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Kylie Bartlett: From the streets to social media.

When Kylie Bartlett was 18 she thought her life was pointless and directionless. She was wandering the streets not only trying to find a purpose, but also trying to find somewhere to live.

Three years later, she had started her first business, and 12 months after that bought her first home. Now, many years later, she is one of Australia’s leading social media experts, has just finished production of an online TV series – SME TV – helping small businesses solve social media problems, and has self-published her first business book, Friends with Benefits.

I had a teacher tell me I was stupid and that the only way I could possibly attend university would be ‘serving chips in the canteen’.

So, what changed?

“To be honest I went to a three-hour motivational talk at the Wayne Berry Top Gun Business Academy and I saw how I could change my mindset,” Bartlett says. “I became obsessed with psychology and started studying everything on the subject.

“Part of my problem was that at school I had plenty of energy but I wasn’t really interested in the subject matter. I was constantly getting suspended and Dad wanted to put me in the army to give me direction. I had a teacher tell me I was stupid and that the only way I could possibly attend university would be ‘serving chips in the canteen’.”

Bartlett took on a series of jobs while studying various psychology courses and stumbled into the area of training. She freelanced for a couple of years before realising she could go out on her own.

“It was a big decision to tell clients that I had been working for that now I was going to be a competitor to them,” she says. “I started my company, Pinnacle Training Solutions, with $5000 to my name and I was eight weeks pregnant.

“When I won my first contract, which was a six-figure sum, it put me on the path to success and by the end of my third year I was turning over in excess of one million dollars a year.”

Bartlett sold her company just before the GFC for a healthy sum and then had to decide what to do next. She travelled to America to learn about social media where she spent years studying with experts Steve Harrison and Eben Pagan.

“I knew social media was going to be big and I thought I am very good at connecting and networking,” she says. “I just wanted to know more about social media so I thought I would head off to the States where they were more advanced than us.”

Bartlett is now flown around the world to guide companies on social media strategy and saw making a TV series as the next logical step.

“The small business TV show runs for 12 episodes and I deliberately targeted small businesses that have a strong offline presence to help them transgress to an equally strong online presence,” Bartlett says. “The point was to separate them from their competitors and show how they can make money online too no matter what their service or product.”

Bartlett concentrated on her home town of Geelong after receiving financial support from the Geelong Chamber of Commerce.

“I wanted to start off local and then roll out the show across Australia,” she says. “What a lot of small businesses still struggle with is that there is no gatekeeper involved, it is just you and the public. There is no frame of reference or regulatory body when it comes to social media so you need a definitive strategy to be able to build your audience.”

Jack Rabbit vineyard, King of the Castle cafe, Geelong Animal Welfare Society and Truffleduck were among the businesses she worked with.

“I was very sceptical about social media,” says Deb Nash, co-owner of Truffleduck. “Kylie definitely had to win me over and she has.” The catering business, which was established in 1988, had no social media presence until Bartlett came in to help.

“We started working with Kylie 18 months ago and she set up a social media strategy for us to interact not only with our customers but also other local businesses. We have a strategy for our daily content, how to respond to customers and how to interact with businesses in the area.

“We use Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and our business has grown substantially from this.”

Bartlett believes “small is the new big” and that the evolution of social media is changing so fast it is hard for big companies to evolve at the same pace as a small business can.

“Corporates struggle to react fast enough to an issue and by the time they have had all their meetings and planned their strategy, social media has already taken over,” she says.

“We are all our own media company. You need to think carefully about your business culture, what it stands for and also what it stands against. You need to plan carefully to get your content strategy right internally before you voice it externally.”

Henry Sapiecha
black diamonds on white line

“While we are shutting down wearehunted.com, we will continue to create services that will delight you, as part of the Twitter team,” the company said in a statement.

We Are Hunted founders Richard Slatter, Stephen Phillips and Michael Doherty

“There’s no question that Twitter and music go well together.

“Artists turn to Twitter first to connect with fans, and people share and discover new songs and albums every day. We can’t wait to share what we’ve been working on at Twitter.”

We Are Hunted was founded in 2007 by Stephen Phillips, Richard Slatter, Michael Doherty and Nick Crocker and recently relocated to San Francisco.

None of the trio immediately expanded on what the deal would mean for Twitter.

But it has increased rumours of a new Twitter app, potentially allowing users to discover popular new artists, listen to or even buy music.

US radio identity and American Idol host Ryan Seacrest recently revealed he’d been using a yet-to-be-released Twitter music app.

“Playing with Twitter’s new music app (yes it’s real!) … there’s a serious dance party happening at idol right now,” he tweeted. “Shows what artists are trending, also has up-and-coming artists.”

Seacrest’s comments were retweeted by Twitter, all but confirming their veracity.

It comes as the major social networks all look to expand their services, offering users a wider, richer experience than merely connecting with friends.

Twitter has bought a number of other tech start-ups over the past year, including the video tool Vine, which allows users to shoot and post short clips.

Facebook has also been expanding its range of applications, including the photo site Instagram and the new Graph Search which allows users to search the Facebook site more thoroughly.


