That quote is from Ralph Waldo Emerson, and it's entirely fitting in today's society, with the global economy in the dumps and companies turning to digital solutions for smarter, more cost-effective ways of connecting with customers.
As I mentioned in my last post, there are some great folks out there that you should be following, who do the industry a great service by sharing their thoughts with us on a regular basis. And I've got an opportunity for you to hear from some of them directly.
In this case, my friends and communications colleagues Geoff Livingston and Shashi Bellamkonda have put together a unique program called the “Solutions Stars Video Conference,” which consists of over 30 experts in SEO, social media and communications. Filmed at Blog World Expo in Las Vegas last month, this video conference is hosted by Network Solutions and will happen on Wednesday, October 29 from 1:00 - 3:30 p.m. Eastern time.
The entire list is below - it's quite the lineup of stars. If you haven't had the chance to see any of these people at a conference, this is an amazing opportunity to see all of them in one place - and for FREE!
The focus of the conference is helping small- to medium-size business owners and entrepreneurs on how the Internet can benefit their business. Nine content areas featuring vignettes of the Solutions Stars will run during the conference, and you'll be able to choose the segments you'd like to watch:
Building Web Presence
The Social Opportunity
Start with Listening
Strategy Drives Outreach
You Need Social Networks
To Blog or Not to Blog
Visibility Through Search
Rising Above the Noise
And here's who you'll be hearing from throughout the 90-minute session:
If you visit http://solutionsstarsvideo.com, you can bookmark the page and come back on Wednesday for the full program. And if that's not enough, Geoff and Shashi will be available via ooVoo (my "oober"-cool former client) for live video chat during the sessions.
October 21, 2008
If you've spent any time reading marketing & social media blogs, you may have noticed a common trait that each of the authors share: we love to talk about ourselves. I don't know if it's because I read a lot of material in this space, or if it's just because I'm too close to these people, but it's gotten to the point where it's bordering on egotism, hubris and narcissism.
It's an ugly accusation, but not one that I make lightly. But I'm tired of seeing social media bloggers focusing inward. Whether it's a laundry list of the latest appearances, self-referential links to previous entries in the blog, or thought leadership that feeds an overinflated ego, their sites become a great monument to...themselves.
I'm not going to name names (because I don't want to embarrass anyone, and partially because I'm probably just as guilty as the next guy), but I do want to raise an important point about social media - a point we try to make clear to companies all the time. No one cares how many followers we have on Twitter, they're not interested in our blog statistics, and they probably don't like gratiuitous name-dropping.
News flash: social media is less about you than it is about the other guy.
Listen up The first rule that social media consultants/experts/gurus/whatever-you-want-to-call-them will tell companies is that they need to listen. "Understand the communities you wish to be a part of," we tell them, "and then you'll be able to participate with credibility." Old school marketers wonder about their message, and how it'll be conveyed, essentially asking, "What about me?"
Perhaps some will even spout that you can't spell social media without "me." Maybe so. But then again, you can't spell customer without "u."
Karma works Recently, David Armano (a fellow blogger whom I've admired since the early days of my own blog) wrote about karmic marketing. The essence was that if you truly want peoples' attention, you need to give before you get. Building a relationship with your customers really isn't that much different than having a relationship with another person in real life - the best ones are based on each party giving to the other. When you feel like you're not getting something in return from your partner, you're more likely to withdraw; but when you sense that your partner is giving freely of themselves, you'll reciprocate.
I'm reminded of a cranky old couple from my childhood days. My grandparents always had a variety of friends at their house, whether it was for coffee, chats in the shaded driveway in the summer, or at parties. There was this one couple that never seemed to be happy, and I'll never forget what the wife said: "We have the perfect give-and-take relationship. I give, and he takes."
Learn from the best I've already mentioned Dave's article. But there are many more people who go out of their way to be generous with praise for others, keeping the main focus off of themselves. These are people who share links in their blogs or are active on Twitter, suggesting great sources of information that we can all learn from, and they do it in such a way that you can tell it's part of their DNA. Here are some examples:
Aaron Strout (@astrout on Twitter) recently announced that he was leaving Mzinga - and this is a guy who was so prominent and active in the social networking space that he was Mzinga - and he made a great list of suggestions, including one where he made it a point to encourage people to spend time on other blogs and to get beyond themselves.
C.C. Chapman has a larger than life personality; he's impossible not to like. I think one of the biggest reasons is because of his natural curiosity and his gregariousness. Together, they result in someone who is always learning and always sharing, and as a result, is always admired.
Chris Brogan's star has risen fast, and it's for a number of reasons: (1) he churns out content at an amazing rate; (2) he's everywhere, attending more conferences than you knew any single person could attend; (3) he is extremely generous with his time, his advice, his praise, and his discoveries. When you add to that a self-effacing and affable personality, what's not to like?
Becky McCray may live in a small town in the Oklahoma panhandle and write about small business, but her ideas are as big as her heart. She instituted a regular feature on her blog that proves it. Each Friday, she creates a post called the Brag Basket where she encourages anyone to share something they're proud of, whether it's their own accomplishment or something that a friend did.
Mack Collier is a blogging consultant who knows his stuff. And in addition to reviewing corporate blogs, he performs a service by listing the Top 25 Marketing & Social Media blogs, and he calls out some of the people he sees as up & comers.
As I said, these are just a few examples off the top of my head. But it's clear that each of of them, by ensuring that they heap praise on others in addition to sharing their own knowledge, are providing more value in the long run. I hope I can reach their level of selflessness as I continue to develop this blog.
I've been long overdue in this matter, but in some future posts, I'll be sharing some interviews of some of my Twitter community that showcase them. There are some really cool & interesting people out there that I think you should know. Stay tuned.
In the meantime, do you know any bloggers who go out of their way to praise and highlight the work of others? Drop a note here an let us all know.
October 14, 2008
Well, if you're a male between the ages of 18 and 34, it should be obvious: nothing. But the Internet sure comes close.
In a recent study from Break Media and Hall and Partners (which came to me via Marketing Charts), they surveyed over 500 men from 18-34 years of age, and made some interesting discoveries - not the least of which was that 69% say they can’t live without the Internet, versus just 31% for television.
That's more than a 2:1 margin of the Web over TV. Are you listening, traditional marketers? I'd suggest it's time to look at how you're spreading your media buys.
These aren't total geeks, though: 79% would rather meet a woman out on the town than online, 71% prefer "a date with a hot girl to a poker game with the boys" and - here's the definitive number - 74% would rather have sex than surf the web.
Well, okay. Maybe they are geeks - these stats merely noted what they'd prefer not what they do. And when given the choice of "sex" or "web," I wonder how many chose both? ;-)
In addition, here are some salient facts about this demographic:
63% have a smart phone and one in four use their mobile device to connect to the Web
40% use the Internet for more than 22 hours a week
36% say they can’t live without the Internet for socializing
33% say they can’t live without online entertainment
59% notice online ads
35% like ads that allow them to play a game
34% like online ads that allow them to participate in a contest
Hmm...digital marketing is looking a little more attractive now, isn't it?
And for those of you marketers looking for personality attributes that may tie to your brands, you might consider:
Conformist: Only 26% think they are trendsetters.
Responsible: Only 18% agree that having fun is more important than being responsible.
Green: 53% say they care about the environment.
Social: 49% claim to have no trouble meeting new people; 51% like to spend as much time hanging out with friends as possible; only 20% said they valued appearance over personality when it comes to attraction.
Adventuresome: 68% enjoy traveling to new places; 61% enjoy spending time outdoors.
Laid back: Only 38% say they live a fast-paced life.
Not wellness-centric: 38% claim to lead a healthy lifestyle; however 45% say their appearance is very important to them.
If you don't care as much about targeting your media spend and you want to apply the mass marketing approach and go for the majority, here's your ideal target: an outdoorsy non-chalant traveling tree hugger who doesn't care how he or his date look, as evidenced by his flabby gut.
Or, you could follow the indicators and create some engaging and shareable digital interactions that get results.
Is there anything about the above statistics that surprises you?
October 7, 2008
Are you begging for a social media budget? Do you show up to the powers-that-be, hat in hand, and present a humbled version of yourself or your idea, nearly apologizing for asking for funding?
While any number of marketers may think of social media as "free," the clear fact is that it does require funding - mostly around labor rather than production. There is a cost associated with social media activities, but it's far less than the money being spent on traditional media buys.
Does that mean you should think of the quality of your idea and the relevance of your budget request in a lower tier? Not at all! In fact, because of the effectiveness of some social media programs, there may be measurable results that are more significant than a newspaper ad, billboard or 30-second spot.
The forward-thinking marketers and budget directors should be open-minded enough to apply enough funding to innovative thinking - at least to test the waters. By taking a fraction of a large media buy and applying it to a social media initiative, marketers can create a disproportionate impact.
