When “No Bullshit Social Media” Showed Up At My House

The last time I was this excited about opening up a box was last December, when I opened a box filled with copies of Branding Yourself. The first thing I did was call Kyle Lacy and congratulate and thank him.

No Bullshit Social Media books

This is one of the most beautiful sights I've ever seen.

This time, when my copies of No Bullshit Social Media showed up, I called Jason Falls to congratulate him, and had to leave him a voice mail message.

There comes a time in every writer’s life where publishing blog posts aren’t enough, and they have to resort to the printed word in newspapers and magazines. Or plays. Or speeches. Then, there comes a time when those aren’t enough. Then, it’s books. Self-published, vanity published, collections, and even big boy really-and-for-true publisher books.

Writing is a drug, and blogging is the gateway.

There is no greater high to a writer than to see his or her own name on the cover of a book that they didn’t have to shell out $2,000 to have printed.

I have a lot of people to thank for giving me that opportunity: our editor, Katherine Bull, who I fooled believed in me, and was willing to put up with Jason’s bullshit quirky mannerisms; Leslie O’Neill, our development editor, who made our book awesome; Brandon Prebynski, who made sure everything in our book was correct and really worked; my business partner, Paul Lorinczi, who kept me on track at work, and made sure I had the mental bandwidth to get everything done; and, my wife, Toni, who helped me keep a writing schedule and still find time for the family, and made sure I got at least 4 hours of sleep a night.

This is a momentous time for me, and I have not felt this proud since, well, last December. I appreciate everyone who helped me accomplish a writer’s dream for the third time. I appreciate everyone who has shared their knowledge with me over the years to make me the kind of person who could write a book like this. And I appreciate everyone who will buy the book, and maybe make it a best-seller (secret goal #4).

Will there be more books? Yes. Do I know when or what subject? No. Will they have a curse word in the title? Probably not. But I’m sure going to try.

10 Ways To Spot Bullshit In Social Media Vendors

My friend and writing partner for No Bullshit Social Media, Jason Falls, has an interesting take on what today’s social media hippies have in common with the early hippies of 1964.

In 1964, Beat Generation poet and newly-crowed author du jour Ken Kesey packed a merry band of friends into a van and led the group across the U.S. en route to the New York World’s Fair. Tripping on LSD most of the way, the Merry Pranksters sat out to enlighten America. Incredibly, though stopped by police on several occasions, according to a new documentary film about the journey called Magic Trip: Ken Kesey’s Search for a Kool Place, they were never arrested. Kesey’s friend Neal Cassady, who was the inspiration for Jack Kerouac’s On The Road protagonist Dean Moriarty, drove the bus and would fast talk his way around the law enforcement officers.

Remember, this wasn’t deep into the hippie era in the U.S. Some would argue this particular bus trip was the first real exposure to what hippies would become that much of America had ever seen. So when the police pulled the bus over, there wasn’t an automatic level of suspicion about pot or LSD or kids doing drugs. Besides, LSD was still legal then. The bus occupants were an eclectic bunch from California armed with movie cameras. “We’re making a movie,” was probably all the excuse Cassady needed to use to get around many unsuspecting law enforcement officers in that era.

Similarly, when social media’s early pioneers, only a few of whom I suspect of illegal drug use (joke), stood on their virtual pedestals and preached on and on about how the new world of marketing was all about conversation and engagement, many of us were razzle-dazzled by the potential of fulfilling the Cluetrain vision. Brands could become one again with the people. Perhaps even get on a bus, drink drug-laced Kool-Aid and enlighten the world.

While I didn’t live through the 60s, my parents were in the middle of it. Perhaps I am a direct result of them. Still, I wasn’t there. It’s hard for me to opine on what did or did not happen and why. But taking the pragmatists view that the grand bus trip that was the Beat and Hippie Generations was less about enlightenment and more about getting high, one can see the world of social media as less about enlightenment and more about playing online all day.

Okay, perhaps I’m being a bit snarky.

Like the police officers duped by Kesey’s merry band of Beats, businesses from the initial inklings of social media’s priests and prophets until recently have failed to see through the bullshit. Engagement, conversation, listening … all well and good, but where’s the other half of the equation? Where’s the money? Where’s the revenue? Where’s the business?

Certainly, there are dozens of companies who have seen the light, or gotten lucky with the opportunities, and have recorded social media successes. The Dells and Southwest Airlines of the world are to be commended for early adoption and visionary activation. But the vast majority of businesses are better trained cops. They still see social media as bullshit.

If only someone could convince business owners, small and large, marketing managers and the like that when you add the word “marketing” to the phrase “social media” it is not only about conversation and engagement, but also about business, the industry could continue to grow, perhaps more rapidly. Erik Deckers and I have (humbly) tried just that with our upcoming book No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide to Social Media Marketing . In it we recognize the genuine and genuinely accurate recommendations of the purists. But we also see through the fast-talk, smoke screen.

It’s not about playing online all day. It’s not a virtual commune where we all get enlightened. It can be a market. And goods and services can be bought and sold there. Companies are welcome, but if they play by the rules of the road, as it were.

For many of the puritanical themes, Erik and I spot the bullshit. In order to help you do the same with the consultants, agencies and experts you’re dealing with as you navigate the road of social media enlightenment, here are some warning signs you might have a bullshit artist at play:

10 Ways To Spot The Bullshit In Social Media Vendors

  1. It only takes them 15 seconds of the first answer to mention Twitter.
  2. They talk continually about “conversation” “listening” and “engagement” but never define what those are or what it means for your company to practice them.
  3. They fumble around, covering their tracks with ministerial-type rants about customer service when you ask them how social media can drive revenue.
  4. They talk about “the rules” of social media marketing.
  5. They only produce case studies everyone knows — Dell, Southwest Airlines, Comcast — and can’t cite local or small-business case studies readily.
  6. Their references don’t include businesses they’ve activated a social media strategy or tactic for.
  7. They talk of “building community” but focus the conversation on social networking software (Ning, Jive, etc.) rather than communications strategies that will foster community among your customers.
  8. When you ask about your website or search engine results they say neither have anything to do with social media.
  9. When you ask how they do market research they answer, “I use Google.”
  10. Just as you get to the desire to reduce customer acquisition cost, their eyes glaze over and the check their phone for messages.

We’re sure you have more ideas on how to spot the bullshit. The comments are yours.

For a free chapter of No Bullshit Social Media, jump over to the book website and download away! While you’re there, be sure to pre-order your copy at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million or Que Publishing.

And order a couple extra for those bullshit-sensitive friends and clients. We’d be honored if you did.

Your pre-orders should arrive in late September.

No Bullshit Social Media: No Tree-Hugging, Kumbaya BS

The following is a guest post by my fellow author and good friend, Jason Falls. It originally appeared on his Social Media Explorer blog.

Now that the world knows Erik Deckers and I have written the soon-to-be-published No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing, we’re beginning to do a lot of interviews. The first question we’re typically asked is, “Why did you write this book?” While that question is somewhat answered in the promotional video (see below) we recorded for the book’s spiffy new website, I thought it might be wise to dive a little deeper into that reasoning here.

No Bullshit Social Media cover

Available at NoBullshitSocialMedia.com

As you may have seen on the Exploring Social Media infographic Social Media: Bridging The Gap we published last month, the stark reality of the marketplace is that too many businesses, especially small businesses, aren’t using social media. Heck, 44 percent of small businesses don’t even have a website! Only 27 percent of small businesses use Facebook. Just 18 percent use LinkedIn. The numbers are similarly staggering for the use of SEO techniques and online advertising. An astonishing 65 percent of small businesses — many brick-and-mortar retail shops — say that mobile marketing is not valuable to them. And this one floored me: 68 percent of businesses update their websites no more frequently than once per month. (See the infographic for the various sources of that data.)

While I’m sure Erik and I could have penned, “No Bullshit Digital Marketing,” and frankly, we may have to, we wanted to deliver the business possibility for social media to the masses. Business owners, marketing managers, executives … the people who are running these companies who don’t use or see much reason for using social media, mobile marketing or Internet marketing at all … they need to see that you can use social media marketing with business in mind. You can plan for success. You can establish goals.

I’ve said a few times I think this might be the first book that looks at social media marketing through a strategic planning filter, like you would other communications channels. We’ve stripped away the tree-hugger, Kumbaya bullshit and laid out the seven drivers social media can fuel for your business. We’ve collected case studies and examples of how others are using social media to drive those seven areas and we’ve put it all together into a book that hands you a blueprint for success in the social realm.

In my opinion, the book should have been written and published two years ago. But fate/timing/whatever got in the way. It might be a little late to the conversation for some of you, but I’ll guarantee you it isn’t for the mainstream business owners and executives who are showing up in those statistics as not getting it.

My professional mission at this point in my career is to make social media marketing more accessible. I help individuals do that through my learning community and question-answer site at Exploring Social Media. I help companies do that individually as a social media marketing strategic consultant. I try to translate that when I give talks and speeches as a social media keynote speaker.

No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing is another way Erik and I can evangelize what we do and make social media marketing more accessible to those that need it most.

Download a free chapter at NoBullshitSocialMedia.com and pre-order your copy for a mid-October delivery today. We’d be honored if you did.

No Bullshit Social Media: One Jujuflop Away from Civil Collapse

There’s a great piece of narration from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy that talks about how certain words, which were once distasteful and unspeakable, are now perfectly acceptable to say.

Like “jujuflop.”No Bullshit Social Media cover

In today’s modern Galaxy there is, of course, very little still held to be unspeakable. Many words and expressions which only a matter of decades ago were considered so distastefully explicit that were they merely to be breathed in public, the perpetrator would be shunned, barred from polite society, and, in extreme cases, shot through the lungs, are now thought to be very healthy and proper, and their use in everyday speech is seen as evidence of a well-adjusted, relaxed, and totally unf**ked-up personality.

So, for instance, when in a recent national speech, the financial minister of the Royal World Estate of Qualvista actually dared to say that due to one thing and another, and the fact that no one had made any food for awhile and the king seemed to have died, and that most of the population had been on holiday now for over three years, the economy had now arrived at what he called, “One whole juju-flop situation,” everyone was so pleased he felt able to come out and say it, that they quite failed to notice that their five-thousand-year-old civilisation had just collapsed overnight.

I feel that way about No Bullshit Social Media, the book I wrote with Jason Falls. I’m not embarrassed by the title. I’m only worried that this is America’s jujuflop: 1) That no one is shocked by the title because we’ve all heard and said worse, and 2) that everyone is so pleased to see it in print that they fail to notice everything else has collapsed around them.

I can’t remember whose idea the title was, but when we pitched it to our editor, Katherine Bull (@katherinebull) and her department, there wasn’t a whole lot of pushback on it. There was some concern over what some of the bookstores might say, but they were all “meh” about it, so we knew we were golden.

I’m proud of the “No Bullshit” title and I’m proud of the work. There’s no question about that (although I won’t let my kids repeat it). And I know there are still some people who, despite my best efforts, will not speak or even write out the name of the title, despite my entreaties that they should honor the literary integrity of the book’s title.

(I actually respect them for this. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to quit trying to get them to say it.)

We picked the title, because that was the only way to describe the approach we were going to take in the book. That, and because we thought Gary Vaynerchuk might want the title . . .And The Horse You Rode In On for his next book.

So, don’t worry about whether you like the title. If you don’t believe social media is right for your company, you need to read it. You don’t have to say the name, you just have to read the book. This book is for you, whether you like the title or not.

No Bullshit describes the approach and it describes the attitude. We’re not going to snow you with lilting chants about “be a part of conversations with your customers” or other tree-hugging hippie bullshit, as Jason calls it. Social media marketing is about the bottom line. About making money. About finding a way to turn this free marketing channel into one that brings in revenue.

Because the executives and business owners who pooh-pooh social media as a passing fad or merely for young people are missing out on a chance to make more money, win new customers, and ensure their company’s very survival.

And that’s no bullshit.

Announcing The New No Bullshit Social Media Book with Jason Falls

I’ve always wanted to have a book cover with a dirty word on it. Nothing horrific, nothing you would find in “those” bookstores with a plain brown wrapper on it. But something a little shocking.No Bullshit Social Media cover

That’s what I’ve written with my good friend Jason Falls: No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide to Social Media Marketing.

We’re launching this book in October, and it will be found in “real” bookstores like Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, and Borders. You can also get it on Amazon.com and BN.com.

As I’ve talked to businesses over the last few years about social media marketing, I run into the same excuses for why they’re scared to they don’t want to use social media:

  • Our customers don’t use it.
  • People will talk about us.
  • Our employees won’t use it right.
  • It’s still just for young people.

And we cite statistics and show real-world examples — here are your customers on it; they’re already talking about you; the fastest growing Facebook demographic is women age 50 – 60 — and still run into the same resistance and fears that have been ruling them. The same stupid reasons they gave for the telephone, the personal computer, cell phones, and the fax machine. Customers don’t use it, staff will abuse it, yada yada yada.

No Bullshit Social Media makes the business case for small businesses and large corporations about why and how they should use social media to improve their bottom line. It’s not a strategy-development book, or a how-to book. It’s written at a mid-level view for the C-level and for the small business owner about what social media does and where other companies have used it with great success. It shows what departments you can use it in, and how you make money with it.

Jason and I also want to come to your town and deliver the No Bullshit message in person. We’re putting together a book tour and quickly adding more dates.

If you have a group, organization or business that would like to sponsor a book tour visit, we’re keeping it simple: Travel expenses and 100 books for one of us, travel expenses and 200 books for both. (We can even help you get bulk book discounts.) Give the books away to the attendees, your company, or local businesses. We’ll talk to your group, get them fired up about social media marketing, and even sign books.

I’m thrilled and honored that Jason agreed to write this book, after a late-night text this past December. He’s been great to work with, and I’m constantly amazed at the way his brain works, as well as the Pearson editorial staff’s ability to deal with it. And him.

I’m looking forward to how well you — and the hopefully thousands of business owners — receive the book. Thank you for your support.