4 Lessons Marketers Can Learn from Local TV News Reporters

This post was initially published on BostInnovation on July 28, 2011. To read the original post there, click here. Today – thanks to social media, smartphones and other new digital communications platforms and tools – what the savviest of consumers are asking of their favorite brands is almost as much as they’d expect from

The Importance of LinkedIn Recommendations

Given my outgoing personality, my obsession with the latest news and the fact that I’ve always been an early adopter of new communications tools, it’s no surprise that I’ve been enamored with social media from the get-go. I can’t tell you how excited I was to launch my own blog in early 2004, where I’ve written nearly

10 Ways to Succeed as a Copywriter, Parts 1-10

If you’ve been reading this blog for the last few months, you know I’ve been writing a series of posts on copywriting. Similar to the approach I took with my series on social media, I’ve looked at copywriting from a 30,000-foot level, focusing on the principles you need to be mindful of if you want to

10 Ways to Succeed in Social Media, Parts 1-10

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you already know about the  “10 Ways to Succeed in Social Media” series of posts I started writing on January 13 of this year and recently concluded on April 5. But what you wouldn’t know is how much I’ve been looking forward to stringing these posts together into one

The Importance of Character in Social Media

By now, most people involved in marketing, advertising and PR have put aside any skepticism they may have had about social media and are using such online communications vehicles as blogs, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to reach out to and engage with others. They’re finally realizing that — as I’ve said before here on this

10 Ways Public Speakers Should Use Social Media

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If you’re giving a presentation and your audience members are looking down at their electronic devices, not up at you, don’t be annoyed, be pleased.

As someone who speaks often at industry conferences and events, after all, I know that if those in my audience are looking down at their phones, tablets and laptops, they’re probably not ignoring my presentation. They’re likely sharing what they’re hearing on social media, which is exactly what I want them to be doing on my behalf. I want them to be amplifying my message to their own networks, extending the reach of what I’m saying to a much larger number of people.

That’s what I would call the “socialization” of my presentation. And that’s what I would think every public speaker today would want their listeners to be doing for them, too. It may be disconcerting at first. It may even be distracting. But it’s increasing the audience for your presentation exponentially. Like the click-click-click of the cameras at a big press conference, everyone is busy capturing the moment, only in a variety of different ways unique to each respective audience member.

Of course, a speaker wants everyone in the audience to be paying attention, hanging on his or her every word. But the reality is that when they’re sharing what they hear with their own online followers and friends, they’re concentrating even more on recording just the right sound bite or image. They’re even more engaged with what you are saying as they realize the magnitude of their responsibility to report on the event accurately, informatively and entertainingly.

Here are 10 ways public speakers, instructors, trainers and anyone else who finds themselves in front of an audience should use social media to promote their own presentations…

1. Encourage social media use among your audience. One of the first things I say to my audience when I take the stage is to not hesitate to use social media. After all, I want them to share their impressions of my presentation with their own respective networks. They get the benefit of having unique, new content to distribute and I enjoy the exponential increase in reach to a much broader audience. Its’ a win-win situation that’s well worth encouraging.

2. Include your handle and hashtag in slides. If you’re going to be drumming up social media usage, it would be remiss of you not to include where you can be found there on your presentation’s slides. At the very least, share your Twitter handle on your title slide and perhaps on every other slide, too. You should also list wherever else you have a presence on social media – e.g., YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. – on an individual slide that also includes your bio, not to mention the event’s hashtag (assuming there is one).

3. Tweet before and after your presentation. Publicizing your presentation nowadays means using social media to talk about it both beforehand and afterwards. Some of this content can be scheduled in advance to give you a steady, uninterrupted presence on these online communications channels while the rest of it should be real-time engagement with your followers and fans.

4. Record your presentation. Have someone record your presentation on video, which will likely give you some great content afterwards to share – in dribs and drabs – with your constituents on social media. If the quality is good enough, you can even upload the entire presentation to YouTube.

5. Live-tweet your gig. Having someone capture what you’re saying in the moment is an excellent way to report extemporaneously on your presentation, taking full advantage of any real-time buzz about your presentation and leveraging every little thing you are saying in the moment. Retweeting, liking and engaging with your audience is ideal, too, if you can get a colleague or friend to do this from their account for you while you’re on stage.

6. Get away from the podium. Moving around the room is a good idea for a speaker in general, as it is a much more engaging and compelling way to deliver a presentation. You don’t want your audience’s view of you to be obstructed in any way, shape or form. You want to give them as many photo opportunities as possible as well as the best chance to see you up-close and personal. You’ll make a stronger connection and better impression that way as well.

7. Include quotable quotes. Make it easy for members of your audience to provide coverage of your talk. Provide them with catchy visuals and short sound bites. Have a handful of clever, memorable one-liners rehearsed in advance and delivered at key, prominent moments. Feature this content prominently in your presentation. Create each of your slides for prime-time viewing, that is, with the intention of them going viral. Make it hard for your audience not to want to repeat what you share with them time and time again.

8. Pause on your best slides. Pacing is important. If you have a hit slide or message on your hands, pause and pose for the crowd. Seriously. Take your time on the highlights of your presentation. Take it slow. Milk it for everything it’s worth. If you have a strong point to make, or a great visual to show, your audience needs the time to capture and share the moment with their own respective audiences on social media.

9. Use gestures and props. You may be speaking to inform and educate, but you also want to entertain your audience. Accessorize your presentation with gestures and props. Not only do you want to engage and enlighten those in the audience, you want to dazzle and delight them, too. Appeal to their senses. Tease them with theatrics. Add elements to your presentation that will make it more photogenic, capturable and ripe for social media.

10. Summarize your presentation. When all is said and done, you want to review, repurpose and save your presentation for posterity. You want to summarize it for those who weren’t there as much as get even more mileage out of your efforts by reporting on it yourself. Use Storify, Twitter Moments or your own blog to recapture everything you said as well as what your audience had to say themselves on social media about the event.

Note: This post, “10 Ways Public Speakers Should Use Social Media,” was originally published on the AMA Boston blog on September 7, 2017, here.

10 Boston Hotels Crushing It On Social Media

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It may be all the rage, but for a variety of reasons, not every business is cut out for social media.

Some will never understand it. Others think it’s a waste of time and money. And finally, there are those who just aren’t the right fit for it.

But most marketers would agree that while social media is not for everyone, it is ideal for those who want to engage with their customers and prospects, especially in real time. If that’s where your audience is, time spent on these relatively new online communication channels is more than well worth it.

Where else can you put the word out to your constituency without feeling like you’re invading their space? Where else can you capture the attention of such a qualified audience who have already indicated they want to hear from you and will be likely to respond?

When consumers are followers on social media, it’s because they’re interested in you and your brand. They’re fans of yours, maybe even influencers of their own personal networks who can bring you even more business. You can watch them and listen to them, learning practically everything about them before reaching out to them with an offer they can’t refuse.

Skip the sales talk on social media, though. Your offer should be to educate, enlighten and entertain them. Fulfill their needs, not yours. Make them smile and they’ll make you successful.

There are many industries for which social media is tailor-made. Hospitality is one of them. Travelers and tourists are looking for the best meals and the best deals. They’re often lost without help, something you can easily provide to them if they’re following you online. Directions, recommendations, highlights and attractions. Give them everything you’ve got.

Learn from these 10 hotels in Boston how to win guests and influence people. Whether you work in the hospitality industry or not, what they know can help you be even more successful on social media. These lessons are scalable. These examples are convertible.

1. The Langham Boston on Facebook – Special Offers

It may be too late to win this spectacular offer on their Afternoon Tea, but if you follow this elegant hotel (formerly the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston) on social media, you’ll find plenty of other reasons to pay them a visit.

2. Colonnade Hotel on Facebook – Social Proof

Guests may know the Colonnade for its popular outdoor rooftop pool, but Ashley Markwood’s blog post about her staycation there points out a bunch of other great reasons to check into this hotel.

3. Boston Park Plaza on Twitter – Cause Marketing

Wearing a red nose may be an excellent way to get attention, but in this case, it is being done to commemorate Walgreen’s Red Nose Day, a campaign to help end child poverty. A win-win social media post if ever there was one.

4. Ames Hotel on Twitter – Newsjacking

Not only is it good form to show you support for the local sports team, it’s a great way to inject yourself into a much broader conversation.

5. Sheraton Boston on Twitter – Localization

Looking for some good content ideas? Look no further than your own backyard. Kudos to the Sheraton Boston for not just taking advantage of the calendar here, but for engaging the local running community as well.

6. Fairmont Copley Plaza on Instagram – Hashtag Marketing

A picture may tell a thousand words, and if it’s as spectacular as this one, it’ll leave you speechless in return. All the Fairmont Copley Plaza had to do was add a short caption and a popular hashtag, #WeddingWednesday, to boost its chances of being seen.

The moments before “I do.” #WeddingWednesday #FairmontWeddings 📸: @allegrophotoboston

A post shared by Fairmont Copley Plaza, Boston (@fairmontcopley) on

7. Four Seasons Hotel on Instagram – Contests

The stunning shot of sailboats on the Charles may be what catches your eye, but what will likely capture your attention is the chance to win a prize.

8. Boston Harbor Hotel on Instagram – Opportunism

To see the massive flag that hangs inside the rotunda of the Boston Harbor Hotel is to be impressed. It’s a spectacular sight. It also presents the hotel with a great opportunity to display different sentiments according to what’s going on in town, in this case the Boston Marathon.

9. Hotel Commonwealth on Twitter – Questions and Quizzes

How cool is this? An autographed elevator. Asking the hotel’s audience on Twitter to look closely at the autographs, though, is a stroke of brilliance, as it encourages people to watch the video over and over. Good for branding. Great for the hotel.

10. Boston Park Plaza on Twitter – Corporate Culture

What a fantastic way to win guests and influence people! Smart business is showing love to your employees. Smart marketing is showing it off on social media. After all, a hotel that takes such good care of its employees must take great care of its guests, right?

Note: This post, “10 Boston Hotels Crushing It On Twitter,” was originally published on the AMA Boston blog on June 15, 2017, here, and on LinkedIn on August 9, 2017, here.

10 Boston Restaurants Crushing it on Twitter

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It’s one thing to be able to serve great food. It’s quite another to be able to show off those dishes in words and pictures on Twitter so well that your followers like your tweets almost as much as your eats.

That’s the irony of marketing a restaurant in this day and age. As if it’s not enough to be considered one of the best places to go for a bite to eat in town. Now they have to have the popularity on social media to prove it.

Okay. Maybe that’s a stretch, but the importance of displaying their menus everywhere people are congregating online today cannot be underestimated. More and more potential customers are stalking their every move not just on the grapevine, but on a bevy of newfangled communication channels before they decide to make their reservations.

They’re looking for pretty plates of yummy food.

They’re looking for the right crowd and atmosphere, great service, good prices.

They’re looking for social proof of a restaurant’s ambience, reputation, quality and personality.

They’re looking for an excellent place to eat and drink as well as a cool place to see and to be seen not just in real life, but on social media, too.

Talk about high expectations.

They got this, though. At least many restaurants in the Boston area do. They understand that diners today are looking for an enjoyable experience on both the table and Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and the like.

Here are 10 examples of Boston restaurants crushing it on social media:

1. Sonsie on Instagram

This hip, go-to eatery on Newbury Street is also an excellent place to visit on social media, especially on Instagram, where their visual content – hashtags included – lives up to their reputation for offering a variety of eclectic, high-quality meals.

2. Loretta’s Last Call on Twitter

Good, old-fashioned Southern food and hospitality is what this restaurant is all about, as is its content on Twitter. This is a fun account to follow, one that will inspire you to eat well and party hard.

3. Red Lantern on Twitter

I’ve never been here, and by the looks of their Twitter feed I am missing out on something special. Not only does their Asian cuisine look delicious, their cocktail menu appears to be very creative and they even have a DJ in their lounge. VERY cool.

4. Regina Pizzeria on Twitter

Having been serving their wicked popular pizza since 1926, they’re old, but young enough in spirit to be crushing it on Twitter, where they share a ton of fun updates like this one replete with hashtags and emojis.

5. Top of the Hub on Facebook

With more than 17,000 likes on Facebook, these guys are not only at the top of their game when it comes to serving food, they get social media, too. Lots of great food photos coupled with welcoming, engaging copy is what you’ll find in their feed.

6. Legal Sea Foods on Facebook

The first restaurant most people think of when they think of going out for seafood is an excellent place to follow on social media, too, for a variety of reasons, one of the biggest being you just might win a free cup of their classic, award-winning clam chowder.

7. The Harp Boston on Facebook

Shining the spotlight on your constituency is what it’s all about on social media, which is what this popular North Station sports bar does so well on Facebook. Not only does including fan photos in your newsfeed show your appreciation for them, it increases the likelihood of your content being shared and reaching a much broader audience.

8. Stella on Instagram

Known for its delicious Italian fare, this South End eatery serves up some ridiculously incredible food porn on its Instagram account including this spectactular collage.

9. Deep Ellum on Facebook

Compliments to the chef at this fine gastropub, as I’ve eaten there a number of times. Equal praise, though, should be given to whomever is administering to their Facebook page, as their posts there are written very cleverly, creatively and conversationally. Writing in lowercase only adds a touch of class – somehow, some way – consistent with their brand.

10. Wahlburgers on Twitter

They’re famous for many other reasons, but the Wahlburgers have also made quite a name for themselves serving burgers, too. My wife likes this place near Fenway Park for its gluten-free buns. I like it for its tweets – and yes, of course, its eats, too.

Note: This post, “10 Boston Restaurants Crushing It On Twitter,” was originally published on the AMA Boston blog on January 24, 2017, here, and on LinkedIn on March 22, 2017, here.

Bob has curated a list of more than 300 Boston-area restaurants on Twitter, which you will find here.

The Importance of Trust Among Colleagues

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I’ve read a lot of Patrick Lencioni‘s books on leadership and business management. They are all ridiculously awesome and incredibly insightful. “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” is one of his best books, if you ask me. One of the dysfunctions he writes about in this book is the absence of trust. Trust is essential to the success of a team. Without trust in the workplace, team members will be more than likely to work ineffectively. Trust needs to be earned, of course, but if the right people are on board, trust is a given. A presence of trust in the workplace (or among any group of people working together towards the same goal) helps ensure that every single individual contributor on the team is performing his or her duties in a seamlessly coordinated fashion with colleagues. Watch…

The Quality of Empathy in a Leader

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Empathy. It’s a quality possessed by many great leaders. It’s a quality to admire. Those who are empathetic are able to understand others. Apparently Theo Epstein has a great deal of empathy. That’s one thing I learned about him in the December 19, 2016 issue of Sports Illustrated. As a general manager, he’s already won two World Series with the Boston Red Sox and one with the Chicago Cubs. He’s a winner. He’s a leader. And he’s empathetic.

My Tweets about the #Bridge17 Conference

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I had such a great time at the 2017 Bridge to Integrated Marketing & Fundraising Conference at the Gaylord National Hotel and Conference Center in National Harbor, Maryland. What follows is a Twitter Moment I created of some 30 or so of my tweets about this exciting event…

Five Ways to Crush It on Social Media

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Despite everything you read and no matter what anyone else tells you, there’s really no secret to success for marketers on social media.

Obviously, you can put the odds in your favor if you follow the industry’s best practices. But there are no shortcuts or tricks, no workarounds or hacks. Big advertising budget or not, if you’re not careful to adhere to some of the channels’ most fundamental principles, any wins you experience will be short-lived at best.
Transparency counts for a lot on social media as do authenticity and immediacy. Emerging technologies and newfangled tactics play considerable roles as well.

As if all that’s not enough, whether you’re talking about copy or design, still images or videos, memes or GIFs, you need to have an infinite supply of content in some shape or form queued up and ready to share with your followers, subscribers and connections.

Those principles I referred to above still reign first and foremost, though. There are too many of them to list here, but let’s talk about a few of the most important ones.

1. Have a solid strategy in place.
Far too many businesses and brands decide to launch a campaign, only to realize not too far into it that they either don’t have enough content to sustain momentum or they have no idea what to do with it. That’s just one of countless issues to address before you dip your toes in the social media waters. Branding. Lead generation. PR. SEO. What are your objectives? Which channels are you going to use? Who’s your audience? How can you achieve better results than your competition? You can easily get lost on social media if you haven’t mapped out your journey in advance.

2. Be persistent and patient.
If you’re not a brand like Red Bull or a celebrity like Kim Kardashian, you’re not going to be an overnight success on social media. Attention on these channels is earned, not given to you. Even if you put a massive budget behind your content and promote it like crazy, you still need a ubiquitous, bona fide presence on social media to be taken seriously. Social media levels the playing field between buyer and seller. The more you engage authentically with your audience on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and the like, the more likely they’ll be to respond affirmatively to what you have to offer.

3. Roll out the red carpet for your audience.
You never get a second chance to make a great first impression. Treat the members of your audience like VIPs. Roll out the red carpet and greet them with open arms. Thank them for following you. Ask how you can help them. Speak to their needs and interests, not yours. Give them props, credit, praise and kudos. Show them how much you appreciate the time they’re taking to watch, listen and learn from you. Give them far more attention than they’re giving to you and chances are, your welcome and warmth will be reciprocated.

4. Be available, responsive and engaging.
The good news is that social media has made it possible for you to engage with customers, consumers and constituents in real time, anytime. The bad news is that they can reach out to you at their own convenience. And expectations are that you will respond to them immediately. Banker’s hours are unheard-of on social media. Nights. Weekends. Lunchtime. It doesn’t matter what your schedule is in real life. On these online communication channels, you need to be there for your audience at a moment’s notice. If you snooze, you lose. There’s no rest for the weary on social media.

5. Show the human side of your brand.
One of the biggest mistakes marketers, advertisers and professionals in general make is to underestimate the importance of the social in social media. People do business with people who are willing to engage as themselves, not logos behind a litany of promotional messages and corporate gobbledygook. Be kind. Be generous. Be yourself. Cold, calculating and contrived content will get you nowhere on these channels. Candor and extemporaneousness will fly. Stress the positive attributes of your brand, personal or professional, but don’t pretend you’re something you’re not. Honesty and personality will get you everywhere on social media.

Note: This post, “Five Ways to Crush It on Social Media,” was originally published on ClickZ (with a different headline) on May 5, 2017, here.

10 Ways Major League Baseball Teams Win on Social Media

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There may still be a little chill in the air in some parts of the country, but spring has arrived and so has one of the biggest rites of this time of the year, the beginning of the Major League Baseball (MLB) season.

And while MLB may be showing its age a little as the oldest of the four professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada, having been around since 1876 (the National League) and 1901 (the American League), respectively, it is still very popular.

Tickets are sold by the millions. Broadcast rights are valued in the billions. And social media is helping the sport to offset the fact that younger people today are less inclined to follow it than the generations before them.

Teams are using Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other online communication channels to engage with their fans and promote their players, leveling the playing field like never before between brand and consumer.

Getting an autograph from your favorite ballplayer may have been the thing back in the day, but now it is getting him to like what you tweet or even better, having him agree to appear in a selfie with you.

Of course, not every team can make the playoffs, but there’s no reason every single one of them can’t win over their fans on social media during the course of the long, 162-game season.

Only a few days or so into the 2017 season, here are 10 different ways Major League Baseball teams were using social media around Opening Day earlier this week and what brands of all shapes and sizes can learn from these teams.

1. Branded Hashtags

Including their own branded hashtag, #LetsPlay, in this picture of Giancarlo Stanton on Instagram (as well as in the caption), the Miami Marlins and their fans have a communal way of identifying themselves.

First RBI of 2017? None other than @giancarlo818. ⚾️💪 #LetsPlay | #LetsGoFish

A post shared by Miami Marlins (@marlins) on

2. Special Moments

Big events should be covered from all angles for distribution to your audience both live and afterwards, as the Boston Red Sox did here in this video of the New England Patriots participating in their Opening Day ceremonies.

3. GIFs

A nine-inning baseball games take around three hours to play, but a home run like this one by Cesar Hernandez takes just a few seconds to happen. And thanks to this great GIF shared by the Philadelphia Phillies on Twitter, you can experience the excitement over and over again.

4. Slideshows

If these pictures are any indication, #AstrosOpeningDay was a heck of a good time for fans and players alike. A series of pictures like this is not only an innovative way to revisit the biggest moments of a special event, it’s a great opportunity to put your fans in the spotlight, the people who practically live and breathe your brand.

5. Special Offers

Social media makes it possible for marketers to act in the moment, which is just what the San Francisco Giants do here on Twitter, offering followers and fans a clever deal on tickets to commemorate Madison Bumgarner’s two home runs and 11 strikeouts in the first game of the season.

6. Joint Promotions

Like other MLB teams, the Chicago Cubs, winners of the 2016 World Series, are being promoted on these limited-edition Budweiser cans. Who can you join forces with to extend your own brand’s reach on social media?

It's officially baseball season. Grab your #Cubs can and hold it high. #ThisBudsForYou

A post shared by cubs (@cubs) on

7. Behind-the-Scenes Views

Give your audience on social media an up-close and personal look at how you do business. Show them the human side of your brand like the Toronto Blue Jays do in this collage of pre-game photos on Facebook.

8. Iconic Shots

A picture is worth a thousand words and some pictures are, well, priceless. Here’s a great picture of a great team with a simple, two-word caption. Capture your brand at his best and share that moment with your fans on social media.

Picture perfect #OpeningDayLA.

A post shared by Los Angeles Dodgers (@dodgers) on

9. Video Highlights

In this case, the last play of the ball game is worth over 1,000 likes and more than 300 retweets for the New York Mets, not to mention a nice 6-0 shutout of the Atlanta Braves in the teams’ season opener.

10. 360-Video Montages

The Minnesota Twins knock it out of the park with this ridiculously cool, 360-degree video montage of their Opening Day win, fireworks included, of their Opening Day 7-1 win over the Kansas City Royals.

Note: This post, “10 Ways Major League Baseball Teams Win On Social Media,” was originally published on ClickZ on April 10, 2017, here, and on LinkedIn on April 18, 2017, here.