Archive for the ‘communication strategy’ Category

Social Media Marketing? Not quite

June 23, 2011

The interwebs are chock full of articles about Social Media Marketing.  Indeed, every day it seems I am inundated with articles featuring Five Amazing Tips to Increase your Social Media Presence.

The below infographic illustrates the mindset of many such emails I receive:

Clever, but not quite right

In my opinion, using Social Media to simply talk about yourself misses the point.  What makes Social Media different than, say, a newspaper advertisement, is that Social Media enables you to listen to what people are saying and engage in conversations relevant to you and your potential customers.

So instead of using Social Media to promote your company, treat Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn like huge, interactive phones.  In addition to talking about your business, join groups to speak to potential customers, listen to what they are saying and discuss relevant issues.  In this way, you’ll gain credibility as well as increased sales.

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Thoughts on Social Media

January 31, 2011

These days companies are scrambling to understand what social media is and how they are supposed to use it.  The first question many business leaders may ask is, “How can we use social media?”

While logical, that’s not quite right in my opinion.  Instead, the first question should be, “What are my business objectives, and how can social media help me meet those objectives?”

Social media is a tool and can be used in many ways.  The analogy I like to use is a hammer.  A hammer can be used to install a window or break one.  Similarly, social media can be used to get you new clients or ding your reputation.

So the first thing you need to do is understand what you are trying to do:  do you want to recruit better candidates?  Improve your sales and marketing?  Bump up your website on Google search?  Enhance employee communication?  Something else?

Next you’ll need to get your messaging together, which I will discuss in a later post.  Meanwhile feel free to add your comments below about this new and exciting field.

Here We Go Again — More Hype From Apple

November 15, 2010

Today I discovered that  tomorrow will be a day I will never forget.  Like, ever.  How could I possibly know that I will never forget tomorrow when tomorrow isn’t even today yet?  Because Steve Jobs told me so!

Clearly, Apple has not learned anything about overhyping their stuff:  the iPad was mockingly compared to the Ten Commandments (no, seriously), the iPhone4 turned into an iFail before it was discovered to have problems, er, making phone calls, and so forth.

I can’t believe I have to tell this to an adult, but here it goes.

Dearest Steve Jobs: have you ever read The Boy Who Cried Wolf?  Yes?  Well, re-read it on your iPad or whatever.  You are that boy, and I don’t care about your wolves.   Your announcements do not resonate with me forever, other than in mockery or contempt.  Additionally, I don’t like being told about things I’m supposed to remember by anybody, much less some corporate brand.

I’ve had many experiences which I will never forget.  There was the time I was nearly run over by a giant pig.  (No, seriously.)  I remember the first time I set foot on African soil.  And there are far more personal memories which I will not share on this blog.  Of all my memories, both good and bad, none of them involved Apple or any kind of corporate announcement. Like, ever.

So ease off the rhetoric a little, yeah?  You’re starting to give me a rash.

Are Facebook Statuses Driving You Crazy?

October 13, 2010

Facebook has emerged as one of the most, if not the most, popular social media websites in the world.  Five-hundred-million people — nearly one in 14 people on Earth —  has a Facebook account.

Sadly, a good portion of these five-hundred-million folks think the best way to utilize the site is by telling everyone what they are eating for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, snacks, and between-snack snacks, every single day.  Others describe, in painstaking detail, each and every show they watched, are watching and/or are planning to watch, and provide in-depth commentary about each and every one of them.  Perhaps the worst updates are those which publicly lament their lack of love in their lives and plead to the Universe that they find The One as soon as possible or the world will surely end!  (see picture below.)

 

 

 

(Image shamelessly lifted from this website)

Although I appreciate the need to connect with others in this cruel and lonely world, doing so in this manner devalues the perpetrator’s Facebook value, leading others (including me) to hide their status updates, or even de-friend you, just to make it stop.

In my opinion, the only reason someone should reveal this level of detail is if people really want to know what you are doing and are willing to pay for it, such as a celebrity (like Aston Kutcher) or a lifestyle guru (like Martha Stewart) where people are indeed very interested in their lives.

Don’t get me wrong:  the status bar is a very powerful tool which can be used in multiple ways.  Some of the best items to post are funny anecdotes or Youtube clips.  Posting pictures and stories while on vacation are a great way to connect with folks.  And if you are a business owner, such as a Realtor, Facebook can be used to post your listings and projects in progress.   In fact, some of my friends are accomplished artists who use Facebook to tell people about their upcoming exhibitions; they even post pictures of their art on their walls for people to preview.  Even the occasional post about your upcoming social plans can be very useful.

So how do you know when something is worth posting?   Keep this one rule in mind:  Facebook status updates are most effective when they are not for your consumption, but for those who are reading your updates.  If you wouldn’t say something out loud at a dinner party, why would you broadcast it to everyone you know?

So please folks:  unless you are a mega-celebrity, please ease off the updates about every detail of your life.

And for the love of all that is holy:  no, I am not going to give you corn seeds for Farmville or whack your enemy on Mob Wars.  So stop asking.

Morrissey is a Stupid Racist

September 6, 2010

Sometimes I don’t get people.

Morrissey, the front-man from The Smiths, called all Chinese people a “subspecies” because of how some Chinese people treat animals.  This is colossally stupid on several levels.  Let’s break these down, shall we?

  • From a logical standpoint, his statement makes no sense:  by calling Chinese people a subspecies, he is actually being cruel to them, thus undercutting his whole, er, logic.
  • From a human perspective, he has just called attention to the fact that he’s a racist pig.
  • From a nationalistic standpoint, China is not the only country that is cruel to animals.  Do Spanish bullfights make Spaniards a subspecies too?
  • From a business point of view, it’s probably not a great idea to insult 1/6th of the world’s population — and the world’s second largest economy — in one swoop.  This cannot be good for sales.
  • From a communication standpoint, it takes a lifetime to build a reputation and one sentence to undo all that work, especially in this day and age.  Great job doing that.

Granted, I have a special affection for the Chinese people, having studied Mandarin in Shanghai.  In my experience, certainly some people in China are cruel to animals.  But there are just as many, if not more, Chinese people who deplore animal cruelty. (Ahem.)  Also, in my experience, there are plenty of racist and stupid Westerners, such as Morrissey; but that does not mean all Westerners are stupid racists.  See how that works?

So here’s some free, unsolicited advice for Morrissey:  think about what you are saying before you say it.  By smearing an entire nationality, you are making a huge mistake on multiple levels.  Then again, racists have never been known for their intellect, now have they?

More Communication Dissonance from Democrats

August 20, 2010

Oh Howard Dean, where would we be without you and your mighty scream?

The good former Vermont Governor recently weighed in on the lower-Manhattan community center nontroversy by stating his desire to see the location moved.  This, combined with Harry Reid’s announcement the other day, serves only to create further communication discord within the party. Once again, Dems are giving the (correct) impression that they are not on the same page.  This does not settle well with voters, because they want to know what each political party stands for, and if Dems speak for ten different things, why should anyone want to vote for them?

Contrast the Democrats’ messaging vs. the GOP’s.  The Republicans clearly stated the Ground Zero Mosque (it’s not true, but it sure is catchy) should not be there, period.  Dems are all over the map on the issue and are, once again, harming their own credibility by not communicating consistently.

Once again:  Please Dems, try communicating consistently.  You don’t have to agree with every issue every time, but like it or not, this has captured the world’s headlines and is therefore a major issue.  Please oh please, just once, try to stay on the same page, at least with the big items like this one?  Please?

Shocking News — Democrats Don’t Communicate Well

August 16, 2010

I’ve been pretty busy lately and had to take a brief hiatus from blogging.  But now I’m back, and evidently I picked a great day to start up again.

There has been a lot of controversy surrounding the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque” being built a few blocks away from the World Trade Center site.  I’m not going to discuss my position on the building, but rather the Democrats’ painfully inconsistent and incoherent messaging surrounding this hot-button issue.

To make a long story short, President Obama recently stated that he supports the building of the Islamic Community Center (it’s not actually a Mosque, but rather a YMCA-type building) in spite of the fact that a majority don’t want it built there.  Obama took a huge political risk in bucking majority opinion, but that’s not really the issue here.

The issue is that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) came out today to voice opposition to the building, demonstrating once again that Democrats are painfully inconsistent with their messaging and their decision-making.

Oh Democrats, Democrats, Democrats.  For once, would you please take a position and stick with it?  I know if you get five Democrats in a room you’ll end up with about 15 different opinions, but when two leaders from the same political party take opposing views on an unpopular issue, that does not help you.  It leaves voters scratching their heads, wondering who — or rather, what — they are voting for.

