Category Archives: Web 2.0

The Best Social Media Works Offline

If you stumbled over the title of this post, maybe it’s time to jack out of the matrix, Neo.

I know that most people wouldn’t put “social media” and “offline” in the same sentence, but maybe that’s because only the best of the best social media efforts make it there.

It’s funny because you hear people all the time getting all excited because O.M.G. the web is SOCIAL now! I can talk to you, and you can talk to me, and I can write reviews that get read in Istanbul, and you can friend up the entire offensive line of (undefeated!) Penn State’s football team.

This is, undeniably, a big deal. But we need to remember that there was a place that people were being social before the internet came along.

It’s called the real world. It’s where your mother is right now, and your dog, and your girlfriend (well, maybe not your girlfriend) too.

And the best social media plans understand this. They serve as enablers, facilitators, catalysts, and precursors for real life interaction. Look at the Makers Mark Ambassadors program or the Fiskateers. How about the Manic Mommies and their Escapes, events like Blogger Social, the Plaid Tour, and the booming popularity of Tweetups.

Think about (and I know he gets talked about all the time, but it’s because he’s that good) Gary Vaynerchuck. He blows peoples minds with his energy and passion about wine on WLTV and then goes out there and connects with everyone on every social network you can think of. Then he follows up on every single email he gets. But the best part is what happens offline. That guy that gets his question answered about what wine to serve with the meal he’s going to propose to his girlfriend is going to tell his friends. Maybe online, but more likely at the office, at a party, at the wedding reception. And it’s going to go something like this.

“Oh man I was so nervous, you know me. I had no idea about the meal and then I had to figure out the wine too. There’s this guy online, Gary Vay-ner-chuck, who is, like, a total wine guru, and he answered my email about which wine to get. It was awesome. You should check out his stuff, he’s at”


Your Brand’s Checklist for Twitter

If you’re brand isn’t on Twitter, then check out these posts to get you up to speed. If you’re already on Twitter, then congratulations. You’re already well on your way to developing a solid new media presence and most importantly, connecting with your market.

However, there are a few things that every brand can do to enhance their Twitter account and make sure that they reach their goals with the program. Let’s take a look at 8 good ones.

1. Picture

First things first, logos do not tweet. People do. Your brand’s Twitter account handle will already be @BrandX, so no one has to worry about getting confused. Wait, is your name actually Nick Nike? or Samsung Jones? Check out Frank Eliason, who runs the wildly successful (and incredibly awesome) @comcastcares (Comcast) account. Right away you know you’re dealing with a person and not a PR department.

The only exception here is when the people who use the account actually are the entire PR department. In this case, the logo is okay, but try and work in some specific pictures and names in some ways mentioned below.

2. Name

See the above statement. Corporations may be a “person” in the eyes of the law, but not in the eyes of Twitter. We understand that this account may be representative of your brand as a whole, but there’s still a person running it. Social Media and Twitter specifically is all about honest HUMAN interaction. Do everything you can to keep that there. Let us know your name.

3. Sidebar

This is a pretty brilliant tactic that seems to be catching on much faster with individual users than with brands. The idea here is that you create a specific graphic to use as your background and on that graphic is other useful information. It might be the pictures and names of everyone who uses the account, or just other places you can find the brand on the web. This is a cool opportunity to say a few more things about yourself right away. Check out @flyingdog (Flying Dog Brewery) and @wldaily (Wine Library Daily Deals) to see it done right.

4. Bio

The Bio section is the Swiss Army Knife of the Twitter profile. You can use this space to say a little more about yourself like @jetblue (JetBlue Airways), give us your Twitter mission statement like @Wachovia (Wachovia Bank), give us some more contact info (see below) or just say hi. Either way, make sure you have something useful and relevant here.

5. Contact Info

So you’re on Twitter and you’re a real person (per number 1 and 2). Now give us a way to get in contact. It doesn’t have to be with the person running the account, it can be someone on your team. But you need to give us a way to get in touch when 140 characters just doesn’t cut it.

6. Link Out

Putting a link to your brands homepage is okay, but really you need to link to a “Contact Us” or a special page for Twitter users. Make this useful and make sure it’s easy to find.

7. Communicate

A lot of media/news outlets simply use Twitter as a broadcast medium. This is wrong! It’s another example of old media trying to do new media by old rules. Doesn’t work that way. Look at Frank Eliason’s @comcastcares account. Almost every single tweet is an @ reply. I’m sure he sneaks some Comcast-related news in there now and again, but the majority of his time is spent interacting. That’s how to do it right.


