Match Assets with Objectives


One of the most common questions I’m asked is, “So, how are we doing?”. They’re asking about their social media efforts. I always reply with the same response, “I don’t know, what are you trying to do?”

Then they blink at me.

It used to be enough just to be active in social media, To have a Facebook page and Twitter following and watch those numbers grow. Then innovative organizations started dabbling in Instagram, or Pinterest, or Google Plus. I remember when G+ came out and I saw a number of sports teams launch a presence there – mostly just because they could.

There’s only really two platforms that don’t require an explanation for use in Facebook and Twitter. They are pervasive and have a reach beyond the platforms themselves (both are frequently discussed in other forms of media). No one’s gonna call you out for using them. But that’s where my point is stemming from…

Why are you using any social platform? What kind of content are you posting and to what end? Do you have an app – why? Do you sponsor an app – why?

Objectives first, assets second. Objectives should be tied to an over-arching marketing plan. There’s often a rush for Business Development teams to sell, for sponsors to be in the mix, for PR companies to commit the client’s budget – but to what end?

When you start with identifying objectives the rest of the path can become clear, as long as you know what each platform can do for you – but that’s a deeper dive…

Digital Leadership 2.0


When I first joined Twitter back in 2007, I followed a lot of different people. I was bullish very early on regarding social marketing, and a number of people who I followed helped to shape and reinforce my experience and opinion.

Over time, I began to find my own voice and at the same time, began to unfollow a number of those influencers – it was an evolution and a healthy one not unlike many “real world” relationships. Those days were a very optimistic time for the social media industry, when the arrival of tools like Facebook and Twitter were seen as a democratization of marketing where the tools of real-time, mass dissemination, “free” communication were at hand. The future was limitless, bright and fun. It was almost a revolution, as converts were continually faced with the challenge of having to “sell up” the benefits of social tools o the executive level.

Many digital leaders at that time were rife with appropriate optimism. Digital Leaders 1.0 were also inherently “cool” as these marketing practices were explosive and truly game-changing. Terms like “rock stars” were abound, with “killer apps” and strategies to “make your content explode”, we were a bit caught up in it. Rules changed over night, and the possibilities kept expanding.

But there is still this lingering evangelicalism that has been outpaced by the progress and acceptance of social marketing. The current landscape is not composed of renegades and rock stars, but professionals at all levels. I often see tweets continually punctuated with exclamation marks! Because everything is awesome!!! There is also this penchant for “life coach” type of advice; Tony Robbins-isms if you will.

Is it just me, or are these the kinds of people you avoid at parties or gatherings? Why aren’t more people rolling their eyes at this kind of activity?

I see effective leaders (in any industry/setting) as catalysts. This is a time for transparent experience when over 100,000 Twitter profiles claim to be social media experts. It’s time for a grounded approach, focused on business outcomes. We don’t need hype, what we do is not radical. A catalyst initiates and enables. A leader is not the hammer, it’s the nail. It’s time for Digital Leadership 2.0.

If you want to be a leader – don’t get in line, find your own voice. Start today.

Straight Talk on Social Marketing


I’ve got to say this – I’ve seen way too much fluffy language on social marketing for way too long.

Statements from very well known professionals that just ring empty for me, like the requirement for brands to “create value” through social marketing.

Other over zealous statements purporting that your “social score” (don’t get me started on Klout) is the “new credit score” are well, lets say debatable at best. I’ll take my credit score any day – which is based on real dollars, not the return on my “influence”.

What does it mean to”create value”, anyway? Just how are you supposed to do that? Well, that’s the tricky part… I used to provide sales training sessions back in the day and I’ve told countless sales people to “sell the value” of their product. This only goes so far… I approach sales in a completely different way now.

Don’t take these kinds of statements as “advice” – make your own logic. Determine your own goals. People (like me and others) can help you focus those goals and draw tools and platforms to help meet them. Taking a tactical approach is crucial here – How you get there depends on your business, your people, your market.

What I’m essentially saying here is to just keep it real. Don’t accept luke-warm ideals. Don’t set out to “create value”. Set out to achieve X. Set out to make Y. Set out to promote or build. Be specific.

You are in business. Businesses sell products or services. If you do that well enough, you’ll be able to establish a decent credit score. Take that to the bank.

Technology is (Barely) Half of What You Need


When it comes to being innovative, don’t look to technology.

All the greatest tools and gadgets can make things easier of course, but what it really takes is good ideas. And I feel the best ideas don’t come in isolation but from teams and groups. So the most important resource you need is people – Hands down.

Good teams can be built and they don’t just happen on their own. Teams shouldn’t be a by-product of company culture, but are what helps to produce the company culture itself. Good teams require the space (literally and conceptually) to become effective and produce results. The focus of building teams is the process to getting the ideas. Organizations need to create environments for ideas to take shape, get refined and move ahead.

And that is the key point – ideas aren’t worth much until they are turned into actions. Focus on creating teams that can function as idea generators, and then manage the process of having the ideas turned into actions and execution. Your digital execution is the technology – and we have come full circle

Lessons Learned in Digital Sports Marketing for Non-Sports Brands


The other night, I presented to a group of Vancouver entrepreneurs on the topic of social media – specifically on how non-sports brands can leverage the passion of sports marketing for their own brands.

It’s a topic that had been on my mind recently and I was happy to take advantage of the opportunity to speak at the event. I used to do presentations to entrepreneurs back when I lived in Toronto. When I started my business in 2005, I benefited from a great program that supported entrepreneurs so I’ve always been happy to give back.

The carry over to my blog is this – give back. The sports business is a niche to say the least. It’s tough to break into, and there are a lot of challenges despite its high-profile perception. I’ve always gone out of my way to support people I’ve worked with and recommend individuals for positions with teams. Like any business, sports is about people and networking is critical.

In addition, I always admire entrepreneurs and those people who go about building their own business. Building a career in sports or building a business requires tireless efforts, bouncing back from mistakes/rejection, adapting and growing. It’s about people and networking – so thank you for being a reader and let me know how I can help you.

Interview with the NHL’s Director of Social Media, Mike DiLorenzo


I first “met” Mike via Twitter during last year’s Penguins and Capitals playoff series. Since then, we’ve had a great dialogue about social media and the NHL.

Mike manages the NHL Fan Page on Facebook as well as the NHL on Twitter… and you can find him on LinkedIn as well.

I recently asked Mike some questions and will share those along with his answers below:

1. What’s in your social media tool kit (desktop clients or Bberry/iPhone apps)?

I am a social media simpleton.  I use CoTweet and OpenBeak for Twitter, and Facebook for Blackberry.  On the analytics side, I subscribe to a service called ViralHeat.

2. How did you get here/how did this job come about from the NHL?

This is my third season at the NHL, and I started as director of corporate communications.  Our senior VP of digital media, Perry Cooper, appointed me to lead a newly formed social media department at the start of the 2009-10 season.  I had been running point on social media stuff prior to that, so it was a natural transition to doing it full time.

3. Most rewarding moment you had over the past season from your perspective?

I was interviewed on behalf of the NHL by Josh Bernoff, who is writing a sequel to Groundswell.  I may wallpaper my bathroom with the pages from the new book that mention the NHL.

4. Where is the NHL going with social media? What are your/the NHL’s long term goals/ideas?

We are building windows into the NHL on 3rd-party sites, so we can expose fans to the game and capture a share of their minds when their not necessarily on or watching a game.  Our long term goal is to become more pervasive in the hearts and minds of fans in North America and beyond, and to give them many more reasons to spend time, energy and emotion with us.

5. Your blog, “From the blue seats“… where is this for you now?

I need to water it and put it in the sun before it shrivels up and dies!  I am hopeful that I will have more time to dedicate to it this summer and all of next season.  What I’d like to focus on is social trends in sports, and occasionally some opinion pieces on the game itself.  I am all ears if people have ideas.

6. Are you currently incorporating any league sponsors into your social media spaces, if so – how?

We promote all of our partner activations on our social media.  It’s an area that we’re becoming smarter and more sophisticated with, and are developing business models around.  Currently, we’re really excited about the Bud Light Canada Facebook app that’s out there right now.

7. The NHL has more followers on Twitter than Facebook fans – why is this?

When we were named to the “recommended user” list by Twitter, we were seeing very strong weekly growth rates.  Once Twitter changed the mechanics of the recommended list, our growth rate slowed.  Now, with the integration of the Like button on, we’re seeing hypergrowth on our Facebook page.  I don’t think it’s a referendum on the technographics of our fans, or our success/failures on one platform or another.  To me, it’s circumstantial.

8. How do you stay current on new tools and trends? What are you reading (online or otherwise) or who do you listen to?

I love to read Fast Company, and Lauren Goode’s stuff in the Wall Street Journal.  She is a terrific reporter.  Of course, MediaPost, Mashable and TechCrunch are must-reads, and I also try to stay current on industry analyst reports.  I also learn a fair amount from Gary Vaynerchuk, who has been an adviser to the NHL this season.  My favorite bloggers are Shannon Paul and Guy Kawasaki.  Truly, I wish I had more time to dedicate to reading up on Trends.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Information is Free


FreeBeware of sales resources that charge for information on social media.

Tools like Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook are free and hardly new. There is a great deal of information about their use and value for sellers available on the Internet. Charging hundreds of dollars for seminars and using terms like…

By this time next year, the gold rush to social media marketing will be near complete.”

… are misleading and false.

In addition, announcements like this one (eNewsletter focused on sales and social media) use sales techniques that are just plain cheesy and a turn off for many buyers. It just rubs me the wrong way and reinforces the sales stigma that I try to combat in my own training.

My Method

I freely share information to sellers, marketers or interested persons on what social media tools can do for them through this blog. My way is to share information that people may value and continue to follow. I appreciate this and their ideas/comments. Sometimes, those conversations turn into opportunities or projects – things that I do charge for, but only when it is for my direct services – not for information that is free to all.

Charging for such info flies in the face of what social media marketing is all about.