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5 Things Fishing For Lake Trout Taught Me About Social Media

I’ve just returned from a fishing trip in Quebec, which was about a 12-hour drive from Cleveland, Ohio. Basically, you drive to Toronto, then North four about 4 hours, then east for another 3, then up the “Swisha” for another 2 hours. The Swisha shouldn’t be called a road mind you. It was basically sand/dirt and rocks, and giant natural potholes. Oh yeah, Moose, Lynx and Bears, oh my.

In other words… I was in the middle of nowhere. (Just in case you are curious, the lake was Lac Nilguat, or Big Moose Lake).

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The cabin on the right was mine. The outhouse to the right. :)

It was 4-days of fishing for lake trout and pike while staying in a rustic (to say the least) cabin on an island in the middle of a lake (rumor has it there was beer involved as well). It was beautiful, fun and inspiring. And the best part was. No cell tower for 300 miles, which meant no phones, Internet or social media.

Now I’ll be honest. At first I didn’t want to go on the trip because I didn’t think I’d like being completely disconnected from the world. It wasn’t that I wanted to check email or work in anyway while I was there. I simply wasn’t comfortable with “not being able to” if I wanted/needed to. Not to mention that this would have been the first time I was COMPLETELY out of touch with my awesome family for days and days. No phone calls, emails, texts… nothing. Kinda scary actually when you think about it.

But I went on the trip anyway and I have to say, it was GREAT! Sure, I would have loved to be able to talk to my kids and wife once or twice, but what really was the best part of that was not thinking about emails or work or Twitter or Facebook or any of that. That is my point.

So I’m back now. And during the long ride back I started to think a lot about the state of social media and human connectivity and all that stuff. If you’ve been reading my blog lately, you’ve noticed I’ve been kind of railing against Twitter (read the comments, they agree). Don’t get me wrong, I still think it’s useful, but I’ve been wondering if the usefulness of it has been outweighed by the un-usefulness of it.

In other words, and not just talking about Twitter, sure, social media is great and helpful to an extent, but really, at the end of the day, does it allow someone like me to achieve more, or less of my goals or successes I reach for? I’m not so sure lately.

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Not a bad day of fishing in this sunset.

So here are the things that fishing for lake trout helped me realize about the state of me and social media. Please retweet or comment or both!

#1 Thing Fishing For Lake Trout Taught Me About Social Media
“Being connected” is overrated. At some point over the past 3-5 years I got so caught up in the day-to-day world of it all that I forgot that not everyone is, needs to, or wants to be connected all the time, or at all even. It IS possible to completely disconnect from the world for days and the world will still be there. And I’m not so sure that at the end of the day we are all better for being so hyper-connected. Time will tell on that one.

#2 Thing Fishing For Lake Trout Taught Me About Social Media
Social media is bullshit. The idea that we need tools like Twitter and Facebook to connect with each other is total b.s. Sure, they help us take it to a new level, but we don’t “need” them. We can communicate with each other without them, and frankly, I’m beginning to think that when we do, we’re better off. For a while there I thought that these tools enhanced our communication in a way that made us better. I’m not so sure anymore. Maybe more informed, but better?

#3 Thing Fishing For Lake Trout Taught Me About Social Media
I’m done with needing to know “what you’re doing”. Sorry, I’m just done with it. Way back when I thought it was kind of cool to know that you’re having lunch at Nobu or taking your kids to soccer practice. But now? Enough. I’ve had enough. It’s not as though I don’t care. I just don’t really need to know. It’s not helping me accomplish my goals. Not sure what I’m going to do, perhaps unfollow everyone, or well, I’m not sure.

#4 Thing Fishing For Lake Trout Taught Me About Social Media
I’m not so sure I want to be “social media” guy anymore. Nobody I met up in those cabins up there gave a you know what about Facebook or Twitter or emails or “the Internet” in general. (Just fishing, and drinking). There were no conversations about much else. In fact, I purposely did not talk about my business because I didn’t want to be that guy, even though I was. You know that guy: The Internet geek away for the weekend. Honestly, I would have been embarrassed to be that guy.

#5 Thing Fishing For Lake Trout Taught Me About Social Media
I’m old and cranky. I’m fully aware that maybe I’m just getting old and turning into the “hey you kids get off my lawn guy”. I’ve been doing this Internet stuff for over 15-years now, so from the very beginning, which makes me the old guy in a young business. So maybe, just maybe I’m just tired of it all.

Now you’re saying, “But Jim, didn’t you just write a book about social media?”. Actually, I didn’t. I wrote a book about how businesses and brands can get attention for themselves and turn that attention into revenue. Yes, some of the ways to do that include using social media tools, but in no way is the book about social media as a main point.

In fact, I purposely did not write a book about social media because I’ve been having these thoughts in my head for a long time I suppose. Plus, social media changes by the day. It’s hard to write a book about something that will probably be different in 6-months from now.

Summary
I still believe social media is a great tool for businesses and brands and marketers. In fact, that’s how I’ll continue to use it even more so, much in dismay probably to friend and fellow Wiley author Unmarketing, but he’s tough, he can handle it. :) But on a personal level, look for less from me on that from now on. Does that mean I’m not engaging as much? Probably.

I believe that you’re going to hear more stories and opinions like mine as time goes by. In fact, I predict that at some point over the next few years, we’ll begin to see a flattening in the upswing of “being connected all the time”. Maybe not a downswing, but definitely a flat line.

What am I going to do now? First, I’m planning next year’s trip to Moose Lake. Then I’m going to go back to work and use social media in the way that makes sense for me, just as you should to.

I Wish Twitter Would Go Away

I have a long love/hate relationship with Twitter. When I first started with it, I hated it. Then I quit it, then I came back.

Now I’m back for more of the same topic. Here goes… this might hurt a little bit. No one else will say it, but I will.

I wish Twitter would just go away.

Why? Well, basically it comes down to this. Time spent vs. ROI/reward.

Sure, I’ve seen some results from my Twitter usage. Higher branding, more reach, popularity, etc… I’ve even seen revenue from Twitter for my consulting business. However, the scale is GREATLY weighted to the one side. In other words, for the amount of time and effort I’ve put into Twitter, I believe the rewards/ROI are far outweighed by the “time put in”. In marketing land, that’s a bad formula. It should be the other way around.

No, I’m not quitting Twitter. I’m simply stating that I wish it would go away. Things would be so much easier. Here we are almost 5-years into the launch of it and I can honestly say that my business might be in better shape if I spent less time on Twitter and more time “doing business things” that increase my bottom line.

What do you think? Would your business be better or worse if Twitter just went away?

P.S. Quitting Twitter now isn’t an option for someone like me. Makes no sense for me to do that. I’m just saying, my business might be in better shape if it wasn’t around. I’m stuck with it.

Take Your Social Media Campaign & Shove It!

This week I sent a proposal for a Web-based outreach campaign to a potential customer that is used to spending money only on large-scale traditional media. In other words, they have never tried to engage or communicate with all of us “web people”. Instead, they just write big arse checks to radio and TV and use them to move the needle for them.

I get it. I really do. It’s very, very hard to get the reach you need through social media. On the same note, it’s MUCH easier to write checks to traditional media outlets and get the eyeballs/listeners to move the needle on your sales charts.

But here’s what I don’t get. The proposal I created was still very inexpensive compared to the amount of money they spend on traditional media. By far. So I was surprised that I got word back that the costs were out of line in their minds. Specifically, here’s what they said.

We can’t possibly allocate major market broadcast type dollars, from our business, to a field that is so new, constantly changing, ego driven and risky with no idea of any return.

Ok. I’ll buy that, um, some of it, maybe. However, I feel it’s short-sighted. Ignoring the potential of a well conceived Web-based word-of-mouth campaign for a low cost is probably a mistake.

There’s nothing new about word-of-mouth, and there’s certainly nothing new about blogging and bloggers and influencers and spreading the idea virus and all that stuff that makes a great campaign happen.

Sure, it’s risky, but the low-cost makes it digestible, right?

So I’m curious. Am I right, or are they?

Why Do I Still Care About Twitter Numbers?

Because my customers, you know, the small business owners and the corporate executives who pay me to speak and do consulting and buy my books… do care.

Enough said.

Louis Gray is right though, “we”, the social media/Internet geeks that play the most in this sandbox, do in fact need a new metric to look at besides numbers.

But sorry, the rest of the world, the people who pay us money and look to us for guidance aren’t ready for it. They like seeing those juicy numbers. To them, it’s credibility. It’s status.

Think I’m wrong, tell me why.

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Uploaded with plasq‘s Skitch!

Real Women Do Social Media – Giveaway!

Real Women Do Social Media - The Program & The Revolution in Social Media for Women Entrepeneurs

Ladies… do you do social media? Now’s your chance! My good friend, and super-smart and awesome person, Lena West has just released her new course for women called “Real Women Do Social Media“. Essentially, it’s a program for women to learn the in’s and outs of social media. Here’s some info about it.

Thus starts yet another year of hearing about social media. It works. It doesn’t. Don’t do this. Do that. Never do THAT! Always do THIS! At this point, you’re not even concerned with what other people are doing; you’d like to figure out what you need to do about social media — and more importantly, what you can safely ignore!

And, this year comes on the heels of last year, which found you in the same situation – feeling damned if you do and damned if you don’t. This isn’t a just rock and a hard place, this is Gibraltar and Stonehenge.

It’s not for lack of trying though. You go to conferences, seminars and workshops. You diligently take notes, but when you get back to the office, those detailed notes may as well be written in Greek (unless, of course, you can read Greek, and in that case, some other language you can’t read). There’s work to do, gym memberships to make good on and family to care for. Who the HECK has time for social media anyway?!?!

For something that’s supposed to be such fun, it sure seems like a complete and utter downer. You can’t imagine why in the world you would want to spend time “getting your feet wet” with Facebook, when there are little feet in your house that need to be washed!

And, while you’re not prone to violence, if one more 26-year-old gadget-guy gives you the why-don’t-you-just-set-up-an-account-it’s-free-and-everyone-is-doing-it-go-ahead-jump-right-in look, you’ll… well, you get the picture.

Here’s the best part. I’ve got a free seat for you to win. Leave a comment on this blog and make a Tweet about it using the hastag #RWDSM and my name. I’ll pick a winner on Feb 26th.

Social Media + SEO = Social Media Infrastructure

How do you optimize social media to come up in search? What social media sites should I use for my business? Won’t social media take up all of my time? These are questions I get every day and the answer is simple: Build a Social Media Infrastructure.

  1. What is a Social Media Infrastructure? Social media platforms chosen for engagement and how they are connected to one another with a Blog at its base pushing content to other platforms.
  2. Why should I build a Social Media Infrastructure?
  • SEO – By connecting your social media platforms via RSS and traditional backlinks you are building a “keyword neighborhood” that will raise the relevancy of all of your web platforms in the infrastructure for those keywords.  The result, if properly executed will be multiple first page results for some of the keyword phrases in your “keyword neighborhood.”
  • Saves Time – With a Blog at the base of your infrastructure you won’t have to post content on multiple platforms.  Once the infrastructure is in place you will only have to post once.
  • Increases Reach, SOV and Website Referral Traffic – The more social media platforms used in the infrastructure the more people will see your content, brand and message resulting in more referral traffic for your conversion platform or website.
  • 3 C’s – You will have Consistency, Clarity and Congruency of message throughout the web.

3. How do I build a Social Media Infrastructure?

  • Do a Keyword Workshop
  • Gather your digital assets (video, pics, graphics, audio, presentations, press releases, etc.)
  • Build a Blog
  • Choose multiple social media platforms based on your digital assets and target demographic
  • Connect the platforms with links, RSS feeds and widgets (recommend http://twitterfeeder.com as a start).
  • Make sure lead generation websites, microsites and/or landing pages are linked into the infrastructure.

About the Author: Since 2002, Chad H. Pollitt has played an integral role in designing, developing, deploying, executing and tracking robust web marketing strategies for over 100 client companies and organizations and is an internet marketing expert. Chad is a decorated veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and an Internet Marketing Manager at Digital Hill Multimedia, Inc., the leading web development and internet marketing agency in the Midwest. His white papers and articles have been published in over a dozen newspapers and websites throughout the world. With over 10 million dollars of tracked ROI for SEO alone, he has been featured on multiple radio shows, podcasts and in The Wall Street Journal. For over 12 years, Digital Hill Multimedia, Inc. has specialized in Web Design, E-Commerce, SEO, Web Hosting, Social Media, Flash, 3-D Animation, Database Development, and Web Marketing and Promotion Strategies in Northern Indiana and throughout the Country. They can be contacted at 1-888-537-0703 or www.digitalhill.com.

Social Media Is About More Than “Friends”

I once wrote that “Nobody’s a blogger anymore, we’re all publishers“. The point is that at some point in the last few years of blogging growing up, and social media grabbing hold of us, that the reasons we started blogging became different. It wasn’t only about expressing our thoughts… it became more.

jfk_sbIt became a business. Ok, you know what I mean. You start a blog today because you’re looking for something. Either to build your brand, or generate revenue, or to get publicity, or get a new job, etc… Therefore, since your intentions have changed, you no longer are a blogger… you’re a publisher.

A publisher is someone who’s looking to get something by producing content. A blog is just a tool you can use to do that. Same with Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, etc…

Now, what’s interesting to me is that we’re seeing the same shift happening in social media now that just happened with blogs. Albeit, we’re several years early for mass adoption of this meme, but I feel the trend happening. More and more people are getting into social media with a goal in mind.

The goal could be figuring out how to make money, or build their brand, or find a new job… whatever. But it’s more than just “socializing” as the intent is my point.

Why is this happening? Well, it could be that people have finally realized that it’s possible to “do something more” than chat with friends. People are now beginning to see that these tools can be used to help them accomplish something, and frankly, I don’t think that’s such a bad thing.

Why shouldn’t we have goals?

How long will it be before more and more people begin to become aware that social media is more than a glorified chat room and friend finder? Time will tell. But in my opinion, that trend is moving faster than you think.

Sales, Leads & Publicity… Oh My!

Today I spoke to a chamber of commerce group in Westlake, Ohio about how small business owners can generate more sales, leads and publicity. If you are at all interested in learning how I and many others spend absolutely nothing on advertising and how we generate success online… you need to watch.

Below is the video. I start speaking a few minutes in.

Listening Is The Key To Social Media ROI

Listening… It’s the first step really. Even if you’re only dipping your pinky toe into the social media waters, at the very least, you need to listen first. If you don’t listen… how do you know what people are saying about you? You can’t. And guess what? They are talking about you…

I had the chance to interview Dan Neely, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Networkedinsights.com. Dan’s company makes a product called Social Sense, which is a listening platform…

SocialSense improves your aim by giving you customer-driven insights. We help you answer questions about the who, what, where, when, and how so you can make better decisions. SocialSense mines the social web, uncovering and discovering insights that can be used and acted upon by marketers and advertisers.

Dan and I talked about the business of social media “listening” and about how businesses are afraid to jump into the social media scene. We also talked about how small businesses should be monitoring the social media landscape, and how to generate a return on investment from the data gathered.

If you’d like to test out Dan’s software. Contact them and drop my name.

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