Snapchat for Business

Snapchat

Snapchat

Ask the nearest teenager what Snapchat is and the answer you get might not persuade you to consider incorporating it into your business’s marketing plan. However, Snapchat is on the rise and with millions of “snaps” being sent every day, it’s time to start watching carefully to see how to be on the forefront of this mobile revolution.

What makes Snapchat different is the time-sensitive nature of the media sent. You can send pictures or videos lasting up to ten seconds, and after the time is up, they’re gone unless the user takes a screenshot. Businesses already on Snapchat (such as Taco Bell, the LPGA and Audi) have used this self-destructive mobile app to promote their business and encourage customers to participate in their brand.

One way to get customers engaged is to set up coupons or discounts only available through Snapchat. Send a picture of a product or of the business along with a caption (Snapchat lets you type a short caption or draw one) describing a promo code or coupon that Snapchat users can receive. Since the main appeal of Snapchat is that the pictures disappear, businesses can make the deal a one-day offer, to add to the feeling of fleetingness.

Snapchat is also extremely popular with the 18-30 year old demographic, and businesses like Taco Bell have used this to their advantage. Taco Bell used the app to send daily teasers about their new products, eventually unveiling the product via Snapchat. They also encourage users to photograph themselves with their food and they screenshot their favorites and display them. It’s a cheap way to access an audience that doesn’t like advertisements, but will watch a ten-second video or picture series from a business that sends them one.

Users feel as if they’re getting an inside look into what goes on behind closed doors—the pictures aren’t high quality, glossed-over representations of the business, they’re taken off the same mobile devices that the customers are viewing them on. It’s close, it’s personal, and it’s more attractive than a daily or weekly email reminder about products.

Free Photos for Blogs and Websites

“Where can I get royalty free photos?” is a common question asked. People are looking for free photos for blogs and websites with the demand of more content by guest contributor – Ross Chandler, features editor for the Rocky Mount Telegram and as a Web designer.

Only the most talented web designers can create engaging sites without art of some sort. But the issue is, where can you get attention-grabbing images, especially if you do not have a budget for them?

Frankly, I suspect most people do not hesitate to use a service such as Google Images to find what they want, then steal – yes, you read that correctly, “steal” – the images. The simple actions of clicking the right mouse button and choosing “save image as” is theft, even if the work is not marked with a copyright symbol. So, what is a designer left to do?

There are several options. First, look at how you are planning to use the image and compare that against the standards of fair use.[i] Copyright law – a federal issue found in Sections 107 to 118 of Title 17 of the U.S. Code[ii] – allows you to use protected materials within certain clearly defined ways if the use meets a four-part test. The parts are:

  • Whether you’re using the images for commercial or educational purpose.
  • The nature of the copyrighted image.
  • How much of the copyrighted image you’re using.
  • How your use would affect the potential value of the copyrighted image.[iii]

Of course, most people designing websites are not lawyers, and trying to read and apply the actual laws can seem overwhelming. My advice: Err on the side of caution. If you absolutely and honestly don’t think your plans for the image would be a fair use, don’t use it.

Another option is websites that offer free art.[iv] [v] The images range from photos to graphic devices such as buttons and banners. Some are included with the purchase of programs such as the Microsoft Office suite.[vi] Of course, you get what you pay for. Some of the images are of good quality; others are, well, Е you understand what I mean.

A third option is the online encyclopedia Wikipedia. The images that illustrate its entries are a mix of copyrighted items, which are included under fair use, and others that often are posted by their creators. Many of the latter have been released from copyright; some completely so, others with requirements such as the creator be given credit when the image is used elsewhere. It’s easy to tell a work’s status; click on it then scroll down in the window it opens in until you come to the licensing section where the copyright status is described. Here is an example from a recently added article:



Copywrite image

The government is another source. Images created by federal employees are in the public domain – that is, they are not copyrighted. Some agencies such as NASA[vii] and the Army[iii] have excellent searchable databases of works that can be downloaded for free.

When all else fails, there is another alternative: Ask the person who created the image. This recently worked well for me. As a newspaper editor, I needed a photo to illustrated a story on my weekly religion page. A Google Images search turned up a courtroom drawing that would work perfectly. An email pleading my case to the artist – need for art, no budget to buy any, and so on – led him to give me permission to use the drawing so long as Iong as I gave him credit in print and linked to his blog when the story was posted on my newspaper’s website. Will this work everytime? No. Did it take more time than other options? Yes. But, this shows that the approach can work.

This list isn’t all inclusive. The breadth and depth of the web means that new options regularly appear while some older ones disappear. Checks on search engines such as Google, ideas offered by other designers, and even luck can help you find the work you need for a website.

Article contributed by: Ross Chandler, features editor for the Rocky Mount Telegram and as a Web designer.




Ways to Use Photos Creatively in Social Media


Wall Flowers. With a camera on your phone, you can catch a photo anytime!

Photos attract attention far faster than words do.

So how can we be creative with photographs?

For some people getting creative means figuring out what to take pictures of.

For other people getting creative means adding graphics and enhancing the photos, making photo collages or doing interesting things with framing, naming and captioning photos.

Creative Subjects for Photos?

For businesses with brick and mortar, it may be obvious to some people, but not to others.

Don’t miss the obvious: your entryway, parking, signs, interior decor, the inside of your store, your products, customers in your store, pictures of you and your staff, images from your website, graphics you make to promote your products or an event.

Don’t forget the locale, seasons and events: local weather, local places to go and see, your business in different seasons, holiday related decor you use, events that happen in your store or that you participate in, other businesses you support, your sponsorship of any local events.

Consider humor. Humorous photos are good but think twice about who your customers are and make sure they’re appropriate for your audience.

What are Some Creative Ways to Work with Photos?

Social Media for Business by Brossman and McGaha in the Social Media Marketing section of the bookstore

Add text to photos. If you add text to your photos, you can point out things that your customers might be interested in.

Add graphics to the photo. An arrow and a note showing how your products are twice as big as someone else’s. A circle to point out fine detail. A star to announce some savings.

Some simple photo editing tools. If you’re not a Photoshop user, you can use PowerPoint, Picasa photo editor or Paint to add text to photos. You won’t have high resolution (it’ll be a little fuzzy), but you can do it. Be sure to choose a color text and design that is visible on the photo.

Most of all…don’t miss out – have a way to take pictures with you – ideally all the time .

Camera phones and handy digital cameras. Having a camera on your mobile phone is the easiest way to be able to catch photos anytime anywhere. Or, you can also get an small digital camera that fits in your pocket. Download the photos daily or once a week to your computer, choose the good ones to save, delete the poor ones, and you’ll be building your own media library for your online publishing.

Whether catching your team doing what they do best, a ray of sunlight on a plant in your office, or a customer’s pet (if they approve), capturing pictures of the ordinary moments in your day to day work life can be easy and rich content for your online social media program.

Find down-to-earth, insightful, practical and valuable practices, tips, perspectives and explanations inSocial Media for Small Business by Martin Brossman and Anora McGaha. It was written by small and micro business owners, with direct experience that can help you use the Internet and social media to grow your business and your reputation.

Let the tens of thousands of hours of research and experience represented in this book save you time and grow your business – for less than $23 delivered.  Read what reviewers have said on Amazon.

After you’ve read it, leave your own review. Have suggestions? Email info@thesocialmediaforbusinessbook.com. We want to hear them.