Friday, February 26, 2010

So Tired of Social Media Getting the Black Eye!


So, unless you've been living under a rock and you have absolutely no clue who I am, you should know that I'm a social marketer. But not in the traditional sense - and I find myself saying this quite a we need to delve into social media: what it is, what it is perceived to be, and what it isn't in terms of what I do.

I came across an article that talked about the do's and don'ts of Twitter. Of course, that's nothing new. If you hang around sites like Mashable or MediaPost, you'll see a number of "do this - not that" articles as it pertains to social media. But here's the real deal - there's no perfect answer. Social media is an ever changing field, I liken it to some fabled game that children come up with at the beginning of the Summer. As the Summer progresses, the rules, objects and final outcome end up being something entirely different than what was intended when the Summer began.

First of all, don't get caught up in the hype, social media has been around for years. As soon as AOL and Prodigy burst onto the scene, and showed people what a chat room and discussion board was, that was the TRUE birth of social media - not Facebook (sorry guys), not Myspace, etc. People were able to quickly exchange ideas with each other in a virtual world without having to have prior history to the receivers on the other end. Fast forward a few decades, and those old school forums and chat rooms have morphed into something more state of the art. With the advances in mobile technology and Internet speeds, our dependence on the Internet (whether from a home computer or our mobile phones) increased dramatically. And the reigns of control definitely shifted. It used to be the marketer's responsibility to not only determine the ideal demographic for a message, but to create and control the spread of that message.

As technology advanced, and the consumer realized how easy it was to add their two cents, the consumer's opinion of all content became extremely important. In fact, it became so important that marketers began to realize that they could actually rely on the consumer to carry the message farther for them by building trust and aligning their brands with early adopter and influential consumers. THIS IS SOCIAL MEDIA.

Social media is not sitting on Facebook/Myspace/Twitter like a tool and sending 10,000 updates every day which are neither relevant nor interesting to a target market (if these people even bother to define their market before they launch a "campaign" if it can be called that). And this is the mis-represented form of social media that I hate because people assume that this is what I do all day.

So, I'm a social marketer because I use the same mediums that consumers use to "hang out for fun" (Internet, mobile and TV) to promote my clients' products. But I do not spend all day sending pointless updates on Facebook/Twitter/etc. I focus on entertainment content, whether that's music, film, episodic shows, animations, etc. As long as it's original, I can promote it which I do very well! I partner with entertainment aggregation firms that act as platforms where consumers regularly visit to learn about what's new in the market (this translates into sales). Unlike Facebook, where it's easy for fly by night marketing firms to fake hits/traffic, the companies I partner with actually can verify that traffic, prevent bot attacks or large amounts of erroneous traffic. How can I stand by this claim? Because the same stats that I use to prove the traffic that my clients are getting are the same stats these companies need to use to substantiate their rates to advertisers or to pay out on revenue share agreements they have with my clients. So, faulty stats equals paying on fraudulent activity or losing advertisers because of excessive fraud.

But to get back to the deal on social media, when I do post to Facebook, Twitter,'s to link back to my serious partnerships. Always link fluff with something concrete. If you have a magazine interview link, by all means, post it on Facebook! Give people a reason to really read your posts, don't just push junk at them. And likewise, have something of substance to substantiate your attempts at social media. Because to serious firms, telling them that you have 20,000 Twitter followers or hits on your track on Myspace, it sounds like a joke. Real marketers know that those numbers can be easily bought, so you're not instilling confidence in people when you boast about empty numbers like that.

And the final goal of social media is to humanize your brand. So, most importantly, don't just act like a robot and only post about work related items. If that's what you're doing, then don't be surprised if you don't get much traction from your work. People love to see you being productive, but they want to know that you're human too. Let people know that you have a life outside of work, even if it's through responses to posts on your board or a few random commentaries about things you see or experience in daily life. You'll be amazed how some of those "pointless" posts will actually encourage others to follow you or promote your content even further than your network.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

International Chocolate Mint Day?!


