Idiots Hate Applebee’s (and They’ll Hate You Too)

Failure, Leadership Thoughts, Marketing, News, Social Media 51 Comments »

I was super busy all week with two productions and just got to this.

Now that the dust has settled and the real facts are available, I wanted to quickly weigh in on the giant “Applebees Unjustly Fires Poor Waitress” fiasco.

I’d like to get your thoughts on it too.

Here are the facts before I get started:

 

1) An Applebee’s waitress received this stupid note from Pastor Alois Bell on the signed credit card receipt.

It says “I Give God 10% Why do you Get 18″

2) Chelsea Welch, a different waitress (not the one who served the customer), took a picture of that credit card signature receipt with her phone and posted it on Reddit.com along with the caption:

My mistake sir, I’m sure Jesus will pay for my rent and groceries.

3) Customer found out about it and complained

4) Chelsea admitted to doing it and Applebee’s fired her

5) Hell broke loose on the internet.

The media ran to the server’s rescue.  Competitor’s ears perked up, fan pages popped up, and 20,000+ fans commented on Applebee’s first Facebook post about the situation:

“We wish this situation hadn’t happened. Our Guests’ personal information—including their meal check—is private, and neither Applebee’s nor its franchisees have a right to share this information publicly. We value our Guests’ trust above all else. Our franchisee has apologized to the Guest and has taken disciplinary action with the Team Member for violating their Guest’s right to privacy.”

6) Applebee’s social media team tried to engage upset people.

People called them names and accused Applebee’s of hypocrisy for breaching their own privacy policy by sharing a customer’s “receipt”  earlier in the year.

(looks like an informal positive comment card to me)

6) Applebee’s posts a larger update and temporarily hides the old post.

Enraged Facebook fans claim that Applebee’s deleted their comments.

7) Applebee’s unhides the original post and denies manually deleting any negative posts.

8) 20,000+ more comments go onto their Facebook page.

Thousands of people now “hate” Applebee’s

 

You know what this is?

 

We’re witnessing an old-fashioned online lynching.

What we’ve got here is a company protecting their customer’s privacy (I don’t want my signature online) and being dragged through the mud by idiots looking to lynch Applebee’s.

The idiotic pastor’s note was truly stupid.  Great servers deserve great tips.

However, it would take another true idiot to think it’s okay to post a customer’s signature (customer is the key word) online while mocking them, even if what they were mocking was indeed stupid.

No, I don’t think Applebee’s had the perfect response on Facebook.
No, I don’t think there is such a thing.
Yes, I’m calling a lot of names here.

Here’s why:

  • It’s not okay to hurt a business because you don’t understand how to run one.
  • It’s wrong to post nasty stuff about companies or people when you don’t have the facts.
  • It’s easy to play armchair quarterback when it’s not your business.
  • The local owners, people that work at Applebee’s, and their family members are real people who get affected by idiotic boycotts, 40,000+ nasty comments, and all the distractions this has caused.

But this isn’t just about Applebee’s.  It’s about you and me.

I had something like this happen on our Attention Era Media Facebook page last year when we posted this video and asked if people liked their idea:

A large feminist group began saying we supported misogyny and tying women up for commercial purposes.  It wasted a ton of time and hurt our new brand.

For what?

For entertainment.

People like to hear themselves talk on social media, especially if there’s an ignorant mob that agrees with them.

I know people that work for Applebee’s.  This is not amusing.

This is not entertainment.  Don’t kid yourself. Idiots hate Applebee’s and they’ll hate you too.

That’s why we need to stick together.

Have a great night,

Aaron @Biebert

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Social Media Myth Busters

8pm Warriors, Marketing, Social Media 4 Comments »

My friend Phil Gerbyshak (@PhilGerb), along with some of his friends (including my buddy Robert Caruso aka @Fondalo), just produced a free e-book to bust a couple social media myths.  It’s called “The Naked Truth of Social Media” and I enjoyed the quick read.

Here are a couple of the myths busted:

Myth: Every business should be using social media.
Myth: Nobody cares what you had for lunch.
Myth: There is a “right way” to do social media.

Some of the brilliant myth busters involved in this project:

  • Susan Baroncini-Moe
  • Chris Reimer
  • Erika Napoletano
  • Brian Clark
  • Keri Jaehnig
  • Jason Falls
  • Tom Martin
  • Ari Herzog

They certainly provided some interesting viewpoints that are worth discussion.  If you’re interested in this quick read, you can download the e-book here at SocialMediaNakedTruth.com.

Have a great night!

Aaron @Biebert

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There is so much I don’t know…

8pm Warriors, Giving, Social Media 11 Comments »

Some days I feel like I’ve got it all figured out.

I know what I need to do.  When I need to do it.  How it should be done.  Sometimes I even think I know what others should do.

Other days, I remember the truth…I honestly don’t know that much.

What I do know, I will use.  When I use what I know, I will learn new things.

What I learn, I will share.

 

If you share too, we’ll all learn more quickly.  It’s the power of team.  The power of social media; of “us” versus “me.”

It’s the power of our 8pm Warrior community.

Share something tonight,

Aaron @Biebert

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Why @GaryVee Should Not Stop Tweeting at His Groupies

Social Media 28 Comments »

Gary Vaynerchuk and I had a long discussion last night about responding to people on social media.  Click here to see the conversations. Gary makes some great points, but it got a bit heated at times.

It’s all Jeff Bullas’ fault.  (Jeff, I’m just kidding)

If you prefer my leadership posts, this one might not be for you.  It’s a bunch of social media theory related to a brilliant guy who has a following of around one million people on Twitter. It will apply to anyone using social media who is crunched for time.

Let’s get started.

Why should Gary Vaynerchuk NOT stop tweeting at his groupies?

 

The better question is, “who cares?”  It’s none of my business.

Gary likes it and they like it.

It’s a win-win.

 

Gary sells more books, gains more followers.  The groupies love the little tweets back.

Everybody seems happy.

Who the heck am I to question that?

My only reservation is that this is just one example of how social media is killing real communication.  I think it’s a relevant topic for any leaders that are strapped for time, even if they don’t have that many people following them.

He thinks he’s caring by responding the best he can (I would agree), but I can see how he would feel trapped into a world of meaningless activity.  My main thought for Gary was that maybe he should publicly announce a step back from responding to 70% of tweets and focus on building more quality relationships.

Three reasons why:

1) Quality over quantity


I’m having a hard time seeing how hundreds of ultra quick twitter responses is worth much to the non-groupies out there. Gary can tweet at least 10 times per minute. Are connections being made?  Would we even know who we’re tweeting at? Honestly, I sometimes find myself doing the quick responses, thank you’s, etc and I only have 8,500 connections.  I don’t feel good about that when it happens.

Rather, I’d say pick a couple people each day, get to know them a bit, and have deeper conversations that lead somewhere.  You can’t please everyone.

Otherwise, it’s like walking through a busy town of people who all know you and all you do is nod, smile, shake hands, wink, and say hi.  More like a politician than a normal person.

2) Reputation


If you build a reputation on responding to people and valuing them, then you have to do that.  However, when I first reached out to Gary a long time ago, I didn’t get responses and it was irritating because he wrote in his book “Crush It” (highly recommended) that he would respond to anyone who tweeted or emailed him.

Because of his brand promise, I felt like he was being fake for not responding to me.  I like building relationships, not chasing stars around like a groupie.  Successful people don’t enjoy feeling like groupies.  Therefore, it will limit the type of following that he will have.  I don’t follow celebs back because I know they can’t engage.  I don’t see Gary as being any different.

When building relationships, it’s key to under-promise and over-produce.  This seems like another good example.

3) Time


It may not seem like much, but a couple words to 1000+ people a day takes up a TON of time.  I can see why he’s not able to respond to everyone.  It probably doesn’t help that Gary and I spent 4 hours chatting on Twitter last night.

Since we’re both business leaders, we have to consider the opportunity cost of random chatter on Twitter with people we won’t remember.  Our conversation was enlightening, fun, and a bit entertaining (especially the haters below), but I wonder if the same benefits apply when tweeting back the quick smiley face, three word phrase, or “thanks” to a couple hundred people per day.  Probably not.

I’m all for responding to everyone who talks to me.  I think it’s rude otherwise.  (Yes, sometimes I’m rude and don’t respond)

However, Gary has almost 1,000,000 followers just on Twitter.  Gary is a fellow 8pm Warrior, but regardless of how hard he works, how little he sleeps, or how fast he types, he still has 1440 minutes in each day…just like you and I.

At some point you run out of time.

You also run out of brainpower.

I believe Gary is a brilliant guy.  However, no amount of passion and effort will lead to quality relationships with 1000′s of people.

We’re not wired that way.

 

Most scientists say that we have the ability to maintain relationships with about 300 people, max.  Everyone else is in one ear and out the other.

Sound like a worthwhile relationship?  I can’t see how.

That’s why I don’t follow celebs, weblebrities, pro athletes, etc.  That’s why I wasn’t following Gary until today.  They are literally incapable of carrying on meaningful relationships online with most new folks like me.

They’re overwhelmed, sold out of attention, and don’t have time to respond. Classic example of Attention Era challenges.  I was shocked when Gary responded, and he’s known for trying his best.  People like Jeff Bullas and others who have 100,000+ followers usually don’t respond at all and I don’t blame them either.

Each person only has so many minutes in  a day.  I’d rather have them enjoy fulfilling relationships rather than spending every minute of free time sending winks, haha’s, lol’s, etc.

That’s just my humble opinion.  What’s yours?

Have a great night,

Aaron@Biebert

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The Problem with Yellow Pages

Changing Times, Failure, Marketing, Social Media 14 Comments »

If you’re paying money for Yellow Pages ads, but not investing in new media…you have a problem.

The same goes for newspapers, direct mail, and so many other forms of media that half of the country doesn’t even know exists.

Watch how these two young men treat the Yellow Pages. It’s an alien.

Makes me feel old.

I remember having classes in school on how to use the Yellow Pages. Now it’s a joke.

The average person pulls out their phone and searches for a business using the internet. Younger generations have never used the Yellow Pages, rarely read the newspaper, and hardly open their mail.

The world has changed. Those who haven’t, now have a major problem.

Spread the word. The Yellow Pages are dead. What’s next?

Learn something new each night,

Aaron@Biebert

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Warning: Social Media is Killing Real Communication (and Relationships)

Changing Times, Failure, Family, Leadership Thoughts, Loneliness, Social Media 24 Comments »

I remember the good old days when people called friends on their birthdays or hung out.

Now they post a message on their wall, shoot them an email, or leave a voicemail if they have time.  I’ve watched people text each other from across the room and once found out about my nephew’s baptism via Facebook pictures.  It was 20 minutes away. No society should have families randomly discovering important family events.

If this keeps up, our society is in real trouble.

Social media is cheap communication.


The problem with communicating primarily through social media channels is that it’s primarily deferred communication (more here).

No one actually knows if it’s being seen, and increasingly, it’s not. People are overwhelmed with the number of emails, updates, tweets, pins, messages, videos and other stuff flying their way.

Yet, so many times I hear from friends (especially the younger generations) asking me if I saw their latest update on Facebook.

Nope.  I didn’t.

Study after study I see shows that young people overwhelmingly prefer deferred communication to live conversation. It’s easier.

I believe there are three types of communication:

  1. Concurrent Communication  (Instant feedback)
  2. Deferred Communication (Focused, but delayed and distant)
  3. Broadcast Communication  (Maybe you’ll see or hear it)

How can you truly know someone or build a lasting bond without seeing their smile, hearing their tone changes, or getting instant feedback during your discussion?

The problem is that concurrent communication is so much harder than deferred or broadcast communication.  It requires scheduling. Social media channels make it easy to feel like your communicating with others.

We’re not.

We’re faking it and it’s tearing apart traditional relationships.  Especially among young people. As we get overwhelmed by deferred communication, stuff is missed.  Divisions are formed.

When “friends” aren’t seeing our updates, people feel lonely.  I’m seeing more suicides from very “social” people and the average number of close friends per person has fallen from four to two.

Something must change.

 

We need to develop real connections with our social media contacts.  We need to invest in human relationships.  It’s time we meet our fellow Warriors.

With that call to action in mind, I’m going to do something about my concerns.  I may disconnect from immediate family members on Facebook so we actually have to talk. Communication between families and friends should be deeper. The same goes for clients and partners.

Also, in the coming months I’m going to host several free live events so we can all meetup.

I just got back from the East Coast, but hopefully you can meet me at one of these remaining events.  It’s worth the investment of time.

For the good of our society and as an example to young people, let’s bring our online relationships offline and our family members and friends back where need to be:  in front of us, talking, laughing, crying, or smiling.

Social media is only a start.

Let’s find a way to build or rebuild personal relationships tonight,

Aaron@Biebert

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3 Reasons the “ROI of Social Media” Debate Continues

Attention Era, Changing Times, Leadership Thoughts, Marketing, Social Media 23 Comments »

After years of case studies showing social media’s power to connect people (customers, partners, and employees), you would think the debate would be settled.

It’s not.

In fact, it’s just beginning in some companies…now in a new way.

While nearly everyone is probably willing to admit there is some value to social media and that “it works”, a new question is arising.

Exactly how much is it worth?

This video parodies what’s going on in some companies as the new year begins.

How do situations like this happen?

Sometimes decision makers are not educated enough on what they were buying, had their expectations set too high, or don’t have patience to see it through.  It might even be a combination of all three.

Here are three big reasons why leaders are beginning a new round of debates about the value of social media in the marketing mix:

1) Poor Education


Leaders are not being educated on what they are buying, how long it will take, or what it actually does.

Sometimes, overzealous marketing leaders used the “Everyone’s Doing It” pitch and got approval without explaining that social media is a new kind of war, not a single battle.

2) Wrong Expectations

Have you heard or said things like:

  • “Social media is free advertising!”
  • “Social media will make sales explode!”
  • “Let’s make it go viral!”
  • “We won’t have to spend money on other expensive marketing routes.”

In reality, using social media is only one part of building a modern business.  Setting expectations too high, too fast, or too easy makes for trouble.

3) Lack of Patience

Some leaders have been properly educated with correct expectations, but just don’t have the patience.  Their ADHD leadership tendencies make them lose focus or patience and they withdraw support so they can focus on their next great strategy.

 

Social media is not a strategy.  It is a method of communicating.

Communication can be good.  Communication can be bad.  However, for most industries there is no way to calculate return on investment of communication.

It is everything.

If you choose to do social media poorly, you are choosing to do business poorly.

Don’t stop something you’ve started because you’re impatient or afraid.  This social media stuff isn’t going away and your competitors are only spending more time and money each quarter on finding ways to connect with your clients.  Ignore it for too long, and your clients may begin to ignore you too.

Finish the debate tonight,

Aaron@Biebert

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When You Have Someone’s Attention: Don’t Waste It!

Attention Era, Changing Times, Family, Leadership Thoughts, Marketing, Social Media, Time 6 Comments »

A couple quick thoughts at the end of the week.

Humans are no longer limited by a lack of information.  We’ve never had more Wikipedia articles, Google search results, emails, updates, and every other way we get information when we need it.

We even have Siri or other artificial intelligence like Big Blue to do the work for us.

Information is not the problem.

 

We are now limited by the amount of attention we have available.

When you earn someone’s attention, you shouldn’t waste it.  It’s precious!

 

Does your page respect people’s time?

  • Do you dominate Facebook with a ton of trivial posts?  We only have so much time and you’re wasting it.  We will unfollow or hide you.
  • Why are our comments awaiting moderation on your blog? You have a spam filter.
  • Are you deleting Facebook comments that are unfavorable to your brand?  You are asking for trouble.  Comments will go somewhere.
  • We won’t do business with you if you ignore questions or comments on your page.

 

Why are your customers waiting?

  • I spent 3 hours on the phone with AT&T yesterday.  Now I’m switching to Verizon.
  • My favorite grocery store has no parking.  I now have a new favorite.
  • Sam’s Club always has 10 people in every line.  I’m not renewing my membership.

 

How are you one on one?

  • Are you constantly checking your phone?
  • Are you dragging the conversation down by spend too much time on meaningless stuff?
  • Are you actually listening?
  • Do you spam your contacts with unnecessary emails or other deferred communication?
  • Do you say stuff just for the sake of saying it?

 

For the sake of humanity, we must stop.

 

The developed world is out of time.  Relationships are suffering.  People are overwhelmed.

If you want to keep people’s attention in the Attention Era, you must respect it.

It starts by not wasting it.

Have a great night,

Aaron@Biebert

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