Making the Most of Social Media Tools

Affiliate subscribers and WIC members often talk about the WIC Community email list and what a wonderful resource it is — particularly how rapidly you can get an answer to your question. Well, Suzanne Skyvara (Skyvara Communications) took the concept even further. In a pay-it-forward approach, Suzanne sent an email out today that shared some of the social media information she found to be useful. It’s such a great list that I’m posting it here, with Suzanne’s approval, of course. Thanks Suzanne!

Look the recommendations over, and if you have anything to add, please join the conversation — in the true collaborative spirit of WIC as well as the conversational spirit of social media.

Cheers! Avery

Judging by the number of emails going around and the popularity of a recent WIC teleconference, many of us are eager to embrace the brave new world of social media.  As a PR consultant, I know it is impacting my world in a big way.

I’ve been spending some time recently digging into some of the information out there and wanted to ‘pay it forward’ by sharing with you some of the things I’ve found most useful.  If I have learned anything, it is that the mantra of social media is generosity.  If anyone has any other recommendations for resources (blogs, people to follow on Twitter, books, etc.), I’d love to hear them and I’d be happy to compile for the group.  By sharing some of our collective knowledge, we can all prosper.

First recommendation:  a book.  Yes, old media communications method about new social media.  Even better, it’s written by ‘grown ups’ not a 23 year old (apologies to twentysomethings).  Groundswell:  Winning In A World Transformed by Technologies is written by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff (he just turned 50).  Josh is still a Forrester analyst but Charlene has left to create her own consultancy.  They were both just given the Visionary of the Year Award by the Society for New Communications Research because of this book.  What I really like about Groundswell is that it provides a framework for evaluating the different technologies and social media tools out there so that you can decide on the best strategic approach for incorporating them into your business.  I highly recommend reading it.  (Full disclosure:  the link includes my Amazon Affiliates ID.)  The book also has a ton of real-life case studies showing what other companies have been doing which is very helpful.  Even better, it’s very readable, you just keep turning the pages in fascination.  Finally, it’s given me the confidence to realize that the core basics have not changed:  all the amazing social media tools in the world won’t work if you have not figured out your strategy and your story.

You might want to also check out the Groundswell Social Technographics Tool at  This allows you to put in the demographics of your target audience and see how they are really behaving online.  Another useful resource is the case study entries for the Forrester Groundswell Awards.  You can find them on their blog at They have them for both the winners and also the runners-up.  Useful to see what some companies have been doing.

I’m on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.  That’s it so far so you can see I’m still a newbie.  For me, the most useful has been Twitter (link to my Twitter profile).  I’ve taken some time to find people that I really want to follow and am continuing to add a handful every week.  I’ve only been on it about a month but the sharing of knowledge and ideas is helping me immeasurably.  The way I have been finding people to follow is to go to my favorite blogs and look for their Twitter information on the home page or About page.  As a starting point, here’s a list (which I learned about through Twitter) of the Top 150 Social Media Blogs.  I follow the top 5 and more further down the list.  I also discovered last night a new blog with tips for beginners on Twitter: (good post on there about how to behave on Twitter) and this one looks helpful too:

LinkedIn.  This will be my next big focus.  (And one reason to makeover my profile by November 22 is that you get entered to win a $1,000 wardrobe from Banana Republic.)  >From the little I’ve heard/read so far, LinkedIn seems to be the most useful for consultants in terms of networking.  This looks like an interesting starting point for ramping up on this: On my To Do List:  photo, rewrite profile so it’s more interesting and in language more appropriate for the online world, start answering questions where I can in LinkedIn Q&A, ask some of my favorite people for recommendations, write a few recommendations of trusted contacts myself and incorporate some of the new LinkedIn Apps.

Finally, it’s not really about social media, but a really good book to read about networking is “Never Eat Alone:  And Other Secrets To Success, One Relationship At A Time” by Keith Ferrazzi.  Many of his recommendations hold true online.  It’s a really helpful book.  I ended up with lots of notes on reaching out to different people.  The only negative is that Keith can get a bit carried away.  He takes networking to an extreme (I think he has 10,000 contacts).  But his intentions are good and his advice pretty solid.  Will reawaken your inner networking spirit!

I hope this helps those of you in the “must learn more about social media but don’t know where to start” phase.  And please do let me know if you have any recommendations or guidance that would help the group.' About Avery Horzewski

Principal of AVE Consulting, Avery is a marketing and customer communications consultant, and serves on WIC's board of directors as president. As a consultant, she works with companies of all sizes to develop compelling, persuasive, and effective customer-centric marketing and communication strategies that encompass everything from websites to social media to print collateral. Avery assumed the role of WIC president in January 2010, after overseeing the organization’s marketing, PR, social media, and website initiatives for three years.


  1. Thanks, Suzanne, you’re absolutely right about the karma factor of pay it forward and collective knowledge. Wtih that in mind, also check out the Age of Conversation…237 global marcom authors (I’m the token nonprofit!) using social media to raise money for Variety, the Children’s Charity by each donating a chapter of marketing lessons, tips, advice in our field of expertise and using social media to promote it. (just launched last week)

    Last year when we did this (103 authors) we made over $15,000 in 60 days for them, so now if I can just learn/translate the skill sets to my own nonprofit eventually, it’ll be sweet. 😉

    Also wanted to add Beth Kanter’s amazing “Using Social Media” how-tos as she is ALWAYS up to date with the latest and greatest, and is a media force in her own right! (She focuses on nonprofits, but the tools and tips apply universally!)

    Thanks again for all these links…btw, if anyone knows of a good ‘filter’ for ‘tmi’ overload to auto-organize some of the massive info overflowing my ‘reader’ and e-mail I sure would like that widget, as I’m drowning here. Recos? —Best, Amy

    Amy Jussel
    Founder, Exec. Dir.
    Shaping Youth
    Using the power of media for positive change
    Amy Jussel is the founder/executive director of Shaping Youth, a new nonprofit consortium of media and marketing professionals concerned about harmful messages to children. S.Y. uses tools & techniques of industry insiders to flip creative content in a healthier direction. Her counter-marketing workshops have been a huge hit with kids and adults alike and will launch to the public soon.

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