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I’d like to let you in on a little secret.

The Honey Do list goes mobile

I’m just a normal person.  I need to run errands and do stuff just like everyone else in the world.  So why would any business care about my errand run?  Because it could change the way you think about social media.

Shall we start?  Good.

I Needed to get a part to fix a desk in my living room.

I Googled stores to find best deals for the part/

Checked which store was closest and  how long it would take to get to the store.

As you can see, I use social media all the time to help me find the things I need.  With social media, I can find the stuff I need at the most convenient store.  Using my smart phone makes this a lot easier.  So why should you care?  Think about this,  ” Morgan Stanley Internet analyst said she expects smartphone sales will surpass PC and laptop sales in 2012, with more than 450 million units sold.”

Wow!  That’s a lot of people with smart phones who just might be using it to search businesses through social media.  Oh well, back to my errands.

Went to hardware store, checked in on Foursquare.  Saw deal for flowers nearby.

Went to Flower shop which gave me a discount for using Foursquare to find them.

Another great thing about smart phones is that can take advantage of geolocation applications like Foursquare.  When you use a geolocation application to check in at a store, they will often have deals posted that you wouldn’t find normally.  Additionally, you can find other participating stores nearby you might want to visit.

Pretty neat!  I wish that was your flower shop, but you aren’t on Foursquare.  So anyway, that  other flower shop was so nice that….

Tweeted how nice they were and that everyone should check them out.

Got a re-tweet about a great new restaurant that serves Venezuelan food.  Texted my Venezuelan wife to have her meet me there.

She checked in on their Facebook page, found a great deal, and realized she knew the owner from her high school.

Got invited to dinner so I needed a bottle of wine.  Went to Yelp to find a wine store nearby that carried South American wine.

Went to the grocery store and had to wait at the checkout for the employee to finish her conversation with her boyfriend.  Tweeted about the terrible service.  Got a reply from someone who said another grocery store, closer to my home, had great customer service.

Social media is the perfect tool for interacting with people and getting tips about businesses from your friends.  In fact, lots of folks check reviews about businesses. If their friend like the place they go.  If not, they don’t.  Oh, you should probably think about this too.

Well it’s off to the wine store.

As I was buying the wine, I got into a conversation with owner and found out that he is a wine and restaurant blogger. Favorited his blog and got great Chilean wine for dinner.

Blogging is like word of mouth advertising on steroids.  People look to blogs for advice more so than any other medium.  That basically means that blogging about your industry can make you an expert.  People want to buy stuff from experts in their field.

So off to dinner.

Had a wonderful dinner with new friends.

Afterwards I reflected on how much had changed for me in one day just by taking advantage of social media.  I found the part I needed at the most convenient store.  I found a great new flower shop.  Replaced my grocery store.  Met some friends with an awesome restaurant and met a blogger who could point me towards a great bottle of Chilean Red.

Pretty good huh?  And I’m not unique.  Everyday there are millions of people just like me who use their smart phones and social media to help them with their errands.

Here’s the catch.

If your business isn’t taking advantage of social media, you’re not reaching any of us.  Basically you’re invisible.

Perhaps you should rethink that decision not to use social media for your business, don’t you think?

Yeah, I thought so too.

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The player at the center of it all, Cam Newton

Cam Newton, for the non-sports enthusiast, is the starting quarterback for the Auburn Tigers football team.  He is the favorite to win the Heisman Trophy as the best football player of the year.  He is also facing allegations that he received money to attend Auburn University, a big no-no.  If it is proved he took money, any game he plays in will have to be forfeited.

 

Wednesday, a tweet went out quoting ESPN’s Ian Fitzsimmons saying that Newton would not be playing this week against Georgia.  Here’s what happened next, from Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

There was story and multiple messages on Twitter earlier Wednesday that referenced an ESPN Dallas report that Newton was on the verge of being suspended, possibly within “three to four hours.”

So what happens?  Legal sports books in Las Vegas, unsure about the validity of the information and seeing millions of dollars suddenly being bet on the underdog Georgia, were forced to stop taking bets on the game.  Costing those sports books even more millions.

One problem though,

In fact, the ESPN reporter, Ian Fitzsimmons, says he was misquoted, that all he said was a story like this can change in three or four hours.

Oops!

Here are three lessons you must learn from “The Cam Newton Effect.”

SOCIAL MEDIA IS A POWERFUL TOOL, BUT JUST A TOOL

Social media is a powerful tool, but just a tool

 

Social media is a tool that can be used to help or hurt your company.  Using social media effectively can help you spread good news about your company very quickly.  It can also spread bad or false news about your company very quickly. There was no fact checking on the Cam Newton allegations, but that didn’t matter.  Social media doesn’t know what’s true, or what you meant to say.  You, and you alone must take responsibility for making sure the right messages get publicized with social media.

 

If you have a plan, you won't need this

YOU MUST HAVE A SOCIAL MEDIA CRISIS PLAN

 

If something comes out on social media about your company that’s incorrect, or reflects poorly on you, there will be no time to figure out how to deal with it.  You literally have minutes. You must have a plan that you can implement right away to minimize any damage.  The elapsed time from the first Twitter about Cam Newton until Las Vegas was forced to stop taking bets was about four hours.  Four hours.  You have to be prepared with a social media crisis plan.

YOU MUST BE USING SOCIAL MEDIA TO LISTEN

If you are not monitoring social media right now to find out what is being said about you and your company, you could be letting bad information fester and grow like a cancer.   You wouldn’t let false information about your company be circulated at a dinner party you were attending, why would you ignore it online?  The damage that can happen to a company in just one day from bad online information could be titanic.  The best part is it’s really not that hard to monitor.  Here’s how.

Listen up...social media's talking about you

 

Additionally, I use Yoono on my browser.  It gives me a side browser that lets me see all my social media accounts in one stream.  It’s constantly running and updating while I’m online.  A pretty handy tool if you ask me.

“The Cam Newton Effect” illustrated how powerful social media has become.  But as Spider-man’s uncle said “with great power comes great responsibility.”   I hope these tips help you to understand just how important that responsibility is to your company.

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