Get Your Best Customers to Toot Your Horn

If you need yet another reason to join in the online video frenzy, allow me to say two words: Video Testimonials.  Now I know what you're thinking, "I already have testimonials on my website.  Why do I need to videotape them."

If you want the short answer to the question, pick up the phone and call a friend and ask him or her when they look at a printed testimonials, who do they assume wrote them.  Nine times out of ten the answer you will receive will be, "The website owner."

That's the problem with printed testimonials. They lack credibility.  Just like backlinks, it is all too easy to rig the game by planting bogus testimonials on a website. Video virtually eliminates the possibility of chicanery.  Since seeing is believing, by taking the time to shoot a 60-second testimonial, you automatically gain points on the old credibility meter.

However, that's not the main reason that I encourage all our clients to videotape their testimonials.  There's a better reason.  You see, when it comes to video, your clients are able to toot your horn the loudest.  Where you would draw incredulous stares by brazenly stating what a wonderful job you do, or how much your services help the public, a client can tell your audience exactly how they feel about your business.  They are not hemmed in by the constraints of humility in the same way that a business owner would be.  They can call it as they see it.

For a sample of a video testimonial, click on the link below:

Te best part is that it's not all that difficult to get a customer or two to agree to tell their story via video.  In fact, it's been my experience that most customers are thrilled to be invited to a taping.  Some of them are real hams.  The important thing is to tell them that they don't have to rehearse what they are going to say.  All they have to do is answer a few simple questions in front of the camera.  That's all there is to it.  Then you or your videographer can cut and paste the best sound bites together and leave the rest on the cutting room floor.

Video testimonials do not have to be long or involved to create real impact.   You would be surprised how much a happy customer can tell an audience in 60-90 seconds.  The objective is not to program a TV show, but to give prospects a few choice bits of information about your business in order to goose them into taking action.

Employed properly, a couple of carefully crafted video testimonials can be some of the best sales tools you will ever have.  So let your best customers toot your horn for you.  You'll be glad you did. specializes in viral video promotion.  To see samples of their work go to:

Is it Time to Pimp Yo Site?

While I may not wear a floppy hat and drive a purple Cadillac, I know when it's time to spring for some bling.  If you have been following my blogs and videos this month, then you know that we have been talking about the fact that the 800lb gorilla in the room named Google wants what it wants.  In short, this means that if you want to achieve Google page 1 then you need to know how to feed the monkey.

What's Google like to eat?  Mostly it's own properties.  If we're talking video, this means YouTube.  (Purchased in 2006 by Google for $1.65 billion.) Got a blog?  Then Blogger, another Google-owned entity, is the vehicle of choice.  And now that Google has launched Google+, you had better include that in your lineup as well.  (The day after Google+ was available to the general public, we started dropping widgets onto all our clients sites.) Why?  Even though the googlebots are interested in such things as content, backlinks and other social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, you had better believe that they weight their own properties heavier than the competition.

What I'm trying to say is that if you want Google to know and love your website, then you need to return the favor.  Take the initiative and embed videos and widgets on your site.   Put in a little sweat equity and post blogs more than once in a blue moon.  If that doesn't work, you can always hang a pair of fuzzy dice from the rearview mirror.  That always attracts attention.

Keep working the web!

Carl Weiss has been working the web professionally since 1995.  His companies and specialize in helping companies large and small maximize their online results through the use of such things as Power Blogging, Push Technology and Viral Video Marketing.  They also offer a FREE Web Presence Analysis that can show you how to improve both visibility and results online.

Is it Time to Feed the Monkey?

Now that you have learned that the 800lb gorilla in the room named Google is a picky eater who prefers to eat Google-owned properties such as YouTube, Blogger and Google+, you can use this fact to your advantage when optimizing your web presence.  However, this fact alone will do you little good if you fail to feed the monkey.

By that, I mean that having these tools in your kit is useless if you don’t employ them.  This means that you need to create at least one blogpost per week and at least one YouTube video per month if you are going to get the Gorilla’s attention.  You also need to learn to post to your social networks on a regular basis in order to get this part of the equation producing any tangible benefits.  Having a Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Merchant Circle account won’t add up to a hill of beans if you don’t post to them.  However, when you have 5 or six social networks, plus a blog and a vlog to create like clockwork, you don’t want to put yourself in the position of having to create a part time job in order to feed the need.

So here’s what I do:

  1. I create a blog per week and a video every other week.
  2. I post the blog to Blogger and upload the Vlog to YouTube
  3. I go to my homepage, where I have placed links to my social networks.  Clicking on them, I post headlines and links to my blogpost and video on each of my social networks.  In certain cases, such as Merchant Circle, where I can repost my blog in its entirety, I do so.
  4. Then I am always cognizant of other items to post on my networks, such as links to interesting articles, networking events I attend, etc.

In this way, I can feed the monkey in the shortest possible amount of time. Typically it takes two to three hours max per week to keep all of the above mentioned communication nodes humming along.  And in so doing, I am making certain that my websites are not viewed by Google as a second banana.

Carl Weiss’ main websites and can show you how to maximize your online presence by creating video-driven websites that speak to your audience. 

What is Your HGTV Moment?

Anyone out there who watches HGTV is familiar with the fact that it is storytelling that is crucial to making someone want to watch paint dry, or tile get laid.  Not to mention the fact that having your face on TV can do wonders for promoting your business. 

Well what if I told you that you could have both of the benefits above without having to beg a cable affiliate to make you their next celebrity contractor.  What I’m talking about is the phenomenon of Microcasting, which could be coming to a PC near you.

Unlike cable TV, where a 30-minute program is equated with 22 minutes of video, online TV shows need to only be two to three minutes in length.  Also unlike broadcast TV, online you don’t need to pay for a timeslot to broadcast your show.  All you need to do is create a channel on YouTube for free.

Of course, if you want to build an audience, you will need to take a lesson or two from all those “Fix This House” shows.  What this boils down to is coming up with programming that people will want to watch.  More importantly, you want to produce shows that people will want to pass along to their friends and in so doing help you build audience share.  Accomplishing this does not require you to pay for studio time or invest in CGI special effects.  All it takes is a little imagination. 

As a rule, there are three maxims for reality TV:
  1. Humor
  2. Solve a Problem
  3. Eye Candy

Take for instance one of my clients, Bill Aldridge at Aldridge and Sons Plumbing.  After extolling the virtues of microcasting to him, he was interested but skeptical. 

“I hear what your saying,” he told me.  “But how do you make plumbing funny?”

So I told him to think back to all the times he managed to narrowly avoid disaster (think flood), or anything that surprised him (like the time a cat got stuck inside the wall the one time I tried to fix a leaky pipe in the bathroom), or in short anything that would have visual appeal.  So after kicking a few ideas around, we both decided to put our heads back together the following day.

Fortunately for me, it didn’t even take 24 hours to come up with an Eye Candy idea for Bill.  After talking to one of my business associates, Andy Stansfield, about my interview with the plumber, he told me, “Let me pitch you a show.”  It turns out that a couple of months back, Andy had called Bill for help fixing a clogged drain.  Bill dispatched his son Billy to do the task.  While he was there working on the drain, Andy told him that lately some rather rank odors had been wafting up from the kitchen sink.  Billy looked at him and said, “It’s probably your dishwasher.  What say we clean it out.”

Andy agreed and Billy proceeded to open the freezer and take out the storage compartment from the icemaker.  Walking casually over to the disposal, he filled the contraption up to the top with ice.  Then he drizzled a few drops of liquid dish detergent on top of the ice.  Then he turned the disposal on.

“The disposal started churning with a noise like a sno-cone machine gone wild,” Andy told me.  “A few seconds later up out of the drain came this column of foam.  It practically filled up the sink.  It was the craziest thing I ever saw.  All I kept thinking was, ‘I should take out my I-Phone and videotape this for YouTube.’

Needless to say, not only did Andy get a sparkling clean garbage disposal out of the incident, but I also got my inspiration for Bill’s HGTV moment, which we are going to shoot as a reenactment later this week.

While this kind of programming is just the ticket for hooking viewers, you can’t rest on your laurels.  Not if you expect to build an audience. To do that you need to feed the monkey.  By that, I mean that you need to produce a series of microcasts. 

For Bill Aldridge, what I suggested was that his son buy a low cost video camera and an inexpensive external hard drive (nothing eats space faster than video).  His assignment is to follow his techs from time to time and shoot enough how-to footage to enable us to put together four episodes at a time.  Since we are going to feed his audience a blog a week and a video every two weeks, this will mean that we can put together enough material for two months of broadcasting with one post-production session.  Once he has the material, we can shoot the intros on our green screen and then produce four shows every other month.  This way Billy won’t have to quit his day job and Bill Sr won’t have to break the bank to pay for post production.

Mind you, we aren’t looking to teach the audience how to do Bill’s job.  What we are looking to do is show them some helpful hints and colorful stories, as well as cue the audience as to when it’s time to call in a professional before the task gets way out of hand.  (Like my attempt at fixing the leaky bathroom pipe.)  I also told both Bills to keep a weather eye out for any amusing anecdotes that either they or their technicians pass along as this is grist for creating enertaining reenactments, such as the disposal incident. 

No matter what your business, by putting on your television producer’s cap and having a preproduction meeting with you staff, you too can create must-see-online-tv.  It beats waiting for Hollywood to come knocking at your door.

