My Third Book: Visual Social Media Marketing: Harnessing Images, Instagram, Infographics and Pinterest to Grow Your Business Online

Today is finally the day ūüėČ

Visual Social Media Marketing by Krista NeherI am really excited to announce my newest book is NOW AVAILABLE Р Visual Social Media Marketing: Harnessing Images, Instagram, Infographics and Pinterest to Grow Your Business Online.

About 6 months ago I started writing about a trend that I saw emerging in digital marketing.  Images.  Across social networks, images were consistently trending.  The fastest growing social networks focused on images and visual content.  Images were driving traffic, leads and sales to websites.

The more I researched it and looked into it the more I realized that many marketers were missing the biggest trend in digital and social media marketing.

Social media marketers keep talking about content and content marketing. ¬†Increasingly, the content that is connecting with people and breaking through the online clutter is visual. ¬†The reason is simple. ¬†A picture is worth a thousand words. ¬†The truth is that our brains actually process images faster than text. ¬†It is a quicker way for us to get information. This is why, in a cluttered world where we don’t have a lot of time or attention, images are breaking through and getting results.

If you aren’t poised to take advantage of this trend then you are missing out.

This book is a quick read that is jam-packed with examples, case studies and success stories to help you really understand how leading businesses are using this concept to get results.

After countless hours of writing, editing, researching and interviewing I am really excited that this book is finally published. ¬†A BIG THANK YOU to everyone who supported me and my business over the years. ¬†Without all of the support that I have this wouldn’t be possible.


What you’ll get in this book:

  • LOTS of case studies and real world success stories for you to learn from
  • A checklist to show you exactly how to get started
  • A short read (only 115 pages)
  • Lots of examples to give you creative ideas to build your plan
    Krista Neher with her book Visual Social Media Marketing

Why you should buy this book:

  • You can start taking advantage of this trend before your competitors
  • Generate traffic, leads and sales to your website
  • Get quick results from small changes
  • Take advantage of the hottest social networks
  • It is less than $10

Get Your Copy now:

Print Edition

Kindle Edition


BIG THANKS to those who helped make this possible:

  • Alex Webb editor
  • Kim Quindlen for editing and actually getting the book done
  • Joe Busam for visual design and being awesome
  • My mother, who gave me life
  • All of those who contributed examples and case studies


View the book trailer here!


The Art of Enchantment with Guy Kawasaki at #BoldFusion Cincinnati

I’ve had the opportunity to hear Guy speak a number of times, and was even at a party at his house a few years ago. ¬†This year I had the opportunity to hear him talk about Enchantment at #BoldFusion in Cincinnati. ¬†Enchantment can help businesses and individuals influence other people.

1. Achieve Likability

  • Smile like you mean it
  • Accept others for who they are
  • Default to “yes” and think about how you can help the other person

2. Achieve Trustworthiness

If they like you but don’t trust you, you can influence them.

  • Trust others before you expect them to trust you
  • Give people a reason to trust you (for example the Zappos return policy)
  • Bake don’t ea
  • Eaters think that there is only so much food
  • Bakers think that they can create more – there is enough for everyone
  • The world isn’t a zero sum game
  • Agree on Something
  • Find commonalities and¬†Build Common Ground
  • Things that we agree on bonds us and builds trust

3. Perfect

  • Have great stuff
  • Make great products that are Deep, Intelligent, Complete, Empowering, Elegant

4. Launch

  • Tell a story – stop using stupid words that don’t mean anything – everyone does that
  • People can remember the story
  • Plant many seeds so that many people embrace your products
  • Nobodys are the new somebodies
  • Don’t focus only on A listers
  • Use salient points – explain things in terms that people understand – for example 300 calories = running 3 miles
  • Don’t talk about dollars, talk about what the dollars buy – focus on the things that people care about, the benefit

5. Overcome Resistance

  • Create smart strategies to overcome resistance that people may have
  • Provide social proof – knowing that our friends do something makes us more likely to do it
  • Use a dataset to prove and change a mindset
  • Enchant all of the influencers
  • Build an ecosystem – customers, developers, resellers, user groups, websites, blogs, online special interest groups, conferences and more
  • Invoke reciprocation – do something for someone and they will feel obligated to return the favor
  • The best response when someone thanks you is “I know that you would do the same for me” – which puts the person on notice that you may ask for something in the future
  • When someone owes you a favor, enable them to pay you back
  • Don’t rely on money – passion doesn’t require $$ – it is more powerful if people believe in it

7. Present

  • Customize the beginning of your presentation
  • Be a great presenter and storyteller
  • Create a custom introduction that makes you relatable
  • Sell your dream – know how to sell your enchantment to people
  • 10 slides, 20 minutes, 30 point font

8. Use Technology

  • Remove the speedbumps – make it easy for people to connect with you
  • Provide value – especially in social media
  • Information, insights and assistance make good content
  • Great content opens the door
  • Engage – fast, flat, frequent

9. Enchant Up

  • Enchant your boss by dropping everything when they ask for something
  • Prototype fast – try something quick to show that it is a priority and to get feedback
  • Deliver bad news early
10. Enchant Employees
  • Provide a MAP – Mastery, Autonomy and Purpose
  • Empower employees to do what is right
  • Suck it up – willingness to do dirty jobs is enchanting

RESULT:¬†Resisting ¬†You is Futile ūüėČ

70% of CEOs Have Lost Trust In Marketers: What is the Problem and What do We Do About It?

Bryan Eisenberg shared an article today from Marketing Week that claims that 70% of CEOs have lost trust in marketers.

The reasons?

  • They can’t justify ROI
  • They have ‚Äúcontinuously failed‚ÄĚ to prove marketing strategies and campaigns delivered business growth
  • They live too much in the brand, creative and social media bubble
  • 73% of CEO‚Äôs believe marketers lack credibility because they cannot prove the business impact of marketing

What they would like to see is more accountability for ROI, sales growth and profit.  I have also heard that marketers have the shortest tenure of any C-level executives, and it seems that accountability and measurability are the chief concerns.  As they should be.

The Problem Seems Clear

The “trust me, this stuff works” mentality of many traditional and social media marketers is eroding trust for the marketing profession. ¬†While we may not always be able to precisely calculate the exact impact or ROI of a marketing campaign, there should be clear logic and a financially justifiable reason for any undertaking.

Social media ROI is something that we talk a lot about, the the challenge of attributing ROI to marketing is a much larger problem.

Client: How do we calculate ROI for social media?

Me: Let’s use the same principles that you use to calculate the ROI for the rest of your marketing.

Client: What do you mean?

Me: Well, what is the ROI on your magazine ads or billboards, and how do you calculate it.

Client: We don’t.

Me: Interesting.

The ROI problem isn’t a social media one. ¬†It is a larger problem.

The challenge for marketers is to justify and prove the return of all of their marketing.   The issue is that marketing ROI is very difficult to measure.  If we look at a traditional purchase funnel, we can measure action (when someone buys) but many of our marketing efforts focus on the top of the funnel (awareness and interest) which may be harder to tie back to ROI.  Also, the very bottom of the funnel Рloyalty and advocacy may also be hard to tie a number to.

The problem is that if we focus our marketing efforts only on the parts of the funnel that lead to a sale or action, we are missing the big picture of what has been scientifically proven to lead someone to purchase.

The top of the funnel is important, but it is also the hardest to measure.

What Can We Do?

I don’t know what the answer is (but would love to hear your thoughts in the comments).

My instincts would say:

  • Educate ourselves more about the psychology of buying to better justify spending throughout the funnel
  • Educate our executives with measuring social media training
  • Create trackable campaigns
  • Be strategic so that you can tie your activities back to strategic objectives
  • Use multiple approaches to track ROI

Not everything that can be measured counts, and not everything that counts can be measured.

That doesn’t mean that all activities shouldn’t tie back to a marketing objective. ¬†I recently interviewed HubSpot and they have lead generation goals for every channel they participate in. ¬†While some social media sites don’t generate direct leads, they can justify strategically why they choose to participate anyways based on their objectives.

