22 Tips Combat Social Media Fears


Screen Shot 2016-09-26 at 12.54.37 AMSocial media marketing is a digital bridge that humanizes the brand online with offline benefits.

However, before your brand can build that social media digital bridge you must first confront the fears that I call ~ the elephant in the room.

I've been working in the social media space for over 12-years. In terms of digital that has to be at least 4 lifetimes! During that time there's been a new generation of business managers and entrepreneurs who have 'grown-up' using social media for fun and personal use.

However, the leap in understanding social media as a business tool often remains a frightening mystery for many.

Recently I was chatting with a smart, young - aka a Millennium, woman who launched a food venture. She had a new, pretty website complete with eCommerce features. However there was not a social icon to be found.

Toby: Why?

Food Entrepreneur: It frightens me. 

Toby: Why?

Food Entrepreneur: People are mean online. I'm working very hard to build a brand and I don't want people to hijack a social channel.

 What I've come to realize, from working with thousands of people in my consulting and training roles, is --

social media education is both emotional and logical.

The lens of how social media marketing is perceived differs for each person and within each company culture. Addressing fears/concerns, or facing the elephant in the room, should be one of the first steps in creating consensus regarding developing a social media roadmap.

5 Common Media Fears: Trolls. Sales. Technology. Track. Time.

Sorry to say, there are no canned or simple answers. However, here are a few ideas to get you started in how to evaluate the elephant in the room.

Trolls. For some like my friend the food entrepreneur, fear of trolls that might sabotage your brand is at the top of the list.

Tips: Listen for negative reviews or trolls sabotaging your brand. Watch your channels. Set up Google Alerts or Talk Walker Alerts. Create a reputation management plan. Each situation must be reviewed and action taken based on its merits.

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Sales. Other people might have a concern if their financial investment (note: social media marketing is never free) will produce direct sales results.

Tips: Tricky depending on your product or service. For eCommerce and sales made face-to-face including telephone - include a "what influenced your purchase decision" question. Track direct orders from Facebook and Pinterest. Track website conversions. Add tracking codes. Consider additional forms of Return on Investment e.g. reach, awareness, amplification, relationships.

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Technology. Call it technology or call it tools new platforms continuously emerge and the try and true e.g. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest update and change terms at a drop of the hat. How do you keep current?!

Tips: Determine which channels you receive the most success from in terms of your goals (see Track below). Spend the majority of your time on these networks.

Identify a channel or two that is interesting to you to sandbox. Your focus is to learn and play. Perhaps you see a growth in your customers beginning to explore that platform like SnapChat. Or maybe the technology is a new feature of a platform you currently use like Facebook Live.

Subscribe to newsletters or blogs. Follow the network on Twitter and Facebook. Create Google Alert or Talk Walker Alerts. Attend conferences. Read books. Search out webinars. 

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Track.What to track, how to track and how to make sense of the mountain of data is another valid concern.

Tips: This is should be an easy fix. Go back to your roadmap and review what you wrote that determines success. Return on Investment e.g. reach, awareness, amplification, relationships. Often less is more.

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Time. Of course, the one on so many people's list is T-I-M-E. Even if you subcontract the execution there are reports to read, content decisions to make and results to evaluate.


Tips: Another tricky one. Of course it's dependent on your content direction and the number of social channels. Begin with developing a simple, topic driven content calendar. Lucky you if there are people who will support you in content development.

Keep in mind content can be text, video, photos, graphics. You can modify content to fit different channel but please don't take the lazy route of dumping the exact same words in each channel. Play to the strengths of the channel. 

Build time for engagement, listening, analytic review. Blog posts take longer than a tweet. What's the sweet spot ~ perhaps 3-hours a week???

For those who would like a PDF of the tips ---


Love to learn how you combat these challenges!

Twitter Search or Instagram Search: Which is Better for Business?


Recently I was chatting with long time BBF, Paul Chaney, about the changes in social media from the days when we began in what was then called The Blogosphere. Paul wondered if search on Twitter or Instagram could be a good business tool.

He kindly offered to share his views and research on Diva Marketing. How could I say no to such a generous offer? Hope you enjoy Paul's post.

Paul Chaney _pianoFirst, About Paul Chaney. 

Paul is an online marketing consultant, editor, writer, and author with more than 20 years experience in the digital marketing space.

He’s written four books that cover the topics of business blogging, social media marketing, and social commerce, the most notable of which is entitled "The Digital Handshake: Seven Proven Strategies to Grow Your Business Using Social Media," published by John Wiley and Sons in 2009.

He is currently a Staff Writer for Small Business Trends and also maintains a client-base of small to mid-size companies. Paul is a sought-after speaker on digital and marketing topics. Oh yes, and he's an accomplished musician! Connect with Paul Chaney on Twitter | LinkedIn 

Twitter Search or Instagram Search: Which is Better for Business? - By Paul Chaney

One of the ways I've benefitted most from my career in social media is the people I have met along the way, not the least of which is Toby. We're joined at the hip personally and professionally and have been for the better part of 12 years.

Another good friend — someone familiar to both Toby and me — is Bill Flitter, founder and CEO of dlvr.it, a content distribution platform.

Bill pioneered RSS advertising years ago and, despite his boyish good looks (which belie his clean Midwestern upbringing), is a long-time veteran of the social media marketing wars. (I'm sure he would show you his scars if you ask; or possibly not.)

Twitter Search or Instagram Search? That Is the Question

The reason I mention Bill is, recently, I was milling about on the dlvr.it blog when I came across a post about Twitter search and then another about Instagram search.

I can't tell you the last time I thought about either of the two platforms, at least in a search-related context — particularly Instagram, which I use to post images taken with my smartphone from time to time.

I also wondered why Bill and company would devote entire posts to the respective topics. There must have been a reason. My interest was piqued.

With Twitter's waning popularity, compared to Instagram's rise in prominence, I began to wonder which platform would serve a business better, from a search standpoint. As it turns out, that was Bill's premise, too.

With his permission, I pulled some information from each post, to evaluate their respective features and benefits and draw some conclusions.

Twitter Search

First of all, Twitter "Connect" (which you see referenced in the dlvr.it post) no longer exists. It was an experiment that failed, apparently, replaced by "Notifications."

Regardless, the real benefit to Twitter search for business lies in its "Advanced" feature, which allows more refined search capabilities, such as multiple search filters and operators

(Note: You have to be logged in to gain access to advanced search, and it only works with the desktop version.)

To use advanced search, begin by entering a keyword in the search field located in the upper right-hand corner of the page. Let’s use “small business” as our example.

Twitter then redirects you to the search returns page. Click the “More Options” link in the menu bar. That opens a sub-menu. Look to the bottom and click “Advanced Search.”

Paul post 8_16 figure1-twitter-advanced-search

As the following screenshot from the dlvr.it blog post illustrates, you can search by various parameters: words, people, places, dates, and even sentiment. Options exist under each category, to let you dig even deeper.

Paul post 8_16 figure2-dlvrit-Twitter-Search-Advanced-Search

From the example, a pizza shop owner in San Jose, California can find Twitter users within a ten-mile radius who have pizza on the brain at a given moment.

This discovery enables the owner to join in the conversation, perhaps offering a time-sensitive discount tied to a hashtag. And that's only one of the many possibilities advanced search offers from a marketing perspective.

Others include:

  • Find mentions of your brand;
  • Surface all tweets from an event you attended;
  • Gather customer testimonials;
  • Monitor sentiment about a competitor's brand (or yours);
  • Find influencers or brand ambassadors;
  • Thank customers for doing business with you.

Truly, the list is as endless as your ability to come up with crafty ways to mine the treasure trove of data.

For more inspiration and ways to use advanced search, visit Twitter's support page on the topic.

Instagram Search

Where Twitter's advanced search gives users the ability to refine their efforts, Instagram restricts the search options on its app to Top, People, Tags, and Places.

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Of the four, Tags is likely the best option because Instagram bases its platform on them. (Post an image or video without using a hashtag? Perish the thought!)

Perhaps the best way to use Instagram search is not to use it at all but rely on third-party tools such as Picodash, or my favorite, Iconosquare. Both are premium services but offer more advanced search capabilities than Instagram itself.

Despite the limited search functions, you can make a business case for Instagram.

You can use it to:

  • Find people to follow;
  • Find hashtags related to your business or industry;
  • Search by place for people to follow;
  • Engage with nearby customers;
  • Get involved in trending conversations.

In comparing the two platforms, Twitter provides a superior search experience in my view due to the many variables and operators. Instagram, however, offers a more serendipitous journey of discovery.

In either case, there's business value to be had — and that’s the main thing. 

Influencer Marketing: Interview With Danica Kombol


Birthday_morqueTo celebrate Diva Marketing's 12th Blog Birthday (!) ... an extra special interview on a topic that is sizzlin' hot -- Influencer Marketing with Danica Kombol founder of Everywhere Agency.

Seems you can't turn a corner in the digital world without bumping up against an influencer marketing post or campaign. Influencer marketing's roots began in the blogosphere programs of what we called blogger relations.

However, with the onset of multiple social media channels e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Periscope, Blogs, YouTube, Snapchat and technology that provides in-depth metrics, more brands are creating marketing promotion and content initiatives that include people who have significant followings and well -- influence.

Although the relationship aspect of today's influencer marketing campaigns are still critical, campaigns are more sophisticated than in the days of blogger relations. 

Danica Kombol graciously agreed to give us the scoop on what makes a successful influencer marketer program from the point of view of the brand/agency and the influencer. In her usual style, Danica includes so much more. Enjoy!

Danica Kombol
About Danica Kombol:I’m an entrepreneur, a mom, a pie baker and passionate about communications. I run the social media marketing firm, Everywhere Agency. We launched in 2009, focused primarily on social media and helping major brands get into the social media space. At that time, we were novel and unique, and big brands like CNN, Lexus, Lexis-Nexis and others needed our services. 

This day and age, most brands get it and have built out robust social media teams of their own. Now a major focus of our agency is influencer marketing. We connect companies like Macy’s, Carter’s and other major consumer brands with influencers to help amplify and tell their story. 

Diva Marketing: The term influencer marketing seems to be the hot buzz world. A Google search pulled up 20,800,000 links. Let’s start at Influencer Marketing 101. How do you define “influencer marketing?”

Danica Kombol: With influencer marketing, influencers become the vehicle to deliver your marketing message. However, it’s way more complex than that.  The question really becomes, “How do you use influencers to deliver that message and what type of influencers do you seek out?”. At Everywhere Agency, we practice the ancient art of storytelling.  By that, I mean finding influencers who can naturally and organically communicate a story about a product or brand.

Diva Marketing: Influencer Marketing is a service that your agency Everywhere Agency offers. How and why did you come to include it in your offerings?

Danica Kombol: In 2009, Everywhere Agency won the Guinness World Record for the most socially networked message in #BEATcancer.  We launched that campaign at BlogWorld (now extinct) by getting influencers at the conference to all tweet out #BeatCancer, and eBay/PayPal agreed to give a penny per tweet for every mention. Those funds went to cancer serving charities.

We were trending on Twitter within the hour and remained that way for three days.  At the time, we wanted to send the message that social media could be used for social good.  In retrospect, I realize that was our first experience galvanizing influencers, and those who participated in those first hours of sending out tweets are friends to this day. 

After that, brands kept coming to us looking for novel, non-advertising ways to promote their events or their products. We knew all these influencers, many who had a natural affinity for certain brands. We realized we could leverage influencers to share positive stories about brands the same way we got influencers to deliver a positive message in #BeatCancer. 

Seven years ago, we were keeping all these influencers in Excel spreadsheets. As more and more of them worked on campaigns, they began to talk to one another and say things like, “I’m part of Everywhere.” We realized we had to move all these amazing folks out of spreadsheets and bring them into a community.

That’s when we launched Everywhere Society – which is a community of influencers who work with our agency and opt in for brand campaigns. And it really is a community. Our influencer network has grown from those early years of the geek bloggers who used to attend BlogWorld to a vast community of 2,500 influencers coast to coast who write about lifestyle, fashion, technology, food, DIY, parenting, and well, just about anything. 

Diva Marketing: On a high level, why do brands invest in influencer marketing programs?

Danica Kombol: According to Nielsen, 92% of consumers trust recommendations from other people – even if they don’t know them personally – over promotional content that comes directly from brands, and 74% of consumers identify word of mouth as a key factor of their purchasing decisions.

Essentially, influencer marketing is word of mouth advertising in the digital sphere. It’s easier for consumers to connect with a brand when they see it through the eyes of a real, relatable person.  

Diva Marketing: Let’s drill down to the “influencer” which might be more complex to determine.  Before we get into the weeds of the elements ~ for you, what makes an effective “influencer” for a brand campaign?

Danica Kombol: Ha! We debate about this often. An influencer is really anyone who is persuasive over a great number of people.  An influencer is that person you know who tells you about the best hair salon or movie to see. In Malcolm Gladwell, Tipping Point-speak, these people are the “mavens,” or people we rely on to connect us with new information.

Most of us have many different subgenres of influencers in our lives. For example, I seek parenting advice from my friend Paula and technology advice from my friend Lina.  In the “olden days” we’d have a phone conversation with that influencer seeking their advice on, say, the next gadget to buy. Today, we see his or her Facebook post, and we take action or are influenced by them. 

Diva Marketing: Is there a secret recipe that Everywhere Agency created to determine if a person is a digital/social media influencer? By that I mean is a percentage of reach, followers, Klout score, engagement , etc  that  is used? If not what does Everywhere take into consideration?

Danica Kombol: Sure, and contrary to my response above where I define just about anyone with influence as an influencer, at Everywhere Agency we are specifically looking for “digital influencers” or those folks with an extremely large digital footprint and a very engaged audience.  So yes, we look at numbers.

If they are a blogger, we look at their UMV’s (unique monthly visits), but in this day and age, we’re as likely to look at their Instagram, Vine, Snapchat or Twitter reach. Most important of all is what the influencer writes or talks about.  There has to be a real match for the brands we represent.  

Diva MarketingIn the Public Relations world celebrity marketing has been a tactic for a very long time. How does influencer marketing differ from celebrity marketing?

Danica Kombol: Ha, ha. It’s not so different anymore! Because I’ll tell you, a lot of these YouTube influencers are now celebrities in their own right!  Celebrity marketing is an aspect of influencer marketing.  At Everywhere Agency, we’ve worked with celebrities, but the core of our activations revolves around digital influencers. 

Diva Marketing: Would you share a successful influencer marketing campaign with us e.g. what made it successful, how did you determined which influencers to use, etc?

Danica Kombol: We recently did a series of Twitter chats for Macy’s. We were promoting the fact that Macy’s carries plus-sized clothing in their stores and embraces women with curves.

Macy’s teamed up with SuperModel Emme to do a series of fashion shows in their stores featuring plus-sized models and influencers. We found curvy bloggers who write about fashion to model and then joined forces with Emme to have Twitter chats where we talked about body positivity, fashion trends for curvy women, and the power of embracing your curves.

The conversations were amazing (even leading us to trend on Twitter). The impressions, which are how we measure our social conversations, topped 36 million. What was evident to us in these chats was that there are all these women who want to have this conversation, and we were proud to help facilitate it. Did I mention we won an AMY Award for our efforts?

Emme _everywhere tweet

Diva Marketing: What metrics do you usually use to determine the success of a campaign?
If can share any tools that would be great!

Danica Kombol: We look at a variety of factors – and every campaign has a different goal, so success doesn’t always look the same. Some clients are more concerned with the quality of content and photos than the amount of eyeballs that see it. Generally, we consider a campaign successful based on the number of impressions, a.k.a. the number of people who potentially saw a post, and the level of engagement or interaction the posts received.

Determining these statistics can be tricky, but we currently use a platform called Tracx to keep tabs on how our influencers are performing.

Diva Marketing: What 3 tips would you give a brand manager new to influencer marketing?

Danica Kombol:

1. Don’t expect the influencer to do a carbon copy of your brand message. Realize the benefit of working with influencer is that they tell your brand story in their own voice. Give them the tools to tell the story, but let them tell it on their own.

2. When you’re compensating an influencer, you must follow FTC Guidelines, which debuted in 2009 and are continuing to evolve. If confused about them, seek guidance from the Word of Mouth Marketing Association.

3. And finally (and I’m not just saying this because I run an agency but), “don’t go it alone.” Finding the right influencer is only half the battle. Agencies like mine specialize in doing the negotiations, building out the story architecture, tracking the influencer and making sure all FTC guidelines are met. 

Diva Marketing: What advice would you give that brand manager if an influencer goes ‘rogue?’

Danica Kombol: See tip number 3 above, where I encourage a brand manager to “not go it alone.”  At Everywhere Agency, we’ve been working with the same 2500 members in our network for years. We know their strengths and weaknesses. WE ONLY work with influencers who meet deadlines and follow the brand mandates.  An influencer who “goes rogue” is an influencer who was poorly chosen.

Diva Marketing: Let’s change direction and talk a little about influencer marketing from the influencer’s point of view.  Number one question people want to know:  Is this a financial exchange? In other words how should an influencer expect to get compensated?

Danica Kombol: By and large, any influencer with a large following gets compensated for their work.  The good influencers have a healthy ratio of sponsored versus non-sponsored posts, and the campaigns we bring to influencers are all sponsored campaigns.

In other words, we are paying the influencer to write (in their own words) about a brand, event or product.

Diva Marketing: Understanding that each campaign is different, what are some of the common aspects an influencer can expect when participating in an influencer marketing program?

Danica Kombol: An influencer can and should expect clear direction from the brand. What specific messages must be included in your blog post or social shares?  What’s the goal of the campaign? The influencer should also stop and ask if this campaign is a match for their audience.

The surest way for an influencer to lose their audience is to fill their content with advertising messages their readers don’t want to hear. 

Diva Marketing: As is Diva Marketing’s tradition, we’re tossing the virtual mic back to you. Wrap it up anyway you’d like.

Danica Kombol: McKinsey & Co says that word of mouth is the primary factor in 20% to 50% of all purchasing decisions, so influencer marketing isn’t something that’s nice to have – it’s a critical component in this era’s marketing landscape. 

There’s power and passion and energy in influence that you don’t see in advertising. Go forth and be influential in your marketing efforts!! 

Connect with Danica!

Everywhere Agency Website|Everywhere Agency Twitter | Danica Kombol Twitter | Danica Kombol Instagram| Danica Kombol LinkedIn


The Four Ts of Content Consistency


What is your best advice for a local small business that wants to leverage the web for marketing purposes? was the question my friend Paul Chaney, Editor of Web Marketing Today asked me and a few other "in the know" marketers. 

Thought you might enjoy my response!  

Great question Paul and one that many people will take from the strategy point of view: know your goals, how to measure them and your audience.  Let’s look at this from a slightly different point of view: content consistency.  

I look at content consistency from two perspectives. The first direction includes tonality, topics, and touch. The second direction is time. 

Tonality is the voice you’ll use through out the web from  your website and to social media channels For example, if you’re managing a rap group the tonality will be different than if you’re selling financial products to corporate accounts.

Topics quite simply are what you want chat about to your digital community. However, the format might be a blog, video, podcast or photos/images. The most successful topics are those that your audience cares about .. I call that ‘now I care content.’  Content that is so compelling it is shared.

Touch is how you’ll engage with your audience. It’s often neglected but can be the most powerful piece of your web marketing. What will you say when someone shares your content on Twitter or drops a comment on Facebook?

Time is well … time! Especially for small business owners, who wear multiple hats,  we have to come to terms that we can’t do it all or all at once. Identify which web marketing tactic will give you the most return for time spent. That may not always be direct revenue but branding or extended reach.  As an example, for a B2B service or product it may be diving deeply into LinkedIn. For a food media company it may be Twitter that best drives audience for you.

Take into consideration that all four Ts must work in harmony which leads us full circle to your goals, how to measure and your audience.

Note: For Food Businesses including chefs, cookbook authors, FoodTV media companies & contestants, foodpreneurs check out Diva Foodies where we're serving up social to the food industry plus offering delicious content!

An Interview with Advocate Health Care: Case Study #StoriesOfTheGirls


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

Beyond The Ink Smudge To Digital Relevancy


Edgerton reporter"Always in motion is the future”– Yoda 

She was the daughter. That meant she was a second generation newspaper publisher.

