Archive for January, 2010

eHarmony Got One Right

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Well, I never thought I'd say this, but eHarmony seems to have gotten one right. If you read my blog, you know they got a lot wrong… and continue to. Looking at 9 new matches this morning, most sucked. Why? It's what they write in their profiles, which is not eHarmony's fault. It's about how you market yourself. I do not want to get to know the guy who says he's most passionate about UFC and mastiffs, nor do I want to meet the guy who filled out the profile with "I'll write more later."

eHarmony matched me with a guy I'm calling Mr DJ. In the world of my personal life, I'd like to keep things a little more anonymous. But this whole thing has really made me think about marketing as well as human connection. So I'm blogging!

Mr DJ was the first person eHarmony sent me, so it was really exciting. I read his profile, and I was like, "Wow, I want to get to know this guy." We went through the eHarmony questions process, but certainly made it our own, such as when he asked me if I ever expect the Spanish Inquisition. We soon moved to some emails, connecting on Facebook, and some Skype chats. Then Skype with webcams and phone calls.He has the best speaking voice I've ever heard… but I didn't nickname him Mr DJ for no reason!

We started communicating for hours at a time, nearly every day. We were clearly getting along well, had a good amount in common, laughed a lot on the phone, and were becoming friends. He was/is easy to trust, articulate, insightful, and crazy damn funny. Was there chemistry? Could this be more than friends? It was too early to say, but we were clearly feeling connected.

We don't live near each other, so we decided to meet… this past weekend. It was really short, and centred around me having tickets for an Eddie Izzard show in California. But we got to meet. It was so comfy and good. Lots of laughing. We had a great time, and want to continue getting to know each other, and plan another time for us to get together (in person). Takin' it slow.

So thanks, eHarmony. I can't believe you found me someone who seems to be a really, really close match. You still send me piles of crappy people, but luckily, Mr DJ reminds me to have high standards, and not bother connecting with anybody who doesn't seem like a good match.

And guys, please write better profiles! Marketing! Make me want to get to know you!


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When A Celebrity Commits a Crime

Monday, January 11th, 2010

A celebrity I used to be a fan of committed at least two crimes that recently hit the papers. One crime was stalking teenage girls in real life (he's 56 years old) as well as on Facebook. The other crime was breaching an order of protection (restraining order) his ex-wife had against him. He's on a roll!

I run the official discussion forum where fans discuss this guy. Nearly everybody who is writing in is outraged by his behaviour. Some of the more diehard fans seem to think either that these crimes never happened, he was set up, etc… That's a very tiny minority.

And I have a unique perspective on this because this celebrity used to stalk and harass me. It got so bad that I reported him to his local police in 2005. That means my take on him being arrested, going to court, or getting 2 weeks in jail is that he deserves it, and at least for two weeks, a bunch of people will feel safe.

His fans obviously hate me. They think I just want revenge on him for what he did to me. Not the case. I think he needs a lot of help, but more importantly, I want him off the streets so he can't hurt anybody else.

But recently, I had a very bizarre tirade launched at me. Someone was very angry about the posts I had made about this guy on the discussion forum. Wasn't clear about why. When I finally got him to explain why out of everybody's posts he was so angry with mine, the answer I got was not what I expected.

The guy was mad at me because he felt that what this guy had done reflected badly on his home country, and by allowing people to discuss these crimes, I'm going to hurt that country.

Huh?

It's a lovely country. I've visited. I suggest others visit. What ONE criminal does does NOT reflect on a whole country. Just doesn't. Not even close. Nobody in the discussion forum had mentioned this guy's native country at all. I know of nobody connecting these crimes to the country in which the criminal grew up.

I suggested to this angry person that if he is THAT upset about what this criminal did, he might want to contact the criminal. :) Why contact someone he harassed who is HAPPY he got some jail time? You think this criminal is bad marketing for your country? Tell the criminal. Without these crimes, the discussion forum has nothing to say.

