search social strategy 144.jpg
Posts in Podcasts
How Voice Search Works

Well, howdy. Good morning, good afternoon. It's funny, 'cause right before we came on the air, Ed brought up a blast from my past, DragonSearch. And back in a previous life, when I was a full-time developer, I used to do a lot of work with... At that point in time, they were Search. Speech API is what we call 'em, Application Programming Interfaces. So we spent a lot of very kinda frustrating hours trying to figure out a way to get computers to actually... And in those days, it was primarily dictation. And so we spent a lot of time trying to develop applications that actually made that stuff work. And one thing that I mentioned to Ed was that... And we're talking late '90s-ish, we had applications that would run and have a 90% success rate. And we thought that was amazing, and fantastic, and wonderful. The issue though is that that 10% is a huge chunk of misses that frustrate the user. And at that point in time, it frustrated the user so much that people just didn't use the products. And Dragon, I'm pretty sure that Dragon and NaturallySpeaking are still out there on the market to sell.


A lot of that functionality has been built in... I use a Mac. A lot of that's been built into the Mac automatically now, and I would assume on the Windows side. But primarily, what I wanna talk about today, in the new area of speech, and this is the great grandchild of what we were doing back in the 1990s, is the artificial intelligence and the search capabilities, not only on the products like the Amazon Alexa, like the HomePod... And I'm gonna be very careful, and I apologize ahead of time if I use any trigger words for any of these devices. That drives me out of my mind when podcasters do that...



Because everything in my house lights up.



I will tell you ahead of time, I'm trying not to use those trigger words, but if I do, I apologize now. And we're talking about the Google Home device. We're also talking about Cortana. Cortana from Microsoft is an interesting animal, because Harman Kardon has got a smart speaker that they've got Cortana built into, and it's a beautiful, high-end-ish audio speaker competing with Apple's HomePod. But one thing a lot of folks don't know, is that 25% of searches that happen on Windows Desktop today are done through speech. And that, to me, when I found out that number a few months ago, I was flabbergasted that you've got, 25% of the time, somebody that's searching for something on... And because what happens is, on the Windows Desktop, you can search anywhere on the Desktop, and it searches the operating system, and the web, and your email, and everything for you at the same time. So people are just talking to their computers and it's getting the answers back.


So not only do we have those products out there, that have all this audio speech functionality built into it, you also have to consider that 60% of all searches for businesses and for services happen on mobile devices today. On top of that, some other interesting numbers, Siri is currently handling well over a billion searches per week worldwide. And now, we know that 20%... Well, in fact, this was back in May of 2017, which is almost a year ago, 20% of searches a year ago, on mobile devices, were done through voice activation, and through assistants, and things like that. So what does this mean for us? 


In very real terms, if you've got a business that is going to be hyper-local, a localized business providing services and things like that, or if you're selling products that are gonna come out of a business like that, it's pretty important to you, 82% of folks that do searches now are searching on mobile devices. Half of those people, this is an insane number, half of the people that do a search on a mobile device visit a brick and mortar store within 24 hours. And of those people that visit, 18% purchase something. Now, before this happened, email marketing was still the absolute king in online marketing, pound for pound. And in email marketing, we are hanging the moon, if we think we're getting 12% open rate.


Forget about conversion. If you can get 12% open rate, you think that your you-know-what doesn't stink. And if you can get a 2% conversion rate, you think you're a rockstar. We're talking about a platform now that has got an 18% conversion rate. That is outrageous. And nobody in marketing, from a standpoint of, "How do I technically attack this and position myself, so I can take advantage of that," hardly anybody's doing it. Why? Because as marketers, we're wired to think about creative, and pictures, and verbiage, and words, and, in fact, calls to action. We do not wanna mess with coding, and this requires coding, if you're gonna own this.


Do you mind? I noted usually...


I've got Ed all excited on the other side of the table.


Yeah, you can tell.



Well, you triggered me. I'm like the machine myself. But the question I think that comes up here, is that based on what you just said, how important is it to optimize your website for vocal search at the local level? 


At the local level is the absolute key, because there are plenty of folks that this just doesn't matter for. And so at the local level is probably the most important element in this. If you're a CEO of a company and you've got 25 dry cleaners throughout a metropolitan area, if you own restaurants, if you own any kind of a brick and mortar store, and your business is focused on... And this is the primary audience, if you have any kind of a business that requires somebody to search for you, and they want you now, and they have to drive to find you, this is where the money's at.


There's four kind of primary searches people do on audible searches. Number one is a "who and what." "Who is Steve Jobs?" "Who was the last winner of the World Series?" "Who hit the most home runs in a World Series... " Those are worth $0 for us, okay? We don't care. That's informational. The number one is a "how." "How do I build a table?" "How do I make enchiladas?" Again, not a whole lot of money in that, unless you're a content provider and you have how-to videos. There's a brand that I worked with years and years ago called Howdini. They're one of the biggest how-to channels on YouTube still today. And they make all their money by driving traffic to their website, to watch videos about how to put on fake eyelashes, and how to change the oil in your car, and stuff like that. Next level is "when." "When is the next showing of Star Wars: The Last Jedi?" Those kind of questions. That can start bringing cash into you. "When is the next Texas Rangers baseball game?"


The big money is "where." Anybody who's doing a search on anything that is close to what your brand does looking for a "where." Those are the folks that are going to go and put money into your bank account. I have run so long already, we're gonna have to finish up next week, but I'm gonna give you a couple of tips. I'm gonna give you some stuff to do right now, to start looking at, and then next week, we're gonna get into more detail about how to actually implement some voice search.


Number one is answering the right questions. What's old is new again. On your websites, we have gotten away from doing FAQs on your website. FAQs need to be put back on your website and the questions on the FAQ need to come directly from an idea. If someone is on Preston Road here in Dallas, and my restaurant is over on Hillcrest, and I wanna find the closest Tex-Mex restaurant, I wanna find the closest insurance agency, you need to put the text on your page that says, "Where is the closest insurance agent to me?" And then you need to answer it in a conversational tone. And so you would answer it in a way that says, "The closest insurance agency to you is State Farm, agent name, over on Hillcrest Road. You can get there in x amount of time." That's the way you answer the stuff.


And so you start testing yourself by purchasing one of these products... If you're a CEO, these things are 100 bucks. Go out, and get one, and start asking it questions related to your business. Find out where your competitors show up. I've got some amazing screenshots I wanna bring into the website, and we'll talk about that later, but next week, I wanna get into some very defined technical implementations that I can share with folks, and I don't expect the CEOs to do this. I expect the nerds on their team to do it. But I can walk them through exactly what they need to do, so that they can own this space, because none of their competitors are doing it.

Measuring Instagram Results for Business

Let's finish where we started last week. We were talking about social media, we were talking about Instagram, we were talking about the proper use of it, and maybe sometimes improper use of it.


Well, I wanna wrap up with the discussion I had with Michael last week on business strategy with Instagram. And last week, we talked about tactics and strategy and execution. And hopefully we don't have to rehash that. If you wanna go back and listen to the first part of that conversation it's up on the website. I wanna talk... I wanna wrap it up now this week and talk about how do you measure the impact of what you're doing, 'cause obviously if we're up there, we're online, we're kicking around a bunch of dust online, you're paying people to do this stuff. At the end of the day, especially with my own site, even with marketing, especially with marketing, you've got to have a way to measure the results of what you're doing so you know if you're doing the right thing, if it's actually benefiting the business and pushing in the right direction.


But could they do it themselves? Or do they need an expert like you to help them monitor the impact of it? 


Yeah, yeah. I would say you want someone dedicated that can learn it. None of this stuff, I hate to say this, you can do half of all your social media stuff for business without having somebody who is, quote unquote, an expert. I mean, if you're doing nothing now or if you're doing a poor job at what you're doing now, just having someone dedicated to it, that's passionate about it, that cares about what they're looking at, is gonna be a step in the right direction. I would love everybody to have access to an expert, of course. Right? 


So I would say at least if you've got someone who is moving in a targeted direction and they understand the basics of marketing, 'cause a lot of stuff that we're doing online, it's not new from the standpoint of the same advertising and marketing we've been doing for decades, it's just we've got a different platform to do it. It's not TV, and radio, and billboards anymore, or it's still some of that. But even back in the day when you had print advertising and stuff like that, you still wanna have some kind of a metric about what the results were. If you had to sell, was like getting a bunch of leads from this magazine or from this TV show or whatever. So, on Instagram, in particular, the first thing I wanna mention, and this is pretty new for us, is in the recent past, it was fairly difficult to get stats out of Instagram. It was kind of a black box. You'd go in there...


I would... Their position would be, and it's the same position that Snapchat's in today, is that as soon as you start turning a platform like that over into a platform where folks who care about statistics want more and more analytics out of it, it loses it's flavor of the week for the folks that use it. So, you've got this conflict between folks go to an Instagram or go to a Snapchat or some of these other applications. In the first days of Facebook they'd go there and Twitter, because that's where they could go and just be themselves and socialize. As soon as people like me get in there and start messing it up and start shoving ads in front of their faces, then it's not fun anymore. And as marketers we've gotta be mature enough to kinda look at the wasteland of all the Myspace's, and the AOLs, and the Dogsters, and whatever the previous generation of social media accounts or platforms and own the fact that we ruined a lot of that stuff because we're marketers and that's what we do. So, we've got to be sensitive to coming up with marketing and advertising plans that consumers actually want to consume, number one.


So what we just described was the ability to make the thing cool and in and popular in lieu of actually having it work before you actually start looking at, we mentioned the analytics.


That's really what we're talking about. It's gotta be cool. People have to wanna use the platform. You have to create migration, you have to create adoption in lieu of just having a pure ad platform.


Revenue. Yeah, in lieu of revenue. And that's why you get a lot of this hocus-pocus with tech startups because they'll sit there and they'll burn through hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, promising a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. And they're always talking about, it's about attention. It's about eyeballs and all that kinda stuff. And you're hoping at the end of the day, that once you get that targeted audience and the audience is one that you wanna get access to, you can start integrating in, into it, either advertising or some kind of a revenue stream that's not gonna chase them all the way to the next thing. It's pretty hard to find those. Facebook is one that has been able to fairly, successfully do it. But, their younger audience has completely plateaued. Their younger audience is not growing anymore. Let me get really quickly...


Their younger audience is not growing? 


No, it's not. I mean, they're getting... They're having birthdays, but the size of the audience is not growing. [chuckle] Okay? Was that clear for you? [chuckle] Okay, they're still having birthdays.


I guess it was, I...


This is not Benjamin Buttons. [chuckle]


Yeah, I was thinking, "Wow, man." That just kinda caught me off guard.


It's stunted. Yeah, it's stunted growth biologically. Yeah. Before I have to jump into next week on Instagram analytics, I don't know how much time I've got left, but let's try to hop in on some of these so that it's not a completely wasted segment. So, the big three things I'm looking for on Instagram that I can actually measure for a client are, number one, attention. You can look and see how many people view your content, how many people view your videos. That is a decent measurement of how interested people are in your content because stuff is gonna flow through their news feed fairly quickly if that first thing that they see, that first glimmer of kind of an image or a video that they see grabs their attention, and they click on it and do something, that's indicative of having content that is going to be well received by your audience. And if you don't have that, you don't get anything else after this. So first of all we're looking for attention. It's not an end goal, it's not gonna convert anything necessarily but it has to be there for you to get to the conversion.


Number two is gonna be, the next level, is gonna be engagement. Are people liking your stuff? Surely are they commenting on your stuff? And most importantly, are they sharing their stuff with friends? Again, a share and comment or a like, and this is the frustration with business owners and I totally get it, a share, a comment and a like do not put money in the bank for you. But if you don't have those, you're not gonna get to a point where you can get a conversion. If you're building a house, the plumbing and electricities doesn't cover your head and keep you warm necessarily, but if you don't have plumbing and electricity you're missing an integral part of a home that makes it comfortable and makes you wanna live in it. So, we have to grow from attention into engagement and then we have to move into action. The last and the most important part in the unicorn, especially in Instagram marketing is, once I've got people commenting and liking and sharing our content, can I then move them to action? Can I have them show up to a live event? Can I have them click on a link up in my bio to go and take advantage of a coupon, sign up for a newsletter, download a white paper or, oh my gosh, purchase something? Wouldn't that be nuts? 


We could have you do that. You can actually buy something.


To actually have a social media account where somebody ends up at a sales funnel by pulling out a credit card, that's the main goal. But you don't jump from launching account to making sales. And so the challenge that you have as a business is taking the steps up this ladder to get to that point where you're converting and you don't get there unless you're measuring stuff. And on Instagram, it's much, much more limited than it is on other social media sites, but if you're paying attention to attention, like shares and comments, if those things are in line, then you should be able to mature and move on to the next phase which is how do we now convert these folks and help us pay for the parts and services that we have to offer them.


Exactly. Well, Giovanni, we have about 30 seconds or so left here. You mentioned something we've argued about before. Again, how do you get people to understand the long form that's associated with this and get them to be willing to take that step to do the long form to do it? 


Yeah, I will tell you that in almost every situation, I don't have an answer you want. In almost every situation, I have a CEO or a C-level executive who's the champion of what I do for them that already has that mindset. They are someone that thinks about business in the medium and long term, anytime someone comes to me and wants to do viral, I just have to beg out because I am just like, "I don't create unicorns. I'm a slow and steady, wins the race kind of a marketer."

Instagram Strategy for Businesses

Today, I wanna talk a little bit about Instagram, and specifically, Instagram for businesses, the kind of strategy. It's funny 'cause with the social media stuff, a lot of times, social media feels easy, and at the same time, it feels extremely hard, and it's very difficult. Especially for a business to be able to figure out what their strategy should be, and what they should be posting up online in a way that's measurable, and actually effective for their business. So and that gets to... The first thing I wanna talk about is when businesses come to me, and when I speak to folks, they typically ask you, "What am I supposed to be posting up on Instagram?" And right off the bat, that's the wrong way to approach something. You've got to ask yourself two questions initially. Initially, what you wanna do is you wanna ask what do you hope to achieve as a business when you're up on Instagram. What are you trying to do? What are the results supposed to look like? And not just some vague 10,000-foot, "We wanna get more customers."


What we wanna talk about is what are the clear defined and measurable goals that need to be a part of an Instagram strategy as a business for us to feel like and know that we're being successful? So that's question number one. And number two is, why should anybody care? One of the things one of my older brothers told me a while back was, "Whenever you start a business... " And he works in law in IP as an attorney. And he used to always look for entrepreneurs that had business card before they had a business. And to him, that was a red flag that they weren't focusing on the right thing, right? And so when we're out doing our marketing and our engagement out on social media, we need to be focusing on why people should care that we're posting stuff? And that inherently means that as a company, we honestly have to look outward to the consumer as opposed to trying to get the consumer to look at us. And that's a completely different mindset. It's hard to get your head wrapped around that.


That's the right way to do it.


Well, it's the most effective way to do it because companies that go out, and always try to push their agenda on a consumer to try to find that consumer that way are the ones that typically fail and they get frustrated, they don't understand why they're failing. So...


That was... Was that in 1960s model? 


Yeah. I'll tell you right now, it's the 2018 model for a lot of businesses. So yes, it's old marketing. It's old advertising, and it's typically... If everything... If all I have is a hammer, then everything looks like a nail. And there's still too much of that. And certainly, there's plenty of companies that are... Especially companies that have been created in the last few years that have a different mindset, but there's still a ton of them. I would say, the vast majority that everything looks like a nail to them. So how do we figure out what we're supposed to be producing for people up on Instagram that is gonna be effective for us? Well, whenever you're looking at people that are on any social media site, and particularly on Instagram, they're looking for one of three things. They wanna be entertained, they wanna be educated or they wanna be inspired or they wanna engage somewhere, and be motivated. Those three elements are what they're looking for. I didn't say they wanna be sold to. I didn't say that they want you to tell them what's best for them. They wanna be motivated so they can discover stuff. They want to be entertained or they wanna be educated about something.


If we can do one of those, that's fantastic. If a business can do two of 'em, you're pretty aware. If you can do all three of those at the same time, you are hitting it out of the park, ninth inning, three runs down, bases loaded because it's not easy to have the creative, and have the execution to be able to do all three of those. But let's focus on what do we wanna do with trying to achieve one of those much less, all three of them? Now, what tactics? Strategy, when we look at the strategy of how we're gonna focus on something, that's the, "why." And we figure out, why are we gonna do something? Now, the "what," is gonna be the tactics. What are we gonna do to support us achieving the goals that we want to achieve? Are we gonna tell stories? Do we have a brand story to tell? And that backs us up into whether or not the brand is fully developed. Is live video appropriate for what we're doing? If we're gonna do live video, and even if we're doing photography on Instagram, what kind of cameras do we use? And it doesn't mean you have to go out and buy a camera, but you got to decide what kind of camera you're gonna use, and how often are you gonna do it? If you don't have any time, and you don't have any resources available, Instagram is a tough platform to break into.


You pretty much wanna focus on other things, more traditional marketing 'cause it takes a fair amount of effort to be successful on Instagram. If you've got some time but don't have a ton of resources, and you don't have a lot of people available to you, then you can create a man-on-the-street editorial content with your phone. Learn some basic, the best practices. And this doesn't mean that the CEOs and entrepreneurs are the owners of these companies. Folks that work for you, pick somebody out that's fairly creative, and get them to learn the basics of photography. And have them do that stuff for you with the folks that are in the office. If you've got no time but you got a ton of resources, either the train is running off the tracks, you're making tons of cash. The business is successful, but you haven't built your team yet, super easy, you outsource it. You get a creative agency to come in, you teach them a little bit about what you brand needs to be, and have them do that work for you.


If you've got tons of time, and tons of people, and tons of resources, then you bring it in-house, and you do it yourself, and you essentially become a publisher. That's obviously the best case scenario because folks inside your business are gonna be the ones that are gonna take care of your business for you, and understand it the best. You need to be able to measure what you're doing. Let me back up really quick. Everybody always wants to know. Everybody always asks, "How often do I post, what do I post, how often do I post." How often do I post they ask it a 1,000 times. The weaselly answer I'm gonna give you is, "It depends." You post stuff and you look at your analytics and the data tells you whether or not your audience wants more or wants less of it. So, that's the first part of it.


Data tells you? 



Data always has the answers for you.



How do you know that what they're telling you? 



Here's the rocket science. When they respond more to it, do more of it. When they respond less to it, do less of it. And the super, super smart person you have at the end of the hour today that talks about data analytics knows a gazillion times more about this than I do. I'm a lowly consultant who's doing this for 20 years and I've learned that when the hockey stick goes up, you do more of what you're doing and when it goes down, you do less, right? 



So, number two, the amount of content you post that is within the areas of entertain, execution, engagement and inspiring folks, outside of that, you clearly have to have some kind of a cause, you have to have some kind of a way to cause people to then act upon your content that benefits your business. You can't just be like an entertainment channel. So, typically in social media, what we wanna do is about 80% of the time, we wanna entertain, educate and inspire people. And in about 20% of the time, we have the ask, the call to action, the whatever.



In social media that's highly visual like video and Instagram and photography and stuff, that number needs to be ramped up to 90% of the time you need to be engaging people in a way that entertains, informs and educates and about 10% of the time, you got to call to action. You ask someone to do something that benefits your company. So, that's a lot to think about this week. That's a lot to get your head wrapped around. Next week, we're gonna roll this into, "Okay now, what are we gonna talk about when it comes how do we measure the success? How do we analyze the different engagements and which ones are worthless and which ones are worth more and how do we reboot our current Instagram branding for our business in a way that feels fairly seamless so we don't turn around and throw all our current members, our current viewers out of whack because we've turned the train on 'em and we didn't tell 'em. Turning the train, I just made that up.

SEO Link Building Do's & Don'ts

On this week's podcast, I chat with Ed on WFN1 about whether link building for SEO is still relevant (hint, it is), and what some good and bad practices are when you are building links in 2018.  

Giovanni Gallucci: The first few weeks that I've been chatting with you guys, we've been talking mainly about social media and about Facebook. And so I wanna flip the table here a little bit and let's move over from the social side over to the good old fashion search engine optimization in Google in particular.


Ed: Giovanni, not to just break in there for a second, which I just did anyway, but a lot of people have issues with SEO, they think that it maybe some magic fairy dust or something like that. Obviously, you can just spill a lot of that today especially for people like me who don't really understand it, 'cause it is pretty complicated, so let us have it man.


GG: The best way that I can describe SEO for people who think that it's fairy dust, if you've got an e-commerce site on the web then it's fairly easy to measure the results of the efforts that you put out to make sure that you rank well in SEO. When you've got something where you're doing either services or you're doing point of sale that is in a brick and mortar establishment then it's a little bit more difficult to tie the action of doing the SEO on the marketing to the actual sale of a product or service. Not impossible, there's certainly plenty of indicators that can tell you whether or not you're moving in the right direction. One thing that I... And we can talk about that stuff more in depth. You bring something up that's interesting here about understanding what it is and whether or not it's relevant for your business and your product or service. I want to get a little bit into the weeds today and talk about one thing specifically that came up this past week when I was speaking to a client. And that has to do with links on the internet. One of the oldest tactics in search engine optimization, from the very beginning of this becoming an industry was developing links from one's website over to your website in order to give Google an indication of the value of your content and whether or not you're reputable or not.


Now, in this day and age when we're talking about Facebook and Snapchat and Instagram and Twitter and all these other stuff all the time, a lot of the things that are tried and true foundational marketing techniques online, it's not that they necessarily lose favor, but they're just not as sexy to talk about anymore. We forget about the fact that there are things you need to be doing that are very foundational to your digital marketing that... Right now in 2018, one of the hottest topics in online marketing is AI and chatbots on Facebook in different groups. And when people come to me and they wanna talk about that, the first thing I ask is, "Is your search engine optimization in line? Do you have an email marketing list, are you developing out that email marketing list? How is your general customer service?"


There're so many other things that are foundational to having a healthy business and a healthy brand before you jump all the way over to talking about chatbots on Facebook that I wanted to come back and say, let's talk about links, one of the most basic things you do online in your digital marketing. And I wanted to tell, especially with the audience here that you guys and gals are business owners and CEOs, you guys aren't digging the ditch with this stuff. But I wanna give you some things that you can go to the folks that you have doing the work for you and ask them some intelligent questions about what they're doing for you in your business and get back hopefully, some intelligent answers about either A, we don't do it anymore 'cause it's not fun, or B, yeah, we're doing that and here's the results of it.


So let's talk about links today. Links are what we call off-page SEO. Off-page means there are things that happen outside of your website. Now, there are four, or actually three main things you wanna look for when you have a website that links from the internet over to your website. Number one and most important is the quality of the link. I would much rather have a link from an article talking about something in my industry from the New York Times than I would from the Cincinnati picayune dispatch whatever. Not that the folks in Cincinnati don't write great journalism, but a localized newspaper like that is not gonna be viewed nearly with the same authority as the New York Times will. So quality is number one. Number two is gonna be the text. The words that are used in that link that go from the other website to your website need to be descriptive of the product or services or something that relates to your business. Now, if someone's gonna link to you and they are gonna use your company name and the link, I'm not gonna tell them no, but if I am in cryptocurrencies, I would much rather, much rather have that link be from the phrase "cryptocurrency provider" than I would from the name of my company because if somebody knows the name of my company, they already know how to find me.


Ed: So what you're saying is there's a science and an art to using the right words for those links? 


GG: There absolutely is, and we can get into a whole discussion about how do you find what those key words are. The short answer is find a phrase that describes what you do as opposed to the name of your business. You're gonna be better of because that phrase that describes what you do is a signal to Google that says you're an authority in that area and that's the golden ticket. Number three, the thing we wanna look for is sheer numbers. Once I take care of quality and once I'm able to define the text that people link to me at, I want as many of those high quality relevant links as I can get and make no mistake. One link from The New York Times is much, much better than 100 links from Joe's blog who sits in his basement typing on his blog that only his mom reads.


Okay? I don't care how many free cheap links you can get. They actually can hurt you, because Google knows that that website is trash and you're hanging out in that neighborhood and Google assumes that you're going to assume that same kind of content. You don't want those links and when you get into advanced kind of link building and search engine optimization, you want someone to spend some of their time trying to tell Google, "I know these people link to me, but we don't approve of that link." You don't have to go tell them to take the link down, but there is a way for you to tell Google, "Don't give me credit for that link." And it's funny how you can have an entire part of your marketing plan that disassociates yourself with stuff on the internet that can help you in the search results. And that gets into the two big things you don't want to have; you never wanna pay for a link. I don't care where it comes from. Google knows when you pay for a link and they will blacklist you. You will not be in the Google database at all and if they see you do this, and they'll warn you a couple of times, but if you keep doing it, they'll just kick you out of the database and you'll end up being invisible on the web.


And number two, you wanna make sure that you're not going out and getting spammy stuff. And so, what's a spam link? A spam link is you hire an intern to run around the internet leaving comments on blogs that have links back to your website. A link inside of a comment on a blog does not equal a link in Google's eyes. It equals spam.


Ed: So what you're saying is, in the Google algorithm, they have the ability to discriminate what they consider to be information that's not necessarily germane to what you're trying to accomplish?


GG: Absolutely, and they can discriminate based upon the quality, based upon the neighborhood of the website. They can look and see if they have identified one website as being spammy. They know that if other website sit on that same physical computer, that server, they will assume that the rest of those websites are part of the same enterprise, and they will lose credibility as well.


Ed: They could track the IP address of that link and discern it? 


GG: They can track the address of the individual network card in the machine.


Ed: Wow.


GG: 'Cause you're gonna have 100 websites using a similar IP address, but each computer that has a separate network card in it, there's a MAC address in that card that Google knows exactly what physical computer that website's sitting on.


Ed: That's kind of scary. Giovanni, we have about 30 seconds to a minute left here. What can people do to avoid these kind of mistakes when they're using SEO program? 


GG: The number one thing is you never ever, ever, ever hire a person or a service that promises guaranteed results or promises a high volume of results in a short amount of time. That is the biggest red flag you need to look out for. You play the long game, you do things correctly and you have patience. That's the trick. And the trick is, there is no trick. Anything that's short-term that is a big value in a big game, you will lose it and it will be painful when you lose it.

Basic Tactics for Influencer Marketing

Thinking of adding influencer marketing to your mix? Maybe you want to test the waters with a campaign or two to see what kind of results it can generate for your business? In this podcast with Michael Yorba, I'll get you started with a few tips on what you need to be doing in the beginning.

Transcript below:

Host: Giovanni, let's start with you. You have a special talent for getting people to stand up, take notice and take action with what you do. Let me give you the floor and tell us how we need to follow what you're doing for everybody else. And by the way, this guy has come on the scene and has more people following what he does on our archives, than anybody else in a shorter period of time than anything I've ever seen. I've done this a time or two. Take it away, Giovanni.


Giovanni Gallucci: Well, howdy. Yeah, so last few weeks we've been talking about Facebook and the things that have popped up around Facebook and the organic content on the network. That moves us into an area of, "Now, what do we do about it?" One thing I wanna set up ahead of time is that there are not any single practice within digital marketing that you need to be focusing on. You need to have a healthy, potpourri of different things that you do in digital marketing to make sure that you don't have all your eggs in one basket. And certainly, the thing I'm gonna talk about today is a long-term strategy.


Let's say that you've already got your... And one of the first things you always wanna have set up is your email marketing. You've got your basic social media stuff where you're finally doing customer service, you're telling the world about what you're doing as a business. You're talking to fans that are on your social media stuff. And then you're doing things like search engine optimization and all the other stuff. When we talk about organic content specifically on Facebook, this applies to everywhere, it is gonna be more and more critical for us in the future for us to have other people talk about our brand.


Now. We've always aspired to that. We always understand the benefit of have a word-of-mouth marketing. Well before the internet, word-of-mouth marketing was an entire industry where companies focused on getting neighbors to share with neighbors things about the brands that they used everyday. Because we understand how much more powerful having a recommendation from Michael Yorba who I hang out with once a week and I talk to on the radio. If you come to me and tell me about a product or service, I'm gonna give that much more weight and much more authority than if I see it on a billboard on the freeway. That translates really well into the online world.


One of the key things that I've specialized in in working in digital media is not necessarily buying ads for folks. Not doing the email stuff, which I do that on the periphery. The main thing I do for people is get brands positioned in the marketplace where the fans are doing the vast majority of the heavy lifting for them in the branding. Let's take an example. Let's say one of the hot industries are working right now is the beverage industry. We're talking about everything from kombucha, to cold brew coffees, to mineral waters to all kinds of organic drinks and things like that. One of the things that I focus on is I will take a brand and I will have them say, "Okay. We're gonna focus on a single social media site for a year or for a point where we hit a goal. And we're gonna focus on a single industry focused on that social media site." Just pulling a number out of the air, we may say, "We're gonna measure success at 10,000 followers on Facebook, but we want those followers to be highly engaged in what we're doing, and we want them to be deeply entrenched in the industry.


If I go and I say I take the fashion industry. If I want my product, my beverage to be served up at all the biggest events in say New York Fashion Week or all the satellite fashion weeks that happen around the country, but I don't wanna pay for that access. I don't wanna be a sponsor. It's really important for us to position this brand where the parties that are happening that the organizers from those parties are calling us to have the brand positioned there, so that they get the brand lift to being associated with us.


Long story short, what we do is we start focusing on the people inside that industry that nobody cares about, but the people that make the wheels of that industry go. If we're looking at the fashion industry, I'll look at production assistance. I'll look at makeup artists. I'll look at all the people that set up the shows. I will look at the folks that are the engineers in the music inside. All these people work together within the same industry. You may find someone who focuses on DJs, who only puts DJs inside the biggest events in a local city area. You don't wanna only focus on the actual DJ 'cause those people can be pseudo celebrities themselves. I wanna go to the company that books those people and I wanna ship them on a monthly basis a regular shipment of products so they have it in their office and this is why. That company is the hub of all the spokes that make up the industry. Everybody congregates at that company, that could be a PR organization or it could be an events promotions company.


When they're walking into that company, they have my product there to serve these people. It becomes a part of their natural environment. Without me giving too many specifics about how I do this with each individual client, essentially what is happening is if you focus on that, you focus on say in our example, the fashion industry, event promotions companies. You focus on the folks that book the music for those events. You can focus on the folks that run the trucks and the shipping delivery services. They will start seeing that product where and it's a part of their industry they see everyday. That will then start migrating itself over into the events themselves. The first one I started doing this with, we saw a change from taking that focus to folks inside the industry to eight months later, we had venues calling us at our corporate offices asking where to get the products because people that were going to events of that products who had VIP room or green rooms things, they would have within their contracts a requirement that this product was in the contract and it was in a market that we didn't even service yet.


And within 12 months, so four months after that first cargo, we were getting multiple calls per week in markets that we didn't even have a footprint in. We've been able to do that and it's pretty consistent. The timeline on that is typically six to eight months. We start getting folks calling us, that are the folks that we actually wanna get access to. The first brand I worked with this on, after working with them for five years, we've now been put in over two dozen motion pictures with brand placement without having to pay for it.


We've been put in about a dozen television shows. Again, brand placement that we didn't have to pay for. And we've got associations with real network folks that connect people within these real industries that then turn around and they're the taste-makers for the industry. I've got products sitting on the biggest stages in the world or the biggest events in the world that we don't pay access to get to. But then they end up on those folks' social media accounts, which means their fans wanna be associated with that product because their heroes and the people they aspire to be are drinking that product as well. And I've got three different brands with three different case studies that almost model that exact same process.


The biggest thing that I can recommend to people when they start a program like this, is you've got to start off and be super disciplined about the fact that I'm not gonna go out there and watch five social media platforms. Go ahead and grab... If you've already got 'em, go ahead and hang on to 'em and pay attention to 'em. But your laser focus has to be on the one platform that makes sense to you. And your decision on what that platform is, is your decision to make. Then you need to focus on a single industry that makes sense for where the most attractive consumers are for your business. We get those two things locked in place. And until you hit that, let's say you're mark is 10,000 followers, until you hit that 10,000 mark, you stay the course.


One of the biggest problems I have working with clients, is they come up with some number out of thin air that they need to achieve by some date out of thin air that the need to achieve it by. And then when they don't reach that date, whether it's realistic or not, and when they don't reach that goal, they scrap it and try something else. One of the biggest things you have to do is you have to know that you're on the right path. You need to see that the numbers are going the right direction. But you also have to look at this thing and say, "Look, if I wanna do something for my business that's gonna benefit me in five years and not in five weeks, then you've gotta be mature and disciplined about the fact that you've gotta start something that has meaning behind it and you've got to stick to it and be disciplined."


And in most of these situations, we've broken these out into other industries and other social networks. It's not a case that you just focus on that and you walk away. You achieve that goal that you want to achieve, you maintain it, and then you move to the next industry and the next social network site. And you repeat it and you take what you learned from the first one and then you do it on the second one. And you'll learn some new stuff, you grow, and then you move to the next one.


Host: Wow, great. That was wonderful stuff, Giovanni. Alright. Giovanni, thanks for being the guest on the show and love to hear that information. It was brilliant. 

Mastering Organic Social Content in 2018
search social strategy 118.jpg

This week, Kate Delaney sits in as host of the CEOMoney radio show. We talk about what businesses should do on Facebook to maintain their organic content growth.

Transcript below:

Giovanni Gallucci: Last week, we chatted a little bit about what was happening with Facebook and the fact that they're kinda constricting the feeds for us on Facebook, and this week, we wanna talk a little bit about what do we do about that, right? Last year, if you were working in an editorial content business, we started getting used to having produced live video, and put up video streams for social media sites. And there were other things that we kind of focused on, like chatbots, and talking about social media with shelf lives and things like that. So we're not gonna go into all that stuff. But what I wanna talk about today is, what can businesses do in 2018 to help them with the landscape that says, "Okay, you're gonna produce all this original content." We've been giving you best practices, and you've developed, in some cases, businesses have developed in house, especially publishing houses of folks that create text-based content, video content, photography, and things like that for the social media.


And, ironically, right when companies get used to doing that, then Facebook comes along and starts tightening up the news feeds where it's harder to get to folks. So, a few things that I can recommend to businesses this week, as far as continuing to create content on the editorial basis, and getting the most eyeballs on it that you can. Number one, relevant content is gonna become more and more critical. What I mean by relevant content is, in the past, if you created stuff that was just good on the eyes, that the folks that followed you enjoyed looking at. That typically was enough just to get people's attention. These days, it's gonna be much more critical for you to produce content. And whether that's video, photography, or text-based content, that you're producing content that actually means something and makes the connection between your brand and between your users and your customers, right?


So, it's a natural evolution. It's nothing to be terribly freaked out about, but it means that, and this is in most disciplines, as you mature in a business, as you nail something down, then your next step is okay, "How do we make that better?" Right? So, this would be a good thing to be doing to begin with. It's just that now it becomes more of a pressing need for a business to be mindful of the fact that we need to put some thought into whether or not the content we're producing actually brings bonafide value to the user, in a way that makes that user or that viewer or that content consumer, makes them really want to take that content and share it with folks. It is absolutely critical that we are creating content that people will share with other folks online, 'cause that's how you're gonna beat the Facebook news feed. Right? So, number one is relevant content.


Number two is in... I did this quite a bit with clients last year, is making sure that, while you wanna overlap your social media channels, it's also more important than ever to make sure that when you come up with your editorial calendar and when you're posting stuff, that the content you produce is specific to Twitter, it's specific to Instagram, it's specific to Facebook. Right? And that means how long is the text, what size are the images. When you post images up on the different social media sites, you need to make sure that when those platforms crop those images, to show them to your users, that they're cropped properly, so that you don't get maybe... If you've got a nice photo of maybe somebody at the company, then you post it up on Twitter, and the photo is kind of portrait mode, like you would take holding up your phone, well, Twitter's gonna crop that image like a 16 x 9, and you may all of a sudden have an image of someone's chest in your Twitter's newsfeed instead of their face, the way you'd want it to be, right? 


So you need to make sure that stuff works well, but pay attention to the fact that posting up on a Snapchat story is not the same as posting up on Instagram. And a lot of nuances and you've gotta have somebody dedicated to knowing what they're doing on those channels if you're gonna be effective. We also used to be able to kind of throw stuff up against a wall, and kind of see if it stuck. Much more important this year to listen to what's happening with your users. Find out what's important to them. Flat out ask them. And when I say users, I kinda mean, your viewers or your readers on social media. But it's more important to listen to what they're saying and what's important to them, and it's also super important to listen to what your competition's fans are saying to them. 'Cause part of this game, and I think I mentioned this last week, part of this game in being successful in social media is not only building your brand up and growing your user base, it's also going and looking at what your competition is doing well, and replicating that so you can level the playing field between your brand and the competition. And that hopefully will put you in the position to leapfrog over them once you've kind of leveled everything out.


Two other things that I really want folks to focus on this year is, you've got to, more than ever, invest in the influencer marketing, which means that... It's funny that I thought about when I was putting together this list for this week, just yesterday, I went to an event... We're here in Dallas, and I went to a lecture from a gentleman that has spent about 30 years in advertising, and one of the things he brought to the table, and this is something that's kind of been in the back of my mind, but he put it so eloquently, is that he always focuses, when he's scaling a business, and when he's working with larger businesses, or maybe emerging businesses that wanna grow, he never focuses on getting 10,000 customers. He focuses on finding 100 absolutely rabid brand evangelists because he says that in his 30 years of working in advertising, every single time they find success with the brand, that brand has always got a core base of followers that will do anything to show the world that they're a fan of that brand.


And so in social, when you're doing influencer marketing, you need to be careful not to be so freaked out about the numbers in the follower game. You need to be freaked out about finding 100 people that love your brand so much that they, whether it's in investing, whether you've got a small business doing something, if it is in financial or any other business, you need to find 100 people that like everything you put up online, that comment on your stuff, that share your stuff. Those are the people that will create a viral movement behind your brand, that will push it to exponential growth over the next two, three, four, five years.


And the last one, and this is kind of interesting 'cause... Be open here in the fact that in the financial world, I don't have a ton of experience working with clients in the financial world, but we were just talking having a conversation here right before we went on air about working with financial agencies that work with younger generation folks, and especially in the financial world or with any kind of business, you need to really be focusing on generation Z. These are people that are digital natives. They're 22 years and younger but they are coming out on their own, they're coming out of college, they're starting their professional careers, and those folks now are the people that will be the seed for your growth over the next two or three decades. And so, it's really important if you want to look at long-term success, you don't wanna ignore all the other age groups but you certainly want to focus on folks that are 22 and younger. And look at what that generation finds important and kind of what their needs and their wants are.


Host: Yeah. Wow, you are so speaking to the choir. This is my lane. I go out and I talk to millennials and my thing, I trademarked it, is what's your wow? How do you clearly confidently concisely describe who you are and what you do.


GG: I love that kind of stuff.


Host: And it's oh, I am so glad that I'm filling in and I met you, Giovanni.


GG: Are we best friends now?


Host: Yes.


GG: We just become best friends.


Host: Yeah, I mean, everything you just said is everything that I'm working on, and for everybody listening, seriously, this is so relevant. And I'm glad you said that generation Z and talked about digital natives because that's it. And I think there's confusion as to what you feed into social media and also taking the same content and using it over and over again, being careful about that, because as you know, I wish we had a longer conversation but we'll have a conversation off the air, about that content not being the same in every space, taking one picture and pumping it out across all the platforms is not good. That's not the way, right, to leverage.


GG: No, absolutely. And you're gonna have a strategy where if you're pushing a product or a service, it's fine to have a strategy and a theme, kind of you create your brand story that covers all the social network sites, but you wanna make sure that you're using language and verbiage, and you're approaching a Snapchat campaign differently than a Facebook campaign, and certainly different than LinkedIn, right? I mean, those are completely different audiences, and sure there's a lot of overlap between the two of them, but when you and I get dressed to go to work in an office, we are not the same people that as we are when we get dressed to go to a music festival on a weekend, and we will respond differently in those different environments. And that's the exact same way social media sites are. There are social sites and there are business sites, and there are sites where we play around with our peers and our family and people that are business associates, and then there are places where we like to be anonymous and have a great time.

Facebook Growth Stalls

I chat with Michael Yorba of WFN1's CEO Money radio show about this past week's news about Facebook. Transcript below:

Michael Yorba: Welcome back to CEO Money. I'm Michael Yorba. We have Giovanni Gallucci with us right now. He is our digital strategist... Our go-to guy for this. So welcome back to the show, Giovanni.


Giovanni Gallucci: Howdy, Michael.


MY: Alright. You wanna start off talking about what's been going on with Facebook. Let's do that.


GG: Yeah. So Facebook had its earnings call here recently, and great news for investors, they posted yet again market... Record profits, $47 billion I think, year over year. And that's much better than they did in Q4 last year. Some interesting stuff that came out of the call though, was that we expected them to gain a lot more new users on the platform than they have. So I think that they're in a situation where the platform's becoming saturated. And they still had user growth, but based upon what we expected them to do, they're down by about 100,000 users based upon our expectations and based upon trends. So that's number one.

Number two, which is shocking to me, that there's not more news about this, they are down 50 million user hours per day on the platform. So every single day on Facebook, around the world, people are looking at content on the platform 50 million fewer hours per day. That is an astronomical... And granted, got almost 2 billion users on the platform. So user per user, that's not a huge number, but it's certainly not the direction you wanna go in. So when we talk about... [01:44] ____ remember what we talked about last week, with Facebook constricting the amount of organic content on the platform in the newsfeed, from businesses in particular. And now you combine that with the fact that there's less inventory when it comes to time on site for you to purchase ads. What does that do to your ad cost on Facebook? It sends them through the roof, right? 


MY: Well, I'm gonna tell you what it did to their stock today. It put it up $6.63.


GG: Exactly.


MY: To a new high. So Facebook made a lot of money, but it cost me more.


GG: Exactly. And so from a standpoint of where the markets are at, the markets are fine with Facebook squeezing businesses. And I'm the first one to say that, "Look, Facebook is... "


MY: No, no, no, no. The shareholders are fine. [chuckle]


GG: The shareholders are fine with it. Exactly.


MY: The market is not so happy. [chuckle]


GG: Yeah. The market's not. The shareholders are fine with that. And I'll be the first one to say that Facebook can do whatever it wants to. It's funny, 'cause driving over to the station, I sit there and I talk to myself in the car about how we're gonna walk through this. And part of the conversation I have with myself is, "You know what? Mark can do whatever Mark wants. If you don't like it, go play at another playground." And so, for me personally, I don't like most of what Facebook does. But if I don't like it, guess what? I don't have to have an account, which I personally don't. But I manage client accounts on there so I've got to be concerned about what Facebook does to my clients on the platform. So, number one, what that does to me as someone who works with businesses online, is that makes me have to go back to them and say, "Look, I know that we've got 100,000 followers on... That have flat-out said they wanna see your content. Too bad, you're gonna have to buy access to the people that have said they wanna see your content." Number one.


GG: Number two, the price is gonna go up now, because now we've got... We're being hit from two different directions. And the place where the viewership is going down on the platform, is on the video platform. So Facebook, while it's got this kind of internal self-imposed mandate that it wants to crash YouTube, a lot of the area of concern when it comes to what happened in the elections and what's happening with especially the European Union, with them cracking down on Facebook... The unregulated viral video content that flies through the platform, is something that if they don't look at and fix, someone from the outside's gonna do it for them. And of course, we always know that for a company itself, a company always wants to do that before a regulator comes in and decides to do it for 'em. So that's one thing on Facebook.


Moving over to Twitter, we had a news article break last week or about a week ago, about... And it's funny how the New York Times found this one company, I think it's DVM or something like that, who they wrote this big article about this entire industry of creating fake social media accounts and selling those accounts to businesses. As if that was something new. That's been going on for years and years and years. And again, why that comes up to be, bubble up to the top of the culture's consciousness to do something about now, is interesting. But anyway. So federal authorities are looking into this company who was based there. The federal government's looking into 'em now. And again, that's a situation where if you've got people that are using Twitter as a platform to advertise on, and you as an advertiser go to an influencer on Twitter because they have 350,000 users, you think you're getting access to them. I'm sure that it would be interesting to you to find out that 100,000 of those folks were actually fake. Because you're purchasing ads or you're purchasing content, and placing your product or service in that content based upon the number of eyeballs you think it's gonna reach.


So, again, I'm thrilled with the idea that they're gonna clean it up. And I'll tell you that we all have fake followers. Twitter now, because they are now terrified of what the federal government's gonna do to them, they've now actually gone in and started doing some real house cleaning on all these fake accounts that are out there. Because Twitter was motivated to kinda leave them alone and kinda turn a blind eye, because they've been flatlining too. And growth for them, if they can put that in their quarterly earnings calls, helps the perception of the platform. And since this news story came out and Twitter decided to do something about it, I've lost about 10% of my followers on the platform. Because they were fake, they were bots, and Twitter's cleaned them out. I think that anybody that has a Twitter account, unless you just have like 1,000 people that are people that you've met that are real people in business, if you have, say, 2,000 or 3,000 more or above that number of followers, you should look at the number of followers and see how many you've lost. And it's nothing you've done. This is Twitter cleaning house, which is a great deal because you weren't gaining anything really by having the fake followers. And now you're gonna know that the number that you have, are actual real bonafide people.


Ed Baxter: You bring up a really interesting point, two points actually. When you tied the monetization of the Twitter accounts and Facebook accounts to the number of followers for those people who are influencers, you invited people to cheat, first of all.


GG: Oh, yeah.


EB: Second, and when you look at the possibility of these digital monopolies on a global basis, and you talked about some of the things that the governments could do. What are some of the things governments could do to try to bring about maybe, for lack of a better term, a break up, when you think about these companies and the power they have on a global basis to control the opinions and the thoughts of people? 


GG: Well, you asked one thing about what happens with... We live in a very real situation, where say the European Union can pop in and tell Facebook that it's gotta act in some way to make changes. Well, that stuff has already happened to Google in the search space. So the European Union came in with the "right to be forgotten" law, which basically says that, if I am a citizen of the European Union and I find something online that has to do with a criminal background that I might have had, that I have served my sentence or I have paid back society for. That if I go and I find something referencing that in the search engine, not the webpage itself that might mention that, but if the search engine pops up, and if someone typed in the name of a business person and whatever the crime it was that they committed, and it pops up in Google, that business person can go to Google and say, "Remove that. I've served my time. You can't have that... " That's the right to be forgotten. That only happens in the European Union though.

GG: So it can be done where it splits it up. You can't do that in the United States or other countries that don't fall underneath right to be forgotten. So if the European Union comes in and tells Facebook, "You can't accept money," or if it happens in the US, "You can't accept money from somebody for a political ad, that doesn't reside in the country for that political ad [08:47] ____ bought in." Facebook, it'll be a pain in the rear end, but they can split that up and they can make it work in one country and not in another. It's a pain in the rear end, but they can get it done.

Facebook News Feed Changes For Businesses

I chat with Michael Yorba on iHEARTRadio's CEOMoney about recent changes to the Facebook news feed. Transcript below:

Well, the main thing I wanna talk about is announcement of Facebook just made about really tightening up the spigot on corporate and branded public content in people's news feeds. And if I had five hours to talk about that, we could talk about it, so we'll talk until you tell me to shut up.


So Facebook came out about a week ago and announced that they were going to start tapering off content from companies and brands within the personal news feeds on Facebook. And this isn't the first time they've done something like this. They did this back in 2016 and dramatically reduced the amount of content that we saw as individuals from companies that we told Facebook that we liked. And it caused a lot of pain for businesses that focus on organic content in Facebook, because you had a situation where a company spent years in some cases, building up a loyal following of fans, of people that went and actively clicked on a link on Facebook and said, "I like this company. I like this fan page. I would like to see their stuff." And Facebook took it on themselves to say, "Well, you know what? You're gonna see less of it." And they tightened the news and tightened the news and kept on doing it to, we got to a point where on average, everything else being equal, if you're a company on Facebook and you have 100,000 people following your fan page, when you post something on your fan page, you expect those folks that said, "I wanna see your stuff, you expect them to see it. Well, today, even before this announcement that Facebook made just last week, we have gotten to a point to our less than 3% of the people that follow you on Facebook will see your content today.


Why would they do that? 


They need money. They want money. It's partially because of that. It's also partially because Facebook has enough artificial intelligence in the background to know what we like and what we respond to and what we don't like. So, Facebook has taken it upon themselves to basically say, "We know what you want better than you know what you want." And so, based upon how your friends and families behave on Facebook, we're gonna make some assumptions that because that's your sphere of friendship and your connections, that you're probably gonna behave the same way. So based upon what those folks that you follow that you're connected with do, we're going to start tailoring the news feeds, so that we present you with content that we think you wanna see. And to be fair to Facebook, this makes a guy like me working for different companies when my job is to help them get access to people that have said they wanna have access to this company, it makes my job a lot more difficult. But it's Facebook's platform, and so there's an old saying that, "If you're a pig, you're not the customer, you're the product." And so, when you're out there and you're taking all these free stuff from Facebook, and you're using their platform, you're paying zero for it, that means that they get to do whatever they want to, and if you don't like it, you can take a hike.


And that's whether you're a business or whether you're a user. So Facebook has... And this is to be... This is also partially in response to all the hoo-ha that's been kicked up over this last election. Facebook is trying to make sure that they do enough, so that users are using their platform in a way that everybody is not attacking them for the role they play in society. That's a lot to take on, but that's part of the mission. So basically, what they've come back and said, "You are now gonna see... " And they don't phrase it by saying, "You're gonna see less branded content in your feeds." What they say is, "We're gonna show you more content from your friends and your family." The challenge they have with that is number one, friends and family, they provide the audience for us to consume content from brands that they wanna pay for, but it's kind of a catch 22 that if they're showing less of that to us, then it's gonna be harder for us as businesses to get access to those audiences. So, how do we do that? The biggest thing you have to realize now is that more than ever, Facebook now is more difficult to use to get access to potential consumers or to the audience we get access to that even Google is now.


Because at least with Google, if you do what you need to do from an organic or an editorial standpoint when you put content out, you have a fighting chance, it's a fairly level playing field. That if you do a better job than even the 900-pound gorilla you know that's in your industry, you have a good chance of ranking well in the search engines, in all the search engines. Facebook is actively pushing that content now. So it's not only that you have to fight against big brands that may have bigger budgets than you to apply to this stuff, Facebook is putting its thumb on the scale now to prevent you from getting access to the folks and forcing you to pay. So rule number one is if you wanna play on Facebook now, you're gonna have to pay. You're gonna have to buy ads, you're gonna have to have an active strategy that not only targets the right people, but you're gonna have to pay for the access to those folks, number one. From an organic standpoint, there's still a little bit of life left in that for you for a business.


But you're gonna have to start producing video content. You've got to think in terms of why Facebook does what it does and they're looking for ways to keep eyeballs on the page. They want people to stay on Facebook because they're selling ads. And so, they want people to see the ads around the content. The other thing they wanna do, which is a long-term [06:19] ____ strategy with them, they wanna destroy YouTube. One of Facebook's main goals is to become YouTube. So, from a branded standpoint, you need to start looking at how you're going to produce a video content that speaks well to your brand, that lifts your brand up. You can't have a bunch of silly-looking amateurs video out there 'cause it hurts your brand overall. But you've got to find a way to play the YouTube game on Facebook, if Facebook organic content is important to you. So, that's number one. Facebook will always give preference to a video content over the other ones.


Number two, you're going to have to play the game of influence or marketing. So, if I have a company and I put my content on Facebook, and I know that people aren't gonna see my content, how do I get it? I get people that are individuals, personalities that will share my content without linking back to my page, and this is a game you've gotta play now because [chuckle] now this creates all this complexity in your relationship with Facebook. Now, you've got a situation where your goal, as a business, is no longer to get someone to go to your fan page. Your business page, that number of followers means nothing now because, in the past, if I had 100,000 followers, that meant on some level that I have 100,000 subscribers like an email list. That number means nothing now because it doesn't gain you anything when it comes to that content.


So now, you've got to go and play a game where you are now trying to get people to link to content that pulls them away from Facebook so that you can own that relationship again. So, I don't think that... Certainly, people who work at Facebook are smarter than guys like me, but when you look at it on the surface, they're shooting themselves in the foot because now I am motivated to pull people off the platform. I don't want people on Facebook anymore because it harms me and my business.


So now, and this is one thing I preach forever, you always need to own your marketing. When you put all your eggs in Facebook, when you put all your eggs on Twitter, on Instagram, on YouTube, I know that these companies sound huge and in fact they're gonna be here forever, talk to somebody who invested in copy server AOL. So, you need to be in a position where you own your content, your content resides on your own domains and you pull people to your corporate websites that you own versus relying so much on places like Facebook.

Where Do You Start When You Have A Branding Crisis?

I sat in with Michael Yorba on his show, CEO Money, this afternoon on 1190AM in Dallas. 

Transcript below:

Michael: Giovanni, welcome to the show. Thanks for being here.


Giovanni Gallucci: Thanks a lot, Michael. I appreciate it.


Michael: My pleasure. Alright, let's give the audience some background on you, your company before we get started too far, and then I gotta let in the questions, and Ed, please don't hold back, jump in on this one.


GG: So thank you. I am an independent consultant here in Dallas, Texas, and spent a few years in the corporate environment as a digital marketer, and a programmer. And at some point during that career decided I was better off hanging my own shingle out and going out on my own. So I spent a lot of time covering a wide breadth of services for folks, but for the most part it's... For easy understanding, social media and SEO, search engine optimization is what I do. But we combine that with photography and video and web development, and mobile app development, a lot of other stuff that support those disciplines.


Michael: You've worked for some pretty substantial companies in the past, haven't you? 


GG: I have a ton of fun with a lot of big companies. I worked with everybody from small, medium sized businesses to working on projects as an adjunct on, with folks like Red Bull and Topo Chico water, Microsoft, Nokia. So I've got some nice marquee clients on my resume, but for the most part, I tend to work with kind of emerging brands and folks that are medium sized companies, but that are starting off with either an individual product or service they wanna market, or I have a lot of fun... That's a weird way to say, I have a lot of fun working with brands in crisis, and helping them get their house in order whenever things aren't going right.


Michael: So not that ours isn't going right, but let's say we were a brand in crisis. Where do you start? Where do you start to peel the onion back and dig into, and then how do you set people upright, go forward, things to think about, things to plan on, and here's your path now.


GG: A lot of times what I'll do is, I'll walk in and I'll look and make sure that a company has got cohesive goals that they're trying to achieve from a business perspective, completely outside of everything they're doing on marketing. And once I establish what those goals are and kind of take a measure as to whether or not their staff and their employees are actually behaving in way that will help them achieve those goals, then we move over to the digital space in the marketing space and make sure that the behaviors on that team, and the activity support the overall goals for the business. And then in most cases they're not, it's kind of scattered. So you start doing some work there and then you kind of move into, "Okay, what are you doing? Why are you doing it?" I've got a lot of fantastic kind of Zig Ziglar-esque kind of anecdotes about, you walk into a company and you find out that they're doing something and you ask them why and they have no idea why. Essentially the answer is, "We're doing it because we've always done it."


So I try to remove a lot of the behavior that they have on their team that makes no sense, but that they're doing it just because they're used to doing it that way, and then we start targeting our behavior so that what we do actually supports the overall mission of what the company should be doing.


Michael: That's the first time I've heard that put that way, we've had digital marketing people on the show over and over and over again. And as the first time I've heard you approach it like, let's talk about what you're trying to achieve versus...


GG: Oh, my god.


Michael: Let me come in there and just, here's how... Here's the whiz-bang of how...


GG: It is so, and I think that what you're getting at is companies and consultants and web marketers usually attack problems with what they know and what they're comfortable with. So I'll walk into an organization and find out, and for just so we kinda keep it with areas that people are familiar with, they're spending all their time on Facebook, right? 


And I ask why they're spending their time on Facebook, because Facebook is Facebook. So what they do is they go to where they think they're supposed to be, and then they try to shove their business priorities into that platform to make it fit, whether or not that's the appropriate place to be or not, right? 


And so you might sit down and say, "You know what? That's a complete waste of your time, either for technical reasons or because your audience isn't there. Why aren't you spending time on LinkedIn instead? Why aren't you spending your time cultivating press access and doing things like that?" So it may not be a traditional PR approach where you're trying to get access to journalists in print editions, but certainly, maybe you need to be up on Huffington Post or Inc. Magazine or something like that. So it's... You move outside of just being social media, and that's why I call it digital strategy. Most of what I do ends up tying into SEO and social media, but you can't do that well, and honestly if you don't step back and go, "Wait, before we even talk about any of that garbage that has to do with online stuff, what does the business need? What is the business trying to do?"


And it's either that or you come in and the business says, "Hey, I've got this budget per month, make that work. It has nothing to do with what your goals are. Let's figure out what your goals are, find out the solution, and then based upon your budget, we'll figure out the best path to take. As opposed to I've got x amount of dollars, let's do ads.


Michael: What about the... There, on that point too, but what about the approach that I hear every once in a while, you need to be everywhere; you need to be on Instagram, you need to be on LinkedIn, you need to be on Facebook, and you... And then you need to have a campaign that involves email. How do you go about structuring something that's really effective? Let's say, I want CEOs to call me, I want CEOs to come on to the show, and I want CEOs to grow their business because they're on my show. How would I take that need, that drive, that goal, and then turn it into a fluid, scheduled stressless process to get the message out and get accomplished what I need to get accomplished for my clients? 


Ed: I don't think it's ever gonna be stressless, so let's keep that in mind too.


Michael: It's never. Thank you very much. It's not stressless.


Ed: You brought up something there too, Giovanni, I'm sorry to break in there, but some of the Gallucci rules here are obviously the ability to pivot and what you're talking about is doing something that seems to be very important to you. How difficult is it to get people who, "done it this way, we've done it this way forever, we're not changing, we don't think the world's changing, we don't think we should change with it," how difficult is it to get legacy organization like that to pivot into the new digital strategy? 


GG: Well, first usually in my situation, I'm not called into the room until something like that has happened. And it's either it's already happened and they've pivoted and they're ready to go, or I've got somebody who's a champion inside of an organization that needs backup and support to convince everybody else. So usually you solve those issues by bringing data to bare down on the issue. So if I can come into a place and I'm trying to convince somebody that Facebook or Google or maybe it's YouTube or maybe it's a combination of having a campaign where you're looking at influencers within your industry to try to start writing more about what your business is doing, you bring stats to the table to show this is where your audience is, these are the people your audience listen to, this is the content they're consuming and I like to back up and I don't care if it's Facebook or if it's or if it's Huffington Post or if it's a blog or whatever it is, my first focus is here's your business, let's identify who your consumer is. And then you move to find out where do they get their content? What are they consuming? 


And they can be anything from being in a car, sitting on the [07:35] ____ looking at billboards, to listening to the radio, to watching it on YouTube, to consuming it from whatever new source they get and news magazine they read online. You don't know until you do a little bit of research and identify those people, find those sources and then you come to the table and say, "You know what, that may not be appropriate for us to do it online." You may just wanna put a flag in the ground to make sure nobody steals your brand, but you may come and go, guess what? There's a whole huge audience for you on Pinterest. And maybe that's the... Let's go ahead and pay lip service to Facebook, but Pinterest is where your audience is at and if that's the case, let's pull together a strategy so that we can grow an audience over there.

Why Now is the Time to Get Started with VR (and What it Means for Marketers)
search social strategy 322.jpg
audio Block
Double-click here to upload or link to a .mp3. Learn more

Why Now is the Time to Get Started with VR (and What it Means for Marketers)

VR is catching fire right now and the implications and opportunities are huge. But what does it mean for marketers and how do you get started? The transcript of our conversation is posted below. 

Scott Ellis: On this episode of Technology Translated we're talking VR with Giovanni Gallucci. Why you should care about it, how to get started, and the implications for marketers. Alright, Giovanni, welcome back to Technology Translated and thank you for being here today.


Giovanni Gallucci: Thanks for having me, I appreciate it.



SE: I haven't seen you since what? Episode two or three? [chuckle]



GG: Yeah. I think it was '78.


SE: Yeah. [chuckle] We haven't been up that far yet. Thanks.



GG: In the heyday of disco. It's back when you had an afro. It was awesome.



S2: I thought you meant episode 78. [chuckle] We haven't quite gotten there yet, but I appreciate it, yeah. Yeah, the afro's long gone. As are the butterfly collars.



GG: Thank goodness.



SE: But that paints an interesting picture, and that's kind of what today's episode is really all about. We're gonna talk about virtual reality, what is virtual reality, some of the differences between that and some other technologies, and in particular, we're gonna put this into a context for marketers, so that they can get some ideas on why VR may or may not be relevant to them and some things that they can do about it. Okay. So right out of the gate, let's get something cleared up. There are a couple of technologies that are related. There is virtual reality, or VR, and there is augmented reality, or AR. How would you articulate the difference between those two? 



