Establishing a Company Page on LinkedIn is an essential part of any good social marketing strategy, especially for B2B business. LinkedIn is “Social Media for Professionals”. Any LinkedIn user with a unique company email address can create one! Not only can a person connect with potential employers, search for jobs and network, but they can find companies to get in contact with for potential business deals. Here are some simple tips for optimizing your Business Page on LinkedIn.
After all this, you should have a pretty robust LinkedIn Company Page! Check out BARS+TONE’s LinkedIn Company Page here to see what we’ve done with ours…
What have you done with your LinkedIn company page? Share it with us in the comments below!
For less than $50!
By: Owen Smithyman
Whether you work at an agency with in-house voiceover facilities or you just happen to want to bridge the gap between your phone and your sound system, this tutorial will enable you to build your own phone patch without having to spend hundreds of dollars on a proprietary solution. With a few parts from Radio Shack, you can separate the input and output and connect your phone directly to a mixer. You may run into a ground loop (an annoying buzzing), so this tutorial also features ways to get rid of that.
What You Need:
- 2 Mini Recorder Controls from Radio Shack
- 1/4″, XLR, or other adapters
Additional parts or tools for special needs or ground loop issues:
- 1/4″ XLR or Other
- Soldering Iron
- Pliers/Wire Cutters
Why build a phone patch?
At BARS+TONE, we needed to be able to have the recording engineer, producer, talent, and client all able to talk with each other. The producer and recording engineer work in the same room, but the talent is in an isolation booth and the client is on the phone. Our mixer is a Presonus Monitor Station, so without the client, we can talk to the talent simply by pressing the talkback button. However, the linking up the phone to the rest of the audio gear requires some additional work.
Phones present trouble because they use a multiplexed signal, which allows two-way communication with very few wires. Fortunately, we can avoid all the problems with multiplexing by using a Radio Shack Mini Recorder Control. One end of the control plugs into the handset jack on your phone, and the other end plugs into a microphone port on a tape player or computer via an 1/8″ plug. The handset plugs into the control itself, so you can still talk on the phone.
Unfortunately, one control can only deliver the signal in one direction at a time. To remedy this, simply plug a second control into the handset jack on the first control. Set the switch to “REC” on the first one and “PLAY” on the second one. Now, simply use the appropriate adapters to plug the first one into your mixer’s mic or input jack, and the second one into a headphone jack. Plug the first control into your talkback mic jack if you need to hear the talent but not interrupt him/her with unnecessary noise.
If you’re running into a ground loop, read on to the Ground Loop Section on Page 2, but otherwise, you’re done!
Questions? Comments? Post below!
By Austin Allen
In this day and age, we hear all about “Going Green”. Some people don’t care; others are selling their cars in exchange for public transit and bicycles. But what are some ways to incorporate a green mentality into your marketing strategy? Green Marketing is the marketing of environmentally friendly products, such as Sprint and Samsung are doing with the Samsung Reclaim. What I want to discuss is how to reduce the footprint of your physical marketing efforts.
Buy Local. I’m not talking about buying organic produce from the Farmer’s Market here! There are local printing companies and merchandise branding companies that would love to do business with other local businesses. Using companies out of state, region, or country contributes to the use of fossil fuel used in shipping. Small businesses like Mission Creek Printing right here in San Francisco offer extensive printing services. Not only does buying local cut down fuel consumption, but it is just better for your local economy.
Buy Eco. Recycled paper and Soy Ink are better for the environment. Every year tons of paper is wasted and sent to landfills, and the ink that is printed on that paper pollutes waterways. If your business does a lot of marketing via paper products, consider switching to green paper and ink products. Greener Printer in Berkeley, CA specializes in green printing practices. Yes, they are more expensive than other online firms such as Vista Print, but the extra cost is worth the benefits to our environment.
Reduce waste. San Francisco has a Compost Collection program along with its trash and recycling services… This reduces waste that ends up in landfills; compostable materials are more useful when they are actually composted. A business can move towards greener marketing by using green materials and educating and encouraging consumers to dispose of the materials in a greener way as well.
Utilize technology. This might seem like a no brainer. The amount of paper saved every year by using email and the internet to communicate and market a brand definitely outweighs the cost of electricity and e-waste that comes from throwing away computers every couple years (although you can recycle computers as well). Not only is online advertising becoming increasingly popular, but it is cheaper and more engaging than paper brochures that get mailed and thrown away consecutively. The web offers great advertising opportunities with paid search results and gives real-time analytics.
Market your efforts. If you are making an attempt to go green, go ahead and tell everyone. But, make sure you’re sincere. There are a lot of companies jumping on the green chic band wagon. If you are talking the talk and not walking the walk, people will call you out on it. Utilizing Green Marketing strategies will make other green businesses want to do business with you. So it is actually a marketing strategy in itself to go green.
What are you doing to reduce your marketing footprint? Share your thoughts below.
If you’re a small business thinking of going into social media, here are a few cheap tips and tricks to get your marketing plan off the ground.
MAJOR PRO TIP: Build Advocacy, Not ROI. You’re probably thinking, WHAT? If your goal for Social Media is to increase ROI and drive your bottom line, you’re absolutely in the right frame of mind as a marketer. However, Social Media is about having a two-way conversation with your audience to build brand advocates. Identify the key influencers in your circle and learn from them. Create a private group for them to come together and talk about your business – use them to test promotions and product launches and ultimately encourage them to start these conversations themselves. By empowering evangelists and engaging them in conversation your brand will fly beyond competitors in no time.
Do you have a specific business problem you’d like solved?
Post it in the comments below for some advice!
By: Justin Gonzalez
With the start of Summer I thought it would be nice to help you get the most from your vacation plans – whether it’s a weeklong trip to the Bahamas or leaving work early to enjoy a happy hour. I’ve pulled together some of my favorite apps to make your Summer fun and memorable!
Let’s start Summer off with a road trip. Forget the annoying pull-out map and go for something more sleek with USA Road Atlas. You’ll never second guess your location with GPS integration, speed monitoring and its sleek design.
Sure your smart phone might already have Google Maps integration, but with USA Road Atlas you can also get topographic maps or marine charts from within the app.
By: Owen Smithyman
Any sizeable video post-production facility working on high-end projects these days needs a good SAN, or Storage Area Network. This term generally refers to a fiber-optic or otherwise blazing-fast network that allows connected computers to access a high-speed central storage made up of many hard drives that function as one (see RAID).
This setup similar to ours, and it’s necessary for a post facility like ours because we edit high-quality HD video, which a single hard drive isn’t fast enough to play. If this is confusing, think of it like trying to speak every word of a script that’s moving in front of you at 300 words per minute. Unless you’re like the guy who says the disclaimers at the end of TV commercials (“nopurchasenecessaryseestorefordetails”), you’re going to miss a lot of the words. This is what it’s like to try and edit multiple streams of high-quality HD video from a single hard drive. The SAN can more than keep up, and the SAN software, in our case metaSAN, allows multiple machines to access the storage at speeds that would otherwise only be available by plugging a single machine into it directly. Other popular SAN solutions include Apple Xsan, Avid Unity, and Facilis TerraBlock. There are many others, but those are the ones I’ve seen used most often in post-production facilities like ours.
MetaSAN is one of the newest SAN solutions out there, but it’s growing in popularity because of its ability to work with any existing setup you might have. Mac, Windows, or Linux, connecting over Ethernet or fibre, can all connect as though the storage were on their local hard drives. Other solutions are not so flexible, requiring expensive proprietary hardware and supporting a limited number of systems and connections. We use a third-party RAID chassis by Archion called the Synergy HDu, which is extremely reliable and has a capacity of 12 terabytes. If an average MP3 song is 5 MB, our storage is large enough to hold over 2.5 million of them! The cost savings allow our company to stay lean and mean (and green).
So metaSAN is great, but the one catch is that it’s not well-established enough for there to be much related content out there on the web. In contrast, Xsan users created an entire site, ironically called Xsanity.org, to share information. With this blog entry, I am taking some first steps in a similar direction. There is a dedicated metaSAN forum and also a subforum on Creative Cow, but they don’t have as much content as I’d like.
This next section is probably only going to be useful for the technically inclined, EXCEPT for the first tip, which I think anyone who uses Final Cut Pro on a SAN system will enjoy / be angry about. These tips, which I’ve collected after maintaining our system for the past year and half, are in no particular order.
Tip #1: “File Error: Unknown file” when saving in Final Cut Pro is caused when one of the machines connected to your SAN shuts down! To avoid the error, simply don’t shut down any of your machines until all your editors have saved their work. Of course, this means no restarting any of the machines for any reason, which is difficult given the fickle nature of computers. If you need to restart one of the machines and can’t stand having the error on the others, you can restart them as well and it should fix the problem. You may also be able to solve the problem by restarting Final Cut Pro, so try that before restarting your computer. None of the SAN manufacturers nor Apple seem to have any idea why this happens, and it’s been this way for many years, which boggles my mind.
