“Starting Your Story, part 1” – Social Marketing Kung-fu / workshop & spiel

Dave Olson and students at Social Marketing Kung-fu Workshop / Spiel in May 2013
Dave Olson and students at Social Marketing Kung-fu Workshop / Spiel in May 2013

What to do on day one of any new start-up project” – whether for business, nonprofit profit, campaign or revolution including: naming / branding, media kit and various descriptions, and building culture, excitement and a posse – all without spending much money – are covered in part 1 of a fast-paced *master class* workshop by Dave Olson from  May 2013.

Download: Starting Your Story – Social Marketing Kung-fu 1 – workshop / spiel (1:07:02, 98.7MB, .mp3)

Community Feasthouse podcast feed – All manner of discourse from media interviews to various lectures and presentations. Topics include social web fu, creative culture, podcast making, DIY publishing, community cultivating, art making and related adventures.


* Some notes and lists came from attendees (i think, i mean i don’t *really* recall…)


  • Most tech companies start with 2 peeps (tech + biz)
  • Gotta fill-in until you add 3rd leg to tripod (marketing/community/etc)
  • Don’t wait to start marketing til you have a product – build culture and posse
  • Cheap and cheerful – avoid ads and trade shows, yes to speaking and media
  • Grassroots FTW

Getting Started

  • Document everything you Do. From Day 1 / entrepreneurs should document everything and have one place to share all of their “collective intelligence,” such as an internal wiki. Writing everything down will help you stay focused and remind you what it is you set out to achieve
  • Do not plan much farther out than 6 months
  • Define the role of each person in the company / This will help people focus on and take ownership over certain tasks

Naming Your Company/Product

  • Coming up with a name for your company that has an available URL is not an easy task
  • Define what it is your product does first
  • Start playing around with words that are easy to say, spell and remember
  • Ask friends or your community for feedback or ideas.  For instance, Hootsuite crowdsourced name

Describe Your Product

  • Try and define your product in 3 words. For example, Hootsuite at first chose “Professional Twitter Client” as a 3 word description and now defines itself as a “Social Media Dashboard”
  • Take those 3 words and expand on them to create a 100 word description
  • Reach out to users and get feedback and watch what terms they are searching for.  It is important to be using the same terms and descriptions that your users/customers are

Start Listening

  • Create Lists.  Start following the people who care about your product as well as watching your competitors
  • By listening and asking specific questions, you will start to build relationships with your customers
  • Respond and participate in the conversation
  • Each community is different. For example, your customers may act differently on Facebook vs. LinkedIn. Watch this and communicate accordingly
  • Define what you want to get out of each of the social media channels you are using

Media Kit

  • The first page you should create on your website is a media kit page
  • Make it easy for people to write about you and tell your story.
  • Your kit should include artwork, logo, colors, typeface, TM with specific guidelines on how to use
  • Be sure to have multiple descriptions that writers can snag to use in articles and posts such as a 100 or 500 word description
  • Colorful screenshots or infographics like this one are a great resource for writers
  • Keep your kit up to date and fresh

Be Loud

  • Now that you have defined who you are and what you do, start telling the world
  • Don’t wait until you launch.  Become an active participant in the community you are trying to reach
  • If it is not on the Internet, it didn’t happen! So – Blog, Flickr, Tweet etc. starting right now
  • When someone writes an article or post mentioning you or your area of expertise, COMMENT. It shows you are paying attention and care about your community and the people, who are taking the time to write about you and use your product
  • Create 3-4 touch-points to an article.  For example, Dave will comment on an article, social bookmark it and add it to an RSS Feed = juicy, indexable goodness
  • Hashtag everything. Topics, brands, acronyms – be creative and always remember to listen to your audience and be consistent with your message


Decide who you are – name, description, NOT mission statement – what your company and product names? Are they easy to say and spell? If not, refresh.

  1. What’s your vocab? Establish your voice and words
  2. 3 words description (later you’ll do 25 words and 100 words)
  3. Listen to your (growing) audience use the words they use (Like HootSuite for bands…)
  4. Document it all (not fancy) if it’s not on the internet, didn’t happen – rock the blog, flickr, youtube, twitter – photo ops! get in front of camera
  5. Build a posse (Twitter lists and small tasks acknowledged with thanks)
  6. Make friends with media (build email list too, get to know their specific interests) offer to give quote comments for almost anything (CBC)
  7. Media Kit – make it easy to cover your story! includes:
    • brand conventions (spellings, nomenclature)
    • wordmark, logos, screenshots
    • media contact (you, not an agency)
    • exec headshots & bio
    • links to releases (more about media announcements in future session)

Bonus: Make an auto-magic media feed to amplify coverage / e.g. Recipe: Social BM > RSS >  HS > Twitter etc. as used with: @hootwatch @endlessgoodness @truenorthmedia


Artifacts from Social Marketing Kung-fu – workshop / spiel

Notes and riffs from original “Social Marketing Kung-fu” series at Bootup Garage, Vancouver, 2011

Whatcha think?