12 Ways to Boost Your Visual Media Performance

Tenacity5 Media released a new eBook this morning, Visual Media: The New Content Marketing Landscape. My colleague Erin Feldman is the primary author with a co-author credit to me. You can download it for free with no requirement to provide any personal information.

The eBook discusses the visual media era as whole, then seeks to help marketers adapt best practices. Generally, there is one overarching rule: Go mobile or perish. While the desktop is still used, its use is limited to particular tasks. To reach more people, think mobile first, desktop second.

Included in the paper are 12 tips for best practices across a variety of media types and social networks. You can see them in the above slideshare or simply scroll below.

1) Media


Traditional media is not dead, but it does need to be supplemented with digital assets. Engage journalists by augmenting pitches with photos, videos and other visual resources.

2) Social TV


Social TV is not synonymous with newsjacking, but the tactic is relevant, particularly when capitalizing on the social furor surrounding live events such as sporting ones or the Grammy’s. Follow current events and programs, then share timely brand-related updates and images.

3) YouTube


YouTube isn’t replacing traditional TV viewing, but it is being consumed in larger and larger numbers. Brands seeking to create a YouTube presence need to think unique content rather than copy what they do on more traditional video platforms.
Aim to create high-quality, engaging content rather than just another television ad.

4) Pinterest

Pinterest offers a captive, active audience. Tap into their interests by sharing images that they’ll love to “like” and re-pin. Pin images that depict your brand’s story and character.

5) Instagram

Instagram is ideal for user generated content (UGC). Give your audience a chance to tell the story, and they typically will. Grow your Instagram community by asking them to share photos of your product in action.

6) Facebook


Facebook is alive and well, but it’s increasingly visual. Ensure your placement in your fans’ news feeds by tapping into their visual interests. For increased Facebook engagement, post multiple photos rather than a single one.

7) Twitter


Twitter has gone the way of visuals, too. Make sure your work is noticed by using Twitter Cards to feature images and other information, such as a sign-up form.
Use Twitter Cards to feature full-sized images in the news stream.

8) SlideShare


SlideShare is not an online PowerPoint presentation. Other content can be uploaded to the site. In addition, it features robust search optimization capabilities. The presentation’s important, but don’t forget to optimize for search.

9) LinkedIn


LinkedIn is visual, too. Present your company’s story and standout from your competition with Showcase Pages.

10) Flickr


Flickr may be popular because of its storage and archiving possibilities, but the site gets plenty of traffic from people seeking licensed images for their own work. Capitalize on their needs by licensing your work. To increase awareness, license your photos so that people can share and use them.



Vine is home to short video, so it’s not the place to tell your brand’s life story. Aim for sharing highlights and personality. Use your six seconds to let your brand’s personality shine.

12) Non-Traditional Conferences

Nontraditional conferences are the way of the future. Blend your traditional event with digital for an increased return on investment. Use visual and digital media to generate stories before, during, and after an event.

Download Visual Media: The New Content Marketing Landscape for free with no requirement to provide any personal information.

Want more? Read 7 Signs of the Post Social Media Era.

Book Title Revealed: Marketing in the Round

Marketing in the Round by Geoff Livingston and Gini Dietrich

This post is co-written by G Squared (Gini Dietrich and Geoff Livingston).

Guess what?!?

We finally get to talk about our new book! We joked, early on, that it’s not nice to tell prolific bloggers they can’t write about what they’re writing about. It’s been a challenge, that’s for sure.

It’s time to let the cat out of the bag with our book now listed on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Special congratulations again to Gini, who is making her first appearance as a published author. Her post today on Spin Sucks discusses some of the feeling that comes with that.

Generally, Gini’s ability to market has been eye opening. She is stellar, and deserves to be one of the industry’s most renown marketers. I quibble that her name should be first on the jacket. While I have much of theory and strategy down, watching her do her thing on a daily basis has been impressive.

Integration of All Disciplines

Integration or multichannel marketing is an underlying topic within social media, but also one that CMOs are discussing greatly.
Not since the original dot com era have CMOs been under so much pressure to understand how new media integrate into the mix, and how all the parts work together.

There is a great need for information in multichannel marketing. As two practitioners who have successfully marketed in the social and mobile media realms, yet find our roots in the traditional public relations and advertising practices, we believe our book offers new insights into how to build a multichannel program that leverages the strengths of all disciplines, old and new.

A critical part of my thinking is the understanding that social media has arisen, and in many ways has plateaued. There are not many new insights to add to the incredibly thick lexicon of social media texts available in book stores.

A recent IBM study of 1,700 chief marketing officers has some interesting results. It found respondents:

  • Are facing a challenge trying to figure out how to integrate the growing number of new marketing channels and devices, from smart phones to tablets.
  • Fifty-six percent view social media as a key engagement channel.
  • Not since the original dot com era have they been under so much pressure to understand how new media integrate into the mix, and how all the parts work together.
  • Seventy-eight percent expect more complexity during the next five years, but only 48 percent are prepared to deal with it.

There is a great need for information and an understanding in multichannel marketing.

Move the Conversation Out of the Sand Box

When the book will be released next May, it will have been nine years since Robert Scoble began his tenure at Microsoft as a video blogger. It will have been more than five years since the launch of Twitter. And nearly six years since Facebook opened to anyone older than the age of 13.

The era of corporate (and general population usage of) social media has entered its maturation and evolutionary phase.

The challenge is no longer how to incorporate social into the marketing programs, but how to move social out of the sand box, and into a role that fits within larger marketing context. In some case it may not fit at all.

We find that role — an important one for grassroots and customer relations — is often overblown.

Consider most successful marketing programs are in actuality integrated using advertising, direct marketing, mobile, and/or PR with strong social components. Rare is the pure grassroots, or viral, hit.

Marketing in the Round

I remember back in the dot com era I moved from traditional media relations into a fully integrated offering at Stackig, an acquired company served as Monster Worldwide’s Washington, DC office.

During my four year tenure there, I had to learn advertising and recruitment principles in order to sell our integrated offering. We had everybody in the region on the client roster; UUNet, DoD, the CIA, AOL, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, MCI and on and on.

At this time, I had some great mentors, Victor Watts and Ellis Pines (a Leo Burnett veteran from the Marlboro Man era), who taught me about branding, advertising, and business development. To this day the ability to apply the lessons learned as a journalist turned PR pro turned marketer distinguish my social media campaigns.

Clients are not left in the dust of conversations without ROI or outcomes, nor are the objectives stand alone without value to the stakeholder. Further, dovetailing tactics is a signature, usually seen with an event, but there are other components.

Look at Give to the Max Day, what many dub as a social media fundraising success with $2 million raised. But many overlook the significant PR, advertising, event marketing, guerilla tactics, and more that went into that recipe.

Collectively as G Squared, our approach to integration is to use a roundtable concept…where all disciplines work together to break down the silos, do what’s best for company growth, and work together.

It may seem a bit naive if you haven’t yet tried it, but it works. G Squared have both been working with organizations to do precisely this for years.

The book has case studies of companies, non-profits, and other organizations who have been successfully integrating for years. It has exercises for creating your own marketing round. And it gives you all sorts of ideas, benefits, and risks for creating a strategic and integrated marketing round.

It’s not out until May (our final deadline is January 2 and we’re already two-thirds finished writing), but you can pre-order it now.

5 Common Forms of Facebook Spam

Image by Christian Barmala

One of the issues a mature social network brings with it is spam. And though Facebook has rebooted its privacy settings for sharing, it is still largely an opt-out network that creates tons of spam.

The spamification of Facebook extends beyond professional solicitations to unwanted emails created by friends who want you to participate in their activities. While this is well-intended, it just shows that Facebook with its many features has also created many ways to spam your buddies. Here are five common forms of Facebook spam:

1) Group Additions

There’s nothing worse than getting added to a busy Facebook Group, and suddenly having dozens — even hundreds — of emails land in your in box. Worse, Facebook does not allow you to control notifications before getting added to a group. So you can only stop the spam after the fact. Ugh.

2) Event Invites

Yup, a marketer’s favorite, one that most of us are guilty of. But this feature has become meaningless to many power users because they receive so many unwanted event invites. Why bother?

3) Tagged with… Spam!

From professional photographers with watermarked images to marketers highlighting their wares, getting tagged with spam happens all the time. Of course, one man’s garbage is another’s treasure. If at all possible, when doing this, make sure the tagged post/picture/video includes them or is clearly of interest. You can avoid this kind of spam by barring people from tagging you via privacy settings.

4) Places

Oh, the mobile Places feature is going away… Only to be integrated across the entire network regardless of access method. Which means more Places spam. Beware of commenting or worse getting tagged by friends at a Place without having your privacy settings changed to avoid the deluge of email.

5) Friend Invites

These are just annoying. Businesses, obvious pornographers, anonymous handles, whatever. Regardless of motive, it’s downright obnoxious. And if you are conservative about your friending on Facebook, general friend requests from extended network members can be just as annoying. Friends aren’t what they used to be. Unless you say no ;)

What forms of Facebook spam do you find most, ahem, endearing? Applications? Notes? Learn more about Facebook’s Privacy Settings here.

Give Them Something to Talk About

The First Presidential Tweet
President Obama and Jack Dorsey at the White House Twitter Town Hall

Everyone talks about relationships and the importance of two-way interaction in social media. Participation is a cornerstone of building strong community presence. But other than core subject matter evangelists, there is only so much you can do to interest people on a dry topic. That’s when you need to give the community something to talk about.

Social means sharing experiences and yes, talking. And frankly, a lot of what businesses and nonprofits have to talk about can put the most lively of children to sleep. How can you turn a dry topic into something a little more meaningful? Here are four ways to go beyond normal day-to-day interaction, and spark dynamic conversations:


If an experience isn’t interesting, an event can be. In fact, events are everything that is social. They give people an opportunity to meet face-to-face, and provide a basis for conversation, networking, and critiques (positive and negative). People love moving the online experience into reality. Further, they like telling their social networks about the events during and after the fact with posts, pictures and updates.

Quality events are a great way to give people something to talk about (hat tip: Kami Huyse, from a recent conversation). They always have been, and the social era only makes them more special and visible.


Find your subject matter to be repetitive and boring? Then dig deeper. Invariably, an organization has statistics and performance information that — if analyzed and extrapolated — can be shared with the larger industry or subject matter related community. Research provides context and a point of interest for folks to talk about, critique and learn from. Hubspot has been a master of this for years.


Maybe you don’t have your own data to share, but there is plenty of external information. Round it up and provide a level of analysis that supersedes the average punditry in your sector. In essence, paint a bigger picture. This is what great bloggers do. Also, if you look at most infographics today, they visualize analysis, sometimes private data, but more often, larger industry trends.

Create the News

This is the hardest of the four suggestions, and the most attention worthy. Do something newsworthy. Not a gimmick, but something substantial. Raise a hundred thousand dollars. Build a company, hire new people, or make a big sale. Invest in a new community, or create different ways to engage your current customers. Create a new product that changes the game. Empower others to do great things through a crowdsourcing initiative.

How do you give your community something to talk about?

Get Your Social Media Events for $9.99!


When social media was new, conferences were rare special gatherings of early adopters eager to see how to use new tools. People looked forward to their local BarCamp or PodCamp. As the years progressed the novel barcamp, evening networking events and social media conferences became an every day occurrence in major markets. The best ones spilled over on Twitter into hashtag conferences.

Today, with adoption passing its peak, social media conference #hashtags and events trade faster than delivery pizzas on Saturday. There are so many events to meet the crush of information demand.

More is not better, ironically. It’s hard to get a consensus on quality events. In some cases, the event quality offers little more than an excuse to talk about Twitter and Facebook. Again. Get your pizza, faster cheaper, and tastier! For only $9.99!

Some signs that can clue a potential attendee that the event may not offer the robust content they would like. Does the event offer the same topics that get repeated over and over again in online memes? What’s new about this event, how will it take the conversation deeper? Or if it’s a 101 event, what’s the curriculum, what are the takeaways? Does it seem smarmy and hucksterish?


In addition, there’s a perception of an A-List who bring their song and dance to every local con across the country. Not that seeing a renowned speaker isn’t worth it, but what are they talking about? Is it the same old schtick as last year? One wonders if these folks will be speaking in 20 years in dimly lit coffee shops and pubs, headlining small gatherings of Facebook loyalists.

Some quality social media events that have retained their value over the years:

1) SOBCon, curated by the incredible Liz Strauss and Terry Starbucker, is by far the best pure social media event out there. This is where top ranked bloggers and influencers go to school.

2) SxSW, from the name dropping and shoddy crowdsourced content to the exorbitant partying and philandering, everything that’s bad about social media events happens here. It also attracts everyone in the business, making it dollar for dollar the best online business networking experience possible. Just bring your Advil.

3) NewComm Forum, run by the Society of New Communications Research, uses a research-based model to drive content. Led by experienced and often accredited communicators, this event often attracts some of the best of the corporate and nonprofit social media leaders.

In addition, industry specific events like NTC offer great value, too.

What social media events do you like?

Trackbacks on this post are turned off. This post does not seek to generate in-bound links, instead it will hopefully inspire people to consider the ideas discussed in the context of their own efforts.

Mashable Outtake: 12for12K’s Susan Murphy


My column last week on Mashable tied together overarching themes from mega charity events like Twestival, 12for12k, Tweetsgiving and CrisisCamps. To get the information, I interviewed the four organizers cited in the article. Each interview was fantastic and informative in its own right. So with my editor’s blessing I am publishing the unedited interview source material over the next couple of weeks for general consumption, starting with Susan Murphy‘s 12for12K interview.

GL: What makes 12for12K unique as compared to other large-scale social media events?

Susan:I think what sets 12for12k apart is that we started small. It wasn’t about getting the large numbers for us right away. In other words, we weren’t trying to raise a million dollars in a month. Our goal was pretty reasonable. Find 1200 people to donate $10 per month for 12 months.

Since we were already pretty heavily involved in social media, reaching 1200 passionate people didn’t seem too daunting a task for us. We knew we had the capacity within the core team to reach people, and we focused on inspiring people to not only donate, but to help us spread the word. Our idea was to focus on building a community first, and the money would follow.

GL: How does 12for12K attract the long tail (large amounts of people) so successfully?

Susan:We focused first on building a community that cared about the cause. These people became our ambassadors – they were as passionate as we were about helping, and they spread the word. We got the charities directly involved too, and made sure their stories were out there for people to hear. Once we had a passionate community, spreading the word was much easier. When we needed to get a message out, or inspire people to contribute, our community went into action.

GL: In spite of its size, people seem to feel a relationship with you and local 12for12K organizers. How did you achieve that?

Susan: It’s not enough to just find a bunch of people willing to spread the word – that kind of publicity has a shelf life. We needed people to commit to 12for12k long term. We achieved this by empowering our community, not just “using” them for their blog posts and retweets. We wanted our community to feel ownership in 12for12k.

So we encouraged their ideas and feedback, and eventually 12for12k took on a life of its own….people were organizing their own fundraisers, and offering to help with web site design, logos and graphics, content, video production, social media outreach and other tasks. It is a true community effort, and our supporters have been absolutely critical to the success of 12for12k. It was this strong community that raised over $100,000 last year. We are so grateful to everyone that has supported the cause.

GL: What can a cause learn from your effort?

This has been a learning experience for us from the beginning. One of our biggest lessons happened mid-last year when we started to lose momentum. This is a natural thing with any long term initiative, and it’s something that causes need to be aware of.

It took some time to pinpoint the exact issue, but we realized that we’d lost some of the connection with our supporters – we weren’t reaching out to them as often, and weren’t listening as intently. We refocused our efforts on being there for our supporters, and regained our momentum by making sure we were involving our community at every step.

GL: What’s your favorite social media tool that you used for 12for12K?

Susan: Well, my mantra is, it’s not about the tools… but if you insist. ;) It’s important to leverage the platforms where your community resides – in our case it was important to have our home base as the web site www.12for12k.org, where we could share news and promote the charities and events, as well as promoting our strong community and highlighting their tremendous efforts.

Involving our community in conversations on our Twitter and Facebook pages was also extremely important. I would say that our leveraging of Twitter has been extremely successful. Last year we worked with Scott Stratten (@unmarketing) and held a Tweet-a-thon for our March charity, Share our Strength, and brought in over $12,000 in 12 hours, which was remarkable.

We’ve had other amazing 12for12k’ers that have also done their own online fundraising events, like concerts and live webcasts, with great success. But I think a balanced social media strategy is the best approach. Find your community. Listen to them. Encourage and empower them to share the message. The tools come second.