Lights, Camera, Action.

Lights, Camera, Action.

Lights, Camera, Action: Using Your Smartphones For Video

Use your smartphone to do more than ruining gigs for others…

Video is very much a staple of online content – and it’s easy to see why. So let’s give your video marketing a kick up the butt.

Thanks to technology and consumer habits changing, it make sense to see a shift geared towards video and visual content. Video has the power to inform, educate and entertain in a direct, shorter format – unlike written blogs. In fact, the human brain processes visual images faster than text, so does using more video mean we are ‘dumbing down’ for our audience?

No – far from it. If anything we are becoming far more sophisticated when it comes to creating content, and understanding what’s going to have the most impact. The market is flooded with all types of content, so you need to have an edge in order to make what you’re doing stand out and be engaging. Video is perfectly crafted to grab people’s attention, but how do you get involved with this visual medium?

Well, I’m here to give you some helpful advice so you can step into the arena and throw down with the big boys. You don’t need to have the eye of Steven Spielberg or the budget of a Hollywood blockbuster, all you really need is your smartphone.

If you want to make a video but feel a little unsure, there’s no time like the present. Time to grab your mobile and get to it.

Look at the world sideways

First off, think about the way you hold your phone. Instead of upright (Portrait) turn it to the side (Landscape). This way the footage you film will be widescreen and can be viewed on a number of different devices. It was popular to film with your phone upright for a while but this was short lived, due largely to the resulting footage not being versatile. You don’t have to just make videos for the small screen; you should keep the big screen in mind, too.

Frame it up

Take a few seconds to frame your shot. This is called composition. Make sure your shot is visually pleasing; a quick and easy way to achieve this is to follow the rule of thirds. The rule of thirds is a grid made up of nine squares (showing this grid is an option on most cameras). The idea behind this is that the subject, or the focus of your action, sits perfectly on the lines within the three middle squares. There is a ton of information about this rule alone, so it’s worth reading up on in order to elevate your footage to the next level.

Be safe in the sun

Lighting is key to making your footage look better. When you film in low lighting conditions you may notice that your footage can look grainy – and nobody wants that. Lighting helps eliminate this grainy effect. However, the sun can, in this instant, be your best friend and your worst enemy.
The sun is a free source of lighting, so putting your subject near a window or filming outside will do wonders for your video. However, the sun can also have the opposite effect. If you position your subject with the sun behind them then they will often look like a silhouette; unless this is the style you’re going for, it can be an unwelcome surprise. Really bright light can also wash out your subject, so be sure to use sunlight carefully.

Sort out your sound

Your audience may put up with bad visuals, but they won’t put up with bad sound. If you’re recording interviews make sure you have your subject as close to your sound recording device as possible. Before pressing record, take a second to listen to your surroundings; there in no such thing as silence, there is always some sort of ambient sound. This could be music, talking, machines, traffic, air conditioning – you name it. Try to put the main source of noise behind you when you are filming, as this will reduce the amount of sound recorded.

Invest in the best

There are plenty of accessories that will increase your phone camera’s abilities and step up your videography game. Clip on lenses give you the chance to change your shot and the dimension of your story telling. For sound recording, you can buy custom shotgun mics that clip onto your phone to improve sound recording. For even better results, it might be worth buying a lav mic (lapel clip mic) – this is perfect for interviews, and will give you a much cleaner sound as it’s really close to your subject.

Strong and stable

Super shaky footage can look amateur, and may even make your audience feel sick. It’s worth investing into a tripod, or a little Gorillapod that can fit anywhere and onto anything.
These are perfect if you are into vlogging, as you don’t have to hold your phone – meaning you can frame your shot and not worry about dropping your phone when you’re in full flow.
If you have a little more budget, you could invest in a gimbal. This little device uses electric motors to balance your camera, keeping your footage rocksteady. Using a gimbal gives your footage a cinematic edge; just like a Wonkavator it has the ability not to only go up and down. It can go sideways and slantways and front ways and squareways and long way – you get the picture. It’s versatile.

Slice and dice

Now that you have filmed something, it’s time to put it all together. Depending on your budget and resources, you could use editing software on your computer, like Windows Movie Maker or iMovie on a Mac. If this not an option then there are plenty of editing apps to try. GoPro make a very good, easy to use editing app that gives you templates to follow. If you are more of a free-flow sort of person then Adobe Premiere have an app called Slice, which gives you the chance to make exactly the movie you want to make.     

