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Butterfly Moment


Butterfly with purple flowers Walking Max yesterday and saw a beautiful butterfly on a flower. We stopped. We watched. We were quiet for a moment.

I wondered how many times we miss butterfly moments with our customers? Social media listening gives us the opportunity to do just that: to stop, to watch/listen, to be quiet for a moment.

Enjoy my white paper - Two Sides of Consumer Generated Media: Listening & Participating

Thanks to Timothy Hamilton on Flickr

Atlanta Women In Social Media Marketing_1


A couple of weeks ago Mashable held a smashing mash in Atlanta for over 400 of its closest friends .. who signed up before the fire marshalls could call Stop! no more people. I shared a glass of vino or two with friends, got to hug a live pink boa, complements of Jungle Disk, Live pink boa and met new people. However it became crystal clear that although Diva Marketing celebrated its 5th blog-birthday my social media network is more global than local.

I found myself asking, "Who are these people and what do they do? What is happening in Atlanta social media marketing? To para phrase from my friends at BlogHer ..Where are the Atlanta women in social media marketing?"

A few months back BBF Dan Greenfield suggested that I interview the women in Atlanta who are involved in social media marketing. Last week ideas synergized .. why not create a resource list that highlights the women in Atlanta who are working in social media marketing? But not just a boring list .. a series of mini interviews where we can get to know these women better. Along the way perhaps new friendships will take online offline.

Criteria: using social media as a marketing strategy for your business ventures or helping clients use social media as a marketing strategy. Look for the Atlanta Women in Social Media Marketing posts over the next couple of weeks.

Atlanta Women In Social Media Marketing

Donna Lynes-Miller Donna Lynes-Miller - GourmetStation Delicious Destinations Blog

1. What does social media marketing mean to you? Social media marketing provides GourmetStation with non-conforming, non-traditional, casual and comfortable ways of communicating with our customers outside of our website. All social media tactics provide our brand with a means for different aspects of our brand personality to shine through.

2. My favorite social media tactic is our travel and culture blog, Delicious Destinations which include guest writers from around the world.

3. In 140 characters - What is Atlanta's greatest challenge in becoming a social media hub? With Internet driven social media tactics, I believe it will be difficult for any city to be a hub. The Internet is the great equalizer giving all regions the chance to participate.

4. 2 sentences about your company. - GourmetStation is a national food gifting company specializing in 3 & 4 course gourmet dinners, steak & seafood dinners, soup samples and dessert gifts. GourmetStation products also include dining certificates and monthly dinner clubs used by both consumers and businesses. I primarily focus on: B2C and B2B

5. Began in social media marketing: 2005

(Bloggy disclosure GourmetStation was one of my first social media marketing clients .. and proof that clients can be dear friends.)

Grayson daughters Grayson Daughters - MediaConnection.tv WaySouth Media, Inc


1. What does social media marketing mean to you? Social media means staying relevant and informed in very turbulent times. Without social media, there's not much I could offer clients, or show potential ones, that could possibly set me apart from the pack. 

2. My favorite social media tactic is is the distribution of a video, or other original media I've created for myself or for a client, via Twitter. So easy. So fun. Such immediate feedback.

3. In 140 characters - What is Atlanta's greatest challenge in becoming a social media hub? In the corporate arena, Atlanta's greatest challenge is getting over the tendency to do things the way they've always been done. For decades. Right now is just the crazy time to try something oh-so-bleeding edge. In an economy like this, what could it possibly hurt?!

4. 2 sentences about your company. - Grayson Daughters is the founder of WaySouth Media, Inc. - producing and promoting new media. She blogs at Mostly Media, and you can follow her on Twitter as SpaceyG. Her very latest online venture is MediaConnection.tv. 

5. Began in social media marketing - I started using social media in 1995! (I think that's when I got my first dial-up/AOL account.) I started the first AOL Melrose Place chatroom on AOL, jointly with some dude from LA named J.T. Bug. I'll never forget that name, nor that first live chatroom experience. I published a southern culture webzine called WaySouth from '98-2000. I've been blogging since May of 2005, and was an early adopter of Twitter and Facebook (when it went beyond colleges). 

Lya Sorano 1008 headshot - small Lya Sorano LyaSorano.com Great Southern Speakers Georgia Gardener
No Twitter – I’m too exhausted!

1. What does social media marketing mean to you? Social media marketing opens up channels of communication and potential sales that did not exist before. Opportunities pop up that twentieth century marketing did not provide.

My favorite social media tactic is to provoke discussions.
3. In 140 characters - What is Atlanta's greatest challenge in becoming a social media hub?
Traffic! People sit in commuter traffic all day and are too exhausted to peep – much less care about social media.

4. 2 sentences about your company. - The Oliver/Sorano Group, Inc. provides marketing and PR support, including social media strategies, to clients in a variety of industries. I primarily focus on: B2B.

5. Began in social media marketing around 2006-07.

Melissa Galt Melissa Galt -Today By Design Melissa Galt.com

1. What does social media marketing mean to you? Social marketing is about the ability to connect to your target market cost effectively, frequently, and succinctly with value content.  It is about using multiple channels and layering communications for ultimate effectiveness.

