Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Make my baby internet famous

Recently I helped do a survey of a huge company where the average age was 45.  We wanted to find out how many employees used social media and what they knew how to use.  53% were users.  Yet, Facebook was by far the tool of choice for sharing.  43% said they used wikis, but most didn't use any other collaborative sites. Yet, what was really amazing is that 60% visited video sharing sites such as YouTube.

No wonder people can become internet famous.  Whether it's someone over-singing "Chocolate Rain" or an America's Favorite Video or Susan Boyle shocking all of Britain.  So, here's a cute video of my son cracking up while climbing the stairs.  Click on it, pass it around.  Let's make Kobe internet famous.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Happy Hannukah

I was going to send everyone an ecard, but there aren't many good ones out there. YouTube's "Hannukah Song" video is nice but a little too silly. I could send everyone a Hannukah candle on Facebook, but those seem so cheesy. Instead I'll just say Happy Holiday everyone.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Catch The Google Wave

Hey Twitter and Facebook, Google is coming for you. They are launching their on-line tool for real time communication. They've already played Santa a little early and given out a million Google Waves. This is the preview stage, before the beta stage and then the launch stage. So, there's plenty of time to enjoy your Twitter updates a little longer.

According to Google:
A wave can be both a conversation and a document where people can discuss
and work together using richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps, and

Essentially, it’s the combination of a grip of social media connections into one “wave”. It’s instant messaging, file sharing, blogging, tweeting, retweeting and an espresso maker all in one. One Google exec explained that it is their take on what email would look like it if had been invented now. I watched the hour and twenty second demo video. I get that. It’s real time. It could be a really powerful way of communicating.

Sounds good. You can watch the video at:

Friday, December 4, 2009

Social Media Simplified

Here's a quick look at how social media looks. Any questions?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Facebook, Zynga, and my brother-in-law

Facebook just announced today that one of its biggest games, "FarmVille," has more users than all of Twitter. Here come the numbers from

Worldwide Facebook is clocking up 200 billion page views a month, with 350 million users globally logging into the site.
When it comes to the site's online chat function, 1.6 billion messages are sent every single day and 1.4 million photos are uploaded a second. Facebook is also now hitting 23 million unique users a month in the UK, with each of those people logging on spending around 25 minutes on the website a day.

That's huge. So big that Zynga, the Facebook gaming company , has become one of the fastest growing companies in the country thanks to Facebook games like Mafia Wars and Farmville. Yes, they're the ones who are to blame for all those annoying updates. (They're easy to hide, by the way.)

In fact to illustrate the point of how big Facebook is getting, Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg was quoted as saying, "69 million active users are using FarmVille alone, that's more users than Twitter."

So, for full disclosure and to do a bit of bragging, my brother-in-law works for Zynga, the makers of Farmville. These games are growing at an amazing clip. I've had everyone from my 5-year old nephew to my 65-year old uncle update me about their prowess building their roller coaster or other game goal. My big question was how do these "free games" make money.

The answer is from selling items for the game for real cash. Normally, in Farmville, you have to earn coins to say buy a new barn. But if you're really into it... really really into it, you can also buy that new barn for just a few coins. Who does this? Only a few people. Just think though, if only 1% of those 69 million people buy a $1 barn, that's a good chunk of change.

Go Facebook. Go Zynga. Go Bro.

Monday, November 30, 2009

conversion conundrum

As I've been continually learning about social media the big question looms out like a sunset, beautiful but also out of reach, how does small business drive conversion through social media. Social media is great for branding, for expanding communication, for reaching new possible consumers, so you would think that sales would come soon after.

It's been proven that search and social media is closely tied. I've mentioned on a previous post the GroupM study that shows:
  • Consumers who are exposed to a brand’s social media efforts and paid search programs are 2.8x more likely to search for that brand’s products (compared to users who only saw paid search).
  • 50% increase in clickthrough rates in paid search when consumers were exposed to influenced social media and paid search.
  • The clickthrough rate on paid search for searchers using a brand’s product name in the query increased from 4.5% to 11.8% for those that were exposed to social media. And for organic search, the clickthrough rate increased 2.4x.
There's tons of large scale success stories for large brands like Dairy Queen, Skittles, and even Delta. So, how does it work for small marketers? The answer is the same as it does for the big marketers.

As Sima Dahl says in her blog Expert Business Source it's about the three Cs: Conversation, community and conversions.

1. First, you find the right conversation. You have to find what consumers want to know, the entertainment principle. This is the first step. If you already have fans even better. I worked with Mellow Mushroom and they had single restaurants with over 2,000 fans in one month.
2. Community is what social media is all about. This is where you can strengthen your fan base and listen as well as talk. The more you know your customers the better.
3. Conversions come from the other two. Once you have a fan base and people who believe in you, you can find out why they like you and offer that to more people.

It's hard. It takes time. It takes some trial and error. It can happen.

Then it's all about

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Time to reflect. It's been a crazy year. If Thanksgiving truly isn't about sales, food and football, then it may be about actually giving thanks.

There is nothing like a turbulent year to make you appreciate what you do have. I am very lucky to have so much going for me. Sometimes I look around and can't believe my good fortune. My wife is way out of my league, my children are healthy, I have a comfortable home and good friends that actually seem to understand me.

I feel like we are living in one of the most exciting times in history where inventions and advances happen everyday. The amount of information available to us is enormous. It seems most of the people I know are working on some sort of entrepreneurial business, either on the side or as their main source of income.

I'm also thankful to whomever reads this. I wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving, Black Friday and rest of the year.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Video On Social Media ROI

Here's another well done video from Socialnomics. Most of the videos I've shown so far talks about the spread of social media. This one talks about the economics of social media. It's a given that most of the fortune 500 have social media departments. General Motors has a dozen people monitoring and using social media. Many customer service departments such as Comcast, AT&T, now use IM to communicate with their customer base.

Monday, November 16, 2009


There's a site called that publishes Facebook flubs. Some are hilarious. It varies from just stupid mistakes to big drama blowouts.

The lesson I suppose is that every update is a part of your personal brand and man there are people lining up to laugh at us.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Army Strong Stories

Specialist Warren Andrews is building a school in Iraq one week and spotting anti-tank mines the next. Staff Sgt. Deshawn Browne is taking recruits through marksmanship training right now. Captain Jared Auchey is the commander of the Army Experience Center at a Pennsylvania mall.

How do I know? They are all blogging at Army Strong Stories, the Army's social media site. There are a ton of unofficial soldier blogs out there telling the military's story. The Army, however, has decided to present themselves in a very honest way (misspelling and all).

What's interesting is when you think of all the companies that are affraid of social marketing because of what might be said, I would think of the Army as the most controversial. Yet, they are willing to let their soldiers tell it how they see it and deal with any comments as they come in.

I hope more companies will be as brave as the Army.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

David Armano's 6 new social media trends

In 2009 we saw exponential growth of social media. According to Nielsen Online, Twitter alone grew 1,382% year-over-year in February, registering a total of just more than 7 million unique visitors in the US for the month. Meanwhile, Facebook continued to outpace MySpace. So what could social media look like in 2010? In 2010, social media will get even more popular, more mobile, and more exclusive — at least, that's my guess. What are the near-term trends we could see as soon as next year? In no particular order:

1. Social media begins to look less social
With groups, lists and niche networks becoming more popular, networks could begin to feel more "exclusive." Not everyone can fit on someone's newly created Twitter list and as networks begin to fill with noise, it's likely that user behavior such as "hiding" the hyperactive updaters that appear in your Facebook news feed may become more common. Perhaps it's not actually less social, but it might seem that way as we all come to terms with getting value out of our networks — while filtering out the clutter.

