We've been busy here in Las Vegas at CES 2013, but we haven't forgotten about everyone following the action online. We snapped a few photos today and will continue to add photos throughout the week. Be sure to read our blog post about the booth we are helping to run for our client, Red Touch Media. Their Social Lounge gives bloggers and influencers a place to create content about #CES2013. You can even see a video of the booth in construction.
It has happened to all of us at some point. What do you do when you get a LinkedIn request from a stranger? Should you accept? Is it rude not to? Are you dooming yourself to professional networking purgatory by not accepting?
Don't worry, not accepting a LinkedIn request is neither poor etiquette or rude on your part. If anything, the stranger is the one who made the social faux pas. Unless you actually know the person, you should never accept accept a LinkedIn request for the following 3 reasons:
1) LinkedIn has limits
2) Connection mining
3) Protecting and respecting your network
1) LinkedIn only allows all users a maximum of 3,000 connections. This is basically to prevent abuse. If you need to remove a connection, then check out the info on this page. Don't worry about offending anyone—the connection will not be notified when you remove them. Will you ever hit the 3,000 limit? I’ve never known someone who has but you never know…
2) Connection miners are people who connect with everyone on LinkedIn in an attempt to make their profile more impressive and push people for job opportunities. If a stranger walked up to you, handed you a business card, and said, “Let’s hangout” and then walked away, would you call them? Probably not. A random LinkedIn connection request is equivalent to that. Not only is it bad etiquette, but it also makes a poor first impression. I authored a blog post for Definition 6 about the people who spray business cards around at conferences like lawn sprinklers. The random LinkedIn request from a stranger is the digital equivalent of the "card sprinkler."
3) Also, it is important to remember that by accepting a request with someone you don't know, you are granting them closer access to not only yourself but your LinkedIn connections as well. Your LinkedIn shared connections immediately become a 2nd level connection to the stranger you just accepted into your life. If you're starting to get paranoid right now, I don't blame you. There are some privacy options on LinkedIn. While you can limit what info your connections see, I suggest not accepting a connection request from someone you don't actually know. More info on how to hide info from connections here: http://help.linkedin.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/52
On the flip-side, don’t be offended if someone you send a connection request to on LinkedIn doesn't respond. Everyone uses each social media network differently, especially LinkedIn.
In their third major layout change, Facebook officially transitioned user's profile pages to a new layout called Timeline a few months ago. But they delayed the transition for brand pages to March 30th, 2012. The delay for brands was to give them extra time to update their pages and apps. Even though Facebook has been reminding brands for months, it appears by all the confusion this past week that the forced migration to Timeline still caught many businesses by surprise.
I recently wrote an article on the top 5 things all Facebook brand page administrators need to know when it comes to Timeline. From new layouts, image sizes, apps and content to strategically using cover photos, the article outlines step by step the ways in which Facebook Brand Pages can increase traffic to your website, and can engage your audiences in new ways based on new abilities to interact as a result of the layout changes.
The next time you hear someone playing Angry Birds or checking-in using Greensquare from inside a bathroom stall, make a mental note with yourself to never borrow their phone. In fact, you might want to start avoiding all other phones from now on.
According to this infographic byKeeping It Kleen, 16% of all smartphones have poop on them. Yuck! And unfortunately it's not just phones that you have to worry about. All tech gadgets from keyboards and iPads to TV remote controls are covered with germs. It's enough to make Howie Mandel take another shower (he's an admitted germaphobe who showers 5 times or more a day).
Take a guess. What is dirtier: Your keyboard or a toilet seat? Toilet seat? WRONG. The average keyboard is 5x dirtier and has 60x more germs than your average toilet seat. Say hello to your new office mate. Her name is Bacteria. And the next time you stay in a hotel and want to worry about the bedspread, wake up and smell the poop. The TV remote is the dirtiest object in the room!!
