Saturday, September 24, 2011

Twitter Asks: What's The Difference Between A Duck?

This is a mashup of awesome photos from bradleypjohnson and Auntie P
Question asked at a recent social media seminar: What gets you more follows on Twitter, using hashtags or posting links? The questioner was in charge of her company's social media presence, and said she was anticipating this question from internal stakeholders.

The speaker was a bit flummoxed by the question, kinda like he'd been asked, "Do you still beat your wife?" or "What's the difference between a duck?" He did his on-the-spot best, but you could tell he knew something was wrong with the question. I couldn't quite figure it out at the moment, either.

After some thought, here it is:

That's like asking, "Do I make more friends when I wear high heels and a cocktail dress, or spike shoes and a golf outfit?"

Well, it depends on whether you're at a holiday gala or a golf outing.

Twitter isn't a system that you can game with metrics, hashtags and links. To quote Scott Stratten (I quote this a lot), Twitter Is People.

Use hashtags when hashtags make sense. Post links when they're relevant and of interest. That's what gets you followed.

Twitter is a lot like real-life networking, whether you're tweeting as an individual or a company. Dress appropriately, be nice, introduce yourself, listen well, try to be interesting, and when you can, be helpful without expecting anything in return.

Don't get me wrong, traditional marketers, it was a great question!

And the best answer is to question the question.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Chris Barger Reflects On 4 Years of Social Media At GM

Chris Barger Sums Up His GM Experience
I had an incredible opportunity to hear Christopher Barger, GM's outgoing head of social media, tell the story of how he built GM's much admired social media program.

He spoke to the Ann Arbor Ad Club, and afterward I had the opportunity to join him for dinner, along with our hosts from re:group, the Ann Arbor agency who sponsored the talk, and re:group's David Murray (@DaveMurr), whose friendship with Chris was instrumental in persuading him to share his experiences with us.

Chris' Social Media Journey

Chris is a social media pioneer:  he started out at IBM where, as a PR guy with a personal blog, he was tapped to bring IBM into social media. This was way back in 2004. It's a great story, and better told by Jennifer Leggio on the ZDNet blog.

From IBM, Chris went to GM.

The giant automaker kept calling him, but Barger said he had zero interest in moving to Detroit. Finally, GM said come on out and visit, and if you still say no, we won't bother you any more. Read more...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Lincoln's Mysterious TED@MotorCity Event Kicks Off Auto Show Week

Last night's stunning TED@MotorCity event, hosted by Lincoln at the Max Fisher Theater in Detroit, was a hit. Themed "New Tomorrows", the event's surprise A-list speakers delivered a succinct roundup of key ideas that will shape the future.

We heard from Thomas Goetz executive editor of WIRED, Dale Dougherty founder of MAKE and the Maker Faire, Craig Newmark of; Detroit poet Jessica Care Moore; Detroit journalist and author John Gallagher; and Lisa Gansky, author of "Meshed".

Poet Jessica Care Moore at TED@MotorCity in Detroit

There was a certain amount of mystery in the lead-up to this event... the invitation that materialized in our mailboxes stressed that it was non-transeferable, and asked,

"Please don't blog or tweet about this event," and "Please do not forward this link."

Really?! I can't make a Twitter avatar banner?

The invite said little about the evening's program, and gave no indication how we got on the list in the first place. So we were all wondering... separately... what the event would be like, who would speak, and who would be there.

Well, the event was first class all the way, with attentive staff, beautiful food, the Lincoln MKX and Lincoln's first-ever hybrid, the MKZ on display and available for test rides on legendary Woodward Avenue. A real Detroit Auto Show party. It was a much smaller crowd than TEDxDetroit, so the event had an intimate feel. And even the artists, makers and geeks dressed up a bit for it. Read more...

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Unmarketing, Uncensored: 12 Things I Learned from Scott Stratten

Author Scott Stratten (@unmarketing on Twitter) came to town recently to speak to Social Media Club Detroit while on tour promoting his excellent new book titled, of course, Unmarketing.

The best part about Scott Stratten is that he tells it like it is, whether you want to hear it or not. Before I knew he was a blogger and author, I remember coming across this tweet from him:

"When I see a tweet and it says "via Twitterfeed" (auto tweet program) I feel all unfollowey

Yeah, I thought! Me, too! And this tweet perfectly illustrates the foundation of Stratten's philosophy: If you want to be an effective social media marketer, first be a real social media user. Then, remain one.

Here are some of my favorite nuggets of social media wisdom gleaned from Scott's talk:

1. Twitter is people, and social media is talking. Forget this at your peril.

2. People do business with people they know, like and trust. This hasn't changed in hundreds of years. Social media is a way of getting to know, like and trust people online. Read more...

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Businesses, You're Already on Foursquare. Why Not Engage?

Working on a social media proposal for a bank today, I mentioned Foursquare in passing while concentrating on how they could leverage other platforms such a YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. Start with the basics.

Then, after reading this great post, I looked the client up on Foursquare and found that one of their branches was indeed there, with 2 visitors, each with about 20 friends. Which drives home the oft-quoted truism that companies already are in the social media space, whether they are participating or not. So why not join the conversation?

There's nothing inherently exciting or interesting about a neighborhood bank branch, yet with no effort on the part of the client, Foursquare had generated 42 impressions for them. How many more people could they reach with some effort? How easy would it be to tie some messaging to those impressions?

Think about how targeted and qualified the audience is. People who are checking in at the bank on Foursquare are already clients, who might be interested in other financial products. Their friends are most likely local, too, and are excellent potential customers.

Why not have a Foursquare promotion with a small giveaway on first check-in, say, a pen... imprinted with Interest Checking - No Fees! It's highly likely that this will generate comments specifically mentioning the Interest Checking pen,  and if the promotion gets even 30 more unique visitors checking in from Foursquare, with 20 friends apiece, that's 672 qualified potential customers who get the Interest Checking message.

And that's just one idea.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Yahoo Email Hack Strikes Again

 Update on my Yahoo email: It got hacked again, June 20 around 10pm. I had deleted my contacts after the first hack, so apparently only one spam email was sent, to myself, from myself. I would have gotten some bounce messages like last time otherwise. The spam was for Viagra. I was again able to log in and change the password.

Here's my original blog post for the back story on my Yahoo email hack ordeal.

Interestingly, after the first hack I changed my password to a 14 character mouthful of gravel from There is no way any password program could have cracked that password. Obviously there are security issues at Yahoo. Read more...

Monday, June 14, 2010

In Which My Yahoo Email Gets Hacked

My Yahoo email account got hacked, and Viagra spam was sent to all my contacts. Even the ones who don't need it.

I knew right away, because I am one of my own contacts, so I sent myself spam, plus got some bounced email notices in my inbox. I was able to log into Yahoo with my old password, and changed the password, and the Yahoo password recovery email address.

Then I set about changing all my passwords everywhere online, since the hacked account had my favorite password attached to it, as well as my favorite username. Dumb, dumb, dumb to use same username and password everywhere, I know! BTW, the password was pretty strong, but not super strong. This took 9 hours! I changed usernames where possible, passwords everywhere (using and linked online accounts to my gmail account, not yahoo email. Read more...