Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Dell helps small businesses navigate social media

Befuddled by the whole social media thing, and how it can actually help your local business?

Most small businesses are (befuddled, that is).

Anyway, Dell has created a Social Media for Small Business page on Facebook that helps - granted, it is necessary to have some clue what social media is. Check it out. There are some tips from Dell, and some tips from the community at large.

There are some spoilsports that use the page purely to advertise their businesses, but a lot of others (including Dell) that offer good tips...here's one from today:

Social Media for Small Business – Powered by Dell 27 Twitter applications to help you market your small business http://bit.ly/Gr1xW

Good job Dell! A Real Marketing application.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Having great time with fitness column

Most of you know I've started writing a San Jose Fitness column on Examiner.com. So far it has been terrific.

If you ever want to experience local - at a very real level - write a column that attempts to gather together information from a community as diverse as the Silicon Valley fitness community. There's Bollywood dancing, Zumba, and ballroom dancing. Hikes for seniors, skipping classes for toddlers (yup, learning to skip), and YMCA swim lessons.

With the slow, painful deterioration of our local newspaper there really is no central place for organizations, clubs, cities, etc to promote their various fitness offerings. So far I've discovered dozens of great events - from the Big Bunny Fun Run in Cupertino to the Healthy Trails challenge offered by Santa Clara County.

There are also thousands of fitness classes, boot camps, training activities and events.

The downside is marketing it. The Examiner does virtually no marketing for anything outside of San Francisco. To top it off, the column has an awful URL that pretty much guarantees no one will be able to remember it: http://www.examiner.com/x-5202-San-Jose-Fitness-Examiner

People can go to Examiner.com, type San Jose Fitness in the Search box, and come up the column, but that's awkward too. I'm mostly left to beg everyone to sign up for the column to be emailed to them. My hope is that my very smart friends, once exposed to what I'm trying to do, will be able to offer me good advice about what makes useful and marketable articles.

So if I haven't written and begged you so far, I will be soon. Go ahead. Beat me to the punch and sign up now.

And if you have marketing ideas, I'm listening.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Note to Comcast - Get Real

Last week I was feuding with Comcast. My fight with their robot-like customer service is not the issue I'm writing about, however. I'm writing about the company's choice to "hide" the real people in their company.

It started when I got a form letter from Ralph Martinez, Area Vice President, informing me I needed to get a new box and that "at no additional charge" I would be able to enjoy "over 10,000 On Demand titles and new channels...(etc)"

I called and got the box (the web site would not let me do it online), then activated it via chat (the web site would not let me do it automatically), BUT I was specifically told I could NOT get On Demand. So I wanted to write and protest to Ralph Martinez. But, no phone, no email, no address.

A company in hiding. I could go to their web site, contact anonymous customer service, chat with an anonymous drone who is provided with stock answers, or write their east coast headquarters, but not contact Ralph Martinez.

I found his HOME address on the Internet, but never his business address. Eventually, several days and a cranky chat session letter, I got the correct box. No apology. No explanations. No effort to sooth an irate customer.

It rankles me when executives hide...it says the company has so many complaints that its local executives have to stay in hiding.

Telling the story to two of my neighbors (bad news makes a great "over the fence" story), both of THEM also had recent (within 2 weeks) complaints and problems with Comcast. All three of us agreed, this is why we cannot trust Comcast with our "triple play" business (internet, phone, tv).

Truth is, I LIKE my tv service. It works. But I have incredible distrust for Comcast. Get real guys.