It’s really not that hard folks:  if you take a principled but unpopular stand about an issue, people will respect you.  If you are divided and don’t stand for something consistently, it tarnishes your brand and confuses people.

So please, please oh pretty please, try to communicate consistently for once.  Just once?  Please?  You’re killing me here!

Bad Communication = Bad Decisionmaking = I DON’T TRUST YOU

July 9, 2010

When someone approves a bad communication idea, this implicitly (or explicitly) demonstrates poor judgment in the communicator.  And poor judgment means that consumers cannot trust you or what you are selling.

For instance, take this video from a would-be Florida Congressman.  It is so bad I don’t even know where to begin.  You really have to watch it to appreciate its awfulness.  Fortunately, the commenters on Youtube put it better than I ever could:

Wike Meinstein is pro-good-things and anti-bad-things! Ike Waistline is hip and cool! You kids really dig Stein Wickmeen! He’s the diggy shiz-nit! You want to vote Sitcky Wickman! Mick Winestain of District 9! He’s a politician we can truhhhhhHAHAHAHAHAHAH I’m sorry, I can’t say that with a straight face.

and

How did this not feel wrong when they were doing it?

That last question really is an excellent one.  When it comes down to it, there is nothing like a good old-fashioned gut check to decide whether an idea is good or bad.

Mr. Weinstein, here’s some free advice:  releasing videos like this shows bad judgment which means I do not trust your ability to lead. Moving forward, please check your gut before communicating these, er, messages.  If you did check your gut before going with this video and your gut said, “Yup, this feels about right,”  then perhaps politics isn’t for you.

Friendly Advice for the GOP — Trashing Thurgood Marshall Will Only Hurt Your Brand

July 2, 2010

I’m not a Republican, and I do not play one on TV.  However, I would like to offer some advice to my GOP friends (yes, I am a Democrat who has GOP friends) regarding Supreme Court nominations and how they reflect on your party’s brand.

Never ever trash Thurgood Marshall no matter how right you think you are.

Look, I understand your frustrations.  No really, I do.  You feel as if the country is being taken away from you, and you need to do whatever it takes to bring it back to the way things were, or at least how they oughta be.  And you’re afraid that adding Elena Kagan to the court will add yet another activist judge on the bench that will harm the country even more.

But strictly from a standpoint of good vs. bad communications, don’t smear the legacy of Thurgood Marshall to achieve your goals.  In case you didn’t know, Marshall was rejected from admission from the University of Maryland School of Law because of his race (which, incidentally, has since named their law library after him), won in the landmark Civil Rights case Brown vs. the Board of Education and later became a Supreme Court justice.

Sure trashing him (and Kagan) as an activist judge may go over well with some in your party, but that is no way to build, or rebuild, your brand.  So I’d strongly suggest you stop before you hurt your bramd even further.

BP’s Lame Propaganda Machine

July 1, 2010

The other day, Stephen Colbert ripped into BP’s spin-doctoring regarding their oil spill.  In his typically hilarious yet brilliantly insightful way, Colbert called out BP’s BS when they say things like — and I’m paraphrasing here — golly gee, our unprecedented, catastrophic error is creating jobs by filling local hotel rooms.  See, BP does care!

Like most of you, my stomach literally burns when I think about the destruction BP wrought, and I get especially furious at pictures of the poor, helpless animals flailing in the oil.

But what makes me even madder — if that’s even possible — is BP’s lame attempt to spin their way out of this with clever messaging and finding silver lining in this oil-drenched tragedy which is still ongoing.

How stupid do they think we are?  That’s not a rhetorical question folks — really folks, how friggin’ stupid do they think we are?

Their propaganda offensive is hurting themselves as well as my field.  They are essentially labeling communications professionals to a bunch of well-paid liars who spin stories, deflect blame and try to make chicken shit into chicken salad.

Luckily, we have geniuses like Stephen Colbert (and his writers, of course) to channel this raw fury into humorous yet dead-on observations about BP’s outrageous propaganda campaign.

And if you aren’t as brilliant as Colbert and his entire writing staff, maybe you can direct your energy in, erm, more creative ways, like this guy did.  I’m not even sure what to say about him.