Per number 7, Twitter is not your megaphone. You need to follow people back or you’ll look like a clown.

Additional Resources
-Follow Me On Twitter
-Twitter Brand Index
Twittermaven’s Best Practices
-Beth Harte – Who are you? And why should I follow you?

Bring the Thunder! 5 Questions With Gary Vaynerchuck

When it comes to social media and wine, there’s no denying the force that is Gary Vaynerchuck of Wine Library TV. From his daily videocast and book to being featured on Conan O’Brien, Mad Money, Wired, Men’s Health, etc., he’s become the poster child for the possibility of social media. I don’t want to keep you waiting, so here’s my five questions with the one, the only, Gary VAY-NER-CHUCK.

1) What first turned you on to the potential of social media?

The fact that it was massively driven on interaction with human beings.

2) How did you figure out which methods were the best for reaching people?

This is something that is always changing… I saw all the buzz around Twitter, for example, when I was at FOWA in London a few years ago and identified right away how powerful it could be–the ability to reach an audience instantly and repeatedly without being spammy. But Twitter has struggled a bit with its rapid growth and tomorrow some other competitor could emerge that makes Twitter obsolete. By using the social media tools that are currently available you’ll develop the knowledge and ability to identify and properly utilize the next ones that come down the pike.

3) Is it ever hard to keep up the pace that you’ve become so famous for?

My natural tendency is to embrace chaos, and chaos is what it has been. Fortunately for me my work is my play, and that makes it easy to maintain this frenetic pace.

4) What new things are you really looking forward to?

Well my brother AJ and I with some help just launched, which is getting a lot of attention. It’s a search engine for t-shirts and it’s going to distract me from wine-related business a little but I’m excited about it.

5) What’s the one thing that everyone does wrong in social media?

Lack of patience.

And there you have it. Simple, insightful, and still totally exciting. A big “thank you” to Gary Vaynerchuck and everyone at Wine Library TV.

Electronic Arts, Tiger Woods, and Jesus

No, it’s not the beginning of a bad joke. It’s a great story involving two of my favorite things, gaming and marketing, and could teach us all a thing or two. Here’s the details.

A little while back, a user named Levinator25 posted a video from the EA game Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2008. The video depicted a glitch in which Tiger Woods hit a miraculous shot, dubbed “The Jesus Shot” …from the middle of a pond. Most companies would either A)be completely unaware of this video’s existence, or B)do absolutely nothing about it. Not EA, and with Tiger Woods himself, here’s their response.

Glitch? What glitch?

Well played EA. Class dismissed.

originally found on Joystiq

If You Say “Leverage” You Might Get Punched In The Face

A lot of times, one of the first things you hear when social media is brought up in a business setting is “How can we leverage this to reach our customers (read: sell more stuff)?” And a lot of times, it makes me want to punch whoever said that right in the face. It’s a strong reaction I know, but hey, you have to let the punishment fit the crime.

Greg Verdino once said that hearing the word “viral” makes him want to throw up. Clearly I have a similar, albeit slightly more aggressive, response to the word “leverage” when used anywhere near “social media”.

Why this hulk-smash attitude you might ask? Well, what bothers me so much is that so many people are in such a hurry to leverage/monetize/utilize/monopolize/bastardize social media, that they don’t even stop to understand it first. And along with this goldrush mentality, comes a lot of people who are doing things really wrong.

In fact, the aforementioned Verdino likens it to putting lipstick on a pig. His main point is that maybe you should figure out social media before you work on social media marketing. I mean, honestly, did you run TV spots before you owned a set and watched a few shows? Probably not. Don’t let this be any different.

The good news is that it’s not hard to get into the space and learn the tools and tactics. I know it might seem daunting, but don’t worry. You can (and should) take it slow. Start with (my version of) the basics. People like Chris Brogan, Mitch Joel, Joe Jaffe, David Armano, Jason Falls, Valeria Maltoni, and Geoff Livingston are great resources. And people like Neal Stewart at Flying Dog, Scott Monty at Ford, and Frank Eliason at Comcast are already doing great work with social media.

The key thing here is that you need to be a participant. Get in on the ground floor. Crawl before you can walk. Be the tortoise not the hare. Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee. (Wow, one more metaphor and I might have passed out)

Either way, I still have faith that with patience and practice, we’ll all get a handle on this “social media” thing. But seriously, if I hear “leverage”, you still better duck and cover.

Weekend Hootenanny

Hey Gang. Just wanted to take a quick second to say thank you for taking the time to stop by and check this out. I really do appreciate it. Now on to the fun!

