videos

Tech Thursday: Final Hurrah

It’s not goodbye, it’s see you later. In our final Tech Thursday, we reflect on what it’s like to be watched by tens of people… and what we learned about ourselves in the process.

Keep your eyes out for next week’s email newsletter- we have a survey going out and want your feedback for our next Tech Thursday-esque endeavor! (Subscribe here if you haven’t already).

And, as promised, a link to the infamous OGP video that was the magnum opus of Tech Thursday!

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 Monday: Flavor God

I am in my usual ‘fall as new year’ kick and have been following the Whole30 for about 4 days. Last night, in an attempt to crisp up green beans so they would function even a little bit like the crunchy snack I actually wanted, I realized to get through the next month, I’d have to get a lot more into seasonings.

I’ve been following Flavor God, first on Instagram and then a few other places. I want to talk a little big about what is going right with this product:

Super Short Videos

Many videos are 15 seconds or less and can be watched with or without sound:

VIdeos are oftentimes short and look delicious. Vine (and share) worthy.

Videos are oftentimes short and look delicious. Vine (and share) worthy.

Creating Scarcity

FlavorGod often has flash sales. I even saw a Facebook ad (which I forgot to screenshot) telling me I had 13 minutes to act on a package deal.

flavorgod-creatingscarcityWhen things are constantly available, there is not incentive to act. By periodically retiring and re-releasing spices, Flavor God not only has new things to say but allows his customers to act.

Differentiation

I am pretty clear on Flavor God’s value proposition. His spices are larger, freshly made, endorsed by celebrity chefs/bloggers and otherwise seem different to what is readily available at the supermarket.

Part of the value proposition is the fact that Flavor God spices are larger than major brands.

Part of the value proposition is the fact that Flavor God spices are larger than major brands.

Flavor God regularly illustrates what is valuable about his products, which justify a higher price point and the hassle of having to order them.

Master Of The Feedback Collage

I’m going to say it, this is slightly cheesy but like most slightly cheesy things, people like it:

flavorgod-testimonialcollage

Flavor God regularly not only posts tweets but photos of his customers with the product. Not just celebrities but also normal people and tags them when possible.

Best Emoji Use/Overuse

What first stood out when I began following Flavor God was his borderline aggressive emoji use. Here’s a recent Instagram post to show you what I mean.

flavorgod-emoji

Attentive Of The Marketplace

This is the footer of FlavorGod.com:

flavorgod-diets

Did Flavor God have to go through extra trouble to make vegan approved seasonings? Maybe, maybe not. But by communicating they work with a vegan diet, he is attracting those customers to his store. By being attentive of the current popular eating trends (gluten free, Whole30, paleo), he is able to have a product not only make food taste better but address the needs of the different dietary communities.

He’s Not Afraid To Ask For The Sale

What I love the most about Flavor God? He asks for the sale. He regularly gives his online store’s URL, he asks people to buy, and even reminds people that he ships worldwide (and other potential barriers to sale) in just about every post.

He doesn’t ask once (like some of us writing this blog) and feel too embarassed to ask more than once in awhile. he asks, regularly. He answers the same questions over and over, with a patience and enthusiasm that’s admirable.

Flavor God, I’m going to buy some of your stuff. Your online marketing is certainly impressive!

www.flavorgod.com

https://instagram.com/flavorgod/

https://www.facebook.com/FlavorGod

 

 

 

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.

The Revolution Will Be On Video

I’m on video not because I’m vain but because that’s where things area headed. We can learn a lot from video’s less intimidating predecessor: photos.

When I began my website, a fellow blogger (after seeing a picture of me on Facebook) told me I should add my photo to the sidebar of my blog. She reasoned that I was attractive and it could only help for people to see me. (For context, in case you don’t know me, I am no great beauty. I’m not the kind of person who would cause a traffic accident or inspire Train would write a whiny song. My brand of attractiveness is soccer mom/Tylenol commercial, which honestly is just fine with me.)

It’s probably hilarious for you to hear a story about someone suggesting someone else upload a photo of themselves (and me not just doing it immediately), but this was kind of novel. Back in 2007, not many people had their pictures on their websites. And even parts of the internet you would actually associate with having pictures (ex: real estate listings) had a limited amount. For example, in 2009, the Maine MLS data feed fetched tenish photos at a time. I remember because the real estate agent wanted 25 photos but since they weren’t in the feed, we had to custom program the page to display the ten photos from the feed plus additional ones.

In 2015, can you think of even a low end real estate listing with only ten pictures? I feel like I see 25 photos of some peoples’ breakfasts sometimes.

I looked for a graph supporting my observations and thought this was a pretty good one (originally on The Atlantic- click over to see other fun graphs!)

photosonplatforms

Anyway, photos were a new frontier and having them made you cutting edge. In 2007-2008.

