Social Media

Live Video: Some Considerations

You’ve been reading our posts about live video and thinking, “Hey, I want to do this!”

First of all, go you.

Second of all, besides downloading a live video app (like Periscope) and thinking about what you want to talk about, what else should you know?

Here are a few considerations, in no particular order, that we’ve learned so far in our live video adventures:

Consideration #1: WiFi will drain your battery much slower than going through your cell phone’s network.

(If you want some technical explanations why, here’s a Quora post about it.)



 

I was filming the Belt Sander Races, a local tradition that helps us all get through the winter with some humor. I had a cell signal but the 20 minute introduction of all the contenders sucked 50% of my battery. Angry fans begged me to keep filming but since I didn’t bring my backup battery, I let them down by getting only one race on tape. I know, I know.

If you can, get on the WiFi connection of wherever you are filming. If you can’t, bring a backup battery. Video over data is going to suck battery faster than other things apparently. Lesson learned, I’ll be ready next year for the Belt Sander Races.

Consideration #2: If you are hosting a webinar, consider a corded internet connection.

It’s one thing if, when you are attending a webinar, your WiFi connection resets and you miss five seconds of what the speaker says but what if the 200 people attending your webinar experience this kind of outage, even once? Not good.

You may have noticed using Periscope that the signal cuts in and out at times, and that’s to be expected. But if you are hosting a business-y webinar (something more formal or that people are paying to be at), do it over a corded internet connection to avoid latency issues. (More tips on hosting webinars here.)

Consideration #3: Experiment with timing… and tell people it’s happening WAY ahead.

There are some tools like Tweriod which will tell you when your Twitter followers are most active online, so that might be a good place to start with a time to Periscope.

But what if your Twitter followers are most active at 1 pm and you can’t Periscope at your day job? Don’t worry, just pick a time and let people know WAY AHEAD.

You can experiment with timing by trying to scope during different days/times of day and see what feedback is like. There seems to be no one, right answer for the best day/time… which is annoying but also probably accurate.

Consideration #4: Your videos are NOT automatically saved anywhere.

If you want to save your videos, you’ll have to download them to your device or use a program like Katch.me. You’ll have to also put it in your settings that you want this to be a regular thing that happens. More in this blog post about this issue but just to warn you if you did something brilliant and didn’t save it less than 24 hours after, it went *poof*forever.

If you want more tips for offering live video, this article is pretty darn useful: http://sociallysorted.com.au/21-periscope-tips-broadcasts/

Service Businesses and Live Video

Want to learn more about live video? Our upcoming newsletter will talk all about it. Click here to subscribe!

Now you may look at Periscope and think you have a pretty good idea who the early adopters are. I mean it’s not shocking to think “Who would like live video?” and come up with the following lists:

  1. Big companies with big marketing budgets who always want to try ‘the next thing’.
  2. Bored people.
  3. Teenagers.
  4. Sports people. (Think about it, what else besides sporting events and The Bachelor do we all collectively watch live really?)

In our little series here, we’re going to treat businesses that sell products and businesses that sell services separately, not because they are actually very different but because some of the applications can be seen as slightly different. Here are a few types of service providers I found one afternoon on Periscope…



Workout Professional

If someone is going to be yaking in your ear for an hour as you huff and puff on the treadmill, wouldn’t you want to know this person’s style first? My one and only session with a personal trainer didn’t go so hot because we just didn’t jive and I would have loved to be able to have known that up front.

Getting to know personal trainers on Periscope is a low risk method. In learning not only whether someone prefers squats or stair climbs, you can also find out a little deeper about their personal philosophy, experiences, and more. We found a rooftop chat from a Denver area fitness professional:

rooftop-chat-personal-trainer-periscope

Note from Paranoid Middle Aged Nicole: You may want to be careful about broadcasting where you live. You can actually disable location settings with Periscope. If you are a parent/wanting to be extra careful about this kind of stuff generally, this article has a pretty good non-technical explanation of some concerns.

