Last August I signed up for App.net, the social network created by former iMeem CEO and serial entrepreneur Dalton Caldwell and a bunch of other really talented people.
Within a few minutes of using it I discovered a great community of brilliant, tech-focused minds who congregated on the site to connect about building.
Soon after joining the site’s first wave, I saw the community start to evolve with hackdays, community contributed projects designed to build the network, and I found myself learning a lot about how the internet is built.
While App.net hasn’t really gained momentum in the marketing community yet, I could see a prime opportunity for the right crop of brands to build a true community for a few reasons.
1. Targeted User base
The focus of App.net’s current users make it an ideal place for brands to connect with the early adopter, developer, and ‘technorati’ crowd. These highly specialized users are having discussions about companies like Rackspace, Data Sift, New Relic, Amazon Web Services and others regularly.
2. No Ads
You won’t find promoted posts on App.net, which means that brands are actually free to build a true dialogue with other users on the site. As App.net is a paid social network (users pay for monthly or yearly subscriptions) they’re proven to be willing to pay for software, but more importantly they’re seeking out the exchange of a higher value of content.
There are a growing number of publishers and brands on App.net already, including Adobe, CNET, ReadWrite, Ars Technica and more.
Try it FREE
Want to give it a try for yourself?
The creators of App.net have given me 100 free invites to App.net to give away, all you have to do is follow this link.
This week, I’m excited to be a guest panelist for the Social Media for Marketing Communication class at the Rochester Institute of Technology.
I went to college in Rochester, attending Nazareth College and worked for the local Gannet paper, the Democrat and Chronicle, so it’s great to be able to speak with a group of students from this area.
Taught by Mike Johansson and Dr. Raj Murthy, the class and accompanying Twitter Chat will have a group of juniors and seniors discussing social community management, social media marketing and social crisis communications.
Date/Time: Tuesday, April 23, 3-3:50 p.m. EST
Moderator: Prof. Mike Johansson
The panel lineup includes:
Shelly Lucas – Senior Manager, Social Media, Dun & Bradstreet, Austin, Texas
Blaise Grimes Viort – Vice President of Community, eModeration, London
Nick Cicero (Myself) – Lead Strategist for Livefyre and West Coast Editor at socialfresh, San Francisco
Simon Jenkins – Social Media Specialist, Red Rocket Media Content Marketing, Portsmouth, UK
Oh my. Burger King’s account appears to have been hacked and now suspended by Twitter, after reaching 100,000 followers ironically.
I normally don’t take the time to blog about every intimate detail about the work I do daily as the Lead Social Strategist at Livefyre, probably the best social engagement management system on the market today, but today is different.
In the past few months of work here, I have been privileged to be challenged beyond anything I ever imagined. From helping improve the engagement and development of community for our publishing customers to coming up with new campaign ideas daily for major brands, working on new features of the Livefyre product and even a moderately successful attempt at writing a few JSON config files for our product team as we launched an awesome Super Bowl News Hub, it’s safe to say that Livefyre is unlike any company out there today.
We see it in the media reports daily, social content is flourishing and brands/publishers are stuck somewhere in the middle trying to figure out how to get the critical mass behind their communities on external social networks without sacrificing their brand’s core values to the consumer or monetization strategy.
We’re doing this at Livefyre every day, which is why it’s really refreshing to announce that we have raised $15 million in funding to pursue this reality, led by U.S. Venture Partners (USVP), Greycroft Partners, Cue Ball, HillsVen Group, and ff Venture Capital (the last of which I previously had the pleasure to write a blog post for).
Livefyre is expanding to new markets faster than we can staff our offices, while our reputation of innovation for existing and future customers remains unmatched. We still have the best customer service team in the online commenting game, and pretty soon you’re going to see how we take these skills and become the dominant force behind socially-powered content experiences for brands and publishers.
This can start on the web, but live anywhere…be that a smartphone (like our client Bravo’s BravoNow app), social command center, Jumbotron, or even bringing you socially-relevant content streaming live through your TV.
I am fully committed to working with the biggest and brightest agencies and brands, so if you’re interested in learning more about the types of services Livefyre offers, email me (email@example.com) or drop me a note here.
I got an email from a student who just graduated from college asking me how to break into copywriting. It took me a while to get back to him because honestly, I had to think about it for a while. As you know, it’s probably one of the toughest entry-level positions to get into.
Here’s the thing about copywriting…if you’re looking to work in any sort of creative agency, you’re going to need a portfolio. Schools like SU, Texas, or VCU where students take advertising courses as an undergrad have four years where the curriculum basically programs them with a portfolio to leave with. Still others go on to grad school or portfolio school to make a “book” to pitch to agencies.
This is where I got stuck in my career. I thought I wanted to be a copywriter, but I also didn’t have time This is when I discovered the social media side of marketing…basically it was a self-realization that all the stuff had been doing in the music industry was actually where the entire marketing world was going, so it was an easy transformation.
So am I a copywriter by title? No. Am I a copywriter by job duty? Hell to the yeah, I write more than I ever anticipated.
So below are my four “off the top of the head” suggestions to this student about ways he can break into the copywriting profession.
1. Start blogging, and write often
Copywriting today is not limited to billboard headlines or creative TV scripts, but blog entries, technical manuals, slideshow copy, tweets, Facebook updates and more. Many brands hire people to write this, and you can be that guy. Showcasing that you already know how to write for the web is a big plus, and the better your writing online is, the better you look.
2. Take on freelance work.
When I was in grad school I did a lot of tiny projects that I found off Craigslist or eLance or other sites. This works two ways: first, you’re doing persuasive writing to land yourself a gig, then you’re actually getting to produce a piece for your book. Don’t worry about being paid unless you know it’s something you can absolutely nail 1000% and you honestly have a better idea of what the client knows (and what they don’t know you don’t know).
3. Get an internship and bust your ass.
It could be an ad agency, it could be a small graphics shop, but wherever you go work your ass off and be the best. Being the best at your job is rewarded and the energy needed to get there might be a lot, but no matter if you’re an intern or a CEO it will pay off. Honestly the internship is benefitting you more than the company probably, they’re giving you real-world experience you can put in that portfolio.
4. Create spec work.
Every day online I see articles like “10 Logos Redesigned for the Zombie Apocalypse” or “Nintendo Propaganda Posters.” These artists or writers aren’t getting paid for it, they’re creating because they love to. If you don’t have any paying work, invent your own. Take your favorite ad campaigns and reimagine them as brand new. Don’t worry if you can’t design, a well-thought campaign premise and series of executions is enough to get you started. Post that work online and people will find it, and then you. For example, I was asked to create a deck about a fake Red Bull event before an interview with them in California. Even though I didn’t get the job, I still worked to create a creative concept, and wanted to be able to get some credit for my thinking.
What do you think?
I was sitting outside yesterday and it was snowing…so I decided to create a little masterpiece of the Twitter logo (Larry T. Bird). This was done in the snow with a stick, freehand from looking at the app logo. I’m no Picasso, but I had fun. Hope you do too. Enjoy!
For the past month, the social community has been a buzz because Facebook has changed their News Feed algorithm, causing decreased reach for brands. There have been blogs lamenting the latest changes, but in a positive attempt to provide a solution have offered a number of suggestions including changing your News Feed settings to “Most Recent” from “Top Stories.”
Here’s the thing though…Facebook is changing the settings back on you automatically.
I have been testing for a week now and asking other trusted colleagues to do the same, and we all have found that it happens frequently.
While I didn’t sit at the computer 24/7, for the past week I have been trying to monitor various time intervals before the switch took place. I found from my trials it can be anywhere from a half-hour to overnight.
Why is Facebook doing this?
Well for one they are clearly moving to a more curated News Feed and I think ideally they want to give both advertisers and users more social relevance to sponsored stories.
Second, they just like to change things. I think we can all agree on that.
Is it annoying? Sure. Would many people want the option to sort completely chronologically? Probably, but the thing to realize is that there are so many pieces of data that can be injected into the News Feed at any point, there has to be some way to keep order.
Things like activity boxes on the Timeline and a clampdown on “frictionless sharing” have helped to clean up the News Feed, but it’s a vicious cycle of content creation, curation, and then conversation which keeps so many stories flooding your Facebook.
So is there any solution to the News Feed issue? At this point I don’t see one, however one tip that many others have pointed out is to create Facebook Interest Lists. Mari Smith has a great how-to guide on creating interest lists you can read here.
I started a list for brands, you can subscribe to that here.
I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who think they can change the News Feed to “Most Recent” and have everything be ok again, and they probably never checked it again. This post is for you, because I’m sure you have been frustrated like I have.
Have you experienced this problem? Would you want to have a purely chronological News Feed? Would you pay for one?
Facebook announced a number of new features for their “Offers” product on Thursday. One of the most interesting developments was the ability to add a barcode, something that retailers are jumping for joy about. Now many grocery stores, restaurant chains, big box retailers and more will be able to implement the Facebook offer barcode as an additional tracking mechanism into many existing sales systems.
From the Facebook support forum:
When you create an in-store offer, you can add a scannable barcode that will appear in the email people get when they claim your offer. This makes applying the discount at your register and tracking offer redemptions faster and easier.
Keep in mind that the code will be the same for every person who claims your offer and is not intended to be a way to prevent people from redeeming your offer more than once.
In order to use the feature, you’ll need to support the offer with Facebook ads, and use a 12-digit UPC-A or 13-digit EAB code. This number must be properly formatted to include a check digit for the protocol you choose.
Have you seen any ads or offers using these new features yet?
Marketing in social media requires developing a methodology based on what’s important to your brand, not always the space.
Join me next week on September 17th and 18th at iSummit 2012 in Orlando Florida where I’ll be discussing how to “Define your Social Media Hedgehog” to create more tangible goals for your social media strategy.
Having spent the last few years in Florida, I’m really excited to come to Orlando for this conference. There’s going to be so many awesome people there speaking including:
Dino Dogan: Founder of Triberr and a kick-butt blogger, plus the teaser video for his talk is great. Thinking I’ll be learning a lot from him.
Pam Moore aka The Marketing Nut: One of my long time Twitter friends, Pam is a no-nonsense social media specialist who I can always count on for a good debate or great tip.
Mark Krupinski: One of my first social media friends in Orlando, I met Mark two years ago at the first Central Florida Blogger’s Conference and through our experiences with Social Media Club Orlando
Melissa Albers: As the Director of Social Media for Full Sail University, Melissa pretty much has my dream job…all the more reason to come out and meet her.
There are many more where that came from, with two days of action packed networking and fun, I look forward to seeing you!
What’s that you say? No ticket? Well then perhaps you can help me out! Read below to learn how you can win tickets:
Three Ways to Win!
1. I have a pair of tickets for one person who leaves a comment on this blog answering the following question: what is one thing you wish you were the absolute BEST at in social media?
2. I’m looking for a printer to print me a short run of business cards for the event, as I am in the process of switching positions. If you can help, you’ll get a pair of tickets ($200 Value) and a blog about your generosity in this time of need. (Note this isn’t really winning is it? That’s why we have three options)
3. Share this blog post and tag @isummit2012 and @nickcicero with #nickstix and I’ll pick one additional person from all the tweets.
Check out iSummit 2012′s site and I’ll see you all next week!
Terry Crews and Old Spice have teamed up once again to wipe the sweat off the pectorals and into the recording booth with their latest Muscle Music spot on Vimeo.
The spot shows Crews strapped up to a number of sensors all over his body (watching the spot will show you just how many instruments Crews can isolate with his back muscles alone) playing beats on a number of found objects.