Make Your Virtual Presentation a Sensation

Make Your Virtual Presentation a Sensation

Woman having conference call

Due to the reduction in face-to-face meetings, business has quickly become more reliant on virtual communication. With these changes come technical challenges and a new set of issues to troubleshoot. Here are some tips and tricks that can help make your experience easier and your presentations better.

Avoid Technical Difficulties

We all know technology can have a mind of its own, but there are precautions you can take to avoid technical difficulties. This includes doing a few test-runs to see what kinds of issues could arise, then figure out solutions. Make sure your devices are securely connected to the internet. You’ll want to make sure your ethernet cords are plugged in properly or that you have a strong Wi-Fi signal. If using a webcam or camera, make sure you’ve gone into your device’s settings and allowed the software or platform to access the camera. Check to see if your device captures audio well, and if it doesn’t, use a microphone. If you’re screen-sharing, try to have a back-up plan as to how your audience can access the files and sites you were sharing in case the screen-share doesn’t work. Every platform (Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams, WebEx, etc.) has its different quirks, so it’s essential that you adjust your presentation to the one you are using.

Aesthetics

The way your presentation looks plays a huge role in how captivated your audience is. You want them to be focused on your presentation. This means wearing non-distracting clothes with simple patterns, avoiding cluttered backgrounds, and having proper lighting. Choose backgrounds and clothing based upon the level of professionalism that you’d like to convey. Good lighting comes from making sure you are not in front of any source that’s too bright (close the blinds behind you) and using a ring light or lamp if you don’t have sufficient indoor light. Also, light from computer screens and lamps can reflect into your glasses so consider wearing contacts if possible. 

Behavioral Tactics

As with any presentation, you want your body language and behaviors to keep your audience engaged. In a virtual setting, it’s not possible to physically look your audience in the eye, so the next best thing is to make sure you are looking into the camera rather than at the screen. If possible, place your camera at eye level, so that it’s easier to maintain eye contact. Also, try not to be too up close and personal with the camera. The audience should at least be able to see you from your chest and up. Giving a standing presentation can also be a great help, as it communicates higher energy. 

Content Is King

Don’t forget to truly captivate your audience! Practice is still the key to a successful presentation. Know what your message is and try not to rely heavily on reading content from index cards or other sources. Consider your audience and use language that they can understand. Speak loudly and clearly. Have interesting slides if you are using a PowerPoint. Utilize polls, chats, and raised hand functions to keep their attention from wandering, or even just ask questions. 

 

Whether in-person or virtual, presentations have their challenges, but it’s important to put your best foot forward. Just a few small changes can make a big difference, so start by trying out a couple of these ideas for your next presentation. For more tips, check out our blog post on virtual engagement or our blog on presentation software. 

 

 

4 Quick Tips to Boost Virtual Engagement

4 Quick Tips to Boost Virtual Engagement

Woman having conference call

We can’t manage other people’s internet connections or background distractions, but as we gain more experience and gather knowledge from the teams that have already been doing this for years, we can boost engagement and find the technology and formats that work best. Bouvier Kelly has been exploring these issues – even before COVID – and we wanted to share a few tips and ideas that have worked for us.

 

A Virtual Event Doesn’t Have to Be Digital Only

Though many conferences are seeing record registration numbers, many registrants aren’t showing up or sticking around. One idea to boost engagement and attendance is to generate pre-event connections and excitement.

  • Go old school and send out a pre-conference goodie bag/prep kit. Try including helpful tools like a headset or webcam.
  • Add some of the fun factor back in with prize cards with QR codes or selfie accessories for your networking chats. What you include should be aimed at your attendees, what they like and most importantly why they like coming to your event.

 

Improve Virtual Presentations

For formal presentations or webinars, to help boost your confidence and not lose your audience as you work to communicate your subject matter, the number one tip is the same as it was in “real” life: practice!

