Sunday, September 27, 2009

Yom Kippur Repentance... Online

Yes, it's that time again for us Hebrews. It's the day of awe, repenting, fasting, kibbutzing (talking with fellow jews), and meditating on being a better person. Now, all streamed right into your own home.

I'm a pretty computer literate person, but I was amazed how many of my friends and family actually went to temple this high holidays via their internet connection. They traded their ties and tallit for bathroom slippers and a laptops.

According to a few articles I've read about services 2.0, temples across the nation started streaming services for the elderly, but my friends were all in their 20s and 30s. They're used to having close-knit communities solely online.

It's perfect for those that want to tell their Jewish Mothers that they went to services, but don't want to deal with, well, services. Instead of sleeping through the Rabbi's sermon in the pews, you get to do it on the couch. You don't have to worry about parking, over-zealous ushers giving you the eye for saving 20 seats with prayer books, or all the Grannies trying to set you up with their grand-daughter two states over. I also feel there's something very comforting that G-d is listening to our prayers--spoken, silent or Tweeted.

To my Jewish friends, have an easy and meaningful fast. To my gentile friends appreciate your breakfast and lunch a little more.

An article if you want to read more:

Temple Beth El to broadcast services live on Internet

In a first for South Florida, Temple Beth El in Hollywood will broadcast video of Rosh Hashana services live over the Internet.

When Rabbi Allan C. Tuffs leads Rosh Hashana services Friday night, he hopes his message of community and worship carries far beyond the seats of Temple Beth El in Hollywood -- maybe even as far as Iraq.

Just in time for the start of the Jewish High Holidays of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, the 52-year old Reform synagogue will start live streaming its services from its website.

Though two Miami-Dade synagogues have been streaming audio over the Web for a few years, this marks the first time a South Florida temple will broadcast video over the Internet.

``It's very important to include as many people as possible who might otherwise not be included,'' Tuffs said. ``People in nursing homes, people who are homebound, as well as men and women in uniform serving abroad: They all deserve the chance to worship for the High Holidays.''

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Neuromarketing and Nuero Social Marketing

I recently learned more about the field of neuromarketing at a lecture by neuromarketing scientist, sales presentation guru and passionate speaker Christophe Morin, founder of Sales Brain.

For those of you who haven’t heard, neuromarketing is the study of how the brain acts during buying decisions. Just as more active muscles in our body need more oxygen, the more active areas of our brain also get more O2 enriched blood flow when they are working harder. Using an MRI machine, this can be tracked, catalogued and studied.

So, scientists know what you’re probably thinking right now. They know our attention span during sales presentations: 20 minutes tops. As I found out by reading Martin Lindstrom’s book Buyology, they know how we want to mirror the sexy men and women in ads, whether we know it consciously or not.

The most intriguing findings, according to Christophe, are that decisions aren’t made in the part of the brain that controls logic, or emotion, or smell, or even vision. It’s made in the section of grey matter that deals with our basic instincts: fight or flight, food, sex, and how we stay alive. Here, before we even know we’ve made a decision, the part of our brain that handles survival pulls us in one direction or another. So, the smart brains at Sales Brain have ways of talking to that part of the brain. Without their permission, I’ll now blog about them and hopefully get them some business.

Now, Christophe’s presentation wasn’t geared toward social marketing, but this post will.

1. Me, me, me
Our reptilian brain, or survival brain (as I call it), doesn’t care what you’re reporting on Twitter unless it pertains to us. Will it help us survive by giving us information that will help us keep our job? Will it help us reproduce by making us wittier or better looking? Will it at least make us laugh? It has to be rewarding for the reader.

2. Beginnings and Endings
We constnetrtae on bgennigns and ednings, wichh aollws oru brnais TO FGUIRE TIHNGS OUT. If you jumble the letters of words, except for the last two letters, the brain figures them out. If you start and end a podcast with your topic, then the brain might not listen to all of it, but it will fill in the blanks and guess at the rest.

3. Contrasts or Anomalies
Seth Godin’s book, Purple Cow, talks about how if you’re on the road and see a herd of cows you won’t notice any one in particular unless it’s a totally different color, say purple. Our brain is trained to notice contrasts. That’s why it’s shocking if a noisy room suddenly gets quiet or a cell phone interrupts a quiet room. It’s a basic brain function. Build the unusual and people will come.

4. Tangible
Our survival system doesn’t deal with the abstract. It deals with things in this world. If you want to talk about a thought, what’s an example of how that idea affects the world? Could it help someone, increase sales in a store, save a life? Be specific.

5. Visual
Without thinking, your brain is trained to make you jump if you see a snake. Talk about the idea of a snake and nobody moves a muscle. Be as visual as possible. Even on a podcast or blog, you can use words to paint pictures. We understand what we read, but we’re moved by what we see, even if it’s in our imagination.

6. Emotions
Think about your favorite TV ad or even a good Tweet. Was it great because it was factual or because it was funny or moving in some way? This is a no brainer about the brain, the more emotional you can make something, the closer we feel to it.

If you use social media, you probably already instinctually follow some of these rules. Maybe you don’t. The fact is that it’s easy to create social content. It’s more difficult to make sure that content is strategic. Then, the biggest trick is to make the content compelling. Neuromarketing helps to engage people on an unconscious as well as conscious level.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Try the Jewish Twitter

A new social marketing product just came out right before the Jewish New Year. It's the Jewish Twitter: Twitteleh. Watch the video.

Well, if the mommy blogs are big, why not go after the Jewish mommy posts on Twitter? Too small. This video has over 1,000 hits and by Rosh Hashanah I bet they will have 50 times that.

If I were to come up with a message here, I think it's that no niche is too small if those are the people that most want to target or they influence all the people that you want to target. As Seth Godin talks about in his book Tribes,
A group only needs two things to be a tribe, a shared interest and a way to communicate.
Look at the viral affects Sara Silverman had with "The Great Schlep." Yes it was a joke, but it got attention and it got young people inspired to talk to the Grannies and Bubbies about Obama. Us of the Hebrew persuasion are less than 1% of this country, but that percent is huge when mobilized. So, that's my soapbox for today. L'Shana Tova, Happy New Year to all the members of my tribe.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

TED explains new media technology to the State Department

I don't know how many of you are viewers of TED, but it is one of the most intriguing sites on the internet. They get amazing speakers talking about ideas from speakers as diverse as Prime Minister Gordon Brown, to inventor Josh Silver, to stunt man Steve Truglia. It's an amazing source of inspiration.

One of the most interesting for us social media hogs is a video by internet icon Clay Shirkey from earlier this year. He offers a speech on the internet and social media's place in history. His full lecture gives amazing examples of how the internet is changing the world. I have edited the talk down to his main points for you here.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Article: The Mime in A Box

Look over there. No, over there, at that stupid mime. Look at him walking into that wall. Now he’s turning and there’s another wall. He’s amazing. There’s another wall. Now he’s in a box. I hate those guys.

They may annoy you, or scare some, or leave you scratching your head, but mimes are amazing communicators. Without words or clown props, they are able to tell a story. That guy over there knows how to control his body so well, it actually looks like his cheek is pressed up against a window. He has us all seeing walls that aren’t there.

This is just like the blogs I’ve read telling us what social media can’t do. They tell people there are impediments there, trying to convince people that they can’t push against them. Time after time though, there are people who find a way to show us all that the walls didn’t really exist in the first place.

I’m not saying that social media works better for some strategies than others, but through working with small businesses, I’ve learned that the rules are made by the people using Social Media and not some guru. It works for one strategy for some companies, while that same strategy won’t work for another company. So here’s a few “no-no’s,” as a mime might say, that I’d take as more “hmm, that’s challenging.”


I have read over and over again detractors that bring up the fact that social media doesn’t lead to sales. To me there are two arguments against this mime routine against social media. First, one can argue that most forms of advertising and marketing aren’t sales tools. I worked 10 years as an advertising copywriter, enough to realize that sale spikes can relate back to non-sales techniques such as a brand’s Super Bowl ad runs or the judges on American Idol slurp down a Coca-Cola. The other argument is that the internet in general, more readily leads to sales because the point of purchase for so many things is right there. I just recently helped a non-profit called Foundation Rwanda come up with a commercial that ran on several cable channels and Hulu. Most of the donations they saw came from Hulu, because all the viewer had to do was click right on the ad to get to the point of sale, in this case, point of donation.


I also disagree with the idea that social media only builds short term traffic. To me that’s as silly as that mime over there now walking the imaginary tightrope. Yes, for the uninteresting and humorless sites, short-term hits might be the best you get. But I have been a regular subscriber to several blogs, podcasts, YouTube channels and twitters, because they are downright entertaining. I’ve listened to one fantasy football podcast for five years now, even in the months most quarterbacks are doing nothing but playing golf on Sunday.


I’ve also read that social media can’t provide balanced traffic to a site. This is one of those that I don’t have proof either way that social media can’t provide steady traffic, if it’s out there. In my house, I tell my kids that “can’t” is a very dirty word. I’d rather see someone try, then people ruling it out. And if you do know how to do it, let me know.


I somewhat agree and somewhat disagree. I don’t think social media necessarily should be the make-up of an entire marketing plan. Obviously there are other things to consider: promotions, events and advertising. There are some businesses, however, that are doing no marketing right now or have so little money that it paralyzes them. To these companies, I don’t see anything wrong with them using free social media as their only marketing. I think it’s more important to be out on the sites, then only behind your desk wishing you could communicate to more people.

In the end, my thoughts reading about what Social Media can’t do are the same thoughts I have watching a mime stuck in that box, in both cases I just want to go over and throw test the box. Break the illusion. I may be incredibly naive and I know I’m going against the numbers here, but I still think social media is in its infancy. Soon, we’ll all be proven wrong about everything.