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Social Media Marketing - A Road Less Traveled


River_ansel_adams Last week Mei-Li Thomas reminded me that social media marketing is a journey that has many twists and turns. Traveling paths that have yet to be explored can be an exciting adventure. What's around the river's bend can also be uncertain and at times a bit scary.

Is it any wonder that brand managers quiver at the thought of quickly making sense of concepts that are untried and unpredictable?  From pay per post to character blogs to how to measure to ROI to blogger relations from micro blogging to vlogs to RSS and social networking .. this industry is spinning as fast as people can imagine how to incorporate the next new idea into a marketing strategy that continues and supports The Conversation. But there's more .. the benefits that build relationships across miles and cultures.

As my friend CK said in her inspiring speech at Blogger Social this spring -

The lesson that social media has taught me? Now that we're all connected and empowered to easily share our views and viewpoints, the world isn't getting flatter...it's getting smaller.

In a career or in a life less traveled, Mei-Li believes there are people, she calls Connectors, who help you navigate "because we know life isn't a straight shot." In her young career social media has helped her find several people. Last week she made my world a little smaller and a little bigger by honoring me as one of her Connectors. As part of her Road Map Series Mei-Li' asked me a few simple but thought provoking questions. So with Mei-Li's permission the tables are turned today. Following are snips from our interview that Mei-Li conducted with me  

Mei-Li Thomas: What have been your Road Maps to get you to the point you have now reached in your career?

Toby/Diva Marketing: My journey, as yours also seems, was not a straight line. I followed the scenic route instead of taking the expressway or relying on GSP. Sometimes that resulted in getting lost and perhaps a longer trRoad_less_traveledip. However, the adventure has been quite different than if I had traveled with a download of a Google map.

The first stop on a road map can be the most critical to any journey The first stop on my road map would have to be my dad, Lou Bloomberg. "Mr. B" as he was fondly called was smart, kind, wise and wonderful. His vision of marketing was eons beyond the realities of the industry when he started his research business in the ''60's. He never told me once that I couldn't do anything I wanted, even when my travels led to destinations that seemed foreign to him. Most important .. when you take the road less traveled it's nice to have someone to talk to help make sense of it all. He was that person for me.

Mei-Li Thomas: What's your advice to your reader who want to best utilize your blog who has yet to have a career in Marketing/PR/Consulting?

Toby/Diva Marketing: Excellent question. I never imagined that Diva Marketing would be used that way. It is a humbling thought. Thinking about your first question, perhaps Diva Marketing is part of the scenic route that adds fun and encourages your curiosity about Marketing/PR/Consulting and of course social media marketing. Use Diva Marketing as a resource -- there are lots of interviews and lessons learned from talented people including authors from social media to PR, branding and business in general. Categories and search will help you find specific topics of interest.

The heart of social media to me is the "social .. building relationships that encouraging learning from each other and together. That might be friend-to-friend or customer-to-brand manager.

Mei-Li Thomas: Any Traveling Music? Any songs or videos that helped push you along your journey?

Toby/Diva Marketing: Taking the road less traveled once more .. musicals. Why? They tell stories about people and the songs frequently touch my heart and inspire me. I've written posts and even built presentations incorporating the lessons from musicals. This post was based on Hairspray's "Can't Stop The Beat" song - You can't stop an avalanche as it races down the hill You can try to stop the seasons, girl, but you know you never will.  Does that not say social media marketing to you?

Also when you're driving down the road in your pink Cadillac (or PC pink diva Hybrid auto), hair blowing in the wind, songs from musicals are such fun to sing along to especially when you have a friend traveling with you!

We all need a friend or 2 or 3 or 4 to travel this road with .. and if we're very lucky we'll find kindred spirits along the way. Why we may even find them through social media .. I've found several!

Drop by No Fear Just D.I.V.A. for the complete interview and some smart posts.

The social media marketing road less traveled is not a straight line.I'd love to hear about your stops along the way.

