Collaboration

Don’t Keep Your Thought Leaders Hidden

Embrace your Inner Thought Leaders

CollaborationFollower and friend counts are only part of the story. When the impact of their social messaging is considered, employee advocates look like marketing powerhouses. The Edelman Trust Barometer reveals that 50% of the international public consider employees either extremely credible or very credible sources of information when forming opinions about a company. The numbers are even more impressive for specialized employees: 65% of respondents regarded “a technical expert within the company” as either extremely credible or very credible, just one percentage point less than an academic expert.

Enterprises strengthen their brands enormously by activating these internal thought leaders on social media. Employee blogs and social media profiles allow workers to build personal brands online and form public records of expertise that also reflect well on their employer. Hewlett Packard, for example, has leveraged the vast knowledge base of its employees by encouraging them to share their thoughts about computing and other topics on personal blogs. These thought leaders aren’t just executives, or project leaders, but people from all areas of the company.

It’s not hard to see why workers of HP, a technology giant, would attract an audience, but is that the case for employees in a grocery store? Or a car dealership? Or a hair salon? In fact, these hypothetical workers probably know more about organic vegetables, antilock brakes, or shampoo, respectively, than any of their friends. One of the first questions we typically ask a new acquaintance is, “Where do you work?” The answer to that question greatly influences what topics of conversation we are likely to pursue with them. Social networks make those conversations visible to a wide audience and confirm the employee’s knowledge.

Adopting these communication technologies for professional use is not a difficult transition for employees. Statistics show that people are embracing Twitter, for example, at the same rate personally as they are professionally.

Today’s workers see social media as a basic way to communicate, so they don’t miss a beat when companies introduce internal social tools like Yammer or Hootsuite Conversations to help them collaborate and amplify external messaging on behalf of their brands. Corporate education programs can accelerate the workforce transition and turn typical employees into social media power users.

 

Written by Matt Foulger. Originally posted on HootSource.

 

Facebook at Work

Facebook at Work – the new workplace productivity tool?

Facebook at WorkNot content with using Facebook for personal use? Well, the social network that already consumes many hours of your day may soon be one of your company’s go-to productivity tools.

Facebook is turning its focus to an office-focused collaborative app on the web, Android, and iOS. To begin with, Facebook at Work will only be available to a limited number of companies involved in a small pilot to start. The platform itself is still in its infancy, which may explain why only a few partners are participating for now. The app will have the same look and feel that Facebook currently has, but there are no ads in the “At Work” version, nor does Facebook keep track of any corporate user data.

Rather than making people endure endless office email chains, Facebook seems to think it’s found a better way. Existing Facebook features like groups, events, messaging, and even the news feed will work well as office productivity tools. But there’s no need to worry about your work colleagues seeing that drunken night out picture or the cat memes you love. There’s going to be a clear separation between professional and personal profiles; Facebook At Work accounts aren’t visible to people outside pilot companies, which is good news for companies sharing sensitive data.

With Facebook At Work, Mark Zuckerberg will be taking on office heavyweights like Microsoft’s ‘Yammer’ and Google. It’s not clear how the social network plans to profit from At Work; so far, there’ve been no details on whether Facebook ultimately plans to charge businesses to use it or what those rates would be. But the first step is getting in the door, and Facebook’s beginning that effort today.

However, I can’t help but think there are already enough great productivity tools for the workplace – Evernote, Trello, Podio, Wunderlist, Redbooth……I could go on. And this is not the first time we’ve seen a big name venture into this field – Google Wave anyone?

Would you consider using Facebook at Work for your company? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Twitter Buy It Now

Twitter moves into retail with ‘Buy Now’ button

Twitter has begun to dip its toes in e-commerce by adding a new “buy now” button that retailers can embed into tweets. At present the service is just a small-scale trial, mostly offering music downloads from artists such as Ryan Adams for sale.

It allows Twitter users to place a “buy now” button in a tweet that also includes a brief description and image of the product.

Once you click on the button you are taken to another screen where you’re shown further details of the item on offer, and given the chance to choose options – such as size for clothing. You’re then asked to enter your payment and address details. Twitter hold these details on file so that future purchases take a couple of clicks.

Initially the feature is only available to a “small percentage” of users in the US, but Twitter says that this will “grow over time”.

Retailers like Burberry and Home Depot are trialling the feature, as are a range of musicians including The New Pornographers and Megadeth.

Twitter says that more artists and brands will be signing-up “soon”.

Twitter’s Tarun Jain said in a blog post: “This is an early step in our building functionality into Twitter to make shopping from mobile devices convenient and easy, hopefully even fun.

“Users will get access to offers and merchandise they can’t get anywhere else and can act on them right in the Twitter apps for Android and iOS; sellers will gain a new way to turn the direct relationship they build with their followers into sales.”

It’ll be interesting to see how retailers adopt this feature as it rolls out to a wider audience.

However we don’t anticipate any long term value for retailers, with the buttons main integration being utilised for flash offers or online sales.

 

[Source: Twitter; Mashable; TNW]

Ello

Ready to say Hello to Ello?

The entire internet (well, the geeky side of it) is buzzing about a new social media platform – Ello, the anti-Facebook social network.

An anti-Facebook sounds interesting (and maybe a little bit cool), but what exactly does that mean? And is it worth your time and effort to start using yet another social network. Remember when we all thought Path was going to be the next big thing? Ha! Exactly.

Here’s a quick guide to Ello.

No Ads and No Data Mining

“Ello is a simple, beautiful, and ad-free social network created by a small group of artists and designers,” is how the creators describe the network.  When you’re tired of the non-stop ads and weird algorithm of Facebook, an ad-free digital zone seems like a dream.

The company also states that it won’t sell data about you to third parties and calls the collecting and selling of your data, “creepy.” Of course Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and other social networks and services started out ad-free too and now those services are polluted with ads. Ello acknowledges this and says that if they ever do change their no-ads policy they would lose most of the community and notes that it if does, there’s a Delete Account on every user’s page.

But they need to make money, surely?

Ello is free to use and it intends to stay that way. That’s great, but you can’t hire developers and scale user load with unicorns and pixie dust, as much as we’ve tried. So the team says it will be offering “special features” in the future that users can pay for. So it’s more of a freemium model. It’s worked for mobile games so maybe it’ll work for a social network.

So What Can I Do With Ello?

Like every other social network you can post status updates and photos. Unlike Facebook, and like Google+, it supports GIFs. You can also comment on posts and reply directly to your friends and you can also see how many people have viewed a post and edit a post if you missed a typo before pushing it live.

There’s also a Noise section that showcases posts by people you might not know arranged in a loose grid.

To be honest, we’ve seen all this before. In fact, its biggest feature is a social network fresh start and its stripped down timeline. The biggest drawback is that it’s in beta and you can feel it.

Anything else?

There’s a large list of new features being worked on, including support for inline video and audio posts from YouTube, Vimeo, Vine, Instagram and Soundcloud. It’s also working on user blocking which is sadly something every social network needs now. It’s also getting inappropriate content flagging, private accounts, reposts with author attribution, a notification center, iOS and Android apps and private messaging.

Should we sign up then?

If you’re comfortable with all the bells and whistles of Facebook, Google+ and Twitter and you’re fine with your information being mined for ads, Ello isn’t for you. The platform is also buggy at the moment and prone to errors and downtime. But, if you’re looking for an alternative social network without ads (or you’re concerned about getting your username before anyone else) and you can handle a few rough edges, Ello is off to a good start.

Ello is currently invite only. You can sign up at https://ello.co to be added to the invite list.

Built to Last?

As for longevity, that’s really up to users. App Dot Net, Path, Google+ and others have tried to cut into Facebook’s dominance of the social networking space. None have done much to stop the juggernaut of Likes. Ello probably won’t make much of a dent either. But it could be a nice quiet place to share your thoughts and artsy photos….and cats….always cat photos.

The Ello Manifesto In Full

Your social network is owned by advertisers.

Every post you share, every friend you make and every link you follow is tracked, recorded and converted into data. Advertisers buy your data so they can show you more ads. You are the product that’s bought and sold.

We believe there is a better way. We believe in audacity. We believe in beauty, simplicity and transparency. We believe that the people who make things and the people who use them should be in partnership.

