An Interview with Advocate Health Care: Case Study #StoriesOfTheGirls

11/06/2014

Breast cancer logoBreast cancer still impacts too many lives. Advocate Health Care launched a unique program to bring attention to breast cancer prevention, treatment and support.

Understanding that women gain strength and the comfort from the stories they share and are shared they used digital and social networks to tell the  #StoriesoftheGirls . Through the following interview Christine Piester, VP Marketing and Christine Bon, Manager Digital Marketing and Communication graciously provided us with a case study of the program.

This post is dedicated to my sister Susan who I know is dancing in the stars.  Susan atl

About Advocate Health Care. Advocate Health Care is the largest health system in Illinois and one of the largest health care providers in the Midwest.

Advocate operates more than 250 sites of care, including 12 hospitals that encompass 11 acute care hospitals, the state’s largest integrated children’s network, five Level I trauma centers (the state’s highest designation in trauma care), three Level II trauma centers, one of the area’s largest home health care companies and one of the region’s largest medical groups. As a not-for-profit, mission-based health system affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the United Church of Christ, Advocate contributed $661 million in charitable care and services to communities across Chicagoland and Central Illinois in 2013.

 Our Story Tellers

Advocate Healthcare_ Christine Priester, VP, MarketingChristine Priester, VP, Marketing

 

 

 

 

Advocate Healthcare _Christine Bon

Christine Bon, Manager Digital Marketing & Communication

 

 

 

 Diva Marketing/Toby: How did the idea of #StoriesoftheGirls evolve? Was it a difficult sell to management including the hospital administrator?

Advocate Health Care: Christine Priester/Christine Bon: Obviously, the idea of #StoriesOfTheGirls remains a very edgy concept. Anytime you introduce a double entendre (“the girls”) as part of your campaign you take a risk. However, the Chicago health care market is noisy and we had to figure out a way to break through the clutter. Not only did we have to sell this concept to the health system leadership, we had to convince the 12 hospital presidents that this was the right idea, at the right time and with the right audience.

In order to gain the necessary buy-in, our CMO hosted numerous sessions where she outlined the campaign and addressed any questions and concerns. The vast majority of our internal leadership were overwhelmingly supportive, there were a few unsure outliers, but they soon became believers once they saw the results.

Diva Marketing/Toby: What was success for the campaign and how was it measured?

Advocate Health Care: Christine Priester/Christine BonWhile we wanted women to join the conversation at StoriesOfTheGirls.com, we really wanted women to take advantage of our patient added-value proposition.

We were the first in the market to offer same-day, no-referral mammograms.  This breaks down access barriers and allows women to schedule their mammogram on their terms, when they have some extra time as life might be too busy to schedule this test a few weeks out, months out, but there is no time like the present. 

  • So, that said we measured the growth in mammogram appointments (up over 10% across the system), web site visits, and engagement in the conversation (social media).

 Diva Marketing/Toby: The micro site is rich with content about breast healthcare. For many visitors to the site, I’m guessing the most compelling content is the video stories told by the breast cancer survivors and physicians.  How were these women indentified? What were their reasons to publically participate in #StoriesoftheGirls? 

Advocate Health Care: Christine Priester/Christine BonAdvocate Health Care treats more breast cancer patients than anyone else in Illinois, and more of our patients become survivors than any other system.  Through our over 30 mammogram locations across the system, we were able to tap into our internal resources to identify patients with compelling stories that were willing to participate in the campaign.

And, we had, and continue to have no problems with patients wanting to tell their story. All of our survivors say if telling their story can just save one woman’s life it was worth it. They also appreciated the real tone and voice of the campaign.

  • They have all grown tired of the traditionally depressing look at this disease and wanted to show that women’s relationships with “the girls” is much more than a cancer diagnosis.

This year we have some wonderful new videos that include not only survivors, an update on one of last year’s featured patients, but patients currently going through treatment, Sue even shaved her head on the video as her hair was falling out – emotional stuff!

 Diva Marketing/Toby: I would love to be able to chat with these amazing people. Did you explore incorporating real-time conversations through social networks, perhaps a Tweet Chat or a G+ Hangout?

Advocate Health Care: Christine Priester/Christine Bon: Glad you asked this question. New in the 2014 Stories of the Girls campaign is a message board prominently on the StoriesOfTheGirls.com microsite. We knew that we had to take this campaign to the next level in terms of the conversation so this is an exciting element this year (just launched on 9-15-14). Here, you can chat with survivors, you can talk with other families and their friends going through this journey with a loved one, you can ask our doctors questions, and you can simply ask about other breast health issues from puberty and first bras, to breastfeeding, boob jobs, and changes during menopause. Anything goes! We’d be happy to put you in touch with any of our featured survivors, check out their amazing stories through these videos.

Advocate Health Care theta theta girls

theta theta girls video

 Diva Marketing/Toby: The most exciting social tactic I saw was a #StoriesoftheGirls Instragram contest. Would you explain the concept for the Diva community?

Advocate Health Care/Christine BonThe #StoriesOfTheGirls contest was another extender of the conversation. We wanted women to share their inspiring photos, but also just women in general living healthy lives. Women were encouraged to share their photos and in turn were entered to win a gift card to a specialty bra store in Chicago. Since we had just launched our Instagram account the month prior, this was a great way for us to gain some new followers and boost engagement.

Diva Marketing/Toby: What was the most surprising aspect of the Instagram contest?

Advocate Health Care/Christine BonThrough the contest, we uncovered some very inspiring stories and one that we are now featuring in this year’s campaign: Kia. We also saw a side of our own associates (employees) who shared their breast cancer journey through photos as well. We were excited to see how quickly we gained new followers who were interested in our content and still engage with us on the social platform.

 Diva Marketing/Toby: In addition to Instagram what other social media tactics were included? Which one was your favorite and why?

Advocate Health Care/Christine BonIn addition to Instagram, we also used Facebook as a social platform to drive awareness of breast cancer by creating a daily calendar of trivia questions about breast health. There was a new question posted each day. Once the daily question was answered you were automatically entered to win a handmade breast cancer awareness crystal bracelet. You were able to enter a total of 31 times for a chance to win the grand prize of gift card to a specialty bra store in Chicago.

We also used Facebook as a platform to share all of our patient’s incredible stories, and also to promote our Instagram contest. Both of our social promotions were well received and we got some great submissions and are continuing to engage through new social promotions with the campaign this year as well and we are seeing even greater results!

Diva Marketing/Toby: How are consumer generated stories/photos being used to extend awareness of #StoriesoftheGirls and  breast cancer health?

Advocate Health Care: Christine Priester/Christine BonOur videos and patient stories have been picked up by many local media outlets as further promotion. Our patients also blog and are the subject of many stories on our brand journalism site ahchealthenews.com  View some of them here.

We also have a partnership with the Chicago Cubs, Bulls, and Bears and we are able to leverage those relationships to have breast cancer awareness events where are patients are honorary captains, sing the 7th inning stretch, and more! It’s a year-long commitment to keep breast cancer awareness at the forefront, not just during October.

Diva Marketing/Toby: The #StoriesoftheGirls campaign kicked off October 2013 to support Breast Awareness Month and appears to be continuing into the summer of 2014 and beyond. As one might say in the theatre, what makes this a long-running show?

Advocate Health Care: Christine Priester/Christine Bon

  • This campaign is authentic and real and that’s what gives it staying power. 

Act 2 of the show is in market now and we couldn’t be more excited. An element of this campaign remains in market year-round, however.  We want to make sure we’re promoting early detection of breast cancer through mammography 365 days a year. And, we want to make it easy for women to get their mammogram and new this year they can find out their results in less than 24 hours – talk about reducing worry that often times accompanies the wait on this test.

Diva Marketing/Toby: What lessons did you learn and can pass along to others in healthcare that maybe considering creating digital/social campaigns?

Advocate Health Care/Christine BonTake a risk, it’s worth it!

Content is critical.

Don’t tell your consumers about new equipment, this or that accreditation, they don’t care. 

Make your campaign about them, not about you.

Speak to your audience how people have conversations in their real life and reach out to them how they like to receive the message (social media, email, direct mail), everyone has a preference, learn it!

  • And, amazingly, you do this, they will talk back to you, and then you have a two-way, engaged consumer conversation and you create brand loyalty.

Toss of a pink boa to Sarah Scroggins for her help in coordinating this interview.  Advocate Health Care _ Sara Scroggins

Social Media "Pioneers" Tell Why

08/01/2013

We came, we saw, we kicked its ass. ~ Ghostbusters

Crowd sourceJust One Crowd Sources Question

Recently many of my social media conversations seemed to be about the perception that social is a young person’s game. Perhaps that’s true to an extent as the Pew 2012 Demographic report indicates.

However, many of the people who began exploring social media 7, 8, 9, 10, 12 years ago were 30+ when they/we started working in this industry. At the time we stepped into what was fondly called, The Blogosphere, it was an unproven direction to take business communications.

In fact, some companies thought we were a bit crazed to encourage brands to embrace concepts like transparency, authenticity, honesty and the most radical of all … customer-to-brand, peer-to-peer conversations in public forums.

I was curious to understand why the people, who I think of as the "real people" pioneers of social media, took a leap of faith to work in a field that skeptics and pundits said was just a fad. So I reached out to a few folks from across the globe to discover their reasons for Why.

Some of the Whys

Business Applications - Several people saw blogs in a purely business context --a competitive advantage, opportunity to speak directly to customers and stakeholders, new avenue to expand networks and connect with industy thought leaders, easy way to share (business) information, 

New Challenge - Other people liked the challenge of something new and wanted to experiment.  Some realized that blogs could shape opinons beyond the influence and gatekeeping of traditional media .. they saw blogs as way to empower people.

Personal Expression - Others wanted to share not only information but their opinons. For other the satisfaction of personal expression influenced them to explore blogs. 

Anita Campbell, Small Biz Trends - To set my business apart and gain national visibility. Blogs were the ticket to that.

Neville Hobson, Communication Consultant - Partly for that very reason: unproven, often risky! Mostly, though, to try and figure out what blogs were and what they could do in business. Today social media is pervasive and mainstream awareness is very high.

It's a double-edged sword in business, requiring deeper understanding of and sensitivity to people's changing behaviours and the complexities of those changing behaviours in a workplace setting. A constant learning experience.

Nettie Renyolds, Nettie Ink  - I was totally enthralled with how the new communication tools were going to educate and empower people online. I was also writing the Professional PR blog for Allbusiness.com. I was so  blessed to get to try out these tools even in infancy.

If anyone who is under 30 and working in social media believes that everything they are using now will apply in the same efficacy as it does in the next 24 months -they are misguided.

These tools are ever-changing so every tool and every piece of communication must first establish context and then the best tool to use is secondary. Also - keep your website as your central anchor!

Elisa Camahort Page, BlogHer - I started as a personal blog. I reviewed movies, theatre, books, and restaurants, among other personal observations.

Once I shared a restaurant review with some colleagues and saw that review spread across my network and encourage dozens of people to try that restaurant I had what I call my "peanut butter chocolate" moment about how blogging and online community was a natural communications and marketing channel.

I really thought the ability to speak directly to your customers, readers, audience, etc. was an opportunity that organizations should not pass up. And even my early experiments in marketing via the social web channels that existed at the time (pre-Facebook, pre-Twiiter, etc.) showed immediate and quantifiable promise. Some-ppl-are-old-at-18-and-young-at-90_by-DustBurst_via-groovypinkblog-300x224

Rajesh Lalwani, Blogworks - As a student and practitioner of public relations and communication, I saw the emergent change where organizations and stakeholders could engage directly; where the role of shaping opinion and influencing purchase would no longer be limited to mainstream media, but everyone; the changed dynamics of a world where news would be disseminated first by people on the street.

I could see it clearly that this will change how communication, reputation, marketing, customer service, research, content had worked thus far. I felt this was my opportunity to participate in the future of everything brand and I jumped in. I didn't think this was risky. I was clear, this would be mainstream

Merrill DuBrow, M/A/R/C Research Someone very smart (you - Ms Bloomberg convinced me to blog - said it is critical to buisness and yes you were right.

Yvonne DiVita, BlogPaws, Lipsticking  - I joined in 2004 and it gave me immediate results. I was connected to people in the business world that I would never have known about, before using a blog.

I started blogging because my partner had learned about blogging in his college course (adult learning) and thought it was a fantastic tool to connect people from all over the world. And, he was right. It connected me to dozens of people in the marketing world I was just then venturing to enter.

I think the younger folks can learn a lot from us 'old timers' - including how to bring tried and true business practices to a social media world. And, we can learn a lot from them - such as learning how to apply some of the new tools being invented. This shouldn't be a "them" or "us" kind of thing.

It should be an open conversation about life. Isn't that what blogs and social media are all about? And, isn't that how you build connections?

David Berkowitz, MRY - I got into digital media because I wanted to write and not be a journalist in any traditional sense. Before I was blogging in 2004, I was already writing a lot for eMarketer (my full-time job), and then started contributing to MediaPost.

Blogging was a natural extension, especially when I decided to focus more on establishing my own voice through my blog. After the fact, I came to appreciate the community of bloggers that I was part of just by blogging.

B.L. Ochman, Whats Next - I had been publishing a print newsletter called What's Next and then moved it online to my website as a weekly. When it became possible to switch to a blog, I didn't hesitate for a second.

Started in 2002, and only took that long to blog because it took me a long time to find a designer who could create it to have the same design as my website. I wanted a graphic identity for my content.

Paul Chaney, Chaney Marketing Group - It was an outlet for personal expression, and a way to scratch my writing itch. My first posts didn't have to do as much with business, but that's the direction it turned pretty quickly.

Brendan Hurley, Goodwill of Greater Washington  - When we launched our social media/blogging initiatives in 2007, research data supported the fact that at the time it was a medium dominated by a younger audience, and that's who we were trying to reach and influence.

Our adoption was purely a strategic business decision. However, we didn't go about it without some due diligence. We consulted with Geoff Livingston, a well-respected social media expert, who helped us develop a comprehensive and integrated approach.

Social media is a powerful tool and has become a critical and growing component of our overall marketing strategy. But in most cases, I still recommend taking an integrated approach. Even Zappos is using TV...

Brent Leary, CRM Essentails - Just was looking to share my thoughts and experiences in the CRM industry.

C.B. Whittemore - Opportunity to experiment and explore firsthand with online tools when every sign I came across said that marketing and business would head that way. I could do it on my time, at minimal cost other than my time. Plus, the more I got involved, the more cool smart people I came across - with Diva Toby being one of the very coolest. 

Barb Giamanco - My background is in technology, so I saw these tools as the next evolution of technology to support business processes.

It isn't about age. It is about attitude. Social media isn't a young person's game - whatever that's supposed to mean, and I think that the people who say that are using it as an excuse not to learn new skills.

These new technologies and approaches impact business in the same way that fax machines changed up business. So did being required to know word processing or how to use presentation software. People resisted computers.

They said we'd never do business using email. They also said that people wouldn't purchase products over the web and that mobile phones wouldn't be a big deal. THEY were wrong and still are if they think that social media is a fad.

Kevin O'Keefe, Lexblog - To help people, specifically to help lawyers understand how to use the Internet in a way that could enhance their reputations as a trusted and reliable authorities.

Marianne Richmond - At first it just seemed so incredible to be able to connect directly online with thought leaders, true experts and people working in same business. Then the light bulb went off that businesses could connect directly with consumers and vice versa.

Drew McLelllan, McLellan Marketing Group - I was curious -- and it seemed like the right time to jump in. It was new, everyone was making mistakes so I was free to experiment and explore, knowing that others would be forgiving if I wasn't perfect at it.

There was also a professional necessity. I own an agency and knew our clients would be need to consider social media as an option. I couldn't counsel them if I wasn't fluent myself. Rather than read about it or watch it, I jumped into the deep end, launching a blog and creating a profile on all of the major platforms of the day.

Des Walsh, Business Coach - In 2003, there was a convergence of my enthusisam for networking, my keen interest in communication technology (for communication's sake, not so much for the technology itself) and my then new involvement in coaching.

At a coaching conference in San Francisco early 2003 a session "become an e-celebrity through blogging" opened my eyes to blogging as a way to promote my coaching business beyond my relatively limited circle in Sydney, Australia. As I went on I learned more about blogging and became an evangelist for business blogging.

Too many mature age people see bloggng and social media as being about technology. For me it is about people and communication. My life has been immeasurably enriched through the friendships I have made worldwide through social media and my business has benefited continually from my engagement with and knowledge of social media

Sybil Stersjic, Quality Service Marketing - I developed my business blog to share and further develop my professional passion for employee-customer care. My blog also gave me a web presence since I did not have a website at the time.

Jane Genova, Executive and Marketing Pro - It got me into the "conversation" without having to be admitted by the gatekeepers (editors) in media. I had a hunch that there were others like myself who wanted to be in and be able to bypass the gatekeepers. Stay with what's working. Be aware how your medium is changing. Change with it.

Shel Israel, Author -  Are you aware that I spent about six months in 2011 writing a book called Pioneers of Social Media? It never found a publisher, nor did I sense a groundswell of interest that would have made me willing to take the risk to self-publish. 

Anyway, many of the pioneers are my age, we are 60s kids who believed in power to the people and transparency and lots of sex. Some of them, A few include Howard Rheingold, host the The Well, first online community; Randy Farmer, co-developer of Habitat, first use of avatars, so that you could have an online presence, Dave Winer, father of the blog, RSS and more, are all from the 60s. Each had an interest in using technology to empwer people through networking.

I am not a pioneer of social media. I'm more like a witness. I was in the right place at the right time to see the revolutionary aspects that social media promised. These people were talking about improving the structure of a global society. I doubt that any of them ever envisioned cute cat photos.

I remain, a camp joiner more than a pioneer. I like to write about people who see how technology makes life, work, health, learning, entertainment and communications better.

The technology of the pioneers has done much to change the world. But I'm not sure the current trends are what they had in mind. It's pretty much like when television came in in the 1950s and NBC's Sarnoff dreamed of opera for the masses. Around the corner, Bill Paley, was formed CBS. He looked at Sarnoff and said "screw that shit. We'll give them I love Lucy and sell cigarettes. Guess who won?

~ and me. I launched Diva Marketing in 2004, because my friend Dana Van Den Heuvel told me I had no credibilty talking about blogs, in training programs, unless I was actively involved. Diva Marketing was to be a way for me to learn. I had no intention of keeping it going for more than a few months.

Almost as soon as I wrote my first post people reached out to welcome me to the blogosphere. I  quickly realized this wasa far different world than websites The potential to build and nuture relationships and talk directly to customers in this funny thing called "comments" was the missing link of the business internet. So I stayed .. and as they say, the rest is history.

Update

Beth Harte - I jumped into corporate social media in 2006 (it wasn't even a term then). I saw it more of an extension of PR than marketing. It was a tough sell back then.

Pink boaToss of a boa to these amazing people who were among the first to set the wheels in montion for an exciting new way to bring brands, employees and customer together. 

Anita Campbell - Small Biz Trends @Small Biz Trends Began blogging 2003 (USA)

Barbara Giamanco - @BarbaraGiamanco Linkedin  Began blogging 2004 (USA)

Beth Harte - The Harte of Marketing @BethHarte Began blogging 2006 (USA)

B.L. Ochman Whats Next Blog Pawfun Blog  @WhatsNext Google+ Y2006 (USA)ouTube Whats Next Blog  YouTube Beyond Social Media Beganblogging 1996 (USA)

Brent Leary - Brent Leary.com @BrentLeary Began blogging 2004 (USA)

C. B. Whittemore - Simple Marketing Now  Simply Marketing Now Blog @CBWhittemore Began blogging 2006 (USA)

David Berkowitz - Marketers Studio Blog About David Berkowitz @DBerkowitz @MRY Began blogging 2004  (USA)

Des Walsh - DesWalsh.com  @DesWalsh Began blogging 2003 (Australia)

Drew McLellan - Drew's Marketing Minute @DrewMcLellan Began blogging 1999 (USA)

Elisa Camahort Page - BlogHer G@ElisaC Began blogging 2003 (USA)

Jane Genova - JaneGenova.com Law and More Over 50 Began blogging 2005 (USA)

Kevin O’Keefe - LexBlog  @KevinOKeefe  Began blogging 1996 (USA)

Merril Dubrow - The Merrill Dubrow Blog  @MerrillDubrow Began blogging 2006 (USA)

Marianne Richmond - Resonance Parntership @Marianne Began blogging 2005 (USA)

Nettie Reynolds - Nettie Ink LinkedIn  @NetReynolds (1999) (USA)

Neville Hobson - Neville Hobson.com @jangles  Began blogging 2002(UK) 

Paul Chaney - Chaney Marketing Group @PChaney Began blogging 2004 (USA)

Rajesh Lalwani - BlogWorks @RajeshLawlani  Began blogging 2005 (India)

Shel Israel - Shel Israel on Forbes Facebook LinkedIn @ShelIsraelegan blogging 2005 (USA)

Sybil F. Stershic - Qualty Service Marketing Quality Service Marketing @SybilQSM Linkedin LinkedIn (USA)

Toby Bloomberg - Diva Marketing Blog Pinterest Bio Board  @Tobydiva Began blogging 2004 (USA)

Yvonne DiVita - Lipsticking @lipsticking BlogPaws @Blogpaws Began blogging 2004 (USA)

Just One Crowd Sourced Question is an on-going series that taps the knowledge, experience and yes opinons of people who believe that one of the core values of social media culture is learning together.

Interview with Geoff Livingston Author of Marketing In The Round

06/11/2012

Geoff Livingston 2012It is my pleasure to introduce you to the co-author of Marketing In The Round .. my friend Geoff Livingston

One line in Geoff''s bio tells all you need to know to understand the man behind this newly release book. "He brings people together, virtually and physically to affect change and achieve higher knowledge."

In his third book, co-authored with Gini Dietrich, the focus is on  integrating traditional and new media marketing elements and breaking down those stifling internal silos.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  Let’s start this off with “Why this book?” Seriously, why does the world of  marketing need this book now?

Geoff Livingston:  When Gini Dietrich and I focused on multichannel integration, our logic centered on delivering ROI and outcomes for social media. So much of today’s conversation is about how marketers can get results from social. To us, that lack of results has more to do with siloed communications and a failure to integrate all marketing disciplines together.  Integration also includes adding hard lead generation-oriented metrics from direct and advertising to the mix. 

 Even though that was a year, ago the problem persists. Two recent studies from the CMO Council and the CMO Survey showed that less than 10% of lead marketers are running well integrated digital campaigns [Geoff's post - What CEOs Want: Better Social Integration & Anaylics]. Integrating marketing and general understanding of diverse disciplines has become a lost art.

Diva Marketing/Toby: So many options. So little time, money and people. From your perspective, what is the most significant challenge facing the 21st century marketer?

Geoff Livingston: Without question, it’s understanding the modern stakeholder’s media experience. 

Marketers think like media tools, literally.  It’s as if we were media hammers. How can I get people to use my nail? How can I drive the nail home?  But in reality, people walk around an entire media structure in which there are many nails, dry wall, support beams, screws, hex nuts, roofing, lights, tiles, etc. etc. 

  • Until we stop marketing from our perspective, but from the perspective of the true media landscape as seen by our customers, including mobile, 21st century marketers will struggle.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  The visual model  of Marketing In The Round is built with “marketing” as the center and let’s call them  marketing functional areas (advertising, web/digital, content, direct mail, etc.) as spokes from the center.  Based on your model, how do you define “marketing” that makes marketing unique from the functional tenants.

Geoff Livingston:  The ability to build, maintain and administrate holistic communications and interaction strategy for an organization and its stakeholders.

Toby Bloomberg/Diva Marketing: Wondering... where do customer care, research and sales fit into the model?

Geoff Livingston:  They definitely fit in frequently. When we present the Round concept live you’d see them brought into meetings frequently.  They don’t usually end up at weekly meetings of the marketing group, but are an integral part of the larger customer experience, and as such, they end up attending CMO meetings almost every month if not more frequently.  Ideally, everyone is closely seated together to help foster further integration.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  Sounds like you’re restructuring the marketing department. Who leads the charge of  Marketing In The Round if not the CMO? What skills/talents should that person have to make it work?

Geoff Livingston: It is the CMO.

That person should have a couple of skill sets.  First, they are an administrator and a manager. Their job is to facilitate the marketing function from a resource and operational perspective, incentivize what had been here-to-fore silos to work together, and lead the department in its interface with other departments so that marketing acts as a networked component of the larger enterprise (as opposed to its own silo).  Secondly, that person is usually a marketer themselves, and as such they need to have graduated from tactician to a strategist who can understand the value of branding, strategic approaches and tactics.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  One of my favorite lines in the book is –“.. you lend that content to and
community to outlying networks ..”
(p 24) The question then becomes is what’s the source of the Geoff Livingston Marketing in the round_max content and community?

Geoff Livingston: Usually, it’s the company. If the company is successful in its groundswell and top down approaches you’re seeing true customer word of mouth take place and they start developing content.  Stakeholder generated content creates brand and product advocacy, as well as (hopefully) inspiring media stories, speaking engagements, analyst reports and other types of traditional professional content produced independently of the company.

Diva Marketing/Toby: Coming from a research background, I appreciate the time you dedicated to consumer insights .. both traditional and social media. It seems as though the concepts of “listening” and “monitoring” had different meanings in the book. How are you defining  concept of “listening” and that of “monitoring?”

Geoff Livingston: It may be an issue of semantics on our part.  They are closely related.

Listening occurs before, during and after a marketing effort. But in many ways it’s the harnessing of data – big data if you would. I think hearing is the ability to decipher that data into meaningful and regular intelligence. Monitoring to me is the practice of hearing that data intelligence formally and regularly as a company.  Now, that’s my opinion based on the question. Gini may have a different take on that.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  I really liked the charts, worksheets and resources that you and Gini integrated throughout the book.  One of the Pros under social media (p27) indicated “inexpensive form of sponsoring messages on the social platforms.”  Does this refer to “blogger relations” and are you advocating paying bloggers for their posts?

Geoff Livingston: I don’t advocate paying bloggers to blog on their site. I do advocate paying people to intelligently interact with bloggers to provide useful content ideas and guest posts wherever possible.

I pay bloggers for their posts on Inspiring Generosity. Getting great content for your site requires paying talent, in my opinion.  I hate people that ask me to blog for free consistently without any clear value for my effort. It’s the primary reason why I stopped blogging for Mashable. The effort outweighed the value.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  Several different dashboards ideas are presented. While I think dashboards are a great way to track and analyze do it right is a time resource/commitment. If a company can only manage One dashboard what would be your suggestion?

Geoff Livingston: There is no silver bullet, unfortunately. Whatever a company selects they will end up customizing it if they want meaningful analytics for their monitoring program.  Google Analytics, Radian6, Hubspot, Marketo, and Eloqua is where I’d start depending on budget, from free to full enterprise.

Diva Marketing/Toby: In your travels Geoff, what organizations did you find that were doing it well?

Geoff Livingston: Dell, the American Red Cross are the obvious ones.

Procter & Gamble does a lot better than people give them credit for.  They are a brand management organization in the CMO sense, using agencies to execute tactics. I think they get social in the sense of when an agency or partner is doing a good job for them, and when they are not.

Google is doing really well, even the + network isn’t (or maybe it’s just bad press).  Google clearly listens to feedback, and it seems to me they are becoming a social enterprise. 

Etsy and Five Guys are brilliant at word of mouth marketing.  Chrysler has proven itself to be a savvy advertising company in its current incarnation. And Apple is probably the best all around integrated multichannel marketing organization out there.

Diva Marketing/Toby: As is the tradition on Diva Marketing the last questions is yours to take and run with as you would like. What would you tell our community about integrated marketing in the round?

Geoff Livingston: This isn’t rocket science. Our book is not going to teach you black belt jujitsu. It is about the basic fundamentals of marketing together as an integrated multichannel organization. No matter how fancy your marketing strategy and tactical execution is, if you aren’t blocking and tackling, you will likely lose.

It’s a reminder about what worked before social, and what still works in the current digital marketing era, teamwork, and thinking together as collective communications team.  That’s integrated strategies.

Continue the conversation with Geoff!

Geoff Livingstons Blog Twitter Flickr G+ Marketing In The Round SlideShare Pinterest

 Bloggy Disclaimer: I was provided with a complementary copy of Marketing In The Round. All opinions are 100% mine.

Pinterest For Business To Business: Interview With Joel Windels of Brandwatch

05/23/2012

Last week I attended my first Pinterest meetup. Max pinterest tshirt

It was great fun and I even won a Pinterest T-shirt. Seems appropriate that Max should model it since he has his own Pinterest board. Don't you think he makes a cute model?

Anyway, needless to say, I was excited to meet fellow pinners and talk about strategy, cool tools, what works, what doesn't.

"Were you on the PinChat when host & founder Kelly LIeberman brought in Lizze from McDonalds?" I asked a few people. My question was met with puzzled looks. "Oh big corporations are pinning?"  Now I was surprised. Ah..yes. 

Granted, I only spoke with a handful of people, but it seemed most were pinning for fun or using Pinterest in a very limited way for business e.g. one board among many personal boards.

My big take aways: Pinterest, as a business tool, is still in the beginning stages of adoption .. even for the pioneer pinners. Even more than the idea of pinning for business, is the concept of putting a focus on pinning for business by creating and maintaining a variety of boards that support a brand.

When it comes to social media, we learn most from the people who have stepped out before us and generously share their experiences. In this Pinterest Pinning For Business Learning Series post we take a look how a business-to-business company, Brandwatch, is using Pinterest as an inbound marketing tactic.

About Brandswatch: Launched in August 2007, Brandwatch  develops tools for monitoring and analysing social media conversations. The company is experiencing huge growth in the young sector.

 Joel Windels_Brandwatch

Our interview is with Joel Windels. Joel is the Community Manager at Brandwatch where he is responsible for all of Brandwatch’s presences online, including social networks like Pinterest.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  In a world that began as a social network to share images of food and fashion Brandwatch is one of the early business-to-business brands on Pinterest. What did you see about the platform that caused you to actively participate?

Joel Windels: The key thing to remember with social media is that it is not only incredibly new, but it is also changing at a rate that is almost impossible to stay totally on top of. At Brandwatch, we’re obviously very interested in making sure we’re keeping track of all of the most popular social sites, so once Pinterest began to show itself as a rising star, we had to take notice. The meteoric rise of the network and simplicity of the image-sharing idea struck a chord with me, so I decided to test the waters.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  From a high level, what is Brandwatch’s  Pinterest strategy?

Joel Windels: We generally see Pinterest as a traffic-boosting network, with site referrals from Pinterest forming a small part of our wider lead generation strategy. As an inbound marketing tool, it’s an excellent place to house links to lots of our content in a visually appealing and clever way, in a way that’s not centered around our own website.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  Understanding that Pinterest is still in its infancy, especially in terms of b2b, what are your measures for success?

Joel Windels: As I mentioned before, we’re just testing the waters and, for the moment at least, we’re measuring its value in referral rates. There’s something to be said for the qualitative worth in having a presence, such as using it as a resource for curious prospects and simply for broadening the visibility of Brandwatch, though the primary measurement is through number of visits to our own site from Pinterest for the time being.

Diva Marketing/Toby: With any social network initiative there are risks associated with active participating. What were Brandwatch’s challenges and how did you overcome them?

Joel Windels: One of the more interesting ways we’ve been using Pinterest is through the use of our ‘social media monitoring’ board. We’ve created it to house a board of our main competitors, as we regularly get asked about the other options in the market, so it gives us somewhere to point people to. Using our own tool, we also search the web for individuals and companies that are enquiring about SMM tools and the industry, so we often step in to offer advice, sometimes via our Pinterest boards.

While it may be a cliché, we think that our tool is the best around and that people will come to that conclusion by themselves, so in pointing our prospects to our competitors we’re not approaching marketing in an orthodox way. The risk is that we’re not as good as we think we are (very low, of course)!

Diva Marketing/Toby:  If you’re not a visual thinker it might be a “content challenge” for a services business to sustain pinning over time. What is your content strategy .. In other words what are you pinning?  

Joel Windels: Pinterest is a supplementary channel for us, so we don’t have a content strategy for the platform. We’ve created one-off boards, such as the monitoring one and a set of pins to support our Superbowl project back in February, though we are now using the site as a seeding channel for our main content – namely our eBooks, our case studies and our blog posts. Essentially our Pinterest content plan mirrors our general one.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  In social networks there are two paths we can take:  passively providing content and actively engaging within others. At this point, most people seem to be sharing content/pins but there is not a lot of conversation happening. How active is Brandwatch in terms of engagement e.g. commenting, repining, likes?

Joel Windels: This is a very good point you’ve made, as they are indeed two very different approaches. There are 1001 different social networks propping up and lots of guesswork involved in determining how to spend your ‘community time’. Therefore I decided that, for now, we’ve tried to keep our primary focus for engagement on tried and tested platforms like Twitter, whilst using Pinterest for its own strengths.

For the moment, we’ve walked the first type of path in passively providing content, though as the site progresses and we hire more community staff in the coming months, we may well take a look at the second approach. Brandwatch

Diva Marketing/Toby:  One of the big questions that I’m asked is how do you find time to include another social network into your communication outreach? Would you give us an idea of the resource structure (people) and approximate time you’re investing?

Joel Windels: Our team is split across the UK, Germany and the USA. Understandably we’re still putting together the processes that divide the community spread, but at the moment it’s just me on Pinterest. We’ve pulled a bit of focus away from the likes of Google plus and other networks for the time being, as we’re seeing more referrals through Pinterest. We’ve had other monitoring companies repin some of our pins, and plenty of staff members contribute to the content that our pins link to, but as far as actually maintaining our profile and our uploads, that task currently sits at my desk.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  In any new social media endeavor, they will not come unless you tell them. How is Brandwatch creating awareness for its Pinterest boards?

Joel Windels: Well, you know what? They have been coming anyway. Like I mentioned before, we often link people through Twitter and other sites to our collections – good articles, our eBooks, competitors when someone wants an overview. We haven’t really pushed our Pinterest presence very strongly; it seems to have grown organically, with users sharing it amongst themselves because they like our boards/content rather than us trying to draw attention to it.

Diva Marketing/Toby: Pinterest provides interesting consumer insights. From the point of view of a research company, I’d love to hear your views of what marketers can gain from analysis of pins and boards.

Joel Windels: Well, Pinterest is a bit of a pain with its API so it’s very hard to work out exactly how much coverage we offer. Obviously it’s the best possible, but we are aware of some pins slipping through the net. Useful features like sentiment analysis and author metrics can help analysts work out how companies are faring on Pinterest, and how they might be doing that.

 As with all of the data we track, searching the web for social media mentions of your brand, your industry or your competitors will allow you to get a much greater understanding of what your customers are saying. Even if people are pinning and engaging positively on your brand page, doesn’t mean people aren’t indicating otherwise elsewhere. The only way of truly gleaning insight from the social web is through monitoring tools and the features they provide. Exactly what each company will discover from an analytical point of view will differ in each case.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  To wrap this up. what lessons learned can you share with us about business-to-business companies coming jumping onto the Pinterest train?

Joel Windels: As with any new and untested platform, it’s quite fun to test the waters with what works and what doesn’t; it’s certainly good advice to poke your toes in before diving in at the deep end. Furthermore, we’ve found that through being open, interesting and experimental we’ve managed to get a good ROI from being on the network.

Note: #PinChat is held Wednesday at 9p Eastern Time.

Pinterest Pinning For Business Learning Series 

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

Kotex + Pinterest = An Innovative Campaign: A Case Study With Yael Linen-Zuchman

03/30/2012

Pinterest_creative KotexSeems we can’t turn a virtual corner without bumping into a post about the hottest social network Pinterest.

What started as a playground for mostly women to share life style images is morphing into a serious business platform. Many brands, B2b, B2C, as well as, nonprofit and even the military and higher ed are pinning.

Recently I was contacted by an Israeli agency about a Pinterest campaign that they launched for Kotex: Kotex Inspiration Day.  Smoyz logoThe strategy capitalized on Pinterest in an innovative way beyond brand pins on a board. Let’s call it a “Pinterst” relationship strategy a la blogger relations. In fact, it might be the first. But I can assure you it will not be the last.

Yael Linen-Zuchman, CEO of the agency smoyz, kindly agreed to fill us in on the back-story, offer her insights about the strategy and share some lessons learned. 

Yael Linen-ZuchmanAbout Yael Linen-Zuchman, CEO of smoyz. She is a 30 year-old who graduated with a BA in business in 2009 at IDC Herztelia Israel. She established smoyz, a creative agency in 2010. She's "always looking for the next (simple yet brilliant) big thing."

About smoyz. A creative agency founded in 2010. smoyz is an agency for unique marketing on New Media, specializing in creative and novel content activities and building optimal platform for the brand on the web. Eran Sion – Digital Marketing Manager at Hogla-Kimberly

In several questions Yael asked Eran Sion, Digital Marketing Manager at Hogla-Kimberly to share his views. We have a unique view of the campaign from two perspectives: the brand and the agency.   

 

Diva Marketing/Toby: Yael, let’s start at the beginning. How did the idea to reach out to pinners come about?

Yael Linen-Zuchman/smoyz: To communicate the launch of "Kotex Design" designed pads and panty liners by Kotex. We searched for an innovative social platform where women can express themselves freely and openly in a unique way.

Pinterest, and especially pinners, were found to be the best candidates because of the simple and brilliant (and not too invasive) way Pinterest works. In one simple action (pin) you can express yourself.

Diva Marketing/Toby: So, if I understand you, it seems that before you could reach out to women to give them the unique gifts from Kotex you first had to identify them and Pinterest was how you chose to do that.

Yael Linen-Zuchman/smoyz: That is correct!

Diva Marketing /Toby: Although you were going into a new area of social marketing… call it social visual communication, as marketers we seem to always be held to the standard of achieving goals/objectives. What were the goals/objectives that the client wanted to achieve for this program? 

Eran Sion/Hogla-Kimberly: Kotex is "the underdog brand" at the feminine category in Israel and Kotex logo therefore we looked for a unique and unconventional activity that will encourage Israeli women to talk about the products and rethink their habits and attitude towards the brand. 

Diva Marketing /Toby: Since this was a novel approach to Pinterest, what did you/smoyz want to learn from the experience that might have been different from Kotex’s goals?

Yael Linen-Zuchman/smoyz: We generally think the same as Hogla-Kimberly. We were looking for an activity that would generate buzz around the product/brand. My brief was to create the conversation and maintain the brand as the creator of the move.

Diva Marketing /Toby:  Creating a YouTube video to tell your story of the brand strategy was nothing short of brilliant. Note: if you have not seen the video it's worth a click and watch.

In the video you indicated that 50 women were contacted. Let’s dive into what many marketers would like to understand .. your process of the hows and whys. Now, we’re not expecting you to give away any trade secrets Yael but a high level over view would be great. 

How were the women identified? In other words was it done manually or through technology?

Yael Linen-Zuchman/smoyz: The women were identified by a few categories: viral, trendsetters and active on pinterest (many profiles on pinterest are open though not active enough to be relevant for this campaign). The women were identified first via social media monitoring and analysis technology  and then manually picked the most inspiring ones.

Diva Marketing /Toby: Did smoyz and Kotex develop a set of criteria e.g. age, country, type of interests, etc?

Yael Linen-Zuchman/smoyz: We looked for profiles / pictures that could creatively be transformed into "real life products."  

Diva Marketing /Toby: I guess it goes without saying, the women were from Israel (smile).  Was an “influencer” or “power pinner” part of your criteria? If so how did you define that e.g. by number of pins, followers, ect?

Yael Linen-Zuchman/smoyz: Yes, an influencer & power pinner were part of our criteria; we looked for profiles which are both active and both viral (followers wise).

Diva Marketing /Toby:  What were some of the challenges that you encountered?

Yael Linen-Zuchman/smoyz: The main challenge was to make the pinners cooperate with a commercial activity owned by Kotex. Because we were very accurate and relevant to the Pinners, we received fantastic collaboration.

Diva Marketing /Toby:  From the video it seemed as though the gifts were a surprise. I’m curious as to how the women’s addresses were located.

Yael Linen-Zuchman/smoyz: After monitoring an inspiring pin we prepared the gift and pinned a photo on our Pinterest profile (Get Inspired). Then, on each pin that we monitored we commented and added a link to the gift, in order to receive the gift all they needed to do was repin our photo.

The repin was a signal of their interest, the addresses were taken via personal message approach. We used both the @ symbol and both the pin & like in order to get their attention properly. 

Diva Marketing /Toby:  Your results were beyond impressive; especially since the women posted across multiple social networks. How did you track the analytics? Note: almost 100% participation.

Yael Linen-Zuchman/smoyz: Technical social media monitoring and manually monitoring these 50 women.

Diva Marketing /Toby: Yael , I’d love to see how the women positioned their pins? Can you share a couple of the Pinterest board with our community?

Yael Linen-Zuchman/smoyze: The profile we created, was deleted and no longer exist, that's why you can't see the photos. We decided to open the Kotex Pinterest "Get Inspired" profile temporarily and closed it after the campaign. (Note: Eran addresses this approach further below.)

Following are some of the women who participated in the Pinterest Kotex campaign.

Products I Love . My StyleLegally Blonde . Urban Wilderness

Diva Marketing /Toby: My friends (and I admit me too!) are so curious .. what were some of the presents that were in  the boxes? That must have been a fun part of the project .. making sure the gifts reflected the pinner’s interests.

 Yael Linen-Zuchman/smoyz: This was the most amazing part of the campaign. After locating each womens inspiration smoyz team went out for an inspiration treasure hunt.

We went to markets, malls, searched the internet..and finally bought 50 unique inspiring gifts. After buying these gifts artists designed on these gift the new kotex design look. Among the gifts:

Kotex_kittyA women pinning cat photos received two bowls designed and with her cats names. (Note: Maxie pup approves!)

A women that pinned sweets, got a kotex designed jar full of hearted sweets.

A women that pinned cupcakes & got kotex designed cupcakes.

A young girl pinned diaries & got a pocket diary with her name painted on the diary.

A women that pinned pastry-cooking stuff received a cooking kit designed with her initials.

Kotex_gift1 Kotex gift_2
Kotex gift 3

Diva Marketing /Toby: Yael what fun .. buying presents. I want that job! By the way, does Kotex have a Pinterest page? And if they do would you be so kind as to give us the link? If not are any plans in the works that you can share with us?

Eran Sion/Hogla-Kimberly: We believe that any activity on behalf of the brand, should give true value to our consumers and reflect the core values of the brand. The latest activity did just that. We are in a constant search for a platform that will enable us to provide added value to our consumers – It does not have to be a long lasting engagement, short term relations are also welcome.

Diva Marketing/Toby: Interesting approach to Pinterest and social media. Not only short term boards for campaigns but taking them down after the run of the campaign. Eran, I'm curious .. why wouldn’t Kotex want the long-term awareness that the board would bring?

Eran Sion/Hogla-Kimberly: The main goal of our digital platforms is to promote awareness to the brand and we support them constantly. Nevertheless it would be ambitious to create constant excitement on behalf of Kotex on a Pinterest profile; but due the success of the "Kotex Inspiration Day" activity, we will examine our long term presence on the platform. 

Diva Marketing /Toby:  Diva Marketing is all about learning from each other. Yael, would you please share a couple of the overall lessons that you learned?

Yael Linen-Zuchman/smoyz:

  • In my opinion New media marketing in 2012 is all about creating intimate moments with the brand.
  • These amazing platforms enable the brands to touch their audience in the most intimate way. 
  • Conventional advertising and marketing cannot stand alone today without a simple yet brilliant touch to blow people away and create a real organic engagement.

Diva Marketing /Toby: In the tradition of Diva Marketing interviews,  you get the last word. So the virtual stage is yours .. wrap it up any way you’d like.

Yael Linen-Zuchman/smoyz:  Would it be cheesy if I quote my most favorite one? Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication -- Leonardo de Vinci

Pinterest Pinning For Business Learning Series 

Is Social Media A Strategy or A Tactic?

03/08/2012

  • In real life, strategy is actually very straightforward. You pick a general direction and implement like hell. – Jack Welch 

Strategy freenetwork
As BBF B.L. Ochman recently reminded me, social media has been around, and included in varying degrees (!), as a business initiative for the past ten years. Although most marketers agree social media is not a fad there is still a debate on what is social media. Is social media a strategy or is social media a tactic?

Just One Crowd Sourced Question

I was curious to understand what and why marketers thought on this issue and thought it would be a great question for Diva Marketing's sometimes series: Just One Crowd Sourced Question.

I reached out to people within social networks and invited them to reach out to their networks and answer .. just one question. It's a quick turn around .. a few days to respond. The goal, of course, is to bring you diverse opinions so we can learn together. 

Let's frame the question with a high level overview of strategy and tactics. The following is from Euromed Marseille School of Management, World Med MBA Program - Information Systems and Strategy Course

"Strategy and tactics are about means and ends: they bridge the gap between our vision of the future and our day to day decisions. Both strategy and tactics are about deciding the means by which a goal is reached. Ultimately the goal of strategy as a concept is to find a rigorous and systematic way of making these decisions."

Or put another way .. strategy is identifying which song to sing and tactics are identifying how to sing it. Then sing it out loud and strong! 

Crowd sourceOut of the 17 responses received, most people felt that social media was both a strategy and a tactic.

It was interesting that several marketers considered social media to be neither. They came up with their own creative descriptives ranging from "a corporate culture and state of mind to a platform and communications tools."

 Is Social Media A Strategy or Is Social Media A Tactic?

Social Media Is A Strategy

1. Social media is a strategy for communicating and engaging in/expanding dialogue with your brand's consumers/advocates/constituents. Sure, it's one tactic for broadcast marketing messages, but successful use of social media includes using it as a customer service, just as much as a marketing, tool.

Developing a strategy prior to implementing social media ensures that your company has the resources/manpower to keep it running; that you have the tools in place to measure its value; that you'll know what to do with it with a crisis strikes; and that you get the bang for your buck integrating cross-departmental use (customer service department, communications department, user experience, operations, etc.). - Laura Bellinger @madamebelle

2. Utilizing social media is a strategy. Tactics are how you accomplish the goal. Interestingly the idiom for strategy is "tools of the trade". - JoAnn Hines Packaging Diva

3. Because it helps to get your name/product out in the world by a host of different means. - AmyJo

Social Media Is A Tactic

1. While you can have a strategy for your social media program, it is a tactic within your overall marketing tool kit. It should be one element of a complete business/marketing strategy that aligns with business goals and objectives. - Katharine McMahon @marketingbykat

2. I think it is more of a Tactic than a strategy. A strategy is what you need to do to implement your goal(s). The tactics are the How's. Moreover, I believe that Social Media is more of a connector - it's the glue that links the offline and the online efforts of your marketing campaigns, it connects you to your fans, would-be fans, competitors and general public. That is built-in market research right there. - Sue Duris President M4 Communications, Inc. 

3. Like other forms of 'marketing' or engaging with your customer, social media exists to bring you face-to-face, either in real time or virtually. The strategy of your business needs to be finding the best ways to serve your customers - the tactic is in using social media, among other tools, to achieve that goal. - Yvonne DiVita, Lip-sticking 

Social Media Is Both A Strategy And A Tactic

1. SM is a great tool (tactic) to achieve and meet goals, but it truly needs a strategy to be successful. Without the strategy, how do you know if the tool is working? - Rachel Simon @raksimon

2. Offense is strategic, Defense is tactical. I see the world of social as offense versus defense. Tactically, I see the defensive positioning of responding to comments about your brand. Strategically, I see the opportunity to remain in an offensive position - pushing social campaigns and predicting results so you can stage the next campaign (think business process flows for social campaigns). - David Favero @mdavidfavero

3. Social media needs to be addressed as part of every marketing strategy. With a coherent, cohesive strategy in hand, a tactical plan to execute social media is the next step. Hard to have any effective execution without connecting the dots to a strategy that advances the business case. - Nancy Chorpenning CSuiteAdvisors @CSuiteAdvisors

4. For most brands it is mainly a tactic that needs to be integrated into a larger marketing plans BUT, several smaller businesses are utilizing it as a full-blown strategy because of the cost barrier being perceived as being low.- Anon

5. Social is breaking down the walls in the market allowing buyers to engage in a collaborative buying process in peer to peer networks for decision support. Buyers are building a strategic business case to justify their recommended approach to solving business problems while building consensus to the decision with their teams.

If we are buyer-centric in our commitment to helping our buyers make better decisions then we need to find where strategic and tactical intersect. Tactical engagement in support of strategic relationships for business impact. – Judy Mod @JudyMod @SocialCouncil

6. Mmm.that's challenging because a Strategy (in marketing parlance) really should be an idea of how to execute a goal...like "nuke the enemy to achieve world dominance." And the tactic would be the tools you use to do this. So technically Social Media is a tactic, but surely there is some way to define social media as a strategy? Am I waffling here? – Anon

7. Social media may be a strategic marketing approach. The actual way you use SM is tactical.A marketing strategy might be to use SM to launch a new product. Actually posting your campaign on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc. is a tactical exercise. - Maggie Buerger @getfamousfast

Neither A Strategy Nor A Tactic

1. Corporate culture, state of mind. For social media to be effective for a brand, it requires both the brand and its constituents to be willing to connect and engage. A brand that uses the tools just to promote misses the point of social.

On the flipside, brands that are willing to tell its story, listen to feedback, make the necessary changes AND defend certain key aspects of their 'personality' will eventually build trust and collaboration with their constituents which is the ultimate goal for any brand. - Jacqui Chew

2. Social media is a platform to communicate from one to many. Social media can be qualified as a medium for strategy or a tactic supporting a strategy if there is an objective for the platform. Without the two it is simply a Techology for publishing or consuming information. Peter Fasano @pfasano

3. Social media is a set of communication tools. Social media - media in which conversations can take place - is a set of tools in the communications toolbox. – Anon

4. It's a supporting arm of your marketing and communications goals. Not a strategy alone, but a strategic element that is comprised of many tactics. - Anon

Toss of a pink boa to everyone who shared their thoughtful insights!

My thanks to  Candace McCaffery for her post that inspired this Just One Question post.

Here's my comment on her post (add me to the Both list):

I believe that social media demands a strategy of its own .. not unlike pr or marketing or customer care or (fill in the blank).

Assuming that social media touches all aspects of an organization, it's critical develoip an over arching direction that integrates with all BU/departments/employees who are impacted by its intrusion (I use intrusion not as a negative). Without that high level focus how can the brand promise or values be consistently represented internally and externally? How can we use social media to support business goals and objectives? How can we incorporate it into campaigns and use it as a digital conversation tool that becomes an asset unto itself?

Social media has evolved into more than just a channel, communication outreach or customer service vehicle. I would suggest that the "tools" of social media e.g. social networks, blogs, podcasts, blogger relations, etc. are the tactics under the umbrella of social media strategy.

Social media has evolved to command the same respect as other marketing/communication disciplines to be consider a 'strategy."

Update: Thanks Damica Kombol for your contribution.

What are your thoughts? Do you consider social media to be a strategy, a tactic, both or something else?

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Grapic credi: tungphoto / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Social Media: A Change Agent

11/23/2011

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

Within an organization social media is a catalyst for change.

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

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

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

There is a house that is no more a house

Upon a farm that is no more a farm

And in a town that is no more a town.

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

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

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

Who only has at heart your getting lost,

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

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

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

Which brings us to the last lines of Directives .. 

Here are your waters and your watering place.

Drink and be whole again beyond confusion.

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

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

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

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

Social Media Listening Beyond Your Product

07/31/2011

Max and tag With almost 14 thousand views, my dog Max might qualify as a "D list" YouTube rock star! His circle of friends (not to be confused with a Google+ circle) includes people, dogs and cats (totally ..watch his video!). His howling "song" is a throwback to his wolf ancestory.

Oh yes, his breed is White West Highland and at 10 years old the vet is calling him a "senior" dog. Shh .. please don't tell him that he is sure he is still a pup.

Did you notice that when I described Max his breed and age (demographics) came last?

When you think about your customers how do you describe and catorgize them? What comes first in your customer profile: age, sex, income .. traditional demograhics? Or do you take into consideration their interests, networks and passions beyond your product or service?

Let's spin this into social media marketing. We frequently use social media "listening" to learn what customers are saying about our products and services, to identify trends and to build relationships. All good.

However, we have amazing opportunities to also see into the lives of our customers and prospects that go beyond tradtional research and our own company/product information. We can learn about our customers' passions, see who is in their social networks e.g., friends, likes, follows, circles. The clues we discover can lead to exciting new opportunities.  

For example, would you think that Max's friends included kitty cats?  Now you know. What would that mean if you were in the pet industry? Are there more dogs who like cats? What products might you create to tap into that market .. friendship collars? Treats for both cats and dogs? 

Here's another great example. When you think about Grandmamas what comes to mind? Blue hair ladies drinking tea and baking cookies? How about motorcyle riding mamas?! 

MSN Business on Main profiles "Grandmama" Kathy Tolleson the owner of Roar Motorcyles For Women. Roar is the first company that designs and manufactures customize motorcycles exclusively for women. Pop over for the story. Motorcyle_Kathy ROAR

What would have happened if Kathy had focused on demographics only instead of the passions of her customers? Would she have tapped into women over forty? Over fifty? Over sixty?  Roar has a social media presence that (I would assume) helps Kathy continue to understand the interests of her customers. (Hmm..thinking Kathy would be a great guest for All The Single Girlfriends' Girlfriends Helping Girlfriends series.)

Motorbikes are not so much my deal, but If I were to ride I'd want the biggest, baddest bike on the lot. Max, of course, would be uber cool in a little back jacket and helmet! 

Are you taking advantage of Social Media Listening beyond your product or service? If so what have you learned about your customers?

Note: Yvonne DiVita, Lipsticking, has a cool contest going .. you can win $100 for your comment about why women should own and ride motorcycles.

Update: See how KLM is listening and learning about their customers. In a strategy that turns little kindnesses into big smiles and I'm betting results in loyalty.  

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

Social Media Can "Help" Build & Promote Your Personal Brand - Part 1

05/05/2011

Social media can amplify your personal brand, but the presence itself cannot be a substitute for a personal brand. ~ Rajesh Setty

Personal branding female power brands Personal branding is a sizzling hot topic. However, some say personal branding is little more than a Kimbaya campfire "feel good" song. Other people, like my pal Geoff Livingston, take an even strong position and believe personal branding is contrived and fake.

However, in a world where information about you and how you present yourself is as easy to find as a mouse click, your online presence is an important aspect of your "resume."

Whether you call it your digital footprint, online identity or personal brand, the fact remains potential and current employers, clients, colleauges and co-workers have more pieces of the puzzle to base their perceptions about you personally and your professional capabilities.

As we in marketing well know .. perceptions impact purchase and loyalty (job offers, promotions, project opportunities, relationships).  

A few weeks ago I had the honor to speak at Possible Woman, a conference created by an innovative and creative women who has a strong personal brand herself -- Linda Wind. My topic was using social media to put your best foot forward. 

To prep for the talk, I reached out to a few women, who hold corporate jobs and are using social media to build and promote their personal brands. Their responses were so rich with tips and information that it makes sense to turn this into a series. 

 Meet the women who graciously shared their insights about personal branding in the corporate word.

Amandaheadshot Amanda Coogle - Sales Consultant for PulteGroup which is a large, nationwide homebuilder. I am currently responsible for the marketing and sales efforts at a Centex branded community in the Coastal Carolinas Division.  Before my move to Charleston a little over a year ago, I spent the past 5 years in Atlanta, GA working in sales and marketing in the apartment industry. Facebook Linkedin Twitter Foursquare

Em Hall Em Hall - Communicator who specializes in digital strategy, social media, and online marketing.  She helped strategize and implement award-winning marketing campaigns at two of America’s most trusted nonprofits and currently works in the transportation industry.” FacebookBlog Linkedin Twitter Portfolio

 

 

Laura bennett 2008 80 redo (2) Laura Bennett - CEO and Co-Founder of Embrace Pet Insurance. I am an actuary, entrepreneur, mother, and world citizen. I left the corporate world to get out of insurance and to get my MBA, but my odd combination of actuarial skills and entrepreneurial leaning led me to the underserved and underpenetrated world of pet insurance. Facebook Blog Linkedin Twitter 

 

NancySchubert Nancy Schburt - Global Brand Professional for IBM who has worked for IBM full-time for 13 years on a contract basis. Blog Linkedin Twitter

 

 

 

 

Naz Nazanin Weck - Marketing professional who draws from 15 years of industry knowledge and professional skills, I develop concepts for and design creative marketing and communications material for the parks and recreation industry. I have gained my experience by holding management positions with 2 large corporations and a local government agency. Linkedin Twitter

 

Diva Marketing/Toby: How do you define “personal branding?”

Amanda Coogle: To me, personal branding is what you represent to your peers. I do, however, think that one person can have more than one brand.  

Em Hall: For me, personal branding is creating a consistent persona across online and offline channels.  Personal branding also affords me the ability to build relationships and create new opportunities that exist outside of my full time work.  My personal brand is heavily tied to my social media presence, and fosters an environment of interactive and instantaneous communication, which is absolutely essential for a 21st century marketer.

Laura Bennett: The impression a person has about me, whether it be from information they find about me online, from meeting me in person, or through hearing about me through others.

Nancy Schubert: It’s how you present yourself to the world – usually, professionally. I think of it as product marketing with me as the product. To be effective, it should follow the same rules of branding that marketers use. It should be accurate, consistent and geared for your target market.

Nazanin Weck: To me, personal branding is an extension of our personality. It is what others visualize when they hear your name. Our brand is a representation of what we stand for and what we practice on a daily basis. This is what sets us apart from the crowd.

Diva Marketing/Toby: As a women working in a corporate environment, why is it important to develop what Tom Peters termed “The Brand Called You”? 

Amanda Coogle: In today’s competitive job market, it is extremely important for women working in a corporate environment to develop a professional brand for themselves.  The candidates in today’s job market have really upped the ante for everyone – they are more educated, connected, and experienced than before so it is extremely important and almost necessary to differentiate yourself from your peers.

Em Hall: I decided several years back to adopt “EmilyHaHa” as my online persona, or brand.  I performed improv comedy for many years, and like to think that my sense of humor is a defining personality trait. 

While I definitely have lots of fun at work, and all of my jobs have had offices where a good sense of humor was a key element to a successful team, my personal brand allows me to extend that even further.  I love nothing more than being the first person among my networks to share cool, quirky ideas or places or things, and EmilyHaHa is able to do that without constraint. 

Laura Bennett:

Whether you like it or not, you have a brand so I believe it’s important to know what that is and stick with it. Being a woman is a part of my brand in the male-dominated world I work in (insurance and venture capital funded company) just as much as my British accent, my ultra-short hair, and my personal connection I like to have with the people around me is. I leave the impression I want to leave with my “audience” and it’s consistent in everything I do.  

Nazanin Weck: As a woman, we face many challenges in the corporate world, and as I’ve noticed even more in government. Developing “your brand” is extremely important in setting yourself apart from everyone else. Without this “brand”, one is just a job title and limited by the expectations of such job. Being “branded”, opens more doors and allows for better career opportunities.

More to come!