Former Shows & Episodes

Social Media: Cheap and Easy

Conrad Hall

Social Media: Cheap and Easy – Facebook Killing Music Sharing, Daily Deal Profits Drop Further, and Google’s Getting Slapped

Facebook is talking about bringing music sharing services such as Spotify, Rhapsody, Rdio, MOG and Deezer onto their site. The idea is to make your profile an entertainment hub. But how much of a hub will it be if it drives these businesses out of business?

Very few online music services are profitable, and they have a model that causes them to lose money every time a free subscriber joins. After all, even “free” music requires a royalty paid to the record companies. Pandora, which had a successful IPO, has yet to make a profit. Martin Scott from Analysys Mason estimates Spotify had a $6 or $7 million dollar profit in 2010, and Rhapsody’s president – Jon Irwin – says they’re just at the break even point.

So even though getting in front of Facebook’s 750 million users seems like a good opportunity, it’s going to put a huge – possibly devastating – strain on their cash flows. Keep in mind that all those new, “free” users cost the services royalties to the record companies. And Facebook has a declared model of taking 30% commissions from their business victims, errr…partners.

My question is: What is Facebook doing to work WITH these services and ensure their success? Or is Facebook simply going to stand by and see which are able to survive?

We lead off today’s show with a Call To Capitalism going out to Facebook.

All the daily deal sites – and the merchants using them – are taking a hit in the pocketbook thanks to a new industry springing up. There are now aftermarket sites for un-used daily deal coupons.

Business owners are already crying “Uncle” under the rapacious terms from daily deal sites. They’re depending on the 20% of daily deal coupons that go un-used – only now the aftermarket sites (such as are making that un-used percentage goes down. And profits are going down for everyone in the process.

Listen now to hear what the winning model is – I’ll give you a hint: It’s an extremely Capitalist approach.

And we wrap up the show with a big dose of irony. Google is getting slapped by AOL, Yahoo and Microsoft.

At the same time that antitrust officials around the world are rallying against Google, they’re standing silent while AOL, Yahoo and Microsoft band together to attack. They’ve decided to sell ads for one another while excluding Google.

I really go to town on this one. Google’s no innocent babe, and I touch on their mistakes, too. But what these other monkeys are doing is exactly what the antitrust officials are after Google for.

Think I’m wrong? Care to start an argument, or leave a comment? Go to to join the conversation. And you can always send an e-mail to

Social Media: Cheap and Easy – Amazon’s New Library, Google’s Review Site and Cable’s Going Mobile

Is capitalism dead?

The stories this week are all about companies that claim to be capitalist. Are they? Or are they just profiteers and opportunists who no longer understand the meaning of capitalism?

In the latest effort to establish an e-book lending library, Amazon is putting forward their plan. It’s different from what Google tried, and definitely different from what a group of research libraries has done (and those libraries are currently being sued by authors).

Will Amazon be successful? The answer lies in whether Amazon chooses to be capitalist and stick with their origins, or abandon capitalism for pure opportunism. When Cornelius Vanderbilt moved from steamships to railroads, there’s no question he did it because it looked profitable. There’s also no question that the basis of the profit was developing a reliable transportation system across land for business owners and passengers.

Vanderbilt used capital (and capitalism) to produce the needed transportation systems, and got wealthy in the process.

Is Amazon pursuing an e-book lending program because they want to help authors spread their ideas, make our live better, and benefit society? Or are they doing it simply to pursue profits – a.k.a. profiteering. (The original name for pirates was profiteers.)

Google has purchased Zagat – the restaurant review site.

This fits with Google’s pursuit of dollars being spent by small business on local advertising. Having a site such as Zagat is one more way for Google to service this “newly discovered” market. But will Google serve, or merely exploit?

The biggest dispute I have with purveyors of space advertising – which is one of the things Google plans to do with Zagat – is that they know nothing about, and often discourage, direct response marketing. For example, the Yellow Pages has attained renown for discouraging business owners from tracking the response rate to their ads.

