Tag Archives: Social Media

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!

Beyond the Expertise

During a visit yesterday with my pal Robert, our conversation drifted toward a subject he is passionate about: the art of acting. Robert, an actor and acting coach, related an incident about an acting student of his. The student was nervous about going into an audition, and was very focused on what the casting director was looking for.

“Don’t focus on what the casting director wants or needs,” Robert told him. “Focus on what qualities that you have that you know this role needs.”

As someone who is obsessed with marketing, I, of course, instantly translated this idea to my field. Robert’s sage advice on acing an audition is really no different what any of us do if we do our jobs well, be it acting or marketing, or dog-walking.

As a consultant, I look at my clients’ projects and consider what I can bring to each one beyond my expertise. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not advocating that I do not focus on their needs–I wouldn’t be doing my job, and as someone who spent much of her career in-house, it always bugged me when consultants we hired weren’t really listening to our needs and goals.

People hire you for your expertise, but what more can you bring to the table? What qualities do you possess that can add extra value? Your client has goals, but can you look at problems they have that may need solving, and see where you can contribute added value? Maybe it’s a project with moving parts and you happen to be a stickler for deadlines, or you have an eagle eye for detail. How can what you do well naturally, beyond your skill set, help them even more in the project?

To give a real-life example of this, look at sales people. If you are not a charming person who genuinely likes people, you are probably not an effective salesperson. It may be hard for you to put clients at ease or connect with them, for example. That would hinder closing a sale. Or social media: of late, I’ve heard an increasing number of speakers and social media experts say you might want to delegate social media if you are not a social person becuase it won’t come naturally to you. Conversely, if you have a client who is struggling with their program, and you are a good communicator, offer up some tips or even suggest some content. These kind of things don’t take a lot of time and help further enrich your relationship with your client. It’s what my grandma used to call establishing good faith, and it goes a long way.

When we do a good job, we’re bringing to the table more than our skills. We’re bringing pieces of our character.

Tricky Signatures

What do you do when you have a slew of social media addresses and want to include at least some of them on your email signature?

A few weeks ago, I received an email from a new client. I noticed his signature included a half dozen (or more) links to his social media sites.

At first, I thought this was great. I felt I had dropped the ball on this great tactic. It’s a simple way to let people know not only that you are connected online, but where they can connect with you, too. And if you are a social media marketer, which he was, it’s a crucial move.

So I went to my settings and loaded up my signature with my links. I was like a kid ripping through the gifts under the tree on Christmas morning. I went a little crazy. I had the standards, my website–I have two (watch where this goes)–then I put down my blog, my LinkedIn, my personal and business Twitter, my Delicious, my Slideshare . . .

It got crazy. If this actually had been Christmas, the floor would have been covered in torn wrapping paper. I would have been sitting cross-legged on the floor, panting and breathless from the frenzy.

I lived with this for a few days, but found myself deleting the addresses whenever I sent emails to friends or to clients who knew me well.

Then I modified it to what I felt were just the essentials. The problem is, as a social media nerd/marketer, they all seem essential to me. I felt bad enough I had left off my Foursquare, Gowalla, Plaxo, Squidoo and Tumblr addresses. Like anyone else, I didn’t care so much about the Friendster, My Space, and there was no way I was going to put down my Facebook address–like everyone else, I have enough strangers trying to friend me as it is.

So then I had an epiphany. What do I really want people to see? You’d think the two websites would be an obvious, but while they are both business, one is really about my career highlights, the other is for business. I realized, also, that who I send those addresses to depends on what context we are doing business. Plus the business website really isn’t ready so . . . I deleted all of my email signatures except for two: the blog and my LinkedIn, which has everything any prospective client or reporter needs to see.

It may be a short-sighted move, but I no longer cringe when I see my signature, feeling like I look like the poster girl for a social media nerd club. I also don’t feel the need to delete it whenever I send emails to friends. What links do you include in your email signatures? It’s worth reviewing, but don’t go crazy like me.

52 Cool Facts About Social Media

Wondering how to spend you holiday-Monday? Well, for those of you who are confirmed social media geeks, check out this article on interesting facts about social media, courtesy of Danny Brown. Once you are done, get out in the real world and make some human contact! I won’t, err, I mean I will.

The Tree of Life and Social Media

We just got back from Couture and JCK, which are two shows where everyone in the jewelry industry descends upon that diamond in the desert called Las Vegas for a week long mega trade show extravaganza. It’s an exhilarating experience for the mind, and a bitch-slap to the feet. My liver is not too fond of me right now, either, but those are stories not fit for a blog. Well, not this kind of blog.

I spoke on a panel at Couture on Saturday morning with Megan Meinerding from Fructman Marketing, Ron Samuelson, and Daniel Gordon. The topic was social media and it was great to see everyone in the audience a) awake at 7:30 am because that is more than I can say for me, and b) so interested in social media and taking things to the next step. Someone asked a question of the panel that others asked of me throughout the show: What is the connection between social media websites and a company website? How do the two connect and what purpose does each serve?

Ahhh. I love a question that lets me pontificate. The short answer is that social media sites, like Facebook pages or Twitter, even your blog, are hubs for your website. They should drive traffic to each other, and all should drive traffic back to your website. You can do this via tweets with a link back to your site, or a Facebook update that links back, and of course, in your profile section you can add links to your website. Additionally, put buttons on your website and blog that invites people to follow you on Twitter and join your Facebook page.

Here’s an easy visual to think of how your pages work. Did you see “Avatar”? Yep, I thought so. Remember the Tree of Life? Your online network is just like that. The trunk on the Tree of Life is your website, and the bright shiny things hanging off of it are your social networks. They are truly one at some level, and all connected. Feel free to call James Cameron at this point, or paint yourself blue, but when I was sitting there with my 3D glasses on watching Avatar and I saw the Tree of Life, honestly, I didn’t have some deep spiritual moment. I had a social media epiphany.

Your social media websites are where you give people a sampling of your brand. They works best as a tool for attracting visitors and getting brand recognition. You can post videos and photos, and use status updates to share stories and news. These sites are a great platform to highlight your current events and triumphs. Your website is where the conversion takes place, where strangers become interested in your brand, or fans, and your website is where those people become clients. Also, consider this: you own your website. You never really own your Facebook page–Facebook does. As great as social media is, the profiles have their limits. You can convey only so much information in the fields provided, though you can use the news-stream to disseminate further info.

Social media is not so much a tool for selling as it is for attracting, and building an online community that extends beyond your zip code. Social Media is built on Social Proof—meaning, consumers are more likely to buy a product if others advocate that product, especially if they are their friends. I’ll get more into social proof in the next blog, and talk about how that relates to your website, as well, and how it affects your bottom line.

See, I told you I loved to pontificate. So much so that it takes two blogs.

Keeping Score of Your Social Media Success

I am fortunate to have kind clients. I’m not saying it’s always puppy dog kisses, but when they are happy, they let me know. When they are unhappy, I think they let me know, too. Notice I said, “Think.” I seriously doubt they tell me every single time they are unhappy, mainly because they probably weigh each situation and chose to let me know the big stuff.

If you are a marketer, and feel you are not getting the whole picture from your client or boss, seek it out, especially when it comes to social media. The whole social media arena is still a new marketing tool. We are the scientists beta testing the prototypes. Trial and error is sometimes the order of the day; and with that comes experimentation and tweaking. It’s like cleaning out your refrigerator: keep the good, throw out the bad.

If you are running a Twitter or Facebook fan page, create a spreadsheet with a calendar for each week. Write in your ideas for content. Then at the end of the week, go back and check how the content did after it was posted. Which post got the most interactions? Which was on-target for your market? The most original or unique? Did they add value to your community? Of course with that last question, you want to ask it before you even post it, but hindsight may show you that what you thought would add value, didn’t.

Social media is a forum for risk-taking. Don’t be crazy; use your judgement, but do experiment. It’s a way to let your creativity flourish, and show your company and brand in a different, more human light. As always, have some fun.

Paranormal Activity has Paranormal Box Office Results

paranormal-activity-posterParamounts’ “Paranormal Activity” is a good example of how simple marketing works when you have an fresh concept to promote. The movie was made for around $15 million, and has grossed $64 million in one weekend, and that number is expected to exceed 100 million. How did this happen to a movie with a marketing budget of $10 million, which is paltry compared to most films?

Paramount relied heavily on advanced midnight screenings, and viral buzz on the Internet. It’s been a trending topic on Twitter for weeks. It also helped that a big name celebrity declared he was spooked by it: Steven Spielberg said that when he saw the movie, strange things happened around his house. He thought his DVD was haunted. More than the clever, low-budget marketing, the success of the movie tells us that consumers want new, fresh and different ideas even if they come in a primitive, low-budget package. Corporate execs think they want the familiar or maybe they are just comfortable giving us the familiar because it has helped pay their salaries in the past.

Most studios in town passed on Paranormal Activity, so kudos to Paramount for some risk taking. As the LA Times wrote, studios with Harry Potter-style franchises are less likely to risk a long-shot bet. “It’s a studio like Paramount, about to lose its wildly successful Marvel franchises to Disney, which is most open to making an audacious gamble.”

Social Media ROI

Can you calculate ROI on social media? I found this on Sworm today. I gather it’s a bit complicated but worth the effort. I’ve got it on my To-Do list.

Twitter Marketing, and Other Social Media Insights

When I told Renee Lemley, of Gray Matter Marketing and Gray Pictures LLC, that she was a social media expert, she waved the label off and said, “no one is a social media expert.” Don’t tell Renee I said this, but I still think she is. Okay, at least she is an early user and got really good at using it pretty quick. Contrast her to me. I’m shy about updating my status on Facebook because I think I’m going to sound like a dork (and I usually do), and I frequently forget my Twitter password, and have only two Twitter contacts. Then again, sometimes I call my computer a “word processor.” Yeah. I know. That’s lame. On the upside, I do use LinkedIn daily and enjoy the network groups as a way to stay connected.

Renee Lemley has over fifteen years experience in marketing and advertising and has done it all, from consultant, to writer, producer, and yes, blogger, and she “uses Gray Matter Marketing to communicate.” I asked her a few questions on social media so I could learn more myself. Here’s how it went down with the woman I now consider my social media mentor:

AI: You are an advocate and user of social media, especially Linkedin and Twitter. Why do you think these tools are so important?

RL: I think with LinkedIn, you’re almost expected to be there. It’s easy enough to setup and I think it really works great as a digital rolodex, accessible from anywhere you have an Internet connection, and as an “always-up-to-date” online resume. Twitter serves an altogether different purpose for me. It has been an incredibly useful source of business information. Add to that the people you “meet” on twitter and the speed with which the information flows and it feels more important than any other social media site I use. (NOTE: The quality of the information you pull from Twitter is determined by the people you choose to follow. So if you don’t take the time to seek out people who post valuable info—and post valuable info yourself—then I think twitter moves from “tool” to “toy” pretty quickly.)

AI: How did you start using them and what was your a-ha moment in doing so?
RL: I started using social media when I decided we needed an easy-to-administrate site where GrayPictures, our multi-media and creative services business, could post photos of recent work in a more casual atmosphere than on our “corporate” site at GrayPictures. It was the self-administration that really gave me the a-ha moment. Up to that point, I had been dependent upon outside resources for design and technical support for anything interactive that I wanted to do. Having the power put into my own hands was…well, sort of intoxicating. (Yes, my inner geek has been set free.) I immediately knew what I wanted to blog about. In the end, I again turned to my trusty outside technical resources, but that had more to do with my objectives than it did with any general self-administration limitations.

AI: Big companies versus small companies, versus the solo consultant: who benefits most from Twitter, Facebook, Myspace and Linkedin?
RL: Hmm. I don’t think it’s a question of who benefits most because it all depends on how you use each of those communication platforms. The benefits are determined by your personal and/or business objectives and how well you execute on them. Your objectives may (and should) vary from social site to social site. No matter who you are, you should think about your objectives (and possible outcomes) before you start posting anything anywhere. That said, how much time you put into it is directly proportionate to the value you get out of it.

AI: When I think of Social Media, I think of the four sites I mentioned above. Is there a site out there that is often overlooked that you think we should all be signing up for?
RL: I have to say I’ve not been a big fan of MySpace. But that’s just me. I named my “Social Media Trifecta” in one of my blog posts: Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. I think it goes back to your own personal objectives. But to your bigger point, I’ve actually come to think of social media as “anything” we do online. I even see my email as “social media” in many ways. Once you hit “send,” “post,” “submit,” “share,” or “join,” it doesn’t belong to you anymore. It’s “out there” and—for better or worse—out of your control. Plus, there are so many aspects of being “social” to consider: social media, social networking, social business, social sharing, social bookmarking, etc. I wonder if the term has truly found a solid home yet because it means so many things to so many different people. It changes and evolves so quickly, so I provide links to the resources and tools I find helpful in navigating the socialsphere as I come across them.

AI: You really are an expert on social media. In figuring out how to use these tools, what were some mistakes or missed opportunities you made along the way?
RL: I actually don’t think there are any “experts” in social media. Best practices are being created and recreated by the nanosecond. It’s a moving target, really. (Get ready for the buzzwords…) We all have different reasons for “engaging” and we all “join the conversation” at different levels, but what we all have in common is a shared passion for this very cool “new” thing and that’s what makes us a real, but virtual, “community.” I spend a lot of my time in the space…learning. Social media is fully integrated with my thinking when it comes to strategic marketing. It may not be appropriate for every business situation, but when it is, I advise people and businesses based on my personal experiences, as well as my mistakes, which I post about on my blog as I go along. I also don’t hesitate to turn to those with more experience when I need to—social media has re-educated me in the practice of “humility.”

AI: What do you see as the future of social media, as it relates to conducting and growing business/revenues?
RL: This is, indeed, the burning question. I can only return to my own experience: simply put, social media has changed the way I think about my business and the value I place on my business network. At the end of the day, I like to say that I’m less concerned about what social media has brought to my “bottom line” than I am about all it has added to the “top of my head.”