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Everybody is a Student in Social Media

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social-mediamanagementEverybody is a student in social media.” This is one of the first phrases I stated last night when I taught my first class on “Introduction to Social Media for Small Businesses” at Madonna University.

There are no social media experts. There are no social media ninjas or gurus or geniuses. Instead there are different levels of students. Some students are more developed and some are still getting their sea legs. In staying with the karate theme, last night I had a class of white belts. I could have taken the class and jumped right into how many times to post and what to do when but I did not. I brought them to the ground level.

Now some people may not have enough patience for the ground level. The ground level is the most important. Look at the leaning tower of Pisa. I was there. Its beautiful but its foundation was so messed up for so long that the building was about to topple over. They had to create a whole project that involved the greatest modern minds in masonry, architecture and the like to reset this foundation. And, after all of that you know what they say? In 200 years it will be leaning the other way just as much. By that point, a whole new generation will have to worry about keeping it erect.

The point of that story is that if the foundation, the ground level, was set properly, we would not have to worry about going back and fixing [retraining] from the ground level. Also, you can think about your favorite musician. Chuck Berry did not start out his life playing Johnny B. Goode. It took him years to find that style. He had to learn the basics from teachers, like jazz guitarist Ira Davis.

Social media is very public and the ground level is just the first important step. By the looks of social media today I think many higher level social media students would say that a lot of us need to go back and take another look at that ground level.

In social media I see these self-explanatory levels from highest to lowest:

Well-established and committed
Comfortable, but hungry
Getting it
Hungry for more
Gaining steam
Testing the waters
White belt
Misinformed

What’s your level?

17 Social Media Quotes From 17 Presidents

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kennedysSeventeen social media quotes from 17 Presidents? That is impossible. My dear friend, if you have not learned by now, nothing is impossible. The idea of being social transcends generations. It is all a matter of how you apply the meaning behind quote. Below include 17 different Presidents with sound advice for the social media professional. It is up to you to derive the meaning. After all, I cannot give away all the secrets!

  1. Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction. – John F. Kennedy
  2. Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light. – George Washington
  3. Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe. – Abraham Lincoln
  4. When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on. – Franklin D. Roosevelt
  5. Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek. – Barack Obama
  6. Sometimes when people are under stress, they hate to think, and it’s the time when they most need to think. – Bill Clinton
  7. Surround yourself with the best people you can find, delegate authority, and don’t interfere as long as the policy you’ve decided upon is being carried out. – Ronald Reagan
  8. In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. – Thomas Jefferson
  9. My failures have been errors in judgment, not of intent. – Ulysses S. Grant
  10. Pull the string, and it will follow wherever you wish. Push it, and it will go nowhere at all. – Dwight D. Eisenhower
  11. Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care. – Theodore Roosevelt
  12. I would rather the man who presents something for my consideration subject me to a zephyr of truth and a gentle breeze of responsibility rather than blow me down with a curtain of hot wind. – Grover Cleveland
  13. Those who have wrought great changes in the world never succeeded by gaining over chiefs; but always by exciting the multitude. The first is the resource of intrigue and produces only secondary results, the second is the resort of genius and transforms the universe. – Martin Van Buren
  14. The advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty. – James Madison
  15. Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence. – John Adams
  16. We must adjust to changing times and still hold to unchanging principles. – Jimmy Carter
  17. It’s a damn poor mind that can only think of one way to spell a word. – Andrew Johnson

Social media is simply another way to communicate. Principles behind it in regards to public relations will nearly remain the same. These living and dead President’s are speaking about war, government, economy and the nation. They did not plan to have the meanings of any part of these speeches apply to social media directly. However, indirectly, they certainly apply. History can teach us many things. The funny thing that I notice is, we are not much different as people. We have advanced technologically in many ways but the principles of our forefathers are almost unchanged. What is the best advice you have ever received from someone unexpected that you applied to social media?

How Often Should I Be Logged Into Social Media?

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computer-typingBeing a social marketing professional I have noticed the same question popping up over the years — how often should I be logged in? This and other questions seem to reform themselves and surface in most conversations regarding social media strategy. The problem is, it is entirely the wrong way to look at business.

To truly understand social media you must stay on top of it daily, read continuous amounts of articles and insight from other industry professionals, and overall just use it. Compiled below are a list of three social media questions that seem to arise in most conversations with people who may not truly understand social media. They are as follows:

  1. How often should I be logged in? The better question I have is how often can you afford not to listen to your customers and engage with them? When you word the question that way it is much more difficult to even ask. Social media does not start at 9AM and stop at 5PM, especially if you are a global brand. For some companies, their best engagement happens after 10PM. This is why it is very important to have at least one dedicated social media specialist at an organization, and depending on the size of the organization you may need more. For the entire General Motors brand, they have…

Read the entire article on the Talent Zoo blog Beyond Madison Avenue at: http://www.talentzoo.com/beyond-madison-ave/blog_news.php?articleID=18211

4 Brand Twitter Fails and 4 Ways to Prevent Them

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Capitalizing on trending topics can give businesses the reach that they need on Twitter — if used correctly. Sometimes the tweets do not work and just come back to haunt the business. This is particularly true when it relates to political and social events. While tweeting about a trending topic can be a great way to advertise your company, it can also have harmful effects. Hashtags can be friend and foe to large corporations. Here are four examples of Twitter fails in relation to political events:

  1. #DreamDay: The Martin Luther King Jr. “I Have a Dream” speech is one of the most revered speeches in history. It holds the actual dreams of an entire generation of people who went through unnecessary evils. The Golf Channel decided to capitalize on the 50th anniversary of the speech with this tweet:@GolfChannel Tweet your ‘golf’ dream on the 50th anniversary of MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech using: #DreamDay: I have a dream that ___________. 

golfchannel-tweet-fail

  1. #frankenstorm: Hurricane Sandy was a national disaster for all those on the East coast of the United States. Lives were taken, worlds crushed and changed forever. Urban Outfitters decided to make light of the situation tweeting this #fail…

Read the entire article on the Talent Zoo blog Beneath the Brand at: http://www.talentzoo.com/beneath-the-brand/blog_news.php?articleID=18109

17 Quotes from Social Media Visionaries

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17For some people social media is in their DNA. For others, it simply is not. This compilation of 17 Quotes from Social Media Visionaries will allow the experienced and inexperienced to gain insight to the very core of social media. These are not the 17 best or most inspirational quotes. They are quotes that will open the mind of the average business person when looking at their social media presence. They are quotes that will remind the seasoned public relations professional what social media is all about. They are – never mind, just read for yourself:

  1. Social media allows us to behave in ways that we are hardwired for in the first place – as humans. We can get frank recommendations from other humans instead of from faceless companies. – Francois Gossieaux, The Hyper-Social Organization: Eclipse Your Competition by Leveraging Social Media
  2. Social media spark a revelation that we, the people, have a voice, and through the democratization of content and ideas we can once again unite around common passions, inspire movements, and ignite change. – Brian Solis, Engage: The Complete Guide for Brands and Businesses to Build, Cultivate, and Measure Success in the New Web
  3. How can you squander even one more day not taking advantage of the greatest shifts of our generation? How dare you settle for less when the world has made it so easy for you to be remarkable? – Seth Godin, Guerrilla Marketing for Home-Based Businesses
  4. Passion is the gasoline of social media. – Jay Baer
  5. In Social Media the “squeaky wheel” gets the oil. You have to put yourself out there, to find people who will relate or even debate with you, depending on what you are looking for. – Jessica Northey
  6. A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is – it is what consumers tell each other it is. – Scott Cook, Founder of Intuit
  7. We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it. – Erik Qualman, Author
  8. Quit counting fans, followers and blog subscribers like bottle caps. Think, instead, about what you’re hoping to achieve with and through the community that actually cares about what you’re doing. – Amber Cadabra
  9. Think like a publisher, not a marketer. –  David Meerman Scott, Marketing Strategist
  10. Our head of social media is the customer. –  McDonald’s
  11. Social media allows big companies to act small again – Jay Baer
  12. Engage rather than sell … Work as a co-creator, not a marketer. – Tom H. C. Anderson
  13. Social Media puts the “public” into PR and the “market” into marketing. – Chris Brogan
  14. Stop Marketing. Start engaging.- Scott Stratten
  15. You are what you tweet. – Alex Tew
  16. Don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t want plastered on a billboard with your face on it. – Erin Bury
  17. Social media is just a buzzword until you come up with a plan. – Unknown

Which quote did you like best? Is there another social media quote that should be added to the list?

Tweets DO NOT = Mine

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Tweets = mine. You see it the Twitter profile of thousands, but are they really yours? The answer is “no.”

Tweets are only kept to yourself and a close group of friends if you have a private profile. However, if your profile is public, the tweets are never really yours. There are many instances when individuals get in a good amount of trouble for tweets posted. Sometimes they mistakenly post a personal tweet with the corporate or client account and sometimes it is related to their own personal account. No matter if you are the janitor, the brand manager, or the CEO, what you say can have a positive or in some cases very negative effect on a brand.

Here are a couple of cases when an individual’s tweets had some very negative effects for the brand they represent.

  1. The not-so-personal account. James Andrews of Ketchum PR hurt the reputation of his PR firm when he posted this tweet “True confession but I’m in one of those towns where I scratch my head and say ‘I would die if I had to live here!’” What he didn’t realize is that some employees of FedEx read this tweet when he landed in Memphis for corporate training on social media. FedEx fired Ketchum as a direct result. FedEx, being based in Memphis, cares very much about their hometown. When Andrew was speaking he represented FedEx as a brand even though he did not realize it. Read about the incident in Memphis’ Commercial Appeal.
  2. The oops-I-forgot-I-was-logged-into-the-corporate-account. Chrysler has had its fair share of issues over the last five years. The last thing they needed was somebody speaking negatively for their brand. However, the employee managing the Chrysler Twitter account made a mistake. Instead of posting to their personal account, they tweeted this message from the Chrysler corporate account: “I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to f#@%ing drive.” The company handling the Chrysler account, New Media Strategies, was fired immediately from the account. The person that made the mistake was also fired from New Media Strategies. Read about the whole incident here.

Why do these events matter to a brand? Twitter is public. Everyone can read it, and they do. Especially when you think they’re not reading or they won’t see it if you delete it really quickly. Think about when you were younger and your mom would tell you, “If you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say it at all.” That applies to social media, especially when you represent a brand.

How will you change the way you communicate on social media?

Article originally published on the Talent Zoo blog Beneath the Brand here:  http://www.talentzoo.com/beneath-the-brand/blog_news.php?articleID=15965

If you tweet it, they will read it.

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Is your social media coordinator qualified to speak for your brand? Have you ever actually thought about it?

1030887_53077079Social networking has been one of the number one things companies and ad agencies are focusing on today. Nearly everything is digital and has to happen now. This isn’t a bad thing, it just opens up to a new type of thinking. We need to remember that social networking is no longer just an add-on. It is a very large part of your company. Anything that is posted via social media from your corporate account represents your company. It is the quickest way to talk to your fan base.

If you tweet it, they will read it. Really think about that. We need to choose wisely when allowing someone to run your social media accounts. They speak for the entire brand. I cannot stress that enough. The reason I am focusing on this so much is because of a few recent instances of social media neglect. This neglect leads to a whole lot of crisis management. Here are two examples:

  1. Kitchenaid’s presidential election woes. The perpetweeter, person who tweets for a company and commits a social crime,  thought they were logged into their own personal profile. They were wrong. Logged into the company account, they continue on a derogatory rant about President Obama tagging #nbcpolitics via @KitchenAidUSA. Read the entire story here. This is where you must separate work and home life. Up until this point it seems as if a majority of social media is being updated by lower level coordinators instead of strategic thinkers. Although Kitchenaid did a good job cleaning up this mess, it was tweeted and it was read.
  2. Kim Kardashian inspired “Aurora” dress from Celeb Boutique. The shooting in Aurora, Colorado during a midnight screening of the Batman movie “Dark Knight Rises” was a horrible tragedy. The perpetweeter updating the Celeb Boutique twitter profile had no idea what had happened. They saw ‘Aurora’ as a trending topic and without looking into it further tweeted about the Kim Kardashian inspired Aurora dress. Read the entire story here. Before you make comments that can affect an entire company you must at least do a small amount of background research. It was tweeted and it was read.

With our evolving digital landscape there needs to be someone highly qualified sending out the tweets, Facebook posts, Instagram photos, and anything else that touches your target audience. You should treat this as carefully as you would treat a press release or press conference. Just because a person has a Facebook profile doesn’t make them a social media guru. It doesn’t matter what age the person running your social media is. All that matters is the experience that they have and the intimate understanding of your business and industry. Do your research and select a qualified person(s) to update your social accounts. Make sure this person understands your brand and maintains the professionalism your brand deserves. The time to act on this is before something happens.

What steps will you take to make sure your social media coordinator is qualified?