2. My favorite social media tactic is the variety of tools and applications available on Twitter, acebook, and LinkedIN that add fun, convenience, and facilitate the sharing of information. Strategically I am a fan of Tweetlater as it allows me maximum control of my time while still maintaining by exposure and my reach.

3. In 140 characters - What is Atlanta's greatest challenge in becoming a social media hub? Atlanta has a golden opportunity to truly land on the map of social media, but to do so will require more leaders to step forward and claim their place.  The city is home to many great entrepreneurs and creatives, yet still the value of social media is not always understood.

4. 2 sentences about your company. - I speak, consult, train and mentor small businesses who think BIG and want to harness the power of social media and new marketing taking their business to the next level, and unleashing unlimited success.

5. Began in social media marketing - I have been using social media since 2008, and have been offering to clients this year.  I primarily focus on: B2B, B2C, Nonprofit, Education.  I believe it is the single factor that can keep many businesses afloat in tough economic times as it provides simple, effective tools to reach targeted buyers and decision makers whether business to business or business to consumer.  Social media is the cornerstone of relationship marketing and with women becoming an increasingly significant force in both consumer and business goods, new marketing as social media is considered, is essential.

Jeneane sessum Jeneane Sessum allied  Jeneane.net

1. What does social media marketing mean to you? Social Media Marketing means reaching customers and communities on behalf of my clients using social spaces on the Internet, where people come together to do/discuss/create/laugh/complain about what interests them.

2. My favorite social media tactic is monitoring and participating in the range of social media discussions to identify what Really Urgent Community Need a client can help solve to make something better for an existing or potential customer.

3. In 140 characters - What is Atlanta's greatest challenge in becoming a social media hub? To replace the “broadcast and sales pitch” mindset with genuine listening and understanding. To talk with not at.

4. 2 sentences about your company: Sessum Creative is an Atlanta-based marketing and public relations consultancy focused on helping clients talk with their markets using the power of social media and the Internet. Working with clients at home and internationally since 1998, we help clients with strategy, messaging, content development and media relations. I primarily focus on: B2B, B2C, Internet startups

5. Began in social media marketing - I entered social media as a blogger myself in 2001 with my personal blog allied). My first social media clients were Elimitaste Gum, Qumana, and Cox Communications. I helped these clients develop a blogging strategy and put in place processes to make sure that strategy worked. The primary goal was to use blogs as an effective way to talk to customers and build thought leadership.

Melissa libby Melissa Libby  MelissaLibbyPR Atlanta Dish blog


1. What does social media marketing mean to you? Social media is public relations at its best. It is old fashioned communications with new technology. You must create relationships and spend quality time with people in order to have a genuine dialogue.

My favorite social media tactic is Facebook status updates and photo postings.

3. In 140 characters - What is Atlanta's greatest challenge in becoming a social media hub?Too many advertising focused minds.

4. Include 2 sentences about your company. Melissa Libby & Associates was founded in 1992 and specializes in PR and social marketing for restaurants and anything edible or quaffable. I primarily focus on: B2B.

5. Began social media marketing - I attended a social media seminar at the University of Georgia in October of 2007 and it changed my business model immediately. On the way home I spoke to a client, Fifth Group Restaurants, and the owner agreed for his restaurants to be our guinea pigs as we figured everything out. We dove in. By December 2007 I had restructured my company to accommodate the social media function and now have two full-time employees who do nothing but SM.

Amber rhea Amber Rhea Being Amber Rhea Georgia Podcast Network Sex 2.0 Conference
@amberlrhea  - To keep us honest Amber provides us a "point counter point."

1. What does social media marketing mean to you? Honestly? Most of the time, when I hear phrases like “social media marketing,” the first assocation in my head is “obnoxious.” That might be unfair; but I guess I've just seen a lot of companies/individuals where I want to scream, “You're doing it wrong!”  I don't really use social media for marketing. It's an integral part of my life. I've been doing the social media thing since before anyone used the term “social media,” and it touches all areas of my life. I don't want to get ranty but I have to say one thing I've been disappointed with in the “social media scene” (such as it is) in Atlanta is how there is so much focus on business, marketing, PR to the exclusion of anything else.

If that's not your primary focus with social media, you're really looked down upon by a lot of people; some of them can't even conceive of someone not using social media purely as a marketing tool. It's frustrating because the people who are busy building their “personal brand” and establishing themselves as “thought leaders” wouldn't be doing what they're doing if it weren't for those of us who got into blogging, etc. years ago, back when the business world as a whole scoffed at us.

Example: At SoCon07, a fellow attendee argued with me when I talked about (how) transparency and being real are important things online. He was actually very condescending and was stuck on the idea of, your life will be ruined if someone sees you doing something dumb on YouTube. But funny thing, at SoCon08, he was back, and this time he was a social media consultant.

2. My favorite social media tactic is being accountable to myself and others.

3. In 140 characters - What is Atlanta's greatest challenge in becoming a social media hub? Entrepreneurs in Atlanta need to think outside the box for real and be proactive, not reactive.

4. Include 2 sentences about your company. The Georgia Podcast Network isn't really a company, except for tax purposes! It's portal site for Georgia-based podcasts. If you live in Georgia and want to start a podcast, you can host it on the Georgia Podcast Network for free. It also includes a directory of podcasts based in Georgia that are hosted on other sites. The show Rusty and I cohost, Mostly ITP, was voted Best of Atlanta 2006 by Creative Loafing, and Best of Atlanta 2008 by Atlanta Magazine.

