Posts filed under ‘marketing – general’

Being Real 2.0

When I first started this blog (at the end of 2007), I posted the (creatively and originally titled) post: “My Views on Social Networking“.

I wrote:

We are all connected.

Photo: "We are all connected" by Erica_Marshall

“On a large scale, social networking truly fulfills the role that our old (read: non-virtual) communities used to prove. This has sorely been lacking for most of us. Now we are only several connections away from others, only a few friends away from a new friend. Here we offer assistance to each other and ask for help. We are kept posted of occurrences within our social circle, to what are friends are doing or concerned about, today. Of what events they are attending. Here the town crier is Facebook, shouting out to us about the many parties we can attend, things we can do. As a “Wired” article summed-up the phenomenon that is Twitter: “That tactile sense of your community is simply too much fun, too useful” (Clive Thompson, “How Twitter Creates a Social Sixth Sense”).

That this evolution has also tremendously affected how we communicate with each other online, even in a business context, is clear by this point. And it has changed how much of ourselves we display to others, even if we have a possible business agenda to our online presence.

In February I moderated the very cool panel discussion about who you are online (photo here ).  All the women on the panel (Jenn Lowther, Rebecca Bollwitt, Linda Bustos and Nadia Nascimento) were web savvy (understatement), and, as such, had a strong awareness of the public nature of communicating online. They were very strategic about their line between public and private, establishing those boundaries and the nature of how they presented themselves.  That said, what we were comfortable posting about was quite varied.

This morning, I was talking to my boyfriend about Twitter and remarked that he’s been online for a few months, he has a clearer idea of how he wishes to communicate (or, to be artistic here, he understands his online “voice”).  It’s something that I have to remember to make clear in an upcoming presentation, that this understanding of “who you are online – be it on Twitter, Facebook, a Blog etc. – does not come immediately.  And it takes some playing around and trial and error for most to figure out what they are comfortable with and what works for them or their business or organization.

When I first started to blog, it was on my humor blog – and actually didn’t realize that that would be the theme of my blog.  In fact, the first few posts were random essays and rants. I only discovered what I would be motivated to post about (i.e. absurdities) after a month or two.

There were also other discoveries – such as after a week or two on Twitter, I realized that I wasn’t too keen on posting about what I was doing- and made the executive decision that no one would be the least bit interested.  Like most, I am not exciting 24hrs a day.  Sure, 5-7 times a day, I’m entertaining. And if that’s all I tweet, I’m golden.  Posting more often, or potentially a log of everything I was doing, would break that illusion (e.g. 6am: “Working on the computer, as you can ascertain”, 8am: “Time to eat” 10am: “Still working on the computer, now at a coffee shop”, 6pm “Time to eat 7pm: “Back to working on computer again”).

So my succinct advice about authenticity online would be: “be real, but like, better.”


May 13, 2009 at 6:06 pm Leave a comment

LinkedIn – Are You FeelIn’ It?

Confession: I don’t use LinkedIn well or often. Frankly, when I got on it just felt too “stuffy”, and I still get that sense.

While Twitter and Facebook feel lively and energetic (the interface, the way the tool works, the way people interact), LinkedIn feels like one of those sterile networking events where people are trying to make contacts but there’s no actual engagement or conversation

LinkedIn smurfs

(If only Linkedin were as interesting as this "LinkedIn smurfs" photo by 99zeros

I like the “Introductions” concept.  If you’re looking to make contact with a particular person and you discover that he/she is only separated by a degree or two, it makes sense to try to connect .  Of course, in that case, I’d simply find out who to contact using Linkedin – and then Google to find the person’s email.  I could then shoot them an email, mentioning our mutual connection – without going through Linkedin’s own (unlovable) messaging system…

Other than that, I haven’t found much on Linkedin that you couldn’t do in a more personal and engaging way on another site (mainly Twitter or Facebook).

But, because I don’t like something, doesn’t necessarily make it irrelevant.  (I wish! Physical Sciences seem to have stuck around, regardless.  Go figure.)

Many find LinkedIn extremely useful.  I have a friend who swears by the site. It’s been invaluable for him in terms of  making connections.  And while I relish the ability to be casual and “myself” online, I recognize some don’t believe business and personal should mix as much as most social sites encourage/accept.  Especially if you find Facebook to be too personal (“Who cares what interpretive dance performance my acquaintance is going to…?” ), LinkedIn can be an especially appealing social networking tool.

So, in the interest of fairness, let’s look at what LinkedIn can actually do.

It gives you the ability to (among other things):

  • see who your contacts and friends are connected to in a business sense (e.g. who do they know well and have worked with).
  • research people/companies (“What’s that person like to work with? Should/could I work with them? Looks like some people I know have worked with her – I’ll ask them.”)
  • request and receive public recommendations (that never hurts)
  • mention what you are up to (using the “status”/”what are you working on?” update.)
  • ask for advice from the Linkedin populace as a whole, or from your friends.
  • request a contact make an introduction to someone in their connections with whom you’d like to establish contact.

Recently Linkedin has been making strides to make the platform more appetizing, adding SlideShare and blog post integration (and other applications) as well as “Groups

And my problem with the site “not being fun”, is in a sense, missing the point.  It’s likely not supposed to be.

As Bernard Lunn writes on RedWriteWeb:

“We want to spend as little time as possible so that we can get the job done, get off our computers, and have a life. LinkedIn is the most efficient place to hunt for customers and employees. It is the first real change in productivity for those who work on the front lines of business.”

LinkedIn also has an “Events” feature – and you certainly can see (and be apprised of) the events your friends are attending – but there’s more.  It trumps the usual events features by offering:

“…recommendations based on the contents of your profile” in your newsfeed. (Marshall Kirkpatrick on Mashable.)

And in How to Get the Most Out of LinkedIn by Brian Wallace remarks that:

“The old adage that “it isn’t what you know, it’s who you know” still holds value. LinkedIn takes this thought one step further, making it “who you will know soon to be of utmost importance.” Using LinkedIn, I’ve trained small businesses to spread their wings and get connected with companies that they might otherwise have thought were beyond reach, and to the persons they were looking for in those companies.”

Indeed, it is often more efficient (and more exact) to search for contacts at a company using Linkedin then to use the “About the Team” page (assuming they even have one) on their website.

Further, LinkedIn lets you know where your connections are now – even if you’ve lost touch or are out-of-the-loop: once you upload your address book, it checks to see who’s on board and you could reconnect with people for whom you have outdated emails:

“I had old emails for people who had changed jobs; LinkedIn automatically showed me where they work now (I assume based on email forwarding).” (Bernard Lunn on RedWriteWeb)

So, clearly, some people are getting value out of LinkedIn.  Are you?

Stay tuned: in the next post, I’ll be looking at Linkedin for NonProfits. Update: Well, no, I won’t.  It’s just off the priority list right now – but I did find a great “A Visual Guide To LinkedIn For Job Hunters” and since I feel that networking is a bit like Job Hunting, it’s appropriate. Or maybe it isn’t and I just love the tips and visuals in it. Your call.

May 7, 2009 at 1:06 pm 5 comments

Overview: Vancouver Digital Week

I’m very excited to be working on social media promotion for Vancouver Digital Week!

One of the reason I’m jazzed about this series is because I loved  last year’s Convergence and Vidfest.  I was particularly impressed with James McCraken‘s talk as well as the one on Alternate Reality Games from 42 Entertainment.  I love events that allow for the soaking up of information and siphoning off great minds – and there was no shortage of that last year.  It looks like this year will be pretty formidable as well.

What is Vancouver Digital Week?
(Yes, I will be asking and answering my own questions, btw – just like that self-important guy you met last week.)

Vancouver Digital Week, which runs from May 11 – 14, 2009 (mostly at the Vancouver Exhibition and Convention Centre – West – i.e. the new one at 1055 Canada Place), is a series of digital media events for people involved in, or interested in, the following industries:

  • games and digital entertainment
  • social media
  • interactive design, animation and VFX

It includes international business match-making, big picture conference sessions, high-level seminars and workshops, as well as loads of networking parties.

You can register for an event by going to the particular event site (see below).

What events are part of Vancouver Digital Week?

Vancouver Digital Week - Events

(Click on the photo to see notes  – including dates and websites)

What’s especially cool about this event?

I’m glad you asked!

