Tag Archives: Social Media

Social Media Reality Check

There’s a lot coming at us in 2012. From mobile marketing and social media, and from an election and poor economy. So we need to be prepared to make good use of our marketing and advertising dollars.

This week, we start with a social media reality check.

Yes, mobile phones and social media are growing presences in the marketplace. They are, however, no where near as big as the cow-pattie gurus want you to believe they are. The idea that you “must have” a Facebook Page or risk losing out to your competition is poppycock. And the numbers back me up – listen to the show and check my sources for yourself.

You can listen right away by streaming the audio, or click “Download” and take the show with you on your phone, tablet or MP3 player.

We also take a quick look at a company that’s doing social media very well. It’s Collective Bias, and their primary social media tool is blogging. All of their results are trackable, and highly profitable, so it’s worth paying attention to what they’re doing.

Then we take a look at the truth for what it takes to attract an audience.

Would you be willing to sit and watch a 45 minute video of two scientists discussing Systems Biology? Me neither, but Dr. Hidalgo has an audience of thousands. We take a look at how he has done it, and why you’re able to do the same thing for your business.

And we wrap up the show with how you can use technology trends to benefit your own business.

The Consumer Electronics Show – one of the largest consumer shows of during the year – ran from Jan 10 – 13. There were some decidedly non-tech companies at the show, and they were very smart to be there. You need to know why, and how to follow their example. So listen to this week’s show.

You can listen to right now by clicking the Play button, or hit “Download” and take the show with you on your laptop, phone or tablet.

And please do tell me what you think of the show. Is it entertaining and informative, or do you think I’m full of wind? Leave a comment here, or send me an e-mail at listeners@theconradhall.com. I look forward to hearing from you.

Forrester Research CEO Predicts Doom

The Web is Dead, Social Media is Saturated, and Social Business is Our Future…

George Colony at LeWeb 2011

At least this is what George Colony, CEO of Forrester Research, thinks. He unveiled these predictions during his presentation at LeWeb in Paris this year. I caught this story through the Logic & Emotion blog, and decided to include it in this week’s episode of Social Media: Cheap and Easy.

You can watch George’s presentation and read the transcript on his blog.

According to George, the web is moving away from a network/browser model to something that leverages devices, apps and the cloud in a more powerful way. Not exactly an earth shattering prediction, but I think George misses what the future really is.

My prediction: Apps become our electronic servants – ever more sophisticate and specialized. Vivint is one current example. Apps are the precursor to software that will operate robots in our homes and businesses.

George’s second thunderstorm is the saturation of social media. He thinks we’re running out of hours and people to provide audiences for all the social media sites out there. He even predicts the demise of sites such as Foursquare.

Obviously George vastly underestimates our ability to find creative ways to waste time. Not to mention the more than half of the world’s population who have only just begun to access social media.

If a service like Foursquare dies, it won’t be for a simple lack of audience participation. It will be because they fail to engage business owners and show them the power of Foursquare as a rewards program for customers.

And finally, George predicts businesses will make use of social media tools to increase productivity with employees and for making better business decisions. It’s an interesting prediction that smacks of utopia.

There will certainly be some businesses – such as Dominoes – that use social media well and profitably. But the vast majority will simply add it to their business model, overlay it with bureaucracy, and end up wasting more time and effort than ever before.

Not to put too fine a point on it, I think George has some interesting ideas but missed the boat completely. For the guy in charge of Forrester Research, I expected him to have a much better understanding of human nature. Listen to the whole story on Social Media: Cheap and Easy.

OWS Splits, Small Business Succeeds and Forrester Predicts Doom

As I have been predicting, the Occupy Wall Street movement is splitting.

The leaders and achievers in OWS are producing a live media outlet (article from New York Times) while the OWS wanna-bes and masses are organizing protests that hurt the working man (article from USA Today). Listen to this week’s show to know what’s happening and where the OWS movement is going.

Then we look at one small business that is succeeding – online – against competition from the likes of Macy’s, Nordstrom and Diapers.com. The business is Little Dudes and Divas (www.LittleDudesAndDivas.com), and they sell diapers, diaper bags and all sort of baby accessories.

