Gini Dietrich

Spin may suck, but the book is really useful (April #WWCBookClub pick)

Normally when we announce our book for the month, neither Lara or I will have read it. This month is a bit different, because we both volunteered to be ambassadors for the launch (THIS WEEK!) of Gini Dietrich’s brand new book, Spin Sucks. Many of you may already know that Lara and I are big Gini fangirls - especially me. Remember this from last year’s Social Capital Conference when Gini came to speak?

Gini is a lovely person, but she’s also really, really smart. That’s why I have followed her blog for years now - and why I was even more excited when I heard she was going to be releasing a book. I’ve found Gini’s blog, also called Spin Sucks, to be full of wisdom and actionable content that any business can use to raise their profile using digital marketing. Sure, she’s in PR and perhaps you’re thinking that’s not relevant to you or your business. The truth is that if you’re using social media, you’re practicing public relations, whether you realize it or not. We just aren’t all doing it well; that doesn’t mean we don’t need to use the (good) tactics. 

So, here’s what I got out of Spin Sucks (affiliate Paperback, Kindle) and why I’m so excited that you get to read it this month for #WWCBookClub!

Gini tells it like it is - no sugar coating

As a business owner, I have such an appreciation for people who ask me hard questions and tell me what I truly need to hear. Diluting the truth will only hurt you in the long run. This book wouldn’t be as useful as it is if it didn’t clearly state the challenges that can be faced.

“You no longer have control of your brand - or perceived control. You can no longer worry just about your marketing messages. You have to be in tune with what the customers say your brand is and how they define it to their friends, family, and social networks.”

This graphic of another great truism is courtesy of Christina R. Green.“Your competitors know the exact recipe to your secret sauce, but no one does it as well as you do. It’s your secret sauce. It was created with your people, your thinking, your culture, your passion, and your vision.”

Lara recently asked a company that’s doing really interesting things with their social content if they would mind doing an interview with us so we could share some of their creative work with our audience. The response was quite surprising. They didn’t want their competitors to know their strategy. It’s one of the false beliefs about social media - that if you have a degree of transparency that you’ll tip off competitors and they’ll take away your business.

The truth is that your competitors are already trying to imitate you. They can figure out your strategy through observation - they don’t need to see your editorial calendar or other planning documents to know what it is. But they won’t succeed for the reason that Gini stated - they are not you and they never will be. PaperbackKindle (affiliate links).A plethora of practical application

Have you ever read a book that had a subtitle of “how to…” that really didn’t tell you how to do anything? Spin Sucks is not that book. I’m reading this book again with our book club this month for the sole purpose of identifying as many items that we need to work on as possible. I got quite a few the first time around, but I know there is so much more. This quote reaffirms one of things I tell my clients all the time:

“When creating content, the question “How often should I post new content?” almost always comes up. The answer depends on your goals, but from a search engine perspective once a week is sufficient. What you really want to be focused on is consistency, and quality versus quantity.” 

You’ll find lots of easy to implement SEO tips, and some that you may need some technical help with, but are worth doing to get the additional metrics. 

Above all, Gini will give you a roadmap to telling your story in a way that is compelling and valuable to your audience. We couldn’t have picked a better follow-up book to Youtility!

Buy your copy of Spin Sucks by April 5th and get some fantastic extras!

Meet Gini and hear how much Spin Sucks live!

One last note, for our Ottawa and Toronto readers: Gini’s coming to town next week! She’ll be in Toronto (#3tyyz) on Monday, the 7th and she’s coming to Ottawa (#3tyow) on Tuesday, the 8th.

April #WWCBookClub Twitter Chat

Mark your calendars, because April 24th from 9:00-10:00pm, we’re going to have a chat about #SpinSucks and everything you’ve learned! So, be sure to go buy the book now: PaperbackKindle (affiliate links).


I received a galley copy of the book in exchange for doing a review as a Spin Sucks Ambassador (though I bought it anyway). Then I bought it again. So these opinions really are my own.

Social Capital Conference: lessons learned

This past weekend was a pretty busy one around here. On Friday and Saturday, people from all over gathered for Social Capital Conference, an incredible social media learn-a-thon. For those lucky enough to attend, you probably left with your head spinning, trying to process all the valuable information that was imparted over the two days of workshops, conferences and round-tables. For those of you who couldn’t make it, here are a few takeaways that pretty much sum up the weekend:

Video Rocks

Admittedly, video scares the crap out of most people. At Social Capital Conference, Anthony Wong taught us that not only is video easy to do, it’s also fun and really, really effective at getting your point across. Not only can you can shoot, edit and publish video all from your iPhone or iPad but there are apps out there that take the guess work out of creating fun, effective messages that everyone will love.

Lara took the iPhone video workshop - here’s the video she created entirely on her iPhone during the workshop.

There’s No Such Thing As An Overnight Success

Many start to use social media because they think it’s free and easy and you can get 10,000 in a week. In her amazing and inspiring Keynote address, Gini Dietrich shared the ups and downs of how to use content and interaction to build a community and that nothing really comes easy (although it can be pretty fun along the way).

