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How to Manage an Emerging PR Crisis — Before It Spirals Out of Control

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Many business leaders would say that handling a PR crisis is an eventuality. But in today’s always-on world of social media and brand communications, what is already a crisis can get out of hand very easily.

The solution may be to leverage social media to get out messages that take control of the situation and give brands a fighting chance to recover quickly. For example, after the incident in which two black men were arrested in a Philadelphia Starbucks, CEO Kevin Johnson apologized in a video shared across the brand’s online platforms.

For more ideas on swiftly getting in front of a crisis, we asked members of Young Entrepreneur Council to share tips on how to handle a PR crisis on social media.

1. Share a CTA

Inevitably, all corporations and businesses will have issues arise. Social media has given us a great platform to address these issues head on directly to our clients and customers. What lacks from many public apologies is a call to action. At the end of your video, you should offer some sort of call to action, such as a discount or coupon. Chipotle did this very well in 2017

Brandon Stapper, Nonstop Signs

2. Get Ahead of the Story

The first thing a brand can do to leverage social media is to immediately roll out an official statement regarding its position on the matter. Waiting more than a few hours can allow the media and the social universe to create and carry the narrative. After broadcasting their position, brands should be the first in line to create a public forum for ideas and discussion on addressing these issues.

Jared Weitz, United Capital Source Inc.

3. Watch for Warning Signs

One of the keys to effective crisis management on social media is to be highly vigilant when it comes to complaints and controversy before it escalates. Social media can be very effective for getting your brand’s message out there quickly. It’s also likely the first place you will know of potential issues. Consider a media monitoring tool with alerts.

Karl Kangur, MRR Media

4. Be Authentic

Although it’s not something any brand wants to happen, the reality is that mistakes are made. At the end of the day, people want to see authenticity. They want to know that there are real, genuine people behind the brands and that they’re willing to take ownership of these mistakes. The key is to react quickly and take responsibility for the mistake.

Marcela De Vivo, Mulligan Funding

5. Be Prepared

Social media is a wild environment and when an incident goes viral at scale, it can be almost impossible to control public opinion. Focus on addressing the issue in the best possible way and hope you’ll be judged as fair by the populace.

Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now

6. Stream Live on Facebook

Streaming live on Facebook offers a level of authenticity where the message cannot be edited or manipulated in any way. It also offers you the advantage of controlling the narrative of a PR crisis. It’s like tweeting with video.

Patrick Barnhill, Specialist ID, Inc.

7. Be Proactive

Every company needs a proactive approach to leveraging social media for crisis management. Proactive measures begin with smarter hiring decisions, continue through training for all levels of staff on professional social media usage and inform what it means to be a front-lines ambassador for the brand. Reactions to negative PR always lack authenticity. Showing staff that your company thinks proactively minimizes risk.

Mike A. Podesto, Find My Profession

8. Handle Issues with Immediacy

Social media creates a rise in the sense of urgency, allowing you to streamline past the agenda of traditional media outlets. Live streams can be utilized for press conferences that have high urgency and need further reach.

Andrew Namminga, Andesign

9. Hold an Ask-Me-Anything Session

While live streaming may be an effective way to transparently connect to the public during a crisis, it isn’t always the best way to get on top of a developing crisis. Instead, aim for a form of communication that still allows for some control. An AMA (ask me anything) through Reddit is an excellent compromise between control and intimacy that can be helpful for navigating PR crises.

Bryce Welker, Crush The LSAT

10. Own the Mistake

Fighting it on social media tends to add more fuel to the fire, unless you’re completely in the right. But in most cases, just owning up to something results in little downside and potentially averts a major PR disaster. There are countless examples of companies handling it the wrong way and sparking even larger outrage.

Andy Karuza, FenSens

11. Hold Yourself Accountable

The public has less and less tolerance for anyone, whether they’re politicians or CEOs, trying to avoid responsibility. So the number one thing is to admit when you’ve made a mistake and apologize in a way that’s sincere. Then do what you can to make things right. It’s even better to create a positive and cohesive company culture so you avoid having problems like this in the first place.

Kalin Kassabov, ProTexting

Protecting Your Brand when a PR Disaster Strikes!

No one ever wants to deal with a media or PR disaster, but when they happen… they happen. The difference between those who can make it through these disasters are those who are prepared and are already well ranked in the search results. Follow these tips to make sure your brand and business is well protected online.

Zac Johnson is a online marketer with 15 years of experience and also a blogger at ZacJohnson.com, as well as the founder of BloggingTips.com. You can also follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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14 Social Media Tips For Attracting Gen Z Audiences in 2019

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As the workforce and consumer market’s next up-and-coming demographic, Gen Z is an attractive target audience for many businesses. Depending on your company, you may want to consider this audience in your social media efforts to engage prospective customers and employees. However, it’s important to remember that each generation has their own unique preferences — what worked in attracting millennials, for instance, won’t necessarily work for Gen Z.

To help you target Generation Z on social media, we asked a panel of Young Entrepreneur Council members for some tips they’ve used to successful appeal to this audience. Here is what they advise:

1. Personalization

I think that personalization is one of the best ways to appeal to Gen Z on social media. Studies show that more people want to see personalized content and advertisements than ever before, starting with Gen Z. We can use this love of personalized experiences to create content playlists and advertisements that appeal to this crowd.

Blair Williams, MemberPress

2. Influencer Marketing

Studies have shown that the Gen Z audience relates more to influencers than celebrities, so influencer marketing on social media is a great way to connect with them. When they see someone that they can relate to using a product, they’re more likely to buy that product too. Influencer marketing is a form of social proof that the Gen Z audience can trust.

Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

3. Chatbots

One of the best ways to generate leads for your business, especially with the Gen Z crowd, is by having a chatbot available on your social media account to answer any questions. Live chat reps are good for some tasks, but if a customer has a common inquiry, you could implement a chatbot to help resolve these questions or concerns in seconds.

Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

4. Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories are widely popular with the Gen Z audience. Instagram Stories are great because they’re short and engaging, which is perfect for an audience with a shorter attention span. With so much content on the internet, it’s important to get information across quickly and in an entertaining way.

John Turner, SeedProd LLC

5. Answer Their Questions

Gen Z prefers to engage with businesses on a more personal level, so taking time to answer their hard-pressed questions when other brands ignore them can set you apart from the rest. Try to solve their pain points and figure out what they need help with so they look to you as an expert and appreciate what you can give them.

Jared Atchison, WPForms

6. Video Content

Blog content is great and capable of getting millions of views, but Gen Z seems to prefer video content over traditional text. I like to mix it up by creating a blog post, then creating a short video version of the article for people who prefer this format.

David Henzel, LTVPlus

7. Leverage FOMO

People, especially in the younger crowd, hate to feel like they’re missing out on anything important going on. That’s why using FOMO, or fear of missing out, is such an effective method to get their attention on social media. Make it sound urgent that they take some sort of action beneficial to your business. – Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster

8. Focus Your Efforts

Facebook is trending towards the millennial and older group, while Tik Tok, Snapchat and even Instagram are much more appealing to Generation Z. Make sure you focus your efforts on the channels in which your audience exist, then produce content that resonates with them. Short videos, in particular, are very powerful for interacting with this audience.

Andy Karuza, Relm Wellness

9. Value-Driven Content

When communicating with Gen Z through my social platforms, I focus on providing some form of value in the content that I share. There is no audience as tech-savvy or as fluent and comfortable with different online platforms as Gen Z, and in turn, they will not be impressed by or respond to something that is not of value to them. Providing value allows you to cut through the clutter and resonate.

Adam Mendler, The Veloz Group

10. Mobile Experiences

Go mobile, because that’s where the Gen Z audience is. Smartphones are what they live by. This can supersede other strategies that might seem effective because, in the interests of the demographics, you have to go to the device where they’re at the most. On that note, your website should be perfectly optimized to mobile.

Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

11. No Filters

If you’ve been following Gen Z on Instagram and other social media, you might have noticed that they don’t spend nearly as much time as, say, millennials to make their feed look polished. Many of them specifically bypass Snapseed and post straight from their phone. The “realness” of this world is what really attracts young people from this generation, so just be real and capitalize on imperfection.

Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS

12. Images and Memes

The younger generation has a short attention span. Get your message across quickly by using images and memes. Avoid any marketing message that takes more than 10 seconds to initially consume.

Brian Greenberg, True Blue Life Insurance

13. Behind-the-Scenes Content

Gen Z is a more self-aware generation. They use social media for entertainment as well as learning. Using video content to give them behind-the-scenes glimpses into the brand, creating how-to videos and using social media for telling compelling stories is the best method to boost engagement. They don’t want to be sold to, so brands need to forge organic connections through their content.

Rahul Varshneya, ResumeSeed

14. Corporate Social Responsibility

Use a social cause to drive your brand and product mission forward. Create social media campaigns and profiles that are associated with improving life. The majority of Gen Z care deeply about making an impact and they want to be aligned with brands and products that do just that. Do this in an engaging way, like through Instagram story, to build a more personal connection this generation craves.

Jared Weitz, United Capital Source Inc.

Social Media is the Path to Generation Z

In addition to the many tips and marketing methods listed above, it’s also important to have an effective content creation and marketing strategy in place.

To learn more about what’s working best for bloggers, brands and content marketers on social media, click here for more tips and actionable methods you can start implementing today.

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#1 YouTube Banner Template: How to Create a Custom Banner for Free

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The world’s population watches almost 5 billion YouTube videos every single day. That means YouTube is a massive market that you’re most likely not utilizing.

But don’t worry, it doesn’t take much to get a professional footprint on YouTube. When you’re getting started, one of the most important features to focus on is your YouTube banner.

We’ll go into everything you need to know about creating a YouTube banner. Towards the end, we’ll recommend a few YouTube banner templates to get you started.

What is a YouTube Banner?

When you click on any given YouTube user’s name, YouTube brings you to that user’s channel. Here you can see all their videos and playlists. At the top of the screen is a banner with the YouTuber’s brand. This is a YouTube banner.

Click around on a few different users you follow to get a good idea about the different banners on the market. See what draws your eye and what you do and do not like.

If you’d like to find more tips on how to effectively create and use your YouTube profile page and videos for branding, be sure to check out these quick tips.

What are the Banner Specifications?

When you’re designing your banner, it’s important you follow the right specifications. People are watching YouTube on their phones, tablets, laptops, and even their TV’s. You need to make sure your banner renders properly on all these different screen sizes. You can make sure you get it right by following the specifications.

According to Google, your banner should meet the following specifications:

  • Recommended: 2560 x 1440 px
  • Minimum for upload: 2048 x 1152 px
  • Minimum “safe area” where text and logos are ensured not to be cut off: 1546 x 423 px
  • Maximum width: 2560 x 423 px
  • File size: 4MB or smaller

What Should I Include in My Banner?

Your banner is a representation of your brand. It should intrigue viewers, and give them a snapshot of what to expect from your channel. Make sure to include your brand name.

Here are the Best YouTube Banner Templates

There are several places you can get a high-quality YouTube banner template for free. Here are a few of our favorites.

Google

Google has its own template designs for YouTube. Makes sense, after all, they do own YouTube.

Adobe

Adobe is perhaps the best YouTube banner maker app available on the market. They let you create a design for free in minutes with no previous experience.

Canva

Canva offers several different template designs. They have available stock photography you can use, or you can use your own images.

It’s Easy and Vital To Get A Quality YouTube Banner

We’ve covered all the basics you need to know to get a quality YouTube banner. We’ve also listed some of the best places to get a YouTube banner template.

Getting a YouTube banner is an important start in a quality YouTube channel, but it’s only the start. Now you have a professional YouTube appearance!

The banner is vital for a professional appearance. But that alone isn’t enough. Regularly post quality videos to build traction for your YouTube presence.

I make over six figures every month and so can you. Sign up below to get instant access to my exact blogging strategy!

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Instagram Checkout and the Move Toward Frictionless eCommerce

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The number of hurdles standing between online shoppers and completing transactions is dwindling. The path to purchase is getting smoother as retailers move toward frictionless ecommerce. Gone are the days where shoppers must visit an ecommerce website to buy a product, especially if they originally spot the product on a social media platform.

Nowadays, social shopping is capable of enabling people to reduce the number of steps to checkout by allowing them to buy without exiting social media. Instagram Checkout is the latest feature geared toward making it easier to complete deals. Here’s more on this announcement and its potential impact on the ecommerce industry as a whole.

First, What Is Frictionless Ecommerce?

When you hear the word friction, you probably think of resistance. This force can be useful, like using sandpaper to smooth down rough wood. Or this force can be a hindrance, like trying to slide a piece of heavy furniture across the floor. In ecommerce, friction is undesirable because it means shoppers are meeting resistance when they try to proceed through the sales funnel.

Frictionless ecommerce is something sellers are seeking out because it allows them to “integrate buying opportunities as simply and seamlessly as possible into consumers’ everyday activities and natural environments,” according to BLM Technologies.

One of these natural environments is social media, an activity in which many users are spending a larger chunk of each day. It only makes sense to try to sell to people there, rather than requiring them to visit a separate website each time they want to browse or buy.

The ethos behind frictionless ecommerce tells us reducing the number of steps it takes to buy products online will motivate more people to stick around for as long as it takes to convert. Less hassle translates into more sales and a better customer experience.

Of course, it’s still vitally important to set up a responsive, fully featured online store complete with secure checkout. After all, some people won’t use social shopping. Today, leading platforms like Shopify offer free ecommerce website builders to help retailers run their stores. Branching out into frictionless ecommerce in the form of social shopping will help merchants capture even more sales by offering shoppers flexible options.

Building a Trusted Brand and Following Will Still Apply

As you can imagine, with more than a billion active users on the Instagram platform, it’s going to get quite competitive when it comes to ecommerce advertising. With that being said, this is where traditional authentic and organic followers and engagement will come into play.

We recently talked about the power and effectiveness of using a tool like Kicksta to automate the audience targeting and engagement process. For ecommerce and online stores, this is one of the best ways to put your Instagram marketing efforts on auto-pilot, which also reaching new audiences daily.

This also leads to better paid advertising and remarketing options as well. Once a user starts following your account, you have a clear indication that they are interested in what you have to offer.

Set up a new Instagram ad campaign that targets your existing followers, then compare the results with your outside targeting and default ad campaigns. We are sure the existing follower audience set will perform much better. You can visit their website here and watch the short video on their homepage to see how the process works.

The Rise of Instagram Checkout in Ecommerce

Instagram is a highly visual platform, allowing brands to connect with users through engaging images, videos and captions. If you’re an Instagram user, chances are you know the feeling of seeing something you like and wanting to know more about it — or perhaps even conducting an impulse purchase it on the spot.

Instagram Checkout aims to tap into the marketing prowess of this app by “allowing users to complete product purchases without having to leave the app.” It’s all of the convenience of online window shopping without even having to go into the store, except people can still get their hands on the product. Plus, after Instagram users enter their payment data once, the app saves it for future purchases. Thus, the purchasing journey remains inside a single app — making it more convenient and tempting for mobile shoppers who follow their favorite brands online.

At the moment, Instagram Checkout is a feature in beta testing available to about 20 top brands. An advanced version will be available to more merchants down the line, which means we all need to prepare for the wider acceptance of social shopping. Once this becomes the standard, online users will crave ultra-convenient experiences.

Instagram Checkout is an exciting new development on the horizon for ecommerce brands, and stores must embrace the move toward frictionless ecommerce to stay competitive.

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