The story comes from Gabriel Shaoolian’s column (You’re The Boss) in the New York Times. There are some really good points about this business, and there’s one spot where Gabriel and I disagree.

Listen to this week’s show to know how we disagree, then you tell us who’s right.

And we wrap the show with a look at George Colony’s predictions of doom. George is the CEO for Forrester Research. He presented his Three Thunderstorms at LeWeb this year, and in two cases I think George is dead wrong. And he simply doesn’t go far enough with the third thunderstorm. I picked this story up from Logic & Emotion, and just had to “set the record straight.”

This story is so important I let the show run long this week. George raised some really good  points, and unfortunately missed the boat with his predictions. So I’m going to add a special blog post Thursday, 22 December to expand on what we discuss during this week’s show.

So listen in to the show now, then watch for the blog post Thursday, 22 December. Then you can tell us who is seeing the future, and who is a touch off their rocker.

Small Business Marketing Reality Check

This week’s stories have me just a wee bit angry. So you might want to prepare yourself to be offended.

Start listening now to Social Media: Cheap and Easy

Small business marketing is far easier than most business owners make it out to be. But you do need to do some work, and professional advice is often helpful.

Have a look at www.SkyRoll.com. It’s the subject of our first story. More accurately, the bozo that owns it is the subject.

I meet way too many business owners who ask for advice on small business marketing, like this guy, and then disagree with me. It makes me want to scream “Are you KIDDING?!” This is why I’ve learned to weed out the problems by making business owners jump through hoops to get to me.

After I go to town on SkyRoll, we take a look at Facebook’s upcoming IPO.

Like Groupon, Facebook’s IPO is like to be successful. That is, Facebook and the investment bankers are going to make a whole lot of money. Also like Groupon, those who buy in are going to lose money.

Listen to hear WHY Facebook is doing an IPO – and HOW they’re preparing for it. It’s definitely odd, and should be screaming DANGER to every investor in the world.

Hear it all this week on Social Media: Cheap and Easy.

Then we’re wrapping up the show with a look at Occupy Wall Street. If I haven’t offended you by this point in the show, I probably will with this story.

After more than a quarter century of owning my own business, becoming a master carpenter, and writing 5 books in 19 months, I have little patience with anyone who whines about life being hard. Have you noticed a lot of the people getting press coverage over Occupy Wall Street are college professors? Talk about professional underachievers.

If you think lawyers are bad, we should stone the people who train them. That’s right, college professors.

I’m all for being social, but socialist is just insane. I’m a dedicated capitalist – everyone who listens to Social Media: Cheap and Easy knows it. And by the way, that means I’m first in line to put crooked bankers and corporate executives in jail. They give capitalism a bad name.

Just click the Instant Download link at Social Media: Cheap and Easy. And when you’re good and riled, come on back here to leave your comment. Just click on the post title to go to the comment page.

Social Media Success Formula

You’re doing everything the “gurus” say to get fans and followers, but no one is turning into a buying customer.

That’s because those cow-pattie-gurus want you focused on all the ACTION that’s taking place. Then you might not notice that there’s no PRODUCTIVITY happening.

Just pick your favourite guru and look at their Twitter account. They probably make a big deal out of the huge number of followers they have. But take a look at the number of people they’re following and ask yourself this:

  • Are they really paying attention to the thousands of people they’re following?
  • Is it even possible for them to be paying attention?
  • And if the gurus aren’t paying attention that means they’re teaching everyone else that it’s okay to not pay attention.

So it’s not your fault that you’re following their advice and no one is paying attention. That is, after all, what they teach.

Let’s have a look at what really does work in social media. And you can hear what I have to say on this week’s Social Media: Cheap and Easy.

Since social media is also called Relationship Marketing, stay focused on relationships. Get people you know to connect with you.

You see, social media is different from “normal” life. We’ve all been taught the analogy that life is like a pond. The action you take is a stone dropped into the pond. The ripples reach out to impact everyone in your life.

Social media is more like a sandbox. The action you take drops in the sand and stops. Plop.

To get other people to pay attention to your action, you need friends to pick it and show it around. This is why you start with people you know, and who are interested in what you do. They already have an interest in YOU – what you do is less important.

Sure, they have an interest in knitting, car repair, or whatever it is you do. But they pay attention to you because you let your personality show through and you’re fun. More accurately, you’re entertaining.

When you put something into social media (whether that’s Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or any of the thousands of other social media sites), your friends, patients, clients, and business colleagues pay attention because it’s entertaining. Things that are entertaining get and hold our interest. They can also be educational and useful (just think of educational TV).

Tell me if I’m hitting the mark with this week’s radio show.

Here’s the secret ingredient to why you start with people you know: You ask, beg and plead for them to tell you whether what you’re putting into social media is entertaining.

Ask them to tell you if something you do whether something you do is good, bad, crappy, great, or most importantly – whether it’s boring. You can do something that’s completely corny. As long as it’s entertaining, people will pay attention.

Just think of comic strips. There are all different kinds of comic strips that are successful. Dilbert is very short and witty. For Better Or Worse is a longer comic that deals with everyday family life. Peanuts is about a boy and his dog.

Each is entertaining and has a fan base.

Make the people you know the beginning of your fan base. These are people you can call on the phone or send an e-mail to asking what they think. And if the answer is “I’m sorry. I haven’t had time to look.” Then you know you’re missing the entertainment goal.

Oh, and keep in mind that when you ask someone for feedback, you need to give them a reason to look.
Do something more than send an e-mail saying “Hey, look at my latest update, please.”

Tell people how you’re being entertaining. Tell them you posted a really cool video, or a link to something you know they’re going to be interested in. Show your friends what’s in it for them. Then you get their feedback on whether they liked it by asking about the resource of video.

So here’s the Social Media Success Formula in bullet points:

  • Connect with people you know first
  • Decide to be entertaining and useful when you post to social media
  • After you post, get people to pay attention by telling them how you’re being entertaining or useful
  • Get their feedback by asking about the content you gave
  • Gauge the success of your post by whether people pay attention to the content

We’ve had a lot of success with this, and I’d like to know how it works for you.

Come back and leave a message after you’ve tried it. You’re welcome to ask questions, and if you’re not sure your material is entertaining – just tell me where to find it. I’ll look and give you an unbiased opinion. And you’re welcome to give your opinion of Social Media: Cheap and Easy.

Small Business Marketing Success With Social Media

Most small business marketing is still missing the boat when it comes to making profits with social media. That’s because most of the advice those businesses are getting isn’t even good enough to use as fertilizer.

In this week’s episode, we look at specific examples of how the media and cow-pattie-gurus are making the matter worse.

Then we move right into proven, tested methods for using social media profitably. I also give you a resource you can explore to get help with social media if you want it. They charge a fee, of course, and they’ll be worth every penny.

Come back here Wednesday for the article titled “Social Media Success Formula.”

Because it’s the holiday season, we wrap up the show with some practical advice for keeping yourself safe in social media and on the internet.

Thank you for listening, and for reading. Be sure to tell me what you like about this week’s show, and especially if there’s something you didn’t like. Leave a comment by clicking on the article title. That takes you to the page where comments can be posted.

Does Social Media Impact Retailers?

Consumers are starting to dislike Thanksgiving Sales.

More than one consumer is considering skipping the Thanksgiving Sales this year. That’s because, instead of starting at 4am Black Friday several retailers are planning to start their sales at midnight Thanksgiving Day.

As you might imagine, lots of folks are speaking up about this on blogs, Twitter and Facebook. They’re not happy, and they’re using social media to voice their displeasure.

Now, we all have to admit that big sales are somewhat less than social occasions. Sometimes they resemble mass riots or war zones. But Thanksgiving is definitely a social occasion (even if we’re not entirely thrilled with Uncle Fred or Aunt Edna). That’s what has a lot of dedicated Black Friday shoppers saying they’re ready to throw in the shopping bag.

Target, Macy’s Best Buy and Kohl’s are planning to open at midnight Thanksgiving Day. Wal-Mart is planning to start some of their sales at 10pm.

These sales are a big deal. The shop-‘til-you-drop crowd often start lining up 3 or 4 hours before the stores open just to be in a good position when the sale starts. As recently as last year, shoppers could be at Toys “R” Us for the 10pm opening Thanksgiving Day, get to Wal-Mart for a wrist band at 2am (guaranteeing a spot for their 5am sales start), the hit Kohl’s at 3am, Target or Macy’s at 4, and wrap up with Best Buy after stopping off at Wal-Mart.

Now that all these stores are kicking off their sales at the same time, shoppers are going to have to pick and choose which sales to participate in. And that is going to have negative consequences. After all, shoppers who went to 5 stores last year simply can’t make all 5 this year. That means somebody has to lose sales.

And how does this fit in with social media and the impact it has on retailers?

The answer lies in a recent study from Market Tools.

Market Tools recently published the “Social Media and Customer Feedback” survey. They found that 44% of retailers surveyed believe we do not comment or complain about their products and services online. Another 22% don’t even care enough to have found out whether we’re complaining about them.

Based on those results, I was very surprised to read the rest of the survey and find a high percentage of companies responding to customers through Facebook and Twitter. According to the survey, 54% of retailers using Facebook always or often reply to out comments and complaints. That number falls a little to 42% on Twitter.

So on one hand we have 66% of surveyed retailers either not believing we talk about them, or just not caring whether we do. And on the other hand, of those that are paying attention, many are making an effort to respond and interact. So what is social media’s impact on retailers?

While we hear a lot of the cow-pattie gurus touting the praises of social media for business, it’s clear that businesses are quite a bit slower to accept social media as a credible source of information.

Wal-Mart is an excellent example. The New York Times presented them with evidence from Facebook, Twitter and blogs that customers are unhappy with sales starting Thanksgiving Day. Their response was “customers told us they would rather stay up late to shop than get up early.”

There’s no question that “social media” is here to stay. Heck, what we’re calling social media is only a technological progression of all the gossip, rumor-mongering and press that has been around for centuries. So far, very few individuals and companies are using it in a coordinated and effective fashion.

So far, the impact of social media on retailers is minimal. (As an interesting side note – even e-commerce accounts for only 1% of the world’s economy according to the CIA Factbook.)

Rather than pay attention to the squawking that’s going on in social media, retailers are going to pay attention to sales figures for Thanksgiving Day. After all, we know that most of the folks making a lot of noise now are still very likely to be standing in line for sales come Thanksgiving Day.

Actions count far louder than conversations.

So when you’re looking at how to incorporate social media into your marketing mix, take all the hype and hoopla with a grain of salt. While I certainly recommend making the effort to respond to customers who complain – regardless of whether it’s in person or through social media – always give more credence to what people do than what they say.

There is a distinct possibility that retailers are going to lose sales this year. But that loss will have very little to do with social media.

Last year, the sales started in staggered fashion. This allowed people to shop at multiple stores. Now most of the sales are starting at the same time – midnight Thanksgiving Day. So the retailers are going to lose because people simply can’t be in two places at once, and there’s an ingrained perception that a sale is only worthwhile when you get there at the beginning. This is why people line up four hours early for Black Friday sales.

And let’s keep in mind that we’re in a poor economy. Although some may not be able to participate in the sales the way they did before, most who can afford it will participate to an even greater extent. The stupendous bargains of Black Friday are an excellent way to stretch a dollar.

What we would all do well to listen to is the message that customers are displeased with two things:

  1. The change to cherished holiday shopping traditions. Waiting for sales to start is often a very social time.
  2. The inability to fully participate in the social nature of shopping because it now overlaps with Thanksgiving Day.

The retailers likely to come out on top this year are toy stores (because parents shop for their kids before themselves) and the J.C. Penny’s. J.C. Penny is keeping its usual 4 a.m. opening time, so they’re going to stand out from the crowd.

What do you think? Do you care when stores open for Black Friday sales? Should retailers immediately cave in to complaints, or wait to see what people do?

Social Media Politics, Agencies Admit Failure, Yahoo For Sale

Social media is used in Egypt to change the government, and in Mexico to keep people safe. But in the U.S. it’s being used by politicians to bicker and throw mud. Is it just me, or does this seem incredibly out of whack?

As politicians of all stripes follow Barack Obama’s precedent setting social media campaign from 2008,

I’m starting to wonder if they can really be this clueless. After all, what have they been doing for the last 4 years? They’ve had no particular use for social media since 2008, yet they expect us to engage with them now that they’re hopping on the bandwagon.

Listen to this week’s show at www.SocialMediaCheapAndEasy.com

Another social media flop is ad agencies. A new report from RSW/US and RSW/Agency (2011 New Business Report) found that while 95% of U.S. ad agencies are using social media to identify potential clients, less than 10% of their new clients are coming to them through social media.

Evidently they didn’t pay attention last year when the Nation’s Restaurant News published the results of their own industry survey. In that case, it was specifically for Facebook, and they discovered that while 65% of restaurants were using Facebook to market themselves only 3% of their customers were interested.

Naturally, the agencies blame social media for the poor results. Listen to this week’s show for the real reason why they’re getting no social traction.

And we wrap up the show this week with a look at Yahoo being on the bidding block. Google and Microsoft are interested in financing a purchase, although neither company wants to directly own Yahoo. Strange, but true.

More importantly, there’s a particular line in this story that really raised my ire. It ties everything together this week, and is a stinging indictment of all the profiteers and opportunists. This one piece is the best possible evidence for why we need to revive capitalism.

The Bloggers of Collective Bias

MaryEllen Tribby says blogging is dead, but these bloggers boosted sales at K-Mart this spring by 51% over last year. Don’t seem dead to me…

There were 4 bloggers from Collective Bias at the Shopper Marketing Expo last week when I stopped by. And I got to meet a fifth blogger from Chicagonista.com at a social event that evening. We cover what they do, and how it fits in with Collective Bias on the show – www.SocialMediaCheapAndEasy.com – but I want to give you some more detail about the bloggers, what they do, and how to find them.

Let’s start with who they are and where they write.

Liz and Douglas are a husband and wife team. (Last names left out as a courtesy. Visit their blogs to find out more.) They blog full time and maintain 3 blogs plus 6 e-zines. They have a combined audience of about 10,000.

Liz and Douglas maintain

Vanessa is a Chicago mom who blogs part-time, and contributes to Continue reading

Social Media And Small Business Marketing – Joining The Conversation

Word of Mouth marketing is the ultimate goal of every business owner. Social media is supposed to the golden ticket for small business marketing, yet less than 1% of small businesses are succeeding with social media? Why?

The flat out truth is that YOUR MESSAGE SUCKS!

On the other hand, there are thousands of bloggers out there with engaged, active and purchasing audiences. And they’re interested in what you sell – whether that’s accounting, home repairs, or doctor’s visits. There’s a blog – a popular blog – for every interest.

Hear the truth at www.SocialMediaCheapAndEasy.com

Collective Bias has built a community with over 1,200 of those bloggers. Their results are phenomenal precisely because they’re tapping into the conversations that are already happening. Just like we talked about in last week’s show with the Occupy Wall Street movement, the UAW contract talks, and the Sims Social game.

So in this show, I walk you through what Collective Bias is doing with their bloggers. It’s something you can do for yourself – just hook up with an already popular blogger. Now, I won’t kid you. Tracking the results takes effort, and the payoff is well worth that effort. A campaign done earlier this year for K-Mart resulted in a 51% increase in year-over-year sales.

Then we take a look at what’s in it for the social media services. We know what’s in it for us as business owners, and some of what’s in it for us as consumers, but have we really thought about what’s happening to our information?

Get my social media prediction at www.SocialMediaCheapAndEasy.com

We wrap up the show with an in-depth look at how you can tap into the social media that’s happening all around you. The conversations are already in motion; all you have to do is join in.

There’s a special question for you at the end of the show. Collective Bias wants to know what you think –whether you’re really listening or just sitting on the sidelines. Show us you’re more than a bystander – leave a comment here. We’ll close the comments after we hit 100.

Be a leader at www.SocialMediaCheapAndEasy.com