I had the opportunity to interview Aman Talwar on SEO and social media. He is the SEO and Social Media Manager at Fairfax Media Ltd. The interview is for my upcoming book “Start Digital Marketing“. We chat about a range of topics from evaluating social media platforms, how he started his career in digital marketing and how you can get into digital marketing too!
Lovin’ these Empire state of mind spoof videos……I can relate to both of them. I love how people can mash up content, remix it, spit it out again and create their own unique versions. More power to the user! It makes the songs more well known, the artists get more plays and fans are introduced to the original song. Its the remix culture!
This is the local version, Sydney State of Mind which my friend Cheryl sent to me recently. I actually heard them mixing / playing it in the Nova station. Check it!
Yeah, Im out a Blacktown, now Im in Maroubra,
Right next to the Seals, Im Sydney forever,
Used to live in Newtown, couldnt dig the people there,
With the crazy coloured hair and you can always see their underwear,
So I hit up Carringbah, did my time at bizzos,
Saw some good bands and did some talking with my fists though
Started work at Panthers, uniforms an insult,
Still remembered as the Tiger Woods of Aqua Golf
I’m out like Empire State of Mind remixes,
We’re back into the swing of things for 2010, and I’d like to write about a couple of things I’ve seen in the last 12 months in the digital world. I don’t like to do predictions because the web moves so fast and technology is changing at such a fast pace. But I’d like to tell you about services I am using and what I want to use more of. I’m going to start with Foursquare in 2010.
The reason that I am writing this post is because I went to a presentation on the future of digital in 2008 and one of the speakers was Michael Kordahi, Microsoft Evangelist for Microsoft Surface which I have previously blogged about. One thing that stood out was how he said he had to bring his clients along with him for the journey, as he’s often so far ahead and in a different space. He does that with his blog and that’s what I am trying to do too!
An app that I’ve been using quite a lot in the last few months is Foursquare. I’ve actually been wanting to write about this for a while but I wanted to evaluate the service for a few months first.
I had signed up about 6 months before it was available in Australia and there were only a few Aussies on the network. I must admit that I sign up to a lot of services that I hear about on tech blogs. I’m one of those people that like to experiment. I noticed a lot of them were tweeting about it on one day and some had added me – that’s when I realised it was available in Aus. There were a flurry of blog posts from local tech / internet peers in the few days after it was released in Australia.
I could see that there was a lot of potential. Foursquare is a location based social networks where you could update your location using your mobile. I was already using my mobile a lot to update my status using facebook and twitter. I also noticed that a lot of my friends were updating with location based tweets/fb updates saying which restaurant they were at, which country they were travelling to, etc….. Everywhere I was going, particularly on the trains, out in the clubs/bars, people were accessing the internet on their smart phones and logging into facebook/twitter with location based information. It just made sense. I was already experimenting with Google Latitude, BrightKite, and then GoWalla so I could see the space was hotting up.
Where are your friends and what are they doing?
The thing I like about foursquare is that you can see where your friends are and what they are doing. Often when you are out, you might just miss them. The next time you see them you’re like “I can’t believe you were there! I was there too!” or “You just missed me!” or you call them and ask “Where are you tonight?”. With foursquare, I know exactly where they are (if they choose to disclose this information). I can find out new venues which my friends are checking out, and it encourages me to go there too.
There are also some other interesting outcomes. An example from last Friday, I was at the Arthouse for my high school reunion. One of my colleagues was meeting up with another friend at Arthouse. He saw on foursquare that I was there! So he walked around looking for me, and I found him!
You choose to follow people in your network and I try to find similar minded people and see where they hang out. I also like seeing who else has checked-in to a venue. So social networking is an important element in Foursquare.
You can also get tips at venues ala eatability. I love going to a restaurant, check-in to a venue and reading the tips other people have left. One of my favourite restaurants at the moment is Chat Thai, in Sydney’s chinatown. I read a tip on Foursquare to try out the strawberry blend. I did and it was awesome! If I eat something which I like, or have a tip on my favourite dish on a venue or even a bad experience, I will write about it on foursquare. I also leave tips which other people may find helpful. For example, at Museum station, I left a note saying that some of the entrances close at 8pm (it might be earlier), but thats useful for people to know.
Gameplay addiction – The checkins
Another element that is quite addictive and in my opinion makes it standout is the gameplay. When you enter a venue, you can checkin. You find the location using your phone – it will pull up a list of nearby locations or you can enter your own. After that, you choose to check-in to show you are there and it will notify your network. You get points for checking in. If you have 3 or more checkins, you can become Mayor of the venue. That is, if no one else is already Mayor. If someone else has more checkins, you have to have more than them to take over as Mayor.
In fact, I’ve been battling for control of Museum station for some time now! Another user had 10+ checkins at Musuem, so I decided to check-in twice a day (when I arrived in the morning and left at night). I became Mayor and then someone else overtook me. Now I have to get back on top again!! That keeps me coming back to Foursquare.
I’m currently holding down two mayor-ships (is that a word?). I’ve the mayor of Equilibrium (World Square Pub) and Bikaner Namkeen. I’ve actually reached super-user level 1, so I have the authority to edit and merge venues, which I intend to do with World Square Pub.
You also get points for checkins, but I don’t really care too much about the points. What I do care about is the badges. There are different badges for various purposes. Your first checkin gets you the “newbie” badge. Then there are badges for 10 checkins, 25, and 50 (they must be unique venues). The interesting ones are “local” (3 x in one week), “crunked” (4+ checkins in one night), and my favourite “player please” (checkin with 3 members of the opposite sex).
If you want a good post about the check-ins which foursquare pioneered, read this from the Scobelizer, someone I respect who blogs about the social networking space and the web in general. He talks about how the other social networking services are going to start adopting checkins as well, including Facebook, Twitter and Yelp.
Opportunities for business
There are some exciting opportunities for business. Potentially they can send out location sensitive offers. If you happen to walk past a venue, they could push out a notification with an offer to entice you in e.g. free entree with every meal. Alternatively, offer discounts to people that checkin. I’ve seen examples in the US of offering discounts to people that are Mayors of venues.
I must admit I’ve become a bit of a mini-evangelist for foursquare. I have convinced several people from work to sign up as well as some of my friends and associates. Now that I’ve got a fair amount of people on the service, its becoming a lot more useful. So don’t delay, signup!
I’m out like threesquare,
About two weeks ago, David Meerman Scott came to Australia to talk about social media. He’s a best selling author on Amazon on PR, marketing and social media topics and his books have been translated into 22 languages!
I heard him speak at Social Media Club Sydney (SMCSYD) and also had the opportunity to have breakfast with him and some other Sydney bloggers. He also had a speaking engagement in Melbourne.
Here’s a pic of the breakfast:
He spoke about buyer personas at SMCSYD – understanding who the buyer is and talking to them in their voice. I thought he was a really good presenter, fun and engaging.
The most compelling thing for me was the idea of giving content away for free. He gave an example of a dentist in boston writing an ebook of Oral sex and health which went viral. It was niche, eye catching topic and controversial and something people want to know about. He’s also a great example himself, as he gave away a few chapters of his current book, World Wide Rave. He also has a free ebook out as well (like the full thing). I actually read the free version of World Wide Rave, liked it, then went out and bought it.
I think a lot of organisations are very scared of using this tactic. They like to build walls around to capture data, and monetise. Don’t build the barriers up. Just give it away for free – don’t coerce them. It will generate more online buzz, be easier to share your idea and thoughts, and if people are interested in you, they will subscribe to hear you……..voluntarily.
I’m about halfway through the book and I got him to autograph it! Check it:
I also helped out in the online marketing of the event as my company, ND sponsored the event in Melbourne. A bunch of my colleagues contributed using our various skill sets from:
- online display ads: nextbrett
- Email marketing: James, Tiff, Me
- Blog: James
- Twitter @socialmediamc: James, Me
- Eventbrite & Copy: Tiff
- And Matt Edge who brought us all together.
If I have forgotten anyone, please feel free to shoot me =) I believe there is an interview video floating around somewhere, so hopefully it gets uploaded soon to the interwebs.
There’s some other bloggers who have blogged about it here:
If there’s any other blogs out there, let me know and I will link through.
I’m out like World Wide Rave,
Matt aka Inspiredworlds
Next Digital and Jennifer Frahm Collaborations are hosting an event called Social Media and Online Marketing Masterclass. It features an international best selling author, David Meerman Scott who will be coming from the US to lead the sessions.
If you are interested check out the widget below or hit me up for more info =)
On Monday night, about 300 people gathered for the inaugural launch of the social media club in Sydney. The event was held at the Polo & Supper Club in Oxford St and the event was well attended by the masses. By the masses I’m referring to marketing people, the digerati, the twitterati, PR people, etc…or whatever you want to call them. The key note speakers were the fake Stephen Conroy aka Leslie Nassar (love your work!) and Adam Ferrier of Naked Communications. The MC for the night was Tim Burrowes, editor of Mumbrella. The topic for the night was “authenticity & transparency in social media” – one of those airy fairy marketing topics.
At 6.30pm when I arrived, the place was pumping. They had two levels booked out, and the bottom level where the main arena was, was absolutely packed. Standing room only! (Well bars are made for standing room).
Man with the $349 jacket
Adam Ferrier went first and spoke about their infamous “girl in the jacket campaign”. This campaign was created for Witchery to launch their mens range and they had a budget of zero (emphasis) and wanted to generate a lot of buzz. So they created a fictious story where girl sees boy in cafe she fancies, boy leaves jacket, girl wants to find boy. Girl then goes to the enormous length of posting a video on youtube. The story then got amplified as the main stream press picked it up and they showed that Sunrise breakfast program, newspapers, etc… Their intention was to get the brand noticed and get people talking about Witchery Man. Check it:
As of now, 212,100 views in youtube. Pretty impressive for a budget of zero. I’ve watched the video for the first time, and although I have the benefit of hindsight, I would have been highly skeptical of it at the time. The way that she goes to great lengths to describe the jacket and how the “perfect guy” would be wearing it. In fact its not a bad jacket. Subliminal advertising must work on the weak.
Then the press started asking who is this girl, is this a marketing campaign, who is behind this? They eventually got outed. Naked & Witchery came clean and posted a video response saying yes it was us. I’ve only seen the videos now (after the talk) so here it in all its glory:
Man, I cringed when I saw this. It could have been executed a lot better and definently with more class – the way that Heidi turns it into a ad for the jacket. In fact, the only time I cringed even more in the last 24 hrs was when I heard Adam Ferrier’s response as to whether Naked was arrogant.
Its all about generating conversations
It seemed that for most of the night Adam was defending Naked’s actions. He even had stats to back himself up. But at the end of the day, I think he was convincing and I agree with Tim Burrowes comments on Mumbrella that he did help to sway the crowd onto his side.
Honestly, I don’t have a problem with this tactic of creating a false story or building a mysterious story to get customers engaged and talking about a brand. Brands do it all the time. It’s what we do as marketers. Can Jordan really fly? (Wait, there is doubt?), are pure blondes really made from pristine rivers? Brands make up stories and fantasies all the time to get customers talking and excited. All they want to do is generate buzz. If that’s the objective, then Naked slam dunked it.
Was the public misled about Girl in the Jacket. I have no doubt they were. Was their a line that was crossed? Yes – only when they made that cringeworthy followup video. If Naked did not do the followup video like that, I think it would have been a great campaign. Consumers are smarter than what we give them credit for.
Was it groundbreaking? Of course not. In fact some guy in the audience asked “Did the Witchery Man campaign helped increase the popularty of social media?” – dude are you kidding me? They posted a youtube video about a fake story and it got picked up by the press. It’s not as if they created Twitter. When the story was being told, I immediately thought of the real life campaign of NY girl of my dreams, the cybersearch by one NYC man for an aussie girl he met on the subway. I came across this when I was travelling in the States, and I had actually thought about it when I started reading about this campaign and the connection became even more clearer last night.
I agree with Adam’s insight that social media is a communication channel. It could be more than that, but at the end of the day that’s primarily what it is. Yes it is democratizing media (see Ashton Kutcher). However, it does make it a lot harder for brands and marketers to do something similar now because people think they got screwed over.
It nots really Stephen Conroy?
I love Leslie’s work as the fake stephen conroy. Dude is funny but a walking PR disaster. He didn’t have a lot to say on the night and Tim was trying to involve him as much as possible by asking him questions as well. But he definently had a couple of good insights – that not everything created by companies on social media is great. Everyone does go nuts when they see a brand do something on social media.
If you want to see more of the Witchery Man campaign check the video from the night.
I’m out like the man in the jacket,
Linkedin is being used a lot more these days for networking amongst professionals. Increasingly, more discussions, groups, and job opportunities are popping up on there too. We are also seeing a lot more events being posted onto Linkedin, to take advantage of the social networks that people have.
I’ve made a slidedeck of how to post an event on Linkedin. It’s actually quite easy, though a lot of people are unsure how to do it. There’s a Q&A on the Linkedin website, but not a step by step guide with pictures. So I did one =)
I also included some slides at the end for eventbrite. Eventbrite is being used a lot more now to manage registrations for events. The way it works is that they take a slice of the ticketing fees. If your event is free, then using it is free too. So they work on a commission basis. It’s really cool and simple to do up as well.
Some great features of eventbrite:
– Print out a list of the attendees
– accepts payment via paypal (no need for you to create anythign in the backend)
– ability for attendee to print out tickets
– there’s a barcode on the event ticket, and if you use a web cam, it acts as a scanner!
– listing of all events for cities, upcoming. You can also tell it to publish in search engines
– listing of all attendees on the registration website
Overrall, Eventbrite is great especially for small time promoters, non profit organisations as it gives them the infrastructure to manage ticketing and its looks very pro. Plus its very simple to use. In my slides, I’ve done a demo to show you how easy it is to do.
The best thing is that these tools are free.
I’m out like ticketmaster!
What is going on with my blog traffic ? I had 158 hits today and I’m averaging close to 130 hits a day in the last 5 days. And its all coming from the following search terms:
- mc hammer
- mc hammer pants
- m c hammer
- mc hammer cant touch this
- balloon pants
Obviously there is something going on with MC Hammer. I normally get like 10 – 50 hits a day, averaging like 30 hits daily. I’ve hit on something which I need to investigate. My most popular blog post is “MC Yammer: can’t touch this” with 500+ hits. It was actually was about Yammer, a software as a service that we use at work. It’s not about MC Hammer, though I saw the marketing connection with the name Yammer/Hammer. I started calling myself MC Yammer at work as a joke. I also posted up a lot of pictures of MC Hammer.
It’s clear to me that a) MC Hammer is a popular search term and b) My blog is getting a lot of traffic from using that keyword tag and c) MC Hammer must be back!!!!!!!!
MC Hammer & Dancejam
If you didn’t know already (Australian readers probably don’t), MC Hammer has a popular social networking site called dancejam. I first heard about it through Tech Crunch, because Michael Arrington the editor is one of the investors and he blogged about it.
Dancejam reminds me of So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD) meets Youtube. People post up videos about dancing, lessons, and their latest moves. it’s categorised into different styles for breaking, salsa, etc.. But the coolest feature is the dance off tournament style videos. MC Hammer chooses a style (e.g. popping, a style of breakdancing) and people face off against each other and users vote for the best. Its elimination style, so the winners proceed to the next round and eventually a winner is found.
I have to admit I don’t know any more about this website and will have to look into it. It’s clear to me that dance must also be huge now because of SYTYCD. It’s brought dance back into the mainstream and pique a lot of people’s interest. If you want to know more about the history of dancejam, read this. MC Hammer is also a huge star on twitter and uses it to tweet about latest videos and tournaments. He’s got 144,000 followers on twitter and clearly is one of the most popular tweeters out there. I think only Obama, Stephen Fry, and Chris Brogan have more followers.
I’m out like balloon pants!
Matthew Ho aka MC Yammer