071: Finding your Raving Fans through Facebook Live with Amanda Rettke from I Am Baker

Welcome to episode 71 of the Food Blogger Pro podcast! This week, Bjork interviews Amanda Rettke from I Am Baker about her success with Facebook Live and how it has helped connect her with her audience.

Last week Bjork interviewed Steve Chou from MyWifeQuitHerJob.com about building two very different types of online businesses. To go back and listen to that episode, click here.

Finding your Raving Fans through Facebook Live

They say you only need 1,000 raving fans to create a successful business. Just 1,000! However, raving fans can be hard to come by. Where do you get them? How do you know they love you and the work you are doing?

Amanda struggled with this a bit for the first few years she was in business. She knew she had great fans, but she didn’t feel like she really connected with them. And then she decided to try Facebook Live. Her raving fans loved being able to see and interact with her live, and she loved being able to connect with them. Facebook Live has been the experience Amanda needed to feel connected with her readers, and today she is here to tell us how she did it.

In this episode, Amanda shares:

  • What it was about I am Baker that people loved
  • Why it’s important to appreciate the work that you’ve done
  • How her live videos created raving fans
  • How to keep your viewers interested in your videos
  • Why consistency is key
  • What her viewers love most about her videos
  • Whether you can do live videos by yourself
  • How she records on her phone but still keeps tabs on what’s going on

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Bjork Ostrom: In this episode of the Food Blogger Pro podcast, we talked to Amanda Rettke of I Am Baker all about Facebook Live video, the nitty-gritty details of what it takes to do a Facebook Live video and how these live videos have impacted her blog and business. Oh, and something kind of fun, today, if you’re listening when this podcast is released is officially the first day of enrollment for our fall enrollment period for Food Blogger Pro.

Of those of you that have not signed up for Food Blogger Pro, if you’ve been tracking along for a long time and wondering when we’re going to open up for our next enrollment period, that is today. You can go to Foodbloggerpro.com and sign up and I’ll talk more about that in a little bit.

Hey, everybody. Bjork Ostrom here and as I mentioned in the beginning of this podcast episode, we are opening Food Blogger Pro up for enrollment today. If you’re listening to this on the day that this podcast is released, that means that enrollment for Food Blogger Pro is open and if you aren’t familiar with Food Blogger Pro, I just want to do a quick overview of what’s involved with that.

Food Blogger Pro is a community of food bloggers but it’s also a place to learn about food blogging. We’re a really specific niche just like this podcast is a really specific podcast, but what that allows us to do is to have really specific conversations. We don’t talk about just SEO on a broad scale, we talk about it really specifically for food blogs or we don’t talk about photography in general. We talk about photography specific to food blogs.

We have over 2300 people from all around the world that are part of this community and they are doing multiple things with Food Blogger Pro. One, they are engaging and following along with the community. They’re staying in touch and in tuned with the conversations that are happening within the industry. Number 2, a lot of the members are tracking along with the courses that we have. Right now, we’re really diving deep into video.

If you follow along with Pinch of Yum on Instagram or Facebook, you’ve noticed that we’ve been really producing a lot of content that is focused on video. We’re talking about the settings and equipment that we use. We have a course coming up that’s going to talk about the planning that goes into each one of those videos and how we pick that content and that’s in the courses category of Food Blogger Pro.

Then we have this tools area and then the deals and the discounts. Both were truly fun areas and with tools, we have the course tracker where you can follow along and move through all the really important content that you need to hit and we have a social media checklist, all the things that you need to be doing with social media.

Then we also have deals and discounts. The deals and discounts are exciting because we have exclusive discounts for certain products. We have discounts on things like, if you’re familiar with Erickson Wood Works, they have this great background board product that they create for beautiful photos or a tailwind, a viral tag, all these different products that go into building a blog and into building your food blog. We have different deals and discounts within the deals and discounts area on Food Blogger Pro.

The thing that I’m really excited about that I wanted to let you know about is a special promotion that we’re doing for this enrollment period and anyone that signs up for an annual membership for Food Blogger Pro will also get 1 year to Nutrifox, and I’ve talked about Nutrifox before, but Nutrifox is our nutrition label generator and it creates in a really, really easy push button way from a list of ingredients.

Look through all of that and create a nutrition label that you can embed on your website and a lot of you have seen that on Pinch of Yum. We use it quite a bit and it’s a great value add. That’s usually $89. That’s included in an annual membership to Food Blogger Pro, but you can also sign up for a monthly membership.

$29 for monthly, 279 for yearly and you can learn more about that and check it out and Foodbloggerpro.com. Just as a quick reminder, we do enrollment periods like college or universities. We open things up. You can join and then we close it down and we hunker down much like you would at college or in a university where then we go into working with members and working through content and things like that.

If you’re going to check that out, it’s Foodbloggerpro.com and the enrollment will close on November 10th. That’s when we’re cutting things off here and the entire time that we’re open, you can get that 1 year Nutrifox plus annual Food Blogger Pro membership. We just think it’s an insanely awesome deal and we’re really proud of those 2 products in the community that is Food Blogger Pro.

