying Attention I know it sounds silly but it really is that simple. Use the Workbook as a guide, but going forward, have a note pad (digital or physical) and take notes. Constantly! What is catching your eye on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or elsewhere? Not just commercial stuff, content your friends are posting. What’s interesting? What makes you laugh? What was it about that, photo, quote-card or infographic that made you pause for a second and think? How was it put together? What type of photography or illustration gave it gravity? When you’re on Youtube finding out how to apply perfect caulking around your new bathroom tiles, pay attention to what kind of videos work. What grabs your attention and why? What clangers should you avoid? Which videos did you watch for 3 seconds and then stop and which ones instantly made you relax into your favourite armchair because within a second you already knew you were going to watch the entire 15 minutes? What gave them Authority, Clarity and Emotion? Like I said, it’s simple. What’s engaging to you, your friends and colleagues is what’s engaging your prospects. If you want to speak to your audience today, you have to use today’s language. In the first half of the twentieth century it was radio and newspapers, the second half it was television and magazines. Then it was the early days of the email and the world-wide-web. Now it’s the Social Media Age. It’s fast-paced, rapidly evolving and has people and emotion at it’s core. It’s a very different and fresh way for brands to connect with their market, but in one way, it’s the same as always; the way you consume is the way you need to speak. It worked with radio, TV and print. The only difference is that now you’re consuming the new universal language and it’s Visual. So while you’re consuming, pay attention. Enter the highlights into Baby Step #1 in the workbook. Screenshot and download what you like. Start collecting a ‘scrap-book’ of ‘Social Stuff I like’ Baby Step #2: Know Your Niche Write a long list of attributes that describe your dream customer. Continue honing and refining this list. How old are they? What’s their income bracket? What brands do they love? What car do they drive? Where do they eat out? Where do they go for holidays? What do they aspire to? As you go, filter your observations from Baby Step #1 against this list and make notes about what you think would resonate with your niche market. You’re building up a war-chest of ideas and tactics that in time will allow you to create highly appropriate visual assets you can use in a integrated way (more about that in later posts – baby steps first!) when it comes time to create physical and digital visual assets. Enter the highlights of this into Baby Step #2 in your workbook. Baby Step #3: Audit Your Current State Remember I said that you’re already in the game? Your current stable of visual assets already tell your story. Some are doing a good job and you’re proud of them. Others are a little cringeworthy but you’re taking the ‘It’ll do for now’ approach. With your new Visual War-chest in mind, look through EVERY single existing asset in your business and make a note of them. Brochures, business cards, websites, social media profiles and assets, marketing collateral, merchandise, exhibition stands, packaging, sign-writing, videos, slide decks and so on. Leave no stone unturned. Thinking back to our Pink fellas and how you make an instant impression with your audience (good or bad). We’re looking at what each asset says about your brand’s Authority, how Clearly it communicates your message and tells the story of the USPs of your brand and products and how well it helps you Connect Emotionally with your audience. Our goal here is to end up with an arsenal of assets that all rock in all three areas. So your Baby Step here is to grab your workbook and score each visual asset out of 10. A perfect 10 means it already gives an instant impression that you’re an Authority, tells your story with great Clarity and allows your audience to Connect Emotionally with you. No question about it. A score between 5 and 9 would be something that has two of the three elephants under control and a score of 4 or below would be reserved for any assets that ticks one or no boxes. These are damaging your brand every day and must never see the light of day again! Burn them!! NOW! (Metaphorically speaking of course! Probably safer and more responsible to recycle them!) Where To Next? Hopefully your Pink Elephants are a little less disruptive in the days (and nights) ahead but my guess is that we have a long way to go to get you to perfect 10s all around. On my next few posts I’ll take you through the steps for creating your own visual assets from scratch and how you can start to use them to build a community around your brand. Subscribe here so you don’t miss out. Sleep well º¬) jonas stuart. Jonas Stuart, Founder and Content Director at Rocketland Media; a digital media agency specialising in growing a dedicated following in social media and online video for innovative and industry leading brands. For 20 years he's worked with start-ups, SMEs and PLCs to maximise the engagement and return on their visual communications. Jonas Stuart, Founder and Content Director at Rocketland Media Download this free Visual Communications Primer <a href='http://rocketland.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Visual-Communications-Primer.pdf' target='_blank'>workbook</a> and complete the three step exercise to help you engage better with your marketplace. Jonas Stuart, Rocketland Media

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