Social Media

Everyday I’m Buffering

Er, actually, not everyday, because that’s the magic of a service that schedules things in advance.

When someone says “Buffer,” I usually think a) they’re describing someone who has spent a lot of time at the gym or b) c’mon, YouTube, I don’t want to wait 3 minutes to watch a 30 second video that may or may not be funny. Within the past month, “Buffer” has also come to mean the online scheduling service that allows bulk scheduling for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest (not available in the free plan). We’ve been testing out Buffer for a couple weeks here at Breaking Even, and here are my thoughts:

-I love the ability to schedule from one location. With the Individual Plan (which is free), you can link one account for each type of profile and schedule up to 10 posts in advance for each (the paid options allow you to link more accounts and schedule further in advance). The amount of time I spend toggling among various tabs in my browser has cut down considerably, leaving more time . To move from LinkedIn to Facebook, all I have to do is click on a sidebar. If we upgrade, I can add all the LinkedIn accounts I manage and not have to search for each page every time I update, which means even more time saved. I hardly even know what I’d do with all this free time.

-Sharing links and images is a piece of cake. Maybe you’ve noticed buff.ly shortlinks in your social media explorations. These links are what happens when you shorten a URL within Buffer (Hootsuite and Bitly also offer this service). Normally, I have at least 3 tabs open for this process- one for the article I want to share, one for Bitly, and one for scheduling. With the help of Buffer, scheduling is less cumbersome. Buffer also pulls the images from an article and lets you choose what to attach as part of the update (up to 4). Rebuffering, or re-sharing older content, can be done with a click of a button as you scroll through what you’ve already shared. Next to each update that gets posted, there is a “Rebuffer” button that allows you to re-share any post.

-Flexible scheduling options. All your updates for a certain account, like Breaking Even’s Facebook page, for instance, go into a queue. There are a couple options for scheduling posts. Option 1) I simply write out an update and click “Add to Queue.” Buffer sets 3 different times per day for post sharing, and will simply pull whatever is next in the queue. You can change these set times in the settings. Option 2) I write out an update that I want to send at a specific date/time, rather than get added to the queue. Instead of “Add to Queue,” I hit “Schedule” and fill out the information. Option 3) Share Now, which is exactly what it sounds like.

schedulebuffer

-Analytics everywhere. As you share content, you want to know how it’s performing, right? With the Analytics tab, Buffer lets you see how each of your posts performed. Available analytics vary among the different social networks. For instance, Twitter gives you a look at “Potential Reach,” Facebook gives you “Reach,” and all offer number of clicks, shares, likes (or like equivalents), and comments. These are all available with the free Individual option, but if you upgrade, you gain access to more in-depth reports.

analyticstweet

-Business/Awesome Plans. Buffer is a freemium service as an individual (1 account for each platform and up to 10 scheduled posts for each), but there is the option to upgrade. The Awesome Plan allows you to connect 10 social profiles and schedule up to 100 posts in advance. If you, like Breaking Even, have a team that needs access to the dashboard, the business option allows you to connect up to 25 others to the account, and link up to 150 social media accounts. The largest plan Buffer offers is the Enterprise plan, which allows over 200 social accounts and over 25 team members. Both Business and Enterprise offer RSS feeds and the ability to generate marketing reports.

The one shortcoming I’ve encountered is that while working within buffer, I can’t necessarily see what people have commented or view streams from their accounts. If I want to see what people a page follows on twitter  are saying, I still have to go look at their Twitter account. One solution is upgrading and linking RSS feeds to the accounts, so it isn’t the worst shortcoming in the world. Also, Buffer has just acquired Respondly, which is a service that handles the customer service end of social media marketing (responding to and engaging with customers), which will be released soon.

Overall, I recommend using Buffer as a tool because it allows you to keep everything in one place, it’s easy to navigate as a user, and it’s free (to a point).

Kassie is a distance runner and a distance reader really. She lives in Ellsworth Maine and, while she might be quiet when you meet her, will throw out something witty when you least expect it.

Get Found 2016

This is the best picture Nicole took at Get Found. She is adding it to this blog post to show that no one physically fell asleep during the event.

This is the best picture Nicole took at Get Found. She is adding it to this blog post to show that no one physically fell asleep during the event.

On January 15th, we hosted our first workshop of the year with Jim LeClair of Smart Data Map Services right here at Anchorspace, the coworking space we work out of.

