• Act-On Software
    Act-On Software on November 18, 2014

    The Rules of Engagement on Facebook

    If you want to make your content sharable and searchable on Facebook, you need to have a thorough understanding of Facebook principles and the general rules that apply to content and behavior.
  • With content and commentary created on a 24-hour basis, there’s no such thing as a one-off, standalone story anymore.

    Barack Obama + Cuddles = ?

    With the conclusion of the G20 summit and APEC the week previous, there’s been no shortage of opportunities to play Word Cloud Mad Libs — Geopolitical Edition. As world leaders geared up for moments of great cooperation (and occasionally great awkwardness), we’ve been monitoring various conversations with our social listening tool for key takeaways from Brisbane. Here’s the Obama word cloud:

    G20 Social listening

    Now, it’s not every day that we see the word “cuddles” in such close proximity to Barack Obama.  Upon further investigation (read: clicking on the word “cuddles” to dig into the tweets, comments and other sources of social convo), I discovered that koalas were being trained to cuddle with world leaders — hmm.  An Australian riff on China’s panda diplomacy, perhaps? In the lead up to the marsupials having their moment with Barack, Vladimir, Angela and frenemies, thousands of tweets went out of the koalas being groomed at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary:

    G20 Social listening

    I was pretty intrigued by the effort that might have gone into koala diplomacy training, but learned from early news reports that koalas are unfazed by power and are used to greeting dignitaries, from Pope John Paul II to John Travolta.  Who knew?  It turns out that preparing for G20 simply involved cuddling by humans for no more than 30 minutes a day – after all, mustn’t interrupt the 20 hours of sleep koalas need every day.  Nobody likes a grumpy koala, least of all the world leader holding one.

    Was the hope that cuddling koalas during the summit would reset relationships and lay gripes and grudges to rest?  If so, the koalas were a triumph – and perhaps a little too effective. As Vladimir Putin and Tony Abbott spent some koala-ty time together, Abbott seemed to forget all about “shirtfronting” Putin (a rugby term for chest-bumping an opponent to the ground), as he had promised journalists after MH17 crashed near the Russia-Ukraine border. As a result, another field day on Twitter ensued with the koalas front and center.

    So what have we learned here? With content and commentary created on a 24-hour basis, there’s no such thing as a one-off, standalone story anymore. News bites are threaded together in the most unexpected ways, and every day presents moments to get in on the conversation. If koalas can get in the middle of the continued political fallout from the downing of a passenger plane, it’s possible that there are unexpected but pertinent conversations happening around issues important to us and our brands – all we have to do is find them.

    In short: an evolving social listening program is no longer a nice to have — it’s a must.  Just ask the koalas.

     

    While wearable tech introduces new security concerns, that shouldn’t stop organizations from considering these devices. Research the benefits and incorporate the ones that make sense. Work closely with IT in order to build security solutions, allowing you to gain the productivity of new technology without compromising your data in the process.

    Do you remember when cell phones just made phone calls, watches just told the time and glasses only improved vision? We’ve come a long way since then. Now our phones stream videos, take pictures and play music. Our watches check our heart rate and our glasses record video. We aren’t satisfied with devices that only do one thing. As a result, we’re seeing an increasing number of ‘smart’ things that allow us to multitask with one single gadget.

    The latest tech trend seems to be wearable devices, like the Apple Watch, Nike’s FuelBand or Google Glass. These wearable devices widen the possibilities of interconnectivity. Not to mention, their functionality has greatly improved productivity and quality of work. It’s for these reasons they’ve been adopted by the workforce. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) wasn’t initially popular, but once people realised the benefits of using personal devices at work, instead of out-dated company issued devices, organisations started to jump on board.

    However, the concerns with using your smartphone and tablet at work also apply to wearable technology, namely cyber security. Let’s examine Google Glass as an example. Glass has the ability to record video and sound, which raises the possibility that confidential information could be recorded and transferred outside the company network. Data in the wrong hands could destroy the reputation of an organisation overnight. If a hacker accesses the device, they could potentially see and hear everything its user does. Having that level of control, the hacker could then access all of the user's information. They would know details from the user’s online accounts and know his or her passwords. All of this would happen without the user knowing they were being monitored at all times. Pretty scary.  

    Glass is only one example. Smartwatches are just as vulnerable and can be exploited to a similar extent, as they have audio recording features. Despite all of this, businesses can't let security get in the way of mobility and convenience. There are lots of benefits that come from wearable devices. Right now it may be calorie counting and video recording, but just as mobile technology exploded, so will wearable technology.

    These gadgets are already beginning to make their way into offices, so now is the time to prepare for implementation. One of the first places to start is creating organisational rules and policies regarding these wearable devices, or even BYOD in general. First, organisations will need to have a proper understanding of how each of these devices work. For example, many smartwatches transfer information or make calls via a connection to a mobile phone. Without the phone, the watch’s capabilities are drastically limited. If your company already allows phones, and has systems in place to deal with them, then adding smartwatches won’t change much. However, if smartphones aren't allowed at work due to the risks of audio recording and storage, then a smartwatch shouldn’t be allowed either. Also, if you are using Mobile Device Management (MDM), check your features. Your MDM may lock your phone’s camera so pictures can’t be taken at work. However, this wouldn’t stop a watch from taking and storing photos. An organisation has to consider every angle when building a BYOD, or wearable technology, policy.

    After creating acceptable usage policies, an organisation should upgrade its network security. Modern solutions designed to deal with wearable tech will help prevent data theft or data loss. There are advanced security options that analyze data flows and identify the type of devices involved during a data transfer. This could alert administrators to transfers occurring outside of the network, whether incoming or outgoing. This would also allow administrators to learn which devices are on the network, and if anything unauthorized is being used.

    Again, while wearable tech introduces new security concerns, that shouldn’t stop organisations from considering these devices. There is no need to find a way to include every new device. Research the benefits and incorporate the ones that make sense. Work closely with IT in order to build security solutions, allowing you to gain the productivity of new technology without compromising your data in the process.

    YouTube is one of the best ways to reach a target audience. It’s a video search engine based on keywords from users who want to find specific videos. Simply uploading a lot of video does not guarantee success, but the following tips on viral video marketing strategies can help build your following.

    YouTube is one of the best ways to reach a target audience. It’s a video search engine based on keywords from users who want to find specific videos. Simply uploading a lot of video does not guarantee success, but the following tips on viral video marketing strategies can help build your following.

    Make a compelling niche video.

    Not every video goes viral because not all videos offer quality niche content. Be sure to offer something original that followers cannot find anywhere else online. If a video is generic it may get lost in the shuffle. It has a better chance of standing out if the content is unique and worth posting on social media.

    Use thorough video descriptions.

    Always give complete descriptions to your videos that you upload to YouTube. Mention who is in the video and explain the subject matter in as much detail as possible. Be sure to add a link to your website.

    Add tags that identify your video’s keywords.

    YouTube video tags s are essentially the same as keywords. Like descriptions, the tags can be added in the video manager section of your account.

    Promote your video through social networks.

    One of the most important things you can do to promote your videos is to share your videos on social networks like Facebook, Google+, and Twitter. When people give you positive responses, reply to their comments by encouraging them to share the videos with others who have similar interests.

    Engage in conversations with followers on YouTube.

    People sometimes forget that YouTube itself is a social network and that followers can post comments underneath your video. Make sure to respond to their comments and direct them to your website for more calls to action.

    Transcribe your video so that it gets indexed by search engines.

    In your video manager you can “add captions” and “create a transcript file,” which allow you to type the text of your video dialogue. You should also include transcriptions for which transcription services might be required, or summaries on your web pages so that Google and other search engines will index them.

    Bloomua / Shutterstock.com

    I have learned the difference between Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing: SEO is tactical, SEM is strategic.

    I just discovered that Search Engine Marketing (SEM) isn’t simply a rebrand of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), a marketing discipline that is almost universally damned as being shifty, black-hat, and more than just a little shady.  What Joe’s Pizza Shack probably needs is an SEO consultant; what Siemens needs is a seasoned SEM expert who not only understands all the tech behind how to make a website hum but also the business processes, ego-wrestling, accountability, and reporting required to seduce Enterprise to where they need to be to take search to the next level, to take what is probably being done ad hoc by legions of System Admins, Website Developers, Coders, E-Commerce gurus, and Designers, and bring it all into focus with an integrated and holistic plan, pathway, and strategy.

    Apparently, when you transition from being a practitioner of SEO to an SEM consultant, you go from spending 90% of your time on code-fu and only 10% on loving on your client to closer to 80% of your time being a Search Marketing evangelist, wooing the Powers that Be into understanding why they must take (lots of) money away from other things in order to put it into what might seem a little like snake oil to the uninitiated.

    Similar to the law of conservation of mass, enterprises have the law of conservation of budget. The law implies that budget can neither be created nor destroyed, although it may be rearranged, or the entities associated with it may be changed in form. If you’re going to implement a serious SEM campaign, you’re going to need to jack the funds from somewhere (and someone) else.

    What my colleagues Mike Moran and Bill Hunt do on a daily basis is business consulting. They’re politicians, able to bridge the void between technologists, middle-managers, C-Suite executives, bean counters, CMOs, the eCommerce team, the paid search team, different sites, verticals, technology, and even languages and cultures.

    How do I suddenly know all of this? Well, I have been helping Mike Moran and Bill Hunt promote their upcoming book, Search Engine Marketing, Inc., and spent an hour on the phone chatting with Bill about search, social, business, and the enterprise. In that chat, I learned the difference between Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing: SEO is tactical, SEM is strategic.

    When I think of search, I am thinking about optimizing web pages, speeding up server times, caching content, finding the perfect desirable but not too competitive suite of keywords and finding ways of working that into copy, into theme, and into line with what my clients sell, offer, and produce.

    When I think of search, I am up to my eyeballs in plugins, installs, architecture, Google PageSpeed, MOZ, Audienti, Keyword Planner, .htaccess configuration files, inbound link, content marketing, social media profiles, Google’s search algorithm updates, title tags, descriptions, formatting, site architecture, sitemaps, Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools, and all that stuff.

    However, search marketing stars like Mike Moran, Bill Hunt, and Seth Price probably aren’t actually spending the majority of their time untarring files with gunzip via ssh on their headless BSD box.

    What they are doing is hand-holding C-Suite executives who never actually have any more money. Who are suffering under constant scrutiny and needing to play within the limits of the  law of conservation of budget.

    There are a lot of jobs I wouldn’t want in PR – helping North Korean leader Kim Jong-un or promoting cigarette companies. But head of PR at lift-sharing company Uber has catapulted itself to the top (or should that be bottom) of my list.


    There are a lot of jobs I wouldn’t want in PR – helping North Korean leader Kim Jong-un or promoting cigarette companies. But head of PR at lift-sharing company Uber has catapulted itself to the top (or should that be bottom) of my list.


    Any disruptive tech company is going to hit the headlines, but here are some of the stories that the aforementioned head of PR has had to deal with:
     

    • Upset cab drivers across the globe, angry with its business model, sparking protests, riots, and bans in countries such as Germany (though some restrictions have now been lifted).
    • Consumer complaints about its practice of charging more at peak times.
    • Taking out full page ads plugging the service on the same day that a mass demonstration of London cabbies brought the City to a halt.
    • Claims by rivals such as Hailo that it tried to squeeze out potential investors in its service.
    • Accusations of dirty tricks, such as getting its employees to book, then cancel rides with competitor Lyft in order to waste driver time and company resources.
    • Safety concerns, focused on the lack of driver vetting at the company, with reports of female abductions and a lack of concern for passenger safety.
       

    London anti-Uber taxi protest June 11 2014 by David Holt via Flickr

    London anti-Uber taxi protest June 11 2014 by David Holt via Flickr
     

    And now it faces charges that, at a private dinner attended by journalists, its senior vice president of business, Emil Michael mooted the idea of spending a million dollars to hire a team to dig up dirt on reporters that had written negatively about the company. He has since tried to retract the comments, and a spokesperson has helpfully pointed out that “these remarks have no basis in the reality of our approach.” CEO Travis Kalanick has also issued a rambling, multi-Tweet apology.

    But aside from the cosmic stupidness of airing such views at a dinner attended by journalists (and showing that, yet again, there’s no such thing as off the record comments), Uber needs to understand that few things bring journalists together more than an attack on one or more of their number. Not only has the row sparked fresh bad press, but it will have also impacted how journalists see them. And that’s not as the plucky David against the Goliath of the global taxi industry (as Kalanick claims they are), but as a playground bully trying to buy its way to success. More Jerktech than technology leader.

    So what would my advice be to the PR team at Uber? To start with, realise you aren’t in a war and everyone isn’t automatically out to get you. Be more open and take on board criticisms and start a dialogue rather than using heavy artillery. If your service and approach are innovative enough you don’t need to bully the opposition so blatantly, risking bad feeling from your customers and the wider world. Essentially, stop acting like a stroppy teenager and grow up. And, above all, never try and threaten a journalist, whatever the circumstances.

    Photo Credit: Uber PR/shutterstock