Fear or Trust

fear or trust Many years ago, as a young 26 year old entrepreneur in Atlanta, I was invited to speak at an event where President Clinton was also speaking. As people mingled backstage I’ll never forget watching him as he put his hand on the shoulder of the Governor and said, “It’s all about psychology. You need to understand the psychology of the voters. It’s all about psychology.” Not surprisingly, Clinton and his team came up with the famous phrase, “It’s the Economy Stupid.” They understood that psychology drives elections and the economy.

Fast forward to today, it’s no wonder the economy is still facing challenges. The 24/7 media is creating a frenzy of panic and fear that is negatively impacting the collective psychology of the country. I have heard from many people who are more stressed and fearful than they have ever been in their life. And like a horror movie where the things you fear start to appear, our collective fear is making our worst nightmare come true.

We need to realize that the economy is not some abstract entity separate from us. The economy is us. YOU and I are the economy. Our thoughts, behaviors, actions and mood collectively create the economy. Government can try to manipulate our actions through tax plans, regulations, incentives, etc. but in a nutshell WE are the economy. Our collective mood, productivity, innovation, positive energy and execution determines whether the economy is thriving or in a recession. Paying our mortgage helps the economy. Working hard helps the economy. Starting a business helps the economy. Making a product the world needs helps the economy. Replacing our psychology of fear with a psychology of trust helps the economy.

But how can I trust anything, you might ask, when everything I’ve trusted in is falling apart. My answer is that we’ve put our trust and faith in the wrong things. Our government, media, financial institutions and our own actions have shown us that a house built on the wrong foundation cannot stand. The cracks have been exposed and it’s a wakeup call to all of us. As Charles West said, “We turn to God for help when our foundations are shaking, only to learn that it is God who is shaking them.” Our foundations are shaking for a reason. We are meant to realize that security is an illusion. There’s no power in having a big bank account. You can’t find peace in your investment portfolio and you’ll never find your true purpose in your 401k plan.

We are meant to stop listening to the media, aka, Chicken Little and have faith in something bigger than ourselves. We are meant to trust in God, not in our balance sheets. We are meant to realize that true power exists not in what seems big and strong and secure but in what is silent and unseen. This is where faith lives.

So instead of starting your morning by turning on the negative news, consider taking a walk of prayer and create your own positive stories. Instead of looking down at the paper, look up to the heavens. And instead of listening to the fear mongers, walk outside, close your eyes, smell the air, take a few deep breaths and discover the real peace you seek.

Every day, stay positive; do your best to succeed and have faith in a brighter and better future. I believe this is the antidote to fear and it is the true kind of trust that you, me and the economy need right now.

About Jon Gordon:

This post is a guest post by Jon Gordon. Jon is the Wall Street Journal and international bestselling author of a number of books including The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work and Team with Positive Energy, and his latest, The Seed: Finding Purpose and Happiness in Life and Work. Learn more at www.JonGordon.com. Follow Jon on Twitter @JonGordon11 or Facebook www.facebook.com/jongordonpage.

photo credit: Idol

How To Add Facebook Subscribe Button To Your Website

Facebook Subscribe In less than 24 hours after the big announcement of the Facebook Subscribe button for websites, the feature is now live and appearing on some of the biggest news sites like MSNBC, Huffington Post, Forbes and Washington Post, to name a few. The Subscribe button has the same functionality as it does on Facebook pages which eliminates the need for users to have to read an article and then have to go over to Facebook to Subscribe. You may recall that back in September the Subscribe button was launched eliminating the need for users to have to be friends to see updates, well on the ones that are shared publicly. Once a user subscribes via your website, they automatically see your updates in their news feed. Exposure!

Why Should I Add the Subscribe Button

Exposure! The goal of this button is to increase the viral distribution of your updates. It is no secret that the updates with the most ocmments and likes are highly favored by Facebook and, thus, appear higher up/rank higher. Far gone are the days when the Notifications on your Facebook page displayed friends/subscribers commenting directly to YOU. Now, they are all new updates from friends and those that you subscribe to (and yes all friends, unless you turned off the ability to be subscribed to are subscribers to YOU and YOU to them). Adding the Subscribe button places your updates into their Notifications.

How to Add the Facebook Subscribe Button to Your Website

The Subscribe button is added either XFBML or an iFrame. To add via XFBML, which uses the JavaScript SDK, customize this code for your URL:

<fb:subscribe href=”https://www.facebook.com/YOURURL” width=”450″></fb:subscribe>

Note the HTML5 code is:

<div data-href=”https://www.facebook.com/yoururl” data-width=”450″></div>

To add the Subscribe Button via iFrame:

<iframe src=”https://www.facebook.com/plugins/subscribe.php? href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fyoururl &amp;width=450&amp;appId=APP_ID” scrolling=”no” frameborder=”0″ style=”border:none; overflow:hidden; width:450px;” allowTransparency=”true”> </iframe>

If code is a bit outside of your technical realm, Facebook through the developers page will create the exact code for you on the Facebook Developer’s Subscribe Button.  You will note that there is a prompt asking to Show Faces.

Facebook Subscribe Show Faces
If you do not uncheck the box, the code will vary from above and will contain the language to show faces:

Facebook Subscribe Button Code

Once you have the code, whether you customize from above or utilize the generated code, you place it on the page(s) you wish for it to appear. Or, you can just wait a few days as plugin developers for WordPress are certainly hard at work developing a downloadable plugin.

Will you be adding the Subscribe button to your site or waiting to see the feedback?

photo credit: Jay Cameron

Big Brand Corporate Sponsors for High School Fields On The Rise

high school football field

photo credit: abrockhouse

We expect corporate sponsorships in the Pros and also in College but for high school? It is more popular than ever before due to the rising costs of high school sports and the budget cuts that are plaguing our schools. High school extra curricular activities are a part of high school and while more academic related programs are getting cut, we are seeing a trend in high school sports. I guess we can really relate to when the clubs were cut and the outrage that ensued from parents and students but when it comes to HS sports being cut, the not in MY backyard syndrome really kicks in and the parents and students had a louder voice. A voice that not only came from within but poured over into the media which coupled with the scouts who keep an eye on the HS standouts, really has created a roar. You see, there are no scouting reports or sections committed in the local or national newspapers for the debate team, the school newspaper or the chess club. There are no pregame shows, no local coverage of pretty much any sport other than football. Football is big money in the United States and preserving the fields to grow and find new talent is where it starts. Big brands know this and recognizing the crisis, they are jumping in because without high school football the colleges and universities suffer and eventually cannot recruit big name players which leads to them losing money which ultimately leads to inability to field a team or a winning team. Winning = money.

