Will Social Media Influence The Travel Channel Launch's of "Deep Fried America?" An interview with host Jay Ducote

06/20/2016

Jay Ducote_1Jay Ducote came to my attention when he battled it out last year on the Food Network show Food Network Star Season 11.

For those who might not be food TV fans (a guilty pleasure of mine... take a look at Diva Foodies!) the winner of Food Network Star walks away with the biggest prize in food TV competiton ~ their own show on the Food Network.

Although Jay came in 2nd there was no doubt that he knew his way in the kitchen - indoors and outdoors, had great on-air presence and the fans loved  him. Seems the Scripps Networks Interactive brass thought so too because they offered Jay an amazing opportunity to film a pilot for a sister network, Travel Channel.

What makes Jay especially relevant to the Diva Marketing community is his use of social media, aka Social TV, to promote his on-air opportunity on the Food Network and to leverage the social buzz to encourage Scripps Networks Interactive to pick up the Deep Fried America pilot.

In our Diva Marketing interview Jay generous shares his insights on Social TV, how to social media tips, some of his Food Network Star backstory and what it was like to be a dude blogger back in 2009! Enjoy Jay's Story.

About Jay Ducote According To Jay Ducote

I’m a friendly, fun loving guy from Louisiana who loves to celebrate food and beverage culture. I’m a chef, writer, speaker, entertainer and hugger. I’ve got a product line available called Jay D’s with a Louisiana Barbecue Sauce, Louisiana Molasses Mustard and Spicy & Sweet Barbecue Rub.

Diva Marketing: Before we dive into how you’re using social media to support the Travel Channel pilot for your pilot of Deep Fried America, let’s set the stage for the peeps in our community who may not now But are soon to be (!) avid food TV viewers.

Not to be snarky, but there are so many food shows what makes Deep Fried America different and a must watch... in addition to the awesome host of course?

Jay Ducote, Deep Fried AmericaDeep Fried America presents a great mix of drool-worthy food, talented chefs and fun travel.

I’m going to be in the kitchen helping prepare (and eating of course) some amazing food, the caveat is that something in it has to be cooked in a deep fryer.

But we aren’t just looking for normal fried foods, we are talking to chefs who are being innovative and creating new dishes using the fryer.

Diva Marketing: The concept of Deep Fried America was taken from one of your Food Network Star show challenges. On Food Network Star you were positioned as the BBQ guy who developed his cooking chops (pun intentional) from tailgating parties at LSU. Fried foods seems like a step in another direction. Why a fried food focus? Say that fast 3 times: fried food focus/fried food focus/fried food focus!

Jay Ducote, Deep Fried America: The short answer is because the Network loved it and wanted it. They pushed Eddie in the BBQ direction and had me go toward the fried foods.

To be fair, while I did some grilling on Food Network Star, I never really got to do any barbecuing or even make a version of my BBQ sauce. I tried to one time, but our groceries got swapped and Eddie ended up making the BBQ sauce instead (4th of July challenge).

On the culinary improv episode of Food Network Star I fried calamari and gave a line to live audience including people from the Network that being from Louisiana, anything that flies, crawls, walks, slithers or swims, we fry it. From that point on I think the Network liked positioning me as a fried foods guy.

All that being said, I definitely have a special place in my heart and stomach for deep fried foods. Fried Chicken would be on the plate if I got to choose my last mean. A beignet in Louisiana is the perfect breakfast. At tailgate parties you can rest assured that we had an outdoor deep fryer right next to the grill!

Diva Marketing: Let’s talk blogs! I’ve been active in the blogosphere for over 12 years and have known some great food bloggers. Although most chefs are men, most food bloggers are women.

Do you think being a dude in that world gave Bite & Booze, launched in 2009, a competitive advantage? Why or why not?

Jay Ducote, Deep Fried America: Without a doubt, 100%.

I think that being a large, bearded, masculine man with a love for barbecue and beer and whiskey and fried foods helped set me apart in the food blog world.