  • Ask your team to do some run throughs so you can get familiar with the technology and feel more comfortable talking into the camera.
  • Your test audience can also make sure your microphone and connection work well and that your visuals support your ideas.
  • For sessions and presentations at virtual events, we recommend pre-recording. That way editing can take care of any blips or interruptions, and you can add in some interest by cutting between the slides and speaker. By adding a live Q&A session, you can get the best of both worlds.

 

Get Comfortable with Video Calls

Video calls aren’t going away any time soon, whether we like it or not, so let’s figure out how to improve them. Remember the human connection and relationship building that we lose by going virtual can be built back through the use of a camera, and use that as motivation to power through the awkwardness and keep getting better.

  • Similar to presentations, do test calls with your internal team and make sure you understand the software and have the right equipment.
  • If you can’t move your workspace to one with a less cluttered background or better lighting, consider purchasing equipment like a backdrop or some lights.
  • Interruptions are going to happen, so try to be patient with whoever you’re talking to as well as yourself. The more you focus on it, the more it affects the rest of the meeting.

 

Build a Digital Tool Kit

Brochures or one-sheets that are perfect in person and in print don’t always translate well to a screenshare.

  • Consider at least resizing for a screen and going landscape mode.
  • Going a step further, we recommend an engaging web page with all the information your sales team needs available at one click (or many clicks that have anchor links to the appropriate sections). You already have the content in your tool kit, you just need to convert it to a digital kit that’s designed for the job. And if you do it right, you’ll have a tool your customers or distributors can even navigate on their own.

 

The most important thing to realize is that virtual and digital aren’t going away soon. They were here before, and they’re here to stay. The best way forward is to embrace the change. If we cling to the way business has always been done and try to wait it out, we’ll be left behind. Adapt for the future while learning from the past.

Check out more tips on virtual presentations here.

The Power of a YouTube Video Ad Campaign

The Power of a YouTube Video Ad Campaign

youtube playhead

YouTube has more than two billion active users, making it the second most popular social media platform just behind Facebook. Videos have the ability to communicate through text, image, and sound making them engaging to a larger audience and highly valuable for promoting brands. Making a promotional video is an essential marketing tactic for any brand trying to gain the eye of the public.

While making a quality video may seem like a lot to tackle, having an agency partner can make the process go more smoothly. Not to mention, it’s absolutely worth the effort because it can be used anywhere! In addition to YouTube, you can leverage your new video on Facebook, Twitter, commercials, digital signage, and the list goes on.

Getting Started on YouTube

Once the video is complete, uploading to YouTube is simple. You’ll want to make sure the video is categorized properly and is tagged with relevant keywords. For example, if you’re promoting a lipstick, you’ll want to select the Fashion and Beauty category when you upload and use #makeup. This site is a free resource that can show you the most popular keywords associated with a topic.

Any video uploaded to YouTube can be promoted and turned into an advertisement. In addition to the use of keywords, YouTube’s algorithm shows your video to target audiences based on location, their Google user profiles, and other videos they’ve watched on YouTube. If someone is watching videos on the same topic you are promoting, it is highly likely that they will be interested in your business.

YouTube Ads have an average cost of $.010 – $.030 per view. The average cost of reaching 100,000 views is around $2,000. You can set a budget for your campaign based on your goals and the size of your potential audience. If you’re trying to generate awareness and are targeting a broader group of people, you may need to spend more, whereas reaching a more niche audience may be more expensive per person but also cost less in total.

Which Ad Format Makes Sense for You?

There are two different types of in-stream ads:

There is the “Skippable Video Ad” which shows up before, during, or after a video and viewers have the choice as to whether they want to skip the ad after five seconds. You only pay for this type of ad if the viewer watches the ad for more than 30 seconds.

The second type of in-stream ad is the “Bumper Ad”. It lasts for six seconds and is paid in a unit called CPM’s or cost-per-thousand impressions.

Now if all of this seems like too much and you don’t have the time or resources to make a video, there are also simple display ads that can be placed on YouTube.

