Follow by Email

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Firelight On The Move


If you follow Firelight on Facebook or Twitter, you no doubt have heard about "Firelight on the move".

Last week Firelight had two crews out shooting for different clients, in different states. And neither was within driving distance!

Crew one was me! Here I am in sunny south Florida. Miami to be exact.

I met up with a great lighting guy there, Brian Earl. We were shooting a video for the Wireless History Foundation, which is honoring 4 men for their contributions to the wireless industry. The Miami shoot was an interview with Raj and Neera Singh. Raj is being honored for maximizing network efficiency in early analog cell phone systems and advising the industry in the transition to more efficient digital networks.

Both he and is wife were fascinating. We interviewed them in their Miami home, and even got to go out on the golf course with them (both are avid golfers). Brian then took me down to South Beach and we got some b-roll of the local flavor. We tried not to have any fun, which was hard because, let's face it... we were in Miami Beach!
Lest you think this was all fun and games, let me remind you that Miami at this time of year is about as hot as the surface of the sun, and you can see the water suspended in the air it's so humid!

The second crew, made up of Byron and Tom, was in Richmond, VA and White Plains, NY shooting for another client. They had the most brutal schedule, driving to the airport at 3am, shooting all day, driving home after 11pm and getting up to drive to White Plains the next day. Needless to say, they were exhausted!

Both crews were stymied by the weather. My flight to Miami was delayed 3 hours, and the flight back was so delayed I got on another flight with a stop in Atlanta and still made it home before my original flight!  Byron and Tom also were delayed several hours in VA, arriving only a half hour before me.

This week Steve has already been to PA to interview another wireless industry pioneer, and is off to Seattle to interview the final honoree on Thursday, after he runs a shoot for another client!

So that's the saga of Firelight on the move. Stay tuned to the Facebook and Twitter feeds to see more!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Personal Side of Social


I must say that the social media wave has hit and is here to stay.  Just recently I received an email from Colleen Swan, a content writer for the web and other print mediums.  Colleen mentioned that she created this blog that mentions Byron.  "I hope you don't mind." 

I was like wow, someone wrote about me?  So of course I read the article right away. After reading the article it made me realize that there is a lot more to marketing and sales then what meets the eye.  In todays world of sales and marketing you have to be in social media, but as Colleen points out, what about the personal connection?  Typing words on Facebook or Twitter then never seeing anyone face to face is not what Facebook had in mind.  

Read the article and let me know how we can have that personal connection. Colleen I feel hits on the missing element of social media.  Leave a comment below or send one to us at www.facebook.com/firelightmediagroupllc. 
Have you ever been to a speed-networking event? It’s where you get to pitch your business in 90 seconds, exchange business cards, and hope to score some clients. It’s the real-life version of what engaging in social media is all about – building relationships, only doing it face to face.
The keyword is “networking.” But, in a span of a few short years, the way we do that has profoundly changed how we interact with one another. The Internet and the innovation of ever-changing technology is giving us amazing tools for sharing information. It has quickly redefined what it means to be “social.”  And it’s mind-blowing.

Do I Really Know You?

My favorite social media tool is Twitter. I admit it’s been fun building up my “Twitterverse” of interesting people to follow. In fact, their familiarity in my newsfeed makes me feel like I know them personally. Realistically, I don’t know most of them.
And in spite of all this social-media “connectedness,” I sense a feeling of isolation too. After all, it’s not like we’re all hanging out together at the local pub. We’re simply individuals busily spinning within the frenzy of our virtual worlds trying to get noticed.

Making Connections Real

Which brings me back to real-life connections and a speed-networking event I recently went to hosted by my local Chamber of Commerce.  It was my first one, by the way, and it was intense.
There were about 70 people there. It was mathematically organized to give each of us 90 seconds to deliver our elevator speech to different tables of ten.  It was kind of like playing the game “Musical Chairs. ” Since I’m not mathematical, I was impressed by its cleverness. And, in spite of the butterflies twittering around in my stomach in the hours leading up to the event, it turned out to be lots of fun.

The After-Networking Followup

A few days later, I got an e-mail from one of the attendees who wanted to meet with me to learn more about what I do. I thought, sure, maybe a new client.
I met Byron Campbell, co-owner of Firelight Media Group, a digital media agency, at a local Starbucks. I brought my portfolio. He gave me a business media kit and a nifty notepad and pen branded with the company logo. Old-time marketing tools, for sure. He’s been in business for over 25 years, after all. (Social media tools have been around for less than 10!)
As I filled him in on my business background and expertise as a content writer, he jotted down names of people he thought could use my services, which he later e-mailed to me.
All in all, we shared a delightful hour of conversation worth far more to me than a re-tweet on Twitter.
It turns out, his intention for the meeting was simply to make a personal connection with me and to maybe send some business my way. He was also expanding his sources for business leads. After all, if I get a client who needs content for a new Web site, that client may also be looking for help in putting together a product video. You never know. But I sure do hope I can pay it forward some day.
What resonated with me the most from meeting Byron was his effort to reach out. He shared the personal side of social. And it was great.
What about you? What are you doing to bring in more clients for your business?  Comments welcomed.
Photos courtesy of Robert Cargill at Cargill Photography.
Repost from http://www.colleenswain.com/myblog/the-personal-side-of-social/ with permission - If you need a content writer Colleen Swain as seen it all.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Video, Who Needs It?



