Tagged twitter

You’re gonna have a bad time on social media in 2014

This post exists because of this Tweet…

Yes, I know it’s a dated meme that’s been driven in to the ground, and I’m ok with that. In fact, because this is a meme from ancient internet history, it makes it even more appropriate for this topic because this is something that should just not happen anymore, and yet it happens all the time.. So, here’s a post inspired by that all-too-true tweet from 20kGroup and Matthew Carberry, along with couple more things that still happen in social media that should have been wiped from existence ages ago.

It’s 2014, everyone. These things need to stop.

If you fight your customers on social media… (Thanks to @20kGroup & @matthewcarberry)

Don’t pick fights with your customers. Ever. Because you will lose more than you think. Yes, you’ll lose that customer, but you’ll also lose something much more important: RESPECT. Nobody wants to do business with someone who’s confrontational and too proud for their own good. Your brand can’t win here so take it offline, solve the problem, and move on.

If you still send Auto-DM’s… (Thanks to @erinbury)

Why does this still happen? Auto DM’s are the least-social way to say anything in social media. Proponents of Auto-DM’s say it’s simply the easiest way to show appreciation for a new follower. Well,  I’m sure your followers are truly grateful that you’ve put forth the absolute bare minimum of effort to thank them. If you really appreciate new followers, then take the time to thank them personally. And in the name of all that is good in this world, don’t tell me to follow you on Facebook too.

If you think your personal posts don’t impact your employers brand… (I came up with this one)

I’ve got news for you: If I see someone swearing a blue streak in the parking lot of a store, you better believe that it will change my opinion of that store if they walk in and stand behind the counter for their shift. Same thing applies in social media. On or off the clock, on your own account or on theirs, you are intertwined with your employers brand, not because your boss says so, but because the CUSTOMERS say so.

Social Media Sommeliers – Choosing perfect pairs of social networks

by Jonathan Barrick

A well maintained social media presence is like a fine wine; it develops more character as it ages. As you invest more time in to social media, joining additional networks and using new tools, your presence gains different characteristics that it did not have before. However, just as certain wine characteristics mesh well together, others simply do not. Certain wines will pair well with certain foods and enhance the experience, while others conflict and compete. So it is with different social networks. Some are natural fits, enhancing each other and creating synergy. Others are so vastly different in scope and purpose that using them together can actually weaken the total effort.

So how do you know which networks jive well together, and which just don’t? Well, I reached out to several brilliant professionals whose experiences in social media give them a unique perspective on which networks work great together. They are, for all intents and purposes, Social Media Sommeliers, pairing different networks together to create an experience greater than the sum of its parts. So, what networks do they believe hold the greatest power for synergy?

Here’s what Ric Dragon http://twitter.com/ricdragon had to say:

image“I’m of the mind that the Twitter/G+ combo is killer.  G+ is more open than FB, and it’s easier to share blog-type posts publicly. Twitter, of course, is the place for garnering those weak-link connections – those people with whom you share an affinity. So Twitter makes the connection, and G+ allows you to share deeper content with those new connections.”

Smart stuff, to be sure. And after speaking with multiple other professionals, and with so many different networks out there to choose from, it became quite clear that everyone would have a different approach tailored to their individual style, fitting with their unique approach to their industry.

I asked this extremely savvy group of Marketing/PR/Social pros to look at this concept from two different angles:

1) Which two social networks do you feel are most complementary, and why?



2) Which two social networks do you feel have the biggest disconnect, and why?

Here’s what they had to say:

Mark Schaeferhttp://twitter.com/markwschaefer
image“The biggest synergy that I see is between Blogging and Twitter. Building a Twitter audience is an effective way to build an audience for your blog. A tweet is like the movie trailer for the movie! They fit like a hand in a glove.

As I see it, the biggest disconnect in social networks right now is between Google + and everything else. Google is not making the sharing easy so it is probably the least integrated network.”

Peg Fitzpatrickhttp://twitter.com/pegfitzpatrick
image“I feel that Google+ and Pinterest are a powerful combination. They are both very visual networks with savvy users. Photographers are really killing it on both platforms such as Trey Ratcliff, with 4.5 million Google+ followers and 4.7 million followers on Pinterest, that’s an enviable social media network! Google+ and Pinterest, more than other platforms, really reward their power users with engagement and activity with their content. You can save your Google+ posts on Pinterest boards or find interesting things to post on Google+ from Pinterest. Both platforms support hashtag usage and using keywords is a benefit.  Google+ and Pinterest complement each other and add mutual value without distracting or overwhelming the other.

I feel like LinkedIn and every other network are disconnected. LinkedIn doesn’t seem to fit naturally with any of the other networks although they have taken strides towards improvement. The endorsement feature made LinkedIn spammy to me and weakened the recommendations, which I felt was their most valuable asset. I feel that LinkedIn has its place for job seekers and networking but I don’t see how it blends with Pinterest, Facebook or any other site. I think that this was their intention but they shot themselves in the foot with that plan. You need to have a presence on more than one social media platform so if you are on multiple platforms, you’d like to work them seamlessly together.”

Don Powerhttp://twitter.com/donpower
image“LinkedIn and Twitter work beautifully together for me. I use LinkedIn to get comprehensive background info and details about individuals and their histories and companies before connecting with them on Twitter. Or, you may be connected with a person at Company X on Twitter – you can use LinkedIn to find more people at Company X to connect with (including their Twitter backgrounds). I use them in tandem quite a bit but for me – all roads ultimately lead to Twitter – if I make a connection on LinkedIn, I’m always suggesting that we continue the conversation on Twitter.

Facebook and Twitter – two almost completely exclusive sets of users (in my opinion and personal experience). For example, almost all of my high school friends are on Facebook (I graduated high school in ‘86) but NONE of them are on Twitter. Most of the people I’m connected with on Facebook are not active on Twitter. I only use Facebook to respond to people who find me or reach out to me there. I don’t start conversations on Facebook and 99.9% of my posts on Facebook (unless I’m responding to a specific tagged post) are simply copies of what I post to Twitter (and no – I don’t care that my Facebook posts are often marked up with @ symbols and hashtags)

As I see it, albeit an oversimplification, Facebook is made up of 90% of the people who want to be social 90% of the time. Twitter is made up of 90% of social people who want to do social business communication (in a no sales-y way) 90% of the time. Facebook is 90% wasting time and sharing crap, Twitter is 90% time connecting with people and building networks where the underlying assumption is – how might I be able to leverage this connection, now or in the future, for a business purpose? Because those networks have two completely different modus operandi, they are a total disconnect for me.”

Susie Parkerhttp://twitter.com/susie_parker
image“I often see how well Facebook and YouTube can work well together. Facebook being the largest social network and YouTube being the second largest search engine makes it easy to share a powerful, compelling, funny, or moving video with a large network of people with one click.

There is so much potential with Foursquare and Twitter. But there is too much disconnect and not enough businesses have claimed their locations to maximize the benefit to their businesses. When sharing where you are on Foursquare it would be great to have better Twitter integration to connect better with a potential new place to experience.”

David Christopherhttp://twitter.com/davidchris
image“Twitter I find great as a tool to build new relationships and to start conversations that continue on other platforms. It also allows you to connect with your network and keep those important relationships alive in just 140 characters when in today’s busy business world you don’t have time for much more.

Google+ for is the opposite. It’s where conversations continue and evolve (especially with the recent release of Google+ Communities) and for those where the need for much deeper level relationships are important. What I find interesting is that of the Twitter users in my network, very few of them use Google+. For this reason I find they complement each other as they don’t compete against each other for market share.

As for networks that have major disconnects, I’m going to give you a response that maybe you weren’t expecting here. External Social Networks and Enterprise Social Networks. There is a big disconnect between the Enterprise Social Network (behind the firewall) and the External Social Network (beyond the firewall). This isn’t a technology response, but a cultural response. Employees are your companies Brand ambassadors and should be leveraged as such but fear of what they might say prevents this. This is creating a disconnect in consistent messaging and preventing engagement opportunities with your customers.”

