Posts Tagged ‘social media’

Social Media Myths

March 26, 2010

Social media myths that make small business owners think twice about adopting it as part of their daily operations.

Has your small business taken the plunge and adopted social media for your operations?  If not, you’re not alone.  Small businesses have slowly adopted social media to some degree or another.  Only about 1% of small businesses in the United States and Canada use social media.

Why the slow transition?  Small business owners’ perspectives about social media differ from the typical consumer who merely uses social media casually.

Here are some sobering social media myths that make small business owners think twice about adopting it as part of their daily operations.

Social media is (almost) free

Photo-sharing websites such as Photobucket and Flickr; video-sharing websites such as YouTube and Revver; content aggregators such as Digg, Delicious, and Technorati; blogging websites such as WordPress and Blogger; and microblogging websites such as Twitter are free to use.

However, when business owners factor in the time, skill, expertise, and money involved developing a corporate marketing program that incorporates interactivity, allows user-generated content and, possibly, e-commerce, the price tag of at least $50,000 per quarter makes social media nearly impractical.

Anybody can (say they can) do it

Most people can upload pictures or videos, submit the URL of their website or blog to a website search engine submission site, write a blog, Tweet, or do any combination of these things.  However, experienced social media marketers would have the savvy to incorporate interactivity throughout all of this into an effective online marketing campaign.

Read about the rest of the social media myths.

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Francis M. Unson

Space Exploration’s New Frontier: Social Media

March 19, 2010

Space Exploration's New Frontier: Social MediaSocial media, seemingly the domain of earth-bound people such as myself, has had many enthusiasts in the U.S. space program since 2008.  Veronica McGregor of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and other panelists addressed the topic of space exploration as a social experience at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Festival.  In fact, a number of astronauts live Tweet from space such as @Astro_mike, @Astro_soichi, and @Astro_Jeff.  (By all means, follow them on Twitter!)

Panelist Nick Skytland, co-founder of, a collaborative experiment in open, transparent and direct communication about the U.S. space program, has recognized the benefits of bringing discussions about space exploration into the channels of public conversation such as, @NASA, and their blog.  Skytland’s current push across channels encourages participation in President Barack Obama’s open government initiative, which urges citizens to communicate directly with lawmakers about issues and programs that matter to them.

Panelist Amanda Stiles, online community manager and Google Liaison for the Google Lunar X Prize, stressed making today’s generation excited about space exploration.  Dave Masten, private entrepreneur, discussed working on a more sustainable way to make trips to the moon and encouraged this generation to become scientists and engineers so that the U.S. stays on the space exploration forefront.  Read more

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Francis M. Unson

Why I love Kogi BBQ

March 15, 2010

While Kogi BBQ of Southern California is a social media marketing darling, the real reason I love Kogi BBQ is simple: the FOOD!On a rainy Friday in February 2010, I received word on Twitter about the arrival of Kogi BBQ, a fleet of taco trucks that serves Korean Mexican food throughout Southern California, in my community of Santa Clarita.  I was glad I kept up with Kogi’s Tweets; Azul (one of the four primary taco trucks named after a Spanish color, with one on standby) was arriving an hour early.  I was done with the day’s work, so I made my way to the car wash across the street from Westfield Valencia and arrived at 8:15PM.  I did not see a line of people, but I wasn’t surprised; it was raining all day that day and had just started to clear up in the evening.  Needless to say, it was freezing outside.  Furthermore, Kogi’s early arrival was not Tweeted until about 6PM, so that probably threw off peoples’ plans.  Nonetheless, I braved the cold weather and, upon Kogi’s arrival, was rewarded by being served first.

Why do I love Kogi BBQ?  Being served first helped slightly.  Kogi’s successful (read: enviable) social media marketing plan certainly caught my eye, which was recently copied in some form by JetBlue in New York City to distribute about a thousand free round-trip tickets as part of its 10th anniversary celebration.  However, the reason why I love Kogi BBQ is very simple: the FOOD!

Simply, you haven’t had Kogi BBQ until you’ve had short rib, spicy pork, chicken, or tofu, wrapped in a soft taco or burrito flour tortilla.  If you want a real taste of Korean, you must try the Kogi Kimchi Quesadilla, a Kogi Favorite.  Furthermore, if you ever needed a reason to come early, the Chef’s Specials such as Calamari Tacos and desserts like Tres Leches always sell out.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Kogi BBQ’s fleet of taco trucks roam Southern California from Tuesday-Saturday.  Go to their website and find out when Kogi will be serving up Korean Mexican food at the parking lot of a shopping center, hotel, or car wash near you.

