03/24/2014

Part Two of a series of interviews with Adobe Digital and Social Media Summit Speakers & Attendees. 

Tamar Rimmon, Conde Nast, tells us how her team provides meaningful insights to senior managment and internal clients that support the brand's goals. 

Tamar Rimmon _ Conde NastAbout Tamar Rimmon - Tamar is Senior Manager of Analytics and Audience Development at Conde Nast. She works with Conde Nast’s brands – including The New Yorker, Glamour, and WIRED – helping them deliver unique brand experiences for their audiences and drive engaged users to their sites. Tamar’s career spans the television, publishing and digital media industries.

Toby/Diva Marketing: As Senior Manager of Analytics and Audience Development your days are filled with numbers. Often the people that ask for analytic reports may not live in your world. How do you tell the story of the numbers so your internal clients don’t get the ‘glazed over look?’

Tamar Rimmon/Conde Nast: My team’s goal is to help guide brand strategy by providing meaningful insights to our internal clients. I found that the best way to bring value is to get into my clients’ shoes and understand what matters most to them.

The story should not be about the numbers in and of themselves – it should be about what the numbers tell us regarding the things that are important to our clients, and how they can make better decisions by leveraging these learnings. I’m also a big believer in data visualization.

Presenting the numbers in a visual way is a great way to convey insights and make the data accessible and easier to grasp even to those who are not experts in analytics.

Toby/Diva Marketing: We understand that measuring success starts with goals/objectives. However, sometimes is seems like “data data everywhere and not a drop to drip.” (Apologizes to  Samuel Taylor Coleridge). How have you determined which analytics to focus on in terms of demonstrating value to senior leadership?

Tamar Rimmon/Conde Nast: It's easy to get overwhelmed by data overload, but we have to be in control of the data instead of letting the data control us. Analytics must be derived from and aligned with the goals of the organization.

Conde Nast has always been focused on creating high quality content that caters to valuable audiences, so we structure our analytics around this objective. My focus is on harnessing the analytics to understand who our high-value audiences are, how they behave, and what we need to do to engage and delight them.

Toby/Diva Marketing: What is a must bring to Adobe Summit for you?

Tamar Rimmon/Conde Nast: A notepad! (mine is digital, though…) Adobe Summit is a great opportunity to meet fellow analysts and marketers and learn about all the innovative things they are doing. I like to keep track of the new ideas that I hear about and the thoughts they inspire in me, and I make sure to bring it all back with me to the office when the Summit is over.

Tamar's Adobe Social Sessions: Social ROI all star panel & The rise of the social analyst

This Diva Marketing post is part of an influencer Adobe Insider program for Adobe Summit. I receive incentives to share my views. All opinions are 100% mine.

03/23/2014

One of the benefits of a biz blog is sometimes 'fair trade' agreements. Recently Adobe reached out and asked if I would be part of a 4-member Insider group, along with Travis Wright, Elizabeth Osmeloski, Michele Kiss, that would help socialize their digital marketing conference next week .. Adobe Summit. Sounded like good learnings to share. With over 5000 attendees sounded like a biz carnival! Sounded like fun.

Adobe also offered introductions to speakers and attendees who are doing innovative work in digital/social. More good learnings for us. And I've never been to Salt Lake City so I said. "Yes" to the opportunity.

Part One of a series of interviews with Adobe Digital and Social Media Summit Speakers & Attendees. First up .. Cory Edwards from Abode who provides his insights about how to build a Center or Excellence that is more than just a shiny new toy.

Corey Edwards _AdobeAbout Cory Edwards - Corey is head of Adobe’s Social Business Center of Excellence. He is responsible for integrating social media into the way Adobe does business. Prior to Adobe, Cory was director of social media at Dell. Cory is also an adjunct professor at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Social Centers of Excellence have become the new ‘must have’ for many organizations. How do you ensure that a company’s center of excellence is a true business tool and not the latest shiny new toy that is here today and gone tomorrow?

Cory Edwards/Adobe: Structure. And I agree with you, far too often companies establish a CoE but frankly don’t institute it with a framework to guide it successfully. While we often refer to our own group as a CoE, I often define it to people internally as an operations group.

If you think of more structured business functions like sales or marketing, they almost always also have a corresponding sales operations team or a marketing operations team. Thinking of social in that light isn’t a bad way to approach a CoE function. It is a corporate function that is focused on creating and maintaining a smooth operation for the social business.

There are a few things that need to happen in my opinion to be successful. First, businesses need to be social by design — that idea lends itself to having a CoE. Secondly, the business needs to parallel path the ‘doing’ of social media with the back-end internal social operation. For Adobe, our back-end social operation is built upon a foundation with 4 core pillars: 

1. Governance (Policies, processes, audits, account management & security, alignment with business units, etc.)

2. Enablement (Training of social media teams & employee base, employee activation, consulting, working with regions, etc.)

3. Measurement (data driven insights, measurement frameworks, Dashboard, Listening research, etc.)

4. Innovation (disruptive pilots to existing business processes, vendor/tool evaluation, identifying needs within the business, POV on industry changes, close ties with the social networks, etc.)

Toby/Diva Marketing: Do you believe that an organization can become a ‘social business’ without the concept incorporated into the company’s overarching strategic direction? Please explain your response.

Cory Edwards/Adobe: That may depend a bit on the company and its industry, but from my perspective it would be awfully difficult to become a social business without that concept incorporated into the company’s direction. That doesn’t mean the company needs to come out and overtly restate its mission so that it includes social, but it does mean that social really is an influencing factor in corporate strategy and various functional strategies (marketing, support, product development, talent acquisition, etc.).

Executives who want to establish a social business should be aware of social trends, open to social insights and willing to explore how the integration of social within various business functions can potentially disrupt the normal way of doing business in a way that might improve it. At Adobe, it has helped tremendously to have two key champions of social: our CEO Shantanu Narayen and our CMO Ann Lewnes, both of whom have stated clearly that they want to see Adobe become one of the most social brands in the world. And believe me, it’s not simply talk, they regularly talk about it, ask about it, provide feedback and generally want to know what we’re doing now and next. 

Toby/Diva Marketing: What is a must bring to Adobe Summit for you?

Cory Edwards/Adobe: Two things: 1- Evernote. I’m a big fan and user for both my work and personal life. 2- Fitbit Force. If I’m going to be walking all those long halls at Summit, I want to make sure I’m getting exercise credit for it. Just think of how many steps I can rack up each day next week!

Cory's Adobe Summit Session - How to operate a social by design business. 

Follow Cory on Twitter @CoryEdwards

This Diva Marketing post is part of an influencer Adobe Insider program for Adobe Summit. I receive incentives to share my views. All opinions are 100% mine.

03/13/2014

Those who tell the stories well shape our lives.

Max reading Sybil's share of mind share of heart
Often stories are as much about the people who tell them as they are of the story itself. In 2014, websites, blogs, social networks influence how we tell and pass along our stories. We might even add videos, podcasts, an infographic or graphic or two. 

"Those who tell the stories also hold the power." "Those who tell the stories rule society." "Those who tell the stories rule the world."

These three quotes have been attributed to both Plato and the Hopi American Indians. Quite obviously they were worlds apart separated by thousands of miles not to mention centuries of time. The universal truth remains dead right .. The influence of the story teller can be life changing. 

For the past 18-months I have worked among and with professionally trained story tellers .. call them journalists or reporters. It's their job to identify, research and tell the most significant stories of our society. Until just a few years ago their stories were the only way most of us learned what was happening in our world. Then the digital world entered and changed the game .. for them and for us.

In the digital world traditional media (radio, TV, print publications) and brands share several common challenges. One of the most significant is the expectations of our audiences/communities for on-going content for our websites, blogs, social networks.

No longer can traditional media tell stories only on the 6p news with perhaps a repeat at 11p. To remain competitive content must feed hungry digital assets (websites, blogs, social networks) multiple times a day. That's a whole bunch of new stories .. or stories with new perspectives.

Oh and those stories must satisfy a digital audience whose interests and attention span may differ from what they want from the legacy product. 

The challenges of our traditional media friends are not so different from what a B2B, B2C or nonprofit brand encounters. Brands must also provide the content or stories that are relevant to their audiences/community. In the digitall/social media world the prize is the same .. The Share. If we don't create for the share and interaction social media is just another distribution channel. And I ask you .. why bother?

  • What I learned from my media friends is that stories are everywhere. The secret is to look behind the ordinary.

In one morning pitch meeting (where reporters present ideas for stories they want to cover) that I attended a smart news director said something that shifted my thoughts about telling stores in social media. A reporter was pitching Matt Parcell, WFTV. Matt listened as she presented a series of different angles of a story. No. Nope. That's not it.

  • Finally he nodded and said, "That's it. Now I care." 

The digital/social media world levels the playing field and we find ourselves completing with both brands and media for the golden moments of customer attention. Sometimes those are the same stories.

Social media has been around long enough to know that the stories you post can't be self serving. We've learned to find content that adds value for our audience/customers/community. However, value-add stories have become the price of doing business. 

What content gets the most shares and engagement? Stories that go a step beyond value-add to "Now I Care." Think about it. 

7 Tips To Create Now I Care Stories

1. Know your digital audience's profile .. it may be different then what you think opening doors to a new segment

2. Understand how to use each digital medium to its advantage -- what works on Twitter may not be the same for Facebook. Creating original video is a world unto itself. 

3. Begin your content creation with the question -- "Will my customer care?"

4. Track and analyze the social shares and interactions -- Identify a few tools that track social media analytics. Social Media Today Post by Pam Dyer offers 50 tools!

5. Review what your competiton is doing -- Look at the posts that receive the most shares and interaction

6. Test new ideas -- social media/digital brand content/stories are still a new frontier 

7. Images and video -- include graphics and video we're living in a visual world

Toss of a pink boa to BBF Geoff Livingston and the XPotomac peeps, Shonali Burke, Patrick Ashamalla who kindly invited me to present at their fantastic event a few weeks agon. This post is based on my talk. 

Max is reading Sybil Stershic's book Share of Mind Share of Heart.

Toby XP _1 (2)

Seems appropriate to end this with what veteran news camera man and uber cool dude, Jim Long said at XPotomac - "Tell me a story .. make me feel something." B2B marketers - no excuses you can do it too!

12/25/2013

Miracle on 34th street"We'll be known as the helpful store. The friendly store. The store with a heart. The store that places public service ahead of profit. The plan sounds idiotic and impossible...consequently, we'll make more profit than ever before."

Nope, it's not a new innovative social network strategy (that would be a miracle of miracles!). In the classic film, Miracle On 34th Street, Mr. Macy took chance on a different way to conduct business.

Customers would not be coerced into buying what they did not want; however, the real courage was if another store had a better or less expensive product Macy's would refer customers there. 

Fast forward 66 years. It is now 2013, and as we close out this year, we face similar challenges of how to provide value for our customers. Technology can be the gift that opens the new digital door to an exciting way to build relationships with customers .. if we can be as couragous as Mr. Macy.

Pull off the pretty red bow and you'll find social networks with funny names like blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest. It's a world where to succeed we have to go beyond a one-off sale to opportunities where three entities: company, employee and customer create the brand experience together. That takes courage. 

The miracle of social media is its impact reaches beyond just one customer. Digital relationships with the people who are the heart of your brand, both customers and employees, can set off a unique chain reactions.

My favorite act of couragous miracle making this season is from the Canadian airline Westjet that surprised passengers with presents that they wanted (not swag from the airline). Video is well done and worth a watch.  

  • Continuous listening -> learning -> understanding -> results in trust ->  leads to loyalty -> leads to the cash register bells ringing. And every time a cash register bell rings a marketer gets a bonus or gets to keep her job (!) .. oops wrong film.

Corner grocery store digital relationships that are build not only with you and your customers, but among your customers and your employees could never have been imagined when Kris Kringle entered Macy's Santa Land in 1947. However, even as we approach 2014, for many organizations open conversations still seem like a Miracle on (insert organization name here) or like the ghost of Xmas future (oops wrong movie again.)

The plan sounds idiotic and impossible... consequently, we'll make more profit than ever before.

As we begin 2014, technology developments spin even faster taking digital business into areas that were impossible in '47 or '57 or even '2013.

Imagine a digital destination where you can include your review of the product, service or customer care that influences your or your friends' buying decisions.

Imagine a digital destination where you can talk to a brand employee who doesn't respond with a scripted answer.

Imagine a digital destination that allows for product and service customization.

Imagine a digital destination where you can start a conversation with a real person about what matters to you regarding a product or service.

Imagine a digital destination where you can actually help change the direction of a brand before it's even launched.

Imagine multiple digital devices from mobile to tablet and computer to wearable. How will you create unique content for all that is relevant? How will you respond on mulitple channels?

Imagine a digital destination where you can chat with people about their experiences and learn from each other .. in real time during your shopping experience. The result is smarter purchases.

Imagine an authenitc conversation, in real time, with your favorite actor, politician, author or reporter who responds to your comments not with platitudes but with thoughtfulness and courage. 

Imagine an authentic conversation with your senior managmenet or an admired corporate executive where ideas are transparently exchanged. 

Imagine an organization that works in partnership with its customers and employees to create a brand experience that is relevant, innovative and imaginative across multiple devices.

Imagine an organization that places its customers in the center of all decisions. 

The plan sounds idiotic and impossible...consequently, we'll make more profit than ever before.

What a funny world we live in. It's interesting to compare a 1940's film, where finding solutions to customers' problems was perceived as unique, to 2013 where finding solutions to customers' problems is considered ingenious. 

The techniques may have changed. New buzz words may be added to the mix. Bells and whistles may be a little louder. However, after all is said and done, the premise remains the same:

-Listen

-Understand

-Add value

-Do what it takes to go the extra mile to delight your customer

I believe that as we learn how to use social media it will change how we conduct business .. leading to  creating an environment where people truly matter. And that my friends, is as courageous and innovative as Mr. Macy's Miracle on 34th Street.

The plan sounds idiotic and impossible...consequently, we'll make more profit than ever before.

Max_dec_07_1And with that Max and I wish you a very merry holiday!

A classic Diva Marketing Holiday Post. 

12/16/2013

StarsThis is the 5th year of Diva Marketing's Holiday For Small Nonprofits Series. 

During December we invite nonprofits into Diva to tell their stories in their own very special way. It's our hope that you might find a new NPO that touches your heart. Heart holiday  

In between shopping, wrapping and checking your list twice, we invite you to take a breath and enjoy a few from the heart stories

At the center of this season's inspiration for joy, is of course, the children. It's our pleasure the first story is from an organization, ISDD, whose mission is to improvie the the lives/health of children living in circumstances of social and economic disadvantage.

ISDD (Innovative Solutions for Disadvantage and Disability) focuses on practical projects that serve to improve the lives of children who are vulnerable to adverse health and developmental disabilities as a result of living in circumstances of social and economic disadvantage.

Leslie Rubin _ ISSPOur story teller is founder Leslie Rubin.

Doctor Rubin is a developmental pediatrician who is originally from South Africa where he learned about how health disparities in children were related to social injustice and has found the opportunity to make a difference for children in Atlanta and around the world.

The ISDD (Innovative Solutions for Disadvantage and Disability) Story

I have been working with children with developmental disabilities for many years and I have stared a number of programs over the years. The one that stands out for me is the Cerebral Palsy clinic that I started with colleagues at the Hughes Spalding Children’s Hospital in Downtown Atlanta in 1998.

In 2002, with some funds from a family foundation, we did a survey of the 261 children we had seen in the clinic. As we expected they had a number of physical, medical and surgical complications but what struck us was the social context. We found that many of the children had been born prematurely to mothers who had smoked cigarettes, drank alcohol or taken drugs during pregnancy and that about half of the children were living with a single mother, about 30-40% with grandparents or in foster care, only a small percentage were living in 2 parent households.

This finding completely changed my view of children with developmental disabilities. I realized that developmental disabilities could be the result of social economic, educational, psychological and environmental factors and that the disabilities further aggravated the situation. Thus, I realized that these children then became caught up in what I termed the cycle of disadvantage and disability.

I then determined that I wanted to see what difference I could make in breaking that cycle and helping children lead more fulfilling and successful lives to become functioning and contributing members of society. Shortly thereafter, with the help of some friends, we formed the Institute for the Study of Disadvantage and Disability.

Our very first program was, in fact, called Break the Cycle of Disadvantage and Disability, which invited students from different disciplines in different universities to develop projects to Break the Cycle.

Break the cycle students and faciltiy

Break the Cycle Students and Faculty

Our second project was to provide support for the grandparents who were caring for their grandchildren with disabilities – Project GRANDD. 

Grandd Grandparents monthly meeting

Project GRANDD Grandparents Monthly Meeting 

The 3rd program was developed to provide health care for children whose mothers had problems with substance abuse and had been homeless – Healthcare Without Walls – a Medical Home for Homeless Children.

Now, in December 2013, we have had more than 80 students from around the country through our Break the Cycle Program along with 5 international journal supplements and a series of 4 books; we have served more than 100 grandparents with more than 200 grandchildren between then in our Project GRANDD and about 150 mothers with their children through our Healthcare without Walls – a Medical Home for Homeless Children.

Project Grandd Family Zoo OutingProject GRANDD Family Zoo Outing

We have recently changed our name to Innovative Solutions for Disadvantaged and Disability to better reflect what we do, and we look forward to continuing to develop programs that will help our society’s most vulnerable children have the opportunity to become successful and lead health fulfilling lives. 

More From ISDD

Isdd logo

Facebook  ISSD Website

10/21/2013

Wayne hurlbertMy mind is still a jumble of thoughts. My heart wounded and broken. I've written this post a dozen times in my head but nothing seemed quite right.

So, I decided to go in a direction that he would have liked. To tell the story in a way that will help others understand what matters in this world we call social media. 

Last week when I was walking Max I popped into email and a message from Marianne Richmond almost caused me to drop my iphone (again!). The social web was a buzz with the passing of a dear and much admired gentle soul -- Wayne Hurlbert. Who was Wayne Hurlbert?

In my world ... Wayne and his mom were Max's orignial social fans. Wayne was one of my first BBFs (best blogging friend). I called Wayne (along with Paul Chaney) a true gentleman of the social web. 

Questions -- Can you call a person you never shared a meal, had coffee with or met face-to-face a "friend?" Perhaps there were phone calls, Skypes and emails. However, can you build a "real" relationship when a significant part of your exchanges are on the social web in blog comments, tweets, Facebook posts?

Many folks will remember Wayne for his innovative music tweets and and art posts.  Wayne Hurlbert_ Music Tweet

For me, Wayne and I shared another passion. We believed that blogs, and then social networks, could impact the way business could be conducted with honesty, openness, and transparency.

  • Did you notice those are the words (honesty, openness, transparency) used when describing the blogoshere? - Wayne Hurlbert

One of Wayne's core business beliefs was the importance of business ethics. Several times he graciously shared his views with me to include in Diva Marketing.

I had the honor of being Wayne's first guest on his acclaimed BlogTalkRadio show, Blog Business Success. It was Wayne who encouraged me to launch a BlogTalkRadio podcast. Wayne, along with Jeneane Sessum, were my first guests on Diva Talks with the show The Ethics of Social Media

  • Every action that you take and everything you do should be made with fair treatment helping others in mind. - Wayne Hurlbert

Wayne also kindly contributed his thoughts about ethics to Social Media GPS an eBook I wrote based on 40 Twitter interviews. In Chapter Four, Social Ethics, Wayne and Mack Collier answered this question: Ethics in business is the hot news topic. In SM we struggle with what is black, white and gray. Why is that? 

  • SM is about trust&trust must be earned. Once lost trust is hard to recover. In SM there is no second chance to recover it. - Wayne Hurlbert
  • Using tricks & tools to get more SM followes may add numbers but without engagment&trust, raw numbers mean nothing - Wayne Hurlbert

Ironically, the last question I asked Wayne on our BlogTalkRadio show was -- What do you want people to say about you after you write your last post or your last tweet? 

  • That I helped people as I set out to do when I orignally started my post. - Wayne Hurlbert

His response underscores what his friends know to be true. Thank you Wayne for the help you selfishly gave keeping true to your philosophy of putting others first.

And I suppose that brings us full circle to the question can you create "real" relationships in social media? The relationship I shared with Wayne touched my  heart and added value to my life. It doesn't get much more real than that girlfriend.

Note: 10/24 8p Eastern BlogTalkRadio will host a tribute to Wayne. 

08/01/2013

We came, we saw, we kicked its ass. ~ Ghostbusters

Crowd sourceJust One Crowd Sources Question

Recently many of my social media conversations seemed to be about the perception that social is a young person’s game. Perhaps that’s true to an extent as the Pew 2012 Demographic report indicates.

However, many of the people who began exploring social media 7, 8, 9, 10, 12 years ago were 30+ when they/we started working in this industry. At the time we stepped into what was fondly called, The Blogosphere, it was an unproven direction to take business communications.

In fact, some companies thought we were a bit crazed to encourage brands to embrace concepts like transparency, authenticity, honesty and the most radical of all … customer-to-brand, peer-to-peer conversations in public forums.

I was curious to understand why the people, who I think of as the "real people" pioneers of social media, took a leap of faith to work in a field that skeptics and pundits said was just a fad. So I reached out to a few folks from across the globe to discover their reasons for Why.

Some of the Whys

Business Applications - Several people saw blogs in a purely business context --a competitive advantage, opportunity to speak directly to customers and stakeholders, new avenue to expand networks and connect with industy thought leaders, easy way to share (business) information, 

New Challenge - Other people liked the challenge of something new and wanted to experiment.  Some realized that blogs could shape opinons beyond the influence and gatekeeping of traditional media .. they saw blogs as way to empower people.

Personal Expression - Others wanted to share not only information but their opinons. For other the satisfaction of personal expression influenced them to explore blogs. 

Anita Campbell, Small Biz Trends - To set my business apart and gain national visibility. Blogs were the ticket to that.

Neville Hobson, Communication Consultant - Partly for that very reason: unproven, often risky! Mostly, though, to try and figure out what blogs were and what they could do in business. Today social media is pervasive and mainstream awareness is very high.

It's a double-edged sword in business, requiring deeper understanding of and sensitivity to people's changing behaviours and the complexities of those changing behaviours in a workplace setting. A constant learning experience.

Nettie Renyolds, Nettie Ink  - I was totally enthralled with how the new communication tools were going to educate and empower people online. I was also writing the Professional PR blog for Allbusiness.com. I was so  blessed to get to try out these tools even in infancy.

If anyone who is under 30 and working in social media believes that everything they are using now will apply in the same efficacy as it does in the next 24 months -they are misguided.

These tools are ever-changing so every tool and every piece of communication must first establish context and then the best tool to use is secondary. Also - keep your website as your central anchor!

Elisa Camahort Page, BlogHer - I started as a personal blog. I reviewed movies, theatre, books, and restaurants, among other personal observations.

Once I shared a restaurant review with some colleagues and saw that review spread across my network and encourage dozens of people to try that restaurant I had what I call my "peanut butter chocolate" moment about how blogging and online community was a natural communications and marketing channel.

I really thought the ability to speak directly to your customers, readers, audience, etc. was an opportunity that organizations should not pass up. And even my early experiments in marketing via the social web channels that existed at the time (pre-Facebook, pre-Twiiter, etc.) showed immediate and quantifiable promise. Some-ppl-are-old-at-18-and-young-at-90_by-DustBurst_via-groovypinkblog-300x224

Rajesh Lalwani, Blogworks - As a student and practitioner of public relations and communication, I saw the emergent change where organizations and stakeholders could engage directly; where the role of shaping opinion and influencing purchase would no longer be limited to mainstream media, but everyone; the changed dynamics of a world where news would be disseminated first by people on the street.

I could see it clearly that this will change how communication, reputation, marketing, customer service, research, content had worked thus far. I felt this was my opportunity to participate in the future of everything brand and I jumped in. I didn't think this was risky. I was clear, this would be mainstream

Merrill DuBrow, M/A/R/C Research Someone very smart (you - Ms Bloomberg convinced me to blog - said it is critical to buisness and yes you were right.

Yvonne DiVita, BlogPaws, Lipsticking  - I joined in 2004 and it gave me immediate results. I was connected to people in the business world that I would never have known about, before using a blog.

I started blogging because my partner had learned about blogging in his college course (adult learning) and thought it was a fantastic tool to connect people from all over the world. And, he was right. It connected me to dozens of people in the marketing world I was just then venturing to enter.

I think the younger folks can learn a lot from us 'old timers' - including how to bring tried and true business practices to a social media world. And, we can learn a lot from them - such as learning how to apply some of the new tools being invented. This shouldn't be a "them" or "us" kind of thing.

It should be an open conversation about life. Isn't that what blogs and social media are all about? And, isn't that how you build connections?

David Berkowitz, MRY - I got into digital media because I wanted to write and not be a journalist in any traditional sense. Before I was blogging in 2004, I was already writing a lot for eMarketer (my full-time job), and then started contributing to MediaPost.

Blogging was a natural extension, especially when I decided to focus more on establishing my own voice through my blog. After the fact, I came to appreciate the community of bloggers that I was part of just by blogging.

B.L. Ochman, Whats Next - I had been publishing a print newsletter called What's Next and then moved it online to my website as a weekly. When it became possible to switch to a blog, I didn't hesitate for a second.

Started in 2002, and only took that long to blog because it took me a long time to find a designer who could create it to have the same design as my website. I wanted a graphic identity for my content.

Paul Chaney, Chaney Marketing Group - It was an outlet for personal expression, and a way to scratch my writing itch. My first posts didn't have to do as much with business, but that's the direction it turned pretty quickly.

Brendan Hurley, Goodwill of Greater Washington  - When we launched our social media/blogging initiatives in 2007, research data supported the fact that at the time it was a medium dominated by a younger audience, and that's who we were trying to reach and influence.

Our adoption was purely a strategic business decision. However, we didn't go about it without some due diligence. We consulted with Geoff Livingston, a well-respected social media expert, who helped us develop a comprehensive and integrated approach.

Social media is a powerful tool and has become a critical and growing component of our overall marketing strategy. But in most cases, I still recommend taking an integrated approach. Even Zappos is using TV...

Brent Leary, CRM Essentails - Just was looking to share my thoughts and experiences in the CRM industry.

C.B. Whittemore - Opportunity to experiment and explore firsthand with online tools when every sign I came across said that marketing and business would head that way. I could do it on my time, at minimal cost other than my time. Plus, the more I got involved, the more cool smart people I came across - with Diva Toby being one of the very coolest. 

Barb Giamanco - My background is in technology, so I saw these tools as the next evolution of technology to support business processes.

It isn't about age. It is about attitude. Social media isn't a young person's game - whatever that's supposed to mean, and I think that the people who say that are using it as an excuse not to learn new skills.

These new technologies and approaches impact business in the same way that fax machines changed up business. So did being required to know word processing or how to use presentation software. People resisted computers.

They said we'd never do business using email. They also said that people wouldn't purchase products over the web and that mobile phones wouldn't be a big deal. THEY were wrong and still are if they think that social media is a fad.

Kevin O'Keefe, Lexblog - To help people, specifically to help lawyers understand how to use the Internet in a way that could enhance their reputations as a trusted and reliable authorities.

Marianne Richmond - At first it just seemed so incredible to be able to connect directly online with thought leaders, true experts and people working in same business. Then the light bulb went off that businesses could connect directly with consumers and vice versa.

Drew McLelllan, McLellan Marketing Group - I was curious -- and it seemed like the right time to jump in. It was new, everyone was making mistakes so I was free to experiment and explore, knowing that others would be forgiving if I wasn't perfect at it.

There was also a professional necessity. I own an agency and knew our clients would be need to consider social media as an option. I couldn't counsel them if I wasn't fluent myself. Rather than read about it or watch it, I jumped into the deep end, launching a blog and creating a profile on all of the major platforms of the day.

Des Walsh, Business Coach - In 2003, there was a convergence of my enthusisam for networking, my keen interest in communication technology (for communication's sake, not so much for the technology itself) and my then new involvement in coaching.

At a coaching conference in San Francisco early 2003 a session "become an e-celebrity through blogging" opened my eyes to blogging as a way to promote my coaching business beyond my relatively limited circle in Sydney, Australia. As I went on I learned more about blogging and became an evangelist for business blogging.

Too many mature age people see bloggng and social media as being about technology. For me it is about people and communication. My life has been immeasurably enriched through the friendships I have made worldwide through social media and my business has benefited continually from my engagement with and knowledge of social media

Sybil Stersjic, Quality Service Marketing - I developed my business blog to share and further develop my professional passion for employee-customer care. My blog also gave me a web presence since I did not have a website at the time.

Jane Genova, Executive and Marketing Pro - It got me into the "conversation" without having to be admitted by the gatekeepers (editors) in media. I had a hunch that there were others like myself who wanted to be in and be able to bypass the gatekeepers. Stay with what's working. Be aware how your medium is changing. Change with it.

Shel Israel, Author -  Are you aware that I spent about six months in 2011 writing a book called Pioneers of Social Media? It never found a publisher, nor did I sense a groundswell of interest that would have made me willing to take the risk to self-publish. 

Anyway, many of the pioneers are my age, we are 60s kids who believed in power to the people and transparency and lots of sex. Some of them, A few include Howard Rheingold, host the The Well, first online community; Randy Farmer, co-developer of Habitat, first use of avatars, so that you could have an online presence, Dave Winer, father of the blog, RSS and more, are all from the 60s. Each had an interest in using technology to empwer people through networking.

I am not a pioneer of social media. I'm more like a witness. I was in the right place at the right time to see the revolutionary aspects that social media promised. These people were talking about improving the structure of a global society. I doubt that any of them ever envisioned cute cat photos.

I remain, a camp joiner more than a pioneer. I like to write about people who see how technology makes life, work, health, learning, entertainment and communications better.

The technology of the pioneers has done much to change the world. But I'm not sure the current trends are what they had in mind. It's pretty much like when television came in in the 1950s and NBC's Sarnoff dreamed of opera for the masses. Around the corner, Bill Paley, was formed CBS. He looked at Sarnoff and said "screw that shit. We'll give them I love Lucy and sell cigarettes. Guess who won?

~ and me. I launched Diva Marketing in 2004, because my friend Dana Van Den Heuvel told me I had no credibilty talking about blogs, in training programs, unless I was actively involved. Diva Marketing was to be a way for me to learn. I had no intention of keeping it going for more than a few months.

Almost as soon as I wrote my first post people reached out to welcome me to the blogosphere. I  quickly realized this wasa far different world than websites The potential to build and nuture relationships and talk directly to customers in this funny thing called "comments" was the missing link of the business internet. So I stayed .. and as they say, the rest is history.

Update

Beth Harte - I jumped into corporate social media in 2006 (it wasn't even a term then). I saw it more of an extension of PR than marketing. It was a tough sell back then.

Pink boaToss of a boa to these amazing people who were among the first to set the wheels in montion for an exciting new way to bring brands, employees and customer together. 

