Diva Foodies - My Newest (Ad)Venture!


Heartfelt Tips _Free eBookDiva Foodies, is a sister company to Bloomberg Marketing, serving the food industry. 

I am delighted to work with people who are passionate about their business including foodprenerus, chefs, cookbook authors, media companies and caterers.

As with Diva Marketing, the focus is to help grow the business through digital strategies... creating marketing road maps and supporting execution. Of course, at the core of all initiatives are ensuring brand value and end result accountability.

Diva Foodies is proud to host the popular Tweet Chat #FoodTVChat. It's the only Twitter chat bringing TV Chefs Contestants and audience/fans together in a quick paced digital conversation.

Pie Making Pure Joy

Radio For Small Business, Interview with Lee Kantor & Stone Payton Business RadioX


HBusiness radio x interview _ Logo 2017 Jan.docxow to get the word out about your company and products is a one of the biggest challenges facing many small business owners.

As we often discuss on Diva Marketing, the digital world provides a multitude of of opportunities from blogs to social networks to online advertising. For good measure, let's throw in eMail and websites.

Recently I had the pleasure of meeting two guys in Atlanta who have a little different approach on how to promote your business. Lee Kanter and Stone Payton are telling the stories of local metro businesses through a digital radio program -- Business RadioX. There are usually several guests, discussing diverse topics, on each show. In additon to being interview by Lee and Stone, who do the show in tandem, the hosts take great pleasure in initiating networking among their guests. 

Lee Kanter Business Radio XAbout Lee Kantor from the perspective of Lee Kantor - I think that having a degree in Advertising from a school of journalism gave me a unique perspecitve to disrupt the media. And as a social entrepreneur, I founded Business RadioX out of my frustration with traditional media's anti-business bias. Some media leans left, some media leans right, we lean business.

We help companies of all sizes get the word out about the good work they are doing for their profession and their community.  

 About Stone Payton from the perspective of Stone PaytonJust a guy who "hit the lottery" when I stumbled on to Business RadioX ® and met Lee Kantor. In the beginning, as a guest -- and later as a client,

I found this platform to be ideal for building relationships and creating original content -- which of course, helped me serve my market and grow my business. Stone Payton _business radio x

Now, as Managing Partner I get to help all kinds of businesses share their story and promote their work -- and now my sole focus is expanding the Network so we can do it all on a much larger scale.

Diva Marketing: Let’s kick this off with a media question. In this age of digital video why produce a ‘radio’ show?

Lee Kantor, Business RadioX®: I think radio or audio interviews are a more effective way to capture authentic, deeper conversations. While some people are comfortable being videotaped, we have found that a lot of people get self-conscious and in their own head with a camera in their face. Video interviews tend to be superficial and sound bitey.

At Business RadioX, the way we conduct in studio interviews is very intimate and comfortable. Within a few minutes, everyone relaxes, opens up and shares their story. Since we are long form the business person’s passion for what and more importantly why they are doing what they do comes out.

Diva Marketing: Lee, what does Stone bring to this party that you do not?

Lee Kantor, Business RadioX®: Stone has taken a lot of the business functions that I am not good at off my plate. He is great at selling and articulating the Business RadioX mission and value proposition to prospective partners and sponsors. His ability to see the client's ultimate objective then reverse engineer an elegant solution that helps them achieve their goals has been critical to our success.

Diva Marketing: Same question for you Stone. What does Lee bring to the Business RadioX® that you do not?

Stone Payton, Business RadioX®Well, Lee founded the company, developed the original idea, and refined the concept long before I became involved.  He had a great lifestyle business going -- helping people and earning a comfortable six figure living working 2 or 3 half days a week when I met him . . . And then, I took him away from all that (smile).

We're still a small company, so Lee wears a lot of hats like we all do . . . but I think the two most valuable contributions he makes on a consistent basis are Vision and Empathy.  I don't know how to explain it, but I swear the man can see "around the corners and behind the doors."  This gives us the ability to consistently ensure we're meeting needs and solving problems for our customers -- sometimes, needs and problems they don't even realize they have yet.

He's remarkably adept at Empowering Others as well.  Candidly, that's a major hole in my swing personally -- letting go, delegating . . . and equipping others to get the job done.  I'm still working on that one.

Diva Marketing: When I was a guest on Business RadioX ® I found your questions to be thoughtful and well… smart. Your guests come from diverse backgrounds. What prep do you usually do for each guest/show? Toby bloomberg on Business radio x _ 12_16

Lee Kantor, Business RadioX®I try to be an active listener and really be in the moment with our guests. I want to understand what they do and more importantly why they do it. I am not afraid to ask "dumb" questions, because I'm trying to educate our listeners no matter what stage of business they are in.

 We like to joke that both Stone and I are both curious and ignorant about so many things that those equalities help us do pretty effective interviews.

Stone Payton, Business RadioX®Almost none in most cases -- I want the conversation to be fresh and authentic, so I'm going to be asking the same questions our listeners would be asking.  My prep is in the inviting. I reach out to people I find interesting and want to learn more about -- always searching for compelling stories that should be told.  And I know in most cases -- if we don't share them, they'll go untold.  

Sharing positive business stories simply does not fit the Big Media economic model. Unless there's a scandal, fire, or crime to report, most businesses in your community and mine are not going to be invited to tell their story.

Diva Marketing: In terms of how a guest comes across on-air, what makes a good guest for a radio show?

 Lee Kantor, Business RadioX®: A good guest is someone who is passionate about what they are doing and is willing to share the good, the bad and the ugly about what they do and how they got to where they are at.