2. Corporations look to scale
There are relatively few big companies that have scaled social initiatives beyond one-off marketing or communications initiatives. Best Buy's Twelpforce leverages hundreds of employees who provide customer support on Twitter. The employees are managed through a custom built system that keeps track of who participates. This is a sign of things to come over the next year as more companies look to uncover cost savings or serve customers more effectively through leveraging social technology.

3. Social business becomes serious play

Relatively new networks such as Foursquare are touted for the focus on making networked activity local and mobile. However, it also has a game-like quality to it which brings out the competitor in the user. Participants are incentivized and rewarded through higher participation levels. And push technology is there to remind you that your friends are one step away from stealing your coveted "mayorship." As businesses look to incentivize activity within their internal or external networks, they may include carrots that encourage a bit of friendly competition.

4. Your company will have a social media policy (and it might actually be enforced)
If the company you work for doesn't already have a social media policy in place with specific rules of engagement across multiple networks, it just might in the next year. From how to conduct yourself as an employee to what's considered competition, it's likely that you'll see something formalized about how the company views social media and your participation in it.

5. Mobile becomes a social media lifeline
With approximately 70 percent of organizations banning social networks and, simultaneously, sales of smartphones on the rise, it's likely that employees will seek to feed their social media addictions on their mobile devices. What used to be cigarette breaks could turn into "social media breaks" as long as there is a clear signal and IT isn't looking. As a result, we may see more and/or better mobile versions of our favorite social drug of choice.

6. Sharing no longer means e-mail
The New York Times iPhone application recently added sharing functionality which allows a user to easily broadcast an article across networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Many websites already support this functionality, but it's likely that we will see an increase in user behavior as it becomes more mainstream for people to share with networks what they used to do with e-mail lists. And content providers will be all too happy to help them distribute any way they choose.

These are a few emerging trends that come to my mind — I'm interested to hear what you think as well, so please weigh in with your own thoughts. Where do you see social media going next?

David Armano is part of the founding team at Dachis Group, an Austin based consultancy delivering social business design services. He is both an active practitioner and thinker in the worlds of digital marketing, experience design, and the social web. You can follow him on Twitter at

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I Love My Government... Today

Say what you want about this government's opinions, but they are willing to speak to me, on the internet at least. The DMV office is another story.

I am currently working with an insurance company, helping them with their marketing and writing their communications. This is a very technical product in a very complex and regulated industry. So far, I've been on the CDC, OSHA, NIH, CMS and Health Department's websites. I have been amazed, a-maze-ed, at how much information there is on the web.

Another great feature is how much each department is speaking to the public through social media. This is true service. I expect the armed services to be on social media because they want recruits. The White House and congress are trying to get re-elected. Even an organization like the IRS has a self-interest in sending out tweets. But for most of the agencies I've been visiting, the only reason to be blogging and sending out rss feeds is to get information to people who want it. Their only goal is to educate us and not self-interest.

To me this is a huge change in philosophy. I've been yelled at by postal employees after standing in a long line. I've talked to people who have waited over three months for a birth certificate. The government has never been known for their customer service. But with Social Media, they are really posting information in a way that's easy for us to find it, reach for it and hopefully understand it.

Where the agencies that I'm talking about do fall down, is the writing. Even the CDC, which is a fairly public facing organization, the voice of these entities is dry, using coloquial terms and many times hard to understand. The NIH is the best. But there has to be a balance between sounding official and welcoming and rewarding readers.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

My personal You Tube

You Tube is terrific for so many reasons, including sharing kid videos with family and friends. Here's a video that I put on of my kids.
We're all in a community of some sort: neighborhood, social groups, family. Any one who wants to grow that group or start one can use social media to their advantage.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Social Media Demographics

Who's out there on the different sites? Well, this should give you a brief look into who is at the different sites. It's a glimpse into the workings of Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc. It also shows the crossover, which is great for seeing how many people you can touch in multiple ways.