Who needs video? If you are in a B2B or B2C business, which covers everyone, then 
who needs video? 


If we want our business to grow, we all need video. But how? I know, I can hear you all saying, “I don’t have any money” ,“ It is too expensive” or something like that. Do you know how important video is for your business today? Google does. In the business world video is huge. Google purchased YouTube.com and is integrating websites with video into their searches. If you haven’t noticed yet, sites with video and youtube videos are starting to show up higher and higher on organic searches. 

People today don’t want to read a long email or manuals. The other day I went on youtube.com to find out about cutting a mango for my kids, I had never done this before. One of the first videos that showed up in an organic search was a 45 second video on how to cut and slice a mango. It was well done and easy to follow so I went into the kitchen and sliced the mango for my kids to eat. 

“Ok,” I hear you saying, “that’s nice for your home use, but that is not going to help me with my business use.” I totally dissagree with you. Look at the popularity of videos now on the web. The two major sites are YouTube.com and Vimeo.com, but there are many others. Here at Firelight Media Group, some of our video projects we have been producing are shown only online. We noticed that our clients have been using YouTube and Vimeo a lot more in the last 12 months. In fact, we created our own channel on YouTube because of this trend. On YouTube.com we showcase projects that we have worked on, or show new products that our clients have. 

Do you have a Droid or an iPhone? Can you take video with it? Both of these phone types have made it easy to post a video to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter or other sites. 

Here are a few reasons why you should use video to help promote your company, your products, or just to promote yourself as a leader in your industry. 

1. YouTube is the second largest search engine on the planet!

2. Videos show up first in Google search results.

3. Videos can actually rank higher in a search than your website.

4. Videos stand out in the search results.

5. Videos keep people on your website longer.

YouTube is not about placing a funny video from your Uncle Bob on skate board attempting a rail slide. As I said before, it is now being used for instructions on how to do things, on how to become a coupon wizard, or to see who is a expert in a certain field. Video is really important for the success of your business or product. It is also important to show that you are an expert in your field. Video is one way to show your clients or customers that you are the best, plus it shows them how knowledgeable you are about your product. This way it sets you apart from your competition; something we all look for in our business. 

With 86% of ALL U.S. internet users watching an online video in the month of July 2011, it would be wise for marketers and advertisers to take full advantage of the power of online videos. Let’s face it, watching video on the internet is a lot more fun and engaging then simply reading text, right? It would only stand to reason that you would want to incorporate online videos as part of your overall company marketing and sales strategies, especially when you look at the latest numbers for online video viewership from Comscore. You see a huge audience that has the potential of seeing your product. 32 Million people a month, over 1,200 viewers per minute. Where are you going to get that many potential customers with your current marketing materials? 

Now that you want to do a video you probably have a few questions. What do you talk about? That is easy. Talk about your business. How are you the most popular, best dressed or the greatest service expert in your area? Do you have a tip of the day that can be related to your business? How do you get your A/R down? I am sure you can come up with multiple great topics that you can inform your customer base about. 

Start thinking about these ideas and give us a call to help you create these videos. Here at Firelight Media Group we will consult with you to see if making these videos with your own laptop and video camera will hit your market, or if we can come up with a great video that fits into your budget to create a video that goes viral. 

One more item to mention; embed your YouTube video on your website. Not only does it give people a reason to stay on your website longer, but it also helps to increase the total number of views for your videos. The more you promote your videos, the harder they will work to promote your company or yourself. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Firelight Media Group Research Field Trip


It’s July 20th, and the Firelight Media Group offices will be more or less closed after 3:00pm. More on why it is "more or less" later.


You see, the staff decided to take a research field trip to learn more about the latest lighting, visual effects styles,  audio recording and video post techniques being used today. We also wanted to learn more about large format filming and production processes. These things are all integral to staying current in the video business.



To do this, we decided to go see “The Dark Knight Rises” in BTX.


It’s research. Really. We won't be having ANY fun at all, I assure you.

Oh, the offices are "more or less" closed because all of us are going except for Nick. He didn’t get his permission slip signed in time.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Ready, Aim, Fire

To help you and your team maintain a positive workplace environment, we have listed below three quick tips to increase your efficiency in the workplace.

6 Tips For Better Workplace Efficiency:


Tip #1. Measure Twice And Cut Once - Years ago I was watching a skilled cabinet-maker do some work for a custom kitchen. And many times I saw him take a second measurement before finalizing the kitchen's design. That's right. He knew how critical it was to make sure it was accurate before he ordered the material to make the cabinets.

The old adage "measure twice and cut once" plays equally well in the workplace. Whether you are a software engineer writing code or a CEO looking at an acquisition, it pays to look at things twice before making the final decision on what to do next. 

Tip #2. Doing It Right Costs A Lot Less Than Doing It Over - Why does it seem that there is never enough time to do it right, but always enough time to do something over? If you want to be a proactive organization it will pay huge dividends if everyone concentrates on doing their job right the first time - even if it takes a little longer to make sure it is right. And by doing it right the first time, you not only increase your company's efficiencies, but you can also have an immediate impact on customer loyalty, retention and overall profits. 

Tip #3. Ready, Aim, Fire - Many people can get caught-up in "analysis paralysis." To help avoid this trap, figure out what you want to do, make a plan with the best information possible and then START engaging the plan. If not, you will find yourself left behind and wondering what happened. 

Tip #4. Set Realistic Completion Dates - Managers need to set realistic project deadlines for their staff. This not only gets things done a lot faster, but it tends to make the day go by quicker. Although an aggressive manager may want his/her staff to achieve aggressive deadlines, they run the risk of burning their out their staff. 

Tip #5. Make Sure Your Staff Enjoys Their Work - The best performing employees are one that enjoy their workplace and line of work. That said, great managers and owners work hard to create ways of making the work/workplace challenging, interesting and fun. So what are you doing to make your workplace fun? 

Tip #6. Break The Daily Grind - Most every employee is assigned a task according to his/her skill set; however, it is important to consider rotating people throughout an organization. This will give them two things: One, a better appreciation of what others do and two, it will help break the daily complacency, monotony and boredom of a job. You can do this by and giving people new tasks/job functions within the company or other divisions -- which adds to their skill set and a better overall view of the organization.



Executive Summary: Proactive owners/leaders know the best way to get things done: hire people who are not only intelligent but who are proactive and are willing to make a decision. So, start today by thinking about what needs to be done, make a decision to actually do it and then do it right. In addition, take a hard look at everyone on your staff and ask yourself this one simple question: "How can I help my staff enjoy their job?" And once you ask yourself this question, many answers will become obvious.

From Dale Carnegie - For more information click here -  http://westernct.dalecarnegie.com/













Thursday, May 10, 2012

You’re Getting Warmer, Warmer, Warmer…You’re Hot!


If you want to your workouts to make you look hot, then warming up before you exercise can help you. In the hustle and bustle of today’s daily grind many of you might not think you have time to warm up before your exercise routine. It’s tempting to take some shortcuts in order to save a little time when confronted with a busy schedule. But leaving out your warm up could actually cost you more time; since this can make you more susceptible to injuries, and an injury could keep you out of the gym for days, weeks or even months!
You can warm up by using one of your favorite pieces of cardio equipment; choose an easy-to-moderate pace—based on your personal fitness level—and continue for five to ten minutes. You should have a little bit of perspiration bead up as you break a light sweat from the exercise during your warm up.
There are fun and creative ways to warm up as well.  If you want to create some variety with your warm ups, head to the basketball court and shoot around for a bit with friends. Be efficient and eco-friendly by walking or biking to the gym; this way you are ready for your workout as soon as you walk in the door, and your trip back home serves as a great way for you to cool down too.
So how can warming up benefit you?
Warming up prepares your body for more vigorous activities by steadily increasing your heart rate and breathing. As you warm up, the temperature of your muscles increases making them more pliable[i] which reduces your risk of injury. To better understand this, think of something that is cold. For example, imagine a stick of gum that is placed in the freezer; that stick of gum will harden and it will easily snap if you try to bend it. If you left that same stick of gum out in the sun on an 80 degree day it would gradually become softer and you could likely bend it all the way in half without it snapping. The same concept is true for your muscles as they get warmer and become more pliable.
Another great benefit of warming up is that it allows you time to mentally focus and prepare to engage in physically intense activities. A well-focused mind and body mean that you can work out harder, efficiently and safely. So take the time to warm up before every work out and don’t forget to find fun ways to do so you can continue to Live Healthy.
TOP TIPS are posted each and every Thursday so be sure to come back for more, or let us do the work and we can send the articles straight to your email when you sign up to FOLLOW US!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

End of an Era

Today was a historic day and not just because you got to pay your taxes two days later than normal, which is a pretty big deal for procrastinators.
On the way, the 747 flew by the Washington, D.C. so that kids and space lovers could see it. It flew by the Pentagon, circled the National Mall 3 times, and flew low enough for onlookers to see it as it made the journey from Florida.
It’s marking the end of an era. When I was a kid I remember seeing one of the Shuttles launch from my grandmother’s hospital room in Tampa. I remember watching the Challenger tragedy as it happened, and watching Columbia break up over the southern US. I remember studying what the astronauts on missions were doing, how they lived in the Shuttle.
Inner Earth orbit projects will now be run by a private company called Space X. At the end of the month Space X is testing “Dragon”, a vehicle to ferry men and material to the International Space station. NASA is moving into deep space exploration and wants private companies, such as Space X, to take up the slack on inner Earth orbit projects.
It was nice to walk down memory lane for a bit and remember the Shuttle. The other Shuttles are going to get similar treatment as they move to their new homes on the Intrepid in New York City, Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and the California Science Center in LA.
Hopefully the Shuttles will still inspire kids to reach for the stars, even though the Shuttles, and the kids, are stuck on earth.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Happy Easter and Passover



As we enter into this very solemn time of the year.  Here at Firelight Media Group would like to wish you a very Happy Easter and Passover.  Enjoy the time with your family and friends to celebrate these special days. We will be back next week with a great blog for you to read.  Thank you for reading and commenting on these posts, we really appreciate your support.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Final Frontier?

