It feels good to be recharged again with this incredible new app called Happs, but first a little context to explain why…
Periscope Changed our lives and then……nothing.
We’ve written and talked at length about Periscope – the livestreaming app that launched on March 26th, 2015 and we started broadcasting on on March 31st, 2015 at my buddy Alex Steinbock’s suggestion. Right away we saw incredible potential to reach people around the world and share our studio in real time. It took off for us pretty fast, and we made a big splash in the community with the first of several posts accompanied by livestreams where we did a fun take on the types of chatters and scopers you might encounter on the app. Before we knew it we were trending, gaining thousands of followers around the world and being invited to speak at the Periscope Summit in San Francisco – which we did! That was a magical weekend and a magical time in general – it’s hard to describe what it was like in this shared community of streamers from all around the world. If you were there, you know. Even the Periscope team was there to hang out even though it wasn’t “their” summit. That was nice and they were cool enough, although I’m not sure they ever totally got what was happening on their app…
It was around this time that we went beyond just scoping for fun and it became The📷Doug&Ally📷Morning Show!🎙☕️ which we did daily and are still doing to this day (more on this in a bit), along with a whole schedule of other shows on the platform including one we developed with our friends from the Periscope network channel Parachute TV called “The Photo Shop” and a game show on the Play For Stuff TV network called “The Frame Game”! We were having a blast. We continued to meet people at meetups in New York City, here in Detroit and we met more Periscopers on roadtrips in Florida, Alabama and Mississippi! We even photographed some of them. Periscope eventually monetized the app which was nice as our generous community tipped us for the work we put into the show to help make the time and “effort” sustainable (even though it didn’t usually feel like “effort”). Twitter owned Periscope and integrated it into Twitter so we thought the future was bright. Periscope had a VIP program with verified badges for people who had bigger audiences and we became silver VIPs. They had “office hours” in a Slack group to answer questions from VIPs and presumably to get our feedback as valued members of the community.
But then it changed…
Office hours suddenly started happening less and less and then they canceled the Slack group altogether. A solid year or more went by with no updated features to the app. Accounts started being randomly suspended and people – like us – got stripped of their monetization status leaving money contributed by their communities in limbo…with no explanation. What a shame. A real shame. It seemed it was only a matter of time before yet another thriving app/community would be destroyed by Twitter (Vine anyone?). We still kept on because our community was still tuning in and we were still having fun with our morning show, even starting up the Doug & Ally Morning Show Podcast, but we weren’t really innovating on the show itself anymore. Like the app, it was running on autopilot. And then just this week the announcement came – Periscope would be going away as a stand alone app. Going out with a whimper. Pathetic.
Almost instantly the buzz in the community turned to a livestreaming platform called Happs. I was a little skeptical because so many livestreaming apps have come and gone such as Meerkat, YouNow, MeVee, Blab, Busker, and yes, Periscope. But we downloaded it and set up a profile out of curiosity, and were immediately WOWED. HELLO HAPPS indeed!
This app has a dizzying array of features and yet is very intuitive to use. People suggested we move our show to Twitch for example, but I’ve spent some time on Twitch before and find it to be the most confusing user interface ever. It makes my head spin. On Happs I had us up and running in a matter of minutes and I’m blown away at what you can do there. It’s monetized which is great, you can multicast from Happs to other platforms like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter all at the same time with all the comments from the other platforms in the same feed. You can bring other folks into your livestream on camera, and you can put up links, graphics – heck you can do just about anything that you might think would be cool to do on a livestream. There is an entire producer studio on the desktop version and you can work the controls there while you stream on your mobile device. It makes Periscope look like Prehistoriscope.
The CEO and other members of the team have been engaging with the community dropping into broadcasts answering questions, taking suggestions and they have been extremely welcoming to this huge influx of Periscope users. They are working their butts off to add servers, keep up with stability and adding features on the fly. It’s an exciting time again! They even “transferred” our Periscope VIP badge to Happs and verified our account.
So we’re all in. We certainly hope they can sustain their success and we are going to do everything we can to help. We invite you to join us in this reinvigorated community to have fun, meet people and discover new corners of the world you haven’t seen! We’ll be on in the mornings T-F sometime around 10ish to 11ish EST for fun and shenanigans and maybe even a little photography hehe…
So once again, with great enthusiasm we say HELLO HAPPS!!!
Get the Doug&Ally Morning Show PODCAST at the following links!!!
A huge development just happened in the world of Facebook. The launch of Facebook Creator is a pretty big deal for Livestreamers on the platform and we were able to download the app, set it up and go live with a bevy of new features yesterday in no time! Here is the actual broadcast:
Thoughts & Tips on Facebook Creator
Let me take a second here to point out a couple of things and dissect our approach just on this first test of the new features in a screenshot graphic and then we’ll discuss further:
You can see in the broadcast we were able to bring Jenny Q right onto the screen (with a simple click of her comment)! There’s even a little video icon within the comments of your viewers while you’re live that lets you know who is available to join.
Meanwhile here’s a tip – you don’t have to purchase Canva For Work (as mentioned in the article) in order to get a transparent overlay on your screen. You can create a basic graphic in the free version of Canva and then select for it to be transparent right in the Creator app and it will convert it for you. Canva For Work might give you a little more control over this but you can get around it if you’re starting out.
Having the graphics on your screen is nice – similar to what I used to do with OBS for Periscope broadcasts for certain shows. Now granted they aren’t as flexible – you can’t change them up on the fly during a broadcast, but they are cool to have there as I outlined in the graphic above. The option to add prerecorded bumpers (prerecorded video intros like your favorite TV shows for example) at the beginning and end of the live broadcast is really nice too. We haven’t done this yet but you can bet I’m looking for ways to use all of these tools to create new content for us on Facebook as well as for my social media clients. For those of you who tune in to our Periscope broadcasts don’t worry, there are NO plans to move the Doug & Ally Morning Show to Facebook! If you’re curious here is an article I wrote earlier this year that compares and contrasts the two platforms which is still pretty on point – there have been a few changes since then obviously, but the basics remain the same.
A Couple of SEO thoughts…
I’m no expert when it comes to SEO but I have a basic working understanding of it. By using plugins like Yoast here for WordPress I’ve been able to properly place my content on the Internet so that it ranks well in search results on Google in our home base of West Bloomfield for example. Now, some might say one of the flaws in our SEO strategy is that we cast too wide a net which doesn’t allow us to dominate a niche and the people we snag aren’t as targeted as they could be. We are a high end / low volume photography studio. It’s just me and Ally and we put a ton of effort, heart and soul into every client and every portrait session. We bring a ton of experience and expertise to the table. We aren’t for everybody – we aren’t a cheap studio, don’t want to be, and yet we rank for plenty of general searches such as “West Bloomfield Photographer” which doesn’t discriminate between different tastes or budgets.
So what’s the answer? As I said I’m not an expert and I’m not ready to cast a smaller more targeted net on the web for “higher end” clients only – I’m not even sure there’s a way to do that – to only get ranked for clients who want the “best experience”… I think I’m good with how we present and differentiate ourselves online with social media and our owned online assets. I say for SEO just make sure you’re found first and foremost as a general rule and then make sure people can tell that you are a quality outfit when they find you. In the meantime though here’s my advice if your net is a little on the wide side:
I had someone call asking about pricing for a portrait session the other day. I talked him briefly through the process and the pricing and we were way out of the budget he was looking for – he wanted something really simple. Instead of turning my nose up at him I helped him through his options and what the differences are, and ultimately referred him to Focal Point in Farmington. They are a higher volume studio than us with a large staff and more basic options available. It won’t be the same experience as working with us but this guy wasn’t looking for the “best” – he was just looking for something “good” and economical. Nothing wrong with that. Focal Point been good to work with for us with seniors for class composites, they are a local family owned studio, and I still helped this gentleman – I’m comfortable sending him there because they are a professional outfit. The ease of entry has allowed too many non-professionals into this industry so I want to support actual studios. You uplift your profession, you play nicely in the sandbox and if you are in the business of helping people then do it wherever you can whether someone becomes your client or not. It’s good karma.
What are your thoughts on these topics? Are you using Facebook Creator yet? Have a good SEO take? Let me know!
Frameable Faces Photography
Frameable Faces Photography is a small biz retail mom & pop shop of Doug&Ally Cohen located in the Orchard Mall in West Bloomfield, Michigan, United States Of America!
An exchange I had on twitter yesterday got me thinking… Of course I often go to football for analogies because I have a background there, so as a former player and a football “purist” I may enjoy comparing statistics for fun, but I would never play “fantasy football”. I never have and never will. I actually like statistics – I do. I’ll even use them from time to time in debates about teams and players and who was better. However, analysis can cause paralysis and “fantasy football” takes analysis (and analytics) to the point where the appeal and the game of “fantasy football” itself actually has little to do with the team sport of football.
Meanwhile I participate in a live twitter chat and Livestream every Wednesday at 3PM EST called #LetsLivestream which you can tune into on Periscope at http://pscp.tv/letslivestream/. This week the topic was centered around favorite Livestream apps and one of the questions was as follows:
If you aren’t quite sure what a twitter chat is, it’s where a meeting, presentation, or just a conversation centers around questions on a topic that are put out to the group with a selected hashtag and the questions are tweeted out as “Q1” etc. as you see above. You then can jump in the conversation by using the hashtag and answering the question with an “A1” etc. My off-the-cuff answer to this question was “A6 Important yes – they don’t DICTATE a TON of what we do per se for LIVE, but we definitely use them @eggdrp1@FullScopeHQ#LetsLivestream“As a side note Eggdrp and FullScope are the two main websites we use to grab our analytics for our Periscope broadcasts. Facebook Live and YouTube provide plenty on their own.
At this point an exchange ensued where a Canadian Livestreaming company named Livescale chimed in and replied to my tweet stressing the importance of analytics – that’s one of the great things about a twitter chat – you meet people and have conversations around a shared interest – twitter should be SOCIAL! Don’t forget that. But the exchange got me thinking as you can see by my reply:
How Important Should Analytics Be?
My reply is a perfect lead in to the football analogy. See here is the thing… Analytics – statistics – data – numbers that tell you how many viewers you had watching on a broadcast, how many comments they made, how long they watched for, how many times they shared in the app or on other platforms, how many times they took screenshots or gave other feedback like hearts on Periscope – all these numbers can give you an idea of how successful the broadcast was depending on your goals. They can tell you what your growth looks like over time and give you endless ways to measure how you’re doing. Livescale isn’t wrong. These numbers are indeed important. For example, Tom Brady (another #10 at Michigan after me – ha) is the greatest quarterback to ever play the game of football, and as a quarterback he is responsible for commanding the offense down the field to score more points than the other team to win games. He handles the ball on every offensive play and if you look at his statistics they tell the story of a guy who yes, would be considered at the top based on the numbers:
Tons of statistics there – he’s thrown for over 61 thousand yards and over 450 touchdowns. The numbers dotting his career in bold indicate statistics where he was number one in the NFL in that statistic. These are just regular season statistics – he’s also been the winning Super Bowl QB more than anyone in history. The data goes on and on, and these statistics / analytics tell the story of success on a massive scale.
Now let’s look at Larry Allen….
In my opinionLarry Allen was the most dominant offensive lineman to ever play. As a Dallas Cowboys fan I probably watched Larry Allen in around 140-ish of the 176 games he played for Dallas (on TV) and he was a beast. Strong, massive, quick, nasty – a first ballot Hall of Famer. And just look at those stats…. Wait what? You see, while his coaches may have been breaking down his game films and grading him out on his performances, the only official statistics for Larry are the 4 fumbles that happened nearby him on the field that he was able to recover over the course of his career. As an offensive lineman Larry may have never touched the ball aside from those 4 times in 14 years. So how do we know Larry was successful? Because we were there watching Larry – watching him move, neutralize and flatten defenders one after the other. There are no official statistics for what Larry did and it doesn’t matter. Statistics DON’T tell the story in this case.
It’s not all that different in Livestreaming. Analytics don’t always tell the whole story. Sure they are important and shouldn’t be ignored. However if only 10 people watched your broadcast but it changed their outlook, started a relationship or converted a client then it may have been a more successful broadcast than if 500 people were there live and none of that happened. If one person watching your broadcast made a comment that opened your eyes to a new way of thinking that’s better than 578 comments of nonsense because you’re broadcasting drama that attracts people like a train wreck and you’re not even looking at the comments because you’re so wrapped up in your own…..drama…
The same goes for all social media – build your community organically and yes track your analytics. Watch for trends and try to track towards your goals. But make sure you focus on your relationships and the vibe and culture around your brand, your broadcasts and your content as a whole. Be true to that and then the analytics – while they are important – won’t be the only thing that tells your story, and they shouldn’t be.
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So much has been going on in the social media world this past week (Periscope Monetizes) or so – or at least it seems this way for us. I’ve got a few topics to cover with a few tips and of course a couple of observations and opinions….
Let’s get to it, starting with the major headlines for this post…
YouTube Gets LIVE
We had heard about YouTube livestreaming for a while but weren’t sure if it would be on our radar anytime soon. The rollout seemed somewhat shrouded in mystery as this article from techcrunch.com pointed out last month… But at this point we can tell you that it’s available to verified accounts with at least 100 subscribers, so at the urging of our wonderful Periscope friend Sonam (who loves YouTube Live) we gave it a shot with no warning or announcement… Here’s the result:
We had a lot of fun and we had people there! There were people we knew and new people we didn’t from shares during the broadcast. We picked up three new subscribers during the broadcast and we got this little report at the end:
Observations from a veteran livestreamer but not a YouTube expert:
The comments are a little delayed (time from when a viewer comments to the time you see it and respond) but the delay got better over the course of the broadcast
You can block a viewer or put one in “time out” for 5 minutes if you’re being trolled
Viewers are only allowed to comment so many times – there’s a limit on comments (apparently there is a monetization model that allows you to override this once you get to 1000 subscribers)
The comments do not show on the playback so be aware of this if you are creating a video that you want to stand on its own after you finish. Keep in mind that you can edit, tag, select a thumbnail – all the things that you can do with all other YouTube videos you upload. We are putting our livestreams there into a separate playlist.
Oh – and the filters!!! You’ll see them above if you watch but here’s a sampling…
Ally likes the bubbles – I think they’d be cooler if you could pop them… lol
Taaaaaaake Onnnnnnnn Meeeeeeeee……! Hehe…
Paranormal Activity anyone….?
Vintage grainy black and white…
And of course…. the dance party / disco ball effect…..
Awesome moves (if we do say so ourselves lol), lots of possibilities, wheels are turning here at Frameable Faces.
A couple more YouTube tips while we’re at it:
If you want to get to 100 subscribers so you can go live (once you’ve had your page verified) you should make sure people are able to see whom you’ve subscribed to so they can follow you back if they are so inclined – otherwise they won’t even know you subscribed:
Make Sure That Third Box Is Unchecked!
One more thing: Be sure once you do hit 100 subscribers that you claim a custom / vanity URL for your channel! http://youtube.com/frameablefaces/ looks way better and consistent with our other profiles than some random gibberish.
Periscope announced an update that brings monetization to the game for scopers and for the app! I won’t lay out ALL the details here, but suffice it to say we generally see this as a good thing overall. Are there questions about what effect this may have on content creation on the app and whether the introduction of money will “infect” the community somehow? Yeah I suppose. But this just came out two days ago and you can now purchase coins to use to give three levels of “super hearts” to a broadcaster during a livestream there. We’ve already jumped in giving and receiving. Here’s a screen shot from our broadcast yesterday:
You can see the message from Periscope that our friend @redefiningrich1 whom we call “Suzi Q” gave us a “super heart” and you can actually see that the super heart is extra sparkly to the right. As a side note – the compliment to Ally on the screen is a funny auto response from the “Eggbot” from eggdrp.com. There are three levels of super hearts – they increase in value and animation effect on the screen. They then are tallied as “stars” and once you receive 185,000 total super hearts / stars you can apply with Periscope to be a super scoper of sorts and get payouts on the hearts monetarily. I know, it’s a little confusing but it does make sense after a bit.
A couple quick thoughts on Periscope Super Hearts:
Our stance on this has always been that if people want to donate or tip we would accept it if Periscope made that an option on the app. We aren’t going to call a ton of attention to it and we certainly aren’t going to make anyone feel like we require it or expect them to do it in order to be in our broadcasts or a part of our community. We do certainly appreciate it and we don’t take it lightly that people find value in what we do on our broadcasts.
One major flaw we see in the rollout of Super Hearts is that not everyone receiving them will reach 185,000 stars anytime soon, and even those who do aren’t guaranteed to be approved to receive any payout, so people may be purchasing the coins to donate the super hearts to scopers who may never be able to redeem them. Periscope will get that money. Now I want Periscope to make money – I’m fine with that – the platform should make money. Could you make the case that there is nothing wrong with the app making money by being available to bring you the specific content you like and donate to? Well yeah, but without the scoper getting a piece and without you knowing if the scoper will ever get a piece? I don’t know…. I think they should address this somehow.
To be continued…..
A Couple Of Thoughts on other platforms while we’re at it…
LinkedIn has legs….
