All posts by rufo

President of nxtConcepts and Interactive Marketer. Speaker. Skier. Lover of Scotch.

Building a Social Media Calendar

Need some topic ideas to build your social media marketing and posting calendar?  Here’s some of the things we use:

a)     Week ahead. Write a weekly piece about what members can expect in the week ahead.

b)    Events preview. Write an events preview, include predictions from members, short snippet of interviews and other material that involves a broader group.

c)     Events review. Review recent events. Let others contribute their opinion. Members can reflect on the event together.

d)    Predictions. Invite members to make predictions about the future, everyone loves to do it.

e)    Interview members. Members interviews should be cornerstone content. It creates engaged readers for life, encourages referrals and gives people means to compare themselves to others.

f)      Interview VIPs. VIPs are usually eager to talk to connected groups of people. Who is a VIP in your industry?

g)     Product reviews. What products are members likely to be using in the future? Can you review some?

h)    Member achievements. Who has achieved something fantastic this week? Ask members to submit their achievements.

i)      Gossip column. Risky, but often popular. Invite members to submit topical gossip and publish it as a weekly column. Go easy on the venom, heavy on the fun.

j)      Member of the week/month. Like the above, but a member of the week/month tends to be popular.

k)    Statement from the community. On a frequent basis I’d ask members to contribute to a statement from the community. i.e. We’re furious bank fees are going up, please input on what you would like in a statement from the community.

l)      People on the move. Who is moving? It might be people changing jobs or people moving house or any relevant ‘move’. Hard to resist this sort of content.

m)   Latest news. Overused in most communities, but often useful. What’s the latest news in your topic?

n)    Job vacancies. Any jobs available? Reach out to recruiters or compile a job tips page. Any information that would encourage people to participate in the job vacancies page.

o)    Competition. When they’re done right they’re really a lot of fun.

p)    VIP spotted. Has any member spotted a VIP at an event recently, submit it here.

q)    Opinion pieces. Give people in your community a chance to give their opinion in a rotating-authorship opinion section. Everyone gets a turn.

r)     Guest columnists. Will any relevant business in your sector write a guest column?

s)     Advice section. Summarize the latest advice, what’s the general consensus of the online community?

t)     News round-up. What is the round-up of the news this week? It’s a simple place a member can visit to see what’s new without trawling various sources of industry news.

Let me know if you find this helpful or have any to add.

Heartbleed Bug Simple Q & A

By now you have probably seen the news about a recent security exploit for many sites using the “s” in the https URL.  There’s a lot of doom and gloom in the media, so I wanted to help break down what’s going on and how it might affect you and your business.  We are currently in the process of building a plan to change all passwords on nxtConcepts client websites, social networks, and notify you of other places you should change old passwords.  We know this is a PAIN, but  it is REALLY important to give this the attention it needs.

1. Does this Heartbleed bug personally affect me?

The simple answer is yes.  If you have ever created a user/pass combination on a site that used SSL technology, chances are someone may have access to your information.  Also, if you have ever used the SAME password for multiple account, you are most likely affected.  Here’s a quicklist of sites affected:

Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, Yahoo, GoDaddy, Intuit (QuickBooks), DropBox,

Google-search, email, YouTube, Wallet, Play, and Apps

For a full list go here:

Note-on a positive site, banks, government agencies, PayPal, and Target were not affected.

2. Does this Heartbleed bug affect my company website?

Maybe.  If you have an ecommerce cart using a SSL, then, you will need to check with your hosting company and/or where you purchased your SSL to see if they have completed the patches.**

**3. If you use, then the patches were made as soon as they were identified.  And, the SSL security keys were reissued.  According to Bluehost, the duration was very short so they have not seen an issue with this bug so far.  Here’s a link to more detailed info from them:

4. How can I check a https website to see if it is affected or not?

Go here:

5. Where do we go from here?

We have a list of all the websites and social networks that we work with you on.  So, we can go ahead and start changing those passwords and then send you an updated list of accounts and passwords.

As for your website, we recommend having everyone change their passwords.  Just to keep away future issues.

Joomla sites (2.5 & 3.0) & WordPress : we can install a small piece of software to force a password change the next time someone logs into the site.  I recommend this, but we will not add it until you give us the ok.

Other sites we manage – please contact me directly for options.

Google+ and YouTube Making them Work Together

We deal with this question all the time:

We would like our youtube page linked with our  google+ page.  Since this is the Youtube page we have had for a while now we would like to keep all of its data and videos and link it to Google+ but  there is now a 2nd Google+ page, we would like to disconnect this page from our Youtube and have the Youtube page connected with our first/main page.

Here’s how we tackle this:

So, this is the plan I’ve come up with, executed in this order.

*While logged in as your Bear Creek Resort Google+ page go to YouTube where your unwanted page is (it’s a global login in so just hop over to Youtube)*

1. Go here:

2. Click “Disconnect Google+ profile, and use your YouTube username.”
We’ll have taken care of the dummy YouTube page connection.

The next 2 steps will be the important ones, as we’re trying to connect your YouTube page and a Google+ page.

*While logged in as the correct Google+ page owner/manager.*

1. At this point, you have to invite the specific e-mail login address (associated with the YouTube account we want to connect to) to be a manager of the Google+ page. That can be done from this page:

*While logged in again as the YouTube account.*

2. And at that point, we can follow the process described here to then connect the YouTube account to the Google+ page we now manage.

If that doesn’t work, then you can try this:

Change the settings to minimize the excess Google+ page off your YouTube account. It’s still there, but wont be as visible in the future. It’s good now that we at least an account, the login below, that is connected with all the relevant accounts After even more research, I found this on this page:

“If you connected your channel to Google+ over 14 days ago, try submitting the form via the link below. We’ll help you get your channel connected to the right profile or page.”

Luckily, this form seems to be exactly what we need.

Can’t Wait until November 7th

You know its bad when a marketer and Political Science major (college) – me- is completely fed up with the election. I can not wait until Wednesday. It’s not even noon and I’ve had three political calls, one person at the door and 6 mailers from political parties. I can’t even watch TV, because almost every commercial is political in nature. The only reason I’m not getting emails or social media messages is because I’ve either spammed them or blocked them.

Keep in mind, I love marketing.  I live and breathe it.  But, we (U.S. businesses) have standards.  We have opt-out lists, we remove people from call lists, we stop mailing people if they request it.  Our goal is to inspire and motivate consumers to do something-buy, sign up, attend, etc.  All of these things do not seem to apply for political advertising.  How did we let that happen?

Honestly, whatever side you may be on, after what’s gone on over the last year, can you really say you are proud of our current electoral process? Obama has spent $347 million dollars in advertising, 85% of it on negative ads. Romney has spent $386 million dollars on ads, 91% of them negative. For those counting, that’s $733 million dollars. Plus, the Super PAC’s, which estimates say put this over a billion dollars. Gone, poof, up in smoke, since that money mostly went for air time on TV, radio, and web. Not one job created. No sales tax paid. Sometimes its hard to imagine how much money that is. Here’s some other things that much money could buy:

1) Instagram

2) The entire New York Times, says Reuters’ Jack Shafer

3) 800 of AOL’s Microsoft’s patents

4) The cure for Lou Gehrig’s disease

5) 68 Lebron Jameses , 40 Kobe Bryants, and 83 Albert Pujolses

6) 25.6 million containers of Luxury Ramen Noodles

7) 60,900 Ten Ounce Gold Bar Door Stops

8) 1,562 Castawayesque 20 Acre Polynesian Islands

9) A 50% stake in the Los Angeles Dodgers

10) 125 million partridges in a pear tree

Is Facebook advertising prejudiced against agencies?

Recently Facebook starting a new campaign to encourage small businesses to get more fans on their page with “$50 in Free Advertising from Facebook Small Business Boost”.  Emails were sent out and if you registered in the program, and were accepted, you could receive the $50.  To redeem, they stated, “Click on “Claim Your $50 now to redeem your free $50. After you’ve created an ad, we’ll automatically apply it to your account”.  Sounds easy enough, right?

Well, not for everyone.  Although some of our clients were accepted into the program, when we tried to apply the promotion to their ad costs, we were declined.  Why?  Because it was another admin on the page they were targeting.  So, although its the same business, same page, they are discriminating the admins.  Not cool!

Here’s a look into how Facebook deals with this kind of issue.  Phone calls, nope.  Just an email that they can easily dismiss.  What really makes me mad, is the only reason many of our clients are advertising on Facebook, is because of our recommendations and management.

Step 1. Use the “Contact Us” form to contact the Facebook Global Marketing Solutions Team.

Subject: Facebook Ads & Sponsored Stories: Help and Tips

What types of questions related to your Ads or Sponsored Stories can we help you with?: Costs and Payment Please select one: I have a question not listed above Please describe your question or issue with as much detail as possible: We manage ads for various clients. Recently you sent out emails for $50 credits. Our clients have taken you up on this and are asking us to apply the credit to their invoices. However, it looks like it only took the first $50 credit for the page. We have created new ads for these other pages, and are just looking to apply their credit:  and Your help is appreciated.

Step 2. Receive an email directing us to a different form:

From: []

Sent: Wednesday, January 25, 2012 4:05 PM
Subject: Re: Facebook Ads & Sponsored Stories: Help and Tips

Hi Sam,

Thanks for reaching out to us regarding your client’s coupon situation. In order to provide you the best support possible, please submit your information at your earliest convenience through the form below:

We appreciate your patience in taking this extra step. After submitting this form, a Facebook Payments Specialist will respond shortly. You will hear from us within 24 hours during the business week but may experience a longer wait over the weekend.

Thank you again for your time!


Ashley, Facebook Ads Specialist, Facebook

Step 3. Complete the form and wait for a response.

Step 4. Here’s the response:

From: []

Sent: Wednesday, January 25, 2012 6:09 PM
Subject: Re: Advertising Coupon Inquiry – I am unable to add a coupon to my account

Hi Sam,

Thank you for your email.

The recent $50 credit is for a program called the Small Business Boost. The goal of this promotion is to encourage small business owners to use Facebook Ads for their business. In keeping with this goal, only one page per user is eligible to enter the promotion.

Unfortunately we are not able to activate multiple coupons for the same promotion on one advertising account. If your clients each received coupons via email for their individual registration, they are encouraged to activate these coupons on their own accounts. We apologize for any confusion or inconvenience.

Thanks for contacting Facebook,

Cameron, Payment Operations, Facebook

Step 5: When I am out of options, the only thing left is to go public. So, we notified the clients and emailed back Cameron.  I actually don’t expect a response.  Facebook is too big and although they say they want to help small businesses, I guess it must be OTHER small businesses.

Something else I found interesting.  For the first time in two years of advertising on Facebook, this morning, one of our ads was “Disapproved” (although its been running for months without an issue).  Coincidence or a slap on the hand for trying to talk back to Facebook?

From: nxtConcepts Support

Sent: Thursday, January 26, 2012 9:09 AM

To: ‘The Facebook Team’

Cc: ‘client 1 and client 2

Subject: RE: Advertising Coupon Inquiry – I am unable to add a coupon to my account

Hello Cameron,

First, thanks for responding. Second, you wrote, ” The goal of this promotion is to encourage small business owners to use Facebook Ads for their business”, that’s exactly what we are doing. These are seasonal businesses that are planning on stopping advertising. This incentive gives them one other reason to continue.

Third, where does it state explicitly that a certain login must only use the promotion? As far as I can see and tell, it has to do with the page itself. That’s exactly what we are trying to do.

I am copying these clients to make sure they are aware that it is YOUR policy and YOUR not honoring the promotion that is the issue. We have worked with Facebook for quite a while, and although we do not have clients that you consider “prime” with ads over $100,000 a month, we believe every advertiser and campaign is important. We just wish you did too.

I’ll make sure that every one of my over 11,000 Twitter followers and Facebook friends and fans are aware of this too.

Samantha Rufo

President, nxtConcepts

Have you had a similar issue?  I’d love to hear about it.

Who Benefits from Daily Deals Sites?

Groupon, Living Social, Eversave, Facebook, Amazon, these sites selling deeply discounted deals are everywhere.  And, views about their use and value are also across the board.  Especially, for business owners.

Personally, I love a deal.  It means I have more money to spend on something else or save it for later.  As a business owner, I’m not a fan.  Let’s be realistic, frequent discounts or deals can devalue your product or service.  Eventually, no one wants to pay full price and it becomes harder and harder to cover costs without reducing the quality of the service.

So, how did we get here?

When this new concept of pre-paying deeply discounted deals came out, the attraction for the consumer was that they “would never pay full price again”. Of course at the same time, the merchants were being told, “you’ll get new customers who will stick around and pay full price”.  Anyone else see the issue?

There are numerous success stories.  But, lately it seems there are far more complaints from businesses that find these deal seekers are harder to please and more critical on the social networks.  Which leads me to ask the question, are these deals worth it for businesses?

Identifying Influencers. Do you know who they are in your social media channels?

Today I moderated a Twitter chat #SMCColumbus where we discussed Social Media Influencers.  Here’s some of the highlights.

What’s a social media influencer?

Short definition: Someone who is active on a social media channel who are well respected and likely to be listened to.

Successful social media marketing isn’t simply about amassing thousands of followers, but instead precisely identifying the most influential members of your audience and recognizing them for their value. By directly engaging one influencer with exclusive opportunities, special offers, and unique content, you are indirectly engaging thousands of other people who are part of this influencer’s social sphere.

Keep in mind, the type of friends, fans and followers a brand amasses on social media sites matters more than the number. On average, approximately 1% of a site’s audience generates 20% of all its traffic through sharing of the brand’s content or site links with others. And these “influencers” drive an even higher share of conversion. These very important Internet users can directly influence 30% or more of overall end actions on brand websites by recommending the brand’s site, products or promotions to friends.

How do you measure the influence?

In my opinion, it depends on the specific media source of course.

  • Blog- traffic as measured on sites like,
  • Twitter-followers are a good indicator of influence as well as number of times listed. After that, re-tweets. Services to help: Klout, PostRank

The most influential are not on just a single network, but across multiple networks. Just like a luxury product goes well with another luxury product, so do different social media channels.  This way they take advantage of both Reach AND Frequency.

How do you find them?

1. Use reporting and traffic analysis tools to find out who your most influential followers are.   Radian6 is a good option.  The goal is to find which individuals are most actively sharing your brand’s links and messages.

2. Find out what motivates them.  Are they seeking exposure and fame?  Do they tend to share deals and discounts? Or do they prefer to share links to your branded entertainment content, like YouTube videos, social games and contests, or informational articles?

3. Engage your fans and followers around what they like about your brand and products, why they like it, what they’d like to see improved, and what types of opportunities and offers they’d be most interested in receiving.  Just be authentic and don’t sell.  Because if you overly “sell” to your influencers, you’ll burn a bridge and potentially turn your biggest fans into your worst enemies.  Be personalized.  Be authentic.

What are the key mistakes when targeting influencers and how to avoid them?

First, you need to appeal to them. If you want them to do something, you need to give them an idea of what’s in it for them, without being offensively obvious about it. The fact is that you need their help more than they need yours, so you have to be political about it. Secondly, a canned message rarely works. If you truly want to get them on your side, you better let them know that you actually are a fan and know what they are about.

Here’s some additional feedback:

@MatthewRusso: A SoMe Influencer iuses their active audience to distribute timely, useful content and messages to make a difference.  Quantity breeds quality. You have to put SOMETHING out to start engaging. Without access, no opportunity for a connection.  Finding SoMe influences depends on the goals of a campaign. Targeted niches might be best, but sheer volume may also work.  You never know what will work until you try it first. Then you can refine/adjust based on feedback.  My local presence has grown due to the in-person meetups I mentioned earlier. Connecting offline has been key.

@nxtconcepts: An Influencer is someone who identifies their advocates and recognizes them for their value and contributions.  We try to keep in mind that we need Social Media Influencers help, more than they need ours.

@tonnishaenglish: I would measure their influence by the ppl they attract & the way they make a difference. I would rather ONE follower I am engaged with & making a difference for than have ONE MILLION & do nothing.  Also, if you don’t know who/what your target is, how can you aim for/at anything? That could lead to mistake #1.

Top 10 Tips for Mobile Marketing

When developing a mobile campaign, here are some do’s and don’ts:

1. K.I.S.S.

For best results, messages should be short and to the point. You have an insanely limited amount of space to communicate something, so make it count. Text messaging is limited to between 140-160 characters, so keep the content simple, to the point, and don’t forget the call to action.
2. Ask for Permission.

Subscribers pay for text messages. No one wants to pay for content they did not choose to receive.  People today are accustomed to being asked whether they’d like to receive additional offers/news when downloading content from the Web. This opt-in process is even more critical in the wireless world. Every campaign you send out should also feature a quick and easy way to opt-out.  It’s not only polite but required by the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA).

3. Create a compelling offer.

Take great pains to ensure your offer is something your subscribers want. Strong offers can substantially increase subscribers, build brand awareness and increase sales for marketers.  A study conducted by Nokia indicated that nearly 9 out of 10 respondents agreed that they should be provided some kind of an incentive to opt-in to mobile marketing campaigns.

4. Every phone is different.

So make sure every message you send can be seen.  There are myriad of mobile phone choices today and a variety of platforms (text, mobile web and mobile video).  Phones can vary from simple SMS (Short Message Service) phones to highly sophisticated color wireless PDA’s (Personal digital assistant).  Screen sizes and quality range from small black and white screens to high-resolution matrix color displays.  Your mobile messaging provider should be capable of optimizing content for a variety of different platforms, including J2ME, BREW, WAP, and MMS.

5. Make it Viral.

Capitalize on mobile’s peer-to-peer communication abilities.  Users forwarding your message to their friends and colleagues (thus enhancing the reach of each message sent) facilitate viral or “word-of-mouth” marketing.  Adding “fun” or a give-away to messages may also facilitate viral marketing.

6. Piggyback on traditional marketing.

Just because you have it, doesn’t mean your customers will know it’s there.  Marketers must use other online or offline channels to drive users to participate in their mobile campaigns.  This means online advertising, email, social media, print ads, collateral, billboards, radio and television commercials can all be used to alert mobile consumers of a particular promotion, or invite them to join your mobile program.  Aside from increasing ROI, mobile marketing also enables better tracking of consumer behavior leading to useful reporting and data-mining capabilities.

7. Track your results.

Reporting is built-in to mobile platforms and occurs in real-time.  By tagging ad campaigns with a unique mobile keyword call to action, you can track each response to the exact ad that generated it.  Tracking your results also allows you to learn and improve the results of future campaigns.  Most professional mobile platforms include: polling tallies, survey results, total messages sent, total messages delivered, and more.

8. Allocate enough set-up time

Most businesses wait until the last minute of a campaign launch to start their mobile campaigns.  The problem, there is no one to market to.  It takes time to build up a subscriber list.  Starting months prior to a campaign will ensure you have people to send important messages to when it counts.  Don’t have the time?  All is not lost!  Mobile marketing is very flexible and time sensitive.  That means a last minute mobile campaign can be successful if done correctly.  Using a text messaging partner (like nxtConcepts) with previous marketing experience can be invaluable.

9. Start because it’s affordable. Continue because it works.

Some marketers may be tempted to develop a mobile campaign just because it can be a small line item in an otherwise big marketing budget. Big mistake.  Although mobile marketing can be very inexpensive to start and implement–sometimes just a few hundred dollars—it takes time and attention to make it successful.  By treating a mobile campaign strategically and integrating it with other online and offline advertising it will help it grow and thrive.

10. Perfect pitch platform

So why should businesses care about mobile marketing?  Simple.  The same demographics’ that are interested in buying your products and services are also the most likely to use mobile phones.  In a nutshell, every single one of your customers has a cell phone and there’s no better way to reach and engage them.

Geek Humor

I needed a humor break today. So, I am going to share a few techie/web thoughts that made me laugh.

IMPORTANT: This blog post may contain information that is confidential privileged or unsuitable for overly sensitive persons, no sense of humor or irrational beliefs. No animals were harmed in the creation of this blog post, although the mutt next door is living on borrowed time, let me tell you.

Marketer to coder: “You start coding. I’ll go find out what they want.”

“My software never has bugs. It just develops random features.”

“No trees were killed in the creation of this message. However, many electrons were terrible inconvenienced.”

Software isn’t released, it’s allowed to escape.

Technical support is how much a minute? Only one other industry charges per minute to talk to you, and at least you get some degree of pleasure out of that!

Three things are certain: Death, taxes, and lost data. Guess which has occurred…

“If things get any worse, I’ll have to ask you to stop helping me.”

“I do know everything, just not all at once. It’s a virtual memory problem.”

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him to use the Web and he won’t bother you for weeks.

Don’t make me use uppercase…

The truth is out there? Does anyone know the URL?

Have any more to add?

Facebook Pages are Changing Again – Here’s What’s New

It’s been talked about for a long time and if you manage a Facebook business page, I’m sure you’ve complained about all the work-around’s.  That’s going to become a thing of the past with the new Facebook business page layout.  And, whether you want to change, you have no choice, all business pages on Facebook will appear in the new layout beginning March 2011.

Summary: Using the new business Facebook page will enable you to do almost everything you can with your personal profile. Note-In order to go back to editing your personal profile, you will need to revert back to “Use Facebook as “personal profile name”.  Biggest loss is the tabs across the top of the page.

Should you upgrade now or wait. I recommend updating now. That way you can control the features you want and don’t want.

What’s New?

1. How you Showcase Your Latest Photos

* The most recent photos that you post to your page Wall or photos that you tag your Page in will appear at the top. This area will not include any photos posted by your fans.

* There’s not too much functionality associated with it, but at least you can hide a photo (if you don;t want it to be featured), by rolling over it and clicking X.

2. Page Design.

The tabs are gone and the navigation links are now on the left, just like on people’s profiles.

3. Show the Top Posts on Your Wall

* You now have two Wall filters. You can show posts by your page and top posts from Everyone, a new way for people to see the most interesting stories first. As an admin, you’ll have additional filters for viewing posts on your page.

* To set a default filter for your Wall, go to Edit Page.

4. Use Facebook as Your Page

You can get notifications about activity on your page, see stories from the pages you like in your news feed, and interact with other pages as your page.

-You now have the flexibility to interact with the other areas of Facebook as a page (instead of using your personal profile).

-Get notifications when fans interact with your page or posts

-See activity from the pages you like in your news feed

-Like other pages and feature them on your page

-Make comments as your page on other pages

* To try this new feature, go to your Account page and select Use Facebook as Page. You can go back to use Facebook as yourself anytime – just click Account and select your name.

5. New settings

* You can set defaults for your email notifications and how you post to your page – as yourself or your page. You can also select which featured pages appear in the left column.

* To manage your settings for email and posting preferences, go to Edit Page and Your Settings. To select which pages appear in Likes, go to Edit Page and Featured.

Here’s some links to more information on Facebook page changes:

Introducing iframe Tabs for Pages

An upgrade for Pages:

So, what do you think?  Has Facebook done enough to make Facebook page’s more admin and user friendly?  Are there other features you would like to see?