Category: Business

When Its Best to Stay Away from Social Media

broken facebook

Most of us have heard over and over again why it’s important to come up with a social media marketing strategy. For those in the dark I’ll shed some light on the benefits. Not only does it help your SEO efforts, it allows customers to regularly engage with you, introduce your business to their friends, be part of a customer’s web research and makes the web a bigger, happier, friendly place [insert rainbow].

There are however, some real reasons why some businesses should stay the hell away from social media.  One good reason is if you’re insane.

Take the case of Amy’s Baking Company.  If you haven’t heard of this small, failing restaurant in Scottsdale, Arizona get caught up on the Amy’s here  but if you are up to speed you can see why not having a social media presence is probably the worst thing to ever happen to them.  Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m elated to know that there’s a place in Arizona that I should avoid like the plaque but I’m the consumer, not the business owner. If I was the business owner every update I made on Facebook was like shooting myself in the foot. I’ll explain.

Bad Businesses Then and Now

15 years ago if a restaurant was horrible I’d complain at my table and tell my friends to avoid the eatery later on. That would be it! That horrible business may fail or it may scrape regularly getting walk in looking to try something different. But the world is a lot bigger and more connected now.

I hate reality TV so I would have never watched that episode of Kitchen Nightmares. 15 years ago I would have learned about Amy’s by someone at work coming in saying “Stacey, I saw a crazy episode of Kitchen Nightmares, where some chefs went all crazy and Gordon Ramsey just walked out!” My reaction would have been “Oh, man. Sorry I missed it” not actually feeling sorry at all and the conversation would have ended there. But what did happen was I saw a few tweets when I got to my desk about a crazy episode of a reality show but I saw a Twitterstorm on ‘an epic Facebook meltdown’.  Then a coworker would have come in saying:

“Stacey, I saw a crazy episode of Kitchen Nightmares, where some chefs went all crazy and Gordon Ramsey just walked out!”

“Oh, man. Sorry I missed it.”

“Oh, it gets better. Then they go on their Facebook page and start freaking out really bad. Then they start typing in all caps about Yelp and Reddit users calling them shits and they just don’t know good food and it’s all there fault the restaurant is failing and they just don’t stop! It was the most epic meltdown ever. You gotta check it out”

“Wow, really?”

“Yeah, I’ll send you a link

The Differences

Two key things happened in the now conversation.  One is the access to this story through an easy to share link. I get to witness and read this insanity for myself, not just hear an office-friendly version.  Another thing is that the story evolved. This isn’t about a dumb reality show; this is now a full blown social media lesson on how not to behave. In fact the meltdown on Facebook was more newsworthy than the show. If you even type Amy’s Baking you see a SERP full of their ‘Internet meltdown” page titles, not Kitchen Nightmares or Gordon Ramsey. The conversation shifted.

Meltdown search result

Some of the most cringe worthy moments are this:

 

facebook freakout

And this:

facebook freakout

And this:

facebook freakout

There are so many and I can’t share them all.  To make matters worse there are Youtube videos with show snippets so people who don’t watch this show, like me, are all too tempted to see it in action.

With so many trolls, so many people willing to make memes and negatively review Amy’s Baking Company they should have stopped while they could but instead of walking away they just keep fueling the fire, writing weirder and crazier things, spreading the negative sentiment all over the web until the Amy’s Baking Company decided to ‘temporarily’ close. All of this happened in a few days.

The point of social media marketing is to be social so if you’re certifiable please do your business a favor and outsource the marketing to a professional.  Or just stay off of the web completely and hope your business has great foot traffic.

Why Should I Buy Your App?

A Stingy Person’s Excuses for Not Buying Your App (and How to Get Around Them)

premium mobile apps

I was talking to a developer about a mobile app he’s building and as our talk progressed he said:  “Let me ask you a question: You’re a pretty stingy person, what makes you buy an app?” After my initial laugh I thought, “Well, yes, I am stingy and I don’t buy apps… not often anyway”.  We finished our conversation but his question stuck with me, and not just because of the rudeness. I have a lot of apps on my phone but I seldom buy so I studied my screen to really think about why I bought the apps I did, and why I didn’t buy the others.

Necessity

useless lighter mobile app

How important are the features on this app? Could I get the same features for free? If the app is a low priority or not unique (like a card game) I’m gonna pay for it. I mean, why should I? I’m just gonna play it waiting on a line or sitting on the train. I could just flip through my pictures for free.

Note: I paid for Tetris. I downloaded the free version and got locked out after 3 games. I’ve loved Tetris when I was young so when I remembered of how fun the game was I couldn’t resist buying it. I now bust a game whenever I start to feel the slightest bit bored. Best game ever.

Price

confirm to buy app

You expect me to pay $0.99 cents? Whoa, slow down, I gotta give this a lot of thought. I mean I may want to toss some change to a bum or make an impulse buy at a gas station. I can’t just spend near dollars all willy nilly! It sounds silly but it’s true and as stingy as I am, I’m not the only one.  The fact is, we the consumer, have been spoiled with free things since the global adoption of the Internet. Free music, free news, free games, then free apps. It’s only recently when newspapers admitted to bleeding money that they decided to charge for their web content and it really angered people. It still kind of surprises me when people were angry about the New York Times paywall, as if we forgot that we use to pay for goods and services. There’s a real disconnect with the value of things on the web.

We feel entitled to free things, so much so that when our free services go down we complain like we bought the servers ourselves. It’s not that a dollar is too much but compared to free it seems kind of steep. In short, as long as the free version is good enough we’ll use it instead of paying you our pocket change.

Note: I upgraded my LastPass account because I wanted the mobile app. Even though the app was free I couldn’t use it until I was a premium member. Because LastPass is so important to me I didn’t even think about the price (more than $0.99) because it’s so great.

Some savvy mobile developers have put free versions of their apps on the market but remove them after a while. The idea is after you’ve done a brand marketing campaign people will search for your app and download the premium one since that’s the only one they can find.

Convenience

tip calculating app

“How is this app going to make my life better/easier?”  That’s what we all think when we’re in an app store. Yes, we get apps because we think it’s going to help us in some way but how is this paid app going to help me. Is it going to sync with some SaaS I use? Is it going to automate processes for me? Will it help me with work? Does it make a me more efficient in some way, shape or form?  If there’s no big benefit or added convenience my stingy behind won’t buy it, period.

Note: I bought a flashlight app. The free ones I kept downloading weren’t bright enough. On one dark, car-fixing night my free app just wasn’t cutting it so I bought one that had really good reviews. It got the job done and I’m happy I got it.

Uniqueness

adobe photoshop app

The law of Supply and Demand is alive and well so having a product that is really special will make people (like me) open up our wallets. There are a lot of games out there but there’s nothing quite like Angry Birds.  There are lots of resource apps out there but if yours is the original/complete version, most user-friendly people who need what you’re offering will pay up.  If you carve a space out in your niche and show people why your app is valuable people will buy it.

 Note: In my previous posts and on my about page I mentioned that I use Linux at home. In our quest for the perfect media server, my husband and I set up XBMC. It was made to be run on an old Xbox, not a tower computer like ours so we used a keyboard and a mouse to navigate the system for a while but when we found a XBMC remote with good reviews we bought it.

People won’t pay for your version of Solitaire because there are hundreds of free versions to choose from. And if your free app is too similar to your premium one you won’t get a sale either.  People will fill up on free samples if you let them, so don’t.

If you want stingy people to buy your app, make it really useful, make it unique, make it easy to use and make the free version (if you build one) very limited so we’re enticed to buy.

Why I Don’t Care About the iPad 4

and Apple Product Events

 

oatmeal apple comic

*disclaimer. I am not an Fanboy..errrr Fangirl. I never have been and I probably never will be. I do have an iPhone and a Macbook which I love but fanboyism is just not for me. If you disagree with anything that I say feel free to leave a comment.  Also, this picture is from The Oatmeal’s awesome comic site. 

I’m not interested in the iPad 4 just like how I wasn’t interested in the iPad 3 or the other iPads. They look kinda cool but they are big iPhones that won’t fit in my bags and I don’t wanna buy a special iPad bag just to carry it around. For what the iPad does I could use a Macbook. And when typing I like the tactile sensation of hitting keys so I didn’t get one. I did however get a Kindle Fire.

Why? Because it’s smaller, works really well as an e-reader and it’s cheaper. That’s really it. All my awesome apps are on my iPhone, I can do work on a Macbook, so for me Kindle won the tablet war.

The iPhone Disappointment

The iPhones are boss and I bought the 3G and the 4. When the iPhone 5 was leaked a few months after I got the 4 I was a little bit irritated that I was gonna be tempted to upgrade already. But then I heard the specs and I wasn’t tempted, at all. It’s taller and slimmer, which is nice, but those are trivial improvements to me. I’m not gonna drop my 4 (with no scratches on it!) for a new phone without uber impressive features. Plus my old plugs won’t work either so I’ll be at a loss on this.

ipad 4 mini and iphone

So I didn’t get one.

When some of my friends got theirs they seemed mildly excited about it until they used it.  The new iOS came out just before the 5 was shipped. I read reviews and I found out Google Maps was replaced with the ill-created Apple Maps. After I saw the apple maps tumblr that I decided not to upgrade. Apple’s response to the maps fiasco was ‘sorry, go download Mapquest’. Mapquest is pretty good for directions but their search is just shy of awful so I still don’t have iOS6.

So what’s my point in all of this? Apple seems to be taking great strides to test their loyal customers. They are trickling features out, labeling them “revolutionary” and pricing products high enough to make your wallet cry.  Even as they release new goodies they keep their obsolete products just an expensive as before.

Today’s Presentation

ipad 4 apple comments

This afternoon Apple had one of their famous product events. Everyone was expecting them to talk about the highly anticipated iPad Mini (which is close to Kindle size), but they also introduced a new full sized iPad. The iPad 3 has been out for 6 months and now the iPad 4 is on the way, with what upgrades I have no idea but if it’s the same kinda improvements as the iPhone 4 to the 5 I’ll probably LOL, literally.
ipad 4 commentAnd with all of that said I don’t really care about the iPad 4 just like I didn’t care about its predecessors. It’s an neat product but it’s nothing that I’d consider buying. The iPad Mini does sound great but Kindle has kept me happy so I’m not going anywhere.

ipad 4 anger
When the iPhone came out I was blown away by what Apple did but recently the company makes me wonder if they are just trying to milk fans dry. 


What the CoCo Meant to Oklahoma City

On Monday as I was checking out my Twitter feed to find out the Oklahoma City Coworking Collaborative, a mecca for the Oklahoma tech community, is closing down. For people outside of Oklahoma this may not mean much but for those who were in this community the news was devastating. It’s especially devastating for the reason why it’s shutting down.

There was a press release on their site [that’s been modified because of a gag order placed on them] saying that they were closing because of a lawsuit from a fundraiser months back.

Here’s part of the press release that I snagged before the changes:

text was made bold by me for emphasis

“While the okcCoCo collects coworking fees, it relied on the generous support of community members, user groups, and sponsoring businesses in order to open a new location on Film Row in Downtown Oklahoma City. The campaign raised more than $29,000 through the online website IndieGoGo… The legal dispute between okcCoCo and US Fleet Tracking is over a sponsorship agreement made… US Fleet Tracking demanded the return of the funds even though the return of funds was not required by the terms of the sponsorship agreement. okcCoCo was unable to return any funds because of financial decisions and commitments already made at that late date, which were necessary to secure the new location on Film Row. In spite of multiple attempts at settlement, terms of which included both sponsorship opportunities and repayment of the original sum plus interest, no settlement has been reached.

okcCoCo founders claim that when an offer made by Guy Madison to collocate the okcCoCo with Blueprint for Business at a North Oklahoma City location was declined after review of the location by the okcCoCo membership, US Fleet Tracking demanded the return of the sponsorship funds. okcCoCo was unable to comply or otherwise resolve the situation. US Fleet Tracking filed suit to recover the funds on June 4th, 2012.”

The okcCoCo needed the original fundraiser to stay alive and it got enough publicity that a few people outside of Oklahoma began to pay attention, including best-selling author Neil Gaiman.

neil gaiman supported okccoco

The money was raised by many individuals giving what they could as well as a seemingly generous donation by US Fleet Tracking. I find it ironic that they could give to a fundraiser to save the okcCoCo, only to sue them out of existence, refusing to settle for sponsorship and a full payment of the donation.

What’s even more ironic is that this multi-billion dollar mega company started the venture capital firm Blueprint for Business in Oklahoma City for tech start ups. I can’t comprehend how they can start a project that is suppose to help tech in Oklahoma while killing its hub.

What the CoCo Meant to Me

I lived in Oklahoma City for three and a half years before moving back to New York. As a transplant who was used to big cities, I can tell you that adjusting to life there took some help. Honestly, there were only three places in all of Oklahoma where I felt comfortable: a coffee shop in Edmond, Lake Hefner and the OKCCoCo.

The coworking spot provided a community for entrepreneurs, technophiles and the generally curious. They had regular fundraisers for local charities like the 1-Day Ranch, invited web famous speakers to give talks and tips, held conferences bi-annually that gave people like me a place to congregate.

The CoCo meant a lot to me because it was one of the few cool places in Oklahoma. If it wasn’t for the community I probably wouldn’t be where I am now.  Even though I’m no longer a member, I planned on visiting in the Spring.

What the CoCo Meant to Others

I hit up a couple of people that also spent a lot of time there, to get some of their thoughts on what the CoCo meant to them:

Jason Ormand – @okor

“It was the community more than anything. The CoCo was a place where I made a lot of friends, a place where I made business contacts, where I learned, a place where I created things… somewhere I could relax.  It was a place where I got inspiration…the coco was the hub for everything tech in OKC.”

Joseph Donlevy – @jdonley83

“The coco was a hub for me, a place to go and meet other local technofiles that I would not have otherwise met. Seeing a bigger corporation litigate a small business into the ground is really disheartening.”

Grand Finale

The CoCo started a new fundraiser because of the lawsuit, but this time it’s all about planting trees. The indiegogo page is asking people to “Show your support for downtown Oklahoma City and help us give back to this great city and to the awesome community that supported us for so long.”

You can make a donation here.

If you want to share your thoughts on what the OKCCoCo meant to you, leave a comment below.