Anita Campbell - Small Biz Trends @Small Biz Trends Began blogging 2003 (USA)

Barbara Giamanco - @BarbaraGiamanco Linkedin  Began blogging 2004 (USA)

Beth Harte - The Harte of Marketing @BethHarte Began blogging 2006 (USA)

B.L. Ochman Whats Next Blog Pawfun Blog  @WhatsNext Google+ Y2006 (USA)ouTube Whats Next Blog  YouTube Beyond Social Media Beganblogging 1996 (USA)

Brent Leary - Brent Leary.com @BrentLeary Began blogging 2004 (USA)

C. B. Whittemore - Simple Marketing Now  Simply Marketing Now Blog @CBWhittemore Began blogging 2006 (USA)

David Berkowitz - Marketers Studio Blog About David Berkowitz @DBerkowitz @MRY Began blogging 2004  (USA)

Des Walsh - DesWalsh.com  @DesWalsh Began blogging 2003 (Australia)

Drew McLellan - Drew's Marketing Minute @DrewMcLellan Began blogging 1999 (USA)

Elisa Camahort Page - BlogHer G@ElisaC Began blogging 2003 (USA)

Jane Genova - JaneGenova.com Law and More Over 50 Began blogging 2005 (USA)

Kevin O’Keefe - LexBlog  @KevinOKeefe  Began blogging 1996 (USA)

Merril Dubrow - The Merrill Dubrow Blog  @MerrillDubrow Began blogging 2006 (USA)

Marianne Richmond - Resonance Parntership @Marianne Began blogging 2005 (USA)

Nettie Reynolds - Nettie Ink LinkedIn  @NetReynolds (1999) (USA)

Neville Hobson - Neville Hobson.com @jangles  Began blogging 2002(UK) 

Paul Chaney - Chaney Marketing Group @PChaney Began blogging 2004 (USA)

Rajesh Lalwani - BlogWorks @RajeshLawlani  Began blogging 2005 (India)

Shel Israel - Shel Israel on Forbes Facebook LinkedIn @ShelIsraelegan blogging 2005 (USA)

Sybil F. Stershic - Qualty Service Marketing Quality Service Marketing @SybilQSM Linkedin LinkedIn (USA)

Toby Bloomberg - Diva Marketing Blog Pinterest Bio Board  @Tobydiva Began blogging 2004 (USA)

Yvonne DiVita - Lipsticking @lipsticking BlogPaws @Blogpaws Began blogging 2004 (USA)

Just One Crowd Sourced Question is an on-going series that taps the knowledge, experience and yes opinons of people who believe that one of the core values of social media culture is learning together.

07/04/2013

Fourth of July lady LibertyIn my adopted home town of Atlanta, Happy Fourth of July begins with people waking before dawn.

Well...not so much for me or Max but for many of my friends who run, jog, walk and sometimes skip (well someone must skip!) down Main Street in Atlanta to participate in the Peachtree Road Race. Betty Lindberg_Peachtree Road Race

For the awe inspiring 88 year old Betty Lindberg this year marks her 24th Peachtree Road Race. Toss of a pink boa to you Betty!

People find their own pace. 

Thousands line the sidewalks along Peachtree and cheer the runners on making this very much a community event. 

People find their own pace. 

What often begin as a rite of passage turns into a must do July 4th tradition for runners, volunteers and cheerer-ons. However, this year threat of thunder storms had people thinking twice and three times before making their way to the starting line. 

Perhaps it was the influence of Atalanta, the Greek goddess of running, but few rain drops fell during most of the Peachtree Road Race. The weather for the 44th AJC Peachtree Road Race was cooler than usual Atlanta July temperatures. The drizzle of rain made the race as my friend Bobbi told me more enjoyable and an easier run. 

People find their own pace. 

Celebrating Happy Birthday America, running or watching the Peachtree Road Race or even stepping into a social media world the most successful find their own pace and rewards.

Tips To Find Your Social Media Pace

After your topic direction and goals are established here are a couple of next steps.

1. Determine which social platform you're most comfortable working in. Is it a longer format like blogs, are you a 140 character diva or perhaps your world is visual? You'll find more satisfaction and way less stress (!) if you choose fewer networks and commit to doing them well. 

2. Determne which media you enjoy most when it comes to producing content. Do you love to write, create videos, shoot photos? How about social radio a la podcasts? How do they integrate and support the social platform/s you  chose?

3. If you're beginning a new social platform it's important to give yourself the time and resouces needed to find your voice keeping in mind that it must always be authentic for the culture of the network. For example will your current tonality on Twitter work in MySpace? How can you "fit" in multiple communities while retaining your brand's values?

The reward of running the Peachtree .. coveted 2013 Peachtree Road Race T-shirt -  2013 Peachtree t shirt

This posted is dedicated to my friend Paula whose broken arm prevented her from running in what would have been her 11th Peachtree. Here's to 2014 Paula!

Diva Marketing Collection of Fourth of July Posts Lessons From The Peachtree Road Race - 2009 Twisted Recipes - 2010  Live The Life of Your Choice - 2011


05/27/2013

 BlogPaws 2013BlogPaws ~  Turn corner - a cute puppy. Turn a corner - a cute kittie. Turn a corner - a cute ferret named Snotface (really!). 

BlogPaws ~ Turn a corner - hundreds of people passionate about sharing their love of animals and pets. 

BlogPaws ~ Turn a corner - talking pets and social media. Turn a corner - talking pet rescue. Turn a corner - talking pet  Heart

So when BBF Yvonne DiVita asked if I would join in the 2013 BlogPaws festivities and present a session on Twitter for pet businesses .. how could I say no?   Especially when the press was in attendance! 

Blogpaws press

 The challenge: to step-up a presentation for a group of folks using Twitter. I wondered. I wanted to share a few ways to identify customers and followers, bring some tools to the party and remind that no mattter how great your content .. they will not come unless they know you exist. 

Perhaps I could created a simple strategic model that could be used for any social network. Examples would be Twitter-based of course. What if we worked the model during our session and attendees left with the foundation of a plan specfic to their business? Might work.

Here's the model.

BlogPaws_twitter model

What did we talk about? Since this was a Twitter session seems appropriate that inBloombuzz, laurabennett and AimlessAndru tell you what they got out of the session.

BlogPaws_Twitter 2
BlogPaws Tweet_Aimless AndruAs promised, to the amazing people who kindly attended and tweeted the session, here's the deck. 

BlogPaws _ Tom Yvonne CholeMore about BlogPaws

Tom, Yvonne, Chole walk the BlogPaws red carpet. 

Max Approved!

Max twitterville

05/13/2013

The truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time but it ain't goin' away. ~ Elvis Presley

Crowd source
Just One Crowd Sourced Question 

Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Pinterest and other social networks changed how we think about "social media" from those long ago days of the blogosphere. However, I wondered if the "truths" of social media also changed. 

Is social media still about people-to-people conversations or is monetization the focus? Has social media become a ghost writer's paradise or is transparency still critical? What does authenticity mean in 2013?
 

Just Once Crowd Sourced Question is a Diva Marketing series where the community shares their insights on a specific social media issue.  One truth that still remains consistent even in 2013 .. social media is about learning together.

What Is Your One Big Truth About Social Media in 2013?

Jack Yan. I think social media are changing forms.

I go to my Facebook feed and I see links. This could be the new Digg (something I’ve said for years). I didn’t come here to see links, I came here to share and see what my friends are up to. Facebook is too busy monetizing and breaking its own features, too, which doesn’t help. It’s buggy as heck. It has zero user support.

So to get those people-to-people connections, I have to go to Instagram, where the “conversations” (via photos) are just that more authentic. I don’t see that on Pinterest or Linkedin. But if I am sharing on Instagram, then something’s got to give.

Twitter, once so open, has become a closed-minded place—it’s not helped by Tweetdeck, which crashes like crazy now, and Metrotwit doesn’t handle multiple accounts. I know there are other tools, but my point is that things aren’t all running in Twitter’s favour any more. So if I have good tools to use for Instagram, then why should I bother with Twitter?

Tumblr, which I always thought was a blogging platform, is still a neat insight into our preferences and how we think. In that way, it has a social connection for netizens. Plus it has reached 100,000,000 users—and staff can still send personal replies, responding to bug reports and other enquiries. Facebook, Yahoo, Google and others have a lot to learn from these guys.

Social media are still about people-to-people conversations. We had those conversations with Vox between 2006 and 2009, which predated Facebook with sharing to different audiences. Transparency is still important.

I don’t think these definitions change—just that the sites that once hosted them are not what they used to be.

@JackYan JackYan.com

Nettie Reyonds. I would say that this year the big and necessary truth is for social media to stop taking itself so seriously.

It's not what it has been hyped up to be and people need to employ the social media economy of effort - meaning use the tools to connect with your customers on a real basis - make that effort and your company will benefit long- term much more than it would mired in hype, haste and hastily pushed out disingenuous content!!! ~ @netreynolds Nettie Ink

B.L. Ochman. My one big truth about social media: it continues to be my most important source of news and information, and it continues to baffle most companies. Wait! Is that two thruths?!  What's Next Blog PawFun  @whatsnext 

Judy Mod. We believe social provides a lens into the world of our buyers and continues to transform the way buyers go-to-market to solve strategic business problems.

The problem we are focused on solving within the Social Executive Council is the shift from vendor-driven to peer influence is marginalizing vendors as buyers demand to be empowered with education on the problem definition before they engage for education on solution differences.

How do we arm buyers in the market to operationalize their problem diagnosis to reach them early enough to be a trusted advisor in their buying process and throughout their life cycle as a customer? This shift and our lack of market visibility because of the noise and barriers to buyer adoption are having a significant impact on every aspect of our business performance. ~ @JudyMod

Anonymous. You don't have to be on every form of social media just the ones that work best for you and your business. 

Michael Rubin. It's ultimately still about people. Technology's the tool, social media's the rocket fuel, people are the soul. ~ @merubin  MichaelE.Rubin.com

Tanya McGill Freeman. I think it's absolutely about people-to-people conversations...now more than ever!

People do business with people that may represent companies but not really just the companies themselves as a whole. Therefore the act of authentic, real engagement is so incredibly important. We tend to do business with those we know, like and trust, and social media provides a very effective way to establish those bonds and maintain them. @D_Sophisticate

Kelly Dovovan. social media is still about one-to-one or one-to-few conversations, but social media networks are making that harder to do as time goes on.

Facebook admits that they show a Page's posts to only about 16% of that Page's followers' news feeds. You have to pay if you want to send a direct message to your fans, too.

Both Facebook and Twitter have started cluttering users' news feeds with ads and sponsored posts/tweets, making it harder for users to notice your posts.

LinkedIn seems to be the least commercial platform, but surveys show that people online spend only about 2% of their social media time on LinkedIn, so your conversation better stand out for the moment when someone in your LinkedIn group actually logs into that network or you will miss them.

Our challenge in 2013 is to meet users where they are and position ourselves as someone worth actively following.

~  @HurriGator

Anonymous. Simplicity. Simplify it.

Toss of the pink boa to all who generously shared their truths.  Pink boa

 What is your one Big Truth about social media in 2013?

Read More Just One Crowd Sourced Questions

How Do You Build B2B Relationships Using Social Media?

How Do You Take The Fear Factor Out of Social Media?

How Do You Put Soul Into A Blog Post?

Why Don't People Get Social Media Is Not A Private Conversation?

What Is Your One Tip To An Agency/Freelancer Contracted To Be The Voice Of The Brand In Social Networks? 


04/03/2013

Secrets in the sauceHe: I need more traffic to my blog, more followers to my Twitter account and more likes on my Facebook.

Me: So I told him the 7 Step Secret Sauce Recipe For Social Media Success. In all candour, it's nothing new but as a reminder I thought I'd pass along.

1. The End Game - Start with the end game in mind .. or as marketers might say -- your goals.

What do you want to achieve? What is success to you? Is it gaining a new audience or repositioning your brand with current customers? Is it building stronger relationships with your employees? 

2. Know Your Audience - The more you understand the profile of your audience the better you'll be able to put into play steps #3, #4, #5.  Building a personae of people you want to reach helps to go beyond traditional demographics to including digital/social behaviors. 

3. Selfless Content - Posts that take the needs of your community into consideration and are aligned with the values of your brand/company.

Mantra to repeat before hitting the publish key:

It's not about me it's about you.

4. Focused Content Direction - Choose a topic that is big enough to give you some flexibity but narrow enough to carve out a niche that sets you apart in the cluttered social media space. Helps if you are passionate or have a high interest in the topic .. to help you sustain over time.

5. Consistency Over Time/Social Platforms - To be The "go to diva or divo" - post several times a day about trends, hard to find information, hot tips, industry news.

To position yourself as a  "thought leader" consider weekly posts using platforms that offer longer formats than Twitter and can be deep linked e.g. blogs, YouTube/Vimeo (video), SlideShare. Content ideas: opinons on industry trends, current issues, interviews with leading experts.  

If you're focused on innovation or a start-up it might mean you become active on the latest shiny toy. Yes, there are times when jumping into the the new is a valid strategy.

6. Community Generosity - Identify your peers, influencers and greatest fans. Join the conversatons where they hangout. Contribute to the discussion with your ideas, links, opinions. Rarely does that mean pitch your product.

If you're in a more conservative world or your end game is to sustain your current positioning, it might mean the tried and true  blogs, Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. 

Keep in mind that you do not and never will "own" any social network e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, FourSquare, g+, etc. You are a renter abiding by the rules (terms of service) that can and are changed at the discretion of the network.

The only social media properties you have control over are the blogs, communities, sites you build and host yourself. 

6. Resources - Much as we might like to think that the digital world is a free for all .. if you're using social media as a business strategy keep in mind there is a cost. The price you pay is in time, human capital and yes, hard earned dollars too. 

Determining how your resources will be allocated will save you a few sleepless nights. 

7. Determine Results - Is it working? How will you know (refer to #1)if your end game is met? Think about the metrics that will provide you the greatest insight. Hint: Likes are probably not the best indicator. 

There are at least 27 billion tools (well .. that might be a slight exaggeartion but perhaps not!) to help you track, measure and analyze. Some are free while others can run you some major bucks.

A Few Resources - Tools

Twitonomy - a new fav for Twitter analysis

Curated from Social Media Examiner - 29 Tools

Curated from What's Next Blog - 6 Shiny New Objects You Can Use

He: If it's that easy why the big deal?

Me: Right, this stuff is really not as difficult as say finding the perfect jeans. (Girlfriend, now he began to look puzzled .. but you know what I mean.) But there is one more step that I forgot to mention. Gaping void your a social media specialst so am i

The spice that kicks it up a notch ...pulls it together .. it's the person who builds and implements and ensures that outcomes are met within two cultures -- that of your brand and social web.

The skill set and experience that should be brought to the party grows more sophisticated and complex as social media becomes integrated into a business' DNA. 

Social Media Manager Skill Set

Business experience, marketing experince, strategy understand and in the weeds tactics,  great verbal and written communication, knows how to write for the web, problem solving, analytic skills, expeience in web analytics, understands the concept of digital conversation, continuous learner, generously shares, team player with people of diverse backgrounds, comfortable moving between online and offline environments, creative approach to the mundane and the unexpected, ability to work in a constantly moving world, likes helping people, customer first orientation, understands the concept of selfless content, content curation and creation, importance of multiple devices, understands digital behavior and building community. 

Add to that the working knowlede of mulitple social networks, blogs, the concept of authenticity, transparancy, honesty.

Include an understanding of your brand value and promise and how content and conversations must align but not message or sell within the social web. 

Oh yes .. throw in a little passion for social media and the brand and having fun. 

I think that will do it. 

Post inspired by Amber Kapish and David Munk, Stargayzing.

Graphic credit Zazzle

02/11/2013


Share with puppy dogRemember the all important word we were taught in kindergarten? Share.

We shared crayons, books and sometimes our PB&J sandwiches. Through sharing we made new friends. 

What we didn't understand, at least at five I had not a clue, was that from these small interactions we were creating a unique 'classroom community' that was a little different from the other kindergarten classes.

Taking that idea into the social web .. each social network and digital community we particiapte in has its own culture influencing our experiences.

In the social web we're sharing like mad. Some people might say we're sharing too much. (Perhaps that's a post for another day!) There are lots of different social shares from product reviews on sites like Yelp to retweets, repins and of course Facebook and post/article shares. 

