Diva Marketing Talks Keepin' The Conversation Real With CK Kerley & Valeria Maltoni


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.

BTR_Keepin the Social Conversation Real On today's Diva Marketing Talks CK Kerley - Epiphany and Valeria Maltoni -Conversation Agent join me to discuss what is frequently at the center of social media marketing .. the infamous "conversation." Can tools like blogs, Twitter, Facebook, etc., that were created for just people to keep in touch with friends and family - not to promote the latest computer or coffee products, be used by marketers to have authentic conversations with their customers? How do we over come hurdles to keepin’ it real? And by the way .. what is real any way?

Thanks Valeria for the awesome 3 Divas graphic!

Topic for June 23, 2009:
Time: 6:00p - 6:30p Eastern/ 5:p - 5:30p Central/ 4:00p -4:30p Mountain/ 3:00p -3:30p Pacific
Call-in Guest Number: 718.508.9924 .

CK_1 Christina "CK" Kerley

High-energy, high-impact marketing specialist Christina Kerley--known simply as "CK"--has been bolstering businesses, brands and causes for over 15 years. Her approach leverages the best of new world and old by blending tried-and-true marketing principles with new technologies (and new practices). More information, tips and goodies available at CK-Blog.

Valeria Maltoni_1Valeria Maltoni

Valeria Maltoni helps businesses understand how customers and communities have changed marketing, public relations, and communications - and how to build value in this new environment. As a communicator with 20 years of experience, 10 of which online, she specializes in marketing communications, customer dialogue, and brand management.

Valeria has come to define modern business as a long and open conversation. Conversation Agent is recognized among the world's top online marketing blogs. Valeria was handpicked by Fast Company as Expert blogger to write about creating conversations between marketer and customer. She built one of the first online communities affiliated with the magazine. 

She is a contributor to Marketing Profs Daily Fix, Marketing 2.0, Social Media Today, and The Blog Herald. She is on the Advisory Board of SmartBrief on Social Media. She is a co-author of The Age of Conversation, a groundbreaking eBook collaboration by 103 of today's top marketing writers. Valeria’s deep experience across a broad array of mid-to-large sized companies in the technology, health care, manufacturing, risk management consulting, non-profit and public sectors have provided her with a wealth of experience and insights.

Tips From The Diva Bag

Complements of Christina "CK" Kerley

1: To succeed in social media, brands must get past thinking “technology” and, instead, think “humans.” As silly as this might sound, you would be amazed how often companies get sidetracked with “all they can do” with Web 2.0 technologies instead of “all the relationships they can build” through these tools.

  • Yet amid all this high-tech, we need to remember that people are on the other side of all the blog posts, comments, updates and tweets… and naturally, want to be treated as such. Thus, if a company wants to connect with people, they need to be more human, too. Otherwise, just like a lifeless ad, brands are going to be ignored (or worse, mocked).

*Action Point*:  In all of your social media programs and communications, instead of focusing on the technology, focus on the people you can connect with and how you will use these tools to open communications with them, add value to their work and/or lives and help them connect with others who share like interests. This simple shift in focus will net extraordinary rewards.

2: Moving from ‘The’ to ‘Me’ is tough stuff (but leap we must). Up until now, when companies have spoken with their markets it's been in broadcasts from “THE” brand, not communications in the “Me” voice. Due to this sea change in communicating with customers, it can be difficult at first to find one’s footing and personal voice... but once companies do, they find it refreshingly natural and their markets find it much easier to communicate with them. Remember, it's hard to like a machine; but it's easy to love a person.

*Action Point* Decide which individuals in your company will represent your brand online and how their unique personalities will dovetail with the personality that you’ve already established for your brand. These representatives will now come to signify and be synonymous with the brand since consumers and professionals can now communicate with them (instead of one-way communications found in other media).

In turn, these representatives are able to build valuable customer relationships and brand advocates that will serve to benefit the brand through Word-of-Mouth mentions, referrals and recommendations.

3: To increase buzz, drop the buzzwords. Learning how customers actually speak can be a big learning curve. We have become so comfortable in our “buzzword bubbles” that we lose sight of how silly we often sound—this is especially true in B2B communications since the subject matter can be quite complex.

But we no longer need to guess or assume how our markets speak, because the Social Web enables us to see how they speak every day (and for free!). And the best marketers aren’t talking nearly as much as they’re listening.

*Action Point* Review online conversations from your market and compare those to your own communications… then assess where your language can be more conversational, less like a talking brochure. After all, social media is a dialogue not a monologue and people become very sensitive to sterile messaging and buzzword-laden conversations.

And for B2B brands, just because you’re speaking in a more conversational manner does not mean you’ll come off as unprofessional or too casual—you’ll just be that much more relatable to your markets.

Complements of Valeria Maltoni

1. Be honest about what you're looking for and you will gain insights in return. According to the 2009 Tribalization of Media study conducted by BeeLine Labs in conjunction with with Deloitte and The Society for New Media Research, market research and insight is the top purpose for companies that seek to build online communities. Successful companies:

  • Think about “tribes” and not market segments
    Treat their community as a network and not a channel
    Are customer-centric instead of company or product-centric
    Understand what it means to be social

Social media is not about a new media channel, it’s about the social taking root in all aspects of business. Businesses that are increasinly seeking more word of mouth for their products and services should be aware of the impact of group behavior on product and service influence and engagement - externally and internally.

2.  Celebrate the people where they are, not the products. People within an organization who are blogging, or tweeting, etc. as part of their jobs can have “real” conversations and still represent the brand if they focus on customers and act human. Encouraging fans and evangelists, instead of shutting them down or worse, hitting them with IP infringement sanctions, goes a long way in doing that.

For example, why would you close down a fan site that is generating thousands of hits? Yet, that's exactly what Mars did. This is a cultural thing. Usually top management is focused on remaining competitive and that means on those processes that will allow the organization to operate efficiently and stay aligned behind its own message. Customers and employees rarely have a moment of celebration that is theirs in this kind of environment.

3. You need to like who you are and accept it. I recently wrote a post about it. Even on the Web, you've got to like who you are to sound authentic. This is valid for companies, brands, and people. The relationships, business, followers, whatever that may be, are all outcomes.

To have the outcomes, you need to be open to them. It goes beyond having a personality to embracing what you're about. It means allowing your employees to show their humanity. Is your organization encouraging that for real or are you just going through the moves? This is such a gray area at the moment.

For example, has your organization given any thought as to what it's going to do with the accounts in the names of the employees it is asking to tweet and blog on its behalf? Is it going to take over the account once the employee moves on?

That kind of consideration may be holding you back. Employees are also who you are - perhaps even more so, if they're engaging customers. Successful companies are embracing and facilitating conversations where and how they're happening without worrying too much about keeping it all inside the walls or about the popularity of line employees vs. the C-Suite.


Trackback url:


These points are excellent. It is surprisingly easy to forget that we are dealing with people instead of just dealing with products. People get marketed to all of the time. However, the marketers that are going to succeed are the ones who are human and treat their customers likewise. We need to listen to them first and when we respond, do so in a way that they understand and that will help them in some way. Most of the time, those who use all of this industry lingo do so to build themselves up and show that they know more than the person they are talking to. Like mentioned, ditch the buzzwords and talk like a human. That's really what all of this social media is about. Listening and responding in a way that creates some sort of value for them.

Posted by: Elizabeth on Jun 24, 2009 6:27:03 PM

Love your blog and podcast. One quick tip, would love your text especially in the side bar to be darker, hard to read all of this great information.



Posted by: Danielle MacInnis on Jul 8, 2009 5:12:11 PM

@danielle - Appreciate your kind words about Diva Marketing and Diva Talks. Will talk to the designer about your suggestions - thanks!

Posted by: Toby on Jul 11, 2009 11:26:59 AM

The comments to this entry are closed.