Business Tips on how to use Video and Networking

I listened to two business tips’ presentations at the Local Enterprise Dublin City Women in Business Network on:

  • ‘How to use Video in Digital Marketing’ with Niamh Guckian from Go Motion Academy
  • ‘How to network’ with Melissa Curley from Social Bee

Gaining the edge in business: Tips for using Video and Networking

FirSt OF ALL, Let me start with Niamh Guckian’s presentation about developing a video strategy that works.

1. Videos create engagement

When doing an email campaign, research shows that an email with a video has a 96% increase in Click-Through Rate. Furthermore, videos up to 2 minutes get the most engagement. Additionally, 92% of mobile video viewers share videos with others.

2. Other considerations to think about with video marketing

However, when you plan your video marketing campaign, you must remember to start in the funnel by following the customer journey. Next, you need to drill down with video content and think about which type of video content would suit your business most. Do not ever do videos for the sake of it!

3. The customer journey

Indeed, when doing video marketing, take into consideration the different stages of the customer journey:

  • Awareness – your product/service is unknown to your targeted audience
  • Consideration – your audience has found your product/service
  • Conversion – your audience is ready to buy your product/service. It’s the sale stage
  • Retention – your audience is ready/open to come back and buy your product/service again.

4. Who is your audience?

This is the key question you need to ask yourself.

  • Where are your potential customers?

Insider Business Tips: Statistics show that 88% of Business-to-Business (B2B) videos are viewed on a desktop. Consider as well if Social Media would a good platform for your video. Note that YouTube is very competitive.

  • What do they want?
  • And you, what do you want from them?
  • What are the others doing in the business?
  • Do you need a disposable content (punctual events) or an evergreen content (tutorials/explainers)?
  • Is your content relatable (not over-emotional)?
  • What is the story (curve)?
  • Is your content useful/educational?

5. Choose a video genre

Once you have identified your audience and what content to go for, choose a genre:

Gaining the edge in business: Tips for using Video and Networking

  • Ask Me Anything – responding to questions, providing an engaging expertise
  • Vlog
  • Video tour
  • Event highlights
  • Review
  • Tutorial
  • Explainer
  • Demo
  • Interview
  • Live Streaming

At the end of your video, remember to add a strong Call-to-Action by asking your audience to do something. Your call-to-action must be specific (not just ‘subscribe’) and get people talking/guessing.

6. Video genre and the customer journey

Gaining the edge in business: Tips for using Video and Networking
Incontestably, each video genre corresponds to a specific stage in the customer journey.

  • Awareness stage: A video tour or a vlog
  • Consideration stage: Ask Me Anything, demo or explainer video
  • Conversion stage: Event highlights or tutorial video
  • Retention stage: Review, interview or live streaming video.

7. Video marketing campaign CALENDAR

In that regard, you need to know if your video will be episodic (occasional events) or if you want to stay in your audience’s mind (evergreen content).

Consequently, if you want your audience to follow you through, you will need to create between 6 and 12 videos. In other terms, you must remain consistent in your posting and sharing of videos. If you are short with time, you can start your campaign by sharing one video a week.

8. Other BUSINESS tips

Finally, if you are going for an explainer video, you must ensure it is animated and engaging enough. Other genres can be used for a more personal and authentic delivery.

Budgetwise, if you want to hire an agency to do it for you on an episodic basis, forecast a budget between 800 and 2000 Euros for several videos.

Otherwise, you can make your own videos with the following sites:

Then, let’s move on to the second and last presentation of the evening by Melissa Curley about small talk for big gains.

Gaining the edge in business: Tips for using Video and Networking

1. Why is networking a key marketing tool for business growth and success?

Foremost, we need to be interested in and curious about one another.

Why? What matters about networking?

  • The creation of Like/Trust/Respect
  • The importance of conversation.

In other words, networking allows you to grow your social capital before you ever need them. It’s like a social currency. To be good at it, try to have fun at it!

2. What is a conversation about?

Most importantly, a conversation is a two-way listening and talking. Therefore, you need to focus on listening to understand, not just on saying something. So, to be a good networker, you need to understand emotions and feelings about words.

3. Tips to improve your listening

Undeniably, listening means:

  • Receiving
  • Appreciating
  • Summarising
  • Asking.

4. Preparation for a networking event

Still, if you are introvert and uncomfortable with networking, don’t worry.  Remember this!  Extroverts don’t always make the best networkers, as they aren’t always good at listening and connecting with the others.

Business Tips: before you go to a networking event, ask for the attendees’ list. This way, you can organise, who you want to connect with. This will make you more focused and efficient.

5. 10 pointers to a better conversation

Now, let me share with you a few tips on how to be a better conversationalist.

Gaining the edge in business: Tips for using Video and Networking

  • Be present
  • Enter every conversation assuming you have something to learn
  • Ask open-ended questions
  • Go with the flow
  • Have courage
  • Avoid engaging in conversational narcissism
  • Refrain from repeating yourself
  • Don’t get tangled up in small details
  • Listen
  • Be succinct.

6. Networking budget

On the other hand, 50 -60% of your budget should go into your networking. Likewise, concentrate on building mutually beneficial relationships.

Gaining the edge in business: Tips for using Video and Networking

7. What networking is and isn’t

Thus, it’s good to be aware of behaviours to avoid or adopt when networking.

Gaining the edge in business: Tips for using Video and Networking

AS A MATTER OF FACT, Networking isn’t:
  • Salesy/Pushy
  • Fake/Insincere
  • About shameless self-promotion
  • Only extroverts are good at it.
CONTRARILY, Networking is ABOUT:
  • Making connections
  • Gaining knowledge
  • Adding value before you extract it.

8. How to create an effective network

IN summary, follow these last business tips:

  • Do research about people’s businesses and follow-up
  • Keep in touch, nurture contacts through social media and face-to-face meetings.

Gaining the edge in business: Tips for using Video and Networking

All in all, did you find this blog post helpful? Do you have further business tips or tricks to share?

 

 

Learn how to crowdfund to fundraise and validate your ideas

I recently attended in Dublin a DubWeb Festival founded by Mikael Thiery and co-directed by Erol Mustafov geared mostly towards filmmakers, theatre producers and music makers. There were several talks and the one about ‘how to crowdfund for web series‘ caught my attention.

It was a discussion with industry experts and award-winning series makers (see picture below) .Their pieces of advice were valuable for any start-ups looking to fund their businesses or their products and services’ launch.

crowdfund

Crowdfunding is mainly used to fundraise for specific activities, campaigns or launches, and the talks were talking about this aspect. Consequently, this post will discuss the different platforms and ways to get your audience engaged and willing to support you financially. Nonetheless, please note that you can crowdfund to validate your ideas.

But first thing first, if you want to crowdfund and make a success out of the campaign, you will need to make sure your audience is online and your product or service is suitable for that target market (language, culture).

Then you will have to work hard to create a buzz around it.

To do this, please follow these steps:

  1. Create convincing and creative video and content pitches.
  2. Select the most appropriate crowdfunding platform for your audience. If you want to target niche audiences for film production, consider one of these: VRV for Fantasy films, Shutter, Patreon. Otherwise, the main platforms are Indigogo and Kickstarter.
  3. Understand how the chosen crowdfunding platform works. For eg, Indigogo is available worldwide. With it, you can either get the money only if you reach your fundraising goal or get whatever money you crowdfunded even if you haven’t hit your goal. If you use Kickstarter, remember it’s available in only 34 countries and you can only cash in the fundraised monies if you have reached your goal.
  4. Keep in mind the charged fees by the crowdfunding platform as well as the taxes you will have to claim as income (tax). Generally speaking, there is a 3-5 % processing fee + a 5 % fee once the fundraising campaign ends.
  5. Set a fundraising goal that will cover all your costs.
  6. Entice your audience to donate and become your fans by offering rewards. Some rewards may be posted (merchandising such as DVDs, T-shirts…), so keep in mind that these incur extra costs. If you want to keep these costs down, you may offer your donors free release of some of your web series’ episodes, for instance.
  7. Leverage your superfans by offering them VIP rewards to post out.
  8. Create a sense of emergency by offering special rewards released as the crowdfunding campaign goes.
  9. Get in touch with your existing network.
  10. Feed information on social media by sharing snippets of your story.
  11. Build awareness of your campaign by organising your own offline or online events. You could start by creating a big live event: live show, music video, tours/trip, podcast, free food/drinks night, special invites to parties. Any possible hooks to gather more fans will be valuable.
  12. Get in touch with PR companies for press releases.
  13. Think about sponsorship for further brand exposure. However, remember that these will not provide you with financial support (instead, you will receive gifts-in-kind and discounts) and may not care too deeply about your brand, while your fans from crowdfunding will.
  14. Network to find potential angel investors at conferences and conventions related to your type of business. For eg, for filmmakers, they could attend Comecon.
  15. Get your friends and fans to share your campaign.

