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Women + Social Media = ?


Quick. What comes to mind when you read these words? Women. Social Media.

Girls with computerMy reactions: Women help and connect to each other by sharing their experiences; results are influencing brand perceptions and purchase behavior. 

But then I'm a marketer so my response is skewed towards business .. well .. a little shopping too ;-) 

Curious to what other people would say, I posted the question to my social networks, including the Atlanta Women in Social Media group.

Answers fell into 5 buckets:

1. Women focused in general

2. Women are naturally better communicators

3. Women don't think of social media as an 'obligation' 

4. Women build on relationship skills

5. The number of women speakers on soical media is disporportionate to that of men 

Women social media _Twitter Atlanta women in social media _2

My favorite was from Des Walsh .. 

G Des women social media

On the MSN Business On Main community for small businesses, Joanna Krutz has put together a comprehensive post that is packed with facts and figures about selling to women in the digital world and how women are using social media. 

Did you know .. women use their phones to “tweet” and “friend” 10% more often than the dudes?

Did you know .. women average about 30% more sent and received texts/month than guys? - Source: Nielsen 2010 data Worldwide

Did you know .. women are on social networks an average of  5.5 hours/month while the men are on about 4 hours?- Source: ComScore

So now that you know .. whatcha gonna do about it?

MSN Business On Main/Diva Marketing Small Business Tip Contest ~ 

~ Win $100!

Share 1 idea on how a company/brand can use social media to connect with women. 

The idea that Max, I and Yvonne DiVita, our very special guest judge, choose will win 100 dollars! Just in time for your holiday shopping. 

Yvonne DiVitaWhen I think of marketing to women, top of mind is the amazing Yvonne DiVita. Yvonne is the founder of LipSticking one of the first blogs that championed women in business. Among her accolades Lipsticking was acknowledged by Forrbes as one of the best blogs on marketing and social media written by a women.  

Pets are a passion too. Yvonne launched the first pet blogger conference BlogPaws. BlogPaws is supported by a very active community. 

Recently I had the honor of interviewing Yvonne for All The SIngle Girlfriends' series Girlfriends Helping Girlfriends where she shared some of her behind the scene story. Connect with Yvonne on Twitter, Facebook and of course the Lipsticking Blog and BlogPaws.

Rules of MSN 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 cannot qualify for the $100 prize. 

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 December 16, 2011.

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?

Update: and our winner is .. Molly Carter Gaines! Thanks to all who participate.

Comments from our guest judge Yvonne DiVita regarding Molly's tip:

"Molly seems to get the concept of networking – make friends who will introduce you to their friends; and who better to do that than women? Molly says, ‘when a blogger backs a brand, it’s a powerful thing.’ Along with her  mention that ‘female blog subscribers tend to trust the sincerity and authenticity of the bloggers they follow,’ Molly demonstrates the reason blogs are a positive way utilize social media to connect with women.'

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.

Social Media: A Change Agent


Hugh gaping void change new ideasA few weeks ago I had an ah ha moment. It was something so obvious that it was almost a dah ah moment.

Within an organization social media is a catalyst for change.

Not only does social media come tied up in ribbons of change but it is wrapped in paper comprised of shades of gray. For enterprise cultures that are built on black and white directives introducing social media can be very uncomfortable.

Social media does indeed change the game for every company. Its impact is felt within business units/departments that traditionally were customer touch points (customer service, sales) to those that rarely engaged with customers (PR, IT).

Within Robert Frost's poem Directives, written in 1947, I found truths that spoke to me about social media and change. 

There is a house that is no more a house

Upon a farm that is no more a farm

And in a town that is no more a town.

Sometimes, even before social media is integrated into the organization, the fabric of a company from profit to nonprofit to higher education, healthcare, government and all in between begins to unravel. Just a little. It might begin with just one thread. Perhaps it takes the form of a tweet that demands service when traditional channels disappointed. 

One small call out that begins the process of enterprise change and a shift in culture. Is it no wonder that management often looks at social media with suspicion and trepidation? A cry goes out .. bring in the social media experts. Take care of who you choose as a sherpa. As Robert Frost's poem goes on to say --

The road there, if you’ll let a guide direct you

Who only has at heart your getting lost,

While an outside perspective from someone who knows the social media landscape, including where the land mines are buried, can be critical to success, the end of the road must lead back to your own company, culture and employees. 

