Gary Vaynerchuk on “Getting in the Game”

For those who are unfamiliar with Gary Vaynerchuk, I suggest watching this video three times—once to take in the size of his personality, a second time to really listen to what he is saying, and a third to really, really listen to what he is saying.

To make it easier, here are some key points he hits upon about the social media game. For those just getting out of the gate, I’ve added some clarifying points and suggestions…

Follow Trends. Pay attention to blogs that talk about Social Media. This means getting your hands into Blog Rolls and exploring the Social Media Blogger community. (Gary Vaynerchuk’s site is a great place to start. See my blog roll, at right, for more.)

Don’t Wait. This is one of Gary’s most insistent points here and elsewhere. While you stall, your competition is getting in the game and learning about new ways to attract eyeballs.

Anticipate Trial & Error. This might seem like common sense, but unless you’re hiring devoted social media staff or engaging a social media agency (like Chris Brogan’s New Media Labs), it is almost certain you will have to experiment before you find the right social media approach for your business.

Build a Presence. Make yourself visible. You can’t perform at the open-mic if you’re not on the list! Show up early, secure your place, then you can play. This is what Gary means when he talks about “growing into it” and
“getting involved.”

Listen In. When Gary and other social media experts talk about “getting into” the conversation, what they’re really saying is: listen up! This takes us back to the first bullet. But it’s also important to learn how others in your industry are competing in the social media arena. You’re bound to discover approaches you like and those you don’t. The idea then: build and strategize accordingly.

Messina Marketing Group





Facebook Advertising and the Future of Organic Search

ElisCheesecakeLogoI was uncertain what to expect when I showed up for the Facebook marketing presentation at Eli’s Cheesecake Cafe in Chicago earlier this month. About a hundred savvy marketers and networkers chatted on Eli’s patio while tasting slices of different cheesecakes. We were soon to be dazzled by an hour-long presentation with one of Facebook’s very own, a rare treat, yet we all did a good job concealing our anticipation.

It turns out that Eli Schulman himself, founder of Eli’s Cheesecake Company, was an avid social networker. Eli kept track of customers’ visits to his restaurant by writing down dates on check stubs. If he saw someone hadn’t stopped in lately, he’d make sure to call and personally invite them back. Eli would be proud to know that today his company forges ahead with an ambitious online marketing strategy, currently exceeding 1200 fans on their Facebook Fan Page and 1800 followers on Twitter.

facebook-logo

As the Facebook presentation began, no one really knew what direction it would take. However, its main intent was soon revealed: to inform area professionals of the great benefits in purchasing ad space on Facebook.

The excitement in the eyes of Brad Keown, Midwest Director of Sales at Facebook, bore testimony to the popular social network’s increasingly aggressive pursuit of advertising dollars. What is happening, as you will see, is nothing less than an online ad-space takeover.

Brad outlined some of the key benefits behind “social graphs” and “self-service advertising,” which allow advertisers to include or exclude potential customers based on information extracted from Facebook users’ profile information. Put in plain terms, Facebook deploys crawlers which pull information from your private profile for the express purpose of target marketing. In other words, anything you include in your profile information—basic information, personal interests, etc.—is fair game for advertisers.

smiling-robots

The term “organic search” is used to describe how the process works. No individual is browsing through your information. It’s the FB web crawlers that do this. That’s how you get “targeted” ads on the right column of your FB page—essentially ads organically selected by FB robots.

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So what’s the big deal? The big deal is that the need to search for products and services online diminishes with the increase in organic search advertising. You no longer need to look for things to buy. Today, products and services find you. The ultimate benefit to businesses has yet to be seen. However, the ease and relatively low cost (at least right now) of deploying “self-service,” custom targeted ads on Facebook is an exciting opportunity for many. The incredible speed at which Facebook has advanced on the social media scene is enough for anyone with a fair amount of common sense to jump on the bandwagon.

Of course, advertising can only get you so far. Without an effective brand image and strong online presence, many companies will fail to attract new customers. The real growth will be achieved by those savvy enough not only to utilize new social media platforms, but by those who understand the importance of successful branding and powerful messaging. It’s a brave new online world, and consumers today are more informed than ever. Develop an authentic brand. Build your presence. Then get in the stream.

Messina Marketing Group

 

Thoughts on a Revolution: What are We Really Saying?