We believe a social network can be a tool for empowerment. Not a tool to deceive, coerce and manipulate — but a place to connect, create and celebrate life.

You are not a product.

 

Source: [Ello.co; Telegraph; TNW; Google+]

Instagram Sponsored Stories

Instagram Introducing Ads in the UK

In amongst the usual pictures of peoples lunch, sunsets, and of course cats, Instagram users may have noticed something new. Ads.

We’d been warned that adverts were coming, but they’re now arriving in the UK.  If you haven’t already seen it, look out for a “sponsored” post popping up in your feed.

Ads will be rolled out “slowly”, the social network explains, starting with companies “already great” on Instagram. After this taster, Instagram said genuine adverts would be “coming soon” to UK users.

“Our aim is to make any advertisements people feel as natural to Instagram as the photos and videos they enjoy from brands who are already using Instagram,” said spokesman Will Guyatt.

“You can hide individual adverts and leave feedback by tapping the “…” button.

“We’re relying on input from people on Instagram as well as advertisers to help us continually improve the Instagram experience.”

Despite the test post receiving more than 18,000 likes, many users have been expressing their frustration online.

The company was bought by Facebook in 2012 for $750m (£460m), despite not making a profit, and it now needs to start making money and support itself. Ads is the natural way to go and we feel opens up an already creative channel to some hopefully great, creative ways of advertising.

Facebook Logo

Facebook cracking down on Click Bait

Facebook announced in a recent blog post that it’s making changes to its algorithm intended to reduce the prevalence of click bait in users news feeds. The social network said the move was the result of research showing that “80% of the time people preferred headlines that helped them decide if they wanted to read the full article before they had to click through.”

This change targets publishers like Upworthy, who have achieved huge traffic numbers thanks to the Facebook-friendly “curiosity gap” style of headline writing. Upworthy averages about 75,000 Facebook likes per article.

Facebook remains secretive about the details of its algorithm, but the announcement did reveal some information about how it will sort click-bait from the the rest of the content users see in their feeds. The two metrics Facebook considers are the time users spend on the publisher’s page after clicking through and engagement. “If a lot of people click on the link, but relatively few people click Like, or comment on the story when they return to Facebook, this also suggests that people didn’t click through to something that was valuable to them,” the post explains.

For marketers, this is another reason to create high-value, highly engaging content. The new changes aren’t intended to filter out headlines that begin with “You’ll Never Believe…” They’re intended to reduce the prominence of posts their users don’t read, share, and discuss. Many tried-and-true tactics will still work, as long as the substance of the content lives up to the promise of the headline.

 

[Source: Hootsuite; Facebook; TNW; Tech Crunch]

Social Media Security

5 Must-Haves for Social Media Management

Social media has grown from a curiosity to an integral piece of corporate strategy in the space of only a few years. Nearly overnight, companies have brought on whole teams of specialists to craft effective social media strategies and manage multiplying numbers of social media accounts. Companies are hungry for better social media tools to engage their constituents. Below is a list of five features key to delivering on a social media strategy.

1) Scheduling

Social media doesn’t sleep, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to! Ensure your social media management tool of choice allows you to schedule messages in advance. So even if you’re in New York, you can schedule messages out to your customers in Tokyo during their workday.

If you want to take scheduling to the next level, look for a tool that offers the ability to schedule large batches of messages at once. This will be a super useful time-saver when it comes to managing campaigns or contests that require heavy messaging around a certain period of time.

2) Geo

When it comes to interacting with your customers, those in different locations may have different needs, speak different languages or follow different trends. You’re going to want a tool that optimizes your searches and filters your searches by language to help you curate relevant content for different demographics.

3) Keywords

Social media is also an effective way for businesses to keep their finger on the pulse. Setting up keywords or search streams provide insight into what is trendy among your customers. This can help you develop a marketing strategy that focuses on customer’s lifestyles and personal preferences.

Keywords are useful for keeping track of competitors’ activities but they’re also useful for tracking brands that are complementary to your offering. If your product is often purchased in conjunction with another product, keep an eye on the complementary product’s social media activity to take advantage of promotions or recent sales, as these are potential leads ready to be converted.

