Modern Rock Holiday: Planes, Trains and Automobiles Theme

25 Nov

planes 1   

Sometimes in business travel, you’re Steve Martin (Neal): sophisticated, reserved, well-dressed. But every messy incident on the road with other people is uncomfortable.

Sometimes in business travel, you’re John Candy (Del): not the sharpest or coolest guy. But your customers like you. And your wife likes you. What you see is what you get.  

Sometimes getting home is all that matters. Cue the theme to Planes, Trains and Automobiles!

I am not a big fan of electronic music. But I love the song Red River Rock by The Silicon Teens. I am posting about it here due to its connection to holiday music and Thanksgiving even thought the tune itself has nothing to do with either. But this electronic version of the old folk tune “Red River Valley” is my favorite Thanksgiving song due to its prominence in the now-classic movie, Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Enjoy below and Happy Thanksgiving!


Stop Following Social Media Influencers

18 Nov


What does being a social media influencer mean?

They’re influencing people via Facebook? Or they’re influencing people about Facebook?

One issue with seeing social media as an industry (which I don’t) is this idea that you should have already heard of everything and everyone who is “an expert”. I constantly hear this from marketing colleagues and people who will soon no longer work with me:

“Do you follow Joe X?” (Joe’s name is blocked here to protect the ignorantly blissful.) And I always reply, “Who?”

This is usually followed by, “Whadya mean ya don’t know who Joe X is!?! How can you not follow Joe X?”

No, I don’t follow Joe X, and neither should you.  

No offense is meant to Joe X. Joe X is probably a good writer. I see Joe X’s blog occasionally in search results and I’m usually impressed by Joe X’s writing skills and ideas.  I couldn’t write as well as Joe X in a million years. I will be likely to read future posts should the subject appeal to me, or more likely, the keywords match what I am searching.  But following? Nope. It’s pointless.  

Who should you follow? Two Tactics:

 1. Follow influential people in your industry. If you’re in retail, franchising, food services, healthcare, automotive, or any industry,  there are many smart professionals with whom you should engage. Don’t worry about what they’re saying about Facebook or Twitter…pay attention to what they’re saying about retail, franchising, healthcare, etc.

2. Don’t follow any specific people; search and follow ideas!

“Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas.”
-Marie Curie

AP Spins Story. FleishmanHillard Spins Obamacare. Taxpayers Lose.

20 Oct



In Illinois, we are using $33 Million in federal grants to pay public relations firm FleishmanHillard to advertise and promote Obamacare.

The Associated Press article promoting this story would be a funny read if their journalistic integrity wasn’t so pathetic and the situation wasn’t costing taxpayers so much money.  And, yes, it actually is an AP article, not a story from The Onion as I first thought.

Check out this nonsense:  “The campaign would use Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to convince young people to buy health insurance. It would be part of an ad blitz with TV, radio, billboards and other paid advertising.”

So Illinois is broke…no money for schools or anything else, but we can get $33M in federal money to spin what I thought was already the “law of the land”.

 There are not enough 20-Somethings signing up for Obamacare, so the new plan is to hire a bunch of 20-Somethings to Tweet and post about it. Of course those guys won’t sign up for Obamacare either, put they will gladly be paid to tell others why they should. Hope and Change, my Millennial friends! Hope and Change!

My favorite gem in this one-sided AP report: “Now, nearly three weeks after the launch, the social media campaign is underway, but it’s muted. Paid advertising is on hold. With technology problems plaguing the federal website, state officials decided there’s no reason to boost traffic now.”

No kidding! So spend money promoting something but don’t actually promote it yet.  


Could someone at the Associated Press actually question something, sometime?

If the AP had any REAL journalists left, here are a few questions they might want to ask:

1) Why does the US need to advertise to young people to get them to something that they are now forced by law to do?

2) Is there not a more effective way to spend tax dollars than paying a huge global over-priced PR firm to Tweet to Twenty-Somethings and ask them to sign up? Private corporations cannot budget for this as it is not cost effective.

3) For those workers at FleishmanHillard who are being paid to do this work: have any of them signed up for Obamacare?

