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Boo! What Is Your Scariest Thought About Social Media?


Halloween_pumpkinThe oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown. ~ H. P. Lovecraft, Author

How are you learing about social media? Perhaps through books, conferences or workshops. Just as valuable is the way knowledge was transferred when blogs hit the business scene .. from peer-to-peer in online discussions. 

Just Once Crowd Sourced Question is a Diva Marketing series where the community shares their insights on a specific social media issue. In doing that, we can help alleviate some of the scary fears.  In celebration of Halloween .. 

Just One Crowd Sourced Question

  • What is your scariest thought on how brands or agencies are using any aspect of social media/social networks? 

One of the scariest things I see is too many "brand" witches around the social media kettle. Each with a different opinion and no common, customer-centric vision to unite them.

So they disagree and waste time and money chasing warts, I mean likes, fans friends and followers instead business outcomes. In the confusion, the "social media expert" gets paid to maintain the status quo. Now that's scary. Muahahahaha ~ Lee Odden, Top Ranking Blog @LeeOdden 

Businesses should focus on the model and how they trade: What do they need to start doing more, and what do they need to stop doing? Conversation is a way to draw out the model and build the promise architecture to trade. The scariest thought, therefore, is that businesses are asking precisely the *wrong* question.

Technology needs to be viewed in light of the business model. Entire industries are being disrupted and organizations are still hiring people to be in charge of Twitter and Facebook -- this is what is truly scary. ~ Valeria Maltoni, Principal, Conversation Agent LLC  @ConversationAge

Biggest scare: when brands or orgs jump into social media because they "should" an without a coherent strategy for connecting existing goals to their social media efforts. ~ Hillary Boucher, BirthSwell @hillaryboucher

Scariest thought is how so many PR practitioners use social media in impersonal and ineffective ways yet believing they're doing it well. That is worse that those who just don't get it at all.~ Neville Hobson, NevilleHobson.com @jangles

I've heard of people who have been involved in cases of mistaken identity as a result of social search. In other words, they had "digital doppelgangers" -- people who share their name. Doesn't sound too dangerous, until one of those people is a murderer or was charged with fraud.

Organizations need to be careful not to assume a simple Google search always results in learning the correct information about the person in question! On the flip side, individuals need to seize control of their names online by creating profiles and digital presences to overcome negative digital doppelganger results! ~ Miriam Salpeter, Keppie Careers,@Keppie_Careers

Scariets thought is having content stolen and being misrepresented. ~ Toby Neal, TobyNeal.net @tobywneal Crowd source

YouTube - advertising there is getting more and more cluttered and scary. ~ Jake Aull, Zen of Digital Brand @JackAull

My scariest thought: brands assuming social is just another direct response channel and missing out on the opportunity to create a relationship with some of the brand's most valuable customers. My second scariest thought: assuming everyone who has liked or followed the brand is a valuable customer and thus offering richer discounts than those who have raised their hand and shared their information.

Don't forget to connect the dots back to the customer database, so while you are creating great relationships you can also make sound business decisions around discounting and rewards. ~ Teresa Caro, [r]Dialogue @teresacaro

Toby, I think my scariest thought is that brands start developing content in social media, without having a backup plan and the people to support and respond to any crisis that will happen. ~ Anon

Mass Following on Twitter -I get scared when a company skips the process of vetting and actually reading the profiles of the people they follow and opt to use tools that let them follow massive numbers of people. Your followers are about quality not quantity people! ~ Natalie MacNeilShe Takes on the World  @NatalieMacNeil

Scariest thought? That they're not listening. And that they think how they did business in 2005 is the same as 2011. ~ Anon

My scariest thought is that brands (and agencies) are jumping into social media with no forethought, planning or strategy. Because so many of the tools are free -- they are not giving them the "respect" they would offer traditional marketing tools/efforts. The outcome of that is, of course, their efforts fall flat and then they declare that social media is not right for their business.

This is particularly worrisome for the small business owner who could reap all the benefits if they just took the time to learn/think it through before jumping in. ~Drew McLellan Drew's Marketing Minute @DrewMcLellan

Toss of a pink boa to the people who generously shared their thoughts.

It's your turn! Let's continue the learnings. What is your scariest thought about social media? 

Read More Just One Crowd Sourced Questions

How Do You Build B2B Relationships Using Social Media?

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

How Do You Put Soul Into A Blog Post?

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

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

Social Media Beyond The Sale


Moble commerce
Business professionals plan. That's the way the DNA is programmed. Not only do we plan but if the organization has 2 people or more we meet. We committee. We review. We analyze. We build consensus. Then we implement. 

In the world of social media where interaction follows a less controlling flow there is a fallacy that planning gets in the way.

  • Q: How many marketers does it take to respond to a tweet? A: As many as in your committee.

That's not planning it's the execution step. With smart planning the answer could be "one." 

With that in mind savvy business owners are planning how they'll handle the biggest, craziest online retail day of the year .. Cyber Monday.

Wondering what surprises the Groupons and Scout Mobs of the digital coupon world have in store for us. (Side bar: retrevo post on the impact on Black Friday.) Wondering how mobile commerce will be used. Wondering how Facebook and Twitter will play the game. With so many options, you'd better plan!

On his MSN Business On Main post Cyber Monday: Is Your Business Ready? Randy Myers offers a few good get ready tips. My favorite is test your site. This is not the day for crash and burn. I'd have all of your IT people standing by to jump into action .. just in case.

So let's swing the pendulum to midnight on Cyber Monday. The last sale has check in. Your planning paid off. Your sales were off the charts from both your current customers and new customers. You made the sale now what? The big question is how can you plan to use social media to keep in touch beyond the sale? Of course this type of strategy took place during your pre sales meeting .. right?

Adding Extra fun. An Easy Contest Where You Win $100!

MSN Business On Main had given me 100 bucks cold cash to run a monthly contest. Thank you kindly MSN!  

Your challenge: Share 1 idea how a business or nonprofit organization can use social media after the sale (or donation) to continue the relationship. 

The idea that Max, I and our uber special guest judge, Paul Chaney, choose will win 100 dollars! Just in time for your Cyber Monday purchases. 

Paul Chaney_2When I think of Paul Chaney two thoughts come to mind: 1. pioneer in social media marketing and 2. a true southern gentleman. Paul calls himself the Social Media Handyman but his talents go far beyond. He's the author of three books, his latest Digital Handshake, contributing editor at Social Commerce Today and a very smart dude! Say "hey" to him on Twitter @pchaney and on Facebook.  

Rules of The Business on Main/Diva Marketing Social Media Small Business Tips Contest 

1. Post your tip for how to use social media for branding on this Diva Marketing post And on this MSN Business On Main Post. If you don't post on MSN BOM and indicate Diva Marketing you are not part of the game.

2. Identify your post on Business On Main with the words Diva Marketing

3. Winner is at the pleasure of Diva Marketing

4. Contest ends midnight Friday November 11, 2011. That's 11/11/2011 .. awesome. 

5. You must be at least 18 years of age

6. A valid eMail address must be included on the "Post a Comment Section" of your Diva Marketing comment. (How will I know where to contact you to send your check?)

That's it .. now it's your turn! Wouldn't $100 extra be nice this time of year?

Diva Marketing is part of an online influencer network for MNS Business on Main. I receive incentives to share my views on a monthly basis. All opinions are 100% mine.


Laura bennett 2008 80 redo (2)and the winner is .. Laura Bennett of Embrace Pet Insurance!

Paul's reason for his pick. I choose #1. Not only did the commenter provide more detail about his or her use of social media, but the approach taken is a good fit where brand-building is concerned.

It ties directly to what the brand is all about, encourages community members to engage pro-actively buy submitting content and, in so doing, helps them take ownership of the brand. 

Thanks to everyone who participated and especially Mr. Paul Chaney, our guest judge. 

Friday Fun: Bathroom BlogFest 2011 Climbing Up!


BathroomBlogfest_2011Friday 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.

What do you <3 ♥ most about the blogosphere? For me, friendships that often find their way to digital collaborations are high on the list.

When BBF C.B. Whittemore asked if I would particiapte in Bathroom Blogfest 2011 and the theme was  Climbing Out I knew I wanted In. Where else, but on a series of blog posts, can you combine friendships and creativity to celebrate the Bathroom? Congrats! CB on year six of a fun online event.

By the way, did you know that there is National Bathroom Reading Month? We use to tease my dad about the bathroom being his library. He's take his newspaper (who remembers those?) and disappear. With your mobile device in hand your personal library can be anywhere in the world. Sounds silly or not so much .. well this is Friday Fun!

The owners of public bathrooms like restaurants, retail stores or coffee shops may not want to turn their WCs into an away from home library for their customers. However, The Bathroom is often an aspect of a customer experience strategy that is over looked. Just for fun, which Fortune 500 company do you think claims this bathroom? 

I'll give you a couple of hints. The company's brand value is to create an "ambience based on human spirit, sense of community and need for people to come together." The customer experience strategy published in 2009 reads, "Our new design approach will allow customers to feel truly at home while visiting their local store .." 

Did you guess Starbucks? Can you say a little brand disconnect? Can you say a little customer experinece disconnet?

For more fun Bathroom Blogfest drop by Facebook and click into a few BB blog posts!

Susan Abbott

Paul Anater

Shannon Bilby

Toby Bloomberg

Laurence Borel

Bill Buyok

Jeanne Byington

Becky Carroll

Katie Clark

Nora DePalma

Nora DePalma

Paul Friederichsen

Tish Grier

Emily Hooper

Diane Kazan

Joseph Michelli

Veronika Miller

Arpi Nalbandian

David Polinchock

David Reich

Victoria Redshaw & Shelley Pond

Bethany Richmond

Bruce D. Sanders

Paige Smith

Stephanie Weaver

Christine B. Whittemore

Denise Lee Yohn

Chris Woelfel

News Flash - Innovative New Idea! Listen To Your Customers.


Women talking 2
She asked, "What should we talk about in this new social web of yours."

I responded. "It's not necessarily my social web. It's yours and your customers and their friends and their family and .. and .. and. Ask them what they want from you and how they'd like to interact in the digital world."

"Ah," said She. "What a great idea!"

Recently I've been noticing more posts, tweets and social network updates by marketers who have had ah ha moments that customers hold the golden key to their business profitablity. And .. this is their BIG Revelation .. talking to customers can bring valuable insights. 

Hello out there! Girlfriend, I don't know whether to shudder, scream or just sigh. Just for a giggle I dug out my dad's marketing research text book from the 1950's. The following is from the first chapter:

  • American business lulled into a state of complacency during the early post-war period, tended to forget the time-proven truth that the "Consumer is King." ~ John P. Alevizos Marketing Research published 1959. 

Flash 52 years into the future and we hear author and social media professional Geoff Livingston saying to top host Wayne Hurlbert in a BlogTalk interview, "It's not about you it's about them." 

Good business professionals have known this secret way before 1959. Take a look at my Corner Grocer Store Relationship post. How we do it might change but talking to your customers In 1959 or 2011 or 2072 .. it's just a good business practice. 

Social media provides an amazing way to listen not only to what your customers might tweet to you but what they talk about with family and friends. While traditonal market researchers may argue that these behind the curtain conversations are not scientific or statically valid, they do provide rich insights. Often they can serve to complement quatitative research by providing the passion or emotion that can be missing.

Informally reaching out to your customers, while it may result in some bias, is at the very least a way to not only gain insights but to keep in touch beyond the purchase and holiday card. In his MSN Business On Main Street post How To Pump Your Customers For Regular Feedback Randy Myers offers a few ideas on how to secure this type of customer feedback. Note to Randy: while I might agree with your suggestions I do have a bit of a problem with the word "pump". It seems to me to be one sided and negative. Just saying ...

One of my favorite ideas from the MNS post is from Chuck Reeves. ~ "Give the customer a summary or a detailed copy of your findings and ask for any corrections. Giving feedback demonstrates sincerity, invites further comment, and shows that you value and will act on the information provided."

At the end of the day, or post, we come full circle from wha John P. Alevizos said .. customer is king or queen and getting to know him or her is was and will always be .. the 1st step in the road to business prosperity. 

Read More

For free digital tools to help you listen that go behind Google Alerts (which are great by the way) here is the monster list of 198 links (and counting!) from Sales Rescue Team.

Two Sides of Consumer Generated Media: Listening and Participating

 Graphic: Ann's Girls 

Diva Marketing is part of an online influencer network for MSN Business on Main. I receive incentives to share my views on a monthly basis. All opinions are 100% mine.

A Dandelion Thought ..


.. a short post on a passing idea before the wind blows it away.

One of my guilty pleasures is watching food TV shows a la the Food Network. I'm no chef but I do ♥ to cook and ♥ these quasi reality shows. Shh .. my secret dream is to be a judge on the Iron Chef. 

Recently I was watching the new show Sweet Genius. One of the contestants added apples to his baked dish. A lovely ingredient that would give his dish some nice flavor. The host, Ron Ben-Israel, noted the contestant didn't take into consideration how the extra moisture from the apples would effect the baking time and in turn the finished product. And thus this contestant was ..  no sweet genius! 

So I got to thinking .. how often do we add social media elements to our marketing strategies without taking into consideration how it will impact other departments e.g., customer service? Or the main goal of the strategy? Or that it might even cannibalize other campaigns? 

One off tactic in your plan and you are  .. no social media marketing genius!

Go Behind The Numbers To Determine Success



How do you determine business success? Not only in marketing communications but in customer service or even with nonprofit programs. Just asking .. 

"Why Toby," You might say. "You set a numerical goal and then see if you can meet it. It's called measurement and metrics." 

"Ah, " I might say. "Yes that's good. Or is it really? Or might it be misleading? Is it enough? Could it be doing us a disservice?"  Just asking ..

This week I was chatting with a friend who recently joined the staff of a nonprofit organiztion. Her focus is to manage social media for one of the non profit's community education programs.

She said two things to me that inspired this post.  #1 - Her boss expected the number of friends, followers, hits to the site, etc. to increase within weeks. #2 - The major funding grant placed a high emphsis on site visitors.

Sidebar: In another lifetime I was marketing director for a nonprofit. Among other elements, our grants measured success by the number of people we serviced; as well as the out reach we did. So I am familar with the demands of funding source reporting. However, In this case, there is a huge disconnect and lack of understanding of social media from my friend's boss and the funding source. Perhaps a post for another day.

We use numbers as a gauge of success. It's fairly easy to count. We learned it watching Big Bird, Oscar, Cookie Monster, The Count and my favorite Elmo!

But is that really sufficient to determine the worth of your strategies? Just asking ..

I admit, going behind the numbers takes more time and resources. When was the last time you determined if you hit the "right" people? Or if "they" took away the end objectives e.g, behaviour changes (finding information online versus your call center), perception changes (branding), new skills learned (training)?

  • What was the impact beyond the numbers? Just asking ..

It's not difficult to understand the why we are stuck on the numbers. The history of  business "success" is based on the quantitative.

Back in the Mad Men advertising days broadcast media success was about the reach and numbers. High Nielsen ratings were the gold ring. Decisions lived and died based on the figures. In newspapers and print publications (remember those?) the number of subcribers were what drove the ad dollars. It gave us a baseline. It was ok.

Then we stepped into the digital world and WoW! it was like walking into the Disney World of analytics. We could count Everything .. happy days! Our challenge became which ride (metric) to go on first (or pay attention to).

Then came social media. We had learned how to count our online strategy "results" from banner ads to website analytics. We transfered our hard earned knowledge from the web and began counting. Counting followers, likes, comments, posts. Life was good. Management could understand that type of "success." 

However, with social media came something else. Something that we were never able to determine: who were the People Behind The Numbers. Huge. Powerful. Scary. 

Hold on to your boas .. we can determine:

.. if we are reaching our target audiences

.. if we are acheiving our beyond the numbers goals 

.. if we are relevant to our target audience 

We are now really accountable for if our strategies resonant with our customers and prospects. Oh sure the numbers should matter but to a lesser degree. We should also be paying attention to if we are attracting and sustaining the right people. 

Go Beyond The Numbers Tips

1. Review the profiles of the people who are Likes, Followers,  G+, etc. 

2. Analyze your LinkedIn connects based on the niche you want to attract as clients. 

3. Segment as much as possible within limits of the social network platform. For example, on LinkedIn tag people, in Google+ put them into circles, on Twitter create lists. 

 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10! What are your thoughts?  Just asking ..

Update: Example of going behind the numbers - Brian Solis and ReSearch.ly analyzed 50,000 of Starbucks’ Twitter followers. What resulted was a rich,complex profile and a indepth understanding of likes and lifestyles. So much more interesting than just the numbers. 

The Winner of Diva Marketing MNS Sponsored Branding Tip Contest Is ..


Pink boaChelsea Aures @chelseaaures. Congrats! and toss of a pink boa to Chelsea.

The Challenge: Provide a tip on how to use social media to support branding ~ Social Media Changes the Branding Game post

Our guest judge was BL Ochman of Whats Next? Blog.  BL's reason for her decision ~  Constant self-promoting is transparent. If you've been a useful and helpful part of the online community, people are much more likely to cut you a break when there is a problem.

Chelsea aures _ msn winner branding Chelsea’s  Branding Tip: I really think using social media has a lot to do with telling the story of the brand and interacting with consumers or clients. There has to be some level of communication involved in social media. it is not just a way to have a conversation, but also to share ideas and collaborate. 

Chelsea is attending Dr4Ward’s social media theory class at Syracuse University. Guess Dr4Ward (Bill Ward) is doing some right in his class! I think Chelsea should get extra credit, don't you?

Check out our next contest and you too could win $100!

Challenge: Drop a tip about how a small business owner can use social media to create awarenss PRE Launch. You can go personal branding route or not .. your choice. Guest judge is the small business diva Anita Campbell of Small Business Trends.

The contest ends this Friday , 10-7 .. so click right over now