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A Digtial Handshake With Paul Chaney


Paul chaney book 9_09

Every once in awhile while there are people who enter your life and not only influence your journey but touch your heart. Paul Chaney is one of those people. In his new book The Digital Handbook Paul simply and smartly explains not only why it is now critical that marketers pay attention to social media but suggests ways of how to put the tactics into play.

Paul graciously agreed to an email interview. I asked him to tell us thought process that went into the development of The Digital Handbook. It is with great pleasure that I introduce you to my dear friend and colleague .. author, social media 'rock star' and a true Southern Gentleman .. Paul Chaney.

Toby/Diva Marketing: This is your second book on social media. The first, Realty Blogging, was targeted to the real estate industry while The Digital Handshake seems to be for a more general business audience.  In the few years in between the publishing of both how have you seen this emerging industry that we call “social media change?”

Paul Chaney/The Digital Handshake: From my perspective, we’ve had two iterations. Keep in mind that in 2006-2007 I was a bit of a Rip VanWinkle in that I stepped away from active participation, only to wake up and find the world had changed. There were sites like Facebook and Twitter and I didn’t quite know what to make of it. I did realize that, unless I got with the program I was going to become archaic, a relic of the 2004-2005 blog-centric past. I determined not to allow that to happen.

Again, that was my perspective. In truth, this has been a gradual evolution in which blogs played a leading role. I think there was a lot of experimentation with social networks, starting most memorably with Friendster, then MySpace and now Facebook. We’ve seen a maturation process in terms of the degree of sophistication in the types of functionality that social networks allow, most notably Facebook. At the same time, they’ve gotten very easy to use. I know, my wife is on Facebook and if she can use it, anyone can.

I think of equal note is the movement away from purist ethics. Social media has become the latest victim of spammers and ne’er-do-wells. People who don’t understand the underlying philosophy are trying to use the genre as a direct marketing tool, and it doesn’t work. At least, I hope it doesn’t. I pray that doesn’t become the new model.

  • This medium was built on the chief cornerstones of authenticity and transparency and any attempt to “game” the system should be met with complete disdain.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Your book has been called a “road map” to understanding social media. On a road trip we start at point A to eventually get to point B. What should we take along with us on this journey?

Paul Chaney/The Digital Handshake: The journey begins by knowing the destination. I think you call that strategy. Social media needs to be used strategically, in a way that supports the marketing goals and objectives of the company. It should be treated no different than any other form of marketing and held to a similar standard.

Not only that, you need to know the rules of the road. Social media has evolved to the point where there are some pretty well-defined, if not yet written rules. Those that abide by them will be rewarded, those that don’t, well, read what I said above.

Obviously, to get anywhere, you have to have a means to travel, a vehicle. Social media offers any number of those from blogs, to social networks, to micro-blogs, to video, podcasts and on and on. You have to chose the vehicle that’s right for you in terms of your strategy and business objectives.

I think you also need route by which you travel. For me, where social media is concerned, it consists of three words: Listen, Engage and Measure. Listening is the new marketing and if people are talking (and they are) we had better know what they’re saying, who’s saying it, and where it’s being said.

Listening leads the way to engagement and given that “the CEO wants to know the ROI of SMM” we have to measure the results. Just like you’d measure your gas mileage on a trip, so to we have to assign some metrics to social media when and where it’s appropriate to do so.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Following the idea of a road trip .. some of the most fun trips are those where we go off the beaten path. Can you offer some “side trip” suggestions that would add value to a marketer’s understanding of why or how to engage in social media?

Paul Chaney/The Digital Handshake: I most certainly can and thank you for asking. I think the “side trips” have to do with the people we meet and the relationships we forge along the way. The most attractive thing about social media to me is not that I’ve been able to build a career around or that I can teach businesses how to use it to grow, but that I’ve met a bevy of people who have come to have great meaning to me, and chief among them is you Toby.

If the joy is in the journey, then it has to do with the people we meet along the way who inspire, challenge and enrich us.

Toby/Diva Marketing: The Digital Handbook includes a lot of specific examples that bring to life the ideas and concepts you discuss in the book. In your research did you find any surprises regarding the way companies were using or not using social media tactics?

Paul Chaney/The Digital Handshake: No. (I’m kidding.) Actually, here’s what surprising (or not as the case may be). It’s that people are focused first on tactics and not on strategy. I don’t know that I can apply that statement to the people I interviewed, but it does apply to many I’ve met when doing workshops or giving presentations.

Over and over I hear, how do I use Facebook, or Twitter, etc? I want to tell them, it’s not all about the tools. There’s a mindset to adopt and that the tools are secondary to the marketing objectives.

