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Robert Fine (@BobFine on Twitter) tweeted a contest late last year to win a copy of his new social media strategy book, “The Big Book of Social Media.” The contest was to be the first person to answer a trivia question about one of the book’s many case study authors. As a research guy, I hopped on Google, found the answer, and tweeted it as fast as I could, winning the free copy of the book.

By the way, that’s my creative way of getting the “I got this book free” disclaimer out of the way!

Since then, Bob, who created the Cool Social Conferences World Tour, has become a good Twitter friend. And based on the diversity of smart perspectives he’s assembled within the book, it’s definitely worth taking a look at it if you’re in the midst of trying to do something real with social media for business. Going beyond the valueless chatter out there, it provides solid discussions of real-life social media strategy implementations that have truly integrated organizational objectives and delivered real metrics.

As the “Case Studies, Stories, Perspectives” part of the book’s title suggests, Bob has assembled more than forty strategy overviews organized by specific cases across a variety of segments (i.e., business, vertical industries, media, nonprofits, etc.). As a self-professed book skimmer, I love the format because it offers readers multiple ways to access the case studies:

  • Read it all the way through
  • Zero in on segments of interest
  • Focus on specific blueprints from comparable situations

“The Big Book of Social Media” is a great resource for people who are really serious about social media strategy. Check it out, if that’s what you are! –Mike Brown

The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement. Email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call 816-509-5320 to learn how we’ve developed  integrated social media strategy for other brands and can do the same for yours.

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For all posts on the Brainzooming blog about the human, albeit somewhat impersonal, interactions social networking facilitiates, we haven’t covered the concept of business systems essentially serving as the RSS feeds which drive links, conversations, and analysis within private social networks. Into that gap steps Hunter Richards, an Accounting Market Analyst for Software Advice to cover “application event streams ” in this guest blog perspective on how business systems become part of social networking conversations:

Application Event Streams – Attack of the Social Machines

Application event streams – timely business intelligence (BI) updates that can be followed and discussed in a social activity stream – are kick-starting company conversations around critical business data.  We’ve seen the value of Twitter and Facebook as critical communications networks, and Yammer and Salesforce.com’s Chatter have applied these same concepts to business to enable social collaboration among knowledge workers. But now TIBCO is taking it to the next level with its Tibbr offering. Tibbr pulls data from sophisticated business systems and incorporates the updates directly into activity streams – sort of like a targeted RSS feed.

Enterprise applications such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) systems have created overwhelming troves of corporate data, but they’re often limited to a few executives and business analysts. With a social media interface, however, a broader audience can participate. The simple concept of “following” a stream gets the right information to the right people, right away. When users follow only what they need to know, they don’t waste time sorting through irrelevant information. The system itself can even become a participant, creating new streams when new information arises and answering questions posed by users. For example, activity streams can be automatically updated when revenue surpasses a particular level. Then users can comment and start a discussion with colleagues faster, noting why a particular strategy works, and building off of it for the future. In other words, communication becomes collaboration.

Who knows – maybe this technology can even make us better friends with our co-workers and our technology. But if you’re staying late at the office to discuss last night’s NFL game with your ERP system, you might want to see a shrink. – Hunter Richards

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An email best practices presentation claimed an average person spends 3 seconds looking at opened email.

Can you say the most important thing you need to in 3 seconds?

We all better get good at it now.

Mike Brown

We help you think of new ideas….fast. Email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call 816-509-5320 to get us started doing it for you!

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Talking small business marketing with a business owner caught up in the idea of transparency, we got into a discussion about cues he regularly communicates which signal he has a very small business. While his point about absolute transparency is noble, my take was his small business marketing messages wind up over-communicating. They provide context that’s neither necessary nor relevant for his potential or current clients to make informed decisions about using his company.

His small business marketing effort represents a relatively common situation: inadvertently or deliberately marketing the parts and pieces of a business instead of the benefits and results a brand provides.

In this type of situation, sharing too much detail in small business marketing messages can provide information on the inner workings of business customers may not even care about knowing. It’s far better to focus on and secure agreement to the results a brand will deliver for a customer.

My advice for small business people marketing against larger competitors is to change the nature of your marketing messages to help de-emphasize size by:

  • Describing situations potential customers can easily relate to rather than naming specific clients – This allows a single client’s situation to potentially yield multiple case studies which demonstrate benefits you provide.
  • Talking percentages, not absolute numbers – Say “75% of our clients” vs. “3 of our clients.”
  • Not being overly precise about the company’s size – For example, share “there are two primary point people” vs. “there are two of us.” The latter says there are only two people involved; the former, which is just as accurate, discloses two “primary” people, but leaves room for the possibility others might be involved.
  • Talking about specific experiences only when absolutely necessary for clarity – Covering your capabilities with actual, generalized examples (vs. saying, “for client X, we did Y”) allows one client experience to be shared in multiple ways. Detailing particulars tied to an individual client gives you much less to talk about when it comes to your experience.

Using this strategy for your small business marketing messages allows much greater flexibility in how to best organize and deploy resources to create very satisfied customers.

Knowing there are many solopreneurs and small business owners reading the blog, I’d love to hear how you deal with the issue of appearing bigger than you are and marketing the benefits you provide. Is this a transparency-related issue for you? What strategies do you use for creating your small business marketing messages?Mike Brown

The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement. Email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.

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Don’t walk away lightly from hidden strategic challenges to what you do and how you do it. When a client, whether internal or external, asks you to change something so it’s simpler, clearer, flows in an alternate sequence, looks differently, etc., make sure you’re taking advantage of the opportunities it creates! By lowering your pride of authorship and raising your excitement about an apparently simple request to make revisions, you can find incredible strategic challenges AND opportunities to force your thinking and processes into very different directions you may have never considered exploring otherwise.

An example?

We thought we’d finished a social media strategy write-up when the client asked us to move it from PowerPoint to a document format and add a few visuals. Lo and behold, what seemed initially like a couple of hours of simple revisions to the document wound up requiring several days of attention.

In the midst of the effort, we discovered the formatting change request was really a strategic challenge. To make the reformatted document work better, we wound up re-depicting one of our social media strategy models in a much clearer way. We also developed a new social media response model. Both of these creations will be tremendously valuable in further social media strategy client engagements.

Not every change request is a strategic challenge in disguise which will yield new and better work. Be sure though you’re open to finding the dramatically improved ways of doing things which could be lurking in that one last revision to your strategic work. – Mike Brown

The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement. Email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call 816-509-5320 to learn how we’ve developed  integrated social media strategy for other brands and can do the same for yours.

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A routine criticism of Twitter I hear during social media strategy presentations is it moves by so quickly it’s impossible to follow all the tweets. That may be true, but there are ways around the apparent speed at which Twitter flies by on screen. This analogy on how to slow it down came to me while helping a friend who has gone back to school with her physics homework. Trying to dust the cobwebs off from memories of long ago physics classes, I recalled strobe light experiments we conducted in high school physics class. When you flash a strobe light at the right speed in front of a moving object, you can effectively make the object look like it has slowed down or stopped. You can see an example in the video below. (There’s another example from MIT that’s worth watching as well).


Well-defined search columns in application such as Tweetdeck of Hootsuite do the same thing as the strobe light does with the water flow. They slow down the information stream by only allowing you to see tweets which meet certain characteristics you want based on who they’re from or what the topic is. Using Twitter search capabilities, you can even look backward into the Twitter stream to find tweets of value to you.

With these searches in place, you can slow down how Twitter looks to you in order to have time to track, process, and respond to the people and subjects which are important to you. For those who feel overwhelmed, that should help get it under control. –Mike Brown

The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement. Email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call 816-509-5320 to learn how we’ve developed  integrated social media strategy for other brands and can do the same for yours.

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We’ve been discussing creative job titles around here.  And by creative job titles, I’m talking about job titles that:

  • Are descriptive
  • Stand out
  • Aren‘t so trendy or cutesy they are embarrassing

When starting The Brainzooming Group, creating job titles wasn’t a priority. That being said, I’ve always thought the word “catalyst” (something which prompts or hastens an important event without being caught up in the event) perfectly describes what The Brainzooming Group does. I acknowledge though, you may have to know too much about chemistry for “catalyst” to work. As a result, my business card still has no title on it.

As we’re growing and making additions you’ll learn about soon, titles have been a topic. When we work on coming up with creative job titles, here are some of the creativity- instigating questions we’ll be asking ourselves to generate new ideas:

  • What words describe the cool outcomes of our work or the experience of working with us?
  • What other jobs are like this? What words are used to describe those professions which could result in a cool job title?
  • If this job required super powers, what would they be?
  • What words would you use to describe this job if you were trying to impress your mom, a spouse / girlfriend / boyfriend, or someone who would hire you for your next job?
  • What words would add emotional impact to the title?
  • What worlds describe HOW the person will do the job?
  • What words would be more exciting, powerful, fun, surprising, or memorable?

In case you’re looking to come up with creative job titles, give these questions a go. We’ll let you know what creative job titles they yield for us when we get something dreamed up! – Mike Brown

If you’d like to add an interactive, educationally-stimulating presentation on strategy, innovation, branding, social media or a variety of other topics to your event, Mike Brown is the answer. Email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call 816-509-5320 to learn how Mike can get your audience members Brainzooming!

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