Why Mom-and-Pops need to learn “Social Media Management”

February 6, 2013

I have been busy.  I haven’t posted for a long time. I needed a shot in the arm to make me post.  I got it today when I read Julie Brooks post on StreetFight titled “Why Mom-and-Pops will no longer pay for “Social Media Management” .

Julie I agree that it is a very difficult proposition to “sell social services” to vsb and be authentic, timely and engaging.  This is why companies like yours cannot offer a DIFM (Do it for me) type service to these businesses.  On the other hand, I think we can all agree the most VSB (very small business) , at least initially, can’t and won’t be able to effectively use a DIY (Do it Yourself) solution like Hootsuite.  They have neither the time, nor inclination nor knowledge.

This is why, as a commenter stated, you need to provide a service that teaches them how to use social over time.  Social channels are just like any other media channel.  People will not engage a TV or Radio station that plays only commercials – yet this is essentially what many VSBs exactly do when they attempt “Social”.   The solution you folks need to provide must be DIWM (Do it with me).

To simply council VSB to avoid social is folly. While “Social”  might not make them money out of the gate it just might be the only thing that ensures they are around over the long haul.

Social media has many forms.  It is not just “Facebook and Twitter”. There are many things that make up a businesses social footprint. It is their website (mobile and/or responsive),blog, review sites like Yelp and Google+, Listing sites, directory sites, local sites mobile apps, instagrm, consumer complaint sites etc. All of these places allow consumers to gain and voice an opinion of the vsb.  How will fare if they do not monitor, manage and build their on-line reputation? The key is for vsb is to start monitoring and understanding what folks are saying about them.  Their brand is no longer what they say it is – it is what their customers say it is.

The fact is the money that VSBs spend is moving from Paid to Owned and Earned. The digital agency companies that understand this and help their customers enter into this new age of reality will reap  great rewards.

Product Development and a Strong Vision

March 13, 2010

At VendAsta we have been working for the better part of a year and a half on  projects that fall under our http://www.SocialConnections.com umbrella.  VendAsta has a team of world class software developers, but building  software products from scratch is difficult. Period.   You need more than a great team and a good idea.  If a product  is to have any chance of success it must have a clear and compelling Vision and it must be needed.  It must serve some need or  solve a  problem- business or otherwise.

For various reasons both internal and external, the vision for our http://www.SocialConnection.com products  hasn’t always been clear or consistent and at end of the day this is the responsibility of the executive and leadership .  Building, sharing and articulating a company’s vision is extremely important, but is easier said than done. Initially the vision for our products were not as strong as I personally would have liked them to be.  However, in the fall of 2009 a lot of what we had learned in the preceding year started to make sense and strong visions for StepRep and Mashedin emerged.

Having a strong vision is one thing, sharing it with the world is another.  As Mashedin and StepRep come together we will redoubling our efforts to share their vision.

To this end I recently sent an email to all our StepRep beta users explaining how we started, where we have come from, and where we are going.   Also I described our vision, which is to make StepRep the premier Reputation Intelligence and Social Engagement tool for small and medium businesses.

Here is the letter:

Subject: An Open Letter to StepRep Users

From: Brendan King, CEO

Hello {insert name here},

Please let me take this opportunity to thank you for using StepRep. We have been making a lot of changes and many of you have asked “What the heck is going on?”. Some of these changes are part of a larger development cycle and results in features that don’t work as expected and/or loss of  functionality. I want to thank you for hanging in there and bearing with us. The changes are all part of a larger plan.

In order to best explain what we are trying to achieve I thought it prudent to tell you where we came from and how we got to where we are.

Originally StepRep was part of MyFrontSteps, a solution to connect home owners with home service providers (real estate agents, plumbers, carpenters, landscapers, etc.). StepRep was envisioned as a personal Reputation Alert tool (much like Google Alerts) to allow these service providers to monitor what was being said about them online. It would also
help them to build their reputation by allowing them to place the positive stories on a widget which they could promote in various places. StepRep would also be the place where these small business people would be exposed and interact with questions from potential customers. Remember the “Asks” tab?

Along the way we discovered that we vastly underestimated the need for Reputation Intelligence and social engagement tools. We have found that small and medium business have a growing appetite and tremendous demand for these tools.

Our vision and goal is to make StepRep the premier Reputation Intelligence and Social Engagement tool for small and medium businesses. We want to do much more than provide alerts for key word terms. We want StepRep to give you information you can use to make your real world business better. This is a simplistic example but, imagine your business is a restaurant and people are saying “your lunch special is awesome but your bathrooms are dirty”, we want you to know. This way you can market your lunch special and clean up your bathrooms. We also want you to help you engage your customers where they are talking. Our Social publishing tool is designed to help you take advantage of Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin. We intend to add Google Buzz and other places where consumers are talking. Lastly we want to make sure
your business can be found. Our business listing will help you get your business listed online in places like Google Local business center all the way down to small local directories.

To this end we have been doing a lot of work “under the hood” and some of our recent work is not complete. Again I want to reiterate my sincere apologies if these changes have inconvenienced you. I hope you will hang in there. We want StepRep to be the best Reputation Intelligence and social engagement tool available. We understand that in the short term the changes might be frustrating, especially when it is not clear how you can accomplish the tasks with which you are familiar. For instance, we are introducing automated sentiment detection (Positive, Neutral, Negative) so that you
don’t have to do all the work yourself. To do this we have had to temporarily disable your ability to set sentiment manually but your ability to assign sentiment will return very soon.

Over the 2nd quarter of 2010 you will notice many changes and improvements and we hope that you will enjoy them. If you have a feature request or are unsure about how to use our product please make suggestions or ask questions.

You may have also noticed that we have a new support system in place. Please feel free to email suggestions or questions to support@steprep.com

Thanks so much for your patience.

Brendan King



I am looking forward to sharing the vision for our product www.Mashedin.com and hope to do that withing the next couple of weeks. Till then please feel free to check it out yourself and let us know what you think.

Web 2.0 Expo and “What have you done to make your house a home?”

April 3, 2009


I am out a Web 2.0 Expo with Jeff and Allan from our company, MyFrontSteps.com.  Between meetings and sessions we thought we would do a little filming. I have put together this video of us asking people the question: “What have you done to make your house a home”.   Disclaimer: before you watch it I want you to know I made it in 1 hour  with out access to some of the very best interviews.   This because a lot of our footage was shot in HD and I don’t have a way to deal with MTS files yet on my PC.
That said we do have Robert Scoble answering the question. We have other neat people too, like Vannessa Fox but alas many of these will have to wait until I can get the files converted from HD!

Graphing Social Patterns East Recap

June 19, 2008

I was working on a post to recap GSP East conference.  However, I just noticed that Frank Mashraqi of Fotolog posted a great recap.  So I am just going to link to it here.

Piclens is Super Cool and Super Smart Too

June 4, 2008

Looks like I am not the only one that likesPiclens (see my Trulia Snapshot review ).  YouTube’s head of monetization Shashi Seth has left YouTube-owner Google to become the chief revenue officer at Cooliris to head up monetization of Piclens.  I think it is super smart on the part of Cooliris and Kleiner Perkensto start thinking about monetization early on in the game. Look for this same strategy from a really super cool bunch of guys from the North. 🙂

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