Friday, July 29, 2011

The Return On your Investment is...

Send this to your boss who wants you to justify your use of Social Media:

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

You can contact him here:

Thursday, July 28, 2011

For The Fun of It

Social Media should be Fun.

When Al Bell invented the telephone, it wasn't so telemarketers could call him during the dinner hour.

When you turn on the radio or television, it's not to watch your favorite commercials

When you signed up for your first email account, it wasn't so you could get spam messages offering to increase or decrease your bank account or body parts.

When you joined the social media community, it was to connect and communicate, not to be sold something.

For a few years I had a co-worker who was trying to make money using the internet. He hasn't figured it out yet.

And I doubt that he will unless he reverses his thinking.

Instead of always trying to sell stuff to people in a pushy and obnoxious manner, start with relationships.

And as you build those relationships, be sure to offer to help others.

It's okay to charge for your help, but remember the relationship concept first.

After all, we're here for the fun of it. Not so you can push your crap on us.

Now, here's what I do:

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

You can contact him here:

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My Favorite Google + Feature

A lot has been written about Google+ and I've been using it a little here and there.

So far my favorite feature is the Google+ Hangout which allows you to do real time video chatting with up to 10 people.

Learn more about it here.

What's your favorite feature?

ScLoHo is Scott Howard, a Solutions Consultant with Cirrus ABS. You can contact him here:

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Should You Google +?

I'm on it, but not as active as I am on Twitter or my blogs which are my social media mainstays.

1 update daily, which is about what I do on LinkedIn & Facebook.

Pat McGraw shares his thoughts:

One Step Google Plus Strategic Plan for Small Businesses

Posted: 22 Jul 2011 09:39 AM PDT

The secrets out By me'nthedogs

So, you’ve been hearing about Google+ and you’re wondering what to do.

Here’s something to consider.


Focus your limited resources on other channels – the ones that your audience uses and trusts and that are producing the best results for your business today.

But invest some personal time to watch, listen, learn…and talk to your customers about Google+. Then make a fully informed decision on what to do next.

Does this mean you won’t be first?


But I have to ask you this – do you have the resources to be first? Are you willing to redirect your current resources from revenue generating activities and invest them into G+ (or anything else, for that matter) in the hope that you will realize an acceptable ROI at some point in the future?

Other sources you might enjoy:

ScLoHo is Scott Howard, a Solutions Consultant with Cirrus ABS. You can contact him here:

Monday, July 25, 2011

If You Got it, Use It

First a bit of background:

Saturday I was looking for some more folks to follow on Twitter and found a local weekly newspaper that has a total of 18 tweets.

They started in February 2010 on Twitter.

16 Tweets in 4 months.

1 more tweet 3 months later.

The last tweet came 5 months later.

Here's my advice...

2 schools of thought regarding Social Media Platforms:

1. Claim your space on all the various platforms that are out there so no one else gets your personal brand.

2. Use the social media channels that you have claimed.

There is a way to do both in an abbreviated way which also allows you to sleep, eat, and work offline.

Let's start with Claiming space.

Go to: NameChk = They are currently checking 159 assorted social channels. Go get ya some.

Now Step 2.

Only pick the ones you are going to active on. It could be 2, 3, 5. I doubt that you will use many more than 5 more than once a week.

What do you do with the others you claimed?

Fill out the profile info with the truth about your level of activity.

For example, I visited my MySpace account for the first time this year and it says, "I'm not really here. If you want to connect with me go to and you'll find my links".

Do you agree with this approach?

ScLoHo is Scott Howard, a Solutions Consultant with Cirrus ABS. You can contact him here:

Friday, July 22, 2011

What is #FF?

Twitter Time:

What's this #FF thing I see on Fridays?

#FF is short for Follow Friday. The concept behind Follow Friday is to:

  • Recognize those that you enjoy Following on Twitter by mentioning them.
  • Discover who your friends are following, because you may want to follow them too
#FF can be used as a list of random people you follow, or to make it more valuable you can:

  • Group similar people together. Like #FortWayne #FF @kmullett @TechSavyLender @awelfle
  • Do Individual #FF with a reason. Like #FF @TheAFWBlog to stay on top of #FortWayne news and info
Try doing a few #FF this Friday!

And if you see some #FF tweets from people you follow, check out some of the recomendations and you may find some new friends to follow.

ScLoHo is Scott Howard, a Solutions Consultant with Cirrus ABS. You can contact him here:

Thursday, July 21, 2011

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.

In June there were over 60, 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:

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Spam is Not A Tasty Treat

Monday morning, like most mornings, I grab my droid and check a few messages before getting ready for the day ahead.

Besides the 20+ emails that arrived in my email inbox, there where 45 new spam messages that arrived in my email that Gmail caught while I was sleeping.

But what we don't have yet is a spam filter on our Social Media accounts that automatically keeps those messages away from us.

I received a direct message from one of the regional H.R. managers of a national company that read:

guaranteed. make $3,000 to $8,000 a month from home.

I changed the url to protect all of us, click on it and you'll go to Google.

I didn't click on the one in my direct message because it was clearly spam.

But how did this happen in the 1st place?

Either his account was hacked.

Or he clicked on an application and gave permission to it to send messages to his Twitter Followers.

I'm betting it was option 2.

There is a third option, and that he went rogue and has become a MLM spammer trying to sell his social media credibility to pick up a few bucks with dreams of becoming a millionaire.


As the say in life, Buyer Beware, applies to clicking on stuff online too.

Every once in awhile each of us should double check our Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media accounts and see what applications we are allowing access to our friends.

Revoke those that are bad and save face and preserve your social media credibility.

ScLoHo is Scott Howard, a Solutions Consultant with Cirrus ABS. You can contact him here:

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Twitter History

by visually via

ScLoHo is Scott Howard, a Solutions Consultant with Cirrus ABS. You can contact him here:

Monday, July 18, 2011

How Social Should You Be?

With the advent of Google+, many folks are wondering what to put where and how to manage it all.

Some people use Facebook for non-work related relationships and LinkedIn for only work related relationships.

Twitter, well some folks have a business account and a personal account.

Google+ lets you combine all of those connections and segment them in circles, but...

What about those of us who mix business with personal relationships?

How do you keep it all in order?

Add your ideas in the comments.

ScLoHo is Scott Howard, a Solutions Consultant with Cirrus ABS.
You can contact him here:

Friday, July 15, 2011

Facebook is Stupid

I haven't been a Facebook fan.

They keep changing, or as they say, improving the site.

But what really ticked me off was all the games people were playing like Mafia Wars and Farmville and it was really annoying.

However, I joined Facebook and learned how to set my privacy controls and filter out the stuff I don't want to see.

Nathan from Villing and Company has done the same:

Why I Stopped Resisting and Finally Joined Facebook

Jul. 6, 2011

Nathan DeSelm
Nathan DeSelm

Editor’s Note: While this post is a personal reflection and doesn’t focus directly on marketing, we think it has some indirect marketing relevance. As marketers trying to engage consumers online, it’s important that we keep in mind why people participate in social networks. Unlike traditional advertising, most social networks are, by definition, quite personal and relationship-driven. Companies that thrive in this new environment will be those that modify their messaging and style to match.

I’m not a very social person. I dislike small talk, and much prefer meaningful one-on-one conversations over the shallow discussions that typify large group settings. I’m also not very good at maintaining long distance relationships, a fact that will be readily supported by any of my high school or college friends that happen to stumble across this article. Get a life, freaks! (just kidding)

“The conversations I find the most engaging are not held in front of an audience.”

Because of these basic personality traits, I was very uncomfortable with the core concept of Facebook. The Facebook ecosystem seems to encourage and thrive on the kinds of shallow, disinterested, even narcissistic conversations that I prefer to avoid in real life. The conversations I find the most engaging are not held in front of an audience. Often, the presence of an audience would destroy the transparency and honesty that I value in good conversations.

But it wasn’t only because I wasn’t interested in reading shallow, sanitized posts from everyone in my life that I didn’t join Facebook. I was also worried about how it might affect me. There’s an element of Facebook that reeks of a popularity contest: who can present the most interesting, witty and desirable version of their life online. I liked to think that I’d be able to rise above petty comparisons, judgmental voyeurism and vapid self-promotion if I did join. But isn’t considering my Facebook approach some sort of “high road” in comparison to the average Facebook user just another way of falling into the same comparison-based trap? “Look at me, I’m using Facebook responsibly.” Ugh! It just seemed like an unavoidable problem. The solution for me was simply not to play the game…or at least to play the game by not playing.

Several months ago, however, I finally caved, and set up an account. There were three primary motivating factors that forced my hand:

  1. For the people I actually do care to know about, I was missing out on a lot of their lives in a way that started becoming more obvious to me. When my wife starts knowing more about my extended family than I do, it feels like I might be doing something wrong.
  2. Like it or not, Facebook is going to be a significant marketing channel moving forward. As someone working in the technology side of marketing, it became less and less acceptable to opt out of the world’s largest social network. It began to feel a bit presumptive for me to try to talk knowledgeably about Facebook, while not using it myself.
  3. Facebook integration with other sites and devices sometimes provides a better experience. I decided to take the plunge after purchasing a new phone which integrates contact information from Facebook. This was the final straw, since by not having a Facebook account, I was limiting the functionality of my phone.

All of these trends don’t seem likely to disappear anytime soon, so I decided it was time to climb aboard the Facebook bandwagon. Since joining, I’ve definitely taken it slow. All of my original concerns are still factors, so I’ve started off by limiting things to family and close friends who I see frequently. But so far, it’s been fun to at least be in the room where the conversation is happening.

To get our latest articles when they are posted, please subscribe by e-mail or RSS.

ScLoHo is Scott Howard, a Solutions Consultant with Cirrus ABS. You can contact him here:

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Becoming an Authority

Now that I'm in my 4th week as a Solutions Consultant with Cirrus ABS, I am using Social Media for more and more business purposes.

Using Social Media is part of the time allocated to be weekly activities.

Here's an article from Mediapost that outlines some tips that for the healthcare profession that you and I can apply to our own activities:

Quora, Tumblr And Social Search Help Give Your Content The Audience It Deserves

In recent conversations with a wide range of clients in the medical field (hospitals, physicians networks and EMR providers), a theme has been emerging around their content aspirations. In their own way, each wants to serve as patient or clinician educators.

As someone who entered agency life from a newspaper/web producer/web developer background, this makes me smile. I believe we're in the early stages of a whole new wave of content creation and sharing. This new wave is powered by tools that will serve those with valuable insights very well, enabling them to cultivate ambassadors for thought leadership.

The tools to which I'm referring -- Quora and Tumblr and Google's social search -- are all relatively new, and combine for a truly powerful way to connect relevant content to an audience that's becoming more sophisticated about how to manage the information overload they're experiencing every day.

What is Quora?

Started in the summer of 2009, Quora describes itself as "a continually improving collection of questions and answers created, edited, and organized by everyone who uses it." Quora is intended to be a site with ongoing engagement, where users can follow topics as well as other users, and where sharing of content is encouraged.

What is Tumblr?

Tumblr is a simplified blogging platform that pulls in some of the best attributes of Twitter (publicly posted content, following others and reposting content), Facebook (easily posting text, images, video, links and more, and sharing with your network) and Wordpress (configurability, no character limits). Put another way, Tumblr can take your blogging from 0-60 in terms of finding an audience in a way that no blogging platform before it can match.

What is Google Social Search?

When someone you're connected to via Gmail or Twitter has shared a link, Google will now reference that in its search results. If you choose to view "social" results on a Google search, it will display only links shared by those you're connected to.

Putting it all together

Okay, enough pontificating and background. Here's how I see this all coming together in a few easy steps.

Step 1: Create accounts on (using your organization's Twitter account, if possible) and for your organization. If you are using a WordPress blog, you can install a plugin that automatically cross-posts your WordPress posts into Tumblr. This effectively enables you to post once and reach two different audiences.

Step 2: Make a list of five targeted topics your organization is well-equipped to answer.

Step 3: Go to Quora and search for those topics. You will likely see a few open questions, which means you have first crack at being a hero to someone. Feel free to reference / link to existing content on your site, but make sure to explain the link and make sure it's relevant to the question at hand. If there's a question about a specific medical condition, don't simply link to your hospital's department that treats it, link to specific content that answers the question, for example.

Step 4: Quora enables you to post your answers directly to WordPress and Tumblr. Post your answer to your existing WordPress blog (if you have one) and to Tumblr if you don't. (If configured properly, your WordPress blog will automatically send the post to Tumblr.)

Step 5: Use the "Share Topic" functionality in Quora to Tweet this question (and your answer) to your organization's Twitter followers.

Step 6: You can choose to receive emails when people comment, vote on, remove, suggest edits to, or when a moderator edits your answer. Keep tabs on your answers, and engage with others should new answers arrive or questions come in about your post. While such engagement might be seen as an added burden to busy marketers, it serves as the toll charge for being able to effectively leverage tools that put your organization's thought leadership directly in front of those who are craving it the most.

One of the best things about Quora is how well it is SEO'd. That, coupled with its deeply integrated social connectivity, makes answered questions on Quora supremely likely to be at the top of Google search results.

I hope this helps you to begin to see the power of what new services like Quora and Tumblr can provide. One of the challenges for any healthcare marketer, be it a hospital, a pharma company or a non-profit organization, is that much of its best expertise has a relatively targeted audience. Fortunately, with the emergence of more and more tools that focus on connection and curation as much as content creation, the prognosis for leveraging these audiences to reach a wider audience is looking better every day.

Chad Capellman (@chadrem) is an account manager at Genuine Interactive (@wearegenuine), an interactive marketing agency specializing in site design and development, search marketing, social media, and customer acquisition / retention campaigns.

ScLoHo is Scott Howard, a Solutions Consultant with Cirrus ABS. You can contact him here:

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

How to Kill Your Business with Facebook

A few days ago I was reading this story from Jay Baer, about a really, really stupid move by a national restaurant chain.

While I agree with Jay that it's good that more and more business are wanting to connect with consumers online, you really need to look at what you are considering from all angles. Not just the pros & cons, but a 360 degree point of view.

That's where a consultant can be invaluable. A consultant with experience in the arena that you are about to jump into.

And here's where I come in, with the backing of my company, Cirrus ABS.

But first, read on:

I’m glad that more and more companies are putting significant effort into their social media programs. Really, I am.

But, we can’t let enthusiasm obfuscate reality, and that seems to be occurring with alarming regularity these days in all corners of the social Web.

The most recent example to cross my inbox is from restaurant chain Buca di Beppo. I’m a fan of these eateries, and have spent many lovely evenings at various locations, gorging myself on meatballs with friends and family. But when it comes to their Facebook promotion, I’m feeling a little sick to my stomach.

We’re Crazy About Likes

I received two emailed press releases with no cover note and no personalization or explanation of any kind from Braintrust Marketing & Communications in Las Vegas (presumably the agency for Buca di Beppo).

They breathlessly tout the results of the restaurant’s Social Media Day promotion (did you miss social media day? It was on June 30. Send carnations next year). Evidently, this national restaurant chain (a division of Planet Hollywood) went from 66,000 Facebook “likes” to more than 100,000 in just one day.

To achieve this milestone, Buca used its email database of more than one million eClub subscribers, promising that if 100,000 total likes were tallied by June 30, all eClub members would receive a $10 gift certificate.

Body.jpg e1309719226197 Did This National Restaurant Chain Put Too Much Love Into the Like?Not surprisingly, the company cracked the 100,000 barrier the same day the email was sent.

Ummm, okay.

A national restaurant chain sends one MILLION emails offering $10 worth of free food, and is overjoyed when 34,000 of those recipients clicks one button called “like” on the same day the email was received? Let’s look at the metrics of this program:

  • Let’s assume that 73% of Buca di Beppo’s email club visits Facebook (matching the U.S. average, based on Comscore’s findings to that effect in May, 2011). Buca says their eClub is more than one million strong, but let’s use an even one million. Thus, we’ll stipulate that 730,000 eClub recipients are on Facebook.
  • Let’s assume that 23.3% of Buca di Beppo’s subscribers open emails from the company. I have no idea what their open rate is, but 23.3% was reported by major email provider Epsilon in the first quarter of 2011 as the industry average. That would mean that 170,090 Facebook-using eClubbers opened and read the offer.
  • At least 34,000 of that group acquiesced and agreed to “like” Buca di Beppo, which is a conversion rate of 3.4% of the total list, and 19.9% of the Facebook-using email openers.

