How to Influence Public Perception: A Blueprint

The perception of your company and industry as a whole is the primary driver of purchase behavior for consumers. Learn how to shape those perceptions and grow your business.

The Web Never Forgets

I recently read an article called "Think Again Before You Post Online Those Pics Of Your Kids" that made me think. It made me think A LOT about what I have been posting about my family and friends on social media. How many of you have posted a funny video of your kids that might be slightly embarrassing for them, but it is just too good not to share? I know I have. But what I have failed to do is to think about how many will view and share that particular video, and for how long it will be available for anyone and everyone to see.  The carbon footprint, so to speak, that we leave behind of ourselves on social media is there for the public to view forever! That ‘fun’ video you posted of your kids will be on the internet for your kids’ friends to view forever, even when they are teenagers and most likely do not want anyone to see it.

In trying to keep my kids safe, I have always been very concerned with what my kids share on their preferred social media platforms (which, incidentally does NOT include Facebook). I often tell them that what they post will be there for an eternity. I have put down a long list of ‘rules’ of what is okay and what is not okay on their social media; there can be no indecent photos, no bad language, no mean comments, no bullying, no connecting with strangers, no rude comments about myself or their dad, and he and I both have to be a ‘friend’ of theirs, so we can keep tabs on their social media activities. But in all honesty, I haven’t given much thought to the longevity and potential reach of what I post on social media. Of course, I don’t post anything about my kids maliciously, but rather to share what is going on in my life, which includes not only my activities but also those of my kids. My family lives in Europe and it is an easy way for me to connect with them and vice versa for them to see what is going on in my life here. But here is the thing: How do my kids feel about what I post about them on social media? I am embarrassed to say that I have never asked them…

Social media hasn’t been around that long (Facebook started in 2004, about the time when most current middle school students were born,) so it is hard to say how growing up on social media can affect your kids’ privacy and security. However, it’s time to consider the issue seriously. What we as parents post on social media about our kids shape their online image, which is there to stay forever. My daughter turned thirteen in the fall. As any other young teenager, she is concerned with her image and wants to be portrayed in a positive light whether it is on my social media or at school.

After reading that article, we decided that it’s time we sit down with our kids and draw up guidelines for what they are comfortable with being posted on social media. Working together on deciding what to post and what to avoid will create a mutual respect and appreciation, and at the same time teach great social media etiquette. In my household, we have set up a family meeting for this Saturday to make sure we are all on the same page when it comes to posting on our social media.

With that said – Good luck and happy posting!

Clips: Apple's Answer to Snapchat and Instagram?

With rising competition between Instagram and Snapchat, Apple has entered this space with an innovative creative camera app that goes about it in a different way. Apple's Clips app lets users film social videos and edit them by combining clips, adding photos and videos, and sharing on any social network. The end result is similar to Instagram and Snapchat videos with filters, titles, and emoji stickers but its key differentiator and perhaps where it will truly shine is that it is social media network agnostic. Whereas a video created in Snapchat can only be shared on that platform, videos created by Clips can be shared on any network including via text messages and iMessages.

Another innovative feature of Clips iOS the ability to record subtitles by speaking into your device. The app will even time the appearance of words on-screen to match the cadence with which you speak including emphasis and speed.

Clips also hopes to succeed by implementing a more traditional user experience design. We have all heard the cliche that nobody over the age of 30 understands how to use Snapchat and Apple is responding by what some people are calling Dadcore UX. As explained by Mark Wilson from Co.Design: "It’s not beautiful UI. It’s by no means subtle. And frankly, there are so many buttons on the Clips screen–with upper and lower menu bars!–that it’s hard to imagine anyone not being a little bit overwhelmed compared to alternatives like Instagram, or even Snapchat. But it is designed with a very specific purpose that plays to Apple’s strengths–a massive user base that, with the right instruction, could learn to use the internet in new ways, too."

Similiar to last year's release of iMessage Stickers, it will be fascinating to see how brands will take this new tool to create engaging marketing for their audiences.


Big Game, Big Price Tag

With over 111 million viewers, the Super Bowl has become the mecca for high price advertising. Everyone from Anheuser-Busch to Xerox try their chances at capturing a piece of the audience. But at what cost?

According to AdAge the average cost for a 30 second spot during the Super Bowl has risen from $3.5 million in 2012 to $5 million in 2017.  That’s $166,666.67 per second of advertising! So why would advertisers pay so much with the main focus of the day being on football? Well, because there isn’t much football being played.  

In a review of the 2015 Super Bowl, MarketWatch found that there were just 12:06 minutes of actual gameplay. So what’s happening the rest of the time? Along with a mix of players standing around, replays, Lady Gaga jumping from the roof, and crowd shots, the majority of the broadcast is filled with commercials. Over 100 minutes worth to be exact. This must be why so many people watch just for the commercials.

It seems like every year, no matter how great the game, the office chatter on Monday is about the commercials. 

Drop us a line and let us know what your favorite Super Bowl commercials are.

Your Business Videos Don't Belong on YouTube

I admit that the title of this post is not entirely true. The most accurate version would be, “There is a strong possibility that you are misusing YouTube with your business videos and not realizing your full potential,” but our editors said that title is terrible so we shortened it. But the essence remains true: if you are using YouTube just because it is a free place to upload and host your videos, they don’t belong there. 

For those of you that can’t be bothered to read the whole post, the short version is this: If you are trying to get the most reach with your videos, use YouTube as you would any social network. If you are trying to communicate with your customers or drive conversions, use a tool like Wistia or Vimeo.

YouTube is primarily a Social & Search Network

 A screen shot of one of Casey Neistat's videos on the YouTube platform

A screen shot of one of Casey Neistat's videos on the YouTube platform

Businesses overlook this simple fact again and again and again. YouTube thrives on people subscribing to channels and being notified via email of new uploads to those channels. This drives the users back to the platform with obscene frequency. These subscriber and engagement stats then feed into their search algorithm which is the second largest on the internet and full of people looking for how-to’s, reviews, inspiration, guides and entertainment. Once a user has watched a video, they receive an array of other recommended videos based on views and engagement which feeds back into the platform. YouTube is a closed platform just like Facebook. Their goal is to keep you on the site for as long as possible and they do an excellent job of it with the average viewing session lasting more than 40 minutes.

The only way for you to tap into this incredible reach of YouTube is to garner many subscribers to your channels. You can accomplish this organically like any social network or pay for eyeballs with YouTube’s powerful advertising platform. If you don’t have subscribers and good engagement with your videos, YouTube will not be serving your video in its search results. And if you aren’t appearing in the search results, you’re not going to be getting new subscribers unless you are actively promoting your channel yourself by being featured in other channels or reviewed by other publications. 

Simply put, if you are just uploading videos to YouTube and sharing a link, you aren’t getting any of this reach.

What is wrong with just uploading videos to embed on my site?

The biggest reason to avoid embedding YouTube videos on your business site is the simple fact that YouTube wants, above all else, to drive eyeballs to its platform. All YouTube videos are designed to drive people back to and to engage them with the platform. Not your videos. This is potentially a huge hole in your website designed to suck potential customers away from you and onto a platform where any of your competitors can exist.

On top of that, you cannot customize your video player to match with your brand. The colors, the buttons, the naming is all designed for the YouTube brand and quite frankly, the YouTube video player is kind of ugly.

Beyond visuals, the analytics platform is sub par. It is certainly always improving but it still has a ways to go. One of the biggest problems is that it is only based on a subset of your data so you could be missing out on many important opportunities to garner more conversions. 

So... what are the other options?

 Our own video hosted on the Wistia platform

Our own video hosted on the Wistia platform

If you are trying to communicate with your customers or trying to convert people into clients, then you should be using a service such as Wistia or Vimeo which are designed specifically for these purposes. 

Wistia is a great example because it doesn’t have any sort of network associated with it. It is *only* designed for you to upload videos and then embed them on your website. Vimeo also has some great features but it does still have a social network associated with it. Their network is far smaller though and you don’t need to be a part of it like YouTube. 

Either of these tools allow you to make customizations and have much better analytics. Wistia especially has powerful lead conversion features built right in and a fantastic API for you to build on even more features.

 An example of some of the analytics on the Wistia platform

An example of some of the analytics on the Wistia platform

Closing thoughts

YouTube is an extraordinarily powerful social network and there are a great many people who have built entire businesses on the back of it. The key is to understand what the platform truly is so you can use it properly. If you don’t, you are severely limiting yourself and your campaigns will not perform at their highest levels. 

Before uploading your next video, ask yourself, “Am I trying to maximize reach by building an audience or am I trying to engage customers?” If you answer that, you’ll know what to do with your videos.