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Inbound Marketing

3 Community Branding Lessons From the New iPad Mini Launch Event

MARCIO JOSE SANCHEZ/AP What I noticed most about the launch of the new iPad Mini by Apple Senior Vice President Phil Schiller this week is that he did not sell us on how this new device will change our lives. That's what Steve would have done.

He would have reenacted dreams of our childhood made real by this new device. He would have painted an irresistible brand picture for it that would make it feel like it belonged in its own category of product; something we hadn't already seen many times before. Instead we were sold on specs. There was certainly a romantic praise for the industrial design that Apple always deserves, but he gave us information, not religion.

Absent was a play to the emotional, personal experience that indicates a true understanding of what Apple customers want that Steve never missed. Was this device created because competitors' success indicated a demand for this type of device? Or did they build something that would make their buyers lives better? That's what Apple used to always strive for. That narrative was weak this time.

'Belonging' Strengthens Brand Communities

Apple taught us that we should build a community around our brands. They did it before social media and now they continue to do it without brand-generated social media. Despite their heavy use of traditional advertising and marketing they still connect with their community (advertising on social channels is not a very social use of media).

Here are 3 things Apple used to do better than it does today that any brand can learn from:

  1. Demonstrate understanding.

    Your products and services should always communicate that you understand your customer. Not just what they want to pay you for, but that you understand them as people. You know how they live, what's important to them, and what they enjoy and don't enjoy.

  2. Communicate emotion.

    Information won't accomplish anything unless it stimulates an emotion that supports your brand. Make your customers feel nostalgic, unique, or even afraid if that's what they want and expect from you. Stephen King told beautiful stories, but fear needed to be part of them to satisfy his community.

  3. Share the experience.

    Regard your company, products, and services the way you want your customers to so you can authentically project that regard on to others who might want to be part of it. Company + Customers = Community.

Steve Jobs knew these pillars of branding better than anyone. Without being social he still used that channel for viral reach by pushing traditional media buttons: PR, advertising, events, etc. He made Apple a company that could carry out these 3 brand goals using the old ways. Imagine what a brand could do if it reached for these goals with social media.

How would you pursue these 3 goals with your brand?

The Greatest Story You Can Tell

I had a very story-themed day earlier this week that reaffirmed for me that the best stories that any of us can tell are the ones we believe in, are connected to, and share with pleasure.

At a workshop focused on entrepreneurship in a new economy, the agenda followed Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and I presented during the Love and belonging part. As an entrepreneur entrusted to tell the stories of others for a living, love is foundational to how I approach my craft and run my business and I had a great time leading this workshop.

The morning workshops dealt with the themes of Physiology and Safety. After lunch was my bit on Love and belonging as well as Esteem. Then, to wrap up the experience, well into the night the group enjoyed a music party that celebrated the top of the pyramid: Self-actualization.

About thirty people attended my workshop. I first asked how many in the circle were entrepreneurs and close to ten owners raised their hands. I asked them each to take a few minutes to tell their story.

Having the opportunity for them to present themselves and explain what their small business provided was truly enlightening for all of us. If I did not ask these young entrepreneurs to share their story, there is a good chance the rest of the room would not have had the opportunity to know the incredible resources they had sitting around them.

Love Your Own Stories

The thesis of my presentation is that we must LOVE our own stories, and share our stories with the world. Our stories include:

  • The stories of others - sharing the successes of a client, a vendor, or even a competitor
  • The stories of products or services that will give value to your listeners
  • The stories of yourself and or your team - always believe in the story you tell and don’t forget that you are the best in the world at what you do! And always tell your own stories with humility and without boasting.

When you share your stories, along with celebrating and sharing the stories of others, you form a supportive community that becomes an attractive magnet to others for more than just the information your stories transfer.

I left the workshop happy that I could share my story by encouraging others to love and share their own.

I jumped into my Dodge Caravan (yes there is a great story behind my choices of vehicles) and turned my satellite radio to the Grateful Dead Channel. The song that was playing was titled “The Greatest Story Ever Told”. I smiled as this song title validated my own story.

My story is centered around my mission to remind people, teams, brands and movements that their stories are relevant. My ambition is to empower people to share their relevant stories to the world with passion and effectiveness.

If a storyteller loves and believes in their own stories - and authentically (and humbly) shares them as if they are the greatest stories ever told - they will have engaged listeners. And engaged listeners are what brand evangelists and loyal customers are made of.

What stories can you tell on demand with pleasure?

We're Blowing Our Brains Out On Media

water blast We're blowing our brains out on having everything that we ever wanted available, and then some, and we are unplugging.

Niche Communities Rule

There are so many interesting people to connect with, so much unique and varied entertainment, an entire world's collection of information available that people are filtering - they have to!

Reaching a target market is not about standing out anymore, as much as it is about standing for and offering something that people can identify that they need and care about. They'll find you when they need you. And when they do, you want your COMMUNITY speaking for how great you are, not just your marketing.

People don't have the time or the patience for the distractions that so many brands are throwing out. To win people's attention in Branding 1.0 we became loud, aggressive, and sometimes offensive to grab everyone's attention. Branding 2.0 is about being really great and known for one specific niche that has its own community of buyers and boosters.

We're Exhausted and People are Beginning to React

Nobody wants the chaos that extreme indulgence in multi media - social, entertainment and knowledge media included - breeds. We've been there and we can't take it. We're starting to learn to filter noise and only let in what we believe will enrich our lives.

Brands should respect this and focus on being good and available. If not, you, too, will be filtered and ignored.

How are you filtering media in your own life? How is your business speaking to your niche audience so you don't get filtered?

