Facebook is putting on a full court press to get the gig economy to become an integral part of the macro-economy. How do we turn our hobbies and cottage businesses into real money using facebook groups, ads, photos and video?
I attended the free grassroots road show, Community Boost, that recently rolled into Denver. It was a classy event at the Cable Center near the University of Denver.
The Cable Center is a non-profit organization that educates the public about, I suppose, the great things that cable TV has done for the good of society.
My background is public access TV, which was a provision of the original Cable Communications Act of 1984 that set up community access channels as a ploy to avoid regulation as a public utility and dodge FCC oversight.
I had to check out the CATV museum with the history of cable and honors all the pioneers who made billions of dollars.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I digress.
The event’s goal was to provide basic information and some hands-on experience about how to use facebook to increase website traffic, get more buyers / customers and ultimately how to buy more facebook ads through micro-market targeting and subsequently make more money for your fledgling business and for facebook.
I’m a filmmaker and facebook is trying to turn everyone into rough-around-the-edges filmmakers, which devalues the work that I and all of my colleagues do.
Nonetheless, if you’re going to make video, you might as well post stuff that at least looks halfway decent.
Here are a few tips to improve your videos:
- Have a story in mind. Even on the spot, you can mentally compose a beginning, middle and end to your movie, even if it’s only 15 seconds long. If you use an in-phone app like Splice or iMovie, you can shoot clips, trim and reassemble them. If you don’t edit, lots of creativity can come about from the continuous shot – going from scene to scene while keeping the phone camera steady. The climax to your story is some sort of call to action – “Click here”, “Call us”, “Donate now.”
- Hold your camera steady. Move smoothly hand-held. My preference is to shoot with the phone camera horizontally. TV screens and monitors are not vertical and horizontal video displays and looks better. If you’re webcasting facebook live, turn the camera horizontally until the image flips then start the recording.
- Movies are 80% sound. Viewers can take video that’s a little shaky or out of focus but if the sound is bad, your potential customers will skip to the next video. The microphone is at the bottom of the phone. Get as close as you can to your action or subjects. Normal voices from across the room won’t be picked up. If you decide you want your voice in the recording, try to let your subject complete their statement and avoid “walking over” their audio with your excited utterances or laughing.
- Fill out the meta-data fields. Facebook has figured out the meta-data thing and prompts you through the video upload with titles and key word fields. Fill them out and write the post narrative. Pick out a few key hashtags that are common-sensical. I see posts with six or more hashtags – many of which are nonsense which detract from the content.
If you’re interested in turning your volunteers or staff into better social media movie makers, I offer workshops about how to tell your organization or business story in a 140 character elevator speech. I also teach practical ways to light a scene, get good sound using inexpensive, everyday items.
What I learned from the Community Boost is that real filmmakers need to differentiate themselves from short-form shooters who know may how to point the camera and record, but make bad video look better with the bells and whistles graphic overlay apps.
At the same time, filmmakers can better promote their work using the short and rough cut formats.
Since attending the Community Boost, I’ve pushed out short videos a couple times for Boulder Community Media production projects that generated some pretty good organic engagement – a couple thousand views of one and nearing 1,000 views of another.
How that translates into more business is anyone’s guess but the phone keeps ringing and my friends keep making referrals.
The Community Boost was set up for lots of face-to-face networking, but during the breaks most everyone was sitting in the corners staring at their phones, computers and other screens.
The lunch was good, but nearly missed out since I ran into a filmmaker in the hallway after the facebook ads workshop.
Community Boost “Aha” Moment – Campaign 2016
I had a big “Aha” moment during the facebook ads workshop.
It was about how to target the ads to particular markets and how different messages and their words, images, colors and other variables can be tweaked to maximize viewership and interaction.
Earlier, I watched a 60 Minute TV news magazine segment by Leslie Stahl. She interviewed the Donald Trump campaign 2016 social media guy Brad Parscale. Apparently, facebook offered to embed staff members into campaign organizations who advised about how to maximize use of facebook ads.
Parscale explained how they decided to focus on 3,000 voters in Wisconsin which ended up turning the course of the election. The Trump campaign tried out the facebook offer. The Hillary campaign didn’t and the rest is history.
Those of us in the Community Boost ad workshop learned in 30 minutes what was taught during the 2016 presidential election.
Facebook ads, with practice, can be a very effective way to micro-target market and maximize advertising budgets.
I get chided by friends about why I spend so much time on my facebook account and pages that I manage. I’d say three quarters of my business leads come as a result of my presence on facebook. “If I didn’t make money from facebook, I wouldn’t waste my time there,” I tell them.
I still don’t understand the psychology behind facebook and why people respond, but then again, it really doesn’t matter.