Sunday, August 29, 2010

Fail whale

Much has been written on the transformational power of social media and its groundbreaking successes. We often read of the massive boost to followers, friends and, ultimately, sales, that mark a truly engaging campaign that crosses and merges platforms. Even social media fluffs can make headline news and still manage to reach a huge audience. What we rarely hear of, however, are the ones left behind - the stragglers who never seem to get off the ground in this new digital world.

A great social media campaign can't spring to life simply because you have signed up to Twitter and uploaded a YouTube video. It is easy to think that social networks, because they are free to join and use, require little material or financial investment. Far from it. Unlike traditional advertising, which is placed before the viewer, social media relies on the 'viewer' to take a far more active role. You are looking for conversation, engagement and buzz. Here are my Top 5 elements which can make or break a social media campaign.

1/ Brand. No matter whether you are an individual, a small company or a global brand, it is vital that you are "joined up" across platforms. From Flickr to Facebook, the way you look, speak and communicate needs to be recognisable, so that no matter where people 'meet' you, they know it's you.

2/ Investment. Creating a Facebook page for your company may be free but ensuring it is well-managed and regularly updated takes carefully dedicated resource. Finding social media professionals who know what they're doing and can authentically become the voice of the brand is key. That's why there's little point in spending thousands on a super-hot, ultra-branded website and then leaving your intern to look after Twitter.

3/ Content pt1. Engagement is built on relationships. Like any friendship, you start out finding out what you have in common. Think about who you are trying to connect with and work out what will draw them in. Become a "go-to" place for the latest updates in your industry, or a unique voice on the state of the sector. Be selective about what keywords you are using to ensure you are search-tastic, and start a dialogue with those already doing it well in your area.

4/ Content pt2. Be appropriate. No, I don't mean laying off the curse words, although that's also recommended. Be conscious of what content you generate for each platform. Social Media users are like shoals of fish, you just need to guide them in the right direction. On Twitter it's about persuading someone to click a link in 140 characters. On Facebook it's about being liked. And on YouTube it's about being too good to keep to yourself. Copywriters, producers, editors... they're your new best friends!

5/ Holism. Nothing and noone exists in isolation. At least, noone with a decent internet connection. Striding into a room saying 'we need to be on Foursquare' will make you sound important, but it won't necessarily make you rich. Stride in saying 'My restaurant is choc full of people on dates, how can we make the most of this?', however, and it's time to start paying more tax. Suddenly you're inviting singles on Twitter to check-in via Foursquare and connect with other singles in your restaurant. Next thing you know you're sorting out a Facebook page dedicated to your hub of hook ups. And before you can say "poke me" you've got a YouTube channel full of love stories. Make each platform work for your audience and they'll work for you.

...Contrary to popular belief, it's not easy. Social media takes time and hard work but, if your product is good and you know your audience, there's really no reason why it can't be an integral part of your business.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Brostitutes, Icing and Getting Stoked

So we live in our techy geeky little worlds, smugly feeling that, because we own iPads, read Mashable and have over 3,000 followers on Twitter, we have somehow transcended from being the dorky, unpopular kids we once were. Yes we have probably acquired some semblance of social skills and, by moving only within Shoreditch, managed to make our retarded approach to getting dressed seem like a "look" but that does not mean we are not above poking some geeky fun at the kind of people who once made our lives miserable.

First up is this hilarious mockumentary from Funny or Die, which looks at the dark underbelly of Brostitutes. Urban Dictionary describes "bro's" as such... 'An alpha male idiot. This is the derogatory sense of the word (common usage in the western US): white, 16-25 years old, inarticulate, belligerent, talks about nothing but chicks and beer, drives a jacked up truck that’s plastered with stickers, has rich dad that owns a dealership or construction business and constantly tells this to chicks at parties, is into extreme sports that might be fun to do but are uncool to claim (wakeboarding, dirt biking, lacrosse), identifies excessively with brand names, spends a female amount of money on clothes and obsesses over his appearance to a degree that is not socially acceptable for a heterosexual male.'

Recently, bro's had a moment in the digital limelight over 'Icing' - a drinking game that requires the person who has been 'iced' to drop to one knee and chug a bottle of Smirnoff Ice. In a reverse application of a trend - 'Icing' spread from being a predominantly bro recreational pastime, to be adopted by hipsters. I'm assuming purely in a post-modern ironic sense, of course. In this next video you can see some bro's experiencing some h-core icing in the city of sin.

In the final installment of bro's experiencing a rare nod of acknowledgment from their hipster counterparts, we have this piece from The Onion...

Report: Most College Males Admit To Regularly Getting Stoked

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Now available for weddings and bar mitzvahs

SXSW is a Music, Film and Interactive festival held every March in Austin Texas. Austin's history as a hub for musicians has long made it the mecca for bands and artists around the world. They say that 6th Street - Austin's downtown area - is the live music capital of the world and where you can see a different artist perform every night of the week. SXSW started as a music festival, to encourage new audiences to visit the southern state. The website explains how "In 1994 as the entertainment business adjusted to issues of future growth and development, SXSW added conferences and festivals for the film industry (SXSW Film) as well as for the blossoming interactive media (SXSW Interactive Festival). Now three industry events converge in Austin during a Texas-sized week, mirroring the ever increasing convergence of entertainment/media outlets."

Five years since I was a "study abroad' student at UT, I find it hard to believe that my name is on the SXSW Panel Picker list. Five years since my American friends introduced me to this new thing called "Facebook" and I got my first Wi-fi card, it's incredible that I'm planning to talk about Digital Instinctives - the babies seizing our iPads and approaching technology without reservation.

Please click HERE to check out the talk and vote for the entry! Thank you.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

A whole new world of consumption.

On Wednesday I get the keys to my first flat. It's pretty damn scary. Not because of the huge, great mortgage. Or because I've never lived on my own. Or because Stoke Newington is choc full of yummy mummies and doesn't have a tube station. No, my real cause for concern is that most of my shopping experience lies in clothes, shoes, bags and food. Kitchen work surfaces, wood flooring and sofas, however, I have no experience in at all. Re-enforced by the fact that recent trips to Habitat, Heals and Ikea have all lead to unsightly sweating and panic attacks.

Nevertheless, if I can get through jeggings, I can get through re-decorating a flat. Here's my inspiration... thoughts?

Or maybe this?

Thanks to Design Sponge and The Kitchn

Sunday, August 01, 2010

I knew the new cycling scheme would come in useful!