Henry Sapiecha


Cloud 9 for the young Nick D’Aloisio techie

At just 17, former Perth and Melbourne resident Nick D’Aloisio is now one of the world’s youngest self-made multimillionaires, after tech giant Yahoo acquired his firm for a reported $28.7 million.

His technology Summly aims to change the way we read emails, news articles or any other text on our computers and smartphones by using algorithms to summarise text in under 400 characters.

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I like shoes, I will buy a new pair of Nike trainers and I’ll probably get a new computer but at the moment I just want to save and bank it. I don’t have many living expenses.

Summly founder Nick D’Aloisio.

Yahoo did not disclose the terms of the deal, but The Wall Street Journal‘s AllThingsD blog said Yahoo would pay $US30 million ($28.7 million), mostly in cash, with 10 per cent in stock.

Nick D'Aloisio.
Summly founder Nick D’Aloisio, 17.

Before the Yahoo deal, D’Aloisio received a collective $US1.5 million in investment funds from people including celebrities Ashton Kutcher and Stephen Fry and billionaire Li Ka-shing.

Speaking from his family home in London, where he has lived since leaving Australia when he was seven, D’Aloisio said he was excited about the deal with Yahoo, believing it would help assist in developing the Summly technology further and integrating it with Yahoo’s offerings.

His technology summarises text using algorithmic technologies, allowing for simplified dot point summaries of anything on the web such as search results. It has many uses and could even be used to summarise emails, social networking posts and product descriptions.

The Summly app.
The Summly app.

The deal with Yahoo will see his company’s iPhone app Summly shut down. D’Aloisio said the app had been downloaded almost 1 million times in the past five months and generated about 90 million summaries.

While active it received Apple’s Best Apps of 2012 award for Intuitive Touch and had a contract to display content from News Corp publications.
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The purchase has led some in the media to question why Yahoo would want to acquire the technology. Technology news website Wired suggested it was so that Yahoo could be cool again.

The Summly app summarised news in under 400 words.
The Summly app summarised online news articles in under 400 characters.

“There’s no logical explanation for Yahoo’s reported $US30 million acquisition of Summly,” wrote Wired‘s Ryan Tate. “The team and technology are unexceptional and the app itself will be shut down. What Yahoo really gets for its big cheque is momentum and buzz. In other words, Yahoo bought Summly to appear cool again.”

D’Aloisio said it was “technically true” that he was now a millionaire after sealing the Yahoo deal, but added that he had no immediate plans to do anything with the money.

“Obviously the money is going to be in a fund and I’ll work with my parents to save it,’ he said. “I’m just focused now on working for Yahoo and kind of taking everything to the next level.

“I like shoes, I will buy a new pair of Nike trainers and I’ll probably get a new computer but at the moment I just want to save and bank it. I don’t have many living expenses,” he told the London Evening Standard.

D’Aloisio told Fairfax Media last year that he began his journey with computers when he was eight, using Apple’s movie making software iMovie before progressing to the more professional video software Final Cut Pro.

“I basically begged my parents for six months to get [an Apple] computer,” he said of his father, an investment banker, and his mother, a lawyer. “And when I finally got it, instead of using it for just watching videos or browsing the web, I kind of had an interest to create things.”

A lot of D’Aloisio’s coverage in the media has been positive, with some describing him as “telegenic” and a “wunderkind“. But the coverage wasn’t always so glowing.

In 2011 an app writer for technology website Gizmodo, Casey Chan, published D’Aloisio’s Trimit app (now Summly) as “worst app of the week” after D’Aloisio bombarded his office with emails.

“Over the course of a few days, D’Aloisio … barraged me with over a hundred emails about Trimit,” Chan said in a post entitled “How I made a 15-year-old app developer cry“.

“I saw him go from calm to excited to a nervous wreck …” (In comparison, Fairfax was sent six emails chasing up when last year’s article would be published.)

Asked for a response last year to the Gizmodo post, D’Aloisio said his actions occurred at a “very early stage of development”. “Obviously I’m still learning and really excited about everything that’s happened with Summly,” he said. “Dealing with the current media attention is something I’m unexpectedly going to have to get used to.”

In a statement, Yahoo said it was excited to share that it was acquiring Summly and that D’Aloisio and a team would join the technology giant “in the coming weeks”.

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D’Aloisio will be based at Yahoo’s central London office.

“At the age of 15, Nick D’Aloisio created the Summly app at his home in London,” Yahoo said in its statement. “It started with an insight — that we live in a world of constant information and need new ways to simplify how we find the stories that are important to us, at a glance.”

Yahoo said most articles and web pages were formatted for browsing with mouse clicks and that “the ability to skim them on a phone or a tablet can be a real challenge — we want easier ways to identify what’s important to us”.

Former Google executive Marissa Mayer took over at Yahoo in July 2012 as part of efforts by the struggling internet search pioneer to reinvent itself.

D’Aloisio said he was excited to be working with Mayer.

“The thing that’s really exciting me about Yahoo is the fact that Marissa Mayer is now their CEO, who is a product person,” he said.

With AFP

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha