social media

11 Instagram Accounts to Check Out

It’s safe to say that Instagram is my (Kassie’s) favorite social network. It could be that I’m a visual person, or that the platform feels less cluttered than Facebook and less stressful than Twitter to me. This post is, quite simply, a “just for fun” post that shares 10 of my favorite accounts that I follow, accompanied with a sample post from each.



The Good Quote (@thegoodquote)

Follow for: Feel good quotes, inspiration, thought-provocation, and a general mood boost throughout the day.

Follow @thegoodstore.co

A photo posted by Positive & Motivational Quotes (@thegoodquote) on

Mind Body Green (@mindbodygreen)

Follow for: Wellness tips, quotes, yoga poses, and of course, pictures of food (this combination of pineapple and chocolate is one of the best-looking eats I’ve ever seen).

Have the sweetest of weekends! Also, happy early #mothersday ? // ?: @talinegabriel #healthytreat

A photo posted by mindbodygreen (@mindbodygreen) on

Chris Mogg (@livingmovingbeing)

Follow for: 15-20 minute workouts that you can do at home, complete with explanations and 15-ish second video tutorials. Full disclosure: I’ve only ever successfully completed one of these workouts, they aren’t easy!

? 20 minute Ab HIIT! Got time for a quickie? This ab workout will have your core carved in no time! Details: perform each move for 45 seconds of WORK followed by 15 seconds rest. Complete 4 rounds, resting for 60 seconds between rounds! ?? lying oblique v-up (side 1) ? lying oblique v-up (side 2) ?? hollow hold knee tuck crunches ?? out and up heel taps ?? crocodile leg lowers (swap which leg is raised half way through the interval) The LMB eBook training guide + healthy eating guide are a v a i l a b l e NOW! Get your hands on them for fully guided workouts, fitness motivation tips, clean-eating recipes and LOADS more!! ??? www.livingmovingbeing.com.au #LMBfit #getLMBfit @fitness_videos @instafitvideoz @homeworkouts_4u @fit.co @home.exercises @gym_videos @fitgirlsworldwide #fitness_videos #instafitvideoz #homeworkouts_4u #fitfam #fitnessmotivation #workout #training #fitnessblog #fitcoteam #fitnessinstructor #fitlife #fitnesslifestyle #fitnessaddict #gym_videos #getfit #weightloss #homeworkout #getfitathome #hiitworkout #abs #abworkouts @hiitistheshit @ab.videos

A video posted by Chriss Mogg (@livingmovingbeing) on

Bustle (@bustle)

Follow for: Laughs. Bustle is a website for people who are “curious about the world,” covering topics in entertainment, modern life, books, and current events.

??????

A photo posted by Bustle (@bustle) on

Elite Daily (@elitedaily)

Follow for: Current events packaged specifically for millennials. Proof that learning about what’s going on in the world is actually pretty fun. The post below isn’t necessarily related to current events, but it’s a generally relatable struggle.

I'll have what he's having @thrillist

A photo posted by Elite Daily (@elitedaily) on

Downeast Magazine (@downeastmagazine)

Follow for: Beautiful pictures from around our area of the world. It’s pretty fun to see such stunning images and realize that’s what we get to see every day.

Sunrise over Southwest Harbor — Submitted by @wornbrick See more and submit your #Mainelife photos using the link in our profile.

A photo posted by Down East Magazine (@downeastmagazine) on

Run Eat Repeat (@runeatrepeat)

Follow For: Humorous memes covering healthy eating, fitness, and Bravo, with the occasional blog promo.

Just keep swimming!

A photo posted by Run Eat Repeat / Monica Olivas (@runeatrepeat) on

Emilia Clarke (@emilia_clarke)

Follow for: Hilarious posts from one of my favorite actresses, where she makes Game of Thrones related jokes among other things. If I could be any celebrity, it’d be her.

Cleo Wade (@cleowade)

Follow for: Handwritten notes and poems from poet/artist Cleo Wade that have a simple and positive message.

@gloriasteinem says, "a goal is a dream you move towards."

A photo posted by cleo wade (@cleowade) on

Quarter Life Poetry (@quarerlifepoetry)

Follow for: Relatable quatrains about life as a twenty-something year old (i.e. “The young, broke & hangry”). Sometimes I’m not sure if I need to laugh or cry…

Dogs of Instagram (@dogsofinstagram)

Follow for: Well, pictures of dogs…if you’re having a bad day or just generally need a pick-me-up, there’s really no better medicine.