Graphic complements of The Road Less Taken

Interview With Wei Yang - Atlanta "Tweeting" Company Easy Auto Sales


Earlier this week I posted about Atlanta Companies that are micro blogging using Twitter. Toss of a pink boa to Will Fleiss, director of organic search for Easy Auto Sales, who was not only listening but joined in on the conversation. He was the only person out of the 34 companies that were included in the post who dropped a comment. He even said thank you. Nice.

So I asked Will how he found the post and why he commented.
Will_fleiss_bigger Will Fleiss: As far as how I came to comment on your post about companies using Twitter, we use utilize Google Alerts to monitor mentions of "easyautosales" online.  Your blog post appeared in our alerts, and of course I had to check it out. Our business model is based primarily on Ad revenue, so as you can imagine we rely heavily on traffic to our site.

Well girlfriend, I was so impressed that I wanted to know more about how Easy Auto Sales was using social media and in particular Twitter. Wei Yang, co-founder - business development, kindly agreed to share a few insights.

Easyautosales_logo_3 About EasyAutoSales.com
: My favorite line from the website -
Since we're just a small group of entrepreneurs with crazy dreams; we figured we'll aim high and hope for the best.

EasyAutoSales.com is America's fastest growing, web 2.0 automotive service designed to help auto dealers and private sellers pinpoint qualified buyers. The website now lists over one million vehicle listings from 9,000 dealerships and private sellers. EasyAutoSales.com provides support for video, interactive questions & answers, and unlimited pictures for all vehicle listings. Private sellers and dealerships are encouraged to advertise their vehicles on EasyAutoSales.com for free.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Why is the Easy Auto Sales Twittering?
Wei Yang: EasyAutoSales is a startup that embraces social media and we are using Twitter as a medium to build relationships with early adapters in the auto industry.

Toby/Diva Marketing:  Who are the people you hope to reach and have you had any response from them?
Wei_yang_2 Wei Yang: We originally used Twitter to reach social media people as well as using it as an extension for our blog advertising.

To our surprise, we were also able to build informal relationships with various auto bloggers and industry leaders in the autos field.

Toby/Diva Marketing:  Who is/are behind the "tweets?"
Wei Yang: @wei_yang and @willfleiss - who are both co-founders of EasyAutoSales.

Toby/Diva Marketing:  Is Twitter part of a larger marketing/social media/marketing strategy and if so how does it integrate?

Wei Yang: Twitter has the potential to be a part of our larger marketing strategy. However, we are waiting to see how Twitter works out their scaling issues before committing to the technology.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Are you promoting the Twitter imitative and if so how?
Wei Yang: At this time, we are exploring options using Twitter to help our users extend their experience on our website. However, we're still ironing out the features we have in mind so that it would make sense. As for promoting the fact we use Twitter - that is not something we're actively doing yet. Many of the dealers in the industry still do not know what Twitter is and for the ones that do, we are probably linked already in some way.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Can you share any innovative ways you'll be using Twitter?
Wei Yang: Soon! Hopefully very soon. =)

Toby/Diva Marketing:  How have you gone about identifying "followers?"
Wei Yang: Using Twitter based search engines, we have been able to identify users who have shown interest in cars or are related to the autos industry. From there, it's just a matter of seeing what these users have in common and who they are following, etc.

Toby/Diva Marketing: One more .. Why do you think Twitter works on a local level?
Wei Yang: Twitter works on a local level more so due to the people using it than the platform itself. The people who first jumped on board are mostly social media experts, teens or early adapters. I think people on line who are always seeking out other like-minded individuals is what makes Twitter unique. However, the unstable platform is definitely a cause for concern and as more and more general public people use the platform, its uniqueness may fizzle like Facebook.

Atlanta Business Twitter Tweets


Friday Fun is Diva Marketing's virtual happy hour from cosmos to Jack to lemonade. A waiting for the weekend 'playground' time to be sophisticated-silly. Or sometimes just plain silly.

Twitter_whale A tweet here. A tweet there. Everywhere a tweet tweet. What began, as every other social media marketing strategy did .. a way to communicate with friends, micro blogging is morphing into a most interesting business communication tactic.

On this muggy almost summer day for Friday Fun I wondered what businesses in my town of Hot'Lanta were tweeting. Doing a search on Twitter for ATL and Atlanta I found the following. Most surprising was Fulton County Office of the Sheriff.

