The Most Basic and Powerful Steps to Launch Your Social Media Marketing Efforts

KnifeIf you are just beginning to invest in social media for your marketing efforts then you are in the due diligence phase of adoption. Although you may have had great reasons for not adopting earlier, the fact of the matter is your organization is playing a desperate game of catch up with the competition. Here are three tools you need to establish: a publishing platform for your marketing messages, a distribution network to spread the word, and a professional networking engine.

Blogging

The most important piece of your social media marketing plan is a publishing platform. Blogs provide the publishing mechanism that allows small, medium, and global firms to publish their story, vital statistics, and ongoing activities. The most successful companies understand that their blog provides consumers with a look inside the organization, a place to learn, and a place to communicate and interact with the firm. The benefits of search engine optimization and brand awareness are ancillary byproducts of the firm’s efforts to provide the most compelling content on their products, services, and people.

Twitter

Although there are many social networks available to individuals and companies, the most powerful distribution network that supports a firm’s ability to reach consumers on a massive scale with lightening speed is Twitter. With 200 million active users, Twitter is a ultra rich environment for many firm’s to find, listen to, and engage with their consumers and prospective customers.

Linkedin

Considered the business network for job seekers, Linkedin is an important solution for connecting. Whether your sales reps are looking for prospects, you are proving your expertise, networking, or distributing blog articles about your company’s offerings, Linkedin can play an important role in any organization.

In 2013 there are many new social networks and tools to support your organization’s marketing efforts. Before you begin, explore the new networks like Google+ and  Pinterest. Understand your goals and research what networks your customers are utilizing on a consistent basis.

Dean head shotDean Guadagni is Inner Architect’s chief communications strategist with 20+ years of business development, sales management, and national account management experience. Dean is the author of a nationally recognized self-help business guide whose articles have been published by Reuters.com, Nielsen.com, FoxBusiness.com, Ziff Davis Enterprise’s “Microsoft Watch”, Computer Shopper, and the Chicago Sun-Times. Prior to joining Inner Architect, Dean worked with management consulting firm Domus Consulting Group, whose mission was to help real estate brokerages and affiliates develop technology marketing strategies in real estate.

Dean is a frequent public speaker and workshop facilitator on social media strategies, blogging, and networking. He is a graduate of San Francisco State University with a BA degree in Speech Communications.

How Has Blogging Changed Your Life?

March 30, 2011 marks the 4 year Anniversary of my blogging life with the creation of deansguide as the vehicle for publishing my messages and wrestling control away from the mass media stranglehold on information. Blogging has changed my life in many ways from providing a forum to prove my expertise to acting as common ground for my relationship with my girlfriend. It has opened up a world of knowledge and research, helped me network and connect with people throughout the world, and been the foundation for launching my writing and public speaking career. Yet with all of these wonderful developments there is still room for the fun, unusual, and bizarre occurrence .

Highlights and Lowlights on deansguide

  • Ed Okun:deansguide was the leading blog on 1031 Tax Group con artist Ed Okun and recognized as a repository and meeting place for victims of Okun to tell their story
  • US Attorney: deansguide was recognized by the US Attorney’s office in Richmond, VA as one of a handful of blogs allowed to publish information about the Ed Okun Ponzi scheme that bilked over $160 million from investors nationwide
  • Helping Victims:Elizabeth Callanan and 350 Okun “Train Wreck Victims” speak out on deansguide
  • Forbes: Mike Maello associate editor for Forbes.com contacted and consulted with me on the Okun story
  • Informant: I was contacted by “Mr. Miami” who was close to Okun’s wife and fed me breaking news information throughout Okun’s trial
  • Mob Ties: I received numerous phone threats by associates of Okun or his representatives to “stay quiet” about the investigation
  • Hell’s Angels: my first blog article was about the 50th Anniversary of the Oakland Hell’s Angels and the party planned for the occasion. I was contacted by a former Angel who approved of my writing and one man who claimed to be a member of the “81” who promised to make things “hard” if I didn’t watch what I published
  • 330,635 Views: the number of page views deansguide has garnered
  • 1,062: top traffic day on deansguide. Not huge but satisfying considering the blog’s many reiterations
  • Reuters, Nielsen, Fox Business, Computer Shopper, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune and other media sites have republished deansguide articles
  • 700 & 2,000: deansguide has published 698 posts and I have written over 2,000 blog articles since I began blogging

