August 13, 2012

Welcome to the new

Redesigned site has a renewed focus on business objectives

JD LasicaFor the past several months we’ve been working behind the scenes on several changes to our site that I’d like to share with you today.

First, some quick background: I’ve been blogging since May 2001, when there were about 50,000 blogs worldwide; today there are a million blog posts created every day. In 2005 we switched the name of this blog from New Media Musings to, before hardly anyone knew what social media was. But there was something in the air, and it was big. In 2009 I brought in a number of amazing partners to work with, both to provide some leading-edge thinking around the major social networks and the changes wrought by emerging media — but also to work with on consulting projects for major brands and business clients of all sizes.

Since then, my partners Chris Abraham, Ayelet Noff, Christopher S. Rollyson, Deltina Hay, David Spark and new partner Carla Schlemminger have shared where we think this train is heading, as new networks (I’m looking at you, Google Plus and Pinterest) crop up and new tools emerge to turn noise into signal.

That, I think, is why when you type “social media” into Google, this site comes up high in the results, even with thousands of social media sites out there. (Until last week we were No. 3; now, after the redesign, we’ve dropped a notch or two. What’s up with that, Google?)

New look and a new approach

The new site offers more — and a bit less:

• We’ve trimmed down, losing some of the widgets and gadgets from the sidebar and footer, which were nice eye candy but which were slowing down the site, while retaining some old favorites like the social media jobs board in the footer.

• To make things even zippier, we moved from HostGator (so long, we won’t miss you) to WPEngine as our hosting platform.

• We purchased a TypeKit license to make the typography pop.

• We moved to a versatile new WordPress theme, twentyeleven.

• We have a new Clients page, Team page and Services page.

• We jettisoned thousands of our oldest posts while keeping the best. (Thank you, Twitter, for transforming blogging from short bursts to more substantive entries.)

• We recently launched a Facebook page — please come like us and join the conversation there.

• And, most importantly, we have a new business focus, which you can see on our new front page — and we’re eager to hear from you about how we might help with your strategy, online presence or campaign.

What do you like or hate? What should we be doing differently? Drop me an email at [email protected] and tell us what you think.

And do tell me if anything looks awry — we haven’t tested it on all browsers and platforms (but if you have a really old browser, some things may look out of kilter). Thanks!

July 11, 2012

Don’t bring your social media completely in-house

Zappos!Chris AbrahamI really believe it’s bad advice to recommend that companies fire their social media consultants, experts and agencies only to bring everything in house.

While “everyone” is on Facebook, social media is no longer a land of tinkerers; it’s a land of consumers. If you fill a room of potential brand ambassadors you harvest from your own ranks, I guarantee that only 1% to 10% of those people are active participants, and the rest are passive folks who are mostly lurkers. And when people bring up Zappos as the corporate exemplar, I always remind them that Zappos is exceptional and that’s why they’re the only company anyone can think of who does it as well internally. Plus, Zappos is a dyed-in-the-wool customer-service-centric company with an aggressive, visionary founder — someone who has completely rebuilt itself to over-serve its communities. Kudos, but seriously a truly exceptional example.

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June 28, 2012

Integrity is inherent in earned media but not paid AbrahamYesterday I wrote a post called Blogger outreach is earned media not paid, right? wherein I asked if earned media was a think of the past and whether payola, pay-per-post, pay-per-link, sponsored posts, and site sponsorship were the new de facto in digital PR. This morning, Gail Gardner wrote a post in response, accusing us digital PR professional of stealing from bloggers since we agencies do get paid for doing blogger outreach only to “talk bloggers into working for free” on our behalf:

These companies want to argue they deserve “earned” media coverage when what they are really doing is BUYING that awareness by paying PR agencies to go out and sell it for them. They aren’t earning it by some good deed or being awesome – they are spending money to get a PR agency to talk bloggers into working for free on their behalf.

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June 28, 2012

Your social media plan needs to shut up and start listening AbrahamI know you. You’re spending all of your social media marketing budget on promoting your brand, products, and services; that’s fine except you’ve either forgotten — or never knew — that social media is a two-way street. It is.

And, something you also didn’t know: social media is two-thirds defense and monitoring — listening — and only one-third promotion and publicity — speaking. Most marketing folks not only don’t get PR but they revile it; sadly, this is what social media is, no matter what you call it: public relations, all aspects of it: publicity, of course, but also crisis management! Continue reading

June 27, 2012

Blogger outreach is earned media not paid, right?

Chris AbrahamMy definition of blogger outreach has always been about acquiring earned media coverage from bloggers and online influencers.

My definition–and my assumption–has always been that blogger outreach is public relations and not paid media. I may well be mistaken.

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June 12, 2012

Don’t roll your eyes at social media influencers

Why insincerity doesn’t work in PR, sales, marketing & online media

Chris AbrahamI experience a lot of contempt for bloggers and social media influencers. From agencies and marketing firms as well as from self-professed social media experts and social media gurus. Bloggers and other social media online influencers may not know who Edward Bernays is or have the lingua franca of a trained communications professional, but they sure can spot the eye roll of condescension and contempt from a mile away, even through the terse messaging of a single pitch.

While the biggest brands with the biggest gifts and social cachet can get away with being douche bags and intolerable asses because the level of peer and personal prestige and importance more than compensate for bad manners, rudeness, and a condescending manner — the proverbial upturned nose and eye roll — this sort of behavior isn’t acceptable from anyone but the crown king and queen of their particular demographic. Continue reading