Social Media

Canceling Events: What Might Have Been

"Sunny with Snow" by Parhamr as commonly used in weather forecasts
“Sunny with Snow” by Parhamr as commonly used in weather forecasts

Right now, I’m supposed to be speaking at the AMA in the AM (the Baltimore Chapter of the American Marketing Association) but instead I’m writing a blog post. You see, we got some snow this morning and the event has been postponed – hopefully until a nice warm, sunny day! It’s difficult for organizations to make the decision to cancel an event, but hopefully people understand that it’s more important to stay safe when the roads are bad than it is to attend an event.

Weather considerations are a major factor in many event planning decisions. Many meeting and event planners select warm weather venues during the winter months but snow is not the only reason for a weather cancellation – hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, thunderstorms, and even extreme heat have caused events to be canceled. Some events even have alternate online plans if the event won’t be able to be held as scheduled. Fortunately, this morning’s event wasn’t of a critical nature and the decision to cancel was an easy one.

Considerations when making an event cancellation decision:

– Weather conditions / forecast: Are there weather advisories, watches, or warnings in effect? Is there more bad weather predicted during the time of the event?

– Travel advisories: Have local, state, or federal agencies issued travel advisories? Is there a snow emergency plan or other travel limitation in effect? Has the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) issued an alert?

– Number of attendees expected: Is it a small meeting or a large conference? The number of people attending makes a difference in how easy an event can be rescheduled.

– Distance of attendees from event venue: Are the attendees local or do they need to travel long distances to attend? Are the attendees staying in the event hotel/venue?

What other factors play into your decision when canceling events? Please leave a comment below to let me know.

Social Media Etiquette Best Practices

I’ve seen several Tweets and blog entries on Twitter auto-posting recently and it seems to be something that is being tested and possibly even becoming a social media best practice.

In case you’re not sure what I mean by auto-posting, in this example it is scheduling a social media interaction on Twitter in advance of the actual Tweet being posted. IMO (in my opinion), auto-anything takes the social out of social media, but maybe you can change my mind and explain how it can be considered a best practice. I un-followed Guy Kawasaki of Alltop because of his repetitive auto-Tweeting and I’ll do the same to anyone else I suspect of regular, non-personal social media interactions.

Social Media Etiquette Best Practices will be the topic for the #SMchat Twitter chat on Wednesday, January 19, 2011 at 1PM ET with the following questions:

1) What are some social media etiquette best practices? How do you make sure to fit them into your social media marketing plan?

2) Does auto-posting violate the best practices of social media? Does it matter if you are online when the auto-post?

3) What advantages or disadvantages of auto-posting? Does auto-posting make social media interactions less personal / authentic?

4) Do you feel you “know” the people you interact with on social media? Why or why not?

5) Other than the “usual” – who (companies or individuals) is a good example of using social media best practices?

Please feel free to leave examples (good and bad) of social media etiquette best practices, including auto-posting if you think that’s a best practice, in the comments below. I will be happy to discuss them with you on Weds, 1/19/11 at 1P ET on the #SMchat Twitter chat hashtag – see you then!

2010 Blog Post Recap and Looking Forward to 2011

Mistletoe=Dung on a Twig. Eeuuuwwww!
Mistletoe=Dung on a Twig. Eeuuuwwww!

In January, 2010, I posted about how I was lucky at Affiliate Summit West 2010, and I’m ending the year with some lucky affiliate news from buy.at – I won their final Christmas quiz! I was able to determine the literal meaning of the word mistletoe is “Dung on a twig.” Can I just state for the record: YUCK!!! I now have an entirely new mental picture whenever someone talks about kissing under the mistletoe…

It seems affiliates were lucky for me in 2010, and maybe not so surprisingly my most popular blog post mentions no less than EIGHT affiliate marketers mentioned in it! Listed below are my top ten 2010 blog posts, ranked via pageviews according to my Google Analytics account. Count them down with me as we count down the last few hours of 2010:

10. Affiliate Summit West 2011 and Social Media Marketing 2011

9. 5 Questions About Building Brands Via Social Media

8. Talking SEO for our 1st Blog Birthday-Anniversary-Blogiversaryday

7. Testing, Testing, One, Two, Three…

6. How Do You Know Who To Interact With On Social Media?

5. Why Didn’t I Ask “How Did You Hear About Us?” I Already Know.

4. Twitter Chats – Fantastic for Insights and Visibility

3. Putting The Social Back In Social Media

2. Top 12 Twitter Chats by Day – What are your Favorites?

1. 2010 Internet Marketing Olympics Dream Team

Happy New Year – 2011! My wish is that the new year is happy, healthy, and prosperous for us all!

If you look at the topics of the blog posts above, there is a wide mix of marketing topics including social media, Twitter chats, brand building, SEO, and even some web analytics and email testing. What would you like to see more of in 2011? Please leave a comment below and let me know!

Affiliate Summit West 2011 and Social Media Marketing 2011


Previously, I told you about Affiliate Summit (hey, look, it’s an affiliate link!) and what a wonderful conference it is. One of the amazing people I met there is Heather in BC. I was put on Heather’s team for the Strike Out Breast Cancer Midnight Bowling Fundraiser during Affiliate Summit West 2010 and our team won the “Low Score Award” – starting at midnight, we were all so tired there might have been some confusion whether we were bowling or golfing, LOL!

To keep up to date with what she’s doing, I read Heather’s blog posts, and we keep in touch via Facebook and Twiiter. I was reading her Tweets last week and she posted that she would be busy the day after Affiliate Summit and asked her followers to join her at Social Media Marketing 2011 Las Vegas. Since I’ll already be in Las Vegas speaking at ASW11 from January 9-11, 2011, and Social Media is a big part of my new job at 1st Mariner Bank, it seemed a natural fit for me to attend. I asked Heather for more information and she talked to Murray Newlands and the next thing you know I’ve got a press pass!

The Social Media Marketing 2011 Las Vegas conference is being held at the Flamingo Las Vegas on January 12, 2011 – the day after Affiliate Summit West 2011. I’m interested in learning more about monetizing social media from Raymond Lyle of Viglink and all of the other speakers.

Can’t make it to Las Vegas in January? Be sure to add #ASW11 and #SMLASVEGAS to your Twitter hashtag lists to see what people are talking about. Have a specific question – please leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to get the answer for you![/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Conferences, Chats, Mentions, and a New Job, too!

Affiliate Summit 2011 Speaker
Affiliate Summit 2011 Speaker

I’ve been VERY busy since my Blogiversaryday – here’s what I’ve been up to:

Conferences

Blue Sky Factory User Conference – Blue Sky Factory COO and Managing Partner, Doug Broujos, and I presented a session on Getting People to Open Your Email. We spoke about Subject Lines, “From” Names, Pre-Header, and other factors that impact people receiving and opening email. I’ll add a link to the recording/slides once it’s posted. I was thrilled by the audience interaction and the thoughtful questions they asked. I am convinced that Blue Sky Factory hires some of the best and brightest people in email marketing – let me know if you need a referral and you and I can both get 3 months of landing page services for free!

Affiliate Summit West 2011 – Did I mention I was speaking at #ASW11? You can find more info about my speaking engagements on the About page of my site! See more about my top 15 speaking status in the Mentions section below.

Chats

#ProfsChat Guest of Honor – I was just coming off the high of speaking at an email marketing conference when I got an email from Megan Leap at MarketingProfs asking if I would be the special guest on #ProfsChat so of course I said YES! Our topic was email marketing and social media – two of my favorite topics! You can find the complete transcript, including some great links, here: #ProfsChat email marketing and social media transcript.