Financial Planners

As we’ve worked with financial planners in the past, I know what a landmine social media can be for them in regards to all the regulations on their industry.

I saw a financial planner on Periscope and my first thought was “How is she getting away with that?”

Turns out live video broadcasts straddle the line between ‘public communication’ and ‘broadcasting’. (You can register and read the article we read here.)

financial-planner-periscope

Again, if I am going to be sharing my personal finances with someone and need to trust them, what better way than seeing them on video to give me an idea of if we’ll get along or not?

Social Media Consultant

This one’s a no brainer. But I liked this person’s application of the Periscope technology. Videotaping a conference presentation on Periscope not only allows non-attendees to see what you have to say but lets people know you are speaking at that conference. Sort of instant cache. And if you want to get better as a speaker, what better way to get feedback than from stone cold strangers who don’t want to look you in the eye? (In this case, there were glowing reviews but you get what I’m saying; if someone was going to be critical, this would be a relatively ‘safe’ way for them to do so.)

social-media-conference-periscope

Think about it, if you’re going to hire someone to do services for you or your business, don’t you want to get to know them? That’s what Periscope allows you to do… from the comfort of your own smartphone. 

Service businesses can communicate a lot about not only the owners but the customer service experience using video. If someone wants to know if your cafe is loud or what it’s like to get a pedicure at your spa, video is a great way to show not tell. We all are getting to the point in our Instagram lives where we kind of know those photos are staged but staging a perfect 20 minute live video would be difficult to impossible. (Aside: this video about ‘Instagram Husbands’ made me chuckle the other day.)

If your a service professional, how do you see yourself using Periscope? If live video isn’t your thing, how do you educate you prospective customers?

Previous posts:

Non-profits and Live Video
Product Businesses and Live Video

 

Live Videos and Products

This post is a continuation of our live video series. Check out last week’s post on non-profits and live video

When it comes to live videos and branded content, video streaming for businesses that sell products seem like a no-brainer. There are many different ways to use live video for these businesses, the most popular being product demos and launches. In other words, it’s easy to create a live video around a physical product. The goal, of course, is not simply to do it but do it well. The point of live streaming is not to create an infomercial or a commercial- this is about marketing, not advertising. Here are some examples of companies that have used live streaming for their product based businesses without phoning it in:

Barkbox is a subscription service dedicated to dogs (they send accessories and treats). I suspect their success on Periscope has a lot to do with their primary material: puppies. Since they can’t talk and share their feedback on BarkBox products, the marketing team shows various dogs enjoying their goodies from the box. The target market is dog owners, preferably the type who can be moved into purchase by adorable puppy videos.



Doritos used Periscope to create excitement around their product  “Doritos Roulette.” They created a contest involving Periscope, Twitter, Vine, and YouTube. The contest itself seemed a bit complex to me, but maybe I’m just not that passionate about my snacks. Doritos has a pretty big following on social media, so the contest had high volumes of participation. Below is one of the tweets from Doritos announcing the contest:periscope_doritos

The rules for participation felt like a lot of hoops to jump through (again, not a dedicated Doritos fan) but it still had a lot of participation.

Adobe used Periscope for a 24-hour broadcast leading up to the release of Creative Cloud last year. The @CreativeCloud channel shared inside looks at the software and discussions with employees. Throughout the day, the Adobe Periscope channel followed various employees across the world while discussing/demonstrating the different components of the new product. Adobe took their product launch and made it into something more, something that you wouldn’t necessarily expect from them. The 24 hour broadcast was an interesting innovation, too. Most channels won’t have broadcasts that go for that long- although this was a bunch of smaller streaming events from the same channel rather than one continuous stream, it was still a unique use of the app.

adobe_stream

BMW (and any car company, really) uses live streaming video to roll out new models (pun intended). Last October, BMW used Periscope to stream the live launch of the M2, and it was a huge success (they gained about 3,000 new followers). They already have plans to use this method for new model launches this spring. Rolls Royce was a slightly earlier adapter,  as spokesperson Gerry Spahn  explained: “Given how stunningly beautiful the car is we wanted to share it with as many people as possible. Today that means live streaming.” Bingo, Gerry.

You may ask yourself ‘If I’m a small business though, what am I supposed to do?’ Try taking some pointers from Miami Candy, showing how to make candy kabobs with their products.

(PS I can’t screenshot the broadcast and the name of the broadcast so I picked to screenshot the title while it was loading.)

candykabobperiscope

How to do my own candy kabobs? Don’t mind if I do.

What can we learn from these examples?

1) Know what your customers want to see. Yes, it helps to have an amazing product that everyone wants to see, but if you can’t make it interesting, then what’s the point? Each of the companies mentioned above has a different formula for their live streaming stories. BarkBox uses puppies and puppies enjoying products, which makes sense considering their customers. Adobe recognized that it’s customers are probably interested in learning more about how they can use Creative Cloud and other products, so that’s what they delivered. Before you start streaming, think about what your audience is interested in.

2) Announce in advance. You’ll notice that most of the examples above use One of the keys to any event is to make sure you give people enough time to plan their attendance. Adobe used their blog and social media to get the word out about the event, and the Doritos post above was shared 5 days before the event. If you can, be as specific as possible about the date/time for followers to tune in.

3) Customer service on a new level. One of the more popular components of Google Hangouts on Air and Periscope is the ability for audience interaction in real time. People who are watching can send comments and questions, which is a great opportunity for a Q&A around a new product/use of a product. This article from Hubspot has some tips on responding to questions as they come in. For brands with lots of followers, broadcasts are likely a whirlwind of activity and might require an extra person to help facilitate the stream. Responding to questions and comments is a recommended best practice in live streaming content.

4) Have fun. Like Barkbox showing puppies, you can show people using your own product in a fun way. You can take people behind the scenes or give them tutorials like Miami Candy. The point of live videos is to make your business interactive in a way that people will want to buy from you- build trust, tell a story, and don’t be overly aggressive with the sales pitch.

Google+ Communities

gettingingoodwithgoogle-buttonIn an effort to make Google+ a more “social” network, Communities were formed in 2013.

Communities are similar to Facebook or LinkedIn Groups: they are organized by topics or general interests. From a marketing perspective, Google+ Communities are an underutilized tool for starting and participating in conversations that matter.

What are the benefits of being an active community member on Google?

One thing I’ve noticed about Communities is the global exposure. When you look at any given page, it’s unusual not to see at least one post in a foreign language that isn’t spam). It’s an interesting reminder that social media is far-reaching and that we really do have a unique opportunity in front of us.



Wait a second, my business doesn’t need to market globally. True, but the point of a community isn’t to sell- it’s to exchange information.  This article from Social Media Examiner suggests “As you discover communities where your target market is located, join them and listen in on what they are saying.” In doing so, you discover what your target market has to say about your industry. There may be trends in questions or concerns, which makes great blog post or newsletter material. In other words, it’s a chance for you to research potential customers, and even help them out from time to time.

By contributing to conversations that are related to your industry, you show others that you’re knowledgeable and ideally trustworthy/helpful. Occasionally this does translate into sharing your own material if it’s relevant and can help solve a problem. For instance, if someone posts a question asking about finding the right hashtag for a Twitter post, I could respond with a link to this blog post on that very subject.

googlecommunitiesexample

A screenshot of Communities that Google thinks I would enjoy. This is just a small slice of the topics available- you can even join one of several communities about Grumpy Cat.



What if the community you want/need doesn’t exist?

If you want to start your own community, the steps are pretty straightforward. You get to set up the rules and facilitate conversations among community members, but aside from that, it’s relatively hands-off.

Below is an example from The Marketing+ Community Page is full of people sharing articles and other helpful information about social media marketing (new features, tips they have found to be helpful, etc).

