What is a Video View Worth?

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Video is the hot thing right now, has been for a little while, will be for some time in the future. Which is great, but trying to use video more and getting value from it is quite difficult.

I do not care how much it costs for you to produce the video.

I do not care how much it costs in ads to get the video in front of eyeballs.

What I care about is the impact of the video.

What I care about is the follow through after the video.

The Internet is filled with viral videos. Every single day there are videos that get thousands, millions of views. But without a call to action, without something to do, what is the point?

For brands and businesses that need to stand out from the crowd, when you do get a video that turns out well and gets lots of traction, you need to capitalize on it. And you can't wait until after the video does well to do this.

Always plan like each video is going to be a smashing hit. Carefully craft a call to action and build a funnel to have people spend more time with you and buy stuff from you or hire your service! 

And if you don't do a call to action, you better be building an audience for a retargeting ad to encourage them to buy/sign up for something. Otherwise, what are you doing on social media for?

Best Networking Online Is… Facebook Groups?

Facebook gets written off all the time in articles by experts. Engagement is down, there are less and less posts by users, people are spending more time on other networks, etc. But there is an area of Facebook that continues to grow, increase engagement, & isn’t filled with annoying spam posts from your aunt. This area is known as Facebook Groups.

When looking to expand my networking, I looked in a lot of places, including Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit, and others. There were some hits and some misses. When I went to Facebook Groups I was amazed that I could find groups for all of my professional interests, higher education, social media, live video, etc. And these are groups that are well curated and have a large following. Admin of the groups that I joined do a great job of wiping out spammers. This sometimes seems like a full-time job.

Ask a question, and you are guaranteed to find helpful souls out there providing you with resources, advice, and well wishes. Facebook Groups are excellent learning environments. Especially with the search feature included in Groups. It doesn’t matter when you joined a group, do a search for something you are looking for and see if there are already answers and resources available. 

There is competition for clients and sales in most fields. And despite the fact that the Internet has opened up the world as your competition, people are sharing with others quite openly. Facebook Groups are showcasing the power and potential of what social media is all about. Connecting people that might be right down the street or on the other side of the world.

I was lucky enough to see first hand how quickly a Facebook Group can grow from 0. Be Your Own Boss Mastermind was started by Sunny Lennarduzzi on or around June 17th. In 4 short months this group has grown to over 5,000 members. You might say, with so many people, how can one keep up with all the postings? Mirroring behavior on social media in general, a majority are consumers. They aren’t posting, they are watching and reading. They might like a post here and there, but are otherwise silent. So, those that are contributing aren’t drowning the group with posts, they just are providing a steady addition of content.

So, if are wanting to give Facebook Groups a try to improve your business networking, here are a couple tips.

Don’t join groups with under 200 hundred people if you do not know anyone in them. These groups probably are pretty inclusive, and might not be interested in new people. And besides, if you are new to Facebook Groups, start with bigger groups to get your feet wet.

Searching for groups can be a pain. I have had the best luck using Facebook on a laptop, not mobile. And using the Facebook search toolbar, then narrow it down to Groups. 

Read the group description before joining. You can usually tell the quality of the admin and the group on how well explained the rules and purpose of the group is. I am a big fan of ones that say, spammers will be removed.

Most groups have admin approve your request to join. It isn’t just a click and you are in situation. If you are friends with multiple people in the group and your Facebook profile has a short description that would make it reasonable for you to be in the group, odds are you will be accepted. But give yourself an extra chance by making some of your Facebook posts public that would help show your field of interest.

When you get accepted, check out the pinned post. Usually this is a welcome message from the admin. There is usually a protocol for saying hi to the group. And then, get ready to consume some content. Start going through the group stream to see what has been posted and commented.

Ask questions, respond to comments. And whenever possible add value to the conversation. There is such a thing as karma. And you will be surprised at opportunities that can arise when you offer help expecting nothing in return.

So go on out and get started. Happy networking!

It Is A Wonderful Day, Canva's App Is Here!

