Beware of the ‘Social Media Experts’

July 24, 2009 2 comments

Anyone who has spent a half second on Twitter or Facebook has come across the ‘Social Media Expert’. The unpopular kid from college who has spent all their waking hours trying to unlock the secrets to making money in social media. Each is pulling for your attention in an attempt to convince you that their system for social media is the best. Most will even charge exorbitant fee for their special training program –I’m talking thousands of dollars.

“Oh RLY”, you ask.
“RLY”.

What bothers me the most about these people is they are ruining social media. Absolutely ruining it.

Before I really get started I must clarify that social media is a great tool from driving traffic to your website and building reporte with customers and future customers. It has changed the face of marketing and public relations forever. Businesses and consumers are interacting like never before. Additionally, their are individuals who know their social media. The funny thing about that is NONE of them call themselves Social Media Experts.

With that being said, social media is supposed to be about having fun. Isn’t that the point of meeting new people –it’s fun?

“I can get you more followers!”

OK, back to these experts of social media/networking. The big pitch for these guys is to get you more Twitter followers. That is typically the meat and potatoes of their system. How do these seemingly normal people acquire SO many followers? Here’s the big $3000 secret. You ready?

THEY FOLLOW EVERYONE AND THEIR BROTHER! That’s it! Most people on Twitter feel the need to reciprocate (a href=”http://www.amazon.com/Influence-Psychology-Persuasion-Business-Essentials/dp/006124189X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1248442697&sr=8-1″>See Robert Cialdini’s book INFLUENCE follow and will follow you back. Seriously, this is their secret to more followers and I have given it to you for free. Next time you come across one of these people, check out their profile. Often they are following tens of thousands more users than are following them. I get a minimum of 20 followers who follow in hopes that I will reciprocate. I check out their BIOS and they stink of spammers. Stop this!

Another secret that’s all too obvious

The expert’s next big secret is all about integration. Yes, that’s it. They want you to pony up the big bucks so they can show you how to put links on your Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and digg.com accounts. Some expert huh? Some even offer to intergrate your accounts for you. Give me a break. If you don’t already do this or know how to do this, please leave me a comment or, even simpler, look it up on Google.

Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Soon everyone will have a presence on these platforms. We are in a very exciting time in terms of how the web is influencing the world around us. These networks have given the people a voice. Customers are regaining control of the marketplace, no longer to be pushed around by the giant corporations. Small business owners are getting the word out, while not spending a fortune in advertising. And…most importantly, Tila Tequilla has found her way to Twitter (God help us all).

***I’m not the only one feed up with these hacks. Check out Brian Solis’ article entitled Social Media is Rife with Experts but Starved of Authority

If you want to be success with social media or simply wish to know more about it, you don’t need to spend huge sums of money. Do the research and find the reputable blogs. There are many legit sites out there looking to help you. Oh yeah, and they’re free. 80% of EVERYTHING you need to know about social media can be learned from a handful of blogs.

If you happen to be one of those people (like me) who isn’t satisfied with 80%, them check out Amazon.com. The search term ‘social media’ will bring you tons of results.

BUT…since I’m such a great guy, I’ll provide you with the top 5 books you’ll need. These books will teach you everything you need to know to dominate social media. Just do me one favor –when you do become an expert and giant success, don’t try to sell your bullshit system to me. : )

Brian Solis
Putting the Public Back in Public Relations, by Brian Solis A great book which explains how we must adapt our methods to match the times. A must read.

Me Me 2.0 by Dan Schawbel There are just as many personal branding experts as there are social media experts. Dan is the only guy who seems to have it right.

Anything by Scott Ginsberg Scott is the man! His attitude and overall approach to live make him one of the greatest networkers out there. Read everything you can find by Scott.


The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott This book is a nice starting point for anyone getting into social media. A great comparison of what worked then and what works now.


Guerilla Marketing by Jay Conrad Levinson
While not solely focused on social media, this book teaches and instills the work ethic you will need to be successful in your marketing, public relations, and social media efforts.

UPDATE: July 27th, I just found this today on Mashable. If you’re feeling a little lost or need a review of all things Twitter check out Twitter Guide Book

PR in the news and on the web.

Having the ‘Right Stuff’ For Your Marketing Plan

As some of you know, I am an avid surfer. Since my first day on a board, I have dealt with constant struggles to get to the point I’m at now. It has been a journey which has taught me much about: myself, life, and business.

The other day, after catching a nice 6 footer, I paddled out to do it again and starting thinking of how far I’d come. I looked down at my newly purchased board and that’s when I realized the true importance of having the proper gear.

When I started surfing, I had bought a short board (6’0″) to save a little money. Apparently, these boards are reserved for advanced and pro surfers –I couldn’t even get enough speed to grab a wave. After weeks of failed attempts and too many wipe outs to count, I understood the importance of having the right equipment to meet your needs. Now I ride a nice fat 7’6″ NSP Board and I’m actually becoming a decent surfer. The sad fact is, I ended up spending twice as much as in the long run by trying to save up front. Considering the cost of returning the short board, my time lost, and purchasing a larger board, I could be the owner of a top of the line board. Oh well, live and you learn.

This had me thinking about using the proper tools in your marketing campaigns. With the economy in transition, everyone is looking to save a little cash, but often at the expense of performance. When cutting corners, as I did by purchasing the short board, you are setting your marketing plan up for failure.

Think of the return on investment and the long term effects of making the large initial investment. Measure each and every detail from start to finish. Trust me, it’s much more costly to cut corners up front, then go back and do it again with the proper tools.

When it come to your marketing plan, or surfing for that matter, do it right the first time.

Surfing to Learn Logical Thinking Process

The Ocean Is Mean

The Ocean Is Mean

I was caught. Caught by waves and current. Pushing and pulling me down the shore. Further from safety and my home. With each stroke, my board and I were pushed back twice as hard. The leash tangled around my feet, binding them. I thought I was a strong swimmer. Not strong enough.

Surfing presents it’s challenges. Taking a fiberglass board and harnessing the power of the ocean is not as easy as I expected. Silly me.

As I walked up the beach with dripping head hung low, I tried to put a positive spin on the whole encounter. What I came up with was FAILURE.

Dealing with Failure

The idea isn’t that I failed, we all fail. It’s how we deal with that failure that sets us apart. Some walk away with tail tucked between legs, never to return. Other allow anger to fuel them on and attack the challenge with greater conviction –often only to fail in a more grandiose fashion. This is my problem. Which, I must say, I’m working on but could still use some improvement.

Finally, there are those enviable individuals who step back and analyze the situation. They are not angry. They are not frustrated. They are looking at the problem logically. Digging deeper to find the solution. Flaws are identified. Mistakes are taken into account. This information is processed and a possible solution is reached. Maybe the solution works, maybe it doesn’t. Regardless, the same process of thinking will be repeated until a proper solution is reached.

The Logical Approach

It is this logical method of problem solving which should be applied to all aspects of life. Whether it’s surfing, writing proper code, developing a marketing strategy, it doesn’t matter. Think more logically.

This approach seems obvious when considering a business problem, but why is it most of us do not apply this method to daily life? Someone cuts you off in traffic. You get angry. You drive home pissed. Why? Logically, what did that other driver do to you? Nothing.

This is an aspect of my life which I am actively working on. Do I have an uncontrollable temper –no. But I can use to apply logical thing in greater aspects and areas of my life.

Below are some articles that have been helpful in garnering this method of thought. Read them and be self correcting. When you find yourself slipping, pause, take note, and approach the problem from a more logical reference. Logical thinking is a process that can be learned. It simply takes practice.

I’m taking this very approach to surfing. By next week, I’ll have picture of me smiling atop a beautiful wave.

Stoicism 101: A Practical Guide

Logical Thinking: A Learned Mental Process

For those interested, this is why I’ve always wanted to surf.

Morning Routine To Optimize Your Productivity

May 19, 2009 1 comment

Morning routines make you more productive. Having a simple and effective routine allows you to start your day with control and purpose. Once the work day starts, you’re going to be pulled in 7 different directions at once –it’s nice to be able to control some part of your day. If you want to increase your productivity, creativity, and overall well being, develop and stick to a morning routine.

Check out Zen Habits for benefits of a morning routine or ritual.

My Morning/Mid-Morning Routine for Productivity

-Wake up early. Get in the habit by waking 15 minutes earlier each week. Start off slowly and build from your small success. Beginner’s Tip: Avoid the snooze button at all costs! This dreaded button will keep you in bed longer and the extra sleep you get isn’t worth it.

