News & Events
#012 – Listeners Q & A
- 9th August 2017
- Posted by: Nicky
- Category: Episodes
We’ve received some more listeners questions for us to get our teeth into.
Excellent! We had such a good time the last time we did this and it was a very popular podcast. So, what’s the first question?
Our first question is from Matt and he says: “Everyone keeps telling me I should be writing a blog as part of my marketing activity but where do I start?” Over to you, Nicky!
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Well Matt, what do we always say at The Marketing Menu? You need a plan! But before we go any further, let’s say at this point that blogging is indeed a very good platform to demonstrate your expertise, share opinions and raise your profile.
I agree. But you are so right about the plan. Doing a blog isn’t something you can just throw together or do on the hoof. It needs some careful thought about what you are going to say and how often you are going to say it.
That’s absolutely right – set a realistic target. Think about your workload. Don’t announce you are going to do a weekly blog then find there’s no way you can fit it in with everything else you are doing. You’re better off doing one a month and making it a really good quality blog than scraping around for content more often just for the sake of it.
You said the key word there, content. It needs to be consistent with your other marketing content but the blog does give you scope to go into much more detail about what you are going to talk about than on other social media platforms.
So, what can Matt talk about in his blogs?
First of all, I would say avoid any sales talk. Use the opportunity to do some storytelling. Have a listen to Podcast 3 Crushing it with Storytelling for some great guidance. And remember your voice – we talked about this in Podcast 9 about Social Media. Other than that, use the blog to talk about what your business is doing, go into more details about some case studies or offer some opinion on what is going on in your industry.
Yes, we’ve talked about this before, haven’t we? Positioning yourselves as experts and actually, blogs are a perfect way to that. As long as you’re confident in what you are saying and can back it up with your knowledge, you can almost afford to be a bit contentious and offer an argument or alternative opinion.
As with any social media platform, they key is getting people engaged. I had a client who was an author who reluctantly started writing a blog after much persuasion when he realized that, as a writer, a blog was the perfect way to showcase the breadth of his writing.
It’s very different though, right?
Yes, it is, but as he was submitting manuscripts to agents, the first thing they would do would be to search for him online. The fact that he had a back library of really well-written blogs helps showcase that he knows what he is doing. Only one problem though.
He used to complain that no-one ever commented on his blogs but he would never go and read anyone else’s!
Aha! And of course, the key to the success of a blog, as with all social media platforms, is audience engagement. You can’t expect anyone to read your blogs if you’re not engaging, and by that I mean reading and commenting, on what other people are writing.
Precisely! And when you read other blogs and leave a comment, hopefully, that will generate interest in your own because of how you have responded. So, think carefully when you are crafting your comment so people will want to know more about you.
Yes, think creatively listeners! And of course, you need to promote it. Now you could say the blogging platform, and WordPress is a good example of this, is the base that you are trying to drive traffic to so if you’ve created a post you then want to circulate a snippet of the blog through those channels, like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc.
I’d also add that if you can include your blogging platform on your website, it will hopefully encourage visitors to have a look around while they are there.
Hope that helps, Matt, and let us know when it’s published so we can have a look and add our own comments!
Next question is from Rachel. “I’m thinking of starting an Instagram account but I’m a bit confused about why everyone uses so many hashtags. Can you help?”
Yes, I wondered about that too, Rachel! I couldn’t understand why on Instagram everyone used so many hashtags, much more so than on Twitter or even Facebook, although it hasn’t really taken off so much on there.
As I understand it, you can use up to 30 hashtags per post on Instagram and they work like a search term so if you are posting and use the hashtag #marketing, anyone searching for marketing could see your post, whether they are following you or not.
And if you don’t use any hashtags at all, your post will effectively be private and only your followers will see it.
Obviously, the main reason for posting on Instagram is to share images so you can be quite creative with the hashtags you use to add to the impact of the picture.
Oh yes, some people just create their own to make it look funny, don’t they?
Yes but Instagram actually give you suggestions as you are creating the hashtag to tell you how many people have used it so you know whether it’s popular or not. But I would avoid the really popular ones as your post would stand little chance of being seen amongst so many.
So how many hashtags would you recommend that Rachel uses?
Well, it varies but current thinking is between 11-20. Some people just use hashtags and add no text but I would always try to add something in to make it entertaining.
Good luck Rachel! Let us know your Instagram name so we can follow and like your posts!
While we’re talking about social media, don’t forget listeners we’re also on Twitter @mktngmenu and Facebook so come and follow us for extra delicious marketing morsels in between podcasts.
Who’s the next question from Nicky?
It’s from Hannah and she asks: “What do you guys think about Facebook Live for businesses?”
I love it Hannah! But only when it’s used responsibly.
Haha! What do you mean?
Well, I get a bit freaked out when I am scrolling through my Facebook page and suddenly a huge face greets me because the person is filming themselves like a selfie.
I know what you mean! And yet again, this goes back to planning and knowing what it is you want your post to achieve. I think they can be really engaging for your followers and be a great chance to let them see you in a very natural state, so to speak!
Yes, sometimes the more informal, the better. But you do need to know in advance what you are going to say rather than make it up on the spot, unless you are a really confident public speaker.
Didn’t you do some footage from an Awards Ceremony, Liz?
Yes, it was the Dorset Business Awards and I was filming a client who had their whole team there so I went round everyone and they said how excited they were to be there and what it meant to them to work for this particular business. It was so lovely and they were very natural.
Did their followers like it?
Yes, they were brilliant and there were loads of likes and loves so you get a real buzz when you see the smiley faces and hearts going across the screen when it’s posted.
Do you think it helped their image?
Definitely. Because they are a family firm, it really added to that feeling of including everyone in their special moment.
It’s actually quite simple to do listeners. Have a look at your Facebook page and you will see in the status box there is a live button. To get noticed, give it a catchy headline and do a bit promotion beforehand so people will know you will be going live at a certain time.
You can also add a location, tag people and add an activity just like you can on your personal posts. I’d add that you can disable the location from a privacy point of view if you need to.
One fun thing you can do is actually interact with people who are watching. You can speak to them or refer to them when you see their comments. To keep your viewers engaged, encourage them to interact with your live video. Or you could have someone monitoring the comments and get them to respond on your behalf in real time.
And don’t forget to save a copy to your phone so you can post it again.
One thing we forgot to say before you start filming, make sure you’ve checked out the lighting, background and sound quality because you’re likely to be a bit preoccupied once you start recording.
Good point! The final question is from Sue, an hotelier from Bournemouth. Listen up, this is a goody!
So, Sue emails us to say ‘I listened to your podcast on Gaining Feedback and was really interested to hear your thoughts on feedback on industry specific sites. I run my hotel bookings on Booking.com and I have an excellent rating on Trip Advisor which is the point that almost all my visitors say was the deciding factor. However, I’ve never got a rating from one of the hotel accreditation schemes like the AA as I simply find it so expensive, do you feel this is a mistake?’
Well Nicky, I know you’ve some experience in the hospitality industry – what are your thoughts?
Well it’s a good one but, Sue, I guess I would say from personal experience when I look for a hotel on Booking.com which I use a lot too I’d add, I, and I am not sure how you feel about this Liz, or listeners and I guess it would be interesting to hear, but I always search on the star rating of a hotel first as in my mind that’s a quality standard that I know I can rely on.
I actually tend to do both, I’ll find a hotel I like and then I’ll check out the feedback reviews and star ratings.
Yes, I am sure most people do. So, Sue, in fact, I did run through Booking.com to find you and when I didn’t add any criteria I actually found you on page 4 for an August booking and when I put in star ratings I didn’t find you at all although as you rightly say you have an excellent feedback rating of 9.2 which is tremendous.
So, I guess you’re saying Sue is missing out?
Yes, I think so, perhaps listeners can let us know their thoughts. Now I studied hospitality many years ago, in fact, it is what got me so interested in sales and marketing, and funnily enough together with another student we approached the Egon Ronay Guides about the time they were being bought out by the Automobile Association to interview them for a project we were working on, and they were so sweet they even took us out for lunch, I’ve never forgotten it.
Oh, was it undercover like a real food critic?
Yes, it was, apparently although they went there often no one knew what they did for a living. So, I guess what I’m saying is I may be biased, but I think that by relying on guests saying that they always book Sue’s hotel as a result of the excellent Trip Advisor score is certainly correct and that will undoubtedly always matter but I do think you are missing out on part of the jigsaw.
And I guess those saying that are only representative of the potential customers who don’t take star ratings into account. So, we’re saying then that Sue should perhaps bite the bullet and get accredited.
Well if Sue needs to boost occupancy, it might be the next step for sure.
Well, I hope that helps Sue, do let us know how you get on. I know it’s a challenge knowing where to put your money and this is just one of the small issues hoteliers should consider.
I’ve really enjoyed this – hope you have too listeners! Keep sending your questions in – we’re here to help and share our experience for free. Don’t forget we offer a free transcript of all our podcasts on our website The Marketing Menu.com so if you’re not already on our website head over there to download your copy.
We’d love to reach more people so we’d be very grateful if you would share our channel with others once you’ve listened in. And let us have your comments, we’d love to hear from you.
Thank you so much for tuning in. We very much hope that the questions we have answered today have been helpful to you. Let us know if any of you are starting to blog, opening an Instagram account or posting your own Facebook Live video. We’d love to show our support!
Yes, so tune in again on Wednesday 23rd August for the next episode. Thanks everyone, so this is a goodbye from me, Liz from Brilliant Fish PR & Marketing, til next time.
And me, Nicky at Media Box Marketing, goodbye.
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