If you want to make sure your phone isn't part of the 16% that's covered in poop molecules, then try to break out some Purell or rubbing alcohol on a regular basis and give it a good cleaning. And the next time you see a coworker or family member walk out of a bathroom with an iPad, make sure it wasn't yours.
Apparently Zappos is striping down for its new marketing campaign... and we mean all the way down. In an effort to raise awareness of their expanded product offering beyond just shoes, their new ads feature people just wearing, shoes. That's it. The ads feature naked models jogging, riding a scooter, hailing a cab and playing Frisbee in public. In a recent New York Times article, Ryan Holiday, the director of online marketing at American Apparel, who has gotten in trouble before for racy ads, had a good take on what Zappos is doing. He asked, “Are they doing it because they want to get attention from blogs and Web sites that will write about it or are they doing it because it’s the ad campaign that speaks most truly to who they are and what they want to sell?” What do you think? Do you like the naked Zappos ads? Does "sex sell"? Please leave a comment below.
Depending on your age, you might (or might not) remember something called "Fan Clubs." Basically you paid a yearly membership fee and in return got special messages from the club, discounts and even free gifts from time to time. There were fan clubs for everything: sports teams, pop stars, swimsuit models, bands, TV shows, hobbies, popular toys... this list could go on and on. Personally I've been a member of fan clubs for Pearl Jam, Queensryche, Model Car of the Month, Beer of the Month, Ovaltine, Sweet Pickles and to be completely honest here, I was even a member of the Samantha Fox fan club for a couple years.
My favorite Samantha Fox song, "Nothing's Gonna Stop Me Now".
We joined fan clubs because they made us feel special, especially at a young age. They brought us closer to brands, activities and people that we were passionate about. That postcard from Donald Duck, Yoda, Samantha Fox or Michael Knight had our name on it and gave us bragging rights at school. And good fan clubs, like Pearl Jam's Ten Club, gave fans exclusives like access to premium concert seating and free records. I remember getting a Pearl Jam fan club record called "Let Me Sleep" and bringing it to school. People were cutting class just to see it and none of us even owned a record player.
You've Got Mail... In a Few Months
But because fan clubs relied heavily on the US Postal Service and the printing process, communications between fans and the fan club administrators were spotty at best. Fan club newsletters were usually monthly, delivered via snail mail and didn't provide much opportunity for fans to respond or contribute to the club. Sure you could mail a letter to the fan club but would anyone read it? Respond? Would Yoda ever read my letter telling him that Santa brought me green and brown Yoda Underoos for Christmas? If he did, he never responded.
Yes they actually made green and brown Yoda Underoos.
Digital Technology Gives Fans a Bigger Community Voice
But as clubs started to adopt digital communication tools like email and web sites, fans finally got to have a voice in their own community. Content could be delivered to fans more frequently, the fan experience could include interactive web pages and fans could even directly communicate with other fans if the site had a forum or chat room. The introduction of Blogs in the early 2000's made things even easier. Fan club administrators didn't have to rely on website designers to update pages and format email newsletters anymore. Blogs were easy to write and could include images, audio and videos unlike forums and chat rooms. Blogs basically allowed anyone to be content creators. Some brands even started allowing fans to write blog posts. And the best part? Fans could react to this new frequent stream of content by simply writing blog comments.
Social Media and Real Time Conversations Between Fans and Brands
Fast forward a few years to today and social media has changed everything. Mass communication with a niche community, or even the entire planet, is now direct, easy and instant. Where a monthly printed newsletter might take weeks for a fan club administrators to produce and distribute, a single tweet composed by Lady Gaga from her phone after her sold-out performance at Madison Square Garden has the power to instantly reach millions, especially now that she's the first person to garner 10,000,000 followers. There are articles written about her social media success frequently, including an article posted hours after this blog was written!
And social media is a two-way street. Of course messages can be broadcast to a large audience. But the ability for fans to engage with celebrities and brands has never been easier thanks to social media. Instead of writing and mailing a letter to an anonymous fan club PO Box, fans can now use services like Twitter to Tweet directly and publicly with personalities.
Fans can also engage in conversations with other fans all over the world and give fan-created content a virtual thumbs up by "Liking" it or re-sharing it. The voice of the fan has never been louder or more influential. And some major brands like Coca-Cola are embracing this power. Coca-Cola (disclosure alert: Coca-Cola is a Definition 6 client) is leveraging the power of social media to let their Facebook fans manage, moderate and produce content for their own community. Coca-Cola still participates in fan conversations and community content creation, but their Facebook page allows any fan to post something on their wall. The community even moderates fan content. Inappropriate messages are flagged by the community. Not only does Social Media enable brands to instantly communicate with their communities, but it also allows brands to give an equal voice to that community.
The Layers Are Gone
Social Media has changed fandom forever. It has brought fans both closer to celebrities and brands, as well as each other. The multiple layers of communication are gone. The "fan club managers" who were hired by a PR company, which was hired by a record company, who only communicated with the band through their manager, can all be eliminated with Social Media. Many personalities, like Lady Gaga, have assumed the role of Community Manager and use social media to communicate and have conversations directly with their fans, and in their own voice. Seems like we've come a long way since decoder rings and Ovaltine.
Did you just get home from SXSW? If you burned the candle at both ends and got the most out of SXSW, then you left Austin with a slew of new connections, strengthened existing relationships and had a lot of fun. What a marathon. Panels and meetings all day, networking and parties all night, rinse, repeat. It’s exhausting, but it’s worth it because of the connections you’re building. Where most conferences focus on big product launches, SXSW is about the personal connections and networking. To quote something Annette Shade tweeted during the 2011 South By Southwest Interactive conference, “CES is to products what SXSW is to relationships.” She’s right. You should to move quickly, and within the next few days you should to organize your new connections and create a solid foundation to enable these valuable new relationships to grow.
1) Organize Your New Contacts
You probably came home with a sizeable stack of business cards even if you use a digital networking app like Addieu or Hashable. If you haven’t heard of these apps yet, don’t worry, I’ll cover that later in the article. Right now just group all your contacts and cards, physical and virtual, into the following buckets:
Bucket #1: Business Opps
• Business Opportunities
• Sales Leads
• Potential Business Partners
• People You’d Want to Work With or Hire
Bucket #2: Influencers
• Bloggers, Super Socials & Podcasters
• Industry Mentors
Bucket #3: Expanding Your Network
• Colorful People to Have at Parties
Bucket #4: Trash
• People who scare you
2) Take Out The Trash
Did you get a business card from someone who threw up in the hotel elevator, sprayed business cards around the convention floor like a lawn sprinkler, proclaimed themselves to be a “Social Media Guru” or just came to the conference for the free food and drinks? You’re probably not going to do business with these people. Toss their physical business cards in the trash and don’t worry about any of the digital connections you made using apps like Hashable. They will fade away with time.
3) Scribble Some Notes
Take some notes while everything is still fresh in your mind. That will help prevent you from finding that “mystery business card” that you don’t remember on your desk in a few months. If you are a “paper person,” then grab a pen, flip over any business cards and add write a few notes on the back like: met at CNN Grill at #SXSW 2011, her favorite beer = Fireman’s 4, had dinner at Vince Young Steakhouse, etc...
If you’re a “digital person,” then add everyone to your address book and write these notes in the notes field.
4) Carpe Diem
Did you leave SXSW with a hot lead or press opportunity? If you feel you have a real and immediate business opportunity, then act on it. A lot of times, people come to conferences looking to do business pretty quickly. Seize the moment, just don’t get overzealous. There’s nothing more annoying than having your entire team harass someone you just met with phone calls and emails. That’s a sure way to sever a relationship. Assign either yourself (ideal) or one person in your organization to follow up.
5) Socially Connect
For potential or future business opportunities, you should take a much softer approach. Social media can be a powerful business tool when used properly.
Follow everyone in Buckets 1, 2 and 3 on Twitter and send a connect request on LinkedIn. Then, use a grouping solution like Twitter Lists or Hootsuite to create a listening dashboard. Create one big SXSW list with everyone or break it down into smaller groups like the sub bullets listed in the bucket above.
Now that you are listening, it’s time to say something. Maybe follow up with a quick tweet. You both just attended a conference and have something in common to talk about. Not sure what to say? You know all those pictures and video you took on your camera phone? Every piece of media can be a valuable conversation starter and help you strengthen a relationship. Email or tweet your top SXSW connections a photo from an event you both attended, a link to something that you both talked about, or a relevant SXSW blog post... Like this one. :) For the next few months, monitor and engage your new connections when appropriate.
You might have noticed that I left out Facebook. Do not send a friend request to a business prospect on Facebook. Although some people use Facebook for networking, that’s not really what it’s meant for. Facebook is for real “friends.” Unless you know the name of their family dog or have been on a double date with the person, then you probably aren’t really “friends.” A Facebook friend request for someone you barely know can actually be a little creepy. When in doubt, wait. Start with LinkedIn and Twitter and send that Facebook friend request when your relationship is a little stronger and it feels right.
6) Go Paperless Next Time
Do you have a smartphone? If you haven’t already, go download a professional networking app like Hashable or Addieu.
Addieu will quickly exchange digital business cards with someone and automatically follow the person you are connecting with on a variety of platforms.
Hashable will exchange cards and follow new contatcs like Addieu, but Hashable will also track your connections and automatically build out your personal network over time. It’s my personal favorite. Every time you meet someone you want to “connect” with, you just select what type of meeting it is (#lunch, #justmet, #beers, etc.) and type in either their name, twitter handle, or email address.
Hashable will even check you in on Foursquare or post a tweet about your meeting if you want. As a result, you get a next generation address book that not only organizes contact info but the engagement and strength of that relationship. Plus less business cards means less data entry work for you, and it even saves some trees.
So there you have it, 6 ways to get all your contacts organized so they can grow. Hope you found this blog post useful. Let’s grab #beers next year at SXSW! @Definition6’s treat!
Like it or not, today is February 14th (aka Valentine's Day). If you haven't made plans yet, the good news is Social Media might help you save Valentine's Day... at least if you take this socialnomics Valentine's Day video seriously.
If you're still looking for ideas, then you might like Lab 42's Valentine's Day Infographic (below). They polled 400 Social Media users from Facebook and MySpace about their relationships and compiled a neat little inforgraphic just in time for Valentine's Day. I wonder why "man flowers" (a.k.a. a six-pack of beer) didn't make the list of the most popular Valentine's Day gifts. Anyway, in case you are wondering, the top three Valentine's Day gifts are (in order): dinner, chocolate and flowers. Enjoy the the Infographic. Have fun tonight, and if you're not into the whole Valentine's Day thing, then this might cheer you up: Dramaic Reading of a Breakup Letter [video].
It's no viral heavyweight like "Talking Cats," but Nike's 3 minute epic YouTube video "Write the Future" commercial starring football stars Wayne Rooney,Cristiano Ronaldo and Franck Ribery among others is setting viral video records. According to web video analytics company, Visible Measures, "Write the Future" was the most watched video on YouTube last week, garnering more than 10 million views. The video also racked up another 1M views this past Memorial Day weekend.
The previous record holder was another Nike video called "Earl and Tiger." The video featured golfer Tiger Woods and promoted his return to the sport after undergoing sex addiction rehabilitation.
Nike is obviously taking online video promotion seriously. "Write the Future" feels more like a movie trailer than a viral video. How are you using online video to promote your brand(s)?
We are a unified marketing agency, connecting brands with people in motion. Through imagination, innovation and insight, we execute ideas that deliver continued value across all brand interactions - while unifying the disciplines of marketing and technology.