RIP, White Pages…

5 Apr


Ban the Phonebook

The New Restaurant Critic is You

30 Mar

Browse more infographics.

 

The Small Business Social Media Cheat Sheet

23 Mar

 

Above graphic, courtesy The Small Business Social Media Cheat Sheet.

The Internet is Big….Very Big

15 Mar

A Day in the Internet
Created by: MBAOnline.com

Follow Friday Revisited

9 Mar

When Twitter was in it’s “early adopter” stages, it was helpful to know who to follow and why. Follow Friday was a meme that grew like wildfire. The tweet that started it all was back in January of ’09:

Image

And the rest, as they say, is history. People started to look forward to Friday as a way to show gratitude to followers and help others find great people. Most of the time there was at least some reason or purpose given to why you you should follow certain tweeps.

Then came Twitter lists, and now Follow Friday has become, in my opinion, a bloated string of unrelated names, usually exactly 135 +  characters long, and defined by superlatives like “fun” or “engaging”.

…..I’m sorry, but I’m not really that into Follow Friday as it has evolved.When  I see my name sandwiched in between @JoesAuto and @Oprah in the same exact order for 67 weeks, I’m not especially flattered. I am grateful, and I say thank you: But I know I”m on a list, and the only reason I’m being mentioned is because I’m on the list. Don’t get me wrong. I’m happy to make the list, and it beats the alternative. But as Twitter continues to evolve and improve, so can Follow Friday.

Take a look at your Follow Friday list…. is it a who’s who? When was the last time you truly collaborated or reached out to them in any sort of way? What makes that person stand out among all of your followers? Why should anyone want to follow this person? Really Why? Not in 140 characters….try to get it down to a phrase.

Today, I chose to highlight a woman, @NubianOR I met on Twitter a few months back. We are passionate about our cheese, and sustainability, and we struck up a great friendship. Last week she sent me a postcard. From South Africa. It touched me so that I tweeted:

Image

This took me all of 30 seconds to put together, but it got my point across, and her reply says it all:

Image

And that, my friends, is how Follow Friday goes to the next level. Now, if you want to knock it out of the park, then look no farther than @Leaderswest. Jim Dougherty, who has this great blog knocks my socks off with his friendship and level of engagement. He has made adorable videos, touching blog posts, and even a funny animated short, courtesy of Go Animate

GoAnimate.com: #FF @bethmcshane by jimdougherty
http://goanimate.com//api/animation/player?utm_source=embed

Like it? Create your own at GoAnimate.com. It’s free and fun!

The Pen is even Mightier than the Sword…

23 Jan

the pen is mightier than the swordI work with several solopreneurs by helping them build their online communities in meaningful ways. I teach them how to harness Facebook, Twitter, and various other social media avenues and use them as tools to drive business and monitor their brands. I do not represent any of the Fortune 500 companies. Instead, I am very proud of the job I do helping small businesses level the playing field through social media. These are one of a kind brick and mortar salons, restaurants, wineries, mechanic shops, coffee houses….you get the idea. They take great pride in their work, and their businesses aren’t just about bread and butter: It is their heart and soul.

There is an unfortunate trend among some social media dabblers to tweet first and ask questions later. The days of asking to see the manager when you have a complaint has been replaced with reaching for the iPhone and tweeting directly from the dinner table. Don’t like your haircut? Try talking to the salon before giving that one star review on Twitter. You owe it to them to give them a chance to make things right before you go public with scrutiny.

One example: A woman who was unhappy with her haircut and color at a local salon, but waited a full three months before unleashing a rant on Yelp that was so scathing that it would scare anyone away. This woman never called the salon directly, and seemed to just appear out of no where. Her review is front and center on this salon’s Yelp page. It has brought this salon’s rating down a full 1.5 stars, which is quite a bit if you are struggling to keep your doors open.(more on Yelp and their dubious screening practice in another blog)

Another example: A couple who made reservations at a restaurant, and arrived 15 minutes early. It took them 20 minutes to be seated, and they complained about being seated 20 minutes late, even though they really only waited an additional 5 minutes from the reservation time. They similarly started the same mental time clock when they reported how long it took them to get served dinner…counted the 20 minutes waiting for their table as if they had already put in the order…Again, they never said anything during their time in the restaurant, and they never asked to speak to a manager, nor did they express any kind of displeasure to their server. They then ranted, not just to Yelp, but to Citysearch, Trip Advisor, and Urban Spoon.

As the Social Media Director to several smaller businesses, I see my role as cyber GM…I must patrol the social streams daily and alert business owners when something has gone awry. Often times, I can catch a disgruntled patron tweeting while they are still in a restaurant, and it takes a quick phone call to remedy. But I am shocked at how many times I will call a restaurant to let them know that “customer X didn’t like the clams” only to find out that the patron never told their server this information. Customers have a right to satisfactory service and quality products, but they also have a responsibility to go through the proper channels before taking their grievances public.

I’m not saying that it is necessary to add an extra star for the small mexican hole in the wall restaurant vs. the neighborhood Applebees, but I dare say that each mom and pop establishment can be just one bad Yelp review away from obscurity. So, please think twice before you press send on that scathing review, and make sure you’ve given them a chance to make it right before you go around publicly scrutinizing.

This is how I think  it should go:

So please measure twice before you cut once. Think before you tweet, and tweet responsibly. Okay…stepping off my soapbox!!

On the Day I was Born….

9 Jan

This song was #1 on the Billboard Charts on the day I was born. You’ll have to sleuth yourself to see how old I am 😛

I plan to play this song at my memorial when I die. I figure if it brought me into the world, it can take me out!!

What’s your song? Look it up here. Then let me know in the comments below what YOUR song is.

Klout Topics…Explained?

12 Dec

Klout just recently added an option allowing us to suggest topics for our friends and contacts to share +K  on  Klout. They claim it’s to let us have more control over out topics. I gave up when they suggested “Lambs” as a topic of influence for me long ago….

I have enjoyed punking my friends, by giving them +K forsomething innocuous like “blogging” but tweeting “I gave John Doe +K for puppy snuff films” or “I gave Suzy +K for underwater prostitution”…..you get the idea.

So, when my twitter pal Jim (@leaderswest) gave me +K last week for the topic of “Dannie Heineman Prize for Astrophysics” I thought he was getting me back for last month’s +K for baby porn…..turns out, the Dannie Heineman Prize for Astrophysics was a REAL catagory now!! And, checking back, I noticed that HE had “David Hasselhoff” as a topic of interest on his Klout page as well….

Turns out, you can’t just make up the topics: they are suggested by Klout. Here is a sampling, and NO I am NOT making this up!!

underwater football (sports)
Underwater Archaeology (field Of Study)
Iraqi Scientific Humanitarian Committee (political Party) ←-sure to get you on the FBI watchlist
Euthanasia
Bullshit (game)
Party Of Separated And Divorced (political Party)
Administration Of Air And Water Resource And Solid Waste Management Programs (industry)
Sucker Punch
Know Nothing (political Party)
European Gay Porn Awards
Cookie Monster
So, which of these would YOU like to be influential about? Leave a comment below, and I’ll see what I can do 😛

A Homemade Holiday

8 Dec

Face it…the economy has us all looking for ways to scale back, especially at this most consumerist time of the year. don’t get me wrong: Christmas is my favorite holiday. But not because of the gifts under the tree. I’m a fan of the Baby Jesus, and the history and nostalgia my family puts behind the Christmas traditions. With two teen girls, there are Christmas cookies and countless crafts that make the season full of almost Victorian splendor.

In November I tweeted a paper star craft that I pinned on Pinterest  said I wanted to try. leave it to my good neighbor to call me up and say “Remember that craft you wanted to do? Come over for coffee and let’s DO it!!”

So, we three Girls of clan McShane headed over, paper cutters and glue dots in hand to the neighbor’s house to make paper stars. It was actually a very easy project, and even my special needs daughter could be proud of the stars she made. For directions CLICK HERE. As you can see, we didn’t even use holiday paper or even holiday colors. We used square scrapbooking paper, which was the perfect size and weight, and already perfectly square!

assorted colorful paper

But I really fell in love with the idea of a country mish-mash of fun vintage paper stars and chains. We went a little crazy. But, that’s just my style. Went to Michael’s and bought vintage Christmas scrapbook paper and went to town!! Paper chains are such a fun and easy craft for kids of all ages!

Paper Chains...

In the  end, we hung the stars from different colored ribbons all over our home, and hung the chains in doorways. Very festive and fun! Here is a photo of a grouping of stars over a couch with up-lighting:

Is this a craft you might try?

To DM, or Not to DM….a social experiment

14 Nov

Of the many controversies in the Twitterdom, perhaps the most polarizing is the idea of Direct Messages (DM) upon Following. It is common practice for people to send you an automatic DM immediately upon being followed. They are usually something along the lines of:
“Hey! Thanks for following! For even better engagement, follow me on FB xyz.com.bit.ly”

Many Social Media experts take offense to being asked to engage further when they’ve just started following, while other SM experts have told me that Auto DMs are the way of life. Being the people-pleaser that I am, I found a way to make both camps happy, while engaging on a deeper level with my new followers almost immediately.

How, you ask?

(lean in, and I’ll whisper it to you……)

I simply have the following as my auto DM:

“Knock, knock!”

It solicits an enthusiastic response from approximately half of the people who get the auto DM. The range of responses are from the typical “Who’s There” to “Welcome! Please sit a spell and enjoy a spot of tea!” It has been a very successful way to wage engagement, and I’ve got my knock knock joke down. It’s fast and easy and a fun way to start-up a conversation with a new Tweep.

How about you? Do you have a favorite Auto DM? Or do you still hate them?