Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Special Feature on Social Media

I'm happy to share an article I co-wrote with
Simon Hendery, NZ's top business writer -
(click to view/ download PDF)
has been published in AdMedia, May 2010 and is... on shelves now!








The double-whammy features an analysis of SM & its role in business; followed by first-person views & reviews from NZ's SM-savvy Social-ati.
I enjoyed putting the piece together. Hope you enjoy reading it as much.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Talking Social Media: with Tony Gardner #1

As a happy consequence of the article
in AdMedia, May 2010...

New Online Chat Show on the Mr. Madness Channel

...I got a call from David Gapes, Editor, AdMedia & Fastline to kick off Talking Social Media - an Online Chat Show. My dream brief: shoot members of NZ's Advertising & MarComms industry as they talk SM.

Tony Gardner
General Manager, Saatchi & Saatchi | DGS

As Part #1 of TSM, I recently caught up with Tony and Q&A'ed him. Here are the best bits from our session, cut up into easy-to-swallow capsules:

Q - How has SM changed your personal and professional life?

Q - Clearly then, Social Media is here to stay...

Q - At SMBizForumNZ, you said SM leads to humanisation of technology...

Q - So then, what is Social Media?

Q - Sharing is key to Social Media...

Q - Is SM more suited to certain industries or demographics?

Q - SM is different feeds for different folks. Any NZ success stories that...

Q - Where to from here for SM? What does the road ahead look like?

Q - Any words of advice to corporates using or planning on SM...

Q - Whose role is it to look after SM? Should companies just do it in-house

Q - SM tools are free to use. Why should companies pay their ad agency...

Q - Social Media v/s Traditional media. What's the key difference?

Q - What role do Transparency & Honesty play in Social Media?

Q - What are your views on SM in business? Do you recommend SM strategies to your clients?

Q - What governs the proportion of SM that should go into the communication strategy?

Q - All media enables us to share information..

Q - What is Saatchi & Saatchi | DGS' approach to Social Media?

Answers to the above questions on my YouTube Channel.

Mr. Social would like to extend a special thanks to Matthew Marsh, IT Ninja, Saatchi & Saatchi for creating the awesome Talking Social Media title ident (see above) and for chopping up the video interview with amazing speed, precision and discipline - like only a true-blue Ninja can!

If you would like to be on "Talking Social Media" or know someone who should, email or with "Please shoot me while I TSM" as the subject line.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Social Media Junction - getting world-class in NZ

Social Media Junction (#SMJ) – NZ’s biggest Social Media Marketing event to date - went off like clockwork on 17 - 18 May, 2010.

The two-day event held at SkyCity Convention Centre, Auckland, @SMJunction attracted a large turnout of senior, mid-level and junior executives from various industries, from Auckland as well as Wellington.

Social Media Junction featured a star-studded Marketing Conference (Day 1 Programme) and a ‘Masterclass’ Workshop (Day 2 Programme) - both covering significant trends & topics that are all the buzz in the SM & digital space right now.

A veritable meeting of the best minds in the business, the SMJ conference brought together a group of leading international speakers from USA, Canada, Australia:

L-R: Josie Campbell, Belinda Nash and Julien Smith

Julien Smith, Canada
Co-Author (with Chris Brogan) of New York Times bestseller ‘Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation and Earn Trust’

L-R: Mr. Social, Andy Beal

Andy Beal, USA
Founder of; Author of ‘Radically Transparent’

Mike Hickinbotham
Senior Adviser Social Media, Telstra, Australia

L-R: Aisha Hillary, Mr. Social
Aisha Hillary
Senior Marketing & New Media Specialist, SBS – Special Broadcasting Service, Australia

Andrew Cordwell
MySpace, Fox Interactive Media, Australia

...and some of NZ’s best known SM practitioners:

Grant Osborne, Director, First Rate

Tom Bates, Social Media & Viral Marketing, Air New Zealand

L-R: Jennifer Duval-Smith, Bullet PR; Greer McDonald,

L-R: Mauricio Freitas, Founder,; Justin Flitter, FlitterMedia

Andrew Ferguson, MD,

Paul Brislen, Vodafone Duncan Blair, Orcon Russell Brown, Media7
Bryony Hilless, 2 Degrees Alistair Helm, 
Bernard Hickey

Simon Young, Director, #sy

The conference included 3 interactive panel discussions chaired by Justin Flitter, Vincent Heeringa and Simon Young. The “real-time” Q&A sessions led to some interesting anecdotes as well as some lighter moments.

Day 2 was a full-on Social Media Masterclass which was a day-long Online Reputation Management Workshop conducted by Andy Beal. He shed light on valuable tools, tips & tricks and SM and ORM best practices. A well-attended class, Andy managed to keep it light yet loaded, cracking a few good jokes as the day went along - maybe that's why they call him the Indiana Jones of Reputation Management!

L-R: Mr. Social with Andy Beal

Andy Beal is founder and editor of, USA; author of ‘Radically Transparent: Monitoring and Managing Reputations Online’; Creator of - a SM Monitoring Tool; Internet Marketing Consultant to leading companies in USA.

Topics Andy covered during his in-depth Workshop:

• The Art of generating buzz around your brand

• Fight a reputation attack

• Achieve 5 stars at customer review sites

• Pimp your blog for brand control

• Own the first ten links in Google

• Find your customers through social networking

• Build a reputation monitoring safety net
ending with a 6-Step Action Plan for a successful online reputation management campaign.

L-R: Belinda Nash, Paul Matthews, Jennifer D-S, Bryony Hilless, Alex Erasmus

L-R: Nicholas O'Flaherty, Bullet PR; Andrew Cordwell, MySpace

Nicholas O’Flaherty, Managing Director, Bullet PR was the MC at SMJ.


All in all, a top-notch event, Social Media Junction was organised by the team at Bullet PR - hats off to Jennifer, Nicholas, Paul, Alex and Kevin.

I attended SMJ all thanks to the good folks at Bullet PR and the generosity of David Gapes, Editor, AdMedia & Fastline. A big thanks to all involved. As Nicholas said, SMJ promises to return next year. Till then... bon soir!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Social Media Club Auckland 4 - awesome evening

The 4th session of Social Media Club Auckland (#SMCakl) on Tuesday 11 May, was an awesome evening. Great speaker line-up + Juicy topic + Ideal venue + Large turnout + Cool folks + Chilled beer = SUCCESS!

L-R: Rebecca Smith, David Farrier, Vaughn Davis

"Brand Voice: balancing personal and corporate tone in Social Media" was the topic for the evening. The speakers shared their views in an informal atmosphere at the Saatchi & Saatchi atrium, where over a 100 people (largest so far) met to imbibe learnings over a chilled Monteith's.

Rebecca Smith, MarComms Manager, Telecom
She spoke of the need to find the right people for social media and said "corporates need to be naturally honest, naturally online and naturally knowledgeable". Even individuals must have a digital content strategy and listening and observing were important aspects of social media."

David Farrier, TV3
As expected, David was hilarious. He came in armed with a mindmap and in his own inimitable "3 Nuuus" style, spoke on exotic topics ranging from a Human Centipede to The Cryptid Factor to Justin Bieber. A huge fan of online forums, SM allows him "to stay close to his viewers and receive instant feedback which he finds invaluable".

Before wardrobe change...

...and after!

Vaughn Davis, Creative Director, Y&R
Vaughn's speech included a wardrobe change where he quickly donned a Hurricanes t-shirt and did a live impersonation of Ma'a Nonu's F-Bomb laden outburst on live radio! Vaughn also drew up an original analogy: If advertising is a brand wall, social media is the window. Go to Vaughn's posterous for more.

For more on the evening, check out Alex Erasmus' posterous blog post. Not only is Alex the co-founder of SMCakl, he's also a fine (precise & concise) writer. Here are the pics from the evening. You in there?

L-R: Alex, Tara, Rebecca, Hayden, Vaughn, Chris

L-R: Jamie, David, Duncan (could they be long-lost bros?)

Thanks to Chris Macdonald for the venue & Monteith's beer. (ps - He hates noise:)

Monday, May 10, 2010

I'm no SM Guru... just a Light Bulb


OK... so you've heard. Social Media is here, here to stay and it's about time to get your apples on that cart. And it's not just hearsay. Research data supports the contention. Bite this:

Corporate Australia has taken to Social Media in a big way in 2010. So much so, most big companies plan to spend a fifth (20%) of their marketing budget on it. Here's a recent study with eye-opening facts and ground-breaking figures to go with it. (READ IT HERE.)

But with so much noise about it lately, and all these Social Media Gurus (u talking to me?) and self-appointed Geeks floating around, what exactly goes into Social Media and what do you call those lucky gonzos who do it for a living and... call it work!

SM Strategist/ Planner - charts out the action plan, allocates resources, chalks up the numbers and envisages how they'll add up. They plot the points A & B, figure out the route to get there, organize the vehicles (SM tools) required, prepare for pitstops (they're bound to be a few on the way). Safe to call them the company's Social Media GPSes, they are the go-to guys when your CEO hollers gentle queries like: Will it monetize? What's the ROI? Why bother? (Caution - Never pressure planners for answers. They'll resign or punch you in the face. Or probably... both!)

SM Content Creator (Moderator/ Blogger) - these are the guys who make SM buzz. The worker bees who get down & dirty, toolkit in tow. They create the SM infrastructure (user-end, not back-end) and the content to populate the billions of pages, websites, blogs and communities on the World Wide Web - and it could be you! Moderation or filtering is the hard work that goes behind the scenes (hours of  exploring, experimenting) before all the content comes together and looks kosher.

SM Advocate / Evangelist - somewhere between the HR and PR departments of an organisation lie a bunch of people who advocate Social Media. They're web-savvy, openly embrace new media and usually know their apps from their elbows. Not a full-time job in itself, SM evangelism is more a part of the movement to usher in the winds of socio-change esp. in fuddy-duddy offices who just don't see the point of this whole SM thing.

SM Manager/ Director/ Driver - The thinkers of the SM initiatives, more often than not, they are also the hands-on doers, but helpers are handy depending on volume of output and immediacy of response. In fact, to maintain synergy and unified tone of social voice, it's always better if the head that thinks it also executes and directs it. (Hey CEO... here's where empowerment comes in.) Since SM calls for consistent work over long time periods, it would be ideal to deploy a cross-functional team to drive the company's SM initiatives, and to funnel (and filter) the entire organization's social output via them.

SM Consultant/ Expert/ Guru/ Specialist - Nowadays, anyone with a Facebook & Twitter profile claims to be a Social Media Guru (u talking to me?). Sure they are a bit of all of the above, but what separates Guru-bees from the wannabes is experience. The experts know enough about SM (or more than most in the room) to talk about it off a stage, off the cuff (eg. GaryVee). Most likely, they are early adopters who've hung in long (and hustled hard) enough to create their own SM success story. Now when they talk, you listen... and you should because it's not easy! Besides being good speakers, SM Gurus are great at being themselves. After all, SM is only an extension of who you are.

Then of course, there are SM executives and exponents at various levels, but the title everyone's donning is 'Social Media Guru'. For the record, Guru comes from a Sanskrit word where 'Gu' means darkness and 'Ru' means to remove. So a Guru is one who dispels darkness. Just like a human light bulb (u talking to me?)