Storytelling for Business : Your Most Powerful Marketing Asset

There's definitely a story behind this picture... The story of your business - how it came to be and why you are in business today - is a mountain of personal connections and powerful marketing that you can build on. Until you build your brand on your own stories, you’re not building the social capital that you need to market yourself in the internet age. And until you realize the power of storytelling in all styles and formats then you may be missing out on an opportunity to create powerful community.

We (as leaders of companies and organizations) spend so much time, effort and money trying to find the best tool to market our product or services. We do this because we see the successes of other companies and brands that invest in robust ad campaigns, glossy print inserts, radio spots and big budget TV ad buys.

What many of us are missing however is that it is not just the medium that is the secret to success, it’s the content that the medium is presenting that creates and engages community, which in turn can birth successful outcomes. The most effective content that brands can use to attract audiences that convert to customers is the content based on authentic, personal storytelling.

Your Story Cuts Through Noise to Your Niche

Ok, you will probably roll your eyes when I state the next fact:


Many of us simply don’t know that our stories are relevant. Even more of us know that we have a story to tell, but can’t quite articulate what the story is or even how to tell it. Storytelling engages the people who could very well become your customers because your niche will identify with your stories and be drawn in.

We are all attracted to other people, groups and brands that dig the same things that we do. It’s been the case since the beginning of time, but now we can laser focus on it and develop communities around our brands by sharing content, information and stories.

Why is authentic storytelling so important? Because we are living in an age of connectivity where there is a lot of noise and very few things can penetrate through that noise the way that authentic storytelling can. (On a side note, I chose both the picture above and the background of my page for their epic story value. I hope just leaving you wondering will make them interesting)

Friends tell friends stories

If you are a presenter of other people’s stories, or have a passion for sharing your own incredible stories, then you are on the right path. We can tell our stories in articulate, engaging and sharable ways via multiple platforms that will engage and grow communities.

I intend to show you how through this blog.

I am an entrepreneur, a filmmaker, and a professional storyteller. I want to share my experiences with you from working and living in the media production, television, and content marketing industries for the last decade. I am convinced that you and your brand have stories worth telling.

A great potential side effect of telling great stories and building a loyal audience is that they will become your brand evangelists and you will see an increase in sales! Stay tuned, this story isn’t over yet...

Does your company share your stories? I would love to hear them. Please post links or stories in the comments below so I can have a look and share them with others.

Hangouts Are Not Your Parent's Soda Shop

Screenshot from First +Hangout Good times. Good times.

Yesterday afternoon 8 friends and clients of Sociallogical jumped on a free, high quality, responsive and easy to use video conference that was fun and shocked the heck out of more than a few of us. After our brief conversation, the whole thing was automatically uploaded to YouTube in HD quality where it can forever be watched and shared, hopefully for the benefit of others who want to give it a try.

This great experience was courtesy of Google+ and its Hangout feature and was simply a 23 minute chat for friends and clients who expressed interest in trying it out to do just that. We planned it last week, called it a Sociallogical Google+ Hangout Intro intended to last 5-15 minutes, and we broadcast it "On Air", which meant that anyone in the world could watch our discussion live as it was happening - and now anyone can watch the recording of it forever.

Want to try this? Learn How To Get Ready For Your First Google+ Hangout

I don't plan to blog about every +Hangout we host or take part in. But watching people experience the power and simplicity of this new medium for the first time is a pleasure and I urge you to watch a bit of it (below at the end of this post) if you have never seen it before. I actually started recording it early because I didn't want to miss the surprise and pleasure on people's faces. A couple of people had trouble using their microphones or webcams for the first time, but that's expected. They won't have that problem next time.

A Powerful Brand Builder

Just think of how powerful this tool can be to reach an audience and build a brand community:

Idea 1: Discuss new trends with leaders of your industry Idea 2: Instruct your clients on something they're interested in learning Idea 3: Give demos of your product to clients, potential clients or partners

There are lots of ideas that you can come up with to help your business by using it to build community around your brand. Think about it and let me know what they are in the comments below. We love learning new ways to be social.

And let us know if you'd like to join us on another "first-timers" Hangout sometime soon because it really was a good time.

Special thanks to Garth Frizell from Prince George, BC who was our experienced guide on this brief tour. And I'm so happy that Kelly Lawson, David Hayward, Greg Hemmings, Judith Mackin, Sarah Tapley and Chris Boudreau were all able to join us.

How To Get Ready For Your First Google+ Hangout

Google+ Hangouts are an engaging social media channel that

  1. connects you with guests and partners in a personal way,
  2. allows you to speak directly to your audience, and
  3. creates highly sharable and engaging content for your brand.

Because we host Google+ Hangouts regularly, we have prepared this simple outline for getting ready if you have never joined a Hangout before. If you're already using Google+, skip to step 3...

1. Get a Gmail or Google Apps account

Most of us already have one of these, but if you don't have a account or an email account that uses Google Apps (gmail for your business), you'll need to get one. Since Google+ is the only social media channel that requires you to have a specific kind of email account, this is a necessary step if you want to get the most out of the Google suite of services (Youtube, maps, gmail, etc.)

I have a account that I forward my other personal and work-related email accounts to so I only have one inbox and it is tied to the other great services I use each day.

2. Get a Google+ Account

Even if you're already using Gmail, you still need to say yes to sharing across Google's services by setting up your Google+ account.

3. Get the Tech

On a computer:

On a mobile device:

4. Respond to the invitation from your friend

If you're getting ready for your first +Hangout that someone else is inviting you to, you'll receive an invitation in your Notifications section (a little box that lights up red in the top right of your Gmail or Google+ page - or any Google service page, for that matter - when there are any messages). The invitation to +Hangout will be there and all you have to do is click the link to join! And if you don't see it there, visit the Google+ profile page of the host and the invite should be one of their more recent posts.

