Author: JarodLatch

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75 percent, that’s the percent of executives who told Forbes that they watch work-related videos on business websites at least once a week. Not to mention all online video users are expected to double to 1.5 billion in 2016.

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If you’re not using video marketing, you’re missing out on a huge market opportunity. According to ComScore 89 million people in the United States are going to watch 1.2 billion online videos today. When you post an online marketing video to a business website you can attract numerous leads. You could spark the interest of future talent, attract business from a potential client in need of your services or develop a new important contact. This is an easy way to quickly showcase what you have to offer. Video is a great way to get your elevator pitch out into the world and allow it to bring leads to your doorstep.

A huge advantage of video marketing is that it allows you to reach millions of people within a short time without spending a large chunk of money. The benefits for your business could be enormous. There is no other form of marketing that can offer such impressive results at such a low price. Some argue that video may be the most effective way to get a message across. This is because it appeals to multiple senses. The use of sound engages the viewer while the images evoke feelings and drive home the central theme. It also requires less attention to retain the information when you’re watching a message opposed to reading one. Use of audio visuals helps gain the trust of the audience as they understand that it takes time and effort to produce the messaging. This shows that you care enough to put serious time into your marketing efforts in order to create a positive overall impression or impact.

Another advantage video provides is the amount of time it keeps viewers on your website. Your audience is more inclined to poke around after being impressed by an informative video. They’re likely to remember your site if they remember your video. With all the different social media platforms today, it’s easy to distribute links to your videos as well. Greatly enhancing the sharing potential is the fact that 92% of mobile video viewers share videos with others. If your videos live on your website, this enables the opportunity to engage with hundreds or even thousands of customers.

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Video marketing is essential for success and will most likely lend to more exposure over time. Ad campaigns die out and are constantly in need of a new approach. The opposite has proven to be true with video. The right marketing video can continue to bring you new leads and interest for years to come.

 

Everyone is talking about the recent Google headlines. They all range from something along the lines of “Hummingbird -Google’s biggest change in years,”  to “Algorithm adapts to the new age.” So what exactly does that mean to the average Google user? We’ll break it down to explain pretty simply what this change really entails.

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Google Hummingbird allows for much more complex searches to be understood by the search engine.

Previously it would pick out keywords from your entry and deliver your results that way. Now you can enter, “What services does Spiracle Media provide in Charlotte, North Carolina?” The new algorithm takes the search query data, understands it, links it, retains it and then answers it through the Knowledge Graph. More naturalistic or ‘conversational’ search terms are now more important than ever. There is now far less focus on individual keywords and more on their collective meaning.

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Another change to take advantage of  is the comparison feature. Previously when you were trying to compare two different products or services you would need to conduct two separate searches. After your searches were complete you would have to manually list and decipher which option was the best choice for you. Hummingbird allows Google to be a Comparison Engine and do the work for you in one search and half the time.  “White bread vs Wheat bread”, for example brings up a comparison chart of the nutritional facts of both breads. More complex search queries, once they’re understood, provide greater data to Google search that can be used to widen and deepen the search results.

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With the switch to Hummingbird, it’s obvious that the search is getting smarter. This change affects 90% of searches worldwide. Businesses that used to rely on simple keyword strategy to rank in search will find themselves re-thinking their strategies, especially since Google has quit reporting keywords in Google Analytics making it very difficult to create a SEO strategy around them.

Facebook has the power to take your business to the next level if you use it correctly. It’s a free and useful tool allowing you to be your own media outlet. Your fans on social sites sign on to be entertained and informed, not overwhelmed and bored. Here are some mistakes to avoid in order to attract and keep as many fans as you can.

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Poor use of images: People are more inclined to click on a post if they’re attracted by an interesting image.  Social media is a very visual tool and it’s important to take advantage of that. Using few or no images at all is not a smart use of your time. In order to become your own media outlet, snap pictures on a regular basis so you have plenty of content to work with. Make sure your images are clear and interesting unlike this image to the left. Images are an easy way to show off your products or services and when you combine them with a short amount of text you’ll have an engaging post for your followers to respond to.

Not interacting with your followers: Once you’ve managed to engage your followers enough for them to respond or comment on your posts, make sure you’re interacting with them. Humanize your brand by ‘liking’ their comments and have conversations with them. This is a no-brainer way to easily develop personal relationships with your customers which increases their loyalty to your brand.

