Do Small Business,Organizations and Government Understand Social Media?

When the Internet was only between Colleges and Universities, I was on line back then in 1989 and have had a chance to see a lot of changes since it’s beginning.  One thing hasn’t changed, many small Business, Originations, and local Government in Small Town America doesn’t seem to understand how to use the Internet effectively for effective communication or as a marketing tool…

The University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business looked at the relationship between social media and small businesses and found that the technology adoption rates in the U.S. have doubled in the past year from 12% to 24%.  That’s a good percent, but that means 76% aren’t… The data comes from the university’s third installment to its Small Business Success Index report and is based on a December 2009 telephone survey of 500 small business owners. Adoption rate calculations are compared against a baseline report conducted in December 2008. The study concludes that nearly one in five small business owners are integrating social media into their business processes — Facebook and LinkedIn were the most popular sites. 45% of surveyed respondents even believe their social media initiatives will pay off financially in 12 months or less.

The University looked at how many where using it, but they failed to look a bit deeper…  What number of those 24% of 500 businesses where really set up and using it correctly?

So many Business and Organizations are setting up personal pages instead of Business/Organization pages or what is called “Fan Pages”, as FaceBook has a few different formats for different uses…

I look online and see many small business websites that have a Facebook follow link and many have a FaceBook accounts…  But when I click through it, I find they have a personal account set up for their Business or Organization instead of a Business Account…  Even in larger towns and cities, I find this problem…  Even though they do have some Social Media formats set up, many are set up incorrectly or not at all…

With the opt-in of followers of FaceBook, it can allow a business or small town Government or tourist department to have their news, service or events highlighted to those who follow them online and even those that use smart phones…

Wouldn’t you if you had a smartphone want to find out that the local restaurant is having a lunch special, or local school where your kids are attending want to find out that they are playing a football game, arts show or concert?  Or what of local Government, wouldn’t it be nice to not have to look through the local newspaper to find out there is a meeting on gas drilling or property tax hike meeting?  If only 24% of Small business are implementing Social Media into their online presents, how much news and information isn’t being shared that your local community would be interested in?

The tools are there; it is just a massive lack of understanding of what kind, how or when to use them…  Which of the different tools to use and how to set them up correctly for the most effective ability of basic communications and marketing…  Like to try to use a hand saw to drive a spike nail, Business and Originations need to learn how to use the different Social Media tools to drive home their communications and marketing services correctly for the best results…

If you’re a Small Business Owner, do some reading and research first…  Since FaceBook is one of the most used in the world, with over 500 million users, I recommend this Social Media service as being the first step into using Social Media…  Even if you don’t have a website, setting up a FaceBook account for Business, Organizations and Local Governments is the place to start…

To do this, I would also recommend hiring someone who TRULY understands and uses Social Media…  First ask the person your hiring what they know of FaceBook, if they truly understand the different types of accounts FaceBook offers…  Then look up their Twitter account- do they have good numbers of followers, do they engage those they follow and who follow them, do they just post links or highlight about information about themselves like they are going to go get coffee?  Twitter allows one to follow 2000 people before they start restricting a Follow ratio, I believe if they don’t have at least 2000 followers, it is my view they really don’t have much experience in truly using Twitter as a social networking…  In their FaceBook account, do they highlight news and articles of Blogs in relating to Social Media; do they engage in conversations with people that follow them? These are some good questions to ask and information to look into…

There are a lot of people who might say they are Experts or even try to teach Social Media, but are they just grabbing onto the latest Buzzword of Social Media to get your money?  Ask yourself if they truly have experience in marketing and using this type of marketing tool?  Do they have a Blog, do they have a website, do they have accounts in Twitter and FaceBook. Have they done Marketing online should be some of questions you should ask and look up…

Social Media is truly a way of Marketing, Communications, Advertising and allowing you to engage with your clients, possible clients and community…  Just because someone knows how to work on computers, doesn’t mean they understand or use Social Media correctly…  Social Media is more about Marketing and Communications then it truly is about Technology…

With a personal account with Facebook you can highlight your selling your record collection or maybe having a garage or lawn sale, even selling your car, but you can’t do business via a personal account, you can openly sell products and services through a Business account… The difference is Personal accounts in FaceBook limit you to only 5000 followers…  The Fan Page account allows you to not only sell things, but can give information about how many people look at your page…  FaceBook also has the right to cancel your personal account if they feel you are using it for Business or Organization…

Doing some research and reading your self can be time consuming, but a worthy venture…  If you don’t have a website up, and haven’t started using Social Media, try FaceBook…

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Are you marketing your products towards Woman online?

Are you aiming your advertising more to women then men, maybe you should be…

In an attempt to become a better and up to date online marketer, I dove into marketing statistics, online use, buying trend stats, and online user information… What I found was very interesting!!! If you’re a man, and doing web designing, graphics, marketing and branding and/or advertising you better be thinking and trying to understand how Woman view sales and marketing, or think to get some other job!!!

As an artist and marketer in designing websites and creating advertising and custom images the need to understanding how the Internet has changed since it was created in 1989 has been a major part of my research- always try to keep up to date on trends… What I found in my research was very enlightening and has forced me to change some of my views and future research and the way I need to look for designing websites and images online…

Now I am a guy and some might even put me in that “Guy’s Guy” category, as I enjoy hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, mountain biking, car racing, driving fast, watching action movies and working with power tools … On an average afternoon & weekend in the fall, you will find me in the woods hunting or in my side yard using a Chainsaw and a log splitter for firewood for my home and studio… I can also be found on my off time doing carpentry, renovations to my house redoing or building things in my woodshop or on my property… So I know I understand marketing to men, but I know that I need to think to “How to Marketing to Women”…

In an attempt to get into this line of thinking or understanding how woman think, besides looking up and spending many hours reading and goggling stats, I tried a different in-depth look into the female mind from a man’s view- I threw in the 2000 American Romantic Comedy film DVD “What Woman Want” starring Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt. Though I was not going to go so in-depth in my research as to put on toe popping red high heal stiletto shoes, nylons, makeup, miniskirt and wax my legs- I’m devoted but I am not that crazy!!!

I will admit there is a photo from my senior year of high school of my wearing a miniskirt for Powder Puff Football, where the girls wear pads and the men dress as cheerleaders and a few of my friends and I did…  I have told people that I won’t do this again until I get a chance to go to visit the land of my heritage, being a highlander of Ireland and Scotland areas… Only then I will buy a Kilt and be proud of my heritage, but a kilt is not a miniskirt!!! And NO, don’t even ask me what a Scotsmen wears under his Kilt!!!

So with wanting to understand How Woman think, I sat and watched the movie over and over… Yes it was a great movie to laugh with and at, as a “Man’s Man” gets zapped and somehow can hear the thoughts of woman in his mind… The movie is interesting as it truly shows how women think a bit different then men do… So I used this movie as a foundation leap into my understanding the mindset of Woman, before to start the research part of numbers and trying to understand how woman make their choices in why or how they buy things…

I highly recommend talking to woman online and in person, what and how they make their choices and whom they talk to in making these choices… I also recommend being ready to talk- ask questions and learn how woman make their choices, or sit back and watch how women communicate with each other… It is very different then how men tend to make choices in buying things… Women tend to like to see choices and make choices by what they like, more then by function or use, as most men tend to buy by… Men tend to make choices on what they need more by function, need and then cost and often don’t shop around… Women on the other hand will often shop around for the best price, and if they feel they got a Great price on an item, they will tell their friends… Men tend not to brag about the price as much as the function…

Women account for 85% of all Consumer Purchases in the US, including anything from autos to sneakers to computers… So if your into Marketing, Web or Graphics Design, Advertising or Branding Online, and you’re a “man”, you truly need to try to get into the mind set and understanding of what and why women buy things online and how they are influenced to come to their choices…

Women represent the majority of the online market:

* Digital Divas By The Numbers:*

• 22% shop online at least once a day
• 92% pass along information about deals or finds to others
• 171: average number of contacts in their e-mail or mobile lists
• 76% want to be part of a special or select panel
• 58% would toss a TV if they had to get rid of one digital device (only 11% would ditch their laptops)
• 51% are moms
*Mindshare/Ogilvy & Mather

If you aren’t aiming your advertising, imaging and changing your marketing techniques more towards women then men, adding more clear photos of the items or even video or turn around panoramic of the items you are marketing online, maybe you should be…

The Goat Boy’s Coffee Bar with WiFi…

My area of Central New York, just below the Finger Lakes Region and the city of Ithaca, is Tioga County and the county seat of Historic Owego…  On one of the main streets of this beautiful town of Owego, known for having so many different time periods of architecture is a new little Internet Café named “The Goat Boy’s Coffee Bar”…   Where I currently am sitting writing about this lovely establishment…

Owners Lisa and Denise Coratallo have enlarged their unique Gift’s Shop “The Goat Boy” that they have had now for 32 years, to include the location next door between them and the Tioga County Arts Council…  Their Gift shop has a nice collection of Polish Pottery, Pormeirion, Ahava, Vera Bradley Handbags, Duffels, and Luggage along with delicious chocolates from LifeSoSweet.com, a local Chocolate and Classic Candies show in Trumansburg, NY…

Having just come out of the Tioga County Art’s council when I had the need for an espresso, I walked into this new coffee bar next door…  They opened this beautiful little Coffee Bar that include Wi-Fi, great coffee, chocolates and locally baked goods and my favorite Espresso…

Sitting in the back corner of this new establishment enjoying some good music and great polite service from Shelly who was is one of the employees that was making many tasty Java drinks for people who wondered into the café, as I sat back enjoying my espresso…

As I was writing this, two women stopped in to taste of their wonderful chocolates, both enjoying some of the chocolate…  Then they started talking about how good and tasty it was, she telling them it was made locally… Then one of the two women asked if she would take a photo of them by the delicious display of the large array of Chocolates and sweets, she happily took their photos, with them holding up the half gone pieces with a smile, saying they would be back again…

I sat back, taking a couple photos from my vantage point of this roomy warm Coffee Bar, as I sipped a very tasty espresso in a very interesting espresso mug that is so Art Deco, liking the tiny mug very much…  They have a nice spread of tables and chairs including a little area with a sofa and a couple of chairs and coffee table with some magazines spread across it…  They have two artists they stick to showing their artworks in the café, and I have included some photos…  Though I forgot in my enjoyment of the moment to look at the names of the artists…

I was fortunate to have a chance to meet Lisa, one of the owners, having a very pleasant conversation with her…  She was a professional photographer for hotel advertising before settling down to open the shop next door, which has a lot of very unique forms of gifts, arts and crafts within it… As a guy I would say this shop would be a Woman’s joy of browsing and buying, and I also feel this would be a great place for a guy to go to find something for his mother, sister/s and the woman he cares for!!!

Lisa told me they don’t use Twitter and that much of their clientele are people that work and live locally and also the tourists, but they do have a Facebook fan page… I do understand and agreed with this sort of Social Media use, as using Facebook is such a great thing for Businesses, so many people are now using it, even some of my friends that are fairly “Tech Challenged”…  There is also the point that people can opt-in to follow and they can not only see new posts on their Facebook Fan page, but also receive highlights or specials via cell or smart phones…  She said that many people follow them on Facebook, and look forward to see what new crazy things and specials they are offering in the shop and the new Coffee Bar…  Which in my book, is a great-untapped use of Facebook in the county and area that more local businesses should be using!!!

A great Coffee Bar offering Wi-Fi, so you can sit back enjoying a Java, some chocolate, some baked goods or ice cream and check on your e-mail, social networks of get some Blogging or work done with a pleasant comfortable atmosphere…  You can locate them online at www.thegoatboy.com, but I recommend befriending them on their Facebook Fan page to find out what fun and savvy specials, advertising and events they will be offering…

Who is Teaching You Social Media?

Is Social Media being taught to you by a Novice? Over the past few months I have been invited to come to some Social Media classes and online webinars, not as a speaker or teacher, but as someone to learn what they had to offer… So out of wonder, I took a look at their Social Media bios and their websites… What I found were people who must be just using this Buzzword of “Social Media” and claiming they understood it to the point they felt they could teach it… Some had started an account in Twitter and FaceBook and suddenly were referring to themselves as Gurus or Experts, with many having fewer followers then many of my friend’s children in high school… Some even being affiliated with a college they deem them selves experienced or grasp onto some self proclaimed pedestal of knowing Social Media…

I have written once before about Gurus and Experts in Social Media- “Misuse of Terms for Social Media- Expert and Guru”…  This really bothers me, as so many are just faking knowing much about these great tools and internet services… Just because someone has tried it, does not mean they should be teaching it in webinars or classes with some even charging money for these courses or it being part of a college tuition… Would you want someone to operate on you because they say they have experience, but only read about it? But do they really have experience in Social Media is what you should ask yourself…

Now maybe have a bias view given my experience, as I have been using what we refer to as “Social Media” for a very long time- I have been online since 1989, designed my first webpage in 1990 using Hypertext before it was referred to as “HTTP” and earned my first freelance job in 1991 through chat on e-World just after Chat started gaining popularity outside of the Universities… I also have been doing web design, marketing and advertising for just as many years and have been doing free-lance art or visual problem solving since I was in 11th grade, even if it shows my age… So I have a lot of experience using and offering Internet services, branding, and marketing and also in using what is now called Social Media, Social Networking…

Just because someone buys a hammer and a saw and read a “How to” books, does not mean they should be teaching you how to build a house or that they are suddenly a Master Carpenter… Carpentry skills are gained through “Hands-on Experience and study”. I feel the same is with Social and New Media or Web Site Design or any major professional service… In the Carpentry Union in the United States- the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, they are required to pass a skills test to be granted official journeyman status… They work under a Master Carpenter and take courses to learn their trade… This often takes years of time to acquire the “Master Carpenter” status…

The same goes with Social Media, one should have years of experience and not just a year or two of using it- if your going to “Teach” Social Media, you should have the background and experience in it… “Walk the Walk, then talk the talk” as the saying goes…

I'm rated as a Twitter Elite- #1 in the Ithaca, NY area

Much of Social Media is about marketing and communicating with people in your field and in other fields or possible clients, sharing informative content and also communicating with people… It is not so much about Databases or Computer information degrees, as they are more about the setting up of computers and information then marketing and advertising…

If the person teaching you Social Media doesn’t understand marketing, branding, advertising and is really just a computer tech, then you might have the wrong person teaching you Social Media… Social Media has more to do with branding and marketing, then really understanding how a computer works or creating Databases… Granted some understanding of creating Databases can help, but that tends to be more about mass email marketing…

Twitter, FaceBook, Linkined and YouTube are the most used Social Media online tools… I think if a person doesn’t have much experience in these, they are truly new to this enriching field and just using the Buzzword…

Twitter recently announced they have grown to having 145 million subscribers, growing over 40 million in the last 4 months… This means there are a lot of people using this tool… If a person is stating they have experience in using Twitter, has fewer followers then 2000, think of it this way- Twitter allows anyone to follow up to 2000 people before they add a follow/follower ratio… If they have fewer followers/following of 2000 on either side, then they have only bought the circular saw, and plugged it in and pulled the triggers to hear the blade spin, but haven’t cut much lumber with it and probably haven’t built any houses of furniture… Experience and not just teaching what another has written is what I think is truly key…

Using TweetSearch, a very useful too for searching Twitter Bios, one can also find the numbers of followers Twitter subscribers have… I did a few searches and found these results:

8,831 users have “Social Media Marketer” in their bios
2,239 users have “Social Media Consultant” in their bios
892 users have “Social Media Expert” in their bios
444 users have “Social Media Guru” in their bios
92 users have “Social Media Professor” in their bios

What I found most interesting is some you can tell have experience but many of these people have very few followers and I ask myself- how can they state they are experienced in this if they aren’t very good at attracting their own followers? I have even found advertising agencies and website designers that boast being good at Social Media but also have very few followers…

Walk the Walk before talking the talk in Social Media…

Sunrise on Chincoteague’s Beach is Such an Inspiration…

Sounds of the beach with Seagulls mixed with the soft whisper of the wind and the rolling waves as they hit the beach chasing the  Sandpipers back and forth …  Stopping for coffee, before to drive into the Assiteague National park on the beach near Chincoteague Island…  The sun shining already reflecting colors in the marshes as we drove to the beach, stopping every now and then to catch a moment in a photo…

How beautiful it is here, with so many colors reflecting off the water and skyline of the marches…  At one moment, there where 5-6 Heron and Egrets still standing sleeping on one leg giving sleepy eyes to us being early morning passer- bys…

Marshes near Chincoteague's Beach

Marshes near Chincoteague's Beach

Sand underfoot, between toes, watching the many kinds of seagulls fly by, seeking their mornings breakfast, some waiting staring at me, thinking I might share some of my coffee with them as I stood looking over the multi-colored skyline that reflected it’s colors and hues into the ocean and upon the sand…

Slowly the small orange globe of the sun climbs above the waves and Blue Ocean that fades off to beyond eyesight, with the feel of the sand being taken from under bare feet, as the waves came crashing in surrounding my ankles…  The cry of seagulls calling out the solo calls of searching for their breakfasts…

I sit here rolling my toes in the sand, as I write, after watching the sun slowly come up over the horizon line…  The sound only of the rhythmic waves and soft wind, with the cries of seagulls fills the air…  No one in sight along the beach except my girlfriend, who is walking along the water’s edge, every so often stopping to look over the colored sky and ocean…

Solitude filled with the beauty of nature that cleans one’s soul of thoughts and allowing the creative juices flow from the times of business and daily struggles of life that seem to wash away…  I continue to sit at a picnic bench letting the solace of morning’s first light fill my mind, my soul and being, typing till the light of the day no longer allows me to view the monitor…  Finishing my first mug of coffee, I close my PowerBook slowly, and walk to the edge of the waves and allow them to wash over my bare feet and the colors it fill my mind feeding the creativeness within…

In this beauty ideas seem to flow as if water from the waves, one after the other…  Some of images, colors, future paintings, words, the things I need to do for my business the steps I need to take to accomplish my goals and dreams…  Each one flowing through my minds eye just as the many waves on the beach roll in one after another, after another…  Finding it hard to capture them even if I could write them all down, knowing that I couldn’t even speak them fast enough as the ideas flow and grow…

Foot prints in the sand


The moment now s gone, like the footprints in the sand that have now washed away with the coming of the tide, but the ideas are as seeds growing in my mind, and held close with the memories… Closing my eyes now, for a moment I hear the rhythm of the ocean, smell the salt in the air and feel the sensation of the cool water surrounding my feet that sink slowly in the wet sands with each wave upon wave…

Sometimes getting away from all and any and just allow the beautify of nature to fill your mind allows for a cleansing of sorts that I think we all need…  I find myself thinking, I am fortunate; I live the country and can fill myself with the beautify of forests, hills, waterfalls, the different seasons and wildlife of Central New York State at any time…  But to allow myself this beauty of watching the colors of a sunrise over a vast ocean is something all should experience and hold close…

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