Pressure from the Higher Ups

If colleges and universities are not able to see/scout and recruit talent from high school athletics, where would they turn? Pop Warner, Parks and Rec sponsored leagues? I suppose, but if a township or city is unable to budget for education (which includes athletics) how much monies will be allocated to parks and rec programs? It is an issue that continues to worsen instead of ease with each passing year. Sure, there are local corporate sponsorships from the car dealers, the pizzerias, candy shops, insurance brokers, etc but it is not enough anymore. The financial burden has to be bore from somewhere to keep the fields well maintained and safe for athletics but with the athletic budgets increasing each year with equipment, transportation, etc., and the funding decreasing, the fields are the last to see the dollars. Then what? The field is deemed unsafe and unplayable. The transportation costs rise and the field sits waiting for someone to come in and tend to it day after day, month after month and year after year. The schools are at a loss, the home field advantage is lost as there is no home field, the town pride is diminished and the snow ball effect takes place as if there is no football field, there is no track for the track team, no field for the soccer teams (in a mixed use field), nowhere to practice, nowhere to call the Home of the (insert team name here). The colleges and universities need the emotional tie to the field as when you have it, you support it and in college the support is needed.

Home Field

Home field advantage in sports is big. It is your territory, a place where you know every single divot, every single point where you the ground is not as level, every point where the grass does not grow as well or in turf where it is a little bit harder to gain traction. Home field also brings the home crowd. The fans that come together to cheer you on, that make enough noise that the other team has a hard time hearing the snap count which leads to penalties. Home field is where you have more time to prepare and not sit on a bumpy bus ride. Home field is pride. Home field is that edge and confidence that you are not allowing someone to come into your house and win. Nope, not gonna happen! Imagine not having a home field? Imagine having to get on that bumpy school bus that moves at a speedy 45mph and travel to every single game? Imagine having no place to practice, no place for the town to gather and talk sports? It is happening more and more and not just in the inner cities anymore. If big brands do not step in, who will? Do some schools just have to accept that they are the traveling team and be grateful that they even are able to field a team and travel to their games? This is not just football but we know football has the loudest voice. Could spending be drastically reduced if a field was deemed playable and home field was born again or does it bring in more costs with concessions, upkeep and maintenance? Is home field more for the fans than the players?

Big Brands Sponsoring High School Fields

Big brands sponsoring high school fields is not new but it definitely is not plentiful. There are currently only 4 states that have big brand names for high school fields. Sponsorships come in all shapes and sizes but with all have the same goal in mind. Get the word out for the betterment of the people. Sponsorships of this nature are advertising. Lysol creating ads that show me how much bacteria they eliminate from my  home along with the ease and almost effortless use betters me and my family. I spend more time with the family and less time worrying about the bacteria that is growing on the counter, toilet, etc. They are getting the word out of their product for the betterment of me and my family life. Sponsorships for high school fields get the press coverage that the big brand has stepped in and is helping restore the field to bring back the home field. The parents of the athletes are happy, the athletes have a sense of belonging and a strong bond to the new field and the brand has instilled a positive brand image that they care and support our youth. New Balance is the latest to do just that.

New Balance Secures Naming Rights of High School Field

New Balance recent submitted a bid for $500,000 (payable over 10 years) to secure the naming rights of Gloucester, MA high school’s Newell Stadium. Newell Stadium, built in 1936 has not seen any activity in years. As with many districts, the athletics department had to institute participation fees and over the past few years raise them which has excluded some from even participating. A city of under

30,000, and a high school of approximately 1350 students, monies are tight and there are not many avenues to raise funds locally. For the past few years, every single sporting event that would utilize the field or track have been diverted elsewhere. There is NO HOME FIELD, there is no wall to bang on in the locker room that bears your name and slogan. Though, I have to say they are resilient as the football team has been state champs 4 times in the past 10 years. But, they need a home. They need bleachers that are not crumbling,, they need working restrooms as port a potties at a sporting event do not cut it, they need the smell of the concession stand grill firing  up the burgers and dogs. They need to have that place where they all come back to while visiting home from college to visit/catch up with old friends/teammates and watch the next generation of athletes. New Balance is helping to give them that through sponsoring the new field and securing the naming rights.

Newell Field

photo credit: brandchannel.com

What is in a Name?

A lot. If I had named my son Andrew, Obi-Wan Kenobi, you all would have though I was crazy (especially those that know me and know I have never seen a Star Wars movie nor read a Star Wars book). Names matter. We take pride in what we name and names that are associated with us, our interests, etc. We support brands that have big names. For those that are older and can remember No Frills brand, we cringed when it was in our cabinets and our friends may have seen it. I mean come on now, wasn’t the store brand bad enough and now this white packaging with blue and red lettering shows up? We wanted the big name brand as it was better and showed a certain status symbol. How we are viewed by others plays a role in our self confidence, self worth and level of success. Should it? No, but it does. We feel a part of something when we are associated with a brand.

Does this transfer over into the naming of a field? Maybe. Sometimes. Could the big brand name of the field do more harm to the brand? We can look at it in a number of ways. New Balance securing the naming rights of Newell Field is giving the athletes and entire city something back while preserving the history associated with the field. The new field will be named The New Balance Track and Field at Newell Stadium. It is not shocking that New Balance added in track and field as they are largely known for their track sneakers and apparel. However, the name is a bit clunky and long. Will the name be adopted or will people just call it Newell Field? Or maybe New Balance’s Newell Field? Hard to say but if they eliminated Newell Field, they would have tarnished their own brand image as they would have taken away something so special to the City of Gloucester. A name. A name of a field that has been in the hearts and minds for generations. Those that played on that field left a part of them out there and those that will once again will play on that field will carry on that tradition.

