Former Shows & Episodes

Social Media: Cheap and Easy

Conrad Hall

Social Media: Cheap and Easy – Google Likes Motorola & Games, The New York Times Claims We’re Too Plugged In, And IBM Says The PC Is Dead

Now that’s quite a week! Google drops 12.5 Billion on a cell phone, a newspaper rants against social media, and IBM declares the end of the PC era.

If you’re Google, what do you say to agreeing to pay 12.5 Billion for a company – and then having to wait while the government decides whether you’re allowed to buy it? And why do they want a cell phone company anyway?

Their answer is slightly different from our answer. They’re looking at it from a business angle, and we look at that. But more important is what it means to us as consumers and business owners. We spend a little more time looking at that.

At the same time, Google is teaming up with Zynga. That’s partly because games are popular in social media, and partly because Google owns part of Zynga.

And while Google adding games to Google+ is interesting, it’s far more interesting to consider the consumer value this places on social media. What do you do when your customers look at Facebook or Google+ as a game center?

The New York Times claims we’re too plugged in. And they might be right, but I don’t think so. They make some good points about the use of blogs and social media sites, but I think a much more important point is one they miss completely.

It’s getting steadily easier to tell whether your customers are online. That’s a boon to any business owner wanting to segment her in-house list. Listen in to find out how you can get it done.

And we wrap up the show on an ironic note – IBM claims the PC era is over.

It’s hard to imagine anyone being quite this wrong about anything, but Mark Dean has managed it. Judging from what we have available to us today, Mark has no idea what personal computing is all about. And that’s aside from the fact that 400 million PCs will be shipped in 2011 alone. Maybe he was just trying to make a splash. (I think he’s just all wet.)

Have a question or comment? Send it We’re happy to hear from you.

Social Media: Cheap and Easy – Groupon, Living Social And Daily Deals – Are They Worth The Effort?

Flat out, there’s no way any business owner can stay in business by giving away 75% of sales through daily deal sites. That’s a model built for bankruptcy.

The unfortunate part is that the daily deal sites – Groupon, Living Social, Google Offers, and others – are positioning themselves in just that way. They have followed the example of the yellow pages. Yikes!

Today we walk through 3 specific steps your business must take when using daily deal offers. They are a good way to generate customer traffic. Holding onto those customers, and getting them back into your store, is entirely determined by the actions you take.

And we keep going from there. Online shopping is up by 14%, so tying into a daily deal program is a smart move. Today we cover two more trends that help you turn those first date, daily deal customers into lasting relationships. Because it’s all about the lifetime value of a customer rather than the one time cost of getting them in the door.

Here’s a phrase to remember: Make A Sale To Get A Customer

Because most businesses are getting customers to make sales, and that’s why most businesses are struggling today. They have to keep bringing new people through the door to keep making sales. It’s time for you to take advantage of the fact that the easiest customer to sell to is one you already have.

Have a question or comment? Send it to me at

Social Media: Cheap and Easy – Google, Facebook and Amazon Are In The Same Business – Plus, USA Today Is Listening To The Show

Imagine picking up a copy of USA Today and seeing them pick up a story you’ve been trumpeting for months. That’s what has happened to me. And it turns out 75% of investment bankers are thinking like me, too!

Kinda gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling to know you’re having an impact. J

This week we also look at what business social media sites are really in. And it isn’t connecting you with friends, old classmates, or helping you find true love. It’s not even helping you build your business.

You’ll be surprised at what they really doing, and why you should be following their example.

The stories this week cover the new dot-com bubble, Google+ pulling 25 million users in a month, and Facebook buying an e-book publisher. They look disconnected, don’t they? But these three stories jumped out at me from all the others that passed across my desk this week.

Listen to this week’s show to see how they all tie together.

And a quick answer for several listeners who wrote in asking where/how the show is recorded. We record in Illinois, and we use a custom recording room in my home. It’s nothing grand or special, just a quiet room and a high-quality microphone. For recording and editing, we use Audacity. It’s a free program, plus it allows the recording to exported in different formats. I learned how to use it in about 3 minutes – literally.

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Social Media: Cheap and Easy – Life After Facebook, Hackers Attach SMBs, and e-Books Outsell Print On Amazon

Facebook is now FaceBroke, although they don’t want you to know it. But what does the rise of such an information storehouse mean for local business owners?

That people are willing to share their information is a boon to every business owner. Big corporations will use it to be more competitive, and local business owners can use that consumer willingness to absolutely dominate their own market; even against the biggest of corporations. We look at how to do that at the top of the show.

Why would a hacker care about your business? Precisely because consumers share their information, and you have it in your records. Fortunately, protecting yourself and your customers is a simple and easy to do. Today we look at a specific example of how a Chicago retailer dropped the ball, and how you can avoid making the same mistakes.

We all knew the day would come when e-books outsell print. Amazon reports that it has finally happened, and a lot of the gurus are moaning and wailing about the demise of bookstores. I say “bushwhah,” and “poppycock.” They don’t know what they’re talking about.

The rise of e-books is the biggest opportunity ever handed to local business owners and especially indie bookstores! This is a technology that lets us take the concepts and actions that made Walt Disney World a global destination and apply them in our local market.

There’s no way you can listen to this week’s show and not have questions or comments. Send them to

Social Media: Cheap and Easy – Borders Closes Forever, eMarketer Drops The Ball and 5 “Proven” Ways to Use Social Media

It’s big news when the second largest bookseller – Borders – gives up and decides to close their doors. Their remaining 399 stores will be gone by the end of September along with 10,700 jobs. And there’s a lesson here for every business owner who thinks exceptional service is enough. It isn’t.

We’ll take a look at how some ordinary businesses can go beyond exceptional service into the realms of experience and relationship.

And a once reliable source for information has definitely bitten the credibility bullet. eMarketer ran two stories – a week apart – that directly contradict each other. Did they think no one would notice? Well, I did. After I paste them across the wall, we’ll take their bonehead reporting and show you how to do good things in your business, and for your customers.

Then there’s Carri Bugbee. A marketing professional who dove into social media and bumped her head.

Her original article claims 7 ways to integrate social media on your site, but 2 of them were so bad I just dropped them completely. Listen to hear what the others are, which ones are good, and which ones you should “run screaming away from.” And we have a little fun in the process.

Think I’m wrong? Want to set me straight and share your two cents worth? Send it to

Social Media: Cheap and Easy – Is Dr. Oz Fudging On Your Privacy? Is Social Media Actually Helping Your Business? Is Google+ Really Worth The Wait?

Your day is already busy, and your schedule is already full. The answers to these questions help you protect your privacy, make use of your time, and build stronger relationships with everyone you meet.

Dr. Oz is the “front guy” for RealAge. A site that purports to give you the latest scientific and medical advice available – all for free. They even tailor the information you receive by asking you to fill in a survey; an incredibly detailed survey. Unfortunately, the companies that sponsor RealAge have something other than your best interests in mind.

Other companies frequently produce articles and reports that showcase a problem, and then show how they solve it. Surveys about how useful and effective social media is for acquiring new customers is no exception. This group of companies is actually bold enough to print “creating a profile on a social network” is the most effective marketing or advertising tactic used by small business owners.

Now, I don’t dispute that this really is the result of the survey. I’m sure it is. I’m also sure they spent a lot of time crafting the survey to get the answers they want. So listen in today and discover how you should really put social media to use for your business. I cover it in 3 easy steps.

And then there’s Google+. We can look forward to this being in the news for quite a while yet.

But does it really have the potential to help your business in ways that other social media sites can’t? The answer is yes. And most of the other commentators, gurus and experts out there are, unfortunately, missing the real value of Google+. Heck, I’ve already run across several who are completely blowing it by dropping everyone into their “Friends” circle. What a waste.

Google is doing you a tremendous favour by keeping a lid on Google+. This is your opportunity to prepare, to get ready for Google+ and blow the doors off your competition when you get in. And I walk through exactly how I’m setting up my Google+ account to do precisely that in my market.

If you have questions, comments, topic suggests – even criticism – send it

Social Media: Cheap and Easy – Amex Partners With Foursquare, MySpace Is (Finally) Sold, Cyberattacks On The Rise, & Google Gets License To Drive

Amex and Foursquare are getting the jump on all the mobile wallet providers. They’ve teamed up to harness the power of social media with credit card spending. The great thing is that you can do exactly the same thing in your business.

News Corp has finally been able to sell MySpace. And they only took a $501 Million dollar loss on the deal. Once the king of the social media sphere, could the fate of MySpace foretell Facebook’s future?

Criminals are committing more and more cyber attacks against small business websites. What can you do to protect your investment? The answer is surprisingly simple.

And Nevada is paving the way for Google, GM, Stanford, Cornell and others to drive their robotic cars. Nevada has passed a bill asking their Department of Motor Vehicles to develop new rules for robot cars. Watch out Will Smith!

Social Media: Cheap and Easy – Google Launches a Facebook Killer, Xaxis Comes To Life, And Social Networking Goes In-House

Google launched Google+ last week, and they’re off to a roaring start. It’s their third swing at the piñata, and they may have found the formula for knocking Facebook off its pedestal.

Google’s first two swings were Wave and Buzz. They both went bust, and it looks like Google has learned from their mistakes. Still in Beta, Google+ has been opened to a fairly large audience of testers (tens of thousands) and looks plenty sweet. It does what Facebook – and every other social media site – should have done from the beginning. It makes social networking useful, relevant and easy to do.

Xaxis is a new service launched by WPP (a large, global advertising firm). Xaxis is modeled after Google’s interest-based advertising. Advertisers choose from over 1,000 interest based categories to be able to target their advertising.

What makes this a big deal is that Xaxis, through WPP, has access to a database of over 500 million profiles; the largest such database in the world.

This puts your privacy – and how to protect it – smack in the middle of the spotlight. Listen to today’s show to know why you should be concerned, and what to do.

And companies of all sizes are bringing social networking in-house. Companies such as SalesForce, Yammer, Cisco Systems and SuccessFactors make it possible for you to have your own, internal social network. Could it be that social media is about to go the way of the CB Radio?

CB Radios were a big deal back in the 1970’s. Smokey and The Bandit (a Burt Reynolds’s film) came out in 1977 and made this handy two-way radio into a pop culture hit. Everyone had a CB in their car, camper and even their living rooms. Today, CB radios are back to being used by truckers, RVers, and park rangers.

With businesses getting serious about using social media wisely, could it be that some of the social media hype will die away? I think so. And I have a pretty good example of what social media is really all about – word of mouth advertising.

Listen to this week’s episode of Social Media: Cheap and Easy. Then tell me what you think at

Social Media: Cheap and Easy – Google Adds Features, Twitter Users Want Answers, and Banks Try Coupons

Groupon and Living Social have interesting competition in the online coupon market. Bill Shrink has teamed up with more than 2,000 banks and is a case study in how to do coupons the right way.

Google has added some cool features to their local and mobile search functions. They make it easier for people to find what they’re looking for, and that means it’s easier for you to get found. Hear how they work today.

And Twitter users want you to talk to them. The question is: What service can you use to find the right questions to answer? Lucky for you, I have an answer to that question. Listen and discover how to sort through the Twitter trash for your business treasure.

All this and a little bit more on this weeks’ show with Conrad Hall, the Social Network Insider.