Done repeatedly, this can result in real traction for a brand. All it takes is a little bit of risk and a bit of creative thinking when it comes to budgets.
October 6, 2008
Part of my responsibility at Ford is to set strategy for the company globally on social media activities. So when DM News called to ask for an interview, I talked about what some of the challenges are at a multinational corporation.
Recently, I discovered that my interview was front page news over at DMNews.com. Called "Social Media Goes Global," I was quoted, along with Shiv Singh, VP of media and global strategies at Avenue A/Razorfish and Bob Pearson, VP of communities and conversations at Dell. Here are some excerpts from the piece:
Ford is not the only company that realizes the marketing opportunities of social media — from social networks and blogs to videos and photo-sharing — as it expands to every region of the world. However, US brands looking to leverage social networks internationally know that while their messages need to stay consistent regardless of the region, the language, cultural reference points, platform and tactics all need to be tailored for each market.
“There are different social media sites used in Brazil than in India or in the UK,” [Monty] says. “So we need to be sensitive what the most popular social media sites in these regions are [as well as] the region-specific differences in the ways people consume content and interact with each other online.”
“We're interested in the global aspect of social media, but we also realized it has applications across the company,” Monty says. “Whether it is customer service, IT, HR, or product development, there are a number of uses for social media. And when you add to that all of our constituents — customers, employees, shareholders, dealers, retirees — it becomes a very complex assignment.”
October 5, 2008
I take my personal appearance seriously. It's part of who I am and how people perceive me. I'm proud that someone like Dmitri Gunn has called me "the sharpest dressed man in social media today."
Even when I was working at an agency and when I was consulting with crayon - workplaces that were business casual - I took pride in what I wore and how I presented myself. It's part of my personal brand.
But looking sharp and business casual are not mutually exclusive. In this day of open collars, one fashion pet peeve (among many) is the total disregard for collar stays (or stiffeners). The result? You've seen it - collars on button-down shirts that curl up or seem to be flying away.
It's a minor detail, but it sends a message to those around you that perhaps you don't care about details. Or that you haven't entered the "grown-up" world of business attire yet.
The Solution Luckily, I'm here with the answer to the problem you didn't know you had. Wurkin Stiffs has developed the magnetic collar stay that they call Power Stays. Place the Power Stays™ into your shirt’s collar stay pockets and place the super-strong magnets on the inside of the shirt… It’s that easy!
And just in case you thought that this post had nothing to do with social media (other than that lots of social media types work in casual environments), here's their YouTube video explaining it:
If you're accustomed to wearing your shirts without a tie, I highly recommend that you consider buying a set of these. Or make it a gift to a friend or family member this holiday season. They'll thank you.
Do you have any modern-day fashion tips or suggestions? I'm sure we'd all like to learn.
October 3, 2008
I was at a career fair representing Ford recently, and one thing struck me: there's a lack of truly decent personal presentation skills out there.
For example, to any number of college seniors who said they were interested in getting into sales, I said: "Great. Sell yourself to me."
The reaction I got was a stunned look, followed immediately by a rambling choice of words that didn't really convince me of much. Well, maybe they convinced me of something, but it wasn't to hire them.
I had just made a presentation to Brand Camp University, so perhaps presentations and personal branding was on my mind, but it got me to thinking: there could be a number of people who might benefit from some suggestions.
I know I've got a lot of followers on Twitter and here on the blog who are college students (hello Golf Management program at Ferris State (what a cool major!); hello students of Barbara Nixon at GSU), so I thought I might help out with some specific suggestions to consider.
Before I get into the steps I recommend, here's the deck I presented. I hope to have the video of my presentation at a future date.
1. Prepare yourself Darwin said "Chance favors the trained mind," and Henry Ford said "Before everything else, getting ready is the secret of success." This means being careful of everything you do in public. While you may already know not to post racy pictures of yourself or make lewd comments on Facebook, others can tag you in photos and years later, due to the everlasting memory of the Internet, you may find that there's information out there about you that is less than flattering.
According to a recent CareerBuilder survey, one out of five employers is turning to social networks to find out about you (not to mention the 80% who already Google you). Some startling facts that were posted on socnet profiles:
Information about alcohol or drug use (41% of managers said this was a top concern)
Inappropriate photos or information posted on a candidate's page (40%)
Poor communication skills (29%)
Bad-mouthing of former employers or fellow employees (28%)
Inaccurate qualifications (27%)
Unprofessional screen names (22%)
Notes showing links to criminal behavior (21%)
Confidential information about past employers (19%)
Always be thinking with the future in mind.
2. Have a personal presence on the Web Have you bought your own domain name yet? What are you waiting for? I purchased the domain names for my sons when they were born, lest someone else scoop them on their own brand. I suggest you buy yourname.com (not literally, Animal House fans) and register your preferred name on the sites & social networks that matter to you.
Choose the networks that matter the most to you - or more importantly - that you think matter to your employer or industry of choice. The social networks I use the most are Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. As I've explained before, I have standards for friending on each - the loosest being Twitter, context needed for Facebook, and a personal interaction required for LinkedIn.
While I'm at it - get on out there and friend me up if you haven't already! I'd love to interact with you in different ways.
3. Be compelling Not everyone is a thought leader. Not everyone can create videos. That's okay. The first thing you should do is listen. Odds are you already read blogs (you're here, aren't you?). Take the time to get a sense for what's being said and figure out how you want to add to it.
If you choose to create your own site/blog/profile, figure out what you want to focus on. It could be lollipop manufacturing or knitting scarves for abandoned penguins - whatever it is, pick your topic and be the best at it.
And while it's important to write well for your own site, I usually recommend spending 2-3 times longer commenting on other sites than you do writing your own. It's like your grandmother used to say, "You've got two ears and one mouth; use them in that proportion."
Every comment you make it a stamp of your brand on someone else's site. Your perspective is valuable, and eventually, it will drive eyeballs back to your site. Just be consisent in who you are and be yourself.
4. Know what you want When I first graduated from business school, I wanted to be a strategist. The problem was, no one was hiring inexperienced B-school grads to do strategy. It takes time to truly understand markets, trends, industries, and clients - something that is built over years. I always had that in the back of my mind as my career zigged here and zagged there, but now I'm in a job where I get to craft and execute on strategy.
While your initial job out of school may not be your dream job (but good for you if it is), keep your goal in mind as you navigate your career. When someone asks you what you want to do, have it at the top of your mind, and succinctly state it. Or, as Gary Vaynerchuk likes to say, "CRUSH it!"
5. Practice, practice, practice Usually, it takes a long time to be truly great at something. Sure, someone like Mozart was an anomaly, but for most of us, you need to keep doing something over and over to hone your skills. Please, PLEASE practice your presentation skills, whether it's formal presentations, personal introductions, your elevator pitch - whatever.
In the end, it's all up to you. The only one who will look out for you in your career is you. And you need to be confident about who you are, where you're going, and what you want.
Henry Ford knew what he was talking about:
"Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right."
Get ready. Be the best you that you can be. Do it over and over.
At Ford, Scott heads up the social media function and holds the title Global Digital &
Multimedia Communications Manager. He is a strategic advisor on all social media activities across the company, from blogger
relations to marketing support, customer service to internal communications and more, as social media is being integrated into many
facets of Ford business.
Prior to joining Ford, Scott served as Consigliere for crayon
and spent a number of years with PJA Advertising + Marketing, a
boutique BtoB agency specializing in health sciences & high tech.
In addition to his professional responsibilities, Scott is an active blogger and podcaster. He writes about the intersection of
advertising, marketing and PR at ScottMonty.com and
also writes The Baker Street Blog and cohosts I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere, two literary undertakings. Scott
has been featured in hundreds of news and business publications in print and on the web, in nearly dozens of books, and on a variety of
mainstream media, including NBC, NPR, CNN and The Wall Street Journal. Scott is a recognized thought leader in the social media industry and
frequently speaks at industry events.
Scott received his Master's in Medical Science from Boston University's School of Medicine concurrently with his MBA from BU's
Graduate School of Management. He lives in the greater Detroit area with his wife and two young sons, golfs all too infrequently, and
has a hidden talent for voice over work.
Scott speaks on social media at events, seminars and conferences around the world. His topic generally focuses on corporate use of social media, becoming an online spokesperson, and specifically on the progress that Ford has made in the recent past. If you're interested in booking Scott to speak at your event, please click here to submit a speaking request for Ford-related purposes or email me at speaking [AT] this site's URL (if you know what I mean) to send a general email request.. Scott's bio and headshot can be found in the "About Scott" tab above.
I'm Scott. I'm the global head of social media for Ford Motor Company. This is my personal blog, where I share my perspectives on business, technology, communications, marketing and the vast changes in the industry that impact leadership. This blog contains my personal views. My bio is available here and my headshots can be found here.