3

CNN-Boston-MarathonAny time we have an all eyes on the news tragedy, there is a question about what brands should do with their social media content:

  • Do you act like major networks and news programs and start exclusively sharing updates and (second hand) news about the tragedy?
  • Do you act like a cable network and keep up with whatever social media content was already planned, irrespective of the news?
  • Do you go completely dark out of respect for the tragedy and its victims?

So, what do you do with social media during a tragedy?

David Armano offers five pieces of advice for brands and how they should conduct themselves. It is great advice oriented toward a brand with a larger collaborative social media effort, although some of it (review your scheduled content and remove anything sensitive) applies across the board.

Another piece of advice from David Armano, summed up as “Do the Right Thing,” is a great sentiment, but there’s no one answer to what the right thing to do is.

One safe answer seems to be sending out your brand’s thoughts to a tragedy’s victims. Thoughts are nice, although not particularly efficacious. Some brands take advantage of their large audiences to help broadcast emergency and relief updates. Some brands are willing to go out on a limb and offer prayers. Since many times all you can do in these situations is pray or pay (i.e., donate), prayers are at the top of the heap to help victims.

Other brands, keep on with what social media content was already planned (or inappropriately chosen amid the tragedy), as others (typically individuals) spend their time calling these brands out for their social media miscues.

Perhaps the safest answer is to go dark in the face of tragedy. The challenge is there are tragedies and victims daily.

So does that mean a brand should NEVER share any social media?

No, it doesn’t.

But when there’s discussion about the importance of being “human” on social media, it’s not some b.s. social media strategy mumbo jumbo. You DO have to be human with your social media content, no matter how big or small your brand is.

And if you’re human with your social media sharing every day, you have a lot better chance of getting it right when a human tragedy is close enough to intersect with your social media content.  – Mike Brown

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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April-Fool-PrankI’ll admit I was tempted to create an April Fools blog post for today on “The Top Ten Reasons Creative Thinking Is Overrated.” It would be a funny and quick post to write (ten spoof reasons followed by “April Fool”) during what’s going to be an already hectic week.

Then I remembered a post author Jim Joseph wrote last year extolling brands creating April Fools social media as a way to show a human side. I replied to Jim’s blog saying I’d considered writing a post with reasons why a brand shouldn’t do April Fools prank social media.

Well, fundamental brand strategy won out over blog writing expediency!

5 Reasons April Fools Prank Social Media Is a Joke for Your Brand Strategy

Here are five reasons April Fools prank social media content is a joke when it comes to your brand strategy:

  1. Your brand represents a promise, and unless you’re Penn & Teller or Stephen King, tricking your most important audiences is likely not part of your brand promise.
  2. Just because another brand creates April Fool prank social media doesn’t mean you should. If another brand jumped off a cliff, does that mean your brand would too?
  3. Your brand doesn’t use “funny” and “surprise” as a part of its brand strategy and brand experience any other day of the year. Doing it one day a year doesn’t make your brand seem human. It just makes your brand seem confused or that it is a mindless follower.
  4. Since your brand is more conservative than it is fun, you will only approach April Fool prank social media half-heartedly. If you are going to introduce humor into social media, you should be broad and/or consistent with it so your audience gets it.
  5. Self-deprecating humor is safer than “at your audience’s expense” humor. Can you turn your April Fool prank social media idea into one where your brand is the butt of the joke? Would you want to? Probably not.

What do you think about Aprils Fools prank social media and its fit with brand strategy?

You can say I’m too much of a stick in the mud, but if a brand tries to make fools of its customers, that doesn’t seem to be part of a great brand strategy and brand experience. And on that point, I’m serious. No joke.  – 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 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 business 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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NMX-WebsiteIt’s fantastic that live event social media coverage of an incredible conference allows you to experience an event live from afar along with the blogs, presentations, and videos recapping the content afterward.

The only downside is you get to start kicking yourself while the event is still underway for not having ponied up the bucks to attend.

That was my sentiment with the New Media Expo (#NMX).

The Sunday afternoon tweets clearly confirmed the great content coming out of the Las Vegas event. By Monday, any remaining doubts were erased that the investment to attend the New Media Expo would have been a great one.

So while I wasn’t at #NMX, here are a sampling of tweets from the event. Again, this wasn’t my original content. These tweets are simply a sampling of great content I monitored and retweeted. Thanks to all the live tweeters for their efforts to share these ideas with the outside world!

This first link is to a Slideshare eBook with highlights from a broad range of #NMX presentations.

Audience Growth and “Viral” Content

These New Media Expo tweets underscore that it’s a different ballgame for bloggers than for traditional journalists. This point is lost on many traditional media outlets trying to look like social media sites, often with silly results. Social media content creators, however, would do well to consider adopting the ethics professional journalists operate under daily basis. And speaking of “daily,” there is value in writing more – even publishing daily.

While I still contend viral content is largely a game of numbers and chance, these tweets provide an underpinning to creating content that will be better received, even if it doesn’t become viral content. The theme of a micro focus inside a macro sentiment provides a basis for both generating and refining ideas that are near this intersection.

Social Business

This slide from the “War of Words: Myth-Busting Social Media, SEO & Content Marketing” presentation by Lee Odden is a wonderful illustration of how social content interacts with traditional marketing to address wherever a customer is in the buying cycle. You can find whole presentation from Lee Odden on Slideshare.

These additional #NMX tweets point to how adopting a social business perspective not only paves the way for a different way of creating a brand’s customer experience, it also opens up intriguing possibilities for ongoing content ideas.

Guy Kawasaki on Social Networking, Apple, and Marketing Success

Keynote presenter Guy Kawasaki was filled with tweetable one-liners – no surprise there. Here are several that prompted my retweets. The first one sums up his take on four social networking platforms:

I’ve tried to say what Guy Kawasaki says below in several posts about Steve Jobs and the fascination with doing what Steve Jobs did at Apple. There’s no modeling Steve Jobs because he didn’t have to operate with typical strategies because he was wired differently. In all those time of writing about it, however, I’ve never been able to describe the unique situation with Jobs so clearly:

Always a challenge to force yourself to accept when you want to do a variety of things:

Two Final Random Thoughts from the New Media Expo

This is one of those tweets that you sort of agree with, and sort of makes sense, but I would never have said it this way:

Definitely not the sexiest of the rewteets, but a tremendously beneficial idea, nonetheless. I’d throw in your attention and passion right in there with your time as the most valuable things you have:

I’ve got to find a way to get to #NMX in 2014!

Mike Brown

 

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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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4

For some people, it is a natural move from in real life personal relationships to social networking. Their social networking success can come from an instinctive or learned knack for what and when to share the right amount of personal information to make positive connections without boring people or seeming too self-obsessed.

Others, who take a more cautious approach to their lives and personal relationships, cannot imagine WHAT they could share online about themselves while still maintaining a professional image.

Social Networking by Sharing Kitteh Pictures

I was having this discussion with a cautious business owner recently who has social media presences established for the business, but struggles with what to share to both establish professional expertise and make personal connections via social networking. My point was even in a business-to-business setting, people buy from other people. PERSONAL relationships matter in real life business development, and they also matter when you are engaged in online social networking for business development.

You should have seen the reaction though when I mentioned the strategy behind sharing pictures of our cat Clementine (who a Twitter friend dubbed the “Director of Enthusiasm”) on Facebook.

Within a few questions, we found some topics that definitely have the potential for sharing on social networks. The issue is whether this business owner will become comfortable weaving in a more personal feel to social media content.

7 Content Strategy Questions for Building Personal Relationships

If you are struggling with integrating personal information into your social media sharing, here are seven questions you can ask yourself to identify potential personally oriented topics for social media sharing:

  • What do you think, know, and believe?
  • What are your favorite sources of compelling news and information online?
  • What do business associates and clients know about you personally?
  • What do you share about yourself when you meet someone at a networking event?
  • What is intriguing about you and your professional and personal interactions?
  • What is visually intriguing about your life – both professionally and personally?
  • What brands, stores, and places do you talk up to people because you appreciate them?

Certainly, you have answers to these questions. If you are struggling with sharing personal information via social media, the answers to these questions can start to form the basis of your personal content sharing strategy.

Social Networking – When and How Much Personal Information

The next big questions to ask and answer are how soon and how much to share personally?

You have to do what works for you, but if you are reluctant to share personal information online, the answers to these last two questions are “sooner than you think” and “more than you want.”

So now that all the questions are answered, it is time to started sharing and building personal relationships to let people get to know you better in an online professional setting! – Mike Brown

 

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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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A blog post about taking a TV network programming approach to shape your social media content strategy led to questions about tips for what content to re-share on your social media sites.

When it comes to the decision to re-share evergreen content (i.e. a less time sensitive blog post), step one is making sure you have a big enough catalog of evergreen content. Depending on how active your content strategy is going to be on social media sites, you could need fifty blog posts or hundreds of blog posts.

If your evergreen social media content is in place, it’s vital to make sure you’re sharing social media content relevant to your audience at the time it is being shared. You can’t just throw content out there on social media sites your audience will view as old, boring, and irrelevant.

5 Tips to Sharing an Evergreen Blog Post

Here are five tips you can use to increase the probability your social media content still feels “fresh” when you re-share it on social media sites:

1. Share what your audience is searching for currently

If people are finding their way to your blog for specific topics and looking at a particular blog post right now, that is a good indication that particular social media content is still valuable. Check Google Analytics for recent active keywords and review the blog posts getting the most attention right now. We use the Jetpack Sitestats plug-in to monitor what blog posts are getting attention on a real-time basis so we can share links to what’s hot from an audience perspective right now.

2. Share what’s in the news right now

Current headlines are another great indicator of evergreen content to share. If a topic is hitting the business or popular news, it’s your opportunity to feature relevant social media content. For example, we published a blog post when Coca-Cola introduced a short-term redesign for the Diet Coke can. When Coca-Cola later announced the Diet Coke redesign was becoming permanent, it was a natural blog post to share again.

3. Share evergreen content related to what you are currently publishing

Suppose you are running a new list blog post on a particular day. As you share the link for the new content throughout day, alternate links to other blog posts related to your new content. For instance, on the day this post publishes, we’ll be tweeting links on community management and the programming like a TV network blog post. By taking a holistic view to your content strategy in this way, you can create a content theme for the day.

4. Share what the crowd is pointing to that’s popular right now

If you have vibrant Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, or other presences on social media sites, you can readily scan them to see what topics people are writing and asking questions about currently. Check especially for topics and content others are re-sharing most frequently in your social media streams. The Google Trends is another option to see what searches are most popular currently. Take advantage of these cues to find comparable topics among your archived social media content to match current interests within your social media circles.

5. Share content that hasn’t been but should be popular

Just as certain TV shows are critically acclaimed but struggle to find an audience because of timing or other factors, the same can be true for a particular blog post. Perhaps an older post on our blog you really believe in didn’t receive the attention you thought it should have when originally published. Take advantage of future opportunities to share the post again and see if it catches on with the audience at a different time.

What other tips do you use to shape your content strategy and decide what evergreen content to share?

If you are sharing archived content from your blog as part of your content strategy, what tips and input do you use to make sure blog posts you’re sharing are relevant right now? Do you take any other steps to freshen evergreen content you share? We’ll put together a follow-on blog post about steps we take to keep even evergreen content fresh.  – Mike Brown

 

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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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1

Becoming an official sponsor of the Olympic Games is expensive.

But what if your brand wanted to APPEAR to be an Olympic Games sponsor without paying the typical sponsorship fee? Is that even possible?

Yes, it is possible, if you are adept at guerrilla marketing (affiliate link) and are willing to try a sponsor bomb strategy. A sponsor bomb, similar to a photobomb, involves getting near enough to a major sponsorship property to be able to bask in the attention it generates – without running afoul of the sponsorship property owner!

How do you sponsor bomb the Summer Olympics?

Here is how we applied guerrilla marketing principles to create a sponsor bomb for the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics at my former company, a global business-to-business transportation services provider.

The Background for the Strategy

Guerrilla Marketing - Sponsor Bomb the OlympicsOur company wanted to send a message to a focused target audience of employees in our headquarter locations – Kansas City, MO and Cleveland / Akron, OH – and the broader local communities. The message was our company was still viable, had a global perspective, and had the stability to be associated with a major event such as the Summer Olympics.

The guerrilla marketing approach involved a series of 4 identically-structured television commercials starring our own employees from around the world. Each commercial delivered the same message and was featured in heavy rotation during local advertising breaks for the NBC affiliates within the Summer Olympics in our headquarter TV markets. While we skimped on metrics (because of a very tight budget), the overwhelming feedback of people in both markets was a belief that we had to be a major sponsor of the Summer Olympics.

4 Keys to Sponsor Bomb a Major Sponsorship Property with Guerrilla Marketing

From our experience sponsor bombing the Olympics, here are our takeaway guerrilla marketing lessons to developing and implementing a sponsor bomb strategy:

1. Figure Out All the Places Where the Event Will Be Visible to Your Target Audience

If you’re going to sponsor bomb successfully, identify everywhere the sponsor property will be visible – in-person, traditional media, online, etc. Once you have done that, figure out which venue is most likely to overlap with where your target audience will be viewing or participating in the event.

In our case: The opportunity was to buy time in the local TV affiliate breaks since it was affordable and allowed us to target audiences in Kansas City and Cleveland/Akron.

2. Mass Inferior Resources to Maximize the Impact

When you are using a guerrilla marketing strategy in place of a traditional sponsorship it probably means you have inferior resources relative to traditional sponsors. The difference is though, you may have proportionately more dollars to put into marketing the sponsor bomb effort. You need to orient the marketing mix for your sponsor bomb strategy to have the biggest possible impact when you can be active, even if it means passing up having a presence elsewhere / at other times.

In our case: We put our advertising investment into only the two (eventually 3) local markets with 15-second TV commercials. These shorter commercials were less costly, allowing us to buy approximately 100 or more airings  in each market coming into and leaving local break in the Olympics. The result was if you were in either local market, we seemed to “own” the Olympics broadcast because of the high frequency we achieved.

3. Keep Your Hands Really Clean

With a sponsor bomb strategy, you don’t want to run afoul of the sponsorship property owner or other sponsors. That means it is vital to understand what you can and cannot do, say, and represent relative to the property.

In our case: We could not show the Olympic rings, but the legal team said we could say “Summer Olympics” without naming the host city of the Olympics.

4. The creative execution should be more strategic than creative (and it must be incredibly creative)

Creative execution for a sponsor bomb has to integrate strongly with the rest of the sponsor bomb strategy to maximize the impact with the target audience. The creative has to match up with the objectives, the budget, and how you are deploying resources. To make the sponsor bomb work, creative that generates a big “wow” without supporting every aspect of the strategy is just a wasted opportunity.

In our case: To stay in budget, we had to go with lower production values. The idea of featuring employees played into lower production costs, plus it put the target audience right into the Olympics advertisement. The repetitive structure allowed us to feature more employees (4 different versions of the ad) while not compromising the advantages we were getting from the high frequency we were able to achieve with 15-second advertisements (featured below).

Have you tried or seen a similar guerrilla marketing sponsorship strategy?

There are multiple ways you can employ this type of non-traditional sponsorship strategy. As we’ve discussed previously, The Brainzooming Group used a variation of this approach to create the Building the Gigabit City sponsorship. While it may be more challenging strategically than a typical sponsorship approach, the rewards for your effort can be tremendous! – Mike Brown

 

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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 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

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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Seeing painful examples this week featuring social media completely devoid of real brand personality means it’s time to create a simple social media personality audit.

Social media content with no brand personality?

Social-Media-Personality-AuditExample 1: The Financial Institution

There’s a TV advertisement running in Kansas City for a financial institution’s new blog targeted at women. The TV advertisement features five women in a kitchen, supposedly talking and sharing in a very “it’s just us girls” way. Apparently by “just us girls” though the financial institution means “in a very stilted, formal, artificial, and awkward” way.

When you check out the financial institution blog, the “stilted, formal, etc.” sentiment carries throughout its site. The five women in the ad obviously represent five personas for the blog. But instead of depicting real people, the five women are characters with phony descriptive names tied to each persona’s life stage and some variation of the financial institution’s signature color.

Let’s just say the dearth of activity on the financial institution blog suggests nobody feels like hanging out in the virtual kitchen to talk and share with these phony personalities.

Example 2: The Vet Clinic

Then yesterday, after visiting our vet to pick up the cats, the vet clinic popped up on Facebook with a status update about a new blog post. I clicked the link and scanned the last three vet clinic blog posts. All three blog posts were about products to keep away from your pet. Helpful information, without a doubt. But the information appeared (based on the blog design information) to be generated by a company specializing in on-hold call systems. As a result, the vet clinic blog posts had the personality one would typically associate with an on-hold call.

This is in stark contrast, however, to a very friendly and warm vet clinic where vets, techs, and other staff have shown us tremendous support as one cat faded and get genuinely excited and have a special nickname for our other cat when she visits the cat clinic.

10 Question Social Media Content Personality Audit

These two social media examples so devoid of brand personality sent me looking for definitions of individual personality and brand personality to spur my creative thinking.

Based on the words suggested in the Wikipedia entries and our experience with good and bad social media content, here are 10 questions the financial institution, the vet clinic, or your brand can ask to see whether you are putting enough personality into social media.

Apply this 10 question social media personality audit to see how any social media content from a brand does. Give two points for every “Yes” answer and no points for every “No” answer:

  • Is there an overriding emotion this social media content suggests?
  • Would you know the attitude employees of this brand embody from its social media content?
  • Are the behaviors your people display when they go above and beyond to help customers clearly suggested?
  • When you see this content, does it appear as if it could be shared in a genuine conversation or letter exchange with someone who knows you?
  • Is there a level of familiarity suggested that customers or potential customers would expect when they dealt with your employees in person?
  • Does this social media content have a spark of imagination and spirit?
  • Will the information shared via social media pass the “straight face” test?
  • Does the tone and delivery of the social media content treat the reader with clear respect?
  • Will a reader walk away from this social media content enriched both intellectually and emotionally?
  • Would people legitimately want to spend more time with the person delivering this social media content?

Let’s see how you did!

Grading the Social Media Content Personality Audit

Here’s how to score a brand on the social media personality audit:

  • 18 or Greater: “A” – You are delivering personality throughout your social media content
  • 16:  “B” – You’re showing more personality than most are in social media
  • 12 – 14: “C” – Social media content you produce might reflect aspects of your brand personality, but it could easily be missed
  • Less than 12: “Fail” – Your social media content probably has drab stock photos (even for what should be employee images), copy that should be on your website and not your blog, and status updates that read like short-form press releases

Who is doing it right?

If you want to see a local brand that has really impressed me of late by oozing its brand personality in social media content, check out the Kansas City store, STUFF on Facebook. It’s located on my favorite creative block in Kansas City, and in the face of a lot of generic retail social media content, STUFF shows you can showcase your brand personality in an imaginative way every day.

Oh, BTW, there is a caveat

Most of the creative questions, strategic thinking exercises, and innovation-inducing tools shared on the Brainzooming blog spring from real-life organizational situations and have been tried and tested.

This social media audit hasn’t, at least in this form. It’s all stuff I fully believe and espouse, but this attempt to share it in a new way isn’t client tested. Because of that, I’d love to see you apply it, and let us know if you think it’s appropriately categorizing the good and bad of social media content you see. – Mike Brown

 

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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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