First I want to start off by saying that this blog is not meant to shake the foundations of anyone’s religion
or beliefs. I just want it to be food for thought…or just a light snack.

For those who don’t know, in my free time I am a gamer. I guess technically I would fit into the stereotypical image of a gamer; lives with parents, plays games in the dark basement (I am in a loving relationship so I guess it’s not so bad…and no she is not a made up character in one of the games). Getting back on track, a recent game release has gotten me thinking about the topic of space travel and potentially not being alone in the universe.

Most of the world takes the ideas of aliens or life on other planets with a grain of salt. Personally I am very curious to find out what actually is really out there. How big is the universe/the Milky Way galaxy? What kinds of planets/alien races/environments/space phenomenon are out there that we have never seen before?

The game behind this thought tangent is a space travel game where you go around the galaxy talking to a multitude of different alien races, go on missions gathering information and allies, and being entrusted to save the entire galaxy.

It is horrendously farfetched in our lifetime, but it’s enough to get me thinking about what it would be like to meet a life form from another planet. Would they be able to understand us and we have a great time together like in Lilo and Stitch or ET. Or would they just want us for our resources like in Battle: Los Angeles or War of the Worlds.

This leads me to link to a video I saw recently from Bill Nye the Science Guy.


It would definitely help if they could understand and communicate in English…just like in the game.

To finalize my thought, I guess you can say that I am curious about the unknown. This curiosity has been geared towards space as of late but I think that there are plenty of unknowns on this planet we would need multiple lifetimes to explore all of them.

Thank you to the sites below for the articles and use of pictures.
http://robotgeek.co.uk/
http://gamingprecision.com/2011/07/you-know-you%E2%80%99re-a-dedicated-gamer-when-you%E2%80%A6.html
http://www.evilmilk.com/pictures/Serious_Gamer.htm

Monday, March 19, 2012

You too can win.

This week Kimberly Clark Professional announced its Scott Pro Shop Towels Take The Challenge Sweepstakes.   This promotion highlights a new member to the Scott Shop Towel product line and offers a grand prize of a 2012 Dodge Challenger. 

Firelight Media Group helped launch the sweepstakes, working in conjunction with Catalyst, an interactive marketing firm located in CT.  FMG implemented the front end entry form as well as the back end database, complete with tracking and analytics. We had our own challenge throughout the implementation, mainly focused around new security guidelines which KCP recently implemented.  We hold consumer privacy as a high priority, but the new guidelines pushed us to implement even stronger data encryption and pass other security specifications. This ain’t your momma’s  little flash animation after all!

The promotion kicked off with TV ads airing on Spike TV’s Power Block, 2-3 hours of automotive centric weekend programming on Spike TV.  The power of “spreading the word” was illustrated and the power of live data tracking was tested as we watched the sweepstakes entries pour in.

The site experienced usage spikes of close to 3000 visitors per hour as the shows aired on Saturday and Sunday, and we saw entries range from 10 per minute to 10 per second.  Using some of the newest Beta-Release technology, we could view LIVE site analytics that shows, on a map view, people accessing the sweepstakes pages from around the country, all in real time.  It was amazing to see the number of dots popping on and then popping off the screen as users accessed the page. In all we witnessed over 12k entries in less than 2 days and the hits keep on rolling in.

So if you are not affiliated with Firelight Media Group, Catalyst or KCP (or an immediate family member thereof),  you should log onto the Sweeps Entry Page and Take the Challenge. You can also visit the affiliated product page and the TV ad that prompted our successful rollout at the Product Website.

 This sweepstakes runs until October and there is no purchase necessary… though you can feel free to support the sponsors too! 

FMG has worked with Catalyst on numerous promotions over the years, including KCP’s American Ride Sweepstakes, KCP’s Jackson Safety Brand -   Your Face Your Prize! Which was implemented as a Facebook Photo Contest, Fuji Medical – Prima Digital X-Ray Video Contest

In addition to sweepstakes and contests; we implement, maintain, and produce content for custom Learning Management Systems (LMS) for distance learning (AKA- eLearning), including continuing education for Architects and Engineers on McGraw Hills’ Continuing Education Website, and projects for the National Institute of Building Science (NIBS), Department of Homeland Security, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

National Burn Awareness Month

Did you know that Connecticut’s only accredited Burn Center is located at Bridgeport Hospital?  It is one of our region’s signature medical services with staff and facilities dedicated solely to the treatment of burns.  The Burn Center is one of only 58 burn centers in the United States and is recognized by the American College of Surgeons and the American Burn Association for meeting the most demanding national standards of burn care.

