5 warnings about social media dog food.

What happens when you don’t know what components make your business?

If I told a professional chef that they had to make a five course meal using ingredients they’ve never seen before, the reality is that most professionals would gracefully decline the job.

In the world of social media I see things on a weekly basis that didn’t exist before.

My entire profession is about testing ingredients, selecting best practices, finding old ingredients that work with new spices, realizing my old ingredients went bad, or simply being a food tester.

On the other hand: when I am doing competitive research I often analyze, audit, dissect, quantify, and classify the food other people are serving. In many cases I’ve bought a few meals for myself and explored the menu, or asked a few other patrons what they thought about the food.

What this has taught me…

Be warned: there is a lot of dog food being served right now…
and even the dog food lies about using real meat.

The connection to this metaphor is simple:

1- If a salesman sells you dog food, don’t forget it is dog food.

It probably won’t kill you… but I can guarantee it is made of the cheapest things you could possibly find. Sales professionals are notorious for making dog food seem like it is better than sliced bread. If you try to pass it off to your guests as expensive meat pate, good luck formalizing the apology when they discover the truth.

2- Just because it comes in a pretty package doesn’t mean it isn’t dog food.

You can creatively design a package for anything. In today’s marketplace that means hiring questionable sales people (think Yellow Page / Insurance Sales) or even spend more money on the promotional container than the dog food is worth.

Dog food under any other name is still dog food.

3- Don’t mistake the social media dog food when it is being endorsed by people who drank the social media kool-aid.

A lot of things happen when someone spikes the fruit punch at the party and common sense gets thrown out the window. In many cases the most vocal evangelists drank WAY TO MUCH kool-aid and have become oblivious to what they are saying (and who they are saying it to.)

4- The dog food being eaten by some of the evangelist isn’t dog food.

Did you ever have that experience as a kid when someone challenged you to eat something gross and later found out they were eating something else? Many evangelist don’t eat dog food they talk about (they may act like they do, but the reality is they had a nice New York Steak for dinner.)

5- If you are trying something new, recognize your capabilities and the potential risks.

If you are going to eat it: be aware of experimentation. If you have a weak stomach or a heart condition, it isn’t advisable to do your own food testing.


Dog food can keep you alive.
The fact is you can save a lot of money feeding dog food to an entire army of people.

SIMPLE: Don’t serve dog food to the community.

If you are feeding cheap dog food to your army (it could be clients, employees, investors, etc) – one day someone will realize what they are really eating and tell everyone else.  This isn’t a survivable scenario… your army will revolt and try to burn your company to the ground.

If you had a warning that should be put on a can of social media dog food, what would it be?

Social Media Benchmarks, metrics and data that count.

When moving forward with a social media strategy, it is important to understand the value of having social media benchmarks regarding where you are at and where you want to be. If you do not set these benchmarks in the initial stages, you will fail to have accurate and measurable impacts.

To accurately capture and maintain brand ownership, these social media benchmarks will help identify how to capture related sites and entities around specific keywords and brand terms. There will be dozens of ideas to consider (basic ones include Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and Slideshare.)  Additional profile sites and community accounts will be created on a case by case basis in support of campaign usage, search engine optimization, and brand ownership.

Over time these social media benchmarks will provide a system to monitor your progress, prove value, make alterations and maximize return. Read more

Social Media Strategy – Understanding Your Team

The idea of an effective social media strategy is very complex, yet brutally simple.

Like many challenges, it really has to do with understanding your team.

Everyone has a talent, but not everyone has a perception of what that talent is or how they can grow it into a useful professional skill.

To help understand this thought, consider this example:

You work next to someone for years and they seem to be perfectly capable business people. They show up at meetings on time. They seem to always meet the core duties of the job.

Day after day you become accustomed to this level of professional expectation. Co-worker XYZ becomes a cog. You start losing track of them as having special skills. You think of them in terms of performing a task, over and over again.

Then one day, usually at a holiday office party, the same co-worker casually walks into the room with a guitar and begins to play it.

To your shock and surprise… they are actually really good.

Almost immediately everyone in the party is saying comments like
“holy smokes, I never knew they could do that!”

Question: How many people in your company have hidden talents? Read more

Strategic Social Media, from Disney with Love.

Two weeks ago I had the privilege of presenting digital media at Disney Interactive in partnership with the Washington Technology Industry Association. As expected, we sold out the event and had a variety of executives from Washington businesses in attendance.

Three of the largest “wrap your mind around it” items are covered on slide three, four, and sixteen (detail below) – along with a partner brainstorm and diagram sheet on slide twenty. The full deck is included below.

SLIDE THREE: Growth of Conversation. Is a simple visual really: from 2007 to 2009 we have seen 342 million conversations grow to 588 million. That percentage shift is noteworthy, but the larger trend to look at is how much of the conversation shifted from being “on site” to “off site”- this is the magic shift that identifies how the audience has seized control of communication channels.

[stextbox id=”info”]Keep in mind: that these users come from all sorts of digital niches. They break the traditional model of communicating with local people, and represent transmission of information across cultural, financial, legal, and geographic borders. [/stextbox] Read more