This video, though admittedly a bit “in your face,” is loaded with statistical information about the social media frontier. It’s certainly a lot of food for thought. Sometimes the numbers fly by so fast you may have to go back, as I did, to fully digest them. But what do these numbers mean? After watching the video, I ask you to consider the following questions:

• What do we gain by spending more and more time interacting online? What do we lose?
• Have you had any unique social media experiences that have changed your view of a person or organization?
• What social media behavior do you consider unnecessary? inappropriate? commendable?

whisper

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Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. To everyone eager to learn more about Steven’s self-marketing adventure, stay tuned. We’ll be visiting with Steven, our aspiring food critic, later this week.

Messina Marketing Group

Brand Myself? Are You Kidding?

It’s 2009 and it’s time to wake up to the new media revolution. With more people spending more time online than ever, it’s time to get our heads out of the “I don’t get it” sand and smell the social network coffee. Here are the stats:

• Social networks and blogs are now the 4th most popular online activity ahead
of personal email

• Member communities are visited by 67% of the global online population

• Time spent on member communities is growing at 3 times the overall
internet rate, accounting for almost 10% of all internet time

~PDF, Nielsen Online, March 2009

Teens on Computer

When I talk to people IRL (in real life), I get a range of reactions to social media. Most have an impressive way of masking their ambivalence, nodding their heads in understanding while wishing I’d return to earth from my cyberspace soapbox. Others openly admit they have no clue about Twitter and don’t understand why anyone would use it.

Some people however, like my friend Steven, understand that now is the time to brand themselves online. Steven works for a high-end retailer but craves something more for himself and his career. His goal: to be an online food critic.

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While working full-time, Steven also takes culinary classes. Next year he hopes to close in on his B.A. in Writing & Journalism. Steven knows that by starting a blog now, he becomes an online participant in the food critic world. A blog for Steven will serve as a business card, store front, and reputation-builder, all rolled up into one. An online presence will establish him as a professional long before his final vision is realized. And this is the whole point for people with dreams on the back burner: Get online. Get yourself positioned. And do it now.

D. Armano

D. Armano

In the coming months we will follow Steven on his self-branding journey. What will his blog look like? What kind of content will he post? How will Steven’s personal brand evolve?

For a deeper look into self-branding and its significance on the web, see this 20-minute presentation by social media thinker, David Armano: Brand U.0, VIDEO

Thank you for subscribing to Writing Killer Content. I am especially grateful for all the positive feedback to The Social Media Journey, posted 8/11/09. Let’s continue to explore more of the new media frontier in the coming weeks and months.

Messina Marketing Group

Tweetup Tour 2009 Hits Chicago

The social media frenzy found its way into the Hyatt Regency Chicago this Tuesday, with over 200 Twitterers chatting away in real space. The event marked the second stop on the Mashable-sponsored, six-city #Hyatt4Good Tweetup Tour. Created as a series of informal meet and greets, the Tour is attracting more and more “followers” as it leaps from New York to Chicago, and now on to Denver, L.A., D.C., and Boston.

Six-city tour visits NYC, Chicago, Denver, San Diego, D.C., and Boston

NYC, Chicago, Denver, San Diego, D.C., Boston.

Contrary to initial suspicions, comments are carrying on in excess of 140 characters. In Chicago, the social media community was well represented by a consortium of tech and media mavericks, designers, entrepreneurs, PR and marketing professionals, and others invested in ideas surrounding social media. Attendees gathered in groups of twos and threes, their excitable banter fittingly matching the exuberance so often found on social networks like Twitter and Facebook. Conversations ranged from social media news to business development, to the latest in smartphone applications. What remained consistent, however, was the level of deep interaction so common among Twitterers. After all, it is just this type of open participation that continuously injects the “social” into social media. Several guests showed up with no prior knowledge of the tour, encouraged by friends unable to attend—yet eager to invite others to get out and mingle.

Twitterers convene at Hyatt Regency Chicago, 8/4/09

"Tweeting" in real space—Chicago, 8/4/09.

The event also celebrated the launch of Sevans Strategy, a Chicago-based PR and new media consultancy. Sarah Evans, the company’s president, presented a short video highlighting the profound changes occurring in the world of social media. To conclude the evening, some raffle prizes were announced, followed by Mashable COO, Adam Hirsch, inviting everyone to toast their nearest neighbor—a social media gesture of open exchange if there ever was one.

It’s fair to say the social media movement has entered its adolescence, with events like the Twitterup Tour attracting hundreds into small ballrooms across the country. Next year, it may be thousands. Yet unlike adolescent periods marked by an awkward and self-imposed identity crisis, the social media movement today holds its head high, confident in its own self-awareness, more “social” now than ever before.

Messina Marketing Group