In an age of Instagram, Facebook albums, and phone cameras, we now get to be clever with photos. They are not novel but expected. Now taking better photos is important, which is why we have a workshop about taking photos with your smartphone happening this week at our business.

Video is now the novelty.

As I try to coax clients to be in videos (because we always want to be ahead of the curve), there is more resistance then there was when I was begging them for headshots. It does feel more personal for someone to see your facial expressions, hear your voice, and see your unfiltered face (though some video software, like Google Hangout, lets you do some flattering edits if you take time to figure it out). Video also feels like a bigger deal to do. You want a tripod, lighting, a non crappy background, perhaps a microphone or a non-echoy room. There is just more to consider.

Because of this additional consideration, there never seems a time you feel ‘ready’ to make a video. Every time I think of making a video for Anchorspace, for example, I am usually not wearing makeup or otherwise feel not suited for the camera. So two weeks ago, I decided to do a voiceover with photos and stick it on Facebook as an initial video. I spent about two hours on it after I finished cleaning the Anchorspace bathrooms and kitchen. (I really want to set this up as glamourous as it was.) The resulting video was kind of low budget but under 1 minute and got through my main marketing messages.

For comparison, I’ve been posting still photos of the inside of Anchorspace as well. Let’s look at the stats for this somewhat crappy photo:

facebookanchorspace-imagestatsNow here are the stats for my similarly crappy video:

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 12.30.59 PM

Yes there are more views but honestly, the impressive thing is how many more times it was clicked on. And that some people watched the whole thing (5% but still).

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 12.25.13 PM

For the final version of this experiment, I should do a real video (me on camera talking at least part of the time) but this just to show you even a crappy video will get you more attention than a photo, probably because novelty. So don’t be afraid of making something and putting it out there.

Now if you think this was my cop out, I assure you you can see more of us on video on our Google+/Youtube channel: https://plus.google.com/+BreakingEvenInc/posts  And yes, every time I see a video of myself, I always think ‘Is my face that round?’ and ‘Why do I move my hands so much?’ But despite my lack of perfection, I am more than willing to be ahead of the curve and in 2015 that means with a camera rolling in a video sense.

I urge you all to consider video… because I bet you can expect where a graph of video uploads between 2013 and 2018 is going to be trending when it exists. Be ahead of the curve and get out from behind the lens. You may be surprised who watches.

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.

The Amy Schumer Moment (Or Era)

The world has been watching a lot of Amy Schumer lately.

I watched a video someone on Facebook shared, of her on the couch at Ellen and Ellen laughing so hard she was practically crying. It was when I read her speech at the Gloria Awards that I was hooked. Here is that speech.

I then proceeded to watch two seasons of Inside Amy Schumer practically back to back.

Yes, we’ve had shocking reality shows for awhile.

Yes, we’ve had female comedians pushing boundaries before.

I actually struggled to find a video clip for this blog. (The best ones are not so appropriate, but the one I have above gives you an idea of the style of the show.)

So why are we blogging about Amy Schumer besides the fact that she’s pretty, funny, smart, and someone who you’d clearly want to hang out with?

Amy Schumer has a clear brand. 
Her comedy, if I could summarize it, is intelligent and slightly shocking feminism. From women’s role on late night comedy shows to actresses celebrating someone’s last #$%^able day, Amy has given herself enough room to be creative but enough of a clear message that it can come through in all her material.

Amy Schumer is honest.
In 2015, we are of the era that people should be real. We love untouched Instagram pictures, knowing someone’s tweets are actually coming from them. Amy Schumer feels authentic. You can tell that, while she probably has some savvy PR people helping out, she is true to what she wants to say and her fans love her for it.

Amy Schumer is talking about topics that are important to people.
Plenty of comedians, male and female, are funny, smart, and seem pretty honest but their messages don’t necessarily get as far because they aren’t trying to effect change. Amy Schumer’s messages are not only funny but a cultural commentary that has gotten people talking more about feminist topics like body image and discrimination in our culture.

Amy Schumer is leveraging video.
Video is increasingly popular as more people view the internet on their mobile devices. (Let’s face it, you may not watch a 10 minute comedy video at work but you will watch it lying on your couch with your phone.) Amy Schumer isn’t blogging but instead thoughtfully producing videos and using sites like Facebook and Twitter to get them to her followers. Pretty big change in peoples’ video watching habits in the last couple years, huh:

Anyway, whether you love or just like Amy Schumer, watch her online. She is owning in the internet in a way I think we all could learn a little something from, whether we would talk about our sex lives on stage or not.

 

 

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.

Tech Thursday: OGP

This week, we just have one question: You down with OGP?

Please enjoy this rap about microdata. Need a bit of background? See our previous serious video on microdata.

