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Last week, we published a list of the top 17 Brainzooming posts from 2011 based on your readership and social sharing. Today’s list represents my personal standout posts from 2011. As usual, my list of favorite Brainzooming blog posts looks nothing like your list, although there are a few list posts even on here! My personal favorite Brainzooming blog posts most often make this list because of what went on behind the scenes. Some posts are included because they worked well; others did not turn out as I had expected, but still were an important part of the year’s content.

1. Who Are the Top 100 People Who Personally Define You? – August 1

For an idea that came from standing in line looking at the magazines at Walmart, this article instigated many reactions from readers. The exercise seems easy enough: list the 100 people who have most defined who you are today. Actually creating the list, however, is more challenging than you would think according to many people I heard from who read the post. I could do some refinement at the fringes of my list, but looking back, my top one hundred are holding up pretty well.

2. 6 Reasons a Brand Manager Wouldn’t Do the Ford “Focus Doug” Campaign – and Why They’d Be Mistaken – September 26

Brainzooming articles are written for many different reasons. This one was written for a client. We had pitched a similar strategic video approach to the client before the Ford Focus Doug campaign was introduced. We simply could not get the sale made, unfortunately, as to why it was the right strategic social networking approach based on the client’s brand objectives. We heard multiple reasons why the strategy didn’t make sense. The client’s six main objectives make up the post along with why each objection was wrong. Beyond seeing how the objections were refuted by Focus Doug, you can also see some really funny videos with an orange puppet. The videos (especially the last one with the boss) are what keep ME coming back to this post on a regular basis.

3. Building the Gigabit City – Brainstorming Google Fiber – November 10

One Gigabit City post had to make my personal top 10. Sponsoring and designing this large session about Google Fiber coming to Kansas City in conjunction with Social Media Club of Kansas City was a quick decision. It was a success, however, for both our organizations and for the Kansas City community by delivering a crowd sourced, open sourced vision for what Kansas City could become in the not too distant future. While the report is unlike anything we’ve prepared before in reflecting so many voices, it is a powerful blueprint for reflecting broad community input. If you haven’t downloaded the free report to take a look at it, I’d encourage you to do so today.

4. Steve Jobs and Anticipating Who Will Change the World – October 13

Nate Riggs has talked to me before about writing certain posts simply to cause a shit storm. That’s what this post was intended to do, but it failed miserably. Maybe I was too subtle. Maybe it should have been about a really charged topic such as Klout. Maybe I was the only person that found a fascinating connection to societal and political debates in the story of a once unwanted child who, given the chance to be born, changed the world.

5. Author John L. Allen, Jr. on Identifying Current Trends – April 29

I’ve known John Allen since high school, well before he became a reporter, author, and CNN analyst. I hadn’t seen him in the 10 years since he was dispatched to Rome with the direction to essentially wait it out until Pope John Paul II passed away. Getting the opportunity to see John speak at The University of Kansas after all those years was a great pleasure. It was equally great to get him on video sharing his lessons for how to crowd source and vet ideas for what trends will really shape the future of the Catholic Church since the lessons apply to any long-term forecasting challenge you may face.

6. 21 Things I Don’t Understand about Social Media – June 17

This article came to life over several years of forming a long list of social media-related frustrations. It was written during a five-hour delay at the San Diego airport while nursing the biggest glass of wine I’ve ever had seen. The need for the wine, I clearly understand. The social media stuff in the post? I still don’t understand most of that!

7. You Never Know Someone’s Private Hell Unless You’re Listening – July 19

When you see a tweet about a TED talk by someone who survived a suicide attempt, you don’t click the link expecting to see someone you know from high school. Yet there was something about the June tweet that told me I HAD to check out the video. Watch the video for yourself. It’s only 5 minutes, and it tells the whole story.

8. 7 Social Media Mistakes You Shouldn’t Be Making in Business-to-Business – June 6

This article represents a new way of extending a social media presentation to provide additional information and value to event attendees. For a B2B oriented social media strategy presentation at the Transportation Marketing and Sales Association conference, I included many examples of transportation and logistics companies doing great in social media. The bad examples? Rather than embarrassing anyone in the session, I removed the names to protect the guilty, wrote the post, and invited attendees to review the article and see if any of the bad examples sounded familiar!

