11/06/2014

Breast cancer logoBreast cancer still impacts too many lives. Advocate Health Care launched a unique program to bring attention to breast cancer prevention, treatment and support.

Understanding that women gain strength and the comfort from the stories they share and are shared they used digital and social networks to tell the  #StoriesoftheGirls . Through the following interview Christine Piester, VP Marketing and Christine Bon, Manager Digital Marketing and Communication graciously provided us with a case study of the program.

This post is dedicated to my sister Susan who I know is dancing in the stars.  Susan atl

About Advocate Health Care. Advocate Health Care is the largest health system in Illinois and one of the largest health care providers in the Midwest.

Advocate operates more than 250 sites of care, including 12 hospitals that encompass 11 acute care hospitals, the state’s largest integrated children’s network, five Level I trauma centers (the state’s highest designation in trauma care), three Level II trauma centers, one of the area’s largest home health care companies and one of the region’s largest medical groups. As a not-for-profit, mission-based health system affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the United Church of Christ, Advocate contributed $661 million in charitable care and services to communities across Chicagoland and Central Illinois in 2013.

 Our Story Tellers

Advocate Healthcare_ Christine Priester, VP, MarketingChristine Priester, VP, Marketing

 

 

 

 

Advocate Healthcare _Christine Bon

Christine Bon, Manager Digital Marketing & Communication

 

 

 

 Diva Marketing/Toby: How did the idea of #StoriesoftheGirls evolve? Was it a difficult sell to management including the hospital administrator?

Advocate Health Care: Christine Priester/Christine Bon: Obviously, the idea of #StoriesOfTheGirls remains a very edgy concept. Anytime you introduce a double entendre (“the girls”) as part of your campaign you take a risk. However, the Chicago health care market is noisy and we had to figure out a way to break through the clutter. Not only did we have to sell this concept to the health system leadership, we had to convince the 12 hospital presidents that this was the right idea, at the right time and with the right audience.

In order to gain the necessary buy-in, our CMO hosted numerous sessions where she outlined the campaign and addressed any questions and concerns. The vast majority of our internal leadership were overwhelmingly supportive, there were a few unsure outliers, but they soon became believers once they saw the results.

Diva Marketing/Toby: What was success for the campaign and how was it measured?

Advocate Health Care: Christine Priester/Christine BonWhile we wanted women to join the conversation at StoriesOfTheGirls.com, we really wanted women to take advantage of our patient added-value proposition.

We were the first in the market to offer same-day, no-referral mammograms.  This breaks down access barriers and allows women to schedule their mammogram on their terms, when they have some extra time as life might be too busy to schedule this test a few weeks out, months out, but there is no time like the present. 

  • So, that said we measured the growth in mammogram appointments (up over 10% across the system), web site visits, and engagement in the conversation (social media).

 Diva Marketing/Toby: The micro site is rich with content about breast healthcare. For many visitors to the site, I’m guessing the most compelling content is the video stories told by the breast cancer survivors and physicians.  How were these women indentified? What were their reasons to publically participate in #StoriesoftheGirls? 

Advocate Health Care: Christine Priester/Christine BonAdvocate Health Care treats more breast cancer patients than anyone else in Illinois, and more of our patients become survivors than any other system.  Through our over 30 mammogram locations across the system, we were able to tap into our internal resources to identify patients with compelling stories that were willing to participate in the campaign.

And, we had, and continue to have no problems with patients wanting to tell their story. All of our survivors say if telling their story can just save one woman’s life it was worth it. They also appreciated the real tone and voice of the campaign.

  • They have all grown tired of the traditionally depressing look at this disease and wanted to show that women’s relationships with “the girls” is much more than a cancer diagnosis.

This year we have some wonderful new videos that include not only survivors, an update on one of last year’s featured patients, but patients currently going through treatment, Sue even shaved her head on the video as her hair was falling out – emotional stuff!

 Diva Marketing/Toby: I would love to be able to chat with these amazing people. Did you explore incorporating real-time conversations through social networks, perhaps a Tweet Chat or a G+ Hangout?

Advocate Health Care: Christine Priester/Christine Bon: Glad you asked this question. New in the 2014 Stories of the Girls campaign is a message board prominently on the StoriesOfTheGirls.com microsite. We knew that we had to take this campaign to the next level in terms of the conversation so this is an exciting element this year (just launched on 9-15-14). Here, you can chat with survivors, you can talk with other families and their friends going through this journey with a loved one, you can ask our doctors questions, and you can simply ask about other breast health issues from puberty and first bras, to breastfeeding, boob jobs, and changes during menopause. Anything goes! We’d be happy to put you in touch with any of our featured survivors, check out their amazing stories through these videos.

Advocate Health Care theta theta girls

theta theta girls video

 Diva Marketing/Toby: The most exciting social tactic I saw was a #StoriesoftheGirls Instragram contest. Would you explain the concept for the Diva community?

Advocate Health Care/Christine BonThe #StoriesOfTheGirls contest was another extender of the conversation. We wanted women to share their inspiring photos, but also just women in general living healthy lives. Women were encouraged to share their photos and in turn were entered to win a gift card to a specialty bra store in Chicago. Since we had just launched our Instagram account the month prior, this was a great way for us to gain some new followers and boost engagement.

Diva Marketing/Toby: What was the most surprising aspect of the Instagram contest?

Advocate Health Care/Christine BonThrough the contest, we uncovered some very inspiring stories and one that we are now featuring in this year’s campaign: Kia. We also saw a side of our own associates (employees) who shared their breast cancer journey through photos as well. We were excited to see how quickly we gained new followers who were interested in our content and still engage with us on the social platform.

 Diva Marketing/Toby: In addition to Instagram what other social media tactics were included? Which one was your favorite and why?

Advocate Health Care/Christine BonIn addition to Instagram, we also used Facebook as a social platform to drive awareness of breast cancer by creating a daily calendar of trivia questions about breast health. There was a new question posted each day. Once the daily question was answered you were automatically entered to win a handmade breast cancer awareness crystal bracelet. You were able to enter a total of 31 times for a chance to win the grand prize of gift card to a specialty bra store in Chicago.

