Tag Archives: business

All Truly Great Thoughts Are Achieved on Twitter

When was the last time you stopped and really thought about social media? I’m not talking about strategy, or metrics, or the most efficient methods of raising the virality of your posts. Stop thinking like a marketer, or a business owner, and start thinking like a philosopher. In short, stop asking ‘how?’ and start asking ‘why.’ Why do consumers visit Facebook? Why do teenagers, industry influencers, and celebrities devote hours a day to watching text scroll by on Twitter? In most cases, we can safely say that they aren’t there to visit you.

Social media is supposed to be fun, funny, entertaining. America’s businessmen aren’t wasting their workday on Facebook reading about B2B sales opportunities. They’re tending virtual farms. They’re chuckling at the latest Memebase post, or making plans with buddies for after-work drinks.

I know, I know, these are things you’ve heard a thousand times before. “You need to be more conversational,” or “we should be altering our tone to match the audience.” Stop it. Stop thinking strategy. You don’t need to enter every social conversation with an agenda. When you enter every conversation as a brand, and not a person, you come off sounding like a machine. Sometimes, it may be OK to engage with your audience without worrying about how “it fits into the broader picture of your brand identity.”

Sometimes, isn’t it OK to talk like people? Isn’t it OK to drop the brand-speak and interact on a basic, human level? Obviously, I’m not suggesting you drop everything and abandon your brand. However, once in a great while, let some humanity slip in. This Media Minion blog says it perfectly:

“Humor in a big brand’s social media marketing has pretty much the same effect as seeing a teacher outside of school; “Woah, they’re real people?”

Ambrose Bierce once said “Wit- the salt with which the American humorist spoils his intellectual cookery by leaving it out.” Humor is the essential seasoning for an engagement casserole, so feel free to sprinkle a little bit onto your next post.”

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Tim Howell

Tim Howell is a community manager and data analyst for Make Me Social. He studied fine art, psychology, and international pop culture at Bowling Green State University. In his spare time, he is a novelist and social activist.

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Three Things to Keep in Mind When Investing in New Ideas

As a specialized agency, we often find ourselves integrated into client teams in an advisory role. We live and breathe technology and communications; consuming information, creating experiences, and collaborating with vendors. We help clients and partners ask the questions that get them the solutions that they need.

If you want to advocate on behalf of your company, here are three things to keep in mind the next time that you’re looking to invest in new technology:

  1. Everyone is selling the next big idea. It’s important to understand your needs and be able to make those needs the focal point of any discussion.
  2. When you’re relying on the person pitching you for an education, the information that you’re given is most likely going to be delivered in a way that supports their agenda. Do your own research.
  3. Know what questions to ask.

The most important question that you can ask yourself when dealing with companies and vendors in the communications and technology space is:

Do I know enough about this to make an educated decision?

If the answer is no, find a trusted partner who can sit in and advocate on behalf of your brand. Investing in good advice upfront can you save you from a bad investment down the road.

Seem simple? The best advice usually is.

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When she’s not working as a marketing manager for Make Me Social, Mandi Frishman enjoys the simple things in life. During her time studying at The University of Florida, Mandi became convinced in the power of learning through play. She has since committed herself to playing (and learning) all day, every day.

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The Agency of the Future

This post is the first of the Make Me Social Guest Blogger Series, written by respected partners and friends of the agency.


Why Agencies should act more like Tech Start Ups 
 is a conversation that was started about 6 months ago and is an important way of looking at the changing advertising environment.  The key point being that ‘advertising’ (as we know it) should be adapted from focusing on that ‘One Big Creative Idea’ to testing and trying out more nimble and flexible ideas and integrating them into existing (and future) technological distributions channels.  Bottom line: Each ‘Creative Idea’ should possess a Raison d’être for each channel. And if it doesn’t, why do it?

While the above proposes a radical shift from the traditional thinking about advertising, some of the most seasoned professionals are slowly adopting these practices into their own approaches to work.  While explaining the testing and pushing content out in mass, Steve Rubel, EVP/Global Strategy and Insights for Edelman notes, “I like to say that we rain on people every day, and we hope that eventually we drop enough rain to cause a behavior change and somebody says, ‘I gotta buy an umbrella.’ It used to just take a drizzle; it now takes a monsoon.”  Jon Steinberg, president of Buzz Feed proposes developing “…a more nimble, flexible approach to advertising….GE might release 30, 40, or 50 videos…and should expect that only a few of them will really catch on. Brands shouldn’t stress out about the ones that don’t take off —they just need to feel comfortable with the idea that anything they release might get shared widely.”

While both of these approaches are definitely steps in the right direction; there is one inherent flaw with both: Even if you tell an amazing story, develop it in diverse manners and distribute in a zillion different channels, chances are very high that your message will still get lost in the shuffle. So how do you solve that conundrum?

There isn’t one definitive answer, but an excellent path to follow has been trail-blazed by Indie Shop and AdWeek’s 2011 Agency of the YearAKQANikeAudi and Google are all clients and have had bon-a-fide successes; however, it is under the hood where businesses and agencies need to look to see how AKQA has persevered.   Their key is to insist on marrying technology and creativity in order to solve business challenges that industries (they work with) haven’t even sorted out yet.

Case in point: How do you showcase Audi’s Thermal Imaging Night Vision Assistant?  Like This:


Originally only meant only for the web, Trick? or Treat? was so appropriate from both a timing and solution standpoint, it was expanded to run on national TV during the Halloween season.   This example, like other work from AKQA, does not happen in a vacuum.  “Torrence Boone, managing director of agency business development at Google, says that AKQA is ‘one of the most sophisticated of the agencies in terms of how to leverage digital platforms. . . for their clients.’ It takes a decent amount of thought and collaboration to come up with this unique approach to solving challenges such as these. AKQA has coined their approach: the Interface Design Practice.In this practice, a team of both creatives and technologists (specific to each platform) study a client’s audience to understand their behavioral tendencies and then ideate around each specific platform for their intended audiences.  Once they have a few ideas they begin to flesh it out in tandem with the client and the intended audience in real time (or as close to as possible).  By working in tandem with their partners, no longer can a client deflect responsibility of a failure to the agency or viceversa.  Both entities work together to garner the best possible solution.  And each team member – on both sides of the fence – have specific roles to which they are held accountable.Many agencies and business owners aren’t quite ready for this type of collaboration yet, but the forward thinking ones are actively moving in this direction together.

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Robert Andrade is a Digital Media Consultant for Make Me Social, Director of Social Media for Autumn Games and President of Auspicious Media.

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The Limit Does Not Exist: The End Of “Social Media”

If you sit a child down with wooden blocks, how long does it take for the blocks to be transformed into a castle, a circus or a cat? The blocks themselves remain unchanged, and what they can become will only be limited by the imagination of the young architect.

At some point in the child’s life, someone may tell them that a wooden block can’t be a cat, because cats aren’t made up of harsh angles and fixed lines. The child could accept that as true or they could pick up some tools and smooth the block into the shape of a cat.

Social media is the wooden block and we are the child.

wooden block

We have been handed one of the most powerful tools for expression in recent history, the building blocks of community and communication, and it is up to us to decide what we want to build. The only limits that exist are self-imposed – or in some cases, imposed at the corporate level.

So how does your business use social media internally? That’s right, internally. As in, to speed up and improve internal communications and collaboration, and build a more vibrant, engaged, community of employees.

The idea itself is not new but many businesses seem hesitant to use existing social media technologies internally. It doesn’t mesh with some preconceived notion of what social media is. Here’s an idea: forget everything that you know about social media. Forget the term “social media”. This is communication, supported by technology. This is creativity, supported by collaboration.

This is Enterprise 2.0 and it is a wooden block. What will you build?

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When she’s not working as a marketing manager for Make Me Social, Mandi Frishman enjoys hiding Mean Girls quotes in blog titles. During her time studying at The University of Florida, Mandi became convinced in the power of learning through play. She has since committed herself to playing (and learning) all day, every day.

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The Problem With Google+ Pages

Google recently launched their business pages product. The product is not without serious flaws or issues. Most importantly, officially you are only allowed to have one person as an admin of a page.  The page must be attached to one, and only one, personal account. At the agency level this makes Google plus pages nearly impossible to work with. Having multiple administers serving several different functions is a basic requirement of social networks in 2011.

Google+ Brand Page Creation

Creating a Google+ Brand Page

There are several reasons why businesses need to have multiple, and replaceable, administrators that are obvious at surface level. When working within an agency there are even more reasons. Community Managers, Clients, Media Teams, Digital Strategists, Account Executives, among others might have a need to log in as an administrator of a page.  In fact for most businesses, more than one person needs to have access and control of a social channel. Google, as a company that recently switched CEOs, should have realized this reality. The Spam controls are great for the network as a whole, however, they are well beyond what is needed from the first iteration, mostly because pages didn’t NEED this much functionality at launch.

The fact that the Google plus business product is missing this core administrative feature is probably most disappointing, because it represents a failure Google has been able to avoid since the inception of the network. Until now Google has not re-created the Facebook wheel. The administrative rights alone indicate that avoidance of early Facebook mistakes may have been more luck than skill. Had Google launched nonfunctional pages with just an avatar, static info, and multiple admin rights it would have been better for everyone. Almost every feature they have is 3 or 4 steps beyond the basic administrative level, and shows an inability to fully understand challenge of running a business channel on social media.

I reached out to Google to ask if the Facebook pages 1.0 solution, *creating a business profile that has no activity for the purpose of managing a page*,  was acceptable. The response, “there will be no terms of service exceptions.” With the real name profile policy on Google Plus the Facebook 1.0 solution out of contention. Google seems to be serious about their terms of service, unless of course, a brand spends a few million in ads every year or it is Google themselves. If  you are not in this category or, you don’t value your adwords, Google Docs, Google Analytics  or Gmail accounts, it is probably not worth breaking the rules.

At this point Google Plus has nearly the same number of active users as Foursquare and Get Glue’s user-base put together, or about 20% of active Twitter users. Until the admin issue is resolved, or the network explodes additional resources are best used for the following purposes.

  • Keeping an eye on brands that are messing up/ creating fire storms on the network
  • Looking for bright spots
  • Investing in developing a strategy for organic growth (few brands are doing this at all and it is very possible, that is a different blog post)
  • Clocking post life
  • Analyzing ripples
  • Personally using new engagement functionality no social site has ever brought to a brand
  • Learning the Terms of Service, Google has shown they are not gun shy about closing down anyone, even big name players! (Looks at Ford)
  • Looking at the SEO considerations

Google Plus Pages is hardly a complete or even adequate product for large organizations at this time.

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Mike Handy has been working in Social Media since Facebook was only for college students. He started his first blog in 1999 when most people were still figuring out this “Internet thing”.  These experiences paired with his background in advertising and data-centric approach provide him with a unique view of social media. When he isn’t working he is probably watching, playing, or doing something hockey related.

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Limitless Email, In an Email-less World

If you get the reference, I like you already.

Last week I killed the QR code. Now I have email in my sites. Rather, in my opinion, Google has email in their sites.

I’ve lived in my inbox for far too long. I am Pavlov’s dog , or this guy (from Crank Yankers “You’ve Got Mail” video).

For my generation it was ‘cool’ as much as it was a business tool. That’s right, we walked uphill both ways to school in the snow and checked our email and we liked it! If you get that Dana Carvey reference, I like you even more.

What’s the point? I’d like to thank Google for killing Gmail off and weaning me off my addiction with Google+. Even the base URL is cool www.google.com/+

Yes, replacing an addiction with an addiction isn’t really a help. BUT, it’s such an improvement in the opportunity to communicate regardless of the message or audience, that I’m happy to wake up with a G+ hangover.

Email has  tone (which is left to interpretation and can be dangerous).

For example, if you asked me what I think of the new Justin Bieber album and I said to you, “I like it,” in email, would you pick up my sarcasm? Or would you run off and tell your friends that I think the new Justin Bieber album is muy caliente!

G+ has mindset and context. It takes a conversation, whether business or personal and puts it in an environment designed to deal with personality and tone, aka a social setting. I can throw a photo in front of someone and know they see it vs. worrying about what their inbox is going to do with the attachment.

Mike Handy is probably smiling and saying, “It’s Enterprise 2.0.”

Well for me, it’s an addiction and one I’m happy to try and get others hooked on.

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Josh Jordan is the president and founder of Make Me Social, a marketing agency that combines traditional and new strategies to enhance an organization’s online presence and importance. Having held leadership positions with several Fortune 500 firms in industries including marketing, advertising, technology and media, Josh has developed new tactics and processes for improving outreach, sharing information and demonstrating subject matter expertise. As a difference-maker in a constantly evolving industry, he has combined the components of his background to create a communications philosophy that can assist non-profit and for-profit clients develop campaigns that deliver measurable results.

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