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Arguing with followers: There will always be that one follower who leaves a nasty comment, provides negative feedback or is just a tad rude. Let them say what they please but DO NOT argue back. Check out this huge mistake Amy’s Baking Company made when they let their emotions get the better of them. After your customers have voiced their concerns, express your willingness to help publicly. By addressing the issue openly, people can view how you solve problems with your customers. The most important thing to remember is that negative feedback on your social site wont do nearly as much damage as handling the situation poorly. The way Amy’s Baking Company responded to their customers went viral. This post alone was liked almost 100 times and shared 48 times. Yikes! Remember, when you become your own media outlet you develop a reputation from these sites. The better idea is to ask them to chat with you over email in order to talk through the situation privately.

Being absent: It’s the worst to seek out a company’s social site for information and find out they’ve been dormant for 6 months. That alone can be quite the turn off for customers. Social sites require you to be consistent and that consistency is what your customers will appreciate and respond to. If you disappear, your customers will likely venture elsewhere to find the answers they’re seeking.

Being too present: This no-no goes hand in hand with the previous tip. Don’t bombard your customers with posts. It’s annoying, and they’ll hate you. One of the most common reasons people un-follow a page is because too many repetitive posts are clogging up their news feeds. There’s a healthy balance between being absent and being overzealous. You want to aim to provide your customers with just enough information to keep them engaged. One post, maybe two a day is plenty for most businesses.

 

Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!

LinkedIn isn’t the only social site that can help land you that next job. Twitter is slowly but surely  jumping on the bandwagon. We spoke to Erin Osterhaus, HR Analyst at Software Advice about her thoughts on the matter. Erin-Osterhaus

1. Why do you think it’s important for companies to utilize social recruiting?

If a company is going to stay competitive when it comes to recruiting, they absolutely need to leverage social media platforms to find and attract talent. Recruiting is becoming more and more like marketing–recruiters can target niche audiences using tools like LinkedIn and Twitter. If other companies are targeting those same candidates while your company is relying solely on job boards, referrals and company career pages, you’re most likely missing out on some excellent new hires.

2. Do you think companies that utilize this tool have more success finding desirable candidates?

Yes. The primary goal of any recruiter is to increase the number of candidates in the pool. After all, with more applicants, the better the chances of finding the best person for the job. It’s simple math. By extending your reach through social media, more job seekers are likely to hear about your open positions. And if you target your audience well, you’ll also get more qualified applicants as well–you might even catch the eye of some applicants who weren’t currently looking. Overall, it’s a win-win.

3. How do you suggest a company begins the process of social recruiting?

First, come up with some clear and executable goals. Twitter should be used for more than just blasting out job postings. Creating awareness about new positions should definitely be a key part of any social recruiting strategy, but your company should also consider how it can create a real-time view into your company’s culture, and make people want to work for you.

4. What are some of the best practices?

First of all, it’s important to get current employees to post about jobs, share news and expose your company culture. After all, who could provide better insight into what it’s like to work for your company than those who already work there?

Instead of just using Tweets from the @JoinTheFlock handle, Twitter’s recruiters are able to make the company seem more accessible. There is a name and a face associated with an open job, not just a corporate account, which applicants have nothing tangible or personal to connect with.

Second, recruiters should leverage the tools already built into the social media platforms. For instance, the hashtag on Twitter. This symbol has the seemingly-magical ability to make your Tweets appear before Twitter users who don’t even follow you. And not only do they get you in front of more people, they also help ensure those are the right people.

For example, if someone is looking for a job in software development, they might search certain tags, such as #hadoop, #CMS, #UX or #TechTalent. By including hashtags in a job post, these candidates can find the job, even if they don’t follow the @JoinTheFlock account already.

It’s a kind of built-in advanced search option that has the benefit of simultaneously exposing @JoinTheFlock’s Tweets to an audience of qualified—and possibly interested—potential new hires. It’s a win-win.

Third, as there are more and more multimedia formats available, and recruiters should leverage photos and video to show potential applicants what life would be like if they were to work for you. A picture is worth a thousand words–so don’t be afraid to share photos of events around the office.

And if a picture is great, video is even better. It makes the candidate feel like they’re in the office. There are multiple instances of the Vine video app being used on the @JoinTheFlock account, and all serve to showcase what a wonderful place Twitter is to work.

5. I understand you spoke with  Twitter’s own recruiting programs officer, Anitra Collins. What were her suggestions on this matter?

Twitter’s approach, is multi-pronged. Sharing current employees’ and hiring managers’ Tweets allows a glimpse into the day-to-day life at the company, and showcases Twitter’s culture in a way that makes the company look attractive to prospective employees.

All these tactics highlight Twitter’s openness to potential applicants. But it’s also important to note that they follow through and respond directly to applicants who Tweet at the @JoinTheFlock handle, pointing them to current listings. These exchanges make the process much more personal.

Twitter’s recruiters also use the platform to garner information about candidates that would be unavailable through traditional recruiting processes. They use Twitter to vet candidates for their style, communicative prowess and attitude: all things that are much more difficult to find in a traditional resume.

6. Can you list a few Do’s and Dont’s in regards to social recruiting?

Don’t be one-sided with your use of social media.

Do be active. Reach out to qualified candidates, and respond when you receive inquiries from potential applicants.

7. Can you list some top reasons social recruiting benefits a company beyond just finding new talent?

It’s a great and inexpensive way to build your brand. For example, Twitter does a great job of exposing its culture through its social media account. Allowing potential candidates a glimpse into what they can expect if they are going to work there keeps them interested, and might pique the interest of more passive candidates, as well.

Using Twitter and other social media is a great way to expose new people to what your company has to offer, and if used well, has the potential to grow your following and talent pool at an astounding rate.

 

Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!

Instagram  is home to over 130 million app users. Those users post around 40 million photos a day. By getting your pictures into that mix, you greatly enhance your chances of being noticed by an enormous amount of people. You can search through millions of hashtags (#) in order to find consumers using and talking about your products or services. This allows you to directly communicate with them about any feedback they may have.

If you’re concerned that you don’t have a physical product to take photos of, don’t be. You can get creative with pictures or videos of employees in the office, events you’ve attended or the success of the work you’re currently involved with. Company culture is always important to post about as well. Allowing potential clientele a look into the office atmosphere can give them a more well-rounded sense of  what your brand is about.

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So what do you do once you’ve created your account? Here are some helpful tips to get you started.

Fill out your profile- Add all the information your clients need to know about you. Your location, hours, phone number, email, etc. Make sure to leave links to your other social media accounts. You want your prospects to have all the tools they need to further their interest in your products or services.

Think about your content- Make sure your posts have something going for them. They could be funny, informative, or interesting. Just make sure they aren’t bland. Instagram is a platform that allows you to turn your creativity up a notch so take advantage of it.

Utilize hashtags- As Jarod Latch, Co-Founder of Spiracle Media would say, “Join the conversation customers are already having about you.” These social conversations happen every day and can include vital feedback that can help improve your brand. Use hashtags such as #spiraclemedia or #spiraclemediacharlotte in order to locate other people’s posts about your products or services.

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Engage! Once you’ve found these users on Instagram, let them know! Join the social conversations by following them so you can see future posts from them. Feel free to comment on their thoughts about your company. Throw in a “Thanks!” if they’re praising what you have to offer. If they have a concern about your product or service make sure to address it. A thoughtful message like, “We’re so sorry to hear that, how can we improve?” can squash the issue the majority of the time.

Don’t over do it: Keep your posts regular but not overwhelming. As soon as you overwhelm a follower, they are much more inclined to unfollow.

Introduce everyone: Allow your followers to get to know your employees and yourself. This is the easiest way to humanize your brand. Show the quirky relatable sides of your employees. Not only does this make people more inclined to support your brand but it could also attract new talent if you show enough of your awesome office environment.

Take advantage of the social conversations that can provide you tips and advice on what your doing right or wrong. As long as you take into consideration some solid tips to point you in the right direction, you’ll find your groove in no time.  Everyone posts differently, which is what makes Instagram so interesting.  Once you gain some followers and some confidence in your posts you’ll be an Instagram master before you know it!

 

Let us know what you think in the comment section below

When it comes to life, work, sports and even our favorite leisurely activities — getting back to the fundamentals is essential. It’s the point in between over-thinking and not thinking at all. Fundamentals are easy to miss because of all the noise that surrounds us on a daily basis or the lack of focus that results from trying to do too many things at once. We have become great at overwhelming ourselves and our minds by expecting too much. We don’t give each task the attention it deserves because of our mindset of taking on multiple things that require equal attention at the same time.

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It’s time to get back to identifying and solidly engaging the fundamentals in a way that ensures consistent quality when it comes to the end product in video production. That brings me to a fundamental of shooting video that I think is overlooked too often by both rookie and veteran shooters. It’s the technique of sequential shooting and the thought process of wide, medium, tight.
Sequential shooting simply means a string of shots presented in succession that make logical sense. Think of a crowded room of people for example. A sequence could be presented as such:
1) Wide shot of the room
2) Medium shot of multiple people sitting together
3) Tight shot on an attentive face — focusing on the eyes

You can add an additional shot or two if it makes sense. A solid mix of wide, medium and tight shots can help promote more dynamic video that captures the emotion and reality of the setting. During video production, visually representing the event accurately should always be a top priority and a lot depends on how you organize your shots. How well do you think one or two shots ahead? Thinking with a purpose will help you become a better videographer and lend to a smoother editing process. It will also add to the fluidity of your visual presentation.
At the end of the day, it’s hard to go wrong with wide, medium, tight. It’s fundamental.
Let us know what you think in the comment section below.

When you’re searching for a new position and discover a potential employer, you’d definitely check out their Facebook page and Twitter profile. You’d probably also look them up on Google and LinkedIn for as much information as you can gather. Potential employees form an impression of your organization based on the information they mine from these different sources. Social media recruiting can maximize your interaction with potential job candidates by not only attracting them to your company, but also allowing you to reach out directly to top talent in your area.

Corporate culture is an important factor when deciding on a place of employment. You can showcase the company’s culture by publishing content that accurately reflects the company’s environment. Vine is a great way to share a brief look into the work atmosphere. Don’t hesitate to capture the fun that happens in your workplace or broadcast the perks and benefits your employees receive. If you offer free breakfast and lunch to your employees, have regular happy hours to blow off steam or reward individuals who work hard in unconventional ways, show it off! Not many organizations offer a lot of enticing perks, but the ones who do become known. These are all positive aspects potential employees will take into consideration. The goal is to give people an idea of how awesome it is to work for you. Once you’ve accomplished this, the top talent  in your area will be motivated to contact you directly.

The first step when trying to attract talent through social channels is to make your website as user-friendly as possible. Include as much information on company culture as possible. Maybe even throw in some ‘day in the life’ videos so people can visualize what you’re describing. Next, you need to work on your social media platforms in order to excel in social media recruiting.

Up to 60% of job seekers expect a company to interact with its followers and fans, whereas 20% of recruiters agree that it takes up less time and resources to hire via social media versus traditional means.

Jobvite Social Recruiting Survey released a report on the social job seeker that dissected the ways people looked for and found jobs through social channels in 2012. Excerpts:

  • 88% of all job seekers have at least one social networking profile;
  • 64% have two profiles and 44% have three
  • 75% of the American workforce is comprised of job seekersfacebook
  • 69% of employed Americans are actively seeking or open to a new jobScreen-Shot-2012-11-15-at-6.21.30-AM

First and foremost, you need to use the company Facebook page to interact with potential employees and regularly share company news. Make it easy for them to share job postings with friends and encourage existing employees to seek social media referrals from co-workers.

Your company should also have a strong presence on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network that makes it easy to search for specific skills, previous experience, view recommendations and approach candidates directly.

Twitter can also be a valuable recruitment tool that can be used for interacting with candidates and job seekers. Aside from posting vacancies, you can share your ‘day in the life of’ videos showcasing your office or featuring your team at work. You can even add a personal touch by reaching out to potential employees and wishing them luck on their upcoming interviews. Rather than tweeting from the brand account, have members of the organization tweet from personal accounts instead. When sharing a new vacancy, use hashtags in your tweets so jobseekers can find your postings easier, and don’t forget to include your city!

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The Jobvite Social Recruiting Survey also provides a comprehensive overview of the social media recruiting market. It states that:

  • Over 90% of employers will use social media recruiting in 2012
  • 2/3 of Companies now recruit via Facebook; over half use Twitter and almost all use LinkedIn
  • 43 % of respondents felt that the quality of applicants has improved thanks to social media
  • 20 % said it takes less time to hire when using social recruiting

These statistics are all vital information to consider when deciding how your company is going to approach social media recruiting. Whether you’re posting jobs on these platforms or just interested in attracting the best talent to work for you, use these tools to your advantage and make your company stand out!

Let us know what you think in the comment section below.

Google plus hasn’t quite caught on like many people expected when it launched in 2011, but the social media platform can be a vital asset to new and existing businesses. It contains features that some of the more well-established platforms don’t contain. Here are just a few ways how this social media site can help build your business’s brand and take it to the next level.

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Ability to build communities- Google+ allows you to essentially build your own communities by creating groups. You can fill these groups with people and other businesses that share the same core values as your brand. Participating in existing communities is also a great away to enhance brand awareness and get feedback from clients or customers.

“Three weeks ago, I wouldn’t have said Google Plus was an easy place to meet people,” says Linda Sherman, International Speaker and Marketing Professional, “but now it’s amazingly different. You can even join the community as a brand, which you cannot do on Facebook, and you can interact with your potential customers, influencers, and people of interest.”