Just remember before you start filming – think about what the point is, or the story you are trying to tell. This way you will be more prepared when you come to hit record.

Follow these little tips for smartphone success and you can’t go wrong. Mobile filming is not going away anytime soon, and although phones may not replace high end cameras for the time being, that doesn’t mean that they won’t give them a run for their money.

Amber Vellacott

Amber Vellacott

Content Marketing Lead

Follow us on social media for blog updates and more kick-ass learning content to grow your digital skills!
3 things for brick & mortar businesses to do to quickly get online

3 things for brick & mortar businesses to do to quickly get online

3 things brick & mortar businesses can do right now to get online From Google My Business and local search, through to social media and website build... [wpseo_breadcrumbs]It's hard to know where to start as a physical business getting online, making digital and...

The Metrics – What to look at in Google Analytics

The Metrics – What to look at in Google Analytics

The Metrics – What To Look At In Google Analytics?

what to do/look at/click on/not touch in Google Analytics

What metrics should you be looking at in Google Analytics?

If you’re a fully-functioning member of the digital business world then you’ve probably got a website. Having a website is an awesome way to get your message out there to a huge array of people, with platforms like social media able to boost your reach even further. But how do you know if anyone’s actually visiting your website? What metrics should you look at? 

This is where Google Analytics can help. GA is your personal investigative genius, on hand to help you keep track of your business activities, understand what’s working and what isn’t, and learn more about the people that matter most to your success – your customers. Put simply, it’s free online software that gives you data about the people who use your website.

Data might seem daunting but with it you can really push the performance of your site and therefore your profit.

Now that we’ve clarified that Google Analytics is your business’s best friend, it’s time to talk about how to get the most out of it.  There are tons (some might say a metric ton)  of different thing you can look at in GA, and it’s easy to fall down the rabbit hole of metrics and graphs, only to resurface three hours later and wonder what happened. Did you take the red or the blue pill?

That’s why we’ve rounded up the key metrics you should start with on your foray into analytics:

1. New/unique visitor conversion

Depending on whether it’s their first time on your site or not, online visitors can behave differently. Understanding how new visitors behave can help you to break down your conversion rates and understand what people are driven to do when they visit your website for the first time. Online users like an easy life; prioritise usability and make your calls to action (CTAs) such as ‘Improve your life today, click here’ as clear as possible.

2. Incoming traffic sources

Understanding where your web traffic comes from can help you determine where to focus your digital marketing efforts for maximum effect. You may find that different types of traffic are more likely to convert, so you can plan how to make the most of this. When it comes to traffic, look for three different types:

  • Direct visitors – these people typed your URL into the search bar.
  • Search visitors – these people clicked on your site based on a search query they entered.
  • Referral visitors – these people came from a different website that had linked to you, such as a blog.
3. Bounce rate

Bounce rate tracks how many people hit your site and then leave straight away, without interacting or exploring any further. As a simplified overview – high bounce rate (close to 100%)  = bad.

A high bounce rate can mean that your landing pages aren’t optimised for conversion, are difficult to navigate, or that visitors aren’t getting the information they were expecting. If your web pages have a high bounce rate, then it can point you in the direction of things to improve.

4. Average session duration

This metric tells you the average length of time someone spends on your website, which can indicate whether or not your site is providing useful, relevant information. The more relevant the content, the more time someone will spend reading in enjoying it – and the longer the session will be.

Look at the correlation between session time and conversions – if people are spending a long time on a page but then not interacting, it may be that the content is confusing, or the next step isn’t clear. Optimise your CTAs and see how it affects your average session duration.  

5. Page views

Page views are defined as the number of pages people view on your website. As a rule, more is better. After all, you probably want people to explore as many pages of your website as possible to find all of your awesome content. If the amount of page views per session is low, look to optimise your CTAs and review your meta data for keyword relevancy.

 

Google Analytics offers a ton of information to business owners looking to understand more about their online presence, and these are just a few of the metrics you can explore.

Want to know more? Well, you’re in luck. Our Intro to Google Analytics course gives you the lowdown on the tools and techniques you need to use GA to your advantage – whether it’s understanding how your customers interact with you or finding out if you’re hitting your goals.  

Remember, all I’m offering you is the truth”

Liz Quinn

Liz Quinn

Digital Creative Manager

Follow us on social media for blog updates and more kick-ass learning content to grow your digital skills!
3 things for brick & mortar businesses to do to quickly get online

3 things for brick & mortar businesses to do to quickly get online

3 things brick & mortar businesses can do right now to get online From Google My Business and local search, through to social media and website build... [wpseo_breadcrumbs]It's hard to know where to start as a physical business getting online, making digital and...

We Love Your Social

We Love Your Social

We Love Your Social

We LOVE those who do social media marketing well – so we’ve celebrated you pro’s!

Happy Valentines Day From us here at Giant Campus.

Today we are feeling the love more than ever before. It could be down to the commercialisation of romance, or perhaps because today is a good reminder for you to show appreciation for the things you love in life.

Here at Giant Campus we love social media. And we really really mean that. We think if you don’t love it, it is very obvious. So many businesses ask us how they can get more engagement, and the answer is always the same “Be more engaging”.

When you have a passion for something you want to learn new things, you want to test new ways of doing something, and you want to do something to be proud of. Are you proud of the content you post on social media?

Because we spend a lot of time on social media we have a fairly good idea on who is doing it properly. Who is faking it, and who doesn’t give a damn. Who uses automation, who is spammy and who tries to trick us with click bait. Don’t get us wrong, these techniques can help you build up a following (sometimes), but as the social media networks wise up, they are starting to stamp out more and more ‘tricks’ that businesses rely on. Get ahead of the curve before everyone else does.

We love YOUR social

So we thought on today of all days we needed to celebrate those businesses going the extra mile.

We have posted out thirty unique valentines day cards to those people responsible for those social media accounts that we love so much. It’s not an exaggeration to state that we would so double tap you! If you received one of our cards we would love it if you shared it. Show the world how unique you are and how much your efforts have been valued.

We love OUR Social

Over the last 12 months we have taken a new approach to our social media, and we hope you have noticed. Simply scroll through any of our feeds and you will see how the content we publish is uniquely ours. No faking, no hacking, no cheating, no spamming. Just honest social media.

So with that in mind, and in order to spread the love, we put together our promise to you. Think of it as our very own social media mantra.

The Mantra

Thou shan’t turn a digital cheek to any of these commandments, if thou doth, thou shall be cursed for all eternity with a rubbish online presence and a lack of genuine engagement.

10 commandments of social media as followed by Giant Campus: we, the bestowed owners of the Giant Campus social media will endeavour to abide by the following:

  1. Thou shan’t post on Twitter without an accompanying image/graphic/video (they cost nothing! …sometimes)
  2. Thou shan’t spam others timelines with blogs not written by them (especially when you can write it yourself!)
  3. Thou shan’t follow with the intent to unfollow soon after, in an attempt to ‘grow a following’
  4. Thou shan’t tag in businesses or accounts to posts and images that hold no relevance to them in an attempt to get in front of their following
  5. Thou shan’t engage with other members of the social universe without meaningful and genuine comment
  6. Thou shan’t rely on scheduled posts to replace adhoc, reactive ones entirely
  7. Thou shan’t use Instagram in a salesy manner (it’s neither the time, nor the place!)
  8. Thou shall produce a mix of content types to appeal to many different people
  9. Thou shall align all social media activity to larger Giant Campus business goals
  10. Thou shall use every platform differently

We feel this give us great base to build our social media standing. We don’t like terms like ‘hacking’ or ‘cheats’. We believe in genuine, unique content built to engage, enthuse and educate you lovely lovely people.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Now get on our timeline, like, share and always double tap us.

Danny Windsor

Danny Windsor

Head Boy

Follow us on social media for blog updates and more kick-ass learning content to grow your digital skills!

3 things for brick & mortar businesses to do to quickly get online

3 things for brick & mortar businesses to do to quickly get online

3 things brick & mortar businesses can do right now to get online From Google My Business and local search, through to social media and website build... [wpseo_breadcrumbs]It's hard to know where to start as a physical business getting online, making digital and...

Millennial search habits

Millennial search habits

Millennial Search Habits Are Changing

how millennials are using search engines more and more

People no longer ‘go online’, they live online. Especially those millennials…

Their offline and online lives are now connected as one. They live to follow trends that change on a nearly untraceable level dependent on the type of people they are. But something that they all do the same is search and this is something marketers can use to their advantage.

