Sprouts Integrates Local Influencer Marketing

02/17/2017


Screen Shot 2017-02-17 at 8.34.09 PM In the competitive world of grocery stores most people living in urban areas have many choices. Organic foods, once a competitive advantage, are now available in more than "specialty" grocery stores.

 The question many in the grocery industry struggles with is... "What's a company to do to cut through the clutter and entice shoppers to "please choose me?" In metro Atlanta, where I call home, a relatively new player to area’s grocery store world, is doing things a little differently to gain community awareness and acceptance.

Sprouts is positioned as “… a healthy grocery store offering fresh, natural and organic foods at great prices…” Its management seems to understand; along with healthy food that supports its positioning, building relationships with its customers might be the key that unlocks a competitive advantage.

 Sprouts is building community at the local level. 

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Investors Deck November '16

The community-based tactics Sprouts is putting into play build on each other. The first is an on-going series of demos and tastings.

Integrated into these fun and informative demos Sprouts is tapping into local food influencers. Recently members of the Atlanta Food Bloggers’ Society (I am a member of the society through my Food Site Diva Foodies) were invited to attend a Game Day Cooking Demo. The focus was on how to prepare healthy snack foods to nosh on while watching the Super Bowl Game.

Instead of bringing in a chef to conduct the demo, Sprouts made an interesting decision to have a licensed nutritionist, Marisa Moore, facilitate. The choice of a nutritionist supported and added credibility to the brand positioning.

Joining me at the demo were two other prominent food bloggers. Although the demo was free and open to the general public, Sprouts took care to make their staff and Marisa, the nutritionist, available to us. In addition we were given a gift card honorarium to create social content about the event.

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All in all an interesting and well done influencer experience. 

If you enjoy food blogs and sites about the culinary world please join me on Diva Foodies where you'll find a slightly different approach to my experience (and a black bean brownie recipe!), interviews with TV Chefs, cookbook authors, and much more. Follow me on Twitter at @DivaFoodies

The invitation to attend this free food demo at Sprouts in the Morningside neighborhood of Atlanta was part of a blogger influencer program affiliated with the Atlanta Food Bloggers’ Society. I was given an honorarium for social media content creation and promotion. All opinions are those of the author.

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Radio For Small Business, Interview with Lee Kantor & Stone Payton Business RadioX

01/31/2017

HBusiness radio x interview _ Logo 2017 Jan.docxow to get the word out about your company and products is a one of the biggest challenges facing many small business owners.

As we often discuss on Diva Marketing, the digital world provides a multitude of of opportunities from blogs to social networks to online advertising. For good measure, let's throw in eMail and websites.

Recently I had the pleasure of meeting two guys in Atlanta who have a little different approach on how to promote your business. Lee Kanter and Stone Payton are telling the stories of local metro businesses through a digital radio program -- Business RadioX. There are usually several guests, discussing diverse topics, on each show. In additon to being interview by Lee and Stone, who do the show in tandem, the hosts take great pleasure in initiating networking among their guests. 

Lee Kanter Business Radio XAbout Lee Kantor from the perspective of Lee Kantor - I think that having a degree in Advertising from a school of journalism gave me a unique perspecitve to disrupt the media. And as a social entrepreneur, I founded Business RadioX out of my frustration with traditional media's anti-business bias. Some media leans left, some media leans right, we lean business.

We help companies of all sizes get the word out about the good work they are doing for their profession and their community.  

 About Stone Payton from the perspective of Stone PaytonJust a guy who "hit the lottery" when I stumbled on to Business RadioX ® and met Lee Kantor. In the beginning, as a guest -- and later as a client,

I found this platform to be ideal for building relationships and creating original content -- which of course, helped me serve my market and grow my business. Stone Payton _business radio x

Now, as Managing Partner I get to help all kinds of businesses share their story and promote their work -- and now my sole focus is expanding the Network so we can do it all on a much larger scale.

Diva Marketing: Let’s kick this off with a media question. In this age of digital video why produce a ‘radio’ show?

Lee Kantor, Business RadioX®: I think radio or audio interviews are a more effective way to capture authentic, deeper conversations. While some people are comfortable being videotaped, we have found that a lot of people get self-conscious and in their own head with a camera in their face. Video interviews tend to be superficial and sound bitey.

At Business RadioX, the way we conduct in studio interviews is very intimate and comfortable. Within a few minutes, everyone relaxes, opens up and shares their story. Since we are long form the business person’s passion for what and more importantly why they are doing what they do comes out.

Diva Marketing: Lee, what does Stone bring to this party that you do not?

Lee Kantor, Business RadioX®: Stone has taken a lot of the business functions that I am not good at off my plate. He is great at selling and articulating the Business RadioX mission and value proposition to prospective partners and sponsors. His ability to see the client's ultimate objective then reverse engineer an elegant solution that helps them achieve their goals has been critical to our success.

Diva Marketing: Same question for you Stone. What does Lee bring to the Business RadioX® that you do not?

Stone Payton, Business RadioX®Well, Lee founded the company, developed the original idea, and refined the concept long before I became involved.  He had a great lifestyle business going -- helping people and earning a comfortable six figure living working 2 or 3 half days a week when I met him . . . And then, I took him away from all that (smile).

We're still a small company, so Lee wears a lot of hats like we all do . . . but I think the two most valuable contributions he makes on a consistent basis are Vision and Empathy.  I don't know how to explain it, but I swear the man can see "around the corners and behind the doors."  This gives us the ability to consistently ensure we're meeting needs and solving problems for our customers -- sometimes, needs and problems they don't even realize they have yet.

He's remarkably adept at Empowering Others as well.  Candidly, that's a major hole in my swing personally -- letting go, delegating . . . and equipping others to get the job done.  I'm still working on that one.

Diva Marketing: When I was a guest on Business RadioX ® I found your questions to be thoughtful and well… smart. Your guests come from diverse backgrounds. What prep do you usually do for each guest/show? Toby bloomberg on Business radio x _ 12_16

Lee Kantor, Business RadioX®I try to be an active listener and really be in the moment with our guests. I want to understand what they do and more importantly why they do it. I am not afraid to ask "dumb" questions, because I'm trying to educate our listeners no matter what stage of business they are in.

 We like to joke that both Stone and I are both curious and ignorant about so many things that those equalities help us do pretty effective interviews.

Stone Payton, Business RadioX®Almost none in most cases -- I want the conversation to be fresh and authentic, so I'm going to be asking the same questions our listeners would be asking.  My prep is in the inviting. I reach out to people I find interesting and want to learn more about -- always searching for compelling stories that should be told.  And I know in most cases -- if we don't share them, they'll go untold.  

Sharing positive business stories simply does not fit the Big Media economic model. Unless there's a scandal, fire, or crime to report, most businesses in your community and mine are not going to be invited to tell their story.

Diva Marketing: In terms of how a guest comes across on-air, what makes a good guest for a radio show?

 Lee Kantor, Business RadioX®: A good guest is someone who is passionate about what they are doing and is willing to share the good, the bad and the ugly about what they do and how they got to where they are at.

The best guests talk from the heart not from notes or by inelegantly forcing in memorized talking points.

 Stone Payton, Business RadioX®: Substance . . . If you're the "real thing" -- actually out there providing genuine value to the marketplace, that will come shining through in a Business RadioX ® interview.

Stone Payton  and Lee Kantor _business radio x _2

Diva Marketing: What is the value for a guest in taking the time from their busy schedules to come into the studio and be part of Business RadioX

Lee Kantor, Business RadioX®: I think there is a lot of value for the guest. 1- They are given a business centric platform to get the word out about what they are doing in their business 2- They get a long form interview, which means they can talk in normal sentences not in sound bites. They can share real stories not talking points. 3- We are a pro-business earned media network that will not humiliate or ambush our guests, we are there to support and celebrate them.

Stone Payton,Business RadioX®: If someone I invited were to really ask this, I'd simply ignore thequestion or politely uninvite them and move on. They probably shouldn't be a guest on our network. Their value system is not quite aligned with ours -- too transactional (vs. relationship and service oriented), and they wouldn't leverage their appearance properly anyway. But I understand why you might ask the question in an interview like this -- so here's just some of what I've observed . . .

First and foremost, it's an opportunity to serve. If we've invited you to be featured on a Business RadioX ® show, you have knowledge and experience that would be tremendously valuable to other execs and entrepreneurs.

2.Participating in an authentic conversation like the ones we facilitate -- a conversation solely focused on you and your work -- helps you crystallize your own thinking. (You're doing the same thing for me right now.)

3.In most episodes, you'll meet other bright, passionate people with compelling stories.  You'll almost certainly learn something -- and in many cases, we've seen enduring relationships evolve from people who have first met in our studios.

4.In the space of 45 minutes of less, you'll capture a great deal of thought leadership-- original content that can be re-purposed in a variety of ways to help you serve your market and grow your business.

Diva Marketing: As some one in the media once told me, without an audience there is no business. What does your listening audience get from the shows? Or the biz question, “What’s in it for me?”

Lee Kantor, Business RadioX®: Business RadioX listeners get a front row seat to stories of real life business people battling every day to make it. We tell real stories, right from the horse’s mouth. We aren’t theorizing about business, we are going deep and immersing ourselves in a business person’s everyday world. If you need to know what is happening in the business world in your community you would be well served to listen to the stories we tell on Business RadioX in your market because they aren’t being told anywhere else.

Stone Payton,Business RadioX®:  Original thought leadership and practical ideas from people who are actually in the trenches getting it done.

Diva Marketing: I really liked Stone’s tweet.

Twitter Stone Payton Business Radio x

Your business model is interesting, different and if I may say so – brilliant in the way you help your guests network with each other. Please tell our community a little about the model and how you developed it.

Lee Kantor Business RadioX®: Our mission is to amplify the stories of business in every local market that we serve. We think it is critically important to support and celebrate the small to mid-sized business people in every community. We believe that every community needs a media outlet that will give them a chance to tell their story and amplify their message.

Our business model serves each constituent in business.

Listeners can access all our interviews for free. If they resonate with what we are doing in their community they can support our mission by nominating guests with interesting business stories and if they want to financially help us tell more stories they can become a member of the Business RadioX community at brxmember.com

Guests can support us by coming on a show and sharing their story. We are earned media and guests never pay to be a guest. Guests can also support us by becoming a member.

Business people who philosophically believe in our mission and agree with us that it is important to have a media outlet in their market that supports business financially support us by becoming sponsors. Businesses can sponsor a series, a show or even a studio. We create custom sponsorships with a handful of clients in each market we serve that helps them elegantly meet the hard to reach people they need to grow their business as well as show the community that they want to help get the word out about the good work that is being done in their market.

In each market we serve we find one or more entrepreneurs that wants to use our platform to capture business stories. This person can be a consultant who want to leverage our brand to just serve the industry they work in or they can be a business person looking for a more meaningful second act to their career.

Stone Payton,Business RadioX®: Yeah -- what he said.  Again, I can't take any credit for the core business model . . . I just jumped on Lee's coat tails -- and I ain't lettin' go! I am thoroughly enjoying helping to refine the business model for expansion and scale though . . . That's a great deal of fun -- bringing this platform to other markets.

Diva Marketing: There are two sides to the mic. What skills and talents should a host have to be successful?

Lee Kantor Business RadioX®I think a level of humbleness is needed, which I think is lacking among most interviewers. I think a lot of interviewers want to be the star, so they monopolize the time, or wax elegantly about how smart they are too often. We encourage our hosts to make the guest the star. Listen well, ask clear questions, one at a time. Dig deeper with follow-up questions when the opportunity presents itself. Ask more why questions.

Stone Payton,Business RadioX®Emotional maturity to shine the light on the guest (vs. themselves).

Genuine desire to help the guest share their story.

Business acumen can be helpful -- but some of our best questions -- and resulting conversations -- have come from students with little or no practical business experience.  I don't know the first thing about aerodynamics -- but in spite of that, maybe even because of that -- I'm confident I could facilitate a very powerful and productive interview with the nation's leading authority in that field . . . And so can you or any of your readers -- if they have the right mindset.

Diva Marketing: What role does social media play in your communication plan?

Lee Kantor Business RadioX®Social media plays an important role in distributing the content we create. We use Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin to share the stories we collect.

In 2017 we are going to explore using Instagram to share some of the photos we capture in studio and use our email newsletter in a more strategic fashion. We may even play with YouTube by taking some clips of audio we capture and using them as a soundtrack for some photos we capture in studio and making a video. We also sometimes use social media beofre a show to ask our community for some questions they want answered from upcoming guests.

Diva Marketing: Which social media channel is most effective for you and why?

Lee Kantor,Business RadioX®We lean on Linkedin. We are business people talking to business people so Linkedin is a logical channel to communicate with our community and distribute our content.

Stone Payton,Business RadioX®: Lee's absolutely right if you're going by today's definition of Social Media  -- but my answer is "Lunch" . . . or dinner, or the boardroom, or the golf course, or the telephone -- anywhere Execs and Entrepreneurs are actually engaging one another and exchanging ideas to serve their market and grow their business.

Diva Marketing: RadioX ® has been around for a while and in that time I suspect you’ve interviewed thousands of small business owners. How has the small business/entrepreneurship world changed in terms of product/service innovation?

Lee Kantor,Business RadioX®I think that as technology has become faster, cheaper and more powerful we are in an interesting time.

It's hard to look at things from 40,000 feet when the ground is moving underneath your feet. When we started, smartphones weren't so smart. Now we need a mobile first strategy. When we started it was cumbersome to listen to our content live or even get the recording on your phone. Now I can watch everything from a movie to live NFL game on my phone.

Business owners have to stay focused, stay in their lane and use technology to work for them.

It is easy to get distracted and follow every shiny object that you hear about.

Stone Payton  and Lee Kantor _business radio x _1

Diva Marketing: What trends do you see happening in marketing media for business owners on limited budgets?

Lee Kantor,Business RadioX®I see a trend of forward thinking businesses supporting media that are authentic, long form and who creates meaningful relationships with their listeners.  There is a wave of socially conscious businesses that have figured out that there is a lot better ROI with fewer (but more engaged) “hearts and minds” rather than with more (anonymous and superficial) “eyes and ears.”

I think the majority of traditional media outlets are desperate and are spiralling down the clickbait path. Sadly this strategy is making them less relevant in terms of influence. Because of the use of this click bait strategy their consumer can’t tell fake news from real news.

Stone Payton,Business RadioX®: Limited budgets are a product of limited revenue, limited thinking, or both. We can help change that -- and I'm delighted to say we provide substantial value at any financial budget from $0, to $129 /year, to $5k /month, and beyond.  

As for trends . . . Access is higher, Quality is lower. Distribution is much higher, but tools for measuring haven't caught up. Most metrics in marketing media today are meaningless (impressions, viewership, coverage, clicks,)  . . . It's like trying to measure fluid ounces on a bathroom scale . . . in an effort to find the best route to Boise. So we simply measure ROI.

Diva Marketing: As we enter 2017, what are your plans for Business RadioX®?

Lee Kantor,Business RadioX®:  We want to tell 1 million business stories. And to help us do that we need to find socially conscious businesses that want to partner with us and help us put studios in markets around the United States. Together we can tell more stories and help more small and mid sized businesses get the word out about the great work they are doing for their profession and their communities.

Stone Payton,Business RadioX®Increased Access For All . .

1.Expanding the network to other markets

2. More stories, more ways to access what you want, when you want it . . . and we're launching our BRX Member program so more people who resonate with our mission, enjoy serving their community, and appreciate authentic conversations with local business leaders can join our cause.

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

Lee & Stone, Business RadioX®: If you know anyone with an interesting business story please send them our way. We want to interview them and help them get the word out! If you know any sponsors or entrepreneurs who resonate with our work please send them our way as well.

Business radio x interview _ Logo 2017 Jan.docxContect with Business RadioX®, Lee Kantor and Stone Payton

Website |Facebook |Twitter @LeeKantor|Twitter @StonePayton

22 Tips Combat Social Media Fears

09/26/2016

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?

08/22/2016

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.

Paul post 8_16 figure3-instagram-search

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. 

Lost in the Social Media Forest ~ Help!

08/03/2016


FAQ
: Help! I'm lost in the social media forest and can't find my way. How do I make sense of it all when every day there seems to be a new social media channel?

Day 2 of #BloggerGroove Challenge: 7 blog posts in 7 days. This time Darren Rowse asked us to create a posted based on an FAQ.

Forest 2 paths _creative commonsIt's far too easy to get lost in the social media world where multiple paths intertwine and new shiny opportunties can take you into places that make no sense for your brand.

Let's put a business spin on it and call these paths "channels." As examples, in the digital/social media space channels would include: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Periscope, YouTube and throw in blogs. It's enough to make even the most experienced digital marketer dizzy.

Add to that each channel has its own quirks, algorithums, audience. Add to that C-H-A-N-G-E-S. Add to that you must determine what resources (people, time, money) you can dedicate to explore and master new channels and updates.

Example. Just this week Instagram, the popular photo sharing platform, released an a la SnapChat feature. Instagram Stories will disappear in 24-hours. Oh no another thing to learn how to use and how to market! Note: Article comparing Instagram and Snapchat that might give you some insights. 

Snapchat-vs-instagram-1024-535

A couple of "IF - Then What " questions that can and should be used with any new social media channel or feature you're considering investing in. Don't fool yourself. Each and everytime you commit to a social channel it becomes an investment and (hopefully!) an asset for your brand. There is no free!

If your customers love Instagram then will they love Instagram Stories?

If your customers are on Snapchat then will they stay on that channel?

If your customers love both Snapchat and Instagram Stories then what is your content game plan?

If you've built assets for Snapchat then how much more development and maintenance will you dedicate?

If you think your customers will migrate to Instagram Stories then what's your game plan?

If you're not sure if your customers will migrate to Instagram Stories then what's your game plan?

No wonder people get lost in the social media forest!

3 additional suggestions that may lessen the stress and even help you enjoy the journey!

Know where you're going, call it -- Define success for you.

Understand how you're going to get there, call it -- Create a roadmap.

Build in time and resources to understand new channels and features call it -- Explore new paths. Forest _create commons

Your turn! How do you navigate the ever changing world of social media?

 

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

05/20/2016

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

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

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

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

About Paul Chaney

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

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

5 Ways to Build Online Authority Using Content Marketing

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

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

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

Here are five ways to go about it.

  1. Erect a Digital Home Base

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

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

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

  1. Claim Your Domain Name

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

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

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

  1. Create Content in the Form of a Blog

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

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

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

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

  1. Actively Participate in Social Media

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Create Strong Website and Social Network Profiles

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

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

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

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

Identify the audience you want to reach.

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

Inject some personality.

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

Screen Shot 2016-05-20 at 10.11.06 AM

Write in the first person.

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

Conclusion

Building online authority using content marketing requires that you:

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

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

Connect with Paul Chaney! Twitter | LinkedIn |

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Influencer Marketing: Interview With Danica Kombol

05/09/2016

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

03/18/2015

4
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!

Second Screen TV - Research

07/11/2014

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. 

Fourth of July - Peachtree "Community" Road Race

07/04/2014

Peachtree road race startIn the wee hours of the morning traffic challenged Peachtree Street in Buckhead (Atlanta) experiences a few quiet hours before the mad rush hour/s begin.

But not on the Fourth of July.

Today the 45th Peachtree Road Race brought out more than 250,000 (60k official runners) people who woke up the city to take part in the world's largest 10K race.

Unlike it’s cousin the Boston Marathon, The Peachtree, as it's fondly called, is not just a race for runners or even joggers. It’s a community experience where generations of family and friends often walk together to celebrate life.  Even for the people on the sidewalks who cheer on the runners, The Peachtree takes on a carnival atmosphere.

For many, like my pal Joe Koufman, founder of AgencySparks, it’s become a tradition. With race number 12 completed (note Joe's 1-2 fingers!), I asked Joe Why he continues to run The Peachtree. Peachtree Road Race Joe Koufman 2014

"The Peachtree Road Race is more of an experience than a race.  The sights, sounds, smells, and feel of the race make it spectacular.  

 Some of the highlights for me are walking to the MARTA station when there are few people setting up and the police are patrolling the course, then packing into the train like sardines with sticky runners, the costumes (this year I saw Hulk Hogan, Beer Maid, a banana, marching band in Speedos, and others), the official (and unofficial) bands every mile, and the thousands of spectators each celebrating the day with their unique styles.  

I am never really trying to get a personal record (though I do train and run hard for the Peachtree).  I like to soak in the entire experience."

A much anticipated part of The Peachtree tradition is the t-shirt that goes to all official runners who complete the race. The t-shirt design is a ‘crowd sourced’ voting competition.

The 2014 Peachtree Road Race t-shirt was created by James Balke.  James is a two-time winner; his first was for the 1997 race. By the way, did you know there is even a book about the history of the Peachtree Road Race T-shirt?

Take a look at both of James’ designs.

Peachtree road race t shirt 1997 2014

Notice any similarities? The 1997 t-shirt includes multiple Peachtree street signs while 2014 is a detailed map of the race.  Although very different styles both represent maps and direction of Atlanta. Both represent the values of the race.

4 Lessons learned From The Peachtree Road Race

1. The brand can create a framework but it is the community who builds community. The Atlanta Track Club set the rules and the course for the Peachtree Road Race.

2. Execution of similar concepts e.g. tactics can take on very different results .. and that can be a  good thing. James Balke’s  designs demonstrate foundational concepts can produce distinctive outcomes.

3. Tradition plays a role in setting expectations and repeat ‘buy.’ People look forward to running the race year after year often with the same friends and family.

4. Little things make a BIG difference and become a customer thank you/reward. The Peachtree Road Race T-shirt is a treasured prize for finishing the race.

Happy 4th of July!