« December 2011 | Main | February 2012 »

Social Media: Winds of Change

01/30/2012

At the moviesDo you ever get a line from a film or a song or even a conversation playing over and over in your your mind? Some times for me it's not the exact words but the rhythm of the concept. Today the words were "winds of change" as it is portayed in the award winning film Chocolat (a def must see!) 

These are the opening lines from the Storyteller of Chocolat: Once upon a time, there was a quiet little village ... So through good times and bad, famine and feast, the villagers held fast to their traditions. Until, one winter day, a sly wind blew in from the North... 

I've been doing more work with organizations on what Bernie Borges and I termed "Corporate Personal Branding."  I believe as sites like LinkedIn automatically pull data into a common corporate page; and employees' digital footprints continue to multiple throughout the Internet, organizations will realize this is a critical component of social business. It's an aspect that must be managed. Since it would be near impossible to review every employee's digital presence, most likely it will be managed through training and corporate culture norms and expectations.

Corporate Personal Branding Defined: The convergence of corporate branding and employee personal branding, based on the alignment of common values, supported by content creation and social media, for mutual benefit.  As part of a planned strategy each (enterprise and employee) lends their goodwill and influence to the other. The result is a a halo effect that affords opportunities for common and unique goals to be acheived.

Of course the flip side is unless values are aligned and expectations set you can expect some degree of muddy footprints that might require industrial strengh cleaning.  Mr_Clean

Winds of change .. as we've seen time and again with social media as the catalyst. This time it's the fabric of the enterprise that is impacted .. the culture of the organization. Recently I've notice that more companies are taking the time to understand their corporate culture and how it impacts, not only customers, but employees.

No one understands this concept better than a small business owner. With a smaller employee base each person's impact on the work environment is felt. However, no matter how strong the personalites of your staff, culture is set from the CEO .. or the "boss." On MSN Business on Main Marcus Erp asked seven entrepreneurs for their tips on being a better boss. My favorite is #4 See employees as whole people. 

Corporate Values Alignment Exercise

A successful enterprise is built on a culture that is true to yourself while also being true to the values of your brand/organization. To succeed employees must understand their own values and how they align with their company’s brand promise. To help you begin this exciting journey here are a couple of exercises that I often use with clients and in workshops. 

Question 1: What 3 words would you use to describe your company's corporate culture? Example: Excellent customer serivce 

Question 2: What 3 words would you use to describe your personal business values? Example: Cares about people

Question 3: What do you/can you do you to align you values with your company's brand value and promise. Example: Personal satisfaction from helping people quickly resolve their service challenges

Use the Front PORCH approach to building relationships based on corporate personal brand values.

People: Remember each person is unique and relationships are formed with “people” not a company logo.

Organize: Plan how, why and with whom you want to build professional relations (with).

Respect: Respect diverse opinions even when someone has challenges with your company's service, billing, etc.

Contact: Plan how frequently and through what media (phone, eMail, face-to-face, LinkedIn, etc.) you will keep in touch

Hospitality: Bring the culture of your organization into your relationships

Question 4: How will you build relationships that reinforce the culture of your company? Example: Be an advocate for the company brand online and offline.

Let's Have FUN!

MSN Business On Main/Diva Marketing Small Business Tip Contest ~ Win $100!

Your challenge is to share 1 idea on to use social media to support creating corporate culture

Our special guest judge is Bill Flitter, an entrepreneur from the word go. Bill is the founder of several successful companies including Pheedo and dlvr.it.He is also a visionary when it comes to Bill_Flitter online and social content distribution .. seeing trends and opportunities before they became mainstream. When it came to incorporating social media to help support a small business I knew that Bill would be the perfect judge for this contest!

Connect with Bill on @dlvr.it @bflitter dlvr.it blog Facebook

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 Mail 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 Saturday February 11, 2011.

Note: Since we know how busy you are, we're extending the deadline until midnight Friday February 17th. 

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 be a nice Valentine’s present? 

Thanks to Kaye Kaplan from CB Transportation for the brainstorming!

ResourceTaking Care of the People Who Matter Most: A Guide to Employee Customer Care by Sybil Stershic.

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.

