Television: True Blood’s social media presence

I have to say, we’re fans of True Blood in this house. I look forward to Sunday evenings in summer when we can watch the dangers that await Sookie Stackhouse. Not only do I watch the show, but I also read Charlene Harris’ books that the show is (loosely) based on. Although they are pretty different when it comes to plots and characters, there are occasional nods to the books, but I think that’s more for the readers.

Besides the compelling characters (LaLa and Eric Northman), one marketing tool that is utilized that keeps me excited about this summer show is their social media.

Ways to True Blood keeps people coming back for more:

  • Vlogging. This isn’t an easy option! But True Blood does it, and does it well… all from the perspective of baby vampire Jessica. On her teen bop of a site, she discusses her experiences and trials of being a baby vampire. MY FAV: Watch.
  • Fun hashtags. Ok, so this past year, when True Blood was filming, they would often release teaser videos on twitter with hastags like #waitingsucks and how many more days til the season premiere. Of course we’d  get excited all over again. Also, check out #trubies if you want to see some die hard fans.
  • Facebook visuals. Often, during a hiatus, the HBO original series will post hilarious images with corresponding ROFL captions. Often reminding me why Jason is one of my favorite characters. Seriously. See this seasonal post, and this one. And this one… 
If you’re looking for ideas on how to engage viewers/subscribers, take a peek at True Blood or another cult following type show. The hastags and blogs will follow.
True Blood on Twitter: https://twitter.com/TrueBloodHBO

Community that can’t be replaced

I want to take a minute and talk about community. I am a HUGE supporter of the internet and the beauty it brings. The internet has a great way to bring (and keep) people together.

For example, as a person that has moved to several states over the years, I’m able to stay in touch with friends from all over the world because of the internet. I can send emails, view pictures of their trip to China, and they can see our new house in the mountains of NC. This is all wonderful, but at the end of the day it can leave a person feeling alone in a room full of people. You have the world at your fingertips, but without real, tangible community, you are left lonely.

I am NOT saying that you can’t find great community online, but you still need community in real life (IRL). These days, I believe it’s easy to fall into the rhythm of not attending social events and gatherings to play another game of halo, or to hang out and read Wikipedia articles.

But at the end of the day, it comes down to the fact that we need peopleReal, in the flesh, people.

I would be lying if I said my 1-year-old didn’t have anything to do with this post, but in all honesty, he does. We’ve moved and that means finding a NEW church/community home. We desire for Henry to have a community of loving and giving adults and other children he can play and grow with. My son can’t find what he needs on a computer, he needs people. And he taught me that.

Babies, children, teens, and adults all need one another. We need to learn to grieve, love, have fun, and be together as community. We all learn from one another and that doesn’t stop with age.

What is community?

How do you seek out community?

What tips do you have for people new to a community single or otherwise?

Below is a list of IRL events that communities nationwide are hosting:

(in)courage

TED talks– ideas worth spreading

Continuing education

Community Reading programs

 

 

 

 

Pinterest sharing

Since we have blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and more, we have ENDLESS ways to give people insight into our tips and tricks of our daily life/work. Today I don’t want to share anything terribly productive, instead, I’m sharing some of my Pinterest boards that house some of my favorite things. 

For your enjoyment:

Pinterest:

Beer— Here you’ll find some of my favorite beers, from  craft to more mainstream.

My future office— Items for my future dream office/professional style 🙂

Wish List— Need a present idea for me? Check this one out!

What are things you like to share online? Pictures? Life? Achievements?

 

Unplugging

My husband and I are making a move to the mountains of NC, about two hours away from where we are now. With that move brings welcome change, like having his family closer to help with our son, along with camping and hiking opportunities right down the street. 

On top of all those great outdoor options comes change for me when it comes to leaving ‘city life’ for ‘mountain’ life. I’m totally on board, but I’ve grown up on ‘city life’.

You know, like having cell service no matter the provider. Being able to get cake at 8:30 at night. Or even when I have the very rare urge to go shopping, I can at least walk around the mall and browse without hurting my checkbook.

But we’ve also made another big decision, we’re dropping smart phones. Yup. I’m going black… or some version of it.

Currently, with T-Mobile, we don’t have service in the new local, so we are looking to possibly drop this expense. We have internet at home and a… land line phone (gasp!). I’m looking forward to unplugging (a little) but I also have grown accustomed to popping open a map app to see where I am and learn how lost I really have become.

I hope I make it! Have you ever done a massive unplug like this?

Email Marketing

The next step in my career will be in Email Marketing. During the interview process for this new position, I was asked where I thought this communication tool would be in 5 years. That lead me to think about how organizations need to change to enhance their marketing…

My 3 thoughts:

  • Need heavy segmentation. The time of ‘batch and blast’ has been over. For email marketing to be effective, heavy segmentation is a must. We need to provide our customers a terrific experience right in their inbox. That means providing relevant content, not sending everyone the same thing. Perspective: Just because I walk into the women’s department at Target doesn’t mean I want to see toothpaste and camping gear next to the bras and swimsuits. I want a swimsuit, not see things I don’t want. —Now I know some people argue that I may remember that I need toothpaste when I see it, but that’s a whole other blog post. 
  • Must follow CAN-SPAM. You might be surprised how many people I consult with that are NOT following best practices that support CAN-SPAM laws. To be an effective email marketer, you need to follow best practices that make you not only follow, but surpass the laws in place. Otherwise, your emails can/will be labeled as SPAM and more and more of your communications to your potential and current customers could end in the junk folder. No bueno.
  • Improve promotions. I’m really tired of iPad giveaways. Honestly, you’ll get people entering to win the iPad that aren’t interested in your products or services. Are those people considered ‘engaged’ or even ‘leads’ because they filled out an entry form? Now, if you have an iPad app associated with your organization, or a great mobile site launch, by all means, give away an iPad.  Remember: If it can showcases/enhances/promotes your brand/products/services, do it. If the giveaway outshines, then please don’t waste your time and resources promoting the giveaway.

Where do you think email marketing will need to be in the next 5 years? What can people change or enhance to improve this tool?

 

Developing a new story to tell

My family and I moved. We drove from St. Paul, MN to Hickory, NC in August 2012. Since then my husband has been graciously staying home with our son while I’ve started working as a marketing director for a healthcare staffing company.

We left the MidWest really excited to be close to family and to be back close to the mountains we love. Asheville and everything that surrounds this magical place. The beer, people, sustainable food movement. Everything. What we are slowly realizing is that Asheville isn’t the only place with cool things happening. Awesome businesses, brew pubs, and projects are happening right here in Catawba Valley.

I think that when we tell people where we moved to and why, they don’t understand. I think I say ‘Hickory, NC’ and people hear ‘Hickville-no-where-town, USA.’ This my friends, is not the case.

I have had the privileged of meeting with some great businesses,  entrepreneurs, recent graduates, and hopeful marketers in Catawba County and those conversations have been some of the best I’as had in the past few months. These gatherings usually end up talking about how we can showcase the many and diverse talents and attractions of the area. Instead of focusing on the story of what we were, envisioning how we tell the story of what we are now and what we’re becoming.

Various groups are looking to improve development and decrease the ‘brain drain’ that is happening in this region.

Catawba County is full of stories of ‘what was’, not people are talking about what can be the future of the county. We should always remember what was, but instead of dwelling, we should build on that story.

How do we start to tell a new story?

Google Flu Trends + Sharing your life for the better

Google Flu Trends
Screen shot of Google Flu Trends 1-13-2013 <click image to view map>

If you haven’t seen Google’s helpful flu tracking tool, you should check it out (here). The search giant created a ‘Flu Trends’ page based of search trends found through their tool ‘Google Insights for Search’ (view page).

As you might expect, there are more flu-related searches during flu season, more allergy-related searches during allergy season, and more sunburn-related searches during the summer. – From Google Flu Trends ‘How it works’ page here

Makes sense to me. I would think that there are more searches for Santa Claus in November and December than in April, and more in areas where people recognize the jolly man.

But, how do we feel about Google logging all of our keystrokes?  

Usually, I am incredibly skeptical on companies/organizations keeping all my data and information (but yes I still ‘Google’ and ‘Facebook’). But the use of my information for good? If it’s possible, I say, do it. I know, this does beg the question: ‘where will it end?’ 

I don’t have that answer. But, I have to say, I love trend maps like this one. It really brings out the marketer in me.

What kind of trend maps would you like to see from Google?

Is email killing you? (It’s crushing me)

I have been wondering lately where my productivity has gone. I started a brand new (awesome) job that I am loving that’s really pushing me to greater heights (it helps that my coworkers and bosses are fan freakin’ tastic). However, sometimes I look down and it’s been 2 hours since I started a project. I need and want to be productive, so I decided that this has to stop.

Last week, I took an inventory of my time, and I realized that I spent WAY too much time just ‘cleaning’ and organizing my inbox.

Everyone has been there with email. You’ve been working on ‘cleaning’ and ‘organizing’ your email to ‘put out fires’ and someone calls to see if you received their novel of an email. Regardless who it’s from, your boss, co-worker, or vendor looking to up-sell  it seems that email has become a life preserver as if to say ‘I held up my end, the ball is your court’.. and I’m done.

Conversations go something like this:

Them: I emailed you that proposal 203 hours and 23 minutes ago with 7 attachments and my edits to your proposal. Have you not read it yet?

Me: Not yet. I’m overloaded from the holidays.

Them: Ha! I know what you mean. I check mine all the time and still can’t seem to keep up.

Wait. WHAT?

So not only are we ‘using’ email as a file cabinet (are those even made anymore?) to make sure that we have a record of the conversation, but we’re never leaving work because we have to constantly keep our ‘desk’ clean by checking and cleaning our email. Don’t even get me started on voice-mail.

So all this begs me to ask: Why am I doing this to myself?

Answers (justifications?):

Because I manage several vendors and it’d be a nightmare otherwise? Vendor management. Oy vey.

Because workplace culture dictates? Maybe.

Because that is the only option right now? Not good enough and not hardly.

There are SEVERAL options out there for project correspondence and collaboration. Think 37signals. But what about day-to-day communication?

My background is in communications and email, in my opinion, IS NOT great tool for proper conversation. Honestly, it’s one-way. Forget about collaboration, it’s not good with that. Maybe if you are having correspondence with one person over time, but then, let’s call that what it is, a freakin’ letter.

Companies like Hootsuite are making a day-to-day conversation tool for communications within organizations, but I can see the comments so clearly…

‘I can’t follow the thread all the time!’

‘Ugh. Not another network to maintain.’

‘I’m not on Facebook,’

You see where I am going with this. While email is crushing me (and everyone’s productivity) I’m also weary on a taking the social network approach. However, I think we MUST re-imagine what communication looks like, and like everything, communication, like culture, is unique to a company.

What does communication look like for me and my company? 

Will I stop using email? Not right now, but I will improve my time management with it so I am able to really be productive.

How are you communicating in your office? Do you use a social type network? Do you love or loathe email?

 

The power of story – National Novel Writing Month

November is National Novel Writing Month. While I may not be a novelist, I can’t ignore the community that pops up surrounding story. No matter who you are stories are what bind us together and help us get through tough times.

Originally stories were passed down in an oral tradition. Now pass we pass on tales through writing, art, pictures, movies, quilts, books, and several different methods to tell and display a story.

Each method of story telling sheds light on an aspect that could have been overlooked in previously.

The wonderful thing about the world we live in today is that we are able to have an international community through online forums, community boards, and live chats. And National Novel Writing Month is no exception. Through their site, they have created a community within communities, giving writers the option to join a region where they live. From there they can encourage (aka ‘pep talks’), swap story ideas, check on name connotation and much more. This gives the story tellers a place to hone in on the craft of storytelling.

Let’s face it, the art of telling a story is an important one. Today, in a social society, everyone has a story to tell, draw, animate, video tape, publish, write, sing, etc. But there is one thing that separates the story tellers from the screamers, is the understanding of audience and delivery.

Real story tellers know it’s not really about them. It’s about the audience, and from there, it’s how you tell your tale.

A social world has leveled the playing field, but it’s also drowned the system. Anything can be made public, for better or for worse. The important thing to remember is that it’s not for us to judge what’s the best and worst out there, because there might be a person somewhere, that finds a piece speaks to them. A story that’s not heard in one room, will be echoed and repeated in another.

Either way, all stories need to be told.

 

Boundaries & self censorship


Photo from: Andrew Mccluskey (Flickr)

Boundaries. Important for any relationship, from business to personal, and it’s important to identify them in the beginning and even as you go. But what about boundaries with yourself?

There are people that blog, tweet, or facebook EVERYTHING that is going on in their life. I know, everyone overshares sometimes, but I’m reminded of the quote that I heard so often growing up:

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

When I am going to mention my husband in a blog post, I tell him, give him context, even though I don’t get into anything specific in the post. Why? Because I think it’s important to note that not everyone wants to have their daily life logged online. Their space needs to be respected over my desire to vent.

Besides, I can save that for girl’s wine night right?

A more sensitve example… I’ve volunteered with children in emergency shelters, worked with abused people, and drug addicts. I’m not saying that some of those stories wouldn’t be valuable to share in the right setting, but posted online, for the world to see, isn’t always my place. I think that people need to know that you’re not going to run and post a video, or make a new status update based on the guts they just spilled. It’s already hard to trust people, let’s not make it harder by getting rid of trust in relationships.

4 personal censor rules for deciding NOT to post:

  • Would I be proud, not defensive, about what I posted?
  • Am I up for being held accountable?
  • Would I not want the person or organization to find this out?
  • How would I feel if this table was turned?

Would I be proud, not defensive, about what I posted?Am I up for being held accountable?Would I not want the person or organization to find this out?How would I feel if this table was turned?

If I answer ‘no’ to these items, the post doesn’t happen. Social networks are made to build, maintain, and grown relationships. Not to create burn books. We’re all over high school.

How do you decide what to post & what NOT to post?