The Dragon Princess - Chapter Two

How to Build a Website for Beginners Part 4 – Marketing

blog, social media, marketing, website, building

In this series, I’ve covered the initial terms of website builders, the features every website needs, and the overall design of a website. Obviously, there were some gaps in the information since it’s hard to cover everything in just four posts. This is why I spoke a lot about doing research on your own when you’re building your website. But there’s one more category to go over: Marketing.

Marketing allows you to make sure your website is seen by others, whether they’re customers, readers, or followers. Even the perfect website isn’t much without visitors.  Social media is the best way to market a new website, so that’s what I’ll be focusing on. Some other methods exist, but most of them use social media in some manner. Since it’s different depending on whether you’re creating a personal/individual website or a company website, I’ll be splitting this up into those two sections, though there is some overlap between the two.

Marketing Company Websites on Social Media

For marketing company websites, you need to focus on where your audience is and what they’re expecting. The first thing you can do is include your website URL in your social media profiles, especially LinkedIn. If you haven’t yet, you need to create social media profiles to reach your online customers. LinkedIn is one of the most popular social media platforms for businesses. Creating a LinkedIn, a Facebook page, and a Twitter can greatly increase customer interaction on top of putting a place to market your products, services, and website. These are the main social media platforms, where are large chunk of people are. YouTube is another important main platform, but it’s best to use if you know for sure you’ll be making company videos. You can share the videos you make on the platform to Facebook or Twitter to increase your company’s reach online as well.

If you run a fashion, travel, or crafting company, Pinterest is an excellent platform to post products, blog posts, and photos from your site. Pinterest caters to a specific group of women who enjoy or want to learn about cooking, sewing, crafts, and makeup. Users also pin clothing items and accessories that they want or pictures from places they want to visit. Instagram is another good platform to use if you’re in any of these businesses as well. You can link your website in both social media platforms and post/pin pictures from your site.

Tumblr is an option if you can angle your content for a younger audience. Tumblr is a micro-blogging site where many folks from age 13 to late 20s and older post about what they enjoy and respond to posts by others. Denny’s is one of the few companies to efficiently use the platform. You can share posts and photos from your website and link to it on your profile as well. If you have a younger staff member familiar with tumblr, it’s worth trying to start a tumblr blog. Just know it’s not for everyone.

Marketing Personal/Individual Websites on Social Media

For personal websites, especially blogs, marketing on social media is a little easier. Obviously using a Twitter and Facebook help the most, considering the large number of people on those sites. Once again, if you focus a lot on images, food, fashion, DIY projects, or travel, Pinterest and Instagram are two excellent platforms for sharing your website content. Tumblr also works a lot better for bloggers and individual websites than business, so getting a tumblr can help market your website. If you’re into vlogging, YouTube is another good platform to try. Sharing videos from YouTube to your other social media can boost your online presence as well.

Another thing to do with social media is find groups and communities to connect with other bloggers or individuals in your industry. This can help you gain followers and credibility as an individual online. Many groups exist on Facebook for this exact purpose, and following those people on other social media like Twitter and Instagram can help you build connections in your industry.

Social Media Tips for Both Website Types

No matter what type of website you’ve created, you need to remember to share/pin/post product images, blog posts, photos, and other text from your website. Posts linking back to your website will help get your website name out there on top of your content. Plus, it’s an added bit of free advertising when others share your content as well.

Another tip is, after setting up your social media, to get the business versions. I did this with my Twitter and Pinterest, and it’s been very insightful to what performs well on my profiles. I’m looking into changing my Instagram into a business account as well, and Facebook pages are made for business interactions and data. Facebook pages can be used by either companies or individuals looking to promote themselves without cutting into their personal profile. That way it doesn’t look preachy to post a bunch blog posts, especially if you don’t use your personal profile often.

Conclusion

And thus ends the last part of me “How to Build a Website for Beginners” blog series. I know I haven’t been very specific in most of what I’ve written, but that’s because there’s far too much information to include in just four posts, even ten posts. This is why I constantly stressed doing outside research on the type of website you’re building. Look up websites within your industry of choice. What are they doing with their website design? How are they marketing their page? Is there something they’ve done successfully that you can try?

In the end, there are many subjective or complicated answers to these and other questions. While I can’t definitely answer them for you, I can at least try to point you in the right direction. And that’s what the purpose of this series is. To point you, the website owner, to where you need to look next. Wherever that next step is, I wish you luck. And remember to keep trying no matter the struggle. Thank you, readers. Until next time!

The Dragon Princess - Chapter Two

Twitter and Its Hidden Marketing Power

Social media is the backbone of digital marketing. It has become the most integral part of marketing companies, products, even people groups. With many different social media platforms to chose from, companies have a wide range of content they can produce to reach a wide range of people. Of these platforms however, there is none more brutal and more honest than Twitter.

Twitter is a micro-blogging platform that allows users to post 140 character tweets. The content is up to the user, as long as it’s under or exactly 140 characters. The restriction creates some very interesting results, forcing users to be quite witty with their words. Memes especially start on Twitter, with users photoshopping photos with funny text and posting them with a short, extra caption. With a wide variety of users, there’s many chances to meet new customers. At the same time, companies have to be careful of how they interact with Twitter users and how they handle press, especially after creating a Twitter account.

Twitter is easy to market on if you can be witty and smart about what to post. But it can also provide very humbling experiences. Twitter’s community is notorious for mocking and destroying companies who make bad PR and marketing moves, particularly on Twitter. Because the site focuses on in the moment news, and things become viral very quickly, a bad marketing decision can make the news fast. If your company makes a bad move, by either newsjacking inappropriately, making a bad joke, using a hashtag incorrectly on Twitter, Twitter can quickly use the opportunity to bash and make fun of your company.

While most companies try to avoid these circumstances because of the bad rep they get, these can also be good marketing experiences. Yes, your company will be portrayed negatively, but within this is a second chance. A chance to show that you can own up to the mistake and come back from it. If you look at most of the companies that have made gaffs on Twitter, they’re still alive and kicking.

Even if you make a mistake on Twitter, it doesn’t mean the end of your company on social media. Again, most companies who end up making small mistakes on Twitter continue to exist on the platform. Mistakes are only detrimental if you respond badly to being called out. There’s many ways to come away from a social media mess up and remain okay. Get back up, laugh with everyone, admit the mistake, apologize when necessary, or (if it’s small enough) ignore it and move on. If you’re worried about the mark on your reputation, think about it from the customer’s viewpoint. They see it as you messing up and losing their trust. Admitting there was a mistake lets the customer know you as a company want to improve. You can ignore the mistake if it’s small, though. If it’s extremely inappropriate, then it should be addressed and apologized for.

While there are many ways companies can make right what they’ve done wrong, there are many more ways companies can further mess it up. Namely, refusing to admit a mistake was made or making a similar mistake later on. These can really make a company look bad because it looks like they don’t care. The customers see a company that messed up and lost their trust. And then flat out said nothing was wrong and perhaps made the same mistake later on that year. This brings down reputation far more than admitting the mistake and learning from it.

In the end, you have to be careful of how you handle marketing gaffs on Twitter. Mistakes aren’t super common on Twitter, but they can still happen. When they do, you have to weigh out how you’ll react. Will you decide to admit the mistake and apologize or laugh it off with the others? Or will you refuse to admit the mistake and risk making it again? The choice can decide your company’s reputation on Twitter. Choose wisely.

The Dragon Princess - Chapter Two

Why I Considered Quitting Facebook Pages

When it comes to marketing, there are many social media platforms to use. Twitter offers a place for quick, in the moment, posts. LinkedIn offers a place for professional or industry specific posts. Instagram offers a place for visual posts. YouTube offers a place for video posts or vlogs. Snapchat is a more private instant photo and video-sharing platform. And Facebook offers a place for… all of the above? Most social media platforms have a niche type of posts, but Facebook is different. There is no particular niche. Just whatever the user decides to post.

Facebook is one of the older social media platforms, with YouTube being the oldest of the ones mentioned. Originally, it had been created specifically for text posts. Pictures and videos could be added, but that wasn’t the sole point. Eventually, photos became more prominent on the site, since it was an easy way for users to show what they were up to with friends and family. More recently, Facebook added live video-streaming to their features, as well as making it easier for users to upload videos.

For the average user, these features are fun and can be used interchangeably for an all-around experience. But what about for marketers managing Facebook pages? There is no set function for Facebook pages besides to keep customers up-to-date on the company. Which is the primary function of all businesses accounts across social media For the larger companies who have marketing teams geared towards social media, this isn’t as big an issue. But for smaller companies who have a few individuals or perhaps only one person dedicated to doing all the marketing or social media, it can be a lot harder.

