Mike Hickinbotham presenting

My three takeouts from ClickZ Live Toronto 2014

Any opportunity to lift your head out of the daily grind and access new perspectives is always a welcomed opportunity.
Looking up at the CN Tower on a misty and rainy night.
Toronto is plugged in.

I had that opportunity when I attended the ClickZ Live Toronto 2014 conference. ClickZ Live is the evolution of the SES (Search Engine Strategies) conference and positions itself as an opportunity to ‘engage customers and increase ROI by distributing your online marketing efforts across paid, owned and earned media’.  Here’s a quick overview of the three concepts that resonated with me.


Read More

social media

Should nearby corporations shared #BarangarooFire images on social?

Twitter has a quadrant chart that profiles content as Planned / Unplanned and Always-on / Tentpoles.  The Oreo cookie Super Bowl blackout tweet was a great example of content that sits in the Unplanned / Tentpole quadrant.

social media
View from the 28th floor of the Westpac Building – Kent Street, Sydney.

In the Sydney CBD, fire broke out in the basement of the Barangaroo building site. Barangaroo is positioned as ‘a vision that embodies all of Sydney’s unique harbour city character – the perfect place to work hard, do business or simply relax and enjoy the view.

Right beside the building site is KPMG and Westpac Bank.  I work at Westpac on the 28th floor with a clear view of the Barangaroo building site.



Therefore I found the following tweet from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Managing Director Mark Scott particularly interesting.

I think Mr Scott’s assertion was that brands participating in social media should have a process in place to create, produce and publish content that fits in the Twitter ‘Unplanned & Tentpole’ quadrant.

This is an advanced stage of social media development because it requires an internal process that can correctly identify opportunities and quickly produce and publish content.

I disagree with Mr Scott’s assertion that Westpac and KPMG should have shared images of the fire from corporate social accounts.

Publishing images of the fire from corporate social media accounts would be inappropriate and carry no valued connection back to the brand.  Perhaps the lack of corporate social media updates of the fire was a positive test of social media prowess?

How inappropriate would it be if a pic of the fire was published with copy reminding businesses to review their insurance policy?

At the time I saw Mr Scott’s tweet, I responded with the following tweet:

Six hours earlier in the day, as I was heading into work, I tweeted the following Mashable post:

I guess the post was correct, because this happened after I tweeted images of the Barangaroo fire from my personal Twitter account:


Read More

content marketing, HMAS Vampire, 5 signals

Five signs a brand is serious about content marketing

The challenge of focusing on both quality and quantity isn't restricted to content marketing.
The challenge of focusing on both quality and quantity isn’t restricted to content marketing. (Image source: Shutterstock).

One of the biggest challenges a brand has participating in social media is maintaining an engaging and relevant presence.

It’s reasonable for a large brand to publish 3000 times a year across many social platforms (scroll down to the end of the post to see my assumptions).  Achieving both quality and quantity is a massive challenge.

For brands trying to improve quality levels it needs to effectively track the performance of its published social content.  That means analysing post types, content themes, audience engagement and the direct / indirect impact on corporate priorities (ex: brand awareness, product consideration, customer service etc).


Read More

Three reasons why you need to integrate search and social marketing

While SEO and Social Marketing are very different, they need to be the best of friends.
While SEO and Social Marketing are very different, they need to be the best of friends.

Search and social marketing need to become more interdependent as digital marketing matures.

As Chair of ADMA’s (Australian Data Marketing Association) Search and Social Expert Group, I posted ideas  on ADMA’s blog highlighting the importance of aligning an organisation’s social and search activities.


Read More

Why Australian social media marketing must change – Part 2

PSY, sequel
The follow-up is always the toughest.

Social media marketers find themselves in a precarious position.

As highlighted in Why Australian Social Media Marketing Must Change – Part 1, social marketers are under great pressure to justify their share of the digital marketing budget and to earn the attention of their target audience.

So what’s next for Australian social media marketers?

What’s the follow-up to a network centric social media marketing strategy? (more…)

Read More

Why Australian social media marketing must change – Part 1

Grizzly bear anticipates salmon
Social media marketers need to anticipate what’s next to be successful.

Relying heavily on RSS feeds to effectively do my job, the closure of Google Reader was bad news for me personally.  Although, it was good news for Feedly.com.

Feedly is was a competitor to Google Reader and quickly became the preferred choice of Google Reader users seeking a new RSS service. Feedly announced it attracted 3 million users in the two weeks post Google’s announced closure. (more…)

Read More


7P’s of social media management revised

I had the good fortune to present at ADMA Forum 2012 on the topic of ‘social media management’.  I’ve embedded the SlideShare hosted presentation below (sorry – the limits  of my technical expertise have been reached!).

My presentation strategy was to provide a ‘management’ structure applicable to a broad number of organisations while offering brand relevant examples.  So I decided to create the next iteration of my 7P model.

The 7P model is a simple way to structure a corporate social media program.  It’s based on my four plus years of social media experience at Telstra.

[slideshare id=14143032&doc=7ps-of-social-media-managementfinal-120902022655-phpapp01]


Read More

Should Australian social media marketers earn accreditation?

The Advertising Standard Bureau (ASB)  case report against Diageo Australia Ltd regarding the Smirnoff Australia Facebook page has generated a considerable amount of media and industry interest.

 While the ASB dismissed all the complaints filed against Diageo, the ASB Status Report provides some insights that could shape the future of Australian social media marketing.

Social media’s commercial consequences

Media headlines gave a sense of despair as brands would now be burdened with the responsibility for consumer generated content published on their social media pages.


Read More

Going back to social media marketing basics

Markets are conversations – this ain’t no spectator sport.

For the last couple of years I’ve had the good fortune to be the guest social media lecture for the Australia Direct Marketing Association (ADMA) digital marketing course.

The presentation keeps away from the ‘big numbers’ and focuses on the essence / dynamics of social media. One slide highlights The Cluetrain Manifesto.


Read More

Portman's former store at Raglan Square

Can social media and mobile help Australian retail combat showrooming?

These are not good days for Australian ‘bricks and mortar’ retailers. (image – @M_Hickinbotham)

The National Retail Association generated headlines with a report commissioned by Ernst & Young that states 118,000 retail jobs may be shed by 2015.

In the Sydney Morning Herald’s coverage of the issue, Ian Mcllwraith quoted directly from the E&Y report:

”Regardless of the LVT (Low Value Threshold exception provided to goods purchased from foreign online retailers), the remaining 84,600 jobs would be lost to the traditional sector due to the structural changes and competition caused by the growth of online retailing,” said the Ernst & Young report.

Australian retail is a living case study of an industry struggling under the forces of creative destruction.


Read More