• TheDigitalJen
    Jennifer Stalzer on November 19, 2013

    Tough Lessons to Becoming a Socially Engaged Brand

    About 18 months ago, MasterCard set out on a mission to become the most socially connected and engaged brand in the payments space. As I look back, here's a look at almost ten hard lessons we learned.
  • ChristopherCarfi
    Christopher Carfi on December 9, 2013

    Five Trends That Are Going to Affect Marketing in 2014

    Agile marketing is now a common approach, and includes a healthy loop of building, testing, measuring, learning, refining and improving. There are five trends that you need to be on the lookout for when creating your marketing plans in the coming year, a combination of focus on results and a set of new channels that can connect directly to the bottom line.
  • JeffreyDachis
    Jeffrey Dachis on December 18, 2013

    Real-Time Marketing 101: It All Starts With The Trends

    Imagine you are a marketer in 1951. Harry S. Truman is president and Milton Berle is the most famous person on T.V., raking in 80% of all television viewers every night of the week. It’s the dawn of modern mass marketing. What if you were the first marketer to figure out how to use T.V. to sell stuff? You’d probably be in pretty high demand. The potential to sell your products would be effectively limitless. Well, an innovative, new marketing channel with the potential to rival television for its importance has arrived and marketers are starting to take notice.
  • Act-On Software
    Act-On Software on April 18, 2014

    Six Best Practices for Creating a Content Marketing Strategy

    Content marketing is the linchpin of demand creation –the link between brand awareness and lead generation. Done well, it builds familiarity, affinity and trust with prospective and current customers by providing information that resonates – in the right format, through the right channel, at the right time.
  • IBM Social Business
    IBM Social Business on April 18, 2014

    Patterns in Achieving Social Business Success by Leading and Pioneering Organizations

    Here is an excerpt from “Patterns in Achieving Social Business Success by Leading and Pioneering Organizations,” an exclusive whitepaper brought to you by IBM. This whitepaper provides a step-by-step guide for determining your strategy to achieving social business success.
  • Spredfast
    Spredfast Business on May 1, 2014

    The Social Media Pocket Guide: Six Ways Marketers Should Use Social

    This guide walks through each of the “Big Six” objectives and provides a tactical overview of the business case, team considerations and actual content examples and templates to use for your social media initiatives. 
Download the guide now and use it as a cheat sheet on how to get started today using proven tactics and best practices.
  • Actiance
    Actiance Compliance on May 9, 2014

    The Forrester Wave: Social Risk and Compliance Solutions, Q2 2014

    Forbidding employees to use social networks because they may expose your business to risk is no longer a viable business strategy. According to its new report published today, “The Forrester Wave™: Social Risk And Compliance Solutions, Q2 2014,” Forrester Research, Inc. says “the practice of prohibiting social [is] no longer feasible.”
  • Spredfast
    Spredfast Business on June 9, 2014

    6 Blueprints for Social Network Success

    The Big 6 social networks offer tremendous marketing opportunities - but each one is very different from the next. That’s why Spredfast has assembled the 6 Blueprints for Social Network Success. In this quick-read collection, you’ll discover more than 50 constructive, actionable marketing tips and real-world examples from major brands like Hyatt, British Airways, Target, and General Mills. Let’s start building!
  • Synapsify
    Synapsify, Inc. on June 16, 2014

    Piecing Together the Story: Synapsify’s Annual Voice of Customer Industry Survey and Insight

    This eBook reveals the common practices and challenges faced today by social media managers/directors and brand insight analyst and conducted an online survey of 70 social media and content analysts professionally recruited for this survey. The survey results are presented as part of a complimentary eBook in which insight industry professionals shed light on their challenges and common practices they face in understanding the true voice of their customers.
  • “If these walls could speak…” The phrase invokes wonder and horror, depending on who you are, and what may have happened within the walls in question. Surprisingly, we’re now at a place in history where we can envision a time where the walls might actually be able to speak. And the imagination of this scenario invokes utopian and dystopian visions of what the extreme scenarios might be.

