Rob Balasabas is the Social Media & Community Manager at Thinkific. He manages the daily curation of Thinkific’s message on social media. You may also find him engaging with their private online community of more than 14,000 online course creators inside the “Thinkific Studio” Facebook Group.
Rob joined the Thinkific Team in 2016, as a Customer Champion where we worked closely with customers to get their Thinkific sites off the ground, and quickly making the leap into the Marketing Team in early 2018.
You may see Rob talking about Thinkific, online courses, and digital marketing strategies on webinars, live streams, and podcasts. When he’s not doing that, you can find him in line at the local taco food truck outside the office or at a local coffee shop sipping on a double-double (Canadian for a coffee with two creams and two sugars!).
So, why video?
Video is everywhere! Even back in the day when I was in school if you had to do a report, rather than reading the book if there was a movie, I’m just going to watch the video. As far as our course creators and community-consuming content, just like anyone they’re probably going to prefer video. We use videos in everything—training materials, social media, live streams, and we even use video to answer email.
If you look at statistics, how many users are on YouTube and how many videos are uploaded and consumed every single day, it’s mind-blowing! That’s where your customers are, your audience is hanging out. Why not meet them there?
How are you currently using video at Thinkific?
It was middle of November last year, one of our partners asked if we would hop on a Facebook Live with him. So we did it and there was all this engagement we didn’t know that was sitting there. People who wanted to engage with the brand. But beyond that, they want to engage with the people behind the brand. After that, we were like why don’t we do this every day. We created a calendar link–we use Calendly–and created a calendar link for like 20 minutes and started reaching out to some of our partners and course creators. We were like “Hey guys, we have this really crazy idea that we would go Live on Facebook every day Monday through Friday. We slowly evolved, on our mobile first, then we were like how do we maximize this? One of our friends recommended Restream where you can simulcast to several channels. We use that now to simulcast to YouTube. That’s where we are now.
How can you repurpose live videos?
Be omnipresent. You have to be everywhere (in 2019). That’s just the way it is on social now. From our experiences, our channels are YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Twitter as well to some degree. So one thing is to go from the longest form of video and bringing that to the channel with the shortest form. If it’s YouTube, that’s the longest form. You can’t just take those videos and post them on Twitter because they’re too long. You can’t post it on Instagram Stories because it’s not the right orientation. So, you have to put some thought into those videos. How are you going to take a long-form video and shortening it down and putting it into the right orientation for the platform you are using it on.
What we typically do is take the YouTube video, have the Facebook Live video as well, so you make thumbnails to make them look nice and on-brand. Then, you can take little snippets, like 10 to 15 seconds, and put them on LinkedIn and link to the full video. You can also take those videos and use them for Instagram Stories. What we do is create a teaser using mobile that’s vertical.
What is the key to being craveable with your content?
People want to hear stories. If you can share stories–not even your own stories–bring guests in, bring customers in. (Ask them questions). How did you use our platform, how did you succeed with it, what was life like before you used it. People relate to stories. Also, teach. Bring value by teaching. Value is when you teach somebody, you help somebody learn something new that they can apply. And then, be entertaining! That’s why people go on YouTube, they either want to learn something or understand how to do this DIY thing or fix a problem or whatever. Or, they want to be entertained. They want to kill some time, they want to go on social media because they have a coffee break.
Any tips you’ve learned from others as you’ve interviewed people on the Thinkific channel?
When you’re doing lives for Facebook, even YouTube, the whole thing about retargeting ads is really key. If you are already doing Facebook Ads or YouTube Ads, then just retarget the people that have watched your videos or who have discovered you organically. It just increases your conversion rates and decreases your cost-per-click. I know a lot of YouTubers who don’t spend on cold traffic, they only spend on retargeting.
Also, build a community. I think it’s really important to do all these things but build a community somewhere. I see a lot of people building stuff, but they don’t tell their audience a place to come together. Build a Facebook group or a Slack channel. Just build someplace central where you can community with the people who really love you and are loyal to you.
The last thing I want to mention is, document your process. You can spend your whole day creating video content, doing interviews, going live, all this stuff. You want to document this whole process. Someday you may want to bring in a VA or a team member to take on some of the editing or some of the curation or the posting or the setup. It’s really important to document your process so that you can understand what you do and then sub that out to other people.
Have you started to use video on any of your brand channels? What tip has been most helpful for you? Let us know and drop a link to your favorite video.
*This interview edited for length and clarity.