“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.
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.
Note: this transcription was performed by Jimmy M. in Kenya with best efforts. Any feedback + errors or omissions are welcome. Also, i do not work for Hootsuite as of Sept 2017 and views are not the company’s etc.
Welcome to conversations with Community Managers, a podcast series with actual Community Managers from a variety of Industries. On this podcast, we peel back the hype and get into ‘how to’ discussions that uncover community and social media management best practices. Conversations with Community Managers is a co-production of Voce Communications and the Community Roundtable.
Doug Haslam: This is Doug Haslam from Voce Communications.
Jim Storer: And Jim Storer from the Community Roundtable.
Doug: And with us is Dave Olson, the Marketing Director for Hootsuite joining us from Vancouver…North Vancouver I guess, right?
Dave: Well the office is in right here in downtown Vancouver but I live up in the hills of North Vancouver right on the side of the mountain so I get to sort of descend from the upper reaches into the city each day.
Doug: About your title, so Marketing Director which is pretty traditional and old school but you say you like to call yourself Community Wrangler. Can you explain what that means?
Dave: Oh really underneath what I do at marketing and it really includes everything from the messaging and the PR and the public relations, media relations as well as support, all those things tie back into telling our story and building a community culture around all that. So I prefer Community Wrangler just because it sounds a little less corporate but really things like support is the new marketing and community building is the new marketing. So a lot of the things that traditionally would be done by a marketing director, I do them clearly differently, to say the least. Continue reading Sharing Social Marketing Stories for Communities – Community Roundtable, 2010 – Transcription→
Harnessing the passion and enthusiasm for business or artistic pursuits requires most importantly, giving respect to the community itself.
It’s a common mistake of taking the audience for granted must be avoided by:
frequently communicating about forward momentum
As well as off-line tactics, including:
unique meet ups
other events like workshops, conferences or even concerts
And – depending on the community’s purpose – fundraising,.. ergo: whether for political campaigns, new businesses, or artistic pursuits, there are also lots of methods for soliciting funding using technology, social messaging and pledges.
The common string between all of them though is having a ability to articulate a clear message of what the money is for, and what the giver gets out of the deal whether that be stock, prestige, good karma or a pre-release of goods operations marketing strategy.
Any successful marketing campaign will have:
a sensible timeline
and many forms of messaging tune for specific channels and audiences
One size or message does not fit all… so reach your audience on the medium they desire to be communicated through, and with a message that’s custom tailored to what they want, not what you want to say.
Beyond language translation, communicating across geographical and cultural borders requires an understanding of the audience, their needs and desires and an understanding of conventions in order to share messages with nuance and authenticity.
This can’t happen in a vacuum – rather requires true integration and understanding of the culture in order to importantly show respect, and also importantly, avoid gaffes which cause embarrassment and send you backwards on your quest.
These note cards are residual evidence of a “lunch ‘n learn” and/or other spiel presented in some context or another.
As it goes, i can’t cover all of my Social Marketing Kung Fu(n) topics o’ wisdom in one session, so i make a “game show” where attendees choose their own adventure by choosing from these little prompts.
Shared here for future reference.
PS You can hear loads of my spiels about topics including: marketing, start-ups, PR, renegade social community building etc. via the Community Feasthouse podchannel if inclined.
My pal and co-conspirator Cameron Uganec spoke at a marketing conference in Squamish BC and used my riff about Fck Stats, Make Art as an example/inspiration/anecdote for the assembled masses who seemed to enjoy the sentiment. Artifacts follow:
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.”
On a private yacht with special access to the Victoria naval base, respective VP’s of Community and Business Development at HootSuite, Dave Olson and Greg Gunn, jointly delivered a keynote speech for Experience Tectoria, an event designed to highlight Victoria’s tech sector.
A lively crowd who actively participated in the stories with heckles and laughs, a steady supply of Hoyne beer, plus a pod of Orca whales breaching and interrupting the talk… all made for a memorable Sunday afternoon.
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.
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.
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.
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: 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.
Day two or three, depending on how you count ‘em, of my 3rd quest to South by Southwest in Austin Texas… And I gotta say, it’s shaping up just fine man. You know, I’m keeping up a solid effort and fully professional about spreading the love of my job, and that’s going really well. Also very important to maximize the party and good times, and that, too, is progressing suitably well.
Despite shaking off some nasty flu and general haggardness from excess travel and in general just haven’t taking very good care of myself, and then coupled with some disorganization and long stories about things that didn’t get printed and didn’t get delivered and stuff, yeah it’s rolling along just fine.
Recap: Last night down at the Gingerman, one of my favourite beer drinking places (which has moved around the corner to a location that might even be finer than its previous, though I’m really surprised that’s even possible because that old location was just fine).
Yesterday I rallied up after my slumber and scarfed down some nasty coffee and went down to the Hideout Coffee Shop. I met up with this nice Canadian lady that I met every time that I’m down here and as soon as I walked in the door she said, “You’re here from Canada” and I’m like, “Yes I am!”
It was packed and hectic. Just like last year, I was late for these migas breakfast burritos laden with a bunch of leftover odds n ends shit: egg, cornflakes, etc. Tasty. I really needed a good proper breakfast! Where should I go? She told me some directions to this place and I thought I was going off track but then it all came together and I got some wicked blueberry pancakes at the Counter Cafe with poached eggs just the way i like em.
If you’re not careful you end up living on appetizers, which is why today I’m on a quest for a proper breakfast, so again, I am in some dire need of sustenance – need to nourish the body to nourish the soul. At the Hideout I got a big giant smoothie. It was quite charming.
Then, at the convention centre, I stood in line and got my badge! You gotta have a badge. If you don’t have a lanyard, man, you don’t belong.
Then I rallied with some buddies and we sat on the lawn drinking Sobe green tea. I had some Japanese envelopes from my papery stash — back from 1983! I was fortunate to be able to augment my stash with some more packets from a Japanese dollar store in Tinseltown. So I sat with some buddies (John and Jason) and I filled these wee dossiers with stickers, tattoos, pins and sealed my card in. It was like a bundle of diplomatic goodness. Good time doing arts and crafts in the sunshine.
Then I found a little table to setup. I was curious about a press release I had put out so checked on that while thinking about issues about privacy, elitism, notions about early adoption, etc.
Then I headed off to Mellow Johnnies — it’s a bike shop, a complete beauty. It wasn’t super fancy but it felt really comfortable. They had smoothies and maps for local riding routes. I could see how you might like living here with all the distances to ride. There’s not really mountains — not by the B.C. definition but long roads to ramble.
Anyhow, this particular meetup event at Mellow Johnny’s had to do with my professional capacity. The people/hosts knew what I was doing with day-job and knew what we were up to and we had some intelligent discourse about this particular topic.
But, my highlight was sharing these envelopes with all these people. And explaining the love and care that went into those things and they opened them up with excitement and questions. Cheap and Cheerful marketing success.
Transforming your customers into your company’s marketing team sounds crazy but just might work, especially when those customers are eager college students.
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.
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.
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.