So what is Google going to do? They’re in an excellent position to create a self-qualifying ascension model for business owners. Those who want to track their return-on-investment can proceed up the ascension model, and those who see no need to track response rates can stay at the bottom. Putting this into place gives Google additional revenue streams at the same time that they actively help local businesses become stronger and more profitable.

This is capitalism.

If all Google does is expand the review categories available through Zagat, then use the additional pages to sell advertising space, then they’re profiteers – plain and simple. Personally, I vote for the capitalist approach and am willing to roll up my sleeves and help. Is Google up for the challenge?

And we wrap up the show this week with a story about cable television going mobile. That’s right, they’re getting in on the mobile market, too. And they’re doing it well.

So far, DirecTV, Dish Network, Comcast, Cablevision, Cox, Verizon FiOS, and AT&T U-verse are all in on the project. It gives current subscribers access to all their TV channels through mobile devices – tablets, smart phones, laptops.

For an industry that’s suffering because viewers are being drawn away by the internet and mobile computing, this is an incredibly well conceived idea. One that the record companies could have profited from, and one that book publishers should pay attention to. (Think Amazon and the explosive growth happening in self-publishing and print-on-demand services.)

The cable companies have been working on this for two years. It shows signs of being capitalist in nature – they have put up the capital, are taking the risk, and expect the payoff to come from regaining lost viewers. Compare that to Amazon wanting to take the existing concept of the lending library – a free, public service – and convert it to a subscription based service so they can increase their profits.

You be the judge. Who are the capitalists and who are the profiteers? Listen to this week’s episode and join the conversation on my blog at

Social Media: Cheap and Easy – Amazon Makes Social Media Better, And Listeners Get Their Questions Answered

When Forrester Research hosted the Customer Experience Forum, they asked Tealeaf to do some research with attendees. They discovered that 87% of attendees believe online customer experience management is more important now than ever before. Yet only half of attendees have implemented strategies for improving that experience or measuring results of the experience.

This week, we look at why every customer experience is important – online and offline. Plus we look at how to make them better.

Our starting point is They have been getting social media right for a long time.

We look at how Amazon’s “closed attitude” toward social media has brought huge benefit to Amazon and their customers. Now that they’re adding more social media elements, it’s worth out time to pay attention to what they’re doing and how. After all, when’s the last time you saw Amazon being raked over the coals for violating privacy or making people angry?

Which brings us to listener questions. There have been so many, we’ve had to sort them out into categories. So this week, we’re looking at questions that relate to giving prospects and customers a good experience.

Russell Taylor asks “How would you go about using LinkedIn to market your product or service?” It’s a common question, and one that can easily take you – and you business – down a dangerous road.

Raffaella Gagliano asks “What social media strategy can I use to promote a cultural event.” She doesn’t say what the event is, so I use Caribana in Toronto as the example. It’s an exciting event that could easily be boring if promoted poorly.

This leads us into a question from Chris Conroy: “How do you produce a video for your company/organization? Do you do it yourself or hire a professional video producer? What are the main considerations?”

Then we wrap up with a question from Dahna Chandler. Dahna asks “Which platform will give us the best reach without a significant learning curve or financial investment?” Dahna and his father want to start a podcast and they’re looking at different podcasting platforms.

To be honest, the question shows a common train of thought among business owners. Dahna has it completely right by looking for a service that easy to get started with. Blog Talk Radio is one of them. You can get started quickly, and keep learning as you go. But the idea of looking for a platform to give you a lot of reach is where we start to go astray.

A platform can be hugely popular and still not give you or me any great reach. That term, “reach,” means being able to get the attention of lots of people. It’s up to you and me to keep that attention once we get it. And that’s what we look at in answering Dahna’s question.

You can let me know when you have questions by sending an e-mail to

Social Media: Cheap and Easy – Customers: Why You Should Separate Them Like Sheep And Cows

Sounds a little brutal, doesn’t it? And yet it regularly proves to be the difference between a business flourishing and perishing.

We know that our customers naturally split into different groups. This week, we look at how that’s happening right now. Almost a quarter of North Americans are NOT on the internet. At the same time, half of all U.S. adults are using social media.

Talk about a split in the marketplace!

