OFFICIAL BLOGHER '10 LIVEBLOG: Bringing Sexy Back to Branding

BlogHer Original Post

Welcome to the liveblog of the BlogHer '10 panel: Professional: ROYO - Bringing Sexy Back to Branding - Do You Have the Social Media Strategy and Tools for Success? Click here for more info.

The plethora of social media tools and opportunities can be overwhelming, but you don’t have to fake it! In this session, Susan Getgood, Beth Blecherman and Kimberley Blaine talk about how you can use social media to build your brand. We’ll discuss best practices for online branding, including how to integrate your efforts across multiple platforms -- social networks, video syndication, traditional media and even offline events.

Susan Getgood:

Welcome.

What we're really going to talk about is branding and using social media tools to build your brand or, if you prefer to call it, your reputation.

You have to be consistent among all of the online tools.

When we came up with the provocative name it was triggered by the Justin Timberlake song. But it actually fits into what we talk about, because sexy isn't sex - it's about what happens in the mind. That's where branding happens, too.

We are not our full, whole selves online. It's not an exact match for you. So we want to talk about how you create that persona that is close to you.

The first question is, "Who do you want to be online?"

Using social media tools to build your brand has a lot to do with what you want to achieve. What are your objectives?

The basic tools we're going to talk about:

Blogs and Websites

Facebook/Linked In

Twitter

Social curation tools

Video

Email Newsletters

Location Based Tools (Foursquare)

And don't forget this - face-to-face is also part of your branding strategy.

You need to decide which of these tools fit your needs best.

Beth:

Let's stand back - What's the most important thing about your brand? Your identity. Should you use a real name or a brand name?

I decided to use my brand name, but using your real name is a hot trend right now. You can use http://checkusernames.com/ to see if the name is available across all the online services.

To monitor your online reputation, you can use Google Alerts and Tweet Alarms.

What should you do on Twitter?

Determine strategy and stick to it, but throw in personal tweets and fun.

Daily Twitter tasks -

Tweet useful information and share relevant links
Answer questions
Find people
Respond to people

Social Curation Tools

Content & Media Curation - Posterous, Tumblr, Pearltrees
Rss: Bloglines, MyYahoo, Google Reader
Updates: Twitterfeed, Ping.fm, Atomkeeper

Kimberly Blaine:

I want to mention Mom Bloggers Club - her eNews is great.

I am not a mom blogger, I am a multimedia mom, and I'm here to talk about video. Why video? Why do you want to incorporate it into your blogs?

If you want to get closer to your audience, you use video.

Around the Web, it was "Content is King," but it's not anymore, it's your distribution. Who is watching your videos? You want to syndicate. Ask your blogging buddies to use you as a guest video blogger.

There are syndication tools, too, like Howcast.

Why do video producers love Twitter? We have found that the people who tweet will watch a video longer than anyone else. I live on Twitter so that I can get more views to my video. Twitter is going to be one of your best friends when it comes to linking people to your site to watch your video blogs.

If you're considering video and you don't want to spend a dime, just turn on your flip, make sure you have good audio and good lighting and go.

People love video, and Google loves video. It's Google juice.

You can use video to entertain or you can use it build your brand. People are forgetting to brand the beginning and end of their blogs.

You want to be on as many channels as possible - YouTube, Vimeo, Blip, etc.

Susan:

Beth has a nice way of explaining why you need to talk about all these tools together...

Beth:

I started out in technology and then I started blogging. I decided from the beginning that my brand would be technology and parenting. My brand name - techmama - I take that on Twitter and Facebook. Carry your brand name across video, too.

Susan:

Let's talk about what each of these tools is good for...

When you look at blogs and Web sites, social curation tools and video are about sharing ideas. Facebook, Linked In and Twitter are about creating connections. You want to have at least one from column A and one from column B. Think about a strategy that includes both sharing and connection.

Kimberly:

E-mail newsletters are still important. If I didn't have my e-news, no one would watch my show. You don't want to send them out often. But I know from my stats that if I get one out every month or every other month, people keep coming back to my url.

Susan:

After you answer the question about what you're most comfortable doing, ask your audience what they are most comfortable doing. You need to go where your audience is.

You need to have a Facebook profile is about you as a person, and a Facebook page is about your brand. You don't want to be Facebook friends with absolutely everyone who comes to your Web site, so building a page is a good way to separate that.

Foursquare and all the location-based tools are the hot new thing. But you've gotta know who you are connecting with on something like that. It may not be the best place to build a brand. You may not want everyone to know where you are. They're not really there yet from a branding perspective.

Question from the audience:

How annoying is it to ask people to be a fan of me on Facebook?

Beth:

It's not annoying to ask once.

Kimberly:

If people like you they will follow you everywhere.

Question from the audience:

My question is about Twitter. We've been talking about separating Facebook, the personal from the brand. What about Twitter? Does it make sense to have a personal Twitter account and a professional Twitter account.

Beth:

It really depends on your brand. If your brand is more personal - if you are a mom blogger and you're tweeting about your family, it makes sense. If your brand is very different than your personal, you want to have two separate Twitter accounts.

Susan:

If multiple people are tweeting on behalf of a brand, you definitely want to have separate personal accounts.

Question from the audience:

Is it OK to be a general brand? Can you switch between niches?

Kimberly:

It depends on your goals. If you want to make money, you need to choose a niche and stick with it. If you want to blog about your interests and make connections, having a general blog is fine. People blog for different reasons.

Beth:

You can have a niche and other interests and blog about all of then. Just be sure that your niche is broadcast loud and clear.

Susan:

Think about what you uniquely have to share. What is going to drive people to read your blog?

Question from the audience:

I'm glad you spoke about video. I've begun offering bloggers video interview opportunities. My problem is finding bloggers who are willing to go in front of the camera and take on the role, and I am always looking for bloggers who want to post video. What are your suggestions for a strategy?

Susan:

Are you paying them.

No.

Kimberly:

I know there are a lot of mom networks. Join the networks and ask if there are any moms interested in that opportunity. Most new moms in social media are willing to do this for free.

Question from the audience:

We have found this tool we use called PostRank. We find bloggers and they find us.

Beth:

Any other tools that people can share?

Question from the audience:

I have a brand, but I don't have the time. If I have an hour a day, how much of it should I spend in each of these tools?

Beth:

Define where your audience is and focus on those tools.

Kimberly:

Or join a network. Look at Mamavation - moms concerned with fitness. Fitness experts have joined that network and got the following of those moms who are interested in that.

Susan:

Think about where you have a comfort zone, too. No sense in doing something you hate doing.

Question from the audience:

You can also consider building your own network. It's another way to get yourself out there.

Susan:

You can also use Facebook as a form of a network. You can create a fan page and communicate with followers and develop groups around there. There are 500 million people on Facebook, so go where the fish are.

Question from the audience:

What about the e-mail newsletters? How many posts should be in one and how do you choose? And how do you track stats from the newsletter?

Kimberly:

Most newsletter services track the stats. Be sure the newsletter educates before you promote yourself. It needs to have an update or an article at the top. If the whole newsletter is "hey, look at me," people aren't going to read it.

Question from the audience:

An important thing for people to remember is that it's not about you, it's about the reader. If you remember that they're only going to come back if they get info they want or need, you won't make it all about you.

Question from the audience:

I use the same name everywhere but Twitter. My brand is not available on Twitter. How big of a problem is it?

Beth:

It's not the end of the world if it's not exactly the same. Be sure your Twitter background sends people to your URL.

Susan:

If you really want that name that badly, money talks.

Question from the audience:

Talking about tools, I love Topsy. You can see who first Tweets your link.

Question from the audience:

I've been very successful on Facebook and not on Twitter. How can people find me on Twitter?

Beth:

You might want to go find people first. If you reach out to people first, they will follow you back.

Susan:

If there are people who you would like to start following you, follow them and @ reply them to be noticed.

And don't waste the e-mail signature space. Tell people everywhere they can follow you.

Question from the audience:

Quick explanation of social curation?

Beth:

Let's say you blog and you have other networks, Tumblr is a way to grab those things and put them together.

Now what about curating other things around the Web?

PearlTrees is a visual way to choose things of interest on a particular topic - video, photos, Twitter conversations - You can put anything with a permalink. It puts them into pearl trees and you share it around the Web, then people share it with others.

Susan:

You can use tools to post to Facebook and push to Twitter or vice versa. Then people think you are in both places. It's a real timesaver for me.

Question from the audience:

IF you push your tweets to Facebook and you're having people follow you on both, is that the best strategy?

Susan:

It depends on how much overlap you have. Ask your readers - do you mind seeing it in both places? Where do you want us to be?

Beth:

There is Selective Twitter - an application on Facebook that controls exactly which tweets are shared with Facebook. TweetDeck and HootSuite are also doing it now.

Question from the audience:

What are your thoughts on someone who has 26K followers and is following 26K people, or the person who has 26K followers and is following 20 people? One thought is that the second person is better because they have more to say and they don't have to follow everyone who goes around.

Beth:

I think it's good karma to follow the people who follow you. You want to keep it close, but I think brands should follow people who have followed them.
Kimberly:

I want to follow everyone who is in my niche.

Susan:

Thank you all for joining us.

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