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Somebody explain this to me

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Nick GriffinSomebody explain this to me
by on Nov 9, 2010 at 3:35:44 pm

I understand how social media works and how valuable it can be in business, career, etc. I'm especially sure that this is useful to people in big companies who need to foster network relationships to help them get ahead.

What I don't understand is how it benefits small, independent companies like mine. Let's say I connect with all of my clients and prospective clients and I connect with all of my bovine buddies from here. Have I not just provided the aforementioned clients and prospects with contact information and a direct path to many people who do what I do?

This is why I've done very little in the way of LinkedIn, Plaxo, and so on. I'm relatively secure that we provide a good value and that sound relationships are the foundation that means the most with clients. But I don't need to provide the introduction of my clients to my competitors nor of my competitors to my clients.

Please tell me how this idea is in error.

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Matt TownleyRe: Somebody explain this to me
by on Nov 9, 2010 at 3:50:55 pm

I share your concerns and questions, Nick.

As you mentioned, I am confident in the value our services provide our clients, but that doesn't mean I want to air a detailed list of their contact information to the world, including our competitors.

From another perspective, we work with some clients that would not be thrilled to know that we work with certain companies; for example, apposing labor unions, clients that compete in the market place, non-profits that appose the point of view of another, etc. We make it very clear to all of our clients that we do not offer exclusivity and that we accept work from all clients, but at the same time we offer a certain level of anonymity to them that makes them feel confident in working with us.

I don't know how we could have an active social network presence and still maintain this type of confidentiality or risk having all of our clients poached by a competitor.

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Mark SuszkoRe: Somebody explain this to me
by on Nov 9, 2010 at 4:02:34 pm

Social media management is a full-time occupation, believe it. And you're right; it's not always applicable in the same way to every user.

I think for the small operator they mainly use it as a marketing tool for self-promotion, so a lot of the more vital communication doesn't happen on the social media branch of their operation, but over moer conventional and private channels like phone and direct email. It is more just an expansion of the regular marketing page of a web presence, adding a veneer of interactivity and feedback to make the plac ea little more "sticky". Just my own opinion.

Where I think this could be more important is when you build a SocMed site to support a specific project, not the business itself.

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Mike CohenRe: Somebody explain this to me
by on Nov 9, 2010 at 4:53:07 pm

Nick - I have a similar conversation almost weekly.

Here is a fake conversation to consider:

1 - "Why do we need a Facebook page?"

2 - "Because 500 million people log into Facebook every day. We don't get 500 million hits a day on our website. What do think we are, Creative COW?!"

1 - "Ok, I get that, but out of those 500 million people, how many of them are looking for a DVD about hernia surgery, for example?"

2 - "Good point. Probably a few hundred at most. And they will only find our page if they are directed there by some other piece of media - our primary website, an email, a video or word of mouth"

1 - "Exactly. In other words, if you are not MTV or Ford or any of the host of huge companies that already have mass market presence, what use is a Facebook page and how do you expect people to find out about it?"

2 - "I see your point. Let's assume then that the Fortune 1000 companies either have or do not have Facebook pages, but that they probably don't need them for their businesses to grow. You don't go from a mom and pop operation to General Motors because of a Facebook page."

1 - "Right."

2 - "So let's talk about a hypothetical small business. How about ACME Widgets."

1 - "This is starting to sound like most of my classes in grad school"

2 - "LOL. Would you like a GANTT chart with your SWOT analysis?"

1 - "Why not supersize it and give me a transactional analysis while you're at it!"

2 - "Funny. Now let's say ACME Widgets has been a brick and mortar widget dealer for 10 years and they do 25% of their business from traditional e-commerce."

1 - "Ok. ACME makes some mighty nice widgets."

2 - "They do indeed. So ACME decides to get on the social media bandwagon. First is a Facebook page. Making one is easy enough. They do so and start making daily updates. Facebook users tend to not like overt advertising in their news feeds, so ACME tries to make useful posts, such as:

Check out our newly decorated lobby.

We are about to release a new widget with XYZPDQ features.

What's your favorite widget?

Can you name all of the widgets in alphabetical order?

Follow us on Twitter.

1 - "Stop right there. Why would you have a Twitter feed of the same posts as you have on Facebook? That seems redundant."

2 - "That seems redundant."

1 - "That's what I just said."