Sidebar:  Interesting though none had direct message opened. Direct message is a private email option that takes place within the platform.

News, Weather, Traffic Tweets

creative loafing 
Appen newspaper - north fulton
Appen newspaper - Northside Women
cnn newsroom
Atlanta Traffic
Weather in Atlanta

Business Tweets

Potato Finger
Delta Airlines
Easy Auto Sales

Mail Chimp
Atlanta PHP

Feature Frame


Good Guy Comics

Music Production

The Home Depot

American-Israel Chamber of Commerce, Southeast Region


The Maltin Silver Group

Entertainment/Sports/Music Tweets

 Atlanta Roller Girls
Atlanta Thrashers
Sunday DriveBy 
Atlanta Inside

Atlanta Punchline
Catalyst Atlanta   

Politics/Government Tweets

Atlanta Young Dems 
Fulton County Office of the Sheriff




What businesses are Twittering from your home town? Any surprises?

Read More About Twitter and Micro Blogging

Campus Technology - Higher Ed Uses

Sandy Kemsley - Enterprise Uses

David Spark -Notes from Enterprise 2.0 panel on Twitter

Ed Lee - Twitter explained based on Saturday Night Live 

Twitter Stats

Follow TobyDiva on Twitter.

Triva - Tech Company Names From Apple to Yahoo!


With apologies to William Shakespeare -- A rose by any other name may .. not .. smell as sweet. A company's name influences brand perception, the corporate "story" and even the organizational culture. GIrlfriend, don't forget about the domain availability and the viral ease of pass along.

Did you know Google was a misspelling, HP was named by a coin toss  and Yahoo! was from a classic novel? A look at how some of the most successful technology firms - from Apple to Yahoo! - got their groove er .. name!
Apple Computers
- favorite fruit of founder Steve Jobs. He was three months late in filing a name for the business, and he threatened to call his company Apple Computers if the other colleagues didn't suggest a better name by 5 o'clock.

CISCO - its not an acronym but the short for San Francisco.

Google - the name started as a jokey boast about the amount of information the search-engine would be able to search. It was originally named 'Googol', a word for the number represented by 1 followed by 100 zeros. After founders, Stanford grad students Sergey Brin and Larry Page presented their project to an angel investor, they received a cheque made out to 'Google.

Hotmail - Founder Jack Smith got the idea of accessing e-mail via the web from a computer anywhere in the world. When Sabeer Bhatia came up with the business plan for the mail service, he tried all kinds of names ending in 'mail' and finally settled for hotmail as it included the letters "html" - the programming language used to write web pages. It was initially referred to as HoTMaiL with selective upper casing.

HP - Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard tossed a coin to decide whether the company they founded would be called Hewlett-Packard or Packard-Hewlett.

Intel - Bob Noyce and Gordon Moore wanted to name their new company 'Moore Noyce' but that was already trademarked by a hotel chain, so they had to settle for an acronym of INTegrated ELectronics.

Lotus (Notes) - Mitch Kapor got the name for his company from 'The Lotus Position' or 'Padmasana'. Kapor used to be a teacher of Transcendental Meditation (by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi).

Microsoft - coined by Bill Gates to represent the company that was devoted to MICROcomputer SOFTware. Originally christened Micro-Soft, the '-' was removed later on.

Motorola - Founder Paul Galvin came up with this name when his company started manufacturing radios for cars. The popular radio company at the time as called Victrola.

ORACLE - Larry Ellison and Bob Oats were working on a consulting project for the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency). The code name for the project was called Oracle (acronym for: One Real Asshole Called Larry Ellison).

Red Hat - Company founder Marc Ewing was given the Cornell lacrosse team cap (with red and white stripes) while at college by his grandfather. He lost it and had to search for it desperately. The manual of the beta version of Red Hat Linux had an appeal to readers to return his Red Hat if found by anyone!

SAP - "Systems, Applications, Products in Data Processing", formed by 4 ex-IBM employees who used to work in the 'Systems/Applications/Projects."

SUN - founded by 4 Stanford University buddies, SUN is the acronym for Stanford University Network.

