Helpful Tips For Selecting A Good Pest Control Company

 

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This summer’s bug problem is going to be bad, and with a huge population of nasty bugs, you’re going to need a good pest control company to keep them away. With so many pest control companies to choose from, picking the right pest control company can be tricky.

Here are a few helpful tips, or things to look for, when selecting a good pest control company:

Power Spray

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Some pest control companies just treat with a backpack sprayer, and that will not get the job done. Power-spraying the home’s foundation is the only way to properly treat it for pests. What a power-spray treatment will do, is place a heavy amount of product around the foundation of your home. The pressure coming out of the hose will help penetrate or push the product under the rocks, and soil around the home; where most bugs will live. Select a company that offers a power spray service.

Granulate 

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With an outside treatment, a power spray will put a barrier around your home, but won’t kill the pests at the source. The main source of the pest problem will be at the base of the plants and trees. This is where pests will get food and water to survive. Properly granulating these areas will effectively control the pests from infesting your home. Look for a pest control company that treats pest with granules.

In Wall Treatment 

In-wall

On the inside of the home, a lot of pests will infest inside the walls. If the pests do get inside the walls, an infestation will occur; and if not properly treated the infestation will only grow. A company that does an in-wall treatment will place a product directly inside the walls of the home. This is done by taking the face plates of the outlets, and dusting inside the walls. This will help kill any of the pests trying to infest inside the walls.

Good Reviews 

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Checking to see how well a pest control company rates among other competitors is a good way to see how customers view the company’s service.  The best way to do this is check online. Good places to look for customer reviews include: Google, Yelp, Better Business Bureau, and Family Owned Pest Control.

Bulwark Pest Control

If you want a pest control company that uses a power spray treatment, treats with granules, offers an in-wall treatment, and has awesome online reviews; look no further then Bulwark Exterminating!

Social Buzz-edia

Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Yelp… As pest management professionals it’s easy to get confused with all of these different social media avenues.

To help you better understand all the different social media outlets a little better, here’s an infographic (with a pest control flare of course) from the professionals at Avalaunch Media and Bulwark Exterminating:

Social Buzz-edia

Tips For Successfully Expanding Your Business In 2014

2014 growthAs a business owner, you may have fallen into the trap of believing that your business will continue to maintain a sense of stability. You may be comfortable, for example, with the number of customers and employees that you currently have.

I would suggest that such an approach is unlikely to pay dividends over time. The reality of any business environment is such that a failure to expand and progress almost inevitably leads to a situation where your rivals are making headway. In essence, the danger is that you will be left behind. By attempting to stand still, the reality is that you are actually seeing your business head backwards.

So how can you attempt to make the changes that are necessary, in order to receive better results? As we approach the end of the year, I think that this is a fantastic time to give consideration to how improvements can be made next year. It’s my belief that almost any business has the opportunities available for bringing about an expansion. It’s really just a question of putting a plan in place and then following it through.

I’d like to offer some simple tips on improving the situation for your business:

Plan to succeed

I’m a great believer in the importance of having the right mindset in place. In short, it’s always been my feeling that a negative thought process will almost always lead to negative results.

If you spend your time thinking about the difficulties that you are facing on a daily basis and believing that everything will end disastrously, then the sad reality is that you are looking at a self-fulfilling prophecy. The chances are that things will go as badly as you imagine.

But there is also, however, another way of thinking about your situation. If you truly believe that you will find business success in 2014, then there’s no reason why this shouldn’t happen for you. I would always recommend to other people that they should begin by demonstrating that they have the confidence levels that are required.

What does this mean, in practical terms? What I would suggest is that you outline a clear, written plan of how you are going to produce improvements next year. As you do so, you will be doing more than outlining a plan for success: you will be showing that you have the belief that things will change for the better.

Start looking for new premises

As your business expands, it’s clear that you will be in need of larger premises. You should see this as being a real positive and there’s nothing to inspire the mind more than starting to examine the possibilities. Although I’m not suggesting that you should get as far as hiring an office removals firm right now, I certainly don’t see the problem with pursuing this approach.

Isn’t there a danger here that you will be falling into the trap of indulging yourself in something of a fantasy? That’s certainly a problem that needs to be avoided, though it’s my belief that a little bit of dreaming does little harm.

Hire better people

How do you feel about the salaries that you pay to your employees? I also find it interesting to note that entrepreneurs often feel that employees are being paid too much. Frequently, this seems to be an area where it seems like savings can be made.

I’d like to offer an alternative view here: you should be pleased to be spending big on salaries. Although this may not seem to make an enormous amount of sense, my argument would be that the best businesses usually enjoy the very best people. That’s not something that I see as being a coincidence.

If you’re interested in making real progress, then my suggestion would be that you should concentrate on hiring those who really add value.

Embrace the power of social media

Gone are the days when a presence on Twitter or Facebook seemed like something of a luxury. The truth is that you simply must engage via social media, if you are truly looking to expand your business.

A significant proportion of your potential customers will simply expect to find that you are active on such channels. If you make the choice not to be, then you are simply handing the advantage to your key competitors.

Engaging via social media doesn’t mean spending endless hours, or understanding the intricacies of the software that’s involved. What it does mean, on the other hand, is spending the time that’s necessary to get to grips with these networks. You really can’t afford to be left behind in this particular race.

I believe that you can experience business success in 2014, but do you have the same level of belief?

Simon Barnett advises many small business owners on how to produce better outcomes. He’s often amazed by the impact of positive thinking, when combined with practical decision-making.

Published by Thomas Ballantyne

Handle With Care: How To Address Negative Online Reviews

Every company hopes to provide the best products and services, and they hope to make every customer’s experience enjoyable. Unfortunately, that’s not always going to occur. Sometimes, your company is going to upset a customer to the point where they write a negative online review about your business on sites like Google+ Local or Yelp. Although you cannot control what customers say about you online, you can help to diffuse the situation by addressing these negative comments.

The following tips will help you handle each and every negative review with care to help put the customer’s mind at ease.

Read the entire review.

Don’t read the first line and assume you know where it’s going. Instead, read the entire review, and re-read it if you have to in order to ensure you understand everything that the customer is saying. The last thing you want to do is to respond to a negative review without understanding the entire complaint.

Don’t react.

You take your business seriously, and when someone says something bad about your business, your first response may be to become upset or angry. It’s very important that you don’t do this. Never accuse a customer of lying or exaggerating the truth, and never ever sink to a level where you berate a customer on a public forum. Instead, if you become upset, be sure to walk away and take some time to calm down before responding to the review.

Respond to the review sincerely.

Although you may not want to apologize or be nice to the angry reviewer, it’s important that you not only respond to the review, but that you also respond sincerely. Make sure that you apologize to the individual for their poor experience with your business and be sincere about it. Sometimes receiving a response from you will make the reviewer realize that their experience wasn’t as bad as they claimed it was, or they may simply be appreciative that you took the time to respond to their review at all. Don’t let negative reviews sit on review sites unanswered, and instead respond sincerely.

State who you are.

It’s very important that the person responding to the review states who they are. For example, give your name and your title at the company. This personalizes your response and lets the reviewer know that they are talking to a real person and not just some random individual hiding behind a computer. Keep in mind that it’s also better if responses come from higher employees, such as managers, owners or CEOs. If possible, always have these people respond to the reviews.

Make the situation right.

Listen to what the reviewer is saying and do what you can to make the situation right. For example, were they complaining about an unclean bathroom? If so, be sure that your staff is constantly monitoring the bathroom to ensure cleanliness. Let your reviewer know that you’ve taken the steps to right the situation. They’ll be flattered that you took their advice.

Offer an incentive for a return visit.

You can always offer the individual an incentive to come back and check out your establishment once you’ve made the necessary changes. You can offer them something for free, or even offer them a coupon for a nice discount. If they do come back and like their experience, they may write a positive review for your business.

Respond quickly.

It’s also very important that all negative reviews receive responses in a timely fashion. The longer you let the review sit, the longer the individual will stay upset, and they may turn to other review sites to post their negative comments about your business. Make sure that you’re using an online review monitoring system to help you stay on top of any new reviews that appear on your page.

Austin Jones is an online reputation management professional who specializes in tracking and monitoring negative customer reviews. His reports help businesses take counter measures to turn unhappy customers into loyal customers.

Published by Thomas Ballantyne

5 Ridiculous Bug Bits Online

We all know the internet is wonderful. I recently needed to find some information in a book, yes books still exist, and asked, “How do I Google in this thing?” Haha, brain fart, but the internet is also known to be home to some of the world’s weirdest, creepiest, and totally ridiculous truths and lies.

The following are some of the most wonderful bug related treasures we’ve found online:

5. Sure Fire Pest Control: Man Blows Up His Apartment

 

Man Blows Up Penthouse For Pest Control

One sure way, proven to be 100% effective, to get rid of the bugs in your bachelor pad is to blow up the joint. Hands down you’ll be bug-free. A New Jersey man decided to test out this theory. His do-it-at-home extermination methods led to a blaze which destroyed about 80% of his apartment. Chump.

Read the incredibly ridiculous story here.

4. Funeral For Fallen Bugs

 

remember bee memorial

Thousands of bumble bees were found dead in an Portland, Oregon mall parking lot. Just like any fallen government official, the bees were honored with an elaborate memorial. The goal of the memorial, which took place at a Target parking lot, was to “memorialize these fallen lifeforms and talk about the plight of the bees and their importance to life on Earth.”  Yes, bees are important. Yes, I know that the city of Portland is pretty crunchy granola. But a bug memorial… just like a fallen government official? Come on! I guess you better think twice before I squash that cockroach next time I’m in Portland.

Read more about the bug memorial here.

3. Hall Monitor? Please… Insect Monitor is the New Thang!

Insect Hall Monitor

A California teacher at Eagle Rock Elementary School & Magnet Center thought hall monitors were overrated so she decided to appoint an insect monitor instead. All the kids are raving about the job; especially the little girls. The job requirements include, but are not exclusive to, transporting insects outdoors, and preventing their deaths within the classroom. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) praised the teacher. When PETA gets involved you know things are legit.

Read the Fox News Story here.

2. Wikihow’s Steps for the Care of a Praying Mantis

 

Praying Mantis

Learning to care for pets is critical, but the insect on the best sellers list at the local pet store is definitely the Praying Mantis. For those mantis enthusiasts out there wikiHow now details just how to start your new life next to your mantis. From finding just the right little guy for you, to petting and handling it, to breeding your own generation of companions. It is all there. I just found this bizarre!

1. Aqua’s Bumble Bee Music Video

 

If your love of bees isn’t strong enough, the group Aqua (also known as the “Barbie Girl” group) has captured the essence of these bugs just right in one of their many hits. Bumble bees is a YouTube sensation and thanks to the black and yellow buggers it continues to increase in popularity. Congrats Aqua. After watching the music video, I’m left speechless.

Got any other crazy bug stories? We’d Love to hear em’!

 

What Is Integrated Pest Management?

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1382ps_02333.jpg (Photo credit: IRRI Images)

If you are reading this, you are either currently experiencing a pest problem, have dealt with one in the past, for some reason enjoy learning about random niche industries, or are banging on your keyboard yelling at the Google for misdirecting you. The term “pest” is the official term used to describe organisms detrimental to human activities and the unofficial term you once used to describe your little brother during the two hours after nap time. No one enjoys pests having free reign in their home anymore than you enjoyed having to sprint full speed after Justin through the middle of the grocery store during rush hour. But alas, pest control is an issue many homeowner must face at some point or another.

So what do you know about pest control? Other than the infinite catch-phrase puns and insect caricature logos, what actually goes into a pest control service? In many cases, pest control boils down to a couple dudes buying some really toxic materials and spraying them all over your house and property. Yippie! That sounds like fun! Good thing you don’t have any kids or pets… oh you do? There are laws in place to protect you on some capacity from irresponsible pesticide application, but ultimately, it is up to the consumer to do his or her due diligence when hiring a pest control company.

Despite the negative examples, there are, of course, some good guys in this industry. Shortly after World War II, scientists began developing what is known as Integrated Pest Management (IPM). This system takes a broad look at pest control and seeks to “integrate” a wide range of tactics, techniques, and research into controlling each species of pest, striving to achieve a “happy” balance of economic efficiency and environmental responsibility. To put that in terms that I can understand, IPM is all about killing bugs as efficiently as possible while taking into account peripheral effects on the surrounding environment. IPM is centered around six basic ideas.

1) Acceptable Pest Levels

Because IPM is a comprehensive strategy rather than an event-specific attack, it works to establish an “acceptable pest level” in any given context. Complete extermination is often impossible, so instead of living in denial and burning our home down with a flamethrower, we want to know how much of a given pest we can afford to allow in any given situation. Once this threshold is crossed, we then employ the most efficient techniques for returning the population to acceptable levels.

2) Preventative Cultural Practices

This one is pretty simple. It means we take an intelligent look at our surroundings and act accordingly. So if my home/farm/bat cave is located in the middle of a high-functioning, watermelon-destroying weed resort, I’m going to go ahead and refrain from planting an acre’s worth of watermelons. Or if I’ve already planted my watermelons, I’m going to have my farm designed in such a way that I can quickly isolate and quarantine an outbreak after some idiot flies overhead, dropping a new strain of watermelon-eating bacteria into my perfectly rounded delights. The keyword here is “preventative.”

Fort Custer Integrated Pest Management
Fort Custer Integrated Pest Management (Photo credit: U.S. Army Environmental Command)

3) Monitoring

I doubt I need to explain the term “monitoring” to you. However, you should know that this isn’t kindergarten-teacher-watching-you-pretend-to-sleep monitoring. This is science-nerd-in-high-school-chemistry-class monitoring. Records are kept. Eyes are strained. Complaints to management are made. Diligent monitoring is the cornerstone of IPM.

4) Mechanical Controls

When pests multiply beyond their acceptable limit, IPM uses giant robots to murder them with lasers. Well… that actually might be a slight exaggeration. What does happen is that simple techniques including hand-removal, barriers, vacuuming, or tilling are employed to break up the pests’ nonstop baby-making and put the population levels on decline.

5) Biological Controls

What’s the only thing cooler than laser-wielding, bug-killing robots? The answer, of course, is biologically engineered super-carnivores! What!? There aren’t any of those either!? Boring! Actually, this step is simply introducing natural predators of the targeted pest into the environment. This is a very calculated process, requiring significant research to ensure that more islands aren’t completely taken over by brown tree snakes. I’m looking at you Guam.

6) Responsible Pesticide Use

Remember at the beginning when we said IPM is all about killing bugs as efficiently as possible? This is the grand finale to that goal. If the only answer for addressing a bug problem is dirty, toxic, high-powered pesticide, than by golly, bring out the poison guns. To be fair, it’s a lot less gung-ho than the previous statement might lead you to believe, but I desperately needed to use the phrase “poison guns” in a professional article.

There you have it. I totally answered the question asked in the title, which is probably the first article you’ve read today where that is the case… so no complaining. If you got disillusioned at the end, check out Green Pest Management. It’s basically the same thing as IPM, but they use boring organic pesticides at the end instead of poison guns. Lame!

 

Author Bio
Tiffany Olson is an enthusiastic blogger who writes for small companies so that they may increase their online presence. This article was written on behalf of the good people over at Killroy.com and their work with pest control in Union City.

 

Four Ways To Be Proactive In Managing Your Online Reputation

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The online reputation of your business is so important that you literally cannot afford to sit idly by while it develops on its own. Here are four ways that you can be proactive in managing your online reputation and help steer things in the right direction.

Actively Monitor Your Reputation

You should be constantly monitoring your reputation online, not waiting to hear about the buzz after the fact. Actively monitor your reputation by frequently (every few days or so) checking each of the review sites your business is located on, including Yelp, Google+ Local, and other niche websites. When you claim your listings by joining a site, you can usually opt to be notified by email when a new review or rating appears, so always take advantage of that feature.

Also, set up Google Alerts for your business, and Google will email you each time it indexes a new page with the search terms you specify. Set up several Alerts. You should use your business’s name, of course, but also use any variations of it, your name, your employees’ names, and other terms and names that are unique to your business.

Encourage Online Reviews

Positive online reviews are like gold for your business, but you can’t just sit back and hope that you’ve pleased your customers enough that they’ll get online and write reviews for you. You should be encouraging online reviews any chance you get. When you speak to customers in person, ask them to consider writing a review and include the name of a review site in your suggestion. When people make a purchase online, have an email automatically sent that includes a link to exactly where they can write a review. Remind people through your website, blog, and social networking pages that you encourage reviews, and you should get lots more.

Promote Your Reputation

You can also be proactive by helping people read about your business online. If you want to generate more positive feedback and more customers, take advantage of chances to encourage people to check out the positive reviews that others have already written about you. Include the links to read your reviews in emails. Create a separate page on your website that lists all of your reviews, and update it frequently. As long as your reputation online is generally positive, keep that momentum going by being proud and getting everyone else to see why your business rocks.

Respond to Reviews

Whenever you get a new review, you should consider responding to it. Customers like to know that their voices are being heard (or their reviews are being read), and you can show them that you’re listening by thanking people for their comments, whether they were good or bad. In the event of a bad review, try to turn it around by responding with an apology, and when possible, something that can help make up for a person’s poor experience, like a future discount or refund. Your responses will help offset the negativity as well as further encourage the positives.

Garrett Payne is an online review management professional with a special interest in review tracking. Garrett suggests those involved in review monitoring tips for handling their online reputation correctly.

Thomas Ballantyne

Pest Control Community Now On Google+

Pest Control

Google+ Communities

Today Google+ announced the addition of Communities to its popular social networking site. The idea is to have large groups of members arranged around a Google+ hub page which is dedicated to a specific topic like fishing, running, or pest control. Google+ will let members share to particular communities with posts, photos, +1’s, and hangouts. The feature is now live for the sites 235 Million users.

Pest Control Community On Google+

With this exciting new announcement from Google+, we have founded the Pest Control Community Page. We will be using this page to communicate important news and updates within the pest control industry. We will also use it to curate pest control related articles from our member’s blogs, like this one.

Everyone is welcome to join the Pest Control Community. We are in need of pest control professionals to share their knowledge and expertise. We are also in need of a few qualified moderators with industry experience… If you are interested, let us know.

Join The Pest Control Community Today!

Join Google+’s Pest Control Community today and begin connecting with other pest control professionals from around the world. Post cool bug pictures. Keep up to date on all the latest industry developments. Have rich conversations, and ask the difficult pest control questions.

Let’s build this community together.

Google+ Pest Control Community Page  

Click Here: https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/113279968105051869214

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Images of SOPA Protesters

Today was to be the internet blackout day in protest of SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act). Mike Halvorsen named some big names in his blog post on those that were going to protest: http://michaelhalvorsen.com/2012/01/google-amazon-facebook-twitter-shutting-day-protest-sopa/

Among those names were Facebook, Twitter, Google, Amazon, Yahoo, and Ebay. None of these have actually closed their sites for the day, but a few are voicing some protest on their site. Other big name websites, like WordPress, Reddit, and Wikipedia have stepped up to the plate. Here are screen shots of websites protesting the “Stop Online Piracy Act”.

WordPress

I actually found WordPress.com to have the more unique and creative protests. Imagine how many wordpress blogs could be in danger of SOPA regulations. In fact, this entire blog could be shut down for even using a screen shot of the wordpress homepage. Clearly wordpress has not blacked out their entire site due to SOPA, as this is a wordpress.com blog, and I am personally grateful they did not.

WordPress.org also strikes in opposition of SOPA. Although at the bottom of the page you can find a link back to the old wordpress.org page.

Amazon

Amazon Protest

In case you missed Amazon’s protesting efforts…

So look again and you will see a small box in the top right hand corner labeled “Reasons to oppose or modify SOPA.” Amazon is walking a fine line here as many authors may have reasons to support SOPA.

Google

No doodle from Google in protest of SOPA. The google logo still appears on the google maps vertical, but does not appear in google’s other vertical searches. The link on google’s home page takes you to their page dedicated to protesting the movement and includes the following nifty PDF. < click the image to download it >

Surprisingly YouTube shows nothing in opposition of SOPA.

Wikipedia – Biggest Protester

Very compelling message by Wikipedia, a site built upon FREE information. They also implement a great call to action to help push phone calls to “your representatives.” Their goal is to melt Washington D.C. phone lines. Worthy attempt. Although wikipedia did not have a complete blackout, and they are employing a rather sneaky redirect. Although I assume that Google will most likely ignore this black hat tactic. You will notice that the above page loads first then the redirect loads on top of that page. My guess is that Wikipedia understands the damage that could occur to their SEO should they show the search engines a bunch of duplicate content and/or pages down. And if you really need Wikipedia to do your homework then try http://simple.wikipedia.org.

Other Notable Protesting Websites

Mozilla‘s home page:

Mozilla’s blog mentions the protest but their blog and all other internal pages are still live.

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Reddit‘s Entire Website for 12 hours:

This includes all of Reddit’s internal pages.

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Wired.com is censored in protest of SOPA

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Pinterest.com, upon login gives the following message and screen shot in protest.

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Slickdeals.net adds a notice on their homepage.

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Congress Woman @RepAnnaEshoo of California is protesting on her site:

Anna Eshoo represents California’s 14th Congressional District–the heart of Silicon Valley. She is Ranking Member of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee.

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Craigslist.org is also adding a protest to their local directories, but with a link to click on through.

Image from Craig's List Phoenix AZ

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Slashdot.org marks through their logo and posts two articles at the top of their page explaining SOPA.

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Fark.com Homepage Support for SOPA

Watch Why You should Support SOPA Video. Farks deeper pages are all still active. And instead of a blackout they went with a white-out.

Non Protesting Sites as of Today:

Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, and Ebay have nothing on their homepages in opposition of SOPA. Bing announced it’s protest, but nothing on Bing shows them as protesting. And while Godaddy was once listed as a supporter, they have nothing on their website going either way.

Perhaps it’s because the bill is nearly dead at this time, but with the exception of Wikipedia and Reddit, I feel that the protesting websites have failed to actually “BLACK OUT”, and their protests are weak. As a business, I can understand the actual costs involved in shutting down for a day. Google would loose millions if it closed it’s doors for one day. Wikipedia has the luxury of being a Non-Profit, so no money will be lost. As for Godaddy, they are smart for staying out of the political heat.

Feel free to add any additional sites in protest to the comments below.

And that is a day in online protest, from your local pest control guy, at Bulwark Exterminating.

Social Media Report: Scorpion Sting Facebook, Google+, Twitter

Social media platforms are constantly put in head to head comparisons. So when Mat Siltala from Dream Systems Media did a post about his scorpion sting on all 3 social media platforms simultaneously, the intuitive nature of Mat kicked in. Between Facebook, Google+, and twitter, which platform would be most responsive to a post about scorpion stings? What would be your guess? The results may surprise you a bit.

Google+ Count


Have Matt in circles (2158) – That is a fairly good audience. Google+ is fresh. It’s the new upbeat social hang out. One could speculate that it has more real users… or not. But Google didn’t take the cake for Mat’s scorpion sting post.

Twitter Count


3,618 Followers – That is a healthy twitter following. Mat Siltala has been a very busy busy body on twitter. His follower to follow ratio is fantastic. He puts out a steady stream of useful content. And he laughs out loud some funny infographics. But can twitter compete with the socialness of facebook?

Facebook Social Weight


Friends (602) – Clearly Mat is more selective with his Facebook audience. With a count of 602 the facebook audience is a fraction of Mat’s Google+ and Twitter following. But honestly, Facebook seems to be more intimate. Mat’s lower friend count is because Mat is selective about who views his Facebook stream. And in Mat’s case, he shares things that are bit more private. So I naturally believed that Facebook would be the best setting for a conversation about scorpion stings. Regular life happens on facebook.

And the Scorpion Sting Survey Says…

Twitter wins!

So wait… twitter isn’t just about news and high-tech stuff? You can actually have a conversation on twitter about life? Do you want to know what I had for breakfast?

Okay… I will keep the meal tweets to a minimum. But I was shocked that twitter got the bulk of the interaction. Granted, this wasn’t a planned out scientific test so there are a number of variables that alter this example. But even still, a pest control guy can pick up a conversation on twitter about bugs. And if you know how to converse then you can effectively communicate with twitter. If you can communicate then you can market.

What are your thoughts on operation Scorpion Sting?

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