Tip #2: When you remove a volume from metaSAN and want to run a disk utility on it, RESTART first. Otherwise it’ll give you some cryptic error about Mac OS services failing. This is because it still thinks the filesystem is “metaSAN”.
Tip #3: Use DiskWarrior to keep your disks healthy. DiskWarrior is one of the best disk utilities out there for Mac-formatted disks. It can take a dead disk and bring it back to life in a matter of minutes. It’s so good that it almost seems like magic! And you can use it across your whole organization, not just on your SAN.
Tip #4: Always have a copy of your SAN definition! In the metaSAN control panel under the SAN Management tab, click Export to save your SAN definition to your desktop. Then if you experience problems, you can just re-import the definition. This is oftentimes a much faster solution than using DiskWarrior or other utilities.
Tip #5: If your volumes keep giving you trouble, try running fsck_hfs on them. Note that simply running fsck might give the error “BAD SUPERBLOCK: MAGIC NUMBER WRONG” which would indicate that your disks are in very bad shape, which is rarely the case. In dire situations, such as with an “invalid sibling link” (one of the most terrible errors you can have on an HFS volume), alternate between fsck_hfs and DiskWarrior. And of course, you should shut down or disconnect all other SAN-connected machines and remove your volumes from the SAN definition before attempting any repairs.
Tip #6: If it takes 10 minutes to copy a tiny 5 MB file and you’re using the HFS file system, your volumes are too full. And by too full I mean more than 85%. Delete files and free up space, and you will notice your speeds improve immediately. Then you will grumble because it’s lame that you can’t use all the space on your disks.
That’s all for now! If you have any comments or additional tips and observations, please post them.
By: Justin Gonzalez
Let’s face it – no matter what kind of office culture you foster, work can sometimes get boring. If you have a big project that’s taking up all of your time, or not enough projects to fill the day, hitting 3:00 and realizing you have three more hours to go can be a harsh reality. So, I’m here to help you make work more fun using social media!
First, let me say that I can’t take credit for the idea of gamification, which came from a presentation by Charlene Li at an SF American Marketing Association meeting about a month ago that I just can’t seem to get out of my head. It might be safe to say that I’m obsessed with it. So I’ve decided to explore it further and throw out some ideas for how corporations, big and small, can make work more fun while gaining some social influence as well.
Foursquare: Group projects can be tough. They involve coordinating time, sharing the workload and credit for the end result. So why not turn it into a competition? As new projects are brought on, you can create a special check in location for those working on the project. When a person is working on their portion of the project they check-in to the location whether they’re at their desk or in a group meeting. I think using the tips part of Foursquare can be left to personal preference, but you can use it to establish who is doing what for the project (“John will complete the proposal by Friday”) and check off when these tasks have been completed. Or, you can just use it to trash talk. The idea here is that people within the group are competing to become the Mayor of that project, and every check-in gets them one step closer to being the mayor. At the project’s end, the last person established as Mayor wins the race and maybe gets lunch on the boss. Or lunch with the boss.
Instagram: Many offices put tons of time and energy into creating a place that’s fun to go to, and employees appreciate the niceties of Wii consoles, foosball and ping pong tables. Instagram offers a fun way for people to share the uniqueness of their office life with their social networks. In fact, I’d be willing to bet people in your company already do this on their own time. The idea is simple: send out an e-mail blast to your employees with a few specific hashtags (#thatslifeatGAP could be an example) and encourage them to use these in posts on Twitter, Foursquare and the like that are shared through Instagram. I know I can’t be the only person using Instagram that shares photos to my Foursquare, Twitter and Facebook accounts. Imagine the added social influence you can foster if you got all of your employees on board with the same hashtag – while simultaneously showing off your fun side.
Bump: Here at BARS+TONE we spend a lot of time sharing things via e-mail, but imagine if everyone on your team was connected via their mobile device instead of tied down to their computer all day long. Using an application like Bump, not only can you text (think e-mail) your coworkers for free, but it’s so much cooler than e-mail. On top of that, you can share calendars, music, links etc… everything you do with e-mail, but a more appealing interface. This obviously assumes that everyone on your team has an i-something device, but it’s cool to think about. I don’t know about you, but being stuck in front of my computer for 8 hours is not pleasant.
In the end, I think that social media can offer companies more than just customer service assistance and sales opportunities – it can be huge for employee retention and satisfaction as well. I’d be interested to hear what people have to say about these ideas or if they know of any companies that are currently doing this. What do you think? Does social media have a place within office culture?