Americans are More “Nostalgic”

John Hope-Johnstone

A couple of years ago, I had the honor of giving a talk about Social Media and Tourism to a class at Oregon State University. From that talk I made good friends with two of the students who both joined our firm as social media interns and one went on to become a full-time and excellent Social Media and PR Manager in the company.

What amazed me about this bright young woman was that her tastes were not of her own generation, nor even the generation behind, but they were for the 1950s!

As a CMO  I am intrigued about the power of nostalgia and I don’t think we are taping into it strongly enough. (With some notable exceptions like Chevy’s ad campaign for the Super Bowl. Take a look at this ad “Chevy Runs Deep”  .

As a country the U.S. in the Naughties (2000s) is a highly nostalgic place. In some respect we could replace “nostalgia” with the word “longing”. Many have a longing to return to a time when the weather was more stable, when the economy was more stable, when the dollar was strong and we actually exported something.

Any marketer who is involved in engaging people through social media today can do well to remember that from ages 28 through into the mid 60s our population needs comforting and they often get that comfort through nostalgia.

The word nostalgia derives from the Greek “nostos” (return) and “algos” (pain), suggesting suffering due to a desire to return to a place of origin.

The Future Laboratory co-founder Martin Raymond states that; “for many, the recession has been one stress too many. Hence, we are witnessing the rise of Revivalist thinking, a nostalgic yearning for all things past and comforting. Folk themes, folklore, folk fashions and the re-appearance of furniture and products with a quasi-nostalgic theme and a rose-tinted nostalgic viewpoint are all becoming more prominent.”

It’s not only the millions of Baby Boomers rushing into their mid sixties who are nostalgic. A recent study shows that many 28 to 40-year-old Gen Xers strongly reminisce about past times. If your last purchase was Star Trek, a Wispa, shoulder pads or school friend, then don’t fear, you are entirely typical of someone who lived through the Noughties,” says a report from financial services provider Standard Life, which concludes that more than any other decade, the 2000s were very retro.

Damian Barr, who wrote Get It Together (2004) about struggling 20-somethings, fears the generation that reached adulthood in the 1990s and 2000s could find themselves handicapped by excessive nostalgia. “We are less prepared for our difficult present by having had a very easy time of it when we were very young,” he says. “We grew up in a boom – we are living in a bust.” (Stephen Robb BBC News).

Tapping into nostalgia is tricky. You must know the generational cohort you are trying to reach very well. You must listen to their conversations and understand them and your message must be subtle and only hint of nostalgia not slap them in the face with it.

Thanks for reading. Please include a comment about your thoughts on nostalgia. Also, subscribe to the blog for more Social Media and marketing thoughts.

Social Media & Social Unrest

John Hope-Johnstone

First of all I want to say that I have no authority to write this blog except hours of watching YouTube videos of the Arab uprisings and now the U.K.
riots looking for trends. Notice the difference in terms (uprisings/riots). I do lecture on social media but I am
not an expert on terrorism.

What has happened in the Arab world is an uprising against unjust dictators. What is happening in the U.K is not an uprising it is a series of flash riots by hooligans.

What some people are now calling “The Arab Spring Syndrome”, seems to be an epidemic of social unrest whether legitimate (Arabs), or just drunken hoodies looking to fulfill voids in the emptiness of their lives (U.K.),  both have one thing in common…social media and mobile devices that speed up communications that can organize a flash riot.

If we watch the TV interviews and YouTube comments during the Arab
Spring, they seem very different in their demographics than the U.K rioters.
The first model (Egypt) were more educated, slightly older (although many young), and if not upper income, certainly more middle income.

In the U.K. the interviews have shown unemployed youths with no
particular agenda that they can articulate, other than the “fun” of
creating mayhem and getting back at “the man” and most importantly
robbing and looting.

Clapham Junction

While the term social media is being used extensively in this
debate, really the kind of flash riots seen in Great Britain are being
organized more through mobile texting than social media platforms such as facebook.

It has been reported that Blackberrie’s BBM (BlackBerry Messenger)
has been used (mainly from one picture of a rioter), which is a proprietary
Internet-based instant messenger application included on BlackBerry devices which allows messaging between BlackBerry users. It was developed by Research In Motion (RIM), maker of the BlackBerry device (Canada). Exchanging messages is being used in private discussion or chat groups, which allow multiple BlackBerry devices to communicate in a single session and can spread news instantly.

Twitter could possibly be used with the use of hashtags, but it is too easily followed by the authorities.

In early August 2011, a similar event took place in San Francisco, where government officials shut down four cell locations along the BART public
transportation system in response to chatter about anarchist groups organizing
to protest the fatal shooting of Charles Blair Hill by Bart Police on July 3rd.
The move effectively silenced the undergrounds’ subway cell service from 4 to 7
pm and the protest ultimately did not materialize. However, as retaliation the
group hacked the Bart database.

The question now is one of possible overreaction. Prime Minister David Cameron and British Members of Parliament have proposed possible new powers for police in terms of how they could limit or block social media from becoming a tool for organizing riots.

London the day after

However, the underground telegraph system has always been fast and nimble, from whispering to passing notes the word can spread like wildfire long
before cell phones, as I am sure Marie Antoinette found to her dismay.

Blanket shutting down of social media platforms or IM platforms, merely legitimizes those rioters that are just anti-everything and gives them credence about an Orwellian big brother Government.

Bringing in the troops, which has also been mentioned but smacks of
the very dictatorships we are against and how they handle political unrest.

Giving police the knowledge to beat the rioters at their own game of social media, by putting out disinformation to confuse their efforts via social media, would be far more effective.

Also giving the police the ability, with mobile black-out units, to create limited dead zones in certain areas where cell and Wi-Fi become unavailable is an option.

Basically, it is going to be a modern war of wits as to who can out tech the other, the hoodies or the authorities.

While all this is going on. Sociologists and researchers need to find out why in so many societies including America, have become so polarized.

After the last Congressional debacle over raising the debt ceiling. Congressmen and women went back to their constituents and according to reports,
(if they were accurate), where told to “fight harder for what your party
stands for” by their voters. This sounds like a country very divided and not in the mood for any kind of reconciliation.

In the U.K., good citizens are rising up to protect their property and their families. Even though sadly, three young men have been killed protecting
their community by thugs. This is the way a society shows that it is “we
the people” who govern a country not thugs.

Could it be the polarization of wealth into the hands of a few, after
the collapse of the Industrial era and the breaking apart of the middle class could be a root cause for all this polarization?

Your considered comments are, as always, appreciated.

Social Media,Tourism and the Future

John Hope-Johnstone

Hola, Last week I revisited a book I wrote in 2009 entitled “How to Market Tourism in the 21st Century.”  It is now being used as required reading for several University Hospitality and Tourism programs. (You can still buy it on, shameless plug).  In the last chapter of the book I take a glimpse into the future of tourism to the year 2015, which is not very far. Nearly all the mix of Internet and social media activities are being used right now,  in bits and pieces but not connected, so this glimpse is not so far fetched as it may seem.

A Visit with the Jetson Family in 2015: (All of the technology described here is presently either in use or in beta test.)

Mother Jetson’s family came from southern Italy and she has always wanted to visit the town in which her mother was born.  The Jetson’s “experiential application” keeps a constant eye on the Internet along with an eye on the Jetson’s purchases, searches, hobbies etc. By setting the filter to vacation/Italy the app is able to hone a vast amount of knowledge management tools to help with their vacation planning. The Semantic Web is slowly taking root in 2015. As one of its activities the EA chooses five short travel films for them to view.

Because of the changeover in television to digital back in 2009, the Travel Channel can now be delivered “on demand,” and the Jetson family’s app has alerted them to the time their private viewing of some Italian travel films will begin. Like most families in 2015,  price of travel is still an issue for the Jetson family, it still the era of frugality and they have certain criteria:

According to Carlson Wagonlit Travel Associates, more than 90 percent of travel agents working out of hundreds of the company’s offices say they’re seeing customer cutbacks in travel. Agents also say nearly half of travelers are booking their 2015 trips later than in previous years to take advantage of last-minute deals and other concessions. Here are the five ways leisure travelers are saving money, according to the survey:

  1. Flexible travel dates 75.7%
  2. Using all-inclusive resort packages 71.0%
  3. Using frequent flyers miles 63.5%
  4. Taking a cruise 56.3%
  5. Booking only if a promotion or deal is offered 50.9%

(Published: 13 Feb 2009)

A travel film, sponsored by ENIT, the Italian Government Tourist Board begins. The top right hand square of their TV screen also acts as a computer screen, thanks to their Microsoft interconnect software, and using their remote as a mouse they are able to click on a link that takes them to the Destination Marketing Organization’s Web site for the little town, Taranto in southern Italy, where they want to stay.

The Taranto Destination Marketing Organization’s (DMO) Web site has an app that links to the Jetson’s app and downloads all the Jetson’s likes and dislikes that the Jetsons allow for public viewing; it also asks for some basic trip information from the Jetson familia, like when might they be arriving, what kind of things do they usually like to do. What kind of sites do they like to see, and what are their favorite foods in Italy. What is their email and what is their cell phone number for text messages or twitter.

A pop-up at the end of this form tells the Jetsons that their personalized e-brochure of the area and trip planner has just been prepared especially for them and with a click of the remote the TV’s wireless printer in the upstairs home office prints out their tailored destination guide, printed with the title page “For the Jetsons Traveling to Beautiful Taranto, Italy.”

A search of a consumer generated content (CGC) site, gives them an idea of which lodging and area of town would suit them the best, and a double check of some blogs supports their decision. Social media is not the exclusive domain of the young in 2015. EyeforTravel research (2009), shows when it comes to user-generated content, age isn’t a boundary. Roughly as many customer reviews are read by young and old alike with 54% of 18-34 year olds having read customer reviews in the last 30 days, compared with 58% of 35-49 year olds and 57% of 50-64 year olds.

Jetson Jr. is on his social networking app on his smart phone. His app has searched his entire social media contacts and their contacts and found some families with children his age, who like to do similar activities in the little Italian port town and he has started to ask them to be his friends. He has also has written on his new friend’s “wall” to see if there is a lot to do for a teenager of 14.

In contrast, when it comes to social networking sites, like Facebook, there is a definite discrepancy in the age of regular users. EyeforTravel found that 70% of the 18-34 age group have used social networking sites in the last 30 days, compared to only with 35% of 35-49 year olds and 12% of 50-64 year olds.

Using Meta Search engines and aggregators, the Jetsons check the comparative flight costs of different airlines to Italy. Once the meta search engines have provided what seems to be the best cost, Mrs. Jetson insists that they go straight to the airline site itself. This proves that the airline can match the aggregators, and with a swipe of the credit card through the remote credit card fixture on the remote, and a few other key in functions, the reservation is made and a confirmation is sent to the wireless printer upstairs in the home office, and their e-tickets are printed out (not that they are really necessary).

An email is also sent from the airline indicating that if Mr. Jetson wished, his carbon offset for the trip would be about 370 points or $37 and can be paid directly to the airline, which will send it off to the offset company for investment in an alternative energy or reforestation plan of his choice. A confirmation is sent by the offset company when payment is received. Five percent of carbon dioxide emissions in 2015 come from tourism and the United Nations has demanded that tourism must adapt rapidly to curb them.

The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has stated that aviation is responsible for around 3.5% of anthropogenic climate change and that could climb to 5% by 2050.

The mix of airline exhaust gases including unburned hydrobarbons, particulates, sulfates, nitrogen oxides, and carbon dioxide produce clouds that have two to three times the warming effect of carbon dioxide alone (MIT). This research was started after it was noted that clouds had reduced their greenhouse effect by up to 5% during the week after 9/11 when fewer planes were flying.

Luckily, the aircraft the Jetsons will be flying on is powered by the new fuel blend using the Fischer-Tropsch method which can create fuel from any carbon based materials. This has helped to stabilize fuel costs for the airline community of which the gas to liquid (GTL ) is the most popular and has a cleaner burn than regular jet fuel. Testing was starting on this jet fuel by the U.S. Air Force in the 1990s

With their carbon offset established, it’s time for a communications check, and the Jetsons make sure that all their cell phones will be unlocked for Italy, so communication with the rest of the family can be continued.

Mr Jetson will NOT be taking the almost obsolete laptop so often used in the early 2000s by business travelers. Laptops have fallen out of favor even for business travelers and nearly all email communication, PowerPoint presentations, etc. are made from smaller and more convenient cell phones and cell phone watches. Just look around today during breaks at conferences and see how many people are on laptops checking their email vs. checking email via cell phones.

Mobile Internet extends the audience reach of properly designed Web sites by 13% over PC traffic alone. Mobile devices outsell computers twenty to one. Mobile web browsing is growing 30% per year, and people are moving from online to on-demand information found on the mobile Internet.

About two weeks prior to departure, an email is received by the Jetsons informing them of event updates by the local Taranto DMO and also by ENID the Italian Travel Bureau.

Jeston Jr., has made quite a few new friends in Taranto on his social networking sites, so has his sister, Mary Jetson, and they are excited about meeting their new friends.

On the flight to Rome, the Jetson’s share downloaded podcasts on their MP3 players that tell about the area they are going to and its history and adventures they can have. Their excitement is almost palpable.

The Jetsons step off the plane in Taranto from Rome and when Mr Jetson turns on his cell phone the GPS unit alerts the local DMO that they have arrived, and Mr. Jetson’s text ring goes off; he is informed of a special car deal just for them if they show the car rental agency the number on the cell phone screen. There is also a happy hour at their hotel and a special on a boat tour the next day (not too early). This all comes from the local DMO.

Jetson Jr and Mary are thrilled that there are four people their own age with their parents with signs saying “Benvenuto Jetsons” waiting for them at the local airport.

Translation is not much of a problem as the family has The Talking 14 Language Portable Translator. This is the portable device that articulates 32,200 phrases and 280,000 words into any one of 14 languages. At the touch of a button, they can access translations for pre-programmed words or travel phrases. These cover most emergencies, and the family has also been taking on-line Italian classes.

After they settle into their hotel and attend the happy hour they were informed about on their cell phone, Jetson Sr. and Mother Jetson, secure that the teenage Jetson’s are in good hands, decide to have a nice romantic dinner.

They ask at the front desk and get the name of a local restaurant within walking distance. This seems easier to find than it really is, and within a few minutes of tiny alleys and many steps, the Jetsons are lost. Mrs Jetson pulls out her cell phone and Google’s the name of the restaurant, and the GPS creates a map showing exactly where they are standing and where the restaurant is located, only a few hundred confusing steps away.

After dinner, Jetsons, senior, are able to locate their offspring by their cell phone’s GPS tracking system and realize that they are back at the hotel waiting for them.

On their first full day at their lovely Italian resort town, the Jetson’s receive an email from the DMO director welcoming them and making a few other suggestions to add to their destination guide and also inviting them to come down to the Visitor Center to pick up their free MP3 audio tour of the city and a free family photo. When they visit the DMO, the Jetsons inquire about “Voluntourism” opportunities since they like to do one day of volunteering every time they travel.

On the last day of their visit (as entered into the DMO Web site when they ordered their Visitor’s Guide), the Jetsons are texted a link to a survey (short and simple) and also are asked if they would like their number kept active. If they mark on, the number will be erased the day after they arrive home with a photo taken at the visitor center and a thank you for visiting.

Father Jetson is very excited about using his Nikon Coolpix P6000; the latest feature for digital cameras: built-in GPS. His camera records the exact GPS location of every picture, so he can post and geo-tag his snapshots on Google Earth. Also taking photo-sharing to the next level, Microsoft’s cutting-edge Photosynth can stitch together photo collections to create navigable virtual realities. Imagine: your travel pictures can be part of the collective memory.

The Jetson children are still crazily texting their Italian friends. Texting has become the language of friendship and love in 2015. Twenty-eight percent of texters, ages 18 to 55 who are single and actively dating, indicate that they text at least three times a day with a significant other or spouse. What’s more, 67% have used text messaging to “flirt.”

The advantage of texting and its popularity is simple. You connect more often says AT&T’s dating expert Nicole Beland, “Even if you are both busy, you can still strengthen your bond by touching base several times a day via text.” It is THE social media of 2015.

I hope you have enjoyed this glimpse into the future of travel. Please give me any suggestions or comments about the future of tourism that you predict. More on Social Media and Tourism next week. Cheers.

Social Networking VS Social Broadcasting

John Hope-Johnstone

Bon ami, the famous salesman Zig Ziglar once said “networking is getting what YOU want by helping others get what THEY want”. This is as true in joining a networking club such as Rotary or Kiwanis, as it is joining a social networking platform such as facebook or Linkedin and making friends virtually.

So here is what confuses me. When does social networking become social media broadcasting? Aston Kutcher and  Ellen DeGeneres together have more Twitter followers than the combined populations of Ireland, Norway and Panama. I would have to say that it must be very difficult to network with that number of people. This is no critique of folks that have thousands of followers, I think it is very impressive and maybe all those followers want out of their relationship is a glimpse into the lives of the rich and famous, in which case they are getting what they desire.

Personally, I prefer a closer relationship, where I connect with the people that follow me and have a conversation and see how the community can grow. Is this a better way? No, I think both have their place but from a true networking point of view I think the smaller more intimate number of followers containing key influencers who will then in turn influence others in their own circles is the way I prefer to go.

I only have about 250 followers on Twitter, but I have hand-picked most of them because they are people I respect in the industry and if they re-tweet something I say then it means more than 2,000 people most of whom don’t really care.

So in my weird world of social media, I use Micro Blogs as social broadcasting tools (with exceptions). I use the value of re-tweets more than obtaining large numbers of people I don’t really know. What I broadcast about, (usually), is a link to my blog or my facebook fan page or my Web site where I can help people get what THEY want and hence start up a deeper relationship.

Don’t misunderstand, I do have direct contact with people who have become friends on Twitter and using Twitters advnces search I have found people who have had genuine questions about social media strategy and I have tried to point them in the rights direction. However, by and large, I still use the micro blogs more as a broadcasting tool than a networking tool. 

Here is a piece I found in the Portland by Mark Stelzner  He quotes Lon S. Cohen who attempts to provide an explanation in a recent post on the cohcom blog:

“Social Media can be called a strategy and an outlet for broadcasting, while Social Networking is a tool and a utility for connecting with others. 

The difference is not just semantics but in the features and functions put into these websites by their creators which dictates the way they are to be used. There’s also a kind of, which came first, the chicken or the egg kind of argument to be made here. I suspect that Social Networking came first which evolved into Social Media.”

Lon further distinguishes which sites/tools fall into which category.  LinkedIn?  He calls that social networking.  YouTube?  It’s social media.  And what about Twitter and Facebook?

“Twitter and Facebook are Web 2.0 sites with the whole package. They straddle the Social Media and Social Networking divide perfectly.”

Still confused?  Mark Selzner continues to say that there’s perhaps a simpler way to process the divide.  Social Media are tools for sharing and discussing information.  Social Networking is the use of communities of interest to connect to others.  You can use Social Media to facilitate Social Networking.  Or, your can network by leveraging Social Media.  If you’re still scratching your head, be sure to watch this terrific Social Networking 101 video.  Don’t be daunted, because knowing the web, I’m certain we’ll be wrestling with new terminology soon.

Marketing Your Social Media Content

John Hope-Johnstone

John Hope-Johnstone

Bon Jour:  So you’ve created a twitter account and a facebook fan page for your organization. Your Community Managers are being busy little bees writing blogs. You’re posting videos on your YouTube channel and photos of your publicity events on Flickr, but… one knows about it!!

Most people using social media know how to promote each individual platform. Twitter for example you can use directory sites like Twellow and Just Tweet It.

The first key to improving your social media marketing is an understanding that each platform needs to cross promote.

My Web site is where I want people to end up. So the Micro Blogs like Twitter, facebook, MySpace etc., point to the Macro blogs (real blogs) which  point to my Web site.

So in my crazy little world I dream that Micro Blogs (Twitter, facebook, Linkedin etc) point to my Macro Blogs like which then point to my Web site In reality they all point to each other because in the real world  people enter and exit from many different directions.

Social Media Progression

Social Media Progression

The Web site analytics, shown below, prove that quite often my crazy dreams are actually followed. The top referrer on this day was from my blog, and that is just what I wanted. Positions 1,3,4,6,7 all came from my blog to my Web site. Position number 5 shows that my “shout-outs” from Twitter pointing to my Web site were also effective.

Web Stats

Web Stats


So cross promotion of platforms is vitally important.

To promote your business’ Facebook page, grab an official badge from Facebook to incorporate into your site. Don’t forget that your E-newsletters can deliver to your social media an audience who have already indicated that they want to get to know you better by opting in.

However, all these actions to market your media content are speaking to the converted. What about those who have never heard about you? Here we need to add a strategy involving Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

I am a big believer in making sure that my topics are being searched a lot (no brain trust there). Now, it’s a bit easier for me because I write about Social Media and at the moment, that is a pretty popular topic.

So my next step is to make sure that the title and key words I am using are being searched by lots of people. Finding out how many people have searched your topic on the search engines you can pay some money and get some nice little bells and whistles from or get the basics free from Google at  which basically tells you how many people roughly have used the key word or key phrases.

If you don’t have a topic to write about (poor you), you can get all the hot topics from (all the top stories) or the hottest stories on the internet  or (best stories). They will help you develop popular content that is.

Remember make sure you are writing about a topic in which people have an interest. It is a wonderful world where you can actually check this out using Word Tracker or WEB CEO or Google to find the number of searches that have taken place using your title.

Now that you have refined your topic and title of your blog or even your Tweet or V-log you need to create a Google Adwords and Yahoo pay per click campaign. You will only spend money for actually clicks through to your blog or your video channel.

Does it work? Well here is a good example of the analytics for my blog . You can see that I opened a pay per click campaign around September 1st 2009 and then again at the end of September. 

Buzzmaster stats

Buzzmaster stats

Notice that my readership which usually plugs along at about 20-30 readers a day (and I am quite happy with that) suddenly zooms to between 60 to 100 readers a day when I turn on the PPC campaign.

Just to make sure you believe me, below is a chart from my Google Adwords campaign for the same time period:

Google PPC Campaign

Google PPC Campaign


So you easily see that when I turn this engine on. With the right advertisement, written correctly, and with search words that are popular in the search engines wonderful things happen to my blog readership.

To quote Steve Glauberman on June 12, 2009 in one of my favorite Web sites

“Social media has been embraced by businesses big and small, and that’s both promising and commendable. As you continue to invest in fleshing out these initiatives, though, keep the importance of promoting them in mind. Consider your cross-media marketing campaign as a whole, and look for ways each channel could potentially accommodate advertising for your social efforts. By increasing your visibility, you stand to directly increase the number of current and potential customers who choose to maintain an ongoing social dialogue with your company and brand.”

HPR Engage

HPR EngageBanner


John Hope-Johnstone

John Hope-Johnstone

Hallo (Hello in German): In last weeks post we discussed developing a “key influencer” list for social media and social networking. These are people you want as “friends” on facebook, or to follow you on twitter, or eyeball you on YouTube.  This is a list of the key people in your life (work or otherwise). Influential people who will go out and influence a bunch of other people, in other words keep the buzz going. It is basic Public Relations 101, it’s good marketing on steroids!!

Let me give you an example; some wonderful folks from Canada contacted my office last week to see if I could speak at their conference. It happens to fit perfectly into a time slot that I am in Canada (although not exactly that part of Canada, it’s sooo big) and so we said yes we would love to be considered. One of the questions we always ask is “how did you find us?” Well here is the path as far as I can figure it:
  1. They contacted the office of one of my Guru’s Bill Geist  and spoke to Terri, Bill’s High Priestess of Client Services who suggested me (thank you Terri!).
  2. Then they searched and went to my Web site
  3. From there they read one of the posts of this Buzz Master blog.
  4. Then read my professional profile on Linkedin
  5. Then I emailed a flip video (could have put it on You Tube).

Each of these steps is a step down a path to find out more about us. These paths can follow many different routes back and forth between the social platforms but the results are the same, people get to know us a little better each time they visit a social media platform.

In this instance, they used a personal reference (Terri) who knew of my book and then expanded by going to my Web site and then could have deepened it by going to my blog, (I don’t know if she did), then could have followed me on Twitter (@HopeJohnstone) and then got to know me a bit better through a flip video.

Other folks have followed me on Twitter then gone to this blog for a while, then read a bit more about me on my Web site, perhaps read my book, then met someone who knows me or has heard me speak… well, you get the picture.  

This week we are going to suppose that you have created your key influencer list (as we suggested in our last post) and now you are ready to pull them into your sphere of influence. Some of the people on your list you may already know, (these are the low hanging fruit). Others you will have heard of but may not have really met eyeball to eyeball, (high fructose). Ok, so could pick up the phone and call them and say…..what?  Most likely not even get hold of them, just leave some rambling message like an idiot.
You could send them an email (which is still valid). If you do decide to use the email route then make sure you have a mutual friend in common, ” Hi Harry, Gloria suggested that I send you an email as we are mutual friends”. The problem now is that you really have to go into your pitch RIGHT NOW! Such as “Harry, would you go to my Web site and see if you like my product click here”. Hmm, a bit pushy even if you do have Gloria in common but it might work.
In my book “How to Market Tourism in the 21st Century” (shameless plug) I write that; “We are increasingly participating in a “reverse market” where customers seek out potential businesses rather than the other way around.”
So here are my ten rules of Social Networking engagement:
  1. Remember your key influencer list is gold and that it is the quality not quantity that counts.
  2. For God’s sake have a strategy, why are you doing all this work, where are you going?
  3. Always send a note when you ask to become a friend and give a second connection or a secondary reason for wanting to become a friend “I heard you speak at the MPI conference”.
  4. Always send a note when you accept someone as a friend. “Sam, glad to be part of your group.”
  5. Be authentic, be real, don’t speak corporatese.
  6. Listen and look before you jump in and join a new community, it is a smart puppy that doesn’t bound into a new pack of hounds but spends some time sniffing…you know.
  7. Let people get to know you before you slip them your blog URL or Web site. (Remember the rules of dating.)
  8. Remember on the Web you ARE what you publish. Have something of value to say. Doesn’t mean you have to be heavy everytime, you can be funny (but on topic) but have a thread of knowledge that you are trying to impart.
  9. Encourage sharing, re-tweet but give credit. If you find something worthy of a good buzz give it “word of mouse”.
  10. Questions beat out statements 60 to 1. People love to respond to questions, but don’t do it everytime, it gets annoying.

Well my friend, that’s it for this week. More on engagement next week, it is a big topic. Thanks for reading the blog. Make a comment, add an idea, pass the blog along, argue with me.

 Talk to you next weekend.

    Developing Key Influencers










    Buzz Master

    Buzz Master












    Γειά σου, (hello in Greek, I think).


    Last post on the Buzz Master blog was all about the bottom line of social media and that is???? (eek a test!!)……. failed? Go back a read last post now! Answer is “creating buzz” (Damn, now I have given it away.)



    Buzz is gossip that goes three or more conversations in depth (read last three posts). If the buzz just creates one conversation or re-tweet and then dies, it’s just advertising, (although a certain few great ads have created buzz all by themselves, but usually not about the product, just about the ad). We also wrote about some of the ways to create buzz and turn it into gossip instead of dying on the twitter or facebook vine.

    In this post we are going to talk about “key influencers” and their importance in your social networking strategy.
    Back in the day, I started a Public Relations firm in Toronto called Hope-Johnstone Marketing Systems Inc., (HJMSI, or the evil empire as it was known). We approached public relations differently than some of the other Toronto PR agencies and because of that we were successful.


    We began each contract by developing three legs to the PR stool: 1) A public relations strategy (which today would include heavy emphasis on social media and social networking) and; 2) A key influencer list, lastly; 3) An action plan.

    Social media and social networking are tools of Public Relations but they are not the ONLY tools and neither is media relations (which is all everyone thinks of when they hear the term public relations).

    In my book
    How to Market Tourism in the 21st Century” I define 21st Century Public Relations as being; “The development of social, political and market capital through third party endorsements and that the value of PR lies in capturing and reproducing it, so it lives forever!” 

    So you can understand that third party endorsements are the key elements to good Public Relations and the key results for your social networking. You can tell me how wonderful you are day after day but unless someone backs you up I am less likely to believe you. Then if I capture those third party comments and put them on my facebook or Linkedin pages, (or a link), then we have a really powerful tool.

    In developing a strategy for Public Relations (including social media) we have to understand that PR is NOT just about getting some nice piece of press coverage (although that is always great), in fact there are seven publics in public relations:

    1. Press Relations (media)
    2. Employee Relations (staff & suppliers)
    3. Community Relations (both industry community and civic community)
    4. Educator Relations (Schools, Universities, Community Colleges)
    5. Consumer Relations (your clients)
    6. Stakeholder Relations (Your investors, your members etc)
    7. Management Relations (Your bosses, board)

    In most businesses (even in developing a brand just for yourself), missing one or more of the above seven publics is done at your own considerable risk.

    When you sit down to develop your own key influencer list (these are the people that when they become your “friend” are going to influence many others with your message), then you should have a list that includes people from each of the above 7 publics.

    When HJSMI developed those key influencer lists for our clients (back in the day), some would have over 10,000 names, addresses, birthdays etc, today we also record all the social media platforms as well.

    Once the key influencer list is created (and that is the hardest part of the job), then you have to develop the strategy. The strategy has to ask; what is the message (or messages) you want to deliver to the key influencers in the hope that they will influence many others with buzz or gossip and what are the best platforms to deliver the messages.

    Next week we will chat about how to “ask” someone to join you as a “friend” and how to keep the relationship going. It is all about engagement.

    This fall we will be starting up Hope-Johnstone Marketing Systems Public Relations again, as I “semi” retire, with an abbraviated name (see below):