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Oprah knows Engagement September 18, 2011


No one knows their audience like Oprah does. Nobody

They were a late start on social platforms and some people have picked on them for that. But, when you already recognize your audience members faces, why dive into “social” just because it’s new.

It struck me while watching O’s interview with MC Hammer, that until then she really wasn’t “getting” how to use social media. There was a moment in the interview when Hammer says to her (talking about Twitter) “If I were you, I’d just tweet “Watch this show, it’s on OWN right now.“”

Oprah put her hand on his arm, looked deep in his eyes and said, “We are going to talk more after the show.”

MC Hammer has his own social media company helping other companies do social well. She must have listened well.

The first weekend in April the Oprah Winfrey team started doing live tweets during “Behind the Scenes” episodes (#OprahLiveTweet). The first tweet I saw from her that day was something like “Ok, #OprahLiveTweet starts in 10 minutes. If nobody shows up by 9:15, I’m going home.”

The live tweets were a hit! And it’s been growing ever since. Twitter wasn’t new to Oprah. She’s been on Twitter for more than 2  years, but she didn’t really use Twitter. She was just there – with millions of followers.

But nobody is as good at relationships as Oprah. She and her team totally get it. My God, what other brand do you know that sent their 300 biggest fans on a trip to the other side of the world with a friend. Seriously. They get engagement, in spades. Actually, what other brand could TELL you who their 300 biggest fans are and why?

OK, back to their tweeting. Now her team is tweeting up a storm. And while some of it promotes specific shows and OWN (The Oprah Winfrey Network), they get that they have to earn the right to promote to people. Their tweets are natural, conversational and show genuine interest in learning from who ever engages with them.

To write this post I needed help remembering when the live tweets started. I tweeted @SheriSalata, executive producer for The Oprah Winfrey Show to ask. She sent me a note back mentioning one of the other staffers @mayawatson, to help her come up with the date. Simple.


Back to the tweets. Here’s six Live Tweet habits Oprah does well:

  1. Keep it casual
  2. Learn from who else is tweeting
  3. Be helpful
  4. Recognize people
  5. Don’t go it alone
  6. Have a goal – a classic Oprah thing “have an intention.” It works.

I’d love to know if O hired MC Hammer to help her team. @SheriSalata, if you read this, drop me a tweet and let me know 🙂


BTW-you should see how they are using email marketing. Killer good. But that’s another post. See you!


Two Billion is an Intimate Affair April 29, 2011

The Service


Today the world attended a wedding. All of us together. It was magical.

And there were plenty of obstacles. Security was the tightest in history. The church smaller than it need be. The crowd as big as you can imagine. And the engagement was a mere 5 months. Oh, and the budget, it was small. OK, small-ish. William and Catherine had requested a restrained affair, even requesting charitable contributions in lieu of gifts. Many of the guests arrived at the Palace in mini-buses. That’s budget constraint. (for royalty.)

And yet the 2 billion guest who didn’t get invitations had their most intimate access ever.  We could watch on close to 100 TV channels, or on live streaming video over the Internet. We listened on satellite radio while we drove to work. Read it in the newspaper on our iPad while we were on the treadmill. We could hear the hymns before the ceremony by downloading the music. And there were at least three official websites.
Yes, I watched. I watched the whole thing. I had it on two TVs and on Twitter. My girlfriend was in London Thursday at 5:00 pm for a meeting. She bought gifts for the kids at The Queen’s Shop in Buckingham Palace 16 hours before the ceremony. And got us flags from the stand at Westminster Abbey.  I talked about it with my friends on Facebook. I downloaded the Official Wedding Program. And the kid at our evening viewing party recorded a video for the bride and groom. It was a spectacular day. We did everything but buy plane tickets and new outfits.
None of this was possible 4 years ago. The royal team did an amazing job using the media available to give us access to so much. They deserve one heck of an after party. And then there was the social part. That was extraordinary.

Here are 6 ways social platforms were used in completely new ways:

  1. The Royal Channel on YouTube did more than featured background videos and highlights of the ceremony. The team did something to really leverage YouTube’s social element. They let us upload our well-wishes to the bride and groom. It was a guest book with videos instead of signatures. No need to be present to leave your stamp. Tell me that won’t become a HUGE wedding trend.
  2. Flicker The Monarchy has a Flicker photo stream.
  3. Twitter – Multiple tweet streams were produced by the monarchy. @ClarenceHouse @BritishMonarchy were tweeting up a storm. Not to mention all the news channels and anchors tweeting and the fashion police and all of us watching.
  4. Apps iPhone apps, iPad apps both for history, pictures, relationships of the family members. And design your own dress apps. And games. Yes, even games like this one where the bride is racing to the church on time dodging horses and by-standers. There are so many I can’t even begin to link to them all.
  5. Facebook has a  Page, The Wedding Book, for the couple created by fans. The Page has 151,670 fans of it’s own. That’s in additon to the wedding’s official page, The British Monarchy.
  6. Music – Want the Royal Album, download it from iTunes.

I hope the social media team takes a vacation and then comes to a conference to speak. I’d love to hear how they pulled it all together, how big the staff was and what they’d do differently if they could.


I know there are sites I missed. What did you find?


Homeland Security: Your Facebook Friend April 23, 2011

Terrorist threats will now be posted to Facebook and Twitter. Sometimes. When appropriate.

The Department of Homeland Security has announced that one way they will inform the public of terror alerts is by using social media. They will only bother with the biggies – Facebook and Twitter.

Take the word to the people, where the people spend their time. What do you think? Read more from the Associated Press article here.

Personally, I have a lot of questions.

Overall, I think it is potentially a good idea. AND it needs to be carefully planned. Otherwise it will nuts. Or invisible.

First question:  How? Here’s what I mean. On Facebook I get updates from friends in my newsfeed. Do I need to be a friend of Homeland Security to get that update? (I’d hope they would consider me a friend without my opting in.)

Maybe there will be an update window pop open as soon as I log into Facebook:

“Please read this important message from the Dept. of Homeland Security:  Terror Alert Elevated. Travelers through U.S. airports are asked to be extra vigilant from May 5-6. Click here to tell your friends.”

Do you suppose it will pop up on my phone when I open my Facebook mobile app? Hmm…

Now Twitter. Do I need to follow @HomelandSecurity so I get the tweet? Problem #1 – That user name doesn’t exist. People use it; they just type it in. But it isn’t anyone’s account.

@DHSJournal exists, and it is a verified account for Department of Homeland Security. The account has 32,698 followers. But honestly, if I saw a tweet like “@DHSJournal Travelers be cautious in US airports May 2-4” I don’t think it would register with me as a terror alert. Maybe they could let @LadyGaga know. She has 9,489,232 followers. That way her people could talk to the people.

The other thing is, we’ve seen hoaxes on Twitter. Big ones. Remember the boy who supposedly floated away in a homemade aircraft. The one that looked like a Jiffy Pop pan? I sure hope Twitter execs are in on how this is going to work.

So far I haven’t seen any details about how it will work. I’ve got my fingers crossed they are working on that.

Do you have any ideas on how to do this in an effective way?  Drop me a note in the comments section.




Twitter Conversations April 1, 2011

Filed under: Ideas,Learnings — Carla Bobka @ 4:26 pm
Tags: , ,

Yakitty, Yak

Every week there are regularly scheduled conversations happening on Twitter. They are called tweetchats. Anyone can join in, or listen in. All you need is the #hashtag. Join in by following the #hashtag, anyone is invited to listen/read along or join the conversation.

Here’s how they work: someone has organized it, so it has a topic, a #hashtag and a time. The conversation kicks off with a couple tweets by the host or guest host. Then the crowd kicks in, adding to the topic or asking questions. All you do is tweet your comment/question along with the #hashtag.

Here’s a list of some of the tweetchats I researched.

#MMchat – Monday 8:00PM EST, Marketer Monday. CMOs and the like discussing marketing topics.
#NSAGA – Georgia chapter of National Speakers Association. These are not weekly, but more sporatic. Watch tweets from @NSAGeorgia for topics.

#buyerchat – holds sessions where anyone can voice their style opinion at their buying meetings and trade shows. Their site highlights the best tweet of each session. And even awards badges to participants like “Buyer in Training.” Their next session is on men’s footwear brand Clae.

#Twechat – Hosted by @Jeff_Goins. This chat was held the week of March 21. Here’s a transcript from a conversation with @MichaelHyatt, CEO of Thomas Nelson Books. This was a one-off experiment, but they may do another.

#u30pro – is a regular Thursday night 8pmEST Twitter chat 4Millennials about their careers & professional lives. It is run by @DavidSpinks, @CubanaLAF & @Thomas_Wendt

To find more Twitter parties take a look at this calendar.  It is by NO means inclusive, it is just one place to explore. There are sessions on everything from green energy to salons/spas to music to travel. There’s even one about the nutritional aspects of potatoes. Seriously.

If you come upon a #hashtag and want to know what it means, just ask. Tweet to the person using it and ask. I’m sure you’ll get an answer.

Ah, so you don’t tweet. And you don’t want to. No problem, you can still learn by watching. Use any of these tools to follow the conversation marked by the #hashtag.

  • TweetChat – search the #hashtag and watch the conversation unfold.
  • TwitterFall – you’ve heard me talk about this before here.
  • TagDef – this is a registry of #hashtags. It’s a “register your own tag” site, so don’t expect it to be all-inclusive.

There’s a lot to learn by watching conversations on Twitter. Tweetchats are one way to do it. Are there any that you follow? Or any ideas on one you’d like to find?

Update 4/4/11 – Oprah did her first tweetchat Sunday 4/3 during Master Class on the Oprah Winfrey Network. Not sure if it’s a regular thing or an experiment. I’m waiting for a reply to the question via tweet. I’ll let you know what I find out. Her #hastag is #OprahLiveTweet.

Update 4/6/2011 – #blogchat is 9pm EST Sunday nights. It’s run by Mack Collier. This one has been going a while and you can learn a lot by watching. See how it runs, how people participate and emulate within your specialty.


A Digital Shrink March 15, 2011

Filed under: Ideas,Resources — Carla Bobka @ 5:06 am
Tags: , , ,

Dan Zarella has developed a tool called TweetPsych. Dan has a strong reputation for his scientific analysis of trends impacting social platforms like Facebook, Twitter and blogs. He’s a stat machine.

TweetPsych compares a Twitter users tweet stream attributes to the “average” tweet stream so you can (hopefully) learn a little bit more about what a person takes time to push out into the universe via Twitter.

It tells you things like: This user Tweets about learning and education 27% more than the average user. This includes Tweeting about school as well as self-teaching activities.

Of course, the analysis is only as good as the algorithm behind the analysis.

When I first saw it, I thought it looked pretty cool. Think about how you could use it:

  1. Before you go to a meeting you could analyze the tweet stream of your client to see what is important to them.
  2. You can use it to analyze your own tweet stream to see if your tweets, over time, are reflecting your overall Twitter strategy.

Then I put my own Twitter handle in and hit analyze. Boy was I surprised at a couple of findings.

Money – I tweet about money 78% more than the average user. Hmm. That was a big surprise (not as big as the sex surprise, more on that later.) As I think back on some of my tweets and retweets, I do occasionally tweet about economic developments, jobless rates and small business. Maybe Dan counts those within the overall category of money.

Sex – Dan’s tool says I tweet about sex 26% more than the average user. Bull. I can assure you I do not tweet about sex. Not mine or anyone else’s. I probably have never typed S-E-X into Twitter. I’m a 46 year old mother of 2, come on. Seriously. This makes me think the whole thing is a crock of huey.

Learning – I tweet about learning or education 27% more than the average user. That makes sense. I aim to help people use social media effectively.

Now onto the areas when I under perform the average user.

Constructive – I tweet about constructive behavior 3% less than the average user. This includes creating and building things and indicates an interest in development and creative processes. Hmm, I don’t really get that one.

Anxiety – I tweet about anxiety 6% less than the average user. That’s good.

Media – I tweet about media and celebrities 53% less than the average user. True, I’m not part of the Beiber/Kardashian patrol.

So my overall impression is to take it with a grain of salt. That said, there will be more of these applications coming down the pike. More attempts to learn about the people at the helm of the keyboards that produce the content on the web. We want to know each other, and tools like TweetPsych are attempts toward that. TweetPsych may or may not be a good tool. But the desire to know one another is definitely a good thing.

Tell me what you think.  Have you given TweetPsych a whirl? What do you think?



Favs this week – Jan 23, 2011 January 30, 2011

Filed under: Ideas — Carla Bobka @ 10:02 pm
Tags: , , , ,

People always ask me how I keep up on changes happening on social platforms. It is hard for sure. There’s no way to read everything, there’s just too much information.

Below are things I’ve read over the prior week that have struck me as important or influenced my thinking. You’ll see the link and 1 sentence about what struck me in the post. Take a closer look if something sounds interesting.

Thanks to Duct Tape Marketing for the idea.

Here’s my favorite tweet of the week. From @davepeck

This tweet made me chuckle

New Security Features for Facebook – There are some simple (fast, and easy to execute) new security measures available to protect your Facebook password from being stolen. If you ever log in from a public wi-fi connection this is 4 minutes well spent.

Davos and Women, as covered on blog. I spent a chunk of time keeping up with Davos (World Economic Forum) commentary.  It’s always fascinating. This year Forbes sent some of my favorite bloggers. I followed their posts with a view into how Davos is different for men and women. And for newbies and oldies. I’ve determined I’ll never be an attendee, I just don’t have deep enough pockets. It is fun to watch from afar, though.

InMaps – LinkedIn has gotten it’s foot wet in creating customized info graphics of your network connections. It color codes my connections. Yours probably is similar – the companies you worked for for a long time have big splotches, smaller, shorter term gigs are a smaller cluster of color. One person referred to it as his “butterfly.” Mine looks more like a bug w/ antenna. It may be interesting to see how it changes over time as my connections increase. It is interesting to ponder why the color for my Archway Marketing connects are so small. I learned so much while I worked there. Other than that it doesn’t tell me how active my connects are on LinkedIn or how tight a bond I have with any of them. It only shows me that I have connections.

That’s it, have a fantastic week. And don’t let winter smack you in the butt.


Black Friday Tweeting November 30, 2010

Filed under: Learnings,Strategy — Carla Bobka @ 8:29 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

Stats are out about retailers deemed most successful in using Twitter on Black Friday. Clickz post from Nov. 30 anointed these retailers the best users of Twitter to promote their Black Friday specials:

  • Best Buy (Harvard Business Review featured Best Buy’s CEO and his adoption of Twitter in this month’s issue.)
  • Wal-Mart
  • Target
  • Home Depot
  • Sears
  • Staples

Target paid for promoted tweets, so anyone on Hootsuite saw their tweets, even if they weren’t specifically following @Target. It costs them tens of thousands to buy promoted tweets. The account itself only tweeted 13 times, and most of that was communication with specific shoppers who’d already mentioned @Target. They didn’t really push ad-speak via Twitter. Target took the re-tweet prize among the retails mentioned, with one of its tweets garnering 57 re-tweets.

But let’s look a little closer at the so-called winners and see how much interaction they got on Twitter.

  • @Walmart tweeted 49 times on Friday. One of those posts got 4 Re-tweets. That’s not much considering 90,818 people follow them.
  • @Staples tweeted 25 times, one post was re-tweeted 10 times out of 85,883 followers.
  • Not much different for @BestBuy. 107,945 followers got 70 posts from the mother ship. The most popular of those was re-tweeted 7 times.

The re-tweet counts are not statistically relevant given the huge number of followers each account has. In fact they are stunningly low. Speaking from experience, sometimes you feel like you’re tweeting into a vast silent black hole. And you wonder if you’re wasting your breath. These re-tweet counts confirm you can’t count on your tweets “wowing” the public. Not even on a big day like Black Friday.

So was it worth the effort? Do the companies feel they have decent ROI for putting a butt in the marketing chair that day? Can they measure the impact on Friday’s sales from those tweets? There’s no information in the Clickz post measuring that.

Did customers who read the tweets feel more connected to the retailer? Again, nothing to prove yes or no to that question. It is likely that someone who included @Target in a tweet that @Target responded to felt good at seeing a @mention on their screen. That goodwill exists, even if it isn’t measurable. And I bet the retailers feel they learned something from watching tweet traffic about their brand.

But if you’re the VP of Marketing, were you talking about tweets at Monday morning’s leadership meeting? Or were you talking about web traffic and print ad circulations compared to same store sales?

My guess is it was the later. The tweet traffic surely came up in conversation. But the finance people had already left the room.

What’s all this mean to small retailers?  My take – Twitter is a strange animal. It makes folks feel good, but it doesn’t print money. Invest in it carefully and build in feedback loops into all parts of your organization.

What do you think? Are those re-tweet numbers surprising? What conclusions come to mind as you look at the results?

Do you know of any small retailers who were successful using Twitter last Friday? I’d love to hear about them.