I have my bed bagsed in my brother’s place in Kilkenny. I look forward to seeing you at PodCamp Ireland if you are going. The excitement is mounting, not least because of the organisers’ use of social media to attract attention. I’ve been listening to their podcasts, for example, and I think that Krishna De’s interview from last week’s podcast with Michele Neylon of Blacknight Solutions has some great pointers for those planning their domain name purchases, especially if you are considering buying a second-hand domain. Also on the show, winner of Best Personal Blogger in last year’s Irish Blog Awards, Grannymar, talks about her experience of starting a blog, giving some very good pointers on the essence of blogs, saying that some days she might only write two lines or post a photo and other days she might do more. As Krishna herself says Grannymar is an inspiration not least because she tells listeners to just go for it and commenters to get involved, “they are the lifeblood of any blog”. Even though hers is a personl blog, much that she has to say holds true for anyone considering starting a business blog. You can listen here at BlogTalkRadio (no fancy players required!). PodCampIreland are making use of all types of new and social media like RSS and blogs and microblogs and of course podcasts to facilitate the varied audience they have. Most of their content is published once but received by many in “the flavour” they like and much of it is done using free or cost-effective online applications.
Speaking of considering starting a business blog, one of our members has recently taken the plunge and considering the summer we have had here in Ireland I am amazed they had the time. Aedan and Suzanne Ryan are the people behind PuddleDucks, a company who sell waterproof clothing for adults and children. Aedan commented that he was much inspired by what he heard at the IIA Congress back in May about how organisations big and small were using Social Media to engage with their customers. I particularly liked their timely post a couple of weeks ago about getting kitted out for Electric Picnic.
Another company who are getting really into social media recently are IIA members, FBD.ie. You may have read on the IIA.ie website that they have just launched their new site. Part of their marketing campaign involved Twitter, including an advance launch of their site to Twitterers. They are also actively seeking comments from bloggers and twitterers and are engaging with them. Other IIA members using Twitter are the aforemnetioned Blacknight Solutions for whom it is, as they, a no-brainer with the profile of their clients. Two other IIA members, The Irish Times and RTÉ are also on Twitter but rather than using Twitter to start a conversation, they are using it to facilitate Twitterers who want regular news updates. RTÉ are feeding each of their news types through different twitter channels using the RSS feeds from their site.
The great thing about Twitter for a company like FBD, for example, is that they can approach those who twitter and if the Twitterer wants to, they can choose to allow FBD to follow them or not and conversely they can choose to follow FBD or not. It’s all about permission so it suits both parties very well. I have to admit that when setting my own ground rules for the IIA Twitter I decided that I would not follow anyone unless they followed IIA becuase I did not wish to be intrusive. I had, as I have mentioned before, been twittering in a personal capacity for some time and many of those following me were happy to follow the IIA tweets as well. I suppose the single greatest thing about Twitter and other microblogging platforms is that they allow users who aren’t constantly in front of a computer remain connected through their mobile phone by either updating via text, receiving updates by text or if the user has mobile internet capability on their phone a third party application can often be installed to microblog from your phone. I use Twibble on my Nokia E51 and I also have a Twitterfone account (Twitterfone was developed by Irish company Maxroam) which allows me to leave voice messages that are converted into text, ready for Twitter. I also use TwitPic which allows me to send photos from my phone by SMS. So for example I was able to twitter the Liffey Swim last Saturday. Great fun no doubt but imagine you were able to show the world your latest product the minute it arrived? Or twitter pictures of new staff so people would know them? Or a picture of your exhibition stand at a conference so people would know exactly what to look for? (Let’s hear how you are using these applications in your business: leave a comment below.) The name of the game is facilitation and developers are creating all sorts of web and mobile applications for all sorts of platforms to facilitate users and business users can mix and match their social media to create a mix to suit their customer base. While I wonder about the longevity of Twitter’s tenure as a killer app, I find Twitter can be a good source of information, feedback and every now and then, great entertainment and I just hope others feel the same way about our Tweets!