  • DAVID PLOUFFE, Campaign Manager, Obama for America will be the keynote speaker at Convergence.
  • There’s a 2-day Game Developers conference
  • nextMEDIA Vancouver offers a program which connects the digital worlds of Music, Advertising and Broadcast (including sessions that discuss self-promotion for artists through technology, which I’m particularly psyched about)
  • New Media BC’s PopVox Awards which honour the best of BC’s Digital Media Industry.  It is a people’s choice contest so the winners are determined by the audience.
    • You can purchase tickets for the gala on the New Media BC site.
    • And you can vote for your faves – but only until tomorrow (April 30th)!  – Go to the  Popvox site to vote (click on a category to see the entries – and you can vote for as many).
    • There also 4 Individual Standout Awards that you can nominate people for (though these winners will be decided by a jury. )
  • And much more.

Where can I find information Vancouver Digital Week?

Update: Tags! Please tag Vancouver Digital Week as #vdw09 on Twitter, and vdw09 on Youtube, Flickr etc. (you can also add the following re: Popvox  #popvox09 on Twitter and popvox09 on Youtube, Flickr etc.)

Thanks all!

April 29, 2009 at 4:14 pm 1 comment

Please, You’re Way Too Subtle…

Today, I posted the following Tweet on my Twitter:


I received the following informative reply from someone I did not know.


Do we, I wondered?  That sure would suck.  So I took a look at this good samaritan’s Twitter stream.  I imagine this brilliant stream won’t be up for long, but in the interest of preserving EnergyFiend’s subtle approach to marketing, I have captured this screenshot.



I clicked two pages back – you may be surprised to find out that Energy Fiend has a one-track mind.  Apparently everything in the beverage family (except for Soyfee) can cause cancer, high cholesterol and congenital herpes (OK, I didn’t actually see that last one in the stream, but then again I only clicked back 2 pages).

Finding this was particularly pleasurable after reading Shannon Whitley’s amusing post of the “Top 10 List of People to Unfollow on Twitter” where he describes this type of Twitterer exactly (“The Pimp”).

I’m a marketer myself, but I make the assumption that the people I market to have a brain.  Tactics like these insult potential consumers. And using scare and smear tactics which attack other products to sell your own are in a word “gross” and in two words:”really gross”.

December 17, 2008 at 12:47 pm 11 comments

WOM – tastier

Over at My Name is Kate, Kate describes how she chose 4 of her recent hotel stays and notes: “None of my purchasing decisions were made based on information through “traditional” marketing channels.”

In fact, one of the hotels was recommended by her friend. Word of mouth – and now, in social media flavor: GigPark is a “social recommendation website” which allows you to find “trusted service people your friends use” (sort of a Linkedin for services).

Like many, most of my recommendations come from friends. I don’t have a TV (no, really… Perhaps we get an idea of why my acting career didn’t take off) and rarely listen to radio, so I don’t have all that much exposure to traditional advertising. As per my last post, “in your face” (or rather, “down your throat”) advertising only turns me off. If I want to know what to get, I ask someone I trust.

So while I haven’t yet tried GigPark, I love the concept. Now if someone I knew was just using it…

August 12, 2008 at 10:14 am 3 comments

Zuning to the Newies!

Yipeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! I got my Zune! (Thank you, Matchstick!)

Here it is in it’s all its packaged glory:


I’m really psyched about trying the Zune out for a myriad of reasons, one of which is that I want to listen to more podcasts and watch more tech shows. Also, I take public transit (no, really…) and this will be a nice alternative to reading (especially since I’m presenting without a cool book).

I spent the better part of last night adding podcasts to my collection – including TED Talks, Twit, Epic Fu & Savage Love. I have now amassed over 500… – but know there is more cool stuff out there. So please let me know what you like (Tech, Comedy, Educational, Marketing etc.) – I’d love some recommendations.

The Zune also has an interesting social aspect – you can get other people’s downloads and people can beam things to your Zune. They even ask you to name your device for that reason. (My device’s name is “MrShiny”, btw :)

The inside of the Zune’s box reads: “Wel-come to the Social.”

I’ll talk more about the Zune and my thoughts as I use it. P.S. I am participating in Chatthreads research for this promotion, so if you want to talk about this post feel free to go to and type in Conversation ID 102 986 0287

July 17, 2008 at 9:14 am 5 comments

Summer Contest – Make it a Double

A few of my friends are running cool contests.

You’d be a fool not to enter these – and I pity the fool!

Capulet: PutPlace – “Pull a Face”

A data lost photo contest

PutPlace asks you to show your best “data disaster loss” face. Basically, the horror, the agony etc. of knowing you’ve lost your work/files…

I’ve entered – though I must admit many of my outtake pictures look more like “I need Metamucil badly!” than “I lost all my files!”

Memelab’s: Fan Trust – “I Know What You Did This Summer”

Memelabs wants you to show how your favorite TV characters are spending the summer/hiatus. Great idea! Perhaps someone will imagine a cure to the disease that makes women become contestants on the Bachelor

I’d enter this one too, but as my Mr. T reference in this post demonstrates, it has been a mighty long time since I watched TV.

I still wonder what happened to Night Court

July 16, 2008 at 10:57 am Leave a comment

Predictably Irrational

You know when you read a book (or watch a film for that matter), and as you approach the end you feel a sense of sadness, because you know the experience is almost over? Well, I just finished Dan Ariely’s Predictably Irrational” and yeah, that’s how I felt. Basically: Best. Book. Ever.

As you might have noticed, besides my interest in marketing, I am also fascinated by psychology and sociology. Anything about how we behave and why we behave as we do is just great stuff.

The last book I read that was as compelling and completely absorbing was Dan Gilbert’s Stumbling on Happiness (which, besides being brilliant, was also surprisingly funny).

Both books deal with our lack of knowledge/self-awareness with respect to our own decision making. Stumbling on Happiness discussed our inability to successfully assess what would make us happy in the future, while Predicitably Irrational dealt with irrationality of our decision-making and how predictable (scientifically)/consistent these strange responses are.

P/I through clear, non-clinical and engrossing writing describes behavioral economics’ experiments conducted by the author’s (and references a few of others’).

My only complaint about the book is its negative influence on my productivity: I had a difficult time focusing on work today – all I wanted to do was immerse myself in the related blog and podcasts….

P.S. Here’s a hilarious example from his blog. In one chapter of the book he discusses the tremendous influence “Free” has on our behavior (basically, that people will take things they want less for free and experience less satisfaction, rather than miss the “Free” opportunity. This article from the New York Times elaborates on that topic.) Here Ariely shows a fantastic bonus offer from a Brothel…. “Hmmm, I was only planning on getting 2hrs worth of sexual services, but when they throw in a free gas card, ‘cmon, I could go for 3…, no? Sure – pass the Viagra.”

July 7, 2008 at 4:21 pm 2 comments

Social Media & NonProfits: Make it Easy for Your Fans to Help You

The internet encourages people to pass on music and other stuff they are passionate about.

Causes are a perfect fit!

Here are just a few things Nonprofits and their Fans can do to encourage their message to spread:

— Nonprofits: What can you do? —

  • Make it cool.
    “Nothing but Nets” succeeded, in part, because it simplified a big issue: buy a child a $10 net, help prevent the spread of malaria. An easy message to absorb and pass on. And $10 is an amount most everyone can give. Awesome.. (See New York Times, “A $10 Mosquito Net Is Making Charity Cool“)
  • Fun it up.
    Games can go a long way to educating people in an interactive way. (e.g. Games for Change, World Without Oil)
  • Tell a story.
    Numbers are dull and impersonal. People relate to stories. Who is affected? What is happening? (See “Social networking sites help nonprofit tell stories, raise awareness“)
  • Don’t be cruel.
    Don’t play “find the donate button” with potential donors.
    Your request for donations, if important to your cause, should be clear, prominent and distinctive. (See “I Can’t Even Give It Away (Or “A Brief Review of Donate Buttons on Non-Profit Websites”)
  • Blog, Blog and Blog Again.
    Talking and listening is critical in the Web 2.0 sphere. Begin the conversation and encourage interaction. (See “5 Tips to Start a Nonprofit Blog”)
  • Tag – We’re All It.
    Encourage people to use tags. Basically, “think of a tag as a simple category name. People can categorize their posts, photos and videos with any tag that makes sense.” Using the same tag means related information can be found with ease – on, Flickr, Youtube etc . – as well as aggregated into feeds. (See “Make your nonprofit more effective with RSS aggregation”)

—Supporters: What Can You Do?—

(Oh & take a look at some of the tips given to nonprofits above. They apply to you as well.)

