How to Share a Compelling Story for Your Non-Profit

Behind every non-profit, there is a story so deeply connected to someone who suffered either a loss, an extreme experience, or a tragedy. And unfortunately, these people can’t always execute the outreach necessary to gain traction for their cause. That’s where we find the most basic solution to this need: Storytelling.

Stories are what connect all of us. Stories are what compel compassion and eventually action to make change. In our country today, there are more than 1.5 billion non-profits, according to the National Center for Charitable Statistics. With so many worthy causes, it is each one’s story that unites each one of us is a story that has impacted us on a personal level and makes us feel we can change by doing our part and giving.

With this plan to create connections through storytelling we must then ask, how does a non-profit tell its story? Every organization is different, but here are the four best practices to get started.

Sharing Your Cause Through Video Storytelling

One of the most powerful ways to connect with another person is face to face– by seeing their expressions and honestly feeling a human emotion. While this may not always be plausible, the same impact can be made through the power of video.

With video storytelling, you can bring your message to anywhere in the world with the click of a button. Non-profits can send purposeful messages to sustain their missions and help those in need both financially and emotionally. With the power of video storytelling, this can be done in an informative, heartfelt way. If you are the founder of a non-profit, your vision, purpose, and mission must be heard to achieve the goals you set out to from the start.

Communities must know the emotional side of the cause, but it is not enough to make them see it, you have to make them feel it. Use video to your advantage to connect and give on a level that will move you toward realizing your mission.

Engage Within Your Community, But Reach Beyond

Most non-profits start at a local level, within their communities. Creating engagement locally can be easy to begin, but as your non-profit grows, so too should your reach. To surmount this challenge of reaching beyond, use powerful storytelling that contains informative dialogue along with genuine purpose to bring connections with many partners within the community and beyond.

Video can effectually share the emotion behind your cause visually for you. This engagement can bring those closer to your non-profit through social media, video news letters, website content, and much more. While we all may want to make a change, we first need to see all the good that our action will bring, to see in action how the non-profit we choose to connect with is impacting this world. Do this through video and share it with everyone you can.

How to Convince Donors They Already Care

This is such an essential part of fundraising when it comes to non-profits. Asking for money can become uncomfortable fast– even when it is for a good cause. That’s why telling an impactful story that potential donors can connect with is so important, not just to convince them to donate but to allow them to understand the reality of the mission and show them why they probably already care about it.

Make them want to find out more, to read your story or watch your video, so they can learn about what is happening and how they can do their part. People care, they simply need a call to action. Your impactful video can be the difference between gaining attention and gaining actual financial traction.

Be Encouraging

During times of crisis or need, people want to believe that good will prevail. Using video to share your story along with progress and results is critical to keep your number of donors, and fundraising efforts, increasing.

Your prospective donors want to see the issue, but they want to know that the action they take is going to effectively help those who are the heart and soul of your non-profit. This leads to repeat giving and continued the growth of your non-profit.

Sharing your story of not only need but also hope through video can be the only thing standing between you and eager donors. Including your previous successes makes a huge difference in how donors give, how much they provide and their commitment to continue offering.

Celebrate through video storytelling your accomplishments, give people a reason to continue to help your cause.

The post How to Share a Compelling Story for Your Non-Profit appeared first on True Film Production.

How to Use Storytelling to Recruit Your Next A-Player

Video storytelling can break down barriers to connecting with your next hire.

Every company has the potential to be an amazing company. In fact, nobody sets out to own or operate a mediocre company. Of course, not everyone succeeds in reaching their goals of being the next Google or Facebook. But the world doesn’t need another Mark Zuckerberg; the world needs more of you. What works for guys like Zuckerberg is that they should up as themselves, completely raw and make no apologies for it. What the world’s companies do need, however, are the kind of employees that Zuckerberg has been able to recruit. Everyone knows the story of how Facebook got started and as a result, everyone on the planet has thought at one time or another how cool it would be to work at Facebook. Stories have that kind of power. So what’s your story? What if your story had the ability to bring you A-class employees and high caliber people that can take your company to the next level? Maybe you haven’t given it much thought but storytelling can be your golden ticket to recruiting your next best employee.

Share the Wealth…of Knowledge

Many companies like to close the doors to the outside world and carefully control the information that is released to people. We spend a lot of time trying to figure out the best time of day to post on social media, how much to write, say, share, what images we need, etc. But what we should really be focusing on is sharing the knowledge we have in as many ways as we can. Video storytelling, for example, allows companies to portray a very real and authentic version of themselves while sharing important information. When you consider how video storytelling could be used in recruiting methods, you might create a video to share with any potential new hires that walk them through your company and its values before they ever step foot in the door. When you share information about your company, the inaccessibility falls away and more people are attracted to what you have to offer.

Storytelling Bridges the Gap

One of the best ways to find out about any company is to talk to someone who works there, or who has worked there in the past. If you want to make a lasting impression on a new hire, consider how you can use video storytelling to share personal and professional experiences of your employees with potential new hires. Perhaps you might have a highlight reel of the best days in the company, or perhaps you have a raw video of people working through a problem together. Perhaps – and yes we know this is a bit of a stretch but we’re really excited about how impactful this could be for your company – you bring back a previous employee to talk about what it’s really like to work at your company. Talk about a stand-out approach to hiring, right? Your stories need to take your potential new hires from where they are to where you want them to be. And you can do that with information. And video is the perfect medium for delivering such a message.

Lessons Learned

Want to make an impact on your future employees? Share all of your lessons learned with them through video showcase that has employees talking about how hard everyone worked and how people pulled together and how they got the job done. You might even talk about how something fell through the cracks or how you lost an account: everyone knows it’s not sunshine and rainbows all the time. When you are frank about what goes on behind the scenes people feel like they know you better and can relate to your cause. When you share your struggles and your wins, those struggles and wins become the struggles and wins of your audience too. What’s more, it provides your future employees a chance to connect with events that happened before they ever stepped foot in the building. Lessons learned are valuable for everyone so don’t hide from them: share them!

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How to Use Video Storytelling to Inspire Your Audience

Break down barriers that separate you from your audience with video marketing

Video storytelling is a powerful tool that businesses can use to transform their audience from onlookers to clients, customers, and champions of the brand. Every business owner knows the value of a great referral, but valuable referrals often elude business owners. Sometimes, it’s a lack of follow through that costs a business owner a good lead, and sometimes the follow-through happens, but the connection is lost: your brand doesn’t live up to the hype of what someone else is saying about you. Ouch. A strategic way to ensure that your message is being conveyed appropriately and that your potential customers understand what you are all about is to get in front of them with video. Share your story with video storytelling and ensure that people get the goods from the horse’s mouth. Need some help getting started? Here’s how you can use video storytelling to inspire your audience to take action.

Video Storytelling Allows You to be Authentic

Everyone is talking about being authentic these days, but what usually happens is that people are so preoccupied with putting on a show that they fail to come across as authentic. Blogs and written content have their place, but they lack the immediate nature of video: video is right now, come-as-you-are real, and you can’t usually hide from what’s happening. Video allows you to show up as yourself, be yourself, and show the world what you have to offer. While might feel rehearsed and awkward at first will come to feel more natural and you’ll settle into the routine of recording and sharing videos as part your storytelling marketing efforts.

Emotion and Vulnerability are Not a Bad Thing in Video Storytelling

Aren’t you glad we live in a world where you can show your emotions without ridicule? Remember what it was like when everyone was playing the tough guy in business? These days, even the most successful business owners are sharing stories of their emotions and being vulnerable in front of the video camera lens and people are eating it up. That’s because all we really want is to know we are not alone, and when those we look up to or try to emulate, especially in business, are emotional and putting themselves in the way of critique, we feel like we can do it, too. It’s really an amazing time to be alive and share your story with the world.

Raw and Real Stories Leave Lasting Impacts

What’s interesting about video storytelling is what happens naturally when you are trying to tell a story: another story often emerges. We are so consumed with trying to get the messages right that we don’t let the natural order of conversation take place and we often miss these golden opportunities to connect with our audiences. When you are in the middle of a story, and another story comes to mind, don’t squash it down. Share it with the world. You cannot know how that story might inspire a customer or potential customer, and you cannot know the lasting impact your story may have on someone, even years from now. Don’t hold back.

 

Video Storytelling Puts You Front and Center

There’s nothing quite as intimate as watching a video of someone’s story on your phone or laptop, television or even on the big screen at the movie theatre. Stories are how we connect with one another. We love stories because we see ourselves in other people’s stories. For business owners, knowing that you are not the only one struggling or that you are not the only one worried about making payroll next week is a strong message to get. We are more connected than ever, yet we are lonelier than ever, separated by screens. Video storytelling helps to break down those barriers and puts us back in front of the people who mean the most to us: our customers. When your audience sees you, they are reminded of the work you do and they feel connected to you. The more they see you, the more inspired they’ll be to connect with you and work with you.

Ask Your Audience to Take Action

The classic “call to action” is when you put an offer in front of your audience, usually a chance to buy a product or sign up for a service. But with video marketing, you can offer more than just a chance to work with you, you can offer a chance to learn from you, and when customers feel like they are getting a lot of value from a company, they’ll come back again and again. You can always take the direct approach and ask for the sale, or you can use video storytelling and ask your audience to take a different kind of action: share the video. Tag a friend. Respond to it. Comment on it. Engage with it. Ask them to get involved. Ask them to take action that leaves a lasting impression. Ask your audience to become part of your story and you’ll build influential relationships with your audience like you’ve never seen before.

For more information about video storytelling, check out our Youtube channel and read about our storytelling services. We take pride in being the vehicle through which companies can share their stories. Let’s talk about how you can use video storytelling to inspire your audience to take action.

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Five Ways to Enhance Your Video Marketing Strategy

It’s that time of year again when everyone is starting to think about turkey and tinsel, but if you are a business owner, you might find yourself stressed out about how to grow your business in 2019. With so many options for marketing and advertising, how can you know where to invest your money and which efforts will yield the best results? Video marketing quickly became the medium of choice for a lot of business owners, but some are still not sure exactly how to improve their efforts. If you are trying to figure out what 2019 looks like for your business, consider investing money to enhance your video marketing efforts. To get you started, we’ve put together five ways you enhance your video marketing efforts so you get the most out of them!

Lead with Video, Support with Text

The beauty of video is that it allows you to tell your audience a story. Whether you want to tell the story of your brand, your early beginnings, or you want to showcase successful client projects, video marketing is a great way to connect with your audience in a way that makes a lasting impact. Did you know that people retain more information when they see a video than when they read the text? In fact, about 65% of the population learns more effectively by watching videos or seeing pictures than they do by reading or engaging with content in another way. No wonder people devourer video content. To maximize your video marketing efforts, be sure to incorporate transcripts of the conversation or words in the video so that those who prefer to read (or watch those videos in the bathroom on mute) can do so without skipping a beat.

Show the Highs and Lows with Video Marketing

One of the beautiful things about storytelling is that it allows your business to share the ups and downs of your company in a really authentic way. What’s interesting about authentic businesses is that they all seem to have the same values: transparency, clarity, community, integrity, and honest, just to name a few. So many businesses try to portray an image of perfection, but consumers want to know the men and women behind the social media posts or blogs. They want to know who is taking the shots and maybe missing a few baskets along the way. Video marketing allows you to showcase your best and worst moments in a way that brings you closer to your audience. When you win, they win; when you fail, they feel for that failure. It makes the world a smaller place.

Create Consistency in Your Video Creation Schedule

Perhaps you resist video marketing because you don’t understand how to go about getting started, or you worry about the message you might send. Some of the best advice we can give is to encourage you to try it on for size before you judge it. You might find that you enjoy coming up with video ideas and sharing your content with your audience. If committing to weekly videos seems like too much, start on a smaller scale: record and post a video once a month. Maybe it’s your newsletter: share a video instead of a blog. There are a lot of ways you can incorporate video into your marketing efforts, but consistency is one of the best ways to enhance those efforts. It’s your job to teach your audience what they can expect from you, but if they never know when you’ll release another video, they’ll lose interest. Make a point of sharing your video marketing efforts with your network and commit to publishing on a regular schedule.

Refine Your Audience

Every business owner would love it if the entire world were their customer, but of course, that’s not realistic, nor is it possible. Instead of blindly creating video content and sharing it with your networking, get to know your audience in a more robust way. Send out a survey asking them what they’d like to see more of, less of, or what they’d like to take a deeper dive into the next time you share something with them. When you understand your audience, you can create content that speaks directly to them. It helps to have a specific customer in mind sometimes – speak to that person, to their problems, and using video, show them why you are the best person to solve their problems.

Value Above All Else

With so much garbage being published on a regular basis, it’s important to ask yourself whether or not adding more content to the mix is a productive use of your time. If you are just publishing what everyone else in your industry is publishing, then no, that is not a productive use of your time. If however, you are showing up and providing real value to your customers, you’ll stand out from the crowd. Because a lot of business owners are still not getting on board with video content marketing, it might be your chance to stand out in your industry. Sure, it seems like everyone has a Youtube channel these days, but that’s not true. There’s lots of room for you to add your two cents into the mix in a meaningful way.

If you need help creating a video marketing strategy that will help you stand out in your industry, the professionals at True Film Production can help. We are a visual storytelling company that helps to break down barriers for clients who want to share their messages through the use of video. Let’s talk about how we can enhance your video marketing efforts today.

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Ditch The Pitch, Tell Your Story

There were times when advertising used to be an art form, instead of a series of annoying pop-ups like it is today. With that said, inspiring people into action has become increasingly difficult. It’s hard enough getting people’s attention when they’re constantly flooded with an endless stream of content, let alone making it deep into their hearts and minds. But there is a common denominator between inspiring others and effective communication, and that is emotional storytelling.

Leading with emotion doesn’t always make rational sense, but like all matters of the heart, you know it when you feel it. The key word here is “feel” because people don’t think their way into a meaningful connection but rather give into an emotion that compels them to action. A purposeful story, rather than a polished presentation that appeals to reason, can plant the seeds for such a connection. Equally important is that a story not only engages an audience but also gets them to commit to your mission.

To get people to be raving fans/brand ambassadors that are involved in your company’s mission beyond the “about us” page, here are some elements of storytelling that should not be overlooked:

1. Don’t forget the human element.

We all know the pains of being automatically directed to a robot over the phone, when what we’re looking for is human interaction for our customer service needs. An Accenture survey showed that 83% of U.S. consumers prefer dealing with a human through digital channels when it comes to customer service issues and getting advice.

This extends beyond virtual experiences, as in-store experiences are also highly valued amongst consumers: 46% of consumers surveyed were more willing to purchase new products when receiving a face-to-face service compared to an online service. Ultimately, people relate to other dynamic people, not facts and figures. Remember to make your service personal because customers are not only searching for efficiency and quality, they are also searching for people with whom to connect and identify.

A key pillar of our culture at True Film Production is human connection, be it through empathizing, storytelling or learning from one another. This core value of empathy often comes up in subtle scenarios at our office: We spend extra time communicating with our clients to understand their needs, we get to know their preferences and make arrangements accordingly, we check in periodically throughout our service delivery to see where it might be falling short and, most importantly, we go above and beyond in making sure that every client gets a finished product that they’re happy with.

There’s a reason why reality TV has more word of mouth than a scientific publication. The reason is that a cheating boyfriend scandal tugs at a person’s heartstrings more than a new discovery in scientific research. Regardless of the actual merits of your content, it’s important to remember that what sticks with people is the emotional environment you put them in, not the picture-perfect stats you hit them with. Make sure your story creates a sense of awe or surprise in the audience — because if it’s moving, it’s memorable.

For example, we created a story for our inspirational content channel about Blake Leeper, a double-leg amputee who defied all odds to become a two-time world-record holder. The story we told inspired millions, and with over three million views, it was more effective than just another “follow your dreams” slogan.

2. Take it a step further from storytelling to story making.

Inclusivity is an essential part of engagement. People don’t want to be innocent bystanders in a story — they want to take an active part in shaping the course of the narrative. This means that a brand has to be clear on its purpose but flexible in having people interpret its true north. Ultimately, it comes down to audience interaction and participation, because if people are taking part in your mission, they’re taking ownership of it, too.

A big part of achieving this participation is simply alignment. Pick and choose the clients/companies that are mission/purpose driven and have similar ideologies to yours. We find ourselves working with companies whose core values align with us, and a perfect example is a story we created for our client Club Med. Club Med did not just want to be known for its all-inclusive holidays; instead, it sought to take clients through an “experiential travel” journey. Those at the company knew that the best way to communicate a message is through storytelling, and since that approach matched our beliefs, we worked together in parallel and the video story we produced for them was phenomenal.

It comes as no surprise that shared experiences have the ability to connect us to other people on a much deeper level than shared consumption can. With that said, a brand that can create a personal story-making experience undoubtedly has an edge in building stronger bonds with its audience over the long term.

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How to Use Your Purpose to Share the Story Behind Your Brand

Knowing your “why” will bring your customers back again and again.

It’s well known and widely accepted that customers like to do business with brands they trust. But how do you develop that trust and maintain it over time? Of the most effective ways of keeping a customer interested and coming back for more is to share your purpose with them. You know, your “why.” What’s the thing that gets you out of bed in the morning? What’s the thing that makes you sit up and pay attention?

Your purpose is the foundation with which you have built your brand and you want to be sure to share it in a way that is not only inspirational but actionable. You want people to be so inspired by what you are doing that they just have to work with you, buy from you, and promote your services and products to their friends. Here’s how you can use your purpose to share your story behind your brand and turn it into an incredible tool to help you grow your business.

Brand

Use Your Purpose to Connect With People

Anyone can tell a story, but a good story leaves people feeling like it could have happened to them. A good story leaves people wondering what might have been, it provokes them to ask questions and sit in wonderment about how you did all you did. A good story starts with a purpose. We all love stories about overcoming objectives, obstacles, and setbacks, and certainly, every business has their share of these kinds of experiences. But when you bring your purpose front and center, suddenly, people don’t question where you found the urge to keep pushing, keep going, keep trying: they know that you were driven by something much more powerful. They know you were driven by your “why” and they want to feel that way, too.

Use Your Purpose to Be Authentic

Corporate storytelling doesn’t have to be contrived; it doesn’t have to leave viewers feeling like they should hand over their wallet. That’s where a lot of storytellers get it wrong: they try to tell a story that will sell a product, but when you tell a story that leaves people feeling like they know the real you, they’ll buy from you anyway. You can either put your efforts into selling your products or you can put your efforts into getting your audience to know and trust you – which one do you think is easier? Showing up and being yourself, while seemingly awkward for some, is by far, the easiest way to build your following and allow your audience to see you are authentic. You are real. Your company is real. Your purpose is real.

Your Purpose Becomes Their Purpose

When you use visual storytelling to share your purpose and the reasons you do what you do in your business, people feel instantly connected to you and can see themselves in your shoes. They’ll become champions of your business and do a lot of heavy lifting for you: word of mouth marketing? Consider it done. When you take the time to share your purpose through video, people can see that you are real, your drive is real, and your story is real. And isn’t that all we really want when doing business with someone? We want them to be real. We want them to deliver as promised. We want to feel a deep connection to them, even if we are just buying pens and office supplies from them: we buy from people and companies we like.

So the next time you think about sharing a post about your company, consider using video marketing strategies to share that message and don’t forget to share the reason you are in business in the first place. This message doesn’t just live on your “about us” page on your website. It’s a living, breathing entity in your business and as your purpose changes with time and experience, you should share those changes with your customers and audience so they can follow along.

For more information about how you can incorporate visual storytelling into your corporation, contact True Film Production today.

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Scooter Braun: Failure Is Just a PIT STOP On The Way To Success

As storytellers, we love learning how people have grown to find their success. No one’s story began with a multi-million dollar salary or an estate in Beverly Hills. Not even Scooter Braun’s.

Scooter Braun is one of the biggest names in entrepreneurship and talent management today. With an array of A-list celebrities under his management, such as Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande, and an enormous social media following, it is hard to believe he hasn’t always been the mogul he is today. But just like everyone else, Scooter started small– in his case, literally.

Scooter has always aimed to conquer his fears and limits. That’s why as a 4’11 high school freshman, he decided to join the basketball team. He recalls feeling the pressure of playing such a competitive sport until his coach pulled him aside and reminded him of one important thing. It was just a game. From then on Scooter reminded himself that as long as he tried his hardest, failure was just a stepping stone on the way to success.

This lesson has carried Scooter throughout his career as a talent manager and entrepreneur. His affinity for finding the lesson in every failure and exercising resilience in the face of adversity are some of the reasons that we find his story so inspirational. Scooter’s story is a prime example of earned success, true growth, and meaningful connections and we could not be more proud to share his story with the world. And again, that story began with humble roots and learned lessons through his childhood experiences, beginning with basketball.

Basketball means more to Scooter than most people would think. Even now at the age of 37, the game reminds him of his dedication to teamwork and loyalty, as well as the lessons his father taught him within the sport. Perhaps the most influential of which was his father’s reminder that as a leader, the losses of your team fall on you, a lesson that Scooter has carried with him throughout his booming career and his family life.

For Scooter, family is the thing most closely aligned with success. When discussing his two sons and his wife, Scooter’s eyes light up and his true passion for his loved ones becomes evident. And this is because they too have taught him how to overcome his fears and overpass his limits. Scooter credits his wife with the lesson of opening himself up to vulnerability and growing more comfortable with the idea of forming deep connections every day.