 

WordPress – Search Engine Optimisation beyond Yoast plug-in

I recently joined a friendly and interesting networking meetup group in Dublin. It was organised by Marcin Kilarski, Rodolfo Melogli and Amit Wadhwa. They talked about WordPress Search Engine Optimisation beyond Yoast plug-in.

The presentation was given by Peter Lawless, sales and marketing expert, coach, mentor, trainer, TV & Radio presenter and published author. He is also a business founder.

It was followed by a Q & A by a panel of WordPress Search Engine Optimisation experts with:

  • Amit Wadhwa (Founder, Lead developer at xava.ie)
  • Rodolfo Melogli (WooCommerce expert at businessbloomer.com)
  • Peter Lawless (Search Engine Optimisation and Marketer at 3r.ie).

IMG_3235

In summary, the meetup topics were as follow:

• Is WordPress without SEO like a Shop in the middle of a Forest?

• Is an SEO Plugin, such as Yoast the answer to all your problems?

• How to Set SEO Titles in Just Two Steps

• The 3 Cardinal Sins of Black Hat SEO

• 5 SEO DIY Tips beyond Yoast

• “If you had just 15 minutes to SEO a website, how would you spend them?”

• The Financial Case to Hiring an SEO expert – (Our Secret SEO ROI Calculator).

Please find the slideshow presentation below as well as additional information from the Q&A :

 

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‘Think like a customer’ means that you should use simple everyday language to write/talk to people.

He gave an example of the ‘Green eggs and ham’ children book written by Dr Seuss, which is using 50 words or less. In other terms, do not use over-complicated and sophisticated terms such as ‘refrain from..’.

What are ‘meta tags’?

Meta tags are used in HTML and XHTML documents to provide structured metadata about a Web page. Meta elements can be used to specify page description, keywords and any other metadata. For more information on how meta tags can impact SEO, have a read of this article:

http://www.wordstream.com/meta-tags

Choose wisely your categories in your articles to reflect the content of your posts.

Regarding the 5 Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) DIY tips, keep in mind that you have to give something of value to people. It can be free information to get them interested in our products or services.

For those who work as event organisers, you need to act as a go-to-place like Trip Advisor by helping people looking for your service.

When it comes to the call to action, make sure it’s available on every page. The call to action displayed on the home page shouldn’t be a sales one. Instead, it should be a form to fill in and provide contact information. Ensure you clearly explain to your customers what you want them to do and why.

As you start writing, podcasting, filming, focus mostly on content first and SEO second.

Be aware of cultural differences in terms of languages (eg different slangs in the UK, US and IE). Thinking about the customer language helps to get people to convert more easily. You can also link your .com website to your other sites. Before you start, ask yourself the following questions (find your niche):

What is the main goal for my blog? What kind of information do people look for? Which parts of my service do you like most? 

Then, follow these steps:

  1. Create content suitable for your audience (long for Business to Business and short for Business to Customer. Complex topics generally require longer content)
  2. Ask customers if they want to buy
  3. Collect addresses.

Pay attention to the design of your site by UX testing.

For example, avoid heavy high-resolution pictures. Too detailed pictures do not tell the story and add loading time to your website. When designing your website, visualise the customer journey through the following stages: excitement, knowledge and learning.

You also have the option to use advertising to boost the visibility of your blog or website. Keep this option as a cheap and short-time solution.

If you go down that route, you can kick off an Adword campaign for 3-6 months. It will drive more traffic. Remember to do some split tests for your meta description/title. The most clicked ads should become your headlines. Do not ever pay someone to be linked to someone else’s website/blog!

Another better option is affiliate marketing as it’s far more valuable than advertising.

Nonetheless, SEO is your best bet for a more long-term strategy.

