Category Archives: Social Media Practices

Lovers Give Diamonds. Dog Owners Give Harnesses.

My Boston Terrier, Winston, is zealous about his daily walks. Despite thousands of dollars on private training for this pup, he insists that strolls are for geriatric dogs and an Alpha like him needs to seize the path. He is an explorer, a canine Lewis and Clark. He is incapable of walking a straight line, and he pulls to lead the way, then stops abruptly to sniff some grass or inspect a tree. To get him back on track, I have to tug on the leash.

He is such a rambunctious, erratic walker, that it took a toll on my hands, and I ended up with something called “trigger thumb,” which basically meant my thumb squeaked when I bent it, and it throbbed considerably. I was able to fix the pain through the help of a doctor, but, the saga with Winston and his walks continued. My main concern was that he would break free of the harness.Thankfully, he never did, but the fear lingered.

He was running through harnesses every three months. They would stretch out and the rapid aging reminded me of the before-and-after photos of presidents at the end of their term.

I took Winston to my favorite dog store in Studio City, Maxwell Bark, and the sales lady, after taking one look at him, pointed me in the direction of some dog harnesses made by Puppia. I have not looked back since, except when I’m having to pull Winston on a walk. His Puppia harnesses, tough as they are, lasts about a year before I start feeling like it needs to be replaced.

Being a fan of Puppia, I Liked their Facebook Page, and as I scrolled down the wall, I realized something: I have never seen such passionate brand advocates on any Page. I am the primary social media person for my company, and I wish I had the raving lunatics they have.

So what is the lesson learned here? If your product solves a problem, people will love you. Sure, but why does this page have fans taking the time to upload shots of their dog, wearing Puppia clothing and harnesses, and saying things like, “I will NEVER use another brand”?

I think its the combination of solving a problem and love. Dog owners love their dogs, some of them as deeply as others love a child. I haven’t investigated any children product sites, but I wonder if there is a great brand, that solves a problem for moms and has them raving?

Being in the jewelry industry, I think of jewelers, and how many of them desire that level of brand advocate that Puppia has. You would think that a diamond ring would engender the same kind of ardent appreciation, and it comes close, but not quite. Diamonds represent love. A dog harness represents keeping a loved one safe. Maybe it’s not a stretch to say that a harness is a dog owner’s version of a diamond. It’s what we give our dogs to show love. Puppia has pulled off the ultimate sales and marketing trick and built a better mouse trap.

This reinforces a lesson taught in any Marketing 101 class, but is often overlooked: The very best marketing concepts fail when the product doesn’t live up to the hype. Let’s face it, without a great product, you’ve got one out-of-control dog with a weak harness.

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Cooking Up Content

Thanks to all of you who joined me for “Cooking Up Content” at the Chicago Smart Show this weekend. We had a full-house and everyone asked some great questions!

Many of you asked for a copy of my presentation. Here it is. Please feel free to send me any questions you may have!

Goodbye FBML; Hello IFrames

What the heck are IFrames? Yeah, I’ve been asking that question a lot lately. When Facebook announced that it was doing away with FBML for Reveal Tabs, I tried to push the thought away. Far Away. I thought of it the way I do milestone birthdays and taxes: I just refused to think about it. FBML was a huge enough pain in the ass–I mean it wasn’t exactly html and it was clunky–so I only hoped that IFrames would be better. Is it? I haven’t had a chance to do a test drive so I don’t know yet. But, here is a good article from All Facebook to clear it up for us.

Okay, I have to run; I’m very busy these days keeping up with Charlie Sheen’s tweets. #TigerBlood.

How to tag a person on Facebook

Today, for the gazillionth time, I saw someone do a failed tag on Facebook. If I had a dollar for every time I saw someone type “Hey, @[insert name of failed tag] check this out” I would not be blogging, but would be living in the Hollywood Hills looking down on the world literally, as opposed to metaphorically.

Do I sound grouchy? I might be. I don’t ask for much in life. I’m not a member of the grammar police, so go ahead and dangle your modifiers. I’m not politically sensitive, so go ahead and criticize whichever politician you want. I don’t care what your clothes look like, and I don’t care if you are overweight, and prefer cats to dogs. Good lord, though, if you tag wrong on Facebook, I may delete you as a Facebook friend.

So here is how you tag. It’s really simple.

First, make sure you are either Facebook friends with the person you want to tag, or if it’s a brand, that you first “Like” their page. You cannot tag a person or brand you are not connected to on Facebook.

Next, as you are writing your update, hit the “@” before the person or brand’s name you want to tag. So type “@” then start typing in the name, such as John Doe. You have to use both the first and last name of the person. You cannot type in just “John.” The tag, if done correctly (meaning it’s linked to my page and posted on my walll) will say “Hey, @John Doe.” Facebook will automatically offer a pop up menu the moment you start typing after the @ sign with all the possible names that fit the letters you are typing. So the moment you hit “Jo” in “John” every company and friend whose name begins with a “Jo” pops up. Select the name you are trying to tag.

You are done. You have properly tagged a person. Take a look at your update. If it was John Doe you are trying to tag, John’s name will not have the @ sign in front of it, but will appear as a slightly different color, the universal sign for “hey, click here on this officially tagged name.”

If you are stubborn and want to type in only the first name, for example, “@John,” all this does is put “@John” in your update. John will not be tagged. People will think you do not know how to do one of the most basic functions in Facebook. They will go to Twitter and make fun of you. The world will spin backwards. Meteors will crash into the Earth. Dogs will howl–maybe because the world is spinning backwards and meteors are crashing into the Earth, but understand this: it will be your fault.

So do not tag incorrectly. Thank you.

The #1 Social Media Tool? Think Old School

In this interesting study, it looks like many companies are partying like it’s 1999, literally–at least when it comes to social media. Over 90% see message boards as their most important social media tool. Over 70%, though, are using Facebook, with Foursquare gaining ground. Twitter had a tweet-sized increase of only 1%.

The only real surprise to me was that message boards are still as popular as they are, though in retrospect, it really shouldn’t be a surprise. It’s where we go to ask questions, file complaints and seek answers to strange product issues.

Facebook, on the other hand, really remains as a mini-press release for many companies. It’s the perfect place to broadcast news, and to start a positive conversation–as opposed to “Gee Dustbuster, why can’t I change my fan belt? I followed the instructions in the manual.”

Keeping the Words Fresh in a 24/7 World

Factoring in both personally and professionally, I wrote and posted over 6,000 updates on Facebook and Twitter in 2010. It’s hard to stay creative and interesting on a daily basis, week after week. I often fell short, but fortunately, I have cohorts to act as sounding boards to get me back on track.

I admit to a tiny bit of fear every time I write an update. What if I get crickets after I post a new update? Every time you create a tweet or post an update, it’s like throwing a party. You want people to show up. You’re playing the music, but sometimes, no one wants to dance. Worse, they don’t like your song choice. Like the host at a party, you sometimes struggle to keep the conversation lively and interesting. So what do you do to make sure you’re not a huge yawn to your guests? Throwing a lampshade on your head and doing the mambo is not an option–truly, not in the online world or real one.

After speaking to a few of my colleagues about what they do to keep their postings interesting, and ruminating over my own best practices, here’s a few power tips I’ve come up with from social media marketers, who, on a daily basis, numerous times a day, have to summon the muses.

1. Research is your best friend. One of the many reasons I like Hootsuite is because I get to organize my Twitter lists and see them all with a dashboard view. Let’s take one of my diamond industry clients, I’ve categorized the people they follow on Twitter into the following categories: Bridal, Jewelers, Fashion, Celebrity, Engagements. These are all shorthand terms that mean something to me. For example, take engagements. I have set up Twitter keywords to follow videos people post of proposals, whether they are funny or romantic. If a celeb gets engaged and it hits Twitter, it will show up in the stream for this list. In the celeb list, I have some intended redundancy to not only capture a newly announced engagement, but in case someone has posted a photo of a celeb wearing some jewelry that may be of interest to the members of the client’s Facebook page. Basically, Twitter is my research mine field for not only my tweets for this client, but for their Facebook page, too.
2. Write a weekly content schedule. Once a week, I sit down and create a schedule of what my weekly Facebook Page status updates will be. I do this for each and every client. It’s the best way to go over recent news and think about what to write about. To save time, I also collect ideas and info throughout the week so that I often have half the work already done.
3. Like any other writing, you have to write and rewrite. One of my clients once told me that he’s not satisfied with a press release unless it’s been edited at least nine times. I didn’t blink an eye. I get it. Every writer knows that writing is the fun part, but the editing is where goods words are sculpted into great ones. Right. I’m talking about Tweets, I know. While we’re not aiming for poetry, we do want to capture a conversational tone with a consistent voice, unique to each client. We also want those tweets to be interesting and fun. So tweak those tweets.
4. Mix it up. You are not writing a Dan Brown novel. There is not a tried and true formula for success. What works in your updates and tweets this week may get tiring after three weeks. So watch your sentence patterns, and mix up the topics a bit. Keep it lively and never, ever be satisfied with the status quo. Look for words that you use a lot and take a vacation from them. Make friends with words you don’t normally use—but, of course, be true to the voice of the brand.

Mashable’s Best-of 2010

If you missed this in Mashable, here are 290 Social Media Resources to catch up on. As a little belated Christmas gift, here are my top 4 favorite resources that I embraced in 2010, and why I can’t live without them.

1. Hootsuite. I’ve written about it enough that this is probably no surprise. Simply put, I could not do my job effectively without Hootsuite. I manage all my clients accounts, especially their Twitter accounts, through Hootsuite. I can schedule Facebook updates in advance, which is essential for when I’m traveling. It is also the best game in town for Twitter analytics. If you have not started using Hootsuite yet, do!

2. Tumblr. Yeah, it sounds crazy that someone with a WordPress blog would advocate Tumblr, but I have a personal blog over there, too. For me, experiencing Tumblr is a little like suddenly walking into a brainstorming session with a bunch of creative, out-there, free-thinking renegades. It’s where, among others, the artists seem to be hanging out online. I frequently get different perspectives and inspiration from people who I would never otherwise be exposed to in a place like, say, Linked In. With all due respect to Linked In, which is a great place to go to share more conventional business advice and best practices.

3. Stumble Upon. Stumble Upon can be tedious, but it’s one of those sites where the more you use it, and the more it gets to “know” your preferences, the more interesting articles and sites you are exposed to. It’s another great place for creative inspiration, or to simply learn something new.

4. Delicious. I can’t survive without my online bookmarking site. I can accesss it anywhere, on my computer or phone, or someone else’s computer and instantly get linked to an article I read six months ago that I suddenly have to re-read. I use it as my online library and research center and it goes where I go.