Have you seen this cool tool for explosive social impact?

“It is much easier to put existing resources to better use than to develop resources where they do not exist.” — George Soros

star-997393_640We all know social media is an incredible path to influence. But what if you could take your existing social media presence and leverage it for many times your usual impact?

My friend Karen Riordan Palmer just introduced me to an awesome tool for amplifying your social media impact if you have a compelling message you’d like to share.

It’s called Thunderclap.

I am not an affiliate of Thunderclap and have no connection with it or its developers. But I think it has tremendous potential and thought you’d like to know about it.

Thunderclap is an app that lets a message be heard when you and your friends say it together. Think of it as an “online flash mob.”
How it works is, you simply click a link to show your support by sharing a single message on your Facebook, Twitter, and/or Tumblr feed at a pre-scheduled time.
That way, instead of shares trickling out over days, they all happen at once. The message then gets amplified many hundreds of times and becomes a powerful statement that’s impossible to ignore.
It works best when you have a message that really resonates with your tribe’s core values or interests.

For instance, you could organize a Thunderclap around a charity event. Or use it to help spread the word about a lost child. Or to publicize a webinar that offers to solve a problem for your audience.

Thunderclap has a free option and several affordable paid levels starting at $45. For the free option, you set a goal for the number of supporters and if you reach it, your message gets sent at the appointed time. With the paid options, it gets sent regardless.

Would you like to see it in action?

Check out Karen’s campaign.

Her message is to spread the word about one of the largest global peace initiative events ever: the 2nd World Parliament on Spirituality that will take place this November.
The goal of the event is to create a Global Peace Initiative and Master Action Plan for Peace for the purpose of increasing the level of love, prosperity, and peace in the world.

When she first told me about it, she said they had just passed the halfway point toward their goal of having at least 100 people sign up. 51 is not a lot of people, but their estimated reach at that point was over 200,000!!

So you can see what a powerful social media leveraging tool this is.

Plus, it’s super easy for people to do.

It takes about 15 seconds and doesn’t cost a thing.

If this sounds like something you might use some day, I encourage you to support a campaign. Participating will help you remember Thunderclap as an option should you ever have an event that could benefit.

If Karen’s message resonates with you at all, test out the Thunderclap user experience for yourself by clicking her link. Share your support by clicking the red buttons on the center of the page. (You’ll also be helping her reach her goal, since she’s using the free version of the app; as of yesterday she still was a few supporters short.)

Or, find another campaign to support.

What do you think? Can you see yourself ever using Thunderclap to get your message out? How do you think you would use it?

A cheap, easy tool for scheduling your social media posts

I’m now managing a couple of client social media accounts, and just wanted to let you know about one of my favorite tools for scheduling posts.

Buffer logoI’m now managing a couple of client social media accounts, and just wanted to let you know about Buffer. It’s an easy, inexpensive way to schedule your Facebook, Twitter, Google + and LinkedIn updates in advance.

The nice thing about Buffer is that it gives you tremendous flexibility. If you have messages that are appropriate for all your platforms, you only have to post them once and it’s done. Yet it allows you to post to individual social media accounts, too. And it’s easy to reschedule posts if need be.

You can schedule up to ten posts at a time with the free version, but I recommend upgrading. For 10 bucks a month you can schedule unlimited posts. This lets you work much more efficiently because you can consolidate your social media time by scheduling ahead weeks or even months.

Is it flawless? No. But the company does have an awesome customer support team. I give them a solid A-. If you have been struggling to keep up with your social media, give it a try. (Or call me. Or both!) 🙂

Not sure what to put on Pinterest? Handy infographic offers dozens of board ideas for your pinning pleasure

Do you have a business you know could benefit from exposure on Pinterest, but you’re not quite sure how to start? No worries. Just check out this fabulous infographic, courtesy of Pinterest expert Andrea Ayers, for dozens of great ideas sure to attract not just traffic, but customers targeted specifically for your business.

Pinterest logoDo you have a business you know could benefit from exposure on Pinterest, but you’re not quite sure how to start? No worries. Just check out this fabulous infographic, courtesy of Pinterest expert Andrea Ayers, for dozens of great ideas sure to attract not just traffic, but customers targeted specifically for your business.

Notice especially Andrea’s suggestions suitable for all entrepreneurs. How many of these items are ones you already have at your fingertips? Do you have a blog? Pin your posts! Already have case studies or success stories written up? Pin ’em! Same goes with press mentions, your social media profiles, and any free reports or brochures you distribute. And if you have a smart phone, get into the habit of snapping photos your customers will find interesting – both within your business and outside of it.

All these things will load your Pinterest boards with original content, which is the very best thing for attracting relevant traffic.

launchgrowjoy 142-Pinterest-board-ideas-infographic

Do you use Pinterest for business? Have a board you’re especially proud of? Please share below!

Social Media: A Support Tool or Menace for Sustainability in Business?

Social Media Butterfly Iliyana Stareva shares research and insights on using social media to promote sustainability and green products and services

Iliyana Stareva, Social Media Butterfly
Social Media Butterfly Iliyana Stareva shares research and insights on using social media to promote sustainability and green products and services

A few months back I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Iliyana Stareva, then a graduate student in management and marketing at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Dortmund, Germany, as part of her research for her dissertation, “The Power of Social Media as a Communications Channel for Creating Business Sustainability Value: a Support Tool or Menace?”

As you might guess, Iliyana’s research is an excellent resource for anyone marketing sustainable products or services, as well as any company interested in sharing its sustainability initiatives publicly.

On her blog, Iliyana graciously invites sharing of her findings. So it is my pleasure to include an excerpt from her post about the project. Here (in Iliyana’s own words) are the main conclusions of her research (I have emphasized certain key ideas and phrases that I think are highly important for green marketers):

  • There is a need for a new business culture based on the ability to feel and show empathy and the ability to change and move away from traditional horizontal and vertical business approaches towards a web, ecosystem and dialogue-based mindset for more innovative and value-driven collaboration. Consequently, there is a requirement to change the currently very dry, technical and preaching-like nature of sustainability communications towards making it more relevant, emotional, fun, provocative and engaging in order to better reach audiences on a larger scale.
  • In this regard, social media can be that new tool because, since it shares the same values as sustainability (community, transparency, authenticity, innovation, creativity and collaboration), combining and aligning the two concepts could have a powerful impact on effectively balancing the triple bottom line. Social media can thus be an asset that companies should capitalise on, as it can provide competitive advantages and allow brands to become pioneers. But, real commitment to social media sustainability communications is nevertheless required. Most importantly, both practices need to be embedded throughout the organisation – only then can they be effective.   
  • Social media allows companies to be creative, authentic, honest and transparent in their sustainability communications approaches and offers them the platforms to attentively listen and directly respond to what customers and other stakeholders are saying. Hence, social media provides tremendous benefits for organisations to increase brand awareness, promote sustainability initiatives and efforts, engage with stakeholders, integrate them into the company processes, facilitate knowledge management, advocate green activities and inspire sustainable lifestyles.
  • As a support tool social media can not only serve as a communications channel, it can go beyond just sharing information to being a collaboration and co-operation tool that can create value and drive real change through storytelling, community building, crowdsourcing, open innovation and co-creation. Thus, social media can be a strong differentiator and a source of transparent and engaging competitive advantage for business sustainability and so help create a sustainable brand.
  • On the other hand, as social media gives everyone a voice and allows for information to spread rapidly like a virus, brands have lost control over the conversation and it becomes a challenge how to deal with stakeholder scrutiny and negativity expressed online. Those, who try to control the conversation in persuasive and manipulative manners or by deleting comments, are put at the risk of a crisis that can seriously damage or even destroy a company’s reputation. Organisations that lack transparency and honesty in their communications are inevitably found out.
  • Not understanding the nature of social media and ignoring its transparency requirement by, for example, choosing practices such as greenwashing is a main reason for inducing the menacing role social media can play. But because on social media nothing stays hidden brands are required to ‘walk the talk’, aligning content with context.
  • The benefits of social media outweigh the risks for most organisations; those who fail to understand the new social landscape will be endangered of having their business disrupted by social technologies.

(If you have read my white paper on FTC compliance, you might recognize many of the key concepts echoed in Iliyana’s findings.)

Iliyana ends with a profound thought: that it is the responsibility of businesses to be leaders in the shift towards a more sustainable world.

To enhance the present and preserve the future companies must play their role in educating society… Education, though, starts with communication – if society is not made aware of the issues and their extents, then solving them is not possible. As Galileo once said, “you cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him to find it within himself” – people cannot be forced or driven to agree or act in the way others want; people need to be gently and friendly led, inspired and engaged to change their minds. This is where the potential of social media lies because it is first and for most about people and relationships.

This is an especially important point.  With all the risk of greenwashing it can be tempting to steer clear of addressing sustainability, but ultimately it’s in everyone’s best interest to keep it top of mind publicly as well as when planning one’s own corporate sustainability initiatives.

One last gift from Iliyana (who, by the way, received an A+ on her dissertation and is now the Social Media Account Manager at Brandzeichen Markenberatung und Kommunikation GmbH in Duesseldorf – congratulations, Iliyana!): this awesome Best Practice Guide infographic you can use to help your company stay on the good side of social media:

 Sustainability Social Media Best Practice Infographic

 

Do you repeat yourself in your marketing? If not, why not?

How to educate your customers effectively without causing confusion or turning them off

Part 3: Repetition Rules

Your audience may not have anywhere near your understanding of environmental issues.  Almost certainly they’re not nearly as aware as you are of the benefits your product brings to them personally and to the planet.  You may even have to overcome some deep-seated irrational or emotional barriers in your prospects.

It’s a very good idea to repeat your messaging in as many ways as you can. Try delivering the same idea via different media.  Use various examples and analogies to get your point across.  Be both persistent and consistent.

For example, you can speak about a topic at a conference, blog about it, offer an in-depth white paper about it, shoot a video about it, create an interactive survey addressing it,  put it on an audio disc, hold a workshop or teleseminar, tweet about it, etc.

Don’t worry about overdoing it.  Most people are so inundated with information that it takes a few times for a message to sink in.  Also, everyone has their preferred way to absorb information.  By sending your messages out using a variety of media (on- and offline short and long copy, video, audio, email, social media, live events, etc.), you’ll reach a much broader segment of your targeted population.