About Fred van Schie

Live by your dreams (and your ass will follow). I'm living proof!

Five Twitter Tips Part 4

Five more Twitter tips on this Valentine Tuesday. Hope they help you!

1. Don’t tag yourself
No need to tag yourself in a tweet. People already know your twitter name if they see the tweet.

2. Delete all your tweets at once if you want a fresh start
Stepping up your twitter game? Starting to use it for your business and don’t want the whole world to see your drunken rants? Delete all your tweets at once by using something like TwitWipe. TwitWipe is free and doesn’t always work perfect, but have some patience and you’ll be ready for a new start.

3. Handle Twitter on it’s own
I’ve mentioned before that I strongly suggest to not feed other social media platforms into Twitter. But the more brands and shops I see on Twitter, the more auto feeds I see. I also see a lot of people linking to Facebook or other social media platforms….
The success of your Twitter is strongly dependent on how serious you take it. You need to tag others, use hashtags and type your message in no more then 160 tokens (140 with link or photo). And actively participate in the Twitter world! If you don’t want to do this then just delete your account and focus on the other social media platforms.

4. Have a clear avatar (profile picture)
Your avatar is pretty crucial. Show a clear photo of yourself, or a logo if you are a brand or shop. You want to make sure people know it’s you.
The specs of the avatar are 128 x 128 (scaled down to 48 x 48 in stream). Make sure the image is at least 48k, and max 700k.

5. Spent limited time on your background
Most people will follow you on their smart phone or computer, and if your tweet shows up in their feed only your avatar will show. Only if they go to your Twitter page (twitter.com/you) they will see your background image and colors. Go to profile -> settings -> design. The get some info on the background specs check out this post on Banyan Branch.com.
So I do suggest to customize that so it’s branded, but don’t spent too much time on it, since most people don’t come there too often.

Thanks for checking out the tips for this week!
Check part 3 of the Twitter tips if you haven’t already.

Questions or comments? Drop a comment below!
Or hit me up on Twitter, @fredvanschie.

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 4

The person that told me I should sign up for Instagram was Steve Clare. Best thing about it was that he pretty much demanded me to join, which I’m very thankful for. Normally my favorite Dutch tech nerd Appleman gives me a heads up on what to look out for in the digital world, but the Insta fever is all thanks to Steve.

Steve is pretty damn serious about it too, and has no problem admitting he is addicted to the Insta. Like pretty much everyone I know that has the app, ha!

He is also serious about things people shouldn’t post on Instagram. So after another fun motorcycle/skateboarding/camping tip to Borrego Springs, CA, I thought I just have Steve Clare give you some tips on what not to post.

Good to know what the die hards don’t want to see right? Short and sweet, each one of them speak for itself.

1. Don’t post 3 (or more) photos in a row.

2. No out of the window airplane bullshit

3. Don’t post food pictures every day

4. No solo self portraits like sluts on Facebook

5. Enough of your stupid dog, we get it

Questions or comments? Drop ‘em below!
Or shoot me an email at [email protected]

For more Instagram tips see part 3 from last week.

Five Facebook Tips 5

Thank god it’s Friday right? Here are 5 more free tips and tricks to maximize your Facebook presence. Hope they help you!

1. The link tab is back (for fan pages)
Just like any website, you want to tuck away the URLs of your links. Make it look nice and clean. With the return of the link tab it’s super easy (again).
Above the status box, the link button is in between the photo and the video button. Click on the link button, paste your link into the box that appears, and hit attach. Now Facebook gives you the option to choose one of the photos that are in your blog post. If you only have one photo, then that’s the photo that will show up with your update. Another good reason to add at least one photo in your blog post!

2. Do you know your audience?
You know who you want to have as your customer, but thanks to Facebook Insights you can get some detailed information on your fans, who are most likely some of your consumers. On the left, below the profile picture, and below the Wall and Info tab, click on Insights and find out all about your fans. Where they are from, what language they speak, male or female, age and lots more. You can also see which posts got the most interaction.
Always good to know who you are talking to and what posts work with them.

3. Don’t link to another site that links to another site
Want to keep the attention of your audience? Then try to post whatever you want them to see on Facebook, if possible. If you can’t do that then link them to the place where you want them to go.
Don’t send them to your blog, and then have them click on something else, etc. Keep it simple. People don’t link to be re-directed (less is more). Adjust to that.

