Five Instagram Tips Part 8

It’s been over a month since the last batch of Instagram tips, and it’s been one hell of a month. Both for me personally (social media wise) as well as for Instagram.

On April 3rd Instagram released their long awaited Android app. A lot of iPhone users felt less special because of it, but after a few days the hate was traded in for mostly smiles when people saw the number of followers bump up.

In the first 24 hours more than 1 million Android users downloaded the Instagram app, and more than 5 million new Android users signed on in the first 6 days. Not too shabby.

And then on April 9th the news came out that Facebook bought Instagram. It was like a bomb dropped. But really, was it that unexpected? If you can’t beat ’em just buy ’em right? Sounds like capitalism to me haha!
My (by far) favorite social media guru Gary Vaynerchuk already predicted this in December 2011, so I wasn’t that surprised. I just thought it would have been a few months later.

So now that all the whining and complaining has died down we can all keep on going. Right? I know I will. Here are 5 more tips for the use of Instagram, both for personal and business use.

These 5 tips are mostly inspired by 2 major (core) skateboard events in the last few weeks, the Tampa Pro and the Phoenix Am. But even if you have never heard of those events, or you don’t care about skateboarding, these tips will still be helpful.

1. Create a hashtag (#) for each event
A hashtag on Instagram, and Twitter as well, creates an online photo album of all photos that have the same hashtag. The “#” sign is no longer the pound key, the hashtag is truly 2012.
I’m blown away that companies are still doing events and are not having an hashtag for the event. They really don’t care about people interacting?
For the record, a hashtag is not just for a few people in your marketing department that are attending an event. It’s for everyone involved, especially the fans/consumers attending your event. All their friends need to see what is/was going on. People trust their friends more than anything, so if your friends are at an event and they are all using the same hashtag you will click on the hashtag, and you will most likely see who set up the event. So without even being at an event, you are still seeing what’s going on. Through the eyes of your friends. No other way of marketing can beat that.

2. Add your own hashtag when you’re at a big event
If you are at a big event, you can should also create your own hashtag. Make sure to add the hashtag of the event itself too. That way people that flip through the photos of the event see your hashtag, and then the chance will be way bigger they will follow you, and everyone else that used the hashtag you and your team is using.

Example: Mickey Reyes from Deluxe at the Tampa Pro skateboard contest.
Event hashtag: #tampapro
Created hashtag: #dlxtampapro (*Deluxe Distribution)

3. Brands before employees
If you handle multiple Instagram accounts you know that you have to log out of an Instagram account and log into another one. In Twitter you can easily switch between accounts, and I can’t wait for Instagram to add that feature.
So when your brand sends a handfull of employees to an event, which Instagram account should they be updating first and foremost?
Even though I follow various industry people in skateboarding (and in a way I prefer to see their updates over the brand) I still feel the brand’s Instagram account should be updated by the people (of the brand) attending the event.

4. Always tag as many other accounts
This goes for every social media platform. If you are doing a good job interacting with your fans and followers, your account is growing weekly, or most likely, daily. So you always have to think about the new people that started to follow you (while still keeping the followers in mind that have been there longer).
So it’s really cool that you are using all your in crowd jokes, work lingo and industry jargon, but your business (growth) is really is dependent on the new, and most times young(er) consumer. So be nice to them, explain them some stuff at times and talk their language. And so tag (and hashtag) everyone with every chance you get. Don’t just assume people know. Showing that you care about them will pay off. And you current (old?) fans and followers will understand.

5. Don’t like every single photo
It’s too easy to “like” a photo on Instagram. Double tap the screen and you are liking someone’s photo.
I’ve heard some people just scroll through their feed and like every photo they see. Now when I get a like from those people it doesn’t really mean anything.
On the other hand there are people that barely like any photos. Nothing right or wrong about that, but if those people like my photo it actually means something. Less is more.
Same for the brands you follow. Liking every single thing they post is just boring.
Don’t underestimate the power you have. Like with care.

Questions or comments? Drop ‘em below!
Or shoot me an email at fred@fredvanschie.com.

For more Instagram tips see part 7 from a few weeks ago.

Five Facebook Tips 9

It’s been a few weeks since I did a post with Facebook tips. By now you all know that Timeline is implemented on all Facebook pages. I’m still surprised to see various Facebook pages without a cover photo. Social media has become the front yard of your business, whether you like it or not. So why wouldn’t you invest some time in making it look good?

More and more people have a smartphone, which means more and more people are checking their various social media platforms from their phone. This also means that people visit websites less and less (from their phone). So your website now has more of an arche function. It’s not dead, but it’s function is changing. If you sell on your website, this isn’t too different.
Unless you start caring about your fans (and consumers) on social media, and make an emotional connection with them, people aren’t going to your website when you tell them too (on the social media platforms).