Diane Everson, publisher of The Edgerton Reporter in Edgerton, WI wasn’t the only one whose newspaper spanned generations at the 2014 Inland Press Mobile and Social Solutions Conference last month.

In the room, where I had the pleasure of talking about social media in newspapers, were people who had a passion for their papers and their industry.

As I quickly learned, running a weekly or small community newspaper is not unlike owning a small business. Except ... whatever you do is always front and center in the town you serve.

Like many small business owners, nonprofits and yes, larger brands, publishers struggle with how to critically and strategically enter the 21st century digital and social content world. Except ... they face an interesting dilemma when it comes to online content. As do radio and TV.

Actually, digital content strategy is a challenge facing any company whose ‘product’ is information. In the Interweb and social media, where free content is expected there is a haunting question.

  • How much do you ‘give away’ and what do you hold as a revenue stream? 

Even before you can answer that question there are foundational aspects of social media that must be in place. I built the deck to, as they say in the foodie world, deconstruct the elements.

  • Each element in a digital/social media plan must beautifully stand alone before it can be (re)constructed or as marketers might say integrated.

We looked at social through the lens of the brand, journalists and advertisers. I led the group through an exercise that I called “What is different?” We reviewed four media websites: newspaper, TV, radio and online publisher. Our conclusion was the content was so similar we couldn’t identify the media type and it didn't matter which site we were on to just get information. 

Lesson learned: Online content of media companies appears to be all-the-same. 

Question: How can the strengths of the newspaper industry at-large and your specific newspaper be used to created “Now I care content or stories” that are so unique and audience-relevant your community wants to socially share?

We looked at how newspapers, as a brand, engages with their communities. We discoved - not so much. Traditional culture of the media is to identify and tell the stories they feel are most important.

Social media takes radio, TV and newspapers into a far different and often uncomfortable world. It shouldn't be a big surprise to find many, especially smaller newspapers, challenged in how to balance those worlds. 

Lesson learned: Social Media is used as a content distribution channel not as a ‘community communication channel.’ Newspaper publishers were reluctant to step out and ‘talk’ with their readers .. people-to-people.

Question: How can the brand step out from the behind the logo and talk to their readers online -- as they do offline at events and networking meetings?

In 1884, the Boston Globe's Confidential Chat was building community among women, and a few dudes in the greater Boston area. So I say ... go even further back to your roots newspaper peeps and learn from yourself! 

Confidential Chat Boston Globe

Sidebar: This a real clip that I found in my mom's recipe box. She saved it for many years so I assume it must have held meaning for her. How long does your content 'stay around?'  Or is it the digital equivalent of newspaper used to wrapped fish and chips? 

Newspaper fish and chips

We looked at journalists and their special challenges in producing social content and community engagement. We saw engagement but on a closer review it was frequently among their peers not with their community.

Lessons learned: Passion about the topic is important to sustain long-term participation on the social web. Social media writing especially, short tweets, can be a challenge of long-form story training.

Questions: How can journalists sustain a social conversation over time while holding true to the values of their newspapers and their personal brands? How can opinion tweets and posts be included .. or can they?

And there was more so I'm happy to shaing the deck with you. There are several worksheets that might be helpful as you build out systems and process for your plan. Some will help to align with what social media means to your company and how it can support overarching goals.

Hat tip to Mr. Ray Marcano, CanisDigital, for recommeding me for this exciting gig; and Patty Slusher, Inland Press for her support. 

Read More: Amy Gahran, How Early Newspaper to Web Technology Crippled News Industry's Thinking 

Now that we've gone through some deconstructing the next question is -- How will you construct your social media world? Let me know if you have any questions or need any help.

Second Screen TV - Research


Second screen walking deadPicture this.

It's been a stressful week and you're looking forward to a night of vegging out. The telly goes on and perhaps there is an adult beverage or two nearby. It's a scene played-out in many homes for nearly 70 years.  

Over the past few years a there have been a few changes in How we watch TV. 

On goes the TV set, you flip open your tablet and smart phone ready to watch. Only now you can chat with your friends about the show, play a few Walking Dead games and perhaps even buy that cute dress one of the actresses is wearing. Welcome to Second Screen TV and SocialTV. . 

A couple of weeks ago Joel Rubinson, President and founder of Rubinson Partners, Inc., and CivicScience took to the reseach road to learn more about second screen viewing. The results, which they shared with the industry, TV Viewing and the “Second Screen” – What Audiences are Doing with Mobile, Tablet Devices,  is a report based on the CivicScience data collection and research platform. Joel conducted the analysis and partnered in formulating the research questions.

Joel rubinsonJoel kindly agreed to answer a few questions and give us his views on the future of second screen TV and socialTV. 

Diva Marketing:  The Insight Report you did with CivicScience indicates that multitasking is the name of the game for 45% of respondents who acknowledged using a ‘second screen’ (smart phone, tablet or computer) while viewing traditional broadcast TV.  

It was also  interesting to me that 80%, were not engaged online with content related to the show. 

In your opinion is this a trend and if so, where does it leave content producers in terms of advertiser value?

 Joel Rubinson: Hi Toby, thank you for your question.  First, let me clarify that it is 45% of everyone watching TV who multi-task so it is actually a higher percentage of those who own an internet access device and watch traditional TV.