What do you think? How do we fix this problem?

What we Can Learn from the Chapstick ScrewUp

I was reading about the Chapstick social media fiasco on AdWeek today, and it struck me that there are a number of lessons that we can learn from this kind of mistake.

In case you missed it, the short story is:

  1. Chapstick posted an add on their Facebook page of a woman with her a$$ in the air
  2. A blogger wrote a post about how offensive she found it and also left a comment on the Chapstick Facebook page
  3. Chapstick deleted the comment
  4. Others comment on the Facebook page and their comments are deleted
  5. Chapstick’s ads with the line “Be Heard at” become comical
  6. Chapstick continues to try to delete posts, but the posts are getting through (they can’t keep up with it)
  7. Eventually Chapstick deletes the offensive image
  8. Chapstick “apologizes” sort of.
  9. The head of global media relations for Chapstick says “We’re committed to listening. We’re committed to the dialogue. This is a perfect example of listening to your followers, your fans. We’re trying to live by those words.” (haha)

Where they Went Wrong and What You Can Learn

1. Don’t Delete Comments

If people have a problem, acknowledge it and address it.¬† I don’t personally think the ad was all that offensive, and in reality, many ads offend someone.¬† People share with you that they are offended because they want to be heard – they don’t expect you to immediately pull the ad.

My assumption would be that the person managing the Facebook page didn’t know how to respond, so they deleted the post while they figured it out.

This was the biggest initial mistake.¬† Don’t delete comments, respond.

Let them know:

– You are sorry they are offended

– You care that they are offended

– You will share their feedback

2. If you Apologize, then ACTUALLY Apologize

Chapstick doesn’t really apologize or take ownership.¬† The “apology note” says “We apologize that our fans felt like their posts are being deleted”.¬† They didn’t feel like their posts were being deleted, they were actually being deleted.¬† It was a fact.

Next, they basically tell you that it is your fault that the comment was deleted.¬† In most cases I suspect that the comments wouldn’t have actually fallen in to those categories.¬† Sharing dislike with a brand is not offensive.

When you apologize, actually apologize. Admit your mistake

3. Do What You Say or Become a Laughing Stock

Part of the problem is that brands are used to having mission statements like “we care” or “committed to improving lives”, but they don’t really do it.¬† It is really just a bunch of nice words put on a page.¬† They don’t mean it or live it.

In social media, if you don’t do what you say you can quickly become a joke.

The response from the VP is kinda hysterical¬† A commitment to listening doesn’t mean that you eventually take down an ad because someone doesn’t like it.¬† It means that you respect and acknowledge their comments and feedback.

Do what you say you will, or people will laugh.

Are You Giving Your Fans What They Want (what they really, really want)?

Yes, that was a line from the Spice Girls. You are Welcome.

One of the biggest challenges for businesses on Facebook (or on any social media channel) is to understand the actual content that will drive fans to engage (step 1) and take action (step 2).  The key to success in developing your social media marketing plan is to really understand what it is that your customers want.

A study in September of 2011 asked fans what they want from brands in Facebook.

Your Challenge: Compare your content on Facebook with the content that fans generally want.

Knowing what users expect form you after liking you is the key to posting great content.  One of the challenges to keep in mind is that Fans make the choice to pay you the honor of publicly being your fan. Ask yourself, how can I reward or recognize these fans?

Action for Marketers to Take:

When asking people to fan your page, tell them what they will get by fanning you.¬† Rather than blindly posting “like us on Facebook” buttons all over your site and in your store, tell them WHAT THEY WILL GET by connecting with you, and make sure that you have a compelling proposition for them.

Dispel Their Fears

Another chart in the Emarketer article asked what has prevented people from fanning a brand.  The results of this are also telling.  The things that prevent people from fanning a brand, are probably also the same things that prevent them from signing up for your email, following you on Twitter or engaging in the rest of your opt-in marketing.

Action for Marketers to Take:

The Implication for marketers is to proactively communicate to avoid not getting liked because of these fears.¬† Tell them “Don’t worry, we’ll only message you once a month” or “we post once a day” or “we don’t sell your information”. Be sure to do what you can to dispel these fears upfront so that people will still connect with you.

My Book is Out – Social Media Field Guide

Big News!!!!! I‚Äôm excited to announce the release of my new book ‚ÄúSocial Media Field Guide‚ÄĚ as it hits and will soon hit the shelves at select bookstores! Many of you probably know that I have been working on this book for quite a while now and I am THRILLED that it is finally done and available to order.

This is my first book, and it is actually being modified and turned into a textbook for social media marketing (you may have seen the post on that). I have so many people to thank for helping me get here, and later this week I will post an entire Thank-You post. I can’t tell you how much I value and appreciate all of the support and encouragement I have received over the past few years as I started my business.

I wrote the Field Guide after I started running social media training programs a few years ago, and after training thousands of people I created some systems to help explain and create a system for social media strategic planning and to help businesses understand the social media landscape, which can be overwhelming.

Part 1: The Social Media Planning System

I created the social media system, which is the underlying model for the book based on working with many companies and individuals on their social media marketing strategies. One thing I learned was that most business owners lacked a real solid social media plan. They weren’t getting results from their social media marketing because they didn’t really approach it with a plan. Someone told them they had to get on Twitter or that all of their competitors were on Facebook, so they created accounts and started posting content. They came to me because they weren’t getting results.

The Social Media System is a planning method that helps businesses get results by laying out a strategic plan. This is the part that most businesses skip in their rush to get on social media and it is also why most businesses don’t get value from social media. They have no real plan – they just throw stuff out there without a real audience in mind.

Part 2: The Social Media Field Guide – The Landscape

The second part of the Social Media Field Guide is the Field Guide model, which is a model to help businesses wrap their heads around the key opportunity areas in social media. Rather than tactically focusing on the social media tools like Facebook and Twitter the Field Guide encourages businesses to think about the broader functionality of social media. The Social Media Field Guide categorizes social media into 8 categories – Publishing, Sharing, Social Networks, Microblogs, Collaboration and Co-Creation, Discussion and Review, Public Relations and Mobile. Rather than focusing on an individual tool, businesses should think about how they can leverage each of these categories, and then drill deeper into the specific tools.

In addition to the book, the Social Media Field Guide also comes with a FREE ACTION PLANNER DOWNLOAD so that you can put the Field Guide into action.

In the past 10 years of , I‚Äôve traveled to Brazil, Vegas, NY, San Francisco, London, Toronto and countless other cities where I’ve had the pleasure of speaking to thousands of business owners, marketers and social media managers. These experiences have helped me in creating this essential resourceful media guide full of great tips and advice. It also served as a great tool used in my social media certification program held at the newly established Institute for Social Media at Cincinnati State.

I’ve already received some great feedback about the book and I would like to hear what you think! Click here to order your copy of the Social Media Field Guide.

Also, stay tuned for the official announcement, but I will be hosting a book party and showcasing my new office space on January 20th.

For more information on my new book, visit

An Impression is not an Impression Unless it Makes One

This was probably one of the best quotes of ad:tech San Francisco (yes, I know that was a while ago).

Marketers have become so obsessed with measuring how many fans (now likes) or followers they have or how many “impressions” their ad makes, and are potentially losing site of whether or not any of these things are REALLY making impressions.¬† A follower or fan that completely ignores your message isn’t worth much.

I’ve seen a lot of conferences use this logic to promote the reach of the conference to potential advertisers.¬† Some media publications are also starting to report metrics in this way.¬† The logic goes something like this:

We have X thousand followers, and typically we get X number of brand mentions for each of our sponsors.  When we combine the # of followers that the people who mention you have, you will have a reach of X million for your brand/business/product.

There are a number of problems with this metric.¬† First, it is using old media metrics in new media, which doesn’t really work.¬† Second it is assuming that the impressions are actually happening, and finally it assumes that the impressions are worth something.

Old Media Metrics Don’t Really Work in Social Media

The example above, counting the number of “impressions” in social media is really using a traditional media metric in social media.¬† And it doesn’t really work.

Traditional media uses reach or number of impressions to measure how far reaching their advertising message is going.¬† Reach is commonly used to quantify television, print or billboard advertising.¬† Simply using old media measures for new media doesn’t really work that well.

Most of the impressions don’t exist

The reality is that VERY few people, if any, read every single tweet from every single person they follow.  The real reach of a twitter account is much less than the number of followers, and the reach of an individual Tweet is even less than that.

The same is true on Facebook.¬† The Facebook newsfeed shows the most relevant posts and updates for each individual, not every single post (unless you look at most recent).¬† If your Facebook post doesn’t have any interactions (likes or comments) chances are it isn’t even making the newsfeed of most of your audience. (I wrote a post about how the Facebook algorithm works a while back).

This is why so many consumers still prefer email – because they know that they won’t miss anything for the brands that they really care about.

The reality is that the concept of followers or fans = impressions doesn’t hold because most people don’t actively monitor every post in social media sites.¬† Counting impressions just doesn’t work well in social media.

The Impression Might not be Worth Anything.

Even if you can measure the number of impressions accurately, they might not really be worth anything.  The reason that impressions or reach make sense in advertising is because the message (the ad) is tested and controlled.

Advertising messages are tested to be sure that they actually create business value.  Before an ad airs it is tested to be sure that it actually improves the brand or business impression (people think it is better) and that it increases purchase intent (people are more likely to buy it).

In advertising the message is proven to be valuable before it airs.  That is why reach is relevant Рbecause the message is known to be valuable.

In social media not all brand mentions are valuable and actually increase whether or not someone will buy your product over time.¬† All mentions are not created equal.¬† TV advertising has proven time and again that an impression that doesn’t focus on brand benefits doesn’t increase sales.¬† The same is probably true for social media.¬† The mere mention of a brand without a meaningful benefit probably isn’t valuable.

Bottom Line

Don’t get sucked in to big numbers that may not actually indicate anything.¬† Focus on creating brand IMPRESSIONS that actually are impressions – that people are reading and that say something meaningful about your brand.

What do you think?

This morning I read a post on Geoff Livingston’s blog that shows that about half of Twitter users read other people’s tweets less than weekly.¬† This further highlights the fact that your actual audience is probably far less than the number of people who may follow or fan you.

What do you think?

Social Media to Help Find Missing Girl? (I'm on the news!)

Yesterday I had a news crew in my office to talk about how social media might play a role in finding a missing teenager.  You can see the news video below with reporter Joe Webb (be sure to follow him on Twitter).

I was really intrigued by this story idea because I haven’t seen social media or Facebook used for this before.

Facebook now has over 500 million registered users (which is greater than the combined populations of Canada, the US and Mexico) and more people check Facebook each day than listen to the radio or read a newspaper.

Why were missing people put on milk cartons? ¬†Because milk cartons were in everyone’s home and they looked at them every day. ¬†Facebook is today’s milk carton – it is in every home and accessed every day.

Specifically, there are a few reasons why Facebook is a great tool to leverage when looking for a missing person:

1) Viral Spread

Facebook has built-in viral spread, which makes it a great tool in looking for a missing person or in spreading any message.  An average Facebooker is connected to 130 people.  So, if Joe posts about a missing person 130 people will see it.  The viral spread happens when those 130 people also interact with the post by liking or commenting.  The post is then exposed to their entire network.  It only takes 10 interactions to reach 1000 people.  Compare this to how long it might take to reach 1000 people posting fliers on telephone poles or handing them out in a shopping center.

2) Timely

With only the click of a button and very little effort content can be easily shared on Facebook.  Facebook allows for extremely quick spread of information Рin only a few hours a Facebook post can spread through multiple online networks.  Facebook spreads information quickly.

3) It Leverages People Like Us through Social Graphs

Most of our connections on Facebook are people who are like us Рwho live near us, have similar hobbies, etc.  In the case of a missing person there is a lot of relevance from leveraging social graphs, or people like us.  For example, if I post about a missing person, most of my friends are from the area, so the message is relevant.

