Video Content: is it worth the effort?

Marketing experts have been saying for a long time that video is the new champion of content. Granted, many have been saying that because they want you to buy their video content creation packages, but what do the numbers actually tell us? Is it worth the time and effort learning about video content for social media?

Is video content for socialmedia worth the time and effort?

Facebook versus YouTube: Who will win?

A study by Market Intelligence Central recently released in the U.S. has suggested that YouTube is poised to take over the number two spot of Most Visited Website from Facebook. Google will obviously remain number one for some time yet.

But that’s America. Surely things would be different here?

According to Social Media News, who have been monitoring and tracking Australian social media statistics since January 2011, Facebook and YouTube have been relatively steady at 15 million average monthly unique Australian users since February 2017. That’s a long time for these two platforms to be neck and neck, so what gives? Why the prediction it’ll change soon?

Facebook is(n’t) dead! Yet.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you will have heard of the trouble Facebook has been facing with the Cambridge Analytica and other organisations having unprecedented access to the user data Facebook collects. This, combined with the fact that it has also been implicated in the meddling of political affairs in the U.S. means it is falling out of favour with the middle-aged to older audience it was retaining.

The cherry on the top of it all is that user adoption numbers are declining amongst younger audience segments, as teens refuse to adopt the platform because mum, dad, nanna, and all the aunties and uncles are there. They prefer more visual platforms like Instagram, Snapchat and Tumblr.

What sort of content should you be making really?

Visually-appealing content, like images and video, really are going to be more important moving forward.

So, what does this mean for business owners and organisations who still want to use social media?

The first step to any strong marketing plan is to know who your audience is, and where they already hang out.

If you’re looking to engage with people who are still using Facebook, develop content that performs well on that platform. Want to be known and shared amongst younger audiences? Make the content they want to engage with. Telling your message in a way that your target demographic can easily digest and share is key to getting your name out there.

The way the Facebook News Feed algorithm appears to be going, developing one strong piece of video content a week that tells the story of your business or organisation. Support this with smaller third party pieces or older evergreen content, and you’ll have a good content plan to start trying and testing.

Instagram and Snapchat demand more regular content that is highly visual and engaging. If you’re a product-driven business, behind-the-scenes stories, short looping videos (often called Boomerangs after one of the first apps to help generate these videos) and sneak peeks all help to entice audiences to come back for more content, driving your popularity and visibility.

Video for these platforms doesn’t need to be hard or have high production values. In fact, some of the best examples of strong performing content has been the smartphone video held by one worker as another shows the product. These vignettes offer something a highly polished campaign video can’t – authenticity – and on social media, that’s the Golden Ticket.

Do you know where your audience is on social media?

Know thyself (and your audience).

It doesn’t matter how slick your content is, if it’s not telling your customers and prospects a true story of who you are as an organisation, they will know and they will turn away from you in favour of another group who is being authentic.

Know your audience.

Know where they already hang out online.

Know who you are as an organisation.

Be authentic in telling your story.

It’s as simple, and as complicated as that.


If you would like help understanding your audience, or planning out your marketing strategy, we’d love to help. Drop us a line and let’s catch up for a coffee to discuss how Blank Canvas Digital can help you.

10 important questions to ask a marketing agency before you sign

Congratulations! You’ve done your research and identified that you need some external help with your marketing. You’ve contacted a few agencies you found through a Google search, or maybe a friend or colleague has handed you a business card.

Whatever the reason you’re looking to engage the services of a marketing agency, and however you’ve come to find them, it really pays to do your homework and understand the true nature of the help you want and need, so you can ask the right questions and engage the right agency for your business.

If you’re looking for someone to take over the day-to-day operations of your social media community, bringing an agency on board who specialised in email marketing is to invite disaster. Likewise, if you’re needing help developing a strong email marketing campaign, then make sure you bring in a team that knows how to do just that.

We’ve broken down the top 10 questions you should ask a prospective agency, before you sign on the dotted line.

