What We Can Learn From Charlie Sheen

Admit it, you’ve been following the Charlie Sheen debacle.  Even those of us who don’t “do” pop culture have tuned in to see what will happen next.  I’ll admit it — I’ve followed the tiger blood-filled warlock on Twitter “just to see.”Back in December we talked about DecorMyEyes and their founder’s negative publicity campaign.  Charlie Sheen’s recently train wrecked life is, in a way, a bigger, louder version of the same strategy.  So what can we learn from Charlie Sheen? 

Publicity is publicity. When it comes down to it, if what you want is for people to know and remember you, how you draw their attention is irrelevant.  Good or bad, if your publicity is enough to draw the eyes of the world, you’ve accomplished your goal.

Negative publicity is more effective. At least when it comes to getting attention.  I guarantee you that more people know Charlie Sheen now than before his breakdown.  Recently Sandra Bullock has been in the news for donating $1M to recovery efforts around the world.  It’s a beautiful act for which she deserves recognition — and yet, had she been caught in some compromising position, it would be all over every news channel and media source and everyone in the world would know about it.  That’s just the way of the world.  People love to watch train wrecks.  Think about reality TV shows.  People don’t watch Jersey Shore because it’s quality entertainment.  Even with specific regard to social media, when a company accidentally sends out an unprofessional tweet, it’s all over the news — and gains them more followers.

Negative publicity will kill your business. Or will it?  When all this stuff with Charlie Sheen started happening, I thought, “That man will never work again.”  And yet, here he is with a new TV show in the works.  When it came out and was all over the news that Taco Bell uses questionable meat, I thought, “Surely people will stop eating there.”  But no.  As contrary to reason as it may be, it just doesn’t work that way.  Taco Bell is running a damage control campaign to recover from the debacle, and it’s working brilliantly.

But what does any of this have to do with building a business with customers who trust you and believe in your quality product or service?  Maybe it’s a tactic for you to try.  While I wouldn’t recommend it, I’d be interested to see the results.  More likely, though, it’s just good information about the way the world of publicity works!

What do you think — is Charlie Sheen’s train wreck of a life a true breakdown or a brilliant marketing ploy?  Would you ever use negative publicity to garner attention?


The Tragedy In Japan & What’s Really Important

It has been one of those thankfully infrequent weeks where the world completely changes for many people.  The earthquake, tsunami and aftershocks have changed Japan for many years to come, if not forever.  The lives of the Japanese, as well as people living in Japan, and many other people around the world became entirely different in an instant.  And in this historical moment, we’ve been reminded of the true power of social media — connection. 

Google immediately created a Person Finder to help people in Japan (and those with loved ones in Japan) find their loved ones.  Within seconds of the incident, Facebook and Twitter were flooded with status updates relaying news and images, and offering reports of people’s whereabouts and well being.  The social media world became like one giant emergency broadcasting system, making all the important information available instantly and worldwide.

Social media was created for one reason — to connect people.  As it has grown and developed over the last near decade, that purpose has become diluted.  While advances in social media have their own purposes and benefits, it can be valuable to get back to basics and remember what’s really important.  It’s all about people.  That’s true in life, as well as in both business and social media marketing.  Be authentic, and remember that people are people and not numbers.  In that, you will find great success — and it’ll feel good, too.

10 Ways to Interact on Your Social Networks

Interaction is the purpose of social media, right?  It’s the thing we’re all striving to do and do well.  But how do you start?  Here are ten excellent ways to begin interacting on Twitter and Facebook.



1.  Retweet interesting content often. People like it when you retweet their content, and could begin following you as a result.  In addition, you’ll show people you’re engaged in a way beyond simply posting your own content.

2.  Check out your followers and start conversations with them. Find something interesting about them — something they post, something in the bio on their profile page or something on their website — and start a conversation with them publicly.  By conversing with them via a reply (rather than a direct message), you have the added benefit of allowing other people to see you interact.

3.  Find interesting conversations on Twitter and get involved. Use Twitter’s integrated search feature to search for something interesting.  Find a conversation or post and reply to it to get yourself in on the conversation.

4.  Find someone who knows something you want to know, then publicly ask them for advice or information. Again, do this publicly (and not in a direct message) so your interaction is available for the world to see.

5.  Check out trending topics on Twitter.  Find one that relates to your expertise and join the conversation. The more you interact publicly, the better, and if you can showcase your expertise, that’s better still!

6.  Search for people who are talking about problems you can help with and talk to them about it (publicly, of course). So, if your business is anti-aging, search for and find people who are posting about feeling old, for example.  Then, tell them how you can help them — but be sure to make it sound authentic and personal, rather than like an advertisement.

*TIP* Twitter’s default method of replying to someone is to use the @ symbol before their name in your post (for example, @kaboomjohn).  When you reply this way, only people who follow both you and the person you’re talking to will be able to see your conversation.  To get around this, use @ with a . in front of it (for example, .@kaboomjohn).  This will allow everyone to see the conversation.  It’s really important to do this so that anyone who looks at your Twitter profile can see your interactions.

Twitter & Facebook

7.  Organize a contest or giveaway through your social media. Create a contest by offering to give something away for free — your product or service, or someone else’s product or service you like.  Promote your contest through posts before and during the event.  This could be a trivia contest where the first person to answer correctly wins, or a random person from a pool of correct answers wins.  It could be an action contest, where you ask your followers to do something and post a picture of it to you, and then a random person who completed the task wins.  It could also be just a random drawing, so you ask people to reply to you on Twitter or comment on your Facebook page to enter, then you pick a random winner on a published date.

8.  Take a poll. Ask your followers what they think about something.  Do try to make sure you have active and engaged followers before you do this, though, so you won’t end up with an unanswered poll!

9.  Offer customer service through your social media networks. This is both passive and proactive.  Passively, give out your social network info to customers and let them know it’s another way they can reach you for customer service and support, just like email or telephone.  Proactively, use Twitter’s search feature to look for people talking about your product or service.  Talk to them.  When you see someone complaining about or having a problem with your product or service, reply to them proactively (and publicly) and let them know how you can help them resolve it.  This has the big added advantage of helping you manage your brand’s reputation.

10.  Find your current customers and clients on your social media networks and talk to them. While social media networks are great for building your clients, they’re also fantastic for connecting with people with whom you already do business.  Connecting on social media allows customers to feel more involved, and therefore more loyal, to you and your brand.  Let your customers know how to find you on your social media networks — and if you have their email addresses, search for them and start conversations.

Have questions for us or more ideas about how to interact on your social networks?  We want to hear what you have to say!  Sound off in the comments.

Change The Way You Think About Marketing

Social media marketing is not about selling your product or service — it’s about building relationships.  In a world where consumers are constantly bombarded with advertisements, and we’ve all been warned about how many ads online are scams, people tend to look right past obvious social media marketing attempts.  Think about it — if you were to stumble upon a Twitter account where the user tweeted advertisements 20 times a day, would you go out of your way to get those tweets?  Probably not.

Social media users are looking for connection.  After all, that’s the whole point of social media.  Social media users want you to talk to them.  They want you to listen to them.  They want you to tell them interesting things and entertain them.  They want to tell you who they are and offer you their expertise.  They want honest, authentic interaction — and then they want to buy your product or use your service because they know you, they trust you, and they like you.  This leads to an extremely loyal customer base.

Are your social media marketing efforts aligned to this way of thinking?  Is this a new way of thinking about marketing for you?  What are you doing now?  What’s working and what isn’t?  We want to know — sound off in the comments!


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