Tag Archives: social media

Woody Allen was right

Woody Allen used to say 90% of success in business was just showing up.

He’s right. Now more than ever.

In the social web, showing up is 90%. The other 10% is knowing what to do when you show up.

It doesn’t mean tweeting about your latest product or service or why someone should do business with you.

It means listening and engaging.

It means reacting quickly to negativity.

It means being generous. To a fault.

It means being transparent and building trust.

It means being a Connector.

It means being there before the sale.

It means being consistent and reliable.

Showing up isn’t hard but it’s critical. It means more than it ever has.

Crocodiles and free pizza

“With every drink order, you get a free pizza.”

It sounds crazy. Or at least backwards.

But that’s the deal at Crocodile Lounge in the Gramercy / East Village neighborhood of New York City. With every single drink order, you get a ticket for a free pizza. All the time.

It’s not just a story, it’s a story that spreads. Friends tell friends. Friends bring friends.

They tweet about it.

They Yelp about it.

They blog about it. A lot. Photo credit by Smack Factor.

They check in on Foursquare.

Crocodile Lounge isn’t even active in social media themselves. They gave their fans a story that is easy to explain and fun to tell and the fans are carrying the message in person and online.

People are incredulous when you tell them about the free pizza per drink deal. “That’s impossible?! How do they make any money?”.

This only helps the story to spread, of course.

For you spreadsheet and ROI jockeys (I used to be one) here is my take on the short version of how it works (I’ll guess conservatively on the #’s):

The two guys who make pizzas all night probably make $10 / hour plus tips. Call it 10 hours per day * $10 / hour * two guys = $200.
Dough is cheap. The raw materials to make all the pizzas in a night probably costs about $200.

So, being conservative, the incremental cost of Crocodile offering free pizza is $400 per night.

A tap beer is about $5.
Cost to the bar = less than $1.

So at a profit of $4 per beer, once the free pizza gimmick brings in an incremental 100 drinks per night, it’s now making money, at a very high profit margin.

Plus all the word of mouth, social mentions and positive press.

Once you do the math, it’s no longer crazy. It’s not backwards. It’s brilliant.

[NB: They also have two skee ball lanes in back. Here’s the throwdown. I can beat any of my readers in skee ball. If I lose, I’ll buy you a pizza.]

What crazy and backwards idea can think up for your business? What story can you give your fans to tell?

Asking why

When phones were first introduced into workplaces, there was widespread resistance by management.

“Why should everyone have a phone? They’ll just call home.”

When FAX machines were introduced, there was a great deal of skepticism.

“Why do we need a FAX machine? We’ll never use it.”

When email became available for enterprise organizations, it was not quickly adopted.

“Why would anyone need their own email account? They’ll just email their friends.”

We’re seeing the same thing with social media. Some companies are embracing the new channels and opportunities and learning how to use them to improve their business.

Many are still stuck asking why.

A smarter Clay

Check out this excellent TED @State talk from the smartest Clay I know.

The most important changes Clay highlights:

“The media that is good at creating conversation is no good at creating groups. The media that is good at creating groups is no good at creating conversation.”

“The internet is the first medium in history that has native support for groups and conversations at the same time.”

“As all media gets digitized, the internet becomes the mode of carriage for all other media.”

“Members of the former audience can now be producers instead of consumers. The same equipment lets you consume and produce.”

And my favorite quote from the entire video:

“The moment we’re living through, the moment our historical generation is living through, is the largest increase in expressive capability in human history.”

The boldness of that statement is overshadowed only by its accuracy.

A Goode lesson

After seeing the success of the “Best job in the world” contest run by the tourism board of Queensland, Australia, which drew almost 35,000 applications and put the obscure state on the map, David Ready, Jr., of Murphy Goode winery decided to run a similar contest.

Like the Queensland campaign, the publicly stated objective was to find someone to act as their social media marketer, blogging and tweeting about the product and the experience.

We at the Murphy-Goode Winery got to thinking about the new age of communications and we figured it was a pretty good thing. So to get going, we’re looking for someone (maybe you) who really knows how to use Web 2.0 and Facebook and blogs and social media and YouTube and all sorts of good stuff like that — to tell the world about our wines and the place where we live: the Sonoma County Wine Country.

In exchange, we’re offering you a “Really Goode Job” — a six-month job paying $10,000 a month plus accommodations!

We want to hire a social media whiz (your title will be “Murphy-Goode Wine Country Lifestyle Correspondent”) who will report on the cool lifestyle of Sonoma County Wine Country and, of course, tell people what you’re learning about winemaking.

Full overview of the contest is here.

The real objective, of course, was the same as the Queensland contest, lots of free publicity and brand exposure, which is fine when executed correctly.

Murphy Goode had participants submit videos and then had viewers vote and rate the videos. The videos were re-posted on YouTube. Over the next few weeks, as viewers were able to vote for their favorite contestants, it drove a lot of traffic to Murphy-Goode’s website.

But the devil is in the details. This is where Murphy Goode tripped up.

The votes meant nothing. When the top vote getter by a large margin San Francisco’s Martin Sargent wasn’t chosen to be in the top 100, he tweeted about it. Then it was picked up by Digg founder Kevin Rose, who retweeted it. It made it to Digg and was seen by a few million people. Murphy Goode eventually apologized for the confusion on Facebook.


But wait, before you pour out all your bottles of Snake Eyes…

Murphy Goode didn’t break any of their stated rules. The contest never claimed the votes determined the winners but they weren’t as clear as they should have been that the votes were ‘just for fun’. Since we live, for better or worse, in an American Idol world, many assumed that the votes determined who would make the next round.

The lesson here is pretty simple. Be 100% transparent (and do it in large type). If voting is involved, make sure that the results of the voting are clearly understood and not in the fine print.

Like a few companies have and many companies will, Murphy Goode learned a lesson about the finer points of social media. That said, the huge “backlash” is overstated and misdirected.

This wasn’t a case of intentional deception, it was a case of naive omission. Overall, the net result will be positive.

(full disclosure: I enjoy shaking dice, so it’s hard to hate any producer that makes wines named “Liar’s Dice” and “Snake Eyes” that admittedly doesn’t take themselves too seriously.)

I applaud Murphy Goode for jumping in the pool, even if they splashed a little on entry.

OK Go (now do it)

A few years ago, Chicago power-pop band OK Go were rehearsing for a live show, which included videotaping a dance routine for their single, “A Million Ways”.

The clip accidentally leaked onto the web, and spread quickly, garnering millions of views and even homemade tributes to it.

So in 2006, they filmed a follow-up video, set to their clever and poppy ”Here It Goes Again.”

[you’ll need to click the link above, embedding has been disabled for this video]

The cost
– 10 days. 8 days of choreography, one day of setup and one afternoon of shooting. 14 takes. No editing.
– $2,000 to rent eight treadmills (they bought them from a used treadmill dealer and returned them a week later at a small loss)
– 10 days of buying dinner for lead singer Damian Kulash’s sister, who let the band shoot the video in her house in Orlando

The results
– Over 47 million views on YouTube, including over 1 million in the first 24 hours
– 188,481 ratings – averaging 5 stars
– dramatically increased album sales
– dramatically increased ticket sales and a bigger tour contract, (including concerts in Moscow, where their CD wasn’t even released, resulting in….
– better negotiation leverage with their record label

What do you think? Was it worth the cost?

This took a clever idea and ten days of practice. Before you buy another billboard, newspaper or magazine ad, consider what you could do cheaply that has a viral potential.

Treadmill Dancing

You’ve never had pizza

Punch Logo

I mean true, authentic Neapolitan-style pizza. You get a pass if you’ve been to Naples, or a handful of places here in the U.S. who do it right, but most people haven’t had the pleasure.

It’s not even fair to classify it as pizza. Putting it in the same phylum as Domino’s is like grouping Nobu sashimi with a McDonalds Filet-O-Fish. Worlds apart. Or as Samuel Jackson put it so eloquently in Pulp Fiction, “ain’t the same ballpark, ain’t the same league, ain’t even the same _______ sport.”


You already know this if you’ve ever tasted one. The crust is bubbly and lightly charred, chewy on the outside and thin and soft on the inside, the liquid from the world’s finest San Marzano tomatoes soaking through. The simple construction is fired in an 800 degree woodfired brick oven for somewhere between 120 and 180 seconds, timed perfectly by a trained pizzaioli, using methods set in law by the Italian government to preserve pizza for generations unborn.

Many claim authenticity, but there are only a handful of places in the United States where you can get such a pizza. Punch Pizza in St. Paul, Minnesota is such a place.

I remember when I lived in the Twin Cities from 1996 – 2004, the original Punch location in the Highland Park area of St. Paul was knows as a perfect first date spot – casual, friendly and the best pizza anywhere.

A few years ago, when passing through to shoot a film, Meryl Streep called it the “best pizza” she’s ever had. This from a good Jersey girl who has spent plenty of time in Italy.

Since they opened in 1996, Punch has had lots of buzz and a following of passionate fans. Until recently, however those fans didn’t have a way to connect and communicate. By implementing a cohesive social media campaign, Punch connected their fans and created a thriving tribe.

Punch uses Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and their own blog to truly engage and connect with their tribe.

On Facebook, fans discuss everything from where Punch is opening their next restaurant to their first time (discovering Punch) to how Punch pizza can be part of a healthy diet.


On Twitter, Punch really engages with their customers. A quick scan of their twitter stream shows way more @replies than broadcast tweets, a great measure of engagement. When they do tweet, it’s often pointing fans to…

flickr, where they post coupons for the many promotions they do: free pizza, free beer with the purchase of a pizza, free buffalo mozzarella upgrade. Traditional thinking in the restaurant industry says giving away that much free product would kill the already lean profits. Punch figured out the truth. Ideas that spread, win, and ideas spread a lot faster through interesting promotions that get people talking.

Next year, Punch is opening a store in Stadium Village, near the University of Minnesota campus. A year ahead of time, they are using promotions to give away free pizzas to students with a college ID, effectively seeding their tribe at the University and guaranteeing a huge opening and a thriving location.


[thanks to Eric – updated to reflect that Punch is really a St. Paul establishment, since the initial location is in the Highland Park area of St. Paul – the full list of Punch locations can be found here.]