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December 15, 2008

Exploring Social Media: The Power of the Link Needs Content

Exploring Social Media article series badgeIn The Power of the Link and Don’t Guest Blog Until You Have Content, I talk about two very important subjects that apply to our ongoing discussion and Exploring Social Media Series.

First, a link is a door people open to your world, be it a world within your blog, social media tools and services, or a recommendation to visit another world, one you hope your fans will enjoy so much, they will return to your world with joy, eager for more and telling the world about what you have to offer.

Second, if you link without anything worth linking to, without anything positive to offer people, without anything worth recommending, without anything worth returning to, you have lost the power in social influence within the modern online world.

If you link to yourself, then these two characteristics are magnified. You are offering people a gateway into your world, one they expect is worth linking to, deserving of attention, exciting, and worth telling others about.

The link is the most powerful social media tool of all. read more

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December 8, 2008

Exploring Social Media: Shortening Those Links

Exploring Social Media article series badgeAs I continue to explore social media and social media tools, I find myself relying more and more on URL short aliases like those produced by TinyURL. Long URL addresses are shrunk down to 8-14 characters. We’re growing more and more dependent upon information reduced to 140 characters in a world still ruled by the power of the link, and desperately seeking a way to squeeze down a long URL into as few characters as possible is a growing and competitive web app industry.

The need to reduce the URL on social media networks is similar to the need to compress down file sizes for transfer and backups in the earliest days of computers. WinZip, PKZIP, WinRAR, StuffIt, and others allowed us to shrink down a file to fit onto a small floppy disk, and continue to allow us backup, share, and transport large files in tiny boxes. It took a while, but soon Microsoft and Apple realized that file compression was essential and today, their operating systems include file compression.

Just as we needed to shrink our files, we now have to shrink our links. While not currently integrated into software and web apps, the day is coming when URL short aliases are coming to a web app near you. Right now, you have to settle for third-party integration. read more

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December 1, 2008

Exploring Social Media: Learning About Social at the Goodwill Outlet

Exploring Social Media article series badge“It was an experience. It was a real experience!”

That was the proclamation my mother-in-law, Linda Kay VanFossen, used to describe her first visit to the popular Goodwill Outlet store near Portland, Oregon. Known to locals as the “Bins,” this is where local Goodwill thrift store items come for a last ditch sale to the masses, delivered up for sale not in orderly rows grouped by styles and types like pants, skirts, shirts, blouses, and jackets, but dumped willy nilly into large bins for shoppers to dig through like the holiday sale tables of old.

Much later, as I understood her “experience” with the Bins much better, I realized I had experienced the magic of social media in action. It began in the first few seconds of our arrival. read more

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November 25, 2008

Exploring Social Media: Establishing Your Online Credentials

Exploring Social Media article series badgeYesterday, I wrote about how to win at the social media game and how it begins by establishing your online credentials. Basically, it’s how to create a virtual business card and resume that establish your web presence and history. From this information, people can get a glimmer of who you are, what you do, how you do it, and how they can use you to get the job done.

What Are Your Online Credentials?

I talked about the basics you probably already have in place, the social media tools of email, blog, and so on. Don’t have a blog? Get one.

In today’s world, you have to have a blog or social site like or . It must include a biography (bio or profile) about who you are, what you do, and how you can help others. Some history, like resume credentials, is appreciated as it sets your qualifications as an expert in your field.

There are a variety of other tidbits of personal information you may want to provide that may or may not be of help to others looking for you as an expert or to establish a personal or professional relationship with. read more

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November 24, 2008

Exploring Social Media: Do You Know How to Use the Social Web?

Exploring Social Media article series badgeAs more and more of my clients discover the terms social media and social web, they ask me how to use this new Web 2.0 concept of social. They are surprised when I ask them a few questions and find out they are already a part of the social web.

Here are my questions:

  • Do you have and use email?
  • Do you have a blog or website?
  • Do you allow comments on your blog?
  • Do you have a forum?
  • Are you on MySpace and/or Facebook?
  • Do you Twitter or use a similar interactive, microblog program or service?
  • Do you bookmark sites through Delicious, StumbleUpon, Digg, or other services?

Then you’re a part of the social web. You’re using social media tools to communicate with others. So you know how to use the social web, right?

As discussed in “Exploring Social Media: Start With the Basics,” the basic social media tools are probably things you are already using. Using the social web means understanding how to use the tools to get your message across. read more

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November 18, 2008

Exploring Social Media: Social Means Personal

Exploring Social Media article series badgeIn “Duke DesRochers: Future Social Media Renaissance Man,” I introduced my cousin, Duke DesRochers, highlighting his fun cooking show audition tape as a great example of how to market with social media in mind.

With the advent of blogs, YouTube, podcasts, and online social media tools that allow anyone to publish anything they want within the law, everyone could become their own entertainment production company, putting the masses in charge of not only being the entertainment, but providing it.

With inexpensive video equipment and software, and an innate sense of comedy, drama, and style, Duke DesRochers has an intuitive way of bringing the “common man” into his audition video that I hope will gain the attention of the judges. It’s time to go back to the real people, rather than the exaggerated people, to find the humility and fun in entertainment. We need to get people thinking, “Hey, that’s me! I can do that!”

Another part of Duke DesRochers I want to celebrate with you is how he took two fairly diverse passions, and molded them into one specialty to totally redefine himself for this video audition for the Food Network: handyman in the kitchen.

As part of this ongoing series on Exploring Social Media, I want to talk a little more about the important points that Duke’s Food Network audition efforts brought up: getting personal and brand identity. read more

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Exploring Social Media: The Motrin Moment Impact of Social Media

Exploring Social Media article series badgeHave you heard of Motrin? The pain reliever? If you hadn’t before this weekend, you probably have heard plenty about it now, especially on Twitter this weekend.

The debacle is described best in the article Advertising Age, “How Twittering Critics Brought Down Motrin Mom Campaign,” which explains how the Johnson & Johnson product offended mothers and fathers with an online and print ad for Motrin which claimed that some moms carry their babies around with baby body carriers as a “fashion statement” and summed it up with “Supposedly it’s a real bonding experience, but what about me?”

The outrage rocked the social media world. tweets on Motrin went berserk as people were outraged at this slam against parenthood and parent/child bonding. Within two days of mass online social outrage, the ad campaign was pulled and the Motrin’s website featured an apology saying: read more

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November 17, 2008

Exploring Social Media: One Size Does Not Fit All

Exploring Social Media article series badgePing.fm is fascinating. It is a one-size-fits-all social media service, a kind of one-stop shop of social media tools. While a time-saving service, it is really good for only one thing: Starting the conversation.

Joseph Thornley quoted Jacob George, Manager, Corporate Marketing and Communications at The City of Calgary, recently on Twitter saying:

Social media must be part of a larger strategy to get the most value from it. It should not stand isolated on its own.

Just as one tool doesn’t do everything, not every tool is the right tool for the job. Ping.fm is a great service for broadcasting your news across many channels, but it isn’t the place to get personal and social. If you just want to send out a message, it’s great. When it comes to building a relationship, you have to dive into the specific social media tool that best serves your needs and the needs of your audience. read more

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November 11, 2008

Exploring Social Media: It Starts With One

social media - one to one relationship is better than one to manyA lot of early web adopters understood community right away. It’s the chance to reach hundreds, thousands, no – millions.

Unfortunately, most got it wrong. A web page isn’t like a television ad, reaching out to million of viewers at one time. A web page speaks to the one, a single representative of a community.

A community doesn’t start with millions. It starts with one. If you serve the one, the one will tell one, who will tell two, who will tell six, and so on and so on. If you don’t serve the one… and each one after… bye bye, community.

Social media is about the social as well as the community. This means that you have to service the individual’s needs for them to come together as a whole.

Today’s businesses have to do a total rethink. It no longer is about serving their market, it’s about serving the like-minded individuals as a collective. read more

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November 10, 2008

Exploring Social Media: Social Media Tools

princessphoneIn the early days of the telephone, you had one choice. It was big, black, and usually screwed to a wall. As the telephone grew smaller, it left the wall and sat on a desk, then moved from the desk to a bedside table with the popularity of the Princess telephone in 1959. The spinning dial was awkward to use, and the phone changed again with the introduction of buttons known Touch-Tone, the birth of today’s button pushing communications world.

Today, there are hundreds and hundreds of telephone choices, from corporate telephones with video and conferencing abilities to micro-mobile telephones that fit in your ear.

If Alexander Graham Bell walked into one of today’s Radio Shacks or telephone buying shops to see all the various choices in telephones, he’d be impressed but seriously overwhelmed. When you go online to explore your social media tool options today, you are overwhelmed, too. read more

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