19 ways to curate great content

May 30th, 2012 · 3:45 pm  →  blog curation social media strategy

Content is the oxygen of social media networks.

Great content is the fuel for valuable conversations and productive interactions between you and your followers. In a world of too much information, the simple act of finding and sharing great content that is relevant to your audience is among the best ways to express and differentiate your brand.

Content curation refers to the process of finding and sharing the best content on a particular subject. When done effectively, it is based on three key activities:

  • Discovery of content
  • Contexualizing or adding value to it
  • Sharing it effectively

This article presents 19 practical suggestions for how to discover, contextualize and share great curated content. While I use specific examples of financial services content because I work in this area, the methods and tools are universally applicable to virtually any subject matter.

Read full post about how to curate great content.

Social needs strategy like a navigator needs a destination

May 16th, 2012 · 3:56 pm  →  blog marketing social media strategy
Social media needs a strategy, like a navigator needs a destination

Social media needs a strategy, like a navigator needs a destination

In regulated industries such as financial services, it’s only a matter of time (usually minutes) before conversations about social media turn to compliance. These conversations, however, often miss the most important factor contributing to social media success: having an effective strategy.

As many investment and wealth management firms begin to dip their toes into social media, they are typically focused on two main activities. First, they draft social media policies to provide guidelines as to what is acceptable and compliant behaviour for financial professionals in social networks. Think of these policies the “thou shalt nots.” And second, firms deploy some kind of compliance monitoring software to ensure they can fulfill their regulatory obligations as their employees begin blogging, friending, connecting, following and tweeting with clients and prospects. This software becomes part of the social media “plumbling”.

There is no question that clear social media policies and effective compliance monitoring software are required aspects of any financial firm’s foray into the social media space.

But these rule-setting and policing efforts are primarily motivated to mitigate the perceived risks associated with a firm’s representatives engaging in online settings. They don’t prescribe to an advisor or other financial professional within a firm what actions they should take online in order to succeed — in order to position their personal brand and firm’s brand effectively online and grow the business.

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Some of my best clients are friends – a disclosure, of sorts

September 29th, 2011 · 3:53 pm  →  blog case studies social media strategy

It’s common practice in the social media space to be transparent with respect to your clients and vested interests. I’ve wanted to write this post for some time. It’s part disclosure and part ode to some of the remarkable people I call clients – and friends.

My work with the following individuals and organization spans a wide range of services – from social media training and coaching, to blog design and content development, to online personal branding and content marketing. Some engagements have been modest, while others involved more significant time and resources. In all cases, I feel I’ve received as much value as I’ve (hopefully) delivered.

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Evolution of my use of Twitter tools for content curation

August 30th, 2011 · 6:36 pm  →  blog social media strategy tools

Twitter has evolved into it’s own universe – the Twitterverse, if you will – and with it comes a wide range of tools.

To anyone trying to get into Twitter and understand what it is and how it works, I recommend starting slowly. Walk before you run.

For instance, start with the Twitter client itself. Available on the web and on mobile devices, Twitter.com does a good  job with the basics – following, direct messaging, making lists, and checking who has mentioned you or retweeted your tweets.

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Professionals and the new culture of social media networks

May 17th, 2011 · 6:09 am  →  blog social media strategy tools

Last week, I had the pleasure of presenting a keynote talk to a group of financial advisors from Peak Financial in beautiful Victoria, BC.

My presentation focused on the new culture of social media networks and offered some key insights and strategies for advisors wishing to engage in this space. Being a long-term relationship person myself, I focused on how to build trust online (and why you want to) as well as authentic personal branding and the rise of the influence economy.

These concepts apply to virtually any professional – not just financial advisors – whose business is based on their specialized subject matter knowledge, a reputation for being trustworthy and just doing good work.

Always interested in feedback.

Getting your social media footing

April 11th, 2011 · 1:35 pm  →  blog social media strategy tools

After reading Evan Zall’s article Traction on a Slippery Slope, I’d wished I had written it. Zall captures the unique predicament in which regulated financial advisors find themselves regarding their use of social media and he offers some pragmatic advice: engage proactively, but do so with caution.

