Cheers to 5 Years and Many Lessons

Lessons-Learned

By: Amy Jo Martin

Digital Royalty just turned five! In social years, which is like dog years, that’s more like 35 years old. As we approach our 5th anniversary as entrepreneurs, we realize there are some things that we wish we knew back then that we (kind of) know now when it comes to entrepreneurship:

1. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. When you start your company, there will be a thousand things each day that you’ve never done. That’s okay.

2. Beware of shiny object syndrome. More companies fail from lack of focus vs. lack of business.

3. Your team is everything. Spend a great deal of time making sure the right people are on the bus and in the right seats.

4. Entrepreneurs tend to wait too long to hire and too long to fire.

5. Just because you can do it all, doesn’t mean you should. Realize what you’re uniquely qualified to do and delegate or outsource the rest as soon as you can.

6. Don’t forget why you started your company. Remind yourself daily. (Or hourly if needed!)

7. Being an entrepreneur is like the Chicago weather. If you don’t like the way something is going, wait 15 mins. It will change.

8. Your plan is important but accept the fact that it’s going to change and you will need to adapt.

9. When recruiting and interviewing talent remember this rule as you evaluate candidates: If it’s not a hell yes, it’s a no.

10. You can’t turn your business off, but if you don’t take time to go off the grid every once in awhile your business will suffer.

11. Focus on the long game. Society has romanticized start-ups that burst overnight – yet, that’s not the norm. Steady as she grows.

12. A diverse support system is critical. You’re going to need more than just family and lifelong friends. It’s lonely at the top.

13. You can color outside the lines without crossing the line. Disruption and destruction create two different outcomes.

14. When we practice humility, our growth is accelerated.

15. The people you choose to do business and the people you decide not to do business with will be the important decisions you make.

16. Celebrate lessons. Lessons + blessings = Blessons. Accelerate the process of learning by sharing mistakes.

17. Try to learn the difference between when to make things happen vs. letting them happen. Gas vs. brakes.

18. Always call people back and return emails. Figure out a system for doing so if you’re “too busy.” It’s worth the time and effort.

19. A five-degree shift changes your entire trajectory.

20. Read outside the box. Don’t just read your industry trade articles. Explore beyond.

21. The company can’t love you back. Logos don’t have feelings. Your team and partners have a human capacity but your logo does not. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t passionately dive in head-first, just manage your expectations.

22. There’s a big difference between true business partnerships and vendors. Alignment is key for longevity. Transactions are short-lived.

23. Find a team of mentors and make sure you’re coachable. Then return the favor and mentor others.

24. Your hustle factor is often your differentiating factor. Work hard.

25. Where passion, purpose and skill collide, bliss resides.

This post originally published on AmyJoMartin.com

Fail Early and Often (then celebrate)

Failure

By: Amy Jo Martin

I’ve become a professional student of failure. I figure the better students of failure we become, the more successful we’ll become. Here are a few notes I’ve taken while getting schooled:

Failure is not a stigma; it’s a badge of honor. I recently had the opportunity to listen to Gopi Kallayil, Chief Evangelist at Google, talk about innovation. He said, “We don’t fail, we morph. We launch often and early – ship and iterate.” For example, gmail was in beta for five years. They didn’t wait for perfection; instead they focused on constant improvement. The first Google Glass prototype took 90 minutes to build, and it looked like ski goggles (shown below). The quicker we fail, the quicker we learn how to improve. Every time we fail, we end up taking knowledge from that situation and applying it to the next project, solution or concept.

Google_Glass_slide

You’d be surprised at the long list of products that have been killed at Google, not to mention the 72 projects have been publicly killed. Someone has even been kind enough to create a virtual burial ground for all the RIP Google products.

It helps if we better understand the process of learning. I just read The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle and he explains that the secret behind getting really good at something is by understanding how to fail smarter. The struggle (mini, frequent failures) we go through when learning is what accelerates the process of learning – there’s a physiological effect that happens during this process and Coyle refers to it as Deep Practice. Plenty of science involved in the process and I’ll spare you the details for now but encourage you to read the book.

So, creating a culture of failure is one of the most important concepts of creating an innovative culture. If we know we can become more talented by failing more frequently, isolating the weak spots and focusing on them until they improve, then we should celebrate, (or at least talk about our failures more) right? Here are a few ways:

Celebrate Blessons - At Digital Royalty, lessons plus blessings equal blessons and we celebrate them! In our team huddles we have a point in the meetings where blessons are shared. It becomes a moment of pride because we’re helping our fellow teammates out by allowing them to learn from our lessons and leapfrog our mistakes.

Document Failures - Not only should we document our failures but also the lessons learned from those failures. You can create a Wall of Failure in your office or home, keep a list of failures, post your failures on your refrigerator, or your home screen on your mobile phone, just make sure to post the lessons learned as well. Want to learn more about failure walls and see some specific examples? Here ya go.

Semantics - Sometimes the word “fail” trips us up due to the negative connotation. A few other handy, and somewhat cheeky, synonyms and phrases to replace that evil word: false step, non-success, non-performance, stalemate, “I tripped,” “I’m sailing through a lesson at the moment,” or “It’s time to pivot.”

As mentioned in Renegades Write the Rules:

“Fail early so when everyone else jumps on the bandwagon, their best practices are being polished while others’ are just starting to fail. Sometimes it’s not about being the best or smartest; it’s about being the first to try and the first to learn from failure.”

 

Social Media Best Practices: 8 Royal Rules

If you already own “Renegades Write The Rules” by our founder and CEO, Amy Jo Martin, you probably have these 8 Royal Rules (Social Media Best Practices) down pat. Congrats! You’re already off and running with a solid strategy. You’re probably humanizing and monetizing your brand, and this post may serve you as a great refresher. Feel free to pass these lessons on to your friends, though, with Digital Royalty University’s new limited-time, special book offer.

Here at Digital Royalty, we’re often reminded that social media community managers, customer service representatives, and human resources managers are changing their day-to-day roles as more executives move into the social media communications space. That’s precisely why Amy Jo Martin collected these “rules,” and wrote her New York Times Bestselling book. These are all based on her years of experience on both sides of the table with many of the most influential brands, teams, athletes and sports leagues on the planet, and we hope they will help all types of social media communicators reach their goals.

Special thanks to our friends at Shortstack for designing the social media infographic featured in this post. If you’re looking for a cost-effective way to design custom apps for your Facebook Page, check out Shortstack. We use their apps all the time.

shortstack_8RR

Your Personal Brand is Your Credit Score

Your Personal Brand is a factor in your future.

Blog by Amy Jo Martin

Historically, college universities would take a look at a potential student’s transcript, college application and SAT score before sending an acceptance letter or a “we’re politely passing on accepting you” letter. Today, they have access to a student’s entire history via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Foursquare and everywhere else they’ve left a digital track.

So scary, right? WRONG. This is good news. Why? Now students get to organically ‘sell’ themselves, their character, hard-to-quantify successes, interests, passions and personalities vs. just promote their brain’s ability to calculate x+y+z+lmnop or where Shakespere went on his first date.

This is not a fad, it’s not going away and there’s an upside to growing your personal brand online PRIOR to even reaching college. Dare we say middle school and high school? Gasp!

Why? Universities are starting to recruit based on the strength of personal brands and influence. They’re starting to realize the WIFM (what’s in it for me.)

Quick hypothetical example:

A university has one last spot in a special fancy program and they have two candidates that look exactly the same on traditional paper – grades, SAT scores and similar applications. Student applicant A has 5k engaged friends on Facebook, 3k engaged followers on Twitter and they have a smokin’ hot YouTube channel (many views) which all tell the story of a stand-up, solid and passionate kid who would be an asset to any college. Applicant B, has intentionally stayed away from these forbidden evil sites because their parents threatened to take away their car if they did otherwise and they believe ‘social media’ can be incriminating. (Especially to anyone conducting typical high school behavior.)

If Candidate A spends four solid years on a university campus touting to their thousands of friends about their hallmark college adventures, do you think the university will see the value? You bet they will. Colleges are in the business of generating tuition dollars and the more students interested in their campus, the more money they make. Candidate A instantly becomes a powerful, natural, word of thumb advocate and RECRUITER. $.

The other big factor is the university’s job placement rate. Human relations departments (potential employers) evaluate candidates based on personal brand influence and every single industry is impacted by social communication. We know this because we’re providing training to these very HR departments about the power of using social media to recruit. Psst … this is not media. It’s simply communication.

Are there dangers? Yep. Of course. But there are also dangers in letting children walk home from school alone, chew huge amounts of bubblegum and swim in the ocean where sharks live.

Parents need to be educated, teachers and faculty need to be educated and students need to be educated too. It’s 2012. We are smart people. Why haven’t we accepted this? Because we’re not often educated on the upside, only warned of the downside! This is what I call an innovation allergy. We don’t like what we don’t know. We don’t like change, we’re scared and ‘we’re too busy’…  to help our kids?

What if educating yourself and your children/students about the benefits of social media could be the differentiating factor, the edge, to get them to into their dream school or getting them that dream job? For years, I have personally hired people specifically because of their social media presence – many times. We can stwalk (twitter stalk) them and better understand who they are before even reaching out for an interview.

This is the reason Digital Royalty is giving away classes to early education teachers. For every class purchased on Digital Royalty University, we’re giving a class back to teachers through our Teach For America partnership. Teachers are learning how to connect with student’s parents via social media and get them engaged. This education is building a communication bridge. Studies show that students perform better in school when parents are more involved. (Our world needs them to perform better.) Also, teachers are able to educate students about the benefits of social media and teach them how to avoid the “evil” pitfalls.

For many parents, it’s about accountability. If you were connected with your child’s teacher or principal via facebook or twitter would you be more likely to get more involved in your child’s homework, school functions and overall education?

We all have personal brands. Even at age 10. The sooner we own our brands, the better. Our brands do matter. They’re the equivalent to a credit score. Before we know it, our level of influence and digital footprint (track record) will be a factor in many aspects of our lives. Health insurance, lenders, colleges, potential employers and the government all have access to this ‘data’ about us. It’s better to show up in a positive way on a consistent basis rather than to be nonexistent as if there’s something to hide.

At Digital Royalty, we’re thrilled to be working with many schools and universities at all levels. If you’re a faculty member, professor, a student or parent and you’d like to implement the Digital Royalty social media curriculum into your school’s program, please email us at info@TheDigitalRoyalty.com We’re quite passionate about people owning their voice if you haven’t noticed. We’d love to talk.

Also, during this holiday season, watch for special rates on Digital Royalty University classes. Remember, for every class you purchase, we’re giving classes back to teachers. Why not give the gift of education?

All eyes on Twitter in the race to the White House

Blog by @chelseahartling

Three weeks ago what did Big Bird, Binders Full of Women, and the Presidential candidates have in common?

Not much.

Today? They all have their own twitter handles.

Social media gives us a new way to witness and participate in vibrant political dialogue and at Digital Royalty, we acknowledge that social media is an equal opportunity space where everyone has a voice and has the opportunity to be heard. It’s actually very democratic.

On Tuesday night we saw the second presidential debate of the 2012 race to the White House. The Digital Royalty Team had our eyes glued to Twitter because 7.2 million tweets were exchanged during the 90-minute debate – that’s nearly 110,000 tweets per minute. The ebbs and flows of the worldwide trending topics were right in line with the questions from town hall members and it was apparent the entire world was watching. To keep in perspective, only 27% of Twitter users reside in the United States.

Maybe you noticed the worldwide promoted trend for the night was #FightForJobs. As a reminder, a promoted trend is a purchased social media ad unit at the top of the trending topic lists. At minimum, the cost for purchasing a trending topic is $120K per day. The Fight For Jobs initiative definitely had a large stage and spotlight but may have missed some opportunities by not clearly identifying the organization, or providing a direct link to their website in their Twitter bio. Many Twitter users wanted to learn more about the organization yet their bio wasn’t completely filled out.

We also noticed the stark contrasts in social media use from the two candidates. For example, President Obama’s campaign tweeted 50+ times (including RT’s) throughout the debate using a variety of hashtags like #RealRomney, #SketchyDeal, and #PromiseKept to highlight their key points. Meanwhile, Governor Romney’s camp tweeted only a few times during the debate, and instead directed the public away from his Twitter handle opting for a section of his website, mittrmoney.com.

Their style of social media use is quite different. Mitt Romney tags @BarackObama in his tweets, which drives more people to the President’s handle, while Obama never tags @MittRomney. Both candidates do a good job of humanizing their brand in different ways through Instagram. Obama’s account posts pictures from all across the campaign trail and focusing on the voters – he brings the public into his social space. Mitt Romney uses Instagram to post pictures of him and his running mate Paul Ryan, as well as pictures of his family. They use different techniques, but both seem to be embracing Instagram as a way to connect with voters.