10. What is your key area of skill?
Some agencies claim to do everything, but are really specialised in one particular area. Some agencies are good when it comes to marketing automation, but struggle to provide sound social media coverage. Alternatively, some agencies are great at content marketing, but don’t have in-house skills for community management. Knowing what it is you need their help with can help you save a lot of wasted money and time spent trying to communicate your needs with them.

9. Who will be working on my account, and who is my main point of contact?
Most agencies have a team of experts that will do the operational work for your business, but will put you in the hands of an account manager. This is a great way for you to only have to communicate with one person, then get the work completed. Unfortunately, it can lead to mis-communication, especially if the project manager or account liaison doesn’t understand the type of work that is being done on your behalf. This is a pretty rare occurrence, but it doesn’t pay to know everyone on the team, so you can communicate effectively, especially when time is of the essence.

8. What is the culture/personality of your agency?
You have a style and manner, so does your business. It’s very important that anyone working on the behalf of your business meshes with that culture or personality. If it doesn’t, you might start seeing a disconnect between messaging, or multiple edits on copy or design before the right feel is achieved. A lack of cohesion between client and agency can also lead to a lack of faith in the abilities of the agency to commit to the work required. If you’re engaging their services, you want it to give you peace of mind, not more stress.

7. How do you stack up in terms of requirements and budget to other agency clients?
This question is a bit of a curve-ball, and agency’s really don’t often expect to be asked it. They want everyone to feel like they’re the most important client in the world, but sometimes resources need to be shifted in order to appease a large client and get a project across the line. Knowing how your business fits into their landscape can help you understand how your account might be prioritised. It also helps you to understand how much additional work they might be able to take on, so you can act (and engage) accordingly.

6. Does the agency see itself as a service-provider or a partner?
Like previous questions, this one helps you gauge how your work will be viewed and dealt with. If the agency you’re speaking with approaches their work as a service provider, they may not be as invested in the results, compared with their attitude if they’re regard themselves a partner of their clients. Chances are, they won’t really know how to answer this one, so it’s a good one to ask to see how they react to the unforeseen. Most agencies will use terms like “thought-leader” if they see themselves as more of a partner, or “delivery” if they’re more of an order-taker. Knowing this may help you decide what kind of a relationship you want to have with an agency.

5. What is the minimum billable time, and what is your time block for charging?
Most agencies charge in blocks of time. Like lawyers, they will charge for a full block of time regardless of whether or not you used 100% or just 20% of that block. For example, if an agency charges in 15 minute blocks, you will be charged for 15 minutes of time, whether or not you use 15 minutes of their time, or just five. A likely scenario to outline this would be a phone call. If you make a quick call to check on something and the call lasts seven minutes, you will still be charged for fifteen. Likewise, the minimum billable time is something you need to be aware of, especially if you are looking to engage services by the hour, rather than in a package. Many agencies are now moving away from a by-the-hour model, in favour of a package. That said, it pays to ask early in the process, so you can make sure what you need is going to be covered in the package or hour block you are contracted for. If you have a minimum billable time stated in your contract with an agency, it doesn’t matter if a job took half of that or all of that time, you will still be charged for the full amount of minimum billable time.

4. What services does the agency outsource?
Not every agency has a full retinue of experts for every service they provide. Sometimes, extra resources are required to cover all the work an agency has on its books. This question helps you understand if any of the work you are engaging their services for will be dealt with by an external resource, meaning you may not have direct access to the person doing the work on your account, should the need arise. This could be incredibly important for work requiring a fast turn-around or an intricate understand of your business’ industry.

3. What experience does your agency have with businesses in my industry?
Every business is unique, and will present its own particular challenges for an agency. That being said, if you’re looking to engage the services of an agency that hasn’t worked in your industry previously, there will be additional work for them to get up to speed with things like terminology, protocols, or legal compliance issues. This isn’t to suggest your should consider an agency that hasn’t worked with businesses like yours previously. Sometimes this type of partnership can provide incredibly creative responses to provided briefs. It does pay, however, to be wary and prepared for the extra speedbumps in the way.

