One of the perks of working in the field of social media is that you get to pretend that you’re working and learning while watching hilarious videos of a good-looking guy in a shower. You know, the Old Spice guy in the shower, the guy who used to work in shark dental care and rides lions as a hobby?
If you don’t know what I’m talking about (i.e. have been hiding under a rock etc.), Old Spice launched a campaign that combined twitter, YouTube and a bit of facebook that took the web by storm. The campaign included some planned commercials that set the stage for the manly-manliness of Old Spice Man, and then a series of real-time videos made in response to people’s tweets on twitter and comments on facebook and YouTube. Here’s the original video launched in February which attracted 19 million viewers (this video was actually shot in one shot with minimal computer graphics):
A few weeks ago Old Spice Man returned with this commercial:
What’s so great about Old Spice Man?
Old Spice Man – actor Isaiah Mustafa is just amazing. He gets the message across perfectly.
The writing – the lines Isaiah says are brilliant. I mean, how great is a campaign that ends with the line “silver fish hand catch”?
Multiple channels – the campaign is coordinated across multiple social media channels, utilizing each channel’s advantages and cross posting as required. Twitter is used for direct conversation, facebook for posting videos and status updates with longer text and accompanying responses by fans; and YouTube for centralizing the video content.
Appeals to men and women – For example, I can’t stand beer commercials which are obviously targeting men, but this campaign appealed to both sexes which is good for a product like Old Spice body wash, which men use but women often probably buy.
Combines traditional and new media – these videos are commercials, a type of advertising that has been around for decades. But the commercials have evolved to take advantage of social media by using the medium’s potential. Creating new videos in real time is not something you can do with TV; also, the very personal style, and personalized videos (he spoke to his daughter, and helped a guy propose marriage, and even answered his own question), are very social media. But commercials are old media and we’re seeing the two come together here.
Personalization – how fun is it to get a personal video message from Old Spice Man? Thousands sent tweets and comments his way in the hope that he would respond to them, and getting a response was like winning the lottery. In order to create these videos, marketing agency Wieder + Kennedy’s team worked at a furious pace, creating over 180 videos in 24 hours!!
Old Spice Man is a nice guy – many attempts at creating viral media involved tricking people into believing what they were seeing is real, or being mean to others in some way. Old Spice Man is just nice, and cool. He makes us laugh. It’s a refreshing.
This is not the future of social media marketing. These guys created a groundbreaking campaign, but if companies copy this model, it will get stale. No one will enjoy this level of success because no one else can be first. Because when it comes down to it, success in social media is about creativity and originality, breaking out of the box and grabbing our attention. The next roaring success will have to be something else that’s never been done before.
You might have sunshine on a cloudy day, but you definitely don’t have the month of May unless you know what’s going on this month!
Here are some of the hottest business events going on in Israel this spring-time:
May 4, 2010. Ramat Gan, Israel. Techonomy 2010! 6 new companies will present their new products for the first time on stage in front of the Techonomy crowd and an expert panel of judges. Live updates will be taken by twitter from the audience and those watching on-line.
May 6, 2010. Jerusalem, Israel. Next Jerusalem Tweet-up HaGov / The Lion’s Den is a great new kosher bar and the perfect location for this event. Happy Hour specials last until 9:30. (That’s why the little Twitter Bird up there has passed out — no, he is not dead.)
May 17, 2010. Haifa, Israel. Web Personalization: From ICQ to Facebook. Personalization involves the use of technology to accommodate the differences between individuals. Personalization is increasingly becoming a factor in Web applications in education, healthcare, and business settings. This lecture will focus on current Web personalization trends in the hi-tech industry.
We don’t have a fax machine in our office. From the beginning I decided that we would withstand the pressure and insist that people email documents to us so that we can be a mostly paperless office. Yes, I know that there are fax services that will deliver faxes to your inbox, but in that case why not just use email? And for those that think that there’s no way to get a piece of paper to someone remotely without a fax machine, I’d like to introduce you to a handy device called the scanner.
We have so many ways to communicate online today: email, facebook, twitter…there are even people talking about how communication via social networks will push out email communication. I think that’s an extreme point of view, and email’s not going anywhere, but the point is: get rid of your fax. It deserves to be in the same place as your record player, dot matrix printer, and fluorescent slouch socks (I shudder when I think of how we wore those).
