• Russ Fradin
    Russ Fradin on July 29, 2014

    Why Employee Advocacy Matters

    Employee advocacy is an emerging new marketing strategy where companies empower their influential employees to authentically distribute brand approved content, create original content, and in turn earn recognition and rewards for their activity and participation.
  • alexmoffit
    Alex Moffit on September 4, 2014

    John Doerr on OKRs and Goal Setting at Google and Intel [VIDEO]

    “Ideas are precious, but they’re relatively easy. It’s execution that’s everything,” says John Doerr, partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and the man who introduced Objective & Key Results (OKRs) to Google. Google widely credits OKRs for helping the company grow from 40 to 40,000 employees. Other businesses including LinkedIn and Twitter have also embraced OKRs.
  • Greg Gerik
    Greg Gerik on September 16, 2014

    Shaking Up Social: Attending the Social Shake-Up in Atlanta

    Last year, the Social Shake-Up was one of the best social conferences to attend and this year promises to be even better. Here are a few of the hottest topics and sessions at the Shake-Up this year that are sure to deliver and drive this industry forward.
  • ddarnbrough
    Drew Darnbrough on September 19, 2014

    The Power of Hindsight: Using Historical Twitter Data to Make Better Decisions

    WEBINAR: Tuesday, September 23rd, 11:30am EDT How many times have you looked back and thought, “If only I’d known x”? We’ve all experienced the power of hindsight, and luckily now businesses can harness that power by analyzing historical social data.
  • Twitter announced on its blog that it is testing a way to discover and buy products directly on Twitter. This shows how social media is taking center stage as a discovery platform, and it follows logically that sometimes users are going to want to buy the things they discover.

    Recently, Twitter announced on its blog that it is testing a way to discover and buy products directly on Twitter. 

    It has selected a few partners for the limited beta, and it isn't very widespread yet. While we have noted similar rollouts before here at SocialFlow, this is again worth highlighting because it shows how social media is taking center stage as a discovery platform, and it follows logically that sometimes users are going to want to buy the things they discover. 

    This is in line with Twitter's move to change its layout, offer expanded media in-line and now, apply a set of easy-to-execute actions to these offerings. So, while this move has been tried and telegraphed for a while, it should signal a commitment to shorten the process of getting from the "top-of-the-funnel" discovery elements of social to the "intent-based" check-out sections of the funnel. In a very short time, the concept of a funnel won't even apply in any rational sense, and any user can be counted as a buyer or a willing participant for your brand - given that certain conditions are present. 

    This opportunity isn't without strings attached. As with anything, there is a cost of doing business - and in this case, a penalty for doing business the wrong way. Because the context of a user is going to determine the PROBABILITY that they will interact with what you're trying to share, the platforms are going to have to advocate on behalf of the user much more forcefully. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are openly informing marketers with the changes they are making to their APIs. By allowing more fine control over who can see a message, they are signaling the requirement that marketers not blast way at users without regard for the experience the users of these platforms are having. The platforms want you to minimize your collateral damage, and to do some in both the earned and paid approaches to social media marketing. 

    It makes a lot of sense to also assume that if you make the experience worse for the users by being off-topic and ill-timed, the algorithms which act as the gate between you and your audience will become hostile to your chances of using social media to its full marketing potential. These platforms are not going to want to give wide reach to brands which have a track record of diluting the social experience and take up the spots in the feeds which could go to brands which are showing success and can likely continue paying the platforms for the marketing reach afforded to them. 

    This opens up a lot of opportunity to gain ground if you can get this right before your competitors. By marketing in such a way that minimizes noise, targets willing converts to your message, and spending less (and hopefully nearly nothing) on extraneous "fluff" metrics which do not help your bottom line - you can see outsized returns from social media marketing. 

    There is no denying that the internet has revolutionized the face of modern business. As an entrepreneur, you must appreciate the need to tap into the 2.5 billion users’ internet platform, which calls for online presence.

    New Age of SEO

    However, the days of indexing of web pages for the internet are long gone. With upgrading of Google algorithms every other day, search engine optimization (SEO) has become the only way to make money online.

    In essence, your website must rank highly to draw more traffic leading to sales conversion and a higher ROI. However, there is a problem here; while most SEO experts concentrate on techniques to get your website on the first page of Google, they forget that the main problem could be somewhere else.

    The Elephant in the Room; Web Design

    If you have been struggling to get traffic to your websitedespite heavy investment in SEO, there is a high likelihood that the problem is in your website’s design. This situation has instigated a dirty war between web designers on one-hand and SEO gurus on the other.

    Web designers claim that SEOs are just after manipulating ranking by hook or crook which to a large extent is true. On the other hand, SEO masters throw salvos back claiming web designers have no idea about SEO and their poor coding makes life hard in optimizing clients’ websites for search engines.

    A Meeting Point for SEO and Web Design

    Clearly, these battles do not help your business websiteand you will continue losing traffic as these two professions battle. The surprising thing is that with a good web designer, you can get SEO integrated right from the beginning.

    In essence, a marriage between SEO and web design is possible and it nullifies all these tirades. Remember that a fancy website is not what you want but you want a great website that is user friendly. This is what synergy of these two aspects brings to the table.

    A Web designer’s SEO Checklist

    So, how can your web designer amalgamate these two at the initial stages? Here is a look:

    ·         Site-Wide SEO Consideration: Considerations here include accessibility highlighting pagination, 404 errors, and site speed among other issues. Other factors to check include URL structure, which highlights domain extensions, URL parameters among other areas. Finally, the designer checks sitemaps including video, HTML, XML, and image sitemaps.

    ·         On- page SEO: To help optimize a page for Google, a web designer works on keywords including researching, their use in titles, in headings, and in content. The content is also a highlight in on-page SEO with focus being on length, type, search engine’s ability to crawl it, freshness among other factors. Images, social media snippets, and local search are also considered.

    ·         Off-Page SEO: Focus here shifts to bad links, diversity no follow links, anchor texts and authority of links to ensure they add value to your website.

    Why Integrate WEB Design and SEO?

    Your business is all about efficiency and the bottom-line. When you fuse SEO into web design, you save money that would have been used in future SEO campaigns.

    What’s more your businesses websiteis already optimized immediately it is indexed meaning more clients from the initial stages. You will then be able to grow your customer base from here leading to high ROI. So, make sure you tell your professional web designer what you want from the start. 

    Keeping in touch with current events is paramount in today's social world, showing your followers that you know what is going on in the world helps them feel closer to you as a brand. That's why the power of "Real Time Marketing" is important.

    The power of Real Time Marketing in today’s world is priceless. It is all about being seen at the right time when a certain topic is all the rage. Companies are cashing in on these moments via social media and sending out creative posts, tweets and images. When done right, these forms of communication are going viral and giving huge exposure to the brands that are putting them out there.

    By doing this, companies are saying to their communities that they are paying attention to what is going on in the world, which is one of the top priorities and reasons we participate in social media. It’s keeping their fans interested in their posts and building brand awareness for these companies.

    They usually are involved in events that are a bit more light hearted, as you don't want to be creating too much controversy around your brand with inappropriate comments on sensitive subjects. A few examples of some great real time posting have happened during sporting events, award shows and even some political debates.
     
    Arby’s in America had this Tweet during the Grammy Awards, which in turn prompted this reply from Pharrell Williams. You can see this was retweeted over 76,000 times.
     

     
     
    The World Cup in Brazil provided many real time marketing moments and none more popular than the Luis Suarez biting incident, best summed up by Snickers.
     

     
     
    The Superbowl always generates numerous tweets from American companies trying to get their name in the news and help them going viral. We quite enjoyed this exchange between JCPenny and Snickers.
     

     

     
     
    Lastly we have Oreo, who are close to being the kings of Real Time Marketing with their ingenious Tweets - one being the Royal babies arrival and the other during the Superbowl in 2013, which gathered some great traction for them.
     

     

     
    So if you want to put yourself in front of new, potential followers and customers, make sure you keep on track with current events and have your social media account handy, you never know when a real time event will help you reach more followers.

    “We were continually frustrated by the inability to easily see all the social media content from events we had attended, gathered together in one place,” says Ronny Elkayam, co-founder and CEO of Moment.me, the automatic album maker gone mobile microsite for events.

    Conferences such as The Social Shake-Up 2014 provide great opportunities to network and learn, but it can be hard for attendees, as well as event organizers, to gather the whole experience of them in one place.

    “We were continually frustrated by the inability to easily see all the social media content from events we had attended, gathered together in one place. We had to check multiple different feeds and hashtags, or email several guests to ask them to send us their photos,” says Ronny Elkayam, co-founder and CEO of Moment.me, the automatic album maker gone mobile microsite for events.

    Since launching in September 2012, the Tel Aviv-based social startup has expanded to help event planners and business owners use the same aggregated social media content to engage with their target audience.

    “It’s all been a natural extension of the same vision, where we believe that technology shouldn’t replace or take away from the live experience, but enhance it,” says Elkayam, who co-founded Moment.me with fellow veterans of the Israeli startup ecosystem Eilon Tirosh and Boaz Adato. “Our solution, whether for personal or business use, enriches the real-life event for everyone. It can also be used to help brands and businesses interact more effectively with their target audience and build the kind of relationships that lead to higher conversion rates.”

    Through the Moment.me algorithm, the platform automatically scans major social networks and your smartphone camera roll to aggregate all of the data available associated with a given event. You can pull in posts, tweets, pictures, Vines, and Facebook uploads made by all of your clients, prospects, colleagues, and friends at a particular event. So whether it’s the #SocialShakeup, a concert, a music festival, a party, or you name it, Moment.me creates a panoramic view of the experience for everyone. For event organizers, or bloggers like myself, it allows for the easy development of a mobile site housing all the digital content relating to that event.

    “Our mobile microsites have been used at countless networking and meet-up events designed to connect like-minded people,” Elkayam says. “The microsite, with its live, integrated social media feed, makes the perfect fit for these socially-oriented events.”

    At the Habit Summit 2014, Elkayam says participants were able to participate in and keep constantly up to date with the social media conversations going on around them, live at the conference. From tweets and Facebook statuses, to Instagram photos and videos of the lectures, everything that went on was immediately updated to the mobile microsite. It also included interactive social media features like polling on the best talks, competitions for the best tweet and photo of the summit, and options to share the event with friends and family who weren’t attending.

    Users can also RSVP to a Moment.me event; see who else is attending; sign in to get their own personalized view of the event; view a summary of the event; invite friends to the event; see a map of where it’s located; look at the most popular images and videos, which are those where the heart has been clicked; and create a quick highlight reel of their favorite event photos and videos.

    “All these tools and features helped the organizers of the Habit Summit up their engagement levels at the conference, as well as direct the social media conversation more effectively by giving them a 360-degree overview of all the content that was being posted about their event,” says Elkayam. “The mobile site became a dynamic online place that did more than allow participants to see a copy of the speaking agenda; it provided a place where social media became the springboard for enhancing the overall experience of the summit and extending its impact moving forward.”

    While there are other solutions out there that help give event planners a mobile presence for their event, others allow them to use social media for more effective engagement. Then some offer their users customer outreach and marketing tools. Moment.me is the only app to offer all of these tools and solutions in one solution, and more importantly, to offer that solution at an affordable rate, which is free for basic microsite creation. There are several premium account options starting at $8 monthly for added features like greater customization, more complex analytics, longer storage, and advanced social media content moderation.

    “We recently debuted a dedicated account for conferences, where for the affordable monthly fee of $40, conference organizers can enjoy a host of tailored services like advanced analytics, year-round hosting, and customizable tabs like agenda, floor plan, or speaker list,” Elkayam says.

    Moment.me’s aims to expand its user base by partnering with major players in different verticals and industries. Its recent partnership with leading web development platform, Wix.com, is the first step in this direction. The partnership gives them access to more than 53 million new users who will be able to use the service within their existing Wix website.

    “Our solution is designed to be easy to use for anyone looking to engage more effectively with consumers at any event. Our users can leverage the social media content at their disposal to increase engagement. They can implement social media competitions, like ‘best selfie of the night,’ ‘best tweet of the conference,’ or ‘most shared status,’ of the day, which not only reward social media influencers, but also encourage engagement.”

    To take the instant videos and GIFs further, uses can incorporate that content into Moment.me’s integrated email marketing tool to follow up with everyone that attended the event.

    Check out The Social Shake-Up 2014 Moment.me event I created:

    Please join me on this tool so we can get a 360-degree view of social business (iPhone and Android), besides the skyline we’re seeing at W Atlanta - Midtown.

     

    We recently surveyed 347 Social Media Today members online, and interviewed four key individuals who self-identify as social change agents. Whether leading a large corporate brand outside its walls, or driving enterprise-wide social collaboration from a cubicle within, these innovative, very public professionals whom we studied are catapulting career opportunities far into the future.

    There's no shortage of proof that social is beneficial for business—and it’s here to stay. Now we have evidence that it’s influencing long-term career growth for social change agents, too, and we’re announcing it at The Social Shake-Up 2014.

    We recently surveyed 347 Social Media Today members online, and interviewed four key individuals who self-identify as social change agents. Whether leading a large corporate brand outside its walls, or driving enterprise-wide social collaboration from a cubicle within, these innovative, very public professionals whom we studied are catapulting career opportunities far into the future. The study focused on the impact a social skill set has on individual career performance and options. These skills include collaborative and network technologies, storytelling, crowd-sourcing across geographies and companies, as well as personal values placed on transparency and authenticity.

    While we conducted the survey, it was Susan Scrupski’s pioneering work that motivated us. Her efforts started in 2009 with The 2.0 Adoption Council, which led to the founding of Change Agents Worldwide, a network of forward-thinking social champions around the world.

    Professionals in advertising, marketing, PR, and any discipline that requires a thorough understanding of social media will find the results mostly positive and, at times, probably surprising, like we did.

    Survey Highlights

    • The majority of survey respondents are passionate about the values of social. It’s not just a job for many. Many survey respondents shared their personal stories on how they took career risks to stand up for their convictions.
    • By an overwhelming majority, survey respondents see the social career occupation as positive, leading to greater visibility and opportunities internally and externally.
    • Those who indicated that they saw themselves as Change Agents were more likely to be the face of their brand, found Social to be a career boosting asset, and reported they are part of a team dedicated to social initiatives.

    When Social Media Today conducted the 2014 Social Change Agent web survey from July 17 to 28, 2014, we were pleasantly amazed by the investment and risks social change agents have taken to stand up for their beliefs about social.

    First of all, we couldn’t be more proud of the 57 percent of respondents who self-identify as Social Change Agents. In addition, an overwhelming 71 percent of respondents reported they definitely had been in a situation or situations where they had to defend the values of social with colleagues. Similarly, 62 percent reported they had to defend the values of social to a superior. What shocked us is the 20 percent who answered yes to, “Has there ever been a time that you felt you’d be willing to lose your job rather than compromise your convictions about social?”

    Taken together, what does it all mean? Clearly, social is not only for the CTO to lead anymore. The question that professionals in all industries should be asking themselves today is, “Do I want to lead my industry in embracing social business, or do I want to help them play catch-up with the competition?” From a strategic perspective the answer is straightforward: the first player in an industry to establish a comprehensive social business strategy gains advantages over their competitors.

    From a practical perspective, people and organizations that are not on the social business boat have to make a commitment of time and resources to get on board. Not every company can allocate the needed resources to do so. Every business has to be smart about its own unique situation and set of challenges. That being said, the imperative to business leaders is to look for and reach out to the internal or external social change agents. They can help get the social business boat started.

    Are you the captain of social business at your organization, or are you ready to get on board? See the full survey results below, and tweet with us at #socialshakeup to get in on the real-time Twitter conversation.