2. What marketing strategies do you use for yourselves?
This question is pretty straight forward. If an agency is suggesting it can run or help with your marketing, but isn’t drinking their own secret sauce, then chances are they’re not the agency for you. You want someone who walks their talk, and can show you how to do it as well, not someone who watched a YouTube video once and is now an “expert” on running. This is definitely a questions agencies don’t get asked a lot, and it really throws them a curve ball. It holds them accountable even before a contract has been drawn up, and it shows you’re not likely to have the wool pulled over your eyes.

1. What haven’t I asked you about that I should?
This question allows them to fill in the gaps of your questions, provide you with any specialist information they might be able to provide, and makes them feel like they’re back in control of the conversation. It also lets them know that you’re willing to take their expert knowledge and suggestions on board, helping to foster a positive relationship right from the get-go.

These questions aren’t designed to trick agencies, or catch them out. Instead, they’re suggestions of ways you, as a business owner, can get real answers to things you need to know before making a decision on the right agency for you. If you’d like to ask any, or all, of these questions of us, we’d be more than happy to answer them along with any other questions you might have. Drop us a line or let’s catch up for a coffee, and have a chat about how Blank Canvas Digital can help you achieve your business goals.

My Top Small Business & Social Media Podcasts and Blogs

As small business owners and operators, we don’t always have time to search out the newest, greatest blogs or podcasts for insights and inspiration. Thankfully, I have some automation for new sources of business inspiration set up so you don’t have to search!

Here are my top small business blogs and podcasts that I use to keep up to date with the latest info for small and medium business operations.

Disclaimer: I do not receive any income if you subscribe or use any of the services named in this article. That being said, if any of the services, podcasters or bloggers want to drop me a line, shout out or cheque in the mail, that would be awesome!

My Top Small Business & Social Media Podcasts and Blogs



Podcasts are a great way of getting all the latest info, with next to no effort on your part! If you commute to work, they’re easy to pop on and tune into. I find it makes the best use of any travel time I have.


#Viral with Natalie Alzate is a new-comer to my podcast list. Natalie is really easy to listen to, and is crammed full of ideas, news and examples of emerging digital stars. Each episode clocks in at around an hour and a half, but these are so easy to listen to that you can probably catch up in an easy few evenings.


Socialette: Bite-sized Online Marketing by Beth Taylor is one of those podcasts that you don’t think will change your life until one day you stop and realise you’ve changed your way of doing things all because of one podcast. These are tiny tiny tiny podcast episodes that tackle one challenge of online marketing. The longest is just over one hour, but they average around 10 minutes and are so good. You can either choose to tackle the whole list at once, or you can dive in at any episode and learn something that will change your marketing life. I highly recommend the episode titled “Content Marketing: How Can I Create Content When I’m Busy?”


Destroy Digital is a podcast from two Australian digital marketers, Chris and Mark, who are on a mission. Each episode is under half an hour and I highly recommend you take a look at their Contact Us page, where you can put your details in the hat for them to feature your business on one of their podcasts with solutions that you can implement straight away. If that’s not your style, listen in as they discuss all kinds of digital marketing challenges and find solutions for them.



The written word is still such a good way of delving deep into a subject, and with the barriers to entry for subject matter experts who want to create their own blog at next to nothing: you can’t really go wrong! Here are my favourites for when I have a little more time to sit and read something.


If you’re serious about keeping up to date with the latest offerings from social media platforms, then you really can’t go past their own blogs. That’s why the Facebook Newsroom is at the top of my list of social media blogs to follow. They’re usually the first place to go looking if something isn’t working as you think it ought to on the ever-popular platform. It’s also the best place to look for trends and legislation changes that might impact how you can use Facebook for your business.


Social Media Today is a wealth of knowledge. It’s almost as much of a rabbit’s hole of information as Wikipedia, if you’re looking for anything related to social media, how to use it, and how to optimise your business profile. That being said, it’s pretty well laid out, so if you know what you’re looking for you’ll generally find it in a few clicks.


Young Upstarts is another of those blogs that seem to have a never-ending pot of blogging gold. Publishing around 30 articles a day, I’d bet good money that not every article will be of interest to you and your business. That said, it’s a really good place to start if you’re feeling the need for some small business inspiration or have a challenge you need to solve.