Social Media on Alltop!
Alltop, confirmation that I kick ass
I’m really excited about this. Late last week I was chosen by the good people over at Alltop to be a part of their Social Media section. I’m pretty honored to be in such esteemed company. They’re the big guns, people.

Age of Conversation 2!

So pumped for the new AOC! Hopefully you’ll all rush like wild-people to pick up a copy when it comes out. And then immediately hit up my chapter entitled “i>I”. Check out the new cover by David Armano. Head here for the details.

Some posts to blow your mind.
Some of the best from this past week

-Help Us, Help You – Marketing In Traffic by Brian Branca
-Stuff that i learned on tour: workplace culture. – Darryl Ohrt at Brand Flakes For Breakfast
-Hate to tell you, but Web 1.0 was social too. – by “The Verdino”
-If You Can’t Beat Them, Be Them? – by David Armano
-Introducing The Conversation Prism – by Brian Solis
-Kids Still Love TV. (Ice cream too) – by Alan Wolk at The Toad School

A Definitive Explanation of Social Media

If you want Wikipedia’s definition of Social Media, you can find it here.

I like the definition and I think it’s accurate, if slightly long winded. But if someone asked me what social media is, personally I’d reply with “Social Media is any new web tool or technology that connects people.”

I’ve been thinking about it a little more and essentially, all social media can be broken down into 3 simple categories.

Social Media

Socially Created Content
A lot of what comes to mind when people think “social media” is really just the Socially Created Content piece. This includes things like blogs, podcasts, Flickr or Picasa, YouTube, and Wikipedia. Essentially anything where the main focus is content creation. This is one of the fastest growing parts of social media, primarily because of the shrinking the barriers to entry. You can start a blog that showcases your vacation pics on Flickr and links to your channel on YouTube in less than half an hour. Don’t believe me? Try it.

Socially Highlighted Content
The second major part of social media is Socially Highlighted Content. SHC works because when people find something truly great out there on the internet, they think “Wow I really like this! I think everyone should check this out.” Sites like Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit,, Yahoo! Buzz, Mixx, and many others, serve as a showcase/portal for content that people believe the community will find value in. If you’re looking for the consensus best of the web, check here first.

Social Networks
Along with Socially Created Content, Social Networks are the other half of what people think of regarding social media. By now, everyone has heard of Facebook, LinkedIn, and (unfortunately) MySpace. These networks, among many others, allow you to create profiles and connect with peers, friends, coworkers, and complete strangers to form a network of “linked” individuals. Social Networks have become the Rolodex or little black book of today’s generation, and represent an unparalleled way to stay connected.

The In-Between
Obviously not everything falls neatly into those three categories, hence my beautiful illustration (watch out Armano). There’s a lot of overlap, and a lot of sites that represent the intersection of two or even all three pieces. For example, a microblogging site like Twitter sits at the intersection of Socially Created Content and Social Networking, it’s the perfect blend of both. The same goes for Squidoo for Socially Created Content and Socially Highlighted Content and Google Reader’s share function for Social Networking and Socially Highlighted content.

But that’s Just my take on it.
Think I’m wrong? Don’t like the categories or found something that doesn’t fit? Let me know. I’d love to hear your feedback on this. It just wouldn’t be social without you.

Of Bubbles and Double-Edged Swords

Alan Wolk, The Big TT, is on a roll. Today he put a great post together on the “tiny bubbles” that we all seem to live in. He points out that while most of us are on the front edge when it comes to social media, new marketing, and web 2.0, the majority of internet users (and your target marketing probably falls in this range) really aren’t.

I completely agree that we need to be aware of more than just what exists in our little space, and anything less would be a disservice to our readers, peers, clients, and profession. However, for New Marketers and Web Futurists such as ourselves, our position can truly be a double-edged sword.

On the one hand, we have to know where the mass is. And that might be checking out MySpace for the first time, or even just trying to get a handle on the Amazon recommendation/review engine. There’s no room for internet snobbery (of which I’m admitted guilty of sometimes) or elitism. If part of your job is to know your market, then you have to understand their online habits, even if they’re “soooo 2005″.

But that’s only half the equation. While we have to understand where the mass is, we can’t really be there. For many of us, it’s our responsibility to know what’s coming down the pike. We need to be on the bleeding edge, and it’s up to us to figure out how (and if) these new technologies can help us grow and connect to the market we’re after.

In the end, it’s this delicate balancing act of next and now that really defines the new marketer or web pioneer. It’s easy to catch a case of Bright and Shiny Object Syndrome and always be in search of The Next Best Thing, but if you spend all your time on that, you run the risk of being completely irrelevant to just the people you’re trying to reach.