Names that Hurt the Brand

There are many professional fields and arenas that when the big brand comes along and purchases it and changes the name hurts the brand image in the eyes of the fans. How dare you come into our home and change the name? Who do you think you are? You are not a fan as if you were you would never take that away from us fans. It is just a name but a name that causes so much anger and disappointment amongst fans that the brand image is tarnished in their eyes. Take MetLife. They purchased the New Meadowlands and now it is MetLife Stadium. Um, no it is not, it is the Meadowlands. Giants and JETS fans dismiss it (especially Giants fans who never even called it the Meadowlands and it, to the, was/is Giants Stadium)and could care less that this big company came in and bought it. No, they care about the history of the stadium and the name that was and always will be. MetLife will not own the stadium forever so as fans we know it is a short term commitment (25 years of short term) and the name change will not be adopted. No one is rushing out to get a MetLife policy because they bought the stadium. No, people are angry with them for taking away our history. But, it is just a name. A name that we want back. We do not care that there could be legal issues associated with keeping the Meadowlands name or that they paid millions for naming rights. No, we look as if MetLife is stealing from the fans and, because of that, we will not acknowledge the new name. There is no italian gruff in the voice that is had with MetLife Stadium as there is with The Meadlowlands.

New Balance averted the negativity and while the name is a mouthful, they preserved a positive brand image and kept the focus on the new field and their role in bringing this to life. Kudos to you New Balance as I am thinking that there will be attention given to your products in the local sporting goods stores than previously. It may be a high school of 1350 but that 1350 packs a powerful punch in athletic gear. Every student needs sneakers for gym class and supporting those that supported you goes a long way.


When Celebrity Endorsements Hurt the Brand

celebrity endoresements hurting the brandCelebrity endorsements are golden as so many want to be them, feel a closeness to them and the more we see them the more we know them and want to have what they have. This is why celebrity endorsements work and sell product. Think Gatorade. They have cornered the athletic market and replaced water as a hydrant. Drink Gatorade and you will be the athlete of the century. The water companies are not standing up nor are the fitness folks saying water is the best hydrant. Gatorade has even become a staple in celebrations in rewarding a coach with a Gatorade bath after the big one. The celebrity endorsements and also their official sponsorships have made Gatorade what is in sports. I know my son at 6 sees it and believes that drinking Gatorade will make him stronger and a better football player. “They say they drink it so I should as I want to be like them.” Like them … that is what celebrity endorsements are all about. We want to be them so we act like them.

 Being Like Them

In marketing we want consumers to want to be like them so they can act like them as they trust and believe. The brand message has been received and they buy. They have to believe and who better to believe from than those that we want to be like? We innately are selfish insomuch as we want it all. We want their life having no idea what their life is. Have we ever considered what the life is like of a brand? We see it as so glamorous or at other times such a failure but never really in between. In between creates the uncertainty that makes us waiver. If we are not a fan of the celebrity endorser (enter Tiger Woods) we challenge the brand as if they keep the celebrity we may not buy despite loving the product but at the same time, if they dump the celebrity, we, as a buyer, become less important as the spotlight is off. Our own self worth in supporting the brand becomes diminished and we gravitate to the next one to gain that self worth once gain.

Celebrity Endorsement Hurting the Brand

A launch has all the ducks in a row … so we think. A big brand tests and tests (or not). When a celebrity endorsement does not connect with the brand as when we sit there and say, “no chance they would ever buy/use/care more about the brand than the paycheck, we lose confidence in the brand as we focus on the celebrity with the never would they instead of the brand itself. We see that now with Fiat and J-Lo. Jennifer Lopez is buzz worthy now. American Idol, a new album, a divorce – she is hot on the radar screen of what is scandalous and soothes the inner part of needing to know. But damit, J-Lo would  not be caught dead driving a Fiat 500. Come on, Fiat. That is the best you can give us? Did we think that we would see Eminem cruising down the streets of Detroit in Chrysler? Maybe but really we never thought of it that way. We had that emotional pull to the City of Detroit. We focused and believed not in him owning the car but in what Detroit is. The Motor City. Fiat wants us to believe that the celebrities will cruise down the streets in their bigger than a Smart Car but not even a comparison in coolness with a Miata; Really? J-LO WOULD NEVER OWN THE FIAT 500 (unless you gave it to her with a huge contract to drive it when the paparazzi was around). Yes there are many videos/commercials that promote her new song and even one that tries to emulate Chrysler on the city but yet the focus was on her, music and the car.

Why Fiat Failed

Fiat failed as it was about the celebrity. What do we know about the car other then a few little push of a button that they showed with well manicured nails and hair blowing for the sexyness? Yes it is sexy to own a great car but a Fiat? I know when I was a kid, my Aunt had a Fiat. It was silver and a semi convertible and a two seater. It was a hot car. It was small, and when it rolled up, it was worth looking at. The new Fiat is not necessarily worth looking at but then again is the Smart Car? I guess as it is different but there is not much sexy or alluring for a car that resembles a fish bowl in a way (unless you are still stuck in Wayne’s World). Fiat failed in thinking that we would believe that J-Lo would ever drive the car. We get that partnering with her sells her song, we get that the men want her now that she is single but do we get we should buy the Fiat? I do not think so. Hey Fiat, go after the Smart Car folks, as they are buyers and resonate and emulate the green movement. Maybe I am wrong here as maybe it was all about J-Lo getting her brand out there and attached on to Fiat. Doubt it as J-Lo does not need Fiat in the same way my son does not need Gatorade to jump start his game and become a better football player.

