Twitter’s ReTweet Beta: An Attack on 3rd Party Tools?

RetweetBeta

What Happened?

Today I was invited to join the Twitter Retweet Beta Group. Twitter just told me that I’d be “part of a beta group receiving this feature, which means [I] may start seeing retweets in a new way. People who don’t ave this yet will see your retweets prefaced by “RT”.” Naturally, I feel special, but is it really worth all the hype?

Is Twitter Trying to Kill Off 3rd Party Tools?

Twitter can’t seem to keep up, technologically, with the 3rd party tools (TweetDeck, Seesmic, UberTwitter, etc) that support it. Like the suckerfish Remora (what, you don’t watch discovery channel?), these 3rd party apps depend on Twitter, but it looks like Twitter is making attempts to break away.

This little Twitter.com feature places the ability to retweet (essentially, repost) any tweet right inside Twitter’s Web-based interface. Up until now, you had to use a third-party tool, such as TweetDeck, for one-click retweets. This is an obvious attempt to drive away the need for 3rd party tools. “Twitter’s execs are obviously working to get people out of these third-party tools and back onto the parent site by providing many of the features once only found elsewhere.” (PCMag)

Twitter also has another “method” of taking down the suckerfish (aka: 3rd party apps). “Currently, retweets that are executed via the Twitter web “retweet link” are visible to your followers who are using the web interface to read your tweets but are not visible to popular third party clients. […] In other words, third party applications may not have had a chance to integrate the new API. […] If most of your followers read your tweets using third party desktop clients, this “bug” could have a serious impact on your personal retweet rate in the short-term.” (Flip The Media)

Pro’s vs Con’s?

PRO: It’s good to see Twitter making attempts at improving it’s technology. Always a good sign for a company that see’s well over 20MM+ unique visits a month (compete.com).

CON: The downside for this new tool? You can’t edit the ReTweet. This leaves room for authenticity, but lacks the creativity your follows may crave.

In Conclusion…

Yea, it’s a stretch to make such claims, but it’s working…for now.  It seems everybody has their own opinion about this new feature, but at the end of the day, I find it foolish that everyone is ripping Twitter about this. It’s a game of survival…Twitter has easily one the battle of “popular social networks”. What we don’t know is who will survive the war and be around in 10 years to talk about it.

Posted under Online Marketing, Social Networks, Tech2.0

This post was written by Joshua Russak on November 16, 2009

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Sparking Social Media With Video

Brands and businesses are using video, but few are realizing video’s true value as the ignition point of a targeted social media marketing campaign or, the spark. Likewise, many brands and companies are embracing social media but not getting as much out of the experience as they could. With a “videocentric” approach, video serves as the center of conversation from which layers of additional conversation evolve across social networking channels, blogs and forums often extending into traditional publications and beyond. This conversation goes from being

  1. About the video
  2. To being about the brand or business behind the video
  3. To the products and services offered
  4. To the  fans of the brand
  5. To the people behind the brand and so on…

As with any successful marketing effort, this requires proper planning and execution. I’ll explain how we attack the process at Supercool Creative, from start to finish and offer some fresh ways for marketing executives, brand managers and entrepreneurs to look at video as a crucial piece in the social media puzzle..

Step one is not “go shoot a video.” Too many campaigns fall flat or flat out fail because they start with a video and end with a plan of what to do with the video. That’s retrofitting and as you know, retrofitting can be more costly than doing something the right way the first time. We start off by establishing objectives that can be measured against hard goals like “more site traffic” and “increased sales” as well as soft goals like “more blog mentions, retweets and interviews.” Next, we identify the target audience. Who is the ideal customer and where are they online, right now? Then, we establish what the video will be about, what will be the bigger conversation surrounding that video and where and how that conversation will happen. The time to figure all that out is not after you have posted the video.

Content is king, be creative! The video should be engaging and above all SHAREABLE. Make it funny, shocking, quirky, confounding or whatever but be sure that it’s something worth talking about. The video itself is not and should not be enough to tell or sell the entire story. This is where a lot of marketers go wrong, packing too much into one video or making it into a commercial.

Online videos do not always require insane production value but they do need to be valuable. Three questions we ask before writing and shooting any video are

  1. How will this video add value to peoples’ lives?
  2. Should the video be funny or entertaining, shocking, controversial? Which genre if any will best fly with our client’s audience?
  3. How likely will people be to share the video if given the opportunity? Basically, “why should somebody care about this video enough to watch it?”

After that, we outline and write the script then plan the shoot.

social-media-marketing-and-pr-20

Unlike other forms of media including TV, radio, print and billboard, social media is not a broadcast channel intended to reach the masses but rather an interactive channel intended to mingle with the masses. As such, time and attention need to be given to setting up the right channels and building and maintaining relationships. Is the client’s audience mostly on Facebook? LinkedIn? YouTube? Twitter? How much time does the client have to spend on social media marketing each week? These factors will help determine which and how many channels are selected and developed.

One last thing to consider before locking down a video shoot is integration. Will the video be part of a larger marketing strategy including TV, radio, banner, video pre-roll, website integration, PR? This is an important thing to consider, especially if we are working with multiple agencies including traditional, interactive and PR agencies. As with retrofitting, integration is much easier and more cost effective the first time around.

Shoot and edit the video, including pre-production, casting, crewing up and executing according to the script and objectives. After post production, the video is encoded for the places it will live online for a very long time. To establish the video as the originating medium, we upload to YouTube and several other selected video sharing sites. Video search optimization is very important at this point so research is always key.

Now, we have a video link or two to work with. Just a few of things we do to help that link see the light of day include sharing the video with the client’s new YouTube community, inviting new friends, emailing the link, posting the video story and a link on Twitter; embedding the video on Facebook sparking conversation whenever possible; posting the link on LinkedIn status updates and starting a few discussions based on the bigger story surrounding the video.

The final step is to start building a genuine conversation surrounding the video. Outreach is a very important part of this process and includes reaching out to relevant influencers, launching local, topical and/or industry related press releases and contacting relevant online and offline publications. Just be sure that the story is compelling, the video is engaging and the product or service is sincere.

David Murdico is the Executive Creative Director of Supercool Creative, a Los Angeles based agency specializing in online video creative & production, viral marketing and integrated social media campaigns.

Posted under Online Marketing

Taking your Site from 1 to a Million Users…FOR FREE!

Kevin Rose – The name should be familiar to you, considering he’s the founder of Digg.com. The domain “digg.com” attracted at least 236 million visitors annually by 2008  and has continuously been growing for the past year (Compete.com). The best part is….THEY NEVER EVEN PAID FOR MARKETING! Every technique they used was free and available on the internet.

Top 10 Down & Dirty Ways To Grow Your Web App:

Kevin Rose decided to bear all at the Future of Web Apps conference. Digg’s success is not due to expensive marketing techniques…everything was FREE. They used word-of-mouth and social methods to spread the word. If you want some of these methods, watch the video or simply read the summary below it:

Taking your Site from One to One Million Users by Kevin Rose from Carsonified on Vimeo.

As summarized by HighScalability.com, below you will find some of the secrets behind digg.com and wefollow.com explosive user growth. He covers ten unique strategies that turn passive users into passionate advocates.

1. Ego. Ask does this feature increase the users self-worth or stroke the ego? What emotional and visible awards will a user receive for contributing to your site? Are they gaining reputation, badges, show case what they’ve done in the community? Sites that have done it well:

Twitter.com followers. Followers turns every single celebrity as spokesperson for your service. Celebrities continually pimp your service in the hopes of getting more followers. It’s an amazing self-reinforcing traffic generator. Why do followers work? Twitter communication is one way. It’s simple. Followers don’t have to be approved and there aren’t complicated permission schemes about who can see what. It means something for people to increase their follower account. It becomes a contest to see who can have more. So even spam followers are valuable to users as it helps them win the game.

Digg.com leader boards. Leader Boards show the score for a user activity. In digg it was based on the number of articles submitted. Encourage people to have a competition and do work inside the digg ecosystem. Everyone wants to see their name in lights.

Digg.com highlight users. Users who submitted stories where rewarded by having their name in a larger font and a friending icon put beside their story submission. Users liked this.

2. Simplicity. Simplicity is the key. A lot of people overbuild features. Don’t over build features. Release something and see what users are going to do. Pick 2-3 on your site and do them extremely well. Focus on those 2-3 things. Always ask if there’s anything you take out from a feature. Make it lighter and cleaner and easy to understand and use.

3. Build and Release. Stop thinking you understand your users. You think users will love this or that and you’ll probably be wrong. So don’t spend 6 months building features users may not love or will only use 20% of. Learn from what users actually do on your site. Avoid analysis paralysis, especially as you get larger. Decide, build, release, get feedback, iterate.

4. Hack the Press. There are techniques you can use that will get you more publicity.

Invite only system. Get press by creating an invite only system. Have a limited number of invites and seed them with bloggers.  Get the buzz going. Give each user a limited number of invites (4 or 5). It gets bloggers talking about your service. The main stream press calls and you say you are not ready. This amps the hype cycle. Make new features login-only, accessible only if you log in but make them visible and marked beta on the site. This increases the number of registered users.

Talk to junior bloggers. On Tech Crunch, for example, find the most junior blogger and pitch them. It’s more likely you’ll get covered.

Attend parties for events you can’t afford. You can go to the after parties for events you can’t afford. Figure out who you want to talk to. Follow their twitter accounts and see where they are going.

Have a demo in-hand. People won’t understand your great vision without a demo. Bring an iPhone or laptop to show case the demo. Keep the demo short, 30-60 seconds. Say: Hey, I just need 30 seconds of your time, it’s really cool, and here’s why I think you’ll like it. Slant it towards what they do or why they cover.

5. Connect with your community.

Start a podcast. A big driver in the early days of Digg. Influencers will listen and they are the heart of your ecosystem.

Throw a launch party and yearly and quarterly events. Personally invite influencers and their friends. Just have a party at a bar. Throw them around conferences as people are already there.

Engage and interact with your community.

Don’t visually punish users. Often users don’t understand bad behaviour yet as they think they are just playing they game your system sets up. Walk through the positive behaviours you want to reinforce on the site.

6. Advisors. Have a strong group of advisors. Think about which technical, marketing and other problems you’ll have and seek out people to help you. Give them stock compensation. A strong advisory team helps with VCs.

7. Leverage your user base to spread the world.

FarmVille. tells users when other players have helped them and asks the player to repay the favor. This gets players back into the system by using a social obligation hack. They also require having a certain number of friends before you expand your farm. They give away rare prizes.

Wefollow. Tweets hashtags when people follow someone else. This further publicizes the system. They also ask when a new user hits the system if they wanted to be added to the directory, telling the user that X hundred thousand of your closest friends have already added themselves. This is the number one way they get new users.

8. Provide value for third party sites. Wallstreet Journal, for example, puts FriendFeed, Twitter, etc links on every page because they think it adds value to their site. Is there some way you can provide value like that?

9. Analyze your traffic. Install Google analytics, See where people are entering form. Where they are going. Where they are exiting from and how you can improve those pages.

10. The entire picture. Step back and look at the entire picture. Look at users who are creating quality content. Quality content drives more traffic to your site. Traffic going out of your site encourages other sites to add buttons to your site which encourages more users and more traffic into your site. It’s a circle of life. Look at how your whole eco system is doing.

Posted under Blogs, Events, Online Marketing, Online Video, SEO/SEM, Social Networks, Tech2.0, Viral Marketing

This post was written by Joshua Russak on October 8, 2009

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How is Michael Jackson slowing down the internet? (Top 10 List)

In yesterday’s article, How Will The Internet React?, I said it very clearly: “This is going to be HUGE!”And I was right! According to BBC News, “the internet suffered a number of slowdowns as people the world over rushed to verify accounts of Michael Jackson’s death.”