Finally, if you live in or near Culver City, California, drop by the Alibi Room from 6PM – midnight, Monday-Saturday for your Kogi fix (21+).

Kogi BBQ

Follow them on Twitter! @KogiBBQ

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Francis M. Unson

Twitter Dilemma: Follow Back the Followers of YOUR Grateful Followers?

March 3, 2010

I have a Twitter Dilemma.

I participate in Twitter’s “Follow Friday”, a weekly event in which Tweeps post the usernames of people, businesses, or other prolific users that are worthy of being followed.  The event helps me add new users, many of whom I have never seen prior to Friday.  In kind, I have my list of worthy users to add to the Follow Friday mix.  Over the weekend, I go through my followers’ Tweets marked with the hashtag #FF or #FollowFriday, clear indicators that the users listed with either hashtag are my followers’ recommendations.  I make it known to my new followees who referred them with a public Tweet, using the following format:

#FF @newUser recommended by: @myFollower #FollowFriday

My dilemma is this: I feel as though I should extend “Follow Friday” privileges to the users my followers publicly thank.  The Tweets of my grateful followers look something like this:

Thanks! RT @RTingUser1 @RTingUser2 @RTingUser3 @RTingUser4 @RTingUser5 … #Gratitude #Love #FF

If a “Thank You!” Tweet contains #FF, ostensibly, my followers are recommending that the users be followed, whether or not it’s Friday.  However, if the #FF hashtag is not included, is it alright to add the users my follower listed, anyway?

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Francis M. Unson

Tax Day Nintendo Wii Giveaway!

March 2, 2010

Nintendo Wii GiveawayWe at Flower Blossoms would like to thank the bloggers, Facebook fans, and Twitterers who have supported us on our endeavor to provide social media marketing services to the local businesses in our community since January 15, 2010.  To show our gratitude, we are having a “Tax Day Nintendo Wii Giveaway!”  We will pick one winner at the end of the contest run and announce it on our blog, Facebook, and Twitter!

How to enter the “Tax Day Nintendo Wii Giveaway!” contest on Facebook:

  1. Become a Fan of Flower Blossoms by going to the Flower Blossoms’ Facebook Page.  Log in first if necessary.
  2. Click on the Wall tab, then click on the “Become a Fan” button.
  3. Once you are a Fan, write “Nintendo Wii Giveaway!” on the Wall.  This is your entry for the contest.  You may enter the contest once every 24 hours.

How to enter the “Tax Day Nintendo Wii Giveaway!” contest on Twitter:

  1. Follow us on Twitter.  We will follow you back as soon as possible.
  2. Send the following as your Tweet so we can track your entry:
    __@FlowerBlossoms >> Nintendo #WiiGiveaway Contest << Please RT to enter to win a Wii!

One more thing: If you write an entry in your own blog or website about our “Nintendo Wii Giveaway!” and post a link to that entry below as a reply, the total number of your contest entries from Facebook and Twitter will count for double!

Contest notes

  • We will use the services of RANDOM.ORG to determine a winner.
  • Only one Wall post and/or one Tweet contest entry per day.
  • If you have an account on Facebook AND Twitter, you may submit one contest entry each on BOTH sites per day.  This is the only daily multiple entry allowed.
  • We will contact the winner on Friday, April 9, via PM on Facebook or DM on Twitter.
  • Contest ends on Thursday, April 8, 2010 at 11:59PM PDT!
  • Due to popular demand, and the upcoming April 15 deadline on which tax returns are due here in the United States, we are extending the contest an extra week! That’s right, we’re ending the contest at exactly the same time as your tax returns are due!
  • The contest now has a slightly longer name, too: Tax Day Nintendo Wii Giveaway!
  • You now have until Thursday, April 15, 2010 at 11:59PM PDT to submit your contest entries to Facebook and Twitter!
  • We will contact the winner on Friday, April 16, via PM on Facebook or DM on Twitter.  Good luck!

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Francis M. Unson is online!

January 27, 2010

Please retweetWe’d like to thank everybody for their support in helping us to acquire, the official URL of Flower Blossoms’ Facebook Page! It took all day, but with your help and at least 25 of you becoming a Fan of Flower Blossoms, we were able to add the link!  We look forward to promoting small and medium businesses (SMB’s) in Santa Clarita, CA, in the coming year.  Thank you very much!

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Francis M. Unson

Local Business Promotion Through Foursquare

January 21, 2010

Please retweetI have seen an increasing number of Tweets from people advertising the address of where they are as well as the badges earned for frequenting a place.  It turns out that many of these people are using Foursquare, a mobile application that combines elements from Facebook and Twitter into a social networking tool that lets users find each other via mobile posts and join up at popular places.  The application encourages people to explore the cities in which they live and promote local businesses such as restaurants and movie theaters.  Read more

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Francis M. Unson

To Tweet or Blog?

January 7, 2010

Do you Twitter, blog, or both?Before the rise of Twitter, bloggers wrote to their heart’s content, be it a short paragraph or longer, more elaborate entries with lots of detail and thought.  With Twitter’s arrival, people could tell the world within 140 characters what they were doing right now.  Does Twitter spell the end of blogging?

Not a chance.

Blogging, an evolutionary step from journal writing, cannot go away because of the character limitations inherent in Twitter’s design.  It comes as no surprise to me that people who write multiple Tweets complete their torrent by saying, “I probably should have written all this in a blog.”  A blog (a contraction of the term “web log”) allows us to write complete stories about anything we want.  Our limitation, therefore, rests in our ability to come up with what to write about.

Please retweetHow does Tweeting fit into the scheme of things?  While details are not immediately paramount to what we want to communicate through Twitter, the ability to catch peoples’ attention with our Tweets is.  In other words, a Tweet serves as an eye-catching headline.  Furthermore, Twitter developers and people who Tweet many times per day recommend that people should make their Tweets shorter than 140 characters for two reasons: to allow others to Re-Tweet a Tweet, and to allow for a link to a website that goes into further detail about the Tweet.

Bloggers have successfully communicated with others before Twitter’s arrival, and they will remain a presence the blogosphere.  On the other hand, people who have never written a single blog have embraced Twitter and have let the world know what is on their minds in 140-character increments.  The most ideal union, however, is a Tweeting blogger: a person that uses Twitter to generate interest for their blog.

Do you use Twitter, write a blog, or both?

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Francis M. Unson

A Better Social Networking Support System in 2010?

January 5, 2010

Please retweetSometimes, I wonder what kind of support system people had before the rise of the Internet and telecommunications.  It was certainly much easier for people who lived in urban or suburban areas to gain access to support groups such as those that dealt with terminal illness, weight-loss, or quitting smoking, among many others.  However, many people who lived in rural areas were often left without such a support system, often turning to the people of their community, if they offered any help at all.

The Internet as we know it exploded in popularity since it became commercially available in 1993.  From 1993 to 2003, we made use of Web 1.0 technology, generally defined by the following characteristics:

  • Static pages instead of dynamic user-generated content.
  • The use of framesets.
  • Proprietary HTML extensions such as the <blink> and <marquee> tags introduced during the first browser war.
  • Online guestbooks.
  • GIF buttons, typically 88×31 pixels in size promoting web browsers and other products.
  • HTML forms sent via email. A user would fill in a form, and upon clicking submit their email client would attempt to send an email containing the form’s details.

From 2004 to the present, our usage of the Internet and the way we interact on it changed considerably and is duly defined within the parameters of Web 2.0 which include:

  • Search: Finding information through keyword search.
  • Links: Connects information together into a meaningful information ecosystem using the model of the Web, and provides low-barrier social tools.
  • Authoring: The ability to create and update content leads to the collaborative work of many rather than just a few web authors.  In wikis, users may extend, undo and redo each other’s work.  In blogs, posts and the comments of individuals build up over time.
  • Tags: Categorization of content by users adding one-word descriptions to facilitate searching, without dependence on pre-made categories.  This is referred to as “folksonomy”.
  • Extensions: Software that makes the Web an application platform as well as a document server.
  • Signals: The use of syndication technology such as RSS to notify users of content changes.

The technology by Web 2.0 includes “Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (Ajax), Adobe Flash, and JavaScript/Ajax frameworks such as Yahoo! UI Library, Dojo Toolkit, MooTools, and jQuery.  Ajax programming uses JavaScript to upload and download new data from the web server without undergoing a full page reload”.

People were certainly impressed with each others’ websites to varying degrees when Web 1.0 technology was here.  Alas, the technology became passé and people transitioned to newer technology.  Even before the transition, however, people have become more social as a result of the Internet.  Casual Web designers created their websites on places such as GeoCities and Angelfire (remember those websites?) with static content and waited for people to visit their websites and post a guestbook entry, perhaps fellow website designers with their own sites to promote.  Vincent Flanders archived the techniques that worked and didn’t work here.

MySpace was literally on the cusp of the transition between Web 1.0 and 2.0 as the first few million users designed and created their profiles in a similar manner as described above.  However, Facebook embraced Web 2.0 technology from the start, forcing MySpace to play catch up.  The use of an application and chat bar on the bottom of the browser window is evidence that both websites use Web 2.0 technology.

Has Web technology improved, allowing us to communicate with people in different states, provinces and countries, seemingly without borders?  While it has in many ways, the improvement has made communicating with people wherever they are from more convenient.  In other words, people have already found ways to communicate with those far and wide even when technology was, well, primitive at first.  People who feel isolated from their own communities for one reason or another have turned to the Internet to find people with whom they can communicate.  Ostensibly, the first people to use the Internet to communicate relied solely on words in bulletin board systems, or BBS, and later on, chatrooms.  Nowadays, we have YouTube, Skype, and webcam applications built into instant messenger applications to serve the same purpose although we still use chatrooms.  Meanwhile, the rise of social networking websites such as MySpace and Facebook have allowed people to find each other online more easily than ever.  If the Internet is the Wild West and we are the sheep, scattered about across vast swaths of grassy plains, social networking websites using Web 2.0 technology is the cowboy that herds us together and helps us to find each other.

What does the future hold?  I try my best to keep up with the latest technology, but even I cannot predict what is to come.  If the current use of 3-D projectors in movie theaters is a progenitor of things to come, the technology presented in the movie, “Avatar” may be the next step.  Who knows how close we already are?

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Francis M. Unson

Connectivity: The Most Important Element

December 31, 2009

Please retweetTowards the end of 2009, millions of people and thousands of businesses, large and small, have tapped into the power of social media.  Bloggers have leveraged the power of the written word, writing about a myriad of topics: The weather outside; product or service reviews; entertainment reviews; or their point of view about local and world events, among countless other topics.  Businesses, on the other hand, have leveraged social media to promote their existing website and provide customer service and feedback.  Tech-savvy bloggers and businesses owners have leveraged social media technology in order to promote themselves across a wide array of social networking websites such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and YouTube.  Does so much connectivity mean that people and businesses can succeed in promotions and marketing using just these tools?

Yes and no.

Bloggers with strong followings need only continue to write.  No, we do not have to write every single day, but as long as we provide output every few days and remain responsive to the people who read and comment on our entries, we won’t disappear from the blogosphere.

Business owners, on the other hand, focus first and foremost on their business.  The use of signage, printed ads in the newspaper and Yellow Pages, and even local television or radio coverage may be more commonplace in regards to marketing for most businesses, but the use of social media is, indeed, foreign territory.  Some business owners make an attempt to enter the realm of social media, setting up an account with Facebook or Twitter and updating their profiles or making Tweets in the beginning.  Sooner or later, however, business owners fall back on their business, retreating from the use of social media and returning to their accounts, but usually only if an occasional user decides to add them.

Does all seem lost for business owners that have seemingly failed to embrace social media?  Not in the slightest.  The hundreds of millions of users on social networking sites are seemingly a great source of potential customers.  Some business owners, however, may still see social media as a novelty that does not fit the needs of their business.  While they are not yet ready to embrace this new form of marketing and promotion, what they do fall back on is possibly the most important element in business: the human element.

Why do businesses have repeat customers?  A large part of the answer concerns the business’ ability to create a customer-centered experience.  Businesses must focus on the customer experience at all levels of the business, without relegating the role to marketing or operations alone.  The impression left on the customers by a business intent on winning their loyalty is much more favorable and positive than the impression left by businesses whose intent is to sell, and nothing else.

Business owners may choose to go forward into 2010 without any changes to their exiting marketing plans including the use of social media.  Even if they do decide to embrace social media, it can not be used to separate the human element that endears customers to the businesses.  Technology or otherwise, people come first.

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Francis M. Unson