The last 60 days I’ve been MIA from social media. Except for a few random tweets, my social channels have been inactive.
While social media is seductive, persuasive and can influence behavior and actions that impact my economy and help build my brand, I consciously opted out.
My plate has been full with other branding projects, speeches and personal obligations that required my brain and bandwidth.
I’ve had an extremely good year, already surpassed my business goals and I wanted quiet time to do some deep thinking and assess what I felt good about this past year and what I needed to improve on or change. I believe we’ve got to allow this down time to keep our brains fresh and productive.
Is it bad for a business or professional to disengage, ignore fans and friends and shut off their social feeds for an extended period of time?
Social media takes time and energy. As an entrepreneur or business leader you have to prioritize your resources and keep you eyes laser fixated on your goals.
Here’s my advice.
Do what keeps your train moving forward and your cash flow flowing.
Do what works for your business model. Social media is not a magic wand for everyone or every business. It’s one of many available tools.
Don’t you dare let those crazy, screaming green men make noise in your head, throw guilt into your emotional energy source and distract you from your focus.
If you are still on the fence, ask yourself this.
If you halted your social media participation will your community protest and throw a public fit, cut off your oxygen or erect a billboard in Times Square saying you’re a social slacker or miss you?
I’ve got a social community of over 200,000 contacts, not sure many even knew I was gone and everyone’s profile avatars still look happy.
Take a social media snooze when you need to. Enjoy the moment. Take care of you.
I know first hand social media can be a valuable, income generating tool.
My social media efforts have landed me business (a million dollar contract in 2008), sold books and products, aided my international media presence and hooked me to important resources and new friends.
Social media can provide a garden of goods that are aligned to your goals, or it can make you feel like your endless efforts produce no more than a crop of crappy connections that suck time and don’t produce a worthy return on your investment.
Follow these tips and your odds of success will increase.
1.) Tend your efforts based on a plan with goals, strategies and tactics. I write 80% of my content in one scoop at the beginning of the month. I also update a content bank in Excel to store future ideas.
2.) Automate as much as you can. I use Hootsuite to manage scheduling and tracking.
3.) Carefully mix personal with professional content along with your strengths and your vulnerabilities. This strategy will keep you interesting and human.
4.) Promote others. It’s the best fertilizer around.
5.) Provoke. Progress doesn’t happen when everyone agrees with what you think.
6.) Have the big guns ready behind the seductive links, lines and comments. A click through means nothing without the real value you provide. Your website, blog, products and services must walk the social talk.
7.) Master the craft of being a concise, punchy, smart and entertaining word smith or hire someone who is.
HeyWire, the new Facebook app for texting in one place, may be the perfect option for you.
HeyWire, a service that has been offering free SMS (short message service) and recently partnered with Twitter to develop HeyTweet, is now debuting it’s Facebook application that allows users to send both texts and tweets from a cell phone (while using Facebook, of course).
HeyTweet is free, available in multiple languages and offers free local and international text messaging from a phone number. The reason why this service is so compelling is because when users normally send a tweet though SMS text, charges would incur. But with HeyTweet, a tweet through this service has lower carrier fees internationally. As of this month, 2 million tweets have been sent around the world via HeyTweets. If you are a business owner who is Twitter obsessed, this might be exactly what you’ve been looking for – no more high priced texts and messages to people internationally. Want a convenient way to send one message out to friends via text, Facebook Chat, Google Talk and Twitter all at the same time? They can do that too.
Here’s how it works with Facebook.
Similar to other free texting apps, HeyWire users are given a phone number to send and receive unlimited texts with friends and family worldwide. Users can send messages via HeyWire Facebook App or the HeyWire applications for iOS (iOS is the Operating System on an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad. It’s the “thing” that makes your device run) and Android devices. Texting conversations will follow you, as a user, from the HeyWire Facebook App to your smartphone application or tablet and vice versa. This app is the only Social Messaging Hub designed specifically for Facebook users. Do a lot of business via Facebook? Now you can run your business directly from your phone.
But, unlike HeyTweet, this new Facebook/HeyWire partnership comes with a small price. It’s about $2.00, or 20 credits in Facebook dollars, a month for unlimited texts on any device, anywhere.
Will you be using these applications, or will you be continue to message your family and friends with old fashion way?
Do you use texting to market your business?
Let us know!
The Super Bowl has always fascinated me. Beyond that I’m a super fan of the yearly pigskin brawl. Every year it gets bigger and bigger and more bowlicious! In case your marketing handbook does not include that term, it means: voluptuous ‘non-skimpy’ fully effective marketing that makes you and your clients happy.
So why all the excitement about a bunch of guys wearing spandex pants, pads in funny places and banging their helmets into each other for 3 hours?
Because the Super Bowl is:
Top trends going strong.
My 5 Super Bowlicious marketing practices that can apply to any business.
1) One message will not resonate with all of your market segments.
I hated the Groupon ad. It grossed me out and I thought the casting was bizarre. But I don’t like coupons, so I’m not suppose to like the commercial.
2) There is value in respecting political correctness and being market sensitive.
If your company was just bailed out by the government, you don’t want to be spending $3 million on ads at the Super Bowl. Be astute to current events and think before you market.
3) All media is not created equal every year.
Pepsi is bowing out this year. Why? Because their strategic focus is not on reaching 100 million people, but on providing grants through their “Pepsi Refresh” initiative. Pepsi plans to give away $20 million in grant money to fund projects in six categories: health, arts and culture, food and shelter, the planet, neighborhoods and education. People can go to the Pepsi website refresheverything.com — which can also be accessed through Facebook and Twitter — to both submit ideas and vote on others they find appealing. Additionally, Pappa Johns opted out too and instead of buying time, they will give free pizza to all if the game goes into overtime.
4) Rejection can be a good thing.
Every year Go Daddy generates millions of dollars in buzz and PR, by touting the spots that were “too something” for G rated TV audiences. People always want what they can’t have, so GoDaddy.com posts them on the web, which still attracts gazillions of eyes balls and attention to the brand and offering.
5) Social media is real fuel for brands.
Mercedes, a first timer advertising at the Super Bowl, launched a very cool social media Tweet Race. Super Bowl advertisers are investing heavily in online campaigns leading up to the Super Bowl to reach even more consumers than they would with the Super Bowl TV ad alone. Now Mercedes is taking the plunge. Benz Tweet Race is using both Facebook and Twitter as platform. Mercedes calls the online competition the world’s first Twitter-fueled race. You can win an all-new 2012 C-Class Coupe car when you drum up the most followers for your entry in the Mercedes Benz Tweet Race. Grant it this, a multimillion dollar campaign with many elements from a charity component, to a celebrity involvement angle to a mucho media investment, but the simple idea of awarding fans for helping spread the love on your brand is something that is brilliant and can drive home business benefits.
If you are in Tampa the show airs at 12:30 on Fox. If not, I’ll post the segment in couple days after it runs.
Check back after the game, I’ll post my favorites and what I’m still wondering about.
Cupcake image came from The Cupcake Swirl.
For more on Superbowl ads, check out: Insights to “the Swarm” and how you can create the buzz.
According to a recent survey by Pew Research, the commercial use of the Internet among Americans continues to grow: 58% of US adults say they conduct research online about products and services, up from the 49% who said so in 2004, while roughly one-quarter (24%) have posted comments or reviews online about products they buy. (thanks to MarketingProfs for posting)
I am one of the 58%. I am a research nut who conducts online searches for both personal and professional products and services several times a day. I came across two companies yesterday while conducting online research. One of them is now a contender for my business. The other, sadly, lost terribly.
Here is some background. I am looking for a new washing machine since mine has decided that it no longer wants to clean my clothes. At this point, I don’t want to search by features, colors or price. I need to know which ones will fit into the predetermined and unalterable spot for the washing machine. All the major and local appliance stores’ websites offered the same search parameters: color, price, most popular, highest rated.
I went to Google and typed in “appliance by size.” The results listed, among others, a site that “aims to make it as easy as possible to find the products that fit your space – be it furniture, home electronics or even large appliances. You can find all the products you need for your new apartment in a size-friendly search environment.”
Great! I thought, that’s exactly what I’m looking for, so I went to the site and entered “washing machine” in the search box. The auto-fill suggested the following: combination microwave & wall ovens, convertible dishwashers, countertop microwave ovens, double wall ovens, waffle irons (aside: how big do they get?), and wall air conditioners.
When I typed in “washing machine,” I received the reply “no entries found.” What I did find was that I was annoyed that the site didn’t work. I would have been happy to spend lots of time on the site looking for what I needed. This might have provided them some ad revenue and perhaps some affiliate income if I purchased on line. I likely would have highly recommended the site if it worked. Instead, I went back to the google search results and found www.ajmadison.com. Kudos to them on a website well done! Not only is the site super easy to navigate and search, (they allowed me to search by appliance size!) but they have also embraced social media. The highly informative and engaging social medial channels are FREE and cost them only their time to assemble and post content. Under the AJ Madison Community umbrella, they have the following channels and descriptions listed. From the AJ Madison site:
Facebook: The AJ Madison Facebook Fan Page is updated every day with the latest deals and product specials. The AJ Madison Experience (found under the “Boxes” tab) presents a simple, ever-changing interface with deals and links to the site, while Shop AJ Madison allows you to browse and buy from our entire site, all while logged into Facebook. Become a fan today!
Twitter: For information about promotions, as well as general appliance news (and some surprises), follow us on the official AJ Madison Twitter page (@AJMadison). On average, we tweet several times a day, and deals are normally announced in the morning.
YouTube: We periodically update our YouTube channel with new informative product videos. In the near future, we’ll have a steady stream of content and new videos to keep you apprised of the latest appliances and how to use and maintain them.
Tumblr: Every weekday, we update our Tumblr page with information on a new “just-in” product. This is a supplement to the New Products RSS Feed, with our own views on the featured appliance thrown in for good measure.
Flickr: Each week, we showcase a new product from the AJ Madison showroom on our Flickr page, giving you original images and in-depth looks at our newest appliances. Subscribe to our Flickr stream or follow us on Twitter for the latest updates.
Appliance Authority (blog): You’re on AJ Madison’s Appliance Authority blog right now! We update our blog several times a week with how-to guides, top rated product spotlights, buying tips and more. Check back here every weekday for a new post, or you can also follow it via this RSS Feed.
Google Buzz: We’re proud to be one of the first companies on Google’s new Buzz network. Though we’re currently experimenting with this brand-new platform, Buzz integrates all of our other profiles (Twitter, Flickr, YouTube and more), and we add daily deals, news and information right from our Brooklyn office. If you’re a Buzz or GMail user, or just generally curious, visit our Buzz profile and follow us today!
And, it gets better! I tweeted, “@AJMadison I love your website! So well done and informative. If I still lived in NYC, I’d be purchasing my new washing machine from y’all.”
In less than an hour, they responded, “Thank you, friend! We still deliver to your neck of the woods.”
By being on top of their social media channels, they created a direct, personal, immediate dialogue with a potential customer that lives 800 miles away. That kind of responsiveness makes them a top contender for my business.
Key takeaway points:
1. If you sell a product or service that people are likely to research, write rich content and reviews and create lots of search parameters that will attract researchers to your site.
2. Leverage social media channels. Distribute all that great content through Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, etc.
3. Monitor those channels. Read and respond to potential buyers. Read and contribute to discussion boards and forums in which your products and or services are the subject. Become a trusted authority.
4. Provide solutions. I tweeted that I would buy from them if I lived closer. They responded, “no problem, we can do that.” I went back to the site and saw that FREE DELIVERY was offered to my zip code on the item I was considering.
