Video Tweeting – The New Battle Ground

I started to see it, in my Twitter stream, during SXSW. Meerkat. Other than the African plains version of the Prairie Dog (yes, I know they are part of the Mongoose family), I had never heard of it, but, there it was, all the rage of the Twitteratti strolling events and talks during 2015’s first really big new media show. Of course, I couldn’t resist taking a closer look.

By the time Social Media Examiners Social Media Marketing World kicked off, I was following several people who had really jumped on the Meerkat bandwagon (including Social Media Camp 2015 speaker, Brian Fanzo). I was enjoying the video feeds from the various venues and events, seeing many of my Social Media friends and peers showing what a great time the event was. I could see the possibilities, for sure.

For those who are not yet familiar with Meerkat (or its direct competitor, Twitter’s Periscope), it is an app in the newest Social Media battleground; LIVE vide0 tweeting. It is an interesting pairing of a Live Video Feed with a Twitter conversation. It allows you to have engagement with followers, as you share a live video feed, by those followers tweeting comments that are visible right in the feed. As I sit, writing this, I am watching a Live feed of a cancer patient talking with his doctor about his cancer treatment. It is a powerful and Screen Shot 2015-04-12 at 8.35.22 PMthought provoking conversation….and very, very, real.

This is not to say, however, that these new video feeds are not like the early days of Twitter. Most of the posted feeds are full of absolutely mind numbing stuff. People walking down the street, either talking to the camera (which seem like a good way to walk into a pole) or the cameras is facing the street in front of them. Others are showing themselves driving down the street with a live commentary, making or eating food, hanging out at the beach, etc.. Basically, mental chewing gum with no real purpose other than to share their life with others (which might not be as interesting as they seem to think it is).

So, is this a battleground, or just a minor skirmish in the Social Media “Look At Me!” wars?

Video vs. Image

If you post an image online, people will usually stop and take a look, especially if the image is a powerful one. Video, on the other hand, almost always gets a click, just out of plain curiosity. Video can be a powerful tool in getting your content out to the increasingly distracted masses. Even Instagram is launching the ability upload video into its space and it is gaining a lot of traction. Many of the leaders in the use of Social Media, as a marketing tool, will tell you this. Where an image can be worth a 1000 words, in video can use a 1000 words (and more) and this is where this new set of platforms will start to take hold.

Much like images, however, video needs to be connected to great content. Unlike images, the content is in the video so the visual has be worth engaging and this is where these new apps are still a long way from having the value that they potentially hold. Like Twitter back in the day, the landscape is full of people trying out their hand at being seen, moving from the days of taking pictures of their food, to sharing streaming video of them eating that food. A strategy to implement the tool is needed, in order people and businesses to take it to the next level.

Instant Feedback

The first stream I watched was actor Adam Goldberg making comparisons and starting conversations around the Meerkat vs. Periscope. A humourous, rambling, Q&A, where Goldberg was trying to decide which platform was better, using his audience as a sounding board and a comment stream. As I watched, it was not hard to see that the World of Screen Shot 2015-04-12 at 8.36.19 PMSocial Media “instant gratification” just took another step forward, to “truly instant gratification”. A question is asked and instantly answered, from either side of the conversation, with the only drawback being whether or not your comment / query will be seen in the stream of so many others and if the person in the feed will be there, long enough, for it to be seen. I couldn’t help but think what this will mean in a world where most Social Media users have an attention span of a gnat, with ADD, on a sugar high.

Finding its Place

As I mentioned, as with most new platforms, many of the early adopters are people that have less than engaging content to share. Unlike the early days of Twitter, however, some of those early adopters are people are those who had traditionally been the sheep, following long after the rest of the community was already on board. In one feed, I watched a television news anchor walking around the studio, shortly before he was to go on air, showing his audience the people who work behind the scenes and answering questions. In another, “I-Broke-Twitter” Queen, Ellen DeGeneres was sharing a behind the scenes look of her team reviewing the latest viral video’s, looking for the next online sensation. These peeks into the little seen world of news and entertainment, judging from the never ending flow of comments and admiration, further the exposure that they (traditional broadcast media) so desperately want to keep a grip on. Despite all the possible legal and privacy issues, that any live video feed entails, it is an easy indicator that the Live Video Feed will come into its own, sooner than later, and become the new Battle Ground in Social Media stream domination.

