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The Easiest Way to Know if Your Facebook Page is Actually Doing Well

Facebook. It's kinda a big deal. Almost 2 Billion users. 22 million in Canada. 690,000 in Saskatchewan 170,000 in the Regina area. That's about 75% of our city on Facebook. Granted, they're not all going to be active, but A LOT of them are. Not only are they "active", but they spend A LOT of time on Facebook. (Canadians spend more time online than anyone else...

How to be a decent human being on Snapchat

Snapchat is definitely my favourite social network right now. I love it because it's real, authentic stories are way better than the highly-emotional ones (that's a generous term for them) from Facebook or the "perfect" ones on Instagram. You simply don't see people spending 20-30 minutes perfecting their photo or video on Snapchat. And that's why it's awesome. Snapchat is the fast and furious of the social media networks, but in the midst of the chaos, people are telling some fantastic, funny stories. And you are gaining an inside-perspective of people's real lives that doesn't happen elsewhere. So if you're ready to jump into Snapchat or you've just started dabbling, I'm going to talk about how to grow your influence. How to grow your influence on Snapchat I've had a bunch of people asking for themselves or their clients how to engage and grow their following on Snapchat. These tips are for people that want to connect with an audience and grow their influence. While these tips aren't specific for a "business" persona, many of them do apply. 1. Be a user first - AKA learn how to use Snapchat properly It seems like a basic principle, but so many people are trying to leverage social media without understanding the network first. You always make bad decisions when you forget that you need to give more than you take on social. People see right through that. Until you understand what a user values on a social media platform, you will never create content that people love. So you need to first start using Snapchat as a user. Get to know the ins and outs and watch what other people are doing. If you don't know how to use Snapchat, here's a 10-minute tutorial I created to get you started - because, honestly, it's the most-confusing social media platform I've ever seen to get started on. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3jP393HwNs 2. Follow, follow-back After you join, you're going to start to see people following you because you're in their address book (you should also add everyone in your address book to get going - you'll be amazed how many people are already on Snapchat). Follow everyone back that follows you. You don't have to do this for forever, but when you're starting out, you need to see what other people are doing on Snapchat to understand the platform and give you space to interact with them. People appreciate being followed and when you follow them, you get access to watch their public stories. This is invaluable real-world data on how people...

7 Things I Learned From Starting a VLOG

I wanted to challenge myself to do something new and different than I’d done before so I did a 5-15 minute vlog (not a v-log, it’s pronounced vlog – one word – and it’s a video blog). And I just finished doing a vlog every single day for a month. We’re talking about 4-6 hours of time every single day on top of my regular work load. It was a bit crazy, I admit. I had a 7 day vacation to kick it off so it didn’t seem that bad for the first week. But after that, it meant shooting in and amongst my regular days then spending most nights from 8 until 11, 12, 1AM editing the vlogs. I just published my 40th vlog and am pretty proud of them. Honestly, the quality after the first few was really, really solid. To end up with about the same amount of content as 3 feature length films in less than 2 months is pretty awesome. I’m taking a bit of a break because I’m burnt out, but as I’ve been thinking about it, there’s some great lessons I learned along the way. 1. Creating Good Content is a Lot of Work There’s no shortcut to great content. You gotta put in the time and effort to make it happen. You used to be able to get away with simply re-tweeting or sharing someone else’s content, but that doesn’t count as good content these days. Good content needs to be original, on-brand, and high-quality. I invested heavily in training and gear to make this happen. I had a good chunk of stuff because of my regular work, but there were still some other pieces I needed to get. The bigger cost was the time learning about video shooting and editing and the time put in to practice it. 2. You Can’t Wait for Your Content to be “Good Enough” If you watch my first vlog, it’s awful. Out of focus, short, little-to-no-story. But if you don’t start somewhere, you’ll never move forward. After I shot it, I knew it was bad. I also knew it had to be put out there so I could build and move forward. 3. The only way to be good at Social Media is to be a practitioner Almost anyone can claim to be a social media expert. It’s easy to be a user and then read a few books and feel like you’ve got a handle on it. But when you’re actually in the trenches, putting in the hours,...

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Vlogging is Reality TV 2.0

If you don’t really “get” vlogs, you’re not alone. But you’re also probably not 8-22 years old. I bet 8 out of 10 people in that demographic follow at least one vlogger on YouTube. My personal addiction is Casey Neistat – a filmmaker from New York. This is him: He’s now put out a 6-10 minute video blog every single day for over year. And in that time, he took his YouTube subscribers from 500,000 to over 2.5 MILLION. He’s got quality content and he’s a character so it works really well. I’ve watched the last 60 or so almost every day – and the ones I miss I just catch up on the next day or two. Vlogs are like reality TV in that you get these inside looks into people’s lives. But what’s way better is the access you get unlike any other reality TV show. Whereas on Big Brother, Teen Mom, or Duck Dynasty, you simply watch these guys on TV, your only chance to interact with them is maybe seeing them at a big fan show somewhere. With good vloggers, they’ve almost always got a ton of interaction points for the people following them to connect – whether that be Q&A, opening stuff that gets sent to them, or actually meeting people in the streets everywhere they go. This ads a whole other layer of connection that regular reality TV can’t touch. The other thing vlogging adds is a real-time element because typically they come out within 24 hours every single day. It means that all the things happening in the world are happening to them at the same time. This makes it way more addictive and easy to engage with. What does this mean for marketers? If you’ve got an interest in the 12-29 demographic, you should be aware of key players like Roman Atwood, Fun For Louis, the aforementioned Casey Neistat and others because there’s a ton of valuable insight into what connects with this hard-to-reach audience. If you’re looking for ways to get a message to this audience, influencer marketing through these vloggers can be huge. If you’re looking to have direct contact with this audience, you may want to start experimenting with these styles of videos to help build a following. I recently started vlogging – I’m up to 20 of them as I write this while working on the 21st. I’ve even done them daily for the past 10 days. It’s a tremendous amount of work. I carry my camera with me everywhere. I...

Sometimes the Cost of Great Things is Good Things

Did you know that it's often not the bad things that keep you from doing what you really want to be doing? It can be the good things. Let me tell you about something I miss greatly in my life: Playing Call of Duty on my PS3 with my brother, Ben, and good friend, Mark. Honestly, aside from being so much fun to destroy teenagers with fellow dad's, it was a really good way to just chat and stay in touch with what was going on in their lives. And I miss that. We don't talk as much as we used to. But there was a cost to this good thing in my life. I spent 1400 hours playing it over the course of 9 months. And there were a lot of great things I could've done with those 1400 hours. So I finally got up the courage to disappoint two of my favourite people in the world and tell them I was selling my PS3. It sucked. But I certainly don't regret it. Because in the last year, I've learned photography, videography, stepped up my social media game, started a YouTube channel, and gained more hours for my family. Giving up a good thing has helped me find new passion, energy, and I'm now getting paid to do a lot more stuff than I used to because of it. Oh, and I'm super-thankful that my brother started a bi-weekly wings night that Mark comes to, too, so we have a chance to stay in touch. Here's the thing, though - you can't just give up something good and expect something great to come along. You'll just fall back into something good - or worse - something bad. There's a few keys I've found that have helped me fill good things with great things: 1. Invest in something new For me, I like toys. And I've talked about how I spend money on things that I don't always use. But for every one thing that I don't end up using, there's another one that I do and I love it. Sometimes you don't know until you try. Putting some money where you mouth is helps you be accountable for doing something new. A new PS4 game is like $70 when it comes out. Your PS4 or Xbox One is probably worth $300-$400. There's A LOT of cool stuff you can buy with that. 2. Make sure you have an outlet for it It's way to easy to buy something and let is sit...

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Snapchat is Where It’s At

Ok, so this last 12 months I spent a lot of money on camera gear - like way more than I should. And I've put in the time to get better at taking pictures. Heck, people are even paying me to take their photos. That's awesome. Thank you, people! And if you check out my Instagram (plug: @justinreves), you'll see the quality of my pictures is pretty solid. In fact, there's been a big shift these last 12 months with people are stepping up their social media picture game. It's crazy to see tons of "social media celebrities" that just post fantastic-looking pictures of themselves and have tens of thousands of followers . Now there's nothing wrong with that in and of itself, but you know that lots of followers are envying these people's lives and then trying to emulate the same thing on their feeds. And there's this bit of underlying pressure for everyone's lives to look really glamorous when most of ours aren't. It's ok to post a picture of yourself in bad lighting without your makeup done after having been up with 3 kids all night to simply say "being a mom is hard". That's a real-life story! This is why I love Snapchat. Snapchat has no crazy filters or the ability to upload your own fancy photos taken with an expensive camera like I do on Instagram. Snapchat is only about 1-thing - telling raw stories. You can't cover a mediocre story with some top-shelf photos or videos on Snapchat. Rather, when it's done well, Snapchat is full of these real-life, 24-hour stories told in 10-second, low-resolution bytes. For me, I'm still working on my story-telling. Ultimately, the best content coming from people or brands is rich in story and everything else is just icing on the cake. So that's why I've been forcing myself to get into Snapchat. At first it was hard because I didn't understand it and it felt limiting creatively. But now I love it. On Saturday, I had fun telling my story on Snapchat of going to Wal-Mart in sweats covered in spit-up because that was real life for me dealing with 3 kids 3 and under. We shopped together, talked about if "colour-safe bleach" was a real thing, ate some Cobb's bread, and hit up Brewed Awakening for a coffee. None of it was glamorous. But it was a nice change. And it's got me thinking about this: If you can tell good stories without all the fancy equipment and filters, think how much better you'll be if you do add that layer. Are you telling stories...

On Your Facebook Page, Posting Nothing is Better than Posting Something

You likely already know this, but Facebook does not show your Page's posts to everyone who likes the page. If they showed every post to every fan of every page, our Facebook feeds would be 90% business junk and very few posts from our friends (although when there's an election close, that maybe wouldn't be a bad thing). Facebook decides to show posts from your page to a select few that like your page. What's important to know is that Facebook shows your posts to more of your fans if you consistently put out good content or, on the opposite side, will show it to a much smaller percentage of your fans if you aren't consistently putting out good content. How does it know? Likes, Comments, Clicks, and Shares. And why does this matter? Because posts that don't engage your audience mean that when you do have a good post, it will get shown to fewer of your fans. So you may think that you're helping yourself by at least putting something out there as opposed to nothing, but if you notice that your content isn't generating those Likes, Comments, Clicks, or Shares, you should stop what you're doing. You're lessening your chance to naturally reach your audience with every post. Sure, you can force your content on people by using that Boost button and paying for it, but if you need a 1,000 paid views to generate a couple of Likes, I'd venture a guess that the content you're putting out there really isn't effective. Your audience has given you a huge gift in their permission for you to reach out to them. Don't take this privilege lightly. It's a fantastic opportunity for your business to connect with people without them having to step foot in your store or visit your website. Businesses before social media rarely had this opportunity without paying. Example Time I manage the social media for the church I attend. That may seem very different than a business, but it's still a large group of consumers that I've seen only interact with good content. In fact, in some ways, getting shares or likes can be more of a challenge because it's actually a lot more socially-acceptable to share a Tasty video or Super Bowl half-time show than something from your church (obviously, like every cause or political group, there are the select few that can't share enough stuff from obscure blogs). But it's still a fantastic, engaged community - but I make sure...

How Much is Enough?

We think lots about how much we make at work. But do you ever stop to think how much your work costs you?

I seem to be having more conversations with people these days where they say something like, “I hate my job, but the money is just too good”.

So they continue on being miserable and stressed for 40-60 hours a week, and all they ever seem to end up with is a slightly bigger house, a slightly nicer vacation each year, and a slightly nicer car.

Yet they’re still miserable. Because they hate what they do, they’re stressed about, and it consumes their mind.

So to get away from it, they go home to their slightly nicer house and binge watch House of Cards on their slightly larger TV.

Only to wake up and do the same thing again the next day.

The problem is that we’ve defined success based on money/things and not on what’s really valuable – quality time for the things we love.

Reframe the question.

How much time do I need for the people I love or the things I really want to do with my life?