While I would be just another guy in the kitchen, taking the food blog route helped differentiate me. I can remember going to food blog conferen Jay Ducote_3ces and the audience being 80-90% women and 10-20% men, and of those men, rarely was there another guys like me.

So I stood out in the world. And I was able to make a name for myself in that world. I got more and more opportunities to speak or to be on camera because of that. It definitely helped grow my blog and my brand.

Diva Marketing: Blogs are ever evolving and where you begin is not necessarily where you end up. How has the focus of Bite & Booze changed from back in the 2009 days?

Jay Ducote, Deep Fried America: My blog, Bite & Booze, started as a personal food journal. I wrote a blog about what I had for lunch that day just so I could keep track of it. I was working an office job in downtown Baton Rouge and I wanted to something to cure me of my boredom.

I knew right away that I would want it to focus on supporting local restaurants and chefs, but I had no idea it would grow into what it has become.

I now speak of Bite & Booze not as a blog, but as a culinary media company. The website is still primarily a blog, but we also do a radio show (since 2011… in 2014 it won a Taste Award as the best food or drink based radio broadcast in the country), podcasts, video production, lots of social media stuff, events and more.

Diva Marketing: What tips on how to create compelling blog content that builds a loyal audience can you give us?

Jay Ducote, Deep Fried America

1. Stay consistent. Whatever your theme or brand is, stay consistent with it.

2. Also be personal. I find that people really like to feel like they get to know the blogger or the person behind the posts.

I don’t do a whole lot of recipe blogging, but has been part of my strategy. I support and celebrate the entire local food scene wherever I am from farmers to chefs and restaurants to people making cool products.

Diva Marketing: When doing research for our interview I came across an article from The Advocate. The headlined caught my attention. 

Jay Ducote's ‘Deep Fried’ pilot to air on Travel Channel June 25; future depends on viewer engagement

How important will the social buzz be to impact the Travel Channel's decision to pick up your pilot and why?

Jay Ducote, Deep Fried America: There are a couple ways to give Travel Channel good, immediate feedback on the show.

The first is for people to actually watch and set their DVRs to record the broadcast. The people in charge will see those ratings and get that data.

Secondly, social engagement absolutely helps. If @travelchannel is bombarded with tweets during the broadcast, they’ll know that not only are people watching, but they are also engaging. That’s powerful information for them to be able to take to advertisers who would purchase air time during my show.

At the end of the day this is a business, and producing great content is only good if it can be sold to sponsors and advertisers.

So the social buzz will let Travel Channel and potential advertisers know that there will be engaged viewers if they pick the show up for multiple seasons.

Diva Marketing: Let’s look at what is called Social TV on a more global basis.

Although Nielsen includes Twitter and now public Facebook into its TV ratings, in your opinion, to what extent do most producers/TV food media companies bring active social media into their digital marketing/out-reach mix?

Jay Ducote_4_social tv

(By active social media I mean, authentically engaging with the show’s fans versus broadcasting messages about the show or network.)

 Jay Ducote, Deep Fried AmericaI feel like a lot of brands/people could truly be more active, especially when a show airs.

For pretty much every episode of Food Network Star last summer my team and I were live tweeting with fans during the episode. You never really see that from the big stars or the networks themselves. But I think they should.

The ability to now engage directly with the fans while a show is airing is pretty incredible.

Doing it live can be pretty tricky for sure, but I find that it is worth it!

 Diva Marketing: I totally agree Jay! Now, a very basic but important question Jay – what benefits does social, done well, bring to the table?

Jay Ducote, Deep Fried America: 4 Social Media Benefits

1. Social media gives everyone the opportunity to grow a brand in ways that weren’t possible before.

2. It gives fans a chance to get an inside glimpse, connect with a personality or follow their journey.

3. It also gives people like me a platform beyond the mass media outlets like TV or Radio.

4. So when it is done well, it is possible to build and retain a fan base outside of the traditional media outlets.

Diva Marketing: What are your thoughts about the benefits/importance of food TV personalities, chefs and contestants, live tweeting during their own shows?

