Sports and Social Media-What have We Learned?

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Recently via ESPN,  a social media drama played out nationally as a Texas A&M  football recruit and one of their coaches sparred via Twitter, over the perception of each other’s veiled tweets. There will be no good that will come out of this. The fall out is bad mostly for the football coach and his respective university. The fall out is additionally bad because it also shows how recruiting athletes in a social media world can go terribly awry. In fact, it’s not even relegated to “just.” recruiting. Look no further than Laremy Tunsil and what happened to him on what was supposed to be the greatest night/ moment of his young life.

A few years ago I wrote about and presented on the need to measure twice and cut once on anything you might say via social media, but rather than heed that foresight, we’ve all, as a society have collectively run in the opposite direction. Into the light, if you will.

What’s happening is, we’re collectively realizing at the same moment, it seems, that we have become the media. This means that 1) we have realized the power and potential of the digitally written word/visual world and we realize its impact; and 2) all of us have become comfortable with the notion that we’re all publishers, editors and commentators of our lives, your lives and even the lives of people we know nothing about.

Which brings me to these quick thoughts:

  • Have we done a poor job of explaining the power of social to each other?
  • You may have no followers, but that doesn’t mean we don’t listen.
  • Everyone is a coach and will give you their 2 cents digitally
  • Digital has not lessened the consequences of our actions.
  • Athletes may have no fear but they always need to be accountable
  • The phrase, “Act like you been there before,” still resonates
  • Keep  it in the clubhouse still works
  • Team coaches need to have the social media talk with their teams

It really comes down to this. Organizations both large and small and teams of all sizes, have to have social media governance and policies that extend to their players and coaches, managers and staff. There’s too much on the line both personally and professionally as well as in the amateur ranks to not have the process and controls in place to deal with the coupling of social media and athletes. What you need to understand is that you may never have to worry about these types of issues but if and when it happens, you’re not in the dark as a coach or as an administrator.

The real question really comes down to this: What are you going to do when it happens?

What should you do?  What does an org do about the athlete who posts Instagram pics of their party life? What do you do about the athletes who dis another player or team via Twitter? How bout the YouTube video of athletes behaving badly? What do you do?  Who do you blame? Do you blame them? Because you know, we live in a transparent world now.

Going forward, athletes behaving badly via social media is not going away. The sooner you realize that as an org., the sooner you can prepare for what will happen. It’s not an if, it’s a when.

Why Entertainment and Social Media are Perfect for Each Other

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Twenty six years ago at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival I watched Stevie Ray Vaughn rip it up in front of thousands of people. The only way people knew that I did was because I told them about it. Yep, WOM.

I would go on to see SRV a few more times after that before he was taken from us too soon. My memories and stories of the times I’ve seen him and hundreds ( Yes hundreds, I sold concert T-shirts) of other acts are solidly entrenched in a sense and duty that those stories are waiting to be told to another willing listener/fan. Thats #WOM.   in a nutshell.

What’s changed since then? A lot. The entertainment industry is now built upon “Jenga” blocks of streaming services, subscription services, platforms for buying, sharing and saving music. All are on tenuous ground except for social media. Entertainment and social media are made for each other.

Social Media is the spinach to the Popeye that is Entertainment.

Popeye-Spinach

The things is though, Social Media is just 1/3 of the elixir to what is ailing the entertainment business, specifically the music business IMO. The other two thirds that need to be “fixed” are streaming services and how artists can be rightfully paid for what they produce and what we hear. We can spend a whole blog post on that, but for now let’s focus on a few ways musical acts, venues and festivals can leverage social to  be successful

Let’s start with musicians. Above and beyond the actual creating of music, it’s imperative that musicians play. Whether it’s busking, club dates or in sheds, musicians have to play, preferably in front of people. But if no one knows they’re playing, then how’s that going to work out? Self promotion right? In a sense yes, but the key is social media, coupled with a an ample amount of balance. This tenet can hold true across the board, regardless of what part or side of the industry you’re on.

You have to balance the desire to pimp your stuff all the time with being interesting the rest of the time...oh and you have to make money doing what you love. So the balance is playing your music, marketing your music and selling your music. Artists can do it but it’s tough. Why is it? Last time I checked musicians are musicians and NOT marketers and certainly not social media marketers.

This is where the fans come in to play. This is where live events, concerts and festivals come in to play. All of the previous mentioned figure largely into the mix. Case in point, I go to the NOLA Jazz Fest as much as I can and to me, it’s about as good of a local and visitor “fan” experience as you can get with the combination of music AND Food. The Music is off the chain, but the food is a close contender. And people talk about it, A LOT. Tell me word of mouth is not big for an event like the Jazz Fest and I’ll see you some fertile Louisiana swamp land.:)

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Recently I went to the Gasparilla Music Fest in Tampa. A small festival comparatively speaking but no less eclectic when it came to the music, the diverse and high quality food offerings AND the tremendous local libations (Hat tip to Cigar City Beer)  The GMF is an absolute under the radar home run.

Not only was it a great venue for musicians but ditto for local eating establishments as well as those who were there for Spring Break and the weather. My point? Technology and social media can and could help and does help, to a certain extent, all those involved. But it can be better. This might be the part that musicians will hate to hear, but they can help their causes more by becoming more actively active, is that even a term? in every aspect of pushing social engagement with current and future fans. Why? Social Media loves entertainment but if it loves musicians, it loves and rewards fans even more. It’s a natural fit for fans to profess their love for a band or an artist and vice versa. But we have to make it easy as hell for them. Don’t forget, people are lazy and technology makes them even lazier!

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Real quickly, how good was the music at GMF? Well, when you can watch an artist as globally known as Erykah Badu slay it, up close and personal, that’s pretty cool; or listen to Memphis group Lucero just tear up the stage and then be tapped on the shoulder and be asked, “who are those guys,” that’s even cooler.  All told there were over 50 acts of various degrees culminating with Stephen Marley closing it down in fitting fashion. Stop it, just stop it.

Mini festival review not withstanding, I’d like to see the chasm between the makers of music and takers of music narrow so that we can all enjoy the why behind the music. Why do we love music? Why do we love to play music? It’s all about smiles on faces…

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Does Transparency Need a Filter?

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If we thought millennials shared too much, what are we to think of the YouTube generation or as they might be called, Gen C? Better yet, what are we to think of anyone with zero filter nowadays? A product of the times? Good for them, they’re just being transparent?

I ask that because recently a friend of mine was on a call in which there were multiple participants.  He mentioned that one person took it as an opportunity to share their dirty laundry, their clean laundry and anything else that might be bothering them. All at the expense of the others on the call and at the expense of the allotted time for the call. He said that at best, some of what he was talking about might have been relevant. At worst, it was awkward and uncomfortable.

Funny thing, this was not a millennial nor a Gen C’er. We think the aforementioned groups share too much and have no concept of what should and shouldn’t be shared in social media, but I digress.

Some might applaud this “transparency” as a new way to do business where we can all share our thoughts and feelings, but when is it too much? Even in a loose business setting, which this was not apparently, and especially on calls, time is fleeting. Personal forums for airing what bothers you on a conference call is not the time or place. It’s a matter of etiquette and being respectful of others’ time.

This has nothing to do with no filters and transparency and everything to do with understanding what tact is in a business setting. Clearly, there is a difference between being tactful, being blunt, and being transparent and having no filters. The key is to understand which one you’re supposed to use and when you’re supposed to use it.

Five Simple Rules for Better Tweeting [Infographic]

Often times reading Twitter feeds can seem almost post-apocalyptic. A vast wasteland of nothing. You scroll through your feed and you see nothing redeeming. Fun fact, we used to refer to the World Wide Web with the same disdain. It essentially was the wild, wild, west where anything goes and anything went. Some think that’s no longer the case. never fear, there’s always Twitter.

Twitter has, for quite some time, completely supplanted the title of THE place where anything and everything can be said in an uber public setting. Again, some think that that’s no longer the case either. But I digress.

What people think is tweet worthy can sometimes waffle between the sublime and the absurd. Where does that come from? A lack of understanding? Context? Of what might be compelling?

My guess is it may be because of a lack of ground rules or better yet, a lack of golden rules. For that reason, the cracker jack team at Digital Response Marketing Group, has decided to offer up 5 simple rules for better tweeting.

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A Look Back: What to Look for in Your Next Social Media Director Hire

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About four years ago I wrote a post/checklist on what you should require when you hire your next social media rockstar. Recently I was asked to build a roles/responsibilities description for a client who had a similar ask and thus I thought my old post might help me in building out that description. So let’s relook at the post and see how it compares to 2015 with comments, updates and observations in red.

1. Do you understand how social media fits into the overall marketing plans and goals of any organization regardless of industry? In 2015, I’d say now more than ever social is part of the fabric of every org. It’s either an integral part of every marketing plan or it does have some role.

2. Could you build a sound business strategy for a client around social media? Let’s hope so! Gone are the days where all clients or brands should or would accept someone who knows how to tweet, post to Facebook and take Instagram pics. That’s a given. But can you go deep on strategy? Do you know how to measure? And no not just vanity metrics.

3. Will you be accountable for the quality of all social media plans/strategies/services delivered to clients as well as their overall client satisfaction? You do know that we measure everything and everything can be measured? This is probably the biggest difference. In 2015 we can measure so much more in social than we did back in 2011.

4. Could you establish social media programs that actually drive revenue? Nothing, I got nothing. Self explanatory. Either you can or you can’t. 

5. Can you drive social media work for clients? Including strategy development, tactical expertise and execution, and measurement of all their social programs? Soup to Nuts and then some. Not only do we want you to drive the work, we want you to think ahead as well. Think Mobile and Social. What works now? Will it work next week, next month, next year?

6. Can you develop a methodology that includes resources, team structure, core processes, and best practices that can be  scalable across the board with media and marketing teams? What’s different in 2015? Managing social needs a team. In some cases, a very large team and a diverse team with general and yet specific skill sets.

7. Could you identify and define social media opportunities for clients as they align with their overall digital marketing goals and strategies? Can you replicate success? Do you understand that one size does not fit all in social?

8. Could you collaborate across all departments and disciplines to identify and implement social training needs? There’s “doing” social and being social but do you understand and can you articulate the nuances of social? Particularly as it corresponds to different platforms? This is a biggie as it can determine success.

9. Could you identify and act on opportunities to attract, market, and recruit top social media talent? I can tell you that what’s attractive to new talent is being able to craft and create social media programs and strategies that push the envelope of what’s possible. Want a hint? Think Periscope and Merrkat and Blab. 

10. Can you manage the recruitment, hiring, retention, and professional development of a social media team? Do you know what to look for? What you’re looking for are people that have worked on projects and campaigns from beginning, middle and end. They know what to measure and they know what success looks like. And, they can think on their own.

11. Can you determine the correct roles, responsibilities, and expertise needed on your team to scale and grow a social media practice? If you’re our director, you better be able to. By the time you’ve reached this point, you should be able to “do” every aspect of social and yes that includes creating topic profiles in Radian 6.:) So we need to assume that yes indeed you can determine correct roles and expertise.

12. Do you know how to monitor trends in any industry and collaborate with upper management to ensure preparation for potential changes within a market segment? and then position the company or division for success as an industry leader? This is the backbone of or one of the pillars of social. You have to know how to monitor what’s being said, where it’s being said and who is saying it and then…How to act on it. If you don’t? Next in line please…

13. Could you work with global practice leads and other social media managers to develop, document, and share social media strategies and successes? Can’t we all just get along? Social media is the best place to collaborate on best practices of what works and what doesn’t. We get new toys and platforms coming at us all the time. This is the fun stuff.

14. Can you facilitate collaboration, knowledge sharing, and encourage participation for social media across teams and offices? This is a tuffy Your ability to create handles, profiles and platforms is one thing, but then to mandate participation at least within your org, whether it’s internal or external, will always be a struggle. Why? Because not everyone is social and not everyone wants to be social, even if it’s on behalf of the company. Sometimes you can lead a horse to water…

15. Can you act or be the central resource for information related to social media? Would you want to be? I would hope so, on both accounts. I mean it is your profession and you are applying for the director position…Should I even ask if you can? Never mind. Shame on me for hiring you if you can’t.

16. Could you be a credible spokesperson of social media at industry events? This isn’t a deal killer. If you could that would be awesome, but if not, no worries.

17. Could you increase and raise the awareness of your organization’s credentials on social media both internally and externally? I would like this person to be active on the behalf of the company but we have others who can push that agenda. However, it is a bonus, whether it’s internal or external if participation is coming from you. So if I were you I’d answer yes to this, regardless.:)

18. Could you advise client teams and other internal executives on the execution of social media programs and new business opportunities? No changes here in 4 years, this is a resounding yes, you better be able to.

19. Can you determine the right solutions for technology and measurement of social media?  Including evaluation of current resources as well as social media vendors and develop partnerships with those vendors? This one is huge. What it requires is that you are on top of what is out there right now. What works, what doesn’t, what sucks and what can definitely elevate who we are and we do in the social space.  Technology and tool wise, you need to know what’s out there. Bottom line.

20. Can you collaborate closely across all departments and teams within an organization to provide complete solutions for clients? Depends on your role but in general, I would say you can count on probably being pulled into more meetings with more groups in which your expertise is required, than you initially thought. You’re the expert. 

21. Can you contribute to new business development by representing social media strategies and services? Could you sell social media to a client? If you got hired for your position, I’d say the answer is yes.    

22.  Do you have the ability to build relationships with senior executives within key client accounts? Is schmoozing part of your DNA? Here’s what you need to know, you’re always going to be selling social media to someone within your org. There will always be someone who is skeptical. Get used to it and don’t take it personal. Win early and they’ll come find you wanting to know how they can leverage it. 

Am I missing any more key requirements that you can think of? Let me know in the comments section. Let’s build the ultimate requirements doc.:)

Ever Really Look at your Linkedin Contacts?

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In 2016, it should be readily apparent that each relevant social platform has a specific value to us. If you, as a digital marketer still don’t know what that value is, well then, shame on you.

Let’s stop for 30 seconds and re-look at that value of each. Let’s take stock really quick. Look at Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, Tumblr, Instagram, Snapchat, Periscope/Meerkat/Blab, Redit, Youtube, Pinterest, WhatsApp and G Plus. They all have a specific value and purpose. Right?

But have you ever really looked at who you’re connected to on Linkedin? Do you leverage those contacts at all? How many of them do you “know?” Better yet, how many of them do you know personally? How many of them have you met in person?

I have over a 1000 people that I’m “connected” to. Occasionally I will reach out to a few to see how they’re doing or to congratulate them on a new gig, Or to endorse them for something that I’m not even really sure they might be good at, but beyond that? Nothing.

You know what I use Linkedin for? First and foremost, I use it as a competitive intelligence tool. That process encompasses the people that want to link with me or the people that I might be working with. It’s a barometer.

Invariably, the majority of people that want to link with me, are people that think the connection allows them to pitch me. Sometimes, I’ll think, OK, this person just wants to network and nothing more- and then no less than a half day will go by and I will subsequently get the requisite pitch email.  I will immediately “unlink” that connection.

So beyond having this stable of intimate business connections, who does the passively dynamic social network that is Linkedin serve best? Job seekers and recruiters.  I check it every day. I look to see who wants to link up with me and 9 times out of 10, I decline. But I do get a ton of recruiters that want to link with me. And for that reason alone, Linkedin is a valuable passive dynamic social network.

There is no better opportunity or platform out there to put a more complete snapshot of your professional accomplishments and current role/position. If you do not take the time to do this, the right way, you lose. If you’re looking for your next great gig, Linkedin is where it starts.

Lastly, I will tell you this. One of the things that Linkedin took away that I personally saw value in was the QA (Question/Answer) section of the site. It gave me insight into the massive intelligence of the types of people that used it, who were willing to take the time, to help you and not necessarily want anything in return; and it also was a quick ad hoc form of getting some professional guidance on certain aspects of things I was not proficient on. For free. Bring that back!

 

 

The Secret to Digital Innovation in an App Centric World

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I was recently speaking to an entrepreneurship/marketing class in Naples Florida about what it takes to get something from cradle to grave. The main idea hit me like a ton of bricks, so I’m going to share it with you. It’s quick, so relax.

It’s as simple as this. It starts with one person. It’s born from one idea. You take that one idea and you make it better. You take one thing about that original idea and you tweak it. You find one person who can see your vision and you become one. Then you find another.

You find that one competitor and you beat them or you take that one thing missing from their idea and it becomes yours.

If it’s about the “one” customer experience that can make the difference. How do you create an amazing customer experience? One experience at a time. You find that one product champion and you build a comunity from that.

Whether it’s your company, your product, your family or your life…Do one thing everyday that moves the needle in a positive direction.. You don’t have to boil the ocean and it’s not about lots of little wins or victories. Focus on one.

One person

One idea

One product

One goal

One win

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The Deets

Marc Meyer is a Digital and Social Media Strategist at DRMG. This is my personal blog where I share observations, thoughts and opinions that are all my own.

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