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.




How To Talk Back On Social Media

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The Beauty Of Social Media

As I’ve said quite a few times in this blog, one of the best things about social media and the way it’s changed the nature of business is the relationships that it sets up. Gone are the days where customers could only get messages to their favorite brands via old snail mail or by telephone. Today people just have to pick up a smart phone and an endless number of social media channels become available for a message. They can go right onto a brand’s own Facebook, Twitter or Youtube page and get their voices heard. With this new freedom of expression however, brands and businesses now must be wary, since their fans can just as easily use these channels to complain or spew something negative. This is the importance of how relationships, and more specifically, two-way relationships, come into play and how social media can sometimes backfire no matter what business you’re in. While perusing Mahsable, I came upon this article that showed some great examples.

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Some shining examples of a good two-way conversation include  a person who went on a JetBlue flight and then tweeted how much he enjoyed it, to which JetBlue tweeted back, “Great, does this mean we’ll see you again?” Another great example includes someone who tweeted that there was only one Oreo left in her bag and she didn’t want to be the one to eat it. Nabisco’s @Oreo tweeted back and just told her, “Go for it!!!”

While these might seem like silly examples, they underscore an extremely important point. Everyone who has an online brand, whether a big business, local production house, or even a freelancer, wants to build that human touch. Of course there have been a few ways that social media relationships have backfired on bigger companies. McDonald’s used a new hashtag on Twitter to promote positive stories customers had the at the famous chain. Instead, people used it to share their horror stories from the restaurant. One other example comes from England, where Snickers paid celebrities to tweet pictures of themselves eating the candy bar. The UK’s Office of Fair Trading investigated the ads, since companies are required to specifically spell out when a product is being endorsed.

Laying A Foundation For That Two-Way Conversation

Corporations today try use social media to build a personal relationship with their audience, which is what they should be doing—and so should you. Personification is truly the name of the game here. Your customers should always feel like you have their back and that there is genuine give and take in the relationship. While you may not be a huge corporation with millions or billions of dollars to throw around, you still want to make sure you have a positive presence online. If you put something out there and someone comments on it, you should respond even if it’s a negative comment. Your aim should be to make these interactions as natural as possible and show that you care.

 




10 Commandments of Social Media Interaction

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I recently ran across an insightful little article on Mashable about the 10 Commandments of Social Media for Brands, http://on.mash.to/13W2XWi, and with the two major holidays, I thought it seemed topical. This info also applies to people and their social media interactions, not just companies or brands.  Word Wizards, Inc follows these ideas and encourages others in the video, production, transcribing and post-production business to do the same.

1. Thou Shalt Not Lie

While this may seem basic, it’s even more important to remember when doing anything on a social media site online. While it’s easy to delete something, its even harder to completely erase it from the web entirely. Not only can it cause your personal and professional reputation to suffer but it can also lead to some nasty legal consequences

2.Thou Shalt Respect the Hashtag

While the Hashtag can serve as a very useful way to bring attention to your tweets, be weary of overusing or not having it in the appropriate context. This means just throwing one onto an unrelated post which could backfire and end up driving possible fans away due to them feeling alienated or cheated.

3. Thou Shalt Keep It Strictly Business

Even though it might seem easy to just let personal and professional social media messages mix together, this is one area where everyone should be extremely vigilant. Most people will follow your professional posts or brand because their interested in what you do but if you veer from that, it’ll show you in a not so positive light.

4. Thou Shalt Do Good

Your online postings should be less promotional and more beneficial to your audience. While it’s very tempting to use social media venues for simple self-promotion, you should be offering insights, opinions, way to save time or money, and posts that people get something meaningful out of.

5.Thou Shalt Not Hog The Conversation

Getting your message out is important but proactively engaging your audience should be a key priority. Since Social Media is in many ways a big online conversation, don’t be that one person who just can’t stop talking and makes it impossible for anyone else to get a word in.

6. Thou Shalt Be Brief

More is less!!! This is not the place for anything exceedingly long, drawn out or just rambling since people will make snap judgments and only look at your message for a few seconds before they decide to keep reading. Keep it short with concise language, links, references and visual references to convey all important information at a simple glance.

7.Thou Shalt Think Before They Post

Aim to have each of your postings be unique and steer clear of too much repetitiveness. Another thing to consider before you hit the post button is what does this post contribute that makes it stand out and different from others?

8. Thou Shalt Be True to Thyself

Since the social media community is often considered to be one big group conversation, you should strive to be both a respected and respectful member of it. Be consistent with your message but at the same time be mindful of the needs of your customers, audiences and anything that might damage your image.

9. Thou Shalt Not Be Indifferent To The Voice of Thy Customer

While few actually enjoy constructive criticism, it still can be an incredibly valuable resource and one that should not be ignored. You should be using it as an opportunity to examine and improve your output, engage with your followers and maintain an approachable image that people feel they can talk to.

10. Thou Shalt Be Patient and Considerate

Neither brands or people can just take off overnight since both of these need to build a loyal and supportive audience to help. You can manage this by creating useful content that addresses needs and concerns. It’s through building this critical two way relationship that will allow you to grow.

 

 

 

 

 




Need a Little Help With that Documentary?

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While to many outsiders i.e. people not in the media or video production biz, making a documentary or any kind of media production may seem like fun, we video professionals know just how much hard grueling work is involved in even the most basic media. Not only are there a seemingly impossible number of steps you have to go through but obviously you want to make sure you’re doing it well. Working in a documentary rich community like the one here in the D.C. Metro area is enormously helpful because of the sheer number of professionals who strive to help each other out. Through each step of the process from conception and story boarding to filming, principle photography and finally editing, transcription and logging there is someone wanting to collaborate with you and make your work that much better. One of these people Adele Schmidt is definitely worth getting to know.

Adele Schimdt brings a decade and a half of valuable experience with her in that time has produced, edited and directed more than 6 long form award winning documentaries. Not only have these documentaries all been shown on National Public Television, they have also participated in over 50 national and international film festivals. So the fact Adele has become a well known documentary coach should surprise no one. She loves helping guide people through the process of making their film and is incredibly passionate about making sure new projects succeed.

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As a coaching consultant, Adele guides filmmakers in all stages of the documentary process. She works with them on research, helping them decide which talking heads and research to utilize. During the production and shooting process she loves to give them pointers and tips on how to create the best possible looking film. Finally during the editing phase, Adele helps filmmakers polish their work so that it absolutely shines. She is a firm believer in transcripts with time code and has referred Docs makers to Word Wizards, Inc. in the past. In addition to personal coaching, she also teaches a number of workshops and seminars during the year around the DC area.

In fact, she has an upcoming seminar on April 20th entitled “Finished My Documentary, What’s Next?” During the seminar Adele will present the first case study using her film Romantic Warriors – A Progressive Music Saga I and II. She will explain how the film has successfully self-financed itself via DVD by targeting social media campaigns and self distribution. Filmmakers will be able to learn the right techniques and methods in reaching the widest possible audience for their projects. To learn more about the seminar, check it out here: http://bit.ly/102sl76

To learn more about Adele and her consulting work, check out out some of these links:

 

 

 




How Not To Promote Your Work in the Digital and Social Media Realm

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In making any kind of media, there are two main stages. The first is actually making the thing which involves pre-producton, shooting it and then having it transcribed and put into post production. That’s where Word Wizards comes in, we’re happy to work with you on the transcription and conversion side. We want to make sure your work is the best it can be but the part that comes after is one that people just don’t think about as much as they should. That would be marketing and getting your work out there. This process has changed drastically thanks to facebook, youtube, twitter and the fast moving realm of social media. In the old days, you could just send it a few websites, put up a posting or two, send it to a few boards and you would not have to work on maintaining as much of an online persona. Boy howdy, has that gone the way of the dinosaurs, today you need to be constantly staying in touch with your audience and always reaching out or else just get left behind. Follow these steps to ensure that your audience stays small and your work unknown.

