Customer-centric twitter strategy.

I’m not a subscriber to Food & Wine Magazine, but I do follow their twitter. Today, through Twitter, they got me to contemplate subscribing to their magazine. Not by ever mentioning the magazine to me, but by simply helping me out. I’ve never done a thing for them, but they’re providing me a service for no cost and no commitment. Maybe I should subscribe to their magazine, I bet it’s entertaining and helpful.

Let me start from the beginning. I woke up today and decided I wanted to cook miso-glazed fish; I probably saw it on a food network show recently. I did a google search, got a few leads, good start.

As lunch rolled around, I checked my Twitter briefly and saw this post from @fandw:

I thought, “Hey, I know what I’m cooking. I doubt they’ll actually respond, but let’s see what happens if I reply.” This was my reply:

Within minutes, I received a response! A simple link to their fish recipe section. They didn’t even link me to a specific recipe, but I was really excited that they were listening to me.

@fandw social media marketing team, my hats off to you.

Let me start off by saying that this sort of conversation-centric SMM strategy isn’t for everybody. Food and Wine Magazine is a big brand and has the resources to do this.

@fandw is successful because it has successfully made their Twitter page a customer relations service, which is a new and different service from everything else they offer. Their website has a large portfolio of recipes that people search through on a day to day basis. They leverage this content as ammunition, and provide personal recommendations to people who want some advice for a very cheap cost, 5 seconds of work by one person.

This strategy is great for companies who have a lot of helpful, informative, categorized, timeless content on their site. Beware, however, if you start responding to too many people through your twitter account, this could result in a decrease in followers. Make sure this fits in well with the rest of your social media marketing strategy.

What other businesses would you like to see implementing this sort of customer relations service?

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When is it acceptable to run in a suit?

I saw somebody running across the street with a suit on today. It looked goofy. He was a regular looking guy with a briefcase in one hand and good posture. But running in a suit can look weird, or out of place. Who do you think you are? James Bond?

Sure, I realize he was probably in a rush. Maybe he was late to something. He probably ran because the crosswalk light was flashing. However, if you’re going to wear a suit, I think you should be able to keep your composure and move at a sophisticated walking speed. It’s as simple as being able to make plans you can comfortably get to, and leave early enough to make it to your appointments or meetings on time with class.

On the other hand, who are we to let society stop us from doing something that’s practical and healthy? Running across the street here and there at opportune moments can save you valuable time. Sure, suits may not be the most comfortable clothes to run in, but we’re not talking about sprinting nor running a marathon.

Finally, if you’re chasing down a terrorist, an assassin, or a par kour stunt man, it’s definitely acceptable to run in a suit.

Wait, what’s the point here?

It should almost never be necessary to run in a suit, but it’s always acceptable, if you have good form.

Photo from Flickr. Thanks Mark Ramsay!

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Simplest Fried Rice

Using this trick, I’ve made 4 meals for $10. It’s not really a cooking tip, however you will use a frying pan. Whether or not its original, I’d like to give credit to my friend Aaron Forman for introducing this to me. He told me he made the best fried rice, and when I asked how, he told me, “left-over chinese food.”

Dab some oil on a frying pan, throw in some chinese food and rice, and then fry it. That’s it. I’ve tried this with orange chicken, mongolian beef, chicken and green beans, and mixes of all sorts. You can throw in additional veggies or meats you need to get rid of and cook it through before you throw in the rest. Eggs are also a great addition. Most likely you’ll want to throw in some seasoning yourself. Try anything from salt, pepper, soy sauce, garlic powder, ginger, oyster sauce, to Sriracha.

Tips:

– Rice is very cheap and easy to cook. If you don’t know how, you should learn.
– Using rice that’s been cooked then kept in the fridge over night works best for fried rice. The fridge dehydrates the rice a bit, making it flakey as opposed to sticky.
– If using eggs, cook and set aside. Adding it in at the end will allow it to keep it vibrant color. Food that looks good, sometimes tastes better.

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"Social Media Expert" does not mean "Social Media Marketing Expert"

I’ve been studying and analyzing social media marketing for a few months now and there’s a few things I’ve noticed. One of them is that many small businesses seem to not realize the difference between a “Social Media Expert” and a “Social Media Marketing Expert.” The keyword here is obviously “marketing.”

  • Social Media Expert – Somebody who spends a lot of time on facebook or twitter.
  • Social Media Marketing Expert – Somebody who can help a business promote itself using tools like facebook and twitter.

It’s great to see many businesses picking up on their social media marketing, but a lot of them are doing it poorly. Some are actually doing it so horribly, it’s probably hurting their brand image more than anything else.

The first step is realizing that just because somebody spends a lot of time on facebook does not make them a social media marketing expert. It starts with them not understanding marketing principles. They need to define: who is my target market? when are they seeing this message? what is the message we want to send?

It’s even important to think of the cultural implications and context of messages being spread through social media. For example, you can’t simply hire many people to repeatedly post about your product. Once it’s “obviously marketing”, and becomes even slightly annoying, it can devalue your brand. I’ve even had a conversation with a friend who decided against a product because they felt they were “harassed” on facebook by friends who were working for them.

Social Media Marketing is about harnessing the excitement of those who already love or are likely to love your brand. It doesn’t have to take too much time to implement, depending on the size of your brand. It’s more important that you’re talking to somebody who can make sure what your doing is right. If you do it right, your fans will do most of the work for you.

If you’re a small business owner, I suggest you get a chance to talk to a Social Media Marketing Expert. Somebody who understands business, marketing, and the social media marketing landscape. My suggestion is to email info@slinkymarketing.com with some questions about your social media marketing strategy.

Comic from Toondoo. Thanks Meerasapra!

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Read this before you start a blog.

Blogs are dumb. That’s what I used to think. I tried starting one twice in the past, but both times, blogging quickly became a chore. This time it will be different, and I can tell you why. If you’ve been thinking about starting a blog, let me tell you about why blogging is awesome.

You are unique. You are the culmination of your specific background and experiences, which makes you different from everybody else. You can see things from an angle, that others often miss. The places your mind wanders, when nobody is around, some people never get to see.

You are passionate about something. What do you spend a lot of your time doing? What do you spend a lot of time thinking about? Could it be: food, partying, sports, sex, music, marketing, finance, or movies? The combination of things you’re passionate about is pretty unique to you.

A blog is a great way to write down random crazy ideas that you might forget about the next day. Have you ever invented something before, that you don’t have the resources or passion to pursue? Have you ever come up with a crazy marketing idea for your favorite company, assuming they would never listen to you? These are ideas that you may or may not share with your friends. What a waste it is that some of the cool ideas you have never made it out of your head.

Who cares if anybody reads your blog? You should be writing a blog you want to write. There’s no better way to enjoy writing than to write about something you want to write about. In addition, putting your writing out there will make you want to become a better writer. If you’re not a good writer, you could ask your friends and family to read your blog and give you tips. Just start writing.

Of course, don’t write about things you don’t want to share with anybody.

Many great things can come from simply writing down cool ideas or thoughts you have. You might inspire somebody. You might find someone whose shares your passion. Your predictions may come true; and you’ll have something to point to and say, “ha, I told you this would/should happen.” You could gain credibility in an industry you’ve been wanting to work for.

Once you start writing anything and everything, you’ll start getting an idea of what you really love to write about vs things you like, but don’t want to write about. If your friends read your blog, you’ll probably notice you’re getting positive feedback about certain types of posts.

Writing a blog let’s you better yourself while bettering those around you. It becomes a well-written, recorded, personal resume that showcases what differentiates you from the rest of the world.

Your idea could save the world some day.

Photo from Flickr. Thank you Maria Reyes-McDavis!

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CMC doesn’t wear it: a story about slang.

Recently, I came upon sunglasses sold by the student government of my alma mater (Claremont McKenna College) that read, “CMC. Wearing it since 1946.” While I can imagine their excitement when they came up with a way to infuse a popular slang used around campus with a pun that can be printed on a popular item, I wonder if they realize the message it sends.

To “wear it” means to do something humiliating. It can be used in any context where the outcome of an event is negative, but more appropriately used when the victim of the incident is at fault. Examples of how one can “wear it”:

  • Falling into a pond unexpectedly.
  • Spilling a beer on one’s self.
  • Hooking up with a tranny without realizing it.

So my question to them is this, what is the message you want to send? “CMC Wearing it since 1946” suggests that we have been humiliating ourselves for 64 years. I hope that’s not the message they’re trying to send.

The phrase “wear it” and it’s definition as described above can be dated back to 2004. I know there are at least a handful of kids who still go to the school using the slang this way. At what point did the meaning or connotation change?

Why and how does slang change?

In my opinion, CMC has been “figuring it out” since 1946.

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Are you enjoying your playtime?

Do you know anybody who carries two blackberries? One of which they fear and loathe, knowing they must stop whatever they are doing to focus on work for a quick second, or in some cases all afternoon. Through my phone, I can connect with my colleagues, friends, and family through text message, email, Facebook, and Twitter. They can also connect with me. There is no escape.

When you’re interrupted by something you have to do at a time you’ve set aside for enjoyment, we call that a buzzkill. Whether or not you act upon these tasks immediately, you’re mood is negatively affected, knowing you have to stop your enjoyment or that you’re procrastinating something important.

I sometimes get the feeling that it’s no longer acceptable to be unavailable. I receive complaints from friends that I didn’t respond to their text immediately, or that their hurt because I didn’t pick up a phone call. Can’t I enjoy spending time with the people I’m with, without hurting other people’s feelings?

It’s not that I don’t like you, it’s just that I like living in the moment.

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Find your "Cheers"

Last night, as I walk up to the bar, I’m greeted by the bouncer with a handshake. As I make my way toward my part of the bar, I stop along the way to give hugs to the usuals I see weekly. I get to the bar and high five the bartender who is just about to pour shots for my two friends. Another friend comes up to the bar, so the four of us take a shot. As I drink, play games, and dance all night, I count over 25 people I know by name. Many of them I only ever see when I come to this bar.

My secret? Here it is: go to the same bar over and over again.

It’s also helpful to pick a day of the week where you dedicate yourself to the same bar. This way, you’ll see the same staff each time, who then will remember your name if you tip them well enough. You’ll also notice that there are other people like you, who have weekly schedules to go to this same bar.

How do I meet people? Simple:

  • If I recognize the same person three times, I’ll start talking to them.
  • If I talk to them three times and don’t know their name, I’ll keep asking until I can remember it.
  • If I like them, I start inviting them to other fun places I go.

Now, you try.

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Equal opportunity makes us materialistic.

The concept of equal opportunity is that we all have the same chance to be rich. The idea that we could all be rich some day has made our society materialistic, something many people complain about daily.

The concept of equal opportunity is quite new, and very different from back when royalty was royalty and peasants were peasants. In those times, few people climbed the hierarchical ladder of society, and that was alright. Rather than finding happiness through gaining power or money, peasants found happiness in day to day occurrences.

Simple things made them happy, such as the birth of a farm animal or an exceptionally large harvest. Both of these examples, do in fact provide them monetary gain. However, to them, this wasn’t a step closer to the castle they hope to live in some day, but rather a way to feed their family good food.

Politicians gain popularity by promising everyone a richer and better lifestyle. Marketers sell their product by showcasing how luxurious ones life could be.

Everyone can be rich. You can be rich too. Act rich, look rich, and you will be come rich. Money is happiness. Equal opportunity.

Photo from Flickr. Thank you Max Shearer.

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Equal opportunity also leads to depression.

I just recently wrote about how equal opportunity makes us materialistic. I just found a study that links materialism to anger and depression.

  • If equal opportunity leads to materialism,
  • and materialism leads to anger and depression,
  • then equal opportunity must lead to anger and depression.

At least materialism also makes us work harder, which increases output per unit of human capital. This means a higher GDP, and that’s all we care about, right?

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