Why We Should All be Rooting for Twitter

Everyone hates the Patriots. OK, not everyone, but a lot of people. They don t hate them because they’re bad, though, they hate them because they’re the best. It sucks watching Tom Brady somehow find a way (Excelt for losing to Denver tonight!) time and time again. We all want to root for the underdogs… we want to get behind those scrappy teams that don’t have all the flash and glitz. The teams that we grew up on that are fighting.

That’s how I think of Twitter.

 I sent my first Tweet from a classroom computer at the School of Visual Concepts where Clay McDaniel and Andy Boyer taught me more than I’d known before about the world of social marketing. After that class, I told myself I’d be doing that as part of my job… I started working for Clay and Andy 5 months later (and then returned to teach that same class for three years).

  
Facebook is, by all accounts, the leader in today’s Internet – and don’t get me wrong, I like Facebook a hell of a lot more than I like the Patriots – and they earned it. They took down MySpace. They grew even as Google was biting at their heels and making plays. 

Twitter, though, came up at roughly the same time and, for all intents and purposes, had the same chances Facebook had to be the biggest on the block, but they didn’t – for a number of reasons.

But instead of LOLing at Twitter’s continued attempts to keep growing and to make products that bring more value to its user base, we should be cheering them on. Twitter, after all, is still where many go for “breaking” information. It’s where you can learn about a trending topic in an unfiltered feed of people you follow – sans algorithm.

Facebook probably wouldn’t be the Facebook it is today without Twitter. Their pushing and competing between 2010 – 2014 brought us more advancements and features in the mobile world than we’d seen the previous 10 years before that. Competition in the social space is just as important as competition in the world economy — it keeps innovation flowing.
The people I’ve worked with at Twitter are incredibly smart and laser focused on users and the brands that help make Twitter what it is.

Is it weird I miss this guy? #failwhale

A photo posted by Ron Schott (@ronschott) on Jan 23, 2016 at 10:44pm PST

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I made a joke the othe night about missing the #FailWhale — and I was only slightly kidding. The days when you’d get a #FailWhale were exciting because Twitter was growing so quickly and so many people were engaged around a single topic (usually) that the servers literally couldn’t keep up. It was kind of fun. I’m also a fan of the Robot who’s arm fell off.

As an advertiser, Twitter’s ability to target real-time conversations has always been an incredible draw for me. They’ve innovated quickly to bring new formats which aren’t just exciting for brands, but engaging and interesting for users. With the addition of Periscope, Twitter has an opportunity to tap into real-time conversations and situations that can put anyone from anywhere in the middle of the action.

So, I’m excited for what @jack and the team have in store. I’ve always been a fan, but I think more people have an incredible opportunity to see how awesome Twitter really can be.

Let’s root for the underdog.

Disclaimer: This post and the entirety of this blog are my personal opinions. Content included in no way is the opinion of my employer, Microsoft. I was not and will not be compensated for this post. I also like Facebook and Instagram — even YouTube… They just aren’t getting slammed right now. 

Ditch the Digital Marketing Diets

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January is a tricky time to be a marketer, unless you’re working with clients in the fitness or health sectors – then it’s a free-for-all. It’s a time when consumers are making often short-lived commitments and resolutions to do things like eat better, drink less, exercise more, or to (gasp) disconnect from technology. It’s also a time when marketing plans are being put in motion for the year… something that actually looks lot like a New Year resolution lists for the ad world. “We’re going to use social more!” “We’re going to be mobile optimised!”

Those are all great ideas, and they’re things brands should be talking about, but sadly they’re also like so many New Year’s resolutions: they don’t last. You’ll hear countless experts say “diets don’t work.” But, what do you mean diets don’t work? I see people get skinny all the time, you say. Those experts would argue that it’s not dieting that creates those lasting changes, it’s changes in behavior and practice.

So, then, why can’t brands and agencies use the same thinking when looking at shifting their marketing tack?

Drop the Fads

People love fads. Consumers, ad people, PR people, everyone – it’s built into our DNA. We want to be part of the “now” that drives popular culture and opinion. You see it with advertising all the time. Remember flash mobs? QR codes (which somehow keep making it into plans)? It’s not to say these things don’t deserve a slide in a pitch deck, but as part of a larger plan… not just a flash in the pan to show how “with it” you are.