Involving your employees in authentic, public conversations is often one of the biggest hurdles facing the "social enterprise." How can you safeguard the brand, uphold the integrity of the brand's promise while allowing people to be what I call the "unmessaged" voices of the brand?

Jeff Wuorio has written an interesting post for MSN's Business On Main which provides ideas on how to begin to empower employees. My favorite suggestion is from Shilonda Downing of Virtual Work Team. Shilonda .. sound employee decisions should be rewarded not just through financial benefit, but also visibility. 

Which brings us to the last lines of Directives .. 

Here are your waters and your watering place.

Drink and be whole again beyond confusion.

Although social media serves as a change agent, which at first usually creates confusion and insecurities, social media gives back more than it takes.

Social media's secret gifts are in creating a stronger organization that is more responsive to customer concerns and more integrated employee involvement.

The results are opportunities for customer and employee loyalty .. which can lead to increased sales and decreased churn rates. Change can be a good thing!

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.

Interview with Brian Solis Author of The End of Business As Usual - Part II


Brian solis_2In part two of my interview with Brian Solis, Brian shares his vision of what I might call the essence of social media. He talks about our new responsiblities, opportunities and business values. (Part I Interview with Brian Solis Author of End of Business As Usual)

Diva Marketing/Toby:  Recently Ashton Kutcher (@aplusk) made a faux pas on Twitter. He then said in his blog that he felt Twitter had gone from a “communication platform” to a “mass publishing platform. “ He’s now turned the management of his stream over to his agency as a “secondary editorial measure.”

 Two questions Brian:  One - do you feel that social networks in general have gone from a way to talk to directly to customers or have they become just another mass market communication channel?

 And two - what would you have advised Ashton to do?

Brian Solis: This is difficult to answer. Ashton is a friend of mine and honestly, it’s not my place to comment on his experience. If he asked, my advice to him would be between us. However, I don’t want to let you or your readers down, so allow me to answer it another way.

  • With social media comes great responsibility.

Regardless of the size of our networks, each of carries a duty to engage with purpose, transparency, authenticity, and above all, respect. We are defined by what we say, share, and at times, what we don’t say.  

Essentially, we create a digital representation of who we are and what we value. In the end, what people think, how people value our connections, and how people interact with us is reflective of our investment. Or said another way, we reap what we sow and cultivate. 

The challenge is of course, that this is all so new, that we’re learning as we go. We’re, as everyday people and celebrities, not conditioned for living in public without filters or handlers.

To answer your first question, people are becoming full-fledged media networks and that’s why this moment is so special and alarming at the same time.

As media networks, and as novices really in the world of catering to extensive networks, it’s tempting to approach social media with a traditional mentality. Producing and publishing content in social networks isn’t necessary social media…in fact, bringing a one-to-many broadcast methodology to social is quite anti-social to say the least. 

We are responsible for what we create and share. But we are also challenged to do more than just create content. Anyone can do that now, so what makes you different? It’s also another thing to create consumable content. Again, anyone versed in traditional media can do that.

  • Now, we’re presented with a tremendous opportunity to produce consumable, shareable and actionable media. Those that master this will be rewarded with time, attention, and loyalty for the long term…and that’s priceless.

Marketing/Toby: Your book is filled with wonderful quotes. This is one of my favorites, “… brands must figuratively wear their hearts on their sleeves to best connect with customers.” (p 170) Would you speak a little of what that means to you?

Brian Solis: There’s an old saying, “don’t take it personally, this is just business.” Now, the opposite of that statement is true. One of the best-kept secret ingredients of any engaged business before, during, and after social media is empathy.

The connected consumer is incredibly sophisticated. Add to that, the nature of social networks. What Facebook, Twitter, Google+, et al. share is that they’re rich with emotion. People share what they like, love, dislike, or even hate. People engage with one another based on these emotions because it’s personal.

