Win With a Comprehensive Digital Marketing & Communication Strategy

Before I dive into three case studies that help shape my perspective on why a “T-Shape” model can work for any business. What does T-shape even mean? Well, for a digital marketing campaign to be truly successful, one needs to harness a combination of earned media, paid media and owned media. You’ll see from my examples below, I focus on one of these three areas for each example from past/current roles, but please keep in mind that most - if not all - of my strategies include elements from all three core areas. I'm merely taking a deep dive in one bubble for each role. It’s worked well for me over the last decade (wow, that just made me feel old) and I’m sure it will prove successful at your own organization. Also note that each case study could not have been a success without partnership collaboration both internally and externally. It's a area I see so many marketers and communicators overlook as they execute.

Now let’s begin:

  1. Paid Media - This is a channel that leverages advertising, pay-per-click, display ads, retargeting, paid influencers, paid content promotion and/or social media ads.

At Disney Consumer Products I was able to successfully put in place a CRM and email marketing strategy that tapped into the Corporate CRM database, which at the time, consisted of millions of individuals. This database presented enormous opportunities for the division to monetize products that were new to teams across categories such as music, DVDs, video games, toys, clothing, etc. A CRM strategy wasn’t a first for other divisions, such as Parks/Resorts or Disney Channel, but it was a first for my division at the time. We were able to identify very specific personas like our Princess, Winnie the Pooh, any many other core franchises. This enabled us to send very targeted e-blasts to a list and drive conversion for people that have already raised there hand and said, "Yes, Disney I would like to hear from you.". This is where external partnership really made things exciting -- such as with Wal-Mart, Target, Amazon, etc. -- as we leveraged their email lists to accelerate sales of product. Email is a frequently overlooked opportunity. In my opinion, it's pound-for-pound, the best digital ROI (not to be mistaken as the biggest opportunity or 800lb gorilla - enter Google).

  1. Owned Media - This is a channel that gives the most control and focuses on website properties. Also, keep in mind, that SEO and branded content drive earned media (sharing) and traffic.

For owned media, I thought I would share my experience at Los Angeles Times. My role had ownership over the entire e-Commerce portfolio. One might  think that Los Angeles Times only made revenues through print and digital subscriptions, but we also had a robust portfolio of revenues that had nothing to do with content/copy. Many of the revenue streams I oversaw consisted of the sale of consumer products. Yes, LA Times sold physical goods. Some examples would consist of company branded merchandise, sports team branded merchandise (e.g. NFL, MLB, etc.), events/ticketing sales, affiliate-based partnership with local businesses and even a daily deals platform. The beauty of this portfolio is that it drove revenues with little upfront investment. One platform that I’m most proud of launching is District West. We created this brand from scratch and spearheaded the development of the ecommerce engine, content management system, creative, branding, etc. The platform focused on a ecommerce experience for the LA-enthusiasts looking for purchases from local artisans and brands. As you can probably already tell, this roles’ success was almost entirely based on developing key partnerships with businesses in the area and globally that could enhance the web experience for LA Times visitors.

  1. Earned Media - This is a channel that is all about sharing, mentions, shares, reports, reviews, and partially SEO and branded earned media (sharing) and traffic.

In my current position with Avery Dennison, we have seen substantial growth in both our brand awareness and recognition as a thought-leader in our industries. Over the last year, we've been able to successfully deploy a social media strategy that focuses largely on activating all 25,000+ of our employees globally. The overall program, which we've branded as "Get Social", attempts to educate, train and mobilize our workforce on the power of Content and Social Media. Our story? In short, it focuses on five key pillars to success: innovation, sustainability, culture/heritage, community investment and careers at Avery Dennison. Watch the short video here. Social media is changing the way we connect and communicate, and that’s why it’s critical for every employee to understand the pitfalls and opportunities that exist within social media. But that’s just the beginning of our journey to "Get Social".

To help employees see how social media can benefit our brand, we created a library of resources, that continue to expand to this day, and include videos, how-to documents, and a variety of other resources. We've covered all the bases: employees can find the platform that fits their needs, understand how each platform works, get a snapshot of where we are active as an organization, and learn "social speak". We want to ensure our employees are knowledgeable and safe in the use of social media, whether you use it personally or professionally, as an individual or a representative of the company. We even launched an external-facing blog that focuses on storytelling through eyes of our employees -

Still not convinced? Earlier in 2014, we were recognized by Smart Insights as one of the most inspiration B2B brands in Social Media:

           Our social media movement  at Avery Dennison was awarded "Best Use of Digital Technology to Enhance the Customer Experience" by Innovation Enterprise' Digital Innovation Summit 2014.

More recently, I was invited to give the keynote at the Digital Leaders Summit to expand on our social media strategy and justify why we were given the award in the first place. It was such a pleasure to be recognized and given the opportunity to present the strategy in more detail.

