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?

 

Life Without Facebook ~ A View From Gen Y #4

04/06/2012

Jessica robyn facebook_1 1_12 _5Jessica Robyn, a typical millennium and 7-year Facebook member, has not seen any of the new time lines for brands.

You see, on January 13, 2012 Jessica disabled her account and began an experiment of "Life Without Facebook."

This quasi social media reality series with Gen Y Jessica Robyn takes us into her world of Life Without Facebook where she offers her insights into the questions: Why? What now? How do you exist without Facebook?

Read Jessica Robyn's Life Without Facebook ~ A Veiw From Gen Y Interviews Part #1 Part #2 Part #3 Part #4  

We found it interesting that Jessica's posts have been the basis for talking points for parents to discuss Facebook with their children. Brand managers have also gained insights.

We also discovered people were not only curious about how Jessica is living without her online peeps, but how her friends are reacting. We thought it would be fun to ask a few so we formalized the process into an online survey. 

Here are a few comments from the question - What was your your reaction when you discovered I disabled my Facebook? 

"I was very skeptical. Porter was ALL about facebook in her hayday."

"I couldn't believe it."

"I thought it was cool since I had disabled mine before in the past."

 Diva Marketing/Toby: Your friends were really supportive of you disengaging from Facebook.  Although some people thought it was a joke. But they miss you. Did anyone’s comments surprise you?

Jessica Robyn: I laughed a lot reading Greg’s answer that parents being on Facebook ruined it. It’s funny cause I think out of all my friends my dad was one of the first to join Facebook. That is why I was glad there were so many privacy settings. 

Diva Marketing/Toby: I found it interesting that it wasn't one of your friends who want to see you back on Facebook but someone from the boomer generation , Auntie Kaye. - “Holy cow, how will I be able to see what is going on in your life?” 

Why did you think that is? What are you doing to stay in touch with Auntie Kaye?

Jessica Robyn: I think Facebook is just an easier way to at a glance find out what a bunch of people are doing at once and what’s new in their lives. I know Auntie Kaye liked seeing pictures of what I was doing and who I was out with so clearly that hasn’t been happening. We have emailed and talked on the phone to keep in touch.

Diva Marketing/Toby: You’ve been off Facebook for almost 3 months now. Have you missed anything, other than chatting with your friends, from not being on Facebook?

Jessica Robyn: It’s weird cause I wasn’t really missing Facebook or thinking about it until a few weeks ago.

One of my close friends was throwing a surprise party for another one of our mutual friends and I found out about a week or so after that I wasn’t invited. She called me a few days later to apologize explaining that she and another person planned the party mostly via a private facebook event and she forgot to let me know outside of that resource.

I know at the time I wasn’t physically out or around as often (I sprained my ankle and have been recovering), but I had still been in contact with her via text message and email. I wasn’t on her mind during those conversations to invite me. To be honest, I was a little hurt, but I was also expecting something like this might happen.

Diva Marketing/Toby: Your friends have given you all sorts of suggestions for when you should go back on Facebook:

One year from the day you gave it up. 365 days of life without fb!

When you feel like you can use it on your terms. Don't get sucked into anything you don't want to!

Totally up to you. It is more a part of a younger person's world- but not essential. Certainly a nice resource to have- but not at the expense of meaningful relationships.

What do you want to say to them?

Jessica Robyn: I think the one year idea is interesting, but I have no idea if that will happen. I think a few of my friends know me well enough, are supportive, and also understanding which is why none of their responses shocked me.

  • I will reactive my account at some point and hopefully whenever that happens it won’t be as big of a part of my life as it previously was and I can manage my time on there better.

Jessica Life Without Facebook Tweet Bubbe

@JessicaRobyn on Twitter

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 

Social Media Impacts The Trust of People Not In Our Digital Networks

03/26/2012

Computer woman _2
Sometimes the smart people can be the most naive when it comes to social media and social networks.

In the post I wrote on employee personal branding I offered the premise that an employee's digital personae will likely be affilated with their employee's brand during, as well as after, employment ends. Hold that thought please.

When I teach, especially social media workshops, I make every attempt to create what I call a "social media offline environment." As with social media online, although I have material to present, listening and sharing play important roles. Adults learn best from peer-to-peer interaction and people are generous to share their own lessons learned.

I want to pass along a story that a participant, a small business owner, shared of how she discovered one of her managment employees felt his job was boring and un-challenging. Let's call the business owner Ruth and the employee Bert.

To frame this, the guy was in his early thirties and not at the beginning of his career path. He had been using Facebook, Twitter and LInkedIn for personal and professional use for several years. One afternoon at work, he dropped a seemingly innocent remark on his Facebook wall (privacy setting set to allow friends only) that he was bored with his job and was looking for a new position. 

You can easily connect the series of dots and dashes. A "friend" who wanted to be helpful to his friend's job search efforts, copied the update and sent it to someone who sent it to someone who sent it to the business owner.

As Ruth told our class, sometimes the best intentions of placing what you think is the right person in the right position just don't work. When she read Bert's post she had a lot of emotions. She was angry. She felt betrayed. She also was concerned about the perceptions people might have of the company, as well as, the job that she would sooner than later have to fill. 

Her company was a small business where she tried to create a trusting environment. Evidently Bert didn't feel comfortable discussing his concerns with his manager or even with her. Ruth was at a cross road at how to handle the sitution. Was she not utilizing Bert's capabilities? Should she find another opportunity for him? Hop over to MSN On Main for some ideas on how to identify "diamond in the rough employees" that you may be overlooking. 

As our in class discussion continued, it was became more obvious that the bigger issue for Ruth was the trust that she felt had been broken. In social media we talk a lot about building trust in the digital world. However, sometimes we forget that trusted relationships are continuously being played out in on-line public forums. We can impact people (and organizations) casually mentioned in a tweet, update or even a pin. Often these people don't belong to our merry band of of Follwers, Likes, Friends, Connects, Pinees, or well .. you get the idea.

In this situation we have three smart people who were naive about the impact of social media. Bert of course. Ruth who should have offered training and established guidelines to her staff. The third is Bert's friend who was only trying to help find a a pal a new job. 

Lessons Learned: There are no gated communities on-line. Don't post what you don't want passed along. Employers it is critical to teach your employees good social media/networking etiquette and periodically remind them of your corporate guidelines.

You do have social media/networking guidelines? Excellent! I knew you did. Just in case you want to freshen them up .. here's a post with links to many examples.

I left off the ending purposely. Wondering how would you handle the situation?

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.

Graphic credit: David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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

Social Media Networking: Gone Is The Luxury of Privacy

02/21/2012

Over the past going, on eight years, of working in the social media industry I've had the pleasure of interviewing many amazing people. One question I often ask is, "What does social media mean to you?"

Sometimes the responses focused on the defining the tools like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, blogs. Other times the answers centered on building customer relationships.

For me the tools are digital avenues to acheive the people-to-people end. As with our highways and byways, some will be around for a long time while others will be plowed under or turned back to sleepy paths seldom traveled on. 

Author and strategist Brian Solis' answer was an ah ha oh yes moment.  -- "We’re forming incredibly vibrant and extensive networks around relationships and interests. We’re learning how to live life in a very public, and searchable, space." Interview with Brian Solis

Privacy free digital photos Stuart MilesBrian addressed the critical relationship concept. Then he took it into a direction that most people are aware of but often sends chills up and down the spine. We are building relationships and networks in very public forums. Gone is the luxury of privacy. 

 MSN Business On Main has an interesting video interview with designer Camilla Olson. Her story caught my attention from a social media marketer's point of view. (Although her designs are most wonderful .. perhaps my next project will allow an indulgence for me to purchase one of Ms. Olson's pieces!)

Ms. Olson's big break came through a traditonal networking opportunity when a friend in a book club introduced her to James Franco's mom Betty Franco. Ms. Franco needed a fabulous gown for the Oscars .. and as they say in the movies Ms. Olson dressed her for her close up. Camilla Olson Camilla olson illustration by jungah lee of becky franco wearing camilla olson

In exploring her digital branding I found Ms. Olson is also active in multiple social channels. She's on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Linkedin, Blogs and Pinterest. A different world than a private book club networking connection. 

