Category Archives: Social Media

The golden key to websites

A guest post by Jess Nichols

During the launch of Treeet for Switched On Media, I had the opportunity to meet young blogger/student Jess Nichols who had an acute attention to detail around website functionality, usability and accessibility. Pretty soon, we were fighting the good fight in a lovely debate with Ling and her SEO consultant about commercialising websites. Followed up with some heated reflections.

What it came down to was this: while the website produced a large gross profit for Ling, the usability, design and functionality of the site was so poor that is is often on every topugliestwebsite design lists around the world.

However, my argument was that, aside from the creative aesthetic, this was probably also hindering and damaging the commercial success of the website.

Jess has been kind enough to put together this guest post for me on SlideShare.

Social Media & Search

Search Engine Room 2009

Last week I was lucky enough to be presenting at Search Engine Room 2009. I was giving the opening thoughts on social media, what the latest stats were, what happened to web 2.0, and my thoughts on search – some of which have already been published after my SMCSYD presentation on social media measurement, and a blog post on the love affair of SEO & social media.

My biggest take away from the day was actually around some new social media and search engine stats Experian Hitwise delivered. A couple of which were:

  • Australia: 11.8% of time spent on social networks, 12.8% on search engines. Both dominating largest time spent online.
  • 1% difference between search and social visits, up from 6.4% 3 years ago.

Anyway, hope this presentation gives you guys a good frame work to start implementing social media and highlighting the technical and community considerations for SEO & Social Media.

Designing Social Interfaces

Social Media Presentation on Interface Design

Christian Crumlish is one brilliant guy: is curator of the Yahoo! Design Pattern Library, a director of theInformation Architecture Institute, a member of the Open Web Foundation, and co-chair of the monthly BayCHI program.

He also put together this awesome presentation.  What do I like about it so much? It’s well thought out, simple and actionable.  He’s taken the necessary steps beyond the fluff, over-worded bullshit and integrated with the very foundations social media is built on.

Everyone who works with or in social media should remember his principles.

And A Meme Is Born

kanye-west-meme

A look at the biggest lulz in town: internet memes

“Imma let you finish” Kanye’s outburst at the VMA Awards – started something big: a meme.

Sure, you get your lulz – but where’d it all come from? I jumped on the chance to speak to Heather Snodgrass, Mark Pollard and Julian Cole about what they thought.  There’s already the domain and social collaboration site: I’mma Let You Finish – in fact, Mashable just produce the Top 10 I’mma Let You Finish list.

Between them, these two pick up more memes than anyone else I’ve seen.  Previously I’ve talked about a few more of my favourites including LolCats, Fuck Yeah Sharks and of course, Charlie The Unicorn. Make sure you don’t miss out on the Internet Meme Guide or the Internet Meme Database either.

So how did this begin? And where will it end? JC and Heather let me know:

Seriously, WTF did the word meme come from? and what does it even meme. i mean, mean?

Heather:

I personally like to think it came from the way Beaker on Sesame Street communicates. The poor bastard is always so confused and lost and you don’t know why it’s funny, it just is.

In actuality, though, it’s a Greek-derived term adopted by Richard Dawkins in ‘The Selfish Gene’ to describe the role of evolution on the transfer of cultural information and ideas between people. I’m going to stick to my Beaker theory, though. I find it a lot more romantic and doesn’t make my brain hurt when I think about it.

Kanye: did he know what he was about to do? Positive or negative?

Julian:

I do not think that he knew he was making a meme. I think that it is probably not helping him out either because people are bringing up the idea on and on

I actually do not think that the kanye meme will last very long, I think it doesnt not have the longevity of previous memes like lolcats

Heather:

Kanye is, historically, an attention whore. He bitched about Justice’s video beating his at the 2007 European VMAs, and I think he probably knew to a certain extent that what he did was going to steal the ‘spotlight’ so to speak.

What he didn’t count on was how darling Taylor Swift is. The music industry knows this — she’s a sweet young girl from Pennsylvania, who hasn’t ended up in rehab and seems fairly well-adjusted for someone who’s been exposed to as much as she has at her age. If you aren’t on Team Taylor, you too, in Obama’s OTR words, are a jackass.

Maybe, had Britney Spears had a video good enough to beat out Beyonce (hahaha!) and he’d done the same thing, she’d have probably pulled out an umbrella out of her bedazzled one-size-too-small unitard and beaten his stupid ant-tracked head to a pulp. Then we would have ended up with a celebrity death-match sort of meme. It was always going to happen, unless someone put a muzzle on him. Which would have ended up as a meme, etc etc.

Mark:

I don’t think so. Probably a cocktail of pre-event anxiety, a huge centre-stage ego, a brain explosion, maybe a reaction to some people thinking he’s been tamed by The Man, and whatever he was on at the time… that oxygen stuff.

Memes: why do we love them so much? Does everyone love them? or are they just some silly thing us internet obsessed do?

Julian:

We love online memes because eveyerone can get involved. in alot of cases you just need paint skills and you can get involved

Heather:

In the past, there’d be a couple of internet nuts sitting at the dinner table with their friends who were, say, bankers and solicitors. One internet savvy kid would be laughing their ass off because another one of their kind had quoted the USPS “Put yourself in my shoes” meme, and the rest of the table would be asking themselves why they kept invite these assholes out for dinner, the ones who’d continually quote esoteric shit from the internet that doesn’t even make sense. To those of us who worked on the internet, the ultimate appeal was the inside joke.

Now, everyone is on the internet. There are bankers who spend more time on the internet than people who work on the internet do. People get fired for updating their Facebook status at ‘inappropriate’ times. There are journalists write articles based solely on quotes passively sourced from Twitter, for God’s sake — and for those reasons I’d say that memes have finally gone mainstream and are well on the way to jumping the shark.

What’s been your favourite all time meme?

Julian:

lol cats cause it was the first big one and it has had the legs to keep going on for a long time. But I also think that Keyboard Cat has to be one of my favourite

Heather

Such a tough one — I could watch the ‘Hilter/Downfall’ meme for hours, given half the chance. Demotivational posters are always uplifting when you’re having a bad day or at the hands of an incompetent superior. “Emails from an Asshole” is great value and so is “Fuck Yeah Sharks!”, but I think my all-time favourite is that terribly hilarious “Eyebrows Are Important” email that grows exponentially every time I see it.

What’s the importance of memes on the internet today? Are they significant at all?

Heather:

I think it’s three fold:

  1. it gives people with the inability to express themselves the chance to do so in a constructive, creative way,
  2. we can finally understand how cats communicate,
  3. it makes the lives of cubicle monkeys everywhere just a little bit brighter.

Julian:

They make some people a shit load of moula, Ben Huh (google him) has been able to monetize memes.

they are significant cause they can act as social objects which can help strengthen relationship between two individuals

Mark:

Yes, what’s great about memes is that they are as significant as the people of the internet make them. They have a life of their own. Everybody wants to make one; some want to be one. The concept of a ‘meme’ deserves its own song.

As for me? I love the way memes can join people and bring them together for a few laughs. It’s clever and creative and it has an amazing snow ball affect on the humour itself.

So you wanna do social media, huh?

Social Media Jobs - Skill Set

What skills do I need to get into social media?

Tips on becoming a Social Media Stormtrooper

Remember the old HTML Goodies website? Remember?? Ah well. Maybe not.  It’s still there, still churning out 1 million visitors a month.  I found it sometime ago – at the same time I started learning HTML back in 97/98 – back when tables and frames were all the rage. And no body seemed to mind just how deep your navigation was. Or so we thought.  Regardless, this is a site with a deep history.