The Burn Center serves more than 550 inpatients and receives over 800 outpatient visits each year.  To underscore its unique role as a statewide medical resource, the facility has been renamed “The Connecticut Burn Center.”  The Burn Center is also undergoing a $1.5 million renovation that will enhance the already exceptional care provide to burn patients.  Watch the video about the Burn Center and the project and find out how you can help by visiting http://foundation.bridgeporthospital.org.

Photo caption:  Sen. Richard Blumenthal recently toured the Connecticut Burn Center with Dr. John Schulz, MD, medical director and Jacqueline Laird, nurse manager.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Twitter this year

Happy New Year,

Our resolution is to help you get the most of out of Twitter this year. To start, we thought we'd send this note with four simple suggestions. Come on by our web site to try these out anytime! http://twitter.com



1) Follow your interests. We've found that the people who enjoy Twitter most tend to follow a variety of accounts: friends, family, people in their profession, local shops and events, and most importantly, people who share their passions.

2) Get specific. Like sports? Follow your favorite leagues, teams, players, coaches, commentators, writers and fellow fans. Love food? Follow chefs, restaurants, critics, bloggers, specialty shops and respected foodies.

3) Don't panic. People turn to Twitter during emergencies. Snowstorms, power outages and fires are just a few emergencies where Twitter may be helpful. Search for #hashtags and follow local civic accounts to stay informed.

4) Return to Twitter. There are about 200 million accounts on Twitter now - that means new interests, new voices, and new ideas every day. We offer services in seven languages, apps for most devices, and SMS worldwide.

Thanks for being part of Twitter,

@Biz, @Ev, & @Jack
Co-founders, Twitter

Thank you to Twitter - Now start your own Twitter feeds

Friday, January 27, 2012

Adventures in Africa, starring Byron Campbell!

Byron is in Africa!  For this week's blog post, I thought I'd let you all in on how he is doing. 

Byron left Sunday for Africa where he is shooting interviews and b-roll for a video for Project MedSend. Project MedSend is an organization that pays the student loans of doctors who want to work as missionaries in foreign countries. You can check out their website for more info on the work they do!

Here's Byron's first Facebook post after leaving the US…

In Amsterdam waiting for the next flight. Going to the bathroom on the plane - boy these are small - and hit the call light and could not get it off.


Ah, the joys of being a big midwestern boy! He did make it all the way to Kenya (the trip will take him through several countries in Africa.) He called us on Tuesday and said the biggest shock to him about Africa was the smell, and the hardest thing for him was the lack of A/C. He is also not particularly partial to the native food. And, in a first for Byron, he is now sick of Coke. Drinking the water isn't an option, and apparently there aren't many other drinks available over there!

His next post…

ok - this is going to be tough - first night was extremely tough - about 3 hours sleep - window has to be open for air, cough circulation. The mosque chants at 2 and then starting at 5. Well it will be cool to see Tenwich Hospital. If you are wondering we are 8 hours ahead.


Apparently the shoot at Tenwek went extremely well, and it looks like Byron got to dress up and act like a doctor for a little while!

Tenwek is the primary hospital in a region of about 8.5 million people, and it is also a training facility for nurses and has a residency program in family health and general surgury.

Byron has since flown on to Uganda. Their first flight was delayed, which necessitated a day layover somewhere between Kenya and Uganda. He said he was sitting on the porch, feeling a nice breeze and enjoying the time to relax. They flew over the beautiful Rift Valley. I told him to take pictures!

He's on his way to Entebbe tonight.

Tune in for more Adventures in Africa with Byron next week!

You can follow Byron on Facebook, where he has been posting fairly regular updates.
You can also follow Project MedSend on Facebook, where they have been posting pictures and information about this trip and the work they do.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

7 Mistakes of Social Media Wimps

Here is an article that I thought would be good for all to read as we really enter into this social media boom.

via Sally Hogshead by Sally Hogshead on 3/28/11


To be honest, I wanted a different title for this article.

Instead of using the word “wimp,” I wanted to say, “7 Mistakes of Social Media Wussies.” But, I wasn’t sure if the word “wuss” would cross the line of good taste.

So how did I test “wimp” versus “wuss”? I went straight to social media itself, and posted the question on my Facebook page. I asked: “Is wussy a socially acceptable word? Or, like, kinda pushing it?”

And 47 comments later, well… as you can see, I decided to tone it down, with “wimp.”

But part of me wonders if I made a mistake.

Why? Social media isn’t about being toned down. It’s the opposite. It’s about unleashing the full force of your unique perspective, and offering up something different than everyone else thinks or says.

In social media, if you blend in, you fail. You kill your message. Or worse, you dilute your personal brand.

Social media isn’t “part of” your personal brand. It IS your personal brand.

So let’s talk about you. What do your messages say about you? Below, 7 mistakes you could be making, each one guaranteed to dole out a big ol’ dose of Ambien to your readers.


"Oh, sorry, I was just reading your latest tweet."

1. Fear of criticism. Hey, it’s easy to censor yourself. But resist the urge to play it too safe. Playing it safe on social media is like trying to make a splashy cannonball in a swimming pool without getting wet. Seriously, it makes no sense. The whole point is to put yourself out there so that you spark attention and earn relationships.

2. Serving overcooked mushy white rice. Are your updates so watered-down and bland that nobody wants to read them? Blecchy. Yuck. Social media is your opportunity to get spicy— to reveal quirky opinions, flaunt your offbeat history, and highlight your unexpected experiences. If you’d rather avoid these things, well, to be honest, you’re probably better off putting your marketing efforts into a traditional paid media strategy such as billboards or radio.

3. Oversharing. Really, it’s great that you just ate leftover fish tacos for lunch. Awesome. But if you’re trying to reinforce relationships with customers and acquire new ones, is this culinary repeat really the message you want associated with you? No? Then find a message that works hard on your behalf, by reinforcing your personal brand. While it’s fine to give us a few glimpses into your personal life, remember why you’re in social media in the first place. Give a really clear idea of who you are for your customer, and why you matter.

4. Making it all about you. Yes, you can use social media to sell. Absolutely. But don’t do it in an obnoxious or consistently blatant way. Otherwise, you’re building your ego, not your relationships. The whole point of posting, tweeting, and blogging is to get people revved up and raring to participate with you.

5. Constantly regurgitating other people’s content. Don’t rely only on repeating and retweeting other people’s content. That’s a crutch, one that stops you from developing your own unique point of view. (That said, if you occasionally read a genius insight from a colleague, or see a startling piece of news, bring it on— we want to know about it. Especially if you add your own dash of spicy insight.)

6. Anti-social behavior. It’s called “social media” for a reason: it’s social. Don’t lurk in the corner. Express the full spectrum of human communication: Talking, playing, teasing, praising, asking, flirting, speculating— and on occasion, even critiquing or condemning, when it’s appropriate to take a strong stand.

7. Trying to be all things to all people. If you are all things to all people, you mean nothing to anyone. Establish a point of view, and then deliver on it, backed of your inimitable experience, attitude, and knowledge— and charisma.

If you’re still feeling a bit timid, here’s good news: Everyone is still fairly new at this, relatively speaking. Try a couple of different forms of media, find your groove, build your base (and your confidence), then expand from there.

And whatever you do, when you write a post, pick a title that you really love. Don’t wuss out and use a word like “wimp.”
Thank you Sally Hogshead for these great tips.  So don't sensor yourself. Write what you love to write about and leave some comments here!

See you all when I get back, And I will have lots to write about.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

5 Tips for Making Your Brand More Social

By

social media how toWhat message does your brand convey to socially engaged customers?

As we enter the golden age of social media, companies can no longer afford the luxury of tightly scripted, top-down messaging (e.g., “We’re the best! Take our word for it.”).
Nor can a company simply opt out and remain silent (as epitomized in Northwestern Mutual’s “The Quiet Company” ad campaign of years past).
As social media channels have increased, so has the need to communicate effortlessly and simultaneously. Just as presidential candidates now face the constant scrutiny of a 24-hour news cycle, companies are being called on to respond in real time across multiple media platforms. This is not a time for hesitation.

To market effectively, companies need a consistent, compelling brand voice—one that doesn’t pause, mumble or clam up. Here are five ways to share your message comfortably and confidently.

#1: Determine your brand personality

The majority of small businesses grow organically, adding clients and services over time. As they evolve, they gain a reputation for how they conduct business. Taking the time to identify your company’s personality traits, the reasons customers come to you, is pivotal to determining your brand voice. Are you serious and professional? Edgy and innovative? Funny and informal?
Need a good exercise? Compare your company brand to a type of car, a hotel chain, a CEO, etc., to see which one best represents you. Are you more Richard Branson or Bill Gates? Are you a Land Rover or a Prius? Ritz Carlton or Motel 6? Define your character and you’ll speak with greater conviction.

#2: Identify your true audience

As any comedian will tell you, the same material plays differently to different rooms. Make sure you know your audience, one that’s receptive to your message and congruent with your brand.
For example, if you are a B2B company, LinkedIn and Google+ will prove a more fertile ground than tweeting out your professional service offerings to random followers. Rather than a shotgun approach, align your brand and commit your resources to those communities that will respond to your message.
Join industry-specific subgroups and forums. Participate by offering thoughtful responses in your area of expertise. And while it’s important to measure your brand’s Klout score, it means little if you’re speaking to the wrong crowd. To find out more about your tribe, check out valuable demographic information available through Facebook Insights.

Klout offers one way to measure your brand's reach and impact.

