(image note: Yes that is me. The tube is a camelback filled with margs. It was a good night.)
If you’re thinking of skipping the largest free show on earth because the economy sucks and you want to save the money – shame on you – but at least now, you can not only be at Mardi Gras, but get an insider, locals look at what is arguably one of the most interesting events in the world.
I’m conducting what I believe to be the first large scale Twitter experiment and you can play along. If you choose to do so, you’ll get a live (visual and verbal) stream of Mardi Gras beginning Friday, February 20, and finishing on Fat Tuesday (February 24), via my Tweetstream.
Armed with only an iPhone and a mobile Twitter client, yours truly is going to live tweet the entire 5-day mêlée that is Mardi Gras. One important note, if you’re hoping to see lots of pics of a certain female body part, move on because this is a PG show and frankly, that has been done to death.
No, my Mardi Gras stream will be an in-depth look at the Mardi Gras you never see on TV or websites. A Mardi Gras filled with fun, food and yes, plenty of beverages. We’ll answer questions like “what’s up with all the ladders?” and others that I’m sure folks will Tweet in.
We’ll be sending pics of floats, frivolity and anything else that just looks damn interesting. And lets face it, come Monday and Tuesday of next week when all of you are sitting in your office working, you’re going to wish for a little distraction and I’ll be providing it to everyone that follows @TomMartin.
Let me be clear. I’m doing this for two reasons. First and foremost, because it just seems like an interesting thing to do. But second, because at the end of my little test, I’m going to do a bit of analysis and report that information back here and in a future Ad Age post so we can all get a bit smarter on Twitter. Heck, that alone ought to be reason enough to play along, don’t you think?
And there you have it. The world’s largest free show on earth just got larger via Twitter.
If you want to see what it is all going to be about, and you are on Twitter, just find @TomMartin and start following me.
If you’re not on Twitter, you’ll need to get an account. But don’t fret, that takes all of 30 seconds.
Then just enter your name, your email address and pick the username you want (hint: best to use your own name if you can get it) and then click “Create my account.” This will then drop you into your home page.
Then select “Find People” from upper right hand navigation system.
Then, using the “Find on Twitter” tab, search for TomMartin. Click my beautiful mug shot to go to my Tweetstream.
Once there, click the “follow” button and that is it. You are officially coming to Mardi Gras – my Tweet.
Click the “Home” button in the upper right hand navigation area and you’ll be back to your home page where you can watch Mardi Gras live without ever leaving your desk.
I hope all of you will choose to play along. I think you’ll enjoy it, learn a few interesting things about Mardi Gras (that you probably don’t know) and you’ll become better marketers because you’ll finally learn about one of the newest, hottest social media platforms around-Twitter.
So sign up now and be sure to tell a few friends by emailing this post to your network, posting it on your Facebook page, and Tweet it out to all of your Twitter friends.
See you on Friday.
Once you've followed me, you can also see the photo/tweet stream via a webpage - which is actually easier and cooler... but you can only talk to me via Twitter if you have a question or comment on a photo, or want to ask me to take a pic of something in particular.
Yesterday I received my first "Blogger Box" -- Jack Hayhow of Opus Commnications sent it to me. In it was a copy of his book, The Wisdom of the Flying Pig and of course, a toy flying pig. That's the box in the pic above. Now I've often seen, heard and read of other bloggers receiving products, services, etc., in hopes that they'll blog about it. Who hasn't? It is a pretty standard tool in everyone's blogger relations toolkit. Just yesterday, Chris Brogran talked about the Blogger Rate at the Roger Smith Hotel in NYC. He even made a little video of his room. Nice but I think the folks at the Travel Channel are safe.
The thought I'm having right now is based on how I felt when I got the box. It was my first. And I don't care who you are, the first time someone sends you something of value with a note that they love your blog and thanks for supplying good thoughts, you can't help but get excited. We all want validation but this, well it goes well beyond the gold star.
I sit here writing this post because I feel I have to.. to close the loop if you will. But that is the psychology behind the tactic isn't it. Which makes me wonder, will I feel the same the next time I get something? The time after that and the time after that? Will I still feel this tremendous need to blog it. To "pay the sender back" for making me feel so good? Hmmmmm. I don't know. It's easy to get jadded. And if you are a power blogger and get lots of this kind of swag, I could see how you just couldn't blog it all for fear of seeming like you've sold out and yours is little more than a product review site.
So that of course begs the question, when planning a blogger outreach program that involves the sending of products, should you focus on the biggest, most influential bloggers or maybe work a bit harder to find that much, much larger ring of 2nd and 3rd tier bloggers. Win lots of little battles instead of a couple of wars.
I'm not sure. Time for coffee. Talk amongst yourselves and get back to me.
I've been blogging now for almost three years. And honestly, I think there are like 50 people that read my blog pretty regularly which is mostly my own fault. I haven't been focused, my content wanders too much, and I don't spend enough time reaching out to other bloggers/networks to build the kind of relationships you need to have a successful blog. A function of my intellectual ADD and lack of time to really invest in relationship building... yes I know - Whaaa. Moving on...
But that is changing. If you noticed, I recently culled back the range of content and over the next month you're going to see it tighten even more. Thanks to this great post by Chris Brogan, I've decided my kernel is "disruption" so from here on out, I plan to post what I hope to be disruptive thoughts. Things that make you go hmmmmm. Dreams of products and services that don't yet exist but could or should. Things that hopefully will inspire you my loyal but small tribe to go out and create really cool stuff based on these disruptive ideas. Just do me a favor - stop back by and tell us all about what you did. And if you like the stuff I'm posting, let me know via comments. Tweet it on Twitter. And if you don't - by God say so and make a suggestion. I'd like this to become a must read for everyone. A place where smart ideas and thoughts are hatched and discussed because lets face it, there are too few of both in the world these days.
But beyond that, blogging is a bitch because like sales, it requires a staunch stomach and determination. You're going to think you're making progress and then wham! something is going to happen that reminds you just how far you have to go if you want to develop a truly large and committed tribe. You'll tweet a great post and nothing - crickets. Someone will write a "must follow" post/tweet or pimp other bloggers and you'll be nowhere even though you're on a first tweet basis with them... it happens, it will happen. But if you're serious about blogging, blow it off and keep on trucking man... eventually you'll either get carpel tunnel or enough folks will notice what you're up to and start digging your chili that rewards -- in whatever way you define them -- will find you.
So to you fellow bloggers out there just hamming the keyboard and hoping to find your tribe, stick to it, learn from the best and good luck.
Did you know that banks will only provide cashiers checks to customers? I didn't. Well at least the two banks nearest to my office don't. Which sucked because I needed one to pay a speeding ticket. So I went down to the Whitney National Bank at the bottom of our building, used their ATM to get out cash and then went in to get my check.
The teller said they couldn't do that because I wasn't a customer.
So I walked across the street to Iberia Bank and asked for a cashiers check. Again, I was told they couldn't do that unless I was a customer. Only this time the teller added one little important piece of information. While they couldn't issue a cashiers check, they could do a money order. So I read the letter from the Sheriff's office and what do you know... a money order is just fine with this particular Sheriff.
So a money order it was and I gladly paid the $5 fee. But that isn't really the point of this post. The point is this. I'm a Chase customer and that used to be great because there was a branch across the street. Which is where the Iberia Bank branch is now. I don't do a lot of face-to-face banking but now and then I have to actually go into see a teller to deposit something or pay for a speeding ticket or hide money from my wife... but with no Chase right across the street that can be a pain.
So here I was in a very nice bank branch, waiting for a very helpful teller to finish my money order and it hit me -- I was the only one there and it was 12:45pm -- lunch. Which got me to thinking, I wonder if it is like this every day. My biggest pet peeve with banks is standing in line at lunch because they don't have enough tellers. And that got me to thinking, maybe I need to pull a bit out of Chase and open a secondary account at this bank.
And that is the point of this post. While she wasn't selling per se, I think every customer facing employee has to treat any interaction with a non-customer as an opportunity to create a customer. Had the Whitney teller done the same, I might very well have considered opening an account there -- as they too had no on one in the lobby and it is in my building!
Anyone else have any good stories of brands that missed a chance to convert a non-customer? Or maybe an example of a company doing this type of training with its customer facing employees?
This morning I thought I'd try something new... I'm going to start this post and in the spirit of @ChrisBrogan's advice to leave some posts unfinished, I'm going leave this one very unfinished and invite you to guest blog if you will via the comments. So, please play along and I think I'll pull the final group post together and submit it as my next Ad Age Small Agency Diary post with credits to each of you of course.
So here goes...
The first thing every company should not do when starting a social marketing effort is just jump right in. You only get one chance to make a first impression. In traditional offline media, you run a bad campaign, no worries. You create a new one and go back at the same audience. They can't do anything to stop you really -- they might ignore you but they can't block you.
In social media -- if you turn them off, they turn you off. As in game over, the fat lady has sung, Elvis has left the building off and you can't do squat to change that fact. Once I unfriend you, block you on Twitter or pretty much turn you off on any other platform, you can't do anything to get me back. You're dead to me.
If you're looking to better understand Social Media, here is my little gift to you -- 8 great blogs and a single great post from each. But don't just read their posts, read the comments too. And add a few comments of your own. Be sure to tell them I sent you. Here we go.
From @ChrisBrogan, a great post on the current state of Advertising where he suggests it is broken. Chris is a wicked smart guy with a great blog and even better comments because he has a very active tribe. This is one of his better "comment" posts because he definitely hit a nerve.
From the folks over at Radian6 (the software I use for SM), a wonderful piece about why you should invest in listening. Simple, succinct and dead on if you ask me. When your boss or client asks you why you should invest in this space, send them this link.
The folks over at Kansas State's Digital Ethnography school are always doing really cool stuff. This post discusses how they used dispersed information curration to create a really huge library of information and then sat as a class to discuss the deeper learnings and connections within the data stream. Truly cool. I can't wait to use the same technique in my next new business pitch. Talk about a way to get smart fast...
I've long been fascinated by the idea of community as marketing tool. If done right, for the right kinds of products/services -- mainly those that touch a passion within consumers -- I think it is the holy grail of marketing. Pretty decent upfront costs to build but lifetime value -- blows ads away. If you're thinking about moving your brand into that space, follow Kommein's blog. He's always got really smart stuff and this post is no different. I think he's dead on correct with regard to the workload required to do community right.
And if you're trying to stay up with the latest and greatest internet stats so you can sound smart around the water cooler -- add the Pew Internet Project to your RSS feeder. That way you'll get each of their reports as soon as it is posted. Here is a link to their most recent one - Generations online 2009. Good stuff baby.
Another great blogger, especially if you're getting started in social media, is @MackCollier. Not sure if Mack focuses more on helping newbies or smaller companies or if he's just a natural giver, but his site is full of simple, straightforward information and ideas. I especially like this post about why you should monitor Twitter. Nuff said.
And two more to round out today's listing -- @BethHarte had a great post, which also led to some great conversations both on her blog and twitter, about the need to have rules for social media (and every other marketing medium for that matter) and how it wasn't necessary. I think she's dead on. Rules implies we've learned all we can about a channel and now have a "Social Media for Dummies" approach that anyone can follow. Simply not true and Beth's post reminds us of that. Take gander and sign up for her RSS feed.
And last but not least, @LisaHoffmann has some great advice for anyone wanting to be extraordinary at what they do. While she's talking about social media, I think you'll agree, her suggestions are applicable to just about every endeavor. And here again, read the comments... great stuff.
That's it for this morning. Got a blogger or site everyone should be following -- please take a minute to share via comments. Thanks.