Also really excited to share with you this interview with Amanda Rettke today of I Am Baker all about doing a live video, specifically Facebook Live and the impact that doing these videos has had on her blog and her business. She talks about everything from the details about getting up and running with a live video, what goes on when you’re doing the actual video and then also what that looks like in terms of what can come from live videos with brand partnerships and things like that. It’s a great interview that I’m excited to share with you and so without further adieu, let’s jump in. Amanda, welcome to the podcast.

Amanda Rettke: Hi. Thanks so much for having me.

Bjork Ostrom: We were chatting a little bit before I pressed record and I said these are my favorite interviews because we’re talking about something today that I literally have no idea how to do which is Facebook Live and live video and we’re going to get into that, but before we do, I want to hear you talk a little bit about way back when. 2010, that’s when you started I Am Baker. Is that right?

Amanda Rettke: Yes. I actually started almost, I want to say, 14 years ago with a blog called I Am Mommy. No, that was a total lie. It was 12 years ago. Then I started baking because my kids were having birthdays and we were going to church potlucks and they wanted me to bring something and my knowledge about baking and cooking was little to none.

I started baking and then I started putting it on my I Am Mommy blog and I felt like I was overwhelming my 2 readers with all of these baked goods. I was like, “I’ll just put it off to the side and call it I Am Baker.” That took off almost immediately. I had people looking at these items and I was shocked by it and pleasantly surprised of course. I totally forgot the question. I was just going to tell more of my story.

Bjork Ostrom: That’s exactly what it was. You are in the process of answering it. That’s interesting. One of the things I want to hone in on is this reality that you look at Iambaker.net and you’ll see 2010 and so you’re like, “Oh, okay. You’ve been doing this 2010,” but so often people that have built something significant like you often have more … They have a pre-beginning stage where you were working and blogging and maybe the purpose of it was a little bit different than obviously it wasn’t something that you were doing.

Maybe you weren’t as strategic or intentional about it as you are now but nonetheless, you were putting in some time and effort in learning something 12 years ago. That’s a lot of time and energy put into it. Can you talk about when you first started your blog. Number 1, I’m interested what were you using at that time? Was it Blogger?

Amanda Rettke: Oh, no. I wasn’t that classy. It was America Online Live Journal.

Bjork Ostrom: Oh, wow. You are the first that I have ever interviewed. I don’t even know anything about it. It’s essentially like a journal. It was like AOL’s journaling software.

Amanda Rettke: Pretty much, yeah. The big thing at that time was like the gift, the animated puppy with hearts around its head with the sparkle. Anyone that was doing that was they were the ones to follow. It was amazing.

Bjork Ostrom: It’s funny how some of that stuff comes around. That’s such a thing now, I mean not in the same form but the animated picture is like, “Oh, that’s 15 years later comes back around as something that’s really important online.” Then you started publishing recipes. What do you think it was about the recipes or the baking or the shifting content that found a new audience?

Amanda Rettke: I think for me it was a complete lack of experience and knowledge and I know that seems counter intuitive to what I was doing but I literally knew nothing and just was creating things that I thought of. It was actually 2010, I started doing surprise inside cakes and that was when I put a design on the inside of the cake within the batter or the cake itself I would manipulate.

The only reason I did that is because no one told me that you didn’t do that. I just didn’t know. I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I think there was some originality. I hope that doesn’t sound to pompous but I think there was some originality to the content that I was sharing and the ideas behind it. People just were willing to follow along and look at the bad photography and really poor writing. Interestingly enough, I did not use a comma for the first 10 years. It was so bad.

Bjork Ostrom: I think that’s a common story with a lot of entrepreneurs is that because of potentially not knowing the full story, it’s like you don’t know what you can’t do so you do things that other people maybe normally wouldn’t do. The thing that you did that I think maybe not a lot of people do is that you are willing to put that out to the world.

That’s the hard part is oftentimes pressing the publish button because so often people can think what will people think of this or maybe a little bit hesitant in general just to put something out to the world but you’ve done that and I think that’s for so many people such a huge step but the hard part is to do that repeatedly. It was something that you started to get some traction. At what point in your story did you say, “Hey, I think this could be something where I could maybe lean into this a little bit, build a brand and build a business around this”?

Amanda Rettke: I have a funny story about that. I remember sitting in Space Aliens restaurant.

Bjork Ostrom: Great. I know where it is because you’re in Minnesota.

Amanda Rettke: It’s a Midwest thing I think.

Bjork Ostrom: Rest in peace, I don’t think that’s open anymore.

Amanda Rettke: Oh, really? Oh, no.

Bjork Ostrom: Is it the one on 65?

Amanda Rettke: Yes.

Bjork Ostrom: Was it that one? I think it’s still there but I don’t think it’ Space Aliens. I saw badly wanted to go in but I never was able to make it happen. Anyway Space Aliens.

Amanda Rettke: I was sitting there with my mom and they live in Fargo. That was a meeting place for the kids and they were off playing. I was telling my mom about my blog and I look at her dead on the eye, demanding her full attention and was like, “My blog had 2000 hits this month. I’m kind of a big deal.” in fullest sincerity thought I was a big deal. Of course we know that was a little ridiculous but I did not honestly take myself too seriously until I got a call from an agent who was interested in a book.

For some reason that week, it was 3 calls from 3 different agents and I was doing interviews and I didn’t even understand how they knew I existed in the World Wide Web. That forces you to take a closer look at what you’re doing and fine tune it a bit.