GG: It's actually pretty simple. Virtual reality is all about having a user become immersed inside of a world, whether it's computer-generated, whether it is a game or some other kind of a CG content, or within a virtual kind of a spherical video, where their in real life reality is taken over by a video experience. Like watching a movie, but the movie is happening all the way around you. You're completely engulfed visually and audibly within that experience. And in some situations you can bring in smells, and we'll talk a little bit about that. You can bring in movement and things like that.



Augmented reality is a technology that overlays computer or other types of interactions on top of the real world. In some cases, we have that now, you have heads up displays in automobiles where you're looking at your windshield, on the windshield of the automobile you have information being put in front of your eyesight, that gives you information about the world around you. In some situations it can be data-driven like that. In other situations like the most kind of famous, kinda hot example right now is the Microsoft HoloLens, where what they're doing is they're taking the room or the world that you're in, and they're overlaying gaming pieces on top of that, that you interact with, that actually interact with the real world around you.



SE: Okay. And for anybody that has not seen or heard about HoloLens, we'll link up a couple of videos to it. Some of the stuff that they're promoting on that I think is maybe a little bit further ahead than where it really is right now. Is that fair to say? 



GG: I don't know of anyone in Microsoft marketing that has ever marketed something that wasn't ready for the real world.



SE: I'm just gonna... [laughter]



GG: I have no idea what you're talking about, that Microsoft would be out demoing stuff that actually doesn't work in the real world.



SE: I think it is doing some very cool things, but some of the videos that I've seen were meant to be a conceptual example of where they're going with HoloLens and what they're doing with it. How's that? 



GG: If you say so.



SE: Thanks. Thanks for the backup there. [chuckle] Okay. So that's the difference between VR and AR. And VR's been around for a really long time. So let's just very briefly, to cue this up, kinda talk about the evolution of VR. Why has it taken us so long to get to where we are now? And it seems like all of the sudden we're accelerating. What is the timeline moving forward to when we're gonna see this stuff actually finally become mainstream? 



GG: I'll start at the end and move to the beginning. It's funny that we're talking about this right now, because to me, VR is in the mainstream now. And the reason why I tell you that, and that it's hit the mainstream now, is that yesterday I was going to the grocery store, and on the way to the grocery store I was listening to NPR. And NPR, they had a full on, eight-minute news piece about virtual reality. And if there is not any other definition of something hitting the mainstream and getting out to the masses, it's gonna be talk news shows like that, there's tons of implementations in the real world now. But VR is here. Everybody is aware of its existence. A lot of people have no clue what it actually is. They think it's very kinda space age, kinda futuristic. But I think that you would hard pressed to find anyone that's never heard of VR or virtual reality at this point.



You and I both have a contact who I would pretty much define as being somebody who is one of the grandfathers of virtual reality. And he would kick me in the groin if he heard me say that. But Lance Loesberg, over at BigLook360, this dude's been doing this stuff for 15-20 years, well before anybody else was really taking it seriously. And he was doing it back in the day of the Apple QuickTime VR stuff. And I'm sure that you remember, 'cause you and I are very old people, back in the day when you would go on to real estate websites and you would have this virtual reality tour of homes. We're talking about technology that's two decades old at this point.



The problem with it is that the creation of that content, the fact that it was so piecemealed together, and the fact that you had to have the exact right, perfect set of components on your computer to run it, really prevented VR from taking off. And I think a lot of it was just the cost to entry on both the producer and the consumer side, that really for a long time kept it from being more than what it was. And I think also back in those times, scrolling your mouse around an interface on the screen really wasn't the experience that all of us were dreaming of, like we have today with things like the Samsung Gear VR. This is nothing new by any means. Is it gonna hit the mainstream? I think we're already there now, it's just a small footprint, but I think that if you couldn't define it as being there now, this is the year that it happens.



SE: Yeah. It definitely feels like it's finally taking root and starting to get some traction. Look forward to seeing where that one goes in the next couple years. You touched on creating content and how that was one of the things that held VR up from going mainstream sooner. Let's talk a little bit about creating that content now. Why has it gotten easier? And what kinds of things do people need if they want to start doing some kind of VR? 



GG: I don't wanna jump around kind of on the topics here. But the nice thing about in marketing virtual reality is that the entry point to creating content and having it up on the web is very inexpensive, and the learning curve, if you're fairly technically savvy with photo and video, is really easy at this point. The quality of that content has a lot to be desired, but the novelty of it and the fact that we're so early on into seeing all this different content, the novelty of it allows you to have a lotta leeway with not having the most beautiful cinematic, pristine content. Kind of like in the early days of when the GoPros first came out, everybody was buying a GoPro One and were putting them everywhere; you go back and look at that video now and it is horrendously bad. It's just terrible quality.



Same thing with YouTube. When YouTube was taking off, the videos were garbage, but it was the novelty of the website to have that content there, that was enough to project it into being what it is today. Gear wise on the beginner kind of inexpensive route, there's all kinds of opportunities that you can run out to Best Buy, to and buy stuff today. You've got the Kodak SP360. I think that comes in at about 400 bucks. It doesn't actually shoot 360, but it gives you the VR feel.



They have an upgraded camera called the SP360 4K, which is 4K. It's a higher quality camera at a couple hundred more bucks. 360fly camera is a neat one. It's got a neat kind of footprint design. The quality on that is probably one that I'm not really thrilled about now, but I'm hoping in the next couple of iterations, that's gonna get a lot better. You have the Ricoh Theta S, which is the one of all these sub-$1000 cameras, and actually sub-$500 cameras, the Ricoh Theta S from what I've used out in the field is by far, across the board, the easiest camera, the highest quality product that you can get out there today, if you're using it in full light. And all these cameras pretty much require kinda full daylight bright environments to give a good experience.



Those are the main three. There's a few other kinda outliers out there, and there's a lot of companies that are promising to deliver cameras over the next six or eight months, including Nikon, which I'm stoked to see what... We've seen what Nikon's 360 camera looks like. We don't know what the price is, we don't know when it's hitting the market. The Samsung Gear VR camera, that's supposed to actually come out within the next couple of months, so we're supposed to get a price on that. I'm excited to see what that's gonna be. The challenge with that one is, is it only gonna work on Gear VR setups, or are you gonna be able to put it on Facebook, and YouTube, and everywhere else? Those are kinda the beginner entry points.



Next level up is using a DSLR or a mirrorless camera, and sticking an 8mm or a 5mm fisheye lens on them. You can do those and do a 180-degree video, which is a really nice way to get into the technology without having to learn how to stitch video together. Or you can put two of those cameras back-to-back and then stitch the seams, which gets really hard very quickly. Or you can get into one of the ball mounts with a bunch of GoPros on it, with six or seven or 10 or 12 GoPro cameras on them. But then you're talking about if video is kind of a hard thing for you, shooting with one camera, you certainly don't wanna jump in and try to figure out a way to take seven cameras that are turned kind of cattywompus from each other diagonally, shooting all the same seven at the same time, and then pulling them into an editor and figuring how to stitch them all together. It's not for the faint of heart.



That's kinda the medium level, though. You're talking about getting a $1,500 to $2,000 camera, $1,000 lens, putting it on there, but you get gorgeous video out of that. It's light years ahead of what you're gonna get from a Ricoh Theta S, and then the step beyond that is just ridiculous, insane, $30,000, $100,000 cameras, and all that kinda stuff that's not even worth talking about, 'cause it's not a world I live in.



SE: G, I was pretty sure that you came from that world. I thought that was all the gear you had, is what you just listed off.



GG: I am on the periphery of that world. I work with a lot of people that work in that world, but I'm the guy that documents what they're doing. So I'm not using their stuff, I'm marketing what they make with that stuff.



SE: I got you. That's gonna be a a good segue. But before we get into some of the details on the marketing implications of VR, it sounds like there's a number of price points. So if somebody wants to get in at an entry level, it's not cost prohibitive any longer, but it is still some work to getting it done and doing something with a halfway decent quality. Is that fair? 



GG: Yeah. And I'll tell you that the lowest price point that you could as a marketer, get into with a decent camera and produce video that you could be proud of and present to a client, whether it's a employer or whether you're an agency or a contractor producing content for a client, the setup that I would recommend for anybody right now would be the Ricoh Theta S and Final Cut Pro X. You get those two because... The beautiful thing about the Ricoh Theta S, that video, it comes out of the camera ready to be stitched, and there is a free app from Ricoh that will take your video from the camera, stitch it together in a 360 video without you touching a button. And it does it remarkably well. And then you take that video out of that application from Ricoh, and you put it into Final Cut Pro, and you edit it like any normal video.



The work flow on that, you have one extra step more than what you would have on a standard video. But then everything in Final Cut Pro works the same way: Titling works the same way, colouring video; if you wanna add effects for plug-ins, that all stuff comes through. It's just like working in a standard video. It's just that when you're working on your desktop it's stretched out really really long and thin as you're working with the content, and you have to kinda know that when you're doing this stuff that a title doesn't need to stretch all the way across the video 'cause then it'll wrap around the head of the viewer. You wanna stick it in one small space, and you'll do a little bit of testing and figure out what works for you. But that is cost wise and learning a new work flow wise, that is by far the easiest way to get into it. And like I said, I can't imagine how good that stuff's gonna look in one or two more generations of these cameras. It's gonna be like having a GoPro 4 in 360. And I think that we will see those cameras within a year.



SE: Yeah, and I would guess that those cameras are gonna follow a similar trajectory as digital cameras have in recent years where they might be little bit rough out of the gate but they can get the job done. They get better in lower light, all of those things will come along in the next couple of generations.



GG: Without question, because a lot of that ground work's already been laid out for these people now.



SE: Alright, so it's fairly easy to do. We have no excuse for not digging in and playing with VR. And now is the time because, quite frankly, as Gio said at the beginning of the show, right now we have that novelty factor, and there's a lot of forgiveness if the quality isn't necessarily as high. So it's a good time to experiment, it's a good time to learn, and by the time people get a little bit more picky, you'll be a whole lot better at it.



GG: And the technology will catch up, without question. And you're gonna have clients that are gonna go in and understand that they're gonna pay you kinda your standard rate to do this kinda neat, fun, kind of interesting thing. And then you have clients that have six-figure budgets. And there's not a whole lot of in the middle with that. This is a novelty thing where the clients will accept what you give them because they're so enthralled with the neatness of picking up their phone and moving their phone around and seeing the video move with them, there's really no... Like I said, you're doing this for your local real estate company, or travel company, or a restaurant, or whatever, or club or whatever, or you're moving into huge clients like a Samsung or like an Austin City Limits or Lollapalooza, and in those situations, you're talking about, five-camera shoots, a staff of 20 people, producer on site, and you're talking about, like I said, six-figure income, or a six-figure budget, or you're talking about a few thousand bucks for something neat locally.



SE: So, good time to transition. Let's talk a little bit about some of the implications for marketers. You've got a couple of interesting use cases that you've talked about before, might wanna touch on those. But really why should marketers care about VR now? 



GG: And it's funny because it's like, all this stuff hitting the mainstream the way it is, and we saw a little bit of it last year, but this year VR is what action cameras were a few years ago, it's what drones were in the last couple of years. And it's almost like you look in the news and it's almost like people have forgotten about drones. It's all VR, VR, VR, VR now. From a marketing standpoint, with all the different examples that are out there, one of the biggest things that just blows people away, whether the content is absolutely gorgeous or not, is the fact that when you're experiencing it, even if you don't have a headset on, it feels immersive.



Because even if I'm holding up a Samsung phone or an iPhone, looking at a VR video through YouTube or through Facebook or something like that, people get... The fact that the expression on people's faces is priceless, and it's almost like I can't explain, I don't have a word for how to describe that sense of awe and that childlike kinda wonder of the magic that happens when someone takes a video, and no matter what they do with the phone, the phone is like a window into this world that they are peeking into. Now, you put the headset on, it's a whole different level. And you saw some of the video kinda testimonial case studies that I put together, where I've got people out in the middle of a crowd.



We put the headset and the headphones on them, and these were at live concerts where the band is 100 yards away from them. And we put the headset on, where the people are transported to the stage and they're on the stage with the band. And people completely lose their inhibitions. We had one woman that sat there, standing in the middle of this crowd of people wanting to see it for like 20 minutes, and we tried to take the headset off of her a couple of times, and she was like, "No, no, no, no. Don't take me... " And at one point, one of my favorite quotes is, "Don't take me off the stage."



And a quote like that tells you that psychologically she has positioned herself physically on the stage with the band. And we've got like 12 quotes like that, where people say things like, "Don't take me out of here." Not, "Don't take off the headsets," not, "Don't stop the video," "Don't make me leave this experience, or this environment that I'm in," and that's the goal, that immersive nature. And as a marketer, to be able to take somebody and transport them into a place like that, is something that marketers have been chasing after forever, for millenia. The immersive nature of the technology, obviously the impact that that has on people, because whenever, if you create the content correctly, people will remember whether it's a message, whether it's your brain being associated with somebody, whether you're marketing, whether you're in music or entertainment or something like that, and people are talking about what you've produced, the impact on that is much longer lasting.



And we've had situations where we're at music festivals, and we're doing this stuff, and we'll be at a two-weekend three-day each weekend, where the second weekend people come to us saying, "So-and-so told me about this, can I do it?" That's insane for a marketer to be able to have that kind of an impact where people are coming a week later and seeking you out because their friends told them about you. Obviously it's memorable, people hopefully, again, if you produce the content correctly, people are gonna remember what was happening during that experience so that your message is carried along with them. And then right now, and I tell you what, the train is leaving the station fast, but the novelty of this and the newness and the uniqueness and the fact that you can create something that lots and lots and lots of people have never experienced before, you can be the first one for lots people, you've got about a year, year-and-a-half to make that happen before these things are much...



'Cause when you're talking about a Samsung Gear VR, the headset's 99 bucks, and you've got everything else you need in your phone. And that experience, like the junkie little headphones that you get with your iPhones, audiophiles decry of what bad quality those are, those headphones are good enough for the vast majority of people that listen to music on their iPhone. The Samsung Gear at 99 bucks is going to be plenty good enough for the vast majority of people to experience this stuff, and you've got plenty of specials with carriers where someone goes and buys the Samsung phone, they're giving them the Gears for free. Of course they're rolling it into your contract over 47 years, but...



The access to this stuff is not a barrier anymore, and the stuff that's out there, and as some of these other companies start putting headsets out and we see what the price points are and the requirements are, I'll tell you right now, Samsung has absolutely nailed it. And it's not the best quality, but it is 90% of the way there for 10% of the cost, or less than 10% of the cost.



SE: Yeah, and this early in the game, that's huge.



GG: Critical. Absolutely critical. With Oculus finally releasing the headset and you looking at me... And I don't think people [chuckle] realize this with all the talk about the Oculus, there are less than 0.1% of the computers in the world can handle an Oculus right now. Not only you have to buy the headset, you've gotta go out and buy the desktop PC, and for heaven's sakes, the fact that the computer industry especially on the hardware side is still locked in to this model of using a desktop computer to power this stuff is beyond me. And again, that's where Samsung nailed it. You got a phone in your pocket, and that's where people like Samsung and Apple nail it with cameras. The camera on your phone is now better than most point-and-shoots. I think some estimates on getting into an Oculus and having the experience that you're supposed to have on a Oculus, if you have to buy a desktop that can do it, you're talking between $3,000 and $4,000 for the entire setup. Who has got that kinda money to be able to go out and buy a headset like that that currently has less than 100 games that work on it? It's nuts.



SE: Yeah, that's a pretty steep investment especially for something at this stage.



GG: And also because of the fact that I think that the way forward with VR, while gaming is gonna play an important part of that, almost every single industry, especially entertainment and music, and manufacturing, and healthcare, and auto... There's all kinds of companies out there, in their integration into the workforce and their products are gonna be able to use VR. So it's like we think of VR as being gaming, and that's gonna be a very small amount of what everybody is using VR for all the time, within say 10 years.



SE: Yeah, and gaming is usually one of those industries that's on the cutting edge of things like this, so it's I think normal that people would gravitate towards thinking about it in that context, but there are certainly a number of applications well beyond that and things that we're not even dreaming of yet that people are gonna come up with for VR.



GG: Absolutely, and that they already have.



SE: And for me the big takeaway, what I hope everybody listening to this who's a marketer was taking away from that is, as marketers, the number one resource that we want, the thing that we are going after the most is people's attention. And going back to your example of the things that people were saying as they were engaged in sitting on the stage virtually with the band and saying, "Don't take me outta here, don't take me off the stage," when somebody is in that world you have 100% of their attention during that time.



GG: Absolutely. And like with BigLook VR, they take their setup out to live sporting events like basketball games and stuff like that, and they put cameras on either side of the court, and then they have people walk through the audience with the VR headsets to give people a perspective of what it's like to be on the court. And it's the same thing, you've got people who have paid a ticket to go to the arena to watch the game live, and they get transformed into this virtual reality, and they don't wanna give up the headset. Those guys at BigLook, these guys have being doing this for well over a decade. You look at their website and they've got stuff back to the mid 90s that they've been producing VR content.



It was ugly back then but the stuff they're doing... He does stuff where he does tours of cars and stuff, and that's why when I kinda look at all the stuff that's in the news and then I look at folks that are doing the production work like those guys, and there's a bunch of really big name production companies out there too, the vast majority of the production work are things for non-profits. The New York Times, they sent out a million cardboard headsets one Sunday, and they've got a team now that produces news stories in virtual reality now.



And it's amazing. One of the biggest pieces they had that got most of the press was a piece where they actually took you through what it's like to be a Syrian refugee, and they put a VR camera in the refugee camp on the middle of a road walking, trying to find a way to the border, trying to stand in line for food. One experience is this kid who left Syria to get away from the war, and then when they came back a year later, their entire neighborhood is completely destroyed. For the news, especially for that kind of journalism, trying to get the readers or the content consumers feel empathy for the subject matter and to get lost in the content, holy cow! That's an amazing way to do it.



SE: Yeah, it's a phenomenal way to immerse people in that experience.



GG: And so the New York Times has got lots of news stories up now that are shot in VR. They give you a whole different, obviously, no pun intended, different perspective on learning about what's happening in the world around you.



SE: Alright, guys, it is time to start thinking about VR, it is time to start playing with VR. For people that want to learn a little bit more, do you have any recommendations on resources, places that people should be looking into that can help them at least get off the ground and get running? 



GG: I've got four websites that are my Mashable and TechCrunches. [chuckle] You've got news websites that you go to every single day to see what's happening in the world. The four ones that I go to in the VR space, there's a website called There's one called There's So those are... All three of those are basically reviews in what's happening in the world of virtual reality. Half of it's gaming news but they cover everything in the VR space. The YouTube of virtual reality is a website called Vrideo,, that's where you're gonna find most of the new upcoming content, see how people are producing content for VR. Think of it as early days YouTube. There's a lot of garbage up there, but there's also a lot of cool content. And along those lines, YouTube has a VR showcase also. If you go to YouTube and just search for VR video or 360 video, they've got a channel where they curate a lot of stuff. And I'm not sure why. I don't think they have a friendly URL to it except this crazy long concatenated list of 20 characters after the URL.



And the Road to VR, Upload, the VR Scout, you can kinda learn a little bit about that. There's not a whole lot of tutorials. On these inexpensive entry level cameras, there's not a ton to learn about. If you're gonna get into the stitching and you're gonna get into the GoPro setups where I think marketers at the next level up that really wanna dive into is gonna get there the, without question, absolute best place to go to to start and learn about stitching footage together to make that spherical image, the website's called Wistia,, and if you go there, just search for "how to stitch GoPro footage."



And they have a blog post that takes you from the very start to the very finish. They talk about hardware, they talk about the software you need. And for the software, there's two main players outside of Final Cut Pro that are 360 video editors you need to jump onboard with. They're both about a thousand bucks each. So you pick one or the other. They're both equally good, almost. But those guys will tell... And their experience at Wistia was, "Never done it before, this has been our experience." And the video they produce at the end is a beautiful, really well-stitched together video.



So that's a great place to go to, but I'll send you these links so you can stick 'em in the show notes but those are the places I go to. And then any place that you get your regular news from like a Mashable or like a TechCrunch or VentureBeat, whatever, what I have in my bookmark bars, I just do a search for "virtual reality", and that search page comes up, I save that to my book bar, so I've just got a place to look for VR content every morning to see what the main news sites are talking about also.



SE: Okay. I appreciate that, Gio. That's a wealth of places to go look for information, and we will definitely link all of that stuff up in the show notes. FYI for the audience and for you, Gio, one of the things I'm experimenting with, this isn't VR, but during the recording of the podcast I'm actually live on Periscope and having people ask questions if they have any VR questions or whatever the topic of the day may happen to be. This is a little experiment for me. I've got one question that came in from Mike in Toronto, and he wanted to know if you see the use for VR in marketing for things like e-commerce stores.



GG: The challenge with that is that kinda moving into a touchscreen kind of environment. Now, that exists in a hybrid solution. So you can go into some malls and they're very sparse, you'd have to go on the net and find out where they are, but you certainly can go into a store and, especially with women's fashion, and select the kind of dress that you like or a blouse or pants or whatever, go over to a big LCD screen that's got a camera on it, scan the tag on that dress, and that screen will then show you what you will look like in that piece of clothing. That's more augmented reality than virtual reality. Certainly, someone smarter than me is gonna come up with some way to implement it.



Those types of solutions though, when you've gotta sit back and think about, "Okay, e-commerce, how do I fit VR into that?" certainly, there's gonna be solutions for that later on. However, there are so many other ways to use VR that is just naturally compelling, that naturally fit together, but you're not gonna hear a whole lot about that. And honestly, the world that I live in is music and television, movies and stuff like that, so all my content, or all my thought process, is kinda focused on producing live video versions of VR and 360 video and stuff like that. Like I said, I guarantee you that somebody somewhere is gonna come up with a way to integrate a live shopping experience from your home with a VR experience so that you can do the same thing you can do in the mall, you can do that at your house as well, I would assume.



SE: Yeah, I can almost already picture, especially some of the higher end boutique type stores, enabling you to come in and through virtual reality, walk through the store, find things you like, maybe put them on hold, in near real time without ever leaving your home. We're stretching it but that would be certainly an interesting and fun use for it.



GG: And the implementation is, I send them a picture of my face and I give them a front and left and right profile of my face. I send them my measurements, and they build me out on their website, and you start clicking through clothing. And as you click through clothing, if I've sent them my real body proportions, then they should be able to create a model that looks remarkably close to me and to show me what these clothes will look like and to size me properly in the whole bid. So I think that there is use cases that make that make sense. The issue is bringing all that stuff together in that real time CG modelling of a person's body type so that you get it accurate, because initially you're gonna have some people that are probably gonna fib on their measurements [chuckle] and not be happy with the results.



SE: I don't know anybody that would do such a thing. No.



GG: I would not. I know that the VR-me is a lot healthier than the real me. I'll take that right now.


SE: You and me both, bother.



GG: And he is smoking hot.



SE: Alright. And sitting on the beach somewhere, I'm [31:12] ____.



GG: Absolutely. Absolutely.



SE: All right, well, Gio, thank you very much. This was a phenomenal brain-dump on VR. I think it's a great introduction for anybody that's exploring it but is just trying to figure out where to get started or where to learn a little bit more. Really appreciate your time today. If people want to connect with you to see the stuff that you are doing, where's the best place for them to do that? 



GG: My website is, or you can just follow my high jinks on Twitter @giovanni.



SE: All right, and as always, I am @vsellis everywhere on the web, including Periscope, except not on Snapchat. That's vsellis1 so if you happen to be tuning in there. As always, if you have any questions, you can ask them on Facebook, on Twitter, on wherever you want. Just make sure you use the hashtag asktechtrans, and we will do our best to get your questions answered on the show, and we will talk to you guys next week.

Images As Content And Understanding Usage Rights

Scott Ellis was kind enough to ask me to chat with him about image optimization on a recent episode of's Technology Translated podcast.

I try to be generous when it comes to sharing my knowledge, and I’ve been teaching about image usage and optimization since 2008.

I’m a social media consultant and practitioner, videographer, and photographer who has a knack for pushing the boundaries of SEO. I stay on the “light side” of SEO, but by pushing the edges am able to find opportunities and gain an advantages that most people don’t know about.

Let’s dig in…

In this 45 minute episode of Technology Translated Scott Ellis interviews me about:

  • The importance of images in your content
  • The image as content
  • Image SEO and EXIF Data
  • Where you can find images you can use on your site
  • Image usage rights
  • Audience Q&A
  • Above all else… what’s most important
  • What constitutes Fair Use?
  • DPI Standards

Listen to Technology Translated below …

Technology Translated is brought to you by the Rainmaker Platform, the complete website solution for content marketers and online entrepreneurs. Find out more and take a free 14-day test drive at

Giovanni Gallucci on Images as Content and Understanding Usage Rights

Voiceover: This is Rainmaker.FM, the digital marketing podcast network. It’s built on the Rainmaker Platform, which empowers you to build your own digital marketing and sales platform. Start your free 14-day trial at


Scott Ellis: Welcome to the first full episode of Technology Translated. I’m your host Scott Ellis. My guest today is Giovanni Gallucci. Many of you may already know Gio if you’ve ever run into him online. He is frequently out speaking on topics around social media. He has taken a little hiatus and then recently come back.


We all know the importance of images, embedding them on our blog post, using them in social media posts, and the things that we share because they draw more attention. Gio’s going to help us get into some really good, nitty-gritty details on better image optimization, on better image SEO, on the usage rights of images.


This is something that I want you guys to pay very close attention to because I know some of you out there will still go out to Google, grab an image that you want to use, and stick it on your site. Got to stop doing that, guys, and we’re going to tell you why. Not just because it’s bad or it’s wrong, but what are the other implications behind that?


Without further ado, let’s get into it with Giovanni Gallucci.


Scott Ellis: This is the first episode of Technology Translated. Our whole goal here, Gio, is to make this as easy as possible for non-techies.


Giovanni Gallucci: That’s what I’m here for, sir.


Scott Ellis: We are going, today, to talk about images on your website.


Giovanni Gallucci: Can we first spend about 30 minutes talking about me?


Scott Ellis: Sure. Why don’t we talk about you? I was actually going to cue that up first.


Giovanni Gallucci: Jump cut in the audio world — I don’t know what that would be called. Okay, now to the interview.


Scott Ellis: Okay, so now I’m really going to start talking about you. Images on the web is a topic that I am very passionate about because it’s something I see a lot of people do very badly. I think it’s just because they don’t understand. Back in, I want to say 2008, 2009, when I first really started paying attention to how I was using images in my web content, I heard a great talk from a guy named Giovanni at a WordCamp.


Giovanni Gallucci: He sounds incredibly handsome.


Scott Ellis: He is, and he’s so smart. He kind of opened my eyes to a lot of things around image SEO, how images are used on your website, and all that good stuff. Do you remember that talk?


Giovanni Gallucci: I do remember that talk. I gave it about 64 times.


Scott Ellis: Well, it was a good one. I think a lot of people learned a lot from it, so today, we’re going to relive some of that and share our knowledge with the audience out there. The first thing I want to talk about is just the use of images. I think by now most people understand that images are important. They draw attention. But how important is it really to include images with your content?


The Importance of Images in Your Content


Giovanni Gallucci: I would even take it a step further and consider, not just using images with your content, but whether or not images should be the primary source of your content as opposed to creating lots of text-based content that happens to be accentuated with imagery or videos.


I’ve got one client that I’ve been working with for about three years now. Actually, I’ll back up. I’ll say about two years. They had no footprint in the United States when they started here. We’ve launched social media for them for a brand that didn’t exist, and it has been probably 80 percent nothing but pure imagery — 70 percent original content, 30 percent content curated from our fan base. The brand is as strong as I could ever of dreamed it being.


Now, the brand has got a really high-quality product. We were able to communicate the kind of a brand that we want to communicate to the audience through imagery so much more effectively than we could by trying to write blog posts and trying to interest people that way.


The short answer is extremely important, and the extended answer is could you possibly consider building a brand primarily with all images as opposed to the old days where it was you’re writing blog posts, and then somebody woke up and said, “Hey, if you throw an image on top of that, more people will look at it.”


Scott Ellis: That’s interesting, and that dovetails nicely with a lot of what we’re seeing right now with the rise of popularity of things like Pinterest and Instagram. The visual marketing of image heavy marketing is really taken off big time all of a sudden.


The Image as Content


Giovanni Gallucci: That’s where we’re strongest with this brand. It’s Pinterest and Instagram. We essentially pay attention to Facebook just because you can’t afford not to be there, but we really don’t put any energy into that audience. A lot of that’s because of what they do to the algorithm there. I’m just not going to put energy into any platform where, organically, all I can do is reach six percent of the audience that has opted into my communications. That’s a personal decision of mine, and probably a terrible one from a business standpoint, but so be it.


Then Twitter, Twitter is great for imagery as well, but Instagram and Pinterest is where we’re just completely on fire. Like I said, it’s so much easier, at least for me as a creative, to communicate a lifestyle and communicate a theme and a storyline through imagery. I hate writing, and I don’t like my writings. These are not business decisions. These are I’m just lazy and don’t like to write.


Scott Ellis: I think a lot of people are like that though, right? They don’t really want to take the time. It’s worth it to me to take the time to do a lot of writing, but a lot of people don’t want to, and they need other options to explore.


Giovanni Gallucci: Absolutely. If you’ve got the skills yourself or available on your team, then you should absolutely take advantage of them. It’s funny because doing things through imagery, it’s not that it takes less time.


For me, it takes less effort because it’s more natural for me to go and do photography and video. It’s more of a chore, if I want to use that kind of word, for me to sit down and write something that I think is as effective as taking a shot from say a stage, and you’ve got 30,000 people in an audience that are cheering on a band. That, to me, speaks to a lifestyle in a way that I never could write and communicate for a brand.


Scott Ellis: For everybody that doesn’t already know, Gio does a tremendous amount of photography and videography, and you can find a lot of that at LiveLoudTexas.


Giovanni Gallucci: Yes. I’ve tricked companies into paying me.


Scott Ellis: Imagine that. It’s because you’re a smart, handsome guy.


Giovanni Gallucci: I’ll take that.

Scott Ellis: What is the proper domain name? I want to make sure I get this right.


Giovanni Gallucci: It’s


Scott Ellis: Okay. That brings us into the conversation about image SEO, which was something that was really what I was learning when you were first giving the first of your 64 talks on that. Well, first of all, let’s talk a little but just about the important things to do from an image SEO standpoint. How different is it now than it was seven years ago?


Image SEO and EXIF Data


Giovanni Gallucci: The nice thing is that the image SEO on the files is the exact same as it’s always been. I will pull back the kimono here and be completely honest. Whenever I was a lot heavier into the technical side of SEO – today, I do more communications and creative stuff — but back in the day when I did more programming and technical SEO, I discovered the things that I taught at that talk because I tended to play on the fringes of gray and black hat SEO. I was very aggressive about looking for ways to be one step ahead of the general SEO expert so that I could get my clients above them in the search rankings.


Even back then, SEO was so well-known and so many people were doing it that you could do all the best practices in the world and still make no headway. You had to find ways to step outside the normal frame of thinking and figure out ways that you could … I’ll be honest. I bumped right up against black hat SEO, but I would always make sure that the stuff that I did, did not infringe upon the terms of service for the services that were worked on. I tell you what, I definitely broke the spirit of a lot of the rules, if not the rules themselves. That’s where image SEO comes in, too.


When I started moving away from the technical aspect of SEO and started doing more creative stuff, I was looking at when I was editing images in Lightroom and Apple Aperture and Photoshop. I noticed that all the EXIF, or the metadata was associated with these files. At that time, I didn’t know what the search engines read and what they didn’t read, so I started doing tests.


I would go in, and the basic way I do a test is this. I will go to Google, and I’ll put in a nine- or 10-character string of random characters that returns back no search results in Google. I will then take that character set, and I will put it inside of whatever I’m testing and then wait for a few days and see if that shows up in Google.


Scott Ellis: Okay, question. You’re putting that into one of the metadata fields?


Giovanni Gallucci: Yeah. You can put it in the title. You can put it in the description. You can put anywhere inside that file. This isn’t limited to imagery. This is limited to if it’s a PDF file, if it’s a video file. Any kind of file you put on the Internet, if you want to identify what parts of the file that Google will search and actually catalog and use as an element to return back in search results. You find something that you can search in on Google that returns zero search results. Then you add that to your content. Then you wait a few days.


Back in the day, you used to have to wait two or three weeks. Today, sometimes, especially if you take an image and post it to Google+, it will show up within an hour inside the Google database. It’s a lot easier to test now.


Back then with the images, sense I started posting more images on behalf of clients, I would start doing those tests, and I found out that every single thing inside that EXIF data, which is essentially metadata inside those images, every single one of those, somewhere Google was picking it up. It was registering as an element inside the search results and the algorithm to show up. It wasn’t the case that I was thinking.


I felt like I was onto something new, but I didn’t think that it would give me that big of an advantage because, from the standpoint of having someone go from a search result and finding a picture to going to a call to action page or something like that, they still had to click into somewhere to get to that spot. But what it allowed me to do — and this was the biggest part of that — it allowed me to push other people outside the search results.


There’s many different ways to play the search game, and one is offensively. You’re going out there and trying to rank the best you can. Number two is defensively, making sure you don’t make mistakes, so you don’t get kicked out of the search engines. Number three where you can play dirty. It is a tough world out there. No one’s going to give you the search results for free. We’re not talking about whether or not we’re going to heaven or hell. We’re not breaking any laws.


We’re talking about you look at those rules, the rules are in place, and if you follow the ‘rule of law’ for the terms of services for one of these sites, you look for every opportunity you can to break the algorithm and break the spirit of the rule. I have never, ever had a situation where I’ve had a client or myself banned from a site because I broke the spirit. I’ve been banned from a site for breaking the rules, several times on tests that I was pulling to see how far I could go. Never, ever had a client put in jeopardy because I found a loophole in the system. In this day and age, you’ve got to find a loophole.


To bring us back to EXIF data, what that allows you to do, it allows you to get more brand impressions inside of Google. Especially today, when Google is looking at social status and engagement as a way to integrate into their search algorithm, the more images I can have show up in social media that have my brand name and hyperlinks in them, the better off I am in the algorithm. Make no mistake, those hyperlinks inside the EXIF data are hotlines as far as Google is concerned.


Scott Ellis: This podcast is called Technology Translated, and we’ve gotten reasonably technical with respect to editing EXIF data.

Giovanni Gallucci: I’ve got to go, I’m done. I think I’m in the wrong room.


Scott Ellis: Do you? No, you’re in the right place. You’re not going anywhere. What do you recommend as an application for people who are actually wanting to go in and edit that EXIF data? Before you go into that, let’s reiterate exactly what the EXIF data is.


Giovanni Gallucci: EXIF is a fancy word for, or acronym, I don’t even know what it means. It’s the title. It’s the description. It’s the location. It’s keywords. I look through Aperture, before Apple demoted Aperture, there were over 10 different complete info screens full of a couple of dozen different elements that you can fill in that are text-based elements. The reason why there’s so many is that there’s so many standards for you to cover them all. There’s a lot of repeating of information.


They’ll have one thing you can fill in called a ‘description,’ and another thing called a ‘caption.’ You have to fill both of them in because Flickr will pick one up. Facebook will pick up a different one. Google+ will pick up a different one. You’ve got to go and do your tests and figure out what’s required and what’s not required.


There’s categories, tags, and keywords. Why there’s three different ones I don’t know, but you put the same stuff in all three of them. Because, depending on what’s reading it, they have a different element or name for each of those one of those types of things. My brother used to think he was so smart because he would say, “Metadata is data about data,” and he would laugh like a nerd. That’s what EXIF is. EXIF is information about the information around the image.


Scott Ellis: Right. For anybody that’s head is still spinning a bit, this is basically information that is literally embedded in the image. You would look at 100 images and never know it’s there. It’s not something that shows up. You have to have a special application of some kind to open the image in, and then it will show you what that embedded information is. That’s typically a part of every image that’s out there. What application do you use to edit the EXIF data?


Giovanni Gallucci: Today, I use Lightroom, primarily. Apple, again, we’re talking in a time when Apple has depreciated Aperture, which was what I’ve used for years ever since they launched it. I moved over to Lightroom. They’ve just now come out with Photos. They used to have an app called iPhoto that came with the operating system. It still works if you have it.


When you click on an image on any image editing application you have, there’s always a place where you can get access to what they call ‘info.’ When you click on the info menu anywhere and you look at the preferences, those preferences that pop down are all editable, and they’re available for you to either add to them, change them, edit them, delete them — whatever you want to do.


Whether you’re in Photoshop, and I’m making a huge leap, but I cannot imagine they wouldn’t have it in Photos in the new Apple application. Any respectable and even amateur pro editing application is going to have some access to that stuff. Especially at the level of folks that are listening to this, my assumption would be that if you’re using a basic windows editing application, Photoshop Lite. What are they calling the lite version of Photoshop now?


Scott Ellis: I don’t remember.


Giovanni Gallucci: Any of those you’re using, whenever you click on info and it asks you to give it a title, a description, a caption, that kind of stuff, you’re editing EXIF data now. Depending upon what application you’re using, you will have more or less access to that.


Scott Ellis: My next question is on the image information that people can already see. The obvious things, the file name, for example, what recommendations do you have there? One of the things that really drives me insane is when I go to work on a client’s website and all their images are called IMG_007.jpg. We know that, that is not really a good practice. What do you recommend?


Naming Image Files


Giovanni Gallucci: What I do, and it’s weird whenever you have these conversations, cause a lot of the stuff, I’m sure when you’re programming, there’s a lot of things that you do that have become second nature and are part of your DNA now. You don’t even think about being good practices and being something that you have to step outside of yourself and think about doing it. When you say that, the first thing I think is, “What do you mean what do I do?” — and now I realize what it is.


On the Mac, and I’ll give you links to these applications if I’m butchering the names, there’s an application, I think it’s called Photo Rename or File Rename. It’s basically a script or a snippet of code. I do music photography. I do live events, experiential stuff, so everything I’m doing is associated with an event or a brand. What I’ll do is whenever I go and shoot a three-day festival or something like that, when I come back, I may have anywhere from 500 to a couple of thousand images. I take all those pictures and put them inside of a folder on my computer. I name that folder the name of the event.


Let’s say it’s Lalapalooza. I’ll name it Lalapalooza. Then I click on that folder, I drag it to an icon on my desktop, and I let go of it. That application goes inside that folder, renames every single file with the name of the folder and then a date time stamp. It’s all unique names.


Scott Ellis: You just made my day. I need that application.


Giovanni Gallucci: I used to go back and do my editing, and then go back from an SEO perspective and hand rename all this stuff. It’s funny when you ask that, I’m like, “The very first thing I do before I touch anything is the file renaming.” I don’t even think about it anymore. It’s just part of my workflow. I come in, I put my card in the computer, I go to my external drive that has all of my photos on it, I name the event, drop the photos in there, drag the folder onto there — boom, and I walk away.


If you’ve got 2,000 images, it will take a minute and a half to rename them all, but you come back and you don’t even have to worry about saying, “Lollapalooza 2013, Lollapalooza 2014.” It’s got a time date stamp, so organizationally, I can have 10,000 images from one event, and they’re all time stamped. I don’t have to have multiple folders for the same event over different times. That’s a nice time saver. That’s the first thing you do.


You’ve also got an application, made by the same company, that will batch copy a set of EXIF data for you, so for that type of event, you can go in and specify “Austin, Texas. These are the sponsors. These are the artists inside this batch.” Again, whenever I’m shooting at events like this, if I’m shooting a particular artist around a certain event, all those pictures are together. It may be 300 pictures in a block, so I select them all and drag them over to this application. It inserts the proper EXIF data with artist information, relevant hash tags around the events, and relevant brands.


Scott Ellis: Are you adding the artist’s name as well to the file?


Giovanni Gallucci: If the artist allows, absolutely. For South by Southwest this year down in Austin, there was an event with Iggy Azalea sponsored by Samsung. I hope I’m right. I was free to use her name through all our stuff. Samsung encouraged that we use the name Samsung. In my situation, typically what I’m doing is I’m shooting and posting live while the event is happening. They’re handing us hash tags they want us to use to promote what they’re doing.


Iggy certainly wants to be associated with South by Southwest and with Samsung, so that stuff works really well. Whether it’s hash tags, rights, naming rights, any of that kind of stuff — anything that you get approval for that is going to lift your brand up, you always attach those complimentary brands to the images that you’re posting.


Scott Ellis: To circle back on the image-naming piece and kind of round that out, the real question, ultimately, is how far do I go with naming the files themselves? I could end up with file names that are more like a sentence than a file name.


Giovanni Gallucci: I limit them to pick the primary element I’m promoting, and that’s it. I have a general rule that nothing that I put on the web anywhere is causing itself to compete with other things to the extent that you basically cannibalize your own efforts. Maximum I will ever promote, whether it be a keyword, a hashtag, some kind of event, is three items period. Those three items have to be completely different. I was trying to think of a super smart word.


Scott Ellis: We don’t like big words around here.


Giovanni Gallucci: Disparate. They have to be different from each other. I wouldn’t go out and promote a vodka and a tequila in the same post even though they were completely different companies. I would promote a vodka, an artist, and the name of a venue. That’s what I would do. You’ve got to really think about the fact that you don’t want to be hitting your head up against the wall by sending a mixed message to the search engines and, in turn, to users.


Scott Ellis: You might rename a file ‘Iggy Azalea South by Southwest,’ but you’d put both of those elements in there, the artist name and the event name.


Giovanni Gallucci: In the file name, yeah.


Scott Ellis: There you go. That’s some good advice.


Giovanni Gallucci: I could have answered that in four words, sorry.


Scott Ellis: The power of the editor.


Giovanni Gallucci: Six minutes later.


Scott Ellis: That’s okay. It’s a good conversation. Now I want to get into a really big topic around images, and that is usage and rights. I hear this question from clients all the time. The hardest thing for me to get from them typically is content and imagery. I would say 50 percent of the time they are going to ask me, “Can’t we just go grab some images off of Google?”


Now, you and I know what the problems here are, but this question still crops up all the time. I want to help everybody who’s listening to really understand why you just can’t go grab images off of Google.


Image Usage Rights


Giovanni Gallucci: Let’s start with the pain first. Here is the cold, hard fact. If you use an image and it doesn’t belong to you, I don’t care what the circumstance is, if you use an image and it does not belong to you, whether it’s on Twitter, on a T-shirt, or on your website, every single instance of that misuse carries a fine of $7,500 with it.


You do the math. The answer is super simple. Is that picture worth $7,500 to you, or not? Chances are, and I’ll tell you right now, chances are you won’t get caught. When you do, there is no defense for it. It is theft, period.


There are different types of usage out there. Everything I put up on the web is under a non-commercial creative commons license. Anybody in the world is free to go out — I have gone back and forth on this. I don’t think I will ever put a watermark on any of my images again. I think it mucks up the picture. The reason why you put watermarks on pictures is to “try to keep people from stealing it from you.” They’re going to take it. They’re going to crop it and take it. The nice thing about the watermark, though, is that adds $12,000 onto the penalty, onto the $7,500.


If you have an image that’s watermarked, if you take a watermark off, or if you take identifying information off of an image, that’s an additional $12,000 per instance.


Scott Ellis: That stock photo you find on Google that you really like and it’s got the watermark from the company that’s selling it.


Giovanni Gallucci: In the bottom right-hand corner that’s easy to take off.


Scott Ellis: Or it’s in the middle, but you’re like, “I can probably erase that in Photoshop pretty easily,” that’s a $12,000 fine?


Giovanni Gallucci: That’s a $12,000 edit.


Scott Ellis: Ouch.


Giovanni Gallucci: It’s tough when clients come to you and ask you about that kind of stuff because your role is to facilitate and to make things easy for them. Especially guys like you and me, I think that we get paid well for what we do, but we certainly don’t get paid agency prices where we’re paying for four people in the background that nobody sees, right? Our blended rates are much more reasonable, and people come to us because of that.


When they come to you and say, “Can’t you just take a picture?,” it’s usually because they have budgetary constraints. That’s their problem, not yours. The way that I — and it’s not even a push-back. It’s just here’s the situation. “It’s going to be on your website. I won’t go out and find them because I’m not going to be held liable for it because I don’t want to be a party to that, and I don’t want to put myself at that risk. If you present me with images to use, that’s your call because I’m a contractor, but here’s the ramifications.”


I go through monetarily what the ramifications are, and then I say, “But the bigger price is going to be reputation.” There’s one website called All this guy does, he has got a white hot passion for people who steal photos from photographers. He does nothing but spends all his time calling people out. It is brutal. He tears companies down. Ironically, wedding photographers are the absolute worst about it. They’ll go and take images from some other photographer and represent them as their own.


Scott Ellis: You’re kidding me.


Giovanni Gallucci: Oh my god. They do it all the time. Go look at You will waste six hours going through that site being aghast and laughing at the same time. When they come to you and ask, the easiest answer is straight up, “It’s theft. We can’t do that. Two, if you’re going to go ahead and do that, I’m not going to do it. If you present me with images to use, that’s your decision. This is what it’s going to cost you if you get caught.” And leave it at that.


Scott Ellis: Everybody out there that wants to take images off of Google or if your clients are asking you to do that, be aware. You are very liable for doing so. That said, not everybody’s going to go out and shoot their own pictures for every time they need an image. We want to queue up a couple of options for people.


Where You Can Find Images You Can Use on Your Site


Scott Ellis: Obviously, you can go out to any number of stock photography sites. Some of them are better than others. In general, to me, stock photography just looks all the same, and it’s incredibly boring. On the other hand, and this is something I learned about from you back in the day, was the creative commons license. Now, all of my images, everything I put out there I do the same thing. It is all free for anybody to use, all I want is credit back that I made the image and a link back to my site.


Giovanni Gallucci: Here’s the thing. There’s two things that are nice about that. Number one, 99.9 percent of the people out there aren’t smart enough to go in and look at your EXIF data to see what’s in there. Part of the benefit of utilizing that and putting your copyright information in there and stuff like that is that, if someone steals your stuff and uses it commercially, Google’s crawling that image and that data, and you’re still getting credit back for having an image on a separate website. That’s number one, and it’s going to be very rare that someone’s going to go in there and even notice that that data’s in there. That’s number one.


Number two, the nice thing about that is that, if someone goes in there and changes EXIF data, it’s the same penalty as if they took off a watermark. You cannot change ownership information on a file. On the creative commons side, you’d be really surprised at the kind of quality you can find these days. If you look at, super high-quality stuff. There’s not as much creative commons on there. The photographers on there sell their stuff. If you’ve got something for web usage, you can get a nice hero shot for maybe $25, $50. Even to someone who’s got a company now, sometimes people will balk at $50 per picture. The perceived value of photography has gone through the basement these days.


Cameras are everywhere. I love the democratization of photography because there’s a lot of people that have bonafide skills that, in the past, couldn’t afford the equipment. Now, they can exercise that creativity. You can find plenty of creative commons stuff that can be used commercially on Flickr.


The other thing that I’ll tell you that I do with my clients — I have to be fair and honest about the fact that the clients I tend to work with, whether they’re beverage brands or whatever kind of brands they are, they’re always associated with music, TV, and entertainment, so it’s easy for me to get high-energy stuff from the community.


But one of the things that I do all the time is I’ll find an image on Instagram that I like, and I send a note to the person saying, “Hey, I work with this brand, and saw you got a picture of the brand, would you mind if we used it?”


I have never, ever been turned down. It’s just giving someone the courtesy of asking them before you use it. Number two, making sure that you do it in an email, so you’ve got a paper trail. Depending on the situation, I can’t imagine being declined. If someone declined and wants money, I’d say, “Sorry, I don’t have it. I’m just asking for permission.”


A lot of photographers get worked up and PO’d because, “How dare you ask for my photography and not want to pay me.” They can have that battle. I could care less. While I am a social media marketer, 60, 70 percent of my livelihood is based on creative elements. I could care less. I basically charge by the hour. It’s a different model than what most creatives do.


I used to be a programmer, and that’s how I think. If I’ve got 100,000 images that have been stolen, I’ve got 100,000 images with metadata that point back to my website on the Internet. I’m totally cool with that. I’ve got other things to worry about than to try to fight those battles about getting into contests about whether or not the usage is proper or not.


Scott Ellis: There are actually several sites out there. You mentioned Flickr and 500px. There’s a few others. We’ll put some links in the show notes to different sites that have images that are licensed under the creative commons. You have to be sure to do the creative commons search. Not just every image out there is necessarily a CC image.


Giovanni Gallucci: There are several different creative commons licenses.


Scott Ellis: And there are different licenses. We’ll add some show notes to that to help you guys out in finding images for your blog posts.


Giovanni Gallucci: I just want to be clear that my licenses don’t allow for commercial use in the license itself. What I’ll do is, periodically, I will go four times a year and look on Flickr and on Instagram and find my images that have the most likes on the most engagement. Then I’ll go do an image search on Google for those, and they’ll pop up on five or six different websites. If any of those sites are commercial-based or if they’re advertising driven, I’ll send them a note saying, “Hey, you’re not adhering to the license.”


If it’s blatantly commercial, I’ll send an invoice with it for $150, which is reasonable. It’s the going rate for stock photography. Half the times I just get a check in the mail. The other half the times they hem and haw, and I have them take the photo down. But it’s a little bit of mailbox money, and I can generate $2,000 to $3,000 four times a year by just doing some Google searches and sending out invoices unrequested.


Those people know that they’re wrong, and their two options are either to pay the fee … and I send very nice letters. It’s like, “Hey, you’re using this. It’s not licensed. My stock fee is $150. Here’s an invoice. If you don’t want to pay the invoice, I understand. Please remove the image from your site.” It’s totally cordial. I’ve never had anybody ignore the letters.


Scott Ellis: That’s a great little tip for somebody that has a lot of photography out there and wants to make some money off of it. It is surprisingly easy to find out if somebody else is using your image. If people don’t know, there’s Google image search. You can literally drag an image into the search bar. It will search for that image elsewhere on Google.


Giovanni Gallucci: It will flip it upside down, and backwards, and search for it black and white. It will find all kinds of permutations of your image.


Scott Ellis: You’ll just be able to click on them and see who’s using your stuff. I have caught several people using some of my Michigan dock photography that have just grabbed it and used it. I typically write to them and say, the same thing — I’ve never sent anybody an invoice — but I say, “Hey, this was licensed under the creative commons, at the very least, you need to link back or take it down.” They usually link back.


Giovanni Gallucci: I’m surprised how many people pay the invoice. To be honest, the reason why I started to send the invoice is that it was a negotiation tactic. What I really wanted was either the credit or the image taken down. You send something that’s a terrible solution so that they think you’re compromising with what you really want. What I found out is that, half the time, they just pay the invoice and leave the image up.


Scott Ellis: All the sudden there’s a couple grand in the mailbox. Daddy’s got a new computer.


Giovanni Gallucci: Funding the laptops.


Audience Q&A


Scott Ellis: All right. As a part of every show, we’re going to ask the audience for questions, and we’ve got a few that have come in for Gio about images. We’re going to just jump into this. Gio does not know what these questions are. We’re going to put you on the spot. Hope you’re okay with that.


Giovanni Gallucci: I’m super excited about this.


Scott Ellis: On Google+, Lisa Robertson asks about images. She says, “John says they each need four keyword centric things, a title tag, alt tag, file name, and something else. I always forget the fourth, so what is it?” Anything else from an image SEO standpoint, that really needs to be there?


Giovanni Gallucci: Keywords inside the metadata certainly help. The keywords need to be focused on what that page is about. It’s really critical. Whenever I start showing people, opening up that metadata editor inside the image apps, people’s eyes get big and they think about the stuff.


The first thing you have to caution with is this stuff’s like heroin. You’ve got to be careful about not going and overdoing this stuff. You can literally add 1000 words to a description if you want to that will never be seen by the human eye. It’s only information that’s stored in the file that search engines and bots crawl and read.


It’s super critical that the description and keywords describe what’s in the picture accurately and that they describe the elements that are on the page accurately. For Lisa’s question, I could go through all kinds of things. For me, geography is super critical. All of the events I am doing are regional or local events, and that’s a huge element in the search.


Scott Ellis: Local search in general is a big deal.


Giovanni Gallucci: For me, the GPS data, the latitude and longitude is critical. I would just say that anything that you can add to that image — again, this is like any other SEO best practice. Do not spam. Do not go overboard. Be respectful of the craft, and put in a description that’s three or four sentences long. Put in a caption that is seven to 10 words long.


Scott Ellis: No keyword stuffing, please.


Giovanni Gallucci: No stuffing. It’ll end up biting you just like it bites you whenever you stuff it into a blog post.


Scott Ellis: There you go, Lisa. Your fourth answer was metadata. Start adding it in.


Giovanni Gallucci: Keywords.


Scott Ellis: How important are alt tags, really? From an SEO standpoint?


Giovanni Gallucci: From an SEO perspective, not at all. They have no impact. They may have 0.0001 percent. Alt tags are important for accessibility. I will say that accessibility is important for SEO. From a tertiary standpoint, Google is going to like you and the search engines are going to like you more by having alt tags that are descriptive. Stuffing keywords in them benefit you not at all.


Scott Ellis: Title tags same thing?


Giovanni Gallucci: Same thing. Title tag is something that may or may not display up in a search result. It’s not going to have a big enough impact. This is for images. Title tags on an individual page are still the most important element to have. On images themselves, this is one of those things that there’s not a single thing that if anybody says, “Is it better to do black and white, or color images?” That is in a bucket of stew that has 840 ingredients in it.


Above All Else … What’s Most Important


Giovanni Gallucci: You get these questions all the time where people say, “Is this one thing important?” That one thing itself, if I go in and cut my thumb is that important? No, I’m fine. If I get 1,200 cuts, I’m going to bleed to death. It’s the same thing with SEO. There’s not one thing that if you don’t do it you’re screwed. It is a general habit of having best practices, knowing what the rules are, and it’s super critical that you’re respectful of what Google expects from you.


This sounds counterintuitive, but at the same time, you’re looking for the edges to see what you can do that’s not going to tick someone off. Someone, I mean the Google engineers. You don’t want to tick them off, but you want to push hard enough that it does gain you an advantage. Things like the hashtag thing on Instagram. Just putting metadata inside the images gives you a leg up. Everything else you’ve got to do, the answer is, “Is it important?” It’s all important, and none of it is important.


Scott Ellis: There you go.


Giovanni Gallucci: Best practices are important. And this is so cliché, but it’s the content. It’s the content that matters. All the technical stuff is important. This is what I learned about when I started doing marketing through photography and through video. If you’re so heavily focused on the technical part and you’re not taking care of just creating good content, you’re completely missing the point of it.


Scott Ellis: Yeah, it’s self-defeating.


Giovanni Gallucci: Absolutely.


Scott Ellis: Yeah. All right. Let’s move on because we’ve got two more questions.


Giovanni Gallucci: God, this is taking forever.


Scott Ellis: I know. I talk too much. Lee Piney, also on Google+. He said, “I have often wondered how GBTV,” that’s, not Glenn Beck TV, “uses Hollywood footage in their episodes. Is it a ‘use it ’til we get caught scenario’?” Just real quick, is an online video podcast that Giovanni and I are both involved with as well.


What Constitutes Fair Use?


Giovanni Gallucci: This is touchy.


Scott Ellis: It’s a little bit sensitive, but historically, clips have sometimes been edited into some of the episodes. If you’ve seen an episode, you’ve probably seen little movie snippets in there. I don’t think we’ll be doing that moving forward. It’s not because we were doing anything that was necessarily illegal, but what are the guidelines around that?


Giovanni Gallucci: The guidelines is that you shouldn’t do that.


Scott Ellis: Well, there is that.


Giovanni Gallucci: For the sake of being a little bit transparent, that is something that some people on the team have very strong opinions about, and other people that have control over editing that used to be here were the ones that were just editing and putting the stuff out there. My personal opinion is that you’re just walking through a minefield with that.


I will say that, if at some point in time NBC Universal or Sony Pictures comes out and says, “Hey YouTube, take those 43 videos off the Geek Beat channel,” I wouldn’t be shocked or surprised about that at all. The position that we take is that we’re a news and information channel.


There’s something to be said about that. I think that, because it’s kind of undecided law at this point, I would be a little bit more hesitant than what some other folks in the past have been, putting that content up there. I think that’s easier for me to say because I produce video and photography. I can generate that stuff.


Sometimes, some of the stuff that we need, if we’re doing how to’s and reviews and tech news and stuff like that, PR companies will give us the footage we need for that. Even for movies, you can go to a PR company and say, “Hey, I need a series of clips from this movie,” that they’ve pre-approved that we can use for stuff.


I don’t know all the nitty gritty about how we sourced that information, but Lee’s got a very valid question. The thing that saves us today is that, in the past before we had DMCA, you would just get your face sued off the planet. Today, YouTube has an agreement with all those content holders that they’re the moderator in the middle here.


What they do is, they get a complaint, they just take the video offline. They send us a note saying, “This video is no longer available unless you can prove you have access.” We get those from time to time from stock music and stuff like that, and we have to respond in kind, or we have to pull the video down. The nice thing about it from our perspective is, if it is a do-it-until-we-get-caught scenario, getting caught is not painful like it used to be.


Getting caught is a request to take it down, and Google doesn’t give us the choice. They just take it offline. They’ve got an audio footprint of that episode now, and they won’t allow us to upload it again until we either justify the usage or re-edit it so the offending content is out.


Scott Ellis: Well, there you go, Lee. There’s your answer, and thanks for watching the show. Keep tuning in. There’s going to be more good stuff coming.


Giovanni Gallucci: God, it’s going to be so much better. Did I say that?


DPI Standards


Scott Ellis: I’m not editing that out. All right, last question. From a good friend of mine, Stuart O. — we could really go off on this one for a long time, but we’re going to have to curtail this a little bit. He said, “Is 72 dpi still a relevant standard, or has that changed with broadband, higher resolution screens, and responsive designs?”


Giovanni Gallucci: My short answer would be that with ultra-high def these days, that’s changed. Anything that I would be doing, I always do in 300 dpi, even in the past. Then what ends up happening is that if you’re working in that — and I would assume he’s talking about a photograph — it’s easier for me just from a workflow standpoint to work at 300 dpi.


So we don’t get too much into the weeds for the listeners and the folks that understand that, 72 dpi is the size of image you need to have it show up in a good quality for the Internet for a digital screen. 300 dpi is what you need for your basic format for printing because it requires a lot more information in an image to print an image.


So he’s asking, “Can we still be using 72 dpi, or should we get higher?” Even when you’re looking at things like phones, when you’ve got retina displays on Apple devices, the quality of those things is insanely detailed to some extent. We have a 78″ Samsung in there, and we had people comment that, that TV, the image looked better than real life. It was so vibrant, and the lines were so crisp on that image.


I would suggest that if you have the space and have the processing power, I would do everything as 300 dpi. Save that way. When it gets rendered to the web, you upload that thing to a Squarespace or, if you’ve got the right plugins, a WordPress site or to Flickr or Facebook or anywhere, they’re rendering that down to the highest quality they need or the lowest quality that’s acceptable already for you.


You’re not going to be sending information, especially on the WordPress and Squarespace sites, you won’t be sending images that are too big if you’ve got it configured correctly. You’re always better off having the highest quality to start with and letting the web mush it up and do the damage that it’s going to do in the process. Short answer is I’d go with 300 dpi.


Scott Ellis: I’m not going to get into this. I’m going to link a blog post that I’ve already written on this topic. It can get really long and involved, but there’s a lot of confusion around — and we use it interchangeably because, typically, we’re talking about digital imagery — but there’s dpi versus poi, print standards versus web standards. There’s a whole bunch of different things that this gets really hairy, really fast. So I’m just going to refer people to a post that we’ve already got out there.


Giovanni Gallucci: My short answer is that I’m looking to generate sufficient quality and to minimize the workflow. I’m not going to go create 14 versions of an image for 14 different uses. I make one, and I send it out. It either gets used properly or not. I don’t have the time to mess around. I don’t have a staff that’s going to sit around and produce multiple versions of an image. That’s why I work just 300 dpi all the time.


Scott Ellis: All right, there you go. Guys, thanks for the questions. Gio, thanks for being on the show today.


Giovanni Gallucci: This has been more fun than I ever could have imagined.

Scott Ellis: Yeah. You’ve never had a better use of an hour of your time.

Giovanni Gallucci: And I’ve never felt closer to you.


Scott Ellis: With that, we’re going to end the show. Thank you, guys, very much. You can find Giovanni at You can also see some of his stuff on Search him out on the social medias. He’s all over the place, and he does some really good stuff.


Thanks, guys, and we’ll talk to you next week.

Technology Translated is brought to you by the Rainmaker Platform, the complete website solution for content marketers and online entrepreneurs. Find out more and take a free 14-day test drive at Rainmaker.FM/Platform.