How to get more Yelp reviews for your business

Local businesses have a love-hate relationship with Yelp.  If you have a 3.5+ rating on Yelp with over 30 reviews, then Yelp is a terrific resource for new customer acquisition. On the other hand, if you have a sub-3 rating on Yelp, then Yelp can destroy your business. The ratings and stars is a good example of gamification, a booming trend. (Click here to see What is Gamification)

It’s therefore important to not only get a lot of reviews on Yelp, but to make sure they’re positive reviews.  This post will cover how to increase your review count, while a future post will cover how to make sure these Yelp reviews are positive.

Who should read this post: local business owner that are looking to increase their Yelp reviews

Why you will learn: how to get customers to leave you more Yelp reviews

Continue reading How to get more Yelp reviews for your business

Why The McDonald’s Breakfast Menu Is Not Served All Day

McDonalds Breakfast Menu

(This is a guest post written by Joseph Yi. Check out his blog at Create & Innovate!)

For food lovers, the McDonald’s Breakfast Menu is the equivalent of diamond. Everyone wants it, but not everyone can have it. Hard to come by and unique, those lucky enough to wake up for it savor each bite, while those who are not so lucky ask the question “Why not serve it all day?”

Starting with the Egg McMuffin in 1972, McDonald’s pioneered breakfast fast food by providing a quick and easy way for consumers to have the ‘most important meal of the day.’ In the United States, most McDonald locations stop serving the McMuffin and their breakfast menu at 10:30AM, with a few stopping at 11:00AM on weekends.

While many fast food and QSR chains have expanded their breakfast menu hours to run all day, most notably Jack in the Box, McDonald’s remains one of the few chain restaurants to serve breakfast only during morning hours, and for good reason. While there are obvious economic reasons in play, such as the differing cooking temperatures for breakfast items vs. lunch items (ie: hamburger patties vs. eggs) and extra staffing requirements, from a marketing and branding standpoint, McDonald’s is an excellent example of Gamification and how not serving it all day has it’s benefits. 

The Law of Scarcity Continue reading Why The McDonald’s Breakfast Menu Is Not Served All Day

Marketing Gamification: Old Spice launches the Game DIKEMBE MUTOMBO’S 4 1/2 WEEKS TO SAVE THE WORLD

New to Gamification? Check out my post What is Gamification & my Gamification Framework: Octalysis

Old Spice Does it Again

(Note: to play the actual game, scroll down until you find the source of the thrillingly annoying music, and then fullscreen it.)

In 2010, Old Spice swept across all media channels with their “Hello Ladies…” campaign. That was shared and spread on every platform possible, and was one of the most common conversation starters during the time (Of course, those conversation starters later moved on into Rebecca Black’s “Friday” and the wonderful Korean dance Gangnam Style).

Old Spice got men here and there to smell good for some time, but men being men, got back to their good old habits of NOT smelling like an adventure, baking gourmet cakes with the kitchens they made with their own hands,  and definitely NOT swan diving.

Old Spice needed to come up with something more epic for the manly men, not just for the women’s men, and so they again put together the smart minds of Wieden+Kennedy Portland to figure out something that would spread like wildfire again.

The WK folks thought….so what do men like? They like basketball, they like to be the hero and save the world, they like random humor….and, they like video games.

Mix Basketball, a World-saving Hero, Random Humor, and Video Games together, and what comes out of the blender is their newest masterpiece: DIKEMBE MUTOMBO’S 4 1/2 WEEKS TO SAVE THE WORLD (yes, it has to be all caps).

Marketing Gamification through a game to save the world

DIKEMBE MUTOMBO’S 4 1/2 WEEKS TO SAVE THE WORLD is a 8-Bit styled game where users control the Basketball Legend Dikimbe Mutombo to prevent the 2012 end of the world (according to the Mayan’s calendar) from happening by accomplishing small quests that eventually leads to carving up more dates on the Mayan calendar so we can delay humanity’s extinction. At least until the day we invent self-combing hair.

Actually, I’m not sure how the small quests have anything to do with carving the Mayan calendar, but those quests are always relevant to the times: from getting people to stop dancing Gangnam Style so they can vote (with the boss fight being the State of Ohio), to getting rid of a fluffy toy called Blurgies while playing It’s Thanksgiving by Nicole Westbrook, a successor of Rebecca Black).

Of course, we don’t know what will happen next because each stage only unlocks one week at a time (explained later).


Below is the analysis of the campaign through my Complete Gamification Framework called Octalysis:

Dikimbe Mutombo Gamification from Old Spice


As you can see, DM4.5WTSTW (this is my new abbreviation) has a strange rocket shape, as it scores incredibly high in Epic Meaning & Calling, Unpredictability & Curiosity, and Scarcity & Impatience, but very low on most others. Because of that, it earns itself an Octalysis score of 260 (which is almost as high as Twitter!) Continue reading Marketing Gamification: Old Spice launches the Game DIKEMBE MUTOMBO’S 4 1/2 WEEKS TO SAVE THE WORLD

Marketing Gamification: Toyota turns Charging your iPhone into an Epic Game

*New to Gamification? Check out my post What is Gamification & my Gamification Framework: Octalysis*

Toyota and Marketing Gamification

I’ve talked a lot about Product Gamification – how to make your product winning & addicting – as well as some Workplace Gamification. Many of you asked, “But how do we do Marketing Gamification? What does that even mean?”

Well, Toyota is here to show you with its all new Plug-In Champion App!

Toyota Plug-in Championship shows you who’s the best at charging your phones

The Toyota Plug-in is a new hybrid car they are pushing out, and they’re looking for ways to make their car stand out.

What they’ve come up with is sad and brilliant at the same time – they made an iPhone app that turns charging your phone into a game.

Introducing the Plug-In Championship, where people compete in charging their phones at just the right second!

This is how it works:

You open the app, and it shows some slick Tron-like designs with a meter bar that goes up and down. You need to plug the charger into your phone at just the right moment where the meter bar is full (or as full as you can accurately do).

Once you plug in the charger into your phone (lol, I feel so pathetic writing about this), an epic graphic will load, such as a lightning bolt striking, a rocket taking off, or a corkscrew gets popped. Woohoo!! I just charged my phone with electric power!!

It then shows you a leaderboard of all the people charging their phones at the “right time”….as well as “medals” that I have not earned yet.

To make things even more strangely epic, if you go to their Plug-In Championship website and click on “Ranking” it will show you a global view of all the people who are charging their phones with the app on, with very fancy lightning bolt animations, as if we are fulfilling a calling like Captain Planet and the Planeteers to save the earth. This is also similar to what Smule did with their Ocarina App, except they actually did have something exciting to tout to the world (a new song you are playing).

So was this Marketing Gamification Technique Effective?

Lets just say this: not only did this silly app get viewed on Youtube over 15,000 times in 2 weeks, it led to people like me mentioning about the Toyota brand and telling you about their new Toyota Plug-in (I’ve never talked about a car brand before on my blog!). If this campaign caused at least ONE extra person to buy the car now or later, I would say its pretty effective.


5 Dominant Techniques in Social Media Marketing

Social Media Marketing Techniques

5 Dominant Social Media Marketing Techniques

After helping a variety of companies with their social media marketing campaigns in the past 2 years, I noticed that social media marketing narrows down to a few dominant techniques that work well and produce results.

However, a big problem in the industry is that most people just think about Social Media Marketing as one big technique, and without understanding what they truly want, they pay consultants(mostly self-proclaimed experts who have never driven an ROI for companies) to help them do this social media marketing thing that everyone says is essential.

The result is unsurprisingly disappointing because every company, every budget, and every goal requires different social media marketing techniques. If you are a low budget company looking to get tons of traffic in one month, you can’t make online video shows everyday like Gary Vaynerchuk did because even the great Garyvee took two years to make it big. If you hire a “social media expert” to run a blog and Twitter account for you, you will quickly lose faith in social media because they’re not going to get you 100K visitors in a month by just doing that.

Different companies with different goals should have different social media marketing techniques

This is a serious pain in the industry because social media marketing is something that truly works and can be very powerful, but most people(companies and consultants alike) have a lot of misconceptions regarding the different strategies and how they should be used.

In this post, I attempt to break social media marketing down into 5 Main Techniques. In that way, if you are a company, you can ask your social media experts to do a Social Media Targeting Campaign, instead of just a vague Social Media Marketing Campaign. If you are a consultant, make sure your client knows what you are doing for them and what results they can expect.

Social Media Marketing Technique 1: SM Brand Management

This is the most common technique that the “experts” promise to do. This includes creating and maintaining a blog and Twitter Account, engage people who are interested, share valuable things in your industry, and eventually build up followers, visitors, and trust. It might even involve maintaining a Facebook Fanpage (not effective if you DO NOT already have a strong brand established) or a LinkedIn group.

This technique is effective because it fully utilizes the SOCIAL part of social media. You are out there engaging your target audience. You are making friends with them and creating value for them. You are building your own popularity and trust. If someone knows what you do and thinks positively of you, when they need your product or services, they will not go on Google and find a random service they don’t know. They will buy it from you. If their friends are looking for services you offer, they will refer their friends to you.

The problem with Social Media Brand Management is that it takes time, patience and persistence. Since you are not out there to close deals but to build trust, you won’t see an immediate increase in sales or signups. It’s only when people really trust you and care about you do they start to check out your stuff, and that could take months to years to build.

Companies who consistently pressure their Social Brand Building workers to self-promote, get traffic, and get sales will hurt themselves in the longrun and fail in social media marketing. They clearly do not understand that this technique was not appropriate for their 1 month ROI agendas.

Really engages your target market. Builds trusts. Leads to sustainable success.
Extremely slow. Takes a lot of time. Need to truly care about your audience.
When to use Social Brand Building
When you have a longterm vision of your brand and social influence on the internet, and you can dedicate at least one longterm person who understands what it takes to be popular online and engage with your target audience.
End Result: Brand

Social Media Marketing Technique 2: SM Targeting

Continue reading 5 Dominant Techniques in Social Media Marketing

Yu-kai Chou’s Guest Lecturer Talk in Stanford University

I’ve had the honor of being invited to be a guest lecturer to talk about Social Media and Marketing Gamification at a Stanford CS course on personal branding. Many of my Twitter friends wanted me to post a video, so here it is 🙂

A few things:

1) My friend who taped it couldn’t get the camera to work at the beginning, so this is about 10 minutes into the talk.
2) The camera ran out of batteries, so this video ends 20 minutes before I actually finished (but I think that’s okay because who wants to watch super long videos?)
3) I’m more used to setups where my laptop was in front of me, so for this one I kept on looking at the side, which I somewhat awkward.

Besides that, enjoy! 🙂

Infographic: How to Effectively Market Your Restaurant with Pinterest

Infographic: How to Market Your Restaurant with Pinterest

Restaurants are always looking for new ways to promote their business. From social media to traditional media, restaurants continue to look for new ways to re-invent the wheel. One platform that continues to grow in interest and use is the social platform, Pinterest.

Pinterest, a pinboard-style social photo sharing website has grown quickly as a tool for brands to distribute photos and content relevant to the brand.

Restaurants in particular can benefit from using Pinterest because of both the visual story that images of foods evoke and the ease of sharing that the Pinterest platform allows for.

If you are a restaurant, check out this great infographic on How to Market Your Restaurant with Pinterest: Continue reading Infographic: How to Effectively Market Your Restaurant with Pinterest