Life Without Facebook ~ A View From Gen Y #2

01/26/2012

Jessica Robyn Twitter_20

This is a special interview series on what life is like for Jessica Robyn, a Gen Y-er, who disabled her 7 year old Facebook Page. We're calling it quasi social media reality! Part #1 Part #3

Diva/Marketing/Toby: The big question I've been asked is, "What were the reactions from Jessica's Facebook friends?" By the way, how many friends did you have?

Jessica Robyn: I had a few of my friends talking to me (through phone calls, texts, and of course facebook messages or comments) who could not believe that Jessica, voted biggest facebook stalker junior year, the addict, and social media manager of the Full Body Cast fan page would seriously leave facebook.

People were asking how they would know what was going on in my life and I would just laugh and say "you do have my cell number, right? I know it's an awful concept, but you may need to talk to me in person." (can you sense the sarcasm in my writing?)

I currently have 410 friends on facebook, but several times have gone on what I call "defriending sprees" since there were so many people I was sharing information with who I had met one time at a party, was
a friend of a friend, or a classmate I have no contact with anymore. It was helpful to do that so I could filter through who I was showing my pictures to or updating them on my week. I just am at a point when simply clicking unfriend is not enough.

Diva Marketing/Toby: We relate to people on different levels;  we have various degrees of “friendship” with people. Obviously you’re not going to keep in daily or weekly contact with hundreds of people.

 What percentage do you expect will maintain, let’s call it the first level of friendship, where you are in contact on a weekly basis? Oh and how do you intend to keep up those relationships (email, twitter, etc.).

Jessica Robyn: I would say out of the 410 people I am Facebook friends with there are a dozen or so Jessica robyn facebook_1 1_12who I keep in pretty consistent contact with. I text message them frequently or see them on a weekly basis. I do not foresee any aspect of our friendships changing except for the fact that our conversations won't have "Hey did you see what Jane posted today?"

Diva Marketing/Toby: What about, let’s call them the level 2 and 3 friends. What to you expect will happen with those people?

Jessica Robyn: The friendships I have with those who are not in constant cotact outside of facebook may become stronger. It may be a combination of me wondering what they are up to and vice versa. Having real-life interactions would only strengthen my friendships.

I would say that I won't become wicked close with all 410 of my Facebook friends, but there may be
some who I have not spent as much time with that I would like to and may get to know them on a more personal level.

Diva Marketing/Toby: Just curious Jess. How much of yourself image was tied to your Facebook page? What I mean is when you looked at your Facebook page what did it tell  about Jessica Robyn? In marketing we sometimes call this “personal branding.”

Jessica Robyn: My personal Facebook page is private, but if someone who had never met me were granted full access they would see someone who is funny, sarcastic, and does not take life too seriously. I feel most of my photos are carefree and me having fun. They would also see my Rocky Horror life: promoting the show or preshows I was in and pictures of that as well.

I may post a status and get NO likes or comments. Does that mean my friends do not approve of me or validate my thoughts? Of course not. But that is how it is interpreted to some people. If no one likes or comments on my status it's not a huge deal. (Sidebar: I wish brand marketers would take a cue from you Jessica!)

I had 410 facebook friends. Did I comment or like EVERY post they made? No. I did if I found it funny, I agreed, or had something witty to comment.

Also, having so many Facebook friends and with the Jessica robyn facebook_1 1_12 _7new feature of a news ticker some posts can easily be over-looked if Facebook does not mark it as an "important post." If I was seeking approval or a comment from a friend it would be through a personal conversation that we were having, not a Facbeook post. - @JessicaRobyn

To Be Continued ..

Managing Your Brand & Personal Social Media "Friends"

01/23/2012

Friends_stick figuresFor the most part, social networks and social media were never really intended for business communications. Expect for LinkedIn of course. Think about it.

Facebook, Twitter and even Google+ began life helping people connect to family and friends. In that context it made total sense that you would "friend" someone you wanted to invite into your digitial world. 

When savvy brand managers saw their customers were congregating aroiund these virtual water coolers, ah ha moments began. Before we knew it enterprises were stepping into the game. Some smartly. Some like a bull in a china shop. However the world of social media networks would never be the same. 

The culture of social networks (transparency, authenticity, honesty and let's throw in some of that passion stuff) led enterprises down an interesting rabbit hole. One where most had never been, envisoned or intended to go.