That vulnerability, however, is challenged all the time. And while Scooter is a hard working father and husband by day, he admits that he is still scared all the time. If it weren’t for his family supporting him, Scooter may never have found the courage to tackle his fears and find the success that he has so far.

Now, Scooter is working to continue serving others while still maintaining a sense of positivity and self. Lessons like how to overcome your fears and how to overpass your limits are exactly what have given him the tools to balance an entrepreneurial spirit and a vulnerable heart.

And that is what brought Scooter to where he is today. The experiences he has had that have taught him to play the game, overcome fears and limits, gain a positive mindset, and become vulnerable have shown him how to get back up and keep trying until he succeeds.

Want to hear Scooter’s story in his own words? Check it out on our Youtube page or True Inspiration’s website now to find out what made Scooter the man he is today.

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16 Ways to Take Advantage of What Instagram Has to Offer

Instagram is a visual wonderland, especially for brands. It’s an opportunity to attract more customers — particularly those belonging to the millennial and Gen Z demographics — and showcase the best of what you have to offer. Just take a look at some of the most followed Instagram accounts and you will see why and how the top brands in the world are taking advantage of what this social platform has to offer.

However, something we all know too well about social media, is that Instagram can also be a time suck if it isn’t leveraged correctly. You want the best of both worlds: being able to reap the benefits of Instagram without spending all of your time on it.

We asked members of Young Entrepreneur Council how to best leverage what Instagram has to offer while still staying true to your business.

1. Showcase Beautiful Photos

This seems simple, but it is easily forgotten. Instagram is for photos. Share great ones that are relevant to your brand and ones that your audience will appreciate and want to see. If your industry just isn’t something that can involve relevant photography, focus on another social platform that’s more fitting.

– Jeff CayleyWorldwide Cyclery

2. Use a Tool to Plan Photos in Advance

Use a tool such as Planoly, Plann or Later to batch plan your posts in advance so you can see how they look together visually on the grid. I also use Instagram Stories to show potential clients a peek behind the scenes on real projects so they feel more connected to our team before they start working with us.

– Allie SiartoAllie Siarto & Co. Photography

3. Find a Theme

Make sure your page has a consistent theme. When people land on a brand’s page, they should see content that looks uniform and planned. A person will make an instant decision on whether or not to follow your page based on if the aesthetics are worthwhile to show up in their feed. Use tools like preset Lightroom filters to give each photo a similar feel.

– Bobby PalmieriLilo Social

4. Embrace Storytelling

Instagram Stories has become a powerful tool for storytelling, and even more so for activating your audience and driving sales. Get a business IG profile and organically earn 10k followers so that you can utilize links in your stories. If you’re creative, thoughtful and provide entertainment and value, you’ll reap the rewards. Don’t forget to make the posts visually stunning and interesting.

– Scott LevyFuel Online

5. Create Photo-Friendly Spaces

Creating a few standard spaces you can reuse regularly will speed up your Instagram workflow, as well as help establish a brand feeling. You don’t need a professional studio, but a well-lit neutral wall or a corner table set up for product photography will make staging Instagram photos routine.

– Thursday BramThe Responsible Communication Style Guide

6. Be Original

Don’t copy the style and type of content used by other advertisers and influencers. Millennials and Gen Zers can sense when a brand is trying to appear hip and young and they will interpret it as trying too hard. Instead of following current trends, find your brand’s identity and stick to it.

– Duran InciOptimum7

7. Find Your Target Audience

When building a professional Instagram page, it is paramount that you know who you are targeting, how to find them and what they want to see. Instagram can connect you with clients, potential employees and like-minded people who just want to enjoy your content. Make the decision of what Instagram will do for you and work toward that specific goal with every post.

– Stanley MeytinTrue Film Production

8. Include Up to 30 Hashtags

Instagram users love using hashtags to discover new content. Get additional visibility for each Instagram post by including up to 30 relevant hashtags on each post. Research these hashtags on a tool like WEBSTAGRAM or Keyhole. Then, once you identify hashtags with high volume and high relevancy, include them on posts to reach your target audience and attract new followers.

– Brett FarmiloeMarkitors

9. Post Frequently

In order to stay relevant on social media, especially on Instagram, brands need to post frequently. One guru in the space who I follow, Gary Vaynerchuk, posts seven to eight times per day. I post at least once per day, but typically more. Also, be consistent with your imagery when posting on Instagram. Make sure to have a consistent look across the board.

– Jean GinzburgGinball Digital Marketing

10. Make It a Contest

Photo contests are a great way to engage with users on Instagram. Ask customers to post images, preferably ones using a new or promoted product, and have them tag it with a specific hashtag for the contest. Ask users to vote on their favorites and then pick a winner. A well-planned contest will build brand awareness and help you engage with new customers.

– Blair ThomaseMerchantBroker

11. Write Great Captions

Sure, Instagram is a visual platform, but the caption of your post says a lot, too. Also, be consistent when posting — especially because the new algorithm is not chronological anymore. Post more!

– Andrew NammingaAndesign

12. Be Human

Instagram photos that perform best showcase lifestyle stories, not static images. For example, when posting a product, have a smiling woman on a beautiful beach with her friends. Fans are more likely to relate or aspire to that image. That’s because Instagram was originally created to capture people’s lifestyles. It is an artistic platform on which people tend to interact with those who post happy, beautiful images of their daily lives.

– Michael HsuDeepSky

13. Focus on the Customer Journey

The creative you use has to be based on the stages of the funnel. Is the ad focusing on awareness, consideration or decision? What will resonate most with your audience based on their buying stage? Use creative that resonates most with your audience’s buying stage and psychographics.

– Marcela De VivoBrilliance

14. Boost Your Content With Ads

While Instagram is one of the best platforms for user engagement, your content may still get lost and not reach its full potential. It doesn’t matter how beautiful the photo or witty the caption if no one sees it. It’s worth investing some money into boosting a post via Instagram Ads to reach a larger audience and ensure relevant users are seeing it.

– Leila LewisBe Inspired PR

15. Reach Out to Influencers

It can be a long, time-consuming process building up an engaged audience on Instagram. A quick and easy shortcut is to reach out to social media influencers who did the hard work for you by building up their own following. Finding a natural way to connect your service or product with their brand can be extremely effective and tremendously time saving.

– Bryce WelkerCrush The LSAT

16. Showcase Authentic Moments

A reposted inspirational quote, a stock photo that’s been heavily edited and other images that are clearly not from where you live and work should be avoided. We see right through that stuff. Content that does best in terms of engagement is usually produced by you, imperfections and all.

– Beck BambergerBAM Communications

The post 16 Ways to Take Advantage of What Instagram Has to Offer appeared first on True Film Production.

How Brands Should Utilize YouTube Channels as Part of Their Video Marketing Strategy

There’s no question that video marketing is an effective way to reach your audience. With the huge success of Instagram Stories, Snapchat, and Facebook Live video options, businesses are able to connect with their audiences like never before. But a lot of people are still intimidated by live video marketing and that fear holds them back from making a lasting impact on their customers and clients. Before live video was an option, YouTube was already helping millions of individuals and businesses around the world share their stories, products, and services. With the popularity of live video, you might think that YouTube is not as valuable to your video marketing efforts, but you’ll be missing out on a huge opportunity to create and share evergreen content with your existing audience, and of course, YouTube is a great way to grow your audience organically. Here’s how your business can use YouTube Channels to build your brand as part of your video marketing strategy.

Focus on Recurring Themes

Every business has a recurring theme, whether it be their mission, vision, values, unique value proposition, how they serve their customers, or why they are the best – yet a lot of these messages are found in print on the company’s website. Here’s where copy falls short of video: copy requires interpretation of the message you are trying to get across to your audience, whereas video allows you to say exactly what you mean where there is no question about tone, intention, or interpretation. You have an opportunity, at multiple points throughout a YouTube video to clarify your topics and ensure your audience gets the right message. YouTube allows you to share your most important messages in a medium that is widely accepted and accessible to people.

Plan for Consistency in Video Marketing

One of the fastest ways to lose whatever audience you have amassed is to stop posting YouTube videos on a regular basis. If you find yourself on a YouTube channel that has not been updated in a while, it’s akin to being on a blog that hasn’t had a post in a few months: people lose interest when you do. The importance of consistency in recording and posting new video content cannot be overstated. Building it into your marketing plan will help you budget for video production and scheduling it as part of your content calendar will ensure that it gets done. YouTube has nearly 2 billion users that put their videographer skills to use with motivational videos, inspirational stories, business success stories, and more. If you can’t commit to being consistent with your video marketing efforts on YouTube, consider working with a video production company to help you plan and create videos to build your brand through storytelling.

Capture Interest with Real-Life Stories on Your YouTube Channel

Video marketing is so popular that businesses who aren’t using it are going to get left behind. Think of video marketing as the new version of the blog: you wouldn’t run a business without a blog, right? In order to keep people coming back to your YouTube channel, you’ll want to make sure that your audience gets to see what you are all about. This is often easier for smaller companies to achieve, but it’s not impossible to get everyone in a larger company involved in an ongoing video project if you decide a head of time that it’s important to your video marketing efforts. And believe us when we say, it’s important to your marketing efforts.

YouTube gives people the freedom to express themselves without worrying about their words, their grammar, their writing skills – video is accessible to everyone. YouTube videos allow you to be yourself without wondering how you are going to ensure your voice and message don’t get lost in the words. Using real-life stories from your business and even your life, you can capture the interest of your audience because they’ll feel connected to the person behind the camera. Building your brand is about connection. Consumers want to feel connected to the brands they buy. Whether you are a one-woman show or the CEO of a multi-national conglomerate organization, video marketing through YouTube can help establish you in your market and allow people to find your products and services, stories and challenges, in a way that helps them to connect with you immediately.

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8 Best Practices for Hiring a Coach Who Will Help You Grow

If you’re looking to take the next step in your entrepreneurial growth, one of the best investments you can make is in a business coach. Whether you want to increase your sales or improve your hiring strategy, this person can act as an invaluable resource.

Like any professional relationship, you’ll want to find a coach with whom you feel a strong connection and rapport. More importantly, you should seek out someone who understands the industry you’re in and the unique challenges you’re facing. If you’re in the market for a business coach, follow these tips from eight seasoned entrepreneurs.

Consider virtual coaches as well as local ones.

A local coach you can meet with face to face may sound like the best approach, but it can be restrictive when it comes to scheduling, according to Blair Thomas, co-founder of eMerchantBroker. “By finding a coach that is available online, such as via video conferencing, you are opening yourself up to a wider pool of individuals,” he says.

“Video conferencing can be just as energetic and beneficial as meeting face to face,” Thomas notes. As well, when you are not bound by location, you can find a coach who specializes in a certain industry or has some other attribute that works best for your needs.

Make sure you feel comfortable opening up.

Rachel Beider, CEO of Massage Outpost, reveals that a great business coach should push your boundaries and help you get out of your own way.

“Feeling vulnerable and comfortable with your coach will help you establish a real connection, where you can feel good about being brutally honest about your fears,” she says. “I have worked with a phenomenal business coach who helped me level up by pushing me hard and providing support.”

Ask for details about how they work.

Anyone can call themselves a business coach. That’s why Vik Patel, CEO of Future Hosting, recommends finding out some details about the coach’s process, their past successes and their industry experience before hiring them.

“Get specific,” he advises. “The job title ‘business coach’ covers a lot of ground, and you need to be sure that your aims for your business match with the coach’s skill set and processes.”

Find someone who shares your long-term vision.

One of the most important things to look for in a business coach is a shared long-term vision, according to Sunny Desai of Desai Hotel Group.

“It helps to make sure that every decision you are trying to make is aligned with your end goal,” says Desai. “Start with discussing how they would approach your current situation to see if there is true alignment.”

Look at their track record.

Michael Hsu, founder and CEO of DeepSky, believes that it’s crucial to find a coach who practices what they preach.

“Knowing what to do and doing what must be done are two very different things,” he explains. “A coach who eats their own dog food will understand the little nuisances and how to deal with them when life gets in the way.”

Seek similar industry experience.

To truly learn from someone, you want to know that they’ve experienced a similar path of development as you have, and that they’ll understand the specific areas in which you need support, says Stanley Meytin, CEO of True Film Production

“A coach who has been where you are can give personal advice on how to thrive moving forward and won’t waste time trying to understand you,” he adds.

Find a coach whose values align with yours.

While your business coach doesn’t need to share your exact mindset, Angela Ruth of Calendar believes they should be similar enough to understand what you respond to, your learning style and your overall value system.

“I need someone who understands how I think and approach things,” she says.

Avoid hiring a clone of yourself.

On the flip side, Dan Golden, co-founder of BFO (Be Found Online), doesn’t think you should look for a coach who is too similar to yourself.

“Focus on someone you think you would respect and listen to,” says Golden. “Often there’s a tendency to find someone who’s like yourself, but what you really need is a different perspective and a different style to make that breakthrough you desire.”

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