Yours, Mine, and Ours.

socialblockHaving a good approach to social marketing in your business means going beyond just posting tweets, pins, pictures, videos, and updates. Our good friend Ted Rubin (@TedRubin) embodies going beyond with his Return on Relationship approach, #RonR, which is about building sustained relationships with consumers, peers, and others in your social graph. A good pivot from that concept to drive continued engagement and relationship is what @dianego and I (@Khodyg) are calling Yours, Mine, and Ours–#ymo.  While it may seem obvious, it’s critical to be mindful about the approach your business takes to social so that you can capitalize on the power of social now and in the future.

Here are some ideas Diane and I will explore in upcoming posts:

  • Understanding how to encourage and teach individuals in your organization to represent their expertise and areas of interest around your business for better customer perception and engagement
  • Striking a balance between using your social platforms for customers and prospects to keep them informed, engage them at the business level, and engage them as individuals
  • Extending the basics of good marketing practices to your non-marketer employees to help them be good stewards of your brand and messages without taking away their credibility and authenticity as individuals.
We’re excited about the idea of Yours, Mine, and Ours as a way for marketers to start to think differently about how to build their social plans to be more inclusive across their organizations and increase customer engagement and satisfaction.

Fourteen Predictions For 2014

I’ve not posted as much as I wanted to in 2013, but I will make a grand effort for 2014…at least that’s what I’m saying now. On that grand note, below are my 14 predictions for 2014 from my twitter handle @khodyg :

  • # 14 mobile marketing will be a bigger portion of the marketing mix #14for2014
  • # 13 3D printing gets affordable. My 6yo son wants @LEGO_Group to upload designs to print  #14for2014
  • # 12 Wearables go mainstream. More startup players come into the market  #14for2014
  • # 11 @TedRubin trades in socks for flip-flops 😊 #RonR  #14for2014
  • # 8 Digital disruption will continue shifting IT spend from #CIO to #CMO  #14for2014
  • # 7 Brands will better leverage user  generated content & community engagement to drive value   #14for2014
  • # 6 Some say boring. I say no. With rich mobile data, Behavioral Analytics goes beyond A/B testing #14for2014
  • # 5 Companies with active blogs have 97% more indexed pages than those who don’t. Good brands blog! #14for2014
  • # 4 With +259M members and 142M visitors/month, @LinkedIn hits the spot for digital marketers   #14for2014
  • # 3 With great Social CMS, content curation over content creation will be the focus for brands. #14for2014
  • # 2 Micro-content driven #mobile marketing… @vineapp like snacks with actionable CTAs #14for2014
  • # 1 it’s about the relationship. The connection from Digital to “In Real Life” gets stronger. #mobile leads #14for2014

Hawaii Social

Kaanapali Maui Honua Kai Resort
Kaanapali Maui Honua Kai Resort (Photo credit: Dave Dugdale)

I was sitting on a beautiful lanai in the breeze of the cooling afternoon trade wind, at the Honua Kai resort just two weeks ago, jotting down notes for this long overdue post. I was thinking about how well the businesses and people in Hawaii have tuned in to social media. This should not surprise me, especially knowing how Hawaii quickly took to SMS and had one of the highest engagement levels with text-based programs like American Idol when I worked in the mobile industry.

Over the last three years, in our trips to Hawaii, I’ve seen the digital footprints of resorts, small local brands, and local shops grow. They are not just using Twitter, Foursquare, and Facebook to broadcast out, but are also using the social web to make a connection with the customer on a personal level.  While on our family vacation, I had the opportunity to have a “talk story” session with Jill Mayo (@JillzBeanz)  who not only drives Social Marketing for several local brands and resort, but is also a hub of IRL—in real life—connections.

Although to Jill the adoption seems slow, to me it seems faster than the mainland. Small businesses are making effective use of Foursquare to drive offers and highlight events. Twitter is used to connect with customer on a hyper-local level to raise awareness around services and goings-on with the brand or resort property. The Honua Kai, for example, leverages their @HonuaKai handle to broadly converse about the resort and share information, and they manage a concierge only handle (@HKConcierge) to raise awareness around concierge services, share local events, and connect with guests one-on-one. This is quite a nifty idea and I wish others would adopt this hyper-local approach. Honua Kai’s marketing manager, Darren McDaniel, is doing a great job curating not only “traditional” kinds of hotel-related content but is also curating the stories of guests, and connecting the online experience with real life.

Jill believes that local brands in Hawaii are still experimenting and there is room for greater engagement. I fully agree. But I am also excited by the spirit of experimentation and not having pre-set ideas about how Social Marketing can drive loyalty. After all, the best sales person is the one that is not working for you; she is the advocate—the one whom others trust to give them the unadulterated skinny.

I like what Jill had to say about taking the brand breaking the fourth wall to connect in the real world and drive unique experiences that foster loyalty and advocacy. Perhaps it’s the fact that in Hawaii the spirit of ohana (family, in an extended sense of the term) allows the opportunity to take a simple 140 character message and make a connection on a human level.

Wouldn’t be cool if we could all get together next year for a Social Marketing conference on Maui? Let me or @JillzBeanz know.

Full disclosure: my wife and I stay at the Honua Kai and actively compete on becoming the mayor on Foursquare the moment we land.

Some interesting handles to follow in no particular order:

Aloha and Maui No Ka Oi

What does all this have to do with Surfing?

Teahupoo, Papeete, Tahiti
Teahupoo, Papeete, Tahiti (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Looking back on 2012, I was remembering what excited me about it and realized that I kept getting stuck on being stoked. To those that don’t know the meaning of the word “stoked”, it is simply to be intensely enthusiastic, engaged, and exhilarated about something. In my small circle of Northwest surfer friends, this feeling is the essence of being alive.

What does all this have to do with marketing, technology, or business? If you are not stoked about what you are doing then you need to make a change. Plus, it gives me the opportunity test out some surfing lingo:

Here’s what I was stoked about in 2012, and will be glad to do in 2013:

  • Catch every wave:  You can just paddle out there and wait for the perfect wave. But my recommendation is that you paddle hard and ride as many as you can. I did that in 2012 and will continue to do it in 2013. From a business perspective this means looking at every opportunity not for what they are at that moment, but for the promise of them evolving into something amazing.
  • Ride to shore: You can always kick over, but I like riding to shore, seeing my family, and paddling back with the full panorama of the ocean in front of me.  In other words, keep sight of what is most important to you and see the big picture.
  • Duck dive: Sometimes you need to go through waves rather than paddling over them. Duck diving is the way that surfers dive under an oncoming wave as they paddle out. This tactic allows you to maintain the progress made by paddling out by not being washed backwards by the wave. Same thing applies to business. Sometimes you have to go through obstacles rather than going around them in order to maintain your trajectory.
  • Paddle out: This is just something you have to do not just in surfing, but in life as well. Don’t stay on the sideline, jump in, take a risk, and enjoy the ride.

Yes, I know it is late January, but I genuinely thought about what I need to do. What are you going to do? Surf, or stay on the beach?

3 Basic Ingredients

Recently I’ve had the pleasure of meeting several early stage business founders. Each of them have amazing passion for the ideas they are growing, conviction about the market segment they are impacting, and are full of energy. The one thing I found surprising was how a couple of them did not realize the value of establishing a digital footprint.

While my own startup experience predates the social web, we had a great conversation about personal branding in the digital world. Specifically, we talked about the value of connecting their personal brand to help shore-up the value of their new ventures’ brand. This is important for an early stage company because investors are not only buying into your product’s value proposition, they are also buying into your vision and value prop. Do this the right way and capital and customers will come to you. Do it the wrong way or be absent from the social web, and you’ll have to do it old school by smiling and dialing your way to success.

Is there a right recipe for this? Well, it’s like asking if there is one recipe for macaroni and cheese. There are always a few basic ingredients:

  1. Set up Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn profiles for yourself (not your company). Keep it simple, and clearly identify who you are and what you do.
  2. If you have more than 10 employees, set up a social media policy with some do’s and don’ts, agree on a posting schedule, and stick to it.
  3. If you happen to have a live website, connect your executive profiles to the social web. Include all the relevant links (LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.). If, like some startups you list your whole team on the site, encourage them to connect their social links as well. Don’t be afraid of them leaving—exporting talent can be a great thing. They could be the next connection into a partner or customer.

These are the basics. As you grow, so will your digital footprint, and as one of my friends @katrinaklier likes to say, “if it’s online, it’s marketing material, whether it’s a person or a product.”

So get out there. Build your footprint and start participating in the social conversation.

The Emergence of the Micro Brand

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

As a marketer for dotcoms, startups, and large companies over the past 20 years, I’ve had the opportunity to work with some amazing people who are sought-after influencers in their respective industries. The trait they all have in common? A solid micro brand.

They also are experts in their specific field, confident in who they are, and not shy about sharing their knowledge. But first and foremost, they are great listeners and teachers. They spend time cultivating their brand by curating their relationships, both online and offline. Lastly, they are genuine. They say what they do and do what they say.

In our tech driven world, they are high touch and welcome the face-to-face meetings. Because in the end, as my friend Ted Rubin  would say, it is about the “Return on Relationship” and it is about serving without expectations.

You need to choose what your micro brand represents. If you know who you are and what impact you want to have, this should be easy. Jeremy Epstein put it most succinctly “Building your brand online (and offline) just takes time. It also takes rhythm and process.”

For me, the rules to help foster your micro brand boil down to a couple of essential things: establish your area of expertise, and define and stand for your values as you build relationships.

Over the next few months on this blog, I’ll be talking to people who I think have mastered the micro brand concepts. I’m looking forward to these discussions, and hope you’ll join me here. Connect with me on Twitter @khodyg.