Five Things that Empire Avenue Does that Makes My Social Media Better

Sometimes in life, you get the rare opportunity to see things flourish right before your eyes.  You may not be the first to

Empire Avenue can help you improve your social media

notice that it’s happening, but you are one of those lucky few who catch a glimpse right before everyone else does and realize it.  That’s a bit how I feel about Empire Avenue.  Empire Avenue is the newest, greatest tool to help you with your social media.  Don’t believe me?  Read this, and this, and this.

Now those articles are interesting, but what I wanted to explain to you is more personal.  I want to share with you five things Empire Avenue does to make my social media efforts better.

GETS ME USING SOCIAL MEDIA MORE OFTEN

I’m not going to lie.  With social media, some people naturally do it and some don’t.  Put me in the don’t category.  Oh, I tweet, and post, and Facebook, and LinkedIn, but it can definitely be a chore.  It’s not that I don’t see the value, but I just don’t think my life is that interesting all the time.

It’s still not, but Empire Avenue has given me a different outlook.  You see, for social media to be effective, it needs consistent nurturing.  It’s a bit like a plant.  If you nurture your plants they’ll grow, if you don’t they’ll die.   The big difference is you won’t see your social media dying, it just will.  Until now.  Empire Avenue works the same way the stock market does. You get bought and sold based on your social media.  You neglect it and you will lose investors, take care of it and you’ll thrive.  And let me tell you, seeing yourself be bought and sold is a powerful motivator to make sure you do your social media work.

SHOWS ME WHERE MY SOCIAL MEDIA EFFORTS NEED WORK

In order to be have a powerful social media presence, you need to have some diversity.  You might be a Twitter machine, adding new tweets every few minutes.  That doesn’t mean you have a strong social media network.  Twitter is only one part.  What about Facebook?  YouTube?  Your Blog?  To have a strong social media network, you gotta update these as well.

Empire Avenue helps you out with this.  You see, Empire Avenue grades you on each individual network you use.  A poor grade in one area will most certainly hurt your total score and make people think twice about investing in you.  I know because my YouTube score has been like an anchor.  Letting me see that, however, has shown me exactly how to improve and, while my YouTube is still an anchor, its a much smaller one than it was.

MAKES ME A MORE ACTIVE LISTENER

Here’s something to think about.  How many people do you follow with your social media, or who follow you, who don’t use it at all?  It’s a question you really don’t think about, but you should.  Imagine replacing one of your followers with one who is engaged?  It could make a huge difference in your social media efforts.

Empire Avenue opened my eyes up to this and made me a bit more critical who I follow and who’s following me.  I hate to be rude, but as the song says “What Have You Done For Me Lately?”  Social media is all about interaction and activity.  If your not interacting and not active in my network, you’re gone (sorry Mom).

INCREASES MY NETWORKING POTENTIAL

Before I joined Empire Avenue, my network was pretty bland.  I had very few people from outside my home city (Denver), or

How good is your Twitter network?

Colorado.  What I didn’t realize what that just because someone doesn’t live in your city doesn’t mean they can’t help your network.

Empire Avenue opened my eyes.  Before long I was exchanging tweets with Ford Motor Company’s Global Digital & Multimedia Communications Manager, Scott Monty.  I was talking social media strategy with professionals from Canada, Venezuela, and Europe.  These folks may not be local, but they are helping me become a better PR and Social Media strategist.  Thank you, Empire Avenue.

MAKES SOCIAL MEDIA FUN

Let me ask you this, when was the last time you got up early to check on how your social media network was doing?  I know some of you always do this, but for the other 95% of us, social media updating can be difficult.  Creating meaningful content for social media is not easy, particularly for a business, but it has to be done.  So how does Empire Avenue help?

Well, because your worth on Empire Avenue is directly related to your social media network, you gotta update.  That little carrot is actually just the thing many people need.  I know it is for me.  When I see my stock dropping, I look around and try to find something that I can do to make my social media network more valuable.  But that’s exactly the mindset you need in order to have a strong social network.  Empire Avenue helps you do that.

Now I’m not here to tell you that Empire Avenue will automatically transform your social media network into a powerhouse overnight.  You still have to work at it.  All I’m saying is that by using Empire Avenue, I been able to tweak my network so that it works harder for me.  And that’s really what you want from your social media network, isn’t it.

Yeah I thought so.  Just remember to let me know when you join so I can buy some stock in you.

UPDATE:  I’ve had some folks tell me that I should add my Empire Avenue ticker symbol and a badge.  Here you go.  Buy me at (e)DADEVOL .

*(If you’re interested in hiring me you can go here to access my portfolio.)

Three Ideas to Use Social Media to Make Shopping More Fun for Couples

image

I’m here in Florida on vacation, only I’m sitting in Talbots watching my wife shop.  So while I’m on the “man” bench, here are three ways stores can use social media to make shopping more fun for couples.

TARGET OPPOSITE GENDER

Like a lot of guys, I’m not the biggest fan of helping my wife shop for clothes.  And neither, frankly, are all the other guys sitting here looking at me type.  We’re bored.  A store that could go out of their way to do something for us would get a lot of kudos and repeat trips.  Here’s an idea.  Use Foursquare or Yelp to give specials targeted to us folk who aren’t your normal customers.  Work with a nearby restaurant to give a special to the people who “endured” the experience.  It would give those of us a reward for shopping with our spouses and leave us with a better feeling about your store.  Better feelings make it more likely both me and my wife come back.  Everyone’s a winner.

GAMES

I can tell you that all the guys here would love to be doing something other than sitting on a bench.  Use Twitter or email to create games we can play while our partners shop.  A treasure hunt or a timed special to shop for a deeply discounted deal would add some fun for all of us.  You can even create multiday contests that force us to come back multiple times.  How great would it be to see husbands dragging wives to your store to complete a game you created.

PARTNER SPECIALS

I’m sitting near the door here at Talbots and can see the couples coming in.  The guys all look like the dog who got caught while digging in the trash.  Not happy.  Use social media to create a partner special for couples checking in to your store.  This will make the couples feel like a team.  Couples can only get the discount when they work together.  Giving the guy something else to do besides holding a purse makes the experience better for the guy, which makes it better for everyone.

You see, shopping doesn’t have to be a bad experience for couples.  By using social media to give partner specials, create games, and give couples incentives to shop at your store.  And making shopping a fun experience for everyone will only increase the likelihood that those couples will visit your store again and again.  You can stop drooling now.

Well here comes my wife.  Time to go.  I hope this helps you out.

Slinging Slang: Five Tips To Help You Avoid Social Media Misunderstandings

I know you laughed.

I love my wife.  I really do.  There’s just one problem.

She doesn’t get my jokes.  Ever.

I got millions of ’em and they’re funny,  I swear.  Except to my wife.  I have told jokes that have put entire rooms of people into stitches, but when I tell her I get nothing excepts crickets.

It’s not her fault though.  You see, she is from Venezuela and simply hasn’t had the same experiences that I had growing up in the United States.   So when I tell a joke about “hillbillies” for example, she has no clue as to why we might find it funny.

The same goes for slang.  Everyone uses slang to some degree.  Slang helps form our identity.  I mean imagine

An innocent misstep forced Alicia Machado to close her Twitter account

a Texan not using “y’all,” or a New Yorker not shouting “fuggedaboutit”.  How boring.  On the flip side, you can get pretty lost if you aren’t familiar with the particular slang others are using.

 

It’s something to think about when you’re using social media.

Just ask Former Miss Universe Alicia Machado.   Fox News Latino explains.

The Venezuelan model and actress told a Mexican radio station that her twitter post in which she called for “peace between the Chinas,” referring to North and South Korea was misunderstood.

“I said it in a very colloquial way and people misunderstood me,” E!Latino reports Machado saying. “Obviously, I know there is a bombing going on between North and South Korea. When I said the ‘Chinas,’ I was referring to the Asian continent.”

I feel for Ms. Machado.  She used slang that is very common in Venezuela, but because others didn’t understand, she was thought of as “dumb.”

To make matters worse, Machado had to close her Twitter account because she was being deluged with insults.

Yikes.

This can be a real problem for people and businesses using social media, particularly when you only have 140 characters to make a point, or when you’re posting something from your “Smart” phone.

Just because you know doesn't mean others will

So to save yourself from a that kind of headache, here are five tips to help you avoid those social media misunderstandings.

TONE DOWN THE SLANG

It’s really hard not to use any slang when using social media.  Just make sure you’re not getting to provincial.  The “slangier” you get, the better the chance you will be misunderstood and your real message will be lost.

IF IT LOOKS BAD, IT IS BAD

It’s happened to all of us.  We make one innocent comment that gets taken the wrong way and we end up apologizing for years.  Remember that it’s what you said that matters, not what you meant.  If you see a word or phrase that you’re about to send out and you think it might be misconstrued, it will.  Change it.  You’ll be happy you did.

PROOFREAD YOUR PHONE POSTS

I love my smart phone.  One of the best things about it is the auto-correct.  Unfortunately, one of the worst things about it is, also, the auto-correct.  More people have gotten into trouble by not proof-reading the stuff they send out via phone.  Take a second to make sure your auto-correct hasn’t decided to sabotage you by changing “sink” into “stink” in that post you were sending about plumbers.

DON’T GET CUTE

I have always been of the opinion that everyone is smart, except for the people who try to act smart.  It’s a sure way to get you into trouble.  Stay away from puns or witty phrases unless you’re sure everyone will get them.  Realize the people you think will get it, won’t.

TAKE A BREATH BEFORE SENDING

Don’t immediately hit send after you write something.  Once you post it, it’s in the public forever.  Give yourself a count of five before pushing the send button.  Remember, it’s always better to reflect upon on a post you will send rather than reflecting upon a post you just sent.

Social media is a powerful tool that can help you to amplify your message.  But as Ms. Machado found out, social media can also amplify mistakes and misunderstandings.  Hopefully these tips will help you so that when your using social media you are able to say what you mean, and you mean what you say.

Hope that helps you out.

*(If you’re interested in hiring me you can go here for more information.)

Creating Buzz Flash Mob Style: Five Rules For Mounting a Successful Guerrilla Campaign

Who's here for the Flash Mob?

You’ve seen them on YouTube,on the news, and – if you’re lucky – in real life.  When executed correctly, they will go viral and become globally recognizable.

It’s the guerrilla marketing campaign.

Guerrilla marketing campaigns are a powerful tool for public relations. The allure of a guerrilla marketing campaign is the subversive feel of the event, and the buzz generated by the no rules, take no prisoners attitude of a successful campaign can often get more attention than any traditional P.R. strategy.

But there is a misconception.

Many people wrongly assume that there are no rules in guerrilla marketing, and that’s just not true.

A successful  campaign needs to walk a fine line between seeming “corporate” and breaking laws.  You want to leave everyone with a positive feeling.  Walk that line well and you could get all the publicity you could ever want. Screw up and, well, your guerrilla marketing days are probably through.

We don’t want you to fail, however, because we like good guerrilla marketing.  So, here are five rules that you should probably follow in order to mount a successful guerrilla campaign.

STICK TO YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA FOR PLANNING

Keep the planning as quiet as possible.  The element of surprise is essential.  Plus, you want the people who are apart of your event to feel they’ve done something special, and even a bit subversive.  This means you need to stay away from using main stream media for advance publicity.  Stick to your social media networks in order to plan your event.  Why?  Well you need your participants invested and that means getting them to feel like they’re a part of something special.  Advertising on television, newspapers or radio doesn’t give people that feeling.  You want the people who are “in on the joke” to proudly wear your brand, and you want the people not “in on the joke” to want to be in on it next time.  You can let the press know right before so they can get there in time to cover it, but anything else ruins your “guerrilla credibility.”

