Twitter Agency – crowd sourced consultancy

I presented at a breakfast for PRIA this morning and when I got back, I saw this message from AdNews:

Vodafone confirms $30m media pitch

SYDNEY: Vodafone last night (1 October) confirmed it was pitching its Australian media planning and buying account, which was reported by AdNews in July.

In a statement, Vodafone said: “Vodafone periodically reviews its marketing agency rosters in all markets to ensure that it retains the best strategic talent and achieves excellent value for its media spend.”

and it occurred to me – what if Australia’s best strategic talent were hangin’ out on Twitter, havin’ a rare ol’ time? And what if their combined reach was more powerful than heritage media (radio, tv, print ads, street furniture, and drinkies for media types)?

So, without really thinking it through, I posted up on Twitter an idea – The Twitter Agency :
..the response was interesting. To put it midly, those on Twitter thought we should split that $30 mill up between us. Nothing like a bit of cash to incentivize a new network. Heh.
One of the first replies (within about 2 minutes) was Warlach‘s “twitteragency.com is available”. Within 14 minutes (see timeline above) I had 1) logged onto Bluehost and registered the domain name. 2) installed wordpress and 3) had people signing up.
This is the blog post field – exhorting members to “give em tips on how not to be crap on Twitter”.

twitter-agency-header1Within 4 hours or so, we have over 65 “staff” including:

  • web designers
  • HR Recruiters
  • PHD Researchers
  • Network Scientists
  • Techies
  • Marketing types
  • Executives

Some of the Twitterati have come up with contacts at Vodafone, and how we can chase that $30 million media spend – pay bloggers, drinks events with bloggers. More drinks events with bloggers. Heh. But seriously, if Warners can tell 7 bloggers something and get 35 million media impressions, why pay a PR or Marketing agency? Why not go direct? Disintermediation and so on? Anyone else fed up with agencies that get paid, turning around and sending us on email stuff to publish their PR press releases on our blogs, for free? Oh ok, sometimes. Not always.

We even identified competition – Cherp.us does Twitter marketing and decided to buy them out with out Vodafone $30million. Heh. Well actually, Mr Specht Spechtaculous said “send the boys around” but the rest of Twitter agreed that buying out the competition was what a real agency would do. *not sure*

So here we are, 35 blog posts and 20 odd comments (in 4 hours) by around 50-60 people, a site with tips and hints for dealing with the blogosphere (thanks to Jenny from IdeaGarden):

This is a list of Twitter AddOns for marketing and monitoring the conversation

  • tweetdeck cool way of grouping your twitterer followers and following specific conversations.
  • Twist, trends in Twitter
  • Twittermeter, plot the number of times a word (your brand?) has been used
  • Tweetstats, In ur tweets, graphing ur stats. Against UserName
  • Tweetbeep , emails out your keywords. Like Google Alerts, only, you know, Twitter.
  • Twitterscoop or Twitscoop – what’s hot on Twitter right now?
  • Twellow – Directory of discussions on industries and companies on Twitte
  • Tweetburner – track analytics for Twurls (links) you post to Twitter
  • Summize – better way to search terms, bought by Twitter.

Links to pdfs and slideshare and other blog posts with Marketing and Twitter tips.
This is what I am telling people who join the conversation late.

So, where does this leave us? It seems to me that we set up a crowd source site with 61 members within a few hours. What’s the normal cycle for starting up a business? If the back end systems were there – financials such as Software As A Service, we’d have a real chance at pitching for that Vodafone media budget for social media campaigns. I’d put in a revenue share such as the one that Google Adsense does (50% to the person who undertakes the work, the rest back to party on). As it is, the site will promote the members as the best and brightest in social media services such as Twitter that Australia has to offer. A resource for marketers to engage with us on Twitter (badly behaved marketing and PR staff ruin it for everyone) .

Half the members are Admins, the other half editors. Because the crowd will do a better job of selfregulating and removing crap content than I will. And if they don’t this time, they will next time, or the time after that. It’s just a matter of the right things coming together.

Can you see the potential here for industries in the future? Flash mob for business? No? Ah well, wait and see. Meantime, go register and enjoy hanging’ with the Australian Twitterati. After all, we might sell to Photon by the weekend. *winks* $50 million should do it – depends on how many more leading social media types sign up by Friday. Another 10,000 Twitterers in our agency, and the profit will be sorely diluted. *grumbles*

Others discussing Twitter Agency:

  1. Delarue AcKnowledge Consulting “SilkCharm has 1,670 followers. That makes a pretty powerful, well connected agency! (Hey – I have 59 followers myself!) :-)
  2. Zebra Research Not Everthing is Black and White.
  3. This Is Herd: how to start an agency in an hour
  4. The Australian News.com
  5. Marketing is a Dirty Word

Let me know if you link to me, and I’ll link back. As we do in the Echosphere. 🙂 OH and you can DIGG it here. Thank you A Dog’s Breakfast! (twitter @aDB )

Laurel Papworth

Named by Forbes™ Magazine in the Top 50 Social Media Influencers globally, named Head of Industry, Social Media (Marketing Magazine™) and in the Power150 Media bloggers (AdAge™). CERT IV Training and Assessment certified trainer (Diplomas and Certificates etc) Adult Education. Laurel has manager Facebook Pages for Junior Masterchef, Idol, Big Brother etc. and have consulted on private online communities for banks Westpac, not for profits UNHCR & governments in SE Asia. Lecturer, social media, University of Sydney for 10 years and Laurel has 11,000 online students. Laurel Papworth personally connects to 6 million followers online and has taught around 100,000 people in the last 10 years how to be social media managers.

15 thoughts on “Twitter Agency – crowd sourced consultancy

  1. Hey Laurel
    I signed up but am yet to post – bit too shy. Very interesting idea, and I’ll be posting soon and keeping an eye on what everyone else has to say. And oh yeh, not all us marketing types are bad guys. Some of us do know that marketing is a dirty word 🙂

  2. Love it.

    And I’ve linked in my P.S. – which really was a P.S

  3. Hello Laurel, was fascinated to follow this in the UK this AM.

    Just a question, do you see this as an Aussie initiative only (in which case I’ll gracefully withdraw)…or is it open for all, in which case WPP watch out!

  4. Thanks guys,

    And Mr Cow, sure it’s international (.com not .com.au). Sir Martin is vying to buy us 😛

  5. “and it occurred to me – what if Australia’s best strategic talent were hangin’ out on Twitter, havin’ a rare ol’ time? And what if their combined reach was more powerful than heritage media (radio, tv, print ads, street furniture, and drinkies for media types)?”

    c’mon … seriously?

    interesting concept but a bit off for mine.

  6. Ok, Ben let’s go through this again 🙂
    Australians spend more time online than they do watching TV (neilsens). Print ads are dropping 14% per quarter for a reason (newspaper assoc of america). Twitter is full of media types and top bloggers. Warner bros told 7 bloggers about a new product and got 30 million media impressions. Twitter has some very creative social media types. Surely they can come up with something, with the audience they command, and as brand influencers?

    *shrugs* maybe this idea is early, but well, it could be the future.

  7. interesting stats but i think it’s ambitious right now for what is effectively a retail client.

  8. Cisco released their new router purely through social media. Pepsi have also done the same. Many companies are boasting that they are moving their budgets across from digital to social. Look at the crisis in the digital industry in Australia, and the layoffs.

    It may be ambitious but it may also show the way forward for the new new media agency. Then again, it might just be a bit of a laff 😛

  9. Laurel.. bit more on the account the agency *will* win. Twitterers are well-connected, creative, early adopters. http://www.bandt.com.au/news/6E/0C05AB6E.asp

    Main media agencies would be crazy to ignore! Wonder which will hire Twitter Agency: Icon, Media Edge, Mediacom or Mindshare?

  10. This is Interesting ….how blogs and micro blogs can do wonders, I have been decently active and decently active in social media and fiddled around with blogs etc in my last organization in India. Australian market seems to be embracing the concepts quiet well .. Found lots of financial institutions creating noises too…was wondering how best it can be used for Financial institutions. Any thoughts?

    Btw …can I say what Seth godin is to US you are to Australia? or it is irrelevant in connected world!

  11. Mmmm, novel idea but…won’t work.

    Corporations crave/need control. This is why they are a corporation, and not a ‘crowdsourced’ service provider..

    Good luck with it…with the spare time you have waiting for Vodafone to give you a call, have a look at some papers on corporate theory!!

    Great thinking though Laurel – now maybe if we looked at areas of the corporation that don’t need to be controlled…
    .-= Luke Harvey-Palmer´s last blog ..People buy People…NOT business plans! =-.

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