The social web has brought friends and strangers together in a way that would have been difficult to image 10 or even 5 years ago. I wonder why it seems we've become obsessed with sharing. I came across an interesting study, conducted by the New York Times,The Psychlogy of Sharing. Passing along to you.Ok .. so I'm sharing!

Why People Share?

1. To bring valuable and entertaining content to others

2. To define ourselves to others

3. To grow and nuture our relationships

4. Self-fulfillment

5. To get the word out about causes or brands

What Influences A Social Share?

1. Appeal to consumer's motivation to connect with each other not just with your brand

2, Trust is the cost of entree for social shares

3. Keep it simple and it will get share .. and won't get muddled

4. Appeal to their sense of humor .. I might add carefully 

5. Embrace a sense of urgency

Social sharing goes beyond an nice to know. Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Yelp, MySpace have forever changed what and how we buy. We've always sought opinions from family and friends. It may seem odd, but we now also depend on the reviews of strangers to shape our purchase decisions from the most important products .. like your 27th pair of black shoes to the mundane .. which dryer to buy.

The Advertising Research Foundation recent study - Digital & Social Media in the Purchase Decision Process -calls this type of shopping a winding journey where the shopper is “always on” because of the constant interaction with brand. 

Social Sharing Tips

For Brands - Invest resources to monitor and track what people are sharing about your brands especially on your own social network pages like Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram. Go beyond counting the number of shares. The gold is in the details of the extended sharing and conversation. 

For Customers - Before you take out the plastic read multiple reviews from more than one source or site. A Tweeter search on the product name might pull up some interesting insights and links. 

Social sharing takes your unique, personal  brand experience and turns it into a brand experience for anyone who happens to come across your comments. You could be more influencial than you ever imagined!

02/03/2013

Oreo Superbowl Lights Go OutWhen The Baltimore Ravens might be walking way with the 2013 Superbowl win, but when it came to social media marketing Oreo won the viral prize with a simple tweet.

When the lights went out in the Super Dome tonight the savvy Oreo Twitter team had a brilliant light bulb moment.

Within minutes their tweet ~ "You can still dunk with the lights out" was was being shared across social networks, on blogs and picked up by main stream media. When I first checked there were 10,521 retweets within 41 minutes. 

 Let's do a little sideline analysis.

The Plays

Content: relevant, creative, fun, supported customers' activity with the product "oreo cookie dunking" 

Contextual: perfect timing, leveraged social web buzz re: the Super Dome lights going out. I suppose it didn't hurt that people were bored waiting for the game to start.

Twitter Team: agile, content created in real time in response to an unexpected opportunity

The Fumble 

Oreo missed the opportunity to integrate the tweet into it's social web eco system. 

Now, I'm not necessarily a fan of automatic social network insertion. I believe we should take advantage of the unique features and culture of each platform. However, often it makes sense to cross post content modified for the platform.  

Oreo's Facebook page shows 31,534,863 Likes. The community is failry engaged. I can help but wonder .. 

~The extent of sharing, liking and commenting if the tweet were Facebook posted.

~The type of conversation that might have occured .. might it have been different from Twitter?Oreo Facebook 2_13

~ What the ROI comparison was in terms of its TV ad, other social initiatives and this one unexpected little tweet.

Lessons Learned: Real time contextural content can not be pre programmed but the impact can be huge.

 Your Thoughts?

 

 

Audience: 

 

12/31/2012

StarsTraditionally, December has been Diva Marketing's Holiday For Small Nonprofits Series.

It's a time when people who work in smaller nonprofts are welcome to tell their stories. It's a way of giving back through shining a light on lesser known organizations through the voices of the those who are passionate about their cause.

It's a hope that perhaps before the year ends you'll reach into the your heart for one last 2012 donation. Or as 2013 begins find a new organization to support.

This year life got in the way of life. As The Fates would have it, just as I was feeling sad that I didn't have a nonprofit to share with you, once again social media came to the rescue. This time it was a LinkedIn connect request from a young women .. Simon Bernstein.

Skipping around her profile and then her web presence I knew the story of VolunTEEN Nation would be the perfect way to close the year. I am humbled and honored to introduce you to Simon and her story.

The VolunTEEN Nation Story

Volunteening_Simone Bernstein_1 diva marketingThe story is told by Simone Bernstein who is a junior at St. Bonaventure University. After three years of success with her local organization, Simone and her brother launched VolunTEEN Nation in March 2012.

She has spoken at numerous conferences throughout the nation, has a column at the Huffington Post, was honored in 2010 as a L’Oreal Paris Woman of Worth, and was recently listed on the 2012 Forbes 30 under 30 Social Entrepreneurship list.

An Inspiration to Volunteer

Engaging youth in volunteer service heals divisions within communities. As an avid volunteer in both my hometown and college community, with a passion for engaging youth in volunteer service, I took the initiative to launch a national website for youth to easily find and connect with volunteer opportunities and resources at volunTEENnation.org. Utilizing social media tools to promote the website over 8,500 youth have found volunteer opportunities through the website, organized volunteer events, and our annual volunteer fairs.

My initial spark to volunteer in my community was ignited when my dad was deployed in the military. My siblings and I were overwhelmed with the support our family received and the outpouring of volunteers: bringing meals, helping my mom with childcare and daily errands.I wanted to volunteer, too.

I was fortunate through word-of-mouth to find youth volunteer opportunities. During high school, I took the initiative to create a regional website stlouisvolunteen.com out of my own frustration and difficulty in finding volunteer opportunities for youth on-line. Due to safety, security and liability issues and concerns, many non-profit organizations and agencies limit the minimum age for an on-site volunteer to 18. I wanted to make it easier for area youth to find volunteer opportunities. Volunteering_2diva marketing

Interest in our regional website from schools, non-profit agencies and students around the nation drove my brother and I to create a national tool or resource for youth interested in volunteering.

Note It's A Family Affair! Photo of Simon's sister Sophie, brother/co-founder Jake, their Dad who is a captain in the Navy and Simon.

Meeting with local and national government officials, I advocate for service learning in our nation’s schools. The challenge facing our nation’s school’s is the crisis of high school dropouts due to lack of support both in the school and home. Engaging youth in service learning provides a valuable link back to the community with a strong connection to the classroom.

I organized and created the first St Louis Youth and Family Volunteer Fair. The Fair is now an annual event hosted at The St Louis Magic House, Children’s Museum with over 35 family-friendly non-profit organizations recruiting student and families to volunteer.

Wanting to engage more youth, I organize flexible volunteer projects for youth. I coordinated a September 11, 2011 tenth anniversary volunteer service project to engage youth and families “Serve to Remember” park clean-up. Combining sports and youth, my brother and I recruited 25 youth volunteers to instruct tennis lessons at “Aces for All” a weekly tennis clinic for youth on the autism spectrum “Soccer for All” and “B-ball for All”. I also helped start Making Music Matters, a successful organization where teens volunteer to teach music lessons in the inner-city schools.

My goal is to inspire others to find ways for all youth improve their communities.

  • It is well within the reach of any student to get involved and make a difference. 

Ideally, I would like to create an international volunteer site and combine my passion for volunteer service and my medical training to advocate for quality maternal.

More From VolunTeenNation

Volunteen Nation Logo
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Read more Diva Marketing Stories From Small NonProfits

12/25/2012


Miracle on 34th street"We'll be known as the helpful store. The friendly store. The store with a heart. The store that places public service ahead of profit. The plan sounds idiotic and impossible...consequently, we'll make more profit than ever before."

Nope, it's not a new social commerce strategy. It was an innovative sales program

launched in 1947 by Macy's Department Store. In the classic film, Miracle On 34th Street, Mr. Macy took chance on a different way to conduct business.

Customers would not be coerced into buying what they did not want; however, the real courage was if another store had a better or less expensive product Macy's would refer them there. 

Fast forward 65 years into the future and we struggle with similar issues of how to provide value for our customers. Technology has given us an amazing, let's call it a gift, that provides a new way to for us to build relationships and nurture with our customers.

Pull off the pretty red  bow and you'll find digital platforms with funny names like blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Google+, LinkedIn and Pinterest. It's a world where to succeed we have to go beyond a one-off sale to opportunities where three entities: company, employee and custome can create the brand experience .. together. That takes courage too. 

Unlike the impact of Macy's initiative, social media impact reaches beyond just one customer. For the first time, the entire enterprise has skin in the game. The digital relationships that the people who are the heart of your brand can set off a unique chain reaction.

  • Continuous listening -> learning -> understanding -> results in trust ->  leads to loyalty -> leads to the cash register bells ringing. And every time a cash register bell rings a marketer gets a bonus or gets to keep her job (!) .. oops wrong film.

Corner grocery store digital relationships that are build not only with you and your customers, but among your customers and your employees could never have been imagined when Kris Kringle entered Macy's Santa Land in 1947. However, even as we approach 2013, for many organizations open conversations still seem like a Miracle on (insert organization name here) or like the ghost of Xmas future (oops wrong movie again.)

The plan sounds idiotic and impossible... consequently, we'll make more profit than ever before.

As we begin 2013, technology developments spin even faster taking digital business into areas that were impossible in '47 or '57 or even '2012.

Imagine a digital destination where you can include your review of the product, service or customer care that influences your or your friends' buying decisions.

Imagine a digital destination where you can talk to a brand employee who doesn't respond with a scripted answer.

IImagine a digital destination that allows for product and service customization.

Imagine a digital destination where you can start a conversation with a real person about what matters to you regarding a product or service.

Imagine a digital destination where you can actually help change the direction of a product or service before it's even launched.

Imagine multiple digital devices, moblie, tablet, computer, television not "or" but "and" ... and one day even your glasses! 

Imagine a digital destination where you can chat with people about their experiences and learn from each other .. in real time during your shopping experience. The result is smarter purchases.

Imagine an authenitc conversation, in real time, with your favorite actor, politician, author or reporter who responds to your comments. 

Imagine an authentic conversation with your senior managmenet or an admired corporate executive where ideas are transparently exchanged. 

Imagine an organization that works in partnership with its customers and employees to create a brand experience that is relevant, innovative and imaginative across multiple divices. 

Imagine an organization that cares not simply about for for its customers. 

The plan sounds idiotic and impossible...consequently, we'll make more profit than ever before.

What a funny world we live in. It's interesting to compare a 1940's film, where finding solutions to customers' problems was perceived as unique, to 2012 where finding solutions to customers' problems is considered ingenious. 

The techniques may have changed. New buzz words may be added to the mix. Bells and whistles may be a little louder. However, after all is said and done, the premise remains the same:

-Listen

-Understand

-Add value

-Do what it takes to go the extra mile to delight your customer

I believe that as we learn how to use social media it will change how we conduct business .. leading to  creating an environment where people truly matter. And that my friends, is as couragous and innovative as Mr. Macy's Miracle on 34th Street.

The plan sounds idiotic and impossible...consequently, we'll make more profit than ever before.

Sidebar: A Classic Diva Marketing post based on an article written for American Marketing Association Marketing News.

Max and I wish you a year of little miracles, joy and all things wonderful and bright.

Maxie Santa 2012

12/24/2012

Dear Diva Marketing (Blog) and Community,

It's amazing how days turn to weeks and weeks turn to months. Life gets in the way of life and before you know it the best of intentions slip through the proverbial cracks.

In this case the best of intentions, are of course, to write and share learnings about marketing and social media with you. And so, I must apologize for the long lag in posting. Here's why ..    Toby cox tv radio biz card

I've often said that social media gives back more than it takes and this part of my story is another testimonial to that belief.

After 15-years of solopreneurship I was offered an exciting opportunity to join an organization that is focused on digital innovation. No, I'm not an on-air talent (at least not at the moment!). The work is to support almost 100 media properties and the enterprise at-large to more effectively incorporate the social web and leverage the social graphic. 

Not only exciting but the people are smart; and I'm able to maintain Diva Marketing, as well as, my other social properties LInkedIn Pinterest Twitter Google+ YouTube Diva Talks - BlogTalkRadio

Of course, all opinions are 100% mine and do not necessarily reflect that of anyone else, including my employer or even Max. I appreciate your understanding and ask for your patience as I adjust to the rythm of a full time corporate gig and ensuring that there is great content on Diva Marketing.

09/18/2012

Hull Beach_water trailOne of my all time favorite things to do is walk-the-beach in the morning. (I also like to walk-the-city.)

A few weeks ago I was visiting my family in Massachusetts. Lucky me that my cousins have a beautiful home a block from the ocean. 

The beach is a wonderland of tactical sensations that helps me quiet my mind: sound of the ocean surf, the touch of the waves and sand on your toes, the smell of salt water and the gentle comraderie as people nod their hellos and exchange smiles as if to say .. "Welcome to our world."

As artist Maria Kalman says, "Wonderful things happen when the brain is empty."

As much as the walk can be a 'rebooting' experience, eventually you do have come off the beach. That's where it can get tricky. Walking a few feet away from the path that set you on your adventure you suddenly realize there are few signs to mark your return destination spot.

You have to make an effort to remember from whence you came.

Walking along I wondered .. how does a brand approach social media without getting lost in the wonderland of new sensations and shiny toys? To put it in marketing terms, do we even remember to take brand values into consideration? Or do we skip onto the social platforms and never look back from whence we came and one day realize that we are totally lost and that our customers are totally confused?

Seemed to me that there were two critical issues to consider content and voice. Here are a couple of examples including B2B, B2C, Twitter, Pinterest and Blogs.

1. Content -- While social media content can and should relfect the 'human side' of your authors, to be part of a business initiative it must align with your brand.

IBM's Pinterest bio positions the company as "forward thinking." Boards about a computer (IBM Watson) that played Jeopardy, building a smarter planet, smarter cities and more support that brand value. IBM gets a check for consistency. IBM Values Statement 

IBM _Pinterest

 

 

 

Just asking .. do you want to talk trvia with your bank? Suntrust gets a question mark.

Suntrust Twitter Trivia

 

 

2. Voice - Employees writing for your brand should be encouraged to develop their unique 'voices' while maintaing brand values and promise. Keep in mind "voices" may not always be text .. video, podcasts, images count too.

One of my favorite CEO blogs is Marriott On The Move written by Bill Marriott. His posts, seem like personal letters direct to me from a charming man who I'd love to sit across the table from and share a meal or a glass of wine. Mr. Marriott wraps his post around personal experiences that always lend insight into the company or himself.

I must admit, if I were to learn that a PR manager or an out-sourced agency was ghost writing for Bill Marriott I'd be more than sad. I'd feel a break in trust between my friend Mr. Marriott and myself. Trust is a hard won prize not to be taken lightly.

Marriott on the move_bill marriott

 

 

 

 

Not all content or voice tonality will be right for every brand. While a funny cat post on Facebook may result in a bunch of likes and shares is that what you really want your customers and prospects to keep top of mind about your brand? Humor can be a great content direction but can you create it to be both relevant and fun? Are a few easy, off-brand wins worth a wobble to your brand image? 

No one said ths stuff would be easy.

You have to make an effort to remember from whence you came. 

Toss of a pink boa to Fisher for the inspiration.  

09/11/2012

Book mosaic9-11 .. eleven years ago our world came tumbling to a halt.

As people, from every country, watched in horror then, eleven years later we tell the stories again so our children and their children and their children will not forget.

Within the story of giant flames we also take time to remember that this was not One Big story. 9-11 is a mosaic of a multitude of smaller stories all important and impactful. 

Each story still burning brightly in some person's heart.

09/07/2012

Sybil Stershic_3It is with great pleasure that I have the honor of introducing our Diva Marketing community to a dear friend, Sybil Stershic.

Sybil's second book, Share of Mind, Share of Heart, explores the world of nonprofit marketing. The book takes a different slant from other books about NPOs; it focuses on the impact that employees and volunteers have on brand perception.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  Sybil, Right from the start of Share of Mind, Share of Heart it’s clear that this is a book that you believe in and that comes from your heart. The Forward sets the direction that nonprofit marketing holds an additional element that may not be as prominent in other industries.  It’s often based on a personal and passionate commitment.