Online Ms. Olson gives a glimpse of behind the scenes of in the design world. She also posts a photo of a personal moment with her daughter and Gloria Steinem. Post by post, tweet by tweet, comments that she makes on Pinterest boards give an image of a personal brand beyond her talents as a designer. 

Camilla Olson and Gloria SteinemI applaud her efforts to "live in a public space." One might say that fashion designers, like models and people in the entertainment industry, should be use to living in the public. However, the social media public world is different.  

It's not only traditional media that is snapping photos of stars as they walk the red carpet in designer gowns and jewels. It's you and you and you and me who has access to the most influencial media channel in history .. the Internet. That changes the game for everyone. 

To the people who are authentically and bravely exploring what it's like to create and nurture relationships without the luxury of privacy .. a toss of a pink boa to you! My hope is that the agencies and companies who tap you for "brand champion" and blogger relations programs understand that it's not only  "influence" you bring to party but the risk and courage you took to cultivate relationships and networks in a new world.  

Perhaps the next time I interview some one instead of asking, "What does social media mean to you?" I should ask, "What does living in a public space without the luxury of privacy mean to you? How would you answer that question?

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

Graphic credit: Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Life Without Facebook ~ A View From Gen Y #3

02/08/2012

Jessica robyn facebook_1 1_12 (3)
It's 2004. You're a college freshman. You and your friends sign up for a new internet platform called Facebook. It becomes an interactive scrapbook of your life. 

Flash forward 7 years. You disengage from Facebook. Why??

This is a special Diva Marketing quasi social media reality series with Gen Y Jessica Robyn who takes us into her world of Life Without Facebook .. and offers her insights into the question Why?

Part #1 Part #2

Diva Marketing/Toby: Jessica, you disengaged from Facebook  on January 13th. It's been about 4 weeks without the Big F. What are you missing the most?

Jessica Robyn: I miss the entertainment I got from Facebook. Reading posts, seeing pictures, and playing games via Facebook. It was a great way to amuse myself when I had down time. Now I have a new obsession for crossword puzzles. I even found a trivia app on my phone to entertain me on the go.  At least my new obsessions are educational!

Diva Marketing/Toby:  How has life without Facebook influenced your relationship with people who you don’t usually keep in contact with on a consistent basis?

Jessica Robyn: It’s been interesting. I've reached out more to some college friends who I have not seen in a while. I actually found out that one of my old roommates, who lives in New York, was going to be in Rhode Island. I live in Massachusetts, so we ended up meeting for drinks in Providence which was pretty awesome.

  • We haven’t seen each other in two years, but we still had a connection without Facebook which was pretty impressive. 

Diva Marketing/Toby: What happens when those people who don’t have your eMail address or phone number need to get in touch with you?

Jessica Robyn: I perform at Rocky Horror Full Body Cast in Harvard Square. There was an occasion recently where someone from Rocky Horror had a few questions for me about something they were planning with the production.

I gave permission for people at the show to give her my cell number so she could contact me. But she never did. A couple of weeks later she told me she didn't like calling people on the phone and since she couldn’t find my Facebook she didn’t message me. I think if it was something of dire importance you could figure a way to contact me off of Facebook, even if you didn't have my contact information.

Diva Marketing/Toby: How about people you do keep in touch with on an ongoing basis. Tell us a story of how not having a Facebook page influenced you.

Jessica Robyn: Recently I had plans to go out with a friend; however, we just couldn’t agree on what to do for the evening so we ended up doing nothing. You know how that goes.

The next morning I started to miss Facebook. I am sure if I really wanted to go out I would have heard about a group of my friends going somewhere. Or I could have posted a status asking who was around and wanted to grab a drink. It didn’t really bother me about missing out on events until then. 

Diva Marketing/Toby: Wondering what are the reactions from people who you meet who don’t know you’re not on Facebook and want to friend you.

Jessica Robyn: I haven’t encountered that yet. But I did meet someone right before I disabled my facebook. He was shocked I was going to disable my page and told me that Facebook was his only form of communication with his friends (I later found out he didn’t have a text messaging plan and doesn’t use his phone much. "Big L"). Needless to say, we didn’t keep in touch after that. 

Diva Marketing/Toby: At this point are you glad you're off Facebook? Why?

Jessica Robyn:  At this moment I would say absoultely. I have found myself being more productive throughout the day. Also instead of spending mind numbing hours sitting on facebook, like I mentioned before, I have been spending time doing cross words and trivia games  ... working my mind which has been better than it turning to mush while mindlessly navigating around Facebook.

Diva Marketing/Toby: Anything that you're surprised about with life without Facebook?

Jessica Robyn: I think the most surprising element thus far has been all the exclusive deals or "you hear it first" type of deals that are promoted via Facebook. I heard of two different contests that in order to simply enter you needed to "like" their fan page, or a band releasing a song exclusively through Facebook. But for the most part, I haven't been too disappointed about my lack of Facebook yet.

- @JessicaRobyn  Jessica twitter

To Be Continued ..

Life Without Facebook ~ A View From Gen Y #2

01/26/2012

Jessica Robyn Twitter_20

This is a special interview series on what life is like for Jessica Robyn, a Gen Y-er, who disabled her 7 year old Facebook Page. We're calling it quasi social media reality! Part #1 Part #3

Diva/Marketing/Toby: The big question I've been asked is, "What were the reactions from Jessica's Facebook friends?" By the way, how many friends did you have?

Jessica Robyn: I had a few of my friends talking to me (through phone calls, texts, and of course facebook messages or comments) who could not believe that Jessica, voted biggest facebook stalker junior year, the addict, and social media manager of the Full Body Cast fan page would seriously leave facebook.

People were asking how they would know what was going on in my life and I would just laugh and say "you do have my cell number, right? I know it's an awful concept, but you may need to talk to me in person." (can you sense the sarcasm in my writing?)

I currently have 410 friends on facebook, but several times have gone on what I call "defriending sprees" since there were so many people I was sharing information with who I had met one time at a party, was
a friend of a friend, or a classmate I have no contact with anymore. It was helpful to do that so I could filter through who I was showing my pictures to or updating them on my week. I just am at a point when simply clicking unfriend is not enough.

Diva Marketing/Toby: We relate to people on different levels;  we have various degrees of “friendship” with people. Obviously you’re not going to keep in daily or weekly contact with hundreds of people.

 What percentage do you expect will maintain, let’s call it the first level of friendship, where you are in contact on a weekly basis? Oh and how do you intend to keep up those relationships (email, twitter, etc.).

Jessica Robyn: I would say out of the 410 people I am Facebook friends with there are a dozen or so Jessica robyn facebook_1 1_12who I keep in pretty consistent contact with. I text message them frequently or see them on a weekly basis. I do not foresee any aspect of our friendships changing except for the fact that our conversations won't have "Hey did you see what Jane posted today?"

Diva Marketing/Toby: What about, let’s call them the level 2 and 3 friends. What to you expect will happen with those people?

Jessica Robyn: The friendships I have with those who are not in constant cotact outside of facebook may become stronger. It may be a combination of me wondering what they are up to and vice versa. Having real-life interactions would only strengthen my friendships.

I would say that I won't become wicked close with all 410 of my Facebook friends, but there may be
some who I have not spent as much time with that I would like to and may get to know them on a more personal level.

Diva Marketing/Toby: Just curious Jess. How much of yourself image was tied to your Facebook page? What I mean is when you looked at your Facebook page what did it tell  about Jessica Robyn? In marketing we sometimes call this “personal branding.”

Jessica Robyn: My personal Facebook page is private, but if someone who had never met me were granted full access they would see someone who is funny, sarcastic, and does not take life too seriously. I feel most of my photos are carefree and me having fun. They would also see my Rocky Horror life: promoting the show or preshows I was in and pictures of that as well.

I may post a status and get NO likes or comments. Does that mean my friends do not approve of me or validate my thoughts? Of course not. But that is how it is interpreted to some people. If no one likes or comments on my status it's not a huge deal. (Sidebar: I wish brand marketers would take a cue from you Jessica!)

I had 410 facebook friends. Did I comment or like EVERY post they made? No. I did if I found it funny, I agreed, or had something witty to comment.

Also, having so many Facebook friends and with the Jessica robyn facebook_1 1_12 _7new feature of a news ticker some posts can easily be over-looked if Facebook does not mark it as an "important post." If I was seeking approval or a comment from a friend it would be through a personal conversation that we were having, not a Facbeook post. - @JessicaRobyn

To Be Continued ..

Life Without Facebook ~ A View From Gen Y #1

01/16/2012

More than 800 million active users has given Facebook the enviable status of the golden child of social networks. With multiple generations sharing photos, updates and videos Facebook might even be considered the biggest digital family reunion ever!

However, as with any 'family' sometimes you need a bit of a break. That's what's happening for the people who 'grew-up' on Facebook .. the Gen Y or the Millennial Generation. They're signing off from Facebook. Some for forever. Others for a few months.

One of the 20-somethings who disabled her (7 year) Facebook page is my niece Jessica Robyn. Ironcially it was Friday the 13th when Jessica said good bye to that part of her virtual life. I had so many questions Why? What would it be like for her? How would she keep in touch with her friends? What did her friends think?  

Jess had kindly agreed to a series of interviews .. let's call this quasi reality social media. Over the next weeks she'll share with us what life is like without Facebook.

Diva Marketing/Toby: Tell us a little about Jessica Robyn.

Jessica Robyn _for fb article
Jessica Robyn
: I am 25 and work in the mental health field during the week and spend my weekends performing Rocky Horror with the Full Body Cast in Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA. I graduated with a degree in psychology a few years back and when I am not busy with work or Rocky I spend time going out with my friends for drinks, dinners, concerts, going to movies, or finding some way to entertain ourselves. 

Diva Marketing/Toby: You’ve grown up on Facebook. You connect to your BBFs on Facebook. You have a history built on your page. Why did you disengage from Facebook?

Jessica Robyn: The entire idea of leaving Facebook began a few months ago when I ended a relationship. It was difficult to move on since our entire history was on Facebook in the form of mutual friends, photos, and wall posts. This was the first "long term dating" I had been in since high school (back in the day when Zuckerberg was just a regular guy). The idea crossed my mind to disable my account, but I have been such a huge social media addict I quickly threw it out of my mind.

When I was ready to start dating again I became slightly frustrated. I would be out and start talking to a guy and he would say, "Oh yeah we should hang out some time... find me on Facebook." I would give most of these men confused looks since at that point I was 85% sure we had not even exchanged last names. After a few of these instances I began to seriously consider disabling my Facebook while I began to date again.

I would rather someone get to know me than add me as a "friend" (I use quote since clearly I would not consider someone I JUST met a friend.) then simply have a baseball card of facts like my birthday, where I went to school, my favorite movies, etc.  Jessica robyn facebook_1 1_12 _5

Since I've been on Facebook from when I was 18 there are also pictures of the past 7 years of my life. If someone who has just met me, doesn't know who I am now, is judging me from snap shots of my past ... when I was out at a party, or being a goof with my friends ... well it could be a turn off. I admit I'm guilty of doing that too when I initially met someone.I judged them based on what I saw or read on their posts without getting to know their personality.

I can be a sarcastic person which means some of my posts should not be taken seriously. Now most people who know me pretty well can decipher the difference whereas someone who just met me may not sense the sarcasm and make the assumption I am just a heartless jerk.

Diva Marketing/Toby: I was intrigued by your tweets. What were you nervous about and why?

Jessica Robyn_Twitter _1_12 FB
Jessica Robyn: It's a HUGE change for me. When I am sitting in the doctor’s office or stuck in a long line at the store I can just grab my phone and see what people are up to on Facebook, make some comments, post some pictures. I don't play a lot of the games on Facebook, but it is a great way to occupy my time when I am bored at home. Now I won't have that option.

I have had a very strong relationship with Facebook. For over 7 years and it has been a daily part of my life. If you ended a 7 year marriage wouldn't you have a weird feeling waking up without your partner? I'm not trying to say I am THAT obsessed with Facebook that it feels like a marriage, but it's the daily usage that will be weird to live without.

Diva Marketing/Toby: How did you “Do IT?” Were you all by yourself? What were you feeling? What were your thoughts when you clicked the disengage link?

Jessica Robyn:  I did IT while I was alone. It took me a while to find the disable button and then, of course, Facebook says "Are you sure you want to deactivate your account?" Below it were pictures of 5 of my Facebook friends saying they would miss me and asking if I would like to send them a message.

Two of them were people I am friends with through Rocky Horror, one was a friend I made while in Israel, one was an old family friend, and the last was my old college roommate. Only one out of the five I would not see on a regular basis, but I am sure they will all miss me on Facebook.

I guess initially I felt very numb and empty. I didn't really have a reaction. It hasn't been long, but I will go to my phone when I would usually check my Facebook on the go and just feel sort of lost and confused thinking, "Well what I am supposed to do to occupy these next 30 seconds of time?"

Twitter_Facebook dream

To be continued .. 

Life without Facebook Part 2 Part #3

At it's ♥ Social Media Is Our Teacher.

12/31/2011

One of the aspects of social media that I like most is what is at the very ♥. Try as we might (and we certainly keep trying!) we can't corral it.

Gifts on keyboardSocial media is not the beautifully wrapped box you might have opened last week. It's not the gift that you knew exactly what to expect from the shape or size of the package.

The ribbons on our social media package, just as beautiful as that perfect gift, are slightly skewed. The paper is held together by all sorts of different tapes. And when you rip open the package it's not quite what you might have expected. You see Girlfriends, social media is a messy, magical gift.

Sometimes it's playful and brings innovative new ideas. Sometimes it holds a mirror up to help you understand how the operational side of your business is working .. or not. Sometimes it's comforting with friends supporting your efforts.  

  • At it's ♥ social media is our teacher. 

Our friends at MSN Business On Main posted an article highlighting characteristics of successful entreprenurs. Steve Strauss identified the Top 3 Traits of the World’s Best Entrepreneurs: Idealistic, Teammates, Character with Character. Steve's post held an ah ah thought for me. 

Take this back to social media. The Internet has given (most of) us, for good or for bad, a digital footprint trail. Your presence, especially on open social networks e.g. LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and let's add blogs and blog comments, is so easily findable. You have, by default, let loose into the world .. your personal brand .. along with your digital business card.

Your digital footprint trail provides insights into who you are: Idealistic, Teammate, Character with Character. Even if your social media presence is not tied directly to your company, in an adjunct way, you are part of its digital tapestry and it to you. One more way that you can't corral social media.

During 2011, I began to build personal branding workshops that help organizations leverage the benefits from their employees' personal brands while aligning with the company's brand values. My thoughts are this is a critical piece of the social business puzzle. Bernie Borges termed this "corporate personal branding."

Clara Nelson, one of the awesome project managers at the American Marketing Association, understood the concept. She asked if I would team with Bernie Borges, CEO Find and Convert, to develop a 2-day workshop for AMA: Personal Branding Within The Corporate Workplace. Our podcast offers tips on how to begin your corporate personal branding strategy.

So you see, Divas and Divos, although when you first unwrapped your social media present you might have assumed it was simply a Facebook game or Twitter chat. Social media is so much more. Where it will take us in 2012 is anyone's guess. The one thing I do know for certain .. 

  • At it's ♥ social media is our teacher. 

With just hours away from bidding 2011, either a fond good bye or a kick in the derriere .. from the Sound of Music  --

 So long, farewell

Auf Wiedersehen, adieu
Adieu, adieu
To you and you and you

Thank you for your support and friendship. Max and I look forward to continuing the conversation with you in 2012. In the meantime, wishes for a healthy, happy and prosperous year where all that you wish comes true. 

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