3 Steps For A Viral Post, Guaranteed*

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Let’s face it, everyone is looking for that viral hit; the million share post, the ten million view video, or the ten thousand comment blog post. Hey, me too! By definition “viral” (in the science use) actually applies to every single post or action taken on the Internet or in the tactile world. Some viruses, you see, die when they are born. Most of them in fact. It’s only the rare virus that goes infectious and results in an outbreak. I think that’s what we really want to replicate in our marketing.

Researching for this short post, yes I do that, turned up a few hundred companies advertising their “guaranteed viral campaigns”. One of them even uses that as their name. So I took a look at these “guaranteed viral” services and here’s what they offer:

For $3500 they will create a video for you and guarantee you 150,000 views on YouTube STOP!!!

Stop Right There

virus - public domain imageHow many times has this been addressed by trustworthy, reliable, marketing professionals? One hundred and fifty thousand views from worthless accounts means absolutely nothing for your bottom line (well, it means lowering it) and one view from a prospect with transactional intent can mean the one sale you were looking for. Treating your small business like a mega-brand with seemingly bottomless marketing dollars can quickly dry you of the resources you need just to open your doors. If you have $3500 just laying around and it doesn’t matter if you generate any revenue from it then party on!

Truthfully, most of us need to make a sale for every action we take. Do I? No. In fact more of my sales come from being a part of certain trade groups than from all of my social media and blogging combined. However, when someone Google’s me I want them to find things like this article to help present who I am and what I do in a more established way.

Okay, 3 Methods Guaranteed

*All you have to do is pull these off:

Create a post that is highly engaging. Write the words that get people to share (comments are great but nothing beats sharing) with their social media streams.

Make a video that is so interesting and/or entertaining that people cannot resist re-posting it. Unless you’re a top selling pop musician ignore those. Look at the non-musical videos and see what people are sharing. Puppies, kitties, people busting their rears, experiments gone horribly wrong. Yep, if you’re going viral just for the advertising dollars on YouTube this is your golden ticket. If you want people to buy from you…probably not what you’ll want to use.

Write something on social media that everyone is highly compelled to share. The most shared tweet of all time (at the authoring of this post) really doesn’t count because it came from a high ranking politician on election day. Forget that one, unless you just got elected as President of the USA. Instead of thinking in the hundreds of thousands of shares you should be, as a small business person, hoping for thousands and celebratory of hundreds.

Now Then, Back To Earth

Chances are even with a thousand re-tweets of a post about your awesome sauce the number of actual transactions is going to be much less. So, that’s why when I write for you I concentrate on content and substance instead of fairy dust and pixie pixels. Hire me, 678-439-8683 or here I’ll show you!

The Secret Power of Product Descriptions

quad cooker grill

When you describe your product are you telling people you know? Or, are you telling them what they need to know to become a client? (Image: QuadCooker)

I have a client who has an amazing product. It is the result of a lot of science and technology which makes it possible to do something fantastic with relative ease. When you ask him about the product he can tell you amazing stories about the technology that goes into it, why it does what no others of it’s class can do, and even about the technical process by which each component is manufactured.

Cool, but useless information. What really matters is that this product can take an ordinary person and make them a super-star in this particular function. People love the results from this product and it makes the time they spend together highly memorable. So, tell me about your product or service below in the comments section and let’s see how you do!

Here Are Some Helpful Examples

A clothing manufacture once gave me the following content for their online catalog description of an item, “Manufactured of 100% recycled materials in the USA. Long sleeves, triple stitch reinforced collar and cuffs. Total weight 7.4 ounces.” I asked them to send me one. I put it on and it felt like I was sliding into a soft, warm cocoon but it didn’t suffocate me; My skin could still breath. I washed it and it only got better. Plus, the tag was printed on instead of clawing at the back of my neck. So, here’s what I came up with:

The most comfortable, warm, and luxurious long-sleeved pull over shirt you will find, anywhere. The magic in the material only improves when laundered and the no-tag design is as comfortable as a mother’s hug. Lightweight, breathable and made in the good old USA from 100% recycled materials.

Which would you order? Let’s do an exercise that also give you a chance to advertise a product here on my blog. Write us a description of your product or service. And, I tell you what, let’s have a contest. For the description that gets the most likes (and it must get at least 10) I’ll send you a $25 Amazon Gift Card. (We’ll end the contest on October 15.)

Google+ Profits From Your Name and Image

Take 2: Google+ Profits From Your Name and Image

Take 2: Google+ Profits From Your Name and Image

Google has probably used your name and photo in an endorsement of a product or service. Did they pay you? I didn’t think so. That’s because, like on all “free” websites and social media networks, you are the product. This means they profit from your presence. Now that’s not to say there isn’t a symbiotic relationship, but it does suggest there may be a few lines crossed depending on your perspective.

This short article shows how to limit Google’s use of your image and name as an endorser of a specific product or service without directly compensating you for that use.

Here is the link mentioned in the audio file https://plus.google.com/u/0/settings/endorsements (you did listen, right?)

Google Privacy Settings

While you are visiting the Settings part of Google, go ahead and take a look around at all of your privacy settings. You may find that there are events you prefer to keep more private and that may be possible while you are editing your settings. You can also control which things you are notified about and how you are notified: by phone or by email, for example.

Short, Sweet, and Pointed Wins

"'Occupy Paradeplatz' in Zürich 2011-10-22 14-52-16" by Roland zh - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

“‘Occupy Paradeplatz’ in Zürich 2011-10-22 14-52-16″ by Roland zh – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

A couple of years ago, having found myself in an elitist circle, I heard these self-appointed thought leaders regurgitating each other on the importance of lengthy, meaty, highly intellectual articles… <crickets> …yeah, don’t do that. There are three very simple but immutable laws of online evangelism:

  1. use simple language so people don’t have to think
  2. strike a chord from the first word and finish your message before a squirrel runs by
  3. use pictures and/or sound whenever possible

An article on Slate by Farhad Manjoo addressed the good old “bounce rate”. My wager is these elite power-bloggers have a dismal article completion rate. Statistically only 1 in 200 people will read a complete 700 word article. 1 in 80 may complete 200 words. According to the Nielsen Norman Group even those who “read” your posts only read around 20% of the words. How does that make you feel about written communication online?

Twitter Spam or Good Use of Prospecting Time?

I used to be a really big fan of Twitter as an engagement platform. Then, back in 2010, Guy Kawasaki was my guest on Social Media Edge Radio and he explained why, to him, Twitter is a one-way, information firehose. (My words.) With that said, and to my chagrin, he was right. And, today, Twitter is the least personally engaging “social network” I am a part of. I, too, use it as a broadcast network most of the time.

twitter marketing techniques

Is this a Twitter marketing technique you use, recommend or at least accept?

With all of that said, take a look at the attached image. Is this really a good way to build trust in this “brand”? Obviously it is multiple copies of the same account. Will they broadcast identical information on each account? Is this how the spammer they hired to handle their social media hedges in order to not have all 13 accounts terminated by Twitter for abuse at the same time?

And The Really Big Question: Is this a method you recommend or accept?

Twitter marketing does work. I have had varying levels of success with broadcasting on Twitter. Traffic results are instant and can quickly surpass the 1,000 visits per hour mark when using the correct broadcast account. (My average is about 80 visits in the first 5 minutes depending on time of day.)

For those reading and considering hiring me to handle your online branding I do not personally recommend what I believe is happening here. However, if that’s what you want and have reason to believe it will work for your purposes I will set up multiple, identical accounts for you.

Missing Facebook Messages? Look In The “Other” Folder

missing facebook messages

If you are missing Facebook messages they may be in your “Other” folder.

“I have sent you several messages,” the note said, “on Facebook.”

It was a real message I received some time ago. The frustrating thing about it is they were from a possible customer and I’m supposed to know all these things about Facebook and social marketing. And, I did know about it; I just forgot to check.

The “Other” folder…

To help control spam messages, or at least provide some layer of filtering, Facebook introduced the “Other” folder in Messages (sometimes called “PM” for Private or Personal Messages) so that an message sent from a non-friend would be held separately. The downside for people doing business through and on Facebook is that inquiries sent from prospects who were not my friends went to the folder I was forgetting to check. So, don’t be like me; Check your “Other” folder frequently.

What about on the mobile app?

facebook-messenger-other-messages-folderWhen I made a quick post about checking the Facebook messenger for this folder in a group I’m active in someone immediately replied, “It’s not visible on laptop, tablet or phone”. Well, (A) a laptop is the same as a desktop so yes it is and (B) it is able to be accessed anywhere you can access your messages. And, here’s how:

Here’s the answer to your question, “Yes, if you can see Facebook on whatever device you are using you can see messages including the ‘Other’ folder on that same device.” If you don’t want to or don’t want to take the time to figure out how that’s a different story.

Edit your Facebook messenger preferences

To help control what you do or don’t see in your Facebook messenger you can set your preferences. You can follow the directions here https://www.facebook.com/help/188872764494245 which outlines how to get to your messenger then select the preferences and make the necessary changes.

How To Make Money On Fiverr

Fiverr is the Israel based service website that connects providers and clients for jobs, called “gigs”, for as little as $5. Yes, you read that right: five dollars US. It requires becoming a member, which is free, and then hiring someone from just about any nation in the world to do work for you.

Like many things, at first I didn’t get Fiverr. I used it mostly to buy “gigs”. Then I thought, “wait a minute, there are a lot of things I would be willing to do for $5 that may lead to more work!” So I started offering a few gigs. At first I offered to install WordPress on a ready hosting account for $5 figuring this would lead to more advanced WordPress work. Then I started selling an automated response system which would ask for a visitor’s name then send them an email. I sold several of both gigs, but the success wasn’t exactly what I had in mind.

Here is my Fiverr page fiverr.com/thekencook

Not too long after I started with Fiverr I had some personal issues which took me “out of the loop” so I left it to sort of rot. And rot it did. I lost a good rating and angered a few people who left some rather nasty comments. So I just didn’t go back for a few years. Until one day I thought, “wait a minute, I’ve done hundreds – maybe thousands – of voice overs.” That’s when I started offering voice overs on Fiverr for about the same price I charge in the “real world”. Boom! Almost immediately I started getting 2 or 3 orders a day. No, that’s not much, considering Fiverr takes a 20% cut right off the top, but it lead to other things like script writing, background music, and even a few character gigs.

Nanu, Nanu. Goodbye Robin Williams

Robin Williams entertaining the troops on a USO tour in 2010. Camp Victory, Iraq.

Robin Williams entertaining the troops on a USO tour in 2010. Camp Victory, Iraq.

Like many people my age I watched more than one episode of Mork and Mindy. That’s where I first saw the enigmatic Robin Williams. Weird, goofy, wide open, and amazingly talented.

Other comics and entertainers are posting their condolences and shock at the star’s apparent suicide.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Phone Number 1-800-273-8255

Safe Isn’t Safe Anymore

Old Passwords Are Dangerous Passwords

Passwords are the combination to the safe containing all your secrets. But they are easier to guess - or steal.

Passwords are the combination to the safe containing all your secrets. But they are easier to guess – or steal.

In the high speed world of computers, 30 days is old. Did you read about the Russian hackers stealing 1.2 billion passwords? That means chances are fairly good they got some of yours. This also means it’s time to change passwords. Yes, it’s a pain to constantly change passwords, but it may also save your bank account, your credit rating, your business, and even your criminal future. Yes, you may become a victim of identity theft which could result in your arrest for criminal activity. It happens, and it happened to Tallie Gainer in Tampa on August 1:

Tallie Gainer III became a victim of identity theft. Adding insult to injury, police arrested him in front of his children, and he was charged with check fraud, even though he had earlier reported his wallet, identification and credit cards stolen.
From http://www.totalcriminaldefense.com/news/articles/unusual/identity-theft/

While password keepers may provide a way to store all of your passwords in one location so you don’t forget them – they also store all of your passwords in one location which, if compromised, would give the hacker all of your passwords. So what’s the work around? Use long phrase passwords with numbers and punctuation. An example may be:

MyBirthday01JAN1970+GotMarried15APR1990!

Of course you think this is ridiculous. I doubt you also think it’s ridiculous to change clothes every day, change toothbrushes every month, and change the oil in your vehicles every 3 months or 3000 miles. But, you do it. Why? To protect your self and your vehicles. Digital compromise now is simply a part of modern life – a part of modern life that is constantly under assault from people who would love for everyone to let their guard down. Change your passwords regularly; Every month is highly recommended. Or, leave it to chance and see if it works out okay for you…

Do I Need A Mobile App?

Probably not. In fact for most people a mobile app is simply a waste of money, time, and street cred. Think about how many apps you have on your phone or tablet right now. I bet you have 30 or more. Do you really want to download, install, and fiddle with an app for a local restaurant, car repair center, real estate agent, or retailer? Not likely.

Who Are Mobile Apps Good For?

If you have a list of really loyal customers who really need to have information pushed to their mobile device then maybe you are a candidate. If you’re a fisherman who needs to notify several restaurants and retailers of today’s catch – you’re probably a candidate. Maybe you are a travel agent with several hundred loyal customers who need to know within minutes after you get a weekend of cabin nights at their favorite mountain get-away. But, if you cut hair, patch tires, unplug toilets, or set broken arms…not so much.

What’s So Bad About Mobile Apps?

Apps are dangerous. If they are not properly coded they could allow exploitation of their weaknesses resulting in deep troubles for you, the app “owner”. That’s an unlikely scenario but it could happen. The truth is virtually everything almost every small business needs can be accomplished through a simple, inexpensive, relatively worry free, mobile optimization of their website. Statistics say only 18% of sites are mobile ready. From what I see I’d say even less than that.

What is Mobile Optimization?

Since the full introduction and support of HTML5 and CSS3 we have had what is called “responsive design” with “media queries”. What this does is allow the developer (not the designer so much) to code web pages so that they look differently for various browsers and orientations. This means no more squinting on your iPhone to see your favorite website or pinch zooming and scrolling all over the place on your Android. It’s the same content just delivered in a way the user can actually interact with your site.