-Make coffee: typically some type of Starbucks, but Peet’s is also pretty tasty and as well as Costco’s freshly roasted coffee. Having something you look forward to, whether it’s coffee or some tasty cereal, will motivate you to get out of the bedroom.

-Read fiction on the couch or porch (just to get away from bed) with first cup of coffee. This is such a nice way to ease into the day. My porch overlooks the ocean and it’s my favorite part of the day.

-Read non-fiction to get motivated for the day. I typically read something marketing or PR related, but will review sections of Getting Things Done or 4HWW if I have found myself slipping in terms of time allocation.

-Light workout of maybe 20 minutes. I have found yoga to be an energizing way to start the day. It allows for stretching and gets the blood flowing to your entire body. Nice way to awake up the limbs.

-Light breakfast and off to work. Since I work from home, this isn’t much of a commute.

-Once I have started work, it’s nothing but tea and water the rest of the day. Too much coffee dehydrates the body and I’m one of those people whose is always drinking something might as well be tea. Check out Teavana.com

Throughout the day if I am having difficulty generating ideas, I do something physical. Maybe sets of push-ups totaling 100 or so on the Perfect Push-up. This allows me to become lost in the present and clear my head. Occasionally, I will eat at my desk and run during my lunch break.

Finally, instead of smoke breaks, I take productivity breaks. Mid-afternoon is always a drag. To get a boost and finish the day strong, I’ll return to non-fiction for 10 minutes or so, typically Tim Ferriss, then return with renewed vigor. Podcasts also help me to get through the mid-afternoon drag. Listening to these people put their heart and soul into their work gives me a nice kick in the ass.

What routines do you follow to get going and keep yourself going strong throughout the day?

Which books do you rely on for inspiration and motivation?

TED Talks –Inspiration, Motivation and Ideas

Whenever I need to regenerate an idea or simply need a little kick in the ass, I head over to TEDtalks to check out an inspirational speech.

Game Changers

The individuals featured are who we should all aspire to be. These are the people who can change the world.

Movements are being created all around us. What’s yours?

Check Seth Godin’s talk on the new form of influence–TRIBES.

5 Ways to Connect With People in A New City

Tools to Connect With People

A new city is both exciting and scary.

A new city is both exciting and scary.

Everyone has had the experience of being new. Either in school or, now, in your adult life. Moving to a new area can be difficult. Meeting decent people after a move can seem just as impossible. But we have tools at our disposal that allow use to tackle this daunting task. Social Media has simplified the process.

Top 5 Ways to Meet New People

1. Search For Groups On Facebook
One of the simpler approaches available. Simply find local groups and ask to join. Meeting through Facebook takes some of the fear out of meeting new people. Easy and effective.

Also, be sure to include updates about your move on Facebook and add some pictures. You never know when someone might stumble on your info and hit you up for drinks.

2. #Search Your new City on Twitter
Any mention of your area will return in the search. Check Tweeters who mentioned your city and follow if interested. Watch out for tourist who will be gone in a week.

Tweetdeck has a pretty solid search function. When you find these people, follow them and strike up a convo.

3. Attend a Local Event
Check the paper or internet for upcoming events –5k runs, bar crawls, music festivals, etc. Research the event.Actually, do some initial research, but not too much. Instead go to the event and ask questions. You’d be surprised how helpful people want to be and it gives you an opener.

Check out active.com for local events like triathlons, surf groups, fun runs, etc.

4. Ask Other’s Opinion
About to get a new pet or having a debate with your friend? Don’t Google it from your laptop, seek out the answer by asking strangers.

You’d be surprised how these questions open people up.

5. Get Out of Your House
Have any hobbies? Get out and do them! Enjoy running? Go run! Simply getting out and enjoying your new town is THE way to meet people. It won’t happen immediately. Just give it time.

Go for a morning run.
Ride a bike.
Walk whenever possible.

Once you’re out of the house–speck to people! Start saying hello to everyone. Saying hello alone won’t necessarily help you meet new people, but it will get you speaking to people and establish and outgoing mindset.

There are hundreds of simple techniques to meet people. You don’t have to hit the bars every night, use Social Media and the tools available.