Conversations that Matter with Toke Møller

March 16th, 2010
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Social media has great potential to change the way we do business, and even run countries. But technology alone won’t get us there. In this interview I talk with Toke Møller, one of the people involved in the Art of Hosting, a way of thinking about communication.

The Art of Hosting is a bit hard to describe briefly, so I asked Toke to sum it up. His reflections are quite profound, not only for how we “do” social media but also how we “do” life.

I’d love to hear what you think.

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Roots of the revolution

February 10th, 2010

Guillotine_(PSF)In May 2009 I talked to some Otago University students about why social media is important – not just because it’s new technology, but because it’s a symptom and enabler of a massive social shift that’s happening.

Over the next few weeks I’ll delve into the roots of this revolution, but first it would pay to explain what this revolution actually is.

In the book “Dawn to Decadence”, historian Jacques Barzun defines a revolution as “the violent transfer of power and property in the name of an idea”. He goes on:
We have got into the habit of calling too many things revolutions. Given a new device or practice that changes our homely habits, we exclaim: “revolutionary!” But revolutions change more than personal habits or a widespread practice. They give culture a new face

In the book “Dawn to Decadence“, historian Jacques Barzun defines a revolution as “the violent transfer of power and property in the name of an idea”. He goes on:

We have got into the habit of calling too many things revolutions. Given a new device or practice that changes our homely habits, we exclaim: “revolutionary!” But revolutions change more than personal habits or a widespread practice. They give culture a new face.

Is this a time of violent transfer of power and property? Are we in genuinely revolutionary times?

Just ask the newspaper industry. Or the movie industry. Or music, or TV. There’s violence (financially speaking), and there’s transfer of power and property. And not all the news is bad, either.

But is it just technology driving this? No. There are a whole bunch of factors that have brought us where we are today. Starting soon, we’ll examine them in-depth.

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iJumpTV 70: Vincent Heeringa on Publishing, Monetisation and Amateur Explosions

January 25th, 2010
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Vincent Heeringa, publisher of Idealog, Good Magazine and Marketing Magazine, joins us to discuss what social media means for him as a publisher.

Vincent also talks about the explosion of amateur content that social media has enabled, a topic also covered in the book Here Comes Everybody.

Vincent’s the third mainstream media person we’ve talked with on iJumpTV; see our interviews with TVNZ’s Jason Paris and TV3’s Roger Beaumont.

As we often point out, today anyone can be a consumer, creator or curator of content. If you’re reading this, you have the power. What are you doing with it? (Not a rhetorical question; we’d love to know your answer in the comments below)

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Is Social Media becoming a turn-off? (Guest post by Sam Schuurman)

January 19th, 2010

When we relaunched iJump in November 2009, we indicated iJump would be more of a resource for the community of social media practitioners.

Today’s guest post is by Sam Schuurman, a masters student at Otago University who also advises clients on social engagement and co-creation. Check out Sam’s site, iThnk.

In 2009 there’s no doubt that social media rocketed into the mainstream, but towards the end of 2009 there were various signals pointing to the fact that social media had now become a massive turn-off!

Firstly, Pete Cashmore wrote an alarming post about the fact that there are 15,740 social media experts on Twitter – yuck.

Around the same time last week Simon Young wrote a post called 7 Predictions for 2010. Prediction No.5 was…”Social media will stop being a newsworthy marketing ploy in its own right, as more businesses get on board and start connecting to their audiences. Businesses will need to find something intrinsically interesting about themselves, rather than just the fact that they’re on Twitter…”.

Then on new years eve Alex Williams from RWW wrote a post that somewhat encapsulated just how much of a turn off social media is becoming.

Almost as to signify the death of social media as a buzz-word his post titled Let’s Move Away From Social Media and Get Down to Business described how “social media” has become ripe pickings for satirical videos (like this one), and a more holistic approach is needed.

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What’s causing social media’s loss of sex appeal?

Like many of those late night infomercials it was always too good to be true…”with only 20mins a day using our free tools you too will be able to call yourself a social media expert – and best of all… no accreditation necessary”.

It seems that for the moment, with no measure of credibility it’s very much a case of one bad apple makes the whole barrel go rotten. Unfortunately, with 15740 self proclaimed social media experts there’s bound to be more than one or two peddling social media snake oil.

Adding to this is also the fact the every Tom Dick and Harry has now leaped head first into social media…nothing kills sex appeal like mainstream popularity.

While social media may have lost it’s sexy sheen and wow factor, I don’t believe that snake oil salesmen or mainstream popularity will ever truly kill off social media’s inner Fonzie, as there are enough great people doing some truly amazing things with social media to act as a counter balance.

No one wants to be a social-media loserSocialMedia

Losers get no action! Now that every man and his dog has a Twitter account and a Facebook page how is anyone going to get ahead using social media?

Well what made social media so darn interesting for businesses in the first place? Was it the cool funky social tools or was it the fact that some really switched on companies where breaking the mould and actually interacting with people in an engaging way? Me thinks the later.

So it is likely that it will be the same way people have always broken through the clutter, by being outstanding. By finding their own purple cow. For truly great businesses social media may have been a new opportunity but it wasn’t a revolution. The companies who grabbed our hearts and minds before social media came along are the same ones who are using social media to further their focus on customers and who continue to delight us with their innovations. – Just think about what Air NZ have done with the airpointsfairy.

It may be only a matter of time before it’s all just considered marketing again – and just as there always has been, there will be good, bad and downright ugly marketing.

Do you agree? Are you still turned on by social media?

Social media will stop being a newsworthy marketing ploy in its own right, as more businesses get on board and start connecting to their audiences. Businesses will need to find something intrinsically interesting about themselves, rather than just the fact that they’re on Twitter (and that their product is great, of course).

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Kiwi conversations around social media

December 2nd, 2009

A year ago it was hard to find a central place to find out what was happening in social media specifically in New Zealand.

Now we have a wealth of conversations covering social media in New Zealand on multiple levels. Here are the ones we know about:

Social Talk NZ features contributions from a wide range of social media types exploring questions and issues from a business perspective. Includes yours truly as a contributor, although I haven’t yet contributed since the #sy launch.Watch this space! Even better, comment on some of the posts already there.

Social Media NZ features more of the tech side of social media, and has an international team including contributors from Canada and Spain.

What’s interesting about these two efforts is their use of Posterous. Posterous sits somewhere between Twitter and blogging, and makes it very easy for people to create and comment on content. That’s an exciting space to watch, and may even deserve it’s own blog post.

And NZ’s arts community The Big Idea has some great discussions about social media from the perspective of arts organisations, with special guest Vicki Allpress Hill from The Edge venue in Auckland (we interviewed Vicki’s colleague Josie earlier this year). Although the conversation centres around arts, the issues (control of the message, authenticity, return on investment) are pretty universal.

There’s a weekly internet radio show called NZTalk, which features more conversation about social media in New Zealand.

And then we also have the NZ Social Media Network, which is not as lively as the conversations above, but is a great place to find others in New Zealand with an interest in social media. I’ll be posting this here and hoping to get some crossover between the network and these other exciting conversations.

If you’re in Auckland and want some real-life, face to face conversations about social media, come along to the NZ National Tweetup (yes I know, typical Aucklanders, we think we are New Zealand! :)

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Earth Hour’s social media success – JJProjects – iJumpTV 64

August 16th, 2009
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John Johnston (JJProjects) led the social media campaign for the World Wildlife Fund’s Earth Hour earlier this year. Find out the connection between success and letting go of your message!

Key learnings:

  • 21st century marketing – whether it’s for a non-profit cause or for a business – is about you being of service to your audience. In the case of Earth Hour, JJ’s team were of service to people around the world who cared about the environment, and gave them resources to rally others to the cause.
  • The way to scale your social media project is to share control with your audience. Try to control everything, and you’ll never be able to scale.
  • There may be malicious or negative people who will try to sabotage, but this is largely self-correcting as your community stands up for you.

There’s a theme here of cooperating with your audience. It’s emerging in all sorts of aspects of business, as I discovered at the Auckland Tweetup on Friday night. Justin Flitter told me that Zendesk finds its staff among its greatest fans on the community forums. Our intern Courtney, who’s also a big fan of Giapo Icecream, found herself behind the counter serving a customer. An apt analogy for what’s happening now.

Will you let your customers behind the counter? When does this not work? Love to hear your thoughts, as always.

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Social Media in India with Parmesh Shahani – iJumpTV 60

August 4th, 2009
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What’s the hottest social network site in India? Are businesses in one of the fastest growing economies embracing social media? And while newspapers and magazines struggle in the West, are emerging economies different?

I met author, editor and venture capitalist Parmesh Shahani at the recent XMedia labs event in Auckland (where I also blogged and vlogged for Idealog magazine), and got his thoughts on social media in his home country.

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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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What’s social media good for? Depends who you are.

March 16th, 2009

It’s hard to explain the value of social media because it’s good for so many things.

Different departments of an organisation can use social media for different purposes, and apply different measures. Here’s a partial list. Have we missed anything?

Marketing

  • Increase web traffic
    • in order to increase ad revenue
    • in order to increase sales
    • in order to increase paid membership
    • in order to increase site membership and engagemen
  • Increase word of mouth marketing
    • in order to cut marketing spend
    • in order to create authentic, grassroots community -> co-create products, services
  • Grow database
    • in order to build long term customers
  • Brand win-back
    • Entrench brand loyalty
    • Build customer loyalty
  • Sales

    • Increasing sales through all channels
    • Leveraging salespeoples’ personal brands

    HR

    • Recruitment
    • Employer brand positioning
    • Revealing internal culture for recruitment
    • Education – explaining company’s role
    • Headhunting through social network sites
    • Training
    • Increasing engagement
    • Culture change
      • Opening up communications channels/dialogue
      • Breaking down silos

    PR

    • Telling your side of the story
    • Crisis management
    • Blogger relations
    • Media relations

    Customer Service

    • Reducing customer support costs
    • Increasing customer service quality

    Market Research

    • Generating consumer insights -> innovations
    • Brand sentiment monitoring

    Events

    • Get more attendance
    • Make event more interactive

    Branding

    • Humanise the brand (thanks to Mr K for the suggestion)

    Operations

    • Virtual teams/collaboration

    What’s missing?

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    How to promote an event through social media

    February 9th, 2009

    As we’re gearing up to promote this Thursday’s Twestival and the Marketing Now Conference in April, I’ve been thinking about how best to get the word out about an upcoming event.

    Here’s what I’m learning:

    Add intimacy to reach and frequency.

    Traditional media rely on reach (how many people hear your message) and frequency (how often they hear it). This gets a little annoying (like those TV ads you like the first 5 times, and hate thereafter).

    Adding intimacy is something you could even do on traditional media, but few people do. It’s a sense of letting your audience in behind the scenes, so they know and are a part of the event, before it happens.

    It could be as simple as me twittering: "Going to the printer’s to pick up the nametags for Thursday’s Twestival. I hope we don’t run out; we printed 100!"

    This communicates a subtle reminder of the event, while also communicating other information (there will be nice printed nametags, there will be about 100 people – we hope!). It also lets the audience know what’s happening behind the scenes, and the live, real-time nature of Twitter/Social media somehow helps this.

    Get your audience involved

    If you’re running the event, maybe you can crowdsource suggestions on different aspects of the event.

    Why?

    • Better ideas
    • A greater sense of involvement from those who have contributed ideas – and therefore greater likeliness that they’ll attend and encourage others to come.

    Sometimes event organisers do this the old-fashioned way, through a competition. But instead of inviting the feedback of potential attendees, they just bribe their way through with a prize.

    Sure there’s value in prizes and incentives, but sometimes as an event organiser you can offer great value, without paying a cent. Being heard is increasingly valuable in a busy world where the biggest dollars usually have the loudest voice.

    Variations on a theme

    Twitter promotion can be like radio advertising – you need to promote your event at different times of the day to reach different audiences. Yet some people will be on there all the time, and since they’re likely to be quite influential you do not want to annoy them.

    What to do? Variations on a theme. In other words, don’t just tweet the same old message. Find all its different flavours, and explore them. Are there different speakers? Promote each one and the message they’ll be delivering.

    Share your learnings

    As you go, maybe write a blog post about … um, "how to promote an event through social media"!

    How do you do it?

    If you run and promote events, how do you use social media to promote your event? We’d love to see your comments below.

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