The Social Happy Hour with Jeff Gibbard

I was honored to be the first guest on Jeff Gibbard and True Voice Media‘s newest web series – The Social Happy Hour.

An hour on Periscope of Jeff having cocktails and talking social media with some really smart, funny, insightful people. Join them live on Periscope or catch up later at http://thesocialhappyhour.com/ 

Periscope vs Meerkat Bake Off

Periscope vs Meerkat Bake Off

It is not often that you get to do a truly side-by-side comparison of two new tools, but Tracey Welson-Rossman (@twelsonrossman) and I (@gloriabell) got the perfect opportunity to do just that with Meerkat and Periscope at the Philly Emerging Technologies for the Enterprise Conference (#PhillyETE).

periscopevmeerkat

We used both apps at various times throughout the conference, but at the Day 2 Keynote, we did an actual side-by-side comparison.

The reason we wanted to try live streaming at the conference is a no brainer, this has the potential to be a great marketing tool . The ability to reach more people with good content, is really exciting when you run a lot of events like we do.  

Here are the pros and cons of each with our “Bake-off” winner (and the reasons why) below.

Meerkat

Pros:      Easy to set up an account

Easy to give the stream a name / title

Ability to tweet comments in the stream

Can schedule a stream

Ability to save broadcast

Can target smaller, more direct audience because no auto link to Twitter

Cons:      Cannot zoom in or increase volume

Need a built-in audience to gain viewers

Lack of direct connection to tweet the stream makes it harder to gain audience

Hard to manage the chat and hold the phone

Need a good cellular or Wi-fi connection to make it work

Hard to understand the metrics for viewership during the broadcast and post

Lack of documentation on how to use it

Really need a tripod for a good recording

No post-viewing metrics

 

Periscope

 

Pros:      Setting up the account was easy

Ability to save the broadcast

Connecting to and broadcasting via Twitter was easy

Ability to tweet comments and likes in the stream, but can’t easily add other Twitter names in the tweet

Easy to “title” – just like a tweet

Direct link to Twitter makes for a larger audience but also more possibility for spam comments

Cons:        Can’t switch between Twitter accounts

Can only have one account associated with the app

Need a good cellular or Wi-fi connection to make it work

Hard to manage the chat and hold the phone

Lack of documentation on how to use it

Few metrics – post view metrics much easier to see on an iPad

Really need a tripod for a good recording


There are a lot of limitations with both apps and we are hopeful there are more features coming that will address the issues we outlined above. Both seem to be good, fairly easy-to-use tools for live-streaming, especially at events. For right now we give Periscope the edge due to its seamless integration with Twitter.  This feature alone will make it an easier-to-use social marketing tool.

It is a slight edge, though.  Even with the limitations, we see these apps as a great tool for events and smaller conferences with small budgets. The video and audio quality will not be great, but these apps will allow for broader distribution of events.

Check out our next experiment at the Chariot Solutions’ talk on Angular JS on April 22nd.

You Know You Want to Work With Me

The really observant of you may have noticed that there is a new section over there on the left side bar titled Hiring Gloria.

Yes – I am “back on the market”.  Now that the family obligations that have kept me so busy the last year are winding down, I am looking to take on more speaking/training engagements and consulting projects. Know of a job that would challenge me and allows me to use my full skill set to make a real impact on a company’s bottom line and growth? Let’s talk about it.

Take a moment when you are done reading this and wander over to take a look at my bio in the About Gloria Bell section and the information about hiring me for speaking, training or consulting in the Hiring Gloria section to learn more.

So why  would you want to work with me?

It is pretty simple – I am about building bottom lines.  Every action we take and every element of strategy I recommend is tied directly to the business objectives that You have identified as most important.

I believe in holistic digital marketing.  My speciality may be social media, but I am going to work with you to make sure your entire digital presence is working together.  My mission is to help you and your business get the attention you need to grow and to make sure that you understand the social media landscape and can navigate it effectively while avoiding as many pitfalls as possible.

The best social media strategy, email marketing strategy or website will only get you so far if it does not all work together.  I help you fit the puzzle pieces of your digital presence, your offline marketing, your customerBell Digital Strategies  service and your business development and sales together to build an integrated marketing strategy that achieves your business goals.  Together we evaluate your entire digital footprint and your business processes to figure out what works, what needs tweaked and what needs to be added.  Rather than just turning over a pretty strategy document and walking away, I work with you to develop and implement the most effective strategy to maximize your online presence and make sure it and your internal operations are working like a well-oiled machine delivering the best results possible.

I don’t consider myself  just a digital marketer or a social media strategist or a business process specialist.  I strive to be a business builder. 

My newest passion and current consulting focus is on assisting companies to truly maximize the effectiveness of their digital presence by analyzing and evaluating business processes to ensure that no gaps exist that would hinder meeting the goals and objectives their social media presence seeks to fulfill.  Yeah, even saying it is a mouthful, can you imagine tackling it without the experience and expertise of someone who knows both the social media and the business operations worlds?  Most business owners are great at one or the other but there are not many who can manage both which is why I am so excited to be concentrating in this area.  Watch for more blog posts talking about the necessity of this focus coming soon.

Want to know a little more about me? -Scroll through some of my prior blog posts or wander over to Twitter or LinkedIn and take a peek.

Have a speaking engagement, project or job that you think I am fit for?  Let’s chat!

Just want to know more?  Email me at belldigitalstrategies@gmail.com

Snake oil…Part 2 – It Just Keeps Getting Worse

UPDATE 3-17-2015:  The email exchange below occurred 2 months ago.  As of this morning,  my email has been opened 537 times, from 18 devices in 14 locations.  (Thanks Yesware for the awesome tracking!).  It is not possible to know if the email was just opened or was actually read, but, as of this morning, I have had no response of any kind from Web.com.

 

Thank you everyone who read, shared and commented on my post yesterday  – We All Have To Work To Stop The Snake Oil Salesmen 

Since I was contacted by the “Executive Escalation” team at Web.com, I felt it was only fair to keep everyone up to date on what was happening.   Rather then possibly mis-quoting or allowing for mis-interpretation of our correspondence, I have copied in both their email to me and my response in their entirety (see below).   We’ll see where it goes from here.   I may end up being the lucky recipient of a cease and desist or a libel and slander suit, but we’ll see.  Hopefully the good folks (and I am sure there are a lot of really great ones there!) at Web.com will realize that 1) these are not only my concerns but the concerns of multiple people in the industry and they really need to look at what they are doing and 2) they will get someone in (Heck, they could even hire me!) to fix their social media program and the social media services they  offer to clients.

Fingers crossed and I’ll be sure to keep you all informed if anything else develops.

FYI, I did leave off the name of the person from Executive Escalations intentionally.  I don’t want to beat up on an single individual who, I am sure, is just trying to do their job the best they know how.

FROM EXECUTIVE ESCALATIONS at Web.com 

Hi Gloria,

I work for the Executive Escalations office, monitoring our social media communication channels from within. I wanted to reach out to you to address what appears to be an unpleasant experience you had yesterday via our Twitter channel.  

 My sincerest apologies for any sort of frustrations, disappointments, or overall aggravations you experienced yesterday with our company, both on and off-line. We never want our customers, be they already established or potential, to feel as if they’ve been overlooked, mishandled, or challenged in any sort of way. Our goal when monitoring SM channels is to maintain an open, non-combative lines of communication, offering to help facilitate assistance however we can. We also value any and all feedback, be it negative or positive, as we report results on a weekly basis and implement changes to our policy and training as needed.

 If there is anything I can do to further assist to ensure you leave this experience with a lighter, more positive outlook on our company, I’d be more than happy to accommodate. Thank you so very much for your time, and again, my sincerest apologies for any and all frustrations.

Kindest Regards,

Nice note and all… but as you can see by my response, I’m not really buying it  –

Thank you for reaching out to me.  While I appreciate the effort, to be honest, I feel like I am getting the same SOP, canned responses I got from your social media team yesterday.  
I am not your customer or even a potential customer.  I am a social media professional who offers some of the same services that your company offers.  It would have taken your social media team all of 2 seconds to know that if they have bothered to just look at my Twitter profile.  The reaction I received yesterday on Twitter and again in this correspondence genuinely feel like you are paying lip service to the idea of resolving issues without really even knowing what those issues are.  I have to repeat the same things I said on Twitter yesterday, if this is the type of advice you give clients on how to handle their social media, I feel sorry for them because it will be impossible for them to truly be effective in their efforts. 
If anyone from your social media team was really monitoring the online discussion around your company you would know that this arose from my objections to the TV commercial you are running offering Facebook services to small businesses.  I called out your company because your ad is misleading and it is targeting people who do not have the knowledge to know that, given Facebook’s algorithms and terms of service, you can not possibly deliver on the promises you are making.  After the pathetic response I received on Twitter to my concerns, I ended up writing a blog post, not only about the misleading advertising but about the text book way your social media team showed how not to handle criticism on social media. 
If your executive team really wants to understand the issue, you might want to read my blog post and all of the related comments on my post, Google+, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.  Which, just as an aside, I shouldn’t have to be pointing out to you.  You should have sufficient monitoring in place to know that this conversation is going on about you out in social.  There are a lot of people who feel your advertising is misleading and makes our industry look bad.  The fact that your social media team was inept to handle the criticism just reinforces that Web.com should reconsider being in the social media consulting business because it is not equipped to give realistic, actionable, executable and strategic advice and services to its clients. 
Given how this has played out so far, I doubt this will happen, but if someone at your company is really interested in resolving what are obviously glaring issues with your own social media and the social media services you offer, have them contact me.  I have a lot of ideas that would get your social media program and your social media services back on track. 
And just FYI, I am writing a second blog post with both your email to me and my response included so that everyone following this story knows that you at least reached out and made an effort. 

We All Have to Work to Stop the Snake Oil Salesmen

Warning: I am taking the gloves off and calling out a company for making the social media and web development industry look bad. It is companies and practices like the ones described below that make the entire industry look like we are trying to sell snake oil by making promises that are deceiving and can not be delivered on in the way they are being advertised.

I know this practice is nothing new.  It has been going on since the dawn of time, continues today and will continue in the future.  But until we in the industry stand up and call out the people and companies who promote and sell this BS, all of us in the industry will continue to be looked at, especially by small businesses, as snake oil salesmen.

I do not call this company, or any others, out lightly.  As someone who helps companies build their brand and reputations, going after someone else’s is not something I like to see and even less what I like to do. It was only after I tweeted them (see the Twitter conversation below), hoping that they would open a dialogue and show me how how I was wrong about them, that I felt the need to go further.  Follow the story and see how it ended up as this blog post on not only false advertising about social, but a case study in how not to handle criticism on social.

 

Last night, I was hanging out with my Dad watching Shark Tank reruns on CNBC.  We both love the show and hold a running commentary on what we think about the pitches and the deals that are made.  My viewing fun last night was ruined by a TV commercial from a company promising to help small businesses make money by setting them up a “professional Facebook page”.  They made a ton of promises about the businesses growing their brand awareness and getting new customers just by having a professionally created Facebook page.  They will even create the content for you!

My Dad sat by listening amusedly as I ranted and raved about the fact that it is impossible for Web.com, given Facebook’s algorithms and terms of service, to deliver on the promises they made in that commercial.  The commercial was at minimum misleading and at most, blatant false advertising.  It infuriated me because they are targeting small businesses and small business owners who have little time, money, knowledge or experience in this particular area.

Having been the owner of multiple small businesses, I know what a God-send it can seem like to have someone offer you an easier way to do something, especially grow your business.  You are not only going to help me grow my business but you were going to do my marketing for me by creating the content (whether you know anything about my business or industry or not?!)?  People are going to come flocking to my business because they saw me on Facebook?  I don’t have to spend time marketing because you are creating my content for me?  And all for this for a “reasonable” price? Oh and once you have me signed as a client, you’ll build me a website and take care of all my digital marketing needs too?  Sign me up!

If only it worked that way!

Those of us in social media and digital marketing know that the promise of Facebook reach and an immediate growth in your business is hooey, especially now.   Maybe, if you have a big budget and can do a large Facebook ad spend you might see some quick results – Maybe! But this commercial made it sound like it was the easiest thing in the world.  Just let us build you a professional looking Facebook page and you will instantly grow your business!

Excuse my language but BULLSHIT!

It nagged at me all night and all morning.  I went to the company’s website and checked out their other offerings.  Website design and development, social media marketing… the list goes on and on – if it is digital related, they do it.  Maybe they it do it well, but based on the commercial I saw last night, I had my doubts.

So after pondering it and tweeting about it without mentioning their name, I decided to call them out.  As you can see from the following thread, it went downhill from there.  They replied with obviously SOP canned messages.  They offered to assist me.  With what? Did they not bother to look at my profile and see that I am a social media professional? Apparently not.   No opening to discuss my complaint.  No interest in hearing what I had to say.   They then stopped responding at all.   If there was ever a textbook case on how NOT to handle criticism or complaints on social, this is it.  From a company who sells digital and social services to small businesses – Shameful!

My first tweet and their response

My first tweet and their response

Screen Shot 2015-01-07 at 12.05.53 PM

Screen Shot 2015-01-07 at 12.11.51 PM

And the canned responses just keep getting worse

And the canned responses just keep getting worse

Screen Shot 2015-01-07 at 12.12.37 PM

And there was no response to either of my last two tweets

And there was no response to either of my last two tweets

Things we like… Red Tettemer + Partners & Under Armour

The team at Red Stapler Consulting knows what we like and what we believe in.  One of the things we like to do is share.   In that spirit, we have decided to start a semi-regular series sharing things we find that highlight some of the things we like and believe in.

So what are some things we like?

Passion blended with creativity

Things that help businesses grow

Things that bring communities together

Things that help people

And the candle on this birthday cake of goodness – Effective uses of social media that do any or all of those things.

The inaugural entry in our Things We Like series is a campaign developed by the creative masters at Red Tettemer + Partners.  They have hit a trifecta!  A social media campaign that is creative, is helping a business (their client) grow and is helping people (college students).  Check out the Under Armour Ultimate Intern Team program.

Does it get better than this?  Simple, clean, straightforward, fun and giving a few lucky college students the opportunity to have “the most memorable summer of your life.”   It reaches the demographic where they like to communicate – on Facebook.  It is fun without being goofy.  It is intriguing. It tells you what you need to know, but holds back just enough to make us want to fill out the application to find out more and get to have the fun they are promising.  And it is all wrapped up in a solid marketing principles.

Definitely a +1 in the Things We Like category.  Head on over to Facebook and give them a Like – They deserve it!