Monday Funday

This time I’m not posting a video part (in a skateboard video) or a song, but a rad video from Thunder trucks with Bryan Herman and Erik Ellington. Some/most of you might have seen it as it went live last week.

I did saw a tweet about it on Friday morning, and I emailed that to myself (part of my morning iPhone routine),  but I didn’t watch the video it till this afternoon.

Besides the fact that the video is edited well and both guys talk about their own trucks (as in cars), it’s really the simplicity of skateboarding that makes it so cool. Both Herman and Ellington have had numerous great video parts, but seeing them play a game of skate on flatground is so sick. The basics of skateboarding. If you don’t skate you’ll probably don’t understand that, and that’s fine.

At the end of the video there is a Facebook link, facebook.thundertrucks.com, where you can go to win the pro trucks from both riders. The link forwards you to the Thunder Trucks facebook page. Once you’re on the wall you can read that all you have to do to enter is upload a photo of your Thunder trucks to your own Facebook and tag Thunder in it. Only bummer is that it’s for US residents only. I was born and raised in Holland and lived there for 30 years. I always felt left out with the US only contests/giveaways, but it’s understandable if you know how expensive it can get for international shipping and taxes….

These days I’m living in sunny SoCal so I’m able to enter. I’m not trying to win, the good people at DLX have always taken care of me, but I wanted to show you how it would work.

How to tag (Thunder Trucks) on Facebook?
To tag Thunder Trucks on your personal profile make sure you like the fan page. If you are a fan page add the Thunder fan page to your page’s favorites. When typing the status update type “@thun” and you’ll see Thunder Trucks pop up. Click on it and the text (Thunder Trucks) will become blue, as seen in the screen shot above. Now your photo will show up on the Thunder Truck wall. Please note that Facebook has errors every once in a while so this doesn’t work every time unfortunately.

Thunder also changed the Facebook profile picture to this Herman and Ellington truck theme, and also made a landing tab for it. Yes, you can decide where new fans will land when they visit your page for the first time (wall, info, photos, custom, etc).

Because of the Facebook URL at the end of the video Thunder will get a bunch of new fans that will be getting to know the brand better in the next few days/weeks. The (new) fans even have a chance to win some new trucks so they’ll be paying close attention to the page in the near future.

In the long run this type of interaction will pay off. Not just in number of fans, but in actual skateboarders buying Thunder Trucks. Interacting with your fans (=consumers) is showing them that you care. Who would return to at a shop where the employees don’t give a fuck about you? I won’t, and I know you will go somewhere else too. If brands start to care about their consumers, on social media, they will win in the long run. Thunder is winning. And who wouldn’t want to ride the same trucks as Bryan Herman and Erik Ellington?

Five Instagram Tips Part 3

In the last week some people mentioned some issues they had with the first Instagram tips post I did. In one of the 5 tips I mentioned some people that “clog the feed”, purely as an example. The social media nerd in me looks at some things a little more in depth as others, and all I wanted to do is share that with all of you so you can learn something from it.

I have a lot of respect for everyone in skateboarding that is working their ass off and trying to contribute in a positive way to this industry, and most of these people have inspired me for more that a decade. Besides that I want to be a part of this industry (I might be already) and contribute something positive that inspires others, so why would I try to burn my bridges?

In the last few days I’ve spoken with all 3 parties “involved”, and things weren’t half as bad as I thought (for a bit), but if I offended you or anyone of your close friends, I apologize for that. I had no intention to do that in any way. If you know me well enough I hope you can vouch for me on this. Overall I think I’m a pretty positive person, who is down to help out others at any time.

I did delete the people involved from the post but I still don’t regret writing it, since I wasn’t trying to make people look bad. My straight forward Dutch-ness, mixed with a lot of Henry Rollins spoken word and a ton of Gary Vaynerchuk social media videos might have triggered me a little bit more, but all of the words were my own.

In the future I might either use myself as an example more often, or try to mention some cases “in general”, to avoid further drama. After all, I’m only here to help you….

OK, back to business. Here are 5 more instagram tips to help your personal and business account on the Insta.


1. No need to tag someone when you leave a comment on their photo

If you leave a comment on an Instagram photo, there is no need to tag the person (or brand) that posted that photo. For instance, if you leave a comment on one of my instagram photos, you don’t have to write “@fredvanschie” in your comment. If you want to mention me just write Fred in the comment. Don’t double up!

2. Write sentences with usernames and hashtags
Use the usernames and hashtags within the sentence you write. Let’s say you post a photo of me doing a trick (!) in a skatepark, I suggest writing something like “this is @fredvanschie sucking at #skateboarding”.
Don’t write “Fred grinding his life away @fredvanschie #skateboarding”. Again, this is pretty much a double too, and it makes it harder to read. People are smarter than you think.

3. Stop asking to get followed
Any big name skateboarder (or anyone with a lot of followers) that I follow, will get a lot of comments and likes on any photo they post. And of course it would be so rad if they would start following me and start leaving comments or likes on my photos. But the worst thing you can do is to write a comment on every photo that person post, asking him to follow you. Want to look desperate? You really think begging for a follow is making you look serious?
Good content will get you somewhere, so post cool photos, write something rad/funny/honest about it and maybe add a hashtag or 2 that makes sense, and you’ll get somewhere. And don’t forget to think long term. It’s hard work and things won’t come overnight.

