Monthly Archives: February 2020

Feb 24

Social Media Video Tips From Someone Who Does the Work Every Day: Mike Schmitz from AmpliPhi

Social Media , Videography

Team Member Mike Schmitz is an experienced videographer who makes both us and our clients look really good here at AmpliPhi Social Media Strategies. A recent interview with Mike explains why you should invest your time creating video content to share on your social media channels. Mike gave us an inside look to his job and the best free tools he uses to enhance his work! 

Why is video better for engagement on socials than images? 

Videos are becoming more and more popular to use on the web and social media. As a marketing agency, we find them extremely important to use it to enhance your business or even your personal brand.  

 Videos are incredible attention-grabbers. As humans, our eyes are naturally drawn to movement. How many times have you stopped scrolling for a video rather than an image with text? You could have better post engagement, drive more traffic to your website, and even increase conversions on ads.  

 Since video is not only visual, but auditory as well, you can have a deeper connection with your audience. By choosing the right audio to pair with your video, you can create a production that tells a story to the audience. This lets you evoke more emotions and encourages your audience to like, comment, and share more than a generic picture with text. 

 Videos are more personable. They allow for the viewers to get a sense of the personality behind the camera as well as on the screen. When talking to your audience on camera, rather than through captions or ad copy, you captivate the viewer and he or she will want to learn more about you.

 Videos often convert viewers to fans and this increases loyalty. If the engagers watching the video feel like they know you, they will become interested in exploring more of your content. This loyalty helps to increase overall engagements on your posts and helps for new engagers to become fans as well. 

What are the 3 best free tools to help you create videos for social media?  

Some of my favorite free tools for creating social media videos are Pexels (free stock video), YouTube Audio Library (free music library), and Adobe Spark (editing platform). With only these tools you can start producing social media content without spending a dime.

1. Pexels - 

Pexels offers high quality pictures and videos for free, no strings attached, to any content creator. They offer a wide variety of photos and videos. It often fits my projects needs no matter what I'm working on. Pexels gets its content from anyone who chooses to upload their pictures or video, but only accepts the highest quality. This ensures you will never download poor quality photos or videos.  

2. YouTube Audio Library - 

Finding free music for videos can be incredibly difficult and good free music is few and far between. YouTube has created a library of quality tunes cleared for use in any production. This is in my opinion the best free resource for free music. 


3. Adobe Spark -

Adobe Spark is a versatile tool which you can use to create content optimized for any mainstream platform. Adobe Spark offs great typography, custom themes, and a limited stock photos/videos library. You can access Adobe Spark on any mobile device, or you can find it on the web.  

Through video you can help to tell a story about your business, share testimonials, or simply create entertainment for your followers. Your videos don’t need to be overly complex in the production process. If a video has good content and a solid message, it doesn’t matter if it is filmed on the top video equipment or simply through an iPhone. To read more on why your video does not need to be overly complicated click here: ‘Un-produce It’ Blog.

What are your favorite videos to share on your own social channels? Can you think of something we missed? Let us know in the comment below! 

Feb 17

Anti-stock Photography: The Importance of Highlighting the Unique Personalities of the People you Work with


At AmpliPhi Social Media Strategies it is crucial to ensure that we prove something works for ourselves before advising others to try it. One major success we have had is our anti-stock photoshoots by team member Erin Cowan. An interview with Erin gives us a sneak peak into her position at AmpliPhi and her talents.  


What are common misconceptions about photography?

That it’s as easy as “snapping a picture.” A lot goes into not only capturing images, but into post-production as well. There is also a distinct difference in quality between photos taken with a cell phone and those taken with a professional camera. Each has its own place on social media and within marketing as a whole. 

What rules do you follow when shooting anti-stock?

A lot of anti-stock photos will end up being used on social media, so I try to think of the end result when composing images. I usually leave some “breathing room” on the sides of the subject so that quotes can later be placed over the image (in Canva or Photoshop) if needed. 

How can anti-stock enhance a brand?

I think anytime a company can use their own photos instead of stock, brand image is sharpened. Furthermore, using images with consistent filters/presets, lighting, and overall aesthetics reinforces the look of the brand and can help a company stay top of mind with the consumer. 

 Why is using anti-stock superior to just quickly downloading stock images from the internet?

Any company can download a stock image, and with the proliferation of free stock sites now, differentiation is becoming more difficult. Custom anti-stock photography and videography sets your brand apart from the competition.  

What is your favorite technique to use behind the camera for professional stock images?

I like to use shallow depth of field in my images. This makes the background blurry and places the focus on the subject instead of the busy background. 

What is your favorite thing about anti-stock photography?

Getting to visit new places and working with fun people! Anti-stock shoots allow me to think creatively. Because each location is different, I’m forced to learn to work with different lighting scenarios and capture images in close quarters.

How have you seen other companies use anti-stock photography?

We’ve seen more company-generated social media shares as a direct result from using anti-stock photography. Employees are typically more likely to share posts featuring themselves and their coworkers rather than posts with stock photos.

How can you make the background of an image blurry?

On a DSLR, the easiest method is by setting the camera to aperture-priority mode and adjusting the aperture to the lowest number possible. On most kit (standard) lenses, that number will be in the 3.0-5.0 range. The lower the number, the blurrier the background will be.  

What are 3 suggestions you have for companies considering an anti-stock photoshoot?

