Monday, August 22, 2016

It is time to announce the launch of The Center for Digital Engagement's 2016 Digital Marketing Workshop and Digital Summits Series!

This year will the second year of this 2-year pilot funded by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. The mission of the clinic has been to support Michigan high tech companies with qualified university and community college interns who can help them execute digital marketing strategies. Companies gain access to scarce digital marketing talent, and students are introduced to attractive potential career paths in Michigan.

This year there will be a total of 4 events: 3 Digital Summits, and the Annual Digital Marketing Workshop. These events are a great way to learn about the best practices in the business world from a diverse group of business professionals, including CEOs, Presidents, Marketing Managers, Account Managers, etc. and it is also a great networking opportunity!

For more information on the events, and how to register refer to the flyer below, and check out the Digital Marketing Workshop Website:

Follow us on Social Media:

Facebook:   @CenterForDigitalEngagement
Twitter:       @DigitalEngager

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Scott Monty Says This Is The Biggest Social Media Blunder Businesses Make

What does classical civilization have to do with social media? As it turns out, a lot.  We sat down with social media pioneer Scott Monty, CEO and Founder of Scott Monty Strategies, to hear about this, what he thinks is the biggest social media blunder businesses make, and more. Scott was ranked by The Economist as #1 atop the list of 25 Social Media Business Leaders and by Forbes as one of the top 10 influencers in social media. 

Tell us a little about yourself and Scott Monty Strategies. 

I'm intrigued by classical civilization and the great works of western literature. I was a classics major as an undergrad and it gave me a chance to read and write widely on history, philosophy, drama, politics, and more. And I've found that the farther I get from my education, the more valuable it becomes.

My speeches and consulting are focused on embracing the fundamentals of human communication through the lens of human nature, history, literature and common sense. The technologies that we're experiencing now are new and fresh, but human behavior remains steadfastly constant, and there is much to learn from the past masters.

What digital or social media metrics should businesses measure to determine the success of their efforts? 

This is a favorite topic of mine, because it's one that can't be completely answered. There is no silver bullet, no single answer that manages to address this broad-ranging question. The issue is this: before you've even set out on a digital journey, you need to know what you want to accomplish. Doing digital and social for the sake of being cute or to jump on a trend isn't helpful unless it's somehow tied to your business objectives. Figure out what you want to achieve and determine the steps along the way that are meaningful and measurable. And then measure for outputs and outcomes, not likes, comments or clicks.

In your opinion, what is the biggest blunder you see businesses make when getting started with social media and digital campaigns? 

Frankly, I would have hoped that we were beyond this now, but it's a function of social and digital falling under the umbrella of marketing. And that is that social and digital platforms are viewed as a place to shout at people and advertise, while what we should be doing is building relationships. There's nothing wrong with brands being on social media, but the way they go about telling stories and sharing things is fundamentally stuck in a "look at me" mentality. Brand storytelling is fine, but don't make yourself the hero every single time; make the customer the hero and your product a minor player. But being completely self-centered won't win you many friends.

How would you advise a business with limited time and resources in creating a more successful online presence? 

You need to have some presence, but you don't need to be everywhere and chasing the latest trends. Limit yourself to the places where your target audience is and where you know you can make a meaningful contribution and impact. Ultimately, it has to map to the culture of your business. For smaller businesses, there's no reason that all employees can't get involved in the effort; it shouldn't fall to a single person to do everything. The more personality you can put behind it, the more excited people will be.

What advice do you have for people looking to enter the profession? 
Be relentlessly curious. Dorothy Parker once said, "Curiosity is the cure for boredom. There is no cure for curiosity." The more you can soak up and understand about all aspects of business - not just digital, not just marketing, not just customer service - the more you can put everything into perspective. It takes time to build a strategic understanding of an industry, but the good news is that there are endless resources out there to help you discover and learn more.

Scott is speaking at a sold-out event as part of The Center for Digital Engagement monthly breakfast series. If you want to hear and meet other industry thought leaders, see our list of upcoming events. And if you have a question for Scott, connect with him at Twitter at @ScottMonty

Friday, March 4, 2016

Digital Summer Clinic Internships with Ann Arbor SPARK and the Center for Digital Engagement

The Center for Digital Engagement and Ann Arbor SPARK are offering up to 20 part-time, paid digital clinic internships this summer for EMU students. As described on our application page, we are seeking students from a variety of majors including CIS, Marketing, SCM, and PR. All clinic projects are multidisciplinary, requiring a mix of talents.

We encourage all of those who may be interested in applying to attend our information session March 16 at 5 PM in Owen 109. Presenting at this session will be Bill Mayer, SPARK’s VP of Entrepreneurial Services, and three startup CEOs who worked with student teams in Summer 2015, the first year the we offered the clinic:

  • Bill Crane, CEO of Industry Star, a rapidly growing software as a service approach to supply chain management.
  • Bob Chunn, CEO of ContentOro, a software as a service approach to content marketing.
  • Grace Hsia, CEO of Warmilu, an advanced materials science approach to warming products.

We are currently taking applications for this year’s clinic internships here with a deadline of May 8. You can read more about last year’s experience here.

We look forward to seeing you March 16 to talk about these internships.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Students: Here Are 3 Reasons To Attend Digital Summit Detroit [Plus, Win Free Tickets!]

For the first time ever, Digital Summit is coming to Detroit. See how you can win free tickets to attend, compliments of the Michigan Film Office.

But first, why do I attend conferences?

#1. Professional Development
Digital marketing trends and best practices are constantly changing. It’s important now more than ever to stay abreast of the latest trends and get ideas and inspiration.

#2. Networking
Smart digital practitioners are solving some of the most perplexing problems at companies, and attending conferences is your chance to hear from them.

#3. To Share and Learn
I attend a lot of conferences. Most of the times I am a speaker. But even if I’m presenting, I’m still learning. The digital industry changes so fast, no one has everything figured out. I’m always learning, and some of the best ideas come from people new to the field as well as from seasoned professionals.

Digital Summit Detroit will be held at the Fisher Theater on September 22 and 23. The conference will feature dozens of highly-respected digital marketing leaders from AOL, IBM, Microsoft, NBC, Salesforce, Virgin America, Zappos and more from around the U.S. who will be sharing current trends, best practices, the latest strategies, case studies, new solutions, and more.

Topics and conference tracks include:
  •          Social media
  •          Content marketing
  •           Digital strategies
  •           Paid search
  •           SEO
  •          Email marketing
  •          Mobile
  •          Web analytics
  •           Web design and usability

You’ll learn the latest digital strategies, social media, SEO, email marketing, web analytics and more. Some of the best digital and social ideas come from conferences like this. If you haven’t yet, be sure to check out the Search Marketing Workshop on November 13 (which, by the way, you should register if you haven’t already).

The Michigan Film Office is inviting students to share why they’d like to attend the Digital Summit for a chance to win a free ticket. Visit the Michigan Film Office website to fill out an online form before September 11 with your reasons for wanting to attend the conference. Fifteen students will be selected.

And don’t forget, the Center for Digital Engagement’s monthly speaker series kicks off again on September 11 with Bob Chunn, CEO of ContentOro and former Director of Online Marketing at Pet Supplies Plus. Bob will talk about how to find online content for your marketing efforts. You’ll won’t want to miss this. 

I hope you join me in attending!
Chad Wiebesick

Author: Chad Wiebesick is the Executive in Residence at The Center for Digital Engagement. He serves as the head of social media for Pure Michigan at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Secret Behind the Detroit Tigers Social Media Strategy

We sat down with Mac Slavin, Digital and Social Media Specialist for the Detroit Tigers, and spoke with him about his career, tips for job seekers, and advice he has for businesses starting out in social media. Meet him at the next breakfast speaker series on Friday, June 5th. Register here

Tell us a little about yourself and your role at your organization.

I'm Mac Slavin and I'm the Digital & Social Media Specialist for the Detroit Tigers. My job includes managing all of our social platforms (everything from LinkedIn to Snapchat) and helping with a good chunk of our mobile and digital initiatives. 

Why is digital marketing and social media vital to your organization’s business goals?

People are ALWAYS talking about sports, so it's natural that when people started tweeting, they would talk about sports on social media too. Social and digital are huge in the sports industry, and people are constantly following their favorite players and teams for updates during the season and even during the offseason. People are also looking for a way to go behind the scenes at sporting events, and social media has provided the perfect opportunity for us to take fans in the clubhouse and on the field without physically taking thousands of people with us. 

What are the keys to a successful social media or digital marketing strategy?

While there are a ton of "keys" to social and digital, three come to mind immediately.

#1 - Clear objectives with measurable results. A lot of folks jump into social media without any way of defining their successes beyond likes and retweets. While that is good and can extend your reach, it's pretty top-level and isn't always something that higher ups in your organization will get excited about. If you're able to quantify your new reach or how engaged your fans are with your brand, it's easier to start the conversation about ROI that we all inevitably face.

#2 - Great content. Social media is fueled by emotion, and fans are more likely to react or engage if you're able to bring that emotion out of them. While you may be drawing a different emotion from each post, you should think, "how do I want my followers to feel when they see this post" each and every time.

#3 - Conversation. We're pretty lucky in the sports industry that fans WANT to communicate with our brand (even when they aren't upset), but that conversation is what can turn a generic fan into a loyal fan. It's definitely easier said that done, but if you can carve out the time to interact and engage with these fans on a semi-real-time basis, they will appreciate it. Your replies can be as simple as "That's awesome" or "Thanks" and fans will still enjoy the interaction with one of their favorite brands.

How would you advise a business with limited time and resources in creating a more successful online presence?
Start small and have quantitative goals. Make sure you are measuring your successes and failures. While everyone has different definitions of success, measuring helps show you what content your fans enjoy interacting with. Most people are nervous to measure their failures, because they are worried about what people higher up in their company might think, but failures are just as important to record. This is where you can learn a lot about your fans and the community you are trying to build.

Brands always feel like they have to be on every social network out there and that's not the case. If you don't have the time or resources to join all of these networks, it will be obvious to your fans and customers, and they'll lose interest. If you only have the resources (be that personnel, content, etc.) to work with Facebook and Twitter, only work with those two. I'd also suggest looking at who your audience is... maybe Facebook isn't the best option for your limited resources. If you're aiming strictly at engaging young adults, maybe Twitter and Instagram are better suited for you. OR if you are a brand with a ton of photogenic opportunities (think arts and crafts, food, etc.), look at a photo-centered network (Instagram or Pinterest). Your engagement will come more natural and you might be able to make the argument to expand your team or pull in other resources. 

How did you get started in your field?

When I first started college, I was convinced I wanted to write for Sports Illustrated. After realizing I wasn't the greatest feature writer, my adviser asked if I'd be interested in working for the front office of a sports team. After an internship with a collegiate baseball team and getting a work study job in our college's athletic department, I knew it was what I wanted to do. Right as all of this was happening we went to a newspaper conference and they started talking about Twitter. At that moment it all just clicked and I starting thinking about how "this Twitter thing" could really mesh well with the sports world. After that I was able to get an internship with a Minor League Baseball team in California and I've been in sports since. 

What advice do you have for people looking to enter the profession?

Whenever anyone asks about breaking into the sports industry, I tell them two things...

#1 - Hone your writing skills. Become a writer. Learn how to write a tweet, learn how to write a proposal, learn how to write a script. Every day is different in the social and digital world, but if you are able to help out by writing ad copy for a website, writing a quick script for a web video and follow it up with a tweet to help promote the video, you'll be an extremely strong candidate. Even if you aren't interested in the social and digital side of sports, being able to write well will help open doors. Even something as simple as writing a persuasive email or proposal can help you out professionally, and help you stand out in a pretty competitive industry.
#2 - Network. And keep networking. The sports industry is small, and the digital and social sports industry is even smaller.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Secret Sauce to a Successful Social Media Strategy is a Four Letter Word

It's true. The secret sauce to a successful social media strategy is a four letter word. But you'll have to hear it from David Murray, Manager of Social Media for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM). We learned a lot from him when we sat down and talked with him about his career, social media advice for businesses, and more. 

In talking with David, we learned in two years his strategic direction increased BCBSM's online community by over 1400% with more than 250,000 Michiganders. Their blog,, has won back-to-back best blog of the year awards, and maintains an average content participation rate between 25-30%. Still not impressed? BCBSM’s AHealthierMichigan Facebook Page is the number one Health and Wellness page in Michigan with a participation rate that is 91% above the healthcare industry average. An advocate for education and best practices in digital and social web communications, David founded the Social Media Club Detroit, and has spoken at BlogWorld, unGeeked, and TEDx events. Murray has also been featured in Wall Street Journal Online, and David Meerman Scott's book, The New Rules of PR and Marketing.

Here is our interview: 

Tell us a little about yourself and your role at your organization. My official title is Social Media Manager. I currently oversee all social strategy for our brand and many of our business units who are integrating digital communications.

Why is digital marketing and social media vital to your organization’s business goals? Health Insurance is currently going through tremendous change and the landscape can be very confusing. By providing answers to questions people have we not only continue to build brand loyalty with our members, but we also build trust with potential members. By being proactive on social media we position ourselves as a trusted leader in our industry and one that is recognized as a valuable resource of helpful information.

What are the keys to a successful social media or digital marketing strategy? The secret sauce to a successful social media strategy is a four letter word – HELP. All businesses and organizations should aim to help their audience with their social media efforts. People remember who helped them. They talk about who helped them. Ultimately, they share with other people businesses who help. If your intent is to help your audience you will win in the social media landscape because you will find that you have earned their trust and permission to market to them. I would also suggest that wherever possible integrate social with your current marketing efforts be it traditional or digital.

What digital or social media metrics should businesses measure to determine the success of their efforts? Social media data has three layers. The first layer is all the likes, share, comments, etc. These are all  well and good, but alone they don’t provide real context. You have to dive into the second layer which is behavior. This is where the real meat is. When did that blog post get shared? Who shared it? What time of day was it? What is their demographic? Where do they live? What can we learn from this that we can use in our future social efforts? You can see how deep this layer can get, and how you’ll have to roll up your sleeves to find the answers you seek. However, I can tell you that if you do this legwork it pays off, and when you get to the point where you can share your data findings with other marketing/communication departments in your organization, you begin to define data commonalities that can save your company money and time. This is ROI leadership recognizes and appreciates.

In your opinion, what is the biggest blunder you see businesses make when getting started with social media and digital campaigns? That many businesses initially attempt to market directly through their social media efforts. The reality is that no one cares about you, but they do care if you can help them. So, instead of listening and attempting to communicate with their customers, they assume the type of content people want. This is a big turn off, and you immediately lose trust with the audience you were hoping to rally to your cause or product.

How would you advise a business with limited time and resources in creating a more successful online presence? It starts with story and content. Don’t worry about what channel you should be on. Work on creating strong content people want and place that content on a web property you own. Get that right and then start thinking about where and how that content should be shared.

How did you get started in your field? By accident. Ten years ago my boss at the time asked that I put a press release together for our website. While writing it I intuitively felt that a press release wasn’t the only way we could communicate about our company and what we do. I jumped on the internet and began searching for different ways companies should be communicating. I eventually came across The Gobbledygook Manifesto by David Meerman Scott. Immediately a lightbulb went on and I while I didn’t know exactly what social media was at the time, I did know that it is what I wanted to do for living. For the next six months I listened to what others were doing, attended the very first Blog World conference, and basically taught myself how to do social media for another company. My big break came when I became the community manager for T. Boone Pickens’ PickensPlan. The rest they say is history.

What advice do you have for people looking to enter the profession? The social media party is over and brands are looking for professionals who can deliver business results. If you are a student, this isn’t necessarily experience one can obtain right out of school. And if you are looking to transition into social media as a profession, this can be a steep learning curve. My advice would be to find a nonprofit whose mission is something you are already passionate about, and volunteer to put their social media program together. This doesn’t have to be a nonprofit. You could do this for a local business you frequent, or an organization a family member belongs to like an afterschool program. Maybe you belong to a club or organization that could use some help with their social media? Regardless who you do it for, this shows initiative and dedication which most employers find attractive regardless of the job requirements. Having strong writing skills helps, but I would also recommend brushing up on your creativeness. The social web is a visual world and having an eye for design will pay dividends.

If you'd like to learn more social media insights from David Murray, be sure to RSVP for his presentation on Friday, April 17 when he'll share his story about transforming BCBSM into a successful social brand.