Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sponsoring the Ealing Tweetup

For about a year now I've been running the Ealing Tweetup. An informal social media networking event in West London that brings together a diverse range of (mainly) local business people, politicians, bloggers & journos, digital industry types and other interesting folks from many walks of life…  With live music - and sometimes even free pizza courtesy of the host, Tom at the Rose & Crown, the events are proving a great success with anything from thirty to over 200 attendees joining to meet fellow twitter users and expand their networks!  

What is becoming increasingly hard, however, is to find corporate sponsorship for the event. Even in these tough financial times, we have had companies willing to sponsor/donate money to provide a first drink at the bar or to pay for the band. But we cannot always go knocking at the same doors, so with the next Ealing tweetup now less than 5 weeks away and taking place on Thursday 1st March... I thought I would explain what any potential sponsor might get in return:

1. Association
The Ealing Tweetup is one of the most well-known and successful London Social Media events. Linking with the night automatically boosts an organisation's ‘social currency’ and builds awareness of their brand online via event Tweets and subsequent press releases. Previous sponsors have associated themselves with the event to improve their visibility in Ealing and with the wider community....and not just in Greater London, but also further afield (we've had attendees from East Anglia, Scotland and even Sau Paulo, Brazil).
With Social Media constantly growing in popularity and increasingly integrated with corporate marketing, PR and commercial targets, this is the ideal time to partner with Tweetup events.

2. Knowledge
Understanding and participating in Social Media can be quite daunting to the inexperienced. The Ealing Tweetup provides the ideal opportunity for a company marketers and managers to meet with a variety of practitioners, from in-house Social Media mangers to PR agency directors .... or even just normal average people who now follow, post and ‘retweet’ as part of their daily lives. From finding information on the latest blogging platform through to ways legitimate of building up your followers, attendees of all experience can learn something new.

3. Marketing visibility
Previous tweetups have been attended by journalists, bloggers, BBC presenters and senior political figures including the Deputy Mayor of London. Consequently it provides a fantastic vehicle for any marketer to promote their company. The sponsor has the opportunity to place banners alongside the band which are usually captured in photos and videos throughout the night; and then in the nature of Twitter, will be constantly posted online. The sponsor will get numerous mentions in blogs, online press postings and even local & regional newspapers.

4. Search Engine Optimisation assistance
Links are the currency of the World Wide Web, with search engines such as Google using them as the key indicator of your site's online gravitas. This means that when someone mentions your company in a post and link back to your website….. you can gain a better foothold on search engines. Therefore one of the many benefits of being a sponsor is the number of online mentions your company will receive in association with the Tweetup. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

What's better than Twitter being free? Being reliable!

Connecting to Twitter tonight, I saw the attached screen indicating
that Twitter was down for maintenance. Sure, it wasn't the 'Fail
Whale' more usually seen a year or so ago:
But this wasn't the expected user experience.
Now does anyone else find it strange that one of the largest Social
Media platforms actually has to stop its service for some users to
carry out changes, etc?
Surely Twitter by now has worked out how to provide a 100% available
service to its users? You don't find Google or Facebook putting up
holding pages claiming they are unavailable....

Monday, January 16, 2012

The end of QR Codes?

It is not often I see a new technology and am genuinely surprised by it. However has Augmented Reality finally found its killer app?

For the last month or so I've been using Blippar, an application that sits on my smartphone and allows me to 'Blip' the front of packages, newspaper adverts, etc. This then puts a virtual layer over the front or top of the object that then let's you read, play or engage with the product. Some products are providing games and others are providing information (e.g. recipes)
This had led several industry commentators to suggest the imminent demise of QR Codes.

Although this may be a little presumptuous, there’s no doubt that the boundary between the real world and the digital one has narrowed to the point where Augmented Reality and 2D barcode scanning are realistic communication and marketing tools.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Chief Digital Officer - why your company needs one

There's a nasty jibe in some senior technology circles that the title CIO stands for "career is over". However I disagree and have my own thoughts on this.

The title and role of Chief Information Officer (CIO) is now getting quite long in the tooth, but more importantly the reliance on the word 'Information' here is the issue. These days, the competitive edge within a lot of companies doesn't come from their use of information (processed data), it comes from the migration of systems, processes and roles to an online way of working. The web has not only taken over our personal lives, it has also taken over (or taking over) our business ones too. Software as a service (Saas), Platform as a service (Paas) and Infrastructure as a service (Iaas) ... plus others, are all cloud-based approaches to online computing and each has its benefits and challenges. Now these are all typical subjects that typically would come under the remit of the CIO.

But when you then factor in the need to provide connected digital marketing services (e.g. an email or CRM system), eCommerce transacting functionality (along with the associated online merchandising and sales optimisation expertise) and the complex communication and customer services requirements that the online world needs, the experience and skills of pure technologist start to look less than comprehensive.

But who is actually hiring Chief Digital Officers right now? Nobody that I'm aware of, but maybe in the future we will see this role come to some prominence.

Friday, January 6, 2012

SEO, paying for links, bloggers and Google

There is sometimes a fine line between ethical and non-ethic online promotion, particularly when it comes to search engine optimisation. The rules can often be confusing and even possibly counter-productive to your needs.

As an example, let's look at the efforts any diligent, modern and professional PR company these days might look at bloggers as a way to promote their client's new product or service. They might send out information in the form of a press release and possibly a product sample if there was one.... and maybe the blogger might charge for writing this piece and linking to the client's site.

However, according to Google's rules, this is a paid for link and must include the "no follow" code. If it doesn't it could fall foul of Google's rules and be degraded in its search results.

Bu that would never happen to a big company right?

But that wouldn't happen to an SEO-aware company right?

But this couldn't possibly happen to savvy Internet companies like Google could it?

You see a story has come out that Google has demoted itself in Google search for (indirectly via an online marketing network) paying for bloggers to write & link stuff about its own Chrome browser.

"So, if Google can make a mistake like this, what chance have the rest of us got?" I hear you cry.
Well potentially this means that any online marketing campaign could have a negative effect on the profile, traffic and revenue of a client's website.

Food for thought.....