Armadillo Studios Inc.

SXSW10: Armadillo Studios At SXSW’10

Has it really already been a year?

Sure doesn’t feel like it has, but once again *Armadillo Studios* is heading down to Austin, Texas for the “SXSW Interactive Festival”:http://www.sxsw.com.

That’s right another five days of beautiful spring Texas weather, far too much salsa and *the latest trends in the Web and Social Media Industry*. But this time there’s a twist. Armadillo is not just a spectator, but an actual participant. Yes, Armadillo will be apart of the “Leave Your Job, Start An Agency”:http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/ideas/view/3303 core conversation with our good friends from “Stale Life Inc.”:http://www.stalelife.com/ and “Bitfyre”:http://www.bitfyre.net/. It’s happening on “March 14th, at 11:00am at the Hilton E room”:http://eventful.com/events/leave-your-job-start-agency-sxsw-/E0-001-028441777-1, if you happen to be at SXSW make sure you swing by to say hello.

As all always, Armadillo will be blogging and “tweeting”http://www.twitter.com/armadillostudio the entire conference. If you’re in Austin or just on hanging online all day make sure you follow along with all the fun.

Calgary Social Media:Free Social Media Advice for Local Politicians

News of “Bronco Dave’s decision to not run in the next round of civic elections”:http://www.calgaryherald.com/news/After+nine+years+helm+Mayor+Dave+Bronconnier+decides+again/2605297/story.html has sent a bit of a political shockwave through the circles of political pundits and social media networks in our fair city.

While this buzz grows, plans will be formed and serious candidates will start to come out of the woodwork. So as they do, they will inevitably turn to the growing local Social Media communities to get their voice heard. So in anticipation of that, your friendly friends at Armadillo have some *free advice on how to best get your message heard and better yet, not have it backfire*.

Join Twitter And Learn The Vocabulary

First and foremost, join “Twitter”:http://www.twitter.com and set-up a clear and interactive “Facebook page”:http://www.facebook.com. We have an “intro on Twitter for the Calgary Market”:http://blog.armadillostudios.ca/article/twitter-for-the-calgary-market that has some nice advice.

Second, covet and understand the hashtags of Twitter. The “yyc hash tag”:http://twitter.com/#search?q=yyc has grown into an unstoppable beast that many Calgarians use for a variety of information. While this aspect of the Twitter lexicon is invaluable be sure you don’t abuse it, as it can quickly turn on you. Using the _yyc tag_ is a great way to reach many Calgairans, but if you start overloading the stream of information, it may tarnish your image. *So don’t SPAM! Be engaging in the community*.

Even better start using the “yyccc hash tag”:http://twitter.com/#search?q=yyccc (yyc City Council). Many users who follow city council have adopted it and it would be best to broadcast your message through that channel rather than through _yyc_. People who are interested and invested in City Council spend much of their time following this hash tag. *They are the people you want to reach*.

Casual voters also follow it too, so seeing an involved presence in that area of the Calgary Twitter community will be a good first step.

Interact, Don’t Broadcast

It might seem simple, but you need to interact with the online communities in the City. *Don’t just broadcast your message, as it may quickly comeback to haunt you*.

Facebook and Twitter are engaging tools; in the months leading up to October people will have many questions and concerns. They will be looking for your ideas. You will need to be able to answer them through these networks. Social networks, especially Twitter, have levelled the communications playing field for everyone. Citizens are now able to directly and publicly connect with your campaign. There could be a discussion brewing about your platform that you might not even know about, so it’s best to get involved and get involved early.

Know Your Audience

Nobody likes to admit this, but there is a unwritten hierarchy within these social media circles that you may not get a chance to learn about before you dive in. Treat all responders with respect and try not to air your dirty grievances in public. You may involuntarily aggravate a local political maven, who has more clout and influence within the local community than you think. So be careful in how you engage on these sites. *Treat everyone with respect and dignity*.

Don’t Use Foursquare

Although, it would be incredibly cheeky and witty, declaring yourself Mayor of City hall on “Foursquare”:http://www.foursquare.com before November rolls around, is probably going to look bad on you.

Now, I don’t want to sound like I’m trying to scare you off of using these Networks. In all honestly, this is an exciting time for municipal politics and these growing social media networks have the power to make these elections the most interactive and exciting elections we’ve seen in a long time. We just want to give you some free advice, as we’ve seen “companies miss opportunities”:http://blog.armadillostudios.ca/article/a-tale-of-two-bars before and we’d hate to see a great candidate get sandbagged by a small slip up.

So to all those would be city councilors and mayors, best of luck in October 2010.

Calgary Social Media: Foursquare Starts To Make Waves In Calgary & Edmonton

Much has been made of the Geo-locational social application “Foursquare”:http://foursquare.com/ since it’s launch into the “Calgary and Edmonton markets in November of last year”:http://foursquare.tumblr.com/post/249951087/yet-another-round-of-new-cities-sprinkled-all-over. The application has been garnishing a bit of buzz in the local tech communities and it is now poised for it’s big breakout role within our cities. Because of which local businesses should really start taking note.

The application, which allows users to notify friends about their whereabouts through instant notifications and an addictive reward system, has been heralded as the next big thing by the Tech community since the 2009 SXSW interactive conference. But now Foursquare is making great inroads to become more than just a nifty competitive game.

News from “Techvibes has revealed a groundbreaking partnership between Metro Newspapers and Foursquare to deliver local content to nearby users”:http://www.techvibes.com/blog/metro-newspapers-foursquares-join-forces.

As part of the partnership, Metro will add their location-specific editorial content to the Foursquare service. People who choose to follow Metro on Foursquare will then receive alerts when they’re close to one of those locations. For example, someone close to a restaurant that Metro has reviewed would receive a “tip” about that restaurant and the have ability to link through to the full Metro review on metronews.ca. – “Courtesy of Techvibes”:http://www.techvibes.com/blog/metro-newspapers-foursquares-join-forces

This partnership with one of Canada’s largest media outlets will connect Foursquare with a daily audience and will inject it’s brand into the mainstream consciousness. In the short-term, this will add more users to the growing audience in Calgary and Edmonton

Now on the flip side of this, Foursquare is also allowing 3rd party developers to create apps to make the service that much better. One of the first Third party Applications for Foursquare is called “PlaceWidget.com”:http://www.placewidget.com. Placewidget allows businesses (or organizations) with an already established Foursquare presence to promote user activity on their own web sites with a simple HTML widget … So for example if a _small_ business like Calgary’s own little Apple Store wanted to promote their Foursquare activity it would look like this:

Or maybe a more local competitor like Westworld Computers wanted to get in on the action, it would look like this:

While PlaceWidget might seem like a simple and remedial integration of Foursquare’s information, it really is the tip of the iceberg. As the service grows the need for businesses to leverage this information will evolve with it. Similar to how Twitter and Facebook streams now appear on the web sites of many organizations and businesses, Foursquare will be next in line.

These are just two small examples of how Foursquare is slowly fulfilling it’s _tech prophesy_ as the next major social network. The next question is when will local Calgary and Edmonton businesses start to incorporate this extremely business friendly social network into their own marketing practices?

The clientèle is growing, so who is going to be first?

The Revamped U of A Ski Club

_Ah! University. Sweet, sweet memories of University_.

The Armadillo Team have some fine memories of our days in University and our time with the University of Calgary’s Ski Club. Many of these memories are fairly blurry, but they are rather fond one.

So when the U of Calgary’s sister club, The “University of Alberta’s Ski Club”:http://www.uofaskiclub.ca, came to Armadillo Studios with a predicament we were more than happy to help. (Plus, “we’d already gave their southern cousins a little bit of a makeover earlier this year”:http://www.uofcskiclub.com/)

First and foremost, the new “U of A Ski Club Web Site”:http://www.uofaskiclub.ca is not an original Armadillo design; rather we’ve dramatically upgraded the structure and the skeleton of what they were left with.

The U of A Ski Club had a web site built by a third party, but was never given the information on how to update it or maintain it. Instead they were left with a static web site with no real CMS and no way of communicating with their beloved membership. This is unfortunately a common predicament in our industry and many clients in this situation approach us. So in came Armadillo to save the day.

Using the key elements of the original design to the site’s keep continuity, we rebuilt the web site using the WordPress Management system and even incorporated a few key design elements that were missing from the original site. Including links to Social Media elements, ShareThis Functionality, a Contact Us form and even a large beefy footer for simple navigation.

Over the next couple of weeks we’ll be working with the U of A to further improve their web site and improve their web site’s usability. But more importantly, we hope the new site will help them get more involved with the student body and creating more fond memories for others.

Eco Living Inc. Launches

Armadillo Studios and Eco Living Inc are proud to launch “www.ecolivinginc.ca”:http://www.ecolivinginc.ca – the online home of Calgary’s newest Developer of Multi-Family homes.

Earliet this year the owners of Eco Living contacted Armadillo to help develop a brand new web site site, one which would be easy to update, accessible on mobile apps and would allow them to showcase the different elements of their business model. The main goal of the new Eco Living Inc site was to develop a contemporary HTML/CSS based web site that stood out against the local competition, through simplicity and ease of us.

Leveraging Eco Living’s existing branding development, Armadillo constructed a WordPress powered site built on a simple and intuitive layout design. The color scheme reflects the earth-tone nature of the company’s logo and their commitment to _Eco Logic_ developments. In addition, we also incorporated a simple photo sideshow in the sidebar, which will allow the Eco Living team to update their web site with photos of their latest products once they become available.

We are proud to launch this new site and look forward to seeing Eco Living’s business grow.