Sam Fiorella – http://twitter.com/samfiorella
image“Google+ and YouTube are natural partners and work together for the brand’s benefit on many levels. Google+ Hangouts upload directly to a YouTube channel for one-click cross-network sharing. Further, with Google Authorship, the combo packs a great SEO/SEM punch. There’s little-to-no expertise required to create conversational videos with customers, vendors, the  media or others and best of all, the platforms are free!

When talking about disconnected networks, I believe those are Pinterest and YouTube. Each are successful in their own right and each is a visual medium. Pinterest is great at sharing with Facebook but doesn’t accept other forms of visual content from other networks well. I see great opportunities for individuals and business if Pinterest would allow the inclusion of videos onto their boards, it would make for a richer experience.”

As for me? I believe that Facebook and Instagram are a very powerful combination. The ease with which you can insert creative, timely images in to your Facebook timeline, and the ease with which users can interact, share, and comment on this activity make them a natural fit for both personal use and for showcasing the personality of a brand.

Where I fail to see much synergy is between Pinterest and Twitter. Much in the same way that the absence of Instagram image support within Twitter has hurt the synergy between them, I feel that it is a crucial missing element that Pinterest should be working towards achieving. Being able to see a pin from within Twitter without the need to click would add a lot of utility, enabling users to view and re-share Tweeted content from Pinterest in one step instead of multiple steps in two different apps.

As you can clearly see, there is no definitive, all-encompassing answer to the question, which appears to be the general nature of social media to begin with. Everyone does it differently, and that’s ok. Ultimately it comes down to your personal ‘taste’ when choosing the social networks that work best for you.

What do you think? Are there two networks that consistently create business magic for you? Or are there two that don’t jive for you at all? Let’s hear!

From Sprout Social Insights -> Twitter Success Story: Training Hospitality Students With Twitter

http://sproutsocial.com/insights/2012/12/twitter-success-story-college/

Happy to talk with Don Power from Sprout Social about my experiences integrating social communications (specifically Twitter) in to the curriculum of my college marketing class. It’s been a great tool for encouraging students to see social from a different light, and training them on the intricacies of communicating with customers in the social space.

From Sprout Social Insights -> Twitter Success Story: Training Hospitality Students With Twitter

Beware: Social Monitoring Tools Don’t Catch Sarcasm

This exchange came through on Twitter today, and I had to share for two reasons.

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#1 – It’s funny.

and

#2 – It illustrates that social monitoring tools don’t differentiate between legitimate praise and extremely thick sarcasm.

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I’m guessing what likely happened is that the person behind the wheel of the Surface Twitter account had some kind of notification system set to inform them when the product is mentioned so that they may reply. Sadly, this particular tool can’t detect sarcasm, which Eric’s post was laced heavily with, and neither did the person replying on the Surface account.

If you’re going to have someone engage on behalf of your business, it’s important to train them so that they actually read the Tweets they are responding to, and furthermore to recognize the presence of sarcasm.

Otherwise you can appear careless, and dare I say it, stupid. Ooops.

Special thanks to Eric Stoller for being Eric Stoller.

Twitter is Stupid. (until you realize…)

by Jonathan Barrickimage

Twitter is one of the world’s most popular social networks, but many still see it as pointless, inane and trite. (Yes, even today there are TONS of people who believe this to be true) They’re looking at it all wrong.

Here’s why: In a recent discussion I had with a group of tech-savvy  young adults, I posed the question “How many of you have Twitter accounts?” – Only two hands raised.

Next question: “How many of you think Twitter is the stupidest thing ever?” – Nearly everyone’s hand thrust in to the air. Reasons like ‘I don’t care what people have for lunch, the Kardashians are awful, etc’ were not uncommon to hear from this group in response to this particular query.

Ok, let’s talk about something else: “How many of you watch TV?” – Everyone’s hand up.

“Anyone hear of a show called ‘Toddlers & Tiaras’?” – Laughter from the group.

“How many of you think that is the dumbest show on TV right now?” – Virtually every hand raises in agreement.

“So, I guess that everything on TV is stupid, then?” – As I scanned the crowd, I saw several faces change as they realized what I was saying.

Saying Twitter is ‘stupid’ is like saying all of TV is stupid. All newspapers, all magazines, all radio, all movies. EVERYTHING is stupid if that’s how we think.

