Be Your Authentic Self…no, not THAT Authentic Self!

Marketers talk a lot about how companies can form deeper connections with customers through social media. Part of building this connection, the thinking goes, is demonstrating what the company stands for and showing that those values are similar to the values of their customers. I’ve seen this referred to as “Authenticity.”  One of the ways that companies show off their authentic selves is by having representatives on sites like Twitter share information about the brand, interact with people and show people through a constant stream of comments and interactions, what the brand is all about at a very human scale. That sounds good right? Then you get stuff like this:   Looking at the stream for Pabst Canada you can see that the person managing this account is clearly enthusiastic about beer and seems to be joyfully interacting with folks in a very non-corporate way that I think some folks would describe as “Authentic.” But somewhere along the way he forgot that he couldn’t be COMPLETELY authentic because he’s representing the point of view and values and attitudes and beliefs of his employer. Needless to say, the above Tweet doesn’t represent the values of Pabst Blue Ribbon or PabstCanada, just the point of view of the (stupid jackass, sorry) that runs (or used to run) their Twitter account. Authentic, but in an Corporate kind of a way? But as you might imagine, folks were offended and they weren’t just mad at the guy that posted the Tweet. They were pissed off at Pabst. Which just goes to show you that all of this authenticity stuff is fine as long...

The Twitter Butterfly Effect

Over the past year I’ve had 2 interesting experiences where I’ve tweeted something that seemed insignificant at the time and those tweets went on to have a life of their own to the point where almost a year later they continue to pop up in the strangest places like evidence of some sort of bizarre Twitter Butterfly Effect. Here are 2 examples: #1: The One Where I Land on BusinessWeek’s list of Top 15 Notable Twitterers with Kanye West, John Cusack, and Larry King The most recent example of this was my inclusion on BusinessWeek’s “Notable Twitterers of 2010”.  When I first saw the list I was amazed – there are only 15 people listed including Kanye West,  Sarah Palin, Jonathan Schwartz, Bow Wow and ……me?  Seriously? My “tweet of note” gave me a clue of how I landed there.  It’s a cheeky comment I made about Umair Haque’s interview with Twitter founder Evan Williams at South by Southwest Interactive back in March.  There had been rumours that Twitter was going to make a big announcement at the show so expectations were high for the session. While there was an announcement, the details were thin and the format of the session (think fireside chat more than keynote talk) was pretty low on energy given it was hosted in front of a huge audience.  People complained over Twitter (because that’s what audiences do these days, particularly at SxSW) including me with what BusinessWeek calls my “Tweet of Note”: “I’ve seen more energy at a lawn bowling tournament” The irony of someone using Twitter to criticize a session featuring the founder...

See me, hear me (in video and podcasts)

I like doing podcasts because people can’t see me flapping my hands around when I get excited so when the Donovan Group asked me to do their Tweep in Profile podcast I was quick to say yes.  Here’s the description of the session: Donovan Group Inc. (DGI), a multimedia communications company, released the fourth installment of its “Tweep in Profile” audio podcast highlighting members of the Twitter Community.   This month, DGI profiles April Dunford (@aprildunford) Vice-President of Marketing at Solarsoft, which provides manufacturing intelligence and ERP solutions to mid-market manufacturers. “In this segment April offers Social Media tactics, personal experience tie-ins and predictions for 2011”, says Andy Donovan, president, Donovan Group Inc.  “After following her for several months and learning from her posts, I am absolutely thrilled to have April on the program to round out 2010”, adds Donovan. He’s thrilled! I’m thrilled! How thrilling!!  Click here to have a listen to my awe-inspiring Canadian accent and access the past episodes of their Tweep in Profile series. Communitech’s Entrepreneur Week Videos Also, if you just can’t get enough of that hand-flapping goodness, here’s a video of me doing my thing at last month’s Communitech’s Entrepreneur Week.  You can also view video of the other sessions.  If you are a startup looking for some good advice, this is a great set of videos to watch. MarketingProf’s Content Marketing Crash Course Lastly in the “upcoming” category, I will be one of the presenters for the MarketingProfs Content Marketing Crash Course.  My topic is one of my all time favorites, Storytelling for Business.  I’m in amazing company in this course – other presenters include Brian Solis, C. C. Chapman, Jay Baer, Ardath...

CEO’s and Social Media: Opportunity or Threat?

Last week I did an interview with Canadian Business on the subject of social media and CEO’s. The reporter asked me this question (I’m paraphrasing): “But shouldn’t you be worried that your CEO might say something that has a negative effect on the company? What if he/she does something offensive in public?” I can understand why people would worry about things like that but frankly it’s a doomsday scenario that just hasn’t played out even though social media continues it’s march into the mainstream. Can you name me a single example of a CEO that has gotten into serious trouble because of their use of social media? Not that I don’t think it’s ever going to happen.  I can give you dozens of examples where a CEO has put his/her foot in their mouth in traditional media so why would social media be any different?  We don’t question that our CEO’s should engage with traditional media (even though there are risks), because we understand the benefits.   While I don’ t believe that every CEO should have their own blog or Twitter account, I do believe that every company should have a social media presence of some sort and that the CEO should occasionally use that forum to share their views with the world.  Like traditional media, the benefits far outweigh the risks in my opinion. The full text of the article is here. What do you think? If you enjoyed that, you should subscribe!  You can sign up for email updates, subscribe via RSS or follow me on Twitter....

Product Marketing & Social Media Skills: Talk is Cheap

Question: I’m hiring a product marketer and I want great social media skills.  All the candidates tell me that they have those skills but most of them don’t have much of a presence online.  Does that matter?  Do you need to be a heavy social media user in order to really understand it? The Short Answer: Yes you do. The Longer Answer: You do because: A/  Marketing execution is much harder than theory. Social media isn’t much different from a lot of other classic product marketing skills – the theory isn’t all that tricky, it’s the execution that’s hard.  If you wanted to hire someone to launch a new product into market, you’d talk to people who have done it before.  Taking the course or reading the book doesn’t count for that much.  Practical experience in product marketing counts for a lot.  I read an awful lot of press releases before I started writing them and I was still lousy at it until I’d done it a few times.  My first couple of integrated marketing campaigns were, ah, shall we say, less than perfect. Social Media isn’t any different.  I thought blogging was pretty easy until after my first (largely failed) attempt at running a group blog for a previous employer.  I’m a better blogger now than I was even a year ago (I’m not saying I’m great, wise-apples, just better than last year).  I don’t think I would have wanted to follow me when I first started using Twitter.  I understood Facebook much better after my first attempt to do a company fan page and many of the...
Page 1 of 212