Bjork Ostrom: It’s somebody from the outside saying we’re interested in working with you in a professional relationship suddenly allows you to transition thinking like, “Oh, the view it as this and maybe that shifts your perspective on what it is.”

Amanda Rettke: It’s like validation almost.

Bjork Ostrom: Absolutely. It’s interesting to hear you talk about looking at those metrics and saying, “We have 2,000 hits a month.” There’s this reality of wherever you’re at, there’s something cool about it. I remember the same thing where you have 100 visitors for the first time and I think when you’re in the beginning stages, there’s this very real understanding of that’s 100 different people. Many of whom you probably don’t know that are visiting the site and that idea is just so encouraging.

At some point, it just tips over into numbers a little bit more and I think you lose some of the individuality that comes along with a smaller number when you’re first starting out which is a bomber because you can post a video online and on Facebook and it gets 2 million views and it’s like, “Wow, that’s 2 million people that have in some way consumed this content.” It’s like, “The last one I had 3 million.” It’s so weird how numbers play out like that as you start to grow and build.

Amanda Rettke: That’s so true and interesting that you would bring that up. I admit, I’m a big fault for that and not maybe appreciating numbers at times but this past weekend, we had a get together and a lot of family was there and they were asking, “What do you do?” No one understands me.

Bjork Ostrom: Which is a hard question to answer.

Amanda Rettke: I said something along the lines of I share content online and on my blog. I do video sometimes. They pulled up my blog and they’re like, “Oh this one. This has 6 million views on it. What does that mean?” I had to take that moment that you just described and step back and explain it and understand the significance of it. It gave me an eye opening moment. That is an accomplishment. That is something to be excited about even I don’t allow myself to really do that anymore.

Bjork Ostrom: I think that’s an important point for those that are listening to take time to appreciate the work that you’ve done as opposed to just looking at where you want to go which is I think a common trait for people that are building and growing is that they look at where they want to go and it’s not as common to stop and say, “Wow. This is really cool, the thing that I’ve built.” For those that are listening, that would be my encouragement to you is to take time to think about that.

The comparison thing is it’s so common and so easy to do whether with yourself or against other metrics or things that you see. It’s important to take time to step back and appreciate the work that you’ve done. One of the things that I would love to talk about, actually the main thing I would love to talk about today is the work that you’ve done with building your Facebook account and specifically around video and then the subset of live video.

Before we started the call, I was watching one of your videos and it’s like, “This is so unique and fascinating.” Even something as small as like I press play on it and then the comments come in what they were, when the live video was happening, is that right?

Amanda Rettke: Yes, that’s an option.

Bjork Ostrom: It’s so interesting to see that unfold as it did when you were live and I thought, “This is such a foreign thing to me,” because we don’t do much live video. Tell me about live video. Why is that something that you decided to focus on and when did you do your first one. Maybe start with that. Talk about your first live video and why you decided to do it?

Amanda Rettke: I’m an old fart. Excuse my term but that’s what my grandpa used to call himself – an old fart. I’ve officially embraced that status in my life but I don’t get social media a lot of the time and I don’t do trends. I got annoyed with myself because that’s a frame of mind that I wanted to get out of if I want to be a successful business person, I need to learn these things.

Bjork Ostrom: That’s a really little piece that you just said but it’s so important. Whether that’s people that maybe don’t social media or get it and just say I’m not interested in focusing on it. Anyways, I want to pull that out because I think that’s really important. The mindset of it. Anyways, you wanted to get out of a mindset of the old fartness mindset.

Amanda Rettke: I saw, I think it was one of the bigger brands like Taste Feed or Tastemade or something like that doing a live video, very early on when it was just introduced and I got interested in it and then I dropped the thought process. Then all of a sudden my page got verified and I was able to get Facebook mentions which is something they reserve for verified pages and allows people to go on live a little.

At the time, nobody else had the capability on their personal page. I was like I’m going to try this. I’m going to do this. I picked a topic of something. I think it was cake related and kind of set up my camera in an awkward position with bad lighting, bad sound, bad everything and then …

Bjork Ostrom: Like any first video should be. It some requirement.

Amanda Rettke: Quite frankly, it hasn’t improved too much since then. I filmed it and I just talked. The neat thing about that though is I have done Craftsy prior to this which is a production company that puts out content and videos in a tutorial sense. I had a lot of the “production experience.” I understood where your camera is and how you need to talk to the camera and show your actions to the camera and constantly keep in a dialogue going and things like that.

Having some of that base knowledge was extremely beneficial. When I started doing a live video, it was easy to step into the role of it. The bonus of doing this live video when I first started was on my Facebook page, the Facebook mention app sent out a notification to everyone on my page, letting them know that I was going live. They still do that to some extent.

People were tuning in and engagement wise per live video, I was seeing 500,000 to a million people reach for a 15-minute live video. They’ve altered their algorithm since then of course. When I experienced that, it was like a drug or it’s like, “Wow, I can do this and actually reach all of the people on my page which I never really been able to tap into before.

Bjork Ostrom: This was probably a couple of years ago then?

Amanda Rettke: No. This was early 2015. This was less than a year ago.

Bjork Ostrom: It’s interesting to think about because that was the same time and probably at the tail end of when Facebook had been essentially turning off pages. If you have this big page that you built up on Facebook, you’re seeing declining engagement for whatever reason, they want you to pay for advertising. They don’t want brand to content to show up. Then they flip the switch where they say we’re going to do live video and because at the time it was really, really new and it was really limited. There weren’t a lot of people doing it.

As I understand you saying, they were putting a lot of attention on it. You would go love and they would, not only would have show up in the feed but they would ping somebody and say we want to send you a message to let you know that Amanda of I Am Baker is live right now. Is that right?

Amanda Rettke: Exactly.

Bjork Ostrom: You said personally it was like, “Oh my gosh. This is awesome and a little bit addicting.” Did you see a result with the growth of your followers as well?

Amanda Rettke: No. It was the opposite effect in terms of likes on my page because people didn’t want the live notification. They didn’t want to be interrupted in their day.

Bjork Ostrom: Interesting.

Amanda Rettke: The first live video I did was 1,200 people unliked my page that day but the engagement was so high, I just couldn’t even bring myself to be concerned about it. I just made the talk in my head that they didn’t want to be on my page anyway so this will help my overall algorithm if I’m having people who actually want to engage.

Bjork Ostrom: People that are interested in what you’re doing. If they’re not, might as well have them unlike or unfollow you.

Amanda Rettke: Yeah, exactly. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of Pat Flynn. I’m just kidding.

Bjork Ostrom: I was going to say, “We interviewed him on the podcast.”

Amanda Rettke: You guys are like best friends. He talks a lot about raving fans and I have never even able to tap into that and I had always wanted to on some level but the way that live video is set up when you’re actually talking to people because I tried to engage with the comments as they’re coming through, this created the forum for me to actually create the raving fan.

It was accidental but it was amazing and I now gotten into the point where people change their schedules to watch the live video when it’s coming on. When we’re familiar and they know details about they can recall previous videos. That is a constant thread that is only growing and improving the more videos that I do but it’s something that I was never able to do before. If all else fail then they took the algorithm away, I would continue to do it just based on the community aspects that has changed now.

Bjork Ostrom: That’s something that I think is fuel for the fire so to speak, the idea that you finally get to engage and interact with people because going back to that metrics number or that metrics conversation, the analytics, you can see a million people watch a video that you post on Facebook and you can see that stat but it’s very different if you have even a very surface level conversation with them where you say, “I see you. I read your comment.”

You maybe say it back to them as it’s growing through and then they respond about how excited they are that they’ve been able to connect. That is something that is so rare in the work that we do. I can see how that would be really encouraging.

Amanda Rettke: That’s exactly what happens is you engage someone in a real environment, in a real way and then they feel a sense of bonding and friendship there. I love that.

Bjork Ostrom: I want to take a step back here. One of the things that you mentioned was your experience with Craftsy and you said that you had learned so much in that experience that you’re able to apply the live video. Can you talk about maybe 2 to 3 different things that you saw shooting with Craftsy that then you applied to doing live video on your own?

Amanda Rettke: Sure. I think one of the most important things is just know where your camera is. We have a specific thing where we do with food and so it can be really easy when you’re doing a live video to get caught up and looking down and arranging ingredients and things. That loses people because they want to see. They want to see exactly what you’re doing and the steps involved.

When you’re aware of where your camera is and catering to that, it changes the video in a sense that they feel better about it. They’re looking at it a little bit better. The next thing would be to practice what you’re going to say before you say it. For my first few live videos, I stood in my shower and said the whole video like what I was going to say and what points I wanted to hit. I practiced out loud.

Then I sat in front of my camera. Just my camera and my phone. It wasn’t live and recorded it. It went through the live video the entire thing and watched it back to see where I could improve upon and what shouldn’t I be saying. Just seeing yourself and hearing yourself changes how you behave in the live video. That is something that I learned with Craftsy.

They gave me the tips in how to do the production because they’re not live but they don’t really want to be on take 57 of you trying to say a line. You do have to memorize lines.

Bjork Ostrom: That practice thing is such an obvious thing from the outside but it’s such a hard thing to apply. I think when people think of live, they’re like one thing that’s nice is you can just press record and you ramble along but it’s like that’s really intentional to go through the process of practicing on your own and then practicing while you’re recording and watching it back. It’s uncomfortable, right? It’s uncomfortable to hear yourself and see yourself but it’s so refining to be able to do that. I think that’s a really smart tip.

Amanda Rettke: That’s one of those things that sets you apart because live video has now exploded with Snapchat with Instagram stories and of course Facebook live but a lot of people are literally sitting in a room with the camera at their face just talking and that is not necessarily what everybody wants and you may not be engaging and you may not retain readers if that’s the route that you take.

Finding a way to professionalize yourself in some extent and make yourself comfortable in front of the camera is one way to set yourself apart enough where you’re not going to lose readers every time you go on, you’re going to engage them and have them to turn in to raving fans.

Bjork Ostrom: That was one of the things that I wanted to ask about. You had said when you did your first video, one of the things you noticed was this huge amount of engagement and yet some of your current followers dropping off because of the notification and they just maybe didn’t want to get notifications or they weren’t a good fit and so they said, “Oh, I’m going to unfollow.” Do you still see that or what does that look like in terms of doing live video now?

Is it continuing to be one of the things where you engage those raving fans knowing that potentially you might lose some of the people that are on the fringe and don’t want to follow along?

Amanda Rettke: That’s a great question. Actually that really stopped after the third video. I think people were comfortable enough weren’t comfortable enough at the point that they understood that this wasn’t something they were required to watch. They could ignore the notification if they wanted. They did and do. Now, I don’t even think Facebook sends out the notification as much. It only goes to other verified pages and there’s all these different new algorithm and things.

Now, it’s to the point where I will go live and people will find it through more avenues. Before the only ways you had to follow my page or you had to get the notification. Now, Facebook has the option on your personal page where you can click live video and you can see a map of everywhere there’s a live video happening on Facebook.

The advantage I have with starting really early on is the little dot that represents my live video is somewhat bigger. It shows differently as everybody else and it shows that it has more of an audience than other people doing live video. It’s a lot easier to get new people to see it. I actually do gain new fans or new friends when I’m doing the live video.

Bjork Ostrom: That’s because you have this history of doing live video for a long time. You have a lot of followers that engage with your live video and so Facebook says this is somebody who has a strong presence and we want to acknowledge that by making the dot a little bit more emphasized?

Amanda Rettke: Yes. In terms of the algorithm engagement. That’s how they do it. I think the dot is based on the actual size of people following along on it.

Bjork Ostrom: Got it. If there’s a huge event with let’s say a million people tuning in, the dot would be a bit bigger. It correlates to the size of the audience?

Amanda Rettke: Yes.

Bjork Ostrom: Interesting. Cool. A few other things that I wanted to touch on that you had talked about and just get some clarity on, one of the things that you said is people will rearrange their schedule to watch one of the live videos that you’re doing. Are you scheduling your videos like the live video like a TV show where you say, “Hey, I’m going to be going on at this time on this day?”

Amanda Rettke: Yes. That was going to be like my third tip for people to find a consistent time and stick to it. I always choose Tuesdays at 11 am. people know even if they don’t get a notification that that is when my video is going to go live and that they can then participate at that time. You can pick any time. The beauty in having consistent time is you can incorporate so many other factors into your video when you have that consistent schedule.

For food bloggers specifically, I can put out a recipe ahead of time and say, “Hey, guys we are making chocolate chip cookies on this day. here’s the recipe I’m using and they can actually bake with me in their kitchen. It opens up that avenue of that engagement with your readers and with your fans.

Bjork Ostrom: For sure.

Amanda Rettke: I lost my train of thought.

Bjork Ostrom: No, that’s great. I think conceptually that makes sense but I would assume it’s a little bit harder to actually do that and to stick with it than one would think. Especially when you have a family and I know that you have a family and you have kids and you have the role and responsibility of watching those kids, not throughout the whole day because you have to have time where obviously they’re not going to be in the video or maybe they are sometimes. Maybe that’s one of the tips or tricks with it.

How do you balance that with also raising a family and maybe it would be a bigger question of continuing to do what you do while raising a family and being a present mom as well. That’s where things began for you is your role as a mom. I know a lot of people listening to this have a family and maybe struggle through that and so do you have any advice for those people?

Amanda Rettke: Everything that I do on my blog is it goes back to who I want to be ultimately and that is mom, that is wife and we also homestead. We raised chickens and a big garden and canned things. It just very Midwestern all of this stuff.

Bjork Ostrom: Absolutely. For sure.

Amanda Rettke: That is my joy. When I am outside, weeding, I don’t particularly enjoy weeding but I love the opportunity to work in a garden that we have nursed and raised. I will have this conversation with people even speaking at conferences, I’ll tell them I bust my butt to organize and plan for a live video and do 2 hours of pre-work for a recipe set up so that after that video ends, I can go outside with my kids.

The focus is very intentional of being with my kids and my family. How I incorporate that into work is there are part of videos often so I ask them to go downstairs and be quiet while mommy is working and of course they never listen. Little Olivia, she’s my 3 year old. I have 5 kids. The oldest is 11. The youngest is 3. She’ll teeter on over. At first I was horrified that I was so unprofessional and what are people going to say and people love it, love it.

It struck me to this day how much they enjoy seeing the kids interacting with them because kids are just cute in general. It was encouraging and it was a consistent comment that I would get. I love how real you are. I love that you let your kids be on the video. It’s something that I knew that I didn’t have to stress about in the future. My 11 year old will often help me record. He’ll try and do some of the technical side of it because there’s a lot of little details when it comes to live video.

You want to try and use your back camera on your phone because that’s better quality than your front facing camera. If you have your back camera recording, you can’t see any comments which is important for live video. I would have my son recording and trying to read me comments and he got the point where I think to this day he’s more popular than me.

Then you’re like, “Where’s Colton? Where’s your helper?” People ask often there are many ways to incorporate kids into the process and it can be in front or behind the scenes but it’s good to keep them there so you know what mommy is doing.

Bjork Ostrom: I was listening to a podcast who’s actually a tech podcast but they were talking about VidCon which is like the video conference for YouTube and California. I don’t know a lot about it but they were talking about how there’s these celebrities at VidCon and everybody knows them and chases them around and then they can go out to a coffee shop 15 miles away and nobody knows them but what they were saying is there’s a new type of celebrity and one of the things that they pointed out was celebrities today are developing because people can see them and say, “I can be like this person. This person is like me.”

I think those things that you’re talking about touch on that a little bit where somebody maybe sees one of your kids come up and they’re like, “Oh, I can relate to that. I’m familiar with it as opposed to somebody who has every little thing perfectly presented which isn’t real life. It’s now how people operate day to day and so the reality of it also can be … You can be simultaneously celebrity to your raving fans and also be authentic and genuine.

That’s almost more common now than the perfectly polished nothing is wrong ever celebrity of maybe 20 or 30 years ago. It’s interesting to hear you say that and I feel like that’s been true for to us as we share our personal story and just our day to day as opposed to trying to completely polish something that it’s actually beneficial.

You had mentioned a little bit when you’re talking about how Colton helps you out with the process. I would love to talk a little bit about the nitty-gritty of the live video shoot and how that works. One of the questions that I had right after the bat was you talked about using your phone. Is it always shooting the live video on your phone? Is it possible to do it on your computer or at this point, is it just phone only and how does that work?

Amanda Rettke: Facebook Live is definitely geared towards the mobile. They want you to use your phone or your iPad for it. Yes, there are workarounds that people have figured out for using your desktop and that is far more technical than I could ever even begin to understand but it’s there.

Bjork Ostrom: Got it.

Amanda Rettke: If you want to set that up for that somehow. I recently purchased, I think it’s called Mevo setup but it’s basically what Tastemade is using, You hook that in and you have multiple camera angles that you can toggle between while using your phone, just your phone. I think that the technology is supporting the mobile end of it more than desktop for that.

Bjork Ostrom: If somebody hasn’t done any live video, don’t start with your desktop computer or your laptop. Start with your mobile phone and then it looks like getmevo.com is the website here. It’s these level 2 streaming solutions where this is a high level camera and you said potentially could do multiple angles with it and I’m guessing that there’s maybe software that comes along with it.

Amanda Rettke: Yes.

Bjork Ostrom: Got it. Is it something you could do on your own? I know you had mentioned Colton helping out everyone. Are there videos where you just are on your own shooting and what does that look like?

Amanda Rettke: He was a big help really on because I couldn’t figure out how to engage with my readers but now I have transitioned him over into being the big brother during my videos so he helps get the little ones in a room so they’re not bothering. They’re screaming. What I do now is I do everything by myself.

Every video is pretty much me producing, talking, every aspect of it and so I have my tripod set up and then I have the mobile, little mini-tripod that is flexible that holds your phone. I put that on my tripod so I have some height. Then I use my iPad to have a visual of the comments, happening during it. I’m often looking right at my iPad while my phone is filming me. Then I can engage with people in that way.

Bjork Ostrom: The idea is your camera that is recording and you had said previously Colton would maybe read out comments but now that you’re doing it on your own, you have the iPad hold up and that has the stream of … Are you seeing yourself but delayed on that stream?

Amanda Rettke: Yes.

Bjork Ostrom: Does that throw you off? I feel like you would have to really be intentional not just suddenly watch yourself watching yourself.

Amanda Rettke: It’s actually almost like a 6 second delay so it’s a significant delay but yes, you do have to just only look at the comments but it’s also good to have that visual if you’re off screen or if you’re doing something that people need to see close up. You can see how can I best present this.

Bjork Ostrom: Got it. You’re also using that almost as a monitor because you’re using the back camera on your phone. You can’t necessarily see what happens so if something gets moved a little bit, it makes it easier to see what the other people are seeing.

Amanda Rettke: Exactly.

Bjork Ostrom: Do you have a structure that you follow when you start the video? I noticed right away you will start it and then you’ll engage with people and say, “I see Bjork from St. Paul is here. Hey, Bjork. How are you doing? Good to see you.” Obviously that’s how you would start videos. Do you have a set structure for beginning, middle end or does it depend on the content?

Amanda Rettke: My videos are a little bit different than others and that they’re always scheduled and so I tend to have a lot of people engaging in a short amount of time because they know what time to be there. Yes, I will often maybe 2 minutes typically shorter to just be like, “Hey, we’re live. Let’s wait for some people to join us,” something along those lines. If you do not have the consistent schedule, it takes people sometime to log in and to join your live podcast and the longer that you go typically the more people will join.

If you’re just sitting there, taking for 15 minutes and people are not leaving then you may get an influx of joiners because Facebook recognized that there’s some consistent staying power here. This is a long broadcast. We like long. They’ll let you shoot for up to 90 minutes. They’ll show it. All of a sudden your reach explodes and people will come filtering in. Yes, there is definitely specific way you can do it.

You can have your meet and greet at the beginning or you can launch right into the recipe. There’s controversy about that as well because if anyone is to go back and look at the video, then what they want to see, they may have to wait a considerable amount of time for. There’s little bit of debate on what people prefer on that but for the most part, people tend to launch into what they’re doing.

Bjork Ostrom: I would assume, it’s a little bit like which audience are you catering to. The people that watch the rebroadcast are the live people and if you’re catering to the live people, what you do is you probably have a little bit of a buffer where you’d welcome people on and then get in to the content but if said, “Hey, I want to focus on the people that are watching the rerun of it after,” then you’d probably want to get in to the content a little bit sooner which leads into my next question.

What do you think the biggest impact is with a video? Do you think it’s the live audience that you’re engaging with or is it after you wrap up the live video and then it’s available to other people to watch? Is that where you see the most impact and the most viewership.

Amanda Rettke: By far the most engagement comes from the live video itself. For example, I video that I did a couple months ago, the engagement initially was 550,000 and I went back and look at that video today and the ending engagement as of today was 625,000. In that time, that’s a pretty small percentage of people they’ve then since shown that video to and that’s my norm for my video is I don’t get huge engagement after the fact. My focus is most definitely on the initial video when it’s going live.

Bjork Ostrom: Got it. Why live over recorded video? I know that each one offers a very different type of content, live video could be up to 90 minutes long. You said maybe 30 to 45 minutes and a recorded video especially the stylistic food videos that you see being popular in Facebook would maybe be like a minute to 3 minutes. How do you decide like, “I’m going to place an emphasis live or I’m going to an emphasis on videos that are pre-recorded and produced”?

Amanda Rettke: I think right now it comes down to monetization for me. I still do a lot of produced videos. I have 3 that are due by next week that I have to do for brands but the live engagement is brands sustaining for me. When I first started doing the live video, my initial engagement was 200,000. By the third video, it was 500,000.

I started pitching that to brands like crazy because I had never seen those numbers on my page where I consistently promise that within 24 hours, 10,000 people are going to see your content or going to see this video. For me, I am to the point now where my Facebook live monetization has surpassed a produced video monetization. The Facebook live is a shorter timeframe in terms of longevity, in terms of brand, exposure. The produced video has a much longer life span for me. I’ll see traffic a year later from that type of content.

Bjork Ostrom: When you have those conversation with brands, do you feel like you have to educate them or do they get it?

Amanda Rettke: There’s absolutely education involved. I started pitching a brand, I want to say right away, third video that I was doing who is perfect fit for everything that I do. Literally incorporate them into everything I do. We are just now, this is probably 9 months later, just now getting to a point where we’re going to sign a contract for future relationship but that contract is well over 6 figures because they have now been educated to a point of seeing the value in their advertising dollars being significant immediately measurable and creating long-term raving fans for them versus all other forms of their existing social advertising apps.

Bjork Ostrom: The type of engagement, that’s awesome by the way and so fun to see. How quickly is that, right? It’s 2015. I’m going to go way back with this but by overcoming that mindset hurdle that you had of I don’t want to engage in the latest and greatest and the new thing and saying, “No, if I want to do this, I need to do this. I need to try these things out whether it’s something new with social media and push forward with it and just to see what that did for you is really cool. Congratulations with that.

Amanda Rettke: Thank you.

Bjork Ostrom: I was going to say this. I think the engagement with live video is so different than a produced video and I would assume that brands would see the value in that and that people are commenting and responding and having a conversation and that feels very different than watching a commercial or product placement in a 60 second video for instance. What does look like for the live video when you are working with the brand. How do you integrate that in a genuine way and are people receptive to that are watching it?

Amanda Rettke: Yes, absolutely. I actually just wrote a whole proposal on this recently but the ways that you can authentically and organically incorporate brands into what you’re doing, they’re so many. The first obviously would be to use it in the video and oftentimes if you just say, “Hey, this is my juicer and I love it,” that’s it. It doesn’t have to be, “This is my KitchenAid stand mixer.” It doesn’t have to be a commercial.

It can literally be short, sweet, I love this product and let’s pour a juice into our recipe. People comment. People ask questions. I drop the little brand bomb of here, this is a product that I’m using for this. Then when I go back and read the comments and engage with readers typically at the end of my video which is when I do that. I can then reintroduce it and ask questions or answer questions from readers like, “Where did you get that?” This also gives me and to link drop.

This gives me an opportunity to use my branding handshake from Facebook and introduce the brand into the video. Another way is you can have products names somewhere. I can have an apron that says a product name. I can have a hat. I can have …

Bjork Ostrom: A tattoo. Maybe not yet.

Amanda Rettke: That’s going a little far. You can have a chalkboard behind you that says, “This is today’s recipe. We’re using Ghirardelli Chocolate,” or something like that. There’s a million ways to authentically and organically, and I say those words, I repeat them because that’s important. People don’t want the produced commercial. They literally want to feel like, “Oh my gosh. I enjoy I Am Baker’s post. She loves this product. I want to use that too,” kind of thing.

Bjork Ostrom: What does it look like for disclosure because I know if we do a post on Pinch of Yum, we have to say this is sponsored by, but then there’s the other side of like, if you’re watching the voice, they’ll all be drinking Dunkin’ Donuts coffee. Maybe they like Dunkin’ Donuts coffee but obviously this is sponsored. It’s not like every time they take a sip out of it, they’re saying, “This is sponsored by Dunkin’ Donuts,” then take a drink of the coffee.

There are varying degrees of disclosure depending on the type of content and how it’s displayed, I would assume. I know that’s true for post but what does that look like live video?

