Roll With The Changes


At the outset, I apologize to the readers of my blog; my updates and posts have been very sporadic lately and I committed to blogging more frequently.While life sometimes throws us curve balls that we don’t see coming,  most likely these pitches allow us the the opportunity to knock one out o the park! That’s a good description of what has been happening in my life and in my business.  Changes that I will explain more completely soon, but opportunities for partnerships and strategic alliances have arisen that otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to embrace; trust me, it’s all good!So, while we may not always expect the changes; we should roll with them and embrace what is going to happen next!  We should Roll With the Changes.Saddle up friends, it is going to be a fun ride!Oh, and if you love classic rock, you know why I used the REO Speedwagon album cover; if not, click on the  link in the picture to listen to the song.As my Twitter brother @VincentHunt would say, et’s GO!

What is a QR code?

Guest Blogger – Phil Tucker, Internet Marketing Strategist & with Tucker Hosting

Welcome Phil Tucker, an Internet Marketing Strategist, to I have known Phil for several years and have the pleasure to speak with him often at local events.  Phil knows the Internet and has been helping businesses harness it’s marketing power for years.  Long before we all hung out on Facebook and Twitter together!If you are curious as to what QR codes are and how they can be beneficial, check out his post below.

Thanks Phil!


What is a QR code?


QR Codes are 2 dimensional barcodes that are easily scanned using any modern mobile phone. This code will then be converted (called “dequrified”) into a piece of (interactive) text and/or link. For instance, you walk around in the city and notice a poster for an event that seems interesting. You take out your mobile phone, scan the QR Code and will instantly get more information and a link to a website where you can book your tickets. You don’t have to type or remember anything and because QR Codes can be very small, this saves a lot of space on the product as well. The QR Code was patented by the Japanese company . Rather than strictly enforcing the patent, they chose to create an international standard with the QR Code and allow anyone to use or generate them without requiring a license or fee. QR Codes can be used to store all sorts of information including website URLs, map locations, contact information, text notes, and product identification. I first starting seeing practical uses of the QR Codes when Google Maps create a promotion in 2009 for business owners by sending them display stickers that say “We’re a favorite place on Google” and offer a QR Code for cell phone users to scan and easily add the business Page Place to their phone. You can see the sticker Google sent to business owners on the front door of one of the Google Places I set up for. What to do with QR Codes? By creating your own QR Codes (called “qurifying”) you can make whatever you want more interactive. Put one on your business card, on flyers for a party or poster to promote your products or services. Or use them to help sorting your books or CD’s, put them on your keys or tools so you know what they are for. Just qurify any text or website url, put the QR Code on a product and make everything you have more interactive!


So, are you ready to start generating your own QR Code yet? The is a Google Code project that creates QR Codes for maps, URLs, calendar events, and more. But I found BeQRious, which is a company is based in New York City & Europe that has a very slick and robust online QR Code Generator: generator is focused on supplying news, information, technical solutions of QR codes. They seem pretty passionate in what we do and evangelize the World in possibilities of use QR Codes. So what will you use QR Codes for?

Phil Tucker is an Internet Marketing Strategist with Tucker Hosting, specializing in local search optimization. Phil Tucker has helped hundreds of companies and individuals “make the web work for them”. Phil Tucker continuously educates himself and his clients on new techniques and trends, much of which he shares on the Small Business Marketing BlogTwitter: @philtucker

Never Underestimate

I posted on Facbook this morning that you never know where a connection can lead.  My dear friend, referral partner and all around incredible soul, Suni Heflin, re-posted and added to my comments.  As you can see from the comment flow below, many people believe in connecting, building relationships with integrity and the power of networking; especially in a smaller community.This got me to thinking; how many times do we underestimate the potential power of a connection.

  • Do we overlook someone due to the way they dress or look?
  • Do we miss a potential connection because we are too wrapped up in our own world?  Or our smart phone?
  • Do we avoid connecting with someone because we didn’t agree with a Tweet or a Post or a Blog Article?
  • Do we realize the potential power of others network?

Every person we meet could be a potential connection, an opportunity to assist or help or a business opportunity.If I hadn’t connected with Suni, I would have missed an incredible friendship and the opportunity to watch her write the next chapter of her life and career!  Stay tuned for more on that!Put yourself out there; in person, and online.  Make a connection; never underestimate where it can lead.Those are my thoughts.  What about you?  How have you seen the power of connections enrich your life?


Social Media Misconceptions


If you are a business owner, I strongly suggest you stop resisting social media as a platform to build relationships,  your brand and to connect with clients!  Just as businesses resisted building and promoting a website, a portion of them are now resisting social media.Why?  Is it because you don’t understand it or you think it’s a fad?  It isn’t a fad. Is it fear of the unknown?  You have more resources available at your fingertips to learn about social media and how it can help your business starting today!  Guess what?  Your competition is already involved with social media and if you can’t be found online today, you are not found period.Before you jump into social media, let’s clear up some misconceptions.Social media is inexpensive, or even FREE! We need to put this misconception to rest once and for all.  Yes, many of the tools and the sites that are involved with social media are free to sign up and use.  Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Friendfeed and others do not charge you to sign up and create an account, but you will discover, that is where the free part ends.It takes time to properly create these profiles and to maintain them.  It takes time to develop and produce content; to refine what is working and what is not. Social media is and should be part of your marketing campaign.  As a business owner you need to make this plan part of your overall business plan.  Some companies spend as little as a few thousand dollars on a social media campaign. Others spend upwards of $50,000 to $100,000 or more.  This is a form of advertising and marketing your company; tools for building your brand.  Treat it as such, budget for it and plan for it.  You didn’t go into business without a business plan (did you) so do not start a social media campaign without a plan.Anyone can build your campaign for you. Well, if you spend any time on Twitter, you will realize that thousands of “experts” on social media are promoting themselves.  You will discover social media “experts” that barely have two-thousand followers; so remember this, there are no experts.  We are all students of social media and it changes so quickly that no one can become an expert.I recall a conversation with a retail store owner about his website.  In an effort to save money, the store owner was having a local high school kid design and launch his site.  I visited his store six months later and the site had just launched;  three months behind schedule.  Approximately one year later, a Google search, with specific parameters included that relate to his business and that should have been keywords for his business, resulted in his site being found….on page three. Was the cost savings worth the amount of lost business to his shop because consumers couldn’t find his site or his store?  Do you go past page one on a Google search?  Hint: consumers typically do not.I use the previous story to highlight the importance of hiring a true professional to build and launch your successful social media campaign. A campaign that is integrated with your marketing efforts as well as your website. You should also interview the person or firm that you decide to choose as a partner! Have they created successful campaigns in the past? Do they integrate video into their campaigns? What does their portfolio look like? Ask for references and specifics of those clients they have worked with successfully.You can make a big splash in short amount of time. Rome wasn’t built in a day and typically your social media campaign will not make a big splash or build a strong or loyal following in a short amount of time.  It can, but those are exceptions to the rule, not the norm. If you are already a star or have a big name in business, then you can make a big splash; if not, it takes slow and steady work. Twitter is great for building a following and driving traffic to your site, your blog, your website.  Use video to acquaint your followers with your company, products, services and staff; but remember it takes time!You can handle a social media campaign internally. Maybe. Most companies rarely employ personnel that are well versed and experienced in social media campaigns.  Even if they have the experience, do they have the time?  What do you pay them to do and how much?  Run the numbers and then hire an experienced person or firm.  Another advantage to using an outside person or firm?  Their contacts and their network. Chances are, it’s larger than yours.  Do you do your own business taxes?  Do you represent your own company in legal matters?  Why would you try to run a social media campaign internally without the right people, with the right experience?People will automatically find you. That misconception reminds me of one of my favorite quotes, Doing a good job around here is like peeing in a dark suit, It makes you feel warm but nobody notices” Jason Bolt. People will not automatically find you, but word of mouth, or spread by the click (mouse) can help!  Using tools like Twitter, StumbleUpon or Digg helps, but your network, combined with traffic driven by the professional you partner with for your campaign, will help the world find you!You can’t measure social media results. Sure you can. Just as you can measure traffic to your website and responses to advertisements in traditional media, you can measure social media results.  Using Google Trends along with other analytics can provide you specific statistics on who is finding you, who is clicking on your links and sites and how well your campaign is working. With the recent changes, you can find out the number of views, clicks, demographic breakdowns and more on your Facebook Fan Pages.Approach a social media campaign just as you would any other aspect of your business; carefully, with planning and the right professionals involved.Those are my thoughts. What say you?

An Insider’s Guide to Social Media Etiquette

Thank you Chris Brogan for this post and for graciously letting me share it with my readers.

I receive a lot of questions about various points of etiquette with regards to social media. I also observe instances where I wish people knew some of the more common etiquette, because they seem like wonderful people, who maybe have made a mistake because they didn’t know better. To that end, I thought I’d give a brief set of ideas around social media etiquette. You’re very welcome to add to these in the comments. There will be a mix of do’s and don’ts, and remember this above all else: you’re doing it wrong.

Social Media Etiquette: Your Appearance

  • Your avatar picture shouldn’t be a logo. We don’t meet logos at parties, do we? You can include a logo, but make it you.
  • Unless you’re a fictional character, more often than not, your avatar should be you. Amazing Simpson-like renditions of you are interesting for about four hours.
  • Your Facebook profile pic can be not you, but it often means that others might not accept your friend request. It feels creepy friending a four year old kid (avatar).
  • Your picture can be you from 10 or 15 years ago, but that first face to face meeting is going to be jarring.
  • It doesn’t take a lot of work to take a decent pic. Why use those “me cut out from posing with someone while I have red eyes” photos?

Social Media Etiquette: Friending

  • You’re not obligated to follow/friend anyone. No matter what. Not even your mother. (I follow my mother, btw).
  • If you decide to unfollow someone, don’t make a big stink and announce why. Just leave.
  • It’s okay to let the competition follow you. It’s okay to follow the competition.
  • Famous people don’t always want to follow back. I’m looking at you, Justin Bieber!
  • You can set your own rules on Facebook. I’m in the process of moving everyone to a fan page and just keeping VERY close family and friends.

Social Media Etiquette: Conversation

  • Commenting about other people’s stuff and promoting other people’s stuff is very nice.
  • Retweeting people’s praise of you comes off as jerky. Just thank them.
  • If you retweet something interesting, always give credit for who found it first.
  • Facebook wall comment streams can get long. Don’t grumble. If you’re along for the ride, it’ll end some day.
  • Promote others more often than you promote yourself. My long-standing measure is 12:1. (If it doesn’t work at first, it’s because maybe you’re not sincere in your promoting of others).
  • Listening is important and commenting is important. Be the #1 commenter on your blog. (See next one)
  • It’s okay to NOT comment back for every single comment you receive. It’s nice when you can respond, but don’t litter the comments with a bunch of “Thanks, Judy.” People know you care, if you’re doing it right.
  • If you are talking about someone in a blog post, link to them. Steve Garfield is a pro at this.
  • If you’re really nice, you’ll think about link text and help them even more by linking to Internet video expert Steve Garfield. Make sense?
  • Links do matter to Google and to the people you care about. When you can, give them a link.

    Social Media Etiquette: Disclosure

    (Note: I’ve written about disclosure before).

    • If you’re writing about a client, add (client) to the tweet/post/update.
    • If you’re selling me something with an affiliate link, disclose that in the tweet/post/update.
    • If there’s a material reason (or perception of such) that you want me to take an action or click a link, tell me.
    • Tell me once in the post, and once again on a disclosure page. I use part of my about page for disclosures. See also: one of my other favorite disclosure pages (for cheekiness).
    • Make sure your audience comfortably knows your motives, and everything goes better.

    Social Media Etiquette: Promoting

    • Promote as if you’re at a cocktail party. It’s not the same as your email blast list.
    • Promote others, and it’s much more likely people will help promote you when it’s your turn.
    • Leave room for retweets. Writing 139 characters won’t get you anywhere.
    • Promoting on Facebook is MUCH nicer on my wall than in my private messages. (Do you agree?)
    • It’s probably okay to promote something 4x a day on a social network, so that you hit all the time zones appropriately. In the last hour, you can always give it a couple more pushes, but that’s about it.
    • Direct messaging people for promotion help is often annoying. It happens much more than you know.
    • Your cause isn’t always our cause. If we don’t want to help, don’t badger.
    • Things where you have to get 1,000 tweets to raise money are litter on Twitter. Things to get 1,000 “likes” on Facebook are fine. (Remember, however, that a “like” gives your demographic data to the thing that you’ve liked, plus permission for that page to message you privately.)

    Social Media Etiquette: Content Production

    • You can post as often as you want on your blog. It’s your blog. Monthly will probably fade from our memory. Weekly could work. Daily is my favorite. Some people post many times a day. It’s up to you.
    • You can tweet as often as you want, but people unfollow “noisy” tweeters (I get unfollowed often).
    • You can update Facebook often, and if you’re running pages, you might want to update 3-4 times a day, I’m starting to observe.
    • Depending on your blog’s purpose, be wary of over-selling. (I ran into this personally.) Make sure you’re still providing great community value.
    • If you find great content from other places, use it only after you understand whether you have permission to do so, and under the terms that the people have set.
    • If you’re linking and sharing someone else’s blog post (which is good to do), it’s also wonderful when you add something to it. Add some commentary. Add a thought or two as to why it matters to your community.
    • If someone’s work inspires your own post, it’s a nice thing to “hat tip” them with a link to the post that inspired you, somewhere in the post (usually down at the bottom).
    • If you go a long time between blog updates, don’t write a “sorry I haven’t written lately” post. No one cares. Just publish something good.

    Social Media Etiquette: Sharing is Caring

  • Every blog I know has a share/like/tweet/stumble button at the bottom or somewhere. They’re there for a reason. If you like the article, pushing those buttons is a “tip jar” for the artist. Push it. It doesn’t take long.
  • If you’re reading in Google Reader, sharing is as simple as “[SHIFT] S” and that goes to everyone who reads your shared items.
  • Tell the blogger when you love something they’ve done. People’s #1 complaint to me when they’re starting out blogging is that they lack any feedback. It’d take you 30 seconds to do, and would change a person’s perspective for a whole day.
  • Comments in Twitter are temporary moments in a stream. Comments on the blog post itself are forever, in the best (and worst) of ways.
  • The web thrives on links and social sharing. The more YOU do to participate, the more people will create material for free for you to enjoy.

    Your Mileage Will Vary

    For every idea above, there’s an exception. For every idea above, there’s a great reason to do the opposite. If you’re doing it differently than above, you’re not wrong. You’re doing it your way. Okay, I lied: you’re doing it wrong.I look forward to your thoughts, disagreements, counter-posts, additional thoughts, sharing, and more.

  • John’s Thoughts

    Chris nails the topic of Social Media Etiquette; and if you think about it, most of what we are talking about here is common sense.  I believe one of the powers of social media is the fact that we can support and promote each other.  It doesn’t take a lot of time, but it does take effort!What are your thoughts?

    Promoting Others More Than Yourself


    How often do you promote yourself?  How often do you promote others?

    Lately, especially on Twitter, but on Facebook as well; self-promotion has not only reached a fever pitch, but I think it’s reached a point that  people are being turned off.

    I see “social media consultants” doing it; and as I shake my head, I also wonder why.  Does this person and others not have a strong enough network to promote  their posts, their tweets and important activities?  Or do they think “this is how social media” is done?  Maybe they don’t believe their network is strong enough. My next question is, wouldn’t their time be better spent building a network and then activating it to promote on their behalf?

    In their book Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation and Earn Trust, Julien Smith and Chris Brogan presented what I believe is a powerful idea: promote others 12 times more than you promote yourself. What a concept…promoting others!

    We all know that promoting others ultimately contributes to our own material getting promoted; but personally that is not why I do it!  Promoting others builds trust in what you have to say, but only if you build your network; and you do this by genuinely working to help others!

    So, if you are seriously interested in helping others, here are some ideas on how to do it properly.  And remember the most important rule: You promote without expecting anything in return.

    1. Spotlight Someone You Believe In: Shine the spotlight on a colleague or business partner through a Facebook post, a genuine Tweet,  your blog or newsletter. If you have many followers or subscribers, it’s as good for the person or brand you’re featuring as landing a cover story. Even if you do not have many followers, it provides them with exposure to your network! The value is that someone in your network could be beneficial to that person!

    2. Face-to-face Conversations: Make a connection or like what someone is doing?  Sit down and talk with them.  Interview them for your blog, or just talk with them about how you can help their business or how they became successful!

    3. Ask the Expert: If you want to tackle a topic you’re not familiar with or have been asked a question you don’t know how to answer, bring in a friend who can answer that question for you on your blog or e-mail newsletter and invite them to promote their services.

    4. Lend a Local (Foursquare) Hand: Become the biggest cheerleader in your community by checking in and writing positive reviews of local restaurants, shops and other businesses you frequent.  Use services such as Foursquare to check in and promote these businesses!

    5. Advance and Retweet: If you can’t think of anything nice to say, spread what someone else is saying by retweeting . Do it the old-fashioned “RT” way so that you can add a few words of praise. Just don’t get carried away, retweeting everything you see. That’s annoying.

    6. Like It: As with retweeting, the “Like” button on Facebook allows you to approve of others’ messages without a second thought.  Spread the love around!

    7. Show Up: Simply stated, there is NO substitute for actually attending someone’s event. Be there for the people you care about. And once you’re there, start tweeting and Facebooking to encourage others to come out. Oh, and bring a friend or two!

    How do you promote others? Share it with us all in the comments.

    Have We Forgotten How To Be In The Moment?

    My friend Rochelle Veturis (@rochelleveturis) inspired me to update and republish this post. In a Twitter conversation, Rochelle mentioned striving for balance in 2010; whether you are striving for balance or harmony as you start a new year, being in the moment should be part of it.If we think back several years ago, being in the moment meant you paid attention to your surroundings; you gave the surroundings, the person, the place, or the action you were involved with your full attention. Do we do that now? I think in a lot of instances, we do not. We cannot drink a cup of coffee, walk down the street or have a conversation without an electronic device in our hand, diluting the ambiance.  There is even an app available for the iPhone that let’s  you type on the screen, while activating the camera so that you can see what is in front of you while you walk.  Some people would say that I need this application…A friend occasionally reminds me to be in the moment; its good advice because we are more connected now with more opportuniites to be distracted. With Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Email, Internet access on our phone and YouTube videos in the palm of our hand, it is easy to forget about what else is around us.When was the last time you hiked in the mountains with the cell phone turned off? When was the last time you stretched out on the beach with a book, and left the laptop in the hotel room? Maybe take a cruise without the international plan on your smarthone?  When was the last time you just paused, took a break and looked at what was around you?  These moments pass by us, and we can never recapture them; once they are gone, they are gone forever.How can you Be In The Moment? Here are some ideas:1. Take notice of the world around you. No matter what you are doing, take notice of the beauty that is around you. It could be something minor, but take time to notice it.2. Focus on whatever you are doing. Stop multi-tasking and focus on what you are working on right now. Enjoy it, focus on it, live in the moment.3. When you eat, just eat. Enjoy a meal without Twittering, checking email or talking on your cell phone/working on your laptop. If you are enjoying a meal with someone, they should be the most important person on the planet at that point in time.4. Be still and listen. Turn off the electronic devices, the music and other noise makers, you will amazed at what you will hear and how it can refocus you.5. Practice. Like any life skill that you want to improve, it takes practice.6. Use resources to make your more efficient; schedule tasks, employ the services of a Virtual Assistant, plan to work and plan to relax.So are you practicing being in the moment? Like me, can you stand some improvement? Does Social & Digital Media make it harder for you to be in the moment? Let me know what you think!

    Our First Roanoke Meetup 2.0 Was A Success!

    Our first Roanoke Meetup 2.0 happened last week and we are proclaiming it a success! Nine professionals came together to discuss Digital & Social Media and how we use it. Participants at our first Meetup included Digital & Social Media veterans as well as newbie’s, but we all learned from each other and started developing lasting relationships.Here is a photo from our event, I am the handsome guy in the striped shirt with the iPhone in front of him 🙂

    Roanoke Meetup 2.0

    We truly did have people from all walks of life, including:John Lusher, aka yours truly, Business Development for PNS and President of John Lusher, Digital and Social Media Consultants, @JohnLusher.Patsy Stewart, Marketing and Branding Strategist with Optimized Strategies,@Stewartb2b.Janeson Keeley, Website Consultant with JTKWeb, @JTKWEB_SEO.Betsy Parkins, Marketing and Communications Consultant, @BetsyParkins.Bonnie Cramer, A local Green expert working to improve our community, @bgreen.Suzanne Ashley, an outstanding Roanoke Realtor, @cometoroanoke.Patricia Blevins, Social Media fan, good friend, coffee fanatic, our photographer and Office Executive at Jefferson Surgical Clinic, @patriciablevins.Brian Duvall, CEO at Duvall Consulting, Web Video Production and Internet Marketer, @brianduvall.Mike Hoal, An Independent Software Agent with uFirst, @2bdebtfreenow.We hope you will join us Thursday at 9:00 AM at Famous Anthony’s on Williamson Road in Roanoke, or Friday at 9:00 AM at The Good Cherry in Forest, @thegoodcherry.

    Meetup 2.0

    Social Media is about the relationship, we all know that, but I think too often we keep Social Media online and miss the face-to-face opportunities to connect and to strengthen the relationships.Hear me when I say this: Social Media is about RELATIONSHIPS, both online and offline!In order to help to promote Social Media and more importantly the In Real Life or Face-to-Face aspect of it, we have launched Meetup 2.0. I have been working with Jennifer Mills from Expressions-Lab and Marketing Helper as well as Nannette Saunders, Lynchburg Realtor Extraordinaire on our weekly Social Media meetings, Meetup 2.0.In the Lynchburg area we meet each Friday at 9:00 AM at The Good Cherry in Forest to discuss Social Media and our most recent success involving this media.We are very pleased to announce that beginning Thursday, February 26th, we will have our first Roanoke Meetup 2.0 at Famous Anthony’s on Williamson Road/Brookside. If you love Social Media or just want to learn more about it, please join us on 2/26 at 9:00 AM at Famous Anthony’s!We will meet you there!

    Putting the Social Back In To Social Media

    By this point, most of us know what Social Media is; for those that do not know, here is the Wikipedia definition:Social media are primarily Internet- and mobile-based tools for sharing and discussing information among human beings. The term most often refers to activities that integrate technology, telecommunications and social interaction, and the construction of words, pictures, videos and audio. This interaction, and the manner in which information is presented, depends on the varied perspectives and “building” of shared meaning among communities, as people share their stories and experiences. Businesses also refer to social media as user-generated content (UGC) or consumer-generated media (CGM).Now that we ALL know what Social Media is, let me pose a question; do you work to keep the social in Social Media? As our definition points out, Social Media revolves around technology with words, video and audio; BUT our definition does not address the face-to-face social possibilities of Social Media.Social Media is just like every person that each of us know, it is about the relationship. But I think too often, we keep Social Media online and we miss the face-to-face opportunities. Folks, Social Media is about RELATIONSHIPS both online and offline!In order to help to promote Social Media and more importantly the In Real Life or Face-to-Face aspect of it, we have launched Meetup 2.0. I have been working with Jennifer Mills from Expressions-Lab and Marketing Helper as well as Nannette Saunders, Lynchburg Realtor Extraordinaire on our weekly Social Media meetings. In the Lynchburg area we meet every Friday at 9:00 AM at The Good Cherry in Forest to discuss Social Media and our most recent success in this media.We are very pleased to announce that beginning on Thursday, February 26th, we will have our first Roanoke Meetup 2.0 at Famous Anthony’s on Williamson Road/Brookside. If you love Social Media or just want to learn more about it, please join us on 2/26 at 9:00 AM at Famous Anthony’s!Hope to see you there!