When you set up a community, you have a few decisions to make. Will it be public or private? If it’s private, will it still appear in searches? What are the rules for participating in this community? The description and rules will be displayed on the left sidebar of the community page.

exampleabout

You can post in your own community from time to time to start a conversation (if you have some questions for followers, this is a great way to get them answered), but the ultimate goal is to create a community built around user-generated content. Below is an example post from the Marketing+ Community from KeyMedia Solutions. You may notice that this is an article from their own website, but a) it’s relevant to other community members and b) isn’t overtly selling anything.

examplepost

Communities are another one of those online resources that may inspire new ideas or ways to connect with your businesses. You may also forge some new connections with people you would never have met without this tool. Whether you decide to use communities for business or for fun, they’re unique educational and networking opportunities.

grumpycatcommunity

And, just for fun…here’s Grumpy Cat.

If reading this has made you realize you need help with Google+, click below to learn about a service we think may be a great way for you and your business to start on Google+:

giwg_more



Where To Find Hashtags

Something about seeing the pound sign in front of a word can make the smartest of us feel a little stupid. Is this something I should know? Is this another language?

Hashtags help us organize information. Nothing more and nothing less.

Let’s say you posted a picture of kittens on Facebook you want to help find homes for. Now in the caption you could say “These Maine coon cat kittens were born in January. They have arrived at the Hancock County SPCA animal shelter very recently. If you know of someone looking for a kitten, send them over!”

While this is a fine caption (and you probably tagged the animal shelter’s Facebook page so people could easily get in touch), how will this picture be found on Facebook by potential adopters? Also some people may be saying ‘maine coon cat’, ‘maine coon’, ‘coon cat’ or some variation.

Searching for ‘maine coon cat’ will bring up any post with those words in it. It will not necessarily bring up pictures of coon cats looking for homes. By putting #mainecoon and #adoptme into the search, I am suddenly getting much more relevant results.

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So hashtags aren’t meant to be confusing or exclusive but the opposite of that. In particular, hashtags help with organizing groups of information in what is often limited space.

The pet thing is one application of hashtags but no doubt in your industry or interests, you can think of ways a hashtag would help you either get your information in front of the right set of eyeballs or curate useful information.

Alright, so I’ve convinced you to use a hashtag (or several). How do you know which ones to use? You have some options.

Option 1: Make Up Your Own

We’ve heard about this going badly but don’t let this stop you from starting your own hashtags! Just 1) do your research to make sure your hashtag doesn’t have a previous history and 2) make sure you communicate this new hashtag to the people you want to use it.

The way I’ve seen this be really successful is at conferences. Joomla Day UK is coming up soon and people are already tweeting about it:

joomladayukhashtag

Once the conference is in full swing, attendees and interested people will be able to follow what’s going on in an organized way.

Option 2: Ride The Trends

Most social networks that support hashtags will have a list of what’s trending on that network. Here’s an example from Twitter (well, the day I took this screenshot anyway):

Screen Shot 2016-02-06 at 1.18.51 PM

Now if you don’t necessarily want to talk about something trending but want to talk about a popular hashtag in your niche, you can use a resource like Hastagify.me to look up the popularness of certain hashtags:

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As you see, #mainecoon is the most popular hashtag so if we were limited on space, we’d want to pick that one and ride that popularity trend.

Option 3: Go Tried And True

hashtags-of-central-maineThis is the internet equivalent of buying a classic pair of dark jeans or a crisp white shirt.

Hashtags for days of the week (ex #WCW for ‘woman crush Wednesday’)
Hashtags for (some) industries (you can look yours up on the Google)
Hashtags by geographic area (You can see, stage right, some popular hashtags in my corner of the world when I took this screenshot.)

If you want to completely overwhelm yourself or really geek out researching popular hashtags, this post is for you: https://www.marketingtechblog.com/hashtag-research-tools/

Is it important to get hashtags exactly right? Probably not. But as you start using them and getting more confident, you’ll see which ones work well over time. #seeyouonline #social #marketing #goyou

(Pro Tip from my Instagram enthusiast husband: Have a note on your phone with all the hashtags you use in it… then you can copy and paste the whole thing into Instagram and just delete the ones you don’t need.)

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).

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