Tweeting or Sex?

Do you feel a compulsion to check your phone for activity on Twitter? Tweeting or checking emails may be harder to resist than cigarettes and alcohol, according to researchers who tried to measure how well people could resist their desires. They even claim that while sleep and sex may be stronger urges, people are more likely to give in to longings or cravings to use social and other media because it is free!

A team headed by Wilhelm Hofmann of Chicago University’s Booth Business School say their experiment, using BlackBerrys to gauge the willpower of 205 people aged between 18 and 85 in and around the German city of Würtzburg is the first to monitor responses outside a laboratory.

The participants were signaled seven times a day over 14 hours for seven consecutive days so they could message back whether they were experiencing a desire at that moment or had experienced one within the last 30 minutes, what type it was, the strength (up to irresistible), whether it conflicted with other desires and whether they resisted or went along with it. There were 10,558 responses and 7,827 “desire episodes” reported.

“Modern life is a welter of assorted desires marked by frequent conflict and resistance, the latter with uneven success,” said Hofmann. Sleep and leisure were the most problematic desires, suggesting “pervasive tension between natural inclinations to rest and relax and the multitude of work and other obligations”.

The researchers found that as the day wore on, willpower became lower. Their paper says highest “self-control failure rates” were recorded with media. “Resisting the desire to work was likewise prone to fail. In contrast, people were relatively successful at resisting sports inclinations, sexual urges, and spending impulses, which seems surprising given the salience in modern culture of disastrous failures to control sexual impulses and urges to spend money. Desires for media may be comparatively harder to resist because of their high availability and also because it feels like it does not ‘cost much’ to engage in these activities, even though one wants to resist.”

Social media is free and hard to resist! We are all hardwired to desire connection.

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The Gentle Art of Persuasion….

Persuasion is often discussed as though changing people’s minds is about using the right arguments, the right tone of voice or the right negotiation tactic. I want to look at persuasion a different way, free from creating buyers remorse. Effective influence and persuasion is about understanding people’s motivations not manipulation. Learning to shift a customer’s perspective the best kind of persuasion. If you can change a customer’s perspective on a trend, for example, you can drive their sales through the roof.

1. Goal of affiliation

For the most part humans are very social, so they want to be liked. Rejection is no fun and we’ll do almost anything to avoid it.  We try to affiliate with other people by behaving in ways we assume will be attractive, like agreeing with them or complimenting them.  Not only do we want approval from specific people, we also want it from society at large  We want the things we do, think and believe to be broadly in line with what others do, think and believe.  Most people are joiners and followers so influencers like to give us something to join and someone to follow.  The current explosion in social media leverages this fact!

2. Goal of accuracy

To achieve our goals in what is a complicated world, we have to be continually trying to work out the best course of action. Finding what works!  People are always striving for the ‘right’ answer.  Influencers understand our need to be right. The techniques of social proof and scarcity both nag at our desire to be accurate because we assume other people are likely to be right and we don’t want to miss out on a bargain or a trend. Understanding social proof when it helps keep a client current and relevant is huge marketing tool.  Use real statistics to let the customer know their strategy is working and valuable. Compare their results to their competitor. It is essential to manage a customer’s expectations to validate their goal of accuracy.

3. Goal of maintaining positive self-concept

People want to protect their view of themselves. We work hard to keep our world-views intact: we want to maintain our self-esteem, to continue believing in the things we believe in and to honour whatever commitments we have espoused in the past. Persuaders and influencers can leverage this goal by invoking our sense of self-consistency.  Designing products and services which help your customer stay consistent with their self image makes selling easy. People will go to surprising lengths to maintain their positive view of themselves.  Make your product or service the smart, highly valued choice. Your job of selling will turn effortless.

Understanding why people do what they do is essential in drafting and executing your brand strategy.  Follow us on Facebook or find us on Twitter.  Call today 713-628-0701 for more ways to build and execute your brand strategy.

Emotional Branding…..the Compelling Why?

Creating an emotional connection between customers and a brand is probably the highest achievement in marketing.  Most often, brands strive for this mark by being the best at something and then reinforcing that position at every opportunity. The bond or connection is forged when you can answer the compelling why? Why should a customer buy your brand?  What compels customers to choose you?  If you have answered the why, you have started the emotional branding process.

Think about Apple and Starbucks as examples of emotional brands.  Have they created a connection with their customers?

The best way is to create a brand connection is for them to experience a difference.  Why are you different? Is your product one of a kind?  If not, then is your service exceptional?  When building emotion into your brand customers go through stages….

Emotional Stage 1 – How you get someone interested? Why should they choose you?

Emotional Stage 2 – How do you get someone to consider a purchase? Do you offer value or experience?

Emotional Stage 3 – How do you continually reinforce that their purchase decision was absolutely the right decision?  Did you create value or experience?

Emotional Stage 4 – How do you create a loyal customer such that they want to continue to buy your product or service? Can you cross or up sell?

Emotional Stage 5 – How do you create a brand connection so that your brand becomes part of your customer’s life?  Do you have a way to communicate to your customers: email, Facebook, twitter or text? Remember, out of sight out of mind.

Emotional Stage 6 – How do you get your audience to be your ambassador?

Getting customers emotionally invested in your brand success is the pinnacle of marketing success.  Find us on Facebook & Twitter @ata2udmedia

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The Why of Social Media…..

Business owners are always asking, “why should I use social media for my business?” Recently, I found a blog written by Brick Marketing ( that gives a great explanation.
Social media has become a daily part of nearly everyone’s life. According to studies by The Pew Foundation, Nielson Research and others, millions of people are active on at least one social networking site each day.  Numbers alone do not answer the “why” of social media. Here’s why an active social media presence is so important:
Search Engine Optimization
The search engines pay attention to social media data and use it to determine search engine ranking. The search engines view content links that are shared frequently in social media as trusted. Since the search engines want to provide valuable search results, they will consider this as a ranking factor which means that the more frequently content gets shared in social media, the better chances it has of ranking well. Obviously, a search engine presence (or lack thereof) plays a huge role in the success of a website.

Traffic Generation
While it’s great to get social media followers, the ultimate goal of a social media marketing campaign should be to drive traffic to your business website. That’s why it’s so important to have the right social media followers, ones that are actually interested in the products or services that you offer. Thousands upon thousands of followers don’t mean much if they never take action and visit your website or blog to learn more.

Public Relations
Social media provides information in real time and has become a primary source of news. While it shouldn’t necessarily replace traditional PR or submitting online press releases, it’s another avenue to share information about your business and interact with members of the press.

Brand Building
Every industry is competitive online today. The businesses that will find the most success are the ones that are transparent and willing to share information with target audience members in order to become a trusted source. Social media is one avenue to share such information and connect with potential clients or customers in order to give them a positive view of your business and brand.

Everything in the social media world revolves around connection.  Connection is your ability to interact with satisfied customers and seek referrals.  If you believe 70-80% of your new business comes from repeat customers and referrals, then using social media to network is a very nature extension of your current business development model.

Find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to learn more about using social media to build your brand.

Social Media for Marketing….

Using social media for marketing is the simple use of technology to amp up your networking. How have things changed? Social media is great equalizer, giving you direct access to people through Facebook instant messages or tweets.  If I’m looking for a product, I’m more likely to broadcast a tweet on Twitter, and get the opinions of people I trust. social-media-marketing

Only when I cannot get a valued and trusted referral, would I rely on a search engine that is manipulated by people in the SEO business. SEO and organic search is about getting found passively.

Social media technologies used to amp up WOM (word of mouth) marketing by starting brand conversations.  Word of mouth is taking over faster than ever, thanks to the reach of Facebook, Twitter and Google+.  You can jump into the conversations and take an active role in getting traffic to your site.   This conversation approach uses the best attributes of social media to connect you to your audience but it is not free nor easy.

Here are your necessary tools:

A website with social integration (a Facebook fan page and twitter) and a blog.  Now….

1) Subscribe to the Google Alerts.   Not only one keyword in Google but dozens surrounding your market.

2) Participate in blog conversations.  Jump into every conversation related to your topic. Go comment on their blogs. Social bookmark every post you comment on.

3) Go to Twitter Search and type in your keyword phrase.

4) Answer great questions on your blog. Start conversations and answer questions on your blog. What questions? As you monitor the Twitter feed, you’ll see plenty of questions being asked.   Also, each time a client asks a question answer it on your blog.
5) Direct prospects to your products by conversation.  Your conversation should always end by bookmarking your web or social sites.

Your brand conversation social interaction is telling your story and creating influence.  Look at the graphic below from Dynamic Media Group showing the buying decision and where influence is the greatest.  In the early stages of thinking, asking and talking you have the best chance of showing your expertise and influencing a buying decision.  influence

Between conversing with customers and connecting far-flung employees and operations, social media has become a prized resource for small businesses. And many business owners now say their efforts are paying off.  Four in 10 women-led business owners attributed an increase in revenue to their social media efforts, with 10 percent reporting a “significant” revenue jump, according to a survey conducted by Women Presidents’ Organization.1

Pushing Your Ideas….

Don’t be afraid to send out your own unique ideas and concepts for the purpose of allowing your community to add their take on it. In many ways, social media can serve as a very large free focus group that can help you gauge the interest in potential future projects. Too many opportunities are missed by not giving enough people the chance to give their take on an idea prior to it coming to life.

Social media is an excellent marketing platform for companies and individuals that take the time to learn how it works. What was once a steadfast and scientific understanding of marketing is now a constantly evolving conversation that gives your customers and audience the opportunity to take part in a two-way conversation with you and connect on a level on social media can provide.

Truly great communicators don’t start out by focusing on their message.  They start with their audience.  They research, observe, and monitor every knowable detail – from background facts beforehand to micro-reactions during the conversation – and adjust their content and delivery precisely, so it will make an impact.2

Ready to us social media for marketing?  Call us today 713-628-0701.

Social Games are Growing…..

The number of people who play online social games is on the rise. Most of us probably already assumed as much. A new survey, commissioned by PopCap Games, confirms the trend. More than four out of 10 U.S. Internet users (41%) play social games at least 15 minutes weekly, compared to 24% of Net users in Jan. 2010, according the research conducted by Information Solutions Group. That means about 98 million in the U.S. play online social games. The results are based on 1,201 online surveys done by Toluna‘s Internet ePanel in the United States and the U.K. Sept. 15-22.

The number of devoted social gamers rose, too, with 16% saying that they play at least six hours weekly, compared to only 8% in 2010. Those who played social games in the last three months rose to 42%, compared to 28% in 2010.

Younger gamers coming to social games has brought the average age of a social game player in the U.S. down to 41.2 from 45 in 2010. Remaining the same: women social gamers still outnumber men by 55% to 45%.

Other findings from combined U.S. and U.K. data:

— In addition to playing social games on a desktop or laptop computer, more than one-third (38%) also play on a mobile phone, 20% use a game console and 10% play on a tablet.

— More than four in 10 (42%) said they have played more games over the past three months, compared to 35% last year.

— More than half (56%) of avid players — those playing more than six hours weekly) have played more in the past three months.

— Most popular sites to play social games were led by Facebook, where 91% said they played, followed by Google+ (17%), MySpace (15%) and Bebo (7%).

— Those who used real-world cash to buy virtual currency to use in social games rose 26%, compared to 14% last year.

— Most social gamers (83%) — and 86% of avid gamers — said they had played video games on other platforms such as a PC or game console prior to playing games on social networking sites.

— One-third (33%) of those who played on other gaming platforms said social games had caused them to play less on other platforms. More than half (55%) said it has remained about the same.

— Reasons for playing social games: fun and excitement (57%), competitive spirit (43%) and stress relief (42%), same top three as last year.1

PR in a Social World….

The Public Relations industry has a PR problem.  The explosion of social media has transformed the PR landscape.  The relationship between the members of the public and those communicating with them has fundamentally shifted. PR people have controlled the process for decades and the conversation only went one way. The traditional top down monologue now goes two ways in a conversation.

This new dialog has spawned its own set of definitions and terms. Instead of the term public relations, we now have earned media, word of mouth marketing and buzz marketing.  This PR attempt at re-branding also follows several embarrassments for the industry as new media makes it easier for consumers to learn about the blunders committed in trying to influence what they buy and believe.

Among the examples are:

1)    BP’s mishandling of the aftermath of its accident in the Gulf of Mexico;

2)    Facebook’s hiring of a public relations agency to try generating articles that would criticize the privacy practices of its rival, Google;

3)    ChapStick’s increased complaints about a new campaign, which asked consumers to “Be heard at,” by repeatedly deleting negative comments about the ads from the Facebook page; and

4)    Netflix lost hundreds of thousands of members with a plan, later rescinded, to divide into separate businesses.

“Before the rise of social media, public relations was about trying to manage the message an entity was sharing with its different audiences,” Mr. Lavelle said. “Now, P.R. has to be more about facilitating the ongoing conversation in an always-on world.”

A new definition will also help with recruitment, he added, because “to find someone good at P.R., you need some rigor around the practice.”

“In a world where the ordinary consumer is walking around with global publishing power in his or her pocket,” said Mr. Tisch, who is also Chief Executive at Argyle Communications, “the role of public relations and corporate communications has shifted from creating content to attempting to influence the content that’s created by others.”  What are public relations in a social world?

At Ata2ud Media, we believe you should makethe best first impression possible then be quick to admit your failings.  Every negative situation is an opportunity to improve your customer relations and become a better brand.  Call us today 713-628-0701 or find us on Facebook @ ata2udmedia.