#3: Develop a consistent tone

With branding, consistency is king, so be sure to convey a familiar style of messaging when you communicate. There’s no single right or wrong way to speak, as long as it’s congruent.
The online e-newsletter company, MailChimp, has a fun, campy feel no matter what they write. From tweets such as, “You’re most welcome, human friend. Eep eep!” to a tongue-in-cheek “Pioneers in banana technology,” they are comfortable with their informal tone.

MailChimp's home page features their playful mascot demonstrating their fun style of communication.
Woot! offers witty commentary about their deal of the day, rather than stale product information. So no matter what style of communication you choose, stay with it.

Woot!'s tongue-in-cheek product descriptions keep consumers amused (and shopping!).
Don’t speak authoritatively on your company Facebook page, post Gandhi quotes on Twitter and then upload hilarious office pranks on YouTube. Multi-personality disorder will not sit well with potential customers.
If several staff members contribute to your social media, make sure they understand your brand personality (see step #1) and write from that point of view.

Woot!'s snarky voice speaks to their brand of humor.

#4: Timing is everything

Knowing when to speak is often crucial to establishing a credible brand voice in the market. Jumping in too soon or waiting too long can make you appear hasty or out-of-touch.
Set Google alerts on key subject matter in your industry so that you can remain informed, knowledgeable and ready to offer insights and commentary when appropriate.

Google Alerts takes seconds to set up and can be customized for weekly or daily delivery, straight to your email.

Google Alerts provide easy, top-line reading to keep you informed and up-to-date on industry trends and developments.
Having material will also allow you to participate regularly, while avoiding the pitfall of under- or overcommunication. (Nothing like a torrent of tweets to turn off followers.)
Timely contributions demonstrate that the proverbial “lights are on” and someone is at home in your business. If your last blog post or update is six months old, that speaks volumes.

If your only post looks like this, you'll give the impression that you have stage fright.
On the flip side, with pressure mounting to “get out there” and participate in social media, it’s easy to feel compelled to say something… anything… just to prove you are using all the tools available. Avoid appearing inept by gaining a sense of the conversation and reading through comments and feedback before rushing in.

#5: Practice makes perfect

Hesitation stems from lack of confidence. And nothing builds confidence faster and better than practice. Fortunately, the web provides ample opportunity to perfect your brand voice. Start with your company blog (You have one, right?) and build a library of helpful articles showcasing your expertise.
These gems can be repurposed and submitted to various article directories to further amplify your message. Reach out to online publications and blog sites as a contributing author. Pepper in a few good tweets, Facebook updates and LinkedIn contributions, and you have the makings of a recognized voice in your industry.
Knowing your brand personality and audience, speaking consistently at the right time and honing your message will improve your brand voice and strengthen your identity. By following these five simple guidelines, you’ll feel more at ease communicating to a growing audience. In the end, you’ll be writing your own words, while speaking your customers’ language.
What do you think? How steady is your brand voice? Has social media affected what you say and how you say it? If so, share your experiences in the comments box below.
854
Share
Avatar of
About the Author, Phillip Davis
Phillip Davis is president and founder of Tungsten Branding, company naming consultants based in Brevard, North Carolina. His firm has branded over 200 companies, products and services worldwide. Other posts by »

From http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy New Year

3 New YouTube Changes and What They Mean for Businesses

social media tools

Are you thinking about doing more with YouTube?
In December of 2011, YouTube unveiled their latest design and navigational changes to the world.
Although it was met with unbridled criticism from a virtual mob of YouTube fanatics, these changes are here to stay.

Embrace YouTube’s recent makeover and their vision for the future of online entertainment. Change is good, right?
This article will only cover the three major changes that may affect your online strategy. If you want to stay on top of your video marketing game in 2012, these are the only three changes that you need to focus on.
Ready? Here we go!

#1: New YouTube Home Page

YouTube's new home page
YouTube's new home page offers a new Subscription Feed function.
YouTube has changed their design to follow a much more clean and modern look.
A quick peek at the home page will reveal that quite a bit of rearranging has been done. Instead of showcasing the most popular and trending videos on the website, YouTube has now prominently positioned a “Subscription Feed” smack-dab in the middle of the page.
Note: You must be logged in to see this properly.
This “Subscription Feed” (which bears an uncanny resemblance to Facebook’s Live Feed), now features the latest video content and updates from your subscribers.
In an effort to provide a better, more relevant user experience for viewers, YouTube is behaving more like a social-networking site than ever before. But what does this mean for you?
Until now, the “cute baby” and “shockingly embarrassing caught-on-tape” videos have dominated YouTube with millions of views from your bored co-workers looking for a quick distraction from their day. Most of us have discredited YouTube as a legitimate traffic source or brand-builder for our businesses because let’s face it, creating randomly hilarious videos probably isn’t your forte! And that’s OK, because things are changing…
This “Subscription Feed” gives the smaller guy who doesn’t have “crazy-viral” content a fighting chance for more exposure.
As your viewers watch, rate and comment on your latest video, exposure for your content will spread to the followers and subscribers of each of your viewers through YouTube’s feed, creating a smaller yet more relevant viral effect.
youtube subscriptions
Building your subscriber base is even more imperative than ever before!
To take advantage of the Subscription Feed, here is what I recommend:
  •  Be active daily and consistently: Make sure to upload fresh content to YouTube weekly and follow up as many times as possible to comment, share and promote other videos that you enjoy watching. The more activity you have on YouTube, the more exposure you can get.
  • Get your audience to take action: Using a call to action, get your viewers to subscribe, rate, comment and share each of your videos. The more activity and interaction that takes place on each of your videos, the more potential exposure you get on the home page of YouTube.
I don’t expect your 3-minute, content-rich video on how to get more leads in your business to suddenly go viral and compete with the likes of “Rebecca Black” & “Charlie Bit My Finger.” I do however see a mini-viral effect take place! Your videos have the potential of being shared and seen by more targeted viewers (quality views over quantity!).

#2: New YouTube Channel Page

The new channel layout may look different, but it still behaves relatively the same. However, as YouTube moves in the direction of becoming more “channel-centric,” it is imperative that you activate, update and optimize your new channel as quickly as possible for the best results.
In fact, YouTube is already making more of an effort to feature channels on search results pages for related keywords. Focus on using your main keyword phrase properly in your channel, and you can get found even quicker!
youtube keywords
Optimize your channel with your main keyword phrase for more exposure!
Here is your action list for proper channel page optimization:
Step 1: Set up background image.
Depending on how your channel’s background image was designed before the big change, you may need to modify and upload a new image. The best background images reflect your brand and the services you provide through pictures and text on the far left-hand side of your background image.
To begin the editing process, simply click the “Edit Channel” button on the top right-hand corner of your channel page.
Step 2: Edit your channel details.
The next step is to make sure the title, description and tags for your channel are properly filled out using your main keyword phrase. (Note: Some users have experienced losing all the content they used in their previous channel description after making the switch. Don’t assume your description is still intact.)
Your title should be clear, concise and benefit-driven. Your description should detail exactly what type of value and benefits your audience will get when they watch your videos. And you can finish this by adding a bunch of your relevant keyword phrases (in quotation marks) in the Tags section.
youtube channel info
Properly fill out your channel info and include your keyword phrase.
Step 3: Activate the “Blogger Template.”
The new channel page offers the choice to customize the design and layout of your channel with one of four templates. I recommend using the “Blogger” layout. It can be selected with the click of a button!
youtube layout
Select the layout that best suits your needs!
Step 4: Edit your featured video.
Similar to the old channel design, you’ll want to have a featured video that auto-plays when people view your channel. You can choose from any of your past videos or select the option to use your most recent video (recommended).
youtube featured video
Remember to properly add your "featured video."
Step 5: Add your links.
The new channel design makes it fairly easy to add website, blog and social profile links to drive traffic to your other web properties. Make sure to take the time to add and edit this information and use compelling benefit-driven copy to encourage your visitors to click over to your website!
youtube links
Include links to your website, blog and social networking profiles.
Most marketers will never take the 4.3 minutes to make these minor adjustments to their channel. Take this opportunity to optimize your channel page properly and focus on getting it ranked for your main keyword phrase!

#3: YouTube Analytics

My personal favorite change in YouTube’s most recent overhaul has been their introduction of YouTube Analytics. Previously called YouTube Insight, this extremely detailed and informative feature allows you to learn more about your audience, your videos and your activity on YouTube. In other words, you get to totally geek out!
Each statistic tells a story about the viewing habits of your audience. With proper deduction skills, you can effectively identify problems with your videos and make the necessary changes to improve your results.
Most of the features in YouTube Analytics have remained the same; however, there are two features that I would like to call special attention to:
1: Audience retention
Previously labeled as “Hotspots,” this improved function allows you to see just how engaging (or unengaging!) your videos really are. Identify the exact moments that are causing your viewers to run for the hills or making them perform a “digital double-take,” rewinding your video and begging you for more! Want to see more results with your videos? This function tells you exactly what you need to do!
youtube analytics
Two exciting features to play with inside YouTube Analytics.
2: Playback locations
This new function allows you to see exactly where your videos are being watched. As mobile devices become predominant in our lives, you’ll notice a greater percentage of playback locations coming from “mobile.” This feature will also allow you to see exactly who is embedding your videos and which blogs/websites are giving you views! Find out what is working and you can do more of the same!

Why Change Is Good

Even though this round of changes was met with harsh criticism from the YouTube community, it’s our duty as business owners to embrace the change and understand YouTube’s ultimate vision.
As the third-largest website in the world with an audience that rivals any major television network, YouTube is an absolute powerhouse! It has big plans for blurring the line of offline television and online entertainment, and we can expect YouTube to continue to evolve and morph into something new and different.

What do you think? Do you understand the rules of YouTube’s game? Embrace the change and you can see results for a long time to come! Leave your questions and comments in the box below.

For more great articles visit: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com

From the 1/3/2012 Social Media Examiner article.