    “If these walls could speak…”

    The phrase invokes wonder and horror, depending on who you are, and what may have happened within the walls in question.

    Surprisingly, we’re now at a place in history where we can envision a time where the walls might actually be able to speak. And the imagination of this scenario invokes utopian and dystopian visions of what the extreme scenarios might be.

    But, do we want this? What would we want our walls to say us? What if they could not only speak, but also do much more?

    Do we want them to inform us on what they see on the outside; the weather, the traffic, the people, the animals that are just on the other side of our walls?

    Do we want them to change color to reflect the mood of the people within the walls, or the style and trends of the season?

    Do we want them to virtually transport us to different places or times?

    Do we want them to show us or tell us about how they observe our lives; Our comings and goings? Our current behaviors? Our bioinformatics? And how those behaviors and bioinformatics compare to previous time periods, or the neighborhood, or the general population of your country, or the world?

    These are significant things to consider.

    But these possibilities and questions aren’t just limited to walls. What if tables, park benches, swings, appliances, cars, and nearly everything around us were suddenly able to sense, communicate, and respond? And what if they were able to sense, communicate, and respond not just with us, but with other things and people as well? The limits of these connections are continually extended outwards towards an ever extending edge. Anything that is connected can potentially sense, respond, and communicate with any other connected thing.

    The simultaneous advancement of disparate technologies are causing futuristic scenarios haphazardly drop into the present, without precedence, and without clarity. The growth of Siri, Cortana, and Google Now are bringing the reality of speaking walls, appliances, or anything else that has enough processing power and a connection to the internet into the present. But, that’s only a small fragment of the story.

    As more and more things and people become connected, the world is collectively getting smarter.

    Cities and farming are becoming smarter. For instance, what Santader, Spain is doing to help make finding a parking spot easier, creating a better citizen experience and cutting down significantly on pollution. A number of solutions are helping make vineyard management easier by monitoring plants for indications of disease, water levels, and weather information, allowing greater yields to be produced with greater reliability.

    Management and utilization of our natural resources like water and electricity are being improvedbecause of automated sensors that are optimizing the use of these precious natural resources. Smart metering is being used and deployed by both utilities and private citizens and corporations around the world.

    Advancements in retail, logistics management, and industrial control are being realized when information about customers, products, spaces, and devices can be synthesized and optimized for optimum levels of transactions.

    Homes are being automated based on established rules and conditions, and the advancements in personalized and contextual health care will revolutionize how we think of medicine in the next couple of decades.

    New Possibilities Everywhere

    Advances in available broadband, storage, computing power, and the exponential decrease in costs are allowing new possibilities to reveal themselves faster than most of us can keep up. If the trajectory holds, these core building blocks of (technology) innovation will continue to become more capable, and more available to a broader selection of people.

    In addition, these broadly available capabilities are being assembled in ever smaller packages. Not only will most of the humans on the planet be connected to the internet via their smartphones, but in the near future, small devices will be inside of us, allowing medicine to be automatically administered, and instantly relaying critical information about internal details to anywhere on the planet (or the universe).

    Increase of Digital Anarchy

    But when everything gets smarter, the potential for digital anarchy rises. For the mainstream. the technology may actually be racing ahead of the realistic appetite for its collective application(s). It’s advances are outpacing the ability for legislation to understand what’s happening, let alone put the appropriate guardrails up.

    The likelihood of new power structures that disrupt traditional institutional and geo-political boundaries seems to be increasing. As we’re increasingly connected across these boundaries, more and more questions are arises about who has jurisdiction to govern global interactions that happen in the new digital realm.

    The Discovery of a New Flame

    The discovery of fire revolutionized the world.

    (1) It introduced for the first time the ability to extend the day beyond when the sun was up.
    (2) It provided the ability to cook meat, which changed diets and body composition.
    (3) It enabled humans to stay warm when cold.
    (4) It provided protection from predators.
    (5) It created a meeting place that likely brought people together to share stories, communicate, and collaborate like they never had before.

    Human history was significantly altered. But it’s important to note that all of these new possibilities arose from the ability to harness and control the use of fire.

    Without the ability to create, manage, and extinguish fire, it is a force out of control, incredibly unreliable, and vastly destructive.

    It is likely that these things that we now recognize as fundamental took hundreds or thousands of years of trial and error to comprehend and properly apply. We’re now going through a similar process in a vastly condensed time continuum.

    In addition to fire, humans have harnessed auxiliary capabilities to perform tasks throughout human history; Beasts of burden, other humans (voluntarily or involuntarily), pick axes, the wheel, the automobile, and more recently computing power and technology.

    We are outsourcing increasingly complex tasks to our “machines”; Emerging hardware, embedded software, advancing algorithms, all armed with the collective power and capabilities of the internet are lighting new flames of possibility. Many experts expect that in the next several decades, artificial intelligence will be capable of competing with or even exceeding human intelligence. Because of this, many existing corporations, institutions, and jobs are at risk, but new ones are evolving.

    These impact of these changes are not limited to a finite few. Corporate leaders, marketers, sales people, service agents, inventory and production managers, government officials, and citizens in every socio-economic class of every country the planet will be effected by the Internet of Everything. The impacts may vary in their severity and in their timing, but the second coming of fire is now upon us.

    How will you respond?

    This post is brought to you by InnovateThink and Cisco and has been cross posted at Value Creator.

    IMG Credit: Behnaz Ferahi

    The first brands that come to mind these days when many of us think of real-time marketing are FIFA World Cup-related and the Oreo Super Bowl tweet. But those are big real-time marketing shoes to fill, especially when the national and global events that inspired them don’t happen every day. However, we don’t have to walk in their big shoes to leverage opportunities at just the right time, with just the right message, and befitting our customers’ personal values.

    The first brands that come to mind when many of us think of real-time marketing are FIFA World Cup-related and the Oreo Super Bowl tweet, to name the most recent major ones.  But those are big real-time marketing shoes to fill, especially when the national and global events that inspired them don’t happen every day.

    However, we don’t have to walk in their big shoes to leverage opportunities at just the right time, with just the right message, and befitting our customers’ personal values.  We can simply follow in the footsteps of the big brands’ real-time marketing moves.

    Building awareness, preference, and brand-consumer relationships takes an everyday focus on real-time relevancy. Brands that listen to consumers in their day-to-day lives, tap into their mindset, and engage with response-driven conversations, strengthen customer relationships, and build brand loyalty and purchasing power. 

    On Aug.5, our panel of experts will join us to explore what it takes to be in step with our customers day to day in the webinar: Transforming Everyday Events into Meaningful Experiences: Lessons in Real-Time Marketing.

    Until then, you can take a step in the right direction toward meeting your brand’s real-time marketing goals.  Planning ahead is the first step to real-time marketing opportunities because…well…oftentimes real-time marketing isn’t in real time at all.

    Say your company sells boots in a warm climate.  You know there’s going to be the first cold day of the year, which is a good reason to keep your feet warm in them.  Oscars sponsors know there will be a Best Actress, but they don’t know who or for what movie.

    Perhaps you don’t know exactly when these events will take place, but you know they’re inevitable.  Marketers who are in the starting position ready to go with compelling, genuine content get noticed, and their audience shares their content.  Planning for these real-time marketing moments allows you to be intentional and more imaginative with your content—versus some other companies who are hasty.

    So let’s get one step ahead with these six steps:

    1. Understand your audience.  If you know your ideal customers and what moves them, you’ve got to walk in their shoes.  Discover events and subjects that are important to their interests and passions.  Doing this will get you in touch with your audience so you can make your content relevant to them, your brand, and the real-time topic.

    2. Determine events that are related to your service or product.  Consider external factors that make a positive impression on your business.  These may be related to trends, the economy, holidays, seasons, or weather.

    3. Come up with a list of ideas for each event.  This is where the rubber-soled shoe meets the road.  Be intentional about how you will genuinely connect the trend, season, etc., to your business, and use your imagination to convey it.  Keep in mind that witty, unique content piques the most interest.

