The Tin Shingle Blog - #SocialNetworking
Hootsuite, our preferred organizer and manager of our social marketing, started a new series highlighting their users and how they use Hootsuite called #MyDash. They featured Jeff Hamada, founder of BOOOOOOM, an online creative archive community, and a place where Jeff can "give people an excuse to be creative, naive or playful."
In his interview on how he uses Hootsuite to manage his Facebook, Twitter and other social outlets, Jeff makes some great points about how he gets the word out, and where he is surprisingly limited:
Jeff says: "I’m frustrated with Facebook because they limit our voice to our own fans. There are 125,000+ fans on the Booooooom Facebook page and I can only ever reach about 15% of those people with a status update or shared link. That means there are over 100,000 people who don’t see updates from me, people who actually joined because they want to see art in their feed. The only way for me to reach more is to pay Facebook to promote each post. This just isn’t possible for someone like me."
About Google Hangouts, Jeff says: "The users aren’t as active as they are on Facebook yet, but the potential is huge considering how many people use Gmail or Google products in their daily life."
What about you? Are you using and liking Google Hangouts? And are you liking Google + ?
Here's something you should know about me: I LOVE posters that employ the use of graphics (photos or backgrounds) with cool typography over them. You see these regularly on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even company's websites. Why do I love them?
- They allow you to share inspirational quotes or company messages in a highly visual (and share-able) way.
- People in social media feeds love sharing images they like or are motivated by, and if you slap your company's name, website or social media handles at the bottom you're getting your name out there!
- Who wants to see a boring "sale here" post when you can add some KAPOW with a poster including an image of your sale items and the text right over it! Here's an example from Grey Era and its founder Sierra Fromberg.
- They are a great addition to a social media campaign or launch!
- They are simple to make: low workload and HIGH impact!
You catch my drift, and I'm sure you've seen and possibly shared these posters in the feeds you follow. Also, I'm sure that you, like me, may want to create them for your own use but aren't really sure where to start. NEVER FEAR, we've done the work for you!
We connected with our sources, including the woman on our Tin Shingle team who knows all, our community manager Jackie Nees, and I've got two apps for you that make poster creation child's play! Find my current favorites listed below. They are free to start using, only require a smartphone and for a minimal fee (a couple bucks) you can upgrade to more backgrounds, no watermarks and more font and text options!
- InstaQuote - Use your own images or select from the background choices they provide, pick a font and text color and you're good to go! This App also lets you pull from your own camera roll, Facebook, Instagram and more and of course when you're done you can share it over your network.
- Overgram - Yet another great App that lets you add beautiful typography to your images. The main difference here is that it relies on your photos instead of supplying you with background posters to select from. The user interface is also a bit different and to be honest was a bit harder for me to master, but once I did I loved it!
Both accomplish similar results and take different paths to get there. I suggest you test them both out (via the free versions) and select the one that works for you - I personally have both on my iPhone and am switching back and forth until I fall deeply in love with one of them!
They say a picture speaks a thousand words, but these days video is becoming more and more prominently used by businesses of all kinds and sizes when they want to get their message across.
With the advent of modern mobile devices it's even easier to share and view essential branded content like videos, yet many of us (including this gal) are still hesitant to take the plunge.
Call your avoidance what you want, I'm going to bet that for many of you it's due to a combination of fear, a supposed lack of time and a bit of "analysis paralysis". That said, as we always tell you at Tin Shingle, "content is the perfume that leads people to your site" and I truly believe video content can make that perfume even more potent! After all, it's one thing to read about someone's expertise, products, or service, but when you get to see them share scoop about their business? Well that just takes it up to an entirely new level!
With that in mind, we're here to help you dip your toe into the ocean of video creation for your brand. We've been lucky enough to have Dawn Del Russo, nationally recognized stylist, fashion expert and a leader in the blending of fashion, technology and social media weigh in with some solid tips to get you started. Dawn does video nearly every day for her brand, and can help you work out the kinds and get you well on your way to recording your first video!
Before we even get into the “how to” and tips portion of this interview, why do you think it’s so essential that a business learn and create short videos, Vlog posts, etc.?
It think video is becoming the more essential medium for businesses because, it gets your message across clearly, reaches audiences in a more personal way and, people love to watch more than read and comprehend paragraph after paragraph.
What types of video posts do you do and why do you find them rewarding and ROI friendly?
I generally do fashion, lifestyle and beauty videos. I treat it like a conversation, as if someone said “oh I love those shoes, where did you find them” and with a quick click on my iPhone I can answer or I can create a Tout video in seconds. The ROI is incredible, a simple video showing a new ring or skirt has brought in actual orders the moment it goes live. How many other platforms can do that?
Do you think it’s necessary to have high tech equipment and a studio (even one at your home office) to start? If not, what are the only “musts” in terms of tools you think a small biz or entrepreneur needs before starting?
I started out on youtube and made the investment in a Canon T3i, tripod, and lighting fixtures, Yet, as much as I love how professional the video can turn out, with new apps it is getting easier and easier to record from an iPhone. I don’t think you need to get caught up in the technical side of videos, I have spent hours editing, only to get a handful of views. I say just get started, make sure you have a clean background, good lighting ( natural is best), and a quality HD camera or iphone. Using an app like social cam allows videos to upload directly to youtube.
How often do you shoot video for your brand and post it?
Where do you post it?
I shoot everyday on tout and viddy giving quick fashion tips, taking viewers inside NYFW or a simple OOTD ( outfit of the day). I post to to tout, viddy, and social cam, and upload from social cam to Youtube.
How do you prepare for your video posts and how do you encourage other business owners to prepare?
The content is key, viewers dont want to watch a long video, so try to keep the information concise and to the point with a bit of your own personality mixed in. Try to post early in the day when lighting is the best and for me my hair and makeup are fresh and my outfit is wrinkle free. I don’t plan OOTD videos but I do plan tip videos since it usually is an answer to a viewer question.
What are some do’s and don’ts that should be followed when making a video post?
Be authentic with your audience: Being yourself is key because that is who and what they want to see.
Don't make it all about you: Ask questions, what does your audience like, have they tried a product, what do they want to see more of?
Keep it Short: At most 2-3 minutes people dont want to watch a 30 minute video about what your wore or how to make it in business, they want the tips in 2 quick minutes.
Jump In: Don't be afraid of the camera, if you are yourself people will like it and you can later replay your first videos to see what needs tweeking.
Re-Brand It: After creating the videos, you now have great content to use on other social media platforms, send out to editors and media who might be interested, and shows your inner expertise.
- Think about the background and lighting: If you have clutter in the back you will lose their attention, if the lighting is bad they won't be able to see you.
We feel like many business owners reach a point of “Analysis Paralysis” with their video posts and freeze up before ever starting. What would you say to them and how would you encourage they combat this fear?
Just hit record.. you can always delete it and start again. I find the best videos I do are when I pick up the camera and just start talking. When you begin to over think it can becoming daunting and never make you happy. Think of talking to your best friend through the lens.
What has surprised you (good or bad) about your journey into using video for your brand?
I am captivated by how much I enjoy creating video content, there is such a freedom in having your own voice and creating an audience that come to view your videos, not because media or popularity said so, but because they truly enjoy it. The down side is wanting perfection, I have to tell myself “you are not a videographer or professional editor, the time may come for that but for now enjoy the process and building relationships with viewers.”
What apps, tools or website would you encourage readers to look into and get to know as they venture into the world of video creation?
Try mobile platforms like Tout, Viddy, Social Cam, and Keek, some are quick 15 second spots to get your information out, others allow more time and uploading to Youtube and engage in other social media channels.
What last thoughts on video creation would you like to share with small business owners and entrepreneurs?
I honestly believe mobile video media is the next move from twitter to tout and youtube to youtube mobile. Even stores like net-a-porter.com are incorporating video into theirs sales pages. It is interactive, personal, and makes the brand to consumer connection almost instantly.
Yesterday, when I was doing a regular check-in on my Facebook feed, I caught a news story via a Jezebel post regarding teenagers protesting at Conde Nast. Curious, I clicked and read more.
It was there that I read this article about teenagers protesting at Teen Vogue and demanding that the magazine use more "real image of real girls". You go girls! I was excited, but when I read on through the story and found other accounts of the nationally televised protest, I also found several reports saying that disappointingly, Teen Vogue's response was less than stellar. (Check out the lack of response from the magazine in this article by Buzzfeed's Amy O' Dell HERE.)
With so much buzz building around the incident I decided to see what Teen Vogue's response was on social media (isn't it amazing that Twitter was the first place I went to see a real time response...times have change). I headed on over to Teen Vogue's Twitter feed only to find that their response was...well there was no response. They spent the day tweeting as if it was all business as usual. Not one mention was made about the protest, their thoughts on airbrushing or "real" models, it was like they were living in a happy bubble that the rest of us were not part of yesterday afternoon. To be honest, in light of the afternoon's protests and discussions, their afternoon tweets about celebrities and beauty actually felt a bit odd. In the end, a (male) publicist made a statement, and as of late yesterday, the Twitter feed remained silent about the protest.
TWITTER FAIL! I'm actually a big fan of Teen Vogue and couldn't believe they didn't seize the chance to begin an open dialogue on and offlline with the teens. I'm more surprised that they didn't even make a social media statement as the buzz online grew. The thing is, like it or not, we live in a world where social media allows messages to spread quickly and demands us to be authentic online. You can't ignore an incident and think it will go away. You can't use Twitter when you want to communicate things on your agenda and then hide from Twitter when things are uncomfortable.
To be successful in social media (and life) you have to be transparent, authentic, responsive and engage in real conversations. This also means taking the good and the bad. If someone makes a comment on your Facebook page about something they didn't like about a product or service, don't erase it (unless it's an extreme case) instead, you respond to it. Good social media skills require great customer service. They require relationship skills. If you were in an argument with your friends or family you would talk it out you wouldn't hide in your room and hope it went away.
Teen Vogue isn't the only big brand that has made social media mistakes and theirs is far from the biggest. Read on to hear about other Twitter failures. Learn from their mistakes! Tweet on!
Is Pinterest or Facebook better for creating sales and e-commerce activity? Journalist Erika Morphy at TechNewsWorld took a look at just that, and came away with profound testimony from on-the-ball business owners who've been tracking where their sales are coming from, and of those sales, which are better sales. She shares her juicy findings in this Pinterest vs Facebook article, and I'm honored to make a contribution to the article as well.
Erika sent out a pr lead for this article and we included it in our official PR Lead collection here at Tin Shingle for our ProPreneur members to browse and pitch. I pitched it, and one of my answers got included. In this blog post, I've included the rest of my thoughts on the subject, and would love to know your thoughts and experience as well. But do read the full article at TechNewsWorld for findings from other business owners.
Erika's question was:
A new survey (from Steelhouse) suggests Pinterest might have greater success at e-commerce than Facebook. I would like to broaden the discussion to look at what Pinterest might have that Facebook lacks. What else might make Pinterest easier to monetize than Facebook?
Pinterest has the advantage of being new - a new toy with exciting visual things to do on it. And right now in that new time, Pinterest has a few things that Facebook does not:
- An amazing design. It's visually beautiful, and incredibly easy to use, even on the app. While there is room for improvement on the navigation, for now, once you "get it", it's pretty easy.
- Pinterest has a leg up on Facebook in that it uses Facebook to catch on. You don't have to create a user account, but you do have to have a Facebook or Twitter account. More people have a Facebook account than a Twitter account.
- Viral spread in a click. Because Pinterest uses Facebook to catch on, it automatically updates your Facebook "friends" when you join Pinterest, and those friends get emails that you are "following" them. A nice ego stroke, and motivation to keep pinning to your new followers so that they have more to look at and potentially click on.
- Both are picture based, and that visual inspiration is in part fueling the clicks.
- Either can monetize. The question is, who will be more clever at thinking up ways to do this? Despite Facebook's popularity, it's pretty easy to see why - it's a popularity contest in there. With Pinterest, people create their own little works of scrapbook art. That's already a harder, more limited model, but it's caught on. At this point, I wouldn't put money on either one to see which is easier to monetize. They both have the potential. Pinterest's model is more unique, so in that, I'd say maybe they have a leg up in the cleverness department.
What has been your experience?
Pinterest has been taking the social media world by storm the last few months. But, what is Pinterest? Why is it so popular? And what do you need to know about it as a business owner and entrepreneur?
First, what Pinterest is.
Pinterest is virtual bulletin board that allows users to find and share images, links, and text they like with the world. Users can create multiple boards based on their interests (places you like, neat and quirky finds, clothes, shoes, jewelry, the sky’s the limit) and when they find an image, link, etc… that they like, they use the downloadable Pinterest bookmarklet and ‘pin it’ to the appropriate board to organize it. It’s kind of like a StumbleUpon for images, or Stylehive for style ideas.
Followers can then comment on your pins or re-pin them on their boards. And because as you pin things to your board, they also get pinned to the Pinterest home page, it allows you to build an audience of followers beyond your traditional circle of ‘friends’.
Here's a snapshot of the Pinterest home page when it shows recent photos pinned by different people:
Why you should care about Pinterest right now.
One of the reasons why Pinterest is so intriguing is that it’s now driving more traffic to websites than LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube combined. And that’s interested traffic that tends to buy the items that they’ve seen pinned to the wall. According to an MSNBC.com interview with Sarah Conley, social media manager at ideeli.com, they’ve seen a five-fold increase in sales from the referral site.
We collected some must-read links from media outlets such as Mashable and PR Daily. Read those for more business news about Pinterest.
Why Pinterest is suddenly as popular other social media sites
Why is Pinterest gaining in popularity when other sites like Facebook are suffering from fatigue? Huffington Post writer, Bianca Bosker suggests in her article, The Secret to Pinterest’s Success: We’re Sick of Each Other, that it could be because Pinterest isn’t just another way to proclaim your greatness to the world. It’s less about ‘look what I just did’ and more about ‘I just found something cool that someone else created’. It’s more a beautiful, aesthetically pleasing version of your vision of the world.
What should businesses know about Pinterest?
Well, if you have a product-based business with an online presence, you should think about joining in. Create a board or two and pin some of your gorgeous (note they need to be pretty!) product shots. And just as with any social media tool, it’s about conversation and forging connections with others. See how five small businesses are using Pinterest in their business strategy. So start following some ‘pinners’ who have similar interests. Need an idea of who to start following? Start with us!
As of the writing of this article, SOPA and PIPA have been put on hold by the U.S. Congress (here's a good description of SOPA happenings before today and here is a dated timeline of SOPA and PIPAs evolution). The timeline of events leading to its demise is startling, swift, and efficient. Even though it is frightening to think how easily these bills could have gone through, which could lead to a slipperly slope of wrangling in the Internet, and the freedom of expression and commerce with which we enjoy within the Internet, let's not miss the opportunity to think about a real problem that is going on - free downloading or lifting of creations by hard working people - Americans and those in all countries producing music, film, books, and any other form of entertainment we enjoy and now take for granted.
The intent of the SOPA bill was this, as stated on the bill H.R. 3261 - "Stop Online Piracy Act" on OpenCongress.org, a website that posts bills for you to view in full text, and track the progress of: "To promote prosperity, creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation by combating the theft of U.S. property, and for other purposes."
This statement is valid, worth fighting for, and you play a direct role in protecting it - with your dollar. In order to protect intellectual property, which can lead to commerce in any form, be it sold online, at a street fair, or in a movie theatre, people must buy it. They must shell out the cash. The cash comes back to you in many ways, especially in your local community, by making your immediate surroundings a better place. If you don't buy it, if you download free music at a cool website, if you download a free Droid app that streams free movies, or if you grab a DVD that is just released in the theatres from a street vendor (not good local support), you are hurting the global economy. Yes, global. The whole world goes down a notch every time you take a free download. The people involved in making your entertainment are working together from all over the world. Tax incentives might make it better to film a movie in Romania, than in New York City. Musicians band together from anywhere, and tour anywhere that will take them - and pay them. YOU MUST PAY THESE PEOPLE, or the music will stop.
Creators who do not get compensated for their creations won't be able to make your entertainment anymore. You may be upset that a movie costs $13.50, or that a small popcorn costs $11. And that a night at the movies may cost you $70 if you have children who need a babysitter (which is actually one more local person benefiting from the movie industry). This price anger does not entitle anyone to a free movie download for their viewing pleasure. If no one is paid, movies won't get made. Plain and simple. 1 + 1 = 2. And that's it. You have to:
1 (buy the ticket), + 1 (create the piece of entertainment) = 2 (happy viewer/listener/reader)
We at Tin Shingle called our Congressman to stop the bills. We agree wtih Marc Zuckerburg's and then Facebook's official statement about thinking carefully about how legislation for the Internet is created. I personally am directly impacted by the economy of the entertainment industry because my husband works in it (despite this great SOPA/PIPA video, where the only flaw is that it dismisses the economic impact of the entertainment industry). We, along with many other film people, suffered with uncertainty during the Writer's Strike of 2007-2008 when writers were fighting "the studios" for compensation for online viewing of their written work. And now "the studios" are fighting "we the people" for compensation for viewing entertainment, and have tried to get the big guns to make that happen, with legislation and enforcement.
The thing is, there will always be excuses as to why someone isn't getting a piece of the pie. During the Writer's Strike, a producer friend explained to me that "the studios" were holding up paying the writers fairly because they didn't know how to measure views of a show that a writer wrote. However, this friend must not have realized that I know that that isn't true, being that I'm a website producer and am obsessed with tracking traffic on websites. Websites, especially corporate ones with big money, can know exactly how many views their videos get, so this excuse is bull-$hit and an excuse to not pay. See all of these examples of not paying people going around? Irks me.
We should keep a strong focus on Internet piracy. It's a huge problem that directly impacts the household incomes of many Americans. Supporters of the bill who were anti-opposition, like Ex-Senator Chris Dodd (why is he still around?), MPAA' (Motion Pictures of America) chief executive. Folks like him will continue misleading us and missing focus. Early on in the protest, he declared the blackouts at protesting websites an "abuse of power". Abuse of power? To what, taking away a service of at the very least, free content, and at the very most, a service you pay for to help your personal or professional life. Abuse of power would be if the electric company shut down the electricity without asking you. Or if companies who supply servers that supply millions of websites with actual electrical power shut down their servers without asking their customers, in order to create a more wide-spread Internet blackout with no opt-in agreement to the business owner paying them to keep the lights on at the website. Chris Dodd is wrong when he called the 24 voluntary blackout of specific websites an abuse of power. It was a freedom of expression, which is what we're all trying to protect and live by.
Now that the bills have been put on hold, and 13 million people called their Congresspeople, and more millions flooded congressional servers and unintentionally caused them to crash (like with The Today Show or the Daily Candy Effect) Chris Dodd has changed his tune, according a New York Times article (but I learned about it an email from FighttheFuture.org) “'This is altogether a new effect,' Mr. Dodd said, comparing the online movement to the Arab Spring. He could not remember seeing 'an effort that was moving with this degree of support change this dramatically' in the last four decades, he added."
Whatever, Mr. Dodd.
Just please, people, pay for what you want. It keeps the services coming to you. And keeps big guns out of meddling with laws that limit our creation of business and creation.
A good video for early cliff notes is here:
A few other good articles are here:
Your new and old customers and clients are out there - in the social networks. They are there conducting business, and seconds later are viewing baby pictures. Your next sale or long lasting client relationship could be one status update away. Your job is to court them, to woo them down the path of what you are selling, convincing them to buy it, and then retaining them with your amazing customer service and attention to detail.
As a website producer, and SEO and social media strategist, I work with many different types of Tin Shingles in different industries. This premise applies to all preneurs. I challenge you to claim that this could not work for you, or would not be your strategy. Some small business owners take the old approach that Facebook, for instance, is most certainly not for them, that their customers are either not wasting time there, or that they are not focused on business at that time.
This is a short-sighted approach, as I have proof that it is not the case. I run three businesses and a blog. Not only do I watch my digital clients and students of my Tweetworking class make their own success stories, I make some of my own. Be that a new member here at Tin Shingle, signing a new SEO client, or selling a sexy sleep mask for travel. Yeah, all vastly different products and services, and all ones that I sell. My biggest challenge is not confusing my friends and followers, and diluting my message.
Here are 3 tips on how you can court and woo your followers on social networks like Twitter and Facebook:
- Update your status update with what you are doing: Sounds obvious, but what you do all day long is normal to you, so you take it for granted. Others can only know what you do if you tell them. Once you tell them, they might need it. Sabina wrote great tips on doing this via Twitter.
- Be passive: I'm from the Midwest, so am fluent in passive aggressive language. This means I know how to talk about what I sell, without telling someone to buy it. This is a longer term strategy that helps your offering stick in your customers mind, and when you go for the hard sell, they may be ready for it.
- Go for the hard sell: You tell them exactly when to buy, and what to buy. Do this sparingly, as you don't want to tire your friends and followers and sound like a car salesman.
You'll find the right balance for you, and what formula works. Silence from your peers does not mean they didn't hear you, or don't care. They just may not have commented, or may be building their conviction to hire or buy from you. Personally, I've never been very good at getting comments at my blogs. But I had repeat readers. I know this because I could see the proof in my website statistics, received direct emails from them, or got in-person comments if I passed someone on the street. Keep going. You could be getting closer to your sales goal with each status update.
Did you know this already? As of September 30th, 2011, you cannot send an Update to Facebook fans of your business page. This now out-dated Update may or may not be missed by you, but in case you were searching for how to do it, know that Facebook didn't bury it (as they are prone to doing intentionally or unintentionally), they totally disabled it. More details are here in our Ask the Experts section.
Entrepreneurship can be lonely. And if you're looking for 'friends' there are plenty of networks that you can join. But if you're looking to grow your business, to increase your exposure, to improve your sales, to get more press and to establish your credibility in the marketplace, then Tin Shingle has your back.
What makes 'PRENUER unique is that we were founded by real experts in the areas of business strategy, marketing, online media, public relations and SEO. We leverage our more than 30 years of collective business experience to give your brand, your company and you the edge you need as a small business owner.
We don't just send you a list of PR leads and hope for the best, we connect you with the people who are writing the stories that are going to bolster your sales. We don't just tell you that search is important, we actually work our SEO to help improve YOUR site traffic. And we don't just espose business theory, but we give you real concrete guidance and strategic tools that you can use to make an impact in your business.
It's all about real people helping real businesses.
So if your business could use a leg-up, an extra edge and some real solutions, come Tin Shingle with us.
It's a small investment for a lifetime of rewards
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