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Why Don't They Care About Social Media?

06/29/2011

Whisper Shh .. I'm going to tell you a secret about social media that no one talks about. But first you have to promise not to tell. If you do people will laugh at you and your social media credibility will vanish faster than last week's greatest tech toy. So you see girlfriend, I have your best interest at heart. Hold that thought for a second.

In the past week no less than three people have said to me something like .. "We know we need to include social media, I mean everyone is doing it; but Toby to put it bluntly, we don't much care."  Doesn't hurt my feelings. I think there are too many people cluttering up the digital air waves with tweets, blogs, Facebook and Linkedin status updates which should be folded back into traditional sales channels. 

However, I couldn't help but wonder .. why don't they care about social media.

1. Could it be the organization doesn't have the resources e.g., people or time to dedicate to an initiative that is on-going?  -  "Yes," I was told, "But ... "

2. Could it be the people don't know how to integrate social media into an overall master marketing plan to ensure it supports the brand? - "Yes," I was told, "But ... "

3. Could it be that VIPs are demanding numbers, spreadsheets, results. It can be confusing how to pull that out.  Polly Wade has written a detailed post, on Business on Main, highlighting five metrics from Jay Baer's book The NOW Revolution. However, Polly also reminds us benefits are found in other ways as well. "Sometimes it's a comment on a blog or connection between two people that can make a world of difference to a company."

4. "Yes," I was told. "Those were all good reasons but .." - But what? Perhaps it was the content. Social media is a long, long LONG time initiative. How do sustain a blog, Twitter, Facebook or any other social media platform day after day, month after month, year after year? It takes more than a content strategy .. it takes a content direction. 

There are many concepts on how to create content for social media. In her Ask Business on Mail response, Barbara Findlay Schenck advices that, other than in your About page, the personal should not be included in a business blog.

I respectfully disagree with Barbara. For me, social media is about not only sharing knowledge, but sharing your self. How much you "give" is up to you and the culture of your company. However, it is through what one might call the mundane that relationships are built. In the Diva Marketing post Building Social Media Business Relationships With The Mundane I give you 10 Tips to Decorate Your Social Media Walls.  "Yes, content sustainabily is a concern as well." I was told. "But ..." -

As they continued to talk I listened more closely. (Which is what I should have been doing rather than trying to solve the problem right off.) I began piecing the conversations I had together like a giant jig saw puzzle. Then the ah ha moment came!

I realized these people just did not Like social media. Oh sure they might have dabbled in Facebook, created a Linkedn profile and perhaps even tweeted a time or two. However, at the end of the day, it made no sense to them. They considered social media a waste of time .. for them personally. Social media held no value for them.

They grudingly admitted that some of their customers were active on social networks. Perhaps social media might hold a place as a new channel to "message" (ouch!). And of course, everyone was doing it.

It will take more than one chat to help them understand a new way of thinking about business Fail communincation. However, what I could tell them, at that second in time, was there would be better than a 50-50 chance their social media efforts would fail.

Now the big secret. It's critical to have an internal social media champion who Likes social media. Of course, the person should not only understand the impact social media marketing will have on the business and brand, but is actively participating and has strategy and tactic skills. 

A bonus secret .. to be really successful in social media it is not sufficient that you are what is today's hot buzz word - "likeable." You must also like people. But that's a post for another day.

Diva Marketing is part of an online influencer network for Business on Main. I receive incentives to share my views on a monthly basis.

Graphic credit: The Lost Jacket

Social Media Can "Help" Build & Promote Your Personal Brand - Part 3

06/20/2011

Red carpet My greatest strength is common sense. I'm really a standard brand - like Campbell's tomato soup or Baker's chocolate. ~ Katharine Hepburn

You many not be an actor or a celebrity, however, how your peers, colleagues and employers perceive you is as critical to your career path as the carefully craft "brand" of Kate Hepburn or Lady Gaga. 

The Brand Called You, can and should be managed as diligently as if you were a rock star. Within your world are you not? 

