As Evolven’s marketing director since 2010, I directed all phases of both the creative and technical elements of marketing initiatives including event planning and organization, brand creation, print/Web collateral development, channel partner cultivation, lead generation, as well as running webinars.

Contact Me

Email: martinperlin@yahoo.com



From Black Star: 6 Ways to Focus Your Twitter Strategy and Grow Your Photography Business

Frustrated at the slow progress on Twitter?
Wondering why everyone was getting so excited?
Are you feeling like Twitter is a waster of time.

Read 6 Ways to Focus Your Twitter Strategy and Grow Your Photography Business.

This is an article that I recently had published on the Black Star Agency photographer resources site.

Click here.


Letting a 16 year old do your online marketing

As companies feel more pressure to enhance their online presence, marketing teams feel stretched thinner and thinner. The 'new media' paradigms of Web 2.0 and social media, demand more attention and of course - more time. Where can this come from? What needs to give in the marketing priorities? Who needs new focus?

Welcome your boss's nephew - a precocious, grinning 16 year old. To the maturing business world, the challenges of Web 2.0 seem insurmountable on the one hand and are perceived as a waste of valuable manpower on the hand. So why not leave your online marketing strategy to a 16 year old.

There is no doubt that today's generation of adolescents can slip behind a computer like a glove. They can surf faster than their parents, look up information in clever ways, and get onto sites you wouldn't expect. Yet should this precociousness dictate your online marketing strategy.

Just past the year 2000, the corporate attitude to websites began to change. Whereas the new website phenomena seemed like a cute fad whose businss value was unrecognized, company directors demanded of their manager to 'have a website'. This directive in turn was dumped on the secretary, to 'put something together'. Little strategy was put into motion.

- No consideration of measuring site traffic was considered
- No mechanism for gaining subscribers or sign-ins was enabled.
- Contact information was buried
- Product information was non-descript

Yet the directive was fulfilled and a website existed.

Today's WikiPedia, Facebook, YouTube and most of all Twitter are gaining the same fascination by a corporate directors. The old ring of that simple directive can be heard.

They demand of their managers
- to 'have a place on Wikipedia'
- to 'get on Facebook'
- to 'put something on YouTube'
- to 'use that Twitter thing'

Who can the experienced marketing managers turn to?
- Excel spreadsheet specialists?
- Experienced trade show organizers?
- Brilliant marketing writers?

How about a 16 year old.
Teenagers today know how to take video clips of their friends and have it on YouTube the same day. They know how to build friend following on Facebook of hundreds, updating other kids hundreds of miles away about what they did over the weekend. Kids know how to follow Miley Cyrus on Twitter and retweet links to new videos.

It can be said that the new marketer has 'Learned Everything you need to Know in High School.'

Despite this proven skill set, and access to online Internet tools, this adroitness does not equal marketing.

The same rules and approaches of Marketing 101 apply in the world of Web 2.0. Concepts like the lead funnel, measuring indexes, planning next steps, and analyzing data for making clear marketing decisions are still the rule and not the exception.

Sure today's 16 year olds are good at getting something on YouTube faster, but what value is this piece of media. What kind of traffic will it drive? Does it include an action item? Will it be attracting the 'right' traffic?

Yes the boss's nephew can Tweet and Retweet on Twitter, showing the latest Brittny Spears video, but can he put together a Twitter strategy? How will he build a solid set of followers? Has he vetted the followers for your business area? How does he interact with customers on Twitter or has he just been pushed into the Twitter arena to tweet up like a robot, saying a bunch of canned statements that have been created.

A 16 year old's competence in the Web 2.0 world can be very useful, but should not be solely relied upon. If you have 15 videos to add to YouTube, give them to a 16 year old, write the copy to go along with them, set the keywords that you need to 'tag' the videos with, and then let the 16 year old upload these and fill in the information in record time.

For Twitter, once you have built up a strong following of at least a 1000 followers, you can have the 16 year old set up pre-written scheduled Tweets in HootSuite. These Tweets should be carefully crafted to have keywords, hashtags, and most importantly links to your site. Your 16 year old go through the grind of scheduling this list of Tweets like a radio station schedules music for the day, carefully giving exposure to the same Tweets in the morning and the evening so that your followers in both Europe and North America can see them.

Don't under estimate the abilities of our 16 year olds. But don't throw all your online marketing strategy onto their shoulders.

Getting Serious about Twitter

So your CEO told you that he wants to 'see the company on Twitter.' What's the next step? What to do? How can this fit into the overwhelming marketing schedule?

To the uninitiated, Twitter sounds like a black hole of marketing bandwidth, sucking up every last drop of time, and forcing you into doing tons of overtime on a global salary. The next steps might look like
- signing up for Twitter and getting the closest username to your company name
- Tweeting a bit for a couple of days, until it feels useless

Then the effort is abandoned, until the CEO comes back with folded arms, asking 'Well, are we on Twitter?'

At this point, this can mean trying to connive a fellow marketer to step into the saddle and start moving your Twitter. An effort equally lost after just a few days.

Twitter does not have to be as much of a time drain as feared if executed properly.

The main elements that are required for moving forward with Twitter are 1) focus and 2) commitment.

Taking strides to 'get onto Twitter' and make progress means being focused. This means being focused about the goals (acquiring a targetted follower base), staying on course for tweeting about your niche, and maintaining regular exposure in the Twitter stream.

One of the hardest concepts in 'staying focused' is idea of getting started in Twitter mainly by retweeting other people's information - primarily not even about your company or product. How does that work?

When you start in Twitter everything is set to zero, so the main focus initially is building the follower base. By simply tweeting continuously, you are 'Tweeting to an empty house.' No followers. No one hears your tweets.

They say you need to be marketing other people nine times more then you're marketing yourself. Still by being focused on the subjects that are Retweeted, that these topics remain 'in the same ecosystem' as your company, then you are attracting the right kind of people that will also be interested in Tweets about company and product. This is the path of building trust and credibility, and ultimately - a following.

If I had a dollar for everyone that started Twitter and quit within a week, well....
The partner to focus is commitment. This doesn't mean abandoning all other marketing projects and sitting at Twitter all day. You can limit your main Twitter time to one morning a week. At this time, when using a Twitter client like HootSuite, you can schedule a set of repeating Tweets for mornings and evenings. YOu can collect relevant Tweets about your subject using tools like SocialOOmph that will pipe you emails about Tweets using designated keywords.

Success and results on Twitter don't come overnight and not even in a week. However, if you persevere and stay on target your Twitter reputation will grow, and within a few months you will start to see the results that the CEO asked about.


Twitter is no diary

Micro blogging. Life spanning. Twitter has been called a lot of things, but as a marketing tool it is no diary. Twitter is a new communications platform, bringing the immediacy of web pages and the ease of email into a new paradigm.

Tweeting for your company, product or service?
You don't need to tell your followers what you had for breakfast, or that you didn't have a towel when you got out of the shower. You need to keep yourself relevant via Twitter. The most important and lucrative path to relevance is via information. Turn your Twitter stream into a 'channel', like another channel in your cable retinue. You have 'The Cooking Channel', the 'Sports Channel', and even the History Channel.

You Twitter channel should be focused on your niche, that's what makes you relevant. Don't let it be
- an online chat to your friends
- a place to share email jokes
- a tweeting spot for various marketing promotions you are running

Focus. Focus. Focus.
These three words are the essential building blocks for a successful brand, and they will also guide you to creating a relevant Twitter stream (channel). We look at CNN for news, we look at ESPN for sports, so your Twitter Channel should be the stream for your market or target audience.


How to pick a Twitter username

Setting a 'username' in Twitter requires taking into consideration a number of issues.

First how are you recognized?
In Twitter, most of the time your followers will see you flying by in the Twitter stream they are following. That means they will see:
- your Avatar image
- your name
- your Tweet post

So bearing this in mind, in considering your username, you can be creative and select something that will COMPLEMENT your Avatar image, rather than repeat it.

For instance your company logo can be in your branded colors and serve as your Avatar, and a descriptive word can be your username.

Second, what impression do you make
The next line of engagement on Twitter is followers visiting your full Twitter page.
There your page is very identifiable and fully branded
- use a custom background image featuring product imagery, useful link information, and at a glance product info
- Fill in the bio section of your profile, using prime keywords
- show your URL

So rather than just picking your company name as your Twitter 'handle', pick a popular keyword for your market to conquer that area. For instance, if a computer manufacturer chose a Twitter name like fastcomputer, rather than Compaq, it could further their brand perception.


Branding on Twitter

Recently I saw an article about Branding on Twitter. I was very excited about the headline, seeing a lot of potential for Branding and Twitter. I went in and read the article, but was disappointed.

The article focused on one of Go Daddy's new initiatives for when you set up a new URL you have a quick link to sign up for Twitter and register your Twitter name. The article tied this into branding for the importance of having a branded Twitter name.

I was not just a little in a huff at that ending, because this advice didn't begin to explore what twitter means to branding.

Starting Points
True! Your Twitter name should extend your brand, and you should also create a background that extends your brand identity. Yet these actions alone still leave nearly entirely off the 'Twitter radar', in other words, nobody knows who you are.

Extending your brand
Once you have your Twitter account set up to reflect your brand, the most important step is adding followers. Your followers can serve as the 'mouthpieces' of your brand, commenting, praising, and sharing your brand throughout the Twittersphere. For the ultimate statement on branding is "Its not what you say about you that makes your brand, its what THEY say."

Getting more followers
The lure to pumping up the 'Followers' number on your Twitter profile can be seductive. There are many program out there trying to pull you in with "Add 400 followers a day" or "how I got 10K followers in 90 days". Don't be pulled in by these tactics. As much as Twitter is being hailed and discussed, like any other web marketing tool, it still requires time, patience, hard work, and your analysis.

Stay Focused
You know your brand, your audience, and brand associations. So stay focused. Look for people on Twitter that can be interested in your brand, and even 'tweet' about it. Do a keyword search in Twitter for some of your brands focused keywords. Join groups that focus on niches related to your brand like Twibes.

Your Followers reflect
Your followers reflect who you are. If you are just going for the numbers, you can leave your account on autopilot while spammers and porn follow your account and Tweet your name. To keep your brand healthy and legitimate, you will need to vet your followers frequently to keep followers that are close to your brand. This is important for several reasons. Firstly, spammers don't care about anything you are tweeting about, and won't comment or retweet. You need quality and credible followers. Secondly, by keeping spammers in your follower list you are polluting your account. Legitimate followers will hold back from commenting on your Tweets out of concern of being exposed to your spam followers. This exposure will have a domino effect onto their account and Twitter experience.

The bottom line
Its less about how you look on Twitter, but about what they are saying about you on Twitter. The more influence you can have on what they are saying about you, and pushing that out, the greater impact that Twitter will have on your brand.


Hello! Can you hear me?

More and more people and entrepreneurs are getting into social media as a marketing venue. I am reminded of a few year ago (and even today) where everybody said, 'I need a website.'

As then, not many people knew what to do with their website. They built or paid a lot of money for someone to build it, and then it sat there. The sprightly innovators didn't know how to update the website with timely information, and didn't want to toss more money into their pricey investment. They got frustrated that they didn't see their website in Google. They didn't understand what people would look for in search that was relevant to their web's main content.

So the lonely little website sat out there in cyberspace screaming for someone to notice. Maybe in an email signature some friends would find the little site.

Then the frustration, consternation, anger and blame would descend. 'What did I waste all that money on a website? Nobody ever comes to the site! I don't get any customers!'

Now I see the same happening with Social Media for business. New ventures are jumping into Twitter, like getting behind the wheel of a car without a license. From day 1, they are Tweeting away about new offers, specials and website updates, even when they only have less than 20 followers (half of which are spammers or porn).

I hate to say it, but nobody is listening.

Social Media, like websites and webmarketing is a new dimension of marketing. Once marketing was linear, where you put an ad in a magazine, billboard, radio, or TV and people saw it. Even hanging a sign on a telephone pole for a garage sale was more certain than having a website that had not been web optimized or marketed.

Effective use of social media for marketing requires strategy, homework and a lot of cultivation.


FollowFriday is coming!

Every week FollowFriday seems to just creep up on us. Are you ready? Do you know who you want to tweet?

What is FollowFriday?
So what is all this FollowFriday? FollowFriday is a Twitter mega-trend that started in mid-January 2009, with a simple tweet, encouraging people to recommend and follow their fellow Twitter users. This is the epitome of the 'social' in social media, where Twitter-world puts asid sharing info and updates, and makes a mad, free for all 'scratching each other's backs'. Read more about the creation of FollowFriday here.

Why is FollowFriday good?
FollowFriday is the 'pay it forward' of Twitter. Part of the fuel for each user's Twitter energy is gaining 'followers', especially 'followers' that are relevent to your subject and content updates. Growth in Twitter is not a linear, but VIRAL. Our Twitter networks expand in ALL directions. FollowFriday gives us a chance to really focus on expanding the network at least for one day a week. It is also a great 'pat on the back' to the new connections that we make during the week.

Is it Spam?
FollowFriday differs form spammers significantly. Spammers are using follow-baits throughout the week by filling their Twitter posts with names, in the hopes that the recipients will follow them, or give them acknowledgement in their networks. How does FollowFriday differ?
1. FollowFriday is one day a week
2. FollowFriday is based on sincere recommendations and not junk mail
3. FollowFriday is a positive group experience and a recognized trend

How does FollowFriday work?
FollowFriday is as easy as a ReTweet. The main thing is keeping in mind, or keeping a list of the great people you have crossed paths with throughout the week. You can make several FollowFriday tweets. And most of all, make sure to thank others for suggesting you on FollowFriday.

FollowFriday in action
You can easily create a FollowFriday using the following syntax

Example tweet for group: #FF These are great guys to follow @myfriend, @myfriend1, @myfriend2
Example tweet for individual: #FollowFriday Check out my buddy @myfriend

Good luck and see you on FollowFriday


Pimp my Tweet

Twitter lesson: Pimp my Tweet
Keywords, Hashtags, and short URLS

1. Since Twitter is limited to 140 characters, sometimes just the URL alone can fill up the whole space.
Putting up a long URL like this: http://www.theones2watch.com/newwave/1103
Having looked at the article, I am very impressed with this group of up and coming photographers.
- Yet, what would induce me to open the link?
- Moreover, how would somebody not on my follower list reach the link?

2. Short URLs
The first thing you need to do is shorten the URL.
Go to http://www.snipurl.com/ and paste the URL into the main field.
Out comes the 'short' URL http://snipurl.com/nq4mu

3. Keywords
Now with a short URL, you can make the most of your 140 characters, so add keywords.
You can't write a sentence, but use words that make the article meaningful.
For instance you can write: Photographers rising to fashion’s forefront.
You have to HOT keywords here: photographers, fashion

4. Hash tags
Hash tags (symbolized by #) are the grease in the Twitter machine.
By adding these words, you are indexed in the Twitter search mechanism.
So go ahead and hash those keywords: #photographers, #fashion

5. Posting
Now your new, 'pimped-out' Tweet is ready for posting

Shooting #images with passion, #Photographers rising to the forefront of #fashion http://snipurl.com/nq4mu

Don't overdue hashtags! Otherwise it looks like you are spamming to get noticed. Keep it simple.


Validation is Twitter Fuel

Validation comes in all forms. You can have your parking validated, your identity, or more importantly...you can receive validation.

There is a great video on YouTube entitled Validation, showing how much more successful and meaningful life is by giving your fellow human being some positive feedback.

Twitter is being powered on the same fuel: validation. Besides the spam approaches to expanding followers like: want more followers, get 16,000 followers in 90 days, follow me etc, you can expand your follower base with simple positive comments.

The easiest validation to someone is the ReTweet. You simple write Retweet (or RT for short) followed by the persons Twitter name (including the '@' sign of course), and their comment, news, or link.

With minimal effort, you have affirmed their input into the world. You have shown them that the risk they took exposing themselves, their opinions, and identity to the Twitter sphere was not only worth it, but is being recognized.

Response to Retweet
When I retweet information, I don't really expect to get responses. I am sharing items that I find interesting, hope others will to, and plan to go back and visit these posts in the future.

So when I get comments back like:
Thanks heaps for your kind retweet love!! :)

This makes me that much more dedicated to retweeting for this person. Its all part of Twitter fuel.

Taking a bolder step, you can give some positive feedback on Twitter.
It can be like:

Hey @xxxxxx, you have a great design on your website, and a cool blog

Who can't resist responding to a nice comment like that. And that is where Twitter Fuel comes from!

Twitter Fuel
Positive comment ==> Positive response ==> Positive interaction


Can you make me a website

I meet many people excited to get into the web. They see what others are doing and want to get in too. So, when they see I have a website, I hear, "I'd like to have a website like yours."

For the individual, a personal website for presenting their professional qualifications and experience (not just showing pictures of the kids) is a great tool, and a better way to present yourself. It can be more presentable and approachable than a resume.

The stumbling blocks are:
- what content to put
- how to build it
- how to maintain it

What content to put
As with any project, I say ask yourself:

"What do you want to accomplish, what are your goals."

With the personal website you can expand on the dry bullet point of your resume to actually SHOW accomplishments, not just mention them. So if I were answering this question, I would say, "I want to clearly present my accomplishments in a visually engaging manner."

How to build it
Building a website still seems like black magic. Somehow it just gets on the web. Or in the days of TV, somehow those little people got into your box. Today you can blindly pay someone who is an expert in the 'black magic' of websites, or you can take a leap and make one yourself.

Two great services now exist for making websites as easy as 'drag and drop'
- Weebly an HTML, javascript based visual system
- Wix a Flash based site

For the experienced web designer, both have their limitations, but with each new release, there are more advanced settings. These tools practically allow anyone to easily put together a website and publish it very quickly, using professional looking templates

How to maintain it
So you have a website, now you have to keep it up to date. You can keep calling your 'black magic' website builder and throwing money. Or with one of the above tools, you can easily go in and add a page, or drag in another paragraph. The control is in your hands.


I spotted a trend idea!

Trends are everywhere and changing daily - even hourly. Twitter trends has become the new 'bestseller's list to get on, or at least hitch a ride with (for popularity and other marketing purposes).

I have followed Springwise "Your Daily Dose of Entrepreneurial Ideas" for nearly 3 years. I both excited and impressed every week to get the newsletter, and see the latest new ideas that people have put into business. The innovations are cool, and really juice up your creativity karma.

The other side of this exciting venture is the people that find the 'trends' - these new, innovative ideas. It's not even the business themselves that are plugging themselves, but people like you and me that see something new and say 'That's cool. I've never seen that before.'

This is the entrepreneurs ultimate idea fountain. See something cool on Springwise that was done in Berlin. You can emulate it and launch something similar in Portland, Oregon.

As their website explains: "Springwise scans the globe for the most promising business ventures, ideas and concepts that are ready for regional or international adaptation, expansion, partnering, investments or cooperation. We ferociously track more than 400 global offline and online business resources, as well as taking to the streets of world cities, digital cameras at hand."

Submitting to Springwise
This year I started submitting things that caught my eye. One idea that I saw from a couple of Israeli entrepreneurs was a startup for ordering from restaurants Bite2Eat. As their website describes: The team here at Bite2Eat.com wants to make interacting with restaurants across the country as convenient and natural as the on-line banking or shopping you've gotten accustomed to.

It looked like a unique, new and hip idea - leveraging our new online comforts for new areas. The idea could be applied in countless new directions, making more and more service experiences as convenient as online banking.

The idea was turned down. The letter I received was "It was either spotted by someone else or wasn't the kind of idea we're looking for."

Finding Trends
What makes a trend, or in for Springwise a local innovation with global potential?
I think the following points provide a good criteria
- Universality
- Adaptability
- Currentness
- Uniqueness

What I spotted
Well actually my wife found it, but I submitted it to Springwise. It is called Pikolonia, and it is a unique play center in Israel, resembling a mini city where children can experience the “grown-up” world. The activities help kids learn and explore different aspects of day- to-day life by touching‚ observing and acting‚ all done in an atmosphere of incredible fun!

This place had it all. It hit the 'trend criteria' on the ball. What is being done on the moderate scale in Israel, could be emulated on a larger, bigger budget scale in the US.

So we don't need to be the smartest people in class. Ideas are out there, we just have to know where to look.

Bernie Madoff and The Dark Knight

Bernie Madoff is going to jail for 150 years for stealing billions. He stole from millionaires and from charities. He is a villain, a thief, and a despicable person. But he isn't like the villains we imagine, or see in film. He wasn't connected to organized crime. He didn't distribute drugs or sell unapproved medicine to third world countries.
Madoff was the chairman of NASDAQ .

Madoff served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Sy Syms School of Business at Yeshiva University, and as Treasurer of its Board of Trustees.

Madoff undertook charity work for the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation and also engaged in philanthropic giving through The Madoff Family Foundation, a $19 million private foundation, which he managed along with his wife. They donated money to hospitals and theaters.(from Wikipedia)

He wasn't diabolical, a raving madman, or out to take over the world. He wouldn't have made a very convincing villain of a comic book. And so from a long list of prestigious clients - individuals and organizations - they were taken in.

Madoff was promising annual returns of at least 10% a year, no matter how the market performed. The investors didn't raise an eyebrow.

This would definitely raise the suspicions of the head of Wayne Industries and Gotham playboy, Bruce Wayne.

Wayne is standing by the window.
Another long night?

(Wayne smiles)

This joint venture was your idea, and
the consultants love it, but I'm not
convinced. L.S.I.'s grown 8 percent
annually, like clockwork. They must
have a revenue stream that's off the
books. Maybe even illegal.

OK. Cancel the deal.

(looks at Wayne)
You already knew.

I needed a closer look at their

(from THE DARK KNIGHT by Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan)

Bruce Wayne, aka Batman, saw through such a Madoff situation immediately in the movie The Dark Knight. The difference was that the constant growth was due to 'other revenue streams' like illegal operations and organized crime, instead of the Ponzi scheme bringing in new investors to cover the old.

Where is Batman when we need him.


Do you wanna be a twock star?

Do you wanna have a bestseller?
Do you wanna climb a mountain?
Do you wanna make a 7-course meal?

A friend said to me that he had a goal to advance his social media marketing and get 5000 followers on Twitter.
"By when?" I asked.
"I don't know, it'll probably take awhile."
"What's your strategy?"
"My strategy? I just told you - to get 5000 followers."
"What about 2000, when will you have 2000."
"2000, who's talking about 2000, I just told you. I am aiming for 5000."

There are a lot of alluring pages promising followers in the thousands. Double, triple, quadruple in days and weeks the amount of followers on your Twitter. I haven't analyzed every method, nor do I discount their validity and claims. But I am suspicious of the value that they provide me. Some are pushing their online market products and videos, requesting sign-up fees, others just ask you to join the bandwagon and start endorsing lists upon lists of others on Twitter - whether you know them or not.

The other sites that talk about practical tips you should be doing to encourage followers. For instance Kevin Rose (DIGG founder) suggests such practices as Retweeting, and they become win-win. Or get your Twitter name out there - everywhere you can - in your email signature, on a forum posting, in a comment, in your LinkedIn...

Ultimately the suggestion sites come back to a fundamental element: content. Valuable content. Interesting content. Useful content. Entertaining content.

Kevin Rose notes "Tweet about your passions in life and #hash tag them. Quality content coupled with an easy way to find it never fails. If others enjoy your content, they’ll add you."

Sure there are really successful Twitterers (whales in Twitter tongue) like Oprah Winfrey who has over a million followers is only following 14. None of these social media marketing techniques are relevent to stars. They have already established themselves and made their mark. Their following exists, and just needs a direction.

Can I conclude that because Oprah is on Twitter, then I will also be wildly successful. Can I conclude that because Larry Page and Sergey Brin (of Google) started Google in garage, that my path to success should start with getting a garage?

Obviously not.

So how do you become a Twitter Rock Star (or in Twitter tongue a Twock Star).

Write Great Content
As noted in HubSpot's SEO tips: "The name of the game for search engine optimization is extremely simple. Once you're up and running with the right tools and systems, all you need to do is....

Publish new GREAT content on new pages on your website REGULARLY.

People get so confused about SEO. They are usually just wrapped up in all of the details.

But, if you want to do SEO correctly, there's one thing that you will spend the majority of your time doing: Writing Great Content."

Write It and They Will Come?
I doubt it. It's like the proverbial tree in the forest. If no one is present when it falls, does it make a sound?

The great content is the basis for great promotions. Still a lot of work lies ahead for getting followers, but the first, biggest and most important step is content.

Every Journey
As the classic proverb says "Every Journey of A Thousand Miles Begins With A Single Step", the road to stardom and massive followings starts small. In fact I would say that every journey of a hundred yards begins with a single step. It's the same first step no matter how far you plan to go. The difference is that 'a hundred yards' is within view of the first step. It's all about how you break down your goals.

Suzy Welch has literally written the book on goal setting in her 10-10-10 technique (10 minutes, 10 months, 10 years). She explains: "In today’s accelerated world, with its competing priorities, information overload, and confounding options, we can easily find ourselves steered by impulse, stress, or expedience. Are our decisions the right ones? Or are we being governed, time and time again, and against our best intentions, by the demands of the moment? With 10-10-10, Welch proposes a transformative solution to deal with this pressure."

It's all about breaking down the process into smaller manageable steps. Before you can get to 5000 followers, you need to pass 500.

John Moore (from Brand Autopsy)
talks about amping up Suzy Welch's model. "We need to amp up Suzy’s 10-10-10 thinking to account for how quickly information spreads online. 10 minutes. 10 hours. 10 days. That’s a more workable 10-10-10 consequences model for marketers dealing with issues worthy of explosive online conversation."

He's right. For taking steps towards 5000 followers, I don't want to be looking on scales of years. I want to gauge my success after 10 days, after another 10 days and so one.

Becoming a Twock Star
In short, write from your soul. Push your content like you have a big show coming up. And most of all set your sites on reasonable successes, so you can give yourself a pat on the back, and move higher. Remember if you want to be a rock star, you need to market yourself like a rock star.

Is Google your father's search engine? Now Real-time search!

By the time I finish writing this, my comments will be out of date. I am pushing beyond 140 characters, using full sentences, and vowels. Google has kept its eyes forward, and stayed ahead of the curve, but did they slip?

Now a comprehensive, simple to use search engine is outmoded. We need to know, and we need to know now!

Really what has happened isn't so much of what Google hasn't done, but where information has flowered. With Twitter bursting on the scene, and social networks becoming the new news exchange, the traditional places on Google have slipped behind. Its like going to an encyclopedia instead of wikipedia.

According to VentureBeat, they report on 11 contenders for the Real-time Search Engine mantle. At the lead is Collecta, who claims to be the fastest of the real-time search contenders.

One of the other candidates I like is Surchur, providing a dashboard look at search results.


The Brand Gap Updated Version

The Brand Gap is one of my favorite presentations. I can't watch it enough. Its been updated (new pictures to keep up with the times) and has a few new slides. Otherwise the messages are still just as relevant.

Is Twitter really useful?

Something new is happening on Twitter this very moment. Is it good for business?

Do I really need to see it?

The brilliance of Twitter is its simplicity, but also its greatest drawback. Just logging into Twitter exposes you to hundreds of new postings, and as you scroll down to see what was posted '6 minutes ago' there is even more. Its fun. Its exciting. Its beyond the MTV generation (when attention spans shortened).

Can it work for business?

Two great applications that I have seen are HootSuite and CoTweet.

HootSuite is public and free, and ready to go. For a company's Twitter manager it will your company an overview of everyone who is doing corporate Twitters (support, marketing (staff) etc). You can see all the conversations from one dashboard view.

You can also manage the Tweets by writing them and setting a time for when they should be launched. This is great for marketing campaigns.

The exciting part is the admin side. HootSuite allows you to add more editors and accounts. This means that once the Twitter accounts are in HootSuite, several people can simultaneously Tweet from several Twitter accounts.

This is good for pushing the conversation in Twitter and monitoring how it develops. Still for the newshound and market researcher, it doesn't have a management mechanism for handling an abundant load of friends.

CoTweet is still in private Beta but sounds like it will be the next 'must have' business desktop application. Some leading companies are trying it out and initial feedback sounds promising. Check out the testimonial from MailChimp.
MailChimp summed up the common Twitter experience where Power Twitter users (Pwitters?) are communicating with customers on many levels and trying to keep track of the whole entereprise on notebooks and post-its (so to speak).
CoTweet reigns in the chaos with accepted enterprise management tools like ticketing and a database of searchable information. It provides tracking information and a very smooth professional interface.

To sum it up from MailChimp:
"CoTweet can help you manage your brand and manage the customer service experience (ahem, protocol), but still let your staff contribute to your social media efforts in a personal, human way."


Tired of your existing social networks?

Today I received an invite to join Plurk (http://www.plurk.com/). It is (another) social network. I am already on LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, and diving into Twitter. I get updates from Plaxo, even though I still haven't joined.

My first thought was, 'Oh no, another social network to join, to have to update, to make friends etc...'

Then I saw: Tired of your existing Social Networks?

What did that mean? Am I sick of seeing my old high school friends and friends living in other towns on Facebook? Am I tired of getting ongoing updates from Twitter. Are my LinkedIn connections no longer serving my best interests?

How far do I need or want to fling myself in social networking? Before I even gotten my teeth into one social network, I can start all over in another.

There are more services like Plurk out there, for instance Ning (http://www.ning.com/) , which 'lets you discover and create new social networks for your interests and your passions'.

Exposure is very important for marketing, and the broader the exposure, especially for niche markets and products, the better. But how far and how much do we invest of ourselves. Can we make assumptions that most of our audience is already in the dominant social networks, and it is just a matter of directing our efforts to them. Or are there more untouched oases beyond the well known social media?

Vertical vs. Horizontal
Like many marketing considerations, this feels like 'vertical vs. horizontal'. Do I invest my time vertically and become well entrenched in leading social mediums, establishing a presence, following and even a brand. Or do I branch out horizontally into more and more networks (they are appearing every day).

Next killer app?
Maybe that will be the next killer app: maintain a presence and keep your updates fresh across the entire social media frontier from just one application.


Counting Twitters

Want to see your popularity performance in Twitter?
Check out TwitterCounter (www.Twittercounter.com)

In very clear, graphical representation, you can see how your Twitter page 'took off' and snowballed, as it gathered more and more followers.

Twitter apps: TwitterFeed

Tired of logging into Twitter to put a link back to what you wrote on your blog?
Lets automate the process of updating your Tweets.

I am using TwitterFeed (www.twitterfeed.com).
I set up an account in TwitterFeed and my blog entries automatically appear on Twitter (checked every hour).
The links are shortened according to the shortening service of your choice.
I like SnipURL (www.snipurl.com).
One of the features of SnipURL is the ability to track in analytics how many clicks your link got.

Now I don't even have to be in Twitter to be on Twitter.

Twitter apps: TweetLater

Want to automate your Twitter followers growth?
I am looking for the killer Twitter app that will allow me to continually grow my followers, but without having to spend hours clicking 'follow'.

My first find is TweetLater (www.tweetlater.com). It comes in a free version and a pro version.
By logging in, I can set up accounts to 'manage' my Twitter.

The service will:
- automatically send DMs (direct messages) when someone starts to follow me, like 'thanks for the follow'
- automatically follow anyone that follows me

This has already borne fruits, showing an exponential growth, nearly doubling my followers each day.

Twitter apps: Twittangle

At just a few hundred followings and I am overwhelmed.
Where are those great voices I wanted to hear, how come when I come into Twitter my homepage looks overwhelmed with wild updates, by people I've never heard of. How can I straighten this out.

Not with Twitter.

Twitter is primitive. Essentially gaining followers, and following others, while pumping in another 140 characters.

I have started to reign in the chaos with Twit Tangle (www.twittangle.com).
This serves as a new login point for my Twitter, and allows me to:
- organize who I am following according groups
- rate who I am following by 'how much of a friend they are'
and much more

Suddenly I felt like I had control, and Twitter felt useful again.

Why write when you can ReTweet

Short on inspiration?
Already tweeted about what you ate for breakfast, and the weather?
Why clog up your Twitter page with more banter? Retweet!

Retweeting is a great way to spread good things around a Twitter, and connect to other people in this social medium (kind of like hitting 2 birds with one stone - no pun intended).

Retweeting is part of the developing linguistics of twitter. Just like we learned how to write in SMS. And LOL became a standard phrase, to retweet is to communicate.

How do you retweet?

Its a simple phrase in your Twitter post box, structured like this:
Retweet: @USERNAME repeated statement and link - your comment

It can even be shortened to:
RT: @USERNAME repeated statement and link - your comment

What does retweeting provide? Exposure to other users.
Why would I do that? I scratch your back, he scratches yours.

Gaining followers on Twitter

I have over 200 followers on Twitter. Since last Thursday, in just 4 days, my followers have been doubling daily.

I am also following over 200 people on Twitter. So I am not so successful.
Look at The White House, which is only following 66 but has over 300K of followers (http://twitter.com/whitehouse).

I am taking the traditional steps of 'link exchanges'.
Recently Kevin rose (DIGG) share his insights for how to gain more followers:
10 Ways To Increase Your Twitter Followers (http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/01/25/kevin-rose-10-ways-to-increase-your-twitter-followers/)

He doesn't talk about these kind of link exchanges, but about content and marketing. Learn from the successful Twitterers, and emulate.

Being interesting on Twitter

I was showing a friend Twitter, and demonstrating how our corporate account had remained sluggish in gathering followers. "Because your posts aren't interesting," he said. So I looked at him, like 'what are you talking about!'

What makes a post interesting? And if a post were 'interesting' would it automatically gather followers?

Its like the classic tree following in the woods. If I write an 'interesting' post on Twitter and I don't have many followers, how do I know someone will read it.

How do things kept picked up on Twitter? Searches.
What do people search for? Keywords.

So 6 weeks ago, if I had been twittering about Susan Boyle, I would have been found 'interesting'. In the meantime, I have found more conventional methods to gather followers.


Branding Twitter

At first glance, Twitter feels limited. You can change the layout, or add stuff to the sidebar (except followers/ing and favorites). But once you step back from the Tweets, you can easily extend your brand identity onto your Twitter page.

First in your Settings area you can go into the 'Design' tab and set the colors for your Twitter page: links, sidebar color etc.

Also in the Design tab you can change the background to a JPG image. More and more Twitter accounts are taking advantage of the 'prime real estate' on the left side, turning it into a left side bar with critical links, bio etc. For example here is my Twitter with a personalized background: http://twitter.com/martinperlin

A great free tool for making a cool personalized background is TwitBacks (http://www.twitbacks.com/). You just select your style, add the personalized information that you want to appear. Then you can upload this file into your Background in the Design tab.

Progress on Twitter

I have been lurking on Twitter for awhile. Then I jumped in with my company's official Twitter channel. Over the course of 3 months, that channel gained 38 followers. Twitter didn't look all that it was cracked up to be. Why all the hype?

How did I promote my company's Twitter? Very passively. It was limited only to a 'Follow Us' link in the monthly newsletter. No enticements.

Now I have started my own channel on Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/martinperlin). Within a day, my channel has reached 65 followers. The main difference in approaches has been that for my own channel, I sought out and connected (followed) others on Twitter.

It is interesting to see the progress for fellow twitter users. I concluded that amount of people you are following has a direct effect on your amount of followers. Unless, you are Jack Welch (http://twitter.com/jack_welch), who has over 200,000 followers and is only following 12 people.

From here I want to explore the application of 'crowd marketing' and how the 'crowd' can help me.


Starting a blog

As a marketeer, I can advise, urge, plead, and suggest to keep a blog along with other communication channels. However, when it comes to following my advice, I am just as reluctant. I suppose I've thought about maintaining a blog for several years. In my head, the blog has been updated regularly, and my insights have been developed and recorded.

Now I am really applying myself. An article that inspired me from a recent issue of the Harvard Business Review, was about Dave Balter from Bzzagent (www.bzzagent.com) . His take on the corporate blog was about transparency - warts and all - right out there for everyone to see. If someone says something bad about him, then rather than ignore it, he shares it. "Hey you know what he said about me, hmmm, maybe he's got something."

The most insightful remark he made was about what to write. "But my view on blogging is if the writer is getting the chills - hovering over the mouse and thinking, 'Should I really send this?' - then it is probably going to be a good post."

So here it goes.

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