    4. Get through the red tape.  Run your content by your boss, your boss’ boss—whoever needs to approve it in advance—so you don’t have to bend over backward when real-time marketing moments come along.

    5. Double check and edit.  Once the real-time marketing moment arrives, don’t just put your content out there. Compare it to your brand's real-time marketing goals.  Is it appropriate and original even though you created it weeks or months ago?  Also make sure there’s nothing negative in the news that could be associated with it.

    6. Be present.  After all your work planning ahead and you’ve posted your content, be there for your customers when they engage with you.  No response, a slow response, or a shallow one is all it takes to get out of step with your customers.

    As Andrew Jackson once said, “I've got big shoes to fill.  This is my chance to do something.  I have to seize the moment.”  If you plan ahead, you will be able to seize the real-time marketing moment strategically, creatively, relevantly, and authentically.

    Again, you won’t want to miss the webinar Transforming Everyday Events into Meaningful Experiences: Lessons in Real-Time Marketing to learn other steps to take in the real-time marketing journey.  We’ll also discuss meeting consumers' expectations for timely engagement

, identifying conversations to add brand value for consumers

, best practices for discovering more moments to engage

, and setting employees up for real-time marketing success.

    "Dear Socially Stephanie, I have a great idea, but the problem is I don't have enough money to start my business. I was thinking about doing a crowdfunding campaign. Do you have any tips to help me make my campaign a success?"

    Dear Socially Stephanie,
    I have a great idea, but the problem is I don't have enough money to start my business. I was thinking about doing a crowdfunding campaign. Do you have any tips to help me make my campaign a success?

    Fundless in Fresno

    Dear Fundless in Fresno,

    Well, this is exciting! Starting a new business is like having a baby. And like getting ready for baby making, we need to get you ready for business makin'. You ready? Let's do this!

    The very first thing you need to have in place before you launch your crowdfunding campaign is an active community. Technically, you should start with building yourself an online home so that you can have a place for your community to congregate. That means a website, a blog, a YouTube page, and all the other social media channels. This way, no matter what happens in the campaign, you have a place to build interest before, during and after the campaign.

    Now, back to the community part. If you are just starting off, it's likely that you have no community around your idea what-so-ever. That's pretty normal, but we need to change that. The best way to start building a community is to get hyper focused. With that said, you want an uber-targeted following. Not sure how to do that? Check this out.  My advice for building a community is all about sharing, connecting with influencers in your industry and giving thanks to those early fans. Of course, you know me by now, so I'm also going to tell you to create awesome content that others want to share and feel connected to.

    I'd give yourself at least a few months to do this right. However, the more time you spend here the better off you'll be in the long run. Believe me, your tribe will be important in building that momentum when you launch.

    Next up is your video. This is crucial. A project without a video only has a 15% chance of success. You don't only need to have a video, your video needs to be good and engaging. You need to connect with your audience almost immediately. That means you have to communicate what your product is and why your potential backer needs to fund you from the get-go. And don't make your video too long. The kickstarter campaigns that brought in a million dollars had a median length of just shy of 4 minutes. That's not a coincidence.

    Alright, we're getting closer to launch! The next process is research and outreach. At launch you want to get your campaign in front of as many people as possible. Blogs, forums, social networks and any niche sites that are related to your campaign will be your best bet. You may even want to hire a PR company to help you here. The more blogs and sites linking back to your campaign, the more likely you are to get funded.

    Lastly, you need to get the momentum going. Your friends and family come first, then your community. If you can get them to donate at launch, than you are going to have a better chance of making the featured list and build buzz. Remember, the first week is important. Campaigns that can gain 30% of their goal in the first week are more likely to succeed. So get out there and start flapping your wings.

    Good luck!


    Do you have a question for Socially Stephanie?

    Please email SociallyStephanie@socialmediatoday.com and let Stephanie help you solve your social quandaries, queries, and boondoggles. (Questions may be edited for length and clarity.)

    Illustration by Jesse Wells

    The World Cup was the most tweeted about event in Twitter's history, with hundreds of big businesses attempting to use the tournament to help market their brand. But what can smaller businesses learn from the best, and the worst, of those tweets?

