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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

#TalkFloor Series on Social Media

#TalkFloor Twitter TalkTalkFloor's Dave Foster and I have embarked on a special #TalkFloor social media series. In addition to listening to the interviews, you can also follow us on Twitter using the #TalkFloor symbol.

Not sure what a '#TalkFloor' identifier is? It's also referred to as a 'hashtag'. Simply follow along with us and you'll learn what it is and how to use it effectively.

Dave's Twitter handle is @DaveTalkFloor. Mine is @cbwhittemore. Follow us.

First up to be explored: Twitter.

In this first interview about social media, Dave Foster and I explore Twitter to answer the questions: What is Twitter and Why Should I Care?

Dave's introduction to the interview:

Christine B. Whittemore Talks Twitter on TalkFloorChristine Whittemore on Learning to Use & Profiting from Twitter

Christine B. Whittemore, Chief Simplifier, Simple Marketing Now and the industry’s best known social networker discusses Twitter and how it works, how retailers and others can get involved and profit from using this microblogging platform.

This first interview consists of two segments, each approximately 15 minutes long.

These are my show notes for the session.

What is Twitter?

+ Twitter is a microblogging platform which means that you have 140 characters to communicate a thought. As a result, succinctness and the ability to abbreviate - including shortened URLs - are highly prized!

+ It's easy to use via the web or on a mobile device.

Yet, it's also complicated! When you first experience a Twitter stream, it almost feels as if you’re in a foreign country with a foreign language, different customs and what looks to be a lot of gibberish. If you have no one to experiment with on Twitter, it makes no sense.

A common reaction from Twitter neophytes: what’s the point? Who cares what you had for breakfast? [Twitter now asks the question: What’s happening?]

Here’s why you should care:

Twitter continues to grow. Currently, there are 75 million accounts, with an active [very active] user base of 15 million.

You are hearing it integrated into the News, into conferences, and emergency relief efforts. It is a source of late breaking news for trending topics, political or global crises, disasters, and cutting edge thinking. It is searchable via search engines.

Twitter represents an opportunity for you to ‘listen’ to topics of relevance to you, your brand, your business and an opportunity to interact with potential users of your products/services. It’s a research tool that leads to links to relevant articles, other like-minded thinkers, as well as collaboration. It allows you to develop a reputation for sharing information and value, and to participate remotely in events [see my writeup on participating in NeoCon via Twitter].

For me, it is a B2B tool. For other businesses, it can be a B2C tool.

Using the ‘#’ symbol, you can follow related tweets. E.g., #Surfaces. See my transcript relating to Surfaces 2010. Or weekly tweet chats on a topic. E.g., #brandchat, target=new #carchat, #designchat.

What Twitter is NOT.

It is not a broadcast mechanism – unless perhaps you are Ashton Kutcher or CNN.

You build followers slowly over time as a function of participating and interacting. It’s a slow consistent process.

Your followers follow you because they expect consistent content from you.

It is not a hard sell tool. Hard selling is considering SPAM.

There are rules! For every 2-3 tweets about you, you need to come up with 7 or 8 about and for others. That can be articles of interest, inspirational quotes, retweeting content from others.

Although you can use Twitter to run campaigns, it’s more effective for relationship building over the long haul – just like other social platforms.

It is NOT the solution to all of your marketing and business issues. Rather it is an element of your overall strategy.

It is not a one-time/static platform. You need to show up and participate to get the most benefit for your brand and business.

Your #TalkFloor Twitter Assignment

Go to and enter terms to search on. For example, surfaces, #flooring, #retailexp, your brand name. Observe what comes up.

Here is the transcript from the Twitter conversation around today's #TalkFloor interview.

Next in the series: How to get started with Twitter

Send me your questions at and we’ll answer them during the next program.

Thanks for listening!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Age of Conversation 3: It's Time To Get Busy!


Age of Conversation 3 Brings Together ~300 Authors To Benefit Make-A-Wish - #AOC3

For those of you intrigued about what the tools of social media enable - conversation - then look no further than Age of Conversation 3, the third crowd-sourced book in the series that I am honored to be a part of.

Perhaps you've been following our saga. The first Age of Conversation book was published in 2007, the work of 103 authors from around the world. Here is a link to my chapter, titled The Age of Conversation: The Conversation Age Enabled.

237 authors participated in the second Age of Conversation - They Just Don't Get It!

And, now, Age of Conversation 3: It's Time To Get Busy! with ~300 authors.

Our co-editors, Gavin Heaton and Drew McLellan, have done it again: brought together contributing authors from around the world to provide perspective on this age of conversation, where technology tools enable relationship building and idea exchange.

As with the previous Age of Conversation books, all proceeds from the sale of AOC3 will go to charity. This year, it is the Make a Wish Foundation. Pretty exciting!

Be sure to check out the AOC website. The book will be available for sale soon, so check back regularly to buy your copy here!

Age of Conversation 3 is divided into the following topics:

  • At the coalface
  • Conversational branding
  • Influence
  • Getting to work
  • Corporate conversations
  • Measurement
  • In the boardroom
  • Pitching social media
  • Innovation and execution
  • Identities, friends and trusted strangers

My chapter appears in Innovation and Execution.

These are my fellow co-authors:

Adam Joseph, Priyanka Sachar, Mark Earls, Cory Coley-Christakos, Stefan Erschwendner, Paul Hebert, Jeff De Cagna, Thomas Clifford, Phil Gerbyshak, Jon Burg, Toby Bloomberg, Shambhu Neil Vineberg, Joseph Jaffe, Uwe Hook, Steve Roesler, Michael E. Rubin, anibal casso, Steve Woodruff, Steve Sponder, Becky Carroll, Tim Tyler, Chris Wilson, Beth Harte, Tinu Abayomi-Paul, Dan Schawbel, Carol Bodensteiner, Trey Pennington, David Weinfeld, Dan Sitter, Vanessa DiMauro, Ed Brenegar, David Zinger, Brett T. T. Macfarlane, Efrain Mendicuti, Deb Brown, Brian Reich, Gaurav Mishra, Dennis Deery, C.B. Whittemore, Gordon Whitehead, Heather Rast, Cam Beck, Hajj E. Flemings, Joan Endicott, Cathryn Hrudicka, Jeroen Verkroost, Karen D. Swim, Christopher Morris, Joe Pulizzi, Leah Otto, Corentin Monot, Karalee Evans, Leigh Durst, David Berkowitz, Kevin Jessop, Lesley Lambert, Duane Brown, Peter Korchnak, Mark Price, Dustin Jacobsen, Piet Wulleman, Mike Maddaloni, Ernie Mosteller, Scott Townsend, Nick Burcher, Frank Stiefler, Steve Olenski, Rich Nadworny, John Rosen, Tim Jackson, Suzanne Hull, Len Kendall, Amber Naslund, Wayne Buckhanan, Mark McGuinness, Caroline Melberg, Andy Drish, Oleksandr Skorokhod, Claire Grinton, Angela Maiers, Paul Williams, Gary Cohen, Armando Alves, Sam Ismail, Gautam Ramdurai, B.J. Smith, Tamera Kremer, Eaon Pritchard, Brendan Tripp, Adelino de Almeida, Jacob Morgan, Casey Hibbard, Andy Hunter, Julian Cole, Debra Helwig, Anjali Ramachandran, Jye Smith, Drew McLellan, Craig Wilson, Karin Hermans, Emily Reed, David Petherick, Katie Harris, Gavin Heaton, Dennis Price, Mark Levy, George Jenkins, Doug Mitchell, Mark W. Schaefer, Helge Tenno, Douglas Hanna, Marshall Sponder, James Stevens, Ian Lurie, Ryan Hanser, Jenny Meade , Jeff Larche, Sacha Tueni and Katherine Maher, David Svet, Jessica Hagy, Simon Payn, Joanne Austin-Olsen, Mark Avnet, Stanley Johnson, Marilyn Pratt, Mark Hancock, Steve Kellogg, Michelle Beckham-Corbin, Michelle Chmielewski, Amy Mengel, Veronique Rabuteau, Peter Komendowski, Andrea Vascellari, Timothy L Johnson, Phil Osborne, Beth Wampler, Amy Jussel, Rick Liebling, Eric Brody, Arun Rajagopal, Dr Letitia Wright, Hugh de Winton, David Koopmans, Aki Spicer, Jeff Wallace, Don Frederiksen, Charles Sipe, Katie McIntyre, James G Lindberg & Sandra Renshaw, David Reich, Lynae Johnson, Jasmin Tragas, Deborah Chaddock Brown, Mike O'Toole, Jeanne Dininni, Iqbal Mohammed, Morriss M. Partee, Katie Chatfield, Jeff Cutler, Pete Jones, Riku Vassinen, Jeff Garrison, Kevin Dugan, Tiphereth Gloria, Mike Sansone, Lori Magno, Valerie Simon, Nettie Hartsock, Mark Goren, Peter Salvitti

Marvelously, two of the authors from Age of Conversation 2Gretel Going & Kate Fleming -- offered to help publish version 3 via their newly started publishing company called Channel V Books.

As Drew' explains: "They work with business thought leaders who need to publish books in order to promote themselves and their businesses, solidify their credibility and attract new opportunities—but don’t have the time (or desire) to learn and manage the intricacies of the publishing business in the process. Channel V Books bridges the gap between self-publishing and traditional publishing by offering the best of both worlds: the highest production quality, distribution channels, visibility, creative flexibility, ease and, most importantly, profitability. To learn more about Channel V Books, visit their website, or contact

Thank you, Gretel and Kate, Drew and Gavin, and all of my fellow co-authors!

Meanwhile, please stay tuned for more information about Age of Conversation 3: It's Time To Get Busy! It will be available for sale very soon!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Simple Marketing Now Turns 1!

Colourful First Birthday CupcakesIt's hard for me to believe, yet it's true. Simple Marketing Now celebrates its one year anniversary today 3/25/10!


Special thanks go to inspiring friends, colleagues and clients who have given me the opportunity to engage in conversation about marketing, the customer experience, integrating traditional marketing with social media, and exploring new approaches to old problems.

To name just a few: Rob Jones, Rob Banks, Ann Handley, Shelley Ryan, Beth Harte, Matt Quint, David Rogers, Jeanne Byington, David Reich, Becky Carroll, David Polinchock, Drew McLellan, Gavin Heaton, Age of Conversation 3 co-authors [post coming soon], Andrea Learned, Rich Nadworny, Susan Abbott, Stephanie Weaver, Toby Bloomberg, Paul Chaney, Steve Woodruff, Anna Farmery, Scott Perron, Paul Friederichsen, Chelsie Thornton, Bethany Richmond, James Beach, Katherine Leon, Susan Negley and Jim Gould, Devon Valenti, Valerie Fritz, Dave Foster...

Thanks, too, to my faithful readers!

As a recap of the year, these are the top Simple Marketing Blog posts from the past year:

Sandy Carter Integrates Social Media
Simplicity Dominant Trend
Mayo Clinic's Lee Aase: Simple Marketing in Action
Fiskars: 360 Years Young Innovating
Urban Outfitters: Be Where Customers Are
BJ Fogg's Persuasive Bathroom Epiphany
Wear-Dated Website Redesign Case Study
Liana Evans Blends Social Media Search
Floor Covering Weekly Columnist
BRITE 09: Innovating During Downturns

Thank You for your support and encouragement! I appreciate that you are part of my simple marketing explorations and I look forward to sharing more with you over the coming year! If you think of topics of specific interest to you, please let me know and I will share them here.

Photo Credit:
Colourful First Birthday Cupcakes originally uploaded by clevercupcakes.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

HIMSS, Social Media & Heathcare IT Community

HIMSS10Have you heard of HIMSS? It focuses on "transforming healthcare through IT" [i.e, information technology]. I hadn't until I started working with Awarepoint and discovered that HIMSS - the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society - uses social media to promote its mission to the healthcare IT community.

HIMSS recently held its annual conference on March 1-4, 2010 in Atlanta. I attended HIMSS10 and not only experienced Awarepoint's Fireside Chat with Tom Hamelin from UCSD Medical Center and heard Dennis O'Leary, M.D. address "Leveraging RTLS for Quality, Safety, Efficiency and Productivity", but also learned how HIMSS uses social media. More specifically, via its HIMSS Facebook Fan Page, Official Facebook Group, Twitter presence and LinkedIn Group and subgroups.

HIMSS' social media team, Cesar Torres, Cari McLean and Ward Seward, offered daily social media sessions as well as 'Meet the Healthcare IT Bloggers' panel discussions.

I particularly enjoyed meeting Cesar Torres, manager web services for HIMSS, who has been immersed in social media for the past two years [check out his personal blog Urraca: Cesar Torres' Fiction and Machine Lore]. Cesar explained that HIMSS uses social media tools to support the HIMSS mission of bringing together the Health IT community. Social media has helped forge greater connection around the yearly HIMSS conference for 22,000 members, exhibitors and visitors as well as educate non-members about the benefits of HIMSS.

Cesar spent time describing the social nature of tools like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. They are about building trust and authenticity and not about sales pitches. The HIMSS interpretation of that is to apply a "30/70 approach" where 30% tweets are HIMSS related news announcements and 70% about connecting health IT leaders, extending professional relationships, educating and directing people to those who have the right knowledge.

HIMSS10 Social Media CenterInteraction on all of these platforms matters. Welcome, respond to, acknowledge comments, tweets and conversations. After all, these are tools for relationship building [i.e., that's why they are described as 'social'].

Furthermore, be ready to respond in a customer service frame of mind. You will hear about issues and concerns and need to be prepared to react [not too dissimilar from what Devon Valenti described].

Something to point out: HIMSS has - as of 3/23/10 - over 1,700 fans on Facebook, over 4,600 Twitter followers and close to 27,000 members in its LinkedIn group [started May 2008]. These communities were built slowly over time with a focus on quality interactions starting from zero.

Formal guidelines matter to prevent self-promotion. They appear prominently on LinkedIn as a featured conversation and in the welcome message new group members receive. Cari McLean actively moderates the HIMSS LinkedIn groups ensuring that discussions follow guidelines, that they truly add value and be active. As Cari has discovered, community management takes time. Yet, look at the success her active involvement has generated for HIMSS.

Cari, Ward and Cesar all monitor and moderate Facebook; all three are active on Twitter.

Facebook, as Ward Seward demonstrated, is more personal than Twitter or LinkedIn and effective for connecting more closely with community members. Cesar likes that Fan pages have so many multi-media features and make for a dynamic, energetic and participatory environment [those taking part in the HIMSS Social Media Center programs were encouraged to take their photo for posting to Facebook. Mine is below; my arm was just long enough!]

Cesar's 10 steps to Tweeting [applicable, in my opinion, to all social media]

1. Ensure accuracy
2. Be transparent about your identity and mission
3. Be judicious [don't violate privacy/confidentiality]
4. Write what you know
5. Perception is reality = be sure that all your content is consistent with your work and values
6. Publish the truth [facts, attribute, don't be vague about sources, don't lie]
7. Twitter is a conversation, not a broadcast mechanism
8. What you write is your responsibility
9. Did you screw up? if yes, admit it.
10. Be a leader. Share what you're doing and create excitement.

CB Whittemore at HIMSS10 Social Media Center

Cesar's personal social media tips:

1. Observe first
2. Say thank you and please
3. Experiment and explore
4. It will take time
5. Have fun

Thank you Cesar, Ward and Cari for sharing your HIMSS social media experiences, tips, steps and guidelines. I loved witnessing how relevant social media tools are for bringing together members of the Health IT community and extending the momentum around annual meetings.

What are your reactions? How might you apply some of these lessons to your business or industry?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

BRITE '10: Will You Be There?

BRITEBRITE '10 is right around the corner: March 31–April 1 in NYC at Columbia University. Will you be there?

I will and I can't wait. I consider BRITE thought-provoking and particularly relevant given its intense focus on branding, innovation and technology. As with my Columbia Business School experience, BRITE recharges me intellectually and offers a one-of-a-kind strategic opportunity to observe and appreciate the changing technology landscape and how it relates to marketing.

In fact, the first iteration of BRITE back in 2006 is what set me onto the digital and social media marketing path with Flooring The Consumer...

Getting back to BRITE '10, here's what you can expect in the words of David Rogers, Host of the BRITE conference and Executive Director of Columbia Business School's Center on Global Brand Leadership [NB: David has a book forthcoming and will share highlights about it]:

The BRITE ’10 conference, hosted by Columbia Business School’s Center on Global Brand Leadership, will bring together over 300 leaders and entrepreneurs from business, technology, and new media to discuss topics such as: leadership & innovation, marketing in digital media, emerging technology, and the future of media.

Speakers include: Vivian Schiller (CEO, National Public Radio), Jeff Jarvis (author, What Would Google Do?), Robin Chase (Founder, Zipcar), Devo Springsteen (Grammy-award-winning songwriter/producer of Kanye West), and Thomas Gensemer (co-founder, Blue State Digital, creators of the network).

In addition, BRITE '10 will feature a tech demo as one of our breakout sessions on Day 2 of the conference featuring: AnyClip, 5min, Alitora Systems, Kaltura, and Sense Networks.

Some additional details:

* The Early Bird deadline has been extended to Monday, March 22nd.
* Take advantage of a special 25% discount code: "britefan"
* Non-profits tickets are just $300 (minus the discount that's = $225)

You can find the full agenda at:

To follow the event on Twitter, use #brite10.

Please let me know if you have any questions. Let me know, too, if you plan on attending BRITE '10!

Previous posts about BRITE:
Jeff Jarvis Discusses Customers in a Googly World
Steve Rubel on Digital Trends
Innovating During Downturns & Surviving the Worst
Links of Note: BRITE '09 Conference
Fall BRITE '08
Social Media, The Elections & Lessons For Marketing - Part 3
The BRITE '08 Conference
BRITE '08 - Univision & Maryam Banikarim
BRITE '08: Nickelodeon's Pamela Kaufman on Brand Building

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Anticipating Surfaces 2011

Surfaces Education Advisory CouncilBelieve it or not, even though Surfaces 2010 is still fresh in my mind, we've already started anticipating Surfaces 2011.

Preparations are officially underway. The Surfaces Education Advisory Council met last week to review, discuss and prepare for Surfaces 2011 which will be momentous from multiple perspectives! Why? Because of several changes.

First in venue. Surfaces 2011 will take place at the Mandalay Bay instead of the Sands Convention Center.

For the first time ever, Surfaces will co-locate with StonExpo/Marmomacc Americas, the #1 North America stone industry event.

Surfaces 2011 timing - January 25 through 27, 2011 - coincides with that of Winter 2011 Las Vegas Market.

We met with the StonExpo Education Advisory Council and really enjoyed the perspectives they brought to our conversations. I anticipate the co-location creating a rich environment where retailers, designers, distributors, manufacturers and everyone in between will benefit from related surfaces [e.g,. marble, concrete, stone... in addition to carpet, wood, vinyl, ceramic, etc.] and broader perspectives relating to the environments that all of these products create.

Especially since Surfaces 2010 wound up being the most fascinating Surfaces for me yet with two educational sessions, one-on-one sessions, a tour of Zappos corporate headquarters [the subject of an article in Floor Covering Weekly titled "Powered by service" in the 2/25/2010 issue and soon of a Flooring The Consumer blogpost], an incredible tour of the Encore [Carpetology blogpost coming], and marvelous meetings with friends I had, to that point, only met online.
For the first time ever, I witnessed Twitter - via #surfaces - playing a role in the show. If you don't believe me, check out the Twitter transcript in Twitter & Surfaces 2010.

I missed meeting WD Flooring, but hope to do so at Surfaces 2011 if not before.

For more perspective on Anticipating Surfaces 2011, listen to Kemp Harr's interview: Joan Ceccarelli Discusses Design Trends in the Residential Market From a Designer Perspective

Joan Ceccarelli, Residential Interior Designer in Park City, UT, and Kemp Harr discuss residential flooring trends and Joan's role on the Surfaces Education Advisory Council. Listen to the interview to hear about current trends in the residential flooring sector and ways to keep abreast of this changing market.

Thank you, Hanley-Wood, for the opportunity to provide insights on the Surfaces Education program and for ensuring that we have so much that is exciting to anticipate about Surfaces 2011!

Photo Above:
Surfaces Education Advisory Council 2011, from left to right: Jon Namba, Larry Nagle, Kelly Cooper, Joan Ceccarelli, Scott Perron, Chelsie Thornton, Mike Micalizzi, C.B. Whittemore, Kemp Harr and Paul Friederichsen.

Friday, March 12, 2010

SimplePleasures: 2/26 through 3/11/2010

The Simple Pleasure of FlowersWhat makes you appreciate a simple pleasure? I find that the more hectic my schedule, the greater the appreciation I have for a truly simple pleasure. For example, after two hectic weeks of travel, my simple pleasure is being home.

How does it work for you? What are your simple pleasures? How do they vary depending on the complexity of your day?

Check out the #SimplePleasures transcript for February 26 through March 11, 2010 and let me know which resonate the most with you...

I love how truly simple many of these pleasures are and how many are about celebrating small moments that engage the senses.


PS: Don't forget to Spring Forward this weekend!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Benefit of Facebook Fan Pages

FacebookIs your business on Facebook? Mine is. As a result, I'm finding Facebook becoming a really interesting environment, given the benefits that Facebook Fan Pages offer.

To put Facebook into perspective, consider a few of the statistics: 400 million active users and growing strong. As of October 2009, women outnumber men on Facebook, and it's no longer just the domain of college age users.

No surprise given how engaging, easy to use and sticky Facebook is. [Check out BJ Fogg's persuasive bathroom epiphany presentation for perspective on that!] In fact, that's what makes Facebook so effective an environment for connecting and interacting. For businesses, that means doing so with potential and existing customes. [Per BrandGlue's Jeff Widman who gave a enlightening presentation about the intricacies of Facebook, Facebook is best for strengthening ties with existing customers.]

Now, though, we have research about the benefits of Facebook Fan pages. More specifically, First-of-its-kind research: Facebook fan pages are effective marketing tool, with more detail in One Cafe Chain's Facebook Experiment. Facebook can increase sales, improve word-of-mouth marketing and strengthen customer loyalty particularly among those customers engaged in social networking sites according to the research. Intriguing, don't you think?

As with all social interactions, transparency and authenticity matter, as do truly offering value relevant to your audience consistently over time. Think meaningful, fresh content shared in a range of formats on a regular basis. Think product as well as promotional information. And don't forget to monitor and be ready to interact, acknowledge, welcome and respond.

Social media for retailers: Focus on Facebook offers additional perspective, including "validation that social media is a viable marketing strategy when we understand what our customers want and know which social media platforms they frequent." Increasingly, that platform is Facebook.

The best way, though, to benefit from Facebook and other social networking platforms is to "find out from your customers what they want... what social media sites they frequent...." and what they want. Then, deliver it to them where they are.

What benefits have you noticed as a result of your Facebook Fan page interactions? Which Facebook Fan page examples have you come across that do the best job interacting and connecting with fans?

PS: Another benefit: Facebook Fan pages are search engine searchable in real time....

Friday, March 5, 2010

Devon Valenti, CoPilot Live North America

Devon Valenti, CoPilot LiveMeet Devon Valenti. She is marketing manager for ALK Technologies CoPilot Live North America and manages CoPilot Live North America's social media platforms.

More specifically, the CoPilot Live Blog, the CoPilot Live Facebook fan page and the CoPilot Live US Twitter account.

Yes, Devon keeps busy on the social media marketing front, especially since CoPilot Live fans, followers and readers tend to be quite passionate about the brand.

You see, they really care about this GPS navigation application for iPhones and other mobile devices and feel no compunction about sharing their opinions and suggestions. [To learn more about GPS and smartphones, check out this interview with CoPilot Live's David Quin.]

I invited Devon - with whom I've been working since January 2010 - to share with us perspective on how social media fits in with the CoPilot Live brand.

C.B.: Devon, please tell me about yourself.

I’ve been working in various marketing roles for about 7 years. One of the things I love about being a marketer is it never gets dull. There’s always a new and exciting medium that bursts onto to the scene to keep you on your toes. You need to be ready to take on these new mediums, decide if they’re right for your brand and adapt them into your marketing plans. I’ve always been drawn to the online side of marketing so when social media started becoming more popular I was definitely intrigued.

C.B.: What is your role at CoPilot Live?

As the Marketing Manager for North America my key focus is on growing our customer base here in North America, but I also collaborate with our global teams to integrate our marketing initiatives on a global basis. In North America specifically, CoPilot Live and GPS navigation for smartphones aren't as well known as in some of the other markets so we face some unique challenges.

C.B.: Tell me more about CoPilot Live. What exactly is it? How does it work?

CoPilot Live is an award-winning, full-featured GPS navigation app that runs on the iPhone, Android smartphones and Windows Mobile smartphones. CoPilot Live combines voice-guided, turn-by-turn directions with useful real-time information such as live traffic, live fuel prices and live local search to guide you on your way. All of our detailed street maps are stored on your phone—not downloaded each trip--so users don’t need to worry about getting stranded if they lost network coverage and hit a dead spot. It is a global brand and we’re currently offering version 8 of our product.

C.B.: What role do you see social media playing for CoPilot Live?

Social media has played a huge role in CoPilot Live’s success so far and it’s become a major area of concentration for us in all our plans going forward. Our core social media platforms—a blog, Twitter account and Facebook page— serve as a direct link to our customers and are the main way we communicate with them. One of the great things about joining the CoPilot Live team when I did was all of these social media tools were already started, pretty much everyone was onboard and believed that social media was a vital part of our marketing plans. In my situation I had the tools available; now I just needed to work on fine-tuning them to be effective for our brand. This meant really engaging customers and making sure it wasn’t always a one-sided conversation.

C.B.: What have been your biggest surprises or challenges to date?

I think the biggest surprise for me was to see just how fast the overall tone on our sites could change. All of the sudden all I saw were negative comments & conversations across all our sites and I was worried how this was affecting our overall brand favorability. Not only were current customers unhappy with CoPilot Live, but now when a potential customer looks at our social media sites all they see are unhappy customers, which will affect their buying decision. You quickly realize you don’t control social media!

CoPilot LiveThe challenge for us was to decide how to respond to our customers and address the issues they had. As a team we learned a great deal from this experience and it really pushed us to adopt a set of social media guidelines—both internally and externally. As a team we had to decide how we wanted to respond to the different types of comments, what was a reasonable response time and what was the appropriate level of information to disclose.

And just as the name of this blog implies, there are many simple things you can do. Make sure to respond to every comment—good or bad. And listen to what they’re saying. They probably use your product more than you so they’re really the experts! In our case, once we started listening and responding to customer feedback, we were able to turn some of our biggest critics into are biggest fans!

C.B.: What do you love most about social media?

I love that it gives our customers the opportunity to interact with each other. And it happens a lot more than you think. If someone posts a question to Facebook on how to use a specific feature within CoPilot Live, most of the time another user is happy to provide an answer as well as a helpful tip on how to use it. A lot of times this leads to a conversation involving multiple users. Not only is it great to see our CoPilot Live community helping each other out, it makes our job easier as we don’t have to respond to every inquiry that comes in!

C.B.: What tools do you recommend for planning or measuring social media campaigns?

I have found to be helpful in showing how people react to the different tweets we send out. It gives me insight into what tweets gained followers and what tweets lost us followers. Also is a great tool for measuring your Twitter account across various metrics, such as impact, engagement, influence and clout. You can view various timeframes to identify trends and even integrate the stats with your Google Analytics account.

Thank you, Devon, for sharing your experiences.

I particularly love hearing how you turned your biggest critics into your strongest fans - by responding to every comment and listening to your customers - and look forward to hearing how it all progresses!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Press Release: Whittemore Raises Bar in Social Media Marketing Expertise

For immediate release: March 1, 2010

Receives Inbound Marketing University Certification

Kinnelon, NJ – Christine Whittemore, chief simplifier of Simple Marketing Now LLC, has been awarded the Inbound Marketing Certification, part of Inbound Marketing University comprehensive Internet marketing program (

Whittemore, an active practitioner in social media marketing since June 2006 when she established Flooring The Consumer, her first blog, places a premium on expanding knowledge. “Given how complex and confusing the online universe is becoming especially for those just getting immersed, it’s important to be able to offer clients the confidence and confirmation that they are choosing the right partner, one who is at the forefront of cutting edge technology. Certification is one very good way,” she says.

Inbound Marketing CertifiedInbound marketing certification acknowledges proficiency in inbound marketing principles and best practices, which include engaging with visitors and customers rather than pushing information at them, and earning customer attention by providing them with valuable content that truly interests them. “The goal of inbound marketing is to create useful and pertinent content for readers, to make relevant friends by being genuinely helpful, to be attractive to both search engines and readers, all so as to convert visitors into customers. Throughout the process, it’s critical to constantly measure, analyze and improve,” adds Whittemore.

Marketing Experiments Landing Page OptimizationWhittemore, who also received certification from Marketing Experiments’ Landing Page Optimization program in January 2008, explains “inbound marketing goes hand-in-hand with relationship building, earning customer trust and authentically and consistently participating in the online and offline conversations that are relevant to our marketplace.”

The Inbound Marketing Certification covers each facet of inbound marketing [i.e., blogging, search engine optimization, social media, lead conversion, lead nurturing and closed-loop analysis) and a comprehensive certification exam. (View the curriculum.) Only 1,300 individuals have successfully passed the IMU program.

For information about Simple Marketing Now, visit or simply contact Whittemore at

# # #

About Simple Marketing Now LLC
Simple Marketing Now is a marketing communications consultancy that provides organizations with the right combination of traditional marketing and social media marketing to improve the customer experience and build brand. Simple Marketing Now issues the Social Flooring Index which monitors the social state of the Flooring Industry. For more information, visit

About is an online community and certification program for marketers. The site’s content teaches a new style of marketing that emphasizes business uses of social media, content creation and search engine optimization for marketing. is hosted and moderated by HubSpot, Inc. Register for at
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