Brain Vibe

marketing muses to stay engaged

B2B Marketing Dilemma – It’s My Social Media Account!

Back in December I read an article regarding an employee of a British company that built up quite a following to promote his employer and then left.  The company sued, saying the account was their along with all the followers.  “Experts: Twitter account case may blaze new trails in social media law” CNN December 27, 2011

Personally, I’ve tried hard to keep my online presence separate from my employer (Trillium Software a Division of Harte-Hanks).  But, as we ramp up social media activity, there is pressure to blog, join LinkeIn discussions, tweet, and generally use our personal social media accounts to help promote the company.  The irony is that as the head of product marketing and programs it is my team, and yes me, that is encouraging this.  However, I’m a bit hesitant, and here is why.

My social media marketing manager is doing a lot of the promotion and monitoring for our campaign and social media bureau.  He uses his LinkedIn account primarily.  It brings up the challenge of separating personal goals and employer goals.  Remembering the article above, I suggested he create work identities that are specific to Trillium Software to avoid conflicts of interest and to help him maintain his personal brand.  Sounds easy enough.

Not so fast.

Twitter is fairly simple.  LinkedIn poses issues.  It seems he tried to set up a professional profile on LinkedIn and they shut it down.  I understand this reasoning and actually agree with it.  As I move around LinkedIn I am those truly trying to network have much more credibility in my mind than those just trying to sell me something.  Also, LinkedIn wants to ensure that they remain a network, not a marketing platform.  Their value is business relationships for jobs, career growth, and networking.  Promotion is secondary, even if lucrative.

  • So, what is a social media company representative to do?
  • Where do intellectual property right begin and end?
  • When will social media account management catch up with employer non-compete and IP trends?

There is a real disincentive to network as part of your job with the threat of legal action when you separate from your employer.  Even if the separation is amicable, why would an employee want to give up his/her account where they have built relationships and a network.  The lines are very blurred between personal and professional and right now, personal seems to be at a distinct dissadvantage.

Any suggestions on what you have done?


Filed under: b2b, personal brand, social media, social media marketing, , ,

Brand Identity – What Should You Care About?

A while back I got to thinking about shortened URLs and how that diminished an entities ability to brand and extend their identity.  Afterall, companies will spend a lot of money to buy back parked URLs to maintain their brand footprint.  It’s why people bought them up in the first place.  Well, it seems like I wasn’t the only one thinking about this as SEO experts criticize Digg and other website/blog aggregators, and even URL shortening services for hijacking website brands and traffic.  

logo-knowemWhat’s the next thing to worry about, who is using your username?  KnowEm is a service that helps you protect your user name and vanity URL across 120 popular social media sites.  Type in the user name you want to use and see where it is already being used.  If it is available, the service allows you to buy up the user name across the social media sites.

I know all the brand managers out there are going to be up in arms about this, but I don’t really see the point.  I’m not losing viewership because my blog is tweeted in a shortened URL nor am I losing followers.  In fact, I’m gaining readers and followers.  My user names across my social media properties don’t matter much because I offer up my real name when commenting or posting.  My sites are embedded in the profile name.  And, on social networks, it’s there in plain view my full profile for those that care. People will know who I am.  Besides, that’s what profiles are for, it’s not about the user name.  

Talking to a friend of mine on this, his opinion is that the social networks will shut this this down.  

[Paraphrase] Like Facebook policing its masses and kicking out spammers, parked user names aren’t contributing to the social network experience and will suffer the same fate.  Some may allow it initially to beef up their numbers.  Although, in the end it will be treated like spam.

The point of social media and social networking is building trust and interacting.  Brand isn’t about a logo or a name – those can change and do.  Brand is about an experience, trust, and connection.  Look at Twitter, it’s name has been stretched and morphed across a variety of tools that have hooked into its lead.  Twitter gets that these surrounding applications add to its brand equity and fosters it.  

Let’s focus on what matters, building relationships.

Filed under: networking, social media, , , , , , , , ,

A Word on Communicating

You been building up your personal brand through your career experience and now through social media.  It’s time to take that on the road.  Are you ready?

Public Speaking Personal Brand

I’ve been listening to a lot of webinars, watching YouTube clips of seminars, and attending seminars of late.  Speakers and topics are across a wide range from highly technical to media gurus.  What never fails to surprise me is how very few people that speak publicly, can do it well.  

Today when personal branding is getting all the buzz and it is more important than ever to promote yourself, it isn’t enough to stay behind a blog, comment, a tweet, or online network.  You still have to get out there and speak whether it is in front of event attendees, a meeting, or a job interview.    You can be the smartest one in the room, you can have the best information, but if you can’t deliver it without boring your audience, who cares?

Like it or not, in public speaking, image matters.  Poor delivery ruins your credibility.

20 Ways to Improve your Public Speaking

  1. Know what your audience should walk away with
  2. Tell a story
  3. Powerpoint decks are not your note cards or speech, they are your props
  4. Talk to your audience, not at them
  5. For large groups, pick a few people to focus on
  6. Be passionate about your topic
  7. Include stories and humor
  8. Interact with audience by asking them questions
  9. Get out from behind the podium
  10. Don’t read your slides, this is not a bedtime story
  11. Inject personality into your speaking, ditch the monotone
  12. Speak up
  13. 75% presentation, 25% Q&A/discussion
  14. Know your audience, research who is attending
  15. It is about the topic, not the sales pitch
  16. Enjoy yourself, smile
  17. Wear comfortable, but appropriate, clothes and shoes
  18. Be concise
  19. Tell people something they don’t already know
  20. Be prepared for the questions, anticipate what will be asked

Filed under: b2b, communication, personal brand, , , , , , , , , , ,

Online Personality: Who Am I Really?

For all of you that love finding out more about yourself through tests like Myers-Briggs, now you can see your online personality.  A new tool from HubSpot, Personality Grader, allows you to enter in your name and it will pop-up an overall personality score plus scores across 4 areas.  It is as easy as putting in your name and getting a result. Scores come with why you were scored in such a manner and how to improve.

Frequency – Online usage
Sentiment – demeanor in online interactions
Reach – overall network
Intelligence – how smart you come across

HubSpot Blog:  Personality Grader Makes Marketing Less Manic

I tried it out.  I plugged in my name and I watched the program as it told me it was sifting through Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook wall, Flickr, Blogs.  Then it spit out my score.  Some of my ratings I saw some validity in, others I would argue against.  

So, I wondered how did it know one Michele Goetz from any other Michele Goetz online.  If you search my name on Google I find at least 3 including myself with presence.  Going back to the HubSpot Blog  the answer to this from Dharmesh Shah:

“This was a difficult one to solve.   What we ended up doing is putting in some Javascript code so we could watch each character of the name as it is being typed.  Based on the typing speed, the application determines which of the “candidate” profiles that match the name have the highest probability of being a match.  For example, if you type really slowly, it is unlikely that yours is the account with 17,000 twitter updates.  It’s not perfect, but we’ve found that this is close enough for our purposes. We’ll continue to refine this part of the software.”

Alright, let’s see what happens when I change the speed of my typing. No change.  

If you think about it, what this tool is really trying to help with is personal brand.  So I tried variations of my profile from user names to email addresses and behold, different scores.  What I wonder is if Michele Goetz accounts for aggregation of the right user names and emails in the aggregation.

One last interesting thing, I figured I’d plug in some well known online brands and check out the results.  I’ve included the links below. Let me know what you think – are they correct?  

Also, try entering these names in lower case letters and watch the difference.  Facebook was hilarious.  For Intelligence it said, “Your evaluation indicates that your intelligence is average; engaging in more meaningful conversations and sharing less about your personal life may improve this grade.”

Filed under: metrics, social media, , , , , , , , ,

Personal Brand and Sponsorship: Test Against the 4 C’s


Blog sponsorship is a tricky thing for those that have built a livelihood around personal brand.  Forrester sees social media sponsorship as the future.  There has also been much talk about Chris Brogan and his sponsorship of Kmart.

The other thing that got me thinking on this futher is a post from Annie Petite.  She asked this question on LinkedIn.

“What’s worse on brand equity?  Huge market share and everyone hates you, or Teeny tiny market share and everyone loves you?”

Putting this all together makes me wonder if blog sponsorship is really a good idea when you spend a significant effort creating personal brand.  Your personal brand after all is about you and your expertise, capabilities, and ability to stand out from the crowd.  When you decide to leverage that personal brand and sponsor people/products/companies, it has the ability to tarnish that image.  Personal brand can be good, but it can also hurt you.

The success of a personal brand lies in 4 Cs.  Sponsorship should fit into this mix to enhance rather than detract from your brand.

  • competence – in topic area
  • credibility – to believability of brand
  • consistency – to brand definition
  • connectivity –  to your customer’s expectation

A really good use of personal brand is to look at golfer Tiger Woods.  He has built a reputation around sports excellence, golf.  It is not a difficult leap for consumers to recognize that if Tiger Woods sponsors Nike golf attire consumers are going to buy Nike golf attire to feel more like Tiger Woods.  In addition, Nike is all about sports excellence.  This brand partnership is an easy leap because there is continuity.  Later, Tiger sponsored Chrysler.  While this had nothing to do with golf, it did have something to do with pairing a luxury car with accomplishment, which is exactly what Tiger had achieved in life.

Extending your personal brand into sponsorships that conflict or is unrelated to the image and story you have created tarnishes can have a tarnishing effect.  At the very least you don’t help the one you are sponsoring because your pitch is unbelievable.  For you, you can be perceived as selling out and loose credibility.  Your sponsorship can be incongruous with your customer/audience base’s values and belief systems causing customers to re-think your value and integrity.  At a small level, consider the situation when you would be a reference.  You only want to be a reference when you truly believe that a person/company is of value and quality.  Otherwise, it can hurt your reputation in the process.  The same should be true when lending your personal brand to a sponsorship.

The tenet of social media is to change marketing and advertising from being the interrupter to being relational.  Sponsorship done well should also have this quality.  Don’t interrupt your personal brand with sponsorship make it enhance your brand.

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Filed under: social media, , , , , , , , , , ,



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