Tag Archives: media

Creative Social Publicity and Promotion – SFU, 2016

sfu-class

From time to time, I visit various classes associated with B.C.’s Simon Fraser University’s fine publishing program under the stewardship of Suzanne Norman. This time around, the class was something about personal publicity and brand building. As such, I share anecdotes gleaned from Hootsuite and dozens of other personal social and community projects from over the years of activism, media outreach and marketing.

Download Creative Social Publicity and Promotion – SFU (1:56, 80MB, .mp3)

More: Roundup of artifacts from Creative Social Publicity and Promotion at SFU

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

HempenRoad Dispatch #1, Nov. 1996

Early November 1996

Hello;

My name is is Dave Olson, I run an international mail-order hemperprise as well as research and produce other creative projects about hemp.

This month Japanese filmmaker, Eiji Masuda, and I will be heading to create a completely new hemp film in which we will travel the north america west coast stopping in along the way to visit hempy people.

All this is explained on a web page that we invite you visit and read through. We feel this is an exciting project that merits your looking it over.

If you are unable to access the WWW, please reply and i’ll send you the info via e.mail or post.

While there, be sure to link to look at my ongoing research into Hemp in Japan. Much research is there along with a bunch of pictures. Sit down and enjoy it.

This is not a mailing list or anything weird or sketchy. Please zoom over to check out our plan and respond via phone, e.mail, fax or post to become part of this film.

enjoy,

dave olson

Zhonka Media Roundup

See Zhonka Broadband media page for more Internet business-related press.

Zhonka co-founders on 40 under 40 List (new window) – feature article by Paul Schrag from Business Examiner details achievements by 40 area business leaders under 40 years of age including Zhonka’s Jacob Stewart and Dave Olson 6/23/03

Article from The Olympian (new window) – newspaper article about Zhonka Broadband by Alex Goff w/ pic of Dave, Jay and Kenny Trobman at the Clubside Cafe 3/21/03 – Photo by Steve Bloom /The Olympian

Article from The Olympian (new window) – newspaper article featuring DaveO discussing ATG bankruptcy and Zhonka plans 05/02 – Another Olympian article about ATG’s alleged purchase 06/02 – Photo by Steve Bloom /The Olympian

Interview from Business Examiner (.pdf) – Q & A newspaper interview discussing OlyWa / ATG merger, Internet marketing, etc.

Vancouver Stories from the Museum on @TheRushTV show

After a recent appearance discussing HootSuite culture, i sat down with Fiona Forbes and guest host Peter Verge to share a few of my favourite – somewhat-forgotten – Vancouver-centric stories. This time, the set was on-location at the Museum of Vancouver.

I shared anecdotes about rock and roll photographer Bev Davies, the Group of 7 bohemian painter Frederick Varley, and the elusive Grateful Dead shows in 1966 + name check for Janis Joplin and Big Brother and the Holding Company.

The show also broadcasts a livestream which includes all the in between banter and offside comments and anecdotes from the Twitter stream.

DaveO Talking HootSuite Culture on @TheRushTV show

Amidst a barrage of HootSuite-related media coverage, I appeared on The Rush TV show (Note: I appeared representing Happy Frog in 2008 when the show was “Urban Rush”).

In the segment with host Fiona Forbes, and guest host Tiffany Gurden, about the new East Van office, our unwitting role in the Egyptian revolution, what makes us special and a few notes about the tools.

The show also broadcasts a livestream which includes all the in between banter and offside comments and anecdotes from the Twitter stream.

“Art and Tech are Old Pals” at Social Media House SXSW 2011

I shared a spiel called “Art and Tech are Old Pals” at Wordcamp Vancouver in a full version but shared a spontaneous and shorter version while at Social Media Clubhouse at SXSW 2011.

In this spiel, i discuss a “people’s history” of media creation and my tactics and thoughts about how to foster creativity by viewing the past and participating in the creation of the future.


During SXSW Interactive Festival, Dave shares stories of analog arts and crafts, sparking creativity, using technology to tell stories and remaining interesting using examples from historical artists and his own experience.

You’ll see lots of interesting props pulled from an old-timey suitcase and a few laughs along the way plus practical tips you can implement to enhance your own creative process.

Note: Thanks to Social Media Clubhouse for filming. Available also on Vimeo.com, posted here for posterity.

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You can catch a longer version of the similar deal in Art and Tech are Old Pals at Wordcamp Vancouver and you might also enjoy Greeks to Geeks at Wordcamp Whistler.

Hoot tour | Global News Video

Hoot tour | Global News Video

HootPress ~ Global BC Morning Show at HootSuite

Screen Shot 2013-04-04 at 3.57.55 PM

On April 4, 2013, HootSuite hosted Vancouver’s media folk at our headquarters in Mount Pleasant. Among them, Grace Ke from Global BC stopped by for some live hits and a tour of our state-of-the-art offices. As you can see in this video, we caught up and discussed how HootSuite builds community through our HootUps and how the company played an important role in the Egyptian Revolution, among other things. Here are Grace Ke’s live hits from Hoot tour.

DaveO Share HootStories on Dotto Tech Show

daveo I recently appeared on Steve Dotto’s radio show – Dotto Tech – to talk all things HootSuite.

We riffed about many different topics including: HootSuite’s App Directory; Social Media on an international scale; my experiences at SXSW; and, uses for Google+.

Check out this week’s episode: Dotto Tech 102 – HootSuite and Ebooks.