Can You Pass the Social Media Driving Test?

Maybe social media should be like driving. Yeah, if you’re planning to use social media to advance the objectives of an organization, them maybe you should have to take a test. It will be a simple test, but not an easy one, and it can be boiled down to two questions.

Stuart Miles,

Stuart Miles,

I’ve recently had conversations with a number of people from different organizations regarding their use of social media and I’m finding there is a high realization that, in one form or another, social media is key for connecting with an organization’s desired audiences. However, there is a lower apprehension for knowing how to accomplish that task. Frankly, I believe social media is a waste of time for many people who have waded into the social media waters. They’re spinning their wheels. Their social media effort amounts to spitting in the dessert and expecting an oasis to bloom. Continue Reading

Social media should be more than an add-on

Can you imagine a potter spending hours creating a beautiful pitcher then realizing he forgot to add a handle? The solution: slap a lump of clay on the neck and quickly finish it off. Crazy, right? But many organizations treat social media as if it is that lump of clay slapped on to the rest of their communications effort. If that’s you, here’s some advice. Put the social media down…and step away.

clay bottle

Many organizations are still behind the adoption curve regarding social media. In many cases it isn’t that they’ve resisted as much as they haven’t been in a position to aggressively pursue its addition to their overall marketing communications strategy. For instance, I’ve worked with some non-profits lately that simply haven’t had the resources to add personnel who can guide it, and other staff members have been too strapped for time to handle the additional responsibility–one they probably don’t fully understand. Continue Reading

10 Social media resolutions you need to make for 2014

It’s interesting how making New Year’s Resolutions never seems passé even though only 8 percent of people actually reach their resolution goals. However, here are 10 social media resolutions that would be worth striving for in 2014.

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1. Resolve to learn what each social media tool does best

Too many people and organizations still do not fully understanding the difference between social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. For instance, Facebook is great for community building and brand promotion. Twitter is great for rapid-fire conversations, plugging content on your website or Facebook page, and to pass along useful information posted by others. Each social media tool accomplishes something different. Learn the difference and use them effectively. Continue Reading

Social media: A hierarchy of feeds

Some people think social media isn’t for them, but it could be (and in fact I make the case it should be in “Social Media: Why get on it?). Social media has proven its worth in personally connecting with people, and in extending business opportunities. Consistent social media engagement isn’t that difficult, really…if you have a plan.

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In 1943, psychologist Abraham Maslow introduced his hierarchy of needs in a paper titled, A Theory of Human Motivation.His theories are most often represented by a pyramid divided into five horizontal sections, each representing an area of human development. Continue Reading

3 tips to keep your LinkedIn request from being ignored

Repeat after me: “LinkedIn is not Facebook for professionals.” Unfortunately, too many people transfer their friend-collecting Facebook mentality to connecting through LinkedIn and it is, well…annoying.


In fact, the approach is so annoying I now won’t accept an invitation to connect unless I already know the person sending the invite. Yes, you could say the unprofessional attempt to professionally connect has become a pet peeve of mine; kind of like when a car salesman liberally uses my first name as if we’ve been buddies since high school. It is unprofessional and makes me uncomfortable. Only thing worse is being called  “Honey,” and “Sugar,” by the lady who used to cut my hair. Continue Reading

Social media can’t do everything

Social media has transformed virtually every area of our lives. That’s an understatement, I know, but it is humorous to remember way back – oh, say five years ago – when curmudgeonly corporate execs and know-it-all pundits labeled social media as a fad. Unbelievably many still do, and they are becoming as relevant as cassette tapes.

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However, while social media is a force, it is also true it can’t do everything. The understanding of how social media benefits organizational communications ranges broadly. Some have leveraged its power for either their for-profit or non-profit organizations while others throw in a little social media and expect miracles. Hint: Social media is not pixie dust. Continue Reading

Leaders can improve employee motivation with these communication tips

I have a friend who got a Macbook Air for Christmas. It was given to her by the company for which she works and it gave every employee his or her choice of the latest Apple products (up to a certain amount). It wasn’t the first time this particular employer had done something like this. The Christmas season is traditionally marked by amazing generosity, but is annually opening the gadget closet the best way to motive employees?

Leadership and employee communications

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For a few employees the answer is, “Yes!” However, countless employee satisfaction surveys done over the past 10 years reveal material “blessings” occasionally showered from on high are no substitute for a consistently healthy work environment where people feel valued when it comes to motivating employees. President and CEO of Managed Medicaid Services Group, Richard Yardon, recently posted a short but accurate commentary about The Number One Way to Fail at Motivating Employees. The conclusion: incentives and employee values must be connected. Continue Reading

Is your social media marketer prepared to handle a crisis?

Social media marketing is all the rage with companies adding social media strategists faster than most people can hammer out 140 characters and send a Tweet. The rapid increase in available positions is testimony to the effectiveness of social networking in driving business and validates the millions of dollars shifted from traditional marketing strategies to digital strategies. But is the explosion in new hires exposing companies to crisis risk?

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I live in the Nashville, Tenn., area and a quick search of several job sites generated no less than 23 positions seeking social media marketing specialists. Only two of those positions were senior level positions like a digital marketing strategist. The remaining positions required, on average, two years or less experience. Translation: Companies are putting relatively inexperienced people in frontline customer interaction positions. Continue Reading

Content marketing done the “right” way

I found it humorous the other day when my brother-in-law was reminiscing about the early days of the Internet. He was just 12 years old when, “Welcome, you’ve got mail,” introduced itself to American culture. His point, however, was how everything has changed because of the Internet, most notably the way we do business.


Fast forward to 2006 when blogging was all the rage and Twitter was a newborn in diapers. A few people like Brian Solis were rightly prognosticating the future of social media and its impact on business, but it has really only been in the past three years that businesses are catching up. Unbelievably, some businesses haven’t yet left the social media marketing station while others simply don’t know there is a train to board. Continue Reading

Social media attacks: Are you prepared?

The most nefarious use of social media is when an individual or a group intentionally sets out to destroy someone else’s reputation or business. Shell Oil is experiencing some of the worst the World Wide Web community has to offer.

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The extremist environmental group, Greenpeace International, launched a Website (Arctic Ready) and Twitter account (@Shellisprepared) with the intention to damage Shell Oil’s drilling operations in the Arctic Circle and it’s corporate reputation. The Arctic Ready site very closely resembles Shell’s Arctic Circle site visually, and significant effort has been expended to craft faux news articles on the site to make the hoax even more believable. To some extent it has succeeded. A Youtube video added to the reality, but it was professionally staged down to the rehearsals. Continue Reading