Building Social Media Business Relationships With The Mundane


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?


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?

Extreme DIY Social Media Media Blogger Relations Training For PR/Ad Agencies


Press pass _toby
I really like the beat you cover
began one pitch that recently dropped into my inbox. 

Seems that PR people think that I am a media outlet.  Sort of funny.  However, at this juncture in the evolution of social media and blogger relations, sort of sad and frustrating that too many agencies still don't  understand the "human side" of "social." All they see is "media." 

One could make a case that most marketing and public relations higher education courses don't cover earned media well if at all. One could make a case that social media is new and many people are at the initial stages of learning. One could make a case that blogs appear to be a type of public information and leap to the conclusion that content creators are another type of reporter. 

One could come up with a whole bunch of excuses. But Girlfriend, if you don't fix the broken heel of your favorite Jimmy Choos you'll hobble along forever. Or something like that.  How do you "social media fix" a PR agency or ad agency? With a little training and a walk in a blogger's stylish shoes. 

Abc_1  For now forget the listen to the conversation. Forget the build the relationship first. If you've ever stepped your polished purple toes into the social media waters you've heard that at least a zillion times. Guess you didn't get it. 

We're changing Nike's Just Do It into "YOU do it" with Extreme DYI Social Media Blogger Relations Training For Agencies (and anyone else). It's not easy. It does take time. It's based on at least 2 people or 2 teams participating. It's not for the whiners. 

If you succeed at the end of the course .. you buy me my next pair of Jimmy Choos. If not I'll buy you a drink when your boss says the famous Donald Trump words - You're Fired!

Extreme DYI Social Media Blogger Relations Training - A Four Week 12 Step Program

Week One - Understanding Social Media 

Step 1 Read: Social Media Marketing GPS, my free eBook for an over view of social media. How long can that take to read it was based on 140 character tweets?  Follow that with: The Hyper-Social Organization, Naked Conversations, The Digital Handshake The New Rules of Marketing and PR - Second Edition. Look out for Nettie Hartsocks' soon to be released book Kiss Your Publisher Goodbye -- reading her blog is a good idea too.

Weeks Two, Three & Four - A Walk In A Blogger's High Fashion Shoes

Step 2 - Create 2 teams 

Step 3 - Read Pulse of the Industry Blogger Relations Series Parts i, ii, iii, iv and v

Step 4 - Read Susan Getgood's Blog with Integrity guidelines

Step 5 - Create a blog on any topic that you can sustain for three weeks. The graphical look and feel must complement your subject. Add at least 10 blogs that write about similar topics to you blog roll. 

Step 6 - Write a minimum of 3 well thought out posts per week for the next 3 weeks

Step 7 - Comment on other blogs at a minimum of 3 times per week. 

Weeks Three & Four

Step 8 - Pitch A Blogger

Step 9 - Develop a minimum of 4 pitches per week that you will send ONLY to the people who are participating in the Extreme DIY Social Media Blogger Relations Training with you.

Step 10 - For each pitch you receive do one or more of the following actions: a. reply back; b. post to your blog; c. do nothing; e. other .. you decide. Track your actions for each pitch. 

Week Four

Step 11 - Provide feedback to your colleagues on their pitches including how you responded and why.

Step 12 - What did you learn? How did you feel about response to your pitches? What will you put into practice in your next blogger relations campaign? Did you color outside the lines .. do more than was suggested? What?

Happy Graduation!  Jimmy choo_1  

Classic Black Dress Posts


Last Sunday night I was chatting with a few hundred people about blogs on Mack Collier's popular Tweet Chat #blogchat. 

What's a tweet chat? Glad you asked. It's simply people tweeting on a designated topic, at a specific time, and using a unique identifier - called a hash tag (#blogchat) - so the conversation can be easily followed online.  

#blogchat is always fun with lots of ideas generously exchanged among colleagues from all over the world. @mattchevy offer a great suggestion that I found so simple but elegant .. like the classic black dress.  

Blogchat_june 20 classic black dress_2 

Some people might call Matt's idea an "evergreen post; this is Diva Marketing after all and I prefer  - "Classic Black Dress Post." Girlfriend, think Coco ChannelThe little balck dress never goes out of style.

LITTLE BLACK DRESS Please enjoy one of Diva Marketing's Classic Black Dress Posts - August 31, 2008

life just happens.  However, every once in awhile when you round a corner, when you least expect it, you bump into something  that causes you to pause. No where is that more magical than in New York City.

Peny_parkBig bronze pennies leading to whimsical art, created by local sculpture Tom Otterness, was one of the many little surprises that my friend Kate introduced me to during our walk along Rockefeller Park (Battery Park City) this weekend. I found it interesting that the name of this wee park is The Real World but the children call it Penny Park. I couldn't help but think .. what's real and what is play and how as adults we loose our sense of wonder and miss the moments of delight.

It's only a description of what I see in New York: the constant clash between people walking on the same street, living in the same world. I see small vignettes of meaning, but the connection between the events is beyond my understanding. Tom Otterness

Later that night Otterness' words would ring true for me. In a NYC taxi my aunt lost her purse. Panic set in as she was told by the 311 operator that due to the holiday weekend no one would be able to help her for 7 long days. Her lost money and cell phone were not so much a concern as her identification. How much of a hassle would it entail to get through TSA security? Life can be so complex.

The cabbie had found her purse. Taken the initiative to call several people from her phone list who in turn called family who was with my aunt. Happily ever after occurred when this good samaritan took time out from his job to return her pocket book.

I see small vignettes of meaning, but the connection between the events is beyond my understanding.

What might this have to do with marketing, or branding you may ask? In my way of thinking it is a reminder that be it taxi rides or art it's the people who we touch .. who we connect with who matter.  For me social media marketing is making that happen more so every day. Because business is personal.

Did You Give A Social Media Party & Forget To Invite The Guests?


Congrats! you've launched your social media initiative and you did it the right way. Blogging-101  

7 Steps To Social Media Success

1. You aligned your organization's culture with the social culture

2. You understood the impact the social web will bring to your enterprise.

3. You created a strategy that includes objectives, goals, measurable results. You've integrated it into your overall plan. 

4. You listened to the social conversations and understood how your customers are engaging and the value you could contribute.

5. You built a content direction that could be maintained for the long-run and across multiple social platforms e.g., blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and even the next shiny new toy. 

6. You have internal and external guidelines in place.

7. You've even identified a social media champion who is respected at a senior management level. 

You finally launched and took a celebration sip of a well deserved appletini or double espresso latte. You wait. You wait. You wait. So what happens now? Where are the comments? Where are the RT (retweets)? Where are the atta girl we love your ideas?

Ooops! You gave a social media party and forgot to invite the guests. If you build it they will not come .. unless you tell them.  Similar to your traditional website .. social media serves many masters. Not only can it support marketing, public relations, customer service or consumer insights but think of it as an asset unto itself.  

Shh .. don't tell .. here's the secret .. the missing piece to the social media puzzle that is frequently forgotten: a promotional strategy must be included with each and every one of your social initiatives.

Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Social media twitter facebook adare beginning to get it with one of the first print ads I've seen that promotes its social media assets - Facebook and Twitter

However, for me, the customer experience stumbles with the goal of providing only the website url. It's not easy to go to what is promoted - Facebook or Twitter. Once at the site links to Facebook and Twitter are below the fold. Though I might not have found the sweet dedication to their dog Lulu and her pup friends. Max sends woofs!  

To help you ease on down the social road  ...

18 Easy Tips To Promote Your Social Media Initiatives

1. Add urls to your email signature

2. Add urls to your business card

3. Include in traditional marketing communication materials

4. Include links in all of your social media assets

5. Add links above the fold on your website 

6. Add links to the footer or site navigation bar that runs across the site

7. Include in ads - print,digital and broadcast

8. Create a special ad a la Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams

9. Include links in your eMail newsletters

10. Drop a Facebook status up date

11. Drop a LinkedIn update

12. Judiciously tweet it out

13. Engage with the social web communities where you 'live'  e.g., comment on blogs, @tweets, etc.

14. Include "share this" widget on posts

15. Optimize for key word search

16. Send email updates to your network

17. Add urls in media releases

18. Take online offline .. mention it to colleagues at networking events

Now .. take a sip of 'tini or vino or java and toast to your success!

Relationships Don't Matter


Alone person  Relationships don't matter .. to some people. Bloggers like to build relationships with the people who pitch them stories; however, that is not always the case for content publishers like Jeffry Pilcher, of The Financial Brand. 

  • I'm a one-man show running two businesses. I don't have time for touchy-feely stuff. If I could spend my whole day "engaging with my readers," "joining the conversation" and doing phone interviews .. Sadly none of that puts food on my plate.

A few eMail exchanges and a comment on a Diva Marketing post might not a deep relationship make; but they opened a door that resulted in an interesting exchange and this blog post about how one publisher finds content for his online site. Perhaps you'll find a few ideas that will help you write your next blog post.

The Financial Brand_2  About The Financial Brand: The Financial Brand is a niched B2B online publication about banking and brand/marketing. The community has approximately 3,000 active subscribers who read about 50,000 articles every month. The site ranks about 135 on Ad Age's Power 150 list.

Monitoring The Internet & Social Media: Jeffry spends about 90 minutes daily reviewing about 50 Google Alerts, RSS feeds and Twitter searches that he's converted into RSS feeds. His search terms including: bank, credit unions, marketing, advertising, new logo, branding, promotion. He has invested many hours honing these key words. In addition, he also scans Twitter using the special columns in Tweetdeck. 

Organization: What interests Jeffry goes into folders. At the end of the week he reviews all and chooses the five he's going to write about. Although he posts five days a week (Monday through Friday) he usually sets aside time during the weekend to write.

Information relevant to his audience that isn't turned into posts are shared through Twitter @financialbrand. Jeffry has even posted his Twitter policy along with a few Tweet resources. Well worth a visit. 

Diva Marketing: What influences your decision to choose the stories for your publication?

Jeffry Pilcher: The #1 thing that will influence my decision to write a full article is the immediate availability of supporting images/artwork. As a publisher of a marketing/advertising website, it’s vital I have visual examples of what I’m writing about. Who wants to read about a TV campaign or billboard promotion if they can’t see what it looks like? Most press release fail miserably with this. I want your logo, pictures of the people quoted in the release, photos, illustrations, graphs, etc.

Diva Marketing: When you're working with bloggers do you do anything differently than when you work with agencies or brand managers? 

Jeffry Pilcher: I don't work with bloggers. In fact, I almost never work with anyone (for any reason). I don't usually do interviews for stories. I just don't have the time. It takes me an average of 4 hours to write an article already, without interviews.

Diva Marketing: When you find a lead from a blog do you do additional vetting to ensure credibility?

Jeffry Pilcher: I never rely on one source and I Google the heck out of everything. Of the four hours it takes me to create an article, easily one hour is spent researching. Also, remember: If I can't find artwork, photos or imagery, I won't run the story. But once I find the necessary graphics for my story, it's almost as if the sources become irrelevant. I can write my own review of what I see.

Diva Marketing: What advice can you give to bloggers, and other social media content creators, who want to gain exposure with online publications? 

Jeffry Pilcher

  • Make sure 100% of your content is 100% relevant to your audience 100% of the time. (I extend this rule to include ads.) If you do that, you can throw away all the other rules. 

There's a lot of noise out there about stuff like "engagement," "authenticity" and "transparency." I ignore all that crap. I'm running a B2B site. It's business, not casual, nor recreational. My readers want insights and information. Period. All I have to do is give it to them and stay out of the way.

If you feel that relationships are important in blogger relations take a look at this informal studyPulse of the Industry: Blogger Relations

Martha Stewart's Twitter Recipes


This weekend I was writing a post about how people are using Twitter as a marketing tactic (coming soon). As often happens I got lost in the research. This time the sidetrack was on @marthastewart. Girlfriend, did you know she's posting 140 character recipes? Before I knew it I had copied most if not all of them.

For your cooking and dining pleasure a tweet merged blog cooking post!

Sidebar: Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Marketing VP feel free to "steal this idea" and post on If I were the social media diva at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia a cute twitter recipe book would be in the works complete with tweet recipes from our followers. Perhaps I'd turn it into a video cook-off contest. What a great idea Toby ;-)

Martha stewart twitter avatar

 Martha Stewart's 140 Character Tweet Recipes

Soups. Appetizers. Others

Soup appetizers other  












Social Media Makes The Customer Experience Personal


LavenderThe recent rains awaken the heady scent of the lavender bush at the front of my house. I pass by it every day. I planted it several years ago but today the scent was exceptionally strong .. almost intoxicating. I had to stop what I was doing for an extra moment or two. Sometimes what we see all the time, what is in front of us can be overlooked.

This afternoon an email popped into my in-box from a favorite dessert company - Dancing Deer - from Boston. I send Dancing Deer gifts all the time. Somehow I feel connected to the company for a number or reasons: Boston, my friends love their presents, the site is graphically whimsical, frequent coupons, they have "heart" in giving back to the community.

The subject line "Sweet deals and ice cream cookie sandwiches" caught my eye (it's summer and I'm making ice cream .. there goes the diet again!) and I opened and clicked into the site to find out more. The click took me to a blog. Way cool! I had no idea. Dancing Deer and I had yet something else in common - social media. Must be new I thought. Nope .. it's been around for several months.

I went back to the home page - no mention or link. I went back to the blog and searched a round some more. Oh my .. the owner, Tish Karter, was in Atlanta in April for the start of a 1500 bike ride " engage the public in a conversation about how to end homelessness." She blogged and vlogged her journey.

Awesome but why did I not know about this? I guess I missed the email? Surely I would have noticed that email. I mean come on .. Atlanta, social media, a bike ride from-to the 2 cities I've lived in. They reached out to bloggers - some of whom are friends. They never talked to me.

Now I'll tell you something that you might think is rather silly .. I felt a little sad. Isn't that odd? I've never met Tish, homeless is not my "cause" but If Dancing Deer had reached out to its customer base, If they had told me about their blog or that they were tweeting I might have been able to help. Not only that there would Dancing deerhave been a significant brand experience creating not just a fan but a raving fan.

Adding social media to your communication strategy you give your customers more than an email, or a press release or even a free cookie. You are inviting them into your world beyond the spin of advertising or PR.  Odd as it may sound - when you talk to your customers it becomes personal for them. 

Sometimes, like with my lavender bush, what we see all the time, what is in front of us maybe overlooked. Developing All of your strategies with your customers in mind becomes increasingly critical if you step into the world of blogs, vlogs, twitter, Facebook, podcasts .. social media marketing.

Friday Fun: #Bring Back The Blog


Friday Fun is Diva Marketing's virtual happy hour from cosmos to Jack to lemonade. A waiting for the weekend 'playground' time to be sophisticated-silly. Or sometimes just plain silly.

 In the world of social media Facebook, Twitter and other social networks have taken center stage. Our old friend .. the Dandelion_seeds_being_blownblog .. seems to be relegated to a role in the chorus. Of course social networks can play an important part in social media marketing, however, the platform is not Yours. It will never be Yours. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and every community on Ning could go away tomorrow. All of your contacts, all of your content could blow away like dandelion seeds in the wind.

Blogs, (that you serve yourself) are always Yours (at least until the server crashes or a hacker blows up your site). #BringBackTheBlog is an occasional series on Diva Marketing that highlights some of the great work in the blogosphere.

Blogs do take more time and care than a 140 character tweet or a Facebook wall post. The challenge becomes updating with relevant, interesting content. According to Nettie Harsock, "Conversational content is the base ingredient to any blog truly thriving and engaging a community long-term." Nettie offers 5 Tips For Conversational Content.

Fard Johnmar HealthCareVox has been writing smart posts about healthcare in social media  since 2006. His recent post is a great example of building content from other sources, In his post about media consumption habits of e-patients he incorporates findings from the Pew Social Life of Health Information study. By the way did you know that although people are looking for medical information online, including peer reviews, less than 40% use social networks like Facebook and only only 12% are currently taking advantage of Twitter?

Unlike an article written in main stream media, social media provides an opportunity to tell your stories when you want, how you want, without the filter of a reporter or editor. While business story telling follows a similar format to those you read as a kid, there are a few differences. Katya Andresen Getting To The Point, provides us how-to direction including a story telling check list.

When it comes to story telling blog posts that end in marketing lessons no one does it better than Ann Handley - Annarchy. Ann's talent for creating stories about simple every day happenings in her life not only engages us but endears us to her. Word of caution .. don't enter the world of Annarchy unless you have a few spare moments.

When we think of blog posts we usually think of T-E-X-T. However, since blogs are websites and anything you can include in a website you can incorporate into a blog post think photos and videos. Paul Chaney's, The Social Media Handyman, use of video interviews is an excellent example of the versatility of blog content. Paul does one - two minute interviews at the 140 Twitter Conference.

Read more in the all tweet book - Social Media Marketing GPS #smgps - Chapter 6 Tactics Second interviews with Yvonne DiVita and Julie Squires about blogs

Great Social Media Marketing


"We are moving from technology-centric applications to people-centric applications that conform to our relationships and identities. The social graph is enabling a new Web experience that will transform the way we work, learn, and interact across every aspect of our lives." Clara Shih, the Facebook Era

I agree with Clara Shih, and think that the Facebook Era is one of the smartest books about social networks. However, although it is technology that proples the experience the reason social media works is actually very simple. At its heart it's people connecting with each other, telling their stories, sharing their lives. What you share depends on your comfort level of giving pieces of yourself to your digital network.

When those stories and experiences involve brands, organizations, service then it becomes part of  "social media marketing."  The stories that are tweeted or blogged or put on a Facebook page are exposed to your expanded network. Through digital word-of-mouth your opinions may influence the purchase behavior of people you don't even know. 

Sooo .. let me tell you a story. - Today I arrived in a small town in Pennsylvania - Johnstown to speak about social mLori holiday inn johnstown pa_webedia at PA Development Center's Annual Conference (waves to Elyse Harvey who was wonderful to work with on this project!). I dropped Max off at the vets (with instructions for extra walks and doggie ice cream treats) at 10a and after a long day of travel from ATL to IAD to JST I walked into the Holiday Inn at 6:30p .. famished. 

Now I must admit my expectations of Harrigan's Restaurant at the Holiday Inn was .. well .. not very high. In fact, I tried to find another place to eat. Went so far as to do a few Urban Spoon shakes which turned up pretty much only fast food. Sometimes you turn a corner and are delightfully surprised. The venue itself was inviting,  Lori, my waitress or is the pc term 'server?' was awesome and most importantly the food was excellent.

To help demonstrate social media and stories for the workshop Lori graciously agreed to have her photo posted, with the amazing dessert tray, on Twitter, Facebook and Diva Marketing. Next time you're in Johnstown, PA head to the Harrigans and ask for Lori .. I promise you won't be disappointed.Johnstown pa

Where will this go? Who in my social media network will see a post, tweet or Facebook page? Will the post or tweet make its way into someone's search for Johnstown restaurants or Harrigans? Will Lori make a few extra tips?

So what is great social media marketing? It's all about the stories and the people and the beat goes on and on and on and on ....