I thought this would be a perfect opportunity for a Twittermeme. I'm calling it "What Would __ Twitter?" Pick someone - a celebrity, a historical figure, a real person (another Twitterer?), or some other persona and fill in the blank. Then Twitter me or blog about it. I'll start:
What would Sherlock Holmes Twitter? 10. Eliminating the impossible. 9. Dog doing nothing in the night-time. 8. Ahh! 7% solution, I love you! 7. Bum Rush Professor Moriarty on May 4th 6. @Mycroft: Can I use my Blackberry in the Diogenes Club? 5. Just once, I wish Watson would write about my softer side. 4. L: 221B Baker Street, London 3. Chasing hound of the Baskervilles. Hard to run & Twitter 2. @IreneAdler, you'll always be the woman to me 1. I hate this hat.
MediaPost and Dynamic Logic teamed up to conduct a survey of nearly 1,100 readers a couple of weeks ago and the results have just been released. Digital marketing is poised for growth in 2007, but it's not quite at the levels that some would like to see.
The respondents represented buyers (agencies and marketers) and sellers (media companies) with about a third of responses in each; the remaining third was made up of technology solutions providers, consultants and researchers. I'll give you the summary, but if you'd like the PDF of the study results, click here.
Some top-line results:
Half of the respondents said there were some buzzwords they'd like to put an end to, namely "Web 2.0" and "engagement." (Amen!)
The majority said that <20%>
81% will be increasing the use of Web advertising
41% will be increasing the use of Mobile advertising
Overall, 86% said that Web budgets & plans would be increasing over last year
Half feel that viral advertising is a "fad for the lucky few" and 24% believe that "anyone can do viral"
Plans for heavy investment this year:
Search - 48%
Email - 38%
Online video - 38%
Social networks - 34%
In terms of the spending on search, pay per click (PPC) is expected to make up the largest proportion.
And just to prove that we had no idea how to cohesively define "Web 2.0," when asked to define "Web 3.0" respondents were all over the map:
Web of interconnected data
Big media mingling with individuals
Virtual and offline blending
A world of on demand content
All of the above
For the agency folks out there, 38% overall said that agencies were becoming more relevant (hardly surprising since the respondents were 1/3 agency/marketer folks). Sellers were evenly split, 1/3 each thinking that agencies will be more relevant, less relevant, or about the same.
And proving that things are moving the the right direction but still have a way to go, about 60% think that the quality of online creative is getting "a little better" and 24% believe it is "much improved."
March 29, 2007
I was flipping through the Wall Street Journal today (Heaven forfend! I'm still reading print!), ready to fold it up and toss it in the recycling bin, when a 4C full page ad on the back of the Marketplace section caught my eye.
It was an ad for Titleist featuring 20 golf balls with different logos sitting on newsprint. The headline was "Excellence is the best investment" and the golf balls had logos from a wide variety of well-known brands such as Fidelity, Marriott, Lexus, EMC, Ocean Spray, Timberland and FedEx. In an effort to entice readers to associate their own brands with Titleist, the ad encouraged readers to go to titleist.com/customball to create logoed golf balls of their own.
It may be an old cliche, but there's still a ring of truth to it: a good deal of the business world uses golf as part of deepening relationships. Prospects, customers, employees, board members - essentially any constituency that matters - can be drawn into the conversation and engaged on a more personal and human level while on the golf course. But what does that have to do with the Titleist ad and social media?
This is a great example of an old-school company adapting to the world of new marketing and new technology as part of its branding efforts. Titleist gets the benefit of being able to run an ad with 20 well known brands that have created custom logos, thus strengthening their own, and they get wider exposure by encouraging what is essentially consumer-generated content (i.e. your own logo on a golf ball).
Here's my take on how their service delivers.
The Good I had never before thought of or desired to visit the Titleist Web site. Golf balls are very nearly a commodity (or should be, the way I golf!) and in my mind don't offer much in the way of differentiation. Even though they aren't marketed this way, I think all golf balls are pretty much equivalent. For my money, the clubs (and the lessons) make the difference.
So I give Titleist full credit for getting me to visit their site based on a nice piece of creative with a compelling call to action.
Once there, you can select from event-related balls (birthdays, launches, etc.) or simply design your own ball. The interface is very smooth with - its Flash-enabled - and it allows you do quickly navigate through the steps.
Choose the type of cusomtomization - name, logo, name & logo, etc.
One, two or three lines of text in your choice of 4 colors
Type of Titleist ball you'd like
Standard or customized packaging
It's as easy as drag & drop, and you can resize and crop your logo so it fits on the face of the ball.
Room for Improvement Here's where Titleist falls down on this otherwise cool site:
Logo balls require a minimum order of 12 boxes (144 balls). That may be fine if you're going to a lot of shows, have a lot of customers, or you lose a lot of balls. But if you're looking to do something on the small end, it's not really an option. An example of a company that does it right with small orders of highly customized material is Moo.
There's no pricing information.
Once you're done with your design and are ready to place your order, it's not as simple as clicking "order now." You need to physically print out your order, gather a high-res file of your logo and track down your nearest "authorized Titleist golf shop or promotional products distributor." At least you can go back to the main site and click on their Golf Shop Locator to find one near you.
All in all, this is not a bad service. And like Moo, it's an interesting and unique way to brand yourself at smaller events like unconferences.
Note: I am in no way affiliated with Titleist nor was I paid or approached by Titleist to write this post. I'm simply a social media expert with golf on the brain as spring rolls around.
March 28, 2007
Over at Brand Autopsy, John Moore has created a marketing bracket in honor of the NCAA basketball tournament. His Marketing Bloggers Bracketology (PDF) squares off 64 marketing blogs against each other in four divisions.
After some hard-fought battles, we're down to the Final Four: Seth Godin vs. Church of the Customer and Creating Passionate Users vs. Marketing Profs Daily Fix. My picks for the remainder of the tournament look like this: Seth Godin will squeak by Church of the Customer (I know Ben & Jackie are formidable as a team, but Seth made it this far alone, so I'm sure he can continue the pace). And Marketing Profs will fall to CPU, due in part to Kathy Sierra's latest news and, quite frankly, her completely intelligent approach.
That leaves us with Seth vs. Kathy. Oooh, that's a doozy. Does there have to be a winner? Can't we just say they're all winners and move on? No? Okay then, it's Seth. He gave us all of these books, plus Squidoo and lots of other market-y goodness. He must be doing something right.
Steve Rubel of Micropersuasion has been accused of being a bit Twitter-centric on his blog. He's all over Twitter and ranks #18 on Twitterholic. In his honor, I've developed a 12-step program for Twitterers who may have a bit of a problem... Twitter 12-Step Program
We admit that we are powerless over Twitter - that our lives have become unmanageable.
Believe that an application greater than Twitter can restore us to sanity.
Make a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of Rubel as we understand him.
Take a fearless inventory of Twitter add-ons in our browsers.
Admit to Rubel, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
Be entirely ready to have Rubel remove all these defects of Gmail, IM and any other application supporting Twitter.
Humbly ask him to remove us from his friends list.
Make a list of all persons we have flamed, and be willing to make amends to them all.
Make direct amends to such people wherever possible - in person - except when to do so would injure them or others.
Continue to take personal inventory, and when we are wrong, promptly admit it.
Seek through blogging and del.icio.us bookmarks to improve our contact with Rubel as we understand him, blogging only for links to his widsom and the power to carry that out.
Have a social media awakening as the result of these steps, try to carry this message to all Twitterers, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Apologies in advance to any true 12-step program. This is meant to be light-hearted.
You can't beat this for timing. Just yesterday I wrote about my Classical Studies education - that one of my main takeaways was that despite the changing times and differing technology, human nature remains constant. I tend to believe that people are generally good and honest, but I'm not so naive to think that character flaws such as vanity, greed, deceit, envy - and all those other vices - won't rear their ugly heads from time to time.
Case in point: what's going on in one realm of the blogosphere right now. I'll use two examples to make my point.
Last night on Twitter, I learned that prominent blogger Kathy Sierra of Creating Passionate Users has received death threats on her blog. Vile and horrible things were written by members of a site called MeanKids.org - things that are totally inappropriate to write in blog comments, not to mention that they are in violation of federal law. Kathy has canceled all of her speaking engagements and is now afraid to even leave her house.
And Shel Israel over at Global Neighbourhoods has banned two readers from his site, going so far as to call one an insufferable a**hole. A war of blogs has ignited. You have to wonder how this affects the reputation of the individuals involved, not to mention that of their agencies / businesses.
I'm speechless. To think that this tightly-knit community is getting ripped apart - by itself, no less - is...well...I was going to say is unbelievable, but actually: it's human nature.
Second Life = Second Helping of Human Behavior
I witnessed similar happenings in Second Life:
A friend was roaming around and saw another avatar try to steal belongings from a house
At a group gathering, individuals were advised to leave their knives and guns outside
What are we coming to? We create this world of alternate reality and suddenly, it mirrors our most base and anti-societal instincts. Guns, knives, gambling and sex trade in Second Life? Because, what, we think we won't be caught? When it becomes necessary for an alternate reality site to form some sort of police force or security division, you know human nature is at work.
What to Do About Off-Color Comments
One of the tenets of social media is transparency, which manifests itself in bloggers turning on the comment function and comments being left by readers. But in some platforms, readers are given the opportunity to post anonymously; this is supposed to encourage participation. This leads me to ask: if transparency is required for bloggers, shouldn't it also be required for commenters? In seems only fair.
I seem to constantly have the debate with clients regarding the requirement of registration for things like white papers. They typically want to require registration - and a lengthy one at that - in order to know who's downloading their material. They sometimes miss the point that readership will rise if they lift the registration process. The same could be applied to blog comments.
So, what's the answer here? Robert Scoble has stopped blogging for a week and PSFK chides him for doing so. Brian Oberkirch is feisty about it. Aside from giving up and laying down the keyboard, what actions can be taken? Certainly the perpetrators can be tracked down by their ISP (although if they're really professional, they can probably find a way to mask it). But beyond that, are these bloggers supposed to shut down comments or require a more stringent monitoring and approval process? It takes some of the spontaneity out of the equation.
While it may create a little more bureaucracy than necessary, this is probably a good opportunity for a group (the Social Media Club? Blogger/WordPress/Typepad/VOX?) to join forces and create a comment policy that prohibits such lewd and disgusting behavior. Maybe one already exists, I don't know.
Is the price we pay for being so connected? We wanted to listen in on the conversation. We wanted to take part in it. While there's no excuse for some of the trash that's spewed out there, we probably shouldn't be all that surprised.
After all, it's human nature. Some people are just jerks.
March 26, 2007
As a former Classics major and a social media "maven," as I've been called, I found the following post from No man is an iland, an email marketing blog, worth sharing. It's not often that you get to see a creative combination of our techno-powered present and the ancient world. (I wonder how many other Classics/social media types there are out there?)
One of the things I enjoyed most about my Classical education was the ability to study a wide variety of subjects - history, drama, literature, philosophy, language, politics. Over and over again, I was astounded to observe that throughout the ages, despite the changes of civilization and technology, human nature remains constant. To wit, I give you:
If Ancient Rome Had the Internet:
The destruction of Pompeii in 79 A.D. is the most viewed video at YouTube. The first comment is..."OMG so cool! Volcanos ROCK!"
Attila the Hun has his own MySpace page. Nobody ever rejects his "invite a friend" emails.
The soothsayer's "Ides of March" email fails to get Caesar's proper attention as it's inadvertently filtered into his junk folder.
But at least Caesar's "Et tu Brute?" comment is available as a free ringtone download.
The domain gladiator.rome sells for the record sum of 1,000,000 denarii.
The owner of hadriansucks.rome is compelled to hand over both the domain name and selected body parts by an independent domain tribunal chaired by...Emperor Hadrian.
"Naked Cleopatra" is the top search term on Google.
Unfortunately, the Queen of Egypt dies an early death after misunderstanding IT's call to embrace an ASP solution.
Hannibal blogs his way across the Alps with posts like, "Whoops, lost another elephant today."
But he runs out of money when his PPC budget is plundered by an Iberian click scam organized by Publius Cornelius Scipio.
Tiber.com opens, initially selling scrolls and tablets before expanding to include togas, pottery, and do-it-yourself mosaic kits.
Websites like handsome-literate-male-british-slave.com pollute the search listings thanks to generous commissions at the slaves.co.rome affiliate program.
Roman programmers moan about projects outsourced to cheap coders in Mesopotamia.
The Colosseum is renamed the eBay Colosseum, with free wireless hotspots outside the lark's tongue restaurant.
The volume of spam collapses when the penalty for not providing a working opt-out mechanism becomes equal billing with the lions at the eBay Colosseum.
But we still get emails featuring Brunhilda, the lonely Visigoth, and hot deals on cheap peacock livers from Gaul.
Nobody invents a spam filter good enough for the House of the Vestals.
Classical geeks wear t-shirts proclaiming, "there's no place like CXXVII.0.0.I" (bonus points if you get that one)
Finally, Rome burns to the ground while Emperor Nero battles online with Hakkar the Soulflayer in World of Warcraft.
Actually, I'd probably change the last entry to "Nero Twitters while Rome burns."
March 25, 2007
For all the hype of social networking, there's a common denominator that is seemingly overlooked. While we bloggers/podcasters/digital marketers are technophiles and spend an ever-increasing amount of time online blogging, emailing, surfing, researching, IMing, about the tools and technology, it's sometimes easy to forget that before social networking came...networking.
I had a powerful reminder of that last week which I'd like to share with you. A couple of months ago, I blogged about my experience at a conference which many readers of my literary blog attended. My conclusion was that the human interaction was very helpful in assessing the effectiveness of my blog and served as an incredibly powerful motivator to keep up the work.
Even at work, while I find emails can spark an idea or conversation, I relish the opportunity to sit down in a conference room and bounce ideas around. It's this kind of process that helps me better understand others and develop strategies that can most effectively address their needs. When done right, it's exhilarating.
I've just caught up on my clogged up feedreader, and I uncovered Kathy Sierra's entry on Creating Passionate Users called Face-to-Face Trumps Twitter, Blogs, Podcasts, Video... which expounds on the very same subject. She writes that "face-to-face still matters," and concludes with my point from January:
The most underrated benefit of the face-to-face effect of conferences is INSPIRATION.
In addition to powerful inspiration and ideation, face-to-face social media meetups serve an equally important role: they solidify relationships. Turning digital relationships into real-life human relationships deepens the connection we feel with each other. Last week, I had the unique opportunity to test this theory. I had four Tweetups - that is, four meetings with people as arranged through Twitter. Three of them were with people I had only corresponded with on this much-hyped technology.
After each get-together (one phone call, two lunches, one after-work drink), I walked away from the conversation energized, inspired and reassured that there are others out there who are thinking about social media. It made me realize that through the hard work I've been doing on my blog, it pays off by being able to be part of a powerful social network and connect with people on a deeper level.
One of our clients is trying hard to build a "relationship marketing engine." They're concerned with customized content for each individual that enters the sales process. While they're largely ignoring social media, to their credit, they're concentrating a lot of effort on tradeshows and user conferences as a way to build those relationships. Where it will really pay off is with the more intimate settings, where the connection can really be made.
We're all overextended, overcommitted and crazy busy these days. But if we remember to put the social back in social media, we'll have a much richer experience.
March 23, 2007
Talk about customer service! Apple is now offering the chance to get personalized 60-minute consultation sessions in their stores. Head over to the Apple Store site and select your state and store location. A concierge page will come up and you can fill out your name, email address and mobile phone number so Apple can schedule a time with you.
Consultants will be on hand to help you with all aspects of your Apple life, from creating podcasts to operating your Mac, and fine-tuning your iPod.
If this doesn't help to expand - and solidify - Apple's customer base, I don't know what will.
Like you needed to be convinced? PodcastingNews reports that Edison Media Research is about to release a report on statistics related to podcast audience numbers, and it's good news. There's still a way to go, but it's reassuring to see the trends at play. Here are some quick takeaways:
There is an 18% increase in audience growth over the last year: from 11% in 2006 to 13% in 2007
Awareness of podcasting grew from 22% to 37% - that's 70% growth!
But there is still difficulty with the term "podcasting," much like the term "blogging" before it
The audience is a fairly even split: 49% female, 51% male
All ages, with - get this - more listeners in the 55+ range than the 18-24 range
Well-to-do. Podcast users are twice as likely to have incomes over 100K and nearly twice as likely to have incomes between 75K and 100K
Podcast users are twice as likely to have clicked on a banner ad
Check out the release by PodcastingNews - it's got a much more in-depth analysis and summary than I'll provide here.
March 22, 2007
I recently received an email following up on a webinar that I couldn't attend. It was sponsored by KnowNow and Sphere, and they provided what I think is a decent round-up of different uses of blogs by companies, both internally and externally.
I've listed KnowNow's suggestions in blue below, with my comments are indented in black. Internally-Focused:
Executive Blogs (Internal) - Allow company executives to share information with employees and encourage upward communication and feedback.
This could easily be the centerpiece of an internal communications program. Think of the potential when you add podcasting to the mix, so the CEO can speak directly to a large number of employees in a format longer than a voicemail.
Project or Implementation Specific Blogs - Provide a means for team members to collaborate on project-related issues, track status, etc.
Competitive Intelligence Blogs - capture and collaborate on market and competitive intelligence.
Knowledge Management/Portal Replacement Blogs - These blogs can be used as a means for more easily sharing information with a large group of people. The advantage here is that business users don’t need to go through IT just to post something on their portal (and people can more easily comment or provide feedback)
An internal wiki would allow you to do the same thing. A resource such as pbWiki makes this a hassle-free and much more robust solution.
Sales Blogs - Allows sales reps an easy way to share best practices and information.
Product Development Blogs - Allow developers and other stakeholders to provide feedback and suggest new ideas.
Community of Practice Blogs - These focus on facilitating discussion amongst individuals on a specific technical or functional topic area.
Executive Blogs (External) - Company executives can share information with customers, partners, etc and solicit feedback.
Product/Brand Blogs - Allow product management or marketing dept to facilitate customer “conversation” about products, brand, etc.
The company that really wants to stand out will take customers' comments and feedback, share it it with the product development team, and then tell the customers about improvements/changes made to the product because of their input.
Media Relations/PR Blogs - Keep a dialog with members of the media about company happenings.
Great, but keep it fresh. The last thing journalists need is repeats of press releases. If you'd like to try something interesting, post a short audio clip with unique content as part of a blog posting that supports a press release. When you see media mentions of the content that was only available in the audio clip, you know they're engaging.
Market Research Blogs - Give customers a place to suggest and give feedback on new ideas or novel uses for your products or services
This is somewhat of a cross-over from the product blog, but again, if they give feedback, be sure to act upon it, even if it's to tell them that you've considered their idea but it won't work. Customers like to be acknowledged.
Customer Support Blogs - Allow customers to ask questions and provide feedback, as well as share tips or insights with each other.
Sales and Partner Network Blogs - Companies with non-competing sales or distribution networks can share experiences and information easily across firewalls.
Some things I recommend you take into account if you're developing an internal blog:
Determine who will be the administrator. A single individual should own the overall look, feel and infrastructure of the site and be responsible for any technology "tweaks" and improvements
Decide who will author the blog. Many times, these small blogs will require more than one voice or expert. Figure out if you want to give your team more than the ability to comment on entries.
Meet as a team to review the fundamentals and guidelines. You should ensure that everyone is comfortable with the technology and understands why you're using it. If you don't have complete buy-in from the entire team, you might as well not have a blog. Do they understand RSS and feedreaders? Do they know how to comment/post/edit?
Give your team choices. RSS feed button or email subscription? BOTH! Maybe they are Outlook whizzes and prefer to get emails. That's fine. But let them decide what works best for them.
Solicit and act upon feedback. You're developing this blog to support your team. Make sure you circle back with them and see how it's working. If there are features or content on it that are of no use to the team, consider thinning it down. If they leave comments about the blog itself, take the time to reply to them.
Finally, if you're using a blog for project management, a sales team, or another small group, I would recommend also setting up your group on Twitter. It's a microblogging platform that will enable you to share thoughts in real-time, over the Web, phone or IM.
That's about it here. Did I miss something? I'd be interested to know if you've got any experience with other uses of blogs, either internally or externally.
After many faithful years of service to Late Night with David Letterman (and prior to that the Late Show with David Letterman), everyman Calvert DeForest (aka Larry "Bud" Melman) passed away this week at the age of 85. He hadn't appeared on the show for 3 years, but he is still closely associated with it.
"What does this have to do with my brand?" I hear you ask.
Everything. And let me tell you why. When he was picked out of obscurity (DeForest was working at the Social Services office at the time), Letterman's crew had the brilliant idea of putting a normal schlub into situations in which he had no experience. They'd throw cue cards up there for him to read, but the real value for the Late Show's audience was to see how DeForest reacted. They were never disappointed.
But more than the entertainment value that he provided, DeForest represented the Letterman brand: zany, unexpected and unscripted interactions between people, held together with Letterman's own quick wit and acerbic sense of humor. People knew that with Letterman, they were getting someone irreverent - certainly much different from the "apple pie" approach of Johnny Carson.
Now think of your own audience - your customers, prospects and employees. In this digital age, they are part of your marketing team, whether you want to admit it or not. They're engaging in conversations about your brand and representing you to the outside world. Are you aware of it? Are you enlisting their help? Most importantly, have you given them anything to relate to? Who is the face of your brand?
The last point is critical, because today more than ever, relationships count. We're awash in a sea of data, constantly being barraged with messages. Who has time to read another piece of corporate collateral? If an organization can take the time to build personal relationships with its constituents and be authentic in its approach, the trust and connection will be cemented.
One way to go about this is with a CEO blog. This can be a powerful branding tool if used properly. Here's a quick list of the top 10 CEO blogs (or more properly Executive blogs, since these aren't all CEOs). But what should a CEO blog about to make the company seem more human?
Travel and experiences out in the field with real customers (avoiding any confidential information, of course)
A personal passion, whether it's sailing, a charity, or family interests
Examples of how customer service feedback changed a process or product at the company
Calling out successes of individual employees who live the brand; that is, employees who are demonstrating the values of the organization in their personal or professional lives
Please do not blog about new product releases - your audience can get this from your corporate Web site
These are just a handful of ways to get started. I'm open to hearing more, of course!
March 21, 2007
This is a blog entry that was inspired by a face-to-face meeting between two bloggers who connected via Twitter. What would you call that? A Twittermeet? A Tweetup? Cast your vote in the comment section.
I had lunch with Greg Verdino, that self-deprecatingly proclaimed "z-list marketing blogger with an a-list attitude" (hey Greg, I think you're more a-list material, if that means anything) who was in town for a Forrester conference. I think he's really onto something with a recent entry Are you at war with your customers? He asks if you're viewing marketing as us vs. them rather than us and them, using marketing-speak or using customers' language. This is a fundamental concept that so many of us marketers miss, because...because - well, frankly, I don't know why. The point is, marketing is all about conversations and building lasting relationships. But how to best put that into practice?
I think it's summed up best by the words of the great philosopher, statesman and orator Cicero:
"If you wish to persuade me, you must think my thoughts, feel my feelings and speak my words."
It doesn't end with writing copy. You need to think about how your brand fits into various channels. Blogging isn't appropriate for every company. Companies new to the social media space have been known to jump on ideas without thinking things through, utttering "We've got to have a MySpace page!" or "How can we promote our video on YouTube?"
Sorry, it doesn't work that way. It harkens back to transparency. If you're joining an existing social network simply to try to get some quick hits, it's going to backfire on you. They'll smell you from a mile away. Companies that truly get it will:
Understand social media tools
Learn to listen - truly listen - to the marketplace
Participate in a manner that shows they're responsive to the market and willing to join the conversation, not simply "tell and sell."
Now this should be interesting. There's a site called Bum Rush the Charts that has been created to demonstrate the power of social media over big media. Basically, here's how the program will work: To demonstrate that podcasting (in particular) and social media (in general) are forces to be reckoned with, according to the site:
On March 22nd, we are going to take an indie podsafe music artist to number one on the iTunes singles charts as a demonstration of our reach to Main Street and our purchasing power to Wall Street. The track we've chosen is "Mine Again" by the band Black Lab. A band that was dropped from not just one, but two major record labels (Geffen and Sony/Epic) and in the process forced them to fight to get their own music back. We picked them because making them number one, even for just one day, will remind the RIAA record labels of what they turned their backs on - and who they ignore at their peril.
When you go to iTunes on March 22 and purchase "Mine Again," you'll not only be supporting this movement, but you'll also be helping kids. The Financial Aid Podcast signed up as an affiliate and plans to use its commission to contribute to college scholarships, and Black Lab plans to donate 50% of its proceeds to the scholarships as well.
March 19, 2007
Well, I've finally taken the plunge with two ofmy blogs and purchased my own domain names, all in the name of branding. While the Blogger platform works for me, it's a pain having to tell contacts that my URL contains "dot blogspot dot com." To have your own domain really helps people remember your brand. Plus, it's kind of cool. There's an inherent problem, though. Blogger (the new Blogger, that is) now allows you to use a custom domain for your site. I waited waited patiently for this after trying, but not quite having enough time to master WordPress. But a quick look at my Technorati rankings worries me. All of the inbound links that I've worked so hard (or not!) to encourage are stil associated with my old URL and I'm somewehre in the 2 million mark. Hopefully this is a temporary situation that will be resolved as the new domains become recognized. With any luck, a few pings is all it will take.
If not, then let this be a lesson to you: establish your domain name and your brand early, and build from there. It's no fun having to start over.
And if you'd like to do a guy a solid, please change any links you might currently have pointing to http://socialmediamarketing.blogspot.com to http://www.scottmonty.com. Thanks!
March 18, 2007
It seems that Twitter has really gone mainstream. The March 16 issue of the Wall Street Journal contained an article about Twitter. One of the Twitterers interviewed had the same response that I did when I first heard about it: "I didn't get it at first." But once you try it, it's Twitdicting.
But more than being simply a waste of time, there are some business applications here. At a party tonight (ironically with a 1920s/30s theme), I introduced Twitter to a couple of people. One could immediately see a use with his geographically-dispersed sales team. Unlikely to check email often, the team is all about their mobile phones, and Twitter is perfectly suited to that channel.
Steve Rubel tweets that many good business ideas will emerge via Twitter. Certainly. Beyond ideas, what about actual business uses of Twitter? Web Worker Daily has 8 ways Twitter is useful professional. Personally, I'm using it to do some networking for a social media job search.
We'll probably see more selectivity and thinning of friends on Twitter as people begin to get tired of hearing what someone is planning for dinner or when they're picking up the kids from little league practice. Twitter has its use for the social set, but those who are using Twitter as part of their business - like the Twitter feed set up by Bryan Person - will quickly fine-tune it to their liking.
Props to Dave Armano for the Twitter link to the WSJ article.
A number of fears in her "unlikely" category have been expressed to me by a number of clients who have shunned my recommendations to start a blog. These include legal liabilities, violation of corporate privacy, regulatory issues and lawsuits. My usual response to this is: "that's all possible in the realm of email and was hotly debated when email was introduced to corporations."
This "fear" is usually a red herring for some other underlying reason(s). It could be that the CEO doesn't feel comfortable writing, or that no one on staff has time to write one, or that they simply don't understand the blogosphere.
Whatever the reason, it's our job as social media professionals to help them get over this fear and embrace the reality. It's coming along faster than they think.
March 13, 2007
I have to admit, I'm woefully behind on this trend. I went away on vacation in late February, missed all of the NewComm Forum coverage, and am trying to catch up on real work.
In the meantime, Twitter has rocketed to the forefront of the social media space. Take a look at these traffic statistics from Alexa since last October:
For those of you who may not know Twitter, it's a very simple tool that allows you to share thoughts on the fly, either via the Web, phone or IM. You can Twitter away into the ether, or you can develop a group of friends and let them know what you're up to. If you'd like to be my Twitter friend, you can find me at: www.twitter.com/scottmonty
Steve Rubel, one of the most enthusiastic early adopters (or a lot of social media tools!) questioned how to best use Twitter vis a vis blogging. While it may be good for sharing quick ideas on the fly, it's no substitution for a well thought out blog post with deeper perspective. It's like the difference between IM and email.
Others have varying opinions of Twitter: Dave Armano is clearly a fan, while Kevin Dugan loathes it. Todd Defren argues that it helps him connect to colleagues across the country. Armano makes the argument that it's at least worth checking out before you ignore, so you know what it's capable of. I was guilty of pooh-poohing it, until I signed up yesterday and I can see how it would be addictive.
Twitter is inherently more useful to me than Second Life because it requires so little attention and is so easy to use. Twitter is relevant to my daily activities and helps keep me focused on them, rather than drawing me into an artificial world that keeps me from being productive. It's also much more personal than Second Life. Hey! How about that? A social media tool that helps you be more social!
I get it now. Viacom's shot across YouTube's bow has a direct correlation to the stake they bought in Joost. Bambi's Blog over on the MarketWatch blog system explains in a little more detail.
But Viacom can play a bit of hardball now that it has a wild card of sorts. And, that card is Joost, which Viacom took a financial interest in last month. Joost was started by the two founders of Skype and KaZaA.
Viacom stole the show today with the announcement of its $1 billion lawsuit against Google/YouTube. In the suit, Viacom claims that there were over 160,000 videos (of varying length, I'd imagine) that were widely distributed on YouTube which infringed on Viacom's copyrights.
Now, I don't know how the lawyers did the math - a billion dollars is a nice round sum. It works out to about $6,250 per video. Since the videos are likely segments of entire shows, I wonder how they worked out the aggregate numbers. They clearly see that YouTube has a powerful model: "building traffic and selling advertising off of unlicensed content," but don't want to be victimized.
NBC Universal, CBS Corp. and Universal Music Group already inked revenue-sharing deals with YouTube. Is Viacom's strategy a smart one? It may help this graph in the short-run, but it's tough to say beyond that.
Is this an example of Big Media not embracing the power of social media? Should they be partnering with YouTube? Or does Viacom have another plan?
March 4, 2007
Now here's a great lesson in creating marketing that's worthy of becoming viral.
We all know that one essential ingredient in a successful viral campaign is content that's entertaining. Only then will you guarantee pass-alongs.
Case in point: the Geico Cavemen created by The Martin Agency. Over the last year, the TV campaign for Geico.com ("So easy even a caveman can do it") has generated a remarkable following. Now, in the ultimate acknowledgment of entertaining ads, ABC is developing a sitcom for the cavemen.
According to Variety.com:
"Cavemen" will revolve around three pre-historic men who must battle prejudice as they attempt to live as normal thirtysomethings in modern Atlanta.
At Ford, Scott heads up the social media function and holds the title Global Digital &
Multimedia Communications Manager. He is a strategic advisor on all social media activities across the company, from blogger
relations to marketing support, customer service to internal communications and more, as social media is being integrated into many
facets of Ford business.
Prior to joining Ford, Scott served as Consigliere for crayon
and spent a number of years with PJA Advertising + Marketing, a
boutique BtoB agency specializing in health sciences & high tech.
In addition to his professional responsibilities, Scott is an active blogger and podcaster. He writes about the intersection of
advertising, marketing and PR at ScottMonty.com and
also writes The Baker Street Blog and cohosts I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere, two literary undertakings. Scott
has been featured in hundreds of news and business publications in print and on the web, in nearly dozens of books, and on a variety of
mainstream media, including NBC, NPR, CNN and The Wall Street Journal. Scott is a recognized thought leader in the social media industry and
frequently speaks at industry events.
Scott received his Master's in Medical Science from Boston University's School of Medicine concurrently with his MBA from BU's
Graduate School of Management. He lives in the greater Detroit area with his wife and two young sons, golfs all too infrequently, and
has a hidden talent for voice over work.
Scott speaks on social media at events, seminars and conferences around the world. His topic generally focuses on corporate use of social media, becoming an online spokesperson, and specifically on the progress that Ford has made in the recent past. If you're interested in booking Scott to speak at your event, please click here to submit a speaking request for Ford-related purposes or email me at speaking [AT] this site's URL (if you know what I mean) to send a general email request.. Scott's bio and headshot can be found in the "About Scott" tab above.
I'm Scott. I'm the global head of social media for Ford Motor Company. This is my personal blog, where I share my perspectives on business, technology, communications, marketing and the vast changes in the industry that impact leadership. This blog contains my personal views. My bio is available here and my headshots can be found here.