How Beneficial is Social Media for Businesses?

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Useless distraction:  when fake networking takes place, jockying for popularity is not going to get you anywhere.

Going that extra mile, connecting with each individual on your blog, on your facebook profile, over at twitter or where ever it is you hang out:  this is social networking and social media at it’s best.

Don’t join the noise of the web, join the value.

Agree?  Disagree?  How do you see your friendships on facebook?  How do you use your blog?  Just tossing those tweets out left, right and centre?

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Ed Thralls — Wine Tonite

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This is your wine dude for the future:  Ed Thralls of Wine Tonite.  Dedicated to wine and communication, this is what Ed has to share with us all, looking back and looking forward:

Hi, Andrea!

Yes, what a year it has been indeed.  Congratulations on your progress and new business opportunity… I wish you much success!   Things for me are very much different, but very much the same unfortunately.  I did not land a winery job during or soon after the flood of opportunities to those final 10 candidates of Murphy Goode as well as several of those endorsed by VinTank.

But, I continued to work on learning and enhancing my social media skills.  I’ve continued the blog and even started a fan page on Facebook.  I have consulted a few local wine businesses in the ways of social media with mixed success.

Overall, I still enjoy talking and engaging others about wine and my website visits, pageviews continue to grow as does my followers, fans and friends.   This summer I will complete my winemaker’s certificate program from UC-Davis, so I will have another credential and opportunity to find something to do in the wine country.  Maybe this Fall at Harvest time will be my time.   I have re-energized my search and have been reaching out to several wineries in the Sonoma and Napa area and have had a few discussions with some already.

Good to hear from you.

Ed Thralls, CSW and Digital Marketing Consultant

Let’s Connect: Wine Tonite! Blog * Facebook * Twitter * YouTube

Wine Tonite -- great way to use a twitter feed (click the pic)

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There are some things that I have learned from Ed, and one which I still don’t get *how do you do it?*.  You see, Ed has a twitter widget on his blog, but instead of casting his tweets, this guy has an ingenious plan to cast other people’s tweets (answering the question “who is having wine tonite”).  I think that is brilliant, first for giving the link juice to others but also second, for the great tie -in with his own brand, wine tonite.

The greatest take home lesson from Ed is to keep looking forward.  You know, you never go anywhere if you don’t try and along the way to success, if you don’t meet up with set-backs, you gotta ask yourself if you are even moving.  Ed pushes forward, I like that.  He is gonna be the hot ticket this fall with the experiences, connections and certifications in his pocket!

I look forward to seeing where, you go, Ed!  Thanks for sharing.

Foodies Unit: Taylor Eason and Defining her Path Since Murphy Goode

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Guest Post:  Taylor Eason of TaylorEason.com

Thanks Andy, for reaching out. I’ve also been watching everyone’s movement and am psyched that we’re all doing pretty darn well.

It hasn’t been a year for me yet… I joined very late in the game (in May of last year). An update on what I’m up to:

Since I made top fifty w/ MG, I left the newspaper I wrote a wine column for and went out on my own (there’s this thing called downsizing in the print word, you see). I then relaunched my website (www.tayloreason.com) where I blog daily and continue to see growth in eyeballs. The blogiverse is a sooo crowded right now and it’s definitely not shrinking but might as people realize the money isn’t flowing like wine from California. It will be an interesting year coming up.

TaylorEason.com -- Fighting wine and food snobbery since 1997

TaylorEason.com -- Fighting wine and food snobbery since 1997 (click the pic)

To pay the bills, I write freelance wine/spirits/beer columns, consult with restaurants on their wine lists and marketing, teach wine classes to consumers (and soon, servers – lord knows they need it!) and am working on a book that’s completely unrelated to wine. Busy, busy… drinking a TON of wine and lovin’ not working for the man… at the moment.

Cheers to you and all other MG peeps!
Taylor

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Wow, Taylor!  You are one courageous and adventuresome woman!  Thank you for taking a moment to share your story with us.  If you are looking for a competent Wine knowledgable writer and communicator, I encourage you to have a look at the application video above as well as getting in touch with Taylor, I have a hunk she would LOVE to hear from you!

You can catch up with Taylor on Facebook (that is where I remain on top off all her action) or follower her tweets on twitter:  @TaylorEason.  Go on over and give her a shout out and say Andy sent ya!

And didn’t ya know, Taylor has already been a guest blogger here on Andy’s Goode Life, here’s the link: Professional Wine Writer Seeks the Goode. Life

Join me on the 5th, where we catch up with Ed Thralls.

Murphy Goode One Year Social Media Magic

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Starting our look back on the Murphy Goode Social Media campaign, let us start with none other than Dave Ready, short yet perfectly summing it all up:

It is so awesome to see the community that has been built through the Murphy-Goode Campaign. What a great ride! Hardy was obviously awesome and it seems as though this has been a great ride for him personally. I love the fact that there will be many reunions for many years to come.

Dave Ready of Murphy Goode Winery

picture thanks to Murphy Goode Winery (click the pic)

This is my first virtual reunion!

It was not only a really goode job (just ask Hardy), but it has been a really goode opportunity for many of us to stop for a moment, check our direction and move forward with certainty.

Join me tomorrow as we have a peek at what Taylor Eason has been up to!

Suspended or Deleted Blogs

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I had a rough week last week when my GoodeLife blogger blog was suspended by surprise.  It had original content or guest posts similar to this one and to my knowledge there was no breach on my part to the TOS.

When this happened, I remembered the complete different way that WordPress deals with issues.  A while back I had written an article about a method of earning money on a blog and caused a flag to go up in WordPress central.  Although I had not added any links to an affiliate site, nor was the post even encouraging people to get involved with the specific program (actually, I was giving you tips for what I consider better options to earn money online, more specifically a list of what to look for when considering affiliate programs), they had warned me that this is against the TOS and I contacted them immediately and over a series of very helpful and friendly emails I was able to change the post up to be accepted to the WordPress TOS.

Imagine my surprise when I went to log into a neglected wordpress blog of mine about baby care… and to discover that it was suspended (I guess I have neglected it long enough to have missed the warning…).

Since the account for that blog was also used on this blog (I blogged over there as AndysGoodeLife), I have taken precautionary measures (aka I created an export file for the content of this blog!) (come to think of it, perhaps I should also do this for my other blogs on wordpress?).  Then I submitted a request to open the baby blog again and review the issues which caused it to be suspended.  Essentially, I would prefer to fix the problem or if need be to delete it myself and LEARN my lesson as opposed to have them suspend it.

So there you have it, wordpress bloggers.  Keep your blogs clean and perhaps go review the tos because it may just hit you, too.  But remember:  if they flag your blog, the support at WordPress has been great so far and they were prudent in helping me clear up the troubles on this blog.  (Oh, and I learned the lesson to back up and export a blog because although blogger said I had 20 days, they deleted it all within 24 hours.  Zap.  No support, no way to rectify the situation.)

I certainly hope that this issue gets resolved and most importantly, that this and my other blogs at WordPress are NOT affected.  I would hate to loose all the great content from you, your comments and the legacy created around the Murphy Goode Wine Country Lifestyle Correspondent application process!

So I raise a glass of wine to you and plan to go ahead with the “looking back” and “looking forward” series of what has happened with all you great people since embarking on the social media campaign around wine and Murhpy Goode.

Spammers: How To Deal with Them

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I have *other* blogs, ones that have nothing to do with wine, social media or what have you. One of them I started up after the MG gig on the advice that Randulo gave me: write about Mom issues.

So I started a blog called Pamper You, Baby! and today after I have neglected it for a while, I was shocked (and slightly amused) to find a solid and growing collection of comments in my spam folder.

ONE of those I just MUST share with you before I delete it.

I realize that is small (click to enlarge), so I will tell you what it is about.  It is a comment to a post titled:  How To Pump Breast Milk Stress Free.  And the comment states:

Pretty entertaining post. Couldn’t be written much better. Browsing this post reminds me of my old friend. She always kept talking about this. I will forward this post and I’m pretty sure it will be a good read for ’em. Thanks for sharing!

I have to say, this made me laugh.  Often times I have clients ask me what I think of this or that comment (before they allow them to go public), and as a rule we can safely say:  spammers are getting more verbose or flowery in their commenting (anything to make it look and feel natural, I suppose).  But rest assured, 90% of the time you can tell a “canned comment” apart from the real comments.

Here is another comment to the same post, gotta wonder how long some women pump the milk out of their breasts!:

Hey guys, i know how its to suffer from a problem like this. I have been struggling from this like a few years with the normal ups and downs so i truly know its not fun when you have a problem like this. At a website i noticed some members were truly satisfied about a remedie they purchased of the net and i also ordered it when i found those pills at – herbalhealingxxx. com – [URL altered… sorry not gonna publish that link]. So you see, these herbals do work, you only have to find the good ones!