4) The Content is “Recommended” or “Curated”

Content from Facebook is vetted by our network, so it has a higher level of trust than information that you may randomly receive.  Since the content comes from our friends we are more likely to pay attention to it Рit is from a trusted source.

5) Facebook has our attention

Simply put, Facebook has our attention.  Many people watch the news while they are multi-tasking or glance at a photo on a lamp-post.  We only give these images a passing look and a small fraction of our attention.  On Facebook people are more engaged and spending lots of time!

Has Anyone else seen unusual uses of Facebook?  What else could it be used for?

PS – Tim the camera man did an awesome job ūüėČ

Blogs are Like WalMart and Video Didn't Kill the Radio Star – Traditional Media Reinvention

Last week at ad:tech San Francisco there was a lot of talk about media and the impact that blogs and social media are having on traditional news.¬† I’m not a news expert, and have never worked in traditional news, but I think that traditional media can learn from how other industries adapted to significant shifts in the landscape.

While all forms of traditional media – from print to radio to tv news – seem to be struggling, the key question that needs to be asked is How do we reinvent ourselves to stay relevant?

Here are a few examples of how new and old paradigms of business have co-existed by adapting.

Blogs are like WalMart

Remember when WalMart started to grow and how communities reacted? Some communities tried to keep WalMart out, for fear that their local businesses would be destroyed.  The reality is that WalMart did put a lot of companies out of business Рboth retailers and suppliers.  Businesses that survived adapted their model and built their business around a strong value proposition.  They provided something that was more important than just price, or they died.  Despite the success of WalMart there are still new retail businesses starting every day.  They differentiate themselves on quality, selection, location, convenience, etc and thrive and grow despite WalMart.

Blogs are the WalMart of the media world.¬† They create content that people like for a lower price.¬† Most bloggers publish as a labor of love – they don’t need a huge paycheck.¬† Big blog publications have a different cost structure than traditional media, so they can generate profits from online display ads (a cost structure that won’t work for most traditional media).

In order for traditional media to survive the content revolution (where everyone is a content creator), they have to adapt their strategy to focus on their core value proposition – investigative journalism.

Most bloggers (not all) don’t do a lot of primary research.¬† They actually build their stories on stats, facts and research from traditional media and use it as a source for their articles.¬† Traditional media should be The Resource for investigative journalism – a service that is needed for bloggers to exist.

I have a friend who is a TV news producer.¬† To “create” the news producers do research.¬† They check facts.¬† They look up stats.¬† They get multi-media from different sources, or create it themselves.¬† They go out and interview a variety of people.¬† They investigate and report. These core competencies of traditional media must be heightened to create a clear value proposition.

Video Killed the Radio Star

Actually, it didn’t.¬† When TV and video came along, radio didn’t die – it adapted.¬† Now I wasn’t around at the time, but if you look at the evolution of radio, prior to mass adoption of TV radio was a platform for both music and story-telling entertainment. Families would gather around the radio and listen to stories for entertainment.

Then TV came along.¬† Radio wasn’t really the best medium for story-telling type entertainment – TV was.¬† So, TV focused on fictional story-telling entertainment and radio focused on music.¬† Radio adapted the content to focus on content areas where it could win – music, call-in talk shows, etc.

Both TV and radio continue to exist but with different content and in different use cases.

So What Now?

There are some traditional media sites that have innovative views about how they can adapt.

Chris Graves at the Cincinnati Enquirer launched a program called LOL: Locals on Living .  LOL creates content for both the web and print editions, and it clearly changes the cost structure for the enquirer (no full time writers creating content). Clicking on the blogs opened 2 highly annoying ad pop-up windows, however as the model evolves perhaps there will be opportunities to find different revenue streams.  It launched last July and has expanded to integrate local bloggers from lifestyle content to Sports Content (see SportsTalkCentral).  The program is beginning to dip into news/business with the integration of BuildingCincinnati, which is featured both on our business and news page. They currently integrate 17 bloggers on the site.