 

10 Reasons to Visit Victoria

Social Media Camp is reason enough to justify a trip to Victoria. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Scenic coastlines, a vibrant culture and unique West-coast feel characterize British Columbia’s capital, giving rise to these 10 reasons why you should visit Victoria.

1. Explore the Friendliest City in North America In Victoria, the best way to meet a local is to hold a map, looking slightly lost. We’re drawn to people like bears to honey and generally love to help and show off our favourite local hotspots. That’s why Victoria was named the world’s third friendliest city by Condé Nast Traveler in 2014, topped only by two towns Down Under. But don’t just take our word for it, come visit and find out for yourself.

2. Hop On a Pickle Boat Pub Crawl Whether you’re hoping for a deliciously quick bite, mouth-watering seafood or steak, unique modern experiential dishes or simply a night out with award-winning cocktails and brews, Victoria has it all. For a fun night with a nautical twist, head on a Pickle Boat Pub Crawl. The Victoria Harbour Ferry takes you to your choice of four restaurants and pubs, including Swans, Canoe, Blue Crab Seafood House and Lure to get a taste of local favourites.

3. Realize Unmatched Networking Potential at Pubs on Government Street Victoria’s intimate downtown core stimulates a deeper dimension of networking. Connect with North America’s brightest social media minds as you run into speakers and attendees as you’re raising a glass to a successful day in one of Victoria’s many pubs Kayaking Inner Harbour Victoriaalong Government Street. Just a couple blocks up from the Fairmont Empress, start at the Bard & Banker and cheers your way through to The Churchill, Garrick’s Head Pub and the Irish Times. With a drink in your hand, great ideas will be born the way they always have…by accident.

4. Head Outdoors for Exhilarating Adventures Discover the great outdoors in Canada’s mildest climate. Zoom through the waves for a breathtaking encounter with local wildlife on a whale watching tour or take a seat in a vintage style motorcycle sidecar for a scenic and unique tour of Victoria’s coastline. Alternatively, rent a stand up paddle board or bike to explore the city on your own terms.

5. Step Into the Colourful Galaxies of Victoria’s “Nerdvana” The gateway to comic worlds brighter than your most vivid dreams, Victoria boasts a vibrant fan culture that we affectionately call Megatronic Playfullism. Step back in time as you rediscover long forgotten arcade games at Cherry Bomb Toys, vivid comics at Legends or Curious Comics and the vinyl soundtrack of your childhood at Lyle’s Place. Don’t forget to also pick up some eclectic souvenirs Oscar & Libby’s Gifts for the Upbeat & Offbeat (a solar powered waving Mona Lisa anyone?) or else none of your friends will believe that a world this magically fantastic actually exists.

6. Ditch the Traffic and Go For Walk in the Park Leave your car and road rage at home to take a walk. Adventure past the Inner Harbour and explore Beacon Hill Park. Home to colourful peacocks and fun-loving goats at the Beacon Hill Children’s Farm, this park stuns with its charm and abundance of natural beauty. Keep walking south until you hit one of the world’s tallest totem poles and soak in the ocean views from Dallas Road.

7. Recharge Your Batteries and Make This a Mini Vacation Victoria may just be a hop away from Seattle and Vancouver, but it feels like you entered a completely Harbour Ferry in Fisherman's Wharfdifferent world. Take a deep breath of fresh marine air, listen to the happy chatter of friendly locals and let go. Whether you like to get pampered at a spa or enjoy spending a day strolling to the beach through historic streets, Victoria delivers relaxation with its one-of-a-kind West Coast ambience and old-world charm.

8. Pick Up All Sorts of Knowledge in Canada’s Smartest City Home to brilliant entrepreneurs and innovators, Victoria’s technology sector is the number one private industry in the city, giving rise to the nickname Tectoria. ViaTeC’s Fort Tectoria provides the community with a central hub to bounce ideas around and help turn startups into thriving business partners. Make the café your workspace and enjoy great company and free Wi-Fi.

9. Discover a Unique Blend of Cultures and History Cultures of all continents and ages mix in Victoria, creating a unique West Coast dynamic. Steeped in rich colonial British history and influenced by immigrants of all backgrounds, Canada’s oldest British Columbia Legislative BuildingsChinatown is only a few steps from authentically British Afternoon Tea. Similarly, modern fusion cuisine is served in historic buildings, creating an atmosphere that is beyond words. Come see it for yourself!

10. Attend Canada’s Biggest Social Media Conference Here’s another fun fact: Victoria was the first city in the world to declare Social Media Day! What started with a handful of Twitter’s early adopters getting together for Tweet ups, has turned into Canada’s largest social media conference. Social Media Camp draws in a large crowd of participants from all walks of life and an abundance of industries. It’s the perfect chance to fill up on Social Media tips and tricks and visit beautiful Victoria.

Author: Dorothee Rembold, Tourism Victoria Victoria’s biggest fan and Content Marketing Specialist at Tourism Victoria. She’s overly excited to attend Social Media Camp and can give you a further million reasons why you should travel to Victoria. Tweet her at @dororembold for more tips on how to have the best time in Victoria. Social

Links:

Twitter: http://twitter.com/victoriavisitor

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tourismvictoriafan

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/978881

Google +: https://plus.google.com/115628793375755284854/posts

Email Marketing Is Alive and Well

Email Marketing Is Alive and Well and Driving More Business Than Ever
By Guy Steeves, Regional Development Director, Constant Contact 

 

With all the talk about the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL), and the unfounded rumors that email marketing is being usurped by mobile and social, it’s no wonder that some small business owners are a bit gun shy when it comes to hitting the send button on their email campaigns. Don’t be.

Before we dive into why email marketing is still the most effective way to engage customers and drive business, let’s first clear up the confusion. While some may have bristled when CASL went into effect last summer, it’s actually one of the best things to happen to email marketing. By requiring consent, it ensures that your emails are welcome – and may even be anticipated – by your customers. When you focus on engaging the customers that truly want to hear from you, you’ll find that email marketing campaign rates improve, business picks up and the referral engine gets revved.Image via Freshlime.com

With regard to the health of email, don’t believe for even one second that it’s on the decline. In fact, industry analysts at The Radicati Group estimate that there will be 5.2 billion email accounts by the end of 2018, up from 4.1 billion in 2014.

So where does social and mobile fit in when it comes to email marketing? It’s not an either/or choice. Rather, when you combine the power of each of these channels, you’ll see a remarkable payoff in your campaign results.

It works like this. With email as the foundation of your marketing campaign, you have a captive audience that has already opted-in to hear from you. Social amplifies your messages as subscribers share your content with their network. And since more than half of your subscribers are likely to be reading your email on a mobile device, it doesn’t mean you’re losing readers, it just means that you need to ensure your messages are mobile friendly.

Here are five actions you can take today to ensure your email is mobile friendly:

  1. Simplify the design
  2. Write short content and use easy-to-read fonts
  3. Make sure images can be quickly downloaded
  4. Insert respond buttons large enough to accommodate fingers and thumbs
  5. Test it before you hit send

 

Five More Reasons Why Small Businesses Should Embrace Email Marketing

Along with providing the most cost effective and efficient way to engage customers between visits, here are five more reasons why email is the most powerful marketing tool for small businesses.

  1. It gives you control over the content of your message. You decide how you want to convey your brand and position your products and services.
  2. You get instant feedback. You can see who received and opened your email and what they did with the content and offers. Based on this insight, you can continue to tweak your campaigns to do more of what works.
  3. You can segment your contacts and personalize your messages. The more you engage customers, the more you’re able to learn their likes and dislikes based on buying behavior and email responses. This enables you to create more targeted campaigns, which further engages customers and results in higher response rates.
  4. It allows you to demonstrate your expertise. The key to engaging customers through email marketing is to provide a balance of insightful content and offers. When you freely share your knowledge with customers, it instills more trust and confidence while keeping you top of mind the next time they’re in the market for what you offer.
  5. It can transform satisfied customers into your marketing ambassadors. When your email consistently delivers valuable content and great offers, your subscribers are more likely to pass along your helpful tips and share your offers with friends.

Of course, these efforts won’t pay off unless you’ve earned permission to add customers to your contact list. The best way to do this is to provide an outstanding customer experience that will inspire them to say “yes,” when you ask if they’d like to join your email list. And it certainly doesn’t hurt to highlight the benefits of subscribing such as insider deals, great content, and the promise that you won’t inundate them with too frequent or irrelevant messages.

 

 

The Social of Media

I first learned about it, via my Social Media stream. All the Vancouver Media outlets were posting about the container fire at the Port of Metro Vancouver and to be wary of the possibly toxic smoke that it was creating.

The following day, while listening to comments on CKNW 980, I heard an interesting comment; “even with all the news coverage and posts on Social Media, people in the affected area were still wandering outside, wondering what was happening”. The commentator seemed genuinely surprised that people didn’t know what was happening. I mean, it was all over Social Media, right?Screen Shot 2015-03-12 at 2.35.39 PM

It is true. Pretty much every traditional news organization, from terrestrial to print, has adopted Social Media as another means to get their content out to the masses. This is fine, when it comes to getting the news out to a general audience, but what if you are trying to get news and information out to a specific audience? I am not talking about a specific demographic or specific region, as you might do with Facebook advertising. I am talking about getting the attention of a neighbourhood or even a very targeted group in that neighbourhood. How is a Media outlet to connect with something that specific? Simple, really; Remember the ‘Social’.

My Source is not The Source

Remember how I said I first learned about the Port of Vancouver fire, via Social Media? I did, but it wasn’t from any news agency. It was from a person I follow on Twitter, who has a view that looks out toward the Port of Vancouver. He posted a picture that said “Uhh, Big fire at Port, near downtown!“. The visual of smoke rising over the Port of Vancouver was enough for me to look further.

This is how people are finding out about news that is important to them. Not just by following a Media outlet. The learn it either first hand or from a share, from a friend. I have friends that are politically active, so that is where I feed my political needs. I have friends who are still in the military, so that is where I keep up to date on the Green Machine. I have friends that are very active local events or local hot button issues, so that is where I keep up to date on what is happening in my community. In short, I get the latest news via my Social connections rather than the Media outlets directly. So, what’s a Media outlet to do, if they want to get their story out ahead of all the others?

Find your Influencers

For those of us who remember the days before the Internet and those of us who grew up in small communities, keeping up to date on what was happening in your neighbourhood was as simple as asking your

This Tweet was posted at 1:17pm. The 911 call came in at 1:40pm. Social Media was first with the news.

This Tweet was posted at 1:17pm. The 911 call came in at 1:40pm. Social Media was first with the news.

neighbourhood busy body. There was always one or two people that had their ear to the ground or their nose over the fence and was always happy to share their knowledge. The same goes for today. Every community, every neighbourhood, every organization has at least one person whom other seek or follow, to hear the latest about what is going on.

While the Social Media Managers, reporters and on-air talents are quick to pull potential news stories from their news feeds, they are far less likely to target specific people or organizations to share those same stories. It is this lack of two way interaction that is missing from the Social Media presence of traditional media. If local or regional media were to spend some time finding and connecting with those people who have wide following in specific areas. I’m not talking about celebrities or local leaders. I am talking about your every day people who are active in the Social Media sphere.

The Vanity Card

I often say that Social Media plays to that one thing that we all have; Vanity. Not the Kim Kardashian “look how amazing I am” vanity, but rather the “hey! This well known media person is connecting with me” vanity. There is a lot to be said about an on-air personality or a well known reporter, reaching out to a specific person and saying “Hey, Joe. I think your peeps would be interested in this story” or “Jane, could you get this emergency info out to your followers? Thanks!” That kind of direct engagement encourages even wider sharing of content, based on the “Cool! They asked ME to help THEM out!”. It also encourages that same person to start sharing content, without being asked, simply because that connection was made and maintained.

Social Media is, first and foremost, a Social platform. While some of the smaller media outlets have made efforts to make the conversation more of a two way conversation, larger outlets are still struggling with the concept that Social Media must be more than just another means of feeding information to the masses.

 

 

CASL – It’s in the details

Overlooking This CASL Detail May Hurt Your Small Business
By Guy Steeves, Regional Development Director, Constant Contact

 

Here’s a date to circle on your calendar: Friday, June 30, 2017. This is the deadline for businesses to receive confirmation from their email subscribers that yes; they do want to hear from them. Since the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) went into effect on July 1, 2014, there’s been some confusion about that confirmation.

First, let’s clarify what CASL is and what it means. The legislation requires anybody sending commercial e-mail to or from a Canadian computer, network or mail to obtain “opt in” consent before they hit the send button. ProtectYourOrganizationFromThreats-engOtherwise, the sender could be facing penalties ranging from $1-$10 million.

Last summer, when small business owners reached out to their contacts to obtain permission confirmation, some customers simply didn’t respond. Guided by the rational fear of possibly incurring hefty fines and perhaps unaware of the 2017 deadline, many small business owners removed these non-responsive customers from their list.  This was not necessary.

What they may have failed to realize is that if customers have previously opted in to receive email from you – and you built your contact list through permission-based email marketing – you can still continue to reach out to them – up until June 30. 2017. Herein lies the confusion. 

Permission Based Is The First Rule of Engagement

Permission-based email marketing is all about sending relevant, insightful and personalized messages that customers look forward to opening, reading and sharing. A customer that has opted in to receive your newsletters is giving you permission to reach out to them on a regular basis.

Of course, there are lots of ways to obtain email addresses. Customers visit your website, make a purchase, or enter their name or a business card in a drawing.  You can make a case for implied consent for any of the above mention scenarios that will allow you to send the contacts your newsletters, but there are conditions. In permission-based marketing, the best practice is on getting the customer’s express permission before you send them any marketing related email.   So we recommend getting express permission from the very start, because this type of permission never needs renewing. (They can, of course, unsubscribe at any time.)

canada-anti-spam-map

Image via Foliomag.com (http://www.foliomag.com/)

If your contact list was built on a permission-based strategy, then you already obtained confirmation (most likely a mix of implied and express consent) to reach out to customers. So don’t cast aside all the hard work that went into cultivating your contact list, by deleting ones that did not “click a link prior to July 2014”. Instead, keep doing what you’re doing – continue to use email marketing to educate, inform, engage, and drive business and referrals. Though be sure to get that reconfirmation for all implied consent contact records by the June 30th, 2017 deadline.

For those contacts that didn’t officially opt in to receive your emails, here’s how to inspire them to get on the list;

  • Create a “wow” customer experience. When customers are made to feel special and that the business went out of its way to ensure their satisfaction, they’re more likely to want to stay connected after they leave. They’re also more likely to tell their friends about the experience.
  • Ask. It really is that simple. When customers have a great experience, ask them if they would like to join your email list so they can continue to get free, helpful insight and special offers only presented to subscribers.
  • Post back issues of your newsletter on your website and keep them handy at the cash register. This way, customers can see the value of being a subscriber.
  • Make it easy to opt in and opt out. Customers should be able to sign up quickly by simply adding their email address as opposed to filling out lengthy forms. Also, opting out should be easy through the click of a single button.
  • Include a social sharing bar in your newsletter so subscribers can share your great content on their social networks.
  • Amplify your content on social media. You can post newsletter highlights and teasers on your social media pages and include a link that leads to a button to subscribe.

Along with helping clear the clutter from inboxes across the country, CASL put the spotlight on the need for permission-based marketing. While some small business owners may initially find their contact lists shrinking, all of them are likely to see significant gains. It’s the old “addition by subtraction” maxim.

With permission-based marketing you’re able to focus on engaging those customers that want to be engaged. Since 20 percent of your customers probably drive 80 percent of your business, permission-based marketing has been proven to drive repeat business and referrals.


Guy Steeves is the Regional Development Director for Constant Contact and is a speaker at the 2015 Edition of Social Media Camp, in Victoria, British Columbia, May 21-23.

How To Get The Most Out Of Instagram With Hashtags

Hashtags help businesses expand their reach, build their brand and establish a community when used properly. Who doesn’t want more of that social media success for their biz!? People and businesses find content, clients, information, customers, partners and contributors through incorporating hashtags into their posts and searching hashtags of interest. The hashtags actually help social media platforms to organize and categorize images, videos and content. Thus the hashtags create a way for your target audience or ideal client to discover your content which otherwise gets lost in the ever-changing newsfeed.

Here’s how it works. Simply place the hashtag symbol (#) in front of a key word or phrase relative to your post and relative to who you are trying to reach. The hashtag becomes searchable by users and allows you to become a part of a larger conversation with a much larger audience.

You are stuck!? OK, 5 Ways to Identify the Optimal Hashtags for your business:

Let’s use an example.

Your business is about healthy eating as a way of life. Your post is about implementing a paleo diet and launching a new avocado oil you are selling that supports this.

  • Categories – Hashtag categories relevant to your post or business i.e. #healthyliving #nutrition #paleodietIMMERSE small SUE files-219-sml
  • Location – Geotag or add locations relevant to your post or business i.e. where you are posting from or the town/city in which your business is based
  • Emotions – Hashtag how what you do makes you feel, how you are feeling that day or how the post topic makes you feel. i.e. #energetic #pure #natural
  • Events – Hashtag the event you are attending/posting from or create a hashtag for an event you have created and are promoting i.e. #UnionSQFarmersMarket #AvocadoBonanza
  • Products – Hashtag your product’s name, type of product it is and what it is used for i.e. #healthfuloils #avocado #paleodiet

 

3 Do’s of Hashtaging:

Create your own

Hashtags are a great way to generate buzz around what you are doing and your specific brand. You can even identify yours by entering them on Tagboard. I use #Instagallive and you can see the feed here with this hyperlink https://tagboard.com/instagallive/search . Having a custom hashtag allows you to dominate a feed and keep yourself top of mind.

Be relevant. Be aware of the competition. Be thoughtful.

If I am new to the niche, I may not have any idea what the hashtags might look like. However, I might know who the influencers are within that niche. Those may help you know what is trending and also what to stay away from. Once you’ve researched some of your ideas, choose those that are memorable and important in order to create staying power with your followers. Choose a few that can be consistently used and adapted as well. This will make it easier for your customers to follow your conversations.

Refresh to get more mileage

A way to get more use out of older posts that are still relevant is to repost using a combination of fresh hashtags and the ones you have used already.


3 Don’ts of Hashtagging:

No “crashtagging”

Do not just use a hashtag because it has a huge amount of traffic unless it is relevant to your content. For example Nike is one of the most used hashtags but you would be “spammy” if you used that tag on your post about paleo diets.hashtag-300x300

Do not overuse

Don’t weigh your posts down with a crazy amount of hashtags. Your thoroughness will be better served with a more precise selection of 8-10 hashtags regardless of the fact Instagram allows you up to 30. Too many reads like desperate marketing, and is a sure way to lose followers quickly. Some even consider it spam.

Don’t create a long, complex hashtag.

Overly complicated hashtags like #paleodietlifestyleideas are not search-friendly or commonly used, so your post will get buried quickly rather than garnering the attention it deserves. If you want more hashtag yummy goodness please use this link to get my super value-filled hashtag strategy ebook with lots of recommendations on specific hashtags for your business or industry from The Instagram Expert!  http://bit.ly/GetYourHashtagOn

This post was supplied by 2014 Social Media Camp Speaker Sue B. Zimmerman.

Sue B. Zimmerman, aka the #InstagramGal and #TheInstagramExpert, is a master at Instagram for Business. She teaches entrepreneurs, business execs, and marketing professionals how powerful Instagram for business can be. Sue B. is the founder of the online Instagram course Insta-Results, the author of the #1 eBook Instagram Basics for your Business, a Speaker and Business Coach. She also is the founder of SueB.Do & Sue B. Zimmerman Enterprise.