Saturday, December 29, 2012

What Do I Say on Blogs and Social Media?


You know you need to be on Facebook and have a blog. You have a website and you're updating it with news and announcements. But you're stuck. You're running out of ideas on how to keep that content flowing. 

"What should I be saying?" you ask. "Should I just delegate the updates to my team?"

To solve this riddle, we must go all the way back to the beginning. What is the purpose of a blog? Why are you on social media? Why do you have a website? What is the goal of news and announcements?

So we must consider seriously the objective of online content. Once we fully understand the reason for web content, everything else falls into place naturally.Your content strategy will invent itself.

Here is the secret.

Sharing and Caring -- the core values of social media. These twin principles should guide what you say in your blog, social media, website, email marketing, and other promotions. If you really care about your customers or audience, you'll share valuable information with them. 

Prove you care -- by what you share. Share information that shows you care about your fans.

Let's break this down into a quick list of some ideas for your content development:

(1) Share your personal expertise: insights, analysis, experiences, anecdotes, opinions, knowledge, training, tips.

(2) Share solutions to common problems.

(3) Share remedies to specific issues your audience has expressed.

(4) Share answers to questions your fans have asked.

(5) Show photos of your organization having fun, helping others, doing presentations, displaying products, engaged in events, meeting famous people, involved with the community.

(6) Show photos of your offices and people working hard to serve the customers.

(7) Show photos of the outside of your building, to help people find it when they want to drop by for a visit or a meeting.

(8) Display videos of events, presentations, products in use solving a problem for a customer.

(9) Display video tutorials and how to tips.

(10) Describe a meeting you just had and the topics that came up, which may benefit others who were not at the meeting.

(11) Answer questions from a meeting you recently had with someone, since others may have the same questions.

(12) Keep announcing new things that occur in your organization -- make it look like your organization is alive, active, by God getting things done! -- and not languishing, drifting, slipping into oblivion.

(13) Read the blogs, websites, and social media updates of competitors and colleagues. What are they talking about? Perhaps you'll find some great ideas for your own content and conversations.

(14) Tie in with current news events that everybody's already talking about. This is a good idea for SEO (search engine optimization) -- riding on the coat tails of hot news stories by connecting them with some aspect of your products, organizations, or opinions.

These are just a few of the many possibilities to consider when devising a content marketing strategy.

You, as CEO, owner, or manager, should have tons of things to say, all the time, or else there's something wrong.

If you're not excited about something every day, something in your industry or company, maybe you're in the wrong field. Surely you are able to speak authoritatively about your company in various speeches, meetings, conferences, media interviews, and press releases.

On the other hand, if you have staff members who are articulate, enthusiastic, and eager to engage in conversations with customers, you may certainly delegate the content duties to them. This will work, as long as you speak in your own authentic voice periodically.

Think of it like the Editor's page in a magazine, introducing a theme, sharing some news, or making a broad statement on the state of the industry.

Let altruism, a warm, human friendliness, be your guide. Think of things to say that will help, inspire, motivate, and delight your audience, fans, customers, and allies.

Provide value. Share your wisdom. Tell a funny story. Explain how you got started. Describe your vision for the future and how you plan to accomplish it.

Give out valuable and interesting content -- and your fans will promote you with Likes, Shares, Comments, and Re-postings. 

You won't go viral unless you're infected -- with a dynamic zeal for your business -- and a genuine love for the problems your products solve for customers who you sincerely care about.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Skittles Pox and Viral TV Commercial Videos





The candy brand Skittles is using TV commercials and YouTube in a strategically correct manner that I heartily endorse. Could your business or non-profit organization come up with a comical way to promote itself?

THIS IS A HUGE opportunity for product differentiation, competitive advantage, marketing reach, and revenue generation.

Every organization should make all its TV commercials viewable on their website -- and provide embed code so fans can act as a free sales force by displaying the videos on their blogs, Twitter and Facebook.

If your videos are really weird, funny, helpful, interesting, unique, or artistic, they could go viral and greatly increase sales.

IF YOU NEED HELP producing effective videos, contact me.

Check out the Skittles channel on YouTube. They have a separate Skittles Pox channel for the 4 videos in this particular series:



Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Streight Christmas 2012



Old Santa candle at my mom's house.



Salsa Sombrero, a gift for my wife.





 Have a Cool Christmas ornament,
purchased around 1974 at Bergners
for my mom.











Christmas tree at mom's house.



Christmas knick knacks in mom's
louver front door side windows.









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Monday, December 24, 2012

How To Get a Job Interview VIDEO




 


My old comedy video Vaspers the Grate "How To Get A Job Interview". 

Vaspers the Grate is my original, now abandoned blog name. I did this video around 2008 and it got over 5,000 views. A controversy ensued, and I deleted it. Then, mysteriously, it re-appeared in my Video Manager list. That's why it shows only a few views.

"I don't scrub toilets. I have at jobs in the past, but a fellow has to draw the line somewhere...I'm just interested in the job interview, and not the job itself. I'll pay you $50..."




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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Alternatives to LOL



LOL is too extreme for most cases. I mean, how many times have you actually, literally Laughed Out Loud when you posted LOL as a reply to something?

Isn't it time you made a serious assessment of your use of standard chat room and social media comment acronyms? 

Don't you think the Post Mayan Apocalypse would be a great time to get real and be more honest and accurate in your communications online?

Here are some alternatives that will help you be more authentic and truthful:

ALAT = Almost Laughed At This

GFHAS = Grinned For Half A Second

CIALB = Chuckled Inside A Little Bit

SALTS = Smiled A Little, Then Stopped

TTWMF = Thought That Was Mildly Funny

AWSABOMF = A Wry Smirk Appeared Briefly On My Face

SCBNL = Slightly Comical But Not Laughable

RMEIPTG = Rolled My Eyes In Partial Transient Gaiety

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The World Ended -- But You Missed It


You just can't trust those Mayan child sacrificers, can you? Sorry, but while the world ended hours ago, life goes on. You still have bills to pay. You still have to get up  and go to work.





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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Submit to Safe Social Media


Prepare yourself for Safe Social Media, stripped of all political views and controversial topics, a communication zone limited to cat photos and gossip about trivial matters, but no more linking to independent thought or criticism of the powers that be.

Sandy Hook marks the Death of Social Media as a means of questioning and protesting. No more criticism. No more dissent. No more non-conformity.

Anything other than the official story will be labeled "misinformation", a public nuisance, an impediment to the  pursuit of compliance with the Monster.

To be on the safe side, I advise you to NOT use social media to question the official story (whatever that happens to be at any given moment) on any tragic events. What law enforcement deems to be "misinformation" could prompt them to investigate, arrest, and prosecute you.

You'll have a good time now. You won't need to express anything but personal data, medical records, and favorite products. Your goal will be total "privacy is dead" transparency, blabbering about things that won't offend anybody.

Welcome to the new world that you let happen.

Obey midget. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Customer Centric Product Names


Products whose names are what the customer says when they need the product. This is customer-centric in a unique manner. Your marketing should also be based entirely on customer needs, and not on your theoretical vision. 

This "Help. I Have a Headache" product has gone from "Describe your product and its benefits in words your customers use" to "Name your product with words your customers use."

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Outgoing Exuberance vs Effective Consulting


"Outgoing Exuberance", a valuable Buddhist concept, really is one of the main sources of misery and trouble in this world.

It basically means being too enthusiastic about something, so that you do or say stupid things that can be harmful or inappropriate, making you look foolish.

I still struggle with this.

As a marketing consultant, sometimes I am a bit too eager to share my insights and solutions with a client who may not be ready to understand and implement them. 

Sometimes I must be in a mentoring mode and not an advisory mode. My passion for imparting my expertise must be curtailed and subdued by exercising self-restraint. In other words: "shut up and listen". LOL

Buddhist philosophy teaches that the way to stop this "outgoing exuberance" is by calming the mind, fixing attention on breathing, contemplating death and decomposition, deconstructing your cravings, manifesting compassion, cultivating inner joy and stillness, clearly seeing the transient nature of all things and thoughts, etc.

Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, atheists, all people can learn much from Buddhist psychology (as I call it). It is really not necessarily tied to Buddhist "religion" or rituals, but is more like Deconstruction or Cognitive Science.

QUOTE

"Outgoing exuberance" of the heart has been the enemy of all beings for countless ages, and a person who wants to subdue the outgoing exuberance of his own heart will need to compel his heart to take the MEDICINE which is the KAMMATTHANA.

Taking the medicine means training ones heart in Dhamma (truth, psychological reality) and not allowing it to go its own way, for the heart always likes to have outgoing exuberance as a companion. In other words, taking the medicine means that the heart brings Dhamma into itself as its guardian.

All types of Kammatthana - dhamma are for controlling the "outgoing exuberance" of the heart. The heart which is not controlled by a Kammathana is liable to the arising of outgoing exuberance throughout life.

This is so from infancy to old age, it is so with the rich and the poor, with the clever and the stupid, with those in high and low position in life, with the blind, deaf, paralysed, maimed, deformed, and so on endlessly.

The baneful effect of the outgoing exuberance of a heart which does not have Dhamma as its guardian, is that it never finds true happiness...

...and even if happiness does arise due to the outgoing exuberance of the heart searching for it and finding it, it will be happiness of the type in which one is (like an actor) playing a part, which increases the outgoing exuberance, making the heart go increasingly in the wrong direction, and not the type of happiness which is truly satisfying.

END QUOTE


Saturday, December 8, 2012

Hair Codes to Protect Society...from What?



Hair is controversial. Still. I thought we got past ignorant hair code standards in the 70s.

Can hair harm society? Is hair a dangerous thing that we must strictly control?

Chaos and dangerous behavior is bad. Rules help society keep bad things from happening. 

But when authorities enforce silly rules that make no sense, it motivates younger people to rebel against them and their institutions and belief systems as being ridiculous, arbitrary, disconnected from rationality, and needlessly domineering.

Submission to stupid rules paves the way for totalitarianism.

Check out this Peoria Journal Star report "The Long and Short of a Central Coach's Suspension". It's about  a high school coach that allegedly harassed a student about his dreadlocks and wouldn't let him play a sport because the coach didn't like long hair.

Are we justified in teaching kids to all look the same, like a 1950s person, and not to be "different" or express themselves in a way that some stuffy old authority figure doesn't approve of?

This has nothing to do with "professionalism". Pro athletes have dreadlocks and other wild hair styles. What does hair style have to do with academics or athletics? Nothing.

Some say we should force students to not look like hoodlums. Dreadlocks is not "hoodlum hair". It's a style imported from Jamaica and has religious connotations.

According to Wikipedia entry on dreadlocks:

QUOTE

"Dreadlocks are associated most closely with the Rastafari movement, but people from many ethnic groups in history before them have worn dreadlocks, including many ancient Semitic and Indo-Aryan peoples of the Near East and Asia Minor, Hamitic peoples of East Africa, Sadhus of Nepal, India and the Sufi Rafaees, the Māori people of New Zealand, the Maasai and the Oromo of Ethiopia, and the Sufi malangs and fakirs of Pakistan, ancient Spartan warriors of Greece, and medieval Irish Warriors."

END QUOTE

Hair police fanatics are ignoring the fact that the coach is accused of violating District 150's prohibition of coaches imposing appearance standards on student athletes.

Those who support hair codes say "look presentable or stay home", meaning if you don't look like some adult wants you to look like, you can't play a sport. This is pushing a very superficial and nonsensical standard upon students, young people who like to experiment with dress, hair, music, art, and other tastes in harmless, non-destructive ways. That's what youth is all about: having fun and forming a personal identity.

Why does the "adult world" continue to feel threatened by hair? Why do authority figures like high school coaches and principals fear something as innocent as hair? Has hair ever hurt them?

I oppose regimentation and enforced conformity on such trivial and irrelevant matters. When I was in high school, I got sent to the principal's office constantly. Why? Because my hair touched my ears. This is stupid to force all students to look like their parents, or soldiers, or yuppies.

No wonder kids rebel and go to extremes. They see the stupidity and hypocrisy of meaningless adult "rules". Wear your hair the way I do, or you can't play this sport. Submit to my authority so I'll feel like a big important domineering power.

I think people who insist on "correct" vs. "incorrect" hair styles are missing the main point. It's good to have structure and protocols to avoid anarchy, instability, and criminal behavior. But arbitrary rules enforced by an authority figure, just because it's the authority figure's preference, and have nothing to do with the sport or education, are unnecessary, trivial, and bullying, in my opinion.

I think you will regret imposing silly rules on students, when there are far more important rules and issues to be concerned with. I remember getting in "trouble" for having hair touching my ears, not "long hair" as we see it today, but just slightly longer than the military style crewcut and conformist short hair stylings of the uptight and hypocritical establishment.

Slightly longer hair was considered by some as being "war protest", "revolutionary", "anti-establishment", or "non-conformist". Thus, it had to be persecuted and shorn. If your hair was extremely short, certain adults felt safer, happier, confirmed in their superficiality.

Calling a hair style "ghetto" or "gangbanging" is ridiculous and verges into racism.

Look like your teacher, look like the coach, look like the cops, look like the soldiers -- or stay home? Is that the message we really want to enforce? Did you hair police ever have wild hair styles when you were in high school or college?

And this boy just admires his father and wants to have his father's hair style. Which is dreadlocks.

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Friday, December 7, 2012

Website About and News Pages for Competitive Advantage


Productive Websites Require Effective Page Strategy

Two areas of website design and content strategy that are often neglected are the About page and the News page.

Nearly every website has these pages, but they're typically sparse or abandoned. This neglect results in fewer qualified customers visiting your website. In other words, it's bad for SEO (search engine optimization).

Your website is not just a billboard occupying space on the internet.

Your website should be productive, working hard to tell your story, communicate your message, display your products, share your expertise, provide customer service, and increase your sales.

Take a look at your website and ask yourself:

Is this the best we can do?

Is it going to get a potential customer excited about our products and the problems they solve?

Does it present our company history, legacy, and vision for the future in an accurate, complete, and compelling manner?

What would a new visitor to our website come away thinking about us?

Will we be Top of Mind Choice?

Or will they rush off to check out our competitors?

Building Your About Page

A good place to start improving your website is the About page.

Your About page is where you can communicate your company's mission, goals, vision, greatest achievements, and history. Companies evolve. Many were started by interesting, hard working founders. Some begin in obscurity, go through heartbreaking setbacks and difficult struggles, then eventually rise to the top of their industry.

Why not brag a bit? Why not tell the glorious story of humble beginnings that resulted in triumphant success? Let potential recruits know what your firm has gone through to get to where it is today. Motivate and encourage your employees with tales of perseverance.

An About page should not be some emaciated couple of paragraphs that briefly describe your business. A sparse About page communicates mediocrity. Why rush through it? Why just throw a few sentences on it and move on? Is that how enthusiastic you are about your organization?

If I asked you to tell me a little bit about yourself, we could sit in a coffee shop for hours and hours. You'd go on and on, regaling me with narratives about your past and how you toiled to be the best in your field. Why treat your company like a footnote? Why be stingy with your About page?

Yet you'll see it everywhere. About pages that are wimpy. Weak. Boring. Quick little summaries full of fluff and nonsense.

Think about your About page. This page is your website's first contact with a lot of visitors. Many people will look at it first. Your About page needs to make a good impression.

Make it thrilling. Compelling. Comprehensive. Be sure to break up the text into small, bite-sized paragraphs so people can easily breeze through it without getting bogged down.

About pages are a good opportunity to enrich your website with relevant, naturally occurring keywords. As you discuss and explain your company, you can't help but use words that potential customers and recruits will be using in search engines.

Take advantage of this perfect occasion to give the search engine spiders what they hunger for -- words and phrases associated with your expertise and product categories.

News Pages Need...er...NEWS

How many times have you visited a website and wanted to know what was currently happening with a company? When you clicked on the News page, were you informed about the latest ventures and activities? Or was the News page stale and out of date?

A News page that is updated only once a month, or every two months, makes your company look like it's dying. Or plodding along with no growth, no development, no innovation, no fun.

Is that the image you want to project?

Surely you can think of something to say about your company, your staff, your products, your customers every day. Are articles being published that mention your firm? Are you helping a local charity? Are you participating in a hometown event or contributing to a non-profit organization? Do you have testimonials coming in regularly?

What is going on? What is happening? Say something.

Treat your News page as a type of blog. 

It's another opportunity for keywords that will drive search engine traffic to your website. Make a statement. Announce something new. Introduce a new employee. Talk about a company picnic. Create the impression that your organization is alive, vibrant, on the move, not stagnating or falling asleep.

Get your About page and News page in shape, and you'll be leaping ahead of your competitors, without requiring a big investment of time, money, or other resources.



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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Kicking Someone Off Facebook: Cyberstalking



You can have someone kicked off Facebook, if they are troubling you in certain ways. Did you know that? And they may also be guilty of the crime of cyber-stalking.

WOMEN in particular -- LISTEN UP.

[NOTE: I posted the links and info in this article on someone's FB page who was having this kind of trouble, and some dumbass male started arguing that FB legal rules of use are not "real law". He doesn't want to face the fact that certain behavior on FB is criminal and can bring you serious legal trouble. -- When I checked out his profile, I saw he was using a Nazi image for his cover photo.]

Have you ever received a comment that was racist, filthy mouthed, cruel, hostile, personally insulting, creepy, domineering, lewd, or otherwise disturbing in a psychopathic sense?

It happens a lot, unfortunately, and I've received some comments of the vulgar variety myself. But it's not allowed. That's a violation of Facebook's user safety rules.

I should have reported the person to Facebook, with a direct link to the comment. I encourage you to do so if it happens to you.

There are laws on stalking (lurking, following or tracking) a person, which includes social media stalking, which falls into the legal category of CYBER-STALKING. If someone's online contacts with you would cause a reasonable (not paranoid, but rational) person DISTRESS, it's criminal cyber-stalking.

Cyber-stalking includes:

* False accusations
* Gathering information about you
* Monitoring your online activities
* Encouraging others to harass you
* Falsely claiming that you are stalking or distressing them
* Sending viruses and malware to your computer
* Ordering merchandise in your name
* Pestering you to meet with them in the real world

See Wikipedia entry on "Cyberstalking".

To have someone kicked off Facebook is easy. You just need to be familiar with Facebook's terms of service or "

See points #6 and #7 -- and keep these rules in mind at all times:

6. You will not bully, intimidate, or harass any user.

7. You will not post content that: is hate speech, threatening, or pornographic; incites violence; or contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence.

Read the Facebook use policy.

See also the Findlaw article "Facebook Can Legally Terminate Users"

QUOTE
Such sites need to have a stated, legitimate reason for user termination. If such sites act on a whim, or in an arbitrary fashion, they risk violating the implied contractual duty of good faith and fair dealing.
END QUOTE

See also "Cyberstalking and Cyber Harassment Laws by State".

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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

BodyForm Video Response to a Complainer

BodyForm Responds.

Here's a really funny video response from a company to a person who criticized the company's advertising. Not appropriate for every business, this tongue-in-cheek sarcasm is refreshing to see.

The male's complaint on the BodyForm Facebook page:

QUOTE

Hi , as a man I must ask why you have lied to us for all these years .

As a child I watched your advertisements with interest as to how at this wonderful time of the month that the female gets to enjoy so many things ,I felt a little jealous. I mean bike riding , rollercoasters, dancing, parachuting, why couldn't I get to enjoy this time of joy and 'blue water' and wings !! 

.... Then I got a girlfriend, was so happy and couldn't wait for this joyous adventurous time of the month to happen .....you lied !! 

There was no joy , no extreme sports , no blue water spilling over wings and no rocking soundtrack oh no no no. 

Instead I had to fight against every male urge I had to resist screaming wooaaahhhhh bodddyyyyyyfooorrrmmm bodyformed for youuuuuuu as my lady changed from the loving , gentle, normal skin coloured lady to the little girl from the exorcist with added venom and extra 360 degree head spin. 

Thanks for setting me up for a fall bodyform , you crafty bugger

END QUOTE





QUOTE

After a comedic rant on Bodyform Maxi Pads' Facebook page went viral on Oct. 8, the sanitary napkins company has responded with a YouTube video.

The company created a fictional CEO who apologized to the poster, Richard Neill, after reading his rant against the company's "deceptive" sanitary napkin commercials.

END QUOTE

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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

White Castle Coffee and Website Content



White Castle Coffee now available at Schnucks grocery store. 

Do you think there is any mention of White Castle Coffee on the White Castle website? Of course not. Can you purchase their coffee on their website? Of course not. Is it listed under Food or News or Promotions? Of course not.

 Check out the White Castle website.

I think the art of web design and web content strategy has been completely lost.

It's like we've reverted back to the bad old days when companies proudly proclaimed "We've got a website" or "Check us out online" , but had very little information, no real guide to how to select the right model of product for your needs, no data that differentiated the company from competitors, no strong reasons to buy now.

Knocking out a mediocre website is child's play.

Creating a highly productive, hard working, fully equipped website that looks good, has all the information you need, and has good usability -- rarely happens anymore.

I"m a web content developer. If you need help with your website, if you want better results in your ecommerce, contact me today.


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Mayan Calendar and Human Sacrifice



Mayan Calendar?

Mayans may have been good astronomers, but they were pretty deficient on social justice and human rights. Human sacrifice (often children) by rich, old, ruling elites.

Some might say this tradition continues in modern civilization. It's called war. Sacrifices to the god of death.

Some human victims were painted blue when offered to the rain god. Is this where the movie Avatar got the idea of blue natives?

Could the paranoid hysteria of Mayan Calendar End of the World be a hoax perpetuated by the ancient Mayans to offer future humans as sacrifices to the gods of technology, politics, and media?