Posters of Yore.

A Social Media Tip

Twitter Is the News.

Social Media

Social Media Winning: Map and Manipulate.


Do you know what is driving all the “free” on the Web?  Marketing. Not just advertising but marketing.  Why is Facebook so valuable?  Why does Google have more money than Allah? Where’s that money coming from?  Yep, Toyota and P&G and Verizon.

And as we glance beyond the dashboard at the future and see, as the iPad commercial puts it, newspapers with videos and magazines that sing, we see a world in which the Web and mobile devices are the primary instruments of marketers. The devices know what we like and where we are.  They know when we are sleeping. They know when we’re awake. Dare say, they know when we’ve been bad or good.

As the social web evolves and the big ad and marketing shops learn how to “map and manipulate”, it will become more apparent that people with influence are the drivers of marketing.  Kim Kardashian, for instance, earns $30,000 for a tweet.  To a tech start-up a Robert Scoble endorsement can mean the difference between being funded and being fun dead. So where am I going with this?  To Klout.

Klout is the new online oxy. It’s a drug…and more and more Posters will be talking about it. The Klout score will identify those people who advertisers want to target. And revere.  High Klout scores and predictions thereof will be the things around which ad agencies develop departments. Klout is on to something and they know it.  Get it right dudes and dudettes. And get it right soon before a competitors snaps it up. Peace!

Journalism anew.


Yesterday at the Long Island 140 Conference I had lunch with Jason Molinet. Those from Long Island know Mr. Molinet from his insightful bylined stories in Newsday over the years. He now works for Patch.

I like AOL’s content strategy and often urge the company to invest in big name online properties a la Huff Post and TechCrunch. As for Patch, I haven’t been as warmly disposed.  My first impression was that Patch (AOL’s local news play) was going to be a flop. A big time supporter of the need for more localized news and the internet’s ability to deliver it, in my experience so far Patch has been lacking.  Fact checking, reporting ballast, edge still seem lacking. I wonder if Patch reporters are tired and on second careers. Jaded me?

Well perhaps I’m wrong.  Tim Armstrong (AOL CEO) is heavily invested in Patch and he wants it to work, so maybe Mr. Molinet is a step in the right direction.

Earlier in the week I sat in on a talk at the Social Media Club of Long Island with a New York Times stringer reporter who lives locally.  She’s a heavy social media user and when combining her investigative reporting skills with fast twitch social media she has been doing some amazing things. Her sources are a fingertip away. Story backgrounders clicks away. Quotes immediate.  This woman gets the new journalism. And it is very, very exciting.

Once newspapers break the tether of the paper/paper and traditional reporters will combine their instincts and skills with social and web tools, it will truly reinvent the business. It’s the promise of Patch. Let’s see if they deliver. Peace!

Trust. Search. And Ashton Kutcher.


Ashton Kutcher is quoted in the paper today about one of his venture capital investments. “Turning social trust into commerce” was the word string that caught my eye.  To me this is the essence of social computing for marketers. And, so you know,  the social web is not just about commerce and marketing.  Sometimes social is just social.  But we all have to eat and we all have to buy, so finding trusted sources of influence is a key.

I met with an SEO marketing person yesterday about my blog.  It’s not really high on any organic search list.  Before the meeting I Googled “brand planning” and was at the top of page 5.  He wanted me to pay him a thousand a month but could do something for $500.  I needed to have more calls to action, more free offer boxes, more this, more that, meta flah flah flah.  He was right, but also wrong. Too much flah, flah, flah and I begin got lose that trust mantle Ashton talks about.  “But how many inquiries are you getting a day?” said he.  Not many. But that’s okay for now.  My approach trust building is not through the algorithm.  Not though black hat search or white hat search (Call too action: If you want to know what white hat search is, leave a comment or email me). I tend the garden every day.

For me — and I’m in a funny business — I sell by not over-selling and then making it easy to contact me.  I think this is good advice for everyone on the web…with or without a commercial enterprise.  That’s why Ashton has over 6M followers. He’s easy to contact. Ish. Peace!