Businesses are entering these very emotional landscapes and they are treating them in many regards much as they do with other media channels. Just because they’re present and participating doesn’t mean that they’re human or that what it is they’re expressing is empathetic in nature.

During the listening process, we can capture the challenges, joys, struggles, and achievements of people who are customers or those related to our markets. Rather than just track keywords and activity, we can feel what it is that would matter to customers and build off of those findings.

For example, there are companies, like Freshbooks, that makes every employee in the company staff the customer service lines to better understand customers. The objective of course is to instill empathy. Because once you do, business becomes personal.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  Brian, as we say, the Diva Marketing viral stage is yours. Wrap it up any way you’d like.

Brian Solis: This is an important time. We are presented with an opportunity and some of us need to make touch choices right now.

I believe that we are standing at a crossroads. In one direction, we can continue our quest to bring social media within business, to help companies “get it” and work with them to socialize marketing, communications, and service. In the other direction, we can use the lessons we learned from social media to bring about change within the company.

As change agents, this path will bring together once disparate teams and functions to coll Brian solis _ the end of business as usual.phpaborate in creating new culture of customer and employee centricity and overall market relevance.

Each path is important. It’s up to us to make a decision and push forward to help whomever we work with benefit from our vision and perseverance. 

Catch up with Brian on Twitter or Facebook and of course read more about The End of Business As Usual.

Bloggy Disclaimer: Brian kindly comped me a copy of the book The End of Business as Usual.

Interview with Brian Solis Author of The End of Business As Usual - Part I


Brian Solis has earned a reputation as guy who digs deep and comes up with insights that result in head nodding. However, his analysis quite often takes our own thinking into directions that might not have been as obvious to us. 

Max Business As UsualFor me his new book, The End of Business As Usual, did both. I nodded and at the end of the read I thought just a little differently. Brian graciously agreed to share his thoughts about social media and the connected consumer. (Yes, Max liked The End of Business As Usual too!)

Brian's responses were so rich and deep that I've turned his interview into a two part series. Tune in tomorrow for part two! (Part Two Interview with Brian Solis)

Diva Marketing/Toby: The End of Business As Usual explores how the digital world, including social media, is impacting not only the way customers connect with companies but how companies interact with their customers and stakeholders.  At this point in the evolution of social media what does social media mean to you?

Brian Solis: Social media means a lot of different things to me and that’s why I’m inspired to invest as much possible to understand the impact on business, culture, consumers, and also individuals. At a minimum, social media is an opportunity for introspection. We have the ability to easily connect with one another.

We’re forming incredibly vibrant and extensive networks around relationships and interests.  We’re learning how to live life in a very public, and searchable, space. Just as individuals, businesses, organizations, governments, you name it, are equally given the gift of connections and the ability to interact with people directly.

Social media opens the door to empathy and influence. But as a result, the tenets required to thrive in social media require a different approach, a thoughtful strategy, and intentions designed to deliver value to all participants in engagement. 

I study social media programs by the thousands and I have to tell you, there are amazing examples and best practices out there. But, there are more examples of antisocial media then there are of social media…meaning, content, campaigns, contests, messages, are stuffed into new networks under the guise of social, when in fact, there’s very little social in the social media initiative.

Social media is in a state of rapid maturation and that’s why I wrote The End of Business as Usual. There are important lessons right now that are more important than social media. Understanding the bigger picture will only benefit how businesses use social media and how they grow as a company and a team of human beings united to accomplish something that’s bigger than any one individual.

Consumerism is changing. There is no longer one audience bound by demographics. In the book, I introduce the reader to the connected consumer. How they find information, how they make decisions, and how the influence and are influenced, is not at all like the previous generations of customers businesses are used to marketing and selling to, servicing, or tracking.

The book title says it all. This is about a fundamental change in behavior, which isn’t regressing, it’s actually spreading. Taking the same old strategies, programs, philosophies, and us vs. them culture into this next generation of connected consumerism is the surest way to digital Darwinism, the evolution of consumer behavior when society and technology evolve faster than our ability to adapt.

  • No longer is it just about survival of the fittest, it’s now also about survival of the fitting.

Diva Marketing/Toby: You discuss the importance of creating and maintaining authentic exchanges which in turn, lead to building relationship with the connect customer. For every person who happens onto those interactions (random or deliberate) these exchanges become part of a shared brand experience.  People can see who the brand chooses to engage within the social web.

How do you ensure that connected customers who have reached out to the brand but are not included in, call them direct discussions with the brand, still feel special and not left out? I wonder .. are we creating an illusion of special?

Brian Solis: Interesting…I like the idea of the “illusion of special.” The same is true for social media and individuals. From Klout scores to Twitter followers, many people are struggling with the idea of importance. Whether or not connected consumers expect a company response or if an interaction actually occurred, people will freely share their experiences with companies.It is those published experiences in social networks that become not only searchable, but also impact the considerations and decisions of those who are either connected or those who find it in social search or simply by asking.

Many businesses see social media as a necessary evil and/or an opportunity to engage with customers who have negative experiences.  Doing so puts an organization at risk. By responding to negative experiences, companies get stuck in a move and react form of engagement.

The real opportunity is to learn from customer behavior to design better products, build an infrastructure that supports improved experiences, and continue to do so over time. It’s part leadership and part support. However, it’s never ending. What is the experience your customers have today? How do they find you? What shows up as someone is considering you now in social networks, not just Google, and what does their click path look like?

Once you understand the “day in the life” and what it is that people are expressing, you can begin to design a meaningful experience.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  In Chapter 13 you said listening is “Not an administrative position left to a recent college graduate because they get social media. This is a senior function that reports to management that processes authority to make decisions …” (p160)

I’m curious to understand who you believe should participate in social conversations as the voice of the brand. Is it a job for an intern or junior staff member or is this also a senior or mid management responsibility and why?

Brian Solis: This section refers to importance of the role of intelligence. It extends the thoughts shared in the last question. Often we get caught up in monitoring for mentions, sentiment, share of voice, and we miss the insights that can guide our engagement strategies and internal processes. Brian Solis

But to specifically answer your question, it’s not the role of just any one person to become the voice of the company. The needs of customers is far greater than any one person can or should manage.  At any one moment, your consumer can be an advocate expecting rewards, a customer needing help, a prospect requiring information or guidance, a partner wishing to express ideas to improve experiences, a potential employee needing HR attention, etc. The point is that every division affected by the activity within social media or any new media for that matter, must include an extension to 1) listen, 2) learn, 3) engage, and 4) adapt.

This is a major transformation and not something to be taken lightly. It starts with a mission, purpose, and vision. It requires a thoughtful plan. It requires training, governance, and compliance.

Diva Marketing/Toby: Throughout the book and in particular, Chapter 13 Brands Are No Longer Created, They’re Co-Created, you discuss the responsibilities of the organization to embrace the connected customer in developing the brand.  With the connected customer now involved with developing the brand, the CC must also share in the responsibility. What is the accountability of the connected customer to the brand?

Brian Solis: At the end of the day, connected customers will share their experience with or without you. That’s the power and freedom of new media and self expression is the ante to buy into any social network. The question is, without your involvement, without design, with trying to shape experiences proactively, what will your customers say and what will they do?

To truly create and steer experiences, businesses must design programs that seek their involvement. For example, Dell’s IdeaStorm and MyStarbucksIdea are proactive forms of communities dedicated to rallying customer feedback, recognizing and rewarding their input, and designing new experiences as a result. It puts customer ideas to work and they can see the progress of their input. Programs like this convert a connected customer into a stakeholder. Dell has gone even further by opening up an inward-facing community where employees can contribute and engage around their ideas as well.

Communities such as this are designed to channel self-expression into forms of collaboration. American Express recently launched its Link.Like.Love program that ties together the company’s rewards program with social activity. Beyond contests, general conversations, reactive customer support, smart businesses are thinking ahead to deliver value while steering and shaping desirable “shared” experiences.

As they say .. Tune in tomorrow for part two of Brian Solis' interview. In the mean time continue the conversation with Brian on Twitter or Facebook

Update: Part II Interview with Brian Solis where Brian shares insights about new values, responsibilities and how we are on the cross roads of marketing. 

Bloggy Disclaimer: Brian kindly comped me a copy of the book The End of Business as Usual.