Thoughts on Social Media, Television, Media, Startups & Technology.

8 Bullet Thursday

Disney vs. NetflixImage credit.

What I’m reading:

  • Agree 1000% ➡️ Disneyflix Is Coming. And Netflix Should Be Scared. Read the article
  • Interesting read: Generation X — not millennials — is changing the nature of work. Read the article.
  • Startup? Startups, Beware “The Next Big Thing” Read the article.
  • Nothing is safe anymore. This radio hacker can HIJACK your citywide emergency sirens to play any sound 🚨 Read the article.
  • Let me make it “smart” for you: Hackers stole a casino’s high-roller database through a thermometer in the lobby fish tank. Read the article.
  • $58 per person… that is all. Read the article.
  • Google researchers develop a deep-learning system that identifies & isolates individual voices in crowded, noisy environments; the system enables the user to visually select a person in the clip & hear only that person’s voice. Read the article.
  • Weekly news series from Netflix? 😯 Probably would have watched… 😯 Read the article.
  • Retire? Seriously? I guess…. A Growing Cult of Millennials Is Obsessed With Early Retirement. This 72-Year-Old Is Their Unlikely Inspiration. Read the article.

What I’m watching:

Danger will Robinson!

This past weekend I binged on Netflix’s new original series (and Reboot) Lost in Space.

One word: WOW. Lost in Space is a science fiction series based on the 1965 series of the same name, following the adventures of the family Robinson, pioneering space colonists whose spaceship veers off-course and crashes.

The deeper backstory on the new modern show: An extinction event caused by a celestial object crashing into Earth threatens humanity’s survival. By 2046, mankind has launched a number of “Jupiter” ships, taking selected families to colonize a new world. The Robinson family is selected for the 24th such ship, but before they arrive at their destination, alien robots breach the station’s hull which forces some of the families to evacuate early in their Jupiter crafts. The Robinsons’ Jupiter 2 and other craft fall through a rip in space and crash land on an unknown but habitable planet. The Robinsons and other colonists battle the strange new environment and their own personal demons as they attempt to escape the planet.

Initially I was not in a rush to watch this but I am so glad I did, if you are a sci-fi buff or someone that loves watching film that has a good “story” and writing behind it, this is a MUST watch.

Watch the trailer:


I’m also crushing over this video from Gary Vaynerchuk this week

His words are striking an incredibly strong chord with me these days.

Purchase I’m enjoying:

I’m BIG on “value” these days. I define “value” a little differently than others sometimes when it comes to purchases: many (especially when trying to save $$$) view “value” as purely the monetary price they physically paid for a product or service. For me: I am rarely influenced by purchase price. What does influence me is the “value” I place in a product, and that “value” helps me determine the “price” I am willing to pay for a product. Don’t get me wrong: I still look for “deals.”

When it comes to value (and an awesome deal): Zamplebox is amazing. Reminded of this now b/c I know my next box ships this week. Zamplebox is the World’s First and Largest Vaping Membership Club. They offer a curated monthly delivery of the most popular e-juice and do so at wholesale prices.

Zamplebox offers some great options with their subscriptions – it’s hard to go wrong.


Between an awesome product selection, fanatical customer support, and an amazing community of members (who chat away all day on fb with each other – hey sign up and find out.). Oh wait… you see that I didn’t even talk about price… Zamplebox hits every single check mark for me when it comes to “value.”

If you vape: go check them out and join the community. (affiliate links)

What I’m listening to:

What’s “in” in social:

The world is still rumbling over Cambridge Analytics, Facebook etc. So much so we are missing out on an important conversation about Social Media and Mental Health: Ruined relationships, false senses of ideals, creating unreal expectations, cause of depression and can be addictive. It’s a controversial conversation that was gaining more and more traction until new stories around social media broke out. We need to come back to it.

Further reading and resources:

Strategy Corner:

Instagram is on 🔥 fire 🔥. It is the place in social media these days where you need to be focused as a brand. Nearly 60% of Instagram users are between the ages of 18-29. This makes Instagram a highly competitive network if you are trying to reach this demographic. As Instagram continues to grow, brands will have unique opportunities for engagement on this platform, but will do so in an ever increasingly competitive environment.

Instagram is a lot more than just about posting photos and videos. To succeed a well thought out strategy, combined with a well-defined brand identity mixed with visual creativity and community management are necessities in order to bring in great results.

Developing your Instagram Strategy:

Define Your Objectives

You have to set the reasons for why you are there on the platform. What do you want to achieve on Instagram? What’s the purpose of using Instagram? Whether you’ve never published a single photo or you’re Kim Kardashian West, consider some of the following for your Instagram marketing strategy:

  • What does Instagram offer you to do that other social media platforms don’t?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • Which members of your current audience are already active on Instagram?
  • How will Instagram integrate with the other networks in your social media strategy?

Instagram’s focus on photo/video sharing offers a unique place to showcase your companies culture & diversity. The people and places that help bring your product to life. Leverage your culture and diversity as much as you can: This gives fans a more personal chance to interact and identify with your brand. It also helps your engagement in a way that feels more casual and instantaneous.

Depending on your industry, brand, competitors and key performance indicators (KPI’s) your Instagram marketing strategy should target several of these objectives:

  • Increase brand awareness
  • Demonstrate company culture
  • Showcase products and services
  • Enhance and complement live events
  • Showcase your team and their personalities
  • Build a more engaged community
  • Connect with influencers
  • Incentivize consumer engagement
  • Increase customer engagement and loyalty
  • Share company or industry news
  • Drive sales

As you continue to develop your strategy, these objectives and coming back to them often will guide you in determining the best approac, and modifications to what you do/try.

Developing Your Content Strategy

Content is the foundation of your presence on any social network. The right approach to content is one that best showcases your brand. Based on your target audience and objectives, develop a plan to deliver eye-catching visuals and stories to your community consistently.

To get started: Do an audit and review. List your objectives and determine what aspects of your brand/content to showcase in your Instagram feed. Products, services, team members and culture all offer great subject matter. Once you have a list of specific content themes, brainstorm possible subjects for your images and videos.

Themes should align not only with your brand voice, but visually as well. Once you have your data, develop your content themes around the right style of visual, whether it’s photos with faces, brightly-colored images or videos of your product, what have you.

If video enables you to tell a compelling story about your product/brand, work it into your content more often. If you don’t have the resources to execute video at high-quality level, you may want may want to only use video for specific campaigns and promotions. Composition on Instagram MATTERS it is worth spending the time to create the best possible content.

Establish a Publishing/Editorial/Social Media Calendar

To maintain an active presence on Instagram (or any social network for that matter), you need to determine the frequency with which you will post, and you may want to check out the best times to post on Instagram (google it I am not going to drop in a link – there are ,lots of opinions).

Your content calendar should map to your content themes and integrate key dates and campaigns. Some of the best content for Instagram will/can occur “spontaneously”. By preparing content ahead of time and setting a general schedule in advance, you can allow the flexibility to take advantage of opportunities when they occur.

Curate Community Content

If your Instagram community members share posts featuring your brand, you have access to a repository of potential content gold. Curating content from your fans allows you to foster audience engagement and creates further incentive for your audience to share your posts.

Define guidelines for your team

A consistent voice on social media is key to building your brand. And on a visual platform, the need for a clearly defined aesthetic is the single most important thing your team needs to follow. Even if one person is responsible for managing your brand’s Instagram account, establishing guidelines for composition, filters and captions will ensure your Instagram account feels like part of the brand experience.

Your team needs to know things like the filters used most often, or hashtags being tracked, followed and used. From visual composition to location tagging and using hashtags in your captions, planning your approach in advance allows you to maximize the potential of each Instagram post, and not end up wasting your time (i.e. don’t “just get an intern to do it”)

Don’t Forget Your Captions

Approaches on this front can vary widely – it’s only natural. Language varies based on culture, sub-culture, industry-lingo etc. While captions are limited to 2,200 characters and truncated with an ellipsis after three lines of text, it’s still an important part of your post – use it. Try to include the most important part of your message within those first three lines of text.

Identify Team Members & Roles

Your primary social media or community manager should certainly be part of your Instagram marketing, but other team members may also provide valuable contributions. Depending on your team and objectives, you might divide responsibilities into content creation and publishing, community management, discovery and analytics, and assign them to team members with different strengths.

For organizations that require some kind of approval process before publishing, make sure you establish that clear process for creating and reviewing content.

Foster Engagement & Set Guidelines for Community Management

From curating photos to encouraging dialogue and building a community around your brand, Instagram offers huge potential for engagement. If you stick to publishing and skip engagement, you will miss out on an opportunity to organically grow your following.

Optimize Your Bio & Link

With a 150 character limit, your Instagram bio should focus on what’s important about your brand. Your bio is also a good place to educate. Including a branded hashtag informs users how to share and find additional content related to your brand.

Weekly Hack:

With more and more web traffic being done on phones these days – it’s no doubt the mobile viewport/version of your website is accessed more frequently. Do you often run into websites, or pages with a video of something else on the page that floats and out over your screen? It’s happening less and less due to updates to popular CMS’s, themes etc. BUT if it’s something you run into when building pages on your website or working with your content -> head on over to a quick tool for turning popularly shared web urls into mobile-friendly widgets on your page.

Quote of the week:

In the process of letting go you will lose many things from the past, but you will find yourself. – Deepak Chopra

About Chris Zilo

Ideation + Execution. Mission Driven Startup Guy & Early Adopter obsessed w/ all things tech. Former Third Culture Kid.