Remember Where You Came From When Traveling Social Media

09/18/2012

Hull Beach_water trailOne of my all time favorite things to do is walk-the-beach in the morning. (I also like to walk-the-city.)

A few weeks ago I was visiting my family in Massachusetts. Lucky me that my cousins have a beautiful home a block from the ocean. 

The beach is a wonderland of tactical sensations that helps me quiet my mind: sound of the ocean surf, the touch of the waves and sand on your toes, the smell of salt water and the gentle comraderie as people nod their hellos and exchange smiles as if to say .. "Welcome to our world."

As artist Maria Kalman says, "Wonderful things happen when the brain is empty."

As much as the walk can be a 'rebooting' experience, eventually you do have come off the beach. That's where it can get tricky. Walking a few feet away from the path that set you on your adventure you suddenly realize there are few signs to mark your return destination spot.

You have to make an effort to remember from whence you came.

Walking along I wondered .. how does a brand approach social media without getting lost in the wonderland of new sensations and shiny toys? To put it in marketing terms, do we even remember to take brand values into consideration? Or do we skip onto the social platforms and never look back from whence we came and one day realize that we are totally lost and that our customers are totally confused?

Seemed to me that there were two critical issues to consider content and voice. Here are a couple of examples including B2B, B2C, Twitter, Pinterest and Blogs.

1. Content -- While social media content can and should relfect the 'human side' of your authors, to be part of a business initiative it must align with your brand.

IBM's Pinterest bio positions the company as "forward thinking." Boards about a computer (IBM Watson) that played Jeopardy, building a smarter planet, smarter cities and more support that brand value. IBM gets a check for consistency. IBM Values Statement 

IBM _Pinterest

 

 

 

Just asking .. do you want to talk trvia with your bank? Suntrust gets a question mark.

Suntrust Twitter Trivia

 

 

2. Voice - Employees writing for your brand should be encouraged to develop their unique 'voices' while maintaing brand values and promise. Keep in mind "voices" may not always be text .. video, podcasts, images count too.

One of my favorite CEO blogs is Marriott On The Move written by Bill Marriott. His posts, seem like personal letters direct to me from a charming man who I'd love to sit across the table from and share a meal or a glass of wine. Mr. Marriott wraps his post around personal experiences that always lend insight into the company or himself.

I must admit, if I were to learn that a PR manager or an out-sourced agency was ghost writing for Bill Marriott I'd be more than sad. I'd feel a break in trust between my friend Mr. Marriott and myself. Trust is a hard won prize not to be taken lightly.

Marriott on the move_bill marriott

 

 

 

 

Not all content or voice tonality will be right for every brand. While a funny cat post on Facebook may result in a bunch of likes and shares is that what you really want your customers and prospects to keep top of mind about your brand? Humor can be a great content direction but can you create it to be both relevant and fun? Are a few easy, off-brand wins worth a wobble to your brand image? 

No one said ths stuff would be easy.

You have to make an effort to remember from whence you came. 

Toss of a pink boa to Fisher for the inspiration.  

Social Media Scales of Engagement

08/09/2012

Scales _ freedigitalphotos.netThis week I was called to jury duty. The Honorable John Doran, Jr. presided.

A jury selection is much like making a film or a commercial. There are a lot of stops, starts and waiting around while lawyers and judge side-bar conversations that you can't hear but would so love to be invited to the party. Voir dire (questioning the jury panel to establish suitability) of the 50 member panel took over a day.

Much like the beginning of a focus group, to help respondents develop a comfort level for future complex questions, the defense attorney asked what I thought was an interesting multiple choice question.  How did we feel about our day in court?

1. Excited to be part of the process

2. Interested in the process

3. Anxious or apprehensive 

4. Frustrated or perhaps a little resentful

An ah ha moment. Each of these feelings could be held by people new to social media or even challenged with taking social media initiatives to the next level. The big realization .. we rarely stop to acknowledge and address these concerns before we plow into creating strategies and executing tactics. The results can be too many side-bar conversations that add time and dollars to our process.  

Several times Judge Duran offered explanations about the proceedings that brought context helping us not only understand the legal whys of the Court but the humanity of the judicial system. I suspect this was also his way of easing the boredom of the wait .. his and ours.

As a group, we were engaged with Judge Duran but on a passive basis. That is no one commented or asked a question. Our thoughts were our own not encouraged to be shared.  One might say we were a captive audience and the good judge held our attention because he provided a distraction from the tediousness of the day.

But .. he spoke to us about what he obviously cared about and showed us his humanity. How can you help but engage with that type of person?

Later that night I conducted a directed discussion with a group of Millennials about their Facebook habits. Although Facebook of course encourages interaction through likes and comments, the feedback was that a like did not necessarily equate to brand engagement. And most certainly a random like could not be taken at face value to gauge brand loyalty. 

We discussed brands that drop multiple daily status updates that are little more than thinly veiled ad disguises.  Where is the humanity in that?

An ah ha momement. As a marketer living in the age of social networks I think about what engagement means in terms of bringing a brand to life.

How do we know a like from a passing post in a customer's stream was clicked while multiple tasking or to ease the bordom of the day? We don't. Yet we make multi-million dollar decisions based on what equates to a teeny percentage of our base of page likes. 

Just asking ..

1. Are we tipping the social media scales of engagement with wishful thinking that likes = engagment = expanded awareness = monetization?

2. Are we taking the easy way out, of a complex situation, to justify our activity in social networks?

3. Are turning one of the most exciting and innovative communication stategies of 21st century marketing into another mundane messaging channel? 

4. Are we missing the opportunity to create authentic people-to-people engaged relationships? 

But .. he spoke to us about what he obviously cared about and showed us his humanity. How can you help but engage with that type of person? 

Interestingly, it's a lesson that the Food Network is also learining. People relate to people.

Perhaps some social media brand managers might take a lesson or two from His Honor. 

Graphic credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

38 Ideas For Your Pinterest Strategy

07/27/2012

Pinterest tipsPinterest continues to fascinate me by it's simplicity and ease of use.

However, if you peak behind the curtain it holds a similar sophistication to that of Twitter. Who would have thought we'd call a 140 text platform sophisticated communication?

Where this new visual social network will take us is the guess of crystal ball gazers and social media pundits. Neither of which am I.

I'm just a working gal who loves, not necessarily the technology, but the promise of what it can do to bring business back to the corner grocery story relationship. (C.B Whittemore's post) For me the two driving benefits of social media have always been:

  • 1. Build and nuture relationships
  • 2. Tell the story of the brand through the people who are its heart: employees and customers

If you get those right it's a marketing two step along the way to making the cash register ring. Oh by the way, don't drink so much of the Koolaid that you believe a sales is a direct result of Only a tweet or status update or even a pin. 

As part of client work and creating workshops on Pinterest I develope a running list of ideas. Some are strategic and others more tactical but I thought I'd pass them along to help you frame your adventure (and it should be!) in the visual world of Pinterest. 

Strategy

1. Determine how graphics as linked to content can align with your brand values brand promise

2. Determine how Pinterest will support your goals and business outcomes

3. Determine if your Pinterest page will support a specific segment or the brand at-large

4. Critical: determine your content direction that goes beyond your brands or company messaging

Board and Pin Creation

1. Include search engine optimize key words in bio, board and pin descriptors

2. Link images that you upload to an appropriate web/blog page. Amazing how many people forget to include a URL.

3. First rule of Pinterest Etiquette: never change the source link of images ‘borrowed’ from a website not your own

4. Build your Pinterest page as if it were a book: boards = chapters, pins = content body

5. Create a bio board that can be used as a “media page” for solopreneurs/small business owners Bio board _ toby

6. Create media/news board for larger businesses

7. Arrange boards in order of importance and change as needed the order as appropriate. For example, your Fourth of July board can be brought to the end until next year when you can move it to a more prominent position.

8. In creating your pin look at it through the lens of a great ad: strong visual, headline that grabs, copy that supports.

9. Board names should be creative but descriptive key words are a bonus.

10. Identify sites will you not pin (from)

Content

1. Although your pins should reflect your brand values/promise (Strategy #1) not all pins should be directly related to your products, services or company (Strategy #5). This is so important that I felt it belonged in Strataegy and Content.

