FREEDOM OF TWEET

Like many around the world, I was horrified by the latest bout of violence seen in the US over the past few days. Former Illinois congressman Joe Walsh tweeted the following statement just after the sniper attack in Dallas.

"This is now war. Watch out Obama. Watch out black lives matter punks. Real America is coming after you,"

I heard about it on social media and started reading reactionary comments and tweets. The outrage caused by Joe Walsh was everywhere. Considering this came from a former member of congress the tweet was particularly hurtful and offensive. However there was also some that championed the sentiment and fought back against the criticism.

Although social media informed us of Joe’s reaction, it also helped spread Joe’s message. You might argue that there should be some kind of overseeing system put in place that would suppress/mute or block negative, harmful or hateful posts. There are rules about posting depending on what platform you use however I believe ultimately censorship should be kept to a minimum. I believe this because too much censorship kills freedom of expression. The boundaries become a matter of opinion and how do we decide what opinion is the standpoint. Opinions can differ amongst personal friends let alone on a grand level like the twitter community.

Although there have been cases of terrible bullying at the hands of social justice warriors and trolls, there are cases of fun, clever and justified rebukes in the forms of memes and tweets. I posted the picture of Joe Walsh sporting an afro. Much like interesting artwork the interpretation of the image is left up to the person observing the picture. I think the picture promotes the idea that we are all one race despite our ethnic history and the problem that we need to uproot goes deeper than skin colour. I wonder what Joe thinks of it.

Peace and Love

SOCIAL MEDIA AND OUR RESPONSABILITIES

I look at the world around us and I see the evolution of communication. The Smartphone has opened up wonderful ways of connecting in all kinds of ways. Young and old alike, friends and strangers connect, talk, vlog, meme, share and inform each other. All of that is great for the most part but I have a concern that I believe is worth highlighting.

The thirst for great content that entertains us has opened up opportunities for people to use social media platforms as a tool to push their agendas. This is expected, I mean I promote myself through social media and Neon Social has become a business for that very reason. However, I believe we all have a responsibility to understand that there are forces out there that are attempting to manipulate us through our social media dependency.

The internet has exposed us to a free, unregulated market where we can access everything from porn to university courses. As we start to study how we consume content we learn how to create content that taps into the core of what drives the interest of the masses. So I believe this means that politicians’ don’t have to explain their policies from a podium and give us real information when running for office or telling us how the law should change. They are starting to realise, they just need to win our attention with content that is funny, sensational, stupid or emotional. Then we come to our own conclusions about who they are based on content that does not actually deal with parameters by which we should judge them. We don’t have the time to listen to their actual policies because we move onto the next bit of viral content and that’s that.

Obama has done some social media collaborating with Buzzfeed. In this video Obama is literally being funny and trying to get his message across about healthcare. But what else is he telling us? He is saying, hey, I am down to earth, I’m one of you. If you can connect with me on this level then buy into my healthcare deal. The healthcare deal may be an awesome deal but if you make the decision to trust Obama simply on the basis that you like him and his viral video, then they get what they want but you may not have considered all the facts about what Obamacre is all about and if it is truly in your best interests or not.

As individuals, we need to be aware of the real world around us as well as indulging in the fun and entertainment that the digital world has of offer. This statement may seem very obvious but we vote for content every time we click, view, like and comment. All of these interactions weather positive or negative feed into analytical statistics and generally it does not matter if the content is negative or positive it’s just about gaining the most interactions. A million views, argumentative rants in the comments, likes and shares is another way of saying please give us more of this. Guess what, we want more of people?....Well, sexual content, shocking content, radical content and content that generally only really distracts or titillates has a huge market. Not to say awesome informative content is not out there, but as popular as Neil DeGrasse Tyson is, Kim Kardashian simply generates more attention by taking a naked selfie. I have no problem with Kim, but the message I want to get across is that we have a reasonability to be more conscious of what we consume.

We need to be contentious of the fact that politics is getting involved with social media engagement and the best social media savvy politician may not be the person we need when it’s time to make decisions on wars and things that have an impact on society in a powerful way. For a healthy body I need to consume a balanced diet. I love cakes and sweets just like everybody else but if that was all I consumed, I would end up harming myself in the long run. In the same way, as Content creators, we can play our part by thinking carefully about what we post and the big picture effects of what this powerful phenomenon called social media can do to harm us and help us.

Neon Social

WHY YOU NEED TO LISTEN TO DJ KHALED’S KEYS TO SUCCESS

DJ Khaled’s 2016 ascension to superstardom has been both awesome and fascinating to me. The undisputed champion of Snapchat, Dj khaled has become beloved by millions around the world, myself included. He has mastered how to be a celebrity in the social media age, truly giving us the fans an interactive and inclusive experience of all things Dj Khaled and more.

As a hip hop fan, I first got to know Dj Khaled through his affiliation with Fat Joe and the Terror Squad in the early to mid 2000s. He featured in music videos and interviews and I knew him to be a successful Miami based DJ and producer.

I was in Miami in 2008 when a friend of mine showed me a clip on Youtube of Khaled being asked to rate hip-hop albums. He had to separate classics albums from non classic albums. One of the albums he was asked to judge was the classic album Get rich or Die Trying by 50 Cent. Khaled was put in an awkward situation because of his affiliation with Fat Joe and the emerging star of the time Rick Ross. Ross and Joe were in the midst of a hip hop beef with 50 cent and the interviewer wanted to play off this issue. The presenter tried to pin down Khaled to admit that 50’s Get Rich or Die trying album was a true classic. Khaled was clearly uncomfortable and was trying to diplomatically evade. After one or two evasive comments, Khaled took off his sunglasses, looks at the camera and proclaimed with confidence “THESE ARE GUCCI!” He put the shades back on and the pressure from the presenter was ended. It was his way of telling the presenter to shut up and it worked. My friends and I rewound the clip over and over again because to us it was hilarious. But if I am honest, at the time we were laughing at Khaled more that with Khaled.

As Khaled became more successful and popular I became a fan of this music. But I still regarded him as a bit of a joke in terms of his celebrity persona. He would say his catchphrase “We The Best” and he always seem to be saying some semi DJ hype speak, semi promotional and or uplifting speech. Invariably it would be delivered in the same confident way he delivered that “These Are Gucci” line and therefore I would look at him as somewhat of a joker. Little did I know that he would refine this behaviour that I regarded as buffoonery and make it into some of the most popular social media gold we have seen from anyone on the planet.

Sometime between 2015 and 2016 DJ Khaled’s snapchat exploded. His posts were all over the internet and although some found him ridiculous, his following continued to soar. His posts still have a slight air of buffoonery but he has become completely endearing. He won me over with his uplifting and motivational talk. I started to see his journey from nothing to something and realised what he was doing was genius. His work ethic and professionalism is the true driving force behind his comic persona and I went from laughing at him to highly respecting him as a modern day success story.

Social media has become a supreme marketing tool for Khaled to stay relevant, promote his music and get incredible endorsement deals. He is the shining example of how social media can be an awesome tool for your business, brand and public persona. He has shown us some great social media keys to success in that his content does not come across as advertising. He just shares natural and authentic (or at least what comes across as natural and authentic) content that is entertaining.

Before the internet and social media age, we had such limited accesses to stars. In its day, this built up a mystique and formed a separation between the fan and star elevating them to a god like status. I think of the way Michael Jackson had men women and children weeping at his concerts. Huge crowds all over the world congregate just get a glimpse of the king of pop. I am not so sure that way works in this day and age the way it did back then because we consume content in a direct, instant and much more efficient fashion. Rather than build up a secretive mystique, Khaled has let us into his life through the portal of social media and made us realise that he is just like us. He makes us believe that we too can be great, we too can master our craft, spread positivity and become the best version of ourselves.

His new album Major Keys just came out and I saw him on Jimmy Kimmel showing off the cover. Notice the key emoji used instead of the actual word key. As someone who has a business that helps people get the most out of social media I like to take that as a subliminal message. The emoji key is telling us that social media is one of the most important areas you need to utilise to take your business to the next level. It is evolving, improving and growing. As we see the decline of traditional TV programming, advertising and board meeting approved content, the time is now to get on board and make the most of Social Media. #MajorKeyAlert

AD BLOCKERS AND THEIR THREAT TO PUBLISHERS

Publishing is in the midst one the most rapid evolutionary journeys we have ever experienced. Online innovation and business is a crazy concoction that pushes boundaries and gives little concern for tradition or sentimentality. Its goal is to study human behaviour and work out how to monetise. This causes friction because we are discovering that our behaviour does not always line up with the most moral, idealistic or traditional values. In most cases we want more verity, at less cost delivered as fast as possible. Any shortcut that can save us a second of time or improve our user experience will be capitalised on. Enter Ad Blocking services.

For those that don’t know, an ad blocker is some software that is packaged as a service that blocks advertisements popping up or displaying showing on a website. They can be used on your phone, desktop or tablet alike. No doubt about it, they make the user experience better because who like adverts? As a small child I remember my grandfather muting TV during commercial breaks. This is a hobbit that I still use (the principle being basically the same).

The problem with ad blocking is that it cuts out revenue of for publishers. Established publishers face huge challenges keeping up with the younger, cheaper faster ways we consume things. An example of this is that we are beginning to see the death of traditional formats like printed newspapers. We need news, we don’t want to pay for it and we want to know that the news is genuine. However we get this, we know we don’t want adverts and commercials attached.

Social Media plays a huge role in the way we consume content and this includes the kinds of content that traditional publishers would publish. Twitter is now the way millions hear about the latest news headlines. Articles and publications are cut down to bite size chunks allowing us to easily take in whatever we are interested in at our convenience.

Publishers are appealing to people to not use ad blockers, to keep them alive by donating or telling us how bad the world would be without them. But ultimately what can’t stay profitable will not survive. As business man, I believe in letting the free market decide whilst we riding the competitive edge and saying relevant.

When engaging in Social Media, if you don’t make that connection, if you turn your audience off and don’t find success, it all to clear to see in the way people interact with your content. This should keep you constantly trying, testing and evolving on that relevant edge. Be interesting, passionate and try to paint the bigger picture and you will not be one of those that is trying to hold on once everyone else has moved on.

Social Media Marketing to a Captive Audience

More and more, media is consumed at the convenience of the consumer. Gone are the days when you could only watch a TV program at its allotted time in the week. I remember the frustration I felt as a kid being told to switch off the TV because it’s time for dinner. If you missed it, you missed it. Well you could always set the video tape recorder. Now I think about that process and it seems so inconvenient.

Live sports are one of the few popular entertainment mediums that still hold us to an appointed time and marketers know they have a captured audience. This weekend I watched some of the euro 2016 football games and noticed how hashtags were used in the bill board advertising around the pitch and pundits asked fans to send in their twitter questions. As you would expect social media is getting in on the act but it has yet to replace the good old traditional super commercials played during the games breaks.

Big budget brands win in the game of live sports advertisement as companies spend monster amounts building advertising campaigns. The new Nike commercial is a 6 minuet feature length production starring Christiano Ronaldo. He happens to be the highest paid athlete on the planet at the moment according to Forbs.

I have to say, I think the commercial is great entertainment in of itself. I was transformed into my teenage football kicking self dreaming of switching bodies with the great Ronaldo, just like the kid in the commercial. But I also noticed how social media plays its part with the hashtag #sparkbrilliance placed at the end of the video.

As social media marketers, it’s our job to find opportunities to get the eyes of our target audience on us and engage without taking away from the experience of watching the big game. You can ride the coattails of the big boys and find success too. So I throw the hashtag at you and also say #sparkbrilliance.

The Top 3 Social Media Marketing no-no’s

 

1) Nobody wants to feel advertised to

Commercials....rarely do we actually enjoy them interrupting the big game or our favorite TV show and the same goes for Social Media. Our social media timelines are rapidly becoming our new favorite way to entertain ourselves the way TV programming did before the age of the age of the internet. A constant stream of product posts or “click here to buy now” is a sure fire way to lose subscribers/followers and ultimately those that buy into your brand, product or service. Get creative and mix it up. Engage, question and appeal to the person who is viewing your content’s sense of humor or curiosities. Educate them or help them solve a problem in something related to your brand. There is a place for straight advertising in your marketing strategy but don’t build your whole strategy around it. Think about what irritates and interrupts your social media so you can avoid being that to your target audience.

 

2) get to the point

Nobody wants to go through long winded and or complicated posts. They want to consume the information effortlessly. Utilize Infographics, charts and quick stats to get your message across efficiently.

 

3) all give and no take

If you are going to ask your audience to do something, give them a reward or incentive.  Just having to submit my email becomes a hustle especially if I suspect my inbox is going to be bombarded with offers and sales pitches. Give up some free content or maybe a discount code. You want to win the affections and confidence of your audience. We can spot those that are out just to take a mile away.