I may never be the voice that his heard within a big brand but I will always be the voice that is considered.

photo credit: The Official CTBTO Photostream

WE Built This Social Media City

city of social mediaIn my quest to get the body moving each day through music, I seek out new music to listen to. I stumbled across We Built This City … on Rock and Roll by Jefferson Starship. Catchy tune that when you sing it and listen to the words you are singing, you stop for a minute and think, yeah, ya know WE, the social media folks built a Social Media City. Sure, the developers built the platforms but we used them, we used them so much that we drew so much attention to our City, our very own Social Media City that now has blossomed into its own communities. These communities are all a part of OUR City and when one community needs help, we are there, when a member of OUR City has stumbled, we criticize only to try and help as they are not showing our City in the best light. We, ourselves, do the same when we viciously attach one another. We have spent years building this City only to show the outside world that our City is crumbling internally. We do not all have sit by the camp fire at night singing kumbaya while roasting marsh mellows but exposing our weaknesses only give the naysayers or those on the fence reason not to continue to build and preserve our City.

Our Social Media City

We can think back to the early days of blogging – or journals as they were called. Who were these freaks writing things online thinking people would read? We had books, magazines, newspapers, etc for that. Enter LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and the failed Google platforms and now Google+. If those early freaks journals did not exist, would we be where we are now? If the developers did not take a chance and create the platforms and we as users did not embrace them and show how to integrate social media into a marketing plan, we would not have OUR City. That is pretty powerful to think about as all the new jobs that have been created, the communities we have developed, the friends we have made and the opportunity that has come for thousands of businesses to meet their customers.

Is Our City Thriving?

For each Twitter, Facebook, Google+ user account that is receiving praise, there are many that have lost their way or did not spend the time in learning that social media is marketing. Marketing is about building relationships and talking with the customers and not talking to the sale. The ultimate goal is to drive sales but the route taken to build the relationships is where there is the disconnect. We have expectations of how a brand should engage. We, as well respected members in our City, have expertise on what strategy will be best for them. Sometimes they listen and many times they do not.

Abandoned accounts, accounts that act as traditional advertising mediums where there is brand talking about themselves as an extension of a billboard or print ad and not interacting with their community or those that have no presence at all hurt our City. We can think of examples of those brands who are better served not having a presence at all in social media which when we think that way, it stagnates the growth of our City. When a brand stops updating or does not answer customers, potential customers or just a general question from a stumbler/surfer, it hurts our City. People stop believing in what we have built. They forget about the Pepsi’s, the AJBombers, The Dunkin Donuts who are leaders in brand social media.

Did Our City Grow Too Fast?

Did we? I lived the expansion in Las Vegas which ultimately was/is too much too fast. The numbers were showing the fastest growing city so they built and built and built. The problem is that the city could not sustain the growth with only one major industry. The reliance upon the casino industry to stimulate prospects from other industries faltered and while the volume in people and housing grew, the industrial sector did not.

Did our Social Media City grow too fast? Did some get left behind and not have the guidance to really learn the tools and how social media is not just a chat room but a part of an actual strategic marketing plan where the target market is researched, how they interact with one another, how they interact with the brands, how comfortable they are with using the platforms, the tone, the reputation that will be created through the tone used and the level of knowledge about the brand itself the social media accounts will showcase? This and a whole lot more matters. Those that are invested in our City and the City leaders know this but those that are new or just doing social media because they have to and forget it is marketing are missing out on opportunity but are also hurting our City.

Building and Preserving Our City

How can we attract new people to our City when they are met with disarray? When brands falter in social media the users suffer and so does the industry as a whole. We can think of Detroit and how their major industry has crumbled and rebuilding Detroit has become an entire community coming together taking action. Chrysler has built an entire campaign around Detroit. Did it sell more cars? I do not know. Did Chrysler  do its part as a City leader to help stimulate growth and put Detroit back on the map? They did and we can too.

How? We can look at brands and make them more responsible by calling them out. If they are not going to reach out to us, which clearly they have not, then we have to draw attention and help them to listen to us. The brands who do social media are not listening or know better than the social media city leaders and place the social media efforts in the hands of an intern, a recent grad who has no working experience in marketing and no one to guide them. They are hired at under $25K a year, a job that any experienced marketer would never apply for.

In advertising and marketing agencies, there are positions that are geared for the new grads with Jr. Account Exec, Associate Account Exec as they work their way up through guidance. In social media, ok you know Twitter, Facebook, You Tube and Google +, great, you are hired. You have to wonder how quickly an account would go under review if an agency went to their brand client and said, “your agency team will now consist of recent grads and interns.” It is not ok with the creative so why is it ok with the social media? This hurts the communities we have built. Our City is being torn down right before our eyes. Every single brand that treats social media not as marketing but as a billboard or forgets that the intern has left and the profile is dead stifles the growth of social media. If your BFF stops calling you back, do you keep on calling? No. If your internet is down more often that it is up, do you stay with that company? No.

There is no excuse for a brand to tear down our City. This is an uphill battle as brands will continue to hire based upon knowledge of the tools and not the reason the tools are used. We know they do not want to invest big dollars into someone who will be the voice of their brand and really anyone can do it. It is this attitude that needs to be changed. Not everyone can be the voice of a brand. Not everyone has the experience, professionalism, maturity and understanding of the expectations of a brand. We can make change, we can build and protect our City.

photo credit: SouthernAnts

Facebook Launches Ticker & Popularity Driven News Feed Prompting Outrage

facebook launches ticker

photo credit: Erik Velez

Facebook, Facebook, Facebook, when will you ever learn? Oh wait, you did a very long time ago. You make changes, people are outraged and talking about them all over the various media platforms. Smartie pants! We know that Facebook is free and we have a choice to be on there however, they created a platform for people to use. They created the want, need and have us post things that make the italian mob look like saints. All that aside, Facebook is a social media platform that has millions and millions of users that feel comfortable enough to throw it all out there. In return for that ultimate trust, we, as users, expect them to stop relinquishing our control of how we use OUR profile. The thing is, it is not OUR profile. It is their platform that we choosing to have a presence on. We do take ownership of our profiles and when changes are made, we become uncertain and when that certainty is gone, we get outraged.