One way to really do the test if you are not sure, follow the URL they give you, see if you can leave a valuable and useful comment (relevant to the content on that blog) at their place.  Perhaps even saying “thanks for stopping by my blog… nice gig you have here” kind of remark.  Check back in a few days to see if your comment got posted (including the backlink), and if so, it probably was a legit comment.  If not?  Well, you need to make a decision.  You can delete it as spam, you can edit out the backlink or you can accept it anyway.

How do you deal with spam?  And c’mon, share me your most weird or hilarious spam comment, we all enjoy a good laugh!

Social Media and the Wine Country Lifestyle — one year later

Well, it was about a year ago when many of us heard about the Murphy Goode Wine Country Lifestyle Correspondent dream job and a lot has happened. Hardy Wallace was deemed Murphy Goode’s Man of the Hour and pared up his humour with oodles of delicious tidbits over his six month reign in Wine Social Media. A year after the whole journey has begun and looking back, many of us have come out stronger, more focussed, closer to their own dream jobs or already living it.

I asked around all the wonderful people I met during this journey if they would like to share with me and my readers what the MGWCLC has done for them or how they have changed course and gone forward because of what they have learned.

It has been an incredible learning experience for me, as you know that this blog was an experiment since I usually blogged in German and MG brought me to English blogging to begin with. I never anticipated things taking the turns it did in my life and I will share my own story with you after I have taken the time to share these special stories with you.

Over the next days and weeks we will have the privilege to catch up with none other than:

Gwendolyn Lawrence Alley of Art Predator
Ed Thralls of Wine Tonite!
Eric Hwang of Bricks of Wine
Kris Vera Phillips
Amy Shropshire
Dave Ready
So Cool Bob

Taylor Eason

and perhaps a few others… (not on the list yet?  Hit the contact button and let me know how your year has turned out, I would love to profile you, too!)

The One Core Philosophy to Online (and Offline) Success — Lesson from Frank Kern

“Give people things that help them and make them happy …and then sell them things that help them even MORE, and make them even happier.

As simple as it is, it works. The “trick” to actually selling things is this:

1. Be SURE you know what they want (and that you can actually help them get it).

2. Demonstrate you can give it to them by helping them right from the start.

3. Make an offer that’s obviously a no-brainer for them …and do so kindly – with their best interests in mind.

4. Give them a reason to take action now.

When you do this right, you are pulling your market towards you …rather than pushing your stuff at them (like everyone else does).

It’s like the difference between being an uninvited door-to-door sales person …or being a sought after expert they go out of their way to do business with.

I’ve been both, and I can tell you from experience that the “sought after expert” is really the way to go.”

Frank Kern, March 10, 2010

Looking for the link to where he wrote this?  It was with this awesome free video (hope it is still online, other wise you really missed out on something).  Learn more about the one core philosophy and approach that makes it all work.

One Core Philosophy and Approach that Makes Marketing Work

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It was just released this morning by Frank Kern and here’s what it’s about:

  1. The biggest myth of Internet Marketing (and how you can use it to your advantage).
  2. The five simple steps to creating a loyal following that buys from you like crazy (without using hard sell tactics or being pushy.)
  3. How people get RICH by giving stuff away (strange but true).
  4. The new tactic of “shock and awe coolness” and how to use it TODAY to get sales. (Nobody’s doing this.)
  5. The NUMBER ONE SECRET to lasting financial success (and happiness) …no matter what business you’re in.

…And more.

It’s 100% content and people are calling it the best Internet Marketing video they’ve ever seen.

I give it my highest possible recommendation and urge you to go here and watch it right now (I have NO idea how long it is gonna stay up, but there is an indication that there will be two more treats coming through the pipeline, so go have a look):  The Mysterious Stranger

CONSUMER NOTICE: I do not have an affiliate relationship and/or another material connection to the providers of goods and services mentioned in this message and will not be compensated if you purchase from Frank Kern. You should always perform due diligence before buying goods or services from anyone via the Internet or offline. I am sharing this link with you purely because it is an awesome lesson offered to you for free by Frank.

This is one of the most powerful ways I know to show VALUE to your prospects. Being awesome isn’t enough if you don’t know how to *demonstrate* it to your audience.

The Entrepreneurial Roller-coaster

Let’s face it, if you’re an entrepreneur it’s inevitable that you’re going to go through a serious roller coaster of emotions. One day you’re on top of the world and the next you feel like you’re about to crash and burn! It’s an occupational hazard of being an entrepreneur, and you just can’t get around it.