New apps are released all the time, and I do not post reviews on most of them. Why? Because they add little value to my daily life, either for work or pleasure. I believe that Canva's iOS app is going to be a part of my regular app use. So, I hope you all give it a chance to see if it will do the same for you.

Info about Canva app here

To start off, if you are a regular Canva.com user, unless you are curious about some of my thought and usage, download it now. And it this is one of the things that I enjoy about the Canva app. Your account is synced between web and app. Each adding the value that their particular platform brings. I can make content on the go, access it on the computer when doing more to do; or create on my computer and access it on the go! 

I think it is important to show my typical process for capturing, editing, and sharing content. And how the Canva app now plays an important role.

I usually take my photos with either my iPhone or my Canon DSLR. And 99% of the time I import the photos from the Canon to my iPhone with a usb adapter. So, basically my iPhone is my storage place for photos.

Opening up the Canva app I am greeted by my previously made designs. Not all of them, just the ones that are template sizes available on the app. So, say I go to pick a new Facebook image post. Then choose the layout for the Facebook image. All of the layouts are wonderful examples that will at the very least often spark an idea.

After selecting my layout, I am now editing. First thing I do is replace the image with one of my own. There is a selection of filters and advanced settings on the image. I am already fans of the Festive and Summer filters. 

It is important to note that you can only insert one image. On the Canva website you can insert as many as you want. Which as a regular Canva user, is frustrating. But this is quite standard across most mobile apps I use. I just use the Layout app to include multiple photos for a post.

Then I can change the text, inserting your own from scratch or using some of their already designed phrases. You can edit the text as you want, but sometimes it is nice to have a starting point. And you can insert multiple text boxes, which is a familiar feature to Canva people.

The Canva app also has a selection of what they call Elements. Which are a collection of shapes, lines, and stamps that can be applied to your image. There is quite a selection and after you are accustomed to what is available, you add use them to add impact to your image.

And because this is Canva, you can add Pages. Basically letting you creating multiple images connected to each other in one file. They can be shared individually, but are grouped together. So you can duplicate the layout as you have it, then edit the text and image to suit your needs. Keeping it cohesive. This is quite useful.

Then you are ready to do one of two things. Share you image(s) on social media and email, or get to it on the computer and do more editing. I have already used the Canva app to create a wonderful centerpiece image and built the rest of the social campaign off of it with the Magic Resize feature. This is only available for Canva for Work subscribers. 

So, there you have it. You definitely need to download the Canva app and give it a go. Have a great time! In case you missed it, here is the link

Part 2 to my review is coming as I go on the road to the Black Hills of South Dakota. I am going to see just how user friendly this app is for creating sharable content on the go. This part of the review will be a video review, so stay tuned!

The people are what makes Sioux Falls a great city

When I talk to people not from South Dakota or near this area, one of the topics that always comes up is what is the appeal of living here. Why Sioux Falls and not California, the East Coast, or anywhere generally considered to have a warm climate? Or even, why not Omaha, Minneapolis, or Kansas City?

Well, I usually have a decent list of responses, from family to having a growing city. And it is always fun to toss in there that we have waterfalls and river kayaking in our city. 

But there is another reason why I live here. And I now have another excellent example to show off. It is the people of Sioux Falls that make it a great place to live. People that work together for causes, do things because they need to be done, and do good things.

This recent example is the work that Wes Eisenhauer and many others did on the rooftop of their building. They are pretty close to our airport, so as people are flying in and look out the windows of the airplane they can see their building. And the thought was, why not put some artwork on the roof for people to see on their way in.

Ok, at this point, you might be saying eh, what is the big deal? But what they put on the roof is the big deal. Many businesses would have put their logo or an advertisement. Artists and other creatives might have put a cool design, but which ultimately is trying to provide them attention.

What this group did was paint ‘Welcome to Sioux Falls’ on the roof. A nice, friendly greeting to all that are arriving.

This is what makes people here wonderful. Of all the things they could have shared to people coming to our city, and believe me, it is OUR city. They said hello. I can not think of anything better to have put there.

I hope you all get a chance to see it in person, flying in to our city to spend some time with us. We would love to have you here.

Now, you might be getting a little defensive about where you live right now. Thinking about all the cool things people do there. Think about them. Don’t get defensive, get creative. And think about how the people where you live could do something welcoming, open, and honest with people visiting. It doesn’t always take a city organization to do something. Just a group of people with an idea.

Using Facebook Audiences to Get More Out of Facebook Ads

Everyone that is an admin on a Facebook Page has seen the Boost button. Then you wonder, should I click it? What will it do for me? It is a scam? Well, that is only the beginning for Facebook Ads.

Paying for Facebook Ads can seem a lot like throwing a bucket or rocks into a river. Not much changes. But if you do it right, Facebook Ads can make the world of difference for your bottom line, more like building a dam just at the right point in the river.

There is a big difference between those two outcomes. What is the cause of the difference? Your audience you are targeting. Without a well targeted audience it can feel like you you are burning money. After a while even $5-$10 boosting posts gets frustrating. So, lets look at what can be done with Facebook Audiences to reduce cost and get more out of ads.

How to make use of people you connected with in Facebook already

So, things cost less the more connected your Page is in Facebook. How many people have Liked your Page and engage with your posts is a variable in the cost. Why, you might ask? Because they have shown an interest in your content. It is a very specific group of people. 

More specific the audience = cheaper ad

Because you can use those people that have taken an action with your Page (liking, commenting, sharing) and make them an audience for your ad. So Facebook is willing to make this a cheaper ad because you are retargeting people that have connected with you. 

Think of it this way. Getting numbers to cold call for marketing is usually way more expensive than just calling the people that gave you their number. So basically, it sucks to be the new Page trying to build your Likes and following.

Who is my audience, specifically?

Key here is specifically. Unless you have a great list of email addresses customers have given you, it can take some time to find the specific audience on Facebook you want to show ads to.

If you have a generic summative of your customer, build that first. Then copy it to get specific for each instance you would want. After all, you don’t have to send an ad to everyone. Make ads that appeal to what that specific audience wants.

Making a specific audience in Facebook Ads is part psychology part sociology. What I mean is that you need to know where you audience is, likes, dislikes, demographics, The best people at making Facebook audiences are not educated as marketers. They have backgrounds in fields more relative to psychology, sociology, and public relations.

You have options to choose items the audience fits at least one of the characteristics, items that the audiences does not fit, and items that all of the audience has to fit. Think of them as Boolean search tools (or, not, and). So, you can see that there are a lot of options to identify your audience.

Do I have a list of emails I can build my target audience off of?

Good for you! You now are much better off than most. Take your list of emails you got and upload them into a custom audience. But you are not done. This is a starting point. You still have a lot of work to do. Just because someone gave you an email address does not mean they are automatically a contact in Facebook. The email has to be the one used by a Facebook profile to work.

Then, go through applying the tools to specify the audience to find who in the list of emails is a good fit for your ad. It might only be a fraction of them. I have seen numbers as high as 80% of those that gave their emails and as low as 20%. It partially depends on how you got their emails. But you aren't done there.

Having a custom audience allows you to then make a "like audience". Which has Facebook find interests and demographics in your email list to create an audience that are similar matches. Once again, how you made your email list makes this more valuable.

Using Facebook Ads to build an email list

Now, you might be saying, "I don't have an email list. This sucks." And you are partially right. But Facebook makes it relatively easy to get started on building an email list. It is using its ad feature Lead Ads. Which basically is a signup screen in Facebook. 

You do have to make an audience to target this ad at to get your emails. But if you are starting from scratch, this isn't a bad way to go. And don't ask for a lot of info. If you are interested in getting their email address, just ask for that. Easier for a person to be ok with sharing limited info.

So, someone engaging with you on Facebook is good for targeting an audience, but someone's email address is better.

Using Facebook Pixels

Odds are you have a website. Hopefully. If you don't, stop right here and go build one... Welcome back.

Facebook pixels allow you to track and then retarget people that visited your website. The settings in pixels can make them very powerful, especially for e-commerce sites. Ever wonder how you starting seeing ads for things you looked at on a website the next day you went to Facebook? This is how. Similar in concept to what people have been doing with Google Ads for years now.

You can use pixels pretty easy if you just want to build an audience of people that have visited your website. Facebook will give you a group of code to just put into the header of your website. Probably where you put the code to track visitors like Google Analytics. If you want much more than that it will take some time, and possibly software, to do so. And you might have to hire someone.

Quick Tips

If you have a business with a customer base already. Save yourself a ton of time and money and get their emails.

Talking to your customers and truly understanding who are your customers is always worth it, even more so with Facebook Ads.

If you don't know how to build your audience right, get someone to help you.

Hopefully you are now set on the right path to build a better audience in Facebook to target your ads. Enjoy and good luck!

What I Use To Make My Social Media Images and Video

Creating media is extremely important for businesses today. For websites, print, and social media. I love finding out what other people use to make their images and video. I have gotten a few requests for what I use, so glad to share! So, let's take a look in my locker!


My Smartphone

I have an iPhone 6s Plus. Went with the Plus over the regular 6s because I wanted the image and video stabilization that the Plus offers. And it is well worth it! Size of smartphone is fine. Got used to it quickly. Recording in 60 fps, slo-mo, and live photos add lots of options for things I can do with with my media. 

Truly, my iPhone was and still is my go to device to capture media. So I spent a lot of time focusing on which one I wanted. It is my main/only device for capturing video, short of using a webcam here and there. But webcams can be frustrating, so use the iPhone more. 

 

Camera

I did take a step away from my smartphone world recently and get a Canon Rebel t5. I did some talking with some serious photographers, and I could not justify the cost of buying a more expensive camera. I am even just using the stock 18-55mm lens!

I do plan to change and upgrade on the lens situation in the future. Have plans for what I am calling my universal lens, 18-270mm. I should not ever need one that zooms more than that, nobody should. And I also want to get a wide angle lens, get a external mic for the camera, and boom, upgraded my video capturing.

 

Apps!

I love apps. Download, try, and then either keep or dump lots every week. I have a few favorites though. First is Adobe Post. This has become my main app for social images where I add content to it, text, shapes, etc. Big plus, syncs all your creations with the web based version. So, I make something on the go, access it later on my laptop. Which is great because most of my media is on my iPhone! Or make an image on the laptop and post it easily on Instagram via app.

Also, the Adobe Voice app is frequently used, more on the website than mobile app. But great for sharing video easily. If you are a video noob, this is a good one to dip your toes into the water.

I use a bunch of apps for gifs. Made a video on YouTube about them. Go watch it!

I use a combination of Photoshop Express & Darkroom apps for my editing on the go. First, I don’t do editing on my photos a lot. I like using them as I have taken them. Maybe if I had a million or so followers I might care a little more. But life isn’t perfect and it is weird to me when media is.

 

My Laptop

I have a MacBook Pro Retina 13’’. This thing is powerful & light. I can easily take it with me and do what I need to. When I need a bigger screen, connect to a monitor. This is usually for video editing. But I have been doing more and more with just the 13’’.

Real quick about the software. I use Adobe CC, mainly for Photoshop, Audition, & Premiere Pro. For all of you, get software that will let you create and edit closed captions. This is not optional, it is a lot of work, but not optional.

 

Microphone

Plain and simple, I use the one in my Apple earbuds. Probably should upgrade and get something better and be more professional, but naw! Hard to justify the costs when I got something that works great.

 

So, there it is. One of the keys I have learned is to keep searching and updating. I hope you might have learned a little something from this. Or got some tips on tech or apps to try.

5 Strategies to use with Facebook Pages as a Realtor You Haven't Thought Of

So many articles with lists on using Facebook list number 1 as make sure you are using a Facebook Page. This is not that list. This list has 5 awesome things you can do with Facebook to increase your reach and engagement on Facebook, and probably make more money too.