4. No personal profile for your business
Whether you’re a brand, a skateshop or a professional skateboarder, you want to have a fan page. Besides that it’s one of the rules of Facebook (they can kick you off at anytime), a friends profile can only have 5,000 friends. A fan page can have unlimited “likes” (fans). Besides that a fan page doesn’t have to approve any friends. People just find you and like your page. And a fan page does not have a chat option. Want to try and chat with 5,000 friends?
And if you feel your page isn’t growing, then I’m curious to see what you are doing to promote your Facebook (or any social media) URLs.
Add it he URL to all your advertising, your videos, etc. For a shop I highly recommend having a sign with the URL by the register. And maybe a “bonus” when people check in (when they buy something)? 10% discount and all you have to do is check in on Facebook? I’m down for that! Plus all the friends of the people that are checking in get to see you on Facebook too!

5. Respond to every comment, photo, video that people post
I keep repeating myself, but responding back to every single person that leaves something on your wall is a must. It’s customer service in 2012, and if you don’t you show the rest of the world you don’t care about your consumer.
See the blog post that I did yesterday for some examples. I can talk about it for days but the examples will speak for themselves.

Questions or comments? Drop ‘em below!
Or shoot me an email at [email protected]

Also check out “Five Facebook Tips #4” from last week.

Social Media Is A Two Way Street

Read this interesting article that Amy Jo Martin, owner of Digital Royalty and Twitter coach of Shaquille O’Neal (among others), wrote for Harvard Business Review.

“Whoever invented the term “social media” didn’t do the world a favor because, while that’s the accepted term now, it’s completely wrong, and I believe it’s part of what drives this disconnect. Social media is not really media. I think of it as a channel, more like a telephone than a TV commercial.

And when’s the last time a CEO asked, “How are we monetizing the telephone?” And has a CEO ever threatened to not invest in phones because the company can’t make money off of them?

Truth is, companies monetize the telephone quite well, and if you don’t think so, take away your company’s phones and see what happens to your top and bottom lines. Likewise, companies can monetize social media, but they have to stop thinking about it as a way to market products and start thinking about it as a way to communicate and build a brand.”

Does you answer the phone? If you have a brand or shop, you know how important it is. It’s a huge part of your customer service. So how does that work for you on your social media platforms?

I just checked a few Facebook pages from different skateboard brands. I’ll leave out the names to protect the guilty. It would help these brands in my opinion but I’d leave it up to everyone to see what they need to improve.

Example 1: One of your fans, and quite possibly a consumer, wants to pay (!) for some stickers, yet you leave him hanging? If he would get the stickers his friends will probably hit you up too. You don’t want free advertising by the people that are into your brand?

Example 2: So you made a sale (on your website), but since you’re customer service is not up to par you lose this sale, plus a returning customer, and quite possibly all his friends. Who would recommend a brand to his friends if they don’t take care of you?

Example 3: So you sell skateboard shoes but you can’t answer someone that is looking to buy a pair?

Example 4: This is pretty gnarly. Someone bought your product but is very disappointed in it. He is probably never buying your shit again. And buy not taken care of him/her in any way, all his friends will be informed if he gets a chance. Either in person or on social media.

The average person on Facebook has 300 friends, so all of these examples above could have been seen by 1200 people! Is that how you want your brand to be known?

All this info is out in the open! I just visited a few brand pages and scrolled down. Anyone can do this. I guess you can get away with not answering your phone, but social media (Facebook in this case) is out in the open. Your fans and consumers see that you don’t care about them.

Many people always ask about the ROI (Return On Investment) of social media. Look at a skateshop. The ones that offers a couch to watch a skatevideo, a cup of coffee (for the parents) or take care of you when you have a complaint are the ones that will win. Any brand on Facebook has a chance to show the world that they care about the consumer, but not too many are doing that right now.

Get on it before it’s too late and answer every single comment that people post! It’s a huge part of your actual customer service and it will grow your business.

Five Twitter Tips Part 3

It’s Tuesday again, so I have 5 more Twitter tips for you.

1. Use Follow Friday (#FF) to gain some followers
I’m sure your brand has some good connections with other brands. Forget the brands that sell exactly the same (If you’re Volcom you want to stay away from promoting Quiksilver or RVCA). But if you sell clothes give a shout out to the brands that are connected to you through teamriders, projects, tradeshows, accounts, etc. Every Friday is the famous Follow Friday (#FF) on Twitter. If you tag some brands in your tweet they’ll most likely retweet you, which displays your existence on Twitter to followers of the brands you tagged.
Example: “Shout out to @GaryV @AmyJoMartin @Jimt43 @JamieThomas for all the inspiration #FF”

2. Handle Twitter on it’s own
Stop feeding YouTube, WordPress, Facebook and more into Twitter! Instagram is the only one that works, but don’t feed it into Twitter every single time. The worst 2 things about feeding other platforms into Twitter is that your text is often too long for Twitter and the tagging (of others) won’t work . The tagging does work from Instagram but if the username isn’t the same on both platforms it’s pretty much useless.
You think you are saving time by feeding other platforms into Twitter, but you’re are showing me that you aren’t taken Twitter serious, and therefore you are wasting a great social media platform.

3. Update daily
Keep yourself relevant. I understand you have been waiting all your life for that 9 to 5 job, but think about your audience. You think people might check Twitter before, during or after dinner. Or right before they go to bed? What about weekends?
Weekends are a great opportunity to post a simple question from your mobile device.
Example: “We’re in LA right now and it’s 75’F here. Where are you at and what’s the temperature?” Just watch the interaction take off with something simple as this.

4. Put a Twitter icon on the top of your website
Your website is important to you, I totally understand. Whether you sell online or not, your website is and will be the main hub. But let’s say a new consumer comes to your site for the first time. When are they coming back to your site again? Tomorrow, next week, next month….
“Website design rules” say all the extra info (contact, terms, address) should always be on the bottom. I strongly disagree with that for the social media buttons. Even if I only spent 5 seconds on a website I’ve never been too, if I start following them on Twitter (of Facebook, or Instagram) I will get an update about this brand every day for the rest of my life. And that repetition will show me more about that brand (or shop, or person) then any website visit will ever will. I want to hear what your brand has to say, and what they like, what is on your mind. Not just their product, cause I can go to any website at any time to look at product.

5. Search for consumers in your area
So you’re not a brand, but a skateshop. You have one location and you don’t sell online. Why would you want to talk to the the whole country, the whole continent, or even the whole world? I think you’re missing out if you don’t sell online, but I understand you want to focus on your local customer. Go to search.twitter.com and type in “near:yourcity”. You can also use a zip code (instead of the city) and add a hashtag. See the example below.

The tweets showing up are of Dakine TM Scott Koerner, Powell TM Deville Nunes and myself, ha! See why it’s good to search for hastags?

Thanks for checking out the tips for this week!
Check part 2 of the Twitter tips if you haven’t already.

Questions or comments? Drop a comment below!
Or hit me up on Twitter, @fredvanschie.

Monday Funday

When I started skateboarding in early 1996 the World/Blind/101 Trilogy video was one of the first videos I really got into. Pretty sure I had a copy of the video, and I played it at least once a day. Good memories of how skateboarding opened up this whole new world for me. Daewon Song’s part remains one of my favorite ones in that video. Skateboarding is all about balance, and Daewon is the king of balance.

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 [email protected]

For more Instagram tips see part 2 from last week.

Five Facebook Tips #4

A little late this Friday but with the weekend coming up you’ll have all the time in the world to read this 4th Facebook post. Haha!

1. Look at the “hidden post” tab daily (fan page only)
If you’re an admin of a fan page, you see a “hidden post” tab between the wall and the info tab on the left. The “hidden post” tab is a spam filter that catches a lot of comments that aren’t spam. So you should check it daily and approve the comments that aren’t spam, and delete the real spam comments. You can even block the user of the spam comments if needed. Click on the arrow in the right upper corner of the post to see the options.
Once you approve the non-spam comments make sure to respond to them. If people leave a comment on your page, but don’t see it (because it ended up in the “hidden post”) they might have posted it a few more times. So you might see the same comment multiple times in the “hidden post” tab. Approve one and delete the other one(s).
Even if you reply after a few days people will still be thankful that you took the time to respond. You might have missed a few chances for a sale (real time social media is coming up big time), but now you know for the future.

2. Stop liking and start commenting back
It’s easy to like every comment that people post on your Facebook wall, but does it really take that much extra time to write something back? Even a simple “thank you” will be appreciated 10 times more than a like. You agree with me that your (possible) consumer is worth this extra effort right?

3. No need to “use Facebook as YOUR BRAND”.
If you’re an admin for a Facebook fan page you can’t leave a comment on your personal name. If you’re logged into (your personal) Facebook and you leave a comment on the fan page (that you’re an admin for) your comment will automatically be posted as the fan page (the brand). Makes it easy right?
The fact that you can’t leave a comment with your personal profile on the fan page you manage is awesome. I would like to see actual comments (and likes) from your fans. Besides that, I’m already assuming you like the post you just wrote. And you’re not the consumer, so your opinion doesn’t matter. Good content will always get likes and comments. Your one comment (or like) is not going to change that.

