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Monthly archives "February 2014"

Everybody is a Student in Social Media

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social-mediamanagementEverybody is a student in social media.” This is one of the first phrases I stated last night when I taught my first class on “Introduction to Social Media for Small Businesses” at Madonna University.

There are no social media experts. There are no social media ninjas or gurus or geniuses. Instead there are different levels of students. Some students are more developed and some are still getting their sea legs. In staying with the karate theme, last night I had a class of white belts. I could have taken the class and jumped right into how many times to post and what to do when but I did not. I brought them to the ground level.

Now some people may not have enough patience for the ground level. The ground level is the most important. Look at the leaning tower of Pisa. I was there. Its beautiful but its foundation was so messed up for so long that the building was about to topple over. They had to create a whole project that involved the greatest modern minds in masonry, architecture and the like to reset this foundation. And, after all of that you know what they say? In 200 years it will be leaning the other way just as much. By that point, a whole new generation will have to worry about keeping it erect.

The point of that story is that if the foundation, the ground level, was set properly, we would not have to worry about going back and fixing [retraining] from the ground level. Also, you can think about your favorite musician. Chuck Berry did not start out his life playing Johnny B. Goode. It took him years to find that style. He had to learn the basics from teachers, like jazz guitarist Ira Davis.

Social media is very public and the ground level is just the first important step. By the looks of social media today I think many higher level social media students would say that a lot of us need to go back and take another look at that ground level.

In social media I see these self-explanatory levels from highest to lowest:

Well-established and committed
Comfortable, but hungry
Getting it
Hungry for more
Gaining steam
Testing the waters
White belt

What’s your level?

Use This Blog Article Checklist Before You Publish

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checklistThinking about starting a blog? Jump on the bandwagon. There has never been another time when we have created more content as a society. TechCrunch reports that every two days we create as much information as we did from the beginning up until the year 2003.

If this number does not stop you in your tracks I am not sure what will, digitally. The digital and social generation that we live in today is all about creating content. So let’s take the last 100 years for example. In 1914, they were writing about Henry Ford offering workers $5/day, an unheard of amount, to work in his factories. In 2014, we are creating more content than ever. In 2114, we need to allow our grand children, great grand children and great great grandchildren something good to read.

With that, the time is now to get to work. After reading through and reviewing quite a large number of blog articles over the years I have noticed many inconsistencies. The following list, not in any order, should be reviewed before you publish any article to a personal or company blog:

  • Spell check your post: This is a grate place to start but is just one small step. Remember, spell cheek does not catch everything. Notice what I did there?
  • Re-read the article for clarity.
  • Check for grammar, spelling or punctuation errors: Once you read through it once you should find most of these corrections. However, you may have to go through it more than once, especially if you wrote the article. Your eyes will start to glaze over the simplest things.
  • Make sure an image is included: This is so important in the visual world in which we live in.
  • Check images for copyright infringement: If you do not pay for stock images you need to be careful n this one. if you pull images down from the internet chances are they may be copyrighted. Filter the images you pull to make sure they are okay to share.
  • Ensure that all links are functional.
  • Check your word count: The target range is 400-800 words. Two short and you may not get your point across. Too long and nobody will read it.
  • Check formatting: Make sure there is consistency throughout.
  • Have keywords and tags been used? This is one of the most important things to incorporate for your SEO.
  • Does the title and/or subtitle clearly communicate what the post is about? The eye catcher. Bring them in. Get them sleepy – very, very sleepy.

If you didn’t write the article, check these things too:

  • Verify the author’s name & credentials are correct.
  • Add (and verify) any referenced sources.
  • Check for plagiarism: Try a free plagiarism checking website such as I once reviewed an article on plagiarism that was 96% plagiarized. The other 45 was the person’s name and title.

What else would you add to this list?

The Future of High Tech Automotive

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Recently, I had the opportunity to attend Matt Roush’s monthly Technology Report event series discussing high-tech automotive trends at Lawrence Technological University. Joining Roush was a panel of four esteemed guests: Andrew Pontius, Chief Engineering Technical Officer, NAO, Faurecia Emissions Control Technologies; Tom Apostolos, President, Ricardo USA Inc.; Jeff Gilbert, Automotive Reporter, WWJ Newsradio 950; and; Jerry Klarr, Director of Innovation and Strategy, AVL.

Pontius started off the morning’s festivities with an intriguing discussion on the current state of future of the automotive emissions industry. With Faurecia being the sixth largest automotive supplier in the world, Andrew offered an expanse of insight. The audience was shocked to hear that with emissions as they are today, a V6 Toyota Camry today is just as fast as a classic Chevrolet Camaro IROC. For the automotive emissions industry, Pontius sees one of the major shifts is the downsizing of engines – predicting that the industry is headed for two liter turbo engines for everyone.

“Engines overall are operating at lower speeds with less cylinders,” said Pontius. The main problem with this is increased noise. Cars are trending towards less space and less weight, but still need to somehow remain quieter than their predecessors. Pontius predicts we are moving towards cylinder deactivation and silencing volume. Contributing to this, Faurecia has begun a new, innovative lightweight initiative and has already built an exhaust system that is 40 percent lighter than its competitors.

“We are coming to the age with the digitization of exhaust sound,” stated Pontius. “We cancel out the current sound and produce another.” His focus on the acoustics and dynamics of exhaust compelled the audience. “The next thing to focus on is energy recovery,” said Pontius. He concluded with the fact that 30 percent of fuel energy is lost through the tailpipe. The future of auto emissions also will focus on harnessing that energy to make it useable.

Automotive panel discussion

At the completion of Andrew Pontius’s presentation, Matt Roush and audience members posed questions to the panel. What is the most interesting automotive tech today? Jerry Klarr stepped in stating that the most interesting piece of automotive tech to him is… Read my entire article on Airfoil Group’s company blog at:

Calculating ROI in Social Media

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roiROI. ROI. ROI. Say that ten times fast! Say it once or say it a thousand times, most social media professionals are tired of getting asked to calculate it. I spoke with a representative at Oracle, one of the largest tech corporations, not long ago. My contact there confirmed that nobody has a definite answer to calculating ROI in social media. This proves a point of mine exactly, there is no direct answer to return on investment (ROI) from social media.

Now, there are things we can quantify in social media. We can find the number of likes, retweets, mentions, pins, hashtags used and more. We can find out how many people visit our website and are referred from social networks. We can see how many people share our most recent blog article or press release. What we cannot determine is what we are going to get out of it for all the money that we spend on it – and if you’re not spending money on it you’re already in trouble.

What most do not realize is that no matter how you see it, social media is a key lifeline for business. It is necessary. It is no longer an optional thing to do. Everything is becoming socialized. To maintain a positive share in the marketplace, businesses need to keep themselves out there. Ten years from now, you will stumble upon this topic and laugh. I’ve been using social media for 11 years now and all it has taught me is that people like to feel close to what they believe in. If they like science fiction novels, people will use social networks to connect with science fiction authors, fans and companies. If people are interested in baking, they will follow famous bakers, share recipes on networks and talk with other fellow bakers.

The fact is, if you are not out there talking with those interested in topics that you or your company cares about, someone else will. Someone else will lead the conversation. Someone else will move your customers to their side. The question constantly arises – What is the ROI of social media to our organization? The real question is – What is the negative ROI if you do not use social media?