The important thing about this tale is that this is where the digital space started for me. HTML Goodies was a tutorial started by some guy named Joe Burns – who took me through from fonts to frames in the original HTML primers.  There were no rule books around then about how to get into digital – it all just evolved, and that’s really where I feel this whole social media space is at now.

The social media agency I work for is now at a point where we’re looking to hire our next social media coordinator. And the most common question is all around what skill sets we’re looking for – which ultimately defines where I see this space heading (writing something longer on that now).  Feel free to contact me about the position too (suit junior or graduate).

So hope this helps business and social media job seekers alike.

My intentions here aren’t to write a mantra, or a fucking stone tablet for social media skill sets – it can, and it does change between businesses, clients, agencies and needs!  And no, I’m not the first to write about how this all fits together, fellow Social Media Stormtrooper Matt Granfield wrote a piece for MarketingMag.

Three key areas we’re looking for:

  • Research & Reporting: deep research skills – not only undertake both qualitative and quantitative research, but be able to record and present meaningful information and insights
  • Technology: a strong understanding of emerging digital technology to develop solutions that are both strategic and practical – and incredibly dynamic
  • Communication: an exceptional ability to communicate via a wide range of digital mediums, including written; verbal and visual

Yes, you can get much, much deeper and with this comes an understanding of user experience, community drivers and technical developments. And we feel that by breaking it into these three key areas, we’ll have the most effective skill set as a part of our team.

So, my advice?

  • Start doing social yourself for the things you love (music for example)
  • Set yourself goals, think about being creative, interesting and useful
  • Fail often, fail fast: and learn

Thoughts?

Social Media: Foreword

Social Media: Shift this.

Everything is changing.  The way we interact, learn and process.

What are you trying to shift?

I was giving a social media training session today – and I kept coming back to three key things when planning social media:

  • you must listen to communities
  • you must understand emerging technologies
  • you must be remarkable, compelling when communicating
  • you must be human

It’s a creative strategy. It’s a combination of many business functions (comms, marketing, PR, customer service, management, technical, digital); social media is about sharing your passion, value or expertise.

You, and everyone around you need to know what success is

Social Media Case Study: PayPal

Last week I presented our PayPal Developer Day case study for Twitter BootCamp alongside AJ (chief at Switched On Media) and Marky P (awesome strategy guy).  I learned a lot from this particular launch and campaign – and I’m looking forward to this feeding into larger strategies from PayPal.  I’m also working on a longer article for a publication on this campaign.

I think it’s a strong example of Social Media can be used to support events, and also demonstrated what’s necessary to become a part of a community and provide value and expertise.

Hope you all find this useful and learn where I learned.

Social Media Measurement Tools

Picking a Social Media Tool

3 Steps to Picking the Right Social Media Measurement Tools

  1. Understand business outcome
  2. Identify the social media activity
  3. Analyse the relationship between social media activity and business outcome

Then pick a tool.

I cannot stress enough how important it is though, to understand that relationship between social media activity and business outcome. That’s where the expertise is, that’s where the ROI is.

Which tools do I use to measure social media?

This would have to be the most asked question of the lot – but honestly, it’s like asking how long is a piece of string. Last night I presented at Social Media Club Sydney (slides and notes now available) and still there was a call to look at which tools.

Which one are essential to me? Google Analytics and Bit.ly for starters. For sentiment? Use a fucking person.

Katie Chatfield has done a presentation to look at some of the tools available – and you’ll instantly see how overwhelming it can be. But that’s ok – because you need to know what you are valuing first, and look at the tools  last.

measurementcamp also published another list of social media tools you can use:

  1. Addictomatic A cool search engine that aggregates rss feeds into a nice visual dashboard
  2. Blogpulse Blog search engine with conversation tracker tool
  3. Boardreader Search forums and message boards
  4. Boardtracker Forum search engine offering instant alerts
  5. Buzzmonitor Embeddable widget showing recent instances of your search term
  6. Compete.com Comparable site metrics for any website
  7. Del.ici.ous Social bookmarking engine. Search by tags and subscribe to feed results
  8. Facebook lexicon Searches facebook walls for words and phrases
  9. Google alerts Email updates of key search terms
  10. Google insights Compare search volume over time
  11. Google trends Compare search term trends
  12. Howsociable Gives a social media score for your brand, with email updates of your score.
  13. Ice rocket Blog search engine with results rss feed
  14. Newsflashr News search engine, presenting results in nice dashboard
  15. Sphere Related content widget
  16. Summize Search for keywords in ‘tweets’.
  17. Technorati Blog and social media search engine
  18. Twing Discussion board and forum search engine
  19. Twingly Spam free blog search engine
  20. Twitturly Track what urls people are talking about on twitter
  21. Xinu Shows how well your site is performing across different metrics. Also gives a site diagnosis.
  22. Quarkbase Fricking cool mashup tool
  23. Twitter Grader Enter your twitter username to get your grade and ranking
  24. Twist Graph Keyword trends in Twitter. Very cool.
  25. yExplore Not strictly social media, but easy access to see inbound links to a page.
  26. Trendpedia Excellent blog search engine that graphs results over time.
  27. Website Grader Not completely sure how accurate, but cool tool anyway!
  28. Yahoo Pipes Err, yeah, can’t believe I missed this off in the first place.
  29. Socialmention Real time UGC search engine, with social rank
  30. Bit.ly and Cli.gs – analytics for your tiny urls.

PR: Unveiling the New Influencers

A great post from the guys over at PR 2.0 I wanted to share with you guys

Building a Bridge Between Brand and Markets

We’re paying attention to a-list bloggers, from technologists to moms to lifestyle to politics and everything in between and forgetting or ignoring the magic middle, those bloggers who actually inform and interact prospective customers.

We’re blindly jumping into social networks and engaging with the “avatars” tied to keywords instead of identifying and recruiting those who can help us create valuable, thriving communities that support the exchange of pertinent information.

Tastemakers and trendsetters are the new influencers, but their roles in affecting consumer behavior are not derivative of the Social Web. Instead, these tastemakers and trendsetters who individually contribute to a more influential public are now readily discoverable courtesy of the search boxes and APIs that facilitate their recognition within the communities of consequence. Social Networks, blogs, microblogs, and all other forms of people-powered platforms provide a looking glass into the interaction between consumers and also the ability to discern the level of authority each one possesses.

You’ve heard it time and time again; “People do business with people they like.”

While that’s true, they also spend money on products that help them do something that they couldn’t do before based on existing needs and desires or frustrations with current experiences. Therefore people are looking for answers, not necessarily friends. They’re seeking societies where they can learn, share, and contribute. And they’re using the tools, channels, and networks to connect with one another.

Listening counts for everything nowadays and it’s by and far the easiest step in embracing and ultimately leading the transition from an introverted organization into an extroverted, community-focused human network.

It sets the foundation to not only listen and respond on the front lines, but also it necessitates the modification of the entire infrastructure to adapt to the real world needs of customers and the insights they choose to share.

This is a privilege and an opportunity.

Top 50 Marketing Blogs in Australia: ADP at 27

Australia’s Best Marketing Blogs

Was really pleased to find out I was number 27 in B&T, and number 26 over at camp JC.

It must be frightening reading for more junior members of agency teams who are minded to try and make social media recommendations and, more importantly, in need of confidence to push them through to fruition. After all, evolving something from an idea in a meeting room to a living thing that delivers results, is something that takes huge amounts of self belief. A backdrop of reactionary onlookers may not inspire such qualities in everyone. But that’s one of the ironies of some social media commentary at present – being a little anti-social is always a good conversation starter.

Brad Howarth’s narrative to the carefully constructed Top 50 Marketing Blogs in Australia list articulates many of the key points with detail. But this paragraph was my favourite. The circus; the bullshit; the land-grab; and ego; all need to FOAD.

Just serve the people.