EVERY Thursday at 1pm Made in Britain hosts #madeinbritainhour on Twitter. During that hour Made in Britain asks questions of its 19,500 followers and the results are fascinating. Previously this information was enjoyed by the audience at the time and then left to drift away in the Twittersphere, rarely read again. So, we have decided to capture some of the best comments and re-present them for a new audience and easy reference. Some of the responses have been edited.
This week we look at media and social media.
Question one: How can businesses improve their images and photographs on social media and websites? What makes a good image/photo?
Response: Ensuring the image suits the channel is important - i.e. it is the right orientation, has the correct dimensions etc. It doesn't look very professional if you can only see part of an image and/or text!
Response from Made in Britain member Excell Metal Spinning: Should be clear (HD if possible depending on equipment) and sized to scale with the relevant platforms specs i.e. twitter, instagram Free platforms like Canva can assist with this. It's hard to know what makes the 'best' photo and you should experiment accordingly with what resonates with your audience! Is your business a service but rich with visuals? perhaps examples of your work or even videos of the process will work
Made in Britain: From what you have seen is this something that is done well across businesses? what are the common mistakes?
Excell Metal Spinning: Social media is about 'socialising' + I've seen many make the mistake of coming across too corporate with their images that doesn't invoke conversation We used to make this mistake once upon a time when we first started out on social media, + since then have adapted our content.
Response: That is where your work on #customerinsights comes in. You need to understand what is resonating with your market at that particular time. We carry out regular #research to keep on top of certain markets and segments #digital #marketing #social
Response: Removing followers on Instagram for example ironically helps, specifically removing 'ghost followers'
Made in Britain: Should the images and photos be edited to include the company logo (or brand logo)?
Response: It's also about consistently using your logo/brand across your social media images but making sure it doesn't overpower the design but still associates the product with your brand
Response: All comms should carry your logo/brand. It reinforces the brand identity and reminds viewers of who you are. Letterheads, emails, packaging, livery, the list goes on
Made in Britain: Is that a serious consideration - brand them and then they won't be reused by others?
Response: Image search is a useful tool for checking plagiarism and copyright infringement.
Made in Britain: Just picking up on the use of stock photos. It is always a surprise to us how many businesses use them without giving serious thought as to whether they are actually showing a "British" scene. We had an interesting one in relation to farming...
Response: Quite agree Adrian, images/videos should support the message and be in context
Response: Adding the #official mark to your photo (with the R for registered) really does improve the chances of it being forwarded - esp by the #MadeInBritainhour teams.
Response from Made in Britain member Radical Materials: A good image aids content, it doesn't consume it! What works best for us is to ensure that we have proper lighting, a high-quality camera, and a focal point. From there you can manipulate as much or as little as you wish to help draw attention!
Response: No stock pictures, please! Speaking from exporting point of view, staff pictures are always good. Professional product pictures a must these days. Pictures of where you are based add colour. Step-by-step processes (eg installation) explained w/pics are fab.
Response: A good clear, image is essential. If promoting a product, it needs to be the focus; a noisy/busy background will just distract the customer. All brand colours and style. Images add to your company's voice. Stay consistent!
Response: Stock images are used by many others. This reduces trust from the viewer if they have seen it on other websites, articles, livery and advertising.
Response: Authenticity is more important than ever in the relationship between supplier & customer. Images showing business' location, work environment, people, people at work, product in use & being used. Real photos, not polished photos. Static product photos should be confined to technical materials. Images need to show 'how is a product used’ .. 'lifestyle shots'. A mix of professional & team-taken photography is the ideal. Photos should only ever show the reality
Response: Add something extra to your images to make them stand out—especially useful for promoting sales!
Response: We have recently been using images from one of our team who has some decent camera kit although still mixing it up with photo's "taken in the moment" using mobile phones.
Made in Britain: How do you work out how much to "invest" in doing this?
Response from Made in Britain member Peerless Plastics: In an ideal world, with a budget, then hiring a professional photographer is the way to go. If properly briefed they can get a lot of photos taken in a day shoot and most will provide extra shots over and above your brief so that they can incorporate their experience/ideas. Something arresting that makes viewers stop scrolling
Made in Britain: The word "briefed" is important - identify your objectives first?
Response: Totally, I have a graphic design background and the brief is key, if you don't know what you want/need then how can a 3rd party produce something you'll be happy with? A clear brief helps all parties to focus.
Made in Britain: Could you argue that there is an overuse of images or even overuse of social media posts? High quality and less, or "quick and dirty"?
Response: High quality and less over the day too many post all their messages in a short time frame. Be there to respond.
Made in Britain: Do you think businesses spend enough time creating the images/photos or revert more to the "snaps" and "stock photos"?
Response: Sometimes its difficult to produce "sexy" shots of product! I find on LinkedIn videos sometimes work better!
Response from Made in Britain member Linian: Our #SparkyShare series (resharing customer installation pics) is popular on Instagram. The quality may vary but we find that users like to see how the product works in real life not just the manufacturer's polished images/renders. It also promotes installers pages too.
Response: It is definitely worth spending a little bit of time fine-tuning an image before posting. Taking care over a photo reflects on your work ethos with customers parts.
Response: There's an element of bias in our reply, but CGI is a great way of taking products that don't photograph well - and bringing out their best qualities using lighting/reflection.
Response: Big fan of the Made in Britain mark! Seen it here in trade shows, shops, etc, in Latin America and it does stand out! Distributors + clients love it. We'll soon share a real story from Uruguay about it
Response from Made in Britain member Ritherdon: Usually social media images are product images. To make product images stand out, it's not only about quality, but also about information. Clear product pictures with detail, will answer customer questions!
Question two: Are short video clips a good thing to post to social media and if yes, what makes a good one and how do you entice people to watch it?
Response: If they are relevant then yes. If any speech put subtitles on so can be understood with sound off.
Response: Subtitles are also awesome if you are not a native speaker, thinking about your export markets, too ;)
Response from Made in Britain member Peerless Plastics: Yes video is a good medium to use, especially on 'social' media as people can often get more from a video than a still with accompanying caption(s).
Response: Yes, our short videos always get engagement and GIF files work well on social media too. The animation stands out which is useful on platforms like Twitter and Instagram, where users scroll through a lot of content!
Manthorpe: Yes definitely, as the vast majority of social video is viewed on mute it's good to look at adding more motion type to get across the key product points instead of relying on voice over or subtitle/close caption the video
Response: Av per-view time of video on SM is <10s. For that reason alone, the most cost-effective production method for your business should be used. We have a client who empowers staff to film their 'Outtakes' moments in manufacturing ceramics... high engagement
Response: If Vine, TikTok and the proliferation of 'Stories' has shown us anything - it's that video will always draw engagement. Many of the rules with photography still apply, but with video there's slightly more room for creativity: more time, more messages, more fun!
Response: Careful not to mistake volume of views on C2C (entertainment) and B2C (Hi-Vol retail sales) videos. B2B is a different arena with much lower viewing numbers
Response: Video says 'see - it works!' much better than text. I suspect that videos with >= 2 person dialogue generate more audience involvement than 1-person monologues, 'tho the latter are better for focused teaching. Don't rely on broadcast only - send direct to hi-interest parties
Response: Everyone is busy and attention spans have shortened. As a touchpoint the video should be short and focused on the potential customer. They will then judge their investment time based on their interest and desire.
Made in Britain: Do you think the thumbnail isn't given enough importance by some businesses?
Response: Yes I don't think they do. Even the end image...that is a valuable space for a call to action, especially on instagram and youtube. Many of the social media channels now allow you to sell directly from the account.
Response: Absolutely! I'm always attracted to piece-to-cameras; great to hear business owners and employees talking about their products and services with passion!
Made in Britain: Any advice to the optimum duration of a video clip on social media?
Response: Brevity is the keyword, however, people are spending more time on the internet, so you can use short videos to then entice them to follow say a webinar or a podcast, all of which are very good follow ups.
Response: Short always works best, and make sure you switch on captions for #accessiblity - the different channels have their own specifications. Remember the attention span of your customers!
Response: 1 minute is the absolute max you want to go for videos on social media, any longer than that and people get bored and move on without engaging! Take tik tok for instance, it's only 15 seconds or 1 minute bursts!
Response: 30 seconds tends to be ideal for most social platforms, YouTube we identified at least 10 minutes, it really varies as platforms bring in new features we find
Response: How long is the advert on television? they have been doing it for 70 years and know a thing or two about video. 30 to 50 seconds to set the scene and generate interest.
Response: Social media is a fast-paced environment, why not try even shorter videos (10-20 seconds?) if you can get your message across quickly?
Made in Britain: Making short clips is harder than making longer ones. The key is knowing what to leave out.
Response: We suggest a story board and a clear vision of the message you want to get across. Then it is easier to edit.
Made in Britain: How do you make your videos if you don't mind us asking?
Response: We use our office Go-Pro and do quite a lot of time lapse stuff. We also did some fun video a while back with our infrared camera. Random stuff often performs better I imagine because it is unusual and therefore attracts users to watch it.
Made in Britain: Have you any advice as to how to actually post your video. We have seen uploads through to links to Vimeo or YouTube, What is best?
Response: I always think posting the video directly to each site is best as it eliminates the need to click any links/open new tabs. This does mean you may have to edit multiple videos to fit time/size limitations on different platforms...
Response: Keeping the customer Journey short helps engage. When they have seen the offering they will know if they should invest more time to go to the website. Makes sure the next step is obvious
Question three: Should businesses that export consider the potential international and cultural differences before posting to social media? What should they consider?
Peerless Plastics: Certainly! Everything needs to be considered, the people, the environment they're shown in (both natural and man-made) their clothing, all the little details. What side of the road is being driven on, is there anything that could insult an international viewer etc etc
Response: Yes. I think subtitles have been mentioned in a post before. Also being aware of your target audience's customs and culture in addition to what is happening in their country so as not to a) inadvertently cause offence or b) miss out on a sales hook
Linian: We try to keep our content as professional and educational as possible. We work with international distributors who know their local markets well and can tailor messaging as appropriate. We include subtitles on our videos and use quality translation services.
Response: Yes. 1- use lots of pictures and videos (esp w/subtitles) for non-native English speakers 2- make sure there aren't any big faux-pas and no-no's 3- make sure you are using the social media platforms of your export markets 4- ask your local distributor/partner for help esp. at the start 5- here in LatAm, distributors love to be mentioned (say case studies, visits, etc) on social media platforms of UK manuf they represent I could go on forever! I know it's not feasible/desirable for most manuf SMEs from UK to have a social media account for every export market but from looking at your social media channels it should be clear if you export or not and where to. Helps drive global engagement/team build
Made in Britain: How do you work out whether you "need" to have additional social media accounts focussed on specific languages/markets?
Response: It will always depend on your markets - and budget! It is important enough to warrant the investment - then go ahead and use it. Example - if targeting China, you need to be on WECHAT
Response: A big subject. translation, transcreation, SEO, culture, legal issues and many other issues can create issues when running export content on social media. I have trained several UK and European Translation companies in this area.
Made in Britain: We'll come back to this subject in a few weeks times as it is an important area.
Response: Yes, of course. Understanding your target market and clearly showing you do, leads to much more success.
Response: Time difference. We all post at specific times of the day to catch our audience. First thing while people are scrolling at brekkie for example. Using a platform like hootsuite can help schedule posts for times when you’re asleep but your market is awake
Question four: What are the best ways of showcasing and demonstrating products in the virtual world?
Peerless Plastics: Show products actually being used in real life by customers or yourself in a video. If it's a complex product or item then maybe a pared-back animated video explaining benefits in a simplified way could work. With VR becoming more popular that could be a beneficial way too
Manthorpe: You need a goal to determine what you are trying to achieve; however, you are demonstrating your product, and also bear in the mind the audience but videos are still a great way to demonstrate products especially in our sector.
Response: A theme of 'behind the scenes' is quite engaging because it encourages curiosity and gives the viewer something that they wouldn't normally see. It is also a great way of showing potential employees what it is like to work at the company. Career advisers in Schools can also use these types of videos for their classes.
Linian: We're still trying to figure this out... and trying digital trade shows this year. One thing we did last year when the trade shows were cancelled, was to think about the questions people would ask us at events and create video clips demonstrating each Q&A
Response: Excellent to see that you were discussing the questions from customers. Understanding the customer journey and their path to task completion is the start to great Customer Experience.
Radical Materials: Some of the most exciting technologies we would love to start working with come in the form of VR and AR. It would be a great way for us to showcase some of our clients products, and is definitely something we would love to get to 'grips' with!
Made in Britain: is VR something that is within easy reach? What’s the barriers to using it for product demos in the virtual world?
Response: The means to create the experiences are there. However, the ability to deliver it is not so much. While VR is continually becoming more accessible for consumers, its use in business tends to be scarce. Monetary issues, deployment, and willingness are all barriers to overcome.
Peerless Plastics: Agree with everything that Radical Materials has said, and if we ever manage to get on top of Corona and trade fairs/exhibitions etc are a thing again then VR/AR is a great way to showcase some products and get interaction from the audience
Wow! That was a marathon. And the hardest to edit so far. These articles are so full of useful advice we need to find a way of encouraging more readers.
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