A 3.4% overall conversion rate, and a 19.9% conversion rate among a very targeted group. Not bad, but this is not the stuff of which marketing legends are made. (In the interest of mathematical equanimity, both of these % are actually slightly higher because some portion of the email recipients were already fans of the brand on Facebook)

There’s No Such Thing as a Free Like

Now, let’s consider the cost side of the equation.

    • Because the promotion was successful, one million eClub members will receive a $10 coupon. Not all of them will be redeemed, and certainly $10 is not enough to eat at Buca, so these reward certificates will no doubt drive incremental store visits (and I like that those rewards are theoretically trackable at the store level, so they can determine ultimate redemption rates). But, the potential cost of this promotion in top-line revenue is $10 million. (Further, the restaurant provides a free appetizer when signing up for eClub, a free brownie on your birthday, and a free dessert on your anniversary. They are definitely aggressive about their CRM program)
    • Sending one million emails isn’t free, either. I don’t know who Buca uses for email, but I’m going to assume for our purposes here that they are paying an email provider .003 per sent email, a competitive rate for mid-volume senders. That would put the email sending cost at $6,000 for at least two emails (announcing the promotion, and then sending out the reward certificates).

Buca di Beppo 11 1 270x300 Did This National Restaurant Chain Put Too Much Love Into the Like?

  • You also have costs for Facebook page creation (they have one of the best landing pages I’ve seen) and management, email design and management, and PR firm costs to create and distribute the release (although I’m assuming blast emails to bloggers are pretty cheap these days. In fairness, the PR firm was very good about getting back to me with answers to some follow up questions I had).

Buca di Beppo was able to drive consumer behavior quickly. But they had to outlay a lot of cash and effort to do so. And what now? You’ve bought some likes from people that ALREADY were fans of the brand because they were on the eClub list.

A worthy goal would be that EVERY member of the eClub on Facebook should be a fan of Buca. That would be something like 730,000 likes, not 100,000. And since they’ve already taken the effort to sign up for email, shouldn’t you be able to make that happen without giving them each $10 to click a button?

This quote from the Director of Interactive Marketing at Planet Hollywood encapsulates the danger of this type of “yea, we got likes!” thinking:

All Mailboxes Found 11 matches for search Did This National Restaurant Chain Put Too Much Love Into the Like?
I’d argue that you at Buca di Beppo saw firsthand the power of “giving $10 each to people who already have said they like you” possesses, and continuing to embrace that is to snuggle up to the false prophet of fuzzy social media math.

I give Buca credit for putting so much weight behind their liking campaign. But I’m not sure the math matches the method. I would love to see a press release in 30 days from Buca that shows redemption rate and average check stemming from the $10 reward certificate program, so true ROI could be calculated.

Want some help creating not just a Facebook campaign but a social media strategy? That's one of our specialties at Cirrus ABS. Send me an email :

ScLoHo is Scott Howard, a Solutions Consultant with Cirrus ABS. You can contact him here:

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

You Gotta Find Them

I was looking at some of the brands I follow on Twitter and discovered that most have a small number of followers compared to, well, me.

Just because you are a brand and you have a Twitter account, you are not going to automatically get followers.

Oh sure, there are some of your Real-Life fans that would like to be in contact with you, but they aren't going to always seek you out.

You Gotta Find Them.

Pat McGraw wrote about this recently:

The Importance of Clear Communications

Posted: 05 Jul 2011 09:15 AM PDT

tweeting into twitterverse

I was reading Twitter Users Want Businesses to Answer Them, and the research is strongly indicating the importance of monitoring social media – especially Twitter. (And I think it also makes a really strong argument for clearly communicating to your audience the most effective ways for them to get the answers they need in a timely, accurate manner. In other words, never assume they will remember to call your toll-free hotline…)

According to May 2011 research from InboxQ, a service to feed businesses questions from Twitter, Twitter users—especially ones with more followers and thus, presumably, more experience—tend to ask questions with tweets directed at all followers rather than using @ replies or direct messages. This means questions are often not directed at a relevant brand, but many users want brands to answer them anyway.

I put that last sentence in bold because it’s the sentence that made me stop, reread, stop again and reread again.

So it would appear that, based on this research, experienced Twitter users will fire off specific questions for a brand, into the Twitterverse rather than go direct to the source! And if your company doesn’t happen to just stumble across that Tweet to Infinity and Beyond, you lose!

(For those of you thinking that every business should have resources dedicated to monitoring social media for ‘Mentions’, please turn to the left and the right so you can introduce yourself to representatives from companies that don’t invest in those resources because they haven’t been able to justify the expense.)

Users indicated that more responsive brands would benefit from greater loyalty and purchasing. Almost 60% of respondents said they would be more likely to follow a brand that answered them, and 64% said they would be more likely to make a purchase from that brand.

Those numbers shouldn’t be too surprising – responsiveness is good for business. But I include it as a reminder that your customer’s expectations might be a little out of whack (firing off tweets and expecting timely responses) but it impacts your business. So what are your going to do?

The solution? Don’t assume your customers know the best way to get accurate information from you. Be a lot more proactive in your own communications with the customer. Ask them if they have any questions whenever you get the opportunity. Remind them of the best, easiest, fastest way to get answers from you.

If you happen to have a large contingent of Twitterheads in your customer database, and you have dedicated the resources to monitor the Interwebs for ‘Mentions’, remind them of the importance of ‘@’ – and give them plenty of examples of how targeting their own communications makes it easier for you to help them quickly and efficiently.

And if you don’t have the resources – tell them. Let them know that you don’t monitor everything and if they need to talk to someone, the best way to get a fast, accurate answer is .

Yes, you still will have a handful of “Twit-iots” firing off tweets into the Twitterverse (did I get all the possible “Tweet” related words in?) But at that point, shouldn’t you be asking yourself if these are really you ‘best customers’?

Social Media is one of the many elements of Net-Centered Marketing that we provide for our clients at Cirrus ABS. Email me at : or give me a call to see if we can help.

ScLoHo is Scott Howard, a Solutions Consultant with Cirrus ABS. You can contact him here:

Monday, July 11, 2011

How Many Social Channels Do You Need?

When my friend and co-worker Kevin Mullett mentions all the social media channels he is on, most people's eyes glaze over.

But part of Kevin's job is to find all of these channels, explore them, and see if they are useful for our clients at Cirrus ABS.

But for Kevin, it's not just a job, it's a passion and lifestyle.
Feel free to ask Kevin about them, the best way to communicate with him is Twitter:

And for me, my primary channels are:
  1. Twitter
  2. LinkedIn
  3. Facebook
  4. Blogs
The Blogs are my primary source of sharing information, the other 3 are used to provide links to the blogs and for conversational purposes.

In the weeks ahead, I'll explore each of these in more detail.

And over the weekend I started using Google Plus.

What Social Media Channels do YOU use?

ScLoHo is Scott Howard, a Solutions Consultant with Cirrus ABS. You can contact him here:

Friday, July 8, 2011

Do We Really Need Google Plus?

Some personal ramblings...

I live in 2 different worlds.

Actually more than 2 it seems as we have different parts of our lives that sometimes don't overlap very much.

The Tech/Geek/Net-connected world is one.

The not connected world is the other.

I'm mostly in the connected world due to all of my online activity.

My wife is not. She is starting to check her Facebook page daily and her email daily. And she will text, but nothing like her daughter.

So I wonder about the continued growth of social networks and social channels and social platforms and social apps and social thing-a ma-gigs.

Facebook is now Mainstream.

Twitter is Mainstream Geeky.

LinkedIn is becoming Mainstream Professional.

Google Plus?

When they launched it last week, I was mostly away from my laptop all day and missed out on the limited edition roll out.

When they reopened it last night, I happened to be online and got started.

But why?

Will it go "Facebook Mainstream"? Will it make it to Mainstream Geeky like Twitter?

The real question is will the mainstreamers who embraced Facebook add Google Plus to their collection of Social Media Communication Tools or will we need a movie, aka The Social Network to push it over the edge.

The truth is it is way too early to tell.

It's like predicting who will win the 2020 election.

What are your thoughts?

ScLoHo is Scott Howard, a Solutions Consultant with Cirrus ABS. You can contact him here:

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Transitioning from Play to Work

At my last job, they really didn't care how I spent my time as long as I was on target with the goals they set for me.

Social Media was not a means to an end, at least for my bosses. It was just one more thing to do, but the bigger question was, "Why social media?"

Their version of Social Media was Facebook.

And Facebook was either:

  1. A waste of time spent that you should be working instead of playing Mafia Wars.
  2. A competitor, but not really because who is really going to advertise on Facebook?
A couple of my bosses set up LinkedIn profiles but they were never serious about using the LinkedIn channel for business.

And Twitter? "The Twitter is really stupid and is going to die." Words spoken by one of my former co-workers.
My new employer, Cirrus ABS takes all of this internet stuff more seriously. Net-Centered Marketing is the basis for all the activity that my 30 co-workers do for our clients.

The first couple of weeks that I have been with Cirrus, I have been transitioning from the web and social media being an extra activity in my life to an essential component to my earning a living.

Yes, I will still be my usual self online, but I also now get to offer more than just advice, I get to offer online solutions as I consult with folks about their marketing.

That's why I've added the contact me info below:

ScLoHo is Scott Howard, a Solutions Consultant with Cirrus ABS. You can contact him here:

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Fort Wayne Social Media Scene

In 2009, former Fort Wayne native, Amy Stark put together the Indiana Social Media Smackdown.

It basically was a popularity contest and included a chance to get nominated and voted on.

Amy lives in Indianapolis and was very happy that a couple of us from Fort Wayne came to Indy for the lunch and festivities considering it was held the week between Christmas and New Year.

Fast forward to 2011 and we have numerous Social Media events going on in Fort Wayne.

There are seminars, breakfasts, lunches, tweet-ups and all kinds of Face-to-Face activities where you can meet, greet, explore, learn and even be a resource.

There's a couple coming up this month that I want to bring to your attention.

Steps to Fitting Social Media Into the Marketing Mix is the subject of a Luncheon to benefit Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana, July 12th, $10 includes food. My friend and co-worker Kevin Mullett is the presenter this time but you need to get your tickets online before they are sold out. Click here.

Two days later, July 14th Tweet Up FOR Champions AT Champions. This event is free after work and right before the baseball game which I am also going to. Click here.

And mark your calendar for the last Tuesday of EVERY Month for the Fort Wayne Social Media Breakfast. It is coming up July 26th from 7:30am until 9am at the Northeast Indiana Innovation Center. Still free and details will be available on Eventbrite about a week before. Last month we had over 60 attend and learn about blogging.

What other Social Media events are going on in the Fort Wayne area? Add them with a comment.

ScLoHo is Scott Howard, a Solutions Consultant with Cirrus ABS. You can contact him here:

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

If You "Try", You will Fail

A few months ago I was talking to a co-owner of a local advertising agency about Twitter.

He started tweeting again.

It was his 3rd time of "trying it out".

This time he is more active, but he is not really committed.

And I wouldn't be surprised if he quits again because he sees no value in it.

On the other hand, I have seen lot's of people use social media successfully because the decided to commit themselves to it.

Jim Connolly wrote about this last month on his website:

How to kill your business!

A key factor in every failing business I have ever studied, is that the business owner dabbles.

Rather than get the professional help they need, they decide to crush their chances of success, by dabbling with their marketing.

Some common examples include:

  • People dabble with promotional offers: They make unattractive offers, to the wrong people, at the wrong time, using the wrong message and the wrong medium.
  • People dabble with social networking: They set up accounts, usually on too many networks and then copy what they see other people doing. They spread themselves too thinly and have no effective strategy. As a result, they miss all the great opportunities.
  • People dabble with blogging: They set up a blog, with no clear idea of what they want to achieve. They then fill their blog with “me too” posts (posts that simply repeat what millions of other people are saying) and then quit after a few months, because (it) didn’t work.
  • People dabble with email marketing: They buy a list or add people to a list (without their consent), and email them sales messages. They waste months angering people with unwanted email, that the recipients never requested, and wonder why it didn’t work.
  • People dabble with advertising: They place the wrong message, in the wrong area of the wrong publication, at the wrong time. They use the wrong typography, the wrong call to action and then proclaim; “advertising doesn’t work!”
  • People dabble with mail shots: They send a marketing letter, written usually by themselves rather than a copywriter (to save money), to a list they bought or built from contact data they found. The mixture of amateur copywriting, bad targeting and no compelling reason for the reader to do anything, makes this a total waste of time.

Then there are enlightened small business owners

These business owners decide to build a successful business, so they invest in the professional marketing help they need. They do the right things correctly and enjoy the rewards.

They have figured out that in the most challenging economy in living memory, the dabblers are simply dabbling their way out of business.

Photo: Jonny2love

Monday, July 4, 2011

Embrace Social Media

Here in the United States, most offices are closed today due to the Independence Day holiday.

But since we have readers around the globe, I've got an update today on ScLoHo's Social Media Adventure.

Last month I received this in my email from a LinkedIn Group I belong to:

LinkedIn Groups

  • Group: eMarketing Association Network
  • Subject: Don't be anti-social. 5 reasons to embrace social media.

1. Social media is an important SEO tool. Links from so social media are playing an increasingly important role in your site's search position. Since 80% of consumer purchases start with search, this reason alone is a good argument for embracing social media.

2. Your customers expect you to be social. 60% of Americans spend time on a social network at least once a week. YouTube reaches 36% of all business decision makers, more than 93% of business buyers believe all companies should have a social media presence.

3. Social media provides important marketing data and consumer feedback. You don't need surveys to find out what your prospects are thinking. The buyers in your market are telling you this now in social media. But you have to listen.

4. Social media is the new PR. Journalists increasingly rely on social media to research story ideas, sources and trends. A PR program that relies on phone, online wire services, and mail is no longer effective.

5. Social media produces very high conversion on leads. Leads from social focus on quality not quantity. Prospects that engage with you on social networks are more likely to look favorably on your company and brand, and its offerings.

To check your individual social media standing register at:

Now, before you go crazy about Klout, this is just one tool that you can use, but you need to know what you are looking at, etc.

At Cirrus ABS, this is one of the services we provide in our comprehensive Social Media Marketing program.

Contact me, Scott Howard at or 260-255-4387 (HELP)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Being Social Online & Offline

Welcome to the 2nd half of 2011!

So far I have posted 130 times on this site about my Social Media Adventure and I'm looking forward to continuing on Monday.

Yes, Monday is a holiday in America, but since this site has been getting visitors from around the globe, I'll continue my tradition of posting 5 days a week at noon Eastern time.

Today I want to encourage you to take your "social self" offline and also connect face to face.

I've been doing a lot of that this week, and I've done a lot of it in the past too.

Tuesday morning, I attended our local Social Media Breakfast Fort Wayne.

Wednesday I woke up extra early for a 2 hour drive to Indianapolis to attend the Social Media Breakfast Indy, then we did several more face to face meetings with Social Media folks.

Thursday I started my morning another breakfast meeting, this time it was with the Summit City BNI group, and ended up back in Indianapolis meeting other Social Media friends, including some face to face for the first time.

Next week, I will be attending a couple of lunches with the Advertising Federation of Fort Wayne, and doing another breakfast meeting are all planned in a short 4 day work week.

Last Sunday, I was honored to be included on the list of 101 Community Connectors after being one of 241 locals who were nominated.

So, while it may be fun to connect online, and it may be profitable to connect online, connect face to face too.

Enjoy your weekend!

ScLoHo is Scott Howard, a Solutions Consultant with Cirrus ABS. You can contact him here: