Dave Olson’s Social Marketing Kung Fu, Green Belt: Building a Posse

Owly at Launch Party 9 Vancouver

On Wednesday, June 29th, we welcomed back Dave Olson, Community Wrangler at Hootsuite, for Social Marketing Kung Fu session number four at Bootup HQ, entitled Building a Posse.

Rockstars, Gardeners, & Interns

Dave talked about three different types of people that want to be a part of your posse: rockstars, gardeners, and interns. They all have different motivations for being a part of your community, and have different talents to offer you, thus, they should be rewarded accordingly. You must provide them with some restraints, though, so that no one is speaking on behalf of your brand but you.

  • Rockstars are the ones who are concerned with their personal brand, and what they get out of their relationship with you. A great example of a rockstar is a high profile blogger. If they help promote your product online, they are going to want to be rewarded publicly online, so Dave’s suggestion is to thank them on the blog with trackback links, pictures (flickr), twitter mentions, etc. Plus, everyone loves some good swag every now and again.
  • Gardeners are the power users of your product that do things for you because they are fans, and they care about the product. This might be a developer who discreetly tips you off about a bug or glitch in your system, or a keener who makes a video tutorial on a product you just launched. Dave’s tip for rewarding these types of people is obviously a huge personal THANK YOU, and a mail delivered package of company swag, to make them feel like the special person that they are.
  • Interns are exactly what you think they are. Recently graduated from university, looking for a career, and wanting to be a part of an awesome company. Dave’s advice on interns (and he’s an expert, he’s had about 20 at Hootsuite, and calls himself the “intern whisperer”) is to NOT treat them like interns. First of all, give them a title that means something, not just “intern.” Don’t make them go get your coffee. There are always going to be mundane tasks in every job, but give them inspiring tasks to feel like they are doing a real job. In the process, you will find out what they excel at. They are going to be an extension of your company, and they’re going to be talking about your company.

Twitter Lists

Hootsuite uses twitter lists to monitor these different types of people and their conversations. Using just search terms and hashtags gets too messy and too complicated. One thing Dave told us, is that when he finds someone who has said something interesting about Hootsuite on twitter, he will go to their profile and find out: who they are (even check their LinkedIn profile), where they’re from, what do they tweet about, and who are they having conversations with. He then jumps into their conversation to “lob the tennis ball,” and then waits for them to hit it back.

HootUps

A new initiative Hootsuite is working on is organizing Hootups (like a tweetup, but for Hootsuite users), and they have encouraged people to start organizing their own Hootups. If you organize an event, and send an e-mail to Hootsuite telling them about it, they’ll send you some hootkits (swag) to give away as door prizes. Obviously these people are going to be posting pictures, tweeting and blogging about the event, so it’s a wicked way to get people talking about your product.

Talk is Cheap

Another thing Dave pointed out is that it doesn’t require a lot of money to be an influential brand. Hootsuite was named one of the top 5 influential companies at SXSW in 2011, and the biggest expense for the conference was for handing out free beer koozies. They didn’t do any major stunts like sponsor parties and give away free booze, but they DID pay someone to wear the Owly mascot suit every day during the conference. See, marketing can be cheap!

Tips & Takeaways

Lastly, I’ll leave you with some of the main takeaways that stood out to me from Dave’s talk:

  • “Hi. You Matter. We’re Listening.”
  • What makes people want to feel a part of your community? Find out and amplify their story.
  • Inspiration is the key to motivation.
  • Amplify your success to make more!

Please share any ideas you have or takeaways we may have missed in the comments below.

Missed SMKF? Find the Notes here:

Our notes from the last couple of talks can be found here and here, and Dave posts all of his notes on Tumblr for those that have missed the previous talks.

 

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Social Marketing Kung Fu, Purple Belt with Dave Olson

Dave Olson

Photo by Kris Krug

On Wednesday, April 27th, I sat in on my first startup talk at the Bootup Garage. Dave Olson, Director of Marketing at Hootsuite, came in to do his third talk in a series aptly named Social Marketing Kung Fu (#smkf).

In January, Dave started off with Social Marketing Kung Fu, White Belt (Maura’s notes from that session are here), then in March, he came in for the Yellow Belt – “Listening Everywhere” session.

Dave is always a joy to listen to – I’ve seen him speak at a few different conferences – so I was eager to hear what he had to say in session number three: Social Marketing Kung Fu, Purple Belt – Release Day. His talks are always full of interesting tidbits and useful information, and this one was definitely no different.

I jotted down a few notes to share with you, but you can also find Dave’s notes on getting your Purple Belt here.

What to Release

  • Should be something substantial, or a few things bundled together and released around the same time.
  • Code names for product releases are always smart, as they’re memorable.

Know Your Coverers

  • Reach out to the media that you want to cover your story: RT them, comment on their stories, add them to twitter lists, etc.
  • Get to know them, and what they write about.
  • Personally invite them to join your media e-mail list.
  • When you send them info, make their life easy. Respect their time.
  • Spoon feed them the story, but never be condescending.

Craft Stories

  • Take 3 important talking points, and craft them into different forms.
  • Tell them why your story matters!
  • Get quotes from your customers, not your CEO (unless it’s a special circumstance, where a quote from the CEO is appropriate).
  • Putting a boiler plate “About” section at the bottom of a press release is unnecessary and a waste of space. Link to your website/blog instead.
  • Tune your vocab. Make it active, not passive. Lose the buzz words, and keep your vocab as consistent as possible.
  • Include image(s) to support your story, so they use your image and not their own.

Line up Dominoes &/or House of Cards

  • Constantly keep your media kit up to date. If you have one page on your website, this should be it.
  • Thursday before the release: Send an internal memo to your team to share the master plan. Include your 3 main talking points, who you’re telling, and why it matters.
  • Monday 1PM: Local press release, & media preview e-mail. Include assets, like an infographic, if possible. Make them feel like they are getting the story first.
  • You can also send a preview e-mail to your key clients, to keep them in the loop, and ultimately, make them feel special.
  • Tuesday 5AM: Scheduled blog post. Make everything point here, so it answers any questions people may have. This way you are controlling the conversation.
  • Next comes Twitter & Facebook updates, a general e-mail to clients, and a wire release (with links, tags, etc.) Keep the Facebook update light and airy. You don’t want it to become your main feedback channel.
  • Tuesday 9AM: Make sure your dominoes have fallen into place! You can also update any LinkedIn groups, Forums, Q & A sites like Quora, Formspring, etc.
  • Tuesday 11AM: Optionally, you can host a webinar, an hour at most, to go over any details that go along with the release.
  • Schedule any interviews requested by the media.

Then…

LISTEN
REPLY
THANK
SHARE
REPEAT

Prepare for the haters

  • If you comment on articles right away and thank the author for sharing your story, you may prevent a good portion of negative comments, because they know you’re there listening.
  • Prepare some stock comment copy for the trolls, so that you don’t take their criticism personally.

Finally

  • Thursday: Send a News Round-up. Share your favourite coverage from the release. If someone has created a video tutorial on your product, make sure to include that. Don’t forget to trackback to those articles.

Next month, Dave O will be back for the fourth installment of Social Marketing Kung Fu at the Garage, so be sure to come check it out.

After the talk, most of us headed over to the Alibi Room for Startup Drinks. Sign up for the Bootup Meetup Group if you haven’t yet, so you don’t miss out on the next one!

Additionally, if you have any other notes or tips that I have missed, please feel free share them here.

Social Marketing Kung Fu, White Belt with Dave Olson

If I had an all time favorite people in Vancouver list, Dave Olson, the Community Director for Hootsuite, would be on it.

He’s engaging, worldly, kind-hearted and always willing to share what he has learned with others.  And so, when I asked Dave to be a Mentor for Bootup Garage, he didn’t even hesitate.  However, instead of hosting regular mentor office hours, Dave wanted to put together a series of social marketing talks for startups. Yes, please!

On Wednesday, January 26 – Dave delivered his first Social Marketing (#smkf) presentation at Bootup and as expected, it was chock full of practical nuggets, steps and interesting stories to help attendees start building their own social marketing toolkit.

“Dave O’s talk was great. I have already implemented some of the strategies with my companies. Dave O is a wealth of information – entertaining with great practical application…..I can feel a book coming…” Mike Edwards, SMKF Attendee

Below are some of my notes from Dave O’s talk and you can also check out his notes over here:

Getting Started

  • Document everything you Do. From Day 1, Dave stressed that entrepreneurs should document everything and have one place to share all of their “collective intelligence,” such as an internal wiki. Writing everything down will help you stay focused and remind you what it is you set out to achieve.
  • Do not plan much farther out than 6 months.
  • Define the roll of each person in the company. This will help people focus on and take ownership over certain tasks

Naming Your Company/Product

  • Coming up with a name for your company that has an available URL is not an easy task.
  • Define what it is your product does first.
  • Start playing around with words that are easy to say, spell and remember.
  • Ask friends or your community for feedback or ideas.  For instance, HootSuite crowdsourced their name.

Describe Your Product

  • Try and define your product in 3 words. For example, Hootsuite at first chose “Professional Twitter Client” as it’s 3 word description and now defines itself as a “Social Media Dashboard.”
  • Take those 3 words and expand on them to create a 100 word description.
  • Reach out to users and get feedback and watch what terms they are searching for.  It is important to be using the same terms and descriptions that your users/customers are.

Start Listening

  • Create Lists.  Start following the people who care about your product as well as watching your competitors.
  • By listening and asking specific questions, you will start to build relationships with your customers.
  • Respond and participate in the conversation.
  • Each community is different. For example, your customers may act differently on Facebook vs. Linked In. Watch this and communicate accordingly.
  • Define what you want to get out of each of the social media channels you are using.

Media Kit

  • The first page you should create on your website is a media kit page.
  • Make it easy for people to write about you and tell your story.
  • Your kit should include artwork, logo, colors, typeface, TM with specific guidelines on how to use.
  • Be sure to have multiple descriptions that writers can snag to use in articles and posts such as a 100 or 500 word description.
  • Colorful screenshots or infographics like this one are a great resource for writers.
  • Keep your kit up to date and fresh.

Be Loud

  • Now that you have defined who you are and what you do, start telling the world.
  • Don’t wait until you launch.  Become an active participant in the community you are trying to reach.
  • If it is not on the Internet, it didn’t happen! So – Blog, Flickr, Tweet etc. starting right now.
  • When someone writes an article or post mentioning you or your area of expertise, COMMENT. It shows you are paying attention and care about your community and the people, who are taking the time to write about you and use your product.
  • Create 3-4 touchpoints to an article.  For example, Dave will comment on an article, social bookmark it and add it to an RSS Feed = juicy, indexable goodness.
  • Hashtag everything. Topics, brands, acronyms – be creative and always remember to listen to your audience and be consistent with your message.

Dave O will be back in the Garage next month to deliver another his 2nd Social Marketing Kung Fu preso.  In the meantime, please share your notes, questions and tips in the comments below for other startup founders.

F5 Expo: The Secret to Success: Avoiding Start-up Pitfalls

If you fail, fail in style – Michael Fergusson on starting your own company.

On April 7th, I was amongst thousands who attended the F5 Expo, which was full of familiar faces, gadgets and mascots and buzzing with talks on innovation.

Cybele, Founder of Webnames.ca and me.

I sat in on the The Secret to Success: Avoiding Start-up Pitfalls panel with Bootup Labs’ Danny Robinson, HootSuite’s Ryan Holmes and Ayogo Games’ Michael Fergusson, and moderated by SoMedios’ Carisa Miklusak.

These startup stars shared their stories and opinions on passion vs. experience to funding and finding that work/life balance we all strive for.

Passion VS. Experience – What’s more important?

When looking for a Co-Founder or expanding your team, Ryan said he prefers passion over experience. “Passion cannot be taught or bought. When you are passionate, you will hustle hard and work through the hard knocks.”

Danny believes that passion and experience deliver the same result: “the ability to rely on your intuition to make the right decision.” Danny explains his thoughts on passion vs experience in more detail here.

Michael, on the other hand, felt that many startup founders lacked experience, but few lacked passion. Passion is usually what motivates entrepreneurs to start a business in the first place. “You obviously need both to succeed. Having said that, experience is usually what’s missing.”

Funding – When should you start raising money and which VC should you go after?

Ryan, Danny & Michael

Danny explained that it’s not about the firm, it’s about the partner. The partner is the one sitting on your board and is the person you keep updated with company stats and information.  It’s really important to establish a good relationship with your partner as they become a vital part of your start-up. He also mentioned that when raising money, you need to know how much money you need to raise, and once you have this number, work backwards.

Ryan believes that raising money is highly dependent on the circumstances. He suggested looking into angel investment and convertible debt earlier on if you can’t generate revenue from day one.

Michael didn’t comment too much on funding but did say that the process of raising money and managing investors should distract you as little as possible from your vision and plan for the company.

Balance – Why it’s important for you and your company.

Michael expressed the importance of work / life balance when starting your own company. You need to be distracted by these things, though, if you’re going to stay healthy (for yourself) and productive (for your business).

Ending Notes

In summary, the panel was insightful, personable and honest. They did a great job in painting a picture on how to avoid certain pitfalls when starting a company. Listening to how passionate they were about starting a company has me itching to start one of my own.  Who’s with me?

If you are an entrepreneur, who has been or is currently on the startup roller coaster, what do you think is important? What lessons have you learned?

Missed the show, here are some great shots by Jeremy Lim.

AND the LPV8 winners are…

The results are in and it’s time to announce the winners in the LPV8 Startup Contest. A panel of 8 Judges casted their votes for the “Startup Most Likely to Succeed” and awarded Hootsuite. From Judge Gary Yurkovich’s comments: “For social marketers, this is a great platform. Almost mandatory to have something like this when managing multiple Twitter accounts”. So a big congrats to Hootsuite!

Judges Choice winners Hootsuite

The people have spoken and their votes went to MyWeddingMatch.com whose witty video made them a favorite among voters.

People's Choice Myweddingmatch.com

As for the event itself, the 8th installment of Launch Party was again a huge success with the highest number of attendees. The 9 demo companies were busy all night spieling to the crowd. Stay tuned for our announcement of our next Launch Party Vancouver event.

OH at Launch Party 8

Here are a few “over heards” from last night’s Launch Party Vancouver 8 event:
  • 6oz: Great job on #LPV8 last night @sonsryan ! It was teh hotness – both literally and metaphorically 😉 – Kirsten was demo’ing Hootsuite, and perhaps remarking on the fact that it was the temperature was a *little* high last night
  • tinatinatinah: my friend just asked me how the “nerd convention” went last night. well, i replied to my disconnected friend, #LPV8 went rather well! =) – Tina is the newest Strutta employee, and this was her first Launch Party
  • davidascher: Enjoyed the #LPV8 event last night — saw old friends, made new ones, and got great feedback about Thunderbird 3. Lots of “wow!”s – David is the CEO of Mozilla Messaging, and was demo’ing Thunderbird 3
  • quickmobile: great party last night at #LPV8 – best event of the season so far! Kudos to @dannyrobinson and the team – thanks… – thanks Patrick – we attended and/or helped organize 4 events in the past 3 days, so it was a pretty intense kick off to the “season”
  • gheer: Fun night last night at #lpv8, met a lot of interesting people. Really enjoyed meeting the @yowza and @gist folks. – all the companies were great, and LP makes it easy for lots of one-on-ones; forget standing up and pitching once – you’re pitching to 200 – 300 potential users, partners, and investors, one at a time 😛
  • justincumby: #LPV8 = fantastic event. Kudos to @yowza @hootsuite @angelpui @zed5000 @gist @lilipip for the great demos – awesome west coast innovation! – Justin was part of the Sun Startup Essentials crew that sponsored the event
  • SeattleCityGirl: sad I didn’t know about #lpv8 until now. Would have been fun to attend! Guess I’ll just have to wait for #nPost event Tues night! – Gist and Lilipip were up from Seattle, and Groove Systems was representing Kelowna; every Vancouver Launch Party is likely to feature folk from elsewhere. Portland, I’ve got my eye on you for LPV9!
  • launchpartyhq: Hey @stewarttownsend – we met with @thinklondon and @jshack at #LPV8 – maybe we can do Launch Party London? – hmmm…who tweeted this?! No promises, but sounds like fun!
Thanks to everyone for coming out. We’ve got a couple of good prospects on deck for LPV9 already. Want to launch your company or new feature with us in Vancouver? Head on over and apply.