Social Media and Sangria Panel

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Last week I had the pleasure of attending a very enjoyable panel, presented by Women in Film and Video and hosted by Interface Media Group, that was all about taking the plunge into social media and how to fully utilize it. Here at Word Wizards Inc., we know that getting the word out about your film can be just as daunting as making it, hence the need for great events like this one. The 3 presenters were Regina MeeksRana Koll-Mandel and Karen Whitehead who all brought very different perspectives. Regina is a communications and social media professional with several years experience who has also worked in website editing with control management systems. Rana is the founder of We R 1 Communications, which specializes in PR and public affairs for film festivals filmmakers and authors. Karen is a filmmaker and producer who has been busy making the independent documentary her aim is true, a film about Jill Dellaccio, a largely unknown but important photographer of the 1960’s music scene.

What’s the big deal about social media?

One of the first questions answered was why people should care about social media in the first place, and why it matters so much as a communications and marketing medium. Just looking at some quick numbers shows how many people are on it and why you’re missing out by not. On Facebook alone there are 1.15 billion registered users, roughly 1/10 of the planet. Twitter has 500 million registered users, LinkedIn has 238 million and Goggle+ is high on the list with 343 million users. Furthermore social media should be thought of as an important marketing toolbox. As Rana pointed out, there should always be a line in your budget made specifically for social media and marketing.

As for those who are intimidated by the seemingly complex nature of working in the medium, Regina has a great little story for that. There once were two different groups who were asked to make clay pots. One group took lots of time draw up possible designs, create illustrations and even make measurements while the other simply started making the pots. At the end of the exercise, the first group had one or two perfect looking pots while the other group had a variety pots with some better than others. The morale of this little tale is the second group overall had better and more varied results because they dived right in and put forth the effort right away, which is the approach you should take with social media.

How Social Media can be a filmmakers best friend.

Karen Whitehead had some great advice for filmmakers and is a great example of someone using social media effectively. She went from working in the BBC, where she never dealt with social media, to becoming a social media powerhouse while making her film her aim is true. Her first piece of advice was about investing time into social media, saying the earlier you can get into it the better. Karen also recommended Pinterest, a site that’s great for filmmakers initially dealing with social media.  She has a process called the five stages that have helped her build up the social media for her film: Having a simple site, branding, bargaining, unique partnerships and finally make a plan.

1. Making a simple site is where you build the online home for your film or project. The personal publishing site that Karen used is Cargo Collective.

2. Branding and making sure that all your social media accounts are using the same title and are in sync with each other content wise.

3. Bargaining, one of the most important stages and is all about realizing that it takes time to build a following and that you really need more than likes to reach people, you want to try and initiate a conversation. You may even have to beg or grumble to get people to notice your work, but it can make a big difference. A prime example would be getting a popular blogger to write about your work and then sending it out to their many followers.

4. The fourth step is all about building those strategic partnerships that can really pay off. Karen created a partnership with a famous camera company called Hasselblad who wanted to work with her since the film is about an unknown music photographer and helped her get 10,000 hits.

5. The final step, making a plan is all about taking all the resources you have gathered, all the partnerships you have created and laying them out in the best possible way to generate visibility for your project.

Tools of the Trade and Getting Started

So now that you’ve learned why you should be on social media and just how helpful it can be to a filmmaker, you’re all ready to jump in. But how do you get started? Start off with one site and use that for a while until you get comfortable with using it. At the same time, check out what your competitors are doing on their social media sites so you can try to stay ahead of the competition. Also, never be afraid to switch to another social media channel if the one you’re using doesn’t seem to suit your personality. One of the big things that was stressed in the panel was using the type of social media that best suits you. You also want to look at the type of audiences you’re trying to reach. Instagram is good for the teen audience, business folk are more heavily found on LinkedIn and TwitterFacebook is good for a general audience and a large female audience can be found on Pinterest although it is good for directing traffic to blogs as well. The timing of your postings is another aspect to keep in mind since afternoon hours and the weekend are best times to tweet and Facebook postings are most shared during the weekend.

