On May 11th, Bill Simmons (@sportsguy33), Boston Sports writer and ESPN page 2 ‘The Sports Guys World creator, created a new Twitter account, @celticschants. The account was set up for sports fans (mostly Boston Celtics fans or anyone that was against Cleveland) to discuss potential chants for when players were fouled and stepping up to the free throw line. If you have watched basketball before, you know how fans can be with chants, and waving things. And as much as I hate to give credit to Duke, their fans are the most obnoxious.

Last night, while I was watching TV, I heard the chant of “New York Knicks” when Labron James stepped to the free throw line. Each and every time. It was loud. Even the announcers were talking about it. Now he did not miss all of his free-throws, and he did have a triple-double, he did go 9-12 from the line, missing 3 attempts. Being a .742 career shooter from the free-throw line, he was right on par. But who is to say that he would have missed those if the fans were not chanting?

Anyway, I like that this “grass-roots” idea came about, was promoted and discussed and took flight. It really goes to show how Social Media can be taken off-line. What are your thoughts? Did you watch the game, or have you seen this type of execution recently?

p.s. – Don’t skip to the bottom 😉

As my prior post stated – sorry for the rant – I really did not understand why we are so transfixed on the next this and that. Then I got to thinking (please no funny comments here). Before you read this let me just say that I understand that evolution is good, and pushing the barriers is also good, but there comes a time and a place where you need to just sit back and let things happen.

Given all of the changes that Facebook has made recently, and over time for that matter, as outlined on The Huffington Post Blog  (Very interesting 2005 – present overview of how Facebook’s privacy policy has evolved), why would we not begin to look elsewhere? Yes we can set access levels to specific groups or people, and I have taken full advantage of those tools, but should we have to? Should we really be forced to control our data and be “opt’d-in” to the changes that they are making? While I understand that opting everyone in to a change will increase adoption, it can also, and many times will, have a negative effect on your community.

I have heard of people closing their account (and others that who thinking about it), while others are refusing to even open a Facebook account. Closing your account because of the changes can be seen as a knee-jerk reaction.  While I agree with many of the concerns, I am not ready to close down yet. While these are both extreme cases, it just really shows that there are many people out there that are unhappy with all these changes.

Time and time again, when things begin to spiral out of control, I generally try to sit down and let things settle for a little while. After the dust settles, you can then truly review the situation holistically and without emotion getting in the way.

What do I want out of Facebook? What happened to the tool that allowed me to create online relationships with my friends and keep in touch with them? Post photos with my networks, see what my friends were doing, and create events and groups…. They grew and grew and made some minor changes over time, some were good and others were not so much. People flocked to use the service and once they became the “3rd largest country in the world” they began to try to take over the Web. While I understand that may be a direction to go, I don’t think that it will happen.

Can you think of another Social Networking site that was similar to Facebook? One that has taken a back-seat to all of these changes? One that may just simply benefit from all of these changes? Now I may be stretching a little bit here, but would it not be ironic that the answer to “What is the next Facebook” questions turns out to be who Facebook beat out years ago?

My Space

My Space

Too many options, too little time

(ps – total rant)

Why do we consistently need to focus on “Who is the next Google killer?” or “What is the next Twitter?” Google is here and it is successful, Twitter has a loyal following and is continuing to grow in numbers. Can’t we be happy with what is at our finger tips and continue to review what is new and integrate that into our daily life? Can’t we live with enhancements to the current offerings rather than look to transplant ourselves somewhere else? What is our obsession with moving from one thing to the next?

Now don’t get me wrong, I love technology and innovation and am glad that we currently have at our disposal the tools that we do. I use Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and other platforms to stay informed and keep in touch, but I am not looking for the next replacement to any of those. I have also worked in Social Media for over 12 years, so I am very glad to see where it has come from, but…..

With the options that are current at our fingertips, it is overwhelming, IMO. Some people are here, some are there, and some are not anywhere. How do you choose where to go and who to interact with?

This reminds me of when I was growing up – OMG, I am starting to sound like my parents now. Back in the day, we had minimal TV channels and things were on at certain times of the day – no TiVo, no DVR, just live TV. I remember running home from school or waking up early so that I could watch a show and when I would run into my friends, we would talk about it, because that was the only thing that was on TV, or the only option that we had. (I love my DVR and love that I can fast-forward through the commercials).
For kids, and adults for that matter, it is tougher now and the conversations begin with “What shows do you watch?” or What are your favorite games?” and if you don’t watch the same shows or play the same games we initially think that we don’t have anything in common with that other person. 

Is it just me, or are things beginning to move a little fast? Is there such a  thing as too many options?

There is no “I” in team, but there is a “ME”

When I was at SXSW, the last session that I attended was Hitting Bombs: Better Social Business through Sports Metaphors, hosted by Tim Walker, Kyle Flaherty and Aaron Strout. It was a very interactive session with a lot of experienced individuals in the room sharing their favorite expression and how it related to their professional life, not generally specific to Social Media, but specific to specific situations in business. Great session and stories, thanks guys!

Fast forward to last night

I was watching the Red Sox game vs. the Texas Rangers. As you may, or may not know, the Red Sox have been in a slump, starting off the season 4-9, their worst start since 1996. Many players are slumping and not hitting, but I want to point to 1 specifically, Big Papi, David Ortiz. Last night he was 0-3 with 2 strikeouts, and for his 4th at bat, Mike Lowell came in and pitch hit for him. Mike Lowell ended up walking during the at bat, and the Sox ended up leaving the bases loaded during that inning. At the end of the inning, David Ortiz gave Mike a pat on the back, un-tucked his shirt and then went back down into the club house to take a shower. Now I would not have a problem with this if the game was over, but it was the 7th inning and the Sox were losing 6-4.

Fast forward to the next inning (bottom of the 8th)

Darnell McDonald (just called up from the minors) come up to the plate with a man on and hits a 2 run Home run to win the game. The Sox tie the game, and hold the Rangers during the next inning to no runs.

Fast forward to the next inning (bottom of the 9th)

Darnell McDonald comes to the plate with 2 outs and 2 men on, and hits a ball off of the Green Monster to make the game winning hit – the team meets him on second base, congratulating him, giving him high 5’s, celebrating, it was a great occasion to be a part of from a “Team” standpoint. Something that could have a long lasting effect on the way that younger and older players play, a good bonding experience (like the Varitek/ARod fight of a couple of years ago) but….where was David Ortiz?

During the celebration I was looking and looking for him, but I did not see him (if he was there, then I do apologize).

It is important to celebrate the good times, and also figure out how to get through the bad times, as a team. It is the same in business as it is in professional sports. We need to understand that we are not always on our game, and when we are not, expect to be “pinch-hit” for. We have all been there before, but the fact of the matter is that the Team comes first, and you do not.

When I heard about Four Square day  last week, on 4/16, I got a little excited. I had thought that it was a great idea. I found that one of the cities around me (Manchester, NH)  was participating in the day. I looked at the local sponsors and tried to figure out how I could participate, given the fact that they were “passing out” a special badge to those who participated, I could not pass that up.

After looking at the Four Square day website I noticed that there were not many locations participating. I then went to the Facebook Manchester page and noticed that there were other places that were participating that were not advertised on the Four Square official page. Hmmmm, why not? Was this because Four Square did not promote this that heavily? Was it because the agency that was running the Facebook page did not upload the events into the Four Square Day page?

I am sure that the event was a success and got the word about to local businesses that were either unknowing of Four Square or unsure of what the benefits would be. 

The promotion in my eyes seemed rushed. There did not seem to be much promotion over the event in general, a centralized location to find businesses that were participating, or a straightforward way to participate, from a business or end user standpoint. Maybe I am being a little harsh, but, as many others I really see the benefits that this application/tool has for local businesses.

For those of you who participated, what are your thoughts? Did you find it easy, or do you think that it could have been organized better?

ps. For some reason when I logged into the location in the area that was sponsoring, I did not receive the badge. I am not bitter by any means, am unsure why I did not get it, but still think that it could have been better organized.

In the current state of the economy, it is no longer about simply reaching out to your audience and hoping that they purchase your product – keeping your fingers crossed that they will become a “fan” of you. It is now about creating, building and extending relationships with your audience. Whether they are direct consumers, partners or employees – it does not make a difference. Your company is at the center of all of these relationships. Businesses need to understand the importance of these relationships and how the “little things” can make a big difference.

Note: I am married and have always been told that it is the little things that make a big difference, and I am also still trying to grasp this concept

Case-in-point – FourSquare

from the nydailynews.com

If you are not familiar with FourSquare, it is a location-based application for your phone where you can “log-in” to places that you visit. You can “friend” other people and you can also gain badges for certain activities – visiting and logging in to 5 different Starbucks for example will get you a Starbucks badge – but more on that later. You can also become what they call the “Mayor” of these locations, meaning that you have visited that specific area and have logged in more than anyone else. There is definitely a gaming component to FourSquare as you can try to gather as many badges as possible, and take the Mayor-ship from others who you may, or may not, know – which makes it a lot of fun.

Now there are other things to think about when leveraging Foursquare, including who you friend and where you post your status updates, but that is not what this post is about, it is about how a Business can create, build and extend the relationships with its audience and embrace new ways to communicate.

When I got into work today, I opened Twitter up to see what was going on. After about 10 minutes, I saw this post from a former colleague, good friend, and Social Media (I hate to say this but insert a descriptive here – guru, all-star, rock-star, evangelist……) Aaron Strout (@aaronstrout ):

local @Starbucks celebrated wife, @MelanieStrout’s @FourSquare mayorship w/ this sign & free gift bag. Nice! http://tweetphoto.com/17496680

FourSquare Mayorship

Welcome to Starbucks Mayor Melanie

Now can you imagine walking into your local Starbucks, and seeing that sign? Also, it was one thing for them to create the sign and to have their employees sign the banner, but it was another thing to put together a Gift Bag for her – likely related to her favorite drink, like one of those insulated plastic cups that they have (just a guess here).

I think that they key thing to think about is that this type of public recognition does not have to take part on a platform or technology like FourSquare – but it does need to happen in some way, shape or form to your customers, partners and employees in order to survive in this ever changing evolution of Social engagement. This is also another way to take online interactions and take them off-line, in the real world.

By the way, added benefits of their gesture – a Twitter post that easily reached tens of thousands of people instantly, and also encouraged this blog post.

Starbucks is a great example of a business that is embracing Social Media, between their FourSquare presence/partnership and the My Starbucks Idea that they have launched and continue to monitor, they are building their relationships and creating customers for life.

Have you seen other examples of this, and if you have, how has it changed your perception?

When we talk to our clients about Social Media, we talk a lot about creating, building and growing relationships for the long haul. While you definitely need to retain your current audience (whether it is your partners, customers or employees, it does not matter), you also need to figure out how to engage with a new audience, or those who may not be aware of who you are and what you do and acquire new individuals. This is not specific in the B2B or B2C world; it is about business in general. When I was at eBay, we went by the rule of the 3 A’s – Acquisition, Activation and Activity. This is a good framework to think about when you are thinking about Social Media. How do you plan to acquire a new audience, activate them and get them involved, while at the same time engaging with your current audience? How busy is your website? Are you doing the right SEO steps to place higher on the result pages? Are you engaging with your audience and putting a personality behind the brand? Are you providing a compelling and interactive experience once your audience visits your site? Does your audience on your website know that you have a Twitter or Facebook account and vice-versa? How are you communicating on these platforms and broadcasting messages to them? I came across the following graphic a few months ago, and modified it slightly to update it with current Social platforms:

* original viewed on www.socialmediavision.com/social-media/

Now when we describe Social media and how it relates to your website, we envision this concept of the wheel. Your website is at the center of it all. You control the content of your site and the organization of that content – now granted user generated content (UGC) you may not control, but you do have the right to enforce policies so that you can remove specific pieces of content if they violate those policies.

You can leverage SEO techniques in order to get your ranking higher on the search results pages for the larger search engines (I realize that YouTube is one of the largest search engines, but I place them in the Social aspect for this purpose).

You can also leverage these external Social Networks in order to create brand awareness and drive an audience back to your website – after all, is that really not the reason to have a presence on an external network – to drive people back to your website and increase your brand awareness? As I mentioned on a follow up blog post from my webinar a few months ago, leveraging these external networks are only 1 aspect of a Social strategy, you should not put all of your eggs in 1 basket.

Once you are able to drive people back to your website, what are they looking for, and how can you provide them with a pervasive web experience (I also borrowed that term from @rustyw who I believe coined the phrase).

Whether it is Blogs, reviews, ratings, forums, profiles, testimonials… you could go on and on with the different ways to provide your audience with a great interactive experience on your website. But the key is finding the right way to do it.

*cross-posted on Ektron.com and eBizq.net

There are so many overview blog posts from SXSW that I almost did not plan to write one up, but then thought, “Why not?”

The event is great on many different levels. The networking opportunities are never-ending. There are so many people there (attendance increase +40% compared to last year) that you run into people that you know (or recognize) on every corner. There are a lot of smart people that attend the event, and I was very happy to network and meet all of the people that I met. This was my 1st year attending, and I will say that it did live up to most of my expectations. I do have 1 complaint that I have heard many people talk about, and I also wanted to add in my .02.

Sessions
Everyday there are a ton of sessions. The variety of topics that were covered ranged from “Protecting your teenagers online” to “How the porn industry leverages Social Media.” I think that the variety in sessions really displays how important Social Media is in everyday life, both professionally and personally. An increase in variety though, generally means an increase in sessions – which ends up being a decrease in quality and watered down content.

I was only able to attend about 5 sessions the entire time that I was there, but I was also informed by people that have attended the show before that 5 was actually a good amount. To my dismay 2 of the sessions were “iffy” at best and not billed up to what there were supposed to be. I have also read that the Keynote with Twitter CEO Evan Williams on Monday was a disaster, with ~80% of the people leaving before the end (I was not there, but that was the general feeling from the people that I had talked to).

First, let me say that I respect every speaker at SXSW and all of the sessions that were held. It takes a lot to get up in front of any crowd, create a descriptive presentation, present it and take questions. I have done this a couple of times and I still get that pit in my stomach beforehand. Sometimes I am able to walk right through the presentation and everything works out, and sometimes I am off of my game and lose my audience. I get that, which is why I am a professional speaker. I also accept that. You only get better at things through practice.

While I was sitting in some of these sessions, I started to wonder how many times that some of these speakers have ever sat up in front of a large audience and ran through a presentation. How many have ever attended SXSW, sat through a session and thought, you know what, this session could have been better, and here is how. It is very important to experience an event like SXSW before you jump into thinking that you can submit a session, get it voted on and then you are off to the races.

In closing, I really do want to say that I respect all of the speakers at SXSW. It is easy to judge coming from the outside. I just hope that in the future, that we can improve the quality of the sessions.

The title of this post is the same as the title for the Editors note in this February’s Inc. – The Magazine for Growing Companies – magazine. I found it to be a very interesting Editors note, and wanted to highlight the closing point from Jane Berentson:

“Maybe we should replace “the customer is always right” with a saying that is more appropriate for the times that we live in: Customers and companies should do right by each other.”

The paragraph before that is actually better:

…customers, too, have a responsibility to make a commercial transaction easy and pleasant, and if something goes awry, they should make their feelings known in a way that’s considerate – and considered. It’s always been possible to complain about a sloppy salesperson or a slow waiter or aggravating help lines, but the Internet makes it possible to criticize in a public forum, which increases the string of that criticism exponentially. The web shouldn’t be a tool for cleverness or cruelty at the expense of someone else. Care should be taken.”

Now I understand that in some cases, emotions get the best of us, but time and time again I have also recognized the way that some of our expectations have become unreasonable. I briefly talked about this in a prior blog post, “Have we become spoiled”, but after reading this Editors note, and observing some recent incidents on Twitter and elsewhere, I wanted to revisit the concept.

Take this potential scenario from Twitter:

Customer – I just had the worst experience with Brand X

Brand X – We are sorry to hear that, please email us (help@brand_x.com) and tell us your story.

Customer – I just sent an email to Brand X and received an automatic email saying that they will get back to me in 7-10 days #fail

Customer – So much for Brand X addressing my situation, can’t believe that I have to wait #fail

Is that really a #fail? As a customer, you were able to vocalize your opinion to your network of people. Brand Y actually did engage with you and sent you down a communication path to inform them of your experience.

Somewhere along the road though, you are not satisfied with that. Is it because you have 10,000 followers and believe that you should be treated differently? What about everyone else whose email are waiting in that queue, why do you all of a sudden feel that your complaint should be put above everyone else’s?

If you do right by them, odds are they will do right by you!

New Domino’s pizza recipe double quarterly profits

Wow, I am shocked. While I am not a Domino’s regular customer, I have obviously been following their Social Media strategy as you can see from prior posts, Domino’s Part 1 and Domino’s Part 2. Because of what they have gone through, and what they are currently doing, I actually ordered a few pizza’s last week from Domino’s – it was the 1st time that I had their pizza in probably 10 years, honest ABE.

It was good and I was happily surprised with the results as were the 6 nine year-olds that also ate it.

Now is it because of this new recipe that they doubled their profits? Is it because of the way that they communicated this change via Social Networks? Is it because of their commercials? Is it because of the way that they gathered direct feedback from their customers in order to create a better product? Is it because of the fact that they took the direct and honest feedback and distributed it to the powers that be, and they took action to improve their product? Was it because of their new webpage, http://www.pizzaturnaround.com/?

Was Domino’s ready for this? Were they ready, really ready to listen to the feedback and take action depending on what the feedback was? Obviously they were, and not only were they ready, they were also unified in their approach and in their communication methods, from start to finish.

This is really a great business case for integrating Social aspects into your Marketing channels in order to build for success. While it is one piece of the puzzle, it is a significant piece that can generate significant results. What do you think of Domino’s, have you tried it recently? Maybe you should 😉

Employment

I am currently employed at Bose as the Digital Platform Manager, leveraging Ratings & Reviews and Community content to increase customer acquisition and retention

Community Roundtable

Recent Tweets

December 2019
M T W T F S S
« Aug    
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031