Of course, if you want to keep up to date with the latest social media and digital marketing tips and tricks, my very own Insights are a great place to start. With a new article coming out each week, sometimes more frequently, you can make sure you are on the front foot of any new issues that might affect your business or organisation.


So, how do I keep track of all my blogs and podcasts?

I use an RSS feed service for my blogs and article sites. Feedly is my preference, but there are loads out there for you to choose from. They take the effort out of keeping up to date, by collating and presenting all the published articles from your favourites in one place. A good RSS feed service should allow you to split up your faves into subjects, track those you’ve read and highlight those you haven’t looked at for a while, giving you an option to drop them out of the mix.


For my podcasts, I use mostly Spotify these days, as the amount of podcasts available there is amazing. That said, there are some that don’t like the service and for those I still use Apple Podcasts. It’s frustrating sometimes, and sometimes I’ll forget about the ones that aren’t in Spotify, but until there’s a better option, it works for now.


What are you listening to and reading? I’d love to know, so drop me a comment below with a link to your favourite small business, social media, or inspirational blogs and podcasts!


As always, if keeping up to date with the latest social media information seems too difficult to fold into your already busy schedule, why not let us make sure your business social media is up to date. We offer social media management and strategy services to meet every budget. Drop us a line, and let’s catch up for a coffee to discuss how we can help you!



Does the new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) privacy law affect your organisation?

By now, you’ve got a bunch of emails from organisations citing the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) as a reason they need you to opt back in to receive their sends. We know you’ve probably got some questions about what it all means and if you need to prepare for it.

It’s important for you (okay, and us too) that we let you know this article is only provided as a resource, but it’s not legal advice. If you think you might need more advice, or more legal-based information, we highly recommend you to speak to a lawyer to learn how the GDPR may affect your organisation.



The General Data Privacy Regulation (or, GDPR for short) is a European Union (EU) privacy law that will affect businesses and organisations all around the world.


The GDPR regulates how any organisation subject to the Regulation treats or uses the personal data of people located in the EU. “Personal data” is any piece of data that, used alone or with other data, could identify a person. We’re talking names, email addresses, bank details, shipping addresses, dates of birth – pretty much anything you might collect online to offer your customers your goods and services.

The GDPR replaces an older directive on data privacy, Directive 95/46/EC, and introduces a few important changes that may affect how you do business online.

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The GDPR comes into effect on May 25, 2018 so, if you haven’t already, it’s time to get your skates on, and consult with a lawyer if you think this might affect you and your business.


Although this law comes from the European Union, the internet means it could potentially affect everyone around the world. In particular, anyone gathering data online from users.

If you have an email subscription on your website, take personal data for sales, or in some canses have the potential for website visitors from the EU, then this may affect yourr organisaiton.

Basically, if you collect, change, transmit, erase, or otherwise use or store the personal data of EU citizens (which, let’s face it, the internet allows anyone to come from anywhere to see your site and sign up for your emails), you’ll need to comply with the GDPR.


You need to have a verifiable legal basis, like explicit consent, to process an EU citizen’s personal data. Under the new directive, you might use another legal basis for processing personal data, but for most organisations getting explicit opt in consent is the easy way to go. This consent must be specific and verifiable, so no pre-checked boxes in your sign up forms.

Verifiable consent means you need a written record of when and how someone agreed to let you process their personal data. Consent must also be unambiguous and involve a distinct affirmative action. This means clear language and no sneaky pre-checked boxes allowing for marketing messages to be sent to your customers.

The GDPR also outlines the rights of people under the EU around their personal data. EU citizens have the right to ask for details about the way you use their personal data and can ask you to do certain things with that data. You should be prepared to support people’s requests in a timely manner. People have the right to request their personal data be corrected, provided to them, prohibited for certain uses, or removed completely.

You should also be able to tell someone among other things, how their personal data is being used. If they ask, you’re obligated to share the personal data you hold on an individual, or offer a way for them to access it.

