June 6, 2012

Why you, too, should be social media slutty

Are you plugged into new communities, interests and passions?


Photo credit: Christopher S. Penn

Chris AbrahamIf you call yourself a social media marketer and you’re not completely promiscuous about it, you’re not serving yourself, your boss, or your clients. If you’re not constantly downloading new apps or registering for every single new social network, you’re slacking. If you don’t endlessly click YES when it asks you if you want to search for or invite your friends, you’re derelict in your duties. And if you aren’t hooked in to share everywhere whenever possible, you’re not going to understand how all of these connectors, sharing strategies, cross-posting techniques, check-in features, and general spaminess and shamelessness quotients work first hand.

How, then, would you be able to honestly either know about or recommend any of them? Unless you want to be a professional tweeter and Facebooker all your life, you had better know both what’s out there now as well as what’s coming down the pike.

This line of thinking has surfaced because I have gone crazy now that I have my iPhone. I have jumped in with both feet and have explored any and all passions and hobbies through apps and vertical communities. Since I am on a health kick, I have joined just about every social network that allows me to track my food intake, my activity, my workouts, my progress, my calorie burn, my running and biking routes, as well as my general movement and sleep patterns: fitbit, Runkeeper, LoseIt, MapMyRun, Strava, Endomondo, DailyMile, PolarPersonalTrainer, and Garmin Connect.

Each one tracks differently, each one enjoys a different segment of my followers as members, and each one touches me in ways that either pain or tickle me. And, for now, I am keeping them all fed and watered — a little easier because all but RunKeeper allow me to upload data directly from my Garmin Forerunner 305, so it’s not too hard.

And since I am the new owner of a motorcycle, I am the member of the Adventure Rider Motorcycle Forum; and because I am a bouncing baby gun nut, I am a member of GlockTalk, Elsie Pea Forum, Rimfire Central, and the Virginia Gun Owners Forum. So, downloaded loads of forum-reader apps, saw how they share, saw how they allowed me to engaged, and decided upon Tapatalk.

That’s not all. After years and years, I have finally admitted to being a TV addict in addition to every other form of media, including books and movies, so I have joined GetGlue, Goodreads, TV Guide, yap.TV, and BuddyTV as a way of keeping track of shows and movies as well as being able to check in and comment and engage and track hashtags and mentions, and so forth.

Yes, in addition to checking in with Yelp and FourSquare in the physical world, I have even started checking in virtually when I am watching dumbass shit on TV such as 2 Broke Girls, Girls, Veep, Suburgatory, Grimm, et al.

And, whenever I have been given the opportunity to share to my Facebook or Twitter steam, I say YES. And whenever I am asked if I want to find friends who already on there or to even invite a massive amount of my friends via email, I surely do do that — to all of our chagrin. But I do it so I know and I do it so that I always know exactly what will happen if and when I recommend something like that to my clients.

Spend some time exploring new communities of action

What’s more, Facebook and Twitter are not the only games in town. Nor are Google Plus and Pinterest. Or even Instagram. So, in order to make the best recommendation to your clients or to best access your target consumer and customer exactly where they live and spend their time, you need to be aware of all of the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th-tier communities in addition to the most obvious, most competitive, and most costly 1st tier platforms — both to participate in as well as to build partnerships, sponsorships, prizes, and other tie ins and opportunities. While you might be channeling IBM in that you’ll never get fired for choosing it, a Facebook Page-only campaign is pure laziness.

At a very elite conference years ago, I introduced myself as a syphilitic trucker on the social media highway. No, it’s not funny. Truckers are the No. 1 reason worldwide why heretofore isolated rural villages the globe over are getting sick with all kinds of sexually and socially transmitted diseases. Before, only single-tracks, rivers, and airfields — if anything — connected the most remote points on earth; now, a comprehensive spider web of roads and highways is allowing commerce to reach just about everywhere, both to bring in supplies but also to extract commodities and valuable natural resources.

While that sort of shameless behavior may well have made me quite a few enemies, I am generally patient zero when it comes to turning people on to new communities, new interests, new resources, and new passions. I can’t even tell you how many people are on LinkedIn, Plaxo, Facebook, and Twitter because of me; too many to count had been on MySpace and Friendster before that.

And I recommend you, too, really take the time and energy to get off of Tiny Wings for a little while and spend some time exploring these communities of action, circumstance, inquiry, interest, place, position, practice, and purpose yourself. You can’t be a competent advisor unless you’ve had first hand experience over time. So, go git ’em, Tiger!

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July 27, 2011

How to add value through your blog

Strategies for standing out in a world without context

Chris AbrahamI am in the middle of guiding some new bloggers over at Marketing Conversation on how to blog most effectively. It is pretty exciting and instructive because there are many things I take for granted. One of the biggest trends I see is internal shorthand. What I mean is that my bloggers tend to write based on a lot of assumed context. When they write my company name, they might choose AH instead of Abraham Harrison; and, since that AH is on a corporate blog, they might forget to link it to the best page in the corporate website.

They simply assume that people who are reading content from Marketing Conversation or Because the Medium is the Message — or even an article on the corporate website — are in on the joke. That they grok the context.

Not only is that not true, but it is dangerous, because I am guilty of it myself. I would say north of 80% of the people I engage with on a daily basis online don’t know that I am president of a digital agency with over 50 staff and dozens of clients.  See, I make the same assumptions.

I assume that I shouldn’t be so self-referential because “they” surely know who I am by now, I have been branding for years. Pretty darn shamelessly if you ask me — at least I thought so.  Not so.

Brand perceptions don’t keep up with reality

And I have not even gotten to the most important part: Even if people know who you are, what you do, the company you own, and its products and services intimately, their brand perception hasn’t evolved at the speed of your business.  What I did in 2006 is quite a bit different than what Abraham Harrison does now, as a company.

Even worse, after we spend all of this time, resources, hours, money, and brain trust on creating insightful analysis and share it for free on our blogs and via Twitter and Facebook, we’re living in a Derridian world: “there’s nothing outside the text.”  Let me explain. Continue reading

July 30, 2009

Marc Andresseen on 17 layers of management

JD LasicaAt the Fortune Brainstorm:Tech conference in Pasadena, Calif., on July 22, 2009, one of the lighter moments came when Internet pioneer Marc Andreessen spoke on stage about “one of the defining experiences of my career” when he spent 9 months as an intern at IBM in 1990-91 when it had 400,000 employees. He used a program in the office that determined the number of layers of management between him and the CEO was 17, “from which I concluded that it was unlikely I would make a career at IBM. … It was essentially like working for the Soviet Union at the time.”

He had a great experience at IBM, but that serves as his internal reference for big companies. In this three-minute segment, recorded with a Flip Ultra HD recorder, he compares the culture of small and large companies and concludes, “Startups are where a lot of innovation happens. … But you have to get big to have a big impact. I’ve always thought an entrepreneur needs to think in terms of getting to a large size in scale in order to have a big impact.”

Continue reading