2014: The Year of Pay to Play in Social Media

As the new year starts to unfold, we see a multitude of articles offering up predictions for the 2014.  From fashion, to music, to the economy and of course, social media. What’s funny about these predictions, is, well they are predictable.  Some of them foretell the death of Facebook (not going to happen) while others predict that Google+ will be the king of social networks this year (Want to know a secret?  Google+ isn’t a social network the way most define it).  So, what do you believe?  What predictions are on the mark and what predictions are just plain silly?  Look at the history or experience of the people making the predictions and use common sense!

With all of that being said, I can confidently state: 2014 will be The Year of Pay to Play in Social Media.

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In December, TechCrunch published an article, Facebook: Brands Will Have to Work Harder (Or Buy Ads) For Your Attention – But Fans Still Matter.  The post highlighted what Facebook finally admitted – and brand managers suspected – organic, or non-paid reach for business pages had been decreasing.  Why?  Mainly because Facebook is not showing that content in the newsfeed.  According to Facebook their Billion plus users are sharing so much content that a business breaking through that noise is unlikely just by sharing content organically.  The solution? Promoted Posts and paying to advertise your page. If you have a business page on Facebook, you have probably noticed your reach decreasing and, if you want to reverse that trend, you will have to pay.

So, on Facebook, it is definitely Pay to Play for businesses. What about the other platforms?  Google+ is testing ads that will show up in their newsfeed, promoted accounts and Tweets have been part of Twitter for years, plus you can pay to monetize your Video’s on YouTube.  In other words, pay to play isn’t new, it’s just becoming more apparent and necessary.

One of the fallacies of social media over the years has been it’s free or low-cost. Thankfully that is not true or I wouldn’t be able to pay my bills. Social media is a tool, or a set of tools just like direct mail, advertising, PR and everything else that you can fit under the umbrella term of marketing. However, it is not free. Never has been. Never will be. Especially now.  Business owners, marketing professionals, social media consultants, et.al, must face the fact that to cut through the clutter of these various social platforms will require advertising. In addition to advertising, it will require a well planned strategy that includes using and utilizing the social platforms that fit into the niche or target demographics of the  business.

Paying to Play on Social Media also highlights the importance of a business optimizing their own website, but more on that later.

No matter what social platform or platforms you decide to hang your business hat on, get ready to pay; in 2014 and beyond. Those are my thoughts; what are yours?  Will you pay to play?

Memorial Day – Thank You

This Memorial Day, just like every Memorial Day since I can remember, I plan to spend some time being thankful.  Thankful for those that have served and sacrificed so much. Thankful for the families, wifes, husbands and children left behind after a soldier made the ultimate sacrifice. Thinking about the parents that opened the door to find a Military Officer and Chaplain standing on the doorstep, and knowing what that meant without a word being spoken. 

Thankful for my dad, George W. Lusher, who served in the Army and Army reserve. Thankful for my Uncle Sam (real name) who served in the Marines. Thankful for the multitude of friends, relatives and complete strangers that faced death, gave their life and sacriiced their past so that I could have a future.

I have posted some Memorial Day photos from various sources on Pinterest:  Thank You To Those That Serve & Sacrifice.

I encourage us all to be thankful today, but do what you want to do. They fought and sacrificed for our freedom so that we can spend this day and ever day doing just that; what we want.

Thank you, God Bless America.

George William Lusher

The Facebook IPO & Free Enterprise

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You haven’t been able to be on social media sites in the past week without seeing news about the upcoming Facebook IPO.  With Over 800 million active users – more than half of whom log in on any given day and interact with over 900 million “objects” (pages, groups, communities, etc.). Over 250 million photos uploaded every day, over 70 languages on the site. The stats go on and on, and anyway you look at them, the numbers are huge.

There is no argument that Facebook is a major player in social media, and the impending IPO could be HUGE financially for those willing to invest in stock in the leading social site.

So, why is this good news as it relates to free enterprise. it is a shinning example of how one individual can create something that becomes a platform used worldwide.  Think about it, Mark Zuckerberg decided to start the site on his own. He didn’t go to his local or federal government for help.  He made the decision to start the company, albeit for reasons not connected to success (check out the movie The Social Network – http://www.thesocialnetwork-movie.com/  for more on that); but that is not the point.  The point is, one individual created what has become the leading social media site with over 800 million active users!  That is amazing by itself; but now thinking abou the company going public and the money that it will generate for Facebook is staggering.  The point is too that he did this in a free market, free enterprise environment that we have here in the United States.  We should all be thankful that it exists and should support it as much as we can.

This also means that Facebook’s perfromance, their profits and losses will be key due to the fact that shareholders will expect results.  It should be interesting to see how that impacts advertising revenue and future changes to Facebook

Good luck to Facebook and it’s investors. Will you be buying stock in Facebook?

 

Want to connect with me?  That is easy, I am always on!  You can Friend me on Facebook, Follow me on Twitter, add me to your Circles on Google+ and connect with me on LinkedIn.

 


 

Infographic: A World Without Wikipedia

In light of this weeks 24 hour blackout against SOPA, we thought it would be a good idea to explore what the world would be like without WIkipedia. Check it out below:

 

Online World Blacked Out<br />Created by: Online University

 

Want to connect with me?  That is easy, I am always on!  You can Friend me on Facebook, Follow me on Twitter, add me to your Circles on Google+ and connect with me on LinkedIn.

 

 

 

Free Wi-Fi: Am I Missing Something?

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Am I missing something with places that should, but don’t offer free wi-fi?  

Recently I have seen an increase in fast food restaurants offering free wi-fi; places like McDonalds and Wendy’s along with the traditional locations such as Starbucks and other coffee shops.  Denny’s Restaurants are now offering it free in some locations and using this as a tool to promote to potential diners.  This trend is going to continue as a method to lure patrons to a specific location over it’s competition. 

So, my question is; why do certain hotels, and hotel chains continue to charge $10.00 or more per day for Internet access at their properties?  I understand that the hospitality industry is doing all it can to keep and increase its profit margin, and that they have lost one of the major revenue sources; charging for phone access int their rooms; but come on!  More people use and travel with smartphones, tablets, and portable devices that use and require an Internet connection; but charging for that access is bound to make some travels search for properties that offer it complimentary.  Build it into the price if you need to, but not a separate charge!

While being worried about $10.00 per day for Internet access, the hospitality industry is about to be turned on it’s ear by AirBnB.com.  A site that offers rooms, homes, rentals and places to stay, directly from the owners of the properties, at reduced rates compared to comparable hotels.

Those are my thoughts; what are yours? 

Want to connect with me?  That is easy, I am always on!  You can Friend me on Facebook, Follow me on Twitter, add me to your Circles on Google+ and connect with me on LinkedIn.

How Missouri’s Teacher Facebook Law Affects Your Business

I was recently contacted by David Mielach, a freelance writer for BusinessNewsDaily.com.  

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David has started writing a daily quick hit article on various topics and was looking for sources on various fields ranging from PR to Marketing; and in turn asked if I would be interested in contributing.  Well, it took me just a couple of milliseconds to say YES!

David contact me this morning about an article he was working on;  How Missouri’s Teacher Facebook Law Affects Your Business. I find it interesting that businesses and schools are still grappling with rules and regulations regarding social media. I understand that they were caught off guard with the popularity of social media, but shouldn’t they have caught up by now by updating their employee policies?   Small businesses, you must address this immediately! 

Read David’s article along with my thoughts here: How Missouri’s Teacher Facebook Law Affects Your Business

What are your thoughts on this topic?  Do businesses have the right to restrict what you do on social media profiles?  Should they?

Want to connect with me?  That is easy, I am always on!  You can Friend me on Facebook, Follow me on Twitter, add me to your Circles on Google+ and connect with me on LinkedIn.

Be BOLD!

When was the last time that you did something bold?  Something completely unexpected and out of your comfort zone?  If it’s been a while, or if you cannot remember the last time you made a bold decision, now is the time to make it happen!I have recently made two bold steps myself, and I can tell you that I have no regrets surrounding either of these actions.  The first bold step I am referring to was my decision to be a full-time, self-employed consultant. I had previously handled marketing duties for a local restoration company in addition to my consulting business, but  now I am all in working for myself.  This has been the second best decision I have ever made.  I do set my own schedule; I am responsible for finding my own clients, booking my own speaking opportunities, and managing my own business.  I love what I do and I wake up every day excited to get started! Can you say that about your career?  If not, maybe it’s time for a bold decision of your own.

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The second bold step is the decision to fire my hair!  You read it correctly, I have fired my hair!  It had been abandoning my head and retreating for years, so I as the owner of the head, I decided to fire it!  The hair gene came from the Lusher side of my family, and let’s just say we are not known for old age and a head full of hair :)  This again, was a great decision for me.  I feel better about myself and my appearance and everyone has accepted the new, bold look.  I have even received compliments on the shape of my head!  That is a new one! I also removed the goatee, so the grey hair is gone from my head.  Bonus:  looking younger!What does firing my hair have to do with business or more specifically the industry in which I work?  Simple: as a small business owner, making the decision to incorporate a social media plan into your business is a bold step.   For many business owners, it requires a leap of faith into a medium they are not familiar with.  But, as with my career move and my hair, taking bold actions can and will be rewarding if you approach it with careful planning and implementation as well as partnering with the right consultant or team.So, how can you be bold today, this week, this month, or this year?  What bold steps can you take?  Let me know, and let me know what you think of my healthy scalp!