Hashtag. A Universal Symbol of Change.


Those who love social media surely are getting tired of ignorant commentators who publish that social is only used for sharing what one is doing.  Comedians, editorialists, and barflies love to hate on social media, especially Twitter, declaring it a means for sharing self-centered, self-aggrandizing bits of information — “I’m buying shoes on Spring Street.”

Perhaps Twitter was this way the first month and no doubt people still drivel on a bit about their whereabouts and transactions, but Twitter and the hashtag are a very different animal than the one naysayers see. There was a gentleman in Pakistan, Sohaib Athar (@reallyvirtual), who was tweeting about Osama’s death well before the rumors hit the U.S.  This I learned from a Fashion Institute of Technology student, who wasn’t buying shoes at the time. Mr. Athar, though not thinking about it at the time was a citizen journalist. A global citizen journalist.

When Syrian president Bashar al-Assad decides to hack the Syrian Revolution 2011 Facebook page and change its content, it was intended to chance the course of history. When videos on YouTube show global atrocities in near real-time, that’s important.

Marketers and investors are spending a lot to time trying to monetize social media, and that is taking our eyes off the ball.   Commentators are trying to gain contrarian props by telling us how frivolous social media is. But know this, the hashtag will change history. For good and in some cases bad.  It is a cross media, cross language symbol. Perhaps, the first such symbol or character of its time. Peace.

Cheesing the Social Web.


Dan Zarrella, who has a neat person brand in social media, posted an interview with rap blogger Eskay providing a smart take on social media. Check it out here. In a nutshell it suggests social media is a good music marketing tool but not nearly as important as the music.  The artist who sits around focusing on his/her Twitter or Facebook metrics is not focused on the art. Not really feeling the audience. Certainly not the way they can by performing.

Most musicians do care more about their art than the buzz, that’s why they are more effective in social.  They post things that fans care about.  The word “fans” is the operative word.  Bands, performers, artists have fans. Cooking oils don’t.

Community building and social media is about fulfilling a need. Filtering and organizing a need. It’s not about selling. It’s okay to make your product or service available or one click away in an online community, but stop hawking.  Facebook knows that too much selling on the site will be its downfall. And it hasn’t yet figured out how to deal with that truism as it adds tens of thousands of users each day. Google learned this early, and smartly sequestered the sell from its Adwords program.

Selling is crawling into social media at a higher and higher pace. And it’s coming to a mobile device near you very soon.

So what do smart marketers do? Focus on their art. On their product. Use social media for sure…it’s an amazing tool. Enagage. Learn. Most importantly enable.  But stop cheesing the social web. Peace!

Grey’s Anatomy’s Droopy iPad App.


There is an iPad app for fans of Grey’s Anatomy, says CIO Magazine, developed by TV rating company Nielsen, that offers interactive social activities to viewers tied to events in the program. These events are “watermarked” to the show dialogue.  I’m interested.  Coolness.  I am always on the lookout for “1 plus 1 equals 3” mashups of media that go beyond the expected. That tread new ground.

And then I read that the Grey’s Anatomy app pops up questions like “What do you think will happen next in the plot?” “Or tweet this to a friend.”  Droop.  The app also offers character info, games and quizzes. Droopier. 

It sounds as if the media socialists on the show are making the app an extension of a fan club when there were so many other ways to go. The show is about medicine and doctors and hospitals, why not go that route?  Why not inform, educate, surprise?  Or how about offering up some type of production notes about the cast and the scene?  I’ll bet if the app developers actually listened to the audience in real time, without a social media engagement agenda, they might hear insights they hadn’t expected. Go deep. Think deeply. Think about strategy not tactics. Don’t extend, invent. Peace!

Social Media. Quiet is the new black.


I was watching an NCAA Tournament game the other day and with 13 minutes to go in an Sweet 16 game, the announcer was apoplectic. He announced each pass as if it would be the game’s last.  I can understand if we were in the finals and it was under 2 minutes, but phewwww. It seems the game for some announcers isn’t enough, it’s the delivery that creates excitement.  Like a laugh track on a sitcom. If everything is screamed and hyper- exciting, how are we to know when the truly amazing happens?  It’s like reading a two paragraph email typed in all caps.

One of the reasons social media has taken off so nicely, in this world of many product choices, is because friends and members of your social graph tend not to sell when they are talking up a product.  Well they sell, but from the gut and heart, not from the wallet. Paid marketing agents, on the other hand, are compensated to make you buy. 

Metaphorically, paid marketing agents shout while friends quietly discuss. Friends modulate. Friends offer no agenda.  I think it was Benjamin Palmer of the Barbarian Group who said at Social Media Week this February that commercial social media is most effective when it is “brands letting their hair down.” And he’s right.   When a brand is not in billboard mode, or advertising or coupon mode – not shouting every possible user benefit like the NCAA announcer – it has a chance to quietly and meaningfully build a case in a unique, human way.  Social is a new channel. Not an old channel repurposed. Peace.

A Question About Social Media.


Here’s a question I often think about — the answer for which will have grave impact on the future of social media.  Did social media as a business toolset evolve the way it did because of its unique technological place in the world, or because it was fueled by the recession?  Did businesses believe it a low-cost way to generate sales, increase loyalty and reduce marketing spend…while staying active?

Mary Meeker’s most recent report on the web talks about the “Ferocious pace of change.”  The marketing uptake on social media went from zero or 80 (percent) in a very short order. I loves me some social media.  It has helped build my business. But it’s a tool. An exciting new tool, but a tool none the less. Some are using it as a strategy.  Had the economy been strong, would the market have adopted SoMe as quickly?

Holiday shopping is back up it was reported today.  Good news for retailers, economy, and the government (taxes).  Let’s just see if those 200 social media agencies that popped up in NYC/Brooklyn the last two years have the ballast to make through to 2012?  Thoughts? 

Peace it up for the holidays!

Best Buy Oops.


I say Best Buy, you say what?  “Lot’s or products.” (Good) “Low prices” (A core value.) “Twelpforce and Twitter.” (Oooh, sorry.)  That’s right.  Best Buy and CMO Barry Judge have been in the spotlight and awards show klieg lights for months due to its so-called leadership in social media.   Best Buy used to was (Southernism) all about being the best buy.  Well they took their eye off the brand prize, found technology, and have now lost market share in laptops, TVs and videogame software in the quarter just reported.

I looove social media, but it’s not a brand strategy. It’s a media strategy and a marketing tactics. Had Mr. Judge focused more of his efforts on ways to provide a more competitively priced product than Walmart, Target and Amazon, the klieg lights would still be shining.

Alas.  Peace!

Campbell’s Coulda Woulda.


I’ve been a fan of Douglas R. Conant, CEO of the Campbell’s Soup Company, for a few years and today my fanboy status took a hit.  Soup sales fell for Campbell’s in it most recent quarter, missing analyst targets by one cent — and the stock price fell.

In a tight economy, inexpensive soup becomes a staple of the dollar-conscious.  According to reports, people are still buying the condensed soups and using them in meals prepared at home but sale of ready-to-eat and other condensed soups are flagging. Apparently there is just so much canned soup a body can take.

Mr. Conant who is leaving Campbell’s in July, noted that the sales problem is tied to lack of product innovation and the fact that new customers are not stopping by his area of the food aisle.  For a middle-American family of 5 who has eaten soup once or twice a week for a couple of years, pinching dollars, I can see why there might be some push back from around the dinner table.  I suspect a little recipe innovation, rather than product innovation might have been a good idea.  

This time last year, when business was cranking,  I reached out to the marketing department at Campbell’s and suggested a creative social media program around a “dinner for dollars” video property. (Can’t say more.)  I was told to take my idea to the suggestion box on the website. As Tony Montana might have said “Not look at chew.”  Peace!