Category Archives: YouTube

How “Tour the States” Was Made and Went Viral

In June 2014, Angie Seaman, E-Commerce Manager for Marbles: The Brain Store, shared with an IRCE video workshop audience how Marbles: The Brain Store’s Tour the States video was made and successfully went viral with over 2,760,519 hits and counting.

“That was basically a very low-tech solution to making a video.  We had the cartoonist actually come into the office, get a big white piece of paper, and he’s only holding a marker. It took him about a week to get the thing done and the video.  We were crossing our fingers the whole time that he wouldn’t make a mistake. We did have a couple things that we had to fix, but it wasn’t too bad and it took our video director about two weeks to edit all of the footage together and get it synced up with music.  It turned out great and was well worth it for us.”

As a parent who had to help a fifth grader memorize the states and capitals in the fall of 2013, I can tell you that there was nothing like it on You Tube at the time.  The song is catchy and it not only highlighted the states, but also the capitals in their locations, which was surprisingly unique for You Tube videos about states and capitals.  Marbles: The Brain Store found a need and fulfilled it for kids (and parents).

“It <the video> introduced The Brain Store as an authority on the product, which is important because these are people who don’t know our brand.  It makes customers more comfortable to transact with us and we’ve seen our conversion rate increase over time. Part of it has to do with video.”

To make a low-budget video, Seaman suggests budgeting time to experiment, picking a room with good acoustics, and finding talent who can do it all.  She says that you can get going with video for less than $1000.

“It took us a year and a half or so to really get everything.  We saw results right away, but our conversion rate has increased and actually doubled every year. Part of it has to do with other things we’re doing, but I think a lot of it has to do with video.”

From lighting and sound to editing and effects, how is your company using video this year?

~Jean at My Web Writers

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Marketing Short-Clip Videos: Vine versus Instagram

By My Web WritersVideo Marketing new

Video clips are a heavily used resource for brand promotion and marketing. They are more interactive and captivating than images alone and have the ability to convey a message without words. While not everyone possesses the talent to create award-winning films, technology has provided us with a few key tools which allows us to come pretty close – at least on an amateur level. Two phone apps, Vine and Instagram have recently hit the market and are making quite a splash. Both allow for users to record short clips and make them go viral in seconds. While the uses of these apps may appear similar, their features and functionality make them quite different. With a closer look at each app, you’ll see that they have a core audience and key purpose in mind.

Let’s look at Vine…

Pros:

Through Vine, you are able to create video clips that are six seconds in length. The concept behind such a specific time frame is to create a clip that is easily consumed by viewers. It doesn’t require as much commitment or attention span as a video of greater length. Also, with only six seconds to capture a moment, you have to be more creative with what you shoot and how you edit it. Vine also allows for videos to be looped, giving them GIF-like qualities. Finally, Vine videos are able to be embedded which is ideal for sharing on social media and placing on your web site or in an email.

Cons:

On the other side of the coin, Vine does not give you the option of filters or editing for your videos. This means that how you shoot it is how you see it. Also, Vine videos can currently only be shared to Facebook and Twitter. Other social media sites like Tumblr, Flickr, Foursquare and by email require extra steps to market your video.

To summarize, Vine is the best video app for someone looking to create a clip with a moving/GIF-like quality image that loops. It requires creativity to stick to the six second time limit, but the reward is that such a short clip will likely be viewed more times.  Vine is not for the masses. It appeals to a niche market of users who appreciate the talent it takes to create a short clip without editing or filter features.

Now let’s compare Instagram…

Pros:

In the battle of video apps, Instagram has differentiated itself from Vine by allowing users to create clips that are 15 seconds in length. This is a great advantage to the video’s creator who has more than double the time to tell a story. And telling a story is exactly what Instagram is designed to do! This length of time allows for a beginning, middle and end all within a quarter of a minute. Instagram offers filters to enhance how your video looks, image stabilization and the ability to delete the last clip. Unlike Vine, you can share your video to six different platforms including: Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Flickr, Email and Foursquare.

