• 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.
  • brianfarnan1
    brianfarnan1 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.
  • Google announced back in August 2014 that it would start making the transition from HTTP to HTTPS, claiming the move was related to increased user security and safety. Google even called on others to do the same. However, not only is this not an easy transition for webmasters to make.

    On August 6th, 2014, Google made the announcement that they would be switching from HTTP to HTTPS. But what’s the difference in the two, and now, over a month later, where has all the HTTPS gone? 

    Whereas HTTP stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol, HTTPS stands for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure. That extra letter in the acronym means that a website uses an SSL certificate, or secure sockets layer, to establish a secure connection with the server, encrypting data from visitors to the site. HTTP sites lack this extra security step, so unencrypted data can be read by the server, which can then be used to collect various data. When Google first announced this move, the web giant announced it as a means for a new ranking signal, though it is not part of an algorithm update but rather a separate signal altogether.

    At the announcement, Google didn’t just stop at promoting their own personal reasons for pursuing the migration; as part of their “strategy to promote security and user safety across the internet in general,” they are also calling for HTTPS to be everywhere, urging webmasters to make the switch to adding SSL certificates to their websites. But, why? Some are calling this a move that was more directed toward improving PR than actual safety and security for its internet users. The problem is, “HTTPS only protect against a very limited number of site vulnerabilities,” but it does not protect against hacking or various attacks that involve database or server exploitation. HTTPS is useless when it comes to websites that do not require a user log in, so many see it pointless for sites that do not store or transfer personal data to transition to HTTPS. For these reasons, it seems odd that Google would taut this as a move to improve ranking signals and security for users because the majority of the sites wouldn’t use HTTPS in the first place, and if used, it would be a lightweight signal that would act only as a differentiator between pages identically ranked. Basically, it doesn’t mean too much when it comes to search rankings.  

    HTTPS has its place, and it’s ideal for sites that collect personal data and need to keep this data secure and protected, such as banking sites, ecommerce sites like PayPal, and social media sites, but beyond that does it really impact rankings as promised by Google?   Forbes reports that right now, not really, but since Google owns 68% of the search engine market share, it is foreseen that HTTPS will “eventually play a bigger role in search ranking algorithm.” And as far as SEO goes, there seems to be no need to switch right now with lacking data so far showing any improvements in SEO rankings, but stay tuned. 

    Twitter has tested, announced and hinted at several Twitter timeline changes which could drastically change the look of your feed. Each of these stories have been met both dismay and excitement, depending on where you look. While it’s not clear what these changes tell us about Twitter’s long-term strategy, they do tell us that our timelines will likely soon start to look very different.
     

    In recent weeks, Twitter has tested, announced and hinted at several Twitter timeline changes which could drastically change the look of your feed. Each of these stories have been met both dismay and excitement, depending on where you look. While it’s not clear what these changes tell us about Twitter’s long-term strategy, they do tell us that our timelines will likely soon start to look very different.

    The following are some of the potential Twitter timeline changes and how they might affect your Twitter experience in the near future:

    Tweets from people you don’t follow

    Throughout the summer, several users noted seeing Tweets from people they didn’t follow appear in their timelines. These weren’t retweets, but favorited messages from other people that they followed. This came as a shock to many people for two different reasons. First, people who are careful about who they followed were upset to see random users appearing in their feed. Second, many people treated their favorites as a means of bookmarking Tweets or quietly acknowledging a mention. To see those favorites put on display in other people’s feeds was unexpected.

    What does this mean for your timeline? The change itself is clearly an effort by Twitter to open up the timeline, making it easier for people to discover other users based on interactions with the people they already follow. And while this initial burst was only a test, it doesn’t look good for the users who complained about the change. Twitter has actually formally changed its definition of “timeline” to accommodate this feature.

    Their explanation of “What’s in your home timeline” now includes the following: ”Additionally, when we identify a Tweet, an account to follow, or other content that’s popular or relevant, we may add it to your timeline. This means you will sometimes see Tweets from accounts you don’t follow. We select each Tweet using a variety of signals, including how popular it is and how people in your network are interacting with it. Our goal is to make your home timeline even more relevant and interesting.”In other words, expect people you don’t follow to have a growing place in your timeline.

    A filtered feed

    Seeing other people’s favorites in your timeline is just one example of a potential Twitter push towards a Facebook-style filtered feed. Twitter has been the holdout when it comes to filtering, generally allowing you to decide exactly what appears in your feed, and then presenting that information in reverse-chronological order. But soon your feed may take on a different character.

    GigaOm recently reported on comments by Twitter’s Chief Financial Officer Anthony Noto who said: “Twitter’s timeline is organized in reverse chronological order… but this “isn’t the most relevant experience for a user… Putting that content in front of the person at that moment in time is a way to organize that content better.””

    Noto addressed the issue of important or good Tweets getting buried if a user is away from their account for a period of time. A filtered timeline would keep those Tweets and place them in the user’s feed for the next time they opened it, just like your Facebook feed does with popular stories.

    But, as GigaOm pointed out, this often means that stories happening in the moment don’t get the same kind of attention. They used the example of the events in Ferguson this summer, which dominated Twitter feeds but only appeared sporadically on Facebook.

    What does this mean for your timeline? Sooner rather than later you might be seeing post appear at the top of your feed based on your interests and what Twitter’s algorithm decides is important to you, rather than just the time they were sent. This could seriously impact the success of tactics like live-blogging and Twitter chats, which generally depend on this chronological format Twitter has in place.

    Buying directly from your feed

    Most recently, Twitter announced it was testing a new feature that would allow you to make purchases directly from your Twitter feed.

    A percentage of their U.S. user base will be able to tap a “buy” button under Tweets from select partners. Doing so will take them to a separate screen where they could check out size and product info, enter shipping and payment details and purchase the product mentioned in the Tweet.

    “This is an early step in our building functionality into Twitter to make shopping from mobile devices convenient and easy, hopefully even fun,” Twitter said in its blog post. “Users will get access to offers and merchandise they can’t get anywhere else and can act on them right in the Twitter apps [...] Sellers will gain a new way to turn the direct relationship they build with their followers into sales.”

    What does this mean for your timeline? On its own, this shouldn’t change too much about your feed. If you follow these partners you might see the buy button. You might also see it in Promoted Tweets which already get top billing in your feed.

    That said, coupled with the other Twitter changes this could mean big changes in the future. Perhaps in a few months you’ll see products people you follow have purchased appear in your feed. Maybe brands will be more attracted to the prospect of new kinds of access to Twitter’s massive user base. We can only wait and see, but you can bet Twitter will be looking for ways to encourage brands to use the social network as a sales platform.

     

    Hyperlapse is a powerful new companion app to Instragram that in the right hands can create amazing time-lapsed videos. Here are 4 suggestions on how to make some magic with Hyperlapse.

    On August 26th, Instagram released a new app called Hyperlapse that allows users to make time-lapse-like videos. Naturally, people and brands alike have jumped on the new tech to test it out.

    Hyperlapse isn’t your typical video-shooting app — instead, it’s intended to mimic time-lapse video. Essentially, it condenses a few thousand dollars worth of equipment into the palm of your hand. Here are a few tips on how to make remarkable videos!

    1.    Hold Still!

    Traditional time-lapse videos are generated from stationary cameras. Unfortunately, a handheld phone isn’t particularly steady on its own, especially when you’re walking. While the Hyperlapse app has programming to counter for jumpy movement, it’s not all that effective. So, if you want your Hyperlapse to look great, hold still! Prop your camera against something or use a tripod. If you have to shoot your video on the move, try to move very slowly.

    Avoid: Walking/running while recording.

    For the pros: Use a dollya DIY panning device or invest in a Steadicam for mobile devices.

    2.    Focus on Movement

    Time-lapse is meant to capture subtle changes (stars, sunset, snail movement) or show patterns in rapid movement (people and car traffic). Shooting one subject that moves at a regular speed will just produce a “fast forward” version of the normal video. This can be an amusing effect, but only if the subject is doing something interesting.

    Avoid: Quickly repeating patterns (i.e. waves, flames, etc.)

    For the pros: Switch from subject to subject in the foreground, with traditional time-lapse in the background.

    3.    Lighting!

    Hyperlapse will warn you about low light situations, but what it doesn’t tell you is that the camera will fix the lens to the ISO setting at the start of recording. If you start to record in a dark scene and move to a lighter scene, everything will be overexposed. Record in natural, constant light.

    Avoid: Extreme changes in lighting

    For the pros: Create interesting lighting effects by fixing the camera in normal or dark scenes, and shoot using flashlights in a dark scene.

    4.    Plan Ahead

    Once you’re done recording, the app allows you to adjust the speed from normal to up to 12x. The default setting produces a video that is 6x (every six seconds recorded is one second produced). Naturally, 12x is twice as fast and can be used to condense more footage. Depending on the subject you are recording, you may want to record enough footage with 12x in mind.

    Avoid: Not recording enough video

    For the pros: Record a slow moving object in scene with a pattern (going against tip 2) that will create a still background when sped up. 

    Don’t feel limited to just creating time-lapse shots. There’s much more you can do with increased video speeds to create interesting content. Remember, you have a remarkably powerful video app in the palm of your hand, so be creative and have fun.  (Here's a quick experiment from the analytics team at Renegade including Merlin U. Ward who also helped with the research and writing of this article.) 

    Employee Advocacy is no longer just an exciting theoretical concept. From the breadth of discussions and the passion, creativity, and expertise of the attendees, #EASummit14 proved to be a pivotal congregation marking (and celebrating) the rise of this transformational business practice.

    Hello from Atlanta! I am writing from the 2014 Employee Advocacy Summit (#EASummit14) and the Social Shake-Up (#SocialShakeUp), both organized by the awesome team at SocialMediaToday. Dynamic Signal was a proud sponsor of the EA Summit portion, and I ended up with an open spot to attend it along with my colleagues G.I. Sanders, Alex Cramer, and Jordan Shultz.

    Before I share my thoughts about the conference, I must share with you what I do at Dynamic Signal, as it is very relevant to the theme of my post. I run the Client Services team, which represents strategic customer success functions with operational project/program management – think of us as T-shaped individuals. My team works with all of our clients in planning, preparing, launching, tracking, and scaling programs focused on employee and customer advocacy. So, I am always thinking about the implementation of an advocacy program (well, usually many more than one!) – be it customer advocacy or employee advocacy.

    At Dynamic Signal, we have been thinking about and evangelizing benefits of the amazing cultural transformation that is employee advocacy long before it became a common topic of discussion. In fact, one of our first brand partnerships focused on employee advocacy goes back to 2011-2012. With all of the recent buzz in the market about the idea of mutual empowerment of company-employees, I started seeing a lot more thought leadership content – articles, white papers, and presentations talking about the what and the why. As with any new business discipline, I thought, employee advocacy has started seeing its fair share of educational content on making the business case for its practice. However, as more thought leadership content guiding brands continued to surface, in parallel, we at Dynamic Signal were already in the process of developing program plans, engagement play books, implementation (and social media / disclosure) guidelines for a number of our clients. In other words, we were working on the how of employee advocacy - with actual business practitioners, implementing employee advocacy programs across their organizations; documenting tactics, developing metrics and benchmarks, etc.

    As this happened, I wondered when the market (brands, bloggers/experts, vendors) overall will collectively start talking about this next phase in the evolution of employee advocacy: the practitioner’s phase. Where can we all discuss examples from different brands/verticals? How do/did we feel about implementing an employee advocacy program in a group/geo/company? What stories do employees have about being advocates for their brands? What is the right approach to learn from our experience and create growth plans?

    Attending #EASummit14 gave me answers to these exact questions!


    A few notes on activity that had me excited (and hurriedly taking notes):

    • Program Planning: Liz Bullock gave a thorough overview on Performance and Risk Management, during which she outlined a helpful 10-step checklist for planning, launching and integrating an employee advocacy initiative into an organization’s existing engagement efforts. You can find Liz’s presentation here. Even if you flip through the slides for a few minutes, you can quickly catch many helpful ideas/guidelines as food for thought for your employee advocacy initiatives.

    • Content: I often think of content in the digital/social realm as the ‘currency for engagement’. Michael Brito gave a thought-provoking overview on how best to think of content in the context of employee advocacy. One notion that really got me thinking was to think of employees as brand journalists creating content that can tie to multiple brand objectives while also empowering their relationship with their brand/organization. Michael’s presentation can be found here. I was pleasantly surprised at how well his guidance and ideas resonated with our approach at Dynamic Signal. We always emphasize the importance of employee-generated content in any employee advocacy initiative. The diversity, depth, and perspective of various topics interesting/relevant to employees can never fully be achieved by the brand alone; leveraging their voice can yield to great returns from a content marketing perspective, while also ensuring that employees feel that they are truly collaborating with their employer in advocating the brand.

    • Metrics: Tracking an advocacy program’s efforts and establishing efficacy is an important consideration for any program practitioner. Susan Emerick and Jeanne Murray led a great session covering various types of social metrics and how to tie them back to business objectives. They touched on everything from establishing executive metrics-based buy-in to potential/common objections. I certainly plan to explore more on the topic in Susan’s book The Most Powerful Brand on Earth (co-authored by Chris Boudreaux, who also had great insights at the summit).

    • Employee Ambassador Stories: The summit kicked off with this session, and what a session it was! Employee ambassadors from Sprint (Ben Brenneis) and Intel (Mike Ambassador Bruny) shared their experiences from being brand advocates. They talked about ways to identify and nurture employee advocates, ways to reward them (tangible rewards and recognition/empowerment within the organization) and also how employee advocacy initiatives began and grew at their respective organizations. While the other panels and sessions were sharing experiences from the brand’s perspective, this session shed light on how employees think about advocating for their company and how they see the benefits of such a collaboration. My biggest takeaway from this session was how powerful emotional motivation can be in driving an employee to talk about their employer. Ben said he “loved Sprint” and Mike shared similar sentiments on being a brand ambassador. While both talked about specific incentives, what seemed to motivate them even more was the empowerment they felt from their respective brands allowing them to talk to the world about their experiences working there. Establishing such a connection and relationship can yield powerful rewards for any organization. I certainly intend to continue to emphasize this perspective when talking to our clients at Dynamic Signal.

    Now, I may not have done justice in describing the full depth and breadth of these sessions and other proceedings of the summit here, but hope this gives at least a good high-level overview of what took place to all reading this post. I always refer to ‘information-to-session (I-to-S) ratio’ when talking about conferences, and, given that #EASummit was just over half a day, I can say that it certainly had a very high I-to-S ratio!

    As an employee advocacy recommender, planner, manager, and collaborator, I felt excited to be amongst so many practitioners from so many brands, with so many different objectives, such varied approaches, and diverse metrics (while aligning on pretty similar business objectives – like sales, earned media, customer success, etc.). Employee Advocacy is no longer just an exciting theoretical concept. From the breadth of discussions and the passion, creativity, and expertise of the attendees, #EASummit14 proved to be a pivotal congregation marking (and celebrating) the rise of this transformational business practice.

    As with any trendsetting approach, business case challenges, legal hurdles, ROI proofs and other important considerations will find their way onto the practitioner’s emails and meeting agendas. However, if the vision and tactics of the #EASummit14 attendees are any evidence, I feel extremely optimistic that employee advocacy will only continue to grow in prominence and efficacy across brands’ marketing plans (and minds) worldwide.

    Thanks again to SocialMediaToday and others involved for orchestrating such a wonderful confluence of minds. I certainly had a field day exploring employee advocacy in practice and look forward to its continued growth.

    It is important that you see both short-term and long-term results from your SEO which is why you need to create micro content on a regular basis for social in order to create the best possible results seen from long-tail SEO.

     

    It can be difficult to make sure that your business is ranking highly based on your keywords on both Google and on social. Standing out amongst the chatter is one of the hardest things to do on social media especially with the increasing domination of social media in the marketing industry.

    It is important that you see both short-term and long-term results from your SEO which is why you need to create micro content on a regular basis for social in order to create the best possible results seen from long-tail SEO.

    With long-tail having a higher overall click-through rate with 56% of searches for phrases of four words, it is ideal for businesses to choose longer phrases for their SEO as opposed to shorter or one word phrases.

    Creating Social Media Micro-Content With Long-Tail SEO

    This, however does not mean the same approach should be taken when considering social. Focusing on creating lots of micro-moments of social success will help you build a meaningful relationship and increase readership on every post.

    While both may seem different, the use of micro-content and long-tail SEO is to achieve the same results in the long-term. Your SEO strategy should consist of keyword phrases across your whole website in both long-form and short-form content creation as well as considering site usability, off-page optimization, link building and anchor text.

    Micro-content requires creation of images, copy, long-form content, video’s and other types of information to fuel engagement on your social channel.

    Here are three tips to help you create a long-term plan for long-tail SEO and micro-content;

    1. In-depth content

    Content is what will give you an edge over your competitor and creating unique, compelling content in the form of blog posts, video’s and infographics is a great way to combine both long-tail and micro-content. Make sure that when you write a blog, you use the right long-tail keyword phrases for your business and then create micro-content (social media posts) based on this content to boost engagement and SEO.

    2. Be specific with your long-tail keywords

    Make sure that you are not spreading yourself too thin when it comes to using long-tail keywords. Only stick to phrases that are congruent with the message you are sharing on social media and what your business is all about.

    3. Scale your content creation

    Content marketing is used by 90% of marketers to reach their audiences. A successful way to execute content creation is to always increase the amount of quality content you are producing.

    How are you creating your micro-content and long tail SEO?