Facebook Launches Ticker

Facebook has launched the ticker and it has people outraged. What is interesting is that in the time is money driven world we live in, the ticker should have been a welcomed new feature. It updates faster than the news feed and you can interact with people directly from the ticker.

Facebook launches ticker
Simple, fast and yet people hate the new Facebook Ticker. Many are concerned that their updates are front and center. That has always been the case and you can control who your updates are shared with and this includes the ticker. The ticker pulls from your updates. If you wish to remove the Facebook Ticker all together and are a bit knowledgeable with Firefox or Chrome, Lifehacker has you covered.

The Ticker is set to play a big role in the new Facebook Timeline. The idea behind Facebook Timeline is to tell important stories of your life all on one page. Facebook wants us to share our life story, download some apps so that we can share and listen to music, watch movies together all from the Ticker. If are friends are listening or watching then we just have to keep up with the Jones’!

Popularity Driven News Feed

The news feed if you do not visit Facebook frequently is now driven by popularity. The “stories” that would be most appealing to you are marked with a blue corner. These are based upon the relationship with the person (ie friend or subscriber) number of comments and likes. These are not necessarily time sensitive as an blue corner update can pop up a day or so later if more people are commenting or liking. The content in the news feed is the same as it was previously as it is articles/links, updates, photo tags, friend requests, events and group memberships. The main difference is when/how the news feed appears.

*If  you visit Facebook frequently throughout the day the news feed is exactly the same as the blue corner will only appear and showcase updates from your last visit.

How to Remove Top Stories

Not a fan of what Facebook has determined what you would be interested in? You can simply hide a top story. This can be done 2 ways. Hiding all of a person’s updates or just an individual update.

1. On the story itself, hover over the top right corner arrow and a drop down menu appears.

2. Once the drop down appears, click on the desired option.

hide Facebook news story

As there is not an option to subscribe to business pages, the hide option is different for personal pages and business pages . Above is for a personal page and below is a business page. One would have thought that we would have the option to subscribe to business pages and not personal pages as we are automatically subscribed to friends (which makes the subscribe NOT an opt-in; well except for those that want to be our friend and we ignore them, they can subscribe to us – if we opt-in).

hide business page news story

How to Unhide A Facebook News Feed Item

Change your mind or the fight the night before with your friend/significant other not really that bad? You can reverse and unhide updates that you previously hid.

1. In the left column under Favorites, hover on the News Feed so the edit pen appears.

2. Click on Edit

3. A pop up appears and you scroll down to find the update or app that you wish to unhide.

4. Click the x to the right and then Save. The update will appear in the news feed stream.

unhide Facebook news feed

New Facebook Lists

Not feeling the love for the Ticker or having Facebook decide which updates you see? A simple way to bring back “old Facebook” is to add your friends to a list. There are new list headers that Facebook has created for users.

New Facebook Lists

a. Close Friends. Adding friends to the close friends list is showing Facebook that you value their updates and they are important to you. This will help Facebook capture additional data about you and your friends. A key feature of the lists is that if you do not want to have the ticker or if your news feed is not showing all updates as it did previously, adding all your “friends” to the close friends and checking that list when you sign in/check your page gives you the old Facebook.

b. Smart Lists. Facebook has created Smart Lists for you that as you can see automatically places those you friend into a list category they deem proper based upon the information in both  your and your friends’ profiles.

Facebook Smart Lists

The lists are created from your profile and the information contained therein. Facebook is looking for users to have complete profiles to be able to pull the data from and match friends with others and place them into categories.

Smart Lists in Facebook

c. Sharing with Lists. Every update you create/add can be shared with a specific list by clicking friends on the update and checking the desired Friends you wish to share the update with.

sharing Facebook updates with lists

 How to Hide a Facebook Smart List

The smart lists are geared for better user interaction. However, there are some instances where there would be overlap or if you are just not interested in having these lists, you can hide them. They cannot be deleted, just hidden.

1. On the left column, if the list is displayed, click on the edit pen and check Always Hide. If the list is not displayed, click More and a box with all your lists appears. Click on the edit pen and check Always Hide.

2. If you wish to unhide the list, uncheck the Always Hide. You do not have to check Add to Favorites to unhide.

*you can delete old lists that you created or merge them with the new ones.


Facebook Old Lists

 Facebook is making it all about interacting with one another and sharing, sharing, sharing. These and the new timeline profiles which will be rolled out over the next few months to all users encourage us to put it all out there for everyone to see and join in with us.

Thoughts? What do you think about the Ticker and the News Feed being popularity driven?


Targeting In The Moment



targeting in the momentTargeting is how businesses find new customers, entice customers who may not have purchased in a while or current customers to make the brand top of mind, more attractive and increases sales. Consumers are more demanding of their brands and the expectations are high as one faulty move and, the customer is ready to find someone else. They are ready to find the brand that is paying attention to them as opposed to them trying to pay attention to the brand. Targeting is multidimensional but yet so many brands attempt to make it one dimensional.

Multidimensional Targeting

Targeting is multidimensional. This is not necessarily new as when we think of targeting we think of the segmentation as the multidimensional. Yes, that is true as customers are segmented by their propensity to buy. If they spend a lot, there are higher rewards. If they have fallen off for a few months, the rewards can be higher to bring them back. What is missing from the multidimensional targeting is in the moment targeting. The ability to capture an audience that is listening harder than ever thought as they are in the need and that need is so intense that they are begging the brand to find them and rescue them. Fulfill my need right now. If you are their current brand, they think of you first however, if they are unsure and reaching out via the social media platforms and hear crickets … they will go with the “guy” who rescues them.

Targeting in the Moment

Targeting in the moment is not always flying by the seat of your pants. When I was working with the Flood Control in LV, we had a plan for flood season. We worked with the tv and radio stations to ensure that if it was raining that day or the threat of rain was high, that the commercials ran. If they ran on a sunny day, people ignored them. Fast moving flash floods were not something to ignore. They lifted man holes, hell, they actually moved a heavy big fire truck. On a rainy day when it was pouring buckets and certain streets still flooded and the commercials ran, many listened. They remembered that fire truck, or the gal who was rescued from the top of her car via helicopter. The first dusting of snow in NJ this year may have many folks, like meh, that is nothing. Others will be rushing to the stores to get rock salt. They remember last year. A brand can be prepared with knowing the weather and the when the snow starts to fall, be there online and off line to let consumers know they are the source to ensure that the sidewalk will be free from ice (the mail carriers will rejoice!)

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The Rescue

Consumers want to be rescued. We want the answers and the technology has provided the tools to afford that rescue. Only if the brands are there to provide that rescue. Search is important as when we search we want immediate results. We want our questions answered right now so that we can move on. If we have to haggle and search more, it leaves us feeling frustrated and we abandon and start to think do we really need this today? Right now? Sometimes yes but many times, if we have a chance to sit back and second guess, we lose the immediacy of it and forget about it, until the immediacy returns. When we are in the moment, we scramble and start to panic. We need this now. Like RIGHT NOW! Give it to me now. It is like whomever finds me first, I will buy as I need it. I, as you will see in the video, experienced this recently. I am a marketer but, I am also a consumer. I spend countless hours analyzing on and off line efforts of brands but yet as a consumer, when Suzanne Vara needs something, I become a consumer, a real customer that needs to be rescued.

Attracting New Customers

Does targeting in the moment attract new customers? Sure it does. Do they become repeat customers? Depends. This we cannot answer and as there are less than 100 days to the Christmas holiday rush, we know that people are buying for others and would never buy for themselves there. We can look at this in a few ways. We can just look at the sale, we can look at introducing ourselves to the gift buyer and see if we fit into their lifestyle and we can look at the gift as a knowing that the receiver will return. There are more ways to analyze this but for simplicity, we can hone in on these. The brand that attracts the buyer is the brand that wins. The buyer has the power of money and they are choosing to buy from you. If I buy something for my sister at a store she shops in, I may see it on her and be like, oh, wow, that is so fab and need to look into them further for me. I will shop at Toys R Us for my son and his friends but never really find something for me. In the moment targeting attracts new customers despite their personal need to return. They will associate you with that moment and when the moment arises again, you are top of mind because you rescued them.

It is very easy to sell water in the desert. It is almost just as easy to rescue consumers on the first cold day or warm day. You have to be there and have the proper listening channels to be responsive and reactive to rescue them in the moment. Imagine if a brand responded to you when you need that new pair of shoes but was short on time and they said which ones, what size/color and oh, we will have them behind the counter waiting for you. Imagine.

photo credit: cote

Project Social: Finding A Job



finding a job with social mediaI am a strong believer in starting anew and opening new doors. That cycle of life stands before me now as I open a new chapter of life and dive head first into my Marketing Case Study: Finding A Job. Not just a job, a job where I can be a part of a team, where my leadership and experience adds value to the team and where I can make a difference and produce results.

The Best Fit

The best fit for me is a VP/Director level role in consumer centric marketing. My strengths are researching and developing a target market and building a community around the brand. I have created and implemented successful marketing plans and campaigns that focus on the customer by learning how they interact with the brand, their experience from the first interaction to the completion of the sale (or decision not to buy), the social status that is associated with being connected to the brand, how the brand makes them feel as well as the convenience of the brand (ie location, additional offerings, for online, website design/ease of use, etc).

I have a wealth of experience in loyalty programs through my work with The Silverton, Cache Creek Casino & Resort as well as Cherokee Casinos. While casino players clubs and loyalty programs tend to be on larger scale due to the means of earning (actuals in slots and theoreticals in table games), the segmentation for the tiers as well as the campaigns for improved customer conversion/retention, improved customer satisfaction/decreased attrition and to increase new customer acquisition are consumer oriented and are essential and effective across many industries.

I also have experience in restaurants, real estate, finance/banking and retail. I have a love of sports but also a love for food and fashion. These are my comfort zones however I am open to exploring new areas that I can delve into should it be a good fit.

Marketing as a term is very broad but yet specialized. I have lived and breathed advertising and marketing for over a decade. I have closely watched how marketing has grown from purely traditional advertising to creating a web presence with a website which led us into the digital age and social media marketing. As a marketer, it has been sensational to be a part of the expansion of marketing. The core values of branding and targeting buyers, loyalists and ambassadors remain. I have built online communities and created a presence through establishing proper listening channels to gauge the strength or weakness of the brand.

Who Should Hire Me?

A company that is in search of a VP/Director for their marketing department that is looking to add an energetic and passionate team oriented leader with a proven track record to build upon and expand the current brand and marketing strategy or start fresh. I have a very strong work ethic and an eagerness to learn your brand, your customers behavior/activity and explore new areas of growth initiatives. I enjoy the balance between traditional advertising and social media marketing and thrive in this environment. I am located in Northern New Jersey and am available to commute to Bergen, Essex, Morris, Passaic and Union counties. I am open to discussion for a position outside of these areas, including NYC, that is virtual and/or only requires on premises 1-2 days a week.

My experience and education are part of the equation as to what I will bring to a company. My reputation amongst my peers provides insight into who I am as a person.

chris brogan endorsement

tom martin endorsementmargie clayman endorsementjason falls endorsement

Additional Endorsements

You Need A Suzanne Vara, Chris Brogan, featured on chrisbrogan.com

Are You Going All In For Your Clients, Tom Martin featured in Ad Age

#High5Friday Meet Suzanne Vara, Jessica Northey, featured on fingercandymedia.com

Interview with Suzanne Vara, Christian Hollingsworth, featured on smartboydesigns.com

12 Engagement Superstars, Margie Clayman featured on margieclayman.com

How Can You Help?

If you have a VP/Director position available you can review my resume and contact me directly either via telephone or email. If you are an employee of a company and believe that the hiring manager would be interested, please pass along this link. You can help immensely by sharing this with your community on Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+. Together we can show the strength of the social media community and make Project Social: Finding a Job a success and I then can pay it forward.

photo credit: jurvetson

Dawning Of A New Day



dawning of a new day Dawning a new day is invigorating. It is that fresh and clean feeling we have when we come out of the shower as we are now awake and ready to take on the day. If you are like me (and old enough to remember the Dunkin Donuts commercial of “Time to Make the Donuts” when he drags his feet and scuffles along) you are not fully awake until you hit the shower. Maybe it is the hot water slamming you in the head that takes the mind from dream land into reality? I do not know really but whatever it is about the shower, it awakens you and you are ready to take on the day.

The Eye Opener

The untimely and shocking death of Trey Pennington this past weekend has caused great sadness and really took us by surprise. We thought he had it all. A great career, hundreds of thousands of followers, a beautiful family, a grandson that he loved so very much but yet while some in his inner circle knew of his pain, the depths of it were unknown. He made the decision to drive to the church and take his life. If he only called someone and said it is really bad right now, if he only went to his family, his pastor, a stranger, if he only … This is what we have so much sadness about. He was in so much pain that he could not tell anyone. Fear? Shame? Emptiness? We will never know but we can learn from this.

In reading Jay Baer’s post today, it really took hold of me and I could not get it out of my head yesterday. He is right, we do not know Jack and there is a very prevalent opportunity of lie. His post puts a lot into perspective and actually prompted this post (so, I sincerely thank you Jay).

The Opportunity of Lie

We can lie our asses off in social media. We tell people what we think they want to hear. We are afforded so little time as the we have to move on to the next thing as if we are not keeping up with the Jones’ we are forgotten. We have to be in the thick of it all to stay ahead. Pretty sad when you think of it as we are only thought of when we are telling the people what they need to know and providing a means of helping them. Let’s face it and not sugar coat it. No one likes a downer. No one likes to hear more than one conversation of someone who may be struggling (unless they can throw in if you buy my course, it can help) and having a very difficult time finding work, paying the bills, is losing their home or car, etc. People are more interested in the scandals. It is juicy, meatier and and only bears the responsibility of telling your BFF. When someone tells you of a rough time, then you are in the know and feel a responsibility to help. Knowing this, the person who has to tell it, has a much easier choice to make: the opportunity of lie. If you tell people the real deal, they will judge you. There is an incredible amount of shame that is associated with having face the social media world (despite so many are half listening) so faking it thinking you are going to make it, is very inviting.

Bearing the Brunt of the Truth

The truth is very easy. We teach our children to tell the truth. We ask our friends and partners to be truthful with us. So where did social media take such a turn? We are all FRIENDS right? Mostly, we are fans in a gigantic stadium rooting for the same team. The roar of the crowd when something new comes out, when someone writes something that we can share and make us be in the front row to see all the action. That is the truth however hidden in there is a bigger truth. We all are people who have lives and sometimes we are successful and sometimes we fail. Sometimes we just cannot make it no matter how hard we try and sometimes we bring it on ourselves through embarking on things that are bigger than we are. We are humans. We are all students of life.

The Cardinal Sin of Social Media

The cardinal sin of social media is talking about yourself. I suppose but, if we are all supposed to listen, then who is talking? How are we making friends? How can we ever learn anything about anyone unless we talk? Sure, we can put things up on our profiles and that is going to bear the truth. Really? We write what we think will rank us, will attract people to us as ultimately, the power behind social media is the numbers. We say it is not true but yet if we do not have “friends”/followers we have no voice and if we have no voice, then we are not heard. If we are not heard, then we do not matter anyway. I have never met anyone that I felt I knew until we just started talking and talking and talking. Their profile told a story of what they thought they needed to say but their inner voice tells the story of who they really are.

Shamefully Breaking the Rules

Rules are made for a reason and a purpose. Those that I deem breakable, I do. I, at this point, have little choice here but to beak the cardinal rule of social media and talk about me. This is not easy as with my vanity issues, nothing is easy to say. Nothing is easy to admit as once you do there is no going back and there is an expectation of sorts that someone will care. However, saying it is accepting it and growth starts there. Change starts there. The dawning of a new day starts here:

It is no secret that in July, I relocated back to New Jersey from Las Vegas. To many, this seemed very fast as one day I was in Nevada and literally the next day I was gone.  While I eluded to it in the biggest unkept secret, it was not a fast move. The intricate details, while many want to hear the juicy gossip, they are unnecessary. However, I could just not up and move with my son. There are legal issues that must be handled and the fees associated with that over 2 years are obscene more than a small business-single parent home could ultimately handle. I am filled with so much shame and embarrassment that tears are streaming down my face as I write this. I have to continue because if I do not, I am giving in to the opportunity of the lie and not the opportunity of truth. More was going out than what was coming in. I did my best to keep up but as the legal bills grew and grew and toppled over $20K, and the client billables diminished and with my son being home half of the day, I held my head up high and did my best. I tapped into family financial resources just to get by month after month. I could not quit as I knew that the best place for my son was with family and friends, in an education system that he could thrive in and playing sports that he loves so much. I had to keep fighting and ultimately I won the battle but I lost the war. I lost the war of being a successful business owner.

Dawning of  A New Day

My new day starts now. I look back on the clients that went out of business this past year, the projects that were awarded to others and how the hell I got to this point. I got here because I refused to admit that things were bad. I refused to accept that I could not keep up as I am a fighter. I broke down a few times and was exhausted and overwhelmed but I kept on trucking. As many are scratching their heads wondering why I did not speak up or those that had an idea are staring and thinking I should have listened harder, I was too proud and the never say die mode took over. I knew that at some point the end was coming and then finally, in July, I knew that  if I could get through the last hearing without any hitches, I would be free. I also knew that if this one project came in all would be ok. I was in the final round and against one other company. I lost that battle last night and, now, without a doubt have a jobby. I am filled with so much shame as I can barely look at myself as I know there will be whispers and a big fat scarlet letter of failure. Admitting is the first step in asking for help. I failed me and I failed everyone that reads this blog. I have been having difficulties with writing lately as I felt like a fool writing a blog each day and not telling the truth. I was pretending that all was perfect when it was not. I have lived in the fantasy world that I could turn this around or quietly I could look for a job. Sounds silly as we know we get hired when we have an army behind us helping us and steering us in the right direction.

