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

Twitter Launches New Twitter Follow Button



twitter logo

photo credit: Rosaura Ochoa

Twitter has just made it easier for people to follow you directly from your website. Previously, the Twitter icon when clicked, opened a new window to our twitter profile. That has all changed with the new Twitter Follow button. Keeping people on your website is beneficial to you/your brand and getting more people to follow you on Twitter benefits you as well as Twitter.  The click and be connected is similar to a Like as one click and poof you are connected. The downside is that people will not be reviewing your custom Twitter page however does this really matter as they are already where you want them to be … on your website!

The New Twitter Follow Button

The new Twitter Follow button sets out to promote connections, retweets and engagement of course. While all of us Twitter users feel that everyone in the universe is on Twitter, we know this not to be true as recently discussed by Jay Baer delving into research that found that Twitter is used by just 8% of Americans. We also know that we are not connected with everyone we could or should be. We start out with great intentions and then every so often search for some new followers in our target or connect from a chat. We also visit many blogs each week but how often do we then go and connect with them on Twitter? Not very often. The new Twitter Follow button removes any excuses of not having time to click their twitter, open the new window, review their profile. We simply click Follow and we are connected.

New Twitter Follow Button

photo credit: blog.twitter.com


How to Configure Your New Twitter Follow Button

Looking to make the change immediately? To configure your new Twitter Follow Button, simply go to  twitter.com/followbutton. If the user name does not populate automatically, fill in your name and then copy and paste the code on the right into your website.


configure new Twitter Follow button

Will you be converting to the new button? Should we be concerned that people will connect with us on Twitter from our website and not then subscribe to our blog? If they are getting all of our tweets, will they need to also receive our blog via RSS or email?

Book Review: The Now Revolution



The Now Revolution book reviewThe Now Revolution (affiliate link), co-authored by Jay Baer and Amber Naslund, offers 7 shifts on the adaptation of social media within your organization to meet the expectations of your customers.  This book is a book of guidance and all you would expect with that guidance. They are not just writing the words, they are giving hard examples for each major point they are making. If you are new to social media or are seeking some guidance as to how it all fits together and into your overall marketing strategy, this is the book that you will keep referring back to. It is not one that will be thrown up on the shelf and dusted off every so often. No, it will be one that you keep close by to double check that you are staying on top of The Now Revolution.

The Now Revolution 7 Shifts

Shift 1: Engineer a New Bedrock. No this is not the whistle blowing 5pm slide down the dinosaur bedrock, this is your corporate culture. The 5 attributes of a healthy real time culture is immediately followed by the cultural roadblocks to social media. They go to great lengths to first map out the attributes and then what walls are met in the adoption. Adoption of social media cannot be half hearted and the true concept of going all in applies. They walk you through this process of identifying your corporate culture even if you are a sole proprietor and how you assess that culture. There is even a quiz!

Shift 2: Find Talent You Can Trust. Talent who does a great job is not always talent you can trust. In the digital age, we have a wealth of information at our fingertips and finding talent who is qualified and also worthy of your trust is how we hire today. The bottom line is that the customer experience starts with the employees you hire. How their personalities fit within the corporate culture travels down to the customers. There is an important reminder at the end of this shift, the 9 elements of finding talent you can trust (these elements will change the way you go about the hiring process)!

Shift 3: Organize Your Armies. This shift jumps immediately into the big question that so many companies have: who is responsible for the social media – which department? The answer is simpler than we ever thought. Social media is not a specialty per se and treating the entire organization as part of the social media team is truly how a successful social media strategy is created and executed. I naturally loved this shift as it has references to football and that is something that I can relate easily to. They do not leave you hanging as they delve into not only the team, forming the team but also the social  media policies for the organization. Guidance. Jay and Amber guide you every step of the way.

Shift 4: Answer the New Telephone. This shift is where I can see many coming back and reviewing over and over. Listening. Jay and Amber provide a foundation for which you can build upon. Here they explain how we listen, what we listen for and how listening is not limited to just the marketing/PR departments for brand mentions. Listening is for the entire organization with sales, customer service, HR for new hires, etc. They round out the shift with the levels of listening. Grab your pen and paper for this shift as a lot of notes will be taken.

Shift 5: Emphasize Response-Ability. Listening is the most important in social media. We learn from listening however we also have to respond and engage. Shift 5 walks you through the different avenues of engagement and how to keep your story straight when multiple people are responding and engaging. This section was a bit slow for me as I have good foundation on blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn and engaging however for someone new or unsure how they can engage via the various platforms, a lot can be learned here.

Shift 6: Build a Fire Extinguisher. This shift walks you through with some fantastic examples, when a crisis is fueled. Regardless of how big or small your business is, you need to build that fire extinguisher or at the very least have a resource available to help walk you through some steps that would need to be taken. When a crisis hits (ie a bad tweet, a blog comment that was not putting your best foot forward, etc) we are not thinking about anything other than how can we fix it fast. We forget some of the steps to take. Flag this section so that if you are faced with a crisis, your resources is readily available.

Shift 7: Make a Calculator. This is where many probably wished they went to first. ROI! It is the biggest and never ending question in social media – what is the ROI? Well, get off that train and look at the bigger picture. The GOALS! You cannot start to measure anything unless you have goals to measure and achieve. What is your share of voice? Driving sales is a goal just as is building the email list and repeat customers. Just as with a billboard, it is very hard to definitively calculate the ROI in social media.

The Now Revolution has so many takeaways that it is hard to just throw a few out there. Jay and Amber definitely delivered with this book and certainly did not disappoint. There is a lot to be learned for folks new to social media and a whole lot to be refined for those that have been hanging around in the social media neck of the woods. I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it. I keep it nearby and have already referred back to it quite a few times in tweaking my social media strategy. Again, it is a book that guides you and trust me, it will be very helpful to you.

Google Hands Down Hefty Punishment to Online Retailer Overstock.Com

google punishes overstock.comGoogle has handed down yet another hefty punishment to a major retailer. This time the offender, Overtstock.com. Overstock.com is certainly not new to controversy with the numerous lawsuits, SEC investigations and only having turned a profit for the first time in April 2010. The punishment is a crushing blow to their rebranding efforts from started in January of this year from Overstock.com to o.co. Though we have not heard too much about the rebrand in recent weeks.

Google Punishes Overstock.Com for Violating Guidelines

The violation is quite different from JC Penny as reported by Amir Efrati in the Wall Street Journal as Overstock.com has not denied that they targeted college and university students and faculty by offering a 10% discount if they embedded links for certain keywords whereas JC Penny has vehemently denied having any knowledge of the black hat SEO practice of their then SEO firm.

Links from colleges and universities are alleged to carry higher weight as a link as they are deemed to be a trusted site and are differentiated with .edu. Links to a website create authority and have helped tremendously with rankings. There are other factors that are a part of the secret recipe contained with the algorithms however we have been to see some proven trends that show highly authoritative links do make a difference in rankings. Achieving those links is part of a link building strategy that seems to be where the violations are most recognized by Google.

It is being reported by the WSJ that a competitor did file a complaint with Google about the practices of Overstock.com. Patrick Byrne, CEO of Overstock.com has already addressed the issue and in a statement “We understand Google’s position and have made the appropriate changes to remain within Google’s guidelines.”

Is Bing also Dishing out Penalties?

Bing was accused by Google of copying their search results earlier this month so we have to wonder if Google penalizing these retailers has had an effect upon the rankings on Bing. Well, I decided to take a sneak peak over and see how Bing has reacted, if at all. It does not appear that they are punishing either retailer. A search for the term “dresses”, a term JC Penney was punished for on Google appears pretty prominently on the first page of Bing.  They are also a paid advertiser for this term on Bing as they are on Google  however they are no where to be found in the organic results on page 1 of Google. Interestingly enough, there is a little  irony here as overstock.com is ranking #2 on Bing for dresses.

Bing search results for dresses

A search for “laptop computers,” a term that Google has punished Overstock.com over on Bing did have them on page 1 in the 7th spot.

Bing search results for overstock on laptop computers

These are for just two of the terms that the respective retailers have been penalized for and it may take some time for Bing to catch up. Or, is it in their best interest to keep these rankings to increase paid listing revenue from these retailers?

Gaming Google with Social Signal Links

Gaming Google is going to eventually going to get you penalized. Are we going to see a new wave of trying to game Google and Bing with the social signals? How much weight does a retweet from an industry leader have? What about a like on Facebook? What about a comment from someone signed in with their Facebook account? We do have to look at this as these results are appearing and we know that eventually someone(s) will be able to figure out how to game it. In a recent post by Jay Baer on convinceandconvert.com, he showed us how most of us are not even using Facebook properly yet we see an awful lot of likes being thrown around. If Google or Bing said that the amount of likes or retweets an article gets from quality profiles, the higher the rankings will be for that article, wow, the a-listers could make a fortune. When Google did confirm the use of social signals in results, Matt Cutts was very clear to say that it is quality and not quantity. Quality of the follower and to avoid quantity. Same concept with links as many mediocre links do not boost your rankings as much as one that has authority and link juice.

Black hat SEO will always exist and as the social networks continue to develop it will only grow. Penalizing is sending a message, however the overwhelming media coverage that the two retailers have received over this has had to have driven in traffic. Traffic does not always equate to sales we know, but it puts them top of mind and reminds them that oh yes, JC Penny does have dresses and oh, overstock.com sells laptops? I should check out their prices.

Are the actual penalties being overshadowed by the media attention that these retailers have received? Will we see some copycats who try and get penalized to eat up the media time in order to push product?

photo credit: Miguel Mendoza 😛