So somehow I missed the official Chocolate Mint Day?! I don't know how it happened, as I am a self described choc-o-holic, but it did - for inquiring minds, it was Friday February 19th! So, in honor of that, I'm making chocolate chip cookies today. And if I can find some mint flavoring, you bet I'm tossing a dash of it in there to make them extra special.

In honor of the awesome day that was chocolate mint day, you can check out Pie Bird's blog which has tons of recipes commemorating this amazingly sweet confectionery invention!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Weekend Spent Cooking!

So, if you don't know by now, I'm a huge fan of cooking. I love to cook, but of course, only when people are around for me to cook for them. So, this weekend, I did an appetizer, and an awesome pasta dish. Just a quick note...I don't typically measure, so if some of these recipes don't have exact measurements, now u know why!:

The Appetizer - Guacamole:

2 ripe avocados
4 cherry tomatoes
three small sweet chili peppers
1/8 sweet bermuda red onion
crushed red pepper seeds
lime juice

To make:

1. Dice tomatoes, peppers and onion into very small pieces. Combine.
2. Slice avocados into workable pieces in a large bowl (There's no special way to cut the avocados so don't go crazy trying to peel them! My method is to cut them in half, and use a knife to separate the flesh from the skin. Slice the avocado into pieces and put in the bowl).
3. Mash the avocado into a paste like consistency - it's your choice how chunky you want the guacamole to be.
4. Mix the veggies into the mashed avocado paste.
5. Add salt, pepper, crushed pepper and Adobo to taste. Mix.
6. Add a splash of lime juice (or lemon juice) to the guacamole to keep it from turning brown!

The Pasta Dish - Fusilli with Spinach and Mozzarella Cheese
*This is a remix of a recipe I saw on Giada's "Everyday Italian" show!! Her's just had spinach, tomatoes, asiago cheese and the fusilli.

1 box fusilli pasta
cherry tomatoes
spinach (either fresh or frozen)
broccoli (fresh or frozen)
garlic (fresh)
olive oil
fresh mozzarella (or packaged, but not the shredded kind!)
shrimp (fresh or pre-cooked frozen)

**If you're using frozen shrimp, defrost the amount you want to cook by letting it sit in cool (not hot!) water for at least 5 minutes. Depending on how long the shrimp has been frozen, you might need to let the shrimp sit for longer than 5 minutes.)

**If you're using frozen broccoli or spinach, you need to defrost it before you start cooking with it!

1. Create a marinade for the shrimp by combining salt, pepper, oregano and basil in a zip plastic bag along with the shrimp and olive oil. Shake/mix so that the shrimp are evenly coated. Let sit.

2. Chop the broccoli, spinach (if using fresh spinach), tomatoes, and garlic. Combine in a skillet pan with olive oil. Add salt, pepper, basil, and oregano and sautee on medium heat.

3. At the same time, heat water for the pasta. (some people choose to salt the water, I don't but this is up to you)

4. Once your spinach begins to wilt, add the marinated shrimp to the pan and continue sauteing.

5. Around the same time that you begin cooking the shrimp your water should be hot enough to begin cooking the pasta...the level of cooking is up to you (al dente or fully cooked - I like mine al dente!)

6. Once the shrimp is done (pre-cooked shrimp should be ready to go in 5 - 10 minutes max!) begin adding pieces of mozzarella to the pan and reduce heat so you don't overcook the shrimp.

7. Once your pasta is cooked, drain it and then return it to the pot. Combine the sauteed shrimp and veggies from the skillet and mix thoroughly. Add additional salt,pepper and/or olive oil to taste.


It's a Multi-Post Day....When Twitter Goes Wrong (an EPIC FAIL moment)

Thanks to a friend of mine who is an avid Engadget reader, I was forwarded this link:

Now, I love Twitter, and I love my yorkie...but that doesn't mean that the two should somehow be combined. In case you didn't check out the link, the toy genius company Mattel who brought you the most popular little girl doll (Barbie) have created a new "Twitter-linked" doggie collar that will send updates to the Twitter universe. These updates will be based on what your dog is doing, and thanks to the "smart motion chip" in the collar, we can now know when your special pup is peeing, pooping, licking himself or just scratching behind his ears.

This is a FAIL because:

1. I don't care to know what my dog is doing every second of the day
2. What makes you think everyone else wants to know what your dog is doing every second of the day?

Nice try Mattel, but highly unnecessary!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Great Moments in EPIC FAILure Continued! February Edition!

This was just too funny and messed up to NOT include in my "great moments of EPIC FAILure" piece.

So, for those of you who know, the clothing retailer, Wet Seal markets predominantly to teen girls. Their older version (in price and design) is Arden B. Anywho...Wet Seal tends to have customers anywhere from as young as 10 to anyone older who can fit the clothes. I don't mind Wet Seal. Not only did I use to work there back in the day, but they have some decent items that from time to time, I don't mind getting at a reasonable price.

But that's not why Wet Seal made it onto my EPIC FAIL list!, if you market to teen girls, why are you selling garter belts? This isn't the Victorian Age! We don't wear stockings that don't stay up on their own. Garter belts aren't a necessity anymore - it's a sexy accessory meant to be seen by your special someone. Wet Seal trying to promote being sexy to impressionable teen girls?! Are they trying to tell these impressionable girls that they should be revealing their unmentionables to people? Even if it's just a special occasion in honor of Valentine's Day, it's still in poor taste & bad judgement!

So, let's welcome Wet Seal to my growing list of "Great Moments in EPIC FAILure"!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

2009 Wrap Up - Better Late Than Never! yeah it's officially February, and I should have done my "best of" posts in December or January. But better late than never I always say!

Anywho, I wanted to do a recap of my 2009 experience, sort of a highlights reel of things that were the best moments and/or turning points that really helped to reposition myself in life & more. So, without any extra ramblings, here's my top list starting from January '09 and moving forward:

March: I finished my first draft for my book, Mind Games. I was so was my first book and a major accomplishment. I never thought I could find enough to write about to fill up enough pages to be considered a book - but I did! ^_^

April: I quit my 9-5 Hallelujah! Even now, I get such a thrill remembering the way I felt when I walked out of my old job - especially since I had barely been there for an hour. I don't know why, but on the walk to the subway, I kept thinking of the final scene in Braveheart where Mel Gibson's character screams "FREEDOM" really loud...I felt such relief and a feeling like an old depressing chapter in my life was over and that the best was yet to come! Which was true because that same day I went home, got a call and had people already asking me to consult with them. Incidentally, the following week I had LASIK which was awesome & money well spent!

June: I partnered with Microsoft's Windows Media Guide division for my company Big Apple Style Marketing. It was the first serious partnership with a major Fortune 500 international firm and made me feel awesome. It's one thing when you make deals and handle business for someone else's business - it's quite another when it's your own company!

August: I release the website for my company, Big Apple Style Marketing - this is mostly important because I pretty much did the website myself. ^_^ And it's not like I'm a real graphic designer, or live on Photoshop or Dreamweaver either.

October: I sealed the deal for 3 clients to perform overseas - in Japan no less! And to put the icing on the cake, they were offered residency performance opps (they're DJs). I definitely felt a sense of accomplishment!

November: Japan Trip 2.0 for Japan Music Week. There's something nice about traveling without having to play "mother may I" like when I used to have a 9-5. There's also something nice about not having to sneak in your own personal work while at someone else's company. When it's yours, you don't have to hide!

December: Typically the time between Thanksgiving and post New Years can be a really dead time for a lot of companies - since the heavy hitters aren't around to broker deals. So, not the case for me this past December. I was so busy...and had so much business being thrown my way that I'm still doing follow ups and it's February now! ^_^