Tag Archives: social media

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!!


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?

Facebook for Embryos

2 Aug


Facebook announced this week that it was adding a feature to soon-to-be moms to add an unborn baby, with a due date to their family tree. Facebook for the not-yet-born.

This opens up such a can of worms for me. First of all, it is NOT an option for the father, only the expectant mother…what is UP with THAT?

But more importantly, I fear that the overly excited mom-to-be could be setting herself up for disappointment should anything go wrong in the pregnancy. What it, God forbid, a miscarriage occurs, or a child with severe medical problems is born?

I remember vividly the day I was told my baby was born with multiple midline birth defects. The minute I brought her home, I rushed to my “What to Expect When Expecting” book and looked in the back for the reference page for birth defects. It led me to one paragraph…telling me to seek help from a family therapist….not exactly what I was hoping to read :O

So, I put myself in those shoes again and imagine if I had announced to 3,000 of my closest friends on FB that I was expecting, only to have to delete the listing (sending a FB update announcement to all of my friends) if something were to go wrong?

I’ve seen ultrasound snapshots as profile pics, and I think that is great. But seriously….let’s not count our eggs before they’ve hatched…not meant as a pro-life/choice debate, but seriously!

I have had friends tell me in confidence that they had deleted certain friends because they talked incessantly about their infants ad naseum…this takes it to a whole new level.

What’s next? When a woman’s cycle is she going to be able to update her status to “might be expecting” with a drop down list of possible fathers to tag?

Top 5 Reasons Why you shouldn’t use TrueTwit

12 Jul

Once upon a time I would jump through the captcha hoops and validate myself to those who insist on using True Twit. True Twit is a validation service that offers to cut down on Twitter spam bots by authenticating each and every follower. In order to be followed back, you must leave your current page and sign in by filling in the captcha. Here are my top 5 reasons why I am NOT a fan of True Twit, and why I always advise clients from using it

  • Although True Twit claims to be bot-proofing Twitter, they are actually a kind of bot themselves. When you sign up for the service, they automatically send DMs to all of your followers requesting that you jump through their captcha hoop.
  • There are plenty of sites out there who offer decaptcha services….I will not post the web addresses, because I don’t want to shine a light on them, but believe me they are out there.
  • True Twit assumes you are a bot. I like to believe that tweeters are innocent until proven guilty. If I see a bot in my stream, I squish it like a bug by unfollowing. All by myself.
  • In our real-time news-as-it-happens world, I don’t have time to fill out captcha forms. First of all, from  my iPhone they are minuscule and hard to read, and they take me away to the reason I am on Twitter, to communicate and engage in real time.
  • If you use True Twit validation, you are limiting your Twittersphere to people who are either True Twit believers, or who have lots of extra time on their  hands. I can attest to the fact that there are plenty of cool Tweeps who fit into neither camp.

How about you? How do you feel about True Twit Validation? Enter your comment below!

Thanks for Stopping By!!

The Citysearch SCAM

3 Dec

Last year I tweeted my disapproval of Citysearch’s ridiculous “Best of Portland” restaurant lists. There was a pizza parlor in Camas, Washington which was supposedly up for Best Pizza PDX, Best Italian PDX, Best Restaurant PDX, Best City View Dining, and Best Family dining, Best Clam Chowder, Best Wine List, Best People Watching (Camas!!), Best Cheesesteak, Best Chicken Wings….and the list goes on….I was flabbergasted that a hole in the wall restaurant could stuff a PDX ballot box, especially when it was fairly new. But, by then I had already come to distrust the once reliable Citysearch. Once I tweeted about it, I was contacted by Citysearch’s management and asked if I would serve on an advisory board to “help make Citysearch better…” I agreed, and never heard from them again. I think they just wanted me to stop tweeting negatively. Too bad, because, as a once upon a time fan, and a long time user of Citysearch, I would’ve loved sharing my insights with them.

In 2000, Citysearch was my go to search engine to find the best of local food and services. They led me to countless salons, restuarants, spas, and photographers. The consumer feedback feature was a great plus….took most of the guesswork out of the screening process. Fast forward 10 years, and I hardly recognize the site. It has all of the flash, and none of the substance that it started with.

Case in point: when searching for a dentist today, the top rated dentist, with over 70 reviews and a stellar 5 star rating was Gentech in Hillsboro. Sounds like an easy choice, right? But upon further inspection, it is clear that 69 of the reviews were made within 24 hours of each other, and each of the reviewers were also new, and had never reviewed anything before or since. If you do a Portland Metro-wide search for a dentist on Citysearch, you will find that four of the top ten are, you guessed it, Gentech franchises, each with similar feedback. I didn’t look close enough, but I would bet they copied and pasted the reviews from one Gentech to another!!

As a person who dabbles in PR and social media, my clients will often ask me which search engines they should subscribe to. Citysearch always comes up, but I steer them clear. I had a client once who was an existing Citysearch client. Whenever someone posted a negative review, this person just had to call his sales rep, and the negative review would disappear. At one point the sales rep told them that, for the right price, they could assure my client that he would NEVER see a negative review. I advised this client to leave Citysearch a.s.a.p. and save the advertising budget for more reputable social media outlets.