4) If the government website is technically not capable of handling more traffic, then why not stop the whole PR program for now including the fees paid to FleishmanHillard?


16 Oct



4 Steps to Running a Good Contest on Facebook Since the New Rule Changes

6 Sep

3D Facebook

Last week Facebook updated their terms to allow for contests to be executed outside of Applications and on your brand’s Timeline using Likes, Comments, and Messages to enter. Every one-person agency and self-named social media “expert” has been posting and shouting about how this is greatest thing ever and that you should run out and do promotions in this manner as soon as possible. After all, now it’s easy and you don’t need a pesky third-party.

But just because something is easy and you can do it yourself, does that mean it will accomplish a business goal?

(For those self-named social media “experts” and “gurus”, a business goal is something that grown-ups use. It has more to do with revenue than Likes. More on that later…)


Which do you want: more Entrants or more Customers?

Before running out to do the first contest that comes to mind – be aware of a few things. First, by doing a contest via Likes, you’re making winning easier for non-committed consumers to win. These are people who will dog pile onto your contest, maybe win something, but will never be a customer of your brand, store, or business.


Missing in Action: Emails

Second, do you know what your brand page and your local pages will really miss? Your customers’ email addresses! If you start doing promotions only on your Timeline and not using an application, you can’t collect email addresses or other desired data from your fans and customers.

We’re social media focused here at Engage121, BUT we do know the value of a customer’s email address. You still want to be able to collect these for newsletters, announcements, or future plans. What’s the value of a Facebook Like? I don’t know, but it’s less than an email address!


Don’t create temporary Fans

Lastly, by not requiring a Fan-Gated entrance to your app for the contest, you’re diminishing the likelihood of gaining a new Fan. Consumers may Like your status update once to enter the contest but never actual Like your page or engage with you further.


Solution:  Let’s do both!

Run your contest as an App and hit your Timeline with it often! Here are four steps to success in the new Facebook dynamic:

1. Run the contest as an Application on your Facebook page. Here’s an awesome example of a successful just-finished contest from our friends at Scooter’s Coffee.

2. Talk about it, share it, and promote it frequently on your Timeline so your fans know it exists.

3. Create good content in the contest: I always recommend against being too self-promotional in your status updates. So the contest itself should be interesting on its own add some value to your fans’ day. If it’s not, then maybe rethink the contest!

4. Advertise:  Along with sharing the contest as a status update, think about spending some budget on some well-targeted ads too!


Senator Marco Rubio to Address IFA

26 Aug

Marco Rubio

The International Franchise Association has just announced that Senator Marco Rubio of Florida will join an impressive lineup of keynote speakers at the IFA Public Affairs Conference in Washington, DC on September 17.

Mr. Rubio represents a new generation of political leader who will be moving our country forward and is also very hard to cast in a predefined label. Like Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, Mr. Rubio is a post-label politician; they’re pro-business and economically conservative, but they are by no means part of the old establishment when it comes to other issues.

I don’t know if Marco Rubio will be president someday (we can’t get that lucky) but it’s a sure thing that he will be a leader on many issues that affect American business, especially franchises and small business owners. From taxes to jobs to immigration reform to healthcare, Mr. Rubio will be a constant voice of reason and logic for decades to come.

If you’re a member of the IFA, you can register for the event now and sign up to meet with your member of Congress to discuss these important issues as well!


5 Things to Ask a Social Media Expert, Guru, or Ninja

8 Aug


In case you’re being pitched to by a social media expert or you’re thinking of handing over your company’s money to a social media guru, here are some things to ask them. Oh, and I included social media ninjas too because you never know when they will strike!


1. Did your studies of the ancient guru or ninja arts take place on a remote mountaintop in Asia or at Florida State?

2. How long ago did you stop being a PR Guru?

3. Does that gmail address on your business card mean you’re too cool to have a real company email?

4. How much of your clients’ revenue increases are a direct result of your work? The metric I’m looking for here is called US Dollars.

5. According to Twitter, you have fewer followers than I do. Or anyone in my company. Or most of the consumers with whom we intend to engage.  So, uh, how long have you been an expert?




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