Google+ and what it means to Social Media

Normally, I try to avoid over-hype of the “next new thing”.  However, in the case of “Google+”, the hype just might be warranted.

Social media is all about connections, and managing those  connections.  Google+ seems to  efficiently address the issues that many of us have managing our personal and professional social networking on Facebook and Twitter.  Google + accomplishes this through something they call “Circles.”

Google+ Circles helps you organize everyone according to your real-life social connections–say, ‘family,’ ‘work friends,’ ‘music buddies,’ and ‘alumni’. Then, you can share relevant content with the right people, and follow content posted by people you find interesting. For example, you might post an announcement about your engagement and show it only to people in your friends and family circles, or maybe you see a post from the circle you created for your book club that there’s a recent article on your favorite author.

Google+Circles works just like your socialization in the real world.  When you talk with your friends about the epic party you had last Friday when you were supposed to be at work, you’re not automatically giving that information to your boss.  This could have been extremely helpful to a certain congressman from New York recently.

If you initiated a post in the stream, clicking Limited at the top of that post will show you the profile pictures of everyone you shared with. Only the person who started the post can see this information. If you chose to share with your extended circles in addition to other people, clicking Limited will only show that you shared with your extended circles–specific people won’t be identified.

What’s more, Google+ allows you to limit who your post is shared with.  If you want those pictures of your buddy at the Halloween party to ONLY go to your select friends, you can
disable re-sharing that post so that those pictures don’t end up on some damaging website.

Then there’s Google+Sparks.  From the social media marketing point of view,
it appears that Google has taken the words of Eric Qualman to heart: “We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it.”  Google+Sparks may be the marketing tool so many of us have been looking for.

So what does this mean to the world of social media and marketing?  It means that right now, deep in the bowels of Facebook and Twitter there are conversations that going
something like this:  “How in the (insert colorful expletive here) did Google figure this out before we did and how in the (insert colorful expletive here) are we going to compete so we don’t go the way of Myspace?”

It means that the world of social media isn’t stagnant, but rather it’s continuing to evolve.  It also means that small businesses will need to invest the time to get to know
the next new thing.  Spend the time to get to know Google+.  It may be the next
step in bringing your business to your customers and having a conversation with
them like never before.

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Lessons of Basil Marceaux 03 July 2011

So, there you are, wondering how to get more people to view
your site, look up your business, or subscribe to your blog.  Have you thought about making a video?  If you’re good, or better yet, if you’re lucky it could go “viral” and get you or your business some serious
attention.  Attention is good.

Take, for example, a gentleman named Basil Marceaux.  In 2010, Mr. Marceaux was running for the  office of Governor in Tennessee. He considered himself to be a serious candidate and he took his run for office VERY seriously.  However, what he accomplished was creating a
series of videos that went viral on the internet, and establishing a “brand” that could have made him a small fortune.

It started with his appearance on a local news station.

Once this hit the internet, people were sending it to each other, for obvious reasons- but not for the reason that Mr. Marceaux hoped for.  So he made a few more videos- all of which can be found on Youtube.

In the end, he lost his bid for the governorship of Tennessee- but he was sitting on a goldmine of internet presence.  Briefly, he had the attention of hundreds of thousands of people, but he didn’t take advantage of it.

Someone else did though.  Someone else recognized his “brand” as an incredible opportunity to make money off of Mr. Marceaux’s internet fame and subsequent talk show fame.

My horrified face  If you notice, the spelling is different because it’s missing a “u”, but you don’t find out that this is not his official site until you reach the bottom of the page where an entrepreneur is selling T-shirts, and swag.

If you actually visit
you will be redirected to his blog- WHICH HAS NOTHING ON IT!  (see horrified face)

In short, he created a brand, a huge internet footprint, and even hit the talk show circuit, but did nothing with it.  Even now, by linking to his blog, I am increasing the size of his internet presence.  Imagine, the wealth and brand recognition he could have created if he
had his blog up and running, and was just selling T-shirts with his name on the front and his views (in his own words) on the back!  He didn’t take advantage of it, so someone
else did.  Since most of us want to be taken seriously, this approach is NOT for everyone, but it could have worked very well for him.

Lessons we can learn from Mr. Marceaux:

1:  Good things can come from a video, even a bad video.

2:  Be prepared to take advantage if your video goes viral.

3:  Your video probably won’t go viral for the reasons you want it to.

4:  Not everything you learned in your college Public Speaking class is true.

5:  Opportunity is everywhere, you just have to know when it’s knocking.

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Picking your battles

Sometimes I find that someone else says it better.

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Political Social Media: 22 June 2011

So there you are, reading my blog or looking for social media resources.  First of all, thank you for visiting and reading.  Secondly, I would like to bring your attention to TaraHizon.

I’ve known Tara since 2009, and I can absolutely vouch for her character, professionalism and intellect.   However, we’re not what you could call friends.  Oh, sure, I like her and think she has one of those personalities that fill the room with light, but we don’t hang out and knit winter clothes together.

But that’s not the point of this blog.  The point of this blog is that Tara has just started using social media for professional reasons.  Tara is running for City Councilwoman for Oak Harbor.

What I would implore each of you to do is keep an eye on her, her social media efforts, and her political career.

While social media has its place for reaching large number of people it should never be your only means of reaching people.  Think of it like a financial portfolio.  You shouldn’t put all of your money in one thing, just as you shouldn’t rely on social media alone to get your word out.  Networking is the key.

What you need to do, just as Tara is doing, is get out and impress people one-on-one and get THEM to help promote your social media message.  If she continues to do this
combination approach; when the voting ballots get mailed out, I’m confident that a GREAT MANY of Oak Harbor’s citizens will not only recognize her name, but they will know where she stands on the issues.

So keep an eye on her, her blog, and her social media to see how social media marketing can help.

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Congratulations Angelo’s Café: 16 June

Congratulations Angelo’s Café for being awarded “Oak Harbor’s Business of the Month”!

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Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce luncheon: 16 Jun 2011

Today, I’m preparing to attend the Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce luncheon.  I’m looking forward to finally meeting some of the business owners.  I’ve  lived and shopped in Oak Harbor for 10 years now, but I’ve never had the
opportunity to interact with the owners of my favorite businesses.  This is my chance to begin a campaign to save local businesses in Oak Harbor.  The economy is hitting everyone hard, but summer’s coming which means the tourists are coming- and tourists hit the internet looking for places to go, places to eat and where to get things.  I’m confident that if I can convince the businesses of Oak Harbor to work together with social media, we can draw in customers from all over America and Canada.
I also need to find out if there is a desire within the Oak Harbor Business Community to use text marketing.

I’m already working with Tara Hizon to help her get elected as an Oak Harbor City Councilwoman, follow her on Twitter @TaraJHizon.  I just need to spread the gospel of
social media in person.

Now, it’s up to me and I’m looking foward to it.

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One day closer to launch 8 Jun 2011

Hi there dear readers.
You may be wondering where I’ve been for the past few weeks. Well, I’ve been hunting through the cyber-wasteland we call the internet. Successful businesses know that social media is a powerful marketing tool. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and blogging are great ways to inform your clients and customers; but is there more? Is there something else a business can use to reach their customers more effectively?
Why yes; yes there is and Raindancer Communications is working on bringing it to small businesses everywhere.
Imagine, if you are a restaurant owner and you were able to whisper in the ear of customers and tell them what your dinner special was for the night, right as the family was discussing what to do for dinner? Imagine being able to send coupons or birthday wishes to your favorite customers, instantly, anywhere in the world.
This is the world of bulk text marketing or SMS marketing.
However, for the most part, you have to be a large company, paying huge monthly subscriptions as well as paying for each text that is sent. Typically, businesses are spending $500.00 a month AND $0.05 per text message recipient. Of course, these companies are sending coupons or messages to thousands of customers. If a company has 12,000 members in their club, they are spending the $500.00 a month, and $600.00 for each text blast. If you are a large, multimillion dollar company this is chump change, but what if you are a small business with six employees? Can you reap the rewards of text marketing? Yes, but it’s not all that cost effective.


COMING SOON! Raindancer Communications will provide SMS marketing services for under $100.00 a month with unlimited text blasts, coupons and alerts for up to 1,500 members. Reach your customers at any time of your choosing, as often as you like with no additional fees and an initial six-month trial contract. After that, the length of the contract is up to you so you can sign up for another six months, or up to two years, locking in the price of your service.

With Raindancer SMS marketing your company will:
Provide information on demand 24/7.
Broadcast text message to hundreds or thousands of your subscribers.
Create a personal communication between you and your customers.
Marketing messages will be sent to existing and potential customers that have given you permission.
Marketing messages will be delivered to your customers instantly and efficiently with speed and accuracy.
Consumers will be able to opt-in easily to receive coupons, discount, promo, special offer, new product and services.

If you’re following Raindancer Communications, or Frank Oatley; you will know as soon as this service is up and running.

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Something you should remember: 2 Jun 2011

Whether you are popular, unpopular, rich, poor, famous or infamous, YOU can make a difference in life. Each of us learn where we fit in, and what we’re good at. I am a writer. I have always been a writer and I love the power of words. My words have given hope and inspiration and my work in the Navy directly affected the lives of thousands of men and women who I will never meet. But I know I have made a difference in other people’s lives. That’s the key. You will find that the changes you make in other people’s lives will change your life the most. So find what you are good at, and do it to the best of your ability. You may not be the best in the world at your talent, but be the best that you are; then use it to benefit others. You may be surprised at the results.
We live in the age of social media, and you can use that to promote your business, your cause, or even your idea to help others. Americans are generous and there is a part of our psyche that seeks out new opportunities to help. So use it- but be careful. Words are very powerful and they can harm just as much as they can help.


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Honoring their service: 30 May 2011

Today is the day that many Americans use to honor military service. We think about those who gave their lives in epic conflicts, as well as those who spent months and years in faraway lands, defending freedom by their mere presence.
Many of us will have a barbeque if the weather is right, or just take the day off of work to relax and play. A few Americans will even take the time to volunteer and give something back by participating in events organized by military support organizations like the USO.
But what about the rest of the year; is there something that we can do that can honor the sacrifice of so many in the name of our country? Better yet, is there something we can do that our men and women in uniform would deem worthy of their sacrifice?


I write from personal experience. I write this after giving 20 years of my life in service to my country. I can’t speak for everyone in uniform, but I can tell you what I consider to be worthy of all I have done for my country.

In 1989 I joined the Navy right out of high school. I enlisted in the navy to see the world and get money for college. However, it didn’t take long for me to realize a greater purpose for my life. That purpose, for me, was to dedicate my life to people I will never meet. I stood watches, cleaned toilets, and learned the basics of my navy rate (job classification) so that others could pursue the American dream. Not the dream of owning a home with a white picket fence, 2.5 children and a dog playing in the yard. I did what I did so that you can follow your heart and fulfill your dreams to the best of your ability. I worked in some of the worst conditions imaginable so that men and women in the combat zone could come home. Those people, who slept in holes they dug in the earth, fought for the lives of the person next to them, and I performed my job to the best of my ability so that naval aircraft could provide an umbrella of protection over those men and women.
Each of us, in our own way, fought for freedom.

So, if you want to honor our service, don’t just buy a yellow ribbon magnet for your car that’s made in China. Buying a bumper sticker is literally the least you can do.
Instead, the best thing you can to do honor the sacrifice of so many is to use their gift of freedom. Earn their sacrifice by following your dreams, and support the dreams of other Americans around you. I don’t care if your dream is to open a restaurant, or climb a mountain. Be that American who does whatever it takes to make your particular American dream come true, and do what you can to help others achieve their dream.

We are a nation of people of many cultures, descended from giants of liberty, and our inheritance is freedom and equality for all men and women.

Have a great Memorial Day, enjoy your friends and family, and please take a moment to remember the blood that has been willingly spilt on the altar of liberty. Then, when Tuesday morning comes, be what you were meant to be, or figure out how to make it happen.

You are an American, and you have the freedom to seize your birthright and fulfill your destiny.


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Should you care about what people are saying?: 17 May 2011

I just looking up Rick Santorum, but part of Google’s results came back with the definition of the word “santorum”. I’m not going to post it; I’ll let you find out for yourself.
This is an example of how branding and the English language can clash because of social media. Columnist Dan Savage gets credit for creating the unfortunate and unofficial definition of the word “santorum”. Savage asked his readers to submit new definitions for the term “Santorum”. The word became a successful Google bomb when Savage created a website for it, which unseated the Senator’s official website as the top search result for his surname on the Google web search engine. I’m not going to comment on the politics of Rick Santorum, that’s for you to decide. However, this is a prime example of what can go wrong with your name, company or brand in the internet age. I would call this the ultimate example of negative reviews. When trying to promote your brand, the last thing you want is for part of your brand name to come up with something “unfortunate” when perspective customers Google your name.
On that note, every so often, it is a good idea to do an internet search for your name or your brand. You may be surprised what your search engine finds. If you find something like this, the best thing you can do is address it immediately and directly as quickly as possible.

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