I primarily focus on:  Life, friends, activism, work, technology, sexuality, politics, learning, thinking... and whatever else happens to strike my fancy at a particular moment.

5. Began in social media - I started my blog in April 2002 - so I recently had my 7th blogiversary. I've had a web site since 1996, though (or a "home page" as we called them back then) and have been writing about my life online since then. I wrote a little bit about my history on the internet

Friday Fun: #BringBackTheBlog


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.

Blog read blog This post was inspired by Mark Story, Where Online Intersects With Offline. Mark is running a series on Mondays he's calling #blogmonday. With all the chatter about social networks and widgets and videos and podcasts and apps and tweets and gizmos (oh that's the next Big thing) the traditional blog has gotten lost in the digital maze. So I thought I'd use Friday Fun from time to time to #BringBackTheBlog by highlighting some of the great work that continues to be done in the blogosphere.

Seems only fitting that the first up should be Mark Story's post - Help Doug Haslam Ride. Blogs are wonderful social vehicles to tell from the heart stories and also to raise awareness for causes. In this post we learn about Dougn Haslam who is riding in the Pan Mass Challenge to raise money for the Jimmy Fund. Through his post Mark gives us a peak into his life as a dad and shows us some of the values that are important to him -helping others.  Follow the Jimmy Fund on Twitter.

Sidebar: The Jimmy Fund is a Boston-based nonproft supporting the Dana Farber Cancer Institute that helps children and adults.

Mary Schmidt's posts on Marketing Troubleshooter always make me think. She's smart, witty and quick to the draw proving that blog posts don't always have to be long to position yourself as a thought leader. In her post The price is a surprising happiness to you Mary combines two complex marketing topics - price and email marketing .. and makes her point about both.

It has always amused me and confused me that marketers think no Believe that marketing is vastly different from business-to-business, business-to-consumer, products and services.  While there are of course challenges within verticals and sectors the principles of marketing and relating to people's needs remains the same. Francois Gossieaux, Emergence Marketing, addresses that issue in his post about social media communities - B2B and B2C communities - no difference, it’s all about h2h. Francois uses his blog post to present his point of view including a few examples.

I'm going to let you in on my new secret. Shh! If you tell anyone Max might have to howl at you .. he never bites. Mommy blogs. (I'm not a mom so I don't frequently hang out in that blogosphere village though I do pop by to visit friends like Geek Mommy, Mom-101, MomInTheCity.) Remember this is #bringbacktheblog post so I'm talking blogs not necessarily "influencers" .. thought a great mom blog will often be home to a women who is sought after by marketers. Some of the best designed blogs are coming from this 'village' of the blogopshere.

My new favorite is Cool Mom Picks - a multiple author blog led by Liz Gumbinner and Kristen Chase. The branding is clean and consistent and the writing fun and engaging. Take a look at the side nav bars that are used not just for sponsorship ads but for value content. You'll find links to guides and internal content pages .. brilliant!

Sidebar: If you do want to know more about Moms Influencers catch the Diva Marketing Talks podcast where Liz Gumbinner and Susan Getgood join me to dish about Blogger Relations. It's a fun show with lots of great information.

Diva Marketing's 5th Anniversary! Who would have thought?


Champagne flutes Pop a Cork For The New Diva Marketing Blog. Five years today - May 19, 2004 - that was the head line I wrote for the first post on Diva Marketing.

As my story goes .. I launched Diva Marketing as an experiment because my friend Dana VanDen Heuvel told me I couldn't talk about blogs in workshops I was conducting unless I was active in the space. I pretty much told Dana he was daft. I mean I can talk about any marketing strategy if I understand what it's about. Dana said blogs were different and in order to establish credibility I had to participate in this thing called a "converstation."

What did I really need with a blog .. I had a website!? However I did want to understand the logistics so I launched Diva Marketing. I quickly realized that the website with the funny name was not like any other marketing strategy I knew. Dana was right to "get it" you had to roll your sleeves up and dive in .. watching from the sidelines wasn't going to cut it.

Thanks to you .. five years later the experiment is still around. Diva Marketing turned into not only a learning playground but a labor of love and one of the first blog brands. Personal branding female power brands Who would have thought?

Thanks to you .. for enriching my life. If anyone had told me that some of my dearest friends would live oceans and miles way in India, Europe, Australia, Canada as well as across the country from NYC to St. Louis to San Diego and just around the corner in Atlanta too .. no way Girlfriend would I have believed that one!

Thanks to you .. for impacting my personal and business life and for the opportunity to work with marketers all over the States helping them understand that the importance of blogs/social media.

Here are a few of the Looking Back Lessons that I share with you today.

11 Looking Back Lessons About Social Media Marketing

1. Opening the doors and windows to allow your employees to hear the unfiltered voices of your customers can bring unexpected insights leading to stronger brands, new products/services ideas even more responsive customer service.

2. Management's trust in their employees to represent the brand value in an authentic but respectful manner is the foundation of a social media strategy. This may mean different hiring values and more transparency in the strategic direction of the company.

3. Traveling the social media marketing road alone, without a someone who understand the culture of the "villages" where you want to engage, can do more harm than good.

4. Social media gives more than it takes if you're willing to come out from your walled garden and engage with your customers. No eating M&Ms behind the 2-way mirror .. it's a time for sharing your candy.

5. You can set house rules for blogs and social networking communities and still be "real."

6. People want to know they matter. Social media creates ways to show your customers you care about their concerns and feelings.

7. To succeed social media must be given the same respect and made accountable just as any other marketing strategy. Set strategy that includes: goals, execution expectations of your staff, measures of success.

8. Measures of success may be different from traditional marketing, especially direct response .. but it's okay to view success differently.

9. You can color outside the lines and take risks to try new ways to do it .. IF you stay true to your brand, are transparent, authentic, honest and believe in the conversations you are starting.

10. You don't have to do every thing at once. Review social media tactics with the view point of how they can support your goals. Start with your "digital home" and build out from there. For some organizations that may be Facebook, for others a blog and for some Twitter or ... you fill in the blank. What can you do within your current enterprise's culture and resources of human capital, time and money?

11. Social media puts the heart and soul into marketing.The real power behind social media is in building and nurturing relationships.

Help Me Celebrate Year Five!

Ignore everybody There should be a way to pop a cork on a bottle of champagne when a blog turns five. There should be a special way to celebrate a milestone in the digital world. So what should we do?

Tossing this back to you. Drop your ideas in comments I have presents for the folks whose ideas we use - the soon to be released book, Ignore Everyone, by Hugh MacLeod gapingvoid and perhaps some Johnny Depp inspired brownies and Pink boa a pink boa!

  • "If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun."  Katharine Hepburn

Diva Marketing Talks Blogger Relations With Susan Getgood and Liz Gumbinner


Diva Marketing Talks is a live, internet radio (BlogTalkRadio) show.  30-minutes. 2-guests. 1-topic about social media marketing. Why? To help you understand how to participate in the "new" conversation without getting blown-up. Miss today's show? You can pick it up as a podcast or listen on your computer.

Today's Diva Marketing Talks with Susan Getgood, Roadmaps (blog) and Getgood Strategic Marketing and Liz Gumbinner, Cool Mom Picks and Mom-101 about how to build successful and respectful blogger relationships programs. Blogger Relations, as other social media strategies, have grown in complexity. The stakes are high and the give aways often over the top. But is it a credible marketing strategy?.

Topic for May 19, 2009: Talking Through Bloggers Or How to do Bloggers Relations Without Getting Blown-up
Time: 6:00p - 6:30p Eastern/ 5:p - 5:30p Central/ 4:00p -4:30p Mountain/ 3:00p - 43:30p PacificCall-in Guest Number: 718.508.9924 .

Susan Getgood 5_09  Susan Getgood

Susan Getgood has been involved in online marketing since the early 90s, and watched the web evolve from the first browsers to the interactive communities we participate in today. Since 2004, her firm GetGood Strategic Marketing has been advising organizations of all shapes and sizes on integrated social media outreach and internet marketing strategies that help businesses craft a positive internet presence, meet their customers online, build their brands, and drive revenue.

Prior to founding GetGood Strategic Marketing, Susan was Senior Vice President of Marketing at Internet software company SurfControl. Her professional marketing blog, where she writes about blogger outreach, internet branding and social media marketing strategies, is Marketing Roadmaps. She also writes a personal blog, Snapshot Chronicles, and a family travel blog, Snapshot Chronicles Roadtrip. Susan was named a Fellow of the Society for New Communications Research in 2008 and speaks regularly at social media conferences like BlogHer and New Comm Forum.

Liz Gumbinner Liz Gumbinner

Offline, Liz Gumbinner is a New York-based freelance ad agency creative director and copywriter who's developed award-winning campaigns for brands including Old Navy, Mitsubishi, Ray Ban, and Universal Theme Parks. But online she's best known as the author of the popular parenting blog Mom-101, and the cofounder and editor of Cool Mom Picks, the influential shopping blog which was called "the online arbiter of cool for the swingset crowd" by Parents Magazine.

Liz was recently named among Nielsen's Power Mom 50 for 2009, and called one of ten Mommy 'Hood Gurus by Forbes. Liz is a frequent conference speaker and consultant to marketers on the evolving and sometimes volatile relationship between bloggers and brands.

Tips From The Diva Bag

Complements of Susan Getgood

1. Good blogger relations goes beyond just getting the mechanics right – reading the blogs first, making sure the pitch is relevant, a fit for the interests of the blogger etc. You have to develop a pitch that is both relevant and adds value to the blog. If you can’t add value, you should advertise.

You want the blogger to pass the information on, through the blog, Twitter or another social network, and she or he is only going to do that if you give them something truly worth passing on. My post The Secret Sauce for the Perfect Pitch gives some ideas on the kinds of things you might consider. You also want to look beyond the features of your product to how your customer uses the product, what she cares about when she is using the product, and build your story around those feelings.

2. Don’t limit yourself to just the top bloggers in your space. Don’t ignore them either, but remember that the key is influence, not volume. A blogger with fewer readers but whose interests really match up to your product and service is probably going to do you more good that a high traffic blogger who is only slightly interested. Why? Because the smaller blogger may write about you more and likely has more influence with the readers about the topic.

3. The big splashy events get all the press, but small gestures can be far more effective in building relationships and your brand. For example, 1-800-Flowers did a great campaign recently honoring mom bloggers. Coinstar did a really fun, simple Twitter campaign on St. Patrick’s Day.

Build measurement into the program upfront, and base it on a measurable outcome, not an output. Think of it this way: No one ever went into business to raise awareness. The goal is to close the sale. So ground your measurement in a behavior, preferably purchase behavior.

Complements of Liz Gumbinner

1. Know your audience. Not all tech blogs, mom blogs, or food blogs are the same. You wouldn't pitch a story on a snazzy new drum kit to Sports Illustrated simply because "the demographic is men," and similarly, you need to be sure you're sending the right message to the right blogger.

2. Don't forget the word "social" in social media. Blogger outreach should be about relationships, not press releases, and I'll always give a closer look to the emails I get from PR folks I know. If you get to know a few targeted, influential bloggers and cultivate relationships, you're more likely to have better results than if you buy a list of 1000 and e-blast the whole lot of them.

3. Blogger influence goes beyond page views and traffic numbers. Those are old media metrics and only give a small piece of the picture. You'll also want to consider reader engagement through comments, inbound links on Technorati, Twitter followers, news media presence, and other places a blogger blogs. In fact high traffic may be at times a factor of good SEO and not engaged readership.

4. The pitch is always on the record, unless you have an agreement with the blogger that it is not. Which means bad pitch or an awkward exchange may make a better story for a blogger than the product you're pitching. If you keep that in mind every time you hit send, you'll generally be in great shape

More About Blogger Relations: Diva Marketing Pulse of the Industry Blogger Relations Study

Part 1 - Blogger or Journalist
Part 2 - Successful Blogger Relations Strategy
Part 3 - Agencies Talk To Bloggers
Part 4 - The Brands Talk To Bloggers
Part 5 - Bloggers Talk To Agencies and Brands

Many Ways To Listen & Learn


Heart_5 One important outcome of social media is the ability to listen and learn from our customers, and even our employees, through the unfiltered conversations of consumer generated media. However, there are other ways to understand our target audiences and that of course is through primary research.

Skipping around the blogosphere I found three posts that included research studies that might be of help to you:  women in social media, engaging employees and marketing to African American women. I'm leaving a few virtual bread crumbs for you to follow and perhaps travel down a few new paths.

One - A must read is the BlogHer Second Annual Women and Social Media Study. Elisa Camahort, BlogHer, explains the history of the study. The research takes a close look at the habits and attitudes of heavy users - women who participate in any social media activity at least weekly. 

Participants, who were online were more likely to spend less time engaging in traditional media activities like watching TV (30%), listening to the radio (31%), and reading magazines (36%) or the newspaper (39%).

A few more findings - Women are nearly twice as likely to use blogs than social networking sites as a source of information (64%), advice and recommendations (43%) and opinion-sharing (55%), while they are 50 percent more likely to turn to social networking sites as a means of keeping in touch with friends and family (75%),

Two -  Continuing my virtual blog travels I found that Sybil F. Stershic at Quality Service Marketing wrote a great post based BlessingWhite’s 2008 Employee Engagement Report. We're learning that social media influences more than marketing. It's not just about the brand <-> customer relationship. Social media impacts the entire organization from who is hired to management's trust of employees. It becomes even more critical for mangers to understand how to inspire and engage their staff.

Three - Michele Miller, Wonder Branding, concentrates on marketing to women. She well understands that success is dependent on realizing that this segment is more complex than it may appear. There are niches within niches. One important segment is African American women.

Michele points us to an interesting study by Lattimer Communications  that found " 86% of African-American women say that advertisers need to do a better job of understanding and marketing to them." Lattimer-communications-six-personas-black-woman-2008 Lattimer has developed six psychographic profiles.

Hat Tip to Brittany for taking the time to let me know about a broken link And forwarding a solution! 

It Began With A Book -- Interview with CRT/tanaka VP Geoff Livingston & President Mike Mulvihill


Recently I attended a networking event in Atlanta and found myself deep in conversation with a young woman who told me how critical transparency is to a social media campaign. I smiled and nodded in agreement. But my thoughts were flashing back to the thousands of other discussions I had with marketers over the past 5-years when the concept of developing marketing campaigns build on transparency along with authenticity, honesty and passion verged on preposterous. Or more simply put people thought we were crazed. (Diva Marketing post 8-29-05 .. see tip #4)

As we move into 2009 social media is finally taking its rightful place as a credible marketing strategy. Buzz words like transparency are part of the hip new marketing vernacular. However, social media marketing is more complex than buzzed conversation. Social media marketing goes beyond a YouTube contest or a Facebook app. 

Some companies and agencies are acknowledging effective social media marketing is not just  tactics and technology; but that social media begins with an integrated strategic approach. Recently my friend Geoff Livingston closed the doors of his PR agency Livingston Communications. He shook hands with CRT/tanaka and cinched the deal to bring his firm into their world to ensure that as CRT/tanaka moved further into social media they did it "right."

CRT/tanaka's newest VP - Geoff Livingston and agency President - Mike Mulvihill agreed to tell Diva Marketing the back-story and their vision of how social media is impacting the public relations business.

Toby/DivaMarketing: The acquisition of Livingston Communication by a larger agency is quite exciting and the dream of  many small shops. How did you establish your (and Livingston Communication’s) credibility to the extent that CRT/tanaka began serious talks? 

Geoff LivingstoGeoff livingston _interview 5_09n: I think Now Is Gone was really the thing that established my credibility in the business, and to the extent that CRT/tanaka was interested in purchasing me. The book’s theories on communities seems to have stood the test of time, and our continued work over the past couple of years has backed up the talk, so to speak.

Plus I had a failed acquisition, which while not a pretty thing, certainly demonstrated that such a path was a possible outcome for me. 

Toby/DivaMarketing: What role will you play at CRT/tanaka and will your responsibilities differ from what you provided clients at Livingston Communications?

 Geoff Livingston: I really have three roles in my mind.

One) Turn CRT/tanaka into a socialprise, an organization capable of using and engaging in conversations across the line and internally for business use.  This is the Holy Grail that so many of us envision, and so few organizations have attained.  We’re already engaging across the board, and I anticipate a much more dangerous company within six months.

Two)  Serve current clients with social media services that deliver meaningful results, and build new clients that continue building our presence in the space.  Again, our differentiator will be our ability to deliver real programs that work.

Three) Continue serving the employees and growing our business in the Washington, DC region. Home is where the heart is  :-)

Toby/DivaMarketing: How has social media changed the way agencies are doing business?

Geoff Livingston: I think agencies still don’t know how to deal with social media. Some firms do it better than others, but the transparency and results orientation that it creates has been a tough pill to swallow.  

Additionally, social media transcends departments.  So I am in the interactive department at CRT, but right now I am mostly working on PR and event projects.  I am also working on an ad campaign, too.  So social media cannot be defined by a silo.  We realize that and there’s a lot of flexibility to move in between groups, but you see the issue that agencies and companies face.
Toby/DivaMarketing: It appears that the agency was incorporating social media offerings to its clients prior to Geoff coming on board. What did Geoff/Livingston Communications bring to the party that others did not offer?

Mike m Mike Mulvihill, president, CRT/tanaka:  Geoff and his team understand how social media fits in with other marketing disciplines.  Rather than looking at social media as a stand alone, they understand how it works hand-in-hand with traditional marketing to advance ideas, concepts, products and services by engaging consumers and influencers in a conversation.  He is a great fit with our culture and his team shares our ethos.  It was just a great fit from day one.

Toby/DivaMarketing: How has social media changed the way agencies are doing business?

Mike Mulvihill, president, CRT/tanaka:  Oh, yeah.  It’s a brave new world out there.  Social media is something agencies have been trying to harness and our industry has made some messy mistakes trying it on for size.  And I think that’s because agencies in general are trying to shoe horn social media into a traditional media message push-out approach.  We want to control it. 

But social media requires an entirely different approach to engaging people into two-way conversations.  It  provides feedback. It carves out its own path.  And because of that, social media is scary from a control point but quite genuine, credible and self-regulating. 

If agencies have not changed the way they are doing business by integrating social media into all that they do, then those agencies are not looking out for their client’s best interest.  For us, we are incorporating social media in our strategic approach to each client’s business just as we would any traditional communication or marketing executable. 

About CRT/tanaka CRT/tanakais a Virginia-based independent public relations firm.The firm focuses on consumer, health and corporate issues, with accounts in sports marketing, beauty, fashion, home furnishings, health, food & beverage and financial. PR Week ranked CRT/Tanaka as the thirty-second largest independent PR agency in the United States in 2008, with 2007 revenue of $10,515,113. The ranking also notes its staff total of 71.

Kisses to our moms in the stars


Stars  "Social media" combined with Web 2.0 technology offers new ways to communicate with each other and in doing so we are reminded that "we are not alone." That someone hears us. That we share experiences. That we matter. Some smart marketers, who are responsible for brands, are beginning to understand that this form of communication can be a powerful "strategy."

Popping into Facebook this afternoon I saw Christine Lacombe's  wall post and it resonated with me. 

  • "Mom, you are no longer with me on the physical plane, but I carry your heart forever in my heart. I love you, Mommy."

Then I saw JessicaRobyn's tweet - 

  • going to visit my mummy soon =(

The very heart of social media (or the tools that have been developed) was never meant for marketers to bring our brands to market. They were created for people to engage with people - from Twitter to Facebook to blogs and more.They are one more way in the early 21st century that people can emotionally touch & connect with each other across miles and cultures.

Christine's wall post added one more thread to our virtual relationship tapestry. Jessica's tweet is my heart - (Tears to Smiles for Susan) Today is Mother's Day. A day that celebrates the women who are special in our lives. Christine reminded us that today should also be about the women who were special in our lives .. and will always be so.

This post sends kisses to the stars where my mummy and Jessica's & Scott's, Christine's, Polli's, Marianne's, Bobbi's. Kaye Ellen's, C.K.'s, Sybill's, Kate's, Hilleratte's, Chris', Arline's, Auntie Barbara's and perhaps yours or someone you might hold dear is dancing and smiling.

Marketers as you explore using social media to bring your products and services to the marketplace keep in mind that you're not just creating an advertisement or a crafting a media release. If you are authentic, transparent and genuine you are demonstrating that your customers matter. How powerful is that?

44 Social Media Books for 2009-2010 Plus One


Books old Ta da .. for your reading pleasure here's a list of titles of social media books scheduled to be release 2009 – 2010.

1. The Digital Handshake: Seven Proven Strategies to Grow Your Business Using Social Media by Paul Chaney - Sept 22,2009

2. Twitterville: How Businesses Can Thrive in the New Global Neighborhoods by Shel Israel - Sep 3, 2009

3. Ignore Everybody: and 39 Other Keys to Creativity by Hugh MacLeod - June 11, 2009

4. The Whuffie Factor: Using the Power of Social Networks to Build Your Business by Tara Hunt - April 21, 2009

5. Marketing to the Social Web: How Digital Customer Communities Build Your Business by Larry Weber - Mar 3, 2009

6. The Social Media Bible: Tactics, Tools, and Strategies for Business Success by Lon Safko and David Brake - May 4, 2009

7. Public Relations and the Social Web: How to Use Social Media and Web 2.0 in Communications by Rob Brown - May 28, 2009

8. Understanding Digital Marketing: Marketing Strategies for Engaging the Digital Generation by Damian Ryan and Calvin Jones - Feb 28, 2009

9. Social Media Marketing: How Data Analytics helps to monetize the User Base in Telecoms, Social Networks, Media and Advertising in a Converged Ecosystem by Ajit V Jaokar, Brian Jacobs, Alan Moore, and Jouko Ahvenainen - Feb 15, 2009

10. Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs by Brian Halligan, Dharmesh Shah, and David Meerman Scott - Oct 19, 2009

11. The New Influencers: A Marketer's Guide to the New Social Media by Paul Gillin and Geoffrey A. Moore - May 1, 2009

12. Yes We Did! An inside look at how social media built the Obama brand (Voices That Matter) by Rahaf Harfoush - Jun 1, 2009

13. Putting the Public Back in Public Relations: How Social Media Is Reinventing the Aging Business of PR by Brian Solis and Deirdre Breakenridge - Mar 1, 2009

14. The New Community Rules: Marketing on the Social Web by Tamar Weinberg - Jun 15, 2009

15. Mastering Web 2.0: Transform Your Business Using Key Website and Social Media Tools by Susan Rice Lincoln - Jul 28, 2009

16. Socialnomics: How social media transforms the way we live and do business by Erik Qualman - Aug 24, 2009

17. Twitter Power: How to Dominate Your Market One Tweet at a Time by Joel Comm, Anthony Robbins, and Ken Burge - Feb 17, 2009

18. Online Public Relations: A Practical Guide to Developing an Online Strategy in the World of Social Media by David Phillips and Philip Young - Jun 28, 2009

19. International Communications Strategy: Developments in Cross-Cultural Communications, PR and Social Media by Silvia Cambie and Yang-May Ooi - Aug 28, 2009

20. The Social Network Business Plan: 18 Strategies That Will Create Great Wealth by David Silver - Feb 24, 2009

21. The Facebook Era: Tapping Online Social Networks to Build Better Products, Reach New Audiences, and Sell More Stuff by Clara Shih - Mar 22, 2009

22. MediaMasters: Insider Secrets from the big names of broadcast, print and social media by Alan Stevens, Jeremy Nicholas, and Debbie Jenkins - April 3, 2009

23. Friends with Benefits: Online Marketing with Blogs, Facebook, YouTube, and More by Darren Barefoot and Julie Szabo - Aug 15, 2009

24. A Survival Guide to Social Media and Web 2.0 Optimization: Strategies, Tactics, and Tools for Succeeding in the Social Web by Deltina Hay - Mar 1, 2009

25. Understanding Digital Marketing: Marketing Strategies for Engaging the Digital Generation by Damian Ryan and Calvin Jones - Feb 28, 2009

26. How to REALLY use LinkedIn by Jan Vermeiren - Mar 4, 2009

27. The Facebook Effect by David Kirkpatrick - Jan 7, 2010

28. The Internet: An Introduction to New Media by Lelia Green - Jan 1, 2010

29. You Need More Than a Website: Promote Your Professional Services Firm Using Social Media by Jan Davis - Dec 16, 2009

30. Social Media at Work: How Networking Tools Can Help Employees Work Better and Faster by Arthur L. Jue, Jackie Alcalde-Marr, and Mary E. Kassotakis - Nov 2, 2009

31. This is Social Media - Tweet, Blog, Post and Link Your Way to Business Success by Clapperton - Oct 15, 2009

32. Social Influence Marketing For Dummies by Shiv Singh - Oct 12, 2009

33. The Young and the Digital: What the Migration to Social Network Sites, Games, and Anytime, Anywhere Media Means for Our Future by S. Craig Watkins - Oct 1, 2009

34. Designing Social Interfaces: Principles, Patterns, and Practices for Improving the User Experience by Christian Crumlish and Erin Malone - Sep 15, 2009

35. Friends with Benefits: Online Marketing with Blogs, Facebook, YouTube, and More by Darren Barefoot and Julie Szabo - Aug 15, 2009

36. PR Strategy and Application: Managing Influence by W.Timothy Coombs and Sherry J. Holladay - Aug 14, 2009

37. Twitter Power: How to Dominate Your Market One Tweet at a Time by Joel Comm, Anthony Robbins, and Ken Burge - Feb 17, 2009

38. The Twitter Book by Tim O'Reilly and Sarah Milstein - May 26, 2009

39. The Social Network Business Plan: 18 Strategies That Will Create Great Wealth by David Silver - Feb 24, 2009

40. All a Twitter: A Personal and Professional Guide to Social Networking with Twitter by Tee Morris - Jul 23, 2009

41. Everything twitter - From Novice to Expert: The Unofficial Guide to Everything Twitter - THE BLUE BOOK 2009 by Steve Soho and Monica Jones - 2009

42. Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust by Chris Brogan, Julien Smith - August 24, 2009

43. Social Media is a Cocktail Party: Why You Already Know the Rules of Social Media Marketing by Jim Tobin, Lisa Braziel - Nov 5, 2008

44. 33 Million People in the Room: How to Create, Influence, and Run a Successful Business with Social Networking by Juliette Powell -Feb 10, 2009

Plus One - Social Media Marketing GPS #smgps .. the first business book written using Twitter as the major content platform and distribution channel. I've been working on the all-tweet SM book for about a month and it's nearing completion. More soon.

Update! I forgot my dear friend Tris Hussey book - Create Your Own Blog: 6 Easy Projects to Start Blogging Like a Pro by Tris Hussey - Sep 3, 2009

Personal Branding - Beyond Your Resume


Personal branding female power brands I recently found an article that someone sent me back in 1997. I don't know who gave it to me but I saved the article because while the concept was strange to me the idea intrigued me. It was Tom Peters' - the brand called you. As the fates would have ..soon after reading it I was down-sized from my job with the Georgia Lottery Company. Thoughts that a company would want to hire "more than a resume" were radical 12 years ago.

  • Who am I anyway? Am I my resume? That is a picture of a person I don't know. What does he want from me? What should I try to be? So many faces all around, and here we go. I need this job, oh God, I need this show. I CAN DO THAT - A Chorus Line - I Hope I Get It

Girlfriend, there was more - Peters said we should manage our personal brand. What did that mean? I should be wearing Jimmy Choos instead of Gucci or investing in a Mont Blanc instead of Bic pens? Did that extend to non business aspect of my life too?  In one of my first resumes I included creative cooking. I was told it wasn't "professional" and took it out.  Should I add it back it .. was that part of my brand called me?

But as confusing as it was to figure out how to navigate this new way of presenting myself in 1997, it no way reaches the complexities that the Internet and social media have in impacting the brand called you. A few weeks ago I was talking with my favorite niece about the photos on her Facebook page. Last year Jessica Robyn went from college student to career girl. She's more aware of her online presence, especially after the Facebook debacle of content ownership, these days. 

Jessica might error on the more liberal side but what about the people in the Boomer generation who are being "down sized" or thought they were retired and now must enter the job market again? They are learning that their resumes must extend beyond paper (or digital) to LinkedIn, sometimes Facebook and if they are adventurous to Twitter. Finding the right balance is a new tight-rope act for many.

 With Diva Marketing I guess I'm getting it right because someone who does understand personal branding, Dan Schawbel, publisher of Personal Branding Magazine, highlighted me in his May issue - titled Female Power Brands. Thanks to Dan and Justin Levy for the interview.

  • "In this issue, we’ve interviewed some of the brightest and most talented female brands on the planet .."

I am honored to join divas Sarah Austin, Natalie Gulbis, Laura Ries Valeria Maltoni and Anita Campbell who were also profiled in this edition. In addition, there are articles written by fabulous women: Ann Smarty, Christine B. Whittemore, Cece Salomon-Lee, Nisha Chittal, Judy Martin, Thursday Bram, Maria Reyes-McDavis, Becky Carroll, Pamela Slim, Camille Watson, Natalie MacNeil, and Angela Natividad.

For your reading pleasure .. one of the the answers from my Female Power Brands interview. Sort of like saying that .. Female Power Brands.  (I'm thinking of turning the pink boa into a super diva cape! What do you think Connie Reece and Mutha Mae?)

Personal Branding: What role do you think online personal branding will play in getting hired over the next few years?

Toby/Diva Marketing: Looking at how a personal brand fits  into an organization's brand, I can't help think of enterprises that have opened social media to their employees. Those companies seem to have a strong sense of "self" e.g., their corporate brand and are secure enough to let their employees' brands complement the enterprise brand.

Personal branding done well extends business into more of a "personal" world. It's a way of taking what is on the inside and courageously letting people see it on the outside. Perhaps (some) women struggle with not being perfect 24-7 especially in the world of business. However, on the flip side it's a way of connecting with people and women do that so well.

As we speak Human Resources is online searching for information about their latest candidates. The perception that someone takes away after reading your posts or tweets or LinkedIn profile is an additional element that will be incorporated into a hiring decision. Ready or not .. you inevitably are creating a personal brand. Why not step back and be a little more strategic? ###

The Internet and social media have changed the personal brand game. We no longer have the luxury of only building our image, which does impact our credibility, based on a choice between designer shoes or flip flops. How do you maintain your authentic self online when Google has become HR's best friend?

What does personal branding in the 21st century mean when the whole world knows not only your name but your favorite toys, games, wine, beer, friends, dating status, doctors and opinions on life in general? Maybe when Dan and Jessica are in charge of running corporations it won't matter much but in 2009 it's a factor.