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February 2011

Buyer Beware - Making a Buck on Social Media

Yesterday I had a client call me with what he thought "may be a goodMan Business Puffed  idea".  He had been contacted by a national publication that was offering our him a "Social Media Sponsorship Opportunity" using Twitter.

I'm glad he called...

The "Social Media Opportunity" was this:  Our client pays $1,000 and the national publication would Tweet about a two day conference promising 100 Tweets in the two days and they would use a hashtag (#) to promote the conference.

Oh...and they would put up signs at the conference (attended by about 500 people) that our client was sponsoring the Tweets...

Some - Issues:

  • The National Publication has 156 followers since June 2009;
  • They have posted 600 updates in that time;
  • HOW will the conference Tweets promote our client;
  • What will be Tweeted;
  • Will other media also Tweet...

And that was just off the top of my head.  Then I learned the conference started...TODAY and the hashtag I was given (in error it turned out) was being used by somebody else to promote an event in March. 

I told our client, who was 60% inclined to participate that we would not recommend...  He passed.

Sometimes when things are shinny it attracts attention.  This seems to be one of those times.  "Let's do it because it's cool and it will bring in revenue." says the sponsor.  "Let's do it because it's cool." says the client.  

We're not saying it's a bad idea.  Had this been something we could have helped build, promote and structure...we'd have been in.  But, like so many Social Media Promotions and far too many advertising lacked...Planning.

Careful out there.

If you want to carry on the conversation send me an e-mail, join us on Twitter @MichaelLibbie or @InsightADV and we've got one of those Facebook Thingys...


Jackass Letters - A Business Lesson - 01/11/2011

Insight on Business with Michael Libbie is our Monday - Thursday walkWebCastOneLive image  through the world of marketing, advertising, consumer trends and business.  We're here at Webcast One LIVE starting at Noon Central.  You can join in on the show conversation using "The Chat" or connect on Twitter @MichaelLibbie, which I monitor before, during and after the show.  Let's get to it:

Tom Laughlin Yesterday I was contacted by an independent film producer from Wisconsin who shoots documentary films for PBS.  He wanted some insight on the "Save the Maplenol Dairy Barn at Valley High School".  Tom Laughlin of Kovia Productions said he has a keen interest in what is happening here.   When we spoke, late last evening, he was making plans to come to Des Moines to shoot some footage.  We'll let you know.

Meanwhile the West Des Moines School Board had a meeting last night and about twenty supporters talked about why the barn should be saved.  Here is that article from the Des Moines Register.

Speaking of films - Yesterday I received a call from Wendy WeinerWendy Weiner Runge  Runge the film producer of The Scientist who has been charged with first degree theft in connection with that horrible mess with the Iowa Film Office.  But, is all what it seems?  We thought not six months ago...we're even more sure today.  Thomas H. Miller is handling the case for the state.  Former prosecutor Matthew Whitaker is the attorney for Weiner.  When we can...we'll share more.  But look for some interesting developments over the next several weeks.

Meanwhile there is "talk" about reopening the Iowa Film OfficeGovernor Terry Branstad has said they he is open to having the discussion.  But, it may be too late given the stain Iowa has received over this and the handling of the program it's doubtful that any serious producer will look toward the state.  And...that is too bad.

Our guest today is the wise-cracking editor and creator of Jackass Letters and we're going to learn a thing or two about consumers and Christopher Jorgensen customer service through his work.  Christopher L. Jorgensen is the creator of Jackass Letters a satirical but often serious mirror into the world of corporate redundancies when it comes to communicating with consumers.  (Did I just run all those words in that sentence?  Impressive...) We'll talk about the letters he sends and what he gets back.  The list of companies reads like the Fortune 500 with a couple of politicians thrown in for good measure.  What is it business can learn from...Jackass Letters?  We'll share it all today.  Christopher L. Jorgensen with Insight on Business.





Sunday Morning Coffee - January 9, 2011

Grab a cup and let's get into Sunday Morning Coffee...  Not a bunch ofCoffee Cu ps  business news (we'll get back to that tomorrow) this is a collection of stories that we'd no doubt talk about over a cup of "Joe".  Lots going on...and because it's a conversation feel free to drop me an e-mail, leave a comment below or let's connect on Twitter:  @MichaelLibbie  OK?  Let's go!

Governor-Elect Terry Branstad is going to have his hands full...with his own party.  New Republican members of the Iowa House are frothing at the bit to tackle all sorts of "social issues" from slashing social service budgets, marriage equality, death Iowa Capitol penalty and the removal of the remaining four Iowa Supreme Court Justices.  None of which the new governor wants any part of.  He wants to focus on the economy and jobs, both of which show improvement.   For example, Iowa just posted it's 14 consecutive month of economic recovery.  Not bad for a state where "the sky is falling".  Going to be an interesting 2011 General Session....Jason Glass

Wonder if anybody has visited with Jason Glass, the new director of the Iowa Department of Education?  With the GOP in control of the House and the Governor's Office the Platform of the Republican Party could come into focus.  Some issues that should interest my new Twitter Friend from Ohio might be:

  • The elimination of the Iowa Department of Education; (wait a minute....)
  • The teaching of creationism in the public schools;
  • The right of anyone to carry a firearm into any schoolroom
  • The elimination of "mainstreaming" special needs children.

Welcome to Iowa...just like, we've got four letters.

Congratulations...  Now that the economy is improving gas prices are headed back up.  Here is Des Moines it's two cents away from $3.00 a gallon.  A price that Michigan, and maybe Ohio, would love.

Remember when "Right on Red" became pretty much the law in all 50 States?  What was the reason?  It was an effort to save fuel during the energy crisis of the 1970's.  That's 30+ years ago.  Wonder when some drivers here is Des Moines will figure out IT'S OK TO TURN ON RED!  Grumble....

Barn-101 You've heard of the movement to "Save the Maplenol Dairy Barn" right?  Seems the City of West Des Moines and the West Des Moines Public Schools don't care for this reminder of...history and agriculture.  The city gave the approval to the school district to rip down the decades old barn for (you get to pick):  A) "Green Space"; B) New athletic fields; C) "It's old...and we just don't do 'old' in West Des Moines."  Or...all of the above.  So far well over 1,500 people have joined the Facebook Page and hundreds are signing a petition.  That's in less than a week.  Given the fact that school board elections usually bring out five or six voters...this could get interesting.  If we can bust out three Supreme Court Justices this should be a cake-walkHere is our post from Friday about why the barn "must" go.  Hint:  It does not fit the brand of West Des Moines...Pieathlon Logo

I had a meeting last week with the folks from Penny's PieathlonHUH?  Actually it's now called the Pieathlon a very cool fund raising event to fight cancer.  In previous years they have raised about $10,000 a year.  This year...the goal is $40,000 and 1,000 participants.  Wanna help us?

I just had a thought about Kate Walsh...


You're welcome.Palin HitList

Yesterday Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) was shot during a public forum at a Tucson grocery store.  While, this morning, she clings to life six others are dead including a 9 year old girl, a federal judge and a congressional staffer.  Bloggers and the media from across the platform are casting an eye in the direction of former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin who asked her followers to "reload" following the 2010 Mid-Term Elections and targeted Giffords and other U.S. House Members with this image from the Sarah Palin Facebook Page.  Following the shooting on Saturday the image was taken down and Ms. Palin offered condolences to the family.

Kent Sorenson IAFor years you and I have been subjected to talk radio that has fed us fear and loathing.  For years we have witnessed talking heads, political candidates and political party leaders use violent rhetoric to describe their agenda.  Here in Iowa Kent Sorenson told the media that he was going to the Iowa Senate to "burn the place down".  What have we become where party leaders, the news media, you and I sit silent in the face of such hate and calls to violence?  

The way we go about the business of politics and public discussion must change.  It can no longer be "open season" on the ideals and the lives of those with whom we disagree.

IF you are still with this...and reflect a bit:

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

See you tomorrow - Insight on Business with Michael Libbie - The Metro Monday Edition, part of Webcast One LIVE.

Thanks for coming by...























Even Cities Have a Brand...

Between the excitement of Ted Williams "The Golden Voice" being discovered and the first full week of work, many you might have missed this story about an old barn in West Des Moines.Barn-101

The short story is the Maplenol Dairy Barn is in the way of...progress.  Valley High School, wants to rip down the decades old structure for "green space", more athletic fields and...we think...because it simply doesn't match "The Brand".

Everybody and nearly every thing has a "brand".  We tell our clients to always learn, from consumers, more about their brand idenity.  To make sure the brand they have crafted is the same brand seen by the public.  Or, is their brand perceived as something totally different?  (Often busineses don't have a clue what their brand is...that's were we try to help.)

Back to our...barn.

Folks are all upset that West Des Moines and West Des Moines Valley High School are going to tear down this piece of history.  Many on the Facebook Page "Save The Maplenol Dairy Barn" write they are shocked that the city and the school would consider such a move.

They shouldn't be...West Des Moines is staying true to their...brand.

For years West Des Moines has carfully crafted their brand message:

  • New
  • Exciting
  • Modern
  • Rich
  • and...a little Snobby

The Chamber, School District and City Hall may disagree...but you see, that is the "magic" of "The Brand".  The brand is what I deem it to beIt's what YOU deem it to be.  It comes from the experience you and I have.  It comes from the experience of West Glenn, Jordan Creek Mall, the "lively bar scene" and the lifestyle of the folks living in the McMansions that dot the (secluded) landscape. 

Barn-110 There's nothing wrong with the brand; it is...what it is.  But, in this case, the barn doesn't match the brand...and must go. 

Want me to prove my point?  If you're from the Metro you know about the community within Des Moines called Beaverdale.  Beaverdale has a brand that's different than West Des Moines.  The question to ponder:  What would the folks in Beaverdale do in a situation like this?

Everything has a brand...

Thanks for coming by.  IF you would like to carry on the conversation shoot me an e-mail, leave a comment below, take it to Twitter:  @MichaelLibbie or @InsightADV or we have one of those "Facebook Thingys" too.  Have a great weekend!



Facebook for Business - 5 Tips

As Facebook continues to refine itself and become a tool for businessFacebook-logo   many small to mid-size companies start to take notice.  Perhaps you've started a Facebook Page for your business...but maybe it's not working well.  Or, you are still reluctant to dive in.  Maybe I can help.  Here's five solid tips to help you work through the Facebook world of Social Media:

  • Have a Plan - Before you make a mistake and run headlong into something like this sit down and write out what you're going to do, who is going to build the site and what your goals are.  Follow other "like" businesses that are doing well and then...write your plan.
  • Stay Active & At It - So many business owners think of Facebook as another "broadcast tool" and when they don't see "results" in a couple of weeks they shut down.  Don't.  This takes effort and you've got to stay at it.  Trust me, we were not early adopters of Facebook for business...we
  • Know Your Market - I've been on business Facebook pages and wonder what the heck they are doing.  Making connections with people way out of their target market and wasting time in conversation that won't build their local or regional business.  Know where YOUR people are and connect.
  • Be Funny - OK, I need to take some of my own advice.  But, I know you take your business seriously and my serious efforts are built around helping you do well.   So...I tend to get a little focused.  But, on Facebook you need to learn to have fun.  Post some great photos, get a Flip Video Cam and shoot some happy customers, some great deliveries and then engage.  It works.
  • Link...Out - Include your friends in your messages.  Link with them and watch them become a voice for your business.  If you've got something that a friend has talked about include them in the message, "Hey, Michael Libbie, I saw where you were looking for an XYZ!  We've got that and a great gift for your bride Georgie." It's about...relationships.

There you go...FIVE Facebook Business Tips and all original content.   If you would like to continue the conversation check us on Twitter:  @MichaelLibbie or @InsightADV watch/listen to our daily business show Insight on Business with Michael Libbie at Webcast One LIVE!  Or....we've got one of those "Facebook Thingys" too.   Thanks for reading.  See you on-line.




Sunday Morning Coffee - January 2, 2010

Sunday Morning Coffee isn't so much a look at business as it is aboutCoffee Cu ps  looking at the stories that impacted us and what we might talk about at the coffee shop.  And, because it's a conversation you can keep it going here by leaving me a comment (below), on Twitter @MichaelLibbie or head to our Facebook Page.  Grab a cup and let's go...

Happy New Year!  I honestly thought last year wasn't such a lousy year but it seems like I'm outnumbered.  Loads of people were grateful to put 2010 into the back mirror.  What I hope they, and you, are going to do is look forward with great hope and determination.  It's a gift...

WWII Poster We Can Do It "Rosie the Riveter" died last week.  Actually, during WWII there were thousands of women who went to work in the factories in support of the war effort.  ("War Effort"...that's when people, other than the military, make sacrifices to support a national cause.  I figured I'd have to explain.)   However, the woman who was the inspiration for the image we've all come to recognize was Michigan native, Geraldine HoffHere is her story from our friends at The Huffington Post.