And what do you do when 30% of young adults (ages 16-34) get miffed when they see a business marketing itself through social media? So much for all the cow-pattie gurus screaming “use social media or die.” Obviously they’re out of touch with the marketplace.

The New York Times ran a story this week showing how Conde Nast is increasing their use of social media (specifically Twitter and Facebook) for the web versions of W,, Glamour, Self, Teen Vogue and Lucky. And the Pew Research Center released the results of a survey that show 50% of all Americans are using social media.

Yet a quick check at Internet World Stats shows 22% of North Americans are not even using the internet – let alone sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook. And that level of non-use goes up rapidly on other continents. The next most-connected area is Australia – where 40% of Australians are NOT using the internet.

So what’s the deal? How are we supposed to connect with our markets?

The answer is glaringly simple: More than ever, you – the business owner – need to pay attention to your customers.

As much as I think Seth Godin is pretty cool, that fact is that you’re not looking for a herd. You’re looking for flocks. Let the big corporations handle the herds. Local Business must stand out by tending to their flocks, caring for them, and building strong relationships.

When you walk into Wal-Mart, Target or any other big business, you’re just a cow to them. They’re going to make their sale and that’s all they care about. Fatten the cow, kill it, next.

But when a customer walks into your shop, they’re a sheep. You care about them and make sure they’re protected. You shear their wool, make sure they’re happy, and send them out to grow a new coat. And the more you focus on highlighting this very real difference in attitude, the more often your customers return to your shop.

So listen closely, and discover how to communicate with an increasingly segmented marketplace. Then send your questions to

Social Media: Cheap and Easy – Magazines For Social Media, Groupon’s Into Real Estate And Facebook No Longer Leads

It’s a week for big changes in the world of social media.

Jerry Lewis is making his last appearance on the MDA telethon this year. It’s being broadcast for only 6 hours, and is slated for September 4.

It’s the end of an era. One that began the same year I was born. And Jerry Lewis built a social media empire long before Meetup, LinkedIn, or even the internet. Every year, thousands of people took action to support Jerry’s Kids. He started cause marketing before anyone knew what it was. And he raised over $1 Billion in the process.

Farewell, Jerry Lewis. You have made the world a brighter place.

In another direction, Office Depot, Jay Abraham and GSG WorldMedia are launching 4 social media magazines. But are they worth the effort?

These magazines have a claimed subscription value of $197 – except no one has ever subscribed, and they’re giving the magazine away for free! So who’s going to bother paying $200 a year for something they can get free? But look on the bright side – Office Depot now gets to charge more for advertising in these magazines because they’re “custom publications.”

And Groupon is moving into real estate. Crain’s Chicago says the Groupon founders – Brad Keywell and Eric Lefkofsky – are seriously considering the purchase of the Wrigley Building in downtown Chicago. Groupon has also filed papers in Switzerland to open a headquarters for their non-U.S. operations.

So we know daily deals are profitable for Groupon and all their imitators. Just like the new social media magazines will likely be profitable for Office Depot, Jay Abraham and GSG WorldMedia. But is any of this really helping business owners? Is this capitalism – or just opportunism?

You know someone’s not really important when they spend a lot of time telling you how important they are, right? Well, that’s what Facebook has been reduced to.

Chris Cox, VP for Product at Facebook, said “It has to be clear that Facebook is a leader in how people control who sees what.” (New York Times, 23 Aug 2011) Only Facebook is the site that relishes making you jump through their hoops, and keeping control for themselves. And Mark Zuckerberg is the guy who claimed people don’t want online privacy – just before he tightened up on his own online privacy.

So guess what, Facebroke…You’re not the leader when you’re following the example of another company. Google+ added 29 million in one month, and Facebook is now playing catch-up. They had a good opportunity – just like social media magazines and daily deals – but they squandered it by putting their focus on getting rich. It’s Scrooge come to life.

Take a lesson from the real capitalists. The people took enormous risk to build railroads, establish shipping companies, and build cities – these are capitalists. They got rich by doing something that benefited everyone. What we’re seeing today are paltry opportunists who’ll jump ship and move on to the next gold rush as soon as this one goes dry.