Social Marketing Insights


10 Tips on How to Effectively Use Social Media

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How can design and construction industry brands effectively use social media? Kitchen and Bath Industry Hall of Famer Hank Darlington quoted me in Supply House Times Magazine  from the content I gave him for an upcoming NKBA business book. Here are the top 10 highlights:

1.    Start by listening. Choose a platform to try and then watch and read what others do and say.

2.    Find your tribe. Most of our industry trade magazines have done stories and profiles on social media leaders, so start by following them and watching their interactions to find more lik

e-minded folks. Make connections through kitchen-and-bath-related groups on LinkedIn and participate in Twitter chats such as #kbtribechat every Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. (Eastern), or the interior designer chat #intdesignerchat every Tuesday at 6 p.m. (Eastern).

3.    Be likeable. Provide a fun, helpful and emotionally uplifting experience at every touch point.

4.    For content, whether it’s a 500-word blog post or a 140-character tweet, follow the 50-30-20 rule:

  • 50% of content you share or create should be of interest to others, although it can be loosely related to your brand message. A kitchen designer might relate stories about local food and r
  • ecipes or comment on food blogs. A bathroom showroom might share stories about wellness or comment on fitness sites.
  • 30% of content can be related to your brand message, but in an entertaining way. Examples include images of past projects, videos of how a kitchen remodel happens and tips and tricks for successful remodels.
  • 20% of content is your brand message. Examples are sales announcements, client endorsements or information about your team.

5.    Be a person, not a brand.

6.    Compliment and recognize others. Profiling someone through an interview or images is flattering and eminently sharable.

7.    Think like Hallmark. Greeting card companies create the images and write the prose that makes it easy for people to ke
ep in touch.Create content that people want to share with their friends. Think nostalgia, pets and kids. Post fun quizzes and pose interesting questions.

8.    Professional profiles should be engaging and compelling. Build a likeable profile where people researching kitchen-and-bath remodeling will go in your market area.

9.    Focus on quality, not quantity. Large social media followings can be beneficial, but small can be as well if you carefully cultivate a following just as you carefully cultivate contacts offline.

10.   Use social media to boost your PR. Find local reporters and editors who do kitchen-and-bath stories and follow them to see what interests them. Share and comment positively on their work.


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Social Marketing Insights | The OR-DP POV


Super Content

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Whenever anyone points to branded content as the big new thing in marketing, I have three words for them: Super Bowl ads.

An entire segment of the population watches the game exclusively for the ads. Including me in those years when the game doesn’t involve the Giants, the Packers, the Eagles, or the Falcons (such as last night-at least until it got interesting after the blackout).

According to Wikipedia, super content in Super Bowl ads started to emerge in the 1970s with the classic Master Lock ad, as well as Coca-Cola’s “Mean Joe Greene” ad.  Then the  folks at Apple brought us “1984″ and it was game over for lame advertising in front of the biggest TV audience of the year.

Now with the advent of self-publishing, similarly great content doesn’t need to reach the biggest audience, it just needs to connect with the most important audience, prospects who can be converted to customers.  Here’s an “ad” for Mr. Steam home steam showers you won’t see in today’s USA Today Super Bowl Ad Meter, that stays true to the power of short-form, entertaining storytelling:

MrSteam: Work It Out or Steam It Out?.  Way better than Go Daddy, we think.

In my house, we enjoyed two new social media twists in last night’s content:

1. Pepsi hijacking the “Coke Chase” ad with it’s own video. Not the most entertaining of videos, but intriguing in the sense of how self-published content creates buzz and talk value without that pesky Super Bowl ad price tag.  (And late-breaking shoutout to Coke for a rebuttal video to Pepsi’s rebuttal video, issuing in a new era of cola content wars with this memorable copy:  “…it doesn’t take an esteemed actor to see that sequels never surpass the real thing.”)

2. Also, the Oreo brand team, on the ball as the lights went out in New Orleans, serving up this tasty nugget on Twitter and Facebook:

At this hour, this simple graphic has garnered almost 800 comments, 19,800 likes and almost 6,700 shares on Facebook.

One thing is true for all these examples: it takes talent.  For every CFO who believes a $15/hr copywriter is all it takes to fill a blog, there are forward-looking brands who know the true value of investing in good content.

Super content.

Content Marketing Insights | Social Marketing Insights | The OR-DP POV


Social Media and Marketing Tips: Top 10 Blog Posts of 2012

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In 2012 everyone at O’Reilly-DePalma learned a lot, and had so many amazing conversations, both in real life and in the Twitter-verse. We realized the value of bringing the fun to conferences and trade shows, and navigated the sometimes confusing waters of SEO and social media. We looked at building clout in the industry and building Klout on Twitter. We even learned a couple of dance moves from a Rockette. (See: bringing the fun.)

We’re pleased to share this list of our ten most popular blog posts in 2012, and we hope these ideas and insights have been as useful to you as they have been to us:

This Just In: Social Media for Natural Disaster News: It’s not hard to imagine why this post was the #1 most read in 2012. Social media can be a lightning-fast way to share news and even quickly provide aid to families affected by disasters, whether natural or man made.

CES Loses Clout as New Products Launch Pad: We take a look at why industry trade shows have lost their impact and influence over the past few years, and also examine what some shows are doing right. (Hint: incorporating some fun into your booth is the way to go.)

eTail 2012 – 10 Things Building Products Marketers Need to Know: A nice girl from the building products industry shares ten amazing lessons on technology, social media, and online marketing that are relevant for almost any industry.

Building Relationships on Twitter with Stacy Garcia: We loved doing this interview with Stacy Garcia, the brains behind the popular KBTribeChat on Twitter. This post includes some really helpful insights into using social media to build a business.

A Klout Definition, As Best We Can: This post from 2011, in which we help untangle the real meaning of a Klout score, remained popular last year. Klout isn’t the ultimate measure of a person’s influence, but it can be a helpful evaluation tool.

Curation Nation - 10 Community Building Tips from #AtomicChat: Yes, Twitter conversations can help build your brand. We look at how to curate your social media content to effectively appeal to your target audience without wasting time or effort.

What Do Pandas and Penguins Have to Do with Your Marketing Strategy? Google updates its algorithms to keep over-optimized, spammy websites from rising to the top of search results. How do you make sure your websites are the cream of the crop under the new rules?

Brand Engagement Lessons from BlogHer 2012: Our overview of the highlights of brand engagement (featuring the Rockettes and pedicures) at BlogHer 2012. Creativity is key!

McDonald’s Redesign: Think Presentation and Environment Don’t Matter? OR-DP looks at the amazing effects a store redesign had on overall sales and even interest in new products at McDonalds.

Altitude Design Summer - New Model for Industry Conferences: You may have never heard of this conference, but if getting attention from influential design bloggers is your goal, this conference is the place to be.

Stay tuned for tomorrow, when we’ll share our top ten Client News blog posts. Happy New Year, everyone!

Content Marketing Insights | Public Relations Insights | Social Marketing Insights | The OR-DP POV | Trade Marketing Insights


Bathroom Blogfest 2012. BTW, What’s a Blogfest?

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What is Bathroom Blogfest?

More to the point, what’s a blogfest?

Even more to the point: why should you care?

A blogfest, also known as a blogoff or bloghop, is a social marketing technique that builds valuable inbound links among bloggers, builds community and comments, generates targeted impressions, and increases organic search visibility.

Bathroom Blogfest 2012, with its theme “Still Climbing Out”  is dedicated to the topic of the “customer experience in the bathroom.”  Every contributor is challenged to make the content compelling. Last year, the O’Reilly-DePalma contribution to the theme Climbing Out was about the challenges of my aging parents in a typical home bathroom

In 2010, the Mad-Men inspired 60s-theme gave us the chance to engage our American Standard client’s Professor Toilet blog in some retro advertising fun:

Now in its seventh year, Bathroom Blogfest participants include interior designers, health and wellness experts, marketing, public relations and customer service professionals, retailers and bathroom products manufacturers.

“The purpose of Bathroom Blogfest is to build online relationships and conversations about an intensely compelling topic,” says Christine B. Whittemore, chief simplifier, Simple Marketing Now, who organizes the yearly Bathroom Blogfest.

Bonus Impressions and Links from #kbtribechat on Twitter

As with last year’s Bathroom Blogfest, this year’s content receives increased visibility via the weekly #kbtribechat on Twitter.  Christine and I are hosting “Still Climbing Out: Bathroom Design After Cancer,” inspired by breast cancer awareness month and a question posted online by design blogger Lisa M. Smith (Decor Girl) seeking special shower design ideas for a friend with advanced cancer. Join us TODAY for #kbtribechat at 2 pm ET.

Watch how it all comes together this week, reading the bloggers listed below, following along on Twitter with the hastag #BathroomEXP or liking Bathroom Blogfest on Facebook.

With the entire building industry—not just bathrooms—in the process of climbing out after some slow years, the power of top-notch content and smart social marketing to attract sales prospects is a vastly underestimated power in the hands of marketers.  Make it part of your 2013 plans.

Name Twitter Username Blog Name Blog URL
Susan Abbott susanabbott theIdeaStudio
Laurence Borel blogtillyoudrop blog till you drop
Bill Buyok AventeTile Avente Tile Talk
Jeanne Byington jmbyington The Importance of Earnest Service
Nora DePalma steamtherapy The Mr. Steam SteamTherapy Blog
Mr. Steam noradepalma OR-DP POV
Stacy Garcia kbtribechat kbtribe
Diane Kazan dkazan Public Bathroom Blog
Arpi Nalbandian Arpi_Nalb Avente Tile Talk
Victoria & Shelley Redshaw & Pond scarletopus Scarlet Opus Trends Blog
Sandy Renshaw sandyrenshaw Purple Wren
Bruce D. Sanders rimtailing RIMtailing
Paige Smith none Tile tips from installation professionals
Todd Vendituoli TALV58 Thebuildingblox
Shannon Vogel cyswebsites From the Floors Up
CB Whittemore cbwhittemore Content Talks Business Blog
Irene Williams crossvilleinc Elevate Your Space
Linda Wright skiptotheloo Skip to the Loo!

Social Marketing Insights | The OR-DP POV


What Brands Can Learn From the BlogHer 2012 Expo

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New York, NY — Last week, I provided a preview of BlogHer 2012. Now comes the report on the creative brand engagement strategies I saw at this conference and expo that attracted more than 5,000 blogging women:

Pfizer arranged for a select group of BlogHer 2012 attendees to take a dance class with the famed Rockette’s at Radio City Music Hall.

Most creative booth execution: the launch of Lysol Power & Free. They had two comedians, including one with a guitar who made up funny songs on the spot about all the bloggers, all ending with the same bouncy chorus repeating the product name over and over. Lysol was among several exhibitors who had places for bloggers to sit and recharge devices drained by all the tweets, Instagrams, and Facebook posts going on. There was a full bottle of Power & Free in every one of the 5,000 attendee bags.

Best all around: Pfizer. They had the largest expo floor footprint, but not all in one spot. They engaged with us in different ways—including my personal highlight—a dance lesson with the Rockettes in the rehearsal studios backstage at Radio City Music Hall. The experiences were different, but all were focused on a consistent message about wellness and aging. We were encouraged to visit their new website,

See more in the slideshow. In the meantime, here are five tips that building products brands can learn from the powerhouse marketers at BlogHer:

1.    The vibe is very much “girls weekend away,” so the more fun, the better. Informational booths had the slowest traffic, while massages, manicures and fun places to take pictures had lines and crowds.

What do manicures have to do with computer accessories? Nothing. Manicures have to do with building relationships. Make people feel good!

2.    Giveaways and contests were the second most-popular attraction, as were food samples.

3.    Make it easy to share, provide images and video…and don’t forget your logo.

4.    Flattering images will be shared. Does-this-make-me-look-fat pictures will not. Think about this when you ask bloggers to wear your t-shirts.

5.    Start the dialogue and use it to create conversational content. (See the Pfizer Get Old wall in the slide show.)

The creativity behind the brands at BlogHer12?  Nearly all the agencies on the scene were public relations agencies. Not ad agencies, not brand shops. PR people get this influence-building thing.  When it comes to blogger relations, it’s advantage: public relations.

Update: Our report from BlogHer was also highlighted on the PR Weekly blog. Follow the link to view the post and access additional BlogHer coverage.


Social Marketing Insights | The OR-DP POV


Brand Engagement Lessons from BlogHer 2012

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Blog Her Speaker BadgeThis week, I’m attending and speaking at the annual BlogHer conference in New York for the first time.  What is BlogHer12? A gathering of 4,000 blogging women, each of whom has a circle of influence ranging from the hundreds to thousands to millions of friends, fans and followers.  BlogHer women are considered to be so influential that Martha Stewart and Katie Couric are keynoters, and President Obama is beaming in by video to say hi to us.

BlogHer12 is the flagship event of the BlogHer publishing network, which has a monthly audience of 40 million. BlogHer content is very much like a classic women’s magazine (except for the food, fashion and beauty pictures—they are over on Pinterest).   BlogHer brings these highly fragmented circles of influence together in an efficient way for brands to reach key influencers.

Unlike the Mad Men days of placing a clever ad in a woman’s magazine, brands at BlogHer12 are investing in an experience.  Similar in many ways to a trade show, with conference sessions and an expo floor, the action at BlogHer—and many other blogger events—doesn’t stop at the edge of a 10 x 20 booth. Check out how some of the top brands are courting us:

Starbucks asked us to tweet our favorite beverage from their menu for a chance to be invited to their Starbucks Suite to preview their new Verismo® home coffeemaker.  (I tweeted my fave grande nonfat caramel macchiato and scored an invite to their suite for a tasting Saturday morning.)

Pfizer has arranged a workout with the Rockettes. The Rockettes.  At Radio City Music Hall. New York is my town. There’s no way I’m not doing this and sharing the heck out of my experience socially, giving Pfizer all kinds of impressions in my social network in exchange for making a childhood dream come awkwardly true.  Then they booked me for a head and neck reflexology session and the chance for a one-on-one meeting with a dietician.

Carpet One Floor & Home is doing a Spill Bar. They are serving Spillatinis while demonstrating a stain-resistant carpet. We can also get pedicures while listening to the Accidental Housewife, Julie Edelman, on keeping your home “clean enough.” Then we can step into a special photo booth so we can share our experience on our social networks.

NGOs are there as well, seeking our advocacy. I had the opportunity (but not the fitness level!) to do a real Army boot camp. The Centers for Disease Control want to talk to us about reducing salt in our diets. See more brands here.

What does all this mean for your marketing planning? Abrams Research just reported in their 2012-2013 Luxury Guide that consumers who connect with a brand on social media spend 20% to 40% more money than those who don’t. It also states that young, affluent consumers care more about a brand’s narrative than its price tags.

How will it play out in real life? Stay tuned for my report and photos next week.


Here’s my panel and my co-panelists!

10 things to Maximize your Social Media Expertise
Friday 1:15- 2:30pm
Stacie Tamaki moderates a conversation with Chris Lam and Nora DePalma about ten actionable, achievable things you can do right now to bolster your social media expertise and make yourself a more attractive candidate for any social media job, gig, or opportunity.

Stacie Tamaki, The Flirty Girl

Chris Lam, What I Run Into

Social Marketing Insights


Doing Virtual Events Right

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I’m at the 2012 Social Media Success Summit conference all this month. In my office, in between phone calls, and meetings. Also on Linked In, Twitter and email.

Where did you expect a social media conference to be held? Hoboken?

Billing itself as “The World’s Largest Online Social Media Marketing Conference” created an engagement platform by retaining compelling thought leaders such as Brian Solis. I can watch sessions live online, or catch the archived content with a password.

I can chat about the content with attendees on Twitter, via a companion Linked In group and a Facebook page.  Which means I get to “hear” every conversation, not just the ones in the small circle around the hot hors d’oeuvre table.

It’s all the benefits of an in-person conference except face-to-face.

But no bad breakfast buffets, either.

“Virtual” trade shows have been around for awhile, without much success. This, however, is the future of online training, folks.

Social Marketing Insights | The OR-DP POV


O’Reilly-DePalma and Blogger Andie Day in Kitchen + Bath Business

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Today Kitchen + Bath Business published a profile of blogger and designer Andie Day that included a mention of how Day uses social media to keep in touch with PR friends and colleagues Nora DePalma of O’Reilly-DePalma and Leanne Wood of Flying Camel.

In the profile, Day also discusses the many opportunities that have opened up to her through the use of social media, and the value of meaningful connections that can be developed and maintained through Twitter.

O'Reilly DePalma in the News | Social Marketing Insights | The OR-DP POV


Building Relationships on Twitter with Stacy Garcia

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People who think Twitter is nothing more than giant time suck probably don’t know about Twitter chats.

Stacy Garcia, on the other hand, knows that using Twitter chats is a good way to build community and awareness.

Stacy has been hosting KBTribeChat on Twitter since April 2011, bringing together designers, architects, brands and media people for a fast-paced one-hour online chat every Wed. at 2 pm ET/11 am PT.

Although a sales rep recently called her a “pioneer in social media,” the Garcia Cabinetmakers co-owner said she spent nearly a year on Twitter just meeting new people and learning the ropes. “I liked it a lot, so I just kept wondering, ‘How do I make this useful?’”

She was inspired to start the chat after former Hafele social media manager Rob Ainbinder suggested it and told her she should “just do it!”

“At first, it was crickets,” Garcia laughed. “It took a lot of time to get going. The only ones talking were the companies: Hafele, Formica and some of the appliance people.”

Stacy and Michael Garcia of Garcia Cabinetmakers, Huntington Beach, CA. Stacy runs KBTribeChat on Twitter. Michael says he isn’t sure about social media, but after 33 years of marriage, he’ll admit he’s been wrong before.

More recently, KBTribeChat has averaged 35 to 40 participants per week on topics such as The Vision House at Epcot, Lighting Styles and Strategies for Kitchens & Baths, Kitchen Islands, and my own turn at hosting on Steamy Shower Thoughts last week, sponsored by Mr. Steam.

A Return on Relationships AND A Return on Investment

Garcia says of social media, “Sure, it’s mostly about relationships. But you have to think about the bottom line. I think we’re all there to sell something. You put your personality out there and you hope there would be some sales.”

So has Garcia Cabinetmakers landed business from social media?

“Yes, today!” Garcia replied. A custom cabinet contract signed, sealed and delivered from someone who found the Huntington Beach, CA, firm from Stacy’s online activities, which include:

Garcia Cabinetmakers website with a photo gallery of their custom cabinetry craftsmanship.
Garcia Cabinetmakers on Twitter
Stacy_Garcia on Twitter
• The Garcia Cabinetmakers Facebook page
• The KBTribeChat blog
• The KBTribeChat Facebook page

Garcia’s husband and business partner Michael admits he isn’t quite so sure about the whole social media thing.

“To me, business is one-to-one. It’s a handshake. This is…well, I don’t know,” he said, shaking his head.

“But isn’t social media like a digital handshake?” I asked “A one-to-many way to network efficiently?

“Besides,” I added. “Your wife just said you got business from it.”

“OK, so I’m wrong! I’ve been married for 33 years. It’s happened before,” Michael said.

The March 21, 2011, kbtribechat will be hosted by blogger, builder and social media specialist Todd Vendituoli talking about Blogging for Business. Not sure where to start? Learn how to join a Twitter chat on Stacy’s blog.

Content Marketing Insights | Social Marketing Insights | The OR-DP POV


Social Media for Brands and Builders Todd Vendituoli

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Todd VendituoliBuilder and blogger Todd Vendituoli notes that first dates can be hard. Especially between bloggers and brands.

The owner of both Todd Vendituoli Construction L.L.C. based out of West Burke, VT and KV Construction Company Ltd, based out of Eleuthera, Bahamas, has taken a deep dive into social media, blogging for his own company at The Building Blox, and helping builders learn social media through the new blog:  SocialMedia4Builders.

“I’ve heard of some friction between brands and bloggers, and this really should not be the case,” Vendituoli told us. “The reason, it seems, is that some brands want to control the message put out by bloggers and this isn’t how social media works at its best.

Vendituoli notes that a true return on relationships between brands and bloggers works much like any good dialogue.  “The relationship should be a give and take,” he says, and one of mutual benefit. Before the “first date” between bloggers and brands, Vendituoli said brands need to plan for a mutually beneficial relationship. “Remember, if you have a great product or service, it will come out as such, but not by blasting it.”

The Mating Game Between Bloggers and Brands

How does that first date get started and progress beyond the awkward first hello so that everyone is still smiling? Vendituoli’s tips for brands:

1. Send out a promotional kit or letter showing what you have to offer.  What are the benefits of your product or service?

2. Offer to send product samples that can be seen and touched, if that’s applicable.

3. Even better, arrange a factory tour.

4. Set up a meeting or call via Skype to discuss what you are hoping to accomplish.

5. Enable interviews with customers and employees that will offer another glimpse of how you operate towards others.

What criteria does Vendituoli use in deciding what brand information to report on his blogs and through his social network?

1. Is it going to be interesting to my readers? What does the brand offer? How does the brand treat its community and employees? What products/initiatives does the brand have in the pipeline?

2. Will it be informative?

3. Is there potential for a conversation to develop around the topic?

4. Would I want to read this topic?

“Readers want good, clean informative topics that aren’t biased,” Vendituoli says.

“Brands have unique products or services that could be highlighted by bloggers for their mutual benefit. Now I said could because if your brand is 100 percent what you say it is, it will be a wonderful relationship. However if it isn’t, there is a problem right off. I can’t and won’t tell people what I don’t honestly know and believe to be truthful about a brand, product or service. Just not happening, so don’t even ask. No spin.”

Is There a Cost?

At a minimum, brands need to invest time in building a relationship with Vendituoli.  Blasting out useless news has been the bane of journalists since the craft of public relations has existed. Bloggers feel no differently. Get to know them. Read and subscribe to their blog, and react to their posts. Follow them on social media and have discussions.  Focus more on what the blogger—or journalist wants—rather than on what you want in return (That’s relationships 101, right?).

There is a time investment on the blogger’s side to build their social community. Vendituoli is an active engager on Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.  “Bloggers’ spend a great amount of time developing content, connecting with contacts and resources, and promoting their work across the various social media platforms to make sure content is read,” Venditouli said. “That has a monetary value in my opinion.”

No publisher or producer would say otherwise. No brand could either, having financially supported content-based communities for years with a tactic called advertising.  This is simply a new model of reaching an audience, but even better in some ways. Bloggers such as Venditouli are forming tight new communities where personal recommendations offer highly sought after credibility and endorsement.

Follow Venditouli on any of these platforms:

On Twitter @TALV58

On Facebook at Todd Vendituoli Construction L.L.C.

On Google+

On his blogs, The Building Blox and SocialMedia4Builders.

Content Marketing Insights | Social Marketing Insights | The OR-DP POV

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