Leveraging in the social media space could prove to be a deciding factor in the 2012 presidential election. Social messages are scalable and are only bound by the speed of technology. Impressions don’t always convert, but influence does. Combining authenticity and humanization, candidates can make or break their own approval ratings and influence voters at the polls.

Twitter isn’t the only social space that has influence. For example, immediately following the debate a Tumblr blog appeared called Binders Full Of Women – a clear jab at a comment Romney had made while attempting to answer a question about equal pay for equal work. This comment quickly spiraled into an Internet meme with hundreds of pictures surfacing within hours of the final question.

This kind of movement begs the question, are Twitter and other social outlets taking the debates seriously? One tiny misconstrued comment can turn a candidate’s remarks into a complete joke. But is the joke on us? Do we look to Twitter for serious conversation or for light-hearted chatter? What if one of the candidates bought #BindersFullOfWomen as a promoted trend for the next debate – how would that alter conversation and what kind of message would it send?

Social can also be a volatile, high-risk space, which is why the need for social media education is of utmost importance. Unfortunate things can happen during campaigns, but most crisis situations can be prevented with proper education. If you have a relationship with your follower base ahead of time they will be more likely to embrace the high points of your message and more likely to forgive you if you lay a big yellow #BigBird egg. It all starts with intent and truthfulness. In fact, at Digital Royalty University we have a Stop, Drop, and Roll plan to educate people on crisis management. Our advice to our global brands, celebrities, and sports teams has always been: Don’t wait and hope an issue blows over, address it immediately.

Savvy social media campaigns are great at acquiring volunteers and securing high volume micro donations. This late in the campaign game, focus is on the undecided voters, which means it’s important for the candidates to empower their loyalists to influence friends and family to vote and spread information.

And for those voters still undecided, would it be a game changer if the candidates bought #FactChecker to hold each other accountable? We saw the moderator, Candy Crowley doing a bit of live fact-checking, but there’s still opposite information coming from both sides. If a non-biased source were to be the fact checker for the night and fact check in real time on Twitter, would it have an impact on the results of the election?

With 500+ million users on Twitter, it’s irresponsible to count the social media factor out of the 2012 Presidential race. How each candidate utilizes social media ultimately could very well determine the next President of the United States.

So the question is, who is doing it well? Is less more, or is more more? Who do you think has the social media edge in this race, and how big of a role do you think social media will play for Governor Romney and President Obama?

Our Royal Purpose

It’s an epic day for Digital Royalty and you, our fellow renegades. Today, our online Digital Royalty University launches and our founder, Amy Jo Martin, releases her book, Renegades Write the RulesWe’re excited to start the next Renegade chapter of dR with you. Guns-a-blazin’. One of our core values here is “Teamwork makes the dream work.” Millions of fellow renegades have been along for the ride for several years, so we are inviting you to join us now as we explore the next frontier. ‘Social media’ is simply a new form of communication that allows us to exchange value, and as a result we can accelerate the process or learning as well as the process of innovation. Our first class is free today.

The journey to this point has been wild, unconventional and inspiring. For the past four years we have studied and experimented with social communication channels alongside the largest brands, celebrities and sports entities in all of the land.

It started with Amy Jo’s curiosity, which turned into an idea, which became a quest to start and grow a company and now we are out to change the world by sharing our lessons so others can leapfrog our mistakes and snag those lessons.

Everyone has a voice and social communication is the ultimate equalizer. There are no boundaries. There are no rules. We get to write them! This equal opportunity space allows people to get a job quicker, accelerate their business growth, connect with loved ones and ? Yep. It’s our little secret to be kept between us renegades.

Not only do we want to educate other fellow renegades on the value of social media and innovation, we want to give back. For every Digital Royalty University class purchased, we are giving back a class to teachers though our partnership with Teach For America. This is our Buy One, Give One model inspired by TOMS Shoes. We are on a mission to help bridge the communication gap between parents, teachers/faculty and students. Studies show children learn better when parents are involved. Can you imagine if your high school teacher, principal and/or coach had access to you and your parents via social media channels? Well we are teaching them!

After recently relocating our company to Downtown Las Vegas, one of the lowest educationally ranked areas in the nation with graduation rates that hover around the fifty percent mark, it provided an opportunity to bring our growing company here and also give back to our new community.

