• 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.
  • I attended Day One of Social Media Today's Atlanta Social Shake-Up on September 16, 2014, representing Object 9. There were many insightful presentations and panels, but this recap focuses mainly on three key discussions: Data-Driven Social Campaigns, Listening and Engaging with Sports & Entertainment Fans, and Social Storytelling.

    This week I was at the W Midtown Hotel in Downtown Atlanta for Social Media Today’s Social Shake-up Conference. I knew to expect a great event as this was my second Social Shake-Up, following the Social Media Today event in Austin during SXSWi in March. So, let’s get to it. Disclaimer – Most of these notes will be from just one panel. Also – please excuse my phone’s picture quality. Can’t wait for the iPhone 6, also to avoid spending most of my time charging during events.

    Guess I Should Have a Portable Charger By Now?

    10:30am Data & Creativity: Defining Your Data-Driven Social Campaign

    Laurent Francois moderated the panel consisting of Adam Naide (Cox Communications), Tracy Bell (Bank of America), and David Schweidel (Emory University)

    Adam Naide Panel

    This panel explored creativity and data, and their combination for deeper story telling. Also discussed was social analytics, and the importance of having clear goals in social media campaigns. Laurent began by apologizing for his French accent, and the way he pronounces “Adam,” although both Adam and I agreed it was a nice twist on the American pronunciation. Once the discussions were underway, Adam was quick to note the heavy lifting and social listening done by his Cox social care team, including Frankie Saucier, who I had the pleasure of sitting next to during the panel. Make sure all interactions are handled, and handled correctly – your brand sentiment is on the line! Consumers connect around their passions and creativity, social connects the two. David, with a background in statistics and market research, explained how he’s basically paid to be a skeptic. David piggy-backed and agreed with Adam’s thoughts on how to best engage with customers, and that the right way has yet to be determined. How do we engage customers at each touch-point?

    Tracy noted that social can fill your gaps in customer service, as well as aid in sales and lead generation. Perhaps my favorite quote from this panel came from Adam when asked about social media tools, though. He stated, “Tools are tools, but people run social [media]. That’s why it’s called social media.” Adam went on to discuss how Cox customers who are engaged on social media are 33% more valuable than a typical customer, and score 32 points higher in NPS (net promoter score). The goal here is to turn your social customers into advocates! Another interesting note from Adam came in that social is now the first place people go for customer servicing. It can’t be any simpler than sending a DM, and seeing immediate resolution (again, props to the Cox social care team). Imagine a world where social media is the #1 place to go to seek technical support, and where brand advocates reply and assist even before the brand can.

    What do you think when you hear the words engagement and organic? You probably think it’s just some marketing buzz word lingo, but you’ll be happy to hear that Adam Naide agrees with you. If he had it his way, he’d retire these words because they’re “fluffy and everyone has a different meaning for them.” Agreed!

    An early takeaway from this panel was that customer’s comments and thoughts are incredibly valuable social offerings. Cox ran a Facebook brand campaign with Nielsen to promote that Cox has doubled their internet speeds. By reading comments and listening to what customers thought Cox was able to gather feedback in their customer’s context that they would’ve otherwise never known.

    Tracy pointed out that your social media efforts support your creative processes. Listening to people and seeing how they react to your advertising is invaluable! How are they talking about the music in the background of a video? What do they think about the imagery? These are good to know data points gained through social that you may otherwise over-analyze. Feedback is different when it’s live.

    The panel went into a great discussion on feedback, and Adam actually played moderator for a bit, asking Tracy the questions. The takeaway – find real reactions buried in data. Use what you have and bring it back to a simple human reaction.

    Adam then quoted Maya Angelou. “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I love this, and the same goes in social. Your followers may associate with you because of one emotion-bringing post, but never actually remember what it was. This relates, in a way, to Cox’s social strategy of using content like Game of Thrones as click bait, with an ultimate call to action behind it. Adam knows that Cox’s fans share clear emotions about their shows, so why not go where they’re already talking and sharing feelings? Another great example comes through the World Cup earlier this summer. Cox curated simple posts around existing conversations, just letting people know how to catch the games on their phones at work. Genius. Speaking of Game of Thrones, look who favorited one of my live-tweets…

    [[{"fid":"168771","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_caption[und][0][format]":"filtered_html","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"social shake up retweet","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"alt":"social shake up retweet","style":"height: 600px; width: 400px;","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]

    David then brought up a question, “Do you need 30 seconds to tell people something, or just one?” Creativity is all over the internet these days, as seen through popular teenage Vine-creationists. These teens are so popular that they’re being paid six figures to create content for some of the biggest brands in the world. Adam recommended a recent Nightline episode on this topic, you can find it here.