The Wrap-Up

If you use an email subscription service, or some kind of tool to collect personal data (tools like Mailchimp, AWeber, Active Campaign or millions of other options), they will probably have already told you about the changes they’re making to make sure you’re compliant with the new directive from the EU. If they haven’t, or if you’re using your own methods for email marketing or eCommerce, then you’ll need to make sense of the GDPR, what it means for your organisation, and what changes you need to make to ensure you’re not at risk of litigation. The best bet? Have a lawyer who specialised in this area take a look at your website and marketing practices and give you solid legal advice.

How Can Social Media Help Organic Search?

It’s no secret, all your endeavours online can help or hinder how people find your business. So, how does social media help people searching for you on search engines like Google or Bing?

Combat Competitors & Negative Content

If you’re trying to beat out poor reviews, negative comments on websites like reddit or  just take up more real estate in search engine result pages from your competitors, then social media can help. Adopting social platforms like Twitter, Instagram or Google+ can all help add weight to your managed profiles in search results over conversations you can’t manage. The trick here is to keep these profiles moving. Stagnant profiles, verified or otherwise, will lose ranking over time, so keep publishing (either through carefully crafted content specifically for that platform, or through syndication from another platform), and engage users in conversations where possible. Not only will you be better able to manage these conversations (and build positive brand sentiment) but these profiles will also adopt higher rankings than others, all pushing the nay-sayers and competition lower down the results pages.

Building Out Your Footprint

You don’t have to be everywhere to be seen. However, it does help to be seen in the right places. It helps when you know who you need to be seen by, who wants to see you, and where they already hang out. You wouldn’t expect to bump into a surfing enthusiast at the supermarket over the beach. Knowing your ideal customer helps to narrow down the who but how do you find out the where, and why does it matter? Wasting energy on developing content for the wrong platform isn’t just a waste of your time. It means the wrong people are going to see your messages. A professional can help you find the right audience, looking to the demographics (the ideal picture) of your desired customers and match them with the right platforms, so you’re not wasting precious time developing content and can get on with the selling.

Social Search Matters

People don’t just engage in conversations on social media. They also use the platforms for searching out your organisation. A well-developed profile will help your business rank within these specific algorithms, aiding traffic through to your website. Website traffic is an important factor in organic search results for search engines like Google and Bing, so the more traffic from social media you get, the more likely you are to rise in rankings over in organic search. It’s also important to remember that YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine, second only to Google. Yes, Google bought YouTube in 2006, but the social content sharing platform is still a separate website with its own separate search algorithm. Every second of every day, 1,140 searches are performed on YouTube. That’s a lot of potential people finding your content and, by extension, your business.

Using Your Top Keywords Sensibly in Social Posts

Google has gone back on forth on the matter of social media content (over the profile information itself) aiding organic search results. As it stands, content on any digital platform can help people to know what it is your organisation is all about. And search engine algorithms are getting more intelligent every day, but they still rely on the words contained in content to inform their results. You don’t have to be an SEO genius to understand what your top keywords might be. Just have a think about what it is your business provides, and think about the top 10 or so phrases your ideal customers might use to look for your services or products. That’s not the most sophisticated way of doing keyword research (and there are infinitely better ways of refining that list) but it will get the ball rolling on what can be very beneficial to your content adventures. Folding these words into your content helps them crop up more frequently in conjunction with your brand, meaning people are more likely to see the words and associate your business with them. That, in turn, aids your organic search rankings when people head to Google or Bing to search you out.

The main thing to remember is that all your digital efforts work in conjunction. It’s just like a huge web of interconnected threads that should all lead back to your main business presence, be that your website or Facebook page, or some other profile online where you do business. Social media doesn’t stand alone, and you can’t develop a strategy for social media as a stand-alone from the rest of your digital marketing efforts.

If you’ve got this far and it still all seems like too much work, ask us how you can use these tips to work smarter – not harder. We have packages for every organisation, starting from an audit of your current footprint to strategic social media management. Drop us a line and let’s catch up for a coffee today!


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Facebook Wants More Verification

Facebook has been in the news a lot recently, and it’s not without good reason.

