Archive for the ‘Entrepreneur / Small Business Owner’ Category

There are many web series out there. Some are well done, others are not, some are strategically planned, some are experiments, some are serious, some are funny and many represent an opportunity for a brand to shamelessly promote their product. I say “shamelessly” in a very positive way.  We have all been exposed to traditional product placement in movies and televisions shows. But you may not be aware of how some of these web series are taking advantage of placing their products. The web series offers your brand a chance to not only show off your product but simultaneously provides a platform to  engage your audience on a very personal level, get them involved, allow them to share the experience and may even let them be part of the show.

The various web series below show a mix of all the elements noted above.

I found the following “Interactive social film” last year and it’s one of my favorite examples of a series that was extremely well done.  Watch a few of the episodes and you will get a better idea of the concept. You can also visit the Facebook page by clicking  HERE to read a few of the comments. When it was being filmed, fans were also given the chance to submit auditions to be a part of the series.

The Beauty Inside. Episode 1: Hello My Name is Alex

Concept: “Alex is in his mid-twenties. He lives in Los Angeles. He restores antiques. And he’s a pretty normal guy. Except for one thing: Everyday he wakes up looking like someone else. And it’s been happening for as long as he can remember. Welcome to, The Beauty Inside. The Beauty Inside is an interactive social film, presented by Intel and Toshiba”. Courtesy of “The Beauty Inside” Facebook Page.

 

Here are a few that incorporate cars. . .

Ford’s Escape my Life

“Finding herself in need of a new car, wardrobe designer Skylar Browning learns from a friend about a Ford marketing program in which high-profile entertainment peeps can try out brand-new cars for free. Skylar meets the head of the program, John Vernon who seems quite eager to help out, but when she gets home with her new 2013 Ford Escape, Skylar is shocked to find that it comes with its own babysitter — a strange man named Barry”. Courtesy of “Ford’s Escape my Life YouTube Channel. On Facebook click HERE

 

Date Better with Sentra: Episode 1

“Meet Jeff and Felicia, two star-crossed lovers who are almost right for each other. If only Jeff could add some smooth to his pickup routine. Luckily, our suave narrator swoops in and name-drops the Nissan Sentra’s CVT transmission, which gets you to your destination as smoothly as possible.”  Courtesy of Nissan’s YouTube Channel. On Facebook click HERE

 

More Shameless Promotion. . .

Interested in learning more about how a web series can help you promote your brand? ÜberBlue Digital Media can help you with your strategy, concept, writing, production, promotion and distribution of your Web Series.  End of shameless promotion… Kind of. . .

What are your favorite Web Series and do they include a popular brand?  Feel free to also share a that you watch purely for enjoyment.

  Erik Hultman (a.k.a. E) is the Founder and President of ÜberBlueDM, Inc., specializing in Brand and Social Media Solutions for Brands, Businesses and Celebrities to build their social media success. He is also founder of the North Shore Entrepreneurial Network (NSEN)  in the Chicago Area. 

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How are you successful? What did you do to become successful? You have an opportunity here. You see, each one of you has been successful in some way. Maybe you have enjoyed amazing success. Maybe you turned a failing company into a profitable powerhouse? Maybe you retired at 45 years old? Maybe you would say you have only had limited success.  Either way I hope you can take a few minutes to share one or two stories of your own success with us here.

Many successful people will tell you that the only way to succeed, is through failure. You’ve probably heard this famous quote, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” -Thomas A. Edison. We all learn from failure. Some people like to hear more about people’s failures in business, than their success stories. Why? So they don’t make the same mistakes. In fact, if you have a story of  failures (a.k.a. what not to do in business), I know our readers would like to hear about them.  The advice you share through your past failures may just help someone who is trying to build a successful businesses.  True we could all go to another webinar, read another self-help book or watch a video. But we would rather hear from you. Also, if your success came from any others sources you respect, let us know.

As you know I do like to include videos in my posts. I was looking for one or two that would meld well with the theme “Success”.  Steve Jobs explains the rules for success. . .

 

On a more lighthearted look at how to be successful I also found the Michael J. Fox full length movie from the 80’s, “The Secret of My Success”. Not sure that it is exactly the roadmap we should follow but you might find it entertaining.

 

So what is YOUR secret to success? 

 Erik Hultman (a.k.a. E) is the Founder and President of ÜberBlueDM, Inc., specializing in Social Media Solutions for Brands, Businesses and Celebrities to build their social media success. He is also founder of the North Shore Entrepreneurial Network (NSEN)  in the Chicago Area.

 

 

 

How often do you check to see what FREE tools or applications Google is offering to make your business more successful? What tools and apps do they offer for FREE that you might be able to use instead of others you are paying for from another vendor? If you aren’t checking regularly for these tools, you should begin doing so now. A few examples. . .

I was in a meeting the other day and we were talking about the new Google Maps app. We both commented that the turn by turn narration is fantastic and much better than having to look at the apple map app. True, this isn’t something new. “TomTom” and Garmin have been providing GPS for years. But the question you must ask yourself is, “Why pay for a separate device, when you have a free version from Google?” Are these vendors concerned that Google just took a big chunk of their business?

 

Let’s look at a few of the social media tools Google has available. 

Google + Hangouts. Better than Skype? Allowing you to add multiple people and its free. Skype makes you pay for a party of more than two. Sure it’s only $4.99 per month but why pay? Should Microsoft (Skype’s parent) be concerned? The track record for Skype’s ability to earn money hasn’t been all that great. Many people will still use Skype because they don’t have a G+ account and do not want one. Most people do have a Gmail account and getting the G+ account simply to use Hangouts is very easy.

Google: Social Analytics

If you have a website and you aren’t using analytics yet, you should be. You will learn quickly that you can see what, why and how people are finding you on the web.. There are other tools out there to use, but we are talking about Google’s FREE tools here. If you are already using Google Analytics, you may not be familiar yet with all of the functionality and reporting it offers beyond “how many visitors” you have.  Social Analytics for example, has the capability to provide you with the tools necessary to “measure the impact of social and tie it all back to your bottom line revenue through goals and conversions”.

 

Now anyone can argue pros and cons of free vs. paid tools. But Google is making it pretty easy to take a hard look at why you would want to pay for other tools. The more tools they make available for FREE, the more money you have, to spend elsewhere on getting your brand noticed. And let’s be honest here, Google controls two of the biggest search engines out there, Google and YouTube.  A pretty solid argument for figuring that a percentage of your expenditure is going to be with Google. You just need to determine how to get the most for your money.

Some scoff that Google has spent a lot of money on a variety of tools, products and apps only to dump them later.

 

Tennyson“I hold it true, whate’er befall;

I feel it, when I sorrow most;

‘Tis better to have loved and lost

Than never to have loved at all.”

[Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s poem “In Memoriam A.H.H. Section 27 (1850)]

Many of Google’s trial tools and apps have been successful and in return have driven millions of dollars in business their way.  Whether you love them or not the entrepreneurial spirit continues to be alive and well at Google.

If there is a tool we can recommend to our clients that’s FREE vs. paid you can be sure we will tell them about it. If the tool is optimal and FREE, the money the client saves can be spent on something else they may need for the campaign or they can simply bank it.

So what are your favorite Google tools, apps, and platforms that you use for business?

 Erik Hultman (a.k.a. E) is the Founder and President of ÜberBlueDM, Inc., specializing in Social Media Solutions for Brands, Businesses and Celebrities to build their social media success. He is also founder of the North Shore Entrepreneurial Network (NSEN)  in the Chicago Area.

Some people think that members of a Polar Bear Club are among the bravest people in the world on a frigid, sub-zero January 1st morning. Yet others think this group of people is absolutely crazy to submit their bodies to such extremely cold temperatures!  Metaphorically speaking, countless people were ready to jump into the social media waters with both feet first, just a few years ago. And they did.  At the same time of course, others had severe reservations, one might say “cold feet” about braving the waters, never quite comfortable enough to take the plunge.

Where are you today with your social media strategy? Are you swimming in the frigid waters on January 1st, sitting this one out or getting ready to take the plunge?

In keeping with the theme of this post whether you are swimming in the shallow or the deep end you may want to consider a social media “swimming lesson”. I see a lot of frustrated people out there wondering why they originally took the plunge into the social media waters in the first place.  You might even be thinking that social media doesn’t need to be part of your overall brand strategy.  If this is your strategic position you may want to reconsider and ask yourself why you have arrived at this conclusion.

How would you complete the following sentence? Our social media strategy is working because. . .

  • we have ALWAYS done it this way.
  • that’s what our competitors are doing.
  • we are spending a lot of money.
  • I don’t really understand it so it must be working.

If you feel like you are drowning in a sea of social media despair now is the time to take a hard look at your strategy, tactics, resources and goals. The starting gun has already fired and others are in the pool ahead of you. You don’t have to be left standing on the starting block. Before you know it, 2013 will be down the lane and the race will be over.  You can sink or swim or simply sit this one out. The choice is yours. If you make the right choices you may become the greatest social media swimmer in the world.

And now an inspirational video. . .

 

If you are looking for another great post (Yes, I am biased but you will enjoy this one) as you think about your resolutions this year,   I encourage you to look at “Resolve That Nobody Steals Your Time” by our Brand Strategist, Dan Gershenson.  In addition to some amazingly relevant tips about your professional time Dan notes, “This year, I’m going to protect my professional time like nobody’s business.” Read on to see why we all need to do this if we intend to be successful this year!

 Erik Hultman (a.k.a. E) is the Founder and President of ÜberBlueDM, Inc., specializing in Social Media Solutions for Brands, Businesses and Celebrities to build their social media success. He is also founder of the North Shore Entrepreneurial Network (NSEN)  in the Chicago Area.

North Shore Entrepreneurial Network Mega Bash December 11 2012 006I am taking a quick survey to see how you are connecting with your clients this holiday season. In the past, holiday cards and gifts were sent (gifts for your better clients). Some companies had elaborate holiday parties that clients were invited to attend. The economy, traditions, and dare I say return on investment are all determining factors in what companies are deciding to do this year.  Many companies have decided to put a hold on the traditions for both employees and clients alike.

So how are you and/or your company addressing the holiday dilemma? Are you going with the same tradition, new tradition or no tradition of giving, in this digital age?

Remember, sometimes the decision to stick with tradition is a good idea. Let’s not forgetClark Griswold how Clark Griswold felt that one special Christmas expecting the holiday bonus and getting the “Jelly of the Month Club” instead.

A Happy and Healthy Holiday Season to ALL! And yes, you can consider this your very special holiday greeting from me.

 Erik Hultman (a.k.a. E) is the Founder and President of ÜberBlueDM, Inc., specializing in Social Media Solutions for Brands, Businesses and Celebrities to build their social media success. He is also founder of the North Shore Entrepreneurial Network (NSEN)  in the Chicago Area.

Did you ever notice that people seem to complain more when they get something for free? Have you also noticed that people seem surprised when they find out that a business is actually in the business to make money? Not long ago I read an exclusive post from Reuters: Facebook to charge merchants to run offers. The Post said, “The service has been free, but in coming weeks Facebook will require merchants to pay at least $5 on related ads to promote each Facebook Offer to a targeted audience of fans and friends of fans. The cost will vary based on the size of a company’s Facebook pages.” Facebook is also expanding Offers to online-only businesses. Before, the service was available only to merchants with physical locations.”

Yes, Facebook offers have been in existence for a while but recently I have seen a number of comments being made about Facebook’s move to generate revenue in this way as unacceptable to their users. One comment on Facebook urged fans to be sure to adjust their settings because Facebook is limiting the amount of posts you will see from a group’s page if they don’t pay. See a remedy for this below.

There seems to be a trend developing. Some people seem to have a sense of entitlement. While there are “Free” social platforms, services, information, music, discounts, etc. clearly it has become problematic for some businesses who now actually want to make money.  Why it is that successful entrepreneurs and businesses are labeled “too successful” or that they “dominate the market”? Why are they scorned when they want to charge a fee for what they offer? If you personally started a business, chances are very good that you’ll want to not only make money but also want to be hugely successful. If that were the case would you feel that the public or even the government were justified in knocking you down for being successful?

The truth of the matter is that it’s your choice to use any social platform on the web that’s free.  I also think that if you are paying for a service, you definitely deserve a level of service that should be spelled out by that platform in terms of what you will receive for your money. If changes are made to a platform and you don’t agree with them, then it’s certainly your option to stop using that platform.

With that said. . .with the new changes coming be sure to monitor your business page “Insights” to see if traffic to your page has dropped off in new visitors or engagement from current visitors. If so you will need to determine how important that is for the success of your business. If paying a nominal fee continues to grow your revenue, is it worth it?

So, do you think that Facebook or others should be able to charge businesses a nominal fee for using their platforms to generate revenue?

And now the Remedy for getting information from things you “Like”

If you are a fan of a page and want to be sure you are seeing all the updates from a page do the following.

  • Go to the page that you have “Liked”
  • Next to the “Liked” and “Message” box below the cover pictures select the dropdown
  • Select, “Add to Interest Lists. . .”
  • Create and name a new interest list
  • Now on your main page you will see updates for these pages/topics in Interests on the left hand side

 

Erik Hultman (a.k.a. E) is the Founder and President of ÜberBlueDM, Inc., specializing in Social Media Solutions for Brands, Businesses and Celebrities to build their social media success. He is also founder of the North Shore Entrepreneurial Network (NSEN)  in the Chicago Area.

I took some time off during the summer. As an entrepreneur, its important, no matter how busy you are that you take time off to recharge. It could be an hour, half day, full day, one week or even longer. Some of you might think your business will simply fail if you take time off. If taking time off wrecks your business, you probably have a much bigger problem.

I actually started writing this blog as an brief introduction to our monthly eNewsletter: “What’s News at ÜberBlue Digital Media” but felt there was more to say so I added a few thoughts below. Would you like to subscribe? Click [HERE]

We have a client who recently decided he would take the entire month of August off. I let him know how cool I thought his idea was, for a variety of reasons. He’d worked hard to build a very successful business and this had been one of his dreams, being able to take time off to play golf and enjoy some of the finer things in life, as a result. Perhaps most important, he also felt he could do this at this time because he had taken care to hire good people who were very capable of running the business while he was away.

Now I can already hear some of you saying out loud or in your brains, “I have to be in the office or things will crush”. Trust me when I tell you that if you don’t ever take time off you will regret that and YOU will crush.

TAKE TIME OFF! You will feel better, your employees will thank you and your business will benefit.

 

Tell us here what you did on your time off and how it helped. Vacation photos on Pinterest? Suggestions for where to go unwind? Thanks for sharing.

Erik Hultman (a.k.a. E) is the Founder and President of ÜberBlueDM, Inc., specializing in Social Media Solutions for Brands, Businesses and Celebrities to build their social media success. He is also founder of the North Shore Entrepreneurial Network (NSEN)  in the Chicago Area.

 

And now it’s time for a new feature we call, “YOU WRITE THE NEXT LINE”. The idea is that we all share our knowledge here with others. You may not consider yourself a writer or blogger. But that isn’t really the point. The point is that you have amazing experience that you can share with others. Thank you for your help with this “experiment in crowdwriting.”

I will start us out with the post below, then you add the next line in the comments section. Please keep your comments as clean as possible. Be creative, don’t be shy, share with your friends, and let’s see where it goes. . .

The train rolled into Union Station like it does every day at 12 Noon. But today is different. You see, today the train carries a passenger named Ted. Ted, an entrepreneur with a history of successful businesses recently started another new business and history wasn’t repeating itself. For the most part he was doing moderately well. But things were different this time around and more challenging than ever before. He needed to reinvent how to be successful in this new economy. Of course he knows that the problem could be his product or service. But he also has the feeling that he needs a fresh approach, help from others: friends, fellow-entrepreneurs or even experts, who might be attacking the “new business world” in a more effective way.  Who were the people, incubators, accelerators and where were the organizations he could turn to for help?

Today is the day. He decided it’s time; He is  going to get the help he needs. The train rolled to a stop and Ted stepped off, onto the platform. The city was begging for him to explore his options. He walked out onto Adams Street and . . .

[Continue the story in the Leave a Reply section below. . .]

Erik Hultman (a.k.a. E) is the Founder and President of ÜberBlueDM, Inc., specializing in Social Media Solutions for Brands, Businesses and Celebrities to build their social media success. He is also founder of the North Shore Entrepreneurial Network (NSEN)  in the Chicago Area.

I have seen a lot of Fall cleaning going on. You may have seen the following post from one of your friends. “I just cleaned up my friends on Facebook”.  If you are seeing the post, congratulations you made the cut. I wonder what the criteria were for you to still be on the friends list?  I have talked before about the numbers game on social platforms. The person with the most friends wins,  right?

What’s the point of having “x” number of friends on Facebook? There is that moment when you receive a friend request and you are thinking,  “Why does this person really want to connect with me?  I haven’t seen them or talked to them since???” Maybe it’s self-esteem related as in, “the more friends I have, the more I feel loved” factor. The reality is that no amount of friends can really make you feel good about yourself, unless they are truly friends. The definition of a friend is different for everyone.

The same holds true for the amount of “Likes” your brand has on Facebook. For every brand there may be a different definition of what a “Like” is really worth. As a brand you need to decide if that “Like” is someone who is buying something, spreading the word, sharing their knowledge and so on. If there isn’t something connecting that “Like” to your brand and ultimately resulting in revenue. . .then you really need to consider what type of “Likes” you are looking for.

Don’t wait until Spring cleaning time… Fall cleaning time is now.

How are you looking to clean up your brand strategy?

 Erik Hultman (a.k.a. E) is the Founder and President of ÜberBlueDM, Inc., specializing in Social Media Solutions for Brands, Businesses and Celebrities to build their social media success. He is also founder of the North Shore Entrepreneurial Network (NSEN)  in the Chicago Area.

Do you have employees? Do you take an active interest in what they are doing online?  The reason I ask is not for you to see if they are acting in the best interest of your company or if they are leaking proprietary information to your competition. It goes without saying that you should have a social media policy regarding those points.  I am suggesting that you read your employee’s online content so that you may learn something about them.

I am fortunate to work with some very gifted people. I am consistently amazed at my team’s brilliance. Given what ÜberBlue does, everyone on the team has an online presence, each one uniquely different with their own personality and perspective. I enjoy learning from them and finding out what they know and what they are interested in because typically we uncover something that will actually help us out with our day to day activities.

It’s true that not all of your employees will be writing content online or posting interesting things. But if they are, you have a real opportunity to get to know them better.  I know there is the potential for some content to be less than desirable. For our purposes here I choose to look for the good in all people and posts.  The content I’m talking about is information you may find in their blog, LinkedIn posts, YouTube videos and many other places.

If you take an active interest in your employees they may take more of an interest in you and your company.  Why not make it easy for them to show you what they can do.  Why not ask them if they have a blog, how you can find them on Pinterest or if their band has videos you could see on YouTube? And in turn share your online presence with them. The possibilities are endless.

What interesting things are your employees doing online? Share a link here or on our Facebook Page. We love to learn new things.


Erik Hultman (a.k.a. E) is the Founder and President of ÜberBlueDM, Inc., specializing in Social Media Solutions for Brands, Businesses and Celebrities to build their social media success. He is also founder of the North Shore Entrepreneurial Network (NSEN)  in the Chicago Area.