Tag Archives: Technology

Return on Networking – the ROI of Social Media (guest post)

I was never a fan of the cocktail party-variety networking scene. I will never be one to dart around a room shoving business cards into people’s hands. I prefer meaningful conversations with people, getting to know them and vice versa.

But social media networking? That’s something different altogether. Done right, it’s never a hit-and-run. Rather, it consists of building relationships over months and even years by sharing information – both professional and personal – through posts, comments and responding to questions in various online communities.

What’s the return on investment, the ROI, for putting that kind of time into social media? Actually, it’s called the RON – the “return on networking.”

And for me, it’s huge.

I’ve been on Facebook for five years; I also have Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn accounts, among others. All totaled, I’m now approaching 100,000 friends, followers and connections. Those followers expose my name and message to their audiences every time they “like” one of my posts or share one of my links. Recently, someone re-tweeted something I’d shared on Twitter – he had 130,000 followers! That’s a potential audience of 130,000 people I likely would have never reached otherwise.

Talk about exposure!

Who knows how many of those people may someday become my clients? Who cares? I’ll still consider the exposure a good return on networking. Here’s why.

The RON of social media isn’t always tangible, not immediately, anyway. By establishing a continued presence online through regularly sharing content of use to my followers, I’m building my platform and my reputation as an expert. That grows in surprising ways – and it lives in surprising places.

A recent case in point: Late last year, I got a call from a prominent New York City hair stylist, the director of a salon in one of that city’s premier department stores. He wanted to talk about some publicity needs and what my company could do to help him.

When I asked how he got my name, he explained he’d written some books over the years with a co-author, and she’d heard me at a speaking engagement.

Well, that made sense. Speaking at conferences is still a great way to get your name out while also building credibility.

But the next thing he said came as a complete surprise.

“So, then I contacted the corporate office (of the department store chain) and asked what PR agency they would recommend.” And they recommended me and my company!

I don’t know a soul in the corporate offices of that high-end retail chain. I can only guess they learned of me through social media.

Just being on Twitter or Google+ isn’t enough, of course. You have to make a diligent effort to regularly post content that people find valuable, including links to informative articles, tips relevant to your topic, and/or informed insights on topics in the news.

You also have to “be a human,” as our lead social media strategist, Jeni Hinojosa, likes to say. She and our other social media producers encourage clients to send photos when they go on vacation, celebrate milestones or engage in hobbies. Posting those photos with a comment adds a personal touch that allows followers to connect on a more emotional level.

Our social media producers also make sure clients’ personalities shine in their posts, showing their sense of humor and letting followers in on the other things they care about, whether it’s victims of a natural disaster or a favorite charity.

Interaction is equally important. Strive to respond to every comment or question posted on your networking sites. Interacting is engaging, and people who are engaged tend to be happy followers. The more you take part in conversations via comments and responses, the more lively and visible your presence becomes.

The RON includes increased traffic to your website; increased trust in your brand and what you’re selling; and greater word of mouth than you could ever hope for by attending a cocktail party or even a speaking engagement.

About Marsha Friedman

Marsha Friedman is a 23-year veteran of the public relations industry. She is the CEO of EMSI Public Relations (www.emsincorporated.com), a national firm that provides PR strategy and publicity services to corporations, entertainers, authors and professional firms. Marsha is the author of Celebritize Yourself and she can also be heard weekly on her Blog Talk Radio Show, EMSI’s PR Insider every Thursday at 3:00 PM EST. Follow her on Twitter:@marshafriedman.

my blogging adventure continues

For those of you who have been following me for the past few years or more you will know that a big part of my journey in social media and content marketing started when I was a contributor and Toronto Community Manager with Techvibes. It was a fun time in 2009/2010. I learned a lot and met a ton of great people.

Well, that journey continues with itbusiness.ca. for the past year, I have been sending contributions to Canada’s technology and business publication. Recently, I was formally invited to participate as a contributor. Some of you may have even seen me re-post some of my articles here.

The focus of my submissions to itbusiness.ca will be the business implications of social media. So if you have any questions that you have or larger themes you would like me to cover feel free to ask me on my Twitter account.

In the meantime, I’m still actively building thirdocean into Canada’s premier social media agency.

Top Ten Reasons To Attend #PCTO13 This Weekend in Toronto

PodCamp Toronto 2013 is almost upon us. For myself, PodCamp, or PCTO has a special place in my heart. This will be my fifth year attending. The first year I went to learn how I could help a non-profit use social media to increase their reach and fundraising. The second year I presented on Community Management from my learnings leading a national tech-news website’s successful foray in to Toronto.

This year I’m attending because of 10 simple reasons.

1.) Learning. There is always something new to learn even if you think you know everything. And if were like me 5 years ago, there will also be something for you too.

2.) Friends. Over the past five years I have met many people who are now partners, associates and friends. PCTO is a great place to meet everyone in one place.