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Marketers as a whole spend a lot of time thinking about how to get consumers to do something they want – whether it’s buy a car, download an app, click a link, etc. What marketers (myself included) can do in 2014 to help buck the trend of constantly changing tactics is to get ahead of the consumer with research and studies aimed at pinpointing behaviors and planning for the future.

Measure (The Right) Things, But Not Everything

Big data, while a sexy-sounding term, is actually doing more harm than good in the marketing world right now. The “the more data the better” thought has created a digital gold rush of sorts to be the brand/agency with “the most data on [insert topic/audience/etc. here].” While data are great (<3 Data), there’s something to be said for having core metrics and KPIs in place that you can then use structured data sets to measure. This idea that going out and grabbing simply as much data as you can about audiences, markets, and outcomes simply creates (in most cases) data paralysis.

Use the Mirror More

There are many studies out there that actually point to scales being a negative part of getting healthy, mostly because people become number-obsessed and don’t spend enough time looking at and feeling the changes that are actually going on. The same can be said for digital marketing. Along with the data flood that’s clouding PPT docs everywhere, has come the rise of the “ultra-plugged-in performance watcher.” There’s nothing wrong with real-time data, but when you’re nit-picking campaigns in real-time and not giving them the chance to run their course, you run the risk of not only fatiguing your team, but missing out on opportunities.  

That’s all I’ve got… I’m off to do 1,000 digital crunches.

Yahoo’s Mayer takes to Tumblr to Announce Tumblr Buy

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You can’t say that Yahoo’s CEO Marissa Mayer has sat on her laurel’s since joining the company. In fact, she’s made quite a shakeup in terms of people and purchases lately. The latest, a reported $1.1B acquisition of Tumblr (announced by Mayer on Tumblr) is an incredible deal in terms of content for Yahoo… but what else?

Audience

The millions of Tumblr users just became potential audience for Yahoo in their bid to bring the once-power portal back to the homepage of the web. Beyond the numbers, the audience of Tumblr is about as different as you can get from the core Yahoo user – younger, hipper, and more digitally savvy. Yahoo must be banking on the fact that they’ll be able to create positive feelings toward the Yahoo brand… something these young(er) users don’t have.

Content

If you look at changes Yahoo has made to their News Stream, you’ll notice a definite shift toward social content – especially after last week’s addition of Twitter news to the stream. By adding Tumblr content to the mix, this brings an added dimension of personalization to the news experience that wasn’t there before.

Ad Opportunities

This is somewhere Tumblr will actually benefit from Yahoo’s experience. Yahoo can work to implement higher-value advertising products into Tumblr in order to capitalize on the millions of eyeballs it pulls in every day. This will marry with the content flow in order to allow brands on Tumblr an additional way of promoting their content outside Tumblr’s promoted post functionality. 

One thing that’s worth noting (for the time being) is that Tumblr will continue to operate separately… That’s not to say the teams won’t be working together to create cross-property integration, but you won’t surf to Tumblr and see a Yahoo! logo anytime soon (at least not in place of  a Tumblr one). 

For more info, read Marissa Mayer’s Tumblr post on the acquisition and make fun of the .gif used. 

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.

Nike Fuel Band: Well, that was quick

There are plenty of health and fitness gadgets and apps out there. I wrote about some of them I saw at CES here.

Probably the most-anticipated out of these was the Nike Fuel Band. The Swoosh-powered band was announce some time ago and immediately sold out pre-orders. Since then, chances of getting your soon-to-be-sweaty hands on one have been as slim as users hope to be.

Today their Twitter account let loose the hint that there would be a new supply available at around 5pm EST – I was waiting.

However, I don’t have one… and that’s OK, because it’s pretty interesting to see how the whole thing played out. Check out a screenshot of their Twitter feed to see how quickly the new batch of bands sold out:

I have to give their social team props for being on top of the situation. They definitely got things out there as quickly as I’m sure they had info. However, the actual process of ordering was pretty horrible. The site crashed twice on me before I got through to the final confirmation page… only then to see that the product I had ordered (and input my address, phone number, email, and credit card info for) was sold out.

Oh well… I guess there’s always next time.

#hashtagging the Grand Daddy of Them All? #NoWay

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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.