4 Key Elements That Make Content Share-worthy

This is 30-Day Blog Challenge #5 post.

Creating content that your users want to share is challenging. Here are 4 key elements of share-worthy content.

Great content triggers an emotion response.

#1 It makes you smile.

United Colors of Benetton has a history of highly creative and sometimes controversial campaigns but this picture inspires a wonderful warm & fuzzy feeling.

Benetton

 

 

 

 

 

 

#2 It makes you feel more connected.

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge raised over $100million within a month. It had virality built into it as folks including celebrities tagged others to participate in the challenge and shared pictures and videos of themselves across all the social channels.

ice-bucket-challenge-jt-zuckerberg-fallon-20140815

 

 

 

 

 

#3 It makes you think.

UN Women used Google’s autocomplete function, fed by over 6 billion searches every day to expose the hidden truth on gender bias. The shocking search results became the faces of their campaign, driving people to join a global discussion on social media through the campaign hashtag (#womenshould).

UNwomen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#4 But most importantly, it makes you take action.

In this brilliant campaign created by Leo Burnett, brands and individuals were invited to sponsor a word they think the world needs more of. Every time that word is shared using #theworldneeds more, a percentage of the sponsored amount is unlocked. So the more words people share, the more money is donated to a great cause.

UNfoundation

4 Words That Will Change Your Life

This is blog post #2 of my 30-day Blogging Challenge.

Leapingoff

A few years back, I was going through a very dark time personally and professionally. Struggling through a failed long-term relationship and stuck in a job that was demanding but not fulfilling. I didn’t have time for people I loved nor did I make time to take care of myself, physically or spiritually.

Seemed like everything was falling apart and nothing was going right. Just when I thought I had hit rock bottom, I heard four transformative words from a colleague and wonderful friend that forever changed my thinking.

“Be kind to yourself.”

This advice is especially important for overachievers. The intense drive and ambition often manifest themselves in the form of harsh self-critique. Whether it’s questioning yourself because of a failure or doubting whether you’re a good parent, manager, employee or friend, this inner criticism leads to a downward spiral of self-destruction.

So stop beating yourself up over what you “could’ve” or ”should’ve” done. There are two realities in life, among many others. One being, you can’t go back in time and the other is that you can only control your actions but you can’t control the results. Go easy on yourself. The past is in the past and you’re a better person for the learnings.

Understanding, accepting and appreciating your self-worth is a key first step to breaking this harmful cycle of negativity. You will find that self-acceptance exponentially increases your capacity to absorb and deal with life’s curve balls in a positive and productive way. In other words, it builds resilience.

Remind yourself that you’re doing the best you can and even if the outcome doesn’t match what you wanted or expected, you were brave enough to try something different when 99% of folks would have done nothing.

And remember to be kind to yourself.

My 30-day Blogging Challenge

LeapingoffInspiration comes in all forms and for me it came by way of this older post by Srinivas Rao, best-selling author of “The Art of Being Unmistakable”. Rao shares how writing 1000 words every day changed his life. Here is the part that resonated the most,

“The way I see it, I just produce a lot.

Some of it will be good.

Some of it will be crap.

But I’ll have so much to choose from that it can be used for books, blog posts, etc. That best selling book of mine was written using ridiculously long Facebook status updates.”

The conundrum and hesitation for most overachieving folks is that some of the stuff we publish will be mediocre but pursuit of perfection shouldn’t deter us from trying.

So to overcome the “perfection paralysis”, I will blog once every day for 30-days (until September 26) and….perhaps even beyond but one small step at a time :)

I am also inviting all my friends to take this 30-day challenge. Pick an activity – writing/blogging, working out, meditation…Whatever you’ve been putting off for another time, day. Take that first step and the rest will follow.

The Essential Reading List & Tips for Staying on Top of Trends

I spoke at the Total Digital Experience conference last week on Digital and Mobile content strategy. Here’s a question from the audience that inspired this post, “There is so much information out there. How do you stay on top of trends (without getting overwhelmed)?”

One thing that works for me personally is that I am a voracious reader and consume information by the terabytes..okay I exaggerate but I love to read. Here’s my essential reading list followed by few tips on how to manage the information overload.

Digg is my go-to site for all things trending on the internet, sourced from a variety of different sites across the net. Now you can also get most-shared stories from your Twitter friends.

Digg

 

 

 

 

 

Quora never fails to live up to its promise as the big kahuna of all crowdsourced knowledge. Great insights and information from a wide range of interesting folks.  Quora

 

 

 

 

 

CEA Smartbrief is a must-read resource for latest in consumer electronics, especially given the recent focus on Internet of Things and connected devices.

CEA

 

 

 

 

 

Last but not the least, Medium is my favorite site and for a good reason. It combines deep insights and inspiration from thinkers, authors, entrepreneurs, VCs and anyone who has a compelling story. Bookmark this site and you’ll never ever regret it.

Medium

 

 

 

 

 

Here are few quick tips on how to stay current and not get overwhelmed by all the great content out there.

Schedule time to read: Schedule 15mins on your calendar 2-3 times a day. (ideally once in the morning, afternoon and night) to catch up on your reading. Staying current takes the same discipline as working out. If it’s a priority you’ll make time or else you’ll find an excuse.

Use an aggregator: Sites like Feedly are a great way to help manage all your subscriptions. I also like good old-fashioned email news digests from a few select sites. These allow you to skim the headlines and decide if you want to dive deeper.

Follow industry and subject matter experts: Both Twitter and LinkedIn give you the option to follow experts in the industry/news you’re most interested. Use them as your filter to keep out the noise. One downside of this approach is that you can get caught in an echo chamber so make expert content one of your many sources of truth.

So what’s on your reading list? :)

Are you the David or Goliath of Social Media?

It’s super bowl time! While the average viewer is reaching for that bowl of spicy nachos, many well-known brands will be huddled with their agencies and social media teams. Their goal is simple. Replicate Oreo’s success with the now legendary “dunking in the dark” tweet, which was created by their agency, 360i.

Oreo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, if you work for a lesser-known brand with a limited budget, the question you’re probably asking yourself is if you can possibly compete with the big dogs and their deep pockets.

Fret not. One thing Arby’s recent Grammy tweet has taught us is that spunk, creativity and timing trumps all in today’s real-time world.

ArbyThis is a stellar example of a spontaneous tweet by a social media manager who’s on the ball and outperformed the agency-created ($$) moment by a huge margin.

So here’s to all the folks waiting for this week with bated breath for their shot at social media glory.

Game on.

The Dark Side of Community Management

In honor of Community Manager Appreciation Day, here’s a huge shout out to all the amazing Community Managers out there. You rock!!

Community management is a tough job. Community managers are the critical last line of defense for your brand against all external forces. They are on the front-lines every day answering questions, helping customers, providing tips, engaging users, and much more.

There is a dark side to community management that doesn’t get much attention. We can all agree that most users are mostly good and even normal. But spend some time with any seasoned community manager and you’ll cringe at the horror stories of users gone bad or plain cuckoo. Here are some real-life incidents that you might recognize and may relate to:

A community manager for a well-known tech company was stalked online by an irate user who felt his questions weren’t being answered. Pictures of this employee along with address were posted all over social networks along with derogatory remarks about the employee.

Another instance was when an user posted profanity and complaints multiple times a day on the company’s Facebook page. When he was blocked from that page, he started posting on the company’s other social media pages, creating a nightmare not only for that community manager but for others across the company.

And there was that time when a user threatened the community manager with a lawsuit and death threats because he wasn’t happy with the help he received.

And the list goes on.

Given the potential for risk to your employee’s sanity, well-being not to mention lawsuits waiting to happen, every company needs a clearly documented crisis/escalation plan to handle these types of issues but it’s shocking very few companies actually have any type of plan in place.

These plans don’t need to be onerous or laborious but at the very least, should outline the rules of engagement for your community (social media or other) along with a game plan to follow in case of a crisis. Here is some basic guidance to include in your plan; this is especially helpful when on-boarding new community managers:

- What constitutes prohibited behavior in your community. Ex: profanity, spammy links
- When to stop engaging with an angry user and escalate/flag. Ex: lawsuit, death threats
- Contact information for key stakeholders in case of an escalation or crisis. Ex: legal

What’s also helpful is a list of users who have a history of bad behavior and examples of past incidents used for training purposes.

This isn’t a comprehensive list but just a starting point for you to build your own escalation/crisis plan.

Do you have a community crisis/escalation plan? What other information would you include in it?

PS: This is my first blog post of the year and dedicated to all the awesome Community Managers out there, including those on my present/past teams :)

Why I stopped and then started blogging again…

Today, someone reached out to me on Twitter asking about a follow up to my  Social Media Today post on Governance from 2010.  That’s when I realized the last time I blogged was back in July of 2012.  Wow! Has it really been that long?!

Many people like myself with corporate (social media) day jobs either don’t blog or stop because of lack of time but that’s a cop out. As someone very wise once said , “If it’s important you’ll find a reason (to do it), if not you’ll find an excuse.”

It all comes down to priorities. When your typical work day is 12-14hrs,  it is tempting to devote time to other things ..like  food, sleep, etc.

I also blame my disinclination to blog on Twitter and other social media channels, which are the lazy blogger’s alternative for self-expression and in either case, brevity is way underrated.

All that being said, underlying the lack of motivation and de-prioritization of blogging also stems from the question of whether one is adding any value or simply adding to the noise. The online world is teeming with social media experts, gurus who churn out blog posts, books more frequently than most of us change out our shoes. Does the world really need another blog post or another book on social media?

Which brings me back to the reason I started blogging in the first place and that’s to share ideas, answer questions….every one faces very similar challenges in social media but it’s the difference in approach/attitude/philosophy that makes every voice unique.

So my inspiration to start blogging again is the request du jour for my latest thoughts on social media governance, which I think is a very important topic for all sizes of organization.

I am currently working on (among million other things) a  tiered governance model, which is based on an organization’s state of social media adoption and will post that soon…in brief, as organizations/companies grow in their adoption of social media, their governance model also needs to evolve just like IT organizations are having to adapt to the growing trend of BYOD…

Bottom line, it’s all complex but exciting stuff..so stay tuned :)