Social Media

All social media image sizes in one nice overview

All social media image sizes in one nice overview

Little part of infographEvery social network has set its own standards for its images. Your cover photo needs to be this big, your avatar needs be that size. That is great if you are only on one or two networks, but it gets tiring when you have a presence on several networks. Luckily, the guys at Struto have helped us all out by creating this great infograph that gives you all the sizes you need. Their infograph covers the image sizes for Google+, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and even the new YouTube One Channel is included.

So, if you are working on your presence across social media channels, this is an infograph you might want to keep near to you. Or even do some old fashioned printing and stick it on the wall so you cannot forget. But remember, nothing changes as fast as social networks, so we cannot guarantee this will be your last easy overview.


Twitter starts new media blog to show what and how to share

Twitter starts new media blog to show what and how to share

Twitter-media-blogIt is always best to learn from the source. That is also what Twitter will have thought when they launched their new Twitter Media Blog last week. The effort is obviously two-fold. Where many of Twitter’s user accounts are dormant, this is an effort to have people and brands wake up to the power of Twitter. After all, it has been a proven fact that an active account is more successful, which in turn makes it more active and so on.

So, what can we expect from the Twitter Media Blog? Well, in their own words:

In this space, you can expect:

  • highlights and examples of new and innovative uses of Twitter
  • updates on our latest features and products
  • tips for maximizing your presence and impact on Twitter

Twitter states on the blog that they will be focussing on a number of subjects. Churches and Christian organizations are not mentioned, but fear not, there is enough to enjoy. Like the way in which Michelle Obama took her followers to Africa on Twitter. This is a nice example of what you can do with your next mission trip. You might not reach the 400,000 followers she has, but you might take your sponsors or church members along on a trip neither they nor you will ever forget.

Tell us how you use Twitter to share your stories. We will feature the best on later this year.

56% of social media users are afraid to miss something

56% of social media users are afraid to miss something

MyLife infographic on social media did a survey in America on social media behavior. And it reveals that many social networkers are becoming overwhelmed by all the balls they are trying to keep in the air. As the number of networks is growing, so does the pressure to keep up with everything and everyone. This is called the Fear Of Missing Out and it has already become an official abbreviation (FOMO). The stunning thing is that over half the people using social networks are suffering from FOMO.

An interesting counter movement is the trend to take a “vacation” from online media. About 52% of social network users have either planned or taken a time-out from their social networks in the past year.

So, what about these statistics? Are they showing us that social networks are unhealthy? That social networks bring us more stress? Well, they might. The trouble that we see in many that start using social networks, is that they feel they need to read everything from everybody. It honestly is time to let that go. The truth of the matter is that you are always going to miss out on something. But that has always been the intention. Ever since Babel happened, we have been missing out. Either by physical distance, language barriers, cultural differences, but we have been missing out. You might feel that I have just enlarged the scale a bit. So, lets bring it back to local proportions. I am sure you have had it happen where friends had gone to a movie that you had not seen. On a night when you might have been available. But because they set the appointment on the sidelines of the football pitch, you did not know about it. That is what social media is like as well. You can not follow every conversation, respond to every message or event or even attempt to.

That is why good social media use comes with an attitude that allows you to “let go”. To realize that as you are following 300 people on Twitter, you will not see everything they post. And the same goes for your 800 Facebook friends. But you can still be friends and keep up with what is happening. You just will not see all of it. As it is unnecessary to see everything anyway. It is not that before social media you spent the first half hour after meeting a good friend catching up chronologically on everything they had done in the past two weeks. And your relationship never collapsed then either. Did it?

So, do you let go? Or do you think it is vital to see everything that is happening in your timeline? Let us know in the comments below.

MyLife infographic on social media use

Who you follow, tells others who you are

Who you follow, tells others who you are

twitter-follow-testWith the release of their new API, Twitter has dropped the option to automatically follow everybody who is following you. And even though that might seem like an annoying change, it really is not. And I will tell you why.

Since the beginning of Twitter it has been possible to use online tools to extend your Twitter experience. Some, like Hootsuite, allow you to track twitter activity better and helps you respond to it. Some others allow you to do special things with your account. But as ever, the power to extend on Twitter is easily abused. Which was the case with followers tools. These are tools like Tweetadder and the likes. They promise you easy followers to boost your numbers. They did that by having their tool follow people to get them to follow back. And the same tools automated the follow back process, so that their users would boost each others’ numbers. And for the people that judge the success of their Twitter account by their follower numbers, that was heaven.