The Next Steps

The next steps are hitting the ground running and getting a job. I am sure that many hiring managers are screaming no no, do not post this. You are ruining your chances. Maybe I am but maybe I am opening up new doors of opportunity. If someone reads this and does not want to hire me, then I accept that as really they would have seen it all on the resume and had to ask the questions that are answered above anyway. I cannot change what happened nor would I ever doubt the choice I made in moving. I am the happiest I have been in years, I am more focused and confident in my abilities and know what my strengths and weaknesses are. I know what a good fit for me is and what is not. I know that where ever I land I will bring the best of me because anything short of that is not in my DNA.

My son, after the longest summer break will be returning to school tomorrow, and, all day for 1st grade. It is a bit bittersweet as we have been together A LOT this past year but a new chapter awaits me. Tomorrow brings a whole new me and while the wallet is thinner than a leaf, my mind, my heart and eagerness to start anew are bigger than a New Hampshire pine.

I know with my “no stopping me now drive” and the social media community we will get er done and over the next few days the process begins. First up, skill set and what I bring to the table. Hope to see you here tomorrow!

photo credit:  Mara 1

September Blues



september blues Hello September! Many are not loving that you are here already as our best friend summer is ending. We are not fans of more darkness, temperatures that drop faster than a Playmate on a mechanical bull nor lugging out the winter clothes and stressing out the washing machine. See, we have grown used to the sun scorching us, the cicadas warning us that it could be a warm one and the arm exercises of bug swatting, but, no matter how much we complained, we loved it. We were outside for hours enjoying the sunrise, the sunset, the sounds of motorcycles, the birds chirping, the basketball bouncing at the courts, the sweet sound of the children laughing and screaming “look mom/dad.”  But, most of all we enjoyed the time off to be able to see all this as summer is a time to vacation, spending countless hours with friends and families at BBQs, heading out to the beach pretending that the tomato like skin we have was just because we missed spots with sunscreen …but really, we most enjoyed the time off from wearing long sleeves, long pants, a sweater, a sweatshirt, a coat.

Summer Freedom

Summer is freedom. The kids are out of school which is exciting and stressful.The exciting part is the morning chaos of backpacks packed, the forgotten science project in the middle of the night, the homework, the quizzing for spelling tests and parent taxi service is taking a break. We  have the freedom to be able to leave it all behind us and refresh and regroup. This is our time to be free. Free from the grayness that looms over us as we drudge through the same routine week after week throughout the year, the freedom of being off of work and just being lounge lizards at the beach or making butt impressions on the patio furniture with the citronella candle burning to the end. Summer provides us so much daylight that we feel invincible. We stay up later, we have the laughter with friends over some cold ones, the smell of the barbeque engulfs us as we walk outside, but this is that sign of freedom. We are free from the snow shovels, the ice scrapers, the winter coats, the layers of clothes that make us feel so stifled.

September Blues

September comes and we feel stifled again. The kids are going back to school and if you are like me, you are giving a standing ovation as this day is approaching. Back to school is a wonderful time. Our children are embarking on a whole new grade and that makes us proud. But, this brings on new challenges as who has to be where when, new school clothes, school supplies, new drop off or bus schedules as we are trying to get back into the groove of work. September blues are real as we are now in a new pattern. We had that schedule down last year and felt like a well oiled machine but now we are unsure. How does this fit into the summer freedom as we got very comfortable with being able to look outside and see the trees, the swimming pool, the grass, hamburger and hotdog rolls and let’s not forget the empty desk of the coworker who was on vacation. Damn you September, you take it all away from us. But what does it bring …

September Greens

September does not have to be so blue. It has lot of green to it. It has lawns that do not need to be mowed as often, it has a whole lot less of the landscaper blowers in the neighborhood at 7am, and it means a time to be rejuvenated with a renewed focus. September for me has always been the start of the year in a way as it is when the mind is very busy but the body yearns for that swim in the pool, the picnic at the park, the giggles and laughter that the long days of summer bring. September is my mind’s fiscal year as I have more work energy (imagine) in September and October than I do in January or February. January is when many are setting goals and making resolutions. And, because the fiscal year is generally at that time, it makes sense, however don’t we have it wrong where we are setting goals for business and personal in a time of year that is cold, dark and certainly not handsome? Shouldn’t it be where we set goals coming off a warm, light and quite handsome time? We are in a rut of being inside a lot, daylight is limited but yet we are expected to perform at our best. Maybe the schools have it right by starting at the end of summer and slowly easing the kids into hard core work by the winter?

If we think about September as a means of rejuvenation and renewed fervor for what we do, doesn’t that make September green? For business owners, unless if they are summer businesses, they are gearing up for some green. Retailers are smelling it, industry folks know that you have been on vacation and now your mind is ready, focused and feeling the need to maybe catch up on what you missed. You may have missed a lot and trying to get your game on may require delving into the wallet as opposed to researching and reading all the “free” posts on what you missed. That is the beauty of September. It is the green that we do not think about much. Many companies are starting to think about next year. They are starting to look at what they did and with whom they did it with and while they are not really ready to plan so much for next year, if you are thinking September green and giving all that you got, they just might give you the green when most are in the hard core blues.

HELLO September

Hello September and FOOTBALL. I love me my football and am so excited to be in the heart of it all this year. My son, Andrew, is over zealous with being old enough to finally play football this year, my sister teaches in HS so we will be sure to go and support them, and, who knows the JETS just might have the loudest voice in 12 years at the Meadowlands (I know it has a new name, but it always and forever will be the Meadowlands to us old timers) with a lil one that is almost as loud as ME (as Chris Brogan and Rob Hatch shake their heads wondering how can anyone else hit those decibles)

However, September, please be kind to us all and let us ease into the darkness and chilliness. It is no different than what we ask of Spring – give us some sun so we can get some color and not have to be so stark when the beach days arrive.

While we will miss the summer and its freedom, let’s welcome September as the summer party cannot last forever!

photo credit: mathewingram