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 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 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.

Five Instagram Tips Part 2

Another batch of Instagram tips for your personal or business (brand) account.

1. Write a caption with each photo (especially when feeding it to Twitter)
The power that Instagram has over Twitter is obviously the photo. On Instagram the photo is the main feature, on Twitter it’s the text. If you attach a photo on Twitter it becomes a link, which people aren’t automatically clicking on. Your text has to convince them why they should take the time to open the photo.
When you feed an Instagram photo to twitter it also becomes a link. If you don’t write any text with it Twitter will put “posted a photo”, followed by the link to the Instagram photo. Boring, and chances are people aren’t as likely to click on the link. Regardless, I want to know your thoughts or ideas about the photo you just uploaded to the Insta feed! Or when the products you’re trying to promote is dropping, or what the price is.

I’m not the biggest fan of feeding into all the different social media platforms, but Instagram to Twitter is one of the few that actually works. I highly recommend not doing it every single time, since you want to have some unique content on both platforms.
When you feed your Instagram photo into Twitter write some text with it. Only the first 140 tokes (plus the link to the Instagram photo) show up on Twitter, so keep it short and sweet. If you tag people make sure their name is the same on twitter (doesn’t make sense to tag some random person on Twitter right?). And don’t forget a hashtag or two, as the work both on Instagram and on Twitter.

2. Geo-tag with respect
Geo-tag your location if you can. Don’t ruin a brand new street spot you just found, but hype up (the exact) location of your favorite skateshop or skatepark. Make it easy for people to find it too. As a brand or (sponsored) skateboarder you can stoke out a skateshop with this. When you visit a shop, that carries your product(s), take a photo of the storefront or of the owner/employees and give them a shout out on the Insta. Maybe even leave some promo stuff for future buyers? They’ll be thankful when even one person comes in their store to claim the promo stuff.

3. Shoot photos with your regular camera
Even though the Instagram app allows you to take a photo from within the app, I highly suggest using the regular camera (or camera +) app on the phone. Within instagram itself the camera won’t focus as well, and you can’t really zoom out. With a bigger photo (taken with the regular camera), you also have a little bit more room to play with.

4. Resize the photo right after you upload it
If you take a photo with the camera first, and then upload the photo into Instagram, it might look as if the photo is stuck in a certain position. But when you put 2 fingers on the outside parts of the photo, and move the fingers towards each other, the photo becomes free to move around. I would also do this when you want to zoom in on the photo.

5. Comment on every photo in which people (hash)tag you or your brand
Like or comment on every photo that people tag you in, especially if you are a brand, shop or sponsored skateboarder.
For brands the tags and hashtags might be a lot in a short time, and since Instagram only shows the last 50 comments and likes, it can be hard to keep track of it and respond in time. But you can go behind a computer to take care of it. The best site to use for this is Ink361.com (previously Inkstagram.com). Log in and use the search bar to find mentions or hashtags. I’d prefer to leave a comment instead of a like, but it’s a little bit more work.
You should also search for some hashtags that aren’t about you or your brand specific, but are used by your (possible) consumer. Any brand in skateboarding could look at “#skateboarding” and stoke out some people.

You don’t think people would appreciate that? Here is an example….

A few weeks ago I posted a photo of the Fallen shoes I had gotten from Fallen TM Ian Berry. (Thanks again Ian!) After a skate session I posted a photo of it and used the hashtag #risewiththefallen with the photo.

Within a few minutes Jamie Thomas liked my photo, and despite the fact that I know him a little bit, it’s still pretty damn sick that the owner of Fallen likes my post (as the first person). And I know most people that ride a skateboard, young or old, would feel the same way. Yes, at the age of 33 I’m still a skate rat and people like Jamie inspire me a lot.

After a little bit I clicked on the hashtag #risewiththefallen and saw that Jeremy Wlaschin used the same hashtag (and #skateboarding) for 2 photos he had uploaded of his Fallen shoes. (For the record, I have never met Jeremy)

I texted Jamie Thomas and suggested he should like all the photos with the #risewiththefallen hashtag. At the time it was 5 photos, including mine. I knew the people would be stoked once they saw that Jamie Thomas liked their photo.

Only a few minutes later Jeremy Wlaschin uploaded a screen shot of the 2 likes that Jamie Thomas had given the photos with the #risewiththefallen hashtag. Both photos had Fallen shoes in them, and this buyer, and most likely Fallen and Jamie Thomas fan, was super stoked that Jamie liked his two photos.

You think Jeremy will buy another pair of Fallen pair in the next few months?
And if so, will he post a photo of it again on his Instagram? (For all his friends to see)
And maybe even tag Jamie Thomas?

This is a perfect example of why your brand should be pro-active on the social media platforms. And search Instagram (and Twitter) for the various hashtags that your consumers might use.
The ROI of Instagram, and social media in general….

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

For more Instagram tips see part 1 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 [email protected]

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

Mobile Is Taking Over In 2012

If it doesn’t work on a mobile (smart) phone, forget about it.

2012 is gonna be the year that mobile will be dictating what is gonna reach the consumer. Social media is playing a huge part in this change.

On a daily basis, how often do you visit a website on your mobile device? Not very often huh? How often do you check Facebook, Twitter or Instagram on your phone? Five times a day? Five times an hour? Probably way more than you realize….

A few weeks ago I found out Chris Haslam was the newest rider for Bones wheels. How did I find out? Through the Bones wheels Instagram. I didn’t even see, hear or read it somewhere else. I actually still haven’t, and that’s fine. (Because I didn’t look at other news outlets). The different social media platforms on my iPhone are the tools that keep me up to date these days.

I’m 33 years old right now and I remember a time when there wasn’t any internet. But when the internet came up and took over I went along with it. If I still would have stuck with reading print magazines and watching skateboard videos/DVDs I would find out news way later than everyone else. And I would probably miss a lot of skateboarding clips/parts, since most of them only show up online. Social media is web 2.0, meaning it’s the next step, and guess what? If you’re not adapting to this, you’re gonna loose the game. It’s very simply.

The youth always is the future, so anyone over 20 isn’t really having an influence on where things are gonna go. The future is in the hands of the 15 year old skate rat that has some kind of smart phone. Maybe not the latest iPhone 4s, but more likely the hands me down iPhone 3s from one of his parents or his older brother.
And this kid, who is the main consumer for any skateboard brand out there, is getting his skateboard news through his Facebook, Twitter or Instagram account, on his phone. If it’s not posted on social media there is a very big chance he is gonna miss whatever you’re trying to get out. There is so much content being put out every day that’s it’s not easy to get it in front of the consumer. Of course, great content will reach your consumer, but wouldn’t it be great if it reached even more people? Meaning new consumers….

One of the key things for mobile is video. So make it easy for yourself and stop using your own video player. Even if it does work on a mobile device and plays withing Facebook. There are only 2 video platforms that will help you really get your video content out, YouTube and Vimeo. Everyone knows how to email, share (on social media) and embed a YouTube video. Also, do you want a ton of people see your video or you just want your own little group of regular website visitors to see it?
I personally like Vimeo better, but YouTube is the way to go. You need to go where the people are. With 4 billion views per day, YouTube videos are they way to go. I still think you need to upload the videos to your Vimeo account, but YouTube is the way to get the views.

To quote my friend, and etnies video head honcho, Dustin Aron; “If YouTube is good enough for Lady Gaga, it’s good enough for any brand in skateboarding”. “Nuff said!

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

Sync Up Your Social Media Sites

One of the basics of social media is that people need to find you. And the easier you make it for them, the better. It also makes it easy for people to know it’s really you. There are a lot of fake accounts out there, mainly on Facebook and YouTube.

When your brand name is Emerica it’s fairly easy, as the word Emerica is really only used by the skate shoe company. When I started working for Emerica in June 2010 one of the first things I did was sync up all the social media sites. It took me about 4 weeks but it was well worth it. At the same time I found out Emerica.com was reclaimed a few years prior so the web guys forwarded Emericaskate.com to that.
Look how simple it is now! Can’t get any easier than that huh?

Pretty hyped I got this all fixed. You want to do the same? I highly recommend you do! It’s not super easy but it’s far from impossible. Here’s my breakdown.

YouTube is by far the hardest company to deal with. Besides the fact that it takes them a long time to respond they won’t transfer your videos, views, or comments over. So when they gave me the URL youtube.com/Emerica I had to upload all the videos again. This was right before Stay Gold dropped, so I knew the views and comments would soon go through the roof.
I still don’t understand why people would name their YouTube URL their brand name followed by films, tv, or movies. I mean, what else is YouTube about?

MySpace is on it’s way out so I don’t think we have to worry about that to much in 2012.

Facebook used to be fairly easy. The first email I sent was answered by this girl Valerie that helped me change the URL for the Emerica, Altamont and eS Facebook page. She also shut down fake pages for all 3 brands and moved the fans over to the real pages. She did similar things for the facebook fan pages of Andrew Reynolds, Ed Templeton, Brandon Westgate, Garrett Hill, Braydon Szafranski, Aaron Suski, Kenny Hoyle and Theotis Beasley. Numerous times she shut down fake pages for Jerry Hsu and Kevin “Spanky” Long. (Both guys asked me to do that since they didn’t want to have a profile on Facebook.)
I even hooked up my friends at ThirtyTwo, etnies, Zoo York, Flip, Zoo York, Nixon and Shake Junt with my contact, and she took care of similar issues for them. Unfortunately she isn’t responding anymore. They probably got overwhelmed with all the requests from everyone. Now you just get automated emails back that tell you to check out the help section. So think about it before you claim your username at facebook.com/username! You can check out the help page if you need more info.

Twitter makes it really easy to change your username if your name isn’t taken. If it is taken you can either try to contact the user or file a trademark claim. When the username you want is inactive filing a trademark claim is really the only way to do it. But just like Facebook, Twitter has been a lot harder to get a hold of in the last few months. Pretty bad on their end, as it would be in their favor to, as it would help them too if brands can use their own name on Twitter. (Like the inactive @vans account I mentioned yesterday).

Vimeo wasn’t to much of an issue, although I don’t really recall how easy or difficult it was. I guess that means it was easy. If you do need help I suggest to contact them through their copyright page.

Instagram wasn’t on the radar yet in 2010, so it wasn’t on this flyer. In the late spring of 2011 I emailed them a few times with some minor issues. Best thing they did for me is help me with Garret Hill’s username. I told them Altamont teamrider Garrett Hill used @GarrettHill on Twitter and he would really like to use the same name on Instagram. I never checked to see who had it, but Garrett told me a pizza plaza in Pennsylvania was using it. Either way, Instagram kicked off whoever was using it and gave it to Garrett. Power moves, haha!
Instagram used to have a contact email on their homepage. Now you can go to their (pretty extensive) help page or send them an email.

I hope you realize you need to be pro-active when it comes to (new) social media platforms, both for yourself and the brands you work for/with! If you wait, you’re too late! If you see that a new social media platform is on the come up, sign up for it and claim your username. You don’t have to start using is straight away, but it will save yourself a lot of hassle if this new social media platform blows up!

Your fans and followers will go with you to a new social media platform, and if you lead them there (instead of the other way around) it will look good on your end. Lead not follow!

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

Five Twitter Tips #1

The start of the weekly Twitter tips, more or less every Tuesday.
A lot of people don’t like Twitter, or should I say, don’t want to invest their time and effort in Twitter? It’s not easy to say things in 140 tokes (120 if you attached a photo), trust me, I know all about that. But once you learn how to post things and interact, it has a huge potential.

Just like every other social media platform, Twitter is a 2-way street, so posting stuff isn’t as important as the interaction with your followers. Here are 5 tips for using Twitter.

1. Don’t start a tweet with another username, unless you only talk to them
If you start a tweet with “@username”, your tweet will only show up to the people that follow both you and “@username”. So it’s sort of a private tweet, but not really. So I’d often start a tweet with words like so, Mr, yes, yup, etc. Even a dot (.) will work.
This also applies to your Instagram posts if you feed them into Twitter!
Bonus tip: If you want to send someone a private message you can send them a direct message. They have to follow you BTW (so brands can’t spam people).

2. Respond to everyone, good or bad
The fact that people are talking about you or your brand on Twitter should be seen as something that’s more powerful that any ad. Who would you trust? Your close friends telling you how rad a certain brand/product is, or a brand promoting their own stuff? Right. So reply to all the questions that people are asking you, and thank people if they just bought your product(s) or are just hyped on your brand.
And if people post a complaint about your brand? Show them that you care and try to fix it as soon as you can. It all has to be within reason, but a new pair of shoes or a pair of jeans with some stickers go a long way. It’s about the long term of your brand, so it’s worth investing a pair pair of shoes, trust me. And the right customer service will make people post a positive tweet about you in no time. And they will follow you more closely and probably will be a brand ambassador in no time. Simply because you showed them your brand is personable, and not to cool for school.

3. Quote a tweet instead of retweet
A ton of (simple and plain) retweets tells me that people handling the twitter account(s) for your brand are lazy. The twitter app (on the iPhone) also gives you the option to quote a tweet. Even a simple “thank you” makes a retweet much more powerful. And this way the text they wrote, plus your answer, can be seen by your followers. So now all your followers see that you care about them and they might interact with you sooner or later. Ow, and I prefer to put the text in front of the quoted tweet, not behind it.

4. Tag other people/brands so they see your tweet
Your brand might be small, but others have Twitter accounts that are way bigger than yours. You might share a teamrider, or your brand gets some love on their blog, etc. If you tag them they see it and if they are nice (and smart) they will retweet (or quote) your tweet so it gets exposed to all their followers. You want to do this EVERY tweet. Each brand gets more followers every day, so new people can see your brand at any given time.

5. Don’t follow everyone and their mother
If you’re a brand and you respect yourself, should follow about 10% of the amount of people that follow you. So if you have 1,500 followers you should follow roughly 150 people and brands. I even think the bigger you get the less people (percentage wise) you should follow.
Let’s say you’re Vans (skate) and you have 70,000 followers on Twitter. You’d be nuts to follow all those people, shops, distributors, etc. Instead have them mention you (@vans_66) and you can quote, retweet or reply to them.
Funny side note: WTF is up with the @vans account? Cute dog and all, but couldn’t someone at the VF corp claim that name? Seems to me the account is inactive, which makes it looks even worse….

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