According to Chris Graves “As it relates to LOL, using voices from our community in the area of fashion, food, couponing, health & fitness was really a no-brainer for us. We need to preserve our newsgathering and First Amendment work in a very dark economic time for our industry. We were – and we remain – deeply committed to keeping our local reporters in place in an effort to preserve great local storytelling and our watchdog role in the community. We weren’t and aren’t likely to have fashion, food, gardening and fitness reporter and local bloggers are passionate about those topics.¬† By using local bloggers to cover those areas, we have been able to do what newsgathering organizations do: We have sent reporters and photographers to Haiti to report on what local folks are doing in the efforts in that devasted area. We have aggressive covered violence in Cincinnati as well as ongoing stories and investigations on how much money ($100,000+) government retirees are making with their public pensions as city services are being slashed. We have also continued our editorial stand and commitment to weighing in and opining on local issues (like Issue One).”

At ad:tech Chris Anderson, EIC of Wired shared information about how Tablets can provide new opportunities for publishers.  By leveraging interactivity and the tablet technology, publishers may have the opportunity to charge for content vs. the current web model where everything is free.  It will be interesting to see if this plays out.

What do you think?

How can news sites continue to thrive?  Quality investigative journalism is important for our society, but traditional media outlets are struggling with their business models.  How can they reinvent themselves?  Have you seen other examples of this?

Social Media Marketing – Just Showing Up Isn't Good Enough Any More

The Early Days of Social Media

When social media first began to emerge as a marketing tool, it was relatively easy for brands to break through and connect with consumers.

Consumers were curious about why brands were online and what they were talking about – there were not very many of them after all.

Social Media Enthusiasts and advocates gave the early brand participants a lot of credit just for showing up.  People liked JetBlue just because they cared enough to be on twitter.

There wasn’t a lot of noise in the earlier days of twitter.¬† There were only a few million people using the service and hardly any brands.¬† People didn’t spam DM you or try to sell you stuff all the time.¬† It was easy to be heard if you had a good message.

Gimmicks worked better because they were new.¬† When Zappos joined twitter a few years ago they built their following by giving away free shoes.¬† People often talk about how popular Zappos is, but it didn’t happen by accident.¬† Today, brands offering prizes to follower is frowned upon and considered lower engagement marketing.

Why Things Have Changed

As social media has evolved, things have changed. What works and doesn’t work changes all the time as the mediums mature and evolve.

With more brands (and more people) participating, social media has become cluttered and automated.  According to Facebook there are:

  • More than 3 million active Pages on Facebook
  • More than 1.5 million local businesses have active Pages on Facebook
  • More than 20 million people become fans of Pages each day
  • Pages have created more than 5.3 billion fans

With all of this noise, how does your brand break-through and stand out?

What it takes to be Successful in Social Media Today

Today it takes more to be successful in social media.¬† You can’t just create an account, try to be nice to people and expect to see marketing miracles.

Social Media today requires a great creative execution.  How will you creatively engage your consumers?  What interesting or useful content will you provide them with?

If you look at some of the brands getting it right these days, they have a strong strategy, great execution and creative ideas on what to do with the medium.

Here are some examples:

PetCentric on Facebook

Petcentric on Facebook ran pet photo contests on Facebook using Flickr.  They had one of the most active Facebook fan pages I have come across.  Now, they have gone so far as to create an app for the photo contest.

Key Learning: Great creative idea (pet contest) start simple (use Flickr/Facebook) take it to the next level after success (app)



Many people think that BtoB brands can’t succeed in Social Media.¬† They can.¬† Hubspot is a great example.¬† They have tools, blogs, webinars and a twitter account that all position them as the clear leader in Internet Marketing.¬† I have called into a number of their webinars, to listen to industry experts talk about marketing and social media.

Key Learnings: Use multiple touchpoints to reach customers, become the thought leader, give free valuable information, talk about what your audience is interested in instead of your product.


The Key = Creative

These days the key to social media success is strategy and creative.¬† Understand your target audience and what they are interested in (hint: it probably isn’t your product).¬† Come up with something interesting to engage them with.¬† Do more than just show up.

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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