Looking forward, I'll be speaking as a panelist at Content Marketing World on the very topic of social media and employee mobilization -

In conclusion, to drive success for any brand is to propel sharing and engagement with paid promotion, drive SEO and branded content to drive earned media (sharing) and traffic, gain more exposure to web properties with SEO and PPC and leverage owned, earned, and paid media for a comprehensive marketing strategy.

Do you have a question? Leave a comment below and let's keep the conversation going.

8 Must-have Social Media Management Tools

Unless you've been stuck under a rock for the last 10 years, digital marketing for your business means prioritizing social media marketing. It allows you to promote your brand and products through social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Getting a social media marketing campaign to deliver sales requires special skills, in-depth analysis, and highly specialized social media management tools. There is no magic trick in digital marketing, just plain old skills and tools, the same as any other marketing avenue. This blog post details eight of the best social media management tools that I either use or found highly beneficial.

1) TweetDeck

If you a brand focused on the US market, then Twitter should be a priority. Tweetdeck is a powerful Twitter tool for real-time tracking, organizing and engagement. This social media management tool extends the (negligible) reporting capabilities, similar to Tweepi below, so you can build custom timelines, keep track of lists, searches and activity - all in one place. I especially like how you can create searches that to track topics, events and hashtags. It has some nice sharable features that allow for team access, and very important, without sharing your password. Other features worth mentioning are scheduling tweets, alerts, filtered searches and fairly robust export cabilities. Again, if you tweet, you should be using TweetDeck.

2) Tweepi

Very similiar to TweetDeck, if you prioritize Twitter then this is yet another tool you could benefit from, Tweepi. This social media management tool extends the (negligible) reporting capabilities of a Twitter account so you can analyze your hits and misses from your digital marketing campaign. Tweepi has a free plan and two paid plans. Before you spend any of your hard-earned income, however, it is worth remembering that Twitter’s market share seems to be in freefall at the moment, and focusing all of your digital marketing there is probably a mistake. As Tweepi only allows you to manage your Twitter account, the value of its service is closely tied to Twitter’s performance.

3) Hootsuite

OK, enough of Twitter only tools. Here's one that is more expansive for those that use Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, etc. - in addition to Twitter. You might say you couldn’t give a hoot what people are writing on the web about your business, but if reputation management is a priority for you, you might need Hootsuite. This social media management tool is all about monitoring what others say about your company and your products. Bad reviews may arise from faulty products or poor customer service, from blackmailing clients who want something for nothing or from sneaky rivals. Whatever causes negative comments about your business, you need to identify and deal with it, because such comments can get indexed by search engines and appear on results pages when people are searching for your products or services. On the positive side, good reviews are worth more than the most expensive advertising, and you should locate them and draw the public’s attention to them. On top of this monitoring capability, Hootsuite also includes message scheduling and analytical tools. Hootsuite monitors 35 social media outlets for you, including Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. You can get a 30-day free trial of the Pro price plan, which costs US $9.99 per month thereafter. The Small Business Plan costs US $49 per month, and there is a 30-day free trial for that, too.

4) Buffer

Buffer, which competes with Hootsuite, is one I'm considering as replacement option. It has the message scheduling capabilities of Hootsuite, CoSchedule and the analytical tools of Crowdbooster. Downside, it is a lot more expensive than the combination of both CoSchedule and Crowdbooster. The cheapest Buffer plan costs US $50 per month. You can get a free trial for seven days, so that facility will help you decide whether it is worth paying for this social media management tool or whether you can get by with the cheaper combination of CoSchedule and Crowdbooster. The Buffer website has a blog with some handy tips on social media marketing. If you decide not to subscribe to their services, you can still benefit from the advice of the company’s experts by checking the new posts on the blog.

5) CoSchedule

Another social media management tool that you might consider using is CoSchedule. The aim of this tool is to help you time publicity for the content you post on your website or other blogs. Seems like a great tool for any entertainment company, e.g. Disney, Paramount, Warner Brothers, etc. When you write a new post, you get CoSchedule to post messages about it on social media sites. You might not want every outlet to display messages about that post all at once, so you can adjust the schedule of your social media postings to draw the attention of your followers on different platforms on different days. This will enable you to monitor traffic and work out which social media site draws in better customers. This is a stand-alone application, but it can also integrate with WordPress. The pricing for this social media marketing tool is US $10 per month, per WordPress blog. If you pay up front for a year, you get a US $20 discount.

6) Crowdbooster

Analyzing the value of your social media marketing efforts can be difficult. It is not always easy to track which visitors were driven to your site by which social media outlet. Crowdbooster aims to fill that knowledge gap. This social media management tool analyzes and reports on your social media marketing and tries to marry the sales results to each digital marketing campaign. This information will help you understand where your markets are and what methods are best at reaching them and getting them to follow through a visit with a purchase. Crowdbooster only monitors marketing on Facebook and Twitter. It has a range of plans that start at US $9 per month and go up to US $119 per month.