Below are 5 more tips for Facebook, mainly about the new Timeline. In case you missed it, make sure to check out the Facebook Timeline article that I wrote for Transworld Business in late March.

1. Turn of the message option
I’m a big fan of the Facebook Timeline, but one of the few things that I don’t like about it is the messaging option. This basically allows every single fan to send you a private message.
Why I don’t like this? I want people to post on your wall, so I can see your answer. This will also prevent that some people ask the same question, at least in a short period of time. You know you have to reply to everyone that leaves a question/comment on your page right? And yes, you will have to answer the same questions over and over again, get used to it. Show that you care!
Having a public conversation with one of your fans also allows other fans to join the conversation, or even better, answer some of the questions for you.
To turn off the messaging option go to “Admin Panel”, “Manage”, “Edit Page”. Once you land on the “Manage Permissions” tab just uncheck the “Show “Message” button” in the middle of the screen.

2.  How to feed your Instagram photo into Facebook.
You’re lazy, I get it. You think the best invention in social media is the automat feed  from one platform into the other.
I do think it’s good to feed one platform into another one, just to show your fans you are also active on something else besides Facebook, but only 1 out of 5, or 1 out of 10 times.
With Instagram hitting 40 million users (Facebook has 845 million FYI) you could feed an Instagram photo into your Facebook page every now and then. But when you do, just put some text with your Instagram photo, and then feed it into Facebook. Afterwards you leave an additional comment on your Instagram photo with the tags and hashtag.
Since the tags and hashtags from Instagram to Facebook lose their value, it doesn’t make sense to have those show up in Facebook. It just makes it look messy. Keep it clean.

3. Don’t share a link, post it yourself and tag others
Every self respecting brand should be posting content themselves, and tagging others whenever possible. Even is the content is from others, you want to have your fans see that you are giving them the news, so they have a good reason to keep following you. When you tag others Facebook pages (you can’t tag friend profiles from a fan page), your post shows up on the wall of the pages you tagged, meaning their fans see that you have a Facebook page. This is the perfect way to gain legit fans. Don’t tag random Facebook pages, you don’t want to spam.
When you share a link from another Facebook page your post won’t show up on their wall, so you’re blowing a great opportunity to grow your fan base.

4. Don’t tag your own page in a post
Relax, people will see your page. When you tag others pages in a post your post will show up on the wall of the other pages, and people will see your page. So no need to tag your own page in that post. If your content is good, people will come to you, if not, than you should do something about the content you’re posting. No need to overdo it. Give it some time, just like your business your Facebook page won’t grow exponentially overnight.

5. Change your cover photo often, but not too often.
Your cover photo should be a cool image, maybe a resized print ad or a rad photo. But since most people see your updates in their feed, and not on your actual page, you should keep the cover photo up for a little bit. I think brands are best off with changing the cover photo every month, and have it go along with the print ad. If you really feel 1 month is too long I suggest changing it once every 2 weeks.
Will be good to have the cover photo go along with a giveaway, a new product or a tour/event you have coming up.

Check out Facebook tips part 8 for more Timeline tips and tricks. And check the  Timeline tutorial to see all the specs for the cover photo and the profile image.

Questions or comments? Drop ‘em below!
Or shoot me an email at fred@fredvanschie.com.

Five Instagram Tips Part 7

Last Sunday I skipped the Instagram tips, been busy with a lot of other cool social media stuff (more on that in the near future), but for today I have another batch of 5 tips for you.



1. Instagram is growing fast, but it’s nowhere near Facebook (or Twitter)
In my eyes Instagram is by far the coolest social media platform to date, but it’s still very small in compare to Facebook and Twitter. Recently Instagram past 25 million users, which is an insane number when you realize it started in October 2010. I’m assuming most of the users are active users, meaning they upload at least one photo every month. Right now Facebook has more than 845 million active users, of which 500 million log in every day. Twitter recently passed the 500 million users, but “only” 100 million are active users. Bottomline, as rad as Instagram is, it’s reach is still limited in compare to Facebook and Twitter. And sure, you can feed all your Instagram posts into Facebook and Twitter, and that will definitely increase it’s reach, but then you aren’t optimizing each platform to it’s full potential. And it looks rather messy and lazy to me.

