• 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. Hear Doerr explain how the OKR process gets teams pulling together by surfacing what matters most, and how a powerful goal system from BetterWorks is leading organizations to operating excellence.
  • Tech giant Apple dominated our social media feeds this week with their latest product launch extravaganza, but a lot more has been churning in the news cycle. This week marks the 13th anniversary of 9/11, we’ve heard the non-guilty verdict in the highly intriguing Pistorius trial, and in the social media universe, DiGiorno made that greatest of faux pas, acting before thinking.

    Tech giant Apple dominated our social media feeds this week with their latest product launch extravaganza, but a lot more has been churning in the news cycle. This week marks the 13th anniversary of 9/11, we’ve heard the non-guilty verdict in the highly intriguing Pistorius trial, and in the social media universe, DiGiorno made that greatest of faux pas, acting before thinking.

    What did the people of the internet have to say about all of these stories? The Brandwatch data and analytics reveals all.

    9/11 Anniversary

    Facebook and Twitter were created years after September 11, 2001, but that doesn’t change the fact that social media is the foremost forum to post mentions about what happened in New York City 13 years ago.

    Remembering the events of 9/11 is at the forefront of the conversation online around the anniversary, which had garnered over 20,000 online mentions by mid-afternoon yesterday. This number might seem small compared to other trending topics, but we filter through online conversations in the Brandwatch Analytics platform to hone in on only the most relevant regarding a specific news story.

    Most mentioned topics include: “13 years ago,” “NeverForget911,” “President Obama” and “New York City.”

     

    9:11 Topic Cloud_BW.png

    The top hashtags focus around the date itself (#911anniversary, #september11, #remember911) and the remembrance aspect of the anniversary (#neverforget911, #911neverforget, #wewillneverforget, #rip911).

     

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    Pistorius Trial

    Many people are familiar with the name Oscar Pistorious. The Paralympics running star has been more infamous for shooting and killing his girlfriend on Valentine’s Day 2013 than for his athletic prowess.

    Pistorious has always denied it was murder and pleaded not guilty (he believed there to be an intruder in the bathroom where girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp was shot). Yesterday, he was found not guilty of murder. It is yet to be decided if will be found guilty of manslaughter (known in South Africa as culpable homicide), the judge will deliver her verdict later today.

    In the last 24 hours there have been nearly 8,000 mentions online about Pistorious, as news of the verdict was made public. Comparisons to the OJ Simpson trial and Simpson getting cleared of murder charges have infiltrated the conversation as well drawing attention to public figures getting off on serious crime charges.

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    In rather poor taste, the joke “he doesn’t have a leg to stand on” has been circulating online nearly 200 times. While the death of an innocent woman by her paralympican boyfriend is no laughing matter, humor (though dark as it may be) is sometimes the first path of the social media news world.

    Sentiment of the online mentions across Twitter, Facebook, news sites and more is 10% negative. That pesky 2% positive sentiment can be attributed to mostly snarky remarks online about how great his lawyers are and some folks saying they are “actually happy for Pistorious.”

     

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    DiGiorno's Social Media Blunder

    We all know social media is a fast-moving platform, and it’s tempting to jump onto a hashtag bandwagon so as not to miss a potentially relevant trend for your brand.

    But as we’ve seen with many brands and most recently, DiGiorno, blindly tweeting and creating a mini social campaign without thoroughly delving into a hashtag/topic can have severe brand reputation consequences.

    According to data from Brandwatch, the domestic abuse hashtag #whyistayed as been mentioned in conjunction with DiGiorno in over 700 tweets and has had nearly 18.5 million impressions since DiGiorno's original errant tweet less than 48 hours ago.

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    That original tweet was subsequently deleted, and replaced four minutes later with an apology, which has done little to diffuse the backlash against DiGiorno's insensitive rush to social media, to hijack the hashtag for their own brand agenda.

    Additional data:

    • We've seen over 4,500 online mentions of the DiGiorno and #whyistayed discussion

    • Interestingly, more than half of the social users discussing DiGiorno’s hashtag fail are men (52%), despite the #whyIstayed hashtag predominantly being used by women

    • Mentions didn’t spike until more than 14 hours after the original tweet, when the media started covering it (specifically Mashable)

    • The top two emotions associated with this discussion online are :-O (surprise) and ;) wink (shock and sarcasm toward the brand)

     

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    This week has had its fair share of serious news stories, but next week we’ll also be looking at some lighter fare around some of the most beloved seasonal items of fall. Good, bad, serious or light, everyone takes to social to talk about everything and anything. We’ll be tracking the stories that light up social and sharing Brandwatch insights. 

    A hotel in Sydney has gone as far as create an ambience with special perks to accommodate snap-happy guests by giving away 1 free night to guests with more than 10,000 followers and a free night to the most creative photo post each month.
    Experiences are critical for the future of business. You want to know what’s more important than experiences? Shared experiences. Ones that can’t be replicated, that are unique and personal to your business, and ones that the customers of today can’t live without. Shops, hotel lobbies and restaurants all come up short when it comes to integrating fun creative digital experiences into the ambience of their space. 
     
    One very simple way to begin accommodate the ever-engaged customers is to simply provide complementary and easily accessible Wi-Fi on-site at your establishment. This simple yet actionable step allows the patron to create real-life (UGC) content with your venue and share it with the world, all-inclusive while already patronizing and investing in your services, and it is the first step in saying you are ready to play digital media ball. 
     
    One hotel in Sydney has gone as far as create an ambience with special perks to accommodate snap-happy guests by giving away 1 free night to guests with more than 10,000 followers and a free night to the most creative photo post each month. Each establishment will have different way on how to engage their guest, however guests will have their own ideas and expectations of how they want to engage. 
     
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    Managing diners’ experiences and expectations on busy nights at restaurants is all in a day’s work for the hosts. By experimenting with some new innovative ways to approach waitlist, you can demonstrate inventiveness by offering the convenience of simply Yo’ing your guest instead of intrusively asking for their cell phone number: The tool lets people in waiting rooms or restaurant lobbies know how far along they are in the line and notifies them with a "Yo" when they're ready to go. Patrons have to have the Yo app and an account on the service to use it, which is fairly easy to download and register quickly, and Yo has been installed 2 million times. (Source: Mashable.)
     
    Additional ways to offer custom sharing experiences for the guest is setting up preloaded event names on Facebook, Foursquare, and Instagram to create further personalization and amplification. Both parties benefit here by enjoying the benefits of deeper social engagement and promotion. Letting everyone know what name to check in under and hashtag to use is most essential
     
    Oftentimes retailers that cater to the elite have no idea who the shopper is when they walk through the doors of a high-end boutique simply based on looks. Technologies like Veritamo allow the service agent to know who it is through location aware technologies and an ability to immediately pull their profile to provide superior customer service to established clients. 
     
    In addition, for the most part, luxury brands on Facebook still have their Wall closed, thus not allowing potential and existing customers to ask questions, leave commentary or have a direct line of communication with the retail shop, thus leaving potential buying and building rapport opportunities on the table.
     
    Soon, very soon you will be able to make a purchase from your Twitter account with a push of a button for in-Tweet purchase making the buyer experience ever-so-smooth and delectable. Of course the usual suspects like @Burberry are already onboard, along with swanky @Pharrell and the ever-so-cool @Gumroad ready to provide one-of-kind Twitter buying experiences. 
     
    One of the benefits of this model is the ability to run flash sales from virtual pop-up stores which will avail manufacturers to do small runs and test out new products to get consumer response and gauge what products are actually desired. This not only benefits the consumer by availing them one-of-a-kind items, but also allows the manufacturers to design based on consumer preferences thus making only what will sell which is good for both the company and the planet:
     
    "13.1 million tons of textile waste goes into this nation’s landfills each year (95% of it recyclable); 1,800 gallons of water are needed to produce a single pair of jeans; and 20,000 annual deaths worldwide can be attributed to the pesticides used in growing the textiles needed to support the industry."  Wear No Evil by Greta Eagan.
     
    Similarly, this summer Facebook begun testing Buy button, showing a button next to items scrolling by in the newsfeed with an ability to purchase direct from store in the Facebook experience. It even lets you autofill the stored information from previous purchases on Facebook, making the social buying experience that much more smooth.  
     
    The difference between an ideal luxury social experience and an optimization miss can mean thousands in lost revenue and positive amplification for the business. When it comes to social shopping this feauture could be the uptake marketers have been waiting for all along: 
     
    “Almost non-existent in the early days, we have made significant leaps forward in analytics, however, most retailers are still in the early phases of connecting social data into their internal systems, like CRM,” Brian Michael Murch said. “The integrity of analysis will be paramount to retailers who are most concerned with ensuring consistency of offers, branding, and customer service and how your brand experience is kept positive and whole throughout the lifecycle.”
     
    Number of ways in which to satisfy and ‘wow’ is now at an all-time-high and businesses can provide countless ways to satisfy the urge to buy. More and more our society craves deeper more immediate access to purchase and share, asking for an almost a gamified seamless approach to the buying experience from every retailer, restaurant and hotel in the premier market. Connecting the dots for high-end consumers will be what sets establishments apart, it is how fast they adapt to trends and availed technologies that will allow them to create customized cutting edge experiences on and offline. 
     
    Main image credit: Business Insider 
     
    Can you automate against trolls? With a few social tools that guard against profanity, you can start to.

    The internet was built for interaction. This is why the websites that offer the best experiences are by far the most popular. Facebook and Google clearly understand that people don’t just want information when they’re online they want to connect with other people in a meaningful way. In other words they don’t just want to “cruise the internet super highway” they want to “ride around and hang out with friends.”

    Even before the long forgotten about site Myspace was launched the original social media platform, “blogging and forums” was alive, well, and thriving (and still is today). However, as the entrepreneurs who launched the successful online sites quickly realized, where there’s a large reward there’s also a substantial risk. The truth is as forums and blogs grow more popular, inevitably they become targets of “internet troublemakers” who are either automated bots or are actual people who seem to enjoy making life difficult for your website visitors.   It’s only fitting that the internet chose to brand them, “trolls.”

    Ironically, though they won’t admit it most people find some level of amusement from some trolls and their antics. Sometimes their comments can be sarcastic or dry humor which most people can usually tolerate. The problem comes in when the trolls start using profanity, heckling people, and just plain offending everyone.

    As an online entrepreneur your failure to take action to correct this will result in the decline and ultimate total loss of your audience. With that said, here’s the top tools to help you manage the discussion:

    Webpurify

    An automated profanity filter and moderation software for text, image, and video.  The company was launched in 2009 by Jonathan Freger who, when asked about ideas of regulating online discussion said he, “doesn’t foresee any government-mandated profanity filters on the Web other than the services like his provide to individual sites…”

    First impressions:

    • Affordable and scalable solution.

    • Automated software makes moderation easy.

    • Can be customized into various discussion platforms.

    CrowdSource

    Launched in 2010 by Stephanie Leffler and Ryan Noble the company is a “person based” real time service that offers image, video, comment, and sentiment analysis.

    First impressions:

    • Full service solution with a human element but seems pricey.

    • Sentiment analysis could be an effective tool to develop content.

    • Seems like a better fit for more established growing blogs and brands.

    Inversoft

    Denver, Colorado based enterprise community management software launched in 2007 by Brian Pontarelli. The company also offers human moderation and CleanSpeak, an advanced automation software designed to keep your community free from trolls and malicious users.

    First impressions:

    • The CleanSpeak intelligent profanity software seems very powerful and expensive.

    • Would be a better fit for large established online communities not so much for emerging blogs and start ups.

    In closing, content moderation is one of those problems that bloggers should be happy to have. It shows that you’ve built your online business to a point where it’s so interactive you need a referee. So, if you’re in the market for content moderation solutions you deserve a pat on the back or a round of applause for your accomplishment. For the rest of us let’s keep building until the trolls force us to use content moderation tools to render their attacks futile.

    Image Credit: Matteo Paciotti– Flckr

    Socially active employees may be your best advocates if they love their job, your products or services AND they exert a strong influence over their network. But influence and reach are not the same. Beyond just the numbers, an influential employee is someone who has the ability to spur someone into action — an action that is aligned to the goals of the program.

    I love digital for many reasons, but especially for the new innovations that arise on almost a daily basis. Can you imagine our lives without Amazon? How could we survive without the ability to have everything delivered right to our doorstep without stepping one foot out of our homes?  How did we ever connect with people before Facebook existed? But despite the social nature of today’s digital landscape, many of these innovations actually remove interactions with real people.

    Now, one can argue that Facebook is the exception since we are actually “engaging” with real people or real brands online.  But often the people who are the most active on Facebook or other social networks have very different personas in the real world. As studies have suggested, people who over share on social networks may actually have the most difficult time creating fulfilling, real-life relationships.

    Why is this important is the context of employee advocacy?  After talking with clients and reading numerous posts about how companies need to “enable their most social employees to become advocates for their brand”, I find very little conversation about how to identify the RIGHT kinds of employees based on the goals of an employee advocacy program.  As an organization, do you want your over sharers to be the voice of your brand? ARE your best employee advocates the most social?

    That depends. Socially active employees may be your best advocates if they love their job, your products or services AND they exert a strong influence over their network. But influence and reach are not the same.  Beyond just the numbers, an influential employee is someone who has the ability to spur someone into action — an action that is aligned to the goals of the program. These advocates are a trusted resource within their networks, but they may not have the largest network.

    So, before you extend a blind invitation to anyone with over 500 friends on Facebook, consider the following framework for finding your best advocates:

    Employee Advocacy Framework white box

    Brand Objectives:  What are you trying to achieve with your program overall?  If you are a B2B company, and your main objective is social selling, you may want to look more closely at your sales team than your marketing team.  Connections on Facebook may be irrelevant if your target audience is primarily on LinkedIn.

    Employee Readiness:  Are your employees willing to advocate for you? Identify a core group of employees that have the ability to influence your target customer group.  In addition to their social prowess, assess their willingness and readiness to participate in a pilot program.

    Leadership & Culture:  Does your organization value the influence of social media?  Can you easily identify a champion within your organization?  If your organizational culture prevents your employees from even accessing social media sites at work, you’ll have a more difficult time launching an employee advocacy program without the foundational elements ofgovernance and a social media policy.

    Authentic Stories:  Your employees don’t want to be the voices of your corporate press releases.  They will happily amplify, curate and even help to create stories that demonstrate the unique qualities of your brand.  Give them the content, the authority and the training to position themselves as thought leaders in your industry.

    And lastly, structure your program to help you achieve your goals. Technology can play an important role in helping you scale your program, but it should not be the driving force behind your program.

    When given the tools, training and support to share their own experiences, employee advocates can become the trusted voices of your brand.  Your path to business impact will be faster by identifying the right employees and following this framework to structure your program for long-term success.

    If you’re ready to take that first step to identify your influential employees, we can help you identify your organization’s own map of influence.  Let’s talk!

    Online protests have been able to gain momentum through social media in recent years, but how effective is social media at producing results for activist groups?

    For decades, like-minded people have joined together to fight for things they believe in. The surviving, grainy footage of the Civil Rights Movement is a great example of that.

    More recently, the “Internet Slowdown” protest, the protest against Proposition 8 and the Stop Online Piracy Act protests took to social media to exact the changes they sought to make.

    Because today’s activists can tap into the power of social media to gain reach and mobilize supporters, they stand a better chance of raising awareness about their causes and illiciting real change in the world.

    The “Internet Slowdown” Protest

    The Internet can be extremely helpful as an activism tool, and sometimes even presents reasons for people to get riled up. The “Internet Slowdown” protest is a great example. Organized around September 10, 2014, this global effort gained support from huge brand names like Etsy, WordPress and Netflix, all because of a belief that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) should not have the right to manipulate the way online data is sent or received.

    Websites that got on board with the protest pledged to add a “loading” icon to their homepages to spread the word about what net neutrality means and how it could affect the way we get information if laws are passed to loosen the operating regulations of ISPs.

    Red Equals Signs Dominated Facebook

    Last March when the United States Supreme Court was considering Proposition 8, which banned same sex marriages in California, millions of people changed their profile pictures to show a red equals sign. That switch indicated support for marriage equality. The Supreme Court ultimately did strike down Proposition 8.

    In this case, the act of changing a profile picture to express views on a hot topic might have been more powerful for influencing people in a respective social media network. If a person is unsure about their stance on gay marriage, seeing all those equals signs across Facebook might encourage him or her to learn more about the issue and why others feel so strongly about it.

    Protests Against Opposition to Online Piracy

    In 2012, Internet users banded together to oppose the Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act, and the collective action really did influence lawmakers in this case.

    More than 162 million people saw a message about the protest on Wikipedia alone, and 18 senators decided not to lend their support to the Acts. Additionally, millions of people signed an online petition to show their support for a “free and open web.” Because of that progress, the online piracy legislation protests were hailed as successful.

    What Determines Whether a Protest Has Worked?

    In order to realistically answer the question of whether a protest was worthwhile, it’s necessary to have a clear set of goals in mind before the protest is even fully organized. Also, it’s important to keep a realistic perspective.

    Changing a profile picture or making a status update about your thoughts on a current event may not directly impact how a senator votes or whether a new piece of legislation gets passed, but it allows you to participate sharing your views.

    Especially if you are seeking to support a change in your local community, social media can be a huge tool. For example, if you try to rally support for local businesses and discourage support of global corporations, using Facebook or Twitter to share information about local companies could do a lot to raise awareness within your geographic area.

    Raise Your Voice

    Staying silent about an issue that matters to you can be discouraging and even dangerous. Thanks to the momentum that social media can provide, it’s possible to share your views with an audience of thousands or more, using nothing more than your freedom of thought and an Internet connection. 

    Image by Purple Sherbet Photography