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*

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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 )