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My name's Joel Kelly and I live in Halifax, NS.

I'm a 20something guy doing digital and social media strategy for a Halifax-based marketing agency.

I'm a vegan nerd and marketing asshole.

You should follow me on Twitter.

Contact me about whatever (like, say, your marketing questions) at

Friday, October 24, 2008

What is social media?

I've recently heard social media defined as a websites like Facebook, Reddit, Digg, Stumble Upon, and the like, as a method of simply driving traffic to your website.

But that's ridiculous.

That’s like saying the definition of transportation is “vehicle.”

Social media is not its tools. Social media is a space and a mind-set, not a list of social networks.

The goal of social media should not be to “drive traffic."

It should be to increase sales/conversions/awareness/your real, end goal. While there may often be a causal relationship between them, simply increasing traffic isn’t the end goal. Sending qualified, interested people to your site will probably lead to you realizing your real goal, but it’s not the goal in itself.

If a client told me their goal was just to “increase traffic” then I could say, “Okay, let’s start spamming some people. Let’s try to trick as many people as possible into stumbling upon your site as we can."

Of course that sort of thing would get me fired. Search Engine Optimization and Social Media Optimization should be focused on getting the right people engaged with your product/brand. Not just about getting eyeballs on the page. That’s a terrible goal.

But we interact with and use social media solely through things like the above-mentioned websites, right?

Apple zealots spreading the gospel of Jobs to their coworkers are participating in social media. And that doesn’t require Facebook.

If I asked you to define how transportation worked you wouldn’t start by saying, “well, the internal combustion engine…” Social media is bigger than its tools, and defining it by only listing the tools that facilitate it doesn’t make sense to me.

There's something like a venn diagram out there, where digital tools like YouTube and Facebook exist as facilitators of social media on one side. But then there are social nodal points like "I'm a Mac" commercials that get people talking. And then there are guerrilla marketing tactics that get people using social networking websites, and get people talking at the office.

All of these are methods of participating in social media, but none of them completely define it.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Headspace Design nabs an ICE Awards merit award

Headspace Design, who made my fabulous Ingenioustries logo, won a merit award at this year's ICE Awards in Halifax for his Mucci Pucci packaging.

I've had the privilege of working with Headspace on several occasions, and creative director Kyle Racki is an awesome designer and great guy to work with, who absolutely deserved this industry recognition.


Headspace Sniffs out an ICE Award

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Halifax Podcamp 2009 -- January 25th

@Greebie over at The Other Librarian has a great post announcing Halifax Podcamp 2009.

The what:

A podcamp, specifically is an unconference about blogs, wikis, podcasts, vidcasts and other social or “new” media. The idea was first introduced by Chris Brogan. The unique thing about a podcamp is that all the information is podcasted and released under a creative commons license afterwards.
The why:
  • why not a podcamp in Halifax, Nova Scotia?
  • we never had a podcamp in Halifax before.
  • based on what I see and hear out in the world, I think there is an opportunity for a New Media Rennaissance in Halifax. A podcamp could spark that IMHO.
  • it’s an opportunity to meet other people who are interested/curious/enthusiastic about New Media. How could you not be interested?
  • Oh yeah. There will be refreshments too.
Head over to The Other Librarian to read the rest of the post about Halifax Podcamp 2009.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Third Wednesday Meet Up Update

As the meet up date quickly approaches, I thought I'd give everyone a quick update on how things are shaping up.

First, Stacey Jones-Oxner from Communications Nova Scotia has said she'll be in attendance, which is a wonderful opportunity for the social media community to learn about the province's usage of new and innovative media. And of course hopefully she'll speak for a few minutes about Pomegranate Phone and the campaign's goals and results.

And then Issmat A. M. Al-Akhlai from Your World Today will talk to us about the importance of social media in business and politics.

This is looking like it will be an incredibly interesting and informative meet up and, as always, tons of fun.

So spread the word, come on out, and bring your friends!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Third Wednesday Meet Up!

Come on out for the Third Wednesday Social and New Media Meet Up on October 15th! We've consolidated several of the local meet ups into this single event, so we're expecting a solid turn out and some great conversations.

So if you're at all interested in social media, internet marketing, or just want to see what all the fuss is about, please come out!

Oh, and if you're interested in speaking for 5-10 minutes about how you or your company have used social or new media, please email

Hope to see you there.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Pomegranate Phone Controversy

So, a lot's been said about Nova Scotia's Come to Life brand and their "Pomegranate Phone" campaign. It's been labeled the PomBomb by some (and yes, I've used the term myself), but here's how I feel the campaign could have been more of a success:

Your microsite needs to work as a separate, standalone product.

But it has to be so good, so interesting, that you can stamp your brand's name on it without being ashamed.

I love that Nova Scotia tried something bold and new. I love that they took a risk. The issue here--the sole, important issue--about the Pom Phone site that needs to be remedied, is the bait and… hope that people stumble upon the actual message.

If you think your microsite is entertaining, fun, engaging, and will get people to show it to others you don’t have to hide your branding.

You hide your brand when you fear that putting your actual logo on your microsite will make people less interested.

They just need to slap the Come to Life logo on the actual Pom Phone site (which they should have done in the first place), and bam!, you’ve got a cool site that will keep people playing around, while they know what the actual product is!

This is what Landlord Lou did, what Jonzed did, what the BK x-box games did, what Simpsonize Me did, what all those cool microsites or promotions did… They created an interesting product but weren’t afraid to tie it to their brand up front.

When you have to trick someone into finding out what the message is, dupe them into seeing the actual thing you’re advertising, their reaction will only ever be negative or neutral.

I don’t think $300k is too much to spend on a cool, innovative campaign that gets people talking. But they should be talking about your brand, too, not just the site you dropped the money on.

Kudos to Come to Life for trying something new, now they just need to make it a little more effective.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

How much should you charge to advertise on your site?

If you're trying to figure out how much you should charge to advertise on your site, it's actually pretty simple:

First, take the going rate of meat. Multiply that by the cost of fuel, and then, finally, divide by the number of people.

Easy, right?

Maybe not!

Wow, that was a lot of sarcasm, even for me... I apologize... That may or may not have been more sarcasm. It's hard for even me to tell sometimes.

So, as you may have suspected (or, entirely possibly, you may not have) I've been asked recently, several times, how much a site should charge for its advertising space. I've heard this question posed (well, it was related to me by a colleague) by someone who works at a radio station trying to get their site to start, you know, not losing them money anymore, and by a friend who had to do a business plan for school.

In both cases, the question, essentially, was,

"How much should we charge?"

That's, first of all, the wrong question you should be asking yourself, and advertisers. The first question you should ask yourself is, "How much would somebody actually pay for this?" Which, of course, leads you to start thinking about value, the value of the space and the value of the audience who will see it.

Like meat, fuel, and other incredibly general terms that describe so much and nothing, advertisements are not created equal, and do not have equal value. A big box on one sports website and a big box on another sports website absolutely do not necessarily command the same price.

So what's the difference?

Are we talking bacon, or prime rib steak?* There is no "market value" for meat. There's no market value for ads. Each is assessed on an individual basis depending on quality and demand. A terrible ad space on a website with an incredibly important and high-spending audience demands a higher price than great space on a website no one goes to, obviously.

You may have noticed something.

I've written a lot of words without telling you how much to charge for your ad space.

You're right. Give me more information about your site and then we'll talk.

For now, you've asked me how much food costs, and I've said, "Money."

*Wow, for a vegan I'm strangely drawn to analogies about dead animals.