Xerox - The inventor, Chestor Carlson, named his product trying to say 'dry' (as  it was dry copying, markedly different from the then prevailing wet copying). The Greek root 'xer' means dry.

Yahoo! - the word was invented by Jonathan Swift and used in his book 'Gulliver's  Travels'. It represents a person who is repulsive in appearance and action and is barely human. Yahoo! founders Jerry Yang and David Filo selected the name because they considered themselves yahoos.

So what's in a name? Why did you name your company what you did? Would you change it?

Wondering .. would be curious to hear .. what does the "Diva Marketing" mean to you?

Thanks to  Academy Learning Resources  for the list.
Thanks to Utah Baby Namer for the cartoon.

Friday Fun: Social Media Conferences Live via Tweets & Streams


Friday Fun is Diva Marketing's virtual happy hour from cosmos to Jack to lemonade. A waiting for the weekend 'playground' time to be sophisticated-silly. Or sometimes just plain silly.

Blog_potomic_2008 Toss of a pink boa to Geoff Livingston and Debbie Weil for walking the social media talk when it comes to Blog Potomac. Can't be in Falls Church, VA today or are bummed that you procrastinated and Blog Potomac was sold out .. watch the Live stream or at Buzz Bin via ooVoo

Or pop by for 140 characters of live Tweets from:
Maggie Fox
John Terril
Josh Hallett
Rohit Bhargava
Adam Brazell - Technosailer
Geoff Livingston

Blog Potomac

Blog Potomic Photos - courtesy of Josh Hallett

Toss of a pink boa to Stephanie Stadler for the tweet about John.

Sidebar: Does anyone live blog anymore?

Blogger Relations: I Don't Need A New Best Friend


Or .. subtitled: It's A Diva's Prerogative To Changed Her Mind

Blogging101 Blogger Relations seems to be on the radar for an increasing number of people. I've written my fair share of posts on the topic and have worked with clients to create blogger relations programs that are a Triple Crown Win for blogger, blogger's community and client. On the flip side of the equation, as a blogger, I get my fair share of pitches.

Sooo it shouldn't be a surprise that I've been doing some thinking about blogger relations. PR/Ad agency people to make it easier and real for us both let's ..

Change the Rules For Blogger Relations

  • 1. Don't pretend to be Diva Marketing's biggest fan.
  • 2. Don't bother subscribing to my RSS feed - because your boss told you that was what you should do - only to unsubscribe after your pitch.
  • 3. Don't worry about dropping a comment on a post.
  • 4. Don't bother sending me an email to introduce yourself weeks prior to your pitch.

If you're not interested in social media marketing, if your job does not include clients who have an interest in this village of social media where Diva Marketing resides, then your time here was a stop on  the social highway to doing your job. I can accept that.

What I do expect.
Although I am not a main stream media journalist .. I do expect the same respect you would give to a main stream media journalist. To help you help me and to help other bloggers -

Six Tips on How To Work With Bloggers

1. Know the content direction. - How will you know? You don't have to follow posts for weeks or try to be my new best friend .. here's the secret shhh .. don't tell your competitors: Read several months of back posts. If you scan quickly it will take you a few minutes.

2. WIFM - Lead with what is most valuable to me and my community. Help me understand why I should not only care about the nifty new product or service or book or conference or cruise .. but why I should take the time to write and research the post and dedicate space to promote your client.

3. Value add. - What are you including that goes beyond a product brief that anyone could pick up off of a website? If you offer to provide access to a VIP to answers I'll take you at your word. Please read this - Blogger Relations Tips For PR Agencies & Consultants

4. About you. - Please tell me who you are, your organization and your relationship to the brand you are promoting. Would be nice if you included the url of your corporate website.

5. Don’t lie. Don’t cheat. Don’t bully. Play nicely together. Say Thank you!

6. Bloggers are not journalists. Keep in mind that most bloggers have no editor, write about what they want, when they want and if they think you are not playing nicely with them may not play nicely with you. Read Elana Centor, Funny Business

Sidebar: Catch June 11's Forimmediaterelease live internet radio show on blogger relations. 10am PDT/ 1pm EDT / 6pm UK time.

Tears To Smiles For Susan


June 9th is a melancholy day for me. What seems like a lifetime ago, yet at the same time seems like seconds ago, my sister Susan died after fighting a courageous battle with breast cancer. June 9th is an especially difficult day for Jessica Robyn and Scott Michael too.  As so many of us well know, loosing your mom leaves an ache in your heart that lasts forever .. but when you begin that ache at ages 10 and 6  .. forever begins too soon.

Susan's daughter, my favorite niece, Jessica Robyn (well okay .. my only niece .. smile), wanted to do something special to celebrate her mom and thought it would be nice if I dedicated a post on Diva. Because if there was anyone who was a Diva, who lived life her way it was Susan Ellen. The very best of Susan was when she was with Jessica and Scott.

To bring smiles instead of tears today I happily share with you a few photos of Susan with her "babies" - who at 21 and 18 - are no longer little kids but adults who would make their mom proud.

So Sus - for Jessica & Scott and from Jessica & Scott .. sending you virtual hugs and kisses.


Susan_jessica_scott_on_ferry Susan_jessica_in_pjs

Virtual Book Tour: A Conversation With Sybil Stershic


It is with great delight that Diva Marketing is a stop on the virtual book tour for my dear friend Sybil_stershic_2_2 Sybil Stershic's  first book .. Taking Care of the People Who Matter Most: A Guide to Employee-Customer Care published by WME.

Take Aways: Easy to read, Sybil's passion for the subject is evident, From concept to how to do it, Smart, Elements of social media e.g., transparency, inclusion - breaking down silos, conversations critical, A must read for everyone in management and those who aspire to those positions.

I hope you enjoy reading my conversation with the author of Taking Care of the People Who Matter Most: A Guide to Employee-Customer Care - Ms. Sybil Stershic.

Toby/Diva Marketing: The phrase “Internal Marketing” sounds so .. well warm and fuzzy .. not very strategic. However, from Chapter 1 you set the stage that Internal Marketing is grounded in ROI with this quote from Francis Hesselbein – “Dispirited, unmotivated, underappreciated workers cannot compete in a highly competitive world.”  Let’s set the record right. On a high level, what is Internal Marketing?

Sybil Stershic: Internal Marketing is a strategic blend of marketing and human resources focused on taking care of employees so they can take care of customers. While that still sounds warm & fuzzy, nonetheless it’s critical because if your employees don’t feel valued, neither will your customers!

Toby/Diva Marketing: How does it differ from Internal Branding?

Sybil Stershic: Internal Marketing is based on the self-reinforcing relationship between employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction, whereas Internal Branding is based on making the brand part of the organization’s operations to ensure employees deliver on the brand promise.  While management may use Internal Marketing to address employee and customer satisfaction and/or retention, internal branding is more likely to be used when launching a new brand or revitalizing an existing one.

Those differences aside, both approaches recognize “the brand walks around on two feet” and, as a result, are focused on engaging employees for marketing and organizational success. 

Toby/Diva Marketing: Your book not only details the many aspects of Internal Marketing but provides a tangible work path, from an Internal Marketing audit to where people can develop a customized strategy. a beginning audit to an Internal Marketing Action Plan. Looking at the Internal Marketing Audit checklist where do you find companies fall short? Why? and can you offer a few suggestions?

Sybil Stershic: Surprisingly, they fall short in remembering to communicate the organization’s overall goals and what’s expected of employees in helping achieve those goals – reinforcing  where each employee fits in the scope of the company and how the employee impacts its success.

For most companies, it’s an issue of time and, in some cases, inertia or neglect. The company gives out job descriptions to new employees, introduces them to the company in orientation, and then it’s back to business as usual. The company keeps plugging along and assumes that employees are up to speed with what’s happening in the organization. Meanwhile, face-to-face staff meetings have become almost nonexistent as they’ve been replaced by a barrage of e-mails.

Here’s what I suggest: managers need to develop a checklist of information that new employees need to know (especially in firms too small to offer a formal orientation) PLUS a checklist of regular information that all employees need to know, such as where the company is headed and what its strategy is for getting there, etc.

Managers who aren’t sure where to start with this can ask employees (those who have been with the company for a while and those who are relatively new): What information do you think new employees need to know about the organization? What do you know now that you wish you learned as a new employee?  What type(s) of information do you need to stay updated with what’s happening in our company?

Toby/Diva Marketing: What have you seen is the biggest challenge, from management’s viewpoint, in developing a successful Internal Marketing program?

Takingcarecover_2 Sybil Stershic: The reality is Internal Marketing is more than a program – it’s an ongoing effort. And it’s one that’s best implemented gradually rather than introduced as a new “flavor-of-the-month” management initiative.

I find it ironic that many companies who do Internal Marketing well aren’t necessarily aware that they’re using Internal Marketing. These are companies with a workplace culture and operations committed to the value of both customers AND employees.

For managers and employees who are not part of such companies, the challenge is to apply Internal Marketing despite members of management who don’t get what it’s all about. The good news is you can still have a positive impact by applying Internal Marketing on a “micro” basis – at the department or division level – if not throughout the organization.

Toby/Diva Marketing: You provide great examples of companies who are doing it right. Many are using recognition and rewards as part of their strategy. Sometimes a plaque or pizza party feels like a patronizing platitude. How can recognition and rewards be perceived by employees as a heartfelt “thank you?”

Sybil Stershic: It depends on the manager or management involved. Recognition is genuine when it’s given by a manager who is respected by employees.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Let’s look at Internal Marketing from the employees’ viewpoint. How can employees contribute to the success of an Internal Marketing strategy?

Sybil Stershic: Great question, Toby, and it’s somewhat difficult to answer because Internal Marketing is really seamless.  As mentioned earlier, Internal Marketing is inherent in a workplace culture truly committed to customers and employees – beyond the usual lip service given to employees as a valuable “asset.”

Whether applied formally or informally, Internal Marketing includes any and all initiatives, activities, and programs that connect employees to three levels: to the organization, to customers, and to other employees. For example: orientation, recognition programs, customer or employee roundtables, training, departments coming together for a combined staff meeting, job shadowing, customer and/or employee appreciation events, etc.

Back to your question on how can employees contribute to the success of an Internal Marketing strategy.  They can best contribute by being open and honest with management regarding how they feel about the organization and what they can do to help it succeed; in addition, they should also share any feedback they get on how customers feel about the company and its brand(s).

Toby/Diva Marketing: It seems an exciting benefit of an Internal Marketing strategy is, call it a cross pollination among traditional corporate ‘silos.’ Would you please talk a bit about how that occurs?

Sybil Stershic: Earlier I talked about employees needing to know where they fit in the ‘big picture’ of the organization and how they can contribute to the company’s success. This is not done in a vacuum, however, as employees need to know how their work impacts others within the organization, including “internal customers” – employees whose needs must be met in order to serve the company’s customers. 

So I advocate opening up communications within as well as across departments. Some companies do this by encouraging employees to trade places or ‘shadow’ another employee to better understand that person’s job function. Departments can also host an “open house” (in real time or online) to showcase what they do. At a minimum, you can begin to break down organizational silos by opening up your staff meetings to other employees. (There I go again pushing staff meetings!) Seriously, such activities serve to create empathy and appreciation for other employees.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Let’s wrap this up by talking about the next generation work force. How do you think the Millenniums will impact the future of Internal Marketing? Do they expect a different work environment then the XYers or the Boomers?

Sybil Stershic: I believe there will still be a need for Internal Marketing as the work environment and workforce continue to evolve. Here’s why.

Despite different generational attitudes in the workplace, companies will still need to engage their employees. And that’s where Internal Marketing comes in – enabling organizations to communicate and reinforce a sense of common purpose, a sense of belonging, and a sense of being part of something special, particularly in workplace that’s becoming increasingly insular. Internal Marketing will continue to be relevant as a ‘high touch’ people-centered management approach in a ‘high tech’ world.

Thanks, Toby, for allowing me to share this with your readers.
Thank *you* Sybil!