In this post, I will build on Zall’s advice and offer some clarification from my perspective on how to implement it. To do so, I will borrow his four pillars framework and trust he will recognize that my imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

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Evolve your use of social media tools

February 26th, 2011 · 10:18 am  →  blog social media strategy

Mitch Joel recently opined that he felt Twitter had become a distraction. Many of the responses to his post echoed this sentiment and advocate for “all things in moderation”, yet the conversation as a whole points to a fact about social media that is often overlooked.

Social media use and habits evolve over time. Tools come and go and are upgraded and enhanced. And our awareness of tools and strategies and what works best for each of us is constantly evolving depending on many factors.

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A micro-manifesto on personal branding for practice professionals

February 14th, 2011 · 10:41 am  →  blog marketing social media strategy

Personal branding is one of the most important marketing strategies for practice professionals in an age of social media. Business has always been built on relationships – especially in professional services where your client is buying your knowledge, your reputation, and your commitment. Your personality informs your brand.

The proliferation of social media spaces and tools are changing the business communications landscape and how we market ourselves.  Here are two significant changes:

  • Access to our target markets is more direct and less mediated through established media platforms with every passing day. That is not to say that traditional media platforms are not important, but rather that you should use these channels to build your own direct channels to your clients and prospects.
  • Success in social media is measured in terms of influence – number of followers, reach, size of network, etc. – a concept that has evolved out of the mass media notion of celebrity. Yet, at the same time, social media tools allow you define communities of interest on a smaller scale, thereby lowering the bar for what constitutes celebrity or influence.

In other words, there are more tools available than ever before to build and extend relationships. And those relationships can have a greater impact on your business success than ever before.

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Your business needs YOU to have a personal social media strategy in 2011

January 18th, 2011 · 2:13 pm  →  advertising blog marketing social media strategy

I remember the day I purchased my first Fast Company magazine. The cover story featured a piece by management consultant Tom Peters called: The Brand Called You. That article inspired me to build and sell a web development company and invest in several other businesses.

Almost 15 years later, Tom Peters’ call to action is more relevant than ever before.  Social media tools coupled with wireless mobile technologies are revolutionizing our communications landscape. And it’s changing how we market and advertise our businesses, as well as how we engage, support and retain our customers.

Business has always been about relationships and it is no less so today. What is changing profoundly today is how and where we conduct those relationships.

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Why the Investment News web site is not friendly

December 16th, 2010 · 11:15 am  →  blog marketing social media strategy

I received an email today from Investment News. They were suggesting some “Best of 2010″ tech articles I might be interested in.

I found one I liked called: 10 signed it might be time for a web upgrade. Stuff like: the copyrights are older than 2008, the site was built with tables or frames (shudder), or the design features chess pieces (or boating imagery) made me laugh. So I tried to share it…and that’s where the trouble began.

1. There was no “share’ functionality. No “Tweet this” link, no AddThis widget, nothing.

2. So I tried to copy the URL to my LinkedIn status update, but the specific page title and excerpt did not appear. Instead there was a generic “Investment News” title and boilerplate marketing-speak about the publication. Nothing about the specific article I wanted to share. It looked like I was promoting Investment News instead of sharing some of their content. Not interested in that.

3. I also didn’t like the 10-screen layout of the story. Instead of an article, they take the stories and make them into 10 screens and you need to click to advance from screen to screen. This is annoying, plus I can barely read the small, non-serif, grey font on the shaded background below the huge picture. Seems like a poor layout decision.

4. So I tried to view the article in traditional “article format”. At this point I was met with a huge barrier: a subscriber screen. Seriously?

I just wanted to share an article from which the publication, but at every turn I was thwarted.

To the folks at Investment News, so far you’ve done nothing to make me think you get the whole social media thing and you clearly need to upgrade your web site. I’m not sure why you think I’d be interested in subscribing when there are so many good publications out there that get it.

If this is your business model, start counting your days – because they’re numbered.