As digital continues to integrate into how business is conducted, your personal online "bread crumb trail" takes on a more important role of  how people perceive you. Is your online presence positive or is it a liability? Do you come across as a thought leader or some one who parrots other people's ideas? Do your tweets selflessly bring value or are they thinly veiled sales pitches?

I asked 5 savvy women, who work in diverse corporate environments, if they would share how they use social media to help build and promote their personal brands. 

They talked about how to use your personal brand to stand out from the crowd by highlighting your strenghts; as well as, the importance of boundaries when it comes to letting people into your social world. Then wrapped it up with a few tips:

Be a resource for life

Remember your personal brand will evolve over time

Make your discussions real .. forget about industry buzz worlds

Find the tool/s that work best for you .. you don't have to use them all

Be active and consistent

This is 3rd and final post in the series Social Media Can "Help" Build & Promote Your Personal Brand. Part 1 Part 2  Please meet our guests: 

AmandaheadshotAmanda Coogle - Sales Consultant for PulteGroup, a nationwide homebuilder. Responsible for the marketing and sales efforts at a Centex branded community in the Coastal Carolinas Division. Facebook Linkedin Twitter Foursquare

Em HallEm Hall - Communicator who specializes in digital strategy, social media, and online marketing.  Currently works in the transportation industry and has led social media strategy for nonprofits.  FacebookBlog Linkedin Twitter Portfolio

Laura bennett 2008 80 redo (2)Laura Bennett - CEO and Co-Founder of Embrace Pet Insurance.  Facebook Blog Linkedin Twitter 

NancySchubertNancy Schubert - Global Brand Professional has worked for IBM full-time for 13 years on a contract basis.  Blog Linkedin Twitter

NazNazanin Weck - Develops concepts, designs creative marketing and communications material for the parks and recreation industry. Linkedin Twitter

Diva Marketing/Toby: How are you leveraging your “digital personal brand” to help support your career path?

Amanda Coogle:  I am leveraging my “digital personal brand” by being a reliable source in more than one subject.  I am licensed in real estate in both Georgia and South Carolina so obviously I am a reliable source for real estate; but I am also a reliable source of knowledge on marketing strategy, project management, and even nail polish colors to one of my Twitter followers. 

By being a reliable source in multiple topics, I am a multi-tasker who can handle a variety of projects in a fast paced environment.

Em Hall: It’s a crowded field in digital strategy and social media these days.  Sometimes it feels like I’m on a hamster wheel just trying to keep up! 

I try to use my digital personal brand to leverage fun and creative opportunities, and also to get the word out about side projects like I’m doing, for example, when I directed a play earlier this year, or my involvement in my local civic association. 

Those types of activities (hopefully) help make me a thought leader and influencer in my field, but also show that I’m a person who does a lot more than just sit in an office.  I think that’s what employers and clients are looking for these days.

Laura Bennett: Since I’m the CEO of Embrace Pet Insurance, my next logical step is to work myself out of a job at Embrace and keep myself busy somewhere else.

In that situation, I think that everything about me online is pretty representative of what I’m all about, my 3D-resume if you like. Of course, it’s not just a 2-D façade but years of interactions with many people so in the end, it’s the people I’m connected to that will help me with my career path down the road.

Nazanin Weck: Using my “digital personal brand” to communicate to my peers and others within the same industry, I am able to further highlight what my strengths are and what sets me apart from other marketers out there. I am able to be exposed to and learn a great deal by having a “digital identity”.

Diva Marketing/Toby: Do you set boundaries for the people who you will “friend, follow or connect with” on the social web?

Amanda Coogle: I do, but primarily on Facebook.  I think that Facebook is more personal than the other three platforms.  My rule of thumb with Facebook is that if I don’t share any friends with a person, I am highly unlikely to accept their request.  Facebook allows someone to look into the window of a person’s life so I am a little more cautious with this platform.

Em Hall:  I’ll connect with anyone who shares a passion in the topics that I discuss online.  The more opportunities for discussion and debate, the better! 

The only time I choose not to connect is if I get a request on LinkedIn and the person is a complete stranger.  Even then, I’ll message them and ask, “How do we know each other?”  Because I’m in the business of marketing and communications, having a depth and breadth to my online network is almost always an advantage. 

You never know who will call, email, DM – or message you on LinkedIn, natch – with an interesting opportunity or just to chat about something new that’s on their mind.  I like to keep it open and easy, so I also keep few security limits on who can see what.  At the same time, I realize that everything I share could be searched and scrutinized, so I’m always mindful of what I will and will not divulge online.

Laura Bennett: I don’t have many boundaries although I am not likely to respond to you if:

1. You only post links (twitter) – likely just an auto feed from your blog. If you can’t take the time and interact on twitter, I don’t want to be the sponge for your feeds

2. You aren’t real – I can tell!

3. You are a bit of an ass - that’s not what I’m about (and I get to judge!)

4. Sorry you lonely guy from remote parts of the world with 2 friends - I’m not going to hook up with you today or any other day…

Nancy Schubert: Yes. I don’t confirm all individuals to follow me on Twitter. I check out a Twitter requestor to follow me to determine from their posts if this is someone I want to be associated with. If I find cursing,  brash or negative comments on posts I won’t approve the individual to follow me.

On LinkedIn, I connect with a variety of people – almost all of whom I know professionally, with some friends and a very few family members sprinkled in.  With few well-thought-out exceptions, these are people whom I know or at least have met. Even with these criteria, I’m still am LinkedIn with nearly 400 people.

Nazanin Weck: I absolutely do! To me, its important to have followers and follow “real” accounts.

Too often, spammers are added to accounts and start to follow you, which in turn causes you to loose credibility with your peers. I think it is important to branch out to others and while followers are great for getting your information out, the wrong followers can send out a bad message and tarnish your “online reputation.”

Diva Marketing/Toby: What tip would you give to women, working in organizations (not business owners) who are considering using social media to create a more visible personal brand?

Amanda Coogle: My company represents value, a quality product, and the ability to be the customer’s ‘Builder for Life’ with our three brands: Centex, Pulte, and Del Webb.  My personal brand reflects the same representations. 

I am a reliable source with valuable information to offer, and I consistently deliver quality work and knowledge.  Because of the value and quality I deliver, my brand sends the message that I have the ability to be a source for life.

Em Hall:  Have fun!  Let your personal brand reflect the passions, interests, and activities that are complementary to – but not necessarily the same as – your career. 

Create an online portfolio that shows off the range of work you do, and make some personal business cards to hand out along with your regular business cards, when appropriate.  And this is going to sound incredibly narcissistic, but make a point of regularly Googling your name to see what shows up as the top hits.  It’s good to know what others are seeing when they look for your name.

The opportunities you can create for yourself are limitless, and you never know what direction you might head in as your personal brand evolves.

Laura Bennett: Take the time to build your LinkedIn profile to reflect you as a person, not just a list of places you’ve worked.

Sound real, like you were telling your neighbors in your kitchen about your accomplishments and don’t be afraid to boast about what makes you stand out, what makes you interesting. I wouldn’t use corporate language or trendy “guru” language – that’s not real nor interesting, believe me!

Nancy Schubert:  When starting out, try all social media tools that feel right. Then determine the amount of time you went to invest in social media and target your audience and stick with the tools that work best to get and keep you in front of that audience.

Nazanin Weck: Be active, and consistent! Many people start off posting and following and building their networks only to fizzle out once the excitement has died off.

It is imperative to continue networking and staying on top of the game within your industry. I believe there is always room for improvement, whether it’s in skills or your “personal brand.”

~~~~

Step 1: Take a cue from Kate Hepburn .. begin by identifying your greatest strength. 

 How are you using social media as a part of your career management?


Doin' The Innovation .. Howl

06/14/2011

Max_52010 Max barks but he also howls. He sits straight up and tosses his little white head back. Looking quite like a wolf, he gives out a very musical Loud ah hooo! howl. 

Girlfriend, it sounds like someone is hurting the little guy. When human friends first hear Maxie's strange song they think some thing is quite wrong. However, the vet tells me Max is just fine. He might hear something or perhaps he's just singing. Whatever the reason, the result is unexpected and actually quite special.

Ron Williams knows how to howl too .. well in the way that he's turned something mundane into something unique. He's CEO of SnapGoods, a new way to borrow or rent stuff that you only want to use for a while but don't want to own forever. 

Catch the Business On Main's interview that provides the back-story. BOM author Antonio Neves calls it a ".. demand-driven social network for people’s needs." The concept is obviously new however, one positioning might be a channel that companies can leverage to allow customers to do a beyond sample test drive of a product. Interesting.

In the meantime SnapGoods is making the most of social media through blogs and social networks Facebook and Twitter

Another person who knows how to not only howl but to purr is Yvonne DiVita. Yvonne took her love of animals plus social media and morphed both into an innovative community .. BlogPaws.

As we've seen so often, taking relationships that begin in the digital world  .. blogs, Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, etc.  .. offline can be powerful and fun. And that's just what savvy Yvonne did. BlogPaws is about to launched it's 3rd conference. I'm proud to say that Yvonne is also a Gf author for All The Single Girlfriends too!

 How are you "howling?" Join the convo on BOM.

A Diva Marketing sponsored by BOM header Business On Main post.

A Step Through The Looking Glass

06/13/2011

Alice through the looking glass_BOM At its heart Diva Marketing is about stepping through the mirror to a different way of marketing .. participating in conversations in social forums like blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc.  

Many of the posts reflect lessons I learned along the way, so you can avoid stubbing your toe or stumbling on a concept. With that in mind, here is one more. 

A few weeks ago I was approached by Mr. Youth, a social media agency based in NYC. They had an interesting assignment to create awareness of a new community for small businesses .. MSN's Business on Main. Part of their strategy included reaching out to bloggers .. made sense to me .. and Diva Marketing was one of the blogs that was tapped. Made sense to me. 

But wait, there was more. They asked if I would be part of an 11-month blogger relations program to share articles and videos from BOM that You might find useful and interesting. But wait, there was more. They wanted to reimburse me for the posts.

I've been offered $ for post before and have always said, "No thanks." However, this seemed different: a highly, credible site that offers well written content, a good fit for Diva, people I knew and respected were involved, Erin Finestone, my contact at Mr. Youth, was highly responsive and respectful.

Girlfriend, all that said, what also intrigued me was stepping into the other side. I've built blogger relationship programs for clients but (except for book reviews) never participated in one myself. What would it be like to step through the looking glass into Wonderland of how a large agency conducted BR?

Soo .. Diva Marketing is taking a skip into a slightly new direction. Sponsored content. BOM header  In keeping with FTC regs and my commitment to you, each post in this series will be of course be tagged as a sponsored content. Without breaking my contract (yes that was part of the deal) I'll also share lessons learned on blogger relations.

Soo .. it seems like an ok deal with multiple wins. Oh and Max is happy too .. extra $ =  a few more doggy treats! 

Diva Marketing Turns 7!

06/06/2011

SevenYear Itch I was thinking of calling this post "The 7 Year (Blog) Itch." Although a blog is not a marriage, in a funny sort of a way, it is a commitment. And relationships are built through posts and comments. So perhaps not so strange?

And at year 7 it's a good time to look back at where you've been and think a bit of where you might go. 

Yes, girlfriend, Diva Marketing celebrates 7 years .. belatedly. Diva entered the blogopshere May 24th 2004 as an experiement. I had no intention of keeping this bebe going for more than a few weeks. I mean, I had a website, what did I need with a blog?

However, within days people began to reach out and welcome me. People like Yvonne DiVita, Dana VanDen Heuvel, Michelle Miller, Tris Hussey, Paul Chaney, Anita Campbell, Bill FlitterStephan Spencer and then Rajesh Lalwani, Marianne Richmond, Elisa Camahort, Nettie Hartsock Geoff Livingston, BL Ochman, Shel Israel and so many more who are still part of my life.

There were few books or workshops about blogs. These were the people who I learned from .. who I skyped & emailed long into the night and who changed my sleep habits for life! 

I quickly realized that blogs were way different from static websites. And so I continued Diva Marketing because I was having too much fun to stop. 

Along the way Diva Marketing changed from a concentration on general marketing and branding to a focus on how to use social media to support brand values/promise by creating and nurturing relationships.

That's what happens with blogs. They morph and change to reflect the interests of the author and the community. 

Diva Marketing turned into a sandbox where I could play with new ideas - In The Moment Marketing, test concepts - Corner Grocery Stores Relations (one day I'll write a book - Everything I know about social media I learned from my grandma!) and learn together - Crowd Sourced Posts with the social media and marketing community .. you! 

Take a 7 for 7 walk down memory lane with me and look back at some of the highlights of Diva Marketing. If it's cocktail hour shake up your appletini or if not Diva-birthday cake pour a cup of java.

#1 - GourmetStation, my first blogging client, launched one of the earliest blogs tied to a commerce site. Founder Donna Lyons Miller bravely agreed to share our learnings on Diva Marketing. The innovative character blog Delicious Destinations was blown up by the "purest" blogerati who later agreed we were right on target. 

Lessons Learned - All initatives must reflect the brand value and promise. Take risks but do not waiver on the mantra of social media: transparency, honesty and authenticy. Work with creative people are willing to take a risk and who believe in you. 

#2 Jupiter Research, the influence of a community of marketing bloggers changed the way this company worked with bloggers, the methodology information it released to the public and developed guidelines for how its PR agency would interact with bloggers. Back-story 

Lessons Learned: One voice, that joins with a larger community, can make a difference and even impact the internal processes of large organizations. 

#3 Blogger Relations Pulse of the Industry research study explored blogger relations from the point of view of 3 audiences: bloggers, agencies and brands. 99 people offered their opinons. Their insights are the basis for several organization's blogger relations programs. 

Lessons Learned: The 5 big take aways remain valid today and expand into social network content providers as well. Take Aways: 1. Know who I am and target my interests. 2. Provide value to me and my community. 3. Tell me about you. Ethics and transparency count. 4. Treat me and my community with respect. 5. Establish a 2-way conversation. 

#4 Social Media Marketing GPS I wrote the first business book based on Twitter interviews; I used Diva Marketing to tell the story. The book is written in 12 chapters and takes you from the what and why of social media to ethics, strategy, tactics, blogger relations and a few case studies. Well over 10k downloads from people all over the world. 

Lessons Learned - Traditional publishers told me the concept wouldn't work. David Meerman Scott suggested I test it by turning it into an a free eBook. Next time I'll ask for eMail addresses .. perhaps a buck a book might be a good idea too (smile!). 

#5 Forbes acknowledged Diva Marketing as one of the best blogs on social media and marketing written by a women. 

Lessons Learned: It's sweet to be given a high sign by a prestigious media company .. but you're only as good as your last post. 

#6 Diva Marketing was almost acquired.What a trip it was when I received an eMail from the X Man that a large blog network wanted to buy Diva. 

Lessons Learned: Keep exit strategies open. If you want to sell your blog you must own your domian and build on a platform like Wordpress that makes it easy to transfer content. 

#7 All The Single Girlfriends Building on the experience from Diva Marketing, social media consulting and training I launched a new social destination. All The Single Girlfriends is the first community focusing on single women 40+ and those who are "single in spirt." 

Lessons Learned: The social/blog space if much more cluttered than when Diva Marketing opened its virtual doors. The competion to build community, even in a niche market, is intense. It takes consistency and time .. and the kindnesses of friends. 

Bonus! Along the way I met amazing people from all over the world. Many of those people were kind to share their insights about social media with us in interviews and Diva Marketing Talks podcasts. The support you've given has added joy to my life. This milestone belongs to you .. and perhaps Max too!

Lessons Learned: The power of social media is the relationships created through your involvement in real interactions with real people. 

So, girlfriend, where do we go from here?