Founded: 2004

U.S. Unique Monthly Visitors (June 2009): 87.3 million

Year-over-Year UMV Growth: 198%

Average Time Spent (Monthly): 4 hours, 39 minutes, 33 seconds

Age:65 and up: 6.3%50-64: 20.5%35-49: 32.0%
18-34: 28.0%12-17: 7.8%2-11: 5.4%
Income:$150k and up: 7.8%$100k – $149k: 16.4%$75k – $99k: 19.1%
$50k – $74k: 26.4%$25k – $49k: 21.0%$0k – $24k: 6.0%
No Response: 3.3%
Sex:Female: 57%Male: 43%


Founded: 2003

U.S. Unique Monthly Visitors (June 2009): 62.8 million
Year-over-Year UMV Growth: 6%

Average Time Spent (Monthly): 2 hours, 26 minutes, 58 seconds

Age:65 and up: 3.6%50-64: 15.8%35-49: 29.1%
18-34: 34.8%12-17: 11.8%2-11: 4.9%
Income:$150k and up: 5.1%$100k – $149k: 12.0%$75k – $99k: 16.0%
$50k – $74k: 27.2%$25k – $49k: 26.9%$0k – $24k: 9.6%
No Response: 3.2%
Sex:Female: 57%Male: 43%


Founded: 2005

U.S. Unique Monthly Visitors (June 2009): 87.7 million
Year-over-Year UMV Growth: 22%

Average Time Spent (Monthly): 1 hours, 12 minutes, 57 seconds

Age:65 and up: 8.2%50-64: 20.5%35-49: 29.5%
18-34: 26.5%12-17: 9.6%2-11: 5.8%
Income:$150k and up: 7.2%$100k – $149k: 14.7%$75k – $99k: 18.0%
$50k – $74k: 25.9%$25k – $49k: 23.5%$0k – $24k: 7.5%
No Response: 3.2%
Sex:Female: 52%Male: 48%


Founded: 2007

U.S. Unique Monthly Visitors (June 2009): 21.0 million
Year-over-Year UMV Growth: 1,928%

Average Time Spent (Monthly): 31 minutes, 17 seconds

Age:65 and up: 7.6%50-64: 22.9%35-49: 34.8%
18-34: 28.5%12-17: 4.7%2-11: 1.5%
Income:$150k and up: 9.3%$100k – $149k: 16.4%$75k – $99k: 18.8%
$50k – $74k: 23.9%$25k – $49k: 20.8%$0k – $24k: 7.5%
No Response: 3.3%
Sex:Female: 56%Male: 44%

Source: The Nielsen Co, June 2009

The big surprises for me were the time spent monthly for these sites. Also, the amount of users in the 50-64 age range was much higher than most people think.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Did you know about did you know.

These videos are entertaining, quick and good information. Here's the newest in the series from the Did You Know creators: Jeff Brenman, Karl Finch and Scott McLeod

Thursday, October 22, 2009

We're all P. Diddy, Gwen Stefani, and Sean White

America is obsessed with stardom. Fame is bought and sold as if it could be found on the stock exchange. There are the famous people who have an amazing amount of talent, or are athletic, or are smart. There are even those that have been ranked by TMZ for being famous without any talent.

What most of these people can show us though is how to cross market ourselves. I remember hearing a story once from a photographer who had shot Cindy Crawford. He said at certain times she'd start talking in the third person. I laughed and thought, "what's next, her using the royal 'We' to talk about herself." But he said she wasn't being vain. When she said, "this isn't right for Cindy Crawford" she was talking about her brand not herself as a person.
That's the crucial point of view.

P.Diddy capitalized on his fame with a restaurant, clothing line, countless TV shows, a marathon run, and more. Gwen Stefani decided to try her hand at fashion design and a fragrance. Sean White now has a music album on top of his clothing line, snow boards, and video games. Can The Flying Tomato sing? You tell me because there's no way I'm buying that album to find out.

Now, I can't see my plumber, as talented as he is at fixing hot water heaters, coming out with a line of high heel shoes. But I can see him doing YouTube videos on his other passion, fishing. He's a funny guy, I would read his blog. Is there room in a crawl space to twitter? I don't know, but my point is, you don't have to be famous to put yourself out there. No it may not go anywhere, but it will at least give you a chance to explore who you are in different settings.

Just an idea. That is all David Cohen has to say about that.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Apple G5s At Microsoft Get Employee Fired

I was in a softball league where there was some funny named teams. The scariest named team we played wasn't the Sharks In My Pants or The Hatchet Men, but a team named The Lawyers.

Employers are nervous about social media and they are right to be. It also should make employees and contractors nervous as well (please don't sue me). I recently read this article which came from about how an office temp got caught up in the, "I'm a Mac, I'm a PC," computer wars. The jist of the story by Michael J. Powell and David Gevertz follows:

An interesting example of online misconduct is that of Michael "Woody"
Hanscom who chose imprudently to post in cyberspace without authorization
information gained from his workplace. On his way to work at Microsoft one day,
Mr. Hanscom saw a number of Apple G5 computers being delivered on Microsoft's
loading dock, some of which had fallen off a pallet. Thinking his friends might
find the event amusing, Mr. Hanscom took a picture of the Apple computers and
later posted the photo on his blog. Mr. Hanscom titled the photo "Even Microsoft
wants G5's," and mentioned "the print shop I work in is in the same building as
MS's shipping and receiving." While his posts may have garnered a few
laughs, they also led to the termination of his employment – ultimately due to
breaching Microsoft's security guidelines.

Of particular interest, however, is the fact that Mr. Hanscom did not work
for Microsoft. He had gained access to Microsoft's campus through his employment
with a temporary staffing firm, Today's Staffing, on a contract job with Xerox,
which handled Microsoft's copy service. As a temporary worker, Mr. Hanscom
claimed he was not told of Microsoft's security guidelines, but had followed
Xerox regulations and did not know photography on Microsoft's campus was a
violation of any confidentiality agreement. Also, since the loading dock was
visible from a public road along with much of Microsoft's campus, there was some
question as to whether the photo captured information that was truly
confidential. Nevertheless, Mr. Hanscom's employment on Microsoft's campus was

It makes me even nervous quoting lawyers. Please don't sue me. The article goes into more detail about Content Rights, Copywright Considerations, and Defamation. The title of the article is "Legal Issues Presented By Social Networking."

I'm not saying don't blog. I'm not saying don't criticize anything. Social Media is a great medium for informing us all about both amazing and horrible products. I'm just saying be careful. Don't get sued and don't sue me.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Tis The Season To Plan The Budget, Fa la la la la.

For many companies, January 1 is the start of the fiscal year, which means this is budget season. I know a marketing manager who recently called me and wanted to ask how much it would cost for her company to use Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. I was also going to possibly help them start a blog, so she wanted to know how much that was going to cost.

We talked about the design and my hourly rate. But that wasn't what she wanted to know. She needed to know how much to put down to join Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. I wasn't sure what she meant. "They're free," I said.

There is a lot of talk about the success of social media. A recent study by Comscore and GroupM now proves people who come across brands through social media are almost twice as likely to perform searches on them.

People also talk about consumer's hunger for more information. In his book, named Free, Wired editor Chris Anderson talks about how consumers not only want something for free, but now expect it. Mr. Anderson (spoken with a Matrix accent) talks about how the more businesses can give away, the more they can build demand for their paid-for products.

All this is true, but my friend and her budget reminded me why most small to medium sized businesses should be using Web 2.0 when budgets get slashed. IT'S FREE.

Another friend of mine asked in a Facebook update if he should use traditional media to market his board game, Loaded Questions. I commented, "Print ads cost. The reason you're doing social media is the cost/reward." His Facebook updates are free.

Here's my point, and my last example. I should probably move this blog to a self hosted site. I plan to. Right now though, having a free blog, is still a great way to expand my reach. This is in my budget. Is social media in yours?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Insider Facebook Humor

Well, here's the dangers of Facebook with the wit of Brittish humor. Imagine Monty Python's funny walks Facebook application.

The fact is there's both an upside and a downside to putting yourself out on the web. I recently added Plaxo to my list of social sites. The upside was it got me in front of new people and Plaxo unlike Facebook allows you to separate your list of connections into business, friends and family. The downside is that I've had some people email me annoyed that I'm contacting them on yet another social media avenue. I'm not quite the stalker yet--I don't even play Mafia wars.

I just want to keep in contact with as many people as possible. You don't know from where the next opportunity will come. There's so many opportunities out there, however, and it's not always easy knowing how to find them.

It's a problem so many people are dealing with now that computers have opened up the millions of knowledge centers out in the world. The question isn't how do I get information but how do I get the right information, exactly the way I want it.

When I lived in New York, I used to look out at all the windows lit up at night and think to myself that for every window there's a story out there. Now, I think about all the computers out there and think how many stories are being told. The question is, how many do I want to read?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Yom Kippur Repentance... Online

Yes, it's that time again for us Hebrews. It's the day of awe, repenting, fasting, kibbutzing (talking with fellow jews), and meditating on being a better person. Now, all streamed right into your own home.

I'm a pretty computer literate person, but I was amazed how many of my friends and family actually went to temple this high holidays via their internet connection. They traded their ties and tallit for bathroom slippers and a laptops.

According to a few articles I've read about services 2.0, temples across the nation started streaming services for the elderly, but my friends were all in their 20s and 30s. They're used to having close-knit communities solely online.

It's perfect for those that want to tell their Jewish Mothers that they went to services, but don't want to deal with, well, services. Instead of sleeping through the Rabbi's sermon in the pews, you get to do it on the couch. You don't have to worry about parking, over-zealous ushers giving you the eye for saving 20 seats with prayer books, or all the Grannies trying to set you up with their grand-daughter two states over. I also feel there's something very comforting that G-d is listening to our prayers--spoken, silent or Tweeted.

To my Jewish friends, have an easy and meaningful fast. To my gentile friends appreciate your breakfast and lunch a little more.

An article if you want to read more:

Temple Beth El to broadcast services live on Internet

In a first for South Florida, Temple Beth El in Hollywood will broadcast video of Rosh Hashana services live over the Internet.

When Rabbi Allan C. Tuffs leads Rosh Hashana services Friday night, he hopes his message of community and worship carries far beyond the seats of Temple Beth El in Hollywood -- maybe even as far as Iraq.

Just in time for the start of the Jewish High Holidays of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, the 52-year old Reform synagogue will start live streaming its services from its website.

Though two Miami-Dade synagogues have been streaming audio over the Web for a few years, this marks the first time a South Florida temple will broadcast video over the Internet.

``It's very important to include as many people as possible who might otherwise not be included,'' Tuffs said. ``People in nursing homes, people who are homebound, as well as men and women in uniform serving abroad: They all deserve the chance to worship for the High Holidays.''

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Neuromarketing and Nuero Social Marketing

I recently learned more about the field of neuromarketing at a lecture by neuromarketing scientist, sales presentation guru and passionate speaker Christophe Morin, founder of Sales Brain.

For those of you who haven’t heard, neuromarketing is the study of how the brain acts during buying decisions. Just as more active muscles in our body need more oxygen, the more active areas of our brain also get more O2 enriched blood flow when they are working harder. Using an MRI machine, this can be tracked, catalogued and studied.

So, scientists know what you’re probably thinking right now. They know our attention span during sales presentations: 20 minutes tops. As I found out by reading Martin Lindstrom’s book Buyology, they know how we want to mirror the sexy men and women in ads, whether we know it consciously or not.

The most intriguing findings, according to Christophe, are that decisions aren’t made in the part of the brain that controls logic, or emotion, or smell, or even vision. It’s made in the section of grey matter that deals with our basic instincts: fight or flight, food, sex, and how we stay alive. Here, before we even know we’ve made a decision, the part of our brain that handles survival pulls us in one direction or another. So, the smart brains at Sales Brain have ways of talking to that part of the brain. Without their permission, I’ll now blog about them and hopefully get them some business.