Special Discount! WME is kindly offering a 20% discount when you purchase Taking Care of the People Who Matter Most: A Guide to Employee-Customer Care from the WME online book store. Please the code 107VBT on the checkout page.

On The Virtual Book Tour - Taking Care of the People Who Matter Most: A Guide to Employee-Customer Care

Lisa Rosendahl, HR Thoughts, posted a great review.
Chris Bailey, Bailey Work/Play: The Alchemy of Soulful Work, shared insights in his review.
Kevin Burns, Burns Blogs Attitude, provides his views about about Taking Care of the People. 
Toby Bloomberg Diva Marketing (moi!) a conversation with Sybil Stershic
On June 6th, Becky Carroll,  Customers Rock!, gives us a two for one .. an interview and a review.
On June 9th, Paul Hebert, Incentive Intelligence, will review Sybil's new book.
On June 10, 2008, Phil Gerbyshak will post an interview on Slacker Manager

Diva Special Treat! The first person who drops a value-add -to-the-conversation comment (as determined by Sybil herself!) will win a copy of On The Virtual Book Tour - Taking Care of the People Who Matter Most: A Guide to Employee-Customer Care.

More Sybil: Catch Sybil on the Diva Marketing Talks  podcast when she dished with me and Nettie Hartsock about being a new author.

Social Media Marketing: Listening and Participating


White_paper_listening_and_participa Social media is providing marketers with an array of tools and opportunities that offer an unusual entree into understanding the good, bad and ugly of how customers use and perceive brands, your company and even your employees. In today's world, it is increasingly critical to understand your specific customer needs and to build business relationships both on a local and global basis.

Those strategies become more challenging, however, as the landscape grows more complex. New media strategies present a means of closing the communication gap brought on by time and distance. Valuable global relations are being created through tools that range from text messages to microblogs, podcasts, vlogs (video blogs), social networking communities and traditional blogs. By leveraging these new technologies, people exchange ideas and information, and discover common experiences that transcend cultural differences. Listening and participating in ongoing conversations enables organizations to develop a stronger emotional engagement with customers, prospects and other stakeholders.

So begins my white paper, Listening and Participating, that was recently published in Montgomery Research's new online publication Perform, the marketing 2.0 authority. Thanks to Patricia Witkin for the opportunity. 

In addition to building relationships, I also explore how social media is impacting the business of doing business.

Although the customer purchase decision is complex, and social media is but one influencing factor, information gleaned from listening to digital conversations can have an impact on how an organization conducts business and, in turn, can set internal cultural changes in motion:

  • From a C-suite perceptive, the challenge becomes how to integrate this new type of information to support customer focused business decisions.
  • From an operational perspective, the challenge becomes how to develop internal processes that will quickly pass the right information to the people with authority to take action.
  • From a marketing perspective, the challenge becomes how to leverage the information to develop a better customer experience that supports the brand identity.
  • From an R&D perspective, the challenge becomes how to use this type of customer insight to create new products and services that tie back to the brand.

The paper concludes with a few suggestions on how to get started and a gentle reminder that at this point the cost of ignoring social media may be greater than the investment in the strategy itself.

In summary, a successful social media strategy is one that involves two elements: listening and participating. Step one is to develop a continuous, action-focused listening strategy that tracks your customers' conversations. Step two is to engage your customers with simple and genuine "people talk."

The bottom line is that people want to do business with people they know and like, and consumer-generated media strongly influences the way your brand is perceived and how purchase decisions are made. Whether through Facebook, YouTube, blogs or another new media entity, your company forfeits a critical competitive advantage if it is not an active participant in the conversation.

I thought the article was too long to post so for your reading pleasure here is a Download PME1_WP_Bloomberg.pdf of the full article.

If the saying, you are known by the company you keep, is true then I must be doing something right because the other authors in the "New Brand Dialog" include celebs such as: C.B. Whittemore, Geoff Livingston, Lewis Green, Brian Solis, Chris Kenton, Ken Pulverman, Paul Gillin, David Binkowski, Ross King, Guy Kawasaki, Keith Piques, Dennis Morrow and Cory Van Arsdale. C.B has a great recap post at Flooring the Customer that links to the authors.