Whether it’s because of suggestions it allowed paid fake news to be published and promoted, privacy violations by data companies using its platform, or demands for transparency by users, Facebook has made some changes to how it now runs businesses and advertising. This could be messy for some users, as they clamp down on all manner of ways people have been using its platform.

Political Advertising Labelling

Political advertising will now be labelled as a “Political Ad” in the top left hand corner, as well as users being able to see who has paid for it next to it. In order to advertise on behalf of political causes or organisations, users will have to verify their identity (more on that further down this post) and their location. This is being rolled out in the US initially, with other countries being rolled out after our autumn.

Page Ads Visibility

There have been tests elsewhere in the world of a feature that will allow Facebook users to see the ads a Page is running. This isn’t just for political Pages, but will be made available for all Pages. This should prove interesting as it is rolled out across the globe.

Facebook Page Manager Verification

Page Manager Verification will soon be a Thing. This means if you manage a Page on Facebook, you will soon be required to verify your profile. We’re not sure how this will take place, and initially it will only be for Pages with a large number of Followers (whatever that cut off is, we’re not sure either), but it does mean a few things.

If you’ve set up a second Facebook profile to manage your business Page, instead of using your own personal profile, you might have access to your Page revoked, or your Page might be taken down. We’re not sure how Facebook plans to police fake profiles, but there will be a lot of users out there running business Pages under a second account. This has been against Facebook’s Terms of Service for a long time, and we have repeatedly advised business owners against this practice, but it seems there will now be measured steps to shut down fake profiles.

So, if you’re running a Facebook business Page, and you’re not sure if your set up is completely above board, why not drop us a line? We can take you through the best practices, and train you on using Facebook Business Manager in a way that is not only 100% Facebook-compliant, but also makes managing your business life and your personal life easier.


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How to Manage Negative Comments Online

Oh no! You’ve been tagged in a negative comment on social media!

What do you do?! How should you react?! Are you doomed?!

Breathe. Carefully. Of course not.

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But you do need to follow some important steps to make sure this doesn’t come the next viral meme shared around at your business’s expense (literally!).

  1. You’ve seen the message.

    Maybe someone sent it to you, or maybe it’s a review on your Facebook page or Yelp. It doesn’t matter where it turns up. Now’s the time to take a deep breathe, read the message carefully and figure out what the real problem is. What’s the underlying issue the person is complaining about and, most importantly, how can you help?

  2. Take a screenshot.

    Documenting the message allows you to track the issue, follow u with a co-worker, or use to for training further on down the line.

  3. Don’t delete.

    You first instinct will be to delete that negative comment from the face of the planet, but here’s the thing: it will always be there. Nothing on the internet ever really goes away. This is an opportunity to be transparent with your customers and prospects, so let’s use it. deleting a message instead of addressing it openly, suggests you have something to hide, BUT sometimes an inappropriate comment does need to be deleted. If it’s derogatory, or discriminatory (more about this in a later article), or is just against the  code of conduct of your business (more this in another article), then you’ll need to delete it. You should still definitely take a screenshot though so it can be referred to later.

  4. Timing is important.

    Don’t delay your response any longer than absolutely necessary. Most social media users expect a response within 1 hour if it’s posted during business hours, or 6 if it’s after hours. If necessary, follow up with the relevant parties (maybe a co-worker or the owner) to get all the necessary facts.

  5. Keep cool.

    Draft your response. Remember the basics of good customer service. It’s also important to remember that your response will be judged by more than just the person who made the initial comment. All your followers will see it, so make sure you’re not getting anyone off side. PRO TIP: Reread your final draft before you send it. Ask yourself how you would feel if you were delivering it to your customer’s face. Make any necessary changes before moving onto the next step.

  6. Press send.

    Send your response. If it’s possible, provide an apology and a solution. Remember, this is an opportunity to turn an unhappy customer into a brand evangelist. Keep an eye on the replies, and make sure they’re responded to, if appropriate.

If it’s all too much and you need some help, we have solutions to make social media response and monitoring easier. Drop us a line to learn more.


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