Thursday, December 27, 2012

Quick How To: Use Facebook Page, Profile and Group

This tweet just appeared in one of the hashtag streams that I follow:

"Did you know that I have a FB business page (that is often confused w/ my personal page)? 6 more likes to 300!..."

This could simply be a tactic to get more "likes" on her business page, but it made me wonder if people were trying to "friend" her on Facebook on purpose and she assumed they were confused. Everyone seems to be using personal Facebook profiles for different purposes these days so a run down of the various products will help you navigate the Facebook ocean.

It all starts with the Profile.

You can't do anything on Facebook until you have established yourself there as a person. This is where most of the confusion and variety of uses causes issues for people. On the spectrum of ways people use their profiles, some try to set up a fake profile to accomplish other tasks on Facebook or set up a profile and then abandon it because they are uncomfortable with the privacy issues...

Side note: a new feature was just rolled out that allows you to view privacy settings and see who can look at your stuff on the static task bar on top in Facebook, making it easier to find.

...In the middle are the people that are trying to only connect with close friends and family and they are increasingly bothered by requests from people who are outside of those circles. On the other end of the spectrum is a fully transparent profile used for both personal and professional relationships. If you happen to work in a B2B industry that involves professional relationships, I encourage you to move toward the end of the spectrum that allows you to network with your Facebook profile. 

Personal note: anything you put on Facebook is on the internet and even though they are trying to make privacy settings easier for you to manage, I recommend that you not put anything on Facebook that you wouldn't mind sharing with a potential client or employer.

The power of Facebook lies in the ability to have a conversation with someone outside of their massively cluttered e-mail accounts and feel like you are getting to know them on a personal level before, during and after doing business with them.

Pages are free, but they don't work unless you pay.

Facebook pages should look like an extension of your website. If you have the funds, you should pay for graphic design elements, lead generation forms and advertising to make this tool work for you. A decent return on investment will come if you jump in now while the pricing is still low. If you don't have money to spend on your Facebook page, you should do your best to maintain a professional presence there with either engaging questions or useful articles, but don't expect a lot of return on your investment of time spent.

Groups are the new associations.

One way that many people are able to have professional conversations without "friending" everyone in their industry is by using groups. Again, it all starts with a profile and the person setting up the group can only add people they are friends with. However, if they set it up as an open group, then the members can add people they are friends with and others can also request to join. Depending on how likely your community is to have folks see this as an opportunity to sell their products, you might need a diplomatic moderator. Otherwise, it is a great place to share articles you find on the web that are pertinent to the group and set yourself up as an expert in your industry.

We have become spoiled by all of these social networks offering us ways of doing business online for free and now these companies are looking for ways to make money! I am working on a webinar for etouches that will discuss paying with privacy and convenience tentatively scheduled for the week of January 7th. Until then, let me know if you have any questions or comments on how to use the various features within Facebook.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Get More Traction (pre-event marketing)

Attending an event and looking for ways to maximize the experience both online and offline? Building Blocks Social Media created a tweet-sharing program for IMEX America 2012 that resulted in more online exposure for all of the brands involved. Most people are not using Twitter on a daily basis, but they see the value in using it at a large event to see who is there, see what people are talking about and participate in the conversations themselves. Are you leveraging this opportunity in the right way?

From September 17th through October 11th, 261 tweets were created for 8 different twitter accounts. Most of this content was also shared via personal Facebook profiles, company Facebook pages, personal LinkedIn profiles, company LinkedIn pages, personal Google+ profiles, and company Google+ pages, but the focus was on Twitter and the hashtag: #IMEX12 because that is where the greatest opportunity for reach existed. Leading up to an event, the official hashtag will get increasingly more traffic as the event nears and our twitter content schedule reflected that increase as well.

The partners involved in this program were not only exhibitors, but speakers as well. Anyone who attends a conference typically has an interest in maximizing the networking potential from that event. Do you typically just show up and hope for the best or do you go in with a strategy? Before the event (specifically an appointment based show), exhibitors need traffic directed to their websites, blog posts and appointment pages so buyers sign up to see them before other vendors. At a traditional trade show, an exhibitor wants to drive traffic to their booth. Speakers want attendees to show up at their sessions (especially if they are competing with other speakers during the same time slot).

HootSuite was used to pre-schedule the content (on Twitter and other platforms) so the partners did not have to actively tweet during the show. The ones that added tweets and re-tweets during the show did see higher traffic.

#IMEX12 October 8th through October 11th - Compiled by Refynr

13.3 Million Impressions
6,154 Tweets
Nearly 4,000 total links
Over 700 photos
1,396 Twitter users

Return on Investment

Three of this program’s participants were in the top ten users, by impressions.
Four of this program’s participants were in the top ten users, by number of tweets.

Refynr Dashboard –
·         392 Total page views from October 1st through October 17th
·         109 (33%) came from or Twitter apps because it was shared & clicked frequently
·         Link was tweeted 84 times
·         64 clicks came directly from the twitter sharing program (traceable through the links used to shorten the URL)

·         The direct link to the official podcast page was shared on Twitter 61 times.
·         24 additional clicks came from this program through the link.

Appointment Page Traffic – 113 clicks for all partner sites combined
Website Traffic – 131 clicks for all partner sites combined

Learning Curve

The content took awhile to curate by combing through the event website. General Sessions and other events that most people would attend provided good content to share. Specific sessions that related to the partner’s product, service or interests were strategically selected for appropriate sharing. The bulk of the content was focused on the partners directing traffic to the other partners’ appointment pages, websites, sessions and trade show booths. Social media is less effective if you only talk about yourself, so the purpose of this program was to share good information about the conference and other attendees. The partners received the benefit of other people sharing information about them.

Some partners scheduled content on their own and some asked Building Blocks Social Media to do it for them. Bulk scheduling was a bit more difficult than expected because we were sharing documents across operating platforms and each partner had a different familiarity level with programs like HootSuite.  A lot of troubleshooting and communication was necessary during these phases of the project.


The traffic generated from this project was higher than any individual person or company would have been able to create on their own. With the right mix of partners and a dedicated strategist to create the content and put it together, I would recommend a program like this for any large event or trade show in your future.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Marketing is Not a Task

"If you are only awesome to influencers, you are not awesome."

I had the pleasure of seeing Scott Stratten speak again at a LinkedOC event this week. My new friend, Sarah Beth Rosa was there and put together a great post on the evening. Instead of repeating everything she said, I'm just going to add a couple of my favorite tweet-able moments and ask you to click over to her site.

"You can automate your social media - just like you can automate a wake-up call... and lose your chance to be awesome."

"Three years ago, the people who were on Twitter were there because they wanted to be there. Now, people are there because they think they have to be there."

...Agencies should not be doing your social media if they can't answer customer service questions. "Outrage doesn't take the weekend off." 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Making a Personal Brand Scalable

Interesting comparison of musicians and public speakers. Musicians put out a CD and then disappear for a year whereas bloggers have to find a way to stay innovative and connected to their community regardless of what other priorities come their way. An authentic blog shows the growth of that person or their business.

What is your motivation for blogging and managing your reputation online?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Is Your Online Brand Personal?

How much time do you think someone will spend looking at your social profiles or website before they determine whether or not they want to connect with you?

I realized several things about biographies and introductions this weekend as I was preparing for my presentations at the MPISCC Weekend Education Summit. If you do any speaking, you have a standard bio that you send to the meeting planner that outlines your laundry list of qualifications for being in front of that audience. That is what they want to hear, right? Not really. Wouldn’t they rather hear your story? That is what I tried to do with the beginning section of my presentation. I thought about what circumstances had brought me to that moment in time and how they related to what I was presenting.

Simon Sinek says, start with why. Since this presentation was being given to my peers, I started my story at the point where I started my career in the meetings and events industry and I talked about the time early on in my career when I had a good opportunity to make a major change, but I decided to stay. I decided this was the reason I am so passionately committed to my industry and the relationships I have created with professional connections. Next, I talked about why I was initially drawn to social networking and which circle of people in my life were the first to invite me to use Facebook. I finished with a comparison between myself and other people who do similar work. Again, trying to make my differentiating qualities part of my story.

Make it about you in the sense that it is personal, but make it about your audience. What can you say that will establish some common ground and make them want to connect with you? Here’s a link to a post that lists 5 rules of engagement. Who is your target market? Who do they want to do business with? Does your story make them feel that you genuinely care about people or that you are just looking for prospects?

How often do you update your Summary on LinkedIn? Do you realize how many places on the internet you should have a good bio? You want to make sure your story is current and compelling, but it can be hard to remember all of the places where you need to update it. The About You section of your Facebook profile should be updated with your story and make it public so that when someone searches for you online, it makes them want to connect. Your Google+ profile is similar to your Facebook profile. Go to your About section, update your Introduction and make it public. Your Twitter bio only allows 160 characters so you have to get really creative with telling a compelling story there! Trust me; you need a good bio on Twitter and a picture of you with clothes on. Otherwise, people will think you are a spammer. Your website, your blog and any other profiles you have online should be looked at every six months to make sure your bio or introduction is current and compelling.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Great Tips for Online Personal Branding

12 Things Students Should Never Do on Social Media

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Inventor of Social Currency

This post originally appeared on the MeetingsFocus Blog, where Building Blocks Social Media regularly contributes articles about leveraging social media and technology in events.

Based on the articles I have read by Douglas Rushkoff in the MPI One+ magazine, my impression of him was not favorable. I wonder if his strategy is to be thought provoking so he puts forth views on social media that are controversial. After viewing a couple of his sessions from WEC, I realized we actually agree on a few points.

In his session, “Social Currency: Creating Value Instead of Extracting It” Rushkoff claimed to have invented the term Social Currency. I wonder why he hasn’t taken credit for it on Wikipedia. Maybe he was testing us to see if anyone would question that statement. In the spirit of transparency, I think Rushkoff should use a more current picture in his bios and profiles. He might find that more people will trust him if they think he is older than 30.

I like his story about the history of branding: why it was necessary, and how the internet broke it. “Communications are becoming non-fiction again.” Your company (event) has to actually make something and have an authentic story to communicate. This session would have been a good keynote. “Success comes from tweeting about your culture instead of your product.” So, you have to either make something and talk about the story of how your product is made or get serious about CSR so that you have a positive culture to talk about. In case you are new to CSR, Corporate Social Responsibility in a company setting means they treat their employees well and they implement policies to make the operation more sustainable (better for the environment and people in need). If your organization has any of these positive stories, that is the kind of thing that is great for all of your employees to share on their social networks. My opinion on social media policies is: instead of creating a policy that just tells your employees what not to do with social media, help create good content (stories) and tell them how to share it.

There is a dark side to Facebook that people like to forget. Rushkoff reminds us that it is easy to know what the purpose of a tool is by who is using it. Facebook is free for users so they are the product, not the consumers. Most people believe they have a right to use Facebook and they like to complain when Facebook makes changes and yet they don’t pay a dime for this service that lets them stay connected to their family and friends. Many people are starting to realize they can’t hide behind Facebook’s privacy settings and they have transitioned their presence on social media to a more professional one. By the way, it is against Facebook’s terms of service to have more than one profile as an individual, just in case someone told you that was a good idea.

Predicting that most people will make the transition to a more professional presence and include their professional contacts on Facebook, he says “…once you are friends with everyone, what is the point? It just becomes a phone book.” He says it is less fun than it used to be. I have seen that happen with LinkedIn so it is hard to disagree completely with that statement. I believe the key to keeping it fun is keeping it real. If you choose to make your professional presence vanilla instead of including the details from your life that make you unique, then it will get boring.

Rushkoff says Google+ at least has circles so you can share specific content with different groups of people in your life. Facebook actually has this functionality; it just isn’t as easy to use as Google+. This is one reason you should be on Google+ if you are afraid of sharing the wrong information with the wrong people.

What challenges are you having with sharing your authentic story?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Guest Post: Twitter is the ideal network for face-to-face events

More and more the trend is pushing conferences to involve social media into the mix, not only for marketing purposes, but for on-site attendees to use during the conference. Plenty has been written on how to use Facebook, blogging, LinkedIn, Twitter, and even Pinterest to promote your upcoming conference for your brand - but no need to rehash any of that here.

Which social networks make sense during the actual event? Well, let's see... 

LinkedIn is great for connecting professionally to people in your industry, but it doesn't really facilitate group discussions in a public way for all to see. I use it to connect with people I exchanged business cards with, but I don't see a good way for the whole audience to use it together while in attendance.

Blogging is cool, and can be especially fun during an event to do some live blogging. But usually only one or two people do all the blogging, and there's very little 2-way or group communication. Also, blogs tend to be too verbose, don't you think?

Facebook has the largest user-base (nearly 1 Billion, with a B), but most of the connections are personal/private, so it doesn't really make sense to try to turn it into a public forum for the whole audience to try and use. Also, imaging trying to follow along as the conversations get long-winded. Users can write long paragraphs, which become overwhelming to read.

Pinterest? Erm... honestly, I haven't used it much. Maybe because I'm not the right demographic? ;-) I know that it's growing rapidly, and all the photos could be really nice to integrate into the event somehow, but I don't think it's mainstream enough yet, and I don't understand the best uses of it either. Please enlighten me.

But Twitter? It just seems to be tailor made for face-to-face events:
  • Short messages: You can't be long-winded. Getting to the point IS the point.
  • Hundreds of millions of active users.
  • The concept of a #hashtag is already well-established.
  • Twitter posts are public, so anyone can follow a conversation around a hashtag.
  • There are more and more ways than ever to display event-specific twitter feeds to your audience. See what is doing.
  • It's super easy to take a photo with your phone or tablet and share it on Twitter.
  • Even if you're not at the event, it's easy and fun to follow along virtually.
There may be more effective ways to market events, but don't you agree that Twitter is the best social network to use during conferences? Why or why not?

Aaron Longnion
Founder & CTO

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Social Media Reporters vs. Press

At a large conference made up of my industry peers (Meeting Professionals International’s World Education Congress), I was invited to attend as a social media reporter. There were no obligations; however I was invited to all of the press conferences and a couple of breakfasts for press only. As far as I could tell, the social media reporters were invited to everything that the press was invited to with the exception of one dinner hosted by Disney.

I had never seen the meetings and events industry press in action at one of our large conferences. I knew they typically get free passes to attend all kinds of industry events but my perception was they would attend the conference like anyone else and then write about it for their publication. Since all of the press conferences were scheduled at the same time as education sessions, I found it very difficult to do both. I had also committed to recording a podcast with Meetings Podcast and because all of our schedules were so full, we ended up doing that during education sessions as well. Whether you are press or a social media reporter, it is hard to capture the experience from the viewpoint of an attendee.

What I found interesting was the bigger picture of old media vs. new media. The press structure of submitting articles makes the idea of breaking news a joke. Typically, a conference like this doesn’t have “breaking news” however at this particular event, we did. Although, the way the press conferences were set up, MPI tried to create a sense of urgency for the organizations making announcements. Of the press conferences I attended, there were very few members of the press in attendance. I never saw the ConventionNews Television folks. Even though it is great to get video interviews and their production quality is top notch, it isn’t live.

So, the few of us who showed up are sitting in the same press conference, receiving the same information that allegedly had not been released anywhere else. Someone from an established magazine would diligently take notes, ask good questions and then go about writing an article that I assume would then be edited and published either online or in print form. Whereas, I could have done a blog post on any one of these topics and sent it out through my channels. Granted, I don’t have the same number of subscribers as an established news organization, but tweets sent out with the conference hashtag while the event is happening have a much higher impression rate than tweets sent out at any other time. The key, then, is not to announce something at an event, but to create a strategy around getting your news shared during an event.

During one of the press conferences, I was able to find a news article that had already been written and tweet it out. This was even easier, because I didn’t have to write it! Why re-invent the wheel? I guess the difference between reporting and blogging is that you might expect me to insert my opinions in my blog, whereas, if I am simply reporting the facts, it is a waste of my time to report the same story that has already been written. Today, it matters less where you get your news and matters more who is the first to report it. When sharing content via social media, most people won’t share a story that is already a day old because they assume everyone has already read it.

How does your company / association deal with press at your event? Are you including social media reporters? What does that program look like? 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Stop Going to the Same Networking Events

Why attend the same conference (or networking group) more than once or twice? I have found that most people will gravitate toward people they have already met when in a networking situation. Sometimes it takes more than one meeting to get to the point where you feel like you are “friends” with a few people.

Is this relationship building? At a mixer, you greet each other, exchange pleasantries, ask how business is, etc. Does this face time help you remember a potential vendor? Are you having meaningful conversations that will take that relationship to the next level or are you keeping the relationship warm just in case? We say that getting involved in the organization gives you the opportunity to takes those relationships to the next level. When you actually work with others on a project, event or committee, you get to know them a lot better than just saying ‘hi’ once a month.

You may be thinking to yourself that you are wasting time with the wrong connections. Now, I am a proponent of open networking. You never know when someone who is not currently a potential client will turn into a potential client. Or, you may meet someone “in real life” who is influential online. If you are not part of their circles or communities, you may be missing an opportunity and not know it. However, your boss may be asking you for the ROI of attending that event. How many business cards did you get? Are these qualified prospects? If you gravitate toward the same people you always see, are you missing out on new prospects?

So, in theory, it would be better to stop going to that conference or networking group if you find yourself seeing the same people every time. Find a new group or conference to attend where you don’t know anyone so that you can put more people in your funnel. What are the drawbacks? If your prospects don’t see you at that event anymore will they forget about you? (There are ways to stay in touch with the people you don’t want to lose track of.) It used to be that you felt like you had to exhibit at that tradeshow, even if you weren’t getting any business from it, because the perception of you not being there would cast a negative light. Do you feel that way about the networking events you are attending?

It is hard to always be the new person at an event (especially if the group doesn’t have people that reach out to new folks). That is why we naturally gravitate towards the people we know, it is human nature. If only it were easy to walk up to someone or a couple of people you don’t know and introduce yourself. I do it a lot but it feels awkward and uncomfortable.

What is social media’s role in all of this? Social media can expedite the process from newbie to friend status. I can see who is tweeting at an event and request a meeting with them, or see them at a tweetup at a larger conference. This is one way to meet new people at an event. Social media can also help you stay in touch with people you meet at a conference or networking group. If you “friend” them on FB, you will get to interact with them on things that really matter as opposed to just exchanging pleasantries once a month or once a year.

Speaking of tweetups, I find myself seeking out smaller groups who have organized themselves to meet in conjunction with a larger event. This happens at monthly programs as well as annual conferences. Not only do you gravitate towards the people you know, you want to make sure you see your “friends” at that event. These types of add-on events are great for having a more meaningful conversation with someone and taking that relationship to the next level.

As our industry associations try to keep up with the ways members create new relationships and nurture existing ones, it is important to remember that human nature doesn’t change just because the technology has changed.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Review of Twittamentary

Social Media Club Los Angeles screened the film: Twittamentary, a documentary about Twitter, directed by Tan Siok Siok (@sioksiok). You can view it here for $3.99 (money raised goes to and you can organize a screening for a club or meetup. The film is an excellent overview of the different ways that people use Twitter and shows that Twitter is just a tool that facilitates human connections. From a citizen journalist to Domino’s Pizza to a homeless woman, twitter is used in vastly different ways and it goes to show that your success with social media tools directly correlates to how well you use them to communicate with other people. There are many stories in the film and I have chosen three to highlight.

Janis Krums (@jkrums) was the first person to tweet a picture of the plane crash on the Hudson River. We now live in a world where there will always be someone at the scene of breaking news with a smart phone (citizen journalists) before a TV crew (professional journalists). Citizen journalists are slowly being embraced by traditional media. The only downfall to this type of information is when it is not vetted before being broadcast. There are times when mis-information gets shared and goes viral. However, in this age of media cynicism, many people would rather see pictures and read stories from “regular” people instead of traditional news organizations. This may be because the traditional news organizations are answering to corporate sponsored agendas instead of the noble cause of reporting the news. Off the topic of Twitter, but related to social media, that is why you are reading this blog and why blogging is such an important part of your marketing strategy.

There have been countless examples of companies using Twitter to respond to customer service questions or complaints, but there are millions more examples of companies who ignore these opportunities. In the film, Ramon De Leon (@Ramon_DeLeon) responds to a complaint about a delivery order from one of his Domino’s Pizza restaurants. He was one of the first people to use Twitter in this way and he has gone on to become a global keynote speaker because he had the vision to use a tool at his disposal to really connect and engage with his customers in a way that almost no one else was at that time. During the networking portion of this event, I met a Corporate Social Intelligence Strategist who explained the process by which a company would monitor what is being said online, but be able to weigh the risk vs. reward of responding to each item. As somewhat of a “purist” I always thought that a company would want to engage with every single customer that took the time to mention their brand, but I guess some would suggest that not all tweets (or tweeters) are created equally. I would love to hear what you think about this strategy.

Speaking of not being treated equally, the homeless population in the United States is often invisible in the sense that most people don’t understand the issue until they have taken the time to get to know someone who is struggling with it. Mark Horvath (@hardlynormal) was featured in the documentary and participates in the Social Media Club of Los Angeles. Mark started to raise awareness of homelessness and was able to connect Tan Siok Siok with Anne Marie Walsh (@padschicago), a homeless woman using Twitter to connect with people and make life on the streets more bearable. If you are homeless, you are most likely alone, even if you have managed to identify resources where you can exist with other homeless people. Anne Marie was able to connect with people on Twitter in an attempt to feel less lonely while she was on the streets. Although we hope that we don’t find ourselves in this situation, it really is the best example of how to use Twitter. To use it to communicate with other people is the best way to use it and that is the summary of Twittamentary. Twitter is just a tool and you will get what you give.

Check it out here and let me know if you learned anything about Twitter that you didn’t know already.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Balancing Personal and Professional Brands

Click below for a great article on the pros and cons of putting your entire life online. I am always fascinated by the implications a corporate social media policy can have.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Way

Today, it is all about the road, or the path, if you prefer. I just finished watching The Way and it was a very inspirational movie for me, with many parallels to my life. Thinking about roads and paths immediately brought many recent examples to mind. Speaking of mind, the MIND Research Institute’s theme for this year’s awards gala is Road Trip! My last road trip up to Orange County was for a committee meeting for this event.

I am a road warrior, in a more literal sense of the term as opposed to someone who travels a lot. I drive long distances throughout Southern California for a different reason than most other people who live here. In terms of total hours on the road, I am probably nowhere near people who commute only 10-20 miles to and from work every day. I often wonder if those who live and have to commute in Southern California are so weary from being in their cars and traffic that they cringe at the thought of driving absolutely any other place besides between their home and office.

I have lived in San Diego twice, Long Beach once and am about to move back up to Los Angeles County. I have been very fortunate to have either worked for myself or someone else in a home office for a majority of the years I have lived in Southern California. Working in sales and owning your own business makes attending networking events a required function. Lucky for me, I have never minded the long drive to attend these events and yet, I am one of very few people who will travel across county lines for a single event. Sometimes I wonder if I could get the same results by simply getting more involved with local groups instead of staying connected to groups who are further away.

Because my husband and I move every 1-2 years, I feel like a kid who has a hard time making friends in a new school. Thus, the reason local networking groups like chambers of commerce have never appealed to me: knowing in the back of my mind that I will eventually leave you and feel regret for not keeping in touch. This is the reason I was in love with LinkedIn when I first discovered it. I could keep in touch with my colleagues after one of us move on to another job or another company or another state! The updates feed used to be more useful before I collected too many connections and they integrated with Twitter. It used to be easy to see when someone changed a job or hear about what projects others were working on. Now, it is mostly links to articles and other Twitter-like updates.

This may be one of the reasons I like using Facebook for professional connections now. The difference is that I can see what my peers are doing in their personal lives and I feel a much stronger connection to them than I would without that information. I have created a sort of strange network in the cloud. However, I am not just sitting at home posting updates to Facebook and Twitter all day. Relationships with these people may have started online, but a majority of them were facilitated by an event. We were attending the same event and that was the reason we connected and/or we met in person at an event after we connected online and by attending these events, we kindle the fire. Part of my network does not reside in Southern California and it takes a bit more effort to create the same kind of interaction with these people. I have found that scheduling a happy hour on Skype or Google+ hangouts whether it is with one person or a small group helps foster that need to see and listen to people.

I realize the alternative would be (and maybe this is what most people do) to have personal and professional friends close by and spend time keeping those relationships thriving. It would not require so much time on the road. The road warrior / social network path is the one I prefer. I like to think that my network is richer because of the diversity of connections it is made up of. However, it is not who you are connected to that matters, it is what you do with those relationships that counts.

When is the last time you reached out to someone who helped you along your path?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Generation X and the Narrowing Career Path

I like this analysis of why Gen X feels the way they do about work.

..."Your preferences are likely to be different from those of the Boomers who held similar positions a few years ago. You need to play a role in helping the organization understand that your goals may be a bit different. Most corporations will be delighted to help you develop a broader set of skills — if they understand that's what you want."

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Does it matter whether or not Facebook makes money on advertising?

Now that Facebook has gone public, it matters whether or not Facebook can make money from advertisements. Did you notice that it didn’t matter before? We all happily signed up (because it was free) and we have been using this service (without paying a cent) to re-connect with old friends, make new connections, stay in touch with family members and share our lives.  What is Facebook worth to you today?

For the average user, Facebook is a social platform. How will Facebook successfully help advertisers get customers to click on an ad while they are on a site where their main goal is socializing? It doesn’t seem like a co-incidence that GM would publicly announce that they were pulling their advertising from Facebook the week that Facebook was to go public. At the last LinkedOC meeting, one of the panelists offered this viewpoint on the situation: Why would GM make this announcement publicly? Why would GM make an enemy of Facebook? If Ford is smart, they will make the most of this opportunity to create headlines by working strategically with Facebook over the next year.

Think about how you research products online. If you search for something on Google, do you purposely avoid the ads on the top and the side? Are you skipping down to what we call “organic” search results? Now, think about word of mouth. Are you more likely to buy something that a friend recommends? That is the basis of Facebook’s “like” feature. That is why Google created Google+, so they could start integrating the social recommendation feature.

If a company sets up a business page, and can get people to share the content that company posts, then those people are seen as advocating for the brand. Business wants to see direct ROI, however. Now that Facebook has gone public, the conversation is only focused on whether or not people will click on the ads because that is the most obvious way for Facebook to make money and for advertisers to prove ROI. I predict that there are still creative ways for companies to get ROI using a combination of advertising and “organic” content. As companies continue to use traditional marketing rules to make money online, they will find that companies using more creative (social) means will be more successful.

Facebook’s advantage over Google is the demographic data they have collected on you. Most people are nervous about that, but they use it so that advertisers can make their ads visible to the demographic they are targeting. However, Google tracks what you click and search for on the internet so they can target advertisements around things it thinks you want to buy. Either way, I am happy that the sites I use know what I am looking for and suggest good products or prices (sales) that I might be interested in.

The question is whether or not you will click on an advertisement on the internet if you had a different purpose for being on that page to begin with. Do you appreciate these sites making it easier to find products and services that you might be interested in? Or are you concerned that it is an invasion of your privacy?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

What Everybody Ought To Know About The Building Blocks Of Sustainable Employee Engagement

"A common held belief is that employees with a vested interest in the success of the company become much more aligned with the goals of the organization. Therefore, how could linking business sustainability concepts to employee success support both interests?  Our sustainability consulting investigates..."

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Seven Social Strategies

I often use my social media reporting skills as my note-taking device when I am attending a seminar. The more practiced you become, the quicker you can turn a golden nugget of information into 140 characters or less and not miss the next great idea to come from the speaker. At the last LinkedOC event, Amber Naslund shared a lot of information on strategy and the big picture and much of it is worth repeating, so I am going to list seven tips here that I am pulling from my "notes" (my tweets).

  1. Don't build your house on rented land. Translation: Don't use Facebook as the hub of your web presence. You don't own that real estate so it could disappear at any time. Create content on your own site or blog.
  2. Must haves for any business: Listening tool (something that tells you what people are saying about your company online, better yet, also what people are saying about your competitors, your industry, etc), internal communication system (e-mail works but there are more innovative and efficient ways of connecting employees these days), web analytics (how many people are visiting your website, how long are they staying), and CRM (Customer Relationship Manager software database). 
  3. Right now, social media is seen as a job, just as in the days of Mad Men, women used to be typists. Someday, social media will be a skill set that most people will need to have, just like now, everyone knows how to type. 
  4. Here's the trick to using social media to increase sales. Be helpful all of the time and find your customer in their time of need. The only time you should actually be pitching your product is in direct response to someone asking for a solution that fits what you have to sell.
  5. People don't connect with logos - they connect with the people behind the logos. This is why I never created a  Twitter account for Building Blocks Social Media. I am my brand, so when you interact with me on Twitter, it is really me, not some faceless company. Anyone trying to sell you social media services should be transparent about who they are, otherwise, they are probably not going to give you the advice you need for your online brand.
  6. The successful social media journey looks something like this: listening, responding, participating, storytelling. It is o.k. to take these steps slowly and master one before moving onto the next step. Amber did a great job explaining each of the steps. She probably has more information about this in her book. She did mention that if companies just answered and apologized more, they would be much further ahead of their competition.
  7. And, my favorite quote of the evening, If you don't trust your employees to tweet or Facebook for you, then you have a hiring problem, not a policy problem. It is no accident that the companies who are most successful in social media have strong corporate cultures (with happy employees).
Let me know if this article helps you clear up the confusion about what you should be focusing on. I hope to be a catalyst for anyone who takes the time to read my blog posts!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Updated Tips on Facebook Engagement

At the LinkedOC event with Amy Porterfield, I learned what is currently working for her to get customers engaged on Facebook. She recommends short posts of 80 characters or less. Twitter limits you to 140 characters, so basically, less is more with any of your social media posts. This blog post is going to cover some new best practices for Facebook profiles and pages.

Status Updates: Questions are good, but make them quick and easy to answer. My friend, Judy Kucharuk does a good job of this with her “question of the day”, which, by the way, she posts on her personal profile and not a business page. Many people answer her questions and so they get a lot of traction in the news feeds of her friends. Don’t be afraid to ask silly off-topic questions once in awhile on your business page as well. You don’t want to stray too far from the subject matter of your expertise, but you also want to seem like a real person who genuinely wants to know your audience better.

Facebook profiles are a great place for engagement. Don’t forget to provide useful information. I had started a Facebook group called “IndustryFriends” just so I would have a place where I could post meetings industry content in a place where everyone who saw it would benefit from it (as opposed to posting that type of content in my status updates where all my friends and family would see it). The group is now a thriving community where many people actively help each other with questions or problems they are facing.

Business Pages: You might want to try a program like Crowdbooster to help you determine when your audience is online and on Facebook. The number of times in a day that you should post is tricky. You want to make sure you are posting 2-5 times per day, however people will unlike you if they see you in their news feed too much. This is the reason for Facebook’s algorithm, Edgerank. Your posts won’t make it into your fans’ news feeds if they don’t get likes and comments.

I had been using HootSuite to post articles to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn at the same time and had noticed I was not getting a lot of engagement from my fans. There have been studies on both sides of this issue; however, I am going to try to post directly to each of these platforms for awhile to see if I get an increase in engagement.

404 x 404 pixel graphic posts for the new Facebook timeline are best! Photos or photos with text are the most viewed content so if you can find a way to say something in a graphic way, you should do it. Also, use subtle calls to action in your posts: “like”, “comment” and “share”. If you have a blog where you want to drive traffic, create a two minute video teaser to lead them to the blog.

Have you noticed any changes in the types of posts that show up in your news feed? What have you done that works for you?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

New Facebook Timeline for Pages

Facebook’s changes to both personal profiles and business pages have some people scrambling. Without putting some effort into it, people who view your page will be able to quickly determine that you have not made the necessary adjustments and will judge your business accordingly. I attended a LinkedOC event featuring Amy Porterfield, a Facebook expert, to get up to speed on the changes and how to leverage the new format.

If you don’t do anything else, at least add a cover photo. Here are the new specs for the cover photo and profile photo: 851x315 cover photo and 180px sq profile photo. No “calls to action” are allowed in your new cover photo. It should be mostly graphic (more pictures / less words). Note: you can’t have the word “like” in your new cover photo.

Once you have completed that task and you are ready to move on to the less obvious apps / tabs features, you will notice them now located under the cover photo. It appears that you can re-arrange all of them except for the photos tab and you can have up to 12 apps or tabs, however only four appear until you click on the arrow on the right-hand side.

With a free version of, you can pull in tweets or blog posts into one of your top 12 boxes that show up under the cover photo. It isn’t completely intuitive, but it isn’t rocket science, either. You can see an example of one I created for my Facebook page here: I don’t love it, but for a free version of something that took me less than one hour to create, it isn’t terrible. Notice, one of the new features of these apps / tabs is they have their own URLs to link to.

You have to adjust your settings on each of the tabs to change the pictures and titles of these new apps: 111 x 73 pixels for custom thumbnails on apps. There is another tab creator called, however I found their free version more limited or not as easy to use – however, they have more affordable paid versions worth checking out.

E-mail is still critical. One of the most important uses for one of these custom apps is to pull in your e-mail subscription form. Many times, people will find your Facebook page before they find your website, so you want to capture their e-mail address while they are there! Either create a tab that focuses on the e-mail capture or put it at the bottom of your tab page that has your best blog post. If they read all the way to the bottom, they are your best prospects.

If you are currently creating a new website or have a graphic designer who can create some of these elements for you, the best case scenario is to use these new tools to brand your Facebook page so that it looks like it belongs to your website.

Have you tried to make these changes yet? What challenges have you come across?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Quick Tutorial on How to Schedule Posts

YouTube Video

How to Schedule posts on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Video created for the MPISCC ROC your ROI EdCon committee.

Monday, March 5, 2012

How to build up your personal brand

Employers will Google you before they even invite you to an interview. (Your current employer probably has an eye on what you’re doing, too.) And when you interact with people, both online and offline, they’ll build up an image of who you are over time...

Friday, February 24, 2012

Do you know what people see about you online?

5 Ways To Take Back Your Reputation On The Web | Fast Company

Monday, February 20, 2012

Baby Boomers and Social Media

The statistics are constantly changing about which demographics are growing on which social networks, so I won’t even bother looking it up now to publish for this article – because it will change tomorrow! What doesn’t change, and what is harder to measure, is the possibility of personality having more to do with social network adoption than age.

It was enlightening for me to be in a session with non-twitter users when they were asked what they thought of the twitter wall in the room. (For those of you who have not seen it, a screen in a session will be dedicated to the conversation happening on twitter about the conference while it is happening.) One attendee commented that the twitter users seemed very narcissistic. This was the perfect a-ha moment for me because what she was feeling went beyond the typical complaint of "I don't want to know what you had for breakfast". The twitter community at this event had been using the event's hashtag for socializing. They were complimenting each other, teasing each other and sharing pictures of each other. However, to someone outside of that circle, it would seem narcissistic.

One session I attended talked about generation Y using social media for personal gain and generation X using it for professional gain. As a general rule, I think this is true. Baby boomers signed up for Facebook initially to keep tabs on their kids and so their original motivation was personal use. Many of them struggle with the idea of using Facebook for professional networking. I would say that if you are “friends” with people in your industry and truly have relationships with them, why would they be any different from friends outside of work? It will be interesting to test out Google+ Circles to see if this solves this dilemma for them. Most baby boomers are not interested in Twitter because they have not seen a strong enough reason for them to explore it. Until you feel like you are missing out on something, you are going to keep your distance.

These are the stereotypes that are easy to make. However, if you do some research about your stakeholders and which social networks they are using, you might be surprised.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Branding vs. Personal Branding

...Developing a personal brand is no less rewarding or intensive than product branding. Daily effort must be made to increase one’s network, refine one’s messaging, and foster relationships that lead other professionals to trust and refer business.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Are you learning from your peers?

The reason we attend industry association conferences is to learn best practices so we can make our own events better. Are you paying attention to how your peers are using social media at these events? Your attendees will not necessarily use social media in the same way your peers do at our industry association conferences. However, it might be worth noting how the community has evolved.

Now that I have attended two of the major association conferences in our industry, I can compare and contrast the communities. The first thing worth pointing out is that the most influential tweeters can be found at both events. They typically attend more than one professional development conference on a national or international level. This might seem obvious because if they are successful networkers offline, then they are probably successful networkers online. Is the same true of your constituents?

Our industry is also lucky enough to have a “non-partisan” hashtag on Twitter. This means that there is a place for us to have conversations on Twitter that is not tied to one of the industry associations. This has connected the people who only attend events sponsored by one association, or are not able to attend any of these professional development conferences. Are you paying attention to the hashtags that your constituents are using or are your organization’s hashtag the one they go to?

Over the past four years, there certainly has been a migration of people on and off Twitter in our industry. The use of “non-partisan” hashtags as well as industry association hashtags has an ebb and flow to it. The early adopters got the party started, but like any other trend, once it was not the newest thing anymore, they started slowing down the participation. Other folks figured it out in the mean time and if they were able to see a positive ROI for the time spent there, they continued to participate. Your constituents may be found at any point in this continuum. 

Are you monitoring their activity so you can make informed decisions about what your event should be providing?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Change to LinkedIn's Integration with Twitter

At an event last night held by the San Diego AdClub (which had some amazing speakers, by the way), I was having a great conversation with someone about how I use different social networks. I mentioned that LinkedIn's Status Update feature wasn't as useful as it was before they integrated twitter into the feed. Once they gave people the opportunity to post everything to LinkedIn that they tweeted, it became harder to find good content about people I was connected to.

This morning, I received an e-mail from LinkedIn letting me know they have made some changes to their integration with twitter. It seems that you can still post a status update in LinkedIn and send it to your twitter feed. You can also post a tweet on twitter - and as long as you include the #in hashtag in your tweet, it will also show up in your LinkedIn status update. This means that you are consciously choosing to post that update on both platforms, regardless of the method you use, instead of just defaulting to send a post to both without thinking about it. The third way this will continue to happen is posts that are coming from a platform like HootSuite. However, with these types of platforms, a person does have to specify which networks they are sending each message to, so it will still be intentional.

I have written in the past about sticking to a strategy for each of the platforms you participate in. Now that LinkedIn will not be as cluttered with tweets, my original strategy for LinkedIn engagement should work again. LinkedIn is your professional network / resume. You should update your status on LinkedIn with current projects you are working on, professional achievements, things you are seeking help with, etc. This will bring back the opportunity for people in your network to connect with you on these items and continue to build relationships. Unfortunately, this means that we will have to start paying attention to the LinkedIn status updates from our network again because it will contain valuable information.

While I am on the subject, I will quickly mention that the currency on twitter is links. This is the platform to share links to blogs and articles that you find helpful so that your followers will see what kind of information you are sharing. The currency on Facebook is photos. Share photos from your personal life and from your professional life. It will make you more like-able, and again, continue to build relationships. Google+ doesn't seem to have one particular currency yet because they have tried to integrate all of these things together. We will see if one type of communication emerges as the best strategy for that network.

Let me know if you have any questions about the integration between LinkedIn and twitter, or any of the other social networks.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Anti Personal Branding Article

R.I.P. Personal Branding | The BrandBuilder Blog

Sunday, January 1, 2012

#cnnnye #fail

Just one year ago, twitter seemed to be an emerging way to connect t.v. viewers together. I seem to remember seeing the twitter feed on the CNN New Year's Eve show with Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin. This year, they had a constant rolling feed of tweets, they mentioned it a few times on air and actually answered one or two questions at the end. I was monitoring the actual feed on twitter and they had enough tweets to make the trending topics list. This means that more people were tweeting with their hashtag than almost anything else on twitter last night.

Here's where they failed: instead of running the actual twitter feed, they picked out about 5 tweets every 15 minutes and just recycled them. It was an epic missed opportunity! Here you have new tweets coming in by the second - and you recycle the same ones over and over. You know that everyone who was tweeting was doing it because they wanted to see their tweet on t.v. Most of them were positive, too. If CNN had chosen to run all of the tweets except the negative ones, that would have been an improvement. In this day of transparency, however, people expect to see the good, the bad and the ugly. If you have the guts to show 5 tweets out of 100 of people who are being negative, it increases the positive sentiment that your viewers will have.

I am guessing most people weren't watching the t.v. and the twitter feed for the entire broadcast because only a few other people tweeted about the recycling of tweets. So, as it turns out, most people didn't notice what I noticed. What if they had run the actual feed? More people would have seen their tweet on air and their sentiment for CNN would have increased. CNN didn't understand that the reason they should have been doing it was not to show a few people talking about how much they were looking forward to seeing Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin on t.v., but to make the people tweeting feel important and part of something bigger than themselves.

Make your social media strategy about your customer, not about you.

Here's an interesting TED talk. MIT researcher Deb Roy starts out talking about how he wired his house with videocameras to catch 90,000 hours of video to understand how his infant son learned language. Then, he translates that experiment into the connection between millions of people watching the same thing on t.v. and having a conversation about it online.