Cons:

Although Instagram has many advantages, it’s important to also consider its drawbacks. This app does not feature looping, meaning viewers must click to replay the video each time. Also, videos are not embeddable which limits how you can share and promote your work. Finally, the 15 second video length is a pro to the creator, but it can be a con to the viewer. With our ever-decreasing attention span, even 15 seconds can feel too long and you risk viewers tuning out or turning it off before your message if fully relayed.

To summarize, the Instagram video app is ideal if you want to tell a story in a brief period of time. The fancy features such as filters, stabilization and editing allow you to run a “mini cinema” from your phone and easily share it across your social networks. This app is made for the masses. But when trying to be everything to everyone, it loses its niche appeal. ~Stephanie


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Filed under Instagram, Social Media, Video Production, Vine, YouTube

How to Optimize YouTube Content and Maximize Hits

By My Web WritersYouTube-Official-Logo

YouTube stores videos of every genre imaginable. From inspiring, educational and serious videos to funny, cute and creative ones, if you search for something on YouTube you will likely find hundreds of results. But the videos that appear in searches are not as random as you might think. Rather, they are the result of content that has been properly optimized to maximize its visibility. Content optimization is a critical part of increasing search traffic, views, subscribers and ultimately hits to your web site. The good news is that you too can optimize your YouTube video content by paying special attention to these areas when uploading your next big hit:

Title

You video’s title is the first way it communicates with potential viewers. This means it’s critical that the title captures interest and compels people to not only click play, but to continue watching the entire video. First, be sure that the title accurately represents the content that is within the video. Don’t trick the viewer or use gimmicky language like “YOU MUST WATCH THIS NOW” which can make people feel as though they’re being solicited rather than informed or entertained. Next, incorporate the most important keywords from the video into the title first. Finally, be sure to include words that help promote your brand or business after the keywords. For examples of some optimized titles, simply check out YouTube’s homepage! These are the videos that have made it to the top for their popular content and optimization.

Tags

Pay attention to your tags! First think, “What are popular search terms people may use to find my type of video?” These are the general tags you should aim to include with every video you post. Examples may include: sports, news, events, funny, prank, educational, inspiring. In addition to these general tags, you will also want to add specific tags that are unique to your video. This is a good opportunity to include your business name or branding in the tags. General tags are great for including you in the big pool of search results, but specific tags will help your video get more visibility since its competing against such fewer results. Finally, be sure to place any phrases in quotations. This will ensure YouTube will read them as one term and will keep your tagging accurate and optimized.

Description

Your video’s description should tell a story, but not just any story. It should tell the most compelling story possible while strategically using keywords related to your video’s content. That’s right, the importance of keywords continues into the description as well. Keep the description concise and carefully craft the first sentence so that if viewers read nothing else, they would have a good understanding of what they’re supposed to take from the video. Finally, think of what call to action you want to leave viewers with. If the goal is to get them to visit your blog or web site, be sure to include the URL. If the goal is to get them to view your other videos or become a subscriber to your channel, be sure to include links to these videos and their titles. The description is an important opportunity to say with words what your video is showing with action. And don’t overlook the power of keywords!

In closing, it is important to remember that it is never too late to improve the optimization of your YouTube videos. You can put these strategies to use for videos that were uploaded two days ago or two years ago and achieve effective results. ~Stephanie


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Five Video Perfect, Speech Opener Ideas

My Web WritersVideo Perfect Speech Ideas

If you’re not using video yet– you should be.  When using video as a way to communicate mass messages, these following five ideas will help you to open with strong and compelling calls-to-attention and to pique your audiences’ interests.

1. Start with a demonstration.

Video presentations can do what would not be nearly as effective in front of a large, live audience. You can open your speech with a hands-on demonstration, talent, or trick – especially one that can be zoomed in on. Many people learn by doing and so a speech that begins with an immediate action captures interest and improves retention. This makes the audience want to know the connection between your demonstration and what you’re about to say next. We like the Shindigz video collection because of the quality and quantity of helpful tips and the ways in which these party products are demonstrated by Wendy and Mary.

