Marketing Benefits Using Social Data

Let me just start by saying that working in live entertainment is amazing, it’s where I belong and far different from any other industry I’ve worked in. We all expect change when we leave one industry and move to the next. Even though I worked for Cartoon Network, the change was still substantial. In a bad way? Absolutely not. It was change one would expect as you move your career forward in a new industry. But here I’m at home. This guy is happy with what I get to do every day and couldn’t be more proud of the things that come across my desk from day to day. I get to promote shows and live entertainment, both great passions of mine.

I have learned a TON in my career, but nothing compares what I’ve learned in the first 6 months at Ticketmaster. If there is one thing that sticks out right away about the company — it’s that I work with some seriously brilliant people. Each day I’m inspired by my colleagues. There have been times where I was like “woah, did you really just do that in excel” or “slow down so I can learn how you just did that using PowerPoint.” But it even goes beyond that. Some stuff I outright just don’t understand because it’s way over my head. But if there’s one thing I feel everyone might know about Live Nation and Ticketmaster – it’s that we’re a data driven and a very analytical company –which has made me think SO differently from a year ago. I measure everything, I report on every metric possible and I’m always looking for new innovative ways to do the things we do well. That’s the first step to success. (Side note here, but worthy of mentioning. Check back in the winter over the holidays on Ticketmaster’s Facebook page for the years big idea. It’s happening.)

Let me get to the point. A challenge not only for the industry that I work in, but for everyone working with social data it is how we marketers can use it to our advantage. There is a tremendous amount of opportunity with integrating social sign-on to your businesses website, or asking fans to provide data based on a unique app or advertising opportunity. Let me ask, are you using the data you’re collecting through social sign-on mechanisms or app campaigns? Is that important to you? If not, it should be. Start doing it. You might think you know your social communities just by interacting with them every day, but what you don’t know is what they all may have in common.  Who else do your fans LOVE other than you? What likes do they have in common? What music are they listening to on Spotify? Are there any potential sponsorships that could transpire from knowing this information? There is opportunity for marketers to apply and USE this data to make business decisions. Maybe even build corporate sponsorships. Who knows, maybe your community is full of fans who love drinking Red Bull? Maybe you can engage the brand and work on a sponsorship to give back to your community. Often times find ourselves buried in all the data or just don’t know what to do with it.  Maybe you’re part of the lucky and already hard at work with modeling out this data and you’re on your way to big things. If that’s the case you should email me and we should have a conversation.

In my past experience though, these were not scenarios that came up in conversation. Maybe they were at a higher level, but it was never respected at my level. Times are changing though and so are those conversations. Regardless, you should be collecting that data and applying it to your business needs. Otherwise, you’re missing out on one of the biggest values that social can bring to your business.

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Starting Fresh In Live Entertainment

My first day working in Hollywood.

It was a dream come true, something I had every intention on doing considering the passion I share with genres of live music, theater and sports. I knew that when I joined Live Nation Entertainment I joined a company that not only is leading live entertainment but also a company who totally gets and understands social marketing.

Since starting my new job as Manager of Social Marketing at Ticketmaster I knew the job was going to be tough, but tough meant challenge and opportunity. Without challenge I wouldn’t be pushing myself beyond belief each day strategizing and thriving for efficiencies to scale social. I am so very thankful of my past experience working with Cartoon Network, DeVry University, Keller Graduate School of Management and Peak6 Investments. I never once doubted that I wasn’t ready to move into the unknown and put forth the experience I  learned from each these large organizations. I can honestly say that I’ve truly found my home and thank god it’s here for me to enjoy somewhat early my career. It only get’s better from here, right?!

I wish I had more time to blog, but I must write something quick and extremely brief tonight — my apologies. However, I can’t wait to share the new things I learn, but I’m mostly excited to update each of you as I strive towards building a team of amazingness who have a chance of doing some amazing things in the entertainment space.

If I can update you with a few simple words early in the new gig thus far (as some of you have requested)… The new position is nothing less than amazing I cannot wait to keep you all updated as I continue on this adventure.

Thank you to those who helped me get here! I owe it to you, my mentors, for adding fuel to the fire and coaching me on as I navigated through a new beginning that I am so passionate about.

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Leaping From a Business Idea to Entrepreneur

Have you thought of yourself as a entrepreneur? Ever wonder what it would be like to own your own business? I feel these exact thoughts go through my mind far too often. I always seem to be thinking about my next “business idea,” or even debating myself as to who would make a good business partner one day. I’ve had several thoughts of 1) starting my own social media marketing agency to 2) opening my own restaurant or bar and 3) owning my own social media business consulting firm. However, there has always been one specific idea that I feel could one day shape my future…

A few weeks ago I realized something pretty amazing. I have no idea how this happened, but I noticed that I have unexpectedly surrounded myself with business owners. Several of my friends have took to their own path and have started their own businesses. Some have been in the business longer and some have just made the leap. While I watch them work together it encourages me to keep dreaming big. I look at this as a gift, but it gives me serious motivation. I admittedly have read into this quite a bit lately – my mind only seems to go crazy and business plans start to be more than just conversation and thought. In fact, my weekends have turned into countless hours of research, hoping that one day soon I’ll feel that “urge” to put my plan on paper and go on with it. My friends and partner are who will one day inspire me to do it. I mean, what do I have to lose? If I fail, I learn. Right?

We live in a land of opportunity. Small businesses are encouraged in the U.S. more than ever right now. We need to build a stronger middle class. In fact, small businesses are encouraged so much there are incentives for startups. American Express has even created Small Business Saturday, which happens every year around the holidays. Several larger companies have also partnered with AMEX to encourage more entrepreneurship and desire within our country.

All it takes is for one person to create a business plan and for that same brave soul to carry it forward. I seem to always sell myself short, and far too often am I feeling resistance and hesitation from within. I struggle. I struggle again. It’s a battle I keep having with myself, but each week that goes by I’m finding less resistance and more desire to one day make my dream a reality, but it’s hard to do alone.

Share below, do you own your own business or startup? Did you face similar challenges getting started?

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Looking Ahead To A New Year

If you’re like me, today is one of those days where you truly feel blessed for what you have. I’m SO grateful for all the amazing things that I have in life. My partner, family, friends and job top the list. Without any of these I wouldn’t be who I am today. I’ve also been blessed with great health and an amazing job that has provided me with SO much in my life – especially over the last year. From experience I wouldn’t gain anywhere else, flexibility I never knew existed and lasting friendships, I’m so lucky to work for such a great employer.

The holidays are also a time to reflect on another year that has come and gone. How are things going with life and work? Where can you improve? What are things you promise you can do better in the New Year? Nobody is perfect and we all have areas in which we can work to improve both personally and professionally. But how do you do that? For me I sit down with a pen and paper at the end of the year (somewhere quiet away from home) and write down short and long-term goals for the upcoming year. For example, If you’re working towards a promotion or a new position within your company, what goals will help you get to that next level? Setting both long and short-term goals are easy ways to ensure that you’re on the track to career success.

I already have professional goals that I have set forth for 2013 with my employer, but the new year also presents a great time to revisit them to ensure you’re on target. Additionally, you can always add to your development plan if you already have one created. One of my biggest goals for 2013 that I want to share with you is to stay in touch and continue to stay connected while living and working in a new environment. How do i plan to do this? Well, there are several ways, but there are also many new technologies that exist today that can help connect me to family, friends and colleagues at no cost whenever needed. My plan is to get a better process to make sure I’m staying well connected at all times.

To wrap up, I know 2012 was a whirlwind of a year for me. I moved from Chicago to Los Angeles where I knew absolutely nobody. It simply hasn’t been an easy transition so I had to keep telling myself that a fresh start meant challenge and opportunity. There have, with no doubt been many struggles and more struggles than achievements, but I know that I am in a good place which makes me happy. Needless to say, I’m aware that overtime things will work out the way they should. I have no doubt that 2013 will be one of the best years of my life and I simply cannot wait!

I want to thank those who have been reading my blog recently. I also want to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a prosperous 2013! We can now say that we survived the end of the Mayan Calendar and 2012 wasn’t the end of the world.

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How Do You Market Over The Holidays?

I’ve been doing a lot of research lately and most seems to be around paid advertising. When I first started to embrace social media advertising a little over 3 years ago I really didn’t know what to expect. When is a good time to advertise? What would be a good CPC for Facebook? Would Facebook help us send traffic to micro sites or landing pages? I still think many of us get asked these questions today. These are question I wish I had more answers to as we head into the holidays. About 3 years ago it was normal to pull most advertising efforts or at least start the “slow period” as you ease into the holidays. However, I’ve read several articles recently that state advertising during the holidays is when you’ll see some of the best return on your efforts. It’s crazy how quickly things change, but also interesting to read into learnings from brands who put a little risk into their marketing and advertising efforts on known down times.

The tactic to pull ads over the holidays was something I’ve struggled with. I’m a firm believer that consumers are checking their Facebook regularly over the holidays. In fact, this article by Inside Facebook states that the Facebook marketing platform is seeing interaction rates is up to 46 percent since after Thanksgiving, which means that users are taking more actions on advertising by clicking such ads, engaging with apps, “liking” pages and even completing sales over the holidays more now than ever. So why shouldn’t we put paid media in the market this time of year, or at least toss around the idea of increasing bids that I manage?

I think we all know why Facebook is seeing this trend. Retail giants are advertising on Facebook like never before to push holiday sales or promotions. And it’s working! However, my question is… would it be stupid for advertisers who aren’t in retail to also serve ads to their selected demographic during this time if retail giants are seeing such great return? Would the retail success carry over to other targeted audiences? If they are seeing success, why wouldn’t any other brand? Especially if our ad targeting serves two very different purposes.

Let’s face it, most of us travel over the holiday to spend time with family and friends. We all love our families, but we all know we need to escape them too! I’m notorious for it, but I’d say a majority of us turn to Facebook now to communicate with our family and friends to wish them a Happy Holidays. For me, Facebook really has taken over SMS in that regard. So no matter what, I truly believe these platforms are seeing high traffic over the holidays.

I’m curious though, have you tried advertising during the holidays? Did you see better return on your ads during this time of year? Retail or not, I’d love to hear from you.

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Know Your Audience Before You Go To Market

It’s easy to get trapped into those conversations about how we as social media marketers need to build our fan base and how we need to build it fast! Maybe you’re noticing (as a brand) that you’re starting to get behind with regard to some of the growth that your competitors are seeing. Maybe because we invest so much time and resources on social media channels we feel they need to express growth rather than value. I’m beginning to wonder if this is common for executives to latch onto fan numbers rather than the true value of the community. But how do you showcase community value? That’s the million-dollar question. I think a good place to start would be content performance and community engagement metrics.

However, something that I’m starting to see is many brands failing because they aren’t targeting the right fans when growth is being expected of them. They are target friends of fans, or fans that don’t have any affinity with the brand and this is happening just to hit those set of community growth metrics. In some cases, sure it’s a quick and easy way to build your community quickly unless you’re being strategic.  Meaning, It also depends on your audience. Retail giants could very much benefit from a similar rapid growth tactics and be successful! However, trying to build a social following based on inaccurate keywords or a big promotion just isn’t logical unless the keywords and promotion is part of your business or growth plan. Let’s use a recent iPad giveaway that I recently saw as an example. Do you think this is a smart way to engage those who are most passionate to your brand? Probably not. Unless, you’re an industry that focuses on tech gadgets or if Apple is a big part of your business. When I see this (being the independent marketer that I am), I immediately feel this is probably another idea with not much thought behind it or their paid ad strategy isn’t well thought through unless of course I’m appropriately targeted. Meaning, in this example that I just shared, I have an affiliation with Apple and I’m passionate about iPad’s. Get where I’m going? Incentives are great for grabbing attention, but it should go so much beyond that. Overtime, do you have the right content to make these new fans happy once they arrive? Do you feel these new fans are there for good reason or just hoping for another giveaway? Things to think about.

If you’re targeting fans that have no affiliation with you for a giveaway as a value prop, do you really think your building your channel? You might be with numbers, but overtime I can promise you that you’ll see a dip in fans or you’ll start to see limited fans engaging with your content.  Isn’t that why we’re here? To engage our audiences with relevant content. In all honesty, you might be setting yourself up for what I call fan failure. Let me share why I don’t agree with this growth tactic. Not only are you roping in fans (or friends of fans) that have no direct affiliation with your business; you’re also bringing in users who want to win a free iPad. Do these new users you’ve targeted in paid efforts really care about what other content you have if it’s not another promotion? Maybe. But probably not. They are here for the iPad and then they are checking out. There are ways that this tactic can work though, but I think you’re better off putting paid behind content that makes sense to your audience. Know your audience! Make sure you’re giving incentives to your community for the right reasons. Brand loyalty would be a great place to start.

The point that I’m trying to make is that it’s not at all about how many fans you have; it’s about those that you have an affiliation or relationship with. It’s about dialog; it’s about interactions and engagement with your community. Sure this can be hard to explain to senior leadership, but at the end of the day it’s a necessary conversation to have if you don’t want your fans to stick around.

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A Fresh Start In a New City Meant Challenge & Opportunity

I think this might surprise some, but knowingly it won’t surprise most that I’ve finally entered a blogging phase in life. While I’ll always prioritize my work with my current employer, I also want to also be a resource to other businesses that are transforming and innovating quickly in order to run as a leading social business in their industry. I also hope that others could potentially learn a thing or two from what I plan to share with you here. Sharing is what we as social media marketers do best, right? Well, okay, only when it relates to professional experiences and nothing more. Rest assured I keep things confidential and only write based on my experiences. The views expressed here will not reflect those of my employer or clients.

When I moved out to Los Angeles a year ago last November (2011) I knew I felt something more than a fresh new start at life. I immediately felt challenge and excitement with being in a new place and also quickly realized what opportunity for me personally and professionally. Who thinks of that when moving? Well… apparently I do! However, not only did this mean I would be working somewhere new with my current employer, but it would also present an opportunity for me to connect with new social media leaders and businesses in the area allowing me to share some of the successes (and failures) that I’ve experienced firsthand with others.

I moved out to Los Angeles knowing absolutely nobody finding myself in a similar situation as when I moved from Seattle to Chicago. However, this time was very different. With moving into the unknown this time something really strange happened with my mind. Admittedly I wasn’t nervous or worried at all, I was flat out excited… but excited about what? I immediately started to question if I was growing up too fast since I quickly convinced myself  that I would focus more on my career over my personal life. I was always the social butterfly or the life of the party back in Chicago, why was I changing? What was happening to me? I’m still young, right? Within a month of moving out here I found myself on a freelance account (which has since ended) with a major television network. Hello L.A., right? I immediately thought is this what happens to those who put their careers first? This was really exciting to me because it was the start of sharing a fraction of the amazing things that I’ve done in my career. Needless to say the amount of new things that I learned in this broadcast and television business was invaluable — not only to myself and my skill-set, but it helped me think of things differently with my current employer. The reverse side is also true. I brought many strategic learnings from my client side to my employer.

This is what I wanted. This was what I was living for with a move to a more expensive promise land here in LA. While it VERY hard to do 2 jobs at once, I also realized that I needed to keep myself busy considering my support system was no longer in the same city as me. I was on my own, and I had that entrepreneurial drive to make a career out my passions and drive. I would be downright stupid not to jump on the opportunity that had just landed in my lap.

As I reflect on my first year in L.A., I quickly realize how difficult it was… long nights, 70-80 hours a week of hard work, crabby and overly tired, but content. Why was I content? Because I will realized that this was probably one of the smartest decisions I ever made as I start to build my personal brand and earn more freelance and consulting opportunities. I have since finished an 8 month assignment with a fortunate 100 business and am learning things twice as fast in the social business while also getting acclimated in a new city. Sure, i miss my friends and their support (especially when times were tough), but I couldn’t be happier with where I am at now and what I’ve done in just one year.

I truly believe that the challenges will only get harder from here, but I’m curious, have you experienced a similar challenge, or have you turned fear into excitement and opportunity? If you do, I promise you that he rewards will truly be endless!

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Unbelievably Inspired by SOBCon 2009

I’ve been to great panels and seen some incredible speeches,  I’ve been to great conferences, I’ve met great people, but none of this measures up to my phanominal  experience at the Successful Outstanding Blogger Conference (“SOBCon”) here in Chicago last weekend (May 1 – 3rd). I’m going to be honest, I’m having a hard time even pin pointing where I start with this blog, or what I should say first. But I truely believe that I definitely need to start by thanking my company for the opportunity to become more educated along side of sponsoring this wonderful conference.

I honestly came in to this conference expecting lectures and that’s all. Sure, I knew the conference would be worth wile because of the amazing host of Liz Strauss. I also knew it would help in a lot of ways to get help in the areas that I struggle in. My goal out of this conference was to represent my brand. I didn’t expect SOBCon to have any personal influence at all. Boy… was I WRONG!! The first day I overcame the fear that has been haunting me in my career with Social Media. My fear was voicing my opinion when I had objections. I was always afraid of sounding less noticed when replying to an email that might not have the correct answer.  I’m afraid that in my career I’ve let a lot slide by me because I was scared to be that “little” voice saying “I disagree!”, or simply telling someone that I knew of a better solution that could possibly help the company. This is when I watched it fail because I didn’t acknowledge the problem. I didn’t think I mattered. To be completely honest, I found this negative mechanisim and choked on it and more importantly upchucked it every where In hopes to one day never see it again. This happened to me on Friday night after Batmans apartment at Hotel 71. In my cab ride home is when I realized that I wasn’t being true to myself. During Fridays session Chris Brogan and Julien Smith inspired me by the phrase: “You have to have trust to build”. This hit me hard. Not only professionally but personally as well. I was inspired, I was touch, I wasn’t trusting myself.

and I learned SO much in 2.5 days. The interaction and the willingness of some of the top bloggers was astonishing. Never In my years did I think

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SMC Chicago: SOBCon style!

The night before SOBCon a great group of people came together for the SMC Chicago monthly meetup. A great video was created by Big Teeth Productions showcasing the April event. Pay great attention and you’ll see my name pass you by. Enjoy!

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Gloomy weather = productive day?

Growing up I used to love gloomy days. I grew up in Eastern Washington where the sun shined almost daily. This changed when I moved to Seattle and spent nearly 3 years there. But like a friend just mentioned (@JessiO) “I love rainy days in the office. Makes me more productive because I feel like I’m not missing anything.” I find this very true. I’ve realized that I definitely get more done when the weather is crappy. When the sun is shining and it’s gorgeous out, I tend to think off-key. I want to be out and about enjoying the warmer weather. What’s your approach on a gloomy day? Do you get alot done too?

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