• 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.
  • "Dear Socially Stephanie: I like to think of myself who is willing to try new tools and stay on top of the social media game. Are there any new sites that are worth trying out and can you give me a few examples of how a small business like mine might be able to use them?"

     

     

    Dear Socially Stephanie,
    I like to think of myself who is willing to try new tools and stay on top of the social media game. Are there any new sites that are worth trying out and can you give me a few examples of how a small business like mine might be able to use them?

    Eager in Edmonton


    Dear Eager,
    A person cut from the same cloth as me. I like it! I'm always on the hunt for new social media sites to get in on the ground floor. Even if they never take off like Twitter or Pinterest, it's important to try them out because those who get in first will always grow their following faster than those who wait until it becomes popular. As a business, the ability to grow your following from the get-go is going to save you a lot of headache in the future. Have you noticed how hard it is to build your following on Facebook these days? Case in point.

    The first tool that I'm experimenting with is a new app called Tiiny. It's a little bit Snapchat and a little bit Vine all rolled into one. Basically, you share short videos or snapshots that delete after 24 hours. While it's still brand new and there are some features that I'd like to see in the future like commenting and descriptions, it has a lot of potential. As a business you could promote a 24 hour flash sale or even as an in-store scavenger hunt.

    Next up is a web and mobile app called Blopboard. It's a social polling platform where answers are visualized in real-time. It's fun to use and very visual. But beyond the design, from a marketing standpoint, it has massive potential as a tool you can use to get customer and unsolicited feedback on product design or messaging strategy.

    Are you a foodie? Because I have a perfect little app for you. It's a new favorite of mine. Meet Piqniq. It's has a little touch of Instagram, but it's 100% dedicated to what you are eating. I happen to have a love of food, so for me this is a no-brainer. The company started in Budapest and thus has a bit of a European following, but I love me a good international meal, so I'm all in. From a food business standpoint, you can share your specials or encourage your customers to share what they are eating for a discount. It's a lot of fun.

    So you may be thinking where do you find these sites and apps? Let me fill you in on a little secret. I'm always on ProductHunt and ErliBird checking out the newest sites that are making waves on the Internet. ProductHunt is a site that people use to share their newest findings. And ErliBird is somewhat similar but instead of user-submitted, it's company submitted, which allows the startup to control their own profile. I've been introduced to many-an-awesome site this way and they are two sites that you should definitely keep on your radar.

    So let me ask you something. Do you notice a common thread? Yes, they are all image based and that's where social media is going. Better start creating that visual strategy and fast! There you have it my friend. The hottest startups as told by yours truly. Now, go build your following!

    Socially,
    Stephanie

    Do you have a question for Socially Stephanie?

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

    Illustration by Jesse Wells

    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.

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

    [Webinar]

    Tuesday, September 23rd, 11:30am EDT

    Register now: http://www.brandwatch.com/webinar

    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.

    Join us for this webinar where we’ll be exploring the benefits of using historical Twitter data for your business.

    We’ll be discussing use cases, best practices and handy tips for using historical Twitter, followed by a panel discussion hosted by Brandwatch CMO Will McInnes.

    This webinar will last approximately one hour, including Q&A. Join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #brandwatchtips.

    There was an elephant in the Great Room at The Social Shake-Up 2014: Is social really over as a business? Moderator, and CEO of Social Media Today, Robin Fray Carey, asked this of the star-studded panel of three at this keynote ending the first day of the #SocialShakeUp.

    There was an elephant in the Great Room at The Social Shake-Up 2014: Is social really over as a business?

    Moderator, and CEO of Social Media Today, Robin Fray Carey, asked this of the star-studded panel of three at this keynote ending the first day of the #SocialShakeUp. Sitting on stage with Carey to answer this and discuss more were Renee Ducre, Global Director Marketing, Social Business, IBM; Jeffrey Dachis, Former Founder, CEO, and Chairman, Dachis Group; and Vanessa DiMauro, Founder and CEO, Leader Networks.

    The panel discusses where social has been and where it’s headed. Today we find social expertise in many enterprise endeavors: from the expected, like customer service and marketing, to the unexpected, like product development—and yes, even legal. If the ability to use networks and social tools is everywhere, what is the future of social? What are the current strategic concerns, and what can we anticipate next year and in the years to come? Here’s what the panel had to say:

    IS IT THE END OF THE SOCIAL BUSINESS ERA?

    The panelists each had a unique answer along the “social is not over spectrum”—from maybe to definitely not.

    Dachis: It’s Just the Beginning
    “Far from it. We’re really at the beginning. But I hope social as a cliché is over starting today.”

    DiMauro: We Have Graduated
    “Now that the struggle of learning the tools and technology is over, it’s time to apply our imaginations and connect. ROI should keep coming up.”

    Ducre: It’s Here to Stay
    “It’s here to stay, although it will always be evolving. Whether we like it or not, we’re all a social business. The conversation will go on with or without you, so get on board. If social is here to stay, ROI is a key piece as well as being able to talk to a CEO about it. We have to continue to evangelize results.”

    SHOULD COMPANIES OWN OR RENT THE SOCIAL CONVERSATION?

    “Is social business threatened by using social media,” Carey asked, “such as the decisions being made by LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter? Should companies think about owning the social conversation inside their walls?”

    Ducre: Don’t Lease Your Brand’s Legacy
    “IBM votes to own their social conversation, but it varies based on the brand and its goals. IBM, for instance, has a strong history that it has built over time. But it only takes a second to drop the value of stock by doing something crazy. Do we really want to rent our legacy out?”

    DiMauro: Decide Depending on Your Business
    “Do you want to go to a rock concert or play golf with some of your clients? It depends on your business whether you rent versus own. A lot of causes and non-profits, for example, push to own because they don’t have the resources to rent.”

    Jeffrey Dachis: Have Your Cake and Eat It, Too
    “Can I play golf with clients and go to the concert? Use a mix of paid, earned, and owned. Tap into owned and earned where people are, and use paid to amplify earned conversations or attract new earned.”

    THE ROLE OF SOCIAL AND THE SOCIAL PERSONA

    For years, smart people have been saying that eventually we would no longer distinguish “social” business from ordinary business. So where does social come into play in our offline and online lives?

    DiMauro:  Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
    “Connect online and offline experiences. Who I am at the counter is different than who I am on social.”

    DiMaur point to Leader Networks’ social business research studies to find out how to leverage insights gained both online and offline to be more responsive to stakeholders, such as prospective customers, clients, partners, and suppliers. Visit the website for the new Social Consumer Study, which should be coming out in the next week.

    Dachis: Synonymous
    “They are one and the same: people connecting with each other in the collaborative economy. Social becomes an economic driver—that’s the future of social business.”

    Ducre: Community
    "I echo Jeff’s comments about the Internet of Things. Delight the customer to buy and drive revenue. The collaborative economy is community-based. The power structure is changing, and community is the root of people-powered ideas. People have the influence.”

    She suggested checking out John Deere’s, The Furrow Magazine, online, for example, to see the unsurpassed treatment the company gives to customers, investors, and employees.

    TO BLOG OR NOT TO BLOG

    “Should executives blog?” Carey asked the panel to weigh in on. “Is a blog the best use of time, energy, and expertise.”

    Dachis: Play to Your Strengths
    “I don’t blog, but I do tweet, and I will begin blogging soon. Social business means understanding the business processes and cultural impact. You can understand these things without blogging, but you have to understand social technologies to blog. I have seen the most prolific social person fail at social strategies and vice versa. I wouldn’t equate the two.”

    Ducre: Blog About Your Passions
    “IBM’s 400,000 employees are on social, being led by its Social Computing Guidelines. It’s accessible for anyone to be social, so if you’re not on social get social now. Whether it’s on Twitter, LinkedIn, or a blog, share your point of view on a topic you’re passionate about. Your passion will come through and people will follow because of it. Love finance? Blog about it. Is HR is your thing? Blog about it. Whatever your career path, you’re more marketable and you’re more competitive if you’re more social.”

    DiMauro:  Blog, but Don’t Burn Out
    “Community managers are my heroes. Keep doing what you’re doing, but don’t burn out. At the end of the day, apply the collaborative economy. This helps solve business puzzles. As moderators, they represent the voice of the customer and the voice of the organization. They need social skills, to know how to facilitate, and an understanding of business drivers. When the business stool has these three legs, magic happens.”

    FINAL THOUGHTS

    Either social is a powerful trend, or it’s meaningful, truth, you’re participating in it, and you see value in it. Years ago social was tools. For the last year or two, it has been social media marketing.  Now it’s insights, listening, and responding. What will it be next? We'd love to know your past and present experiences with social, and your thoughts on where you think it's headed in the comments below. 

    “As social networks increasingly monetize, I suggest we keep creating new friction points to keep the predominance of major networks, like ABC and NBC, from happening all over again.”

    Ducre: “I’ll say social isn’t over to be provocative.”

    Dachis: Social is not over, but saying it is over is link bait.”

    DiMauro:  Social is here because we’re still learning. In five years from now—it may not be here.

    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.