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February 17 2011

What’s next? Moving to Singapore for new adventures!

Benjamin Gauthey, moving to Asia

Almost 3 years ago, I landed in Seattle. Time flies. More than 5 years at Microsoft. In 24 hours, a new page of my life will turn again, and this time for Asia.

Looking back, a lot happened, from both a personal and professional stand point. Discovering a whole new country and culture; I started kite-surfing, wakeboarding, snowboarding and more. Seattle, city of Kurt Cobain, Jimmy Hendrix, and Bruce Lee (name dropping Winking smile) but more importantly, a city with talented people! Honestly, a great place to live in that I will definitely miss (except the rain…).

Leading the digital marketing for Microsoft’s Startup Business Group, I’ve participated in launching approximately 10 new Microsoft products, such as Microsoft Tag, Microsoft Hohm, and Microsoft MultiPoint Server. What a blast! I’ve worked with amazing people from whom I learned so much, but I’m also getting older … what they call experience. Smile Thanks to all of you, and especially to Marja Koopmans and the SBG team!

Now, it’s time to pursue a new quest in Asia, and more exactly in Singapore, to take on the digital marketing lead. Still at Microsoft, in Asia and the South pacific; 12 countries across all products.

Looking forward to meeting great people again, discovering new trends and new startups…

See you in GMT +8

Keep in touch on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook!

November 16 2010

How to: The Art of Social Media Optimization- SMO - 101

After launching several products over the last few months, we’ve learned a lot about Digital Marketing; successes and failures alike.

This post will focus on learning Social Media Optimization, to acquire eye balls to your websites and increase conversations about your brand.

First, let’s be on the same page about traffic acquisition. Website owners can clearly define 3 common sources of traffic; we’ll exclude pure advertising (Banner Ads, Affiliate marketing...) because this doesn’t scale against techniques that will help you in the long run.

  1. Direct Traffic: People arriving to your site from bookmarks or by typing the site URL in a browser
  2. Search Engines: Searching for specific keywords on Google / Bing or others to find your website
  3. Referrers: Other websites linking to yours, such as blogs, forums...

Website traffic source-SMO

Looking closely at the third bucket, Referrers, we notice a paradigm switch where Social networks such as Twitter, Facebook and others are becoming a more and more prominent traffic driver.

Social Networks vs SEO traffic - SMOImage credit: Gigya

In this new paradigm, Social Networks creates its own category.

We will go through 10 tips and tricks to increase your Social networks traffic and online conversations.


Website traffic sources - Social Media Optimization - SMO



Where to start?

SMO - about People and content

Social Media is about content and people. Forget about money for now and focus on common interests.

Social Media strategy has to be led by one team and executed by all in your team. Then you can find your internal champions to amplify your voice.

Below: 10 tips and tricks to enhance your Social Media Optimization.

1. Release your content.

Microsoft Hohm landing pageGive your new visitors a first taste prior to asking them to sign-off on their life. When we build a website, often the first reflex is to ask users to sign-up prior to doing anything on your website. Imagine what would happen if Amazon locked every product behind a sign-in. How many people come to Amazon for the first time, check for a review, then decide to come back later to buy and finally sign-in at this moment? It would have an immediate impact on Amazon’s traffic, as Search Engines wouldn’t be able to index the products or reviews… In fact, users wouldn’t be able to check the latest product review without having an account. Internet visitors are volatile. Today, it only takes a couple of seconds to switch to a different service if you’re no longer happy with the one you have; something we learn from Microsoft Hohm, a web solution that help people save money and energy. If the first version of a website asks users to sign-in right away prior to having an experience of the service, you can imagine the impact: Drop-off. If I hear about Hohm through Twitter, I would like to check it out and form my own opinion. Well, what would be your opinion about a product that asks you to immediately sign-in on the landing page without trying it first?

You can have the best product ever, however, if you ask people to give away prior to you giving awaHohmy, you’re gonna fail! Back to Hohm, a few months after the launch, we decided to enable a Hohm score (Energy Score) for every home in the US prior to sign-in. The switch impacted the traffic and Word-of-Mouth instantly. People were now able to check their home’s score, their friends’ homes, and share scores on their Social Networks to drive even more people to come and share again… here comes the nice virtuous circle of Social Networks.

Releasing your content will also enable Search Engines to index more content, which in turn, drives more organic searches, and allows people to share your website without being signed-in.


2. Have you heard Charticle, maybe Infographic

Charticle, commonly called Infographic, is the art of mixing data, images and graphics to tell a story. A new interactive way to present, share your facts, numbers and trends. This friendly format of sharing complex information can become highly viral. Think about your next press release and how you can replace it with a charticle. How can you present a complex idea by using day to day experiences? Build a charticle and share it! A picture is worth a thousand words… so use both!

Infographic - Charticle - 15 things you should know about Caffeine Infographic - Charticle - Microsoft Tag Adoption Continues to grow

Find some examples of charticles / infographics below:

3. Social Media Bookmarking

deliciousNow that you have great, easy to access content on your website, you need to spread it. Don’t think people will magically find you; you have to broadcast your assets to the right audiences.

The first reflex is to add the best of your content into newsletters, blog posts, Twitter and Facebook. Have you been thinking about Social Media Bookmarking such as Digg.com, Delicious or StumbleUpon? These websites have millions of visitors per month looking for trending information. By adding a link to your assetsDigg here, you open up for yourself an entire new distribution channel which can become your number one driver of traffic for a couple of days if your news becomes a trending and appreciated topic.

Where to start:

4. Give a piece of your solution into a widget.

Microsoft Translator widgetHow can your fans grab part of your content or intelligence and share it directly on their blogs, forums and others? Give them the keys. Create widgets, which aggregate your content or service. A good widget example is the one from Microsoft Translator that you add to yoMicrosoft Hohm widgetur blog and enable your readers to get the content in any language supported by the service. What can you offer to your fans that they would embed in their web properties?

Check out these examples:

· Microsoft Hohm

· Microsoft Translator

How to create a widget without a coding experience, check Widgetbox.com


5. Build sharing into your website flow

Social Media sharing options

You have great content and services and have people coming to your websites. The next step is to incorporate social sharing options to your flow. There are multiple ways to add sharing options to your content, such as blogs posts that propagate information to your social graph in one click.

Share actions on your website. For instance, if Sharing optionsyour website is about creating questions and answers, help people get faster answers to their questions by allowing them to publish questions on their favorite social networks. Example below with quora.com:

Facebook Share on the wall

How to add share options:

Impacts to your traffic and CTR:

  • 85% of new registered users to CBS’s TheInsider.com are using Facebook Connect        
  • More than 1/3 of the new commenter signups on Huffington Post come through Facebook
  • 94% of users who write reviews share those reviews on Facebook

6. Enhance your social network profiles

Create a profile on different social networks and Social Bookmarking tools. I would recommend at least:

You should also explore these if you have pictures or videos:

Don’t forget the Social Bookmarking platforms mentioned earlier:

Some extras:

Complete your profiles on these services using the same bio and links. Links may not boost your organic ranking in search engines; however people will see these and follow them.

Microsoft Tag Twitter account


7. Pick up the right keywords and Tags to mark your content

While publishing content, it’s important to use the right keywords, tags and hashtags to acquire more search traffic and eye balls. When it comes to finding the right keywords to use in your tweets, videos and blog posts, is “dog” better than “dogs”?

There are tools available to help you in this process.


You can use Trendistic to compare #hashtags and detect which ones are most used.

Trendistic - What are the best Twitter Hashtag?

Youtube offers a tool to see which keywords are searched the most, which will help you build your title, description and tags.

How to select the right keywords for SEO and SMO

Dog is better than dogs Smile

Blog posts and other sources of content:

Bing and Google offer a set of tools that help you decide upon the best keywords that will attract the most searches.


8. Enable discussions

As Brian Solis likes to say: ‘If a conversation takes place online and you’re not there to hear it, did it really happen?’.

A good product or service will generate online discussions. Whether you want it or not, you won’t be able to control it, period!

If you don’t allow conversations on your own domain, people will leave to find help elsewhere on Twitter, Facebook, Getsatisfaction.com, etc. … You have an opportunity to host the conversations and reap the benefits. Below are some simple tips:

On your blog:

Start by enabling comments on your own blog. If your platform doesn’t allow it by design, you can check out add-ins such as Disqus or IntenseDebate.


Forums are still great for conversation; search engines also like indexing this content.


9. Badges and reward system

Foursquare BadgesAs your community grows, champions will appear.

These champions are likely able to answer questions faster than your team. Champions evangelize your brand in their circle of influence. Cherish them!

How do you reward them? How do you give them incentive to be your advocates? Foursquare, for one, creates a massive war around Badges. Badges reward the users’ ego, encouraging them to share them with their social graph, creating more links to, and discussion around your brand.

If you don’t have an already built-in solution, here is a great service: Badgeville.





10. RSS Feed, Why should I care?

RSS RSS feeds are a formatted way (XML) of digesting news for third party applications and search engines. Your websites and blogs should have at least one feed to share the latest news. It allows your visitors to get the latest into their Outlook or other news readers. Again, don’t believe visitors will magically come back to your website. Push the right information to them on a regular basis to get them back. RSS feed platforms allow visitors to subscribe to your feed via email. Moreover, RSS feeds are also appreciated by Search Engines, and will be used as an extra sitemap.xml to index fresh content.


To conclude, Is Social the next Search?

Social Media Optimization – SMO is key to your business for two reasons:

  • Creating and facilitating discussions
  • Boosting your overall organic search

We haven’t spent much time in this document discussing the second point. Search engines have started indexing real time conversations from Twitter and Facebook. While looking for a trending topic, you still go to websites and blogs, but news from the people who matter to you will start appearing more and more. This is because today, people are steadily rising as the top influencers on almost any topic. You need to embrace social media in order to be a part of this conversation.

Last but not least, be honest and have fun! Smile

Search Engine Optimization and Social Media

Read: Social in the new search: http://info.gigyahosting1.com/thankyou.php?

Please participate in contributing your own ideas and suggestions for Social Media Optimization aka SMO; we'd love to see them

Benjamin GautheyDigital Marketing- Microsoft Startup Business Group


October 26 2010

Microsoft Tag secures lead as the preferred 2-D barcode solution for publishers

The 2D Barcode industry is increasing on full speed mode. You can notice more and more implementations of 2D Barcode campaigns in the publishing industry, the latest example with Allure. Microsoft Tag is now the leader is this industry. The numbers below speak by themselves: 

  • 1 billion Tags have been printed in the past four months, bringing the total to
    2 billion Tags printed since its January 2009 launch.
  • The number of Tag users per month increased three fold in the first quarter since emerging from beta in May; the number of Tags scanned per month increased four fold during the same time period.
  • To date, more than 100,000 Tag accounts have been set up to add interactive digital experiences to brand advertising and marketing campaigns.
  • Since August, Tag has been used in more than 100 million magazine issues.
  • In the largest known barcode campaign to date, Allure had 450,000 scans, using Microsoft Tag for its annual Free Stuff Giveaway issue in August

The full press release on the Microsoft website.

Create your own Tag for free here.

August 31 2010

New Microsoft Tag Video

I’ve been working now for almost two years on Microsoft Tag. If you’ve never heard about this cool product, have a look to the video that will give you a quick overview of its potential:

Also a cool feature of Microsoft Tag is the custom Tag. You can design a Tag with your logo or a picture as a background. Below one example for R. Scoble that took me 30 seconds to create. If you want to create your own it’s free and pretty fast:

Benjamin Gauthey and Microsoft Tag

If you have any questions regarding Tag, feel free to ping us on Twitter or Facebook.

July 23 2010

Work hard play hard with Microsoft Mouse Mischief

Besides Microsoft Hohm and Microsoft Tag, I also work on a great project for schools called: Microsoft Mouse Mischief.

For some time now, Microsoft has been involved in an ongoing dialogue with teachers, school administrators and students to explore how they can best enhance learning experiences. They discovered, regardless of geographic location, that students are excited about the use of technology in the classroom, and engagement and participation increases with improved access to education technology.

A common challenge Microsoft heard from teachers was that in many classrooms—especially ones without the budget to support technology access for every student—many students didn’t have the opportunity to engage directly with technology.  Additionally, they learned that many teachers already used and love PowerPoint, but using it by itself as a presentation tool limited interactivity and collaboration.  A solution was needed to turn students from passive observers to active participants.

Last April, Microsoft announced the official release of Mouse Mischief—a solution that lets teachers create interactive presentations making classroom learning more engaging.   Mouse Mischief integrates with PowerPoint 2010 and 2007, allowing teachers to create multiple-choice, matching and drawing question slides that students, each with their own computer mouse, can answer on a shared screen.   You can watch a video demo here that explains more about how it works.

Microsoft originally created and piloted Mouse Mischief as a Microsoft Research project examining how to make technology more relevant in the classroom.  Pleasantly surprised by the initial response, teachers using the product had told Microsoft that student engagement and overall participation had gone up significantly.  In fact, it was so well received by students that in some classrooms, teachers took a student’s mouse—and ability to participate in Mouse Mischief lessons—away as punishment for bad behavior.  Considering this enthusiasm, Microsoft decided to build out Mouse Mischief as a more formal technology solution to be available to classrooms everywhere.

The ubiquity and low cost of mice as a common peripheral makes Mouse Mischief a cost-effective solution, especially given tight classroom budgets. And with Mouse Mischief, there’s no need for teachers to learn a new application – the seamless PowerPoint integration lets teachers make their content interactive quickly and painlessly.

Watching Mouse Mischief being used by a classroom full of students reveals other, unexpected benefits—for example, the ability to draw in shy or non-participative children.  In one school, a student who typically never raised his hand or participated, turned around 180 degrees and became one of the class’ biggest contributors after using Mouse Mischief. Getting all students to participate every time helps teachers have better visibility into the progress and comprehension of their class so they can adjust lessons on the spot.

Finally, one of the most exciting aspects of Mouse Mischief is the opportunity for educators to upload and share their own Mouse Mischief templates and curriculum.   Through the Multiple-Mouse community page they have created on Office.com, teachers can easily distribute and explore Mouse Mischief presentations.  This has the potential to empower a global social network of sharing and learning encompassing educators around the world, helping teachers find road-tested best practices to integrate into their curriculum.

If you want to learn more, just check out their Newsroom at the Microsoft News Center, Mouse Mischief on Twitter, and much more at the Mouse Mischief website.

Follow the Mischief
clip_image001 clip_image002 clip_image003

May 27 2010

Microsoft Tag no longer in Beta and 1 billion Tag printed

What a week! It’s great to be a Micrsoftee in the SBG group: Startup Business Group.

After launching a major update for Microsoft Hohm yesterday announcing an energy score for every single home in the country, today, it’s about Microsoft Tag.

Microsoft Tag is officially coming out of beta with 1 billion Tag out there, check out where you can find a Microsoft Tag:


Coming out of beta we’ve updated our website, the Tag Campaign Manager and improved our Tag Reader clients and also introduced some cool new features that will enhance customers’ ability to create, execute and track creative Tag campaigns:

  • A device ID feature will allow marketers to deliver a more personalized consumer experience across multiple Tags. For example, consumers can now receive customized content, such as a coupon or other offer from a retail outlet, based on Tags they’ve previously scanned
  • A new .tag file format will make it easier to print and manage a large number of different Tags as part of a broad campaign deployment. Developers of professional printing programs can now generate the Tag graphic on the fly as part of their solution
  • Tag has always been available worldwide and has been distributed and deployed globally. We have added localization in five new languages which include: French, Spanish, Turkish, Simplified Chinese, Italian
  • And finally, we will be introducing a beta Heat Map feature in the next few days, available in the Tag Campaign Manager, that will help companies better measure Tag usage by location and make more informed decisions about their Tag campaigns and overall marketing spend

You can find more about how to implement these features and more over at the Microsoft Tag website.

Try it right now, download the new Microsoft Tag reader on your phone by going on http://gettag.mobi/ and scan this Tag:

Benjamin Gauthey Business Card with Microsoft Tag

If you have any feedback, feel free to reach us on our Facebook Fan Page or on Twitter

May 26 2010

May 09 2010

Web 2.0 Expo SF 2010 - Notes and thoughts

Back from the Web 2.0 Expo Sf 2010 based in San Francisco, you’ll find below a couple of notes from the sessions but also some take away, quotes and top podcasts.


Take away:

  • Startup Release rhythm is 1 week (Farmville / Dropbox / Facebook / Twitter / Google / …….., specs writing is the old model)
  • Everything start with a great product, better your product is, less money you’ll spend in Marketing including PR / Advertising!
  • One has become many! Turn your users to advocates(invite your friends, “sent from my iPhone”, get extra points…)
  • You make a product for your audience not for your ego


Favorite quotes:

  • “Even if you are smarted than me, if I update my product every week and you every month, you dead! – Eric Ries
  • “Failure is a great quality equalizer” from Eric Ries who spent 6/7 months focusing on code quality and features instead of building a product that people wanted
  • “Every time you improve your product experience by 10%, you increase by 50% your loyal users” - Drew Houston (Dropbox)

Must see podcast from the Expo:

Notes from sessions:


SEO: From Soup to Nuts Eric Enge (Stone Temple Consulting), Rand Fishkin (SEOmoz), Stephan Spencer (Covario), Jessie Stricchiola (Alchemist Media, Inc.)
From Zero to One Million Users Drew Houston (Dropbox), Adam Smith (Xobni)
  • Saturate your community
  • Media Resonance
    • Have a great product
    • Invite People
    • Share with your friends
    • Books: “Inbound Marketing”
    • Every time you make your product experience 10% easier, you increase by 50% your loyal users
    • Start simple and add feature after gathering feedback
    • Email to get people back
    • Usertesting.com to come to test your website
    • Make people to give feedback via survey, rating system
    • Make your product turns users to Evangelists
      • “Sent from my iPad” every time someone send an email from their iPad
      • Social game – Invite friends to make more points
      • Share with my friends on FB, Twitter….
  • SEM is good on an ongoing base
  • Search impact the whole business funnel

February 05 2010

Blogging less! Yes for Social networks…

Blogging less! Why? Spending more and more time on social networks like Twitter and Facebook and others social networks to share my updates and interesting news. I’ve found these mediums a much better and efficient way to share news across my networks and also a better way to read those.


Below I’ve created a Microsoft Tag that will redirect you to my Facebook Page. How to use it? Grab your phone, go on gettag.mobi, download the Microsoft Tag application of your phone (iPhone, BB, WinMo…) and snap the Tag:

Benjamin Gauthey, Microsoft tag

If you want to create your own Microsoft Tag, it will literally take you 2 minutes using PowerPoint, watch the podcast to make your own.

Below a example of Microsoft custom Tag to check-in on Foursquare, this one will check-in you in the Foursquare HQ, NYC.

Foursquare Microsoft Tag

Please share your creations on the Microsoft Tag community.

November 16 2009

Announcing Freudit.com, the place to share and interpret your dreams!


Freudit.com, share and interpret your dreams!


It's been a while since my last post. Busy working and practicing Kitesurfing :)

That's it? Actually, no! I've been working with 3 friends on an idea that today is taking life! Freudit.com, a place to share and interpret your dreams! 

Dreams have been called names, ranging from "the royal road to the unconscious" (Freud), to " a royal case of indigestion!" (anonymous).

The average person has about 3 to 5 dreams per night, some up to 7 dreams in one night. During a full 8-hour sleep, roughly 2 hours are spent dreaming...

Freudit is a "social dreamscape"- a community, and social network where our "waking sleep" gets to enjoy a "second life", through the " insightful", and sometimes " hilarious" interpretation of fellow dreamers.

Freudit offers us the potential to go sheep-riding into our internal landscapes... We "are" what we think...what if we "become" what we dream?

For all those who love puzzles, enjoy a fun ride, and wouldn't mind digging "on-line" for some " off-line" answers, Freudit is the answer!

Freudit's Dream Team

Follow us on Twitter:@freudit

Become a Facebook fan here

Write us: info@freudit.com

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