Hands up, full disclosure, I’m a “millennial”. I very much fit the stereotype and would much rather Google something before asking a fellow member of the human race… If you are aged between 18-34, you’re a millennial. There’s no worming your way out of this one. Welcome to the stereotype, embrace it!

I don’t talk on behalf of all those aged between 18-34, but I spend 90% of my week with people in that age range so I have a fairly good understanding of how they use search. As well as, of course, my own digital habits. As much as we’d all like to say we are different from each other, research says otherwise.

Why am I focussing on this age group you may ask? Well, research conducted by ONS found that virtually all (99%) of 18-34 year olds were recent internet users. That’s a pretty high percentage and they are very often the target audience for many brands. And, with all the “we don’t understand millennials” talk going on out there, maybe it’s time we do.

90% of millennials go online daily. What’re we up to? Checking social media, searching for products or answers to life’s questions and watching weird videos of turkeys beatboxing. 75% of us are using a mobile to access the web. And, when looking to buy something online we’re often found to use a search engine first, brand website second.

If we can read the answer in a short snippet on the search results page rather than clicking a link and having to read through a mass of irrelevant content, we will! Captured our attention in that short amount of space? Then your website deserves a browse.

Making up a large proportion of those shopping online, we are an easy target for brands and businesses to get in front of. But what sort of things are we searching for? Well…

Gone are the days where we’d only trust the advice we get from our grandparents as they’d slip you 50p for some sweets and tell you that “doing your homework will all be worth it one day.”. Now, more and more people are adding search to their list of reliable sources.

There has been a increase in personal search over the last two years. Searches that involve personal or conversational terminology such as ‘me’, ‘my’ and ‘I’. Always looking out for number one, right?

A few years ago, if I was searching for shampoo online I’d probably have entered “best shampoo” into a search engine. Nowadays, I’d be more likely to type “best shampoo for red hair”.

This small change in the personalisation of my search term helps to narrow down the results from an abundance of information available, to something direct, to the point and relevant to moi!

People are even using search with the same tone of voice they’d use with their friends; “where should I go for lunch?”, “what should I do on Saturday in Folkestone?”. Maybe we’ve grown accustomed to the talkative approach we have with the search functions in Siri and Alexa? Or maybe we consider the internet to be a friend considering how much time we spend online.

 

 

In a similar way that writing “_____ near me” is a signal that people want to find something based on their location, searching with personalised terms signals that people are looking for personally relevant content.

A good marketer will understand search intent and be able to use this, and an understanding of their target audience, to take advantage of a huge opportunity. Consumers want answers, ideas and even inspiration. All things your content can cover, whether that’s an opinion blog, a set of FAQ’s, or an in depth piece on the benefits of your product or service.

A great place to be on SERPs is in the featured snippet section, otherwise known as ‘ranking zero’. Designed to draw the users attention by providing a quick glance answer to the users query, it’s a great place to get in front of the searcher. These snippets have proved successful to many, with higher click through rates than normal organic listings, bringing more traffic to your site and increasing your site’s authority.

Unsure of which search terms you should be appearing for? Keyword research is the answer. Something we can teach you during our SEO course that helps you optimise your content for search engines. Or, if you are battling to get ahead of your competitors, our paid search course shows you where to put your budget.

Millennials are using search more than anyone has ever done before. The integration of mobile devices means we’re no longer reliant on a computer and keyboard. As a result, search has become an integral human function that replaces a reliance on historical answers that previously we would have sourced from our parents. Another consequence of this integration is the use of long tail keywords. It’s no longer “trains to ashford”, it’s “when is the next train to ashford from St Pancras”.

Past generations have approached technology in a robotic way, stripping out the personalisation. Search allows us to forge our own opinions and views on the world, like no generation before us.

Amber Vellacott

Amber Vellacott

Content Marketing Lead

Follow us on social media for blog updates and more kick-ass learning content to grow your digital skills!

3 things for brick & mortar businesses to do to quickly get online

3 things for brick & mortar businesses to do to quickly get online

3 things brick & mortar businesses can do right now to get online From Google My Business and local search, through to social media and website build... [wpseo_breadcrumbs]It's hard to know where to start as a physical business getting online, making digital and...