For a better SEO optimisation, use a long-tail description with minimum 3-4 words. You can also boost your visibility through a joint press release for example.

When you set up your Google Business account and blog/site, make sure your contact details are consistent with all 3rd party websites: name, address, phone number.

Add a picture that Google will link to google map. You must have as well a table of content  (map.xml) with no duplicated content. Make sure to add appropriate tags to the sitemap. Otherwise, you’ll have to have a good navigation menu.

When you monitor your traffic, you can monitor your clicks. You can also check your Google ranking with:

Finally, you can calculate how much your SEO is worth with this tool:

http://www.3r.ie/website-success-calculator/

Do you have any questions? Any tips you’d like to add to this? Let me know by leaving a comment below!

Start-up: Learn How to Pitch your idea to investors

I attended on 12th June 2017 a presentation and workshop on how to pitch an idea for entrepreneurs. Not only have I learnt a great deal but also the host Adeo Ressi from Founder Institute made everyone feel comfortable by joking all the time!😂

idea pitch

The Founder Institute is a global idea-stage accelerator and startup launch program helping entrepreneurs ‘with the structure, training, mentor support, and global network needed to start an enduring company’: http://fi.co/users/1329971/edit

So, Adeo Ressi started his talk by stating the five most important rules to follow when pitching your idea to potential investors:

  1. Show confidence. This is valid for any kind of enterprises you want to launch!
  2. Don’t make excuses for not pitching your ideas!
  3. Avoid superlatives/adjectives
  4. Use data, in other terms, be factual. Back up your ideas by showing you know your audience needs (demographics, size, geolocation…)
  5. End strong by stating clearly what your ask is! Why not leave with a slogan, for example.

He started with the basics, i.e the opening line you need to master for each of your pitch:

‘My company is [name], is developing [a defined offering], to help [a target audience] [solve a problem with the secret sauce].

It sounds easier than it is, so keep in mind these further tips when you are working on your opening line:

  • Be prepared to bring up a defined offering to the table, keep it clear (articulate, especially your company name!) and short!
  • You also need to specify your audience (age group, education level…) and what they truly want!
  • Never lie but don’t tell the whole truth easier. Remember the point about confidence?😉

Then, Adeo went into more general tips on how to get a higher visibility and brand awareness. He advised all entrepreneurs to find a prominent lead by doing research to figure out who might need your deal and by exploiting your networking opportunities through the following sites:

  • AngelList
  • Linkedin
  • CrunchBase.

Remember that your chosen lead must have time, money and expertise to help you out. You may need to repeat the pitching process up to 60 times to get one lead.

Now, let’s enter into the nitty-gritty of the pitching process:

  1. Meet as many people as you can
  2. Send invitations for coffee
  3. Keep updated with news
  4. Meet potential leads at online and offline events
  5. Send invitations to longer meetings once you have broken the ice with one lead
  6. Ask for funding
  7. News update again.

Remember not to over-sell yourself and that the goal of each meeting is to get to the next meeting. You need to build relationship and trust.

Prepare a one-page agreement with those who have shown interest in investing. Remember, the real investor will be the one you come towards to and pitch your idea to, and not the other way around!

When approaching someone about to invest in your company, ask for a little less than you wanted and explicitly ask if they want to be your adviser and lead the round.

When pitching, think about what the focus of your offer/service/product is on:

  1. A vision
  2. Problems/Solutions
  3. Traction/Interest (eg raise money for a business milestone that generates revenue).

Finally,  according to Adeo Rossi, the hardest business areas to pitch for, as investors are harder to convince to invest in due to the high risks are Travel, Music, Sports, Wine.😓 So, keep that in mind and find a complementary service that could add additional value!

 

Funding and Financial Sustainability for Non-Profit Organisations in Ireland

I attended an event advertised on Facebook and organised by Bluefire Dublin called ‘Igniting Change: Funding & Financial Sustainability‘ on Thursday 29th June 2017.

The event was aimed at voluntary and community organisation, social-enterprises, individual artists or community-based project managers, and small-medium NGO’s.

financial sustainability

Bluefire organises ‘igniting change series’ every last Thursday of each month: http://bluefiredublin.ie/our-programmes/igniting-change/

financial sustainability
The guest speakers at the event were a mix of social entrepreneurs and funding bodies:

• Ian Oliver (far right on the picture) from Centre for Creative Practices
• Eoghan Ryan (far left in the picture) from Social Innovation Fund Ireland
• Hazel Hill (right next to Eoghan) from The Community Foundation for Ireland
• Naomi Murphy (left next to Ian) from Connect the Dots

The purpose was for attendees:

  • to be aware of what is required to start up a successful business and
  • to know how to get grants from organisations supporting social entrepreneurs.

It started with a talk from each speaker, followed by a workshop and a networking session.

1. Eoghan from Social Innovation Fund Ireland:

Before launching Social Innovation Fund, he founded his own not-for-profit, Reimagine Cork to tackle issues around homelessness in Cork. Understanding the needs for Not-for-Profits, he felt he could help entrepreneurs best and joined Social Innovation Fund.

The company’s mission is to provide both funding and non-financial support to social entrepreneurs. It has also partnered with the government and every given Euro by SIFI is matched by the government.

Eoghan’s first advice was to think about ‘why’ you want to start up a company and why his company would fund you. He also strongly recommends:

  • having a clear plan in place,
  • having a good value proposition,
  • showing confidence
  • having good management skills.

When filling forms to apply for funding, keep it simple and answer the asked questions.

2. Hazel Hill, Marketing Executive and Programme Leader at The Community Foundation for Ireland:

Her organisation offers both open grants and private grants. The latter ones are given on a project basis with an end date. The organisation offers funds for mergers (shared between teams) to highlight the importance of collaboration and partnership between organisations.

You will be asked about what will happen at the end of the project to gauge how sustainable your business model is.

Her first advice was to not manipulate your core mission value (reason for existing) to get funding. Instead, only apply to relevant grants that fit your organisation. She also advised to:

  • have a clear mission statement,
  • document your research by backing up your project with analytical reports,
  • listen to your community/audiences’ needs,
  • take any constructive feedback on board
  • understand the impact your company will have.

3. Naomi AND MERISSA from Connecting the Dots, a start-up focusing on the community engagement in Dublin: 

Their company started off when there were many unoccupied vacancies in Dublin during the crisis by putting on events with artists, engineers, researchers. Over the time, they worked on a process for events’ organisation, i.e on improving the engagement with attendees, corporate donors.

Naomi’s advice was to volunteer for different organisations and network that way before you start up. She has been helping a lot at ‘Happenings’ organisation.

It is also important to speed up processes with a technology enabler. They are currently working on a software service (SAAS) application (transferring processes online for co-working events), in order to gain time and increase income streams and viability.

4. Ian AND his wife Monica from Center for Creative Practices, a company helping creative artists to come up with a more sustainable model:

His first advice was to start with a small plan before building a full-scale model and revisit this plan when necessary.

Instead of going through a lengthy business plan, they worked on a one-page business model. It detailed their business model and value proposition:

  • the company’s purpose,
  • what problem it is trying to resolve and,
  • the solution offered.

His first business model focused on having a cash projection, i.e ticket prices’ sales and getting people to utilise the space to generate further money. He feels it is best not to be over-reliant on grants for the day-to-day running of the business.

5. participants needing help on setting up their organisations, PLEASE get in touch with the following bodies:

 

 

 

Black and white expatriate networking party (Paris, 2016)

expatriate networking IN PARIS

While I was spending a holiday trip in Paris (France) in April 2016, I thought I might go to an expatriate networking party. I wanted to meet international people living in the city and have some fun with them!

I had found a black and white expatriate networking party in Paris advertised on the meetup.com website (Expats Paris) taking place at ‘rue du Colisée’  close to Champs-Elysées and Franklin D. Roosevelt metro station. I was curious to see what it’d be like.

There were around 60 people from different nationalities attending the event, meeting either to build communities or to improve their language skills.

I was greeted by meetup members and organisers. Then I was introduced to Michael, who I had asked few questions online before coming to the event. He was friendly and introduced me to few guests.

Then, we spent a bit of time chatting around on the ground floor before hitting the dancefloor. Music was an eclectic mix of Latin, Arabic, pop and hip-hop music.

I hope you will enjoy the below video and mixed tapes!

Do you also have other videos you want to share? Please don’t hesitate to do so in the comment section!