The truth of the matter is that if all you’re tuning in to is the worst, most annoying things you can find on TV or on the radio, then EVERY kind of media will provide a horrible experience. Every person on Twitter is like their own TV channel, or radio station, and every tweet is it’s own show. Tune in to the channels that have the best shows, and your Twitter experience be awesome. Tune in to people that post junk, and you’ll hate it. It’s not the channel that’s stupid; it’s the content we choose to see. Ultimately, if your Twitter experience sucks, it’s your fault, not Twitters.

This is where the awesomeness of Twitter really comes from: CONTROL. Control to tune in to the things you like, and tune out of the things you don’t. You wouldn’t judge all of TV based on 2 minutes of Real Housewives. It’d be far more sensible to watch some Mythbusters, Big Bang Theory, Grey’s Anatomy, Property Brothers, and So You Think You Can Dance before casting your final judgment on the entire media.

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A Twitter experience isn’t made in 2 minutes. It’s crafted over time. It occurs as you discover awesome people you’ve never heard of. It occurs when you begin to see the world differently because you’re exposed to the lives of interesting people from all over the globe. It occurs when you interact with them. It occurs when you inspire them, and are inspired by them.

So, if you’ve never tried Twitter because of stereotypical reasons relating to Hollywood gossip or updates about people’s food, then you need to at least give it a chance. Talk to someone you trust about who they follow and try out a handful of their top recommended “channels”. Really test things out, then make up your mind whether it’s for you or not.

If you’ve tried Twitter and left because all your friends were posting updates from the bar or sharing the latest and greatest cat meme pictures, maybe your friends aren’t who you should be following. Try business contacts. Try the top leaders in your profession. Try your favourite comedians. Try your favourite musicians. Try your favourite brands. Change channels until you find shows that you find interesting. With more than 140 million channels out there, you’re bound to find SOMETHING that delivers the goods.

Find something great, tune in, and enjoy the show!

This article originally written for http://crowdshifter.com

Knowledge Hoarders – Does your business have a problem finding the ‘awesome’?

by Jonathan Barrickimage

Businesses reluctant to pursue activities in social media inevitably blame their lack of action on factors like ‘We don’t have time’, ‘Our customers aren’t there’ or the always popular ‘We don’t have anything interesting to say’.

I take issue with all of these, as they’ve all been proven wrong by the countless social media successes of businesses of all types. However, the one that makes me shake my head in frustration most is why so many businesses in all kinds of different industries firmly believe that they’ve got NOTHING to say in social media.

Really? In your entire organization there’s nothing going on that’s worth talking about with your customers? If this is true, then I fear for the future of your company because you’re stagnating.

Sometimes it’s difficult to see the good stuff coming through in your business because you’re so accustomed to the day-in day-out operations that you become numb to what makes your company exceptional. But rest assured, there’s always SOMETHING there that’s timely and relevant to your community. There’s always SOMETHING that’s awesome.

Too many businesses treat knowledge the way those troubled people on “Hoarders” treat the objects that occupy every square inch of their homes. It accumulates gradually, a little bit at a time, nothing is ever actually done with it, and very seldom is it ever realized just how much there actually is. Well, the time has come to unleash the power of your knowledge hoard and share the piles of ‘awesome’ that your company has spent so much time accumulating over the years.

Here’s a few examples of how you might find treasure troves of knowledge you could unleash as great content:

  • Local/Regional Reps – These reps know the ins and outs of their territories. They’ve spent the time learning the intricacies of local markets, and what you need to get things done in specific regions, and as such are a perfect source for targeted blog posts, tweets, or even YouTube videos. For example, does climate affect your product or service? Do you sell in northern Canada as well as the southern US? Well these are the guys you can get insight from on how climate plays a role in their area.
  • Engineers – This group is overflowing with knowledge. Is your product engineered to comply with a certain set of standards or regulations? These tend to be overly complex and hard to understand, so why not use blog posts or short YouTube videos to explain them in terms that matter to your customers? Explaining why things are designed the way that they are goes a long way to building value in your products and trust in your company.
  • Customer Service – FAQ’s are incredibly valuable, and no group is better at compiling a list of this type than your customer service team. These can make great tweets, Facebook posts, and can become an ongoing series of blog posts. One additional thing I’d suggest is adding a bit of personal touch to the list by quoting and attributing the answers to individual reps. They’ll appreciate being presented as an expert, and the readers place more faith in the answer if it comes from an identifiable human. Creating great content should boost your brand not just outside your company, but inside it as well.

Finding the sources of knowledge in your business isn’t a chore. It’s FUN, and inevitably what you’ll find is that your company has a lot more to offer a social audience than you think it does. Great content isn’t your product specs, it’s not your latest pricing special, or your corporate tagline; it’s the awesome that is contained in the brains of your team. Find the awesome, and you’ll find great content that your customers will care about.

Happy hunting!

This article originally written for http://crowdshifter.com

Who Owns the Account? – Navigating the Minefield of Social Ownership

by Jonathan Barrick

When your job responsibilities include engaging in social media, are the contacts you make truly yours, or do they belong to the company?

It’s a divisive topic for companies who engage in social communications. If you put an employee in the position of representing your brand in social media channels, what happens with that account if that employee leaves your business? How should you set up these accounts, and how ‘personal’ do you make them appear?

Recently, the story of PhoneDog and its former employee Noah Kravitz brought forth a shining example of how things can go horribly awry. PhoneDog alleges they setup the account & username for Kravitz to use for business purposes. Over time the number of followers grew to over 17,000, and when Kravitz left to work for a competitor, he changed the account name to his own & continued to use it.

On the surface, the answer seems pretty clear. PhoneDog setup the account for business, so it’s theirs. However, there are different perspectives that come in to play in the world of social media that muddy the waters. For example, is it certain that the followers were truly following the ‘brand’, or were they following Noah? What’s the context in which this account was used? Does the context even matter, or does the original intent of the account override any personal factors rising from how it was used?

These questions can be extremely difficult to answer for some businesses, and the decisions you make here could have huge repercussions in the future. These are questions not typically addressed in your average social media policy, as they generally stick to covering things like behaviour and the types of content being shared, not the ownership of connections being made between individuals. Fortunately, there are some sensible steps you can take to easily maintain a ‘personal’ face for your brand AND minimize the risk of disruption if certain individuals leave your business.

In navigating this minefield, the first question you need to ask is “Will the account be used for BUSINESS PURPOSES?” If the answer is “Yes”, then I believe that the following criteria for the setup of social media accounts would protect both parties regarding ownership of accounts that are used for business purposes:

  • If the account was created under the individual’s personal identity prior to the beginning of the contract, the account remains property of the individual.
  • If the account was created by the company for the purposes of official company communication/representation, then the account remains property of the company.
  • It is appropriate for small businesses and sole-proprietorships to present themselves through the personal accounts of the owner, but it is important to keep in mind that any personal opinions shared through these accounts directly impact the image of the brand. It is nearly impossible to separate the brand of the business from the brand of the individual in these situations.
  • In larger businesses, it is appropriate for special corporate accounts to be created for each individual who will be participating in social communications, and these accounts should be designated as such. Example: A Dell employee named Jim might communicate on behalf of Dell on Twitter using the handle: @JimAtDell
  • Visually, choosing the right profile picture for the account is also important. Using the example above, it would make sense for @JimAtDell’s account to feature a picture of Jim with the Dell logo added to it in order to visually distinguish it as an official company account.
  • If the company will have multiple individuals contributing through the same account, it is effective to add the initials of the individual posted at the end of each piece of content to designate the person responsible for that posting. Example: An employee named Mike Smith tweeting through the @starbucks account would end each of his tweets with ‘MS’
  • In situations where multiple people are using the same social account on behalf of the company, it would be appropriate for the profile picture to be that of the corporate logo, or other universally applicable image not associated with any one particular individual. Although in certain situations, one individual may be designated to be the figurehead of the account, and therefore use of their picture along with a logo would be appropriate.
  • In certain situations, it may be wise to cross-reference the account of the individual and the account of the company in the bio spaces of each account. From the example we used earlier, Mike Smith’s @mikesmith personal twitter account bio might mention he tweets from @starbucks with the initials MS, and the @starbucks account might mention tweets from @mikesmith in its bio. This would help to ensure that business followers and personal followers are aware of the difference between the two.

Ultimately, every company needs to choose the approach that best suits their brand & their goals. And in the event that the one, singular face of your brand in social media decides to leave your business, the reality is that some of your fans WILL inevitably go with them. Of course, how many fans leave will depend on more than just how you approach each of the factors I laid out above. HOW they leave, WHERE they go, and WHY they left will all play a role in how things pan out for your business.

The best approach, of course, is to maintain a clear line of communication to the employees managing the accounts regarding the company’s expectations. Make it clear at the very beginning that the accounts created for the purposes of business belong to the company. They are communications tools just like laptops and cell phones, and the employee should understand that when they leave they must return all property. That includes Twitter accounts!

On the other side of the spectrum, companies must recognize that just like personal laptops or cell phones, a personal Twitter account stays with the individual. If you ask or require them to use their own equipment or account for company purposes, then you’d better respect their ownership of it.

This article originally written for http://crowdshifter.com

The January Social Checklist – 9 simple things you need to do NOW for 2012

by Jonathan Barrick

2011 was a tremendous year in the world of social communications. We saw the emergence of several new big players in social networks like Google+, Instagram and Pinterest. We also saw massive increases in the use of social by businesses, and a dramatic shift in the way we all interact online.

2012 is undoubtedly poised to continue down this path, and now is the perfect time to make a few simple but powerful tweaks to your online social presence. Here’s a handful of tips that can help you get off to a strong start in 2012!

1 – Consistent profiles

Make sure all of your personal profiles across all the social sites you use are consistent. It should be easy for your Twitter followers to identify you on LinkedIn at a glance, and across all other networks that you participate in. In addition, doing this will also tighten up how you present your personal brand.

2 – Reserve your usernames

You don’t need to use every new social site that starts up, but you never know which ones are going to be huge, so get in early on every site you hear about and register your account. This way you make sure to reserve the same username across all the networks out there, just in case. Again, the key is consistency.

3 – Get the apps

If you don’t have all the apps for all the networks you use, get them now. Easy access to your networks and real-time monitoring are crucial to making sure that you’re not missing anything.

4 – Set up your alerts

Google Alerts, TweetAlarm, and other notification services are extremely valuable to keep you in the know when the conversations turn to you or your company. And don’t forget that you can also use them for any topic that you’re interested in or passionate about. It doesn’t have to be all work all the time.

5 – Link to everywhere from everywhere

You should be able to get to any of your networks easily from your profiles. Some make this easier than others, but at the very least you should make sure that your main ‘hub’ of activity is linked to all your profiles, and all your profiles link to your main hub.

6 – Make a list of ‘Superstars’

We all have a group of individuals that we consider to be the best of the best. If you haven’t already done this, create a special list dedicated solely for those people on your favourite networks so that you can easily browse through the latest stuff posted and shared by your ‘superstars’.

7 – Register for key events

Don’t wait until the last minute to sign up for those events that you really want to attend. Register now, and make the commitment. The last thing you want is to miss out on an event that could be a great opportunity to learn and network with other awesome people.

8 – Plan out your essential reading

Check your ‘Superstars’ list for any upcoming books they may be authoring, or anything they may recommend that suits you, and make sure you add them to your reading list for the year. This also counts for blogs that you may stumble across as well. Make sure to keep your list up-to-date as you go!

9 – Choose your key metrics

Identify a handful of metrics that you will track throughout the year that will give you ACTIONABLE information you can use to improve. Everything you do has an impact, but being able to identify WHAT that impact was, and what it means for your brand or business is the key to making positive changes and adjustments as you go.

There you have it! A few simple tips that anyone can use. Hopefully you found at least one or two things here that can help you in 2012, and beyond!

This article originally written for http://crowdshifter.com

For Auld Lang Syne – 5 Resolutions to Help Make Social Media Better

by Jonathan Barrick

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Forget those stereotypical resolutions like losing weight, learning ballroom dance, joining a book club, or taking up piano lessons. This year you can make a real difference by choosing one of these simple, easy-to-follow resolutions that will make unicorns dance, kittens smile, and rainbows shoot out of your ears.