5. Read the bad stuff, too. You might find that unsatisfied customers posted their complaints online. If possible, try to reach out to them and resolve the problem. Research shows that customers who complain and are satisfied with how the complaint was resolved are up to 8% more loyal than if they had no complaint at all.
Things looked pretty bleak for Buddy the white German Shepherd of Claxton, GA. He had a hairless, raw, infected front leg and a bullet with his name on it. His owners were going to put him down Old Yeller style until a neighbor, Dennis Purcell, came to his rescue and brought him to a veterinarian in Savannah, Ga. He was half the weight that he should have been and very weak, but he had a wonderful disposition and was very easy to work around (sidebar: I met him, I can verify that he is a sweet dog). For his first few weeks at Eastside Veterinary Hospital, the doctors and staff and his rescuer cared for him. After some diagnostic work, it was estimated that the cost to treat his injury would be $3,000.
Buddy’s new guardian had created a flier to raise awareness about and funds for Buddy. Kelley Gargiulo, a Savannah resident who has worked extensively with animal rescue groups, received one of the fliers by chance. Gargiulo made a better flier, and created a Facebook page called “Hope for Buddy .” She had experience with various rescue organizations and applied for a LifeLine Rescue Grant from the United Animal Nations that resulted in $300.
The facebook page was taken over and is administered by Dennis’ sister. She began posting pictures, videos and updates about Buddy. Very quickly, donations started arriving by snail mail to the veterinary hospital. There is a wall filled with cards that accompanied donations from well-wishers from all over the country at the office. Eventually, the set up a PayPal account and were able to accept donations electronically.
Buddy’s infection was later diagnosed as Pythiosis and he was also found to have Addison’s disease. The estimate for the cost of his treatment was increased to $4,500.
In three months, over 1,000 people rallied around Buddy’s cause and donated the funds needed for his care. It seemed to take no time at all and was accomplished with no marketing budget. Why? Because his cause was tied to a heartwarming story that involved a lovely animal, compassionate people and a cause that animal lovers felt strongly about.
Here are some highlights (and lessons to be learned) from the success of Hope for Buddy.
- The Hope for Buddy Facebook page was started on June 1, 2010
- Two weeks later, June 14th, the page had 424 friends and over $1,000 had been raised
- Buddy was awarded a grant for $300 from the United Animal Nations (uan.org) on June 15th thanks to the effort of a ‘fan.’
- PR impressions. The story was picked up by local media outlets – three newspapers and one local news station in July and August
- The last publicized amount raised was $4,360 on July 13th, nearly all of the $4,500 set as a goal
- By September 20, “Hope for Buddy” had 1,206 fans and counting and numerous requests to adopt him
- Buddy had some setbacks in his recovery, but his fans are still pulling for him; no one has given up
Why it worked and how you can utilize some of these principles in your marketing program
- Genuine care and compassion. When people are truly passionate about their cause or mission, they are usually the most successful at generating their intended results and achieving their goals. The people who rescued Buddy and the doctors and staff who care for Buddy are extremely dedicated and compassionate professionals and are working tirelessly to save this dog. The people who have donated funds to pay for his care are passionate about animals and were moved by his story. You can’t fake that. Find something that you are genuinely passionate about in the product or service that you are marketin and that will resonate with your customers (for-profit) or supporters (non-profit).
- Prompt and honest communication. Whenever anyone had a question about Buddy regarding his history, his condition, how the funds were being used, what his personality was like, or whether or not he was making progress, the question was answered immediately.
- Face to dogface meetings and gratitude. The internet is great, but there’s nothing like meeting in person. They got off the internet and hit the road to meet and say thank you to some of their biggest supporters. When Buddy was given the OK to travel from the vets, he and his caretaker headed to Forsyth Park in Savannah, GA, Henderson, NC and Atlanta, GA.
Once you have found something you are truly passionate about that you will be marketing to others, make that the center of your communications; it will come through. When you are ready to start garnering PR, check out our PR Ta-Do List to help spread the word.
Also, check out our social media Ta-Do list to harness the power of those tools.
“Do not panic. This is not the revolution. But you should pay attention and find your Place on Facebook. Your business or place may not be in Facebook Places, and that means someone else can define you in this giant network of mobile users.
Facebook’s making a play for geo-location dominance. It’s not revolutionary because others are already here. But Facebook has a large and growing audience, and that means more people will start using this and you need to think about how that affects your social profile as a business, an event or a movement.
If you depend heavily on social outreach, then get to know Facebook Places, “Facebook blog: Who, What, When, and Now…Where”.
As you may know, when social networks integrate geo-location, we get social navigation. Games and check-ins through apps by Gowalla and Foursquare allow mobile and smart device users to announce their location with quips or to search for friends, deals at restaurants and collect cute stamps in their profile.
Whether this is a business or a feature is debatable.
What is not debatable is that Facebook just launched a geo-location enhancement that immediately has an audience of 100 million users, according to Facebook on Feb. 10, “Facebook Mobile: 100 Million and Growing,” .
Find whether your place is on Facebook Places.
If it’s there, check the accuracy and completeness of the listing.
If it’s not there, make an entry immediately. Any user can create an entry on Facebook Places, and it starts with adding a name and a description of the Place. So if you’re business is a restaurant, imagine someone adding your Place but getting the name wrong or not giving your menu a good review.
In all likelihood, you’ve been paying close attention to how your location appears in the current geo-location social apps. If you fit this category, then Place is just one more check on your social marketing list.
If you are just waking up to this, then go directly to Facebook Places. Check your Places profile. Make it accurate. Take care of your profile in the other apps later. You can no longer ignore social navigation. This is not the revolution, but this is your time to join mobile marketing.”
Note: While Jerrilyn focuses on marketing to women, this insight could apply to men also.
Ladies, as the chief of our households, we decide which brands to buy at the grocery stores. We search online (newspapers too) for coupons to save on them to stretch our budget. We don’t stop buying milk, eggs, bread, butter, etc., for our families just because our budgets are tight. They are the staples in our households.
Advertising and marketing are the staples for our businesses. Just because money is tight, we can’t stop doing them. We just have to find a more affordable way to do them. Burger King, McDonalds, Nike, LA Fitness, Sears, and more can teach us a lesson when it comes to marketing in a slow economy.
They changed their pricing, created less expensive products and services without bells and whistles, quadrupled their marketing and advertising, combined physical space to reduce their overhead, and much more to ensure they keep their market share. You are probably saying to yourself that you can’t afford to spend any more money than you already are on your marketing and advertising.
Guess what? Yes, you can and it won’t hurt. :-) You can even find a way to actually reduce your costs by 20% or more. If you’ve been reading any of my posts, you know that I’m referring to cross marketing and promotion.
Let’s start with your business cards. Team up with two or more complementary companies to create joint business cards. It will make you look bigger and smarter by offering your clients and prospects access to products and services that complement yours. This is perfect for PR, marketing, and advertising specialties consultants who are networking mavericks. They can promote each other at all of the numerous monthly events they attend.
Next, let’s give your blog a cross marketing makeover. If you are currently paying to have someone maintain your blog, host it and or in the process of having one designed, you can team up with 5 or more complementary companies to develop an industry specific blog that makes you look like a genius. You will save money every month while boosting your credibility. I recommend Promembershipservices.com if you need a blog designer.
Now, let’s give your products and services a makeover. Come up with a product or service that can be provided in a group setting. Coaches have perfected group coaching sessions and membership web sites. Come up with your own unique concept for a business club or membership site. It will benefit your current clients who’ve slowed down spending money with your company. Get them excited about your company again. You will also attract new clients.
Finally, make your Facebook page bring in sales. Team up with 5 or more of your business associates to create a joint Facebook page that sends traffic and sales to your individual sites as well as your Facebook pages too. Big companies give away items on a daily basis to engage with their followers. You and your associates can take a page from their marketing book. Purchase Facebook advertising together to get premium traffic. You can take it one step further and purchase LinkedIn advertising to drive traffic to the page.
These are only a few ways you can utilize cross marketing and promotion this summer. Whatever the time or cost investment required to market and advertise your company, you can reduce it to make it more feasible in this rocky economy. Make a list of what it takes to successfully market and advertise your company to boost its sales. Then plug in your business associates.
Georgia businesswoman Jerrilynn B. Thomas is the founder of Marketing 2 Women International. Jerrilynn’s specialty is facilitating cross marketing partnerships between complementary business and professional women to help them increase their female client base while saving time and money on their marketing. Her services are very exclusive. She works with women in select business 2 business fields and limits the number per state and international areas. Visit Womenpartner.com to see if your business is a fit for her expertise.You can follow her on Twitter @WomenPartner, Linkedin.com, and on Facebook.
(An honest break up after almost 4 years)
I know we’ve known each other since 2006. Believe me, this is not an easy conversation to have. We’ve both been through a lot. I raised $750,000, you raised over $400,000,000, I have a small team of mostly volunteers, you have over 1200 employees worldwide. We both have made our share of brilliant and stupid decisions. The spotlight and our 15 plus minutes of fame have been good. You’ve gotten a few more national, network shows than I have. That’s OK, I’ll be catching up soon.
I have to admit, I started my relationship with you because of intense peer pressure and the media hype. Everyone was doing you. And yes, I wanted to feel that connection too.
In the beginning you were a fairly low maintenance hook up. It was casual fun, a few applications and goofy ways to gift and entertain others. Then you got kind of way too social and now have hundreds of millions of others that you connect with too. Some are respectable citizens, some are monkeys on the run from the St Pete police and some are pure creepy pedophiles. Maybe it’s my conservative values, but it’s feeling sleazy to me.
OK that lack of real intimacy was attractive at first. You never asked for more than my headshot and my hip cellulite was never exposed. And I enjoyed our time together.
But recently things have changed. You look different. Our goals are miles apart. I need to focus on things that move my business dial. You are all over the place. I’m a design snob and your environment is so yellow pages looking. And all those time sucking, useless apps are really starting to get on my last nerve.
I need a break. At least six months of no checking in, no dialogue, no meeting new friends or small talk with old ones. No wall talk, no pics posting and absolutely no video, unless 60 Minutes calls.
I’m leading a start up, with a clear business mission. I’ve got limited resources and need to get solid ROI on every investment of time. I’ve got to stay laser focused on growing a sustainable venture, not share beer shots with a bunch of people I hardly know.
Don’t take this wrong. You are great, for millions others out there. This is all about me. They are my issues.
So who am I seeing? Well it’s complicated. There are few. Linkedin seems to really meet my needs. And Twitter gives me instant gratification. And there’s a few blogs too, that I really value. I’m not committed to any one thing. You know that’s not my style. But this thing with you has got to take a serious break. It’s going nowhere. Call me selfish, but you do not bring me any traffic for time involved. It’s just freaking frustrating. In the past I’ve been on the down low about all of this, but I feel it’s my responsibility to tell my other friends, especially other startups and entrepreneurs. No one or business person should ever feel guilt about not being immersed or active in Facebook. When you are running a business, you must spend your time on things that matter and make a difference.
I’ve thought long and hard about this. I believe this is the best for me and my future.
And one more important thing. I’ve respected your privacy. I’ve not shared your personal data or where you buy your underwear. I trust you will do the same.
It’s been fun, but I’ve had enough. I’m officially taking a Facebook break for at least 6 full months. If you need me, you’ve got my Twitter handle and my phone number. Do you still use a phone?
Anyhow, ciao for now!
President of Oddpodz
P.S., I’m serious as a heart attack. Social media is a wonderful thing, but every tool is not right for every business. (For a simple, straight forward starter guide to social media, check out this Social media Ta-Do list.) If your time is limited, like mine, leverage what brings you leads and helps build your brand. Save Facebook for when you’ve made lots of money and you just want to kill some time.