Video Blogging – Just Do It!

Video Blogging – Just Do It!

When you want to do Video Blogging, the first step is the hardest! It can be intimidating to step in front of the camera, but it’s so worth it. Sometimes when a thing seems hard, it is the best thing for you to do.

Inspired by Peggy Richardson’s recent first blog post right here on the Social Media Camp website, I was inspired to try my own!


The Sweet Sounds of Video – 6 Easy Audio Recording Tips for You

Most amateur videographers make this one big mistake. They don’t pay enough attention to audio recording when shooting video.

Rich clear audio can be the secret sauce that grabs the audience and makes your video stand out!

Use these 6 audio tips to easily improve your Social Media video efforts.

Tip One

Spend as much time and care on the Audio as you do on the video itself. Thats a secret the pro’s use.

  • See if your camera can accept an External microphone. 
  • Amateur gear will use a mini plug connection. Pro gear will accept an XLR feed. 
  • A pro camcorder will also let you switch your audio feed between Mic and Line inputs. (Line input is a feed from a mixing board.)

Tip Two

Use an external microphone.

  • Some popular brands I use are Sennheiser and Sony. 
  • Microphones come in various lengths to suit specific tasks. 
  • I find a ‘short’ and a ‘short shotgun’ length excellant for general use and for interviews.

Lavalier lapel mics are also standard for interviews and controlled studio type situations. Place them up high and be careful they don’t rub on clothing fabric.

Wired vs: wireless microphones. Wireless microphones cost more and are convenient in use. They can have reception issues occasionally. Wired microphones take a bit more time to set up, but they basically always work!

Tip Three

Some microphones draw power from the camcorder. Many higher end microphones use an internal battery. Always check the battery and carry a spare or two.

Tip Four

Use good quality headphones when recording video.

  • It’s very important to monitor both sound levels and sound quality. 
  • You’ll want to know if a passing truck or plane intruded onto the soundtrack. 
  • You need to catch the lapel mic rubbing on the shirt or jacket. 
  • Be alert to gently deter any chest thumpers or pocket change janglers.
  • Beware of ceiling fans, ventilation ducts and other random unwanted sounds.

Tip Five

Use a microphone stand and keep the mic close to your on-camera talent. This gets rid of that hollow sound you get when the mic is too far away. Make sure the mic is not in the shot. If your mic is built into your camcorder, move closer in.

Tip Six

Be sure to check and adjust your sound levels in software during the video editing process.

  • Then in editing you can match audio levels uniformly across the entire finished video. 
  • Software like Adobe Audition can filter and sweeten soundtracks to remove unwanted elements. 
  • But its always better to make the initial recording as high quality as possible.

If you give recording your audio the attention it deserves you will improve your videos immensely!

What are you using to record audio now?


Customer Service Training Tips – Don’ts

Social Media in Customer Service is a great topic! It has a length and a breadth most folks are unaware of. It points outwards to your current and potential client base, and also inwards to help serve your internal clients in your company.

It is the differentiator that distinguishes your brand.

Customer service began in the face to face world.  Its useful to understand that connection as it seeks it’s fuller potential and complement via Social Media. I believe Social is leading the way in raising the bar for #custserv standards and awareness.

Social customer service can play a critical role in customer retention. We know it costs far less to keep a client than to find a new one.

Last time we shared some tips for social customer service training do’s. In this post we share some tips for customer service don’ts.

“Without customer service, you are simply a commodity to your customers” – Connie Siu 

Online and IRL – Customer Service Don’ts

“It’s just as important to know what to do right as it is what to do wrong in customer service.” #yyjchat @RussLOL

  • Don’t ever hit send when you’re emotional!
  • Don’t begin the conversation by telling them what you CAN’T do. Always tell your customer what you CAN do for them.   Avoid  …  “It’s not our policy”  or, “You are not allowed to…
  • Do not interrupt a client or interject until they  have finished having their say. Online, in person or on the phone, allow irate customers to vent. Do not be quick to cut them off with the idea of defending yourself or your company. Do seek to take the issue off-line to private channels. Do post resolution updates when the issue is solved.
  • Lose the reflex habit of typing or saying the word “Sorry”. It sets the wrong tone. Words to avoid: sorry, never, if, but, should, and policy. Rather, acknowledge that you’re sympathetic to what they’re experiencing and you are reaching out to assist. (source)
  • In Social, you can’t ignore complaints. You must address them. Ignoring a complaint is like failing to make eye contact IRL. It’s like if you were in a store when staff are talking to a co-worker and flat out ignoring that you even exist. Social gives power back to ignored customers.

The more you learn about customer service, the more you realize how vast the subject is and how intimately it effects our business. We just need to pay attention to it. When you consciously look for it and analyse it,  you’ll quickly see the great benefits a focus on customer service can deliver.

Thanks to Social Media, I think customer service is getting on the radar now.

Do you think great Customer Service is hard to deliver? Have you or anyone you know actually been trained in it? How are you using it in your business and your Social Media?

Resources: #yyjchat on Customer Service   Brenda Robinson

Customer Service Training Tips – Do’s

Customer Service can make or break a company. The success of Zappos or Amazon is very much driven by great service. So why does it so often seem an afterthought for others? One thing’s for sure, Social Media is a #gamechanger by spotlighting customer service #fails. This post shares some tips to help improve your performance.

“Customer Service is why I keep going back again and again without checking out the other guy.” – Scott McDonald

Learning to Listen!

Best practices are to have a trained person manning your social media channels for customer service related inquiries. You need them to be trained to respond correctly. Otherwise you might be turning off current and future paying customers.

Some Expert advice from panelists at New York’s Social Media Week 2013:

  1. Have a separate customer service account.
  2. Aim for single-contact resolution.
  3. Be smart when handling a crisis. You can get in front of it by sending status updates to fans and followers.
  4. Train your staff on using your analog and Social Media channels. You can’t assume they know how to do it with the company voice.

Customer Service Do’s

“#custserv involves qualifying your customers to find out what they need/want then provide it.  - Scott McDonald

  • Positive language is critical for customer service success. Make your first 8 words positive.
  • Customers like Options and Choices. … Lead them with a choice menu.
  • Ask questions to build rapport.  Ask good, prepared questions, don’t enter the ‘I’m telling you’ trap. No easy return from that.
  • Take the Conversation Offline. You can publicly acknowledge the complaint or question online and ask the person to call or contact your business directly. This lessens the risk of a public rant festival, and removes the potential of private customer information being shared online. 
  • When dealing with customers, ask for the behaviour you want, not tell them what we don’t want – (Source)

Customer Service Training

Has Social media reached the front line of Customer Service? In most cases, not so much! Russel Lolacher @RussLoL shared a Global American Express report stating:

“2/3’s of surveyed consumers are willing to spend more with a company they believe provides excellent customer service.

… if customers are willing to pay more for excellent customer service, should not businesses be willing to invest more to achieve it?” …  (Source)

Can social savy customers drive a narrative Pro or Con for your business? Increasingly, this is the case. Is that an opportunity for your company to focus on Customer Service and Social Media training?  … Absolutely!

What would it take to grow Customer Service as company culture & ‘Put the Customer First’?

Resources: #yyjchat on Customer Service   Brenda Robinson


Can Social Media Save Customer Service?

What is the ‘Art of Customer Service’ and can Social Media save it?

Rather than a Wikipedia definition, I developed my own while studying Customer Service at Royal Roads University:

“The brand-client-server interactions that leave you feeling good or bad, before, during and after a commercial transaction.” - Mark McLaughlin

Customer service is an art that can be trained. It is about bringing customers back. A big challenge today is that staff is trained to work the sales product but not trained in Customer Service. Consider that no University or Business School has an academic department for Customer Service! Can Social Media step in to improve the situation? I think the answer is Yes!

Benefits of Social for Customer Service

Using your social profiles to offer customer assistance lets you connect in a way not really possible before. Social can help address customer problems quickly and economically. It can boost customer satisfaction, build brand loyalty, and provide positive marketing for your business.