2 - "That's what you just said. Ok sorry. You're right, if your Tweets and Facebook updates are the same, why do both. In fact Facebook now has a feature where you can Tweet your updates. Well, if you have people following your FB and your Tweets, they will be getting a double helping of the same information. That's actually kind of useless."

1 - "Now you're talking!"

2 - "Ok, so let's back up. ACME is making daily updates. They are not overtly trying to sell stuff, although some soft selling is ok. But now they need some followers. Obviously they can invite their friends and current business associates to follow the page, but these people are already in their social network (you know, the social network that does not rely upon the web). But how does ACME, a small, regional widget manufacturer, get the hundreds of followers they need to truly take advantage of web based social networking between businesses and customers, and how can this effort generate business. All it seems to be doing is taking time out of each day that could be spent making cold calls or hitting the pavement selling widgets?!#$%"

1 - "Exactly. What's the point? Even if you find a way to get people to like your FB page, and you are a small regional widget seller, how is this good for business?"

2 - "I think the key question is, how do you get followers? FB or Twitter - same question. This isn't Field of Dreams. If we build it, how will people know to come?"

1 - "Right. Since we are not GM or Ford or Sony or Harry Potter or the Jonas Brothers, we don't have a built-in legion of fans from the real world who are looking for a way to further interact with us."

2 - "Who are the Jonas Brothers?"

1 - "I have no idea."

2 - "Ok, so let's say we find a way to get a lot of fans for our company that is not well known online. Maybe some people are actually looking for widgets in the greater Anytown, USA region and they search with a search engine, or inside Facebook or Twitter, and they find ACME. And let's say some people are from our circle of friends and associates."

1 - "Stop right there. Why would someone who is already a customer want to follow us on FB? Isn't that creating another layer between company and customer?"

2 - "Maybe, maybe not. Again, Joe Smith, customer numero uno, does not visit ACME's website every day. But he always goes to FB, usually morning noon and night. While his primary MO is to see pictures of his niece and nephew and search for ex-girlfriends, if he sees your ACME updates in his feed, even for a split seconds, he is reminded of ACME a little at a time."

1 - "So it is background noise?"

2 - "That's one way to describe it - but meaningful background noise. Let's look at my own FB feed as of this moment:

Uncle Barry - Just changed the oil on the ole Impala. I think she'll keep on running for another 50 years.

Cindy Loo - Home from skool - gonna get some WOW in before homewerk. CUL8R.

Mom - Looking forward to seeing my boys for the holidays.

Dad - Check out this link - craazy video of people jumping off bridges!

Dad - Don't let me catch any of you jumping off bridges!

Dad - Do I have to stop this car? Do you want to walk home? When I was a boy I walked to school up hill in both directions.

ACME Widgets - Coming soon - the ACME J97 - improved performance in cold weather. Click for more information tinyurl/34567

Mom - You're not jumping off bridges are you Mikey?

Dad - He knows I only joking around. Mikey?

Me - I love you both!

2 - "You get the idea. So I have a lot of drivel and one possibly interesting link from ACME. I may not click it every time, but since I routinely edit out likes and friends who I do not really need, chances are ACME remains because I am interested."

1 - "Ok, so I get the impression that your mom and dad don't actually talk directly to each other."

2 - "They sometimes sit in the same room on two different computers. Anyway, so we have followers who may actually find our posts more interesting than some of the updates from their own friends and family. Much of FB has become background noise. So ACME is trying to be something interesting among the noise - not so different than traditional forms of advertising. A TV commercial may be 30 seconds, but you get 1 or 2 seconds to get someone's attention. Same with a print ad, a postcard or catalog. So yeah, FB is a lot of clutter, just like what comes in your mailbox every day, but it is another opportunity to get your message out there. And it's free, or nearly free."

1 - "Ok, so now I see why we need to be on Facebook - because there is a 1% chance that someone who actually finds us on Facebook will read any of our updates."

2 - "Partially true. But if your FB fans are people who either already like you or who found you because they were searching for what you offer, then the 1% may go up to 10%, and in the marketing world, 10% is pretty good."

1 - "Ok, what about Twitter?"

2 - "Twitter is similar but different. You can make the same updates as on FB, as previously discussed. But the people who follow Twitter regularly are much fewer than FB users. I have 2 Twitter accounts and I almost never use them. I get an email when I get a new Twitter follower, but I almost never send a tweet or read my tweets. It's too cumbersome. Sure, I can access Twitter on my smart phone, but I have to manually remember to do so. I quickly learned that I don't want tweets as text messages, because there is a lot of noise on Twitter. So let's say I check Twitter once a day just like I do with FB, which is a manual thing also. I rarely find anything interesting - much of Twitter seems to be links to blogs or pyramid schemes. I'm not really interested in what Ashton Kutcher, Obama or Sarah Palin are tweeting about. Anything news related I get from an actual news outlet. Same with celebrity news - my wife keeps me up to date on the Situation's exploits, and honestly it is not that important."

1 - "Who or what is the Situation?"

2 - "I have no idea."

1 - "Continue."

2 - "Ok, so assuming I have filtered out tweets from celebrities, politicians and the like, because their tweets will make it to the news anyway, I am left with tweets from people or businesses I am interested in following, much like it is on FB. Not much of interest, much like FB. So should a business tweet? Depends upon the business. Should a small local business tweet? The jury is still out. If you run a towing service, maybe your friends will be interested to read a tweet about how you jump started a dead battery in a Ferrari. But I doubt you will get people tweeting you because they need a jump. hat's what the telephone it for. If you are a local butcher, you could tweet about the nice shipment of pork chops you just unwrapped (please douse your iPhone in triclosan) and you might have the few twitter following local chefs at your door - but buying meat is not totally time sensitive."

1 - "I see where you are going. So tweeting about your business only really has applications if you have a wide audience of followers or you do something at a local level that could produce immediate response."

2 - "Perhaps. I think there is a time and a place for Twitter, but for the small local business, the time and place may be yet to be discovered."

1 - "Ok, so I get the impression that a small local business should maybe or maybe not use Facebook and Twitter, that there is some duplication between the two, and that doing so does not necessarily help business."

2 - "That's a pretty good assessment."


As for some real world discussion, I agree - if I friend everyone I know on FB who I deal with on Creative COW, I have basically created a clone of Creative COW. I will still ask my questions on the COW. I will still primarily communicate on the COW. I suppose FB would let me see some "behind the scenes" views of my COW friends, something they may not post on the COW. But that's what email and meeting people in real life is for. Facebook is a conduit to real world communications.

Recently, during the heated governor's race here in CT, I briefly participated in the debate on one of the candidate's websites. I chimed in on some issues and participated in the dialogue. But what I found was that the die hard supporters of the candidate did not appreciate opposing viewpoints being posted on the candidate's FB site and I began to feel unwelcome. Sorry, I don't like Kool Aid.

Regarding Linked In - that's a good point. If a potential client sees that I am connected in a business manner with their competitors, that could have negative consequences. However I look at some of my contacts and see that they are connected with their own competition. This is because in the business world, people tend to jump around a lot. As long as clients know this, I think it is ok. And you should not be worried about guilt by association. If one of your contacts is connected to the competitor of a client, but you are not directly connected with that competitor, that too should be ok. You can judge a man by the company he keeps, but not by the company his company keeps.

Interesting conversation. I will be interested to see the other responses.

Mike Cohen

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Todd TerryRe: Somebody explain this to me
by on Nov 9, 2010 at 5:01:12 pm

I think Mike just wrote the screenplay for The Social Network II.

(and a pretty good one, at that)

Better get that WGA registration in!


Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.

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Mark SuszkoRe: Somebody explain this to me
by on Nov 9, 2010 at 6:46:09 pm

Mike, congratulations on the best post of the week, month, and possibly year on the COW. Instant magazine article too.

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Jonathan ZieglerRe: Somebody explain this to me
by on Nov 9, 2010 at 6:56:47 pm

Yowza, Mike! You must have tons of experience at this! Now I know why all these little social media companies are popping up. They're making order from the chaos. Or they're trying. Reminds me of all the similar text, email, web, SEO, and (insert any form of electronic communication here) marketing companies.

I think when someone comes up with a simple, versatile, scalable, portable social networking tool, we'll really have something. In other words, you can have your "page" composed of just updates like twitter or something more MySpace-esque or Facebook-y, but individuals can see only what they want to see and people or companies can show you what they want you to see. Then, link it all in with cell phones, other social media sites, email, websites, blogs, TV, Radio, etc., etc. Make it free to any user and make it "upgradeable" for a small monthly fee (like $9.99) and you have a viable business model. Now, to find investors... ;)

Jonathan Ziegler

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Jonathan ZieglerRe: Somebody explain this to me
by on Nov 9, 2010 at 5:04:46 pm

I've always thought the usefulness of social media for business was in connecting and remaining connected to customers, fans, clients, etc. Don't share that list. It's yours. Companies spend tons of money each year generating a list of people they can advertise to.

