5 Things the Next Generation Won’t Understand

 

With every generation comes new advances and changes to everyday life. Just in the last few decades, some things have changed so drastically, especially in the world of technology.  Just think about how different the business world is. Many small business owners now use mobile apps to help run their business on an everyday basis.  And I’m sure many of you are guilty of checking social media multiple times a week, if not every day.

Many of these changes have led to the cliché “kids these days have it so easy”. While I’m still fairly young, it’s still hard to believe how much has changed in my lifetime alone. The current generation will be raised with Google at their fingertips. Smartphones and tablets are a way of life, not something special or even unheard of.

Here is a list of a few things that today’s kids will never have the pleasure of knowing:

  • Camera film – I know that a few types of cameras are still made that use film, but they are few and far between. By the time today’s youngsters grow up, there might not be such a thing as just a camera – cell phone cameras may be it. Ever go to pick up your pictures from a disposable camera just to find that most of them were terrible?
  • Cassette tapes and CD’s – while CDs are still around, they are clearly being phased out in favor of digital music. I doubt it will be much longer before CDs are a thing of the past. Cassette tapes are long gone. Let’s not even get started on 8-tracks and records.
  • VHS tapes and a VCR – I remember when I was a kid, we had nearly all of the Disney movies on VHS. It was always a sad day if your tape wasn’t rewound when you went to watch it. You had to either rewind it manually or wait for what felt like forever to rewind it with the machine. Same goes for recording shows onto VHS. What a process that was! DVRs have made life much easier in this aspect. Remember Blockbuster before they were nothing but kiosks in grocery stores? I do!
  • Floppy disks – remember when your life relied on not losing your floppy disk? If I remember correctly, they held about 3 files each. Now, we have thumb drives that hold multiple gigs of info, or external hard drives the size of a deck of cards that can hold a terabyte. That’s not even considering the vast amount of cloud storage that’s available for free.
  • Dial-up internet and AOL – hard to believe how far we’ve come from the days of that screeeeeee sound when the dial up was well, dialing up. And you had to use AOL to get online! Now there are multiple ways to access the web – laptop, smartphone, tablet, desktop.

With advances happening so quickly, what you’re using could easily become obsolete as fast as the items above.

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Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.

City Specific Domain Extensions Launched

 

Since the start of the internet, the .com domain has ruled. Most businesses use the URL if they are lucky enough to have purchased that domain. Otherwise, they may have been forced to choose an alternate domain for their website. This is usually the case if you are starting your business from scratch nowadays. While the .com domain has ruled, there are a few other options that are becoming more frequently used, such as .net or .co. But unfortunately, there are not an endless combination of words with which to come up with domain names.

Domain names with fewer letters are becoming scarcer. There is a limited number of letter combinations that can be made. Shorter domain names are becoming costly, if they are even available. While companies and personal users can choose domains that end in .net or .co, most people will try the .com ending first. This can lead to confusion when it comes to people finding your site, particularly with small businesses who may not have first crack at expensive domains.

But now, a new solution is being offered to business owners in some cities in the US. Domain for purchase company GoDaddy has made some new domain-name endings available. The two that are being offered currently are for the city of Los Angeles and also New York City. The domains end in either .la or .nyc. While they are primarily being marketed to businesses in these places, there are no rules in place that businesses who use these domains must be in these cities. In this article, Mashable suggests that the .la domain might also appeal to businesses that are based in Louisiana.

GoDaddy offered these new domains at a slightly higher price than their typical starting cost for domains. The auctions for popular domain names started around $100. The company offered about 300 unique domains with the .la extension. They were up for auction on GoDaddy’s site through July 18th.

The new city-specific domain extensions could be a big help to businesses. This makes more common domains available to more people. For example, if there is a company called Smith Marketing in New York, they could use smithmarketing.nyc and a different company with the same name in Los Angeles could use smithmarketing.la. I think it’s a great idea and it will be an easy way for internet users to distinguish companies that they are looking for from those that are in other areas of the country.

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Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.

4 Specific Results Social Media Isn’t Built to Get You

 

If it’s big, it ought to be important. If it’s so important, then it ought to fetch us something for our money and/or efforts. Or so the general thought goes.

The truth is it might or it might not. Social Media isn't Built to Get You

For social media, however, size has nothing to do with what you’ll get from it. Just like you get answers from people depending on the way you ask questions, social media does and does not achieve certain kind of results. It’s not really about the medium then; it’s more about what you expect from it and what you pour into it

Here are 4 specific kinds of results that social media isn’t meant to get for you:

$X Spent on Advertising = $Y in Total Sales

Social media is designed to be more like a huge, passive party – a humongous congregation of humanity on another medium almost as if it’s an alternative to living on our own planet. Ideas can spread and thoughts can resonate. You (along with millions of others) can share content, support causes, keep in touch with others, connect with many more, and advocate everyone’s little version of the truth (or lies).

Social media is all that and much more. Yet, it’s not like traditional media in the revenue sense. It just won’t fetch you sales in spades. It won’t make your cash register wail like a siren. It might never get you a single “buy” transaction, ever.

You just have to go the proverbial Edison way and fail 10,000 times before you hit on what works for you. Take a shot at social media in whichever way that you deem appropriate: do it yourself, recruit in-house social media experts, outsource it, or bring in highly skilled social media consultants.

Social media wasn’t formed to be a marketplace; it was built to connect people, with all their needs, wants, information requirements, craving for support, and hungry demand for social proof. Revenue is something you attempt to dig out from the midst of all these. So don’t go betting on it.

Buying Love

You can’t buy love. We knew it long before but social media just blew that concept into a massive size and then forced us to pin that into our heads. Thousands of businesses to date love taking the “buy likes and followers” approach by hiring “specialists” who claim to be able to bring in 3,000 likes in 30 days or 20,000 followers in 3 months.

Think about this for a second: if your business deals with great products and services and if you stand behind your offering while contributing value to your customers, why would you ever need the all-too-tempting “buy 1000 likes” to work social media into your marketing strategy?

If you are good, the world will know. People will take notice. They will spread the word for you. Your brand will go viral if you give people enough reason.

Buying your way in is way too easy. Even if you did achieve to herald masses of people to like your Facebook Fan page and to follow you across your social media channels, do you really think they’d pay attention to your incessant interruptive marketing? You did buy your way in but how long does it take for them to chuck you out with an “Unlike” or “Unfollow?”

If the number of fans and followers were the measure of success, 80% of all social media accounts would have no use whatsoever. You’d be surprised at what some really small businesses with a tiny string of likes and followers have managed to do.

Orchestrating the PR Circus

It takes only one visit to Quora or a discussion-heavy LinkedIn group to make you realize that Internet users have worked to build passionate communities around products, services, ideas, brands, and tools.

If you read popular online publications such as Read Write Web, Mashable, Inc., or Fast Company, you know that if there’s a mention of a business, a web-based tool, a piece of code, a mobile app, or a service, that website gets server-killing traffic within the hour. The basic reason for this is that these sites have gained the trust of millions and a collective agreement from the community of being a reliable source of industry information.

Type in a query of your choice in Quora and see users pitching in their “opinion” on what these popular tools are. Project collaboration tools such as Basecamp have upstaged mighty and established programs such as Microsoft Project. Large online retailers and established bloggers rely on provider reviews from WhoIsHostingThis? before they choose a web host. Savvy travelers make it a point to check out Oyster Fakeouts before they book a hotel, and Oyster now has as much pull as TripAdvisor or any travel publication.

What’s the difference between an orchestrated PR effort and a natural mention on any of the websites alluded to earlier?

Press releases and paying publications (including blogs) is the traditional form of spreading the word. It still works, but it’s easy for readers to see through. How much value would you place on a blog posts that starts with “Sponsored Post?”

Natural mentions on popular publications, forums, communities, review sites, and Q & A sites are a whole new level of PR altogether. For once, there’s a real sense of “newsworthy” in the press!

Social media won’t budge to your PR bullying—it has the potential to bring media companies to their knees!

Swiping Your Card and Cashing In

Finally, social media is the exact opposite of traditional marketing channels when it comes to timeframes. Place an advertisement on your local paper today and you might just get some calls. Run a prolonged mass media campaign across print and television and you’ll get noticed. Lump together an offer that expires in a week and you’ll get a few visits to your store.

Social media is the last place you should be if you want anything “instant.” That’s not to say social media is a sloth bear. Nothing matches the viral blowout of a social share, but this “spread” is organic—no one individual, company or campaign controls it. No amount of money can buy that kind of influence.

If you are intent on social media, nurture it like a child. Do what you have to and do it for a long time. Social media begins to work for you when you’ve worked long enough and consistently enough.

If you’re looking for a shortcut, look somewhere else.

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Rohan works at E2M Solutions, India’s fastest growing online marketing agency, where he puts together digital master plans for premium brands. He also helps create remarkable user experiences at OnlyDesign.org for startups. Hit him up on Twitter for a chat.