Tag Archives: facebook

White Room

The white room

White Room

I once saw this design makeover show on HGTV where the designer tried to get the family who was in the house to think about all design possibilities. She started out by removing all the furniture and painting everything white. The theory, as she explained it, was to start off with a blank canvass to illustrate that anything and everything was possible.

As I predicted, the family froze in the sea of possibility and lack of direction. The designer ended up guiding them into color combinations, design choices, etc., until they could see how everything was fitting together. Then, they came alive and started participating in the design of their makeover.

Very few people can see possibilities when presented with a blank canvass. Yet this is what happens time and time again with web sites and social media channels.

“You need to create content,” says the social media expert who has created the company’s new Facebook page, blog, Twitter account and Google Plus channel. “Y’know, stuff like videos and photos. Graphic content is always hot.”

And the client tenses up as if he is staring into a white room.

Unless you are prepared and skilled to provide the script, shooting and storytelling for the video or the art direction and shooting for the photos or crafting the blog article framework (or actually writing them) you may want to steer clear of advising a company to get into social media.

Simply setting up the social media channels and walking away is just painting a room white.

Who are you really branding in social media?

I was discussing the state of social media and how Facebook, Google Plus and Twitter are shaping — actually engineering — us. I said, “For example, take that Ford commercial where the recent college grad makes fun of her parents for only having nineteen friends…”

“Ford?” she said. “You mean Toyota.”

“What? Whatever,” I said. “Ford, Toyota, it is a commercial for Facebook.”

Oh, snap.

This does not matter one little bit. Unless you are the brand manager at Toyota.

Makes you think about who really has the power over your brand, doesn’t it?

How social media is failing social media… and business

Screen shot 2009-11-02 at 1.18.35 PM

The Center for Media Research sent out their email Research Brief today about how small business are not into social networks for leads. As a small businessman myself, I agree with them. Kinda. I can’t recall the last lead I got twittering out my latest status or a coupon deal or where I am going to be at a certain time if anyone wants to chat, etc.

But then I got to thinking about how all the ways I use social media networks and how we employ them for a lot of our clients and kinda changed my mind. The problem is not the social media networks not being effective, but the MARKETING of the social media networks not being effective.

For example, one particular client uses Twitter to send out job posts, facilitate responses back to the post which enables qualified applicants to reply very quickly and the listing client to fill the job quickly. This in turn enables them to schedule in-store work faster and drive their completion rates higher with their clients. Yet, if you asked the primary client if social media networks are helpful in generating any leads, they would say, “Not at all.” Mostly because the process is automated and invisible, but also because it is not marketed heavily. They know traffic is up dramatically and that jobs are being filled exponentially faster, but because they don’t have a direct hand in the process, it is taken for granted.

Moreover, since the client is also on a WordPress framework, their bi-weekly articles are now more “Google/Yahoo!/Bing-friendly,” which enables potential customers to find them more readily as SEO/SEM is easier to implement. Since all of this is invisible, again, their answer would be, “Not at all.”

Tools like RSS, blogs, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIN are being used effectively by small business even if they are used invisibly. Just because the CEO doesn’t tweet doesn’t mean they are not using social media. Dig a little and you’ll find many probably are. They just don’t know it.

For small business, it is all about the return today for effort I put in yesterday. Market social media without the “engagement” and “conversation” hype and stick to the operational parts and only then will we see a rise in the “Very helpful” 3%.

Another way to think about social media ROI


Alexander Graham Bell probably got impatient with business owners asking for an ROI on his telephone invention

Alexander Graham Bell probably got impatient with business owners asking for an ROI on his telephone invention

When was the last time you asked the phone company to justify the cost of installing a telephone in your place of business? They would probably just laugh at you. It has probably been over 50 years since that question was last asked of a telephone sales rep by a shop owner.


On April 3, 1973 Motorola manager Martin Cooper placed a cellular phone call to Joel Engel, head of research at AT&T’s Bell Labs, signaling the demise of the land-line telephone. It will probably be several decades from now before the last wired telephone is deactivated, but chances are, it will happen. And sales reps for wireless phones are not probably not being asked for an ROI study prior to a company signing a cell phone contract.

So, why do companies ask for an ROI for the next wave of communication and conversation with their customers? Why do social media experts do it? When will a blog, Twitter account and a Facebook page turn the corner from an “investment” into an expense line item?

Probably at half the speed it took telephones. But, it will happen.

The next time someone asks you for an ROI study on social media, pick up the phone off their desk and ask them to give you the ROI the phone company gave them.