Posts from the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Happy Friday series: 5 totally useless but fun things I learned on YouTube

What’s a great way to relax and turn off the brain after a long work week? I’ve been known to find some fun things posted online that teach me something, but not work-related.

#1. Watch and listen to this video, and, if you’re old enough, take a trip back in time. (If you aren’t old enough, imagine your parents or grandparents). We’re walking into Montgomery Ward, Wolf and Dessaur, Hills, Gimbles or any number of department stores around the country. You’re making your way through clothes, shoes and cameras on the way to the snack bar or soda fountain, and this music is playing in the background.

You’re familiar with services like Muzak (just purchased by Mood) which now offer a variety of formats to businesses via satellite. From the 30s through the 80s, many stores played music from Seeburg jukeboxes. Seeburg jukeboxes rotated through records that ran at 16 r.p.m. There were versions for both in-store and industrial uses, to keep customers and factory workers awake and on the job. Many people still collect and restore these devices. We may think some of the versions of pop songs are horrible, or, we might decide we actually like them!

#2. You’ve no doubt heard songs in languages other than English and maybe even tried to sing along without really knowing the words, let alone what they mean. Here’s how it sounded when a South American band sang the 1960s Kinks hit “A Well Respected Man” on an Argentine version of “American Bandstand”. Making the lyrics sound as close as possible to the English ones without actually knowing them, the teens in the audience loved it!

#3 I lived briefly in Quincy, a few blocks from the Mississippi River in Western Illinois. I commuted to work at a radio station in Hannibal, MO. One day in March the Illinois state offices and schools were closed for a holiday I had never heard of called Casimir Pulaski Day. What I didn’t know is that there’s a pop song commemorating the occasion. Who’d have thunk?

#4. You know the familiar beginning to “I Love Lucy” the classic TV show that has been running in syndication for decades. What I learned on YouTube was that the original audiences saw a different open, with Lucy and Desi as cartoon characters, and you’d see Lucy and Desi promoting Phillip Morris cigarettes in the open and even in the body of the show as part of the script. Of course, there was the famous Phillip Morris bellboy. I’m not one to try to reach almost 60 years back in time to try to apply 2013 standards about smoking to a 1950s TV show, but I did find this information interesting. If you’ve researched 1950s and 1960s television, you know that even The Flintstones smoked. Incidentally, Desi and Lucy made sure their production company owned the filmed versions of the show, and invented the rerun. Embed is disabled with this video but you can watch it here: http://youtu.be/WrvHYUXo–o?t=11s

#5. What if you had a band in West Palm Beach, Florida, during the height of Beatlemania? Why you’d reinvent yourselves as The American Beetles and tour South America! That’s exactly what this band did, scoring hit records and TV appearances all over Latin America. Some very rare recordings are on YouTube, some as The Razor’s Edge. .

New to mobile? Just start!

I attended the Atlanta Internet Marketing Conference on behalf of my employer, Internet Marketing Expert Group on May 10, 2012 in Atlanta. Several subjects were covered, including segments devoted to the somewhat confusing subject of Mobile Marketing. Two of the keynote speakers, HubSpot VP of Marketing Jeanne Hopkins, and Jamie Turner of The 60 Second Marketer, collaborated on a book  called  Go Mobile The authors believe that although many businesses find the concept of social media to be understandable because of their own personal use, the idea of starting a mobile marketing program seems daunting because they are unfamiliar with the tools.

Jamie Turner suggests some actions will help you break the ice. That’s right….just start! I’ll add a couple of my own

:

1. Read everything you can find about mobile marketing

2. Claim your business on location-based services. If you don’t, you won’t be found.

3. Learn how to run a mobile ad campaign.

4. Accept a few of the push notifications from Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare or your local news stations

5. Get a QR code scanner and scan a QR code.

Once you use the tools, you’ll have a greater appreciation for how they can work in your business.

How are you using mobile?

Digital taking over your life?

When was the last time you unplugged? Could you if you tried?  We once flipped on the radio for the news in the morning, but now we turn on our smartphone.

Thinking that the technology that once served us has become our master, a local radio host challenged himself and his listeners to go on a digital diet…a digital cleanse…. for a week.  You’d need to alert your online communities about a change in your communication habits.

Here are the elements:

1. No use of cell/smartphone in your car. All commutes are phone free

2. A tech curfew is in effect from 7pm to 7am. Phones and computers are down for the day after 7pm. (Did I mention this is just one week?)

3. Have a total time limit for all e-mailing, updating and sharing of 2 hours per day. Remember, this has to be after 7am and before 7pm.

4. No having a digital device out during an in-person conversation.  For one week you will look people in the eye, not look down at your phone. Imagine being fully present in a conversation! It may be a lost art.

5. End the week with a new habit—-a Digital Sabbath.  For 24 hours on the weekend all devices are off.

Could you do the Digital Cleanse? Would you? What if we didn’t count the time we have to spend online for work?

Turns out our host wasn’t completely successful.

Would I do this? I plead the fifth and any other amendment that’s handy.

How about you?

 

 

Tweeting to Titanic Proportions: Twitter brings back history

This weekend marked the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic.  The sinking of the “unsinkable” passenger ship, was immortalized in the movie of the same name, which has just been re-released to theaters in 3-D.   Memorial cruises to the place in the ocean where the Titanic sunk occurred, and rose petals were dropped to remember the passengers and crew who lost their lives.  In my area, the Titanic Museum Attraction in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee  held ceremonies. If you’re on Twitter, you may have found an account reenacting the tweets that may have happened as the ship went down…assuming that the internet and Twitter existed 100 years ago (and of course, there would have been internet access on the ship even if it had existed).

An account called @TitanicRealTime appeared, tweeting about the disaster as if it were occurring now. Sponsored by @TheHistoryPress, @TitanicRealTime took readers through the disaster. Here are some samples of the tweets.

#officer Californian ATS has just informed us she has had to stop due to a field of pack ice – I’ve informed the lookouts.”

#firstclass The lights in the lounges have been extinguished and have been moved from the reading & writing room on A Deck. Time to turn in.

#officer 3 gongs coming from the lookout and a report on the telephone – Iceberg Right Ahead. Hard-a-starboard

#engineering Water pouring in 2ft above stokehold plates in boiler room 6 and in the empty starboard side forward bunker of boiler room 5!

#bandmaster No questions, I have received an order to play, and play we will.

You can see all of the tweets on the timeline. In the spirit of all things Twitter, a parody account, @TitanicIceberg was created, and people tweeted their own humorous comments back to the account.

In 100 years,  real time tweets will be able to be unearthed, as all tweets are being archived by the Library of Congress.  We didn’t have Twitter and our present-day social media for the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, but we have to chronicle revolutions and  tornado damage among others, and the next big disaster will be able to be seen in real time by future generations.

Your thoughts?

Burning the Midnight Social Media Oil

A question came up among my Twitter friends about the wisdom, or lack of same, of hiring a Social Media manager and having that person work a regular 9 to 5 schedule. Can social engagement be confined to regular business hours?  Does it depend on the type of business? Would it be different for Business to Business  as opposed to consumer brands?

People are on their devices and all times of the day and night.  They expect action and engagement when they interact, and Monday morning just won’t do. Pizza arrived cold? I’m telling everyone I know before Monday, and everyone who follows your pizza company’s page. Should that complaint stay on your page until Monday morning at 8am? Can you think of a good reason why it should? I can’t.

There are product categories and demographics which find people online at 2am.  Shouldn’t your brand be available then?

Almost all consumer brands should monitor their brand into the late night. Yes, people do everything from shop for cars to go out for fast food in the evening, overnight and weekends. It may not be practical to have one person cover all of that time. If you are a business owner also handling social media, you have to actually run your business.  This may be a situation where you might want to consider an intern or two. I have monitored my brand even at a baseball game and concert. It doesn’t take being online 24/7 but checking in every few hours can make a huge difference.

Travel and hospitality brands will need to be able to respond 24/7/ If a guest has an unsatisfactory experience and cannot get the issue resolved at the front desk, they may take their frustrations out for all the world to see. This could result in a bad Yelp or Travelocity review.

How have you kept up with social media during off hours?

Cold Calling Wars: Part 1

Every sales manager preaches it. (Almost) every salesperson hates it. Most business owners even refuse to take them.  Yes, I’m talking about cold calling.

Anyone who has spent any time at all in sales has been required to cold call. There are salespeople who are very good at it. Then, there’s the rest of us.

My first experience with cold calling came when I was working for GTE (formerly General Telephone Co, since merged into Verizon). 8 hours a day for just above minimum wage and no commission, I and a roomful of others buried deeply in a windowless office  “dialed with a smile” to sell services that were new at the time.  Call Waiting, Call Forwarding, 3 Way Calling and Speed Dialing were  being packaged as The Smarter Call Pak. Just U.S. $3.95 after your one month free trial. Now, those services and that extra #4 did not just fall off of the bill after 30 days. We gave the customers a date that they had to call back by in order to cancel the service, or they would start being billed for the extra services. Of course, GTE would rather they forgot, even if they never used the services. People would call the service number wondering why they were getting a beep in their ear sometimes.  We sometimes would use a script which was almost comical “What if you missed a very important call?”

Has any business ever told you that “everyone is a prospect?” We were told that. After all, everyone who had a phone could have these services added to their lines.  The reality was that we were often asked to call residents of nursing homes (we called those lists “Group 4”).  Unfortunately (and sadly) these residents often received very few phone calls and would have little use for these services.

GTE  did some advertising in print and on radio/TV, and a few of us were selected to take incoming calls. If you think I didn’t jump at that chance, you would be wrong. There was a big difference between the people who called in in response to the advertising and the folks we cold called. The telephone customers who called us found a need for the services we were offering. The people we cold called, day in and day out, largely didn’t really have a need, and just didn’t appreciated being called. Some were behind on their phone bill and thought at first we were collection agents.

The takeaway, even then, was that cold calling was an inferior way to reach customers.  GTE thought it was worth hiring 100 people to dial the phone on 2 shifts, but would better targeted advertising encouraging inbound response have been better? Maybe even cost less? I don’t know GTE’s budget numbers at the time, but a lot of people churned in and out of that basement, three Temporary Help agencies were contracted, GTE customers were inconvenienced and there was probably a better way to introduce customers to the the new services than doing cold calls from a boiler room. Boiler room operations are the reason that the Do Not Call list was born, with penalties for companies who call individuals at home without their permission.

You might say a telemarketing room has nothing to do with business to business sales or business to consumer sales.

Stay tuned for Part 2 to find out why this operation has everything to do with professional sales…or lack of same.

Fired on Facebook? A new low or something expected?

Would you fire someone on Facebook? Would you be upset if you were fired ON Facebook? That’s what happened to Angel Clark, a weekend talk personality at WGMD Radio in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.  She  wrote about it and displayed the messages on her blog.

The headline of the blog post may mislead just a little, the firing did not take place on her public timeline, but in a personal message.  Does that make it more palatable? After all, many people use Facebook as their e-mail for all intents and purposes. Still, with concerns over privacy, maybe there’s something just not quite right about using a social network to send an employee packing.

Angel was a part time employee,  but that shouldn’t make a difference. As far as I’m concerned, everyone should have the courtesy of an in-person meeting, with proper protocol followed. I worked at one large company that actually called local police every time they were going to fire someone.  This may be overkill, but with workplace shootings and violence, I can understand the company taking precautions.

Is firing by Facebook message something that will be more common? I’ll open it up to you.

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