2. Three pillars of Pinterest content direction: inspire, inform, imagine

3. Test live pinning for events/tradeshows. If you can't link pins to a site in real time (at the event) go back at a later time to add those important URLs. Example: Oscar De La Renta Bridal Show .. it's really cool .. go on click but come back please. To view the story read from the bottom up.

4. Create collaborative boards with clients and colleagues. Added bonus multiple pinners increase awareness of the board.

5. Review content that you’ve posted in other social networks. How can it be repurposed for Pinterest?

6. Review content that is not on digital properties e.g. white papers. How can they be included on your digital assets such as websites or blogs so that you can include them on Pinterest? 

7. Test “pin it” contests. Keep in mind they will not come unless you tell them. Build an awarenss strategy into the overall plan. Example: Elizabeth Arden's PinItToGiveIt Cause Marketing used social media (Facebook, Twitter, bloggers) and traditional media (PR/Events-BlogHer). #PinChat with Christine Bennett, Manager PR for Elizabeth Arden. 

8. Use Pinterest to support campaigns and programs runnng in other media

9. Pin to help your fans “create” not curate their boards

10. Take your community “behind the scenes” of your company e.g. a day in the life of …

11. Be mindful of copyrights. If in doubt reach out to the author, artist and ask for permission. Bonus you'll develop new relationships. 

12. Protect your images with watermarks that include your URL or at the very least your company name. Example: Bella Cupcake  Pinterest Bella Cupcakes

13. .Create a board to tell the story of your company/brand. Great examples from the State of Maryland Pitch Contest. Check out the Diva Marketing interview I conducted with Zoe Pagonis, Governor Martin O’Malley’s New Media Manager.

14. Highlight employees in creative and fun ways that go behind “business” accomplishments e.g. pets, shoes, sports interests, favorite quotes

Awareness

1. Cross post on social networks

2. Follow the people who follow you. Note: Following boards versus pages may be less overwhelming to your stream.

3. Comment on people's repin of your pins. It's nice to get an acknowledgment and never know where the relationship or conversations might lead. My comment on Irene Turner's board let to a new author for All The Single Girlfriends and a great new friend.

4. Build “pinner relations” programs

5. Add Pinterest links to support your media releases

6. Since Facebook does not allow for 'pinning' if you upload a graphic that might make for a great pin consider serving it on your blog/website or Flickr instead. 

7. Add Pinterest link/Icon to Home page of your website And on the footer.

Research and Consumer Insights

1. Consumer insights for product development

2. Consumer insights support customer persona development

3. Completive intelligence

4. Consumer insights to understand meaning of the “ordinary” of every day life. For example what does "family" mean? 

Bonus: Be Strategically Fun!

Join me on Pinterest!

Pinterest Pinning For Business Learning Series 

25 Social Engagement Ideas

07/05/2012

Engagement_man and woman
Engagement
Emotional involvement or commitment Merriam-Webster

Ever think about the words we use to discuss social media? Well, I do.

I find it fascinating that so many of the words we bring into "social media talk" e.g. humanize, conversation, community, listen support that this is a people first approach to marketing.

The brass ring, or perhaps it should be the diamond ring, that is based on likes, shares and digital conversation is Engagement. Social Engagement is one of the most highly prized words/concepts in social media marketing. It seems we use it all-the-time. What does it really mean? 

If we take the Merrian Webster definition of engagement literally, "emotional involvement or commitment", we can appreciate why for marketers, social engagment is important. Looking at social engagmement from this perceptive it is a significant value in building customer loyaty. Powerful. 

As with a traditional engagement social engagement takes time and relevant actions to build trust that leads to that emotional involvement or commitment. As we all know .. it's not as easy as it may seem. 

Last week I had the honor of teaching a two-day social media workshop in Chicago for the American Marketing Association. The concept of social engagement was a topic of significant discussion. Taking our cue from social media crowd sourcing the smart participants created a list of 25 ideas that they agreed I could share with you. 

The ideas fell into seven broad buckets: brand created content, fan/customer created content, social media technology, know your audience, promotions, additional channels and employees (one we often over look).

25 Social Engagement Ideas

Brand Created Content

1. Talk about product in different context that goes beyond a sales pitch

2. Highlight customer of the week/month

3. Provide something interesting to talk about

4. Inspiring quotes with images relating to brand values

Fan/Customer Created Content

5. Ask fans to create content and reuse

6. Poll/questions on existing social media channels it builds two-sided relationship. Idea: a one word answer

7. Jump start conversation e.g. ask a question

8. Testimonials including video

9. Feature customer videos about topics that may not related directly to your product or service but on a ‘side step life style topic’ or brand value. 

10. Post your events encourage and people to post theirs photos videos from the event

11. Funny “old” content that from your content archives

Social Media Technology

12. Make it easy to share

13. Drive mobile engagement

Know Your Audience

14. Fish where the fish are

15. Tap evangelists for feedback

Promotions

16. Contests/give aways/incentives to talk

17. Rewards for referrals

18. Build in sharing after purchase

 Additional Channels

19. Email footer

20. Tip of the month card tease (e.g. website, email, direct mail) .. drive to  social networks for more information and conversation. This will also work on cross social networks. For example use Twitter to drive traffic to Facebook for expanded discussion.

21. QR Codes on vehicles

22. Packaging and promotion materials

23. Custom wrappers

24. Nonprofit partnerships  programs that include charity donation by the partner as an incentive for Likes

Employees

25. Encourage employees to Like and Follow

Bonus: I'd like to add one more .. please participate in conversations. Jump in and chat with your customers/fans. Thank people who have taken the time to contribute to the exchange. If you're really daring join the conversations outside of your own brand's social network pages and blogs.

Let's continue the learnings. What is your hot tip on how to socially engage with your customers and prospects?

10 Reasons Avon Is Not Too Late To The Social Media Party

05/14/2012

Avon good housekeeping oct 1953

In 1886, Mr. D. H. McConnell launched what was to become one of the most beloved brands... Avon

Let’s flash back 126 years when women were expected to be housekeepers, wives and of course mothers. In steps a man who defies convention when he builds his sales force with a team of women. D. H. McConnell intuitively understood that as salespeople women could relate to other women and bring a passion to his new perfumes better than men. 

Based on its direct sales approach, which was built on developing relationships and sharing conversations, Avon has been called the original “Social” Brand. However, its competition has left it in the 18th century “social media” dust.

Avon has seen a 75% decline in operating profit over the last decade. A Wall Street Journal Avon sales stats article, Avon Is Late to Social Media’s Party, reported sales for cosmetic products have steadily moved online. Although Avon does have online channels it's not been as aggressive as other cosmetic companies.

Recently Warren Buffet and Coty experssed interest in this iconic company now in crisis. In a 5/13/12 media release Avon said it would  "..consider Coty's letter.."

Update: 5/14: Coty has back off of its offer. "Your total lack of engagement with us leads us to believe that you remain reluctant to explore a friendly, negotiated combination on a reasonable timetable," Coty Chairman Bart Becht said in a letter to Avon dated Monday and made public. "Two months is enough." - Reuters

When my pal and social media colleague, Rob Petersen, founder of BarnRaisers and co-writer of this blog post, invited me to collaborate to bring Avon some 21st century social media ideas I was there. So Avon bebe .. this one is for you! 

10 reasons Avon Is Not Too Late To The Social Media Party

Subtitled: But the clock is ticking, the cake is getting stale and the tinis are getting warm.

1. BUSINESS STRATEGY: Of any brand, Avon has one of the most powerful social business strategies available. They have a brand community of  5.8 million reps. There are great examples of brands that put their community to work and turned their business around. Take for example, Harley Davidson. This may seem like an odd comparison but stay with us.

On the brink of bankruptcy in the 1970's, Harley Davidson overhauled their business to realize their most valuable asset was their riders. In other words, the people were even more important than the product so Harley: 1) Spoke to the shared interest of their community before product benefits 2) brought advocates together and let them help build new relationships. Avon needs a business strategy, not a social media strategy. Now, here's what they can put it to use.

2. "AVON CALLING" ONLINE COMMUNITY: Avon's famous slogan could now be a live, online community where their sales reps offer daily advice about Avon products, deals, help customers with a cosmetic question, refer someone to the Avon rep in their area and talk about who they are as people (e.g. where they like to go on vacation).

By the way, this is what Harley does daily at HDTalking.com, a customer created content community of close to 400,000 members.

P&G also has a highly successful online community, Being Girl, for their Tampax and Always brands that has achieved a 4-to-1 ROI over traditional channels. Avon even has an online community in the UK, Avon Connects, demonstrating they are not late to the party, they just need to join in.

3. "LIKE" US ON FACEBOOK (AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS): Every brand wants you to "Like" them and Avon has a pretty robust but commercial Facebook page that 660,000 people already like. They could use their sales reps more and show a human side.

For example, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, recently produced a video called "Likeapella" to celebrate the people who like them. Not to suggest that Avon do the same thing but to make the point that major brands need to use social media to make a more personal connection. Here's what Kraft did.

4. AVON CUSTOMER APPRECIATION DAYS (VIA TWITTER SEARCH): If Avon representative wanted to build 1-to-1 relationships in larger venues, they could go to high traffic locations in their area like a mall; then, if they use Twitter Search, they could find other women in the same mall and begin a conversation they very same way with the very same techniques they use when selling door-to-door.

5. KLOUT PERKS: With 5.8 million sales reps, they must have a very large number who have high Klout scores. Why not demonstrate to how powerful they already are in social media. Put this social influence to work and see how many rewards Avon reps can get through "Klout Perks." This would show how much social influence sales reps already have.

6. AVON PINTEREST: The newest darling of the social networks, Pinterest, aligns with Avon’s targeted female demographic. Online products provide Avon with the base for creating a Pinterest page that has multiple benefits from reinforcing community with boards that highlight new and seasonal products, provide lifestyle the “Avon way” with beauty to showing the caring side of Avon through its nonprofit work. In addition, likes, repins and comments offer Avon new consumer insights.

7. AVON PINTEREST CONTEST: Taking Pinterest one step further is the idea of a “Pin It To Win It” contest. Avon has the opportunity to engage with its customers in creative ways that includes both customers and sales representatives. For example, many of Avon’s products are colorful from its nail polish to lip glow. A red, white and blue Fourth of July themed challenge could create fireworks of fun.

8. AVON SALES REP SOCIAL MEDIA TRAINING: Avon has created an innovative online training program, Beauty of Knowledge, for their sales reps. Topics range from how to start your new Avon business to money management, logistics, goal setting and traditional marketing support.  However, in my research I came across sales reps who had posted on social networks the need and their desire for social media courses to be included in their training.

In April, I had the honor of speaking at the Possible Woman Conference about social media marketing. Among the brands represented, by over 400 women attending the event, were sales reps and leaders from Avon. I saw first hand their enthusiasm mixed with confusion and frustation about how to leverage social media. After one of my sessions an Avon rep spent two-hours talking about her social media efforts with a speaker from the panel.

Sidebar: Founded by the visionary Linda WindPossible Woman is an excting conference that brings inspiration and leadership training to women in business.

Although Avon sales reps are currently involved in social media many still have challenges regarding how to start and/or how to take their initiatives to the next level. In addition to the training we suggest that Avon consider developing a series of template models for Twitter, Facebook and blogs.

9. AVON MOBILE APP: Smart phones and tablets have opened additional eCommerce channels and created new ways to engage with customers. With the ubiquity of smart phones branded apps continue to grow in popularity. Research conducted by Women at NBCU’s Brand Power Index found that women are more likely to have gaming apps on their smart phone (75%of women versus 67 % of men). What fun it would be for Avon to explore developing a gaming app and of course, a mobile commerce app.

10. SOCIAL MEDIA MEASUREMENT: Including social media as part of a marketing communications strategy can help accelerate achieving your goals. However, with so many moving pieces, Avon doesn’t need more measurement, they to identify the ones that matter most, their Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) and report, track and be prepared to take action on them.

Maybe, if Avon follows this plan, it would let Warren Buffet and Coty know just who they're dealing with .. a Top 50 Cosmetic Brand. No matter how this plays out Avon's legacy of empowering women will be part of history.

Avon ad 2012

Some great brands have turned their business around by realizing and reaching out to their strongest asset .. their community. After all, they call it Social Media for a reason.

What are your thoughts? Do you think it's not too late for Avon and their 5.8 million sales reps to join the Social Media party or is the cake too stale?

 

Six Tips on How To Make Your Website Pinterest Friendly

05/04/2012

Pinterest-triplePinterest. Pinterest. Pinterest.

There I've said it. Now I'm definitely out of the P-closet. That does sound a bit odd .. well you know what I mean. 

Couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of conducting a members only web cast for the American Marketing Association on Pinterest. The approach I took was a little different than the millions (not an exaggeration!) of webinars, presentations and posts that help you through the logistics of how to pin. Important no doubt but here at Diva Marketing it's a focus on the strategy and tactics versus the logistics.

 I have so much 'good stuff' to share that I thought a series on Pinterest might be fun. Oh no Toby not another Pinterest post! Well, yes but we'll look at Pinterest a little differently.

As my friend Barb Giamanco the diva of social media for sales said to me - I get B2C but other then showing the "human side" of a B2B company I'm not sure of the application benefits. So we'll explore verticals and brands that you might not think "fit" in a social visual communication network.

Social Visual Communication

Vocabulary matters. No more pinboards when you talk to the C-suite please. 

A CMO of a prominent B2B company recently told me she thought of Pinterest as a game for moms and didn't consider a "pinboard" a serious business tactic. Rather reminds me of the days of when blogs were called journals or diaries. Love this quote:  Blog gone pinterest quote snappleface_3 

However, along the way we learned that if we thought a little differently that blogs could support business objectives. The rest, as they say, is social media history.

With Pinterest it's not only a matter of looking at the world a little differently .. but repositioning to include concepts and language that the C-suite (CMO,CEO) can understand and "get." As social media becomes more sophisticated and is integrated into the life style of our customers, it is no longer is a rogue tactic that flies under the radar and suddenly becomes the darling of the company. There is too much at stake. 

I'm suggesting that we use the term Social Visual Communication. 

We'll talk strategy, target market, customer insights of course. However, there are so many people that are off and running that I want to start inside out. With very basic website tactics. 

Pinterest tips

Six Tips on How To Make Your Website Pinterest Friendly

1. When you're planning content on your site include an image as part of each text article

2. If you're not serving videos publicly e.g. YouTube include a graphic near the video. 

3. Graphics should align with your brand promise and values.

4.Consider what images your target audience will feel comfortable pinning. 

5. Consider how your banner is created. If someone wants to pin your page versus an article is there a non flash image that can be taken? 

6. Last, but important since people are still hesitant to pin because of copyright issues*, indicate that you encourage pinning. Best placement would be above the fold. *Poll taken during the AMA Pinterest webcast .. 80% of respondents were hesitant to go forward with Pinterest because of legal issues.

Bonus if you're really forward thinking: I do believe the Pinterest format: horizontal, graphics, sharing will become integrated into websites as the norm. 

Pinnect - Pinnect  Pinterest wordpress theme - Gridline 

Devstand has identified 34 "Pinterest" Wordpress themes

And don't forget mobile --  Pinterest type format mobile _pulse -  Pulse

Read more .. Diva Marketing Interviews with smozy/Kotex and Microsoft

By default this series began a few weeks ago with an interview with the CEO,Yael Linen-Zuchman, of an Israeli digital agency smoyz  and the brand manager of their client Eran Sion/Hogla-Kimberly. They launched an innovative Pinner Relations (think blogger relations) program.

I also had the pleasure of interviewing BJ O'Hare, the woman in charge of Microsoft's Mouse Design Pinterest contest. 

Reach out if I can help you with a Pinterest strategy. As you might guess, I've been sipping the Koolaid on this one (smile).

Pinterest Pinning For Business Learning Series 

Social Media Kindness: The New "Little Black Dress"

04/27/2012

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Let's Have FUN!

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

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

Rules of MSN The Business on Main/Diva Marketing Social Media Small Business Tips Contest 

1. Post your tip for how to use social media for branding on this Diva Marketing post And on this MSN Business On Mail Post

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

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

4. Contest ends midnight May 11, 2012.

5. You must be at least 18 years of age

6. A valid eMail address must be included on the "Post a Comment Section" of your Diva Marketing comment. (How will I know where to contact you to send your check?)

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

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

New Social Media Network Road Map

04/03/2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

World map free digNew Social Media Network Road Map

I.  Before You Begin Questions

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

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

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

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

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

II. Tool Specifics Incorporated Into Enterprise Social Media Guidelines 

Example social network: Pinterest

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

Note: These are not strategies 

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

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

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

4. How will links to your pins be handled?

5. How will attribution be acknowledged?

III. Create A Whisper Campaign

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

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

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

 IV. Strategy 

Now you're ready to hit the strategy route.

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

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

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

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

Good luck on your next social media adventure! 

 Grapic credit: taoty / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Grapic credit: digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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

03/30/2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Yael Linen-Zuchman/smoyz: That is correct!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Products I Love . My StyleLegally Blonde . Urban Wilderness

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

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

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

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

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

A women that pinned cupcakes & got kotex designed cupcakes.

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

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

Kotex_gift1 Kotex gift_2
Kotex gift 3

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

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

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

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

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

Yael Linen-Zuchman/smoyz:

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

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

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

Pinterest Pinning For Business Learning Series 

Personal Branding Within The Corporate Workplace

03/20/2012

Do you remember Tom Peters’ innovative Fast Company article The Brand Called You?

Computer womanBack in the ‘90’s Peters presented what for the time was an unusual concept: employees could position themselves, within their organizations, as though they were a brand.  His idea was employees were more than cogs in a corporate wheel. By taking a lesson from how marketers branded products people could successful manage and grow their careers. 

There have been volumes written about how to create a “personal brand” including right here on Diva Marketing posted in 2009. However, social media and social networks have added an interesting dimension. 

What if ..

  • your employer helped you develop your personal brand to the benefit of both you and them?

What if ..

  • then you both leveraged the credibility, visibilty and goodwill of each to create a an earned halo effect that supports and aligns your values and the company's brand promise? 

Answer: You have an Employee Personal Branding Strategy.

Enterprises which place a value on encouraging employee branding, experience multiple benefits. For instance it strengthens corporate branding both internally and externally. When an organization helps its employees create their brand for mutual value, from the company’s  point of view, many positives can occur from decreasing business costs to increasing market awareness.

Six Benefits of Employee Personal Branding

1. Industry knowledge transfer which may decrease training costs

2. Trend identification which may present new product development and sales opportunities

3. Stronger collaboration with subject matter experts which may increase  logistic efficiencies

4.  Increased leadership development which may decrease recruitment acquisition costs

5. Employees can serve as brand champions increasing visibility within the industry and building important relationships with customers, prospects, influencers and thought leaders.

6. Improved corporate brand perception which can positively affect not only marketing goals,  but improve recruiting top people to the organization by becoming a more desirable place to work. This is the ultimate “halo effect.”

Employee personal branding is a aspect of social business that I believe will become increasingly critical as employees take for granted using social networks, like LinkedIn, to cultivate relationship building opportunities.

On the flip side, organizations are neglecting low cost ways to increase brand awareness, credibility and goodwill through the people who know their brand the best .. their employees.

I am excited to be working with Bernie Borges to create an important training workshop sponsored by the American Marketing Association: Personal Branding within in the Corporation. Please enjoy this podcast where Bernie and I take you on a deeper dive of this exciting concept. 

Update: After my conversation with John Cass, I'm adding one more 

What if ..

  • the "halo influence" of employer/employee continues even after you leave an organization. Why not work together to create a mutual beneficial employee digital presence .. for the present and the future?

Graphic credit: ymajestic / FreeDigitalPhotos.net