Your Social Media Future: It’s Time to Say YES.

I continue to be amazed by how many professional people still resist social media marketing. In fact, this seems to be one of the main reasons that participants find so much value in my workshop, “Mastering the Social Media Marketing Mix.”

The US “premiere” of this workshop will be in San Francisco, next Wednesday, October 12th. The producer, Linda Kosut just sent out an email announcement to her list with the headline, “Social Media IS Our Future” including a commentary about how she personally resisted this idea for a long time.

social media marketing workshop in Auckland, NZ

"Social Media Marketing Mix" workshop in NZ

When I was in New Zealand, Mark Lowndes of the law firm Lowndes Associates described his experience this way:

“A year ago I was certain social media had no relevance to our commercial law firm.  Today I am convinced I was wrong. Social media will be an increasingly important part of our interaction with our clients and the business community at large. As with many businesses, I now believe there is no option but to learn how to engage effectively using social media.”
— Mark Lowndes, Lowndes Associates

When I speak about how important I think it is for companies and professionals of every variety to engage in social media marketing, I compare it to the ’80’s when I used to tell business audiences that email was as important as their toll free phone line. (Yes, amazing but true, not everyone recognized email at that point as an important customer service and/or sales communications channel.) I told these business people that they have to respond to their customers, and your customers have the right to communicate via any communication “channel” they want to use.

Now, your customers are “calling” you via social media. Of course, I think you should be pro-active in this new arena. But, for openers, if your toll free phone line was ringing, or you were getting email from a prospective customer, you would answer, wouldn’t you? Of course you would. Well, if you’re not engaged in social media marketing yet, please consider this your social media marketing “call.”

And, here’s a real invitation: If you are in the SF Bay Area, please do not miss the chance to experience the whole 3-hour presentation of “Mastering the Social Media Marketing Mix” at Ft. Mason, Wednesday, October 12th, 6:30 to 9:30pm. Frankly, the $99 registration fee is a remarkable value. My four-week online version of this workshop which will be announced shortly is expected to cost $397.

So this San Francisco live presentation, to a small interactive group offers great value. It will also deliver great inspiration that will motivate real productivity. And there will be tons of great information. I promise all of this, and I hope to see you there. Please click here to register and/or for more information. Thanks!

Social Media Makes the Old New Again: “If You Don’t Have Something Good to Say…”

A recent viewing of a Yahoo! video of Seth Godin reminded me that the social media “sea change” is much more than an incremental shift. It is literally a game changer. (FYI, this was also the subject of my latest TheTVNews.tv video commentary.)

It’s no wonder that so many people are either being diverted by “get rich quick” scam artists or trying to stuff social media strategies into some kind of  “same-ole-media box.”

In order to make sure that your social media marketing time is well spent, here are some provocative questions inspired by some respectable authorities that I hope will help you approach your social media marketing in a meaningful, satisfying and successful manner. After all, A Billion Dollars Isn’t Cool. You Know What’s Cool? Basic Human Decency :

  1. What’s the Difference between the Engagement Game and Actually Being Engaging?
    The Difference Between Engaged and Engaging” — a blog post by Danny Brown
  2. Why are Facebook “Fans” and YouTube Video Views a Meaningless Statistic?
    AdAge: “Sorry, but Counting Facebook ‘Fans’ or Video Views Won’t Help Your Brand
  3. What’s Wrong with Us? Are We Lazy or What?
    Social Media Fatique” — a blog post by Chris Brogan

Creating meaningful social media means moving beyond this “Social Media Fatigue.” And, it’s not going to happen unless we, as Brogan says, take the opportunity “to make something interesting and worthwhile, to be helpful, to empower others, to encourage and inspire others.” (In an earlier blog post, I called this “Leading with Value.”)

As our grandmothers used to say, “If you don’t have something GOOD to say, don’t say anything at all.”

Bottom line, real relationship building—which is what social media marketing is (or should be) all about—comes down to communicating your “basic human decency.” Now that’s “really cool.”

Luscious Links – Catching Up with the Goodness

I come across so much useful information in any given week that I’ve taken to these “Luscious Links” blog posts to try to share with you some of the best of the best that I find. Does this format work for you? Please let me know.

Google’s Focus on Quality and the PostRank Acquisition
This is an excellent & useful post from SitePoint clarifies the changing state of SEO & social media marketing. My take aways: 1. quality content rules 2. social media really does matter. 3. It’s the conversations, connections & relationships that matter most. Are you listening?

Why is Authenticity a Crucial Component of Internet Marketing?
As I’m re-grouping for the “next generation” re-invention of NewMarU.com, I was discussing with a friend, this ten-minute edited video conversation (linked above) with Robert Rabbin that came out of NewMarU’s first “guest” webinar. I LOVE what we said here and would really like more people to hear it. I sincerely believe that this is important information/perspective re marketing in the age of social media.

3 Smart Strategies for Book Promotion
Here are just a few smart ways that authors can promote their books with social media and PR. Practical steps any author can use for book marketing via SlideShare.

The “Talk Radio” Approach to Effective Email Marketing
I like the way that this CopyBlogger article underscores my core value that “it’s got to be fun.” Yes! In content marketing et al, FUN makes all the difference. Don’t you agree?

12 Awesome Facebook Stats, Charts & Graphs
Are you taking Facebook seriously as a marketing channel? If not, maybe you should check out these 12 stats via a nifty little Hubspot SlideShare presentation…

Learn How Your Website Can Be The Center Of Social Network Attention
My recent video comments on TheTVNews re social media marketing and a new solution that lets more active brands aggregate various social media conversations onto their website so it’s more of a “home base.”

How to Combine SEO and Social Media for Maximum Impact with Lee Odden
This is a good overview video interview that covers something I’ve been talking about a lot lately. It’s very important to understand the relationship between social media, SEO and content creation in order to produce effective marketing in today’s online environment. This is a valuable 5 minutes, IMHO.

Your feedback is encouraged. I’d love to hear any comments you may have.

Luscious Links: Online Video & Blogging Tips for Small Business Success

I thoroughly enjoy mining the Web for useful articles that I hope provide you with insights that can help you build your business success. The most immediate way for me to refer you to these articles is my Twitter account and our ComBridges Facebook page. Please “Follow” and/or “Like” respectively if you’d like more of this kind of stuff more quickly. These “Luscious Links” blog posts are another way for me to share these tips and insights with you. If you are so moved, please let me know which you find the most useful and share some of your favorites in the comments.

6 Steps to Uploading Pro Quality Videos to the Web
As a long time video pro, I get lots of how-to questions about best practices for producing video clips for marketing. This post has a concise list of key must-do steps. A well done post.

At YouTube Boot Camp, Future Stars Polish Their Acts
And, yes, there is a business “there” there. As this NYTimes article illuminates, even YouTube itself is offering bootcamps to help small businesses succeed.

For Some, Blogs Also Pay the Bills
A passion and sustainable focus are key components of a successful online business. OK, they are a critical component of ANY business. Without a significant time commitment and determination—let’s tell the truth—you are doomed. This is another insightful NYTimes article that includes some modest (and some not so modest) success stories.

Five minutes with Steven Pressfield, author of ‘The War of Art’, ‘Do The Work’ and ‘Gates of Fire’
And, speaking of a sustainable commitment, Steven Pressfield is one of my absolutely favorite authors because of the clarity of his inspiration. His latest book, “Do the Work” is a must read, in my opinion. Amazon affiliate link is below. Enjoy!

 

More iPhone Art Fun, Apps & Viral Video

The mobile media revolution is me. Some call it “user generated content,” but I think that’s way too impersonal and lacking in even a modicum of fun. For me, it’s a surprisingly exciting new medium that opens fresh opportunities for creative expression, anywhere, anytime.

This morning’s creative expression began with the photo below. Captured at the turn-around point on my walk using my iPhone, shooting with an app called Pro HDR and then processing it a bit (still in the iPhone) with another app called Camera+. Then, I enjoyed sharing it with my friends and followers on my personal Facebook page and Twitter account along with more personal comments. It really is a “wonderful Web.” (more below)

Another form of user generated new media expression totally cracked me up. The viral video below is something like a very funny Saturday Night Live sketch which is getting extra buzz because not everyone can see that this is an audition/demo by a young actress who is having fun playing on camera. It seems that while she was at it, she has created a viral video “hit.” At least that’s my interpretation. Have a great weekend!

Luscious Links: Free Resources for Effective Facebook Marketing

Facebook marketing may well be the next “big thing” for marketers. Sure, mobile is huge, and Google still dominates search and pay-per-click advertising. But Facebook has more registered users than anyone, currently in the range of 600 million. And, more importantly, most of these registered Facebook users provide valuable details in their personal profiles— this is very accessible and relevant information (like “job title” for example) that savvy marketers can use to make their marketing particularly well-targeted.

Thus, (in what we hope will become a weekly style of blog post) this week in “Lucious Links” we offer three FREE resources that we found useful in improving our understanding of effective marketing via Facebook, as well as some “bonus” links below:

New From Hubspot: “The Facebook Marketing Update – Spring 2011
If you are interested in do-it-yourself Facebook marketing, this is an excellent, up-to-date primer (it’s free, but registration is required.)

The 8 Success Criteria For Facebook Page Marketing
This is a solid strategic primer on Facebook Page Marketing; and it’s a free download without registration.

Facebook Publishes Guide to Social Marketing Best Practices
You could do a lot worse than this overview straight from the Facebook “horse’s mouth.” Solid, free advice. You can’t go wrong with the five core principles featured in this well-produced, 14-page PDF (direct download link above).

If you don’t believe that Facebook is important for marketing, how about these numbers showing dramatic increases in website traffic just from adding Facebook “Like” buttons?

And in other news…

Comcast Threatened To Pull Nonprofit Funding Over Tweet
This is a classic demonstration of what NOT to do via a real bonehead corporate move that backfired big time thanks to the Twitterverse and social media. Marketing Pilgrim covered it well.

Speaking of Comcast, I did a video commentary / review recently on TheTVNews.tv of the Comcast Xfinity iPad app as well as the HBO Go iPad app with what I viewed as an inevitable comparison to what I consider the state-of-the-art, the Netflix iPad app.

Enjoy and please comment. Do you like this kind of link aggregation? Did you find this post useful? Thanks!

Follow the Data | How Netflix, Amazon & Warner Bros Are Pointing the Way

As I was preparing this week’s New Media / New Marketing report for TheTVNews.tv, my good friend, Nick DeMartino sent me a very timely reference with his post, Can Data Save the (Hollywood) Studios in the Age of Social Media?

As I produced that segment (embedded below) and continued following the news, an immediate theme emerged: The power of data mining as perhaps THE major way big websites like Amazon and Netflix (and now Warner Brothers) gain leverage, and how it motivates major initiatives—including the casting of major TV series. Of course, this same power of customer data is also in the background of the major battle between Google and Facebook! Certainly at the top of the market, user data is the ultimate weapon and differentiator. Here are a few very current examples.

First, Nick’s post led me to recognize Warner Brothers as a new Hollywood studio leader in social media marketing. As you can see in the video which is embedded at the bottom of this post, I not only connect Warner—who is the producer of “Two and a Half Men”—with the casting of Ashton Kutcher, but with their recent Flixster acquisition (see Nick’s post) and with Warner’s innovative move renting movies via Facebook.(Flixster, btw, is my favorite iPhone/iPad movie app. I’ve even posted reviews there.)

Then, in today’s news came the announcement of a major new move by Amazon.com. The power of data mining, their extensive knowledge of customer data, and their knowledge of customer behavior is clearly a big part of the leverage that has motivated Amazon to join the “big leagues” of book publishing.

Finally, my favorite example of using the power of customer data is the Netflix recommendation engine, which certainly is part of what motivated them to license their first original TV production via their House of Cards deal. Along those lines, I think everyone can benefit from listening to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings on Charlie Rose to learn more about how they think.

Below is my new video analyzing Twitter’s impact on the casting of Ashton Kutcher a.k.a. @aplusk in his new role on “Two And A Half Men,” including those Warner Bros tie-ins mentioned above.

As always, I will be very grateful for any “likes” of this video and/or any comments on this blog or on YouTube. I look forward to your feedback. And, whatever you do, be sure to Follow the Data (and if you need help doing that via your own website analytics or Internet marketing campaign, please don’t hesitate to ask). 😉

 

iPhone Art, iPad Ease & the Mobile Revolution

Tonight I’m doing my first “art show” as an iPhone artist. It’s a small, private showing amongst just a few other creative people. I’m sure it’s not a career “game changer.” But, it’s certainly fun to have some images that I created with just my iPhone (and a variety of apps) that at least someone is calling “art.”

On the other hand, I am quite certain that the iPhone and the iPad are game changers—for me and for the world. As a qualified media wizard and innovator, I think there are still a lot of people who don’t yet understand what a majorly disruptive force all of this mobile tech stuff is—creatively, socially and economically.

Created entirely in iPhone

Personally, I am consistently delighted by the ways that all of this innovation provides opportunities for connections and all kinds of communications between more and more of us, all the way around “spaceship earth.”

In the spirit of all this, I’d like to offer a couple of  audio-visual “windows” into what is really an emerging new media world. Just in the past week, the following appeared to underscore this trend:

1. A two and a half year old child, appearing in a crowd-sourced video, demonstrates how intuitive the iPad is to use:

2. Twitter celebrates its 5th Birthday with a fun celebrity-infused promotion that extoles us to “follow your interests” and “discover your world” (fun):

3. I find another way to play and have fun creating “art” via an app called Flowpaper (used to create signature below)

So, whether or not my iPhone art catches on and gains any traction (fat chance) beyond my more-than-recreational enjoyment, if you don’t yet “get it” then please trust me: smart phones and smart tablets like the iPhone and iPad are hear to stay. Not only are they profoundly ubiquitous but they are remarkably easy to use (well easier to use than a PC… way!). This new electronic environment… ok, “canvas” promises to change things even more dramatically than the advent of the Web has already done. Really.

It will be a fun ride. Come on along. And, if you are already “on board,” thanks for playing. 😉

Stay tuned. Much, much more to come.

(signature image created with Flowpaper app)

New Video: On the Paramount Importance of Authenticity in Online Marketing

As I discussed in the Tuesday, February 15th edition of TheTVNews.tv, authenticity has become not only the theme of our initial webinars on NewMarU.com, but it has captured my focus as a marketer because I believe now more than ever, that authenticity is the heart of the matter when it comes to Internet marketing and social media marketing in particular.

Robert Rabbin on NewMarU.com webinar

While we work on other products (future digital video and audio downloads and a possible ebook), I want to make my conversation with Robert Rabbin, the author of Authenticity Accelerator: How to Live an Authentic Life in Ten Words, as widely available as possible. At this point, there is a one-hour webinar which is only available to Founding Members of NewMarU.com (sign up here); but I’ve edited ten-minutes of highlight excerpts and posted that video below (via our new NewMarketingU YouTube channel) and I hope you find it as valuable as I do.

Bottom line, authenticity is essential because it helps to build relationships; and real relationships with your customers, audiences or other constituencies is crucial. It’s truly of paramount importance. Nothing matters more than your relationship with your circles of influence. Only with authenticity can your communications cut through the noise and the clutter of today’s media marketing environment.

In the ten minute video below, Robert and I talk about why this is true, including how authenticity builds:

  • Engagement
  • Trust
  • And, is an extension of your essential “I want”

In the one hour version, we also discuss how authenticity can lead to a real kind of magic and “miracles.” It’s exciting stuff. I hope this video gives you a taste and inspires you. I look forward to your comments and feedback. If you like this video, please share it and “Like” it etc. Thanks!

Another Authentic Link

Also of interest on the subject of authenticity and mentioned in the TheTVNews.tv video clip linked in the first paragraph is TheNextWeb’s article, Humanizing Brands with Social Media: An Interview with Benjamin Palmer. Palmer is “head of one of the hippest digital creative agencies in New York City” and very insightful on ways that marketing has dramatically changed as well as how businesses of all sizes can be successful by humanizing and making their marketing more authentic.

TokBox Online Video Platform Looks Interesting…

Tokbox LogoNext Wednesday, I’ll be blogging and tweeting from GigaOM’s Net:Work 2010 conference. And while browsing their site, I noticed an honorable mention of TokBox and started exploring. Their online video platform supports group video chat and much more.

This afternoon I was able to have an instant video chat hooking up to a friend via Facebook (whose API along with Twitter’s and others has apparently been integrated). We also easily and seamlessly shared a YouTube video. Pretty cool right out of the freebie level “box.”

I also watched a video message from a member of the TokBox team and will be investigating their Video Conferencing platform for NewMarU, our New Marketing University project about which you’ll be hearing more soon.

Meanwhile, here’s an embedded Tokbox window (I thought I was going to leave you a Holiday Greeting, but that didn’t work out). I’d love to hear your feedback and you can even send me a video message at – jon -at- combridges -dot- com-. If any of you have any experience with TokBox or comparable platforms that support multiple video presenters et. al. for webinars I’d be especially interested. Thanks!

TokBox – Free Video Chat and Video Messaging