21 Tweets for UltraLight Startups: Leveraging Social Media

Last night I went to the Boston UltraLight Startups event, “Leveraging Social Media” featuring panelists:

The panel was one of the best I’ve seen. For once, they didn’t all agree with each other.  A little controversy and open discussion really goes a long way in these types of events.

When I got home, I noticed that Jay Rogers tweeted a lot of the pitches that ULS always has entrepreneurs give before the panel discussion begins and so that inspired me to bring a summary of the event in a slightly different style….tweet length items from my notes. (Apologies for those I’m not sure who to give credit to.)

1) Jay Rogers: “Advertising is a tax for being unremarkable”  (Sounds like something straight out of Dharmesh and Brian’s Inbound Marketing book…)

2) Jay Rogers: “We have great events called, “Burgers, Cars and Welding”” (Who wouldn’t want to go to that?)

3) “70% of the Inc 500 this year use social media” (Speaks for itself, eh?)

4) “Make it Human.” (How else do you make a real connection with a customer virtually?)

5) Rick Burnes: “Inbound Marketing is Marketing with a magnet instead of a sledgehammer”

6) “Give something away so they’ll come back to your site for more….then lead them to what you want (a sale)”

7) “Your tweets aren’t that good.” (That’s why you need to use Twitter in conjunction with other social media sites)

8 ) Mike McDermott: “Not everyone (in your business) is a Social Media freak…and that’s probably a good thing; someone has to get some work done.”

9) “@TimeWarnerCares Doesn’t tweet.” (Strange way to show you care!?)

10) BL Ochman: “I blogged and tweeted about Time Warner being terrible for weeks until suddenly the President of Time Warner called me.” (not sure that’s a scalable method of customer service…)

11) Time Warner’s response to BL, “We don’t Twit.

12) “Social Media still has the same questions old media has…just a different medium”

13) “Corporations are made up of people…use their voices.” (see #4 )

14) Mike McDermott: “Take anything you’re passionate about and make it exciting.” (If Mike gets excited about invoicing with Freshbooks, then you can get people excited about your business)

15) Jay Rogers on time management with social media: “Managing social media is the water in the glass around the rocks of management, communication and other standard duties.” (i.e.- you fit it in here and there.)

16) Mike McDermott on time management: “I tweet more when I travel…I also use it when I have down time…like in the bathroom.” (Thought I’d share that moment of Too Much Information.)

17) “Facebook is now 25% of all pageviews in the US each month….more than even porn.” (Still don’t think you need to be on Facebook?)

18) “You should have Google Alerts and Backtype set up for monitoring your brand.”

19) Rick Burnes, “I had 400 feeds in my google reader. I cancelled all of them; I wasn’t reading them. I now just use my network on Twitter to find the right articles to read.”

20) Rick Burnes on the future of social media as we become further over-saturated with content: “Networks will be the new filters.” (You’ll trust them as a referral for what content matters.)

21) The next Ultralight Startup event will be in January. I highly recommend it.

Are You Embracing the Twitter-ized Society?

During one of the breaks during MIT’s Startup Bootcamp, I was talking with a friend about the presentations we had seen thus far and which we thought were the best.  As we talked more about the ones we liked, we realized that there was a common thread: tweet-ability.  The presentations we liked best had very few words on each slide…often much less than 140 characters and usually it was simply a picture. Looking back now a week later, the only slides I can vividly remember are ones that had either less than 10 words on the screen or were just a picture.  Thinking back even further to other presentations I’ve seen in the last year, I’ve realized that the only slides I can remember also fit that description.

So what does this mean?  I think it really speaks to the power of communication and Twitter’s affect on it.  It started with text messages, where suddenly you could pass information to your friends in 160 characters or less, and now with Twitter, you have 140 characters or can “Twitpic” a picture to quickly share an idea or comment.  This practice is being embraced everywhere…from HubSpot taking questions for their weekly shows and “Series C Webcast” today via Twitter, to Mass High Tech All Stars (according to tweets) being limited in their speeches to 140 characters or less.

So the question begging to be asked: Is this a bad thing?

I don’t think so. The shorter content is actually easier to remember, and it’s making everyone be more efficient and effective in their communications.  In this information-saturated world we live in, this is a logical evolution to again allow us to communicate and understand more ideas in less time.  As long as we understand when we need to add context (like blogs, books and other 140+ character communications), I think this is an important evolution in the way we communicate.

How are you embracing the Twitter-ized Society?

What do the Oakland Athletics, Hubspot, the Houston Rockets and LEAN Startups have in common?

It’s all about metrics.

Regardless of the business you’re in, you have to be measuring and analyzing everything you can.  Who are your customers? What are their habits? How are they finding out about you?  Which products are each customer type buying? How much money are you making off of each customer?  What are the causes for not converting leads to customers? To understand these questions (and deeper ones) is what creates a competitive advantage.  All of the organizations listed above use metrics to gain their advantage:

Thanks to their metrics-progressive GM, Billy Beane, the Oakland Athletics were able to compete annually in the late ’90s with the economic powerhouses of the Yankees and Red Sox, who regularly spent multiple times more money on their player payroll than the Athletics were able to.  An innovative team led by Billy more deeply analyzed both the the players and the game itself to discover new ways to compete by defying industry norms.  This competitive advantage lasted for years until finally the rest of the league started to catch on and teams like the Red Sox hired GMs who used similar deep, statistical analysis.

The old adage for marketing used to be, “half of our marketing is working…I just don’t know which half.”   Thanks to the Hubspot tools, small and medium sized business can precisely measure and optimize their inbound marketing process.   The advantages of the web are just being realized in many industries. Those that take advantage of them are seeing great results in boosting their sales.

The statistical revolution is just starting to hit the NBA, and MIT alum Daryl Morey is leading the way with the Houston Rockets.  In just 2 seasons as the team’s GM, he has built a team that has surprised the NBA with its level of success.  Just like in baseball, there’s more to be learned if you look past the basic statistics…

Finally, LEAN Startups is all about measuring your customer.  You have to communicate with, analyze and respond to your customer.  If you don’t have great metrics, you won’t succeed in creating that great product that people will pay for.

How are you measuring your business? How else could you analyze it? You could be missing your next great competitive advantage.