Archive for May, 2012

What Climbing Mt Everest Can Teach About Social Media

A good friend fo mine just climbed Mt. Everest and made it to the summit and back (very important part of the story) for the 10th time. This time he did it for Samsung to fulfill an Olympic Promise. He is a world-class mountaineer.

You have a choice. The status quo is what everyone is does. They create ads in Google, compete on price for the best placement and get single digit conversions. It’s the IBM maximum of digital advertising “No one ever got fired for advertising on Google AdWords”. Your choice is whether or not to take a risk, leverage data, share your results and make yourself the Marketing Mountain Guide.

Many of you know I’m a ski and mountaineering fanatic. From the back bowls of Vail to the off-piste surrounding Mt. Blanc I’ve done it. The most valuable piece of equipment when pushing the envelope isn’t new skis, bindings or boots. It’s a great high mountain guide. I know a ton of them. The best ones get you to go beyond your comfort zone, push yourself to new highs. When you go out with one of those world-class guides the rewards are always great.


To any organization with marketing requirements a mountain guide is the most valuable of employees. Being the person willing to take risks and look at new things that are unproven, risky and laden with unavoidable failure is invaluable and guarantees you’ll get noticed. From those new risky efforts come great discovery and new routes that keep the company way ahead of the competition.

The mountain guide is always checking the weather, digging avalanche pits to see different type of snow layers and crystals, reconoiting the crevasses during summer. In other words checking the data and looking beyond the obvious that everyone does. You have to do the same in your company.

The mountain guide in the organization will try Facebook sponsored stories, build a Pinterest Presence, deploy social media experiences at events (with dwinQ of course) and other new and potentially rewarding strategies.our company. Analysis is the octane added to being innovative and taking risks.

Like the mountain guide they will swim in the data, fishing for the one nugget that says this program had a 30% conversion or this Newsfeed Placement earned us 30,000 new followers, etc. at the same time they aren’t afraid to stop doing something and say this is not working – like the mountain guide who looks at visibility deteriorating and turns back.

To be a champion in social media advertising requires risk, exploration and innovation. Once you live through that phase, you will have become one of the most valued people in not just your organization, but likely your entire industry. I know a lot of those people and they re always sought after.

We’re having Friends over tonight for drinks, among them a guy who revolutionized the ski industry and then left to change the travel industry, the guy who set the standard for adventure films and a leader who is helping students fix our broken planet. All of them have three things in common, they are highly in demand and constantly innovating with calculated risk taking and they always go back and analyze the data.

Go be a Mountain Guide and change your company and change your life!

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Master Facebook Value-Based Marketing by leveraging engagement and mobile

Facebook’s Conundrum:  Engagement vs. Volume

There’s a challenging dichotomy within social media–specifically Facebook marketing – peak usage versus peak engagement.

When is Facebook most heavily used?  Wednesday at 15.00h EDT. This makes a ton of sense when you realize that people have the most fun over the weekend, and maybe take some pictures but are having too much fun to waste time uploading pictures (with a slow connection), put a caption on the photo and make comments. Posting in real time  has an inverse relationship with the level of excitement at events. So what happens? Think about your most fun event over a weekend. You get to work Monday morning with a bunch of stuff to clear off your plate, and work takes precedence. Monday and Tuesday are full of work. Wednesday rolls around and you get a little time on your hands. So you log onto Facebook upload those photos, tags your friends and other people and create entertaining captions. Some of the photos are engagement worthy, and some are posted for your own benefit. But you can spend hours at work on Facebook.

Facebook Peak Usage

HIghest usage – very different from highest engagement.

It makes perfect sense that the largest usage by volume is Wednesday midday.

Facebook Off-hours – those weekend social media activities

Vitrue found that mobile users are much more active on Friday and Saturday nights, when really cool content comes up on their mobile Facebook platform. They’re more likely to dash out a quick comment or give a fast

Facebook mobile usage


Mobile usage – comments and Likes. This is very different from peak usage

Like. People are dying to know what their friends are doing in real time.

What does usage and comment timing have to do with Facebook Engagement? Engagement happens in real time – Facebook usage happens continuously in user’s time. dwinQ has found the combination of very high value content, like a tagged photo, taken in real time at an event, and then immediately posted on the users newsfeed or timeline has a huge impact in the level of Facebook engagement. I mentioned in the blog I wrote for CNBC on Facebook marketing, the ability to create newsfeed product placement (NPP) at the height of enjoyment and interaction provides nearly 300% increase in engagement over posts updated later in the week from users by themselves. In addition photos that are posted by users lose the ability to create a brand awareness or product placement.

Facebook Mobile Useage - Engagement

The real engagement happens quickly and on mobile devices in real time

The bottom line is that if you want to create maximum value from your Facebook advertising, you need to frictionlessly capture and update (post) key moments in real-time. Think of this as NPP, newsfeed product placement. If you already have exciting and engaging events a platform like dwinQ is just what you need!

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Facebook Advertising and the GM fallacy

Like many strange announcements just before a big IPO there is more to the unusually timed announcement from GM that they are pulling back on their traditional Facebook advertising. The truth is that they are stopping 25% of a total $40 million spend. This is the banner ads and videos. Look at the content they are developing the OpenGraph tools they are using and the engagement they are getting in the Newsfeeds and Timeline. THey will increase their spend significantly over the next couple years, but that is the topic of a longer post.

CNBC asked me to produce a blog today on Facebook, so I’ll share more information there. Keep an eye out for it!

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Frictionless Social Media is the death of Venture Capital

You’ve got a really great idea – you may even have a product and customers. Time to start a company. So you go up and down Sand Hill Road or Route 128 and knock on as many doors as you can. You get a couple of term sheets then the VC jerk you around a bit and change the terms and finally you take money to start the company. This process takes about six to 12 months. Expect to give away from 20% to 80% of the company. Frictionless social media is rendering that model obsolete and putting the power back to the entrepreneurs. 

Look no further than Kickstarter. This week, after a scant twenty days on the site a new e-Paper watch looking to raise $100,000 has raised $10,000,000. Is this the lottery? No, not at all. That’s a lot of orders to fulfill, a lot of production to create, significant infrastructure to create. They have their work cut out for them. But they, like Twine and 3-D printing have found a real market need and used a frictionless form of social media – kickstarter to create tremendous value for the idea and invention – not just for having deep pockets. 

Frictionless social media will allow brands and people everywhere to monetize the moment

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Was Wired Magazine right about their future predictions? I dwinQ so!

For many of you who follow me on twitter (@PJSweeney) you know I’m a big fan of Wired magazine. This months issue features Mark Andreesen on the cover and inside has an article called “How to spot the future”. If the editors at Wired new about dwinQ they would have made it the posterchild for the number 1 topic–look for cross-pollinators.

When we started dwinQ in January it was because the company I founded in 2002 was simply the best at RF ID and mobile technology. The smart folks at like Facebook and Vail Resorts came to us trying to make frictionless social media work in the real world.

If you asked me three years ago if I would bet my future on social media, there is no way I would’ve even thought about it. After all, I was the author of RFID for Dummies and the leading RFID engineer certification book on Amazon. That made me a maven in the RFID industry. Why consider to social media?

Clearly, as Wired states it’s no secret that the best ideas, the ones with the most impact and longevity are transferable. An innovation that started during World War II and evolved at MIT with the notion of creating the “Internet of things” unwittingly developed the technology to enable the future. But the future is not an Internet of things.

The future is an Internet of people

cross-pollination technology of social media and RFID

Wired had cross-pollination as the #1 predictor of future technologies

The Internet has all the data and information storage people can handle, in fact it’s got too much information now. Google and Bing are fighting to try and make relevance of searches and it’s just not working.

Luckily, the Internet is being redesigned around people. The re-architecture of the Internet has to include one’s environment and the real world. That’s where cross-pollination and adapting data capture technologies like RFID, NFC, GPS, and other mobile technologies will create an environment that changes the way we fundamentally communicate with each other.

Wired magazine had it right that the cross pollinators will be the future. Every person in the world will be on social media in the next 10 years, and it will happen frictionless partly because of technology that’s been under development since World War II. We just never knew the potential of those  technologies until we applied them someplace where it really mattered.

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Benefitting from the fundamental change in the Web

The web is going through a butterfly -like transformation. During the dot com days the Internet was all about that –.com, or .net, or  .whatever. What many people may not have realized is that Friendster has changed all that forever – and Freindster isn’t even around anymore. The first social network took the technology of the web and started wrapping it in a subtle cocoon.

After several years of wrapping the butterfly has finally started to emerge and that butterfly looks like a human being. (Not in a crazy Hunter S. Thompson trippy sort of way, just metaphorically speaking).  The caterpillar of the web was content and transactions – Yahoo, Amazon, and other sites we searched and surfed. Up until Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, and all the boutique social media properties came along the web was all about content. That you had to find.Web transformation around people

With the web going through a metamorphosis centered around people content finds you. News seeks you out. Things come to your site to get bought. It’s a fundamental shift in the usage of the Internet.

This is happening to mimic the real world. Last time you bought a car you probably asked other friends what they thought of it, or if they had heard about it. Then maybe you searched for best price on the Internet. Now the shift is to going to a car site and having something recommended to you, based on your wants, likes, and behaviors.

If you have a brand you need to embrace this shift, it’s simple and very, very powerful. You have to associate with individuals. If your brand is a product or experience associating with individuals is super easy to do and will have a more profound effect on your business than any form of marketing you’ve ever done. You do it by gluing your brand to someone’s digital voice.

Associating your brand to digital word of mouth is easy if your brand touches people – literally. If you have events, or a venue where people are present then you need to bring their social graph to them. You need to expand the Internet beyond their phone, tablet or laptop and make it appear in real time for them. You need to capture the moment and share it with their friends – and you’ll be handsomely rewarded.

At the moment a fan is most enjoying your brand is when you need to capture it and share it with their social network. Using a social media experiences driven by RFID or NFC is the easiest way to do this.

Creating one-of-a-kind photos that can be triggered in real time and then uploaded to a fans’ timeline (with your logo in the corner of course) is an inexpensive yet incredibly powerful way to build brand equity – through that person’s social network amplification.

Check out some of the social media case studies that show how brands like Facebook, Southwest Airlines , Lexus and Harley-Davidson have benefitted from bringing social media to the real world.

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