We had an impressive turnout, even after capping the registration early (thanks to everyone for being awesome and getting a bit cozier than we anticipated).

For those of you who couldn’t make it, here’s what the event was all about (unfortunately, we don’t have any of Nicole’s so-called ugly but very delicious cookies left to share with you…)

What is GYBO? 

“Get Your Business Online” is an initiative from Google to help small businesses succeed on the internet (which is also what we do!).

It’s geared toward small businesses to encourage them to get listed on Google with updated information, which will in turn direct more people to their business location, website, or both. You’re probably familiar with Google as a search tool generally, and won’t be surprised that it’s the most commonly used search engine. When people use Google to search for your business, you want to make sure your information (like hours and location) are correct. The easiest way to do this is to create a Google Business listing (oh, and it’s free!).

To help with this set up process, Google works with partners (like our friend Colin at Root Deeper Marketing), which gave Nicole the idea for this event. Jim LeClair agreed to join and discuss some of what he does with mapping for businesses to make the agenda a bit more interesting, and Get Found 2016 was born.

schwag

The Presentations

Jim talked Data Maps. Most of us rely on some form of GPS system for directions, and it’s a little bit frustrating for businesses and customers when an address is incorrectly listed on these maps. That’s where Jim comes in. Jim’s presentation shared the importance of having an accurate address associated with your business listing on Google (and other services). Two important takeaways: 1) filling out as much information as possible in any listing can only help you and 2) many business are identified by phone number so having separate numbers for separate businesses makes sense. For more information about data mapping and Jim’s business, check out his website.

Nicole talks Google+. As far as social media platforms go, Google+ is pretty underrated. No one ever comes to us saying “Hey, our business really wants to get active on Google+, can you help?” (usually they ask about Facebook). Nicole gave a presentation about Google+ for Businesses, explaining the benefits for business marketing and some examples of the different types of content to share. You can watch Nicole’s full presentation here.

What Can You Do?

Even if you missed the event, or don’t have a business to list on Google, there are a couple ways you can show support for area businesses.

  1. Leave a review on their Google+ page.

writereview

2. This is a fun tool we found while preparing for Get Found 2016.  It’s an online tool from Google that creates a postcard based on your 3 favorite businesses that you select, and then you can share on social media. You can create yours here (Note: this link is set to Bar Harbor businesses, but you can pick any town you want!).

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Want to get your business listed on Google, but aren’t sure where to start? Check out our latest offering here!

Kassie is a distance runner and a distance reader really. She lives in Ellsworth Maine and, while she might be quiet when you meet her, will throw out something witty when you least expect it.

Periscope After: How Your Videos Live On

periscope-iconNot sure how many of you are into Periscope but I kind of love it. To those who haven’t used it, Periscope is a live video app/social network that is tied to your Twitter account (though since launching you can now use the app without Twitter). You film live video and people can leave comments, send you ‘hearts’ (if they like it) and more.

Some of the things I have watched on Periscope:

  • Quebec preteen answering questions about her life en francais
  • Skateboarders in Iran
  • Part of someone’s birthday party in France

Of course, beyond the day to day stuff, people are also using Periscope to build their brand, holding live Q and As or sessions about certain topics of interest. Honestly, if you are comfortable on live video, it’s a pretty cool way to connect with people.

Like any live event, though, there are only a certain amount of people who can be there as it happens. Some people want to watch it afterwards, or rewatch it. Here’s an example from my life.

I am on a local committee related to economic development in my town. They had someone come and present about tax increment financing (TIFs) from southern Maine, a good three hour drive away. The scheduled the presentation to start at 4 pm. Several of my friends couldn’t make it but wanted to see it and I immediately thought of using Periscope to capture the event.

I could almost feel the room collectively eye roll as I took out my phone and began filming. I saw people began watching. There were 25 people in the room that day but 52 people watched live. The reason I did it though was for the people like my friends who wanted to watch it after.

Periscope has recognized that both live and recent videos are valuable, which is why on both the ‘Home’ screen and the ‘Map’ screen, you can easily watch live videos (the red dots) or recent videos (in blue):

periscope-map-view

You may ask yourself, besides going on the Periscope app, how can people see my Periscope videos after the fact?

Make sure your Periscope settings for your account are set to ‘Autosave Broadcasts’. Otherwise they go poof.