    We then got into audience questions, the first naturally dealing with ROI. Adam mentioned that at Cox they haven’t noticed a significant return on Twitter, but that they’ve been very successful utilizing paid promotions on Facebook, hitting the right people with the right messages at scale. The next question sought out more information on the structure of the panelists’ social teams. Tracy noted they have a 4 pillar set-up, with teams segmenting data, enterprise, and deep analytics, with a team focusing on the more traditional aspects as well. Adam, again, pointed out that his care team does the heavy lifting, responding to every brand mention and engagement. Among others, the Cox team consists of 3 residential team members, and 1 B2B member in Cox Blue. Also, Adam noted that he instructs his team to talk about what others are talking about. You can’t be too corporate, or boring, so he tries to keep the operations similar to those of a small agency: highly collaborative. Scale will eventually come in the end, so focus on sentiment from the get-go. It’s important to get back to the basics of simply connecting with people, when the “sanitized version” of social media these days often requires heavy use of automation and tools. The final question asked about how they benchmark versus the competition. Tracy stated that no one metric works by itself, and that they all need to be combined to see the big picture, and Adam agreed. Overall great panel, I never miss an opportunity to see Adam speak.

    Steffan and Adam

    11:45am The Content Selfie: What to Serve Your Customers to Make Them Want You

    Presentation by Banafsheh Ghassemi, CEO of Tangerine Lab.

    This presentation dealt with vanity metrics, and how businesses sometimes place too much emphasis on these irrelevant figures. Tangerine Lab worked with Verizon Wireless executives to create an algorithm that scores and ranks content, identifying the characteristics of content effectiveness. It was a great presentation, we caught the beginning before heading to lunch, and unfortunately there was only standing room and I took no notes.


    lunch 1

    Lunch was fantastic. Huge ballroom with self-seating and a buffet complete with blackened catfish, fried chicken, cheddar macaroni and cheese, green beans, and salad. I was satisfied to say the least, but that didn’t stop me from snagging a brownie during a later coffee break...

    Walked through the demo/expo area after lunch, here’s a picture. OH, and, got myself a portable charger from Social Chorus for my next event – thanks guys!

    expo area

    2:00pm Entertainment & Sports: How to Listen and Engage with Fans

    Morgan Dewan (Turner Sports), Dan Fleetwood (SAP), Katie Richman (ESPN); moderator Brian Vellmure.

    Sports Panel

    This panel discussed how sports and entertainment consumers now have unbelievable access to their favorite teams, athletes and entertainers. The panelists talked curating genuine posts and reaching consumers authentically. Brian began by asking each panelist what their best, or most surprising, moment has been so far as a sports/entertainment social media worker. Katie from ESPN noted the 40 year anniversary of Title IX, where ESPN created the world’s biggest collage of women athletes! They cut the barriers of entry in this campaign, by simply asking for picture submissions of women athletes, how simple is that? Dan from SAP used the DFB, or Germany national soccer team, as his example – so you know I was thrilled as a soccer guy! SAP’s Match Insights training tool exceeded expectations in it’s use and effectiveness in, for example, lowering the average time a player holds the ball until they pass from 5 to 3 seconds. This may have led the team to winning this year’s World Cup! Morgan from Turner Sports stated that it’s great to start conversations and organically join others, as opposed to forcing or butting in as a product hot for attention. At Turner Sports, Morgan stated that social is used to post specific social content, but also is great as an additional distribution channel. This, in turn, shows you the ROI of social for Turner, as sports are an inherently social topic, it’s wildly important for them to not only have a presence here but also facilitate conversation!

    The Ray Rice and Domestic Violence category was sure to come up in this panel. Directly mainly at Katie, she stated that in these types of scenarios it’s important to use broad/open-ended questions when responding and interacting with followers. For example, “How did the Ray Rice news make you feel?” People often responded genuinely, and sadly, as opposed to aggressively seeking an altercation or ESPN slip-up. Again, people want to interact with people, and expect your social presence to be human.

    3:15pm, Storytelling: What Is the Art and What Is the Science?

    Speaker: Tamara Gaffney, Principal Analyst, Adobe Digital Index

    tamara g adobe 1

    Tamara’s presentation dealt with big data, and related stories she’s created around the World Cup and movie premieres. Also discussed were mobile trends, social predicting, and the anatomy of a story. This presentation was fascinating, and I’m bummed we missed the beginning because apparently Tamara stated that using Adobe’s software they were able to predict an increase in American popularity of soccer! She discussed how they were able to predict the larger iPhone 6 because of mobile bounce rates and Samsung data, and how they were also able to predict that Guardian’s of the Galaxy would be the summer hit by studying the impact of trailers and social mentions. She also stated that they sought to do the same with Fall television premieres, but were unable due to the fact that each show was receiving less than 100 mentions each. The reasoning? Television program producers and marketers are still advertising on TV! Hey, TV guys, we’re not there anymore, we’re on our 2nd screens!

    Tamara went on to note that 60% of inbound website traffic from social is coming in through mobile. The takeaway here being that your website MUST be responsive and appealing! High bounce rates come through mobile, so strategize what you can do to counteract. Another noteworthy quote from Tamara came when she stated, “10% of TV-Everywhere (log in thru authentication) is played on Xbox and Roku” – this has huge implications on digital marketers in terms of advertising in this space. In conclusion, Tamara spoke on employee happiness, specifically for a company’s social media employees. It’s of the utmost importance to keep these people happy because if they’re not it will reflect in the company’s social posts and tone. Your character online can win you business!

    That’s it for the event. I definitely recommend checking out Social Media Today, they put out awesome content and host great events. Quick shout out to a few of the awesome people I saw and met at the event: Robin CareyAdam WexlerKevin HuntJJ ImbeauxMelinda ByerleyJason KatzMary Liebowitz, and Rocky Chancellor. And thanks to the sponsors, below. Until next time, Social Shake-up.


    Telecom companies operate in an extremely competitive industry where it’s a constant bidding war over who offers the best coverage for the best price. Providing a service that is widely used by consumers requires direct, real-time access to customers in order to stay one step ahead of competition. How has social media changed the telecom industry?

    Telecom companies operate in an extremely competitive industry where it’s a constant bidding war over who offers the best coverage for the best price. Providing a service that is widely used by consumers requires direct, real-time access to customers in order to stay one step ahead of competition. Social media is, without a doubt, the most effective way of making a real and meaningful connection with customers.

    Telecom companies all offer very similar services, so it’s extremely hard to differentiate themselves from their competitors. However, a strong social media presence and a well-rounded social customer service team continuously prove to be powerful vehicles in building brand awareness and establishing a distinctive brand that meets the needs of their customers within a competitive industry.

    Here are a few thoughts on how social media has impacted the telecom industry.

    1. Monitoring the Social Web in Real-Time

    Imagine you’re T-Mobile, and AT&T decided to launch a new data plan just a few minutes ago. The fastest way to pick up on that is through social media. Social media monitoring is an essential tool, to not only track what is being said about your own brand, but also help track competitors’ marketing strategies, product announcements, and industry trends. In just one glimpse, you’re able to grasp what a competitor is doing in real-time, which allows you to react quickly and remain competitive.

    2. Identifying & Targeting Tailored Audiences

    target twitter

    Who is talking to me? Where do conversations originate from? What language do they speak? Social media never lets a single customer slip between the cracks. More than any type of industry, telecom brands need to know WHO their customer is to engage with them in a timely manner, or they’ll easily flock to a competitor.

    By diving deep into the analytics of a company’s social media efforts, telecom brands can identify their most influential customers and offer special deals tailored to a multitude of target audiences. Through extensive filtering, social media allows telecom companies to develop a wide range of campaigns designed to target a large scope of people while covering an entire community.

    3. Establishing a Communication Strategy That Resonates

    Customers need to be updated in real-time on new offers, special events, etc. By engaging with people on social media, telecom companies instantly get their message across and LISTEN to what customers are struggling with on the fly and faster than any other type of traditional communication (website, telephone, or direct mail). If competitors consider social media as a means to bluntly promote themselves, brands need to seize this opportunity to interact with them on a personal, one-on-one level.

    Unlike any other means, social media allows telecom brands to engage in two-way conversations. Instead of simply broadcasting messages, telecom brands can interact with their audience on a human level to discover every single pain point crucial to help retain a customer. Instead of talking to the crowd in a desperate attempt to garner attention, telecom brands nowadays make the difference by carefully listening to build customer loyalty over the long run.

    4. Customizing Interactions & Ensuring Accurate Information

    Telecom brands often have multiple interactions with customers over a period of time. In order to track historical information about previous conversations, contact information sheets within a social media management tool’s built-in CRM system provide this comprehensive overview. This integration customizes future interactions and helps compile well-rounded profiles of customers to connect with customers in a personalized manner.

    Moreover, social media teams need to be able to quickly pass on relevant information by giving customers easy access to valuable links via websites, forms, or other touch points to help cater to a streamlined process in collecting and providing important information.

    5. Customer Care Is Just a Tweet Away

    People obviously no longer have to wait in line at their local telecom store for help. If a customer’s issue is simple, he or she can easily tweet to their service provider and receive assistance within an instant. It’s up to telecom brands to capture this opportunity and respond quickly with relevant information. Telecom brands are able to give the same in-store experience by personalizing the interaction and instantly passing on the right information to the right people.

    If you can believe it, Day 2 topped Day 1 at The Social Shake-Up. Here are the highlights for you, in case you couldn't make it to Atlanta to shake it up with us in person.
    If you can believe it, Day 2 topped Day 1, with a morning keynote from Bryan Kramer and Jeremiah Owyang that left many minds blown. Bryan Kramer spoke about remembering that what can set you apart is staying #H2H, "human-to-human," something many businesses overlook in an age of automation. Jeremiah Owyang followed that up by showing us everything that was to come in the area of collaborative economy (perhaps the most "human-to-human" we can get).
    The panel sessions that day covered topics from crisis communications, featuring a speaker from the CDC; storytelling over time according to Coca-Cola; and cities as innovation hubs, according to Atlanta councilman Kwanza Hall. Lunch featured a visit from some lovely flight attendants from London via Virgin Atlantic, and the afternoon keynote had us rolling in the aisles with laughter, thanks to funny man and digital whiz Baratunde Thurston. 
    We might be biased, it's true -- but we're counting this #SocialShakeUp as a wild success.


    There are lots of small business owners and yes, even marketers, who believe online advertising is not worth the spend. For a long time, I was one of those marketers. Then I read Mark Schaefer’s article, “Content Shock: Why Content Marketing Is Not a Sustainable Strategy,” and my thinking about online ads started to change.

    My advertising guru, Chelsea, first dipped her toes into online advertising two years ago when she created our company's first 100 x 72 pixel right-hand-side Facebook ad (take a look at it below). We had just finished creating our first ShortStack eBook and we wanted to promote it outside our fanbase.

    For a $276.91 advertising spend our eBook ad earned us 4,077 new Page Likes and was clicked a grand total of  2,664 times. Not too bad for our first ad, huh?

    Since creating our first Facebook ad in 2012, we've been introduced, through research or testing, to several other types of online advertising. And guess what? Even after all that research, we still weren't completely sold on the value of online (especially banner) ads.

    Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 3.34.08 AM

    There are lots of small business owners and yes, even marketers, who believe online advertising is not worth the spend. For a long time, I was one of those business owners. Then I read Mark Schaefer’s article, “Content Shock: Why Content Marketing Is Not a Sustainable Strategy,” and my thinking about online ads started to change.

    Here are two snippets from Mark’s post that stood out for me:

    “... in the world of content marketing, the prices cannot fall because the “price” of the content is already zero — we give it away for free. So, to get people to consume our content, we actually have to pay them to do it, and as the supply of content explodes, we will have to pay our customers increasing amounts to the point where it is not feasible any more.”


    “... our ability to consume that content (the demand) is finite. There are only so many hours in a day and even if we consume content while we eat, work and drive, there is a theoretical and inviolable limit to consumption, which we are now approaching.”

    After reading about Mark’s Content Shock theory, my thoughts on advertising changed from, “advertising is like the cherry on top!” to “advertising is necessary.”  Today’s online landscape is ultra competitive; every day new content is being created faster than people can consume it. For this reason, it’s becoming increasingly more necessary for businesses to pay to have their content and/or marketing messages  -- social campaigns included -- seen across the web.

    If you’ve come to appreciate online advertising recently, like I have,  or if you’re curious to learn more about your options, here’s a roundup of the many places you can spend your online advertising budget:

    Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Ads

    SEM ads, also known as "paid search advertising," makes it so when a user searches for keywords and/or phrases in her internet browser, your brand's content is optimized and featured on their results pages. Here are the major services you can use to implement paid search ads:

    • Google Adwords

    • Bing Ads

    • Yahoo Search Ads

    Direct Advertising

    If there's a website you want to advertise on, reach out directly to the site's owners about advertising. Most all websites have either an "advertise" or "contact" page to submit your request.

    Neal Shaffer's blog, Maximize Social Business, for example, keeps his "advertise" tab in the top right of his site's header. When you click on the tab, he provides a lot of information regarding the types of advertising he offers, along with a contact form.Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 8.32.40 AM

    Display Advertising

    Most of all the web's display advertising is run by ad networks that aggregate advertising inventory across thousands of sites (blogs, community sites, etc.) and sell that space to advertisers, according to the book "Traction" written by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares.

    Instead of striking advertising deals one-on-one with site owners, going through an ad network can save you time as you're able to buy many ads for multiple sites through a single service. Here is a list of the largest display ad networks available:

    • Google Ads: Display Network 

    • Advertising.com 

    • ValueClick

    • Adblade 

    At ShortStack, we like to use BuySellAds, (BSA) a small niche ad network, for purchasing our display ads. Beyond banner ads, BSA also allows advertisers to buy space on mobile websites, Twitter accounts (you can pay an influencer to tweet about your brand!), email newsletters, and more.

    Retargeted Advertising

    If you want to show targeted ads to people who have recently been to your website, you can invest in what's called "retargeted advertising." Perfect Audience and Adroll are the two most popular retargeted advertising platforms.

    Social Advertising

    Here is a list of the the most popular social networks that offer platform advertising:

    Facebook: Use Facebook's Ads Manager and/or Power Editor to create several types of social ads that will display on their platform.

    • News feed-only ads

    • Right-hand bar ads

    • Mobile ads

    • Retargeted ads (which we covered in the section above) through their website custom audiences (WCA) feature

    Twitter: Pay to create promoted tweets based on five types of objectives:

    Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 9.01.05 AM

    Youtube: Create ads that are displayed on popular Youtube videos.

    LinkedIn: Reach millions of active business professionals with display ads and highly-targeted text ads on Linkedin's professional network.

    StumbleUpon: Invest in "Paid Discovery" advertising to distribute your brand's content to targeted StumbleUpon users.

    Reddit: Promote your brand's content to Reddit's engaged and passionate user base of 114 million.

    Tumblr: Create non-disruptive ads that fit seamlessly into the blogging platform without interrupting the user experience. (This is a form of native advertising -- we cover this in the next section.)

    Native Advertising

    Native advertising has been making a lot of headlines recently. And they're not all good. Because native ads don't look like your typical advertisements, they have a deceptive nature to them which have many people crying foul.

    A company that's jumped on the native advertising bandwagon early on is Buzzfeed. A healthy percentage of their daily editorial content is actually sponsored by brands.

    Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 9.53.12 AM

    Tips for Choosing Where to Invest Your Online Ad Dollars

    • Determine the audience you want to target first. Doing this will help you decide where to purchase your ads. For instance, if you know you want to target your current customers with messages about a new product and/or service, a form of retargeted advertising might be your best option.

    • Use  Alexa.com  to do research and determine where on the web it’ll be most effective to place your ads.

    • Use tools like Adbeat to discover your competitor's ads and where's they're placing them.

    • Run a handful of small tests on different ad networks and platforms to find out which place(s) perform best for you.

    Readers and online advertising pros of the blogosphere: Did I leave anything out? Share with me your thoughts on online advertising in the comment section below!

    Synthesio eagerly tracked global conversations around Social Shake-Up, which took place this week in Atlanta on September 16th and 17th. Here are some engaging insights into the overall reach of the event, trending topics and our final list of top influencers driving the conversations.

    Social Media Today’s Social Shake-Up in Atlanta has come to an end, but with over 11,900 mentions on social media over the past few days, it definitely left its mark on the digital community of Atlanta and beyond.

    At Synthesio, we eagerly jump on the opportunity to track global conversations around an event of this magnitude, and with such a web frenzy surrounding Social Shake-Up, we decided to take a sip from our Twitter Firehose and track all Twitter conversations surrounding the event. Here are some engaging insights into the overall reach of the event, trending topics and our final list of top influencers driving the conversations.

    Total Mentions

    Over 11,900


    Most Popular Topics

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    Top 10 Influencers

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    Top image via Ludic Creatives