Category Archives: social strategist

social media 101: sometimes the story is in the comments

I’ve been following Google’s launch of Google+ Pages for brands with some anxiety.  I envisioned Social Marketers everywhere flocking to Google+ and spamming my circles with brand promotions.

If you don’t think Google+ is big enough for that yet—citing it’s still in its infancy—learn your facts.  Google+ has acquired 40 million users worldwide since its launch in September—kicking Facebook’s launch on its proverbial ass.

The controversy surrounding the launch of Google+ Pages continues, and rightly so.  Users are freaking out.  These 40 million users left the brand spamming of Facebook to have a social network.

If you are a brand considering creating a Page, go for it, but tread cautiously.  The reality of social is that the story is not what a brand is telling you—and Mashable, Google, and any other news delivery systems are brands too—it’s in the comments of the ultimate end-user.  It’s the opinion of the audience.

Mashable just released the article, Want to Run a Contest or Promotion on Google+? Not So Fast.  Great article—definitely worth the read.  But the comments are far more relevant to me as a Social Strategist.  Here are a smattering of comments reflecting how people feel about brands in their Google+ space.

“I am already uncircling brands, they are saturating my stream and killing all the social aspects I have been enjoying. Cheesey competitions and granting permissions to view your personal data are so Facebook ;-)”

“I cant Stand contest and quiz crap! If your page and content therein isnt promotion enough youre doing it wrong.”

“Great move from Google, spammers will stay in FB.”

“I think that’s great, I get so many promotional tweets and fb posts sometimes I miss the stuff from family. I like just having information about a company without being smacked in the face with, contests and polls.”

“I agree with others that this is a good move. Contest promotions on the net were getting to be just ways of data mining, and not a way to engage your market segment. Maybe that option will happen in the future when Google’s had time to observe what works and what flops.”

And so on, and so on…

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Want to get radical? Stop applying 20th century principles (“product,” “buzz,” “loyalty”) to 21st century media

One of the biggest challenges I face in my day-to-day business is trying to help clients evolve their thinking.  I say challenges, but I mean frustrating-bang-my-head-against-the-wall-soul-crushing experiences.  It’s SO easy to think that a social media strategy is about joining social network sites as a clever way to push your same tired old junk.  And you’d be kind of right.  That’s exactly what a social media strategy is—because that is EXACTLY what most organizations are doing.  But PEOPLE, listen up!  It’s not about social media anymore—in fact, it hasn’t been for a couple of years now.

Almost two years ago, Harvard Business Media Labs guru and author, Umair Haque, wrote about this very topic.  He said, and I’m paraphrasing here, using social media in business is about developing the capacity to understand your organization’s role in society, and using that role in a more constructive way.  It’s about developing a social strategy first—which will then shape your business and marketing strategies.  Social Medias are just the tools—the assets.  A social strategy is about wielding sociality as a source of advantage.  The most basic social strategy is to help you and your brand to STOP being antisocial.  Umair is bang on.  In today’s social world, this is not radical thinking.  Evolve already.

I understand that it’s tough to embrace change.  There are no expectations that an organization is going to re-align itself to the 21st century on my command.  The reality is that the upper-echelons are in a “wait and see” mode.  Folks that have been in the marketing and business world for decades are stuck with traditional blinders on.  I have heard these same people exclaim in passionate battle cries that they get it.  But they don’t.  They don’t believe they are even wearing blinders.

I have also heard every excuse in the book—and more—about their experiences driving them, and how the real world “just doesn’t work like that.”  To them I say… pishaw!  Take your scared head out of your ego ass and let’s rock and roll this thing.  OK, so I don’t really say that—but I’m definitely thinking it while I stomp my foot and ball my fists.  How can I help you if you won’t help yourself?  It’s not imperative to make the changes at once—what is imperative is that you keep your eye on the ball and your nose in the game.  Take your bloody blinders off—it’s not personal.  I know you were great in your day, I know you know things, and yes, I know this isn’t your first rodeo.  What you won’t hear is that the rodeo is long over my friend.  Those horses have been dead for five years—dismount already.

I’m sharing Umair Haque’s article here.  He uses real phrases like “soul-deadening” instead of industry buzz jargon that makes you want to dig your eyes out with a spork.  You know the stuff—we’ve all sat through too many of those PowerPoint presentations.

“Using the social to “build buzz” and “push product” is about as smart as using a warp drive to visit your local Wal-Mart. Social tools today are used mostly as a new “channel” to push the same old useless stuff of the industrial era at hapless “consumers.” That’s meaninglessness at it’s finest. It’s the least productive — and most soul-deadening — use of a formidably powerful tool.’ – Umair Haque

“Social strategies are about reinventing tomorrow. Their goal is nothing less than changing the DNA of an organization, ecosystem, or industry. Want to get radical? Stop applying 20th century principles (“product,” “buzz,” “loyalty”) to 21st century media. The fundamental change of scale and pace that social tools introduce into human affairs — their great tectonic shift — is the promise of more meaningful work, stuff, and organization. Start with “the meaning is the message” instead.” – Umair Haque

Did I mention it’s time to evolve your thinking?


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Filed under Social Media, social strategist, world news

press it, +1 it, share it, digg it, email it, post it, reddit, stumbleupon it, technorati it, tweet it, live it, kick it, punch it… exhausted yet?

Are you suffering from tech overload?

Stephanie Rosenbloom, of the New York Times writes, “One in every 4 1/2 minutes spent on the Web is spent on a social-networking site or blog. And last year the average visitor spent 66 percent more time on such sites than in 2009, when early adopters were already feeling digitally fatigued.

But any attempt by weary networkers to scale back is complicated by the proliferation of websites such as Klout and PeerIndex that are busily computing users’ influence scores to rank them in an online hierarchy.  (On Klout, each user is assigned a score from 1 to 100.  If you’re in the high teens, you’re average; if you’re in the 40s you have a healthy following; if you score 100—you’re Justin Bieber.)

Depending on the person you ask, this is either awesome or terrifying. In the future, brands and even potential employers could conceivably make decisions about you based on your score.”

Grab your second wind… we’re going in!


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there’s a word for marketing in social communities… it’s called SPAM

Nobody wants to be spammed when they’re kicking back enjoying some social time.  And really, it’s all about the social time, isn’t it?

The term “marketing” developed from an original meaning, which referred literally to going to a market to buy or sell goods or services.  The vast majority of people still have this definition attached to the word.  It’s dirty.  It’s obsolete.  If you’re marketing to me—you’re trying to sell me something—even if you try to disguise it by giving it a fancy name like, “conversation.”  It’s spam-eting.  Only the marketers, themselves, will try to convince you that marketing has evolved into something new—something grandiose and powerfully necessary in the social arena.  And hey, I’m all for evolution and re-inventing yourself, but let’s call a spade a spade.  The truth is, if these marketers can hang on to the word, then they get to woo and wow you with a lifetime of experience in the field—even if the majority of it was spent “going to market to buy or sell some goods or services,” and it all happened long before Mark Zuckerberg was wiping his own backside.  Don’t fall for it.

Being authentic is the complete underlying message in a successful social strategy.  Stop listening to marketers telling you to market your brand.  Stop marketing.

Start engaging.

Be your authentic awesome self/brand.  Become educated in the ways of social communities and their various channels and platforms.  Respectfully seduce the distinct and recognizable personality of all things social media.  Speak the language.  Show your awesomeness.  Shout your awesomeness from the mountaintops—without actually having to shout your awesomeness at all.  Engagement offers your brand organic growth—grassroots style.

“When you do awesome things, it makes people want to share the awesome.”  That’s what un-marketing guru, Scott Stratten says.  And, he’s right.  Awesome is catchy.

It’s a completely new concept—well, within the age of social media—and actually, it’s really just a new spin on old-school word-of-mouth advertising.  Don’t fall victim to marketers pitching a blind social media campaign based on tired and dried-out analytics from some other brand/industry—on over-written PowerPoint slides to boot.  Find the influencers, the strategists, the ENGAGERS.  These are the people to help you position your platform.  THEY are the ones that will draw out your awesomeness and bridge you to your audience—to your untapped social community potential.

Do you want to know how it works?  Below is the link to the awesomeness example of a brand (Magnum Ice Cream) who went with an influencer (blogger, Scott Stratten) for the Canadian launch of their product.  Through a relationship built without expectations—the brand showed their awesome, allowing Scott’s excitement to leak from his fingertips to his hungry and unsuspecting audience.  The subtleties of authentic promotion in social media are far more reaching then some questionable sponsored post—especially when coupled with the awesomeness of the relations of the brand.  How do I know?

Last week I’d never even heard of Magnum Ice Cream.  And today, well, today, I put them in your pocket.  That’s organic reach for you.   Scott was right.  Well played Magnum, well played indeed.

Check out Scott’s story here.

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