Category Archives: Twitter

Location: The Last Piece of Twitter’s Success Puzzle

20131214-232115.jpg

Twitter has been eating Facebook’s lunch recently – and I’m loving it. They’re moving quicker and breaking more things than the Facebook crew… and those things they’re breaking are barriers and ad revenue goals.

One thing, though, stands in the way of Twitter and true success in the ad space – Location.

They’ve Been Thinking About Location Before
It’s something the Twitter team dealt with even before Twitter was Twttr – back when it was a Jack/Noah/Ev concept. At that time, Dodgeball was buzzing in NYC, letting people drop notes to their friends, via SMS telling them where they were. Odeo was dying and Apple was gobbling up any podcasting goodness out there as the “status” idea started to morph into something.

Dodgeball, as we all know (or maybe not because I’m learning not everyone is a nerd like me) was eventually bought by Google – which them shut it down. However, it was resurrected as another playground game-named service as (you guessed it) Foursquare!

Location. Location. Location.
Since early on, Twitter’s mobile applications (and indeed its API) have let users share location data with Tweets. How much that actually is used varies depending on which report/study you read (and how they’re done). A USC study and resulting app says one in five tweets carry identifiable location data – either actively shared or in metadata. That number seems much higher than the previously assumed 1-3% that’s been discussed around the net for years.

That low number starts to provide a hurdle when looking to have an active part in that all-important proximity to point of purchase for Twitter.

The Mobile Holy Trinity
They’re already pushing hard in the mobile game with their MoPub buy (which will bring rich content experiences to the mobile Twitter feed soon – and holy crap it’s going to be awesome) and their opening up the ability to created Tailored Audiences, essentially bringing actual retargeting to mobile devices via data partners.

If Twitter could (and it’s going to take more than tech – a change in user behaviour) connect the three: rich ad units, retargeting, and location… you might as well just give them the advertising prize for a social network right then and there.

So, how do they do this?
That’s a tough question, and one that teams at Twitter are no doubt toiling with. Content that’s being targeted to users based on location now is only taking into account location data entered by users in their profiles – an imperfect targeting solution, but effective enough for brand campaigns aimed at increasing recognition and other “softer” metrics.

If Twitter wants to build confidence among traditional retailers and businesses, they’ll need to get closer to the register.

Change The Rules
While not ideal, changing the terms of service to allow Twitter to use real-time mobile device GPS coordinates to serve content is a way forward. The company is already testing a “Nearby” function that lets users see content being published in their vicinity. It’s only a short step from that to using the same location info for ads.

Likelihood: Medium

TwitSquare
Buy ‘em. Foursquare has been struggling the past few years. The app is great – don’t get me wrong. They’re just not proving a great platform for brands to bet on. Crawley is trying his ass off and I think they’ll get it right eventually, but will it be too late?

If Twitter could buy Foursquare and get some of the “here I am” goodness from that platform to rub off on Twitter (not to mention all the local business recommendations, etc.) it could offer a whole new dimension to their platform.

Likelihood: Low/Medium

Get Physical, Physical

20131215-001456.jpg
I probably talk about these at least once a day, but iBeacons! iBeacons! iBeacons! If Twitter invested in this technology and linking it with their platform, push messages could be sent to users when they were browsing near products.

Likelihood: Medium

The Full-on Dream Sequence Scenario
This is how it’d go down in a perfect world, a literal combo punch of everything above.

It’s June 2014. Twitter, having just bought Foursquare in February is rolling out the latest version of their app – complete with Foursquare’s location-aware push notifications. John is walking near Regent St. and gets a push notification from Twitter: it’s a rich ad unit showing the nearest Gap stores to him (there are 3) and advertising their 30% off sale. John clicks he location that’s also right next to an Itsu because he is craving some sushi.

When John enters the Gap store, his phone vibrates, welcoming him to the store and reminds him that he was looking at some of the new 1969 Original Skinny Jeans and a cardi on the website earlier – then it points him to where they are in the store.

When John wanders over to the denim section, the iBeacon near the Original Skinny Jeans beams info on the jeans to his phone along with a special, Email subscriber only deal for an additional 10% off denim (because Gap knows John loves denim).

John goes to the register, pays with his phone (because I’m pretending we’ll all be doing that next year), and leaves the store. Since his digital wallet is linked with his email and store accounts for brands like Gap, H&M, JCrew and more, John gets a Tweet after he’s a block away telling him to drop them a Tweet about how the new jeans fit and linking him to a customer satisfaction survey.

At the End of the Day
We may be a little further off from that than I’d like, but right now Twitter is flying toward that reality at full speed. If they can crack the location issue, I think they make an incredibly strong case for being one of the most-important marketing tools of our time (even more so than they already have).

Tagged , , , , ,

America Checks In (and Tweets) at the Polls for Election 2012

By the end of today we’ll (hopefully) know who will be leading our country for the next four years – along with a number of other important races/initiatives.

This year is really being considered the first “Social Media” election as both candidate and voter use of social to communicate ideas, intent, and to mark their participation is at an all-time high.

Facebook, with their ability to tap into a large percentage of the American population, has a data-rich, real-time graphic at facebookstories.com that updates whenever a users clicks the “I Voted” button found after logging in.

Foursquare actually has a real-time view that can be embedded in sites. Check that out below. right here. Seems like it’s not working well with embedding right now.

No matter which party, candidate, or measure you vote for or against today, remember that we’re all Americans and the very fact that we have the option to go to a polling place (or our couch here in WA) and cast a vote is pretty incredible.

Ours is a shared destiny and only through working together and for the greater good can we leave a legacy that we can be proud of.

God Bless America!

Social Media Awesomeness: UPS

The other day, I did something I rarely do: I stopped to let a pedestrian cross in front of me at a marked crosswalk that didn’t have a light. As much as it surprised me, it definitely surprised the UPS driver behind me…

Not only did he yell at me, he had a few choice words for me as well – probably nothing I haven’t yelled at another driver before.

Not really expecting anything from it, I tweeted about my experience.

Much to my joy (remember, I work in social media), UPS responded fairly quickly.

So, major props for catching the tweet and responding go out to UPS. Like I said, I’d never expect anything and certainly don’t think the driver was terribly horrible or anything – guy was probably at the end of his route and wanted to get home. I know I did.

The whole experience just reinforced what I tell clients day in and day out – people just want to know you’re there and that you give a shit about the experience they have with your brand.

While getting yelled at wasn’t rad, I’m definitely a bigger fan of UPS after the interaction with their social team.

Tagged , , ,

#hashtagging the Grand Daddy of Them All? #NoWay

20120102-172650.jpg

When you wake up on Jan. 1, Whatever year it is you can expect to see the Rose Bowl (yes, except when the 1st falls on a Sunday). I remember watching the game with my dad just about every year – except for the two times we’ve been there with WSU.

This year, as I watched the game, I saw a couple ads from lead sponsor VIZIO. They were great ads, but the thing that rubbed me wrong was the hashtag shown at the end – #VIZIORoseBowl. Yes, we know you’re the sponsor… but did you really think you’d generate a ton of conversation around a hashtag that is tied to one of the most-nostalgic games in sport?

This is a prime example of how, to no one’s fault, simply pushing a hashtag out into the wild can flop. Granted, nothing is probably hurt from this (assuming they didn’t go buy a sponsored hashtag, etc.), but they’re losing out just by trying to divert conversation.

Take a look at the search brought back and decide for yourself.

Tagged , , , , ,

Building a Trending Topic

Trending topics are the holy grail of Twitter marketing/outreach. You can buy your way to the top, but how are those topics that aren’t paid for moved to the top of the list? HINT NUMBER 1: Have something to do with Justin Beiber… seriously.

For a more academic look at what goes into creating the trending topics, read this PDF:
Trends in Social Media: Persistence and Decay

 

via Gizmodo via Mashable via NYTimes

Does Relevance Translate to Resonance (and More Importantly, Dollars)?

When Polaroid appointed Lady Gaga, the meat-wearing, beat-dropping, gender-bending, pop star their creative director in 2009, I thought it was kind of fun. Sure, take a visible, creative person and give them some magical unicorn title and let the press salivate and type away for a couple weeks. That makes sense. However, at this last CES she actually paraded a number of products in front of the techy masses that weren’t half bad.

Now today, Intel announced that Will.i.am, the auto-tuned, dapper rapper, has become their Director of Creative Innovation. What he’ll actually do in that role is yet to be seen.

What I found really interesting was Intel’s statement about the deal (hire?):

“It’s imperative that Intel and our innovations are kept in front of the global youth culture that embraces new devices and new forms of communication and entertainment.” – Deborah Conrad, Intel

So, if this is about keeping their innovations in front of the global youth culture, why didn’t they sign up Justin Bieber to be their guy?

This really begs the question: is relevance really translating to resonance? Will this global youth culture see Will.i.am and connect the fact that he’s promoting the processor in their computer or mobile device? Will they even know what a processor is/does?

I hope this means every IDF will open with a BEP performance, or at the very least that “I Gotta Feeling” is playing every time Paul Otellini steps on stage.

Disclosure: I worked closely with Intel for 3 years while at Owen Media Inc.

They Get It: Cole Haan

I’ll admit it, I’m not above putting something out on Twitter in hopes that a brand sees it and takes action. This isn’t because I think anything is owed to me (heck, I bought the thing now it’s my problem), but because I work in an indsutry where I find it absolutely awesome to see brands out there listening and interacting with their customers.

The other day I put my foot up and noticed a large crack in the rubber part of my Cole Haan boots. Now, these boots are seriously the most comfortable pair of shoes I have right now, so I was a bit sad to see this – especially in puddle-laden Seattle.

Thinking that I’d see if Nordstrom would respond to my Tweet (since that’s where I purchased the boots), I sent this little bit of Twitter pleasure out:

To my surprise, I didn’t hear anything back from Nordstrom (granted, I wasn’t REALLY expecting anything back from them, especially since I didn’t use their Twitter handle). What I did get, though, were a bunch of great reccos from friends of places to take my shoes to get them fixed (including Nordstrom).

Then, when I booted up my PC at work this a.m. I was definitely surprised to see that Cole Haan had responded to my tweet (very thoroughly):

 

Regardless of what happens now (whether or not I get a new pair or a fixed pair), I’m still definitely going to be singing the praises of Cole Haan’s outreach and customer service on this one!

It just goes to prove that when brands act more like people they can greately change the way consumers think, which is especially useful when consumers often think (and act) with their wallets.

 

 

Are Businesses Today Learning from the Underpants Gnomes?

underpants-gnomes-get-wise

I love Southpark. I’ve loved it since the very first episode I saw, which was on VHS. My friend Kyle brought the VHS over and I’m pretty sure we watched “Cartman gets an anal probe” about 30 times.

OK, enough anal probing. The real topic for this post is how businesses are waking up to the reality that they can’t just sit back and throw messages out into the ether anymore aiming at their target audiences and hoping they get the point. They’re moving beyond the easy way of doing business with their snazzy “phase 1: collect underpants… phase 2: ?… phase 3: profit” business model and are figuring out what that second piece really is.

So, what is it? Social media.

Social media, in all its forms (Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, YouTube, etc., etc., etc.) offers a real chance to connect and create two-way communication while living in the brand. What’s living in the brand? It’s having a space where lines are blurring between what’s marketing and what’s real social interaction. That’s where today’s decisions are being made.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that every company out there should be on MySpace and Twitter trying to create these situations… they have to ACTUALLY see the benefit in being in these situations, not creating an air of the situation, get it?

So, which companies do I think are doing this right? Here are a couple that you won’t find profiled on every social media blog:

Tatango
Get on Twitter and you’ll see these guys. Get on Facebook and you’ll see these guys. Young CEO Derek Johnson (@tatango) and his merry band of plugged-in cohorts (@tatango_alex, @adrianpike, @tatango_amiel, and @tatango_andrew) are out there, every day doing the social media legwork that’s bringing users and coverage to their product. They’re not pushy, they’re real and people can tell that. Check out their awesome tool for group text and voice messaging while you’re at it.

J & D’s Bacon Salt
While it’s not a hard sell to get me to buy something that can make everything taste like bacon, J & D’s Bacon Salt takes it to a new level. When you arrive on their homepage you kind of get this feeling that you know these guys from back in college or maybe even one of them was in your fraternity – that’s what it’s all about. You can connect with them and because of that you listen to what they have to say. Because you listen to what they have to say (on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, YouTube, etc.) you live in a world where you can make your broccoli taste like bacon, man!

Who do you think is “getting it?” Let me know in the comments or hit me up on any of MY social networks.

Tagged ,

I Live My Life 140 Characters at a Time: When Digital and Analog Worlds Collide

Real life doesn’t have friend requests. If it did it would be something like this.

What I’m trying to say, really, is there’s some sort of imaginary line between the digital lives we lead and those in the analog (real) world. The question is; where do we draw that imaginary line?

A while back, I made a mistake – a big mistake. I posted a couple tweets about a friend that weren’t exactly very awesome. It wasn’t that I was mean; it was more that I probably shouldn’t have been throwing this stuff out there. I had no idea this person would ever read them, but this person did. Needless to say, I felt like crap and apologized profusely, but it got me wondering…

In a day where Facebook statuses become motives for murder and hitting ENTER can send a message to all of Tweetdom, how are people really managing the coexistence between their digital and real lives?

I’ve hinted (pretty obviously) before about the lack of adoption by my friends of most social media and Web 2.0 (hate that term) technologies, but what I haven’t really delved into is how they are using the tools they actually do use.

A while back my roommate changed his Facebook status (on accident) to say he was in a relationship. Some of us knew, through actual human interaction, that he was hanging out with this girl. Immediately wall posts and comments on his status appeared from people who probably haven’t even talked to him in months. Eventually things got ironed out, but he had to wade through a lot of Facebook update e-mails to get things quieted down.

I’d imagine that most of my friends hold back when we’re out, worrying that the next stupid thing they do will be broadcast in my blog or caught on Qik, but I realize that part of that is my fault. Should I sit them all down and explain what my intentions are? Should all my friends sign a digital release form?

Thus far I’ve managed to keep most embarrassing things out off of the interwebs, or at least use pseudonyms, but I kind of feel like a fake doing that sometimes. Maybe it’s the journalist in me that keeps wanting to throw everything out there and let the world (wide web) decide what to make of it.
Until I find a definite guideline for how to manage the space where my digital and analog lives intersect, I guess I can only continue doing what I’m doing.

Perhaps, though, if my friends started adapting the same sort of lifestyle there’d be less to worry about. Changing their habits HAS to be easier than changing mine, right?

If you didn’t get the movie quote joke in the title, you should probably not be excited about this . As a note, I’m not into it at all… I just think it’s hilarious they’re making another.

Tagged , ,
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: