With all the hub bub these days surrounding social media/social media marketing. Is it a good idea to test your new hires knowledge of your social ecosystem and social media in general?

I would say yes, it is a great idea to test your new team members knowledge. When you bring on a new employee it is imperative that you do a formative assessment to fully understand where they are at in their social evolution. You must know where they are starting to fully understand what areas you need to help them grow. This growth should also reflect positively on the company and its social initiatives as they are expanding your presence online.

In regard to the test, I would not get to hung up on creating a formal test. You are not looking to scare people off by telling them to bring a number 2 pencil and a scantron on their first day. Look at this test as more of an interaction you will have with a new employee. Ideally, I think you create a series of 10 questions that you can interject during the course of a conversation/meeting.

Possible Questions:

In what ways do you see social media impacting our communication/business goals and objectives? What areas do you think we can improve?
What value would creating a Facebook page bring to our organization?
What tools do you see as up and coming that we could use to further our social presence?
Based on your knowledge of our company, rate what social channels would be most useful (Facebook, Twitter, Quora, Blog, LinkedIn Group, etc…)
What are the top blogs in our industry?

These are just a couple examples, however keep in mind that you will have to customize to your organization. When putting something like this together make sure to have a very open view of the potential benefits. By creating an open dialogue, you will not only learn more about your newest team member, but you also may get a little knowledge yourself.

This is also a fantastic opportunity to review your social media policy in depth with your new team member. At the end of the day it is your brand, your company, your reputation on the line (to a degree) so go ahead and make sure you are all on the same page. Obviously, we are all familiar with some of the recent “Twitter Meltdowns”, but if not check out the latest from a Marc Jacobs intern (Twitter meltdown: Marc Jacobs account goes rogue).

As you can see this is really not a true “test”, but more a conversation you will have with a new hire or even a potential new hire.

I would love to get feedback on what you all think about testing your new hires social media knowledge. Add more questions to this that you feel would be useful and I will update the post with the new info.



Good Hustle Teach…

Posted: March 23, 2011 in Family, Life, Personal, Rants

Why would a teacher announce grades to the entire class along with why that grade was given?

I spent my fair share of time in school and not once do I remember a teacher telling the entire class my grade and why he/she gave that grade to me. Good thing because I am sure some of it (all of it) would have been rather interesting.

With that being said, I was amazed today when my son was explaining to my wife what other kids grades were. Some were because of poor comprehension, math, etc… The best part is that he did not know this because the other kids told him, nope. He knows this because his teacher told the entire class. Now my son got all A’s except for a B in math (Great Job Little Man!!!) and yup, his teacher told the class why he got a B in math.

Why on earth would this be an acceptable practice for a 2nd grade class, or any class? The point to me is that these are 8 year old kids who are vulnerable and need more reinforcing than breaking down. By saying “Billy got a D because he has poor comprehension skills and does not understand math” does nothing but destroy a young girl or boys self-esteem.

I will also be the first to say it is good to be hard on kids. The difference is that I will have a “hard” talk with my children one on one. Of course if you have kids you know the other wants to see what is happening as bad as that guy in front of you checking out the broken down car on the side of the road in rush our traffic (you know who you are). The reason we separate one from other if they are in trouble is quite honestly because it is none of the other ones business what is going on.

I see grades as the same thing, it is not Billy or Johnny or Jessica’s business, so why on earth would a teacher announce grades to the entire class along with why that grade was given?

I wonder what his teacher would think if his next evaluation was in front of all his peers?

Hey Folks,

This weeks blog post is located on the Marketwire Blog!!

Below is the beginning of my guest post on the Marketwire Blog, but go check it out for this post and tons of great information from Marketwire.

PR News recently hosted the PR Measurement Conference at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, and welcomed more than 250 PR, marketing and communication professionals for a day of strategizing, learning, and networking. With speakers such as Katie Paine (@kdpaine) and Tim Marklein (@tmarklein), the attendees were in for a treat and a vast wealth of knowledge on exactly what it means to have “influence.”

Parenting….not for the weak.

Posted: February 21, 2011 in Uncategorized

My wife and I had our hardest parenting day yet this past Sunday. Our 8 year old was playing in his indoor soccer leagues championship game against the only team that beat them in the regular season. These kids won every game by at least 5 goals and walked through with the exception of 2 games. They ended the regular season in 2nd place and I am very proud to say that my son was a huge part of that success averaging a hat trick a game.

So this is where things got difficult. Now my son is a lot like me which means once something gets into our head we can be pretty stubborn. This can and will be a great ability for him down the road if used properly, but I have also found first hand that it can be really difficult as well. As you can imagine when you can literally make yourself believe 100% anything you think up there are some issues that can arise.

Now back to the game and I should mention they also scrimmage this same team every Monday in practice. They have never beat this team so it is understandable to a degree that an 8 year old would get somewhat negative about the game. The problem is that Kadyn convinced himself so much that his team was going to lose that the boy forgot to show up.

They found themselves down 2-0 early in the game, but Kadyn scored the first goal and brought them within one. Now here is where the cliff just dropped and Mel and I as parents watched our baby boy crumble. The other team came back and scored a quick goal. To Kadyn that was the end of the game and the point that he decided to quit on his team and hopefully began the process of learning.

Now watching our son fall apart, quit on his team, act out on the field, all the things he was doing out of frustration was absolutely crushing us. It was like getting your parenting report card and it just has one big massive F. At that moment and since I have not stopped thinking about what we can do to fix this? How do I show my son the importance of team work and that quitting on a team lets so many people down? The questions are not stopping and I don’t think they will as this lesson is going to stick with us for a long time.

I love my son more than he will ever know. He has the potential to do anything he wants. He is a straight A student and a phenomenal athlete. What I have to keep reminding myself is that he is just an 8 year old boy and will learn.

The most important lesson out of this day is that Mel and I have so much work to do before we are quality parents. It won’t be easy and we know it will come with plenty of days like this, but we love our kids, our family, and everything we have that you can really only look back and recognize that this was not a day that hurt our family, but a day that is going to shape our family.

Adversity in life is nothing but a speed bump along life’s path.

Kadyn, should you ever find this blog post I want you to know that no matter what your Mother and I will always love you. You really are a special little man and you make our world so much brighter. Remember to always give 110% in anything you do and you will never lose. As I told you last night, I do not care if you win or lose, but I do care if you give 100% or 50%. Regardless of it is Academics, Athletics, etc… give everything you have to what you are doing at the moment.

I love you Kadyn,

This morning PRSA NCC and Marketwire hosted an event focused on Facebook for Government, Business, Associations, and Non-Profits. As always PRSA NCC pulled in some industry leading social media practitioners to talk about how their organizations are leveraging this evolving communications tool.

Read Holman, New Media Strategist, US Department of Health and Human Services – @Readg
Steve Wymer, president, Senate Press Secretaries Association, communications director to Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NEB) — @stevewymer
Amy Ganderson, associate director of digital marketing, The Nature Conservancy – @amyganderson
Laura Hubbard, International CES, Consumer Electronics Association – @laurahubbard
John Wolf, senior director, public relations, Marriott International – @Marriottintl

We all know that Facebook is not just for your Kids anymore and businesses are looking to take advantage of this new opportunity to interact with their customers, clients, prospects, proponents, opponents, etc…

Steve Wymer kicked off the event talking about the use of FB in Government, let’s just say there is not a lot of use by Politicians. A couple good examples he gave for politicians using Facebook were John McCain and Claire McCaskill. Steve brought up a good point that “Social Media wants people to be authentic, but then you get in trouble for being real.” Steve also talked about how to deal with “negative” comments or discussions going down a slippery slope on Facebook and crossed over into Twitter as well. Essentially if a conversation begins to go down the wrong path try to jump in and moderate to get the conversation back on topic. If people are saying negative things on a consistent basis you should also use that material to put out a factual statement/post to help educate your fans. Another solution is to simply launch an all out assault of positive comments to drown out the negative. Now this is obviously not something that every organization should be doing, but in the Government space you can probably do it more frequently.

John Wolf followed Steve and gave one of the better lines I have heard in regard to not being in Social Media. He said “You are conspicuous by your absence in Social Media”. John also mentioned something I constantly bring up to clients/prospects in meetings about Social Media, he said “Social Media is a wonderful tool if it allows us to achieve our objectives”. While Social Media or Facebook to be more specific is a fantastic communications tool, it will be worthless if you do not have clear objectives/goals for why you want to be there. John mentioned that for every 10 messages/posts they get 9 of them are positive, now that is impressive and shows that Marriott knows what they are doing. The point was also made that your Social Media and Traditional Media should be integrated to form a cohesive communications plan. Overall I was very impressed with just about everything John said and it is very evident that he knows his stuff, which is why Marriott has had such Social Media success.

Amy Ganderson from The Nature Conservancy brought up some great points about how a large association can assist local offices who are looking to create Facebook Pages.

– Create approaches noting guidelines and best practices
– Start communication with Enthusiast, connect monthly to open dialogue
– Sync efforts, push top promotions/campaigns across all pages, not just the local page.
– Highlight successes of local offices

She also mentioned that you need to create custom landing pages on your Facebook page, don’t simply rely on the “Wall”. Your Facebook page should be treated just like your website in regard to separate landing pages. A huge tip she gave is that Facebook is Visual and that photo content always ranks high. Continuing this conversation the panel also mentioned that photos should be included in all blog posts (uh o, I better find a photo), pages, etc… The reason is that when you link that page to your Facebook page the photo will come through and people are more apt to click on a link with a photo and a clear explanation of what the link is. Also, if you are linking to external sites you need to be very clear about that or you will create a hesitation to clicking on your links. After all, I do not want to be directed to some random page after clicking on a link I thought would take me to your homepage, you would lose me instantly.

Read Holman had a lot of great points, but I think the major take away was that “having a presence on Facebook may be more important than having a page”. It makes perfect sense depending on what you are looking to accomplish after all, we all know conversations are happening regardless of the medium used. The page is not the final result Read said, sharing your information is more important. Making your site shareable and every post, page, etc… must have the ability to share and again, don’t forget to include your photo.

Laura Hubbard brought up some good food for thought as the conversation turned to pushing out content. Using Facebook insights you can tell who has hidden your posts. The last thing you want to do is push out so much content that your “Fans” start to turn you off. You have to walk the line and make sure you are getting out relevant content, not just pushing to push. CEA also allows others to tag so exhibitors can push out their info.

Overall I think the main point of today was that there is no one size fits all approach to Social Media, Facebook, etc… What works in Government may not work for Businesses, but lessons can be learned from each and put into a plan of attack. Remember when you are in Social Media there is no such thing as Failing, only Trial and Error!!!

If you would like to see more information check out the PRSA NCC site for the full presentation and podcast. You can also go to Twitter and search the hashtag #PRSA_NCC for tweets from today’s event (some examples below).

Podcast now available on the PRSA NCC site — http://www.prsa-ncc.org/blogcategory/new_media_downloads/

Thank you again to PRSA NCC and all the panelist for today’s event, it was fantastic!!!

So by now you have all probably heard about what Kenneth Cole said via Twitter in regard to the current situation in Cairo. Just in case, here is a snap shot to remind you.

I would also recommend checking out Todd Defren’s post — “In Social Media, Everyone Can Hear You Fart”.

After reading Todd’s post I wanted to see exactly what people were saying and how much conversation has been sparked. Let’s just say there are some pretty interesting posts out there. I took a quick look across Blogs, Social Media, Forums, Traditional News, etc… using MAP by Sysomos a Marketwire company. Take a look below at the “Activity Summary” pulled from mentions of “Kenneth Cole” for the past 6 months. I left out “Cairo” for this search to show the spike that this one tweet caused simply based on the brand name.

See that spike on the right, that was the Stupid Tweet. Now, does this fall under any publicity is good publicity, I think not. However, if Kenneth Cole the man and the brand begin to take action immediately they will be able to lessen the blow to their image, but time is precious and costly so get moving!

I am pretty sure that his PR folks would rather have the spike be for some great plan they executed, unfortunately it was because of an extremely insensitive comment that brings nothing but negativity. I am sure his PR team is now checking their Crisis Communications plan to get a game plan together, but if not Nancy Myrland gave some great advice in her recent post about this situation – “Kenneth Cole & Every CEO: This Is Your Social Media Wake Up Call”.

Take a look at just how big of a jump in mentions one tweet can cause and think about your next tweet. The below chart shows the number of mentions of “Kenneth Cole” (#1 — 2/3 – 2/4) and “Kenneth Cole” (#2 — 2/1 – 2/2) across Blogs, News Sites, Forums and Twitter. Yes, it would be awesome to have that spike, but not at the cost of your brands reputation.

Share of voice between 2 days prior to Kenneth Cole twitter comment and since (10,593 vs. 663)

I am sure that Kenneth Cole would rather the conversation be about clothes, watches, cologne, etc…

Hopefully Kenneth Cole takes advantage of this situation and puts out a great message and solid plan to correct the public image of the brand. At this point in time you have a lot of attention, try to turn the situation around and explain the steps you will be taking to correct the issue publicly. We all mess up and everyone is aware of that, but own up to it and go beyond what you think or obviously thought with the first apology.

I would check out the Kenneth Cole Facebook page, under the discussions tab to find their apology. I did not include the screen shot as there is a good amount of colorful commentary on the page.


Posted: February 4, 2011 in Uncategorized

What do you think is one of the easiest things for you to control? Well if you answered Consistency then you my friend would be correct.

It seems like such a simple thing, but yet so many companies, organizations, managers, salespeople, etc… do not seem to understand it. Companies, people, etc… are all pretty complex things so what do we look for to help ease the day, consistency.

See what Dictionary.com has as the definition of Consistency:

Consistency comes to play in everything. For example; When we are setting up Social Media Plans for clients or our own company we should be talking about creating a consistent game plan. Now things will come up and obviously you will have to address them as they happen, move on the fly, but still stay consistent. What is the message we are sending and does it seem to change on a day to day or crisis to crisis situation? Remember that the world is that much smarter with so much information readily available to them that they will see the wrinkle in your inconsistent armor if you go that route. Saying you are this today and that tomorrow is probably a good way to make sure you are nothing in a year.

Another area where consistency may be more important is internally. When companies wonder how they can begin to build their legacy and company culture, consistency is a great place to start. Put it this way, if your employees know that what you say today will hold up in a two weeks, assuming nothing major has changed you will find you have very loyal people similar to external communications. Company culture is built from the inside out so begin building with a consistent style and game plan.

To be honest I think part of this random post is because we have a new puppy who I am learning that being consistent is very key. This is nothing new and has always been one the easiest ways IMHO to create loyalty internally and externally. If you want a loyal fan base or work force then create a very consistent message, game plan, sales processes, etc…and you will find that people will respond positively.