Hitting The Lazy Button

Aided by social communication tools, are we becoming lazy communicators with lazy friendships?

Yesterday I posed this question on Twitter: do you ever feel that your use of social media is resulting in more, but SHALLOWER relationships? Even perhaps making long-term friendships shallower? A few people responded with a hearty AMEN and few people said NO WAY. How about you?

It’s not “social media’s fault”; the word choice of “your use of social media” was very intentional. The tools are what we make of them, just like the tools that came before. And you know I love them as much as the next addict enthusiast. Through them, I have met all of you amazing people and I don’t take that for granted.

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How to alienate a customer in just three easy steps

The really great thing about social media is this: it’s faster and easier than ever to ignore, alienate and piss off a customer!

Case in point. As quick background, I joined Weight Watchers 9 days ago (not that I’m counting). It’s not a brand I ever thought I would associate with, but, well, that Jennifer Hudson TV commercial sucked me in, to tell you the truth. I know how to lose weight (lots of experience), but counting calories has gotten tedious so I thought maybe there’s something to this whole “points” thing.

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Why I still don’t care what your Klout score is.

This may be a spectacularly unpopular opinion. But it is just that, one opinion. I mean no offense to those of you who anxiously await your latest Klout score, I really don’t. That’s your personal choice, and I respect that. I just want to express why, for me personally, none of this is about increasing my Klout score. I’m not even signed up for Klout and unless someone can convince me that it’s essential to my further professional development, I intend to keep it that way.

The best, most candid article I have seen on the topic of Klout and other influence measurement tools lately is this: Twitalyzer and Klout. In it, Eric Peterson says:

“I personally think that any company or individual who is making a hiring or contracting decision based on our data, Klout scores, or any number is making a huge mistake! No disrespect to Klout, or any of the other measurement services out there, but there is no calculation that tells you nearly enough about an individual to allow you to make a buying, hiring, or any other kind of personal decision. At the point where we are making personal decisions based on a single number — one that even in a transparent system like ours people still don’t take the time to understand completely — our humanity has been lost and, in my humble opinion, we are better off turning the damn machines off and calling it a day.”

Amen, Eric.

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You Can’t Put a Price on Shared Passion

A colleague recently shared this Simon Sinek video, How Great Leaders Inspire Action, with me and it’s worth sharing with you. It’s not new, but is a thought provoking piece about how truly inspired, innovative companies like Apple are driven not by what they do, or even how they do it, but by their vision of WHY they do it. (It’s long, but you can watch about the first 3-4 minutes and get the gist.)

This, I suspect, is one reason why an increasing number of folks are starting their own thing. Because not just outstanding companies but also outstanding individuals are driven by “Why”.

I highly recommend that any leader that manages people also read this recent article by Gini Dietrich, Money is Not a Motivator. The money quote (pun intended): “We want to see our work rewarded in ways more than just pay…what keeps us motivated, day after day to get up and go to work, is the feeling that we’re part of something.” A-men. I’ve talked to people who have trouble understanding this, but I believe for many of the best and brightest it is truly NOT about the money. Money is great, but not what drives us.

If you’re feeling discontented with your job, it may be because your “Why” is not the same as that of your organization or the people with whom you work. Meaning, you’re just not in it for the same reasons. Their passion, perhaps, doesn’t match yours, in direction, magnitude, or both.

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Social Media and the Cult of Personality

Participation in social media is about the community, not the cult of personality, the narcissism, the “look at me! I’m so great.” I think we all understand that, at least in our talk, if not in our actions. Yet, lately, I find myself bothered by the absolutely rampant self-promoters. I follow people on Twitter who tweet about almost nothing but themselves, their products, their accomplishments, their hotness.

Sure, you might argue, I could just unfollow them, unfriend them, block them, whatever. And I could. But I don’t, because I think they are really good people with a lot to offer who are just caught up in the shiny illusion that social media can create that everyone’s a celebrity. I have actually had people refer to me as a “local social media celebrity” and it makes me laugh and throw up a little in my mouth. I’ve seen friends, so caught up in the moment of their “celebrity” status, completely disregard other friends, because they are not in “the group”. Welcome to social media high school. I’d like to graduate and move on now, please.

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What do you mean by “Activate”? The house that Twitter built

This post is a preview of a section of The Social CMO Book which I’ve been asked to write (just a section, not a book), about activation and what that means. Coincidentally, the story of #saveteecycle seems to me to play right into this topic. Consider it a work in progress.

What do you mean by “Activate”?

To activate something means to set it in motion, to make it active or more active. In chemistry, it means to accelerate a reaction in something, as by heat. That is exactly what we’re talking about here. Once you have established a social network and begun to engage, you need to determine ways to set it in motion, light it on fire, add catalysts. In other words, get it actively working towards your goal.

To illustrate the concept of activation, I’d like to share a story.

This is The House that Twitter Built

On July 22, 2010, torrential rains hit Milwaukee, Wisconsin in the USA, flooding neighborhoods and destroying homes. One family that lost its home was that of Tim and Jess Cigelske and their baby, Clara. For more backstory, here’s Tim’s original post with the story of their loss, The (Not So) Great Milwaukee Flood of 2010.

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Social media: to plan or not to plan?

In the debate regarding whether or not social media should be planned, I typically fall on the “yes” side, while others may feel it should be more organic. Really, though, my answer is, “it depends who you are and what you’re doing.”

If you’re a large organization like Aurora Healthcare, you’re going to benefit from a more formal plan, for these reasons, according to Jamey Shiels, Aurora’s Director of Marketing:

“Our social marketing strategy is planned and documented. We have a corporate plan and smaller plans for internal partners that feed the larger plan. The documentation is critical for keeping groups focused on the long term strategy and goals. While documented, the material is not lengthy, one to two pages and is flexible to adapt to performance, user feedback and overall activity. Our success and ability to measure becomes easier to achieve with this approach.”

Yet, on the flip side, if you’re an individual, a small business, or a small, grassroots effort, having the “plan in your head” can be enough.

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Stop paddling once in a while, and look around you.

Yesterday, I went kayaking on Green Lake. It is Wisconsin’s deepest lake at 237 feet deep, and it is wide and windy. Paddle anywhere near an open bay, and you need the upper body strength of the Hulk to keep going. So I clung pretty close to sheltered shoreline. But, what I was thinking about was mostly this lesson I have decided is the most important thing I need to bring home from vacation.

In paddling, and in life, it is not actually necessary to paddle furiously the entire time, as is my tendency and I suspect most of yours.

It is actually OK to stop paddling, float for a while, and just look around you, savoring exactly where you are at this moment, rather than the next point at which you are trying to arrive.

If the swells are up and the wind is high, you might start getting pushed too close to a place you don’t want to be. So, you’ll need to redirect yourself from time to time.

And then, when you’re ready, you can start paddling furiously again, with renewed strength and focus.

This morning, I sat on the bench in this photo with my latte and gazed directly across the lake, at the point where my lovely childhood memories live (see previous post). And while I may or may not have shed a couple of tears thinking about how my past compares to my overall present non-vacation state of being, it’s a healthy thing to have one eye on the past, if it helps you redirect your future.

I had to overcome a lot of pressure to come back from vacation yesterday, to attend a meeting today that was planned long after this vacation was planned. And as important as my work is to me, it will never, ever be more important than this time to break away with my family to just enjoy the beauty of the moment and reflect on how we want our future to be.

What do you think? Are you capable of stopping the frantic paddling, to just float on the waves for a while? The last time you did so, what was the result?

Susan Spaight

Social Marketing Strategy: What I learned about giving from #saveteecycle and a Jewel song

I’ve seen people say before that in social media “You have to give to get.” And to that, I say, AMEN.

For most marketers, this is of course a complete and utter disconnect from how they are used to thinking. Yet, I contend, for many it would be the most effective social media/marketing/business strategy they could possibly implement.

Of course, in the past few years, myriad marketers have jumped on the cause marketing bandwagon. And, while rare companies are launching ambitious programs like Kohl’s Cares, and The Pepsi Refresh Project and the like, to be honest, in my experience, most companies I talk to about strategies like this don’t yet understand how giving can benefit them.

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