Wednesday, June 30, 2010

This may be the thing that bothers me most about Social Media.

I am a nice person.

I don't go out of my way to be confrontational but I am not afraid to defend myself if need be. Instead of picking a fight I have always thought it more impact full to walk away from a fight, follow the person home and put a bumper sticker on their car saying "registered sex offender".

I think a lot of people are like me but if you were to read social media streams you would imagine more people are like the kid in the picture and less polite then yours truly.

Now I am no shrinking violet and I LOVE SOCIAL MEDIA but I am really bothered by the fact that people use their "amplified voice" to criticize people and brands instead of being more constructive like trying to find love or teach someone something.

I guess what I am trying to say is that I would have more respect for the people who would walk into an [insert brand name here] store and scream expletive filled descriptions of their unhappyness (spelled like the movie...not a typo) to the kid in the store so you are reminded that there are real people involved in these companies then run to twitter and ruin the chances of me finding love.

Everyone knows that Sex Sells but has sex ever offered a discount?

On July 20th in NYC I will be delivering a talk on "How to create brilliant Word of Mouth with no budget". You can see I'm excited to be speaking at the Word of Mouth SuperGenius conference and as a way to get the word out (using no budget) I asked one of the neighbourhood moms to let me take a picture of her in a partially wet shirt designed by Hugh Macleod (@gapingvoid on twitter).

You see by knocking on the door of a a neighbour that I don't really know and ask the lady of the house to pose for a picture (and ignore the super gorgeous 21 year old daughter) I created a story worth sharing, made a new friend, probably ruined the self image of the daughter and proved yet again I am very by my calculations this family alone will be telling this story forever.

Ruining family dynamics is only one way to get stories to spread and to learn other ways I hope you will join me at the conference and listen to not only from me but Tony Hsieh, Spike Jones, Olivier Blanchard, Lane Becker, Virginia Miracle and Kira Wampler (just to name a few).

...and hey since I am in a good mood and still tingling from the photo shoot I am going to share a discount code to the conference. Sign up and use the code Saulismyhero for a savings of $101

Disclaimer: you realize I was kidding about the whole ruining family dynamics but serious about being charming....right?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

People who are good at Social Media know this...

When I worked at FreshBooks the thing I got asked most was "What exactly do you do there?"

The reason people were unsure was because when they met me they would see my title was "Head of Magic" and that was an immediate conversation starter. I've explained my role there 100 different ways but the core message included "a convergence of Social Media, Marketing, Customer Service and PR."

People are always debating the point of where Social Media falls between Marketing, Customer Service or PR and I am here to tell you that if you are doing it really well it will falls into all of them...or even better it's a new category all together and can be run beside traditional marketing departments because when you combine them all, Social Media becomes about one thing and one thing only.

[Wait for it]

Idea Integration.

When you are integrating ideas you are not replacing anything (some people think Social Media is a "cure" to all that ails ya) but rather enhancing what you are already doing in any of your traditional buckets.

What says you?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Would you take architecture advice from O.J. Simpson? A blog post about Social Media Influence.

I am fascinated by Social Media influence. I find it interesting that a lot of people assume just because you have a lot of followers it makes you influential in some way, or if because you get re-tweets a lot you are a celebrity of some sort.

Normally this would be the part of the blog post where I shoot down this theory and make a pop culture reference that will evoke a smile and then send you on your way so we can all go back to doing whatever else is on the schedule but instead I am going to agree with an asterisk and explain why these social media folks are "celebrities" but like most celebs they have very little influence outside of their small area of expertise and here is why.

O.J. Simpson is a celebrity.

No one ran like O.J and by all accounts he was a super nice guy but I would never ask for advice on architecture from "The Juice" because that is not something he is an expert on. Now if I was needing advice on how to kill someone, get away with it and tour the country playing golf before getting thrown in jail for something really stupid then that is something I would totally trust OJ to advise me on.

What I am getting at is that Celebrities do have influence but not for things they know nothing about. I got to thinking about this after a talk Scott Stratten gave a few weeks back. Before I show you this I should point out that I have nothing against Scott, I have written about him a few times on my blog because he has a different viewpoint then I do on some things and inspires me to write about my side of a discussion. I do wish him well, think he is a very entertaining speaker and think you all should buy his book and continue to make him a celebrity and PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE realize that I am not comparing Scott to OJ in any way...I just used OJ as an example cause, well OJ is funny to me.

In a talk he was explaining to a group of Financial Advisers how influential he was online and said [notice the quotes] "I have more influence over the Canadian Financial Advisers then you do" This statement couldn't be farther from the truth (my opinion) because no one in Scott's network is going to trust him with their retirement plans or money in general to invest on their behalf. You see just like OJ, Scott's expertise is in Social Media and the tools etc and while he can (and I assume) does consult to all sorts of industries on how to do what he does best but we as Social Media folks can't assume that our influence will cross over to anywhere we want it to go and our followers will blindly follow us no matter where we try to take them...and to take this a little further we must realize that whatever influence we do have over people comes from trust and proving over and over we know what we are talking about in our little slice of expertise.

Influence isn't all encompassing. I don't buy into celebrity endorsements but will listen to celebrities talk about their craft for hours. When people rank influence there needs to be a clearer explanation on what the folks are being judged on. I imagine there are folks on Twitter with a few hundred followers but own a lot of trust in a sub culture like a genre of music or a style of art that have those few hundred people hanging on every word and are equally influential to them as any of the Twitter Celebrities.

There are a few valuable and different lessons in here I right? Honestly, I want you to use your own judgment and not use my influence over you to make you agree with me.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The solution to the problems of Newspapers is simple...3D!

Not a day goes by that my phone doesn't ring and someone asks me for a solution of some kind.

Just yesterday I got a fax from one of the most powerful newspaper publishers in North America (true story....maybe, and really who sends faxes anymore?) and on it was one word...."Help Us".

SO since I never back down from a challenge I offer you my solution to the Newspaper industry.


No not the visual explosion that is coming to a fancy new television near you but rather "3 Discussions"

The concept of 3Discussions is that as long as Newspapers continue to only show one side of a story (or one opinion or slant) the industry as a whole will not fulfill the unspoken promise of reporting a story.

My favorite way to explain this theory is by using my favorite movie critics Siskel and Ebert. Ya see, Gene and Roger made magic together because while they agreed with each other often, they still had different views and reasons to why a film made an impression on them and they were never afraid to offer dissenting opinions on something.

Major news stories, like blockbuster movies need different opinions in the same place and side by each. Every major story should have 3 ongoing discussions so people can choose who they identify with and how they want to consume any individual story. Continuing with this thought process, I have my own mind and will enjoy a film that a critic doesn't necessarily enjoy and the same slant and bias can come through in reporting so instead of offering 1 slant I suggest offering 3!

I know I am probably rambling now but I have a joke I want to use so bear with me another paragraph or so.

I like Howard Stern, and I know he is not everyone's cup of tea...and I know he makes some people hate tea (that is my favorite Andy Kindler joke...was it worth the wait?) but I can honestly say his coverage of major events like 911 spoke more to how I want to consume news then any major network. Big Media needs to offer these concurrent viewpoints and discussions and they may just find they can offer something interesting for everyone.

...and get a lot more people drinking tea.

See what I did there?

What says you?

Sunday, June 06, 2010

How smart people think about ROI.

Somewhere along the way in my travels I picked up a reputation of being an "anti-roi" guy and I am here today to tell you that you got me all wrong.

I think more about ROI then you could imagine.

The difference between you and me may be that I only care about the metrics that meet my company goals and I don't care much about the metrics that everyone tells me I need to care about.

If you buy a book on metric measurement or listen to a speaker talk about the importance of ROI Metrics they will speak to generalities and "Best Practices" and not know, understand or meet your unique objectives.

You should know your business better then anyone and that makes you just as much of an expert as people saying they are experts. Understand your needs and find the things you need to track...and chances are it isn't always "hits" because as Avinash Kaushik says "Hits = How Idiots Track Success"

To further make my point, here is a panel I did at SMartCamp last May in NYC. The beautiful Julia Kaginskiy (moderator) pitted myself against Israel Mirsky (Porter Novelli) to discuss the value of Metrics. He is a smart numbers guy who makes an excellent defense but still had no real response to my analogy of not using metrics to get pretty girls to make out with you and if I had to pick a clear winner I think it was me (by decision, no knockout) due to the fact that like this blog post you need to know your audience and decide what goals are the ones that match them...not what people tell you are the standards.


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