"It's too early mom! Can we go back to bed? ?" writes @lizzie.bear. #dogsofinstagram

A photo posted by Dogs of Instagram (@dogsofinstagram) on

There are many others that I’d like to pay tribute to here, but I’m cutting myself off at 11 (otherwise I’d just keep adding forever until I break the website somehow). If you haven’t already, check some or all of these accounts out-I promise they’re worth it!



Marketing Monday: Sponsorship vs. Advertising

This weekend, I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts (Real Talk Radio with Nicole Antoinette). She announced her goal for the podcast- to be totally sponsorship free and community supported, which I thought was pretty cool. Right now, this model is in experimental stages, but I think it’s a great idea and seems to be a good direction for this particular podcast.

patreon

I’ve just started branching out in my Podcast world, and have been picking up on the different forms of sponsorships. My first thought was, “How exactly is this any different than advertising?” This is how I’ve come to understand it: paid sponsorships are to advertising what squares are to rectangles. Paid sponsorships are a type of advertisement, but not all advertisements are paid sponsorships.



Unlike radio advertisements or commercials, paid sponsorships are more of a partnership. Brands usually ally themselves with podcasts that have similar target audiences and interests. For instance, a podcast about fitness might be partnered with a granola bar company or outdoor apparel store. This way, the sponsor makes a smart investment (trying to reach people who are actually interested in their product) and the podcaster is making money/sharing potentially useful information with listeners.

Sponsored ads on podcasts tend to cause less of an interruption for listeners. According to EOFire, “The current “Industry Standard” podcast sponsorship is a combo 15-second Pre-Roll and a 60-second Mid-Roll.”  The Pre-Roll is just the time before the podcast actually begins, and usually only happens for the first 15 seconds. The Mid-Roll ad happens during the middle of the podcast, is a little bit longer, and can have the podcaster’s unique artistic twist. For instance, one podcast I listen to does recaps of Bravo shows, and will often do their mid-roll ads imitating the Real Housewives. This freedom in delivery makes the listening experience a bit more fun. The podcaster also has some skin in the game, and aren’t going to botch an ad.

Sponsored ads work for a lot of podcasts, but many also take donations from listeners (like the podcast I mentioned at the beginning of this post). This usually happens through their website, or through crowdfunding sites such as Patreon. There are usually incentives for listener sponsorships, like access to bonus material, the ability to submit questions for interviewees or for the podcaster, and so on.



Personally, I don’t mind sponsored ads in podcasts (although admittedly I’ll fast-forward through them sometimes), especially if it means my favorite podcasts get to keep coming back on air every week. At the same time, I hope the ad-free podcast model proves successful- the great thing about the internet, and creating your own stuff in general, is that you get to call the shots.

For more info, check out our blog post about making money with podcasts.

You may also appreciate we did a Tech Thursday about this.

And Nicole wrote about her real life podcasting experience here.

Marketing Monday: Seal Cove Auto Museum

You might assume that an auto museum with over 50 collections (rotating and permanent) tucked away in Seal Cove would easily slip into stagnancy when it comes to marketing and self-promotion. Seal Cove Auto Museum proves this assumption wrong- in fact, they go above and beyond the marketing call of duty. Not only do they offer year-round events for “children of all ages,” they know how to get the word out, which helps when you throw a good party. They also keep their website and social media up-to-date and user friendly.

Event Marketing with a Turbo Boost. When it comes to marketing an event online, there are several bases to cover. The first, most logical place is your own website. They also utilize Chamber membership to share their event on community calendars, and use their social media (Twitter and Facebook) to market.

In addition to marketing the events, they do an excellent job of taking photos during the event to share on social media later on. People love seeing pictures of other people, so sharing photos of an event has a way of encouraging on-the-fencers to attend your next event (personally, this is what pushes me).

Their video section of Facebook has a healthy library as well, yet another medium to share the work that they’re doing. The video below is a promo for the Centennial inspired Auto Wars exhibit this summer. In writing this post, I actually learned that back in the beginning of the 1900s when cars came around, people almost banned them from the island. Now, in 2016, it’s pretty hard to imagine this being the case.

