You know what term I hate the most?
“At the end of the day”
It cultivates short term thinking.
Be different. Start thinking “At the end of the week”.
Then, start thinking “At the end of the momth”.
Then, “At the end of the quarter”.
And so on.
Don’t follow the sheep that say the trendy things that sound like the cool thing to say. Make your business, your organization, your product or service the best it can possibly be, by thinking ahead of everyone else.
Think long term.
That’s how you’ll win.
As always, don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube Channel!
- Create small, 1 minute educational videos
- Post to YouTube and Facebook
- Load to your website
- Share to Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat or other platforms
- Share as advice to your trusted clients, via text message
If you need help building a plan, contact RocklandWeb. We’ll help you design your future, now. (845) 877-7333
One night in the early months of 2007, I was huddled in front of a computer at my boss’s office, 11 pm or so, with a bottle of Absolut Vodka to my left, a mouse to my right, and a keyboard right in front of me.
That night, I wrote a drunken manifesto of what I think the web will look like in 10 years.
Today, in April of 2020 – it’s exactly what the web looks like.
I won’t get into all of the details of that manifesto. But I am proud that I had the God-given foresight to predict what would be. Because as I sit in the middle of a tragic and global pandemic, I take solace and confidence in the fact that I was able to generally predict what the web would be like in 10 years – and accordingly make the right decisions to ensure RocklandWeb is positioned to serve its valued clients, well into the future.
In this blog, I would like to focus on one aspect of that manifesto – the power of video.
If you’re reading this, I’m sure you’ve heard of or participated in the sudden fascination with Zoom, the video conferencing tool that allows you to have meetings on the web with your friends, family or colleagues. It’s truly helped all of us to stay connected to each other, despite our inability to – as AT&T would say in their 1987 commercial, Reach out and Touch Someone”, during the COVID-19 crisis.
For many of us in the Information Technology industry, this sort of thing is old hat: Before Zoom, there was GoToMeeting and WebEx. For many in the Social Media space, there’s YouTube, Facebook Video, Instagram, and more.
I can personally remember back in the early 2000’s, doing a remote tech support call with India. The gentleman in Kashmir took control of my Windows computer and fixed my software issue (over a very slow broadband connection). I never saw his face, but I certainly appreciated his actions.
The point is, today – video is pretty obvious. You may feel you do not know much more than hopping on your phone and pushing a button to Facetime, or hop into a Zoom meeting to catch up with a few people, but generally speaking, you’re already up to speed!
So…if you’ve come this far, how about you learn a little about how to take your video to the next level, so that you can be ready for the future – one that is going to depend more and more on remote, video conversations, and eventually virtual reality.
How do you leverage video today to make it work for you? Here’s the three main rules:
- Make your videos interesting or educational
- Make your videos quickly.
- Make video length short.
If you are trying to communicate with a target audience – especially as a startup or small business – you likley have very little budget, and likely even less time to build a professionally engineered work of art. One day. But with what I’m to show you below, you’ll be able to do what you need to do today.
I’ll outline a very simple way you can keep your communication with your audience over the coming days, weeks, months and years – using simple 1 minute videos. Here are the five steps:
Create small, 1 minute educational videos
You don’t need any fancy equipment to get started. Simply pick up your camera, point it at yourself, and make a quick video message, that you want to post on the web. It should be one message, that lasts for one minute, about whatever topic you wish to summarize.
Alternately, you can record videos directly from your laptop or desktop computer. Zoom, GoToMeeting, and WebEx all have the ability to record video during sessions, and Screencastify is an app that you can start up in a jiffy to record both your screen, and/or video of you.
All of this is great for educating your audience. If you’re terrible at telling jokes like I am, or are simply not a natural on-screen person, anyone can switch to focusing on their audience, and showing them how to do things. Especially in this COVID-19 climate.
Also: Stop thinking you don’t have value. Stop thinking others don’t have value. We all learn from each other. Share. Be respectful. Don’t take yourself so seriously.
Post to YouTube and Facebook
Load the unedited videos to both platforms, separately.
Each will have a different purpose, but both (in my opinion) are vital. Because they speak to different audiences.
YouTube is going to be best suited for individuals in your target audience that are on their mobile devices, and/or are subscribers of video content. It’s also the quickest way to edit your videos, as your YouTube channel provides simple tools to allow you to trim the beginning and end of videos. It’s fantastic to ensure you didn’t accidentally get that random shot of yourself while you had oregano stuck in your front teeth.
Facebook, on the other hand, is going to be the quick-shot that you can share out to your social media audience. The reason you are not sharing the YouTube video directly is simple: Facebook videos play automatically in people’s news feeds. YouTube requires that you click through the link to watch the video on YouTube’s platform.
It’s also why the videos should be short, because people’s attention spans on Facebook are shorter than a gnat that drinks Starbucks.
Load the YouTube video to your website as a blog post
Using the example I am providing on this blog, you’ll note that I have my one minute video(s) on this blog page. The video is the focus point, to begin to compel visitors to continue reading and learning from your wisdom and experience.
Thereafter, you can write text, add pictures and other things onto the blog. You can also use that area to fully flesh out your video’s content, so that your target audience is able to fully understand your intent.
If you want to make the blog post SEO friendly, I recommend writing at least 500 words of quality text, mainly focused on the topic at hand.
Share to Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat or other platforms
On Social Media, you can use the Facebook or YouTube videos to load to your various business pages, and allow other Social Media target audiences (in the case of our clients of the ACE Web Marketing program, about 50,000 consumer, retail and b2b users) to see the quick message from you, via a very brief video.
My recommendation is to post the video first to your Facebook business page, and then from there [Share] it to local community groups and Chamber of Commerce groups, and other local business groups. Each successful group typically has an average of about 500 to 2000 users, many which will scroll through their news feed, and eventually see a quick 3 second glimpse of your video.
Don’t spam, and follow all group rules for advertising.
Pro tip: If you are video savvy, add your logo on your video itself, preferably within the first 1-3 seconds of the video
In the text of the video share, ad a link to your YouTube video, or your blog with the video on it.
Share as advice to your trusted clients, via text message
Remember I mentioned about mobile users tuning in more to the YouTube video? That’s right – we’re coming back to that! Using either your mobile device, or your laptop SMS application, copy and paste the YouTube link into a simple text message, and send out that message (with a brief description) to your trusted clients and customers.
I should be clear about this – do not spam anyone. This is specifically a step for those that have established trust with their customers, and have an ongoing rapport – preferably an educational one.
You can really get a lot of traction with a simple text message, that you send to a few 100 people – especially if the message is interesting or educational. You can also send the link via email (we recommend using Constant Contact).
If you really want to go for the gusto – consider creating an Amazon, Chrome or Roku channel. We can help you with that. We’ve developed channels for our clients before. Now that we are practicing Social Distancing, I perceive those channels will become more and more vital to keep our connections alive.
Although I don’t have a bottle of vodka next to me as I write this (those days are long gone lol), I still have some predictions that I’ll be posting over the course of time, along with great educational materials. You can follow me on YouTube by subscribing to my channel here.
To close out, I hope you will benefit from this advice. I have been truly passionate about technology for just about all my life, and built this company with the intent of educating and helping.
I don’t know if I have enough steam right now for another future manfesto, but I’ll leave you with one prediction that I’m fairly certain will come to pass: In the not-so-distant future, we’ll have even more immersive technology. Facebook bought Oculus several years ago – and are positioning it to be the most realistic virtual reality system the world can use, for at least a decade.
If you learn Oculus now, you’ll be ready for the audience that will eventually connect with the system – one that will be also powered and connected via Facebook’s social media capabilities.
A potential target audience of 1 billion.
I am a big fan of timers. I’ve used them regularly throughout the past ten years, as gentile reminders to make sure certain tasks get done on time at RocklandWeb.
If you watch the above video, you’ll note that I use an app on my Windows and Android devices called Focus To-Do. It’s a great and lightweight app that allows you to set multiple timers over the course of minutes and hours of your day. It can be used for business or personal endeavors.
One of the best features of the Focus To-Do app is called the Pomodoro timer. Here’s a screenshot of some of my timers today:
The Pomodoro method teaches us to take tasks, and break them down into 25 minute segments of work. Then, take a 5 minute break, do another 25 minute block of work, and so on. You can learn more about the specific method at this Wikipedia article.
After 4 consecutive timers, we take a 30 minute break. Step away from the computer! Get up, stretch your legs, go outside, do some exercise, make a snack, read a book, call a friend, play a video game, or plan for the next set of Pomodoros. It’s quite re-invigotating.
Each full Pomodoro round lasts 2 hours and 30 minutes – less than 2 hours of work (actually 1 hour 40 min), and 30 minutes of breaktime (actually 50 min). If you can discipline yourself for 2-4 of these over the course of any day – I can personally assure you that you will get a huge amount of productivity! THis can be applied to your work, to your personal life, or to a combination of both. At least within this space – you become more of a master of your time.
The Focus To-Do timer had a great interface for setting the Pomodoro timers. You can add tasks – and assign a certain number of “Pomodoros” to the task (for instance: 3 pomodoros = three 25 minute segments of work toward a particular task = 1:15.)
You can also customize the timers to make each pomodoro longer or shorter. I personally set my pomodoros by default to 12 minutes. After 12 minutes, I get up and do a quick workout on my Bowflex, for 1-2 minutes, and then come back to work for another 12 minutes on the same task I left, until it gets done.
The Pomodoro method is also one that allows very high-energy people such as myself to stay focused on the items at hand. One of the more difficult things about high-energy individuals (Robin Williams being the best example that I can think of – see below video) is that they quickly move from topic to topic, task to task.
On the plus side, a lot of things can get done. On the downside, if we forget a few details as we’re working on that task, it becomes a challenge to return to it later – because the details have escaped us. So it’s important to have a technological, yet simple tool – to help us with these potential pitfalls, and stay on target.
At its best, properly focusing on a task can lead to innovations, achievements and braveries that have transformed our moden society. I know that right now, as Scientists are methodically researching a vaccine for this terrible COVID-19 virus, many other individuals are working together in high energy environments to treat those that are suffering from the illness. Thank you, First Responders.
In conclusion – the Focus To-do timer, in conjunction with Pomodoro method is a great way of staying productive throughout your workday.
Hi, folks. I hope you are all safe and healthy, and continuing to practice shelter in place, until this terrible crisis to our health system, our economic system, and most importantly – every one of our human lives, subsides or is eradicated.
Over the past two weeks, we have worked tirelessly to ensure that we’re doing what we do best. Communicating.
Below, I’ll be detailing three ways that we’ve adjusted out business operations to meet the needs of, ot only our valued clients, but assisted in the efforts of the local and regional community, so that we can do our part in eradicating the need to reference “Coronavirus” and “COVID-19” from our daily conversations. Because one day, we’ll have beaten it.
- On March 16th, 2020 – we sent a newsletter out to every one of our 200+ clients, letting them know that we will install a free popup on the home page of their websites, and will update that message for free until 3/31/2020, so that they in turn could prepare their clients for a shift in their store hours, in their procedures, and other elements related to their core operations. We also suggested including several resources, such as the COVID19 guides from the CDC, New York State, and New Jersey State.
It’s a small step, but those 200 websites handle tens of thousands of visits on a daily basis (a very conservative estimate). They provide services, products, and most importantly at this time – education.
We’ve decided to extend this offer to people who are not our customers – but have a WordPress website that requires that they update their information – yet their web developer is nowhere to be found. We’ve quickly gotten the process down to a science (15 minutes, tops), because we have 13 years of experience managing websites.
There is no obligation. There is no payment requirement, or need to continue working with us after this crisis subsides. It is simply putting our talents forth, and letting the rest happen naturally.
If you are reading this, and would like some advice or guidance on how to get your message out to the general public in a very quick but logical manner, please contact us. We will handle requests on a first-come, first serve basis, but as long as we have the ability to log into the website(s) in question, we should be able to handle up to 32 requests per day. This is based on our team’s current availability.
We will offer this for the next two weeks, as a pilot program.
- We have been working very closely with local Rockland Business leaders and organizations, notably the Workforce Development Board of Rockland County, on which I have the privelege of serving as a member of the 20+ member board.
Each Friday, we are now holding “Small Business #FridayForums” via Zoom, which give us a platform to transmit vital information to the webinar participants each week on topics such as Disaster Assistance Loans from the Small Business Administration, local donation efforts from retail businesses and community groups, and clarification of NYS-related policies.
On the last item, an example of the usefulness of these webinars occurred last week, when we were able to quelch the false rumor that essential businesses need to close by 8 pm each evening. This was not true, and potentially damaging to many small businesses.
We will continue to hold #FridayForums at 12:30 pm each end of the week. The latest one is available to join here.
- Finally, we’ve donated to a few local organizations that are assisting in the efforts of first responders, who are on our front lines at the time of this writing. I won’t list them here. If you’re reading this…you know you you are. Thank you for organizing your efforts. They will be remembered for years to come.
There will be more announcements in the coming weeks, detailing how we are adjusting our operations to meet the needs of a new generation of startups, small businesses and organizations – who have experienced the cuture shock of what I call “The Great Reset”. We’re resetting our priorities as we speak. As I listen to the news each day, amidst all the tragedy, amidst all the challenges that our entire world has encountered and will endure for many months to come – I still come away with a feeling of hope. Hope that we are all doing our part to prevent a much more tragic outcome.
As many World, National State and Local leaders have emphasized, this is going to be a difficult several months. I don’t want to think about what could happen, but like all of us – I want us to be prepared for anything. So that is the way we will operate, now and in the immediate future. We hope that our small actions can assist our valued community, as they navigate through this crisis.
God bless you all. Be safe and healthy. We will get through this, together.
Here’s our annual free 1-hour online webinar on how to make search engines can work for your local business.
Download the materials here, and enjoy the presentation!
Contact us with any questions. =)