Number 1: Use Live streaming to give a tour of a house and answer questions as you go

To me this is a no brainer. Looking at pictures of a house online is quite annoying, and those supposed 360 tools on websites suck. With Facebook Live, you can give your clients a direct look into a house they might be interested in. And they can ask you questions right then and get an answer. Then follow up with questions or comments made by people that watch the video later.

I know Facebook is working to get its own 360 feature running. Right now, probably not feasible for the common person. Maybe in a 6 months to a year.

Number 2: Become your region's expert in getting a house ready to sell by creating content

Start making a list of all the questions you get asked by people when they are working with you to get their house listed. Now, started making videos and articles over each one. Make sure you share those articles on your Facebook Page. Depending on how well developed your Page’s audience is will depend on how easy it is to reach who you want with an ad.

Number 3: Use a Facebook Group to provide inside info to your clients

Invite your clients to get great tips and info before others. And the group will also provide an area for them to chat and share with each other! Send out the invitation regularly so those that missed out on the opportunity will join, and people looking at your content will want to join in as well.

Number 4: Connect with painters, handymen, & cleaning companies to give your clients advice and deals on services

This one is a little more difficult but can add lots of value to your clients. Working with other industries to provide better overall service is a win for everyone involved. Cross-post things they share to your Page to keep the ties strong.

Number 5: Put your Facebook & Facebook Messenger on your signs for people to contact you with questions

Facebook makes this so easy now. Go to your Facebook Page’s Messages area. There is an image you can download that has your Page’s profile image surrounded by some lines. When someone using Facebook Messenger points the camera at it, that are taken directly to an area to send you a message!

No more setting up all those QR codes and using frustrating website tools. People would prefer to ask you a question and get an answer anyway. Why put barriers in the way?

I hope these strategies will provide you lots of benefits on your Facebook Page. Get to it!

7 Tips to Make a Facebook Live Video People Will Watch

If you have checked your Facebook newsfeed lately you will have seen a steady increase in the amount of live videos being shown. And it is becoming too much content for people to consume. So how do you get them to consume your video when there is a sea of video around them?

First, decide if what you need to share really should be a live video or would it be better suited to be a video that you record edit and upload to Facebook instead. Just because you can make it a live video doesn't mean you should, and the quality of the video might not be where it needs to be to actually get value out of it. 

After all, uploaded video has some distinct advantages that live video does not. Mainly the ability to use captions. And this is important for two reasons. The first being that Facebook makes captions part of the searchable content that people are looking to see. And secondly, 85% of video in Facebook has no audio turned on by the viewer. The captions will show what you're talking about so even if they have no sound turned on they can still see what you're talking about. 

Uploading a video also allows you to edit and get rid wasted content that shows up during live videos. It is tough to keep people’s attention, and if you are having a lot of dead time on live video people will just turn away. So many live videos I have seen are just being thinking or waiting for something to happen. Why do that?

Ok, so you still want to make a live video in Facebook.

Follow these tips to make it standout.

Number 1 Capture Their Attention
Show something or do something in the first 3 seconds to draw in people’s attention. This is harder than it sounds. And you are not doing this to get your live viewers to stay, you are doing this to get people that are going to watch later to stay. If you have a prop or some interesting to point the camera at, do it!

Number 2 Headline Description
Be engaging with how you describe your live video. Think headlines! You can always go back and edit the description later after your live video is done. Why on earth would someone want to watch when your description is, “Just hanging out.”. Only a few people can do this and get a lot of people to watch.

Number 3 Edit Your Description
Edit your description after you are done being live. Put more detail in what the video is about. It will draw in more viewers.

Number 4 Keep Your Video Short
I know you might have a desire to record for a long time. Don’t. Keep the video short and to the point. Don’t waste people’s time. If you video is going on past 5 minutes, unless you have a really engaged group watching, stop it right away. How long people are watching your video effects the algorithm for it showing in people’s feeds.

Number 5 Be Prepared
Regarding that last point, be prepared! Have a plan for your live video. If you are going to be talking with someone during the live video, discuss what is going to be happening before you go live.

Number 6 Remove Bad Live Videos
Don’t be afraid to delete your live video recording from your Page. There is something to be said about keeping your content, but truly bad content does not help you.

Number 7 Remember to Provide Value
And most importantly. Do something interesting, unique, educational, etc. Basically make sure that you are making a live video of something that will hopefully provide value to your audience.

There is Too Much Promotional Content on Social Media #DonotABC

#DonotABC is the hashtag for Do not always be selling. Businesses need to remember that social media is called social for a reason. 

This article is for the small to mid-size businesses out there. This is not for the Macy's or the GE brands or Walmarts. And it is not because they don’t need this advice as much as the small and midsize businesses. But they're so big their marketing team probably doesn't look outside of their own ideas to bring in new concepts. My only hope is to encourage change to the small and mid-size businesses to where large businesses will see what can be done and done well. And then change how they do things. 

I want to start off by saying that this is not a wag my finger at you type of article. I am genuinely concerned about the type of content that a large majority of businesses are posting on social media. And I'm not talking about the blurry images that are used I'm not talking about the lack of cohesiveness of all their posts or new any of the minute details that are often overlooked or just forgotten about. Those will be addressed later.

This article is about how over used promotional posts are by businesses. I can take a look at most local or regional businesses in my area and I can bet that a majority of posts on any of their social networks are promotional. Now most of the good advice that has been written about what should be posted on social networks by businesses usually includes saying to do exactly opposite. It is recommended that you should be rarely post promotional content on social media. A majority of posts should be focused on your consumer, your audience, by posting content that they want to read and engage with. Ask yourself, do people want to engage with a post that is trying to sell them something?

So, this begs the question. What is happening?

If all of the advice that businesses are reading and consuming on how to post and best practices are saying one thing, how does it end up that they do the exact opposite? And the answer is pretty simple. Most businesses that are small to mid-sized are focused on selling. And they have to be. Because many of those businesses have relatively small margins and selling is essential to the life of those businesses. They listen to experts telling them not to sell on social, but the need to sell product is so high that it consumes and overwhelms that advice.

I want all of these business owners to really look at what is happening on social to their businesses. One of the common things that people point to about social is that there is no ROI. And that is relatively true in the short-term usage. But if you look at social usage in the long run, 1 to 2 years, you can start to see some correlations. And what I would recommend is for these owners to look if they see a positive or negative correlation between how often they post promotional content, engagement on social media, and then ROI. I would bet that this is going to be negative.

This should be the end of the story. After seeing in the negative correlation business owners should change how they post on social media to better engage and improve their ROI. However, we won't see this happen. Maybe because business owners believe that there are other factors that influence ROI and it isn’t the type of posts at fault. Maybe the business owners will take this advice but like before life gets in the way and they will fall back into old habits.

But for those that want to take the advice and want to succeed in improving how they do social, please read this next paragraph over and over again.

The hidden problem is that you are posting promotional content when you don't even realize it. You will post a humorous image and then in the text with that post you will go in and put in a one liner encouraging people to buy your product. What you have now done is take that humorous post and made it promotional. You need to stop doing that.

When a person sees a post like this it is equivalent to food leaving a bad taste in their mouth. That first bite might've been awesome but by the end of it all they wanted to do was try to get rid of that taste. What will happen to your business on social media is that the algorithms will slowly realize that the content you post is not appealing to your audience and they will see it less and less. Facebook has been doing this for a while and is increasing more targeted, and the algorithms that Instagram and Twitter are starting to use look to be headed in a similar path. The social networks are doing this because businesses are posting promotional stuff too much. They need to keep the consumer happy, and one of the ways to do so is to keep their feeds clear of promotional content.

I am ending this article with a plea & a threat. Please post better content on social media. I am a consumer of social media. I am annoyed by the large number of promotional posts by businesses. Please make my feeds be filled with better content, or I will have to do it myself by removing your business from it.