Lyrics and Rapping: Nicole Ouellette
Video capture and editing: Kassie Strout

Here are the full lyrics:

OGP, how can I say it
Take it like Facebook takes it
An online information system, I’ll explain it
O is for open
G is for graph
P is for protocol like how things work.
Together it’s internet two point oh, let me explain
Facebook invented this so when you share a link
Facebook’s prepared to know just what to think
Like if you have a song and want to say the album name
how long it lasts, and who the artist is
OGP let’s you put it in your code to tell it like it is

Get down with OGP
Facebook knows me
Get down with OGP
LinkedIn knows me
Get down with OGP
Websites know me
Come on come on let me show you what I’m talking about

I’m using OGP like a broader concept
Schema code’s the same idea but still a bit different yet
It’s a markup code that covers a few more things
Like has products and people settings
Have you ever see someone’s recipe in your Pinterest search
With a list of ingredients as part of the written work
Click their pin and you see their blog and all their creds
That’s data being collected and spread.
How does Google know I’m the Nicole Ouellette
that writes the articles on this very concept?
I had to add the markup code all up in my site
so search engines come index it and place nice.
You web types know what I’m getting at?
Think Google has the time to figure where you at?
Then you don’t understand what Moores law’s all about
The internet doubles every 5 years so stand out!
OGP and Schema also means when your friends share
Your website on a social media, the info follows them there
Microdata for social and search is what you gotta know, if your website’s gonna grow

Schema and OGP
Google knows me
Schema and OGP
Bing knows me
Schema and OGP
Yahoo knows me
Schema and OGP
Everybody knows me
Schema and OGP
The Internet knows me
Come on come on let me show you what I’m talking about

When I hear a brother talking metatags or keyword domains
I know his information is old like old school days
Doesn’t know search engines have changed the rules
Since ‘94 we’ve got lots more tools.
Knowing Schema and OGP can get your famous
No room for keyword stuffing SEO B.S.
If you want on-page optimization that plays by the rules
Those ignoring microdata are playing fools.
So whether your peeps are on their phones
Or sitting at their computer all alone
They look for information and OGP and Schema hook them up
And your website is what’s coming up.

Peace. Breaking Even represent. Old school’s cool for rapping but new school’s cool for websites.

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.

Website Launch: Community Development Society

cdsdesktopview

cdsmobileviewWhen a website is meant to serve a lot of people, you have to balance the needs of everyone.

The Community Development Society has hundreds of members worldwide. Many are involved in committees within the organization (so they need access to info regular members wouldn’t get). And, just like any membership organization, CDS has to attract new members and provide enough public information that people understand what the organization does and want to join.

The new CDS website is not only responsively designed but accommodates these separate audiences.

Created in Joomla 3.0, this website not only serves as a resource to thousands of visitors a month but shows what an open source CMS like Joomla is capable of in terms of function and customization.

Member Only Area

All members receive log in information when they join the organization. Once logged in, members see a special sidebar of content only they can access.

Members who want to blog are assigned permissions to do so and they can add and edit their posts on the website without accessing more sensitive areas.

As per the organization’s request, the profiles are connected to an internal social network, allowing logged in members not only to post to forums, create blogs, or see specific content but also create and maintain a profile that others can see and connect with… you know, once logged in. (We’ll be working with CDS this winter on further refining this feature with the help of member feedback.)

cdsloginonlystuff

Tagged Content

The homepage of the website displays the organization’s most important information for members and non-members alike but since the organization does publish content on social issues and about a variety of locations, it was important for this website to be able to have tagged content.

Tagging ensures people can move around the website and browse easily on topics most of interest. (The search feature is great if you know exactly what you’re looking for but tags can let you stumble upon cool content.)

cdsresponsivegoogleform

cdsresponsivegoogleform-mobileviewGoogle Apps Integration

The organization wanted the ability to have forms on their site but, rather than submissions getting sent via email, wanted them in a spreadsheet committees could edit and access easily.

Since they have been using Google Apps over the last year, this seemed like an opportunity to use them to handle conference submissions in a way that would cut down back and forth emails (they are all stored in a spreadsheet) and allow people to access/edit them while keeping a copy of each revision.

Not sure why anyone would want to fill out an in-depth form like this on a phone but it’s responsive too.

Training Videos

Because members are in many locations (and more than a handful of people needed to be trained on website updates), it made sense to make video tutorials on how to do things on the site (in 5 minute increments or less).

Every time someone asks about something, we make a video and put it on CDS’s own private Vimeo channel, in addition to the videos we thought necessary to have at site launch. This way, if someone forgets or a new person takes over, they are a short, fun video away from being able to do something on their website.

Though we launched this site back in May (!), we have only just now had time to write about it. So congratulations to CDS on their site and here’s hoping it inspires not only membership but activism in community development, a worthy cause indeed.

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.
1 2 3