Jay Ducote, Deep Fried America: I do it. It makes sense. It helps build and audience and grow a brand. It can be tough to make time for it, but it is so worth it.

Diva Marketing: If you were King of a food media company how would you use social media aka Social TV?

Jay Ducote, Deep Fried America: 

I’d make it part of my social media plan to use social to support on-air content and use on-air content to push people to social.

I’d make it to where a large part of my social strategy would be live-tweeting shows and posting on other platforms about new programming that is on the air. I’d make sure I had a team of people to actively engage with social rather than just be shouting into the void.

Diva Marketing: In addition to blogs, you’re active on multiple social media channels and have been leveraging them to support Deep Fried America. How do you play to the strengths of, let’s say the Big 3: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter?

Jay Ducote, Deep Fried America:

Facebook: Provide links, pictures, video content. Ask questions and get engagement in a thread.

Instagram: Photos are key. Use pictures that resonate in one way or another.

Twitter: Inform and engage. Short format messaging. Connect with the audience by engaging in conversation.

Jay Ducote_6 tweet

 Diva Marketing: Are you looking at insights/metrics and if so (1) which are most valuable to you and (2) what tools are you using to measure?

Jay Ducote, Deep Fried America: Probably not as much as I should. I look at some Facebook data but that’s about it. I see engagement on Twitter and Instagram but I don’t go too deep into analytics.

Diva Marketing: Although text/image driven channels like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook can include links to videos they are a “still world.” How did you build your personal brand to authentically bring Jay Ducote to digital life, so to speak?

Jay Ducote, Deep Fried AmericaInstagram is great for short little videos and Facebook is awesome for videos. I haven’t really done a whole lot yet with live streaming or other video content like that.

I kind of let my other content speak for itself. Though I do think that doing a little more live stuff or short videos would be a good idea.

Diva Marketing: Let’s go back to Social TV in food media. Who do you think in terms of a TV chef gets it and is doing it right?

Jay Ducote, Deep Fried America: I think Alton Brown does a really good job with this social media. He is active and engaging.

Diva Marketing: What are a couple of tips you can pass along to your TV food chef pals in terms of how to do social right to build their personal brand and support their TV shows?

Jay Ducote, Deep Fried America: 4 Social Media Tips

1. Just a little effort goes a long way.

2. Think about it in advance.

3. Use services to schedule content in advance rather than wait until the show is airing to even think about it.

4. Make it a priority to have social engagement as part of our overall brand strategy.

Diva Marketing: I love how Alton Brown uses cartoons that are shown against tweets when he live tweets Cutthroat Kitchen. We’re thinking optimistically, when Deep Fried America is on-air how will you use social media to support the show? Jay Ducote_5_alton brown
Jay Ducote, Deep Fried America: Well crap, I didn’t see this before I answered with Alton Brown earlier. Yes, I like that too.

I’m obviously going to do all the things that we’ve mentioned before. Beyond that, who knows! We’ll have to see what happens.

Diva Marketing: Guess great minds think a like, or something like that! Jay, how can we support you in ensuring Deep Fried America lives to be part of the Travel Channel’s lineup?

Jay Ducote, Deep Fried America: Watch it, set DVRs, ask your friends to do the same, live tweet the show and tag @travelchannel and @jayducote and #deepfriedamerica. Do the same thing on Facebook and Instagram.

Diva Marketing: As is the tradition of Diva Marketing interviews, the guest always has the last response. Wrap this anyway you’d like.

Jay Ducote, Deep Fried America: I’m certainly hoping that this turns into something much more than a pilot. It is a really exciting time and opportunity for me, but I won’t be pleased with the results unless the show gets picked up for a season. And then another. And then another.

I know I’ve got a lot of work to do ahead of me to continue to pursue my passion and chase my dreams. The TV side of everything I do is actually just a small part of my overall business model.

Bite & Booze, my culinary media company that started as a blog in 2009, and Hug Jay D, which is my product company that launched in 2014, are just the beginning.

Coming in 2017 will be my first restaurant, Gov’t Taco, a gourmet taco shop in Baton Rouge, La. And I’m sure there will be much more coming down the line as I continue to grow all of my brands and businesses.

Deep Fried America has a chance to be a huge part of that growth, so all the support and encouragement is definitely appreciated. Let’s make sure the Travel Channel knows that people out there want the show!

Connect with Jay!

Jay Ducote: Website | Twitter | Instagram

Bite and Booze: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Hug J D: Facebook 

Saturday, June 25, 12:30 CT, on Travel Channel

Jaydeepfriedamericalogo

 

 

5 Ways to Build Online Authority Using Content Marketing - A Guest Post By Paul Chaney

05/20/2016

Diva Marketing's 12th Birthday celebration continues with a very special post written by the first blogger I met IRW (in the real world) -- Paul Chaney!

FullSizeRender-1One of the biggest lessons I've learned in 12 years of blogging and being active in digital communities is real relationship can and do happen online.

As in offline, digital friendships are built through common interests, kindness, support when times are shaky and celebrations when good things happen. If you are lucky you get to take online offline.

Paul and I have collaborated on several projects including developing and facilitating training programs for the American Marketing Association. I am honored and touched that Paul offered to write an original post to celebrate Diva Marketing's anniversary. 

About Paul Chaney

Paul is an online marketing consultant, editor, writer, and author with more than 20 years experience in the digital marketing space. He’s written four books that cover the topics of business blogging, social media marketing, and social commerce, the most notable of which is entitled "The Digital Handshake: Seven Proven Strategies to Grow Your Business Using Social Media," published by John Wiley and Sons in 2009.

He is currently a Staff Writer for Small Business Trends and also maintains a client-base of small to mid-size companies. Paul is a sought-after speaker on 1934055_120542921111_1037348_n
digital and marketing topics. Oh yes, and an accomplished musician! 

5 Ways to Build Online Authority Using Content Marketing

As a marketer, business owner, or entrepreneur, it's vital that you have a high degree of authority online so that when people search for you by name, they discover you (as opposed to someone else with your name).

But, it’s just as important that they find an impressive resume and portfolio to accompany your presence.

One of the best ways to establish your online authority is through the use of content marketing.

Here are five ways to go about it.

  1. Erect a Digital Home Base

The first step toward building authority is to create a website — a place you can call home. It's where people will go to learn more about you and where you have the best opportunity to convert visitors to customers or clients.

Just as you would not construct your house on rented land, you wouldn’t want to build your online authority on digital real estate that you don't own, such as a social network. Having a presence on social media is necessary, but you can incur risk by staking your claim there, as opposed to a web property that’s all yours.

Many companies offer web design services, both of the do-it-yourself variety and those that will create the site for you. Your available time and budget will likely determine which route you take.

  1. Claim Your Domain Name

If you aim to develop a personal brand, it's important to have a domain name that uses your name (i.e., YourName.com).

It's feasible that someone may have already claimed a domain with your name — in my case, the domain PaulChaney.com was taken years ago — but with the prevalence of new generic top level (gTLDs) and country-code domains such as .co, .us, .online, .services, and many more, there is no shortage of options from which to choose.

Pick the one that most closely resembles what you offer, or that best represents your area of expertise and go from there.

  1. Create Content in the Form of a Blog

I believe strongly that well-written, keyword-optimized, topically-relevant, frequently-updated content will not only improve your standing on Google but will also establish your authority and credibility in the eyes of customers and prospects.

Writing in your "sweet spot," that zone where you can clearly demonstrate deep expertise, will doubtless cause your stature to rise. And one of the best ways to create such content is through a blog.

Someone said that the word "blog" is an acronym for "Better Listings On Google," and I firmly believe it. I've seen time and time again the benefits blogging can provide from a search engine optimization standpoint. It also helps to trademark you as a subject-matter expert in the mind of the consumer — the "go-to" person for your industry.

Most website content management systems incorporate a blog component. Many, such as WordPress (arguably the most popular CMS on the market), are built on blogs as the foundation of the platform.

  1. Actively Participate in Social Media

You can't afford to bypass social media if you hope to grow a strong, authoritative brand. That doesn't mean you have to be everywhere, however, just on those networks where you are most likely to encounter your target market.

Let's examine the benefits of using the most popular networks:

  • If you provide products or services to other businesses, LinkedIn is where you want to be. It's a B2B network where conducting business is not frowned upon.
  • Facebook can be useful from the standpoint of letting people get to know you on a personal level. It's a social network in the truest sense and a place where you can "let your hair down" and be yourself. Just use good judgment when publishing content and making comments.
  • Let's not forget about Twitter. It's no longer considered a social network but a news and information network where you can share your content and content created by others.
  • YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest. Three other networks — YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest — aren't purely "social" networks either. Even though they have social aspects — the ability to comment, share, and like, for example — they are, in reality, more like "content" networks where you upload and archive videos and images.

A good rule of thumb for any content you create, whether written or visual, is to share it in as many places as possible. It's what the social media expert Chris Brogan calls your "media empire."

Given that these networks, however you classify them, are accessed by millions of people daily, you stand a much better chance of getting your message seen than by sequestering it on your website.

Think of it as a hub and spokes arrangement. You create content on your site, and then syndicate it to these networks, where users can find it more easily. Just be sure to include links back to your site, to drive traffic.

The main thing, where social networks are concerned, is to maintain an active presence. Create and curate content that you share in the form of tweets and status updates, and then interact with fans and followers via retweets, @mentions, responses to comments, and shares of content created by others.

The more active you are, the better your chances of impacting your audience with your message, and growing your reputation and authority right alongside.

  1. Create Strong Website and Social Network Profiles

The "About" page is one of the first places people will go when visiting your website. The information it contains is an excellent way to show your audience who you are and why they should trust you. The same holds true for your social network profiles.

An essential part of the About page is your bio. The following tips, from dlvr.it, a social sharing platform, talk about how to write a bio that will help confirm you as a trust agent.

Decide on the tone you want to take when writing a bio.

Should your bio be serious, cool and professional, or should it have a personal flair where you, perhaps, mention your family? Also, should you inject humor or maintain a more serious tone?

Identify the audience you want to reach.

When preparing to write a bio, clearly identify the audience that you're attempting to influence. That step alone can help dictate your tone.

Inject some personality.

Even professional bios should include something that displays your personality. Here’s a short bio example that does just that:

Screen Shot 2016-05-20 at 10.11.06 AM

Write in the first person.

Writing in the first person will make your bio more intimate and personal, but it is also a matter of preference and taste that depends on the tone you take and the audience that you’re addressing.

Conclusion

Building online authority using content marketing requires that you:

  • Have a home base in the form of a website;
  • Claim your domain name;
  • Share your expertise in a blog;
  • Participate actively in social media;
  • Have a bio that showcases your skill set and personality.

There are other steps you can take, such as setting up an email newsletter or writing a whitepaper, but those are "add-ons" that amplify your presence. Start with these five essentials to lay a sound basis for establishing your authority, and then build on it from there.

Connect with Paul Chaney! Twitter | LinkedIn |

1934891_1074086827436_1559556_n

BlogPaws ~ Beyond A Tweet

05/27/2013

 BlogPaws 2013BlogPaws ~  Turn corner - a cute puppy. Turn a corner - a cute kittie. Turn a corner - a cute ferret named Snotface (really!). 

BlogPaws ~ Turn a corner - hundreds of people passionate about sharing their love of animals and pets. 

BlogPaws ~ Turn a corner - talking pets and social media. Turn a corner - talking pet rescue. Turn a corner - talking pet  Heart

So when BBF Yvonne DiVita asked if I would join in the 2013 BlogPaws festivities and present a session on Twitter for pet businesses .. how could I say no?   Especially when the press was in attendance! 

Blogpaws press

 The challenge: to step-up a presentation for a group of folks using Twitter. I wondered. I wanted to share a few ways to identify customers and followers, bring some tools to the party and remind that no mattter how great your content .. they will not come unless they know you exist. 