2. Don’t feed Instagram posts with links into Facebook and Twitter
Numerous times I’ve told you not to feed your Instagram into Twitter and Facebook. Sometimes it works for Twitter, Facebook is pretty much a no go. Maybe once a month you feed it into your Facebook page to show your Facebook fans that you have an Instagram account. A lot of times when you feed Instagram into Twitter you use more than 140 tokens (160 minus 20 for the Instagram link), so you’re already blowing it.
The worst thing to do (at the moment) is put a URL in your Instagram post, and feed that to Twitter. Why? Cause a URL isn’t clickable in Instagram, and therefore it also won’t work in Twitter. All you do is show people a picture of the link (and text). Think people are gonna type in a YouTube URL in their web browser on their phone? Hell no!

3. Don’t like your own photos or ask (beg) for a follow
No need to like your own photos. I’m assuming you uploaded something you like right? Even worse is to leave the same comment on photos posted by others, asking for people to follow you. I will never follow people that want to tell the world how bad they want extra followers. And for what, just for the number? Relax, you will get more followers. Maybe not as many as Andrew Reynolds, and that’s fine. Post some cool photos (max 3 a day), add some text and a couple relevant hashtags and give it some time.

4. Post real photos, taking with your phone
I’m guilty of this a well, but the best photos on Instagram are the ones shot a few moments before it was posted, with you iPhone. Real time! I’m posting flyers and screen shots (of this post for example) too, but Instagram is really about photos that are shot right here right now. It’s cool to show off your huge photo collection you shot with your high tech digital camera last year, but I’m way more impressed if you took a cool iPhone photo. Like this Insta photo shot by Don Brown a little while ago in Laguna Beach, CA. Simply amazing!

5. Plain product is just fucking boring
This last tips is for any social media platform, and it’s by far way underrated by a lot of people and brands. The best thing about social media is that it’s 2-way traffic. So don’t treat it like a website. I strongly believe social media is mostly about interaction, and not so much about what YOU post, especially for brands. If your website (homepage) is filled with strictly product shots that’s one thing, but please be less “business minded” when it comes to social media. It’s all about creating an emotional connection with your fans and consumers.
I get it, you sell online and you want your stuff to sell. But pushing it down people’s throat is not gonna help you out. So stop posting plain product shots! Sneak peak your designers computer screen by giving away a little bit of a future graphic, show a teamrider wearing a new product, or repost a photo from a fan/follower rocking your stuff. The best way to thank someone for buying your shit is to give them a shout out on social media. They will be stoked out of their mind, and probably gain some of your followers. And buy your stuff again, and tag your and so forth.

Sharing is caring right? Humanize your brand before it’s too late!

Questions or comments? Drop ‘em below!
Or shoot me an email at fred@fredvanschie.com.

For more Instagram tips see part 5 from last week.

Five Facebook Tips 8

After Facebook allowed fan pages to switch over to the timeline layout last Wednesday, it’s pretty obvious this week’s Facebook tips is all about the new layout. On Wednesday I did a quick tutorial on some of the basics of switching to the timeline layout, today I’ll go a bit more in depth.

Let me start of by saying the new timeline is really sick, and will be much better. No one likes change, but just adapt to it asap and you’ll be used to it in no time. You don’t really have an option either, as Facebook will force you to switch no later than March 30th 2012.

1. The link button is gone once again
Once again Facebook decided to remove to link button, so most people might not know how to post a URL in a post without showing the URL. It’s pretty simple. Copy the URL of the blog post or video in the status update bar, hit the spacebar once and wait for Facebook to populate a thumbnail. If your blog post has multiple images you can choose which photo (thumbnail) you want to show. Now delete the URL and type your text. Once you’re done hit “post” and you’re all set!
This works the exact same way for your personal profile FYI. Keep it clean!

2. Your about section has a main spot now
Make sure you put in the about section what you want people to know that are new to your brand. In the timeline the about section shows up right under your cover photo, so everyone that comes to your page will see this text. Keep it short and simple, but make sure you say what you want people to remember.

3. Pin a post to the top of the page
In complete Pinterest stylo Facebook now gives you the option to bring any post from the past to the top of your page. Want to highlight that video one more time, that cool photo or the event that is coming up? Pin the post and it will be on the top of the page for a maximum of 7 days.

How to pin?
Go to the right upper corner of your post and click on the pencil. In the drop down menu click on “pin to top” and you’re done. Now the post will show up on the top of your page, with an orange icon on the upper right.
FYI: You can only pin one post at a time. Once you pin a new post the older pinned post will move back into the timeline.

4. Star a post
Similar to pinning a post, you can now also “star” a post. This blows up the photo or video to the full size of the Facebook page. The size is 735px for a starred post, so make
sure that if you star a photo that it’s of decent size/resolution, so it doesn’t get all blurry. See here an example of a Theeve trucks post on Garrett Hill’s Facebook page.

To star a post go to the upper right corner of your post and click on the star icon. You can star multiple posts, but don’t overdo it. You want to draw attention to a few key posts, not all your stuff.

5. Choose your tabs/apps wisely

With the new timeline everyone will see your cover photo first. You can’t have people that aren’t a fan (of your page) yet land on a different (welcome) page. Underneath the cover photo, on the right side, there is room for 4 tabs. The first one in the row, on the left, is always the “photo” tab. The other 3 tabs can be whatever you want. You can decide which other tabs you want to show there, and in which order. Technically you can have up to 12 tabs, but you have to click on the arrow next to far right tab to see the other 8 tabs.


Example: The Skatepark of Tampa Facebook page

FYI; I just checked out 30 different skateboard brands and barely anyone had changed their page to the timelime yet. Pretty shocking! Props to SPoT for adapting so quick!

You can also decide to put one of your custom tabs in the main row. In the example above you see “photos”, “likes”, “what’s up @ SPoT” and “events”. Again, the “photos” tab will always be in the position where you see it now. The “like” tab is not really needed since you already see the number of total likes (fans) next to the profile picture. I strongly suggest adding the YouTube tab there (which you can install really easy) and then go with 2 other tabs that showcase your brand, organization, or shop.
You can also add custom tabs to the top 4. You can even upload your own thumbnail so you can get an image in their that will attract the attention of your fans. (Specs: 111px by 74px)
I recently built 2 custom tabs for Garrett Hill and David Gonzalez that showcase their sponsors. Below is part of the Garrett Hill one. Go to the actual tab to see it in full. Also check out the sponsor tab I did for David Gonzalez.
Each sponsor logo links to the Facebook page of that brand, so in this case the rider is helping the brand gain more (legit) fans.

Please note that these tabs where designed for the old specs of the Facebook page (516px wide). With the timeline the tabs can be up to 810px wide, so expect an update of both tabs very soon.

If you are interested in building custom tabs for your Facebook page and you don’t know how or don’t have the time for it feel free to hit me up. I can built and host multiple Facebook tabs for you. Just email me at fred@fredvanschie.com and I’ll let you know how it would work.

Don’t forget to check out the Facebook post from last Wednesday with a step-by-step tutorial on how to switch over the the timeline, including all the specs for the cover photo and the profile image.

Questions or comments? Drop ‘em below!
Or shoot me an email at fred@fredvanschie.com.

Also check out “Five Facebook Tips #7” from last week.

Timeline For Facebook Pages

Always nice waking up to some shocking news. We all knew it was coming sooner or later, as Facebook introduced the timeline for the personal profiles a few months ago, but as of today the timeline is also available for Facebook (fan) pages. Without a warning in the last few days.

You don’t have to change it right away, as it won’t be final until March 30th 2012. So that gives you 4 weeks to get you shit together. I think you should do it today or tomorrow, as you want to show your fans that you lead the way, not follow like a sheep.

How does it work?
If you’re admin just go the fan page that you have access too. You will see this message on the top of the page.

If you have played around with the timeline on your personal profile, and you know how easy it is to upgrade, I suggest clicking “preview” right away.

You then get to this page.


Example: Epidemic skateshop Facebook page

Your fans won’t see your new timeline unless you click “publish”. Your profile picture is already set, but if you want you can change that. Just hoover your mouse over the photo and click “edit”. The specs for the profile image are 180px by 180px. The profile picture will also be the thumbnail that people will see of you in their newsfeed. (image will then be 32px by 32px).

The most important (and best) thing about the timeline is the cover photo. Click on “add a cover” on the right to upload a photo or image, or pick an image you already uploaded. If you pick an existing image make sure it’s big enough! The cover photo should be AT LEAST 851px by 315px. Bigger is not too much of a problem, since you can move the image around. But to prevent things from being cut out of the frame it’s best to size you cover photo correctly before uploading it.

Facebook has guidelines for the cover photo, make sure you read them first before uploading an image. Here are the key points you can’t have in the cover image:
– Price or purchase information, such as “40% off” or “Download it at our website”
– Contact information, such as web address, email, mailing address or other information intended for your page’s about section
– References to user interface elements, such as “Like” or “Share”, or any other Facebook site features
– Calls to action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends”

Once you have uploaded your timeline image click on “publish now” and your page will now show up to everyone. Yes, your cover photo is public, so anyone visiting your page will be able to see the image you choose.


Example: Garrett Hill Facebook page

Since you can now also “star” (and pin) certain photos and videos make sure the images are at least 851px wide, otherwise they could be blurry.

Specs Timeline:
Cover image: 851px by 315px
Profile image: 180px by 180px
Thumbnail of profile image: 32px by 32px

More on the timeline for pages this coming Friday.
Questions or comments? Drop ‘em below!
Or shoot me an email at fred@fredvanschie.com.

Also check out “Five Facebook Tips #7” from last week.

You can educate yourself right now by watching some interactive tutorial videos on the Facebook About Pages site. Very useful!

Five Instagram Tips Part 6

We’re at the end of another good week. My personal highlight this week was my first social media article on Transworld Business that went live early Thursday morning.

My good friend Floris Gierman called me up 2 weeks and said that after checking out this website I should hit up some trade/B2B magazines. The next day I emailed a handful of action sport focused magazine, and Mike Lewis, editor of Transworld Business, said he would be down to get something started right away.

The article that went live on Thursday is about Instagram, and gives you 5 basic tips for using Instagram. Most of them I’ve already mentioned here in the past few weeks. My ugly smug even got a prime spot on the homepage. Scary but cool. So far the article got over 9,000 views in the first 3 days. Thanks again Mike!

OK, back to the Sunday Instagram tips on this blog. Just like every Sunday I’ll be giving you 5 more Instagram tips today.

1. How to change your Instagram password
You can’t change your Instagram password from your iPhone, so get behind a computer and go to Instagr.am or Instagram.com and click on “Edit Account” at the bottom of the page. Log in if needed and once again scroll down the page and click on “Click here to change your password”.  This will take you to the page where you can create a new password.
Once you’ve changed the password on your computer grab your iPhone and log in with you new password.

2. How to delete an Instagram comment
If you want to delete a comment, either your own or from someone else, go to the photo and click on “comment”. Click on the wheel in the top right corner and now every comment on your photo will get a red circle on the left of it. Tap on red circle and confirm your action by tapping “delete” on the right side.
I don’t really delete people’s comments on my own photos. If they are drunk or trying to be funny, let them be. Only if it gets offensive or just plain stupid I delete their comment. I do use it every now and then when I just uploaded the photo and I either made a typo in the caption/text, or I forgot something.

*Please note that if delete the first caption/text and you shared your photo to Twitter, Facebook or something else, that the text there won’t change. Maybe another good reason to not feed (every) Instagram photo(s) to your other social media platforms….

3. Have a plan for your hashtag for events
Going on a trip or tour? Decide before the thing kicks off what hashtag you want people to use, and inform everyone that is a part of this. Teamriders, filmers, photographers, TMs, shops you’re visiting on the trip and the media. Maybe even tell your followers to use it in some way and do a giveaway with it so people want to get involved. Who doesn’t want to win free shit?
When your hashtag gets used a lot by various people, you get more eyes on your brand. And besides that it’s a good way to look back on a trip after a few/weeks or months. Just search for the hashtag and bring back the memories.

4. How to handle multiple Instagram accounts with one app
Unlike Twitter the official Instagram account won’t let you handle multiple accounts. You have to log out of one and log back in to the other. Quite annoying and pretty time consuming.
Currently Instagram does not offer anything to handle multiple accounts. When I created an account for Altamont and Emerica in early April 2011, this was one of the first requests I emailed Instagram. I for sure thought they would add that feature quickly, but they haven’t yet.

I did find another app a few months ago called Fotogramme that will let you handle multiple accounts. Only downside with this app is that you can’t upload any photos to any of the accounts from the app. And that is of course the main feature we would like! With the Fotogramme app you can get profile information, view/like and comment on photos, follow/block users and search hashtag and users.

5. Give someone a shout out
In the last few weeks I’ve gained a lot of Instagram followers thanks to shout outs from Metro skateshop and Epidemic skateshop. And about a week ago Lowcard re-posted a photo I shot of my niece Cassidy rocking the world famous Lowcard longshoreman beanie.

You know that if you hit the “Sleep” and “Home” button at the same time you take a screen shot with you iPhone right?
Anyway, you think I was stoked and thankful that I got a shout out from Metro, Epidemic and Lowcard? Fuck yeah! Did I gain some legit followers? Yes. Is it most likely that I will (hash)tag them in the future? So true!
Support those who support you. U-N-I-T-Y! (Op. Ivy reference)

Questions or comments? Drop ‘em below!
Or shoot me an email at fred@fredvanschie.com.

For more Instagram tips see part 5 from last week.

Five Facebook Tips 7

It’s late this Friday. Had a lot going on this past week, both personal and social media wise.
On the social media front, the main thing by far was the building of some custom tabs. Major thanks to my Dutch friend Jamy Vodegel for telling me about WP4FB, and helping me guide me through the whole process. Check out his website wooster.nl. It’s in Dutch so you might have to get some Rosetta Stones CDs before….
(More on the WP4FB Facebook tabs/apps in future blog posts)

Here are some more tips for your Facebook strategy. Read up and help yourself, and your brand!

1. Facebook still overrules any other social media platform
Right now Facebook has 845 million monthly active users, so it’s by far the biggest social media platform out there. YouTube is the only one that is coming close to this massive number, but it’s a different kind of interaction.
I firmly believe your brand should be active on Twitter, Instagram, and soon on Pinterest and Google Plus, but none of those are even coming close to the reach you can have on Facebook.
Your main marketing focus right now should be on Facebook! So be present on there more than anywhere else. I love Instagram, Twitter is rad, Google Plus is growing, Pinterest is gaining a lot of momentum recently, but you want to be where (the most) people are at. It’s that simple.

2. Leak future product
Want to get real feedback from (your) real fans and consumers? Want to tease them with what’s coming soon? Want to see what people are into? No better way to do this on social media, and Facebook in particular. Post a photo on Facebook and asked the fans what they like.
Want to take it a step further? Make your fans pick the color of a future product. Show them 2 shoes, one blue and one red, and have the fans pick which one you should produce. Once this shoe drops and a fan see this shoe at his local skateshop, you think he/she is gonna be stoked? You bet. He/she’ll even be more stoked if it is the colorway he/she voted for. Interaction that is driving sales!

3. Post with reasonable time intervals
There are a lot of different theories for how often you should (or can) post on Facebook. Bottom line, their are no set rules for this.
In early 2011 I read an article (can’t find anymore, sorry) that a Facebook post is valid for about 80 minutes. That’s 1 hour and 20 minutes.  People have an average of 200-300 friends on their Facebook, so your post will move down the newsfeed pretty damn quick.
When I was handling the Altamont Facebook page (June 2010 – Dec 2011) I would post on average 3-6 times per 24 hours. And never more than once every 1-2 hours, with some exceptions (e.g. Wild in the Streets, Maloof Cup, Shakejunt premiere)
Per 24 hours, not just between 9am and 5pm. Some of the posts with the most interaction where early in the morning or late at night. Cause 6am in California is 9am in New York and 3pm in Amsterdam. Think global!

4. Convert your friends profile into a fan page
You’re a real business? You take your business serious? You want your brand to grow in the future? Then don’t open a friends profile but start a fan page.
Besides the fact that it goes against the Facebook Terms (4.4), and they can take down a friends profile at any time if you use it for your business or brand, you want to think bigger, and long term.
I know, you can befriend others with a friends profile, which gives you a quick(er) start, but if you’re good enough you will get there. It’s might take some time but most businesses take time to grow.
A friends profile can also have a max of 5,000 friends. And yes, you are bigger than that. And if not, that’s fine. Some smaller brands, or shops, or distributors can run more then fine with “just” a few thousand fans. If those are your consumers, and you interact with them, you’re good. And you will grow.
I can give a handful more of reasons, but I’ll mention one more. You can chat on a friends profile, but you have time to chat to 5,000 people? One on one chat sessions are way too private anyway. Have them post a comment or question or your wall so everyone can see your answer, and even join the conversation if they want!

PS. If you have a friends profile for your business, check the Facebook help section on how to convert it to a fan page.
Michiel Gaasterland has some great info too on his blog.

5. Use YouTube to promote your Facebook
Facebook is the biggest social media platform, YouTube is the 2nd largest one. So if you’re smart you use both of these.
I always put the Facebook, Twitter and website URL in the video description (as the only text). Make sure to post “http://facebook.com/xxx” and not just “facebook.com/xxx”. The “http” will make it a click-able link.
When you post the YouTube video on Facebook the description shows up. Forget writing a ton of info in the description. Less is more remember, and if people really want to find out more about your brand they will click the facebook (or twitter or website) URL.

FYI: The only reason I would add the website URL is because some people are afraid Facebook (or Twitter) might die soon, so people know what the website URL is.
Someone that will click the Facebook link will most likely become a fan so you can inform him “every day” for the rest of his/her life. And why do you think a (one-time) website visit might be better?

Most people see a YouTube video (fuck your own video player!) on Facebook so this is a good way to you grow your fanbase. They are only 2 clicks away from being a Facebook fan. And with other brands and people posting your YouTube video on their Facebook this can add a good amount of valuable fans pretty quickly.

Here’s is an example of how this will look on Facebook:

It works pretty much the same with Vimeo:

Vimeo is the only video player besides YouTube that you should/could use in my opinion. I like it better than YouTube. You can choose your own thumbnail and even make a custom URL for the video.
But YouTube is the Google for videos. How many times do you search a video on YouTube? How many times do you go to Vimeo to do that? Again, you want to be where the people are at!

Questions or comments? Drop ‘em below!
Or shoot me an email at fred@fredvanschie.com.

Also check out “Five Facebook Tips #6” from last week.

Monday Funday

I had a couple of things in my had today, but when I found out through some friends’ social media platforms that today is Kurt Cobain’s birthday, there was only one thing to post.

This song was released In September 1991, right as I started high school. It couldn’t have been better timing. I was living in a small town in Holland at the time, and even though starting high school was a pretty big deal to me at the time, music became my escape thanks to Nirvana.
A breath of fresh air in the always so bad music that dominates the mainstream radio stations (in Holland). My family hated the music, chicks didn’t like it, and that made it even better. Nevermind was the ultimate fuck you for the rebellious teenager that I was becoming. Back when Mtv was still cool. Thank you Kurt, for showing me that being different wasn’t that bad.

Thanks to Nirvana and Oor (Dutch Music Magazine) I got introduced to Dutch photographer Anton Corbijn, in my eyes the coolest Dutch guy to ever live. I had a few photos in my room, and the one of Kurt Cobain hung next to the Henry Rollins one. It all started with Nirvana and it only got better from there.

The skateboard industry could use some more teen spirit these days. Less boring and more action. Just like Nirvana.

Five Instagram Tips Part 5

After the guest tips from Steve Clare last week, we’re back to another batch of tips from me.

1. Makes sure your hashtag works
You can’t use any punctuation marks in a hashtag. So the hashtag #iwon’t will be archived as #iwon. The hashtag ends wherever you put the punctuation mark in.  ( , . ; ‘ ? ! – + etc.). Also make sure to leave a space before, and after the hashtag to have it show up correctly.
I mostly try to use 3 or less hashtags per photo. An overdose of hashtags makes each hashtags less valuable.

2. Double tap to like
This is one of the basic ones but it wasn’t included in the first versions of the app. If you want to like a photo you can do so by simply double tapping on the photo. Of course you can also tap on the “like” button (once) below the photo.
The only downside with the double tap is that I keep seeing people go though their feed and like every photo…. Since it’s so easy to like a photo it’s also way less valuable.
So if you really want to show someone you like their photo, leave a comment.

3. Go to the top of the feed with one tap
This is something that works for every iPhone app. Tap the status bar, at the top of your screen (where the time is displayed), once and you’ll go to the top of the page.
I use this a lot with my email and phone list too.

4. How to change your username if needed
Both with Instagram and Twitter is super easy to change your username, if the username you want is still available. I understand that you have this super weird nickname that you like to use, but again, think long term and think big. Because of social media everyone is their own brand, so beware. Do you know any brand that uses a different name on social media?
Not saying you must use your real name, but it will help. If you don’t have your real name as your username, at least have your real name in your profile.
Tap the right button on the bottom and go to “edit profile” to change your info. The first 2 lines are for your regular name (first and last), the 3rd line is your username.

5. Do a giveaway and get other users involved
People love free shit, and skateboard kids are no exception. The most interactive instragammer in my feed is by far Metro skateshop from Pleasant Hill, CA (Bay Area). Every other week they do a giveaway with a product the sell in their shop. A few weeks ago they did a Thunder/Chris Cole giveaway.

Besides posting this flyer on their own Instagram it was also posted on the Thunder facebook page and the DLX website. Numerous DLX employees, as well as friends of the shop, posted it on their personal Instagram account.
Think that gained Metro some more followers? Think those followers are mostly skateboarders? Think it gained Chris Cole some more followers?
And besides all that, it also brought some extra attention to Metro, Thunder and Chris Cole. Plus someone won a free pair of trucks. So all this great promotion for all parties involved, for one set of trucks.
We asked Joel Jutagir, owner of Metro skateshop, about the impact of this giveaway: “We has been playing with different ways to garner attention to what we do at the shop. Our latest efforts have been focused on Instagram where there’s tons of interaction due to the platforms simplicity and the way you can tell a story visually. It’s right up our alley!
We did a giveaway for Chris Cole’s new Thunder Truck, what we saw was some large accounts, 5000+ came on board and posted for us. That helped spread the word to everybody in their feed. Even small accounts that posted helped us out a ton. More importantly it opened up lines of communication and exposed them to the fact that were a bunch of goofs, that like to ride skateboards, have fun and on occasion sell something. We are also involved in their feeds now, dropping likes and comments and staying in touch.
Instagram a great way to stay in touch and share what makes you tick!”

*Make sure whatever giveaway you do on Instagram complies with the Instagram terms.