Fun for the whole family. It’s one thing to market an event well, and entirely another thing to host an event that is actually fun. Seal Cove Auto Museum is accessible for all ages, and hosts events for children and adults alike. Lego Day at the Museum encourages kids to come in and play with the museum’s Legos while checking out the exhibits (this is marketed to “kids of all ages,” by the way). There’s also the annual Speakeasy, which is a highly popular event in the community that allows adults to play dress up and pretend they’re in the Roaring Twenties (swing band included). We’ve heard from their executive director they have had an opportunity to increase the size of the event but have decided to keep the event small and exclusive to create demand.



Online Donation Form. Having the ability to donate online directly from your website is huge (we’ve talked about it A LOT), and Seal Cove has theirs set up so you don’t have to navigate to a 3rd party site (like PayPal). When you click “Donate Online,” this is what shows up:

sealcoveonlinedonation

As you can see, having this donation form built directly on the website itself offers a few advantages. The first is user-friendliness- they can stay right on your website. Second, you have more control. This form matches the rest of the website in terms of color and fonts- something you don’t necessarily get with a 3rd party site. You might not be able to add in the options of making contributions in honor/memory of another person, or specify the program to benefit from your contribution. If people want to give you money, why not make it easy for them?

Seal Cove Auto Museum is a pretty amazing example of a local non-profit that doesn’t rest on it’s laurels in marketing. They’re an auto museum, so it’d be easy to let their exhibits take the wheel and just coast on that (pardon my terrible puns). However, they’ve done amazing work with their online presence, both on social media and their own website. Kudos, Seal Cove Auto Museum!

 

Marketing an Event with a Flyer: Some Thoughts

A picture is worth a thousand words, and a flyer tends to grab more attention (online and offline) than a block of text. That’s why visuals are now an almost vital step when marketing an online event. Whether you create a flyer yourself or have another person/business create something, the next step is sharing it online and offline.

“Eye-tracking studies show internet readers pay close attention to information-carrying images. In fact, when the images are relevant, readers spend more time looking at the images than they do reading text on the page.” – Jesse Mawhinney for Hubspot

Some things to consider during flyer creation:

Shape, Size, Format: Different social media platforms will respond better to different shapes (i.e. square vs. rectangle). Although Instagram has been updated to handle rectangular shapes, it’s default is still square. The best advice I’ve heard (and applied) when creating a flyer for social media is saving it in a few different shapes for different platforms. The dimensions and sizes for featured images for all social media platforms change from year to year, and it’s worth double checking if you aren’t sure. No one wants to have their event flyer cut off in a weird place on the Facebook Event photo, right? (For 2016 social media image guidelines, check out this breakdown from Hubspot).

Share-ability: One litmus test that I’ve used in creating event material for Breaking Even and clients is simply “Would share this?” Although you’re using the image as your business, it helps to create something that others will in turn share on their own personal accounts and help promote things for you. It’s also just a generally decent way to gauge work, I’ve noticed.



Things to Consider As You Share:

Does your event have a hashtag? Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram all use hashtags, and it’s pretty common to create a hashtag to promote an event. As you share information and your flyer, make sure you share the hashtag, too. If your event isn’t big enough to have its own hashtag, think of using one popular in your geographic area or industry. Read our blog post about finding hashtags for help if you need it.

Can you tag the location? If you are hosting an event at a different venue (or even if it’s your own venue, really), tagging the venue in your post accomplishes a few things. First, it can increase exposure to a wider audience (i.e. on Facebook, people who like the venue will see the event). Second, it makes it easier for people to find the event, because they can directly explore from your event description. Sometimes people even look for events in their area… and if your event has a location, that’s one more way to come up in a search.

taglocationexample

For example, Breaking Even and Smart Datamap Services hosted this event at Anchorspace (which was separately tagged)

Where are you sharing? There are plenty of places online and offline to share an event flyer, the obvious being social media accounts. You will definitely want to make a page on your website and link to it in the flyer caption. This is also a great way to keep track of the number of people who view your event vs. sign up vs. show up, and use that information to shape future marketing efforts, and you have control over things like layout and registration. Community calendars are also a great (and usually free) place to share your event online. If you’re a member of a Chamber of Commerce or other organization, they may also be willing to share your event (with a flyer) on their websites. By looking over time and how people got to your event, you can decide if posting to X website and Y calendar are worth your time and proceed with future events accordingly.

As you create visuals to promote an event, keep your audience and intended social media platforms in mind. You don’t have to be a graphic designer to create a decent looking event flyer! Our May theme for the blog will help you along the way with some tips on flyer distribution and creation. Stay tuned for more next week!