Don’t Forget The Secret Sauce

Remember when you were 5 and getting a sticker for good work was the bomb? People haven’t changed. They still like to be acknowledged and made to feel special. By responding, engaging, interacting, rewarding and basically stroking people’s ego’s you will keep your audience coming back again and again.

Be Human

The message of the weekend was definitely to Be Human. People are online to feel like they are a part of something. Call it engagement, call it interaction but basically, the way to grow your audience is to be yourself.  When you talk to people online, use their names, respond to comments and reply to questions. By using all the common sense, offline business world strategies in your online world, you will, with time and effort, grow your online community and create something that you can be proud of.

Now go forth and be social and hope to see you at Social Capital 2014!  If you were there, share your best takeaway in the comments!

Buzz and Brilliance: Week ending November 12

I'm generally not one to follow celebrities - in the movie star sense - on social networks. I don't really care if they're on social networks at all, though I'm happy that so many with public personas have adopted social media as a way to connect with their audience. To me, it's a good thing. Mostly.

This week Ashton Kutcher made a gaffe on twitter (my paraphrase of his assessment) about Joe Paterno being fired. Kutcher declared he's going to hand over management of his twitter stream. I don't have a lot of interest in this story other than a distaste for anyone letting third parties handle their social media interactions. Chris Brogan nailed it in his piece talking about outsourcing your voice. .

The whole "busy" argument doesn't really fly with me. Why? Tweets are all of 140 characters. It doesn't take thirty seconds to type that out even on your phone. The other argument that doesn't fly is the whole accuracy of information. Who hasn't used social media to vent? Probably someone, but they're the exceptions that prove the rule. Not to mention that there are people out there who are sticking up for Joe Pa - rightly or wrongly, it is happening.

Interestingly, Chris Penn wrote a post this week about testing the value of your content - one of the tests was whether you learned from it. I'd hope that we all learned something from this Ashton Kutcher situation. If the takeaway from those tweets is nothing more than to learn the whole story first, then doesn't that content have a certain value?

This week, Google+ launched Pages for businesses and brands with significantly less fanfare and applause than the network itself. There was much begging and pleading for this to be rolled out in the preceding weeks and months. And what did everyone do when pages were finally rolled out? I'm pretty sure I heard a collective "Meh" from across the Interwebs. Admittedly, there are plenty who are excited about it, but I've seen just as much commentary on the negative end of the scale. I've officially claimed a few pages and that's about as far as I've gone with it. There are some good things about pages that were introduced upon launch, but I wish people would remember that it took years for Facebook to launch pages and then more years to get them to where they are today. Maybe we could cut Google a wee bit of slack and recognize page potential for the long-term. The best suggestion I've seen is to just claim your page and sit on it if you're not happy with the functionality. If you want to jump in - here's how. A little tip for you: Google+ has said no to contests. So, don't think that's a way to get around Facebooks TOS.

Have you been struggling to find the purpose of Google+? This smart post from SmartBlog on Social Media gives us all a good reason to want to be on Google+. I haven't spent a ton of time on it and sometimes I have to remind myself that it exists, but I think it's worth the effort. (And now I want to go to BlogWorld Expo more than ever!) Further support for Google+ came from Mathew Ingram at GigaOM. If you really don't want to get into another social network, that's fine. But if you work in marketing and communications, it's a bad idea to ignore G+.

Facebook gave us all reason to cheer this week when they finally announced they will henceforth treat all third party posting apps equally. I was skeptical so I've been doing a little testing between manual posts and automated posts. I've had mixed results. Sometimes my manual posts are getting more impressions and sometimes they're getting less. It has improved though. I can say that with certainty. So, go forth and use your Hootsuite and RSS Graffiti at will. But if you're using Notes as your feed? You might want to find another option. (I was never a fan of this one anyway.)

Are you a fan of the Top Stories in Facebook's latest updates? Some are, some aren't. That is the one thing in the September changes that I don't care for. Thankfully, Facebook is going to give us back our chronological option...soon.

In a huge win for privacy, Facebook has finally been told they need to stop making controversial changes opt-out (like Beacon, facial recognition, etc.). As for the recent "Take This Lollipop"'s a great perspective that I happen to agree with. We DO have control over our privacy on Facebook. No one forces us to post anything on there at all. I didn't install the app, but I doubt it would scare the hell out of me.

Speaking of Facebook, have you ever seen a page that resembles a Web site? Yeah, me too. Gini Dietrich has a great post about the pros and cons of this practice. The biggest downsides? You don't own your content and you limit your reach to those who use Facebook, even if that number does hover around 800 million-ish.

Email is officially middle-aged now. Well, at least in terms of human life expectancy. 40 years old last month. Who's heard that email is dying? *raises hand* My inbox disagrees, as do many experts who are pushing for companies to jump on the email marketing bandwagon. It IS a powerful tool, but I'll talk about that more another day.

Finally a LinkedIn post that doesn't encourage people to link their feeds from other social networks.

Do you ever wonder how to drive traffic to your site other than posting links on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook? Wonder no more.

What are your thoughts on the Ashton Kutcher story? Would you ever let someone else post content for public consumption under your name?