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Guilt Free Social Media

5 Apr

Moose as captured by OakleyOriginals on Flickr

I like to make people happy. I like to see them laugh. So imagine my dismay when in what has been a perfectly relaxed conversation I bring up Google+ or blogging or Twitter and the person looks like a dog caught being naughty. Apologetic excuses for how often they post or whether they’re even participating start tumbling out. “NoI’mnot and IknowIshouldbe but Ijust <awkward pause> haven’t been able to get into it that much butIhearit’sreallygreat.” It almost makes me regret bringing it up.

Here’s another scenario. Some of my friends don’t have a lot of time for personal use of social media so I’m always happy to see that they’ve posted something new. I know it’s a big deal for them to get to sit down and send a message out to us and I’m honored that I get to read it. What does it say 75% of the time? “Sorry I haven’t been on much.”

And then I scream at my computer screen!

Seriously, is that all you have to tell me?! Why did you bother posting then?!

Note: this blog post pertains only to use of social media for personal reasons. None of these apply to a business’ use of social media.

If you have been feeling bad about neglecting your blog or favoring one network over another or not trying the new kid on the social block, today is your lucky day.

I am hereby declaring your emancipation from social media guilt!

Yes! This is your get-out-of-jail-free card! If anyone ever tries to guilt trip you you can point them to this page! Here’s why you shouldn’t be guilty.

1. Relationships are what matter

As long as you’re still communicating with your family and close friends in some manner, why do you have to do Facebook or any other social network? And not all relationships need communications on minute happenings.

2. Networks are a matter of preference

Not even businesses need to be on every social network, so why should you? If that’s just your thing (ME! That’s my thing!), fine. If not, don’t let my activity make you feel guilty! That’s certainly not why I do it! Find a network that you enjoy and that works for you and just stick with it.

3. Social media should be fun!

Picture by ADoseOfShipBoy on Flickr

 

You have enough work already! Communicating with friends should be a pick-me-up and not a chore!

So, there you go! Enjoy your new-found freedom and let’s party!

 

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Speak Up Google!

26 Mar

This article by J.C. Kendall was originally published on his company’s website, TekPersona. Reprinted with his permission.

Image Provided by TekPersona

Think back a moment: all the way to Sept 30, 1997.  Do you remember what happened?

On that early morning, a few employees of Microsoft took a huge metal version of the Internet Explorer Logo, placed it on the front lawn of the Netscape headquarters in Mountain View, and took enough pictures of it there to make sure that nobody in media would be without a shot of their own for their stories.

That day was the launch date of IE4.0, and the date when the fate of Netscape was decided forever.  We would win, and they would lose.  We had a demonstrably better browser, and it was free.  Game over.  We shoved our arms down their throat, and cut of their oxygen until they died.  That is BUSINESS.

That was the end game, not the beginning.  For the past two years, Microsoft had made a point of taking their medicine over every actual deficiency with versions 1 through 3 of IE, they made sure that not a single untruth or exaggeration about the product was unchallenged.

The media at that time was in love with Marc Andreessen, the kid fresh from College who was going to take down those big bullies in Redmond.  (Sound familiar?)  To the Silicon Valley press, it was as if Andreessen’s flatulence was of the fragrance of Strawberries.  The media had their story, and they were sticking to it.

That meant that everything Microsoft did in combating Netscape was treated with hostility unlike anything we had ever seen before in Redmond.  For Microsoft to be competing with the little Mountain View startup from (admittedly) behind, meant that we were to some, trying to take the food out of the mouths of Netscape infants and feed it to our wolves, or Steve Ballmer.

The fact is, Internet Explorer 3.0 was also a better browser than Netscape’s version, but the media would not say so, even in the face of unassailable evidence.  It was faster, it was more secure, had more features, and did I mention FREE? The technical media decided that Free was a bad thing, if it meant that Andreessen and Netscape would not slay the Dragon of the Pacific Northwest.  It was “unfair”, it was “predatory” and to many it was “illegal”.

No matter that thousands of Small-to-Medium businesses benefitted from being able to use a state-of-the-art Browser without undertaking another hit to their bottom lines.  We were evil, and that is all that mattered to the Tech Media.

In the areas where the media was unfair, we went after them with a vengeance, made them print retractions, explain themselves, and their testing methodologies to the point where it was easier for the Media to simply tell the truth about our product, than for them to have anyone from Building 22 pick up the phone and throw down on them.

As you know, the Technical Media’s favorite whipping boy at the moment is Google +, which by any measure is a fantastic product, with the fastest adoption rate of any web site in the history of the Internet. However, if you read or listen to Tech Media, Google + is a “Ghost town”, a “failure”, and a place where almost nothing of interest is happening. The media is not only pushing these stories weekly, by quoting nobody but each other, they are ramping up their zeal against Google with blatant lies and falsehoods, mis-quotes, exaggerations and more.

Google’s response?

Crickets.

I have been imploring Google for weeks now to answer the Media with a series of FACTS about their product to combat the meme that is beginning to take hold.  “Google + is a loser, and if you use it, it means you are a loser too. “  Once this idea is firmly established, it will not matter what Google does, the product will never reach its potential.

Microsoft set the stage where upon the release of IE 4.0, that the media had no choice but to be honest and admit that Netscape had been surpassed by a free product. Market share of browser usage shifted almost overnight, and by the end of the year, the writing was on the wall for the boys in Mountain View who said they were going to bury us.  (We never forgot that).

Google need not get into any fights, they only need correct the inaccuracies and let the media know that they will hold them to account.  Once that happens, they will have no choice but to tell the truth and the truth is clear.  Google + rocks, and is the single best Social Media platform for both individuals and businesses alike. Those are simple facts. Why would Google not want to say so?  Why would Google not want to point out what happened to the user base at Skype when G+ members discovered Hangouts?

Why has Google not spoken to businesses like mine that are literally saving hundreds of dollars per month from the combination of Google + Hangouts and Google Voice for their corporate communications?  Where is the [insert expletive here:] case study, Google?

At this rate, without Google changing course,  there will come a point where Google + cannot get good enough to combat the perception that it is a failure in the marketplace, and that its users are a only bunch of geeks and early adopters who buy nothing but computer games.

It is time, Google to respect your users, and the businesses that reside on this forum, by not allowing the Media to poison your well of users into undesirable market segments.  You need to tell the Media who we are, and you need to tell them why we love and use your product. So far, your efforts in this regard have been anemic to the point of meaningless.  I do business here.  I bring my clients here.  How about showing us some appreciation, by defending our reasons for being here?

I am not suggesting that at some point, you might want to put a giant Google + Logo on the front steps over at Facebook.  Nevertheless, if you ever do, I can give you the phone number to a shipping company familiar with such activities.

Netscape thought we were childish with the logo stunt, but to that, I say “If you done it, it aint braggin.”

Go Get Um, Google!

(disclaimer: I am in no way endorsing the Internet Explorer Browser of today, which due to lack of competition has suffered greatly.  I love and use Chrome, because Chrome just rocks.  )

Antisocial Type?

7 Mar

Comic by Toothpaste for Dinner

This blog was prompted by three different conversations I had with local business owners today. All together they swirled into this question.

Are there businesses that SHOULDN’T use social media?

Short answer: no! Social media is flexible and can be adopted to any business need!

Personal answer: I personally wouldn’t contract with any company that isn’t safe for children or any doctor’s office. There are too many legal pitfalls in those two industries for them to be worth the risk with my limited legal knowledge.

So why do some business owners think their business wouldn’t benefit from social media? Here’s 5 misconceptions about social media that makes them think this.

1. Social media is only teens.

Where I run into this misconception most is in churches.  I approach them saying “Social media is simply a digitization of what you’re already doing with your members and community. It’s just another communication tool.” and they forward me to the youth pastor. Hello? Did you hear what I just said? Churches aren’t the only ones tainted with this heresy. It’s amusing to me to have people with a question about social media turn to me automatically not knowing that the middle-aged people standing around with me have smarter phones and more experience than I with anything technological or social.

What’s the truth? How about these stats? The average age of a social networker is 37. On Twitter and Facebook, minors are less than 15% of the sites’ users.

2. Social media is only women.

This perception is harder to pick up on. It shows up mor ein conversations and assumptions. I see it when people are surprised when my male marketing colleagues do more than SEO or when an automotive repair businessman tells me that hair saloons would benefit more from social media than his store. I’ve heard the term “chatty Cathy” applied to the social media profession.

How does this assumption hold up? Well, all of the major social networks do have more women than men users, but only slightly. It’s not more than 10% gap on Facebook and Twitter. LinkedIn leans more toward men. Pinterest stands out in that it has the largest gender gap, heavily favoring the ladies. However,  not even that site is devoid of men!

3. Social media is only geeks.

So I should only use it if I’m selling comic collectibles or app development, right? Wrong! Who is the most followed person Google+? +Britney Spears. Is that geek behavior? Please, don’t insult us!

4. Social media is only Facebook, which we all hate.

I know I talk about Facebook a lot on this blog. That’s because that’s where most of my clients’ customers are. However, I’m not recommending a Facebook diet to anyone! And I know anytime anything changes the slightest bit on Facebook your stream fills up with wailing and weeping. It’s hard to take it seriously though when no one leaves. They can’t possibly all hate it as much as they say.

Let’s assume for a moment that you just cannot stand the idea of your business being on Facebook or you have been granted the divine insight needed to know that Facebook would not help your business in the slightest. You still have Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, Flickr, and WordPress to pick from!

5. Social media is only procrastination.

Sounds like a personal problem to me. 😉

If anything this misconception is just another reason to hire Magic Bottle Marketing. If social media is distracting to you and decreases your productivity, let me do it for you!

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!