Category Archives: Social Media

The Power of Social Networks

A quick look at my social network on July 4, 2011. Via Mention Map.

Over the past couple of weeks, there’s been a discussion going on about the power of social networks and changes in marketing due to this power.  I got involved in the conversation when I read and commented on Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu‘s blog about “a different kind of Social Media – finding a language”.  The discussion continued with Ric Dragon‘s post about “The Power of Small Groups in Online Marketing“.  As the conversation continues, I thought I’d add some of my thoughts and experiences with this power.

Marketing isn’t just for marketers.

In the age of social media, everyone becomes a marketer.  Companies need to realize that their employees are on Facebook and Twitter and are leaving impressions of their brand, however positive they may be.  I think some form of social media marketing training and standards will be important for all, even it it’s as simple as ensuring that everyone understands your vision.  It is a balancing act for organizations as they need to allow employees to be themselves and honest, while protecting their brand.

Traditional marketing needs to adapt.

I’m not a marketer and won’t pretend to be an expert, but I know how I make decisions on what company I want to do business with.  I rely on the referrals of “real” people.  I think a lot of others do as well, if the popularity and growth of sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor are any indication.  People can also ask hundreds (or thousands) of friends or followers on FB or Twitter for real-time recommendations before they buy.  Marketers need to find a way to interact in a “real”, genuine way with potential clients online.  Companies like Best Buy and Zappos, who allow their employees to blog and answer customer questions online may have some great best practices to follow.

Quality is more important than Quantity.

A lot of people seem consumed by getting more followers or more hits to their blog.  If there’s not value in the numbers, though, they’re only numbers.  What I mean is it doesn’t matter how many followers you have if they aren’t adding value to your purpose or you to theirs.  It doesn’t matter how many people click to your blog if they aren’t reading it, engaging or remembering it.  I have found in my brief time in social media that the most value I get is from engaging in conversations with others – not the masses, but a few intelligent people who challenge my thinking with different views or agree and add to my own thoughts.  This engagement with others is where the rubber really hits the road with social media.  And it’s also why corporate blogs written without an opportunity for genuine 2-way communication may do more harm than good.

A small network of the right people can make a big difference.

In his book “The Tipping Point”, Malcolm Gladwell writes about the “Law of the Few”. He says “The success of any kind of social epidemic is heavily dependent on the involvement of people with a particular and rare set of social gifts.”  There are three types of “socially gifted” people Gladwell describes: Connectors, Mavens, and Salespeople.  In my short time blogging and being actively engaged in Twitter, I’ve been fortunate enough to meet amazing people with these gifts.

Connectors are the people who seem to know everyone. They have a knack for making friends and acquaintances, and they are especially gifted at bringing people together.  Mavens.  These are the “information specialists”.  They have and continue to gain vast knowledge and they share it with others.  Finally, Salesmen are persuaders.  Something about how they say things makes you want to agree with them.

A few of the Socially Gifted people I’ve met on Twitter:

Kevin von Duuglas-Ittu encompasses all of these traits.  He is happy to introduce people with like interests, he’s a brilliant social media expert who’s happy to share insights and knowledge, and his thought-provoking blog not only forces you to think, but makes you want to agree with him.

Josepf Haslam is a social media maven.  He knows SEO and how to use it strategically to drive the right traffic to your blog.  And the best part is he’s open to teaching you how to do it.  As I write this, his recent tweaks to Peggy Fitzpatrick‘s (an amazing Connector, by the way) blog are likely driving more traffic to her site.

Finally, a big shout out to Connector-extraordinaire Michele Price.  I’ve personally seen the impact this powerful communicator has.  While I’ve been blogging for several months now, I was averaging 15-25 hits on my blog per day.  One day in June, Michele tweeted that she was looking for a new blog to read, and I sent her a post I had just written, about how to deal with people you don’t like.  Michele read the post, commented on it, and tweeted it to her followers.  That day, I had almost a hundred hits on my blog, and several comments. (This may not be a lot to you mega-bloggers, but for me it felt like a tipping point!).  Not only does Michele have a large network, her opinion is trusted, so they agreed when she said my post was worth reading.

Wondering if you’re a connector?  Take Gladwell’s quick test here.

I am still learning a ton about social networking, and enjoying the journey.  I anticipate changes and am excited about what opportunity they will bring for those who embrace and engage with their network.

What do you think about the power of social networks?


Posted by on July 4, 2011 in Social Media


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More on Twitter’s fluid leadership and global impact

Recently, I posted some quick info about the history and concept of Twitter, as well as a link to a Biz Stone interview.  Click here to read it.  One of the things I find fascinating about Twitter is the fluid, team effort that goes into running the company.  Biz talked about how the three co-founders, himself, Jack Dorsey, and Evan Williams, sort of swap in and out of the role depending on the needs at the time.  Ego just doesn’t seem to factor into the equation.

Dorsey, Williams, and Stone have also turned down substantial offers for Twitter, knowing that there’s more for them to accomplish with it.  Biz talked about the global impact and the positive change that can come from the info-sharing site.

Check out this article from Fast Company (click here) – an interview with Jack Dorsey – some of the same themes come up.  These three are very innovative – I can’t wait to see how Dorsey’s new mobile credit card idea, Square, works out!


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The Passion Factor in Success

As you would know if you read the “About” section on the site, I strongly believe that in order to achieve success, you have to engage not only people’s minds, but also their hearts.  I think not only is this true in engaging customers and employees, but that it’s also critical to success in selling a product or starting a business.  Lately, as I’ve been reading and listening to business leaders, this has been extremely prevalent in what they credit their success to.

I recently re-read Jim Collins book Good to Great – a must-read for anyone who is interested in achieving greatness in business.  One of the concepts discussed in the book is the Hedgehog Concept.  It truly hits the engagement nail on the head.  The key is in the intersection of three circles – What you are deeply passionate about (I’d call this emotional engagement), what drives your economic engine (rational engagement), and what you can be the best in the world at (I think of this as a bit of both).  Through Collins’ extensive study, he found that companies who were able to reach long-term success focused on all three of these.  Simply knowing rationally that a business will be profitable is not enough – you must truly be passionate about it in order to achieve.

Three very successful business people stand out in my mind when I think about this concept of passion about business – Donald Trump, Tony Hsieh, and Biz Stone.

Donald Trump has said that he would never sell a product that he wasn’t passionate about.  He’s quoted as saying “Without passion you don’t have energy, without energy you have nothing.”  Trump himself is extremely passionate about real estate, and has created wild success in this area.  He frequently speaks about passion during his hit show, “The Apprentice” as well.  It’s easy to see how Trump’s passion creates persistence and ultimately helped to lead him to success.

Tony Hsieh is the founder and CEO of, which was purchased by Amazon in 2009, but which he still runs as CEO.  In his book, Delivering Happiness , Hsieh talks a lot about his passion for his business, and tells a compelling story of one of his earlier ventures, LinkExchange, and how, once the passion and excitement was gone, he knew it was time to leave.  He is extremely passionate about the corporate culture at Zappos, and in fact, Zappos’ successs is build on this as its #1 priority.  The company’s purpose is “delivering happiness to the world”, and employees, customers and visitors to Zappos certainly attest to that achievement.  This is apparent in the fact that, even after being acquired, Zappos actually moved up 8 slots in Fortune magazine’s “Best Companies to Work for”, to 15th on the list.

In the final chapter of his book, “End Game”, Hsieh writes about pursuing the goal of happiness and about the science of Happiness, according to various researchers.  It’s a great read, and very connected to the concept of engaging Hearts and Minds.  I loved this book, and was truly inspired by Tony Hsieh’s ability to mission being accomplished.  Hsieh’s story and the success of Zappos are truly inspirational, and a perfect case study of the Hearts and Minds strategy of engagement.

Finally, very recently, Biz Stone, one of the three co-foudners of Twitter, was recently interviewed by Howard Stern.  I wrote about some of the points from his interview in a recent post – to read that post, click here.  Biz talked about an earlier venture, called Odeo, which was essentially an easy way to create podcasts.  He and his partners had plenty of venture capitalists invested, the product was effective, but they weren’t “emotionally invested” in it.  For that reason, they took a couple of weeks to develop something that was “totally different, and “more fun”.  They developed the concept of Twitter.  Biz is passionate about Twitter making a difference globally and this passion translates into great success.  Twitter has received several offers of acquisition but the cofounders believe they have more to develop in order to achieve Twitter’s potential.

Passion in your product or business is essential to achieving true success.  Without it, your venture may achieve results, but in the long-term, it will not help you through to the higher purpose which we all look to.

My question to you: What are you passionate about?  How can you turn that into a business?  If you can do that, you will be well on your way to success!


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Don’t “get” Twitter? Facts from Biz Stone Interview on Stern Show

Last week, Biz Stone was on the Howard Stern show, and shared some of the background of Twitter and his view on it.  Even for people who are absolute non-fans of the Stern Show, this was a great interview!  Biz is one of the three co-founders of Twitter (including Evan Williams and Jack Dorsey).  I thought I’d share some of the info, straight from Biz himself, for those of you who don’t subscribe to satellite radio (which I recommend!).  To listen to the whole show (it’s about 45 minutes but worth it) click here.  Thanks to Matthew Keys for posting (@producermatthew on Twitter,

  • Twitter was developed because the three co-founders were involved in a company that they weren’t emotionally invested in, so they wanted to develop something more fun and
  • Twitter started in 2006.  At that point, Facebook was still only for college kids.
  • The original idea of Twitter was to build onto mobile texting, which was built into every mobile phone, and was already big in Europe.
  • The reason Twitter only allows 140 characters is  so that the entire tweet plus your name (up to 20 characters) fits into the 160 characters on a text
  • The 140 character limit forces tweeters to be brief and say something interesting without losing readers
  • Twitter has become “following your interests” – Biz Stone
  • On Twitter, as opposed to Facebook, you don’t need to know someone to follow them – there’s no “request” for friendship.
  • Picture posting on Twitter is getting easier – if you use the iPhone, there’s a camera icon to share photos.
  • The “quote tweet” feature allows people to say why they’re retweeting someone’s tweet.  It’s now available on iPhone and iPad apps.
  • Twitter has “become this living, breathing thing that needs what it needs when it needs it”.  The three cofounders actually “trade off” responsibility for the company depending on what it needs at the time, and whose strength that is.
  • Twitter’s cofounders turn down many acquisition offers because they feel there is a lot of potential to create global impact and build Twitter into a real, lucrative business.

I’ve come to love Twitter – it’s where I get my news, research current trends in business, and follow my favourite entertainers.  It’s a great way to network with other with similar interests and develop your personal brand.

Follow me at my personal twitter account.

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Posted by on April 3, 2011 in Social Media, Technology


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