Flooring The Consumer on Simple Marketing Now

Please visit Flooring The Consumer's new home on SimpleMarketingNow.com where you can subscribe to receive updates to blog articles in real time!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Social Media Series: Yvonne DiVita on Bridging New & Old

This week's guest for Flooring The Consumer's Social Media Series: Bridging New & Old is Yvonne DiVita.

Yvonne DiVita is a woman of purpose and passions. The passions - women and pets - she pursues in Lip-Sticking, about marketing to women online, and
Scratchings and Sniffings, a delightful and informative pet blog. Both passions reflect rich experience. The purpose you see in how Yvonne approaches her passions and her business.

As the founder and president of Windsor Media Enterprises, LLC, an “author services” company that specializes in print-on-demand book publishing technology, professional business blog creation and social media, Yvonne helps aspiring business book authors "make wise publishing choices."

Yvonne is also the author of Dickless Marketing: Smart Marketing to Women Online, a smart and extremely practical look at marketing to women online. I first met Yvonne at BlogHer Business 07 in NYC when she and Lena West [LipSticking co-contributor] participated in a panel discussion on the subject. I witnessed the purpose and passion firsthand!

You'll note in her responses below that Yvonne never loses sight of the ultimate consumer...

C.B.: Yvonne, how/why did you get involved in social media?

Yvonne: This is a funny story. I wrote my book about how to market to women online (Dickless Marketing: Smart Marketing to Women Online) and I felt like I needed a newsletter to go with my website. My partner and fiance, Tom, was taking graduate classes and learning how to blog...so he said I should really start a blog. We went back and forth over this issue for several months. I did not want to try to do something that sounded...like a Grade B movie from the Sixties! AND...it seemed like a lot of work! Guess who won, eventually? Tom won. As we discussed how the blog would look and what it would be called...I have to admit that I kind of shrugged and said, "I don't care." Seriously. I didn't care. I had no intention of keeping the blog up...I was doing it to humor Tom, since I could see I was not going to start that newsletter any time soon!

Guess what happened? I feel in love with the blog! I got to write stuff that was important (about women and business) and I got to meet and interview people who were on the leading edge of technology, and lo! and behold! my blog took off and I gained lots of traction with the search engines. Understand, I was already a search engine professional... so I used that knowledge to make sure my blog came up in a Google search on page one...for certain keyword phrases (like marketing to women online).

The blog was the start of my involvement in social media as a business tool. The people I met, like Toby Bloomberg - my very first BBFF (best blogging friend forever) and Susan Getgood, my 2nd BBFF, and a whole list of others (like Phil Gerbyshak - and Dana VanDen Heuvel and Dennis Kennedy), taught me so much and guided me as I explored this new medium. The women who were kind enough to visit the blog and leave comments became friends, and even clients. Here I was - a complete unknown one day, and a marketing diva online, the next. Only social media can do that for you. With commitment, passion, open-mindedness, and a willingness to put yourself out there - social media will always return a positive result. It might not return the exact result you want...but it will be a positive result.

C.B.: What do you like most about social media?

Yvonne: The ability to meet new people. People who willingly share information with you. People who don't judge you by your appearance...or your job or where you live. With social media, you are only judged on how approachable you are. After that, people accept you for who you are. Sometimes that's a business professional, sometimes that's a Mom, sometimes that's just someone hoping to learn from others. Social media works when people don't come to the table with preconceived notions. Everyone fits in somewhere. There is an unspoken rule that you need to maintain the same politeness you would use offline, online. It's not a free-for-all. It's a communications tool and the most successful people using it are the ones who welcome the social aspects, as they would offline in a coffee shop or a park or a friend's home. Community, social interaction, and openness...that's what I like best about social media.

C.B.: What do you like least about social media?

Yvonne: The thing that annoys me about social media is that it changes daily! While that's not a bad thing, it can be hard to keep up. I have to remind myself that even though I am a social media professional, I cannot know EVERYTHING about the new tools. I need to focus on the new tools that are going to benefit me and my clients, and be aware of the others. I avoided Twitter for a very long time, but once I committed to it - I was hooked! It fits so well with blogs and Friendfeed and Facebook. But, please...I cannot join another network or forum or sign up for another new tool. One has to draw the line somewhere... unfortunately, that's really hard to do.