The best guests talk from the heart not from notes or by inelegantly forcing in memorized talking points.

 Stone Payton, Business RadioX®: Substance . . . If you're the "real thing" -- actually out there providing genuine value to the marketplace, that will come shining through in a Business RadioX ® interview.

Stone Payton  and Lee Kantor _business radio x _2

Diva Marketing: What is the value for a guest in taking the time from their busy schedules to come into the studio and be part of Business RadioX

Lee Kantor, Business RadioX®: I think there is a lot of value for the guest. 1- They are given a business centric platform to get the word out about what they are doing in their business 2- They get a long form interview, which means they can talk in normal sentences not in sound bites. They can share real stories not talking points. 3- We are a pro-business earned media network that will not humiliate or ambush our guests, we are there to support and celebrate them.

Stone Payton,Business RadioX®: If someone I invited were to really ask this, I'd simply ignore thequestion or politely uninvite them and move on. They probably shouldn't be a guest on our network. Their value system is not quite aligned with ours -- too transactional (vs. relationship and service oriented), and they wouldn't leverage their appearance properly anyway. But I understand why you might ask the question in an interview like this -- so here's just some of what I've observed . . .

First and foremost, it's an opportunity to serve. If we've invited you to be featured on a Business RadioX ® show, you have knowledge and experience that would be tremendously valuable to other execs and entrepreneurs.

2.Participating in an authentic conversation like the ones we facilitate -- a conversation solely focused on you and your work -- helps you crystallize your own thinking. (You're doing the same thing for me right now.)

3.In most episodes, you'll meet other bright, passionate people with compelling stories.  You'll almost certainly learn something -- and in many cases, we've seen enduring relationships evolve from people who have first met in our studios.

4.In the space of 45 minutes of less, you'll capture a great deal of thought leadership-- original content that can be re-purposed in a variety of ways to help you serve your market and grow your business.

Diva Marketing: As some one in the media once told me, without an audience there is no business. What does your listening audience get from the shows? Or the biz question, “What’s in it for me?”

Lee Kantor, Business RadioX®: Business RadioX listeners get a front row seat to stories of real life business people battling every day to make it. We tell real stories, right from the horse’s mouth. We aren’t theorizing about business, we are going deep and immersing ourselves in a business person’s everyday world. If you need to know what is happening in the business world in your community you would be well served to listen to the stories we tell on Business RadioX in your market because they aren’t being told anywhere else.

Stone Payton,Business RadioX®:  Original thought leadership and practical ideas from people who are actually in the trenches getting it done.

Diva Marketing: I really liked Stone’s tweet.

Twitter Stone Payton Business Radio x

Your business model is interesting, different and if I may say so – brilliant in the way you help your guests network with each other. Please tell our community a little about the model and how you developed it.

Lee Kantor Business RadioX®: Our mission is to amplify the stories of business in every local market that we serve. We think it is critically important to support and celebrate the small to mid-sized business people in every community. We believe that every community needs a media outlet that will give them a chance to tell their story and amplify their message.

Our business model serves each constituent in business.

Listeners can access all our interviews for free. If they resonate with what we are doing in their community they can support our mission by nominating guests with interesting business stories and if they want to financially help us tell more stories they can become a member of the Business RadioX community at brxmember.com

Guests can support us by coming on a show and sharing their story. We are earned media and guests never pay to be a guest. Guests can also support us by becoming a member.

Business people who philosophically believe in our mission and agree with us that it is important to have a media outlet in their market that supports business financially support us by becoming sponsors. Businesses can sponsor a series, a show or even a studio. We create custom sponsorships with a handful of clients in each market we serve that helps them elegantly meet the hard to reach people they need to grow their business as well as show the community that they want to help get the word out about the good work that is being done in their market.

In each market we serve we find one or more entrepreneurs that wants to use our platform to capture business stories. This person can be a consultant who want to leverage our brand to just serve the industry they work in or they can be a business person looking for a more meaningful second act to their career.

Stone Payton,Business RadioX®: Yeah -- what he said.  Again, I can't take any credit for the core business model . . . I just jumped on Lee's coat tails -- and I ain't lettin' go! I am thoroughly enjoying helping to refine the business model for expansion and scale though . . . That's a great deal of fun -- bringing this platform to other markets.

Diva Marketing: There are two sides to the mic. What skills and talents should a host have to be successful?

Lee Kantor Business RadioX®I think a level of humbleness is needed, which I think is lacking among most interviewers. I think a lot of interviewers want to be the star, so they monopolize the time, or wax elegantly about how smart they are too often. We encourage our hosts to make the guest the star. Listen well, ask clear questions, one at a time. Dig deeper with follow-up questions when the opportunity presents itself. Ask more why questions.

Stone Payton,Business RadioX®Emotional maturity to shine the light on the guest (vs. themselves).

Genuine desire to help the guest share their story.

Business acumen can be helpful -- but some of our best questions -- and resulting conversations -- have come from students with little or no practical business experience.  I don't know the first thing about aerodynamics -- but in spite of that, maybe even because of that -- I'm confident I could facilitate a very powerful and productive interview with the nation's leading authority in that field . . . And so can you or any of your readers -- if they have the right mindset.

Diva Marketing: What role does social media play in your communication plan?

Lee Kantor Business RadioX®Social media plays an important role in distributing the content we create. We use Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin to share the stories we collect.

In 2017 we are going to explore using Instagram to share some of the photos we capture in studio and use our email newsletter in a more strategic fashion. We may even play with YouTube by taking some clips of audio we capture and using them as a soundtrack for some photos we capture in studio and making a video. We also sometimes use social media beofre a show to ask our community for some questions they want answered from upcoming guests.

Diva Marketing: Which social media channel is most effective for you and why?

Lee Kantor,Business RadioX®We lean on Linkedin. We are business people talking to business people so Linkedin is a logical channel to communicate with our community and distribute our content.

Stone Payton,Business RadioX®: Lee's absolutely right if you're going by today's definition of Social Media  -- but my answer is "Lunch" . . . or dinner, or the boardroom, or the golf course, or the telephone -- anywhere Execs and Entrepreneurs are actually engaging one another and exchanging ideas to serve their market and grow their business.

Diva Marketing: RadioX ® has been around for a while and in that time I suspect you’ve interviewed thousands of small business owners. How has the small business/entrepreneurship world changed in terms of product/service innovation?

Lee Kantor,Business RadioX®I think that as technology has become faster, cheaper and more powerful we are in an interesting time.

It's hard to look at things from 40,000 feet when the ground is moving underneath your feet. When we started, smartphones weren't so smart. Now we need a mobile first strategy. When we started it was cumbersome to listen to our content live or even get the recording on your phone. Now I can watch everything from a movie to live NFL game on my phone.

Business owners have to stay focused, stay in their lane and use technology to work for them.

It is easy to get distracted and follow every shiny object that you hear about.

Stone Payton  and Lee Kantor _business radio x _1

Diva Marketing: What trends do you see happening in marketing media for business owners on limited budgets?

Lee Kantor,Business RadioX®I see a trend of forward thinking businesses supporting media that are authentic, long form and who creates meaningful relationships with their listeners.  There is a wave of socially conscious businesses that have figured out that there is a lot better ROI with fewer (but more engaged) “hearts and minds” rather than with more (anonymous and superficial) “eyes and ears.”

I think the majority of traditional media outlets are desperate and are spiralling down the clickbait path. Sadly this strategy is making them less relevant in terms of influence. Because of the use of this click bait strategy their consumer can’t tell fake news from real news.

Stone Payton,Business RadioX®: Limited budgets are a product of limited revenue, limited thinking, or both. We can help change that -- and I'm delighted to say we provide substantial value at any financial budget from $0, to $129 /year, to $5k /month, and beyond.  

As for trends . . . Access is higher, Quality is lower. Distribution is much higher, but tools for measuring haven't caught up. Most metrics in marketing media today are meaningless (impressions, viewership, coverage, clicks,)  . . . It's like trying to measure fluid ounces on a bathroom scale . . . in an effort to find the best route to Boise. So we simply measure ROI.

Diva Marketing: As we enter 2017, what are your plans for Business RadioX®?

Lee Kantor,Business RadioX®:  We want to tell 1 million business stories. And to help us do that we need to find socially conscious businesses that want to partner with us and help us put studios in markets around the United States. Together we can tell more stories and help more small and mid sized businesses get the word out about the great work they are doing for their profession and their communities.

Stone Payton,Business RadioX®Increased Access For All . .

1.Expanding the network to other markets

2. More stories, more ways to access what you want, when you want it . . . and we're launching our BRX Member program so more people who resonate with our mission, enjoy serving their community, and appreciate authentic conversations with local business leaders can join our cause.

Diva Marketing: As is Diva Marketing’s tradition, we’re throwing the virtual mic back to you. Wrap it anyway you’d like!

Lee & Stone, Business RadioX®: If you know anyone with an interesting business story please send them our way. We want to interview them and help them get the word out! If you know any sponsors or entrepreneurs who resonate with our work please send them our way as well.

Business radio x interview _ Logo 2017 Jan.docxContect with Business RadioX®, Lee Kantor and Stone Payton

Website |Facebook |Twitter @LeeKantor|Twitter @StonePayton

Pinterest State of Maryland Pitch Contest: Interview With Zoe Pagonis


Maryland contest bannerSometimes we find innovation and inspiration in what may seem unlikely places.

Who would have thought that one of the most creative Pinterest contests would be developed by an institution not necessarily thought of as taking a lead in social media .. and definitely not on Pinterest. The U.S. Government. I know!

Toss of a pink boa to the State of Maryland, and specifcally to Governor Martin O'Malley and his communication staff! 

The Pinterest State of Maryland Pitch Contest asked entrepreneurs to pitch their businesses by using Pinterest to tell the story of their company.  A panel of business experts chose winners in two different categories: “Student Entrepreneurs” and “Boot Strappers. First place winners received MacBook Air and runner ups received an iPad courtesy of Baltimore Angels.  Partnership included: University of Maryland College Park, the Future of Information Alliance, the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development and the Baltimore Angels.

 ZoeZoe Pagois graciously agreed to tell us the back-story.

About Zoe Pagonis - My name is Zoe Pagonis. I am Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley’s Communications and New Media Manager and am responsible for making sure that we are taking advantage of every possible tool to best communicate with our citizens.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  What I’m most curious about is the why the State of Maryland chose to create a Pinterest Pitch Contest to bring attention to the small business owners of the state. Note: Submission boards.

Zoe Pagonis: Governor O’Malley’s number one priority is creating and saving jobs and as an administration, we’re constantly looking for ways to showcase our small businesses and encourage entrepreneurship. As one of the fastest growing social networks, Pinterest seemed like a natural fit for bringing attention to our small businesses and showcasing all that the State of Maryland has to offer.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  Pinterest and contests go together like PB&J. However, your approach was not only unique but it supported what social media, on any platform, is all about: telling the stories of the people who make up the brand .. both customers and employees.  Please tell us your behind the scene story of how the concept evolved.

Zoe Pagonis: Our office is always looking for new and innovative ways to connect with our citizens so as Pinterest grew in popularity, we created an account and used it to showcase what we’re doing in State Government (and also give people a behind the scenes look at who the Governor is as a person—he’s an avid reader!) In our State, we’re also blessed with an abundance of incubators and diverse centers of higher learning.

A few months ago, the Governor was scheduled to attend the University of Maryland College Park’s entrepreneurial Invitational and Cupid’s Cup Competition. In pulling together information about the event, we came across “Tweet Dingman” which was a unique competition that asked entrepreneurs to pitch their businesses using 10 Tweets.  This contest sparked the idea to use Pinterest.

The rest was a great collaborative effort and an eye-opening experience of just how many people in the State of Maryland are willing to lend a hand in support of local entrepreneurship.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  What were your goals for the contest?

Zoe Pagonis: The main goal of the contest was to highlight entrepreneurship in Maryland by using an innovative new technology. We also wanted to showcase our partner organizations and support entrepreneurs by connecting them to these great networks.  

Diva Marketing/Toby:  Were the results what you had expected?  

Zoe Pagonis: The results were better than I had expected. We had submissions from people all over Maryland of all ages. We even had three that came from students under the age of 13. I was also very impressed by the collaborative efforts of the judges and how willing everyone was to help with the contest in the name of supporting Maryland entrepreneurs.

Diva Marketing/Toby: I loved reading the “stories” from the businesses. The creativity that went into their boards was amazing. What surprised you about the submissions?

Zoe Pagonis: I was surprised most by how many talented individuals we have in the State of Maryland and equally delighted to see the three entries from the young students.

Diva Marketing/Toby:  Pinterest provides interesting consumer insights. Are you doing any type of analysis to mine that data?

Zoe Pagonis: We are still very new to Pinterest and are exploring all of the ways we can use it as a tool to connect with more Marylanders. As with all of our new media accounts, we monitor the feedback and use it to guide our decision making.

Diva Marketing/Toby: With any social network initiative there are risks associated with active participating especially from the point of view of a government entity.  Did you get push back? What was the reaction from the lawyers?

Zoe Pagonis: One of the criteria of the contest was that the pictures be unique to the individual or that they use proper attributions.  We consulted with experts in the business community on the guidelines of the contest before moving forward.

Diva Marketing/Toby: It seemed to me that when the contest launched, the State of Maryland’s Pinterest page was fairly new. How did you create awareness with your target audience?

Zoe Pagonis: We relied heavily on our partners and existing social channels to spread the word about the contest. Governor O’Malley also announced the contest at the University of Maryland’s Entrepreneurial invitational event which helped to generate buzz.

Diva Marketing/Toby: Thinking about the entire campaign, what would you do differently?

Zoe Pagonis: We had help from a few partner organizations but in the future, I would reach out to every business incubator in Maryland and associated organizations for help in promoting the contest.

Diva Marketing/Toby: Let’s shift gears slightly and talk a little about your boards in general. There is even a board for Govenor O'Malley. Wondering what benefits he sees in social visual communication over other channels of communication?

Zoe Pagonis: All forms of communications are important and we’re always looking for the most effective ways to connect with citizens and share resources.

Diva Marketing/Toby: In terms of content, are you pinning from only Maryland State owned images or are planning to include citizen images too?

Zoe Pagonis: At the moment, we are posting images and videos about our programs and resources but we are exploring all options–including citizen generated content.

Diva Marketing/Toby: One of the big questions that I’m asked is how do you find time to include another social network into your communication outreach? Would you give us an idea of the resource structure (people) and approximate time you’re investing?

Zoe Pagonis: Social media is highly integrated into our overall communications strategy and we see it as a great way to amplify our existing message. As the number of networks expands, it does become more difficult to keep up with everything but we focus our attention on the resources that we think will help us do the best job in communicating with Marylanders. As the fastest growing network that was driving a significant amount of referral traffic, we knew that we wanted to be on Pinterest.

Diva Marketing/Toby: What lessons learned can you share with us from your overall experience with Pinterest from both the contest and the overall board management?

Zoe Pagonis: Pinterest is great in that it doesn’t require as much time. You can update it less frequently and still achieve your objective of driving traffic to your resources. For the contest, it was a great platform for showcasing our small businesses. The images lended themselves well to telling a story and we’re going to continue to look for more opportunities to use the platform in the future.

Diva Marketing/Toby: To wrap this up what’s next for the State of Maryland Pinterest’s boards? Maryland contest gov omalley et al

Zoe Pagonis: In our Administration, what’s next is anything that’s innovative, cost-effective and works to amplify our existing resources. We see Pinterest as one of the many ways we’ll continue to connect and how we use it will depend on which of Maryland’s great entrepreneurs invent the next Facebook or Pinterest!

Congrats! to the winners of the Maryland Pinterest Pitch Contest. 

Student Entrepreneur Category:

First Place: GB Wallets

Second Place: Discrete Secrete Solutions

Bootstrapper Category:

First PlaceBeerGivr

Second Place: Mission Launch

Continue the conversation with Zoe!

Governor O'Mallye on Pinterest |Govenor O'Malley's Website|Zoe Pogonis on Twitter

Graphic credit: MD Govpics Flickr

Join me on Pinterest!

Pinterest Pinning For Business Learning Series 

Friday Fun: Entrepreneurship For Children


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. A time to go off topic.

Truly wonderful the mind of a child is. - YODA, Star Wars

What do children have to do with social media marketing? Nothing. Everything. 

When was the last time you attempted to try something new without benefit of strategy, research or group consensus? Even outside of a work environment adults incorporate these three safe guards to make decision.  Stay with me on this one. 

We even use these safe guards when we're taking a fun family trip. Strategy: What will you pack? We need a (planning) list. Research: Are the reviews on Yelp more credible than on Trip Adviser? Group Consensus: Let's vote. Who wants to go to the beach and who wants to go to the mountains?  

I know what you're thinking. "Hey, Toby you've been talking to us for the past 27 billion years about the importance of planning and strategy." Well, it's really been only 8 which in social media years is just about 27 billion years so I guess you're right.Dandelion_seeds_being_blown

Sometimes I think we think too much and the innovative ideas blow by us like danilion seeds. 

Our friends at MSN Business on Main have some interesting content posted about young adults who dived into business. One is a video about how two college pals created a summer job, College Hunks Moving Junk (love the name!), that morped into a mulit-million dollar business.

At the time their risk was small .. a start-up for the summer. Sure there were learning and growing pains that might have been avoided if a plan and research had been in place but would the business exist? 

The other is an article fostering entrepreneurship in young children and quotes Dr. Cathy Ashmore, founder, Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education. I had the pleasure of taking part in the intial planning session (oops! that word) for the Consortium Forum 2012, 30th year education in entrepreneurship conference, taking place in Atlanta in November. Truly an amazing event that I encourage anyone who is involved in teaching children about entrepreneurship to attend.

I can't help but wonder how many children might have followed a different path if they had been given the confidence and told it was okay to catch a few danilion seeds blowing in the wind. Innovation first. Planning second.

Lemonade Day girls-pink-yellow-lemonade-stand-150x150If you're interested in helping children explore the path of owning a business skip over to Lemonade Day a nonprofit that offers an ".. experiential learning program where communities across the nation unite to teach youth how to start, own and operate their own business through a lemonade stand."

Let's circle back .. what do dandilions, summer jobs, lemonade stands and children have to do with social media marketing? You connect the virtual dots and tell me!  

That’s the real trouble with the world, too many people grow up. - Walt Disney

 Diva Marketing is part of an online influencer network for MSN Business on Main. I receive incentives to share my views on a monthly basis. All opinions are 100% mine.

Friday Fun: Entrepreneurial Spirit


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.

  • If you don't have a dream how you gonna have a dream come true? - South Pacific 

Social media is built by people who dream and create. Two qualities of what I think of defines the entrepreneurial spirit.

Even if you're not developing a new social widget or strategy, but are exploring and using social media, I believe you have some of that spirit. You're thinking in new ways, trying a different approach.  Toss of a pink boa to you! By the way, in an innovative imitative Babson College is asking people to define "entepreneurialship." 

Entepreneurs inspire. We look at their accomplishments and perhaps we're encouraged to take our dream one step further. We look at the lessons learned that they pass along and take a few to heart. Perhaps we'll stumble over one less rock in the road. I'd like to introduce you to a couple of people who took a chance and are making their dreams come true .. some beyond their own expectations.

Think that fashion and bargains are just for divas. Think again. Jason Ross, founder of JackThreads tapped into guys who want to be cool on a budget. He built an eCommerce sample site ..with a twist. It was members only. Every aspect, from the products to the photography reinforces the brand value and promise.  Jackthreads

"We're kind of like the Robin Hood of men's clothing, minus the grand larceny and the pointy hat." - Jason Ross. MSN  Business On Main has a great interview with Jack. Worth a click and a watch. @jackthreads JackThreadsFacebook 

This week in Atlanta, the Digital Divas, a SIG of the AiMA (Atlanta Interactive Marketing Association), brought together a panel of women entrepreneurs.  Lynne Laube, President and Co-Founder, CardlyticsCaroline Van Sickle, Founder/CEO, Pretty in My Pocket and Kris Zagoria, founder, Moxie Interactive shared their stories and lessons learned of taking start-up companies to multi million dollar enterprises. 

I find it interesting what people take away from a speech. In tweets, here are some what the audience found inspirational. 

Digital divas tweets_1Digital divas tweets_2

Let's Have FUN .. You Can Win $100!

MSN Business On Main/Diva Marketing Small Business Tip Contest

 Your challenge is to share 1 idea on what inspires you when it comes to tapping into your entrepreneurial spirit.

 Rules of MSN The Business on Main/Diva Marketing Social Media Small Business Tips Contest 

1. Post your tip for how to use social media for branding on this Diva Marketing post And on this MSN Business On Mail PostIf you don't post on MSN BOM and indicate Diva Marketing you cannot qualify for the $100 prize. 

2. Identify your post on Business On Main with the words Diva Marketing

3. Winner is at the pleasure of Diva Marketing.

4. Contest ends midnight Saturday April 14, 2012.

5. You must be at least 18 years of age

6. A valid eMail address must be included on the "Post a Comment Section" of your Diva Marketing comment. (How will I know where to contact you to send your check?)

That's it .. now it's your turn! Wouldn't $100 a great way to say thank you to You? 

Looking forward to your ideas!

Thanks Rob for the edit!

Diva Marketing is part of an online influencer network for MSN Business on Main. I receive incentives to share my views on a monthly basis. All opinions are 100% mine.


Social Media Impacts The Trust of People Not In Our Digital Networks


Computer woman _2
Sometimes the smart people can be the most naive when it comes to social media and social networks.

In the post I wrote on employee personal branding I offered the premise that an employee's digital personae will likely be affilated with their employee's brand during, as well as after, employment ends. Hold that thought please.

When I teach, especially social media workshops, I make every attempt to create what I call a "social media offline environment." As with social media online, although I have material to present, listening and sharing play important roles. Adults learn best from peer-to-peer interaction and people are generous to share their own lessons learned.

I want to pass along a story that a participant, a small business owner, shared of how she discovered one of her managment employees felt his job was boring and un-challenging. Let's call the business owner Ruth and the employee Bert.

To frame this, the guy was in his early thirties and not at the beginning of his career path. He had been using Facebook, Twitter and LInkedIn for personal and professional use for several years. One afternoon at work, he dropped a seemingly innocent remark on his Facebook wall (privacy setting set to allow friends only) that he was bored with his job and was looking for a new position. 

You can easily connect the series of dots and dashes. A "friend" who wanted to be helpful to his friend's job search efforts, copied the update and sent it to someone who sent it to someone who sent it to the business owner.

As Ruth told our class, sometimes the best intentions of placing what you think is the right person in the right position just don't work. When she read Bert's post she had a lot of emotions. She was angry. She felt betrayed. She also was concerned about the perceptions people might have of the company, as well as, the job that she would sooner than later have to fill. 

Her company was a small business where she tried to create a trusting environment. Evidently Bert didn't feel comfortable discussing his concerns with his manager or even with her. Ruth was at a cross road at how to handle the sitution. Was she not utilizing Bert's capabilities? Should she find another opportunity for him? Hop over to MSN On Main for some ideas on how to identify "diamond in the rough employees" that you may be overlooking. 

As our in class discussion continued, it was became more obvious that the bigger issue for Ruth was the trust that she felt had been broken. In social media we talk a lot about building trust in the digital world. However, sometimes we forget that trusted relationships are continuously being played out in on-line public forums. We can impact people (and organizations) casually mentioned in a tweet, update or even a pin. Often these people don't belong to our merry band of of Follwers, Likes, Friends, Connects, Pinees, or well .. you get the idea.

In this situation we have three smart people who were naive about the impact of social media. Bert of course. Ruth who should have offered training and established guidelines to her staff. The third is Bert's friend who was only trying to help find a a pal a new job. 

Lessons Learned: There are no gated communities on-line. Don't post what you don't want passed along. Employers it is critical to teach your employees good social media/networking etiquette and periodically remind them of your corporate guidelines.

You do have social media/networking guidelines? Excellent! I knew you did. Just in case you want to freshen them up .. here's a post with links to many examples.

I left off the ending purposely. Wondering how would you handle the situation?

Diva Marketing is part of an online influencer network for MSN Business on Main. I receive incentives to share my views on a monthly basis. All opinions are 100% mine.

Graphic credit: David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Saying Thanks In The Digital World


Thank you card free digitalShow of hands please. When you were a kid, did your folks make you send thank yous after receiving gifts? My hand is raised.

Not a phone call. Oh no that would just not do! It was expected that I send a note. Some of you may remember those .. little letters that you put in an envelope added a postage stamp and mailed to the recipient. 

MSN Business On Main has an interesting post by Ross McCammon on power of praising employees. He mentions some fascinating research from Chester Elton, author of The Carrot Principle - "The No. 1 driver of engagement is opportunity and well-being. The No. 1 driver of opportunity and well-being is recognition and appreciation." 

The article set some thoughts in motion for me (always dangerous!). In a way, is not praise a way of saying thank you? Although I now appreciate the hand written thank you note (it's an amazing differentiator!), let's take the idea of saying "thanks" into the digital world and expand that praise/thanks to include both employees and customers. 

For customers, let's do a little side step from the traditional customer loyalty programs that is more alturistic. We'e not going to include conditions. Not a sale. Not a referral. Not a like. Call it thank you without expectations. Sort of what Macy's did in the wonderful film Miracle on 34th Street - Diva Marketing post

My Go Daddy story, in a tweet or two, that demonstrates Chester Elton's concepts. What began as an offline thank you phone call led to an online "share engagement."

Twitter go daddy
Let's Have FUN!

MSN Business On Main/Diva Marketing Small Business Tip Contest ~ Win $100!

Your challenge is to share 1 idea on to use social media to thank or praise either an employee or a customer

Heidi_CohenContinuing the tradition of a special guest judge for the MSN Small Business On Main contests, I am excited to introduce you to Heidi Cohen.

Heidi’s business focus is to simplify the complex concepts behind today’s evolving digital marketing challenges and to facilitate marketers’ grasp of new topics. Her blog includes practical and insightful tips that you can apply to your marketing challenges.

Connect with Heidi on: HeidiCohen.com @heidicohen Facebook

 Rules of MSN The Business on Main/Diva Marketing Social Media Small Business Tips Contest 

1. Post your tip for how to use social media for branding on this Diva Marketing post And on this MSN Business On Mail PostIf you don't post on MSN BOM and indicate Diva Marketing you cannot qualify for the $100 prize. 

2. Identify your post on Business On Main with the words Diva Marketing

3. Winner is at the pleasure of Diva Marketing.

4. Contest ends midnight Saturday March 17, 2012.

5. You must be at least 18 years of age

6. A valid eMail address must be included on the "Post a Comment Section" of your Diva Marketing comment. (How will I know where to contact you to send your check?)

That's it .. now it's your turn! Wouldn't $100 a great way to say thank you to You? 

To help you jump start you .. skip over to Heidi Cohen's list of 21 Ways to Say Thank You Via Social Media. My favorite is #19 -- Interview them. Shining a pubic light on a person's expertice is a powerful way to show your appreciation while giving them something of value. 

Looking forward to your ideas!

Diva Marketing is part of an online influencer network for MSN Business on Main. I receive incentives to share my views on a monthly basis. All opinions are 100% mine.

Graphic credit: digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Contest has ended.

Social Media Networking: Gone Is The Luxury of Privacy


Over the past going, on eight years, of working in the social media industry I've had the pleasure of interviewing many amazing people. One question I often ask is, "What does social media mean to you?"

Sometimes the responses focused on the defining the tools like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, blogs. Other times the answers centered on building customer relationships.

For me the tools are digital avenues to acheive the people-to-people end. As with our highways and byways, some will be around for a long time while others will be plowed under or turned back to sleepy paths seldom traveled on. 

Author and strategist Brian Solis' answer was an ah ha oh yes moment.  -- "We’re forming incredibly vibrant and extensive networks around relationships and interests. We’re learning how to live life in a very public, and searchable, space." Interview with Brian Solis

Privacy free digital photos Stuart MilesBrian addressed the critical relationship concept. Then he took it into a direction that most people are aware of but often sends chills up and down the spine. We are building relationships and networks in very public forums. Gone is the luxury of privacy. 

 MSN Business On Main has an interesting video interview with designer Camilla Olson. Her story caught my attention from a social media marketer's point of view. (Although her designs are most wonderful .. perhaps my next project will allow an indulgence for me to purchase one of Ms. Olson's pieces!)

Ms. Olson's big break came through a traditonal networking opportunity when a friend in a book club introduced her to James Franco's mom Betty Franco. Ms. Franco needed a fabulous gown for the Oscars .. and as they say in the movies Ms. Olson dressed her for her close up. Camilla Olson Camilla olson illustration by jungah lee of becky franco wearing camilla olson

In exploring her digital branding I found Ms. Olson is also active in multiple social channels. She's on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Linkedin, Blogs and Pinterest. A different world than a private book club networking connection. 

Online Ms. Olson gives a glimpse of behind the scenes of in the design world. She also posts a photo of a personal moment with her daughter and Gloria Steinem. Post by post, tweet by tweet, comments that she makes on Pinterest boards give an image of a personal brand beyond her talents as a designer. 

Camilla Olson and Gloria SteinemI applaud her efforts to "live in a public space." One might say that fashion designers, like models and people in the entertainment industry, should be use to living in the public. However, the social media public world is different.  

It's not only traditional media that is snapping photos of stars as they walk the red carpet in designer gowns and jewels. It's you and you and you and me who has access to the most influencial media channel in history .. the Internet. That changes the game for everyone. 

To the people who are authentically and bravely exploring what it's like to create and nurture relationships without the luxury of privacy .. a toss of a pink boa to you! My hope is that the agencies and companies who tap you for "brand champion" and blogger relations programs understand that it's not only  "influence" you bring to party but the risk and courage you took to cultivate relationships and networks in a new world.  

Perhaps the next time I interview some one instead of asking, "What does social media mean to you?" I should ask, "What does living in a public space without the luxury of privacy mean to you? How would you answer that question?

Diva Marketing is part of an online influencer network for MNS Business on Main. I receive incentives to share my views on a monthly basis. All opinions are 100% mine.

Graphic credit: Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Social Media: Winds of Change


At the moviesDo you ever get a line from a film or a song or even a conversation playing over and over in your your mind? Some times for me it's not the exact words but the rhythm of the concept. Today the words were "winds of change" as it is portayed in the award winning film Chocolat (a def must see!) 

These are the opening lines from the Storyteller of Chocolat: Once upon a time, there was a quiet little village ... So through good times and bad, famine and feast, the villagers held fast to their traditions. Until, one winter day, a sly wind blew in from the North... 

I've been doing more work with organizations on what Bernie Borges and I termed "Corporate Personal Branding."  I believe as sites like LinkedIn automatically pull data into a common corporate page; and employees' digital footprints continue to multiple throughout the Internet, organizations will realize this is a critical component of social business. It's an aspect that must be managed. Since it would be near impossible to review every employee's digital presence, most likely it will be managed through training and corporate culture norms and expectations.

Corporate Personal Branding Defined: The convergence of corporate branding and employee personal branding, based on the alignment of common values, supported by content creation and social media, for mutual benefit.  As part of a planned strategy each (enterprise and employee) lends their goodwill and influence to the other. The result is a a halo effect that affords opportunities for common and unique goals to be acheived.

Of course the flip side is unless values are aligned and expectations set you can expect some degree of muddy footprints that might require industrial strengh cleaning.  Mr_Clean

Winds of change .. as we've seen time and again with social media as the catalyst. This time it's the fabric of the enterprise that is impacted .. the culture of the organization. Recently I've notice that more companies are taking the time to understand their corporate culture and how it impacts, not only customers, but employees.

No one understands this concept better than a small business owner. With a smaller employee base each person's impact on the work environment is felt. However, no matter how strong the personalites of your staff, culture is set from the CEO .. or the "boss." On MSN Business on Main Marcus Erp asked seven entrepreneurs for their tips on being a better boss. My favorite is #4 See employees as whole people. 

Corporate Values Alignment Exercise

A successful enterprise is built on a culture that is true to yourself while also being true to the values of your brand/organization. To succeed employees must understand their own values and how they align with their company’s brand promise. To help you begin this exciting journey here are a couple of exercises that I often use with clients and in workshops. 

Question 1: What 3 words would you use to describe your company's corporate culture? Example: Excellent customer serivce 

Question 2: What 3 words would you use to describe your personal business values? Example: Cares about people

Question 3: What do you/can you do you to align you values with your company's brand value and promise. Example: Personal satisfaction from helping people quickly resolve their service challenges

Use the Front PORCH approach to building relationships based on corporate personal brand values.

People: Remember each person is unique and relationships are formed with “people” not a company logo.

Organize: Plan how, why and with whom you want to build professional relations (with).

Respect: Respect diverse opinions even when someone has challenges with your company's service, billing, etc.

Contact: Plan how frequently and through what media (phone, eMail, face-to-face, LinkedIn, etc.) you will keep in touch

Hospitality: Bring the culture of your organization into your relationships

Question 4: How will you build relationships that reinforce the culture of your company? Example: Be an advocate for the company brand online and offline.

Let's Have FUN!

MSN Business On Main/Diva Marketing Small Business Tip Contest ~ Win $100!

Your challenge is to share 1 idea on to use social media to support creating corporate culture

Our special guest judge is Bill Flitter, an entrepreneur from the word go. Bill is the founder of several successful companies including Pheedo and dlvr.it.He is also a visionary when it comes to Bill_Flitter online and social content distribution .. seeing trends and opportunities before they became mainstream. When it came to incorporating social media to help support a small business I knew that Bill would be the perfect judge for this contest!

Connect with Bill on @dlvr.it @bflitter dlvr.it blog Facebook

Rules of MSN The Business on Main/Diva Marketing Social Media Small Business Tips Contest 

1. Post your tip for how to use social media for branding on this Diva Marketing post And on this MSN Business On Mail Post. If you don't post on MSN BOM and indicate Diva Marketing you cannot qualify for the $100 prize. 

2. Identify your post on Business On Main with the words Diva Marketing

3. Winner is at the pleasure of Diva Marketing.

4. Contest ends midnight Saturday February 11, 2011.

Note: Since we know how busy you are, we're extending the deadline until midnight Friday February 17th. 

5. You must be at least 18 years of age

6. A valid eMail address must be included on the "Post a Comment Section" of your Diva Marketing comment. (How will I know where to contact you to send your check?)

That's it .. now it's your turn! Wouldn't $100 be a nice Valentine’s present? 

Thanks to Kaye Kaplan from CB Transportation for the brainstorming!

ResourceTaking Care of the People Who Matter Most: A Guide to Employee Customer Care by Sybil Stershic.

Diva Marketing is part of an online influencer network for MNS Business on Main. I receive incentives to share my views on a monthly basis. All opinions are 100% mine.

Managing Your Brand & Personal Social Media "Friends"


Friends_stick figuresFor the most part, social networks and social media were never really intended for business communications. Expect for LinkedIn of course. Think about it.

Facebook, Twitter and even Google+ began life helping people connect to family and friends. In that context it made total sense that you would "friend" someone you wanted to invite into your digitial world. 

When savvy brand managers saw their customers were congregating aroiund these virtual water coolers, ah ha moments began. Before we knew it enterprises were stepping into the game. Some smartly. Some like a bull in a china shop. However the world of social media networks would never be the same. 

The culture of social networks (transparency, authenticity, honesty and let's throw in some of that passion stuff) led enterprises down an interesting rabbit hole. One where most had never been, envisoned or intended to go.

They were now in the messy world of public conversations. Even the teeniest comment could be magnified. People from champions to the disgruntled could use the very pages that the brands built to complement or vent. Enter The Big C Word: Control. There was none. Listen and you can still hear teeth shattering in fear from many corporate ivy towers.

However, what we learned was that we could Manage. Smart marketers began to develop guidelines or house rules that set expectations for both sides of the conversation. Nicole Landguth, Olgivy 360' Influence has a terrific post that details how to create Facebook Guidelines that can be used as a basis for any social network.

We're taking care of the "brand side" of managing social media conversations. But what about the personal side?

Small business owners understand the merging of business and personal all too well. I grew up in a family business where "The Business" was almost like an extra family member. Toddi Gutner has some interersting ideas on how to keep that work/life balance in check in her MSN Business on Main article .. worth a click visit.

As our business and social media worlds converge who do you "friend?" Must you follow every client, colleauge and prospect on LinkedIn? What do you do if a person you barely spoke to an offline Chamber event wants to be your Facebook friend? Do you connect to every stranger who requests on LinkedIn? Managing the personal side of your social media experiences is as important as the brand side. 

Here's an exercise I use to help clients think through the process. 

Who will you friend_matrix
The next part of this exercise is to determine How Much To Share. For example, I talk about Max my YouTube rock star pup and sometimes my family. Will you share details about your children or vacation or the restaurant you discovered at your last out of town conference? I call this building business relationships talking about the mundane

At the end of the day, brand or personal, it circles back to your comfort level. What works for you, your brand and your culture may not be right for everyone. Isn't that really the name of the social media game?

Diva Marketing is part of an online influencer network for MNS Business on Main. I receive incentives to share my views on a monthly basis. All opinions are 100% mine.