1 – I will never send a Twitter Auto-DM from this moment forward.

The auto-DM was a bad idea from day 1. People still do it. If you’re one of them, then this is the resolution for you!

2 – I will not do anything for the sole reason of ‘raising my Klout score’.

Doing stuff to raise your Klout score only benefits you. There are hundreds of other more worthwhile things you can do to benefit your entire community. Do those instead.

3 – I will not unfollow people simply because they didn’t follow me back.

Really? If you only followed someone because you hoped they’d reciprocate, what are you really trying to accomplish? Follow because you WANT to, and BE followed because THEY wanted to.

4 – I will include a personal message on every invitation to connect on LinkedIn.

Where do I know you from? Why do you want to connect with me? Who ARE you? Blind LinkedIn invites are a really quick way to get the recipient familiar with the location of the ‘Decline’ button.

5 – I will not be ‘too busy’ for my community.

Did someone ask you a question? Answer. Did someone comment on your blog? Respond. Did someone ask for your opinion? Reply. Do you want your community to think you are awesome? Then BE AWESOME.

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‘We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet, for Auld Lang Syne.’ Happy New Year to you all!

Retrospect – My 5 Favourite Personal Blog Posts from 2011

by Jonathan Barrick
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2011 has been a fascinating year for Marketers, and for me especially. Businesses everywhere are opening their eyes to the inescapable truth that social communications are now essential for success, and with this change comes a tremendous shift in the way businesses conduct themselves and communicate with their communities. Looking at the usage stats, this is hardly surprising.

Social communications are altering the way we do everything. Facebook, as the largest social network, has ingrained itself in to the daily life of virtually everyone in North America, in one form or another. Even if you personally don’t have an account (which seems highly unlikely), everyone around you does. We are ALL impacted in some way by social communications, and to deny it is simply naive. It’s changed the way we keep in touch with those in our lives. It’s changed how we express happiness and how we make our outrage known. It’s changed how we think about our personal privacy, and what our rights are.

It’s changed our culture.

Throughout the year, I’ve stumbled across hundreds of excellent insights written by hundreds of brilliant people. I thought about scouring my Twitter archive and digging up a handful of the most potent articles from the year, but I quickly realized that this would be a nearly impossible task. There’s simply too much good stuff to sort through. So, I thought I’d just go through my own stuff and choose a handful of my favourite articles that were no doubt inspired by all that great stuff. It’s an easy compromise, I suppose, but I’m ok with that.

So, here’s a short list of some of my own personal blog posts that I’m proud of this year. They’re not necessarily the most ‘commented on’, or the ‘most shared’ posts I wrote, but they’re the ones that really resonated with me when I wrote them. I hope you enjoy them!

1 – The Twitterized Classroom
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This article looks at how I attempted to use social communications to enhance the learning in a college classroom setting. Social media is stereotypically looked at as nothing more than a pervasive distraction by teachers, but I think the results of this might surprise you!

2 – Social Strategies for Uncommon Businesses
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This article was written for all those companies who look at Social Media and think “I get how it works for Starbucks, but what am I supposed to do for MY business??” There’s a lot of different options and approaches, so this is intended to help you choose where to begin.

3 – Powerful Brand Experiences – The Story of Two Coffee Shops
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I get a bit nostalgic in this one. I look at how brand-building goes beyond a logo or Pantone colour and consists of a complete sensory experience. My own experiences with two fantastic coffee shops illustrate just how strong these connections can be.

4 – 3 Lessons About Social Media Learned From Transformers
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This one was fun. Inspiration can be drawn from anywhere, and therefore anything can be turned in to an analogy. Here I take a few anecdotes from the classic ‘good robots vs. evil robots’ battle for the universe that helped define my childhood.

5 – Getting a Head-Start Through LinkedIn
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Historically, your career began on graduation day. Now? It begins the moment you set foot on campus for the first time. The connections you make, the activities you participate in, the internships you take, and the faculty you impress are all part of building your ‘personal brand’.

Well, there you have it!  2011 was a tremendous year in marketing, and I foresee 2012 being even better! This ‘social’ roller coaster hasn’t even crested the first hill yet, and I’m pretty sure we’re in for one heck of a ride next year!