C.B.: How has social media changed how you interact with the marketplace as a consumer or customer?

Yvonne: As a consumer, social media has given me better tools and more opportunity to learn about brands and products. I especially like the way some brands are willing to adopt social media tools to meet and greet customers online, even though they may be a bit skittish about what the customer may say or do. Today, using social media, I can talk to executives at brand companies, and actually get a better feel for the culture of the company. That means a lot to me. When brands back off, or refuse to join in some sort of social media, I'm hesitant to trust them. What are they so afraid of? Should I buy from them, if they won't even talk to me...? Email doesn't cut it - a blog, a Facebook page, Twitter, these are tools that humanize a brand and give me that warm, fuzzy feeling I need to buy from them.

C.B.: What 5 suggestions do you have for companies to implement so they can more effectively bridge old media with new media and connect with end users?

Yvonne: Blogs are a great way to get started. I recommend Typepad because it's easy to use and manage. Facebook can also be a good starting point. There are numerous brands already on Facebook to use as examples. All companies should Twitter. Understand that we recommend using a professional, spending time creating your strategy, and also your guidelines. So...

1. Consider the tool you want to start with - why? who will be the front person? how will you measure results?
2. Create a strategy: is this for brand recognition? sales? marketing? thought leadership?
3. How will you implement -how much time will you spend? This is part of your strategy but be very careful about this aspect - social media can be time consuming if not approached properly.
4. Combine your marketing offline and online: use offline to drive online and vice-versa. Create connections on a blog that bring people into your store. Make sure your store has your blog URL or your Twitter ID posted openly. ASK for feedback...
5. Remember that women are a primary market. Women buy or influence over 85% of the goods and services in the U.S. Be nice to them. Create campaigns that touch the women in your world - by asking for help from your current women customers. Recognize, respect, respond - those are the Three Rs in dealing with women.

C.B.: Any other thoughts to share about the effectiveness of social media in forging stronger relations with customers and how best to do so.

Yvonne: Social media is not going away. It's not a panacea. It's not a chat room. Blogs are not just a journal to talk about your day. The world is getting smaller because social media touches each of us, every day - whether we're online or not. Be open to change and embrace the voice of your customer. Engage professionals - as my partner Tom says, remember the Internet superhighway? Well, you can get on anytime - if you want to really get to your destination in one piece, you need a map, a navigator, and an alarm clock. The map (your social media tools) will help you find your way. The navigator (the professional who knows best how to use those tools) will make sure you have the right map and it's taking you to the right destination. And the alarm clock - well, that's like your Mom. Set it to ring every few hours, just to make sure you stop now and then to eat and nap and take care of yourself.

By doing these things, by participating in the conversation, you invite me, the customer, into your office and your home, so to speak. I see you as a real person...real people are always more friendly than the TV spokesperson or the radio personality or the cartoon character many brands use to sell their products. While we like the old-fashioned way, sometimes, in the end, we all want to hear a real voice, a human voice, talking about things other than how great the company is. Can you provide that human voice? Can you take criticism as a gift? Can you learn to grow with me, your customer? Can you turn a negative around by figuring out what went wrong, and fixing it? All within 4 hours... on Twitter? You can if you want to.

It's the only way that will work, going forward. Those who choose not to participate will find themselves stuck on the corner of NoWhere, right next to NoPlace. And, the only customers they will have are no one and no way.

Thanks, Yvonne!

Comments? Questions? Feedback?

How do you determine which are the best social media tools to focus on?

How do you react to companies that are accessible compared to those that aren't willing to interact with customers?

How much attention do you pay to women in your marketing efforts and in your social media programs?


For additional insights from participants in the Social Media Series: Bridging New & Old, please visit The Entire Bridging New & Old Social Media Series.

Technorati Tags: Del.icio.us Tags:

7 comments:

Post a Comment

Reminder: Please, no self-promotional or SPAM comments. Don't bother if you're simply trying to build inauthentic link juice. Finally, don't be anonymous: it's too hard to have a conversation. Thanks, CB

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...