3.) Networking. Many of Toronto’s (as well as visitors from miles away) top digital influencers and marketing professionals will be in attendance. What beter way to grow my knowledge than by hanging around with these people.

4.) New talent. As a partner with thirdocean I am always looking for young, bright and enthusiastic people who are looking to make their mark in this world. If you’re one of these, make sure to seek me out and say hello.

5.) Speaking. Although I’m not scheduled to speak at PCTO this year, I am keeping my options open. If someone wants me on their panel or needs someone to interview, I am available. Hit me up on Twitter.

6.) Clients. Whether I can learn something that can help out a current client or meet someone who ends up being a client, PCTO is a great place to be. People will be attending to learn. And if I can help someone out, then all the better.

7.) Podcasting. Although I have hosted podcasts and shows on YouTube for more than 2 years, I still feel like I don’t know what I’m doing. One of my manin goals is to meet someone who can help me go from “zero to hero” in the world of podcasting.

8.) Carolyn Van. She’s my business partner and on a panel. So I have to go and support her. Or heckle her. Depends on how I feel. 🙂

9.) The Sessions. How could I not put the sessions here. I’m sure there will be sessions during this weekend that sound so outrageous that they deserve to be attended. Like this one. What does “GTFO” mean, anyways?

10.) I’m kinda helping out. I wasn’t with the organizing committee from day one. But I recently hopped on board to lend a hand. Why? I really enjoy PCTO and it has a special place in my heart.

These are my Top Ten Reasons To Attend #PCTO13. What is your reason that you’re attending?

3 Music Streaming Services To Discover New Tunes

I love listening to music at home, in the car, in my ear buds, at home and even at live concerts. And of course I love social media. Which is why I helped organize MusicConnectTO a few years back:

[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/16837473 w=500&h=281]

Today, let me share with you my 3 favourite music streaming services and why I like them. In no particular order:

Mediazoic

Mediazoic was founded by my friend and cousin-in-law, Greg Nisbet. Mediazoic’s internet radio system allows individuals and organizations to create, customize and deejay their own internet radio stations as they create playlists, have complete control over the look and content of their station(s), and distribute a graphic “tuner” pointing to their station(s) anywhere on the web. The best thing about these stations is that tend to change every week and almost every time I have no clue who I’m going to listen to. It’s one of the best music discovery sites out there.

My favourite Mediazoic station is New Canadian Music (click on link for a link to the player)

New Canadian Music

Songza

Songza is my station of choice if I’m with a group of people with different music tastes. There are professional curated playlists and even one’s put together by fand and friends. My favourite feature is picking music based on the day of the week, time of day and what I’m doing. Hat tip to Karim Awad from big time design for pointing out this website out to me.

Grooveshark

Grooveshark is my old-faithful. I’ve been using this service to listen to my favourite new and old music since as long as I can remember. I have the ability to search for music, create my own personal playlists and listen four hours without hearing the same song. Grooveshark is the only place online where I have found that I can listen to all my favourite Neil Young songs for a whole day without ever hearing the same song twice!

What are your favourite music streaming services?

Does Vine have it’s first Vine-Superstar?

I say yes. And his name is Adam Goldberg.

Many of you might know Adam from movies such as Saving Private Ryan and A Beautiful Mind.  Adam also happens to be an accomplished musician, designer and director.

And now, he’s using Vine as a creative outlet and to showcase his creative talents. (If you’re curious about Vine check out the blog post I wrote on my company website.)

Which is a good thing. He’s not making videos of cookies being eaten or cats playing with dogs. Not that I have anything against dogs. It’s those darn cats I can’t stand…

And Adam will not be alone for much longer. The Vine platform and format is simple to use. For anyone.

All you need is 6 seconds. A 6 second movie. About anything you want. Think about it. How many people wish they could create a viral video on YouTube? Many. But it’s not really the viral video people are interested in making unless they use the platform for business – “Hey Karim, can you make me a viral video?”

People are interested in the creativity of these videos. However, the masses have been stopped as a result of a continuous raising of the bar. With Vine, the barrier to entry is fixed. And it’s low. Only 6 seconds. Imagine what you can come up with in 6 seconds. Now all you have to do is grab your smartphone* and away you go.

What will you create in 6 seconds?

* = currently Vine is only on the iOS platform. 

Vine – the newest social network

Vine seems to be all the rage these days – It is the video equivalent of sharing your life 140 characters at a time. And yes, it’s owned by Twitter.

I consider myself an early adopter so I looked forward to downloading and testing this much-talked about app this past week.  At the moment, Vine is available on the iOS (Apple products) OS.

I’ve also had the opportunity to play with the app previously with Andrew Jenkins.  Andrew was recently a guest of mine on thirdoceanTV.

In short, Vine enables the user to “create and share beautiful, short looping 6 second videos.”

Here are some early thoughts:

From a consumer standpoint, Vine has the characteristics to be sticky like Instagram:
– its easy as pie to use.
– connecting with larger social networks like Facebook and Twitter is seamless. This allows Vine content to be shared even with those who are not on the new platform.
– Vine is not just a video creation and sharing app; It’s a social network. When you create a video it automatically becomes part of all the other Vine videos. And the user can also consume these videos on the Vine platform.

To see some examples, check out some interesting user-generated videos on VineRoulette.

As a partner with thirdocean, I’m also interested in the implications of this new platform on how brands and agencies communicate and create new and interesting content. Geoffrey Colon wrote an interesting piece earlier this morning on Vine and why brands should be testing Vine. Here are his 5 reasons (in short and in my words):

1.) Test and Learn.
2.) We know visuals are more compelling than just text.
3.) Tell stories in 6 second snippets.
4.) Showcase your company and product.
5.) Tell stories of the people and the company they work for.

Obviously these are still early days. I’m sure there will be many case studies coming out over the next few weeks and months on the application of Vine both from a consumer and brand points of view.

A version of this article showed up yesterday on the thirdocean blog.

Windows Phone 8: TTC transit guru

One of the most used apps on my Windows Phone 8 is TTC transit guru. Made by Ikko systems Inc., this app has saved me time and also lowered my stress levels ever since I downloaded it.

TTC transit guru uses the real-time GPS systems onboard all the buses and streetcars to inform the user of the arrival times of any TTC vehicle at any stop (minus the subways).

Another feature I enjoy is the ability to save my most frequent stops. This allows me, with the tap of just a couple of icons to know when my next bus is coming.

Here are some additional features:

– An amazingly clean and simple interface (Metro really is a more enjoyable mobile OS than any other I’ve used before).
– Find your location on street map and your nearest stops
– Slide map to select any stop
– Real time GPS arrival times of next 5 buses
– Search route list and all stops along route
– Pin your favourite stops to your home screen (Another amazing feature of Metro)

What’s your favourite Windows Phone 8 app?

The World According to Tweetping – 140 characters at a time with Twitter

If you ask my wife, she will tell you how massive of a fan I am of Twitter. One of the reasons is that it is a quick and efficient communications platform that can be used by anyone, anywhere with a mobile phone, tablet or computer. Not too long ago she finally opened her own Twitter account. I announced then that with her getting on Twitter, that everyone in the world must be on Twitter. I tell you this story to tell you how wrong I was and still am.

Not everyone is on Twitter. All one has to do is check out a new and very cool visualization tool called Tweetping.

Tweetping allows you to visualize, in real time, where Twitter is being used globally. One of the things that struck me right away was how dark most of Africa and Asia was. Here are some other observations:

  • At approximately 3pm EST, Europe is more active on Twitter than all of North America
  • Brazil heavily dominates the use of Twitter in South America
  • In Canada, most of the use is along the corridor between Windsor and Quebec City
  • In the United States, the east coast is busier than the west coast.

Tweetping is built as an open source project and was created by Frank Ernewein. Check it out.

GROW now in Toronto – #GROWtalks

The team that produces the GROW Conference is bringing a piece of GROW right to Toronto. GROWtalks Toronto (http://www.growtalks.com/events/toronto/) is a conference built for startup teams and it will take place February 21st at Ryerson. There’s a great list of out of town and local speakers coming out for the one conference including Brant Cooper (Co-Author, Lean Entrepreneur), Laura Fitton (HubSpot), Dan Martell (Clarity), Kate Rutter (LUXr), Scott Kveton (Urban Airship), Danielle Morrill (Referly), and more.

It’s rare we get this many awesome out of town speakers at one venue and we’ve been told there will be opportunity to not only hear from these speakers, but also to ask them questions and to talk to them throughout the day.

Here’s a special $145 price for the full day event. Register here: http://growtalks-toronto-linkedin.eventbrite.com with discount code “linkedin”

thirdoceanTV – in conversation with Andrew Jenkins

The following interview with Andrew Jenkins first appeared on the thirdocean website. As many of you now know, thirdocean is a boutique social media and digital communications agency that I am partner with. I also have the privilege of being the host of program called thirdoceanTV.

Andrew Jenkins is an emerging technology strategist with Volterra Consulting. Over the last five years, social media strategy has become an increasingly larger part of the work that he does. His focus goes beyond social media campaigns to the “operationalization” of social media and the ongoing efforts required to turn an organization into a social enterprise.

In this full episode, Andrew chats with me about:

– How he shifted from ICT consulting to social media consulting
– What is a social enterprise and what does it mean to operationalize social media
– Why banks and other financial institutions are interested in social media
– How banks measure Return On Investment (ROI)
– Why Twitter as a utility has become important
– What innovations we can expect in 2013

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJx_1UrAX-0?rel=0]

Connect with Andrew Jenkins on his website at www.VolterraConsulting.com and on Twitter at @ajenkins.

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