Featured

“K.I.S.S., Ryan”: How a Crusty War Photographer Taught Me the Power of Simplicity

“K.I.S.S.” It’s a philosophy that I’ve lived by for a long time, especially in the advertising world. Well, this might date me a bit, but back in college I took a photography class. Digital cameras weren’t quite a thing yet, so we were shooting on film and developing in a darkroom. I absolutely loved the class and learned so much about framing, creating a shot, and developing unique images that would jump off the photo page.

My teacher was a crusty old Vietnam vet, a former war photographer. He showed us his incredible, moving work from the Vietnam War. Above his desk, he had a sign he’d made out of old photographs that said “K.I.S.S.” I was really struggling with an assignment, so I went up to him and rambled on about all the things I was trying to do. He raised his hand in a stop motion, then pointed at the K.I.S.S. sign. At that point, I had no idea what it meant.

He asked to see my proofs for the assignment. He flipped through them in seconds, pulled one out, and grunted with a big, arthritic finger, “Ryan, that’s your shot. Look at that kid on the tricycle, giving you that cute smile… you know the moment you turn your back, he’s going to go flying down a hill, looking for a ramp to jump. The one you’re focused on is too much; you’re overthinking it. K.I.S.S., Ryan.”

I looked at the two pictures, and he was absolutely right. The simpler one was better – a night-and-day difference. I looked at him and asked, “Okay, but I still don’t know what K.I.S.S. means?”

He grinned out of the corner of his mouth. “Keep It Simple” – then took a sip of his coffee. “What’s the other ‘S’?” I asked. He just laughed and walked away.

Helping Small Businesses Thrive: My Passion Project and How You Can Benefit

The hustle and heart of small businesses are what keeps our communities vibrant. But as a marketer, I also know the challenges they face – limited resources, stretched time, and the constant need to stay ahead of the curve. That’s why I’m passionate about dedicating my expertise to helping them thrive.

Recently, I volunteered 50 hours to work directly with small businesses. It was an incredibly rewarding experience. We tackled everything from crafting effective marketing strategies to implementing time-saving operational tweaks. Seeing the impact of these sessions, the spark of possibility in their eyes, solidified my desire to make a bigger difference.

Here’s the thing: every small business deserves a shot at success. But sometimes, the best marketing strategies and efficiency hacks seem out of reach.

That’s where I come in.

I’m offering free consultations to help small businesses jumpstart their marketing efforts and free up valuable time. Whether you’re struggling to find your target audience online, need help streamlining your operations, or simply want to bounce around some ideas, I’m here to listen and offer solutions tailored to your specific needs.

Here’s what you can expect:

  • A personalized consultation: We’ll discuss your unique business goals and challenges.
  • Actionable marketing tips: I’ll share strategies to reach your target audience and grow your business.
  • Time-saving efficiency hacks: Learn ways to streamline your operations and free up time to focus on what matters most.

So, if you’re a small business owner feeling overwhelmed or stuck, don’t hesitate to reach out! Let’s work together to unlock your full potential.

Incognito on LinkedIn: A Useful Tool, But Not a Networking Strategy

Let’s talk about LinkedIn’s private mode. It’s a handy feature for viewing profiles without leaving a trace, but is it the best approach for professional networking?

Sure, private mode allows you to browse incognito, but here’s the irony: the whole point of LinkedIn is to connect and be discoverable. (We’re not talking creepy stalker here, but building genuine professional relationships!)

Consider this:

  • Private mode hides your interest: If you’re viewing someone’s profile, chances are you’re interested in what they do. Private mode keeps them from knowing, hindering potential connections.
  • Networking is a two-way street: Wouldn’t you want to know who’s checking out your profile? It could be a recruiter or a potential collaborator!

Instead, leverage private mode strategically:

  • Research discreetly: Use it for competitor analysis or researching potential employers without tipping your hand.
  • Double-check privacy settings: While incognito lets you view others privately, ensure your own profile is set for maximum visibility (within reason) to attract opportunities.

Remember: Building a strong, public profile with engaging content is key. People who see your profile and connect are more likely to be genuine connections you want to nurture.

Improving a Restaurant’s Digital Strategy

Recently, I had an enlightening conversation with a friend who’s been working with a local restaurant on their web strategy. The discussion centered around some crucial steps that could significantly enhance the restaurant’s online presence and revenue streams.

Embracing Online Ordering and Delivery Services

The first recommendation I made was for the restaurant to transition to an online ordering platform and integrate with mobile delivery services like DoorDash. This move can be transformative for several reasons:

  1. Cost Reduction: By streamlining the ordering process through a digital platform, the restaurant can reduce overhead costs associated with taking orders over the phone.
  2. Additional Revenue Streams: Partnering with delivery services opens up new avenues for revenue. Customers who prefer the convenience of delivery can now easily access the restaurant’s menu from the comfort of their homes.
  3. Enhanced Customer Experience: An online ordering system provides a seamless and user-friendly experience, which can lead to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.

The Importance of Domain Ownership

During our discussion, my friend mentioned that the restaurant’s current website provider was charging them $175 to transfer the domain back to the restaurant. This is outrageous, especially considering that the process typically takes less than five minutes and is straightforward.

Owning and controlling your own domain is critical for several reasons:

  1. Autonomy: It ensures that you have full control over your website and can make changes or switch providers without unnecessary obstacles.
  2. Cost Efficiency: Avoiding inflated fees for simple tasks can save money that can be better invested in other areas of the business.
  3. Brand Security: Maintaining ownership of your domain protects your brand’s digital identity and ensures that your online presence remains stable and secure.

Our conversation highlighted how strategic digital transformations can drive significant benefits for a restaurant. Embracing online ordering and delivery services can enhance customer convenience and generate additional revenue, while owning your domain ensures control and cost efficiency. These steps are not just about keeping up with the times; they’re about securing a competitive edge in an increasingly digital marketplace.

Stop Yelling at Me: Why Facebook Pages Should Ditch the Constant “@Followers”

Let’s be honest, social media trends can get old fast. From pointless challenges to recycled memes (and yes I searched for this pic on purpose), there’s always something vying for our attention (and patience). But one trend that’s been bugging me lately is the excessive use of the “@followers” function by Facebook pages.

This isn’t just a personal pet peeve – there are several reasons why constantly tagging your followers can actually hurt your social media strategy. Here’s why it’s time for Facebook pages to ditch the “@followers” spam and focus on building genuine connections.

Reduces post reach: Facebook prioritizes content that sparks conversations. Repetitive use of “@followers” might be seen as spammy by the algorithm, potentially limiting the organic reach of your posts.

Comes across as demanding: The constant use of “@followers” can feel bossy or demanding. It puts the pressure on the audience to take action rather than focusing on providing them with valuable content that would naturally encourage engagement.

Not inclusive to non-followers: If someone isn’t already following your page, seeing “@followers” mentioned all the time might make them feel excluded. It’s better to craft content that resonates with a broader audience and organically attracts new followers.

Sounds impersonal: Constant use of “@followers” can make your content sound robotic and impersonal. It’s better to use a more conversational tone and address your audience directly with phrases like “you” or “our community.”

Focus on value, not numbers: Obsessing over follower count isn’t the best strategy. The goal is to build a community of engaged individuals. Focus on creating high-quality content that provides value to your audience, and the follower count will naturally grow.

The Power of One Positive: A Morning Walk with Gratitude

This morning, as I strolled alongside my Golden Retriever, Rose, a wave of anxiety washed over me. It crept in unannounced, leaving me feeling unmoored. Unable to pinpoint the source of my unease, I found myself reflecting on a conversation with a friend from 18 months ago.

“Ryan,” he had said, “what I do is just look for one positive thing each day. Just one. It’s so easy to get caught up in the negative, and if you let it consume you, it can be overwhelming. So find the positive.”

His words resonated deeply, and as I continued my walk, I began to consciously search for those small sparks of joy in the ordinary. And there they were, all around me:

  • Rose’s goofy grin, her tongue lolling out in pure contentment as she chased a rogue squirrel.
  • The sun’s gentle caress, peeking through the branches and casting a warm glow on the shimmering pond.
  • The shared laughter over coffee with my wife, the warmth of her hand in mine.
  • The quiet moments helping my kids get ready for school, the anticipation of a new day in their eyes.

In that moment, I realized the abundance of positive experiences surrounding me, each one a tiny treasure waiting to be unearthed. It wasn’t about ignoring the challenges or difficulties, but about acknowledging them while simultaneously choosing to focus on the light that shines through the cracks.

This simple practice of seeking out just one positive aspect each day, no matter how small, can be a powerful tool for shifting our perspective and fostering a sense of gratitude. It’s a reminder that even amidst the everyday chaos, there is always beauty and joy to be found, if we only choose to see it.

Scrollin’ Through the Feed: What’s Hot in Social Media Right Now

Anyone else feel like social media moves faster than a toddler on a sugar high? It can be hard to keep up with the latest trends, but fear not, fellow scrollers! I’m here to break it down for you, K.I.S.S. style.

Short and Sweet, But Not Too Short: Remember Vine? Yeah, good times. Short-form video is still king, with platforms like TikTok and Instagram Reels leading the charge. But here’s the twist: longer content is making a comeback. We’re talking TikTok testing videos up to 30 minutes long, and even YouTube experimenting with horizontal formats. Think mini-documentaries, in-depth tutorials, or just longer storytelling.

Building a Tribe, Not Just a Following: Forget chasing follower counts and picture-perfect profiles. Today, it’s all about building real connections and fostering a sense of community. People crave authentic interactions, meaningful conversations, and a feeling of belonging. Whether it’s joining a niche group or engaging with creators you genuinely connect with, community is key.

The Rise of the Machines (But in a Cool Way): AI is becoming a social media staple, from personalized content recommendations like “You might also like…” to chatbots handling customer service inquiries. While it might sound a little sci-fi, think of it as your social media assistant, making your experience smoother and more efficient.

Real Talk, Real People: In a world of filters and carefully curated feeds, people are craving authenticity. They want to connect with brands and creators who feel genuine, transparent, and trustworthy. Ditch the staged photos and scripted messages, and show your true colors. Let your personality shine through and build trust with your audience.

Shop ‘Til You Drop (But From Your Phone): Social media is no longer just for catching up with friends and sharing funny cat videos. It’s become a massive shopping platform. Platforms like Instagram and Facebook are making it easier than ever to discover and purchase products directly within the app. Think one-click shopping sprees fueled by your favorite influencers’ recommendations.

Game On, Everyone! Online gaming is more than just a solitary activity these days. Platforms like Twitch and Discord are transforming it into a social experience. Players connect, interact, and even compete while streaming their gameplay. It’s like watching your favorite sport, but everyone’s potentially involved!

So, there you have it! These are just a few of the things heating up the social media landscape. Remember, the game is constantly evolving, so keep your finger on the pulse and adapt your approach to stay ahead of the curve. Now, excuse me while I go chase some trends and build my online tribe (with a healthy dose of K.I.S.S., of course).

Beyond Scheduling: Unleashing the Magic of Organic Content

Ever stare at your keyboard, plead with your fingers to “start writing,” and… silence? This morning, my creative gears were firmly in ‘park.’ Social media posts sat taunting me, but my brain mumbled, “Nope, not today.”

Cue the trusty tennis ball and my dog! A quick 15-minute break in the sunshine, playing fetch, did wonders. Back at my desk, with a Diet Coke chilled to near-freezing perfection, I dove into my social media campaign.

I firmly believe in a balanced approach: scheduled posts, paid ads, and organic content that truly connects. These organic gems can be tricky, but often reap the biggest rewards. ✨ And suddenly, like magic, an idea sparked! My fingers flew across the keyboard, and my dog got a happy head pat.

Beyond Bard: Google’s Gemini AI Impresses with Accuracy and Multimodality

I’ve been spending time on Google’s re-named and updated Gemini AI, and I’m truly impressed! It’s a significant improvement over the previous Bard version and even offers features that surpass ChatGPT in areas like factual accuracy and multimodal capabilities.

Multimodal Capabilities: Gemini is designed as a “native multimodal” model, meaning it can process and learn from various data types like text, audio, and video. This allows it to analyze complex datasets like charts and images, potentially offering valuable insights for fields like medicine and science. ChatGPT currently lacks this multimodal ability.



Factual Accuracy and Up-to-Dateness: Google emphasizes factual accuracy and strives to integrate the latest information in Gemini. By continuously learning and updating, Gemini aims to provide reliable and current responses. While both models utilize various techniques for this, Google’s approach in Gemini might lead to improved factuality in specific situations.

Specific Functionality: Depending on the tasks you’ve been using Gemini for, it might offer superior functionality compared to ChatGPT. For instance, Google has focused on integrating Gemini with Microsoft 365, potentially offering unique functionalities within that ecosystem.

More info can be found on Google’s blog: https://blog.google/technology/ai/google-gemini-next-generation-model-february-2024/#sundar-note

Beyond the “Next Facebook”: Why Meta Still Matters

Remember the “next Facebook” frenzy? Years ago, meetings buzzed with that question, alongside “Where are the kids (a.k.a. 20-40 year olds!) at?” (ironically, sometimes in the same room as newspaper ad advocates, but that’s a story for another time).

While the social media landscape has evolved, Meta (Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, etc.) remains a powerful force for small businesses. Here’s why:

Reach: It boasts a massive, diverse user base across age groups, with Whatsapp particularly popular amongst millennials (26-35 year olds) who make up 27% of its US user base. On the other hand, it reaches less of the 56+ demographic (only 13%).

Ease of Use: The ad platform is relatively user-friendly (with practice, of course!), offering helpful guidance to optimize your campaigns.

Time & Money Value: Compared to constant video creation on trending platforms like TikTok, Meta offers a more time-efficient route for busy entrepreneurs. ⏳

Remember, success with Meta requires consistent effort and a strategic approach. However, for small businesses with limited resources, Meta offers a user-friendly platform and cost-effective marketing options, making it a valuable tool to consider in your marketing mix.

Verified by MonsterInsights