We also used Facebook as a platform to share all of our patient’s incredible stories, and also to promote our Instagram contest. Both of our social promotions were well received and we got some great submissions and are continuing to engage through new social promotions with the campaign this year as well and we are seeing even greater results!

Diva Marketing/Toby: How are consumer generated stories/photos being used to extend awareness of #StoriesoftheGirls and  breast cancer health?

Advocate Health Care: Christine Priester/Christine BonOur videos and patient stories have been picked up by many local media outlets as further promotion. Our patients also blog and are the subject of many stories on our brand journalism site ahchealthenews.com  View some of them here.

We also have a partnership with the Chicago Cubs, Bulls, and Bears and we are able to leverage those relationships to have breast cancer awareness events where are patients are honorary captains, sing the 7th inning stretch, and more! It’s a year-long commitment to keep breast cancer awareness at the forefront, not just during October.

Diva Marketing/Toby: The #StoriesoftheGirls campaign kicked off October 2013 to support Breast Awareness Month and appears to be continuing into the summer of 2014 and beyond. As one might say in the theatre, what makes this a long-running show?

Advocate Health Care: Christine Priester/Christine Bon

  • This campaign is authentic and real and that’s what gives it staying power. 

Act 2 of the show is in market now and we couldn’t be more excited. An element of this campaign remains in market year-round, however.  We want to make sure we’re promoting early detection of breast cancer through mammography 365 days a year. And, we want to make it easy for women to get their mammogram and new this year they can find out their results in less than 24 hours – talk about reducing worry that often times accompanies the wait on this test.

Diva Marketing/Toby: What lessons did you learn and can pass along to others in healthcare that maybe considering creating digital/social campaigns?

Advocate Health Care/Christine BonTake a risk, it’s worth it!

Content is critical.

Don’t tell your consumers about new equipment, this or that accreditation, they don’t care. 

Make your campaign about them, not about you.

Speak to your audience how people have conversations in their real life and reach out to them how they like to receive the message (social media, email, direct mail), everyone has a preference, learn it!

  • And, amazingly, you do this, they will talk back to you, and then you have a two-way, engaged consumer conversation and you create brand loyalty.

Toss of a pink boa to Sarah Scroggins for her help in coordinating this interview.  Advocate Health Care _ Sara Scroggins

10/07/2014

SouthWired LogoThis week it was my honor to present at South Wired 14, formerly known as Digital Atlanta. South Wired is the longest on-going social media/digital marketing conference in Atlanta. It was my pleasure to share the stage, as co-presenters, with Dorothea Bozicolona-Volpe.

Toby and Dorothea SouthWired 14

South Wired is 5 days packed with smart people talking about issues of how to succeed in the ever changing and challenging world of digital marketing. Dorothea and I spent hours discussing what we could bring to the party that might be a little different and add value for the attendees.

Our conversations led us to explore the complexies people are facing with eco-systems from multiple social networks. With each network you participate in from tier one e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Linkin, YouTube, Pinterest to tier two e.g. Instagram, SnapChat, Jelly, dating sites, etc,  .. you get the drift .. you attract and build an audience. You set expectations. 

We wondered .. is your personal brand attracting the right audience? That was it we had found our direction! We'd start at ground zero, or the heart of social media, the people. 

During the course of the session we handed out little napkins (social = fun!) and asked attendees to diagram their social eco-systems. Some people were surprised at the extent of their social network eco-systems. It was a fun exercise and Madison Harris even shared hers on Twitter

South Wired 14 _Madison Harris

We talked about how privacy is an illusion on the social web, how anything can be hacked and so much more. Dorothea and I are happy to share the deck with you.

Make sure you check out the last section Managing Outside Your Zone. There are tips and ideas and a worksheet I developed that will you define who to follow/friend and the extent of person information you want to share on specific social networks. 

 

Is Your Personal Brand Attracting The Right Audience Presented At SouthWired14 from Diva Marketing (Blog)

So, I ask you .. what does your social network eco-system look like? Are you attracting the right audiences?

Happy to answer any questions!

Toss of pink boa to Brian Rudolph, Candance McCaffery and their team of amazing volunteers and sponsors for coordinating and managing SouthWired14.

08/13/2014

Russ Klein _ AMA CEOThere's a new dude in town.

Well in the world of the American Marketing AssociationRuss Klein recently accepted the role of CEO for AMA and with that he now leads North America's largest professional marketing association.  Of course, AMA dropped a media release which details Russ' credentials (impressive!).

I was curious about the man-behind-the-logo. I felt I had a bit of a vested interest since my AMA affliation has a deep and long history from chapter president, to serving as facilitator of interactive and social media workshops and managing AMA's first virtual communities. One might even say, AMA set me on the road to social media when I chaired its first conferene on blogs in 2004 into 2005.  

Russ graciously agreed to a Diva Marketing interview. In the following conversation he offers: 

  • his view on the future of marketing in a disruptive world,
  • a peak into his vision for AMA,
  • the importance of volunteers and his plans to ensure continuous engagement .. and more.

Toby/Marketing: It sounds almost trite to say that marketing is in a state of disruptive chaos and change. Russ, having been in the center of creating marketing plans for some of the largest consumer brands, you can appreciate that our tool boxes are overflowing with new tactics and strategies.

How does a brand, any brand, ensure that its marketing is relevant and adds value for the customer?

Russ Klein/AMA: That’s not an interview question, that’s a theme for a book! Well certainly relevance and value are two watchwords that are the right ones to guide any marketers actions.

It’s not about what’s possible, despite all of the amazing technological advances we all see. It’s still about what is relevant. The main thing many marketers lose sight of is that merely being different is not necessarily relevant to consumers.

  • Creating differences that matter in the lives of consumers is what’s relevant.

I think the more mysterious question lies with the question of value. I am an ardent believer of Rifkin’s theory of near zero marginal costs that he asserts is imminent as a result of the internet of things and the remaining connectivity potential that is in our future. When you have a knowledge-based enterprise like the AMA competing in a world of open sourced innovation, a sharing economy, and lateral economies of scale, there are tremendous downward pressures on the costs of information.

MIT has posted its entire 1800 course curriculum online for free. So the AMA is not only challenged with delivering relevant thought and service leadership to its constituents, our products and services must be peerless to command some level of sustainable pricing power. This is why I am so excited to take on the challenges facing the AMA. This is the ultimate strategic gauntlet for any CEO to navigate.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Totally agree Russ it is a ‘big’ and not easy question. Perhaps we should put that book on our to do list!

However, the American Marketing Association is more than just another brand. One might say the AMA is the North Star for marketers. What do you feel is AMA’s North Star?

Russ Klein/AMA: Great question. My belief is that the academic gravitas and scholarly distinction…is to the AMA, what Mickey Mouse…is to Disney.

More specifically, by Mickey Mouse, I mean film animation. If you remove animated film credentials and the institutional/cultural effects associated with them, Disney is just another film company…no Disneyland, no Disneyworld, no transcendent lifelong emotional attachment with its consumers. If you remove the AMA Journals thought leadership and the esteemed academic status of being published in them, the AMA is just another conference company or speakers bureau.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Moving into the future how will the organzation ensure its does not lose its foucs in a vast sea of chaos?

Hugh North Star
Russ Klein/AMA
:

  •  Chaos is opportunity for those that can stay poised and focused.

I view it simply as a matter of strategy, because strategy is all about choice. That’s something I’ve never been uncomfortable with. It goes back to what’s relevant, not what’s possible. It’s my job to help the organization identify opportunities and set priorities that can advance the AMA enterprise, and discard those that don’t.

The AMA culture must be one that values decisiveness and managerial courage to take stands in a civil and respectful way. If we stay focused on how we figure into the lives of our constituents, our stakeholders, and our users we will stay relevant and compelling.

The AMA is about improving the way marketing is practiced around the world. In so doing, we will be a vital catalyst spurring improved commerce and prosperity in communities and everywhere.

Toby/Diva Marketing: In your opinion Russ, what is the most critical aspect of marketing that is ‘broken’ which AMA can help ‘fix?”

Russ Klein/AMA: Two things. There is profound lack of 1) Training and development of talent and 2) Managerial courage.

First, CEO’s and CMO’s can’t expect talent to come to them with all the tools and skill-sets necessary to become a world-class marketer. Even if they have those assets when they arrive, the need for lifelong ongoing training and development plans never ceases.

As a CMO I felt a personal obligation to create learning cultures where curiosity and teachable moments were valued. I always felt if I wasn’t spending at least 25% of my day improving the professional capabilities of my people, I was failing. My observation and experience is that this isn’t happening nearly enough.

Second, business in general and marketing in particular is simply not black and white. As much as I believe in disciplined marketing science, there is also marketing art.

Managers are almost always presented with a spectrum of management decisions that range from “no-risk” to “high-risk” with corresponding rewards. Too many corporate cultures, including the marketing cultures inside them, are built around fear of failure and fear of appearing wrong. Or there’s the “go along to get along” mentality which is responsible for more mediocrity than I care to admit I’ve seen.

  • My advice to every marketer, young and old, is to re-examine your capacity for the courage of your convictions. You can’t inspire greatness or excellence without periodic principled “stands” for what you believe to be the right thing to do.

Toby/Diva Marketing: With your background as CMO for major consumer brands, as well as, award winning agency work you bring a prestigious CV to the party. However, nonprofit associations have some different and unique challenges. What most excites you about the opportunity to lead the AMA?

Russ Klein/AMA: I believe the one thing I bring is a ferocious passion to compete. While nobody would ever want to characterize the AMA as a bloodthirsty competitor, I do believe we are nonetheless competing with other formidable knowledge-based enterprises.

The need to identify and leverage competitive advantage is just as relevant in a not-for-profit arena as it is in the for-profit world. I suppose the most obvious difference is the amount of resources available to the AMA to advance its vision versus other better heeled for-profit and scaled up companies. Conversely, those companies seldom can call upon thousands of volunteers and advocates for whom their volunteerism is both a source of personal satisfaction and a calling to be of service to others. I believe the opportunity to hold up a shared vision as a source of inspiration can power the AMA when dollars can’t.

Toby/Diva Marketing: We like to think of AMA as The premier association in terms of marketing sciences thought leadership. Recently it appears the perception is AMA has lost ground to marketing content house like MECLABS, MarketingProfs, eConsultancy, SmartInsights, and of course, to marketing bloggers. What are your thoughts?

Russ Klein/AMA: On one hand I welcome the increased attention that many other enterprises are bringing to the practice of marketing science. Conversely, no one can deliver the academic thought and service leadership, the chapter level engagement, and the volunteerism that distinguishes the AMA. The so-called competitors out there should serve to motivate us to sharpen our competitive advantages in a way that, if we were uncontested, we probably never would.

The esteem with which marketing practitioners, academics, and students are viewed should be on the same level as those who choose medicine or science as their pursuit. The AMA is uniquely positioned to elevate marketing science in this way because of its academic credentials.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Do you believe that the AMA should reclaim some of that 'thought leadership position' and if so how?

Russ Klein/AMA: I would never say that we couldn’t improve our thought leadership position. Knowledge is a fluid and perishable product. If I didn’t think our best ideas for thought leadership are ahead of us I couldn’t say our best days are ahead of us; and they most definitely are!

Toby/Diva Marketing: Although not professional associations, CEB and MECLABS have recently made acquisitions (Iconoculture and Marketing Sherpa respectively). It’s a different path to follow, but what are your thoughts about the possibilities of strategic acquisitions to grow the AMA and supplement areas where AMA does not have a strong reputation or extensive experience?

Russ Klein/AMA: My fundamental belief is that a healthy business model needs to identify organic growth first. If there are adjacent growth opportunities that can enable or accelerate the AMA vision through acquisition or strategic alliances I imagine we’d want to take a hard look at them.

Toby/Diva Marketing: AMA has traditionally served many different types of marketers: students, academics, practitioners, and researchers. What are your views on how that should be managed in the future? Do you think AMA should continue to try to serve everyone or focus more on one or more groups?

Russ Klein/AMA: I have always been an ardent champion of sharp, vivid focus on core users of a brand.

In the case of the AMA our core users just happen to cut horizontally across like-minded practitioners, academics, and students all of whom are engaged in the pursuit of original and best practices in marketing science. That said, there are still important ways of closing the aperture to create more focus for which we have ideas that remain part of our confidential strategic planning process.

Ama-logo 8_14
Toby/Diva Marketing
: Since AMA members make up part of Diva Marketing’s community and I am an AMA past president of the Atlanta Chapter, let’s talk a bit about the heart and soul of AMA ... its volunteers. What will be the role of professional chapters in the future?

How will the relationship between HC and Chapters evolve - or not?

Russ Klein/AMA: Also a great question. If the academic prowess of the AMA is its strategic advantage, then the thousands of volunteers are the unsung heroes that are responsible for converting that AMA advantage into an AMA experience. Understanding that it is the volunteers who are responsible for delivering the first formative AMA experience to new members is a critical recognition for the so-called headquarters of the AMA. There is just no substitute for “being there” and starting with me, I plan to become a familiar face to as many of our chapters as possible.

  • Politicians and Rock N’ Roll bands both know that the secret to build true loyalty and engagement is by being in the markets; stumping or playing music to their constituents.

I am a big believer in local knowledge and that collecting it in person is the best way to learn about the unique minds and moods of the membership and volunteers.

It might be a good idea to change the “headquarters” language to “support center” which better describes the service leadership we are responsible for providing. Simple ideas like that send culture messages to the organization…but we have to be able to walk the talk. I’m sure we are, but we can always be more present at the chapter or event level.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Professional associations struggle with membership attrition and AMA has its challenges in this area. What are your thoughts on how to engage AMA members, and as important, how to keep them engaged with the association?

 Russ Klein/AMA: Engagement is the operative word. Our goal must always be to convert a user’s connection with the AMA, no matter how it begins, into an engaged relationship wherein the AMA is providing the thought and service leadership that can help that individual experience to advance their personal objectives; be that research, publishing, knowledge acquisition, professional training and development, career networking and camaraderie, problem solving, or identifying marketing strategies and best practices for growth. If we’re creating value in these ways, membership growth and attrition will take care of themselves.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Dennis Dunlap, immediate past AMA CEO, began an international expansion which involved China. What are your thoughts/plans about growing the association’s footprint both on a global and national basis?

Russ Klein/AMA: We are not about planting flags unless we can get the commensurate returns from a scaled up presence. The opportunity to grow membership and engagement inside the U.S. alone is more than enough to satisfy our needs for growth; so it will require a judicious balance and allocation of resources on our part.

With that in mind the AMA will continue to examine thoughtful expansion outside North America where it makes sense. There’s no question, that not unlike American exports of film and music entertainment, American marketing is viewed as a global standard for which the appetite is large.

Toby/Diva Marketing: What are some of the lessons you bring with you from your time in the fast food industry that will help support your success in this exciting new role?

Russ Klein/AMA: The fast food industry is the most competitive industry in the world, simply because so many companies are competing for the largest consumer dollar in the world; the food dollar.

I’ve already shared my belief that I will bring a very energetic sense of competitiveness to the AMA. Beyond that, the other element the fast food industry has taught me is that the restaurant manager trumps the brand manager every time.

  • Likewise, it will still be our chapter-level execution in delivering a world-class professional experience that will define the AMA, not what my team located in Chicago dreams up and posts online.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Since, of course, Diva Marketing is ‘social media’, which means people-talking-to-people, we’d love to get to know a little about the person behind the AMA logo.  

7 Fun Fact About Russ!

1. Briefcase or backpack…backpack
2. Tablet or laptop…laptop
3. PC or Mac…Mac
4. Favorite word…grateful
5. One of your ‘bucket list’ to dos…build a tree house on my ranch in Colorado and have a family reunion there.
6. Favorite social network…Facebook personal/LinkedIn professional
7. Must have when traveling…running shoes

Toby/Diva Marketing: It’s a Diva Marketing tradition to toss the virtual mic to you and give you an opportunity wrap the interview. Is anything you’d like to say to our community about marketing, digital/social media, AMA or ????? It’s your turn Russ!

Russ Klein/AMA: There’s no better time in business history to be a marketer. Get involved with the AMA and I guarantee you will get back many times over what you devote to it. Together, we’re going to light the path to improve marketing originality and best practices and make it the best profession you’ll ever love!

Positively, Russ

Pink boaToss of a pink boa to AMA colleauges who offered interview question ideas. Sybil Stershic, AMA Board Chair and current AMA training/event instructor, president of Quality Services Marketing; Debra Semans, current AMA training instructor and national AMA board member, Dana Van DenHuvel current AMA training instructor, president of Marketing Savant

08/04/2014

Notebook coffeeWhen BBF Yvonne DiVita, author/founder of Lipsticking and BlogPaws, asked me to play along on an 'old fashion' blog meme or blog hop,  I immediately said yes.

Blog memes were popular before blogs were social media. So this post is not only fun but a bit nostalgia

I've always wanted to be a "Writer." However, I never really knew I was until I started Diva Marketing. Funny because I wrote all the time. I've always had/and have a little note book with me to jot ideas, impressions, thoughts. I write in coffee shops, on planes, on trains, in parks, in a car. I write most everywhere. With my little note books I am never alone.

Why do I write .. to tell stories; you might have noticed that most of the posts on diva marketing wrap around a story. 

Why do I write .. to clear my thoughts; writing is a way to capture ideas that sometimes seem allusive.

Why do I write .. to share and to teach; writing provides a tangible way to help others learn.

Why do I write .. because I have to.

Why do I write .. to play with words; so many choices to make when you write; it's fun to paint with the rainbow of words.

Why do I write .. this may sound odd but I write to read what I wrote. 

Why do I write? Perhaps the next question is what do I want to write next?

Part of a meme is to tap a few friends who will take the concept and put their own spin on it. I am excited that three of my favorite bloggers will be joining the meme parade. Please meet ...

Paul Chaney - Paul and I share a special bond. You see, Paul was the first 'real blogger' I met offline. You always hold a special spot in your heart for your first. His four (yes count them 4!) books on blogs and social media are examples of his love of writing and teaching. He has a special gift of taking complex topics and making them understandable .. and fun. Oh and he's an awesome piano player! Drop by to read Paul's post on 8/25.  Blog  Twitter 

Nettie Reynolds - Nettie once said to me that if you can't laugh with a person, question if that person should be in your life. Nettie not only makes me laugh but she makes me smile. Nettie's diverse career runs from working with authors & creatives to create digital awareness and even performing stand up comedy and she's a playwright. Drop by to read Nettie's post on 8/18 Blog Twitter 

Des Walsh - I often say, blogs/social media give back more than they take. It's unlikely that my path would have cross with this wise and smart man from Australia without the benefit of the digital world and blogs. Although Des is based on the other side of my world, through Skype, G+ Hangouts and social media his coaching, LinkIn mentoring and social media business has no geographical boundaries. Drop by to read Des' post on 8/11. Blog Twitter

Toss of a pink boa or perhaps I should say, pink notebook, to Susan Foster for starting this blog hop. 

Notebooks

07/28/2014

Waffle House _World Cup B vs USA Waffles_won my heartThe U.S.A. won against Belgium in the World Cup game.

Well .. not really .. but sort of. 

The Waffle House, an American, iconic, southern, restaurant company, walked away with the social media trophy.

Paying not one of the 75k dollar sponsorship fees, the Waffle House's followers organically helped score them the win via a social media waffle battle: sweet versus Belgium waffles. 

Many saw the battle unfold on Twitter but I wondered ... what was the back-story? How did it begin and what course of action did the Waffle House plan? Meghan Irwin, Waffle House, agreed to tell us what it was like during the heat of the Belgium Waffle Battle.  Some of her answers might surprise you. 

About Meghan Irwin - Our story teller, Meghan, has been working for the Waffle House, Inc. for almost three years.

Waffle House Megan IrwinShe is part of the Communications Department where her role focuses on social media management and event execution. 

About Waffle House® Restaurants - Headquartered in Norcross, GA, Waffle House restaurants has been serving Good Food Fast® since 1955. Today the Waffle House system operates more than 1,700 restaurants in 25 states and is the world’s leading server of waffles, T-bone steaks, hashbrowns, cheese ‘n eggs, country ham, pork chops and grits.

Toby/Diva Marketing: I read that the now famous Belgium Waffle House Tweet wasn’t planned. In fact, there was no committee or even social media team brainstorming on how to get into the World Cup social conversation.  Would you fill us in on the who-what-why of the back-story?

Meghan Irwin/Waffle HouseGoodbull Hunting actually initiated the idea by tweeting at us upon hearing Team USA was moving onto the next round in the World Cup. When asked for our opinion of Belgian waffles, we replied with “We dominate them.”

TMZ Sports got word of this tweet then contacted us to ask more about it. On Monday June 30th, TMZ published the story and we kind of ran with it. So yes, this wasn’t planned.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Not only was Waffle House the darling of the social media world but main stream media picked up and moved your story along. Who was the first media outlet that contacted you?

Meghan Irwin/Waffle House: Van Lathan from TMZ Sports reached out to us on Friday June 27th. Boycotting all things Belgian was a hot topic, so they asked if we would support that. Of course we would! We’re America’s place to eat!

Toby/Diva Marketing: What was it like at work when you began receiving calls and requests for interviews?

Meghan Irwin/Waffle House: Surprisingly, we weren’t in the office for the majority of the day. The team was at a press conference for our valued partner Smithfield. We took most of the calls in our Waffle van to avoid any background noise. It was actually pretty amusing. We’d see emails for requests and we’d take turns by hopping in the van.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Did the excitement and buzz trickle to the field restaurants and if so what was their reactions?

Meghan Irwin/Waffle House: Yes, we received positive feedback from Area Vice Presidents. We also educated the public and our customers that our waffles are not Belgian waffles. They’re sweet cream.

Toby/Diva Marketing: With all of the conversation and RTs that were happening, did the Waffle House tap additional people to monitor the conversation?

Megan Irwin/Waffle House: We work as team in the effort to engage in conversation with our fans.

Toby/Diva Marketing: We saw you were engaging with your community in RTs and responses. For many companies listening is a struggle in terms of the right tool and the time commitment.  Would you share how the Waffle House approaches tracking, listening and reporting?

Meghan Irwin/Waffle House: We are one of those companies. We struggle just like everyone else in terms of time commitment and listening. We’re in the process of doing a trial with a couple companies now to see what fits best with our company.

Toby/Diva Marketing: There didn’t seem to be a unique hashtag from @WaffleHouse. Was this intentional?

Meghan Irwin/Waffle House: There wasn’t a need for a unique hashtag. This was an organic conversation with a fan. By adding a unique hashtag in this mix, we feel you lose the genuine feeling of the conversation. 

Toby/Diva Marketing: Interesting idea Meghan. Perhaps we can encourage brands to be less "hashtag happy."

In addition to Twitter and Facebook were other social media tactics were included and if so which networks and which worked best to move the engagement?

Meghan Irwin/Waffle House: We focused on where the majority of our community is. We have a strong, vocal fan base on both Twitter and Facebook therefore our efforts to engage was focused on those two channels.

Toby/Diva Marketing: What was the most surprising aspect of the experience?

Meghan Irwin/Waffle House: The fact that our community responded with this playful boycott and ran with it. Also, we saw media outlets that don’t normally cover Waffle House, ending up covering this tweet.

Toby/Diva Marketing: To put your responses in context, what does social media mean to the Waffle House in terms of branding, awareness and customer loyalty?

Meghan Irwin/Waffle House:

  • To us, social media means continuing the conversation with our customers after they have an experience with our brand. It continues well after they leave the restaurant.

Toby/Diva Marketing: How large is your social team and who does it report up to?

Meghan Irwin/Waffle House: As it falls under Communications, we work as a team.

Toby/Diva Marketing:  As we discussed, the response Waffle House received was fantastic. What do you have in mind to build it?

Meghan Irwin/Waffle House: We want to stay true to the brand’s personality and maintain the engagement with our fans. Like I mentioned before, it’s all about keeping the conversation going with our customers.

Toby/Diva Marketing: In retrospect, is there any thing that you would have done differently?

Meghan Irwin/Waffle House: Nothing at all. This tweet allowed us to grow our community and spread the word that Waffle House is on social.

Toby/Diva Marketing:  What lessons did you learn that you can share with our community?

Meghan Irwin/Waffle House:

1. Be responsive.

2. Talk back to your fans if they engaged with you.

3. You never know what ideas you’ll come up with when engaging with fans. We were able to use the USA waffle photo by engaging with one of our fans. Waffle House with community tweet

Toby/Diva Marketing: It’s become a tradition to toss the virtual Diva Marketing mic to you and give you a chance to add anything else you’d like.

Meghan Irwin/Waffle House: Our community is the reason this happened. We enjoy engaging with our fans and customers and will continue to do so.

  • Getting to know your community is the best thing you can do on social media.
  • We do it for the fans and for the bacon. 

More About The Waffle House - Website, Career Opportunities, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest

Toss of a pink boa to Dorothéa Bozicolona-Volpe for her help in arranging the interview. 

07/17/2014

Edgerton reporter"Always in motion is the future”– Yoda 

She was the daughter. That meant she was a second generation newspaper publisher.

Diane Everson, publisher of The Edgerton Reporter in Edgerton, WI wasn’t the only one whose newspaper spanned generations at the 2014 Inland Press Mobile and Social Solutions Conference last month.

In the room, where I had the pleasure of talking about social media in newspapers, were people who had a passion for their papers and their industry.

As I quickly learned, running a weekly or small community newspaper is not unlike owning a small business. Except ... whatever you do is always front and center in the town you serve.

Like many small business owners, nonprofits and yes, larger brands, publishers struggle with how to critically and strategically enter the 21st century digital and social content world. Except ... they face an interesting dilemma when it comes to online content. As do radio and TV.

Actually, digital content strategy is a challenge facing any company whose ‘product’ is information. In the Interweb and social media, where free content is expected there is a haunting question.

  • How much do you ‘give away’ and what do you hold as a revenue stream? 

Even before you can answer that question there are foundational aspects of social media that must be in place. I built the deck to, as they say in the foodie world, deconstruct the elements.

  • Each element in a digital/social media plan must beautifully stand alone before it can be (re)constructed or as marketers might say integrated.

We looked at social through the lens of the brand, journalists and advertisers. I led the group through an exercise that I called “What is different?” We reviewed four media websites: newspaper, TV, radio and online publisher. Our conclusion was the content was so similar we couldn’t identify the media type and it didn't matter which site we were on to just get information. 

Lesson learned: Online content of media companies appears to be all-the-same. 

Question: How can the strengths of the newspaper industry at-large and your specific newspaper be used to created “Now I care content or stories” that are so unique and audience-relevant your community wants to socially share?

We looked at how newspapers, as a brand, engages with their communities. We discoved - not so much. Traditional culture of the media is to identify and tell the stories they feel are most important.

Social media takes radio, TV and newspapers into a far different and often uncomfortable world. It shouldn't be a big surprise to find many, especially smaller newspapers, challenged in how to balance those worlds. 

Lesson learned: Social Media is used as a content distribution channel not as a ‘community communication channel.’ Newspaper publishers were reluctant to step out and ‘talk’ with their readers .. people-to-people.

Question: How can the brand step out from the behind the logo and talk to their readers online -- as they do offline at events and networking meetings?

In 1884, the Boston Globe's Confidential Chat was building community among women, and a few dudes in the greater Boston area. So I say ... go even further back to your roots newspaper peeps and learn from yourself! 

Confidential Chat Boston Globe

Sidebar: This a real clip that I found in my mom's recipe box. She saved it for many years so I assume it must have held meaning for her. How long does your content 'stay around?'  Or is it the digital equivalent of newspaper used to wrapped fish and chips? 

Newspaper fish and chips

We looked at journalists and their special challenges in producing social content and community engagement. We saw engagement but on a closer review it was frequently among their peers not with their community.

Lessons learned: Passion about the topic is important to sustain long-term participation on the social web. Social media writing especially, short tweets, can be a challenge of long-form story training.

Questions: How can journalists sustain a social conversation over time while holding true to the values of their newspapers and their personal brands? How can opinion tweets and posts be included .. or can they?

And there was more so I'm happy to shaing the deck with you. There are several worksheets that might be helpful as you build out systems and process for your plan. Some will help to align with what social media means to your company and how it can support overarching goals.

Hat tip to Mr. Ray Marcano, CanisDigital, for recommeding me for this exciting gig; and Patty Slusher, Inland Press for her support. 

Read More: Amy Gahran, How Early Newspaper to Web Technology Crippled News Industry's Thinking 

Now that we've gone through some deconstructing the next question is -- How will you construct your social media world? Let me know if you have any questions or need any help.

07/11/2014

Second screen walking deadPicture this.

It's been a stressful week and you're looking forward to a night of vegging out. The telly goes on and perhaps there is an adult beverage or two nearby. It's a scene played-out in many homes for nearly 70 years.  

Over the past few years a there have been a few changes in How we watch TV. 

On goes the TV set, you flip open your tablet and smart phone ready to watch. Only now you can chat with your friends about the show, play a few Walking Dead games and perhaps even buy that cute dress one of the actresses is wearing. Welcome to Second Screen TV and SocialTV. . 

A couple of weeks ago Joel Rubinson, President and founder of Rubinson Partners, Inc., and CivicScience took to the reseach road to learn more about second screen viewing. The results, which they shared with the industry, TV Viewing and the “Second Screen” – What Audiences are Doing with Mobile, Tablet Devices,  is a report based on the CivicScience data collection and research platform. Joel conducted the analysis and partnered in formulating the research questions.

Joel rubinsonJoel kindly agreed to answer a few questions and give us his views on the future of second screen TV and socialTV. 

Diva Marketing:  The Insight Report you did with CivicScience indicates that multitasking is the name of the game for 45% of respondents who acknowledged using a ‘second screen’ (smart phone, tablet or computer) while viewing traditional broadcast TV.  

It was also  interesting to me that 80%, were not engaged online with content related to the show. 

In your opinion is this a trend and if so, where does it leave content producers in terms of advertiser value?

 Joel Rubinson: Hi Toby, thank you for your question.  First, let me clarify that it is 45% of everyone watching TV who multi-task so it is actually a higher percentage of those who own an internet access device and watch traditional TV.

The fact that 80% or more of multi-taskers are doing so in unrelated ways means that media might have the wrong idea about what people want to do with the device in their hands. They are more interested in passing dead time than they are in enriching the TV experience. 

  • Will this change? Perhaps, but media will need to offer more enticing experiences to get viewers to engage.

The value of this research we did using CivicScience’s data is understanding that the current crop of synchronized tools are not yet substantially changing viewing behaviors. Yet media and marketers desperately want it to work because it would add value to media ad inventory and impact to marketer advertising efforts.  In the meantime, marketers should look for synergistic opportunities for their advertising on unrelated websites.

An exotic sounding but quite doable idea is for marketers to use real time bidding engines to bid for inventory at the precise moment that their advertising is airing on TV. Hence, if I’m seeing a commercial on Judge Judy and happen to be on a news site with RTB inventory at the moment, an advertiser could make sure I am seeing a display ad for the same brand.

Diva Marketing:  In the report there was mention of “synchronized second screen experiences.” Would you please explain the concept and the opportunities as you see them?

Joel Rubinson: Synchronized experiences refers to using your internet device in a way that is related to the TV program you are watching. 

This could be answering quizzes about what you think will happen to Rick in Walking Dead as he is face to face with a horde of Zombies (via an app for the show), or voting on Twitter for who should get kicked off American Idol or The Voice.

In contrast, unrelated multitasking is when I’m checking e-mail or messaging a friend on Facebook while watching a show.

I think the biggest opportunity is to build interest in real time viewing rather than recording the show on a DVR and potentially fast forwarding through the commercials.  Synchronized experiences only work in real time.

Diva Marketing:  How do you see the intersection of broadcast TV and online content being mutually beneficial for (1)  audience/ratings growth , (2) advertisers and (3) viewer experience  … or do you?

Joel Rubinson:

I believe that over the past 5-10 years all networks had to decide if online content was a threat to program ratings. 

  • I believe they all came to the same conclusion that online viewing does not cannibalize TV viewing appreciably and actually builds ratings indirectly by getting someone more into the show.

This has been presented by Alan Wurtzel the research lead at NBC regarding the Olympics.

Online content was mostly viewed by those who wanted to relive favorite moments and seemed to go hand in hand with more TV viewing hours, not fewer, for the Olympics. Overall, the great majority of video content is still viewed in real time on the TV even with 5-10 years of significant growth of DVR use and live streaming over the internet.

TV watching is still the 800 pound gorilla (or at least 720 pounds) but watching content online is also a reality, it is growing and all progressive media companies need to embrace it and make it work for them. 

The researcher in me wants to point out that one simple payback is realizing that the dot.com parts of TV networks have the ability to better track viewer interests via online digital behaviors, yielding first party data that can result in very powerful insights and promotional targeting.

Diva Marketing: Thanks Joel! I'm off to make sure my ipad, iphone and laptop are charged and I know the Twitter handle of the show. 

More About the methodology, CivicScieince, Joel Rubinson and Partners

CivicScience is the provider of the real-time polling and consumer insights platform used by Joel Rubinson in this study. The second-screen questions were added to thousands of other questions running through the CivicScience polling platform and published via hundreds of web and mobile websites, and the data from the anonymous respondents were aggregated and mined using automated data science technology.

CivicScience's platform is used by consumer brand and media clients to quickly and deeply understand consumer sentiment and behaviors. 

Joel Rubison is President and founder of Rubinson Partners, Inc. marketing and research consulting for a brave new world and a member of the faculty of NYU Stern School of Business where he teaches social media strategy. Started in 2010, Rubinson Partners, Inc. (RPI) has already helped position several clients for success in a digital age. 

07/04/2014

Peachtree road race startIn the wee hours of the morning traffic challenged Peachtree Street in Buckhead (Atlanta) experiences a few quiet hours before the mad rush hour/s begin.

But not on the Fourth of July.

Today the 45th Peachtree Road Race brought out more than 250,000 (60k official runners) people who woke up the city to take part in the world's largest 10K race.

Unlike it’s cousin the Boston Marathon, The Peachtree, as it's fondly called, is not just a race for runners or even joggers. It’s a community experience where generations of family and friends often walk together to celebrate life.  Even for the people on the sidewalks who cheer on the runners, The Peachtree takes on a carnival atmosphere.

For many, like my pal Joe Koufman, founder of AgencySparks, it’s become a tradition. With race number 12 completed (note Joe's 1-2 fingers!), I asked Joe Why he continues to run The Peachtree. Peachtree Road Race Joe Koufman 2014

"The Peachtree Road Race is more of an experience than a race.  The sights, sounds, smells, and feel of the race make it spectacular.  

 Some of the highlights for me are walking to the MARTA station when there are few people setting up and the police are patrolling the course, then packing into the train like sardines with sticky runners, the costumes (this year I saw Hulk Hogan, Beer Maid, a banana, marching band in Speedos, and others), the official (and unofficial) bands every mile, and the thousands of spectators each celebrating the day with their unique styles.  

I am never really trying to get a personal record (though I do train and run hard for the Peachtree).  I like to soak in the entire experience."

A much anticipated part of The Peachtree tradition is the t-shirt that goes to all official runners who complete the race. The t-shirt design is a ‘crowd sourced’ voting competition.

The 2014 Peachtree Road Race t-shirt was created by James Balke.  James is a two-time winner; his first was for the 1997 race. By the way, did you know there is even a book about the history of the Peachtree Road Race T-shirt?

Take a look at both of James’ designs.

Peachtree road race t shirt 1997 2014

Notice any similarities? The 1997 t-shirt includes multiple Peachtree street signs while 2014 is a detailed map of the race.  Although very different styles both represent maps and direction of Atlanta. Both represent the values of the race.

4 Lessons learned From The Peachtree Road Race

1. The brand can create a framework but it is the community who builds community. The Atlanta Track Club set the rules and the course for the Peachtree Road Race.

2. Execution of similar concepts e.g. tactics can take on very different results .. and that can be a  good thing. James Balke’s  designs demonstrate foundational concepts can produce distinctive outcomes.

3. Tradition plays a role in setting expectations and repeat ‘buy.’ People look forward to running the race year after year often with the same friends and family.

4. Little things make a BIG difference and become a customer thank you/reward. The Peachtree Road Race T-shirt is a treasured prize for finishing the race.

Happy 4th of July!

07/03/2014

Frank Somerville _Facebook 7_3_14During my time heading social media at Cox Media Group I had the pleasure of working with some great folks.

There was a special journalist, from California Bay Area KTVU, that was an inspiration when it came to understanding the importance of social media, how to build community and the critical nature of engagement ... especially on Facebook.

Frank Somerville, main news anchor, topped 100K Facebook Likes; in fact as of this moment he has 120,059k Likes. As anyone who has built out a social network page can tell you this is no small feat.

However, as we also have come to understand, Likes without engagement are simply a bunch of numbers. Left alone Likes do not necessarily lead to significant shares, community or brand loyalty. Which makes the extent of engagement Frank has nurtured even more impressive.

How did he do it? Why did he do it? And how does it relate back to the brand? Frank tells his back-story in this video interview.

Frank's 7 Tips To Succeed In Social Media

1. Be Authentic

2. Be Honest

3. Let people see who you are behind the camera… or behind your 'business face'

4. Respond to people

5. Don't follow all the rules...take a risk. This is new stuff don’t be afraid to experiment.

6. Try to find your own way and what works for you.

7. If people like you it will carry over to your brand creating a win-win-win (for your customer, the brand and you).

And I'll add one more ... have fun! It is quite evident that Frank is having a great time. The energy carries over to his relationship with the community and back again to their involvement with Frank and with each other.

Any brand, media or not, can benefit from Frank's insights. The video is worth a click and a watch.

Frank - congrats! Well deserved.

05/08/2014

Mobile shopping

The interweb and smart phones forever changed how we buy, what we buy, where we buy .. and who we take along on our shopping adventures. 

What makes social shopping work is something so simple but at the same time it’s often a challenge for brands to achieve. The Social Share. Sounds like the next viral video dance!

One of the new ways to shop is taking your virtual entourage along. Your friends can be part of your shopping experience for seconds, a la SnapChat, or participate in in-depth discussions in Google Hangouts.

For some folks social shopping is an amazing adventure. Still don't know if it's really worth the extra money for the souped up camera?  You have a way to bring friends, as the marketers might say, into the purchase decision. Girlfriend, are you in a quandary about which cute dress to buy? Through a few Snapchat photos of you modeling the potential new dresses you might justify buying them all! 

If after their real time feedback you still can’t decide you can always create a Pinterest board, post on Instagram or start a Facebook or Twitter conversation. Upside:  lots of opinions. Downside:  lots of opinions.

If you can’t find the right ‘expert’ feedback from your family and friends, well there’s always the kindness of strangers. Odd as it seems, review sites like Yelp (www.yelp.com) influence purchase from the very important, your 27th pair of black shoes to the mundane, which dryer to buy. And then there is something in the middle .. Jelly a mobile app "knowledge search" from Twitter Founder Biz Stone. (It's my new favorite time suck.) Jelly combines your social network and your friends' network. 

Retails both online and offline are launching mobile apps to complement our digial shopping experiences. Reseach from Internet Retailer indicates that in 2013 consumers on both major mobile platforms increasingly relied on mobile apps as part of the shopping process.

For others on-going opinions and reviews are a confusing maze of babble often resulting in a digital nightmare. Add to the mix input from brands and you have an over abundance of expert opinions.As Jimmy Fallon might say, “ew!”

Online and offline worlds collide in creating an important 360’ customer experience. For brands that have not built a digital community of people who will pass along reviews, photos, videos to their friends, social media is just another distribution channel. I ask you... why bother to invest resources in something that your website should accomplish?

Social Savvy Tips For Brands: It’s critical to monitor what customers and prospects are saying about their entire shopping experience from digital, in-store and of course the product. Often overlooked are hidden insights in comments on your own social platforms.

  • With those insights gained take action beginning with thanking your customers for sharing.

Social Savvy Tip For Customers: Before you take out the plastic to make a major purchase read reviews from multiple sources. A Twitter search on a brand may turn up some interesting insights too.  So many opinions, so little time.

How do you do The Social Shopping Share Dance?

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

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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
Blog Facebook Twitter 

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