Showing posts from 2012

Business Social Media: A Celebrity-Free Zone

There's a new list out this week that ranks the most popular celebrities on social media based on fans and followers on the largest social networks with Justin Bieber edging out Lady Gaga for the top spot.  And we're talking about millions of followers and billions of page views. (Insert your own Mayan Calendar joke here.) The real lesson here for those of us over the age of 13 is that if you're promoting a company or brand on Facebook and Twitter you're probably envious, frustrated and wasting your time on the wrong things.

Pop stars in fact dominate social media holding eight of the Top 10 spots most with 30 million plus Facebook fans and Twitter followers. And that's because they are using the medium the way it was designed.  Though I am the father of a teenager who has hundreds of teenage friends, I have yet to meet a Justin Bieber fan — but he seems like a nice kid and see no reason to begrudge him. His handlers know who his target ma…

Perfecting Your Social Media Timing.

The precise moment I pulled up to the gas pump this morning, my car chimed and the "Need Fuel" icon light came on. I thought about how great it would be if I could achieve similar perfect timing with my social media to maximize results and reach. To have posts, emails, texts, them appear precisely at the moment they are needed or desired.

One of the first things I learned about being a social media professional was that before you spend time on the metrics of perfect timing, it's better to spend more time tweeting and Facebook posting more often. The number one reason social media campaigns fail in my opinion is because businesses get discouraged by a lack of results and stop posting. Or they run out of ideas. Or they just don't keep up with a regular schedule.

Instead, first think about your intent. Why do you want your posts to be read? What are your expected results? Is it just to be retweeted or reposted? That's good for the ego but doesn't much help th…

I Like My News Like My Water: Unflavored

When I ask for a glass of water in a restaurant now it invariably comes with a wedge of lemon. When and why did this become the norm? Was this the idea of the Lemon Council? There is a Lemon Council, right? There must be as there are lobbyists for everything now. Did their sour, puckered lips sweet talk every eating and drinking establishment in country with promised tax loopholes? Or maybe its a Lemon Consortium that strong arms bars to "add a slice if theys knows what's good for 'em." I'm thinking they are just taking their lead from news organizations. News organizations all flavor their news. That goes for whether whether they are online, on air, or on Death Row (the medium formally known as "Print".) Rather than scouring the Internet looking for news I find myself scouring the news looking for unfiltered versions. Most have an overtly political bent, others focus on technology, or sensationalism. It annoys me to no end that I have to go out of my way…

Social Media & Facebook Friends: In Need of Defense

A new social media website wants to encourage us to follow the advice of our friends instead of complete strangers. With perpetual skepticism, sarcasm approaching warning levels, and being named yet again to People Magazine's "Sexiest Curmudgeon of the Year" list, I've somehow accumulated more friends than I really should have. (O.K. so I may have substituted the word "messiest" with "sexiest"in the previous sentence.) And some of my best friends are strangers I have only corresponded with through social media; ones I have never met and not likely I ever will.

If you think about it, you didn't really choose the friends you saw this weekend. More likely, they're your neighbors, your family, work associates, fellow students who sat next to you in Algebra class, or the parents of the other kids on our kid's team. We "promote" these people to friendship status due to their close proximity to our lives, their time served in it, or …

Social Media: Like Marriage it's a One-Way Street

Social media and relationships: that's what the new Facebook couples pages is all about. Listing yourself as "In a relationship" is so traumatic that it's probably ended more relationships than Vegas trips and Victoria's Secrets catalogs combined. But now, a page to illustrate the relationship?  (For more information on this please see "Kiss of Death".)  Instead let's discuss the business/customer social media "marriage."

First, if you believe the adage "Marriage is a two-way street" then I might have due cause to suspend your relationship license.  Or maybe you've never walked down the plank, er I mean, aisle. Marriages — even the most successful ones  — are more often than not comprised of a giver and a taker. And the social media business relationship is no different except the business is always the giver and your customer is always the taker. As the reader/follower/customer, I want, want, want. I don’t care i…

Want 5 Top Pro Social Media Tips? Steal this Headline

Did you see what I did there? I front-loaded the headline with tried and true triggers to make even the most skeptical reader to click and open. Like you just did. Marketers have known for years that people respond to sentiments that imply easy, free, expert or quantitative points. But social media is upping the ante. We live in a 140 character world that will keep getting shortened until mind reading is a downloadable smart phone app. The bad news is that my Magic 8-Ball says "Chances are good" that several people who will repost this very article will do so without ever reading it.

And therein lies one of the most prevalent problems that social media for business is facing today.
There is such a frenzy by businesses to share post, re-post, tweet and retweet that few stop to read what they share or know why they're sharing it. Often it's rehashed info we just read --and those are the good posts. More often articles are a few paragraphs seasoned with …

Social Media is for Experts Only. Do Not Attempt!

Please stand back. I'm about to adminster social media expertise.

Social media content writing is not rocket science -- it's far more difficult. And it shouldn't be attempted by non-experts or someone may lose and eye. Or that's what "social media experts" will tell you. And they'll also tell you that they're social media experts right from the get go.

Social media is just public relations, advertising, sales and marketing packaged into bite-sized pieces. So whoever handles those functions should be the same people who handle your social networking.I spend much of my day involved with social media and have for about three years now. I create strategies, write content, link efforts over various social networks, monitor and track mentions, identify influencers, and so on. The industry is still forming and changing so we are all perpetual students. The problem is social media hasn't been around long enough to create experts. Seasoned communicatio…

Help Wanted: Economists Needed to Repair Roof

I am not a Presidential candidate, nor do I play one on TV. My patriotic duty, if I choose to exercise it, will be to select a candidate in a few days who I believe will protect and foster my country's best interests. I am well-educated, worldly, open-minded, unaffiliated with a political party, and a chasm away from the 1% or the 47%. I routinely make complex decisions and have no issue moral or otherwise committing my support to one candidate. And I am by no means alone.

Like in many past elections, rather than selecting the best candidate for the position from thousands of qualified men and women, I find myself once again facing the much more difficult task of having to select the best (or least worst?) of two. No television commercial, email blast, tweet, or social media onslaught can help them now. I'm too demoralized and campaign-weary.

I apologize to those who have championed a cause but I do not accept rhetoric, statistics, or unsubstantiated claims of either Party…

Microsoft Surface, the iPad, and an Act of God.

This week will see the release of the Microsoft Surface tablet and Windows 8 operating software that supports touch screen. To me, it's the technology equivalent to an 80's hair band releasing a new album. Does anyone really care at this point? Evidently, yes. Early reviews have been  glowing and the company reports sold out pre-orders in the first day.

Regardless, it will surely be a tough road ahead for Microsoft fighting to gain a foothold in this new tablet market. Its Internet Explorer by most accounts continues to lose market share in the web browser arena to Chrome and Firefox, and it's playing catch up to Android and iOS on cell phone operating software. Microsoft Office still dominates business offices but Google Docs is free.

Here's a phrase I thought I'd never say: I feel a little sorry for Microsoft. You see, Apple is expected to release its new iPad mini this week. Apple is the technology media darling and can do no wrong even wh…

Facebook's Doggone Stock

If Marky Mark 2.0 was creating Facebook today, would he choose a different name in light of recent missteps to monetization?  Would he have used "FaceValue" to reflect the falling stock price since its IPO?  Or "FacePalm" to refer to the embarrassment over privacy concerns and leaks that pop up faster than "Like Us" buttons.  Or perhaps "Fakebook" to play off all the millions of fake accounts it continues to uncover every day?

These were my thoughts as I waited at the vet's office frustrated by the new mobile ads clogging my Facebook mobile feed.  As I watched my poor dog get prodded and poked with needles, he seemed unfazed. Nor did he bat an eyelash at visit's end from the exorbitant bill for his food and medicine. He got a treat and was thrilled.  And that got me to thinking on how to rescue Facebook stock.

Facebook developers, attorneys, and management aren't responsible for all these problems. It's us who are to blame; the …

Swing Voters and Their Annoying Need for Facts

The second 2012 Presidential Debate is tonight and social media campaigns abound from the Left and Right aimed at undecided voters. To paraphrase their message, the opponent is the Devil incarnate while their candidate is the Messiah's messenger on Earth. (And that's from the non- denominational groups.) But it's online facts, as a Google study on today's media savvy swing voter  that gets their attention. And that is, well, confusing the hell out of both parties.

Facts evidently have little to do with Presidential elections any more being used only as a last resort. Most registered party voters profess to routinely vote across party lines, though I tend to believe otherwise. Is it to convince themselves and those in earshot of the water cooler that their vote was based upon a well thought out decision rather than on dogma? Maybe they voted for the Dog Catcher because they attend the same religious service or coach little league with them? Or ma…

iPhone 5 Must Cure Cancer. Still not using it. Here's why.

With 5 million unit advanced sales,clamoring zombie-like minions, and effusing praise from reviewers who have yet to hold one, I can only surmise that the iPhone 5 must cure cancer. Maybe it's the "special aluminum"that they've used now in short supply that cures cancer as well as diabetes, diverticulitis, diverticulosis, depression, all diseases and disorders beginning with the letter “D,” Swine flu, bird flu, new flu, and the heartbreak of psoriasis -- but we all expected that after the leaked photos. How else can this phone turned national panacea be explained? 
    They report that the iPhone 5 is faster, lighter, and so thin that careless altar boys have been mistaking it as a Eucharistic wafer at Catholic churches. And yet despite all its seemingly magical properties and powers, I will not buy one. With me, it's not iPhone backlash, a high selling price, or the lack of Google Maps and a scratch-proof surface that factors into my decision. In fact, I bel…

Did you get my message? Uhm, well did you?

The etiquette on how quickly to return texts and other messages depends more upon who sent it more than when it was sent. I like attending weddings when they're not mine. To be fair, I've only had one but I was so busy making sure everyone else had a good time. And shortly after we returned from the Honeymoon, my bride was prompt in sending out Thank You notes. The etiquette is one year, though Italians usually don't give wedding gifts, we give money. Colloquially known as "ah boost," that cash always warrants instant "Thank You's."      Social media has changed the expected time of response to all messages to immediately. So what I do often think about is the accepted response order when returning a Facebook message, voicemail, text or email. For me, texts take precedence. Which text gets the first reply depends upon my relationship to the sender. My child commands the fastest response time. I think most parents would agree. I turn my phone on sile…

Wake Up Calls of a Different Kind

Wake up calls are at their most powerful not when they are delivered not by the front desk, but rather by fate. If they had a Facebook page, no one would "like" alarm clocks. What other pieces of technology do you routinely slap, hit, and toss across the room? Their dials are either impossible to tune or immovable; their music muffled white noise. In short, they are sleep executioners sitting motionless all day, then lurk at night with glowing numeric eyes waiting patiently for the precise moment to kill peaceful sleep in the prime of its life. I awake minutes before it's set to awake me to turn the tables on the alarm clock and ruin its morning. (I know. I need to get out more or just sleep more.)

Wake up calls however are much different. "How" you say? (Humor me and say "how?" as I am just trying to make a metaphysical point -- if there even is such a thing). Here's how: wake up calls are harsh but for your own good. There's something even r…

Going Underground -- Who's With Me?

The prospect of going underground does appeal to me more and more, but I wonder if it's even possible for a self-proclaimed social media guru? I'm thinking about going underground for awhile. Not in the secret agent sense of the word, though that has always sounded up my alley. Assuming a new name, making quick changes, wearing disguises -- actually that sounds more like a cruise ship entertainer than espionage. And not going underground in the political refugee sort of way either -- though as a centrist I always feel a bit invisible this time of year anyway.  But underground as in a law-abiding citizen who needs some time to rethink -- while off the radar.

My best friend does this so routinely that it's more an event when she's "above ground."  Wait, that makes it sound like she's a vampire -- but I'm (pretty) sure she's not as her teeth are not sharp, loves garlic, and faints at the sign of blood. But she does disappear from mirrors but more t…

The Social Television?

I quit watching television six years ago and replaced it with social media. Life's more different than you may think. Six years ago next month I sold my house in the suburbs and moved to the top of a high rise into a swanky bachelor pad overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Newly single, I decorated the apartment best I could, painted an accent wall with burgundy and cherry stripes, collected dark leather furniture with darker wood and silver accents. It wasn't as much swanky as it was divorce nouveau. English Country meets "I'll take the couch if you don't want it or the dining room table."
When it was all finished, I kicked back on my new, "they-told-me-it was-leather" couch, put my feet up on the coffee table (because now I was allowed to) and looked at the bare spot on the wall. I had left the prime spot for what I planned to be would be the home of my first flat screen television. But as I looked out over the ocean, then back to the wall, it hit me. …

How to Write Effective Social Media Content

Few businesses seem to "get" how to promote and post on their Facebook pages. Here are three tips to avoid putting visitors to sleep. As some social media start-ups get gobbled by Google (or is it Googled by gobble?) while other shining stars tumble, the naysayers are shooting from their anti-social media starting blocks faster than a Jamaican Olympic track team on Red Bull. If you’re reading some of the same articles, blogs, and Tweets that I am, then you’ve seen the recent onslaught of negative press regarding social media. Maybe I’m na├»ve to inner workings of Wall Street, but I’m not exactly sure how Mark Zuckerberg’s net worth going from a gazillion dollars to a measly bazillion signals the death knell to an entire industry. Though Markie-Mark 2.0 aside, so many pundits seem convinced:Social Media is dead. Over. Finito Completo. A member of the not-so-dearly departed.

To paraphrase Mark Twain, rumors of social media’s recent demise have been greatly exaggerated. I can …

Why I left Facebook, then quickly caved and rejoined

Quitting Facebook without notifying a soul was easy. What happened next was the interesting part. I remember hearing about Facebook for the first time in 2007 from a snarky 20-something who was making fun of "those" girls who posted drunken photos on their wall in hopes to make their otherwise mundane lives seem famous. Like most productive members of society at that time, I didn't know much about anything online social online past the eHarmony commercials. Intrigued and newly divorced at the time, I found sought out Facebook and joined. Partly due to my job as a high tech marketer, partly as an experiment, and partly in hopes not to look like the out-of-touch, middle-aged divorced guy (still working on that part). Shortly thereafter, I was hooked.

Then earlier this year, some five years later, after reconnecting with school buddies, connecting with unrequited school crushes, and mis-connecting with eHarmony dates that had gone awry, I unceremoniously disconnected from …