    Nearly two weeks have passed since Germany edged out against Argentina to win the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and as the dust settles, we are beginning to see how social media impacted the world’s most popular soccer game. A record 618,725 tweets per minute were sent when Germany scored its last minute goal during extra time, and many estimate that the 2014 World Cup will be the most tweeted about event in Twitter’s history.

    Throughout the tournament, corporate marketing campaigns attempted to grab a bit of attention amongst the clamor to propel their own brands forward, and there were a few good lessons to be found in those tweets. Some had it down to a re-tweeting science, others… not so much.

    The best of the best.


    Hyundai may have a tenuous connection to soccer, but they still showed us how a good campaign can seamlessly link a company and a trending event. According to HootSuite, their campaign’s hashtag #BecauseFutbol was the most positively received of any corporate campaign. Hyundai even took it a step further and created a Tumblr account to further the impact of ‘Because Futbol.’ Best of all, if you look through Hyundai’s feed, you’ll see them reaching out to influencers thanking them for their #BecauseFutbol posts. The graphics were sharp, the campaign wasn’t forced, and the company was grateful. What more could you ask for?


    Some analysts didn’t like this tweet, but I thought it was funny, simple, and effective. Twitter is built on the visceral and the quick and this tweet exemplifies that philosophy. It’s an American beer, crushing Belgian waffles, with the beer’s branding at the center of the photo. Sometimes social media marketers overthink the composition of their tweets and the use of their branding. Coors was making the same joke everyone else was, but they were willing to have a bit of fun with their brand and product, and the simplicity of the picture and tweet came through.

    Major League Baseball

    One of the coolest parts about Twitter is its responsiveness to real time events. When Uruguay’s Luis Suarez bit Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini, Twitter exploded with all sorts of bite-related jokes and comments. Most branded pages attempted to horn in on the moment as well, and if you wanted to you could trudge through hundreds of different variations of ‘Don’t bite Chiellini, bite into our (food/candy/soda)’ product pushing tweets. MLB’s page didn’t overdo it or try and make an obvious pass to a product, and because of that their tweet stood out amongst the rest.

    Adidas Football

    You can’t argue with numbers. Adidas was, by a huge margin, the winner of World Cup, at least as far as branded tweeting goes. They were the most talked about brand related to the World Cup, generating 1.59 million conversations. Part of that was because they advertised heavily during the tournament, but their #allin campaign was a huge success because it was so authentic. Watch the #allin videos, or scroll through the pictures, and it’s obvious that whoever was running this campaign really loved soccer.- and it’s that kind of authenticity that ensures the success of social campaigns.

    And because you can’t have winners without losers, the worst.


    One of the most confusing parts of the World Cup was the closing ceremony. I remember a few people wondering why flight attendants were handing out trophies and hanging out in the background. Emirates, one of the world’s largest airlines, has a history of shelling out millions to be at the forefront of sporting events, and the World Cup was no different. Still, during a World Cup mired by allegations of corruption and over-commercialization, this definitely soured the closing ceremonies, and was a shining example of how branded tweets can feel a bit dirty.


    The Uruguay biting incident happened at the end of June. June! Why would you make a vampire pun? It isn’t time to break out the Halloween catalogue just yet, JCPenney. Compare this tweet to MLB’s, and you can see what I mean about hit and miss responses to real time events. Major League Baseball’s tweet was, at the very least, related to baseball. This was just an obvious attempt to grab onto a trending tag, and it fizzled. Brands, take heed – if you don’t have anything clever or interesting to tweet, don’t tweet anything at all.


    What do the Video Music Awards have to do with soccer? Nothing. But MTV shoehorned the VMAs into the sport by trying to use the substantial buzz surrounding the World Cup to promote its own award show. Responses fell flat, and it was painfully obvious what they were trying to do. Hyundai, as I mentioned earlier, doesn’t have much to do with soccer either, but they didn’t try and force a connection. When you do, this happens, and the whole thing just feels weird.


    Delta Airlines get the uncoveted final spot on my hall of shame for making one of the earliest, and arguably biggest, gaffs during the World Cup. While trying to congratulate the USA for defeating Ghana, they used an image to represent each country. The USA got the Statue of Liberty, Ghana got a giraffe. There are no giraffes in Ghana. People were quick to pounce on the inaccuracy, which just shows you how dangerous real time marketing can be. By all means, be quick, but don’t sacrifice accuracy for speed, especially when you’re choosing something like a picture to represent an entire nation.

    Should Brands Abandon Facebook? My answer to this rhetorical question is yes - unless you are willing to rethink your Facebook strategy and spend money to sponsor your company page posts. While you do not have to spend a large sum of money, my experience has shown that Facebook organic reach is rapidly diminishing and it is almost not worth the effort to continue with the "free lunch" approach.

    My answer to this rhetorical question is yes - unless you are willing to rethink your Facebook strategy and spend money to sponsor your company page posts. While you do not have to spend a large sum of money, my experience has shown that Facebook organic reach is rapidly diminishing and it is almost not worth the effort to continue with the "free lunch" approach.

    This post is based on a couple of articles that I read recently, and my experience with B2B brands where engaging customers is typically harder than with consumer brands and where the number of followers are generally lower and lMy answer to this rhetorical question is yes - unless you are willing to rethink your Facebook strategy and spend money to sponsor your company page posts. While you do not have to spend a large sum of money, my experience has shown that Facebook organic reach is rapidly diminishing and it is almost not worth the effort to continue with the "free lunch" approach.

    As noted in an article titled "Facebook Puts Everyone on Notice about the Death of Organic Reach" by Ewan Spence in Forbes.com last month, the conclusion was that "the free ride and access to Facebook’s user base is coming to an end." Ewan also referenced an article from Social@Ogilvy that proves the point in a dramatic way. Ogilvy has analyzed the organic reach of 100 brand pages on Facebook and identified that the average organic reach has dropped from 12% in October 2013 to 6% in February 2014. Based on this trend line, the organic reach should be near zero by the end of 2014.

    In the accompanying whitepaper, Facebook Zero, Ogilvy notes that the "power in Facebook remains its potency to generate earned (organic) conversation and engagement", and concludes that you should not over commit to a single social platform while offering specific recommendations for action based on the "new world order" in the Facebook channel. Anyone interested in maintaining their edge in social media needs to read this whitepaper.

    Real Life Experience

    In my experience over the last 2 1/2 years for managing the social media accounts for a $1 billion staffing company, I have had a first hand view into the declining reach of Facebook - especially when compared with the rising influence of LinkedIn Company Pages. Since I have been analyzing my analytics every week during this period, I had a front row seat able to the steady decline. For both LinkedIn and Facebook, I was posting at least 5 times per week - and both accounts had increasing numbers of Followers. In March 2013, the number of impressions were fairly close for both channels. But over the next 15 months, impressions in the Facebook channel dropped by half while the impressions in the LinkedIn Company Page channel increased by nearly 4 times.

    So, What Should Brands Do?

    The short answer is to "pay up" as it is becoming clear that efforts to achieve organic or free traffic from Facebook is probably not worth the effort any longer. And if you really want to reach and engage your most loyal customers and potential prospects, you will have to pay. If you are not willing to pay up, then I recommend that brands refocus their efforts on the LinkedIn Company Page channel or other social channels, and de-emphasize the efforts for Facebook.

    In an experiment where I spent just $10 of my own money to sponsor two different Facebook posts in two consecutive months, I proved that paying even a little can have a dramatic impact on overall reach. In the 2 months where I did my testing, I spent $5 to sponsor 1 of 20 or so total posts for that month. My experiment yielded a paid reach that was 3.5 times more than total monthly organic reach and paid impressions that were 4.7 times more than the total monthly organic reach.

    Imagine what you could do with even a relatively small budget and sponsored several paid posts each month! At the very least, knowledgeable social media managers need to understand the new dynamics of the Facebook channel and recognize that they should run their own experiments to see what works best for their brands and their budget.