Tagged: facebook

Tips and Tricks for Capturing Quality Video with Your Smartphone

Social Content Marketing revolves around two goals:  Getting audience attention, and Keeping it. And the most effective way to do this is through video.

This information isn’t new. With the growing popularity of social media, marketers have found that videos of original content are up to ten times more likely to be embedded or shared than similar static social posts.

And a convenient way to get this content is sitting in the palm of your hand.

Your smartphone is capable of doing more than making calls and surfing for cat videos. You can shoot short-form, highly engaging video content perfect for Social Media simply by following these five guidelines.

Blog1. Turn, turn, turn

Do. Not. Shoot. Vertical. Video.

Websites, computer screens, televisions, movie theaters — even our own eyes — are engineered to be wide screen. Vertical video is squeezed between two black bars, giving the impression that your audience is missing out on the big picture. And it just looks bad.

Shooting horizontally, or in landscape, allows your smartphone to capture more of the picture, including backgrounds often missed in vertical shots.

And shooting a landscape will actually make your picture better too. By turning your phone, the video capture loads more resolution, allowing the video to be utilized on any platform, easily edited or even incorporated into existing higher resolution video.

Switching to landscape mode may also help with stability because it nearly forces you to use two hands.

2. Check Your Audio

Smart phone microphones are built to provide good sound quality for calls, but this does not transfer well to video, particularly when shooting at a distance.

And easy fix is to use an external microphone, which can be as cheap as $10.

Not so easy to fix is distracting background noises like traffic or voices. Even quiet sounds such as air conditioning fans can muddle your sound quality. To avoid these sounds coming through on your final video, film in a quiet, carpeted room if possible, setting the external microphone as close to the action as possible.

On outdoor, live-action or loud demonstration shoots, consider utilizing post-production music additions via a smartphone app.

3. Go Slow and Steady

Shaky-Cam may have made 90s horror films unique and exciting, but that camera trick doesn’t belong anywhere near your social media.

The most effective method of ensuring steady video is to place your phone on a tripod. These range from anywhere between $8 and $50 and are specially made for smartphones.

For shots that require mobility, invest in a gimbal. These handheld stabilizers hold your phone on an axis, allowing it to remain stable while providing a more fluid moving shot.

Gimbals can run anywhere from 50 to 400 dollars, so if you’re not ready to invest just yet, try this: start filming from a sitting or kneeling position, supporting your elbows on your knees to stabilize your hands.

If you need to pan, first stabilize your elbows on a solid surface such as a chair or table. Then pivot slowly, keeping you your elbows stationary. And although most mobile phones have a zoom function, the quality is better when the camera is moved closer rather than zooming in.

4. Switch on the lights

If you have ever had your picture taken with a smartphone’s flash, you know all too well that the photo is not likely to be flattering. But capturing video in low or poor light is not an option with a smartphone. They just simply are not advanced enough to capture video without adequate light. That’s why images and videos shot in low light look so grainy.

Consider investing in a lighting kit that includes a soft box. A soft box works by producing an even and soft light that reduces shadow without over lighting a subject. These start at $75, and an inexpensive starter kit with three lights can cost about $150.

For a more portable light source, an external LED flash and video light may be the answer. These wireless lights usually charge through a USB port and are easy to set up with any smartphone or tablet. These usually start at about $30.

5. Adapttangerine002

As useful as you smartphone may be, it does have limitations. But these can be overcome with add-ons that amplify your phone’s abilities.

For instance, if your content tends to center around live events such as races, sporting events or nature videos, consider investing in a lens adaptor. The adaptors can be used as external zoom lenses, fish-eye, wide angle, macro, filters…the list goes on.

These lenses run from anywhere between $50 and $500, but are worth it if you are looking for particular shots time and time again.

An external lens filter kit can give you special effects without utilizing an app or expensive hardwear. These small adaptors can split images into twos and threes, take closer video and add color easily, all for about $40.

Looking into the Future: 7 Social Media Predictions for 2016

 

2015 was a huge year for social media innovations. Marketers once again saw changes to their algorithms, leading to a need for increased paid promotions. Facebook also continued their policy of curtailing posts that seem too promotional, making the number one social media site even more difficult to to budget for.

Twitter’s growth really began to stall in 2015 after seeing its peak growth in August 2014. Marketers began to shift their focus from this platform to another emerging and popular site, Instagram. With its 400 million monthly active users, Instagram became the new hot spot for reaching an audience in 2015.

But 2015 has come to an end and the changes to the social media landscape happening more and more frequently. Here’s what to expect for 2016.

     1. More Powerful Social Media Searches

In November, Pinterest announced a new search tool allowing users to zoom in on specific objects in a Pin’s image and search for similar objects or patterns. It works like Google Image search, allowing users to find products in a new way. In 2016, expect other platforms to catch on to the idea of new and improved ways to search for content and technologies to change the way we use these sites.

     2. Live Social Broadcasts

Periscope didn’t exist in 2014, but by the end of 2015 it had become Apple’s iPhone App of the Year. With more than 10 million users, Periscope’s unique live broadcast abilities have become the new way to interact with consumers. In 2016, Periscope will continue to grow, so expect to see other sites (Facebook!) to find ways to capitalize on this new technology.

     3. Buy! Buy! Buy!

Leave it to Facebook to find a new way to take our cash. In 2014, Facebook started a trend in social media that we felt through last year. Buy Buttons have recently become part of the interface of Instagram and Pinterest, so expect to start seeing these ads more often in your feeds and your budget.

     4. Video at the Forefront

Humans are visual beings, and we like videos. It’s the easiest way for us to learn and retain knowledge. Cisco estimates that by the beginning of 2017, 69% of all consumer internet traffic will be video, so marketers need to be starting a budget for video production for 2016.

     5. User Privacy Concerns

In 2015, about 32 million Ashley Madison users found out the hard way that privacy isn’t necessarily guaranteed online. With one of the largest hacks on record still fresh in their minds, social media users are now looking for assurances that their private information is, in fact, private. Expect to see major increase in protections offered from Facebook, Instagram and any other sites that store personal information like birthdates and credit card info.

     6. Incoming Messages

According to Forbes, the frequency of incoming messages are up almost one third from 2014. Consumers are catching on to a new way of connecting with companies, so expect to keep seeing an increase on incoming messages throughout the platforms. Don’t be one of the estimated 82% of brands who do not respond. Pay attention in 2016 and engage in a new way.

     7. Easier Publishing on Instagram

Instagram can be a time-consuming nightmare for social marketers simply because it must be used in real-time and is exclusive to mobile devices. If nothing else changes from last year, let’s hope Instagram has made Post Scheduling their New Year’s Resolution for 2016.

4 Ways to Get Customer Testimonials

testimonial-01Your job as a business is to win over the trust of potential customers who are not quite ready to do
business with you. Customers are like hoodwinked children. They are cynical and defensive about anything they hear or read. However, if a friend, or someone they know and trust, tells them something, they are inclined to believe it without question.

To make a prospective customer care about your business, you need to show them how you can make their life easier or better. Then, you need to follow through and prove it. The conventional way to prove a claim is to present positive testimonials, endorsements, or media articles and mentions about your business.

You probably already praise your business. However, statements you make about yourself just don’t have the same impact as statements that come from others. Especially testimonial-03happy, satisfied customers.

To convince a cynical potential customer – someone that may not be sure about becoming your customer – you need to let them know your current customers think you’re great. There are ways you can generate proof your business is sound and performs exceptional work.   What follows are four ways to help generate positive testimonials from your customers.

  1. Ask

The simplest way to get positive testimonials is to ask. Do this as a part of thanking your customer for their business. Send an email, or follow-up letter to each of your customers that says something like:

Testimonial-request-USE IN BODY

When your customer responds, you have your testimonial. Collect them all and use excerpts of the best lines that exemplify why others should do business with you.

  1. Create unique experiences

A few years ago, fishing hat manufacturer Tilley sent customers a letter congratulating them on purchasing one of their hats. The letter included tips on caring for the hat and made a pitch for some of their other products.

testimonial-04On the back of the letter was an “Insurance Certificate.” Should the hat become lost or stolen, the
certificate allowed a half-priced replacement hat. This unique promotion made the buying experience different. While a half-priced replacement may not work for all businesses, consider if an “insurance” idea is right for your product or service.

So why do something like this? When you have the opportunity to deliver unique experiences to your customers, follow up! After the sale, email your customers for their thoughts about doing business with you and the buying experience. Their responses become your testimonials.

  1. Recruit volunteers

If you are introducing a new product or service and have a Facebook, or other social media group, use your community to find willing testers during your launch period. Offer a pre-determined number of testers a half-price or even a free service in return for their permission to use their comments as testimonials.

It is important to remember to return the favor when you are asked to test a new product or service. Be sure to offer written comments than can be used as a testimonial for the product or service.

  1. Build relationships with credible experts

Ever read a recommendation for a new book? In the publishing world, authors often get influential people to recommend their books. This gives potential readers positive comments about the book from high-profile people.

testimonial-02So how do you approach a credible expert, someone who may get many of these requests? The smart way to approach this is to always be cultivating relationships over time. Always offer your assistance and always offer to be useful in general long before you ever conceive of your product idea.

If you are building meaningful relationships with others on social media, it should be easy to ask for input from experts. You can always find local experts to recommend your product or service. You could even ask the mayor or other well-liked city officials to try your business in exchange for permission to use their written recommendation as a testimonial.

You can also hire an expert to try your product or service. As a part of this agreement, use the expert’s name and testimonial when promoting your product.

Always ask for feedback

When you openly communicate with your social media audience and encourage their feedback, you can end up with some great testimonials. Keep your testimonials in one place so it is easy to draw from them when you create content.

If you make collecting customer comments a priority, eventually you’ll have thousands of potential testimonials and endorsements to choose from when you need to dispel doubt in the minds of cynical and defensive customers.

Meet Your New Website Driver: Video

 
video-productionWe’ve talked about video in social media in this space previously: Why video is important and how to use video. Regular readers already know we think believe video should be a vital part of any social media campaign, but what about your website?

Good for you if you’ve been using video in your social media. Don’t overlook your website. Videos are a great way to drive traffic to your website. Here’s a couple of ideas you may want to incorporate into your website marketing.

People Want Answers

Have you ever found yourself researching a topic on Google and discovered there were not only articles about your topic, but videos? Admit it; you probably went to that YouTube video before you clicked on an article. One great way to bring in new traffic to your website is to address those common questions your business gets with a video. People learn twice as fast when they see and hear what is being explained.

Think about how many times you’ve answered a customer’s question by demonstrating or showing them the answer. Make that demonstration into a video and post it on your website. However, don’t stop there. Include a link to that video on your social media sites with the question. It’s an easy way to increase traffic to your website and get the post shared. Which leads us to our second point.

Videos are More Likely to go Viralviral-marketing-word-mouth-38123871

When was the last time you read a news article that was “viral?” When it comes to viral content, it
seems like nine out of ten viral items are video. Yes, there may be text with the video, but the item went viral because of the video.

You may be thinking that your video may never see a million views. There’s more. The concept of
something going viral has more to do with how rapidly it is shared than how many actually see it.   Viral content is something shared with a wide network of people. Your video may not reach a thousand views, but however many see it you can leverage. If someone shares your video, they are more likely to return to your website and begin a relationship with you. Isn’t that more worth boasting about than having a million views?

Embed Everywhere

One of the great things about video is you can host the video on one platform – like YouTube or Vimeo – and then link to the video on your website and your social media sites without having to upload the video multiple times.

Embed the video in your website. YouTube, Vimeo and other video sites provide you with the URL to the video. On Facebook, including the URL address in your post will automatically create a special image and link to the video (or page). Just paste the full URL (include the “http://” part also).

If you run across a video you like that is relevant to your business, include it in your social media posts. It’s a great way to show your audience you follow others and that you value other content as well as your own.

Don’t Forget Email

Another area you can use videos to increase traffic to your website is through email marketing. We’ve discussed that in this space also. You don’t want to include the actual video in your email. The size of the video file is most likely going to be larger than most email servers will allow you to send. However, here’s a way you can include it in your email.

Take a screen shot of your video paused on frame that shows a key point. Include the image in your email. Make the image link to the video on your website (or YouTube channel). If that’s not an option for you, include the link to the page on your website (or social media site) with the video. Include a note in the email that the viewer can find more information by following the link.

If you haven’t gotten started in using video, be sure to check out our series of beginner tips for creating a video.

How to Use Facebook to Launch a New Product or Service

If you are launching a new product or service, you want to create some excitement with your customer base about what’s new.  Facebook is a great way not only let everyone know what’s new, but to generate excitement.

However, to be successful, you need to plan ahead and make good use of some of Facebook’s tools for business.  It’s not difficult, it just takes some planning.  Here are four steps to help you get started.

1: Pre-launch – PlanningFacebook Image tool

To be successful, you need to plan your strategy a couple of months prior to launch. Two or three months

should be sufficient.  This planning should include all of the materials you want to share on Facebook.  This includes the design of any ads you may want to purchase in addition to the images you will use in your posts.

Be sure to consider the sizes of your images.  You’ll need different sizes for ads as well as your posts.  Remember that Facebook only allows 20% of an ad to contain text.  Facebook has a handy tool to verify you do not violate this rule.  Visit the Facebook Grid Tool and upload your image.  The tool will place a 5-by-5 grid over the image.  Click the squares that contain text to see how much text you are using and if it is acceptable.  Watch this Facebook video for information about text in ads.  Also, check out our blog on optimum image sizes for different social media sites.

If you don’t have an ad agency, or know an artist who can design a print ad for you, consider using Fiverr.com.  This website offers services and products that range from graphics and design to online marketing. The freelancing marketing services include ad creation, infographic design, video animation, and much more. The price of services begins at $5.  The transparency of buyers’ reviews will help you to
choose the right seller.

2: Pre-Launch – Create Excitement

As a part of your pre-launch, consider if giveaways are appropriate for your new product or service.  Will there be a special sale or discount period when you launch?  If so, how will customers access the discount?  Is a contest appropriate for the new launch?  If appropriate, one lucky customer can win the free product or service free.  Perhaps allowing someone to be the first to use it is appropriate.

It’s also best to plan and write out the posts you will make on Facebook and other social media.  Writing these ahead of the launch will help insure you cover the important points you want your customers to know.  Each should reveal a little more about the new product or service.  Begin with teaser posts about two or three weeks before the launch.  A series of pre-launch teaser posts might be:
“Something big is coming to (Business Name) in July.”

“Watch this space for a big announcement on July 13.”

“Don’t miss out.  See what’s happening in July at (Business name).”

As the launch date approaches, build excitement by revealing a little more about the new product or service.  This would be the time to start mentioning customer benefits in your teasers.

product excitementA week before the launch, your post might be:  “Everything you know about Customer Service is about to change!  (Business Name) is taking it to a new level starting July 13.”

“The only way to experience (service) is to be here July 13 – see for yourself.”

If you are introducing a new product, perhaps a discount may be in order for the first few weeks.  One of your posts or an ad could be a coupon for customers to print.  Alternatively, you can post on Facebook a ‘secret phrase’ that customers can mention to get the discount price.

Don’t forget to use video!  Make a video of you or someone in your shop talking about how excited everyone at work is about the new product or service.  Post a few days before the launch.  If you are remodeling or expanding, post pictures of the construction work.  If you are adding new equipment, share pictures of the installation process.

Your launch plan should have the posts written out along with the date and time when each will appear.  Stagger the times from morning to early evening for maximum exposure.

3 – Launch – Keep Excitement Going

The launch phase will probably vary in length depending on the product or service.  As far as promotion is concerned, it will never truly be over.  However, you should have an end date for the largest promotional push.  At this point, you want to figure out what you can do to keep the excitement going.

This is the time to launch a Facebook Contest. After launching a new service, perhaps now is the time to have a naming contest.  If appropriate, let customers have a chance at naming the new service.  The winner gets a year of the service at no cost or a substantially price reduction. Consider what is most appropriate for the new product or service; then, maintain excitement by teasing the contest.

You may find it appropriate to shoot a video of the first day with the new product or service.  Include customer testimonials and reactions.  Other customers talking about your business and your services is a great way to introduce new customers to what you do.

If you decide to spend money on a Facebook ad campaign, focus most of your ad budget on the pre-launch phase.  If you have something to offer of value or a coupon, split your resources more evenly between the pre-launch and launch phases.  You may want to consider having a different budget for the coupon or special offer phase of the campaign.

4 – Post-Launch Thank You

After the launch period, you will want to thank your audience and customers.  Show your customers how much you appreciate them by thanking them for their support during the campaign.  Even if they did not make a purchase, let them know you appreciate their business over the years.

Also, use the post-launch thank you to tell your audience what is coming next.  More surprises?  Another contest?  Give your audience something to look forward to.

Most important, learn from your experience so you can improve the next one.  What worked?  What didn’t work?  What gave you the biggest bang?

Facebook can be a great place to let the world know about your new product or service.  However, don’t forget to promote your special product launch or new service on your website as well as your other social media, not just Facebook.

Image Size Matters

DrawingsStandardSizesDrawingSheetsWhen it comes to social media, we all know that content is king. However, content with images is like a world-leader, sitting on a throne of viral content. Images are critical to your content being seen. Why? The brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than it does when decoding text.

However, when it comes to using images, it’s important to make sure you use the right size for where you’re sharing. Research shows that social media content with images is shared exponentially more than content without pictures. This blog will help you make sure you the best image sizes for your favorite social media site.

Twitter

Tweets with images are retweeted 150% more than those without an image. In fact, 89% more tweets become favorites than those tweets with just plain text. Image also see 18% more clicks.

  • The optimal image Dimensions: 1024 x 512 pixels; also acceptable: 440×220 pixels
  • File size 5 MB (3MB for animated GIFs)
  • File Type: JPEG, PNG and GIF

Facebook

Posts with images account for 87% of all interactions on Facebook, worldwide. Posts with images are shared 87% while posts with links are shared on 4% of the time. On 3% of posts with video get shared.

  • Optimal Dimensions: 2048×2048 and 1200×630 pixels (for shared links); also acceptable 720×720 pixels
  • File Size: must not exceed 15MB
  • File Type: JPEG, BMP, PNG, GIF and TIFF

NOTE: PNG files larger than 1M may appear pixelated on shared links.

Open graph images may not include more than 20% text – this includes logos and slogans as a part of the image.

Google+ images

  • Optimal Dimensions: 2048×2048 and 1200×630 pixels (for shared links); also acceptable 720×720 pixels
  • File Size: must not exceed 36MB
  • File Type: JPEG, PNG, and GIF

Tumblr

  • Optimal Dimensions: 1280×1920 pixels for high-resolution images (except for super-wide panoramas); also acceptable 540×540 pixels
  • File Size: must not exceed 100MB
  • File Type: JPEG, and PNG

NOTE: The maximum width for animated GIFs is 500 pixels and may not exceed 1MB.

Images wider than 300 pixels automatically scale to fit the dashboard.

Instagram

  • Optimal Dimensions: 640×640 pixels; also acceptable 612×612 pixels
  • File Type: JPEG, PNG, and GIF

NOTE: Instagram allows higher resolutions photos if they are taken with the Instagram App. Photos uploaded from another device will have a lower resolution.

Pinerest

  • Optimal dimensions: 736 pixels wide; also acceptable: 236 pixels wide.
  • Pinterest automatically scales the height for you based on the image width.
  • File Size: must not exceed 10MB
  • File Type: JPEG, PNG, and GIF

NOTE: To pin a video, you must first upload it to a video site such as YouTube or Vimeo.

LinkedIn

  • Optimal Dimension for shared images: 531×399; also acceptable: 400×400 pixels
  • For shared links: 180×110; also acceptable 165×101 pixels
  • File Size: must not exceed 100MB
  • File Type: JPEG, PNG, and GIF

NOTE: To prevent spam in the LinkedIn feed, you cannot repeatedly post the same shared content.

So, there you have it, image dimensions for most of the popular social media sites. If you want to increase your exposure, share a picture! But not just any picture, one that works best for the site. Use this ‘cheat sheet’ to make sure your image gets you noticed.

Video = Memorable Social Media

Everywhere you look today, video is popping up.

Consider this: Television is no longer the first, or even the primary, screen in our lives today. Surveys show that YouTube now reaches more 18-34 year-old US adults than any cable channel. However, it’s not just 18-34 year-olds that are watching videos on YouTube. Adults, parents and grandparents, are watching and posting their own YouTube videos.

Video is becoming so common, that nearly every publishing and social media platform now has, or is integrating, video capabilities.

Facebook Videofacebook-video

Even Facebook has embraced videos. Remember last summer’s ALS Ice Bucket challenge? For many people, it was the first time they uploaded a video to their Facebook account. Since July 2014, the ALS Association has received over $115 million in donations!

Even more remarkable, Facebook had a 50 percent increase in the use of video from just May to July of 2014. Facebook announced in September 2014 that it now delivers one billion video views per day! It is no wonder Facebook is introducing new video features to its site.

People Remember Videos

We are visually oriented; that is why we remember videos. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth a million words. Actually, 1.8 million words! According Brainshark, a communications training company, the information retained after watching a one-minute online video is equal to about 1.8 million written words!

Videos speak in a way words and static images cannot. If you haven’t already, you may soon find yourself using Google to find a video to answer a question. Admit it, watching someone demonstrate something is much more effective than reading about it.

As a content creator, you should be creating videos that are relevant and engaging for your audience. Don’t worry about trying to create the next viral video. If you create content that your audience just can’t help but share with others, the viral part will take care of itself.

Using-Video-Marketing-For-businessUsing Video for Your Business

So, how do you use video for your business? Show off your work! Before and after images, video progress of your work or a time-lapse for automotive repairs are perfect ways to show off your work. Adding a date stamp is a subtle way to reinforce how quickly you accomplish your great work.

There are other ways to use video besides highlighting your work. You can use video to show off your facilities and employees. Perhaps you have new equipment; show it off with a description of the customer benefits it offers. Highlight your employee of the month and their work. You might consider giving a mini-tour of your facilities. You might want to offer a special discount for customers who specifically mention the video when in your shop.

Another good use of video is customer testimonials. Ask if a customer is willing to talk on camera about your business. You can have them talk about your awesome customer service, or how quickly the work was performed and if they would recommend your shop to their friends.

Perhaps you have an awesome holiday light display. Show it off! If you sponsor a local sports team, show highlights from the latest game.

Spread the Videos Around

Do not just post your video on YouTube or Vimeo. Link to it in your blog posts and on your website. The great thing about posting a video on YouTube is you can link to it on your website and get twice as much exposure. Also, encourage those who find your videos to share with their friends and followers.

Your videos can lead potential customers to your website or blog, and your website or blog can direct current customers to your video channel.

 

YouTube Advanced Tips for Small Business

Youtube_logoIn this post, we look at some YouTube advanced tips for small businesses. I have some advanced tips you can use to help make your business stand out and get the most out of YouTube.

If you are already posting videos to YouTube, you should Customize Your Channel! Customizing is well worth the time it takes to set up. You can add your company’s branding, customize the colors to compliment your company’s look, and add information and links.

When you set up a channel, it offers users the option to subscribe to your content at the click of a button. YouTube visitors also have the option to search just your uploaded content on your channel. The channel structure also allows you to highlight uploads, playlists, favorites or all videos.

With your custom channel in place, it’s time to Organize Your Content. Make your content viewer-friendly rather than just offering a stream of video uploads. Create playlists to group relevant videos together, or lump older content into time-related folders if appropriate. You could have a playlist of customer testimonials. Another playlist might be tips and tricks your employees have for your customers.

Remember that YouTube offers users the option to embed entire playlists into external sites, so give the creation of them, their titles, and description some decent thought. Be sure to check out our video on captions and tags for more on this subject.

using_youtube_analytics_sourcesYouTube offers every user free analytics data via the “Insight” button on every uploaded video. Be sure to Use YouTube’s Free Analytics Tools. Do not overlook this free-to-view information. It can offer you some valuable info on not only views stats, but demographics, community, and the most useful — “discovery” data — info on how users came across the video, including the links they followed to get there. This can be helpful in deciding how and where to display YouTube videos on your website. The tools are there – be sure to use them.

My final tip is perhaps the most important. Promote Your YouTube Videos. Don’t assume viewers will come to you just because you have a YouTube channel. Someone once said, “not advertising is like winking at a beautiful person in the dark. You know what you are doing, but no one else does.” YouTube visitors will not automatically think to look you up on YouTube. After all, there are those adorable animal videos!

Every time you post a video that is relevant for general sharing, you should blog about it. Then tweet it and mention it on your Facebook Page. Twitter and Facebook are easy through YouTube’s account settings that automatically publish news of a new video if you have linked up the social services. If you haven’t linked your YouTube account to your Facebook and Twitter accounts, do it now!

Screen Shot 2014-06-13 at 6.03.45 PMWhile on the video in YouTube, click the “Share” button. YouTube has some of the most common social media sites listed. Just click the button for the site to which you want to add the video. For blogs and other social media sites not listed, click the box below the icons to copy the HTML code. Sharing the video on your social media sites as well as your own website will help push users towards your video content.

One last tip – don’t shy away from allowing embedding of your videos on other sites — the more views the better.  So get out there and make sure your videos are seen! Good luck!

Shortcuts to Avoid in Social Media

042313-shortcutShortcuts are something that are used in almost every facet of life. Be it keyboard shortcuts or a quicker way to get home from work, people like to do things the easiest way possible.  We have automation tools that allow for advanced programming of Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus and even Instagram.  But where do we draw the line between convenience and practicality?  Does automation of posts deserve the bad reputation it has? We personally feel that automation has it’s place, but it require supplemental monitoring to make it effective.  Here we are going to go through some social media shortcuts that you should avoid with your pages.

1) Pre-Scheduling for Events

This seems like a no brainer, but you should avoid scheduling your posts in advance of a real time event.  If, for example, you have programmed tweets talking about a specific driver in an upcoming race, it could backfire on you if something about the event changes. The driver could be injured before the race or the weather may cause a delay.  Stick to posting real time updates on events if you cover them to prevent this from happening.

2) Auto-Replies

One on one communication should never be automated. Whether it’s thanking someone for following you or answering a message, you should always do these yourself. There is no better way to turn off a new follower than to send them an automated thank you.

3) Posting the Same Message Across Multiple Networks

This is where automation gets the most flak from critics.  A lot of times when using automation tools to schedule messages in advance, you can schedule the same message across multiple networks. For example, you may send out a message as a tweet and as a Facebook update.  Unfortunately, this is pretty noticeable to followers. After all, it’s still a little weird seeing a lot of hashtags on Facebook if you are cross posting from Instagram or Twitter.  We recommend tailoring each message you send out for the network you are posting on.  What makes for a good tweet may not translate that easily to Google Plus and so on.

4) Sending Connection Invites Without Personalizing

For networks like LinkedIn, you can send a message along with your invitation to connect.  There is a standard message already in the template, but you should take the time to make it personal. People will know if you just sent them the boiler plate message, so make sure to put your own spin on it.  Explain why you want to connect or how being connected to you will be beneficial to that person. Don’t risk looking like a spammer with the standard message.

password5) Using A Simple Password

Most people use the same password for everything. Be careful of doing this, especially with an easy password. Social accounts get hacked all the time for one reason or another, so stay on top of your accounts with solidly difficult passwords.  Also be sure to change them every so often to keep your accounts as secure as possible. The process for getting your accounts back after they’ve been hacked can be difficult and sometimes not possible. Better to be safe than sorry in this case.

6) Buying Likes

Did you know that some companies offer ‘likes’ for a price? These businesses create thousands of fake accounts to generate likes for their clients. Facebook has caught onto this scheme and actually punishes pages that do this by limiting their organic reach.  Avoid buying into any scam that is supposed to bring you likes on your page, it will end up doing more harm than good.

7) Only Retweeting/Sharing

Retweeting is good for networking and spreading other’s messages if they are in line with your brand. The same goes for sharing on Facebook.  Only retweeting and sharing, however, shows your audience that you don’t have anything original or unique to offer. Use the retweet and share buttons sparingly so as not to oversaturate your followers. Otherwise why should someone follow you when they can get the message from the other source?

8) Inviting Every Friend to Like Your Pages

Annoying your friends with constant invites to like pages they aren’t the targeted market for will actually hurt your reach. You want to make sure you are reaching the right audience for your brand with your ad campaigns.  Stick to trying to gain a following of appropriate customers.

tagging-on-facebook9) Tagging Irrelevant People

This is probably one of the worst things you could do with your social pages. Under no circumstances should you tag people in an update that have nothing to do with your message. Get permission from anyone you want to tag before you associate them with your company and only then tag them if they are relevant.  You will get more exposure by tagging, but it will backfire if it doesn’t make sense.

These are just a few things you should avoid with your pages. Social media management isn’t easy, but if you make sure you aren’t taking the wrong shortcuts, you will do just fine. Good luck and happy posting.

 

Big Brand Facebook Tactics that Work for Any Business

Well-Known World Brand LogotypesThe most challenging part of social media management is staying active and engaging. Big brands like Oreo, Nike and Target have dedicated marketing departments that spend all their time coming up with great fresh content. Following the cues of these brands is something any business, no matter how small, can do.  We are going to go over some of the ways these companies keep their fan base coming back, so that you may be able to make your pages more engaging.

1) Holidays and Events

Heineken held a Instagram scavenger hunt content ahead of the U.S. Open Men’s final for a chance to win tickets. Fans had to search for clues in a mosaic of Instagram photos that would ultimately lead them to nine pairs of tennis tickets. In order to prove they had found the next clue, users had to comment on the correct photo with the codeword “#SHHH.” You can host promotions or games through your own social media channels the same way while capitalizing on an upcoming event or holiday.  Reward your fans for participation and they will continue to engage with you.

2) Crowdsourcing

Facebook and Instagram are great places to ask people for content. By asking your fans for their input, you can easily generate new content that is centered around your customers. Again, reward your fans for their input by acknowledging them and showing appreciation.  Someone take a picture of using your product? Feature their photo on your own pages as a shout out. People really appreciate being noticed by brands or companies that they use, so share the love with your fan base.

3) Fun

Humor is a great way to humanize your brand. It shows that your company can have fun and wants to share that with others.  Skittles and Old Spice do a very good job of engaging fans with nonsensical humor. If you can make your fans laugh they are much more likely to share your content and possibly let it go viral.

70-20-104) 70/20/10

Almost all the major brands that have successful social pages follow the rule of 70/20/10. That means the 70% of their content is information that is valuable to their followers in some way. This can be tips, tricks, contests, Q&A chats or anything else that does more for your customer than it does for you.  20% of your content should be shared from other sources to show that you acknowledge other companies, brands or even your fans. Share articles written by industry publications, or user submitted photos and videos. The last 10% of your content should be self-promotional. This is where you show off your products and services.  Apply this rule to your content and see it take off.

5) Customer Service

Daily upkeep of your social pages mostly includes responding to fans. Liking or encouraging good comments, answering questions and handling complaints is something that should be done often. This humanizes your brand and shows that you are active and involved with your followers. Take the time to respond to everything you get and make sure to tag the relevant people.

6) Consistancy

Quite simply, you should make sure that there is at least one post every few days on all of your social networks.  If you focus on just a few, it’s ok to post every day.  The most important thing is that you are consistently making posts so your fans know your page isn’t dead.  Take care not to over post or you’ll risk driving away your audience.

7) Storytelling

Video is a great way to tell your brand’s story. Oreo is definitely a brand who has utilized video to it’s fullest extent. They generally keep their videos simple using stop motion and viewer submitted content to engage their fans.  Your videos don’t have to be long or big productions thanks to Vine and Instagram Video.  These networks are free to use and are easy to navigate.  You can also use hashtags to categorize your posts and get your message out to a wider audience.

Four-seasons8) Capture the Seasons

As the seasons change, capture the feel of each one.  Fans know you are current and thinking about something other than your business if you play into the seasons of the year. Tie your brand or company into your messages. Change your profile picture or cover photos to keep with the changing times.

There are many ways to keep your audience engaged like the big guys do if you are willing to get a little creative. Play around with your posts to see what resonates most with your fans.  It’s all trial and error. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. There really is no wrong answer on how to best connect with your followers.  Take risks and you may see them pay off in the long run.  Good luck and happy posting!