We’re excited to share the next big chapter of Digital Royalty with you and we invite you to give Renegades Write the Rules a spin, expand your knowledge of social communication channels through our University, and innovate your business as well as your life. It’s possible. Trust us, we did it and continue to do so. Where passion, purpose and skill collide, Royal Bliss resides.

Welcome to #TeamRenegades. Hat tip to you for joining the ride. Saddle up.

A Royal Announcement

First they were mentors, then friends, eventually clients and now our business partners.

Today we announced a unique partnership with Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos and Baron Davis, NBA New York Knicks point guard. (More info on the investment news in today’s Mashable article.)  My team and I couldn’t be more excited about the like-minded people involved and the future ahead. Side note, Baron has also agreed to intern for Digital Royalty this summer. This is going to be fun.

While working for the Phoenix Suns several years ago, I was constantly getting my hand slapped for trying to recruit everyone from the mascot to the president of the company to embrace social media. This was four years ago when social media was still a fad. HR wanted to establish a social media policy and I wanted to write the rules because they simply didn’t exist yet. I DM (Direct Messaged) Tony Hsieh, who was a complete stranger, and asked him if he could share his social media policy given his company was clearly progressive in this area. I was seeking advice. Two weeks later I received a DM back from him that stated, “Be real and use your best judgment.” I thought to myself, “Wow, a man of few words.” Turns out those seven words are the Zappos company-wide communication policy. A month later, Tony visited Scottsdale for a speaking engagement and that first meeting eventually led to today.

Around the same time, the Phoenix Suns hosted the NBA All-Star game, which means the NBA Commissioner, David Stern, hosted his annual NBA Tech Summit in town a few days prior to the game. Not just anyone can get into the NBA Tech Summit. If you’re not the CEO of a major brand you’re not getting in the doors. Going to this NBA Tech Summit was a dream of mine so I decided to volunteer at the check-in desk and try to sneak inside after the games began. Turns out that Baron Davis, NBA Player slash nerd sans a Tech Summit invitation, also planned to crash the digital Disneyland. Long story short, we met at the Tech Summit, I helped Baron set up his beard on Twitter from the hallway because I wasn’t allowed inside afterall all and we became friends. Baron has always been an early adopter of social platforms with the ability to spot growth potential early on. Today, he’s our investor and our intern.

So, what does this partnership mean? Over the past three years, the Digital Royalty consultancy division has grown rapidly with clients ranging from large corporate brands to celebrities, athletes and sports properties. This new partnership allows us to continue to grow our consultancy business and also focus heavily on growing our education division, Digital Royalty University (dRU), which we launched a year ago.

Digital Royalty University offers customized education programs including strategic and tactical social media training for all individuals within a company. It’s important that every department understands how social communication channels impact their area of business. This new phase allows us to also begin providing education to small and medium sized businesses, in addition to large corporate brands, as we continue to automate our curriculum comprised of more than 100 training modules. Eventually, the curriculum will span beyond social media, offering personal and business innovation training.

As a result of this partnership we are moving our headquarters to Las Vegas, joining Tony Hsieh’s $350 million Downtown Las Vegas Revitalization Project. Digital Royalty will continue to have a presence in Los Angeles and soon in New York City, but we look forward to joining the Downtown Las Vegas Community as our new home base. Below is a video of Tony and I discussing the unmatched project. “If we fix the cities, we fix the world.” as Tony says. In the past, I’ve delivered speeches and written about the concept of Orthogonal Bliss. Where purpose, passion and skill collide, bliss resides:

My team and I are humbled as we write the rules for our next chapter and inject a higher purpose into our days – education. Together, as a community online and in the physical space, we can strive to accelerate the process of learning and innovation.

Keep it Royal,

Amy Jo Martin

Digital Royalty Founder & CEO

(@AmyJoMartin)

More info on:

Digital Royalty Partnership with Tony Hsieh and Baron Davis

Downtown Las Vegas Revitalization Project

Below is a screen shot of Tony and I the day we finalized our partnership terms. Nothing like a Skype high-five on a Saturday afternoon versus a handshake in a boardroom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Digital Royalty Turns Three!

It’s Digital Royalty’s third birthday! Years in the social media industry are like dog years, so that would technically make dR about 21 years old, right? At any rate, it’s been a wild and crazy ride for the entire dR team and industry in general, but without a doubt an enjoyable and growing experience for us all.

In honor of our anniversary, here’s an inside look at major accomplishments and milestones for Team dR. I know I speak for the entire team when I say that each of us could have dedicated an entire blog post to answer the following questions, but to prevent annoying scrolling on your part, here’s a snap shot:

Britt Johnson: 

  • Career highlight while at dR?: One my my greatest highlights came only a few weeks after I started working at dR during the Fast Five golden ticket hunt with The Rock. Being able to see fans receive personal phone calls from their hero was such a unique experience. It opened my eyes to the reach and impact of social media, but also how it can connect people in a very personal way.
  • How has the social media landscape has changed during your time at dR?:  Besides @JustinBieber growing from 9 million Twitter followers to 19 million, the major change in the last year is that brands are spending more and more on their social efforts. So much so that money is being allocated to digital staffing and social ad spend as opposed to traditional marketing tactics. It seems as though people are finally viewing social media as a necessity as opposed to a trend (Finally!).
Kirsten Stubbs: 
  • Career highlight while at dR?: I’m always a bit taken aback when I’m able to help people for whom I have great respect. A few of those times stand out:  Helping Epic Records CEO L.A. Reid develop strategies to inspire his fans on Twitter, TIME writer Joel Stein half-jokingly challenging me to make his so-called mundane lifestyle (like his love affair with peanut butter coexisting with his child’s peanut allergy) worthy of social media, and helping up-and-coming stars on The X Factor USA utilize social media to make their dreams come true (and then getting to watch it happen.)
  • Career/Life lesson gained while at dR?: Age is irrelevant if you make it irrelevant. If you come into anything confident in your abilities, passionate about what you’re doing and tireless in your work ethic, no one cares if you’re 18 or 80. Results speak far louder than years. Do good work and good things will inherently come to you.
Amanda Perkey
  • Career highlight while at dR?: Professionally: Being a part of the cultural shift at FOX Sports. The growth from the 2011 World Series, start of the NFL season to the Daytona 500. Good things to come for the FOX Sports crew. Personally: Meeting Terry Bradshaw (There is a LONG back story but I’ll spare you).
  • Career/Life lesson gained while at dR?: A day doesn’t go by where I don’t learn something that can’t be applied to my life and/or career. My lessons can be applied to both… I’ve learned to trust my gut, help other people reach their goals and to have confidence in every person I work with and for. I have a lot more, but figured I’d spare you.
Chad Martin: 
  • Career highlight while at dR?:  I’ll never forget the night I was sitting at dinner with Amy Jo, brainstorming how to leverage Shaquille O’Neal’s move to the Boston Celtics. We came up with the concept that Shaq should ask his Twitter followers what his new nickname should be. So she sent him a text and he agreed to tweet. Minutes later, we look up at the TV in the bar and his tweet was being featured on ESPN’s SportsCenter. Talk about real-time.
  • How has the social media landscape has changed during your time at dR?:  Social media started when we started and has drastically changed by the day ever since. We were on a call with Facebook the other day talking about their ad platform and they wrapped the call by telling us, “we’ll give you a call in a day or so, because we know things will change by then.” Pretty standard.
Britnee Johnson: 
  • Career highlight while at dR?: Attending my first in-person Digital Royalty University training sessions in August of last year with more than 100 FOX Sports employees. It was energizing explaining the impact that 140-characters can have on the sports world and watching people have an “ah-ha” moment.
  • How has the social media landscape has changed during your time at dR?: Twitter received an entirely new makeover since I first started at dR. The evolution of this one platform alone has impacted how I look at the social landscape in general. Adaptation is key!
Alana Golob:
  • Career highlight while at dR?: I’ve been fortunate to have countless incredible experiences during my two-years at dR. Besides having the opportunity to meet Matt Lauer at the Today Show (swoon!) and live on Tony Hsieh’s tour bus for three months, I think one of my greatest moments came last year when I completed the Digital Royalty University training program for the 250+ DoubleTree by Hilton properties around the world. Over the course of six weeks, I led 32 webinar training sessions for 500 employees on multiple social platforms. It was definitely a growing experience.
  • Career/Life lesson gained while at dR?: I’ve learned so many valuable lessons during my time at dR that I am truly grateful for. The main one that stands out to me is the importance of self confidence. It doesn’t matter what age or gender you are. Confidence is the best weapon you can arm yourself with. For most it doesn’t come easy and for me it’s a work-in-progress. Look at it this way, if you don’t have confidence in yourself, how can you expect others to? When it’s go-time, you have to do whatever it takes to put on that game face and own it.
Erinn Ray: 
  • Career highlight while at dR?: I just started three weeks ago, so I anticipate many highlights to come. Thus far, getting to now work with the first person I ever followed on Twitter, @Diego_Dog, the company’s Chief Dog Officer.
  • Career/Life lesson gained while at dR?: Act now. From my experience, little comes to those who sit and wait, just do it. Whatever you are waiting for, the moment or opportunity will pass you by. The faster you fail the sooner you can figure out what works.
Jessica Smith: 
  • Career highlight while at dR?: I can’t say there is one specific event or person that I have met.  Only that after many years and many jobs, I truly feel appreciated and valued.  I have a sense of importance in someone else’s life and find rewarding satisfaction in helping facilitate the success of those around me. Even if that is simply and humbly getting them to where they need to be.
  • Career/Life lesson gained while at dR?: #1: Confidence. You are capable of just about anything. You just have to figure out how. #2: Kindness. Never under estimate the power of the smallest  gesture, a hug, a card. Maybe even a bag of Skittles. Lose the inhibitions or false ideas that you are not capable. YOU ARE!
Laura Lombardi: 
  • Career highlight while at dR?: I think my career highlight at dR was honestly the phone call I got on a random Wednesday night from Amy Jo and Alana to be a part of the team. I’ve had a lot of amazing moments since then including chatting with LA Reid from The X Factor about Twitter, but for me personally that is still my stand out moment because it started this amazing journey.
  • How has the social media landscape has changed during your time at dR?: One way how the social media landscape has changed during my time at dR is obviously the Facebook Timeline pages. And I’m just gonna put this out there, I’m a lot like Facebook, I like to constantly reinvent myself and evolve, but I’m learning a lesson I hope Facebook does too. Sometimes it’s good to commit for a while.
Diego Dog: 
  • Career highlight while at dR?: Definitely sleeping on my royal throne in the office. (And, when the humans accidentally drop food on the ground.) Life is all about being at the right place at the right time. Oh, and did I mention sleeping?
  • Career highlight while at dR?: The joy I feel while witnessing the individuals on my team grow is indescribable. It’s not just seeing them become more successful though. We’ve found that when passion, skill and purpose collide, happiness resides. My goal is to help others find that blissful collision and now I’m watching my team help others find theirs. Powerful.
  • How has the social media landscape has changed during your time at dR?: In the beginning, I viewed social channels as a stepping stone to eventually promote something. As a marketer by trade, social was a perfect way to naturally integrate brands into conversations versus interrupt the conversation. Then one night everything changed. Social media was something much bigger. Not only my outlook on social media changed but my outlook on life.
  • Career/Life lesson gained while at dR?: People are the most important part of business. It’s not what you do, it’s who you choose to work with. From team members to partners and clients, the people make all the difference in the world. Who you say ‘no’ to is just as important as who you say ‘yes’ to.
Cheers to many years and welcomed changes ahead.

Social Media Finals: The Heat vs. The Mavericks

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!– p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 12.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Helvetica} –>By: Kirsten Stubbs

As the Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat, two teams with intensely loyal fans and standout players, play game 5 of the 2011 NBA Finals, it seems like the perfect time to evaluate their respective performances on a different court: social media. Here are our picks for the inaugural 2011 NBA Social Media Finals:

First Round: Audience

If this were a pure game of numbers, the Miami Heat would win in a blowout. With their 3 million Facebook “likes” and 216,000 Twitter followers dwarfing the Mavs’ 770,000 and 79,000, respectively, there’s not much competition.  The Heat also emerge victorious in a hashtag battle: In the last week, #LetsGoHeat has been used 7,949 times in comparison to #LetsGoMavs being used 1,952 times. But at Digital Royalty, we know that cold metrics (likes and follows) are only a part of the equation.

Winner: Miami Heat, plain and simple.

Second Round: Engagement

Like most Facebook Pages with large numbers of subscribers, there is little engagement in the form of comments and post “likes” from the Mavs and Heat. The Heat has instead taken advantage of Facebook polls to stimulate conversation.

However, on Twitter, conversing with fans through retweets, replies and mentions is much easier for both teams. While the Dallas Mavericks mainly retweet accounts associated with their team, The Heat reply to fans’ questions and comments and retweet followers’ content frequently. The Heat also use hashtags more effectively, using #HEATPlayoffs to track conversations on Twitter. The Mavs have dabbled in several different hashtags, making the buzz less trackable.

Winner: Miami Heat

Conference Finals: Content/Value Offering

When it comes to content and delivering value to fans, The Mavs and Heat excel in different areas.

Live Tweeting: Those stuck at work or without access to a television can easily keep up with the game by following The Heat’s Twitter stream. The tweets are not only fast-paced and informative, but portray the excitement of the game. The tweets are categorized with easily identifiable hashtags.

Contests and Offers: If you are observant and participatory enough, you could probably win a free Mavericks-themed wardrobe and free tickets to just about any game through their social media. The team is constantly featuring deals for Mavericks fans at restaurants and businesses as well as contests to win tickets and merchandise. It pays to be a Mavs fan online.

The Heat offer periodic discounts on merchandise and tickets, but nothing as robust as The Mavericks.

Exclusive Content: Both teams offer exclusive content on Facebook and Twitter, with The Heat featuring behind-the-scenes videos and quotes and The Mavs posting podcasts recapping the game.

Commerce: Each team has an iframe-based store on Facebook. While they are both convenient and functional, The Heat’s serves as the Facebook landing page and includes a social stream of tweets, a “Like” button and even addresses you by name. Kind of creepy, kind of awesome. The overall design is cleaner and more user-friendly.

Winner: Tie. The Mavericks would have taken it if it weren’t for the avatar generator I just came across on The Heat’s Facebook page.

Finals: Social MVP’s

To fans, players are the team brand. Being able to connect with a favorite athlete increases fan affinity as well as desire to attend games, buy merchandise and become a brand loyalist.

The standout social media players on The Heat and The Mavs, respectively, are Dwyane Wade and Shawn Marion. Their tweet styles are as distinct as they are different. Wade is a Twitter professional – an eloquent tweeter, UberSocial user and fervent believer in hashtags. It’s not surprising he has more than 1.2 million followers. His tweets are often exclusive and always chockfull of interesting content.

Marion, in contrast, is a spur-of-the-moment tweeter, consistently tweeting personal thoughts from “Step Brothers” quotes to daily good morning tweets and sock TwitPics, conversing with his 75,000 fans, and shunning common English mechanics to create a personal, unrefined voice all his own.

Winner: Shawn Marion (Dallas Mavericks). His breezy style and endearing potpourri of personal content gives him a slight edge over Wade’s quality, yet sometimes ‘salesy’ tweets.

Bonus points also go to the Mavs for a stellar performance from owner Mark Cuban. The social media savvy Cuban is a frequent tweeter, blogger and commentator of all media. His authenticity is undeniable and refreshing. Plus, he has his own Facebook game called “BattleBall.” Cool.

Champion: Miami Heat

Both teams have well-executed social media campaigns, but overall, the Heat edge out the Mavs by going above and beyond standard online presence and community engagement. From their comprehensive e-commerce Facebook tab to captivating live tweeting of games, The Heat has improved since last year. In a league that stands out in the social media world, teams and players have to actually engage in order to stand out themselves. The Heat have prevailed during their moment in the spotlight

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Geo-Targeting on Facebook

If you’re in California looking to buy a new purple unicorn and the national company that you like who sells purple unicorns posts a special Facebook offer at their stores in New York, what happens? You become an annoyed purple-unicorn-less Californian.

Geo-targeting is a helpful tool available on Facebook Pages. With a few simple clicks, you can customize posts based on country, state/province, city and language.

Just a few examples of how you can use geo-targeting:

  • Sharing information sensitive to time zones
  • Offering information in different languages
  • A/B testing by region or offer (compare conversion and engagement rates)
  • Localized stunts or events

And here’s how you do it:

  1. When posting a status, link, photo or video on your Page, select the ‘Everyone’ drop down menu below the text box and click ‘Customize’.
  2. Enter the country of choice (and optional filter by state/province and city).
  3. Enter an optional language of choice. Press “Okay.”
  4. Post your geo-targeted status to be seen only by those specified in preferences. After you finish posting, the custom preferences will clear and subsequent posts will display to all audiences unless otherwise specified.

Interested in learning more best practices on social media outlets? Learn more about our education division, Digital Royalty University, by emailing info@thedigitalroyalty.com.