Archive for July, 2009

Pow, To The Moon…Alice

Friday, July 17th, 2009

Holding up a lighter has long been a staple of any concert-going experience – an experience that has stayed relatively stagnant by wrapping up live music, dancing and outrageously-priced food and drink into one great night. Enter: Twitter. While this microblogging monster is not going to change any of that, it IS adding a whole new element to what many of us previously considered routine. And if it’s any indication of things to come, you might hold off on buying that $250 pavilion ticket – you can simply log onto Twitter and hear the live version, mere minutes after it is recorded.

Leading the charge in this online digitation is Moonalice, a band fronted by venture capitalist and co-founder of Elevation Partners, Roger McNamee. Roger is also co-founder of the band, which played 102 shows in 2008. His Bay Area crew is comprised of GE Smith (former band leader of Saturday Night Live, Bob Dylan, Hall & Oates); Pete Sears (Rod Stewart, Jefferson Starship, Hot Tuna); Barry Sless (Phil Lesh & Friends); Ann McNamee (Ann Atomic, Flying Other Bros.); John Molo (Bruce Hornsby, The Other Ones, Phil Lesh & Friends); Roger McNamee (Flying Other Bros.); and sometimes Jack Casady (Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna), with an album produced by T. Bone Burnett. And while McNamee is filling that need to rock on the weekends by manning the guitar, bass and vocals, he and the band are also showing others how they can incorporate Twitter into their music outreach.

How does Moonalice do it? By being the first band to employ the use of Twittercasts, which are live Twitter broadcasts of their shows. Upon completion of a song, Moonalice’s sound team digitizes and uploads it before tweeting out the news. Followers click on a TinyURL link and are taken to a site where they can listen to and download the track – it’s as easy as that. This novel idea is helping the band cover some real ground. After first testing the Twittercast in April, they decided to continue the approach through a couple more concerts. And according to an April TechCrunch article, “because of the live Twitter integration, Moonalice says that its seen 3000 downloads of its music in the past week and a half (from just the tweets and retweeting)” – a number that has surely increased the listenership of this slightly south of mainstream band.

With more than 90,000 followers on Twitter and 6,000 on Facebook, the band has pioneered music broadcasts over social networks. These results are impressive, as is the band’s success at using social network tools to build its brand. In fact, Roger McNamee is currently slated to address the topic of the mobile Web prior to a performance in Bend Oregon this August – which further solidifies him as some on the forefront of this trend. I expect this is one trend that really will take off. Music fans are a crazy bunch, and this is one more way they can get closer to the source… so groupies and SoNet junkies alike, rejoice.

For more information about Moonalice, please visit: http://www.moonaliceband.com/
For more information about Roger McNamee, please visit: http://www.elevation.com/EP_IT.asp?id=102

How to Start Right-er with Dean’s

Monday, July 13th, 2009

$25,000 in Visa gift cards sound good? To 500,000 people, it sure did – and about 50% of the traffic that came to the site was complements of bloggers. This educational site was sponsored by Dean Foods, and the “Start Right, End Right” promotion really put the company’s brands out there. In addition to the multiple Visa gift cards winners received (after entering an entry code, found on the caps of participating milk brands), the site included healthy tips, coupons, custom calendars and fun facts about milk. Add some fun graphics and you get the gist – it’s a branded site that offers helpful health information to families. And it really worked – milk sales went up five percent for the month of January after flat comparisons for months before.

Each of Dean’s 26 regional milk brands across the US had its own branded version of the site, and Kraft Foods worked with each to promote snack suggestions to go with a glass of milk. But back to the aforementioned bloggers, who were a driving force behind this campaign. Dean’s and its allies employed the use of “mommy bloggers,” reaching out to about 30 of the biggest influencers via phone or online conversations in the hopes they would blog about the campaign. “We paid extra attention to the bloggers, early on, and made them aware of the promotion and didn’t try to trick them,” said Rodney Mason, chief marketing officer of Moosylvania, the St. Louis-based agency that handled the promotion. And blog they did… Moms loved the idea, and the educational Web site was a hit for Dean’s.

Now it’s time for my two cents: While reaching out to bloggers was a great start, I think the campaign’s effectiveness could have skyrocketed if some simple social networking elements were added. Nowhere on the site are there “Share This” capabilities… which means while bloggers are included, there was no way to incorporate viral sharing on Facebook, Twitter or any other viral sites. Considering more than two thirds of Facebook’s users are outside of college, and 75% of Twitter users are 18-49, the additional spread could have hit double the amount it did. Bottom line? Great start to a campaign involving social media… but had Facebook and Twitter been involved, Dean’s “Start Right, End Right” campaign could have ended even, er, righter.

How To Do It Big (But Right): B2B and Social Media

Saturday, July 4th, 2009

So by now you probably realize the potential social networking holds for both you and your company – but you might be unsure as to how you can really use it effectively. A recent Mashable article (HOW TO: Use Social Media for Enterprise Business by Ben Parr http://mashable.com/2009/06/30/social-media-enterprise/) outlines four of the best ways to use social networking from a B2B perspective. Below are his suggestions – as well of some examples of how we are making social media for us:

1. Build a reputation of expertise.

Blogs, according to Parr, are the best way to illustrate your know-how. Sure, a large number of followers can garner a lot of attention, but if you choose to blog about niche topics, and someone stumbles upon your blog when searching for a relative solution, you have hit the jackpot. Become an expert, write about things people care about and interact with fellow bloggers as well as your readers; before you know it, you can become the go-to resource – something we all want.

We operate three blogs at JB: Mine, the graphic design blog (http://www.cuttothepaste.com) and a marketing “newbie” blog (http://www/marketingnewbiekimberly.com). Though we might not have thousands of followers (yet!), we blog about what we know: design and marketing! We blog about things people want to read about: creative logos, outrageous ads, trends in the industry…. And we acknowledge our readers through comments.

2. Research your customers

Get some background on your customers to help keep you in the loop. This means checking out their Facebook profiles/fan pages, Twitter profiles and blogs. You can not only see how they portray themselves, but also how they interact with their own customers. This can help you get a feel for the company in general, as well as what others are saying about them. It would be wise to also be up on their (and your!) industry-wide trends. Google Alerts is one way to do this.

We are heavily involved in the SoNet arena, so simply by having Twitter and FB accounts, we like to think we know a lot about the trends of the minute. Simple tools such as search.twitter.com, hashtags and Google Alerts help keep us informed – because with social media, things are always changing, and if you are not up with the latest and greatest, you can miss out. We monitor the trends, then respond and adapt accordingly… which is the best approach, in our eyes.

3. Ramp up your networking

This one’s pretty obvious: Networking really can help get your foot in the door. Whether it’s by knowing someone who knows someone who knows someone, meeting up through a Twitter meet up or connecting via Linked In, being involved is important. It can help you stand out from the crowd, illustrating you as someone who is connected and socially apt. And we all know its connections such as these that can establish relationships, which can then lead to the signing of a contract.

Within the past year I have met several great contacts through Twitter. These are contacts that tweeted out things of interest to me, which I then reached out to. Since then, we have shared tips and referred one another to potential clients. Really, it’s easy. Be open minded, reach out to others, say something of value and go from there. Changes are if they are using a social site such as Twitter, and you go about it the right way, they will be receptive.

4. Learn from others

This one is really important, especially since social media is constantly changing. See what others are doing and how it is working for them. Learn from others’ mistakes and incorporate elements of their success into your SoNet strategy. You can do this by following the tweets of industry leaders, getting an RSS feed to top blogs and asking questions. We do all this and more. We read sites such as Mashable to learn about, for example, Twitter’s recent changes; we read tweets about apps we are thinking about adding; and we talk to others about their finding, likes and dislikes.

We aren’t perfect, but our ability to learn while rolling with the punches has gotten us where we are today: A company leading the charge in successful SoNet campaigns. All it takes is a little trial and error and a lot of elbow grease… but once you discover how social media can work for you, it just might make all the difference.