The Loop, 1977-2018

 

The Loop FM98

 

The Loop. WLUP-FM. FM98. Later, 97.9 FM.

As of this week, The Loop is gone from our radio dials. I rarely feel sad for dead celebrities, but I am a bit heartbroken over the passing of The Loop. For those of you not in the Chicago area, it was the greatest rock station in the universe. More on that debate later.

Sure, The Loop hasn’t really been “The Loop” for a decade or two. I’ve lost track of the ownership changes and lately it’s been programmed by some automated robot, or even worse, a Millennial who wouldn’t know the difference between Bon Scott and Brian Johnson.

There’s no Steve Dahl, Johnny B, or breaking cool Tom Petty records anymore. It’s pretty much full of 30-year-old Def Leppard songs lately like every other lame classic rock station owned by a failing conglomerate in America. I haven’t bothered to tune in for many years. And you haven’t tuned in either; if we had, The Loop may have survived. It’s just another underperforming media property being sold and dismantled.

 

Influence on My Life

The Loop was the most influential radio station in the universe from ’79 until about ’84. Well, in my universe anyway! My biggest influencers from the world of radio in my childhood were:

  1. The iconic one: WLS
  2. The fictional one: WKRP
  3. The real one: The Loop

The Loop influenced me in many ways from adolescence through adulthood. It was my friend in times when I had no friends. The Loop was a factor in my wanting to work in (and my obsession with) radio. Without The Loop, I would not have wanted to be a rock jock, and therefore would never have met my wife and therefore we would not have our daughter! Wow!

Without The Loop, there would be no Steve Dahl. Without Dahl, there would be no Howard Stern. Without Stern, there would be no Social Geek Radio. Okay, that last one is a stretch, but throw me a bone.

 

The Best?

Many people in Chicago will tell you that WXRT was much more influential and far superior to The Loop. Don’t get me wrong – someday when XRT inevitably folds, I’ll be writing about that brilliantly-programmed entity too.

As far as the availability of the Loop’s or XRT’s music, a few channels on Sirius XM currently fill that void for most of us Gen Xers who are not dead or have not relocated to Texas or Florida.

The Loop hadn’t been cool for many years and wasn’t yet old enough to be retro chic. But now that it’s officially gone, perhaps it will be cool to wear The Loop t-shirt again. I just hope it still fits.

 

What’s Your Story?

whats your story

 

Social Geek Radio wants to hear your story!

Do you have a great story about your brand, marketing strategy, or use of technology? We would love to talk to you on the number one podcast in the franchise space!  

Every week, we interview marketing, tech, and franchise industry leaders sharing their brands’ stories and views on trends in their space. Want to join us?

Click here to share your story with Social Geek Radio or email me directly at socialgeekradio@gmail.com!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7 Things to Do NOW to Prep for #IFA2018

International Franchise Association 

Who else loves the week before the big annual conference in your industry? It’s the time to connect with old friends, reach out to new ones, and plan on meeting potential business partners. For me, this week is all about preparing for The International Franchise Association’s Annual Convention. Here are a few tips to have a great show!

 

1. Reach out NOW. The networking before the show can be as fun and productive as the networking at the show. Pick up the phone or send message today and get on someone’s radar before you both arrive.

 

2. Pack your business cards. Far too often I hear people at conferences say, “Oh, I forgot cards.” Sure, everyone can connect via email, text, Facebook, or LinkedIn after they converse. But be memorable in the moment and hand the person with whom you’re networking a physical card.

 

3. Listen to this week’s Social Geek Radio. Shameless plug #1: on this week’s show, my colleague Liane Caruso from Qiigo and I will deal out our top picks of events at IFA2018.

 

4. Plan your sessions and roundtables. There are so many speakers and panels that you want to hear that you should plan ahead to optimize your time. Shameless plug #2: please join me at the Roundtables that I have the privilege to facilitate:

  • Sunday in the Marketing Summit, we’ll be talking about Franchise Development and Social Media.
  • Tuesday morning in the Business Solutions area, we’ll be talking about Best Practices for Facebook Ads with my co-facilitator Matt Kurwoski, COO of Soccer Shots.

 

5. Download the App. A good way to keep track of your schedule, track the exhibitors you need to see, and synch your calendar is by using the official IFA Events app.

 

6. Check out Deb Evans’ videos. Deb has spent the last few weeks interviewing IFA members to find out what their plans for the convention are and what they’re most excited about doing there.

 

7. Pack comfortable shoes. I had the pleasure of visiting the Phoenix convention center and the surrounding hotels in November. Be ready to walk, and perhaps walk many blocks depending on which of the official conference hotels you booked!

 

 

5 Tips for Networking After a Conference

name tag

We’ve read many articles and posts with tips on maximizing our networking at or before an industry conference. But what do you do after a conference to follow-up with the people you just met?