However, judging any social media account by its numbers is a very bad idea. After all, these numbers tell you nothing about what is valuable in a social network. Reach and engagement are interesting figures to watch on a social media account. They can potentially determine your influence. But those numbers can not be derived from the follower numbers you see on your Twitter homepage. Compare it to your church. In many churches, it is an unfortunate reality that there are many more people registered to belong to the church than come on every Sunday. So your church might have 2,500 members on paper, but if only 25 show up on any given Sunday, the figures are useless. The same goes for social media. It is not the amount of people who are following you, it is their engagement with you that determines the success of your social media channel. It is all about the relationships you have been able to build.

And then there is another problem with automatic following. A problem that you need to address if you are managing your Twitter account. If you have had automatic following at any point, go through your followers carefully. Because one of the strategies for Twitter accounts with adult content has been to follow anyone who easily follows back. That boosted their numbers. But lets face it, following an adult Twitter account does look rather funny on a Twitter account for a Christian organization or a church. After all, a lot of people look at who you follow to determine who you are. So, a safe thing to do is to go through your followers every once in a while, just to see who are there. After all it can happen to the best of us. Recently even Citibank was spotted following adult channels. Not something you want to have happen to your Twitter account.

Short video examples: tell a full story in 6 seconds

Short video examples: tell a full story in 6 seconds

Screen Shot 2013-06-24 at 11.08.11At Techpastors we want to give you practical applications of technology. So, whenever I write something, I want to give you an idea of how you can use it. Often that will be in words, but in case of short video fragments, that might not come across as well. So, when I came across these short videos, I decided I wanted to share these with you. They illustrate the different things you can do with tools like Vine or the new Instagram Video that I shared with you in a previous post.

Lets start off with a brand. Fashion brand Burberry decided to show their full runway lineup with their audience in a 6 second video. And it was well received. It gives you a quick taste and for fashion fans, that might get them to go to the site and see all of the creations for themselves.

But you can also try to tell a story. You might be able to fit a complete story in, or just a teaser. Here are a couple of Vine users that animated their video to show you a story that would take more than 6 seconds to tell otherwise.

And you can combine the real world and the animated world as well.

Now come Christmas time, or Easter, how would you tell those stories in 6 seconds? Or 15 if you are using Instagram? How can you really get that point across? Or tell about your church, your youth group, that concert etc. in a way that people can enjoy it and be triggered enough to want to come out next time?

Instagram launches video for Instagram – 15 seconds to touch people

Instagram launches video for Instagram – 15 seconds to touch people

Instagram-workflow-videoOn Thursday the 20th, Instagram launched video as their latest addition to their services. It is a very powerful system that allows you to post little videos of what you are seeing with the push of a button. It is almost like a tiny ‘broadcasting made easy’ package that will allow you to share beautiful sights and sounds with your friends.

If you are not familiar with Instagram, let me do a quick introduction for you. Basically, Instagram allows you to take pictures with your mobile phone and share them with your friends within Instagram and across social networks. Instagram had two unique features that allowed it to quickly grow to become the biggest photo sharing service online. The first advantage was the well executed timeline. The timeline makes it very easy to see what others are sharing and to comment on their pictures. The second advantage were the great filters that Instagram allows its users to use on their photos. That way you can easily give your pictures a change in colors, borders and general feel.

Facebook saw the impact Instagram was having and bought the service. However, with the rise of Vine on Twitter, Instagram must have known it would be bad to just sit still. Vine allowed Twitter users to easily share 6 second video clips of whatever they experience. And now Instagram has gotten into that same field, but has improved on the concept.

Instagram video allows you to share videos of between 6 and 15 seconds. All videos will be shot in a square format, so there is no reason to tilt your phone to get a landscape view. Recording a video is as easy as holding down the record button on the phone and the slider will move as the seconds pass. After your recording, you can edit the video and apply colorful filters. Instagram will immediately show you the results that the filters have on your recording, so you can browse through the filters to find the one that suits you best. You then get to pick the cover photo, which will be the image people see before they start your video. And lastly you can add a title and the services you want to post the video to and click the share button. Instagram then takes care of the rest.

This is all great, but how can you use this? Well, Instagram is an awesome app to share experiences with people. Whether it is a great picture of a band, or the sun flowing through a stain glass window. And now they have added video, which allows you to have people experience a great moment with your youth group. It allows you to share a great time with friends, the joy around baptism or any other great moment. It is also a great tool to just stay in touch with people around you. To show them what you value. What makes you laugh, what makes you cry and even the ‘mundane’ things such as having a great meal together.

There is a saying that tells us that the eyes are the windows to our soul. I strongly want to encourage you to not only see that as the eyes showing what is going on within our souls. But also to realize that the eyes are one of the best ways to reach and touch the soul of someone who is able to share that precious moment with you.

How HMV’s twitter account went to the dogs – and how to prevent it

How HMV’s twitter account went to the dogs – and how to prevent it

hmv-dog-marketingHMV was hot news on Twitter today when staff took over the retailers twitter channel. I am not going to dive into the whole deal about financial troubles and layoffs. It is a tough time for retailers in the business HMV is in and with their new owners it might take them some time to get back on top. In the meantime it has been interesting to see how new technology has been completely passed upon in the first steps of restructuring.

I will try to set the scene based on the -now deleted- tweets by HMV staff this afternoon. Apparently HMV had an intern make the HMV Tweets account on Twitter. Nothing special. Even big companies choose to let interns rule their interpersonal communication with their fans. A good idea? Not at all, and I can give you lots of  reasons why. However, that is not the purpose of this post, so I will leave them out.

So, HMV had a twitter account and they have mainly used it to communicate new releases, congratulating the stars on their own label and congratulating followers with winning their own competition. They did do a single personal retweet of someone calling everyone to purchase from HMV to support the high street. So, nothing too personal and relational on there. But as people love their stores, they still have thousands of followers. There are two sides to that story. Yes, you can dump your messages to almost 70 thousand people as a corporate. But the people holding the keys to that account can also reach some of your most loyal 70 thousand customers with one simple click.

hmvtweetsAnd that is what happened. The person(s) who tweeted this have been seeing the demise of HMV as something they could have been able to turn around. It might have been someone who has really wanted to put in more than their share to make HMV work again. Or so the tweet seems to suggest when he or she says: “However, when the company you dearly love is being ruined and those hard working individuals, who wanted to make hmv great again, have mostly been fired”. So they broke the silence they were bound to by their contracts and came out with what was happening at the offices. The bad news spread quickly over twitter and it did not take long before the news picked up on it and articles started appearing on the BBC and ITV website.

Will this affect the retailer in the long run? Possibly. After all, the tweets first reached their 70 thousand most loyal followers. So what should have been done? It is hard to say, but it does start with control over the social media channels of your organization. And that is a lesson that we can all apply to what we are doing. Very often, the management of the social media channels for our churches or Christian organizations is done by the volunteer that knows a bit about the internet. You might be the exception, but many of the organizations that I have talked to in the past years have assigned their Twitter and Facebook accounts over to youth from the church, or other slightly more tech savvy individuals. And this is where a lot can go wrong. You need to consider the fact that within your organization or church, things can happen that might make people less enthusiastic about you. And that is why you need to make sure the basic account is under the control of your management team. It might just be for that first hour after whatever bad news hits, perhaps for longer, but you need to make sure there is some kind of control. After all, these are channels that are now seen as at least as important for your communications as your official website and printed channels.

Quick tips?

  1. If you are a large organisation, use something like Hootsuite or another client that will allow you to grant access to teams of coworkers to your social media channels. You might never need to, but the ease of -temporarily- denying someone access can come in handy one day.
  2. If you are in a position where media silence needs to be obeyed, make sure social media is on that list of media channels that you have created a strategy for.
  3. Have a quick press release available when someone has been able to gain access to the account after all your trouble. Don’t let it spin out of control. Take over the channel again and communicate with your audience.
  4. Do not go around and delete all the tweets thinking that that will be the end of it. Screenshots happen. And they are around for a lot longer. You need to deal with what has been said and talk to your audience.
  5. Know your way around your social media channels. The HMV marketing manager that asked how to shut down Twitter is an example of how quickly your organization can look bad.

Money can’t buy you love

Money can’t buy you love

Screen-Shot-2012-12-13-at-09.32.27Seriously, the Beatles have sung it so many times that anyone that sees the title can probably hum the tune to it. However, many organizations still do not seem to be able to understand that it is the truth. Especially in this age of social media. Money cannot buy you love. However hard you try. And lately we have seen many trying. Together with you, I would like to take a look at a couple of corporate efforts to buy love and fans by spending money on social media channels. And I want to leave you with some ideas of what you can do to make these channels work for you.

Over the past weeks, Shell has often turned up in my Facebook timeline. They are talking about how wonderful they are. How much they care about the world and the environment. And only a day or two ago they posted the oil companies’ equivalent of the macho game “who’s got the biggest”. (See image.) This morning I was greeted by the results of all their money spent. Three of my friends have liked their page. Pathetic.

So, I went to take a look at their Facebook page. It is a site describing Shell in all its glory. Like the sites of so many large companies, you could call it a corporate display of narcissism. The subjects addressed are Shell, and Shell alone. If they address any other subject, it is solely from the Shell point of view. Such as working on a less pollutive environment, which really is all about the Shell eco challenge. And even regular oysters are turned into a Shell product. To be honest, it does not matter how many dollars you spend on Facebook marketing, the general outlook does not trigger me to be a Shell fan. And it shows. For a company with over 90,000 employees and almost 500 billion in revenues, a mere 2.5 million Facebook fans should not be something they ought to be excited about.

I could understand if you, and Shell, would come up with the argument that its business is fuel. Nobody loves fuel. It is something you put in your tank whenever you want, wherever you are. You do not build a relationship with a gallon of petrol. Or even bio-diesel for that matter. That is a reasonable statement to make. And it makes you wonder how this example connects to our organizations and churches. Well, the whole process changes when you put love in it. When you love your audience. When you talk to them. When you address the things that they feel are relevant to them.

Screen-Shot-2012-12-13-at-10.10.03I know the comparison with coffee is going to be a big step. But for many, coffee used to be just like that gallon of petrol. At some point in time you would be craving a cup and you bought it wherever you were. And then Starbucks came along. They made buying coffee a rewarding experience. They put the love in it. And if you go to their Facebook page, you see that they care for their customers. This morning when I went to their page, they had just used a customers’ picture as their cover photo. They talk to their customers and address their issues. They even allow their customers to vent their thoughts towards Starbucks. When I visited their page today, there was someone who posted about how Starbucks does not support the military. And 107 comments below the post where from fans defending their shop and setting the record straight. Why? Because they love their shop and their coffee. The 33 million likes prove that point.

If you want to be on Facebook, remember one thing. It is never about the likes. It is about your attitude towards people. Because your Facebook Page (or your Google+ page, or any other social network page or account) is not about YOU, it is about THEM. And if you remember that, people will come and they will return. Because they care about you, because you care about them.

How do non profits use social media

How do non profits use social media

LeWeblondon-media-banner-300x250This was a conversation with Roberto Kusabbi from the British Heart Foundation and Euan Semple from Voice. Really, this is an overview of a number of things that have been discussed. And it includes a number of suggestions and experiences that will be very beneficial to you if you are looking to use social media for a non profit organization.

At the British Heart Foundation (BHF), they put social first. They do not consider it as a bolt on at the end, but everything needs to be centered around being social. That makes a huge difference in how you create the things you share, but also your ad campaigns for instance.

One of the biggest challenges Voice has found with their clients who are non profits is that it is hard to sell the idea into the organization. Even though as a charity you have a unique audience that is looking to connect to you, it is sometimes quite difficult to help the organization to get a vision to engage with people outside. And to be honest, it can be a quite daunting situation if you are a 14 year old that they have asked to tweet on behalf of a charity. Mainly because you were the only one they knew who was using social media tools in the first place. And if something goes wrong, people can jump on you from great height. These are the issues that need to be addressed.

You cannot just add a brand name, you need to add value to the community. That is the main thing for BHF to gain traction in their recent campaigns. And for them the promoted tweets were great value for money. Six months later they are still going over the data. And as a result of their campaign they have found 60 people that have said that after seeing the video on Facebook and Twitter, they have saved people’s lives. That for them has been absolutely incredible.

For Voice, another challenge that exists is that the level of experience of their client groups have is very basic. And their clients are very cautious about getting involved. Another reason for that is because it is harder to get budget allotted to online engagement. And then there are lots of questions to be answered. What to do, who to talk to, how does it work etc. Most of the people have not used social media on a personal level, so that creates a whole new situation. They get into new relationships that they have not been in before.

Roberto says that the biggest challenge is the culture within the organization. To be successful you need belief. Non profits are not built to be social internally. We are lucky at BHF, but that is what we see. You need to have clear leadership on the inside, so you can be social to the outside. If you use it well, you can do a lot more work through social media, but it is a cultural shift. Social is by definition quick and spontaneous. You can plan campaigns and other things, but it is important to be quick and spontaneous.

Euan shares that his dream is that everyone within a non profit can blog. There are many things that are intriguing to the outside that you take for granted on the inside. And it is the mundane that is interesting for the outside world. Luckily we see that more and more non profits realize that they have been hiring media companies to thick boxes, but that they need to more than that to be successful. Roberto jumps in and says that even though the content strategy is not sexy to talk about, it is vital to have good content. Once you are on the way with that you can create new content together with the people around you.
Euan reminds of statement Halley Suitt wrote which said “content is a pimp word”. Having a content strategy often sets off a bell for him as it can also mean you are feeding content into a machine. And that is the antithesis of personal contact.

Both agree that it is easier for newer organizations to integrate social. It is a lot harder to make that cultural shift for organizations that have been around for longer. And that is probably the biggest problem for non profits. A great bonus for charities, is that commercial organizations need to look for an ideal to sell, but charities have that ideal ready. That does give them an advantage.

The last question asked is whether they will be using Kickstarter for fundraising? But that is a route that is not new and other have done that already. Kiva is also a very good platform to raise funds on as that makes it easier to see where your money goes.
As a last addition Roberto adds that gaming companies are interesting to non profits as well. Not to just use the fashionable term gamification, but it can be very beneficial to apply game techniques to what non profits are doing.

Be on Facebook and six quick tips

Be on Facebook and six quick tips

f_tips-300x300Lets start off with the fact that I strongly believe you need to be on Facebook. Even though the statistics might prove otherwise at times, there is much more than statistics to Facebook.

In a previous Facebook post on, I used analytical data from several sources to determine that only 0.4% of the Facebook fans  of a brand actually visit the brands’ Facebook page and that only 0.02% of Facebook fans visits one of the tabs that is put on a Facebook page. However, there is a much more important reason to be on Facebook. And this is especially true for Christian organizations and churches, as the connection that we make with people is more of an emotional bond than a bond that has mutual gain as a basis.

People spend a a great deal of their time on Facebook. They come there to share with their friends. To talk. To hang out. Basically, they are not spending time with Facebook, they are spending time with their friends. That is the reason why commerce on Facebook failed, but also why Facebook works well for our type of organization.

“It was like trying to sell stuff to people while they’re hanging out with their friends at the bar.” That was the reason why large retailers closed their shops on Facebook. And that is a great analogy. As Facebook is very similar to hanging out at a bar, or at the coffie place after church. People share stories, jokes, have fun, play games, exchange thoughts. People are there together. Nobody walks into a bar to buy a suit and neither will someone go to Facebook to do the same.

However, relationships are built at the bar. People will get to know each other. They will exchange stories, ask questions and when the time comes, they will refer others to the people they have met. Or bring them into their ‘safe place’ to share their experience. That is the power of Facebook. Building that relationship and making it easy to bring others into that as well.

Six things to do on Facebook?
<li><strong>Be personal</strong>
Do not just create an account for the organization. Build your presence based on your people and gather them to be the pillars of your Facebook page.</li>
<li><strong>Be personal</strong>
Talk to your visitors and your ‘fans’. Be genuinely interested in who they are, what they care about and what you can do for them. Do not push your church, your organization or even push Jesus. Build a relationship. Things will grow from there.</li>
<li><strong>Be inquisitive</strong>
There is a reason why people like you. There is a reason why they like your page. Find out why. NEVER assume you know! Rule of thumb, if you have not asked and they have not answered, you do not know.</li>
<li><strong>Be relevant
Once you have found out why people like you, you can be relevant to them. You can share with them what they care about. There is a fair chance that they are not interested in you pushing your events, your causes, your abbreviated sermons. Keep that in mind. But the only way to find out, is to ask!</li>
<li><strong>Be sharable</strong>
If you are relevant, you can become sharable. That is the point where what you communicate resonates with your audience so well, that they want to be a part of it. And they want to show that they are a part of it by sharing it with their friends.</li>
<li><strong>Be available</strong>
The key to it all. You have to be available. People need to be able to talk to you and get an answer. Not just your biggest donors or your most devoted church goers, but everyone. Because it is like that bar scene. If you only talk to your biggest friend, none of the others in the bar feel pulled towards you. Even though you might be offering something they want. If they feel ignored, they will ignore you.</li>