The fact that 80% or more of multi-taskers are doing so in unrelated ways means that media might have the wrong idea about what people want to do with the device in their hands. They are more interested in passing dead time than they are in enriching the TV experience. 

  • Will this change? Perhaps, but media will need to offer more enticing experiences to get viewers to engage.

The value of this research we did using CivicScience’s data is understanding that the current crop of synchronized tools are not yet substantially changing viewing behaviors. Yet media and marketers desperately want it to work because it would add value to media ad inventory and impact to marketer advertising efforts.  In the meantime, marketers should look for synergistic opportunities for their advertising on unrelated websites.

An exotic sounding but quite doable idea is for marketers to use real time bidding engines to bid for inventory at the precise moment that their advertising is airing on TV. Hence, if I’m seeing a commercial on Judge Judy and happen to be on a news site with RTB inventory at the moment, an advertiser could make sure I am seeing a display ad for the same brand.

Diva Marketing:  In the report there was mention of “synchronized second screen experiences.” Would you please explain the concept and the opportunities as you see them?

Joel Rubinson: Synchronized experiences refers to using your internet device in a way that is related to the TV program you are watching. 

This could be answering quizzes about what you think will happen to Rick in Walking Dead as he is face to face with a horde of Zombies (via an app for the show), or voting on Twitter for who should get kicked off American Idol or The Voice.

In contrast, unrelated multitasking is when I’m checking e-mail or messaging a friend on Facebook while watching a show.

I think the biggest opportunity is to build interest in real time viewing rather than recording the show on a DVR and potentially fast forwarding through the commercials.  Synchronized experiences only work in real time.

Diva Marketing:  How do you see the intersection of broadcast TV and online content being mutually beneficial for (1)  audience/ratings growth , (2) advertisers and (3) viewer experience  … or do you?

Joel Rubinson:

I believe that over the past 5-10 years all networks had to decide if online content was a threat to program ratings. 

  • I believe they all came to the same conclusion that online viewing does not cannibalize TV viewing appreciably and actually builds ratings indirectly by getting someone more into the show.

This has been presented by Alan Wurtzel the research lead at NBC regarding the Olympics.

Online content was mostly viewed by those who wanted to relive favorite moments and seemed to go hand in hand with more TV viewing hours, not fewer, for the Olympics. Overall, the great majority of video content is still viewed in real time on the TV even with 5-10 years of significant growth of DVR use and live streaming over the internet.

TV watching is still the 800 pound gorilla (or at least 720 pounds) but watching content online is also a reality, it is growing and all progressive media companies need to embrace it and make it work for them. 

The researcher in me wants to point out that one simple payback is realizing that the dot.com parts of TV networks have the ability to better track viewer interests via online digital behaviors, yielding first party data that can result in very powerful insights and promotional targeting.

Diva Marketing: Thanks Joel! I'm off to make sure my ipad, iphone and laptop are charged and I know the Twitter handle of the show. 

More About the methodology, CivicScieince, Joel Rubinson and Partners

CivicScience is the provider of the real-time polling and consumer insights platform used by Joel Rubinson in this study. The second-screen questions were added to thousands of other questions running through the CivicScience polling platform and published via hundreds of web and mobile websites, and the data from the anonymous respondents were aggregated and mined using automated data science technology.

CivicScience's platform is used by consumer brand and media clients to quickly and deeply understand consumer sentiment and behaviors. 

Joel Rubison is President and founder of Rubinson Partners, Inc. marketing and research consulting for a brave new world and a member of the faculty of NYU Stern School of Business where he teaches social media strategy. Started in 2010, Rubinson Partners, Inc. (RPI) has already helped position several clients for success in a digital age. 

Pinterest Sweepstakes Microsoft Mouse Design: Case Study With BJ O'Hare


Microsoft Pin It To Win It SweepsakePinterest, the darling of food and fashion pinners, is on a hyper growth slope with brands that at first glance have nothing to do with "life style" e.g. business-to-business, technlogy, software, finance, miliatry, staffing companies and more. Hop over to my Pinterest brand board .. Brands Beyond The Expected to see 101 (and counting!) examples.

As we've seen with Kotex (Diva Marketing interview with the brand manager and agency) brands are exploring ways to engage with customers that go beyond a pin and comment.

Contests are hot hot hot on Pinterest. When I came across an interesting sweepstakes from Micrsoft I wondered if Pinterest contests could really work for tech companies. BJ O'Hare, social media lead for Microsoft Hardware Team, graciously agreed to tell us the back-story in a Diva Marketing Mini Case Interview. Thanks to Kristina Libby for the intro.

BJ OHare_MircoSoft_DM interviewAbout BJ O'Hare - BJ O’Hare is the Social Media Lead for the Microsoft Hardware Team. Over the course of her career, BJ has combined her passion for interpersonal engagement with her enthusiasm for technology to develop expertise in the realm of social media and marketing.

In her current role, BJ is responsible for the management of all Microsoft Hardware social channels including its Blog, Twitter Handle and Facebook page, which she worked to launch in late 2011. She also collaborates closely with Windows and its social channels, particularly its Pinterest page. 

Diva Marketing/Toby:  Of all the tactics Microsoft could have chosen to create awareness for its new mouse designs, which by the way are very cool and fun, why Pinterest?

BJ O’Hare/Microsoft: Pinterest is a great way to virtually express yourself and be creative. The new mouse designs are very expressive and appeal to people looking for ways to personalize their everyday life, so Pinterest was a good fit for this Microsoft Hardware campaign.  

Diva Marketing/Toby: Were there other social networks/social media and/or marketing initiatives included in the campaign? 

BJ O’Hare/Microsoft: It was promoted on various Microsoft Facebook & Twitter pages as well as Microsoft blogs. It was also a discussion topic during a Windows Tech Tuesday #winchat which is a weekly Twitter chat held by the Windows PR and social media teams from 12-1pm PT on Tuesdays. The chats cover a variety of topics from partner products to consumer trends. To participate in a chat follow @windows or @windowsblog and the hashtag #winchat.

Diva Marketing/Toby: How did Microsoft create initial awareness of the sweepstakes?

BJ O’Hare/Mircosoft: We announced the sweepstakes by partnering with the Windows team and promoting the campaign on various Microsoft Facebook & Twitter pages and on Microsoft blogs and continue to promote on those channels.

  • We also add new images every few days so there are fresh pins for people to use so they will continue to stay engaged with our boards.

Diva Marketing/Toby: What were your goals for the sweepstakes?

BJ O’Hare/Microsoft: Our main goal was to generate awareness of the new colors and artist designs through engagement with an audience that is active on Pinterest, and looking for colorful and rich assets to decorate their boards with.  We also wanted to increase followers of our boards and generate repins. Microsoft mouse
Diva Marketing/Toby: Can you share a high level of the results?

BJ O’Hare/Microsoft: We generated awareness which resulted in an increase of followers and re-pins.

Diva Marketing/Toby: Were the results what you had expected? Can you tell us why or why not?

BJ O’Hare/Microsoft: The audience that uses Pinterest is interested in images that they can use to decorate their boards. This was a successful campaign and allowed users to do that through repinning Microsoft mouse designs. We were successful in generating awareness and increasing our followers and repins by using colorful and stylish images.

Diva Marketing/Toby: Did you do any analysis of the pins/boards for consumer insights e.g. Designs most pinned, pin/board descriptors, etc. If so what did you consider?

BJ O’Hare/Microsoft: We did some simple analysis which included designs vs color images pinned, repinning the contest pin, pin & board descriptors, and group of images vs single item images. We are also doing some analysis on product images vs lifestyle images.

Diva Marketing/Toby: I noticed that the contest board is now the last board on the page. When the contest was running was it the 1st board? Also, do you plan to keep the contest board or delete it like Kotex did with theirs?

BJ O’Hare/Microsoft: When the contest was running it was in the first row of boards so it was clear to see. We have new sweepstakes we’ve run since Spring Inspirations and now currently Mother’s Day which is the 1st first board you see. We are building our long term strategy for what the presence of contest boards looks like after the contest has finished.

Diva Marketing/Toby: If you were to redesign the campaign, in retrospect, what would you do differently?

BJ O’Hare/Mircosoft: When using Pinterest as a platform to promote campaigns, each will have a variety of different tactical components that will work.  For this campaign, we achieved what we set out to do.

Diva Marketing/Toby: What lesson learned can you share with us?

BJ O’Hare/Microsoft: Pinterest is a great way to virtually express yourself and be creative.  Since we had such great artists that designed amazing art on our mice, Pinterest proved to be a great vehicle to promote this initiative.

This was a collaborative effort between the Microsoft Hardware and Windows teams and may not be representative of what other teams at Microsoft are doing with Pinterest.

Pinterest Pinning For Business Learning Series 

To learn more about our Pinterest contest, please visit the Windows Team Blog. If you’re interested in learning more about Microsoft Hardware and Windows, please explore the following:

Microsoft Hardware

Microsoft Hardware Blog

Microsoft Hardware Facebook

Microsoft Hardware Twitter



Windows Team Blog

Windows Facebook

Windows Twitter

Go Behind The Numbers To Determine Success



How do you determine business success? Not only in marketing communications but in customer service or even with nonprofit programs. Just asking .. 

"Why Toby," You might say. "You set a numerical goal and then see if you can meet it. It's called measurement and metrics." 

"Ah, " I might say. "Yes that's good. Or is it really? Or might it be misleading? Is it enough? Could it be doing us a disservice?"  Just asking ..

This week I was chatting with a friend who recently joined the staff of a nonprofit organiztion. Her focus is to manage social media for one of the non profit's community education programs.

She said two things to me that inspired this post.  #1 - Her boss expected the number of friends, followers, hits to the site, etc. to increase within weeks. #2 - The major funding grant placed a high emphsis on site visitors.

Sidebar: In another lifetime I was marketing director for a nonprofit. Among other elements, our grants measured success by the number of people we serviced; as well as the out reach we did. So I am familar with the demands of funding source reporting. However, In this case, there is a huge disconnect and lack of understanding of social media from my friend's boss and the funding source. Perhaps a post for another day.

We use numbers as a gauge of success. It's fairly easy to count. We learned it watching Big Bird, Oscar, Cookie Monster, The Count and my favorite Elmo!

But is that really sufficient to determine the worth of your strategies? Just asking ..

I admit, going behind the numbers takes more time and resources. When was the last time you determined if you hit the "right" people? Or if "they" took away the end objectives e.g, behaviour changes (finding information online versus your call center), perception changes (branding), new skills learned (training)?

  • What was the impact beyond the numbers? Just asking ..

It's not difficult to understand the why we are stuck on the numbers. The history of  business "success" is based on the quantitative.

Back in the Mad Men advertising days broadcast media success was about the reach and numbers. High Nielsen ratings were the gold ring. Decisions lived and died based on the figures. In newspapers and print publications (remember those?) the number of subcribers were what drove the ad dollars. It gave us a baseline. It was ok.

Then we stepped into the digital world and WoW! it was like walking into the Disney World of analytics. We could count Everything .. happy days! Our challenge became which ride (metric) to go on first (or pay attention to).

Then came social media. We had learned how to count our online strategy "results" from banner ads to website analytics. We transfered our hard earned knowledge from the web and began counting. Counting followers, likes, comments, posts. Life was good. Management could understand that type of "success." 

However, with social media came something else. Something that we were never able to determine: who were the People Behind The Numbers. Huge. Powerful. Scary. 

Hold on to your boas .. we can determine:

.. if we are reaching our target audiences

.. if we are acheiving our beyond the numbers goals 

.. if we are relevant to our target audience 

We are now really accountable for if our strategies resonant with our customers and prospects. Oh sure the numbers should matter but to a lesser degree. We should also be paying attention to if we are attracting and sustaining the right people. 

Go Beyond The Numbers Tips

1. Review the profiles of the people who are Likes, Followers,  G+, etc. 

2. Analyze your LinkedIn connects based on the niche you want to attract as clients. 

3. Segment as much as possible within limits of the social network platform. For example, on LinkedIn tag people, in Google+ put them into circles, on Twitter create lists. 

 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10! What are your thoughts?  Just asking ..

Update: Example of going behind the numbers - Brian Solis and ReSearch.ly analyzed 50,000 of Starbucks’ Twitter followers. What resulted was a rich,complex profile and a indepth understanding of likes and lifestyles. So much more interesting than just the numbers. 

We Lost Our Social Media Way


Signs which-way-to-go Once upon a time, in the days when blogs were beginning to make their way into the world of marketing, customer service and branding  blog content was created by CEOs, CIOs and others within the organization who were brand and industry knowledgeable. They were (for the most part) people who had a distinct point of view and, more than not, some prestige within the enterprise.

Posts were valued as nuggests of insights and supported business goals. However, the secret of blogs went beyond providing content. The world was introduced to the real people behind the brand. These real people were using blogs as a key to open doors to building important stakeholder relationships. 

Sure there were challenges .. lots. We were building a new way of communicating that ripped open the Wizard of Oz curtain. We learned to create 'gard rails' and 'house rules' that still allowed for authenticity.

From a recent Hugh MacLeod, gapingvoid post - 

.. it was hard work. You had to write a lot, every day. And you had to be a good writer with something to say. Or else it would wither on the vine.

In other words, the barriers to entry were high, in terms of both talent and energy required.

Then came the social networks and the slide from fully developed ideas to posts that required only 140 characters in a tweet or 420 characters in a Facebook post. (I must tell you I <3 Twitter and social networks that provide opportunites to build community.) Something interesting began to happen in the world of social media. 

Perhaps it was that writing short was perceived as a "throw away" that anyone one could do. Perhaps it was that since many students had spent their high school and college years playing on Facebook that it appeared easy to do. Perhaps it was the perception that if celebrities like Lady Gaga or Justin Bieber were tweeting than The Twitter was indeed little more than a toy and not a real business tool. How important could it really be?

Marketing managers realized that updating social media networks could be time consuming. Since The Twitter and Facebook weren't really important, why waste the time of the important people?

Light bulb An ah ha moment! I-n-t-e-r-n-s, who more often than not, were here today, gone tomorrow and junior employees, who had little experience with the brand and less with strategy, were tapped.

Silly marketing managers gave control of builidng relationships in these new socal networks to people with limited brand  .. their brand .. experience. 

Somewhere along the way we as marketers lost our way.

We lost our way in our thinking .. short didn't require smart or brand savvy.

We lost our way in thinking ..  playing with new technologies were the same as building tactics based on strategy.

We lost our way in thinking .. creating games using new technologies equated to "social media."

We lost our way in thinking .. anyone could represent our brand if the "conversation" was short.

On MSN Business On Main post, The Runaway Brand: Who's Tweeting For YouJoanna Krutz provides a series of tips. Her point of view is that with strucure and guidance interns and junior staff can create social network content. I might align with her thoughts regarding junior staff but I would be very cautious about bringing in interns to serve as the front line voice of your brand. Skip over to BOM and let me know your thoughts. 

By the way, Joanna mentions the now imfamous Chrysler Twitter debacle in her post. Ed Garston, head of electronic media for Chrsler, told me the back-story in a Diva Maketing exclusive interview

Graphic credit: Hungry Health Happy The Adventures of Mr. Riley

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.