Conclusion

I have met Kings, Queens and paupers through my writing. I have been threatened, harassed, and bullied. I have been lauded as a savior and scoffed at as a quack. My subject matter has included the Hell’s Angels, Real Estate, Social Media tips, wine, Mob figures, networking, Silicon Valley, business self help, and hundreds of other subjects. Throughout my writing experience one thing comes to mind- advice from one of my dearest friends “Chili Eye” Charles Henderson: “just let the bullets fly, write like you stole it. Write with a run and gun style.” Without Charlie’s encouragement I would have never started this blog- thank you my friend rest in peace brother!

3 Year deansguide Anniversary: Blogging a Life Changing Platform

Dean Guadagni Business Director Inner Architect

Today, March 31, 2010, marks the 3 year anniversary of blogging for me aka deansguide. My initial idea was to create a publication platform to support my real estate related business, provide valuable information on the San Francisco Bay Area, and publish content that would help others adopt blogging.

Evolution

With the revolution of Web 2.0 social media, my blogging has taken on a more diverse scope of content. From my initial beginnings as a real estate blog, I moved the focus to a more broad based do it yourself- how to format.

$160,000,000 Ed Okun 1031 Tax Group Embezzlement

Every blogger hopes for a break, that untold story, the one chance to make a difference. My break came with the Ed Okun 1031 Tax Group case. My contact at a well known title insurance company in San Jose tipped me to a local 1031 provider who stole investor monies and ran out of town. This initial tip resulted in:

  • #1 ranked blog on Ed Okun in the blogosphere (2008-2009)
  • Only blogger authorized by the Department of Justice to publish breaking news information on the Ed Okun case
  • Developed source in Miami with Okun inner circle
  • Received death threat as a result of articles published about Okun and his legal council

BlogBurst Publishing Platform to Mass Media

My thanks go to Blogburst my syndicated publishing partner that has placed 233 deansguide articles on such prominent media site as:

  • Reuters.com with 205,685 page views
  • Nielsen.com
  • Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Sun-Times News Group
  • Ziff Davis Enterprise
  • Computer Shopper
  • IBC
  • FoxNews
  • AnswerBag 2010
  • Livestrong
  • BBQ Report
  • AnswerBag

Total Page Views

Total page views from deansguide articles, published articles, innerarchitect blog, guest posts, & 2 unrelated blogging assignments: 752,320

Thanks and Acknowledgements

My thanks and heart felt gratitude goes to my mentor Pat Kitano. Pat, principle at Domus Consulting Group LLC, was the inspiration behind me beginning to blog and the first person to make the assertion: “Dean you need to start a blog.” Pat is one of the brightest new thought leaders in the social media breaking news space. A former Wall St. Investment banking executive, Kitano brings the analytical intelligence of a financial principle infused with the future casting foresight of a Tim O’Reilly. I am truly blessed to have been mentored by this man.

My thanks and heart felt gratitude goes to my business partner and life partner, Inner Architect Founder and CEO, Susan Hanshaw. Susan was a critical part of my development as a blogger, as a social media consultant, and as an effective writer seeking a voice and audience. I appreciate her dominant skills as a writer, direct marketer, analyst, strategist, and mentor.

Finally a huge thank you to WordPress.com for hosting this blog, providing an instant audience, for providing a free plug n play platform for publishing my writing. Thank You!

To all who have read, commented, criticized, complemented, and made your feelings know here on this blog~ I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I only hope you can feel the exhileration and excitement of publishing solid thoughts, helpful content, and worthwhile efforts everyday. Thank you all!

Social Media’s Connectivity and Evolution: Bruce Lee to The UFC

Carnac Johnny Carson

Courtesy Carnac the Magnificent Wiki

Johnny Carson’s Carnac the Magnificent could not have framed it better: “Social Media, Bruce Lee, the UFC.  .  . What’s a revolution, an institution, and a evolution.” Social Media is the revolutionary byproduct of Web 2.0 and blogging. It is a collaborative paradigm shift in communication and connectivity characterized, by Tim O’Reilly, as an “architecture of participation.” Yet what does it have in common with Mixed Martial Arts of the UFC and martial arts legend Bruce Lee? A: Connectivity and evolution.

Bruce Lee

Courtesy BruceLeeDivineWind.com

Bruce Lee and The UFC

Bruce Lee description of his fighting philosophy: “Be formless… shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle; it becomes the bottle. You put it into a teapot; it becomes the teapot. Water can flow, or it can crash. Be water, my friend…”  It was Bruce Lee’s creation of Jeet Kune Do that was the roots of Mixed Martial Arts. Jeet Kune Do relies upon multiple (mixed) styles no one more important than the other. Lee’s philosophy was that the opponent and circumstances dictated which discipline within Jeet Kune Do be used against an opponent. It is not fixed or rigidly patterned like traditional martial arts but rather it is a philosophy with guiding thoughts. Nearly 40 years later, the UFC represents the evolution of Jeet Kune Do by becoming the fastest growing sport on the planet.

Social Media and Blogging

Like Bruce Lee’s role in the creation of mixed martial arts,  blogging is the forefather or foundation on which Social Media was built. The connectivity that blogging brought to the masses is the basis for the Web 2.0 revolution that ushered in our current era where individuals have the power to create brands, mass media styled messages, and connect on a world wide basis with their targeted audience(s).

5 Things We Are Learning About Social Media

  1. Social Media was built upon blogging as a platform
  2. Social Media’s blogging platform is evolving with the explosion of micro-blogging
  3. Social Media’s evolution is based on philosophies that allow for the malleable change and growth of social networks
  4. Social Media’s evolution and continued growth relies upon adoption of social networks
  5. Social Media’s growth depends upon participation and contributions by new adopters within social networks

VistaPrint Complaints: 5 Viral Strategies to Challenge a Bully

3 Stooges pic

Courtesy of threestooges.com

VistaPrint’s No Customer Service: Consumeraffairs.com Documents Complaints” outlined my poor experience with VistaPrint and my decision to never use their products or services again. This article, as of May 8, 2009, is indexed in the #6 position page 1 of a Google search for the phrase “VistaPrint complaints.”

My Promise to VistaPrint:

As I promised in my intial article, I have become “a consumer affairs advocate fighting hard to highlight the no customer service” treatment I received. My plan was simple: write a blog post about what happened and tell all of my friends in my assorted social networks of my experience.

My Blog:

  1. Article: I wrote the article describing my experience
  2. Google Search: I performed a due diligence search on VistaPrint utilizing the keywords “VistaPrint complaints”
  3. Links: I provided a list of 5 respected media sites, consumer advocacy sites with information on a variety of complaints lodged against VistaPrint. WordPress provided me my own category

Activerain.com:

Activerain is an important social network, with 145,000 registered users, where I have many real estate friends. I wrote a second article detailing my experience and that article now sits on page 2 of a Google search for “VistaPrint complaints” “VistaPrint: How Not to Run Your Company a Cautionary Tale

Twitter.com:

This is one of my favorite social networks with an estimated 8-9 million registered users. I have over 1,300 followers on Twitter and counting

  1. Tweet: I tweeted my experience with a link to my deansguide article
  2. @VistaPrint: In my tweet I used the @VistaPrint to notify them of my article

Linkedin.com:

Because I utilize the Typepad application on my Linkedin profile, my social network content from Twitter ends up streamed to my Linkedin profile. In addition my WordPress.com application streamed my article on VistaPrint making it accessible to my 398 1st level connections and their networks as well

Friendfeed.com

Friendfeed.com aggregates all of your content that you place online. Recently it has become the hot new mover with many Twitter advocates moving to ramp up their networks on Friendfeed. My article, my tweets, and my conversations about my VistaPrint experience has streamed on my Friendfeed account

Social Media Decision Tree Tips for Realtors and Brokers

brogan-pic

Chris Brogan President New Marketing Labs

Chris Brogan one of the best social media experts inspired me to write this article aimed at helping  Realtors and Brokers understand the social media decision tree. In Chris’s article “Social Media Decision Tree” he makes two very important points:

  1. “Coming up with a one-size fits all strategy for dragging companies into social media is just goofy.”
  2. “It’s not all about the conversation. It’s not a matter of whether you get it or don’t. Like all things, it’s finding what works, building from a foundation, measuring progress, and adapting to new situations.”

Takeaways:

  • There is NO one right way to utilize social media networks and tools. There is only what’s right for you
  • Experiment and find what works best for you. Experiment by listening first

Realtor-Broker Social Media Decision Tree: Yes or No

Q: Should you or your company blog?

A: Yes! I believe that all Realtors and Brokers should blog considering the fact that anywhere from 60%+ of consumers begin their search for real estate or real estate related service online by searching on Google.

A: No! If you do not have a plan and strategy then blogging is useless and in some cases detrimental.

Q: Should you be on Activerain.com?

A: Yes! ActiveRain.com is the most robust social media site specifically built for the real estate community. If you are not networking, communicating, collaborating, and educating your peers and consumers on Active Rain you are missing a huge opportunity.

A: No! If you are a superstar like Olivia Hsu Decker or you are so busy writing offers that you would neglect your work in establishing your brand on this social site then don’t bother to try to fake it.

Q: Should you be using Twitter?

A: Yes! Major global companies, brands, entrepreneurs, and mass media agencies are flocking to Twitter to engage, move information, collaborate, and network. If you want to learn it is also an incredible research resource.

A: No! If you plan on hammering your audience with listing notices, sales pitches, and a constant stream of me-me-me do NOT join Twitter. Many Realtors and Brokers think that the strategy behind Twitter is that of a “job board” where they slam their property listing up like a resume with absolutely no value attached.

Conclusion:

Facebook, Plaxo, and all the rest of the social media networks or Web 2.0 tools are only worth the time investment and hard work if you are passionate, believe in their effectiveness, and you are willing to be patient. Understanding the strategy of “giving first” is the very pillar that will determine success or failure.

Job Seeker’s List of Top 25 Social Media Networks

The Chicago Sun-Times published this deansguide article 2-10-09

FoxBusiness.com published this deansguide article 2-10-09

In the first article in this series aimed at helping job seekers and entrepreneurs, I chronicled how not to organize your work day. I then provided a template for how to organize your day in the world of social media. The response has been overwhelming. People are demanding a list of the best social media sites aka social media networks available today.

The following is a list of the top 25 social media “networks” as ranked by traffic (visits per month) in a great retrospective article by Andy Kazeniac of Compete.com “Social Networks: Facebook Takes Over the Top Spot, Twitter Climbs.” This is a retro look at Andy’s original ranking of the Top 25 last year.  Note: Twitter came in at #22 on that list–look at them today.

Top 25 Social Media Networks:

Courtesy of Compete.com:

Analysis:

If you are a job seeker you should be concentrating your efforts on establishing a strong presence on #5 Linkedin.com and #3 Twitter.com. Although Facebook.com is #1, it has more cache for entrepreneurs looking to capture audience for a product or service.

Entrepreneur’s Ultimate Twitter Guide to Applications

Twitter is one of the most important social media tools for entrepreneurs, job seekers, small businesses, and large companies. The multiple roles this tool plays in my business for Inner Architect are as research resource, broadcast mechanism, customer service pathway, and most importantly direct pipeline to new trends.

In addition to all this functionality and value, Twitter has a huge legion of fans dedicated to creating open source (free) applications to be used along with Twitter. The following list is a fantastic resource provided by blendingthemix.com. Thank you goes to my new friend, and essential read, Paul the creator of Blending the Mix–I owe you!

The Top 100 List

Ok, so the title is a little sensationalist, but I had to get you here somehow so you could see the most bookmarked web-based Twitter applications of the moment!! Note that these has been put together on the basis of the number of saved bookmarks on delicious and clearly not THE definitive list based on registered users or traffic.

  1. twittervision (4282 overall)
  2. twitterfeed (3867 overall)
  3. twhirl (3319 overall)
  4. tweetscan (2655 overall)
  5. twistori (2631 overall)
  6. twitter-search (2500 overall)
  7. tweetdeck (2439 overall)
  8. twitpic (2244 overall)
  9. hellotxt (1979 overall)
  10. twitterrific (1729 overall)
  11. twitterholic (1612 overall)
  12. tweetstats (1549 overall)
  13. twellow (1527 overall)
  14. twitturly (1460 overall)
  15. twitter-grader (1431 overall)
  16. twitscoop (1410 overall)
  17. quotably (1334 overall)
  18. twitterlocal (1319 overall)
  19. monitter (1285 overall)
  20. twubble (1264 overall)
  21. twittearth (1191 overall)
  22. grouptweet (1180 overall)
  23. hashtags (1124 overall)
  24. tweetburner (1113 overall)
  25. twitbin (1093 overall)
  26. twittercounter (1081 overall)
  27. tweetlater (994 overall)
  28. terraminds-twitter-search (966 overall)
  29. tweetvolume (944 overall)
  30. qwitter (935 overall)
  31. friendorfollow (929 overall)
  32. twitthis (902 overall)
  33. twist (883 overall)
  34. twitter-karma (854 overall)
  35. xpenser (822 overall)
  36. twittermail (813 overall)
  37. twemes (803 overall)
  38. tweetbeep (803 overall)
  39. twitdir (770 overall)
  40. twitxr (767 overall)
  41. twitterfox (760 overall)
  42. hahlo (688 overall)
  43. twinfluence (654 overall)
  44. tweetmeme (652 overall)
  45. tweetwheel (647 overall)
  46. twuffer (636 overall)
  47. botanicalls-twitter-diy (631 overall)
  48. twittersnooze (629 overall)
  49. twtpoll (614 overall)
  50. mrtweet (609 overall)
  51. twittercal (605 overall)
  52. remember-the-milk-for-twitter (594 overall)
  53. snitter (593 overall)
  54. twitterpatterns (585 overall)
  55. strawpollnow (575 overall)
  56. twitterfone (547 overall)
  57. whoshouldifollow (539 overall)
  58. twitbacks (539 overall)
  59. tweetr (526 overall)
  60. twitdom (525 overall)
  61. tweetree (522 overall)
  62. favrd (520 overall)
  63. election.twitter (506 overall)
  64. peoplebrowsr (501 overall)
  65. tweetclouds (498 overall)
  66. pockettweets (498 overall)
  67. cursebird (488 overall)
  68. twistory (480 overall)
  69. twitterverse (470 overall)
  70. tweetgrid (470 overall)
  71. twittermap (466 overall)
  72. tweetag (458 overall)
  73. twilert (457 overall)
  74. twitterposter (456 overall)
  75. loudtwitter (443 overall)
  76. twitterfriends (439 overall)
  77. spaz (431 overall)
  78. be-a-magpie (421 overall)
  79. tweetake (420 overall)
  80. twitter-friends-network-browser (419 overall)
  81. matt (414 overall)
  82. twitter100 (411 overall)
  83. colorwar2008 (411 overall)
  84. twitteroo (408 overall)
  85. tweetrush (389 overall)
  86. fuelfrog (385 overall)
  87. twitter-blocks (383 overall)
  88. tweeterboard (375 overall)
  89. spy (373 overall)
  90. twerpscan (372 overall)
  91. splitweet (371 overall)
  92. twittergram (364 overall)
  93. twittgroups (362 overall)
  94. brightkit (361 overall)
  95. twitlinks (359 overall)
  96. twitternotes (358 overall)
  97. tweetwasters (354 overall)
  98. foodfeed (352 overall)
  99. twitterblacklist (348 overall)
  100. twitku (347 overall)

Thanks to MOMB for doing all the hard work.

Entrepreneurs and Corporations Measure the Impact of Social Media

Today 105 major corporations, more adopting everyday, have corporate blogs that engage their audience, tell their story, deliver their value, and offer a place for insight. Entrepreneurs are at the forefront of this evolution. In addition, many of these corporations are adopting social media tools like Twitter and Facebook as tools to help create audience and “evangelists” for their products and services. The following are steps provided by Peter Kim on how to measure a social media campaign.

Peter Kim is one of the most important architects of social media and a well respected new thought practitioners. Peter is considered an expert in the art and science of “the intersection of social technology and marketing strategy.” He has been quoted by the most prestigious press organizations from the Wall Street Journal to CBS Evening News.

In Peter’s article “A framework for measuring social media” he outlines four concepts that provide the framework for social media measurement or ROI:

1. Attention: “The amount of traffic to your content for a given period of time.  Similar to the standard web metrics of site visits and page/video views.”

IA: Your readership can vary in many ways and although measuring number of readers and page views is quite telling, average time per visit is a major factor. Simply put how long a person stays on your site reading your content can be indicative to your content’s value in the eyes of your readers.

2. Participation: “The extent to which users engage with your content in a channel.  Think blog comments, Facebook wall posts, YouTube ratings, or widget interactions.”

IA: Key is a users willingness to engage with other users on your site. The comment section for each blog post has the potential to become their own mini “forums.” Within these forums your readers debate your content, collaborate, and communicate freely. One of the best examples of this is on ChrisBrogan.com another social media expert.

3. Authority: “Ala Technorati, the inbound links to your content – like trackbacks and inbound links to a blog post or sites linking to a YouTube video.”

IA: Although Technorati is the most well known inbound link measurement site, it is often not as accurate as Google. Peter is right on the money here with the fact that your trackbacks and inbound links are absolutely critical in measuring your content’s effectiveness in attracting readers.

4. Influence: “The size of the user base subscribed to your content.  For blogs, feed or email subscribers; followers on Twitter or Friendfeed; or fans of your Facebook page.”

IA: Attracting subscribers means you are producing excellent content. Yet in some cases, the subscription numbers can be “infected” by misleading subscription growth trends based on inaccurate numbers.

McKinsey Global Survey: Web 2.0 “Spurring Change” in Corporate Management and Organization

Web 2.0 tools are “spurring change” with corporate management and organization according to respected consulting giant McKinsey’s “Building the Web 2.0 Enterprise: McKinsey Global Survey Results.” The results of this report point to interesting trends that every corporation must analyze moving forward starting today. According to McKinsey “as Web 2.0 gains traction, it could transform the way companies organize and manage themselves, leading to what some have dubbed Enterprise 2.0.”

4 Reasons for Corporations to Consider Web 2.0 Tools:

1.  Interaction: 26% have reported Web 2.0 tools have “changed interactions with customers and suppliers”

2. Roles and Functions: 33% reported that new Web 2.0 technologies have “created new roles or functions inside their organizations”

3. Corporate Structure: 33% feel that Web 2.0 tools “are changing their corporate structure”

4.  Hiring and Talent Retention: 27% report Web 2.0 tools have changed the method that their company hires and retains employees.”

See Exhibit 6 “Spurring change”  for matrix