How do you walk the fine line of believing passionately in a cause while maintaining business objectivity?

Sybil Stershic: It can be a challenge, Toby. Passion for the mission is what attracts nonprofit employees, volunteers, donors and other supporters. It helps connect them and keep them engaged with the work of a nonprofit.

But passion for the mission without a bigger picture perspective can be dangerous – it can lead to burnout and a condition known as “mission creep” that dilutes organizational focus. Effective oversight by nonprofit leadership, via the executive staff and board of directors, is needed to maintain a dual focus on both the mission and the organization’s viability. While a strong mission helps drive financial support – i.e., “no mission, no money” – these leaders understand the reverse is also true – “no money, no mission.”

Toby/Diva Marketing:  Your book is full of practical, creative ideas that at first glance seem so simple; however, we know too well that implementation can be a challenge. 

Would you talk to us about what you refer to as “After The First Day” (P 59)? After the initial orientation and excitement about the organization has waned how can we help remind staff and volunteers of the mission and goals and keep them on track?

Sybil Stershic: New staff and volunteers get a lot of attention when they first join the organization. Even in smaller organizations that don’t have formal orientation or on-boarding programs, there’s still an effort to “imprint” the new person with the organization’s mission, values, and goals.

After a while the newbies blend in with other staff and volunteers. If the collective group is not kept informed on an ongoing basis as to what’s happening in the nonprofit and how it’s responding, the people within the organization tend to hunker down and lose sight of the big picture. Job descriptions become outdated; members of the board turn over, yet the staff doesn’t know who the new board members; the strategic plan is updated, but not shared with staff and volunteers; etc.

  • In the absence of ongoing communication, people start to disengage.

What’s amazing, Toby, is that the remedy to this isn’t all that difficult. It involves being intentional in proactively communicating with staff and volunteers. For example, the Jewish Family & Career Services of Atlanta (Whom you introduced me to, thank you! My pleasure Sybil. Bloggy disclaimer: JF&CS is a client.), holds an all-staff meeting the day after each  monthly board of directors’ meeting to share board meeting results along with updates on grants and special events. JF&CS also recognizes and shares volunteer accomplishments in its monthly e-newsletter.

Another great example is the Northeast Regional Cancer Institute that starts staff meetings and board meetings by reading aloud its mission statement to keep everyone focused. These two examples illustrate that keeping the people who help fulfill the mission “in the know” doesn’t require a Herculean effort –  it’s basic communication and engagement via staff meetings, volunteer meetings, internal newsletters, training, staff/volunteer recognition, and special events, as needed.

Diva Marketing/Toby: “So the degree to which you capture and keep consumers’ share of mind and heart is directly influenced by their interactions with your staff and volunteers.” (P 33) I really like this statement ... a lot.

Since Diva Marketing is focused on social media I’m wondering how much of a nonprofit’s online engagement in social networks, e.g., Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc. influences share of mind and heart?

Sybil Stershic: The degree to which a nonprofit uses social networks depends on the organization – its culture, mission, key audiences, etc. That said, social media is a wonderful way to grow share of mind and heart with mission-inspired content.

Sharing stories and pictures of how people benefit from the mission (while not breaching confidentiality) Max reading Sybil's share of mind share of heart … volunteers or donors sharing their experiences supporting the mission (also reinforcing the ways people can get involved) …  staff members offering a behind-the-scenes perspective of a special event … these stories help bring the mission to life. A nonprofit can also write blog posts and share links to content that educates people about its mission and programs.

While social media advocates say “content is king,” I’d go even further to say “careful content is critical” in that nonprofits need to consider sensitivity in how they present any and all messages that reflect on their mission and brand. A negative impression can easily go viral.

Toby/Diva Marketing:
  What are your thoughts about involving staff, who are not in the marketing department, and also volunteers in participating in social media/networks? Let’s take these two ways.  The first is as one of the “voices” of the nonprofit.

Sybil Stershic: I know this seems like an oxymoron, but any “voice” speaking on behalf of a nonprofit needs to be authentic to be credible, yet carefully managed to ensure the wrong message isn’t put out there. That’s why social media guidelines and training need to be part of both Human Resources and Marketing policies.

Toby/Diva Marketing: The second ... how would you encourage nonprofits to interact with consumers in the digital world?

Sybil Stershic:  The answer to this depends on the organization and its target audiences’ access to and use of social media.

For example, I know a health-related nonprofit that combines both high-tech and low-tech approaches in building share of mind and heart. To broaden its outreach efforts, the marketing director produced a brief educational video as part of an “ambassador portfolio” that also contains a list of frequently asked questions and updated brochures for use by board and staff members. Employee reps show the video when meeting with outside groups or hosting on-site facility tours.

Marketing is also in the process of updating the website to be more engaging. Yet because many of its older board members do not use email, this nonprofit communicates with its board primarily by phone and regular mail.

Toby/Diva Marketing: You’ve worked with many different types of nonprofits, and you’ve also worked with for profits. For me your book provides a roadmap that can be easily modified and used by both.  One challenge that both nonprofit and for profits face is opening lines of communication across the organization .. or “de-siloing.” What suggestions can you give us to help that critical process?

Sybil Stershic: The best way to start is to ask employees for their ideas on what works in bridging these silos. They can also help identify which departments or divisions are already doing with well with inter-organizational communications; these areas can serve as role models.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Sybil, as is the tradition of Diva Marketing interviews, you have the last word. What would you tell our community, especially those marketers working in the nonprofit world?

Sybil Stershic: Recognize your marketing team includes everyone who works in your organization, regardless of the department or function they are assigned. So you need to effectively engage the minds and hearts of the people behind the mission (your employees and volunteers who impact your brand) as well as the people in front of the mission (your consumers and the public).

Thanks, Toby!

Continue the conversation with Sybil!

Quality Services Marketing - website and blog | Share of Mind Share of Heart |Taking Care of the People Who Matter Most: A Guide to Emplpyee Customer Care |Twitter @Sybilqsm

08/15/2012

The secret to success in any social network, or blog, marketing strategy is elevating the content direction to beyond just messaging about the brand product. The challenge is to ensure that this value-added, or what I call "selfless content", supports the brand promise and values. 

Ashley Howland_baylorAshely Howland, Bayler Healthcare System's social media manager,talks about how she and her team are executing a successful Pinterest strategy.  Part One of Diva Marketing's interview with Ashley Howland

Diva Marketing/Toby: In any new social media endeavor, they will not come unless you tell them. How is Baylor creating awareness for its Pinterest boards?

Ashley Howland: We recently created a tab on our Facebook page where fans can peruse our Pinterest page without ever leaving Facebook. We have also added the Pinterest button to our website, business cards and will soon be adding it to our email signatures.  Baylor _Facebook

Occasionally, we feature a Pinterest recipe of the week on Facebook and Twitter or showcase holiday ideas from our “Healthy Holidays” board (that’s my favorite board by the way!). We are also planning to experiment with Pinterest contests in the near future which will cross over to our other communities.

  • I’m a big believer that content doesn’t have to stay on the site it originated in. It’s natural to compartmentalize and segment your communities, but you don’t have to! If you have an awesome pin or a compelling blog post, share it across the board. 

Don’t keep a pin on Pinterest, a post on Facebook or a tweet on Twitter. Share it amongst your other communities. Cross over is key. At the end of the day, you are managing one big community of people.

Diva Marketing/Toby: Pinterest provides interesting consumer insights.  Is Baylor doing any analysis beyond a quantitative count of pin, comments, repins, etc?  If you what have you learned about your community?

Ashley Howland: Measurement is huge when it comes to Pinterest! You can count repins and likes all day, but it won’t give you an accurate picture of what’s really going on. Measuring click-throughs is critical.

We use Pinerly.com to measure our Pinterest activity. It’s been a great tool not just for measurement, but as a workaround for pinning static content on our website that may not have a compelling image to accompany it (as I mentioned above).

We have learned that just because something isn’t repinned, doesn’t mean people won’t like it. We have also learned that like almost everything else in life, presentation is everything. You have one image to communicate your message and grab their attention so make it count! In this case, people do judge a “pin” by its cover.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  Let’s talk about docs. Are you seeing any physicians successfully using Pinterest?

 Ashley Howland: Not yet! But that doesn’t mean we won’t. Physicians have been very slow to adopt social media. Some are very sceptical of it and fear that it will put them at risk for violating patient privacy laws.

  • As I mentioned above, all social media sites have their risks, but training and education is key.

Have you seen Dr. Oz’s Pinterest page? It’s a natural fit for him and he’s doing a great job!

Q:  To wrap this, what lessons learned can you share with us about healthcare in the world of Pinterest? Baylor _pinterest _2

1. Don’t be afraid to stick your toe in the waters of Pinterest…it’s exhilarating!  J

2. Good content is all around you. It’s a matter of making it “pinable.”

3. Think visually.

4. Don’t be a self-serving brand. Make sure you’re pinning things that are useful or interesting to other people.

5. Pin frequently, but not excessively. I’ve heard pinning up to 20 times a day (both original content and repins) in the evenings and on weekends is the key. However, there is no scheduling app for Pinterest just yet so that may be difficult. (Pinerly promises that it’s coming soon!)

Join Ashley and the Bayler Healthcare Sysem social media team ..

Pinterest Facebook Twitter-@baylor health YouTubeGoogle+ Ashley on Twitter

Join me on Pinterest!

Pinterest Pinning For Business Learning Series 

 

08/09/2012

Scales _ freedigitalphotos.netThis week I was called to jury duty. The Honorable John Doran, Jr. presided.

A jury selection is much like making a film or a commercial. There are a lot of stops, starts and waiting around while lawyers and judge side-bar conversations that you can't hear but would so love to be invited to the party. Voir dire (questioning the jury panel to establish suitability) of the 50 member panel took over a day.

Much like the beginning of a focus group, to help respondents develop a comfort level for future complex questions, the defense attorney asked what I thought was an interesting multiple choice question.  How did we feel about our day in court?

1. Excited to be part of the process

2. Interested in the process

3. Anxious or apprehensive 

4. Frustrated or perhaps a little resentful

An ah ha moment. Each of these feelings could be held by people new to social media or even challenged with taking social media initiatives to the next level. The big realization .. we rarely stop to acknowledge and address these concerns before we plow into creating strategies and executing tactics. The results can be too many side-bar conversations that add time and dollars to our process.  

Several times Judge Duran offered explanations about the proceedings that brought context helping us not only understand the legal whys of the Court but the humanity of the judicial system. I suspect this was also his way of easing the boredom of the wait .. his and ours.

As a group, we were engaged with Judge Duran but on a passive basis. That is no one commented or asked a question. Our thoughts were our own not encouraged to be shared.  One might say we were a captive audience and the good judge held our attention because he provided a distraction from the tediousness of the day.

But .. he spoke to us about what he obviously cared about and showed us his humanity. How can you help but engage with that type of person?

Later that night I conducted a directed discussion with a group of Millennials about their Facebook habits. Although Facebook of course encourages interaction through likes and comments, the feedback was that a like did not necessarily equate to brand engagement. And most certainly a random like could not be taken at face value to gauge brand loyalty. 

We discussed brands that drop multiple daily status updates that are little more than thinly veiled ad disguises.  Where is the humanity in that?

An ah ha momement. As a marketer living in the age of social networks I think about what engagement means in terms of bringing a brand to life.

How do we know a like from a passing post in a customer's stream was clicked while multiple tasking or to ease the bordom of the day? We don't. Yet we make multi-million dollar decisions based on what equates to a teeny percentage of our base of page likes. 

Just asking ..

1. Are we tipping the social media scales of engagement with wishful thinking that likes = engagment = expanded awareness = monetization?

2. Are we taking the easy way out, of a complex situation, to justify our activity in social networks?

3. Are turning one of the most exciting and innovative communication stategies of 21st century marketing into another mundane messaging channel? 

4. Are we missing the opportunity to create authentic people-to-people engaged relationships? 

But .. he spoke to us about what he obviously cared about and showed us his humanity. How can you help but engage with that type of person? 

Interestingly, it's a lesson that the Food Network is also learining. People relate to people.

Perhaps some social media brand managers might take a lesson or two from His Honor. 

Graphic credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

08/01/2012

The relatively fast Pinterest adoption rate, of what we might call nontraditional to social media verticals, is amazing to me. From financial services, manufacturing to B-to-B, Pinterest seems to capture the imagination of marketers. 

Baylor logoIn particular is the healthcare sector where many hospitals and medical centers are embracing visual communications and doing interesting work on Pinterest.

I was very excited when Ashely Howland from Bayler Healthcare System agreed to tell us the back-story of Bayler's Pinterest strategy. Ashely graciously shares her insights and learnings. In fact, her interview was so rich and detailed that we decided to run it as a series. Please join me in welcoming Ashley to Diva Marketing!

About Ashley Howland is the social media manager for Baylor Health Care System. She has been with Baylor for 8 years where she got her start in Media Relations. She took on Baylor’s social media efforts in 2009 “on the side” and it quickly turned into a full time job. Ashley Howland_Baylor Med Ct

Diva Marketing/Toby: I applaud Baylor’s step into Pinterest. Your boards were one of the first that I pinned to my Brand Board. Perhaps you can shed some light on something I’ve been thinking about since I first saw your boards.

Healthcare, as an industry, was slow to participate in the social web. However, it seems the opposite is true for Pinterest. On a high level why do you suppose that’s the case?

Ashley Howland: Thanks for adding us to your brand boards! You’re right; health care was very slow to adopt social media. One of the biggest reasons for that are the regulations in our industry, i.e. patient privacy laws. 

We have now embraced it and are using it to inform and educate the public with credible health information. We’re also using it to learn from them as well…what kind of experience they’re having in our hospitals, what type of information they’re looking for and most importantly, we’re using it to help our patients connect with each other for support.

I think one of the biggest reasons Pinterest is so popular in the health care industry is because of its demographic.  Nearly 70% of Pinterest users are women, which is a target audience for the health care industry. Women usually make the majority of health care decisions in a household and are usually the ones searching the web for health information.

Pinterest is also not as personal as some of the other social platforms. While Facebook and Twitter are hugely popular, not everyone is comfortable interacting in those spaces. Millions of people have accounts, but they may not be very active on those sites.

I think Pinterest fills that void. It appeals to the people who may not want to share the personal details of their life, but have no problem sharing about their interests and hobbies.

Diva Marketing/Toby: Let’s explore Baylor’s presence on Pinterest. What was it that first caught your interest about Pinterest to take the “pin leap?” When did you pin your first pin?

Ashley Howland:  We pinned our first pin in January of this year. I was using Pinterest personally and became addicted to it very early on…like everyone else!

We decided to take the “pin leap” because it seemed like such a natural fit for us.  As a hospital system, we have historically been concerned with treating illness, but now more than ever, we are responsible for treating wellness.

Social networking sites are the perfect place to do that. With sites like Pinterest, we can not only inspire people to live healthier lives, but we can show them how.

  • We are taking the wealth of knowledge and expertise we’re privy to inside the walls of our hospitals and converting it to an easy-to-comprehend visual format.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  Currently Baylor has 21 boards with a wide range of topics from healthcare games and tips, food. holidays, fitness and even animal therapy and boards about Texas. How did you determine the topics? Any surprises on the reactions from your community?

Ashley Howland: At first, we determined the topics of the boards based on the content we already had available. We also started paying attention to what people were pinning on our personal Pinterest spaces. In addition to home décor, fashion and arts and crafts, I noticed that my friends were pinning lots of recipes.

Baylor may not be able to help you put together a stylish outfit or show you how to Mod Podge a picture frame, but we’ve got recipes covered! We also noticed that people were pinning a lot of fitness pins and just everyday tips and tricks. We have an abundance of printable health checklists and how-to guides on our website so we pinned them and people loved them!

The biggest surprise was the reaction we got from our Interactive Health Quizzes board. We have many health quizzes and risk assessments buried on our website so we dug them out and started pinning them.

I was surprised that some of them didn’t get any re-pins or likes, but once we started measuring the click-throughs, we realized they were wildly successful! Some people may be shy or embarrassed about pinning a “Are you at risk for depression?” quiz or a risk assessment for cancer, but they will definitely click-through to take the quiz.

Diva Marketing/Toby: What types of content are you pinning?Ashley Howland: What’s great about Pinterest is there is an audience for just about anything! Sometimes brands are frustrated by it because they think they have nothing to pin. On the contrary.

  • Content is everywhere you look! You just have to think visually and figure out a way to re-purpose it for this medium.

Got a blog post with a list of tips? An online interview with a subject matter expert? Find a graphic for it and pin it! If you have graphic design skills or have access to a graphic designer, that’s the key. And don’t forget about videos! Videos are becoming very popular on Pinterest. In short, almost anything can be turned into a pin.

That being said, we pin just about anything we can find at Baylor. Instead of being an afterthought, Pinterest has become a driving force for our social media efforts. Every piece of content we create, we try to think of how we can turn it into a pin. Instead of communicating with words, we’re all learning to communicate visually.

Diva Marketing/Toby: Understanding that Pinterest is still in its infancy, what are your measures for success?

Ashley Howland: Although Pinterest is still in beta phase—which is pretty incredible considering the number of users—there are already third party websites available that can help you measure your success.

Right now, we are using Pinerly. Pinerly is amazing because it not only tracks your click-throughs on a pin, it allows you to upload content that may not have an image already attached to it. For example, say you have a great blog post or an article on your website titled “5 tips for working out at home,” but there is no compelling image on the page. If you are using Pinterest to pin this content, it won’t work. However, Pinerly allows you to upload an image of your choice while posting the link behind it.

Another measurement tool that I recently discovered is Curalate. I’m really anxious to try it out! 

Diva Marketing/Toby: With any social network initiative there are risks associated with active participating. What were Baylor’s challenges and how did you overcome them?

Ashley Howland: You’re right; every social networking site has its risks. Unfortunately, Pinterest has been singled out lately and a lot of attention has been called to its Terms of Service. They have made a lot of changes to their language about copyright issues, but the truth is their Terms of Service are very similar to other social networking sites as well.

As far as copyright issues are concerned, we try very hard to pin as much original content as we can. We definitely repin the brands and people we follow, but we try to make sure we repin from credible sources and that the original source of the content is credited.  

One of our biggest challenges with Pinterest, and any social media outlet for that matter, is to make sure we are sharing or repinning content from credible sources. Many people will repin without clicking through right away.

As a brand, we click-through every image we want to repin to make sure it’s coming from a credible trusted source, that we’re not endorsing a product, and most importantly to make sure the pin is not linked to a spam site. Even our beloved Pinterest is not safe from spammers, unfortunately.

Diva Marketing/Toby: In social networks there are two paths we can take: passively providing content and actively engaging within others. At this point, most people seem to be sharing content/pins but there is not a lot of conversation happening.

How active is Balyor in terms of engagement e.g. commenting, repining, likes?

Ashley Howland: Engagement is a big priority for us, but to be honest, we haven’t really taken advantage of fully engaging with pinners…yet. On occasion, we’ll thank someone for repinning us, comment on other pins and give out likes, but engagement takes time and a lot of effort.

It’s a big and very important job. We have recently increased our staff to include two community managers and one of their primary goals is to spend time interacting with pinners. Baylor_Pinterst 8_1_12

Diva Marketing/Toby: One of the big questions that I’m asked is how do you find time to include another social network into your communication outreach? Would you give us an idea of the resource structure (people) and approximate how much time you’re investing to Pinterest?

Ashley Howland: I believe you get out of these networks what you put into them. If your intent is to share content, that’s great, but then you’re only scratching the surface of social media and using it as another one-way communication channel.

It’s a two-way channel. In fact, it’s more than that…it’s a community of real people. I think brands are finally starting to realize that social media isn’t a side gig. It’s an integral part to any communications strategy. Most importantly, it’s not free which is a big misconception. Of course the tools are free, but the effort that goes into them isn’t.

I think you have to figure out what your priorities are and what your company’s goals are and then go from there. Not every business will greatly benefit from Pinterest. Evaluate your objectives and figure out where you should be spending your time.

Baylor is very supportive of our social media efforts and has given us additional full time employees to help manage our social media presence. I recently hired two community managers who are doing a great job of not only finding and creating relevant content, but talking to our communities and helping us reach beyond the day-to-day postings.

  • We could all stand to do more listening instead of talking in our social landscape!  

In addition, our Public Relations/Media Relations department has incorporated social media as a part of their jobs.Everyone in our Marketing/PR department; including many of our clinical employees such as physicians, nurses and dietitians; is encouraged to attend what I call the Social Media Campfire, a monthly discussion of the tools we’re using and how all of us can make them a part of our communications toolbox…no matter if you’re in the Social Media Department or not.

Continue the conversation with Ashley and the social media team from Bayler Healthcare System

Pinterest Facebook Twitter-@baylor health YouTube Google+ Ashley on Twitter

Join me on Pinterest!

Pinterest Pinning For Business Learning Series 

 

07/27/2012

Pinterest tipsPinterest continues to fascinate me by it's simplicity and ease of use.

However, if you peak behind the curtain it holds a similar sophistication to that of Twitter. Who would have thought we'd call a 140 text platform sophisticated communication?

Where this new visual social network will take us is the guess of crystal ball gazers and social media pundits. Neither of which am I.

I'm just a working gal who loves, not necessarily the technology, but the promise of what it can do to bring business back to the corner grocery story relationship. (C.B Whittemore's post) For me the two driving benefits of social media have always been:

  • 1. Build and nuture relationships
  • 2. Tell the story of the brand through the people who are its heart: employees and customers

If you get those right it's a marketing two step along the way to making the cash register ring. Oh by the way, don't drink so much of the Koolaid that you believe a sales is a direct result of Only a tweet or status update or even a pin. 

As part of client work and creating workshops on Pinterest I develope a running list of ideas. Some are strategic and others more tactical but I thought I'd pass them along to help you frame your adventure (and it should be!) in the visual world of Pinterest. 

Strategy

1. Determine how graphics as linked to content can align with your brand values brand promise

2. Determine how Pinterest will support your goals and business outcomes

3. Determine if your Pinterest page will support a specific segment or the brand at-large

4. Critical: determine your content direction that goes beyond your brands or company messaging

Board and Pin Creation

1. Include search engine optimize key words in bio, board and pin descriptors

2. Link images that you upload to an appropriate web/blog page. Amazing how many people forget to include a URL.

3. First rule of Pinterest Etiquette: never change the source link of images ‘borrowed’ from a website not your own

4. Build your Pinterest page as if it were a book: boards = chapters, pins = content body

5. Create a bio board that can be used as a “media page” for solopreneurs/small business owners Bio board _ toby

6. Create media/news board for larger businesses

7. Arrange boards in order of importance and change as needed the order as appropriate. For example, your Fourth of July board can be brought to the end until next year when you can move it to a more prominent position.

8. In creating your pin look at it through the lens of a great ad: strong visual, headline that grabs, copy that supports.

9. Board names should be creative but descriptive key words are a bonus.

10. Identify sites will you not pin (from)

Content

1. Although your pins should reflect your brand values/promise (Strategy #1) not all pins should be directly related to your products, services or company (Strategy #5). This is so important that I felt it belonged in Strataegy and Content.

2. Three pillars of Pinterest content direction: inspire, inform, imagine

3. Test live pinning for events/tradeshows. If you can't link pins to a site in real time (at the event) go back at a later time to add those important URLs. Example: Oscar De La Renta Bridal Show .. it's really cool .. go on click but come back please. To view the story read from the bottom up.

4. Create collaborative boards with clients and colleagues. Added bonus multiple pinners increase awareness of the board.

5. Review content that you’ve posted in other social networks. How can it be repurposed for Pinterest?

6. Review content that is not on digital properties e.g. white papers. How can they be included on your digital assets such as websites or blogs so that you can include them on Pinterest? 

7. Test “pin it” contests. Keep in mind they will not come unless you tell them. Build an awarenss strategy into the overall plan. Example: Elizabeth Arden's PinItToGiveIt Cause Marketing used social media (Facebook, Twitter, bloggers) and traditional media (PR/Events-BlogHer). #PinChat with Christine Bennett, Manager PR for Elizabeth Arden. 

8. Use Pinterest to support campaigns and programs runnng in other media

9. Pin to help your fans “create” not curate their boards

10. Take your community “behind the scenes” of your company e.g. a day in the life of …

11. Be mindful of copyrights. If in doubt reach out to the author, artist and ask for permission. Bonus you'll develop new relationships. 

12. Protect your images with watermarks that include your URL or at the very least your company name. Example: Bella Cupcake  Pinterest Bella Cupcakes

13. .Create a board to tell the story of your company/brand. Great examples from the State of Maryland Pitch Contest. Check out the Diva Marketing interview I conducted with Zoe Pagonis, Governor Martin O’Malley’s New Media Manager.

14. Highlight employees in creative and fun ways that go behind “business” accomplishments e.g. pets, shoes, sports interests, favorite quotes

Awareness

1. Cross post on social networks

2. Follow the people who follow you. Note: Following boards versus pages may be less overwhelming to your stream.

3. Comment on people's repin of your pins. It's nice to get an acknowledgment and never know where the relationship or conversations might lead. My comment on Irene Turner's board let to a new author for All The Single Girlfriends and a great new friend.

4. Build “pinner relations” programs

5. Add Pinterest links to support your media releases

6. Since Facebook does not allow for 'pinning' if you upload a graphic that might make for a great pin consider serving it on your blog/website or Flickr instead. 

7. Add Pinterest link/Icon to Home page of your website And on the footer.

Research and Consumer Insights

1. Consumer insights for product development

2. Consumer insights support customer persona development

3. Completive intelligence

4. Consumer insights to understand meaning of the “ordinary” of every day life. For example what does "family" mean? 

Bonus: Be Strategically Fun!

Join me on Pinterest!

Pinterest Pinning For Business Learning Series 

07/05/2012

Engagement_man and woman
Engagement
Emotional involvement or commitment Merriam-Webster

Ever think about the words we use to discuss social media? Well, I do.

I find it fascinating that so many of the words we bring into "social media talk" e.g. humanize, conversation, community, listen support that this is a people first approach to marketing.

The brass ring, or perhaps it should be the diamond ring, that is based on likes, shares and digital conversation is Engagement. Social Engagement is one of the most highly prized words/concepts in social media marketing. It seems we use it all-the-time. What does it really mean? 

If we take the Merrian Webster definition of engagement literally, "emotional involvement or commitment", we can appreciate why for marketers, social engagment is important. Looking at social engagmement from this perceptive it is a significant value in building customer loyaty. Powerful. 

As with a traditional engagement social engagement takes time and relevant actions to build trust that leads to that emotional involvement or commitment. As we all know .. it's not as easy as it may seem. 

Last week I had the honor of teaching a two-day social media workshop in Chicago for the American Marketing Association. The concept of social engagement was a topic of significant discussion. Taking our cue from social media crowd sourcing the smart participants created a list of 25 ideas that they agreed I could share with you. 

The ideas fell into seven broad buckets: brand created content, fan/customer created content, social media technology, know your audience, promotions, additional channels and employees (one we often over look).

25 Social Engagement Ideas

Brand Created Content

1. Talk about product in different context that goes beyond a sales pitch

2. Highlight customer of the week/month

3. Provide something interesting to talk about

4. Inspiring quotes with images relating to brand values

Fan/Customer Created Content

5. Ask fans to create content and reuse

6. Poll/questions on existing social media channels it builds two-sided relationship. Idea: a one word answer

7. Jump start conversation e.g. ask a question

8. Testimonials including video

9. Feature customer videos about topics that may not related directly to your product or service but on a ‘side step life style topic’ or brand value. 

10. Post your events encourage and people to post theirs photos videos from the event

11. Funny “old” content that from your content archives

Social Media Technology

12. Make it easy to share

13. Drive mobile engagement

Know Your Audience

14. Fish where the fish are

15. Tap evangelists for feedback

Promotions

16. Contests/give aways/incentives to talk

17. Rewards for referrals

18. Build in sharing after purchase

 Additional Channels

19. Email footer

20. Tip of the month card tease (e.g. website, email, direct mail) .. drive to  social networks for more information and conversation. This will also work on cross social networks. For example use Twitter to drive traffic to Facebook for expanded discussion.

21. QR Codes on vehicles

22. Packaging and promotion materials

23. Custom wrappers

24. Nonprofit partnerships  programs that include charity donation by the partner as an incentive for Likes

Employees

25. Encourage employees to Like and Follow

Bonus: I'd like to add one more .. please participate in conversations. Jump in and chat with your customers/fans. Thank people who have taken the time to contribute to the exchange. If you're really daring join the conversations outside of your own brand's social network pages and blogs.

Let's continue the learnings. What is your hot tip on how to socially engage with your customers and prospects?

06/18/2012

Maryland contest bannerSometimes we find innovation and inspiration in what may seem unlikely places.

Who would have thought that one of the most creative Pinterest contests would be developed by an institution not necessarily thought of as taking a lead in social media .. and definitely not on Pinterest. The U.S. Government. I know!

Toss of a pink boa to the State of Maryland, and specifcally to Governor Martin O'Malley and his communication staff! 

The Pinterest State of Maryland Pitch Contest asked entrepreneurs to pitch their businesses by using Pinterest to tell the story of their company.  A panel of business experts chose winners in two different categories: “Student Entrepreneurs” and “Boot Strappers. First place winners received MacBook Air and runner ups received an iPad courtesy of Baltimore Angels.  Partnership included: University of Maryland College Park, the Future of Information Alliance, the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development and the Baltimore Angels.

 ZoeZoe Pagois graciously agreed to tell us the back-story.

About Zoe Pagonis - My name is Zoe Pagonis. I am Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley’s Communications and New Media Manager and am responsible for making sure that we are taking advantage of every possible tool to best communicate with our citizens.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  What I’m most curious about is the why the State of Maryland chose to create a Pinterest Pitch Contest to bring attention to the small business owners of the state. Note: Submission boards.

Zoe Pagonis: Governor O’Malley’s number one priority is creating and saving jobs and as an administration, we’re constantly looking for ways to showcase our small businesses and encourage entrepreneurship. As one of the fastest growing social networks, Pinterest seemed like a natural fit for bringing attention to our small businesses and showcasing all that the State of Maryland has to offer.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  Pinterest and contests go together like PB&J. However, your approach was not only unique but it supported what social media, on any platform, is all about: telling the stories of the people who make up the brand .. both customers and employees.  Please tell us your behind the scene story of how the concept evolved.

Zoe Pagonis: Our office is always looking for new and innovative ways to connect with our citizens so as Pinterest grew in popularity, we created an account and used it to showcase what we’re doing in State Government (and also give people a behind the scenes look at who the Governor is as a person—he’s an avid reader!) In our State, we’re also blessed with an abundance of incubators and diverse centers of higher learning.

A few months ago, the Governor was scheduled to attend the University of Maryland College Park’s entrepreneurial Invitational and Cupid’s Cup Competition. In pulling together information about the event, we came across “Tweet Dingman” which was a unique competition that asked entrepreneurs to pitch their businesses using 10 Tweets.  This contest sparked the idea to use Pinterest.

The rest was a great collaborative effort and an eye-opening experience of just how many people in the State of Maryland are willing to lend a hand in support of local entrepreneurship.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  What were your goals for the contest?

Zoe Pagonis: The main goal of the contest was to highlight entrepreneurship in Maryland by using an innovative new technology. We also wanted to showcase our partner organizations and support entrepreneurs by connecting them to these great networks.  

Diva Marketing/Toby:  Were the results what you had expected?  

Zoe Pagonis: The results were better than I had expected. We had submissions from people all over Maryland of all ages. We even had three that came from students under the age of 13. I was also very impressed by the collaborative efforts of the judges and how willing everyone was to help with the contest in the name of supporting Maryland entrepreneurs.

Diva Marketing/Toby: I loved reading the “stories” from the businesses. The creativity that went into their boards was amazing. What surprised you about the submissions?

Zoe Pagonis: I was surprised most by how many talented individuals we have in the State of Maryland and equally delighted to see the three entries from the young students.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  Pinterest provides interesting consumer insights. Are you doing any type of analysis to mine that data?

Zoe Pagonis: We are still very new to Pinterest and are exploring all of the ways we can use it as a tool to connect with more Marylanders. As with all of our new media accounts, we monitor the feedback and use it to guide our decision making.

Diva Marketing/Toby: With any social network initiative there are risks associated with active participating especially from the point of view of a government entity.  Did you get push back? What was the reaction from the lawyers?

Zoe Pagonis: One of the criteria of the contest was that the pictures be unique to the individual or that they use proper attributions.  We consulted with experts in the business community on the guidelines of the contest before moving forward.

Diva Marketing/Toby: It seemed to me that when the contest launched, the State of Maryland’s Pinterest page was fairly new. How did you create awareness with your target audience?

Zoe Pagonis: We relied heavily on our partners and existing social channels to spread the word about the contest. Governor O’Malley also announced the contest at the University of Maryland’s Entrepreneurial invitational event which helped to generate buzz.

Diva Marketing/Toby: Thinking about the entire campaign, what would you do differently?

Zoe Pagonis: We had help from a few partner organizations but in the future, I would reach out to every business incubator in Maryland and associated organizations for help in promoting the contest.

Diva Marketing/Toby: Let’s shift gears slightly and talk a little about your boards in general. There is even a board for Govenor O'Malley. Wondering what benefits he sees in social visual communication over other channels of communication?

Zoe Pagonis: All forms of communications are important and we’re always looking for the most effective ways to connect with citizens and share resources.

Diva Marketing/Toby: In terms of content, are you pinning from only Maryland State owned images or are planning to include citizen images too?

Zoe Pagonis: At the moment, we are posting images and videos about our programs and resources but we are exploring all options–including citizen generated content.

Diva Marketing/Toby: One of the big questions that I’m asked is how do you find time to include another social network into your communication outreach? Would you give us an idea of the resource structure (people) and approximate time you’re investing?

Zoe Pagonis: Social media is highly integrated into our overall communications strategy and we see it as a great way to amplify our existing message. As the number of networks expands, it does become more difficult to keep up with everything but we focus our attention on the resources that we think will help us do the best job in communicating with Marylanders. As the fastest growing network that was driving a significant amount of referral traffic, we knew that we wanted to be on Pinterest.

Diva Marketing/Toby: What lessons learned can you share with us from your overall experience with Pinterest from both the contest and the overall board management?

Zoe Pagonis: Pinterest is great in that it doesn’t require as much time. You can update it less frequently and still achieve your objective of driving traffic to your resources. For the contest, it was a great platform for showcasing our small businesses. The images lended themselves well to telling a story and we’re going to continue to look for more opportunities to use the platform in the future.

Diva Marketing/Toby: To wrap this up what’s next for the State of Maryland Pinterest’s boards? Maryland contest gov omalley et al
 

Zoe Pagonis: In our Administration, what’s next is anything that’s innovative, cost-effective and works to amplify our existing resources. We see Pinterest as one of the many ways we’ll continue to connect and how we use it will depend on which of Maryland’s great entrepreneurs invent the next Facebook or Pinterest!

Congrats! to the winners of the Maryland Pinterest Pitch Contest. 

Student Entrepreneur Category:

First Place: GB Wallets

Second Place: Discrete Secrete Solutions

Bootstrapper Category:

First PlaceBeerGivr

Second Place: Mission Launch

Continue the conversation with Zoe!

Governor O'Mallye on Pinterest |Govenor O'Malley's Website|Zoe Pogonis on Twitter

Graphic credit: MD Govpics Flickr

Join me on Pinterest!

Pinterest Pinning For Business Learning Series 

06/11/2012

Geoff Livingston 2012It is my pleasure to introduce you to the co-author of Marketing In The Round .. my friend Geoff Livingston

One line in Geoff''s bio tells all you need to know to understand the man behind this newly release book. "He brings people together, virtually and physically to affect change and achieve higher knowledge."

In his third book, co-authored with Gini Dietrich, the focus is on  integrating traditional and new media marketing elements and breaking down those stifling internal silos.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  Let’s start this off with “Why this book?” Seriously, why does the world of  marketing need this book now?

Geoff Livingston:  When Gini Dietrich and I focused on multichannel integration, our logic centered on delivering ROI and outcomes for social media. So much of today’s conversation is about how marketers can get results from social. To us, that lack of results has more to do with siloed communications and a failure to integrate all marketing disciplines together.  Integration also includes adding hard lead generation-oriented metrics from direct and advertising to the mix. 

 Even though that was a year, ago the problem persists. Two recent studies from the CMO Council and the CMO Survey showed that less than 10% of lead marketers are running well integrated digital campaigns [Geoff's post - What CEOs Want: Better Social Integration & Anaylics]. Integrating marketing and general understanding of diverse disciplines has become a lost art.

Diva Marketing/Toby: So many options. So little time, money and people. From your perspective, what is the most significant challenge facing the 21st century marketer?

Geoff Livingston: Without question, it’s understanding the modern stakeholder’s media experience. 

Marketers think like media tools, literally.  It’s as if we were media hammers. How can I get people to use my nail? How can I drive the nail home?  But in reality, people walk around an entire media structure in which there are many nails, dry wall, support beams, screws, hex nuts, roofing, lights, tiles, etc. etc. 

  • Until we stop marketing from our perspective, but from the perspective of the true media landscape as seen by our customers, including mobile, 21st century marketers will struggle.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  The visual model  of Marketing In The Round is built with “marketing” as the center and let’s call them  marketing functional areas (advertising, web/digital, content, direct mail, etc.) as spokes from the center.  Based on your model, how do you define “marketing” that makes marketing unique from the functional tenants.

Geoff Livingston:  The ability to build, maintain and administrate holistic communications and interaction strategy for an organization and its stakeholders.

Toby Bloomberg/Diva Marketing: Wondering... where do customer care, research and sales fit into the model?

Geoff Livingston:  They definitely fit in frequently. When we present the Round concept live you’d see them brought into meetings frequently.  They don’t usually end up at weekly meetings of the marketing group, but are an integral part of the larger customer experience, and as such, they end up attending CMO meetings almost every month if not more frequently.  Ideally, everyone is closely seated together to help foster further integration.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  Sounds like you’re restructuring the marketing department. Who leads the charge of  Marketing In The Round if not the CMO? What skills/talents should that person have to make it work?

Geoff Livingston: It is the CMO.

That person should have a couple of skill sets.  First, they are an administrator and a manager. Their job is to facilitate the marketing function from a resource and operational perspective, incentivize what had been here-to-fore silos to work together, and lead the department in its interface with other departments so that marketing acts as a networked component of the larger enterprise (as opposed to its own silo).  Secondly, that person is usually a marketer themselves, and as such they need to have graduated from tactician to a strategist who can understand the value of branding, strategic approaches and tactics.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  One of my favorite lines in the book is –“.. you lend that content to and
community to outlying networks ..”
(p 24) The question then becomes is what’s the source of the Geoff Livingston Marketing in the round_max content and community?

Geoff Livingston: Usually, it’s the company. If the company is successful in its groundswell and top down approaches you’re seeing true customer word of mouth take place and they start developing content.  Stakeholder generated content creates brand and product advocacy, as well as (hopefully) inspiring media stories, speaking engagements, analyst reports and other types of traditional professional content produced independently of the company.

Diva Marketing/Toby: Coming from a research background, I appreciate the time you dedicated to consumer insights .. both traditional and social media. It seems as though the concepts of “listening” and “monitoring” had different meanings in the book. How are you defining  concept of “listening” and that of “monitoring?”

Geoff Livingston: It may be an issue of semantics on our part.  They are closely related.

Listening occurs before, during and after a marketing effort. But in many ways it’s the harnessing of data – big data if you would. I think hearing is the ability to decipher that data into meaningful and regular intelligence. Monitoring to me is the practice of hearing that data intelligence formally and regularly as a company.  Now, that’s my opinion based on the question. Gini may have a different take on that.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  I really liked the charts, worksheets and resources that you and Gini integrated throughout the book.  One of the Pros under social media (p27) indicated “inexpensive form of sponsoring messages on the social platforms.”  Does this refer to “blogger relations” and are you advocating paying bloggers for their posts?

Geoff Livingston: I don’t advocate paying bloggers to blog on their site. I do advocate paying people to intelligently interact with bloggers to provide useful content ideas and guest posts wherever possible.

I pay bloggers for their posts on Inspiring Generosity. Getting great content for your site requires paying talent, in my opinion.  I hate people that ask me to blog for free consistently without any clear value for my effort. It’s the primary reason why I stopped blogging for Mashable. The effort outweighed the value.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  Several different dashboards ideas are presented. While I think dashboards are a great way to track and analyze do it right is a time resource/commitment. If a company can only manage One dashboard what would be your suggestion?

Geoff Livingston: There is no silver bullet, unfortunately. Whatever a company selects they will end up customizing it if they want meaningful analytics for their monitoring program.  Google Analytics, Radian6, Hubspot, Marketo, and Eloqua is where I’d start depending on budget, from free to full enterprise.

Diva Marketing/Toby: In your travels Geoff, what organizations did you find that were doing it well?

Geoff Livingston: Dell, the American Red Cross are the obvious ones.

Procter & Gamble does a lot better than people give them credit for.  They are a brand management organization in the CMO sense, using agencies to execute tactics. I think they get social in the sense of when an agency or partner is doing a good job for them, and when they are not.

Google is doing really well, even the + network isn’t (or maybe it’s just bad press).  Google clearly listens to feedback, and it seems to me they are becoming a social enterprise. 

Etsy and Five Guys are brilliant at word of mouth marketing.  Chrysler has proven itself to be a savvy advertising company in its current incarnation. And Apple is probably the best all around integrated multichannel marketing organization out there.

Diva Marketing/Toby: As is the tradition on Diva Marketing the last questions is yours to take and run with as you would like. What would you tell our community about integrated marketing in the round?

Geoff Livingston: This isn’t rocket science. Our book is not going to teach you black belt jujitsu. It is about the basic fundamentals of marketing together as an integrated multichannel organization. No matter how fancy your marketing strategy and tactical execution is, if you aren’t blocking and tackling, you will likely lose.

It’s a reminder about what worked before social, and what still works in the current digital marketing era, teamwork, and thinking together as collective communications team.  That’s integrated strategies.

Continue the conversation with Geoff!

Geoff Livingstons Blog Twitter Flickr G+ Marketing In The Round SlideShare Pinterest

 Bloggy Disclaimer: I was provided with a complementary copy of Marketing In The Round. All opinions are 100% mine.

06/06/2012

Pinterest women retro As marketers begin to explore Pinterest the first question that I'm asked is:

 If my company isn't "visual" like a business to consumer (B-to-C) retail or  food or fashion company, but is business to business (B-to-B) is Pinterest  right for us? 

The second question, almost before another breath is taken, is "What can we pin?" 

Keep Pinterest in perspective. Like every other social network (inclding blogs) Pinterest helps you continue to tell the stories/promise/values behind your brand including the people who are its heart e.g. clients/customers, donors, volunteers and staff, etc. End of story. Beginning of story. (Of course it has to support goals .. see below.)

Let's step back before we step forward. I would encourage you to do a few housekeeping activities before you dive into creating those fun boards.

1. Review your social media strategy as well as marketing strategy. Not only for goals/objectives but for the content direction that you've chosen to pursue. Pinterest should support the work you've done here.

2. Identify content that is 'pinable' on your site and social platforms. If you have YouTube videos those are pinable.

3. Great time to dig out the photos that never got posted to the web. My guess is you have quite a few from events. 

Decide if your photos/images will be included on your site and where. Depending on your IT/webmaster's time you may decide it's easier to upload images directly to Pinterst. After they're uploaded you can then add a link back to your site.

4. Image/Pin Considerations

Will you watermark your photos?  

If you add a $ before a number it turns into a banner sign and drops into the "gift" page. I tested it for a NPO's event and the pin was immediately repinned (Pinterests term for sharing). 

What sites will you not pin/repin from e.g. competition, rouge/spam, etc.

5.  Board Ideas Beyond Your Product or Service

For non profits and events .. a thank you donor or sponsor board that links back to their websites (not yours).

For all companies and NPOs .. staff boards help make the people who are the heart of your brand "real." Are some of your emplpoyees hesitant about being on the Internet? WPTV has a staff "Fashion Board" that includes employee's shoes and socks too! Are your employees into sports? How about a board of their running shoes?

How about a resouce board for your clients that focuses on a specific interest?

Following is a strategy outline to help get you started 

I. Goals 
II. Content direction 
a. Develop Board Concepts 
b. Segments taken into consideration e.g., donors, volunteers, staff, other stakeholders 
c. Develop series of board topics 
III. Logistics 
a. Identify board authors 
b. Determine pinning frequency 
c. Key words to optimize descriptors 
d. Will images be water marked prior to pinning? 
IV. Create guidelines 
a. Review sites associated with pin prior to pinning 
b. Sites not to pin from e.g. spam, 
V. Who will you follow? 
VI. Create awareness with your target audience (who may or may not be on Pinterest) 
a. Add link to your website 
b. Add link to staff's email signatures 
c. Include in eMail newsletter 
d. Mention at board and staff meetings 

VII. Don't forget to monitor comments. The special sauce is commenting back. Since not many people are doing that (yet) it will help cut through the clutter and of course, build relationships. 

VIII. Analyze the data beyond repins, likes and comments. The descriptors and board names are a fascinating source of consumer insights.

 So much more .. but for now this should get you started thinking strategically and tacitly.

Oh one more .. have fun.

Pinterest Pinning For Business Learning Series 

Follow Diva Marketing on Pinterest!

Graphic credit: Natteringnic

05/23/2012

Last week I attended my first Pinterest meetup. Max pinterest tshirt

It was great fun and I even won a Pinterest T-shirt. Seems appropriate that Max should model it since he has his own Pinterest board. Don't you think he makes a cute model?

Anyway, needless to say, I was excited to meet fellow pinners and talk about strategy, cool tools, what works, what doesn't.

"Were you on the PinChat when host & founder Kelly LIeberman brought in Lizze from McDonalds?" I asked a few people. My question was met with puzzled looks. "Oh big corporations are pinning?"  Now I was surprised. Ah..yes. 

Granted, I only spoke with a handful of people, but it seemed most were pinning for fun or using Pinterest in a very limited way for business e.g. one board among many personal boards.

My big take aways: Pinterest, as a business tool, is still in the beginning stages of adoption .. even for the pioneer pinners. Even more than the idea of pinning for business, is the concept of putting a focus on pinning for business by creating and maintaining a variety of boards that support a brand.

When it comes to social media, we learn most from the people who have stepped out before us and generously share their experiences. In this Pinterest Pinning For Business Learning Series post we take a look how a business-to-business company, Brandwatch, is using Pinterest as an inbound marketing tactic.

About Brandswatch: Launched in August 2007, Brandwatch  develops tools for monitoring and analysing social media conversations. The company is experiencing huge growth in the young sector.

 Joel Windels_Brandwatch

Our interview is with Joel Windels. Joel is the Community Manager at Brandwatch where he is responsible for all of Brandwatch’s presences online, including social networks like Pinterest.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  In a world that began as a social network to share images of food and fashion Brandwatch is one of the early business-to-business brands on Pinterest. What did you see about the platform that caused you to actively participate?

Joel Windels: The key thing to remember with social media is that it is not only incredibly new, but it is also changing at a rate that is almost impossible to stay totally on top of. At Brandwatch, we’re obviously very interested in making sure we’re keeping track of all of the most popular social sites, so once Pinterest began to show itself as a rising star, we had to take notice. The meteoric rise of the network and simplicity of the image-sharing idea struck a chord with me, so I decided to test the waters.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  From a high level, what is Brandwatch’s  Pinterest strategy?

Joel Windels: We generally see Pinterest as a traffic-boosting network, with site referrals from Pinterest forming a small part of our wider lead generation strategy. As an inbound marketing tool, it’s an excellent place to house links to lots of our content in a visually appealing and clever way, in a way that’s not centered around our own website.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  Understanding that Pinterest is still in its infancy, especially in terms of b2b, what are your measures for success?

Joel Windels: As I mentioned before, we’re just testing the waters and, for the moment at least, we’re measuring its value in referral rates. There’s something to be said for the qualitative worth in having a presence, such as using it as a resource for curious prospects and simply for broadening the visibility of Brandwatch, though the primary measurement is through number of visits to our own site from Pinterest for the time being.

Diva Marketing/Toby: With any social network initiative there are risks associated with active participating. What were Brandwatch’s challenges and how did you overcome them?

Joel Windels: One of the more interesting ways we’ve been using Pinterest is through the use of our ‘social media monitoring’ board. We’ve created it to house a board of our main competitors, as we regularly get asked about the other options in the market, so it gives us somewhere to point people to. Using our own tool, we also search the web for individuals and companies that are enquiring about SMM tools and the industry, so we often step in to offer advice, sometimes via our Pinterest boards.

While it may be a cliché, we think that our tool is the best around and that people will come to that conclusion by themselves, so in pointing our prospects to our competitors we’re not approaching marketing in an orthodox way. The risk is that we’re not as good as we think we are (very low, of course)!

Diva Marketing/Toby:  If you’re not a visual thinker it might be a “content challenge” for a services business to sustain pinning over time. What is your content strategy .. In other words what are you pinning?  

Joel Windels: Pinterest is a supplementary channel for us, so we don’t have a content strategy for the platform. We’ve created one-off boards, such as the monitoring one and a set of pins to support our Superbowl project back in February, though we are now using the site as a seeding channel for our main content – namely our eBooks, our case studies and our blog posts. Essentially our Pinterest content plan mirrors our general one.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  In social networks there are two paths we can take:  passively providing content and actively engaging within others. At this point, most people seem to be sharing content/pins but there is not a lot of conversation happening. How active is Brandwatch in terms of engagement e.g. commenting, repining, likes?

Joel Windels: This is a very good point you’ve made, as they are indeed two very different approaches. There are 1001 different social networks propping up and lots of guesswork involved in determining how to spend your ‘community time’. Therefore I decided that, for now, we’ve tried to keep our primary focus for engagement on tried and tested platforms like Twitter, whilst using Pinterest for its own strengths.

For the moment, we’ve walked the first type of path in passively providing content, though as the site progresses and we hire more community staff in the coming months, we may well take a look at the second approach. Brandwatch

Diva Marketing/Toby:  One of the big questions that I’m asked is how do you find time to include another social network into your communication outreach? Would you give us an idea of the resource structure (people) and approximate time you’re investing?

Joel Windels: Our team is split across the UK, Germany and the USA. Understandably we’re still putting together the processes that divide the community spread, but at the moment it’s just me on Pinterest. We’ve pulled a bit of focus away from the likes of Google plus and other networks for the time being, as we’re seeing more referrals through Pinterest. We’ve had other monitoring companies repin some of our pins, and plenty of staff members contribute to the content that our pins link to, but as far as actually maintaining our profile and our uploads, that task currently sits at my desk.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  In any new social media endeavor, they will not come unless you tell them. How is Brandwatch creating awareness for its Pinterest boards?

Joel Windels: Well, you know what? They have been coming anyway. Like I mentioned before, we often link people through Twitter and other sites to our collections – good articles, our eBooks, competitors when someone wants an overview. We haven’t really pushed our Pinterest presence very strongly; it seems to have grown organically, with users sharing it amongst themselves because they like our boards/content rather than us trying to draw attention to it.

Diva Marketing/Toby: Pinterest provides interesting consumer insights. From the point of view of a research company, I’d love to hear your views of what marketers can gain from analysis of pins and boards.

Joel Windels: Well, Pinterest is a bit of a pain with its API so it’s very hard to work out exactly how much coverage we offer. Obviously it’s the best possible, but we are aware of some pins slipping through the net. Useful features like sentiment analysis and author metrics can help analysts work out how companies are faring on Pinterest, and how they might be doing that.

 As with all of the data we track, searching the web for social media mentions of your brand, your industry or your competitors will allow you to get a much greater understanding of what your customers are saying. Even if people are pinning and engaging positively on your brand page, doesn’t mean people aren’t indicating otherwise elsewhere. The only way of truly gleaning insight from the social web is through monitoring tools and the features they provide. Exactly what each company will discover from an analytical point of view will differ in each case.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  To wrap this up. what lessons learned can you share with us about business-to-business companies coming jumping onto the Pinterest train?

Joel Windels: As with any new and untested platform, it’s quite fun to test the waters with what works and what doesn’t; it’s certainly good advice to poke your toes in before diving in at the deep end. Furthermore, we’ve found that through being open, interesting and experimental we’ve managed to get a good ROI from being on the network.

Note: #PinChat is held Wednesday at 9p Eastern Time.

Pinterest Pinning For Business Learning Series 

05/14/2012

Avon good housekeeping oct 1953

In 1886, Mr. D. H. McConnell launched what was to become one of the most beloved brands... Avon

Let’s flash back 126 years when women were expected to be housekeepers, wives and of course mothers. In steps a man who defies convention when he builds his sales force with a team of women. D. H. McConnell intuitively understood that as salespeople women could relate to other women and bring a passion to his new perfumes better than men. 

Based on its direct sales approach, which was built on developing relationships and sharing conversations, Avon has been called the original “Social” Brand. However, its competition has left it in the 18th century “social media” dust.

Avon has seen a 75% decline in operating profit over the last decade. A Wall Street Journal Avon sales stats article, Avon Is Late to Social Media’s Party, reported sales for cosmetic products have steadily moved online. Although Avon does have online channels it's not been as aggressive as other cosmetic companies.

Recently Warren Buffet and Coty experssed interest in this iconic company now in crisis. In a 5/13/12 media release Avon said it would  "..consider Coty's letter.."

Update: 5/14: Coty has back off of its offer. "Your total lack of engagement with us leads us to believe that you remain reluctant to explore a friendly, negotiated combination on a reasonable timetable," Coty Chairman Bart Becht said in a letter to Avon dated Monday and made public. "Two months is enough." - Reuters

When my pal and social media colleague, Rob Petersen, founder of BarnRaisers and co-writer of this blog post, invited me to collaborate to bring Avon some 21st century social media ideas I was there. So Avon bebe .. this one is for you! 

10 reasons Avon Is Not Too Late To The Social Media Party

Subtitled: But the clock is ticking, the cake is getting stale and the tinis are getting warm.

1. BUSINESS STRATEGY: Of any brand, Avon has one of the most powerful social business strategies available. They have a brand community of  5.8 million reps. There are great examples of brands that put their community to work and turned their business around. Take for example, Harley Davidson. This may seem like an odd comparison but stay with us.

On the brink of bankruptcy in the 1970's, Harley Davidson overhauled their business to realize their most valuable asset was their riders. In other words, the people were even more important than the product so Harley: 1) Spoke to the shared interest of their community before product benefits 2) brought advocates together and let them help build new relationships. Avon needs a business strategy, not a social media strategy. Now, here's what they can put it to use.

2. "AVON CALLING" ONLINE COMMUNITY: Avon's famous slogan could now be a live, online community where their sales reps offer daily advice about Avon products, deals, help customers with a cosmetic question, refer someone to the Avon rep in their area and talk about who they are as people (e.g. where they like to go on vacation).

By the way, this is what Harley does daily at HDTalking.com, a customer created content community of close to 400,000 members.

P&G also has a highly successful online community, Being Girl, for their Tampax and Always brands that has achieved a 4-to-1 ROI over traditional channels. Avon even has an online community in the UK, Avon Connects, demonstrating they are not late to the party, they just need to join in.

3. "LIKE" US ON FACEBOOK (AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS): Every brand wants you to "Like" them and Avon has a pretty robust but commercial Facebook page that 660,000 people already like. They could use their sales reps more and show a human side.

For example, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, recently produced a video called "Likeapella" to celebrate the people who like them. Not to suggest that Avon do the same thing but to make the point that major brands need to use social media to make a more personal connection. Here's what Kraft did.

4. AVON CUSTOMER APPRECIATION DAYS (VIA TWITTER SEARCH): If Avon representative wanted to build 1-to-1 relationships in larger venues, they could go to high traffic locations in their area like a mall; then, if they use Twitter Search, they could find other women in the same mall and begin a conversation they very same way with the very same techniques they use when selling door-to-door.

5. KLOUT PERKS: With 5.8 million sales reps, they must have a very large number who have high Klout scores. Why not demonstrate to how powerful they already are in social media. Put this social influence to work and see how many rewards Avon reps can get through "Klout Perks." This would show how much social influence sales reps already have.

6. AVON PINTEREST: The newest darling of the social networks, Pinterest, aligns with Avon’s targeted female demographic. Online products provide Avon with the base for creating a Pinterest page that has multiple benefits from reinforcing community with boards that highlight new and seasonal products, provide lifestyle the “Avon way” with beauty to showing the caring side of Avon through its nonprofit work. In addition, likes, repins and comments offer Avon new consumer insights.

7. AVON PINTEREST CONTEST: Taking Pinterest one step further is the idea of a “Pin It To Win It” contest. Avon has the opportunity to engage with its customers in creative ways that includes both customers and sales representatives. For example, many of Avon’s products are colorful from its nail polish to lip glow. A red, white and blue Fourth of July themed challenge could create fireworks of fun.

8. AVON SALES REP SOCIAL MEDIA TRAINING: Avon has created an innovative online training program, Beauty of Knowledge, for their sales reps. Topics range from how to start your new Avon business to money management, logistics, goal setting and traditional marketing support.  However, in my research I came across sales reps who had posted on social networks the need and their desire for social media courses to be included in their training.

In April, I had the honor of speaking at the Possible Woman Conference about social media marketing. Among the brands represented, by over 400 women attending the event, were sales reps and leaders from Avon. I saw first hand their enthusiasm mixed with confusion and frustation about how to leverage social media. After one of my sessions an Avon rep spent two-hours talking about her social media efforts with a speaker from the panel.

Sidebar: Founded by the visionary Linda WindPossible Woman is an excting conference that brings inspiration and leadership training to women in business.

Although Avon sales reps are currently involved in social media many still have challenges regarding how to start and/or how to take their initiatives to the next level. In addition to the training we suggest that Avon consider developing a series of template models for Twitter, Facebook and blogs.

9. AVON MOBILE APP: Smart phones and tablets have opened additional eCommerce channels and created new ways to engage with customers. With the ubiquity of smart phones branded apps continue to grow in popularity. Research conducted by Women at NBCU’s Brand Power Index found that women are more likely to have gaming apps on their smart phone (75%of women versus 67 % of men). What fun it would be for Avon to explore developing a gaming app and of course, a mobile commerce app.

10. SOCIAL MEDIA MEASUREMENT: Including social media as part of a marketing communications strategy can help accelerate achieving your goals. However, with so many moving pieces, Avon doesn’t need more measurement, they to identify the ones that matter most, their Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) and report, track and be prepared to take action on them.

Maybe, if Avon follows this plan, it would let Warren Buffet and Coty know just who they're dealing with .. a Top 50 Cosmetic Brand. No matter how this plays out Avon's legacy of empowering women will be part of history.

Avon ad 2012

Some great brands have turned their business around by realizing and reaching out to their strongest asset .. their community. After all, they call it Social Media for a reason.

What are your thoughts? Do you think it's not too late for Avon and their 5.8 million sales reps to join the Social Media party or is the cake too stale?

 

05/04/2012

Pinterest-triplePinterest. Pinterest. Pinterest.

There I've said it. Now I'm definitely out of the P-closet. That does sound a bit odd .. well you know what I mean. 

Couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of conducting a members only web cast for the American Marketing Association on Pinterest. The approach I took was a little different than the millions (not an exaggeration!) of webinars, presentations and posts that help you through the logistics of how to pin. Important no doubt but here at Diva Marketing it's a focus on the strategy and tactics versus the logistics.

 I have so much 'good stuff' to share that I thought a series on Pinterest might be fun. Oh no Toby not another Pinterest post! Well, yes but we'll look at Pinterest a little differently.

As my friend Barb Giamanco the diva of social media for sales said to me - I get B2C but other then showing the "human side" of a B2B company I'm not sure of the application benefits. So we'll explore verticals and brands that you might not think "fit" in a social visual communication network.

Social Visual Communication

Vocabulary matters. No more pinboards when you talk to the C-suite please. 

A CMO of a prominent B2B company recently told me she thought of Pinterest as a game for moms and didn't consider a "pinboard" a serious business tactic. Rather reminds me of the days of when blogs were called journals or diaries. Love this quote:  Blog gone pinterest quote snappleface_3 

However, along the way we learned that if we thought a little differently that blogs could support business objectives. The rest, as they say, is social media history.

With Pinterest it's not only a matter of looking at the world a little differently .. but repositioning to include concepts and language that the C-suite (CMO,CEO) can understand and "get." As social media becomes more sophisticated and is integrated into the life style of our customers, it is no longer is a rogue tactic that flies under the radar and suddenly becomes the darling of the company. There is too much at stake. 

I'm suggesting that we use the term Social Visual Communication. 

We'll talk strategy, target market, customer insights of course. However, there are so many people that are off and running that I want to start inside out. With very basic website tactics. 

Pinterest tips

Six Tips on How To Make Your Website Pinterest Friendly

1. When you're planning content on your site include an image as part of each text article

2. If you're not serving videos publicly e.g. YouTube include a graphic near the video. 

3. Graphics should align with your brand promise and values.

4.Consider what images your target audience will feel comfortable pinning. 

5. Consider how your banner is created. If someone wants to pin your page versus an article is there a non flash image that can be taken? 

6. Last, but important since people are still hesitant to pin because of copyright issues*, indicate that you encourage pinning. Best placement would be above the fold. *Poll taken during the AMA Pinterest webcast .. 80% of respondents were hesitant to go forward with Pinterest because of legal issues.

Bonus if you're really forward thinking: I do believe the Pinterest format: horizontal, graphics, sharing will become integrated into websites as the norm. 

Pinnect - Pinnect  Pinterest wordpress theme - Gridline 

Devstand has identified 34 "Pinterest" Wordpress themes

And don't forget mobile --  Pinterest type format mobile _pulse -  Pulse

Read more .. Diva Marketing Interviews with smozy/Kotex and Microsoft

By default this series began a few weeks ago with an interview with the CEO,Yael Linen-Zuchman, of an Israeli digital agency smoyz  and the brand manager of their client Eran Sion/Hogla-Kimberly. They launched an innovative Pinner Relations (think blogger relations) program.

I also had the pleasure of interviewing BJ O'Hare, the woman in charge of Microsoft's Mouse Design Pinterest contest. 

Reach out if I can help you with a Pinterest strategy. As you might guess, I've been sipping the Koolaid on this one (smile).

Pinterest Pinning For Business Learning Series