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Māris Antons

Digitālās komunikācijas speciālists, ikdienā konsultē uzņēmumus. Pārzina mājaslapu, aplikāciju un programmatūras izstrādi, digitālo reklāmas kampaņu stratēģijas, veidošanu un vadību. Pateicoties plašajai pieredzei palīdz kā ārējais digitālais konsultants vispusīgā uzņēmumu digitālajā attīstībā, kas orientēta uz racionālu un efektīvu izaugsmi.

Silver Hill Arts case – avoiding toxic clients and shady projects

Recently I had a very disppointing experience with a project which was offered to me by my friends. Friends who turned out to be  those kind of people who order a website, actually not knowing what is it that they want, approving the work to be done and then deciding that they no longer like or want what they have requested and refuse to pay. Mostly I blame this on myself – signs were there and based on my 7-8 years experience as a freelancer/employee I should have known better. So here goes a list of things not to do. Don’t mix business & friendship It started out as having this lovely American couple Norvel and Fay as friends. I moved into a nice neighbourhood, got to know them a bit later through my downstairs neighbour and from there on we went out, met from time to time and so on. At one point Norvel said that he was looking into updating their company’s website and while they already had one option on the table, I offered them another guy to have as an option. First mistake – should have kept my mouth shut. Don’t take up project that has been started by someone else If a potential client approaches you and it’s unclear (different signals from client & previous partner) why the project is being passed on to you – there are probably some underwater rocks you’re going to hit. Untolerable client being one of them. At first I thought it was because of bad communication on both sides. Oh boy, was I wrong. Make sure you know who’s the decision maker Norvel Hermanovski was the first person I met and he was the one who introduced me to the project. After a while I started receiving emails from a guy named Michael Whiston, suddenly there was some Michael Prettyman getting involved and at one point even Fay was mentioned as person who has given an input. It’s always a bad sign when there’s comittee on the other side and no-one seems to be in charge of making the final decisions. In cases like these everyone wants to contribute and to seem useful in one way or another. Changes and updates never stop coming. Even to the point where a complete overhaul is done and that’s a complete opposite to the initial brief. Have a contract in place before you start doing ANYTHING Wish I had done that. If I had done that Silver Hill Arts wouldn’t be owing me 2500€ or there would at least be a realistic way of getting that money back. But me being me, I decided that it was going to be faster to finish the project than to sign a contract with a client who is based in USA. Doing business with people I had know for a long time and found them trustworthy seemed reassuring enough, but looking back I should have foreseen it. Make sure that client understands what is it that […]

October 8, 2018

Social media engagement is not scalable

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Remember the polls on television that allowed anyone to call a number and cast a vote on political, national and other topics? Where did they go? You can scale a lot of things – usually it requires bigger budgets and/or change in technology. You can buy audiences and make your content reach almost everyone in the world who is connected to internet. What you can’t scale is conversation. It came to me looking at Facebook post published by news outlet – the Facebook post contained facts that contradict the post on publishers webpage. Some users had pointed this out, but no-one apparently follows those comments so it’s only a matter of time and critical thinking on users’ part when they’ll understand that being one of hundreds of commenters on a Facebook post published by page with millions of likes is like running with your head in the wall. The same thing happened to those polls – television viewers started to get the point that their call is lost and actually doesn’t matter. The same goes for twitter replies to accounts with millions of followers and other engagement forms on other platforms. Users will get to the understanding that nobody hears them – and then the engagement will go as well. In this case – if tree in forest falls and there’s no one to hear it, it doesn’t make any sound. Hope I made my point clear.

September 22, 2015

Facebook events is a half-baked product – here’s why

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I love Facebook events. They let me and my friends to create and organize events, to keep track of any changes etc. Also, Facebook events are a great tool for our clients who organize various kinds of activities. That said, Facebook events are terrible for events that last longer than a day or are a recurring.  The first problem with this is that when I mark that I’m going to an art-exhibition, the event shows up in both my facebook web-based and my sunrise calendar (syncs with facebook) as an all day event for months. Usually I fight the urge for a while, but at one point I just change my status from “maybe” or “going” to “not going”. Second problem comes up when I’m working on client accounts that are, for example, similar to theater. Creating the identical event for each evening is a tough task on its own, but the loss is that every theater lover only sees the friends as attendees if they’re coming on the same evening. This limits their knowledge of other friends who might have seen the same play on different day – therefore disabling any chances of extra word of mouth.

September 22, 2015

Do I understand why we do it this way?

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The problem is that if you can’t even explain why your own company does it this way, I am quite unconvinced that it could not be done better. For example, when more than a decade ago I worked with a large British newspaper company, I asked why their papers were so big. Their answer was “all quality newspapers are big; customers would not want it any other way.” A few years later, a rival company – the Independent – halved the size of its newspaper, and saw a surge in circulation. Subsequently, many competitors followed, to similar effect. Yes, customers did want it. Later, I found out that the practice of large newspapers had begun in London, in 1712, because the English government started taxing newspapers by the number of pages they printed — the publishers responded by printing their stories on so-called broadsheets to minimize the number of sheets required.  This tax law was abolished in 1855 but newspapers just continued printing on the impractically large sheets of paper. 5 Strategy Questions Every Leader Should Make Time For by Freek Vermeulen on Harvard Business Review

September 8, 2015

When the number of “likes” doesn’t mean anything anymore

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Number of likes is still one of the numbers that advertisers look at when evaluating their success on social media. Sure, it can be used, but it has lost any long-term importance. To visualise this I will simply show a picture that shows how many people you can reach through a page with 20 000 likes (+ no media budget) and how many people you can reach with page that has 200 folowers and using 10€ (~$11) media budget. Due to EdgeRank and other things this is now reality. This data is from real clients and is consistent (in the case with organic reach even optimistic) with industry’s benchmarks. Media budget example is from Latvian market and can be different in other markets. But the trend is clear – a few bucks outweigh the effort that has been put in building facebook fan base over years if you want to deliver one specific message to as much people as possible.

August 17, 2015

Foursqare, this is quickly turning creepy

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Foursquare, I have written some posts on you guys (How foursquare lost track and went for that “platform” thing) – it was a while ago, but in my opinion, still holds true. You know that you have done quite some things wrong – you tried to become a platform instead of just being a great tool, you took out the gamification elements – just to have them return (mayorships) and some other stuff. Growing up is hard – especially when you feel endangered by everything and everyone around you. That’s how it is for startup-ups like you. You fly or die. But after some right choices you had done lately, there’s again one that screams “Why? Foursquare, why???”. This comes down to safety – plain and simple. You have always emphasized that our checkins are private and we can always choose with who and how we share our check-ins. This is kind of unnecessary – suggesting random people to friend lists. I mean, of course, there are a lot of people that know the same people I do, but that 30 mutual friends don’t mean instant trust towards those people just because they are friends of my friends. Some people have smaller friend lists, some have larger – me, I have one that’s wider, but that means that I don’t post everyplace I visit. Some people have smaller communities and they act more freely. Now you’re just assuming that we’re ok with sharing our checkins with random people we haven’t even met. Ever. Don’t do this. Think about younger audiences as well – the ones who don’t think too much, but just act. Teenagers will use this feature as soon as they see a pretty face of opposite sex (or their own sex – I don’t judge). While we’re at it – some better ideas for implementation Event chat rooms – let us connect at places with people who are there – even the ones we don’t know yet. This would work as better option than Facebook rooms or hashtag for event. Think conferences, parties, festivals, etc. Temporary real-time sharing – just like Apple’s Find my Friends, but for groups and friends who aren’t exclusively iPhone users. Very useful on night out in oldtown or festival. Rich check-in history, background tracking – you have seen the Moves app that was acquired by facebook some time ago, haven’t you? They have done some very simple things regarding use of user’s location and activities. In some sense, it has taken away from foursquare (swarm0, because I can always check there when and for how long I have been somewhere. Good luck guys!

July 27, 2015

Top5 myths on Facebook communication

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No surprises – well known truths put in 5 points with short explanations attached. One of the most important indicators is number of fans/followers Number of fans has lost any real connection to the number of reachable audiences. FB page owners will reach as much people as he/she will be willing to pay for to Facebook ad platform. Engagement is a good thing. No. Can you imagine a company that would be glad to see an increase in incoming service calls so that they need to hire more employees to handle the extra load? I don’t think so, either. It’s good if people interact by liking and sharing information, but questions – no, thanks. Social media is free By not paying for audiences on Facebook, brands are actually talking to themselves since no one sees them in their news streams. You have to publish something at least once a day Create less content, spend more on reaching people with the content you already have. If something is advertised, users will see it in their news streams a couple of times throughout the week. Post have to be published regularly and on set times Post when you want, advertise your content and users will see it when they log in on Facebook.

February 2, 2015

Tweet analytics has come to iOS

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Twitter has enabled single tweet analytics for all iOS users who are using the official twitter app. This funcionality breafly appeared during december and the disappeared. Apparently Twitter engineers were already actively testing it.

January 27, 2015

Chasing the social media dream

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The American Dream is a national ethos of the United States, a set of ideals in which freedom includes the opportunity for prosperity and success, and an upward social mobility achieved through hard work. In the eyes of marketers, brands and companies social media has always been similar to the American dream – everyone can come and everyone will be able to reap its benefits. The part that sometimes tends to be forgotten by the potential beneficiaries of social media is the most important one – hard work. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen first hand that social media can be very good for business and it actually can help to reach success in easier ways than ever before, but that requires either the hard work or very precise approach. The reason why it’s sometimes so hard is that there are no two identical situations or golden formulas – everyone has to put in at least some work to find out what’s best for the business. Social media is an investment Every road leads somewhere, the trick is to find out the right direction. There are a lot of success stories out there that encourage more and more businesses to invest more and more in social media. There are also a lot of success stories out there on stock markets and people who have made their fortunes by buying and selling stocks, but that doesn’t make anyone (or at least me) to go out and start buying stocks – people who have made money this way have spent a lot of hours learning the trade, studying the market and thinking a lot before placing a bet on a stock. And even then they don’t always come out as winners – every one of them have lost their fair share of money on one or another deal. Takeaway – Michael Jordan might have reached his goals through playing basketball, but that way might not be suitable for everyone. Copying others on social media without knowledge about their goals, strategy and results is a waste of time. Sometimes the guy next door isn’t as happy/lucky/wealthy as he seems to be. Not everyone wins in social media, most actually lose Still, there are companies big and small who believe that by just setting up a Facebook page or twitter account and starting to “do social media” they will get to the promised land. Sometimes they truly get to the promised land and we have heard about these cases on news sites, advertising portals and from our friends or acquaintances. The thing that tend to get forgotten when talking about the few lucky ones is how many failed attempts there are per each successful one. I don’t know the number, but I’m sure that it isn’t pretty and doesn’t draw social media in pretty colours. Failing is good and teaches stuff, but it doesn’t mean that anyone should try to fix his own teeth. Homework nr. 1 for success on social media – setting up a […]

October 17, 2014