“there’s nothing like good old-fashioned networking”
Passion is important. So is attitude. When it comes to promoting brand awareness, a passion for the product and a positive attitude make all the difference. People will perceive your true attitude to the detriment or benefit of your brand so it’s important to find someone who actually cares and is personally and deeply invested in your product.
Katie Laird shared about becoming a brand ambassador for Nintendo. It was an “organic connection” she says. She bumped into one of the Nintendo higher-ups and a causal conversation became a job opportunity. It was not who she knew, it was her passion: who she is.
“there are things about you that you can share!”
All three panelists stressed the need to be transparent. When you communicate with a brand ambassador it is imperative to be up front about needs and expectations. In other words, honesty is the best policy. Potential disasters could occur due to simple miscommunication.
Even if it isn’t a simple mis-communication it’s best to be realistic (transparent) and up front during any business transaction and it saves all parties involved a lot of heartache.
This happened to Kashi recently after it was released that they were using genetically engineered soy in their cereals. Fans of the Kashi brand confused the labels “organic” (which is an FDA regulated label for foods), with “natural” (the label Kashi used and is *technically* correct). You can read the full story about Kashi’s brand mis-communication in this story by USA Today.
Influence vs. Popularity
know the difference –> increasing conversion to sales (influence) vs. increasing product brand/reputation (popularity).
It’s important to note the subtle difference between the two. Popularity does bring influence, but not necessarily to a target audience ready to buy. When selecting your digital influencers, you want to focus on your ultimate goal for the campaign. Ask yourself: are you looking to increase lead conversions with this campaign, or are you seeking to expand your brand’s recognition?
Influence: A writer who runs a successful blog that has an engaged audience of readers might not be nationally or critically acclaimed but their strong influence over loyal followers can be a marketing gold mine.
Popularity: A pro athlete that is nationally (or even internationally) recognized will reach a large audience, but not necessarily have a direct impact on sales.
Keeping Your Brand Ambassador
make me feel special
Gerome, Katie, and Meredith all expressed gratitude for the brands they represent. Katie remarked that during her ambassadorship she got to tour a national Nintendo facility, all expenses paid. During his multiple endorsement deals as an athlete, Gerome remembers all the “swag” and free shopping trips from brands like Nike, Reebok, or Adidas. Meredith endorses BCBG and gets 75% off of clothes and gets to dress in style.
1-Minute Video Wrap-Up of the Lunch!
If you missed the luncheon, here’s a quick inside look at all the fun from HIMA’s June lunch
Here are three ways you can go identify the right digital influencer for your Brand:
Go find those people who exert influence over your target market. Use social media reputation monitoring tools to find out who’s already talking about you. Inc Magazine has a great article on reputation monitoring tools and their use.
Start with the people who are already following you online and engaging with you already. Check your social media accounts to see who is talking about you, following you, and mentioning you. This will give you a better idea how to engage with your audience
Remember, â€œThere’s nothing like good old-fashioned networkingâ€. You never know when you’ll meet your next big fan!
Please! Leave your comments. Tell us how you found your brand ambassador or how you became a successful one.
The Houston AMA hosted a seminar on mobile marketing for NPO’s and SIG’s. It was very informational with a forward looking perspective. In summation, the landscape of marketing is changing as mobile devices become more predominant in the market. Following is a summary of the critical information at the seminar in case you missed out.
More people will connect to the Internet through wireless devices than through cable-based connections this year, and for the foreseeable future. Smartphones are outselling PC’s and tablets. (Yes that includes you iPad!) In accordance, marketing and advertising must adjust their content for this unwavering trend. The first step is to know the characteristics of this new target market.
Who Are We Dealing With?
The answer is the mobile audience. This mobile audience can be grouped by a few key factors:
ALWAYS ON (connected 24/7)
ENGAGED (very active with content)
IMPATIENT (want it now)
YOUNG (ages 18-44)
Tailoring the Message: Keys to Success
As the mobile market progresses, the winners will be those who adjust their content for this fast-paced, impatient crowd. The critical factors are as follows:
One of the first factors is loading speed. The experienced advertiser will tell you that you have less than 30 seconds to grab the reader’s attention. If 5 of those 30 seconds are spent loading the page, then you’re off to a bad start. Yes, mobile performance is much more tedious than desktop performance. Here are some websites to visit if you’re having trouble with your loading speed: YSlow, and Mobilewebbestpractices.
The content also needs to be engaging. If the webpage does not incite some course of action or immediate entertainment then again, your 30 seconds are up! This is a small part of Schipul’s SEM strategy that is proven to be very effective; get them involved quick. A quick scan of your website does not bring members, and therefore does not produce sales. Interaction is the key.
Simplicity: Navigation and Presentation
The most crucial factor is simplicity. Apple is a good example of this. If the content or navigation of your site is difficult or requires too much time, you will lose your audience. The content and presentation need to be universal and simple. Most people use the Internet for finding data. Know what they are looking for, and make it easy to find and use. Here are some simple dont’s:
Write content into images (prevents copying and pasting)
Have too much distraction (including flash based images and adds)
Use a bunch of social widgets (again, distracting and cluttered)
Where this is Heading
If you want your company to stay current and your advertising to produce results, its time to mobilize your site. Many companies have already produced landing pages especially for mobile devices. This means that when I view a website on my iPhone, I won’t have to stretch out the page and hunt in order to find things. Many companies have produced apps for the Apple and Android platforms that are much more appealing and involve no screen expanding. They fit the phone and are seem even more simple and universal for users.
The Future: Responsive Website Design
The problem is that these apps are costly and must be made for multiple platforms in order to reach the full mobile audience. The future is responsive website design. With this flexible design style, the content adjusts for the device, and eliminates the need to produce content on multiple platforms. Here are a few websites to try: (make sure to minimize them and then resize the window to various sizes and shapes)
If you tried re-sizing the window, you noticed that the content continues to adjust to the size. The flexibility of this structure will eventually lead to responsive design replacing individual platform apps.
How to Deal with It: Strategy
The next step as a marketer or advertiser is to form a customized strategy for your business. Here are some general concepts that will help this process in terms of the mobile audience:
Create “Look @” not “Listen to” media
Faster is better
Simplicity is the key
Clearly call them to action, and keep them engaged
Hope this helps to give a general glimpse into the future, and where we need to be looking.
Some of us at Schipul spend a lot of time on Facebook. A LOT. But don’t judge, it’s totally part of our job. Whether we’re sprucing up a profile picture for a client, building out an iframe, checking out the latest Facebook updates (and there’s ALWAYS an update) or trolling to see who’s doing what with their audience, this social networking site commands a good deal of our attention. As such, we’ve seen it all when if comes to the best and worst of Facebook fan pages. Check out the faves from some of the Schipul staff:
Katrina also gives Sephora’s Facebook page props for always keeping their content fresh with new promotions as demonstrated on their Exclusive Deals tab. But Katrina gives Sephora the most points for recognizing the importance of photos and fan engagement on their page by feeding in customer pics taken in photobooths installed in select retail locations. You can even browse by location and date.
As for me (Katrina *Scooter* Kokoska), I get a kick out of the Skittles Facebook fan page. And to be perfectly honest, I don’t like the candy even a little, just their marketing. The Skittles page encourages fan engagement by soliciting fan photos and featuring a different “Rainbro of the Week” each week as their profile picture. Also, their posts are random, silly and make me smile (and their not self-promotional). My favorite random post from them this week: “Sometimes I sneak up on my alarm clock when it’s sleeping and yell ‘How does it feel!‘”
I also have mad love for the (client) Tony Chachere’s page. Now this page doesn’t flaunt a lot of bells and whistles. Why? Because it doesn’t have to. Tony’s skips the games and apps and gets right down to what Facebook is all about: Community. They post content about real people doing real things in real life, and their fans love it.
Creative Services Team Assistant Account Executive Garrett Thomas has some interesting favorites of his own. While he doesn’t ‘Facebook like’ the Barbie page, he thinks they do a great job of bringing together Barbie’s multiple personas in a palatable format for their target market.
And he loves the Stride Gum page because, well, who doesn’t love a Yeti with a sense of humor?
Here at Schipul we kinda sorta REALLY â¤ website design. And as a designer, I love spending hours scoping the internet in search of beautiful sites that push the envelope in terms of skill and creativity. I’ve come up with a list of six of my favorite popular web design trends (for designers and non-designers alike!) to catch a glimpse of what’s out there on the web and maybe give some ideas for anyone thinking about updating their own website!
Scrolly-Scroll is what I like to refer to for sites that seem to go infinitely horizontally or vertically with content built onto just one page. The navigation of the site will not direct you to another page but will take you somewhere else on the homepage. This technique is definitely not for everyone (especially for folks that have a lot of content on their page) but for people with minimal content and a need to stand out from the crowd, Scrolly-Scroll is a fun site option for navigation.
#2. Illustration Skillz
Site Illustration is a growing trend with site design and can be done in a variety of ways – vector graphics, simple hand illustration, collage, water color effects. The possibilities with illustration are endless but it’s also important to note that some website illustrations can get too overwhelming and distract from the content. Strong and memorable sites are able to find a happy balance with their illustrative graphics and the content of their website.
#3. Texture Love
Texture is something many designers are beginning to frequently use to add more depth to their layout. Whether texture is just the background or to various elements of the website like buttons, a logo, the navigation, etc., adding texture to a website can make the site feel more personable, tangible, and welcoming.
#4. GINORMOUS Images
For a minimalist effect some site designers go for large images on a page with small navigation that sometimes almost seems secondary. Sites that use large graphics and backgrounds are visually eye catching but may not be the best for navigation and sites with large amounts of content to share. Some sites with large graphics and backgrounds like to add a dynaminc element which changes out the picture periodically, giving the viewer more eye candy.
#5. Type Treatment
Some site designers like to completely shift their focus away from graphics like large images or illustration and focus solely on typography to make their design stand out. This sites give prominence to type by making large words and numbers the sole feature of the layout. Adding texture and using specialty fonts (aka NOT papyrus or comic sans) help draw the viewers eye to the beautiful lettering.
#6. Color Minimalism
Some websites have a minimum color scheme to achieve a certain aesthetic. This simplicity can be nice while others may view the layout as dull and not “pop” out as much as colorful websites. Color minimalism is definitely a personal preference, just like all the other trends I mentioned earlier, and should be used only if it matches the content of your site.
Feel like I forgot to mention a web trend you love? Drop a note in the comments and let us know which trends you’re really loving right now!
Everything isn’t a Facebook Like or Share. Everything isn’t a retweet. Everything isn’t how many times you’ve checked in on Gowalla or Foursquare or bought a Groupon or Dugg something. These ideas aren’t revolutionary.1
But it’s easy, isn’t it? It really easy. You don’t have to leave your computer. You have an infinite number of shots. You can throw as many notecards at the wallâ€”when you have an unlimited number of notecards, you just know eventually something will stick.
To use a military metaphor, there is no substitute for on the ground intelligence. To not use a metaphor at all: There is no substitute for face-to-face meetings. For phone calls over e-mails. There is no substitute for getting out of your chair and attending a conference, or speaking at a luncheon, or for taking a client out for lunch.
This is what I call Analog Marketing. It’s you being youâ€”all your awkward mannerisms, all your beautiful eyes, all your suits that fit slightly off your shoulder, all your quirks and the cadence of the way you speak. It’s getting on the ground and doing the tangible work that will support your digital marketing. And for that, there is no substitute.
Like and Share everything you can. Go viral. Ask for retweets. Do the best you can.2 But in reality, companies don’t have an infinite number of notecards to throw. Companies have to be selective in what they do. They have to make profitable decisions. And the most profitable, sustainable decision a company can make is to put their people on the ground.
Part I: DrupalCon and the birth of the #drupalmonster
I recently had the pleasure of giving a guest lecture at a Public Relations class with co-worker Albert Hughes at his alma mater Prairie View A&M. It was the impetus for writing this piece.
Our company Schipul solves problems. Painting with a broad brush, we solve client problems related to the Internet. For example, a potential client will come to us with one concept: They need a website and they have no idea how to do it. They trust us to not only:
Be honest with them and give them an honest quote3,
but also provide them with the best technology to solve their problem.
One of the solutions our company employs is the content management system Drupal4. We believe in its infinite flexibility, its community, and it is often times the perfect solution to a potential client’s website that needs to be extremely custom.
We realized three things about Drupal as a company:
The community is fiercely loyal;
a lot of people talk about Drupal as a solution, but there aren’t a lot of people “doing it”;
the Drupal community is definitely doing it.
Albert effectively “brought” Drupal to our company as a solution. He had been messing around with it in his personal time, and when a client approached us about a website, he immediately knew Drupal could solve the client’s problem. It did.
At that point, Schipul went full force with Drupal. We learned it and memorized it and taught it and began to take part in the community. We even loved it so much, that at one point, Albert (a rapper by night) produced a quick music video based on a flow of his. Watch this:
Rapping about Drupal is a pretty absurd concept, but it worked. Founder and creator of Drupal, Dries Buytaert, saw it and put it on his blog. The plays on the video sky-rocketed. Albert and I went to DrupalCon that year, and because of the video, people recognized him. He began to cultivate relationships based off his non-Web-based talent. It established him as part of the Drupal community, albeit in a weird way. It showed a love for the product, and the people responded.
Fast forward to a year later, and Albert and myself were attending DrupalCon again. We knew the power of last year’s rap video, and we wanted to do it again. We had just hired a video specialist on our staff, and with his help, Al and I created a remix to Kanye West’s Monster, effectively creating the #drupalmonster. Watch:
Since we had met Dries, we e-mailed him again and asked him to watch the video figuring he would enjoy it. To our intense thanks, he loved it so much he posted it on his blog again. This was two days before DrupalCon.
Here’s where Analog Marketing comes in. We didn’t want the initial push and hype of a mere blog post to stop people from watching the video. We wanted to be a part of the Drupal Community, and we wanted to give backâ€”as I said earlierâ€”albeit in a weird way.
Our idea was this: Print a bunch of moocards (half-sized business cards, halved hot dog not hamburger) with a bit.ly link that pointed to the video. That was it. The only thing on it was this: bit.ly/drupalmonster. When we got to DrupalCon, we had 1,500 printed out at a local Kinko’s, and old-school guerilla-style, handed them out to everything and everyone. We put them on tables. We gave them to Drupal fanatics, we gave them to concierges at our hotel, we gave them to people we’d meet eating lunch at a local pub.
But as we gave them out, we talked to them about Drupal. What they loved, what they didn’t. Some had more to say than others, but we tried to connect with them on some level. Given a captive Drupal audience, this was somewhat easy. (“Hey, we wrote and produced a Drupal rap music video” said to someone who uses Drupal raises an eyebrowâ€”it doesn’t make a lot of sense.) It was a little harder when trying to convince a hostess at the hotel it was worth her time.
But I saw that same hostess the next day and she called me over and said that not only did she watch it, but she pulled her co-workers aside and they watched it. Eventually, her boss saw it too. And as she was telling me this, her boss came over and complimented us on the video, and I got to compliment the hostess for being a good sport and actually taking the moocard back and watching the video.
Warning: Nerdy Business ROI Stuff Coming: A lot of people ask me how to quantify ROI on social media… blah blah blah. This is exactly how: That boss then said to me: “I’m not in control of who does our website, but if I were, I would go with you.” It’s the best compliment you could give not only myself and Albert, but our company. Asking our company to do your website is an honor to us; it’s like asking us to babysit or be invited to your wedding. And because of the work we did on the ground, in the trenches, talking to the people and going to where they were, we would get their business. We would get that honor.5
Part II: SXSW
If there was ever any epic display of Analog Marketing, it exists on the corner of Trinity and 4th St. during the Interactive portion of SXSW. I had the pleasure of attending for the third year in a row, and each year, it seems this spot between the Austin Convention Center and Champions Bar gets busier and busier.
If you’ve never had the pleasure of attending, at this spot and immediately entering the convention center, there are literally hundreds of people handing out any number of things: party invites, QR codes, half-clad women giving you a card with a free trial code on it. It’s Analog Marketing, for sure, but it’s the “Facebook” equivalent of the concept. You have an infinite targeted audience and, most likely, and infinite number of notecards to throw at a wall. So you start throwing.
Companies know SXSWi is an important cornerstone in networking. The sessions are always hit-and-miss, but there’s always one thing you can rely on: People. People are the cornerstone of any business. If you have no buyers, there is no company. The only thing this version of Analog Marketing lacks is the connection. Most of the time, the people are in a hurry. They’re trying to get from Point A to Point B in as quick a time as possibleâ€”the marketer barely has time to hand them a card (one of many they’ve gotten in the past 30 seconds), let alone have a conversation with them about their needs and how the marketer’s product could possibly solve their problems.
We tried the Analog Marketing moocard approach to our video at SXSWi as well, and it was significantly less successful, for two reasons:
We did not have the captive audience. (When you’re at DrupalCon and you’re handing out a video about Drupal, it’s like going to a comic book convention and asking someone to watch an interview with Stan Lee.)
We did not have time to cultivate a relationship with the person receiving the card. (See next.)
Part III: Cultivating the relationship
Our Business Development Director Aaron Long once told our company in a full company meeting:
It’s a lot harder to get mad and permanently leave your best friend.
His intent is this: When we talk to clients, we try to be their friends. They literally pay our paychecks. Being honest, ethical, and doing good are cornerstones of our company’s foundation, so when a new client comes in, we get the blessing of helping their business not only survive, but thrive. That’s our job; it’s why people hire us. In return, they pay our paycheck which allows us to do all the things we love to do when we’re not working. It’s a win/win6.
When you have a good rapport with a client, they’re less likely to leave you. You can be absolutely honest with them, speak with candorâ€”and with those two combinedâ€”have real conversations about what they need their website to do and how we need to accomplish it.
Along the way, you become their friend. You begin to respect each other. You begin to bring in the client’s business as your own; when they succeed, we succeeded. And as they grow and trust you more, they’re less likely to leave. You’ve established a level of trust that has absolutely nothing to do with Digital Marketing. Something you could never buy and something you could never “Like” or “Share” on Facebook. Those things are all part of it, but at the end of the day, you need Analog Marketers to cultivate your relationship with your consumers.
Part IV: What you should be doing now
Laozi (known by any number of variations of his name, such as Lao Tzu) was a record-keeper for the Zhou Dynasty court. He is credited with the following, translated into any number of languages, written 3,000 years ago in one of the most famous texts of all-time, Tao Te Ching7:
Go to the people. Live with them. Learn from them. Love them. Start with what they know. Build with what they have. But with the best leaders, when the work is done, the task accomplished, the people will say, “We have done this ourselves.”
This is the definition of Analog Marketing.
I spoke in Houston once about The Next Generation Website at the Social Media Breakfast Houston. A man was there whom I had never met, nor had the chance to meet after my talk, but called our office later that same day. Our top sales-person, Courtney Pemberton, fielded the call and fell in love with them; it wasn’t even about “selling” to them in the conventional sense. They were Girouard’s General Store, who have the claim of the oldest general store in Texas. Due to my public speaking and Courtney’s expertise, they signed on as a client in an incredibly short amount of time. At the time of writing, their site is still in development, but Courtney has gone out of her way, having fun with the client, because she likes them. Both the project manager and Courtney went to their store and took pictures of everything they could find because it’s such a cool place. She brought the pictures back and in design meetings, the designers fell in love with the place as well, experiencing it through the pictures they took, but also the excitement in the employees’ voices.
And when their designs are approved, and their content is added, and their site goes live, our tasks accomplished, I know they’ll look back and say, “We did this together.” And at that point, Digital Marketing can take over and run its course. I’ll be sure to Like it and Share it on Facebook, but I have confidence knowing it all started with Analog Marketing.
1 Although I am still amazed at how many “public relations” companies just try to convince their clients to get on Facebook or Twitter because it’s like some sort of mandate. News flash: You don’t have to be on Twitter. A better question to ask: Is that where your people are?
2 Recognize that these are still good things and that this statement is not tongue-in-cheek. Just don’t start here. Don’t put your cart in front of your horse.
3 If someone’s quoted you over $100,000 for a website, pleaseâ€”call us. You’re most likely being lied to.
4 For the curious, we use three content management systems at our company: WordPress, Tendenci, and Drupal. The first and last are open-source CMSs that have created and cultivated wildly successful communities. We rely heavily on said communities and are infinitely grateful for the hard work these people do. The second in that list is a currently proprietary CMS our CEO wrote in the early 2000s to keep the company afloat after September 11. It’s currently in its fifth iteration and is still bread and butter to our business model.
5 Even more “ROI”-y stuff: The video had an initial push of around 1,500 plays. As we handed out the cards throughout the conference, the plays continually went up each day: 123, 141, 148, 154, culminating the last day of the conference, topping 200 plays at 202.
To this day, we continually get double-digit plays from the video as it takes on a life of its own. We also continually get sales calls solely because they saw the video, liked it, and thought to themselves, “If they love Drupal this much to make a video, they must have a passion for it.” And passion breeds greatness.
At the time of this writing, the video has over 4,600 plays and 33,400 loads.
6 Also a cornerstone of the business. A card is handed out to every new employee (and to a number of clients/potential clients) that not only lists the cornerstones of the business, but also our Mission and Vision and Schipul Honor Code.
7 I don’t intend to cheapen any form of Taoism or religion by comparing the concepts of Analog Marketing to a sacred text. I take the quote literally at its face-value: Go to where the people are first. It will literally support everything you do after that.
I’ve been working here at Schipul for almost a year now. I came here after 4+ years of working for the Society for the Performing Arts in Houston, TX. During this time, my mind has not strayed far from trying to find better ways for performing arts organizations to harness the power of the Internet to enhance audience development and, more importantly, sell more tickets.
This post is a first step in helping performing arts institutions to better understand and use the Internet for their organizations and their artists. I welcome your feeback, and hope you forward this on to anyone you know that works for a performing arts organization if you find it useful.
A Reality: Performing Arts needs SEO
You probably think an organization like Lincoln Center wouldn’t need Search Engine Optimization. You’re wrong.
Despite being quite familiar with their site, I had to Google them first to find their site. Today’s web user is very reluctant to start slapping .com on anything you want on the web. For instance, try typing whitehouse.com into your browser. You will not find our President.
Need more proof? Take a look at this report from Google Insights about searches including the words lincoln and center. NOTE: These results are from New York state.
I don’t know about you, but I know Lincoln Center is in New York City. Yet above you can see that many people actually search for “lincoln center nyc” or “lincoln center ny”. Again, these are searched from the state of New York. The point here is that regardless of how strong your brand or position is in a patron’s mind, they will more likely be Googling you or the performer first.
Wait! Don’t go optimizing your performances just yet. You need to develop your strategy first. You’re probably thinking you’ll succeed if you start optimizing around the same time you start marketing the performances through your other outlets. That’s not going to work. You need at least three months of continuous optimization to start getting attention of the great and powerful Google. This means your online marketing should not, in any way, be tied to your other marketing plans. Why?
Newspapers are dying because they thought reprinting their paper on the web was all they needed to do. They were wrong. You must market to an online audience (i.e. Google) if you want people to find your web site. This means you need to start treating Google like your oldest subscriber and donor.
A Challenge: Performing Arts needs Video
Do you remember when we all thought how crazy it was to have a camera on a cell phone? Now we have phones offering HD video! But there’s a HUGE drawback as it’s not so easy to transmit video via today’s web. However, as the Internet continues to become more mobile, and the transmission lines get faster and more widespread, sharing video is going to become as ubiquitous as photo sharing is today.
Today, many performing artists rely on photos to tell their story. Take this image from Diavolo’sTrajectoire.
But doesn’t this video do a better job of telling their story?
Of course, it’s not just about presenting it, it’s HOW you share the video. Take this video I’ve embedded from Alvin Ailey Dance Company. NOTE: Alvin Ailey has restricted our ability to share their videos to this format.
Not very impressive, is it? If you do decide to click on it, you will bear witness to one of the greatest displays of American choreography the world has ever seen. But if you’re like most web users, you are more likely to trust the Diavolo video link (32K+ hits) over the link from Alvin Ailey (26K+ hits).
Proving a picture is worth 6,000 clicks.
Artists and presenting organizations have to work together to provide better opportunities for patron video consumption. It’s not about showing entire pieces or performances, it’s about whetting the appetite of an audience that is starved for good content. And like we’ve seen above, how you allow your patrons and fans to present is important as well.
An Adventure: Check in, Experience the Performing Arts
Do you remember your reaction when you first heard someone talk about Twitter? It was probably the same reaction you have had listening to someone talk about Foursquare, Gowalla or SCVNGR. I must admit, I long fought against the location-based check in services. However, the more I learn about them, the more I begin to see the dawning of a new level of personal interaction.
The purpose behind these services isn’t to alert people of your location, it’s to tell a story about a location. Every time you walk into a special place, like a performing arts venue, a memory is made. You are not the person you were after you’ve walked into one of your special locations.
For a performing arts organization’s patrons, this is a regular experience every time they walk into your performance hall. The hall is your sandbox, and you now have some pretty amazing toys to play with in it. Whether you create photo contests with Instagram or Hipstamatic, or offer discounts to patrons who check in via Gowalla or SCVNGR, you now have the ability, generally for FREE, to create memories and expand your patrons’ experiences beyond the stage and performance.
Performing Arts Online
I want to explore these and other ways the Internet can be used to tell the story of performing arts over the course of this year. I can tell you now, the performing arts groups are not fully utilizing the power of the web to further their mission and vision. My goal, my New Year’s resolution, is to help change that.
I hope this is a first step in the right direction.
If you are an Admin on a Facebook Page you may have noticed already the new â€œSpamâ€ option on your pages. You may also already seen it at work hiding those pesky sales pitches for Magic Acai Berries and the like.
Facebook is now helping Page admins ensure that the most valuable content posted by users on their Page wall is more visible to anyone viewing the Page. We are now offering automatic content filtering on Page walls that will ensure that posts soliciting spam are removed from public view as well as ensure that posts containing good content remain more visible.
If you have your page setting such that posts to your page are separated by your organization’s and then all others, you will see the â€œSpamâ€ link as the 4th option in this list. Not to worry’ only Page Admins can see this link.
Clicking the â€œSpamâ€ link will show you all the content Facebook as deemed spam worthy and moved off your page.
Mouseing over the spam post will reveal a little â€œXâ€ to the top right of the post. Clicking the â€œXâ€ will reveal several options:
1. Remove the post
2. Unmark as Spam
3. Report as Abuse
If the post does really belong in the general content of your organization’s Facebook pageâ€¦ then by all means click that Unmark option. If however the post does fall into that dark side of the internet category called spam, then I suggest you report as abuse and then remove it. This will alert Facebook to the insidious nature of the offending poster and may hopefully save a fellow organization admin a few moments of time later on down the line.
If you have a mixed wall, meaning you show all posts from your organization mixed with other’s post, you won’t see the spam link. You will want to first click the â€œOptionsâ€ link, then following the same instructions above.
Thanks to popularity of Facebook we can use it connect with like minded people and promote, support and grow our non-profit and for profit organizations alikeâ€¦ andâ€¦ due to the popularity of Facebook the spammers will start to show up more and more. Thankfully, Facebook is putting measures into place to make the Facebook experience a good one for both admins and users.
The Bill White for Texas campaign has created a Bill White birthday card for the former Houston mayor posted Wednesday (happy belated, Bill!). The idea is that visitors can â€œgive Bill hairâ€’ add famous hairdos to a smiling photo of Bill.
The more people who signed the card by filling out a form (email, name, zip code, message for Bill)’ the more hairdos the community â€œunlocked.â€ Hairdos include Texas celebs Ross Perot, Yao Ming, Don Henley, Willie Nelson, Beyonce, and… once the card reaches the goal of 25,000 signatures, you can add the one and only coiffure of Rick Perry to Bill’s bald head. Don’t forget that Rick’s hair infamously has its own Twitter account @govperryshair.
I love this campaign because it’s a great way to encourage people to share the website with their friends, and for the White team to connect with thousands of potential voters in a fun way. Mad props to the Bill White team!
I think Bill might just have inspired me to get a haircut myself this weekend… Happy Friday to all!
I am a girl that orders her BBQ brisket with a side of BBQ ribs. I also dabble in the greens, but I feel like no meal is complete without a healthy helpin’ of protein. So it came as quite a surprise, when I’ lover of hot dogs, fried chicken, sweet honey ham, and Mongolian beef’ was completely repulsed by the new Double Down Sandwich from KFC.
“This one-of-a-kind sandwich features two thick and juicy boneless white meat chicken filets (Original Recipe ® or Grilled), two pieces of bacon, two melted slices of Monterey Jack and pepper jack cheese and Colonel’s Sauce. This product is so meaty, there’s no room for a bun” – The Colonel (I kind of want to RAWR and flex my biceps now).
Packing a ridiculous 1,380 milligrams of sodium per Double Down, it is clear that neither nutrition nor taste were involved in the tasty treat’s development. I can just picture the â€œbrainstormingâ€ of the Double Downâ€¦
[After an edifying evening at a local pub establishment, Bernard and Otis came home looking for a bite to eat.]
Otis: Hey Bernard, what’s in the fridge?â€
Bernard: There are only two fried chicken patties left over from last night, a couple strips of bacon, a piece of cheese, and some secret sauce from KFC.
Otis: That’ll work. Hold up dudeâ€¦I just got the best ideaâ€¦
So was it really that simple? Of course not. Have some of the KFC guys spent too much time taken’ in the Ol’ Colonel’s Secret Recipe? Probably. But I also believe they are a lot smarter than we care to admit.
Over the past two years, hundreds of thousands of blog posts, forums, and comments had speculated about Apple making a tablet. Last week, Apple did something they hadn’t done during that entire time span. They admitted they had designed a tablet computer. How did they create so much buzz?
While I think their new device is a real breakthrough in future computing, I find the marketing (or lack of marketing) for such an item much more fascinating. How does a company build up so much hype? Why are people so excited about something they didn’t even know existed? And why have so many critics turned negative on something that isn’t technically for sale yet? Let’s dive a little deeper to solve the iHype mystery.
Apple, in its history as a company, has been known for releasing ground-breaking products that change the way we do things. It started back in the ’80s with the Apple II and the Macintosh, and continued in the 2000’s with the iPod and iPhone. The widespread obsession in the tech community over Apple rumors is fairly new, but the true Apple geeks have always been a hype-driven excitable bunch. The return of Steve Jobs near the end of the ’90s helped to rejuvenate this passionate group. The basics behind iHype are these:
Develop new things in ways that haven’t been done before.
Don’t publicly show prototypes or “proofs of concept”.
Make a polished, grand announcement of the new thing.
Ignore the negative critics.
Your business or organization may not make awesome tablet computers, but the principles of iHype can still apply to your business.
Develop New Things
Whether it is a piece of software, a book, a networking organization, or a physical item, your product or service stands out in some way. You may do lots of R&D for your new device, or you could simply offer a better way to manage alumni donors. Perhaps you offer public speaking advice or maybe you write code and build web apps. You can be a star by developing things that are new, fresh, and useful. Think like Apple and create things that people dream of using. Offer services that no one else can match and create your own category. To build iHype, you must build something to hype up.
Don’t show Prototypes
The biggest lesson here is this: Prototypes eat up all the hype. When you announce that your company is working on a new product to be released in 18 months, users will forget about it two days later. Not only are future predictions unreliable (see XKCD’s take below), you kill off all of your excitement by the time the thing launches. You effectively use your marketing window of opportunity to announce a future announcement.
Imagine going to a party on July 31st that was solely to announce another party in 4-6 months (New Years Eve). You would likely kill any buzz for the real party and possibly upset your current guests. The exception to this is a short timeframe with a solid date. Announcing your new product that will come out at the end of the month is probably OK, but it’s better to announce things that ship today. (Apple occasionally announces things before their release to do patent and FCC filings which inadvertently announce things. If they could wait until the ship date, they would.)
The Grand and Polished Announcement
You won’t have the same stage as Apple, but you can deliver your message with the same gusto. If you are issuing a press release, than include graphics, numbers, and memorable quotes and taglines. If you are sending an email newsletter to current clients to announce a new service, give it a great subject line and pay attention to the details. If you are lucky enough to make your announcement in person as a presentation then practice, practice, practice. A boring and unoriginal announcement is likely to be forgotten. Tell the story of your great new thing. The time you spend on it will often mirror the amount of attention it gets from your audience, so put in the time it deserves.
Ignore the naysayers
Apple made their announcement last week and already many of the tech blogs are denouncing the new device. Apple has experienced the same thing happening with the iPod an iPhone, so they are not fazed by harsh words. You may not have the same experience so a negative review could be very painful initially. Do not let it get you down. Your new offering has taken you time and energy because you built it with intent and passion. If someone with a blog or an email account doesn’t like it, there is no reason they should kill any of your excitement. You are trying to sell your product to people who want it, not people who don’t. Do not forget this. Every product has a negative critic and unfortunately their voices can drown out the positive folks. Have confidence in your service and in your announcement, do great marketing, and the buyers will come.
You probably won’t get the same media level of hype that Apple gets, but there is no reason you can’t create stir of similar excitement with your followers and customers. Make something great, boldly announce it when it’s ready, and ignore anyone who talks down about it. These are the simple keys to creating your own storm of iHype.