Rather than friending your customers, use a company page and invite others to be fans (like FB). Still don't like it? Use your social media to drive people to your site, then have a newsletter link on your site which you will use to gather the names and addresses of people you will later send a newsletter to.

Here's what I've seen: social media is great for making a buzz about you, your products, services, whatever. Facebook is good for connecting to people and possible customers. Twitter is good for letting people know about your latest whatever. LinkedIn is good for connecting to potential clients via former clients.

All social media is a sort of abstraction layer for interpersonal communication - like the phone, email, or internet chat, et al. In other words, you are replacing direct, person-to-person talking with an abstraction (a representation of communication). People get to hide in plain sight. This allows a company (a collection of many people and efforts working for someone or many someones) to behave as an individual with a single voice. That voice needs to remain consistent to be coherent. That means you have to be coherent.

People will see your connections. Yep. Most social media sites are for individuals with business as an afterthought. Those connections and the sheer volume are a badge of honor. I have friends who don't like each other at all, but they like me. They connect to me, but not to each other. I'm also connected to a lot of companies. I've never had a company refuse to do business because I've done business with a competitor. Actually, the very fact that they know I've done business with a competitor tells them I already know their industry and they are happy to do business with me!

Finally, if you are tentative, it will show. You'll be a newbie. Newbies always over or under do it. That's fine. There's a learning curve. Tell people you are testing the waters. When you have a feel for it, you'll be fine.

Jonathan Ziegler

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Scott SheriffRe: Somebody explain this to me
by on Nov 9, 2010 at 7:03:50 pm

" Have I not just provided the aforementioned clients and prospects with contact information and a direct path to many people who do what I do?

This is why I've done very little in the way of LinkedIn, Plaxo, and so on. I'm relatively secure that we provide a good value and that sound relationships are the foundation that means the most with clients. But I don't need to provide the introduction of my clients to my competitors nor of my competitors to my clients.

Please tell me how this idea is in error.

Honestly, it doesn't sound like your that secure at all. If one of your biggest concerns about social media is that others might use it to poach your clients, I think your talking about a symptom, and not the disease. If your clients think you offer a good value and quality, why would they switch? Because someone else comes along that offers better quality for the same money, or same quality for less money? Well, if this happens then you have to examine your prices and services and see why your no longer competitive. Hiding your clients won't work.

Other people dislike SM because they think it is a waste of time. And for some people, it can be, because it becomes a distraction. Back in the early '90's, I remember people talking about email as a geeky, time waster, and not having any potential, or asking what it was. But in 2010, can you imagine telling a client you don't have an email account? For the average small business it doesn't take more than a few minutes to check it, and post something, much like email. And for FB, there are a bunch of tweaks you can make to limit the background noise caused by those that feel the need to post mundane life details, without having to unfriend them. And of course you have control over those you follow, and your followers so it's pretty easy to control your experience, and customize it to your taste. One downside to SM is if your a 'loose cannon' type of person, you may run off more business than you gain, unless you rein it in, and keep your posts strictly business.

So why have a Twitter/FB/Linkedin/YT? Here are some reasons.

1. It is free. Of course, you get what you pay for, but since it is a free way to promote your business, why not use it.

2. It is expected. If your in the media/technology/promotion worlds, and you don't have at least some basic SM presence, potential customers, and current ones may think your some kind of Luddite. Pretty soon it will be like not having a cell phone, or email. So when one of those poachers comes along and has all this SM experience, and you don't...

3. One stop shopping. Despite what others have said here, the Cows is not 'the end all, be all' for information on whats going on in production. A lot of info on new plugins, freebies, updates to avoid, updates to get, gigs, user group meetings, and things of that nature often get to me first on SM. And that is an easy way for me to pass on this type of info to my colleagues.

4. A great place to look for new clients. Companies that use SM make it easier to access them, which in turn makes it easier to get in the door. I have also see businesses use SM to solicit bids, post job openings, announce expansions, and even express dissatisfaction with current vendors.

5. Quick access to info about your company. Sure you have a web site, but often people don't have time to plow through it, or your web addy isn't very intuitive. If you meet a potential new client in a casual setting, it's pretty easy and simple to steer them to your FB or Linkedin without seeming too pushy.

6. Customers with a SM presence may need you to interact, or provide content for it. It is good to understand how it works, and appear you are knowledgeable in this area. See #2 above.

Scott Sheriff
SST Digital Media

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Nick GriffinRe: Somebody explain this to me
by on Nov 9, 2010 at 7:44:05 pm

It's not a matter of insecurity, it's a case of not wanting to have other people's pricing used to beat down what I charge. Good clients are at two opposite ends of the spectrum: those who know exactly what they're getting and what it should cost and those who know very little and trust that we'll provide a good end product at a fair price. It's the ones in the middle, with a little bit of knowledge, that are making me crazy.

[Scott Sheriff] "Because someone else comes along that offers better quality for the same money, or same quality for less money? Well, if this happens then you have to examine your prices and services and see why your no longer competitive."


A "video" is not the same as a "production shot with video equipment."

Too many people these days are so blinded by a low price that they simply stop there and never see the difference between apples and oranges. In the industrial field we keep hearing that video is the future... every sales brochure, every magazine article, every everything should have a video link attached to it. And then we see the homemade crap that 95% of the companies are putting out there as their "video." Makes me want to scream.

Anyway, I'm rambling. It's probably because my head is still spinning from Mike's screenplay. When are he a Suszko going to release a book?

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Jonathan ZieglerRe: Somebody explain this to me
by on Nov 9, 2010 at 8:42:33 pm

Whoa! This sounds like a larger video market issue and not so much a social marketing issue.

Every single creative endeavor for the last 15 years has been slowly getting more and more computerized. Photoshop. Illustrator. Final Cut. Flash. After Effects. This list goes on and on. It's not stopping any time soon, either.

Do you think Mercedes worries when Kia comes out with a competing car? Mercedes markets themselves as a high-end, luxury automobile with drool-worthy features and specs. Kia markets to lower- to middle-class families who need an affordable car without all the drool. Yeah, they're in the same business, but nobody would claim they are only separated by price. There is a virtual cavern of difference between the 2.

The same applies to you: if your market is "everyone" you will go broke trying to market. Find a niche and market to that niche. If you're even remotely serious about competing with a kid with hacked software, make them compete on your field - don't compete on theirs. You'll go broke trying to compete on their territory and they'll quickly show their true colors on yours. Your experience will win out.

Social media is just another advertising, marketing, and promotional platform. That's it. It's there if you want it. Use it or don't. Not everyone puts ads in newspapers, or TV spots, or does email or SM or whatever.

People buy all kinds of things for dozens of reasons. Quality, experience, relevance, scarcity, conspicuous consumption, and, even, price. If "price" is the only thing your clients are looking at, don't bother with the rest. You can be the cheapest. What you need to do is convince your customers why you are better. It's not price, right? You have much better equipment than a $1k camcorder, right? do your customers know that? Do they know why you are more expensive than Kid with Camcorder? Your job is to sell them on why you are better. Don't bring price into it. If they say so-and-so has better prices, have a 10-item list for why you're better and price ain't it. Value? Quality? Are you quick? Do you offer perks the other guys don't? You charge $5000! I can get it for $500! Yeah, but can they offer you a script written by award-winning writer so-and-so or a slew of Addy Awards or a customer list a mile long? Probably not. If they insist they want you for $500, use my favorite word, "no" and walk away. If they really want you, show them the numbers - yep, detail exactly where the money goes. Make it clear that the line that says "profit" is non-negotiable - you aren't in business to give away freebies and sympathy work, are you? I'm pretty sure neither are they.

One last thing: a person selling a video for $500 isn't going to do that for very long. I had a friend want to make a series of affordable real estate videos. Wanted to charge something like $79 each - go to their house, shoot video, take to the office, edit, final, etc. Now, including drive time, shoot time, and edit time, I'm in for 5-6 hours. He wants to pay me $20. I laughed in his face. I told him minimum wage was higher and forget about it. Needless to say, he had never run the numbers. Even if he had done it all himself and got a slew of clients, the business wouldn't survive. What about car, gas, equipment and supplies, paying someone to do the work, etc. His costs may work, but he'll be very, very busy and will eventually tire of charging so little and the business will fail. My point is if you can show people you are a Mercedes, you don't have to worry about Kia. Compete for the big money, NOT the small money.

Jonathan Ziegler

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Nick GriffinRe: Somebody explain this to me
by on Nov 9, 2010 at 8:55:10 pm

[Jonathan Ziegler] "Compete for the big money, NOT the small money."

All well and good, Jonathan. Problem is that way too many of the people who used to be "big money" are now trying to squeeze pennies and isn't a video a video? I'm tired of having other people's prices used to bludgeon me. It seems like in the past year only about 1 in 5 who went the cheap or do it yourself way have come back, realizing the huge difference.

As I said earlier, all of this has been discussed here many times over.

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Scott SheriffRe: Somebody explain this to me
by on Nov 9, 2010 at 9:42:47 pm

"We've had this conversation.... I'm tired of hearing "$5,000 for a short video??? I can get a video for $500."

I feel your pain.
But the reality is there isn't a way to stop this.
It doesn't matter if you shun SM, or hide your client list in a timelock vault. I doesn't matter, because business isn't done in a vacuum. Someone, somewhere is talking to your client, or thinking about it, in hopes of getting work. And when client X says "I already have someone", they are lured in with the promise of more for less. Revenues are down, sales are down, the viewing public has been conditioned to accept lower and lower production values. The market is diluted with 'editors' and 'DP's', that are looking for work. It's a perfect storm.
The consumer is feeling the money crunch, and is embracing 'store brands' and generics, and in a way the people writing the checks are doing the same. They get a product thats 'almost as good' (at least in their eyes) for a lot less money. This is probably due to the fact that for most clients, video is secondary to their actual product. In other words, they are not in the video business.
I know there are those on the forum that are charging top dollar, and so busy they are turning away work. And most of their clients are in the film/video business. But I wouldn't consider this to be the norm, and even those clients that currently have money to burn are not immune to budget cuts, financial problems, or even management changes that result in cost cutting, or vendor changes.
How many big post houses that had the 'best of the best', in terms of clients, gear and people, that threw huge parties, had lavish offices, had a lobby full of awards, and now they are nothing more than distant memories.
They were done in by others that came along and were willing to do more for less, and they were not.

Scott Sheriff
SST Digital Media

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Mike CohenRe: Somebody explain this to me
by on Nov 9, 2010 at 7:46:03 pm

If you don't have a website (believe it or not) a Facebook page is a quick way to get a web presence. Let's think about perhaps the most local, smallest business you can - someone who makes jewelry at home, mostly as a hobby. This person meets people who say "My, that's a swell looking set of earrings. The missus would sure love a pair of those" - well if you don't have a website instantly made, you can either give them your email address, or create a quick facebook page.

Now you have a place people can go to see your latest wares. And in the case of something like jewelry, others may be interested too, and suddenly you have licked the first problem - attracting people to your page.

Translate this into our business - media production and/or a business like mine which not only offers media production but also books, DVDs and other turnkey services. If I get a few nurses and a few doctors to like my company page, chances are high that each of these people has some friends who are also nurses and doctors. So using the linked in paradigm - you have the potential to be connected to hundreds or even thousands of people - first you have to connect to a handful and hope it grows from there.

Take my Facebook page. It started out with a few friends, but now we have some fans I do not know offline. It might catch on after all!

Take my wife's aforementioned jewelry page. It has only existed for 1 week, but she has at least one person liking it that we don't know!/pages/JewelryByRachael/124647390925444

A buddy of mine self published a Kindle book. He started with links from his own FB page, but then started a fan page for it, also linking to the book's own website/blog. You can learn a lot about using Social Networking to promote a business by studying the marketing efforts of someone who has done it already!/pages/School-of-the-Ages-series/137734516263614

Anyway, sorry for the shameless self promotion, but this is a discussion about social networking!

Mike Cohen

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Tim WilsonRe: Somebody explain this to me
by on Nov 9, 2010 at 8:03:01 pm

Kids, kids, kids - we featured this story in Creative COW Magazine quite a while ago, and featured it as the lead story in our newsletter JUST LAST WEEK.

It was written by Richard Harrington, who runs a company doing local work in Washington DC, with a dozen or so employees. He has very specific suggestions - some of which have been covered here already, some not.

Take a look at "Social Media: Is it Real?" right here. The short answer is yes, if you do it right. Otherwise it can actually SUBTRACT from your business by wasting your time.

Don't hesitate to ask him your questions there. He is truly one of the world experts in social media for traditional media companies.

Among the suggestions he points out that I KNOW some of you aren't taking advantage of: the services listings at, and where applicable, tying it to a reel posted at Because of the relevance of the COW's traffic to your business, we regularly see placement for our service listings even higher than some folks own corporate listings. You are doing yourselves a deep, deep disservice if this isn't part of your online profile.

You are also doing yourselves a disservice if you don't read Creative COW Magazine, and keep at least one eye cocked toward the newsletters. We spend a lot of time reading forums like these, and coming up with the best possible information for people all across the COW, and beyond.

Sorry for the scolding, but we're doing everything we can to make it easy for you.

Tim Wilson
Associate Publisher, Editor-in-Chief
Creative COW Magazine

My Blog: "Is this thing on? Oh it's on!"

Don't forget to rate your favorite posts!

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Mark SuszkoRe: Somebody explain this to me
by on Nov 9, 2010 at 10:37:42 pm

I was going to Mention Richard's article, truly, I was, but I felt this thread had merit on it's own, and Mike's funny and pithy post would make a worthy bookend to Harrington's piece, IMO.

I'm probably the last person to listen to, regarding Facebook: soon after I joined it, ( under duress, to be in the loop for an expected funeral planning session that thankfully didn't happen) I decided to close "friend" membership on my fb page to less than 15 of my closest family members, and a couple of college friends and that is IT. Every month I have to tell somebody that I'm not taking any more "friends", but they can still message me any time they want to reach out. I decided I had too much online cruft to sort already; it was taking too much of my time.

I also never participate in any of the games, or other thinly-disguised attempts to data-mine my life for marketing purposes, that Facebook is always rolling out. I don't care about your fake mafia farm or whatever. I am an antisocial media kind of guy, I guess;-)

Obviously, I'm talking there from the standpoint of an individual consumer type person, and not a business. I still think that a Facebook page is of more use when built around a specific project, than around the business itself. Making a facebook page, for example, just for an indie movie you're producing/shooting is a great way to generate a following and marketing buzz, and to leverage assets for promotion, fundraising, etc... And yes, yuo can ptu hoks into that from your main online presence, where appropriate.

But I'd rather not do those things at all, than do them poorly. If I'm going to do one, it will be well thought-out first, and have a purpose beyond a mere vanity project.

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Ronald LindeboomRe: Somebody explain this to me
by on Nov 9, 2010 at 11:33:11 pm

[Mark Suszko] "Mike's funny and pithy post would make a worthy bookend to Harrington's piece, IMO."

I was thinking the exact same thing, Mark.

When I grow up, I wanna be just like Mike Cohen.

Best regards,

Ronald Lindeboom
CEO, Creative COW LLC
Publisher, Creative COW Magazine

Creativity is a process wherein the student and the teacher are located in the same individual.

"Incompetence has never prevented me from plunging in with enthusiasm."
- Woody Allen

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Mike CohenRe: Somebody explain this to me
by on Nov 9, 2010 at 11:29:22 pm

[Tim Wilson] "Take a look at "Social Media: Is it Real?" right here."

This is what is cool about Creative COW. We can be having a conversation (aka, a thread) about a topic and KAZAAM! There is a link to an article elsewhere on the site about this exact topic. I just re-read Richard's article and he has some great pieces of advice.

Can Facebook help business? It can, and it probably can't hurt.
Can Twitter help business? Maybe.
How about Creative COW? Judging by the top results if you google "surgical video" it can definitely help. I get leads all the time!

Richard's point I like best is that it's not how many people you know - it's the quality of the people you know - Quantity vs Quality. Better for me to be linked to 1 surgeon than 10 soccer moms and a plumber.

You should also check out Richard's Photoshop tutorials - I learn new things from his posts all the time.

I think there is some great information in this thread also. Not sure we have answered Nick's original question, but we are definitely having a good dialogue.

Mike Cohen

Medical Education / Multimedia Producer

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Ronald LindeboomRe: Somebody explain this to me
by on Nov 9, 2010 at 11:37:37 pm

[Mike Cohen] "Better for me to be linked to 1 surgeon than 10 soccer moms and a plumber."

But what about a female plumber who is also a soccer mom and practices surgery occasionally on the side?

You remember the joke, Mike, about the doctor who needed a plumber for a stopped up sink and when he was given the bill, said "$430 for ten minutes work? I'm a doctor and I don't even make that!"

To which the plumber replied with a smile: "Yeah, I didn't make that when I was a doctor, either."

Sorry. I'll go away now.


Best regards,

Ronald Lindeboom
CEO, Creative COW LLC
Publisher, Creative COW Magazine

Creativity is a process wherein the student and the teacher are located in the same individual.

"Incompetence has never prevented me from plunging in with enthusiasm."
- Woody Allen

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Chris BlairRe: Somebody explain this to me
by on Nov 10, 2010 at 3:58:50 am

Scott Sherrif: 1. It is free. Of course, you get what you pay for, but since it is a free way to promote your business, why not use it.

Lots of great posts about this subject (enjoyed Mike's conversation)...but one huge misnomer is that social media is "free" and that it's quick and easy.

It's free from the standpoint that setting up a page doesn't cost money, but in my world, my time is worth a lot. Just in the last 3 years we brought our website in-house, started a blog, started a regular email newsletter, created a YouTube page and have made a concerted effort to regularly contact clients and potential clients through regular email. Those 5 things have added probably 20-25 hours of tasks to my workload per month, sometimes more. Has it been worth it? Yes, but to now add several more hours of work learning, setting up and maintaining a Facebook page just isn't an option...especially since our sales have suffered from the down economy and we sadly had to lay off a long-time employee a couple months back. That increased everyone's workload just a little more.

I think many companies big and small are in the same boat. They'd like to get more into social media, but if you don't make a commitment to it, it's not going to be much good for you...and many people just don't see how they can fit it into an already bloated schedule. That time commitment costs something, be it ignoring another equally important promotional task or taking away some of the time you try to now spend with your family etc.

Like most social media, I think companies need to gauge whether they have something to say. I think websites are social media sites, and certainly blogs are as well. How many times have you visited somebody's website and it be confusing and devoid of basic information or samples of their work?

To me, it makes no sense to spend time setting up a social media site if you don't at least have a decent website. How many times have you seen somebody promote their blog, only to visit the site and see posts about mundane subjects that their own family would be bored by? Again, in my opinion a blog like that does more harm than good because the company or person has nothing of relevance to say. People are savvy and they can see right through a company's attempt to "sell" by jumping on facebook or twitter or blog bandwagon.

I visited one company's blog and was at first impressed by their posts about Wordpress, which I've taken a liking to in the last year. UNTIL I got a few pages in and started seeing the SAME posts buried five pages deep in a category with the same article heading about websites and wordpress along with the names of cities in their region. So this company was taking the knowledge that blogs get highly ranked by search engines and using it to their advantage by posting the SAME article, with the same heading but changing the names of cities and regions in the heading and the article (in about a 200 mile radius of them). Why? because a company in Skokie does a google search for "website design in Skokie" and guess who's blog article comes up? Yep...the guys mentioned above. Is this good use of a blog or is this abuse? I'm not really sure, but my gut reaction is it's abuse...followed by my second reaction of, "I wish I thought of that." Unfortunately, I don't have the moxie to design our blog that way and I just think that's cheating. I figured out what they were doing after 5 minutes on their site and I'm sure other savvy marketing people do too. media is sure a hot topic, but I think it's difficult (if not impossible) to measure its value for small to medium size businesses, especially in monetary terms. If you have the time to devote to it and have something to say, it certainly cannot hurt and likely can help from a purely PR standpoint.

Chris Blair
Magnetic Image, Inc.
Evansville, IN
Read our blog

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Alan SmithRe: Somebody explain this to me
by on Nov 11, 2010 at 8:44:35 pm

Gentlemen, remember where you are. You are on the Largest Social Media network for like minded people on the web. The Cow is a social media network. So, does social media work for your business? YES! The issue is not DOES Social Media work, the issue is are you using the RIGHT network.

Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Twitter, etc are networks that have value and can generate a ROI. But they are not for every business and they don't generate the same return for all users.

Embrace social media! Just make sure your attached to the ones that generate profitable business and returns!

Alan Smith

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Mick HaenslerWhippersnappers
by on Nov 12, 2010 at 1:22:53 pm

You kids with yer danged email and Facebook!!!

Mick Haensler
Higher Ground Media

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Brent DunnRe: Somebody explain this to me
by on Nov 17, 2010 at 5:58:51 pm

You can set up your content to only allow your selected users to be able to read your page and posts. Thus blocking out your competition from spying.

Otherwise, start an email newsletter and send this out weekly, biweekly, etc.

Brent Dunn
Owner / Director / Editor
Video Marketing

Sony EX-1, V1U
Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 7D
Mac Pro Tower, Quad Core,
with Final Cut Studio

HP i7 Quad laptop
Adobe CS-5 Production Suite

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