MJ Goes Viral: Top 10 List

Effecting almost every area of the net, here’s a detailed lists of how MJ’s Death has literally slowed down the internet…(*sources include BBC News, ABC News, and MTV)

  1. GOOGLE: It’s true that between approximately 2.40PM Pacific and 3.15PM Pacific, some Google News users experienced difficulty accessing search results for queries related to Michael Jackson and saw the error page,” said Google spokesman Gabriel Stricker. 
  2. GOOGLE: According to ABC News, Of the top 100 Google searches Thursday, more than 50 were related to Michael Jackson, the company said, adding that as people searched for lyrics to favorite songs, “Thriller,” “Man in the Mirror,” and “Billie Jean” were three most popular.
  3. TWITTER: According to initial data from Trendrr, a Web service that tracks activity on social media sites, the number of Twitter posts Thursday afternoon containing “Michael Jackson” totaled more than 100,000 per hour. That put news of Jackson’s death at least on par with the Iran protests, as Twitter posts about Iran topped 100,000 per hour on June 16 and eventually climbed to 220,000 per hour.
  4. NEWS-SITES: Keynote Systems reported that its monitoring showed performance problems for the web sites of AOL, CBS, CNN, MSNBC and Yahoo.
  5. BLOG SITES: Popular websites TMZ, Perez Hilton and other related blog sites reportedly blacked out continuosly
  6. YOUTUBE: In Jackson’s honor, YouTube spotlighted Jackson’s memorable videos on its homepage and linked to the artist’s YouTube channel. The channel has garnered more than 9 million views. The “Thriller” video alone has attracted two million and counting.
  7. iTUNES:In Apple’s iTunes store, Michael Jackson’s music quickly shot into the top 10 charts within a matter of hours.
  8. NEWS WEBSITES: Full-blown memorial sites, such as MemoriesofMichael.com and Michael Jackson Memorial, have already been launched and invite fans to post videos, news and messages commemorating his life.
  9. FACEBOOK: Less than an hour after Jackson’s death had been confirmed, more than 500 groups remembering Michael Jackson appeared on Facebook, some with more than 50,000 members. The fan page R.I.P. Michael Jackson (We Miss You) had attracted more than 220,000 fans by midday Friday.
  10. WIKIPEDIA: Contributors  arewarring over official confirmation of Jackson’s condition and engaging in back-and-forth edits of the star’s entry eventually forced administrators to lock down all information related to Jackson until there was agreement among mainstream media outlets.

So yea…i’d say he took the internet by STORM :) On a final note, here’s Thriller with 61,348,893 views and still climbing:

Posted under Blogs, Online Marketing, Online Video, SEO/SEM, Social Networks, Viral Marketing

Will Ferrell stars in “Man vs. Wild” on Discovery Channel Special

I really wish I was kidding right now…but I am 100% serious! Man vs. Wild premiered the video Tuesday, June 2, at 10 p.m. ET/PT. Here’s how they pitched it on youtube:

“In the harsh arctic tundra of Sweden, Bear Grylls and Will Ferrell from the Land of the Lost set out to conquer the wilderness … together. See if they make it out alive.”

It’s all due to Will Ferrell’s recent film starring in Land of The Lost. Bear Grylls and Discovery Channel used this as an opportunity to promote their Facebook (facebook.com/ManVsWild) and Twitter (@beargrylls) popularity. Just watch the promo:

How the heck did I find this video?

Well, unfortunately I found it by accident. I guess you can say that’s the true art of viral marketing, when it reaches users randomly with an impact. I was researching the youtube trial pre-video ads, when I happened to wittness a post-video, only to be too in shock to hit “print-screen” to capture prof. I’ll make sure to follow up with an article…BUT NOW BACK TO HOW I FOUND THIS VIDEO. I simply typed in Discovery Channel and it was the 2nd one down from the top.

My Thoughts?

This is HUGE! Will ferrell is simply a genius. He is the genius by one of the top comedy video sites online, FunnyOrDie.com. I wrote an article on it about a year ago titled FunnyorDie.com: Online Video and TV Merge. Seriously, Will Ferrell is doing everything right online. I have a feeling this is just the beginning.

Posted under Online Video, Viral Marketing

This post was written by Joshua Russak on June 11, 2009

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