Monday, October 3, 2011

The New ScLoHo Website


On Sunday October 2, 2011, I launched a new website, Scott Howard aka ScLoHo at http://www.scotthoward.me/ .

While I set up domain redirects for the 4 separate blog sites, like this one, you will most likely need to resubscribe to the RSS and newsletter feeds on the new site.

Why the move? Here's the answer = http://www.scotthoward.me/2011/10/03/welcome-to-the-new-scloho/


:)

ScLoHo is Scott Howard, a Solutions Consultant with Cirrus ABS.

You can contact him here:

Friday, September 30, 2011

ReBranding ScLoHo.. Stupid or Brilliant?


My wife said to me the other day, "You are nuts, don't listen to what Kevin says."

I had to ask her what she was talking about because, she just walked into the room and those were the first words out of her mouth.

Turns out she had just read what I posted on one of my other blogs earlier this week.

On Monday, I announced to readers and subscribers of my personal blog, ScLoHo's Really? that I was about to make a transition in my online activities. Read what I wrote there if you want.

Now my wife Kathy is a typical baby boomer who has her Facebook account and she has her Face to Face Life, and that about sums up her social networking.
Uh, don't go looking for a social media network called Face to Face Life. Face to Face life is what we did before the internet, and what most of us still do.

Anyway, here's the scoop:

This weekend I am launching a new website that will combine the 4 separate blog sites onto one website.

Blogger by Google has been my primary home for all of my blogs, even though I bought domains for each of them.

And I used to tell people to Google "ScLoHo" and you'll find 200,000 links to me.

Google "Scott Howard" and as of yesterday I was on the first page for my Twitter and LinkedIn accounts.

Due to my presence in both the Social Media world as ScLoHo and the Face to Face Life as Scott Howard, I've been working at merging the two.

One of the key elements that I have learned since joining Cirrus is the importance of being found online when someone doesn't know your business name.

For those of you that remember phone books, ever try and find a plumber in the white pages?
Unless you know the name of the company, you're out of luck.

You'd look in the Yellow Pages.

Most of us look for answers by typing in keyword phrases until we find the answer we are looking for online via Search. We don't type in exact business names because we don't know until we search to see has the answers.

In many ways, Search Engines have replaced Yellow Pages.

This idea has been in my mind for a few years and as I take this last step (for now) it is the most aggressive change and required the most work from me, mainly due to having to learn more than I really wanted to learn about building a website on Wordpress.

As I have compared the Wordpress platform and support to what we offer at Cirrus ABS, I am now even a bigger believer in the Cirrus Content Management System.

One of the key elements that I have learned since joining Cirrus is the importance of being found online when someone doesn't know your business name.

The new website is already in use with 100 + articles available and next weeks updates are partially scheduled.

I am hoping not to break anything over the weekend. A few domain redirects, links to the archives which will still be hosted on blogger.com and a few more widgets, gadgets, gizmo's and gobbledegook, and all will be up and running.

ScLoHo is not going away as I explained to my wife, and I don't blindly follow the advice of Kevin or Seth, or anyone else, and I urge you to do your own exploring too as you continue on your Social Media Adventure.

:)

ScLoHo is Scott Howard, a Solutions Consultant with Cirrus ABS.

You can contact him here:

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Real Power of Social Media-4


Instead of focusing on one individual today, I have three more that came to mind as I was writing this series. While there are numerous others that I am sure are also making a difference, here are 3 that I have met that are not national celebs but are using Social Media to have an impact in real life in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

These include:

Andrew Hoffman. Andrew's background in the marketing world connected him to an organization called NeighborLink. Andrew is now the executive director and has used social media to promote the faith based volunteer organization that connects local people with needs with neighbors who can help. Check out their website.

Andrew also has been using his social media experience and connections with his alma mater, Huntington University. In January 2010 and 2011, he taught a class that introduced students to the power of Social Media and the impact they can have. This fall he has expanded that to a fall semester class.

Craig Crook. Among the notable things Craig has done recently was organize a TedX event which was an out growth of being a Linchpin. This isn't any easy accomplishment but it took someone like Craig to step forward and start the ball rolling.

Heather Schoegler also comes to my mind as someone who is highly involved in using Social Media as a tool to have an impact on real life. When you visit her twitter profile and see the multitude of ways she is connecting, you'll see why she was on my short list today.

I encourage you to connect with these folks yourself.

Tomorrow, an announcement of a big change.

ScLoHo is Scott Howard, a Solutions Consultant with Cirrus ABS.

You can contact him here:

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Real Power of Social Media-3


There are so many stories I could share regarding the Real Power of Social Media, and today and tomorrow I have two more.

Amber Recker is one of the ladies in Fort Wayne that uses Social Media to bring about real life changes.

When I met Amber via Twitter, I didn't realize that we already were 2nd degree connections on several levels.

1st of all, Amber's main paying gig these days is Director of Marketing & Development for Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana. This organization impacted my family when my Dad had cancer.

The next connection is via the Fort Wayne Derby Girls. One of my former co-workers at ROCK 104, JJ Fabini is also involved with the Derby Girls and friends with Amber and her husband Jon.

Amber is using her connections with these two organizations for the Bust A Move event this weekend.

And Amber started a summer series which has continued into the fall that combines Social Media, Food and Fundraising. Details on the October event are here.

I could continue with other events that Amber is involved with but one that I'll leave you with just one more. This year Amber decided to organize a Girls Night Out on a regular basis. My daughter Rachael finally got to go this month and here's her reaction.

Amber is one of those people I know that is demonstrating the Real Power of Social Media.

ScLoHo is Scott Howard, a Solutions Consultant with Cirrus ABS.

You can contact him here:

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Real Power of Social Media-2


Continuing my focus on the Real Power of Social Media, today I am going to introduce you to Randy Clark, another friend of mine who has had a tremendous impact on my life as well as many, many others.

In January of this year I was asked to be one of the panelists for the Social Media Breakfast in Fort Wayne and one of the other panelists was Randy.

Randy made the drive in the middle of a January snowstorm the night before from Indianapolis and that face to face connection has led to multiple life changing events.

I knew Randy somewhat via Twitter, and was invited to join him for an event he started called a Friend-Up in Indianapolis.

Randy's Friend-Up has become a monthly event that I started attending in April. Randy has mixed the Face to Face with Social by using a web service Posterous where notes are posted so those who were not able to attend in person can still see what's going on.

22 of Randy's friends are in this group and there are others not in the social media group who also attend the monthly gathering when they can.

It was my first visit to this group in April with just 5 of us that lead to my career move due to the sharing both in-person and on-line. And this summer I invited my brother in law who lives in Indy to join us and as a result, he ended up with some additional contacts and paying projects.

Randy Clark is under the radar of Twitter and Social Media Celebrities, but he is certainly demonstrating the Real Power of Social Media.

Okay, time for a confession. That last line was a not so subtle play on words that friends only friends of Randy would catch. Along with everything else that Randy does, he is also a member of the band Under The Radar. Check out their videos.

ScLoHo is Scott Howard, a Solutions Consultant with Cirrus ABS.

You can contact him here:

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Real Power of Social Media-1


On Friday, I used Seth Godin as an example of the danger elevating individuals beyond the level of their expertise.

This week, I am going to shine the spotlight a few people that I know that are using Social Media as a tool to accomplish a greater good, other than elevating themselves.

Quite frankly there are dozens of others, but when I was contemplating this subject, 6 friends whom I have met via Twitter came to mind.

Kevin Mullett. I either first met Kevin face to face at a Social Media Breakfast in Fort Wayne or at a Tweet-Up. I was a web amateur with a few blogs and was just starting to earn some residual income from some of the pay-per-click ads that the Forbes Network placed on one of my sites.

Kevin is dynamic, knowledgeable, outspoken, gracious, and humble at the same time. He is a professional in the web world. He works for Cirrus ABS as their Director of Product Development and was the one who actively recruited me to join the Cirrus team this year. This picture of Kevin was snapped as we were having lunch in May talking about the opportunity.

One example of what Kevin does to keep social media "social" is what is going on tomorrow.

The Social Media Breakfast in Fort Wayne that I previously mentioned was launched locally by people who where not actively using social media and within a few months last year, it died due to lack of interest, lack of promotion and a lack of understanding.

Kevin was then asked to revive it and he has done so with a gusto that it really needed.
But Kevin has been careful to make it an "open event".
That means it is not sponsored by Cirrus ABS.

Tomorrow is our September Social Media Breakfast Fort Wayne. It is always the last Tuesday of the month with signups for tickets via EventBrite. We have sold out of the 70 free tickets every month for the last several months.

Kevin has lined up speakers, panels, and drawn together people in the Fort Wayne area of various levels of knowledge and this face to face interaction is one example of the Real Power of Social Media.

Friday, I'll be sharing something that Kevin has challenged me to do.



ScLoHo is Scott Howard, a Solutions Consultant with Cirrus ABS.

You can contact him here:

Friday, September 23, 2011

Seth Godin is Full of ...

Seth Godin is a bald blowhard without an original idea in his round little head.

Seth Godin is a marketing genius.

Seth Who?

Opinions.

We all have them, even Seth.

Those three statements I have heard this year from 3 different friends.

Seth is one of a about a hundred who have used the internet to enhance his empire.

He is not on Twitter, well not really. His blog, which is updated at least once a day automatically sends out a tweet. ThisIsSethsBlog twitter account has over 112,000 followers.

He does not follow people on Twitter, he does not allow comments on his blog.

So I wonder, should we pay attention to what he has to say about Social Media, if he isn't using it to be social?

Take for example this post from a few days ago:

"Yet"

Here's a way to figure out if it pays to adopt a new technology.

When you talk about your market or your peers, do you say, "no one is using it..." or "no one is using it yet"?

Yet implies inevitability. If they're going to use it, it might make sense to get there before they do.

[Worth considering: The difference between a technology where getting in early pays dividends, and those that don't. For example, having a website or a blog or a Twitter account early can help, because each day you add new users and fans.

QR codes, on the other hand, don't reward those that get in the ground floor. You can always start tomorrow.]



Here we have someone with a lot of influence, talking about things that he doesn't use, at least in the manner that it was designed.

Thinking Like Seth Godin

Personally, I have several of his books. I've even read a few of them. And on one of my other blogs, I post a Sunday Seth which is a bit of Seth wisdom.

My advice is simple.

Listen to lot's of different ideas and opinions and then do what you want.

Yes, learn from others, but don't become a disciple of just one person, even if his name has God in it.

Next week I will feature 6 people I know personally who are demonstrating the Real Power of Social Media.


ScLoHo is Scott Howard, a Solutions Consultant with Cirrus ABS.

You can contact him here:



Illustration source: http://blaugh.com/2007/02/27/thinking-like-seth-godin/

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Living the Revolution

When I launched this website I included this video:

Here's why we should care about Social Media:



ScLoHo is Scott Howard, a Solutions Consultant with Cirrus ABS.

You can contact him here:

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

3 Reasons Social Media Isn't Enough (Part 3)


Reason #3 today might fly in the face of advice I've offered in the past.

I have suggested, no, urged you to register your name on as many Social Media Channels as possible to protect your brand.

And I still advocate that with a disclaimer.

Here is the third reason why Social Media Isn't Enough from Robert Flemming, CEO of eMarketingAssociation.com:

3. YOU HAVE TOO MANY ACCOUNTS: It's easy to open social media accounts for yourself and/or your business. One of the objectives of your program should be to attract as many relevant members or likes as you can. Having too many groups or pages usually dilutes that objective. WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT - It is difficult to maintain interest in groups and pages, having too many invites stale material, and disinterest by members.

I have registered my personal brand, ScLoHo, on over 50 social media channels.

But I don't attempt to use all of them.

Some I will post an update on once a year to keep the account active and the message tells people where they can really find me online, with a clickable link if possible.

Some of these channels have disappeared over the years too.

What if you built your business using a social media channel that went belly up?

You would be out of business.

Which means you are vulnerable if you are depending on Social Media alone to be your online marketing presence.

The answer?

Get your own website.

Fork over the bucks for a domain, for hosting, for designing and even better... if you are serious about your business, hire a real company with real credentials to guide and direct you.

(Quick plug, This is one of the services my company does, so contact me via email: SHoward@CirrusABS.com or 260.255.4357).

ScLoHo is Scott Howard, a Solutions Consultant with Cirrus ABS.

You can contact him here:

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

3 Reasons Social Media Isn't Enough (Part 2)


Yesterday I said I am one of the lucky ones.

My use of Social Media in the form of Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, and dozens of other platforms started as a form of self expression and sharing with others.

And I gained both a reputation and following.

So much so that earlier this year, when I told a couple friends that I would be interested in moving away from my radio advertising career, I was immediately offered a position doing what I do now.

But I've also learned that I've been lucky in that I probably broke a few rules.

Not on purpose, but by simply doing what nearly all of us do.

Ignore the Fine Print.



Today, the second reason why Social Media Isn't Enough from Robert Flemming, CEO of eMarketingAssociation.com:

2. YOU VIOLATE TERMS CONDITIONS AND RULES: Every social site has rules. Read them, and understand that violations of these TOC’s may lead to your pages, groups etc., being penalized or even banned. WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT – If you invest a lot of time and energy into building your social networks, you certainly don’t want to run into trouble with the hosts of your pages. And things like running contests, logo usage, misdirected web addresses, copyrighted photos (that don’t belong to you), incomplete profile photos or phony ones can trigger an issue with your social media host. Just take the time to read the rules, and apply them.

Yeah right. Just take the time to read the rules, and apply them.

Let's be honest with ourselves. You and I are not going to read the fine print.

Which means we are vulnerable if we are depending on Social Media alone to be our online marketing presence.

If your only online existence is on Facebook, and you violate one of their rules, they can and will shut you down.

I recently met with a friend over a trademark issue over the name of her company and she is getting nowhere with Facebook.

Fortunately, she also has her own website.


The answer?

Get your own website.

Fork over the bucks for a domain, for hosting, for designing and even better... if you are serious about your business, hire a real company with real credentials to guide and direct you.

(Quick plug, This is one of the services my company does, so contact me via email: SHoward@CirrusABS.com or 260.255.4357).

Tomorrow, reason number 3.

ScLoHo is Scott Howard, a Solutions Consultant with Cirrus ABS.

You can contact him here:

Monday, September 19, 2011

3 Reasons Social Media Isn't Enough


I never thought I'd write this.

A couple of years ago, heck even last year I wouldn't have said this.

Because I am one of the lucky ones.

Ever since the 2003, when I launched the first of the multiple blogs I operate, I have been an ambassador for Social Media.

The truth is, I still am.

But with a few precautions.

Today, the first reason from Robert Flemming, CEO of eMarketingAssociation.com:

1. YOU DON’T OWN IT: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter are companies that are managed by people that you don’t control. Insofar as your pages, groups and followers go you are at the mercy of another companies infrastructure.

Yes, my friend and now co-worker Kevin Mullett and others warned me about this.

And like I said, I've been lucky.

I haven't had an important account disappear or blog posts disappear. But I have recently bought my own domains and am in the process of backing up around 10,000 blog posts.

But here's what it means to your business or personal brand.

If your only online existence is on Facebook, the real brand you are promoting is Facebook, not yours.

Look at your Facebook page.

See all the Facebook stuff that has nothing to do with you?

They get to do that because they own your Facebook pages.

The answer?

Get your own website.

Fork over the bucks for a domain, for hosting, for designing and even better... if you are serious about your business, hire a real company with real credentials to guide and direct you.

(Quick plug, This is one of the services my company does, so contact me via email: SHoward@CirrusABS.com or 260.255.4357).

Tomorrow, reason number 2.


ScLoHo is Scott Howard, a Solutions Consultant with Cirrus ABS.

You can contact him here:

Friday, September 16, 2011

Social Media Stats


Wrapping up the week with an interesting bunch on numbers on some demographic differences for social media users from Mediapost:

Social Site Elders Click Through More

SocialCode, reporting on a new Facebook advertising research study, examining over four million data points from a wide variety of industries, says that for ads with a 'Like' button, older Facebook users have a higher CTR while younger Facebook users will tend to click 'Like' directly within the Facebook ad.

While propensity to click-through on Facebook is positively correlated with age, writes Marketing Charts, propensity to like is not. Age has a strong positive effect on whether a user will click, but has a less pronounced opposite effect on the likelihood of them becoming a fan of a page.

Fifty-plus-year-old users, the oldest segment in the study, are 28.2% more likely to click through and 9% less likely to like than 18-29-year-old users, the youngest group observed. Compared to the rest of the younger population, 50-plus users see a 22.6% higher CTR and 8.4% lower like rate.

Laura O'Shaughnessy, CEO, SocialCode, observes that "... younger Facebook users are more comfortable using the 'Like' button than older users at this point... (though) older users have a high level of interaction and curiosity about the ads... (but) are also the newest subset to join the social network... "

When broken down by gender, age has a much more pronounced effect on CTR for women than it does for men, whereas for men there is a stronger effect on 'Like' rate than women:

  • Overall, women are 11% more likely to click on an ad
  • 'Like' rates are almost even for men and women; men are actually 2.2% more likely to 'Like' an ad than women
  • For women, CTR is 31.2% higher for the 50+ age group versus 18-29 year olds; men only see a 16.2% difference between the age groups
  • Versus all age groups, 50+ women's CTR is 22% higher versus a 16.4% difference for males
  • The oldest male segment has an 11.7% lower 'Like' rate than the youngest segment, and 9.5% lower 'Like' rate versus all age groups; Women only see a 7.2% and 7.9% difference respectively

To read more from Social Code on Business Wire, please visit here.





ScLoHo is Scott Howard, a Solutions Consultant with Cirrus ABS.

You can contact him here:

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Social Business?

According to legend, Facebook was a way for geeks to meet girls.

But Facebook became much much more and other social media channels are trying to create their niche and make some bucks.

One way is to get businesses involved with social media.

Often that is handed over to the marketing department.

Which brings us to this from Sherpa:

by Kaci Bower, Research Analyst

Chart: Organizations integrating social media into the marketing mix

Q. To what extent does your organization integrate social media into the marketing mix?

View Chart Online

Click here to see a larger, printable version of this chart


Full and extensive integration is another way of saying that all touch points are being used. But doing this is easier said than done, as the chart above indicates. Only one-quarter of organizations surveyed were extensively integrating social media with both online and offline tactics, with an additional 31 percent working towards this state.

Marrying social media -- an online tactic -- with other online tactics was much more achievable to varying degrees for 32% of organizations. However, the data also suggests that organizations choose to leapfrog from limited integration with other online tactics to limited integration with both types of tactics and are bypassing the extensive online integration stage.

Strategic organizations, or those with a formalized planning process for the management and execution of social media practices, have a strong lead on other organizations when it comes to extensively integrating social media with online and offline tactics. The numbers continue to play out as expected.

Organizations still in the Trial phase -- or those with no process for performing social media -- lag when it comes to integration. These organizations are predominantly working on the first step of interconnecting social media with online tactics or are still operating their social media programs in a silo.

For additional research data and insights about email marketing, download and read the free Executive Summary from the MarketingSherpa 2011 Social Marketing Benchmark Report.


ScLoHo is Scott Howard, a Solutions Consultant with Cirrus ABS.

You can contact him here:

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Combining Social Media with Real Life

Recently I read a blog post from Josh Kilen that I believe is important.

I've edited it, so go to the original to read the full post:

5 Ways to Make Social Media Work

Posted: 25 Aug 2011 02:10 AM PDT

Via Flickr (fredcavazza)

After publishing a series of bedtime stories for parents to tell their kids and a devotional for Christians in Business, I needed a new project.

So, I’ve begun work on a book for authors and artists about using Social Media to its fullest.

These are a few main points from the book:

1. Start a Blog, Now


2. Create a Facebook Page


3. Start a Twitter account and post cool stories


4. Understand the power of YouTube and videos


5. Share Some Pictures



ScLoHo is Scott Howard, a Solutions Consultant with Cirrus ABS.

You can contact him here:

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Create Your Own Twitter Background

Yesterday I was asked if it was worth the money to buy a custom Twitter background.

I said no. Why spend money on something you can create yourself?

First off, let's look at what you need to do to load a custom background.

On your Twitter settings, click on Design.


Now you will see Theme options which include the background image.

But what if you want to be unique?

At the bottom of the page you'll see the option to change background image. When you click here you'll be given the option to upload your own image.


Which brings us back to thew question of how do I create that background image?


During the 8 years I worked for a group of radio stations, I used and abused Powerpoint.

Rarely did I use Powerpoint for on screen presentations.

I used it mostly to create proposals that included images and with the ability to move items around without the stricter formatting that Microsoft Word imposes on you, you can be pretty creative.

With Powerpoint you can save your finished product in a variety of formats including picture formats which is what you will need for your Twitter background.

There you go, use Microsoft Powerpoint as your canvas and you too can create a custom twitter background.

Here's mine: http://twitter.com/ScLoHo


ScLoHo is Scott Howard, a Solutions Consultant with Cirrus ABS.

You can contact him here:

Monday, September 12, 2011

12 Twitter Tips on the 12th


Welcome to the 12th of September.

It's a hard to imagine I started this site over 9 months ago with updates 5 days a week.

And another surprise is coming next month.

In the meantime I have a dozen Twitter Tips and thought starters:

  1. Make sure you fill out your Twitter Profile completely including a link to a site that tells us more about you. Yes, we are going to judge you, we want to see who you are and why we would want to follow you on Twitter.
  2. Include a picture. Of you, not your cat or your car, unless you are a cat or car. The exception is if you are a business, but even there, I prefer to talk to persons, not impersonal businesses.
  3. It's okay to send the same tweet more than once. Those of us that follow more than 200 people don't see all the tweets you send out. When you have more than 2000 like I do, I will likely miss your message due to the volume of tweets I get. And because I have a real job and life offline too.
  4. More on tip 3. Vary that "same tweet". Change a word or two. Send it at different times of the day.
  5. Include an @ScLoHo in your tweet if you want to be sure I get it.
  6. Use the Direct Message feature to talk privately to someone. Works like text messaging.
  7. Include a link if you want me to read or see something.
  8. Don't set up an autofeed of all your tweets to Facebook or LinkedIn. I will update my Facebook page at least once a day with the same message I place on Twitter and i will do the same with LinkedIn. But I select which tweet I want on those other social media channels. And I do it with a strategy in place.
  9. Communicate and converse. I try really hard to respond to everyone that reaches out to me. I also reach out to others and join in their conversations at times. Be Friendly!
  10. Use hashtags. The pound sign # is a way to follow a theme or conversation.
  11. Don't spam me. Twitter has become victim to the same spammers who now send out more than 75% of the emails. I don't fall for those and I will block and report you.
  12. Your universe shouldn't revolve around Twitter. Or any social media channel for that matter. Use it as a tool, but also get face to face. Twitter has changed my life. It wasn't really Twitter that helped me land a new job or created dozens and dozens of new friends the past 3 years. It was me going beyond Twitter. My wife doesn't Tweet. One of my best friends isn't on any social media channel.
What tips would you add to this list?

ScLoHo is Scott Howard, a Solutions Consultant with Cirrus ABS.

You can contact him here:

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Bare Bones


Yesterday I posed the question, what determines the success of a Social Media network?

I used MySpace as an example.

And today I have the bare bones answer to whether or not a Social Media network will be successful.

We have grown accustom to free.

Create a free account, free profile, free this and that.

But social media networks are not really free.

Someone has to pay to keep the thing running.

And we have the chicken and the egg theory to contend with too.

Do you get lots of money and then build a network, or do you build a network and then get lots of money?

I know folks who tried the first option and can't figure out why they can't get investors.

And we've seen the other side too, that's where you have the money to start, so you build a sizable network of users then try and figure out how to make it profitable.

Twitter is in that boat.

Facebook figured it out awhile ago that they would offer advertising options to companies and even individuals who wanted to target a message to tightly controlled, customizable audiences.

But let me return to the bare bones of success.

Just like any other business venture it takes $$.

If a Social Media network can't sustain itself, it will disappear.

Just like any other business.

It is that simple and basic.

By the way, my job is to help businesses use the power of the internet to be successful and make money. Contact me for help.

ScLoHo is Scott Howard, a Solutions Consultant with Cirrus ABS.

You can contact him here:

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Rise & Fall of My Space


{EAV_BLOG_VER:78670497924d8c0c} Ignore the preceding info in the brackets.

Raise your hand if you ever had a MySpace account.

Doing a quick count I see:

Teens: 0%
20's: 40%
30's: 55%
40's: 20%
50's: 7%
60's: 2%
70+: 0%

So what happened?

Did Facebook kill MySpace?

Or did MySpace self-destruct?

There have been plenty of other attempts at Social Media networks and the truth is that many more have flopped than achieved success.

What defines success?

Feel free to leave me your thoughts and I'll have some bare bones answers Friday.



ScLoHo is Scott Howard, a Solutions Consultant with Cirrus ABS.

You can contact him here:

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

10 Tips to Build Your Brand

You can do it.

I did it.

And it is how I ended up with a new career this summer.

I still subscribe to a newsletter from the Radio Advertising Bureau, (my former profession), and these tips from John Potter apply to anyone who is looking to join the online world for business as well as pleasure:

Daily Sales Tip: Build Your Personal Brand Using Social Media

I recently read an article with tips on successful Tweeting. Do you have a professional Twitter account or Facebook page you promote to your advertisers? Use these social media tips to best communicate marketing information to your advertisers and prospects:

1. Be Original
When most people find an article they want to share with their followers, they copy the title of the article and paste it into the tweet. While this gives your followers an idea of what the article is, it's bland and will mix in with all of the other tweets in their timeline. Try coming up with your own creative title for the article. This way, if the article is popular, your tweet won't be the same as everyone else who has also tweeted the same article.

2. Be Short
Twitter limits the length of tweets so you can provide useful information in a way that is easy to read. While 140 characters may already seem short, make your tweets around 120 characters if you can. This ensures that there is enough room for others to retweet (the classic way) and include any opinions or thoughts they have on the subject.

3. Tweet Like You Are Writing A Headline
Along with being short, your tweets should be straight to the point. Imagine your tweet is a newspaper headline and your goal is to get a person to read the story. You need to make the headline catchy and easy to read, while still grabbing the reader's attention and hopefully luring them into the article. Treat tweets the same way, grabbing a follower's attention and getting them to either reply or click on an included link.

4. Offer Interesting Statistics
People like to be shocked with interesting facts and statistics. If a follower reads something they can't believe, they'll be inclined to click the link and look into it more. Going back to the very first tip of being original, use an interesting statistic instead of the title of an article as the body of your tweet.

5. Be Real
Twitter, and social media in general, is about connecting people and sharing interesting things. Nobody wants to talk to a robot because it has no real thoughts or emotions. Use your own voice to tweet and make it personal. If you feel you must schedule tweets ahead of time, be sure to check and respond to any replies you get. In addition, show your followers you appreciate them by replying and retweeting them as well.

6. Time Your Tweets
Timing your tweets doesn't mean you should time them to publish every half-hour. It means you should know when your followers are most active and when you should be most active as well. If you get the most replies, retweets, and updates in the middle of the day, then you should be on Twitter interacting and tweeting during those times as well. The eastern time zone is the most populated time zone in the U.S., therefore it would also be wise to time your tweets when those people are most likely to see them.

7. Focus and Provide Value
People use Twitter for various reasons, whether it's to learn about marketing or to learn about teddy bears doesn't really matter. Find your reason for using Twitter, and stick to tweeting mostly about that subject. By focusing on one or two subjects, people will see you as being a valuable contributor who they can learn from.

8. Be Engaging
You shouldn't focus on just growing the number of followers you have, you should rather focus on getting your followers to interact and discuss what you tweet. Ask your followers questions to get them taking and giving ideas, but also remember to respond to their questions, too. If you do have a large following, asking for a good restaurant recommendation in a foreign city is always a bonus!

9. Include Links
Unless it's the score of a game or an update to something ongoing, 140 characters isn't usually enough to provide much information. You should use the space to attract people and lead them to your site or to an article that expands the brief information displayed in the tweet. Twitter is a gateway to limitless information, not so much a place to learn directly from.

10. Provoke Thought
Going along with being original and offering interesting statistics, your tweets should leave your followers questioning and wanting to learn more. A tweet that creates no ideas is going to be read and passed along without further thought. A tweet that makes a follower think will have a better chance of being retweeted or replied to, exposing you to a greater pool of potential followers.

Source: John Potter, VP/Training, RAB -- with content from Jay Vasse, Social Media Strategist, NowSourcing, Inc.




ScLoHo is Scott Howard, a Solutions Consultant with Cirrus ABS.

You can contact him here:

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

8 More Rules?

Today I have an article that lists 8 rules for using Social Media for Marketing.

What do you think about this list?

8 Essential Rules for Social Media and Business

Social Media is a complex and evolving medium that many businesses struggle to figure out. Few find quantifiable success with it, many have failed, and most have yet to truly form a social media strategy.

Failure is often a result of using social media before taking time to understand it, including asking the questions why do people engage on it and what are the unwritten rules that govern its use. It's free exposure, and often organizations fail to intentionally plan their message as they would for an expensive ad campaign. It's like trying to run before one has learned to walk. Consider this: In 2010, Nielsen and Facebook did a joint study on the effect of social media for enterprise using the benchmarks: Ad recall, brand awareness, and purchase intent. Social media had significantly better results than traditional marketing.

Whether an individual, a non-profit, or a business (B2B or B2C) -- social media strategies must be well thought out and planned prior to execution. Questions must first be answered, primarily the question of "WHY?" "WHY are we getting into social media?" And, "WHY will this motivate individuals to find out more about our organization." Before every post, "WHY will our followers find this post valuable?" Social media is permission based engagement - it is the most effective way to engage people and receive measurable results. When someone gives an organization permission to speak to them, the organization's messaging must be "on" 100% of the time. It's like dating, an organization must woo, cultivate, and meet the needs of their network. The following rules apply to almost every social media user who seeks to develop a platform, client acquisition, increased sales, and better brand awareness.

1. Social media is relational, not transactional, according to social media innovator Michael Hyatt. Probably the most important rule for any individual or organization seeking to expand exposure and acquire new customers through an online presence. Keep the "keys" to the social media account away from the Sales department. Traditional marketing has no place in social media. Overtly trying to sell a product or service will quickly damage a social media reputation (reputation is quickly damaged and long to repair). Consumers no longer need to jump through hoops to end their relationship with an organization -- no more signing up on the do-not-call-registry, no more trying to figure out how to get off a direct mail list, no more trying to figure out how to say "no" to a good salesperson -- they simply click an unfollow button and, *poof*, an organization becomes vapor in their social stream. Resist automated responders that thank individuals for following.

2. Organizations must have a dedicated social media evangelist. An organization should have an independent social media manager who reports directly to an executive on the leadership team. The social media manager should not be accountable to a supervisor who is commissioned or expected to generate a sales quota. They should be the keeper of the keys and the protector of an organization's network of followers. Because social media is incredibly fluid and changes at the speed of light (in its first 9 months, Instagram acquired an astonishing 7 million registered users) -- this person should have a natural proclivity toward Web 2.0, much like a surgeon, always reading, learning, and staying up to date. They should be fluent in related technology in order to track and report on the efficacy of the organization's social media platform -- Google Analytics, A/B Testing, Content Management Systems (like WordPress), and third party social media software like HootSuite - so as to assign metrics by which to assess and respond quickly.

3. An organization should focus on engagement and not on numbers. The numbers will follow but should not be used as a performance indicator. There is significantly more value in having a smaller network of followers who engage on a regular basis than to have a large network of followers who view your page once and are done. Phantom accounts abound in social media for numerous reasons (do you smell SPAM?). A single engaged user is worth more than one hundred unused or phantom accounts. People participate in social media because it's an effective venue to build professional networks, exchange ideas, and build their own platform -- if you're selling, they're not buying. A critical component of engagement is dialogue. Organization's who respond to and provide exposure to their more valuable followers will find their generosity reciprocated. Corporate and product development based on follower feedback is magic.

4. Define your core audience and identify your area of expertise. Do not try to be all things to all people. If you want to reach the decision makers in organizations, you may design your social media messaging and expertise around content that educates about organizational development, as an example. It does not sell your product or service in a direct or traditional way. But the decision makers who follow will begin to view an organization as an expert in their particular area of interest, they will click on links when enough credibility is built and they will share the content. In time, they will take the initiative to find out more about the organization including what products and services are offered. The trust built in social media will transfer to trust in the product or service. When users see a new post in their stream, they should immediately associate it with positive psychology -- they should know that the post will bring them value and it's not simply trying to sell them a product or service. They should be inspired to be an active participant as a result of content.

5. Content is king. As previously mentioned, social media is not the place to make overt sales pitches. Posts should be succinct, not impulsive or emotional, but rather should be thoughtfully constructed and politically correct. On Twitter a post is given 140 characters. In order for followers to RT they must be given enough characters to retweet (subtract 2 characters plus the number of characters in a username). Posts should add value to followers free of charge, no gimmicks and no strings attached -- they may provide information, best practices, or free resources. Develop free resources to give away on a website or blog. While posts should provide stand-alone content, most should include a link providing the user an opportunity to find out more. At least once daily the link should direct the user to an area of the organizations website where they can find free content or resources, such as a blog page. That's where users will find out more about the company, its products and services, and share content with their followers. Those who manage social media for business must understand that the premise that users have given an organization permission to engage them with an implicit trust that the organization will not abuse or misuse the access they've been given.

6. Updates should be consistent and frequent. Social media is always on and so should an organizations presence. Social media management is not a job relegated to weekdays between 8 and 5. It takes time and consistent impressions with other users to build the credibility needed for them to engage. Posts should be daily and typically should occur a few times and not more than 8 or 9 (depending on the network). When there are dark periods (a day or more without updates) followers get dubious, brand awareness fades, and credibility that has been built diminishes.

7. A Social Media platform must be manifested. Social media streams and accounts should be integrated into every page of an organizations website and communication including "like," "tweet," and "follow" buttons. Clients and followers cannot evangelize if an organization doesn't provide them with the tools to do so. It improves engagement, it says that an organization is serious about their social media platform, it is a big factor in SEO (Search Engine Optimization), and it ensures that website content is fresh without internal redundancy.

8. A Profile must be Perfect. The profile is the most viewed page and too often the most neglected. Users decide whether or not to follow an account based on it. Images, background, and messaging should be consistent with an organization's brand. It should be concise and not superfluous. It should include a link to the organization's website or blog

(Source: Social Media Today, 08/09/11)

ScLoHo is Scott Howard, a Solutions Consultant with Cirrus ABS.

You can contact him here:

Monday, September 5, 2011

Taking the Labor out of Social Media


First of all...

Don't automate this thing.

Beware of those that are wanting you to spend money on some magical process that will propel you to riches via social media.

But you can work smart.

Most blogging platforms allow you to write, compose and schedule your posts for a future publication date and time. I learned a few years ago the power of writing during blocks of time and scheduling those posts for the future.

As a matter of fact, what you are reading right now, I wrote at 9am Saturday.

I have other blog posts scheduled for the next 30 days. About 50 of them all together on 4 different sites.

Twitter tools like the one I use, Tweetdeck also gives you the option to schedule ahead of time.

However since I use Twitter as an interactive communication tool, I get alerts on my phone and email if someone mentions me, so I can respond. And there's only a few geeky people who know which ones are prescheduled.

There is a big difference between automated and scheduled.

Need help with your social media? It's one of the services we provide businesses at Cirrus ABS.

Contact me for details.

ScLoHo is Scott Howard, a Solutions Consultant with Cirrus ABS.

You can contact him here:

Friday, September 2, 2011

A little Respect for my Tweeps


Is Twitter the ugly stepchild of the social media world?

No, it's just an acquired taste.

But when you are on Twitter, and really use it as a communication tool, it can create a revolution, large and small.

For a world wide perspective check out this recent story.

In my own world, I have connected to folks across town, 150 miles away, half a country away, and even around the world that I talk to on a regular basis.

And it's not just silly stuff, like cat videos.

But I have helped people connect who were looking for work, looking for a job, looking for an answer, even looking for their lost phone!

My simple take on Twitter is it's a group text messaging platform.

Want to join me? I'm here: http://twitter.com/ScLoHo/




ScLoHo is Scott Howard, a Solutions Consultant with Cirrus ABS.

You can contact him here:

Thursday, September 1, 2011

LinkedIN #Fail ? (Maybe Not) Part 3


There wasn't going to be a Part 3 to this story.

But I received a phone call after 4pm yesterday from Angie at LinkedIn.

I'm not sure which of my various conversations prompted them to act.

I started the story on Twitter last week.

Continued with emails on Monday.

Posted the saga on this site Tuesday and Wednesday.

Tweeted, others ReTweeted, it was on Google+ with several comments.

Wednesday afternoon, Angie called and I was offered the 30 day trial.

Not for all five of us, but for me.

Angie sent me a confirmation email:

Hi Scott,

It was a pleasure speaking with you today.

As we discussed, I have granted you full use of the Executive account for the next month. We will also send you a remind email when you free month is about to expire so you can upgrade if you would like to continue at the Executive level.

I am also including the link below so you can sign up for our Premium.

Thank you and have a great day.

Regards,

Angie
LinkedIn Customer Service Supervisor



I will use my 30 day trial and perhaps we can then sign all 5 of us up for the program.


I will chalk this one up to the power of social media.


ScLoHo is Scott Howard, a Solutions Consultant with Cirrus ABS.

You can contact him here:

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

LinkedIN #Fail ? Part 2


I'm going to continue this story about LinkedIn's failure to be social with a bit of background.

As a new way for our business development team to find the right people to connect with, we want to use LinkedIn at the Executive level.

LinkedIn has been sending promotional codes for 30 day trial upgrades for a while. When we decided to upgrade 5 free accounts, we discovered that we just missed the deadline for the last promo code, so I started looking for a new code.

Googling LinkedIn Promo Codes led me to believe that they had changed their promotional pricing strategy recently. I searched their website and found nothing, so I decided to reach out to LinkedIn and double check. I tried Twitter and after getting no response, decided to try the old fashioned way, a phone call.

Yesterday, I shared the story of calling LinkedIN
.

Here's the rest of the story:

Monday, I followed the instructions given to me over the phone by customer service.

I submitted a ticket and waited for a response.

We have 5 people on our team that we want to upgrade to the Executive level. However we are looking for the first month as a no charge, say 13 months for the price of 12, to persuade our CEO to invest in this for us.

And their response:

Hello Scott, We appreciate your interest in upgrading to the Executive level on LinkedIn. We offer a substantial discount on our annual Executive membership. If you upgrade to the Executive level and pay the one time annual membership fee of $899.55 for each account, that would be a savings of $20 per month or $300 over the year for each account, if you spread out the savings. Times that figure by 5 accounts and your boss will be saving approximately $1500.00. for those 5 accounts over the first year.

In effect that is 15 free months at the Executive level account as it is normally $99.95 per month with the month to month membership.
Please remember that there are no contracts to sign and can be canceled at any time. You would be prorated back the amount of any full months that are unused.

If you have further questions, please feel free to reply to this message.


Wendy LinkedIn Customer Service

When I read this, I was disappointed. Wendy simply spouted a canned sales pitch tailored to my request. Except she there was a problem with her offer.



Here was my email back to Wendy:

Thank you for your quick response.

However, this is still the standard pricing that is offered online.
Actually, it is a few cents more expensive, online annual price is $899.40, not $899.55 that you quoted.

As an internet solutions company, we know that all of this is negotiable as there are limited hard costs to this service.


We are also considering doing LinkedIn Ads if that will help open the doors.

Again, we are looking at upgrading 5 basic accounts, including our CEO, to Executive level which means $4497.00 for simply saying yes to that 13 months for the price of 12 by offering us the 30 day trial for the first month.

That was Monday. It is now Wednesday. I have not heard back from them.

So what do you think?


ScLoHo is Scott Howard, a Solutions Consultant with Cirrus ABS.

You can contact him here:

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

LinkedIN #Fail ? Part 1


Call it a "partial fail".

Big Companies are used to forcing you to go thru the proper channels to get your questions answered and problems solved.

Big Internet companies do this all the time.

Due to the volume of inquiries we ask that you first search our F.A.Q. and if you still need help, submit via our Q & A form, blah, blah, blah is what often happens.

Those that do it differently are often rewarded substantially.

Zappos for example.

Here's my LinkedIN story:

We are a small company, but larger than most in our field.

30+ employees. 5 on the sales side. We want to upgrade our 5 basic (free) LinkedIn accounts to the top paid level. 5 Executive accounts would currently cost $4500 using the annual membership option.

We want more.

We want a free 30 day trial. In other words, we'll pay the $4500, but we want 13 months, not 12.

We may do some LinkedIn advertising too.

I wanted to talk to a live person about this.

But you can't.

Unless you are clever.

First I asked the LinkedIn Twitter account for help.

3 days later, absolutely no response.

So I searched for the phone number, thanks Google, and called the LinkedIn office in California.

It's 650-687-3600.

The female voice recording told me that for customer service I need to go online.

I decide to "hack into their phone system".

Option 2 when I called was to use their company directory. I decided to see if they had a Scott working for them, punched the appropriate keys, and found several. I picked one and he answered.

Scott told me he was not in customer service, but he would try and help by connecting me.

After 10 minutes on hold, he came back and apologized for it taking so long but he was still looking for the number.

I figured if this was an endurance test, I had 45 minutes since I was multi-tasking.

The next time he comes back on the line, Scott tells me customer service will be calling me directly, since they have my number from caller id.
Link
Sure enough, someone from customer support calls 4 minutes later, wanting to know how I got through their phone system.

I told him.

He laughed.

Then he told me that I really did need to use the proper channels which involves, scrolling down to the bottom of my LinkedIn page, finding the little HELP CENTER link, and clicking on it.

Told him I had already discovered that and if my question wasn't on the F.A.Q. list, there was no live link to contact sales or customer service, or Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIN.

Then he told me how to make the contact us link live and fill out a ticket to get response to my questions.

On one hand, I understand why they want to keep my crazy Aunt Sally from calling to fix something that is in their F.A.Q. But come on now...

This story will continue tomorrow, but why is a social media company being so unsocial?

ScLoHo is Scott Howard, a Solutions Consultant with Cirrus ABS.

You can contact him here:



image from http://arabcrunch.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/Linkedin-blocking.jpg

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Death of Email is...


premature.

Like the death of lots of things tech related.

Social Media was supposed to kill it off.

But after a few conversations with friends about how they get social media notifications, I found that email is still being used.

Even some of my college age kids who stopped using email, started using it again when they entered the work force, because they had to. It was a work requirement.

And some even like it.

Last week I asked the question on Google+:

How do you get your social media notifications?

I get emails from Facebook, Google+, LinkedIN, YouTube and Twitter when someone mentions me, so for me, Email is still my top source for important stuff.

And in a few minutes, the responses:

Joe Taylor - Email is my primary source of notifications; I have a very limited number of notifications that send me a text message.
Don Mitchell - Email is still my primary source although I am beginning to turn off some group notifications on FB so I'm not inundated when I post on an item in a group. I see my Twitter replies via TweetDeck. I like the "mute" option on Google+ for discussions that get really active.

Dylan McIntosh - I use notification on my iPhone as primary method. Most I still get emails as backup.

Because of the number of people I follow on Twitter and other social media channels, it is impossible for me to keep up without an email notification.

And since email continues to be the primary form of business communication, I doubt this trend will change in the near future.

What are your thoughts?


ScLoHo is Scott Howard, a Solutions Consultant with Cirrus ABS.

You can contact him here:

Friday, August 26, 2011

Enough with the Rules...

I've posted a few items about Social Media RULES.

Today, a different approach.

Social Media Etiquette

And I'll preview the list from Nick Kroll but you really should read the original at the Details.com site.

Here's how he starts:

It seems that we fill every waking moment on one social-media site or another.

Waiting for an elevator? Send a tweet. On the toilet? Check Facebook. Avoiding actual work? Get sucked into a YouTube vortex of "Macho Man" Randy Savage videos.

These social-media sites are like the 21st-century town square, so you need to behave accordingly.

You wouldn't choose to embarrass yourself by releasing your bowels in public, but things are a bit more complicated online. So by sharing my tips, I hope to help you avoid taking virtual dumps all over the social-media town square.

The few highlights from the list:

1. Have a real picture of yourself as a profile pic.

2. Don't give me constant updates of where you are eating or shopping.

6. When someone dies, don't immediately reduce his or her entire life down to 140 characters of snarky dismissal.

12. Do not tag me in photos that I am not in to get me to look at them.

14. Don't take pictures of your private parts and send them around willy-nilly, because they will end up on the Internet.





Enjoy your weekend. and smile sideways :)


ScLoHo is Scott Howard, a Solutions Consultant with Cirrus ABS.

You can contact him here:

Thursday, August 25, 2011

It's Next Week

Last month I posted a similar reminder:

Last Tuesday of the Month...


Last Tuesday of the Month...

Last Tuesday of the Month...

Last Tuesday of the Month...

Last Tuesday of the Month...

Last Tuesday of the Month...

Last Tuesday of the Month...

Last Tuesday of the Month...

Last Tuesday of the Month...

Last Tuesday of the Month...

Last Tuesday of the Month...

Next Tuesday is the Last Tuesday of the Month.

The Last Tuesday of the Month is always the date for the Fort Wayne Social Media Breakfast.

Starts at 7:30, ends at 9.

Click here for details on Facebook
and be sure to sign up so we know how many to expect.

We consistently have there over 60 attend each month, even during the summer months, and we want to make sure we have room for you if you want to join us.



ScLoHo is Scott Howard, a Solutions Consultant with Cirrus ABS.

You can contact him here: