Why I Write - Blog Hop "Old Fashion" Meme

08/04/2014

Notebook coffeeWhen BBF Yvonne DiVita, author/founder of Lipsticking and BlogPaws, asked me to play along on an 'old fashion' blog meme or blog hop,  I immediately said yes.

Blog memes were popular before blogs were social media. So this post is not only fun but a bit nostalgia

I've always wanted to be a "Writer." However, I never really knew I was until I started Diva Marketing. Funny because I wrote all the time. I've always had/and have a little note book with me to jot ideas, impressions, thoughts. I write in coffee shops, on planes, on trains, in parks, in a car. I write most everywhere. With my little note books I am never alone.

Why do I write .. to tell stories; you might have noticed that most of the posts on diva marketing wrap around a story. 

Why do I write .. to clear my thoughts; writing is a way to capture ideas that sometimes seem allusive.

Why do I write .. to share and to teach; writing provides a tangible way to help others learn.

Why do I write .. because I have to.

Why do I write .. to play with words; so many choices to make when you write; it's fun to paint with the rainbow of words.

Why do I write .. this may sound odd but I write to read what I wrote. 

Why do I write? Perhaps the next question is what do I want to write next?

Part of a meme is to tap a few friends who will take the concept and put their own spin on it. I am excited that three of my favorite bloggers will be joining the meme parade. Please meet ...

Paul Chaney - Paul and I share a special bond. You see, Paul was the first 'real blogger' I met offline. You always hold a special spot in your heart for your first. His four (yes count them 4!) books on blogs and social media are examples of his love of writing and teaching. He has a special gift of taking complex topics and making them understandable .. and fun. Oh and he's an awesome piano player! Drop by to read Paul's post on 8/25.  Blog  Twitter 

Nettie Reynolds - Nettie once said to me that if you can't laugh with a person, question if that person should be in your life. Nettie not only makes me laugh but she makes me smile. Nettie's diverse career runs from working with authors & creatives to create digital awareness and even performing stand up comedy and she's a playwright. Drop by to read Nettie's post on 8/18 Blog Twitter 

Des Walsh - I often say, blogs/social media give back more than they take. It's unlikely that my path would have cross with this wise and smart man from Australia without the benefit of the digital world and blogs. Although Des is based on the other side of my world, through Skype, G+ Hangouts and social media his coaching, LinkIn mentoring and social media business has no geographical boundaries. Drop by to read Des' post on 8/11. Blog Twitter

Toss of a pink boa or perhaps I should say, pink notebook, to Susan Foster for starting this blog hop. 

Notebooks

We Lost Our Social Media Way

08/24/2011

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

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

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

From a recent Hugh MacLeod, gapingvoid post - 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Somewhere along the way we as marketers lost our way.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Interview with Alex Brown, Author: Great and Goodness Barbaro And His Legacy - Part 1

07/15/2011

When I think of the world of social media and blogs what I will forever remember, and be greatful for, are the amazing people who walked through my virtual door. One of my favorites is Alex Brown.  

Alex brown_2 Recently Alex wrote a book .. a beautiful book .. an inspiring book .. a book that touches the heart. I must admit it moved me to tears. (The amazing photographs and sketches make it a wonderful coffee table book.) 

It is the story of Barbaro the gallant racing horse and the people who trained, nutured and cared for him. 

It is also Alex's story of how he used social media to create a structure that encouraged a community to form that supported Barbaro and each other. 

About Alex Brown: I am a horseman, who is also an internet marketing "geek."  I have ridden horses all my life, and I have been using the internet for teaching and marketing since 1992.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  Before we explore some of the social media marketing initiatives that support Greatness and Goodness Barbaro And His Legacy and alexbrownracing.com please give us a bit of understanding why you felt compelled to write this particular book about Barbaro?

Alex Brown: I had spent the better part of three years supporting an online community which had emerged as it followed Barbaro's attempted recovery at New Bolton Center, and which merged into a horse racing and horse welfare community.

I had used many social media tools to support this community.  I decided to then use a more traditional medium, a book, to write about the experience in a broader story about Barbaro and his lasting legacy.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  To help frame our interview, would you tell us the back-story of why you created a site for/about Barbaro? Alex Brown_ Barbaro

Alex Brown: I was already running a web-site for a racehorse trainer, and friend.  We decided to use his site to update race fans of Barbaro's preparations for the Preakness Stakes after he had won the Kentucky Derby so easily, to remain undefeated. 

Tragedy struck in the Preakness as we now know, but the site became useful to keep his growing fans abreast with his daily attempt at recovery.  He very nearly made it too! (Photo of Barbaro)

Diva Marketing/Toby:  While your friends in the equestrian world know you as a dedicated and passionate horseman, I know you as an innovative marketer who stepped into blogs long before the term social media was popularized. 

So let’s turn the clock back to 2005 – 2008 when you were Sr. Associate Director of Admissions at Wharton and then marketing prof at University of Delaware.  What lessons did you learn during those early days that helped you create the blog for Barbaro?

Alex Brown: I think we are always learning, so clearly all my prior experiences, which include teaching Internet Marketing at the University of Delaware, running the first blog at the Wharton School (for MBA admissions), managing a very active online discussion board for MBA applicants, and so forth, allowed me to understand how communities can work. 

I also read geeky books on game theory and stuff like that.  But as much as I learned, and thought I knew it all in terms of managing online communities, I have learned twice as much managing this project. 

Diva Marketing/Toby: You had huge success with that blog (and subsequent message board and wiki), from hundreds of thousands of comments, to rich content and wonderful search rankings.  Recently you changed domains from timwoolleyracing.com to alexbrownracing.com.

Obviously, the blog drove traffic to the Tim Woolley Racing web site. Did you have an agreement with Tim Woolley Racing that you would “own” the site and might even change the URL? How was that relationship structured?

Alex Brown: Tim Woolley and I have been close friends for a very long time.  At one point the site was overwhelmed with Barbaro and horse welfare and racing content and it made sense to let Tim have his site back.  At that time I was also leaving Fair Hill where Tim and I worked, and was planning to travel for a couple of years to do further research for the book. 

Changing domains helped mark that occasion.  Maintaining Google rankings and so forth was not really a problem, and we were able to copy all the content over to the new domain. 

What I felt was super important was to leave the design of the sites the same.  I am a huge believer in the value of design usability, and once your community is used to how things work, only change things if there are super critical reasons to do so. 

My interest and experience with web design usability was also something I brought to the design of the book, an aspect of the book of which I am very proud.  I do think the designer wanted to kill me at some points of the book project though!!

Diva Marketing/Toby: For the geeks in the audience, did moving the domain impact your search results and/or traffic to the site very much?

Alex Brown: A slight hiccup perhaps. No more than that.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  Barbaro captured the hearts and imagination of people from all over the world. The site provided what Mike Jensen, Philadelphia Inquirer said was “.. real-time updates from the principles and they were able to form a community.” (p 85)

In the social media world, you had 2 critical elements: content and emotional connection. However, the big social media win goes beyond just the number of “likes” “followers” “circles” or subscribers that comprise a community but to engagement.  You knocked that out of the park (oops wrong sport!). We’d love your insights on how to take community to the level of “tribe.”

Alex Brown: Yes, certainly this became a community of action.  They have raised well over $1 million to rescue horses from slaughter, and done so much more too.  I think it is hard to absolutely determine how that happened, but there are one or two things I have learned from this that might prove useful. 

Firstly, mistakes happen, a community needs to be able to learn from those mistakes and grow from those mistakes.  Making a mistake once is fine, as long as you do learn from it.  Not making any mistakes really means you have not tried hard enough. 

The other thing that I think is super important is how the community is led.  I did not decide we should get active on the horse slaughter issue.  Members of the community did, and others followed, and it all bubbled up.  This is the same with other projects the community has undertaken.  My job, along with other moderators, has been to observe, nudge, and keep the conversations on target. 

I once told someone, when describing the most important aspects of managing the community: "When I get up in the morning I just hope I don't mess it up." There have been a few occasions, over the 5 years, that I nearly did mess it up.

Diva Marketing/Toby: Can you share some and how you recovered?

Alex Brown: The most sensitive aspect of running a large community is what actions you take if inappropriate content is posted.  As the moderator you have to have a set of rules for your community, and you have to adhere to those rules.

This can create short term reactions, but you have to keep your eye on the long term welfare of the overall community.  If you have to ban someone (a user ID), typically that person has his / her own network, and belongs to other communities. 

On top of that, the banned user can easily connect now (especially with facebook) to "discuss" your actions with others.  Honestly it can get nasty, and as we know, if two people say the same thing about you on the internet, it has to be true!  You need a thick skin to manage a community like this.

To be continued .. more about how Alex is using social media to create awareness for the book, the community, horse slaughter and the disease that killed Barbaro.

(Update: Part 2)

Disclaimer: I recevied a complementary copy of Greatness and Goodness Barbaro And His Legacy.

