Why and How: Captions on Facebook

Fact: 85% of video consumed on Facebook is done without sound. (Ref: DigiDay)

So does that mean we need to go all Charlie Chapman on people? Probably not, but if you could pull it off, that would be a lot of fun. Instead, we need to add captions. Captions when done properly, are not built into the video but an add-on through Facebook’s caption system. This provides captions that show when a video is silent and no captions when the sound is on.

Facebook says they see as much as a 12% increase in viewing time when videos include captions. This with the vast majority of people watching video without sound, this is something that cannot be ignored my marketers.

Additionally, captions help to make your video’s more accessible to audiences who may be hearing impaired. Though this is not an audience most of us think about, it is an important thing to consider when we are doing our marketing.

So how do you add captions? I have 2 ways.

  1. Through Facebook: Just recently Facebook introduced a captioning tool for videos being used as Ads. When creating an ad you will have the option to use automatically generated captions and modify them to make sense. Though the tech is impressive, it still comes out unclear. Review them and edit them. This is a time-consuming process, but the benefit is there.
  2. Manually. You can submit .SRT files for any video you create. Though simple, it is hard to find a step by step online. So here is a short one.
    1. Open a text editor. Meaning a program like notepad or textedit.
    2. Name the file with this structure: “filename.(twoletter languagecode)_(two letter country code).srt” That file name ought to be exactly the same as the file name of the video. Here is a link to language and country codes.
    3. Make sure that file is saving as a plain text file, no formatting is needed for this.
    4. The begin scripting out the video:
      Here is the format:
      (# of caption)
      (Time stamp, to time stamp)
      (Actual Caption)1

      00:00:02,000 –> 00:00:03,000
      Do you want to be successful?
      00:00:04,000 –> 00:00:05,450

      Being successful is not about talent

    5. Proceed to do this through the entire video. Here is an example of a complete one I did for a CO:mmunicate promotional video. (Click here for example .srt file.)
    6. When you upload your video to Facebook, look for the “Captions” option and add this file.
    7. Be sure to preview it in Facebook and make changes to the file and reupload as necessary. Sometimes it’s difficult to get the timing down without watching it live.
    8. Impress all your friends that your videos have captions!

Those are the steps to create captions for your next Facebook video! Good luck!

3 Lessons from Entrepreneurship


Last Thursday, was the two-year anniversary of putting in my resignation at my last ‘real’ job. While reflecting on that event, I celebrated by taking my wife out to lunch and thought of a few take aways.


#1. Bring the boat closer to the dock.

One of the most valuable pieces of advice I can give to someone who wants to start their own business is to bring the boat closer to the dock. What do I mean by that? Two things:

1. Test the market: Will someone really pay you for your business idea? Lots of people will say, “That’s a good idea!” or “I would buy one”, and never follow through. Start selling before you quit any current incoming producing activity. And sell to people you do not know. In so doing you can help prove the concept and make sure that you have pricing right.
2. Build up business: I am a pretty fiscally conservative person, so I encourage people to work like crazy and build up their side business a lot and get it close to replacing your income before you make the jump. I was not able to do this because the situation at my previous employment had become so toxic. Ideally, I would have dedicated the next few months of my free time to building up the business then making the jump. Instead, we had to dig into our emergency fund to keep things afloat while the business started generating revenue. Though we knew before Christmas that this would be successful, it really took about 6 months to cross that line for my business.

#2. The dip is real.

This is a phrase made famous by Seth Godin. The dip is the time period between excitement and success. On StartUp, previously one of my favorite podcasts, (season one is the best) they call it the “trough of sorrows”. This is a real phenomenon. The excitement of starting a business or even a giant new business deal can quickly be replaced by the reality of needing another deal to maintain that success. Some businesses like mine ebb and flow. The flow is easy to keep motivated and stay productive, but the flow times can be a more challenging. My advice, know this is coming and be ready to share those feelings with other entrepreneurs you know.

#3. “The answer is Yes”

One of my favorite quotes I kept harping to myself as I started this journey, and still do today, is my Leonard Bernstein.

“I’m no longer quite sure what the question is, but I do know that the answer is Yes.”

As an early state entrepreneur, the answer is always ‘Yes’ to your clients. Can you do this? Yes. Can you do that? Yes. Unless something is morally questionable, which has been asked of me, the answer is yes. Make yourself indispensable to your clients and you will also find more ways to make money. Sometimes you don’t know what will come of those projects. Video was something I did not anticipate being as big of a revenue generator for me as it has been. I am sure glad I said yes when those projects started coming!

Are you looking to get started with your business, lets chat.

Book Review: Free


I recently read a book called FREE by Chris Anderson. 

This book is a summary of the marketing technique and economic force of FREE! Chris believes so much in the concept of free that he in fact has offer his book for free online, you can view it here.

Chris starts with a history of free and then goes into how free is becoming more and more prevalent in our society today.  Chris breaks down free and how it works for companies like Google and their free gmail and google docs.

Here are some of the key thoughts:

  1. Somethings are too cheap to matter. As society progresses, many things like technology become cheaper and cheaper. Moore’s Law  shows that technology doubles every two years. As technology moves closer and closer to costing nothing, giving away a free Ebook or an email account costs almost nothing. It costs a small amount of electricity and data, but that amount is so small, its too cheap to matter.
  2. The Freemium model of mostly free users is something that will become more prevalent. What is Freemium? Its a model where many of the users, maybe even as much as 80% use the product for free. The 20% of users who are paid, pay enough to develop the product. This is possible becuase the cost of a user using an app is almost zero. This creates a huge marketing funnel.
  3. Real world models of free. One of the fun things about this book is that throughout the book, there are examples of how a free model might work out. One of my favorite examples is of how a text book might be free.  The model allows for a free digital copy of the book, but then charging for printed copies, or printable copies. This also allows authors to make updates over time without having a huge capital costs. While the upfront profit is not as great, at the six year point, one companies authors starting making more money. It increases the lifespan of the income. Here is a picture of the revenue model:
    This book is worth the read for no other reason than it helps you get a grasp on how the economy is developing. But other reason would be to help you think through new concepts on how to help your business develop using Free.

Ask Biz Show Ep 4

Each week I am doing a live show talking about business! You can submit questions here: http://bit.ly/askbizshow

You can watch live on Facebook or Periscope.


Social Media Win or Fail: Cricket Wireless

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This week’s social media win or fail is brought to us courtesy of Cricket Wireless. Cricket Wireless is a prepaid cell phone company owned by AT&T. But by looking at the branding and marketing, you might never known that it was owned by AT&T becuase it has a very different vibe.

Prepaid wireless customers tend to be young and of a lower income (not always the case) than the typical contract customers of the major carriers. This means that their branding and marketing gets to be different and by different I mean lots of fun. Cricket can get away with a lot of different types of marketing because of this, like this weeks campaign: Surprise John Cena.

First a little background. John Cena is a WWE wrestler and recently a reality TV show host (American Grit). John Cena has become, as he describes it, “A sometimes annoying internet meme”. Here is a sampler of some of these “Unexpected John Cena” memes, some of which are pretty hilarious:

The general description: take something from popular culture and interject Cena’s wrestling intro before someone introduces something else. That Batman one though! There are hundreds of the Unexpected John Cena Memes across social media platforms and a quick look on youtube, you easily count 45 million views!

Here is where we bring  Cricket back in. Cricket saw an opportunity for marketing in that meme. Cricket wireless has the budget and branding to do something crazy like, bring John Cena is do to a real life ‘Unexpected John Cena”! Cricket Wireless brought in real John Cena fans to pretend to be auditioning to be Cena’s introduction for their new campaign. Here is the video:

The series of 5 videos has 15 million views on Youtube alone. 11 million on Facebook with  138k shares! This campaign was created by Shareability. This is an agency to keep an eye one for viral campaigns.

Cricket continues to expand  this campaign by placing preroll ads for their phone plans Youtube videos different “unexpected John Cena” videos. Brilliant extension of the campaign. These ads seem to be pretty straight forward call to action. One small improvement would be to customize those ads for that audience possibly do a contest for a meet and greet with Cena.

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This is without a doubt a social media win! Way to go Cricket, Shareability, and JOHN CENA!


Life Time Customer Value

Lifetime Customer Value

During the last episode of the AskBizShow someone asked: How do you know what your lifetime customer value is? This was a great question and one I needed to look deeper into.

But first, why do you need to know what your customer lifetime value is? The biggest reason is to know how much to invest into the average customer. The higher the value of the customer, the more time and attention is worth spending on them. But your customer value could differ greatly from business to business.

Here is a simple formula for coming up with the lifetime value of your customer:


(Average Value of the Sale)X(Average number of repeat transactions)X(Lifespan of customers).


Now to come up with all of these numbers will take some time and research. Look at your sales reports or your CRM tools to see how many customers you are working with and what the average transaction price is. This value may vary based on the products they buy from your company.

For example, someone who orders some laser cut products from me is a much smaller transaction value or someone who buys a website. But there are fewer websites sold becuase they are an investment. Spend some time investigating this number, interview some customers to find out about their habits.


The more you know the more accurate a number you can come up with. When you have that number, you can then look at ways of either scaling up or scaling down the things you do to retain customers. Retaining customers is almost always cheaper than finding new ones. You may also reveal a need to increase your prices to make sure you are profitable. More information is valuable to your business!