Huh?


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Posting to Other People’s Facebook Business Pages

Friday, January 8th, 2010

Yesterday, we blogged about an OOPS where an online seller I know found some Facebook pages that looked devoted to what he sells. So he joined them, and when he was holding a sale, he promoted that. He figured hey, the people who are "fans" here tend to like what I sell, they'll want to know about my website.

Seems like a good marketing idea.

Except that the Facebook pages he was on were owned by a jeweller who had created them to promote HER website. So the pages look like they're for people who like cufflinks, but they're really there to be a subtle vehicle to push her website.

OK, also seems like a good marketing idea.

And the two collided badly because her pages were, on the surface, so subtle that the seller I know thought they were just general fan pages. He posted his promos, the woman who runs the pages lost her s**t, and thought someone was sabotaging her business.

Well, she had a zillion reactions available to her, and she chose to start trying to sabotage him. Not OK and not cool. He didn't post his promos to sabotage her. It was just a mistake. Two marketing ideas colliding.

How this could have gone…

If you find a Facebook fan page that looks like it caters to your target audience, contact the people who run the page, and ask if it's OK for you to join, participate, and promote what you do or sell. They may or may not be OK with that, so it's best to get permission first. If you don't hear back, don't take that as a yes. Take that as a NO, and do not post to their wall or anything.

If they say yes, ask if there are any guidelines they need you to follow. Sometimes, they want to limit how much promotion you do, the type of promotion, etc..

So like any online discussion board, make sure you are welcome. You never know when someone else's Facebook "fan" page is really a marketing vehicle for someone… and you don't want to wander into that territory by accident or on purpose.


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Is Facebook Showing My Competitor’s Ads On My Pages?

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

Earlier this week, I mentioned someone who spammed me on Facebook. She saw I was a fan of a Facebook business page for a company that does cufflinks. She evidently sells some cufflinks, so she spammed me by sending me a Facebook message.

This story has a weird ending, so make sure you read through the Epilogue, where I reveal the surprise ending! :)

In her spam message, she told me that the company I was a fan of was actually very interested in her cufflinks, so I should check out her website. She linked me to her website. At the time, I wrote her back that she was spamming me, and that was the wrong thing to do.

At the same time, I emailed the cufflink guy and asked him who this was. He said he never heard of her. Well that's odd because her message to me said that he was into what she sells. OK, this makes no sense. I reported her to Facebook as a spammer.

She ended up leaving me a voice mail telling me that she only contacted that guy's fans because he "had the distasteful idea" to put his ads on her business' Facebook page.

It's time for everybody to understand how and why Facebook ads are shown to you.

I'm marked as single. Most of the ads Facebook shows me have to do with dating websites. That's not by accident. I'm in Tucson. I get ads that tell me to go somewhere local to Tucson. I once logged into Facebook from Toronto, Canada. Facebook ads were showing me things in Toronto. Once upon a long time ago, my Facebook profile said I was engaged. I got heaps of ads about planning weddings. I no longer got dating site ads. :)

This is not by accident.

Facebook uses a system of targeting the people you want to see your ads. You can pick things like age, gender, marital status, amount of education, and country of location. You can even pick what words you want there to be in someone's profile, if you want to get that specific! However, Facebook does not (at the time I'm writing this) let you pick WHERE your ad is seen.

Let's use an example. Let's say I want to promote my tour management business. I might say that I want Facebook to show my ad to men and women in the USA, ages 18-30, with any marital status and any education but who mention SXSW (a major music festival) in their profile. If you fit that, you will see my ad at some point. If you do not have SXSW in your profile, no matter what pages you're on, you will NEVER see my ad. You could be on Facebook posting, "I hope I find a tour management company," and you won't see my ad.

Remember that Facebook ads rotate and change all the time.

An ad you see on your profile page may not be there when you refresh. And an ad that's shown to you may only be shown to YOU. Your best friend could then log into his/her Facebook account on your computer, and see TOTALLY different ads. That's because, and I'll say it again, Facebook ads are about who you are, not what computer or page you're on.

So before you misunderstand how Facebook ads work, and think that some sort of competitor is sabotaging your Facebook business page, make sure you understanding how Facebook advertising works. Let's not be liars or spammers in general, and let's not use Facebook to rationalise such bad behaviour.

Epilogue

Well, this chick got in touch with me to explain that these weren't Facebook ads. She had a Facebook page up generally for cufflinks that was being used in a subtle way to promote her business. It was so subtle that my cufflink guy thought it would be OK to post to the wall for that group, promoting his business, since hey, it's a page for people who like cufflinks! OK that was a mistake, but one any of us could have made.

It's still not OK to lose your s**t and try to sabotage someone as some sort of revenue. If someone you don't like joins your Facebook fan page, dump them, and remove their posts. Send them a message saying their post wasn't OK. Do not try to sabotage them. That's not cool.

So my story ends up having a different ending, and therefore a different plot, but I still want to make sure that people understand how ads end up on pages.


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Facebook Fan Pages

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

Continuing in my series this week on social media, let's talk a minute about Facebook Fan Pages. They're free! If you have a business you want to promote, you can certainly set one up.

And you can ask me once if I'd like to be a fan. ONCE. If I don't do it, it's because I didn't want to do it. I'm considering unfriending someone who has asked me 5 times to become a fan of her friend's business… someone I don't know. I'm sorry, but I'm NOT a fan of a business I don't know, and I feel spammed by this, so this is not a positive way to make me aware of this business.

A Facebook Fan Page is a great idea when used correctly. If you have business-related messages, they go there. That way, if you want to promote something, you are promoting to people who opted in to hear/see that promotion. If I am Facebook friends with you because of some other reason, say we went to college together, I may not want daily messages about things you have for sale or specials your store in town is running.

So people with businesses, please use Facebook Fan Pages. And then please separate personal and business, and least overwhelmingly most of the time. That way, if we're just friends, I don't have to feel spammed by your business stuff. If I'm interested in your business, I'll fan your page. If I don't fan your page, stop asking.

In reality, if I got someone to do one thing to connect with my business, I'm not sure it would be to join my Facebook fan page. I think I'd want to get them to my website. You can ignore my fan page, but once you get into my website, you're hopefully sold on who we are and what we do! 

But I still vote YES for people to use Facebook Fan Pages for their businesses so that I don't have to see that stuff unless I opt into see it. Thanks!


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The Power of Social Media

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

The power of social media is in relationships. Relationships are not that hard to "make." Someone follows you on Twitter or you follow them, OK that's the start of a possible relationship. People add each other as friends on Facebook, LinkedIn, or another site. Well, that's a connection, and these connections are meant to be personal.

All of these systems have ways to send messages to individual people, or to broadcast something out to everybody. That's when your media gets really social. :) You can now stand on a box, type something once, and anybody who's interested in you gets your message, in some cases pushed to them. You can re-broadcast things other people said (like in retweeting). So the pool ripples out.

Let's look at some dictionary definitions of "social" to remind ourselves of what many people are expecting from their social networking.

  • pertaining to, devoted to, or characterized by friendly companionship or relations
  • seeking or enjoying the companionship of others; friendly; sociable; gregarious
  • of or pertaining to the life, welfare, and relations of human beings in a community

Community, companionship, and friendly. OK, when I am following HTC, Vonage, or Plantronics on Twitter, I'm not expecting to become their friends. I'm looking to hear business info and possibly get help. Those are my expectations.

When I am following regular people, my expectations are mostly "social." Therefore, you will go farther with social media if you are social. I want people to connect to me. How can you feel connected to me? If you just pop up and advertise to me, it feels like spam. I do not mistake that for friends or companionship.