 

1. Not utilizing your social links: If you have twitter or facebook accounts, etc.. Do Not Let Them Lie Dormant. If you do this, not only is there no point in having, it also makes you like you just don’t care about communicating with your audience and are just too lazy to give a darn. You should be constantly putting new things on these sites at all times.

2. Never updating your site or blog: One of my biggest pet peeves is going to companies site and seeing that they haven’t updated it in several months or even, gasp, a year. Automatically this makes me think the company just is not paying attention or is very slow. Even if  you don’t have any big projects going on, put something up there almost daily even if it’s something as trivial as some new photo’s related to your work or blogging about news related to your industry.

3. Unwilling to take feedback: Don’t put you video’s or any of your work online if your not willing to take feedback or comments from visitors, even if its criticism. The entire point of a good website and social media in general is that you can actually get instantaneous communication and can interact with people in a way that no other mediums allow. So pay attention to that comment section since people are often giving constructive advice that may just improve the project your working on. In fact you should be asking for feedback when you publish anything online so you can get a good idea of what the industry thinks.

4. Having a negative attitude: While this one may sound silly, it’s quite vital to your site becoming popular and a place people want to visit. While  it’s fine to discuss serious issues people face, don’t dwell or focus on these issues. Yes, people may not agree with what you put on you’re site and can be vocal about it but do not let that drag you down. Not only is engaging them a waste of your time it, also makes you look bad, unprofessional and not some place people would want to visit. Try to maintain a more up beat tone or voice to your site and not get drawn into trivial arguments with trollish followers.

5. Not caring about relationships: Do not abuse or ignore your followers, if you want to get comments and feedback from those who visit your site. You need to respond to the messages or comments you get and try to do it fairly promptly. One of the highlights about social media in general is the fact you get to build these great relationships and can really give your company that human touch. If you can get a regular repertoire going with online visitors, that means repeat traffic to your site and more business as well!!! Do not just let those comments or questions pile you up, it makes people feel like they being ignored and will not want to come back to your site.

 

 

 

 




Twitter Reaches New Heights – @LibraryOfCongress #Archive

In April of 2010, The United States Library of Congress signed a deal to gain unrestricted access to all public tweets since 2006. Since that deal was made, 170 Billion tweets have been archived by the library. The question now is how to make this resource available to researchers, institutions, and the public?

The Reading Room of The Library of Congress

The Social Source

When I was in grade school, information from the internet was the weakest “credible” source of information for research. My how things have changed since then. Yesterday I saw that Wikipedia, a socially edited encyclopedia, is now the number 5 trafficked website in the world, with over 500 Million views per month! Long ago, I failed a term paper because of using an internet source as my primary reference, now we live in a completely different world.

The Library of Congress is very aware of this shift, and they have started cataloging and archiving social media sources in an attempt to capture, analyze, and preserve some of this data. I wonder what the founding fathers would have tweeted about this, “@GeorgeWashington Knowledge is power. #Freedom #EnglandSucks ” Maybe not… but the prevalence of twitter and other social media websites has really changed the landscape of the information age.

The Future is Unknown

Gayle Osterberg, director of communications for The L.O.C. made the following statements in a blog post. “Twitter is a new kind of collection for the Library of Congress but an important one to its mission. As society turns to social media as a primary method of communication and creative expression, social media is supplementing, and in some cases supplanting, letters, journals, serial publications and other sources routinely collected by research libraries.”

Osterberg reported in his post that the library has archived all of the tweets it currently has and is working on how to present them to the public. The library has received hundreds of requests from researchers all over the world who want to use this data in some way or the other. I look forward to one day seeing how all of this plays out.

While we are on the subject, follow us on twitter @WordWizardsInc !