content marketing, liveblog, social media, Strategy

Mark Schaefer and CONTENT SHOCK courtesy of Social@Ogilvy

Well this morning I had the pleasure of hearing Mark Schaefer talk about the future of digital and social media in his eyes.  Having dragged him away from his holiday of hot pools in Rotorua and Waiheke Island they managed to get him around the royal entourage in Wellington. Mark presented over a live feed from the capital.


Mark’s blog businesses grow is a great source for all things social and he began the presentation with two mega trends online.

The selfie and cats. Culminating in! Wait for it. The cat selfie – Boom.



So after this opening gag, Mark walked us through 3 digital revolutions we have all been part of and a 4th we are approaching. The first three we know as:

Presence – which is the online brochureware we all saw at the beginning of the internet.

Search – Which was getting your content found and tricking google to be in the first SERPs.

Utility – Which is engaging fans through content on social (our current phase) and the volume of this content is overwhelming. Data will increase 600% by 2020. And it’s not all from IoT. It will also be user generated, like the #catselfie.

On average adults in the western world consume around 10 hours of content a day. Already the web is our major provider of this content. As brands we are finding it hard to cut through the competing content and I like Mark believe will hit the limit of content consumption soon.

Mark then quoted Richard Simms from Facebook ~ “Organic reach is dropping as there’s 1500 odd possible stories we can show a user each day”. Hence the need for the edge rank algorithm. But as seen here, Facebook will be charging more and more to reach your fan base, to enhance their revenues.

So how do we get around this as we move to a new era? Well here are three options.

1. Create a niche and OWN it! Be the best source of information on a specific topic so that search engines can’t ignore you. Relate to your audience so that you’re top of mind in your niche.

Mark talked of a Knoxville cosmetic surgery clinic that moved from sell, sell, sell – to educating people.

They used the doctor as a face and voice of the clinic to answer weekly questions on YouTube and Facebook then blogging for SEO.

They went a step further creating ebooks for those that didn’t want to post questions publicly. The ebooks were so successful that even competitor clinics wanted to buy them. They then wrote cookbooks for their fans. The book was so good that it was a talking point at Christmas time at Mark’s house (brand recognition and top of mind).

2. Borrow a bigger pipeline. Create sponsored content, do some brandscaping (combining with a brand in a niche you’re targeting) or get newsjacking.

One area that Mark believes will get very interesting (he’s written a book on it) is leveraging Influence marketing – through simple publishing tools and mobile technology, influence is democratised now. Think how powerful Robert is or Jamie’s World!

But to succeed in influence marketing you need to remember the content plan and the network plan. HOW WILL IT SPREAD? What’s your share of conversation in your niche?

Mark mentioned a recent conversation with Coke execs and how Coke look to create great content. Content so great, fans will wear it on their shirts, and they will have a majority share of youth culture. As we know, Redbull are of course beating them to it…

Power on the internet is who can move your content (so find a bigger pipeline for your content).

3. Think of content as currency. Is it cool enough that people will feel proud of sharing, is it relevant to their peers or will it make them look smarter.

You’ll share content if by association you look cool.

Mark asks, to really get a feel if you’re into the digital space, as a brand take a napkin and finish this sentence on your own. “Only we…” ITs surprising the insights this gives to what is your niche, what is the message you need to share and to who!

Mark also offered up a great filter for compelling content. R.I.T.E.

  • Relevant 
  • Interesting 
  • Timely
  • Entertaining (the most important)

The key to breaking through the noise is being entertaining. Mark cited Chipotle creating entertainment to sell burritos. See the case study here.

Now to the new 4th age.


Which is all about wearables, augmented reality and filters. The future.

In filters, Mark mentioned Zite, which after two years of use is really starting to learn more about the content I like and filter my consumption back to preferred brands, or blogs in my case.

He also talked of Watson at IBM, a supercomputer that is learning and consumes content as fuel. They predict Watson may well be on your wrist in coming years.

Google may not be the source of all info in the future so do we need to optimise to invite people OUT of their filters and to come spend time with our brand.

Understanding and being first movers in content on Wearables and AR will give significant competitive advantage.

The question I’m asking myself is – when there’s a digital layer between us and everything, how do we dominate it? What will digital marketing look like when there no boundaries like cables, screens or WiFi needed?

He believes being entertained and wanting to play will be our focus. Sounds about right.

Finally Marks parting note was –

 Be more human.

A fantastic motto to live by. We buy from people we know and relate to irregardless of digital advancements. We should be switching to ongoing engagement, developing communities of interest and earning loyalty!

Well with many an idea floating around my head now I’m off to brainstorm – What do you think will be the future of digital and social media?

liveblog, smcakl

Now I understand Google glass – #SMCAKL – Through the looking glass

Well, call me a cynic but I wasn’t convinced having tech strapped onto my glasses would be worth the ergonomic nightmare and invasion of layers interfering with my reality.

Tonight’s social media club Auckland on augmented reality featured some great insights on the possibilities of social media listening tools from Oracle (don’t mention the Americas cup).
We also saw cats, soccer and some great app based experiences and extensions of brand touch points from @imersia. They’re doing some great work with brands to create third world come augmented experiences for many brands. A great tie or invitation for multichannel brand experiences.

There’s a definite hurdle with all AR apps that having good data plans can help – as you’ve got to download the app to start the interaction – and have a WiFi or 4G connection to get the full experience (forgive the employer plug). But once downloaded there’s some amazing interactions available. I almost wonder who can (or will) seal a deal with an OS provider to pre install or at least create some API for AR interactions.

me wearing google glass :-)

Mark Billinghurst from @HITlabNZ presented an interesting history. That of social media and then the progression – from cameras strapped to foreheads – right through to the current beta Google Glass trials. A great case of who you know vs. what you know and being in the right place at the right time. All without fear of looking crazy with cyborg like appendages.

As the project has progressed, many of the worlds leading tech experts have been invited to GoogleHQ to sample the experience. We were lucky enough to have a live demo and hands on with the samples Mark brought back.

Here’s Sergey Brin giving background and his intro to glass.

The software and Google suite experience through glass was impressive, even if the current tech specs of 5MP pics and 720P video are perhaps low or an iteration off smartphone hero stats. A relatively simple voice activation or swipe to choose menu items or launch apps was easy and intuitive. Even the simplest of activities like heads up walking directions, email or meeting alerts and geofenced annotations reminding you to get milk – looked great.

Whilst many will harp on about privacy issues I can already see a security use for google glass and the police making special requests. Could you imagine, like a donor list, subscribing to have your glass switched on in emergencies to record video. Say for example you’re in line of sight and within a geolocation of a crime your glass can be switched on to anonymously record crimes. Jury time could reach an all time low. Policemen could also wear them on auto record for quality purposes.

Even better, if you could stream constantly, you use image recognition to replace the Internet of things. Google glass could see you’re out of milk and prompt you at 5pm when you pass the store heading home, and suggest an alternative route if traffics heavy. Or even suggest a walk in the sun with the kids if you had too much pizza over lunch.

Perhaps it’s Orwellian and slightly scary, but with the right explicit personal control I’m IN. Just think of the collective knowledge potential for humankind! The fastest way to tie your shoelaces is spreading so slow!

liveblog, social media, Strategy

Rights, Critics, Publishers And Social Media In The Music Industry

Last night I attended my first Social Media focused event here in Auckland. Held by the Social Media Club Auckland called ‘Tweet to the Beat – When Music and Social Media Collide’

The evening had some great cider and pizza pre start and then after a short ‘shiny new thing’ segment covering the website, a very open panel with some interesting music industry figures and experts.

Here’s a quick rundown of my takeaways from the event.

25 most played
A compelling concept that – via Facebook opengraph, an app on your main iTunes mac and a weekly update – lets you share and compare your 25 most played songs with others.

Not that interesting for those with distinct taste, but there was a business element building.

We reviewed lists by those that ‘liked’ a fashion retailer. This could be a great way to pull a play list for your retail outlet that resonates with your clientele right? Also, they’re working on developing check-in facilities. So – if you check into a venue your 25 most could then be added to their playlist.

With genre based filtering to fit the locale, this could mean everywhere plays music you like or close to it.

Aggregators and Curation
25 most played reminded me of the recent news Matt Cutts released about Penguin 2.0 – Google’s wave of updates.

There’s a specific focus there on understanding curation sites like and I think sites like this will play a larger role in both mechanical aggregation of friends activity, but also as a space for experts to share their opinion. Something Google is also focusing on, understanding people who are an expert in X.

Dean Campbell talked of this a little and the struggles as a reporter to get interviews with some artists. This being a very strong signal of who is influential in an industry. He was the only one to get an official interview with Lorde, New Zealand’s latest teen success story.

Social media is giving more space for everyone to share opinions. We see their relative importance as likes, follows and retweets. Still, there is a large space for industry experts, critics and connected consultants to make or break an artist.

Mystique and scarcity is also a tactic in social media

Scott McLauchlan of Universal and Saiko (who represent Lorde and Mt Eden) spoke of their efforts NOT to share too much about Lorde’s life – which is paying off. It also allows her to be authentic, saves on ghost writers and keeps her fans wanting more.

I can see this tactic working well for luxury brands as well but the mantra of ‘sharing valuable content not just sharing’ works for all digital marketing in my books.

Rights and economies of scale

Fiona Perry and Paul McLaney AKA Gramsci talked of holding onto the rights to your music as a must and that streaming music, and royalties from each play is the future, but it’s still yet to gain critical mass. Also of interest was that the Finns (Crowded House) are probably the only Kiwis to earn enough from iTunes to live off it. And, according to Fiona, the admin and data processing to check all the pips and cents from each streaming sites leaves little in profits.
There seems to be still a stronger focus on big data, technology and standards to allow these streams to be profitable whilst working with the percentages the big labels take ask Spotify.

They also reiterated that Universal, Sony and the other big players with their contacts, scale and marketing will still be needed if you aim to make the big time.
But more and more bands are making money from the gigs, merchandise and appearances along with the music. Sideline ventures bringing in money I guess means they’re keen to get their songs heard and clips watched online to build their brand…

I’ll leave you with a catchy number from Lorde. I’m sure she values the experience, contacts and influence Scott and his team provide.


@amayfield shares his thoughts on Earned vs. Spurned Media. #SoConBuzz

Inbound marketing being their focus at Brilliant Noise, Antony pushes us to not feel like criminals when taking about Social Business or Inbound Marketing and to fight for our share of the marketing budget!


Our cognitive bias gets into the way of creating great digital content. Using scientific method to analyse our marketing, Antony argues we are too focused on our sales funnel. Awareness to consideration to decision to purchase is something were addicted to. Still 95% of budgets he sees from client still focus the majority of their marketing on Paid Media vs. Earned. A lot of it based on ROI measurements of paid media, at focus on the 5% of users that CLICK THRU, without considering the 95% that may include people like me that form a negative relationship with brands that use interruptive advertising.

A habit ever harder to break as we’ve always been used to working through media buyers and hierarchies, with a stable measurement of ROI

Investment in spurned media and the idea of cumulative value gained from inbound marketing and creating a community around brands should be our new focus. Having 40000 likes on Facebook or 1000s of twitter followers is the starting point for creating value in social media.

We are at a phase in Social Media where it’s OK talk Social Business and integrating is the key. A holistic approach to inbound marketing across SEO, PR, UX, Content, Social Media will be the key to marketing success, and closing the feedback loop. Using data, both qualitative and ‘BIG’ to refine your products. Think ongoing, not campaign, digital brand legacies.
Invest in tools have clear goals.

Before some interesting case studies Antony offered a nice bullet point slide.

6 things successful brands in inbound do:
– Have Management/leadership buy-in
– Clear values and visions
– Principle led actions – articulating how it will look (it’s cultural)
– Methods for piloting and scaling – Framework and governance – systems to connect the organisation, crisis response. – Investing in digital literacy, to educate the whole company


@Brandwatch share interesting data on Social Brands 100 #SoConBuzz

Bryan Tookey starts us off with a great story of his disheartenment at having food poisoning in Morocco, rather than his dream post university Overseas Experience. A nice icebreaker.

But he then dives into some median data of the Top 100 brands in UK and US on Facebook and Twitter.

Starting with Twitter here’s some highlights

– Tweeting 8 times per day was the median for brands.
Having removed the outliers that use twitter for customer service of which Xbox, BT O2 and orange lead.

– On average, tweet volume has decreased from 2011 to 2012. – Last year very few responded to @messages and even less responded to negative brand mentions. The data not conclusive as to if responding is good…

– Compared to last year, brands are creating multiple accounts.
Which seems contrary to the practice of social media old hats like Dell who are consolidating from hundreds back to tens of accounts.

– There also seems to be a long tail of brands with thousands of mentions a day, but most sitting down in the 0 to 50 mentions per day.

– Average time to respond was 3hours 37minutes. Which was interesting compared to social bakers data yesterday, saying that the average response time on Facebook was 28 hrs. Different data sets, but an interesting comparison.

And a final note, when thinking “hey do I need a fancy tool like Buddymedia or Vitrue (both recently acquired)?

It seems that most are still less sophisticated. Using Hootsuite or the web interface, to post their tweets.

And, Sorry, I’m not big on Facebook so here’s a quick summary:


Of note though – unsurprisingly smaller businesses are beating the man in terms of responding and engaging with their fans.

From the QA session:

– The feeling is that ease of use, is what is keeping people using the web interface or Hootsuite.
– Number of Likes has been ousted by Shares as the new simple measure of success on Facebook
– In a show of hands, for usage of networks: Google plus ranked last to the top three( Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin), but still ahead of Pinterest (for now, I say).

Can’t wait for the slideshare links.


Social Media Monitoring – Understanding the story social media tells #SoConBuzz


@sdljames kicked off #SoConBuzz with an introduction to the benefits of social media monitoring.

Beyond understanding your fans on Facebook and allowing you to hear on twitter discussion around your brand, Social Media Monitoring can feed efficiencies, business value and improve ROI for 3 core areas of your business.

From a Marketing perspective
Users seem to be selling into their preferred network. Using monitoring tools to we can now predict winners of Eurovision, find trends, find influencers and engage with them.
Segmenting to forums, twitter, Facebook, allows you to tailor the way you reach out to them.

Product management Word clouds and sentiment can now provide brands with valuable insights into their products. The “big data” element here, combined or balanced by real world events, which can skew your data, allowing companies to refine their products and offerings to really delight their customers.

PR and Crisis Management
Good social media tools have sentiment triggers, and can be set to wake you up in a crisis. Good brands need decision trees and crisis protocols in place to react. Again with so many touch-points and ways to leverage Social in your business, I ask who owns Social Media? It’s no longer just a Marketing or PR thing, but a tool to drive Social Business.


#LeWeb Zendesk – Long term relationships and sexy apps.

After her interrogation of Joe Fernandez from Klout yesterday I was keen to see how Mikkel fared with Alexia Tsotsis.

Among discussions around how they treat social as central to their customer service and marketing, and how Zendesk is committed to the cloud, Mikkel also answered well the question “Why can’t enterprise apps be as sexy as iTunes or Facebook?”

Moving on, his take on the shift in business models more towards subscriptions, harps the recent murmurs around the potential Yammer acquisition by Microsoft.

We all strive to build strong relationships with our customers. Zendesk believe that it’s not about how much you can sell today but about building subscription customers and the investment in acquiring a customer is a key measure.