If you need some help with this, click here. Anything you’ve recorded before turning on this autosave won’t be on Periscope anymore. Trust me, learned that one the hard way!

Decide if you want them on your device or online somewhere instantly.

So there are pros and cons to each of these. If you just have your broadcasts downloaded to your phone, you can put them in some video editing software and spiff them up before, say, uploading them to Youtube or your website where they will live.

I am more relaxed (or we can say lazy) and want this to happen automatically, which is where Katch comes in:

katch-screen

Katch is a service you can use that takes your video and allows it to go live somewhere besides Periscope automatically. As you can see, once on Katch, we get options about it. Here is the link to where this video lives online: https://katch.me/breakingeven/v/19807ccd-9fdc-3165-b923-c0c6b7bf8f80 (PS Periscope people get really annoyed when you don’t film vertically, regular video watchers get really annoyed when you don’t film horizontally. I switched to horizontal about 2 minutes into this broadcast. Sometimes you just have to pick your battles!)

You can sign up for Katch with a Twitter account and get this set up.

If you want about a bajillion other ways to save your Periscope video, this Quora post has them. 

I think it’s best to think of your Periscope video as having two audiences:

  1. The live audience that will ask you questions and give you feedback to roll with while you broadcast. For those people, be interesting and responsive.
  2. The replay audience who is watching it after the fact for information. For these people, wherever your video lives, give them a context and a reason to watch (what are the main points? who was your audience? etc.)

Thinking of both these audiences will give you the most bang for your buck. The revolution may be televised but a lot of people are still going to watch it after the fact.

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

Spam Facebook Accounts and You

After the birth of the Saint Kardashian-West, someone created an Instagram account using the name. The article is clearly not managed by the infant- no one seems to know who is behind the account yet- but the account already has 104k followers in spite of this. The account shares funny memes rather than actual pictures, so it’s clearly meant in good fun and not malicious intent.

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Parody/fake social media accounts are a cheap source of entertainment, but when does it cross the line from harmless to harmful?

Exhibit A: an account created/managed on someone else’s behalf as a way to embarrass or humiliate them. High school students in Oregon created several fake social media accounts in their principal’s name, sharing offensive content in his name. The case was dismissed in court (which you can read more about here). Unlike the fake Saint Kardashian West Instagram, it wasn’t clear that these accounts were fake. And, while the students were having fun at their principal’s expense, they arguably knew the content they were sharing could jeopardize his career.

Exhibit B: An account that claims to be something else in order to promote a hidden agenda (or as I like to think of them, wolf in sheep’s clothing accounts). One popular version of this harmful parody account is David Avocado Wolfe. As this article points out, he performs a “bait and switch” maneuver to lure followers in, and begins subtly sharing misleading or blatantly untrue content. David Wolfe has created a social media scheme wherein he shares funny and relatable content, only to eventually reveal his true agenda (which is, apparently, anti-modern medicine and pro-taking people’s money). The article goes on to say “…we should all feel the responsibility to speak up and challenge people like David…otherwise we are tacitly approving of his methods.”

This article explains the link between social media and the spread of misinformation (in relation to the Food Babe): “The many messengers to the single audience entails repetition, from many angles and a different (peer to peer) trust relationship. A message is received (ie, successfully communicated) when I buy into it) the virtues of ownership, empowerment) and then become a messenger retweeting or sharing the message to the next target.” There’s an alarming amount of these wolf in sheep’s clothing pages out there, claiming to liberate the public from false information while generating fear. Basically, they’re really sneaky conspiracy theorists who, in some cases, want to take your money.

There’s nothing wrong with questioning information we’re presented, but it isn’t necessarily a “good guy vs. bad guy” situation- there’s a lot of gray area. Educating yourself rather than accepting stories that go by in your newsfeed at face-value is the best policy when it comes to social media. If something seems like it’s fake or extreme, here are some ways to gauge if you’re dealing with false information:

  1. Weird Name. A rose by any other name may smell as sweet, and if something has a fishy Facebook name or Instagram handle, it probably smells a bit fishy. We all know Saint Kardashian West is an infant, he doesn’t even know how to eat solid food yet, so chances of him managing a Facebook account are pretty slim. David Avocado Wolfe: I mean, avocados are great and all, but to me, having it as your middle name is questionable.
  2. Content Clues. Although Saint isn’t managing his account, it could just be his parents managing for him, right? Well, if you take a look at the content you notice that there are no real photographs (which we’ve come to expect with the Kardashians), it’s an account full of memes. Hilarious, but probably not from any of the Kardashians. As previously mentioned, David Avocado also shares fun, relate-able memes…which are then sprinkled with more opinionated content. wolfe_funny_examplewolfe_nonfunny_examplePages that start sharing content like this, even if it seems true, is almost never a good sign.
  3. Is it verified? Twitter and Instagram have the little blue circle next to celebrity and brand accounts to mark them as “verified”- meaning they are the real deal. This at least helps you know that you’re following the account that’s linked to a popular personality, but it still doesn’t guarantee that the information therein is true.
  4. Strong medical or other advice that isn’t really backed by anything. If an account is pushing an extreme opinion about something (medical, political, etc.), chances are they aren’t as unbiased as they’re claiming. Accounts like  March Against Monsanto and David Avocado all have their own agendas, even if they’re pointing the fingers at someone else.  One example of this is Freelee the Banana Girl, who promotes veganism and a raw food diet as a way to lose weight and get healthy.  Sure, you may be thinking, that’s great. But if you look closely at some of the comments on her posts, you’ll find she responds with some strong statements about the moral obligations of eating vegan (including a statement about cancer being “karma” for eating processed foods) and an alarming amount of negativity (yes, trolls suck, but it doesn’t mean we need to resort to name-calling).
  5. Selling something or asking for your money. This is probably the biggest clue that an account isn’t all that it seems. If a page is posting strong or extreme opinions, especially those spreading fear, and then hits you with a product or service to conveniently solve this problem, it’s probably a scam. Or it should at least raise a red flag.

It’s always good to be healthy and well-informed. Keep in mind that, especially when it comes to the internet, things are not always what they seem.

Kassie is a distance runner and a distance reader really. She lives in Ellsworth Maine and, while she might be quiet when you meet her, will throw out something witty when you least expect it.

Marketing a Memory

It’s been a big year for looking back. At least, it certainly feels that way, with “Back to the Future” Day this past October and the new Star Wars movie coming out in a few weeks. Some classic Nick at Nite shows are airing again, Mad Max and Vacation came back the theaters, and even fringe was back in for a little bit. It’s like the Ghost of Christmas Past visited last year and decided to stay put. Appealing to nostalgia has always been a technique in marketing, for reasons that can be summarized in the following quote from Dwight Shrute (The Office): “People underestimate the power of nostalgia. Nostalgia is truly one of the greatest human weaknesses..second only to the neck.”

nostalgia

You’ve noticed Facebook’s “On This Day” messages by now, and have probably seen and/or dabbled with #tbt (Throwback Thursday, or maybe even Flashback Friday or Transformation Tuesday). Social media has been jumping on the sentimental bandwagon this year. Facebook’s is especially intriguing- it’s kind of a gamble, right? Some memories take us back to good times, like a group photo of your college friends on vacation together or crammed in a dorm room for a Tuesday night viewing of  She’s the Man, jerryrigged with a storage tower, several textbooks, and a 2007 Macbook (oddly specific because this just came up in my own newsfeed). There’s also the gamble that a person will revisit an unpleasant memory, like an ex-significant other. It’s like Scrooge being forced to look back at his past and relive the pain of losing his lady (a scene that’s even more painful in A Muppet’s Christmas Carol because there’s a whole breakup song that Scrooge has to re-listen to). According to this article from Hubspot, the risk of serving a painful memory is worth it, since nostalgia can produce some pretty powerful positive feelings in people. It can band together a generation, encourage people to reach out to one another, and yes, buy things.

Some brands are tapping into this “blast from the past” by reintroducing old products or campaigns- it’s like re-purposing memories! According to recent articles on the subject, the ’90s are in right now. This article from Entrepreneur has a hypothesis that there’s a 20 year sweet spot- in other words, 20 years is an appropriate time to consider “retro” enough to market again. Another consistent piece of advice I’ve seen for brands considering the idea of re-introducing an old product is to take a look at what your customers are saying- especially on social media. There might be a clear demand for a certain product they’d like to see brought back, as Crispy M&Ms and Burger King’s Chicken Fries discovered. Coca Cola revamped (note: not “re-used”) their “Share a Coke” ad from way back when and added names to their labels. From a business standpoint, nostalgia marketing is an efficient approach- it saves time not reinventing the wheel, and it’s brings back something that has already been successful. The key is to not overdo it…like Rocky.