A Step Through The Looking Glass

06/13/2011

Alice through the looking glass_BOM At its heart Diva Marketing is about stepping through the mirror to a different way of marketing .. participating in conversations in social forums like blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc.  

Many of the posts reflect lessons I learned along the way, so you can avoid stubbing your toe or stumbling on a concept. With that in mind, here is one more. 

A few weeks ago I was approached by Mr. Youth, a social media agency based in NYC. They had an interesting assignment to create awareness of a new community for small businesses .. MSN's Business on Main. Part of their strategy included reaching out to bloggers .. made sense to me .. and Diva Marketing was one of the blogs that was tapped. Made sense to me. 

But wait, there was more. They asked if I would be part of an 11-month blogger relations program to share articles and videos from BOM that You might find useful and interesting. But wait, there was more. They wanted to reimburse me for the posts.

I've been offered $ for post before and have always said, "No thanks." However, this seemed different: a highly, credible site that offers well written content, a good fit for Diva, people I knew and respected were involved, Erin Finestone, my contact at Mr. Youth, was highly responsive and respectful.

Girlfriend, all that said, what also intrigued me was stepping into the other side. I've built blogger relationship programs for clients but (except for book reviews) never participated in one myself. What would it be like to step through the looking glass into Wonderland of how a large agency conducted BR?

Soo .. Diva Marketing is taking a skip into a slightly new direction. Sponsored content. BOM header  In keeping with FTC regs and my commitment to you, each post in this series will be of course be tagged as a sponsored content. Without breaking my contract (yes that was part of the deal) I'll also share lessons learned on blogger relations.

Soo .. it seems like an ok deal with multiple wins. Oh and Max is happy too .. extra $ =  a few more doggy treats! 

Social Networks. Masks. Digital Safety

04/12/2011

Bregman
This crazy social media world opens doors that are unexpected. One for me is helping people "get" (Girlfriend, need I say it?) social media. 

Sometimes you have the opportunity to speak to a group where you feel honored to be invited. Sometimes it's even a personal pleasure. A couple of weeks ago I had the honor and pleasure to be invited to participate at an innovative program .. the 18th Annual Larry Bregman, MD Educational Conference

Sponsored by JF&CS* this conference was created to help adults with developmental disabilities, their families and their caregivers have fun while learning about topics that might not be addressed in other venues. Workshops ranged from Yoga, cooking, brain health, on the job communication and so much more.

I was asked to develop a session about social networking safety. Although I have never worked with this population, I knew one thing .. a lecture was not going to cut it. It had to be interactive from the start, fun and a little out of the box. The concept was masks. Yup masks! Mask

In social networks people often wear masks. Then again, in life we present different elements of our real self to different people. The big questions were: How do you know who is real? What can you give of your "real" yourself but still keep you safe?

With a touch of Diva style .. when people entered the room they were given a mask. In good spirit most of the folks put their masks right on and the fun began. What an amazing group of people! They shared their views and experiences, they challenged each other, asked smart questions .. they were the picture of engagement. We laughed and learned together. 

Your Digital Footprint! Most of Diva Marketing's community is savvy when it comes to online safety but for those who are new to participating in public digital conversations, e.g., Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc. remember that Google has a long memory. What you say today will be found many tomorrows from today.

Many people don't have a blog or personal website, but do have a LinkedIn profile. It is highly likely that when you are Googled (and you are and will be!) LinkedIn will come up first in a search. Look carefully at the image that you are projecting. Is it the best "mask" you are presenting of yourself to not only collegues but future clients, employers and the world at-large?

I've made the Bregaman deck available. Consider reviewing it not only with your friends who are new to the social web but your children as well. Show it to your kid's teachers and ask that, if they are not alreading doing so, that a social media safety module be added. Although it was built simply, the concepts are powerful and were meant to be used as talking points.

Let me know if you have any questions or if I can help along the way. 

In Social Networks You Wear Masks: How To Be Safe In A Digital World

View more presentations from TobyBloomberg

*Bloggy disclaimer JF*CS is a client.

Sorry for the Slideshare out of the margins embed. 

Diva Marketing Blog Acquired .. Almost! Part I

02/07/2011

     Slide1
Ppt 2a diva marketing acquire
And so began a conversation with the CEO of a large (to be anon) portal. It's the dream of many bloggers: to be acquired by a platform viewed by millions, to be compensated for their work and as just as much, to be acknowledged for their work.
 
Girlfriend, I must admit it is a heady experience to be singled out from all the millions of marketing blogs to swim with the big fish. Okay to be totally transparent the deal was not even a smidgen of the AOL Huffington Post deal. But I rather thought you'd  assumed that one! 

As I do so often, I want to share my story and learnings with y'all. I had not a clue what this road would look like or where it would lead. Perhaps when there's a knock on your virtual door you'll have an idea what to expect.

My goals for Diva Marketing were never to monetize. Notice the lack of ads or affinity links. The purpose always has been to provide a place where we can explore how marketers can use first blogs, and now social media to build stronger brands and customer relationships. By providing that type of content and doing things a little differently, my own reputation and credibility in the social media industry would be established. Diva Marketing maybe a wee blog but I'm proud to say it has street cred. 

I said to The X Man - Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world she walks into mine. ~ oops wrong movie! I think it went more like .. Why Diva Marketing?

The X Man told me he wanted to add a blog with a marketing focus and Diva Marketing was "a good fit" to build out his growing blog network. He said nice things about my reputation and what I brought to the table.

The X Man talked about about how this acquisition would increase my visibility and present opportunities to grow my consulting company. He talked about a link on the "new Diva Marketing blog" back to my website. All good.

What really sold me was the chance to grow Diva Marketing into a larger brand. That's something I've always wanted to do. Who knows where things could go with some extra resources to invest in the brand. The X Man even talked about possible brand extension in terms of events. 

So I put on my  red Manolo Blahnik's and took a step onto the yellow brick road to the Emerald City of Blogs where there would be boas for everyone, treats for Maxie and his friends, conferences with special Diva Tinis. Well .. probably not but one has to dream Big.  Yellow brick road

The X Man asked about my host (Typepad), my traffic, my revenue stream. I did my due diligence too. I talked to several people in his company and my trusted advisers.

Lessons Learned: The insights and support from advisers is invaluable. Don't go it alone if you've never been down this road before; the yellow brick road is unevenly paved and it's easy to trip over your pink boa.

In all seriousness, it was a big decision for me. Diva Marketing turns 7 in May. In the virtual pages of this site are hundreds of posts about blogging, social media, branding, strategy, interviews, research. And a few original concepts like the corner grocery store relationships and in the moment marketing.

Selling my 7 years of intellectual capital was not too difficult to justify. More of a challenge was the decision to give up a brand that been interwoven into my personal brand identity.  

The bling was shiny. The opportunities were exciting. I thought it might be the right time to go in a new direction. 

Continued on Part II

Diva Marketing Blog Acquired .. Almost! Part II

02/07/2011

Continuted from Part I

To sell Diva Marketing Or not to sell Diva Marketing. The bling was shiny. The opportunities were exciting. I thought it might be the right time to go in a new direction. 

While the bling might have been shiny the opening offer was quite a bit lower than I'd imagined. Of course one always thinks their bebe is the most beautiful and worth the Hope Diamond or at least a closet filled with Jimmy Choos. By the way, did you know that Jimmy Choo oganized a Foursquare scavenger hunt in London last year? But I digress. 

Valuating Diva Marketing was a challenge for me. How much is a blog worth? For The X Man traffic was the most important element. Unlike traditional publishers who place a premium on your network, The X Man never asked about RSS subscriptions or my network reach. 

I countered his offer. He came back with some more bling. Not as much as I would have liked but more interesting. After many eMails and behind the scenes work I thought we were at the end of the yellow brick blogosphere road and the doors of the Emerald City were close to opening. For sale by owner

The doors didn't open. The deal didn't go through. That's okay. When I ask why, they chose not to go forward The X Man sent this eMail.

Email 9a diva marketing acquire
A little confusing considering the opening, but ...  

Lessons Learned: If you want to sell your blog host on your own site. 

Lessons learned: For most deals,traffic counts as a prime means of valuation. 

Secret Sauce For Traffic. Everyone who's been in this business for more than 30 seconds knows the secret sauce for traffic is a function of the number of times you posts. Throw in a little SEO and you've got N-U-M-B-E-R-S. If your goal is to sell your blog that may be enough. However, if your goal is to build relationships, establish credibility, service your customers, traffic may not be your silver bullet.

As for The X Man. I gave him some advice on how make his tweets more effective .. add links. Perhaps he's now counting his Twitter Followers. 

As for Diva Marketing. Perhaps a partnership with a brand that wants to reach a targeted community might be a better fit. Open to possibilities. Who knows where the yellow brick road of the blogosphere will lead?

Pink boa At the end of the day it sure was nice to be wanted.  A toss of a pink boa to Diva Marketing!

How Do You Take The "Fear Factor" Out Of Social Media?

01/27/2011

You learn more quickly under the guidance of experienced teachers. You waste a lot of time going down alleys if you have no one to lead you. W. Somerset Maugham

Just One Crowd Sourced Question

Crowd source Before there were books or conferences about social media .. before there was Facebook or Twitter people tried to make sense of marketing in a digital world by tapping the experiences of those who were exploring the (then) innovative ideas of blogs and RSS. 

We met in late night Skype chats exchanged emails and posted our thoughts and questions on blogs. We learned from each other. I can not think of a more generous group than those who live in the social media world.

In the spirit of Somerset Maugham, I thought it would be fun to crowd source a series of how do you do it posts. So I did what any good social media marketer might do, I tapped my social networks. 20 Marketers kindly shared their thoughts on the 2nd question in the series: Just 1 Crowd Sourced Question.

The funny thing is we continue to learn from each other within our ever expanding digital worlds. Enjoy!

  • Question: How do you take the "fear factor" out of social media?

First of all, you have to uncover the fear. Is it fear of writing? Many people feel they aren't good enough writers. Is it fear of comments? Is it fear of time? Once you know what the issue is, it's easy to tackle. For writing - a quick demo of the conversational style of blogs and social media works wonders.

If it's the fear of comments - well, why do you fear comments? You can manage them but... teaching people that a complaint is a gift, takes care of that. If it's fear of time, a simple editorial calendar and the understanding that you can prepost everything - even on Twitter, helps people relax. ~ Yvonne DiVita, LipSticking  @lipsticking

Start with talking about objectives first and tools depending on objectives. Emphasize results are measureable and measuremet can be matched to business goals. ~ Shashi Bellamkonda, Network Solutions @shashib

The fear factor in social media stems from not understanding how social media works. Instead of seeing social media as a conversation, it is often views as tools, technology, and broadcasting. To remove the fear factor, it is important to show people that social media is about talking with others, and building relationships through sharing conversation. When the human aspect is considered, rather than the technological aspects, the entire idea of social media becomes a natural part of life. ~ Wayne Hurlbert, Blog Business World  @WayneHurlbert 

We need to remind people that they have a digital footprint regardless of whether they use social media. Choosing not to participate is no guarantee of staying below the radar screen, even if you'd prefer to keep a low profile. ~Bonnie SashinBonnie's On it @bsashin

Educate, inspire, and make it personal. Adding a little fear helps too, by showing what their competitors are doing and showing them what will happen if they keep sticking their heads in the sand. ~ David Berkowitz, Marketer's Studio  @dberkowitz

Oh, please, just dive in! There are, for sure, opportunities to commit faux pas (and plenty of helping hands along the way for quick recovery), and far more to share, connect and become regarded as the expert you are. Fear? Not in this arena!. ~ Lya Sorano The Oliver/Sorano Group

I guess the biggest fear is saying something dumb & then knowing your great great great grandchildren will be able to read it online with all their friends. ~ Anon

I find it's less "fear factor" and more "I know I need to be doing social media, but how? I don't have time for this. Can't you just do it for me?" We're all trying to do more with less and keeping up with social media (being consistent) and learning the fast changing tools are the biggest hurdles.

Assigning dollar values to fans and followers, sharing case studies of success, and showing ROI on campaigns makes it an easy sell. ~ Angie Robar, LinkedIn 

I suppose I should be more afraid. ;-)

Start slow. Listen at first. Test the waters with retweets and/or sharing cool/interesting content (videos, blog posts, news). I post things about Startups, Technology, and stuff that's very personal. I'm posting as me, not as a brand. And I'm trying to live authentically both IRL and online.

As Chief Chick of StartupChicks, I do represent a brand. A brand that I built almost entirely on Social Media. And I do occasionally think twice about what I am personally posting, and if it could possibly look impact that brand. And I have deleted a post for this very reason. But, for the most part, I don't really worry about it. My friends and followers have come to know ME through this platform, and if I don't always say the exact right thing or have a typo... they'll understand. After all, they are my "friends". ~ Jennifer Bonnett,  Chief Chick, StartupChicks @startupchicks  Founder, Nexpense @jen_bonnett 

Find out how they feel about cocktail parties and water coolers and remind them that its really just the same thing. ~ Anon

I blogged about exactly this! ~ Joel Rubinson, Joel Rubinson

I guess the biggest fear is saying something dumb & then knowing your great great great grandchildren will be able to read it online with all their friends.

Remedy: 
1. Do your best not to say anything dumb. 
2. Take comfort in the fact that it's unlikely that our great great great grandchildren will know how to read anything longer than "lol". 
3. Dance like nobody's watching. (They're all too busy worrying about how dumb they look.)
~  Tsufit, Author, Step Into The Spotlight! Tsufit

Use email marketing as a point of reference. Every new channel comes with the fear factor, and the best way to control / learn them is to get in the game. Use email marketing as a point of reference. Every new channel comes with the fear factor, and the best way to control / learn them is to get in the game. ~ Anon 

Demystify the barriers to participation, lower the expectations, be crystal on the need for communication,  directmarketingobservations.com ~ Marc Meyer, Direct Marketing Observations  @marc_meyer 

To take the 'fear factor' out of social media, I relate it to a person's own online habits e.g. ever read a review on Amazon? look for a how-to video? conduct a search for a local retailer? etc. Most are engaged in some form of social behavior (online) without even realizing it. ~ J Schmitt @cloudspark

 To overcome this fear, start by working w/ someone experienced in social media who will (patiently) help you get familiar & comfortable with SM as a consumer - i.e., show you blogs, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc., and then help coach you to join in the conversation/community. ~ Sybil Stershic, Quality Service Marketing @sybilqsm

Being true ones purpose of being on line. Passion mission business Act from a place of love not fear. ~ Anon

Like everything, most fear is related to ignorance or a lack of understanding and education. It is about education of social media for those afraid of it. ~ Jim "Genuine" Turner, One By One Media  @Genuine

Just do it. ~ Steve Woodruff, Steve Woodruff @swoodruff

First I acknowledge that the fear can be well based - bad things happen online, as they do offline. Then I provide analogies for what we do offline in fear situations, e.g. have legal advice, get accountant's advice on financial matters, don't go down dark streets in strange cities, or even into dangerous areas in our own cities or at particularly risky times, have good HR policies in place to cover behavior issues.

Then I say it's just another area for risk management for contemporary companies. Then I say there is no shortage of models, templates and expert advice available (e.g. the social media guidelines explicitly available for copying, in Brian Solis' Engage p196ff). It's a bit of an intellectual approach so it is probably not going to help the people who want to luxuriate in their fear and/or often proudly trumpeted ludditism :). ~ Des WalshDes Walsh @deswalsh

Dragon slayer women .. and my thoughts. Before you can conquer any dragon you must first answer two questions. 1. Why are you afraid. 2. What exactly is your dragon?  

Your responses to the first question will lead you into the culture of how your organization currently conducts business. The insights you discover will lead you to a better understanding of not only your marketing/pr/sales/research strategies; as well as your internal employee culture. 

To answer question number two .. well you've taken the first step by reading this post. Learning as much as you can about social media is the secret sauce. Toby Bloomberg, Diva Marketing @divatoby

How do You take the Fear Factor out of social media? Please share your insights and learnings in the comments.

More Just 1 Crowd Sourced Question Posts

How do you put soul into a blog post?

Building Social Media Business Relationships With The Mundane

01/11/2011

Twitter_no wall snips
What does watching football games, a fractured foot, a party gal, a nap, late night lattes, a hotel PA system and eating cheescake have in common? Twitter tweets of course.

Girlfriend, now you might be saying, "Toby, I rest my case. That's exactly why I would never think of tweeting for business. Who cares if I'm eating cheesecake or staying at a hotel with an annoying PA system?" 

  • Social media does not have walls. Hold that thought.

For my 2 cents, the special sauce of social media, and now social networks, is the opportunity to build and sustain relationships. From a business perspective that usually means customers/clients, prospects, colleagues, vendors, the media, analysts and shareholders. Did I miss anyone? Oh yes, the gate keepers! Lots of people who have hugely diverse interests. 

I spend a lot of time trying to make sense of how do you build business relationship in today's digital world. One day, it occurred to me ..

  • Social media does not have walls. Hold that thought.

This quote from Keith Ferrazzi, author of Never Eat Alone, sheds some light and understanding on what makes a business relationship either online or offline.

"Everything that you want to achieve in life is with and through other people. Making friends with people you meet is the first step toward getting what you want and you do that by getting to know everyone on a personal level—even business contacts.

There is no such thing as a business relationship—there are only personal relationships in a business context that you are fearful of creating a personal relationship with."

Well .. I'm not so sure about the fear factor, though it certainly can be an issue. However, getting to know people on a personal level resonates with me. It also reinforces my concept of the Corner Grocery Store Relationship where the shop keeper didn't just know her customers by name but was an integrated part of the larger community.

Hang with me a bit more. 

If we were doing business together and I met you in your office, or even at your favorite coffee shop, there would be visual clues that would provide insights into your world .. personal and/or business. Those visual clues would give me the opportunity to find common ground that goes beyond my product or service.  If I were savvy (and of course I am!) I would use those clues to share with you how we are more alike than different. At the end of the day, all things being equal (more or less) people like to do business with people they know and like.

A couple of examples:

My friend and colleague Merrill Dubrow, CEO of M/A/R/C, has a huge Red Sox banner on his office wall. Wicked cool .. a Boston and baseball connection.

Photos of your family vacationing on the beach might lead to a sidebar conversation about our mutual love of the ocean. Perhaps I'd tell you about my family time at my cousin's home in Hull.

We're enjoying a cup of java at your local coffee shop. You take out your iPhone to take notes. Why, I have an iPhone too. We talk about our favorite apps. 

Back to the idea of social media does not have walls.(Finally!) In the  digital world there are no walls or cues. While we might begin our online relationship because I find the information you post is helpful to me, I still don't know who you are as a "real person."  

However, if among the value added content that you share with me in your Tweets, blog posts, LinkedIn messages, Facebook updates, or where ever we hang out together, once in awhile you drop something you are providing "cues" that help build our relationship. 

10 Tips To Decorate Your Social Media Walls

1. How personal is personal? - How much of "you" should you include in let's call them "coffee tweets" depends on a two factors: your comfort level and the culture of your organization. While some people maybe okay with chatting about their new bebe other people may be concerned with a safely factor. 

2. Pets can add that fun dimension. The Diva Marketing community knows I often include my dog Max in posts. The first time I met someone at a conference, who asked not about me but about Max, I knew there was a relationship brewing.  Max dec 07_1

3.Travel both for business and pleasure can not only give you interesting content. How about a post about a great meal and excellent service or a tweet about the TSA .. er that might be a different blog. 

 

4. A tweet or Facebook update while you're watching the Super Bowl. 

5. The weather. What you're doing during the snow storm or how you're spending the 1st day of spring.

6. Your latest venture into the kitchen along with a photo of those yummy cookies or cake disaster.

7. Your tennis team's ranking. 

8. Kids do say and do the funniest things. If you're comfortable sharing in pubic think capturing it on video.

9. What you're doing for your coffee break or lunch hour. I don't mind a few of those either. I just might be inspired to have a bagel instead of a muffin. 

10. What are your suggestions?

When asked about Twitter's vision, CEO Dick Costolo said, "Twitter is about connecting for a purpose, not just connecting." If you're purpose in using social media is for marketing or business, a little of the mundane can help bring the humanity to relationships. 

 Sidebar: Tweets borrowed from @thomsfrey @urvkish @banteringblonde @shbbll @designsponge @michaelhyatt @shellykramer

How Do You Put "Soul" Into A Blog Post?

01/06/2011

Crowd source When it comes to learning about how to succeed in social media, one of the most valuable type of posts is the multiple insights shared by people who are in the trenches.

I thought it might be interesting and fun to crowd source a series based on just 1 question. So I did what any good social media marketer might do, I tapped my social networks. 19 Marketers kindly shared their thoughts on the 1st question .. 

  • Question: How do you put "soul" into a blog post?

Never lose your sense of humor. We're marketers, not pediatric brain surgeons. A lot of the time a funny photo or drawing can add a little levity to an otherwise serious topic.~ B.L. Ochman What's Next Blog @whatsnext

 Realize that we all have both personal lives and professional lives. Use that knowledge to bring the passions of your life into your work-related blog. For example, I'm a huge music fan and frequently write about music in my "work" blog. What are you passionate about? Use that as fodder for blog posts with soul.~ David Meerman Scott WebInKnow @dmscott

Be yourself. If you're snarky, be snarky. Compassionate, be compassionate. Funny, be funny. Don't try to be something you're not or the world will know in just a few tweets.~ Susan Cartier Liebel Solo Practice University @scartierliebel 

Robert Frost said, "No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader." While writing the initial draft of a blog post, then, allow your ideas to get away from you and surprise you.

Push yourself to think about unexplored parts of the story. Write about images that appear to you for reasons you can't explain, and then try to explain them. Explore and experiment and have fun, before you bring you bring in the internal editor to smooth things out. ~ Mark Levy Levy Innovation @levyinnovation

Be frank about what you don't know and don't understand ~ Des Walsh DesWalsh @deswalsh

My tip is a quote borrowed from a billiard's player I once knew. He said, "Study long, study wrong." While things can't be quite as extemporaneous these days, I still feel that being too cerebral with a post is a way to suck the life out of it.

In other words, some of the most soulful posts are those written without too much editing or over-thinking.I used to say blogging was a "shoot from the hip, speak from the heart" style of writing. ~ Paul Chaney  My Amplify @pchaney

Bring your personality and opinion to the table.. you can have marketing goals, but people don't want to hear marketing speak. They want to hear  you speak about what you think about ideas and opinions of the day. ~ John Cass @JohnCass PR Communications

Rather than reporting or writing about a topic , write how you "feel" about a topic. Speaking from your heart brings out your passion and helps you connect and resonate with readers better. ~ Jody DeVere Ask Patty @askpatty

Isn't the answer in the question maybe? Bare your soul... or at least be transparent and passionate in what you write. ~ Marianne Richmond Resonance Partnership @marianne

Be present without pretense. Call it soul, authenticity, your voice, your thing, your mojo - it doesn't matter. What matters is you've got to own it and to do that you have to know yourself.

Take some time to reflecton who you are, what you care about, what revs your motor and why. Get to know your inner compass and you'll begin to feel it when you're getting off the path, when you're overworking it, phoning it in, or just being "on message" without meaning. 

Be sensitive to the idea that everything you write about has a common denominator: you! So don't be afraid to be present in the process. ~ David S. Cohen Equation Arts @davidscohen

I think soul means heart and depth. To bring that soulfulness to your blog it  needs to occasionally be personal. Not the every day experience level of personal, but that story that gives you pause. Was it embarrassing? In hindsight is the answer clear? Should you share *that*? If it could be of value to even one person, then yes.  ~ Katie Bromley @KatieRBromley

Write what you are passionate about. ~ @AYPcom

Stick with what fuels your passion and let that enthusiasm shine through in all that you write.~Teresa Caro @TeresaCaro

Don't try to create an overly authoritative voice - be yourself and write as you wouldspeak to a friend. The best blog posts make me feel like I just had an intelligent conversation with a friend. The ones who are haughty and lofty in tone lose me within the first few sentences.~ Amanda Thompson Dachis Group  Travel Blog @mercerthompson

I add soul by being honest. Honesty doesn't mean being snarky, which seems to be a trend these days. Honesty is about giving people an insight or an "insider's perspective" that they can't get by reading the WSJ, the Times,ADWEEK, MEDIAWEEK or any other traditional publication. ~ Jamie Turner 60SecondMarketer @60SecondTweets

Write in your own voice and let your own personality shine through. ~ David Reich Reich Communication @davidreich

Keep in mind every post might be the first post someone reads so make it amazing - Rob Petersen Barn Raisers @robpetersen

One infallible way to add "soul" to your blog is to have a humorous or non-traditional About or Biography page.  Some people use a page that includes a list such as "10 things about me" or "7 things you may be surprised to know about me" or something along those lines. 

Other people write a humorous biography.  Still others write a very personal story about why or how they started the blog.  Whatever it is, be sure to include something about YOU -- your passions, your values, your beliefs, your hobbies, your family, even your favorite foods or your dislikes.  Share a little about YOU and it will make your blog memorable. ~ Anita Campbell Small Business Trends @Smallbiztrends

Let your passion shine through to distinguish your point of view. Like-minded individuals will be attracted to your honesty.  Let your voice be heard and don't forget the funk (aka, spirit and wit). ~ Terry Starr Dice @dicerecruiting @dicenews

Make each story or post you write unique to you using active verbs and capturing your curiosity and passion for the subject.

In college, I took a modern dance class that based on piece on Tennyson's The Eagle. I'll have to demonstrate it for you. The last part of the poem and dance capture what needs to happen for a blog post or any performance for that matter to have 'soul.' Thanks for the question. As usual, you got me thinking. ~ CB Whittemore Simple Marketing @cbhwhittemore

He clasps the crag with crooked hands;

Close to the sun in lonely lands, Ringed with the azure world, he stands.

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls; He watches from his mountain walls,

And like a thunderbolt he falls. ~ The Eagle by Tennyson

.. and my thoughts: Putting "soul" into your blog posts is like playing jazz. Once you understand the basic notes, step out of your comfort zone and explore something new with your community. Play the tune together where you share another side of what makes you .. you. ~ Toby Bloomberg Diva Marketing @tobydiva Jelly's last jam

Let's keep the conversation going .. How would do you put "soul" into your blog posts?