An introverts guide to networking

An introverts guide to networking

An Introverts Guide To Networking

fed up of hiding in the corner at networking, events and more because you’re more introvert than extrovert? Here’s some advice for you…

By definition, networking is an introverts worst nightmare.

Picture the scene, you arrive late for a networking event, the party is in full swing and just a few stale sandwiches remain. You make your way around the edge of the room, hopefully looking for a familiar face, before deciding your best option is to hide behind your emails, in the corner somewhere.

Being an introvert doesn’t necessarily mean you’re shy, some of the best known public speakers and leaders would class themselves as introverted. High stimulation social situations (tongue twister!), such as networking, can seriously exhaust them in many ways, so we’ve put together a guide to allow everyone to flourish in networking environments.

Connect in advance through the safe confines of social media

The fear of being the first one to make a move is a real one. Running over how you might introduce yourself to the point of overthinking, and then a new sense of fear that it’d all come out as some form of gobbledegook. Well, in the beautifully digital world we live in, why not use social media as a way to ease this process? Find out who’s going, follow the hashtags, follow discussions. Let your followers and those also scrolling through the hashtag know that you’re going to be attending. Post a photo of yourself, tell people to come say hi if they see you. Watch as a people instigate conversation with you, usually with the opener of “Oh are you Jeff? I saw your post on Twitter!”.

Early bird gets the quiet corner of the room

There is nothing more intimidating than walking into an event later when everyone has already formed groups and started discussions that are very difficult to elbow into if you’re not an extrovert.
Arriving early gives you the power to form these groups, or get the best seat…. It also stands you in good stead if you get to talk to the hosts or speakers of the event before a mass of people fill the room.

Wear your icebreaker with style

If you struggle with making that opening line, then wear your icebreaker. This could be a funky tie, a daringly bold jumper, a colourful watch or unconventional blazer. Other introverted people will find it a blessing to have something super kooky to comment on, helping ease the transition into further conversation. Plus, you’ll look super cool and people will remember you.

Take note of “stuff”

Getting overwhelmed by the busy bustling business buddies is inevitable, so trying to remember people’s names, businesses and what on earth you spoke about with them, can be yet another challenge.
Your friend in this situation, a sharpie. Yep, you heard. Well… it can be any type of pen, but sharpies are a GC fav. When people give you their business card, make notes on it about what you spoke about and if you promised to get in touch. You can even design some sort of code to scribble on them, for example, a square means send them a follow up email and a # could be to give them a call to set up a meeting.

Turn on your superpower

Most introverts usually have a super in-depth knowledge of a topic, so if you have something to bring to the table, bring it! Similarly, do not be put off conversing with people with a fear of not having anything clever to say. Just introduce yourself, ask what they do, explain what you do and watch the conversation flow.
Listening, something us introverts are also really good at, is a great tool to have at your disposal at networking events. Listen to what people are saying, comment when and where you can, and pick up on little bits you can use as conversation starters later on with them. 

Move on matey

It’s really easy to get comfortable with one person or group of people, but remember you’re there to network with multiple individuals and so are the people you’re talking to. Don’t hog them!
Remember, you’re all there with similar objectives: to meet people. And no matter how confident you are, being in a room of random people will always be a little bit terrifying.

Be yourself

Without sounding super-duper cringe, just be yourself! There is no point putting on this public facade that you will find even more exhausting to keep up than just being yourself. Know that you’re actually really confident in the things you know, and that once you get comfortable with someone, your true self will come out. Just remember to smile, be kind and know that it’s not long till you can unwind and recharge later on.

Introverts find great pleasure in learning and increasing the depth of their knowledge. Whilst they might like to be left alone every now and then to channel all of their energy into whatever they’re doing, they are just the same as everyone else. Some people see being introverted as a weakness, but it’s so far from it! Some people are natural ‘people people’, some people like to be in big groups, some people like to dress up as cats… and some people like to be left to their own devices to listen and observe.

Amber Vellacott

Amber Vellacott

Content Marketing Lead

Follow us on social media for blog updates and more kick-ass learning content to grow your digital skills!
3 things for brick & mortar businesses to do to quickly get online

3 things for brick & mortar businesses to do to quickly get online

3 things brick & mortar businesses can do right now to get online From Google My Business and local search, through to social media and website build... [wpseo_breadcrumbs]It's hard to know where to start as a physical business getting online, making digital and...