It’s the last day of July, and I realize that I haven’t written a blog post this month. Well, it’s not that I haven’t written one, it’s that they’ve gone elsewhere.
I even got to be a part of a JibJab, which, quite frankly, I didn’t even know what a JibJab was until I was featured in one!
I’ve also written a guest post which will appear in a DC-area magazine in October (more details on that at a future time).
Additionally, I’m working on a blog post and presentation for a flash learning session at ASAE Annual on “Content Marketing Lessons from Major Brands for Associations and Nonprofit Organizations”. I’m excited about the brands which are willing to talk about their successes for this work. I have a feeling that it’s not going to be a one time and we’re done kind of topic.
I’d also like to explore further the concept of walking meetings or sessions. What are the best cities or venues for walking sessions? How do presenters weave architecture, history, nature, scenery, etc. into the topic at hand? Have you had an experience with this concept? What are your thoughts and feedback?
I’ve advised more clients on visual social media in the past month than ever before. I’m excited about the ways businesses and nonprofits can use Pinterest, Instagram, Vine, and other platforms to better connect with and engage their audiences.
As always, I welcome your comments and feedback below or on Twitter.
08.06 Update: My flash learning session on content marketing lessons for associations at ASAE ’13 is today at10:45 am in Room B218.
I knew that things were becoming more visual in social media. I even tell that to people frequently. YouTube has been cited as the second largest search engine. Pinterest has grown immensely in popularity in the past two years.
But, as I sit here on a Friday afternoon- the last Friday afternoon of June, and the last Friday afternoon in the first half of 2013- I realize how much my own use has changed in this regard just in the past three weeks.
I now have a Vine account where users can create 6-second looping videos. I’ve used the app to capture moments ranging from my younger son’s field day to a monster truck ride to the disappearance of my morning juice which reveals a photo of my sons in the background. While these are merely experimental, it’s amazing to see what really creative minds have done to take advantage of the six seconds and the looping effect. The appeal comes in that it’s a small investment of time (in fact, it’s so small that one may find themselves watching a video over and over), and it provides a richer experience than a static image. I have to give a shout out to Chris Brooks of Hilton Worldwide whose simple video of cycling around New York City caught my attention and prompted me to sign up for Vine.
Then three days ago I read Ernie Smith’s piece on Why Instagram Can’t Be Ignored. Instagram now has 130 million active users and has launched its video functionality as well. Again, I felt the nudge and activated an account. I found myself looking through photos on my iPhone from the past several months for just the right ones to Instagramize. I’m certainly not one with a trained eye in this regard (my wife is the artist), but I couldn’t help looking through framing and filtering options, trying to decide if Amaro or Hefe or Kelvin was just the right look for a given image. I’ve found the platform to be a great way to connect with friends and those from professional circles alike.
So, as we move to a more visual web, it’s also reminder not to be stagnant. The social media landscape is quickly changing and evolving. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn may be the primary three platforms for many individuals and organizations, but opportunities may be lost for those who think those are the end game. Take time to dabble and experiment. You might be pleasantly surprised with how a new platform can connect you with your audience.
What trends are you seeing with the evolving visual web and social media? What new platforms or apps have you started experimenting with? What are the lessons for organizations as they seek to connect with and inform their employees, customers, and members?
I present to you “Digital East in Less Than 180 Seconds”: the best of the notes, quotes, tweets, and posts from Digital East 2012. I have organized these topically rather than by session or chronologically. I have put in bold ones that are my personal favorites or resonated with me in some way. May the content below inform and inspire you to more and better in the digital space!
- Facebook ads outperform Google ads and are much cheaper.
- 99% of sales on Facebook are from Facebook users who see ad but don’t interact with it. Brad Smallwood
- 54% of Facebook traffic comes from mobile.
- Brand pages reach only 16% of fans each week on average.
- 65% of consumer engagement across Facebook is on timeline; 29% in newsfeed, 6% in ticker.
- Photos and videos drive most engagement on Facebook’s top 10 brand pages.
- Facebook posts that include photos are 180% more effective than text posts.
- Videos posted on Facebook are 12x more likely to be shared than links + texts combined.
- Users spend 432 minutes/month on Facebook.
- Fastest growing Facebook segment is women 55+. Have doubts? See
@AARP‘s Facebook page.
- Shark Week: 20 million viewers; 1.6 million tweets; 35% of cable TV social conversations about Shark Week.
- The heart of everything you share on a social network is a story.
- There is marketer and audience. But we are all slaves to third party platforms we use.
- Engage your customers before you meet them.
- LinkedIn is an oft missed social property for brands; you already have a presence – use it.
- It takes 2 secs to create a channel; takes a lot longer to create a community.
- Ad dollars are moving online at a record pace- to display, video, mobile, social. Digital would outspend TV by 2016.
- Social networks reach 82% of the online population.
- Two types of social media: bridging (people not like you) and bonding (people like you).
- Must-read social media books from
@gbyehuda: Connected, The Shallows, True Enough, Cognitive Surplus, Reality is Fun
- We talk a lot about listening & engagement but people still want to listen primarily for compliments.
@devonvsmith‘s Twitter tools to check out: Crowdbooster, FollowerWonk, Topsy, Rowfeeder.
- What to share on social? 10% direct promos, 30% links to company content, 60% links to 3rd party content .
- The social web is about communities of interest.
- Google+ is driving engagement… but not traffic. Important for another reason.
- Pinterest generates more clicks than LinkedIn, Google+, StumbleUpon and Twitter.
- Make everyone part of the social media team. Increases buy-in and brings new ideas to the table.
- PBS has a 1x/wk social strategy meeting that includes anyone who has an interest in social.
- Empower your staff to become your brand. People want to follow people, not organizations.
- Convey the significance of numbers with visuals.
- 90% of information transmitted to brain is visual. YouTube & Pinterest are platforms leveraging this statistic.
- Storify makes anyone a journalist; Instagram makes anyone a photographer. Users will be creative w/ your content.
- An Instagram is worth a thousand tweets.
- Turn quotes into images and use them on Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr.
- 40% of top brands have Instagram.
- Approach every campaign by thinking about how it can be represented visually and in graphics.
- Video infographics are the immediate future of video marketing.
- 20% of online video views click away from a video in the first 10 seconds or less.
- People watch 12-14 minutes of live streaming vs. 2-3 on an archived platform (like YouTube).
- #1 reason to stream live media: to amplify a brand event.
- Facebook uses live streaming to connect w/ users who can’t be there. 1500 present, 450000 online.
- There is a tremendous opportunity in digital audio. Saves time. Think podcasts.
- Mobile photo apps can do 90% of what Photoshop can do.
- Visual marketing is the trend. Infographics rule.
- 70% of desktop searches lead to transactions within a month. 70% of mobile searches lead to transactions within a day.
- 64% of mobile time is spent in apps.
- Simple thank you emails without ask for donation brought higher-than-average end-of-year donations for Nature Conservancy.
Word of mouth
- 80% of all purchase cycles involve some form of word of mouth recommendation.
- Content strategy must be rich, repurpose, recycle. Write once; use many.
- Sweet spot for valuable content: Intersection of your goals w/ your customers’ interests & pain points.
For more from Digital East check out “Top 10 #DEast12 Tweets We Absolutely *Love*” from Ruiz McPherson Communications and the Storify “Digital East 2012: The 10 Best Things I Learned” by Dan Oshinsky of StryUs.
What would you add to this list? What are your key takeaways? What other Digital East 2012 blog posts or links to presentations have you gotten additional insights from? (Feel free to provide links below.)
I’d also like to thank Casey Higgins, Michael Murray, Leigh George, Scott Shepherd, Joseph Olesh, Philip Luca, Chris Brooks, Merge, Timberlake, Razoo, Extole, Amy Bridges, Yvette McKechnie, Angela Brown, David Plotz, A.K. Strout, Todd Thurman, Devon Smith, Mick Winters, Heather Kuldell, Melissa Makfinsky, Susan Cato, Allison Wallace, Kevin Dando, Christie Michalec, and so many others who made it fun and interesting and for their tweets, presentations, comments, and contributions to my understanding.
I was inspired by Shelly Alcorn‘s post on this concept of 5 words for 2012 as well as Lowell Aplebaum‘s subsequent response. Basically, the idea is selecting 5 words you want to use to help guide your priorities, time, reading, professional development, etc. You then post these 5 words in a visible place as a reminder.
For my 5 words I’m sticking to concepts that are relevant to my professional development while not necessarily being central to my daily tasks. In other words these are primarily areas of interest for me while also having a bearing on my work life. Lastly, each of these concepts is of some importance to the circles I move in and as a result I’ve had opportunities over the past year for learning and discussions around these. I expect many more in 2012.
My 5 words for 2012 are (drumroll please)…
Mobile- More and more statistics show what kind of computing is being done via mobile devices. More email than ever is being sent via mobile. e-Commerce on smartphones is seeing dramatic increases. I was astounded to learn from a presentation by Luke Wroblewski (@lukew) at ASAE Tech ’11 earlier this month that many people around the world are using only mobile devices. In other words what they see in the palm of their hand is the only way they see that information. They never see what I take for granted on the larger screen of a laptop. If you’re not thinking mobile, you’ve been asleep Rip Van Winkle-style. The phone is not used much as a phone much anymore. The implications for conferences, social networking, e-Commerce, geolocation, etc. are huge. I want to give more thought and attention to mobile, what kind of experiences I’m looking for in apps, mobile sites, functionality, and how that translates to people I talk with regularly.
Innovation– It seems to me that the recent death of Steve Jobs has only served to bring the concept of innovation more to the forefront. Jobs, seemingly the patron saint of innovation, is referenced frequently in discussions on the topic (I’ve even done it myself, not because I’m an Apple fanatic but because his life, methods, and products bring out great illustrations). More organizations are having discussions around streamlining. Gone are the days when an association tried to be all things to all people. We’ve seen how large businesses can fail because they didn’t focus on their core competencies. The public is crying out for more customized experiences. They want- no, they demand to see value for hard-earned dollars. This will force creativity and innovation from otherwise complacent organizations. I like what I heard from Scott Steen and Jeffrey Cufaude (@jcufaude) at an ASAE InnovationTalks Day. basically that how one frames the question will help to determine the results. Are you trying to build a better mousetrap? Is the problem getting ride of mice? Are you trying to create a safe and clean environment? Are you a problem solver or an innovator? In 2012 I want to think more along the lines of being an innovator and be an integral part of discussions with organizations that are willing to look at their missions with fresh sets of eyes.
Improvisation- Because, after all, how much of life is scripted? Through the work of Jenise Fryatt I’ve been exposed to more concepts and principles regarding improvisation. It’s not just for comedy clubs anymore. Improvisation has applications related to sales, customer service, social networking, etc. and for interactions with members, colleagues, customers, prospects, and partners. Companies, associations, and even governments can no longer hide behind well-scripted statements and press releases. Teaching the skills of improvisation while giving employees appropriate training in other areas and empowering them to make decisions leads to responsive individuals and organizations. I’m looking to learn more in the area of improvisation and apply to my interactions with others. And, it’s just so darn fun!
Collaboration- I’m all for any tools, resources, or methods which allow people to work more closely together. Technology is some of the answer, but it’s not all. Corporate culture dictates whether a collaborative spirit thrives or is moderately successful or dies despite the rhetoric. As I heard Jeff De Cagna say recently, “No one person in the room is smarter than everyone in the room.” We give mental assent to this kind of notion but then go back to departments, divisions, or agencies and then act as solitary agents, never seeking best practices, never asking for the input of an experienced colleague, in effect never tapping into the expertise that is all around us. In 2012 I want to do my part to be more collaborative, to learn more about collaborative technologies and techniques, and to set the tone for others in collaborative endeavors.Engagement- I try to be engaged wherever I am, whether it’s in a one-on-one discussion, at a conference, online, or on the phone. I respond to others’ ideas and acknowledge their contributions. I take note of what interests those around me, and I myself have varied interests. In short I’m engaged. So, why is this a word I have selected for 2012? Because the name of the game for organizations moving forward is engagement: customer engagement, membership engagement, community engagement, constituency engagement, etc. You get the idea. Social media has only expedited and elevated this concept. Social media could go away tomorrow, and I’m convinced that we’d still be left with this sense that engagement matters. The public no longer wants to be talked to, lectured, sold to. They want to interact- with athletes, with actors, with elected officials, with brands. They want to provide input. They’ve been talking to their friends, neighbors, and co-workers for years, offering opinions and insights. Now they’re just willing to make them public, a part of a permanent landscape of online feedback. Tapping into this power of engagement will be key for all types of organizations. And I, for one, want to learn more and offer more in the way of engagement.
If I had to choose a sixth word it would be gamification. Why? Because it has some interesting applications and potential. And it’s just fun to say. Say it with me now: “gamification“. And now try using it in a conversation with someone today. Do they know what it means?
Oh, and if you have any reading material, blogs, conferences, etc. related to any of the letters in my MIICE, send ’em my way. After all, I’m here to learn as much from you as hopefully you are learning from me.
You have an opportunity every day to connect with your online community in genuine and profound ways. How you do that is up to you, your personal style, your goals, your community, etc. It should follow a few guidelines though.
- First, one of my favorite sayings is, “You can’t fake sincerity.” If you’re really not interested in others and what they have to say, it’s going to show. Your self-centeredness will reveal itself as you drone on and on about yourself, your accomplishments, your agenda, and/or your organization. It’s much like the guy at the party who keeps bragging about his job, his cars, his awards, his money, etc. He hasn’t taken the slightest interest in you, and you can’t wait to excuse yourself for a visit to the bathroom or to grab some more shrimp cocktail.
- If you’re managing some portion of the online presence for an organization, you are the rock star, the pro athlete, the actor, the model to many in your online community. I call it the Mean Joe Greene moment. Mean Joe Greene played for the fabled Steelers of the 1970s. Remember the resulting Coke commercial? A kid gives Mean Joe Greene a Coke after a game. As he turns to go, Mean Joe Greene tosses the boy his football jersey. While the kid was excited about getting the jersey of a professional football player, I would contend that the commercial resonated with us because we felt the connectedness between the average kid and the superstar, between an unknown boy and his hero. With social media you have an opportunity to make this kind of connection and impact every day. If your community isn’t getting this from you, they’ll invest their time and efforts elsewhere.
- I’m re-appropriating the term digital authenticity (#digitalauthenticity #authenticity) for a different purpose. I talked recently in a Higher Logic webinar about the importance of taking the concept of a handwritten note to your online community. Handwritten notes (not ones that are mass-produced to look like handwritten notes) are impactful because we get so few of them. We are inundated with blast emails, banner ads, print ads, etc. What stands out is something that is genuine, that is personalized, that is intended for one person. Therein lays the beauty and power of social media. If you’re not utilizing your online community to make these personal connections for your organization, you’re missing out. How does the concept of a handwritten note translate to online activity? I’m not entirely sure; but digital authenticity includes recognizing people as individuals, using a person’s name when addressing them, and directing content at times to a single person where appropriate.
- Most of us are familiar with the term crowdsourcing. Basically, it’s the notion that you ask a question to a random group of people (the “crowd”) to get to a solution or idea. I’d like to promote the concept of community sourcing (#communitysourcing). My guess is that you have at your fingertips an online community that is knowledgeable, well-informed, and involved. Utilize them, and they’ll appreciate it. I’m not talking about more surveys, polls, or evaluation forms. I’m also not talking about questions where you already know the answer or have a predetermined agenda. Ask genuine questions of your online community. You may be amazed at what your community will come back with. They may respond with more insight and creativity than you imagined they would. You get the benefits. And guess what? They’ll be engaged in the process more than ever before. Don’t forget to thank them personally, and they’ll be even more willing to assist the next time.
What approaches enable you to better connect? What ways have you found to effectively engage your online community?
I’ve been giving some thought to what people expect regarding customer service on social media.
They want their voices to be acknowledged, their experiences validated, and their concerns addressed. In short, customers want to know that they’ve been heard.
Recently, I’ve had some very positive experiences on social media with brands, and I’ve had some that left me wanting.
For this post, let’s start with the positive. Let me say that if I mention a positive interaction with a brand on social media, I like getting an acknowledgment. If I don’t get an acknowledgment, does it make me think less of the brand? Not really. But if a brand is listening and validates my experience, does that make me think even more positively about them? It certainly does.
Two recent examples come to mind. With the start of the new year, we had our sons switch rooms (since one room is significantly larger than the other it seemed only fair that after nearly 6 years they should switch). My wife offered redecorating as part of the switch. My older son is a huge Packers fan so we surprised him with a Greg Jennings Fathead. My son came home from school to find it on his wall. I captured his excited expression moments later beside the Fathead with my Droid and posted the photo to my Twitter account using Twitpic. Here’s the response I received from Fathead:
Last week was the 6th celebration of my 39th birthday. My wife and I went to The Cheesecake Factory for my birthday lunch. I posted my plans to my Twitter account. The Cheesecake Factory responded that afternoon with this:
I then replied that I had enjoyed the mushroom burger & Kahlua cheesecake, to which they responded:
Now… do either of these interactions mean I’ll never choose their competitors? No. But do they make me think even more positively about what was already a positive experience? In the words of former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, “You betcha.” Next time I’m looking to decorate a wall or celebrate a birthday, will I give Fathead and The Cheesecake Factory extra consideration? Definitely.
I’m surprised more organizations aren’t doing this. It just takes someone devoted to listening to and joining these conversations. Social media engagement creates a competitive advantage for those organizations willing to invest the time and resources. So, way to go, Fathead and The Cheesecake Factory! You are two companies that are doing social media the right way.
It should be noted that I have in no way been compensated by Fathead or The Cheesecake Factory for my remarks… that doesn’t mean that I would be opposed to a free Clay Matthews Fathead or free White Chocolate Caramel Macadamia Nut Cheesecake. 🙂 Hey… anybody listening?
ChatterBachs hosted a #SMfastfwd tweetchat with a special #SoMeT tie-in on Wednesday, November 10th. Here is a recap of that tweetchat. I’ve tried to put in a format where the actual flow is easier to follow and makes sense, background chatter has been minimized, and so that the most valuable information and insights from #SMfastfwd are presented without this blog post getting too long. Again, it was quite the flurry of activity with so many great insights and comments being contributed. A special thanks to the following guest panelists/participants for making this #SMfastfwd tweetchat a great success: Richard Bonds of visitPA (@visitPA), Anne Hornyak (WhosYourAnnie), and Jenny Matheny (MathenyJenny) of @TNVacation and @paramoreredd.
How has #socialmedia impacted what you do on a daily/weekly basis?
ArcadiaPD: Improving community engagement, another tool for notifications & effective communication.
visitPA: SM channels have become a primary way 4 us 2 promote PA – especially w/ mkting budget cuts
transpr: Compare to 5 yrs ago, we have ability to be our own “newsroom” to communciate directly with public. No more middle men.
WhosYourAnnie: social media is on the brain 24/7
TravelND: and to extend our brand in places we couldn’t touch with traditional media.
BSStoltz: #SM amplifies my who I can reach and who reaches me – and shortens the learning curve.
How are #socmedia responsibilities divided in your org?
visitPA: we handle all SM channels 4 dept: tourism, film & EconDev, FB,Twitter, 4sq Flickr Youtube,linkedIn & blog
WhosYourAnnie: I think if SoMe responsibilities are divided, the organization really needs to be organized and have solid strategy. Start with strategy. Then account for processes and people.
NCCmeet: All social media by our marketing assistant, however talk of creating a marketing team w/ diff. departments
MathenyJenny: I am the primary strategizer & executioner of all things social for @tnvacation. I have help when I’m on vacay.
BSStoltz: It’s not in the hands of interns or newbies, that’s for sure. It’s too important to pass off and forget about it.
mobethann: Me, myself, and I! NO one else here “gets it.”
How have interactions with the public changed w/ the use of #socmedia?
WhosYourAnnie: Tourism organizations can reach out to individual visitors now. It’s not about pushing your info. It’s about helping others.
MathenyJenny: More personal tips, and insider info is being pass around to complete strangers. Great way to be in the “know”.
visitPA: more personal interactions enables us 2 have an honest personality & can be more responsive & timely
NCCmeet: Interactions with the public are selfless. SM is not to promote yourself but to share info and expect nothing in return
Keri_Mellott: Quicker responses help the public engage with brands in real time. Adds to cust satisfaction & smiles 🙂
What are the biggest challenges your org faces with regard to #socialmedia?
WhosYourAnnie: Time Management
mobethann: Staff time, support, proving ROI to director and board, tracking results.
visitPA: Fighting the “fad notion”, changes in administration may mean changes, finding the right best next thing 🙂
Keri_Mellott: Challenge- getting businesses to learn the tools, then incorporate into a consistent strategy to build presence & credibility
samallgood: Lack of employee knowledge and passion stemming from lack of same among city management
Kelly_Ryan_: Biggest challenge is getting tourism partners to understand importance of SM! Some get it, some don’t!
NCCmeet: 1st it was trying to figure out our strategy – now its trying to convince others why they should be involved in social media
RvanHilst: Not letting socmed become the magic bullet for every problem. If there’s no biz strategy, there’s no social media strategy.
Where have you seen the most success in integrating #socialmedia w/ other comms efforts?
visitPA: Everything has 2 work together from website 2 SM channels 2 adv & PR-all supporting each other
mobethann: We created @ChiefsinStJo FB page when we got the KC Chiefs Training camp. Earned over 3000 fans in weeks. Highly successful.
WhosYourAnnie: most success is when you use networks together in campaign. Must have strategy and goals.
transpr: SM allows real-time engagement for public impact on projects I work on such as road impacts. Invaluable tool now.
NCCmeet: Our blogs about local events. Using WP Stats we can see what visitors searched 2 find it -often used search terms 4 the event
MathenyJenny: Social has to be integrated in all mktg. outlets. If u aren’t cohesive in brand/message, then u aren’t doing it right
Keri_Mellott: The key is in the combination of using #socialmedia online with meeting IRL to strengthen ur message & build trust.
What’s one lesson you’ve learned from #socmedia that you now apply to “real life”?
mobethann: Talk TO and WITH people, not AT them.
Keri_Mellott: How important it is to stay in touch. Whether friends from HS or new clients. Staying in contact is so easy now!
carlapmurray: People appreciate it most when you say something meaningful…and they like pretty pictures too.
desabol: To be present and spend more time listening than talking.
In what new way will you begin to utilize #socialmedia in 2011?
carlapmurray: QR Codes and smartphone apps.
visitPA: keep moving ahead, we launched @foursquare badges this yr & works really well 4 us, keeping pulse on next thing
MathenyJenny: I’ll be doing more social related contests, FB deals, QR codes, and focusing on the conversation.
NCCmeet: In 2011, Engage in more meeting planner/travel/#eventprofs discussions & blogs. And, have our sales team become active on SM
desabol: Location based apps, more mobile, exploring QR tags, and integrating things even further.
brianjohnriggs: Also working on integrating SM with traditional communication tools/vehicles (like postcards) to created blended experience
The following comments while not directly related to a specific question were just too funny or too insightful not to include in this recap:
Keri_Mellott: My hot oatmeal is now cold sitting next to me. Too much fun on #SMfastfwd! haha
BSStoltz: It’s “soft” money. With a sound strategy & measurable objecties + time, U reap rewards that would cost much more.
MathenyJenny: Reaffirms that social is about being personal & having a convo. W/O that personal touch, social will fail.
I welcome your additions, comments, and questions. Thanks again to everyone for your contributions to #SMfastfwd. I look forward to having you join us again for #SMfastfwd on 11.17 at 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
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