Friday, November 13, 2009

Event Profs Can Use an Easy Win

Oh my beloved #eventprofs ... it's been a trying, yet remarkable year as we've seen the conference world literally turned upside down and as we wind down 2009 and look forward to what is sure to be a wild 2010, the verdict is certainly still out on best practices when it comes to integrating social media as part of the fabric of your event.

You know you need to on some level simply because the best events out there are doing it, and doing it, and ... dare I say, doing it well (props to LL) ... but you battle internal bandwidth issues and you've got a ton of work on your plate already, so diving into the newer world of Event Apps. powered by Social Media starts out as a priority, but slowly fades to the background as you get closer to standing up the tents and putting on your 3 to 4 day event. Before this happens to you ... consider the VERY easy win that is CrowdCampaign.

This uber easy to wield App. allows you to create and launch branded contests that get your attendees and others who might be interested in your show participating with your event "brand" and by doing so, proliferating your content for you.

Check out how Web 2.0 is using this tool to Crowdsource best questions for their keynote speaker here: With almost 5,000 page views, 15 proposals and scores of votes, this is participation!

Then there is Tech Cocktail and the ingenuitve way they are getting sponsors excited and participating with their upcoming December event. Kudos to their team for this stellar idea that in just 2 days garnered over 2,700 page views and has generated a passionate battle for this free sponsorship spot! Check out the action and these great startups here:

Two great ways to get your attendees, perspective attendees, sponsors and possible sponsors for your event picking up YOUR social megaphone and sharing your content with their connections.

Call me to discuss how you can apply this tool to your event, but I encourage you to dive in boldly and use this tool to generate buzz, best ideas, proposals, questions for your keynotes, suggestions, and more. The top #eventprofs on Twitter continuously talk about handing some aspects over to your attendees and we couldn't agree more ... BUT, if you are going to hand over part of the reigns ... don't you at least want the horse adorned in your branding and with the ability to track all the pertinent metrics relevant to your world?

You have an event in late '09 or '10 ... you need a way to get true participation, conversation, interaction, and buzz going ... CrowdCampaign is the tool.

It starts at free and goes up to very affordable as most events will find they can get everything they want, the branding, the analytics, the size contest they need for $395. Plus, the events world is where we were born of ... If you're an event (organizer) or a non-profit, email me and I'll send you a discount code for 20% off your first CrowdCampaign.

This tool makes it easy ... and I think EVERY event organizer out there can use a little bit of easy after the last 12 months our industry just went through.

Good Luck!

the Social Collective

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Celebrate our CrowdCampaign Launch with a FREE CrowdCampaign!

Keeping this as simple as we can ... We go "live" Monday with our new Twitter Crowdsourcing App. CrowdCampaign! We come from the Events and Conferences world, but any brand, event, or community manager could and should be using this tool!

We are giving away 9 FREE "Enterprise" CrowdCampaigns ... and this is how you can claim yours.

Visit and launch your own contest by Monday. By doing so, you will receive from the Social Collective (the company behind the App.) a coupon code for 1 FREE CrowdCampaign that you can redeem any time over the next 12 months. This is an "Enterprisey" level CrowdCampaign for FREE that will cost just under $1,000 come Monday, so claim your free campaign!

Take advantage of this offer and get your CrowdCampaign going today ... this App. is a killer, learn it, live it, love it ...

CrowdCampaign ... Create a Contest. You Win.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What Makes a GREAT On-Line Contest?

Contests, Competitions, and On-Line Campaigns are the rage ... period. Some soar because they are unique and buzzworthy, some make the grade simply because the brand behind the contest is "too big to fail", no matter how lame the "contest" actually is, and the rest pretty much pitter out, don't make enough noise, and die a lonely death.

So, let's quickly examine: What Makes a GREAT Contest?

To me, it boils down to 3 Key factors ...

1) Is the contest SUPER easy for users to participate in? Are they entering a contest simply by logging on to Twitter or Facebook OR are you making them create a new log in and password for some newly existing site? Make it easy breezy guys and gals ... and use tools that leverage where the crowds are already gathered.

2) Does YOUR contest ask a human to act like a human OR act like a robot? This is HUGE! Are you actually asking for participation from your crowd, or just asking them to re-tweet something for you? Here is a GREAT example: Singer Songwriter Jack Johnson recently ran this campaign.

Simple, clean, and to their credit it worked well enough. It asked people to simply Re-Tweet their message and by doing so, earn a free MP3 for his new upcoming single. OK, so Mashable picked this up so obviously it worked right? Wrong, Mashable picked this up BECAUSE his personal brand (Jack Johnson's) is "Too Big to Fail" regardless of the actual SM campaign, HE is buzzworthy, that is NOT the case for 99% of the brands out there.

Wouldn't a campaign that REALLY engaged Jack Johnson fans on meaningful levels worked far better? Of course it would have. Instead of asking people to RT a message, brands should be engaging their followers. In this example, they could have posed the question: "What is YOUR favorite Jack Johnson song of all time and tell us why?" ... or even MORE granular ... "What is YOUR favorite Jack Johnson lyric of all time and what does it mean to YOU?" ... Now, you've got meaning, a real reason for a fan to participate alongside a brand, bake in a voting aspect and you've got SM gold . And if you're using the right SM tools crafted for contests, as these fans generate content, it is being spread for them by the apps. you are leveraging. And instead of just an MP3, they should have been giving ALL an MP3 PLUS a few select winners something TRULY special. A signed guitar, backstage passes to an upcoming concert ... something !!! But, they didn't have to, because he's Jack Johnson, but YOU are not ... So that leads us nicely into factor #3 ...

3) Make the prize or "social carrot" TRULY meaningful to your exact target demographic. If you can make it something money can not buy, even better!!! I've seen the events world now reward winners of contests an hour lunch with the event's keynote! That's meaningful to people ... that is a true reward that gets the masses in and keeps them talking about your contest and content. To date THE best "social carrot" I have seen was offered up from video game maker @FreeVerse
revolving around the release of their new iPhone game, Warp Gate. You can read the entire story here, but they ran a Twitter competition where the "social carrot" was that the winner got a planet in their game, named after them! How unique, how curious and targeted a reward! Kudos!!! ... This is a technique other brands should adopt straight away. If you're giving something away, make it something money can not buy, and if money can buy it, make it specifically targeted, a REAL reward your core demographic will get excited about. If they're excited about it, they will share it ... period.

Of course I offer all this up because I hope you are engaging in some SM contests for your brand (whichever vertical you are in) ... and if you are not, well then this was a small guideline and I hope it nudges you to get going. Brands that engage their fans on meaningful levels win ... and properly run contests should be part of your strategy of engagement.

As most of you know, my company has an App. built specifically for online SM campaigns and contests. We call it CrowdCampaign and it's a killer. Check it out here, and call or email me with any questions you may have on how to get going.


Monday, November 9, 2009

The Unintended Consequence of Crowdsourcing

Crowdsourcing began as a way to solve huge challenges, such as mapping the human genome. The theory behind Crowdsourcing is that of course a giant pool of talented individuals, when properly motivated and measured, can far out produce any company's internal team. The internal team simply doesn't have the bandwidth and suffers from too many Single Points of Failure whereas a precisely managed crowd always has someone of talent to do the required work. The net results of companies leveraging large communities (that get it right) are lowered costs, higher quality, and shorter time to market for their product or service.

A shining example of exactly that is
TopCoder. With a robust community of over 200,000 software developers and graphics gurus, TopCoder hosts global software competitions for their many enterprise clients and delivers back amazing product, cheaper, and in a shorter time frame. That's what Crowdsourcing was built for right?

Well, things have changed. Now, Crowdsourcing is having a second coming, a 2.0 of itself if you will, and this time it is ALL about viral and social proliferation. Today's example highlights a few Brits with a mission and a community behind them. Watch the incredible YouTube story and video here: ChartJackers - I've Got Nothing

The point of all this is that Crowdsourcing is evolving before our very eyes, and the new vertical, the new opportunity for all to explore is the fine balance between the output of the crowd, the quality of the production from the crowd that is, AND the social media proliferation a Crowdsourced project can innately provide. Companies/Brands that can strike this balance and produce gems via the crowd (whatever they are producing) WHILE getting the average community member to turn into a full on advocate of the project will have gigantic success.

It's happening in the most unlikely of places. ChumBonus, is a Crowdsourced recruitment engine and quite a disruptive model that is looking to prove that YOU and all of your professional and personal connections can not only supplant, but easily surpass the archaic ways companies recruit and search for talent.

Employers pay nothing in their system to list their career opportunities (Unlike Monster or CareerBuilder), meaning ChumBonus is a complete meritocracy. Employers pay upon a successful hire and pay far, far less than leveraging traditional recruitment means.

The other end of their engine is YOU and all of your connections. You browse the job openings and refer individuals you feel are qualified. If your candidate lands the job, YOU get paid a "Chum Bonus" and it's not a small bit of money (typically around $1,000 to $1,500). Toss in the fact as YOU receive your "Chum Bonus" (for a successful hire) you are asked then and there what % of your "bonus" you would care to donate to a litany of amazingly powerful charities. Yup, they seamlessly baked in social good too.

As new jobs hit their engine, YOU refer the talented folks you know or at least proliferate the job opening by sharing it with your social graph. ChumBonus is banking that this tactful blend of Crowdsourcing output and Crowdsourcing social proliferation will lead to an amazingly efficient and engaging recruitment engine where the crowd not only does the dishes, but they hand out the flyers to get you in the joint too.

Welcome to Crowdsourcing 2.0 ... Monster and CareerBuilder, you have been warned.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Crowdsourcing For Your Event - There's an App. for That

Crowdsourcing, it's pretty much everywhere and if you don't know about it yet, and how it can be applied to your world, I encourage you to learn. Jeff Howe, coined the term, "Crowdsourcing", and does a nice job explaining this technique and various applications here: - The unintended consequence of Crowdsourcing is the unreal social media proliferation it can create when a buzz-worthy competition is launched.

So let's talk about your world, your event, and your brand. How can YOU apply Crowdsourcing at your next event? Luckily, there's an App. for that, and it's called CrowdCampaign. For the sake of transparency/disclosure, my company (the Social Collective) created this App. I "assisted" our lead dev. in creating and iterating through this creation, and yes, it is stellar, uber easy to use, incredibly effective, and refreshingly inexpensive. ENOUGH SELF PROMO #Agreed

Back to YOU, your event and how you should be implementing Crowdsourcing at your next conference or gathering. We all know attendees and sponsors love to participate and be part of the process, so let them do exactly that, just make sure you are doing it in the social arena where their participation translates into proliferation. Here are some ideas for your next event:

  • Crowdsource the best questions your attendees want the keynote(s) to answer ~ furthermore, if your keynote has an impressive social graph to reach out to, talk to him/her during the courting process and let them know your intentions and that their social support of this initiative is part of the gig. This is GREAT for their personal brand too, so get them on board and leverage their massive audience to get new eyes to your content, your contest, your event.
  • Crowdsource for proposals and topic suggestions - Ask the crowd what is relevant to their world and what they want to learn about at your event. Take it a step further and offer up some speaking slots and panel positions for best ideas. #SXSW is KING in this arena, their panel picker is an annual event unto itself at this point.
  • Ask the crowd who they are most excited to see live and why? If you've got an array of talented speakers, find out who your attendees are pumped to hear and get them sharing this excitement with their peers. If you run an expo, find out what new tech., or gadget, or service, or product the crowd is most excited to learn about. Just ask them, they will voice their opinion.
  • Ask the crowd "What's the #1 Take Away or Best Idea learned and how they plan on implementing it?" Your attendees sharing stories on how they intend to apply what they learned at YOUR event, that is SM gold.
  • Post-Event, use Crowdsourcing to extend the life of your event and ask the crowd "Who Wow'd YOU at XYZ '09 and Why?" OR "What's the one thing YOU would love to see XYZ Event incorporate for our 2010 Event and Why?" Either is a huge win and will naturally extend the life of your physical event.
Now you just need the tool to make this super easy. And that tool is CrowdCampaign. Our App. allows you to stand up branded, unique competitions that gets your attendees and sponsors promoting for you and alongside you. We leverage Twitter wisely and the results are contests that elicit REAL participation and buzz.

Call or Ping me to sched. a demo and learn more about CrowdCampaign. Your event needs more participation. This is the way to do it simply, inexpensively, and in a branded package that gets eyes and ears on YOUR event.

the Social Collective

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

What I learned from my 2 year old daughter today

Truth be told, Emily isn't two quite yet ... she's about 40 days shy of that glorious age. Often, even as I type, I've got at LEAST 7 various windows open each with multiple tabs and even a few with a blinking cursor in the URL because, well, I meant to go somewhere on the world-wide web a few minutes ago and hold on ... my Blackberry just flashed.

I have a feeling I'm not alone right now ... I've been struggling on getting THE task at hand done lately. Why? Not because the task is difficult, but because while accomplishing the task I set out to do, I have SEVERAL ideas that I think are great and worth exploring and I'm afraid I'm going to forget them, so I start a portion of the new task, open a new window, start a new Google search, send a text to a friend about this brazen new idea ... then, once I'm 1/3rd the way done with that task, I say ... what was I doing before, then literally filter through my 7 parallel windows until I go ... "Oh yeah ... " and finish what I had started 15, 25, even an hour ago.

I work from home, I love it. I went upstairs earlier to grab some water and my little daughter Emily was just hopping onto our couch as she began reaching for our fluffy bright red pillows. I knew what was coming, it was indeed the beginnings of a "Pillow Pile Party!" ... Over the next 80 seconds or so, I watched this little girl who is not quite 2 years old crawl from couch to couch, each time picking up one pillow and laying it ever so perfectly on top of the next in the pillow pile. A few times her placement was off, she would start go get the next pillow, turn around, and fix the placement so it was perfect, THEN on to the next task (in this case the next pillow). She moved remotes, she pushed an ottoman, she even handed me her cup of water so she could crawl over the ottoman to the last 2 pillows in the corner of the room. All in all, some 80 seconds later, she was done. No loose ends, she didn't have 1/3rd of the pile completed ... she was finished with that task there and then ... Next, obviously like any pre-2 year old would ... she jumped in the pile and laughed ... Naturally, like any 31 year old father would do next ... I jumped in with her ...

When I got back downstairs to my office opened up a word doc, jotted down the 10 or so things I was truly working on and proceeded to open ONE window at a time until that task was complete. Along the way, I had new ideas pop into my head, and I simply added them to this open word doc but RESISTED the temptation to begin that deed that VERY moment. I also turned my phone to silent and one by one I dominated that list, it was the most productive hour I've had this week ... so much so, I wrote a blog about it ... you can read it here.

Yours Truly,

Learning From Almost 2 Year Olds