Most people have two go-to moves: send an email or invite them to connect on LinkedIn. Here are five ideas that expand on those two moves that might make networking with you more appealing:

 

1. Connect on LinkedIn with a personalized note.
The personalized notes you add to LinkedIn invitations now look like LinkedIn Messages when received. Until recently, these notes were not as easily noticed. When users made the exodus to the LinkedIn mobile app, they didn’t see the notes at all. But now your recipient will receive an alert that he or she has a message making the customized notes are even more important.

 

2. Change the timing of your email
Everyone sends a follow-up email the Monday after a conference. Why not connect the same day? Show the person you met that they are still top of mind later in the day or evening. If you can’t send a note while at the show, how about waiting one week? If there’s a real connection there, it’s worth waiting.

Either way, avoid getting lost in all the Monday morning emails and fires.

 

3. Hand-written note
My new “old” favorite. Emails, texts, and LI messages are quick and easy. For the most important new connections, take the time to write a note by hand and mail it. Your new contact will love receiving real mail.

 

4. Phone call
Pick up the phone when possible! But, when they don’t answer, don’t leave a voicemail. This is when you should send the email. No one wants to wade through their voicemail to hear your message. No one.

 

5. Share on Social
Share your pics from the event, the organizers’ links to handouts, or other sharable content immediately after the show. Use the conference’s hashtag so more people find the posts. Other attendees will find this helpful!

Last week on Social Geek Radio, Deb Evans and I discussed this topic in connection with some recent franchise conferences we attended. Please listen here or download on iTunes!

 

Marketing Trends on Social Geek Radio

 

Social Geek Radio

 

We’ve got a great lineup of marketing experts coming up on Social Geek Radio!

Laura Ries

 

 

This week Laura Ries, President of Ries & Ries, joins us to discuss trends in branding. Laura is the best-selling author of Battlecry, Visual Hammer, and my favorite marketing book of all time: The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR.

 

 

 

Mitch Joel

 

 

And next week we’re thrilled to have Mitch Joel, President of Mirum, on the show to talk tech trends. Mitch is the best-selling author of Six Pixels of Separation and CTRL ALT Delete.

 

 

 

 

Find us at SocialGeekRadio.com or download from iTunes!

Social Geek Radio Episode 300

social geek radio snap

This week on Social Geek Radio we celebrate our 300th Episode! Thanks to all of our guests over the past 7 years for so many great conversations about their innovative marketing and technology.

For this milestone show, we have an inspiring tech entrepreneur joining us to share her fantastic story. Ludwina Dautovic will join us live from Melbourne, Australia to tell us about her latest venture, The Room Xchange!

 

Please join us each Wednesday night at 8pm ET or download immediately after the show:

Website: http://socialgeekradio.com

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/social-geek-radio/id372755526

 

 

 

 

What Teachers in Vegas Taught Me About Leadership

franchising gives back

 

Last week members of the International Franchise Association went to Richard J. Rundle Elementary School in Las Vegas for a day of painting, landscaping, and building. The Franchising Gives Back event is an annual day of service when IFA members help communities in the host city of their annual convention.

While our group has worked alongside many terrific organizations in many cities across the USA, we had never been taught lessons in leadership by teachers and students.

Here are a few ways the leaders from Rundle Elementary inspired us to share in their vision:

 

1. Make Others Feel Appreciated

As we approached the school, it was clear that a large crowd was waiting in front of the building. The cynic in me hoped we weren’t being picketed or protested. When the bus doors opened, I heard the applause. Over 100 students, parents, and teachers cheered as we exited the bus and made us feel like the Beatles touching down in America.

Paul Pickett of Wild Birds Unlimited has participated in the event for several years, but said, “being greeted by the teachers, students, and families at Richard J. Rundle Elementary School is a memory that I will never forget!”

I was a first-timer this year and had been unsure what the whole day was going to be like. But the warm welcome made me want to get to work.

franchising gives back

 

2. Share the Story and the Vision

Had we arrived to an empty school, we would have still done a sufficient amount of painting, planting, and building. But the school’s leaders told us about the school’s challenges, history, and even about the heroic child for whom the school was named. We became invested in the outcome.

Just as we were leaving at the end of the afternoon, I noticed part of a wall that needed one more coat of paint and went back to do it right. Without being engaged in the school’s story and needs, I would have ignored it. A little story telling gets a great deal of buy-in from your troops!

franchising gives back

 

3. Give Credit to Others While You Roll Up Your Own Sleeves

The school leaders made us feel like what we were doing was a single effort that made all the difference in the world.  But we were there for only one Saturday afternoon. Though we completed many projects, our efforts were nothing compared to the daily improvements the school’s staff and students are constantly doing.

And while we received all the credit, there were many parents who joined in as well. Desirae Franco of The Dwyer Group told me, “My favorite part was working with a father and son to help paint their team logo on the wall. The boy was so excited and it was contagious!”

Emphasizing – and perhaps over-emphasizing – our contribution made us take ownership of the improvements.

franchising gives back

 

4. Set Up Your Partners to Succeed

The projects were laid-out in a dummy-proof manner, so even a bunch of CEOs, marketing people, and sales people could dive in and make a dent. The instructions were clear and the tools were ready!