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Events– While Google+ has the same approach as Facebook when it comes to creating event pages, Google+ has a leg up because its directly linked with Gmail and Google Calendar. People can easily add these events into their calendars and invite others to do the same. Events are always an important strategy to incorporate when trying to help build your business’s brand. It allows people to humanize a brand, meet the people behind it and enjoy some perks of attending a free get together.

 

 

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Analytical Insights- Recently the social media platform has incorporated insights that allow you to track your views, the number of times you’re viewed in local searches and how much engagement you’re receiving. These are all incredibly vital statistics that are the key to developing a social media marketing plan. Social media marketing firms, like Spiracle Media here in Charlotte, track these numbers while servicing clients in order to determine whether their strategies are working.

Google Places- This feature gives businesses the ability to provide information like hours, contacts, photos, reviews and pinpoint their exact location on Google Maps. Potential customers can get easy access to driving directions and even how to avoid traffic on the way.

Let us know your thoughts on Google+ and whether you will use it in the near future in the comments section below.

Today’s media continues to bombard its viewers and listeners with constant ads, promotions, and new information. Understanding that all this information tends to get a tad overwhelming, there has been a shift towards providing brief quality content.

Vine only allows its users six  seconds to provide something entertaining or tell a story. This may seem impossible but you’d be surprised what people can fit into this small window.

Another social media site, Instagram, followed quickly in their shoes by adding video option allowing you to be your own media outlet in 15 seconds or less. Companies have utilized this option in order to provide fresh information and keep viewers enticed for the full advertisement. “With Instagram video we’re going see a boom in short, artsy video clips,” said Jen Stocksmith, creative director for Tribal Worldwide. “Brands will use it to show a more human side and give fans a glimpse of behind-the-scenes action.”  A perfect example is Lululemon who’s already using the option to put out creative videos like this one in order to build brand awareness.

Facebook is also following the trend in a slightly different way. They will be providing 15 second ads in your newsfeed this coming fall. So why is 15 seconds or less so popular? According to this recent poll, 54% of Americans believe 15 seconds is the appropriate length for an ad. When the poll asked viewers what they though of 45 second ads, the acceptability dropped to 4%. Be your own media outlet in 15 seconds or less with Vine or Instagram When it comes to providing information to a large audience, more isn’t always better. This trend of short video production has really taken off providing advertisers a chance to get creative and attract new customers. “The short form is extremely valuable, because we want to consume quickly … Brand Vines are shared four times more than other online videos, and five Vines are shared every second on Twitter,” says Heather Taylor, a vice-president at Ogilvy. At the end of the day we’ve figured out that shorter doesn’t mean a lesser quality. Keep this in mind when you use these social media sites to be your own media outlet. As this trend continues to be adopted by these sites and integrated into new marketing strategies, we have to ask ourselves, is shorter always better? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

 




When I arrived in Charlotte six years ago to take a job as a sports reporter, I felt confident in my ability to shoot video. However, I put more stock in anchoring and turning packages, just like most youthful television employees in my position. That doesn’t mean I put any less effort into stories where I had to man the camera, but I didn’t think much about honing my skills in that area. I remember a colleague of mine constantly reminding me “you should be a shooter.” I always shook it off as a compliment and left it at that.

Occasionally, I came back with some cool shots that were creative, and after a while, it became more consistent. The average shot was interjected with something more.

The secret wasn’t that my eye was changing, it was that I was experimenting with different angles and different types of shots. Rack focuses, pulling off objects, subtle movements and so on. That’s where I started to realize that a “small” amount of extra effort could make a big difference when it comes to the end product. It wasn’t

Jarod Latch takes video at YMCA Camp Harrison.

completely about angles or sizing up each shot to the perfect degree, but rather the effort to move around and seek out the next shot. Once you put aside the complacency of shooting everything off a tripod, or sticking with the same shot that you’ve done a thousand times, your mind starts to wander in a different direction.

I strongly believe that creativity is something we all possess in some way, but sometimes it needs to be unlocked. Effort is a big part of that process. Once that’s solidified, creative motivation becomes a part of our conscious effort to become better. Then it becomes exciting to see what kind of shots you can capture.

When it comes to video production, you still need the standard shots to make a video flow, but try new things and get rid of the complacency that makes things easy. Stop going through the motions when you’re on a shoot. The viewer won’t always notice, but the level of your work will. You’ll reach a level where I thank the guy that always said, “you should be a shooter,” and I’m thankful that my unconscious ability met my conscious.