Carl Weiss has been producing online and cable programming, corporate and how-to videos for more than 6 years.  For samples of his videos, check out his Jacksonville Video Production website today.  If you want to see some humorous programs, click on the "Commercials" tab.

Get on the Bus with Google+

by Hector Cisneros

There is a lot of hype associated with the launch of Google+ and every product has its advocates and critic’s.  Google+ is no exception.  When a giant internet player like Google says, they are getting into social networking,  I pay attention.  This article provides a quick overview of Google+ and its features.  It will compare Google+ with the current leader Face Book to demonstrate their differences..  It will also give you an overview of the neat features that only Google+ currently has.

Face Book is the current gold standard in the social media world. Whether you love Face Book or feel they are purposefully trying to make you mad, is irrelevant, They are at the top. The current discontent over changes in Face book has some people up in arms.  However, it is yet to be seen if this has an impact on whether Google+ can make an inroad versus the social media giant.

Regardless of what you think about Face Book, here are several reasons why Google+ will make a dent in the social networking arena, even if it’s only taking market share from other networks.  First, Google+ is extremely easy to join and use.  If you are a Gmail subscriber, it’s a matter of a few clicks and then filling in your basic profile info.  This process only takes but a few minutes to complete, especially if you are cutting and pasting from face book.

If you’re a Gmail subscriber, some of your contacts will automatically be imported for you.  Some of names in your contact list will automatically populate and begin the process of creating your circles of influence.  You will simply drag and drop people from your list into predefined circles or create circles of your own.

Speaking of the circles function, it is one of the coolest features that Google+ has to offer.  It seems much more intuitive and easier to use than the one provided currently by Face Books.  This interface allows you to organize your contacts into groups that appear as circles, literally.  There are a few predetermine groups, but you can customize them all you want and people can belong to as many different circles as you desire.

Circles also allow you to filter your news feed  (called the stream in Google+ ), so that your circle selection becomes your stream feed control. In other words, the circle you select can determine whose post you are watching. It can limit your view of which posts  are streamed into view.  Changing your view is easy and intuitive. Some of the simplicity that Google+ demonstrates is by design.  Its clean and uncluttered look is chiefly due to the fact that Google+ is new, and is therefore unencumbered with all the trappings that come with a mature social media site.  Either way, I believe you will appreciate the clean, easy to use, and fun interface Google+ has to offer.

Speaking of other fun features, Google+ has two worth mentioning.  The first is Hangouts.  Google+ provides a video Chat room for groups of people.  You can video chat, share You Tube videos, invite others and have a real online video conversation with several people. This is a face to face conversation. You need a video camera and microphone attached to your computer to use this service effectively. Most laptops and tablet computers come with this as a standard item making video chat a snap. This is a cool feature which I am sure will get lots of use.  I believe the maximum number of people that a Hangout session will hold is probably limited by your screen size and the speed of your internet connection.  Between six to twelve people will probably work well.  After that, it will probably seem crowded.  I suggest you check this feature out and start thinking of all the cool ways you could use this service.

Another feature that I genuinely like is the games Google+ includes.  Unlike Face Book games, Google+ has a game's menu built in.  The variety of games they offer is extensive.  It includes 18 games like Anger Bird,  Bejeweled Blitz, City Ville, Diamond Dash, Dragons of Atlantic, Crime City, Sudoku Puzzles, City of Wonder and Zynga Poker just to name a few.  All of these games are designed to be shared socially.  Even Angry Birds lets you to share your score so you can play against your friends.

So there you have it, a quick overview of the buzz surrounding Google+ and how it compares to Face Book.  Google+ is still extremely new, and it currently does not offer the number of subscribers, features and maturity that Face Book or LinkedIn offer. Having said that, Google+ is extremely user friendly, easy to navigate and provides several new, innovative features’.  Features like circles, hangouts and the integrated games provide a high cool factor for most users.  Add to this all the other Google applications and properties you have access to, (Google is prodigious), and you have the beginnings of a social media contender.  It may not be a Face Book or LinkedIn killer yet, but its innovative approach and connections to Google’s vast library of applications and internet properties will help it to receive rapid adoption and meteoric growth.

That’s my Opinion, what’s yours?

Hector Cisneros has been an entrepreneur for 25 years, a veteran of BNI for 18 years and was a BNI director for over five years. He is still an active BNI member and follows the philosophy of Givers Gain. He is the owner of several businesses in Jacksonville, Florida. He actively coaches business owners in the fine art of Internet advertising, Networking and Word of Mouth marketing. He is the president of Website Know How, Inc. A holding company for his business ventures that include online advertising, word of mouth marketing, real estate holdings, health and wellness product sales, consulting for non profits and Adventure sports.  To learn more about Social Media, Internet Advertising and Word of Mouth Marketing visit the Networkers Apprentice workshop or