Spike to a Standing Ovation

What is the mark of Web success in 2009? A million page views in a week? A spike in Twitter mentions? Both are meaningful indices, but not quite as satisfying as traffic crashing your whole site. It’s the Internet version of a standing ovation.”

via glass.tumblr.com

Flocking fantastic!

flock Wondering why I’ve been able to blog 3 times today? (And I’ve been busy today) Well, it’s because I’ve discovered a new blogging weapon – Flock.

Actually, that’s not entirely true –
I’ve tried Flock  before. But that was back in 2005 when I first started blogging, and my all-round online addiction. Back then, it was a little buggy, so I gave up on it.

Now Flock has grown up, having recently released version 2.0. I tend to get excited about anything with “2.0” tied to it, so I decided it was time to give it a another go.

V.G.I.D! Very Glad I Did.

What is Flock? Well, for starters it’s a web browser. Based on the Firefox code-base, it runs just like Firefox. But it’s a whole lot more that just a browser. Flock integrates a whole stack of social networking features, from Twitter to Flickr to Facebook to WordPress, and a whole lot more.

I’m writing this blog post from within Flock’s blog editor. Which means I can publish a blog post without even visiting my blog page. I can also add pictures from my flickr stream directly into my posts, and copy a quote from a site, and simply re-post it. Makes posting a quick blog post easy, without interrupting your flow. You can also post a tweet, check my rss feeds, and my web-based email, all within the browser.

It’s probably not 100% perfect yet – I can already see some improvements that I’d like to see. But I think it’s definitely worth trying out.

ROI and 2.0 don’t mix

I have to say, I agree with DJ Francis. The whole, “What’s the ROI of web 2.0 / Social media?” debate is a pointless one.

My two cents on the issue:

The ROI is in the learning – You’ll gain a whole chuck of return from the learning that you get from just being involved in social media. Return on Investment doesn’t always have to be a financial return on investment.

Marketing is no longer linear – It’s unconventional. You don’t just plug in a strategy and get results anymore. You list. You respond. You make mistakes. You learn. You try again. You keep trying.

Marketing, like it or not, can’t always be measured in a spreadsheet. It’s serendipitous. That’s not a bad thing.

You don’t need a strategy document to listen to your customers – At the end of the day, all of this social media stuff is just a vehicle hear what your customers are really thinking. And if that’s not part of your plan, you’re in trouble.

Social Media keeps you ahead of the game – The innovators didn’t wait around to see if their social media campaign delivered ROI. And as a result, they’re already ahead of the game. Take a brand like @Zappos. They’ve expermented succesfully with social media tools such as Twitter. And now they’re two steps ahead of everyone else.

Who says 1.0 tactics are working, anyway? – Before we start going after social media, let’s not forget that the traditional marketing approach isn’t exactly working its socks off. Does anyone think that Coca Cola actually generate ROI with a new bottle shape or any other futile marketing exercise?

It’s free! – You don’t even need to spend money on this. Just time.

So the question should no longer be, “Is it worth getting involved in Social Media”. The questions is, can you afford not to?

Twitterise … Shitterise

Today I learned about Twitterise, a Twitter Marketing tool that let’s you schedule messages for future publication, for sending out press releases, or advertsing messages.

It completely misses the point.

Here’s what their website says:

Twittertise allows you to advertise on Twitter and track the success of branded communications with your customers.

Using Twittertise you can schedule your communications on Twitter and using URL tracking technology measure the effectiveness of your traffic driving techniques on the platform.

So, what’s wrong with this message? Well, let’s pull it apart, shall we:

  1. “Twittertise allows you to advertise on Twitter” – They’ve got it wrong from the first sentence. Anyone who thinks Twitter is a vehicle for advertising doesn’t get it. Advertising does not belong here.
  2. “track the success of branded communications” – This phrase just feels slimey. The reason a brand would use Twitter shouldn’t be to track success, it should be to make connections with people. And what exactly does “branded communications” mean anymore anyway.
  3. “with your customers” – Twitter is a place for humans to talk to other humans. Start thinking of Twitter as a vehicle for “customers”, and you’re bound to turn them off.

Now on to paragraph 2:

  1. “Using Twittertise you can schedule your communications on Twitter” – Scheduling communications? So Twitterise is suggesting you should send out messages when you’re not online? Which, to me, sounds like spamming.
  2. “measure the effectiveness of your traffic driving techniques” – Wrong wrong wrong! You should never be posting tweets to drive traffic. And who even talks like this?

Now don’t get me wrong here. I use Twitter to announce news and offers on my site. I’ve got Twitter search feeds set up so that I can be alerted if you’re talking about me. I’m finding it to be an incredibly cool tool to keep in touch with customers, friends, and people I admire.

I’d recommend that big brands do the same. There are definitly good reasons for joining twitter.

But like any other social media tool, the 1.0 approach doesn’t work. It’s not about spamming. It’s not about measuring and tracking. It’s certainly not about driving traffic. It’s about real, human connection. It’s about conversation, individuality, personality.

So if your brand’s Twitter feed is being driven by an automated service, and not a real person, you don’t know a thing about what marketing is about anymore.

Hey Presto! Ponoko!

I’ve always been impressed the make-on-demand website, Ponoko.com.

 

But now they’ve added a new feature to their site which, quite simply, is like magic. Check out their new Photomake service. Here’s a demo:

 

 

With Photomake anyone can make a product without using design software. All you do is hand draw your design using good old fashioned pen and paper – and a digital camera or scanner to upload. Ponoko then create that product using a laser cutter, and the material of your choice.

 

It’s been a long time since I’ve been completely blown away by a website. Ponoko now makes it easy for anyone to create and sell their own products. I like it.

Where do you find the best online marketing blog posts for 2007?

Techipedia, that’s where.

Tamar Weinberg has put together a phenomenal list of over 250 blog posts from 2007, covering everything you need to know about marketing online. Blogging, social networking, viral strategies, social media – you name it.

Here it is – Truly a great list that will have you reading for hours.

2007 has been rather quiet here at my blog, and posting has been scarce. It’s been a busy year for me, changing jobs (on 2 occasions), getting married, buying a house and starting a business. Not sure if 2008 will be any calmer, but I hope to blog more in the new year. Thanks for reading!

Hugh Macleod at PSFK

PSFK have posted another video from their London conference. This time it’s with Gaping Void blogger Hugh Macleod, who talks about his work with the now famous Stormhoek wines, which I have spoken about before.

Hugh was the first person to coin the phrase ‘Global Microbrand‘, referring to a tiny brand that now has easy access to the world because of the internet. In today’s Long Tail world, Global Microbrands are thriving, and this video shows just one of the ways that we can now get a product out to the world with the use of social media.

Click here for the link.

We’re going to see more and more of these, and it’s one of the most exciting things about the state of marketing today: that tiny brands have just as much chance of winning that the big ones do.