The assumption that people view the past through a rose colored lens, and perhaps the best time to Holidays and nostalgia go together like peanut butter and jelly, which you’ve seen from Coca Cola’s Christmas ads with the polar bears (1997’s edition below) to anything with a family setting. We all feel drawn to the idea of “home,” so these ads and marketing campaigns tug at our unsuspecting heartstrings. Verizon is now incorporating the old Rudolph movie into it’s holiday commercials, and I’m personally hoping for one where Yukon Cornelius and the Abominable Snowman come in to buy a family plan. They should probably get unlimited data.

Although nostalgia allegedly “increases feelings of social connectedness” and can create “positive feelings about the future,” I’m personally not looking forward to the things that will resurface 5 years from now…can we just remember the ’90s forever?

Kassie is a distance runner and a distance reader really. She lives in Ellsworth Maine and, while she might be quiet when you meet her, will throw out something witty when you least expect it.

Your Video ‘Style’

I would never market myself as a video producer. If you want someone good, go see Mike Perlman. But if you want short videos to stick on your Facebook page with light editing (as in maybe a title shot and closing credits with maybe some background music that fades in and out), I’m your gal.

So in talking about making these social media videos with a new client, I wanted to get at what her ‘style’ was. Here are a few I’ve come up with:

Option A: The Highly Produced Video


Pros: Short, edited, and educational, these videos are meaty without being overbearing. They are conversational, sure, but not much fluff.
Cons: You need a professional to make things look this great, which means having a budget and something specific you want to accomplish. Assuming you are able to put professional looking aspirations aside, you’ll be needing something to drive it in terms of content (ex: user questions, a very clear topic). Probably not likely to ‘go viral’ but, as you have probably figured out, that’s not what it’s all about.

(There are other times I mention Marie Forleo on this site. Try this blog post, this one,  and this one.)

Option B: Interview Style

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Pros: Involves other people, zero production value. To be fair, most of the big shots (Marie Forleo above included) started with these kind of videos. Also all you need is a webcam, a mic, (headphones too so there is less echo), and some screen capture software. You can get this whole tech setup for under $50. Clearly who you interview is infinitely more valuable. Plus, not only do you get to share the video on your network but also the interviewee will likely share it to theirs. Double exposure!
Cons: When you involve other people and have low production value (see the ‘Pros’ section), you have to be interesting. Because you are the interviewer, you should be ready to carry it if you have to (some people are not fun in an interview situation). Also, since you may each be in your own individual location, while you can control things like lighting and sound quality on your end, you have to trust the person you’re interviewing is taking an equal amount of care.

Think of interview type videos as the ‘you gotta walk before you can run’ of online video. It’s a good way to start.

Option C: Teaching Session


Pros: Can cover more material (or in more detail), can have notes, can market a series of these as a course in the future (yay money)
Cons: Makes people think of school so you have to be extra interesting about it (Look at the way Moz lays out the notes and this dude’s mustache as examples of this.)

This is an often overlooked style because few can pull it off. But if you’ve got interesting material that’s not going to ‘happen’ in less than 5 minutes, this allows your video to be meaty and get people your content in both visual and auditory ways. If you create videos this way, you can also turn them into an online course (more on that in a future blog post). Websites like lynda.com and Skillshare are popular for a reason!

Option D: Scripted


Pros: Scripted, can make it pretty short
Cons: Having to be ‘clever’

So you may ask yourself, Nicole, why did you separate this from the ‘Highly Produced’ option? Well, I’d say this kind of video (which I get is a commercial) is more scripted. I am doubting in Option 1 Marie Forleo has scripted everything she is going to say and has it down to the letter. I’m also doubting she’s thinking about scenes or storyboarding out what each frame looks like.

If you are a less confident presenter, having the script (and potentially working with other people, having multiple camera angles, etc.) gives you options.

As important as what your video is about, having a style can give you a structure to work with, especially if you are feeling a little blocked. I’m sure now that I’ve named these, you can think of other examples of each. If you are thinking one style speaks to you more than the others, watch videos like the style you want to emulate for more pointers. How long are they? What are good things you should copy? What’s the pace like? Take notes and you can keep these in mind as you make your videos.

So stop thinking video equals perfection. It doesn’t. People just like watching videos… so go make one already!

 

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.
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