And don't forget that social media makes it really easy for me to DISCONNECT from you. I unfollow you on Twitter. I unfriend you on Facebook or stop following your fan page. I can disconnect from you with a few clients, and then you've lost me possibly forever.

The magic of social networking for business is connecting with people and making them feel like a part of something great. I hope your social media "expert" will tell you how to connect with people. Hopefully, your social media expert is also an expert on human psychology and behaviour!


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We’re Hiring!

Monday, January 4th, 2010

We are now hiring for our Account Manager job. Click the link to read the whole job description. Here are the highlights.

The As Was Account Manager takes the approved designs that we do, and works directly with our clients to install them. So you’d get policies and links into templates, and get them into the client’s listing software. We can teach you the various listing software systems if you don’t know all of them (and who does!). You’d create and install our “simple” eBay Store designs based on the approved template design. You’d create and install About Me pages and custom eBay Store pages.

Clients often ask for things that are bad ideas based on what we know about how eBay shoppers behave. You need to be able to comfortably tell someone that you suggest they NOT do that, and why. We’re not grunt workers. We’re consultants, and part of why people want to work with us is our great and logical advice. :)

This job requires expert-level Photoshop, HTML, and CSS skills. If you have taken a course on HTML, that may not be enough. We do very complicated coding, and we always do it by hand. You cannot get away with having Dreamweaver or Word code this for you.

And we’d like you to know eBay well! Our Account Managers sometimes get questions about a client’s eBay selling, and we’d prefer if you had some answers. Sure, we can give you some training on how we like the questions answered, but we do not expect to have to teach you eBay!

So if you have great website skills, great client communication skills, and know eBay, we need you right now! You can work from home as long as you have a good, quiet place, and nobody else will answer the phone line we’d set up for you. Pay is hourly, and you’ll be 1099’ed.

Please get in touch ASAP. The job is open right now, and we need to hire right now, even with this being the holiday season. I’m not going on vacation. I’ll be right here working on hiring!

Thanks, and please pass this on so we can reach people with this skill set who may be looking for full-time or nearly full-time work-from-home work.


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Remember the “Social” in “Social Media”

Monday, January 4th, 2010

I hear so many people saying that part (or all) of their business model is going to be "social media" or "social networking." Evidently, the idea seems to be hey, people are spending a lot of time in Twitter and Facebook. Since that's where they are, let's advertise to them there.

That's still "interruption marketing." You are trying to interrupt something I'm doing to show me your ad. And what's more, you're interrupting something SOCIAL I'm doing to advertise to me. If I'm on the official discussion board of cufflinks, and you come by to promote your cufflinks, OK that's fairly relevant. You might get my attention. But if I'm throwing a pig at an old college friend, I may not care about your jewellery website.

It's the new banner ads. We now mostly ignore banner ads. They interrupted what people were doing to try to take them on a different path of web surfing. And they mostly don't work.

I was pretty surprised this morning. I woke up to a Facebook message from someone I don't know. She had evidently gone through people who were "fans" of a certain business on Facebook, and sent everybody a message to promote her website. She figured if we liked him, we'd like her, and she'll just interrupt whatever we're doing to advertise to us.

That's spam. I don't go to Facebook to be spammed by strangers, and if that practice picks up, Facebook will become difficult to use, and people will start walking away. Facebook has rules against spam. Make sure you report people who do this so that Facebook doesn't just become spam universe. I can now see how it has the potential to become that.

Be very careful of ebooks and other so-called experts who want to tell you how you're going to promote your business using social networking. I even saw that on the list of things you could learn at eBay's upcoming eBay On Location events. I don't care what expert they bring out and what he or she says. You have to remember that the operative word in "social networking" is "social."

If you're an eBay seller, and you're thinking of using social media to promote what you sell, remember that you are interrupting me. Whatever I was doing, I was not thinking about buying from you. I was posting a picture of my dog… or I was tweeting about a funny TV show… or I was posting to my Facebook Wall with a funny quote. I was NOT thinking about buying a bathing suit from you.

You are interrupting me, and I'm going to remember you, but not in a good way.

The real power of social media is in social relationships. Let's talk about those next.


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Profile-Writing Tips for Men on Dating Sites

Saturday, January 2nd, 2010

Men, I'm here to help. It looks like you guys didn't notice that a PROFILE was your chance for me to preliminarily get to know you. I am reading profile after profile of "I'm a good listener," and "My friends are important to me," and "I'm really funny." But don't worry, I'm here to help.

  1. Tell me details of what you like. You like music! Me too. What are your favourite bands and types of music? If you love death metal and gangsta rap, we're not a match. You like comedy! Me too. Who are your favourite comedians? If it's Dane Cook and Lisa Lampanelli, we're not really a match.
  2. You're funny? Don't TELL me you're funny. Be your naturally funny self, and I'll see if you're funny. If you don't write anything funny, my impression of you will be "not funny."
  3. You're passionate? About WHAT. Is your job your passion? Which of your hobbies is your passion? What do you love SO MUCH that when you do it, you lose track of time? That's your passion, and that's what I want to hear about.
  4. Tell me up front if you have kids or want kids. If you marked yourself as not wanting kids and your profile says you think you may want kids, not only do I wonder if we match, but I wonder if you have self-awareness, especially since you can mark yourself as "not sure" if you want kids. I'm looking for someone who doesn't have kids, so let me know early on if you have kids!
  5. If "athletic and toned" is not what you are, please don't mark it as your body type. If I meet you in real life, I will use the information my eyes pass to my brain rather than holding on to what you checked off in your dating site profile.
  6. Give me an idea of things you like to do. When a dating site asks you what you do in your spare time, "reading, walking, talking, eating," (real, total answer from a profile I read) doesn't help me get to know you. Your profile is supposed to make me excited to get to know you.
  7. Spelling and grammar. Freinds? Not knowing your from you're? How about "instant message speak" like the guy who wrote, "things r important." If you look not so
    bright, I'm unlikely to want to connect with you. I require bright.
  8. Do NOT write about what sort of lover you are. Maybe it's just a woman thing, but I'm a different lover with each person I've been with since the sex and connection were different with each person. The more you write about sex, the more I think that's what you're mostly looking for (and maybe you are). But this is a dating website. I'm trying to get to know you. If the relationship gets there, I'll know what kind of lover you are, and what you SAID you are won't matter at all. If you're not cuddly or affectionate, it won't matter that you said you were in your dating profile.
  9. Do not write about money. I don't want to hear how financially wonderful you are. It almost sounds defensive. I don't want to hear how happy you are that you finally found a job. It makes me wonder how stable and employable you are.
  10. Slow down. A guy on a dating site asked me if I would relocate for a relationship (no). In a later communication, he started writing about which possible jobs he could get if he moved to where I live. Dude, I don't even know who your favourite band is. I think it's a bit early to think about which of us is relocating to live with the other. 
  11. I'm not here to hook up and find random sex. One thing men forget is that a single and available woman, even an ugly and annoying woman, can usually find at least one guy (each night) that would have sex with her. I don't need to sign on to a dating website so that I can have dirty Yahoo IM chats with you. I don't need a dating site to find people to hook up with. I'm there to find people with things in common, and start by making friends. Stop using dating sites to find people who want IM sex chat or random hook ups. You can easily find sex chat anywhere, and if you want a hook up, go sit in a bar. At least you'll see her first.

Or then again, go ahead and write all the things I'm telling you not to! You make it very clear that I need to stay away. I just hope I'm not missing somebody really great because he wrote nothing about himself. Then again, the right guy will write what I want to know!

Good luck, guys. With profiles like this, some of you need some help! Exactly what does this tell me about this guy? What here would make me excited to meet him?

Datingprofile


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