Category Archives: social media marketing

Connecting influencers to your brand: VMWare Speaker Bureau

The topic of influencer marketing has come under a lot of scrutiny lately, especially around the notion of paying influencers to write content positive towards your brand.  I think it’s important not to throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater here and not consider all influencer marketing to be equal.
For example, take a look at this approach VMWare Code takes to making influencers feel a part of their brand:
Key points:
  • These folks all have some relationship to the brand. They are either customers or partners to VMWare.
  • Most of them have built their own personal brand on social media, which the page highlights
  • As the page points out, these are not necessarily paid gigs for influencers: that only happens over time
  • I found the page via a paid social ad with a focus on one of the speakers and their photo – a great example of humanizing a paid social strategy
Bottom line here is that at its core, influencer marketing is about building relationships. The way you build relationships can range from thoughtful to sporadic to overly-commercialized.
Just as with any business relationship, you need to engage in a way that reflects you and your brand.

Can you #Growthhack Twitter? Day 1

I wanna keep this brief as I really just want to see if you can work out techniques that will help me get more value from Twitter. (I won’t go into here why the focus is on Twitter right now).

  • I want to better understand the environment in which I work (currently tech, startup, social, mobile, cloud – you get the idea).
  • I want to hear from the most provocative minds and build relationships with similar spirits
  • I do want to grow my network appropriately: I believe that the smartest person in the room, is the room, and so I want a bigger room
  • I don’t want to employ spammy tactics or automation to engineer results that don’t give me real value (I come from the SEO world and so have been there in the past)
  • I do want to build on a model I used successfully 3 years ago to grow a developer-focused account from 30K to 60K followers in about a year
  • I want to share as much of what I’m doing as possible in the hope that others will share their advice and I might actually help someone(!)

The initial thesis here goes something like this:

The three Cs of Social Media Marketing

I’ve been working in social media marketing for about the last 6 years (and blogging for the last 10)  and working on some major launches at IBM this year has got me thinking that most activities do fall into those 3 C’s: content, community and celebrity. There may be a fourth that Kimberly Legocki brought to my attention: crisis management. Maybe it does fit in. Right now, it doesn’t seem like too big a problem in the ‘Safe For Work’ environment of B2B (am I cursing myself with that comment?). 

So, for day 1 lets take a look at one area I think often gets overlooked: Twitter lists.

Twitter List Management

This is really a prep exercise, not sure there will be real immediate return here yet. Twitter lists are great when you follow more than your immediate family and want to tame the firehose. I also think they are great to keep abreast of your current interests, or people you’ve met through different engagements.

As I do more of my social interaction on a mobile device, using lists has become more crucial. I’ve been keeping lists for some time, so feel like some serious housekeeping is in order. Today I actually managed to get rid of a load I don’t need.

Currently the kind of lists I have are:

  • Related by topic area (socbiz, startup, education)
  • Related by location (Bay Area, NYC, LA) – I have added some related to parts of the world I know people but we’re on different timezones
  • Work colleagues

Take a look at them here. Now, I’ll continue to develop out these lists and will keep you informed of progress Winking smile,  Or you can just see what’s happening at @CagedEther.

SMBEB: Sharon Profis’ expert tips on personal branding

I’ve seen a few talks about personal branding in my time but I have to say Sharon Profis’ presentation this week at Social Media Breakfast East Bay was definitely up there as one of my faves.

It could be down to the fact that it’s pretty much her day job as a tech journalist, and her passion for her day job shines through Winking smile.

So, what were some of her top comments? This is what stood out for me:

  • Interact with your social networks the same way you would with your friends. Don’t just reach out when you need their help. Stay involved. Share often.
  • Remember that this is human2human contact: allow yourself to show your imperfections. Don’t apply too perfect a sheen: remember what we relate to!
  • As a journalist, she’s found value in showing the process behind the creation. Even if that process is messy and not perfect. There’s a great story in the process.

One thing I got to thinking watching this presentation: how social allows us build our own personal brand, and with that personal brand it can change our relationship with our employer. Sharon succeeds as a journalist in part because she has a large social network. A network which also brings value to her employer C|Net (who also help her build her network). A lot of journalists are in the same position.

But as we see the growth in employee influencer programs, we can see this same impact of social celebrity empower those who can master the medium. For instance, think of a professor that offers much of their lectures online. Their relationship with the institution can in fact be weakened and it may be in their interest to be partners with universities rather than employees. Much as we see organizations leverage citizen developers (take a look at the Business Tech Trends webcast).

More on Sharon Profis

Once again, the @Edelman Trust Barometer calls out Academics as key influencers

The Edelman Trust Barometer is an in-depth study of brand perception, reputation and trust that the Edelman digital agency publishes annually.

It looks at many dimensions such as industry and geography with powerful insights into our relationship with businesses. One interesting finding from the report highlights the importance of academics as influencers:

Edelman Trust Barometer: key influencersThis is particularly interesting given that a lot of discussion around influencer programs tends to focus on customers, employees or other constituents of the organization ecosystem, but rarely touches on engagement with academia.

What is a key takeaway? Organizations that can engage academics and cultivate advocacy in this field stand to gain the most in terms of building their brand reputation. One word of caution: academics are at the top of this list thanks to their lack of inherent bias (unlike financial or industry analysts who receive much of their funding from the people they cover). An influencer program aimed at customers or employees can’t just be transposed onto this group. Leading with product-first is often not the best approach either.

How can businesses best serve the academic community? One way is through sharing thought leadership and an industry perspective. Another is by providing access to sales and client teams that can really talk about what they face in developing business opportunities. We have also seen incredible results from aligning academics to an event strategy: eg. taking faculty to key industry and customer events and offering them opportunities to share their perspective through video and other approaches.

So, whilst academics are growing in importance as influencers, you need to be mindful of how you engage with them.

Read the full Edelman Trust Barometer 2014 report

The rapid growth of social over search

Take a look at this graph pulled from Google Trends comparing the search terms ‘social media marketing’ and ‘search marketing’.

Blue: social media marketing
Red: search marketing

google trends social media mkt search

I wonder if this keeps any folks at the mighty G up at night? Even if we as users still rely heavily on search, you could make the argument that marketing as a discipline has shifted its interest in the direction of social.

Funny that 2011 represents the watershed, at least for these search terms. In the social media industry, we tend to think of this as the year social finally came of age.

Food for thought?


Google+ Explained for Business

I recently was asked to talk about how Google+ can be leveraged for business as part of the social media enablement we’re providing for our business division.

It got me thinking as to where the real value lies in Google+.

This is what I boiled it down to:

  • Google+ is yet another social network
  • Google+ has some key similarities with other social networks
  • Google+ differs in some key ways
  • The interaction with other Google services such as Search and YouTube

You can see the meat of the presentation here:

Also posted to SlideShare.

Looking to get started? These are the links I suggest:

  1. Setup an account at
  2. Check out the video series on Getting Started with Google+
  3. Search for people and interests and add at least 10 to Circles
  4. Attend an upcoming IBM Big Data Google+ Hangout