Friday, August 19, 2011

Where Have All the Craftsmen Gone?

     Perhaps the title of this posting should be "Were Have All The Craftsman Gone".    Did you catch the two errors in my restatement of the title?
     Let's say you have been working really long and hard on your business social media skills.  You've got people following you.  You've got the right message.   Too bad yur speling skils and punctuashion arent' up to the task.
     There is an old adage about "you never get a second chance to make a first impression."  Why, with all the work you are doing, would you not use that nice little tool up in your toolbar called "spell check"?  For that matter, why would you have someone doing your postings who can't spell in the first place, and thinks the Chicago Book of Style is a fashion catalogue?  (We won't even go into the Associated Press style guide)
      Here are the three most common errors I see in posts.

     1) Incorrect use (or no use) of the apostrophe.  "It's going to rain" has an apostrophe.   Not "Its going to rain."  However, "Its hands were dirty" is a correct use without an apostrophe. (Ok, maybe that sentence could be used in a Stephen King novel)  The apostrophe is also used incorrectly in words or sentences, like "We're selling rose's." "Rose's" does not have an apostrophe in this use, unless it's a person named Rose and you're selling off her stuff!
     2) Incorrect use of "their" "they're" "there".  Here's a sentence using those three words correctly, along with the two uses of "it's" and "its" as well.  "They're taking their car over there to the garage because it's not running well and its air filter may be dirty."
     3) Incorrect use of "your" and "you're".  Here's a sentence with correct usage: "You're nobody until your Uncle Dan gives you the keys to his Porsche!"

     Let the computer double check for you.  It's not infallible, but it's better than nothing.  A second set of eyes doesn't hurt either.
     You really dont' want people reeding your posts and wondering "Were have all the craftsman gone?"

Monday, August 15, 2011

Who's a TV Star? You Are!

     Today's "Non Sequitur" strip by Wiley pretty much says it all about our current lifestyle.   Whether it's TV, a video on your website, a video on YouTube, a blog, or anything else --- do you really exist if you aren't out there?
     According to Wikipedia, television advertising made its debut in July of 1941.  The watchmaker Bulova paid $9 for a placement on New York station WNBT during a major league baseball game.  Until about twenty years ago, video advertising was an expensive proposition, but the power of desktop computers and video editing software is putting it within reach of just about anyone.
    Are you using video as part of your business social media?  It doesn't take that much to get a nice video up and running on your website; perhaps a brief introduction to your business, or a snappy show and tell of your past projects for customers.  It's not within the scope of this blog to tell you how to produce said video.  Let it suffice that you need to find someone who knows what the heck they are doing.  A badly produced and edited video can do much more harm than good.
    Also, don't forget free local TV advertising.  While it's going to be a one-shot deal, if you are really interesting, or have something very unique - there's probably a market with your local television broadcasters.  More and more stations are running multiple hour morning news blocks, starting as early as 4:30 AM in some markets.  Additionally, there are also post news block locally originated morning programs.  They interview local authors, celebrities, chefs, people fronting causes like MADD; if you know someone at a local station, ask them.  If not, find out who runs the morning assignment desk, or is a particular program's booker or producer.
     Record your appearance, get it to a video editor, and hey presto! Something nice to put on your website, as seen on WXYZ TV!  
     Who's a TV star?  You are!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Get an "A"!


     Remember the three "R's" -- readin', (w)ritin', and 'rithmetic?   Well, yeah, you should still have a handle on all three of those, even if you do use a calculator and spell check.  However, there is another set of consonants that you should also have a grip on - the four "A's".
     Today's blog is adapted from one by Kayla Hutzler on Luxury Daily,  The News Leader in Luxury Marketing.  Here it is, for those who wish to read it in its entirety:
      Hutzler talks about Awareness, Advocacy, Attention and (call to) Action.  These are four vitally important aspects of any luxury brand marketing.  However, even if you aren't selling a Lexus or Breitling watch, it should still apply to you.
     Awareness:  do your customers know who you are?  What you are?  What you are selling?  Are you out there in the marketplace on FaceBook, on Twitter, on any of the other burgeoning social media networks?  Hey, don't forget the old standbys, either.  The demise of newspaper  and magazine ads are, much like the infamous report of Mark Twain's death, greatly exaggerated.
     Advocacy:  are your customers sticking up for you and your brand?  Hey, I grocery shop at Tom Thumb, and at one Tom Thumb in particular.  I drive a few miles to get there, but I like it and the people who work in the store.  And I tell people about it.  This is an example of consumer advocacy. (I'm also a big fan of Lionel Electric Trains, but we won't go into that here!)
     Attention:  are you calling attention to yourself, and in a good way?  Heaven knows we've seen PLENTY of examples of brands calling attention to themselves in the wrong way.  To get attention, though, be it good or bad, you've got to work at making yourself known to consumers.  I'm happy for you that your company has developed a flash drive that also doubles as a mini-micro mighty mite computer with six times the speed of my MacBook Pro.  Too bad no one has ever heard of you...
     Action:  are you telling your customers to get with it and purchase your product?  In the many years that I worked in broadcast news, our mantra was:  Tell them what you're going to tell them.  Tell them.  Tell them what you told them.  
     Practice these four "A's" and get an "A" on your business social media report card!