Another platform I’ve spent more time on in the last year or so than ever before is LinkedIn. I’m no expert there either but one thing I’m noticing is that posts there can have an extended life that I don’t see on some of the others. I’m finding that a good random post continues to get discovered for weeks on LinkedIn if it’s getting likes. I posted a good one two weeks ago that has been getting steady likes and views and it even seems to be picking up pace. That doesn’t happen on Facebook or Twitter. At least not without shares or retweets. I suppose it happens on Twitter on a popular tweet with a relevant hashtag and enough activity (maybe even on Instagram to a lesser degree with hashtags). But I think the difference here is that the post seems to be getting discovered in feeds without any hashtags. The activity and the views seem to be keeping it afloat so to speak. I don’t know a ton about LinkedIn algorithms but I think this example is noteworthy. Same thing when you write an article on LinkedIn – I’ve had articles picked up by LinkedIn Pulse that get views for over a year to the point where I went in and updated them so they were still accurate because people were still reading them.
As for the recent post that is getting views from a couple weeks ago…
25 likes is more than I normally get and it’s been a steady rate of 1-2 per day for two weeks now, and 2310 views is a lot for me for a random post. It clearly crossed some threshold – there haven’t been any shares and I only have 778 followers there. Meanwhile – take the advice in the post PLEASE! The Bitmoji I used is a full “Bye Felicia” even though it’s cutoff above. Haha…
Here’s a little further breakdown of who is seeing the post from the analytics:
Views from all over the country – various level employees and various companies. Pretty cool!
A Little Annoyed With Snapchat… But Geofilters Still Rock
Maybe we’re an exception in this case but as a small biz that mainly consists of Ally and me, it made sense to link my Bitmoji to our Snapchat profile. I man the Snapchat so once in a while I could add my Bitmoji to a snap, or use it in chats with our connections and our high school seniors – it’s fun! Even better, I could screen grab dual bitmojis of me and Ally from the chat and we’ve had a blast with those. Take this instagram for example with Ally and I flying in huge paper airplane! Lol…
But here’s the problem and the recent decision by Snapchat which I find to be absolutely ridiculous… They changed everyone’s profile pic in their snapcode to their default Bitmoji if it’s linked with NO OPTION to use anything else. Like so:
Now before you start with the wisecracks, I don’t WANT to be the face of Frameable Faces. I don’t even usually like both Ally and me to to be the faces of Frameable Faces! I usually like the logo for our avatars – or at least a photo of both of us like this:
I’m not the only one who is mad about this…. nothing like taking away personalization from all of your users eh? Doesn’t seem to be the smart move when you’re locked in a battle for survival with a hostile Instagram.
On a positive Snapchat note, geofilters still rock for small brands. Here is one of our senior spokesmodels Lauren using one we placed at her high school on the last day of school:
Random Twitter thoughts:
Why would you pay someone to show you how to get “15,000 new twitter followers” who has 2387 themselves? You wouldn’t. Why would you want “15,000 new twitter followers”? You wouldn’t. Make connections people – not just numbers. This garbage and this approach by many so-called “gurus” is prevalent…
Wait a sec – What About Facebook…?
Wait! No tips or ranting on or about Facebook in this post? WHAT? That’s weird…. well that’s okay I guess.
Oh wait yes – I almost forgot just a little thing I picked up that you may know already, but when you upload a native video to Facebook (which is a good idea for better presentation and reach on Facebook as opposed to a link to a YouTube video) you should consider offering captioning – like the closed captioning you see on TV. Some people may catch a video in their FB feed without clicking on it and pulling the audio. They can still follow a bit with the captioning which is pretty slick and easy to implement on Facebook. Here’s a screen shot for one I added the captioning to for our client Mark Mandell, Attorney At Law (the link is to his YouTube page by the way – please subscribe if you’re interested).
Note the text at the bottom that has been pulled right from the audio by Facebook. It’s pretty spot on but you can edit any words that are incorrect.
You can find the option to add captions in the “edit video” menu shown below – you just click the “Generate” button under the “Captions” tab to get started:
That’s all for now. What are your thoughts? Do you have tips of your own? I hope you enjoyed this – I want your feedback – please share and comment!
Frameable Faces Photography
Frameable Faces Photography is a small biz retail mom & pop shop of Doug&Ally Cohen located in the Orchard Mall in West Bloomfield, Michigan, United States Of America!