Social media training nuggets

Last week I attended a social media training for work, which lasted three days. I learned a lot there, and I wanted to share the tips I found especially interesting about producing video content for the web. They key, you see, is to make something “spreadable.” No one wants to share a boring video of your company’s president rambling on about a mission statement. If you think that kind of thing’s going to go viral, you are in for some major disappointment.

One trend in online video marketing I’ve noticed, which was discussed at the training, is the use of flash mobs. I, personally, love watching flash mob videos, and it kind of annoys me when companies use them to sell crap. However, you’ve got to give them points for creativity. Take this one by Coca Cola for example:

That’s kinda cool. Another example we saw in class was the college tour video; the one Yale made for recruiting was stuffy and institutional. But the one they asked students to make? It made me think Yalies might have a pulse after all. They made it funny, wrote a clever song for it and breathed new life into a pretty lame genre.

More tips for making videos:

  • Keep it short; the average YouTube video runs about 3 minutes. If it’s under a minute, all the better. Also noteworthy: Keep your intro and your credits short because those still add seconds to your final time.
  • Delete every official person you feel must be in your video. They mustn’t.
  • Make a point; don’t make ten points! And make it fast. This isn’t like writing a term paper, you don’t have an introductory paragraph, three body paragraphs and a summary.
  • Cross promote; Blog about your video, put it on Facebook and Twitter.
  • It can be simple; Animoto is a free online tool that lets you make a video out of still shots, text and royalty-free music. Bonus: There’s an app for that, and it’s free.
  • Be patient; it might take a while to spread. Not every video instantly catches like wildfire, and that’s okay.
  • Let someone else tell your story. If you don’t have the resources or ability to make the video you want, hold a contest and let the video you want come to you (See below).

Other cool links we learned about (video related and other): This one’s so cool; people come up with ideas for inventions, and then people contribute to the ideas and influence them. If enough people agree to purchase the final product at a set price, the product gets made. People who influenced them get a cut of each sale. Social product development. Need a one-time design job, like a logo, done? Set your deadline, what you are willing to pay and pick the logo you like best. If you’re a graphic designer, check this site out for freelance opportunities. See what employees have to say about the companies they work for. Search salaries, reviews, etc. A must-have resource for those on the job hunt.

addict-o-matic: Find out what people are saying about health care reform, your company or any other topic.

Spokeo: This one might freak you out. Hardly any of my information’s on there, but a lot of people in my training were terrified to see what info of theirs was available. You can have it removed by clicking on “privacy” at the bottom of the page.

Delicious: “Social bookmarking”; save stuff that interests you online and share it with other users.

Diigo: Highlight, bookmark and share stuff on the web. Another organizing tool, much like…

Evernote: You can download this program as a desktop application or as an iPhone app. Use it to save ideas, things you see online, organize lists, etc. Brandon told me about this one a long time ago. One of many online resource for finding contests. Prize money! Making data visually engaging, which can be a difficult feat. We loved the bubble charts this site generates. Downside: any data you upload onto this site automatically becomes public. Make a tag cloud of whatever text you copy and paste into this site, be it your top 30 tweeted-about topics or the opening paragraphs of your dissertation. Our company discussed the possibility of making one of these designs into our next magazine’s cover. They’re that awesome. See what sites you can still register your company’s user name on. I was maddened to see that there’s already a YouTube account under the name TheSleeperHit. It’s totally dormant, too. Figures.

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