  1. Make a day of it! We can work around your workplace schedule to photograph during meetings that are already taking place. In between meetings, we can capture candid shots of employee interactions and other things around the office. Cater in lunch as an extra incentive for employee participation.
  2. Act natural! When participating in an anti-stock shoot, it’s best to pretend the camera isn’t even there. We’ll pare the images down to feature only the best, most flattering poses.
  3. Have fun! At our most recent anti-stock shoot, we pulled aside a group of employees to stage a meeting. Instead of talking business, they talked about Disney movies and weekend plans. The resulting images were filled with laughter and natural smiles.

Has your team tried anti-stock photography? We would love to see your results!

Feb 10

What Will Work on Social Media in 2020?

Facebook , Instagram , Instagram Stories , LinkedIn , Social Media , Twitter

When I was still wholesaling 401(k) plans in 2013, I was on an advisory board tasked with helping to devise our company’s social media strategy. 

We bought a software system that allowed our field sales reps to push a button and share company-approved social media content. Back then, that was the “safe” way to incorporate social media into our sales process, and it was frankly the only way we could actually use social media to share content. This option was definitely better than nothing at all. For those of us in business development, we all know that the “fortune is in the follow-up” – when people think about you more often than not, you get more shots to win business.

Today, financial services entities allow their registered reps and company staff to do much, much more than just push a button. Many of us are permitted to use social media in ways that are both personalized and specific to our business objectives. For this column, I interviewed three such people who use social media to drive their marketing and business development goals. 

Kate Barton, Marketing Manager at Clearview Advisory 

“In our strategy for social media, we use LinkedIn as a way to stay in touch with people we’ve met or want to work with,” says Barton. “We incorporate it into our drip marketing campaign. We work with small to mid-sized businesses, and some may not have worked with an advisor before. They can be hesitant to sign on the dotted line, and we recognize it takes a while to gain their trust. It’s a big decision to hire an advisor!”

She adds, “LinkedIn and social media allow us to interact with people on a neutral platform and build a relationship over time. We use our own photos and original content almost exclusively and we hire a photographer every couple of years to take fresh photos.”

To highlight two of Barton’s key points:

  • As she said, LinkedIn and social media can be considered “neutral” platforms. In addition to the direct one-on-one follow-up in which we all participate, social media allows us to stay in front of people in an indirect manner. More exposure for you = more people thinking about you = more opportunities.
  • Using their own photos allows Barton and her firm to distinguish themselves from similar firms. I call this “anti-stock” photography. Instead of featuring nameless people on your website, brochures, and social media posts, highlight the people who actually work there. The main thing that differentiates your company from others? Your people. Make sure you show the public you’re real people. 

Derek Notman, CFP 

“I leverage social media by creating a series of short videos that build upon each other to tell a story and take viewers on a journey, which ultimately led to my website which offered even more value, (e.g., a webinar and eBook),” Notman says. “I also made it a point to create a lot more original content that wasn't about selling anything but focused on the benefits and outcomes of my services. Both of these led to exponential growth and sales.” 

He adds: “A strategy I would recommend using: create short, personalized videos to send as direct messages and via email. My response rate was drastically higher, and I also receive a lot of positive feedback about how personal and different my approach is.”

Notman does a great job here of highlighting the power of video. Fifteen years ago, YouTube didn’t exist, and even if you were lucky enough to have good-quality video to share, how would you have shared it? Today your website and social media accounts allow you to distribute video for free, and what better way is there to have people “experience” what you’re like in real life? So consider adding video to your marketing mix in 2020 if you haven’t already.

Alyssa Rock, Bolder B2B Marketing

“I partner directly with our top sales executives and internal thought leaders who have the best LinkedIn networks (clients and prospects) and provide the correct content, hashtags, and even emojis for them to post on their profiles, Rock says. “I prefer using their personal pages instead of LinkedIn company social media pages/showcase pages.”

The point of social media “is to be social and spark engagement,” Rock points out. “We convert leads faster when the content is shared on the personal profiles of those with boots on the ground. I leverage these tactics heavily around trade shows and webinars and consistently outperform any paid placement.”

She hits the nail on the head. You’ll never meet someone who loves LinkedIn company pages and the ability to hyper-focus on targeted prospects with LinkedIn ads than Yours Truly. However, as much as we all love our company’s brand, our clients and prospective clients prefer connecting with individuals – like you.

Is what Rock suggests scalable? Nope. And that’s the point. Personal touches (i.e., the thing that best drives business and engenders trust) outperforms robo-messaging, and it will continue to do so. Rock acts as an accountability partner of sorts for her executives. They know they need to participate in the content creation process, but not take on that burden entirely themselves.

In 2020, your clients and prospective clients will use social media more and more, and if you’re not showing up in some capacity, you’re going to miss opportunities to win business. Here’s my top suggestion for implementing a strategy that will take hold and stick: First create a “not doing” list and write all the tactics down that you’re knowingly not implementing. Not on Twitter? Great! Give yourself credit for something you’re not doing. Instagram? Is that a thing these days? Nope, not using it.

Once you create a long, long list of what you’re not doing, list three things you’ll actually do in 2020  like weekly LinkedIn posts, monthly videos or a one-time photo shoot, for example. The revisit your list of “not doing” items, feel great about them, and focus on the activities that drive results.