Why the Olympics could be bad for your business

Olympics London 2012
Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The 2012 Summer Olympics are approaching quickly. Soon status updates and tweets will be flooding timelines and feeds with the latest stories, winners, broken records, upsets and national pride. What could possibly be wrong with that, you ask? Well, if you’re trying to still garner any attention during the Olympics, you may find your attempts getting buried and ignored by distracted potential customers (y’know, even more than they already are.) I read an article in Inc. Magazine about a company called Elemental that will be providing the technology to live stream the Olympics events to mobile devices. What could possibly be more distracting than that? It has also been said that this Olympics will be remembered as the first truly Social Olympics, Facebook has partnered with NBC to promote coverage, and athletes are being held to strict regulations. So what are you to do?

You’re going to have to get involved. That’s right, you need to do a couple things to keep yourself relevant while those Olympians are fighting for the gold, and the attention of your customers:

  1. Inject yourself into the conversation –  Let’s be honest. McDonald’s unhealthy double quarter pounder and large fries have nothing to do with the rigorous healthy regimen that Olympic athletes must hold themselves to. But will McDonald’s find a way to remain relevant and advertise using the Olympics as a backdrop? You better believe it. Find a story and run with it. Keep up on athletes (maybe some from a relatively local area) and support them, report on their victories or upsets, engage your customers in what is important to them in the moment. Find ways to subtly but interestingly insert your product or service. Do you sell sports equipment? Talk about those pro goggles or amazing new running shoes an athlete is wearing. Do you specialize in childcare? Get the kids involved in the stories of athletes rise to glory and the importance of staying fit. Do you sell electronics? Um, guys, they’re streaming the Olympics live on mobile devices. We have those mobile devices. Don’t be overbearing, just be relevant. If you can be clever without coming across as a slimy salesperson, even better.Twitter hashtags trending topics
  2. Follow the hashtags – Honestly, I hate trending topics. I find that they’re either things I could care less about or just outright stupid. However, when huge things happen, they trend. (For example, at the time of typing this, two trending topics are #SongsThatGiveYouGoosebumps and Is Pregnant. Insert long Napoleon Dynamite sigh here.) Being someone who is on Twitter for good parts of the day reaching out to customers, I can tell you that general Twitter users love easily shareable hashtags (especially the 10ThingsYadaYadaYada kind). The Olympics has an official hashtag (#London2012), so watching that is important. Maybe even create your own, just be sure to check that it doesn’t already exist. Again, use these to find out what conversations are going on and join them. Are people tweeting about that hometown favorite who lost by 5 tenths of a second? Lament right along with them. Is an up and coming swimmer talking about that speedo that Tyler McGill is wearing? If you’re a sports shop, do you sell those? Be creative and be interesting so you won’t be forgotten.

I know it’s not a simple as it sounds. You’re busy and this is another thing on your plate. As a small or local business, community is everything, and national pride is a unifier not to be scoffed at. It really could pay off for you to do these two things.

What do you think? Do you already have any plans to compete with the increased social traffic of the Olympics? Are you the type of person who gets excited about the games? Do you plan to try to live stream it to your mobile device and keep up on the results?

Let me know below with your comments.

Thanks for reading. Now go get your social on!

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Found Tweet Friday

Found Tweet Friday!

July 13 (Friday the 13th *duh duh duuuuuuuuh*) But also, National French Fries day!

Welcome to the Redlight District of Twitter

I spend a good part of my day using Twitter to find potential customers for my clients. I use the Twitter search function and locate people talking about relevant things that could translate to needs my clients’ products or services could fulfill. During this digging through the nonsense, the marketing messages, the slang and abbreviated hashtags, I find some pretty ridiculous tweets. Many that make my jaw drop. It never ceases to amaze me how many people forget that their tweets are completely public while they treat their Twitter conversations as if they were private. Some of those are simply too offensive or gross (not to mention misogynistic and lewd) for me to bother posting, but below are a collection of this week’s gems that I just had to share. My occasional commentary will be the parenthetical portions. Enjoy!

****Warning: Some content may be inappropriate for young or easily offended readers****

Found tweets:

  • At the dermatologist and this chick on the reception tv says, “I have an overgrowth of anal hair…” (Wow. It’s almost like over-sharing in a public space…isn’t it?)
  • shaking like a dog shitting razorblades (what? That’s the worst thing I’ve heard in a long time! Who even thinks of that as an analogy??)
  • Seriously though, I have no idea why Turkey Creek is currently infested with exercise sketchers wearing, perky butted, tyrannosaurus walkers (This, actually, provides a pretty accurate visual)
  • Has anyone seen the the new HBO Show Girls? They should change the name to Entitled Occupy Hipster Yeast Infection Hour. #stupid #JITW (So…are you a fan? It’s not quite clear.)
  • I pity the speculum that has to dare your cavern and pray your ob-gyn has an understanding spouse (I really want to know the conversation that sparked this statement. Vagina Dentata?)
  • Alex thinks I burped his eyebrows off.. xD (I used to date a girl who nearly could)
  • If your networks O2 I feel bad for you..you’ve got 99 contacts and you can’t txt one! (During an outage, you might as well rap about it. It’s really the best way to cope.)
  • If you want to find me at Comic Con this week, look for the overweight guy with glasses. (Needle in a hay stack)
  • I just saw an ad for car insurance where a rep dressed like a scientist opened two crates full of puppies. I’m sold. Where do I sign? (Who said advertising is dead?)
  • Omg. How did you know “cool beans” is a phrase that makes my skin crawl? LITERALLY (Although I agree with the cool beans being a relatively gross phrase, I am more off-put by the improper usage of literally. *Sigh*)

Two more things:

There exists a website that does kind of what this blog post does, but specializes in tweets from privileged kids complaining about their maids. It may make you hate people, just a bit.

On a more serious note: How would you like to be responsible for helping a father be able to cheer his son on at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London? That’s exactly what we’re trying to do. My friend Jeff is trying to get to the Olympics to cheer on his swimmer son Tyler McGill. Donate or share. Anything is appreciated to help this great cause.

There you are folks! Obviously, some weeks will be less interesting than others, but I hope you enjoy it. Also, if you ever see any great tweets worth pointing out, send them to me at robzaleski1@gmail.com and they might make the list!

Now go get your social on!

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The Social Gnome’s Hoard

Welcome to the Social Gnome’s Hoard, a collection of this week’s most interesting finds from the Social Gnome’s internet travels.

Week of July 2, 2012 (Did you know July is National Cell Phone Courtesy month? Also, the best month of the year!)

Social Gnome hoard image

  • Last week I had an article about Google+ coming to Flipboard, and this week it’s all about the New York Times. I’m very happy to see Flipboard getting the attention it deserves. It’s a really slick app with a great interface, and I was concerned about its well-being when I wrote my post about Google Currents and the threat it posed. This deal with the NY Times should really drive more traffic to Flipboard, and get those who potentially never used the app to check it out and fall in love with it, as many of us have. Flipboard is available for iOS devices, Kindle, and Android devices.
  • Gojee, an up and coming recipe sharing platform, looks to be getting funded up to attract some of the food-loving Pinterest crowd. Any Pinterest user will tell you that that their feed is full of boards from kitchen queens, culinary kings, expert foodies and wish lists of the less experienced (mine is simply titled Food I Want In My Face). Gojee is described as the “Twitter for food” and could potentially couple well with the multitude of recipe sharing buzz that Pinterest has created in the last year or so.
  • The plight of the small business owner is a constant struggle to stay relevant and visible in the shadow of the big guys. Although a strong online presence helps, sometimes it can feel like a hopeless battle, especially trying to keep up with all the changes that Google is doing. Here is a great article from Entrepreneur.com discussing some things to do to try to make yourself visible in Google’s eyes (and therefore everyone else’s).
  • In what will likely be a pretty important decision, a court judge ruled that Tweets are public (same as if they were shouted out in the street) and therefore should not be accompanied with any expectation of privacy. The court has ordered Twitter to turn over months worth of tweets by an Occupy Wall Street protester in order to prove that he was aware of the police orders that he was blatantly disregarding. Check out the whole article.
  • Finally, summertime is now in full swing. The fireworks really make it feel official (along with the sweltering heat, depending on where you are in the country or the world). Entrepreneur columnist Teri Evans provides some summer reading picks from multimillionaire entrepreneurs. There’s a few I’ve already heard of (and a couple standby classics), as well as a couple I might have to add to my list.
So there you are. Another weeks’ worth of noteworthy, interesting or just funny content to keep you in the know. Did I miss anything great that you came across? How do YOU feel about the ruling on privacy of tweets on Twitter? Do you use Flipboard, and if not, will you use it to keep up on New York Times articles? Weigh in below with your comments.

Now go get your social on!

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