Category Archives: Viral Advertising

I’m playing with the idea of offering quick thoughts via video here and there. Here’s the first thought: What is social media?

To hear the long version of this quick thought, check out my full presentation on social media and brands.

Just yesterday, I spoke to Lambda Pi Eta, the communication department’s honor society at Truman State University. I was connected to them by fellow Mountain Dew and Twitter addict, Don Krause (@santee). I was über nervous about speaking, as I always am, but I think I overcame that fear.

I talked about my experience with social media as the owner/designer of Creative Improv and why brands need to care about social media.

A few quick notes, I had tweeted to UPS and FedEx 3 times in the last few days (once during my presentation) and hadn’t received a response from them until just now. @FedExRobin responded – you can see her tweet here.

Check out my presentation below. I recorded it a day after I gave the presentation to the folks at Truman.

It seems that Google Local Business Listing has fallen under the radar, at least in my sphere of influence. So I wanted to share some advice to anyone who runs a small business or provides a marketable service.

What is it? Google Local Business Listing is a way to get your business on Google Maps and subsequently Google search results…for free.

Why is this important? When someone searches for your product or service along with your city, your business will show up, top ‘o the list.

Localized. As I mentioned above, you get free local advertising on Google. When folks search a keyword plus your city, local businesses are displayed above  the regular search results.

Build Street Cred Whether you sell cheeseburgers or wedding dresses, Google Local Business Listings is one big way to build your street cred. How? Customers can write reviews of your product or service for others to see. Don’t be shy about asking customers to write a review for you on Google. I’m not. This is also an incentive to provide top notch service and products to your customers, because you may receive bad reviews too!

How much does it cost? Nothing is free these days… but this sure is and…

It works! At least for me. I’ve gotten one client so far by using Google Local Business Listings. Google has begun sending out periodic stats on how many hits you receive from your listing as well! Now, you might be asking….

How do I sign up? Go here and login with your Google account and simply fill a few things out!

Today I presented to a group of teachers at Truman State University about using social networking tools and blogging to grow support for gecko mathematics – a unique math curriculum that was translated into English from Korean. Last year Creative Improv, the design firm I run built a website, blog and social network profiles for gecko math – we called it ‘Publish the Gecko‘, because it is a campaign to get publishers interested in gecko mathematics. This Summer, a grad-level course was put together to show elementary level teachers how to use this curriculum. I was asked to speak about the marketing of the curriculum through social networks and blogging and show the teachers how they might share things about the curriculum with their educator friends.

I will have a video of my talk very soon, but for now here is just a bit of what I shared:

  • TV, newspapers and radio used to be the global platform – today that global platform is the Internet – a world wide web filled with social networks, websites and blogs.
  • This new global platform allows ANYONE who has good content, products or services to gain support for free. This is HUGE.
  • Blogs – a successful blog is one that encourages interaction among the community of people with the same interest
  • Facebook – a way for businesses or organizations to reach their target audience on a personal level. It puts a face on an otherwise faceless corporation. If you have a business, you should have a facebook fan page and talk to your fans often and encourage feedback
  • Twitter – basically the SMS of the Internet – a quick way to share short messages. Retweeting or forwarding messages has huge endorsement power, because you are saying this person or business is worth paying attention to.
  • Retweeting has the power to make something go ‘viral’
  • All these online tools are a way to interact with a community of people online that have the same interests as you – whether it is someone else who shares your love for the Smurfs or someone who might be interested in your business, product or service. Dude, smurf it up!
  • Today, blogs, social networks and websites have provided the opportunity for anyone to pursue what you love – for more on this idea watch the following video (try to ignore the language)

Jeffrey Zeldman (@zeldman), self-proclaimed web standards guru just tweeted about a WordPress plugin for adding a Facebook ‘like’ button to your individual blog posts.  So, of course I clicked through and checked it out! I instantly installed it on my blog here and tested it out. I absolutely love it.

It seems that most people shy away from commenting on blogs (or more recently even writing on your wall)… but they jump at the chance to simply express that they ‘like’ something you’ve posted (on facebook) I guess it’s the equivalent of nodding in agreement instead of speaking your full opinion of something. Bringing this feature to WordPress iss a no-brainer. When someone clicks ‘like’ on my blog posts, a simple note will be posted to your news feed saying ‘John Doe likes such and such’. Where, “Such and such” is the title of my blog post. How stinkin’ cool is that?

OK, now try it.(note that if you are viewing my blog homepage, you have click the blog post title to see the ‘like’ button under the content.)

As a business, using social media is ‘…about having a direct dialog’ with your audience.

Businesses who have an Internet presence (which should be every one of them or they are REALLY missing out) need to keep up with changes in the social media landscape and engage their audience where their audience spends most their time – Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Why should businesses be active in social media? So that when I tweet about how I’m upset with GoDaddy’s service, someone from the office of the president will call me and ask how they can help. YES, this actually happened to me, and it happened two years ago, before anyone really understood twitter. Or when I make a lame joke about not shipping ‘overnight’ they will reply via twitter and ask my order number to check into it. Yes, that happened too.

What about universities? They need Facebook and Twitter to reach out to prospective students. When a high school student tweets about looking for an osteopathic school, some school like A.T. Still University could be using Tweetdeck to track the search term ‘medical school’ and reply to those students with info about their school.

And now for my shameless plug. Do you run a business and need a website or social media plan? Check out

Photo by Stephen Emlund in Des Moines, IA

Since it seems like my six-part series on the 2008 presidential election has disappeared within my blog, I wanted to re-highlight it since I spent hours researching various aspects of that election.

This series focuses on the websites of Sen. John McCain and then-Sen. Barrack Obama. It was a culmination of a semester of research in an Advertising course. While I was writing these posts (in the Fall of 2008), I was also producing many 30 second ads (Motion Graphics) supporting the Obama Campaign. These videos will posted in the next blog post.

In my Advertising course in college we analyzed many past political ads including Daisy Girl.  It aired September 7, 1964 and seemed to be an effective ad because it drew fear about  Lyndon B. Johnson’s opponent, Senator Barry Goldwater. The ad was created by innovative ad agency Doyle Dane Bernbach. It only aired once but that was enough to give Johnson the presidency. Today, this ad goes down as one of the most effective political ads in history.  To learn more about this ad go here.

On May 21, 2009 the RNC decided that it could piggy-back on it’s success over 40 years ago and paint Obama in the same dark hue. The thing is: they are just a tad bit too late. He’s already President. You’d think McCain would have thought of this idea during the campaign since he was 27 when Daisy Girl aired. (that was the same year he apparently got in an auto accident that was kept hush hush until recently – interestingly, that article was written on my birthday – october 28, 2008 – crazy!)

Not only is this remake a textbook example of how not to edit video, but every sound-bite is taken out of context and the ‘daisy girl’s’ voice sounds like someone Meghan McCain’s age rather than a 5 year old girl.

For your viewing pleasure!

Photo of Obama right after I shook his hand!

Photo of Obama right after I shook his hand!

In part six, I simply have a list of reasons why Obama won this election.

  • When McCain took the low road with trivial negativity, Obama never slung mud back, he simply continued on the high road – very under control
  • The negative ads by Obama that were run, were about the issues not about someone the other one associated with – We all have associated with people that others wouldn’t approve of, but it doesn’t define us or our character!
  • Obama was all about the politics of hope and change; McCain, the politics of fear, especially at the end of this campaign.
  • Barack Obama excited young voters – 60-70% of young voters supported Obama.
  • Obama was the first black candidate for president, but didn’t run as the ‘black candidate’. That’s the difference between him and Jesse Jackson.
  • Offering a drastic change from the Bush Administration and was successful in tying McCain to Bush by mentioned the number of times McCain voted with Bush (over 90%)
  • McCain’s lack of judgement in choosing a VP candidate. It showed that McCain couldn’t make smart decisions.
  • McCain’s age – We all know, we were thinking in the back of our minds: What if he dies in office and Sarah Palin takes over – does she have what it takes?
  • A unified Obama campaign never had internal blowups or controversy
  • People are drawn to exciting and hopeful candidates, not ones that are on the attack at all times and bring up things that aren’t related to the real issues.
  • Online Campaigning – Obama’s various websites that I mentioned in part 5, the organization, design/layout of his website and how the web was use to organize Obama rallies and events through social networking.

We are all wondering how Presedent-Elect Barack Obama will utilize the web in his presidency. One hint is a website that was launched today: I’m hoping for periodic email updates from a President Obama, similar to how his campaign was.