Bonitamedia’s Weblog

Creating a lasting impression for small business

When mistakes work out for the best – the Power of Social Media

I help businesses establish Social Media campaigns and create a transparent presence on the web. I have spent countless hours writing corporate policy, establishing best-practices and teaching social media neophytes the do’s and don’ts, as well as the jargon that can be expected to be found in this arena. However – I never taught my wife….

It all started – and ended – when my wife jumped on her Facebook page and read the following: “RT @JamesAkersJr: One of my friends has cancer & is shaving her head on Sat. If I can raise $500 I am going to shave mine as well…” Experienced Twitter users know that was a forwarded message from James Akers. However, she didn’t. She mildly objected – knowing full well I have been known to do some odd things in the name of charity before. Well – before I had a chance to correct her, no less than 10 of my friends were egging me on, offering to donate money to the cause. So I agreed to do it…

Bald is Beautiful!

Bald is Beautiful!

What makes this story unique is this. I have never met James – except via Twitter. His friend (who shall remain nameless) is suffering from Stage 3 stomach cancer – and up until 2 days ago, I didn’t know her name. Social Media is intended to connect people with common interests, create a communication channel that is nearly instantaneous, and establish a level of trust and transparency through this open communication. As a business using SocMed, sometimes the goal is to create a “viral” response. I felt James’ pain for his friend through his tweets and decided if I already had support to go for it.

As of today, nearly $500 has been raised to help this woman with her medical expenses. Yes, a small sum given the costs to treat such a dreaded disease. But the fact that this started because of a single post on Twitter and has reached out to a group of people from all corners of the country is simply amazing.

That my friends, is the power of Social Media…

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May 10, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Real-life power of Social Media

Most people who know me, know I am generally patient.  I will take a lot before I snap – but when I do, look out, it may get ugly!  Well – ugliness happened today…

high voltageI have been having severe problems with my phone and internet service for the past 3 days.  Both are packaged together through Comcast Business services.  My decision to go with Comcast was pretty simple – they offered a great price, static IP addresses, 4-hour response time and most of all, they were a past-client.  It all seemed to make sense.

Well – I have had some serious service issues over the past year, most of which I let go without raising a stink.  Today I snapped.  My phones and internet have been more off than on for 3 days.  I was told Monday the problem was fixed.  I was told yesterday a tech would arrive to fix the problem (after 6 hours, not 4).  Tech shows up to inform me the problem is outside (already knew that) and another guy would be out to fix it.

This morning I come in to the office expecting things to be fixed – nope…  Now I am really ticked off…  I dropped calls all morning – one to a new client (hopefully doesn’t think I am bush-league).  Frustrating and embarrassing.  So – here was my answer…

Pull out the cellphone and tweet “Day 3 of no internet service from Comcast… so much for business class’s 4hr response time… anyone else find similar service issues?”.  Of course this ended up on Facebook as well.  However, things got much better from this point forward…

I received a tweet from@comcastbill stating this was “unacceptable”.  Turns out Bill is with Comcast corporate offices in Philadelphia.  I of course was skeptical – I had never heard of him – but @sellphone assured me he was legit.  Bill called me and agreed the issue should be resolved and communication should be better.  Within minutes, Bill Evans, a local manager with Comcast Business Services called me to apologize.  Mr Evans assured me the issue wouldbe resolved and a crew was on the way to handle it.
Comcast does a great job monitoring social networks.  I never asked them to contact me – I was asking the public for their opinions.  @comcastbill did a great job diffusing the situation.  Comcast’s internet speed is the best in our area, but reliability is key.  Lack of communication at the local level caused me to flip.  I thank @comcastbill for his handling of the situation.  I hope we never have to chat under these terms again, as he is genuinely a great guy and really does want to keep his clients happy.

Thanks Comcast, @comcastbill and Bill Evans for going above and beyond what was expected!

February 25, 2009 Posted by | SWFL Hodge Podge, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Impromptu 10-Minute Presentation…

Rolling the dice with some random ramblings..

dice on white tableAt this morning’s BNI meeting I was discussing different Social Media ideas with some members when I was asked to fill in for our 10-minute presenter because her material wasn’t prepared.  Never being one to turn away the opportunity to speak, I said “Sure – I can cover for you” without having any clue what to speak about.  Then it hit me – continue the discussion about blogging, Twitter, Facebook – maybe even talk about last night’s post.

Here are the random thoughts(in no particular order) I penned at BNI.  I would love your input!

There is a HUGE difference between Baby Boomers and Gen Y – besides age!  As an early Gen-Xer, I can tell you I was raised with a certain level of modesty.  However, today’s younger generation (Gen-Y and Millenial) are less modest.  You can tell by what they post online (both text and pictures).  They appear to be more comfortable with the “transparency” that the internet brings.

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility“(Ben Parker – SpiderMan).  As noted in my previous post, anything digital must be assumed to be permanent.  Anything you do, say or post is subject to immediate and perpetual scrutiny.  The power of Social Media is tremendous – use it wisely.  Knowing that we are rapidly moving towards “Big Brother” may actually create a more morally-conscious society, while at the same time, creating an underground society that is darker and more secretive than ever before.

What are the consequences if you hire a “ghost writer” to handle your blogging, Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter accounts?  Think about how well received you and your company would be at a cocktail party or networking function if you sent the equivalent of your sports agent or PR firm in your place…

All of these topics are blog-worthy (if not research paper fodder).  Thanks in advaznce for chiming in!

February 11, 2009 Posted by | Business tips, Marketing in SWFL, SWFL Hodge Podge | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Dangers of Poor Planning…

A very short discussion broke out on Twitter tonight (ok – maybe 3 or 4 total comments – more of an extended thought than a discussion really). I commented on how poorly-planned Social Media campaigns can be just as fruitless as their traditional-media counterparts. However, it was quickly brought to my attention by @pattyg23 that a poorly planned SM campaign will probably be worse. After thinking about it for a few moments, I tend to agree – and here’s why…

Everything done via SM is digital – and therefore unlikely to be destroyed. Think about it for a moment. Open up a separate window and go to Google. Type in your Twitter ID, or your Facebook or Myspace name (or alias) and see what you find. Your tweets are public (in fact I had one of mine used recently in a newscast in AZ – thanks @Careypena3tv) Nothing done on the internet is private anymore. NOTHING. Not just the pics you wish were never posted when you were drinking too much at a nightclub (or taking a bong hit in SC), but every word you type – no matter what your mood, reasoning or context, is saved somewhere in this surreal place known as CyberSpace. Any mistake you make may come back to haunt you in the future. It’s very difficult to put a spin on any written mistakes, but easy to spin other mistakes. An example would be Alex Rodriguez’s recent apology for steroids. It was easy for him to say “I haven’t taken anything since 2003” when he hasn’t been tested since then (no “paper trail”). However, it would be much harder to overcome this little PR nightmare had he told someone online he was juicing in 2007.

So – what does this all mean? First – don’t just jump into a SM campaign haphazardly. If you don’t choose to hire a professional to guide you through the maze, take the time to learn how SM works. Learn what makes members of each community tick, learn what the expect, learn how to earn their respect. In this digital age, news really does travel at the speed of light – and you never get a second chance to make a first impression, so make yours count…

Editors Note: As luck would have it, Marc Meyer posted on his blog (and subsequently on Twitter) some examples of mistakes he has made throughout his career.  He and Mack Collier both make the point that no one knows everything, and my post isn’t meant to deter anyone from participation, rather to think before you write(speak).   Thank you both for your insights! (BTW Mack – if you’re reading this, I still need to figure out the Tweet This code for WordPress!)

Just a quick follow-up…
We have all heard stories of someone getting in trouble for their antics in public haunting them online…
Here is a great example provided by Tamar Weinberg in her Social Media Etiquette post.  Tamar – great info… Thanks!

February 10, 2009 Posted by | Business tips, Marketing in SWFL | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

History is Destined to Repeat Itself…

…especially when we repeat ourselves. Not just the mistakes, but the triumphs as well.

There are countless blogs about marketing theory in recessions. Just Google it. You’ll see a ton of info out there. The case that I find most interesting is Proctor and Gamble…

P+G was founded in the 1837 by William Proctor and James Gamble, getting their start by selling soap and candles. Seeing as the company has survived every economic environment for the better part of 170 years I feel they are as good an example as any to learn from. P+G faced many obstacles as it grew into one of the largest and most successful companies of all time. P+G’s branding strategies encompassed everything from identifying markets and creating new brands specifically for those markets to creating competition from within (most notably in their line of soaps).

Even more interesting than how P+G managed to leverage it’s own brands to strengthen the entire company is their attitude toward marketing during recessions. P+G does not cut their marketing budget at all. Instead, they look for added value with current media and they look to new and innovative marketing ideas in order to break from the norm. An example of this would be the door-to-door surveys they did in the 1930’s. When the world was in the grasp of the Great Depression, P+G sent 3000 people to the streets to conduct door-to-door interviews with the consumer to find out what their concerns were, what products they were buying and why, and so on. The result was P+G was the only conglomerate to come through the Depression in about the same condition it entered it: STRONG!

Many things can be learned from their example. To me, the most important is this: Being Proactive is far better than being reactive. P+G decided to find advertising value by negotiating better terms and pricing with current vendors and taking the savings and investing into new programs. Sound familiar?

JustoutofHome and Wirespring have both pointed out a trap that many agencies fall into… “No one has ever fired an agency for buying 30-second tv spots” Not terribly exciting, and in today’s DVR world, not too smart either. Look at your current strategy and see where you can get better value for your dollar. Instead of saving, try new media like mobile billboards, digital signage, Facebook, Twitter, etc… You may find yourself pleasantly surprised!

If you are interested in learning details about Proctor and Gamble’s marketing strategies, I suggest Wikipedia is a good starting point

February 9, 2009 Posted by | Business tips, Marketing in SWFL | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Must Everything We Do Be Tangible?

I guess this would be a follow-up to a previous post – maybe an addition…

I have never been surprised when a customer/client asks “So – how can I really measure the results of…?”  It’s a great question, one I wish I had the answer to.  I don’t think there is any way to accurately measure individual parts of any marketing campaign.  When it comes to marketing, 2+2 doesn’t (or shouldn’t) equal 4, it should be more.  However, you may never see tangible results from one aspect, while others get all the credit.  I made the mistake myself this week.  Looking through my client list, I came across The Crexent Business Center. My immediate thought was “I was a client of theirs, that’s where the business came from”.  WRONG!  In actuality, I found them through the Bonita Springs Chamber of Commerce and became their client.  Then – about 18 months later they became mine.  So in reality, the Chamber is the real source of the client.

Schlüssel zum ErfolgEnough on that.  What I really want to know is this:  Will marketing/advertising/pr ever really be 100% trackable?  With all the variables and the ever-changing landscape of options, I highly doubt it.  Convincing a small-business owner that untrackable intangibles really do have value is the padlock on the door to earning their business.  Education is the key.

February 4, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Desperate Times Call For Desperate Measures…

It’s another oft-too-used cliche and it is becoming more and more prevalent in today’s society.  Times are tough and people are finding new ways to pay bills or even put food on the table.  In fact, I had to replace my water heater a few days ago, so I put the old one on the curb for garbage pickup and it was gone within 30 minutes (I am on a dead-end street)!  I had know idea there was enough value in a broken water heater…

desperateWhat I really have a hard time understanding is why businesses feel they need to veer away from their image, their core competencies, their experience, THEIR BRAND.  I see it every day, locally, regionally and nationally.  “Going Out Of Business” has been transformed from a store closing to staying opened because of the new-found foot traffic.  I see prices slashed to the nth degree.  Loads of money being wasted on advertising and marketing all in the name of getting the consumer to spend what little money they have left.

I’m here to tell you this won’t work, it can’t work, it never will work.  Campaigns that are “too good to be true” are exactly that.  Today’s consumer is more informed than ever before.  The fact that a vast majority of people turn to the internet first for information should tell you something.  The consumer is looking for information.  They crave it.  They need it.  It’s time for businesses and marketing professionals alike to give the consumer the respect they deserve.  Don’t compromise your mission as a business in the name of the ole-mighty-buck.  Doing so will create a rift between you and your loyal customers that is unrepairable.  What’s worse is the consumer feels lied to – or even betrayed.  I would guess that’s not the image businesses want to portray.

Photo courtesy Olivier Blanchard

Photo courtesy Olivier Blanchard

I understand that times are tough.  Desperate Times Call For Desperate Measures. However, if your business plan is to thrive, not just survive, careful planning to be certain you are keeping true to your brand and your mission is just what it will take to push your business to the next level!  Ask yourself this: “What is the tipping point in my business?”  (great read by the way – The Tipping Point).  I doubt you want your tipping point to be a negative, desperate one…

January 30, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Prioritizing matters more than you know…

Priorities and how to organize them.  This, in business and in life, seems to be the biggest distraction for many.  Priorities seem to change as frequently as daily for some people, but do they really need to?  For me, virtually every task, every event, every cause, action, reaction falls within 5 different categories (in no particular order) work, spouse, children, family/friends and yourself.  I will attempt to order these – with reason – and would love to read your thoughts.

#1 – My kids.  My children will always be first on my list.  That will never change, under any circumstance.  To me, and this may sound harsh, they are the only extension of me that is irreplaceable.  I don’t subcsribe to Bill Cosby’s theory (I can make another just like you – Bill Cosby, Himself).  I truly believe that every action I take affects my kids in profound ways.  As a parent, it is my duty to make sure they are raised in such a way to become caring and compassionate adults.  I will never live up to my duty as well as I should, but I will always be cognascent of the fact that my actions shape the lives of my two children.

#2 – My wife. When I got married, I made a vow for better or for worse.  I am not a big advocate of divorce, in fact I feel that most divorces should never happen.  Either the couple got married for the wrong reason or they are unwilling to put in the effort it takes to make it work.

#3 – Myself. I learned long ago that self-centerdness and selfishness lead nowhere.  However, a facade of caring and compassion won’t work either.  However, without a healthy body, mind and spirit I can’t be the father and husband I need to be, or the friend and business owner either.  Many people feel this should be placed at #1, but given the fact I would take a bullet for my wife or kids, I can’t possibly put myself ahead of them.

#4 – Family/Friends. No one can get through life these days without family and friends.  They help us grow by holding us accountable, challenging us, comforting us, laughing and crying with us.

#5 – Work/Business. Without a job or source of income, no one could provide for their loved ones.  However, without having all of my personal life in good health, there is no way my business can thrive.  I have seen time and again where #’s1-4 fail because emphasis is on #5.

My priorities are what they are based on my life, my situation and my own convictions.  Everyone has a different set, for different reasons.  I will say that if you are having serious issues in any part of your life, re-examine your priorities, take a long hard look at where your focus is and why.  Resolution may be closer than you think…

January 28, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

A new way to keep fit…

It’s always nice to hear about a success story – especially when it involves overcoming challenges. That’s exactly what we have in Florida Fitness Coaches. The story begins with a 7-month delay because of permitting problems in Collier County and a contractor that was unable to deliver anywhere close to expected deadlines. Opening was delayed over 7 months…

FFC's Boutique Fitness Room

FFC's Boutique Fitness Room

Husband and wife team Damon and Laurel Moschetto opened their doors in January 2008 with a very simple goal – be committed to the client. Sounds pretty straight-forward, right? Well, considering most gyms – whether local or national – operate under the same business model: Get people to sign up, collect a monthly payment, and let the client fend for themselves. About the only similarity between Damon and Laurel’s operation and a typical gym is the equipment…

FFC’s typical client is 30-60 years old and, in the words of Kevin Spacey from American Beauty, “…wants to look good naked!” Each has different goals, and Damon and Laurel coach the novice to the world-class triathlete, and everyone in between. Focusing on each client, with truly personalized service makes these two unique. When you visit FFC, you’ll notice right away the difference – there is no loud music playing, the gym isn’t crowded, and the FFC team is giving individual attention to each client. This enables each client to reach their own fitness goals in shorter time. Using specialized equipment from well-known fitness companies like Polar, Damon and Laurel are able to monitor results in real-time, making sure you are working to your fullest potential both physically and mentally.

Florida Fitness Coaches blog is run by Damon (National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified), and on it you can find many great tips on nutrition, exercise and more. If you have specific questions, Damon would be happy to answer them via the blog as well.

Damon and Laurel are originally from Maine and have been married 14 years. Damon was a competitive athlete all his life and Laurel, seeing Damon’s passion for fitness, decided to go along for the ride! If you are looking for a place to bench 400#’s, you are looking in the wrong place. However, if you are serious about your fitness goals and want (or need) a true coach to help you reach your goals, then Florida Fitness Coaches is the place for you. Give them a try – you’ll be glad you did!

January 22, 2009 Posted by | Interviews, SWFL Hodge Podge | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Paradigm Shift…

Life is a voyage.  Everyday we have new challenges, conquer uncharted territory and lose epic battles (some we don’t even know are going on around us).  I am fascinated with the growth of internet communications, how “chatrooms” on CompuServe were on the cusp of social (inter)networking 15 years ago and where things have gone.  The world is shrinking my friends, and how you choose to handle or adapt is key to your success…

Change is afoot – and it is finally starting at the top.  No – I’m not talking about freezing Gov’t salaries or Foreign Affairs… I’m talking about Social Media and how big of a role it played in politics this past year.  Barak Obama and his team skillfully created a marketing campaign unparalleled in election history.  Corporate America needs to follow suit – shift your attention to getting the consumer to contact you when there is a need.  Please, look around you.  Your clients and customers are sick of the “old way”.  If you don’t adapt, then a new, more dynamic competitor will emerge that understands the direction the world is heading, and your loyal customers will indeed follow…

January 22, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 3 Comments