15 Social Media Tools to Kill Your Marke

15 Social Media Tools to Kill Your Marketing Game! #socialmediamarketing


5 Reasons Kids + Smartphones (Often) = Danger

As summer break lumbers on, students armed with the latest in smartphone technology are using social media kidsfor entertainment and an air conditioned escape from the summer sun.  As a social media geek and a member of the boomer generation (the very tail end, thank you very much), I’ve witnessed some of these smart phone wielding tweens and teens placing themselves in situations that both terrify me and boil my maternal blood.  So after spending time on multiple social media platforms this summer and making a few mini-enemies (minimes?) by posting questions such as “does your mom know that you’re on here?” I decided to talk to you, the parents, and share my reasons for wishing that smartphones had age restrictions:

  1. Complete lack of self-awareness – the little girl in Maryland who placed her phone in front of her crotch while wearing short shorts was not trying to be provocative or run an adult themed show during her recent Meerkast, but her intentions meant nothing to her audience – which appeared to be mostly adult males. Summer time kids like to live stream from their bedrooms and tell their audience things like “I’m bored as f**k” and then invite them to “ask me anything”.  This common practice invites conversations that go in directions that children are not equipped to handle.  Unfortunately, once these conversations start, kids don’t know how to get out of them because they’re good kids who were taught not to be rude; and because mom and dad are at work, there’s no one around to save them… or shut off their phone, I’m just sayin…
  2. Total oblivion to their surroundings – again the bored kid who is streaming from his bedroom. Unaware of the fact that items in their room expose their identity and location – i.e. name tags from an event, gym clothes with the school name.  Mirrors are another nightmare because kids seem to be universally incapable of thinking “hey there’s a mirror in my room, better check the images that are being captured from its reflection” Recently I witnessed a little girl on Meerkat, who told her audience that she was 11 years old; excuse herself from view because she needed to blow her nose.  She moved outside camera range, only to move in front of the mirror which was in range, where she proceeded to blow her nose into her lifted up her t-shirt, completely unaware that she was exposing her chest to an audience of international viewers.
  3. Naivety – Most children are not able to recognize the predators, bullies and other dangerous types that lurk online, especially in platforms largely thought of as being for teens. Unsuspecting and unsupervised children on livestreaming platforms are easily drawn into inappropriate activities, conversations and “games”.  A little girl on Periscope a few weeks ago who was dressed in a pair of “daisy duke” shorts and a tank top while streaming from her bedroom, was encouraged to take down her ponytail and shake out her hair by an audience that included many adult males.  She gladly obliged then, proceed to toss her hair and pose suggestively.  When I posted a question asking about her parents’ whereabouts and told her that she shouldn’t be streaming without them in the room, she dismissively told me that her dad knew what she was doing and he was fine with it because he knew that she was smart…
  4. Lack of platform capabilities and limitations – children know how to stream, and how to post, but their knowledge often stops there. Things like geo-tracking, platform connections (Periscope to Twitter; Meerkat to Facebook and the expanded potential these connections bring for personal exposure and identity theft); how to block people; how to know who is in their audience, profile management etc. – should all be part of the whole pie of a user’s online experience.
  5. A belief in anonymity and no concept of discoverability. Some kids (and parents alike) still think Snapchat images are temporary; that anonymous apps such as Whisper and Yik Yak are really anonymous and secrets shared between online friends stay secret – oh and that these people are really their friends. Actually, it’s probably more accurate to say that nothing online is anonymous; secrets are going to be blabbed and often linked back to the originator and online images will travel more extensively and probably live longer than the people in them.

I could go on but these 5 reasons are at the top of my list – at least for today.  No parent wants their child to be the odd ball because they don’t have the latest and greatest gadgets; nor does any parent enjoy being the source of their tweens wrath because they took a stand and said no.   But sometimes it’s not a bad thing to say no, and let your kids be angry with you. Especially if the cause of that anger is a parent doing whatever it takes to keep their kids safe and lessening their exposure to exploitation and victimization.

Now if you still think your child needs a smart phone, at the very least, please utilize the parental controls that are offered by your carrier.  Remember, parental control are not a stand-alone solution, they must be consistently monitored and should be combined with open communication, education, ground rules and consequences that are consistently applied when violations of the rules occur.

Please share this with all the parents you know and read it to your children.  Have a discussion about my thoughts and let me know yours, I’d love to know where you stand on this.  Post your thoughts below and lets talk!

There’s a tiny cafe downtown that’s a favorite lunch spot for state workers and a few urban dwellers.  One day, while waiting for my order during a recent lunch time stop, I caught a glimpse of a few “glitches” that I would bet any amount of money, have not been seen by the cafe owner.  Small hygienic issues that I’m certain the owner is not aware of because he’s in the back of the house making Paninis, and doesn’t have the customer’s view of his establishment.

The solution is simple, become a customer in your own establishment and experience your business from the customer point of view.   If you normally enter your business through the back door, come in through the front door a few times a week.  Stand or sit where your customers usually stand, and look around the place.   If there’s a waiting area, sit on the furniture and let your eyes wander like those of a bored customer.  Start at the corners of the floor, notice the base boards, the furniture legs, is there a collection of insect corpses in the window seals?  Check for cobwebs along the walls and light fixtures, dust layers, splash stains, and dead bugs in the light covers.  Do customers see a dirty work area when they’re at counter waiting to pay? Would a woman be comfortable putting her new Kate Spade handbag on your counter tops?   Failure to notice and correct these small things can and will drive away customers.

I know this is all incredibly basic information, but I see these “customer view” problems every day, and I’m not alone. These small misses cost American small businesses millions in lost revenue and will undoubtedly ruin a hard earned reputation.  Please don’t let that happen to you.

If you need help seeing through the eyes of your customers, email me @ www.rivercitysocial@sbcglobal.net.

River City Social Media Talks Unique Ways to Market to Teens, Twitter Enhancements and My Reading List!

There were a few things that I discovered last week in the worlds of social media and small business that made me a pretty excited! First are the social media platforms of Yik Yak and Whisper. Both of these platforms have been around for at least a year now and both are posting sites with at least one making the list of the top 5 most dangerous apps for kids.. Nonetheless, any small business looking for an exciting and unique way to reach a geo-targeted, teenage demographic (Valentine’s Day, Proms etc. are around the corner), should definitely explore these apps! Warning, Yik Yak employs geofencing technology, which is intended to disable the app on high school and middle school campuses, but I’m often shut out at my home which is approximately 2 miles from a middle school.
The next thing I’m excited about is gaining access to the Twitter’s enhancements – video and group messaging! I have to admit I was disappointed about not being part of the first wave of users to get the enhanced features, but the new features are very cool so I can forgive the oversight.. No more spending hours figuring out how to squeeze a compelling story into a 6 second Vine video, Twitter is giving us 30 seconds to record a video directly onto the platform. Further, you can also send direct messages to multiple users instead of just one at a time. The one funky part of this is that you must enter the names of the message recipients individually. In a perfect world I would be able to open my lists, select multiple recipients and Twitter automatically populate the message box with my selections. Nonetheless, group messaging is still a welcome addition.
My final exciting items of note from last week are 2 books that I feel in love with and I thing anyone who wants to take their business to the next level should check out. The first is Zombie Loyalists: Using Great Service to Create Rabid Fans by Peter Shankman. This is a very easy read with Shankman’s advice for turning customers into fervent fans that will help a company massively increase their customer base, brand awareness, and most importantly, revenue. The second is Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? by Seth Godin. Linchpins are the people who figure out what to do when there’s no rule book. They delight and challenge their customers and peers. They love their work, pour their best selves into it, and turn each day into a kind of art. This is also a very quick and simple read that’s packed with insight and inspiration – you know, like what I do here!
Oh and one more thing, I am moving to WordPress from the Blogger platform in the next couple weeks. Please visit me on WordPress and subscribe! There are no free e-books, no gimmicks, just my short and sweet thoughts on the world of all things social media!

Yelp Video App Goes Live!

Yelpers can now post video in addition to written reviews to the popular social review site. Rumors of this new feature have floated about the blogasphere for a few months. But according to the Yelp official blog, the rumors became a reality on Monday. Videos will be short, just 3-12 seconds and are intended to give a level of depth to a review that goes beyond that of regular pictures. Time will tell how business owners respond to this new feature. Wait staff the world over will be thrilled when the customers ask for more time to order because they need to finish shooting their video of the establishment!