Sunday, September 26, 2010

Your Social Media Strategy Is An Octopus! (From #140Conf Boston)

My friend Jeff Pulver has grown his 140 Characters Conference ("140Conf") to be a global gathering of stories and storytellers covering every imaginable aspect of the impact of the "real-time web" on business, media, education, art and our daily lives. Jeff manages to collect an amazing group of real characters who have real experiences, large and small, and who are always informative and inspiring.  With back to back, wall to wall speakers and panels taking the one and only main stage it is a fast paced event, overloaded with amazing content about "real-time" presented in real-time.  I have had the opportunity to speak at the inaugural 140Conf event, as well as several others thereafter, and it has always been one of my favorite events to speak at.    

The Social Media Octopus

At the recent 140Conf Boston conference I discussed how "Your Social Media Strategy Is An Octopus!"  At Myxer, where I work, I was recently tasked with developing a "social media" strategy for the company.  Suddenly this thing I have been playing with and writing and speaking about for three years is now part of my job responsibility. Be careful what you wish for...   

In developing a strategy for Myxer I used the Octopus as a helpful analogy to address the many tentacles of our Social Media activities:
  • An Octopus has many tentacles, and your social media strategy has many outposts and elements (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Blogs, etc.)
  • The tentacles of an Octopus are both deeply intertwined and independent of each other as they work to support the Octopus.  The tentacles of your social media strategy are similarly intertwined and independent, working to support your marketing objectives.
  • An Octopus can jettison one of it's tentacles and grow a new one.  Similarly, you should jettison your social tentacles that aren't working and try something new.
  • An Octopus is a master of camouflage, and can literally become invisible.  A good social media strategy should also be invisible, and your social media interactions should feel organic and natural to your customers.
What do you think?  Is your social media strategy an Octopus?

Below is the video of my 140Conf Boston presentation.  Thanks to @geogeller for recording the video, and thanks to @iPayStation for the photo above. For convenience I edited the video to include the videos I showed and some of my slides.

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Posted via email from Kiss My SASS!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Are You Getting Your Pizza The Mobile Pie?

I had the pleasure of participating on two panels and giving a "spotlight" presentation at DigiDay: Mobile in NY on Monday.  Nick Friese, Tameka Kee and the entire DM2 Media team run a great series of events focusing on all aspects of Digital Media, and my employer Myxer has been happy to be one of the sponsors of both DigiDay: Apps and DigiDay: Mobile.  I enjoy speaking before a crowd, and had some fun this time bringing along an edible "prop."  The description of the session and video of the presentation is below.  What do you think?  Does the idea of "branded mobile content" resonate with you?  I welcome your thoughts and feedback in the comments.

FREE Branded Content: Mobile For The Mass Market: Apps, apps, apps. Location, location, location.  These are the incessantly buzzing Buzz words of the day.  But the majority of U.S. mobile subscribers don’t have a Smartphone yet, and they have little interest in sharing their every move with friends and marketers.  How do brands reach the masses of the mobile marketplace in fun, engaging and attention getting ways?  With branded personalization content that rings true across all handsets, smart or not.  Brands from GEICO to SKITTLES to FORD to ORBIT and more have leveraged the broad reach of free branded mobile content to establish lasting engagement with consumers.

Posted via email from Kiss My SASS!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

September 11th And The Things I Miss

There will be much written today about the events of 9/11 and much of it by folks who were far more directly impacted than I was. I did not lose any family or immediate friends, but I still feel a sense of loss, and like most of us, a sense that things changed on that day, deeply, dramatically and permanently, even if at times it is hard to verbalize just what those changes are.

Stars And Stripes Forever?

In the days following September 11th 2001, in addition to the feelings of sadness, frustration and anger, I was overwhelmed by a sense of community and nationalism. Through the horror of the act of terrorism in my homeland there emerged a powerful sense of belonging, of being part of a common cause, of being an American. After so many years of neglect, I once again recited The Pledge Of Allegiance with meaning and purpose, as a true pledge and with pride and emotion behind the rote words. One of my sons and I planted a flagpole in our front yard and the raising and lowering of the American flag became a cherished daily routine. As I drove to and from work I was invigorated by the many cars, like my own, proudly waving the Stars and Stripes from windows and antennas. We were all in this together, and that sense of belonging seemed to be perhaps the one silver lining in a very dark and stormy cloud.

Where Did It All Go?

In 2005 Hurricane Wilma ripped the flagpole from my yard. Weeks earlier a gash had already been ripped in my American pride by the blatantly failed response to Hurricane Katrina. In the aftermath of Wilma, faced with my own challenges to repair and rebuild, I had no desire to restore my fallen flagpole.  I had lost more than a boat and trees and part of my roof.  I had lost the sense of American pride and purpose that I had regained back on 9/11.  Today, as I think about all that was lost nine years ago, I am also sorry for what has been lost since.  In 2010 we are faced with so much uncertainty that I feel there is hardly a trace of the caring and patriotism that the awful attacks inspired.  The "war on terror" continues.  The faith in our economy continues to decline.  When I look upon my neighbors and fellow Americans I see much more worry than waving of flags.

So Many To Thank

My heart goes out to those who were lost on this day nine years ago, and to the families who have suffered since, and to the brave and dedicated men and women who have put, and are putting, their country first through their service in the military and other public branches.  Your sacrifices and commitment do make me proud to be an American, and I hope that one day soon, for reasons that are only positive, I will once again be inspired to plant a flagpole in my yard.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Myxer Cracks The QR Code

(Note: The following is an article I wrote for The Official Myxer Blog.  As author of the post, I have graciously given myself permission to re-post it here...)

It turns out Da Vinci isn’t the only one who can get a bunch of people worked up about a code. For many years now the Mobile Industry has been excited by the prospect of using barcodes to connect the real world with the virtual world. I know this firsthand as back in 1998/99 I was co-founder of a company called, and our entire business was built around the concept of entering or scanning a barcode on your phone and instantly getting back product specific search results and comparison shopping information. Can you say “ahead of our time”?

That Was Then, This Is Now

Flash forward to 2010 and the age of the Smartphone. Thanks to the proliferation of cameras in every phone the idea of scanning a barcode from your phone is becoming more and more common. There are now a number of companies and apps cleverly and creatively using barcodes to extend and simplify the process of accessing mobile content and interacting with physical media to trigger actions on your phone. It gives a new meaning to “point and click!” One of the the barcode formats growing in popularity is the QR Code (or “Quick Response” Code), the funny looking box above and below that you are starting to see cropping up in more and more places, from billboards in Times Square, to the backs of business cards.

The QR MyxerCode

A QR code can include an embedded link, and the software that your cameraphone uses to read the code can launch your browser and take you right to that link with a single click. It is EASY and Myxer likes EASY, so we have now added a unique QR Code for virtually every item, Artist and Content Partner on Myxer – over 5 million unique QR Codes! If you are downloading content from you can simply point your scanning ready phone’s camera at the QR Code on any item or artist page and get the link right to the mobile download on your phone. If you have a smartphone you may need to first download a Barcode Scanning app, and if so you can find a few suggested free ones here.

Cut And Paste, Point And Click

If you are an artist or brand with content on Myxer, you can easily “right click” on the code and save your Myxer QR Code as an image you can use on your own site, or even in printed materials to make it easy for your fans to point and click to get right to all your content on Myxer. Even better, not only does every item on Myxer now have a QR Code, but every item and artist also already has a customizable SMS keyword (Text “YourName” to 69937) so between the SMS code and the QR code, any phone can easily get to your content from anywhere you place the codes and SMS instructions. Cool!

Try it now and get a free laugh from the the “Can You Hear Me Now” ringtone by scanning the code below, and if you don’t have a scanning phone just Text “joelhaas 499″ to 69937 or click here.

(Disclosure: I work at Myxer as Vice President, Marketing & Business Development, Chief Evangelist)

Posted via email from Kiss My SASS!

Saturday, September 04, 2010

My Android App Alphabet Continues: A Is For Astro File Manager

A few weeks ago I started going through my "A Is For Android" look at the Apps I use regularly on my Sprint HTC EVO and focused on Advanced Task Killer.  As an update to that post, while I mentioned that some folks claim that you do not need a task manager, I have since tried a few days without ATK and found that, at least for me, my battery life and general performance of my EVO is noticeably better when I DO have Advanced Task Killer running. So there!

Still In The A's

This week I am still in the A's and want to recommend ASTRO FILE MANAGER by Metago, Inc.  Android does not come with a built-in file management system, and because of that having a third party file manger app is a must have and I have found Astro File Manager to be among the best.  Available in both a free (with ads) and a Pro Version ($3.99) with no ads from the Android Market, Astro File Manager is easy and intuitive for anyone who has used a computer and folder based file system.  In addition, Astro File Manager adds a very nice icon based horizontally scrolling tool bar that makes it very simple to take actions, change settings, sort, search, copy move, delete files, backup and manage apps, and even launch apps and playback media files.

ASTRO File Manager

It's All In The Cards

Memory and storage are critical components to the performance of a mobile device, and with all the media you can manage on an Android phone, having an ample capacity SD Card is key to seamlessly consuming gobs of music, video, apps and games, and taking seemingly unlimited photos and videos. Of course, if you have gigabytes to play with, you need an easy way to manage the bits filling those bytes and Astro File Manager clearly fits the bill.  As I go through my Android App Alphabet, Astro File Manager is one of my "A" apps that definitely gets an A!

How about you?  Do you use a third party file manager on your Android device?  If so, which one?  Please add your suggestions to the comments.

Posted via email from Kiss My SASS!

Thursday, September 02, 2010

iMedia Connection: Location ROI: The relevance of interruption

Location, location, location... 
William Shakespeare once said, "All the world's a stage, and we are merely players." That was then and this is now. Now all the world's a location waiting to be "checked in" at! Our modern lives are nothing more than a growing trail of digital breadcrumbs as we actively, and passively, broadcast our every move to friends and strangers alike. Despite the perceived perils of privacy (or the lack thereof), the liberation of our location is not necessarily the epitome of all evil. There can be benefits to location awareness, if we are just aware of them. 
You are here 
There is no question that we live in a mobile world. Numerous studies predict that there will soon be more mobile phones than there are people on the planet, and just as many studies state that in a matter of years more people will be accessing the internet from their mobile phones than from desktop and laptop PCs. Thanks to the proliferation of these mobile devices, and especially the growing popularity of high-end smart phones, complete with always-on connectivity and internal GPS functions, your very specific location can be made readily available if you so desire. To find someone today, you needn't hire a spy or P.I., or secretly stash a tracking chip in their pocket. More than likely you can find them through one of the many mobile apps, social networks, and location-based services that they have opted into that share their location from their mobile phone, actively or passively. 
Location changes everything 
For many of us, our mobile phone is the center of our daily universe. It is the focal point for our information, entertainment, and communications, and it has changed the way we look at advertising and commerce. As much as mobile changes everything, location changes mobile.
We have all heard that "content is king" but in an always-on, interactive, digital world, really it is "context" that is king. Context is especially important for advertisers and marketers who are reaching out to hyper-targeted consumers, leveraging the power of digital to narrowcast their offers and messaging to the audience they believe is most likely to respond. The person on a boat ride is not likely to be responsive to notice of an afternoon sale from a midtown retailer; however, the person across the street from the store is. If context is king, location creates context. 
Be relevant 
Location creates context and context creates relevance. In a mobile, location-aware world, everything should be relevant to your interests. The challenge for marketers is that most advertising is still an interruption. Worse, because the mobile phone is such a deeply personal device, and one we carry with us nearly 24/7, the potential of an ad being an interruption is amplified. The person relaxing on that boat does not want to be bothered by an ad on their phone for a sale occurring back on shore. For the person near the store, an ad about the afternoon sale is relevant, and thus to that person the ad is much less of an interruption. Hence, the Relevance of Interruption. Popular location services such as Foursquare and Gowalla are learning to leverage where someone "checks in" to deliver increasingly relevant offers. A check in at your office may present an offer for a discount at the Ben & Jerry's next door (which happened to me). If you believe that at some level all mobile ads are interruptions, the more relevant the ad is, the less of an interruption it will be. Successful mobile advertising can be gauged by this new ROI -- the relevance of interruption. And location can be a meaningful way to increase relevance and improve your standard ROI (return on investment). 
Content can be relevant too 
Location-created relevance is not limited to advertising. Mobile content can also be more relevant based on a person's location. We are just beginning to scratch the surface of what may be able to be done with "mobile aware" content that leverages a person's place as well as their interests. For example, my company has launched an Android app called GeoPix that lets you set different wallpaper images for an unlimited number of locations, based on your phone's GPS information. You can set a location zone of any size and then assign a unique wallpaper image to that zone. Then as you go about your daily routines, your phone's wallpaper image changes automatically as you enter one of your pre-set zones.  As another example, music video site Vevo has announced that its upcoming iPhone App will be location aware and will recommend local artists that might interest you based on your location. It is likely you will soon see many more examples of ways mobile content can be influenced by a person's location. Geo-based ringtones, music, and playlists are inevitable and will create more ways to make mobile a highly personal, highly relevant experience. 
In a mobile world, location creates context, relevance and opportunity.
What do you think? Should mobile marketers be considering location and the relevance of interruption? 
(This article is based on a presentation given at the 2010 SFIMA Summit. You can view the presentation slides here and the video here.)
Jeffrey W. Sass is VP of marketing and business development and chief evangelist at Myxer. 

On Twitter? Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.
Thanks to iMedia Connection for publishing this article I wrote, based on a presentation I gave at the 2010 SFIMA Summit...
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