Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Run your own no-cost social media dashboard

If there's one known fact about managing social media, it's that there is a complex combination of channels to address. The monster needs to be fed on a daily basis and if one is not careful, it becomes an overwhelming and many times low ROI task.

I have attempted to use the free versions of several social media dashboards, but just couldn't get the comfortable with the process. It was either too complicated, or the dashboard branded my messages with their identity, which in a way waters down my own brand-building.

So, here's what I'd suggest for your own custom program:

1) Open a new web browser window, specifically for your social media proliferation.

2) Open each of your platforms under a separate tab. For me, that's Blogger for my four blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+.

3) Set as many connectors as your can. For example, my blog posts autofeed onto my Google+ page; I now have access to blog posting functions on LinkedIn and when I'm finished, I get a prompt to post on Twitter.

4) Source a key message once, then move it across the other platforms. I'm getting pretty copy-and-paste fast with this. I write a blog post, it posts to Google+, then I might copy to Facebook, move it once again to LinkedIn, then use the Twitter opt-in to post there.

I leave this dedicated browser window open and when an idea hits me, I blog fast and transfer.

Just a tip here: Message short, but message more. Your readers will love you for it.

Let me know how this works for you.

Ozzy, fistfights, plane crashes and comedy

I hope the headline caught your attention.

If you up for a wild ride with a great comedian podcaster, check out Dean Del Ray's discussion with rock bass player Rudy Sarzo:

It's an engaging conversation. Ozzy tour, the infamous Randy Rhodes plane crash, Quiet Riot, Whitesnake and a great back story on Sam Kinison.

We need a lot more of this type of entertainment.

Good on ya, Dean and Rudy. Thanks.

Backpacks for business: It's all the rage

Check out this new article from Ad Age:

This is something I learned years ago. I ditched my Halliburton brushed aluminum briefcase and got into a practical, always on the go backpack.

There are several "business" models, but I've been an Ogio man for quite a while. It's a cross over from the extreme sport industry, but the pockets, computer sleeve, and water bottle holster work like I need them to.

What's your carry-all favorite?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Police: Movies vs. reality

I have to admit it. One of my favorite TV shows is "Cops" and the Spike Network now seems to be the home of hours of reruns, and the new 2014 season. After observing dozens of traffic stops, take-downs and cuffings, it's clear that the police overcome.

But in another dimension, that of movie-making, heroes and bad guys many times trump law enforcement. Take the following video clip, for example. This is a scene you'll never see play out in reality...or does it?

Monday, July 7, 2014

Do metaphors hurt or heal?

The wonderful Independence Day holiday has passed and we're once again fully engaged in my summer session class, COM 1200.

The foundations of human communication is a portal course. In my version, we press hard into the value of social debate, where we respectfully examine all points of view and grow our independent, informed knowledge base.

An essential building block in understanding communication is the use of metaphors. We are forced to deliver bad news and state "don't shoot the messenger." Or on another occasion one notes an elderly person who pays for nursing home care, and adds the comment he/she is "bleeding out" regarding dwindling finances.

So on this day, I'm thinking what would communication be like if we, as a society, were metaphor-free? What if we simply stated our position, without the emotionally-triggered metaphoric indicators?

It seems we can be gluten free, sugar free, sodium free and grain free. Let's consider how to refine our minds along with our bodies.

I'd like to move forward, or has that ship already sailed?

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Social media: What's the ROI?

Summer travel is always a time for introspection and plans for the future. As part of that process, I have come upon an important analysis:

What's the value of social media?

As a former business owner and now advertising professor, I must explore the bottom line. How do we monetize social media? If not money, what's the alternative ROI? And if it's about opportunity cost - the value of the best alternative forgone - how else might we use the ever increasing time that is invested in being a social media participant?

Personal web sites and blogs produce content, that validates our brand, and we announce and build our posts and updates through Twitter, Google+, Facebook and LinkedIn. And if you're an Amazon publisher (I am) the ultimate rush is driving customers to our author page.

But here's one point to consider: If it's not about the outcome, it can be about staying relevant. Whatever our personal opinion, social media is a moving target that is of paramount importance to the students I serve. I must admit I'm rather uninformed regarding SnapChat, Instagram and Pinerest. And if you'd like to take a look into the future, check out Mark Cuban's new app, Cyber Dust.

I must learn, in order to teach. Just connected with an author who is making $40,000 a quarter selling "habit" books on Amazon. He agreed to Skype into one of my classes.

Let's keep the discussion alive and share the essence of "value."

Environment is catalyst for student/educator communication

I'm fortunate in that I am an assistant professor at Appalachian University. It's a "destination institution" in that we're located the mountains of northwest North Carolina. The Blue Ridge Parkway is only minutes away.

Students love the outdoor lifestyle, so it's a great to marry learning with nature. For example, I'm faculty in residence and this fall, I'll host evening walks for students. We can journey across campus and then traverse up to nature trails adjacent to the wind turbine on top.

There's something special that happens when you share an environmental experience with students. The conversation changes. Heartfelt opinions and concerns are shared. I'd suggest that all of us have an environment to share, it may be urban or possibly cultural. It also allows the educator to become more transparent and accessible.