Would Charlie Sheen Consider GRADS WINNING!? NOT!

Written by on March 9th, 2011

Class of 2008, 2008, 2009, 20010 and 2011 gets screwed! Charlie will not speak at commencement!

Charlie Sheen’s now very public lifestyle and philosophy is making a lot of people think about their lives. Its obvious Charlie has a very positive attitude about him and has put himself in a category above most mortal men. Charlie is now a self-professed WINNER!

If he were living back in the days of the Greeks, I’m certain he would have convinced them that he was, if not Zeus, at least the son of Zeus!

At any rate, this got me thinking about how college graduates feel about themselves.

Do the members of the Class of 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 feel like they are WINNING?

I still remember the pride I felt about graduating 30 plus years ago. I was a first generation college graduate, had no debt, paid my way through college by working night and odd jobs, started a photography business that I continued to run after graduation and had a couple of professors that I admire to this day. It was a fulfilling and life changing opportunity for me. For me and many in my generation life was good, and the opportunities were many!

But what does a student who is about to graduate feel today? If I were a graduating today, I’m sure my mood and expectations would be affected by the fact that:

  • 80% of the last two graduating classes didn’t have jobs by graduation day
  • Eighty percent moved home after graduation
  • The average grad had over $20,000 in student loans and nearly $5,000 on their credit cards to pay off.
  • 17 million grads (the equivalent of 5 graduation classes) do jobs that only require a high school diploma or less!

So I can hear Charlie ask, “Who is WINNING here? “

Duh, it’s not the graduates!

This generation of graduates will be paying more per month on student loans than many couples paid for rent 30 years ago. They will be buying less after graduation because they will be struggling to pay down their credit card bills and according to research 60% of them will be working in jobs that did not require a college degree.

And it’s worse if they marry. Two graduates with the average student loan and credit card debt, enter a marriage “for better or worse, richer or poorer” with $50,000 in debt!

But wait, it gets worse!

Most colleges have done an excellent job giving the graduate the curriculum to satisfy the requirements of their degree. But what have they done to help them prepare for their career?

Does the typical graduate:

  • Have a good handle on which industries they should be looking to for a job?
  • Know what type of position would best suit their skills and knowledge?
  • Know how to search for a job, how to interview, follow up on a job or even build a career network?

My guess is a lot of graduates will be receiving their diplomas in the next two months filled with angst, anxiety and asking the question, “Now What?”

I have a personal stake in this. My son Ben graduates from Miami University with a degree in businessand marketing. Ben’s done all the right things to get a job. He got involved and became President of the Miami Association of Film Makers, became the photo editor of The Miami Q, did a semester abroad to gain international experience and exposure and will graduate with A’s and B’s in all subjects. But even with those credentials, will Ben walk out of school WINNING or struggling!

What can you do?

We need to do more for this generation.

For a variety of reasons, our generation has implemented numerous policies and rules that are putting them at a disadvantage the day they receive their diploma. They are facing issues that the leaders and administrators of colleges, business, government and other organizations did not face when they graduated from college.

So what can you do to help this generation?

In what way can you help give them hope, provide them an anchor or help them get from under the hurdles they now face, before they even start their career?

There has to be something! Standing by is not acceptable. Our generation has been given a lot. We’ve given to this generation a lot to overcome.

One way we’ve found we can help is by providing 9 Webinars that feature career experts. Our Fall Webinar series had 400 Career Centers sign up.  We are also assembling a GRAD Career Toolkit that will provide graduates, advice from career experts, tools to organize their job search and assessment tests.

Your organization can help by hiring a grad, providing internships or on a personal level, mentor a student.

Share with us other ways we can help this generation of graduates!

Updating your Fan Page – Sucks! Or does it?

Written by on August 8th, 2010

My little secret will make updating your Fan page effortless and fun

I’ve talked to hundreds of organizations and businesses who are cautiously adding a Facebook Fan page. But beyond the fear and trepidation of setting it up, there is an enormous anxiety about “ what’s next?.”

  1. What do we say in our News Feed?
  2. How do we get people to Fan us?
  3. What if someone says something we don’t approve?
  4. Worse, what if they bash us?

And most importantly they say, “How am I to find the time to do this?” And it’s not just that, most people are not sure how to organize the process of becoming an editor and publisher of their Fan page.

So I’m going to share with you a little secret.

The good news is this secret is free and it works.

In fact it’s the simplest technique I could find to create a process to organize this so you don’t have to fret about it. This process will enable you to spend 10 – 20 minutes a week updating your Fan page with content that will keep people commenting which will get the attention of their friends and increase your fan base.

You only need one piece of software to make this work. It’s your gmail or Outlook calendar. So here’s the secret.

Create a reoccurring event in your outlook and let it run for say, 90 days. I set mine up to occur at 7 am Monday, Wednesday and Friday. And I call the calendar event, Facebook Fan Page Update. So now that I have 36+ on my calendar I can sit back and let Outlook remind me to update the Fan page.

But wait, wait, there’s more to this secret!

So your next step is to set aside 20 minutes to find content on others websites that your audience would be interested in, and that validates your message, product or theme. It might be videos from YouTube, serious research, a blog article, an article in a major news source or something fun and interesting from Wikipedia. In 20 minutes you should be able to find 3 interesting, relevant pieces of content that you can copy the link and write a short intro to for your News Feed.

The next thing to do is simply copy the link and the content into the day of the week you want to share it. Then on that day, drop it in and it’s posted. I know what you are thinking! Wouldn’t it be great if there was software that would let you post content for an entire month and walk away from it? There is, but, for the moment – you don’t want to pay for it!

So that’s it. It’s simple fast and it provides you a framework to fit this additional responsibility into your daily life, but more importantly change your behavior so you actually do it!

Now, that you have mastered updating content, we’ll need to circle back around and evaluate how people are responding to the content with Insights. You my friend are just getting started on a process that is going to suck more and more of your time, but research is suggesting it’s worth it.

Check out some of the latest posts that confirm this at:

www.facebook.com/internetstrategiesgroup

Fans not only will BUY MORE from you, they will more likely RECOMMEND YOU!

Blogs are DEAD!

Written by on August 4th, 2010

Too time consuming! Less impact than a Fan Page!

I’m blogged out! This 547 word blog took 37 minutes out of my life!

I started blogging in 2004 with a blog called WiredCommunities. My focus was on organizations who were doing ground breaking and/or unique things in building online communities. Each article required time to research, write, edit, contact the organization for quotes, publishing and finally handling the spam that tried to get on the blog. It was a huge undertaking. After writing nearly 200 articles, I just pooped out!

So I wrote a book!

And then realized I should promote my book with a blog. So the blog you are reading now is designed to continue the discussion I started in my book Internet Dough! But I’m stressing again. Once again each article is requiring me to take time to research, write, edit and publish. While I love to write, there are times I feel a slave to the blog. It’s another thing that gets added on my “Things to Do” list. It nags me on weekends! And why? Well, if I do enough articles and get picked up by other blogs and share it frequently with my customers and fans, then I build my social credibility!

But is it worth it?

For some yes! But like anything else, only a few bloggers/organizations will have the stamina and consistency to be able to reach a sizable audience. Based on the over 100 million blogs just in the United States, I would wager that 99.5 bloggers start off with good intentions and lose interest. Life and their current job and family responsibilities get in the way and they slowly lose interest.

So, to me blogging is Dead. It’s over rated and it’s too difficult to scale.

So what do you do?

I’m leaning to our corporate Facebook Fan page as a faster way to educate, share and develop a conversation with people interested in what we are interested in.

Think about it.

Our attention spans are short. We consistently wrote 400-600 word blog articles which for the typical reader requires 4-5 minutes to read. But do readers really have the time to read them? If they are like me, they have a fire hose of news, content and information streaming into their mail boxes daily.

Instead of fretting about writing an article, we check our Google News Reader/Alerts for interesting content. We then write a 100 character summary and attach a link to the article and publish it on our Fan page. It gives us the same effect. But with an extra twist.

Now we can offer our opinions and use third party sources to validate them. To us, our Facebook Fan page is also our eNewsletter. Once a month, we dump in the summaries of the last 3 status updates in our News Feed and fire off our Newsletter. It’s fast, easy and repurposes content and information we have already produced.

So for us, our blog has been demoted!  It’s not a primary communication channel.  Maybe considering it dead is a little over stated, eh?

We’ll still blog, but not fret about it.  We’ll do an article every other week or once a month. In the meantime, our focus will be on building our readership on our Fan Page and using Facebook Insights to better understand what our Fans want to know.

What about you?

Oh, follow us at www.facebook.com/internetstrategiesgroup

Wisdom of the Crowds – Concept will Change Your Business

Written by on June 28th, 2009

The first business I started while in college, I called Aardvark Studios.

I’ve never been very creative when it comes to naming a business so after days of searching for the right name, Aardvark stuck.   We took pictures of graduates when they received their diplomas on graduation day, and then mailed a free proof to each graduate, giving them an opportunity to order enlargements.  By the time I sold the business, 25 years later, we were photographing about 200,000 graduates each year.

So I had to laugh when I saw a story in the New York Times about a company founded in 2007 called Aardvark.    The firm was jumping into the online advice business, the same business that Microsoft’s new Bing has entered, Hunch and Yahoo’s Answers.  Aardvark’s twist however is it’s among the first that provides an intelligent way to reach out to authorities on subjects within your circle of friends.

The second thing that makes Aardvark different from others is the answers are created real time and specific to your question only.   When you pose a question like:

  1. What wine goes good with chicken?
  2. What’s the best grad school for someone interested in marketing?
  3. What’s the best computer for my 15 year old daughter?
  4. Where do I go when I visit Italy this year?
  5. Which mower should I get to mow an acre of fairly flat land?
  6. What do I have to look out for when I buy a new car?

Aardvark fires out the question through your Facebook friends and their friends and then delivers the response to you through your IM.

What it tries to do is target those with the best chance of answering the question.   Instead of blasting the question to everyone you know, it sends a limited number at a time so not to over burden the entire system.   It also utilizes information from other social networking profiles to match interests, demographics characteristics and other factors.

If no one answers a question, Aardvark continues to broaden the group of people until it gets an answer for you.  If you are like me a response usually invokes additional questions so Aardvark enables the person asking the question to respond to the person who answered it with additional questions.

Like any other tool, the more people that use it the more powerful it will become.  When you sign up,  you will be asked to share 3 areas you are knowledgeable  on.  This helps the system know which type of questions to send to you.

So how will this change your business?

This kind of tool will affect how your products and services are sold.  Consumers will still be influenced by advertising but they will learn to go to their network for advice on which product to buy.  It will help your staff find quick answers from others within your company.   The world is getting increasingly more complex.  A tool like this will help your staff reach out to others in and outside your business to gain quick answers to problems they are facing.

And if you are looking for a job, it will instantly put you in touch with the right people who can help you!

The end result is, decisions will be made faster, based on more experience.

So I have one question to ask Aardvark.   When I owned my photography business, nearly every week, someone asked me, “Why did you name your company Aardvark?”

So Aardvark, “Why did you name your business Aardvark?”

25 Reasons -WHY- You need a Facebook Strategy

Written by on May 12th, 2009

Facebook 101 executive suiteEveryone benefits, a pizza shop, candy store, small business and large corporation

Over the weekend I wrote a 30 page white paper called, Facebook 101 for the Executive Suite.  A friend and a CIO I’ve been working with the last couple of months thought the “executive suite”  would benefit from having a overview of how Facebook could be used in their firm.

After reflecting on how to present the opportunities to VP’s, Presidents and the C level administrators, I came up with:

  • 4 fundamental changes in consumer behaviors they need to be aware of
  • 4 ways a firm can tap into an anticipated 300 million user base
  • 5 ways an organization will benefit by developing a Facebook strategy
  • 12 best practices and proven Internet strategies
  • How various departments in your firm can benefit by participating in Facebook

As usual, for me, it’s hard to write a 8 page whitepaper.  This baby came in at 30 plus pages.  At any rate, over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be sharing this information with you.

I’ll start by explaining the 4 behavior changes that will drive how you lead and manage your business in the coming decade.  We’ll first examine Community, then follow up with looks at Content, Collaboration and Communication.  The four C’s!

Should You Advertise in the Yellow Pages?

Written by on December 16th, 2008

Hedge your bets and do online and Yellow Page advertising

It happens every fall!

Just as the birds fly south for the year, the salmon swim up river to spawn, there is a certain time of year when a new edition of the Yellow Pages are produced and handed out.

They are dropped in apartments, homes and delivered to mailboxes.  A few months ago, my wife came back from our rural post office and told me that Brian, (local postal employee) had to put out an extra bin to handle the Yellow Page books being thrown away by the PO Box holders.  The Yellow Pages for decades was a powerful, and in some cases the only affordable tool for small business owners to advertise their business. Getting in the Yellow Pages was the first thing a business owner did!

But the world is different today.   Consumers behavior is being changed by the Internet.  Because of broadband, their computers are always on and they are learning to search for what they want, when they want and read reviews their neighbors have made about the companies and products they are interested in.  

The investment industry has taken notice of these changes and as a result the shares of two of the industry leaders, R.H. Donnelley and Idearc, have fallen 99 percent in the last year.   Ouch!

And there are predictions that their revenue is going to drop.  According to an article by Emily Steel for the Wall Street Journal:

Print and online ad spending on yellow pages will plummet 6.3% next year, more than double the rate of decline expected for broadcast TV, according to forecasts by Wachovia analyst John Janedis.

So if the Investment community smells a fire, why are small business owners still paying for ads in a book that not only gets thrown away, has more competition than ever and is being replaced by consumers whose behavior is being changed by the convenience of online search engines, like Google and Yahoo.

The Yellow Page industry is reporting more value for your advertising dollar!

(…More…)

Is Video Advertising Right for YOUR Business?

Written by on December 9th, 2008

One video ad can be re purposed on many different websites

Truman Show

I spent a greater portion of my business career in the photography industry. In my letters and marketing materials I repeated the time worn phrase, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Now that we are living in a video world, the common person has nearly as many ways to capture the moments of their lives as Jim Carrey’s Truman Bank character in The Truman Show. Today, a video is worth 10,000 words.

Online video advertising is giving marketers another opportunity to reach targeted audiences with their messages. According to Borrell Associates, streaming audio and video ads now account for 19 percent of local online revenue and will rise to 59% by 2013.

Most marketers are having hard time thinking about adding video to their marketing tool chest for one reason: because in their mind, it’s still a very expensive and time-consuming marketing tool. They also have little to no experience with it, so they avoid it.

Video Advertising is as easy as 1,2,3

However, the Internet is changing all of that. Not only can anyone with a webcam, video cell phone, or simple video camera create a video and upload it to a Web site, it can be done within a matter of an hour without a budget! Sure, you can spend a great deal more time and energy at it, but I’m trying to break down some walls here and get you thinking about keeping it simple stupid! (…More…)

Should Washington Save the Yellow Pages?

Written by on December 4th, 2008

If the Yellow Pages go the way of dinosaurs and encyclopedias, how will you find new customers?

Yellow Pages

Now that the shock of the 750 billion dollar bailout is wearing off and Black Friday still generated about the same amount of sales as last year, everyone is taking a momentary sigh of relief.

However in Washington as you read this, a furious battle is raging, phones are ringing and businesses, organizations and even governmental organizations are trying to get the ear of congressional leaders in an attempt to get a few million (or billion) of the bail out money.

I’ve been reading a lot lately about the Yellow Page industry, which led me to uncover up and coming “small business advertising products” provided by firms like Yelp and Reach Local. My research uncovered a lot of conversations and information about the demise of the Yellow Page industry.  That’s when I started imagining their lobbyists using their connections to find out what angle they needed to get some of the bailout money.

But only for a second.

Because the more research I did, the more evidence shows the industry, while still very competitive, is hugely profitable and they have customers who swear by the results.

Consumers habits are changing

But the talks of the demise are true. (…More…)

Online Communities in the Pioneer Days

Written by on December 3rd, 2008

Pew Report

Life before MySpace, Facebook, YouTube

I was reading a report produced by the Pew Internet and American Life Project called, “A Portrait of Early Internet Adopters. Why People First Went Online and Whey they Stayed”.  The report by Amy Tracy Wells is  a quick read and a fun reminder of where online social networking got started.

Surveys conducted by the Pew Internet and American Life Project since 2000 have shown that the majority of people went online for personal reasons (50%), followed by work (31%) and school (19%).

Amy reminds us that the early roots of social networking started in BBSs (electronic bulletin board systems) and Usenet, chat rooms and threaded discussion software.  To access these systems one had to fire up a modem and wait!  A really fast modem in those days crawled.  When I lived in Telluride, Colorado in 1995, I remember waiting about 8 hours to download a new version of AOL’s software! (…More…)

Can Facebook Deliver Leads to Your Business? YES!

Written by on November 30th, 2008

Facebook Add

What would 580,000 advertising impressions do for your business?

Al Gore gets kidded for suggesting he invented the Internet.  Around my house I get teased for suggesting to my kids that I invented Facebook.

Back in 1996, I created an online community for students and called it StudentAccess.  We modeled the community around GeoCities and Tripod with a focus only on college students.  We provided a free home page, email address and photo upload.  We ran ads in student magazines around the country and anxiously waited for students to show up.  Nobody came!   Not only was it a total failure, but I ended up getting sued by Princeton Review for using the name Student Access! (They had a line of books called StudentAccess to Law, Medical, etc.)  Thirty thousand dollars later, we surrendered the URL studentaccess.com to Princeton Review and decided to focus in a different direction.

Fast forward 7 years and Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook, which has become one of the largest – online communities in the world.    Enough old boy stories,  let’s get back to the reason you are reading this post. (…More…)

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