Video Invitation to a Breakthrough in Your Video Presence – Playshop Starts Tuesday!

As I explained in my last video and blog post, video via social media is The Next Big Thing and arguably the most powerful digital marketing strategy.

Last year, I also developed an amazing experiential process or practice called “Video Play Experiences™” that I am now bringing to you, no matter where you live, via a four-week Live Video Playshop (one hour of live video interaction per week) that starts next Tuesday, May 2nd. This post, “Social Media Video Marketing: An Experiential Breakthrough” tells the story of how I first developed the Video Play Experiences™.

Now, I want to invite you to The Live Video Playshop. The video below is your personal invitation from me. It explains more (and also shows off my new green screen and teleprompter) 😉

[callout title=”Learn More or Register for the Live Video Playshop” button=”Yes! I want to have a breakthrough.” link=”http://selz.co/4J6WP1r6G” buttoncolor=” blue” target=”_blank”]The Live Video Playshop is a 100% online experience using state-of-the-art interactive video collaboration including educational presentations, 1-to-1 video exercises and group interactions. Please join us.[/callout]

Digital Marketing Content Strategy: Why Social Media VIDEO is The Next Big Thing

Social Media Video Marketing: An Experiential Breakthrough

The absolute highlight of my live Playshop, “The New Rules of Business & Social Media Success,” presented last Monday with my coach and colleague, Andrea J. Lee, were interactive, smartphone-enabled exercises that I called “Video Play Experiences.”

A few of the participants learning to shoot social video during our Playshop.

Our Playshop’s Video Play Experiences.

These interactive exercises—illustrated by the photos in this post—opened up a whole new avenue for me to empower people to make their own videos. This delightfully surprised me and participant feedback ranged from real “ah-ha” moments to “getting over the hump” (i.e. overcoming fears of video’s challenges). Almost everyone came away with the feeling, “I CAN do video!”

 

The results of these exercises were a two-way breakthrough:

  • They was a real eye-opener for me in terms of how I can help people with these all-important skills and
  • They showed us all how doing more video (a requirement, in my opinion, in today’s social media environment) is just like any other skill: if you work at it like a practice (not unlike the practice required to learn to meditate, to hit a golf ball, or play a piano, for example) that you can make real progress, step-by-step, and the progress is rewarding in its own right.

A Unique Experiential Sequence

Susan Shloss of Susan Shloss Bookkeeping Services, http://shlossbooks.com, during a Video Play Experience.

And, these results were not only about video technology. One of my mantras is that “it’s about the communication, not just the technology.”

What emerged, as I was designing this day in collaboration with Andrea, was a unique sequence of exercises that not only let the participants stretch their technical capabilities, but they got to stretch their emotive abilities as well (as shown to the right by Susan Shloss of Susan Shloss Bookkeeping Services.)

During the course of the day, we did three (3) Video Play Experiences:

  1. The first was “A Rant.” I helped the participants to get emotional by directing them to do a video clip where they expressed their strong feelings about something. I modelled this for them in front of the room by ranting about how much I detest “get rich quick” internet marketers who claim to have a “magic formula.”
  2. The second Video Play Experience was a Vulnerability Exercise where I asked them to speak to the camera about something very personal, as if they were sharing something intimate with a life partner, a family member or very closer personal friend.
  3. Finally, in the late afternoon, I asked them to talk about “How I Serve” so that they could bring it all home to the kinds of value that they authentically deliver through their businesses.

Suzannah Rose, realtor from http://LivinginMarin.com reviews her video exercise.

The result was a kind of experiential learning that exceeded my expectations and clearly added significant value to the day.

A Valuable Digital Take-Away

Workshop exercises are often hard to remember and can quickly become ephemeral memories. Not in this case.

The fact that virtually every participant owned a smartphone meant that they were recording these exercise on their own devices. Because they would obviously take these home after the Playshop was over, the recordings are right there for them so that they can review them and continue to learn. The recordings, thus, inherently provided a record of the work that they did. So valuable! (Can you see the appreciation on the face of Suzannah Rose, realtor from Living in Marin in this picture?)

