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Social Media isn’t a Field Of Dreams

September 28, 2009 Leave a comment

In the classic baseball movie ‘Field of Dreams’ a , mysterious voice tells our hero, Ray Kinsella (Costner), “If you build it, they will come”. Costner follows the advice and constructs a baseball diamond on his soon to be bankrupt Iowa farm. To the delight of audience memebers, people do come, the farm is saved, Costner plays catch with his father and we all live happily ever after.

Well my friends, social media isn’t like the Field of Dreams. Just because you built it, doesn’t mean anyone’s coming. While signing up on all the major platforms and building a interconnected network is a start, it isn’t enough.

So many businesses, who don’t get the true value of social media, think they can create a strong community simply by signing up. A tricked-out profile on umpteen sites is not the ticket to ‘rock star’ status. Major brands, think Coke, may be able to get away with this strategy for a short period of time, but sooner rather than later, your community will expect you to produce awesome content. If you do not… they’ll find someone who will.

A major key to your SM success is a properly developed strategy. Just like the Marketing Plans of old, you need a properly executed strategy for your social media efforts.

So before you dive head first into the shallow end, sit down with your team and hammer out the details.

-Why do you think your company needs a social media plan?
-What do you want to accomplish?
-Who do you want to reach?
-Where are your customers and potential customers meeting online? (listen to them first!)
-What will this cost the company?
-Do you have the right people for the job? Who is responsible for what?
-What is the competition doing? How can you do it better? Where are the opportunities?
-What makes your company different?
-How often will you produce content?

These are questions which must be answered. Without a clear plan you’re doomed to failure, or worse, mediocrity. Take the time to brainstorm with your team and answer these questions. When you’re done (this could take hours or even days), review your team’s answers and discuss what can be done to make them a reality. And look at that, you’ve got 75% of your social media strategy all mapped out. This stuff isn’t rocket science, but it is a science. Do yourself a favor and make the time to plan your social media campaign. Taking the time to doing it right the FIRST time will save you countless headaches in the end.

Categories: Marketing, Social Media

Inbound Marketing has got it right!

August 17, 2009 Leave a comment

I stumbled across a company today that truly set me back on my heels– Inbound Marketing. This site offers, what they call, the Inbound Marketing University or IMU. This online place of learning is 100% free and offers courses designed to produce savvy online marketers. Courses include: SEO, Community Building, Business Uses for Facebook and LinkedIn, and Twitter for Business to name a few. These courses are delivered in a Powerpoint/Podcast format. At the time of ‘taping’ students were able to post questions to their lecturing professors, which were then answered during the Q and A at the conclusion of the class.

“Why are they offering this”, I asked myself time and time again. I then see the book. Inbound Marketing: Get found using Google, Social Media, and Blogs.This entire university is designed to create interest in their book. They’re building the community first. By offering these amazing value-added services, Inbound Marketing is building customer and brand loyalty. They will soon convert this online community into dedicated customers/readers. I applaud their efforts. This is what Web 2.0 is all about. Give before asking. Provide for the community and they will provide for you. Genius.

I’m half-way through the training and each class has been packed with useful information. There are a few ‘basic’ courses (there are just as many advanced classes too), but each was packed with great information and great content for both the newcomers and pros.

This company has given so much in term of social media, marketing, PR, and community building. Come October 19th, when this book becomes available, I’ll be right there in line along with other IMU students. Well done guys, well done.

Brian P. Brown

Inbound Marketing University

August 17, 2009 Leave a comment

Book Review: Putting the Public Back in Public Relations, by Brian Solis and Deirdre Breakenridge

August 14, 2009 1 comment

In the nature of full transparency, I have to admit I have been waiting for this book for a long time. When I saw Brian Solis’ take on public relations and social media, I was stoked to say the least. With that said, the following is my honest review of

Putting The Public Back in Public Relations- How Social Media is Reinventing the Aging Business of PR.

It’s not about technology, it’s about relationships and people.

This is the underlying theme throughout the book. Social media is only a tool used to interact with people, i.e., ‘the people formerly known as your audience’.

The first part of the book is dedicated to the history of public relations and the recent paradigm shift in the industry. Don’t skim through this section. It’s perfect for anyone new to the realm of social media / public relations or anyone who hasn’t participated in the conversation until this point. The authors frequently include direct blog posts which provide the reader with a sense of inclusion. A nice touch.

As soon as the reader is caught up to speed, Solis and Breakenridge jump right into the meat of the subject matter.

The authors cover the change in language that has taken place in the PR industry. This language change represents a more important attitude change in regards to participating with the public. This section also includes a somewhat funny chapter on blogger relations. The methods bloggers went to in an effort to stop PR spammers was pretty brutal, yet somewhat funny (example: Robert Scoble listing the email address of PR spammers on his blog).

The real gem of this section revolves around SMRs or Social Media Releases. These interactive press releases (I can barely call them press releases) are changing the way information is disseminated. A rough template is provided supplying the reader with a spring board for their own release ideas. SMRs are the way of the future.

Next, Social Media tools and technologies are addressed and explained for anyone who is late to the game. Again, don’t skip this section as the information provided is solid. The authors take this section to hammer in the concept of Relationships and People over Technology (sociology is greater than technology). After reading this section, the reader is left with a solid idea of what social media should and can be.

Finally, the future of Public Relations is discussed and provides actionable steps to properly implement the idea discussed earlier. This section is key for anyone hoping to adopt a social media strategy in their own business or hoping to ‘sell’ the idea to the larger corporation they work for.

Overall Thoughts:
This book kept me awake for nights on end. It has that motivational quality to it that just makes you want to do your PR job better. The book will get your head spinning with ideas while making you an effective PR 2.0 participant. Solis and Breakenridge have made this book their platform to change the public relations industry. While PR is the focus of this work, anyone participating in the online conversation should take the time to learn from their experience. The book’s themes are presented clearly and effectively. Putting the Public Back in Public Relations brings much to the table: it’s full of resources for further study and is worth multiple reads.

I recommend this book to anyone who plans on participating in the online conversation. If you are already active in social media and marketing online, you cannot afford to pass over this book. We all have much to learn. With greater participation and interaction, the PR world is prepped for greatness as long as we all keep in mind;

It’s about the people!

Beware of the ‘Social Media Experts’

July 24, 2009 2 comments

Anyone who has spent a half second on Twitter or Facebook has come across the ‘Social Media Expert’. The unpopular kid from college who has spent all their waking hours trying to unlock the secrets to making money in social media. Each is pulling for your attention in an attempt to convince you that their system for social media is the best. Most will even charge exorbitant fee for their special training program –I’m talking thousands of dollars.

“Oh RLY”, you ask.
“RLY”.

What bothers me the most about these people is they are ruining social media. Absolutely ruining it.

Before I really get started I must clarify that social media is a great tool from driving traffic to your website and building reporte with customers and future customers. It has changed the face of marketing and public relations forever. Businesses and consumers are interacting like never before. Additionally, their are individuals who know their social media. The funny thing about that is NONE of them call themselves Social Media Experts.

With that being said, social media is supposed to be about having fun. Isn’t that the point of meeting new people –it’s fun?

“I can get you more followers!”

OK, back to these experts of social media/networking. The big pitch for these guys is to get you more Twitter followers. That is typically the meat and potatoes of their system. How do these seemingly normal people acquire SO many followers? Here’s the big $3000 secret. You ready?

THEY FOLLOW EVERYONE AND THEIR BROTHER! That’s it! Most people on Twitter feel the need to reciprocate (a href=”http://www.amazon.com/Influence-Psychology-Persuasion-Business-Essentials/dp/006124189X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1248442697&sr=8-1″>See Robert Cialdini’s book INFLUENCE follow and will follow you back. Seriously, this is their secret to more followers and I have given it to you for free. Next time you come across one of these people, check out their profile. Often they are following tens of thousands more users than are following them. I get a minimum of 20 followers who follow in hopes that I will reciprocate. I check out their BIOS and they stink of spammers. Stop this!

Another secret that’s all too obvious

The expert’s next big secret is all about integration. Yes, that’s it. They want you to pony up the big bucks so they can show you how to put links on your Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and digg.com accounts. Some expert huh? Some even offer to intergrate your accounts for you. Give me a break. If you don’t already do this or know how to do this, please leave me a comment or, even simpler, look it up on Google.

Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Soon everyone will have a presence on these platforms. We are in a very exciting time in terms of how the web is influencing the world around us. These networks have given the people a voice. Customers are regaining control of the marketplace, no longer to be pushed around by the giant corporations. Small business owners are getting the word out, while not spending a fortune in advertising. And…most importantly, Tila Tequilla has found her way to Twitter (God help us all).

***I’m not the only one feed up with these hacks. Check out Brian Solis’ article entitled Social Media is Rife with Experts but Starved of Authority

If you want to be success with social media or simply wish to know more about it, you don’t need to spend huge sums of money. Do the research and find the reputable blogs. There are many legit sites out there looking to help you. Oh yeah, and they’re free. 80% of EVERYTHING you need to know about social media can be learned from a handful of blogs.

If you happen to be one of those people (like me) who isn’t satisfied with 80%, them check out Amazon.com. The search term ‘social media’ will bring you tons of results.

BUT…since I’m such a great guy, I’ll provide you with the top 5 books you’ll need. These books will teach you everything you need to know to dominate social media. Just do me one favor –when you do become an expert and giant success, don’t try to sell your bullshit system to me. : )

Brian Solis
Putting the Public Back in Public Relations, by Brian Solis A great book which explains how we must adapt our methods to match the times. A must read.

Me Me 2.0 by Dan Schawbel There are just as many personal branding experts as there are social media experts. Dan is the only guy who seems to have it right.

Anything by Scott Ginsberg Scott is the man! His attitude and overall approach to live make him one of the greatest networkers out there. Read everything you can find by Scott.


The New Rules of Marketing and PR by David Meerman Scott This book is a nice starting point for anyone getting into social media. A great comparison of what worked then and what works now.


Guerilla Marketing by Jay Conrad Levinson
While not solely focused on social media, this book teaches and instills the work ethic you will need to be successful in your marketing, public relations, and social media efforts.

UPDATE: July 27th, I just found this today on Mashable. If you’re feeling a little lost or need a review of all things Twitter check out Twitter Guide Book

PR in the news and on the web.

Having the ‘Right Stuff’ For Your Marketing Plan

As some of you know, I am an avid surfer. Since my first day on a board, I have dealt with constant struggles to get to the point I’m at now. It has been a journey which has taught me much about: myself, life, and business.

The other day, after catching a nice 6 footer, I paddled out to do it again and starting thinking of how far I’d come. I looked down at my newly purchased board and that’s when I realized the true importance of having the proper gear.

When I started surfing, I had bought a short board (6’0″) to save a little money. Apparently, these boards are reserved for advanced and pro surfers –I couldn’t even get enough speed to grab a wave. After weeks of failed attempts and too many wipe outs to count, I understood the importance of having the right equipment to meet your needs. Now I ride a nice fat 7’6″ NSP Board and I’m actually becoming a decent surfer. The sad fact is, I ended up spending twice as much as in the long run by trying to save up front. Considering the cost of returning the short board, my time lost, and purchasing a larger board, I could be the owner of a top of the line board. Oh well, live and you learn.

This had me thinking about using the proper tools in your marketing campaigns. With the economy in transition, everyone is looking to save a little cash, but often at the expense of performance. When cutting corners, as I did by purchasing the short board, you are setting your marketing plan up for failure.

Think of the return on investment and the long term effects of making the large initial investment. Measure each and every detail from start to finish. Trust me, it’s much more costly to cut corners up front, then go back and do it again with the proper tools.

When it come to your marketing plan, or surfing for that matter, do it right the first time.