Archive for the ‘Google+’ Category

Share and Listen in Social Media

It takes just a few minutes to create a page on Facebook or Google+, but it takes a lot more time and effort to succeed in social media. Once you have your pages set up, how do you engage audiences? What content do you provide?

Let’s say that you are a fledgling pizzeria in Seattle, and you want to drum up more business. Here’s what I would suggest.

Promote – This is a no-brainer. Whet people’s appetites by posting some close-up photos of your pizzas. Get them drooling over your cheesy slices. Or post a fun image of a guy throwing dough into the air.

Ask Questions – People love giving their opinions. Ask questions, such as what’s your favorite pizza topping? Do they like mushrooms, pepperoni or pineapple? What’s your favorite kind of beer? Asking questions is a great way to crowd-source and get ideas for new menu items.

engaging audiences in social mediaListen – The greatest aspect of social media is that it allows you to have conversations and build relationships. Once you post a comment or pose a question, be prepared to listen and respond. People appreciate it when the response is left promptly.

Share Related Stories – Share links to interesting stories that relate to your business. Is there a story about how cheese is made? Is there a story about how to keep fit and eat pizza once in a while?

Share Stories that are Local – If you live in Seattle, talk about the Mariners, Bumbershoot, or how it doesn’t rain nearly as much as everyone thinks it does. You’re not just about pizza, and people will feel more connected to you as a person.

Share Stories about Other Businesses – That’s right, other businesses. Don’t be afraid of driving people to your competition. Your customers can’t live on pizza alone, and they will remember you if you shared a recommendation of your favorite seafood restaurant or ice cream parlor.

Offer Coupons for Loyal Followers – Try offering a coupon–say 10%–for those customers who come in through social media. If you’re skeptical of coupons or can’t afford to give a discount to everyone, start with a service like Foursquare. You can offer a free beer for three check-ins, rewarding your most loyal customers.

All of this takes time. Whatever your role, you are most likely busy with your day-to-day tasks. Share the social media responsibilities if you can. Get more people in your business involved to strengthen your social media presence. Zappos, for example, encourages all of its employees to Tweet. This allows them not only to engage more customers, but to keep its staff more engaged with each other. A team like that leads to better business.


Cool Juggle GIF by Unknown Artist

July 28, 2011 2 comments
juggle gif by Luke Burrage

Cool Juggle.gif by Luke Burrage

I’ve been following Tom Anderson of MySpace fame on Google+ for some weeks now. Today, he made a bit of a gaffe, by posting an image that many said was sexist. He followed up several hours later with an apology, and posted this cool image of a juggler–but didn’t credit the artist.

As Anderson states in his profile, he is “enjoying being retired,” and he appears to be spending much of his time writing about the merits of G+. Anderson isn’t the most followed person on G+ (that honor goes to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg) but he may be one of the most active. He posts multiple times a day, and replies to several hundred comments.

The controversial image was of a busty woman surrounded by two men with nerdy glasses. One man’s shirt bore the letter “G.” The other one had “gle.” (The letters appear to be Photoshopped.) And the woman in the middle showed off her big breasts to put the “oo” in Google.

Was it sexist? Maybe. Tasteless? Perhaps.

I personally wasn’t offended by Anderson’s Google image, and I was delighted by his animated GIF. But I am bothered by the fact that pictures are routinely used in social media without crediting the artists or the source. I realize that many people take images off the Web to add some graphic interest to their blogs, comments or status updates. Some are mindful of copyrights and Creative Commons licenses. But many others seem unfamiliar with these laws and continue to share pictures and re-share them in social media without proper attribution.

As someone who’s worked in traditional journalism, where every picture is credited and paid for, this common practice seems like heresy. I tried to look for the artist behind the Juggle.gif, but only came up with a link to

Artists spend a lot of time making images. Let’s be respectful to them and give credit where it’s due. I asked Anderson who made the two images he used. Let’s see if I get a reply.

Update: I got a reply from Tom Anderson the morning after I posted the above entry. He writes, “I wish I knew whose it was. I credit when I know, but often its very diffcult to find out. The obvious answer is that artists needs to tag their own images. Some do, but others then crop them out. Maybe a good idea for a Google photo search — An image search that reveals the original creator.”

Thanks for your response, Tom! You’ve got a fan here.

Update 10/25/12: Luke Burrage is the artist of the GIF. He’s got a great blog post about the day he went viral.