Now, Christophe’s presentation wasn’t geared toward social marketing, but this post will.

1. Me, me, me
Our reptilian brain, or survival brain (as I call it), doesn’t care what you’re reporting on Twitter unless it pertains to us. Will it help us survive by giving us information that will help us keep our job? Will it help us reproduce by making us wittier or better looking? Will it at least make us laugh? It has to be rewarding for the reader.

2. Beginnings and Endings
We constnetrtae on bgennigns and ednings, wichh aollws oru brnais TO FGUIRE TIHNGS OUT. If you jumble the letters of words, except for the last two letters, the brain figures them out. If you start and end a podcast with your topic, then the brain might not listen to all of it, but it will fill in the blanks and guess at the rest.

3. Contrasts or Anomalies
Seth Godin’s book, Purple Cow, talks about how if you’re on the road and see a herd of cows you won’t notice any one in particular unless it’s a totally different color, say purple. Our brain is trained to notice contrasts. That’s why it’s shocking if a noisy room suddenly gets quiet or a cell phone interrupts a quiet room. It’s a basic brain function. Build the unusual and people will come.

4. Tangible
Our survival system doesn’t deal with the abstract. It deals with things in this world. If you want to talk about a thought, what’s an example of how that idea affects the world? Could it help someone, increase sales in a store, save a life? Be specific.

5. Visual
Without thinking, your brain is trained to make you jump if you see a snake. Talk about the idea of a snake and nobody moves a muscle. Be as visual as possible. Even on a podcast or blog, you can use words to paint pictures. We understand what we read, but we’re moved by what we see, even if it’s in our imagination.

6. Emotions
Think about your favorite TV ad or even a good Tweet. Was it great because it was factual or because it was funny or moving in some way? This is a no brainer about the brain, the more emotional you can make something, the closer we feel to it.

If you use social media, you probably already instinctually follow some of these rules. Maybe you don’t. The fact is that it’s easy to create social content. It’s more difficult to make sure that content is strategic. Then, the biggest trick is to make the content compelling. Neuromarketing helps to engage people on an unconscious as well as conscious level.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Try the Jewish Twitter

A new social marketing product just came out right before the Jewish New Year. It's the Jewish Twitter: Twitteleh. Watch the video.

Well, if the mommy blogs are big, why not go after the Jewish mommy posts on Twitter? Too small. This video has over 1,000 hits and by Rosh Hashanah I bet they will have 50 times that.

If I were to come up with a message here, I think it's that no niche is too small if those are the people that most want to target or they influence all the people that you want to target. As Seth Godin talks about in his book Tribes,
A group only needs two things to be a tribe, a shared interest and a way to communicate.
Look at the viral affects Sara Silverman had with "The Great Schlep." Yes it was a joke, but it got attention and it got young people inspired to talk to the Grannies and Bubbies about Obama. Us of the Hebrew persuasion are less than 1% of this country, but that percent is huge when mobilized. So, that's my soapbox for today. L'Shana Tova, Happy New Year to all the members of my tribe.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

TED explains new media technology to the State Department

I don't know how many of you are viewers of TED, but it is one of the most intriguing sites on the internet. They get amazing speakers talking about ideas from speakers as diverse as Prime Minister Gordon Brown, to inventor Josh Silver, to stunt man Steve Truglia. It's an amazing source of inspiration.

One of the most interesting for us social media hogs is a video by internet icon Clay Shirkey from earlier this year. He offers a speech on the internet and social media's place in history. His full lecture gives amazing examples of how the internet is changing the world. I have edited the talk down to his main points for you here.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Article: The Mime in A Box

Look over there. No, over there, at that stupid mime. Look at him walking into that wall. Now he’s turning and there’s another wall. He’s amazing. There’s another wall. Now he’s in a box. I hate those guys.

They may annoy you, or scare some, or leave you scratching your head, but mimes are amazing communicators. Without words or clown props, they are able to tell a story. That guy over there knows how to control his body so well, it actually looks like his cheek is pressed up against a window. He has us all seeing walls that aren’t there.

This is just like the blogs I’ve read telling us what social media can’t do. They tell people there are impediments there, trying to convince people that they can’t push against them. Time after time though, there are people who find a way to show us all that the walls didn’t really exist in the first place.

I’m not saying that social media works better for some strategies than others, but through working with small businesses, I’ve learned that the rules are made by the people using Social Media and not some guru. It works for one strategy for some companies, while that same strategy won’t work for another company. So here’s a few “no-no’s,” as a mime might say, that I’d take as more “hmm, that’s challenging.”


I have read over and over again detractors that bring up the fact that social media doesn’t lead to sales. To me there are two arguments against this mime routine against social media. First, one can argue that most forms of advertising and marketing aren’t sales tools. I worked 10 years as an advertising copywriter, enough to realize that sale spikes can relate back to non-sales techniques such as a brand’s Super Bowl ad runs or the judges on American Idol slurp down a Coca-Cola. The other argument is that the internet in general, more readily leads to sales because the point of purchase for so many things is right there. I just recently helped a non-profit called Foundation Rwanda come up with a commercial that ran on several cable channels and Hulu. Most of the donations they saw came from Hulu, because all the viewer had to do was click right on the ad to get to the point of sale, in this case, point of donation.


I also disagree with the idea that social media only builds short term traffic. To me that’s as silly as that mime over there now walking the imaginary tightrope. Yes, for the uninteresting and humorless sites, short-term hits might be the best you get. But I have been a regular subscriber to several blogs, podcasts, YouTube channels and twitters, because they are downright entertaining. I’ve listened to one fantasy football podcast for five years now, even in the months most quarterbacks are doing nothing but playing golf on Sunday.


I’ve also read that social media can’t provide balanced traffic to a site. This is one of those that I don’t have proof either way that social media can’t provide steady traffic, if it’s out there. In my house, I tell my kids that “can’t” is a very dirty word. I’d rather see someone try, then people ruling it out. And if you do know how to do it, let me know.


I somewhat agree and somewhat disagree. I don’t think social media necessarily should be the make-up of an entire marketing plan. Obviously there are other things to consider: promotions, events and advertising. There are some businesses, however, that are doing no marketing right now or have so little money that it paralyzes them. To these companies, I don’t see anything wrong with them using free social media as their only marketing. I think it’s more important to be out on the sites, then only behind your desk wishing you could communicate to more people.

In the end, my thoughts reading about what Social Media can’t do are the same thoughts I have watching a mime stuck in that box, in both cases I just want to go over and throw test the box. Break the illusion. I may be incredibly naive and I know I’m going against the numbers here, but I still think social media is in its infancy. Soon, we’ll all be proven wrong about everything.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Just The Social Marketing Facts

Here's a great video with food for thought about the growth of social media.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

CDC Prescribes Social Media

One would think, with all the regulation, legal and confidentiality issues in the medical field, public health entities would shun social media the way everyone else shuns ebola. The Center For Disease Control, however, has embraced the media and is using it like a stethoscope with blue tooth.

Their MDs, PHDs and MPHs have found social media to be a great way to get information out about health issues and train people all over the world. They have several programs currently running and are expanding their capabilities. As they say on their website:

Why use social marketing?

Social marketing can be thought of as a mindset used in planning and partnership development, or a structured and strategic planning process. It can be used to influence the behavior of individuals or the behavior of policymakers and influential persons for policy and environmental changes.

The structured planning process allows you to make well-informed decisions about what audiences to target, what are their specific needs, and how you can meet those needs. The development of programs or products to effectively change behavior can be accomplished by understanding your audience.

They not only use these methods but they prescribe it for other health organizations. The center’s website has several case studies for health organizations to learn from and apply.

Below, is also the start of a video about how the CDC is using social media for H1N1. Click for the full video. It’s the first emergency where social marketing is used as a health tool. It won’t be the last.