Make use of social media to help you mobilize, inform and educate and get your message around.

YOU have the message and the tools.

Now go spread the word.


Bibliography and Further Resources:

& Thanks to Joe Solomon and Elijah van der Giessen for your wonderful help!


Oh & if the video below doesn’t demonstrate a great way a message can be conveyed – I don’t know what does.

Presenting…. Internet Celebrities in a music video supporting Net Neutrality:

add to :: Add to Blinkslist :: add to furl :: Digg it :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! :: add to simpy :: seed the vine :: :: :: TailRank

My Related Posts:

Flickr and Nonprofits

YouTube and Nonprofits

Facebook, MySpace and Nonprofits

Twitter and Nonprofits

More NonProfit Social Media Ideas

June 5, 2008 at 12:16 am 14 comments

Email Marketing – Still Going Strong

Although other online marketing tools such as blogs, interactive multimedia, RSS, and others, can be helpful for businesses, email marketing itself is far from dead. Indeed, online marketing for companies can be both useful as well as inexpensive. In fact, a recent Forrester Research Report (“Email Marketing Comes of Age”) found that “despite concerns about declining attitudes toward email marketing, the medium is alive and well. In fact, email lovers are some of marketers’ most valuable customers. They spend more online, buy impulsively, pay for convenience, and tell others about ads and emails they value.”

Email marketing allows companies to converse with a very receptive audience. “Email marketing is still a great tool,” states Alexandre Brabant, President and Search Marketing Specialist of eMarketing101, “especially if you build your own email list. It was historically the very first thing a business would do to keep in touch with their customers. It is still very useful today to retain your customers and maintain the dialogue.”

Carolyn Gartner, Director of e-Marketing Services of Sitebrand, describes email marketing as “a key part of today’s marketing mix and one that can’t be ignored. I think it’s especially effective in terms of retention and mindshare. Staying front of mind with clients and prospects is the name of the game. And email makes it easy! Building and nurturing these relationships leads to increased loyalty. And we all know that loyalty leads to higher levels of engagement and market share.”

“Email marketing is so powerful simply due to the list,” emphasizes Jason Billingsley. Billingsley, who is Co-founder and Vice President of Marketing at Elastic Path Software, believes email marketing, “if built correctly and responsibly, usually represents individuals who have already interacted with your offering.” He maintains that “it is easier to sell into a group that has already bought from you in the past. You can also leverage customer data to segment and better target the message or offer. Outside of email marketing, this is much more difficult.”

Gartner cites another exciting aspect of this method: “I think the power of email’s forward to a friend trend is huge. The viral potential of one email can have such a positive ripple effect! It’s part of the birds of a feather flock together analogy. Without a doubt, email marketing is a key tactic for any business looking to drive web site traffic.”

Of course, it is essential that consumer contact be treated with respect. Some marketers, in a bid to cash in email marketing’s profitability resort to buying lists or sending correspondence to people who have not consented to be contacted. This ill-advised technique has often backfired as consumers frequently delete these emails without reading and/or mark them as spam.

“Email marketing has to be strategic,” claims Gartner. Gone are the days of spray and pray tactics. Savvy email marketers respect metrics and build strategies around them. These strategies leverage technology to the max – for example they might anticipate triggering opportunities to help build relationships (birthday emails with special gifts) or save a sale (cart abandonment emails that reference easy ordering with the 1-800 number). Etc. etc.”

With all the other methods to contact consumers, why does email marketing provide more value? “Email marketing vs other mass marketing is like spear fishing vs. drift netting,” concludes Billingsley.

add to :: Add to Blinkslist :: add to furl :: Digg it :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! :: add to simpy :: seed the vine :: :: :: TailRank

March 9, 2008 at 5:43 am 2 comments

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Monica Hamburg – Who Am I?

Good question (I wonder this all the time).
Linkedin profile is: here.
Find out more here.

Our Twitter for Business Workshops

I also offer Social Media Audits and a Twitter for Business Workshop (along with other services). For more information click here.

"The Twitter workshop opened my eyes to a whole new way of doing business. Terrific advice on how to best use twitter to create new business."

- Steve Rosenberg , Founder and Instructor, Pull Focus Films

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