How to Show The Value of Twitter In 2 Minutes or Less

2170597742_77181240ccTwitter is not a service that will appeal to everyone.  Allegedly 60% of Twitter users leave after the first month (although this doesn’t include those who switch to desktop apps like Tweetdeck).  I’d argue it’s because they only have Oprah and Ashton Kutcher showing them the ropes and need some better guidance; Twitter is intuitive to use but not to build a network or get the most value out of it.  Here are some simple steps to show someone the value of Twitter.

  1. Pick a topic the person is passionate about.
  2. Go to and run a search on the term.
  3. Find an interesting tweet or post about the topic, and click through to the profile of the person who posted it.  If the profile looks interesting, follow that person.  Follow a few folks like this.
  4. Start a conversation, reply to one of the posts as if you had started a conversation in line at the supermarket.
  5. Look for someone sharing a useful website or blog post related to the topic, click through to the blog and consider subscribing to it.  Maybe reply to the author via comment or back on Twitter to let them know what you thought.
  6. Spend a few minutes in the conversation and see what happens.  Try again the next day.
  7. Repeat.

Within a few minutes you’ll likely get valuable content and conversation to you, relevant to a topic you are interested in.  You might even find a job listing.  I just tried this approach on 3 people – using photography, user experience and summer camp – and went 3 for 3 on “wows.”  New to Twitter? Let me know if this helps.  Twitter veteran? What else would you recommend to get someone started?

ps. Try “ball bearings” – you’ll find manufacturing suppliers, engineers, and people who like Fletch.

photo credit: 2create via Flickr

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10 Business Development Tips from the Master of the Obvious

usedcarsalesChances are you’ve been part of a sales pitch – a meeting to demonstrate your product or capabilities with a potential buyer.  In my career I’ve been involved in many – both as the discussion leader, as I would prefer to call it, and as the audience.  Several months ago I was part of a call with a social media technology vendor that went badly.  Very badly.  I captured my thoughts on Twitter at the time, and a recent similar experience caused me to go dig these up.  Due to karma, Murphy’s Law and several other corollaries my next presentation is likely to flop, but I still thought this was worth capturing.  All of these measures actually happened in one meeting.

Ten Business Development Tips from the Master of the Obvious

1. Don’t focus on previous clients that barely used your services many years ago. Lead with the best examples and case studies.

2. If you’re new to the company and the one delivering the presentation, don’t play the “I’m new” card every other sentence.

3. If you have multiple product or service offerings, don’t open with the ancillary ones – focus on the meat first, especially if it is the foundation for the others.

4. If you are a software vendor and include screen shots, don’t put in ones that are blurry. A live demo is usually better anyways even though it can be more challenging to arrange.

5. If you are a software vendor don’t ever say the phrase:  “I’m not sure what this does.”

6. Here’s another phrase to avoid:  “We haven’t found a client who likes this yet.”

7. When you share a recent example of client work, don’t start with what went wrong on the project.

8. Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know, but I’ll get back to you.” It’s way better than making up an answer and the follow-up opportunity allows another contact or inquiry.  I’d rather hear a confident “I don’t know” with a follow-up than a wishy-washy explanation.

9. When sharing who your business partners are, don’t start listing partners you are no longer partnering with. (Wow)

10. When you schedule a software demo (aside from screenshots mentioned in #4) have someone available who knows the product.  Either be that person or have an engineer on the call.

Thanks for listening to me vent – we all learn lessons the hard way sometimes.  Any other tips the Master of the Obvious would be proud of?

Photo credit: bonkedproducer via Flickr

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Is User Generated Content the New Campaign Standard?

terminateyourselfTwo recent movie promotional campaigns do a great job combining the storyline, user photos and content (not to mention the ability to share that content easily on networks like Facebook).  They’re fun, easy to use and engage the user in more than just an online impression.  Has this become the new standard for interactive marketing?

First, the site Terminate Yourself ( promotes the new Terminator Salvation coming out on May 21.  The site allows you to upload a picture (or take one via webcam on the spot, which I think is the best part) and then customize the “damage” to yield a photo.  Simple, effective, and potentially viral.  What is intriguing is a lack of big corporate sponsorship, unlike the Star Trek Counterpart.

Star Trek’s marketing team partners with Cheez-It to deliver Trek Yourself (  While more feature rich, it can take time to load and process making it slightly more cumbersome.  After uploading a picture, you select a character, a soundbite (custom text allowed, which is pretty slick), and a background, and you’ve got a moving, living image you can embed anywhere.  I’d say this site is much more robust than the first example, but both are good at accomplishing promotional goals and leveraging user generated content to drive results.

As an agency, we’ve done work on these campaigns in the past (most recently for client Nationwide on the Sanjaya-ize Me site).  They can be fun, effective ways of engaging people online and can have at least a good shot of creating viral success.  I think the Simpsons site is still the best example out there though.  What do you think?  Have any other good examples that get the concept right? (For those reading via feed, please click through to see the example).

Create Your Own

Gearing up: Marketing and Advertising Thought Leaders Summit

On Tuesday, May 12, the first annual Marketing and Advertising Thought Leaders Summit will be held in NYC.  I have the pleasure of joining Rosetta‘s CEO Chris Kuenne to attend what is looking to be a very compelling gathering of industry leaders.  From the MATLS website:

“This one-day summit will present a series of dialogue-driven forums on the changing trends in innovation, technology and consumer behavior and their impact on the marketing and advertising industries. Join us and our line-up of more than 25 industry leaders for a compelling day of insights, information and networking.”

Chris will be speaking on a panel moderated by Forrester‘s Interactive Marketing analyst Sean Corcoran on the topic: “Next Generation Digital Agency” along with C-level leadership from iCrossing, Initiative, Innovation Interactive, and Resource Interactive.

I’ll be there both on Twitter and posting here with thoughts and commentary – it looks to be a valuable gathering of CEOs, CMOs and private equity leadership.  The attendees have a heavy hand in shaping the future of our industry, it should be intriguing.

Will you be there? Please reach out, I’d love to connect.

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