Send Your Ego to the Back Seat and Bring Your Consumers to the Front.

Thanks to the continual evolution of social media, we have a growing set of useful tools for gathering feedback about our brand reputation.   Online branded communities, for example, are becoming increasingly valuable meeting spaces where community members and brand marketers can easily engage in meaningful conversation around specific products and services, and even the brands themselves.

This increase in brand–consumer conversation is beginning to change consumer expectations. They see that we marketers are part of their communities, and assume that we are listening, hearing, and planning product and service changes accordingly.

The problem here is that sometimes we marketers are so committed to our own brand experience that we may be resistant to change and have trouble actually hearing when our consumers are trying to ask us to change components of our brand.  In order to work around our own (natural and understandable) resistance to change, we need to take a step back from our fierce attachment to what we believe makes our brand successful.

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People and The Power of Hashtags

In these early days of 2011, contrary to the opinions of some, social networking has passed the tipping point. An interesting assertion but how do we know this?

All we can do is look at the evidence of these changes and it is mounting. We review the numerous attempts to impair internet communications and access to social media and start by sharing this quote during the crisis in Egypt.

“Clearly, what’s rattled the government is the major role that social media has played in the protests rocking the country’s cities, including Cairo.

“Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and even Google Docs have been used in unprecedented ways this time around — both for coordination, and for disseminating news,” Jillian York, Harvard University, Berkman Center for Internet & Society

Our small, medium and large screens are filled with images from around the world starting from the ongoing revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa, first the fall of #Tunisia, then #Egypt and now #Libya where it seems to only be a matter of time.

And not surprisingly, at this time even the protests in Iran and China are starting to heat up again and the governments there are clamping down quickly each time before the protest momentum can build to any significant level.

But interestingly there are also emerging examples here in North America surrounding both labor #wiunions and entertainment #oscars that are also demonstrative of the accelerating impact of social.

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The future of work

Since the start of the year, I’ve been heading up our Social Business Consultancy here at 1000heads, and I’ve been spending a lot of my time this month listening rather than talking; seeking ideas from a huge range of people on what a ’social business’ of the future really should look like and the challenges in implementing some of those changes now.

Our social consultancy clients include Mars, Heineken, Nokia, Cancer Research UK, Veria and LocateTV, so we well know that being social can mean something very different depending on what sort of company you are – the approach has to be bespoke.

However, I’m also a believer in starting with what the ideal social business might be and being bold in challenging businesses to question and evolve themselves as radically as possible.

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What the Heck is Good Content Anyway?

Earlier this week, I talked about the importance of blog post frequency. If you’re not updating your blog regularly, it’s the first thing that sends me packing.

However, blog frequency means absolutely nothing if you don’t have good content to back it up. That’s why the very best blogs in the world offer killer content on a consistent basis.

If you spend any amount of time reading blogs, you’re likely to hear “content is king”. While that is most certainly true, trying to achieve truly great content is a lot easier said than done.

So, what the heck is good content anyway?

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Must-See Twitter

Once upon a time, we used to watch TV by appointment. Families gathered together around a tiny screens – screens that were even smaller than our current laptop screens – and share the experience of watching a program together. Even earlier than that, families used to sit around their radios and “watch” their favorite comedies, dramas and adventures.

Whether it was the Jack Benny Show on radio or the amazing Thursday night lineup on NBC in the 1990s, for the better part of half a century, we enjoyed entertainment when the broadcasters decided we should. What’s that, you say? You work on Thursday nights? Sorry, but that’s when our show airs.

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The End of Networking as We Know It!

I loathe business networking.

The Chamber of Commerce meetings. Networking “speed dating.”  Trade shows.  Business Networking International.

But when I started my own business, this seemed to be the only alternative.  My last “corporate job” was global in nature. For years I had been leading teams in China, Russia, Brazil, Australia — almost every corner of the world — and really had no significant business connections — no business leads — in my own region of the country!  So I had to get out and press the flesh.

I dutifully began the circuit of lunch and breakfast meetings, hoping beyond hope that a connection would lead to a connection and conversations would turn into customers.  It was an endless loop of meeting the same insurance salespeople, bug exterminators and realtors over and over again.

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PR and SM According to The Social CMO PR Divas

The Crew here at @TheSocialCMO is a diverse and unique group of individuals. Lately we’ve been looking at some areas of expertise and interest that have garnered significant coverage from our bloggers such as the recent Everything you wanted to know about influence but were afraid to ask pulling together posts on a number of themes surrounding influence including Trust, Relationships, Social Capital and of course… Influence. Now we turn our attention to PR and social media and the divas who make PR magic @TheSocialCMO .

So who are @TheSocialCMO PR Divas? Well the first to join us was Amy @HowellMarketing who’s agreement to contribute to this blog with me was the first step in Lighting the Social Media Fire at The Social CMO and had she declined who knows if we’d even be blogging for you today.

Shortly after this @AnneDGallaher Owner/CEO of the Deeter Gallaher Group LLC, a Pennsylvania marketing/PR firm came on board providing insights and introductions into PR and social media as it is applied in some of the largest and best known brands in the world.

The next of @TheSocialCMO PR Divas to join us was fellow Canadian @DebWeinstein who is an internationally acclaimed PR Pro, President and Co-founder of Strategic Objectives, Canada’s most award-winning PR agency.

ReneeWarrenAnd last but not least an interesting post on How Social Media is Changing Public Relations was also contributed by our very own Renee Warren @Renee_Warren founder of Renee Warren Communications and now Spark Boutik.

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Deborah Weinstein: My Most Excellent Entrepreneurial Adventure

Last November I was asked by my dear friend Guy Gal to be a Keynote Speaker at The Biz Media’s Global Entrepreneurial Week Meet up. It was a distinct pleasure and unique opportunity to talk about my journey from feisty CBC reporter to PR maven. Our entrepreneurial spirit is still alive at Strategic Objectives, and I was excited to share my story with my fellow digital marketers. The crowd was warm and eager, the refreshments delightful. Here’s the video from of my speechification. I hope you enjoy my story as much as I enjoyed telling it.

A big thank you to @GuyGal and The Biz Media for hosting me and our @SO_PR social crew.

Deb Weinstein

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People are more important than Klout

Thank you for the discussion on Mack Collier’s blog and on Twitter regarding my Klout posts. I’m grateful and humbled so many joined in the conversation. Also greatly encouraged so many were totally offended by the four keys to increasing your Klout score. As you’ve discovered by now, I was not all suggesting you actually game Klout to increase your score. Instead, I was, hopefully, illustrating the absurdity of having a goal of increasing any artificial measure of influence.

Intuitively, it seems we all know no two-digit metric, or even a more elaborate metric like Twitalyzer, can truly measure influence. Too many factors go into defining, discerning, and describing influence. For instance, consider the influence of George W. Bush today, now compare that to his influence on September 12, 2001. Influence, in that case, was significantly affected by environmental conditions. So it is with you and I. (Even though Justin Bieber has a perfect Klout score of 100, I still have more influence on my 8, 10, and 13 year old children than he does! My Klout score is nowhere near his.)

As JC Penny showed us last week, any ranking system can be gamed, even one as disciplined and well funded as Google. So it is with Klout. There are specific strategies you can pursue to get a higher Klout score. If that’s your objective, no doubt you’ll succeed. You’ll find in my post four keys to increase your Klout score.

Many people recognized the humor and absurdity of my four keys. I’m glad. If you’ve heard me speak, read my blog, or engaged with me online, you know I cherish Zig Ziglar’s oft-quoted axiom, “You can have everything in life you want if you’ll just help enough other people get what they want.” You’ve probably also heard me state and defend against all challenges the admonition, “Follow back every person who follows you on Twitter.” Even though that suggestion STILL ruffles some people’s feathers, I still advocate accepting another human being’s out-stretched hand.

Which brings us back to the real issue of increasing one’s influence. Is that a worthwhile goal? I wonder if influence, like corporate profits, is a by-product of rendering valuable service to others. Render enough valuable service to others, and you’ll have all the influence you need.

Even if increasing one’s influence is a worthwhile goal, it can’t be successfully pursued without attending to, acknowledging, and affirming other human beings around you.

Instead of increasing our Klout scores, we’d garner more clout by rendering more, more valuable service, to more people. When we’re doing that, we won’t need a third-party rating system to let us know we’ve succeed. (Just ask Warren Buffett, one of the most influential people in the world of business, who just happens to have a Klout score 1/3rd the ranking of Justin Bieber. Who would YOU rather spend a day with?)

Trey Pennington

Social Media Success Requires Consistency!

Whether you are in social media or any kind of business one of the most important traits you can demonstrate is consistency!

Consistency is defined as being marked by harmony, regularity, or steady continuity and free from variation or contradiction; showing steady conformity to character, profession, belief, or custom. Doesn’t that also sound like a great rule of thumb for a social media practice?

Humans tend to be attracted to balance and consistency.  A person can only be as successful in their life’s endeavors as they are consistent in their life’s behaviors. In other words you have to “walk the talk.” This is true on the “online or offline world.”

This means that as a leader, your actions (what you say, what you do, where you spend your time, what you deem as being important, the decisions you make etc) must be consistent… day in and day out.  That way, the people who follow what you say and do – will see consistency in your actions and behaviors.

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