Face It: Content is Bling

Flash it, flaunt it… make them want it. This is not your grandmother’s book club anymore. These days, you need to bring more the table than just finely weathered copy. Your content arsenal needs to be diverse.

I will not tell you everything, but I will tell you something – social media contains the word “media”, so get crackin’:

1. What are your music skills like? Check out this clip I composed, perfect for providing a soundtrack or editing as a ringtone:

2. What about video? Check out what I did for an arts blog at the company called THE TWEET SQUAD

3. Have you thought about what a photo can contain? Wait, just think “image file” instead of photo. That should help.

Fake GAP Promotion.

Fake GAP Promotion.

I hope this helped charge your thoughts about what content can all contain. Comment below – what types of content have you used and what brands do you follow who have great content?

Other types of content:

  • Cartoons
  • Word clouds
  • Educational Guides
  • Vine App videos
  • QR codes

What else can you think of?


4-Step Cartoon: What Social Platforms Should my Brand use?

Cartoon by Jason E. Ballmann

Overloaded with information? Don’t know where to turn?

Deciding what platform to use for your brand can be daunting. Consider the following:

1) What is my brand best at? Short, concise messages (Twitter)? Describing why you need an item? (Facebook) Flashy colors and unique design (Pinterest/Facebook/Tumblr)?

2) What resources do I have? Can I produce content easily and efficiently? Aka, is it worth the investment?

3) Do I understand the style of each platform well enough to create content for it? Or should I hire this platform out?

4) Is this a platform that my traditional audience will enjoy, or am I trying to reach a new audience, or both?

What else do you think is important when selecting a social platform for a brand?

Resolutions 2013: Who are You Online?

We think of the New Year as a renewal of ourselves, a time to lose that “winter fluff”, make amends with a bitter aunt, or maybe start a meditative/yoga session at that studio next to the donut shop.

But now, in this millennium, we have a totally different concern: our digital profile. This is not just about your Facebook photo, or how to write that perfect tweet, but rather, this is about updating, editing, and improving your entire digital lifestyle.

Why? Because we’re moving fast and in all directions. Perplexed by your sprinkler system’s digital control panel? What is this “wave and pay” function in credit cards? What is a tablet?

You can do this! Here are some tips:


1) Gain more Twitter and Pinterest followers by:

  • Defining why you are on Twitter/Pinterest, develop a contextual reason
  • Tweeting/pinning content that fits this contextual reason
  • Showing that you are human, don’t be an autoscheduled platform
  • Read and reply to your friends’ tweets and pins! Show them you care.
  • Uploading a picture of YOU that is clean and clear

*You may start this away from the screen by writing down 5 things you like really talking about in real life, then going from there.

2) Clean up and Perfect your LinkedIn Profile/About Me Bios

  • We really do want to know what you do in your real life, as well as current and future employers.
  • Don’t forget to post updates that are professional, and join Linkedin Groups
  • Write a short biography, no more than 200 characters. Don’t wax on.

3) Facebook

  • Go through all those old albums. Really. You’ll find some to be… atrocious.
  • Change your privacy settings. People who are not your friends should really only be able to see your profile picture and maybe where you work or went to school.
  • Unfriend the people who you really aren’t friends with – hate breeds hate, and meaningless connections are meaningless.
  • Can you like Facebook pages you actually care about and unlike the unnecessary ones?

4) Sign up for Twitter via SMS

For emergencies or easier tweeting, do this. You can reach a broad audience if you need help by using just your phone’s text messaging and without having to open the Twitter app! Read more here: https://support.twitter.com/articles/14014-twitter-via-sms-faq#

5) Create a Spotify account

  • Find some new music and listen to artists you’ve never heard of
  • Connect with your friends/Facebook and see what everyone’s listening to
  • Sign-up for the premium service to avoid ads, just $10/mo


I hope you take this into consideration. Your digital lifestyle will greatly improve, and you will find much more happiness online!

Big Brother is Watching – So Stare Right Back!

This article on how law enforcement agencies are using social media to fight crime got me thinking – we are being watched! It tells us just how fine that bureaucratic comb is:

Social Media Analytics in Law Enforcement – Technology – POLICE Magazine.

So we know that B2B and B2B strategies have been empowering the world of commerce since the early millennium. It is not always that interesting either. I’ve certainly had my share in promoting the silliest if not most eccentric of campaigns for products/events/services.

But yes, a variety of law enforcement agencies, emergency management agencies, and other government agencies and non-profits are strategically (and quite meaningfully) understanding and implementing social media strategy. Finally, these are some people worth following who will not post about their not-so-exciting breakfast, latest pair of headphones, or sad, racist grandmother.

Of-course, President @BarackObama largely popularized this notion as perhaps the most infamous government employee to use Twitter. Emily Rahimi of Fire Department of New York was quite the superhero when Sandy hit NYC. And as always, the American Red Cross (@RedCross) is enormously helpful for those who need aid during critical times.

These are just examples – make sure you spend time in selecting who to follow. Check into local police departments (LAPDhq), state emergency management associations (CalEMA), or even that helpful non-profit (@ShakeOut)!

Photo taken from the article, “Government Interest and Archiving Twitter”, on the Iterasi blog

Disaster Preparedness: Why You Need Twitter (and lists)

All in one weekend, Sandy threatened the East Coast and a M 7.7 quake occurred right off the coast of British Columbia (add a 5.8 aftershock and tsunami advisories for the West Coast + Hawaii). Several minor quakes in southern California made the news as well, both M 3.9, and a M 4.2 shook up the central California wilderness.

Twitter is the voice of the people, and it is also becoming the voice of help and reason (if you follow the right people). Communication is difficult in times of a major disaster, and social media can sometimes be more effective means of person-to-person communication. For instance, one tweet saying “help I’m trapped in my house” can be seen by way more people than just one, increasing your chances of aid.

Who to Follow

FEMA has taken the responsibility of disaster preparedness and relief to social media, in addition to its other efforts, especially with Hurricane Sandy. Check out their Twitter updates and Facebook page – it is the information you might not know you even need, and that is the best kind. They also have regional Twitter handles (@femaregion9, for example) for more tailored information.


Here are some other handles you might want to follow. I would advise building a “list” on Twitter just for these guys just so you do not have to sift through other, random tweets:

@RedCross (The American Red Cross, follow their regional handles too)

@NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

@USGS (United States Geological Survey)

@ShakeOut (Global Earthquake drill)

Again, let me please emphasize that many of these organizations have regional or divisional Twitter handles such as NOAA’s National Weather Service @usNWSgov. My list is certainly not comprehensive, but it is a good running start for you to later pick/decide/add any other organizations you feel are important.


1) Sign up for Twitter via SMS. This eliminates the need to use the Twitter app or mobile site, and gives you a greater chance in case of an emergency to communicate since SMS takes way less data than the Twitter app on a smart phone.

2) Organize people and agencies of importance into Twitter lists. You may also want add your favorite local news service into our lists, or creative a separate list for local issues. Building Twitter lists is truly a powerful way to manage what matters most to you. Organize your closest friends and family into a list.

3) Determine if an autoscheduling app like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck could help you reach more people in case of an emergency. You could send one update that would reach multiple platforms and one person – with way less data required.

4) Document and take photos. This helps organizations like FEMA and the American Red Cross determine where help is needed. Tweet and post them if you can – this helps immensely.


What else would you recommend for social media in times of a disaster? I would love to hear your comments!

Succumb to a Virus: Being Trendy

The trendiest thing to do these days is to trend (Mashable’s list is excellent). Being viral is all the rage, especially on Twitter where you can see under “tailored trends” what is trending your own city.

Trends guarantee that people are talking about your product, service, or organization, but are those conversations lasting? The same question goes for the disgruntled CEO who wants to see 5,000 more likes by 2 PM – are those likes going to increase your profits?

Before you decide that you want to aim for trending, ask yourself whether or not trending is going to enhance your brand. Chances are, your focus may be better suited for a promoted tweet, sending out a viral video to your coworkers to share, or launching a moderately aggressive Facebook ads campaign.

So let’s say your idea is worth trending. What should you do?

1. Leverage Connections

Any good PR person knows that blind, cold calls just make you look desperate. Do you know the media connection you’re contacting? Do you already know 10 industry peers who though might not be the chief editor for Vogue, but if banded together, could spread your content like wildfire?

You have to think, who do I know that will support me the most? What about LinkedIn? That dumb girl on Twitter?

2. Email

Have a big database? Or a bunch of awesome peers ready to jump in for you? Over-advertise that hashtag. Write a creative copy for the subject line.

Focus on that one thing you want to promote and provide a clear, centered idea of what you want the recipient to do (but in a sneaky way).

3. Paid Media

There is nothing wrong with promoted tweets/accounts and Facebook ads. Drive those clicks! Link to what you want them to read!!! Just make sure those share buttons are there.

Have you gone back to add new copy into your YouTube videos lately and enabled your account for ads?

4. Earned Media

Let people tweet a pre-written tweet or share a pre-written post when they push “like”. Give them the words, make their job easier. (… share buttons …)

5. Talk About it Yourself

That’s pretty straightforward. Use your personal accounts!

6. Throw an Event

Make it personal. Wait, scratch that. Give them a memory. Don’t have just an online presence, be the guy next to you at the bar. Show off that QR code tattoo. Have that hashtag on a billboard. Encourage social media participation at the event (tweet that you are at the event for a free drink, etc…)

I hope that some of these tips help. If you have any other ideas or questions, please let me know in the comments!


Social Media: Its Own Corporate Department?

The social media team can find themselves within Public Relations, Marketing, Sales, or Customer Service. Or, he or she may exist as their own department.

So what is really the best choice? No one knows.

There are convincing arguments for Public Relations or Marketing. 

But you still won’t be too convinced. Is it an ambitious sales force or a self-medicating talking head?

Well why not both?

It is my opinion that the social media team should exist as its own department cross-checked and brought into discussions by PR and Marketing.

Social media specializes in its own venue. Do not try and pigeon-hole it into another department for you may water it down, especially if it’s a relatively new part of your company.Image

While you can certainly see a bit of a management/coordination effort here, that should NOT scare you off from maximizing it as a golden tool for eCommerce, messaging, branding, promotions, or whatsoever things.

Social Media is a company content hub. It needs to grab from all sources and play equal with all the others. It needs to thrive on the ability to be a chameleon and be a part of another department.

It needs to deeply integrate itself within your company. Let it grow from within, and after 6 months, if you still think it needs to be a part of another wing, then have the discussion again.

What do you all think? Do you see social media the same way or as one or another?