This social media management tool is pronounced like “gift” without the “g.” This is an acronym that stands for “if this, then that.” That phrase is a standard construct in programming, so the name of the service and its minimal use of presentation show that this social media management tool is run by very techie geniuses. The IFTTT methodology is based around a “recipe,” which is the “if this, then that” statement, where “this” is a trigger and “that” is an action. Your social media messages will be posted if a given condition is met. For instance, creating a new blog post can act as a trigger to send out social media messages about that blog post.

8) SocialFlow

The key feature of the SocialFlow social media management tool is that it can monitor the posts and comments of your followers on LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook, and Twitter. This enables digital marketers to tailor content to the current interests of followers and then schedule its release and promotion to feed into current conversations. Promotion takes the forms of both messaging and paid advertising. This social media management tool includes both scheduling and analysis tools.

Social media marketing management

Social media is a complicated field, and the novice practitioner should gain a thorough understanding of the topic before investing in complicated social media management tools. Fortunately, most of the companies offering these tools also have blogs on their sites that explain the methodology and purpose of social media marketing. Many aren't terribly expensive either. Makes trial and error not such a huge undertaking. Take time to visit these blogs, and get to understand the techniques this marketing channel requires by visiting each of the sites in this review. Once you feel comfortable with the topic, you will be better able to assess which of these tools would suit your marketing strategy. Don't forget to take advantage of the free trials so you can get the best returns for your money!

7 Ingredients to Maximize Your Use of LinkedIn

1. Impressions Are Important - Do you have a professional hero image and description in place? Think of this as your best business suit and if you farther, your elevator pitch. Many social networks provide visual real estate that helps create a way for you to introduce your brand. Be effective with that space on LinkedIn to communicate and market what you do, who you are, or any other values that are critical to getting your persona(s) across.

2. Enable Your Best Advocates - Your Employees and Connections are those you trust more than other brands. Empower and prioritize them to ensure they share your company's content, images, video and other updates with their own connections to expand your reach and relevancy - and increase overall credibility.

3. Grab Attention with the Newsfeed and Multimedia - Infographics, Slideshare decks and YouTube videos shared in status updates will play directly within your followers’ LinkedIn feed. When you use rich media you help your brand stand out - and it doesn't hurt that these types of content drive higher engagement rates.

4. Showcase Your Diverse Offerings - One way to deliver highly targeted and relevant content to your LinkedIn connections is through building LinkedIn Showcase Pages. They highlight individual brands, business units or highly important topics for your brand. Members can follow these sub-pages of your Company Page to stay connected with the parts of your business that matter most you and them.

5. Right Message, Right Time, Right Audience - Most brands offer different market sized solutions, speak to diverse buyers/customers and/or provide regional products or services. With that, it's likely you have multiple audiences. Use Targeted Updates to tailor and create content for specific audiences. Here are current and useful parameters: Company size, Industry, Geography, Function, and Seniority.

6. Share Content that is Informative, Insightful and Inspiring - LinkedIn users are seeking professional content that focuses on knowledge and improvement. Always consider "How are you solving a problem?" or "Why does this matter to my audience?" or "How does it make them better at their job?”

7. Overtime is kind of Mandatory - The majority of time that professionals invest in reading professional content takes place at home, not in the office. For example, I'm writing this content you're reading right now at 9:00 PM on a Friday! Yeah, I know, sad, but that's when my "inspiration" juice starts to kick-in. When planning your editorial calendar, don’t limit yourself to 9-to-5. Publish content in the early morning, evenings, and even on weekends and pay attention to engagement activity to identify optimal posting hours. It's about working smarter, not harder.

10 Instagram Tips to Capture the Moment

  1. Bio Optimization. Help people understand your purpose on Instagram and how they can engage. Do you have a branded hashtag you’d like to promote? Include it here. Include a link to your homepage, video or relevant landing page. 
  2. Limited real estate utilization. Be clever, use Instagram’s Geotag feature to remind followers to use your hashtag when sharing photos. Don't have brick and mortar locations? Then celebrate the places the images are taken at. At a minimum, it will give your brand more visibility and influence in the long run.
  3. #Avoid #Going #Hashtag #Crazy. I'll admit, I was at fault of this in the not so distant past. It comes off as a little #desperate, so be careful. Many organizations do a great job of incorporating their branded hashtag with a relevant, more trafficked hashtag (ex. #nonprofits) to gain exposure. 
  4.  Big Moment Recognition. Launching a new product? Making a big company announcement? Helping a local, regional or national organization? Share a visual “press release” on Instagram. I've found that some Fortune 500 businesses, for instance, announce new store openings by sharing photos from their “ground-breaking” ceremony when new stores open. Did you just promote a new COO? We did, and we promoted that with our audience.
  5. Timely events with relevant images. Some of the wrestlers, official entertainers of WWE, shared picture perfect moments from the matches and in their personal lives. As a follower, it's so fun to see what's happening in both their personal and professional lives. And no, I don't watch WWE, but I do watch Total Divas :).
  6. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. Use existing memes like Throwback Thursday or Wine Wednesday to create consistent mini-campaigns and gain exposure on heavily trafficked hashtags. #TBT has been one of our best performing weekly campaigns for nearly a year.
  7. Giving Love. When loyal fans share images that feature your brand, strengthen those relationships by engaging with #UGC - like, retweet, comment, etc.
  8. Exclusive Experiences. People like to know that they have insider access before the general population. Share exclusive deals, details or news with your followers. Halloween and Christmas are right around the corner, give your audience a deal that is special. Reward them for their loyalty. Don't have a B2C audience, exclusive content may be an interesting focus for you B2Bs reading this post.
  9. Compelling Videos in 0:15 or less. Whether you catch a moment on the fly or upload a beautifully produced spot made specifically for Instagram, take advantage of the opportunity to deliver rich media in stream. Target used video to provide a sneak peek of their newest collection. 
  10. Take a roadtrip. Instagram is inherently mobile so take the experience on the road. Use it to your advantage! It’s a great platform to share images and videos from tradeshows, facility visits, roadshows and location-based events.
Like what you've read? Don't like what you've read? Leave a comment and let's keep the conversation going.

10 Pins to Re-invigorate Your Brand’s Pinterest Boards

Pinterest has largely been a success with many B2Cs, obviously even more so for those that have eCommerce experiences (versus just brick and mortar). That being said, it can add value to any business type - if approached correctly - including B2Bs. Don't forget that this is a platform that has over 70+ million total users and 40+ million active users (as of September 2014). Key takeaways? Realize the opportunity, but know your audience. In my experience with social media, which spans the pre-Pinterest era - wow, I just made myself sound really old - Pinterest has proven to be a very unique platform in-terms of the audience you'll find and engage. For instance, 80% of Pinterest users are female and 92% of Pinterest pins are done by women. Does your product/service resonate with women? If not, move on, this isn't the right platform for you. On the other hand, if females are your target audience then this platform just become your new gold mine! Here are 10 techniques I've identified to enable your success on the platform.

1. Verification - This is critical, make sure you convert your account to a business account to gain access to tools and resources that help brands inspire others. Verify your website to signal to Pinners that you are a trustworthy source - e.g.

2. Organize with Thematic Boards - Pinners are often seeking inspiration for a particular  task or pursuit. If your brand has multiple, varied product offerings, organize your boards in a logical way to deliver a relevant, valuable experience to Pinners. For instance, a sporting goods retailer may organize boards by individual sports while a home improvement retailer may have a board for each room in the home. Take me for example, I'm passionate about different digital marketing channels and therefore I have a board for "social media", "seo", "mobile", and yes, I even have one for "Zombie Apocolype Kit" - doesn't hurt to be safe. Check it out:

3. Use High Resolution, High Quality Images -This platform (similar to Instagram and Tumblr) is all about creating and sharing rich visuals; poor quality images or uninteresting subject matter won’t cut it. Pin images that are inspiring, diverse, and that draw the eye. If you are an ecommerce retailer, don’t simply Pin your full product offering, switch it up!

4. Context with Pin descriptions - Using relevant keywords in Pin descriptions is critical to content discovery via search as is the “Interests” tool which surfaces content based on Pinners niche interests. Detailed descriptions also help Pinners understand why they might want to add a Pin to one of their own boards when they find it. Learn more about hashtags on Pinterest and how they differ from Twitter here:

5. Make Content More Useful with Rich Pins - Adding extra details to Pins can make your content more useful and actionable for Pinners. Use Recipe Pins to include ingredients, instructions, and serving suggestions. Product Pins share information like pricing and availability, and even notify Pinners when prices drop.

6. Use Rich media - Gifs and Videos play directly within Pinterest allowing you to provide Pinners with even more rich, engaging experiences without interrupting their Pinning  experience. Share tutorial videos, 360° product views, or interviews featuring your employees or customers.

7. Incorporate Infographics and Text-based Pins - While real world photography is high-value currency on Pinterest, there are other ways to inform and inspire Pinners. B2B and B2C companies can convey information in a quick, interesting way with infographics and overlaying text on an image can create powerful message pullthrough.

8. Spread the Pinning Wealth - Like any other social channel, the conversation on Pinterest shouldn’t be entirely about you and your brand. Pin content that will resonate with and inspire your target customer, not strictly the products or services you want them to buy. Ideally, all of that diverse inspiring content will prime Pinners for purchase.

9. Engage with Tastemakers - In nearly every interest category (Fashion, DIY, Cooking, Auto, etc.), there are a number of influential and prolific Pinners. Identify the power Pinners relevant to your own business and follow and engage to start building a relationship. This increases the likelihood that they will "repin" you on their own accord and also opens up the pathway to make a bigger ask such as curating a board on behalf of your brand.

10. Fan Incentives - Search for users that frequently share your content and let them know that you see them. This could be through simple social actions, such as commenting on, Liking, or Repinning their Pins. Wow these users by sending them one of the products they Pinned or a discount code to purchase the product online.

Like what you've read? Don't like what you've read? Did I miss any other Pinterest opportunities? Leave a comment and let's keep the conversation going.


10 Easy Tips to Harness the Power of Twitter

For some, Twitter can be an easy way to find relevant and targeted audiences to expose your story to and ultimately drive sales. For others, it can be daunting and overwhelming to manage. If you're a beginner, there is good news, it doesn't need to be hard. In fact, it be a fun channel for just about anyone. Here are 10 killer tips on how to use this very unique platform. Some are applicable to other social media channels, but all can do wonders on Twitter. Let's begin: 

  1. Provide value. It sounds obvious and straightforward, but if you want to build an audience and create new and existing relationships, your followers must find your activity valuable. If 1 in 5 of your tweets is not getting retweeted (or "favorited"), you are not providing value. You should circle back and re-examine your content strategy. Don't worry, some of the following tips should help fix your seemingly boring tweets.
  2. Leave room for the Retweet. A great differentiator of Twitter is ease of sharing content from anyone, anywhere at anytime. That can't happen if your content isn't easy to share. Leave enough of the 140 character limit to let ithers include “RT” and “@” and “your user name character length”. People typically want their tweets (or in this case retweets) to be special and have a little of their own personality.
  3. Show your personality. I've found that twitter users tend to gravitate to others with similar interest. By allowing your personality to shine a bit, you'll find that organic growth of you audience will follow suit.
  4. Embrace the hashtag. Getting found can be a challenge and down-right difficult, especially when starting out. Many tout Twitter as the nosiest social media platform on the planet, which can be a positive or negative depending on how you look at it. Personally, I feel this is a positive as my feed is - for now - unaltered. What does that mean? If I tweet something, as a brand, all 100% of my audience will see the tweet (in theory). I can not say the same about Facebook. Let me choose what is "relevant". That said, find relevant and/or popular hashtags related to your content and integrate them in your tweets. Hashtags help your content get curated and discovered in searchable topic areas.
  5. Add links. When you tweet about content, inserting links is always a smart move. Facilitate a path to more related information on the tweet you shared with your followers, such as a blog, YouTube video, etc.
  6. Shorten your links. 140 characters can be limiting and challenging for some tweets. Using a link shortening service such as or Goo.Gl will provide more room for your tweet(s). It will also help you track clicks and provide insight on the effectiveness of your messages.
  7. Share your handle - here is mine @digecomm :) - like there's no tomorrow. How will friends, followers or clients build a relationship with you on Twitter if they don’t know you are active there? Don’t limit Twitter to the Twittersphere – share your handle on your business card, website, email signature, blog, other social media channels, etc. Raising your presence awareness is up to you and only you.
  8. I love memes. Visuals are all the rage, leverage that insight. Consider starting your own meme or hashtag to empower people to add to the activity stream and become active in conversations. This could be helpful, serious or even funny. The point is to make it memorable - an engaging topic will spread faster and much more easily.
  9. Don't forget to say thank you. I'm still at fault for missing this opportunity at times. When someone mentions you give a little gratitude.
  10. Look for questions being asked related to your industry. Do your best to provide valuable answers as quickly as you can for anything pertaining to you or your space. Offer to talk more via other channels if users prefer different forms of follow up.
Like what you've read? Comment and let me know know what else your interested in reading. I take comments VERY seriously and want to write about, well, what people want to read about in the digital space.

9 Ways To Get Facebook Content Seen in the Newsfeed

We all know how important it is to be seen in the Facebook newsfeed. For brands, personal or professional, that means relevance for your audience and - at the same time - ranking with Facebook's algorithm. Here are 9 easy ways to being seen in Facebook's newsfeed:
  1. Be Transparent - i.e. human and personable. If someone has like you on Facebook, they have raised there figurative hand and said, "hey, I want to hear what you have to say!" (OK, maybe not with an exclamation point.). Share more about what makes you special. If you're a brand - What's your culture like? Who are your employees? What products and/or services do you provide?
  2. Keep it Brief - I cringe when I see a brand post an update update that is a mile long. If you have extended content, link-out to a blog or encapsulate the information to a short video. Embedding video will typically outperform any other kind of post type for both likes and post clicks anyways, especially on Facebook.
  3. Discuss Solutions - As a brand, when you have someone interested and following you, there is a good chance they are - or had - been using your product/service in some way. Give them new ideas and ways to maximize the use of your product(s). Educate them on how they might expand the use of other products/services within your portfolio. I'm willing to bet you have tons of assets, videos and whitepapers to share.
  4. Emulate Thought-leadership - You'd be surprised how often this isn't on the strategy map for brands. Differentiate and show others how you are progressive and innovative compared to your competitors. A great way to do this is with a blog, hint hint. I've been in the B2C/B2B space for many years, working for highly recognizable brands and some times I find that the product/service isn't very different from the competition. That said, perception is everything! Help your audience find solutions, answers and ways to make their lives easier. Try interesting content they didn't ask for, surprises can be a refreshing change in pace.
  5. Stay Relevant - Make sure you're targeting appropriately. For instance, if you're a brick and mortar retail establishment and promoting a discount available only on the East Coast, and I'm located on the West Coast, don't push the content to my feed. Target your updates - I know this can be more work - but it will keep your audience much more satisfied.  For example, leverage the fact that you know my personal location, interests, etc. It's there for a reason.
  6. Give Superior Service - Having to deal with upset customers is nobody's preference, but it's a necessary evil to acknowledge and resolve the issue(s). It will benefit your organization in the long run when the customer tells all their friends and co-workers about your extraordinary awesomeness!
  7. Customer Input (dare I say co-creation) - 90% of social media users are lurkers, why not try and make it a superior experience and seek their opinion by ASKING QUESTIONS. If you're lucky, some of their personal network might chime in, thus amplifying the time investment opportunity. 
  8. Special VIP Treatment - People like to feel like they are special. Give them a discount on the new product. Better yet, let them try the product before anyone else for input, reviews, etc. You might be pleasantly surprised at how high the interest is to try your product. Plus, if it's a bargain, they'll spread the word.  
  9. Optimize, Optimize, Optimize - The relationship should never stop evolving. You've got their attention through the newsfeed, but what have you done now that they've clicked through to your Facebook page? Do you have a contest running, some interactive apps or perhaps a form to receive information via email?
Like what you've read? Comment and let me know know what else your interested in reading. I take comments VERY seriously and want to write about, well, what people want to read about in the digital space.

5 Elements To Building a #Social Media #Strategy Around #Storytelling

In today’s digital landscape, staying competitive is a constantly evolving battle. It doesn’t matter if you’re working in a B2C or B2B environment, competition is fierce! Keeping up with the latest trends and consumer preferences is a must. In 2014, social media in particular, is no longer a luxury - it’s a necessity. I’m passionate about delivering this need throughout our organization. If done correctly, it could be an amazing way to differentiate our brand among the rest. Social media has changed the way people communicate, connect, research purchases and build brand loyalty. The inflection point of growth we’ve seen in social media is so prolific that it’s changed the very fabric of culture, across nearly every continent. One would think this revolutionary adoption had run it’s course over decades. Not the case. If we look at the origin of social media, it only goes back to about 2002. And yes, I realize bulletin boards are somewhat social and date back even farther. But if you look at when the inflection point of growth grew in a more “public” or broader sense, it began withFriendster™. That’s only about a decade of time that has passed for social media to grow to where it is currently. Over time, MySpace™ de-throned Friendster™ and eventuallyFacebook™ ousted MySpace™. To this day, Facebook™ continues to maintain the lead with over 1.3 billion users and growing.¹ How many websites can tout an audience of that size? Given these consumer preference changes, it’s more critical than ever that brands embrace this shift in behavior or be left behind. So how does Avery Dennison® approach this challenge? We believe in providing our investors, customers, new talent and others information in the most transparent way possible. We do this by always approaching with transparency and an ethical mentality. The story we tell in social media largely centers around five key areas:

  1. Innovation- Focusing on product and how they solve problems that innovate and inspire our customers is a key focus. Recently, we had our Metria™ Informed Health sensor device showcased on Lifetime TV’sMission Makeover. This was just one of many advancements in technology that we are excited to bring to market. Learn more about Vancive® Medical Technology: news & events orproduct & solutions.

  2. Sustainability- Finding ways to reduce our carbon footprint and get closer to usage of more sustainable and renewable ingredients in our product is at the top of our priorities. This is a topic that you’ll find that we share consistently throughout the year. We’ve even found some friends along the way, like Rainforest Alliance and Sustainable Brands®, to help amplify the message and create sustainable momentum.

  3. Culture/Heritage- Avery Dennison® is a company that dates back to 1935. Not many brands can say that - and we’re proud of this history and legacy. On a regular basis we share our history by participating in Throwback Thursday. Follow us on Facebook to join in on the fun. If you’re not active on Facebook, we also have corporate accounts with Twitter LinkedIn Google+,Instagram and Sina Weibo.

  4. Careers/A World To Work With- We understand the value each individual brings to our organization, and we celebrate the good work of our talented team. In the dynamic, responsive world of Avery Dennison®, career development isn’t just a buzzword, it’s a way of life. We give the resources and opportunities to make the most of our talent and initiative. Whether you’re just beginning your professional path or are looking to take your career to a new level, we provide the support needed to realize professional goals. This element is so important to our overall story that we created separate social media profiles to talk about our careers. Thinking about a career change? Then we need to talk, careers-related social media channels can be found onFacebook™ or Twitter™. We’re constantly posting new career opportunities, find out if something catches your eye on our careers website.

  5. Social Responsibility- Our socially responsible actions run deep in our company. From promoting ethical business conduct and fair labor practicesto supporting employee development and community investment, Avery Dennison® has built a culture of integrity and purpose that unifies our employees around the world. This is a tactic we are very pleased to share with the world and the hope is that it becomes a viral phenomenon.

By focusing on innovation, sustainability, culture/heritage, careers and social responsibility we feel we can deliver a unique experience for those that want to learn about our business. With the recent launch of our company blog, we feel positioned to curate, create and deliver content that establishes another vehicle for the above strategy. It’s also a great outlet for spreading the things we value as an organization. By delivering the content in social media, a blog, etc. we are able to show our passion and how it lies within our ability to make the world a better place for us and future generations to come.

To learn more about Avery Dennison and our suite of products, click here. To see the company blog, click here.

¹ Statistic Brain (pulled March 19, 2014). Facebook Statistics.

Could #LinkedIn "Long Format Content” Be A Game Changer for #Social Media?

Like all Social Media platforms, LinkedIn wants users to visit their platform daily, or at least weekly, as opposed to just a destination that you use for periodic updates to your resume. Given this challenge, LinkedIn is already a power to be reckoned with. LinkedIn has done many things to differentiate their offering among the competition. Let’s get the obvious reasons out of the way before we discuss this new feature "long format content", which I’ve named “magic pencil”.

  1. Stock - LinkedIn (pulled July 9, 2014) has a stock price of $157.77. That’s a valuation that blows away any of the competition. For reference, stock for Twitter is at $37.95 and Facebook is at $63.97. LinkedIn is respectively about 2.5x to 4x the value, respectively for Twitter and Facebook. Clearly investors have confidence in the platform, along with other factors such as revenues, leadership, etc.
  2. Leadership - It should also come as no surprise that Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, is one of the most - if not the most - driven, inspirational and ambitious leaders in the Social Media industry. Apparently many women find him to be very attractive, I have no comment or perspective on this topic. I was able to see him speak at the LinkedIn Talent Connect 2013 conference and his vision and loyalty among his employee base was unsurpassed. When you compare Jeff Weiner to, let’s say, Mark Zuckerburg (CEO of Facebook) it’s clear that LinkedIn’s leadership is exceptionally better in a multitide of ways.
  3. Domestic/International Growth - In 2013, Linkedin growth was roughly two new accounts every second. While they have a long way to go, only recently surpassing 300 million users globally, they already hold the title as the largest “professional” social networking platform on the planet. Yes, I know, Facebook has over 1.4 billion users globally, but do we really believe those are all active and/or real accounts? Unlikely and with all the changes Facebook is making to their News Feed algorithm, I’m not a fan of the platform. So much, in fact, that I wrote an article about “Why it’s time to breakup with Facebook”. Personally, I believe it’s should be left up to the user as to what content I receive in my News Feed, not Facebook.

Could a little pencil really be a game changer for LinkedIn in our world of Social Media alternatives? Before we can answer that question, we need to look at what the pencil means from a basic user perspective. A status update on LinkedIn has a limit of 700 characters. For a listing of other character limitations via LinkedIn, click here. For those that write content, it’s a difficult task to explain your content in such a short amount of space. For instance, the blog post you are reading right now is over 6,000 characters. What is a blogger left to do? Simple. You are forced to linkout to a personal blog or webpage if your content exceeded 700 characters on LinkedIn. For bloggers, this is almost always the case. By the way, this holds true for many other Social Media platforms. Over the last few months, LinkedIn has slowly been releasing a new feature, called “long format content” (I prefer “magic pencil”, which I plan to lobby directly with LinkedIn), that allows users the ability to post a blog post within Don’t have the pencil next to the paper clip when you login? Then, submit a formal request to be given access.

I’ve been blogging for many years, off and on, and I always wondered why Social Media platforms didn’t integrate with a true blog platform. Sure, Google acquired Blogger a while back, but they haven’t truly integrated with Google+...yet. Many marketers and communicators use Social Media as a way to build audiences that they pull back to their personal or professional blog - in addition to other proprietary destinations - enter ecommerce websites. While I still see the value of leveraging Social Media channels for audience building and in many cases driving that audience back to a conversion funnel of some sort, I always struggled with why we would send a reader to a 3rd party platform for more content? It never made sense to push the user to another destination to do exactly what they were just doing…reading content. Well, now that has changed. With long format content, LinkedIn has enabled users on the platform that are passionate about something to tell that story on the platform, and more importantly, keep them on the platform. I also enjoy that they have done good integration with Pulse and created other experiences to encourage users to post content and become part of the “Influencer Network”. Historically the “Influencer Network” have been isolated to 150 influential people on LinkedIn and recently that number was increased to 500. With the launch of “long format content”, anyone has a chance to join the exclusive ranks by writing content that people want to read and share. So, yes, you’re obligated to share my post so I can attain my dream of becoming an “Influener” with the likes of Richard Branson and Arianna Huffington ;-).

The most interesting of all the features related to long format content is users can now build an audience of “followers” and still keep their “connections” or profile separate. What do I mean? LinkedIn has given us the ability to build “followers” around the content we post and still maintain separation from “connections” to my profile. This is nice to have as many are more caution and careful about who they “connect” with on LinkedIn. There is much more sensitive information that a “connection” (to your profile) will have versus a “follower” (to your content). Make sense? This is a significant difference we all should be mindful of. If a user follows your content, they aren’t connected to your profile, unless they formally request to connect with you. Depending on your “Privacy and Settings” configurations this may require that you approve, validate their email, etc. I appreciate that you can separate your profile from your followers on LinkedIn. Many believe that making a connection with someone is essentially advocating that person, whereas, a follower to your content isn’t advocating anything other than the fact that they like what you write about.

Blogging 101 - 5 Tactics To Help You Win Over An Audience

It is still early in the year. Perhaps one of your New Year’s resolutions or goals is to write more. Maybe you have been promising yourself for several years that you’d finally get started on your own blog. But you’re not sure where to begin.

If writing is an art, then, blogging is one way of using words to come up with art. This is because people who are into blogging are also artists who carefully choose words to best describe their feelings, sentiments, wishes, and desires. Blogs were first introduced in the mid-1990s, as web logging. It has continued to grow and has gradually saturated the virtual community making the Internet a viable source of greater information for personal and commercial use.


To begin building your blog, all you really need is an account with blog providers, like Blogger or WordPress, to name a few. In most cases, these kinds of blogs are free of charge.

Generally, blogs are created for personal use. Like keeping a journal, people are able to write about their daily adventures, sentiments, and whatever ideas they want to express online. But with the rise of online businesses, blogs had gradually taken the limelight in providing businesses with an opportunity to boost their productivity and presence online. This is where the business blogs have come into play.

Business blogs are created basically to advertise the services or products of a certain web site, online business or brick-and-mortar business in order to increase sales. Moreover, business blogs are also one way of promoting the company so that the other readers will know that a particular company has an online presence. With blogs, entrepreneurs are able to establish a name in the virtual marketplace through the use of informative articles that can be useful in the reader’s life. From there, it is possible to make money with blogs by syndicating it to your business’ web site. This can be done through the RSS technology.

So, if you are thinking of creating a blog, whether for business or for pleasure, you need to know some basic things to help you get started and build up some interest online.

1. Consider your audience

Even if your blog is generally personal, you should still consider the minds of your readers. You have to think of something that would interest them. After all, most people who write blogs are not totally confined to their own personal interests. Most bloggers want to be “heard” (or read) and would love to be better known, even if it’s for just a few minutes. So, it is very important to write in a manner and about topics that would interest other people.

2. Pictures do speak a thousand words

To make your blogging worth the browsing effort of your readers, it is very important that you include at least one picture. This does not mean that you need to place a picture of yourself in every posting. Almost any photo will do. But, it is always helpful if it is related to the topic of the post. What you are trying to do is to get noticed, and you do this by drawing the eyes and attention of potential readers into your “story.”

Always be careful to check licenses and accreditations if the pictures you decide to use are not your own personal property. Be mindful that the images you use represent someone else’s hard work, and they should get the appropriate credit for it.

This is also another area where you need to keep your audience in mind. Know what appeals to their senses, and what they may find offensive. Yes, it’s your blog, but you want someone else to read it too. It is an old, but true adage that it takes a long time to build up a reputation, and only moments to destroy it.

3. Make your blog constructive and beneficial

Even though you are entirely free to write anything you want, what you write should still be created to be beneficial to your readers. This can be in the form of supplying some knowledge, helpful advice, a new perspective or a service. Perhaps a review of a book you read recently, or a movie.

4. Avoid making your blog multifaceted or complicated

In order to have an interesting blog, try not to overuse some highly technical terms or words. Even if the people reading your blog are not in the same “industry,” your writing should be approachable and easily digestible to almost everyone. After all, with rare exception, you are not writing a scientific discourse or debate. So make what you want or need to say plain. Stick to simple facts. Bear in mind that most people will be initially scanning rather than scrutinizing each post word for word.

5. Make your blog interactive

As much as possible and if your capacity will allow it, make your blog interactive. You can do this by placing some video or audio clips in your blog.

Place an area for comments or for some feedbacks. In this way, you can get some impressions or reactions of other people. Who knows, you might even gain some friends and a loyal following just by making them feel at home on your blog site.

Indeed, blogs are rarely created just for the mere fun of it. They should also have a purpose. So, if you want to try to harness this craft, the best way is to start writing.

Like what you've read? Comment and let me know what else your interested in reading. I take comments VERY seriously and want to write about, well, what people want to read about in the digital space.