2. Add emotion.

A video speech or presentation is also a key opportunity to employ an emotional appeal to your audience. You can begin with a montage of photos with a voiceover, words or a story from someone else or tell a story that is personal to you. Music can greatly enhance the effect of this. Another important benefit of this speech opener is that it helps to create a relationship with the audience. Through video you can sometimes lose that “human element” that you get from a live presentation, but by incorporating emotion you ensure this important element is still present right from the start. We think the Dove Real Beauty Sketches demonstrate how to effectively tug at heartstrings.

3. Incorporate humor.

The use of humor is a tried-and-true technique for many different styles of speeches. Remember that with video, you have the advantage of zooming in on facial expressions to really emphasize the humor in a story.  Telling a joke is a perfect speech opener idea for this medium because it helps to break the ice and set a warm and friendly tone. Whether dry or sarcastic, humor like Apple Coasting will bring a welcome chuckle.

4. Reference another well known speech or video clip.

Countless video clips have risen to stardom overnight after going viral on social media. These have become just about as well known as classic novels, especially depending upon the generation you ask. Including a short clip from a well known viral video as the opener of your own video speech is a great way to capture an audience’s attention and to prime them for your message. Ideally, such a clip should be relatable to the rest of your speech. With the many, many viral videos to choose from, you should be able to find something that can be woven into almost any message.  We think this Cimorelli and Matty B spoof of Cary Rae Jepson’s Call Me Maybe is a fun way for up-and-coming singers to partner and credit a well-known singer.

5. Do something completely unexpected.

Finally, video speeches are a great opportunity to do something completely unexpected and harness this as an effective opener to capture your audience’s attention. You’re able to zoom-in, edit, add special features and use props much more easily than you could in front of a large, live audience. So stretch your creativity and really think outside the box for an unexpected opener like a special effects trick, goofy song or sound effect. This can be in relation to the topic of the rest of your video speech or it could be a complete contrast that will keep the audience guessing.

There are many great opportunities to open your video speech that will capture your audience’s attention, build your credibility and set the stage for a powerful message.  These are just five to help get you started. They key is to remember that you must tailor your message to your audience and your medium. A video presentation or speech has unique challenges and advantages of which you should be aware and take into consideration. With the right opener and ever-advancing technology, your message can travel as far and as fast as your viewers are inspired to take it!    ~Stephanie & Jean

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Filed under Giving a Toast, Introductions, Speech Openers, Speeches, Video Production, YouTube

How Can I Better Manage My Company’s Social Media Accounts?

by My Web Writers
Manage Social Media

For many of us, managing our own social media accounts is enough to keep us busier than we’d like. But when you’re given the responsibility of also managing your company’s social media accounts, this task should be given a fairly different approach and a lot more consideration. There’s no doubt that social media holds the power to become a business’s first impression for many of its customers. Because of this, a professional and well thought out social media management plan is critical for any company. Here are a few tips to get you on the right track of tackling this important marketing component:

Create an editorial calendar.

An editorial calendar allows you layout all of your planned social media posts for the coming month. For a company structure where such posts need to be pre-approved by the owner, this is an essential tool. To create an editorial calendar, there are several templates you can find online, or you can simple create a calendar in a Word Doc and format it to fit your needs. All it needs to include is what you’re planning to post and for what accounts. Include the links to any videos or web pages to make for an easy copy and paste action when you do go to post. Finally, an editorial calendar is just as beneficial to you as it is to a company owner. You will be able to easily see how often you’re planning to post and if there are any holes you need to fill. While the calendar may take several hours to initially create, it will make the rest of the month’s social media posting nearly effortless.

Automate your regular updates.

In speaking of making social media posting effortless, what’s less effort than when something is automated? Web sites like HootSuite.com and TweetDeck.com both offer automated social media posting for little to no cost. Once you create your editorial calendar, you can easily plug in the posts and schedule them in advance so that the rest of the month your regular updates are firing off exactly when they should regardless of how hectic your schedule gets. Note: it’s great to use automation for the pre-written tweets and updates, but social media is meant to be live and in the moment. Don’t tune out from all the news and announcements that may crop up unexpectedly that should be shared on social media. Be sure to get these out ASAP the “old fashioned” way—manually!

Make it a group effort.

While one person in a company may be designated as the social media manager, it’s important to remember that social media is meant to be social after all! Make this task a group effort by allowing everyone to offer input on what should be promoted or emphasized on social media. Many of your co-workers might have great suggestions for a contest to run or a question to ask to spark discussion. This input will also help fill up your editorial calendar with fresh ideas without you wracking your brain each month.

Do less, but do it better.

Just as in so many other aspects of life, you simply don’t need to do it all! There are countless social media platforms available to you, but that doesn’t mean you need to use every single one. Your time is not best spent managing 15+ social media accounts at a mediocre level. Instead, focus on your top performing 3-5 social media accounts (the ones with the largest audience and most interaction) and spend your time making these exceptional. For many businesses, these will include Twitter and Facebook to start. From there, you may also find YouTube, Digg or Google+ to be beneficial. Depending on your business and the product or service that you’re selling, your social media focus might be different from other businesses—and that’s OK!

Not only should every social media platform be handled differently, so should every social media account—business or personal. Following these tips, you’ll be able to create a professional image for your company that is both effective and well thought out.  ~Stephanie

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Filed under Business Strategy, Content Marketing, Facebook, Google Plus, Instagram, LinkedIn, Marketing, Pinterest, Social Media, Social Media contests, Tumblr, Twitter, YouTube

Top Media Managers Reveal Ideas for Better Social Media Marketing

by My Web WritersTips from Top Social Media Marketers

Social media marketing does not often conform to steadfast rules or conventional wisdom.  It’s a skill and a talent that takes patience, practice and a natural ability in order to excel.  Here are just a few powerful quotes from the world’s most experienced and influential social media mangers:

“A large part of this relationship marketing concept is allowing yourself to be a little bit vulnerable and let people in.”(Mari Smith, Social Media Speaker & Author)

Mari makes an excellent point – social media is a platform to get personal and really let people in. For a company, this means showcasing your “human element” and letting your customers get to know you and your people on a more personal level than what can be offered through your web site or business card alone. And from time to time, yes, it’s perfectly OK and sometimes beneficial to express a dilemma, difficulty or weakness and ask your network for input.

“Make influencers a part of your movement, even temporarily, and they’ll understand the brand and its worth far greater than if you just invite them on a factory tour or send them free product.”(Jay Bear, President of Convince and Convert)

This quote connects with one of the key tips to all social media marketing, which is to talk with your audience not at your audience.  Engage your followers! The more you can make your network feel a personal part of something your company is doing, the more they are likely to build a deeper relationship and a vested interest in your brand.

“Social media is not a media. The key is to listen, engage, and build relationships.”(David Alston, Chief Adoption Officer – Marketing Cloud at Salesforce)

When you have something important to say, it’s tempting to fire it out on every medium available to you. While a press release or media advisory are great tools for communicating with traditional press, these won’t work for social media marketing. Furthermore, every post for every different social media account should be slightly tweaked to connect with that specific audience. How you say something on Twitter (with #’s and @’s) won’t resonate on your Facebook page. Create thoughtful and genuine posts for each social medium and your information is more likely to engage and less likely to blend into the white noise.

“If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell 6 friends. If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000 friends.” (Jeff Bezos, CEO at Amazon.com)

Social media is powerful stuff. And though almost 100% of users would agree to this statement, we all too easily forget how quickly information can catch like wildfire and spread. For positive information you want promoted, this is great. But if you have a disgruntled customer, this could be devastating. This is even more reason to be careful with your actions and words on social media than in the real world because of how easily it can be shared with thousands or millions of other people with the click of a button.

“Social networks aren’t about Web sites. They’re about experiences.” (Mike DiLorenzo, NHL social media marketing director)

If you want to create the absolutely most effective social media to represent your brand and market your business, you must create an experience that is memorable to your networks. Social media is, after all, what broke the mold on traditional marketing. Your options are limitless as to how you can create a unique viral marketing campaign. Don’t settle for the easy or the obvious, continually push yourself to set a new creative standard.

“Don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t want plastered on a billboard with your face on it.”
(Erin Bury, Sprouter community manager)

This quote simply says it all – and if it could be made a banner on every social media web site to remind us of this before we post an update, it would save many people and businesses from the all too common social media “uh oh’s!”

Woven inside each of these quotes is a valuable lesson worthy of adding to our set of social media tools. While the authors may come from various degrees of experience and schools of thought, these quotes reach far broader than just social media marketing – and if you think openly – can applied toward many aspects of our business and our life. ~Stephanie

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Social Media Interaction in 2014: What’s Your Plan?

Updated by My Web Writers2013 SM plan

You reflected on the old and planned for the new. You set goals for your career, health and finances in 2014. Just as you will benefit from these positive changes, so exists the opportunity to follow through on those resolutions for your business or blog. As you lay out your plans for growing and improving your business over the coming year, you should take special consideration to your strategy for social media interaction. Whether you would like to improve upon an already successful implementation or simply get a social media presence started, there is no time like the present to make this improvement. Here are some essential tips to include in your social media interaction plan for 2014:

Base your planning off of insights.

Every plan should first begin with research and with social media there is a myriad of resources available to you. If you’re planning to improve your existing social media interaction, first look at your insights from 2014. How many new Facebook fans did you gain? Twitter followers? How interactive were people with your status updates? All of these things will give you an indication of where you’re currently excelling and where you need to place your focus for the New Year. If your plan is to finally create a presence on social media, you won’t have personal insights to go off of, but you can benefit by learning from others. Read blogs, search Google and take note to your competitors’ social media presence. All of this will help you focus your planning where it will be most effective.

Think multi-faceted.

To maximize your social media interaction and effectiveness for 2014, you cannot rely on just one medium. There are countless sites and platforms that can help you reach a broader audience so don’t limit your plan to the top 2 or 3. While having a strong presence on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin makes sense for nearly all businesses, you should always refer back to your mission statement and target audience to see what other types of social media might be useful. The general rule of thumb is to focus on 3-5 social media accounts and use them exceptionally well. Also, when you find information you wish to share, but sure to coordinate this effort across all of your social media. How customers find you on the web is varied and often unpredictable. A multi-faceted social media presence will ensure you’re fully utilizing all of your tools to reach your target audience.

Consistency is key – set realistic goals you can maintain.

As a business owner, you wouldn’t open a new storefront and fail to staff it with employees to interact with your customers, correct? The same is true for your social media accounts. When you commit to creating a social media account, it’s paramount that you also commit to filling out the profile with professional information and consistently updating the newsfeed with fresh content. This closely ties in to the second point of setting realistic goals you can maintain. Such a commitment for 3-5 social media accounts is doable, but not for 15+ social media accounts. By narrowing down your social media platforms and using only those that most effectively reach your target audience, you will also keep your social media interaction plan realistic and attainable.

You should never have to pay for your friends.

Neither in life nor on social media should you pay for your friends. It’s appropriate for your social media interaction plan to include increasing the size of your network, but you should do so organically. Beware of services that promise to deliver a “too good to be true” increase in your fans or followers. It’s almost certain that it will be too good to be true. Because they’re bought and not earned, these additions are unlikely to be genuinely interested in your brand and therefore unlikely to interact with you or buy into your services. Instead, aim to build your network by interacting with other people and pages, regularly updating your content and promoting your social media accounts everywhere (email signatures, e-newsletters, web site, blog, business cards and more).

Incorporate social media into every other business strategy.

All other components of your business plan for 2014 should weave into and build from one another. Social media interaction is only one aspect of successful branding and marketing. But when combined with advertising, SEO and public relations, it creates a powerful and comprehensive strategy that really starts reeling in powerful results. If there’s an important message you want to spread, make sure you know how you’ll drive it out on social media. If there’s a special deal you want to promote, make sure social media is considered into this marketing strategy. The more you build social media into your business strategy, the easier it will be to maintain and utilize.

Just as achieving any New Year’s resolution takes a great deal of time and commitment, improving your social media interaction is no different. You must recognize the value it holds for you and your business to find the drive to make these changes. Keep in mind these core essentials when outlining your social media interaction plan for 2014 and you will have a head start toward a successful year! ~Stephanie


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Social Media Interaction in 2014- What’s your Plan?

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