Another New Idea Emerges

Two participants who are also coaches, David Drake of http://narrativecoaching.com and Linda Curtis of http://honorableclosure.com engaged in video play.

One of Andrea J. Lee‘s favorite teachings is that “Anything worth doing is worth doing in community” and that added to the value of these exercises. (To the right are two participant coaches, David Drake of Narrative Coaching and Linda Curtis of Honorable Closure.)

The way that these Video Play Experiences played out was expressed through the enthusiasm of the participants for the exercises themselves, so much so that by the end of the day they invented the idea of Video Parties!

Now, as a result of their engagement and creativity—a true community collaboration—I’m thinking of both the possibility of follow-on “Video Party” evenings as well as a possible online, virtual Video Playground. Sound good?

I’d love to hear from you if you are interested in either of these, or if you have other ideas?

For sure, I am excited by the participant enthusiasm that we all experienced together, and, I am personally looking forward to more Video Play Experiences of every kind. 😉

Live SF Event: The Future of Digital Video & Social Media at Commonwealth Club

YOU ARE INVITED TO A SPECIAL LIVE EVENT IN SAN FRANCISCO

Video-Future-Commonwealth-ClubSome things really do “change everything.” Video is one of those things.

Please join me Wednesday, October 28th at 6pm at San Francisco’s prestigious Commonwealth Club as I illuminate the game-changing mega-trends brought about by the digital video revolution.

As many of you know, I’ve been writing and teaching about The Video Web and the digital video revolution for literally decades. On Wednesday, October 28th, I’ll be unveiling a brand new presentation on the powerful new forms of digital video as they are literally playing out through social media and real time streaming media. Our media landscape is literally being reconfigured.

This will be a powerful and empowering event and I hope you will be there. I’d love your feedback as well as your participation.

To register, please click here: http://bit.ly/videofuture

 

Having a Blast on Blab: Learnings from the Launch of My New Social Media Video Show

I’ve been doing social media since the beginning of social media and I’ve never had a more uplifting experience of community and connection than the one I’ve had getting to know the new video conversation platform called Blab (http://Blab.im).

I created this graphic to promote last Friday's Blab session and shared across all of my social media accounts.

I created this graphic to promote last Friday’s Blab session.

Getting Started with Blab

Last Friday, I did my first regular Blab show ([email protected]) and it was surprisingly easy to do and successful. Word spread by social media, and we had people join in late in the show who said that they had heard buzz that we were “killing it” and that they should check it out. Unexpected delight. 😉

We had about 280 viewers who watched live at sometime during the 90 minutes we were on, a pretty steady audience of 60 or so more during the webcast; and, as of this writing, this program has now had over 308 viewers counting the Replay on Blab.im. And, as you will see below, I’ve also posted the recording to YouTube and thus the exposure continues to grow.

Those are just some of the reasons I’m excited.

Spontaneous Community

Part of the reason for this success was that I was honored to have author/speaker Joel Comm (“Twitter 3.0” and other books) as my featured guest. It was Joel who first told me about Blab… Well, actually I got the info from a post of his on Facebook. Joel has become kind of Blab Ambassador. If there’s a Blab “star,” Joel would be on the short list of “nominees.”

Then, to my surprise, as the Blab progressed (may I remind you that this was a live session), I was delighted to have blogging business veteran Darren Rowse join us (see image below). Darren is better known as Pro Blogger and has been a social media marketing thought leader for years. Others who just “happened by” included social media strategist Carlos Gil and digital marketing expert Pam Brossman who both offered some really useful insights and tips (a taste of which are included below). That’s the kind of spontaneous community “happening” it was and which the Blab platform fascilitated.

A Truly Transparent Company

Another guest that contributed a lot to my first Blab show was Brittnay Metz who is a Blab spokesperson and I guess you could say evangelist. For example, she’s the one who sends out emails to the Blab members, but she also spends a fair about of time on Blab itself participating, answering questions, taking feature requests, and generally monitoring and supporting the user base.

