A Social Media Gift of Little Miracles

12/25/2012


Miracle on 34th street"We'll be known as the helpful store. The friendly store. The store with a heart. The store that places public service ahead of profit. The plan sounds idiotic and impossible...consequently, we'll make more profit than ever before."

Nope, it's not a new social commerce strategy. It was an innovative sales program

launched in 1947 by Macy's Department Store. In the classic film, Miracle On 34th Street, Mr. Macy took chance on a different way to conduct business.

Customers would not be coerced into buying what they did not want; however, the real courage was if another store had a better or less expensive product Macy's would refer them there. 

Fast forward 65 years into the future and we struggle with similar issues of how to provide value for our customers. Technology has given us an amazing, let's call it a gift, that provides a new way to for us to build relationships and nurture with our customers.

Pull off the pretty red  bow and you'll find digital platforms with funny names like blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Google+, LinkedIn and Pinterest. It's a world where to succeed we have to go beyond a one-off sale to opportunities where three entities: company, employee and custome can create the brand experience .. together. That takes courage too. 

Unlike the impact of Macy's initiative, social media impact reaches beyond just one customer. For the first time, the entire enterprise has skin in the game. The digital relationships that the people who are the heart of your brand can set off a unique chain reaction.

  • Continuous listening -> learning -> understanding -> results in trust ->  leads to loyalty -> leads to the cash register bells ringing. And every time a cash register bell rings a marketer gets a bonus or gets to keep her job (!) .. oops wrong film.

Corner grocery store digital relationships that are build not only with you and your customers, but among your customers and your employees could never have been imagined when Kris Kringle entered Macy's Santa Land in 1947. However, even as we approach 2013, for many organizations open conversations still seem like a Miracle on (insert organization name here) or like the ghost of Xmas future (oops wrong movie again.)

The plan sounds idiotic and impossible... consequently, we'll make more profit than ever before.

As we begin 2013, technology developments spin even faster taking digital business into areas that were impossible in '47 or '57 or even '2012.

Imagine a digital destination where you can include your review of the product, service or customer care that influences your or your friends' buying decisions.

Imagine a digital destination where you can talk to a brand employee who doesn't respond with a scripted answer.

IImagine a digital destination that allows for product and service customization.

Imagine a digital destination where you can start a conversation with a real person about what matters to you regarding a product or service.

Imagine a digital destination where you can actually help change the direction of a product or service before it's even launched.

Imagine multiple digital devices, moblie, tablet, computer, television not "or" but "and" ... and one day even your glasses! 

Imagine a digital destination where you can chat with people about their experiences and learn from each other .. in real time during your shopping experience. The result is smarter purchases.

Imagine an authenitc conversation, in real time, with your favorite actor, politician, author or reporter who responds to your comments. 

Imagine an authentic conversation with your senior managmenet or an admired corporate executive where ideas are transparently exchanged. 

Imagine an organization that works in partnership with its customers and employees to create a brand experience that is relevant, innovative and imaginative across multiple divices. 

Imagine an organization that cares not simply about for for its customers. 

The plan sounds idiotic and impossible...consequently, we'll make more profit than ever before.

What a funny world we live in. It's interesting to compare a 1940's film, where finding solutions to customers' problems was perceived as unique, to 2012 where finding solutions to customers' problems is considered ingenious. 

The techniques may have changed. New buzz words may be added to the mix. Bells and whistles may be a little louder. However, after all is said and done, the premise remains the same:

-Listen

-Understand

-Add value

-Do what it takes to go the extra mile to delight your customer

I believe that as we learn how to use social media it will change how we conduct business .. leading to  creating an environment where people truly matter. And that my friends, is as couragous and innovative as Mr. Macy's Miracle on 34th Street.

The plan sounds idiotic and impossible...consequently, we'll make more profit than ever before.

Sidebar: A Classic Diva Marketing post based on an article written for American Marketing Association Marketing News.

Max and I wish you a year of little miracles, joy and all things wonderful and bright.

Maxie Santa 2012

Food Trucks R Coming! Conversation with James DiSabatino, Roxy Gourmet Grilled Cheese

08/21/2011

"Amazing bread does great things for the world. Great bread is inspiring." - James DiSabation

Food truck_james and truck

James DiSabatino has a love affair with bread and cheese. It makes total sense when you find out that he's the owner of the Boston based food truck Roxy Gourmet Grilled Cheese

Barely 3-months out of the gate, Roxy was a contestant (and eventually a finalist) in the Food Network Great Food Truck Race.

James kindly agreed to juggle his packed days to judge Diva Marketing's marketing tips contest re: food trucks (sponsored by MSN Business On Main). The winner is highlighted below. Toss of a pink boa to Dorothea Bozicolona-Volpe for the intro to James.

Last week James chatted with me about Roxy's back story, his philosophy on the food truck biz and of course using social media as a marketing tactic. We discovered that in addition to sharing a love of food and food trucks, we are also Emerson College alums .. and the world continues to spin smaller!

Diva Marketing/Toby: Roxy was so new why did you apply for a competition that put you up against more seasoned food truck owners?

James  DiSabatino: We didn't .. they recruited us. We thought it was a joke until we got the casting email. They were searching online and we kept coming up in their searches. Guess they liked the Boston focus and brothers from Boston who grilled cheese sandwiches and were in a rock band. 

Diva Marketing/Toby: So it seems that social media networks works. Twitter, Facebook not only pulled Roxy up in the search rankings but created an image the producers thought would make good TV.

I found it interesting that the Roxy guys were the only team wearing t-shirts that promoted their city not their brand. James told me although he pushed hard to wear Roxy t-shirts, the Food Network insisted the guys wear "Boston" shirts. They never really found out why. Who knows how producers' minds work?

Diva Marketing/Toby: What's the story behind the name Roxy?

James  DiSabatino: A tribute to someone in my life that I want to keep a mystery. People would come up to us and not ask who Roxy was but say things like .. so is Roxy a fill in the blank. They were making assumptions. I thought it would be a good idea to leave it up to their imaginations. Roxy could be anyone they wanted her to be.

Diva Marketing/Toby: Quite naturally grilled cheese lends itself to nostalgia positioning. Roxy's fun branding reflects what I'd call -- retro with an edge.

The Icon/Logo: An innocent young girl, wearing 1950's style pigtails, happily munches on a grilled cheese sandwich. But look closer and you'll find a skull and cross bones tatoo on her arm. The tat pays homage to Blood For Blood a favorite Roxy Boston band.

James was cautioned not to add the tat. Some people thought it could be risky. However, as James said to me, "We don't do safe."

Nope .. they sure don't. Not in their logo design nor in their food. As it turned out the icon fits perfectly with the positioning of a retro feel with contemporary flavorsFood Truck _Roxy twitter
So who are Roxy's clients? They run from college students to grandparents who bring their grandchildren along. Grilled cheese, even gourmet grilled cheese, crosses generations, "It's not a hard sell," James assured me.  

Diva Marketing/Toby: So James, what's your marketing deal? 

James DiSabatino: We never planned to spend any money on advertising and we never will. We wanted the experience to create awareness through our community and using social media. 

We take time to interact with our customers to help create an experience for them. It’s more than getting the food out the window. Our #1 priority is getting to know our customers one person at a time.

Our wait line is longer than most food trucks. It takes 3.5 minutes per side to grill the sandwich .. it’s just part of the experience. Customers hang out with each out and engage with each other .. creating community. I engage with people on line. I respond to tweets. I ask questions and sometimes get flavor ideas. We’re building culture online and offline. 

Diva Marketing/Toby:  Perhaps one day we'll find a Roxy grilled cheese sandwich named for a Twitter @! 

In addition to building community with and among Roxy's customers, James has a strong focus to support and give back to the communities that host the Roxy truck. Watch for the Roxy team to soon be involved with offline events. These events provide opportunities to earn money which will be donated to local causes. One of Jame's favorite causes is early childhood education. 

Diva Markting/Toby: What would you tell people who have not tried food truck food?

James DiSabatino: It's some of best food and the best food experience you'll have. No where else can you interact directly with the chef who is making your food.

Diva Marketing/Toby: Never thought about food trucks in quite that way. I might call food trucks a with the people food experience!

Drum beat please ... the moment we've been waiting ... for the winner of the marketing tips contest re: food trucks is Jane Genova! Jane $100 prize is sponsored by MSN Business On Main.

James DiSabatino's Food Truck Marketing Tips Response 

"As a food truck owner, and having spent years of research before opening, I never once asked myself "What should my marketing budget be?" While this may play an important role in restaurants, food trucks take on a different culinary role in the neighborhood.

Rather than wondering what you should be spending on marketing, a food truck owner should ask him or herself, "What do I need to fully engage my community?" If you're planning on opening a food truck, whether you're going to be the chef, the order taker, the expediter, you will be interacting with your customers directly. And to remain successful, you have to be an important part of the community you're serving in.

So based on my ideology, I choose number four, who suggests feeding the homeless. Rather than giving your money to someone else, you’re using your money to feed people in your community who can’t afford to eat themselves. It's all about community engagement, and bringing a community together is the number one priority a food truck should have if they want to stay in business. 

Runner up would be number two (Debra Gaynor), creating alliances to cater weddings. While 10 food trucks will split the money up quite a bit, two or three trucks offering catering services for weddings is an excellent idea. It gets a group of closely interconnected people (with large networks) excited about your business. This is a great grassroots marketing idea, because you have a public ready to spread the word, all while making money for the wedding!"

Jane genova
Jane Genova's Winning Food Truck Marketing Tip

TRUCK KITCHEN. One day a week for two hours, the truck distributes free servings in a neighborhood for the poor and homeless. But there’s more. Give a man a fish he eats for a day. Teach him how to fish and he eats for life.

The food truck owner can teach a poor or homeless person to blog about the experience at the local public library. That account could be aired on television. Also, a poor or homeless can be taught to use a video camera and record how it is to be homeless. That could be edited for a documentary.

Thanks to all who participated .. you all offered ideas that could help Food Trucks roll into success .. or something like that. 

Continue the conversation with James and the Roxy Team!

Roxy's Grilled Cheese on Twitter

James DiSabation on Twitter

Roxy's Gourmet Grilled Cheese Website

Food Network Great Food Truck Race

Who Is Reading Your Blog May Be A Delightful Surprise

02/02/2011

Dandelion_seeds_being_blown The very smart Nancy White, Full Circle, once told me .. when you send your blog or community site into social cyber space it's never totally yours alone again. Girlfriend, it doesn't matter if you're writing on social media topics, manufacturing equipment or dirty martinis (3 olives please!).

However, if you're very lucky sometimes the people who "read" you and become part of your digital world are a delightful surprise. That's exactly what happened to Diva Marketing.

I write about social media marketing, how it impacts branding and can be used to build stronger relationships. As expected marketers pop by and people who are curious about new media. The creative elements and tonality attract women and men who want their learnings served up with a little fun and a dash of irreverence. 

The segment that was delightful surprise is young college women. How do I know? Found reviews and mentions about Diva Marketing from following links in from my stats. 

Recently, Amanda Schwartz, Barnard College '13 reached out and asked if I would write something for Barnard College of Columbia University's newspaper The Bulletin " .. about social media and its role in the job search process... I was honored.

By the way, Amanda could give some PR pros a lesson or two in how to approach bloggers. She was respectful, identified who she was, detailed what she wanted and most of all her request was relevant to what I do; and she even followed-up with a thank you. Toss of a pink boa to you Amanda!  Here's what I sent her written with a dash of Diva style .. of course.

In today's world, as well as tomorrow's, your digital image is becoming as important as your offline style.  Not only for your friends but for prospective employers and mentors. Why not take advantage of social networks and blogs to build relationships beyond your best friends or your latest crush?

 

A presence on LinkedIn or a blog, that profiles your talents and passions, can supplment an interview. It can also give you an advantage if a prospective company chooses to research a candidate even before she steps through the door. 

 

Keep in mind that just like the shoes you choose to wear, from cute boots to fun flip flops Filp flops summer
, how you develop your "digital personal brand" sends a message too. The language you use, the story you tell, the images you include are all are pieces of your online puzzle. Remember that Google (and other search engines) have long memories so create for the long-term.

 

Although social media offers an exciting way to showcase your talents and experiences eventually you'll take online offline. The personae that you develop must authentically represent "you." 

 

Best of luck in your career adventures.

 

Toby

@tobydiva Diva Marketing

Lesson Learned: Do more than look at the numbers of your analytics .. follow the links of referrals.

What have been some of "delightful surprise" segments of your community?

Extreme DIY Social Media Media Blogger Relations Training For PR/Ad Agencies

07/02/2010

Press pass _toby
I really like the beat you cover
began one pitch that recently dropped into my inbox. 

Seems that PR people think that I am a media outlet.  Sort of funny.  However, at this juncture in the evolution of social media and blogger relations, sort of sad and frustrating that too many agencies still don't  understand the "human side" of "social." All they see is "media." 

One could make a case that most marketing and public relations higher education courses don't cover earned media well if at all. One could make a case that social media is new and many people are at the initial stages of learning. One could make a case that blogs appear to be a type of public information and leap to the conclusion that content creators are another type of reporter. 

One could come up with a whole bunch of excuses. But Girlfriend, if you don't fix the broken heel of your favorite Jimmy Choos you'll hobble along forever. Or something like that.  How do you "social media fix" a PR agency or ad agency? With a little training and a walk in a blogger's stylish shoes. 

Abc_1  For now forget the listen to the conversation. Forget the build the relationship first. If you've ever stepped your polished purple toes into the social media waters you've heard that at least a zillion times. Guess you didn't get it. 

We're changing Nike's Just Do It into "YOU do it" with Extreme DYI Social Media Blogger Relations Training For Agencies (and anyone else). It's not easy. It does take time. It's based on at least 2 people or 2 teams participating. It's not for the whiners. 

If you succeed at the end of the course .. you buy me my next pair of Jimmy Choos. If not I'll buy you a drink when your boss says the famous Donald Trump words - You're Fired!

Extreme DYI Social Media Blogger Relations Training - A Four Week 12 Step Program

Week One - Understanding Social Media 

Step 1 Read: Social Media Marketing GPS, my free eBook for an over view of social media. How long can that take to read it was based on 140 character tweets?  Follow that with: The Hyper-Social Organization, Naked Conversations, The Digital Handshake The New Rules of Marketing and PR - Second Edition. Look out for Nettie Hartsocks' soon to be released book Kiss Your Publisher Goodbye -- reading her blog is a good idea too.

Weeks Two, Three & Four - A Walk In A Blogger's High Fashion Shoes

Step 2 - Create 2 teams 

Step 3 - Read Pulse of the Industry Blogger Relations Series Parts i, ii, iii, iv and v

Step 4 - Read Susan Getgood's Blog with Integrity guidelines

Step 5 - Create a blog on any topic that you can sustain for three weeks. The graphical look and feel must complement your subject. Add at least 10 blogs that write about similar topics to you blog roll. 

Step 6 - Write a minimum of 3 well thought out posts per week for the next 3 weeks

Step 7 - Comment on other blogs at a minimum of 3 times per week. 

Weeks Three & Four

Step 8 - Pitch A Blogger

Step 9 - Develop a minimum of 4 pitches per week that you will send ONLY to the people who are participating in the Extreme DIY Social Media Blogger Relations Training with you.

Step 10 - For each pitch you receive do one or more of the following actions: a. reply back; b. post to your blog; c. do nothing; e. other .. you decide. Track your actions for each pitch. 

Week Four

Step 11 - Provide feedback to your colleagues on their pitches including how you responded and why.

Step 12 - What did you learn? How did you feel about response to your pitches? What will you put into practice in your next blogger relations campaign? Did you color outside the lines .. do more than was suggested? What?

Happy Graduation!  Jimmy choo_1  

Relationships Don't Matter

03/18/2010

Alone person  Relationships don't matter .. to some people. Bloggers like to build relationships with the people who pitch them stories; however, that is not always the case for content publishers like Jeffry Pilcher, of The Financial Brand. 

  • I'm a one-man show running two businesses. I don't have time for touchy-feely stuff. If I could spend my whole day "engaging with my readers," "joining the conversation" and doing phone interviews .. Sadly none of that puts food on my plate.

A few eMail exchanges and a comment on a Diva Marketing post might not a deep relationship make; but they opened a door that resulted in an interesting exchange and this blog post about how one publisher finds content for his online site. Perhaps you'll find a few ideas that will help you write your next blog post.

The Financial Brand_2  About The Financial Brand: The Financial Brand is a niched B2B online publication about banking and brand/marketing. The community has approximately 3,000 active subscribers who read about 50,000 articles every month. The site ranks about 135 on Ad Age's Power 150 list.

Monitoring The Internet & Social Media: Jeffry spends about 90 minutes daily reviewing about 50 Google Alerts, RSS feeds and Twitter searches that he's converted into RSS feeds. His search terms including: bank, credit unions, marketing, advertising, new logo, branding, promotion. He has invested many hours honing these key words. In addition, he also scans Twitter using the special columns in Tweetdeck. 

Organization: What interests Jeffry goes into folders. At the end of the week he reviews all and chooses the five he's going to write about. Although he posts five days a week (Monday through Friday) he usually sets aside time during the weekend to write.

Information relevant to his audience that isn't turned into posts are shared through Twitter @financialbrand. Jeffry has even posted his Twitter policy along with a few Tweet resources. Well worth a visit. 

Diva Marketing: What influences your decision to choose the stories for your publication?

Jeffry Pilcher: The #1 thing that will influence my decision to write a full article is the immediate availability of supporting images/artwork. As a publisher of a marketing/advertising website, it’s vital I have visual examples of what I’m writing about. Who wants to read about a TV campaign or billboard promotion if they can’t see what it looks like? Most press release fail miserably with this. I want your logo, pictures of the people quoted in the release, photos, illustrations, graphs, etc.

Diva Marketing: When you're working with bloggers do you do anything differently than when you work with agencies or brand managers? 

Jeffry Pilcher: I don't work with bloggers. In fact, I almost never work with anyone (for any reason). I don't usually do interviews for stories. I just don't have the time. It takes me an average of 4 hours to write an article already, without interviews.

Diva Marketing: When you find a lead from a blog do you do additional vetting to ensure credibility?

Jeffry Pilcher: I never rely on one source and I Google the heck out of everything. Of the four hours it takes me to create an article, easily one hour is spent researching. Also, remember: If I can't find artwork, photos or imagery, I won't run the story. But once I find the necessary graphics for my story, it's almost as if the sources become irrelevant. I can write my own review of what I see.

Diva Marketing: What advice can you give to bloggers, and other social media content creators, who want to gain exposure with online publications? 

Jeffry Pilcher

  • Make sure 100% of your content is 100% relevant to your audience 100% of the time. (I extend this rule to include ads.) If you do that, you can throw away all the other rules. 

There's a lot of noise out there about stuff like "engagement," "authenticity" and "transparency." I ignore all that crap. I'm running a B2B site. It's business, not casual, nor recreational. My readers want insights and information. Period. All I have to do is give it to them and stay out of the way.

If you feel that relationships are important in blogger relations take a look at this informal studyPulse of the Industry: Blogger Relations

Stories From Smaller Nonprofits: Isipho

12/24/2009

StarsYes, Virginia there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. ~ Francis Pharculles, The Sun

There are people who play Santa year long. Many bring their talents and hearts to the important work they perform for nonprofit causes. Throughout December Diva Marketing will highlight stories from smaller nonprofits that light the way for causes but rarely pull mentions in the main stream media. 

It's my wish that together we can help raise their visibility, perhaps find a new volunteer or even encourage a donation or two. Because as Laura King Edwards, Taylor's Tale, says, "Nothing should stand in the way of a dream."  Also the nonprofits that are using social media have agreed to share their strategies so we continue to learn together.

The Isipho Story

Miranda Lynch The story is told by Miranda Lynch who is the 15-year old co-founder and vice president of Isipho. Miranda's story is as much a part of the fabric of Isipho as the children she is passionate about helping.

My name is Miranda Lynch. I co-founded Isipho in December 2009 so I could do everything possible to improve the lives of the children in Nzinga, South Africa after visiting there in August 2008 while on vacation to celebrate my 14th birthday with my dad.

When we first got to Nzinga, all I wanted was to turn around and leave right away.  I had never experienced such hardship or poverty. It was really overwhelming.

But I didn’t have time to be overwhelmed, because the second I got out of the car, a girl my age handed me a saw and pointed to some wood. I understood that she wanted me to cut the wood; something I had no idea how to do, but was embarrassed to admit that, so I just started sawing. As the evening evolved, I realized that the wood I was sawing was the wood we needed to make a fire to cook our dinner. Just making and then cleaning up after dinner was such hard work and took so long that by the time we finished, I was exhausted and went straight to bed. I guess it’s good I was too exhausted to leave!

The next day my life was changed forever, because I met Amahle, the beautiful, smart, precocious two-year-old daughter of our host. Amahle doesn’t have the same opportunities in life that I do -  the opportunity to receive a quality education, the opportunity to have three healthy meals per day, and the opportunity to earn a living and support herself once she’s an adult. Amahle became my little shadow, and I came to love her like a little sister.

When we left Nzinga, I kept thinking about Amahle, and was determined to do all I could to change the inequality in her life; to do everything possible to give Amahle and every other child in Nzinga the opportunities that I believe every person deserves.

  • I know I’m just one American teenager, but I knew I had to at least try, and that I couldn’t just leave and never look back. When my mom and dad saw my passion for this, they agreed to help me help Nzinga overcome their biggest obstacles to a better life.

The municipality where Nzinga is located has identified severe and chronic malnutrition and illiteracy as two of the biggest contributors to the poverty in Nzinga. It seemed so simple to me that if they could grow their own fresh vegetables and had the proper resources to be able to receive an education, their lives would vastly improve. So we decided to start a non-profit to focus exclusively on this small village and to make a difference one child, one family, one food garden, and one classroom at a time.

I decided to name the nonprofit Isipho, which is the Zulu word for “gift,” and the nickname that Amahle gave to me because she couldn’t say “Miranda.” Our Isipho, or our gift, is to help the people of Nzinga create a better, self-sustaining community. 

We do not give them more hand-outs that just extend the cycle of dependence. We give them the tools they need to feed and educate themselves within five years without any outside assistance. Specifically, we provide them with fencing, gardening tools, seeds and gardening training so that they can learn how to garden for themselves, and be able to protect their gardens from grazing animals.They do all the rest. 

We also provide books, school supplies, educational toys and teacher training so that the kids in the village are all going to school and are learning when they get there. Before we started Isipho, only 44% of the villagers had ever attended any school at all, and only seven percent had ever graduated from high school. Our goal is to get 100% of the children in the village enrolled in school, and to increase graduation rates so that their poverty begins to improve.

In our first year we raised almost $20,000, and on just that limited amount of money we’ve been able to send:

~23 villagers through a 3 day sustenance gardening training program with the regional agriculture college.
~Provide fencing, tools and starter seeds for more than 500 square yards of community vegetable gardens
~Provide fencing, tools and starter seeds for 40 smaller, individual family garden

~Deliver over $3,000 worth of books, mathematics tools (calculators, protractors, etc.), and other needed school supplies.
~Encourage development of a local committee that will oversee and lead the programs going forward so that the villagers have ownership and ultimate responsibility for long-term success. More than half of the committee is comprised of women.

Isipho is run by me, my mom and my dad, so far on a 100% volunteer basis.

I’m founder and Vice President of the Board of Directors. I spend most of my time working on public relations and fundraising, and I’m also busy making a short film about Nzinga, using video footage that I shot this past August when we were in Nzinga building vegetable gardens and working in the schools.

My dad, Tom, is President of the Board.  He does marketing and fundraising, and is always spreading the word about Isipho.

My mom, Sheri, is Executive Director of Isipho. She handles all the day-to-day operations.

The three of us work together to plan all of the programs. We’re also putting together a really great Board of Directors right now.

It’s been really interesting to work together with my family like this. We’re a business, so we have weekly meetings, as well as quarterly planning sessions and an annual planning retreat. I’ve learned a LOT about what it takes to run a business, like how to do strategic planning, how to organize fundraisers, what it takes to do even a simple program, and a lot about business etiquette. Most of that I’ve learned by making mistakes and embarrassing myself. But that’s OK – that’s one of the nice things about learning all this stuff as a teenager – people are quick to forgive my mistakes!

Social Media Strategy

Social media is important for us, but also very natural. My dad has worked in digital marketing for a long time, and I’m 15, so I’m on it all the time. We have a limited budget, so social is a great way to spread the story and get people involved. It has been great for us, and also a lot of fun.

It also is a lot of work though, because you have to stay active. Sometimes we’ll find that too much time has passed before we’ve interacted, and other times we’ll find we’re all on our individual Facebook pages saying the same thing.

  • Sometimes being consistent and coordinated is not as easy as it would seem.

 Isipho logo
More About Isipho

Web site
Blog
Facebook page
Twitter
YouTube
Donation link

For the greater good sites from Miranda:: Idealist Gold Star

Read More Stories About Smaller Nonprofits

Social Media Idea Management: An intellectual capital hustle?

07/16/2009

Idea light bulb Imagine this scene - You've invited me to your home to discuss my ideas that may help you .. fill in the blank .. do your job better/make a better product/write a job description, etc. You also invite lots of other people. We find our way to your house. Instead of drinks together in your living room or coffee around your kitchen table you show us to separate rooms.

Then you walk away. However, naive that we are, we assume you are listening, care about us, that we matter to you.  So we happily share our creative ideas. Although our thoughts echo in our empty rooms we smile pleased to be of service to you. Every once in awhile some one wanders by and chats briefly. But rarely if ever is it you. Not even to say "thank you." 

Where are you? You're sitting behind an online dashboard gathering our intellectual capital as if it were digital diamonds. No girlfriend, it's not a focus group. Or maybe it is. Maybe this is the social media version of a focus group but with less honesty and less transparency. It's called IdeaXYZ or IdeaFireStorm or My(your brand) or ShareYourIdeas ... But don't expect anything back other than the satisfaction you derive in a bit of ego boosting on a brand site with some people who might vote you up or vote you down.

Are The Brands exploiting customers in the name of "engagement?" Are we so excited that The Brands have given us a way to directly and easily express our opinions that we clamor to give mega brands our creative ideas without even expecting a "thank you" in return?

Or is this simply the way that Brands approach the interaction of social media. Is it the way they view their role in the "conversation" of social media? Is it naivety or is it digital social media ineptness on how they perceive what is appropriate to build and nurture relationships?

Social media has two aspects. The first is digital research. That simply means reading posts and tweets of your customers to better understand who they are, what they care about and what they say about your brand. I think of it as raw, informal, qualitative, real time or what should be the  "first listening post" in your marketing research strategy.

The second aspect is something that is unique to social media. Other than trade shows, there are no business initiatives that I know of where marketers can hang out with their customers. Like any person-to-person exchange it's rarely structured. It can get messy and to make it work there has to be genuine interest on both sides.

  • Establishing an authentic presence in social media is where many marketers fall down. "Most brands aren't doing it successfully." Shiv Singh, vice president/global social media lead Razorfish (study)

Then there is a new kid on the block - Digital Idea Management or Viralsourcing - which seems to me a mash-up of these two concepts. Although based on the user group experience this has a stronger social media overlay. Customers are invited into a special company-based website to talk about what would make a better computer or latte or retail experience.

It's highly social since comments are open, often voting of each idea is encouraged and of course every post comes with the opportunity to be Dugg, Tweeted, Facebooked (new word) etc. One would naturally assume that the people who are on The Brand side would pop in to offer encouragement, provide feedback, say thank you. In other words to join in the conversation or as Shiv Singh says, "Establish an authentic presence." Rarely happens.

 If I were a bettin' diva I would say that Digital Ideology sites will become more prevalent across industries and sectors. Maybe even to engage in real exchanges. For now it seems that companies are using it in a traditional media/marketing way.

Dell is exploring this model and sharing learnings. This presentation from Dell details their Idea Management strategy behind IdeaStorm.  On slide 12 Dell outlines customer expectations as positive experience, action taken on ideas and recognition. With tactics on How To Address including: timely feedback, clear status updates, thank you mechanisms.

Happy to help you out dear brands but I expect you to join in tThank-youhe conversation with me and at least say 

Diva Marketing Talks Blogger Relations With Susan Getgood and Liz Gumbinner

05/19/2009

Diva Marketing Talks is a live, internet radio (BlogTalkRadio) show.  30-minutes. 2-guests. 1-topic about social media marketing. Why? To help you understand how to participate in the "new" conversation without getting blown-up. Miss today's show? You can pick it up as a podcast or listen on your computer.

Today's Diva Marketing Talks with Susan Getgood, Roadmaps (blog) and Getgood Strategic Marketing and Liz Gumbinner, Cool Mom Picks and Mom-101 about how to build successful and respectful blogger relationships programs. Blogger Relations, as other social media strategies, have grown in complexity. The stakes are high and the give aways often over the top. But is it a credible marketing strategy?.

Topic for May 19, 2009: Talking Through Bloggers Or How to do Bloggers Relations Without Getting Blown-up
Time: 6:00p - 6:30p Eastern/ 5:p - 5:30p Central/ 4:00p -4:30p Mountain/ 3:00p - 43:30p PacificCall-in Guest Number: 718.508.9924 .

Susan Getgood 5_09  Susan Getgood

Susan Getgood has been involved in online marketing since the early 90s, and watched the web evolve from the first browsers to the interactive communities we participate in today. Since 2004, her firm GetGood Strategic Marketing has been advising organizations of all shapes and sizes on integrated social media outreach and internet marketing strategies that help businesses craft a positive internet presence, meet their customers online, build their brands, and drive revenue.

Prior to founding GetGood Strategic Marketing, Susan was Senior Vice President of Marketing at Internet software company SurfControl. Her professional marketing blog, where she writes about blogger outreach, internet branding and social media marketing strategies, is Marketing Roadmaps. She also writes a personal blog, Snapshot Chronicles, and a family travel blog, Snapshot Chronicles Roadtrip. Susan was named a Fellow of the Society for New Communications Research in 2008 and speaks regularly at social media conferences like BlogHer and New Comm Forum.


Liz Gumbinner Liz Gumbinner

Offline, Liz Gumbinner is a New York-based freelance ad agency creative director and copywriter who's developed award-winning campaigns for brands including Old Navy, Mitsubishi, Ray Ban, and Universal Theme Parks. But online she's best known as the author of the popular parenting blog Mom-101, and the cofounder and editor of Cool Mom Picks, the influential shopping blog which was called "the online arbiter of cool for the swingset crowd" by Parents Magazine.

Liz was recently named among Nielsen's Power Mom 50 for 2009, and called one of ten Mommy 'Hood Gurus by Forbes. Liz is a frequent conference speaker and consultant to marketers on the evolving and sometimes volatile relationship between bloggers and brands.

Tips From The Diva Bag

Complements of Susan Getgood

1. Good blogger relations goes beyond just getting the mechanics right – reading the blogs first, making sure the pitch is relevant, a fit for the interests of the blogger etc. You have to develop a pitch that is both relevant and adds value to the blog. If you can’t add value, you should advertise.

You want the blogger to pass the information on, through the blog, Twitter or another social network, and she or he is only going to do that if you give them something truly worth passing on. My post The Secret Sauce for the Perfect Pitch gives some ideas on the kinds of things you might consider. You also want to look beyond the features of your product to how your customer uses the product, what she cares about when she is using the product, and build your story around those feelings.

2. Don’t limit yourself to just the top bloggers in your space. Don’t ignore them either, but remember that the key is influence, not volume. A blogger with fewer readers but whose interests really match up to your product and service is probably going to do you more good that a high traffic blogger who is only slightly interested. Why? Because the smaller blogger may write about you more and likely has more influence with the readers about the topic.

3. The big splashy events get all the press, but small gestures can be far more effective in building relationships and your brand. For example, 1-800-Flowers did a great campaign recently honoring mom bloggers. Coinstar did a really fun, simple Twitter campaign on St. Patrick’s Day.

Build measurement into the program upfront, and base it on a measurable outcome, not an output. Think of it this way: No one ever went into business to raise awareness. The goal is to close the sale. So ground your measurement in a behavior, preferably purchase behavior.

Complements of Liz Gumbinner

1. Know your audience. Not all tech blogs, mom blogs, or food blogs are the same. You wouldn't pitch a story on a snazzy new drum kit to Sports Illustrated simply because "the demographic is men," and similarly, you need to be sure you're sending the right message to the right blogger.

2. Don't forget the word "social" in social media. Blogger outreach should be about relationships, not press releases, and I'll always give a closer look to the emails I get from PR folks I know. If you get to know a few targeted, influential bloggers and cultivate relationships, you're more likely to have better results than if you buy a list of 1000 and e-blast the whole lot of them.

3. Blogger influence goes beyond page views and traffic numbers. Those are old media metrics and only give a small piece of the picture. You'll also want to consider reader engagement through comments, inbound links on Technorati, Twitter followers, news media presence, and other places a blogger blogs. In fact high traffic may be at times a factor of good SEO and not engaged readership.

4. The pitch is always on the record, unless you have an agreement with the blogger that it is not. Which means bad pitch or an awkward exchange may make a better story for a blogger than the product you're pitching. If you keep that in mind every time you hit send, you'll generally be in great shape

More About Blogger Relations: Diva Marketing Pulse of the Industry Blogger Relations Study

Part 1 - Blogger or Journalist
Part 2 - Successful Blogger Relations Strategy
Part 3 - Agencies Talk To Bloggers
Part 4 - The Brands Talk To Bloggers
Part 5 - Bloggers Talk To Agencies and Brands

Diva Marketing Talks About Social Media Sponsored Conversations With "Auntie" Melanie Notkin and Scott Monty

03/19/2009

Diva Marketing Talks is a live, internet radio show.  30-minutes. 2-guests. 1-topic about social media marketing. Why? To help you understand how to participate in the "new" conversation without getting blown-up. Miss today's show? You can pick it up as a podcast or listen on your computer.

Today's Diva Marketing Talks explores the impact of social media sponsored conversations from both sides of the virtual fence: brand and content creator.  "Auntie" Melanie Notkin, founder of the innovative community for aunts, SavvyAuntie and Scott Monty, Global Digital Communications Ford Motor, discuss the impact accepting money or products/services can have on social credibility. We'll also talk about where blogger relations and pay per click fits into the picture. Question: Are social media content creators the new NASCAR drivers?

Topic for March 19, 2009: Do Sponsored Conversations Make Social Media Content Creators the New NASCAR Drivers?
Time: 7:00p - 7:30p Eastern/ 6:p - 6:30p Central/ 5:00p -5:30p Mountain/ 4:00p - 4:30p Pacific
Call-in Guest Number: 718.508.9924

Guests

Auntie_Melanie_Notkin_laptop_2_97061859 Melanie Notkin is the founder and CEO of SavvyAuntie.com, the first online community for cool aunts, great aunts, godmothers and all women who love kids. Before launching Savvy Auntie, in July 2008, Melanie was an interactive marketing and communications executive for global Fortune 500 companies, including New York Times Digital and American Express, as well as L'Oréal.

Melanie is a regular panelist on the Strategy Room on FoxNews.com and a contributing editor to Toy Wishes Magazine. She and Savvy Auntie have been featured on NBC, CBS, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Business Week, The Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, The Charlotte Observer, Huffington Post, Mashable and TechCrunch, among others.

SavvyAuntie.com was ranked as one of Springwise's Top 10 Entreprenerial Ideas of the Year (2008) and Melanie was recently named a Heeb Magazine HEEB 100.

Find Melanie at Twitter Blog SavvyAuntie and of course on the SavvyAuntie Community

ScottMonty Scott Monty describes himself as a "Renaissance Man."  Although he is a marketer and communications professional focused on the digital industry his career spans a number of industries from healthcare, pharma, biotech, travel, automotive, tech, to communications. Some of Scott’s past clients include American Airlines, Audi, Starwood Hotels, IBM Healthcare & Life Sciences, Boston Scientific, The Coca-Cola Company, Millipore, Motorola and Kraft Foods,

Scott is currently the head of social media for Ford Motor Company, where he holds the title Global Digital & Multimedia Communications Manager.  While his role is based in the Corporate Communications area, he is a strategic advisor on all social media activities across the company. From blogger relations to marketing support to customer service to internal communications and more, social media touches many facets of Ford business, and Scott is there to ensure it is consistent across all of them.

Scott is an active blogger and podcaster. He writes about issues relevant to the intersection of advertising, marketing and PR at The Social Media Marketing Blog and also writes The Baker Street Blog, a literary undertaking. Scott has been featured in numerous news and business publications, on a variety of podcasts, and on national television. Scott is a recognized thought leader in the social media industry and frequently speaks at industry events. Scott received his Master's in Medical Science from Boston University's School of Medicine concurrently with his MBA from BU's Graduate School of Management.

Find Scott at Twitter, The Social Media Marketing Blog  The Baker Street Blog,

Tips From The Diva Bag

Complements of Auntie Melanie Notkin

1. Trust is something you earn. And it's the most valuable asset you have. Deserve it or fail.

2. As a company, you can't wake up one day and decide you are going to be authentic and transparent. It has to be something you were born with. And if you weren't born with it, apologize and be authentic and transparent about your journey to authenticity and transparency.

3. Social media and digital media enable us to be transparent and authentic. The minute you hire an intern to tweet for you is the minute you give the steering wheel to a student driver. From another country. Where they drive on the other side of the road. You'll never make it back home

Complements of Scott Monty

1. You know the phrase from Glengarry Glen Ross , "Always Be Closing"? Forget it. Instead, your mantra should be "Always Be Listening." Thanks to the open nature of the web and the ability for any one of us to create content, we have the ability to track and understand what they're saying about us. Listening is the first step to providing value for your community. If you know what they're saying and what their expectations are, you're well along the way.

2. Give your community a unique experience. Most likely, you work in a market where you're competing for your customers' attention, whether you sell consumer packaged goods, consulting services, or technology. If you can create an opportunity for them to learn or get something from you that no other competitor can offer them, they'll remember you better and come back for more.

3. Be human above all else. Let people know that there are real people working for your company, whether its a small business or a multinational entity. If you can let their personalities shine through and make it easy for people to relate to them, they'll be more likely to trust you with their business.

The Power Behind Social Media

12/12/2008

Weop This post is dedicated to the awesome women entrepreneurs at the Women's Employment Opportunity Project (WEOP). Yesterday I was invited to spend some time with a special group of women who are creating blogs to support their new ventures. If you think that the U.S. has lost its edge on innovation think again. Some of the business ideas that are in development at WEOP ranged from financial services targeted to moms to an online resource center for divorced women to a community for women in non traditional jobs like construction.

We talked about the logistics of blogs (any WordPress experts willing to donate a few hours?), marketing (WEOP is using DivaTalks podcasts to supplement their learnings .. wOw!) and the power of social media marketing .. building relationships.

Speaking of relationships .. today I was surprised with an early social holiday gift from a BBF (best blog friend) Denise Wakefield who included Diva Marketing in blogs.com best of .. Ten Best New Media Marketing Blogs. What an honor to be among people like Chris Brogan, Chris Garret, Paul Chaney, Jeff Herring, Michael Martine, David Meerman Scott and Patsi Krakoff

So the fabulous entrepreneurs from WEOP asked, "How do you build those relationships?" "Great question," said I.  "There are comments, links, emails .. being part of the community and give bits of yourself in your posts .. as it is comfortable for you to do that of course.

When we first meet people in their offices we have "walls" that often give us cues to the first steps in finding common interests that go beyond business. We may find a college diploma that leads to a conversation about the school we both attended or perhaps it was a city that we both lived in. Or we may discover a photo of the family vacationing on the beach and find we have a love of the ocean. Or we may see a sports team pennant on the wall and realize we are both fans of the same team.

In the social media business world we have to give bits of ourselves to create those initial synergies that go beyond a mutual interest in marketing, advertising, PR, research, etc. One way to do that is through the meme games. Sometimes called "tag" it's a way of giving your friends a better sense of you. Some memes ask for your favorite books, some for places you traveled .. you get the drift.

The divine diva Ms. BL Ochman tagged me and asked me to give up 7 things that you didn't know about me. So here goes ..

1. It took me a week to decide to keep little Max the rock star YouTube puppy.

2. I love Xmas music. I especially like the songs from the '40's like White Christmas, Winter Wonderland, Silver Bells .. I play Xmas DVDs when I bake for the holidays .. shh don't tell any .. and dance around the kitchen with Max (see #1).

3. I make a mean cheese cake. One year I spent all summer experimenting my friends loved me! Note see #2

4. Family rumor is my grandfather, Popsie, was a boxer in Boston.

5. My Uncle Hy White Uncle hy white is a jazz guitarist who played with the Big Bands. Maybe he knew BL's grandfather. He tried to teach me to play but the strings hurt too much ..ouch!

6. I want to have a home on the ocean and one in a real city.

7. I want to conduct social media workshops on a cruise ship .. combine a holiday what with I love.How cool would that be?

Now the next part of the meme is to tag 7 people who will continue the game by telling who tagged them and then tagging 7 more people who will .. well you get it.

I'll tag a few people who have recently commented on Diva Marketing -

1. Debba, girlfriendology

2. Lewis Green, BizSolutionsPlus

3. Luckie Daniels, and speaking of pink

4. Bryan Person, LiveWorld

5. Mei Li, No Fear, Just Diva

6. Yvonne DiVita, Lip-Sticking

7. Marney Lewis, Va4growth