Thoughts on marketing, social media, and web strategy

Mike Templeton is an experienced marketer with a history in building community on the web.

For Mike's reactions to what others are writing about social media, visit Mike Memos.

To get up-to-the-minute resources on marketing and social media, follow @miketempleton on Twitter.

Daily Musings


Buying Black Friday Buzz on Twitter

While catching up on tweets after a hefty Thanksgiving meal, I noticed something unusual about the day’s trending topics. What wasn’t unusual was that a promoted topic (#ShackFriday) sat proudly atop the trending list – a common occurrence since Twitter launched the feature. The thing that surprised me was the fact that another brand was also trending (Wal-Mart), and it had happened organically.

Though retailers have caught my attention with promotions earlier and earlier each year, this year is the first I’ve paid attention to brand buzz on Twitter. Consumers are bombarded with ads on TV and can get the scoop on the best deals from Black Friday bloggers, but I hadn’t thought about the impact that Twitter could have on sale-savvy shoppers.

RadioShack laid the right track, but are consumers on board?

RadioShack has been moving at full-steam this season, rolling out a comprehensive multi-channel strategy that includes TV, print, foursquare (Innovative? Perhaps.), and Twitter. For Twitter, they’ve paid to promote #ShackFriday, which seems to be garnering mixed responses when you dig into the hashtag search results. Some people are seeing the connection to RadioShack, while others have absolutely no idea why the topic is trending. On the other side of the equation, Walmart has produced a naturally occurring trend on Twitter because LOTS of people are actually talking about their Black Friday deals.

Twitter isn’t a typical broadcast platform

When marketers look at Twitter’s Promoted Trends and Promoted Accounts, I think they’re seeing a traditional push option: taking well-crafted creative and pushing it out to their audience. However, what they don’t realize is that people don’t like that type of advertising. It’s the epitome of why consumers have shifted attention to social media. It seems RadioShack has yet to figure that out, but Walmart isn’t any closer either – they just have better deals.

Have you noticed strange Promoted Trends? Do you pay attention to online conversations that have been sponsored?

Stop Planning and Start Doing

I’m a planner. Not in any sort of official capacity (though I do write lots of plans at work), but more-so in my personality and work ethic. From my perspective, it comes from having a marketing background.

Everything I ever learned about marketing in school revolved around documentation and planning. Before you engage in research, you need to have a plan. Before you launch a campaign, you need to have a plan. What I’ve found after operating out in the world is that sometimes the best plan is action itself.

We are what we habitually do

Earlier today I was reading a blog post from Adam Carroll discussing the fact that we are what we habitually do. The line is actually a quote from Aristotle, saying “We are what we habitually do. Excellence then is a habit not an act.” While we can plan to be a better person, a better salesman, or a more-engaged employee, it’s what we actually do that determines our true course.

I’ve been planning to do more blogging since I started this blog a few years ago; I’ve even made it part of a New Year’s resolution. But the reality is that even with all the planning in the world, those plans aren’t going to publish new posts on my blog.

Take action, start doing

As of today, I’m going to start blogging more. I won’t set a limit or a goal or an objective (much to my own dismay), but rather will just focus on doing. Period.

What things have you been putting off because you don’t have the right plan in place? What could you start doing now?

Beginning a New Adventure

For those of you that follow me on Twitter, you probably saw one of my tweets this morning announcing that I was inbetween jobs. Several people followed up right away, looking for the details. I can’t share everything yet, but I will spell out what I can for now.

What I’ve been up to as a Director of Social Media

Iowa Hospital AssociationFrom March until September of this year I worked as the Director of Social Media and Web Strategies for the Iowa Hospital Association.

I was brought on board to lead developments in social media for the organization, including educating their staff on effective uses and putting into practice a strategy for IHA.

My role built upon the training and groundwork laid out by Nathan Wright and Hillary Brown of Lava Row. Our goals were to strengthen relationships with association members, highlight the successes of Iowa hospitals and promote health care careers in the State of Iowa.

As we worked towards accomplishing these goals, IHA put several initiatives into motion:

IHA saw lots of positive response from individuals and hospital leaders, with many people engaging in these mediums for the first time. Overall it was a great experience for me and it gave me the chance to work in an industry I had previously known nothing about. I also had my first experience working on a Macbook Pro. :)

UPDATE: For some perspective, here’s my post from when I started the job at the Iowa Hospital Association.

Where my journey is taking me next

Though I can’t reveal too many details surrounding my new role, I can say that it will be centered in the social media space and that I’ll be working with several other bright minds in the area. As people starting rolling into the office and other pieces come together I will share more. Hopefully I will have additional information in the coming weeks.

Don't Let Microblogging Kill Macroblogging

If you’re here reading this post I’ll be very surprised, as this is the first new entry since mid-December. The reason I’m posting today is because I got a prod from a friend of mine on Twitter encouraging me not to make January 2009 the first month without a post in the 10 months that I’ve been doing this. So, here I am.

A Resolution

As the new year rolled in 30 days ago, I started a list of goals for 2009. One of those goals was to post more often on my blog, as I’ve become a bit sidetracked lately with all of the other projects and activities going on. Aside from writing ten articles per month for Generation Iowa over the past six months and blogging at least twice a week for Microblink, Twitter has been the main cause for my lack of macroblogging.

140 Characters is Easier than 140 Words

In a medium where a post must be 140 characters or less, it’s very easy to share with my audience what I am doing or what I am reading. It’s essentially just a sentence or two and it flows easily due to the applications I use to access Twitter. I can tweet from my iPhone, on the web, from my computer’s desktop or via SMS. To sit down and write a blog post, I’ve either got to be at my laptop or desktop computer, or feel like giving my thumbs a real workout.

Longer Posts Allow for Longer Interactions

Though it’s easier to snap out tiny bits of information, I feel it’s also good practice to engage in longer blog posts from time to time, as it keeps my writing skills honed and allows for deeper, more thoughtful and more complete interaction with an audience. Too many times I’ve seen good discussion topics go to waste because they are limited to a flurry of 140-character tweets back and forth between individuals. If they’d taken that conversation into a larger format, like a blog, the participation and capability for a thoughtful interaction to take place climb immensely.

Also, based on how quickly discussion topics rise and fall in a 140-character world, taking things back to a blog give people a chance to read, digest and form valuable responses.

My Promise to You: the Reader and the Audience

Going forward in 2009, I intend to post more of my thoughts on this blog. My goal is to have at least one new post per week. And if I haven’t lost your attention yet (I passed 140 characters some time ago), please subscribe to my RSS feed and check in from time to time. I love engaging with readers and getting feedback on the thoughts I throw out into this world.

Late Nights Still Win

And I thought my days of late nights and droopy eyelids were over once I graduated from college. Not so, says I. As a 22 year old entrepreneur with a full time job, a wife, a garage to build, a side business to run and an automotive community to manage, it’s sometimes difficult to remember to eat.

As the days seem to fly by, I try to find the best ways to help manage my time and track what I’ve been working on. Often times the good old pen and paper win out, but I also use a few other tools.

During the day, at my regular job, I use Microsoft Outlook’s Calendar feature to manage my meetings and use flags and folders to organize my tasks via the inbox. This works well because it ties in to the rest of the company and allows others to see what I’m busy with.

Over my lunch hour and at breaks in between projects I try to update my Google Calendar with personal and side business events. This includes any client meetings I may have and trips back home to spend time with the family. Google Calendar (GCal) is part of my larger Google Apps For Your Domain (GAFYD) setup and allows for complete integration with my other Google Apps. GCal is also great for scheduling meetings or plans with people outside your network. Just punch in the recipient’s email and away goes your invitation. They can accept the invite and add it to their own Google Calendar, or accept it in Microsoft Outlook. This flexibility in Google’s invite system is ingenious IMO.

Once I get home from the day job, its time to start thinking about Dosovo, the marketing and web strategy LLC I run on the side. To track my work on client projects I use Zoho Projects. Projects is a project management tool from Zoho, an office productivity suite from AdventNet Inc. The program is completely web-based and allows me to access it via a custom URL, making it easy to find wherever I am. Projects not only tracks the completion of tasks and milestones, but also serves as a timesheet where you can track billable and non-billable hours for project work. This is a great way for me to manage my time spent on each client and bill accordingly.

When I finally finish my client projects, then it’s time to start thinking about blogging and RSS feeds. Sadly MikeThoughts.com ends up near the bottom of my to-do list, but I do love blogging and using this outlet to voice what I’m thinking.

And now that I’ve shared how my late nights come about and what I use to make the most of them, maybe you’d care to share what you use to stay organized and on top of things?

Slight URL Malfunction

Not really, but if you’re reading this post that means you must have found the blog at its new URL, http://mikethoughts.com.

Earlier this afternoon I was migrating some RSS feeds from my Bloglines account into Google Reader and I got to thinking about the name of my blog. Most of the (good) blogs out there have catchy names and URLs, but I’d never come up with anything for my own. I went with the easy http://miketempleton.info and just had “Mike Templeton’s Blog” listed as the title. Sure it works, but as a marketer and creative thinker, I thought my blog deserved better than that.

Deciding to think of something creative is much easier than actually coming up with something creative though. As one of probably millions of Mike’s in the world, most of the great domain names have already been scooped up. Not to be discouraged, I dove deep into thought and started punching ideas into my GoDaddy search bar. One idea after another, they were all taken.

Next I started examining what my blog was about. It is a personal blog, but I try to keep it on somewhat informative and useful topics. Most of my entries are things I am thinking about during the day or while driving to work, but the blog allows me to type them out and share with others. These entries were my thoughts spilled out on the keyboard. They were “Mike Thoughts.” And so my new domain and blog name were chosen.

I’ve still got the http://miketempleton.info domain and will probably turn it into an information lookup about myself (contact details, account names, services I participate in, etc.).

I ended up having to rework my permalink structure and reset the Google Analytics, but luckily my blog had only been running for a few months, so the damage will be minimal. I ended up purchasing the domain name, adjusting my nameservers, moving WordPress and setting up the domain map all in about 30 minutes. GoDaddy is very quick during normal business hours and I’ve got to thank them for that.

Please adjust your bookmarks, blogrolls and RSS feeds and I promise I’ll stay on track moving forward. :)

Obligatory First Post

This is the default post that WordPress throws up when you start a new blog, and instead of deleting it, I’m just going to rename it and leave it be.

The plan behind this blog is to serve as my outlet. I’ll talk about the projects I am working on, things I am interested in, #dmtweetup and other things happening in my life.

I intend to get serious about adding new posts fairly frequently and not letting this die off as I have with other things. Bear with me for a bit and stick around for awhile. I hope you’ll be intrigued. ;)