Friday, December 27, 2013

GaryVee smiled at me! A rhyme and a call to discussion.



I'm newly active on Twitter and got a kick today realizing how easy it is to connect with thinkers you admire there. I thought I'd share this screenshot for posterity.

It's true- I'm reading through Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World and am looking forward to sharing insights gained here in my public journal.

LinkedIn isn't safe from my public requests for their input- I'm looking forward to getting into as many discussions about this as possible. I'm happy to discuss it here too- and drag any useful quotes from LinkedIn onto this forum as well.

Talk soon!





Friday, May 31, 2013

WeLikeEtsy.com will RUIN your Etsy business: 5 Reasons

When I first heard about WelikeEtsy.com, an online service which is raking it in from selling "ad space" to Etsy sellers, my e-marketer alarm bells went off like never before. This is how NOT to promote your Etsy shop in the most classic sense. I knew it was time to write this important call to arms against this and other Facebook like sellers who are taking advantage of small business owners- and leaving destruction in their wake.

For $5, these people are preying on well-intentioned Etsy sellers to involve themselves in a Facebook "likes" pyramid scheme.

If it's already too late and you've already done it, take heart. I mean, they made it just *too* easy didn't they? Lots and lots of writing and one big, easy buy now button with the promise that it's $5 "for life".  Before you read on, I need you to know that this post isn't against you, it's against them and their practices. Don't let my post get you down... Read #5 for some good next steps and further reading.

Friends, for your own good please avoid this or any other seller of fake social proof - for the good of your own business.

Here are 5 reasons why buying Facebook likes from WelikeEtsy.com or any other online seller is bound to RUIN your Etsy business.

1. A Zombie Like's Favorite Meal: Your Credibility and Business Ethics

Because they were purchased, these likes mean nothing at all for you and your Etsy business, because they don't represent people that truly value anything you have to sell. Your Facebook page gives you a unique opportunity to engage with people who feel strongly about you as an artist and the beautiful pieces that you sell. 

But by buying likes, you are essentially saying that this fan engagement means nothing to you.

The "slippery slope" theory is bad logic, I learned that in philosophy class. But I will say this: buying likes is very tempting, and once you've done it, you might find yourself addicted. This is what they call "selling out".

How would someone who really cares feel being surrounded by zombies who never "like" any of your posts, never write a comment? Pretty uncomfortable. And they'll catch on quick and may even turn away, realizing that you would have just as soon bought their like as earned it.


2.  You'll Paralyze Your Facebook Page and Placement in Search

The Likes will clog your Facebook page analytics, paralyzing your ability to tell how you're *really* doing.

With so many likes doing nothing on your page, you won't be able to tell how well your posts are performing, what's working and what isn't with your audience. Your data will be irreparably skewed.

If your intentions in buying these likes are really to improve your page's performance, consider that doing so will destroy the performance metrics that will actually make a difference for your long AND short-term business strategy.

Swapping links on link ladders and "boosting" your prominence online with these questionable practices creates a facade that the folks at Google work hard everyday to break through. Google wants their search results to reflect pages that earn real social proof.

Need more convincing? Look how many times Google has changed their algorithm to fight things like Welikeetsy.com and other sellers of zombie likes and links. Check out: Google algorithm changes effecting placement on search results by Moz.com 

3. You'll Ruin Facebook for All of Us

Eventually, these likes sellers could destroy the benefits of business pages on Facebook for all of us.

Think about it. Now that you know likes are so easy and cheap to buy, (one site allows people to purchase 500 likes for $16, or spend $40 on 3,000 likes) doesn't that make you question the integrity of a lot of different pages? 

So, doesn't that make you question...

That one Etsy seller from your group who makes cheap looking jewelry and has tons of likes but no sales? Or how about the annoying one who acts like a know-it all just because they have 4,000 likes, but doesn't have any true business education or good items at all?

By inflating their Facebook likes, these people make themselves look bigger than they are- and take away the honesty of social media. This honesty or "social proof" is what makes social media valuable for small businesses. 

Websites like WeLikeEtsy.com shouldn't just be chastised- they should be shut down for their tactics. Which brings me to #4...

4. It's Probably Illegal

This has the stench of a pyramid scheme- but at the very least it's Bad business. That's right- bad with a capital "B".

A pyramid scheme is a business model that has many people at the bottom paying money expecting results, but the ones who join early on are the ones that benefit most, and the people who created it are the ones getting any real income- because of the way they've fooled the ones at the bottom.

Things like this are actually quite common in the internet marketing world, the internet is still like the "wild wild west" of business marketing. There is even a name for marketing tactics like these, tactics that are done done to fool people or skew information, called "black hat marketing".

5. It's Hard to Repair the Damage... 

(But you should try.)

If you're already involved with this company, and you've read the above, I really hope that you see that it was a mistake that can only serve to hurt you and everyone else using Facebook for small businesses. 

Follow these 3 steps to begin to repair the damage and be empowered by an excellent business decision that will set the tone for the rest of your career as an independent professional.

Step 1:
Take a moment to e-mail them and ask for your ad to be removed and your money to be refunded. Here's their e-mail address: support@WeLikeEtsy.com If you try and they give you some cookie cutter response, send it my way. I'm curious.

Step 2: 
Share how you feel about this business with your Facebook fans, old and new. Come clean, and let them know that you fell victim to this scheme. Your newest fans will hopefully see and they may follow suit by cutting ties with them. Your old fans will be grateful that you care that they are real.

Step 3:
Increase your awareness of this and other companies who are decaying the value of social media through their black hat marketing tactics, and stay away!!!! And call it when you see it! 

Key Takeaways:
There really is no replacement for "white-hat" marketing that will get you real, earned likes. Sure, it involves more time- you can't just buy it. So keep on learning and growing and reading good articles that will help you learn how to market yourself effectively. 

For a great blog post that offers some more info on this topic and great alternatives to buying facebook likes, check this out: Should You Buy Facebook Likes? by Jon Loomer.

That's all for now, thank you for reading my little manifesto ;) 

If you like what you read and want more Etsy watch-doggery and marketing ideas coming to your inbox, subscribing by email is easy, right under my picture at the top of the page.

Never stop Learning, Growing, and Reaching.

~Laura

Thursday, May 23, 2013

How to Post a Clean Looking Link on a Linkedin Group Page

So, I'm having a case of e-marketer envy.

There several of my competitors on industry group pages on Linkedin that have seemed to discover a very clean and beautiful way of posting blog links.

I really need to learn how to do this!

Here is what theirs look like:

I'm posting this as a call to anyone who can teach me the way! PS it's not just hubspot shortlinks that look this way.

Never stop Learning, Growing and Reaching
~Laura

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Wait And See

When people question your path, just shake your head, fold your arms and say "wait and see". The fact is, some people live their lives with no vision, while others use strategy. The risk-takers open themselves to opportunity. The leaders are few. You know who you are. I can't wait to meet more of you.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

That Awkward Moment when...

That awkward moment when buyers in Brookyn and Boston actually purchase moss from the trees in the back of your Montana backyard... and they want expedited shipping. My friends, I can sell anything.

Thank you Etsy.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Beauty of the Non-Sell (marketing prose)

If I am calling you to book your services, don't give me a hard sell.

Ask me questions to see how you can tailor your offering to my needs. 

Sheesh. #sales101 #wontbuyit

Don't sell me.

Don't "enchant" me or "fascinate" me.

Just be. Let the product exist, give me the info, inject who YOU are, and don't self-sabotage. 

This is the internet. I'll find you if our vibrations ever align.

That's the beauty of the non-sell.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Get him to propose! 5 tips

My engagement ring
As you've probably gathered from the tone and content of this blog, I'm a type A, go-get-em kind of lady. So naturally, one of the greatest challenges of my life was waiting 2 years for my man to propose to me, when it felt so right from the very beginning.

So, good news! Almost one year ago today he finally proposed. Need proof? Here's the video: Surprise Mountain Proposal *hint* ladies, always look your best... hiking or not, tame the 'fro. OOPS!

Without further ado, here are my 5 tips for how to land the guy of your dreams! Good luck!!

TIP #1: Give the wedding talk a rest, and LIVE YOUR LIFE.

A girl who is always staying at home, bugging a guy and giving not so subtle hints- is a BORING girl WITH NO LIFE. Have fun, go out with your girlfriends, get dolled up- keep your network strong.

Check out this book by one of my favorite advice gurus, Marie Forleo: Make Every Man Want You By Forleo, Marie (Google Affiliate Ad) Her book "How To Make Every Man Want You" goes right to the heart of some of what I'm saying here!

You need to take care of yourself, physically, spiritually, and psychologically. To have a healthy relationship, and a healthy marriage someday, you need to reduce your reliance on this man to make you feel whole and happy. That's too much pressure to put on anyone, so practice NOW. Commit yourself to developing yourself into the best person you can be, because that's the partner that your man deserves, right??

Feeling fairly in control of my future is part of my psychological health, so I went ahead and cooked the Engagement Chicken. It's a superstitious recipe, that gives you back that psychological edge. Yes we women are crazy, aren't we. But hey, give it a try! Cook the magical "Engagement Chicken"

 And guess what- those hints are doing you more harm than good! Read on...
 
Engagement Photo by Youa Photography
TIP #2: Let him surprise you!

I had one big serious talk with him, asking WHEN back in January- little did I know he already had the ring, and that my asking would just serve to delay his proposal. It would be another 4 months until I saw the ring!

Later, when he told me about the way he delayed it, I nearly went crazy. All that waiting, but it made a lot of sense. He wanted it to be a surprise and for me to stop thinking it was because I asked for it! 

LET HIM BE A MAN. LET IT BE HIS CHOICE. Otherwise, you might as well do a full role reversal and go for the proposal yourself, but beware- most men don't appreciate being emasculated at such a traditionally male ritual/experience.

TIP #3: Dating rules still apply!

Remember when you were trying to land him as your boyfriend? The key was to always look put together, have a positive outlook, SMILE, be busy some of the time but not all of the time... these are universal laws that still stand, and must be upheld to land him as your husband, too!

 
Engagement Photo by Youa Vang
TIP #4: Be realistic

This seems obvious, but know where you stand in your relationship!  This means without asking about marriage. If he mentions marriage, great! Don't let Tip #1 turn you off from wedding talk when he initiates it.

Honestly girls, if you need to ask where the relationship is headed- then that's a bad sign. However, some men aren't big talkers so you will need to pay more attention to his actions. Tip #5 will help with that, so keep reading.

TIP #5: Know his intentions

When he makes plans, he includes you, but doesn't force you. If he truly cares for you, he may not always talk in absolutes- he wants to know you're in for the ride by choice.

Personal example: When my man told me he wanted to move out West to go to graduate school- he didn't say "and you're coming with me!" He simply said, "I would love it if you came too... But I know it's a big choice."

It was an invitation, giving  me a way out so that he could know for sure that I was the girl for him. Not a test really, but a turning point! Think back on turning points in your life together and consider how he's dealt with your relationship when those changes happened.


That's all for now!
 Something that you think should be added to this list?
Questions? 
Leave me a comment!! :)

Make sure to add your name so I know you're not a robot ;)


GOOD LUCK! BIG HUGS! ~Laura

Monday, April 23, 2012

Peter Rosten is the man!

Essay # 5
by Laura Simpson

Film and TV Production with Peter Rosten and Jeremy Sauter
This seminar focused on production for Film and TV and was by far the most engaging and interactive of our classes thus far.  I expected to learn about experiences that these professionals had but they were very humble for the most part, and threw away those expectations right away. As some other professionals have told us, “what worked for me in the 70’s isn’t going to work for you today.” So, instead of going deeply into their personal stories, these two tried to get us involved and thinking about the actual creative process used to create and market a film.

 Peter Rosten

I really liked Peter Rolsten, he has 30 years of experience in the entertainment industry and has produced 8 films ... He is now retired but continues to give back through forming and running The MAPS Media Institute where he gives young students experience-based learning to help them succeed in the entertainment industry.

"In 1985, Peter Rosten came to Montana for what he thought was just a vacation; little did he know that this visit would leave a permanent impression.

Today Peter and his wife, Susan (she’s a fourth generation Montanan) live in Darby. Her four children, and now Peter’s as well, are grown. Two attend MSU in Bozeman, one lives and works in Great Falls and their oldest is married and living in New York City.

Best known as the President and Founder of MAPS: Media Arts in the Public Schools (www.mediarts.org), Peter created it in 2003. The program is now in five Montana locations (Corvallis, Missoula, Bozeman, Red Lodge and Wolf Point) and has received local, state and national recognition.

Recently honored with the 2008 "Award of Excellence in Education" from the San Francisco based, Society of New Communications Research, the program has evolved into a profitable business run by high school students. "We currently have TV spots running in 38 states and the Center for Disease Control is broadcasting our tobacco-prevention PSA’s nationwide," says Peter. "Our clients pay us, we pay the kids in stipends and scholarships - it’s the real world."

-Taken from desription on the University of Montana Entertainment Managment Program page.
Me, The Student
I learned so much from Rosten. He gave me several great rules of thumb, that I’ll list below. All these things will be incredible bits of wisdom that I think will help me in the future. I have no criticism of how Rosten found his path in life, although I will have a different path, he seems happy and that’s what matters.

  • Study the history of the business, this will help you build rapport and bond
  • Hollywood doesn’t know anything, so show them something
  • If the word “no” tends to crush you, you’ll never make it
  • Just one “yes” can change your life.
  • Everyone will describe themselves as “smart”, “ambitious”, or “creative”, so how do you stand out?
  • Be HARDWORKING.
  • Buzzwords that smell like money: Fresh, Edgy, Committed, Passionate
  • Without integrity, on your bad day, no one will stand up for you
  • How do you make luck? HARD WORK. Create opportunity.
  • No one “knows” anything, you either like things or you don’t.
  • Being from Montana is something worth telling people. They think you’re hardworking.

Article, “How Pixar Fosters Collective Creativity”: How I will create an environment to allow communication.

I imagine that I am in a film company just like Pixar and I am managing a group that needs to generate ideas for a film within 20 minutes (we did something like this in class).

  • Make sure I have excellent talent on my team
  • Create small incubation teams to help refine ideas
  • Emphasize that creative vision is what matters most
  • Don’t second guess or micromanage people
  • Be a meritocracy: based on merit
  • Force accidental interaction, so people will respect and support each other
  • No ego
  • Allow people to consult experts outside our group for advice
  • Allow heated discussions so long as everyone knows that the passion is about the story, and not personal.
  • Show unfinished work as it happens
  • Applaud crazy ideas: these can turn out to be the best!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Ken Deans' tips for finding your path

Touring and Production with Ken Deans

This seminar was about the challenges of touring and managing an artist, or groups of artists for events. I learned that if I want to tour I should have a compelling reason, do whatever I can to cut costs, such as staying at a KOA campground and create profit centers like getting our vehicle wrapped. I also learned that I should essentially expect any equipment to get trashed and create an LLC to protect myself legally.

 I thought the consultants might be boring rambling about the numbers (or the accounting side) but they went into the emotional side of their work, discussing heartbreak of drug abuse and lost talent. They confirmed what I wanted to hear about this business, that it takes every bit of your brains and emotions to be successful.

Ken Deans has always worked in music in some way. I was surprised to hear that he had dropped out of high school at Inglemoor and became a drummer. He studied music theory at Cornish college and eventually worked his way up to mega production companies to pull off huge 3 day festivals and tours. He now works as a consultant and gets to work on his own terms.  

I chose to highlight Ken because his story was truly touching to me but at the same time he gave us very realistic expectations. He told us that we actually couldn’t do what he did back then, because in today’s world an education and degree is incredibly important and is your true first step.
"Bringing years experience from the entertainment world Kens award winning talent has helped ABC Television Networks, AT(and)T, Alaska Airlines, FastChannel Network, Infiniti, Jones Radio Network, Level 3 networks, Lion Brand Yarn, Mazda, Neilson, Netflix, Nissan, The Penske Corp., Radio and Records, Smith-Kline Beecham, Taco Bell, VNU, President Clinton, Vice President Gore, and many others form and present their message internally and externally in innovative ways.

Ken brings with him a rich history of management. He was part of the management team that brought musical artists Men at Work, The Split Enz, and The Divynals to the forefront of the US and Canadian music scene, and later on part of the management group and as a promoter responsible for the explosion of the Seattle music scene including Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Alice in Chains, and Soundgarden. Ken was enlisted to help guide the live careers of Melissa Etheridge, Dave Koz, and others during the nineties. Currently Ken heads up Liaison Group, Inc., a business and marketing consulting group that bridges culture from entertainment to consumer goods, sponsorships and experiential outreach."
 -Taken from Mr. Deans' profile on Linkedin.com

I was pleased with the refreshing statement that college is the right path. All the time I hear that a degree is not of value in the music business but Deans’ assertion of its importance rang true to me. I agree with his choice of career steps, and the “do as I say, not as I do” attitude he has taken towards education. What worked for him then won’t work now, and he wasn’t afraid to share that with us.

He said that today, companies want someone who is not in business to party and that you should believe in yourself and be confident to ask questions. Another important rule of thumb he shared was that you should dress for the job you want, not the job you have. I have heard this said by fellow students but have never heard it from an executive. I will try to keep this information in mind as I develop my image as a jazz vocalist.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Important Feminicide Event Series at UM

Join me and friends of CAJA3 (Community Action for Justice in the Americas, Africa, and Asia) for an amazing event series brought to us by sponsors from the University of Montana and our local community. I'm calling it my "Alternative Valentine's Day" and I hope you'll take part too.

During Spring break, we students are encouraged to trade in our opportunity to seek excess and relaxation with volunteer work, giving back to the community at an Alternative Spring Break. This Valentine's Day invest in your education about real issues across the border and learn a new word "Feminicide".

Two human rights attorneys from Mexico will be visiting Missoula during the week of St. Valentine's day to bring us a poignant reminder of Feminicide in the Americas, its causes, and how it's being addressed today.

Here is the flyer I developed for UM International Programs and co-sponsors for this event. You can right click, save, and use for reference. To find more information about this event series, contact International Programs at (406) 243-2299

Never stop learning, growing, and reaching!
~Laura