They were now in the messy world of public conversations. Even the teeniest comment could be magnified. People from champions to the disgruntled could use the very pages that the brands built to complement or vent. Enter The Big C Word: Control. There was none. Listen and you can still hear teeth shattering in fear from many corporate ivy towers.

However, what we learned was that we could Manage. Smart marketers began to develop guidelines or house rules that set expectations for both sides of the conversation. Nicole Landguth, Olgivy 360' Influence has a terrific post that details how to create Facebook Guidelines that can be used as a basis for any social network.

We're taking care of the "brand side" of managing social media conversations. But what about the personal side?

Small business owners understand the merging of business and personal all too well. I grew up in a small business where "The Business" was almost like an extra family member. Toddi Gutner has some interersting ideas on how to keep that work/life balance in check in her MSN Business on Main article .. worth a click visit.

As our business and social media worlds converge who do you "friend?" Must you follow every client, colleauge and prospect on LinkedIn? What do you do if a person you barely spoke to an offline Chamber event wants to be your Facebook friend? Do you connect to every stranger who requests on LinkedIn? Managing the personal side of your social media experiences is as important as the brand side. 

Here's an exercise I use to help clients think through the process. 

Who will you friend_matrix
The next part of this exercise is to determine How Much To Share. For example, I talk about Max my YouTube rock star pup and sometimes my family. Will you share details about your children or vacation or the restaurant you discovered at your last out of town conference? I call this building business relationships talking about the mundane

At the end of the day, brand or personal, it circles back to your comfort level. What works for you, your brand and your culture may not be right for everyone. Isn't that really the name of the social media game?

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.

Life Without Facebook ~ A View From Gen Y #1

01/16/2012

More than 800 million active users has given Facebook the enviable status of the golden child of social networks. With multiple generations sharing photos, updates and videos Facebook might even be considered the biggest digital family reunion ever!

However, as with any 'family' sometimes you need a bit of a break. That's what's happening for the people who 'grew-up' on Facebook .. the Gen Y or the Millennial Generation. They're signing off from Facebook. Some for forever. Others for a few months.

One of the 20-somethings who disabled her (7 year) Facebook page is my niece Jessica Robyn. Ironcially it was Friday the 13th when Jessica said good bye to that part of her virtual life. I had so many questions Why? What would it be like for her? How would she keep in touch with her friends? What did her friends think?  

Jess had kindly agreed to a series of interviews .. let's call this quasi reality social media. Over the next weeks she'll share with us what life is like without Facebook.

Diva Marketing/Toby: Tell us a little about Jessica Robyn.

Jessica Robyn _for fb article
Jessica Robyn
: I am 25 and work in the mental health field during the week and spend my weekends performing Rocky Horror with the Full Body Cast in Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA. I graduated with a degree in psychology a few years back and when I am not busy with work or Rocky I spend time going out with my friends for drinks, dinners, concerts, going to movies, or finding some way to entertain ourselves. 

Diva Marketing/Toby: You’ve grown up on Facebook. You connect to your BBFs on Facebook. You have a history built on your page. Why did you disengage from Facebook?

Jessica Robyn: The entire idea of leaving Facebook began a few months ago when I ended a relationship. It was difficult to move on since our entire history was on Facebook in the form of mutual friends, photos, and wall posts. This was the first "long term dating" I had been in since high school (back in the day when Zuckerberg was just a regular guy). The idea crossed my mind to disable my account, but I have been such a huge social media addict I quickly threw it out of my mind.

When I was ready to start dating again I became slightly frustrated. I would be out and start talking to a guy and he would say, "Oh yeah we should hang out some time... find me on Facebook." I would give most of these men confused looks since at that point I was 85% sure we had not even exchanged last names. After a few of these instances I began to seriously consider disabling my Facebook while I began to date again.

I would rather someone get to know me than add me as a "friend" (I use quote since clearly I would not consider someone I JUST met a friend.) then simply have a baseball card of facts like my birthday, where I went to school, my favorite movies, etc.  Jessica robyn facebook_1 1_12 _5

Since I've been on Facebook from when I was 18 there are also pictures of the past 7 years of my life. If someone who has just met me, doesn't know who I am now, is judging me from snap shots of my past ... when I was out at a party, or being a goof with my friends ... well it could be a turn off. I admit I'm guilty of doing that too when I initially met someone.I judged them based on what I saw or read on their posts without getting to know their personality.

