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Monthly Archives: June 2009

Twitter School for Old School Marketers

dondraperJust because you can type doesn’t mean you get Twitter.

Maybe you think you get it because you’ve been running a small business for twenty years.

Or because you’ve won a bunch of awards.

The bottom line is:

“Who you are speaks so loudly I can not hear what you say.”

Somebody said that 140 years ago and it’s something to consider when it comes to 140 characters.

I watched the tweetstream of one small PR firm go on and on and on last week about a couple of awards they were winning at some PR event put on by PR people to celebrate PR.


As I watched yet another tweet of “Mary Jo is going up on stage to get her award!” roll by on TweetDeck, I was reminded of how easy it is to show your true colors.

They probably thought that it was great stuff being able to tell all their “followers” how good they are at writing press releases.

Ask Gary Vaynerchuk, a guy who’s made millions selling wine with social media, what he thinks about press releases.

Or you can just watch him discuss it here.

Social media, Twitter, in particular, is not about broadcasting how great you think you are.  Especially when it is about something that is becoming less and less relevant for your clients (press releases).

If you are a small business owner considering hiring a firm or a freelancer to handle your social media, the first thing to do is to see how they use it for themselves.

It will tell you everything you need to know.

Take Twitter…

Is it all about them?  Do they engage with other people?  Do they have a strategy you can detect?  Do they say anything interesting?  Are they sharing useful information?  Do they simply talk to the same people over and over again, with no interest (and courage) in reaching out to people they don’t know?

There is one fundamental premise at work here.

Nobody cares.

Nobody cares about your project or your business or your awards.  We’re all too busy.  So unless what you are saying can help me, can solve my problem, you are talking in an echo chamber.

And that doesn’t help anyone.

It certainly doesn’t help you, it’s just a complete turnoff.

Get over yourself and be helpful to others.

That, it seems to me, is a success formula for Twitter.

If you have a better one, or more to add, let me know.

My Honest Mechanic is a Trust Agent

trustedocmechanicNo small business in Orange County is more trustworthy and transparent than Neighborhood Car Care in Mission Viejo.

Driving away after another visit that was over-the-top in the satisfaction category, I thought of Chris Brogan’s and Julien Smith’s upcoming book, Trust Agents, which I look forward to reading.

And while the subtitle of their book is “using the web to build influence, improve reputation and earn trust“, I think “Trust Agent” aptly describes my honest mechanic.

He didn’t grab the url trustedocmechanic for nothing.

Visit there site (heck, go to their shop) and you will see that Keith and his wife Karin and their boys have achieved something every small business desires.

Raving fans…see here.

You can talk a big game and try to create a perception of trustworthiness but actually doing it and having proof of it is what matters.

When Neighborhood Car Care received their certification from AAA, they did it with a PERFECT SCORE in the customer satisfaction survey.

Being at Neighborhood Care Care is like visiting a business run by a friend.

You don’t get hustled.

You don’t get worked.

You are treated like a real person.

Today I went there because I heard something strange in the engine.  I thought it was a problem, and was mentally preparing myself for the cost and time and planning and everything that comes with a car repair.

I went inside and spoke to the friendly gal at the desk who referred me to Alex.

It was clear that Alex had been through their rigorous training program (they work directly with the Saddleback College Automotive Technology Department).  In a snap, he has assessed the issue and my worst fears were put to rest.

I was a happy man.

So happy that I rush off to the closest wifi spot to do this post.

My honest mechanic is not only an agent of trust, but the embodiment of it.

A rare, rare thing.

250000 Multicolored San Francisco Superballs

there is

OCJobTalk and the Future of Finding a Job


When Justin Moore-Brown and I talked about building a social network for Orange County job-seekers, we didn’t know whether we would ever attract more than the dozen or so friends who thought it was a good idea.

As of today there are 347 members of OCJobTalk.

Pretty good for what started as a side project.

OCJobTalk works because it ties together social media with job postings, more like LinkedIn and less like Monster.

Think about going to Monster and what a freaking black hole it is.

Monster was great back in the day.

But it has been inundated with overzealous  recruiters and software that filters keywords in your resume.

And you can’t network with anybody, much less get a nice, quiet, uncrowded room going with people from your area with similar backgrounds.

That’s what OCJobTalk offers and we think this is what all job sites will become (and a lot of social networks too).

Quieter, controlled, focused, effective.

We see people on the site engaging with each other and offering help in their job search.  We make sure that phony members are ejected like a virus and strive to maintain a level of integrity that builds trust.

We think this is why it works and why it grows every week.

We are working right now with one of the best business minds in Orange County to offer our members even more as they work through the challenges of this current economic climate.

They deserve it.

Look for an announcement here and on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook soon.

And, if you are, thanks for playing a part in the best social network for job-seekers in Orange County.

Sipper Photography Puts the Focus on Trust

sipperTrust is the lifeblood of any small business.

Especially when it comes to something as precious as life-stage events.

You know, graduating, getting married, having a baby.

Those are big moments.

And to capture that moment, you want someone you can trust.

Take it from someone who knows.

Our wedding photographer ended up in jail.


She was convicted of grand theft, the whole story ended up getting national coverage and 40 couples she did weddings for never got their photos.

We got lucky and got our pix but it was an experience that my wife still reminds me of to this day.

It got to the point where if I even mentioned the word “photographer” she would cringe.


All because I didn’t bother to do a nickel’s worth of due diligence.

Lesson learned.

Dana and Jeff Sipper communicate and create in a way that seems to suggest they know all too well how important trust is in their business.

If you go to the Sipper website and blog you get the sense they know who they are and what their style is.

There is very little hyping, just some cool clean images of real people doing real things.

Sipper was recognized by Fox 11 News in LA as one of the top 5 wedding photographers in Orange County, see here.

You can talk to them on Twitter @sipperphoto.

They will talk to you back.

And tell you the truth.

And deliver a great product.

On time.

Take it from me.

Someone who doesn’t want their wife to kick them in the butt the next time they hire a photographer.

Twitter’s Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test

busIt’s been said that if you remember the sixties, you probably weren’t there.

If you’re not on Twitter, you’re probably not here now.

Given all that’s gone on with Twitter lately (cover of TIME, Iran, etc.), you have to ask yourself…

Am I on the bus or off the bus?

As a small business owner (or anyone else for that matter) not using Twitter, you may have said to yourself, “I’m not sure that’s a bus I want to be on.”

And I don’t blame you.

Twitter can be an incredible time-suck and annoyingly trite.

But so can talking on the phone.

And that’s all Twitter is.

Just another communications device.

Ken Kesey and his Merry Band of Pranksters spent a lot of time trying to connect the real-time consciousness of a group of people who chose to follow each other.

They called it “tripping”.

Twitter is ego tripping.

If you’re a small business owner and haven’t checked it out, get on the bus and join the rest of us.

Tune in, turn on, tweet.