The “In-Display Ad” is shown in the white column next to a YouTube video.

The “Overlay Ad” pops up on a video while it is playing, covering a small portion of the video, and stays up until the viewer hits “X”.

Lastly, there is the “Sponsored Card Ad” that displays an ad card for a product that is relevant to the video the viewer is watching.

YouTube is always testing new ways to advertise. They often create new ad formats while scrapping the old ones that have not performed as well. So even if you’ve passed on YouTube in the past, it may be time to take a second look.

Email Marketing in 3 Steps

Email Marketing in 3 Steps

Whether you’re starting from scratch or just looking to refresh, we’ve gathered the info you need to begin building an email marketing campaign.

 

Step 1 – Foundation

Before you start any digital marketing, make sure that your whole “ecosystem” is operational. It’s a lot harder to go back, tear down and rebuild than build it right the first time. It’s easy to silo the different elements of your marketing campaign and forget that by connecting pieces like your website, content, email and advertising, you can create more sustainable success.

>> Review the 5 Pillars of your Digital Ecosystem

 

KPIs may sound like just another marketing acronym, but key performance indicators can be a crucial way to track your campaign’s progress and know when things are going well or when you need to pause and rethink your strategy. KPIs can also help you pinpoint which elements of the campaign are the weakest link. If you have a high click-through rate and a high bounce rate, chances are you should start testing different ways to improve your landing page.

>> Make sure you know what success looks like – establish your KPIs

 

A finely tuned, segmented email list of relevant contacts is one of the best tools you can develop for your company. If you’re starting from scratch, good news, it will be much easier to start from the ground up. Think about your long-term goals as well as what you need immediately and try to build those parameters in from the beginning. If you’re working to segment an existing behemoth of an email list, that can be a little more daunting, but we believe you can do it. It’s a great opportunity for some sales/marketing teamwork.

>> Set your CRM up and segment your list

 

Step 2 – Build Your Email Campaign

Start out on the right foot and work on removing the word “eblast” from the conversation. It’s a subtle thing, but setting your intention from the beginning can make all the difference. When you develop emails to educate or share information and updates, your audience will be more receptive (especially if they’re targeted and relevant thanks to your segmented list). If you “blast” them with a message meant for everyone generally, you may still hit the mark with some, but typically your message will be lost on the majority.

>> Check out our Do’s and Don’ts blogs for quick tips as you start construction.

 

Step 3 – Test and Measure

Pay attention to your performance data. Try talking to your audience if possible and get direct feedback. Experiment with different CTAs, email layouts and deployment times. Find what works for you.

One last tip is to make your campaign manageable from the start. Go too big too fast and you will likely not be able to keep it going. Start small and build on your success over time.

A Beginner’s Guide to #Hashtags

A Beginner’s Guide to #Hashtags

The hashtag is one of the most defining symbols of the social media era. Alongside the Like button, the ubiquitous hashtag has played a leading role in the ways social media has transformed our world. From the commercial to the political, from the comical to the deadly serious, hashtags have played a role in almost every major social media moment of the last 15 years.

So how do brands wield their power to generate awareness or grow their audience? We’ll take a look at four key elements of hashtags, and how your brand can use them in smart, effective ways.

What is the Point of Hashtags?

This is often the most common question we get regarding hashtags. They are everywhere, and almost everyone uses them…but what do they actually do? In simplest terms, hashtags help group digital conversations around a specific theme. Much like the 90’s chat rooms of the Internet 1.0, hashtags allow like-minded users to share their thoughts and create discussions around a subject that remain tethered to a central hashtag.

While the grouping of posts and comments around a hashtag can still be somewhat haphazard on platforms like Twitter, platforms like Instagram have added the ability for users to “follow” specific hashtags much like they would any other account. So if you’re especially interested in seeing content related to #CleanEating, for example, you could follow that hashtag and receive interesting new posts that feature that hashtag in your timeline next to the brands you follow.

There Are Different Kinds of Hashtags

While the convention is the same for all of them, hashtags can be used for very different purposes. The most basic application is the branded hashtag, where the hashtag is literally just a brand name: #BouvierKelly, #Oatly, etc. This is perhaps the best place for any brand to start in the collection and use of hashtags on their social media platforms. Including your branded hashtag in all your official social media posts helps make sure you’re represented in conversations about your brand.

Community hashtags might relate back to your brand, but are not necessarily the same thing as your branded hashtag. They are often a way to generate and group UGC (user-generated content). These are posts shared by fans of your brand that can then in turn be shared on your own platform or website. The #MyWestElm community, for example, allows fans of the furniture brand to show off their new purchases with the possibility of being featured on West Elm’s digital properties.

Event and holiday hashtags are two more ways conversations find unity on social media platforms. Whether it’s at a conference or tradeshow (such as #NACS2020) or an awareness event for a particular illness or disease (#MSAwarenessWeek), hashtags are a great way to introduce your brand into an ongoing conversation. For tradeshows and similar events, organizers will often promote specific hashtags, and using them may yield additional exposure for your brand in the form of retweets, shares and the like. Holiday hashtags help demonstrate support and solidarity for particular causes or events, allowing you to contribute in a way that is true to your voice and brand. This website is a great resource for keeping track of the many official (and unofficial) “hashtag holidays.”

Open Your Ears with Brand Listening

With the right social media monitoring software (we like Sprout Social), you can use hashtags to monitor ongoing conversations about your brand. Social media users who discuss your brand might not always “tag” you in a conversation, but they might use a branded hashtag—that’s where “brand listening” comes in handy.

Additionally, there might also be conversations about your brand that are not using your specific branded hashtag. They might even be talking about your brand with a misspelling or a common euphemism or slogan for your brand (i.e. “#McD” for McDonald’s). Keeping track of those additional hashtags can be a great way to discover new conversations or address negative sentiment that could damage your reputation. 

How to Choose and Use Your Hashtags

If you’ve got a unique brand name, congratulations: creating your own branded hashtag is as easy as it gets! However, if your brand name is similar to another or might be mistaken for a different company or general word altogether, you might need to get a little creative. #Apple or #Amazon might be able to get away with it because of their sheer market dominance, but chances are you’ll be better off if you can create something that is unique to your brand.

In addition to your branded hashtag(s), it’s good to have a cache of related hashtags at your disposal. These come in handy for your day-to-day posts, which can benefit from the organic boost provided by broader hashtag conversations and threads. The best way to find what’s most relevant to you is to explore other industry leaders, trade publications, influential accounts and the accounts of your audience. The hashtags they’re using are going to be the most relevant for you—if you post a hashtag that no one ever uses, you’ll just be talking with yourself.

As far as how many to use in a given post, that can always depend on the content and/or brand, but here is a general rule of thumb for the major platforms:

  • Facebook: 1-3
  • LinkedIn: 1-3
  • Twitter: 2-4
  • Instagram: 2-4

With Instagram, though, you can utilize a little trick we like to call “hashtag soup,” in which you post a cluster of hashtags either below your main comment (hidden with stacked periods to drop them “below the fold”) or as the first comment on your post. That way, you still reap the benefits of the hashtags and their organic presence without cluttering up your caption.

An example of “hashtag soup”

While there are always best practices for anything, there are not necessarily any fixed rules when it comes to hashtags. The best thing is to experiment and see what works. You won’t always see the same return on the same hashtags, so play around and see what helps drive  more engagement. Get rid of overly broad hashtags that bring in unwanted, untargeted traffic (things like #fun, #goals or #summer) and try to stay specific—especially if you’re in a B2B category. Above all—as with any marketing tactic— try and be as strategic as possible. The more thoughtful your approach, the better your results will be.

4 Social Media Trends to Watch Out for in 2020

4 Social Media Trends to Watch Out for in 2020

The new year is upon us, bringing the start of not just the calendar year but a whole new decade. It’s undeniable that the last 10 years brought about changes in the marketing world that we’ll be adapting to for years to come.

It would’ve been hard to imagine back in the year 2010 just how dominant social media would become. Then, most marketers thought it would be a mere flash in the pan—a shiny object to distract from tried-and-true methods.

10 years later, you’d be hard pressed to find someone—marketer or not—who doesn’t have their own opinions about social media. So what lays ahead in 2020 for the world of social media marketing? We’re keeping our eye on 4 trends and predictions, but one thing is for sure: social media ain’t going anywhere.

#1: Say Goodbye to “Vanity” Metrics

There’s no shame in admitting that we’ve chased our fair share of so-called “vanity” metrics over the last 10 years. Checking in to see how many new Facebook Likes a page has or how many people shared a post is a natural way to gauge whether a strategy is working or not. But now as some of the biggest social media platforms are talking about doing away with “Likes” and “Favorites” altogether, it’s high time marketers shifted their focus to more substantial measurements.

While the removal of the Like button is purported to help sever the ties people have built between social media metrics and their own mental health, it also means a great deal for marketers and brands. If your social media strategy isn’t helping to build towards a larger, less engagement-focused tactic (e.g. sales or leads), 2020 might be time to start using social media more as a funnel towards other stages of the Buyer’s Journey.

#2: Take a Less Filtered, More Approachable Tack

Instagram changed the way we present ourselves online—both as people and brands. The 2010’s saw the rise of the “influencer” and a hyper-curated peek into worlds we rarely had access to. But the days of the perfectly cropped coffee cup-and-planner combo or brightly colored “Instagram wall” are numbered, especially as Generation Z embraces less stylized and filtered platforms like TikTok to talk to the world.

While we certainly wouldn’t advocate for an unprofessional, haphazard approach to presenting your brand image on social media, gone are the days where people expect perfection at every turn. It’s critical for brands to appear human and relatable—not impeccably tailored. Talk to your customers and your audience the way you want to be talked to. Being casual and conversational is not the opposite of being professional, and the best brands are striking the right balance of both.

#3: Private is the New Public

If you’ve managed to avoid the whole “social media is now the center of disinformation and privacy invasion” debate over the last few years, we are jealous. To those of us who live in these spaces every day, it’s been a hard conversation to ignore. From political turmoil to data harvesting and beyond, the general public is understandably more wary of social media than they were 10 years ago. So it’s no surprise that many users are flocking to “private” (in quotes because, you know, they’re still owned by very large corporate interests) channels such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.

So is the time of “oversharing” coming to an end? Probably not, but there is immense value in being able to speak to your audience one-on-one in private channels. Many brands are even reinvesting in a decidedly “old school” Facebook tactic of using Groups as a way to create private, personal communities on the platform without the burden of worrying about paid and organic reach. Though maintaining a responsive, personal connection through these channels is time consuming, it’s becoming the way people prefer to connect with brands.

#4: It’s Never Too Late for B2B

Though social media platforms have transformed consumer-facing marketing in a very public way, it’s had a marked effect on B2B brands, too. Though a lot of that activity has gone on in more professionally-oriented spaces like LinkedIn, it’s nevertheless been a game changer for B2B marketers. And while many brands not yet participating in this space might think their time has come and gone, we couldn’t disagree more. It’s easy to think of social media broadly as a time-suck or a space for consumer-friendly brands only, but that is simply no longer the case.

Try this on for size: 80% of B2B leads originate on LinkedIn, and 94% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn to distribute content. That means if you’re not taking advantage of the platform, your competitors might be. Creating a B2B social media strategy will take time and investment, but with numbers like that, it’s no wonder why so many players have flocked to this space over the last decade.

While it’s impossible to predict what lies ahead for such a broad category as social media, we’ll be keeping an eye on these trendlines. If the previous decade taught us anything, it’s that anything and everything we know about social media will change. But don’t worry—we’ll stay on top of it so you don’t have to.

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