9. Osama Bin Laden Death: Initial Social Media & Strategic Insights – May 1

Despite the serious nature of the subject matter, this post is a personal favorite because it was written unlike any posts I’d ever done for Brainzooming before. First, learning of the rumor of Bin Laden’s death on Twitter, it seemed the perfect opportunity to get an article out there early talking about the communication and social media lessons I the story. I think the first version published within 90 minutes of President Obama’s statement, with several updates later that evening and next morning. The Bin Laden post wasn’t a huge traffic magnet, but it did wind up getting a lot of attention for a Sunday night article on Brainzooming.

What Will 2012 Hold?

Thanks once again for your readership, and I can’t wait to see how our two lists – most viewed posts and my personal favorites – match up for 2012!  – Mike Brown

How can ultra high-speed internet speeds drive innovation? “Building the Gigabit City: Brainzooming a Google Fiber Roadmap,” a free 120-page report, shares 60 business opportunities for driving innovation and hundreds of ideas for education, healthcare, jobs, community activities, and more.  Download this exclusive Google Fiber report sponsored by Social Media Club of Kansas City and The Brainzooming Group addressing how ultra high-speed internet can spur economic development, growth, and improved lifestyles globally. 

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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Today’s Brainzooming article comes from San Diego where I’m speaking to the Virtual Edge Summit (#VES12) this afternoon on using “Social Media Strategy to Drive Virtual Events.” This presentation combines two of my favorite strategy topics – events and social media strategy – with content covering how creating a meaningful social media strategy for an event starts when designing the entire event experience – whether virtual or face-to-face.

Since we have a lot to cover in the one-hour presentation at the Virtual Edge Summit, the links below which follow the presentation structure provide additional support information – whether from the Brainzooming website or other reference pieces.

While created for #VES12 attendees, the list is beneficial for anyone who is trying to get the benefits of incorporating social media as a part of an event strategy – whether that’s for a large organization, a small business, nonprofits, or even for your local church, school, or professional group.

Social Media Strategy Basics

Creating Fantastic Content Before, During, and After Your Event

Getting Your Event and Content Noticed

Social Media ROI

Other Resources

– Mike Brown

 

If you’re struggling with determining ROI and evaluating its impacts, download 6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track” today!  This article provides a concise, strategic view of the numbers and stories that matter in shaping, implementing, and evaluating your strategy. You’ll learn lessons about when to address measurement strategy, identifying overlooked ROI opportunities, and creating a 6-metric dashboard. Download Your Free Copy of “6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track!

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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It is beneficial to save ideas you brainstormed but did not use since they may work for someone else or at a later time for you. Today’s post is a great example of this principle where you can save ideas to offer them to someone else later.

I chaired a global market research virtual event for the American Marketing Association in 2010. As part of our virtual event planning, we did a Brainzooming creativity session and brainstormed ideas to take best advantage of our virtual event opportunity. We brainstormed several hundred ideas, many of which were specific social media ideas for how to drive virtual event success.

Flash forward two years, and I will be speaking Monday afternoon at the Virtual Edge Institute 2012 conference on using social media ideas to drive virtual events by growing attendance and creating greater engagement.

Recently, I went back through our final Brainzooming report document from the 2010 American Marketing Association virtual event and identified out this list of 51 social media ideas to drive virtual events.

Many of the social media ideas could apply to any type of event or even other marketing programs. But since it does not make much sense to go through a list of 51 ideas during a presentation, the list is shared for you and all the attendees at the Monday Virtual Edge Institute session (4 pm PDT on Monday, January 9). Please feel free to borrow any of these ideas and adapt them to suit your organization’s purposes. And if you would like to follow along during Monday’s session, be sure to track the Twitter hashtag #VES12!

Attendance Building

1. Create a micro-site for the conference – drive members there via email campaigns

2. Create themed web badges for speakers/sponsors/exhibitors to put on their sites

3. Crowd source a “10 Ways to Sell Your Attendance to Your Boss” list

4. Offer a free association membership for life as a contest give-away

5. Do a weekly give away on social media channels leading up to the conference

6. Extend offers at special times of the day

7. Extend offers for the event on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.

8. Offer a dramatic prize for the 500th registrant for the digital event

9. Sponsor a scholarship program for out of work attendees to participate

10. Provide an offer to digital event attendees to attend future in-person events at a reduced rate

11. Give previous attendees a discount for referrals, plus free attendance for the person who gets the most referrals over some target number

Interactivity

12. Actively build the Twitter following for the event’s Twitter account well in advance of the event

13. Develop a conference / event app

14. Host a monthly, industry-oriented Twitter chat leading up to or kicking off with the digital event

15. Create an event word cloud that evolves over the day

16. Crowd source a “What the future of the industry looks like” video or article

17. Crowd source nominations for annual awards via social networks

18. Crowd source the theme for the next digital event

19. Conduct a pre-event session on how to get more out of the conference through social media

20. Hold a webinar for attendees before the conference on maximizing the value of the digital event experience

21. Have a live viewing session for the digital event in high-density membership areas

22. Have an online interaction area for attendees and speakers

23. Invite industry professionals to share content for the event community website

24. Monitor the event Twitter feed and introduce people to each other

25. Produce the social media content at the event with a team approach

26. Offer an incentive for attendees to blog or live tweet about the conference

27. Provide exclusive digital interactions with speakers at the event

Networking

28. Allow attendees to post resumes and job opportunities in the virtual event

29. Create a buddy / mentoring system for senior and junior people in the industry to reach out to each other, network, and schedule time together at the event

30. Do a virtual speed-networking event

31. Pair people up with similar interests at the conference through a community matching approach

32. Provide different avatar backgrounds for attendees to indicate their interest areas, experience, event objectives, etc.

33. Provide a means to network and pre-schedule meetings with suppliers or clients through a social media platform

Presentations / Content

34. Best rated / most popular breakout sessions (as identified through social media channels) are repeated in a general session

35. Crowd source a final recap presentation by soliciting ideas throughout the meeting via Twitter and other social networks

36. Crowd source session ideas from among social networks

37. Crowd source virtual event word of the day ideas from attendees

38. Host a global panel with Skype/video participation from all over the world

39. Do a session based on crowd sourcing a list of industry predictions that did/didn’t come true

40. Have attendees submit their own 1-2 minute videos that are compiled and shown

41. Have featured presenters doing a running commentary on social networks throughout the event

42. Host a virtual unconference – select a topic during the day of the digital event and discuss it live on Twitter or in an online chat room

43. Let attendees submit “new” content before the conference and the top 3 people get to present for 20 minutes

44. Create an online group to submit conference ideas

45. Post short teaser videos from presenters covering their topics

46. Solicit questions for presenters via social media

47. Win a video camera for the best ideas on how you will use it to create content for the event

Trade Show / Exhibitors

48. Allow exhibitors to put videos of best practices on a conference community site

49. Provide a coaching session for exhibitors on interactive and social media elements of the conference to maximize their business building experience

50. Solicit and provide e-opinions on suppliers

51. Video 2-minute pitches / interviews with exhibitors on the cool things they are doing. Show videos around presentations at general session & prompt attendees to visit the exhibitors

And what other social media ideas do you have?

What other social media ideas would you add to the list to driver virtual events? Please share them in the comments! If you’re at the Virtual Edge Institute (#VES12) in San Diego next week, please stop by and attend my Monday afternoon session!  – Mike Brown

 

If you’re struggling with determining ROI and evaluating its impacts, download 6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track” today!  This article provides a concise, strategic view of the numbers and stories that matter in shaping, implementing, and evaluating your strategy. You’ll learn lessons about when to address measurement strategy, identifying overlooked ROI opportunities, and creating a 6-metric dashboard. Download Your Free Copy of “6 Social Media Metrics You Must Track!

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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I briefly mentioned in yesterday’s post on launching a career today a recommendation about not being such a perfectionist if I were re-launching my business career.

From childhood, I remember being a perfectionist on things that mattered to me, particularly schooling. It was crazy trying to live up to my own crazy expectations to perform since they were clearly higher than anyone else’s for me. Only after the passage of much time would I consider myself a reformed perfectionist, trying to not expect everything to go just as I expect it.

Trust me though – trying to be a reformed perfectionist is an ongoing work in progress.

While learning to see the benefits in attempting uncertain efforts and the positive value of mistakes as learning opportunities, I have realized 6 coping mechanisms developed long ago to deal with being a perfectionist still come in handy when trying to perform like crazy without going crazy in the process:

1. Manage toward lower expectations.

Aim high for what you expect to deliver, but work to set others’ expectations for more reasonable performance that’s less than you know you can deliver. Create a visible objective closer to the rest of the pack even though you’ll still aim for a higher standard to guide your performance.

2. Know when and where you can play to win.

It can be okay not going for the most wins because it could put you in more losing situations. Maybe it’s easier to simply accept you’re going to “play” fewer times and will miss some opportunities you could pursue in the interest of attaining the highest winning percentage.

3. Spread your effort across multiple fronts.

Manage your overall abilities to work hard (pure mental and physical exertion and stamina), work smart (knowing the short cuts and work-arounds to be more productive), and work efficiently (eliminating the extra steps others have to complete). Even if you’re not perfect on all these fronts, balancing your effort across all of them leads to great performance.

4. Know all the potential shortcuts and keep creating new shortcuts all the time.

Constantly hone your craft. Be the best student of what you do and always know where you must go all out and where you can coast. Then even if you’re coasting, make it look like you’re going all out.

5. Surround yourself with experts.

Make sure you develop relationships with ringers, i.e. tested experts who, whether visible or not, will be at your back when you need them delivering exceptional performance. These relationships take time, so don’t leave working on them for when you absolutely need them right away.

6. Don’t talk about everything you do.

Don’t over-share where you’ve figured out easier ways to perform better. There was an advertising slogan once that said, “Never let them see you sweat.” That may work for deodorant, but appearing to show a little sweat (even if you really aren’t sweating) is just another way of managing lower expectations.

What do you think?

Are you a perfectionist – reformed or not? Do you live or work with one? Do you see any performance-enhancing lessons to be pulled from the perfectionist’s world that you can put to good use? – Mike Brown

 

Download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to help you generate fantastic creative ideas! For an organizational innovation boost, contact The Brainzooming Group to help your team be more successful by rapidly expanding strategic options and creating innovative plans to efficiently implement. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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photo by: suze | source: photocase.com

Times are very different from when I was launching my business career. In light of that, there are several things I would do differently, yet several things I would not change in the slightest.

Things I Would Change

If I were launching my business career now, I would:

  • Start multiple things since the barriers against doing so are lower when you are early in your business career. When you are more advanced in your career, you make the barriers seem way too big.
  • Move through a bunch of activities to get as many growth experiences as possible. Tenure can shut off growth experiences.
  • Plan with a list and not a fully developed plan. The strategic thinking to arrive at the list and the full plan are comparable, but the lesser effort invested in creating the list makes you more likely to adapt when things change.
  • Try not let a fascination with perfection become a roadblock to doing something.
  • Attempt to cultivate an air of confidence as opposed to an air of hesitancy and self-doubt.

Things I Would Keep the Same

  • Live way below my means. Living humbly provides all kinds of flexibility.
  • Work in a very small business and a very large business. The experiences in a small business and a large business are so dramatically stark, it provides a solid foundation for whatever is next.
  • Concentrate on learning how to find information and interpreting it instead of learning facts that are going to change anyway.

How About You?

What things would you change and what would you do over the same way again if you were launching your business career now?  – Mike Brown

 

Download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to help you generate fantastic creative ideas! For an organizational innovation boost, contact The Brainzooming Group to help your team be more successful by rapidly expanding strategic options and creating innovative plans to efficiently implement. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.

 

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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HappyNewYearI have never been big on New Year’s resolutions. Seeing articles over the weekend about New Year’s resolutions people are making, however, prompted going back to see what Brainzooming blog articles could help with some of the more common types of New Year’s resolutions. If you are resolving to improve your productivity (especially with social media), career, and stress levels in the new year, here are seven articles to help you get started with your New Year’s resolutions:

Get Organized and Improve Your Productivity

Social Media Productivity

To get the most from your social media time investment, try balancing your efforts between listening, participating in others’ social media outlets, and creating content in your own social media hangouts. Whenever you create content, make sure to use it in as many places as possible. Check out these 13 ideas for improving your social media productivity.

Weaning Yourself from Too Much Time on Social Media

Backing away from social media involves coming to grips with not trying to see, read, review, and reply to everything zinging around within your virtual social network. These nine tips point to the importance of using your social network to cover your gaps and let you off the hook on knowing everything going on as it happens.

Improve Your Career

Taking Care of Your Own Professional Learning at Very Low Cost

There is no excuse for not seeking out professional development, even if there are not many dollars available for it in your company’s budget. These 10 ideas are relatively low cost and you can implement them throughout 2012 to keep you sharp professionally at a very reasonable investment.

Be a Better Business Networker

I will readily admit that being a better business networker is not one of my strengths. Networking situations are a challenge for me, so these five tips are as much about making it easier for the other person to be a better business networker as they are about making you more effective. What is nice is everyone benefits from applying them in real life networking situations!

Creating a Personal Social Media Presence to Catch up with Everyone Else

Yes, there are people who have not fully exploited social networks to display their talents and help them in their careers. This video overview highlights 11 steps to jump-start your social networking presence with an eye toward highlighting your career experience. The one addition I would make to the video is building in a step for a concentrated Facebook effort as another way to tap your personal network in your career pursuits.

Improving Your Leadership Skills

No big surprises here, but it is still a tough list of ideas to carry out: it is all about honesty, integrity, focusing on helping others, being distinctive. If you really display all these, however, you will definitely stand out in today’s workplace.

Managing Your Stress Levels

Staying Out of Negative Situations

This list started life as a post for a friend who needed to check out and get out of a variety of not only non-productive, but also emotionally taxing situations. It was either get out of them or start losing a sense of his identity. Those types of situations are bad, yet we all face them.  – Mike Brown

 

Download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to help you generate fantastic creative ideas! For an organizational creativity boost, contact The Brainzooming Group to help your team be more successful by rapidly expanding strategic options and creating innovative plans to efficiently implement. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.

 

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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My office is filled with blogging notebooks full of potential ideas for future blog posts. On our Christmas trip to Western Kansas, I must have taken 5 or 6 notebooks, plus Word documents full of additional blog idea starters in the hopes of building a cushion of completed blog posts again. While a cache of blog topic ideas typically yields time efficiency benefits, having blog topics laying around can also be a creative drag at times.

Blogging Topic Ideas that Aren’t Going Anywhere in 2012

Since the New Year is a typical time to clean out old junk at our house, it seemed like the right time to clean my blogging idea house, sharing snippets that clearly don’t seem headed for full blog posts any time soon.

  • A client’s product is always the star, even when it isn’t.
  • When you’re in the middle of a conference call, pause to ask for reactions, even if you don’t really want them. If you’re going to hear a bad message, better to learn it sooner than later and be able to address it.
  • Always have a pre-meeting before the real meeting. It’s a great way to get a preview of what MIGHT happen at the real meeting.
  • You meet fewer people at a conference when you’re typing your notes instead of live tweeting them. That’s all the more reason to live tweet.
  • Some people have a knack for creating legends from their own lives. I’m completely opposite of those people.
  • Don’t spend so much time and effort trying to go home again. You left for a reason. Look forward.
  • What sound do your pet peeves make? I think mine mainly growl.
  • I heard someone say Albert Einstein didn’t know his own phone number. Supposedly Albert Einstein didn’t want to waste his brain on insignificant things. That’s one of those things that is nearly impossible to verify, but you so hope is true.
  • Need a writing creativity boost? Change keyboards. Also try changing your writing software.
  • If you really like using PowerPoint to present, put yourself into a situation where you CAN’T use it. It calls on different presenting “muscles” you really need to develop.
  • It’s so much less complicated to think about someone else’s business than your own. (That’s one reason you need to think about hiring us to help you think about and take action on your business.)
  • Pick one big numerical goal at the start of the year and stick with it. A friend had 170 networking meetings in 2010, and it paved the way for a very successful business year in 2011.
  • The best quote of my high school reunion came from a classmate who said, “Never argue with an idiot. If you lower yourself to their level to argue, they’ll just beat you with their superior experience.”
  • The most infuriating thing on Twitter? Someone who sends you a Twitter direct message question and you can’t respond via direct message because they don’t follow you.
  • It’s worth the time to figure out which of your strengths is also, on the surface, a weakness.
  • Don’t let your collateral (or your website) become the old furniture you don’t notice anymore even though everyone else who see notices it is completely outdated.
  • With the intersection of multiple generations in the workplace today, you’re completely wrong-headed if you’re not spending time with people who are markedly younger and older than you.
  • There are a variety of career strategies that won’t work well for you in the long-term. Getting the attention of your boss by trapping them in mistakes has to be near the top of the list.
  • The charts on Klout are complete crap. Seriously. There, I said it.
  • Experiment in every low risk situation you find or that finds you.
  • Just because you haven’t used something doesn’t mean it’s in “like new” condition. Unused resources (and talents) atrophy. Develop and use them while you can.
  • Why is it that “comedian’s comedians” are hardly ever popular successes?  – Mike Brown

Download the free ebook, “Taking the NO Out of InNOvation” to help you generate fantastic creative ideas! For an organizational creativity boost, contact The Brainzooming Group to help your team be more successful by rapidly expanding strategic options and creating innovative plans to efficiently implement. Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.

 

Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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