Perhaps I could created a simple strategic model that could be used for any social network. Examples would be Twitter-based of course. What if we worked the model during our session and attendees left with the foundation of a plan specfic to their business? Might work.

Here's the model.

BlogPaws_twitter model

What did we talk about? Since this was a Twitter session seems appropriate that inBloombuzz, laurabennett and AimlessAndru tell you what they got out of the session.

BlogPaws_Twitter 2
BlogPaws Tweet_Aimless AndruAs promised, to the amazing people who kindly attended and tweeted the session, here's the deck

BlogPaws _ Tom Yvonne CholeMore about BlogPaws

Tom, Yvonne, Chole walk the BlogPaws red carpet. 

Max Approved!

Max twitterville

7 Step Secret Sauce Recipe For Social Media Success

04/03/2013

Secrets in the sauceHe: I need more traffic to my blog, more followers to my Twitter account and more likes on my Facebook.

Me: So I told him the 7 Step Secret Sauce Recipe For Social Media Success. In all candour, it's nothing new but as a reminder I thought I'd pass along.

1. The End Game - Start with the end game in mind .. or as marketers might say -- your goals.

What do you want to achieve? What is success to you? Is it gaining a new audience or repositioning your brand with current customers? Is it building stronger relationships with your employees? 

2. Know Your Audience - The more you understand the profile of your audience the better you'll be able to put into play steps #3, #4, #5.  Building a personae of people you want to reach helps to go beyond traditional demographics to including digital/social behaviors. 

3. Selfless Content - Posts that take the needs of your community into consideration and are aligned with the values of your brand/company.

Mantra to repeat before hitting the publish key:

It's not about me it's about you.

4. Focused Content Direction - Choose a topic that is big enough to give you some flexibity but narrow enough to carve out a niche that sets you apart in the cluttered social media space. Helps if you are passionate or have a high interest in the topic .. to help you sustain over time.

5. Consistency Over Time/Social Platforms - To be The "go to diva or divo" - post several times a day about trends, hard to find information, hot tips, industry news.

To position yourself as a  "thought leader" consider weekly posts using platforms that offer longer formats than Twitter and can be deep linked e.g. blogs, YouTube/Vimeo (video), SlideShare. Content ideas: opinons on industry trends, current issues, interviews with leading experts.  

If you're focused on innovation or a start-up it might mean you become active on the latest shiny toy. Yes, there are times when jumping into the the new is a valid strategy.

6. Community Generosity - Identify your peers, influencers and greatest fans. Join the conversatons where they hangout. Contribute to the discussion with your ideas, links, opinions. Rarely does that mean pitch your product.

If you're in a more conservative world or your end game is to sustain your current positioning, it might mean the tried and true  blogs, Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. 

Keep in mind that you do not and never will "own" any social network e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, FourSquare, g+, etc. You are a renter abiding by the rules (terms of service) that can and are changed at the discretion of the network.

The only social media properties you have control over are the blogs, communities, sites you build and host yourself. 

6. Resources - Much as we might like to think that the digital world is a free for all .. if you're using social media as a business strategy keep in mind there is a cost. The price you pay is in time, human capital and yes, hard earned dollars too. 

Determining how your resources will be allocated will save you a few sleepless nights. 

7. Determine Results - Is it working? How will you know (refer to #1)if your end game is met? Think about the metrics that will provide you the greatest insight. Hint: Likes are probably not the best indicator. 

There are at least 27 billion tools (well .. that might be a slight exaggeartion but perhaps not!) to help you track, measure and analyze. Some are free while others can run you some major bucks.

A Few Resources - Tools

Twitonomy - a new fav for Twitter analysis

Curated from Social Media Examiner - 29 Tools

Curated from What's Next Blog - 6 Shiny New Objects You Can Use

He: If it's that easy why the big deal?

Me: Right, this stuff is really not as difficult as say finding the perfect jeans. (Girlfriend, now he began to look puzzled .. but you know what I mean.) But there is one more step that I forgot to mention. Gaping void your a social media specialst so am i

The spice that kicks it up a notch ...pulls it together .. it's the person who builds and implements and ensures that outcomes are met within two cultures -- that of your brand and social web.

The skill set and experience that should be brought to the party grows more sophisticated and complex as social media becomes integrated into a business' DNA. 

Social Media Manager Skill Set

Business experience, marketing experince, strategy understand and in the weeds tactics,  great verbal and written communication, knows how to write for the web, problem solving, analytic skills, expeience in web analytics, understands the concept of digital conversation, continuous learner, generously shares, team player with people of diverse backgrounds, comfortable moving between online and offline environments, creative approach to the mundane and the unexpected, ability to work in a constantly moving world, likes helping people, customer first orientation, understands the concept of selfless content, content curation and creation, importance of multiple devices, understands digital behavior and building community. 

Add to that the working knowlede of mulitple social networks, blogs, the concept of authenticity, transparancy, honesty.

Include an understanding of your brand value and promise and how content and conversations must align but not message or sell within the social web. 

Oh yes .. throw in a little passion for social media and the brand and having fun. 

I think that will do it. 

Post inspired by Amber Kapish and David Munk, Stargayzing.

Graphic credit Zazzle

Social Media Kindness: The New "Little Black Dress"

04/27/2012

This week I had the amazing opportunities to particiapte in two "taking online offline" experiences. Experiences I would never had if it were not for Diva Marketing, blogging and of course social media. Friendships I would not have made if I had not take a risk.

Toby Wise Women _EverywhereI  joined BBF Lynn Epstein as part of Everywhere's, a social media marketing firm, ongoing Wise Women series where women share their stories with the Everywhere staff.  The other was at digital agency Engauge where I was part of a blogger influencer discussion with about 10 other women. Toby Engauge Blogger Influence 4_12

 

We had wonderful, interesting discussions. As you'd expect, if there was disagreement people were gracious and considerate.

I've been living in the digital world for almost 8 years (Diva Marketing celebrates it's 8th year in May). OMG! that sounds like something from the Matrix. The reality is, at least for me, it's more E.T.. Not as scary and if you're open to possibilities beyond your safe world magic can happen .. including new friendships, opportunities and inspiration.

Before, as Neo says in the Matrix, "anything is possible" and you can collect the benefits from socal media, you have to step out.

Talking to new bloggers this week at the Possble Women conference I was reminded that one of the risks in social media participation opens the door for people to "talk back." In the the offline world, where you are face-to-face and see expressions and body language, that usually doesn't present a big challenge.  Jimmy Choo _ 124katimadtn_large_1_master_black

Girlfriend, I well understand those new Jimmy Choos can be wobbly when you first try to walk in them. Shh .. don't tell anyone but my first comments I was so nervous to post I must have rewritten them at leat half a dozen times. It was with a deep breath that I clicked on the comment publish link.

Kris Ruby, in his MSN Business On Main article, asked nine entrepreneur for their advice on how to handle anonymous negative comments. Skip over and take a look .. and then come back please.

Audrey hepburn little-black-dress_2Considering different opinions, hearing new points of view is part of our on-going learning experiences .. online or offline. If you do disagree and add your voice to the converstation, please keep in mind that your words are taken to heart .. be kind. Kindness is the new little black dress!

 Let's Have FUN!

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

Your challenge is to share 1 idea on the new little black dress .. social media kindness. How can we ensure that if we if we agree to disagree we treat each other with respect and consideration?

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

2. Identify your post on Business On Main with the words Diva Marketing. Important! If you don't post on MSN BOM and indicate Diva Marketing in your comment you cannot qualify for the $100 prize. 

3. Winner is at the pleasure of Diva Marketing with the help of Max, of course!

4. Contest ends midnight May 11, 2012.

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?)

This wraps up my blogger relations series with MSN Business On Main. Hope you enjoyed the contests and the added resources that MSN Business On Main provided to Diva Marketing's post. My lessons learned were it forced me to write more and to think outside of the box to ensure that the content created stayed true to Diva Marketing's mission of sharing learnings about social media marketing. 

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.

New Social Media Network Road Map

04/03/2012

Recently Jay Baer asked a question on his blog that led to over 100 comments. Based on an interview that Guy Kawasaki conducted with INC Magaine, Jay wanted to know, "Is social media strategy required or redundant?"  As I began to join the comment thread, I realized that my response was a "post" and not a "comment." Toss of a pink boa to Jay for inspiring this post.

From the content on Diva Marketing, you can probably guess which side of the fence I'm on. Not to make things more complicated, but especially in social media marketing, you can't expect to build a strategy without first understanding the "tools" e.g. blogs, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. etc. etc. 

Much of our learning about social media/networking is derived from experience and experimentation.

When a new social network tool hits the virtual scene making the decision to include or not to include and when takes you down a different road than if you were to incorporate email, advertising or public relations. Why? Glad you asked.

Answer: We have no history to base our decision. At the early stage there are probably few examples from specific industries or customer bases. Dare I say it, at this point in the game there are no "best practices." It's not a surprise that many marketers take the wait and watch approach

Although I agree strategy is critical, in order to determine if a technology should be considered you must first understand the tool. Although most social networking platforms include some sort of engagement and sharing features, each new category tool is slightly different. Each also brings a unique set of benefits and challenges.

I created a 4 step, call it a road map, to help you think thought the process. Let's use the newest darling of the social networks -- Pinterest as an example.

World map free digNew Social Media Network Road Map

I.  Before You Begin Questions

1. Does the brand lend itself to social visual content/communication?

2. Do we have the resources e.g. time, people and budget to create and maintain?

3. Will our customers and prospects enjoy and use this tool? Note: Your answer to this may be "yes" but your customers may not be using the technology yet. Now would be a good time for early learnings and testings. 

4. Is our culture open to learning without direct ROI? Note: In the early stages of a social media technology don't fool yourself that you know where the real benefits will occur. 

5. What unique issues might your company face? For Pinterest that might include: Terms of service, copyright, pinabilty of your own visuals. 

II. Tool Specifics Incorporated Into Enterprise Social Media Guidelines 

Example social network: Pinterest

Note: We'll assume that your company has created Enterprise Social Media Guidelines. If not here are some examples.

Note: These are not strategies 

1. What type of graphics are appropriate and which are not?

2. What type of sites will you pin from and which will you avoid?

3. How will you manage Terms of Service and copyright?

4. How will links to your pins be handled?

5. How will attribution be acknowledged?

III. Create A Whisper Campaign

1. To learn in a (relatively) safe environment, I encourage clients to explore and experiment with the tool by creating a page that does not relate to the company, brand or aspects of their personal lives that they don't want to share in a public forum.

Perhaps it's about a hobby, favorite sport or your favorite shoe designer. Not only will you have an understanding of the logistics but of the culture .. critical in social media/networks. Have fun, learn and when you're done feel free to delete the page. 

2. Don't have time to develop your own knowledge base? Find support through a consultant who has done the ground work and understands not only the tool but how it can support your brand, your culture and that of the social network. She can share critical learnings as she guides you to avoid mishaps in a new social networking space. 

 IV. Strategy 

Now you're ready to hit the strategy route.

You know the drill here: goals/objectives, metrics, content and the beat goes on ..  Keep in mind there are two ways to incorporate social networks into your marketing or business plan.

1. Stand alone - the social network is maintained as a long-term tactic.

2. Integrated - into other initiatives e.g. advertising campaign, trade show, new product launch campaign. For the most part, integrating social media into an imitative has a beginning, middle and end.

An example is the Pinterest Kotex Campaign where the boards were deleted after the campaign was over. (Diva Marketing Post: Kotex + Pinterest + Innovative Campaign) Or for a trade show the social media/networking elements may live forever on a special micro site.  Luggage free dig

Good luck on your next social media adventure! 

 Grapic credit: taoty / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Grapic credit: digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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.

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."

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

10/03/2011

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

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?