Legislating A Prison

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 25, 2011 by mediapirate

I can’t believe they passed the noise bylaw in Calgary. Legislating annoyances is ridiculous. All we’re doing is becoming a culture of legislating everything. Pretty soon you’ll have specific laws on how many hours your kids can play in their yard. No one talks to their neighbours any more. Maybe ensure that drivers maintain the speed limit and don’t drive recklessly on Deerfoot prior to wasting all of our tax money on these garbage regulations. I talked to my neighbours about my bike and everything’s fine. I’m personally sick of having everything we do put into laws that conform us all into the same person. There will always be obnoxious people in life and we can’t legislate them all away.

One of my FB friends said it best “You can’t legislate ignorance” (Quoting Jessi Ventura) and yet governments continuously attempt to do so under the guise of “the greater good”. The reality is they do it to have an excuse to criminalize …every single person they can, excluding themselves of course, so as to facilitate the theft of our freedoms and our wallets. As the rock music group System of a Down stated in one of their great songs on the Toxicity album “Their trying to build a prison system for you and me to live in!” As Benjamin Franklin once said “Those who choose safety over liberty, deserve neither safety nor liberty!”

Following Back on Twitter

Posted in Opinions, social media with tags , , , , , , , on December 23, 2009 by mediapirate

I’m just writing this blog entry to share my personal viewpoint on why you should follow people back on Twitter.

1) Becoming part of the community.

If you don’t follow back how can you interact with the community about things that they are talking about. It’s like shutting yourself off to everything that doesn’t pertain to you. Sure you can wait until they talk to you so you can respond but conversation is a two way street and unless you follow back you’re just a bystander waiting for engagement.

2) Respect

Why should I follow you and listen to you if you don’t follow me and listen to me? I feel that shows that you think you have something more important to say than I do and I feel that a social community is about sharing and being part of each others worlds.

3) Communication

You cut off the ability to receive DM’s from your followers. This limits personal interaction with your audience. It just makes sense to let people in within this medium

These are my three main points for following back on Twitter. There are many many more dependent on your end goals of course. I truly believe that unless you are following people back that you aren’t taking full advantage of the possibilities of engagement in the social media realm. I of course would love to hear your opinions and thoughts on this topic.

All the best,
Scott

Marketing to the Medium – As featured in the MNAMA blog

Posted in Articles, social media with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 15, 2009 by mediapirate

Featured in the MNAMA blog here.

So many people these days associate marketing in the world of social media with getting a business Twitter account or a Facebook page and advertising from those portals. Unfortunately this will get you about as far in social media as yelling about yourself to a group of people that don’t know you. The actual applications (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) are nothing but tools that allow you to connect much in the same way the post office allows you to send and receive letters. The real potential of social media is within the plan that you develop to engage with your audience.

Marketing has always played a crucial element in print, online and telephone communications. It is present in social media but in most cases it hasn’t been modified for the medium. In order to truly engage an audience, the marketing has to be designed to remain non-obtrusive. What this means is that you have to increase the potential for people to like or want to follow you by talking about things other than your business. This is the first crucial change that needs to occur in social media marketing mentality.

The second change that needs to occur is the actual engagement of your audience. Most businesses are used to sending out their message and crossing their fingers, but with social media this all changes. You now have the opportunity to listen to your target audience and what they like, want and need. Equally important are the things they don’t like. So take advantage of this opportunity because if you aren’t listening your competitors may be.

What I’m saying is that for the first time in quite a long time, you now have the opportunity to be ground level with your audience truly improving your business and product. I would just hate to see this medium wasted by companies only interested in the sound of their own voices. If we all take a moment to listen, just imagine the potential.

Blood from a stone III – Discovering the ROI within your social media campaign – The ROI of Reputation Management

Posted in social media with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 31, 2009 by mediapirate

This blog entry has been a long time coming so I do apologize. I had some personal issues that I needed to address and that involved me moving back to Canada and getting established which takes a lot more time than I ever wanted to invest. A hard transition but much needed and worth it.

So onto the task at hand. Your online reputation. It really comes down to the fact that there is a conversation online regardless of whether or not you are a participant. People talk about everything and sometimes they will talk about you. Sometimes in a good way and sometimes not. It’s the latter that I will be discussing today.

If there are negative comments about you and your brand they do need to be dealt with. Most people these days Google companies or services prior to purchasing. What you don’t know about yourself online could be hurting your bottom line. Social media will give you the opportunity to change this by becoming part of the conversation and if you use it correctly it actually gives you some control of your online reputation.

Here are some simple steps for you to maximize control of your reputation online:

Step 1 – Join in the conversation
Get yourself on the tools that you are being talked about on. This will at least put you on the same page as your targets.

Step 2 – Search out negative press
Search for the people that are talking about you and follow them. This will allow you to watch the conversation unfold and see what the issues are. Also, make sure that you do Google searches for negative press and make a note of contact information of each of the unsatisfied parties.

Step 3 – Research the situation
Prior to responding determine what the real issues are and where the real fault lies. Was it your companies fault? Was it one of your staff that over promised? Was the product at fault? Or is it the end client that is simply over-reacting.

Step 4 – Come up with a strategy

Don’t wade into the middle of a hostile conversation unarmed. Have a solution ready to present. In fact, have multiple solutions ready. The unhappy party may just want to be acknowledged and talked to. That can actually diffuse most situations but be prepared with a secondary strategy should the situation escalate.

Step 5 – Communicate
Just the act of communication is a positive step online for your company because it immediately shows that you care. Go over the entire situation with the end client. This will make sure that you are both on the same page. It will also allow the end user to reflect and realize if they maybe over-reacted. Make sure that your main goal is listening. You aren’t the one with the problem, the client is.

Step 6 – Attitude

No matter what the other party says or does, understand that you are working for a company and this is not personal. Maintain a level of professionalism and continue attempting to resolve the situation. The public will see this and even if you can’t come to an understanding it at least shows that you cared enough for this client that you made this very personal effort.

Step 7 – Document
Record all occurrences of communication between you and the end client. This can build up a great social media case study for you to showcase on a blog. It can also be a necessary component if it ever comes down to a legal battle. This information is invaluable to your organization because it is honest feedback and may allow for these type of situations to be minimized in the future.

Step 8 – Transparency
Above all remain transparent. If you lie or try to manipulate the situation you could be providing the ammunition that an unhappy client needs to damage your brand even more. It’s all about connecting with your community on a human level. Say that you’re sorry, help your client and move forward in a positive manner. We all just want to be acknowledged and these days there aren’t many accountable companies. Become one and you may have just found the key to stand out in your industry.

There are many more elements in a solid reputation management campaign but by starting with these few basic steps you will be well on your way. The end result of a properly maintained reputation management campaign is to address negative press and convert it to a positive case study by developing brand advocates. Doing this also assists in the build of your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) campaign and increases your overall brand equity. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments. I would love to hear from you!

Blood from a stone II – Discovering the ROI within your social media campaign – The ROI of SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Posted in Media, social media, Twitter with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 13, 2009 by mediapirate

Another way that social media can truly impact your bottom line is in terms of your SEO. To be honest, these days it’s pretty difficult and considerably more costly to manage an effective SEO campaign without utilizing social media. Social media’s power to drive SEO is actually quite incredible, and properly utilized it can assist you in minimizing your overall PPC (Pay Per Click) maximizing your organic search while building overall traffic and reach.

Social media allows you to build an incredibly strong organic search structure built on a foundation of community development. So how can social media strengthen your SEO campaign while saving you money?

Brand Engagement
Building a community around your brand is one of the best things that you can do in terms of strong SEO. By developing and nurturing a community you increase your chances for discussion and the potential of brand advocacy. This means the potential for independent reviews increasing the inbound links and dynamic content (discussed in the next points) while reaching an audience that you possibly never had access to before. The conversion of even one brand advocate can be of significant value in terms of raising your search engine ranking. Your online community build is simply the key to top rankings in the long term.

Inbound linking
As any SEO professional will tell you, inbound links (Coming from professional and related sites, i.e. good neighbors) are a great way to boost your overall search rankings. Social media can yet again help you in this regard. By linking back to your own sites from your profile and getting your social media audience to broadcast these links within their stream you not only gain immediate traffic but you develop a very strong foundation of inbound links. Granted, the nofollow tags on sites such as Flickr and Twitter can minimize the overall link value but I believe the value is still passed at a lower value. So while nofollow makes it possible to debate the link value these links do get put into Google and Yahoo’s backlink checker and nofollow still allows spiders to cache and index them. An additional way to build a strong backlink structure is by publishing RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds from your social media sites and submitting them to aggregators such as Ping-O-Matic and Technorati.

Dynamic Content
Social media portals such as blogs and microblogs allow you the potential to provide dynamic, ever changing, keyword dense content for the search engines to index. Providing relevant and keyword dense content to the search engines on a regular basis is a great way to make it to the top of SERP’s (Search Engine Results Pages). The more independent portals that house this content and link back to your website the better. Just make sure you have the resources to manage and update these portals.

Traffic Generation
At the mere click of a button (Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit, etc.) you have the potential to send thousands of interested potential clients to your site or blog. If you’ve written some great content there are really good odds that by the next day you will have a decent stream of targeted traffic as well new inbound links. You really can’t pay for that sort of immediate response. A subscriber based service such as Twitter or Plurk can also be used to drive effective and targeted traffic but careful attention must be paid to avoid spamming your followers. RSS feeds are particularly useful as they are subscriber based and the XML code is very indexable by search engines.

So while SEO may not directly convert to a specific dollar figure it does bring the traffic to your door and opens up the opportunity. Social media just allows you to target your audience more precisely, engage them immediately, allow them to help you do the work of building your online brand and gauge how your money is working for you. Can you really say that about your PPC campaign?

Please feel free to ask me any questions. I would love to hear from you.

Join me next time for: Blood from a stone III – Discovering the ROI within your social media campaign – The ROI of Online Reputation Management

Blood from a stone – Discovering the ROI within your social media campaign – Targeted and Untargeted Engagement

Posted in Media, social media, Twitter on March 16, 2009 by mediapirate

It’s the variable that all of us are looking for within this brave new world of social media. I constantly hear clients say “I don’t get it? How am I supposed to make money with this?”. It’s a simple question but it’s not such an easy one to answer. Traditional media has forever spouted their (usually) fabricated analytics that state that x number of people purchase this media source and our extensive focus group studies have shown that 12% of this demographic will consume your advertisements and out of that number 10% will initiate contact. As a Creative Director I have seen booklets upon booklets of these analytics over the years and very rarely have they ever been true to form. Typically, these analytics have been tailored to lull you into a comfort zone of parting with your money. After all, they wouldn’t show you these analytics if they were horrible.

Anyway, back to social media. It’s not a place where conventions such as analytics have really been defined. Why haven’t they been defined as of yet? Well this answer is easy, because nobody knows what social media “can” do for them. Sure, there are tons of “want to be” analytics that track how many people you follow and how many times you message but all of these analytics are useless unless you have define-able goals and understand the potential of the tools. Now instead of going into a rant explaining all of the ways that people are using the technology incorrectly I’m going to showcase some true ways to showcase your ROI in the social media realm. So within my next number of entries I am going to touch base on these specific aspects of social media and how they can affect your bottom line either making your company money or saving your company money.

1) Targeted and Un-Targeted Engagement

2) SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

3) Reputation Management

4) Brand Awareness

5) Warm Lead Sales Structure

6) Database build

So for the first entry in this series we will discuss one of the most obvious elements that can be a positive ROI structure;

Targeted and Un-Targeted Engagement

If you are unaware of the term engagement, in marketing what it generally refers to is communicating, and in marketing it’s typically with your audience or target. In traditional marketing this was typically “blind” or one-sided engagement. Meaning that you spoke and the audience listened. Or…they didn’t. In traditional marketing you designed your collateral with a “pull”, such as “Call today!”. Basically trying to get the end user to decide to call you on their own. Another technique to reach the end user is called a “push” this is where companies try to engage with you such techniques as cold calling from purchased lists. A very intrusive form of marketing that annoyed more than engaged.

Now I do have a point to all of this. In order to know what you are gaining you have to know the options that were available previously. Now with social media you have the opportunity to follow and track your target demographic and their conversations with search tools. This aspect is a much more honest representation of a focus group as far as I’m concerned because by following conversation you aren’t indirectly affecting it. By following them it also gives them the opportunity to follow or friend you. This is an unobtrusive form of marketing as they have decided to opt in and listen to what you have to say. It also makes them a more engaged consumer. This sort of targeted marketing is close to impossible to achieve with traditional media as you can’t choose your end users.

Another reach that I find just as powerful is the un-targeted engagement. These are the people who aren’t in your target demographic that decide they would like updates from you. This is a powerful group because until social media you had no idea that they were interested in you at all. It’s a completely untapped market. This equals good! Now, it is true that they just might be trying to add to their numbers but that’s also pretty obvious to see when you decide if you would like to follow them back or not. Regardless, they expand your reach and may even know someone interested in your product.

So how do I determine a proper ROI from targeted and un-targeted engagement? Well, it’s too individualized and involved to explain the build of an ROI component entirely on a blog but this is a simplified version:

Cost savings on base focus group
You can now view a more accurate representation of your target demographic through the use of social media searching of key word phrases without the costs incurred within a traditional focus group.

Utilizing social media on average “push” marketing (cold calling and networking) campaign
Lower or eliminate costs by replacing your telemarketing or direct mail company with a much less obtrusive form of reach and minimize your out of office networking time by networking with targeted connections via social media.

Utilizing social media on average pull advertising (placement and development within traditional media)
Advertise and promote to your targeted demographic without the cost of placement and with the potential of immediate client engagement. Typically social media will reduce your overall design costing as well due to a large percentage of it being text based.

Defined sales from social media
Don’t expect your sales to be off the hook in this department. Sales can happen on social media but it’s usually the direct result of a great marketing concept or salesperson.

So there you have it. In terms targeted and un-targeted engagement it’s primarily a cost savings over the traditional media you have always utilized with a more effective unobtrusive reach. This isn’t to say that traditional media isn’t still valid. I still recommend traditional media on a regular basis but social media is certainly more effective in certain areas.

Please feel free to ask me any questions. I would love to hear from you.

Join me next time for: Blood from a stone II – Discovering the ROI within your social media campaign – The ROI of SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Mediapirates Top Five Reasons To Use Social Media!

Posted in Media, social media, Twitter with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 14, 2009 by mediapirate

In the past few days I have used social media for so many things that I think I’m almost starting to take it for granted. It’s just SO convenient and I use it so much that I think that I would be lost if it suddenly disappeared. So for those of you not yet completely immersed in this fantastic new form of communication I present my top five reasons why you might want to consider it!

5) Driving Traffic – Who knows maybe this is how you found my blog! It’s just amazing how powerful social media is for driving traffic to your own media or things that you find interesting. I can’t tell you how many sites I visit daily because my social media community has recommended them. It would really show the power of social media traffic to know how you got here so if you get a moment leave a comment on this entry and just say how you found out about my blog.

4) Getting Work – Since starting our social media initiatives Sterling Cross Communications has received numerous business leads, speaking offers (Which have lead to business), partner projects and actual direct contracts. I believe that in the future this will be our largest segment growth for new business. Yeah, I know this one should have been higher but I like social media for so many other things than just work.

3) Searching For Talent Or Just Plain Advice – When I go to look for a specific talent or I need to know something, social media is the first place I turn. I can’t even tel you how many times I have needed to know something specific or needed a very specific service and have found it in my network. In fact last night I was looking for a PR arm in Ohio and within six minutes I received well over 30 responses! These people are amazing!

2) Posting Media – Posting my photos, videos, blog entries, etc. and being able to share these moments instantly with family and friends. Allowing people to share my life from a distance is very important. My girlfriend lives in Fargo, my daughter and friends live in Calgary AB, Canada, and my parents go between a lake place in Canada and a winter place in Texas so you see how crucial communication is to me. My social media campaigns allow me to feel connected to all of the people that matter in my life and that really rocks :)

1) Community – My favorite part of social media without a doubt is being part of something bigger and being able to rely on the support of a community. The reach of social media is truely unlimited and I have met some fantastic people that without social media I never would have met. Some help me in business (I hope I do the same for them as well) and some I just like to chat with but regardless of the reason the world seems just a little bit smaller.

If you ever had doubts about the value of social media I hope this helps. Please feel free to add me and say hi! Below is a list of just some of the social media portals I am on. If you have any questions or comments I would love to hear from you.

All the best,
Scott

Myspace
Facebook
Plurk
Twitter
Friendfeed
Jaiku
LinkedIn
Hellotxt
Pandora
Mashable
plaxo
Ping FM
Hi 5
tagged
youare
Pandora
Blip.fm
Wordpress
youtube
bebo
yammer
tumblr
technorati
Flickr
ReJaw
Brightkite
Identi.ca
Kwippy
Utterli
Mahalo
poprl

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