4. Don’t post the whole URL
As of right now, you can’t click on a URL you post on Instagram, so try and keep it as simple as you can. When I post a link to this blog post on my instagram, I just tell people to go to “fredvanschie.com”. Doesn’t make sense to post “http://fredvanschie.com/2012/02/05/five-instagram-tips-part-3”. A waste of space and it makes it harder for people to type it in.
Really hope Instagram will add this feature sometime soon, as it will help a lot!

5. Tag someone in a photo if you want them to see it
This one has to be explained with an example. Let’s say one of you friends bought a pair of shoes from brand X. After a few days the shoes start to fall apart and he posts a photo of it. He is obviously disappointed in the quality of the shoes. He doesn’t tag the brand in the post, nor is he following the brand. (The brand didn’t promote they had an Instagram, so how should he know?).
You are following brand X on Instagram, and one of your friends works there too. You can go to the photo that your friend posted of the shoes that are falling apart and tag the brand and your friend in the photo. Now both the brand and your friend get a message that they were tagged in the photo. They read that the shoes fell apart and are probably gonna reach out to your friend.
If they are smart they”ll be sending your friend a brand new pair of shoes, and include a t-shirt, some stickers and a note (with a mention of the instagram of the brand) for his inconvenience. Once your friend receives the shoes, plus the extra’s, he is probably gonna post a photo of the box with all the goodies in it. And he will tag your brand and say thank you.

Now not only did brand X take care of bad branding (with great costumer service), you also made the consumer,  and all of his friends, aware that you care about him/them. If you didn’t know about this, the person who bought the shoes in the first place would probably never buy your shoes again. And the same goes for his followers. People listen to the advice of their close friends, that’s a fact.
So you can thank the person who tagged your brand in the first place, since stuff like this will save, and grow, your business!

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

For more Instagram tips see part 2 from last week.

Five Facebook Tips #3

Another Friday so that means some more Facebook tips.
Here are 5 more for this week.

1. Tag other brands and people when you can
When you tag another brand (or person), your post shows up on their wall. So if you’re fan page only has a small amount of fans it’s a great way to expose your brand to new fans. Make sure to do this right and don’t just tag to tag (spam!). Also tag them withing the sentence you’re writing, not at the end of your text by itself.
To tag another brand/person just type the “@” sign followed by the name of the brand/person you want to tag. Make sure you tag the right one since a lot of brands (and pro skateboarders) have fake pages.
Tagging is also an easy way to show the brands that you’re doing your job. Let’s say you run a skateshop and you just received new Toy Machine boards. By telling your fan base about this shipment (with a photo or link), and tagging Toy Machine, the people at Toy Machine will be thankful that you’re promoting their products. And since you are making your consumers aware of this you are gonna drive traffic (and sales!) to your store.


* Example of the Metro skateshop Facebook page tagging Venture trucks

2. Keep the text short, but not too short
Twitter only allows you 160 tokens (140 with a photo or link), which sometimes might not be enough to trigger someone to click the link or photo. I know I’d always like to type more.
I keep repeating myself (already), but less is more. My general rule with a Facebook post, when I post a photo or link, is to write maximum 2 lines of text. Try to stay away from just typing text! Get a photo or a link in your post.

3. Don’t send people to your blog in every post
Interaction happens on Facebook, like it or not. Sending people to your blog for every update you do won’t help. People don’t like to leave Facebook, so post the YouTube/Vimeo video on Facebook (and blog!), post the product (photo) on Facebook (and blog!) and ask questions and respond to them (interaction!) on Facebook. People know that they can go to your site anytime to look at product, your teamriders, contact info etc. Your website should be treated more as a homebase. People can always go back weeks or months later to find stuff on your blog. It’s easier to look stuff up than on Facebook.
Websites are becoming less important since people don’t really surf the web on their smartphone, so adapt to that. As a brand or shop you’re fine with doing 2-5 blog updates a week. But you should be posting on your Facebook page 2-5 times per 24 hours!

4. Stop posting mostly product
Don’t treat your Facebook page like a boring product page. Again, it’s less about your brand and more about the interaction. You want to create an emotional connection with your (future) consumer.
Asking your fans about their favorite pizza or plans for the weekend will get more interaction than most product posts. It also shows that you actually care about what your fans have to say. And caring is more than half the battle. Try it out and you’ll see.

5. Re-post good content
Some people might disagree with this but I think it’s totally fine to post a good video multiple times in the first 48-72 hours. Pretty much all your fans will see your updates in their newsfeed (and not on your page), so it’s only visible for a few hours, if that.
The average person has in between 200-300 friends, so their feed is filled with updates from their friends and (fan) pages they like. So if you post something in the morning and someone checks their Facebook feed in the afternoon, it’s most likely he or she won’t see your update.
You can post a video even after a few weeks, and it will still be seen by new people. The people that have already seen it might give it a like since they loved the video when they saw it the first time. This comment or like will show up on their feed so all their friends might be triggered to watch it too, and possible comment, like or even share it. The more people see your video the better right?
I was doing this with a lot of the Theotis Beasley sponsor me reviews on the Altamont Facebook page last year quite a bit, and every time I would post it I was amazed how many comments and likes it got, even after re-posting it for the third time after a few days it was posted for the first time.

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

Also check out “Five Facebook Tips #2” from last week.