Archive | November, 2011

Big Fish in a Small Pond

29 Nov

In case you haven’t noticed, this blog is not Mashable or the Next Web or Tech Crunch. You are not going to hear the scoop on the latest SEO algorithims before anyone else knows. I will not be authoring the definitive guide to the next social media fad. What will you see then?

Application and use of social media: because we would rather be shown than told. This will usually be very specific to the networks that Magic Bottle Marketing provides services and specific to business uses of social media. Basically, it will be geared towards my customers.

Local Scene: Magic Bottle Marketing exists to serve local businesses and as such I’m very interested in the local scene, Rogers county and Claremore specifically. I want my customers to know that I understand their environment and their customers. And I love where I live, so it’s fun to talk about!

Business Practices: explanation of why I do what I do or how I do business. This will be both practical things I’m doing now and things I want to do or emulate with Magic Bottle Marketing.

Customers: they make my world go round so of course I will be writing about them!

Personal stuff: this will be rare but it will happen, especially for big things like my brother getting married in January or my sister’s new apartment. It will let you know that there is a real, live person with a life behind Magic Bottle Marketing.

All of these can be found in categories along with 2 other categories—That’s Good and That’s Bad. The dos and do-nots can overlap several of the above categories, so they got their own.

All of this adds up to one thought in my mind: I want to be a big fish in a small pond. I don’t want to hang with the Pete Cashmores and Vic Gundotras of the world. After all, I don’t know them or value them personally. Now the small pond of Rogers county? These are people I care about very much and I would rather be an expert help to them than any 1,000s of other social media geeks in San Fransisco.

Ornery Streak

28 Nov

I have a big, wide ornery streak in me. It is traditionally blamed on my Scottish heritage, although being part of an educational minority (homeschoolers) is probably a bigger factor. It makes me very averse to fashion to start with, which also doubles as a money-saving characteristic. Traditions and trends have a hard time winning me over. I hate catching bouquets at weddings. I have never gotten into Black Friday shopping simply because everyone else is doing it. A lot of this boils down to me hating being told what to do without being given a reason.

I’ve been surprised at how common and accepted it is in social media to tell people what to do with no explanation. How many times a day do you see things like “Please share to public” and ” like if you agree”. Why do they ask these things?

  • Like if you agree! (Facebook’s algorithims uses likes to help decide what stories show near the top in feeds–it’s just self-promotion)
  • Reshare to public! (More exposure for them, higher ripple marks–again self-promotion)
  • Copy and paste this to your status. (All the warm fuzzies of having done something good without any effort or actual good accomplished)
  • +1 if you agree (Carry over from Facebook. Google+ doesn’t have stream algorithims like Facebook. So, it’s ignorant self-promotion)
  • Please RT/RT if you agree (Again, more exposure and self-promotion)
  • RT this to get 80 bazillion followers! (Sure, if you want a high number of followers who never interact with you to stare at)

All of these have variants with guilt trips attached. Following their instructions helps them, gives you nothing, and requires no thought or engagement. If you talk to anyone who is succesful with social media (whether personally or for business), they’re going to tell you engagement (and associated keywords like conversation, interaction, relationship, community…) is key. Do any of these tricks facilitate conversation? Do they foster community? Do they help you to interact with people? Do they build a relationship? How about an even older catchphrase? Quality over quantity.

Now that I’ve provided reasons that benefit you, I’ll issue the order. Do not activate your customers’ ornery streaks!

Black Friday Uses of Social Media

26 Nov

When I was traveling for the holiday yesterday I made a list of all the ways social media can integrate with Black Friday beyond plastering ‘Like Us on Facebook!’ on every end cap. Here are the best ones.

  1. Give discount coupons to the first 10 or 25 people who check-in to your venue on Foursquare on Black Friday.
  2. Create a Foursquare event associated with your venue.
  3. Have an employee walk the line before the store opens with a tablet and ask people to log into their social network account to connect with you there. They’re in line, so they have nothing else to do.
  4. Ask customers to tweet or share on Facebook what deals they find. With proper link tracking you could even track which people have friends buy from that post and reward that customer.
  5. If there’s a particular sale item you’re promoting put a QR sticker on its display that functions like the Tweet and Like buttons on this post.
  6. Have a celebratory hangout with your customers on G+ while they’re in line.
  7. If you’re part of a chain or franchise have a Google+ hangout corner in each of your stores where people can step in front of the camera and say hello to customers in other locations.
  8. Ask customers to share to their social networks their total savings at your store. (actually, this would be good to have year round…)
  9. Before Black Friday crowdsource your specials through social media by putting up live voting or a poll that lets customers decide which items will be part of Black Friday sales.
  10. Have specials or deals that are only available to customers that have connected with you on social media. How is this different from sending your social customers a coupon code? It will be a physical spot in your store that will provoke your nonsocial customers to envy and then they will connect with you online!
  11. Remember to use appropriate hashtags on Twitter: #BlackFriday #BFDeals and so forth
  12. Make a Facebook event for Black Friday. Send each ‘attending’ RSVP a coupon code.
  13. Build a Google+ circle of Black Friday power shoppers nationwide and share that circle sometime earlier during the week.
  14. Build a Google+ circle of local businesses (your teammates, not your competitors) who are doing Black Friday sales and share it the Wednesday before.
  15. Try the same with Foursquare lists.
  16. Make your own Black Friday Twitter list and try to get on similar influential lists.
  17. Send a code to every customer who complains about the commercialism of Black Friday or who declares he’s doing Buy Nothing Day. If he uses it on Black Friday charge him 10% more and if he uses it after give him 10% off. 🙂
  18. The best way to discourage bad behavior is to crowd it out with encouragement of good behavior, right? Give everyone, employees and customers, +1 stickers to hand out to helpful employees and polite customers.

You get to come up with numbers 19 and 20 to round the list out!

Bookmark this post for next year!

Corporate Gratitude

23 Nov

I hope all of us are taking time this week to give thanks for all the good things in our lives. Our minds naturally jump to the most important things in our lives–family friends, health… Have you thought to be grateful for your customers though?

Your customers don’t have to buy from you. When they buy from you they don’t have to be polite to you. They don’t have to be loyal to you. If there’s any kid of reward for being polite or loyal it’s minimal and doesn’t excuse away our need to be grateful. People are good to us business owners because they’re good people, plain and simple.

We really would be nothing without them. Our prestige in the community, our professional reputation, our livelihoods that support our families, our job satisfaction—all of that is due to our customers.

I’m not suggesting we all run handout ‘customer appreciation’ coupons. I think we need to have a sincere attitude of gratefulness to customers. After all, you can’t put a pricetag on what they do for you, so don’t try. Maybe the best thing is to just tell them ‘Thank you!’

Shove that Perfectionest to the Starting Line!

22 Nov

Things are changing here at Magic Bottle Marketing every day! Not all of it is visible from the front end, but from this end it’s exciting! For instance, today…

  • First posts went up on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+
  • Hootsuite account was setup (I’ve been using Hootsuite personally and politically for a while, but this one is just for Magic Bottle Marketing)
  • Top secret planning took place (shhh!!)
  • Intro sales materials ordered (pictures soon!)

And that was just today!

At the same time, so much still needs to be done! I need business cards, a +1 button, more market research… This website is nowhere near what I want yet. I don’t have the profile picture right on Google+ yet. It’s simply not perfect yet and I won’t rest until it is. However, I’m not going to sit still until it is. I can’t wait for everything to be perfect to start moving forward on parts of it. Face it, if I waited until I was perfectly happy with even just my website before I started approaching businesses as potential customers this little bird of a dream would never fly.

So, today I threatened my perfectionest side severaly, screwed up my courage, and did all my first posts, including this first blog post. And I feel much better for having done it. The unknown is scary. Once you start it’s not nearly as bad as you think.