A Few STRONG Recommendations

Use a headset with a microphone. I just use the headset that came with the iPhone I bought several years ago and it works like a charm. Most laptops, tablets and other devices made in recent years have built-in webcams but even those will often pick up a lot of the sounds around you and not just your voice. A personal microphone on a headset is much better at just picking up your voice, making the experience better for everyone.

Join a Trial Run


Every Thursday morning at 10am EST Sociallogical hosts a FTH (First Time Hangout) for anyone who wants to try one out for the first time or just practice with a new change to your video or audio setup.

No pressure. No agenda. Just practice.

You'll need to add the host, Sociallogical, to your Google+ circles to see the invite. You'll see an invitation to the next FTH in our recent Google+ posts so you can say Yes and get notified of the next one.

Do you have any questions that we don't answer here? Let us know in the comments below.

Do the Yellow Pages Deserve Your Marketing Dollars?

The yellow pages printed directory When considering all the ways that people will look for you or what you sell, the yellow pages won't top the list for most target markets. Not anymore. So why do so many businesses still put their money there? I have 3 theories.

1. It's what they've always done.

For businesses who have been around for many years, the yellow pages have long been a resource that their customers have relied on to find them and they have good anecdotal evidence to support it. That evidence is getting old.

2. They are unsure of the alternatives.

The web and social media is not yet a comfort zone for a lot of businesses still apprehensive about committing wholeheartedly. Many have dipped their toe in that vast ocean but not a lot of them would express confidence in understanding how their customers use that medium and even fewer have figured the best way to respond to it.

And if social media is daunting, the complex algorithms and nuances of online advertising is an even tougher nut for many to crack.

3. They believe their target customer still relies on the printed directory.

That's fair, if there is evidence for it. After almost two decades of digital hegemony, there are still resistors and those who live unplugged.

Be where your customers will look for you

In the spring of 2011 I taught our first course on understanding social business to 10 people in 3 restaurants over 3 weeks. There were men and women from their 20s through to their 60s with varying comfort levels using the internet. One of the most poignant moments for all of us was when my friend Chris asked the room how many people still use the phone book to find a person or business. Two people put up their hand.

If you search for research on yellow pages usage you'll find a ton of articles and pseudo-research that is skewed and suspect at best. It makes sense that a dying billion-dollar industry would fight with the tools they know work and today the internet and the social web are just that. The industry is using as a weapon the mediums that are eating their lunch!

What really matters is for your business to be found by your customers when they decide they want what you sell and go looking for you. And the best way to find out how people discover and reach you is to ask them. Ask how they found you and ask how they would prefer to have found you.

And with so many of the most widely used channels available to businesses for free - search, social, online directories, and more - how does a business justify the cost of the yellow pages any more? Can you? I'm curious to know.

The simple back story: The yellow pages were delivered to our doorstep unsolicited yet again this week. The picture above was taken 2 days after delivery, showing that neither we nor our neighbours could be bothered to even pick it up off our step and toss it in the bin.

How To Get Into Google+: Share Everything

Share everything The best way to get into Google+ is to get into the habit of sharing everything.

For a long time I have advised clients and friends to spend more time listening online and worry less about what to share. By listening we can find conversations to start or jump into and truly enjoy social interactions.

So my advice to become a sharing fiend to really get into Google+ may sound contradictory but I think it is the best way to let yourself get sucked in and appreciate what this powerful network has to offer.

Share Because You Can

Whenever we come across something we like online we don't react to it by sharing all of it because we know (or should know) that we'll drive our friends and followers crazy if we do. Most social networks are giant soapboxes through which everyone we're connected to can see everything we share. Sure, Facebook offers other sharing options but they are not intuitive and rarely used.

With Google+ nothing gets shared at all without first selecting one or more circles to share them with. If you want to share something with everyone, it's as simple as selecting the Public circle and sharing.

But here's the difference: when I snap a photo of my kids doing something cute my thought doesn't jump to sharing it because I consider that to be private and personal. Unless there was a way to just share it with my immediate family or close friends, which there is with Google+.

So now, for me, I just share everything and select the right groups to share each thing with. Google+ makes it easy to make that choice and when I use the smartphone app it uploads everything I create automatically so I just need to select who to share it with and I'm done.

Sharing Leads To Engagement

While over sharing leads to disengagement on most networks, on Google+ it leads to more engagement because not everyone is going to see everything you share. You may still only share the same number of things with everyone that you do on Facebook, but you may share so much more with your hiking circle, your curling team circle, your jogging buddies, your family, or whatever other circles you've created. And if you are thoughtful with how you curate your circles they will rarely overlap.

The result is that you'll have content that others will see, comment on, share and +1 that will pull you into the network naturally, just like on Facebook and Twitter.

So have fun sharing. It's what the network was built for and once you get into it you'll find it more natural than you expected. Maybe in time you will back off a bit, but to really get into it, let yourself loose with sharing for a while and get in the habit of choosing which content is right for each circle of relationships. For me, it has resulted in Google+ becoming my favourite online social channel. I don't even email my wife any more when I find something interesting, I just hit the +1 button, and enter her name.

If you're staying away from Google+ because "no one is there", be one of the first ones who is. What else is keeping you from jumping in?

[Video] GoPro Creates a New Entertainment Category for Their Target Market

I have a new pleasure: watching GoPro HD videos. What are they? They are videos shot using the GoPro HD video camera. And they are amazing!

So amazing that these videos are a new form of entertainment as well as an incredibly powerful weapon of marketing. I sit here glued to my laptop, unable to look away and miss another great adventure I had never even imagined before. All shot with the product the producers of the video are selling.

This is a fine example of amazing inbound marketing.

  1. Create content that is extremely interesting for your target market and associate it with your brand.
  2. Share it and engage directly with parties closest to your community.
  3. Make it easy for fans to share.
  4. Bonus for GoPro: Create your content using your own product.

Their camera is tiny, incredibly durable, waterproof, films in HD quality, and can be attached to a growing number of devices and helmets so it can capture unusual perspectives. Those are unique features that differentiate it from the competition. So they chose to use these cameras for some of the most extreme uses their fans could conjure to show their value through a unique entertainment product.

The people in their videos are the heroes of their target market. They are an irresistible draw for the people they want to sell their cameras to.

What content could you create that would be extremely interesting or useful for your target market?

Startups, Oatcakes, and Building Community Through Sales

Greg Pringle from the Cape Breton OatCake Society There’s a new way to strategically connect with customers that gives certainty to sellers, reduced prices to consumers, and turns the process of social promotions into an addictive game that Groupon fell short on and fizzled.

Spinzo is a brilliant new startup that is now working with merchants in a way that actually helps them grow their business instead of gouging them. Started by our friend Emmanuel Elmajian, this new startup has launched with their bright new idea and a long list of features to come that will turn merchants into happy partners - quite the opposite experience many have had with Groupon and the like.

Case Study: The Cape Breton Oatcake Society

In the highlands of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia is a rich Scottish heritage complete with its own Gaelic College, Scotch Distillery (sorry, single malt whiskey), and countless kilt-wearing performers. And from this magical little piece of the world comes our friend, Greg Pringle, and his great grandmother’s mind-blowing recipe for the best oatcakes we have ever tasted.

Greg’s oatcake baking hobby turned into a little holiday season business in November 2011 when Greg decided to put a price on his wares and promote them to friends on Facebook by starting the Cape Breton Oatcake Society. Repeatedly selling out, Greg decided to explore this hobby as a long-term business idea in January 2012 and, after hearing what Emmanuel was up to with Spinzo, I introduced our two friends to each other to see how they might work together.

Today, after his première earlier this month, Greg launched his second Spinzo deal and we’re excited to see the early days of both businesses.

What This Means to Greg’s Business

Greg gets to show up at a specified place like a city market or other venue with a fully paid-for order of oatcakes. Distribution costs, waste, and uncertainty are all drastically reduced and his customers get a lower price.

How It Works

Greg creates a Spinzo deal with a starting price and shares it with his Oatcake Society members. Oatcake lovers give their credit card info through Spinzo and commit to the current price but know that the price they will pay at the end will decrease for every single additional buyer.

As lovers of the product, there is an incentive to spread the word and drive the price down (like I'm doing now. I'm in on this deal!). Every new convert is a new buyer and a new price-reducer for the other buyers.

There is no tipping point that triggers the discount. The sale happens, and the price just keeps getting lower with every new buyer.

Payment, Tracking, and Marketing Built In

Greg identified a few needs to grow his business that Spinzo could meet for him. He can now accept orders online, track orders to bake them when needed, and he gets added, exponential exposure to new customers through the personal networks of his buyers.

Understanding and Helping

It’s obvious from looking at the business model that Spinzo is flexible and genuinely eager to work with merchants. Their process now and as they scale focuses on significant effort up front to forge a partnership with their merchants instead of just selling a one-off deal.

They promote their “other” (non-Spinzo) deals on their Facebook page, their commissions are a lot lower (about 20% vs. 50% for many others), they are more open to featuring individual items, and they insist on profit for the merchant in every single deal.

Technology companies are famous for putting their innovations ahead of their customers. Many of them don’t even consider who might use their product or service until it is already built. When it comes to group buying and merchant-enabling, Spinzo is obsessed with making life better for merchants and their customers and making their own profits a function of their partner’s success.

Spinzo didn't start with a technology, it started by figuring out how to feed the growth of brand communities with a better buying model. And now a true society of oatcake lovers is born and bred.

A key part of a brand community built by focusing on a better buying experience, demonstrating how social business is more than just awareness and branding.

If you loved a product, would this kind of sales approach encourage you to share it with friends? Let us know in the comments.

3 Basic Steps To Make Your Business the Core of Your Community (And Why You Should)

The great little community that is the Hemmings House Team The people who work for your company need to be the core of your community, online and off, if you hope to build a community around your brand that draws people to you.

As a business, you are all together to build something you believe in. You work with people who you have something so in common with that you spend 40+ hours a week together doing it.

When people look for you online, what they need to find is your community, sharing and amplifying each other's content and talking with each other, like friends and colleagues do. Your social media community is the heavy lifter of your inbound marketing strategy. Trying to draw people to your brand without it is as unlikely to succeed as not advertising was back in business 1.0.

Here’s the basic Sociallogical prescription for building a brand community:

  1. Get your team online. Make sure they understand what social business is and how crucial it is to the future success of your business.
  2. Decide together, the staff and leaders of your business, how you are going to operate as your own community, publicly online for all to see and interact with.
  3. Build a community strategy that relies on the foundation of your own people socializing online with each other, with their own personal networks and activities.

This active community you build with your first line of stakeholders is the best social asset you have available to you. If you don’t socialize with each other, why would anyone else want to?

NOTE: The Photo above is the Hemmings House team, who we had the privelege of working with this year. A fantastic small company that is an attractive core for a growing and engaging community for their brand.

Pinterest and the Fear of Rapid Change

How will you ever figure out what to do with social media when everything is constantly changing? Are the expectations and methods outdated before you get to use them? The breathtakingly rapid rise of a new social network this season, Pinterest, makes that fear acute for many clients I talk to.

According to TechCrunch earlier this month,

"It’s beautiful, it’s addictive, and now Pinterest is having its glorious hockey stick moment. TechCrunch has attained exclusive data from comScore showing Pinterest just hit 11.7 million unique monthly U.S. visitors, crossing the 10 million mark faster than any other standalone site in history."

Some are even saying that the visual nature of Pinterest is going to permanently challenge the attractiveness of blogs as desirable and sharable content for brand building.

3 months ago I had never heard of Pinterest. Had you?

Know What You Want to Accomplish

Social is more important than ever now as the world of business and communication changes faster and faster. By 'social' I don't mean social media business or any other buzzword.

What I mean is that when your goal is to build relationships with real people and bring them into your community to buy your products and feed your shared interests, you can't lose.

Evaluate every new platform, tool, and trend on its ability to accomplish this goal.

Is Pinterest Social?

Pinterest is a fantastic medium for curating visual content. It allows us to share content we like easily, so in that sense it is social.

But we don't talk to each other on Pinterest (yet) and that is a major drawback. When I get a notice that someone has shared my pin I can't thank them like I might on Twitter. There's no way to start a conversation based on something shared on Pinterest, unless it is fed into a more social channel like Facebook.

The point is that Pinterest is not scary and neither will any new social platform be if you learn how to build relationships and community online. Then new platforms are just new ways to connect and our online lives become easier and richer.

Does the constant change in social media scare you? Here are a few useful links if you'd like to know more about this explosive new phenomenon:

Nice to e-Meet You: 5 Fundamentals to Follow

Have you ever met someone at an event and thought ‘wow, he’s nothing like his online profile?’ It’s a first world situation, and it happens all the time. When someone is in front of us, their natural character emerges, pretty or not. Body language, tone of voice and how we regard our surroundings all sync to form an impression.

But, in 2012, there’s a good chance you’ll see someone’s online profile before you meet them under real life circumstances. Think about it. How many times have you tapped into Facebook to feed your curiosity upon meeting someone new?

There's something to be said about the digital first impression. We’re in the age of “creeping,” whether we admit to it or not. The impression we leave with people could be a blessing or a write-off. We may never know.

Psychologists explain first impressions as part of encoding in the brain. We make quick, exaggerated judgements based on parts of a whole. It's hard to fathom why initial encounters have a semi-permanent effect. "The First Impression," by Carlin Flora, former editor of Psychology Today, sheds light on the issue. Flora writes:

"...The brain takes first-impression Polaroids—creating a composite of all the signals given off by a new experience. Psychologists agree that snap judgments are a holistic phenomenon in which clues (mellifluous voice, Rolex watch, soggy handshake, hunched shoulders) hit us all at once and form an impression larger than their sum."

The dynamic changes when an initial glimpse into our personalities occurs online. We suddenly lose the ability to see or hear the person. All we have to base judgements on are profile pictures, brief summaries, the kinds of things a person shares and the way they interact with others through text.

We can't control the ways of the new world, and chances are, employers will search us to find out more about us. We should use this opportunity wisely, as we'll never know who may be watching or what they're thinking. Here are, in short, five fundamentals for personal branding:

1. Know yourself

Whenever I go to write a bio for myself I pause. At 23, I'm really still defining myself as a professional. I don't know who I'll be at 30, 40 and so on. But I do know where I want to go. This is important. When you a have a limited amount of characters to describe yourself (160 on Twitter,) you need to make the most of them. The more information you can pack into those is good: a lawyer who dabbles in photography and loves to cook, etc. You have to believe in yourself before anyone else will. We can trust a mother's word on that.

2. Be consistent

Something I read in Halligan and Shah's Inbound Marketing stuck with me. The authors' point out the importance of using your real name, first and last (if possible.) When we add numbers it gives the appearance of spam. If your full name isn't available, you can abbreviate in ways that look more professional; mentioning where you're from, for example. To take it further: using the same name across social channels makes us more accessible to our audience.

3. Keep it simple

Keeping in mind the "Polaroids" produced by the brain (that often stick) we have a small window of opportunity to either intrigue people or turn them off. In terms of simplicity, playing it safe is good. People who don't know us will assume things based on things like layout, what kind of photo we choose, and how we describe ourselves. A modest, professional profile picture is ideal. If it offers a touch of personality it's better.

4. Stay Positive

post on Pick The Brain, a blog focused on personal productivity, gives some simple but useful tips on selling yourself. We're reminded that the company we keep is significant and how far a smile will take us.

Often, telling someone to smile will piss them off. When I'm in a yoga class and twisted into a pretzel, the instructor always says "remember to smile!" and I sometimes grind my teeth - but it makes a difference.

In The Rules of Work, an international bestseller, Templar writes:

"At first you don't have to believe it - just do it. Act it. Pretend. But do it. After a little while you'll find it isn't an act, you're not pretending, you genuinely do feel cheerful. It's a trick. You are tricking yourself, no one else. Putting on a smile triggers hormones. These hormones will make you feel better. Once you feel better, you will smile more, thus produce more hormones."

People are drawn to positivity; we want to hear from those who are happy, motivated and energetic. It's common to complain on social channels, because it's easy to take out our frustrations on a keyboard. We must actively remind ourselves why we can't fall into that pattern: it makes us feel worse, and turns people off.

5. Leave some to the imagination

There is such thing as an over-share, even on the internet. A woman who recently followed me on Twitter describes herself, in her bio, as "an overdrinker" and "a former party-hopping hussie." I wasn't inclined to follow her back, to say the least.

Respectively, we don't want to take ourselves too seriously. Social channels are a place to have fun. It's hard to describe in a cut and dry way, but we should really consult our "moral compass" before we tweet, update, or post. Imagine your grandmother at the other end of the (virtual) tunnel. As weird as that may sound, it has an instant "reality check" effect and we are reminded to use caution in what we share. Are you keeping your audience in mind before you hit send?

Applying the Art of Storytelling to Make Sense of Social Media Have you ever lost yourself in a book? There's something about the narrative that takes hold of us; our minds are held captive for some time in an imaginary place, that is, fostered by a great story. We feel involved somehow, it becomes part of us and us a part of it. We draw comparisons between characters and ourselves, and judge them as we would people on the street.

Storytelling is an integral part of life. As children, we develop a sense of right and wrong through parables; ideas become cemented in the brain and are carried out in our life experiences. For example, The Boy Who Cried Wolf is a compelling tale that explains the value of integrity. When we're given a real example of human struggle (a boy's lies lead to self-destruction,) something clicks and we attach meaning to it. These stories stick with us because they are widely relatable.

Adult Learning and the Storytelling Effect

We grew up listening to teachers speak of things we'd need to know in the future. As adults, we're motivated to learn things of immediate value to us.

Storytelling binds us all, regardless of race, class or gender. We can gain new insight on our own lives or problems we've faced through the experiences of others. Self-discovery inspires new learning and growth. A journal article in Adult Learning highlights this idea:

"Narrative thinking, as opposed to analytical thinking, is relational rather than linear; it holds power to help tellers and listeners make new connections, linking various aspects of experience in new ways. Making these linkages frequently leads to revised interpretations, enhanced self-awareness, and learning that precipitate constructive, developmental change."

Social media IS the new storytelling. It connects us to those in our communities, it gives us a venue to share our experiences and provide insight to others. Through social media we learn more about who we are through the kinds of people we attract and those with whom we engage with.

Identify the Storyteller in Your Boardroom

The article mentioned above argues that as adults, we have the capacity to "rewrite ourselves" and our life stories. We've developed beyond the impressionable phases of youth but we're not immune to reinvention.

Listening to our peers can open doors for us. It forces us to re-evaluate, drawing  new light to the way we've always done things. This can be incredibly powerful.

"Stories are relational; they build relationships, create bonding links between educators and learners, and complement analysis with more holistic views of experience."

Is there someone in your office who's active in social "storytelling?" Find the person who's most comfortable with social media and get them to share their story. Social media changes the way people communicate as professionals. If we can understand how these tools have a real-life impact on someone we know, we're more apt to give them a try and discover new possibilities.

Giving New Technology a Human Feel

A good way to ease into social media is by creating a blog. The human effect is instant because blogging is so expressive - the design, photos we choose and insight we share combine to give our audience a taste of who we are.

And a blog can be about anything - interests we have, places we've seen, or maybe it's a place to talk about constructive changes in our work. If you become comfortable with blogging, it will be easier to shift into Twitter and other social media and start sharing and connecting. Social media isn't something that just happens - it's something we adapt to over time. Have your colleagues made the shift? Have you thought about telling your story? There's never been a better time.

Introducing Tweet in Your Sleep Are you one of those hit-snooze-at-least-three-times types? If you're anything like me, the early mornings can be rude awakenings. At least before a cup of coffee.

When my colleague introduced me to, I was amazed. The application, in a nutshell,  schedules tweets "automagically" for the time of day when your network is most likely to see them and posts them for you throughout the day. I hate to admit it, but my first thought was "brilliant! I could sleep in and be 'tweeting' and no one would know the difference." As Jeff says, timelied.

But, on a more serious note, time flies. I've spent my whole life, and will continue into my adult years, learning how to manage my time well. It's not something of natural evolution, at least for most people. It's just part of the human struggle, making the best use of our time with what hours we have in a day's work.

So, may just be an application but it has two major benefits for the user: it saves us physical time, and it allows us to focus on what tasks we have at hand, by being completely present.

An Application With a Mind of its Own

Developed by Flowtown, a team of social marketing innovators, is a smart application. It allows us to schedule a given number of tweets (three by default,) and delivers them at spaced intervals throughout the day. What may seem like random times, are actually the product of specific calculations. relies on an algorithm that takes data from our Twitter accounts, and calculates what times of the day we are most likely to reach our audience and followers. It gets to know us based on when we tweet, and how often, and takes all of that data into account. For a more detailed explanation, you can read about it here.


So, we make the best use of our time. When we have a free moment or two, we can add tweets to our queue. There are surely things your company should be sharing; whether it's relevant news to potential partners, customers or clients, or a simple statement. Realistically, what working professional has the time to constantly engage with their community via social media? Not many.

Listening and Engaging is a Balancing Act

It's important to stress that applications are here to assist us, not replace authentic human transaction. Social media loses its value when only used to broadcast messages on a schedule. This will only work in conjunction with (a bigger role) in listening. Responding to those in our community is essential to grow the relationships we want to have with clients and customers.

Respectively, no one likes the guy in a board meeting whose eyes never move from his phone. We can't let ourselves become so attached to new technologies that we forget how to be social in real life.

As a kid I was often told, "You can tell a lot about a person by the way they shake your hand." I still believe it. I've always believed in authentic, face-to-face communication. Our interpersonal demeanour is certainly important, both online and offline. Adopting these new technologies can help us in balancing our social demands.








A Simple Telling Of Our Story

Last night our friends at Hemmings House Pictures released a video that they completed for us yesterday and their founder, Greg, told the backstory of how we made it. Hemmings House played a unique role, first as students of our flagship course, then as creative directors and developers for our story.

It's just a simple 1 minute piece. But to us, it means a lot. In the social business / social media world already characterized by confusion and being defined by each person's experience as a social media consumer, it has not been easy to tell the story of what a social business is and how we can help get them there. This video, we hope, will go a long way towards making it clearer for the people we talk to.

Every time we explain what business we are in, we get looks of understanding by anyone who uses Facebook, Twitter, or who has a profile on Linkedin or Google+. But faces often drop when we ask them if they know how to grow a business or make money with social media. That's the part that few understand and that's exactly what we help with.

We also know we're not the only ones with this perspective and we are reaching out to other social business professionals and consultants around the world to find the ones who share our positive, supportive view. We want to work with social business leaders who know that social businesses need to first be enlightened and prepared for the opportunity so they can plan their own transformations for future growth.

Our online learning platform gives our courses to these professionals so they can help their clients learn social and grow together. And, as Greg mentioned in his post above, we have a new course on the way soon that helps businesses tell their own stories through video (March 2012. Stay tuned!).

Have a look at our new video above and, if you like it, please send kudos along to our friends at Hemmings House. And please let us know in the comments below if we succeeded in making clear, in a simple way, what we do and how we add value.

My Hashtag, My Hometown What’s a hashtag? Well, for those of you who don’t exist in a world of eat, sleep and tweet, Urban Dictionary gives a pretty straightforward explanation. Essentially, placing the (#) symbol before a term, or several terms, creates a link which streams conversations surrounding the same subject, issue or trend.

Hashtags can be about anything, really. Maybe you want to tune into the buzz encompassing a popular TV show, or maybe you want to know what people are saying about prominent news issues. Occupy Wall Street has become a huge trend on Twitter. Simply by typing “#OWS” in the search bar, we can tap into a dialogue among people (mostly in the West) sharing their observations and related experiences. In a matter of seconds, we see what people are saying, in real time. That’s pretty amazing.

While hashtags originated on Twitter, they also create accessible links on Google+ through searches and circles and have become a recognized part of branding on other social media platforms, including LinkedIn and Facebook.

Hashtags: Building Organic Communities

Back in November, the folks at Downtown Fredericton came up with a fresh way to encourage local shopping for the holiday season. They chose 10 social media savvy personalities in the city and gave them $100 to spend in downtown stores, in exchange for their agreement to document their tracks, in conjuction with the hashtag #GetDownFred via social media platforms; including Facebook, Twitter, and blogs. Julia Hurst, fashion blogger and business representative at Radian6, was one of them. Hurst said the people selected ranged from radio personalities to photographers and bloggers.

"The people they chose were different, so it was cool to see how someone else would spend the money compared to myself. I spent mine on a dress, and some people spent it on beer, groceries, coffee, etc. I love shopping downtown Fredericton so I liked to promote my favourite stores."

Hurst had a lot of fun with the event, giving others a taste of her favourite places to burn cash through her blog, Fortunate Fool.

Other residents of the city were encouraged to use the hashtag while running their downtown errands to win cash and other prizes. Such an event represents a new-world experience; having the ability to tune into where everybody was shopping, with to-the-minute updates. It's an excellent example to show how social media has replaced traditional word of mouth.

Now Trending in Canada: #SexualPickUpLines

It would be totally false to imply that all hashtags are rooted in something profound or even useful. I roll my eyes at least once a day at the “now trending” sidebar on my Twitter homepage. Silliness has proven contagious, judging by the often ridiculous topics that surface. I say this with sadness, but, #SexualPickUpLines is not a joke. It’s currently topping the generated list I have for “Canada trends.” It’s the same reason why videos become viral on YouTube; cats riding turtles, sassy children with British accents: a large part of our daily internet digest can be chalked up to entertainment.

But if you’re willing to sift through the crap, there’s a good chance you’ll find something helpful or interesting; something that wasn’t born of a bored teenager home on a Friday night.

When Conversations Cross Oceans

There was a lot of talk about the Egyptian Revolution last year or so-called "Twitter Revolution." I won't get into the nitty gritty of it, but my perspective is this: Revolutions happened long before we had such technology, but social media gave a voice to thousands of people in a way that no one had experienced before. In less democratic parts of the world, it's getting much harder to silence the ordinary citizen with the speed of social media and the rates that people are using these technologies.

With that being said, #Egypt became one of the most influential and meaningful hashtags to date. Another one I want to point out is #Jan25. The latter represents the day that the former president stepped down. When this was announced to the general public, the tag #Jan25 became viral. People worldwide who had followed the story were tweeting about this.

Gephi is, essentially, an online graph machine that allows you to download a plugin that compiles data into graphs. André Panisson, Ph.D., is a student from the Informatics Department at the University of Turin in Italy. In a blog entry he explains how he compiled #Jan25 hashtag data to create a video that demonstrates the exponential rate that this story spread through Twitter. The visual he gives helps to conceptualize how modern social media tools are infectious in our society.

Just Like Home

What constitutes our hometowns? Our familiar surroundings; the things that represent us, our communities. We use hashtags to connect meaning to our conversation, and the conversations of others. From silly to serious, it's assembling people based on who they are, and what they stand for. We can link this to the emotions associated with familiarity, and what's elemental in our lives. Are your thoughts trending in your hometown?

5 Steps to Connect With Your Community via SoundCloud Okay, so podcasting for the average business is still a relatively new trend, but the print and audio industries have made the shift online. Many websites; news networks, online radio channels, now require you to subscribe and pay user fees. We all realize that most of what we consume on an average day is fed to us through the big, bad internet. Personally, I read the news via TweetDeck on my cell phone. To bring my point into focus: we all need to become producers of good content. And we need to do it through the latest, most effective mediums. The more ways we can engage our audience/clients/partners or whoever we’re trying to reach, the better.

Most of us wake with tired eyes. With this medium, it doesn't matter. We engage the senses through the act of listening.

SoundCloud is a user-friendly, versatile, and captivating application. It was originally created in Sweden for the purpose of sharing music among artists. It’s now recognized as a dynamic social tool among communities of people everywhere.

Why SoundCloud? Audio has a unique effect on us. As a journalism graduate who specialized in radio, I came to realize a few things. When we’re forced to listen, we tune out everything else. There are no visuals to distract us. The human voice, when used in a way that’s compelling, has an incredibly powerful and humbling effect.

Step 1: Sign Up

It’s very easy. All you need is a valid e-mail address. Once you set up a password and confirm your login information you can start uploading tracks. I uploaded a 5 minute piece in a matter of seconds. And what’s better: it’s completely free.

Step 2: Start Thinking in Terms of Sound

Maybe you were at a conference and someone said something moving that you just can’t remember. Or you went to a launch and heard an important tip for a new application you’re using in the office. Whatever it was, you didn’t have time to take notes.

A digital recorder isn’t something a lot of people think to have on-hand (or even realize they have in their possession.) Most cell phones today have audio recording capability. You don’t need a fancy recorder to document the interesting things happening around you.

Think of what you’re trying to sell: whether it’s a product, a brand or an idea, and then start thinking in terms of sound. The sooner you do this, the sooner you can piece together bits of your experiences and share them with your audience through a new and exciting medium. If you’re really keen, you can tap into editing software and create podcasts, incorporate music.

Step 3: Start a Friends List

You can search for people and groups that peak your interest. Slowly you’ll build a community of podcasters who are producing content that you relate to, or could even draw advice from. You can sync SoundCloud with your Facebook list and see who in your friend’s list is engaging with the application on a daily basis.

Step 4: Tag, Tag, Tag

If you’ve read anything about SEO you know that tagging is important. Focus your posts, and tag them to your heart’s content. Make yourself easily searchable by using keywords that relate to your business goals and the message you are trying to send within the post. It’s the beauty of inbound marketing: people are able to locate and contact you.

Step 5: Share Like Crazy

Your SoundCloud tracks are easily shared through applications; Facebook, Twitter, Wordpress and Tumblr to name a few. You can easily link to your SoundCloud page. What’s even better is that you can actually embed the SoundCloud widget to your personal blog or website by copying a generated HTML code. Not many applications seem to allow you to do this. SoundCloud makes your audio creations easily accessible to anyone, anywhere. The idea that I could be listening to your podcast on my cell phone from your Twitter feed while riding the bus (and it all links back to one application) is really cool, and kind of a brain-twist.

It’s time to hop on board. It’s fun, it’s social, and it’s a great way to get people talking about your brand. Have you interacted via SoundCloud?

Finding a Voice Through Social Media I sat down with four local professionals to pick their brains about jumping on the social media bandwagon. I wanted to know why they chose to put themselves out there and engage in these new relationships, and what they've learned through the experience. Here's what they had to say:

Finding a Voice Through Social Media by Sociallogical

A few great quotes from what they had to say:

"If you've outsourced your voice, you're not the one building the relationship" - Mel Norton, Lawson Creamer

"We put the megaphone in everyone's hands so we could all speak and represent the brand" - Greg Hemmings, Hemmings House Pictures

"The results have been amazing. Just terrific." - Glen McLean, Java Moose Coffee

What has your experience been using social media? Have you hired others to speak for you or have you been able to find your voice already? Let us know in the comments below.

I'm a Brand, You're a Brand - First Impressions In a Social Media World Jeff Roach said something to me recently that stuck. In his experience, it’s easier to spot a fake online than in real life. I think he’s on to something.

Think about getting ready for an interview. Essentially, you can be whoever you want to be. We’re given an empty canvas to paint ourselves however we see fit. When it comes to landing a job, first impressions are everything. The way we dress, speak and use body language all converge; working in our favour or against us.

But you already knew that.

We’ve had our whole lives to test social reactions in real life. It’s in our nature to appear a certain way to please those around us.

Let me give you an example. Some people are actors from birth, whether they want to be or not. Imagine a man who lived his whole life as a heterosexual male, married with kids. Then, one day in his fifties he comes to work dressed as a woman. It shocks the hell out of everyone around him, and it should. But it happens.

Social media is still so new in our lives; we don’t have the experience or the “tried and true” tactics to rely on. It’s all an exercise in experimentation. It will be a while before online behaviour has been studied in a way that’s useful and significant. We don't know enough about it.

But one thing is certain: how we act on social channels will inevitably affect us.

Most people see your Facebook profile before they see your resume.

Diane Cole is one of the most driven people I’ve ever met. She’s also one of the few twenty-somethings I’ve encountered who takes social media seriously. Having worked as a journalist at Here magazine and now as a producer at Accessible Media, she knows that being a professional applies online as much as offline.

“Everyone is their own brand now as a result of social media. You have to maintain your brand in order to get anywhere now. You have to keep up with trends and new or popular platforms and learn how to manipulate those in new, fresh ways in order to get noticed.”

When you think of online profiles as "personal resumes" it's kind of scary. Interactions online feel very informal, so self-monitoring is essential. We have to think seriously about how we market ourselves, keeping in mind that authenticity is everything. People don't connect to a brand. People connect to people.

Bain & Company is a world leading business consulting firm. They also believe in social media. The company studied over 3,000 consumers to establish what makes social media effective in the industry.

"We found that customers who engage with companies over social media spend 20 percent to 40 percent more money with those companies than other customers. They also demonstrate a deeper emotional commitment to the companies..."

We want to help your business grow a community around your brand. Social media is the avenue for building these relationships. It's the fastest way to engage customers, and more importantly, it's on their terms. Learn to inbound market and let people come to you.

Sociallogical is founded in helping business professionals find a voice in their community. We don't believe in speaking on behalf of our clients. Who better represents you than you?

We exist in an era where an online presence is integral. It's become a pre-requisite; basic, elemental, expected.

But jumping onto social media platforms without a roadmap would leave anyone feeling overwhelmed. Dialogue on social channels consists of a lot of noise. The challenge is in understanding how to tap into the right conversations. We have the tools and the expertise to show you how. Let's talk.