I fall into this second category. For the past year or so, I’d been using Facebook, Twitter, and other social media to promote myself as a writer and personality. Well, I’ve been trying to anyways. Twitter, I’ve found to be the easiest. You write a quick blurb about the day or a random thought and send it out. Easy-peasy. Instagram, you take a picture of what you’re doing, caption it with something insightful or funny, and send it out. Simple and straightforward. But that’s not the case for Facebook. Sure, you can share all your posts from other social media to Facebook, but you can do the same with Twitter, too. So what’s Facebook’s catch? How do you effectively use a social media platform where you can post whatever you want?

One way you could approach it is focusing on text posts like articles and blurbs. Another approach is focusing on photos and videos, especially live videos. The best approach does seem to be mixing text and photos, and maybe a few videos. For companies, this is pretty straightforward. You share posts from your website, new products, and press releases while posting pictures and videos or new products and things that happen within the company.

For personalities though, it isn’t as intuitive, especially when my current audience was only family members and a few sparse friends. Was I supposed to share blog posts on my website? Was I supposed to post pictures of my everyday life? But that’s what I had used my personal account for. Videos maybe? But that’s what I was using YouTube for. So what was my Facebook page for besides sharing blog posts? There was some type of barrier between Facebook pages and my own posting style. And this barrier was, and still is, having a large impact on how I was using Facebook pages. Or not using it.

In the end, I have decided that since I knew I hadn’t been using Facebook pages to the best I could, I would keep with it. Facebook isn’t the most intuitive platform, but that doesn’t mean I should give up on it. Marketing is about taking risks and figuring out what works. I still haven’t figured out how my Facebook page will work, what types of posts to, well, post, or how to attract other friends to visit and like my page. But I’m willing to stick with it until I’m able to discover my niche on Facebook and how to market on it properly. And at the end of the day, that’s what matters.

The Dragon Princess - Chapter Two

The Downfall of YouTube? Algorithms vs. Content

youtube, content, content creators,

Just like Google, YouTube is constantly updating their algorithms to get their customers the best experience. Or what they think is the best experience. Most YouTube viewers are there for a specific set of videos or YouTubers, occasionally changing their viewing habits. In the past, this wasn’t a big deal, as most viewers continued to be subscribed to and watch the older channels they had previously liked. However, YouTube’s new algorithm is changing that.

I became aware of the new change thanks to jacksepticeye who posted a vlog on the changes. He specifically talks about the changes from the perspective of a content creator, but what he says holds true for both creator and consumer. From the consumers side, the new algorithms have changed the recommended videos and channels based on the most recent user activity and trending videos. Best case scenario is a few recommended videos and channels that the consumer actually likes. Worst case scenario is users being unsubscribed from channels they hadn’t watched in several weeks.

But while these changes are important for consumers to know, what about content creators? How have the algorithm changes from even earlier this year impacted YouTubers? It turns out not in a good way.

Content Creators versus the YouTube Algorithm

Jack has posted numerous videos over the past months on the algorithm changes. These videos cover everything from comment changes to changes in views and subscribers. He has expressed his disappointment at the changes to the comment section from when he first began back in 2012. The comment section had gone from all comments he replied to on top to most popular, which made it difficult for him to connect with his audience. A very recent algorithm change caused his views to drop by 30-40% and caused a drop in subscribers as well. And it’s not just him; many users in his industry experienced the exact same drop in views and subscribers. YouTube even unsubscribed him from several of his friends because he didn’t always watch their videos, and the same thing occurred to his friends.

This isn’t the first time the YouTube community has criticized the YouTube algorithm. Searching the term “youtube algorithm” on YouTube brings up many videos bashing or giving tips on how to beat the YouTube algorithms.  Many find the algorithm updates choke content creators YouTube was built upon. One blog states that YouTube’s algorithm hurts animators because their algorithm certain elements of animation videos. These are “high dollar content,” meaning they have high production costs, and videos without personalities. The last one makes some sense, given the number of personalities on YouTube. But there are more than just personality users. Businesses and animators are a large chunk of the non-personality driven videos.

What’s Wrong with the Recent Update

Unfortunately, it seems the newest algorithm update is screwing with more people than usual. Many users, watchers and content creators alike, have complained about seeing video suggestions for The Bee movie memes and even porn, when they have never shown interest in such videos. Most likely, this is an accidental consequence of the update, but it’s still important to note.

Other consequences of the update include some YouTubers losing subscribers for posting videos while keeping them for not. This is extremely problematic for smaller and lesser-known channels, and the YouTube community is not happy with this. Even more problematic is the apparent trend to promote virality over originality, which encourages clickbait titles and shady tactics to bring in views and subscribers that won’t stick.

The worst part? YouTube’s algorithm is not public. Changes aren’t often announced to users, making changes only apparent after they’ve been put into place. This can catch many YouTubers off guard when they begin suffering from the changes. And, as said above, it’s already happening. One YouTuber, H3H3 Productions, gave examples of the viral videos YouTube promotes, and another famous YouTuber, PewDiePie, gave examples of the view drops.

What’s a YouTuber to do?

So what can content creators do? The best thing is to stay true to your current model. Continue to create and upload at the same rate, providing the same or better quality content so your subscribers don’t look elsewhere. Being aware of your audience also helps focus where your channel should go and provide the content your subscribers want. Engaging with them also helps build the sense of community YouTube has become know for. But also let your audience be aware of the changes so that they know for themselves to by wary of what’s happening to their subscriptions.

Businesses on YouTube can do the same thing. Stick with what your audience wants from your company but don’t resort to clickbait and shady tactics like faking news and virality. The thing about being truly viral is that it needs to be spontaneous. Asking to go viral or promoting something in order to go viral can be seen as deceptive, especially on YouTube. Instead, focus on engaging your audience meaningfully through responding to comments and having discussions about things pertaining to your business.

Conclusion

Sadly, there isn’t much any one content creator on YouTube can do about the algorithm changes. There’s a chance with all the negative feedback YouTube has received that they may think users are crying wolf. However, this should not deter any YouTubers from defaulting to the new viral videos and clickbait-style titles that are so rampant across the site. YouTube has always thrived off of original content creators. Doing a random viral challenge is still fun and promoting originality if the user puts their spin on it and doesn’t let those types of videos clog their usual content.

Remember, YouTube is a community. And to be a community, content creators must engage meaningfully, not for the likes or views, with their audience. Viral videos aren’t going to build that community for you or anyone. You need to help build it yourself. Let’s just hope YouTube’s executives can see that as well.

The Dragon Princess - Chapter Two

Pirates, Doughnuts, and Snapchat? Krispy Kreme’s Marketing Strategy

krispy kreme, donuts, doughnuts, pirate, marketingInternational Talk Like a Pirate Day is often celebrated with a fake pirate accent, perhaps a pirate costume, and a trip to your local Krispy Kreme for a doughnut. Krispy Kreme has been giving out free doughnuts to pirate-speaking customers and free dozen doughnuts to pirate-dressed customers since 2012. This day has since brought many pirate-loving folks joy and delicious sugary pastries for the past four years. And this year, it opened the door for other pirate fans to get their doughnuts: pirate-loving social media fans.

This year, Krispy Kreme allowed customers to use Snapchat to dress themselves digitally using a pirate filter. No physical costume required, but the pirate-speak probably wouldn’t hurt for the pirate sampler doughnut. The use of social media in promotion deals isn’t new. Many companies try to involve social media in promotions such as liking or following a Facebook or Twitter page to get a discount. But Snapchat is different.

Snapchat is one of the newer social media and one of the fastest growing apps. Millions upon billions of photos, or “snaps,” are sent every day by its millions of users. Because it’s a much more personal platform, it can be difficult for businesses to reach their customers through the app. Some have created filters, while others create snaps to share with customers. Advertising itself is difficult on the app because the only ways to advertise are creating filters and snaps or snap stories (snap collections). There’s no way to include promoted posts or ads in a customer’s feed.

Filters themselves are what makes Snapchat unique. Most other apps don’t have ways to add goofy pictures or funny animations to photos or videos. Snapchat allows its users to be creative with their photos using the filters to mix things up and be silly. Companies using filters to promote deals, such as using a specific filter or creating one, allows customers unique opportunities to interact with the company.

But is incorporating Snapchat a smart marketing move? In my mind, yes. Snapchat has a huge user-base, so if businesses can find unique ways of using Snapchat to reach customers, it’s worth the effort to explore using Snapchat. Social media, just like any other marketing technique, requires some experimentation. Snapchat needs more than usual because it’s a more personal social media app than others. But if they put the effort in, businesses can reach their customers in a more personable way. This will lead to better relationships between businesses and their customers.

Social media can be scary for businesses, especially when it comes to apps like Snapchat. However, Krispy Kreme’s use of Snapchat shows that social media doesn’t have to be scary. All it needs is a little effort and experimenting to get it to work. Because you don’t need just advertisements or promoted posts to reach your customers in a meaningful way.