Brittnay told us, for example, that the company was really committed to staying at only 30 employees. She also talked about the fact that Blab’s engineers are going to be developing very sophisticated video analytics.

Positive Impressions of An Emerging New Video Technology

Both from what Brittnay said and from my own experience, it’s clear that Blab is making sure that their software really works. I’ve experimented with lots of video conversation platforms, and especially considering this is an early “beta,” Blab seems extremely stable. But Blab’s biggest strength is ease of use which, of course, is a very big deal.

All you need is a Twitter account and you’re in with full participation priviledges. Blab is also totally free as they grow their user base and there are no plans for a “premium” version on the horizon. In some ways, I think Blab may be the example of the “Instagram business model.” (Instagram was acquired by Facebook for $1Billion.) I imagine that Blab is going to be acquired by a much larger company at some point, but when I asked Brittnay about this possibility, her response was a quite grounded. She said, “What makes you think we want to sell?” I left it at that.

blab-screen-labels-v2
Minor Limitations, Major Advantages

The only significant limitations of Blab’s video implementation that I’ve found so far are that it does not work in the Mac Safari browser (because of the video format that Safari uses) andthere’s a mobile app for iOS, but not yet for Android. The best web browser for Blab is Chrome and the desktop version is more full-featured (as shown above).

Some of the features that I like most are the fact that it’s a conversation environment with four interactive video windows. It’s easy for people to come and go. The host has the ability to accept or reject “visitors” at his or her discretion, and most hosts are quite welcoming. We had people coming and going all through our program.

Powerful Twitter Integration

Blab derives its external social media power through its integration with Twitter. And that’s a big part of what makes Blab powerful as an audience or relationship-building tool. Blab engages users via Twitter with the build-in “Tell a Bird” feature that’s to the left of the video windows (on the desktop version). It’s not only a good way to share what you’re doing, but it actually demonstrates a kind of freedom to interact that is not possible on Facebook because on Twitter “friend requests” are not required in order to interact.

Chat, Recordings & More

Blab stays highly interactive as well with a very lively chat stream that runs along the right side of the four video windows.

After you host a Blab session, you get both an mp4 video file and an mp3 audio file of the recording. These files are available for you to download and can be posted anywhere (for example, on YouTube, SoundCloud, or wherever). The video recording doesn’t have the screen names nor the chat stream. You can see the difference between this version and the embed code version that’s also provide via embeds that I’ve included below.

Compared to Google Hangouts, in the production sense, Blab is less robust. For example, at this time (although Brittnay told us that this is coming at some future time), Blab lacks screen sharing. Likewise, the spiffy lower-third ID’s that are part of Hangouts are not on Blab, but you do automatically get labeled during the live sessions with your name and Blab ID (for example, mine is @joncombridges).

As a work around for the absence of lower-thirds, people have gotten into using apps like ManyCam and CamTwist Studio (Mac only) in order to put graphics into their video frame. In fact, Joel was doing was doing just that all during our program.

I also think it’s worth noting that, in some ways, Blab’s ID feature is substantially better than the lower-third Hangouts feature because it’s interactive. For example, if you like what someone is saying, you can simply click on that ID to follow them on Blab. There is also a link to their Twitter profile so you can follow or list them there as well. The Blab ID also let’s you address them directly in the live chat stream. You also can click on the lower right of any video image to give the speaker “props.” So, what Blab may lack in snazzy production features, it more than makes up for with ease of use and authentically interactive tools that enable real people to have real conversations, in real time.

What About Lead Capture?

One of the questions that I asked Joel and the others during my first Blab Show was about lead capture, or lack of those kinds of features in Blab. For example, I use Google Hangouts within the WebinarJam “envelope” in order to do lead capture when I do webinars because I want to be able follow up with the people who attend my programs via email. What I’m learning is that Blab is something completely different.

What Blab delivers, possibly “in spades,” is a completely new way to get exposure. And what’s really important is that that increased exposure is delivered via video so people can really get a sense of you and your expertise or value.

