An Interview With Geoff Livingston - Now Is Gone

11/29/2007

Now_is_gone A political election changed Geoff Livingston's business model and his life. No it wasn't the ideology of the candidate it was the way he was elected .. through the influence of social media. In his book Now Is Gone Geoff provides a framework for how an organization can participate in conversational marketing.

The book has a few extras like the excellent introduction by Brian Solis. Brian explains the evolution of PR and how the principles of social media are changing that industry for the better.

In addition, Kami Watson Huyse kicks off the book with an interesting overview of the Seven Categories of Social Media: Publishing Platforms, Social Networking Sites, Democratized Content Networks, Virtual Networking Platforms, Information Aggregators, Edited Social News Platforms and Content Distribution sites.

Bloggy transparency - I am honored that Geoff included an interview he conducted with me. For your reading pleasure Geoff lets us in on some of the back-story and his thoughts about social media marketing.

Diva Marketing: Love the title of your new book – Now Is Gone. Where did the inspiration come from and what is the significance for you?

Geoff Livingston: I wish it was really cool, but it came while watching Casino Royale on DVD.  It seemed like a great title for one of the Bond movies, but afterwards the name kept rolling around in my head. 

Within days of that night the need for a book became apparent. The title fit the current need to engage in social media. Now Is Gone was born, and the Broccoli family was opted out. 

Now Is Gone really conveys a sense of urgency.  I think the business marketplace senses that urgency, and smart players understand competitive advantage can still be gained… But it has to be done in the next 12-18 months.

Diva Marketing: Your “moment of clarity” about the influence social media can play on a political election led to a change in the business model of your public relations company. What was the ah ha moment when you realized that social media marketing could impact consumer behavior?

Geoff Livingston:  When George Allen lost the election and, as a result the Democrats took control of Congress. I couldn’t believe it. My wife wanted to kill me. I was all full of energy at 2 a.m., the numbers were in and Allen had a clearly lost (though he had not conceded). All because of a YouTube video. 

While the Dems haven’t done much better, to see a power shift of that magnitude just stunned me.  The light bulb went on.

Diva Marketing: Now Is Gone contains a wealth of examples and case studies ranging from large corporate B2C companies like Jet Blue to smaller B2B organizations such as Reston Limousine and even Not for Profit where you highlight the Red Cross. In your research did you discover any common lessons learned that you can pass along to Diva’s community?

Geoff Livingston: It’s all about them… Meaning the readers.  This is a theme Meerman Scott picks up on, too, in his excellent book The New Rules.

Look we’re in a fractured media environment with millions of options out there, particularly for those that like to partake in social media. Corporate social media is fighting for time with every single one of them, from the New York Times and NBC to the brand new blog on Blogger and someone’s first Seesmic post.

So the only way to get and keep eyeballs is to understand you must publish something interesting.  Interesting in their minds, not yours. Having an editorial mission to serve those community members goes a long way towards achieving that goal.

Diva Marketing/Toby: My neighbor in the Hot’lanta hood as our pal Shel Israel might say, Coca Cola, has dabbled in social media including Second Life. In fact, there is a case in Now Is Gone about that initiative. Coke is about to launch their first corporate blog What advice would you you give to them – and to any Fortune 1000 company that is considering entering the blogging space?

Geoff Livingston:  Fortune 1000s are used to command and control communications where they can dictate messages to the marketplace.  This is a two way form.  The best thing any of these folks can do is really get out there and participate before engaging.  See what’s happening on other corporate blogs.

Geoff_livingston_3Then, instead of getting stuck in technology tools, they should focus on principles of social media communications.  This is really the heart of forging a better relationship with the community.  Ultimately, social media isn’t about tools, it’s about people.  We created a Seven Principles of Social Media wrap up in the final chapter.  You can find them here:

Diva Marketing: How much back-end structure should an organization include with a social media initiative that helps mitigate risk but leaves the door wide open to encourage consumer generated content?

Geoff Livingston: It’s hard to say.  Really, it depends on the company, the community and the tools.  It’s just not something I can answer without knowing the specifics.

Diva Marketing: Chapter Three – Building A New Media Effort – includes a subtitle that I really liked. “Inspire Your Community To Believe.” Would you please explain what you meant and give a few ideas on how to that happen?

Geoff Livingston: It’s so easy to commit to a two way media form. That’s a decision.

Decisions must be backed with actions if they are to be effective.  That means companies really need to dedicate themselves to the long haul and give great content and information to their communities over and over again.  Here’s where companies must act and perform well.  This is where social media really matters. In the streets, everyday!