Interaction on social media is not only a must, it’s also super easy. Do believe the hype.

Questions or comments? Drop ‘em below!
Or shoot me an email at fred@fredvanschie.com.

For more Instagram tips see part 4 from last week.

Five Facebook Tips 6

Another work week is at it’s end. After yet another tradeshow (Magic in Las Vegas) and the Transworld Skateboarding awards in LA last Thursday night it’s time to get back on the “regular” grind on Tuesday (Monday is President’s Day). Here are some more Facebook tips that hopefully help you in the social media stratosphere.

1. Promotions guidelines
Want to do a giveaway on your Facebook page? A sweepstake? Better have a look at the promotional guidelines of Facebook. Their rules and regulations regarding promotional activities on your page are pretty crazy.
You need to run any kind of promotion or giveaway on a special created tab. And those (additional) tabs aren’t visible from a mobile device FYI. (Nice fail Facebook!)
People also can’t enter a giveaway by simply “liking your page”. And you can’t notify winners through a Facebook message or chat.
These are just a few examples. So do yourself a favor and read the promotional guidelines before your page gets (temporarily) shut down.

2. Install Facebook comments on your website

With less and less people surfing the web (on their phones) and more and more people getting their news through social media, the comments on your website become less meaningful.

I was stoked to see that Thrasher Magazine switched to Facebook only comments on their website in mid 2011. Even though the number of comments per post went down, the comments that were posted were real ones. No random hate rants and way less cuss words. Why? Because now it shows who the person behind the comment is.
Tony Vitello of Thrasher told me: “We wanted accountability with our commenting and their system makes the most sense right now. It’s not perfect, but it’s simple and relatively low maintenance.”
I’m not of a web nerd myself but ask your webguy or Google it, it won’t be difficult to install the Facebook comments on your website.

Because of the Facebook comment system the Thrasher website content gets around very quickly too. For example, if I leave a comment on, or like, a post the Thrasher website, all my personal Facebook friends see that in their newsfeed. And not that I’m such a huge influencer among my friends, but if my friends comment on something (or like it), there is a big chance that I’m interested in that content too.
This works already for comments within Facebook, but I think it’s good to get your website involved too.

3. Geo-tag if needed (fan page only)
I rarely use this but if you want you can specify which fans see your update. As a brand I think you should show your fans that you are represented all around the world.
But if you want to promote something for a specific country, in a language that you normally don’t use on your Facebook page (French, Spanish, etc), they geo-tagging might be a great tool to use. If you do this just be prepared for questions in this language. Vous parlez Francais?
People travel as well, so I could be in LA today and in Amsterdam tomorrow, so I might just be able to attend this party your distributor is throwing on the other side of the world.
How to geo-tag? Below the status box, and left of the “share” button, click on the arrow. Click on location/language and fill in who you want to reach. You can get really specific, see the screen shot below.

Note: if you’re an admin for the fan page you will always see any update (even if another admin posted it)

4. Create an event page for all your events
Whether you are throwing a house party, going on tour with your band, or have a video premiere, always create an event for it on Facebook. People are moving away from the computer and spending more time on their smartphone (iPhone) and tablet (iPad).
Once you’ve create an event all your fans can decide to “join”, “maybe” or “decline” the invite to the event. If you hit “join” or “maybe”, the event gets put in your calender of upcoming events.
Say its the night of the event, and you ended up in the area of the event. You pull out your phone, open up the Facebook app and go to the events tab. Now select the event you want to go to.

You can see all the details of the party. Click on “Get Directions” and Maps app will open (on your iPhone) with the directions to the event.
Great way to get to last minute people that weren’t sure to come out. Or even the people that were already on the way and needed last minute directions.

5. Use different wording when posting on multiple pages
More than a few brands (in skateboarding) belong to the same owner/distribution. But every brand has a different image and voice. That’s why the other brand(s) were created right? To do something different and attract a different consumer.
I understand if one person handles the social media for multiple brands, but I think it’s very important to make sure to have a different voice for each brand. You do have different logos, ads, colors and products for each brands, so why not extend that to the social media.
If you post the exact same text, photo, video, etc on various brand pages, than why did you create another brand after all? Even though a lot of people know that some brands are connected with each other, every brands has it’s own fans and consumers. So post different stuff, at different times, with different words. If you have more than one person for your social media it will be good to give each person one, or multiple, fan page(s).
I also strongly recommend to not share the posts of other brands, but rather tag the other brand (page) in your post.

Questions or comments? Drop ‘em below!
Or shoot me an email at fred@fredvanschie.com.

Also check out “Five Facebook Tips #5” from last week.