BE OF GOOD CHEER

What are the best type of practical jokes?  The one where everyone, including the mark, are laughing at the end.  The same goes for a guerrilla campaign.  No one wants to be minding their own business at some location when a bunch of hooligans show up and try to make them feel uncomfortable, angry, or scared.  This is a sure way to cause yourself headaches.

Instead, keep your campaign lighthearted.  You want people to remember whatever message your publicizing with a smile, not a shiver.

Critical Mass now seems like more of a party

Case in point:  Critical Mass, a group promoting bicycle use and rights.  The group got a lot more traction when they started treating their rides more like a party, complete with music and costumes, instead of acting like a bunch of angry thugs vandalizing cars and seeing how miserable they could make an afternoon rush hour.

You want people to embrace your message, not fight it.  Being of good cheer makes everyone a winner.

MESSAGE COMES FIRST

It can be probably be said for a lot of public relations, but with guerrilla marketing campaigns it is even more important. The message has to come first.  It doesn’t matter how cool, or exciting your event, if no one gets why your doing it, you’ve basically failed.

Find what makes the entity you’re promoting unique and highlight it.  That way folks will get the joke AND the message.

ONLY PHOTOS AND MEMORIES LEFT

There are two truths in life.  Everyone loves a party, and everyone hates cleaning up after a party.  The only thing worse than cleaning up after a party is cleaning up after one you didn’t want while the hosts drive away.  Make sure your guerrilla marketing doesn’t create a mess that someone else has to deal with.

 

Mission Local photos of Microsoft Guerrilla Campaign

Microsoft found this out recently with a guerrilla campaign in San Francisco.  Their “chalk” messages turned out to be more permanent than thought and now Microsoft is going to have to pay for the clean up and any fines.  This doesn’t include all the evil thoughts the people actually cleaning up the mess will have towards Bill Gates.  Not a good way to get new customers.

TAKE AND KEEP RESPONSIBILITY

What many guerrilla marketers often forget is that they are responsible for everything that happens during an event.  This means good AND bad.  Some old lady who gets trampled by the hundreds of folk dressed up like stampeding bulls is your responsibility.  Make sure you keep control of your event.  Let your “participants” know what you expect.  Make sure you take care of any damage.  Don’t give people a reason to complain about your event.  The only thing you want to apologize for is for too much awesomeness.

Guerrilla Marketing is a great tool for any public relations professional.  A successful campaign can create buzz that other types of P.R. are hard pressed to duplicate.  An unsuccessful campaign, however, can be disastrous.   Hopefully, by following these five rules for mounting a successful guerrilla campaign you too can create the next YouTube sensation.

The One, Ginormous, Elephant in the Room Reason All Businesses Must Use Social Media

Every business needs to embrace social media.  There’s no question that using social media correctly can help you in many ways.  Be it providing deals on Foursquare to bring in new clients, or using a blog to establish yourself as an expert in your field, social media is a tool that can help you grow your business.

There are some valid reasons, however, for not jumping on the social media bandwagon.  Yes it can be time consuming. Yes its harder to contain mistakes.  And, yes it is easy for a business to fall into the trap of thinking that social media itself is the answer to all their problems.  These are among the many reasons business owners give as to why they are reluctant to get involved with social media.

And they are wrong.

I’m not saying businesses shouldn’t be cautious, they must be, but there is one, ginormous, elephant-in-the-room reason why all businesses must use social media.

In order to listen.

Look, I know many of you think social media is a fad, or that it has nothing to do with whatever widget you produce.  Unfortunately, many of your customers, vendors, and competitors disagree.  They are using social media with abandon.

They are talking about you.

Customers are tweeting about their good (and bad) experiences with your product, or about the customer service they received from you.  Vendors are talking about ways they can trim costs by looking for better prices for the service you provide.  Your competitors are reaching out to your clients with online deals in order to persuade them that they are better than you.  If you heard someone on the street talking about these things you could address any issues, but because your not using social media you don’t know about any of it.

Or maybe they’re not talking about you at all.

All those potential customers have no idea that you exist.  Those vendors looking to lower their costs don’t know that you have the best prices in your industry.  Those competitors of yours are driving away their customers who don’t know about any other options they have.  Again, if you were at a restaurant and heard people talking about this you could let them know about your business, but because your not using social media you’re not hearing anything.

I’m not sure which scenario is scarier.  But there is a solution.  Use social media to listen.  It’s easy, free, and won’t take up very much time at all.  Here’s how you do it.

GOOGLE YOUR BUSINESS

The very first thing you should do is Google your business.  What comes up first?  Is it good or bad?  Is it your website?  Now go to the 3rd page of the Google search and see what’s there.  Then go to the 5th page, and then the 10th.  This will give you an idea of what people see when they are looking for your business.

ACT LIKE A CUSTOMER

Pretend you’re a customer who needs your product but has no idea where to find it.  What would you do?  I’d Google the product and the city I live in to see what comes up.  In fact I do that at least once a day.  I also look at reviews of each store that comes up so I know who most people trust the most.  Doing this will take you about five minutes and will give you a great idea of where your business stands.

SET UP GOOGLE ALERTS

Setting up Google alerts is very easy.  Simply go here and fill out the form.  Add an alert for your business name, one for your product, and one for any other thing you want searched.  Every time something comes up in a search regarding any of your alerts, you’ll get an email letting you know so you can check it.

SIGN UP FOR TWITTER AND SEARCH

Signing up for Twitter is easy and free.  Do it.  Now.  You don’t have to tweet at all to have an account and you can keep it private.  Once you have an account you should search for your business and your product.  Also, search competitors and organizations that are relevant to your business and follow them.

Make sure you check that Twitter account once or twice a day to see what the people you’re following are saying.  Redo your search once every couple of days as well.

Congratulations!  You now have the tools to actually listen to the social media conversation and what’s being said about you.

So what do you do when someone does say something about you?

Well, that’s a great question for another day.

This just in. How to increase your chances of getting news coverage for your client

One of the biggest struggles that any P.R. person faces is getting their client a story in a news publication.  It’s hard because there is a real dichotomy between what companies want publicized and what journalists need.  And frankly, most companies aren’t very newsworthy anyway, which is a good thing.  But that’s not what your client wants to hear, is it?

So how do you increase your chances of getting news coverage?

Understanding the concept of “newsworthiness” is a start, but the best way to get your client a hit on the 5 O’clock news is to know what the journalists think is newsworthy.  Seems logical right?  So where does one go to find this information?

Why Twitter, of course.

You see, news organizations understood very quickly that Twitter is the ultimate news feed.  And because  they base their business on selling you the premise that they can give you the most information about your world as quickly as possible after it happens, they  use Twitter, not only to track what’s happening in the world but also to keep you informed on what’s going on.

That’s pretty neat, but how does help a client?

What I do is follow every local and national news organization on Twitter.  During the day they will tweet about every story they’re working on.  If I see a story that a client of mine might know something about, I reply right away saying I know an “expert” on the issue that might be able to add something to the story.  Imagine how grateful your client will be when you tell them that CNN wants to use them as an expert for a story.

Also, many news outlets often ask if anyone has any stories that they might be interested in.  Not a bad time to pitch that “newsworthy” story.

A WORD OF WARNING! Pitching on Twitter is the same as pitching by press release.  Inundating a reporter with multiple ideas every single day will only irritate them and cause them to not use any of your suggestions at all.  Remember, NEWSWORTHINESS.

Remember, increasing your chances of getting that client on the news is all about knowing what those reporters are looking for.  Twitter can help you with that.