Remember, this is a pessimistic media form with really lukewarm community members.  They have been disappointed by numerous ethical transgressions by companies so they are naturally wary of the latest corporate social media effort. And quite frankly boring content. 

Inspiration comes in the form of consistently great execution. Similarly,true interest in the community is also demonstrated by continued participation. It’s the tortoise that wins this race, not the hair.

Diva Marketing: Diva Marketing is all about the marketing. From your perspective, what do you see will be social media marketing’s impact on PR, as well as, on “traditional” marketing?

Geoff Livingston: The good news is that it should bring all marketing disciplines closer to their stakeholders. Now we have to get into the street with our buyers, investors, employees and partners.  Dictating messages won’t work because we may find they don’t resonate… or worse they antagonize.  But that feedback will be invaluable and good companies will garner great advantages from a participatory approach with their communities.

Social Media A Way To Reach Out

08/01/2007

Bloggers are a funny lot. We love to chat it up. We love to build relationships. As we've seen time and again we are quick to come to our own conclusions. Maybe too quick at times. Limited information, not understanding the context and cultural nuances make it so easy to misconstrue some one's intentions. I raise my hand to doing that .. and having that done to me. No one is granted immunity on this one.

Social spaces from blogs to Twitter to Facebook and M-or-e provide easy, free  ways to tell our closest friends and friends we don't even know our opinions. That's great for the most part. And no girlfriend bloggers are not researchers or even journalists but sometimes we might want to go an extra step. Especially when it might result in a better conversation.

This week I wrote a post, Blogger Relations: A Side Step To Buy Buzz, and included information and links to several interesting research projects. Part of that information was pulled from a media release from Agency.com about their study, Who Is Driving Social Media, an analysis of what they term influencers - "uploaders." Here's a clip from the post.

The big strategic implication of the Uploaders study is clear – brands need to think of these digital influencers as a resource, not a target. - Dr. Paul Marsden.

That's an interesting concept. Agency.com doesn't say brands should build relationships and expand community with bloggers but instead suggests that bloggers should be positioned as a "resource." And what is a "target?" I've sent off an eMail to Marianne Stefanowicz, Assoc. Director, PR & Marketing Agency.com Worldwide asking for clarification.  Ms Stefanowicz was indicated as a contact on the release. Perhaps she'll drop a comment or respond back. If she does I'll let you know.

Agencycom_logo_2 Marianne Stefanowicz, Assoc. Director, PR & Marketing Agency.com Worldwide graciously responded to my email and agreed to let me post her response. Now we have a better understanding of what was behind Dr. Marsden's remark. And a nice little road map of how to engage bloggers.

Hi Toby - and thank you for your inquiry.

I fielded your question in the direction of James Clifton and this was his response:

The Ultimate Answer is an answer to the Ultimate Question which is a school of thinking led by Bain and Co http://bain.com/theultimatequestion/home.asp

The essence of the quote is that we need to treat people as a ‘resource’ - so listen to them, make them brand advisors by involving them in marketing and product innovation. By doing this, you create genuine dialogue and engagement which helps to make them advocates of a brand.

We should NOT to treat them as a passive ‘target audience’ which we simply message at through advertising.

Hope this helps. Please reach out if you want further information or to talk to James directly.

I did a little more digging and followed Marianne's link which led to the book written by Fred Reichheld, The Ultimate Question. The book addresses how to build community and customer loyalty by answering one, seemingly simple question: Would you recommend us to a friend or colleague? By the way, Mr. Reichheld has a blog and Dr. Marsden blogs too. Sweet. I sent Fred Reichheld an email. Perhaps he'll drop by and leave a few words of wisdom. Who knows .. strange and wonderful things happen all the time in the blogosphere.

Lessons Learned: Reach out. You may find someone like Marianne who is happy to help ensure understanding. And if you pass that along to your community .. that's a powerful way to use social media tools.

The Divas Of DC Put On A New Media Nouveaux Conference

06/14/2007

A few weeks ago Geoff Livingston, The Buzz Bin, presented me with an opportunity that no self respecting Diva worth her Jimmy Choos could refuse.

New_media_noveaux_2 Geoff invited me to key note at the divine divas of Washington DC's Success In The City's New Media Nouveaux Conference - "How to make your audience fall in love with you, your message and your business." Click on to the site and you'll understand why I'm excited about talking social media with the SITC Divas.

Geoff Livingston, The Buzz Bin kicks off the morning with findings from his forthcoming book, Now Is Gone. The day unfolds with some of Metro DC's smartest marketers and bloggers -  Jill Stelfox, CEO of DefyWire Jenifer Cortner, CEO of EFX Media Sean Gorman, CEO of FortiusOne Jen Sterling, CEO of Hinge Alice Marshall, CEO of Presto Vivace Angela Drummond, CEO of Silo Smashers Brian Williams, CEO of Viget Labs Aaron Brazell (Technosailor), director of new media services at B5 Media Andrea Morris, LComm Consultant & principal at Write Ideas Marketing Jody Ruth, director, Washington, DC office of Redstones Qui Viaz, Ogilvy

A few details ..
Date: Friday, July 13 at
Time: 8a - 3p
Place: Tower Club, 8000 Towers Crescent Drive, Suite 1700, Vienna, VA
703.761.4250
Brochure

As a prelude to New Media Nouveaux Conference Geoff asked me a few questions about marketing and social media. For your reading pleasure, here's a snip from our interview.

Geoff: Why are so many businesses running towards new media?

Toby: Social media is more than a passive website strategy. The most beneficial aspect is the ability to engage directly with customers and other stakeholders. Social media opens the doors for businesses to listen to the unfiltered voices of their customers and to track those conversations.

Social media also provides opportunities for the people within the company to join in on those conversations and talk directly to customers. Taking an active role in creating a dialogue with customers about issues that they care about, at the moment in time when they care about those concerns, is the heart of new media marketing.

Geoff: What are your thoughts of the concept “participation is marketing?”

Toby: I love the concept. It adds an important dimension to an expanding, complex marketing tool bag. Sometimes it’s nice to reach for a paper sales sheet with just the facts. It’s also nice to know that there is an online communication resource: a bulletin board, blog, wiki, vlog, podcast, where additional information can be found including peer-to-peer feedback and a way to engage with the people in the company too.

So, Divas and Divos if you're in DC on Friday the 13th of July drop by .. I promise it will be very lucky day!

57 Blog 101 Questions

05/14/2007

What do you travel with? I mean when you go out of your home for the day or for a week. What do you always have with you to anchor you .. to keep you engaged with yourself and perhaps the world around you? In today's high tech world it might be your cell phone, camera or video camera.

Notebook_coffee For me it's always been a pen and note book and frequently a book. A little while ago I was sipping a coffee at a local Starbucks. Looking out at the parking lot watching cars whiz by was getting to be a drag so I dug out my little note book and begin writing random thoughts. As with writings in little note books no telling where the ideas will lead. This entree turned out to be Blog 101 Questions. Perhaps 1 or 2 thoughts will spark an idea for you.

  1. Are there really best practices for social media? What are they? Why are they?
  2. RSS why is it really so important?
  3. When will RSS add videos?
  4. Is there a "right" or "wrong" way to blog?
  5. Who are the influencers? Do they really matter and if so to whom?
  6. What is a blog? What is a business blog? What is a marketing blog?
  7. How do you address negative comments on your blog, on other blogs?
  8. Does a company need blogger guidelines? Does wikipedia have a generic entry?
  9. Are comment guidelines needed? Perhaps wikipedia has a generic entry for this too.
  10. How do you develop friendships at work? How do you develop friendships "on-blog?"
  11. How do you define honesty, transparency and authenticity? Are they different based on a company's culture? Should they be?
  12. What are the benefits for sponsoring a blog instead of advertising on a blog? Is it assumed exclusivity?
  13. When is it okay to sub contract blog writing? What is the trade-off for an organization?
  14. How do you manage a corporate blog?
  15. When does HR get involved with social media?
  16. How many corporate bloggers have job descriptions that incorporate goals, objectives? MBB - is there such a thing as "manage by blog" rather like manage by objective?
  17. What are the responsibilities of a corporate blogger? Does building relationship count as a "goal?" Does that devalue the relationship?
  18. What are the responsibilities of a paid blogger? Are they the same as a blogger on staff (see # 17).
  19. What is success? How do know you've achieved it if you don't set goals?
  20. What does blogger relations really mean? Does a camera or a dinner or a press release make a relationship? What is the company's courtesy to the blogger?
  21. What is social media research? How will it be integrated into traditional research strategies?
  22. How does pay per post, posts written by journalists and posts based on sponsorship relationships effect the data and analysis of social media research?
  23. How can you extend content from blog post in addition to podcasts, articles, books, white papers?
  24. For Shel Israel - "Will blogs change marketing? Or will marketing change blogs?
  25. What are the components of social media marketing? How many people think that social media is now an industry.
  26. <Side thought: It's ok to think pink.>
  27. What are Diva Marketing Biz Blog Series Companies doing  now? Where blogs successful  2 years later?
  28. Is a social media strategy right for all companies? When does it make sense?
  29. How do blogs communicate differently than other text forms?
  30. Why do communities succeed or fail? Does a community organically evolve?
  31. Will social media be the new darling of customer service or  the devil in disguise? How would a company incorporate social media tactics into a customer service strategy?
  32. What is the difference between blogger relations and media relations in the year 2007 and beyond? What side of the aisle are journalists who blog? 
  33. Will social media consultants specialize by industry or by functional area? Does one need a niche to be successful in this business? Will the big agencies squeeze out the folks with real experience and passion?
  34. How much experience and how long does one have to be involved to be considered an expert in social media?
  35. What are the various uses for blogs? Shopping/commerce. Reviews. Marketing
  36. SEO and social media blurring of functional and strategies. Is it an SEO deal or a PR deal?
  37. Where does podcast fit in? It can't be social unless there is a conversation loop. So is podcast really social media? Same with vlogs.
  38. What can we learn from mommy bloggers?
  39. Blogs tie into corporate values.
  40. Blogs take time. What to write. How to write.
  41. Why don't more businesses brand their blogs with the look and feel of their website? Why. Why. Why don't (some) business bloggers include an about us? And why no email address?
  42. A blog report card. Does it go against the culture of blogs but not the out comes of business?
  43. Vast marketplace of ideas. The wild west of the new web. It's quickly being tamed.
  44. Why do people read blogs? What do people want from blogs and bloggers? What do they want? Do they really want the conversational options?  What don't people want?
  45. How does a reader or community member Not an organization define engagement? Should we not start with that before defining engagement as a business goal?
  46. Are blogs and other social media initiatives making a difference? Are these tactics impacting and changing behavior like in purchase behavior?
  47. Side thought: If you can't connect to one .. you can't connect to many.
  48. Are blogs and social media marketing tactics little more than viral or SEO tactics?
  49. What do you need to know to get started? What do you need to know to continue?
  50. What is blogging etiquette?
  51. How do you integrate a social media program with a traditional campaign? Or how do you integrate traditional marketing into a social media strategy?
  52. What are the lessons learned thus far about social media marketing?
  53. Do blogs help us find and/or become the divas in the mirror?
  54. Not only company but country influences social media culture.
  55. Can you write a book about social media if you have no experience? Must you have experience to understand the culture of social media?
  56. Side thought: So many smart people generously giving information and ideas to the world at-large.
  57. Now that I have this written in a blog can I trash the paper list?

Coporate Blog Content

03/19/2007

It's gonna be a bloggy kind of a week. From the great meet-up on with Josh Hallett and Atlanta blogs I'm heading off to Las Vegas to teach a session on social media, The Good. The Blog. The Ugly, for the American Marketing Association's Marketing Workshop and then off to NYC to talk at BlogHer Business and more happy happy blogger fun with CK and lots of awesome friends. 

Hugh_blogging_2 As part of the Marketing Workshop gig I asked the folks attending the session if they had any specific questions they wanted to discuss. Peter C. VanRysdam, 352 Media Group, posed an interesting one.

What is the relationship between corporate communication, industry news, and personal information that the employee should blog on?   

I had my ideas, however, I wondered what corporate bloggers would have to say; so I reached out to a few BBF (blogger best friends). These bloggers work with organizations ranging from healthcare, technology and consumer products to business-to-business. Their responses were insightful and I thought .. hmm .. this would be a great post.  Thanks to Peter for the terrific question and to the informal panel who agreed to share their thoughts with Diva's readers. 

Nick Jacobs, President of Windber Medical Center and the Windber Research Institute  -  Truthfully, I use Hospitalimpact.org for national and international policy issues.  I try to use windberblog.typepad.com for local issues and some diary type posts.  I use ourtownonline.biz  for humor!  So, my formula is more of that from a creative than an administrator.

Remi Adams, Director of Public Relations Homestead (CEO Unplugged Blog) - The answer to that question lies entirely within each, unique, organization; and I don’t think that there should be an “all size fits one” approach to social media within a corporate setting.

This question, however, also depends on what you’re trying to accomplish with your blog. For Homestead, it’s thought leadership in small business and entrepreneurship, so the blog has little to do with the nuts and bolts of our core business and/or product offerings. It’s also written by a smart and savvy CEO, who is as good an information filter as they come. If you’re touching upon appropriate guidelines for employees, this should be based on individual circumstances determined by each organization.

Homestead, for example, doesn’t so much have a policy, as it has a culture that enforces or discourages certain behavior based on its values. You’re much less likely to have bloggers divulging private, internal information in unique circumstances like ours (for many reasons), then you would at a large, impersonal corporations in which employees feel disenfranchised. Blogs, in those circumstances, can be a difficult tool for corporate communications professionals, and would probably merit reasonable corporate guidelines.”

Merrill Dubrow, President M/A/R/C Research -  Not sure we have a strong position but to me opinions are opinions and don’t always represent the companies position. I wouldn’t want anyone to comment about clients, financials or strategy on a blog. My sense is every company is the same.

Christine Halvorson, Stoneyfield Farms - Since Stonyfield Farm was one of the few non-I.T. companies blogging back in 2004, we were feeling our way around and, sort of, making things up as we went along.  Once we got our rhythm in the blog world, we sort of instinctively felt we knew what to write--that corporate "messages" wouldn't really go over well with readers, that we had to tell a story, and we had to have opinions and a certain point of view in the world. 

"Industry news" is kind of tricky.  In the hands of a poor writer, it could be extremely boring.  In the hands of someone who really knows the industry and knows all the nuances, it could be a great read.  I think, at Stonyfield Farm, we felt that our readers wanted to know what we--as a company--cared about and what the broader world was saying about those issues (women's health, organic farming, global warming, saving the environment, etc.)  and so that's what I tried to focus on in the Stonyfield blogs.

As Chief Blogger trying to write and/or coordinate good content there, I also felt that nobody was really that interested in MY daily life, so blogging about it rarely happened, if at all. Instead, I offered my opinion on things relevant to the issues mentioned above. 

I don't think a person who is blogging for a company should blog about his/her personal life unless it is totally and completely relevant to the "story line" of the blog.  For example, if you are assigned to blog about the health care industry and your company's role within that industry, you need to find interesting, compelling content, yes, but that probably does not mean writing about your particular trip to the doctor last week, or your aunt's recent gall bladder surgery. Instead, write YOUR opinion about the state of health care reform today, or advocate that a certain piece of legislation be passed, or whatever.  Nobody cares about your aunt. (Okay, maybe they care, but not that much. )

On the other hand, there are certainly exceptions to this "rule" of mine. Nick's Blog is a great example of this. He writes about health care in big, general terms and in small, specific terms, and sometimes he just writes about his dog.  I think that's great! It gives him a personality and shows the person behind his medical center. 

The content of a blog really has to be tailored to the specific audience you are trying to reach. When I advise corporate blogging clients today, that's my first task with them--to have them be very, very clear about WHO they are writing to and WHY. Once they know that, the content follows rather easily.

Tim Jackson, Masi Bikes - It is my personal belief that all of those items can blend together and not confuse things too much or send the wrong message- IF done right. I blend all three and sometimes it isn't quite the right combination because I get off the target and ramble a bit. That said, I believe that has been one of the factors to the "success" (if you will) of the blog. People have developed a relationship with me through the blog, so the blend of personal, industry and corporate info seems to work.

As for other companies, it really just requires that companies define what kind of relationship they want to have with the readers of the blog. If they want to just make announcements or share news, then they shouldn't blend in personal info, as it might confuse that reader. Maybe they want to use the blog as a way to get product ideas/ feedback.

A blog is great for that too and it has been my experience that people are very willing to help you shape their experience- if you ask them and then listen to them. If they are looking for a more interactive and "personal" relationship, then I say let it all hang out! Obvious exceptions include being offensive, insulting or otherwise acting badly... but that should go without saying.
 
Rick Short, Indium Corporation - As far as a blogging STRATEGY, we certainly have coordinated and detailed plans and activities.  I am trying to pull them all together while the playing field changes and while our wild new ideas proliferate.  It is very fun!

Let’s establish a few of my firmly-held beliefs right up front:

  • Marcom consists of both internal and external communications.
  • Bloggers must exhibit some personality.
  • “News” is most effective when it has a personal element.

You can see where this is all heading.
“Corporate Communication” is targeted at the outside, as well as the inside, world (customers, co-suppliers, and employees). Blogging is one form of corporate communication.  There are two types of blogging: 

  • Officially on behalf of the company 
  • Personal and private
  • “News” can be targeted exclusively internally, or externally.
  • All forms of communication are USUALLY better if they contain a compelling personal element.  They simply are more engaging.
  • People are ALWAYS responsible for their content, whether they are dialoging professionally or privately.

As a company director, I can not control what people do in their personal lives. They are free to say whatever they wish, in any format or style they desire.  But I ALWAYS advise people to start their activities with a GOAL.  My exact words are, “Always begin at the end”.  Describe the following:

  • Exactly WHO
  • Did exactly WHAT
  • After receiving your message WHEN
  • Such that you are ecstatic with the results

Goals can be simple (eg: I want people to get a chuckle out of a funny personal foible that happened to me over the weekend – establishing the fact that I am but a mere mortal.)  Or, they can be complex (eg: I want to gain customer loyalty, first looks, and new opportunities for sales by helping customers consider my technical and customer support teams to be the best in the world.)  No matter what the goal is – always begin your communications with the goal put down in writing.  Then, work toward it, concisely.

Our goal is to establish our company, and our personalities, as trusted, bona fide elements of every single potential customer’s and partner’s decision process.

Jet Blue - Would Social Media Marketing Have Made A Difference?

02/20/2007

Recently Diva Marianne Richmond wrote what Robert Scoble called "The Definitive Social Media Post."  She joined in on a discussion regarding the definition of social media -  "the social media world, is one of "ubiquitous connectivity and pervasive proximity" - going 'round with some of the blogarati pundits like -

  • Robert Scoble - When I say “social media” or “new media” I’m talking about Internet media that has the ability to interact with it in some way.
  • Stowe Boyd, - Social Media = what the edglings use to communicate about how to define social media.

Wondering where this discussion would go I clicked on a few links and came across a post from Stephan Collins at acidlabs - Explaining web2.0 and social media to non geeks. My kinda post so I read on. - To me, it’s the connectedness and the community that defines social media. Back in January 2007 Jeremiah Owyang was asking if the very words social media should be changed. To what? He wasn't sure. Perhaps he has a point. It took me awhile to get that social .. media  was not a new type of GNO. Only kidding .. well sort of .. this is Diva Marketing after all. ;-)

Smart people. But all this chatter made my head spin since they were basically saying the same thing. At least I think they were. By the way, my favorite description of social media is one I heard from Mike Murphy, chief revenue officer Facebook. Active Sharing Online. Simple. To the point. Easy to remember. Actively sharing implies conversations which implies building community. Online sharing implies the 2.0++ widgets and gidgets. Perhaps we should add .. "available to anyone with  internet access" and be done with it!

Girlfriend, I needed more coffee! Armed with the last of my stash of Trader Joe's Christmas Coffee blend I continued the follow-the-link-game which led me to Brian Solis at PR 2.0 who brought the dissuasion to social media and marketing and a side step away from our friends the geeks (all but Marianne who is a savvy marketing diva!). The end line of Brian's post What's Wrong With Social Media?   is relevant to marketers. - Social Media has yet to reveal its true impact among those around the would who have yet to embrace it and participate. The way we consume and share information will only continue to change until it completely transforms from one-to-many to many-to-many.

And then one more click to BL Ochman's very clever 12 Tenets of Social Media Marketing which proves that marketers do have a sense of humor .. even if a few indulge in a drink or two of the proverbial kool aid!

Jet_blue_video_2_07 At that moment the news reported the jetBlue was instituting a new concept in airline customer service - a Passenger  Customer Bill of Rights. I hoped hopped (thanks to Valeria Maltoni for the catch .. perhaps I was hoping for something innovative!) over to the jetBlue website and found front and center on the home page that David Neelman, CEO of jet Blue is using You Tube to get the message out.

According to jetBlue's YouTube profile page and based on 12:45p Eastern Time

  • jetBlue joined YouTube 20 hours ago
  • Video was added 10 hours ago
  • Some one from jetBlue logged in 1 hour ago

From a marketing perspective, jetBlue's use of YouTube, as a distribution channel, is on target. I can't help but wonder if this is the start of a beautiful friendship between jetBlue and social media marketing. Or is it simply part of a crisis management strategy? Will jetBlue join Southwest Airlines as the second commercial airline to be a part of the bigger conversation?

Just for fun .. here is the blogophere buzz on jetBlue. Google Blogs shows that in the past week there were 6185  mentions of jetBlue. Technorati shows that jetBlue's buzz went over 500 mentions a day.

Posts that contain Jetblue per day for the last 30 days.
Technorati Chart
Get your own chart!

What's interesting, and may not be a big surprise with jetBlue customers, is that among the justified rants there are a significant number of people who still love jetBlue. jetBlue customer evangelists are ready to kiss and make up. From a marketing perspective, jetBlue has a great opportunity to leverage this positive energy to help with the healing of the runway fiasco. How about a blogger relations program? How about developing a social media community where people can share their passion for cheap travel? How about an easy way to communicate with jetBlue that goes beyond the email form on its website? The sky's the limit jetBlue!

So divas and divos of social media marketing or social media or whatever you are calling yourselves these days ..The Question Of The Day: Would a social media marketing strategy have made a difference to the short-term and long-term impact of the brand called jetBlue? 

Social Media's Influence On Customer Service

02/13/2007

I want to tell you a customer service story that does not have an ending. It is a true story that could happen to any company.

eMail From A Stranger by Toby at Diva Marketing

Once upon a time .. (all good stories start with once upon a time) .. A man was working in the PR Department of a Fortune 500 financial company. Oh .. call it Capital One. He probably thought his company was a pretty good place to work. In fact, maybe it was even named one of FORTUNE Magazine's 100 Best Companies to Work For. One day out of the blue he received an email from a stranger -

Hugh_gaping_void_better_products_1Dear Mr. S -

I wanted to bring to your attention a post written by one of your customers, Millie Garfield. Mrs. Garfield has experienced some exceptionally poor customer service, and if Capital One is not monitoring social media, I thought you might be interested in reading her post -

In addition to the fact that I'm sure Capital One would not want an unhappy customer, what makes this even more important for the organization is the visibility the situation has been given on Mrs. Garfield's highly popular blog. I would encourage you to read the comment sections as well. MyMomsBlog has been highlighted in main stream media publications like the Washington Post and the Boston Globe. The word-of-mouth influence, online and offline, could be significant and damaging.

Your organization might consider contacting Mrs. Garfield and posting a comment on her blog that offers a solution. My thoughts are that Mrs. Garfield's situation with Capital One is one that many other people are experiencing.

In this new world of easy online publishing (blogs, podcasts, vlogs) that reach not a few, not a hundred, but thousands of people with a click and then spread virally, it is becoming critical to listen and join our customers in their discussions.

Very best.
Toby

Toby Bloomberg
Bloomberg Marketing
~Strategic Marketing & Social Media Consultancy~

I wonder what Mr. S did with the email from a stranger. I wonder if he hit delete. I wonder if he forwarded it to his boss. I wonder if the company who made the Fortune 100 Best Places To Work List will care about one customer. It just so happens that one customer is an 81 year old Divine Diva whose blog has the reach and influence of more than many main stream media vehicles.

A reminder: not all consumer generated media casts a negative veiw of a product or service. That brings up another question. What do you do when something good happens to bring postive buzz to your brand? What would your mother tell you to do if someone said something nice about you? Why thank them kindly I'm sure!

What is important is social media is impacting how companies conduct business .. even if those companies don't know it.

Which in turn influences how your brand is perceived. Which in turn develops customer loyalty. Which in turn makes the cash register ring. Which in turn keeps your share holders happy with increased ROI. Which in turn puts smiles on your employees since they have jobs. Which in turn might get you on Fortune Magazine's 100 Best Companies To Work For List.

I wonder how this story will end .. or if it has ended.

Thanks to Gaping Void for the graphic.

To be continued ..

Read Diva Marketing's Follow-up post: Social Media's Positive Influence on Customer Service

Is Social Media Tipping In Atlanta?

01/29/2007

Is Atlanta becoming the social media mecca of the Southeast or is it just a  coincidence that within the next few weeks there are four events that focus on blogs, podcasts and consumer generated media? If you know of any others please let me know. Oh, and Peter Flaschner, the creative divo behind the design of the Diva Marketing Blog skin, recently told me that he's receving more than a few inquires for blog creative projects from Hot' lanta  .. which I must tell you is not living up to it's  "hot" name today - brr!

Sidebar: Checkout the excellent free ebook from The Blog Studio - A Guide To Business Blogging. Bloggy disclaimer - Diva Marketing is listed as a resource.

Aima_logo AiMA (Atlanta Interactive Marketing Association)
Date/Time: Jan 31, 2007 6:30p-9:p
Online Registration Deadline: Today! Jan 29th
Digital Disruption

Executives from Tivo and Cox Media discuss how they are allowing the "2.0 Consumer" to be in control of some of their advertising experience and the early indications of success.

Social Media Club
Date/Time: Jan 29, 2007 6:00p-8:30p
First Atlanta Meeting
Social Media Club is being organized for the purpose of sharing best practices, establishing ethics and standards, and promoting media literacy around the emerging area of Social Media.
The roundtable will dig into what Social Media really is, review some of the activities at the other Clubs, discuss goals for 2007, in addition to covering other topics suggested by the Atlanta participants.

SoCon07
Date/Time: Feb 9 (dinner); Feb 10 (event) 8:30a-3:30p
A free unconference that will explore affordable, easy-to-use online tools of Web 2.0 and the opportunities that they are creating.
Note: Over 250 registered .. registration is closed. Awesome!

Podcamp AtlantaPodcampatllarge
Date/Time: March 16 (7p-9p) March 17 (9a ->?) March 18 (Morning -?)
A free 2-day unconference experience dedicated to the sharing of information around new / social media (audio and video podcasting, blogging, more).

I'm excited to see Atlanta on the social media track but please do keep in mind that as spiffy and cool as the new marketing technology may be .. without a strategy that supports your master marketing plan, a business/marketing blog, podcast, vlog is just a "me too play toy." You might appear cool at your next cocktail or Superbowl party but what is it doing to help move your brand or develop those important relationships?

Diva Charlene Li and her Forrester Research team have developed a few ideas on how to incorporate ROI. Smart ideas that will serve to reinforce the positioning that, we have been working hard to promote, .. social media is a credible marketing strategy. I particularly like how Forrester has tied metrics to value.

Forrester_roi_benefits_1








Sidebar
: If you enjoy the Forrester concept you may be interested in the following ROI ideas, from a post I wrote for Darren Rowse when I was guest blogging at probogger last summer - Blogs Must Earn Their Keep. As with any marketing strategy, for metrics or accountability to be meaningful, as a component of your social media strategy, they must tie back to the goals and objects of your initiative.

Social Media Accountability Metric Suggestions

Website/Blog

  • Search rankings
  • Visitor hits*
  • Page views
  • Trackbacks *
  • In bound links - general*
  • In bound links - “high ranked” blogs/sites*
  • Comments* such as customer feedback/new ideas

Conversions

  • Newsletters subscriptions
  • Sales
  • Leads
  • White paper/other down loads

Buzz

  • Speaking engagements
  • Podcasts, vlogs and other interviews
  • Media mentions/quotes
  • Mentions and links on other blogs/websites

Intangibles

  • Customers’ emotional involvement with the brand
  • Increase in brand loyalty
  • Providing customers with the opportunity to talk with people within a company and ensuring that customers are heard, responded to and respected by those people who are assuming the role of the public “voice” of their company

*May be measured by unique or total posts

Sidebar: Shameless plug. A successful social media/blog strategy is more than a well-written post .. and it should never be a me too play toy.  If you need help crafting a social media strategy or a sherpa to navigate the blogoshere a Diva Marketing approach might be the way to go!

Social Media Challenges In India

01/10/2007

On December 18th in the year 2006 Jeremiah Owyang, Web Strategy By Jeremiah, posted the following:

2006 was about “What is social media” and “Why does it matter”. Business blogging, flogs, podcasting and second life were the hot topics.

2007 is about “How do I deploy social media”. Companies will start to integrate Social Media upand down and side to side in the organization, both externally as well as internally.

Toby_impact_article_1_07_5 That might be true in the United States, but in some countries the conversation has not reached that level. In some countries business bloggers have just begun their work to position social media as a credible marketing strategy. In some countries the adventure is just beginning.

Rajesh Lalwani, BlogWorks, has made it his personal mission to educate the Indian business community about the importance of social media. To begin that job Rajesh launched a discussion series, Blog the Talk, that features the best of learning from the blogosphere and otherwise, through panel discussions, talks and one-on-ones – mostly conducted online.

A few weeks ago I had the distinct honor and pleasure of joining several prominent Indian business leaders - Govindraj Ethiraj, New Media Editor for Business-Standard who also writes the popular blog  Dateline Bombay - A Reporter's Tale ; and Anurag Batra, Editor in Chief & Managing Director of the exchange4media Group - for the launch conversation - Blog the Talk 1- Impact of blogs and social on business & marketing in India!

Rajesh posted a transcript and the comments are revealing .. reinforcing that in India people are taking the initial steps in understanding the possibilities of social media.

  • Possibly the first time that such a debate as been sparked with the marketeer in mind.
  • I do believe India is ready for the Blog revolution, if only brand managers the benefits they could drive of it.
  • This is an interesting space as business application of blogs is a completely unheard of a thing in Indian context.

In addition, two articles published in IMPACT magazine (published by Anurag) take the conversation from virtual world into mainstream media. PDF of the IMPACT article are also posted on BlogWorks.

Perhaps with the passion of people like Rajesh Lalwani and Govindraj Ethiraj and Anurag Batra in India, 2007 will be about - What is social media and Why does it matter and Business blogging, flogs, podcasting and second life.

As The Blog Turns: For P&G Social Media Is A Soap Opera

01/08/2007

Pg Girlfriend, this one is Too Good to pass up.  From today's WSJOnline (subscription needed) Procter & Gamble is launching two social media communities.

"P&G believes it has an advantage because both of its sites will be produced by P&G Productions, a unit formed in 1933 that is best known for producing popular soap operas such as "As the World Turns" and "Guiding Light."

"It's going to be one giant living dynamic learning experience about consumers," says Jim Stengel, P&G's global marketing office. I'll say it is.  Have the folks at P&G been living under a rock for the past 3 years?  Diva's advise is to brew some Folger's Coffee and read Nancy White's excellent article Blogs and Community.