What STOMP! can show us about social media

May 21st, 2009


Stomp! is extraordinary. We were treated to a performance last night by Josie from The Edge , who’s exploring social media (watch for our interview with her on iJumpTV soon!).

What struck me – pardon the pun – was how applicable Stomp was to social media – and to branding and marketing in general.

Like all live theatre, Stomp is a special mixture of meticulous planning and spontaneous magic. The set, costumes and acting make the performance look effortless and improvised, yet hours and hours must have gone into the super-smooth moves.

Being live, there’s also the possibility of audience interaction. We got that, a little at a time, when Kiwi frontman Paul Russell (former drummer for Supergroove and Eight) gave us two claps, and then – without words – indicated he wanted us to follow.

It was just two claps at first, but by the end of the evening we were collectively doing some pretty funky stuff. If I do say so myself.

And that’s what made it such an amazing experience. Not just that these amazingly talented artists were putting on an amazing show, but that they let us take part in it!

How can your organisation create that kind of magic, not just for, but with your audience?

(Image courtesy of Dereck Sanches )

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More stats – just in from Nielsen Online

May 18th, 2009

Hard on the heels of our handy collection of NZ social media stats, we have new stats about how kiwis use social media from Nielsen Online.

From the press release:

“Our survey results provide fascinating insight into the online behaviour of New Zealanders and show the large numbers of consumers generating their own content on the web” says Tony Boyte, Research Director, Nielsen Online.

“If we look at Internet activity over the last four weeks, (48%) of us have created, updated or looked at an online profile on a social networking site; and nearly (30%) have contributed to a message board, online forum or wrote/commented on a blog.”

Results also show that more than two out of every five have uploaded pictures (41%), uploaded music (12%), uploaded videos (10%) or posted a review of a product or service online (9%).

Furthermore, when it comes to consuming media, almost half of the Internet population have downloaded, streamed or watched a video clip online (45%); or downloaded, streamed, or listened to music (37%).

“Add to that the number of people using online directories (47%), reading newspapers or publications online (79%) – and a staggering (81%) using search engines – and we begin to see that the Internet has become pivotal as a personal communication, media consumption and research tool for New Zealanders,” says Boyte.

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Stats about social media in New Zealand

May 18th, 2009

How many people are using social media in New Zealand?

Lots, according to these figures compiled from Comscore and DraftFCB ’s Orion tool (thanks to Stephen Johnson for the data).
NZ social media usage

Click on the image for a larger version

And social media is growing in New Zealand. 200,000 newly active social networking accounts were recorded between October 2008 (1.7 million) and February 2009 (1.9 million), according to MSN’s PR agency, Talkies Group.

This graph also shows the steady decline in popularity of Bebo, while Facebook continues to take off (556,000 visitors in October 2008, compared with 805,000 in February 2009).

Bebo vs Facebook vs MySpace

Meanwhile, Twitter continues to grow from a very small (but highly engaged) user base in New Zealand.
Instant Messaging stats in NZ

Source: Comscore MyMetrix Feb 2009

Note: these Twitter statistics only measure visits to Twitter.com, not numbers of people using the Twitter service on their mobile phones or the multitude of Twitter desktop apps.

According to Ben Young , who’s been tracking Twitter numbers over the month of April, there are approximately 10,000 active users, which represents 100% growth over the previous month (5,000 active users). Overall user numbers are much higher, says Ben, but the 10,000 figure represents active, involved Twitterers in New Zealand.

I think it’s fair to say, social media is becoming mainstream. What’s even more important is what that means. This is not just a shift in media habits from traditional media to online. These numbers represent profound changes in behaviour. More on this soon!

Update: Nielsen Online has some just-released stats on how New Zealanders use social media.

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iJump cofounder Simon Young in the NZ Herald

May 15th, 2009

Simon Young in the NZ Herald

"Social media is a symptom of a revolution that’s taking place, and our job at is to prepare organisations to not only survive this revolution, but to adapt and thrive."

Read more on the NZ Herald site .

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Is Twitter co-creating itself with its consumers?

May 13th, 2009

Last week Twitter upgraded the way it told people someone new was following them. Previously all you got was a name; now you get more details so you can decide whether to follow back, without having to click through.

Interestingly, two other services, Twimailer and Topify , already offered these features (plus a few more).

Here’s Twitter’s new notification style:

Twitter's new email notifications

And here’s a notification from Topify:

Email notification from Topify
I’ve often wondered how Twitter is going to successfully add features, because they’ve made it so easy for others to build infrastructure on top of their own.

As a public good, this is a great idea, because we consumers get a huge range of services we can use with Twitter, and it also helps us realise the value of Twitter, therefore increasing our loyalty.

But I didn’t realise until now what Twitter’s other motive might have been … to provide an open infrastructure so others can innovate, and to then take the best ideas and make them their own.

Is this co-creation in action? Or is it a bit predatory? What do you think?

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The paradox of consistency

May 11th, 2009

When you begin in social media, there’s a lot of conflicting advice. For example:

  • Experiment to find what’s right for you
  • Be consistent
  • Once you put anything out there, it’s there forever and can’t be removed
  • Make mistakes, you’ll learn from them

The problem is, they’re all true. Your end goal should be a consistent social media presence, whether it’s regular blog posts , YouTube videos , or conversations on Twitter.

Yet it’s inadvisable to try to keep a schedule when you’re operating in a vaccuum. Your schedule starts to write itself as you interact with your community. That’s when you start to find that you should write your blog posts every Tuesday at 10am. Or that your audience likes to watch your videos over the weekend. It all happens through relationship. And that takes time.

So in your search for consistency, keep the end goal in mind – relationship with your community.

How did you find your social media "rhythm"? (Or are you still trying to find it?)

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Don’t come to the Auckland social media practitioners meetup

May 8th, 2009

We’re trying to keep the numbers manageable, so if you’re not sure if you’re a practitioner of social media based in Auckland, you’d best stay away from the meetup we’re having on Tuesday in Freeman’s Bay.

Enough said.Don't come to this meetup

(Kidding! We’d love to see you there!)

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What makes a good community manager?

May 8th, 2009

Community manager at work One point from the Q&A roundup from Marketing Now bears deeper exploration: Online communities require investment in people.

Technology is necessary, and beneficial. But it’s only the beginning.

Nothing will happen if you set up an online community platform and expect a community to form and manage itself.

In 2008 the Tribalization of Business survey found that this was the case – businesses were spending up to a million dollars on community platforms that were then becoming ghost towns.

It’s not because the concept isn’t valid; it’s that the job has been half done.

Communities, movements, any collection of people for a purpose, happens because someone makes an effort.

So what skills are required? In our years of observing and participating in this space, we believe a good community manager is like a:

  • Magazine editor , who pulls together information from various sources and makes it easy-to-consume.
  • Orchestra conductor , who brings the best out of a group of diverse people.
  • Counsellor , who listens to people and helps them solve their own problems.
  • Improv actor , who uses the situation at hand to create a completely new experience with his audience.
  • Parent , making sure that no child is left behind, and that everyone treats each other well.
  • Exploration leader, taking the community down new and exciting paths.
  • Publican , whose job is to provide a convivial environment for conversation and entertainment, with the minimum of distraction.

Any I’ve missed?

(Thanks to Chris for publishing his photos under a Creative Commons licence!)

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Marketing Now part 3 – Q and A

May 7th, 2009

(This continues our coverage of the Marketing Now Conference. Also check out my posts on day 1 and 2 , and the three iJumpTV episodes devoted to the conference)
How would a blind man describe an elephant?

"Social media reminds me of the story of the five blind men and the elephant. Asked to describe the elephant, one said ‘it’s long and thin’, because he could feel the tail. Another said, ‘no, it’s flat and thin’, because he was feeling the ear. Yet another said ‘you’re crazy! It’s like a tree trunk, thick and round’, because he was feeling the leg.

"They all could see different aspects of social media, yet none of them could see it in its entirety. That’s the same kind of situation we’re in now – there’s a revolution beginning and we haven’t begun to see all the potential effects.

Yet on this panel we have some of the most expert elephant gropers in the world. They’ve been feeling the elephant for years. And they’re here to answer your questions."

That’s how I introduced the panel of speakers – Sharon Crost , Stephen Johnson , Jim Stewart , David Meerman Scott and Chris Brogan – in the final session of Marketing Now. It was an action-packed session, with almost as much commentary from the audience as from the speakers. Here are some of the highlights.

Greig Buckley, CEO of the Interactive Advertising Bureau , had a very interesting question about the future of ad-supported online services. To paraphrase his question, how will paid advertising online survive if marketers are shifting their efforts to free social media marketing ? (In fact, the word he used was "parasitic", but he was at pains to point out he implied no judgement in using that word)

The answers from the panel tended to say the same thing: we don’t see the solution yet, but it was strongly in the interests of media owners (and the owners of services like YouTube) to figure out a solution soon. None of them are in it for love, they are all in it for commercial reasons, but at the moment we are at an experimental stage.

Another question was about how to start an online community . One audience member had budgeted $25,000 to develop a Facebook-like community. Another audience member recommended Ning.com , pointing out that it did most things an online community platform needs to do, for free (or US$25 a month for an ad-free service). But that’s only half the story.

The other half of the story is the need for a community leader or manager. The technology is just the beginning; communities need nurturing and leadership, and that can only be done by a person. So the panel’s advice: invest that money in a person and/or people to lead that community .

The last story, and by far the most common question we hear at iJump, is "where do we start?"

Of course, there is no one answer, so the next best thing was to ask people in the audience to share their plans and next steps. Most next steps included an exploration of Twitter and Google Alerts , as well as developing buyer personas (as per David Meerman Scott’s presentation ).

This session was also the beginning of the NZ Social Media Network – where socialising means business . Established by Siobhan Bulfin and ourselves, this is a place for business people to learn from each other about social media, with a New Zealand focus.

Even if you weren’t able to attend the conference, we’d love to see you at the NZ Social Media Network .

(Thanks to digitalART2 for the fantastic Elephoto)

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