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What Does Social Media Mean To You? With BL Ochman, Duncan Wandle & Michale Pranikoff


What Does Social Media Mean To You? is a continuing video series of Little Sound Bites of thoughts and insights. Perhaps you'll be on the little Flip video next time we meet!

Today's post of little Flip social media marketing moments are complements of three PR professionals:  BL Ochman - whatsnextonline Founder,  Duncan Wandle - Disney Sr. Vice President Global PR and Michale Pranikoff - PR Newswire Director of Emerging Media. Although their definitions differ they all come back to the Big C & P Words .. Communication and People.

B.L. Ochman,  whatsnextblog.com whatsnextonline.com

Sound Bite

Completely new avenue of getting all of the elements of communication together.
A new way of meeting people.

Sidebar: B.L. has the best laugh. If you watch it for nothing else this is sure to make you smile too!

Duncan Wandle Disney

Sound Bite

Creating dialog with consumers.
Not talking directly at consumers.
Biggest future trend will be companies building platforms that allow (and encourage) consumers to talk with one another

Michael Pranikoff, PR Newswire Michael's del.icio.us page

Sound Bite

All about engagement.
Connecting with people anywhere in the world who have the same interests


A Shout Out To Small Business


A little tribute to small business. I grew up in a world were "the business" was like a family member. Dinner conversations included updates and news about "the business." Trips were planned with "the business" in mind. Small business is not just business .. it's a way of life. As the economy does a shimmy I encourage you to support small.

Did you know that small businesses that are leveraging the internet are doing their fair share to support economic grow? According to Paul Misener Amazon.com’s vice president of global public policy - sales generated by small businesses via e-commerce accounts for as much as one-fourth of all consumer e-commerce in the United States, although surveys, including the U.S. Census, tend to greatly underestimate that number. eWeek

We_directory_2 Heidi Richards Mooney, publisher and founder of the Women’s eCommerce Association, International, just released Who’s Who Directory of Women in eCommerce. Heidi says the 57-page ebook recognizes women who promote their businesses to a global marketplace via the Internet.

In addition to using the directory as resource, (the eBook includes links to women owned business from accounting to women travel) Heidi hopes it will be a catalyst for networking and creating strategic alliances.

Country_bob_2It's only fair to tip the hat to a small biz owned by three guys. Part of Country Bob's strategy is sampling. How do you sample a product on the web? Offer coupons for a Free bottle of BBQ sauce. Added benefit: a little demo information about your customers. This one may be too late for your Memorial Day cook out but try it for the Fourth of July.

Read More About Small Business
Kiplinger Small Business Advice
Small Business Trends

Blogger Relations Tips For PR/Ad Agency People & Consultants


Friends Sometimes it's tiring to try to be friends. Sigh ..

The following email from a PR Person came on the heels of an email from Marc Meyer - Emerson Direct Marketing Observations. Mark developed what he calls the 30 Top Social Media Experts, Pundits, Evangelists and Marketers. Follow-up post with a few more peeps. I am honored to be included. Send Marc some link love .. click and read who else is on the list. The PR Person is not on the list.

eMail Volley Between PR Person & Diva Marketing (modified so we can learn together and not embarrass.)

PR Person: Hi. Blah blah blah .. company (turns out to be a client) has a new product. If you’d like to learn more about blah blah please let  me know and I’d be happy to  set you up with  an appropriate executive.

Toby/Diva Marketing: I asked a question about the campaign.

PR Person:  I can not personally  comment on these types of questions but I’m happy to put you in touch with one of the marketing executives who would be better able to answer that for you. Just let me know.

Toby/Diva Marketing: That would be great. Thanks.

PR Person:  Sure thing. Do you happen to have any readership or unique visitor numbers handy?

Toby/Diva Marketing: Why?

PR Person: We always like to present our executives with as much  information as possible when approaching them with an interview opportunity.

Toby/Diva Marketing: I am not a journalist. Diva Marketing is not a media outlet. It is a blog with some extent of influence. That is not a question that I would answer unless I was negotiating for sponsorships on Diva (which I choose not to do).

Also, you approached me .. I did not approach you. In your email you offered information to learn more about the campaign. I asked you questions about it and you offered to forward them to the right person for a response. I did not request an interview.

Seems like you don't have much experience reaching out to bloggers. These posts might be useful:
Bloggers and PR People Should Be Friends
From Blogger Relations To Blogger Relations Programs
Agencies Miss The Relations In Blogger Relations Strategies

PR Person: Thanks for clarifying. I am still learning everyday when it comes to blogger outreach. If you are interested in potentially writing about the program on your blog, I would be happy to pass along your question.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Rule # one NEVER ask a blolgger to write about your product/campaign. And NEVER make an interview contingent on a post.

Blogger Relations Tips For PR/Ad Agency People & Consultants

1. Include your name and your company.
2. Indicate your relationship with your client.
3. Learn about the culture of the social media and blogger relations etiquette
4. Educate your client about what to expect when incorporating blogger relations into an outreach.
5. Help your client understand that bloggers are not journalists nor are they media outlets. This is a different game with its own unique rules.
6. Do not offer to provide access to your client or additional information unless you can produce it.
7. Never ask for a blogger's traffic stats or RSS subscriptions.
8. Do your research: read the past posts. If your client wants to understand the blogger's influence utilize tools like Technorati, Google and/or Alexa to learn more about the blogger.
9. Do not make an interview contingent for a blog post.
10. Social media and in this case Blogger Relations is about the relationship.

A tweet from hugh gapingvoid is a perfect way to close this conversation -

The question is not, "Should we blog?" The question is, "Do we want to talk to people differently from how we did in the past?

PR/Agency People and Consultants also have to learn to talk differently than they did in the past.

Richard Binhammer On The Social Media Scene At Dell


In prep for my 400 word page in Age of Conversation book #2 - Why Don't People Get It? I asked a couple of corporate "non suit" types who do get it (Tony Hsieh, ceo - Zappos and Richard Binhammer, corporate group communications - Dell) for their insights into how social media is supporting marketing/business strategies at their companies.

Girlfriends, Gavin Heaton and Drew McLellan are swell guys but they are really holding tight to a 400 word limit so I could only include a bit of Tony's and Richard's feedback. Too much good information in those interviews with Tony and Richard not to share with y'all. Catch Tony's post on Diva Marketing about how he is using Twitter to support Zappo's corporate culture.

Sidebar: Ryan Barrett has little teases from many of the author's pages. Quite fun .. check it out!

For your reading pleasure .. I give you ..

Dell_logo_4Mr. Richard Binhammer Dell, Corporate Group Communications fondly know as Richardatdell

Toby/Diva Marketing: What influence has social media had on how you conduct business? How has participating in social media influenced Dell's internal processes and customer communications?

Richard Binhammer: I believe social media helps us:

1. Learn from conversations with customers every day. That has influenced internal processes as we have identified issues sooner than we might otherwise have, learned to respond faster and generally

2. Listen and be in touch…the fact that customers talking online are heard and their voices are now inside the halls and walls of Dell every day, even if we are not out there meeting face to face every day…it brings a customercentric focus inside the business

3. That also leads to connections and relationships…there is an intangible of connectedness and relationships with people online.

4. All of that adds up to being a better company by listening and being involved in conversation with our customers.”      

Toby/Diva Marketing: Does Dell have a system or process in place to respond to the concerns/complements from consumer generated mentions about the company? And to respond back to the blogger, tweeter, etc?

Richardatdell_computer_2 Richard Binhammer: Absolutely, and since early 2006 we have been responding to concerns, complements and other peoples’ perceptions of us as they express it online.   

The system is still evolving, and it’s not perfect.  Its tough to get a perfect search every day and so we miss some.  In addition, we don’t respond to everything being said about us.  I'm sure people have seen I dropped by because of mybloglog photo or ip address.

We make some judgment calls about whether we need to respond, or simply digest the perspectives being expressed or go away and act on the information, or perhaps, in some cases, especially media and aggregator sites our customers may  already be responding sort of on our behalf. And on those latter occasions I say WOW and thank you! ... our customers are standing up for us ... that’s better than me saying anything. So I shut up.

Just as social media tools and outlets are still evolving, so are we.  For example, you cant search Facebook and contact people like you can with blogs on the web, so in Facebook we set up Dell Embassy, a place for customers to reach us if they have issues and want to connect.

On Twitter, we have a group of Dell employees there, all ready to reach out and work with folks, which may be a little confusing but Twitter is all about people conversing and connecting, so how do you have a conversation with an inanimate object? 

I don’t know that any of this is the right or even final approach ... it’s the current approach

Toby/Diva Marketing: What advice would you give on how to incorporate social media and the feedback from social media into an organization?

Richard Binhammer: Roll up your sleeves ... search and get out there. 

Don’t be afraid and be prepared to make mistakes, learn from them (that’s OK and will be accepted)

Listen hard, learn, act and keep go/growing.

Enjoy!  Interacting with people who care enough about your business/company to write about you and say things about you is a great experience, offers valuable and important information/perceptions and are ultimately great connections and relationships.

Catch Richard blogging and tweeting! Yes,those are really Richard's fingers. Photo taken in Atlanta while we were chillin' drinking martinis after the AiMA meeting about social media.

Bloggers & PR People Should Be Friends


I've been thinking about this post for several weeks and was inspired by Mack Collier's post on Daily Fix to finally put thoughts to virtual paper.

First a little background: I'm a marketer who blogs. I have never been a journalist nor have I ever worked in a PR firm. I was once a director for a non profit and with that came many hats including media relations. My deep dark secrets are I would have loved to have been a foreign correspondence wearing those cute jackets with zillions of pockets, drinking Scotch and yes, an occasional puff on a cigar. And I covet a real press badge that will get me into concerts and events for free. But I digress ..

With blogging has come many new opportunities, as well as a few surprising new identities. A couple of weeks ago I received a press release that referred to me as part of Atlanta's prestigious media. Maybe I do have a press badge but I just forgot where I put. But I can tell you that some of my best friends are in the PR biz. And I've met people who are true professionals in every sense of the word. What do they do that is right?

1. They know who I am.
2. They tell me who they are.
3. They know what I focus on.
4. They offer background information.
5. They help me provide valued content for Diva Marketing's community.
6. Sometimes they even ask what I would like to make the post more compelling.
7. They offer me more than a vaguely clocked sales pitch.
8. They say "thank you."

For all of you a toss of aPink_boa pink boa!

Girlfriend, since we're talking among friends, here are a few pet peeves ..

1. Emails from people who at first glance seem to be my long, lost, best friend.
2. People who start their emails in the middle of a conversation and it takes me a second to realize I've never met the person in online or offline.
3. Emails that are so much like spam that they never get a glance. Off topic.
4. People who say lovely things about Diva Marketing and then ask for me to be their best friend and write about their stuff.
5. People who forget to tell who they are or who they work for or why I should take my time to promote their product.
6. People who forget to say  "thank you."'

That has me wondering why:

1. Some PR people seem to get it while others do not have a clue.
2. Some PR people seem to understand that bloggers are not representatives of a media outlet that is paying them to write about "news worthy" events.
3. Some PR people treat bloggers with the respect that they would give to an influential journalist from a publication like the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times or even The Star
4. While others do not.

Recently I received an email from a brand manager type who works at a very large company. She had hired a PR agency to conduct a Blogger Relations strategy and wrote ..

"We've discussed the fact that bloggers, by publishing their opinions and inviting readers to comment or contact them, basically agree to open themselves to unsolicited information." The ah ha light bulb moment flashed on.  My response back -

If you take that approach you'll open yourself to firestorms. What we tell clients is that the blogoshere is comprised of many "villages" and each village e.g., the cat pet village, the business village, the golf village, has a unique culture.

Within that culture each blogger has her own sense of what she will post .. how she deals with unsolicited "pitches" and so forth. That means more than identifying a bunch of bloggers who talk about a subject it means understanding the blogger. This post from Diva Marketing might shed some understanding.

The ah ha: People just don't know and some agencies dive into this space with little or no experience positioning themselves as experts .. getting their clients and themselves in Big Trouble. Blogger relations is different from traditional media relations. As BBF Paul Chaney indicated in the comments on Mack's post it seems to be a  training challenge .. or opportunity.

The friction between bloggers and public relations people reminds me of the song from the musical Oklahoma - "Farmer and the Cowhand .. Should Be Friends." So I'd like to propose ..  

Social media folks should stick together. Social media folks should all be friends.

Thinking about more blogger relations I was curious if reaching out to bloggers was in anyway in violation of the CAN SPAM Act. My pal Simms Jenkins, CEO of BrightWave Marketing & EmailStatCenter kindly shed some light.

To begin to work together .. Bloggers and PR People .. this is for all of us. Thanks to Simms who agreed to let me post our email volley.

Simms Jenkins: The CAN SPAM act only requires some key elements, none related to permission.  Best practices of email campaigns are related to the subscriber proving an opt in. So spammers follow neither which means the law is powerless, for the most part.

Regarding the outreach, I think a one to one email provides more  flexibility - after all we all send some unsolicted emails hoping to get press, leads, friends :) ..once it becomes an email campaign, you should be more cautious as that is the brand not just an email sent to an individual.

Toby/Diva Marketing:  So if I'm hearing you right .. if the email from the, call it agency/person, includes a "if you don't want to hear from us again we won't bother you again" statement it would be okay and not fall into the CAN SPAM act?

Simms Jenkins:
I am defining campaign as an email from BrightWave Marketing promoting my book/website The Truth About Email Marketing - I need to follow the letter of can spam...however, if I send you an email from my personal account promoting the book, it allows a bit more flexibility but that is a general grey area and why I include an opt out note at the bottom of all of my emails to people

Social media folks should stick together. Social media folks should all be friends.

Tony Hsieh CEO of Zappos - Talks About Twitter


In prep for writing my Age of Conversation book II page, I reached out to Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, for his insights about social media. Not only does Tony blog but he actively tweets (on Twitter the 140 character micro blogging platform).

In fact, that's where I "met" Tony. I sent him a Twitter DM (direct message). With Tony following 4658 people I Zappo_biz_card_2 wondered if he would respond. He did indeed .. within minutes (!) providing me with his off Twitter email so we could continue the conversation without the 140 character limitation.

Sidebar: Not to digress but .. where else .. how else could a little ol' diva in Atlanta connect with the CEO of billion dollar corporation based in Las Vegas? I tell you girl friend, that alone boggles the mind. One more testimony to how social media and in this case, Twitter, can open the doors and windows a little wider to  develop relationships.

Toby/Diva Marketing:  What influence has social media had on how you conduct business? Does Zappos have a system or process in place to respond to the concerns/complements from consumer generated mentions about the company? And to respond back to the blogger, tweeter, etc?

Tony Hsieh: We haven't really changed any of our internal processes yet. Right now the stuff I am doing on Twitter is just me... if someone Twitters me then I personally respond.

We now have close to 300 employees on Twitter, but

our main motivation for getting our employees to join Twitter was to help improve our company culture.

Company culture is our #1 priority.  We believe that if we get the company culture right, most of the other stuff (including great customer service) will happen on its own.

Toby/Diva Marketing: What advice would you give to a CEO on how to incorporate social media and the feedback from social media into an organization?

Tony Hsieh: 

I think if the CEO starts using Twitter on his/her own and is actually passionate about it, then that passion will eventually rub off on the rest of the organization.

You can't fake or mandate passion, you actually have to be passionate. On Twitter, people can tell whether you are actually passionate about connecting with other Twitterers, whether they are your customers or employees.

About Zappos - Founded in 1999, Zappos is an online commerce company that got its start selling shoes. Since then their product line has morphed to include: handbags, clothing, electronics and more. According to Marketing Sherpa, Zappos anticipates to top $1 Billion in sales in 2008. With a focus on superior customer service Zappos is game to try innovative strategies that bring them closer to their customers. Zappos Blogs Zappo Tweets. Sounds like a match made in Social Media Heaven!

Achieving Social Media Success With PRSA GA


Welcome PRSA Georgia Chapter's Annual Conference People!

Yesterday I had the most fun teaming with two amazing divos - Dan Greenfield. media consultant Bernaise Sauce (former vp Earthlink) and Michael Pranikoff (del.icio.us) director  Emerging Media PR Newswire. We were Conversation Guides for a session on social media for a great group of folks. The convo went from micro blogging to how to develop a strategy to the difference between an audio file and a podcast. Answer: RSS

As promised, we're happy to share the deck. For those who didn't attend the session there are some great resources including Twitter search engines complements of Michael and an easy to follow 10 Step Social Media how-to get started Process from Dan. Enjoy! Download the_social_media_10_step_process.pdf

From the lunch key note panel .. a few snippets

  • To celebrate GM's 100th anniversary an employees wiki has been established. As employees add their memories a unique view of the company's history will be created. For Mary Heinge, APR communications director, GM Corp., the added benefits include a viral element, a way to involve many people and no book printing costs.
  • Debra Neuman, svp external relations for Care told the group that social media gives people the ability to respond immediately and especially for a non profit ".. your content better be right."
  • Question: Who owns social media? Debra Neuman - "No one and everyone." Love that one.

Facebook_for_old_people Most controversial statement was from Jack Leslie. When the panel was asked about the skills they were looking for in new hires, Jack told us he leans toward people half his age when considering employees with social media skills since .. young people have this built into their DNA. Now perhaps Jack was trying to be funny but the buzz in the ladies loo (Girlfriend you know exactly what I mean.) was outrage that only the Millenniums are perceived to "get it." As one women said to me - Anyone can learn how to put together a MySpace or Facebook page but it takes experience to understand how to incorporate social media into a PR plan or campaign.

I would be delighted to introduce Jack to Shel Israel and Jane Genova and Yvonne DiVita and Marianne Richmond and Rick Short and Elana Centor and Anita Campbell and Merrill Dubrow and Wayne Hurlbert and Michele Miller and Jack Yan and Jeff Jarvis and KD Paine and Dr. Lasky and BL Ochman and Liz Strauss and Dan Greenfield .. well you get the picture. Update: and Paul Chaney!

Sidebar: Thanks to Seth for the graphic of Facebook for Old People.

Friday Fun: Sex In The City & Shoes Shoes Shoes!


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.

Sitc_film Today's Friday Fun is for the Divas. The girlfriends - Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda - are back in a Sex In The City film. For me SITC means shoes shoes and more shoes. Well okay throw in Mr. Big, some great fashion, cosmos, friendship and fun in NYC too.

Meghan Cleary, aka Miss Meghan, The Shoe Therapist, is running a Sex In The City Designer Shoe Contest. Once a week, from now until the SITC opening (May 30th), Miss Megan will be giving away a pair of designer shoes. Very special is that all are women-owned luxury shoe designer brands who are taking the footwear industry by stormTashkent, Diana BroussardGoldenbleu and Eileen Shields.

"Things don't always turn out to be your fantasy that's why you need  friendships that are real to get you through it all." - Carrie Bradshaw. Divas, life can find a way of getting in the way of life. So take out your calendars or blackberries and schedule a GNO with your best girlfriends. Shoe__lainey_b_marbleMaybe, as suggested by Mary one of my dear GNO friends, a SITC movie and beverage night. Perhaps you'll even be wearing designer shoes ;-)

The official Sex In The City movie site complete with a lame blog.

Bloggy disclaimer: Meghan Cleary is a client .. and as you can imagine a very fun one!

It's Not Spam It's An MBA Project


Funny story for you.

Last week I followed a link I found in Diva Marketing's stat referrals. It led to an amazon.com powered site ..Expert_amazon_page_may_5_08_3 Expert Choice. Have you ever wondered what books influential bloggers read? We did too. So we asked them.

Lo and behold I was included in this list of experts.

But wait a sec .. I had no recollection of reviewing these books. Even though it seemed to be associated with a not for profit, Kiva, I assumed it was a rather clever spam site. I noticed that Drew McLellan was one of the bloggers listed. Drew was on Twitter so .. yes, girlfriend, I tweeted. He had not a clue either. Amazon_expert_twitter

A few days later I received an email from Jeff Greenfield thanking me for participating in the project that he and his classmates, from the MBA class at Paul Merage School of Business at the University of California, Irvine, had put together .. Expert Choice book store. Ahh .. lightbulb went off.

"We have created this webstore for our group project in EDGE, a course that explores how technology and globalization are transforming the business landscape – opening markets, redefining industries, and erasing boundaries.  Our project’s specific goal is to connect readers with business-related books that are recommended by industry experts. 

One hundred percent of the proceeds from the sale of all books through our Expert's Choice webstore will be donated to the Kiva, a charity that lets you lend to specific entrepreneurs in the developing world – empowering them to lift themselves out of poverty.

We sent out 25 emails and got 12 responses: Scott Berkun, Toby Bloomberg, Tom BlueMike Bonifer, Roger Dooley, Guy Kawasaki, Karl Long, Drew McLellan, John Seely Brown, Andy Sernovitz, Ron Shevlin, Scott WhiteWe went into this having no idea how many replies we’d get but we’re happy with the quantity and quality of the responses we received."

To ensure that there was no doubt that this was not only a legit initiative but one developed by a group of MBA students, I suggested a more prominent placement of About Us.  TheTeam Edge from UC Irvine: Jinu Choi, Erin Cueto, Jeff Greenfield and Chris Ting presents their project May 27th. Take a moment to visit the Expert Choice book store and help them out with a few clicks and it would also be swell if you bought a book too .. it's for a good cause. Maybe you can send it to the Masiguy to help him pass the time as he mends.

Lessons Learned
People are cynical. Ensure that your credibility information is front and center.
Need a fast response? Tweet.
Bloggers are kind and generous people. A 50% response rate is great.

What Does Social Media Mean To You? With Tim Jackson - Masiguy


What Does Social Media Mean To You? is a continuing video series of Little Sound Bites of thoughts and insights. Perhaps you'll be on the little Flip video next time we meet!

This post is in honor of Tim Jackson who is recouping from a very serious bicycle accident. Tim hope when you hop back into the virtual world this brings a smile. It with pleasure that I  present to you the Masiguy's views on social media.

Tim Jackson, Masiguy, is the Brand Manager for Masi Bicycles

Sound Bite Social Media means to me ..
All about the relationship
Extending the brand forward
Connecting with people