And since Dilbert agrees with me, we know that what I say is Truth:
Ikea Sweden got some goodcoverage yesterday for a facebook campaign it ran to promote the opening of a new store in Malmo, Sweden. The company wanted to promote the opening of the new branch, but their budget was limited. They hired an advertising agency called Forsman and Bodenfors, who came up with the idea of using Facebook’s photo tagging feature to create a viral effect that would spread word of the new branch opening.
Forsman and Bodenfors opened a facebook profile for the branch’s manager, Gordon Gustavsson. The profile was to be used for business purposes only, as is evidenced by the vanity URL chosen for Gustavsson’s profile: http://www.facebook.com/ikeagordon – note that his vanity URL is ikeagordon, and not gordongustavsson. Better hope he works at Ikea forever…
Over a two week period, the agency uploaded pictures from Ikea showrooms to Gustavsson’s facebook photo album, and then made the announcement that changed this from run-of-the-mill social media activity to a raging campaign: they announced that whoever was the first person to tag a product in the pictures with their name would win it. And boy did people rush to tag the photos:
Check out this video overview of the campaign and how it was set up:
Why this campaign worked
The coverage of this campaign focused on the agency’s ingenious use of facebook’s photo tagging feature. It definitely was an original and unique use of this feature of the world’s largest social network. However, in my opinion that usage is just technical, and the reason this campaign was so successful is because it delivered what consumers want when engaging online with brands: exclusive deals or offers.
Digital marketing company Razorfish recently released its third annual FEED study which charts how technology is changing the way consumers engage with brands. Among the other interesting pieces of info gleaned from their study is the reasoning behind people’s choice to follow a brand on twitter and facebook. In the cases of both networks, the majority of people cited that they follow brands in order to get “exclusive deals or offers.”
It makes sense. Unless your brand is Apple or something that makes people feel all warm and fuzzy, consumers don’t want to be your brand’s “friend.” They may like your product and use it on a regular basis, but that doesn’t mean they want to create an ongoing and public relationship with you…unless there’s something really worthwhile that’s in it for them. In the case of this Ikea campaign, people were more than happy to tag and share photos of Ikea showrooms if it meant that they would get to take a couch home for free.
Another example of success through rewarding consumers is br.st. br.st is a new web-based twitter client that became one of the top trending topics on twitter yesterday as well:
While I’m sure this new twitter client is nice, it didn’t get this level of exposure because of their great features. They got it because they are handing out 4 MacBook Pros and 21 Nintendo Wiis to people who tweet about br.st. As br.st CEO Jared Stauffer says on the site’s home page:
Instead of spending money on advertising we decided to give it to you in the form of prizes. So help spread the word by telling your friends and enter to win some cool prizes.
In fact, most of their home page is dedicated to the contest, as opposed to reasons why you should use br.st. Take a look at the following screen shot of their home page – out of all the screen real estate, only the grey box on the right refers to why you should give br.st a try:
While br.st may have gone to the extreme with their prize campaign, it did succeed in getting them a lot of viral exposure for a new product.
Recipe for social media success: viral + free stuff
Many social media evangelists talk about how the social networks can help you and your brand create warm and fuzzy relationships with your consumers. It’s not true. Consumers don’t want a warm and fuzzy relationship with most businesses or products. But they will help you spread the word if you offer them something really worthwhile in return, like a free couch or Ninento Wii. So by combining the features on the social networks that have the potential to make your brand or campaign viral with consumers’ base interest in free stuff, you’ve got a great recipe for social media success.
So you’re wondering how you can use PayPal in Israel? Does PayPal accept Shekels? Can you withdraw your PayPal funds to your Israeli bank account? Etc. As you often do when in doubt, you head over to Google and type in “PayPal Israel” to see what the web has to say about your questions. If you are located in Israel, here are approximately what the results will look like:
See results number 3 and 4? That’s us. Where’s PayPal or PayPal Israel? Nowhere to be seen.
Ranking high for this term was an accident for us. We happen to have published two blog posts on the subject of using PayPal in Israel over the past year, and as you can see the web is not exactly saturated with good content on this topic, so it was an easy score.
The funny thing is that as a result, people have begun to perceive illuminea as PayPal Israel experts. We get at least one phone call and/or email from people with questions about using PayPal in Israel about once a week.
PayPal Israel is missing an opportunity
Although PayPal officially serves the Israeli community, the amount of information available online about using PayPal in Israel is meager at best and confusing at worst, and the amount of people with questions is huge as is evidenced by the number of them contacting us with their PayPal questions.
I must give credit to Nissim Ohayon, Sr. Business Development Manager at PayPal Israel, who wrote a post on our blog about using PayPal in Israel, and even took the time to answer the many questions posed by readers in the comments.
However – maybe this is a sign that PayPal and/or PayPal Israel needs its own blog? PayPal should be engaging in the conversation, providing solid and timely information. I suspect that PayPal could win quite a lot of Israeli clients if it provided a minimum standard of online customer support.
Twitter’s great, but it can never take the place of the blog
This accidental positioning of our company as experts in the field of PayPal use in Israel demonstrates the strength and importance of blogging.
Twitter is all the rage these days, and people have even questioned whether twitterwill take the place of the blog. The truth is, many people, myself included, are blogging less because they are spending more time on twitter. However, with all the value that twitter provides let nobody tell you that it can replace the power of blogging.
A blog allows you to present an idea and follow through on it. You cannot do that in 140 characters. (Can you imagine this post as a tweet? Let’s try: “illuminea appears #3 & 4 in Google SERPS for term PayPal Israel thanks 2 our blog. PayPal not even on 1st page. Lesson: keep blogging”. Not too bad!) In addition, it offers loads of content for search engines to index and present to users in their results. Yes, tweets do appear in search results but less than blog posts, and also with a strange sort of randomness.
Also, a blog gives you your own place on the web. The content you create on facebook or twitter helps prop up those networks. The content you create on your blog helps prop up your own place on the web.
So don’t bury blogging yet. It’s still the foundation of any online marketing activity you undertake, whether it’s SEO, PPC, email, or social media. It’s on your blog that you have a chance to convert users in whatever way you hope to do so.
In the meantime, we’re happy to answer your PayPal questions as best as we can so don’t let this post stop you from contacting us! And keep blogging!
For the second year running I had the opportunity to be on a panel at Affilicon, the Affiliate Marketing Conference & Exhibition that took place last week in Israel. Like last year, this year I was on the social media panel, and I decided to take a devil’s advocate approach to my presentation: to talk about what social media marketing is NOT.
The reason I took this approach is that you can find lots of information out there about how fabulous social media marketing is for promoting your business, organization, or other goals. However, with all this hype I fear that people are a) overestimating what social media can do for them and b) unaware of the challenges involved in using social media for marketing.
Now don’t get me wrong: I’m a big fan of social media marketing. We’ve had good results with it here in our own company, and for clients. My point here is to provide a social media “chill pill” – some facts and realities about becoming active on the social web.
So here’s my presentation. I hope you find it useful, and as always would love to get your feedback and questions:
This past Thursday I was privileged to speak to the Tel Aviv Writer’s Cafe about how they can use blogs and social media to promote themselves and win more (paid) writing gigs.
Here are the seven tips. For more info about the Tel Aviv Writer’s Cafe, please scroll to the end of this post.
1. Brand yourself as if you were a brand name
If you are trying to market yourself as a freelance writer, or freelance anything, it’s important to start to look at yourself as the product that you, the business owner, is trying to sell. Yeah, that’s a lot of hats to wear, and that doesn’t include the fact that you, the freelancer, are also the accountant, administrator, and coffee-fetcher. Anyways, in order to accomplish this, you need to create “Brand You.”
Why should I brand myself?
The brilliant Gary Vaynerchuk has the answer for you (bonus: guess who’s apparently a MOT (Member of the Tribe)…note how he says Alav Hashalom about Paul Newman passing away!):
Another reason you want to do this is because Google has a long memory, and you need to control what prospective employers and others see about you on the web. You have a chance at doing this if you have a personal site built on your own domain. To see what I’m talking about, read this post from Lifehacker: Geek to Live: Have a say in what Google says about you.
So how do I do this?
At the very least, buy your name domain name now (we recommend using www.name.com – and we have no affiliation with them, they just don’t suck like some other registrars we won’t name). If you’re name is Joe Shmoe, buy www.joeshmoe.com. If that domain name is taken, add your middle initial and buy www.joezshmoe.com. If you don’t have a middle name, pretend you do and choose a middle initial to use from this point forwards in all your professional correspondence so that people will Google your name that way and actually find you. If you think it’s weird to add a fake middle initial, ask Michael J. Fox, if he regrets it. (To see why he didn’t just use “A,” the initial of his real middle name, read about his Early Life in Wikipedia. Hint – it may have to do with the fact that he’s Canadian, eh?)
If you’re not up to it, you don’t have to actually do anything with your shiny new domain name right now. So why are you buying your domain name now if you’re not going to use it? Because it can get snatched up between now and when you do want to use it by someone else, which would suck for you.
If you are up to it, I strongly recommend starting a blog that appears under your name-domain name.
But I don’t have thousands to spend on that kind of thing right now!
That’s alright, I say. Here are instructions on starting a personalized blog on a shoestring. The reason this method is good is because if your blog becomes a real success and needs to grow, you can relatively easily move over to your own self-hosted WordPress blog, like all the pros.
Starting a Personalized Blog on a Shoestring:
Sign up for a blog on WordPress.com. Try to choose a name that represents you, but remember that you will be putting your new name-domain on your blog in a few steps.
Choose a WordPress theme that best suits your needs. You can find them under Appearance > Themes in the sidebar of your new blog’s admin section. I recommend choosing a pretty plain theme with a header area that allows you to upload your own personalized image. My sister Deena has done a good job with that on her blog, which runs on WordPress.com and you can see here: http://deenascreations.com.
You should go through all the other settings and choose what best suits you. To do this, go to Settings, and go through the sub-pages and modify as you see fit.
Map your domain name onto your new blog. First, you need to change your DNS settings for your domain name. DNS tells your domain where it should be point to, i.e. where the site that will be using this domain is sitting. First, log into your account on your domain registrar. Try to find where the DNS info is managed. It may be under Manage Domains or Manage DNS, depending on your registrar. When you do find where you manage the DNS, remove any existing nameservers and add the following:
Now, go back to your site and click on Upgrades, and then click on the Domains tab.
Then, enter your domain name in the Add a Domain field:
At that point it should ask you to buy 10 credits in order to use your own custom domain on WordPress.com. This costs $10 per year.
Once it’s set up, create an About and Contact page (crucial), and start blogging your head off.
Here are some examples of people who have really succeeded in creating a brand around themselves:
Oh, and more Gary Vaynerchuk just cuz he’s so awesome, inspiring and in your face (and did I mention he’s an MOT? What naches.)
2. Don’t forget about social media
Since blogs run on RSS feeds, it means you can promote your blog content elsewhere. This is good because it increases the likelihood that people will come across your content, which is the most important thing here. You can set up your facebook and twitter profiles to automatically pull in your blog content, and post it for all your network friends to see.
In order to do any of this automatic republishing, you need to know where your feed is. On WordPress.com, it’s at http://myblog.wordpress.com/feed, where myblog is your WordPress.com blog name, or at http://myblog.com/feed, if you’ve mapped your own domain on to your WordPress.com blog.
To automatically post to twitter, first create a user account on twitter. Then, go to EasyTweets, sign up, and add your twitter account to your profile. Then, click on the RSS icon at the right-hand side of your dashboard:
Enter the feed URL (see above for info on how to find it), entry frequency that EasyTweets will check for new posts (every hour is fine), any text to add before each tweet (I don’t recommend adding any text because then it looks automated), and whether you want to post the current new item in your feed, or only start updating from new items. Press Add RSS Feed, and you’re done.
One thing that came up during our session, and often comes up, is people’s confusion as to what usefulness twitter provides. Here are some links that may help you better understand why all these people get to excited about twitter:
3. Get people to stay in touch with you via RSS feeds and email subscriptions
If someone comes to your site, you want to get them to subscribe in some way to stay in touch before they leave. If you do, you can start to create a long-term connection where they consistently receive content you create, and trust grows between you. If you don’t, chances are they’ll leave, forget that you exist, and never come back.
So, make sure to prominently display the options for subscribing. Here’s a screenshot from Natan Sharansky’s new site for an example on how to do this – note how the subscription info appears very close to the top of every page:
4. Focus – so that people know what they’re getting
People subscribe to certain content because they are interested in the general topic being covered. Imagine if you were an avid car fan, and you bought Cars magazine only to find a spread about the latest hairstyles (or whatever they write about in fashion magazines). And imagine if you were an avid fashion fan and you opened the latest edition of Elle only to find a spread about axel grease (or whatever they write about in car magazines). You’d be pretty disappointed because you are paying to read those magazines because of their focus.
Same with your blog: people subscribe to it because you are writing about something they are interested in, whether it be politics, celebrities, iPhones, or cats. So stick to that 99% of the time, and your readers will stick with you.
5. Optimize for search engines
Yes, even you can optimize your blog for search engines. SEO may be perceived as a magical talent only bestowed upon special fairy beings, but there are some basic things you can do to help your blog rank better in the search engines. Here is a quick rundown:
Make a quick list of keywords you think people are using to find people like you. You can use all sorts of fancy keyword tools if you want, but you can also just use your brain since you know your industry. Take this list, and write it down on a piece of paper. Make a note of which terms are the most targeted, and which are less focused. You have more of a chance of ranking high for “Jerusalem car fans” than for “car fans.” You see what I mean? So while you’d probably like to rank high for car fans, it’s best to aim for Jerusalem car fans. But even so, don’t lose sight of the big vision of ranking for “car fans” because you may get there.
Once you’ve got your keywords, make sure to use them whenever possible in your blog titles, and in your first paragraph. However, when in doubt, make sure you are ultimately writing for humans. What I mean is, don’t stuff your title and paragraph with keywords that don’t make sense, because while you may make Google happy, you won’t make people happy, and that’s not good.
Tag your posts with tags related to your keywords, but also to other stuff you mention so that you may rank for those words as well.
Pay attention to meta keywords and particularly to your meta description, because that’s what appears under the title of your post in the Google search results.
Link internally. When you mention an event, term or phrase that you’ve mentioned before, link to that other post, or category if it exists on your blog.
6. Promote offsite
Aside from trying to get traffic via the web, make sure to promote your blog in other places as well, like in your email signature and on your business cards. And tell people about it whenever relevant, without being annoying.
7. Track your success
Like anything in life, if you are trying to achieve something in life, you need to track if you are getting there. As the saying goes “if you can measure it, you can manage it.” So track your site stats and feed stats. Don’t worry about seeing huge leaps in growth, but you do want to make sure there is a steady incline at the very least. You don’t want to plateau or start to shrink – that’s bad news, and if you see that you need to work to reverse it, generally by creating more content, and commenting on more blogs.
8. Bonus – accessing the awesomeness that is called humanity
“But you said 7 tips,” you say.
That’s right, I say, but I added a bonus. The bonus is about all the people you get to connect with via your blog and online activity, particularly when those people are…extraordinary (in every sense of the word).
Recently I got the following comment on this blog, and it makes it all worth it. Note the author’s name:
Author : moshe rabeynu Comment:
I am a former male exotic dancer and am interested in establishing a “Chippendales” type establishment in Israel. What type of assistance and tax benefits does the Israeli government provide to new businesses of olim chadashim? Are there many such entertainment facilities in Israel? I would like some idea as to how stiff the competition would be. Do Israeli women, as a rule, like to look at males dancing in skimpy G-strings? Are they generous tippers? Would they put a shekel to the shmeckel? If I hire other olim chadashim as dancers, would they have to pay any taxes on their tips? Can I employ dancers who have not had a briss ? I might want to hire one or two to add variety to the show lineup. Is a liquor license hard to obtain in Israel. Do I have to bribe any officials to receive one? To whom is it customary to pay proteksia money to start a business and keep it going and approximately how much to they ask for? Thank you for your help.
If there were commenting Olympics, this one would bag a super-gold.
That’s it – 7 tips + 1 on how to market yourself using blogs and social media. Thanks to those who came to my session – it was great meeting you!
And now, a bit about the Tel Aviv Writer’s Cafe:
It was started 3 years ago by Stephanie Freid, a freelance writer and journalist, as a way of grouping Tel Aviv area writers together for networking and topical discussions on everything from how and where to look for jobs to tips on approaching editors to discussing what makes good journalism to deciding on filing taxes in Israel and abroad. Attendees come from a variety of writing backgrounds including technical, journalism, marketing, book writing & blogging.
Writer Forum guests have included NBC New bureau chief/author Martin Fletcher who spoke about his experiences covering world conflict and his acclaimed first book “Breaking News”, successful book author Matt Beynon Rees on taking a journalism career to the realm of fiction novel writing, NY Times writer Dina Kraft on covering conflict in Israel and why it seems to hit a nerve among so many, Pajamas Media editor Alison Kaplan Sommer on how to slot into the new era of blog writing, Israel Project Executive Director Marcus Sheff on keeping the foreign media informed and celeb blogger Lisa Goldman on how her blog propelled her into the limelight.
For more info, please contact Stephanie at [stefanella.stef at gmail.com].
There are so many social media sites and tools out there, that it’s hard to know which to pay attention to, and which to ignore. Also, how do we use them effectively and still retain time to get some real work done?
In my opinion, the microblogging tools are a nice addition to an overall social media strategy, but are weak on their own. Many of the most popular people on Twitter, for example, are those who have built up a following for themselves via their blogs. They use Twitter to drive people to new posts on their blogs, and to create a supplementary stream of information. Much of the information on Twitter is backed up by longer posts or articles on other sites.
Blog, Twitter, both, none?Â
So what is the best way to create an effective web presence? Do we blog, do we tweet, or do we do both?
Adopting a social media strategy can be a daunting task, particularly due to the wide range of tools and services available. Users need a strategy that is effective, yet also gives them time to have a life outside of the web.
Here’s how I have structured my social media activity. This is not necessarily the only or right way to go, but it can give you an idea as to how to get started:
Blogs: I use this blog to write about different issues related to marketing and business. In order to keep up with the world of WordPress, which is the platform we use to build all our sites and blogs, I also write a blog called WordPressGarage, which we use as a kind of online manual for knowledge management. WordPress’ categorization features such as categories, tags and search, are excellent for managing information. WordPressGarage has become more than just a blog: I use WordPress’ Blogroll to keep track of my links on the Links We Love page, and I’ve set up a microblogging section in the sidebar called Shorties, which is where I post really short bits of info that don’t justify a real blog post. I could have accomplished this with del.icio.us and Tumblr, but I really prefer to keep everything in one place if I can.
Twitter: I don’t really like Twitter, but I use it because I know it is effective. It also helps me keep up with the social media arena, and I have to admit I’ve found some pretty interesting content thanks to the twitterers that I follow. I post here short things that aren’t appropriate for my blogs, or I post links to new posts on my blogs. (You can find me here on Twitter: http://twitter.com/miriamschwab.)
LinkedIn:LinkedIn was really boring for a while, but it seems to be picking up, although it’s still not the type of site I’d visit on a regular basis (unlike the site mentioned in step 4). The advantage of LinkedIn is that it gives me a place to create a professional profile that people can easily find on the web. Other than that, not much happens there (unless I’m missing something). It’s like a really boring party where we all shake hands, and then sit around looking at each other. And here I am on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/miriamschwab
Facebook:facebook acts as a kind of aggregator for all the content that I publish all over the web. I mashed together my blog RSS feeds into one feed, and that feed is pulled into my facebook profile’s notes section. My twitters (tweets) appear in my facebook status. Any extra stuff that I want to publish or share that aren’t directly connected to marketing or WordPress are published there too, like videos, links and events.
Running a small business involves wearing many hats. illuminea blog aims to encourage a lively discussion on the challenges and rewards of running and marketing a small business in general, and in Israel in particular. Written by Miriam Schwab, Friendly CEO of illuminea.
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