Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’

social-overload-big2The thrill is gone!

We know we can connect, but can you affect our regular human everyday lives? That’s where the new frontier is, making us feel better about our existence when we’re not tethered to the computer, tablet or phone.

We’ve got social media fatigue. People have seen the movie, and they don’t need to waste more time.

I remember reading a retail industry study a few years ago which concluded that on average only 1% of total retail businesses actually have a written marketing plan in place.  It would seem that many H-D dealers have hitched their wagon to the theme of creating a monthly flyer (print or email) or as I call it, a marketing calendar that has a “reason to buy today” theme dedicated to each month.

This re-active theme is to make their sales messages more compelling, regardless of what media they choose to get the word out.

And getting the word out they are!   The motor company and now most of the local dealers are relentless.  They think they need to be everywhere.  Email blasts, posting on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Google+, Instagram, Flickr, FourSquare, YouTube, Pinterest, Snapchat, Vine, etc.  Talk about getting distracted in so many different directions.

If you look at industry statistics, 6% of people ride motorcycles — and that’s in the best markets. If you’re marketing and casting a wide net, 94% of people you come in contact with aren’t going to be interested in what you offer. So of that 6%, what percentage are males? 90%. And what is the main demographic composition of Pinterest? 80% female. So for this particular market, investment and time in Pinterest is not going to be profitable or effective. It’s just not a fit, demographically speaking.

Another example is G+ which is Google’s answer to Facebook.  It’s only a couple years old, and has grown very quickly.   But, if you look closely you’ll discover that for some industries like photography it is great.  However, there’s very little moto-involvement and likely to be ineffective.

And then there are the ‘old skool’ methods.  Remember that t-shirt you purchased in route to Sturgis at the Montana dealer?  Yeah, they got your U.S. postal or email address and now you’ve become their new BFF with all the local promo’s, rides, service deals, photo contests and HOG prizes.  Talk about an example of casting a wide net… a thousand of miles away!

And speaking of Twitter, like every fad, once upon a time Twitter was cool. You know how it works, you hear about something from your hipster friends, you say you don’t need it but eventually you dive in, love it for a minute and then abandon it because it’s hard to be witty and viral all the time and do it in 140 characters.

My view is that Tweeting is like peeing off a cliff in the dark. No one sees it and you risk getting yourself wet.  Which is why Twitter is a sea of dropouts.  In addition, those who fan the flames of cool, (i.e. the youth), are always on the hunt for the latest and the greatest, moving on to new social networks (i.e.. ask.fm, SnapChat), only to abandon them when they fall out of favor, or when everybody else is there, and lose their cred.

I’m not saying there’s nothing there at Twitter. There is a nugget now and then. But following people, corporations or dealers is time-consuming, and ever less fulfilling. As for participating yourself, why would you?  The Internet has turned into a giant game that everybody’s trying to win.  Remember when everybody was gonna have a Webpage, then a blog?

So, here are some unsolicited thoughts for Harley-Davidson and it’s dealers. 

Clutter is our enemy.  We hate advertisements.  We want information we can use. The more drivel, the less we pay attention.  Just because you have our ear, does not mean we’re interested in everything you have to say. Either play to your core or play to everybody. If you’re doing the latter give us less information.

We live in a word of mouth culture and those social site quantifications are meaningless, because the system is being gamed.  The number of likes and followers are like virtual badges, they’re ultimately meaningless. 

Social media is no match for word of mouth. They can be one and the same, but frequently are not and consumers know the difference between what is hype and what is genuine.

Photo courtesy of m2mediamanagement.com

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog
Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Pinterest Usage Data

Photos as content generates very high newsfeed engagement for all types of users.

And, unless you’ve been living on the Laffing Devils Motorcycle Club fantasy island you’ve more than likely noticed the staggering number of embedded photos on Facebook pages, Twitter and on Instagram as well as other similar type sites.

So, with the marketing resources at Harley-Davidson being at a premium, shouldn’t Mark–Hans Richer, the SVP and CMO of Harley-Davidson be paying closer attention to folks who are pinning photos of motorcycles and motorcycle clothing?  The short answer is yes.  More appropriately someone at the motor company should be standing on a conference room table and ask the question of all the H-D creative’s and strategists… “How did we miss the social growth on Pinterest?

What is Pinterest, you ask?

Pinterest is a kind of visual bulletin–or inspiration–board.  In short order I created one for this blog which you can view HERE.  Users create boards with categories like “Motorcycles I Love” or “Beautiful Motorcycle Places” or “Motorcycle Products That I Like.” Users can then link images from websites or upload images from their computers and “pin” the images to the boards. Similar to Twitter, users can follow other users, and Pinterest images can be re-pinned and shared.

Why should Harley-Davidson take this blog post serious?

Pinterest Growth

Because according to the Experian Marketing Services blog, Pinterest users skew female and young. Fifty-eight percent of users are women, and 59% are between the ages of 25 and 44.  This is a critical and key demographic that Harley-Davidson often states that they are trying to win over and accelerate both clothing and motorcycle purchases.  I’m not paid as a H-D media strategist, but wouldn’t it be a good idea to be visible where potential customers hang out?  This is the biggest no-brainer in the history of no-brainers!

In the U.S., growth in Pinterest has been phenomenal with more than 10 million registered users.  The image-sharing social network grew a staggering 4,377% in the last year, according to comScore’s “State of the U.S. Internet”.  It is outpacing competitors such as Tumblr which grew 168%, LinkedIn (67%) and Twitter (58%).  Outside the U.S. the number of Pinterest users in Latin America for example grew in first four months of 2012 from 153,000 to 1.3M.

It’s time for Harley-Davidson to just Pin it!

However, before they can do that they will need to resolve the issue of domain “parkers” because the current H-D URL belongs to Becky Segovia, yet has no content (boards, pins or activity).

Disclosure:  I don’t work for or have any financial interest in Pinterest.  I do try new technology and developed one for this blog which you can view HERE.

Photo courtesy Modea.com and Experian.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

Read Full Post »

Maybe it’s the weather.  It can be positively gloomy in November in the Northwest.  Overcast, cold, shorter days mixed with long periods of wet.  Unlike So.Cal where this time of year the Santa Ana winds seem to blow warm and people remain in t-shirts and riding on dry pavement.

Even the light is different, as the air takes on that winter snap.

The contradiction got me to thinking about motorcycle bloggers and social media.  Yeah, I’ve been fairly skinny on the number of posts lately as the work gig is never ending, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think about how to improve.

I’m talking about ReTweets. Likes. +1s.  If the terms are unfamiliar then stop reading.

Bloggers talk about these things as the currency of meaningful social engagement.  Seriously?  Many insist that the holy grail of social marketing is to create meaningful relationships with readers.  So, why is it we reduce these relationships to the most meaningless metrics?

I have an opinion that when someone clicks a “Like” button it’s similar to a “Hand-Wave” as two motorcyclists pass on the road.  These are folks who give a nod and say, “Sure, communicate with me.” But, from that interaction we never conclude they are advocates or do we assume they have blog affinity. Essentially they were a drive-by, somewhat interested party.   Using a dating metaphor,  a Like or a ReTweet is simply someone saying, “What’s your sign?”  It’s not a relationship.  Bloggers seem to forget that the real relationship and engagement happens after the “Like.” It’s the dance of finding out stuff about each other. It’s the “conversations” which is akin to an unforgettable riding journey together.  It’s knowing the other party cares about who you are and what you feel. There’s a feeling of trust. The “Like” is just a glimpse into the experience and who knows if they will linger.

If your blog strategy is like a teenager who measures popularity by the number of Facebook friends or to “get Likes,” without thinking about your audience or what to do with those Likes after you get them, I would suggest you are what researchers – using that dating metaphor – call “desperate.”   You’re essentially building up a dairy of folks who you can ping later with some form of advertising which most often is hawking someone else’s wares. And just like with dating, you’re going to get rejected more often than not. Most people have more self-respect than that. They’re looking for true “blog love.” While most motorcycle brands (corporations) just want to……well, you get the picture.

Business 101 states that you double down in a recession, that’s when you invest.  That’s the opportunity to pull ahead of your competition.  How many motorcycle bloggers doubled down over the last 4 years?  For that matter how many trade publications and/or motorcycle magazines remain in business or innovated their way out of the downturn?  A few did, but mostly what we’ve heard about are cut backs or the occasional web page that got a fresh coat of paint at most.

The number one challenge remains and that is getting people to listen to you.  And the way you stick is by being different.  It takes longer to get traction, but you last longer.  We know that the public is restless.  People are open to change and they want some new ideas.  If you’re giving them the same ‘ol, same then you’re no different from the government.  Something we tolerate, but can’t really believe in.

The bottom line is if you’re working a social media program you need to think about the entire process, not just the “Likes.” Likes are meaningless without the hard work of relationship building, and until bloggers truly understand this and embrace it, we’ll be viewed like that dating metaphor — an indiscriminate speed dater who is not very clever.

Photo courtesy of Onlyfunnyjokes.com

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

Read Full Post »

HOG Bank

Start with the “charisma and swagger” of Charlie Sheen, add a little Lady Gaga recklessness, mix it all together with the sensibility of John Mayer, and you’re well on your way to a vibrant digital marketing campaign.

Or at least that’s what Harley-Davidson’s, CMO, Mark-Hans Richer seems to believe.

Taking a page from celebrities and musicians who blazed the path before them they’ve embarked on a crowd-sourcing recipe with Victors & Spoils, a Boulder-based crowd sourcing agency who intends to deliver successful digital marketing.  It would seem that every American company on the planet is amassing a rapidly growing list of crowd sourcing digital data to give marketers an even more precise method for targeting their ad messages to specific consumers.

I know, you hate social media.  More people despise Twitter than use it.  You thought Foursquare was a church.  You like Facebook, but you fear its Big Brother qualities.

Well, you probably don’t understand that Twitter is the number one news source for news happening right now.  But if you can’t wrap your head around that, maybe you should look into SproutSocial, which allows you to track your company in social media.  And if you don’t think social media is key to any company’s future, you’re on the road to extinction.

Mr. Richer totally gets it.  H-D has a multi-generational and multicultural customer strategy with a need to get potential customers more engaged in the brand.

You do that through social media.  But, part of the problem for the motor company is its audience knows too many people, who connect with each other online.  Once consumers start talking to each other not only do they spread the word about the so-called “motorcycle lifestyle,” but they also let each other know which products are good and which ones are bad.  Suddenly, the dealers can no longer jam any old product down the motorcycle riding public’s throat.  It’s bad enough when new products leak in advance and are dead on arrival due to bad word of mouth, but even those that make it to the release date intact are not guaranteed sales.  Because by the end of the week, the target audience knows whether the product is worth owning via references from friends.

It all comes down to who you know.

But, the reason I’m writing this is because of the job market.  Unemployment.  It’s steady at 10.5% here in Oregon.  About a point above the national average and has remained there most of the past year.  Just this past week the Oregonian reported another 300 layoffs by 3 different companies closing down operations.  And if that wasn’t enough did you happen to catch Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke last night on 60 Minutes?  He painted a grim picture.  Stating that the U.S. recovery is still not self-sustaining while defended his $600B bond purchase to help keep interest rates low.  Heady stuff.

Oregon and U.S. Unemployment - Dec 2010

I hate to frighten you, but all your partying and drunken pictures are going to work against you in the job market. Inebriation is not a criterion for employment, not even at Miller Brewing.  You see you’re building your resume every day online.  And whether you can get a job or not is based on this resume and who you know.  People always complain how they can’t get a job in this industry or that industry because they aren’t connected.  Hate to tell you, but it just got worse!  No one’s going to hire anyone without a history, who can’t be recommended by someone.  The days of placing a blind ad and taking on all comers is history.  That doesn’t even work on Craigslist, and have you seen the type of jobs on that site lately?

If you want to succeed in the future, you’ve got to know people.  Who can vouch for you.  Ever get called for a reference?  You never lie if you know the caller, it’s your reputation on the line.   And now that we’re all networked through social media, there’s always someone who knows you, who if they won’t say something negative, certainly won’t say something positive.

And you thought you were just playing online?  You see we all live in a social media world.  Scary huh?!  And as if to help prove my point the CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, was also interviewed and talked about changes coming in a redesign.  For example, instead of a single profile picture, people who visit your page will soon see a row of photos you’ve been recently tagged in.

It might be time to start making deposits in the persona-curating bank account…

Photo courtesy of Harley-Davidson, SocialSprouts and Google.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

Read Full Post »

Schuberth Helmets

With more than 70 years of experience, Schuberth GmbH has developed a wide range of superb products and is a trailblazer in head protection technology. I’ve previously posted about their laser scan process, price and number of carbon fiber layers the helmets contain HERE for Formula 1 racers.

Schuberth has just opened its North American headquarters and selected the “OC” – specifically, Aliso Viejo as opposed to the east coast because as we all know “Cali,” is the hub of the motorcycle industry, especially motorcycle media in Southern California.  In this down economy the company hired six full-time employees and more than 12 consultants. The consultants will be on the road to help business associates, and will mostly be located in Southern California too.

But, this is not today’s big news.  The big story today is John Mayer (music recording artist) deleted his Twitter account!  Mayer frequently used the social networking website to apologize for offensive statements he’s made and fight with Perez Hilton, among other things.  Mayer had more than 3.7 million followers, but don’t be depressed as going forward he plans to communicate even more with fans through his blog.  So, several celeb’s (Miley Cyrus, Ricky Gervais, Amanda Bynes, Demi Lovato, and LeAnn Rimes) have left Twitter? You must be kidding! Hello, Ripley’s? No, you cannot put me on hold. This is a worldwide exclusive. I’m sitting on a powder keg here.

Do we care?  I don’t, and promise not to revert to junior high school with gossip-girl digs, but that isn’t my point.  The point is that today we get our information from one another.  Our news is personalized.  We are experiencing a revolution.  Caused by the computer, aided by the Internet, old media monoliths are crumbling and seedlings are popping up all over.  The old guard is protesting, wannabes are struggling for a toehold in the decaying old game and newbies are reinventing the media business unchallenged and unknown.

The only way to be successful today is to create a phenomenal product that members of the public embrace and spread to their friends.  Hype a crappy product and you might get some old wave press, but you won’t make any money.

As a “newbie” to this old media monolith, I wanted to pass along that Schuberth’s helmet’s are innovative, modern and pumped full of high-technology.  I hope to try out the DOT version of the popular C3 (with integrated bluetooth Schuberth Rider Communication (SRC) System) which will be available in N.A. dealers any day now.

If anyone has experience with Schuberth helmets let me know what you liked or didn’t.

Photo courtesy of Schuberth blog.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

Read Full Post »

Twitter Follower - a.k.a. "Jasmine"

Twitter Follower - a.k.a. "Jasmine"

There needs to be a neon sign on Twitter pronouncing the online equivalent of “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service.”

And speaking of neon maybe we should blame it on John Mayer (@johncmayer)?   He was one of the early celeb adopters of Twitter to lure fans.  And as we all know in social media, where celebs go, D-listers, sex peddlers and the rash of come-ons follow.

What am I ranting about? In a word, is hookers!  Twitter over the last month has ramped up and displayed similarities to the old porn days of MySpace—and that should be a red flag for Biz Stone, founder of the company.  Over a ten-day span in August I received 33 new “followers” whose profile pages depicted naked or scantily clad women.   In fact, my recent tweet telling blog followers about how to stay cool in the Wenatchee heat during a Canada trip instantly got me an “@-message” saying: “Here’s how I cool down in my Kelowna home.” When I clicked on the link, let’s just say I nearly missed the glass of ice tea!

Okay some of you are rolling your eyes and thinking…  “Hey @macrant, I’m bored at work and so what if the profile is littered with pictures of semi-clothed bodies?”

Here’s what’s objectionable.  They waste my time processing “Twitter Trash” (a.k.a. SPAM) vs. researching and writing blog posts.  Twitter has no Askimet filter like WordPress and it is so time consuming and clunky to eliminate SPAM that it’s as if they want to encourage porn?!   Reporting spam on Twitter is like calling the DMV… 2 languages, 7 level deep phone menu for just the hours of operation… waaaaay too cumbersome a process.  There’s no reason why Twitter can’t catch most spam, or at least make it super simple to report.  Hell, most all “new followers” don’t even have a real name. We’re not at the mercy of viral-marketing geniuses here…. are you hearing any of this Mr. Stone?

Sure Twitter features a “block” or “message” on a person’s profile, but it doesn’t offer a “report spam” button. You have to follow an account called “SPAM,” and then copy the URL and send a direct message to that account with the complaint.  I did this for “Holly” and “Jasmine” and a couple others who I think got suspended. Fine. But I don’t take the time anymore and I suspect MANY users don’t either or won’t figure out how to report the names—or go to the trouble. I think it takes double the number of steps to flag a spamming account than it takes to create a new one… there’s a no-win to the battle.

It seems Twitter management has taken a hands-off “live and let live” approach.  I have one word.  Craigslist!  They had similar ethos about content traded over its platform, but after a lot of staff expenses tied up in legal/law enforcement activity, even they now crack down on spam and solicitation.

Hey, I’m all for tolerance, but Twitter should stop wasting our time or they will suffer the consequences of declining use by real people.

Photo courtesy of Japan Dolls Convention.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

Read Full Post »

Carmen

Carmen

At work early.  Coffee, check.  Raisin bran muffin, check.  Opening Outlook email…waiting…, check.  Whoa, what’s this?  A half-dozen “business proposals” from London and several people in South Africa who I don’t know are waiting for my “urgent reply” with a bank account number…  Important, I am.

According to a recent survey about one in six consumers have at some time acted on a SPAM message.  Huh?   Don’t they realize this only reaffirms the economic incentive for spammers to keep churning out millions of obnoxious pitches per day.  And now comes Twitter SPAM… designed for all us motorcycle enthusiasts who click the “follow” button to stay in touch.  There are many Twitter pages which are simply redirect links for suspicious activity and/or violate usage rules with ad’s about personal body part enhancements.  You know the ones… “I’m now following you”… then you click the link to validate the person and find 3 updates in as many months, but wait… they are following 2,714 people… if you dare click on the web link up comes a clear ruse with no social redeeming value!

Rather agitated on the last “following you” notice, I was going to report the violation – but, then I thought I’d SPAM the SPAMMERS!  I know… I’ll pose as a 35 year-old single mom (Carmen – likes Cars/Motorcycles and Men – get it?).  I have this wounded bird theory and selected a profile with 4 kids. My oldest son, Ricky, is 16 so he’s taking care of Tabitha, 6, and Billy, 4. My youngest, Jeremy, 3 months, is somewhere around here. He’ll turn up. He usually does.  Since I’m still evolving my faux on-line landscape I’ll evangelize my Fav’s as: “Likes to go on long motorcycle rides in the moonlight…” You see, I’ve got this hot body with money to burn and looking for a guy who doesn’t believe everything he reads!

Twitter Suspension Notice

Twitter Suspension Notice

I’m hip and learned from a piercing article in Tattoo that unemployed spammers spend half their time trolling Twitter and other social networks to try and help or pick up 30-something’s.  So, as Carmen I took joy in making my profile very public. It’s good knowing that a lot of spammers scour these sites looking for hot single moms. I posted my pics from before I had my 4 kids and before the crank took my teeth so, I look pretty good in my profile. Just got an email from an unemployed car salesman in Miami, Florida. He could be the one! But, the businessman from South Africa made a lasting impression with that Queen offer in Benadir.  I had no idea it was so easy to travel to Mogadishu!  Wait, as long as they’re still collecting unemployment benefits in the U.S. bring them on! After I finish this post I’ll head over to CafeMom and surf the boards to see how many people responded to my moonlight ride post. Still looking for a real man to take care of my kids. My welfare check arrives on Friday’s and I can’t wait to buy a new iPhone 3Gs.

honestyWhat’s my point?  Clearly people on-line are not always honest.  More important though is being careful out there with your information.   In my previous post about how to leverage Twitter I did not reinforce the need to block people who randomly want to follow you… especially if they have suspicious motives.  And finally, in surfing the information on the web its disturbing to say the least. The type of information being shared is pretty scary and I often see detailed information about the person and their family.  Or you’ll see links to Facebook proudly displaying H.O.G holiday photos of the kids including geo-tags of their house location along with other content that could be used to identify them. Some of the things people post makes them look completely clueless or like they are sitting at the computer “tweeting” while their kid festers in a dirty diaper. Are single parents really this dumb? As far as I’m concerned, parents posting too much information aren’t really fit to be parents because they put their families at risk or at the very best look like they are wasting time on the computer when they could be doing something productive…. with their kids!

Have to go now. Billy can’t find Jeremy. He’s probably stuck behind the furnace again. *Sigh* Do I have to do everything around here?

Photo taken at CES.  Full Disclosure: Carmen is a fictional character.  Email or comments about a “ride in the moonlight” is barking up the wrong tree.

All Rights Reserved (c) Northwest Harley Blog

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: