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

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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6 Ways to Help Fix Your Facebook EdgeRank Problem

Since 2008 I’ve done a lot with Facebook pages and seen a lot of data.  We used these pages to promote new ventures or create communities (like the 8pm Warrior page) and my team tried to be as engaging as possible.

The EdgeRank problem (fans not seeing your posts in the news feed) is not a new one, we’ve been dealing with it for years.  However, Facebook recently made changes to it and irritated a lot of people.  I am one of them.

I got this private message today.

As I’m sure you know, Facebook has their “Edgerank” and interactive ranking systems that determine who they think should be able to see liked page comments. You may or may not have found the lack of fan reach from your page frustrating.

From one page admin to another, do you mind if I ask…how do you personally deal with the limitations Facebook puts on page reach?

Here’s what I’m seeing now.

Going off the “XXXX people saw this post” report on the bottom of unshared updates, I looked at some recent numbers.  Updates from my older community pages (like this one) get viewed by up to 75% of the fans for free.  My newer brand pages (like the page for my new Attention Era Media video production group) don’t do nearly as well, getting in front of up to 50% for free.  Most are about 40%.

For less active pages, like the 8pm Warriors discussion page, only about 15% are seeing the posts.  When I share this post, only about 80 people out of almost 500 will see it in their news feed.  Not so good for discussion.  In fact, it’s the least discussion of any major platform I use.  Blog comments, Google+ communities, and Twitter are all far more active.

Edgerank is not so nice for casual pages.

What I do about EdgeRank

The first thing I do is try to share the best content possible, as regularly as possible. Facebook rewards pages that earn engagement by giving them more attention.  Pages that don’t update often, get fewer likes/comments/shares and don’t get Facebook EdgeRank love.  Pages that people aren’t passionate about, don’t get seen.

That’s the point of EdgeRank.

So, while we continue to keep our various Facebook pages active and engaging, here are five other things we’re doing to help make sure people still see our content:

1) We buy ads

Starting at $5 per day, their new system of promoting a page is pretty slick.  Only problem is once you get the fans, they have a very low EdgeRank page history rating because they probably aren’t engaging with the page much at first.  They only clicked the “Like” button on an ad.

If you do #1, you probably need to look at #2 shortly thereafter.

2) We pay to promote posts

We only do this on posts that are really important.  It does get more eyeballs than pre-EdgeRank days.  However, it’s gonna cost you some money.  The cost starts at $5 and goes up from there.  It depends on how many fans you have.

The Dallas Mavericks have to pay $2000 to reach 40% of their fans.

3) I’m trying to move away from Facebook as much as possible.

There’s no getting away from Facebook.  It’s too big, too important.  However, I am trying to diversify my investment of time and money for community building.  I blog here and at AttentionEra.com, as well as use Twitter @Biebert, @AttentionEra, and @8pmWarrior extensively.  I’ve also been using Google+ communities and Linkedin more lately too.

4) We tag people in posts and comments to get them to talk.

Facebook will be more likely to show future posts to people who Like, comment or share the posts they do see.  Tagging them gets them involved.  Don’t be spammy, but don’t hesitate to tag someone if they are in an article or should be part of the discussion.  If you look at our updates, you’ll see that we don’t abuse it.

5) We “Like” and comment on our own stuff.

Pure and simple, Facebook rewards posts with more likes/comments/shares with more views.  Sadly, even our own likes and comments count.  Yes, it’s weird.  Yes, we do it anyway.

6) We’re utilizing our personal pages when appropriate.

Even though EdgeRank applies to people’s personal updates too, they are much more generous with people compared to pages.  I used to use my personal Facebook profile exclusively for private stuff.  No longer.  If we’ve had some good conversations online, I’m looking to connect personally via Facebook.

I recommend that every single member of your team Likes your updates and then comments/shares the update when appropriate.  That will be a good start.

 

That’s about about all I got on this topic.  Hope it helps.

I would discourage folks from using the EdgeRank system as an excuse.  It is actually quite brilliant and makes Facebook more user friendly.  Plus, everyone has to play by the same rules.

Yes, it does give a bigger voice to bigger companies.  The level playing field is gone now.  However, if you’re posting regularly and intelligently (non salesy, engaging stuff), you’ll get engagement and more views.

What are you seeing out there?

Have a great night,

Aaron @Biebert

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Thoughts Are Not Actions!

“I should have dinner with her.”

“I really ought to spend time on that.”

“I must stop doing this.”

It seems like our society has never had more thoughts and less action.  Instead of action, let’s tweet our thoughts or Facebook poke our loved ones.  Right?

Here’s one fellow 8pm Warrior’s brilliant thoughts:

“The reason I think life gets harder as we get older is that we get used to thinking that a thought is an action.  We lose spontaneity.

When we were little we had a thought and ran out and did it. But we learned to sit still and be careful.  

But when you learn to be careful about some things, you become careful about most things, even important things.”

Betsy Cross on the “It Doesn’t Get Easier” post

 

Don’t wait until someone dies for a visitation.

Don’t wait for the perfect time to do what you love.

Don’t wait.

Do something crazy tonight,

Aaron @Biebert

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YouTube Changes to Integrate with Google+, Twitter & Facebook Videos

YouTube is more than cute animal videos, funny stuff, and stupid stunts. It grew up today.

Ignore at your own risk.

Any 8pm Warrior trying to get their message out or sell a remarkable service should be using YouTube.  Video cameras are built into nearly every smart phone and nothing captures the personality of a business like video.  Nothing.

I’m sharing from experience as a producer of several online shows and video productions that were created to build community and sell a product in a social savvy way.  Video changes the game.

Here’s why YouTube matters:

  • YouTube is the #2 search engine in the world (think SEO)
  • It is the largest video-based social network
  • Google+ is now integrated even closer with YouTube for additional community building (more on the way)
  • YouTube is simple to use and even offers a free video editing feature
  • Video is perfect for the Attention Era

YouTube made widespread changes to their channel formats today and I think it changes everything.  In the past it was millions of chaotic channels with long lists of video uploads that were hard to understand or group together.  Email subscription was the best way to keep up.  It was barely social.

That all changed today.

In what was probably the biggest upgrade since Google bought YouTube, channels can be restructured to display videos in the form of a series, much like a television network groups their shows together for DVR or On Demand.  It even tracks which episodes you’ve already watched in a series.

Each YouTube account also has a news feed feature, much like other social networks. To make it more social, the new YouTube is even more integrated with Google+, Facebook, and Twitter.  This makes it much easier for interested viewers to subscribe and interact with brands or personalities that they enjoy.  It keeps each channel fresh, even when no new videos are posted.

It’s a lot more like TV now.  It’s how it should be.

I really like it.

Channels Using the New YouTube Channel Upgrade

You can see screenshots of the new upgrades below:

New YouTube Channel Design

 

 

New YouTube News Feed with Google+ Integration

 

 

If you have any questions about the new YouTube upgrade, feel free to post the questions below, on the 8pm Warriors Facebook discussion forum, or on twitter @Biebert. I’ll do my best to answer or point you in the right direction.

Have a great night,

Aaron@Biebert

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Attention Era: Why You Should “Like” What You Like

Something big is happening and it requires your attention. Literally.

We’re in the Attention Era now and we’ve got a million things coming at us. Actually, it’s more like a trillion.

Each year the world wades through:

  • 90 trillion emails sent
  • 1 trillion ads displayed on Facebook
  • 1.1 trillion videos watched on YouTube
  • 1 trillion websites indexed by Google

Wow, that’s a lot of stuff coming at us! There’s no way to keep up.

Luckily, websites like Facebook, YouTube, Google+, Gmail, StumbleUpon, and others are helping you sort through these messages to find what you want or need to see.  Other sites are learning quickly.

They need your help.

On Facebook, you have to click “Like” or comment on things you actually care about for the sorting to work well.  On Google+, you have to click +1.  All of these systems require something from you if they’re going to pull you from the overwhelming ocean of information we’re drowning in.

The next time you see something or someone great, do yourself a favor and click “Like”.

It’ll save you time in the long run.

Have a great night,

Aaron@Biebert

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+1 Reason Why Leaders Need to Join Google+ Now

This is a different take on why Google+ matters.

To me, it’s not about the features, Facebook, or anything else out there.  It’s about you.

Since my initial Google+ introduction and invitation on Wednesday, I’ve been researching, discussing, and thinking about how it can be utilized by businesses and leaders.  My goal was to write a definitive post on why Google+ matters and why my fellow 8pm Warriors should get on it. Google Plus Logo

Unfortunately, the more I researched, the more I realized it wasn’t the features that mattered.  There was a bigger reason to join…

There are many “Top Reasons to Try Google+” lists out there already, but given that both Facebook and Google have plans to continue changing things (Facebook adds Skype next week), these lists will be obsolete in a couple months, if not weeks.

For me, there is only one simple reason that you as a leader need to join Google+ and it goes to the heart of leadership itself:

Leaders must lead, not follow.

When there is a new frontier and a new opportunity to be a pioneer, leaders must lead.  They cannot wait for the rest of the world to decide if something is successful or not, they must beat the gold rush.  Being a first mover matters.  Slow leaders aren’t leaders at all in a modern era…they are followers.

I’m going to explain myself below.  However, if you’re still trying to figure out if Facebook is a fad, I don’t recommend reading any further.  I will be wasting your time.

Instead, I recommend reading this first:  Time for Sleeping Leaders to Awake

If you haven’t clicked off yet, I’ll assume you agree that the world has changed and social media isn’t a fad, but rather a fundamental and permanent shift in the way much of the world relates to the people and brands in their life.

I’m confident that social media isn’t going away, and neither is Google+.

Here’s why Google+ is here to stay:

I know that Google has screwed up several new attempts at social networking in the past (i.e. Buzz, Wave, Health, etc.), but this time it will be different.  If there is one thing that I’ve learned during my time reviewing the site and testing the features, it’s that they’ve finally figured out a way to bring all of their pieces of the social puzzle together.  Even though they aren’t all fully functional (i.e. Youtube for video and Picasa for pictures), it’s all but certain they will be soon.

Also, it’s going to be an effective alternative to Facebook.  Too many people dislike Facebook for whatever reason, and too many of us already use most of the pieces of the Google+ package (YouTube, Gmail, Picasa, Android, Google News, Google Chat, etc.).

Since we’re using most of it anyway, especially if you have an Android phone, it’ll be smart and easy to bring it all together into one social package, even if it isn’t your primary network.  That’s why Google+ will survive and may thrive.

You’re already using it!

Looking for more reasons why it’s a safe bet?  Read more here

Leaders need to try Google+ sooner, not later:

Let me start with my Facebook story.

Remember when most people thought Facebook was just a college kid thing?

I joined Facebook right when it opened to non-college students and immediately began building a network of healthcare people as part of the Clear Medical Network initiative.  Our goal was to prepare for a world of severe medical personnel shortages.

With that first-mover advantage, our team was able to build communities that served over 43,000 segmented groups of people.  Not only is that an asset for the future, but it helped us weather the job market crisis better than most of our competitors who are no longer in business.

Leaders starting now are way behind.  It’s so hard to build Facebook page communities now without expensive giveaways and advertising.  It’s a mature platform.

At the beginning, all it cost us was time.  Now with valuation of $100 per person, the network may be worth over $4,000,000 and growing as the demand for nurses and doctors moves towards a critical point.  All with no giveaways or advertising.

Why?  Because we were pioneers.

Lessons from the Pioneers

There are some things we can all learn from early adopters of tools like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and Google+

New platforms are like frontiers.  There are risks, hazards, a journey, and rewards.

Interactions with pioneers are closer, more intimate.  It’s easier to make meaningful connections as most early adopters help each other discover the new world.

Consequently, early adopters have the advantage of forming larger and tighter groups of people.  If you are in a people business, this is something you need to be thinking about.

Where’s the Return on Investment?

Assuming you’ve agreed with me up to this point, you are still probably wondering where does the return on investment come from if you’re not in the business of social media specifically.

Here is where I see the ROI:

Brand pages are coming soon (think Facebook pages)

We all know how valuable they are to a business now.  This will be similar.  The sooner you get on, the better.  I guarantee your competitors will be there.  I will.

It will help with Social Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Part of Google+ includes a social bookmarking module that tracks the use of the new Google +1 social search system.  I believe that it will encourage users to use the +1 system and that future upgrades of Google+ will tie this feature in with the business pages.  If you learn the system now, you’ll be in a much stronger position to benefit from these SEO benefits as they arrive.

Good old fashion networking

I think it’s safe to assume that there is a certain ROI in simply expanding one’s network and ability to reach new people.  This is a new tool for that.

Final Notes:

I’ve tried almost every social network out there, including Google’s other social platform called Orkut, and my gut is telling me this has real staying power.  Of course I could be wrong, but that shouldn’t be a reason not to follow my gut.

Nevertheless, this is a new frontier and I feel like a pioneer.

Join me.

Have a great night,

Aaron@Biebert
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Attention: It’s Got to be All or Nothing

I only meet in person to build a stronger relationship.  There’s just one small problem.

Emails, texts, tweets, and Facebook mobile allow us to be at a meeting, meal, bar, or date with a person and still communicate with others who aren’t there.  Because these messages go with us everywhere our phone does, they are hard to ignore.  Luckily, they can be fielded discreetly and quickly.

But should we do it?

The world is rapidly changing and some questions haven’t been fully asked and answered. I think it’s time. Some younger folks don’t even understand how to build face-to-face relationships anymore.

Have we forgotten how to focus on one person at a time?  I know I do sometimes…

Some of my online relationships are just as important as my local ones, but is it possible that frequent interruptions of live conversation or “talking and texting” actually cause damage to a relationship?  Would it be better not to have the dinner at all?

Does a distracted dinner create resentment?

I think it does!

It might be hard, but we need to draw a line in our heads when we enter into a live conversation.  It’s much different than twitter or email where people can wait a few seconds for a response.   Humans aren’t geared that way and I don’t think they ever will be.

We meet in person for a reason.  These days you can just email, call, or Skype someone if you want to talk.  We meet with people to build something stronger.

So let’s do it!

For successful “in person” relationships, your attention has to be all or nothing.

Have a great night,

Aaron@Biebert
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6 Levels of Social Media Investment

Recently, I wrote that it was time for leaders to get on board with social media.  Some were confused.

What did I mean?

A few people thought I was advocating for huge social media marketing budgets and ignoring the need for a return on investment (ROI).  I don’t like wasting money, so I need to clarify the difference between opening an account on a social networking channel and doing full-fledged social media marketing campaigns with original content.

There are varying levels of investment.

A sliding social media investment scale starts with simply opening an account and ends when an organization is actively creating content and launching innovative social media marketing.

There is no guarantee of a proportionate return on an increasing investment.  The more you invest, the higher chance that you could be wasting resources.  However, the less you invest, the higher chance that you’re missing out on new opportunities.  The most successful marketing leaders will find the sweet spot for their organizations.

To illustrate, here are the 6 levels as I see them, along with some examples:

Level 0) I can’t find you on Facebook, Twitter, or Linkedin

Level 1) Offering a One Way Communication Channel

Level 2) Listening and Learning

Level 3) Engaging

Level 4) Content Sharing

Level 5) Content Creation

How much do you need to do on Social Media before you begin wasting resources? That is the Billion Dollar question.  Let me know if you come up with the answer for everyone.

What’s your take?

Have a great night,

Aaron@Biebert

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