Tag Archives: marketing

“Get to Know Dave Olson: A Glimpse of Uncle Weed’s World Full of Passion” from boldkick

My pal and long time collaborator at Hootsuite, Chris Trottier and his new crew at “boldkick” – a new social architecture bureau, wrote this little tribute post about me following a talk at Victoria, BC, Canada’s Social Media Camp where i discussed how the “Internet has a Short Memory”. I am truly touched by he and Cindy’s kind words – i am very fond of them as well.

Excerpt pasted below for the record along with a link to the original post.

Raised on a diet of hockey, punk rock, and fanzines, Dave “Uncle Weed” Olson has been writing about his experiences for almost as long as the Internet existed.

A master storyteller, Dave Olson thrives in building communities. His work revolves around being an all-around creative. He is a writer, a podcaster, singer, a multi-hyphenate superstar. Looking at his own website, it’s both surprising and inspiring to see one person who has done so much.

It all leads to one thing, doesn’t it? Passion.

It’s been such an overused word, but it always rings true to the people who have it. Dave’s lifeblood is community, something that we at Boldkick strongly resonate with. Did we mention he’s from Vancouver, too?

As a traveller, Dave Olson has had a handful of experiences with different people with different backgrounds. In a quick interview at Toque and Canoe about his suitcase, Dave Olson shares about his souvenirs in his travels.

“I keep little ephemeral paper objects. Ticket stubs. Crappy postcards. I’ll take an empty scrap book and make it real time on the trip. Then you return home and BAM, the whole trip is documented and you can share it with your friends. I was on a train in the rain in Spain (ha ha) and had my scrap book with me and I ended up partying with all of these great folks. Great way to bridge those cultural gaps. I also like to bring back coins. Little things. I like tiny things.”

Source: Get to Know Dave Olson: A Glimpse of Uncle Weed’s World Full of Passion – boldkick

Can’t Buy Me Love: A Renegade Marketing Pro’s Tips via Trippeo

My Hootsuite alum comrade pal Adarsh Pallian has yet another start-up biz — this one is a travel-expense related company called Trippeo. He published this article (with assistance from the charming Katie Fritz) in which explores some of my marketing-fu. Shared below for the record with gratitude and appreciation.

Introduced thusly via Twitter:

@pallian pays homage to @uncleweed, master of marketing and good vibes. Get some tips from his recent @Medium post! bit.ly/1URc2VU

Dave O at SXSW 09 – photo by KK

Can’t buy me love: A renegade marketing pro’s tips for making an impression

One of Vancouver’s tech-scene’s radicals used to tout the “cheap and cheerful” effect. Instead of relying on the filet mignon to impart success and influence, renegade marketer Dave Olson preferred to take his clients to underground shows and then chat business over a bowl of ramen. The man knows what he’s doing: after coming on as Director of Marketing for Hootsuite in 2010, he helped grow the user-base to 8 million, and was integral to the development of the quirky, lovable brand.

Of course, in those early days, Hootsuite wasn’t exactly rolling in the cash. Dave and his team needed to find ways to make an impression… while pinching those expensable pennies. These are a few of my favorite cheap-n-cheerful moments from the Master:

Host a dinner party

Personal AND cost-effective. One of the most memorable moments of Hootsuite’s inaugural SXSW trip was the barbeque that they hosted. Austin, of course, is pretty intense about their barbeque, so the conversation was built in. The event was inexpensive, easy to coordinate, and most importantly, an authentic place to chat with potential clients and investors.

Mobilize volunteers

Dave loved to bring enthusiastic people together around a cause, be it a Hootsuite “Hoot-Up,” a day of renegade marketing school, or a community of podcasters. Volunteers have been indispensable to Hootsuite’s success: they have translated websites, thrown parties, shared tips and tactics, and pointed out bugs. In return, Dave and his team acted as references and champions for these volunteers, helping them gain experience and land professional roles.

Say thank you, in person

One thing Dave liked to encourage was “going analogue”. He knew that facetime was the ultimate impression – no number of Mentions, Likes, or Upvotes can replicate a genuine “thanks.” Can’t be there in person? Dave was a big proponent of the quick video that included his team waving and saying thank you! A little goes a long way.

Want more stories from DaveO? He’s logged a great many of his talks on Youtube. You can find his channel right here.

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Can’t buy me love: A renegade marketing pro’s tips for making an impression — Medium.

Five million customers, no ad budget: How Hootsuite used a freemium model to build its business | Financial Post

An article by Ryan Holmes talking about the tactics and methods Hootsuite used to build with small budgets and big fun including Hootups, community activities like translation project, creative swag and more…

Ryan Holmes | April 10, 2015 1:04 PM ET

Ryan Holmes: With literally millions of apps competing for attention, startups are finding themselves forced to pour ever greater sums into marketing efforts. But money isn’t always the answer…

But more money isn’t always the answer. In Hootsuite’s first three years, we grew our user base from zero to five million people. During that time, our marketing budget was pretty much non-existent. We turned instead to a pair of complementary, low-cost approaches to find and keep customers. It may well have made all the difference.

Freemium economics One fundamental decision made shortly after launching in 2009 was to make our social media tool a freemium service. The majority of our users — and we very quickly reached the million mark — paid nothing. They could (and still can) log in for free to view their social media accounts from one dashboard, schedule messages and see analytics. Companies that wanted beefed up functionality and extra support, paid a monthly fee, ranging from as little as $9 to $1,000 and up for large enterprises with lots of employees.

Why invest so many resources and so much bandwidth catering to millions of free users who would never account for a cent of revenue? For starters, freemium dramatically reduces the need for traditional marketing and sales efforts. Our free users — in steady, predictable numbers — became paid users. Instead of having to sell them on the merits of our product with expensive ads, we let them see for themselves. Our product became our best marketing tool and salesperson. On average more than half our paying customers, including large clients, start out as free users.

Meanwhile, our free user base fulfilled another key function: It kept us honest. Free users are fickle; they’re not locked in by a contract or any other obligations. They can, at any moment, pick up and take their “business” elsewhere. So to maintain and grow our free user base, we had to continually update our product, rolling out new features to stay ahead of the pack.

These same features helped us win and keep paying customers. While other corporate tools were years behind the social media curve, our efforts to satisfy free users meant we could offer big enterprise customers the latest technology.

Seeing value in community But the freemium approach wouldn’t have been as effective were it not for another equally important strategy: investing in a fully functional community department. In many startups, the community team, if there’s one at all, is treated as an extension of marketing or customer support. While their ostensible role may be “building a community” of users, they spend a lot of time pitching products and fielding help calls.

Our community department, by contrast, didn’t have direct sales or support responsibilities. Their primary mandate was to help people who already knew our product connect with one another. In the early days, they set up social media accounts in a half-dozen key languages, sharing updates with users around the world.

At the same time, they led a crowdsourced translation effort that saw our tool translated into more than a dozen local languages, from German and Italian to Thai and Chinese. (Amazingly, translations were volunteer-driven — motivated by love of the technology and a liberal helping of swag, i.e. stickers, T-shirts and cuddly stuffed animals inspired by our owl logo.)

Online efforts were supplemented by old-fashioned face-to-face events. In emerging markets, the community team helped users organize hundreds of free meetups (branded as “HootUps”), where people could get together and trade product tips. Ultimately, a network of hundreds of volunteer “ambassadors” around the world took shape, enthusiastic users who agreed to spread the word in their countries. Many of these ambassadors were bloggers, consultants and marketers whose own agenda of developing a large online following aligned well with ours.

Cumulatively, these projects gave us entree into new markets, initiating the viral chain of adoption in other countries and spreading our product beyond its original North American user base.

Source: Five million customers, no ad budget: How Hootsuite used a freemium model to build its business | Financial Post

How to Successfully Implement a Brand Ambassador Program

How to Successfully Implement a Brand Ambassador Program

Host events like HootSuite

According to a recent survey, branded live events are the No. 1 driver of brand recommendations. These events clock in at 65 percent, beating out even a friend’s recommendation (63 percent) in importance when it comes to brand experience.

Knowing this, many campus ambassador programs make events an integral part of marketing efforts in order to attract new consumers. For instance, social media metric company HootSuite empowers users and brand ambassadors to host “HootUps.” These gatherings are put together by campus ambassadors and fans of the company, and involve discussions of social media best practices and networking.

The events are branded with HootSuite swag, yet they offer students real-world value and the ability to make great contacts. If your events offer consumers and customers something useful, they’ll be likely to equate your brand with providing concrete value to their lives.

“How to Win the Networking Game at SXSW” Ryan (and Dave) in Wall Street Journal

How to Win the Networking Game at SXSW
Mar 5, 2014, The Accelerators, Wall Street Journal

After eight SXSW conferences, I’ve learned that the hard way. When my company was first getting off the ground, we were completely lost in the shuffle, despite our best efforts. In 2012, however, we had a 28-foot-long, 15,000-pound secret weapon. To stand out amid the gala parties and blow-out bashes hosted by much bigger tech companies, HootSuite decided to take to the streets. We transformed a Ford E-450 shuttle bus into possibly the world’s biggest owl, in honor of our mascot – mounting a pair of giant eyes above the windshield and affixing enormous plastic wings on the sides.

HootSuite’s former VP of community, Dave Olson, inspects the HootBus.

ANDREW LAVIGNE

Cheesy? Yes. Effective, absolutely. By the end of the conference, our logo had been splashed across the pages of USA Today, Mashable and Inc. The conference’s highest profile attendees were clamoring to get on board and party with us. And investors whom I didn’t even know were inquiring about thecompany. In the end, it cost us around $30,000 to buy and outfit the vehicle. Considering that hosting just a single party at SXSW can cost as much, if not more, that’s an absolute steal. This year, in fact, we’re bringing HootBus back for its third ride.

CMTY Building: Encouraging Passionate Users to Host HootUps

In a spontaneous spiel to colleagues, Dave shares the motivations and practical logistics for organizing Hootups – including sending swag packages and promotional support – and articulates the benefits for the organizer (notoriety and being part of something interesting) as well as resultant perks for the company including signups and culture artifacts like photos, tweets and happy users.

Crowdsource from your Community the Tom Sawyer Way – Community Nuggets Vol.1

Back in January, my fellow community managers at HootSuite and I came together with mycmgr.com to produce a series of info videos called ‘Community Nuggets.’

Below is the one I appeared in using Tom Sawyer as an example of how to effectively crowdsource from your community.

Enjoy: Crowdsource from your Community the Tom Sawyer Way – Community Nuggets Vol.1

For the Record: Community Manager of the Day

My professional journey has led me – and several of my dear colleagues – to a lovely acknowledgement from MyCMgr.com “Community Manager of the Day.” You can read the whole article – “Community Manager of the Day: Dave Olson” – but i’ve excerpted a favourite bit below:

Picture 1

Who has been an inspiration for you as a community manager?
For me, there were three key sources for learning about community building and wrangling:

1. Travelling along with The Grateful Dead taught me the audience is part of the band, so to speak. They encouraged sharing, trading, recording, and loads of instant entrepreneurship with a crazy, spontaneous market outside selling everything from veggie burritos to libations.

2. Cub Scouts taught me the importance of skill learning, working with small teams towards a common goal, and celebrating micro-leveling-up by earning badges. My Mom ran the pack and she also taught me about running small businesses and helped start my first media projects at 7 years old.

3. Hitchhiking in foreign countries taught me to be trusting of strangers, open to new opportunities, and to enjoy the differences between cultures. Plus I learned how to hustle to earn money by selling chestnuts, picking grapes, and being a lazy roadie for rock bands, among dozens of other (very) odd jobs.

Sharing Social Marketing Stories for Communities – Community Roundtable, 2010

I share stories about growing Hootsuite on a grassroots level and break down tools and tactics in this “Conversations with Community Managers” audio pod interview from May 27, 2010.

Post: Conversations with Community Managers – Dave Olson (Hootsuite) Episode #9 features Dave Olson, Marketing Director for HootSuite, which helps people and companies track, monitor and manage their Twitter communities.

Audio: Download Community Roundtable Podcast with Dave Olson (17:27, 14MB, .mp3) or listen onboard:

Podcast topics include:

  • How the traditional title of “Marketing Director” translates to online marketing, customer service and social engagement
  • Turning metrics into meaning by realizing the personalities behind the community members
  • Tips on community: making members feel like they belong and are contributing, and that they are being heard and acknowledged
  • Stories about communities in the 1970s, enabled by “ditto machines” and other pre social media technology (the roots of Dave’s current personal projects are found at http://www.uncleweed.com/)
  • An example of a company (SubPop records) that started their community building in the pre-social media era (pre-Internet, even), and evolved it into the age of Twitter
  • Adding value, context and storytelling vs simply “attracting a crowd”

Blurb

The Community Roundtable has partnered with Voce Communications to produce a new podcast series, “Conversations with Community Managers.” In this series, TheCR’s Jim Storer joins forces with Voce’s Doug Haslam to speak with people from a variety of industries about their efforts with community and social media management.

Talking Social Tourism in El Paso at #SoMeT12 – Artifacts

I was recently asked to present at #SoMeT12 – a symposium about Social Media in the Tourism industry  – held in El Paso, Texas.

On November 8, 2012 a day after the US election, plenty of stories and hugs were passed around to the delegates representing many countries, regions, cities and so on. It was great to connect with everyone and talk tourism and social media, plus enjoy some Tex-Mex food and a wee splash of sunshine in a historic park.

SoMeT12 Portraits

Read on for some fun highlights of my visit:

Social Media Tourism Symposium Official Recap

Mikala Taylor wrote a detailed re-cap of my talk – here’s an excerpt to set the stage:

One of these kids was doing his own thing: and at SoMeT12 that kid was HootSuite’s VP of Community, Dave Olson. Dressed in a burgundy jacket and sporting impressive mutton chops, Olson woke the bleary crowd at 8:30am with an energetic talk about sparking conversations, and how to create a social media journey.“I’ve been to destinations”, he joked at the tourism crowd, before reminding everyone that travel really is just about “making friends and sharing stories.” “Five years from now,” he said, “the tools will be totally different…Social media is just a weird term of convenience. It’s just about listening.”

SoMeT12 Portraits

Click here for the full article, HootSuite’s Dave Olson: “Social Media is a weird term of convenience. It’s just about listening”

Slides

Here is the slide deck I used during my talk made up of both personal and professional anecdotes including my experiences hitchhiking around Europe, Japan and elsewhere:

Bonus: Check out more DaveO presentations

Photo Gallery 

With an audience of social media enthusiasts, no doubt the tweets and photos flowed on, catch a few below or more at Clemens Schuster’s Flickr Stream (who travelled all the way from Austria for the event):

Screen Shot 2013-01-22 at 4.19.24 PMPhoto courtesy of SoMeT12

Snapshots

I also took a few snaps while out on a walk around town plus a visit to the Hoppy Monk bar on the Mexican border, out for a few tasty meals, and glances at various pawn shops and parks.

Elvis at Dave's Pawn Shop in El Paso

Dave and Elvis in El Paso

Boxing Hall of Fame in El Paso

En Route to Airport in El Paso

See, my tiny old hard shell suitcase with stickers all over it. I don’t travel without it!

Here’s my suitcase and Owly.

Screen Shot 2013-01-29 at 3.53.25 PM

Photo courtesy of @vlpmeriposa

Check out Toque and Canoe’s feature, In the Suitcase with Dave Olson, for my packing secrets.

Visit my flickr set, El Paso Mission, for more photos.

A couple of highlights I enjoyed most were handing out some mad HootSwag and asking the social media savvy audience to tweet my mom (@manorbrooks) during my presentation.

More tweets & highlights at  HootClub’s #SoMeT12 Storify page

Audio Dispatch

After the conference, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Catherine Heeg (@catherineheeg) of Customized Management Solutions to talk about the #SoMeT12 conference and HootSuite’s new and exciting features (we caught up at the airport of all places, and were briefly interrupted by the PA system as you’ll hear in the interview). Read the interview recap at Catherine’s Customized Management Solutions Blog.

Catch my interview with Catherine Heeg here