Facebook Live Video and the Point – Best of February

Live Streaming Video

Live Streaming Video

 

In the face of the January announcement by Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, a LOT of brain power has been focused on just what this means for business. One of the early analyses posited that live video, already a big player online, will become even MORE important. Hence the Video heavy listing with this month’s edition of the BEST!

Start that LIVE VIDEO!

Start that LIVE VIDEO!

Like any valuable effort, you need to plan and prepare. Making streaming video is no exception, especially when it can be portrayed as “point-click-talk” by casual users. Your resources are valuable, and you need to spend a BIT MORE up front to GET MORE in the return!

Continue reading

Facebook Live video – “Hit the Button, Buddy!”

video live button

VIDEO – GO LIVE!

It’s Live Video Month! This article is the second in the series in which I’m going over:
  • Strategy and Planning
  • Processes and How-To
  • …and include a few examples.
This week is all about what happens when you push the “GO LIVE” button and what you do through to the end of your video, and what you do afterwards, too.

But first, a quick recap:

My earlier article, “Facebook Live Video – Getting Everything Ready To Go!” is all about Strategy, Planning, Content Format ideas, and the Hardware / Software you can use. If you haven’t read that yet, follow the link and it will take you through the pre-process, getting you to…..

How To Start
 
Actually, you start before you start, so to speak.

Continue reading

Facebook Live video – Getting Everything Ready To Go!

Start that LIVE VIDEO!

Start that LIVE VIDEO!

It’s Live Video Month! This article is the first of two (for now….) in which I intend to go over:
  • Strategy and Planning
  • Processes and How-To
  • …and include a few examples.
This week is all about the Strategy and Planning, along with a little “Why do this video thing, anyway?”

Facebook Live Statistics that will convince you!

There are a ton of numbers out there that demonstrate the value of Facebook’s Live video streaming service even above that of “standard” video.  Here are a few:

Continue reading

Get Ready to Smile – Live Video is Coming for You!

You're LIVE on Video!!!

You’re LIVE on Video!!!

While we’re all waiting for the smoke to clear around Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement a few weeks ago regarding the BIG CHANGES taking place in the Facebook Newsfeed and how that will hit your marketing, one thing is pretty clear…

Video remains HUGE, and Live Video (Facebook Live, for this article…) is going to become something that all businesses are going to have to come up with a plan for.  This ties in directly with many things that Zuckerberg mentioned in his announcement (emphasis mine):
  • “…recently we’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content — posts from businesses, brands and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.”
  • “We started making changes in this direction last year, but it will take months for this new focus to make its way through all our products. The first changes you’ll see will be in News Feed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family and groups.  As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard — it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.
  • “The research shows that when we use social media to connect with people we care about, it can be good for our well-being. We can feel more connected and less lonely, and that correlates with long term measures of happiness and health. On the other hand, passively reading articles or watching videos — even if they’re entertaining or informative — may not be as good. Based on this, we’re making a major change to how we build Facebook. I’m changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.”
  • You can read his entire post here.

Continue reading

Best of January – “Facebook Zero”, Digital Strategy Tips, and Success

"FACEBOOK ZERO!!????"

“FACEBOOK ZERO!!????”

So your 2018 has blown through the first month…how are things going? Out of breath yet?

There are constantly evolving things happening in digital and social media marketing (you HAVE heard of the big announcement by Mark Zuckerberg, right?!). This month’s round-up of the best-of-the-best includes a couple of terrific articles about the Facebook news, as well as thoughts on the importance of reviews, some thoughts upon analyzing a TON of LinkedIn profiles, and several others.

Freaking Out?

Freaking Out?

Many analysts and marketing gurus agree that the folks getting hit the most by this update are small businesses. While most also agree that we JUST DON’T KNOW how this is actually going to roll out, this article from Entrepreneur.com has 4 recommendations on what you can do now to help mitigate the impact of this.

Continue reading

No Free Lunch: Pay-To-Play is Here to Stay

No Free Lunch

No Free Lunch

We all learned very early on in this life that there is NO SUCH THING AS A FREE LUNCH!

In the context of digital marketing, that is made evident in that you must invest resources (time, effort, money, etc….) to get results. There never was a “build it and they will come” (what I call the Field of Dreams fallacy) for online marketing. Sure, it may have been a bit easier a number of years ago when there weren’t so many companies and users online, all vying for attention. Certainly, on a platform like Facebook, things were somewhat more simple, or so they seemed. All you seemed to need was a lot of followers of your page and to post something every so often and it looked like you were successful (whether you were or not depended on how you defined success, but that’s another story…).

This has changed significantly…and in ways that require a lot more consideration on your part as a small business owner and entrepreneur.

Continue reading

Stop It With the “LIKES” Already!

 

The Ubiquitous LIKES

The Ubiquitous LIKES

For years you would hear it and see it:

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK!!!!!
 
Looking at those numbers, particularly if they grew big and fast, could make you feel very good about yourself, and certainly gave you the kind of strokes you wanted if you were a marketer working for a company of any size.

Then the whole conversation shifted to, “What are all of those ‘likes’ getting us?“, which led to a number of uncomfortable pauses in the report. While getting the right kinds of measurements in place years ago was much more difficult, nowadays there isn’t the thrashing about there used to be around them. You still need to have a clear goal around what you’re trying to achieve online…of course, the end is to generate sales, but following the trail, building the relationships, etc. with your customers hasn’t changed. The platforms and practices have to a large degree, when executing a digital marketing strategy (as opposed to what your company might have done 50 years ago…..), but people are still people.

So what SHOULD you be investing in?

In a recent article in the American Marketing Association Journal of Marketing Research entitled “Does “Liking” Lead to Loving? The Impact of Joining a Brand’s Social Network on Marketing Outcomes” (you may find the abstract here) I discovered a number of valuable insights to consider as a small business builds out their social / digital marketing strategy. The question that kicked the article off is this:

Does “liking” a brand on Facebook cause a person to view it more favorably? Or is “liking” simply a symptom of being fond of a brand?

Continue reading

A Starting Point on Spiritual Direction

I am an explainer and a storyteller. What that can mean, as many who know me well can attest to, is that many times, when asked a question that I feel needs some context to understand, my answer can be long and seem convoluted (kind of like this sentence…). I’m not a bullet-point kind of guy (although I have gotten a little better at this over the years, to the relief of my family and friends…).

Why do I mention this? Well, I am a spiritual director (and have been for 13 years), and I want to frame the reasons why I have a hard time giving a succinct answer to the question, “What is spiritual direction?” I would like to share a few quotes by authors and spiritual directors that provide a starting point for understanding / dialogue:
“The whole purpose of spiritual direction is to penetrate beneath the surface of a person’s life, to get behind the façade of conventional gestures and attitudes which one presents to the world, and to bring out one’s inner spiritual freedom, one’s inmost truth, which is what [Christians] call the likeness of Christ in one’s soul.  This is an entirely supernatural (spiritual) thing, for the work of rescuing the inner person from automatism belongs first of all to the Holy Spirit.”
“Spiritual direction is, in reality, nothing more than a way of leading us to see and obey the real Director — the Holy Spirit hidden in the depths of our soul.” – Thomas Merton, Trappist monk, USA (both quotes)
“We define Christian spiritual direction as help given by one Christian to another which enables that person to pay attention to God’s personal communication to him or her, to respond to this personally communicating God, to grow in intimacy with this God, and to live out the consequences of the relationship.” – William A. Barry, SJ and William J. Connolly, SJ, Center for Religious Development, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
“The greatest teacher is silence. To come out of interior silence and to practice its radiance, its love, its concern for others, its submission to God’s will, its trust in God even in tragic situations is the fruit of living from your inmost center, from the contemplative space within. The signs of coming from this space are a peace that is rarely upset by events, other people and our reactions to them, and a calm that is a stabilizing force in whatever environment you may be in. God gives us everything we need to be happy in the present moment, no matter what the evidence to the contrary may be. A good spiritual director helps us to sustain that trust.” – Father Thomas Keating
A little over 2 years ago, I was approached by my pastor and our Synod to consider being trained as a Discipleship Coach (a program that is also referred to as From Promise to Practice or FP2P). Being unsure what this was, I asked for and received some clarification from several parties. This was helpful, as my first default visualization of the word “coach” was a picture of the famous football coach Vince Lombardi going after one of his players.

Vince Lombardi

Vince Lombardi

 Needless to say, that was unnerving. Certainly not my idea of my own or any else’s journey as a follower of Christ! Fortunately, I was completely wrong in that visualization, for which I am thankful.

While there are a few differences between spiritual direction and discipleship coaching, the role and call are really the same:
  • The role of the directee or person being coached is first of all to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s movement in your life, calling you to a deeper, closer relationship with God, but desiring someone to “walk with you” and help you to pay attention to what God is doing
  • The role of the director (I prefer spiritual companion or friend) or coach is to be that person. It is a calling and a ministry.
From a more Lutheran perspective, consider the baptismal covenant for what the life of a disciple looks like:

Do you intend to continue in the covenant God made with you in holy baptism:
                to live among God’s faithful people,
                to hear the word of God and share in the Lord’s supper,
                to proclaim the good news of God in Christ through word and deed,
                to serve all people, following the example of Jesus,
                and to strive for justice and peace in all the earth? (Evangelical Lutheran Worship, p. 236)
RESPONSE:  We (I) do, and ask God to help and guide us (me).

We know that baptism is not a “one and done” thing. It shapes who we are every moment, as there is no moment when we are not held and helped by God. This world, however, is constantly a-swirl and confronts us with confusing and conflicting messages and scenarios. Remaining mindful of God’s Presence, aiming to be intentional in our relationships and actions, is a real challenge. Discerning what our next move is, how to handle the good, the bad, and the ugly every day and not feel like we’re completely lost (or even just neutral…) is hard.

There can come a time when it would be just plain helpful to have someone we could get together with pretty regularly and be able to go over what’s going on your life. Spiritual direction, or discipleship coaching, is NOT counseling or therapy. In spiritual direction, the relationship is about the person “in direction” and God, and how that’s going. The director is there to “notice” and accompany that person along the way, being helpful and aware of what God is doing, especially if the person is kind of in the middle of it all and is trying to make sense of it. This is NOT a hierarchical relationship (God is in control, not the director!)!

One last thing to mention: this is NOT a new thing. While the most popular example of guidelines given for spiritual direction are the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola (written around 1524), the descriptions of Jesus serving as a mentor to his disciples, Paul mentoring Timothy and Titus, and John Cassian (4th century) providing some of the earliest direction guidelines show a long history of this ministry and role in the church. It has been more visible in the past 50 years as Christians have become more and more attuned to their desire to deepen their relationship with God and the Spirit has responded through the church by drawing more and more people into this ministry and role.

Spiritual direction, among many, many other topics, is an area of interest for me and I intend to share how this has changed my way of being and what my ongoing experiences are like. Thanks for sharing this with me.

Surveys: Tell Me What You REALLY Think!

Survey Results

Survey Results

Surveys are notorious, from both sides of the subject… 

As someone who gets at least a survey per week in my mail, I respond to very few of them. Sometimes it’s because I’m just plain busy when I first see it, and it feels like a drag on my time (the DELETE key is so very tempting…). Other times it comes from a source I almost never hear from, so I wonder why (s)he wants me to give them input now, when I’ve gotten so little from them of value to date. However, when I do respond, it is usually to a person or organization from whom I’ve gotten some kind of value over time, it is tightly proscribed (that is, won’t take longer than a couple of minutes to complete….), and concerns topics that I care about.

As a business owner and blogger, I take these motivations and concerns into account when creating surveys. During the month of November I ran a survey for those who subscribe to my newsletter and regularly read my blog. The single question was:

What are the topics you wish to learn more about to help you in your business? 

Continue reading

Setting Up for 2018 – Best of December

Make the Leap to 2018

Make the Leap to 2018

The end of 2017 brings a focus to planning, strategy and change in the marketing teams of every business, whether you have an actual team or it’s just you, the solopreneur. This collection of the best of December articles reflects this focus and gives you the thoughts and processes for consideration as you launch into the new year.

Sincerity

Sincerity

This article about sincerity and dialogue in business is my most popular for 2017. The value of sincerity in business cannot be overstated, especially as building solid, long-term relationships with your customers is easily one of the most profitable things you can do.

Continue reading