If you’re a filmmaker these channels take on a slightly different meaning, as they are used to help your project or films grow. WordPress is a good site that can be used as the base for your main website, while Facebook should be looked at as your fan base. A good YouTube channel extends how you engage with them and gives you a place share your work. Using Twitter to live tweet during screenings and press events is a great way to get coverage out, while Pinterest is a good tool for filmmakers since it’s such a visually oriented site and the perfect place to share images. Tumblr is a great way to reach across to different networks and is a favorite site of bloggers. A great asset for anyone on social media is Tweriod, a site that analyzes your Twitter account and its followers, then will tell you the best time to tweet for the most impact. The panelists also agreed that you should take a little bit of time each day to read up on social media and stay current since it changes so rapidly. Some sites that are good to follow are Hubspot, Social Media Examiner, and finally Mashable which is a personal favorite of mine.




Using The Right Etiquette On LinkedIn

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While the world of social media encompasses a dizzying number of different networks, with more showing up all the time, one in particular, LinkedIn, stands out as the most professional.  While sites like Facebook and Twitter are often seen as being more fun, relaxed and unfiltered, LinkedIn is known for getting right to business in the way its structured. You should always put your best digital foot forward on any social media site, especially LinkedIn because having questionable behavior can lead to major ramifications.  I recently ran across an article on Ragan.com, written by Kevin J. Allen that was all about some of the more serious faux pas or social blunders committed on the site on a regular business and how to avoid making them yourself.

Mass Requests and Junk Posts 

While it’s generally a good idea to utilize LinkedIn to connect with others in your industry, you shouldn’t simply go about sending mass requests to everyone you know in a certain field. Instead, focus on one person at a time who is at least somewhat familiar with you and your work. Send that individual a thoughtfully worded request that asks them to take a look at examples of your recent portfolio and, if they like it, ask if they would be willing to give you a good recommendation. Remember to be courteous, and do not rush them with a deadline of any sort. After all, you are the one asking them for favors.

Another important thing to remember is that you need to be very careful about what materials you post in general. Think twice about posting cute animal pictures or something funny you heard your friend say, and even if you do consider it, err on the side of caution. Think about if it will blur the lines between professional and personal and how that will look to others.

Avoiding Vague Requests and Misrepresenting Yourself

When you go to make a connection with someone on LinkedIn, try to add a personal touch. It will not only make you stand out from all those vague requests but it will also make it seem like you going above and beyond the minimum. Include some details about how or where you meet so it’ll be more likely to jog that person’s memory. When writing your work experience, you also want to make sure you don’t misrepresent what you’ve done, or worse yet fabricate work you never actually did. While semantics and wording are something that may not get you into hot water, blatantly lying is a whole other story, especially if a present or future employer is looking into your background. One rule that’s obvious but should still be mentioned is having a nice, respectable and appropriate profile picture. You also want to make sure its still up to date and actually looks like you, so try not to have photos that are more than a year old.

Bashing Company and Oversharing

While it should be a no-brainer that bashing your company or co-workers on any social media site is a bad idea, even doing this in a vague manner without naming names is a still a poor choice. Some people will post their personal work problems and try to make it seem like they are simply seeking advice. Not only does it make the person look unprofessional, but you never know if a co-worker or boss might be reading your posts.

Finally, don’t overshare every little post or article you find interesting. Even if its part of your job, you need to show some restraint, as posting too much and too often will quickly make people come to view you in an annoying or negative light. Try to keep your posts, which should be something meaningful or interesting, to no more than one a day.

While what I mentioned here is what I felt to be the most important areas of LinkedIn etiquette, there are still many more details worth reading in the article itself.

 

 

 

 




TIVA Talk: Monetizing Online Video And Creating a Video Network

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We here at Word Wizards, Inc. love social media because it provides us with a great way to reach out to our customers besides the traditional e-mails and phone—which is so 20th century.  One of its strengths is the ability to reach out to so many by giving professionals of all types, and especially video professionals, multiple outlets to show their work and even make some money. The question then becomes, how do we effectively monetize our work and videos and build a successful video network? These exact questions were the focus of a recent TIVA meeting, where Richard Harrington guided us through the many layers of the web, and laid out the best steps to follow when building a prominent presence in the world of Facebook, Youtube and Twitter (among others).

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Hypersyndication

Richard calls his method “hypersyndication.” It is his way of getting videos to the most people on the web, using a varied number of social media outlets to reach different audiences. The main steps he follows to hypersyndicate his work are listen, follow, curate, become known, and create original content. You start by listening and seeing what’s out there and seeing what kind of programming or content is being offered on the web. The next step is to follow other people who are doing the type of videos or programming that you’re doing, so you can see what he or she is contributing. As Richard pointed out, don’t necessarily think of these people as competition, since you may end up actually working with them in some way in the future. The next step is to curate where one goes through his or her range of work and really narrows down what he or she would like to share. For example, Richard collected several stories that he wanted to share on his blog. An important step is to become known and gain a reputation as an expert on a subject because if no one knows you, why would they care if you put out a bunch of videos? You then create the original content and start to put it out on the web.

Getting You Work Out There

So now you may be thinking, great so I just have to put it out on a bunch of channels like Youtube, Facebook and Twitter at once and I’m set. Not so fast, there’s a very important strategy that you’ll want to follow when getting your work out there. Its important not to oversaturate or send your work out to all the same places at the same time. If you do this, you really are limiting the amount of people you’ll hit since people are on social media at different times. The best way to reach these different audiences is to send out messages or posts about your work at different times. This is where Hootsuite, a fantastic social media manager, comes into play. Not only does it help you manage all your social media feeds in one place, it also allows you to schedule when your posts go out.

Hootsuite

Metrics, Analytics and RSS Feeds

Twitterfeed is another useful site that lets you send posts and your work to a variety of different channels like hootsuite. Another incredibly useful feature that both of these sites share, is the ability to use metrics and actually track how many people are seeing your feeds. Using analytics and a variety of graphs you can see such things such as what devices people are using to view your content, where they are viewing from, how many times he is clicking on your work and what key word she is typing that lead them to your work. Another important thing most people should know about is RSS Feeds which are a type of web syndication used to publish frequently updated works such as blogs and websites. Readers can subscribe to these feeds and keep getting updated on new stories and content through software known as an RSS reader which is usually offered on most rss pages. Some well know web sites that use RSS include Apple and The New York Times.

Power of Mobile and Good Places For Your Work

As Richard pointed out the majority of online video content is now viewed on smart phones, tablets or e-readers so its good to make sure your work can be viewed on all platforms especially mobile ones. Richard’s follows these simple steps to delivering mobile video: plan, produce, distribute, promote and then try to monetize which is an optional step. As far as producing original content and getting it out there, you don’t need high production values but you do need good, engaging content that people will want to keep coming back to. The optimal schedule to follow is to get a video out at least once a week. Some people put videos out as much as three times a week, which can be a lot for a viewers to keep up with. Two sites that are particularly good for video include Blip.tv and Vimeo Pro. Blip.tv is an especially great site for web series as it really makes an effort to work with you and push your series to help it get attention. Vimeo Pro is also very good because they make sure your videos can be viewed in a variety of formats and devices, especially mobile ones that so many people use today.

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Podcasting and More Info.

Podcasting, where you create digital media than you can then send out to be viewed on mobile video players, is another useful way to get yourself out there. Listeners and viewers can subscribe to your podcasts via an RSS feed and watch them whenever and where they’d like. Two sites that are great for launching podcasts are Podhoster and  Libsyn. Podcasting is great way to easily get your content out to an audience that probably wouldn’t see it and is very much on the cutting edge. I’ve only scratched about half of all the great advice from Richard, so please to feel free to check out his blog at richardharringtonblog.com and his hypersyndication video, which goes into even greater detail about the topics that are covered here.