Facebook Tips & Tricks

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Almost all of us use Facebook these days, but how many of us are using it to it’s full potential? Do you know some of the lesser known tips and tricks to this wonderful social media platform? I did some searching, and here are some of the better ones (in my opinion!) that I found:

  • Do you have an aunt that shares everything she finds online? A younger sibling who is just discovering social media and posting everything they do, every ten minutes? You can block status updates from over-sharers (http://www.komando.com).
  • If you never want to forget another birthday or upcoming event, you can sync Facebook’s calendar with Google Calendar (http://www.komando.com).
  • This one doesn’t really have much purpose to it… But it’s entertaining! You can make Facebook talk like a pirate (http://www.komando.com).
  • If you use Facebook for your business, it’s really helpful to schedule your posts ahead of time – that way you don’t have to worry about it, at least for a few days (https://www.facebook.com)!
  • Another helpful tip for using Facebook for business is that you can review the performance of your posts (https://www.facebook.com).

The tips and tricks to getting everything you can out of Facebook are endless, but hopefully these are a good start for you!

~ Alli

Brought to you by Michigan Creative Video

 

(Image: https://twitter.com/facebook)

Why You Should be Networking

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Networking is about making connections and building enduring, mutually beneficial relationships.” You may think that because your business is already booming, or you think you have enough good connections, or you “just don’t have time”, you don’t need to network. Even if all of these things are true… You should be networking! Don’t you always want more good business, and to make more meaningful professional connections, and to always continue to work to grow your business?

Strategic Business Network points out these three simple, yet incredibly helpful, facts:
1. Relationships are the catalyst for success.
2. People do business with those they like and trust.
3. Serve as a resource, help others succeed.

To touch on all three of these points:
1. If you want to be successful, you have to know people and people have to know you. How are you going to conduct any business if you just sit in your office all of the time and hope for the phone to ring with a new client on the other end?
2. If people have never met you, heard of you, or seen anything about you, how likely do you think they’re going to be to come to you for whatever they need?
3. Networking isn’t all about you and your business. Yes you can come away with great new connections, even new business, but it’s also important for you to put yourself out there to help other people and businesses like your own… Friendship is another great benefit of networking!

So no matter how busy you are or how much time you have, it’s important to remember that networking is always important to the success of your business!

~ Alli

Brought to you by Michigan Creative Video

Lansing Maker Week

MakerWeek LogoLansing Maker Week has been a busy week for Michigan Creative Video! The events kicked off on Monday, October 6, at the Lansing Maker’s Network Temple Building in Old Town with Mayors Bernero and Triplett of Lansing and East Lansing, Bob Trezise of LEAP, and several others speaking on the week and the makers of Lansing in general.

This is the first ever Maker Week, and everyone seems very excited and hopeful for what this event could bring to Lansing, and Michigan, in the future – as they should be! Makers are a key part of our economy and it is important to recognize what they are doing. It is also crucial for makers to have this kind of thing to get out there and share what they are making and doing with other makers, and the general public, for support and ideas.

It’s been exciting to see people so excited about what they do and having such a desire to share it with the community. We have been covering all of the events – tours, demos, open houses and keynote speakers. From inventors and libraries to 3D printers and microbreweries, we’ve seen a little bit of everything this week! Check it out:

Make sure to keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Google+ (or all of them!) this week to see the rest of the Lansing Maker Week events!

~ Alli

Brought to you by Michigan Creative Video

Is Your Website Mobile-Friendly? It Should Be!

“The fact is if you aren’t optimized for mobile you’re ultimately losing sales.” The Huffington Post makes it clear right from the beginning of “5 Reasons You Absolutely Must Optimize Your Website for Mobile” that you need to make your website mobile-friendly.

How many times have you tried to access a website on your phone and just closed the tab when it took too long to load? It’s frustrating… We say we’ll look it up when we get home and have our computer, but do we ever actually do that? Or do we forget and never go back to that website? Well, according to The Huffington Post again, “Research shows that 57 percent of mobile users will abandon your website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load and 30 percent will abandon a purchase transaction if the shopping cart isn’t optimized for mobile devices.”

Like I talked about in my post about the iOS8 release, today’s world is very focused on our smartphones. So thinking about this, it just makes sense that we would all want our websites to be accessible from those smartphones in everyone’s hands, right? Groove Digital Marketing says that, “mobile online shopping time now exceeds laptop/PC online shopping time”. If potential costumers can’t buy from you online, from their phones, you might lose their business altogether!

It may sound like quite a project to make your website mobile-friendly, but it actually is extremely doable. Here are a few good tips all wrapped up in a neat little infograhpic:

10-tips-for-a-mobile-friendly-site(Image source: http://www.designinfographics.com/business-infographics/10-tips-for-a-mobile-friendly-site)

~ Alli

Brought to you by Michigan Creative Video

Getting the Most Out of YouTube

It’s easy to upload your videos to YouTube, but it’s what needs to happen after the initial uploading that can be difficult. Viewbix blog says that there are “more than 100 hours of video uploaded per minute” so, naturally, “it can be hard to make an impact on the world’s second biggest search engine.” Luckily, with a little time and effort, you can make some changes here and there to your videos and YouTube channel to increase your views. Viewbix gives some good tips, and I completely agree with them: (these are just a few included in the blog post)

1. Optimize the Video
Why this is so true: Things like your audio and video are, obviously, two of the most important aspects. I mean, the video itself can’t be high quality if the actual video sucks… And audio is half the finished product!
Once you’ve got the video uploaded, it’s also important to know that that isn’t enough! You have to fill in things like the title – don’t just leave it as is! If you upload video_2_promotionalvideo_final and leave that as the title, no one will click on it! Make the title stand out, but also describe the video well. Next, update the description and the tags to help more people find the video. Finally, the thumbnail – if the default shot after uploading is a horrible still of someone mid-blink, it needs to be changed. “Change this to the most compelling still image you have to make your video look attractive and get more people to click on them.”

2. Be a Good Host
Why this is so true: “Having guests on videos sent views through the roof.” If you record just yourself, or just one other person, and call it good, you’ll have just about the world’s most boring video on your hands. Videos are much more interesting when (if there isn’t a whole lot else going on) you have more than one subject – more than one person talking. The change of pace when you go between different speakers can help keep viewers much more engaged.

3. Share Everywhere
Why this is so true: Almost all of us have Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc., nowadays… So why not use them to our advantage to share and promote our videos? Here at Michigan Creative, we always post our videos to our social pages, and always tell our clients that they should be doing the same. After all, doesn’t it just make sense that “the more you share your videos, the more people will watch them”?

To finish all of this up, I’m just going to leave this awesome infographic here:

youtubeengagement

~ Alli

Brought to you by Michigan Creative Video

It’s almost here… iOS8!

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About this time last year, the Apple world was anxiously awaiting the release of iOS7 – the most dramatic change yet in iOS software from Apple. People spent hours trying to get themselves in the queue to update their iPhones and even longer waiting for the new update to complete installation. With huge changes in layout, appearance and functionality, iOS7 changed the game. It became easier to sync your iPhone and your Mac with the release of OSX Mavericks. Now, tomorrow (finally!), iOS8 will be released.

Apple is saying that this update is “the biggest iOS release ever” (isn’t the newest update always the “best one yet”?) with “big updates to apps” and “exciting new connections between apps and between devices”.

One of the main points that Apple is promoting is the updated Photos app, giving everyone the ability to “make every shot look even better immediately after you’ve taken it with powerful new editing tools, no matter your skill level”. This sounds great – and it really is – but this just goes to show just how easy it is (and continues to get) for everyone to basically Photoshop a picture, without ever actually opening (or even learning how to use) Photoshop.

In today’s world of smartphones, we are constantly seeing more and more truth in the fact that a lot of people really are relying more on their phones in every aspect of daily life – from searching directions in the palm of your hand instead of opening an actual map, to texting everything instead of making a quick phone call, to emailing instead of having actual meetings. Depending on which way we look at this, it can either be a good thing or a bad thing – we can choose to either use these tools that our phones give us to help us out and make our lives easier, or we can get lost in them completely and forget to look up and watch where we’re walking… It’s all about finding a good balance.

The reason I bring up the effect that smartphones have on us and our lives is because I see a lot more of this in the details of iOS8. For example, while it is obviously no substitute for actually, psychically, making a trip to your doctor’s office, the new Health app allows you to do things like automatically share your blood pressure with your doctor from an app. I mentioned texting in place of phone calls – the new Messages app lets you “add your voice to the conversation”. If you’re able to send quick, verbal messages to whoever you’re talking to right from a text message, now, more than ever, what need (if any) is left to pick up the phone, other than having an actual desire to have a real conversation with someone?

Just as a side note – iOS8 will allow users to remove themselves from group messages! This may not sound like a big deal, but it really is… How many times have you been in a group message that you’re no longer actually involved in, but keep getting notifications on notifications? That all ends with iOS8!

