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Kate-Jackson

Me and Kate Jackson

You know how they put a disclaimer at the end of movies and television shows as a CYA for any story, character, or animal issues?

Those disclaimers are meant to provide legal protection or at least try to ward off potential lawsuits.

It occurred to me, after reading years of blog posts, tweets, and Facebook updates that there should probably be a comparable social media disclaimer!

While there are social media policies, and rather bland Twitter profiles stating someone’s tweets don’t represent an employer’s point of view, they don’t go far enough. They don’t really protect a reader and help them understand the significant level of fiction, hype, and misinformation to which they are being exposed.

A Social Media Disclaimer Recommendation

As a result, here’s my suggested social media disclaimer to provide more accurate context for most self-serving social media content that’s out there. Try this on for size:

“Implied relationships with social media rock stars may be further away than they appear to be. Opinions are mine only, and not just as in they aren’t held by my employer. They aren’t held by ANYONE else either . . . unless I copied them directly from a social media rock star. All assessments of events, food, and social interactions are highly subjective and generally over-stated. Although pictures of me with celebrities, visiting glorious vacation destinations, and consuming fabulous food and drinks account for 99% of my photos on Facebook and Instagram, they represent only 1% of my otherwise boring life. By me sharing your content, don’t think it implies endorsement. It doesn’t even imply I read it before sharing it. Client projects mentioned in Facebook updates should not be assumed to be paying engagements. Some clients mentioned in updates are purely fictional and do not represent any real clients living or dead.”

This won’t help you beat any FTC issues on disclosing freebies you receive for review in your blog. But if people had to attach this social media disclaimer to every over-the-top, humble brag, or arrogant Facebook update they make, social networks would be a lot more tolerable.

Coming Clean on Humble Brag Social Sharing

What do you think? Would this help make the humble brag social media content you’ve seen the past week more tolerable? –  Mike Brown

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“How strong is my organization’s social media strategy?”

9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy

Is your social media implementation working as well as it can? In less than 60 minutes with the new FREE Brainzooming ebook “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy,” you’ll have a precise answer to this question.

Any executive can make a thorough yet rapid evaluation of nine different dimensions of their social media strategies with these nine diagnostics. Download Your Free Copy of “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy.”

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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Social-Media-SummitPrepping for a social media content marketing workshop I am delivering at the Social Media Strategies Summit in Las Vegas in February, I was going back through questions raised at recent workshops.

Three Great Social Media Strategy Tips

These three social media strategy questions stood out because they were not only raised by workshop attendees, but other attendees provided wonderful answers for them.

Challenge 1. Should a sub-brand in your organization get its own social media presence?

This question came up in a social media strategy workshop with the Nebraska Healthcare Marketers. Our answer is to take an outside-in look at the organization to determine if a social media audience cares to affiliate with a sub-brand independent of its affiliation to an overall brand. No matter how much a brand or product manager thinks a sub-brand needs its own social media presence, whether the audience wants to “like” or “follow” it is the critical question.

One attendee went further to suggest agreeing to an expected content update frequency with the sub-brand’s leadership. If they can deliver the expected content to the brand’s main page consistently, they then get a shot at having a sub-brand social media presence.

Challenge 2. How can you get a compliance group on board with a social media strategy?

A marketing communications director at the Frost and Sullivan Marketing World social media strategy workshop in Boston asked about getting a compliance group on board with social media in a risk-averse environment.

Another participant let us know her company put the compliance person in charge of social media. She reported that in this rather unusual role, the compliance person suddenly started “getting” social media strategy. She did a fantastic job balancing the firm’s risk aversion with a new understanding of the need to participate actively on social networks.

Challenge 3. How do you respond more quickly to customer service questions on social media when you cannot be at it full time?

One social media strategy challenge for risk-averse organizations (and even ones that are not THAT risk averse) is the timely handling of customer service issues on social media channels. While the preference may be to check and double-check responses coming from customer service, that means the response won’t happen with the speed customers expect.

An attendee at the Frost and Sullivan session shared that her company drafted responses to typical customer service questions to enable faster responses. Instead of running the risk of someone getting the same answer on multiple occasions, however, they drafted multiple variations of answers to their typical questions. In this way, they paired up speedy response and a sense of message variation consistent with a more personal response.

What are your social media challenges with multiple brand presences, compliance, and customer service?

These are familiar social media challenges for organizations. What questions do you have in these areas? Or alternatively, what answers have you found for them? – Mike Brown

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“How strong is my organization’s social media strategy?”

9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy

Is your social media implementation working as well as it can? In less than 60 minutes with the new FREE Brainzooming ebook “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy,” you’ll have a precise answer to this question.

Any executive can make a thorough yet rapid evaluation of nine different dimensions of their social media strategies with these nine diagnostics. Download Your Free Copy of “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy.”

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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Cosmo-Kramer-Cutest-Christmas-DogI was at the dentist for a semi-annual teeth cleaning and checkup. The current dentist bought the practice from the previous dentist several years ago. The change in the office personality was evident immediately and has flourished the past few years.

While the brand experience with the former dentist was friendly in a superficial way, you felt as if you were always being sold some new add-on service, product, or referral (to a buddy of the dentist) with each visit. The result was the brand experience felt adversarial as you tried to get out of the office without being upsold whatever the current marketing program was.

With the new dentist, there is no hard sell. The advice on improving your dental habits beneficial, with no scare tactics or upsell involved. The conversations are genuine and fun, about pets, kids, sports, and what everyone has going on.As I was leaving the office recently, the dental hygienist was showing me pictures of her absolutely adorable dog all dressed up for Christmas (btw, that’s Cosmo Kramer to the right). The office manager showed me the dentist’s two dogs on her mouse pad.

Bringing Your Offline Brand Experience Online

I mentioned how fun the office brand experience was now and suggested they feature the great dog pictures on their Facebook page.

The dentist admitted he hasn’t really done anything with Facebook yet, but his brother was going to help him get it going over the holidays.

The question will be: “What brand experience gets translated to Facebook?”

Will the fun aspects of the brand experience characterized by our extended conversation after my appointment characterize its Facebook page content?

Or will the Facebook page be a formal, stiff presentation of dental tips that winds up feeling much more like the former dentist’s brand experience?

While it may feel like the second social media strategy option is the safe approach, it would be really boring and off-brand. Yet how many brands pursue that social media strategy and completely misrepresent the fun and warmth they create offline?  – Mike Brown

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“How strong is my organization’s social media strategy?”

9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy

Is your social media implementation working as well as it can? In less than 60 minutes with the new FREE Brainzooming ebook “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy,” you’ll have a precise answer to this question.

Any executive can make a thorough yet rapid evaluation of nine different dimensions of their social media strategies with these nine diagnostics. Download Your Free Copy of “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy.”

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’s pretty common to receive some of the most intriguing comments on our content via email from our growing group of email subscribers (you can click here to join the group, by the way). Jim from Massachusetts weighed in following John Q. Harrington’s post on digital marketing with a request for John to back up one of his claims in the post. As a result, John addressed Jim’s request with his Top 20 list of digital marketing tools. Here’s John:

 

20 Great Digital Marketing Tools Once You Have a Strategy by John Harrington

Digital-Marketing-TabsIn a post about what digital marketers could learn from the Wizard of Oz , I got on my soapbox and urged marketers not to be dazzled by the dizzying array of digital marketing tools available and lose sight of the fact they are just tools – not a replacement for a big idea or a strategy.

In my post, I said there were 100+ digital marketing tools with more being added every day.  A sharp-eyed-reader from Massachusetts, named Jim, was more than a little dubious about my ‘100+ digital marketing tools’ claim.  In fact, he said he’d be happy if I could come up with a list of 20 with a brief explanation of why they’re good.

Well Jim… you got me!

I have to admit; I didn’t count the number of digital marketing tools before I made that statement.  There sure seems like there are an awful lot of them, but maybe I was a little fast and loose with my numbers.

So I went to my #1 Digital Marketing Tool “GOOGLE” and did a search.  I got 161 million results, so I’m relatively confident the truth lies somewhere north of 100 digital marketing tools.

Jim, I don’t claim to be a digital marketing guru, but I do use many of those tools frequently. Here are 20 of my favorites along with my own biased reasons for liking them.

#1 Google Search

Because they rule the universe and we’ll all be working for them eventually.  Points off for making me learn what an algorithm is and how to spell it.

#2 Facebook

Because they are the number one source of cute cat photos in the world and a pretty good way to reach half the planet. Bonus points for having a geeky founder who’s like a smart ass version of Bill Gates.

#3 LinkedIn

Great for targeting B2B groups and individuals.  Plus they have the highest income level of any major social media group so maybe they won’t miss it if I trick them out of some of their money.

#4 YouTube

They took all the great cat photos from Facebook and made them move!  Plus, they are owned by Lord Google so they put your search results on crack.

#5 Twitter

This is the fastest, most efficient way for me to learn what all my friends had for lunch.  Plus its trending topics and search results let me know instantly if an angry mob is buying torches and heading for my front door.

#6 Vimeo

The younger, prettier, sexier version of YouTube without all the evil backing and power of Lord Google.  Selling epic beauty? Use Vimeo.  Selling hand sanitizer? Use YouTube.

#7 Bing

Probably the coolest thing Microsoft has ever done.  Truly a better search engine than Google, but hey, I’m not going to mess with Lord Google, are you?

#8 Pinterest

A visual explosion of gorgeous arts, crafts, and meals that none of us are talented enough to duplicate, but we can still dream.

#9 Vine

A true tribute to the shortening of attention spans. 6 seconds of pure entertainment because those hideous, old 30 second commercials are sooooooooo tedious.

#10 Google Plus

Probably the social networking site I like the least.  Circles of friends are a little too Kum Bah Yah for me. But, hey, you know how I feel about messing with Lord Google.

#11 Tumblr

A blogging platform that lets you share all different types of content.  Kind of like if YouTube, Pintrest and WordPress had a baby.  Points off for spelling their name without an “e.”

#12 Flickr

A great collection of photography some of which you can actually use LEGALLY!  What a concept!  Points off for dropping the “e” out of their name.  Hey, I warned you with Tumblr.

#13 Google Ads

I haven’t mentioned Lord Google in awhile and this is something near and dear to his heart.  It’s where he makes his gazillions of dollars each year.  Pay a flat rate or pay per click.  Lord Google doesn’t care as long as you pay to access his millions of minions.

#14 Tweetdeck

For all its search power and zillions of followers, Twitter is still pretty clunky to use.  Tweetdeck makes it much more user friendly to manage and semi-automate multiple Twitter accounts.  BUT Twitter bought Tweetdeck so who knows how long before they screw it up.

#15 Hootsuite

A different flavor of Tweetdeck.  Not sure it’s any better or any worse.  BUT it has the advantage of NOT being owned by Twitter so I may have to make a switch if Twitter keeps “helping” Tweetdeck.

#16 Bit.ly

A great little company that shortens those ridiculously long URLs into something useable and Tweetable. Also pretty good at analytics for all you number crunchers out there.

#17 Ow.ly

Pretty much the same thing as Bit.ly, but I think it’s a little easier to use.  Plus, if you’re posting on Hootsuite, you gotta go with Ow.ly, right?

#18 Foursquare

A fun geo-location social media tool that lets you post where you are, what you’re doing and leave tips about the place you visited.  Also let’s you know if any of your hottie friends are in the vicinity so you can be a more efficient stalker.

#19 Slideshare

For all of you who just can’t get enough PowerPoint presentations at work, this is for you.  Pretty easy to use and Lord Google seems to like it… this week.

#20 Email

Maybe you’ve heard of it!  I know it’s old school but this crap really works.  Especially nice if you team up with Mail Chimp, Constant Contact, or ExactTarget.

What about the rest of the great digital marketing tools?

Jim, I know I haven’t hit 100+ tools yet, but go to Google Search and feel free to explore the 160,000,980 other tools I haven’t covered. All the best,  Q

 

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“How strong is my organization’s social media strategy?”

9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy

Is your social media implementation working as well as it can? In less than 60 minutes with the new FREE Brainzooming ebook “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy,” you’ll have a precise answer to this question.

Any executive can make a thorough yet rapid evaluation of nine different dimensions of their social media strategies with these nine diagnostics. Download Your Free Copy of “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy.”

 

      (Affiliate Link)

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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For those executives still developing strategies aimed at creating strategic impact and dramatically better business results, we’ve opened up the Brainzooming strategic thinking R&D lab once again to share fifteen newly developed, innovative strategic planning questions.

15 Innovative Strategic Planning Questions for Better Business Results

2014-QuestionsThis group of innovative strategic planning questions is heavy on identifying new market, product, and competitive opportunities to challenge your organization in dramatically expanding the benefits you deliver to your customers.

Fostering  Innovative, Disruptive Ideas

Identifying Innovative Strategic Opportunities

Creating Competitive Advantage

  • What markets can we rapidly move into where we have an underdog’s advantages?
  • How can we do something so big and challenging in a new market that current players will have to follow us, thereby bolstering our market development efforts?
  • How can we go around any parties standing between our clients and our brand in order to simplify buying for our consumers?
  • How can we realize scale economies in new ways through serving and supplying remote, low-density markets from a high-density location?

Prioritizing Market Strategy Opportunities

  • What will it take to dramatically improve the clarity of our marketing message by reducing the number of DIFFERENT messages we blast into the universe?
  • In what ways can we make it easier and more rewarding for our broad audience to share their opinions and take buying action on them?
  • Within our content marketing, what has to change to address five additional facets of both the human and business dimensions of our audience?
  • How do we craft a social media approach that still works hard for us if Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or some other high-profile social network went away next year?

Addressing Professional Development

  • What are my personal and professional development dreams, and what roadblocks do I need to eliminate (or simply ignore) to bring them to reality next year?

 

Need more help with creating strategic impact – now and next year?

If you need an additional push for your organization in creating strategic impact and dramatically better business results, The Brainzooming Group is here to assist you, tapping into our experience designing and implementing hundreds of strategy sessions to deliver real results.  Email us at info@brainzooming.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can help you enhance your strategy and implementation efforts. – Mike Brown

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“How strong is my organization’s social media strategy?”

9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy

Is your social media implementation working as well as it can? In less than 60 minutes with the new FREE Brainzooming ebook “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy,” you’ll have a precise answer to this question.

Any executive can make a thorough yet rapid evaluation of nine different dimensions of their social media strategies with these nine diagnostics. Download Your Free Copy of “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy.”

                                              (Affiliate Links)

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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Here is a strategy question for you.

When your organization is the size of a country (at least economically), but without the military and police protection to squelch uprisings, what do you do?

Answer?

You deal with uprisings (including negative publicity, boycotts, business loss, and litigation) by trying to reach the people most likely to incite the biggest uprisings and head things off beforehand. You also attempt to target those who could help effectively dampen uprisings that do occur.

Granted, this strategy question is one only Walmart and a few other companies have to address, but the importance of proactively addressing threats to your operational model applies to every organization.

Since the Walmart operational model focuses on low costs and value, the possibility any consumer or marketplace uprising could lead to larger costs, makes it a big deal. Any high profile issue could result in a significant distraction from or direct hit to the core strength and strategic focus at Walmart.

Although this strategic perspective was never overtly stated when Chad Mitchell Senior Director of Digital Communications at Walmart spoke to the September Social Media Club of Kansas City breakfast meeting, I cannot help but believe this thinking is a prime motivator for the Walmart strategy Mitchell shared.

Chad Mitchell on Walmart Social Conversations and Corporate Affairs

Chad-Mitchell-Walmart

Chad Mitchell highlighted the more aggressive use of social media by Walmart to listen and create conversations to influence positive perceptions for the brand’s activities. Chad titled the presentation, “Data-driven Social Media – Leveraging Data to Deliver a Human Social Strategy for a Global Enterprise.”

As I tweeted before the talk, if you were expecting cat pictures, you were going to be sorely disappointed.

Chad’s social media responsibilities focus on Corporate Affairs, where he has a team of four, including one person on social media and two on the corporate website which receives 20 million visits annually. After his first job at Walmart addressing political and government affairs in Washington, he moved to Bentonville, AR when he took over the social media responsibilities within Corporate Affairs.

Marketing runs the sales side of digital at Walmart where four thousand of the 10,000 Walmart stores have their own Facebook pages. Although the focus between the two areas is different, relationship building is central. As Mitchell puts it, “If you’re not on social media to build relationships, it doesn’t make much sense to be there.”

Social Media Strategy and Corporate Affairs Objectives

The objective behind the corporate affairs social effort is to have meaningful social conversations to influence perceptions about Walmart. The intent is to be honest and transparent so audience members realize they are interacting with real people at Walmart.  Overall, Walmart hopes to use its size and scale to attempt to “influence the world for the better.”

The data-driven enterprise social strategy at Walmart incorporates four elements:

  1. Human (Cross-functional team, Influence, Data analysis)
  2. Strategic (Discovery, Risk assessment, Engagement)
  3. Technology (Monitoring / Research, Content optimization, Analytics)
  4. Culture (Collaborative planning, Team execution, Command center)

Its keys challenges include overcoming stereotypes, internal perceptions, and audience members’ past experiences with the brand. An additional challenge, according to Mitchell, is that, “Fifty years of being a humble company doesn’t set you up for telling your story well.” From a cultural perspective, he pointed to the collaborative culture at Walmart where socializing ideas is expected before initiatives are implemented.

Managing Multiple Content Streams

The primary Walmart Twitter presence is @Walmart, which the Marketing team manages. The main Corporate Affairs Twitter presence is @WalmartHub, with a variety of sub handles (@WalmartGreen, @WalmartHealthy, @WalmartGiving, @WalmartNewsroom, @WalmartAction) for specific content areas.

The audiences Walmart wants to reach for corporate affairs are most available on Twitter. The company has also been aggressive about putting Corporate Affairs content on Facebook too. Initial influencer research identified the top 50 influencers Walmart wanted to reach, and it engages them directly.

According to Mitchell, its approach is on the “Right message, right audience, right time.” While content is focused through the specific sub handles, the best-performing content is subsequently shared through its main Twitter presence as well.

Underlying its social sharing strategy is the idea that, “It’s not about when you want to send a message, but when the audience wants to consume it.” In light of this, Walmart uses an application to handle and score content while also assessing the company’s real-time audience presence. Since Chad noted seeing 18% swings in its audience size within a very short time frame, it waits to push social content to optimize the audience presence.

Walmart promotes its best-performing tweets to extend their reach and story lifecycles. It also promotes messages to counter negative mentions with the hope of putting an alternative view in place. It also comments on negative stories to expose its own perspective more broadly.

Relative to answering questions, the response gap has been generally narrowed from two or more days to 10-15 minutes, especially on simple, fact-oriented questions.

Toward a Predictive Social Strategy

Walmart, much to Chad’s chagrin, does not yet have an explicit formula for how to adjust the volume of social activity and impact. As a result, it is making message-specific decisions based on available data as conversations play out.

One scale-related challenge for Walmart is being mentioned hundreds of thousands of times online daily. It estimates approximately 80,000 of these are relevant mentions. It generates internal alerts to highlight mentions, activity volume, and sentiment. There is a hope to get to some type of predictive analysis on the impact of social activity based on the various indicators available.

Overall Learnings

In terms of overall learning, Chad Mitchell identified four highlights for other organizations to embrace:

  • Build the system right
  • Implement a data-driven strategy
  • Build the right team
  • Pick the right specialty agencies (a preference for Mitchell vs. agencies trying to do everything)

Finally, according to Mitchell, when it comes to enterprise social strategy, “Data should be your friend.” – Mike Brown

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“How strong is my organization’s social media strategy?”

9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy

Is your social media implementation working as well as it can? In less than 60 minutes with the new FREE Brainzooming ebook “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy,” you’ll have a precise answer to this question.

Any executive can make a thorough yet rapid evaluation of nine different dimensions of their social media strategies with these nine diagnostics. Download Your Free Copy of “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy.”

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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9-diagnostics-cover

As we meet senior executives, it’s clear there are still many unanswered questions on social media strategy, especially for those companies early in social media strategy implementation or those that yet to even develop a social media strategy.

How Strong Is My Organization’s Social Media Strategy?

Among the most common questions senior executives are asking include:

  • How can a social media strategy meaningfully contribute to business objectives?
  • What metrics are relevant for measuring the impact of a social media strategy?
  • How do you determine the right staffing for a social media team?
  • Are the brand’s messages being appropriately represented through social media content?

To assist senior executives in evaluating both performance and opportunities in these and other social media areas, The  Brainzooming Group has created a new ebook: “9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy.”

Free Ebook: 9 Diagnostics to Check Your Social Strategy

This latest free ebook from The Brainzooming Group takes a sampling of the strategy exercises we use with clients and offers them in a format suitable for performing a quick self-diagnosis of a brand’s success with social networking. In a relatively brief amount of time, you’ll have a sense of where you need to concentrate your efforts to ensure you maximize the benefits of your organization’s social media efforts.

Securing your free ebook copy is easy: simply click on the button below and you’ll be taken to the sign-up page to download it. You’ll soon be identifying where your organization is missing vital business opportunities in social networking. – Mike Brown

 Download Your Copy

 

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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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