Amanda Rettke: It’s basically the same as other video produced on your page. The difference now, the major difference for everyone is whether or not your page is verified or not Facebook just came out with a 43-page book on the rules in how they want verified pages to be utilizing branded content. They’re cracking down big time. Basically, any time you’re receiving compensation on any level, it does need to be disclosed whether if it’s through their tool which is the handshake if you see at the bottom of your post or the regular forms that you would use the hashtags and the disclosure and things like that. It’s the same.

Bjork Ostrom: Disclosures.

Amanda Rettke: One thing that people can do is they can utilize that because I know that everyone is complaining about it and it’s so, so frustrating. I mean we all want to complain about Facebook but flip it. Flip it in your head. What if I decided to use this to my advantage so if I’m using that amazing OXO handheld juicer and I add that handshake branding option, I’ve not received any compensation. I’m not being paid. They don’t know who I am but all of a sudden, this allows the brand some access to analytics and be acknowledge that you are sharing their product.

Bjork Ostrom: Interesting.

Amanda Rettke: You can actually develop brand relationships just based on utilizing this tool that everyone else is hating but you’re using to grow your brand.

Bjork Ostrom: Interesting. The idea being you’re shaking virtual hands with this brand and saying, “I mentioned this product. Just so you know I’m using it and here’s a sneak peek into what that looks when I use one of your products,”

Amanda Rettke: Yes, exactly.

Bjork Ostrom: That’s cool. Do you notice when you do the handshake that that has an innate impact on the engagement or the access that the video has for viewership?

Amanda Rettke: I have up to this point only ever used retroactively. I haven’t done any sponsored content in my live videos since this has been really implemented. Going back and looking at the videos that I’ve added it to, I haven’t seen a huge decline but that’s because the videos were already in reach decline. I’ve heard both sides of the story that people say it kills a region, other people say, it has zero impact whatsoever but that they love that the extra analytics and the brand loves extra analytics and it’s improved their relationship.

Bjork Ostrom: Got it. Part of it with that is giving access to the brand so you don’t have to share a log in with them?

Amanda Rettke: Yeah.

Bjork Ostrom: Interesting. Got it. We’re coming to the end here but one of the things that I always like to do with these interviews is to take a step back and ask people what their advice would be to themselves when they’re first getting started knowing that you have a lot of experience that you’ve learned a lot of things through the years when you take a step back and you look back where you’ve come over the past 6 plus years, 10 years if you go back 12 years, if you go back all the way to the beginning, what would be the advice that you’d give to yourself when you’re first getting started?

Amanda Rettke: I would say know your goals. A lot of people set goals for themselves or they answer the question why am I doing this because that ultimately is the question of why we do what we do. Why am I doing this and be honest. That’s where I stumbled so greatly is because I had that conversation in my head, “I’m just doing this because I want to share things with people and because I like making pretty things,” when ultimately the things that would fuel me would be if I’d have a post school viral and I’d make an extra income that month.

That was what fueling the fire in my motivation. The second that I was able to admit to myself, I want to make an income. I want to make a difference in my family’s financial future with my blog and with my career is when I was able to accurately measure what I was doing and then pursue it in an authentic way and be honest with myself about my goals.

Bjork Ostrom: I was just going to say, that’s great. I think the clarity around your reason for doing it is so important and so often forgotten. So many times we think that’s the thing to do is to grow and to get bigger and you just do it to do it but to really clarify why that is I think is such a motivator. I think that’s cool. You were going to say one more thing.

Amanda Rettke: I had forgotten. I was listening to you.

Bjork Ostrom: If you think of it, you can do a Facebook live video and stream it and I’ll watch it. Amanda, where can people follow along with you. We’ve talked a lot about your Facebook page but I’m guessing there’s some other places to follow along with the work that you’re doing and to see the different profiles you have online.

Amanda Rettke: Thank you. It is Iambaker.net, I Am Baker on Instagram. I Am Baker on Facebook. That’s pretty much the only once I use really well.

Bjork Ostrom: Cool. We’ll be sure to link to those in the show notes as well and just really appreciate you coming on and sharing your expertise and sharing your experience eating at Space Aliens in Minnesota because that was really fun. It’s never happened before where I could say to somebody I know exactly where that is. That’s so much for coming on Amanda. I really appreciate it.

Amanda Rettke: Thanks, Bjork. Appreciate it.

Bjork Ostrom: That’s a wrap for this episode. One more big thank you to Amanda for coming on the podcast today and one more quick reminder about enrollment for Food Blogger Pro so it is officially open today when this podcast is going out which is November 1st. It closes up November 10th so we have a little window of time here where you can jump in and join Food Blogger Pro and one more reminder, within the reminder, it’s Reminder Inception that we have this deal for annual members that sign up that they also get access to 1 year to Nutrifox.

Super, super excited about that and we think it’s just an awesome, awesome value for what you’re paying for that. We encourage you to check that out. That is Foodbloggerpro.com and you’ll see a little sign up button there and then when you go through the process, you can choose monthly or yearly.

Again, the yearly membership is the only one that also comes with access to Nutrifox and if you have any questions about any of that stuff, be sure to check out Foodbloggerpro.com and ping us with any questions, there’s a little chat box there and we’ll be able to help you out if there’s anything that you have questions about. I really appreciate you guys listening to this podcast following along with what we’re doing. It’s been a really fun thing for me to do and hopefully it’s been helpful for you so thanks for tuning in and we will talk to you again soon.

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