4. It’s not just about the number of fans, it’s about the people that are talking about this
How many fans does your page has? People ever ask you that? It would be one of the first questions I would ask. But it’s not just about the number of fans. My next question would be: Below the number of fans it says “talking about this”. This number is the number of fans that “talked about you” on Facebook in the last 7 days. They did one of the following things in the last week:

– Liked your page
– Posted on your wall
– Liked, commented, or shared a page’s status update, photo, or video
– Answered a question posted by a page
– RSVP-ed to an event hosted by the page
– Tagged your page
– Tagged a page in a photo
– Liked or shared a check-in deal
– Checked in at a place

Now this is what you should be trying to increase! Every time people do any of the things mentioned above, all their friends will see it in their feed. So your page gets exposed to all the friends of your fans. Who wants fans if they don’t interact?

5. Ask your fans questions!
Remember the time before Friendster, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram? All these brands, in every kind of industry, would hire different companies to do surveys to see where their brand was positioned among the consumers.
Ever done once of those surveys? I did a couple, in high school. Thought I was taking it super serious and answered every question with a long and valuable answer? Or did I just check off a bunch of multiple choice questions so I could go home earlier and skate? Yeah, I was just another one of those teenagers….

So here you have it. 800 million people all across the world are using Facebook. Think your consumer is on there? I think so too. And the parents and friends of your consumer are on there too. So start asking them some questions!!!
Want to know if your fans like blue shoes better than red shoes? Or if they want stretch in their jeans? Or would you like to know where they buy your product?
People love to tell you what they’re opinion is and what they do! And if some people start talking shit about your brand, your other fans will answer back to him. Try it out, you won’t regret it.

Questions or comments? Drop ‘em below!
Or shoot me an email at [email protected]

Also check out “Five Facebook Tips #3” from last week.

Five Twitter Tips Part 2

Here’s the second Twitter tips for you and yours.

Twitter takes a little bit more time to get used too than Facebook and Instagram, but it’s definitely one of the better social media platforms out there. Every self respected brand should be actively taking part in the conversation, respond to, and interact with, their fans and followers.

1. Keep your username short and simple
Since Twitter only gives you 160 tokens to type, or 140 if you add a link or photo, you want to make sure your username is short and simple. I would stay away from arithmetic operators (such as +, -, *, /,) and if possible, numbers. The longer your name the harder it is for people to retweet or quote your tweet. If the text gets too long Twitter makes the last part, that doesn’t fit in, into another link.

2. Use the Twitter search (now discover)
After the recent makeover Twitter renamed their Twitter search homepage discover. The function remains the same. This is where you find other people or brands you want to follow.
You can also search for hashtag that could be used by your possible consumers. Join the conversation and make yourself valuable. Once you gain the respect of people you can send them to your business side of things. Don’t start out with strictly business tweets. If you have no trust people will just see your shit as spam. And they’re right….

3. Shrink your URLs
Any URL that has 19 characters or more will be shortened by twitter to a “t.co” link. For now any link of 18 characters or less, will be left unchanged. But Twitter will sooner or later also change those links into a “t.co” link. The good thing with the t.co links it that you will be able to get the stats of the t.co link.
Once Twitter changes all links into their own t.co links, the use of any other link shortener will become useless. For now, I really like the is.gd link shortener. I’ve been using this one since the Libya drama raised some questions with all the .ly URLs, like bit.ly that many people use. Is.gd is one letter shorter anyway, which sometimes is just enough.
Or use the emeri.ca (or etnie.es) ones that I helped to get with Sole Tech uber webnerd Ivo Janssen (and fellow Dutchman) and Canadian distributor Timebomb. For instance, I just made a Emerica short link for my favorite Emerica shoe of the last few years, check emeri.ca/fredsfavorite.

4. Link to something mobile friendly
A lot of people use Twitter on their mobile (smart) phone, so make sure that whatever link you put in your tweets, works on a mobile. Whether it is a site or a video, nothing is more frustrating than not being able to see what the tweet talks about. And someone who gets frustrated might just not pursue to found out what the link is about. Or worse, stop following you.
So if you want to show a video link directly to the YouTube (or Vimeo) video. You agree with me that it wouldn’t be wise to link people to a site with a shitty video player right?

5. Fill out your bio and link to your website
Make sure to put some short info in your profile section, and add a link to your website. If people have never heard of you but they found you through a friend, a video, or an ad they need to be able to go to your website and see what you’re all about.
The website should be your main hub with information, your social media platforms is the place where you communicate with your fans, followers an consumers.

Check part 1 of the Twitter tips if you haven’t already.

Questions or comments? Drop a comment below!
Or hit me up on Twitter, @fredvanschie.