As Marc Andreessen puts it:

“First and foremost, a start-up puts you on an emotional rollercoaster unlike anything you have ever experienced. You flip rapidly from day-to-day – one where you are euphorically convinced you are going to own the world, to a day in which doom seems only weeks away and you feel completely ruined, and back again. Over and over and over. And I’m talking about what happens to stable entrepreneurs. There is so much uncertainty and so much risk around practically everything you are doing. The level of stress that you’re under generally will magnify things incredible highs and unbelievable lows at whiplash speed and huge magnitude. Sound like fun?”

In fact, there are four distinct emotional “Stages” on “The Entrepreneurial Roller Coaster” (according to Cameron Herold, founder of Backpocket COO and former COO of 1-800-GOT-JUNK?), and you’ll go through all of them — repeatedly.  Traversing the emotional spectrum from optimism to pessimism to hopelessness and back to optimism — is all completely normal in the life of the entrepreneur.  The question isn’t how to avoid these stages (you can’t), but rather how you can recognize and harness them! See how many of these ‘fit’ you?

  • Does your mind get flooded with ideas?
  • Are you filled with energy?
  • Are you driven, restless, and unable to keep still?
  • Do you often work on little sleep?
  • Can you be euphoric?
  • Do you easily get irritated by minor obstacles?
  • Can you burnout periodically?
  • Do you feel persecuted by those who do not accept your vision?

I can share with you that I am often climbing up or racing down.  Sometimes I think my stomach is going to turn.  So what is there to do?

Well, I have three tips for you today.

  1. Learn to Love Lists. This is a tough one for me, as I tend to be very compulsive.  A list surely will cramp my style and stifle my creativity.  I am surprised to find that this is NOT the case.  The very fact that I write a list helps me to focus on short, mid and long term goals.  And these lists give me comfort when the roller-coaster is plummeting at break-neck speed and help me to get right back on track when my knees are still wobbly.  Prioritize your business plan with a series of lists, noting your daily goals, weekly, monthly and quarterly as well as long term goals.  Believe me, this helps a lot.
  2. Find a Sounding Board apart from yourself, your business and your private life.  I have a great confidant and cheerleader in Javamom over at Javaline.  She lives on a different continent and is for various reasons so “other” than I am  that her words are often a welcome fresh perspective on my situation.  I also appreciate her guts to say things which others may shy away from saying (she tells the truth as she sees it), which is indispensible if you really want to push yourself forward.  If you have not got a listening, critical ear, you are missing out on a very valuable asset.  Javamom also helps me to put my own issues aside as it is a reciprocal relationship:  hearing and reading about her struggles often helps me to put my own challenges back into the right perspective.  Finding yourself a valuable sounding board will help you in the ups and downs of online life.
  3. Learn to Enjoy the Ride. If you can’t learn to enjoy the suspense of the climb and the thrill of the fall, you are not going to be an entrepreneur for long.  Keeping sight of the lighter side of it all will allow you to remain creative, stick through the narrow and dreary days and ride on the wave of the excitement.  Lay back and enjoy the ride, it is why you got in line to begin with.

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Would you like to read more?  Cameron wrote up a detailed report over at Tim Ferriss’ place entitled “Harnessing Entrepreneurial Manic-Depression: Making the Rollercoaster Work for You“.  Here is a small excerpt, however I encourage you to go and read the full description of the four stages.

* Stage 1: The first stage of the concept is called “Uninformed Optimism”. At this stage on a rollercoaster, just getting to the top of the rollercoaster, you experience feelings of an adrenalin rush, characterized by excitement and nervous energy.

* Stage 2: The second stage is called “Informed Pessimism”. As you ride over the top of the curve you now have a bit more information. Feelings of fear, nervousness, and frustration begin to set in. Perhaps you even want to get off of it.

* Stage 3 – The third stage is called “Crisis of Meaning”. You’re past scared. You feel despair. It’s as if you’re standing on the edge of a cliff ready to jump, and you begin to think “Today the rollercoaster’s going off the bottom of the track for the very first time.” You feel helpless and you’re both terrified and frozen.

* At this point, you face a critical juncture. You can come off the bottom of the curve and crash and burn, which is when your business goes bankrupt, you lose your marriage, you start drinking, or you end up in a doctor’s office because of stress. Or you can come around the corner because you’re getting support at “Crisis of Meaning” and you can enter an upward swing call “Informed Optimism”.

* Stage 4 – Informed Optimism.
You’re calm. You’re informed. You might even say you are cautiously optimistic.