Considerations around Customer Service

  1. ROI (Return on Investment) – it costs 5 times as much to REPLACE a dissatisfied customer as to retain a customer.
  2. Negative word of mouth travels much faster (and farther) than positive word of mouth – especially in social media.
  3. More customers complain in social media than traditional outlets.
  4. Customers are increasingly likely to ask for help via social networks than to call your help desk. (source)

Implementing Social Listening

Tools like HootSuite, Google alerts, and Twitter searches allow you to create a Social Media listening strategy to monitor mentions about your company, your competitors, and your industry. For example, the Dell Social Media Listening Center monitors more than 25,000 online mentions of the Dell brand daily.

While the temptation is to constantly be trying to increase your Social Media reach, spend at least as much time listening, engaging and building connections with your existing fan base. Cultivate the gold there!

If you want to be proactive regarding what your customers think of you, ask them using an online poll or point of sale survey card.

Availability & Response Times

Larger organizations have teams to respond around the clock, and strive for as quick as 5-10 minutes response times. Smaller organizations often can’t match that, and might have a goal of a same day response or within a few hours.

You may not be able to solve the issue immediately, but you can recognize the issue and outline steps you’ll take to address it. One strategy for setting expectations is to list your hours of operation for Social on your Facebook and Twitter profiles.

Have a Company Strategy and Prepare for Disasters

It’s important to have a widely understood internal company policy for Social  and a designated response workflow that can pay big benefits at a time of crisis. Remember keeping a customer delivers much more value at less cost than winning a new one. Great Customer Service can help you do that!

Customer Service Builds Rapport

“25% of #Custserv is rapport” –   Some say it’s even more!

A good example of Customer Service is WestJet, where every position is viewed through the #custserv lens. Staff are empowered with information to solve customer issues across various channels. Here’s a quote you’d love to have for your business:

“I’ve had companies like WestJet solve problems thru SoMe while I was in line and problem ongoing! Amazing!” – Scott McDonald

Some companies develop and share videos of themselves answering questions on YouTube and replying to customer’s tweets with a link to those videos. Including a video response can raise retweet frequency many times over.

What is your company doing with Social for Customer Service? Have you any other examples you can share with us?


Finally, You’re a Social Media Community Manager! Now what? Pt.2

Last time we spoke about the definition, roles and content creation tasks that a Social Media Community Manager may be responsible for

Community managers are the social media voices of their brands, fulfilling multiple roles including social media strategists, customer service managers, content creators, product managers and evangelists. They often must address the task of how to make community engagement multichannel.  (source) 

The moment you start thinking about it, the skill set expands. A short list for a Social Media Community Manager might include: evangelist, content creator, social media strategist, customer service manager, and indeed product manager. As in my first post, many people see this list in opposite order. What do you think?

Sometimes it might seem like you need the following to excel in the Community Manager space:

  • the mental flexibility of a gymnast
  • artistic creation talents like Picasso
  • be a very light sleeper
  • have the human insight and writing skills of a certain lauded William S.
  • oh, and the ability to make good video.

A rather wide skill set request, some would say. The beauty is all of these creative paths are clear and present opportunities to contribute and advance the goals of your organization.

But the first thing, the major thing, and perhaps the only lasting thing that actually builds community engagement is to identify, listen and respond to your audience, participants, and community.  To the degree you do this, we all win!

In post 1 of this series, Content Creation was addressed. The ultimate Sweet Spot is content that is created organically by your user to help achieve your business goals. In this post, we’ll look further at Communications and Marketing strategy referenced by LyntonWeb.

Community Manager Tasks & Responsibilities Can Include:

• Create marketing and communications plans to provide direction for your business or organization’s  ‘invitation to the world’.

• Implement the online community strategy; If it’s just you, think through the outcomes desired and the time frame for results. Write it down. Work that plan to move forward. In a larger business, government or not-for-profit organization, meet participants and potential champions widely to ensure plan development and buy-in. Get commitments, written is good. Help define expectations and strategies of support to assist all re: guidelines for the work, delivery model and expectations, and follow up to maintain customer service and community support and engagement.

• Keep communications channels like forums, blogs, moderation tools, up to date and functional while collating user feedback.

• Act as an advocate of the company in the brand’s community and as the advocate of the community within the company, engaging in dialogues and answering questions wherever possible.

• Maintain current participants and re-engage less frequently engaged members through items such as regular Tweeting, emails and a community newsletter.

• Measure engagement and growth of community by metrics like Twitter posts, mentions and Re-Tweets, Facebook and private domain URL visits, and of course, sales. Analyze and report on effectiveness of new strategies.

• Garner feedback and insights from community monitoring for you personally, and into the marketing and editorial teams if you have them, to help evolve strategies in a timely fashion.

• Ongoing learning means monitoring new and emerging online community tools, trends and applications. Attend seminars and conferences, and stage events and MeetUps.

Destin Haynes at HootSuite says,“In community building you have to be prepared to always learn and grow your skills”

Community Manager Interview:

Meet Destin Haynes – Director of Community at HootSuite.

1) Hello Destin, could you describe what you do as Community Manager at HootSuite?

I work with an incredible team to help grow and build community around the HootSuite brand and culture in international markets. We do this by connecting with and empowering users and fans through a variety of means including HootUps (user powered events), swag, online hangouts, videos and programs.

2) What specific tasks do you perform?

I manage and mentor a team of community builders which includes hundreds of international Diplomats. I also develop and implement the programs which we employ to grow and build community internationally including our HootUp, HootKit, Diplomat and Campus Ambassador programs. I also work with our VP of Community, Dave Olson, to develop and foster new community building ideas and programs including some exciting new ideas for 2013!

3) How long & where have you done Community Manager work?

I have been working directly in community management for 5 years. I began working in this field when I was working in the communications department for a non-profit and helping them to expand their marketing and communications efforts into the online arena plus outreach to new, younger donors. This was such an eye-opening experience for me – seeing such an incredible impact on the events and donor acquisition from our team’s efforts in the social space that I knew I had found my niche. After my time in non-profit communications I switched to working full time in community management at a social media agency which focused mostly on travel and tourism clients. From there I did freelance community management for a variety of clients before landing my dream job at HootSuite.

4) What have been your successes?

Seeing a new market expand and grow due to the efforts of my team is pretty remarkable. We do everything “cheap and cheerful” as Dave likes to say and to see those efforts (both big and small) turn into such a big community building ripple is really amazing for us. Additionally, having interns come to work in the HootSuite Community department that are new to the work force and a little unsure of exactly what they want to do then turn around and develop a passion and deep interest in community building is a great feeling. Dave and I strive to inspire our interns and treat them as part of the team from day one – no filing or getting coffee – it is contributing to the team and its goals right away.

5) Is any part of it fun and easy?

Yes and sort of (though there is hard work and difficult parts too). Community growing and building is incredibly fun. Outreaching to new users and fans, connecting with people, sharing stories – it is a great way to spend a day. I say sort of for the “easy” question as I think the more you work at something the easier it becomes. However, community building never remains constant. Each new market, each new community you start to grow is different from the last – different culture, different language, different internet habits. You can only take so much from the previous experiences and apply them going forward. In community building you have to be prepared to always learn and grow your skills.

6) Do you have any specific goals as a Community Manager?

I want to challenge myself as much as I can with my work by doing things like starting new and exciting programs, sharing HootSuite culture with as many new markets and users as possible. I also want to be on the cutting edge of community building – helping to shape and define what others are doing in the field by taking chances, developing new programs, new ways to build community or building and growing community in notoriously hard markets or industries.

7) Are you doing any off-line or In Real Life (IRL) activities for promotion and engagement?

Yes we do quite a bit of off-line IRL activities to complement our social outreach and engagement. One example is our HootUp program. While we use a ton of social media for engagement and outreach we truly want to put the social in social media and encourage our users to get out there and meet each other and we will share some HootSwag and HootLove with them while they do!

8) What advice do you have for future Community Managers?

First, learn to explain what you do and the value of the work you do. Prepare yourself to discuss community management with people of all levels from your friends and family, to teammates, to CMOs and CEOs.

Second, make connections, allies and friends in every other department of your company. Community impacts the rest of your company from top to bottom. Take the time to build internal community within your own company.

Finally, Do what you love and love what you do. I love HootSuite, and that makes it easier for me to manage my time and be effective in my role. I love what I do, who I do it with, and who I do it for.

Thank you Destin and HootSuite for sharing with us. I know the Community Manager role will continue to evolve with creative and rewarding tasks and opportunities.

How do you see the Community Manager position in your organization? Do you have one?

Please add your comments below!