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My favorite radio shows (May 2015)

10 May 2015

My favorite radio shows (May 2015)Here are my favorite radio shows (as of May 2015), with my BIG favorites at the top, then not in any big order:

  • Tested.com / This is only a test – a few San Francisco geek (one hipster… PLEASE Will, get rid of the beard!) with GREAT experience in the technology world, having worked at computer and game magazines. These guys talk about video games, software, mobile devices, websites, movies, music, live shows, quadcopters, travel, food and just tons of stuff. It’s a long show, but I love every minute of it – even the Apple fanboi stuff!
  • FreakonomicsRadio – An economics view of “The hidden side of everything”. They talk about and break down many interesting things about life and money and interesting stuff, into measurable units to try to understand those things better.
  • Planet Money – Fantastic shows about things related to money and how that stuff affects our lives. A really great show, well produced, interesting topics.
  • StartUp – Former This American Life producer starts his own network, and this show started as a weekly documentary on how he raised money and put together a team. This is now focused on other startup businesses.
  • Adam Savage: Still Untitled – From Tested.com, this is a great show with Adam Savage (from MythBusters) talking about technology, science, model making, movies and props. I love Adam :)
  • Reply All – A show about the internet. Not always well-formatted, but it’s short and usually fun info about popular (or little known) things on the internet.
  • Serial – The super-popular show that brought back the ‘weekly serial radio show’. Season 1 knocked it out of the park with a real-life whodunit murder case.
  • Peculiar Podcast – Seattle. If you’re from (or lived in) Seattle in the 90s, you know who Pat Cashman and Lisa Foster are. This is their new digital radio show. Fun, light and wonderful :)
  • This Week in Google – Leo Laporte’s Google show. Long and pretty good. They know a lot and cover a lot.
  • Here’s the Thing – Really interesting interviews with big names by none other than Alec Baldwin! He interrupts a bit too much, but the show works. At the very least, look for past shows and pick the people you find interested. There’s some great surprises here.
 
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Posted in Blogging, Business, Podcasting, Reviews, Reviews, Technology

 

Hashtag Database

23 Mar 2014

hashtags on products - DaveTavres.comIn 2010 when I first wrote about QR codes, several friends say, ‘nah, they won’t take off’. I’m sure people said the same thing about hashtags. Well, hashtags will soon be included on packaging for major brand products, just like QR codes.

#Hashtags are more than common now and there are dozens of websites that promise to give businesses ‘tracking data’ to determine how popular a tag is – in other words, see just how many people passed along the message that was trying to be conveyed. Facebook and Twitter are obviously the most popular social media outlets to use them, but more and more television stations, individual TV shows, movies and of McDonald's hashtag - DaveTavres.comcourse whatever the internet fad of the moment are using them.

Quick quiz… you write a quick post online about wanting to watch the Olympics. Do you write:
A) “Can’t wait to watch the #Olympics tonight!”
B) “Can’t wait to watch the #SochiOlympics tonight!”
C) “Can’t wait to watch the #2014Olympics tonight!”

Of course the answer is – all are correct – but if you want to ‘correctly’ attribute the tag so that searches will take you to the Olympic organizer’s website, which is the “most” correct?

Here’s another one – what if you’re writing about the bone disease Avascular Necrosis which is often shortened to AVN and you add “#AVN” to the post, but don’t check it before you post it… then find out that AVN is probably far more commonly known as the “Adult Video News” – which runs their own version of the #Oscars for porn. Whoops.

Disney hashtag - DaveTavres.comOne last scenario… you’re working on article about camping and travelling and you sidetrack a little about visiting a nearby rainforest. Your article will be released to a broad distribution newsletter that will also be printed and emailed and posted online. You want to ’correctly’ give reference to an organization that raises funds for “saving the rainforests”. You’re not an expert on rainforests and you didn’t easily find a tag for it… So which tag do you use?

You logically use “#SaveTheRainforests”. Then you find out that an oil conglomerate is using that tag in their advertisements, trying to show how environmental they are – when in fact, they clear cut thousands of acres of rainforests a year but ‘save’ 1% of each forest. You may not want to support that company… but now you are supporting their message. Another “whoops”.

Facebook hashtag - DaveTavres.comSo, where do you find the tag that GreenPeace uses when they talk about saving a rainforest? In this article title “The Great Bear Rainforest Victory” or this one “Protecting forests”? Nope. They don’t have any hashtags there. So what should you use?

A website idea

2014 Volkswagen Game Day Commercial: Wings

Okay… how about a website that lists all the hashtags that a company uses for their various advertising campaigns and brands? On the same site you can search (and watch) that fun commercial where the car guys get their wings… Was the tag #Wings or #VW100000… no, it was just #VW (kind of a missed opportunity).

The revenue model would be purely ad-based. This isn’t likely to be a popular consumer website (but who really knows?) If it caught on, companies could pay for click traffic when someone searches for a specific tag to find the ‘official’ company that started using the tag.

In Closing

As hashtags become more commercial, brands will be using them more. Not just in commercials, but in more printed materials, including product packaging. So why not get a jump on the “hashtag database” now? HashBase.com?

 
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Posted in Blogging, Business, Databases, Marketing, Searching, Technology, Websites

 

Retail businesses and their websites…

10 Feb 2013

Over the years I’ve help a lot of small business owners get their web presence started. One of the biggest mistakes those business owners have been to setup a website with too much of a focus on “timely” content.

Retail businesses with websites - www.DaveTavres.comWhen writing the content for a website, and more specifically a retail business, it’s important to write generically enough that your site doesn’t look old and outdated in a few months. Using phrases like “We’ve been a leader in water filtration and purification for the past 2 years” means that you HAVE to go back and change that one phrase every years – otherwise you’re taking full credit for the time that you’ve been in business. It would be better to say “We’ve been a leader in water filtration and purification since 2008” – see what a difference it makes if you’re reading that as a customer… or potential customer?

Another BIG mistake is insisting on having a blog! I have literally BEGGED clients to NOT do a blog. I explain that a blog REQUIRES active participation and marketing expertise. I show them other business’s blogs that have been updated in 2 years or more. 95% of the time they swear they’ll keep it updated and be active. 99% of the time, they are gung-ho for the first 3 months, then a year goes by with nothing posted. It makes me shudder when I go back to look at those old client sites.

Invariably they realize after a few years that they need to update things and they hire some company for thousands of dollars to do a new web presence – and it usually does NOT include a blog and the writing is done by professionals (who charge A LOT more than I ever did.)

Employee-driven content and blogs - www.DaveTavres.comThese days Facebook would probably suffice for most of those clients as they don’t have much they need to talk about and it’s easy to make changes to hours, directions and get people to connect.

If you’re a small business and you want a good website, first, write good content; second, designate one or two employees to be in charge of the site content and make sure they keep it updated. Your employees have a good idea what your customers talk and ask about every day – why not give them something else to be committed to and be excited about… and if you really want a good blog, let several employees write posts (yes, you can review them before they go live.)

 
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Posted in Blogging, Business, Customer Service, Marketing, Technology, Websites

 

Social marketing and the small business…

02 Apr 2012

CokeIt’s been a good five years since “social marketing” really took off in a big way. Big, no HUGE corporations use it in one way or another. It likely doesn’t help their bottom line, but Coca-Cola, Microsoft, NASA, General Electric and even Yahoo and Google use Facebook. So WHY don’t small businesses who actually NEED the help? The simple answer is: knowledge.

FacebookMost (not all) small business owners are intelligent go-getters who want to succeed in their chosen area of commerce. Those in the retail sector should be the first ones with a Facebook and Twitter accounts, but so many just don’t bother… or, they have the accounts and just don’t use them. As a geek, it’s frustrating to see those entrepreneurs leaving money on the table. If it’s good enough for GE and Coke, why not the local tire shop or tea room? Or for that matter, why not the local artist who sells prints at the weekend sidewalk markets?

TwitterAgain, “knowledge” is the short answer. Most of these businesses either think it’s a fad or that it wouldn’t bring them much business. Twitter claims more than 50 million daily users and Facebook has over 460 million daily users. That’s Million. Each DAY. If it’s a fad, I think it’s doing better than the pet rock. Businesses who aren’t active with their social media are telling customers (and potential customers) that they do business the old way – so don’t expect online coupons or special discount codes via txt message – just go buy from them because they’re there. The money they’re leaving on the table are the potential sales that are being gently reminded that their business is open and wants to serve their customers.

Two minutes - 2 minutesSavvy small business take advantage of discounts, services and offers that save them money. A six-month discount on phone service could save them a few hundred dollars. $25 off coupons at Office Max adds up. So something that is close to free – such as social marketing – should be a no-brainer. These days, just about every business knows that they have to have even a basic website. Yet sooo many small businesses just don’t want to take the time to understand the basics of Facebook. Sure, getting it setup PROPERLY may cost them a few hundred dollars to up front, but maintaining it themselves costs – $0 – the only real cost is a tiny bit of time each week – as little as two minutes. Yes, 2 minutes.

Two minutes by a business owner once a week means logging onto their Facebook page, clicking in the “What’s on your mind” text box and writing just one sentence that is relevant to the product or service they offer. If you’re a tea room you might write “Got in a fresh order of Caramel Rooibos tea today – stop by and have a cup.” If Social marketingyou’re an artist maybe a link to one of your pictures and a note like “I first had the idea for this image in 1991, but didn’t paint it until last year.” What’s the point of this? It’s engaging. It reminds people that you’re there. It’s short and easy to ‘consume’. Potential customers don’t get slaughtered with a 30 second ad, they don’t have to invest more than a few seconds to read it, and sometimes, people actually pay attention! (Then maybe pay for your product.) If they don’t buy this time, maybe next time – or maybe when a friend says “I’m in a mood for mexican food” and the potential customer says “Hey, I just saw the special today at La Sirena Grill is a Blackened Salmon Burrito… mmmm”. They just might stop in… But if that friendly ‘reminder’ isn’t there, what are they chances they end up at your place?

What's on your mind? - DaveTavres.com

Besides just having a Facebook page, it has to have the right name.

A page name that doesn’t look right when a potential ‘marketer’ (fan) tries to mention you in their posts means you won’t get those ‘free’ clicks… or traffic… or marketing. For example. Goodwill’s main Facebook page is called "Goodwill Industries International, Inc.". Most Facebook users are not going to post: "Anyone want to go to Goodwill Industries International, Inc. with me today?" (In fact, it won’t even pop up as a suggestion!). If their page name was just “Goodwill”, they would get much more social engagement… like this: "Anyone want to go to Goodwill with me today?"

I’ve been in the software industry and building websites, setting up Facebook, Twitter and many other social media sites for businesses for years. The ones that embrace it and USE it, sometimes enjoy it and always benefit from it.

 
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Posted in Blogging, Business, Customer Service, Distribution, Email, Marketing, Technology, Websites

 

Facebook feature idea: Check Ins

20 Oct 2011

Facebook Check In to Movies and TV ShowsFacebook has done a good job of letting people “Check In” at businesses with Facebook Places. Aside from seeing if friends are at the same location or even nearby, it’s a great opportunity for businesses to connect with current or potential customers. There is one feature that’s missing though… allowing people to “Check In” to movies and TV shows.

Currently, a person can only check in to a business that has an address or location. The GPS functionality in the phone keeps people from randomly checking in to places that they like – this is a good thing. If someone “likes” a business, they can just click the “Like” button for that business’s Facebook page (or website.) If a person goes hang-gliding, they should be checking in to that business’s location. Or if they go to Starbucks, they should only be checking into that location. However, one area that does not fall into this “business check in” model is movies and TV shows. Hundreds of thousands or millions of people can be watching the exact same movie or TV show, but at different locations. Sure, individuals can check in to a certain movie theater or “Like” a show, but the social aspect of connecting with friends who have also seen the same thing, gets lost.

Back to the Future 2I’m pretty sure that each movie studio / distributor / network has a social media person working for them. (If they don’t, they should!) Through some kind of special access, each studio could setup one Facebook page for a movie or show. When a person watches that movie/show, they could search for the Facebook page and check in to it – wherever they are, not just at once particular location.

This will do a few things: 1) It will let people see what their friends are also watching (or have watched), and 2) it will give the studios/distributors/networks the ability to connect with the people who have seen their production. Individuals who love to talk about movies and shows  can share comments online (or offline) with their friends and others, about anything and everything connected to a movie/show/episode. Businesses would love to get direct feedback about their production in real-time, with the ability to return-market to those individuals.

 
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Posted in Blogging, Hardware, Marketing, Phones, Technology, Websites