Speaking of farewells...  Recently ousted Iowa Governor Chet Culver has announced his "Thank You Iowa Tour".  He's being careful not to call it the "Kiss My Grits Tour" as voters turned him out after only one term in favor of "Governor for Life - Terry Branstad" who'll do a return engagement and...who, if he decides to run AGAIN in 2014 (and wins), will be the longest serving governor in the...nation...totaling 24 years.  Will he?  Speculation  Terry ran because the Iowa Republican Party needed somebody to: 1) Take out Bob Vander Plaats and 2) Whip Chet Culver.  However...making history...   Here is the tour schedule from our friends at The Des Moines Register.Iowa Justices three more "good-byes"  As of yesterday, the three Iowa Supreme Court Justices who ruled, correctly by the way, that there is no language in the Iowa Constitution that would ban Gay Marriage are all out of a job.  They were "not retained" due to a major effort of our friend Bob Vander Plaats and loads of money from that enlightened state of Alabama.  There are four more to go and they are in the sights of many.  Here is that story from our friends at The Iowa Independent.

Wyatt Earp Costner Well, all of THAT was depressing.  On to the good news!

As of yesterday if you want to carry a firearm on your hip into your local bar...or church.  You're in.  All of Iowa 99 counties now "must" grant you a permit (following a gun safety class) unless you have a criminal record. And you do not need to keep it tucked away.  Wyatt Earp (who was, by the way, born in Iowa) would love it.

Social Media and Customer Service - So, how's it going?  This will be the year that many small business people will come to learn the value of both as those companies who fail to take advantage of creating a serious social media plan and truly understand and live positive customer service will start to see business erode.  Here is a brief video of how both of those things come together.


What's the story?  The Urbandale Hy-Vee not only uses social media to promote their store image they are also high on positive customer service.  It's a huge store but...when employees "call you by name" or atMPL Hummus Special  least actually LOOK like they are happy to see you.  It makes a difference.  Two weeks ago I asked if they would carry Sabra Jalapeno Hummus.  They got it in and on Wednesday, without me knowing, started an "@MichaelLibbie Special".  I heard about it, after the fact...on Twitter.  Curt Sills, who runs their @UrbandaleHyVee effort was behind the idea and posted this photo.  In just a few hours well over 300 people had seen the sign.  We followed up with the video just to share the story.  Fun stuff.

Which rolls right into my "Five Predictions (Tips) for Business in 2011".  Business...I'm sorry...but my mission is to help save yours.

WebCastOneLive image New and Exciting things coming out of Webcast One LIVE this month as we add new hosts, new programs and new ways to connect.  Also, on the local level we're looking forward to an upcoming story in the Business Record highlighting who and what we are.  2011 will become a very positive year for this experiment that started out in a closet two years ago.

My brother is starting to get some traction with his foodie blog "Phyne Dyning".  Yoni gingerly stepped into Social Media several months ago Yoni Birthday Tapas 0 00 02-29 and as he became more comfortable with the various platforms and started to see results he's increased his efforts.  Because he's smart, has a passion for unique food offerings and writes very well he should do...well.  Go ahead, check it out...  Phyne Dyning  

The NHL Winter Classic was moved to last night vs. earlier in the day because of warm temps and rain in Pittsburgh.  The move allowed meKTTC Rochester MN  the opportunity to watch as Washington beat Pittsburg by the score of 3 - 1 in front of nearly 70,000 fans and millions more on NBC.  Unless, of course, you lived in Southern Minnesota where KTTC viewers got to watch...a news review of 2010!  No, I'm not kidding.  But, the real story is how Social Media worked into the event as dozens of hockey fans lambasted the KTTC decision on their Facebook Page.  Even the general manager of the station weighed in...on New Years Day.  Have a look for yourself.  I see a major programming/sales meeting taking place...tomorrow.  Boneheads.

Wonder if, when they have the meeting, somebody will bring up The Heidi Game?

OK...that's a WRAP!  Push this out the door and get on to Sunday.  A Reminder that tomorrow is the Metro Monday Edition of Insight on Business which you can see live at Noon Central.  Or enjoy the re-broadcast or podcast anytime here at Webcast One LIVE.   Be safe, be well, be careful and be good to your fellow man...