#SMchat moderator – although I missed my usual “2nd Wednesday of the month” Marketing moderator slot on #SMchat because I was speaking at the Blue Sky Factory User Conference, I was able to view the transcript of the great job done by Guest Moderator Joe Ruiz (better known as @SMSJoe on Twitter). I look forward to moderating today’s #SMchat – once again we’re discussing email marketing and social media, but this time specifically as it relates to Facebook’s venture into email marketing, formerly know as Facebook’s “Project Titan” and now officially released as Facebook Messages. There are no scripted questions this week, but the conversation should be lively on this hot topic! Don’t have Facebook Messages yet? You can request an invite here: http://www.facebook.com/about/messages/

Mentions

Mention in Chris Penn’s Newsletter – I love the way Chris emphasizes the action items in his email – especially subscribe and unsubscribe – and breaks the content into easy-to-digest sections. As an extra-added bonus, I got a mention in this month’s newsletter for sharing last month’s newsletter with my social media network – how’s that for an incentive to SWYN/FTAF?

Mention in Geno Prussakov’s blog – You can see from my Tweet how excited I am:
I’m #14!!! RT @eprussakov Most Influential Affiliate Summit West 2011 Speakers – Top 40 http://bit.ly/bFMnRi

New Job

With a fond farewell, I announced my resignation from MEDEX Global Solutions although I’ll continue to be an affiliate and will never leave the country without MEDEX international travel medical insurance after all of the scary travel stories I’ve heard while working there.

I start my new job as Assistant Vice President, Ecommerce at 1st Mariner Bank after Thanksgiving! As you can see from the image, 1st Mariner is just as excited as I am. Wish me luck!

1st Mariner Announcement
1st Mariner Announcement
Please note: These are affiliate links to MEDEX and Affiliate Summit, but I’d link to them even without an affiliate relationship because I’ve become a true believer in travel medical insurance and I’m thankful that Affiliate Summit has asked me to speak at their event.

5 Questions About Building Brands Via Social Media

Social Media for Brand Building?
Social Media for Brand Building?

At the suggestion of Chris Jones, aka @SourcePOV, I’ve been reading a lot recently on how brands are using social media. Here are some links I’ve come up with – examples from around the globe on how companies like Starbucks, Microsoft, Coca Cola, Dell, Kenya Airways, Cadbury, Vodafone, Volkswagen, and K-SWISS are using social media to increase brand recognition and positive brand interactions:
Building Brands Through Twitter
Starbucks’ Schultz: Social Media Is Key to Building Brand Trust
Building Brands via Social Media
Building European Brands Through Social Media
Digital Media Law: Building Brands In a Digital World

For the October 13, 2010 #SMchat, we will be discussing the following 5 questions:

  1. Is social media the best way to build a brand online? Why or why not?
  2. Do B2B and B2C brands need different social media brand-building strategies?
  3. Which social media channel is the best for brand building and why?
  4. Is there a best channel for brand engagement? Does it depend on the product?
  5. What about brand loyalty? Is one channel better than another?

Did I miss any good branding and social media articles? Please feel free to post links in the comments below and don’t forget to join us for #SMchat on Wednesday, 10/13/10, at 1PM ET! We look forward to chatting with you.

Every Child Wants A Pony, Does Every Marketer Want A Pony Movie?

Sharon Riding Secretariat? Nope, That's Pepperoni Pizza!
Is Sharon riding Secretariat? No, that horse is Pepperoni Pizza!

The film Secretariat opens up around the country this weekend. I have always loved horses and I remember when Secretariat won the Triple Crown of horse racing. Although I didn’t own my own pony when I was younger, I was fortunate enough at the time to be able to ride Peperoni Pizza, aka Pete, several times a week. I was even lucky enough to be the barn manager for a highly-ranked team at the Ochlockonee River Pony Club event where the photo on the left was taken  (several years ago).

Online and Offline Movie Marketing

Secretariat, like all movies, is an opportunity waiting to happen for all kinds of media. Traditionally, film publicity included newspaper and magazine ads; billboards; bus and subway ads; in-theater trailers and previews; TV and radio ads; and other offline campaigns. The addition of online media into the movie marketing mix adds another dimension of audience engagement. It allows people to “like” the movie on Facebook and share info and trailers with their friends via social media. On the movie’s website audiences can watch film clips and download pictures from the movie to view on their computer or even post as their avatar on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media forums. Some movies even have games based on the movie that people can play and share. Film marketers do an amazing job of encouraging online influencers to share their love of a movie’s brand among their connections.

Brand Advocacy Via Social Media

This “brand advocacy” or implied endorsement of a movie’s brand by sharing among a person’s friends and followers is even easier to do when the movie’s subject is connected to something they are passionate about. Like the small child who desperately wanted a pony being more likely to write a blog post about the movie Secretariat than any other movie when it comes time to write about a different form of marketing. (Hmmm…sound familiar? LOL) I eventually got the horse – at one point we had two ponies and a horse between my daughter and I – and although I was never tiny enough to be a Triple-Crown-winning jockey, there IS a perpetual trophy awarded by the Harford Horse Show Association with my name on it.

Affiliate Movie Tie-Ins

Smart affiliate marketers are taking new cinematic releases like Secretariat and creating banner ads and product offers that emphasize the movie tie-in. An example of a merchant who is capotalizing on the movie by emphasizing the horse-themed items in their banner creative is Leanin’ Tree:

Some marketers are even modifying their product lines to add horse-related items. An great example is how Andrea Levine Designs added horse charms to their dog and cat jewelry can be found here:
Pet Jewelry by Andrea Levine Designs

Wild Horses Couldn’t Keep Me From Seeing Secretariat!

Mary Schmich, a columnist for the Chicago Tribune, once wrote, “You can map your life through your favorite movies, and no two people’s maps will be the same.” Between the combination of horses and a strong-willed working mom, I believe Secretariat will be a movie that will be included in the map of my life. What are you favorite movies and how do they map your life? Please leave me a comment below to let me know.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

How Do You Know Who To Interact With On Social Media?

Knowing who to interact with is important
The inspiration – thanks Autom Tagsa!

A comment I made during last week’s #SMchat was one of the most re-Tweeted and commented upon Tweets I’ve posted recently. My Tweet (on the left) was to point out that you can spend a lot of time on social media without seeing any benefits. Just like in real life, if you’re interacting with the wrong people, you won’t get much out of the conversation.

There’s an article in the Guardian that says Twitter is changing how we interact with the world. The way I see it, social media isn’t changing the way we interact with the world, it’s giving us a new way to network with people that we may not have had access to without Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn/etc.

Heidi Cool, a #SMchat regular, wrote a post in September 2009 asking, “How are you interacting with your target audience?”, and although it’s important to interact with your target audience, it’s also important to connect with people who aren’t your target audience right now, because they could be in the future.

My friend Renee Lemley from Gray Matter Marketing came up with some great names for Twitter follow strategies like: THE UNEQUIVOCALLY UNRECIPROCATED FOLLOW STRATEGY and THE EVEN-STEVEN FOLLOW STRATEGY in her post, “Why, How and Who Do You Follow?” Which social media interaction strategy is right for you? Or do you use a different technique?

The main question in this week’s #SMchat conversation is: How do you know who to interact with on Social Media?

My short answer: Everyone!

Want to find out the longer version? (We’re limited to 140 characters because it’s a Twitter chat, but I can guarantee there will be more than 9 characters of conversation going on!) Join us on Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at 1PM ET on the hashtag #SMchat for answers to the question above and these questions as well:

Julian Loren wants to know, How do you gracefully disengage when needed? Hopefully, Sherry Lowry will join us to expand on her suggestion to “build in graceful exits to agreements.”

Jeunesse Yvonne wants to know if it’s appropriate to follow your boss/manager. A Mashable survey says it’s wrong to friend your boss on Facebook in their article, “Facebook Friends With Your Boss? Right or Wrong?” I’m not sure that I agree with that, but let’s hear what you have to say!

Jeunesse Yvonne also asks should you interact with people you’d like to be employed by? I think DJ Waldow would emphatically say that’s a good idea…emphatically mainly because DJ’s enthusiastic about everything, but also because social media helped him get his job at Blue Sky Factory!

Got questions on who to interact with on social media? Even better, bring an opinion or some real-life examples of your own to our Twitter chat on Wednesday, 9/8/10 at 1P ET – we look forward to chatting with you there! Can’t make it, or have a burning question that you don’t want to forget? Leave a comment below and I’ll make sure we discuss it during the chat. I’ll also post a link to the transcript for your review.

Haiku for Sarah Evans

Perhaps we should rename this portion of my blog, “Contests From The Woman Who Can’t Turn Down A Dare.”

I mentioned #journchat in my favorite Twitter chats post several months ago and along with it #journchat founder Sarah Evans. I’ve chatted online with Sarah a few times both during #journchat and at other non-#journchat times and I’ve always been amazed at how knowledgeable and genuinely nice she is. But this isn’t a post about Sarah. I got an email from Liz Pope, Media and Research Manager at Sevans Strategy, who read my blog and double dared me to enter the contest to join Sarah during a special edition of #journchat live from the NBC News Studios in NYC on August 9, 2010. The contest and #journchat are sponsored by Cision who makes public relations software – you’ll see why you need to know what Cision is in just a few lines.

I enjoy #journchat because PR is not something I learned in school or something I’ve done often in my 22+ years of advertising and marketing experience. I’ve only worked on the edges of doing public relations activities, but I think that with social media becoming more important in many companies’ marketing strategy, public relations lessons go a long way toward teaching the right things to do in social media. Companies need to treat everyone as if they were a journalist, because with social media they are!

Soooo…since I can’t seem to be able to turn down a double dare, here’s my Haiku for Liz Pope and Sarah Evans:

Smart Sarah Evans
Journchat NBC Thrilling
Cision software too?

I’ll be in NYC for Affiliate Summit East 2010 the following week, so I’m not sure that either my boss or my family would appreciate me heading up there twice in the same week! With that said, I did think the contest was a great idea and hopefully if Sarah is still around from the 14th to the 18th when I’m in New York, I’d love to connect!

I’m looking forward to meeting with so many of my affiliate friends during #ASE10 – will you be there? Drop me a note, or post a comment below letting me know when you’re there and let’s set something up! Want to attend #ASE10 but don’t have a pass? I have ONE Gold Pass that I’m happy to give (at no charge) to the first person who asks for it – either via a comment below, or by sending me an @ or DM on Twitter, but don’t wait too late because I hear #ASE10 will be sold out soon and then my Gold Pass offer expires.

Affiliates & Social Media: #SMchat Topic July 2010

In November 2008, Dr. Ralph Wilson interviewed Affiliate Summit co-founder Shawn Collins and the video of that interview contains several great ideas that are still relevant and able to be implemented successfully today! Shawn talked about being a part of the community on Twitter (and all social media) and since it’s the last #SMchat I’m moderating before Affiliate Summit East 2010 so I wanted to find out the prevailing attitude of my community about affiliates in the social media sphere.

Are you an affiliate, merchant, network, in-house or outsourced program manager? Don’t know anything about affiliate programs, but want to learn more? Please share your opinion and your insights on affiliates and social media during #SMchat, Wednesday, July 14th, 2010 from 1-2P ET, and/or meet me at Affiliate Summit East 2010 (an affiliate link in honor of my affiliate friends) and let’s chat in person!

After introducing yourself and letting everyone know what your interest is in affiliate marketing (“just curious” is definitely an option here…), I’d love to know how you feel about affiliates using social media marketing. Here’s what I’m wondering:

1 ) Should affiliates be able to promote using social media? Why or why not?

2 ) Is there a social media channel that is better for affiliates to use? Which one(s)?

3 ) Can a merchant’s Terms and Conditions exclude affiliates advertising via certain social media activities? (How does that impact affiliate sign-ups, etc.?)

4 ) How should affiliates disclaim the FTC Revised Endorsement Rules in social media? Do they need to do it at all?

5 ) How do you monitor use/abuse of social media by affiliates? Are they allowed to link directly to your site similar to direct-to-merchant pay per click (DTM PPC)?

What other questions do you have? Please feel free to leave them in the comments below or ask them when you join us on 7/14/10 from 1-2P ET on the Twitter chat #SMchat – see you then!