I’m finding that I’m making new friends with my fundamental practice of “Leading with Value” and that’s the most dynamic and perhaps the most important part of Blab. Blab really is about relationship building and making authentic connections. People are doing this on Blab in a way I haven’t seen before on any social media network. I really think it’s worth checking out.

A Video-Powered Way to Increase Your Visibility

As someone said during the program, the Blab experience is very much analogous to being at a party and meeting people. So in that sense, for marketers, Blab is  like a new form of the classic free intro call.

One other important dimension of delivering expanded visibility is, as Carlos recommended and I’m demonstrating below, via YouTube. In the future, I’m also going to upload the audio to SoundCloud. In addition, there are people who are using Blab to record podcasts by taking the recording and distributing it via iTunes and so forth. Bottom line, Blab is a new way to get the word out.

That having been said, I watched a Blab the other day that featured Michael Stelzner from Social Media Examiner and he talked about specifically getting enrollments for some of their conferences via Blab. Thus, Blab can be used as an on-ramp both to build your visibility and also, in at least some cases, to make specific offers that then people move down your engagement funnel.

I’m recommending Blab because I’m finding it to be a great way to meet and connect with people. There’s no doubt that in only a little over a week, I’ve made new friends; and, equally important, I’m definitely having fun. Blab is so engaging that it’s literally becoming an addictive kind of social media experience for some people and in that way it’s a great social media environment to be swimming in.

I’m really delighted to have the opportunity to keep this kind of energy going, and I hope to see you (literally via Blab video) next [email protected] (PT).

Useful Resources:

For the Convenience of Comparison
Please Find Below Two Versions of This Same Program, My First “[email protected]” Blab Program. The first is the embed provided by Blab and the second via upload to YouTube—are provided below for comparison.

Blab Embed:

YouTube Embed:

Blab: The New Social Video Streaming Platform ROCKS!

This is a quickie post to let you know about a surprisingly good new video streaming conversation platform called Blab. I just did my first Blab session and had 39 viewers from around the world. The recorded segment is embedded below. I was joined on-screen by video participants from Brazil, Argentina, and Philadelphia. 😉

I think this application is more user-friendly for multi-user video than anything I’ve seen (Spreecast, Google Hangouts, Skype, etc.) It is also way better than Periscope or Meerkat because it’s two-way. Those video streaming tools are really only one-way.

Blab now has a mobile app as well as desktop. And, now that I think about it, it’s not only two-way, it’s up to four-way, four simultaneous video participants. And that’s nicely complemented by a fully functional chat stream where you can paste URL’s and animated GIF’s as well as very nice Twitter integration.

One of the people who jumped in, Richard Berger, had this to say about our conversation:

[testimonial author=”Richard Berger, English Teacher”]”In just those few minutes my awareness of new social media/video streaming/website development was exploded, and now you got me “back at the drawing board”, thinking of applications for my teaching work. Thanks again!”[/testimonial]

Here’s my first session which was a spontaneous “Ask Me Anything” about websites, social media marketing, video, etc. Pretty dang fun! Please click “Watch Now” button on the image below to watch this Blab session, and feel free to scroll ahead to see the multiple participants. And, please let me know what you think. And stay tuned for a special Blab next week with Twitter Power author, Joel Comm, at 4pm PT on Friday, August 28th. Thanks!

Facebook Marketing Meets Google Hangouts: How to Expand Your Video Audience

Our live Google Hangouts On Air webcast as it appeared live via our Facebook Page

Our live Google Hangouts On Air webcast as it appeared live via our Facebook Page

Sometimes I learn best by just going for it and trying new things. In this case, not only did I learn a new capability with Facebook Pages, but I also learned a new way to expand a video’s reach. In the hope that this trick is useful to you, I’ll explain how and what I did.

The day before our last 3 Geeky Amigos Takes on Facebook Marketing live webcast via Google Hangouts On Air (please find this video embedded below), I happened to see a local Internet marketing “guru” pitching the ability to create a “simulcast” of a live video Google Hangout via a Facebook Page. Sadly, this dude and his presumably “JV partners” were pitching their ability to create this functionality like it was a breakthrough so that you would buy their app for building Facebook pages with video embeds. 

I liked the idea, but I suspected it wasn’t that hard to do. Given that my pals and I do 3 Geeky Amigos as kind of informal R&D sharing event… as well as because it’s fun for us to learn and share how to use tech stuff like Google Hangouts On Air (and this IS a great platform for producing and recording live video conversations because they instantly publish to YouTube)… about a half-hour before the semi-regular (Tuesdays at 3pm PT) start time of our webcast, I started trying to figure out how to do this kind of “simulcast.” 

As someone who does know how to create custom, interactive Facebook Pages for clients, I use an online app called GroSocial. So I wasn’t starting from scratch. However, I checked with my contact at GroSocial and he hadn’t heard of anyone doing this before; and he encouraged me by saying, “cool idea!” 

Bottom line, Google Hangouts On Air provides an iFrame embed code so that you can post your live video “event” inside any web page. GroSocial has an iFrame module so that you can embed any iFrame inside a Facebook Page. Once I aligned those pieces in my mind, linking them together was a piece of cake.

Thus, voila! In just a few minutes, our webcast was live on Google+, YouTube and Facebook all at the same time (and of course it lives on via YouTube and anywhere else that we choose to place this embed code and could have been live simultaneously on any number of webpages. Thank you, Google.) In other words, it could have been live on our website as well. All I would have needed to do is to create a blog post or new page and use that same embed code. Pretty cool, eh?

I explain and show more via the recording of this webcast below. Enjoy and let me know if I can help you to expand your video, social media, or any other form of Internet marketing reach… anytime, anywhere.

What is certainly clear is that what I started calling “The Video Web” years ago is really gaining fresh momentum. 🙂

New Experiment: Weekly Tech Talk Google Hangout with “3 Geeky Amigos”

3geekyamigos-logoOf course, we are all always learning; and another “always” is that I’m always telling myself (and others) that I need to do video on a much more regular basis.

I’ve also been attracted to the streamlined production efficiencies offered by Google’s Hangouts On-Air which not only provides a nifty and unique interface for group video chats, but a seamless integration with YouTube so that when you choose to record your Hangout, the “On-Air” part auto-magically posts the recorded video conversation to YouTube.

I’m also lucky to have some wonderful, knowledgable (OK, fellow “geeky”) friends who are excited to join my in this high tech video playpen (or I guess the tech term is “sandbox”). In this case, my co-hosts are Taylor Fogelquist of Active Ingredients and Peter Klein of Empower Your Brilliance.

The result is a new weekly tech talk show that we’ve dubbed, “3 Geeky Amigos.” You can join us live at 3pm PT every Tuesday afternoon (except June 18th). We’d love your feedback. Please tell us what you’d like us to explore. What would be most useful or interesting to you?

Here’s the first episode embedded below. It’s more of a “rehearsal” than a “premiere.” I’m confident we will keep getting better and better as we find the flow of this new media environment and get YOU involved. 🙂 And, we hope you will also join us this Tuesday at 3pm PT.

The Visual Web Demands New Video Presentation Tools & Techniques

One of my ‘mantras’ is that “It’s not about the technology. It’s about the communication.” 

Quick infographic, presentation image

This image took about 5 minutes to create

Both the good news and the bad news is that online communication is becoming more and more visual. So much so that I’ve begun calling it “The Visual Web” and wrote this blog post about the trend.

The first is about the style of visual communications and the continuing “epidemic” of bullet-point list laden presentations, such as those created in PowerPoint or Apple’s Keynote programs. (And given the increasing value of sharing presentations via SlideShare, presentation style is more important than ever.)

The second is a new tool that can be applied to both online videos (which I now consider a “must have”) as well as to the increasingly important content marketing strategy of creating infographics.

1. Presentations Done Right

Authenticity in online communications is an important key, and that means you have to walk your talk. Here’s a presentation that does just that. It illustrates what I agree are some of the most important techniques and style points about presentations using PowerPoint or Keynote, and it does so without bullet point lists. In fact, it not only makes a good case against all that text and bullet lists that we all see in far too many presentations, but it also offers some valuable resources. (New to me were Pictalicious for color palettes and PowToon, see below. I already love and recommend the iPad app, Haiku Deck.)

 

2. The Best and Easiest Online Video & Infographic Tool I’ve Seen (ever?)

 I will have to return to the subject of PowToon with a more complete review. For now, I’ll give it one of my highest recommendations which is, “I want to learn this app.”

It’s an online application designed for the creation of all kinds of online videos with an impressive array of built-in animation effects. Their site is full of examples, so I’ll just embed their excellent introductory video. If you are interested in this kind of production, ComBridges can do it for you, and more cost effectively than ever thanks to this tool. Check it out!

 

What do you think?

 

Is Vine, Twitter’s Video App, Useful for Social Media Marketing? Expert Reviews & Luscious Links

The face of online video, or what I like to call The Video Web, has just grown a new “nose.” In other words, there is now a new dimension to the online video world. In case you haven’t heard yet, the latest mobile and social video sensation is called Vine and it’s a free download app for all major mobile smartphone platforms.

Like Twitter, Vine uses #Hashtags as a way to find things and connect to stuff

Like Twitter, Vine uses #Hashtags as a way to find things and connect to stuff

Vine videos take the form of some pretty neat (and of course sometimes boring) little six-second video clips that are tightly integrated with Twitter, who recently bought the company. (FYI, Vine videos are also post-able to Facebook.)

While Vine is getting some mixed reviews—ranging from raves that it’s “the next big thing” to distain that there’s too much porn—I think the truth is that it’s got potential. While we wait to see if its buzz will last, in my opinion, Vine is fun and worth checking out.

As you will see from the aggregated “luscious links” below—all of which are from what I consider to be a solid selection of social media authorities—many major brands as well as smaller businesses are already experimenting with Vine videos. Even Sir Paul McCartney of the Beatles (or a member of his team?) is starting to run contests via Vine (see below). So, as Dylan sang, “Something is happening here…” even if we don’t know exactly what it is…

 

(FYI, Sir Paul’s next tweet said that the answer was ‘Mamunia’ from ‘Band On The Run.’)

On a more personal note—beyond my own app-aholic fascination—my litmus test proving Vine’s viability was sharing the app with a couple of 21 year old women who I met at a party. We had already established that these extremely charming social-media-active individuals were way into Instagram. But Facebook, not so much. Even as a very active Facebook user, I could appreciate their point of view, “There are too many people on Facebook posting opinions that we don’t care about.” I found this point of view to be refreshing! 🙂

When I showed them Vine and how easy it is to create multi-scene six-second mini-movie clips, they literally took to it like fish to water. Fun! Here’s one of my first Vine videos, shot (which in this case is the same as produced) at that party:

Reinforcing the “mixed reviews” theme, MarketingProfs’ Ann Handley says, “Vine: Stupid, Simple and Brilliant.” In fact, it was also Handley who tweeted the first clearly commercial Vine video that I saw. Specifically, this little ditty by the LA Dodgers in support of a new baseball star bobble-head promotion:

More Luscious Links

And last but not least, one of my favorite “social media gurus,” Jay Baer not only offers valuable insights with The 2 Ways Most People Are Misusing Vine but in this 4-minute video interview (embedded below), he tells us the bottom line of all the hype, i.e. Vine will not usher in a “new era of content marketing,” but it is an interesting new tool for serious social media marketers who are being strategic about their use of content marketing:

Bottom line, as Jay says, content marketing without a coherent strategy is not going to have a bottom line impact, no matter how nifty a tool Vine may be. And it is nifty, IMHO. After all, making video this easy to create and post is not a no-brainer.

Any comments?