Social Media Strategies for Professionals

July 27th, 2010 · 1:21 pm  →  blog social media

While in Toronto this week, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to present to a group of professionals on the topic of social media strategies and tactics. The presentation was sponsored and organized by Simon Kay of IPS Insurance and generously hosted by the friendly folks at The Toronto Clinic.

Thank you to Simon, The Toronto Clinic and all who attended and contributed to the discussion of how SM strategies can be utilized by professionals to build their online reputations and networks.

As requested, I have posted the presentation deck and welcome any continued discussion or questions about this or related topics.

Social media strategies workshop (Toronto)

July 22nd, 2010 · 2:58 pm  →  blog social media

Social Media Strategies for Professionals will take place on Tuesday July 27, starting at 8:00 am at The Toronto Clinic, 55 Avenue Rd. This session is now full.

Best (and worst) of the Old Spice parodies

July 16th, 2010 · 10:15 am  →  advertising blog social media

You’ve seen the original. Now watch the parodies. You know its working when there are some really good take-off videos being produced. But the good comes with the bad – lots of bad.

So I’ve arranged the best of the good parodies followed by the best of the bad parodies. I’ve spared you the worst of the worst, but feel free to spend several more hours on YouTube checking them out. (Does someone need an intervention?)

First, for your reference, the orginal:

Here are the best of the good parodies (so far):

And here are the best of the bad parodies (so far):

As for the awful ones – and there are some awful ones – I’m not even going there. There, I just saved you lots of time.

But before you head over to YouTube to check out more, you should watch this one.

I’ve gotta go get me some bodywash now.

Spicing up an old brand

July 14th, 2010 · 11:12 pm  →  blog case studies social media

I can’t help but jump on the Old Spice bandwagon.

I saw this TV ad for the first time during the World Cup:

I laughed. So did my seven-year-old son. I wanted to smell like him – shit, I wanted a body like him.

The ad is part of a series of Old Spice ads by marketing agency Wieden + Kennedy and actor Isaiah Mustafa. Check them all out on YouTube.

The coolest part of the story is the social media component. Not only does Old Spice have a YouTube channel, a http://www.facebook.com/OldSpice, and a Twitter account but they are now responding to questions posted by users of those social media in advertisement form. They’ve posted dozens of videos on YouTube featuring the actor responding in his Old Spice character to actual questions and to actual respondents on a first name basis. According to this article, they produced 87 videos in one 11 hour days in response to the comments and questions received from the social media campaign.

Some responses are directed at famous online personalities and others at regular joes.  Here is one response directed at Demi Moore who asked Old Spice a question:

I love this guy. I love the writing. I love the strategy. And I definitely want to smell like him.

I like my current deodorant, but I’m picking up some Old Spice next time I’m at the store.

Who doesn’t need a social media coach?

July 6th, 2010 · 10:36 am  →  blog social media

With the proliferation of social media sites and tools, there are many excellent opportunities for finding and interacting with clients and customers. For professionals who rely on networks of influencers, other advisors and satisfied customers to generate referrals, it seems like a no-brainer.  Not to mention that most of the social media tools of the trade are low cost and often free and tutorials and guidance for how to use them abound online.

So why isn’t every professional immersing themselves in social media?

Time.

It takes time to read up and learn about what needs to be done. Time to find and learn how to use the tools. Once that’s done, it takes time to generate meaningful content and more time interact with those who are interacting with your content.

That sure sounds like a good case for NOT undertaking a social media strategy.

On the contrary, if you are in business (and want to stay that way) engaging in social media cannot be avoided – anymore than computers could be 10 or 15 years ago. You and your business will need to find a way to engage your partners and clients online, one way or another. But how to do this while you are fully engaged in your business – who has the time?

That’s where a social media coach can help. A coach helps YOU learn new skills (of social media) and apply your other aptitudes effectively (subject matter expertise, good listener, way with people, etc.) so that you succeed and win.

And if you can master the new social media, then you can be a more effective leader in determining how your business should pursue social media strategies.

Everyone can use a coach.

100 free wordpress themes that look like you paid for them

February 18th, 2010 · 9:47 am  →  blog

Dainis Graveris over at 1stwebdesigner.com has posted a collection of free WordPress themes that really raise the bar.

While a healthy marketplace exists for custom (developed just for you based on original graphics) WordPress themes and premium (purchased and used by many people) WordPress themes, the free WordPress theme universe is growing and the quality of the designs is improving. If you want to know more about why graphic designers who could sell their creations are giving them away for free, you should pick up Chris Anderson’s Free. Suffice it to say, these free themes are professional and impressive.

If you don’t have the skills in-house, you will still need to pay someone to customize, deploy and host these free themes. And of course, you can’t get the content quite as easily – unless you’re stealing it.

Best Buy needs a social media strategy – do you?

February 17th, 2010 · 11:47 am  →  blog social media

I came across this video of Best Buy’s Chief Marketing Officer Barry Judge discussing why his company has embraced social media. It makes sense for b-to-c businesses like Best Buy to take this approach because in the cut-throat competitive world of retail electronics, companies need something that makes them different. And it works.

I have recently made some purchases and done a lot of shopping and research in advance of those purchases. It is clear that relationships matter today more than ever – especially when you can buy the same flat screen TV or software title at dozens of retailers. Price is one of the most important factors, no doubt. But other factors count too, such as:

  • Service – Does the seller care about your business?
  • Relationship – Do you like dealing with the seller’s people?
  • Problems – How does the seller respond to problems? Do they go out of their way to fix things for you?

Watch the video and decide if your business can afford not to care about the people you sell to?

WordPress for Blackberry

January 28th, 2010 · 9:50 am  →  apps blog

Something good is happening at the intersection of two of the most popular tech phenoms in their category: WordPress and Blackberry. WordPress is a leading blogging and content publishing tool. Blackberry is a leading brand of handheld, wireless devices and smart phones.

WordPress for Blackberry (WP4BB) is a free application for managing content on your WordPress blogs. The software is technically in pre-launch (you can download version 0.9.0.169 as of Nov. 11, 2009), but it works pretty well as is.

You can maintain one or more blogs using WP4BB, as well as upload images. The app interface on the BB is easier to use than browsing to your blog admin page and trying to interact with it using the handheld browser. Plus, the handheld browser doesn’t support javascript so some of the more advanced WP admin functions (like photo or media uploading) are not available through the handheld browser.

I love the WP4BB mainly for one reason: I can draft a blog post (and publish it) from my smart phone exactly when it happens. Even if I just want to save a draft posting for future editing and enhancement, I can do that as well. For example, this morning I had the following exchange with my son as I dropped him at school:

“I love you so much, Ben.”

He paused. “I love you so much too daddy – just not all at the same time,” he said.

Quotes like that have a way of vapourizing unless I write them down quickly. So, I used WP4BB to do just that. (You can find the full post here.)

To download the latest version of WP4BB, point your BlackBerry browser to http://blackberry.wordpress.org/install and follow the instructions to complete the installation.

Embedding Flickr photostreams

January 25th, 2010 · 12:15 pm  →  embedding graphics

Flickr.com is one of the darlings of the social media world because of its large community of users and massive user-generated repository of photographic content.

Flickr offers a free version of the site with some limitations (I think it’s 200 uploads a month) and lots of convenience in terms of a tool for sharing photos on your web site. The main method for doing that is an embeddable widget that can be placed on any web page and sized accordingly so your photostream can display on your site. The beauty of this widget is that all you need to do to post pictures to your web site now is login to Flickr and upload them. The widget takes care of streaming them to your site.

This kind of application works great if you have photos from an event and you want them posted quickly or even in real time. Similarly, say you’re a school and you want to post regular photos of student from events and extracurricular activities. Also, great application. But I wouldn’t recommend a Flickr stream for a professional photographer or graphic artist wanting to display their work. Not enough control over how it’s presented.

As much as I like Flickr functionality and cost, there are some things I can’t do with the embeddable widget. I can’t display the picture’s title or description. I can’t display subsets of pictures or have any internal grouping of the pictures in the widget. There are lots of plugins for enhancing Flickr on your blog – here are 10 WordPress plugins for Flickr.

Clicking on the embedded widget takes the user to the Flickr site and displays your photostream where all of these picture titles and descriptions and sets are displayed and can be navigated.

Like all content publishing tools, they are only as good as your content. So, Flickr widget or no Flickr widget, bad photos look bad on Flickr.

Smashing Magazine

January 19th, 2010 · 11:45 pm  →  graphics

Smashing Magazine is one of those brilliant resources for web content developers and graphic designers. They function as a kind of curatorial resource for free graphics tools and resources such as design templates, fonts, graphics, photographs and images.

I discovered Smashing while searching for free WordPress templates. Periodically, they post lists of amazing free resources, such as the 100 Amazing Free WordPress Templates. These lists compile the best resources from many different sites on the web and conveniently list them in one place.

Once on the Smashing site, you will discover many other great free resources that you can download and use. Last week, I was searching for free icon sets and found links to several lists of professionally designed, free icon sets. There are also some original new fonts that are free available for use as well as graphical headers for blogs.

Check out Smashing Magazine and make it a regular stop on your search for free online resources.