I’m a tactically-oriented guy, but I’ve learned that, in order for social media to be most effective, it has to tie to strategic goals and objectives. And, it need to support and/or integrate with other forms of marketing.

Toby/Diva Marketing: It can be confusing for people who don’t “live” online to understand that relationships can be built and nurtured in the digital world. Let’s end this mini interview with this question: How you “shake hands” in the digital world?

Paul Chaney/The Digital Handshake: You know, it’s really not all that different than how you do it in the real world. Only, I being an introvert, I find it easier to do it virtually. You break the ice, find some common ground, carry on a conversation and begin the process of relationship-building. Your bio is your business card and a handshake is simply a conversation started by one party or the other.

Don’t be put off by the fact that the tools are unfamiliar. They are easy to use and don’t take long to master.

  • Social media isn’t about technology so much as it is about people. Focus on the people you’re trying to connect with, not the tools being used to do so.

Thank you Paul! Check out The Digital Handshake on Facebook and become a fan.

"Will Social Media Change Our Behavior?"


That was the question asked yesterday by one of the professors who attended UGA's (that's the University of GA for anyone not living in the South or not into college football!) social media conference - Connect. In it's 3rd year, Prof Karen Russell brings together Public Relations students, academics and professionals working in social media. 

Connect uga 9_09

I had the privilege of sharing a panel with the ever controversial, but always smart, Jeremy Pepper on  Integrating Social Media in Business and Industry.

It's always fun and invigorating to be part of a student event. Highlights of the speaker's ideas/presentations were captured on a retro social media platform .. the UGAConnect 2009 blog. Here's mine

It's an innovative program and I would love to see the Connect model adopted with a focus on social media marketing. Tossing a pink boa to Karen, Diane Murphy and of course the amazing students.

But I digress. As always happens at any type of conference some of the best discussions occur outside of the sessions. The question, "Will social media change our behavior?" was directed not at consumers but the professionals behind the brand. 

One of my first jobs out of college was as a customer service rep for a major health insurance company. Sometimes I felt it was "me and the customer" against the company. I can't but wonder ..

  • Will PR and marketing professionals, who traditionally don't daily interact with customers, approach their day-to-day jobs any differently if their job descriptions include active participation in social media conversations?
  • Does knowing personal details about customers and stakeholders build added empathy to cheer louder - work harder - for the customer?
  • Does having access to a daily stream of consumer feedback from high praise to disappointments in product and service influence how media releases or ads are written?
  • If some people in non traditional, call them indirect customer engagement jobs like PR, HR, Marketing, IT, begin to build relationships with customers while others in their department do not, not does this produce conflict about the execution of tactics?
  • How will job descriptions and subsequent annual reviews and raise incentives change for "indirect customer engagement jobs that include social media participation? Will these jobs be at a higher grade level since additional skills, experience and training will be needed?
  • As more of our customers and clients join social networks and discover that there is frequently a disconnect between channel service (Twitter responses occur in seconds while call center resolutions may take days) and begin to depend on social channels to "talk to the company" will there be an internal conflict for resources?

This is part of a concept I've been talking about for a long time but finally beginning to explore in more depth -  The Social Enterprise. It's an extension of the corner grocery story relationship that is the heart of what I believe makes social media of value to any business. Would love to hear your thoughts : Will Social Media Change Our Behavior?

Bring Back The Blog


Blog read blog As social networks like Twitter, Facebook and the like grab center stage of the social media world blogging seems almost retro. Now don't get me wrong I love the tweet bird and have am amusingly frustrated when the Fail Whale pops into view. As for Facebook I am tickled that my 70+ year old Auntie Barbara has a page. 

Maybe it's because I "grew-up" in social media beginning with blogs that this funny little word packs a big punch for me. Keep in mind that unless you own the platform although you might "own" your content it is a joint partnership which can change at the whim of the software owner.

Bring Back The Blog will be a sometimes series that highlights some of the great work in the blogosphere. For your reading pleasure ..

The gold ring of digital marketing is engaging with your customer. No easy feat as you well know. Nancy White, blog: Full Circle Associates, has written a detailed and thought provoking post - What do we mean by engagement online? She addresses issues that I haven't seen in many conversations including her idea that we engage with both people and content and as much as we might say comments are in real time there is a time lag .. "snow flake time."

Jason Fall, blog: Social Media Explore, reminds us that "We wanna blog" is not a good enough reason to launch a blog. His post Good Communication Takes Planning that includes developing strategies against an objective/goal and success measures.

The PR industry's footprint is expansive in the blogosphere running the gamut from global agencies to boutique shops. Kelley Crane takes us behind the scenes of smaller shops with her blog Solo PR Pro. Be sure to catch her evergreen post 44 Tools For The PR Consultant's Toolbox.

Some people really are into blogs like Denise Wakeman who has several that provide information on both blogs and social media in-general. In Biz Tips Blog be sure to catch this Five Social Media Mistakes. On .Build A Better Blog Denise has practical tips for Driving More Traffic To Your Blog.

Blogs provide a unique opportunity to position yourself as a thought leader. With his blog, The MarketingSavant Group - Leadership Through Thought, Dana Vanden Heuvel walks the talk or should I say blogs the concept. He has identified a niche .. thought leadership is supports it with well researched and smart content. His post "Thought Leading" Your Way to Premium Brand Status describes the " .. characteristics of premium brands and how they correlate with thought leadership marketing."

In addition there are people writing about marketing specific verticals like Healthcare and Pharma. Back of the Book (blog) authored by Ellen Hoeng Carlson is rich with posts that provide in depth information that take the conversation to deeper levels like in Phara and Marketers: How do you elegantly use what you  have?

If you are looking for edgy, savvy and someone who pulls no punches when it comes to politics and her view on the world in general then add Lisa Sabiter's blog Cultural Kitchen to your list.

All work and no play makes any Diva .. well a dull yawn. In the spirit of fun and play there are blogs that bring a laugh and a giggle like Jacki Schklar's Funny Not Slutty video blog.  Jacki collects videos of women comics. Added bonus - reduce your stress level.

In a world where we sometimes hesitate to color with more than the standard crayons Alex Geana is not afraid to use the unusual. His blog Alex Geana Sometimes Smart Always Interesting is a prefect description of his writing. Don't miss his coverage of Mercedes-Benz Spring Fashion Week .. as only Alex can tell it. 

More later. In the mean time - What's your favorite blog?

9-11 Remember For The Children


For the children then. today. tomorrow. We can not forget.

9 11 children art

Graphic from Downtown Express

Diva Marketing Talks Online Publications With Deanna Sutton, Angela Benton & Heidi Richards Mooney


Diva Marketing Talks is a live, internet radio (BlogTalkRadio) show.  30 minutes. 2 maybe 3 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.

On today's Diva Marketing Talks we're exploring the world of online publications. What makes a great magazine? Content of course.  Writers who have a unique view point and whose “voices” are enjoyable to read. However, with the onset of social media your favorite author may not be a staff writer but a reader .. just like you. Publishing is turning into a collaborative effort.

Deanna Sutton publisher – Clutch Magazine, Angela Benton publisher BlackWeb 2.0 and Heidi Richards Mooney, publisher- WE Magazine for Women join me to discuss how online publications are dealing with this new genre.

Topic for September 8, 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 .

Deanna sutton_1 Deanna "Dede" Sutton is the Founder and  Editorial Director of Sutton Media, publisher of Clutch Magazine, The Clutch Blog Network and soon to launch -- Cullen Magazine, which serves as the brother publication to Clutch. After graduating with a degree in Marketing, Deanna Sutton set out to launch Clutch as a print magazine. 

After successfully launching as a regional magazine, she soon learned that the print publishing industry served as a bigger challenge than she expected. In 2006, Dede saw a huge void in compelling and relevant online publications for young women of color. In 2007, she decided to take a risk and launch the first on-line magazine for young, contemporary women of color – Clutch.

Dede's vision was for Clutch Magazine to become one of the leading online magazines for multicultural women ages 18-35. With a passion for all things social media, she recognizes the power and opportunity that the new media platform presents. At Sutton Media, she is responsible for business development, marketing initiatives, and editorial and creative direction. Follow Dede on Twitter @clutchmagazine Facebook MySpace

Angela benton_2 Angela Benton is the Founder and Publisher of BlackWeb 2.0. BlackWeb20.com is a blog that analyzes emerging web trends as it relates to African-Americans and African-American culture.

Her experience spans a variety of industries including consultative relationships with companies such as UPS, Bizjournals.com, Realestate.com, and Lendingtree.com. Angela is a frequent guest speakers on topics such as diversity in the web and media industries, web trends, web strategy, and web 2.0’s effects on urban entertainment. She has participated on panels at conferences such as South by Southwest and Experience Music Project Pop Conference. 

Angela graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Communications with a specialization in Digital Design. She has also completed postgraduate coursework in Graphic Design from Savannah College of Art and Design. Follow Angela @abenton Facebook

Heidi Richards Heidi Richards Mooney is a serial entrepreneur, author of several books and student of social media. She is also the founder of several organizations for women including the Women’s eCommerce Association and Inventing Women and WE Magazine for Women

For the past seven years Heidi has been studying the Internet particularly as it relates to growing a business online. Her focus for the past three years has been social networking. Heidi participates in more than a dozen social networking sites including MySpace, FaceBook, Linkedin, RYZE, eCademy, Xing, Yahoo Groups to name a few. During her quest for more information about Social Media and Social Networking in particular, Heidi has interviewed hundreds of experts on the topic including bloggers, email experts, forum leaders and Internet celebrities in the top ten Social Networking Sites.

In 2003 Heidi was named one of 50 women shaping the Internet by the International Virtual Women’s Chamber of Commerce. Earlier this year she was named a Twitter Woman to Follow by Only2Clicks.com and in April her story: The Twitter Phenomenon appeared in Twitter Success Stories with Willie Crawford and 17 other Social Networking Experts. On Sept. 1st was named Social Networker of the Year by HER Mastermind Network (a top 20 RYZE network forum in the US). Follow Heidi @HeidiRichards

Tips From The Diva Bag

Complements of Deanna "Dede" Sutton

1. Survey and Listen to your readers.
2. Create content that connects to your readers.
3. Continue to learn and grow as a new media professional by talking to others enthusiast and resources.

Complements of Heidi RIchards Mooney

1. Keep your audience in mind ~ know your niche. I made the mistake of trying to appeal to a much younger audience when my main audience is made up of Gen X and Boomers.  I do still interview younger women in the 18-30 are range but that is more of a tactic to see if the younger audience is interested. I can tell by the number of comments if they are or not.
2. Find ways to make your magazine stand out ~ for instance I wanted to offer more than one viewing choice for my readers. In addition to the traditional PDF, blog posts and rss feeds, I wanted to offer the magazine in turning page technology. I looked at several options and because many of them were out of my budget or they didnt' offer all the features I wanted (such as a way to search contents and instructions for the user)  I put the idea on the back burner. 

About a month after I did all the research I received an email from a good friend of mine, Penny Haynes who is a software developer. She had created a program that not only did the turning page it also could automatically turn blog posts (by any category) into an ebook. I loved the technology and immediately signed up. Since then a few other of my magazine publishing friends have used her product. It is called Rss Zine.
3. Enlist the help of experts when you can. When I first started WE Magazine I went to the store and bought several women's magazines. I cut out all the pages of the things I liked about them.  It helped us get a good start.

But I didn't understand about format.  So we had lots of mixed fonts, text sizes and one big booboo, we didn't use columns to construct our articles. That made it difficult for our readers to read.  A good friend of mine who had previously worked with a major national magazine called me and offered her help. Of course I said yes.  We now have what I consider a "user friendly" magazine.  We also have about 85% content and 15% advertsing which helps it stand out.
4. And finally, if possible join a peer group; if one is not available in your area, start one. Also another great group I stumbled upon was Magazine Launch. Although the site is relatively new, they have created a community where I have met and been able to discuss challenges with a couple of other digital publishers as well as help them solve a few of their own challenges. The best part is having a place to share resources and learn about the latest and greatest technology.

Social Media Marketing 10 Dos & Don'ts: A Work In Progress


Work in progess
1. Do understand that social media marketing is most effective when it is an authentic, transparent dialogue and not a vehicle to push promotional messaging.
2. Do take the time to listen to the unfiltered voices of your customers and people who are engaged in digital conversations about your brand before you jump into the game.
3. Do give social media the respect it is due as a credible marketing strategy and develop a plan that includes goals, objectives, success measures and a value-added content direction.
4. Do realize that resources will have to be dedicated including time, money and most significantly human capital.
5. Do understand the benefits, as well as the limitations, of the tools or tactics such as blogs, social networks, Twitter, etc before creating your initiative.

1. Don’t assume social media marketing is silver bullet which will transform a poor quality product or service into a super brand.
2. Don’t launch a social media marketing plan unless your organization (including management, PR, legal, etc.) understands the risks, as well as, the rewards and has defined its social media direction because social media will change business dynamics.
3. Don’t launch a social media strategy unless you have processes in place such as internal communication plans to field information to the appropriate departments for resolution.
4. Don’t place a person in charge to oversee the initiative who does not understand the impact of the culture of social media (honesty, transparency, authenticity) and has a spirit of generosity.
5.  Don’t start a social media marketing strategy unless you want your organization to be perceived as innovative, customer-centric and forward thinking.

Bonus: Social media marketing is a work in progress! Keep in mind - There are as many opinions as there are experts. ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt