How to Use Multimedia For Business Marketing: Sharing Photos With Your Online Community.
Several online communities exist for the purpose of uploading and sharing photos over the Web, and many small businesses have learned to take advantage of these services to market their products. Here are the most common photo sharing marketing strategies.
1. Offer real-time incentives. Twitter’s TweetPhoto will automatically enable you to publish photos to your Twitter and Facebook accounts for free via mobile and Web platforms. Who needs 140 characters to describe your business when a picture is worth 1,000 words? Tweet pictures of discounted and new items or offer exclusive incentives.
2. Join like-minded communities. At no cost, Yahoo-operated Flickr provides a useful platform for photo management and sharing. “The first thing that I tell people is that Flickr is not just a photo storage place,” says Matt McGee, independent online marketing consultant of the Tri-Cities, Washington-based, Small Business Search Marketing. “It’s a very active community centered around Flickr groups.” For example, a pet-lovers group may get a kick out of the clothing and toys created by a boutique pet store.
3. Drive traffic to your website. Pink Cake Box, a gourmet cake shop, began using Flickr in 2006 to build brand identity. Co-owner Jesse Heap says that Pink Cake Box’s website receives about 300,000 unique users each month, and roughly 10 percent of those visitors are from Flickr, where the company posts photos of interesting or extreme cakes.
How to Use Multimedia For Business Marketing: Hosting Videos and Webcasting.
Sharing videos over the Web is another great resource for small businesses in establishing a social media presence, particularly because of how many people are tuning in. According to a November 2009 survey released by comScore, a digital marketing research firm, Google’s many video sites accounted for 12.2 billion videos viewed that month, including YouTube, which accounted for nearly 99 percent of the total.
Webcasting is essentially broadcasting a video or media file over the Internet using streaming media technology, which can be distributed to many simultaneous viewers at once. Done the right way, webcasts, also called video podcasts, vblogs, videocasting or Web shows, can be effective promotional tools. “It’s a cool opportunity to take people behind the scenes of a business,” says Dina Kaplan, co-founder and COO of blip.tv, a four-year-old Internet TV network. Her network airs video podcasts from hundreds of companies as diverse as the New York City Ballet to the crafter website Etsy, which broadcasts online classes. “It’s been interesting to watch, especially in the last year, how many businesses have created Web shows to promote their product or gain exposure for principals,” Kaplan says.
Shooting a video for YouTuve or starting a more elaborate webcast essentially takes four basic ingredients: equipment, a theme, an online home and marketing.
1. The equipment. Very small businesses can buy a webcam or camcorder, wireless microphone and simple video editing equipment. However, a webcam limits you to filming yourself sitting in front of a computer, and that’s not very exciting, says Peter Brusso, an Anaheim, California podcasting producer and technology marketing consultant. Instead, invest in a camcorder, preferably a “three-chip” camera that uses three computer chips to separate colors, which results in a higher quality picture, Brusso says.
2. Hire someone. If you have a bigger budget, hire a professional. Prices run from $1,000 to $15,000, according to podcast industry sources. Employment attorney Helene Wasserman created a video podcast called Employer Helpcast two years ago to market her work as a partner with Ford & Harrison LLP. Wasserman uses Brusso’s company to produce video podcasts and pays $2,500 for segments that run anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes. It’s worth the money, she says. “If you’re trying to market yourself as having a very professional business, you want to put your best foot forward,” she says.
3. The show. You could have the best-looking video around, but it wouldn’t matter if you didn’t do something that was interesting and consistent, says blip.tv’s Kaplan. For webcasts, stick to a regular broadcast schedule, whether that’s once a day, week or month. And keep shows short. “Your aptitude for sitting in your uncomfortable office chair atrophies after about six minutes,” she says. Be personable, says Kaplan, who advises podcasters to stick to the old news adage to show, not tell. If you run a retail business, walk around the store, and talk about new merchandise. “Talk to a customer. If you have a hardware store, show them the new hammer on sale,” she says.
4. Hosting and marketing. Once you’ve got a video in the can, upload it for free on YouTube where it can be viewed by anyone. Webcasts can also be uploaded to free or paid hosting sites such as blip.tv, iTunes or Libsyn. Where a podcast is hosted isn’t as important as spreading the word that it’s there. Wasserman’s podcasts appear on blip.tv and iTunes and cover workplace issues such as job sharing, corporate culture and managing a multi-generational workforce. Wasserman points prospective viewers to the podcast from her website and blog and by including a tagline promoting the show in her email signature. Wasserman also uses a free service that puts word-for-word transcripts of her video podcasts on the Web, where they can be searched by Google and other search engines. More people find her podcast through search engines than by visiting blip.tv or her website, and the traffic had led to speaking engagements and new work, she says. “It’s the wave of the future. For anyone who wants to use 21st century technologies, this is the way to go.”