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!

Get Out and Vote!

5 Mar

Photo by Theresa Thompson

Even if you’re not politically active, you probably have noticed that this election cycle is different from the last presidential cycle. We’re all getting more robocalls and stories about the candidates now include pictures of them ACTUALLY in Oklahoma! Why the change?

1. During the last cycle Oklahoma’s Republican delegates were on a winner-takes-all system. Whoever got the most votes over the whole state got ALL of Oklahoma’s delegates. It has now changed so that our delegates are awarded according to majority of votes per congressional district. So, Republican candidates are paying closer attention to Oklahoma because their chances of winning Okie delegates are much higher.

2. Oklahoma has a lot of delegates to the Republican National Convention this year! We have FORTY-THREE delegates and 40 alternates. I won’t bore you with the intricacies of how those rules are set up, but let’s just say that Oklahoma Republicans’ hard work is paying off on the national party level.

3. Oklahoma’s primary is on Super Tuesday this year. We get to be part of a turning point in the whole cycle! Tomorrow will quite possibly make or break candidates.

Here’s some things you may not know about tomorrow’s election.

There is a DEMOCRAT Presidential primary too! There are at least FOUR other Democrats on the ballot, one of whom is from Oklahoma!

This is one of the first major elections under the new state law that you must show your ID to vote. So, have your passport, driver’s license, or voter card with you!

This is also the first major election to use Oklahoma’s new voting machines. These are state-of-the-art and set Oklahoma at the front of the pack in election technology and security. There are new audio ballots for voters with vision problems. The results are sent instantly at the end of the day to the state election board. At a Claremore Chamber of Commerce event I got to try them out in a mock election. It will not take blank ballots or ballots that have been over voted, despite all my efforts to trick it!

Collinsville, Owasso, and Claremore voters also have a city ballot to be cast tomorrow. I’m not a Claremore resident proper, so I’m not familiar with what is on those ballots. However, sample ballots are available on the county election board site. I strongly encourage you to look over your ballot BEFORE going to the polls. An informed voter is a powerful thing!

I voted early Saturday, so I won’t see you at the polls. However, look for me to be breathlessly watching the results on my personal Google+ and Twitter!

Get Outside Claremore!

24 Feb

Claremore Lake

Has the weather this week been beautiful or what?! I can’t seem to soak up enough sunshine or breathe enough fresh air! Here are my 10 favorite ways to enjoy the weather in Green Country!

1. Go Play at the Park

No one is too old to enjoy a day at the park. Whether you want to feed the ducks, play on the swings (my favorite), fish off the wharf, or snap some landscape photos (see my iPhonography offering to the left), the place to be is Claremore Lake Park!

2. Eat Out On the Patio

Everything is better in this weather–even the food tastes better outside! My favorite patio spot is the Hillcat Hut. Yes, even non-college folk are allowed! Tiny Cakes and Truffles also has outdoor seating. You didn’t think they were just a bakery, did you now?! Finally, don’t forget to get out of your car at Sonic!

3. Work Outside

We are a mobile society after all. Take your smartphone and notebook and work outside today, even if it’s just the smoker’s table outside your office. Or you can be lucky like my sister and get to go work at the Lake!

Remember the paper weights!

4. Ride Your Bike

I know there are a couple of bike trails around town, but I actually prefer riding in a neighborhood. I love getting a glimpse into people’s lives as I zip past. And it’s usually easier. 😉 If your bike needs some maintenance after its hibernation in the garage, drop by Bike-About in downtown.

5. Bird Watch

I’ve been able to open my windows several days this week and I was pleasantly surprised to hear a lot of bird songs! They certainly seem to think it’s spring time! One of the best places to bird watch is at the Nature Reserve on the RSU campus.

6. Play with your dogs.

Frisbee, balls, walks, other dogs–anything delights your dog, so take your pick! If you don’t have a dog—well, you’re just a loser, I guess. 😉 Sidenote: why doesn’t Claremore have any dog parks? How do we go about getting one?

7. Nap in the sunshine

In case you haven’t figured it out, I’m a dog person. However, I will say that cats have done one useful thing. Napping in the sunshine is the best thing they have ever come up with! Oh, and naps definitely have their place in the professional’s life.

This fellow was a doorstop outside the Antique Mall

8. Stroll the downtown walk.

The downtown neighborhood was designed to be walked. Park elsewhere and enjoy!

9. Do a photowalk.

You could even combine numeros 8 and 9 and do a photo walk downtown! Some of my personal favorites were taken doing this, such as the last two photos in this blog.

10.Watch the sunset.

One of my favorite places to watch the sunset is from the top of Swan’s hill on 4180 road.

Customer Complaints: Your Chance to Shine

21 Feb

Fact #1: you can’t please everyone.

Fact #2: people have big mouths.

What happens when you mix the above facts with social media? You get your chance as a business owner to shine. Here are 3 reasons why social media is a better way to interact with unhappy customers than any other method, including face-to-face!

1. You get alerted to the complaint immediately.

If a customer has an issue with your business and mentions it to friends in person or on the phone there is no way for you to know that they did that. Even if they’re forward enough to tell you their complaint there’s no way for you to track down all those people they might have talked to. Not so on the interwebs! First, if you have some kind of social media platform you are inviting people to communicate with you there. When they do, you’re notified, have a way to contact them back, on top of being handed a great deal of their contact information.

Bonus: what if they don’t contact you directly on social media, instead using their own status or posting a review? Between alert services such as Google Alerts and Social Mentions and the built-in search features on Twitter & Google+ you can still find out quickly!

2. You get to be on stage.

When a person complains to me offline about a company I only get to hear their side of the story. I don’t get to find out if the company ever made it right to that customer. If that exchange takes place online the company has the opportunity to change it from a complaint to a conversation. They get to  publicly make it right. As you resolve their concerns and win back their business, all of your network and all of their network get to watch you value your customers through action, watch you be attentive, courteous, and professional. Instead of this being a negative mark for you, it grows your positive brand image.

3. You get to pleasantly surprise people.

Most businesses do not respond to negative customer feedback online. Why this is, I have no idea. Business owners aren’t completely rational beings, I guess. 😉 So, when you do respond you immediately get on everybody’s good side. Take every chance to stand out against the rest of your competitors!

Word of warning here: if you try to censor any complaints or negative feedback online you just end up multiplying it. Censoring is a extreme move that only accelerates the aggression. Don’t hide your head in the sand by hitting that delete button! Deal with the problem!

Your business’ approach to customer service is a big part of Magic Bottle Marketing’s intake process. This is not something either of us wants to have to plan on the fly. I will work with you to have a strategy in place so that when someone does complain, you’ll get to shine!

Refining Your Message

16 Feb

Communicating a message effectively is both an art and science. What do art and science have in common? They both take a lot of repetition to perfect and they both progress faster with feedback! Tuesday, I edited my ‘About‘ and ‘Services‘ pages. I’m CCing it here so I can get your feedback through comments.

About

Magic Bottle Marketing provides social media management and consulting services for local Green Country businesses. Social media is like a magic bottle that conveys your message to your customers faster, cheaper, and more effectively than traditional means. It combines three types of sales leads–advertising, returning  customers, and referals—into one powerful medium.

Photo by Joel Chan

Anna Bavido founded Magic Bottle Marketing in 2011 out of a passion for her community and her own social media addictions, errr… experience. She has lived in Claremore since 2001 and graduated from Rogers State University in 2009 with a bachelor’s of science in social sciences. When she’s not teaching businesses to be sociable she is invovled in politics, family, karate, social media, and Jesus–but not necessarily in that order. Her favorite social network is Google+.

Services

Magic Bottle Marketing approaches each client every day with 3 mottos.

  1. Give the client the biggest bang for their buck.
  2. The right tool for the right job.
  3. Track performance.

The first one is an attitude of gratefulness and responsibility for clients. You don’t have to give me business and I take the fact that you did very seriously. For more explanation, see Corporate Gratitude. Second, is a messaging approach that leverages the right social networks in the right way for clients’ goals and targeted customers. This is further explained in Social Media and Angry Birds. Third, I look back as often as I look forward. If I don’t know what I did before and how well it worked, I won’t know what to do next. I blogged about this some in the post Reflections.

With this mindset, I provide tiered contract management services for the following social media platforms–

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Foursquare
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest
  • Google Adwords
  • WordPress

Service packages are customized to each client and start as low as $200/month. Discounts are available for churches, charities, and other nonprofits. Call Anna at 918-933-2303 or drop her a line at anna@magicbottlemarketing.com to find out how Magic Bottle Marketing can best help your business!

Social Romance

14 Feb

Photo by JD Hancock

Happy Valentine’s Day to all the couples out there! Happy Single Awareness Day to all the rest of you! Here are some ways you can surprise your Valentine using social media! None of these are as good as an in-person kiss or rose, but in conjunction they are quite sweet!

If your love has unlimited texting ask a large group of people (all of your office, your Facebook friends) to send him a text saying that you love him!

Create a board on Pinterest dedicated to your Valentine. Fill it with pictures of things you enjoy doing with her, your favorite pictures of her, or pictures that show her best qualities.

Ask his favorite celebrity Tweeters to tell him in a tweet how much you love him.

Make a funny or quirky Prezi about how the two of you met or your favorite memory together.

Create a music video on YouTube with pictures of her set to her favorite love song.

Post a photo tribute to him on Flickr.

Put just your darling in a circle on Google+. Share it in a post saying that she’s your only one or just this person has your heart. Disable sharing because you intend to keep her!

Create a Facebook fan page for him and list yourself as his #1 fan! If you don’t want to maintain the page year round you can delete it on the 15th.

If your sweetheart has a favorite blog she reads every day ask that blogger to dedicate a post to her.

I would love to hear your Valentine’s Day plans!

3 Needs of a Volunteer: Coach

13 Feb

Part 3 of 3: Coach

Volunteering should never be lonely work. Regularly check in with your volunteers. “How’s it coming? Do you need anything? Have we told you what a good job you’re doing?” This is where you communicate the Vision talked about way back at the beginning of this article. This is where you find out if they need any added training or tools, if the workload is realistic and balanced. These conversations are your biggest listening tool and you need to pay careful attention to what you’re hearing.Most accidents are preventable, right? If you’re not listening, you will be the last to find out about the blow up.

Staying in regular contact with your volunteers should double as quality control. When done properly quality control is actually a huge encouragement to both the checker and the volunteer. If you’re checking each completed task you get to see all the awesome things that are being done well and you get to praise the volunteers for it. But, there is another side to quality control that’s not as fun. It’s tempting for organizations to assign the ‘nice work’ of praising to the volunteer coordinator and the control side to someone else in the organisation (usually the coordinator’s boss). This is also known as good cop/bad cop and will be guaranteed to make everyone uncomfortable. Not only do volunteers get the feeling that they’re being sent to the office, it also sends a signal that the volunteer coordinator is incompetent and not trusted by the rest of the organization.

This may sound like a lot of things to make happen at once (“I’m supposed to coach the vision while making sure everything fits?”), but implementing one makes it easier to implement the others. Another tool that helps is a good old-fashioned intake interview (look for that post soon!). Don’t stress yourself out too much because volunteers are the best of your community. Their patience is nigh to boundless, so they get used and abused a lot. They’ll be thrilled to just see you making an effort.