Having a project well-organized is critical when dealing with a group of non-specialists. Without specifics on how many people were needed on each task and directions on where to start, confusion would have derailed us early in the day.

 

5. A Hand-Written Note

In a world of email blasts and texts, I’m a big fan of standing out via the old style hand-written note. The students of Rundle Elementary wrote enough illustrated thank you notes for each of us and handed them to us as we boarded the bus to head back to our convention.

Deb Evans of Social Geek Radio and Deb Evans Consulting said, “We know we make a difference each year, but this year we were thanked with cheers, hugs, and handwritten notes!”

I received a lot of free giveaways and tchotchkes at the IFA Convention this year, but a student’s note was the thing I kept!

fullsizerender-note

Social Geek Radio in Top 20 Best Business Podcasts

social geek radio

 

Thanks Geeks!

Thanks to the Digital Marketing Geeks and the Social Media Geeks. And thanks to our guests from the business and franchise community…

Due to you, Social Geek Radio has been named to Emerge’s list of the 20 Best Business Podcasts for 2017!

Special thanks to Qiigo, Deb Evans Consulting, and The International Franchise Association for their continued support. 

 

 

Social Geek Radio in the 40 Best Small Business Podcasts

Best Small Business Blogs

 

Thanks Geeks!

Thanks to the Franchise Geeks, the Digital Marketing Geeks, and the Social Media Geeks. And thanks to our guests from the small business and franchise community.

All of you have helped Social Geek Radio get added to Proven’s list of the 40 Best Small Business Podcasts.

In addition, Social Geek Radio was just named to Emerge’s list of the 20 Best Business Podcasts for 2017.

We’ve received a few other awards before, but Deb Evans and I both have a real passion for entrepreneurship and growing small businesses, so both of these are real honors for us.

 

 

 

Deeper Political Divides in Social Media in 2017

facebook dislike

 

You think 2016 was rough? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Trump. Clinton. Bernie. Obamacare. Make America Great Again. Black Lives Matter. Email servers. Putin. Benghazi. Wikileaks. Fox News. CNN. Trumpists. Snowflakes.

If you’re paying attention on Facebook, you know your friends’ opinions on many of the above subjects.

Some may think that with the election behind us and the inauguration happening this week that the heated debates are done. I think it’s just warming up.

 

The New (Ab)Normal

Just a few years ago, the public sharing of so much political nastiness was simply not done. At least it was not done by adults and professionals. But after the past year of raw political argument, we have lost all filters.

The incoming President of the United States has forsaken all filters including media editors and his own spokespeople in favor of instant Facebook posts and real-time Tweets. Love him or hate him, we’re now all doing the same thing.

 

Swapping Positions 2009 to 2017

An interesting change between those on opposite ends of the political spectrum is happening in 2017, and I don’t mean the residents of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. There’s a role reversal happening in the poli-social space.

In the US and much of Europe, Liberals are now taking over the role of opposition to the Conservative’s new position as the establishment.

For the past 8 years, Conservatives have played the role of the rebel alliance fighting the big-government empire. Think of that timeframe: for most of the lifespan of social media, or at least the lifespan of marketing and massive use on Facebook, Republicans have been on the offense in social media messages while Democrats have had to play defense. When President Barack Obama took office in January of 2009, the Democrats also had control of the US House and the US Senate. The Republicans used social media to attack that establishment. Eventually the tide turned back in their favor.

Now with the GOP in the White House, retaining the Senate, holding the House, and growing their lead across most state governments, it’s the Democrats’ turn to go on offense. This may lead to a great frenzy of counter-culture activity on social. We could be seeing the dawn of a new of 1960s style protest movement, although it’s a sterilized digital version where you don’t actually have to leave your phone to participate.

 

More #FakeNews

How do some respond to news that they just don’t like? Call it Fake News. Be prepared to see about half of the content shared on social media to be called fake news by someone. Caution: the more that label is used, the less of an impact it has.

I personally plan to save the fake news moniker for so-called established news sources that publish false news and ignoring the phony sources that pop up.

 

More Unfriending = An Opportunity for Marketers

On my own personal Facebook account was unfriended by just one friend, but unfollowed or hidden by an untold many due during the 2016 election. Once some people start trimming their friend lists, it’s easy to continue. This could be the start for many Facebook users to scale down their list of friends to their real friends, or more likely, those who share many beliefs.

Here’s where my marketing friends (the real and the Facebook kind!) can find an opportunity in this mess —

Friends’ posts in the newsfeed rank higher than anything from brands or publishers since a June 2016 Facebook update. More unfriending means more prime real estate for your brand’s content on a fan’s newsfeed! Don’t give up on organic Facebook posts quite yet. After a divisive year, there may be a lot of holes to fill!

For more discussion on social media trends we’re spotting for 2017, check out this recent episode of Social Geek Radio with my co-host Deb Evans and special guest, my Qiigo colleague Liane Caruso!