Monthly Archives: October 2014

Power of Visual Storytelling

power of visual storytelling

Another great book is The Power of Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Market Your Brand co-written by Ekaterina Walter (cofounder and chief marketing officer at Branderati)  and Jessica Gioglio (social media manager for Dunkin Donuts).  The back of the book says, “Attention is the new commodity. Visual storytelling is the new currency.”

 

According to this book, “Visual content in real time can give people a different perspective instantly.”  The goal is to create visual, shareable content that conveys your brand’s central message. Visual storytelling has the potential to:

 

  • Enhance loyalty
  • Strengthen customer relationships
  • Increase awareness
  • And much more!

With 6.8 billion mobile subscriptions at the end of 2012, about 96% of the world population has a cell phone. With the on-the-go nature of people’s lives in this present age, sharing user-generated images and visuals is happening in real time.  According to the authors, visuals are processed by the human brain 60,000 times faster than text!

Creating the right image to convey your message means you must know who you are as a brand, what you stand for, and how this relates to the goals of your customers.  The book reveals some fascinating statistics about what website visitors think is important:

  • 46.1% of people say that a website’s design is the #1 criterion for discerning the credibility of the company (research from Billion Dollar Graphics)
  • 67% of consumers consider clear, detailed images to be very important, and carry even more weight that then product information, full description, and customer ratings (MDG Advertising Research)
  • 51% of Americans trust user-generated content over other information on a company website

The Power of Visual Storytelling details the vast variety of visual content that is available for companies to use:

  • Images
  • Photography
  • Graphs
  • Drawings
  • User-generated images
  • Collages
  • Images with text overlays (captions, quotes, stats)
  • Word photos
  • Memes (imitated things)
  • Postcards and e-cards
  • Cartoons
  • GIFs (Graphics Interchange Format)
  • Infographics
  • Videos
  • Presentations
  • Aggregators

Collaborative storytelling benefits both customers and companies.  Customers get to see their images liked by fans of the brand.  Companies get insight on what customer motivation. According to BuzzFeed, every minute online:

  • 208,300 photos are posted to Facebook
  • 27,800 photos are shared on Instagram
  • 510,000 photos are liked on Instagram
  • 100 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube

The authors caution readers that there is not a one-size-fits-all solution to social media. Each network has its own character and audience.  Instead of being “broadcasted to” audiences want to feel “listened to” as we invite them to be part of the conversation.  The next series of posts will feature their tips for various social media networks, including:

Later we will highlight their tips to developing a visual story road map from strategy to implementation.  I highly recommend that businesses read The Power of Visual Storytelling!

Affiliate Disclaimer: The link to the book is is an affiliate link. If you click and make a purchase I will earn a commission from Amazon.  I only recommend what I know and love.

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

The Art of Social Selling

the art of social selling

 

I highly recommend Shannon Belew’s book called The Art of Social Selling: Finding and Engaging Customers on Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, and Other Social Networks. Belew says the power has shifted from the brand to the consumer.  Marketing has become a two-way conversation with the customer. The art of social selling is based entirely on your ability to build relationships.

 

Did you know that over one BILLION people are active on social networks? Thus, it is extremely important that you know where your customers are hanging out.

Shannon Belew defines “social selling” as the identification, targeting, and reaching out to prospective and existing customers through social media channels and social communities in an effort to engage them in conversations that result in a potentially mutually beneficial relationship.  This means being more social (listening and conversing about the customer’s needs) and less traditional selling.  The heart of social selling is relationship building.

This book reveals Belew’s ten most important rules for online social interactions:

1) Be genuine: your social networking persona should be an extension of your real persona

2) Listen, listen, listen: to truly hear what the customer is saying so you can present a viable solution you must find and monitor conversations that relate to your prospective customer’s needs, concerns, and interests with the goal of remaining relevant to your customers

3) Be responsive: to customer-related complaints and concerns voiced across social media channels

4) Follow the leader: follow group guidelines, watch how members participate and interact with one another

5) Tailor the conversation: find common ground and share information relevant to your audience

6) Be helpful: offer educational opportunities, general support, and even inspiration

7) Identify the enter and exit signs: know if it is polite to enter the online interaction and make sure to exit gracefully

8) Maintain separation of professional and personal: make sure what you share is suitable for both audiences

9) Be consistent: give people a clear expectation of who you are and what your area of expertise is

10) Admit when you are wrong: be willing to apologize, it is a sign of strength and goodwill

Shannon Belew’s concept of “unselling:

  • Unselling is a process that occurs over time
  • Requires consistent interaction with your prospects via social media
  • This establishes your credibility as a good resource
  • Identify and interact with industry influencers
  • Be a thought leader to build social influence
  • Embrace consultative sales in which you are developing conversations that educate and assist the prospect through the buying process
  • This opens the door to an increased amount of sharing
  • This increases the comfort level of prospects as well as puts you in the role of expert

Belew talks about word of mouth marketing.  Social shoppers are not only influenced by their friends and family, but by perfect strangers, too.  Encourage your happy and satisfied customers to provide online testimonials.  Include your links on thank-you pages and emails. Respond to negative reviews quickly.  Thank customers publicly for their positive reviews.

In this book, Shannon Belew cites a Technorati Report that stated that blogs are the third-most influential digital or online resource and the fifth most trusted resource on the internet.  Blogs are great for sharing on social media.  Plus, points made in a blog post can be posted or tweeted on social media.  Later in the book, Belew gives specific tips about using each of the major social media channels.  This is an incredible resource for business owners.

Affiliate Disclaimer: The link to the book is an affiliate link. If you click and make a purchase I will earn a commission from Amazon.  I only recommend what I know and love.

Image by Marcus Berg of Unique Angles Photography

Autumn Colors and Fall Foliage

autumn colors and fall foliage

The autumn colors and fall foliage at bed and breakfasts can be remarkably beautiful to take in this time of year.  We would like to feature one B&B known for this season’s splendor, the appropriately named The Maple Leaf Inn of Barnard, Vermont.  They are ten miles north of Woodstock, Vermont on a beautiful lake.  It is an elegant Victorian style farmhouse nestled within sixteen acres of maple and birch trees.

 

The friendly owners, Nancy and Mike Boyle, welcome you to come anytime of the year since they are open year round.  In fact, four of their bedrooms are named after the four seasons: Autumn Woods, Winter Haven, Spring Hollow, and Summer Retreat.  They have seven guest bedrooms (six are pictured below) that are spacious and luxurious with all of the mattresses recently upgraded to king-size pillow top mattresses.  Five of the rooms have wood-burning fireplaces and four of the rooms have whirlpool tubs.

Autumn Woods Room                                                 Winter Haven Room

autumn colors and fall foliageautumn colors and fall foliage

Spring Hollow Room                                                   Summer Retreat Room

autumn colors and fall foliageautumn colors and fall foliage

Country Garden Room                                                 Morning Glory Room

autumn colors and fall foliageautumn colors and fall foliage

Guests love the special and delicious three-course gourmet breakfasts at The Maple Leaf Inn.

autumn colors and fall foliageautumn colors and fall foliage

After enjoying a hearty breakfast each morning, guests can just relax or enjoy a variety of fun activities in their local area:

  • driving tours and hiking tours (especially beautiful in the fall)
  • golfing
  • biking
  • horseback riding
  • fishing
  • boating
  • winter activities like cross country skiing, ice skating, downhill skiing, and snowmobile riding

autumn colors and fall foliageautumn colors and fall foliage

The Maple Leaf Inn offers Special Occasion Packages for romance, birthdays, and anniversaries.  The packages include some of the following:

  • choice of champagne, wine, or sparkling cider in your room upon arrival
  • two Maple Leaf Inn keepsake glasses
  • a single rose bud, a bouquet of fresh flowers in a vase, or long-stemmed roses
  • a box of Vermont chocolates
  • a personalized Maple Leaf Inn birthday cake

Between the two of them, Nancy and Mike speak the following languages: English, Russian, German, and Italian. They enjoy conversations with guests from all over the world. Now is the perfect time to enjoy a fall vacation.  If you need to hire an interim innkeeper for your bed and breakfast, you should.  Nancy and Mike welcome everyone to their lovely and quiet inn set in a scenic area with lots of fun activities.  See them talk about The Maple Leaf Inn in the video below.

Morehead Manor Bed & Breakfast

Morehead Manor Bed and Breakfast

Morehead Manor Bed & Breakfast is a historical B&B with modern amenities.  The friendly and attentive owners and innkeepers Monica and David Edwards show true Southern hospitality.  Guests rave about their gourmet breakfasts.  They love being ambassadors to the city of Durham.  When asked, they are delighted to give their guests whatever guidance they need depending upon their guests’ particular interests and reasons for visiting.

 

The Durham, NC area is a great location. It is conveniently close to the Raleigh-Durham International (RDU) Airport. Those living in, or visiting, Durham have access to a wide variety of things to do and see, including:

  • The Durham Performing Arts Center: home to a variety of performances including Broadway theater, music concerts, and comedy
  • Durham Athletics: Duke University sports, North Carolina Central University Sports, Hurricanes NHL Hockey, and more
  • Durham Shopping: The Streets at Southpoint, Brightleaf Shopping Square, Northgate Mall, Ninth Street Shopping District, and more
  • The Sarah P. Duke Gardens in Durham: started by Washington Duke and named in honor of his daughter Sarah, this has become a world famous attraction

The world renown medical facility, Duke University Hospital, has its home in Durham beside Duke University campus. Durham, known as The Tastiest Town in the South, shows its excellence in award-winning restaurants for fine dining and casual dining. Residents and tourists alike also flock to the great variety of food trucks satisfying their appetites.

Morehead Manor offers four different areas to their guests to stay:

 

In The Tiger Room, guests rest comfortably in a king-sized, wrought-iron, canopy bed that is surrounded by windows.  This airy room that overlooks the beautiful rear garden. Read an adventure novel as you are nestled in the comfortable reading chair, wrapped in one of our plush robes, imagining all of the exciting places that the antique Louis Vitton trunk resting at the foot of the bed has visited.

The Magnolia Suite is the spacious original Master bedroom features a king-sized wooden canopy bed with lights in the headboard, perfect for romance or reading a good book. The sitting area in the main room is furnished with two high-back chairs near an electric firebox. A separate sitting area has a love seat/sleeper and a roll-top desk. The private bath features a tub and shower. This room can accommodate up to 3.

The Eagle’s Inn features two full-sized beds, spacious enough to accommodate up to 4 people, perfect for those guests visiting the local universities or travel companions that prefer having their own comfortable sleeping beds. The full bath features a deluxe 7-head shower. You can enjoy one of the room’s many novels in the reading recliner or even pen your own at the writing desk.

The Jasmine Room is comfortably appointed with a queen-sized bed. Relax in the reading recliner as you take in a book, the flames from the electric firebox, or just enjoy the views of the front garden.  The large bathroom with tub and shower is perfect for relaxing.  There is a desk available.  Reserve this room and enjoy the complimentary homemade dessert and beverages as you unwind from the day.

Plan your visit to Morehead Manor Bed and Breakfast today!

Monica and Daniel Edwards
914 Vickers Ave
Durham, NC  27701
(919) 687-4366 | Toll Free: (888) 437-6333
info@moreheadmanor.com

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