A Deeper Dive into What #SocialMedia Trends Mean: Innovation & Biz Disruption

Technology social media the internetI’m Cathy Larkin, @CathyWebSavvyPR, a part of the team that supports Kaizenbiz chat. This week on Kaizenbiz I’m hosting, while Elli, @3Keyscoach, is not available. We’ll take a dive into the deeper waters of social media trends. Bring your favorite or least favorite social media trend to discuss. But let’s not just make it a love/hate complaining fest, but take a look into the whys and how it affects larger issues, or how they affect your business or industry. Join us Friday April 5th, 2014, 5 pm GMT/12pm ET/9am on Twitter, follow the #Kaizenbiz hashtag.

To bring us deeper into the topic – check out this video (and written transcript) from @McKinsey (McKinsey and Company)

Why every leader should care about digitization and disruptive innovation:

“For the first time we now have technology effecting every single sector of the economy….” Their post is about more than social media, but provides a strong context for our discussion… also from the video & @amcafee: “Lots of things are being digitized…our social interactions are being digitized largely thanks to all the different social networks and the social media that we have…,” “There’s good news and challenges here…”

To put this in perspective – here’s a reminder of how far we’ve come since the early days of the internet. We’ve come a long way from this news story in 1981 when cutting-edge folks took 2 hours to download the news paper to their computers  via dial-up modem (at $5/hour): http://www.wimp.com/theinternet/.


A map from mother Jones 3/28/14 story: MAP: Here Are the Countries That Block Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube – click to see article

Social media has been key in helping people around the world connect with one another and organize. This has caused some countries to block access to these sites.  This post shows a map of the various countries that as of March, 2014 have blocked these services; click to see the full story: MAP: Here Are the Countries That Block Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

On the up side: social media has also been used to help people around the world connect to information during disasters and other world events. Here’s a short post on how social media and other technology tricks worked to help save lives during the recent Chilean Earthquake: Chile Uses Earthquake Communication Technology To Saves Lives

Facebook Bait and Switch – How’s That for a Trend?

Facebook convinced many businesses, large & small to get lots of likes to their pages, with the assumption that when their customers were online, they would see the biz updates. Now with Facebook’s new proposed algorithm change – a tiny percentage of a business’s fans will see the posts – unless they PAY to promote it.

This is not the first major change made to make things better for Facebook, and often worse for their users. Did Facebook break a brand promise? Are they so big they can do what they want? How might setting a trend like this at Facebook, make Twitter and Google rethink their own pricing models. How will this affect your business?

And What About Twitter’s new Gambit – they are Considering Simplifying to Entice New Users to Stay or One-time Users to Return

Twitter is talking about doing away with two if their earlier innovations – the @ sign and  the #hashtag that was started by customers. They are trying to simplify or “dumb down” to regain 1billion lost users…great idea or alienate main user base?

Will new pressures to raise money after they went public drive users away?

On the Other Hand…LinkedIn Seems to be Gaining Traction, Yet Making Missteps Too

LinkedIn plans on adding blogs for members, but on the other hand has given the power to group owners to block people from commenting and posting in groups without being moderated…across the entire site – not just that group.

So How Disruptive ARE Social Sites to Business?

So many businesses and individuals build connections on these platforms to then have the rules change again and again – sometimes for the better, sometimes for worse. Yes it is a business like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn’s right to change their options and terms of service, but the disruptive nature of innovation has consequences in the short and long term.

#Kaizenbiz Chat Questions

**QUEST 1 How do you think technology or #socialmedia trends have had positive effects in the world?

**QUEST 2 How have recent technology trends promoted #socialmedia to disrupt business strategy?

**QUEST 3 Are social sites making progress, alienating users or going all 1984/big brother?

**QUEST 4 How might FBk’s setting a trend of paying to access yr fans make Twitter, Google & LinkedIn rethink their pricing

**QUEST 5 What effect might Twitter’s potential simplifying to cater to new users have on your existing biz?

Next week, Elli St. George Godfrey will be back and we’re talking about business resilience in the current business climate


E-commerce vs Traditional Retail the future of both: Friends, Enemies or “Frenemies”

ecommerce image by Cathy LarkinThis chat idea stemmed from a couple of blog posts about e-commerce (and its sibling “m-commerce” for mobile/smart phone/tablet commerce) and the effects on retail and bricks-and-mortar or traditional commerce and shopping. One of them was from Smallbusinesstrends.com: Ten Approaches That May Shape the Future of eCommerce.

Let’s define our commerce terms

E-commerce – selling goods (physical or digital) or services via the internet (via a computer) or mobile phone or tablet. Other related terms: e-shopping, m-commerce. And the newest trend, smart TV-shopping. Already TV retailers like QVC and HSN have an option to shop using your remote…even without a smart TV. In days to come, that may be the tip of the TV-shopping iceberg. My prediction…I think one day you will see something on TV, click your remote and be directed to the website that sells the shirt the actor is wearing. Catalog retailers have been one of the winners in the e-commerce wars. Many turning their paper catalogs into more robust online stores.

We often hear doomsday predictions when a new technology disrupts the “traditional” landscape…

While Radio didn’t kill live performances or books, TV didn’t kill radio, and the internet didn’t kill TV – each new technological improvement did force the purveyors of the old to adapt. But we’ve already seen evidence that Amazon’s e-commerce activities were likely a factor in the demise of Borders Books & Music, both online and their bricks-and-mortar stores. Who is next to go down? Or who is the next bricks-and-mortar retailer to embrace online technology and grow their business? Personally, I prefer to try something on or to hold an item in my hand before buying. While I welcome the innovations of e-commerce, I hope my favorite stores manage to adapt and stick around.

There is a tug of war going on between traditional retail and ecommerce

Both types of stores keep trying to up their game to capture the attention of their customers. Some companies keep trying various ways to customize the customer experience. This can be a workable strategy, or a never-ending wild goose chase. How a store or website looks and functions is important, but beware of innovating too far ahead of your customers. As JCPenny’s former CEO found out. JCPenney: Customers Are Confused By Mobile POS, So Let’s Try Lanyards And Carts a post from Fierce Retail. They tried mobile point of sale checkout, but many customers looking for the cash register…couldn’t find the check out people.  An online example is remarketing or retargeted ads – ads that follow you around the internet after you browse and online merchant. To some they are creepy…like the store sales associate who won’t leave you alone to shop. I find retargeting a waste, as they often chase me long after I have bought from another online merchant, store or brand.

Another trend: cross-channel integration

Trying to make sure the website recognizes the customer on web or smart phone, and have similar branding in store and on social media. For larger operations this can be costly, but can lead to stronger customer loyalty. For smaller companies, it might be too costly, although similar branding in store and on the web should be achievable.

Responsive web design

This also a growing trend. Instead of having a separately-built mobile site, many sites are shifting their M-commerce -to mobile-responsive sites – one that resizes itself to size of screen. While I think this is good, some customer-friendly features can get lost in the simple responsive sites. tablets work well, but on smart phones, sometimes a dedicated site makes more sense. Although responsive web design is still in it’s infancy. I’m betting we will see more innovations here.


Retailers, online and off, need to manage growth wisely. It’s not good enough to sell lots of products these days…to last you have to sell good products, with an easy to navigate online and/or offline store, handle shipping and fulfillment to the customer, and try and bring them back for more. S/he who masters those items will rocket ahead, especially when dissatisfied customers can squawk loudly via social media. Estimates suggest that the cost of acquiring a new customer is 21 times more than keeping an existing one.

E-commerce cons:

One thing that is still missing  from the online shopping experience is the personal touch. Customer reviews and “chat with a rep” features help, but you also can’t try clothing on when shopping online. But there is often a trust factor with customer reviews, which some people don’t trust. Let’s face it they can be gamed. Also, some are still loath to trust their credit cards to the whims of the internet and problems of identity theft.

Online e-commerce venues seem to have gotten the view and buy product thing right, but are still struggling with keeping customers happy after the sale – shipping, handling etc. Also from @FierceRetail: EBay Now Racing Amazon For A Delivery Foothold, Expands From Mobile To The Web.

There is some hope for traditional retail…

Millennials Pick Walmart Over Amazon—At Least After They Become Parents

One study indicates that millennials end up selecting Walmart as their store of choice, over Amazon, after they become parents.

New retail trends..pop-up retail

Like the food truck, pop-up retail has taken off in a big way in the U.S. it can be a great way to test products, concepts and generate buzz with less investment for small innovators, and for larger retailers as well. works great with social media to let people know where the physical location of the store is. Mobile commerce has fueled this growth. This ideas came from a white paper available on FierceRetail.com.


Do you think Traditional retail shopping and e/m-commerce are friends, enemies or frenemies? Why?

What shopping trend do you think will have the largest effect on the retail landscape & why in next 10 years?

What impact does Social media have on either traditional retail or e-commerce activity?

Can you give examples of a bricks-and-mortar stores that are embracing online, mobile, or smart-TV shopping?

What can we do, as consumers or retail professionals, to help bridge the gap between brick-and-mortar and online stores?


What Does it Really Mean to Humanize your PR & Brand?

computer keyboard with a key that says the word Chat on itI’m Cathy Larkin, Owner of Web Savvy PR, and a part of the Kaizenbiz Team. Our fearless leader, Elli St. George Godfrey, is on vacation and asked me to host #KaizenBiz chat this Friday August 24, 2012. I come from the PR-side of marketing. I’d like to talk today, and on our Twitter chat Friday, about just one slice of the PR / digital marketing pie – the part of PR that handles connecting an organization or business with its clients, customers & stakeholders and getting a conversation going. In the past, the goals might have been more to “get the business’s message out.” However, with the rise of social media, the balance has shifted even more towards relationship building. Businesses and their PR & Marketing teams are struggling to respond to this balance. In my over 20 years in PR, even before social media, part of our job was to humanize the brand. Connection, Conversation and Relationship-building have always been key ways of getting any message out to individuals who might care. But organizations can now do that much more directly. This paragraph is full of buzz words, words we’ve heard too often lately. But I really feel at their core, they are very important: Connection, Conversation, Relationships. Continue reading


Transcript June 15, 2012 KaizenBiz Chat with Judy Gombita

Below is the transcript from the June 15th, 2012 #KaizenBiz chat on Twitter. Our host is @3KeysCoach, this week’s guest was @JGombita and the topic was: Working Towards Incremental Respect For PR. this week, due to a glitch in our regular transcript program, we used Storify.com to create the transcript. The first link is to the framing post for the chat, then the rest of the chat is in reverse chronological order, so you will have to scroll/click to the end to see the start of the chat and read back to follow the chat questions. Sorry folks, the only one I could make work was the slideshow version. Bear with our technology issues this week.

Try this slideshow version of the transcript