 

Myth Making

Things are not always as they seem online (we talked about this a couple years ago around April Fool’s Day).

Of course, we now have access to sites like Snopes that sort through the various stories circulating online (like whether or not Stepbrothers 2 is really in production-the important stuff).

This year, we’re exploring a deeper level of internet-related illusions- one so secret, we weren’t really supposed to know that it exists. You know those viral videos where some thing seemingly serendipitous happens, say…a rat taking a selfie, and it happens to get caught on camera. What are the odds that a rat just so happens to run up to a sleeping man, and just so happens to take a picture of itself? Some would argue…the whole thing was staged. Yet, we had evidence, so why not believe it? This is how myths begin.



The word “myth” has a few different definitions. First, it can be “a widely held but false belief or idea” (from Google), “a story without an author that is passed along and is usually intended to teach a lesson, or something that is untrue” (from YourDictionary), and finally, “A traditional story, especially one concerning the early history of a people or explaining some natural or social phenomenon, and typically involving supernatural beings or events” (from Oxford Dictionary).

With these definitions in mind, it makes sense that social media has become the vehicle for delivering myths in the past few years. If you haven’t already seen the aforementioned rat taking a selfie video, check it out here. Even in the following article, there is some skepticism about the supposed serendipity of it all. Later on, in a podcast from Reply All and this Reddit post, it was revealed that there might be more to the story: the video allegedly involved the sleeping man in subway, possibly the man videotaping, and a trained rat. The whole thing was actually orchestrated by a “Neopagan illusionist” who goes by the name Zardulu (you can find her on Twitter and Facebook).

(From her Facebook page)

(From her Facebook page)

Zardulu isn’t like the other conspiracy theories/pranks that we’ve discussed online, namely because she does not want to take any credit for them. According to her, one of the paid actors leaked the selfie rat story. Jimmy Kimmel proved to us a couple years ago that staged videos could be eagerly consumed at face value- the difference is, he ultimately wanted us to know it was fake.

Zardulu, on the other hand, is just in it for the myths. In terms of her real identity, we aren’t sure who she really is, and she wants to keep it that way. Her intrigue, to me at least, lies in her motivations- why she’s doing what she’s doing, and how she goes about doing it. Zardulu’s Twitter handle is @iamthemythmaker. You’d think that for someone who claims they don’t want any notoriety for their work, why have social media accounts at all? Here is my counter-argument: Zardulu shares nothing about her work on social media. Her status updates are generalized, like this Facebook status:

sasquatchpost

She doesn’t admit to being part of anything specific. It makes it really hard to prove/disprove that she’s done…well, anything. The Reddit post mentioned earlier concludes with the following questions: “How many of these rat escapades are being staged by Zardulu? What other high strangeness in the NYC area can be attributed to Zardulu?” Honestly, this question kind of sent me into a spin.



Sure, we know about Zardulu now- but she’s probably not the only one doing this sort of thing, right? And this is only one example of her work that we know about. Nothing is real anymore. Then there’s this horrifying concept (from the DailyDot article): “Zardulu argues that we’re essentially already living in the Matrix, but it’s a matrix constructed out of digital images and narratives.”

It turns out, the internet (with the help of social media) is actually the perfect breeding ground for creating and perpetuating myths. Zardulu herself writes “With the advent of the internet and viral nature of social media, myth creation no longer requires great lengths of time. For the first time in history, myths can be created in mere moments” (from Founding and Manifesto of Zardulisminterestingly, in the form of a Google Doc- more on why she may have done that here)

Think about the rat selfie video- such a story gains a lot of traction over social media (likes, shares, retweets, comments, etc.)- the perfect way to generate a myth. Social media allows for a story to reach far and wide, as long as it’s given enough of a spark.

What I wonder about Zardulu (or any myth perpetuating personality online), are they doing it for fun or as a larger commentary on society?

In light of this recent knowledge, I’ve been questioning everything that goes by online now. Everything. I still want to believe, but there’s been a wide net of suspicion cast over all online happenings now. The nature of Zardulu’s work is such that there’s no way to definitively prove whether or not she was behind any of it. Which then makes me wonder, “What if she’s lying about the selfie rat?” And so it goes. Does this story make you question what you’ve seen online lately?

Happy April Fool’s Day! 

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