I'm B.L. Ochman, and I've been helping blue chip companies incorporate new media into their marketing mix since 1996.

I'm an accomplished and expert digital strategist, certified YouTube Channel Creator, president of whatsnextonline.com and publisher of What's Next Blog.

I'm CEO of Maximum-Plus.com Live-streaming event production & all things Google+, serving leading brands, associations and agencies.

I contribute to Ad Age Digital Next, Social Media Today and others. On Twitter, I'm @whatsnext. Find me on Google+

I'm also co-founder of the pet lovers' site and blog, Pawfun.com - where you can use favorite photos of your pets to create and send free Pawfun photo e-cards.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Facebook Live Coverage of Shootings Changes News Forever

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By B.L. Ochman

Sure, what you see on Facebook Live is often a lot of bland talk. But this week, a Facebook Live video of the police murder of Philando Castile changed journalism forever.

Diamond ReynoldsHours after it was posted, Facebook took down the Facebook Live video of 32 year-old Castile’s murder posted by his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds.

An hour later, they put it back up, with a warning about its graphic content. It has since been viewed over 5.5 million times.

News reporting will never be the same.

The issue of whether the videos should be removed is both complex and thorny. My vote is that they should stay.

Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, told the Los Angeles Times “I wanted everyone in the world to know that no matter how much the police tamper with evidence, how much they stick together … I wanted to put it on Facebook and go viral so that the people could see,” And we did.

Mark Zuckerberg made a statement on his Facebook page: “While I hope we never have to see another video like Diamond’s, it reminds us why coming together to build a more open and connected world is so important — and how far we still have to go,” he said.

Standards for the new reality

This is today’s new reality. If Facebook really wants to dominate the news, this is the way it’s going to happen.

Facebook issued its Live video standards on July 8. In it, they note that the platform is evolving as they try to grasp its significance.

“One of the most sensitive situations involves people sharing violent or graphic images of events taking place in the real world. In those situations, context and degree are everything. For instance, if a person witnessed a shooting, and used Facebook Live to raise awareness or find the shooter, we would allow it. However, if someone shared the same video to mock the victim or celebrate the shooting, we would remove the video.

Live video on Facebook is a new and growing format. We’ve learned a lot over the past few months, and will continue to make improvements to this experience wherever we can.”

But the line is a blurry one, and requires human intervention. It can’t be left to an algorithm.

Facebook Live made a difference

When shots rang out in Dallas, Michael Bautista risked his life, as did several other people, to broadcast on Facebook Live and take questions from their Facebook followers. Mark Zuckerberg was one of the more than four million people who watched one of Bautista’s Live videos.

It’s Facebook’s huge audience that made the Facebook Live videos so important this week. There was no doubting what we were seeing. There was no news anchor between us and the scene. We were there.

And collectively, our hearts were broken. Because we saw their four year-old child witness her father’s death. And we heard her tell her mother “I’m right here with you. Be strong,” she and her handcuffed mother were in back of the police car taking them both to the police station.

Because he was black

In the wake of the murder by Minnesota police, Democratic Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton said in no uncertain terms on Thursday afternoon that Philando Castile ended up dead — at least in part — because he was black.

“Would this have happened if those passengers, the driver and the passengers, were white?” said Dayton (D). “I don’t think it would have. So I’m forced to confront, and I think all of us in Minnesota are forced to confront, that this kind of racism exists.”

“Nobody should be shot and killed in Minnesota … for a tail light being out of function,” the governor said. “Nobody should be shot and killed while seated still in their car. I’m heartbroken.”

Would he have been so quick to say that if the video hadn’t been broadcast on Facebook Live?

I seriously doubt it.

BL Ochman | July 9, 2016 | Permanent Link | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sir Patrick Stewart’s sings country classics for charity

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Yes, that Patrick Stewart!

What does it take to get world news-weary donors to open their wallets these days? Can charities dare to be funny, offbeat or even odd and still spur generosity? Hell yes!

Patrick-Stewart-Cowboy_classicsSir Patrick Stewart will have you rolling on the floor laughing as his alter-ego, Cowboy Pat, sings country classics in hilarious videos and on a country album that sold out in a flash. Stewart is a well-known philanthropist and relief advocate. But who knew he could yodel?!

The proceeds of those sales go directly to further the important work of the International Rescue Committee, an international refugee charity focused on aiding displaced families in Europe, the Middle East, and more.

After all, it’s hard to make jokes about starving children or abused puppies and the other horrors of modern life. Who hasn’t rushed to change the channel when Sarah McLachlan’s maudlin appeal for the ASPCA comes on.

On the sold-out album’s website, a video shows Stewart singing country classics including “Rawide,” “Buttons and Bows,” “Don’t Fence Me In,” “Ghost Riders In The Sky,” and “Whoopie Ti Yi Yo.” An infomercial-sounding intro voice over introduces Cowboy Pat as one of “England’s premiere cowboy singers” now bringing, “his music stateside in this amazing collection.”ie Yo

And amazing it is. YeeHaw!

BL Ochman | July 8, 2016 | Permanent Link | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

First Impressions: new YouTube Director App for DIY Ads

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YouTube Director: video (ad) production tools for small business

YouTube has launched YouTube Director, a new, free suite of DIY video ad production tools for small business. But guess what? It’s not as easy to use as it they make it sound!

This week, YouTube’s official blog announced the YouTube Director suite of products. They call it a set of “tools to help business owners get started with creating video ads on a budget.” Weirdly, it’s released for iPhone first, not Android. After all, Google owns YouTube.

First Impressions:

(1) YouTube says you can script, shoot and edit a Director video in 20 minutes or less.

Balderdash! I know more than a little about making videos, since I make them for clients. So I tried Director and made the video below. I was willing to look as awful as I do in the video because I wanted to demonstrate the tool as I think most novices would be using it.

Here’s an example from The Dog Cafe, which I highly doubt was lit, shot and edited by the owners or in 20 minutes. Ditto Barbershop Club’s video.

(2) You can use YouTube Director to make videos that are not ads.

You can use the app to make a video and then add it to your YouTube channel. You can edit it in YouTube editor, or download the MP4 and edit in iMovie, etc. From there, you can use the YouTube link to add it to your blog, website or any social media platform.

(2) YouTube will shoot a video for you if you spend $150 on advertising!

That’s pretty amazing! The details don’t say a word about how the video producer gets paid. I am guessing (and hoping for the sake of the filmmakers) that YouTube/Google pays them.

After all, this is about selling advertising.

(3) Making professional looking/sounding videos actually is not as easy as YouTube makes it sound.

YouTube says “With the free YouTube Director for business app (available for iPhone in the U.S. and Canada) anyone can create a video ad for their business quickly and easily—right from their phone. No editing experience required. Well, not exactly.

Not so easy!

If you’ve used Snapchat or other phone apps to make videos, Director will feel familiar. The difference is that it offers instructions and prompts on what to say and include.

However: while the app provides lots of instructions, templates, music and editing tools, you need to know more than a little about lighting and sound if you want the video to look good.

Making good videos takes practice. Lots and lots of practice. And time. And let’s not forget the most important – and most overlooked aspect of amateur videos – good lighting and sound.

Take a look at Blab videos, or Facebook Live videos – or YouTube videos – and you’ll see lots of bad lighting, hear lousy sound, and endure much pointless rambling. The difference here is that you are prompted “Keep it short!” if you go over the suggested number of seconds for each segment.



The iOS app includes a number of templates, three styles of music and editing tools and is free to use. You can’t add your own music, or add lower thirds or captions within the app.

YouTube says you can edit with the swipe of a finger – but that’ll drive you nuts when you try it.

When you’re done, you can easily upload the video to your YouTube channel by just hitting “upload.” I uploaded it, edited it in YouTube and added captions and links. I did not see any way to do that in the app.

By all means, give Director a try. After all, it’s free to use, and it’s fun.

Professional results in 20 minutes? Not happening.

BL Ochman | June 18, 2016 | Permanent Link | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

7 Key Customer Service Guidelines Brands Need Now

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By B.L. Ochman

Nothing else matters if your customer service sucks

Listen-to-customerToday, any customer with access to the Internet can use social media to cause an unresponsive company pain and a direct hit to its bottom line.

Love us or hate us, but don’t ignore us.

Successful customer complaints abound, from Dave Carroll’s 209 United Breaks Guitars – viewed close to 16 million times – to Comcast, to Delta, to scores of others that went viral.

Yes, the customer can be wrong, but most customers who get to the point of making online complaints have a point. And a following.

Here’s what smart companies need to do:

1. Monitor social media mentions of the brand 24/7.

2. Respond within 3 hours to complaints in social media (Internet time is like dog years: one hour is like 7 in Internet time!).

3. APOLOGIZE and say you’ll work to solve the problem.

4. Speak in a human voice (not corporate speak) in the platform where the complaint was posted. If it’s on Twitter, respond on Twitter; on Facebook, respond there, etc.

5. Do not say, “You’re the only person who ever complained about this,” because that just pisses off the wronged customer. By the time most people take to social media, the company’s representatives have already treated them poorly.

6. Do not try to take the conversation offline to email (as almost every big company does) because you think that’ll make it less public. It won’t. (Ok, to go to direct messages to get account numbers, phone numbers, other personal info, but then go back to public to resolve.)

An angry consumer will just post your offline responses in social media if they aren’t satisfied.

7. Over-deliver on the solution. Send a coupon, send flowers, but send something that makes the person feel better.

Your goal is to have the complainer say “I just got amazing help and service from XYZ Company.”

The bottom line: Customers matter. Treat us like you know that. Make sure that someone who has the power to solve the problem is the one who responds, apologizes and then over-delivers on the solution so the customer walks away happy.

B.L. Ochman is a uniquely experienced digital pioneer who has been helping blue chip brands incorporate social media into their marketing strategy since 1996. She co-hosts and produces the award-winning Beyond Social Media Show podcast and contributes to AdAge DigitalNext. On Twitter, she’s @whatsnext.

BL Ochman | June 5, 2016 | Permanent Link | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Chewbacca Mask Mom & Google Home

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Beyond Social Media Show Episode 144


In this episode, co-hosts B.L. Ochman and David Erickson discussed the hilarious Chewbacca Mom viral video that became Facebook Live’s most-watched video ever; the Pros & Cons of LinkedIn Pro Finder; announcements from the Google I/O Developer Conference, Sky TV’s #CommandTheUnsullied Tweet bots spam Twitter; dad accidentally streams baby’s live birth on Facebook; Occulus $1M VR for good initiative; Blab quits mysteriously; Twitter stops counting images and links in 140-character count; plus cool tools and stats you should know.

The video is time-stamped. Click on a time [in brackets] to jump directly to that segment of the video.

Worst Digital Cases

Best Digital Cases

Shiny New Stuff


Beyond Social Media Show is now on Google Play Music, iTunes & Stitcher!

We’d be wildly appreciative if you would give us a review:

The Daily Numbers


David Erickson

B.L. Ochman

BL Ochman | May 22, 2016 | Permanent Link | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Five Terrible PR Practices to stop using

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By B.L. Ochman

PR people have it rough. Clients want results and they want them in the form of placements. Here are five sure-fire ways not to get them.

I_Want_a_Blogger1. Not using Google.

I tell you that I will cover your app, or whatever, on Beyond Social Media Show on Sunday, May 8. On May 10, you ask me to give you the link.
Wrong in so many ways.

2. Embargos

You: “Would you be interested in an embargoed interview …”
Me: Not unless it’s a cure for cancer

3. Sending a no news press release

I know we all need to make a living, but sometimes, you gotta tell a client that writing a press release is a total waste of time, effort and money.

Always ask yourself: have I ever seen anything like this covered anywhere, ever?

4. Not knowing how to use your email program

One of my all-time favorite pitches from hell was addressed to “Dear [num] [num]

I wrote back and said I’d read his email when he learned my name and signed it [num] [num]

He immediately responded “[num] [num] is a term of endearment for journalists.”

I ran his story.

5. Offering bribes

“If you can post something online we have some great gifts from [blank] Sports for our partners”

Bonus Link: Dear PR People: Please take this quiz before you send out another press release or email pitch
Image: The Anti-Social Media

BL Ochman | May 10, 2016 | Permanent Link | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Twitter Makes Broadcast Deal With NFL

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10 NFL Games Will Stream Live

The deal allows Twitter to stream 10 Thursday night National Football League games. Tw.itter also controls some of the advertising inventory for the games

NFL games are America’s most-watched sport by a wide margin. Thursday night games attracted about 17 million viewers last season, according to BloombergTechnology.

Twitter’s $10 million bid for the package won against giants Facebook, Verizon, Yahoo and Amazon. Twitter’s payment one million per game was a bargain. CBS Corp. and Comcast Corp.’s NBC each paid about $45 million a game for five Thursday night contests each during the 2016 and 2017 seasons.

CNBC sources say Twitter’s victory is the result of a dispute between the NFL and Facebook.

CNBC says the NFL felt that Facebook undervalued its content rights and has a poor monetization model. Facebook streaming is not as developed as Periscope, they said.

Will the move help Twitter’s faltering stock? That remains to be seen.

BL Ochman | April 6, 2016 | Permanent Link | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Facebook Posts Business Resources

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Emphasis on Instagram, ads and mobile

Facebook-Business-ResourcesFacebook for Business is now featuring its marketing resources in a monthly blog post.

The first post, published March 30, shares all the major product announcements and resources that have launched since the start of the year. (And it includes that image, which seems a rather odd choice.)

New Facebook products & features

* Canvas, a new full-screen mobile ad experience, along with explanations of how it’s been used by L’Occitane and Carnival Cruise Line.
* New features for Leads ads, including new CRM partners and updates to make signing up for information easier.
* Updated features for Video ads, and examples from Taco Bell and Strongbow.
* Creative guidelines for the Carousel format
* The first five episodes of the Pub in Pub series, which this year is focused on brands using Instagram to connect with people.
* Nine new 15-minute Blueprint e-learning courses, with six focused on Instagram.

BL Ochman | March 30, 2016 | Permanent Link | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Project Literacy – A Global Movement to Combat Illiteracy

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By B.L. Ochman

Tools ranging from video to virtual reality explain the need for Project Literacy, a new multi-media global movement to fight illiteracy.

The largely invisible issue affects over 757 million people worldwide and there is a direct link between literacy and other global development issues, such as poverty, hunger and unemployment, gender inequality and access to basic civil rights.

The video is approaching three million views.

Experience Illiteracy in Virtual Reality

VR StoriesThe Project Literacy website also lets you experience the stories of illiterate people via Virtual Reality. So put on a mask and experience a frozen moment in the life of someone living with illiteracy.

Facts About Illiteracy

The ‘Alphabet of Illiteracy” illustrates the a new body of evidence suggesting illiteracy is the root cause of almost every major problem humanity faces, from A-Z.

Illiteracy is a truly global problem. According to Project Literacy:

* No country has ever achieved continued economic growth without having first achieved an adult literacy rate above 40%.
* Illiteracy costs the world $1.19 trillion a year.[8] It costs a developed nation 2% of its GDP each year and an emerging economy 1.2% of GDP.
* 32 million adults in the United States can’t read.[9] And one in four children grow up without learning how to read.
* More than 70% of inmates in American prisons cannot read above fourth grade level (typically 9-10 years old).
* 1 in 5 UK children leave primary school unable to read or write.
* In sub-Saharan Africa, the number of illiterate adults has increased by 37% since 1990.
* In India, 287 million people do not have basic reading skills.

Take Action

Convened by UK educational publisher Pearson and baked by more than 40 charities and educational organizations, among Project Literacy’s goals is gathering one million signatures on a petition by International Literacy Day on September 8, when they will present it to the United Nations. The petition asks the UN to put literacy at the heart of every action to advance the Global Goals for Sustainable Development.

BL Ochman | | Permanent Link | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

What you must know about your Google About.Me Profile

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By B.L. Ochman

Your Google About.Me Profile Impacts SEO. If you can find it.

If you’re not using Google’s new About.Me page you’re not alone. It’s practically a secret.

But it’s crucial for you to understand and use your Google About.Me profile correctly because it will affect both your online identity and your future Google search results.

Your About.me profile soon will also enhance your Knowledge Graph: a reward Google gives you for consistently creating Inbound Marketing content.

And when the mysterious new Google Posts goes live for everyone, it’ll reference your Google About.Me profile also.

The new Google About.Me page – hard to find and ridiculously complicated to update, to put it mildly — replaces any previous Google profile you have created on any Google platform.

About.me new page

If you already have any Google account (YouTube, gMail, Google Play, etc) your About.Me page will most likely already include your name, image, gender, birthday, work history and current place of residence, among other details. You can edit and erase most of that information, though VentureBeat notes that you’ll delete your Google accounts if you try to delete your name and photo.

About.Me will follow you around the web

Content from our new About.Me page will follow you around the web like the ad for the shoes you bought six months ago. The information on your new About.Me page will become all or part of your profiles in Gmail, Photos, Music, Google Play, Drive, YouTube and other Google platforms – except Google+. (In YouTube and Play, Google says your profile shows “alongside content you share” but I haven’t seen any examples of that.)

This new Google About.Me profile also isn’t part of the popular about.me social network that has been around for years and which allows users to share their personal profile and network with other members. Nobody knows why Google would usurp the name of a popular website. (But then again, when they renamed the company Alphabet, they had to buy it from the guy who already owned it for years.)

What Google+ Users Need to Know

The change is particularly absurdly complex for anyone who used or still uses Google+.

When Google massively overhauled the Google+ platform in November 2015 they detached many popular features including Hangouts, photos, YouTube integration, events, access to local business pages and business reviews — and your profile.

What your Google+ profile lost and how to get it back

Hangouts and Hangouts on Air now have their own landing pages, as do Google Photos and YouTube Channels and YouTube events. And your profile has its own landing page also – called About.me.

In what Google now calls “Classic Google+, you could use thousands of words and links and images and videos to describe yourself and explain why people should work with you.

You could format that profile to look pretty nice, but it’s all messed up now and can’t really be changed. It exists only in Classic Google+, which is probably only going to be around for another couple of months, and which will take that profile with it when it goes.

In what G+ now calls your Profile, you can still change your headshot and cover photo (both of which have new sizes), as well as what Collections and Communities you’d like to have displayed on your profile. But everything else about you is contained on and edited through your new ‘About.Me’ profile page. In the new Google+, this is all I can show in my profile:
Not your profile

Google’s About.Me support page – unclear as usual – says it lets you manage your various Google profiles from one place and control the personal information you’re sharing, via elaborate privacy settings. But that’s not entirely true. You can’t combine the profiles of your various Gmail addresses into one profile, for example.

Now, Google engineers continue to call one tab in the new G+ “Profile” – even though it does not actually contain information about you.

In their inimitable manner, they don’t explain on their “Help page” that none of your actual “About” information – like where you work, what you do, links to your online content and contact info – is included in the new Google+ profile.

Who you are, what you do, how you can be found online – now resides on aboutme.google.com, a separate page that is not part of Google+, but that is connected to it.

Google says,confusingly as usual:

“Profiles in the new Google+ have been streamlined and simplified. They include your Collections, Communities, and posts.” People using the new Google+ can only see your new Google+ profile

Drink This Alice!

Alice-drink-meThe truly serious confusion comes from the fact that there is a great big button on your masthead in the new Google+ that says “Edit Profile.” It sticks out on the page the way “Drink Me” sign stuck out to Alice in Wonderland before she fell down the rabbit hole. But that Edit Profile button won’t take you to your new about.me profile, Alice.

Remember, we’re dealing with Google engineers here. Clarity is not one of their strong suits.

To get to your About.Me, you need to click on the ridiculously small “i” that is directly next to the huge “Edit Profile” button.

Yes, you are correct dear reader: that makes no sense. But don’t give up yet!

The information you choose to make public on your new Google About.Me page is pulled into your description on the new Google+ and on all other products. How much of it, and where it’ll go is not clear, at all. But here’s how your About.Me Google profile will display on Google+ and all Google products that feature a bio -once you create or update it here:

Correct Google AboutMe profile

How to rock your About.Me google page

So much for the backstory. Let’s move on.

Everything we need to know about you is now housed at http://aboutme.google.com, which – confusingly enough – is still pulled to and from Google+. You now get the option of deciding which parts of your profile are visible to which of your circles, so you still need to pay attention to those (if you ever created any.)

You can change what other users of Google products see about you. For instance, when you connect with people on apps like Gmail or Hangouts, you can choose to share certain additional information with them, like your birthday and phone number.

Note: Your name and photo (if you choose to add one and elect to share it) will be shown to other users across Google products, including when you communicate or share content. If you don’t upload a clear headshot, people will just see a blue head with no face – surely not how you want to present yourself.

Love it or hate it – but don’t ignore it

As many marketers – including this one – have noted, it sometimes appears that Googlers have no clue how business people actually use their products.

I’m reserving my judgment because the new G+ is a Beta. It is in flux, with features coming and going, and it’s going to keep on changing until the Google engineers think it’s done.

But I’m paying close attention to my About.Me page and so should you if you want accurate information about you in Google search.

Google+ Daily

BL Ochman | March 6, 2016 | Permanent Link | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)
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