When business owners attend a workshop hosted by Tina A. Brown, a solution provider and authorized local expert for Constant Contact, they may be surprised at what they’re told to do.
“Most workshop presenters ask participants to turn off their smartphones and mobile devices. I tell them to take out their smartphones and mobile devices and to leave them on. It’s impossible to recreate live web content after an event. Get comfortable taking live notes, candid pictures, and videos so you can immediately upload content … ”
For Tina, asking your audience to turn off their smartphone is asking them to disconnect from one of their most valuable tools—one that can help them resolve one of their most poignant marketing dilemmas—content creation.
Are you taking advantage of your phone’s content creation potential even when you’re not at a workshop?
Here are five ways you can and should use your phone for coming up with fresh marketing content.
1. Taking notes: Creating quotable moments
The simplest way businesses can use their phone for content creation is by taking notes. For small businesses, some of the most interesting and engaging content can come from the most basic and routine parts of your day. Things you may take for granted—opening your store in the morning, ringing up a customer, or just having a conversation with your employees— are all great sources for content ideas your customers will find interesting.
There’s nothing worse than coming up with a great idea for a Facebook post or a newsletter story and not being able to remember it. Instead of carrying around a notepad everywhere you go, use your smartphone to record ideas you can save and revisit when you’re ready.
2. Bookmarking stories: Read now and save for later
Almost as bad as not remembering a great idea, is reading an article or story you know you’re customers will love and not being able to find it when you need it. With your smartphone, you can now bookmark those stories and revisit them when you’re ready. If you want to share it right away—you can (most sites should let you connect directly with your Facebook or Twitter accounts). You can also bookmark them and use them again later in your email marketing.
(Tip: If you’re an iPhone user, check out the “Reading List” feature in the Safari browser. When you find a story you want to save, click the action button at the bottom of the screen and then select “Add to Reading List.” When you’re ready, select the bookmarks icon (the one that looks like an open book) and you’ll find it in your “Reading List.”)
3. Recording audio: Share your thoughts in your own words
One source of rich media people often overlook is audio. Using your smartphone to create shareable audio doesn’t mean you’ll have to walk around saying, “Note to self …” (please don’t do that), but it means you can use it to capture your reaction to events or interactions in your own words or use them to create educational or even entertaining pieces of audio.
Exhibit A: Our weekly Speakeasy Marketing Roundtable Podcast. All it takes to put those on is a quiet room, six or so talkative marketing professionals, and an iPhone. But it doesn’t have to be something as extensive as that. Sure you could record your own podcasts, but you could also use your phone to record feedback from customers (with their permission of course) or even your own thoughts about new products or announcements.
(Tip: If you want to make your audio easier to share and integrate with your social media marketing, use apps like AudioBoo, which allow you to record and post directly to your social networks.)
4. Shooting videos: Catching live action
The capability smartphones have given to business owners when it comes to shooting, editing, and sharing videos is really unbelievable. With the quality of cameras continuously improving and video sharing sites like YouTube making it easier to share videos on-the-go, marketing with video is no longer a Hollywood affair.
A lot of the videos you’ll find on this blog were taken with a smartphone and uploaded to the Internet in a matter of minutes with the YouTube iPhone app. As a small business, you can shoot videos at your place of business, at events, or anywhere else where something is happening you want to share with your customers, and then either save them to be used later, upload them to YouTube, or share them with your social networks in a matter of minutes.
(Tip: When using the YouTube app, I recommend uploading videos as “Unlisted” or “Private” at first. This will give you a chance to improve the quality of your videos with YouTube’s editing and enhancement features before switching the video to “Public.”)
5. Snapping photos: Capturing a moment, as it happens
“A picture is worth a 1,000 words” may be about as cliché as they come, but when you look at the amount of engagement photos are driving on Facebook or how they are helping businesses drive open rates for their email newsletter, it’s tough to argue with this sentiment.
Photos aren’t just incredibly effective, they are also incredibly easy to use—especially when you have a smart phone. Find something you want to take a picture of, snap a photo, log on to your phone’s Facebook or Twitter app, upload the photo with a caption or create a tweet, and press ”Send.” That’s it! You can also save those same photos on your phone and use them again when you’re ready to design next month’s newsletter or update your business’ website.
(Tip: Check out the new Facebook Camera and the Instagram app if you’re looking to create more engaging photos for your marketing. Facebook Camera is the best way to upload photos directly to Facebook, while also staying organized while on-the-go. Instagram is just flat out cool—letting people take normal photos and use their filters and enhancements to make them into quasi-works of art.)
Don’t just tell your story, show it
When it comes to putting your newest tool for content creation in action, Tina really says it best.
“With practice, you’ll be using your smartphones to develop valuable interactive content during your day-to-day operations and during live events. You won’t just be telling your customers and clients what you’ve been up to; you’ll be showing them with text, candid photos, and short videos. The best Constant Contact email marketing and social media campaigns include brief stories and terrific content.”
How do you use your smartphone to capture and share content with your customers or members? Leave us a comment below.