I can be a sarcastic person which means some of my posts should not be taken seriously. Now most people who know me pretty well can decipher the difference whereas someone who just met me may not sense the sarcasm and make the assumption I am just a heartless jerk.

Diva Marketing/Toby: I was intrigued by your tweets. What were you nervous about and why?

Jessica Robyn_Twitter _1_12 FB
Jessica Robyn: It's a HUGE change for me. When I am sitting in the doctor’s office or stuck in a long line at the store I can just grab my phone and see what people are up to on Facebook, make some comments, post some pictures. I don't play a lot of the games on Facebook, but it is a great way to occupy my time when I am bored at home. Now I won't have that option.

I have had a very strong relationship with Facebook. For over 7 years and it has been a daily part of my life. If you ended a 7 year marriage wouldn't you have a weird feeling waking up without your partner? I'm not trying to say I am THAT obsessed with Facebook that it feels like a marriage, but it's the daily usage that will be weird to live without.

Diva Marketing/Toby: How did you “Do IT?” Were you all by yourself? What were you feeling? What were your thoughts when you clicked the disengage link?

Jessica Robyn:  I did IT while I was alone. It took me a while to find the disable button and then, of course, Facebook says "Are you sure you want to deactivate your account?" Below it were pictures of 5 of my Facebook friends saying they would miss me and asking if I would like to send them a message.

Two of them were people I am friends with through Rocky Horror, one was a friend I made while in Israel, one was an old family friend, and the last was my old college roommate. Only one out of the five I would not see on a regular basis, but I am sure they will all miss me on Facebook.

I guess initially I felt very numb and empty. I didn't really have a reaction. It hasn't been long, but I will go to my phone when I would usually check my Facebook on the go and just feel sort of lost and confused thinking, "Well what I am supposed to do to occupy these next 30 seconds of time?"

Twitter_Facebook dream

To be continued .. 

Life without Facebook Part 2 Part #3

Marketing Beyond The Blog Buzz

01/13/2012

Blog_lgWithin the past week three people from three different industries (advertising, internal branding and higher education) asked me to contribute to posts they were writing about blogs. 

Of course I was honored by their requests. However, what was especially interesting to me was every person was concerned (in varing degrees) about the viablity and longevity of blogs in a world of social network clutter. 

In 2004, I stepped into the blogosphere with Diva Marketing and soon after began developing workshops for the American Marketing Association on a national and local chapter level. I wondered how different my point of view about blogs was back in the day versus today. So I pulled out a deck I presented to the AMA Oklahoma Chapter in 2005 (!). I thought I would  have a Friday the 13th joke on me and I would be appalled at my naivity. 

What I found was an evergreen presentation. Sure a few of the slides are out dated and a some of the blogs I used as examples, like Michelle Miller's Wonder Branding, have a more sophisticated look and feel and extended navigation but the concepts still hold today.

10 + 1 Blog Take Aways -- from 2005

1. People talking to people – no corporate talk

2. Easy to maintain, update & publish website

3. Blog elements encourage real-time interaction, creates and maintains relationships

4. Focused on a topic, industry, niche or personality

5. Establishes the author as a subject matter expert

6. Provides readers with renewing sources of credible, trustworthy information, insights and commentary

7. Blog writing is different from other customer communication forms – relevant, informal conversation

8. RSS allows content to be pulled by readers

9. Blogs must be integrated into your marketing strategy to be effective: goals, objectives

10. Blogs promotion includes traditional/internet and blog-specific (social networking: linking, comments, trackbacks; organic search optimization)

Plus 1 Bonus: If you do nothing else – read blogs & monitor the blogosphere

Take a look and let me know what you think. 

Adding one more responsibility to an over flowing plate of marketing "stuff to do" is overwhelming. When you include additional tactics to your plan there must, of course, be some type of return. Blogs can help you support your goals and bring the human aspect of your business to life.

IMHO there is no better way to establish, reinforce and sustain a thought leadership positioning especially in a Business-to-Business environment. Yes, girlfriends a blog takes longer to create than a 140 tweet .. as my dad use to tell me, "You get what out of something what you put into it."

Stories From Smaller Nonprofits: Asylee Women Enterprise (AWE)

01/01/2012

StarsSome how it seems fitting that the last in Diva Marketing's 2011 Shining A Light on smaller nonprofits series should highlight an organization that helps courageous women find hope at the start of a new chapter in their lives. Somehow it seems fitting that this NPO goes by the name of AWE. 

Awe molly corbett
Molly Corbett
 is our story teller for this special post.

She is the founder and executive director of Asylee Women Enterprise (AWE). Molly has worked in the nonprofit sector for 20 years.  She started as a community organizer and has worked with various social service and social justice organizations. Prior to AWE she was the Director of Programs and Grants at the Ventura County Community Foundation prior to moving to Baltimore.  For the past ten years Molly has worked as a consultant to social justice organizations in the Baltimore area.

Molly Corbett - Most of us are very familiar with the Christmas story of Mary and Joseph. Mary was pregnant, they were far from home and no one would take them in. Well, last year I lived through a modern day Christmas story.

It was the week between Christmas and New Years, I received a call from the former board member of an organization that I was currently working with that serves people seeking asylum in the United States. She answered the Help Line at United Way and had received a call from a small nonprofit that was inquiring about homeless shelters.

A young, very pregnant, Afghani woman had appeared on their doorstep and they had no place for her to stay.  The former board member said she had called several other nonprofits and they were closed for the week or working with a very small staff and were unable to help her. 

She told me that Amina* had just arrived in the United States. She was forced to flee Afghanistan because she was a pregnant, unmarried woman and her life was in danger. We both knew that Amina would be re-traumatized by going to a shelter and that she was most likely very fearful of men. I said I would call the Benedictine Sisters of Baltimore, a small women’s religious community, which I had been working with for many years. 

Awe_little girl and women hand
The Sisters agreed to take Amina and give her shelter. Little did we know that six days later she would give birth to a beautiful baby boy. Amina and her son continue to live with the Sisters.

What I realized when I saw the connection between Amina and the Sisters was that what many asylee (A non-citizen of a country who has been granted asylum in that country.) women need is a sense of community – a family.  Mary had Joseph with her and now I saw how important it was for Amina to have a new family with her. 

Women and men who come here seeking asylum are here legally but do not receive any government benefits until their asylum has been decided. They are not even eligible for a work permit until at least 180 days after their first asylum hearing. The asylum process for most people takes 2 years. During this time they are vulnerable, lonely and destitute. They flee their homeland with little more than the clothes off their back. They were nurses, teachers, business women and community activists back home – now they have nothing. 

The Asylee Women Enterprise helps find safe and nurturing housing, provides a community of women to help them on their long journey to freedom here in the United States. They fled because they were persecuted back home for their religion, gender, ethnicity, political beliefs or sexual orientation. For Amina and for the thousands of other women like her, she did not come for a better life – she came to save her life.

My personal experience with Amina helped me to vision the possibility for AWE. We now house four women; there are 13 women currently on the waiting list for housing. In addition, we have 10-15 other women who join us regularly for a sense of community and family.

Social Media Lessons and Challenges

Since we are a new organization we are careful in planning our web presence and social media strategy.  We hope to use social media to educate and engage others.  Utilizing Facebook, VolunteerSpot and the website will allow me to maximize my time in spreading the word about Asylee women and AWE and attract others to our organization.

Backstory from Toby: When Molly and and I were planning this post I asked for a couple of photos. She was hesitant to show the women's faces. Not that it would necessarily intrude on Awe_hands holding handsprivacy, but that it might put the women in danger. We decided that photos of "hands" might be the way to go. 

Somehow it seems especially fitting that a photo of "hands holding hands" end our special holiday series that brought some wonderful smaller nonprofits to your attention.

Our hope is that one NPO may have touched your heart and that led to you opening your purse (or wallet) to help make other's 2012 travels just a little gentler.

AWE logo
More From Asylee Women Enterprise (AWE)

Website

Facebook

VolunteerSpot

Read More Smaller Nonprofits Stories