All in all, I for one am SO excited for the release of iOS8 tomorrow! There are so many cool updates and new things coming with it and I can’t wait to start using it. The things our iPhones can do for us are amazing – way more, I’m sure, than what people even 10 years ago would have ever thought a phone would have been capable of. While this new software, even more so than iOS7, has the ability to replace so many things in our daily lives and make it that much easier to talk to our friends without actually being with them, it’s always important to remember to “Look Up”…

~ Alli

Brought to you by Michigan Creative Video

Reasons You Need Video… Made Visual

I’ve written countless blog posts on why your business needs video, how your business should use video, how to make good videos, etc… You know, all of the important video topics. But I was thinking – There are so many infographics out there, and so many of them are about these exact same topics – I’ve said over and over again that one of the main reasons video is beneficial is because visual content is much more engaging and memorable than just a bunch of text on a page. So, wouldn’t it make sense to not just explain (with text!) why video is so crucial to the success of your business, but to show it? After all…
infographic-video2(Source)

I’ve picked some of the best infographics I could find to demonstrate this:

growing-trend-of-video-infographic-658x1024This one, “The Growing Trend of Video“, points out that “video now appears in 70% of the top 100 search results listings”. Don’t we ALL want our business to be at the top of page 1 on Google? Video can obviously help put you there! And of course I can’t leave out the fact that “video now accounts for 50% of all mobile traffic”…

DCustom_Content-Marketing_Video_Infographic6Explaining why Video is Vital can take up a lot of space on a page – If you type it out in text alone. However, this infographic highlights three of the main reasons as to how video can enhance your marketing: “It educates. It promotes. It entertains.”

The Role of Video in Marketing is constantly becoming more and more important. This infographic points out that “people are 144% more likely to buy a product after viewing a video about it”. If this isn’t reason enough to convince you that you would benefit greatly from video, I don’t know what is!

There are way too many great video infographics to put them all in this post, but these are some of the ones that I thought would be most helpful! All of them are great for explaining why you need video but, in reality, it’s up to you to do it! But always remember that Michigan Creative is here to help you! ;)

~ Alli

Brought to you by Michigan Creative Video

How to Be More Productive at Work

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We’ve all had those days at the office that we just can’t seem to get anything done, no matter how hard we try. We know we have work to do, but sometimes it’s hard to get yourself to focus. There are a LOT of tips and tricks out there on how to be more productive at work, but I wanted to make a list of some of my favorites to share. Obviously some will work better than others for you, and these could be completely different from the ones that work best for your coworker, and that’s fine! We all work differently and that’s exactly how it should be.

Forbes has a list of “10 Easy Ways To Be More Productive At Work“, and from this list I really think that a few of them are quite helpful:

1. “Understand Your Body’s Timetable”
While it makes a lot of sense to “organize your day around your body’s natural rhythms” – we’re obviously more productive when we have more energy, like “first thing in the morning, after you’ve rested and eaten” – I also think it is important to keep in mind that this is not always possible. Some days are just too packed to take your pick of what you want to do at any given moment. However, if you do have some wiggle room in your day, this is a great tip!

2. Batch Together Similar Tasks
This is a good tip because, if you think about it, how much easier is it to switch from task to task when those tasks are similar in nature? For example, if you’re making client calls – it’s easier to go from one call to the next, rather than to make a call, go to a meeting, send some emails, and then go back to your office and try to make another call.

3. Take Breaks
This is one of the most important tips, in my opinion. If you try to sit down at your desk first thing in the morning and work straight through the entire day, chances are good that you’re going to get less and less productive as the day goes on. You’ll get bored, lose focus, and eventually just find yourself on Facebook until it’s time to go home. “Your brain can only focus for a limited amount of time”, so “it’s critical to take breaks and let your brain rest”.

Along the lines of taking breaks, it can actually be really beneficial to do something creative when you take a break from tasks at work. Write, draw, listen to music, etc. – these things can help get your mind off of the task at hand while also getting your brain working again. Doing something creative that you enjoy can help clear your head and make room for more focus by relieving some stress.

Keeping your workspace organized can help you be more productive at work by not only reducing clutter on your desk, but also in your brain. If you have a lot of things around that you don’t need, or the things that you do need are buried under clutter, you’re going to spend a lot of time trying to organize your desk before you even get to organizing what you actually need to do that day, let alone actually starting to get things done!

Prioritizing is so important to productivity at work – There is nothing worse than feeling productive because you’re getting a bunch of little tasks done, only to late realize that you don’t have time left to finish that big project you’ve been working on. Plan out your day with enough allotted time to get important tasks with deadlines or due dates done, and save the other things on your to-do list for later in the day.

There are countless tips out there to help increase your workplace productivity, but these are a great place to start!

~ Alli

Brought to you by Michigan Creative Video

The Best of “Film Tip Fridays”

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If you “like” Michigan Creative Video on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, then you’ve probably seen our “Film Tip Friday” posts every week. We like to post quick little tips that we think of for shooting, editing, audio, etc., and we hope that these tips help you out, if even just a little bit.

Even though we post a new tip (sometimes a few!) every week, I was thinking… The chances of our followers actually having a full list of these tips is pretty slim (I don’t blame them, though, because I know I wouldn’t be taking notes from Facebook or Twitter either!). So, I
decided to take a few minutes to compile a small list of the tips we’ve shared so far this year; some of the most useful ones (at least in my opinion).

1. The way you shoot is more important than the equipment you have.
Usually the most expensive part of shooting a film is your camera, but always remember that you don’t necessarily have to have the latest and greatest camera to make a great film – It all depends on how YOU shoot!

2. 3-point lighting
1. Key light – the main light, shining directly on the subject
2. Fill light – balances the key light and fills in shaded areas
3. Back light – behind the subject, separating them/it from
the background

3. Cutting on action
Cutting on the action helps videos flow much more smoothly and naturally. This video is a great example:

4. Camera angles
If you have a several camera angles available to you when editing, don’t cut back to the same camera angle or shot that was just used in your previous shot.

5. Color correction
Color correction in post is extremely important in any video product, but white balancing when you shoot will mean less work later!

6. Get an outside opinion.
t never hurts to get an outside opinion on a project you’re working on! Sometimes it helps to get some perspective from someone who hasn’t been staring at it all day.

7. Backup your projects!
Remember to ALWAYS save backups of your projects and all of your original media! There is a saying in the editing world, “It’s not if your hard drive will fail, but when!”

8. Over-the-shoulder shots
Over-the-shoulder shots can be difficult to shoot but, when shot correctly, can give a great sense of closeness to your audience between them and the characters on screen!

9. Makeshift tripod
Using a doorstop works great for low, floor shots! Acting as mini tripod of sorts, you can adjust the height of the shot by simply moving your camera forward or backward on the doorstop!

10. Bonus!
Tip #10 is actually 9 tips in 1! Read the article below the picture for some great bonus tips!

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9 Shooting Film Tips for Beginners

Remember: There is always room for improvement in your editing skills! Whether you’re just starting out or you’re an experienced editor, you can always learn new skills or build on the ones you already have.

~ Alli

Brought to you by Michigan Creative Video

Why Your Business Needs to be on Pinterest

Your business is already on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+, so why do you need to be on Pinterest, too? Isn’t it just a place for people to “pin” things they like or want to make, or how they want to plan their wedding? Well, the answer is partially yes, but it can actually help bring success to your business as well.

A great blog on Entrepreneur.com (see the full post here) states that “43 percent of Pinterest users interact with retailers or brands they like on the site, compared with 24 percent of Facebook users” and that “research from consumer electronics giant Sony shows that an embedded “Pin-It” button gets 10-times more clicks than Twitter’s “Tweet This” button”. So while Pinterest users are pinning those types of things, they are also finding things they want to buy. When these products and/or services show up on your own company’s Pinterest account, the users pinning them are that much more likely to come to you for them.

The infographic in the blog post is great, too:
pinterest-infographic

Some of the most important points to take away from the infographic are:
1. Historically, Pinterest has better retention and engagement rates than Twitter.
2. People search Pinterest for things to buy.
3. Pinterest brings more traffic to websites than Facebook.
4. People use Pinterest to “associate with retailers or brands with which I identify”.
5. Pinterest is the third most popular social media network in the U.S.

If this is not enough to convince you that your business would benefit greatly from Pinterest, maybe you could use some tips on how to make Pinterest work for your company? (source) For example:
1. Follow other businesses
2. Stay informed of Pinterest’s business updates
3. Title boards with keywords
4. Write a good business description
5. Zero-in on your Pinterest followers

The point of this blog: Pinterest is fun and easy and you probably already have a personal account, so if your business doesn’t already have one, too, it needs one! I think you would be very surprised to see just how beneficial it is for your business to be on Pinterest.

~ Alli

Brought to you by Michigan Creative Video