4) Collaboration

It takes two to tango especially when it comes to being social. Collaboration is key when it comes to developing and executing an effective social media campaign. Ensure your social media management tool enables you to seamlessly collaborate with your team to ensure you execute an integrated social media management strategy.

5) Reporting

Gone are the days of social media purely being about ‘building buzz.’ It is now a line item in budgets as companies invest resources in these channels and there is an expectation for reports which show ROI for social media outreach.

Make sure your tool has the ability to analyze important metrics such as click-through rates on shortened links, clicks by region and top referrers. It’s also important to have access to Facebook Insights and Google Analytics.

The most effective tools will provide the ability to access in-depth granular metrics on the efficacy of your social media programs. This will allow you to determine which messages resulted in the highest number of conversions, which platform is providing the greatest return and which time of day is most effective to drive traffic.

 

Article written by Matt Foulger and originally posted on HootSource.

Image source: Creative Commons

Social Media Messaging and Amplification

8 Tips for Social Business | Part 8

Amplify

Social Media AmplificationWhen you have a piece of content that is a “hit,” increase it. One of the benefits of good measurement and understanding of your data is the ability to hone your messaging and understand what did and didn’t work from a content perspective. Organic social is testing your content for you. Paid social allows you to commit dollars with data-backed belief in your programs and messaging. Invest in promoted tweets, accounts or trends across social platforms or accounts that have already demonstrated the highest yield.

With paid social companies can drill down to microtarget users – either their own followers or people “like” their followers – based on literally hundreds of different interests, by country and city, gender and even device. Companies only pay when users “engage” with the Promoted Tweet in some way, i.e. by clicking on a link or retweeting it. Native ads are also very agile. Members of an organisation can log in at any time, create a message and instantly push it to a global audience as a Promoted Tweet. An eBay-style bidding system means prime ad spots always go for the lowest price, minimizing ad spend. The time-consuming (not to mention pricey) requirements of traditional ad campaigns – design teams, creative agencies and media buyers – can’t make the same claim.
Article written by Evan LePage and originally posted on HootSource.

Image source: Creative Commons

Facebook Like Baiting

Facebook clamps down on auto-shared spam

Facebook has introduced measures to tackle the amount of “auto-shared spam” on the social network.

The firm is altering News Feeds to feature fewer auto-shared posts, including Spotify listening habits and ‘liked’ photographs on Instagram.

Facebook are specifically targeting posts categorised as Like-Baiting, Frequently Circulated Content, and Spammy Links.

Facebook say that the improvements are “to reduce stories that people frequently tell us are spammy and that they don’t want to see. Many of these stories are published by Pages that deliberately try and game News Feed to get more distribution than they normally would.”

Furthermore, third-party apps will post fewer stories on the user’s behalf, while auto-sharing applications will prompt users before posting on their timeline.

Auto-sharing is not being scrapped altogether, but explicitly-shared stories will be prioritised over them.

“In general, we’ve found that people engage more with stories that are shared explicitly rather than implicitly, and often feel surprised or confused by stories that are shared implicitly or automatically,” said Facebook’s Peter Yang.

You can read the full blog release here.

[Source: Facebook; E Consultancy]

Hootsuite Social Media Analytics

8 Tips for Social Business | Part 7

Measure ROI

Hootsuite Social Media AnalyticsIt’s important for social data to be relevant to stakeholders within organisation, but often they speak only to the practitioners. This makes it difficult to communicate value, or to make important decisions related to the use or investment in social media for the organization. It does not need to be so. Tie social to the big picture by linking it to organisational and departmental goals. Users can start with tracking the Like, @mention, Retweet or Follow, but tap in to the power to go much further and deeper. Build the capacity for measurement into every social action. Use URL shorteners, like our own ow.ly links, to track your click-throughs. Integrate Google Analytics and Facebook Insights to track on-site conversions or drill in to geographic disparities in data.

One of the more powerful, recent integrations at HootSuite is our partnership with Adobe SiteCatalyst. For the first time ever, you’re able to track the path from social message to conversion and attach a dollar value to individual social messages against Key Performance Indicators. You’re able to see which social platform performs best against certain kinds of messaging, analyze which of your Social Advocates is driving more revenue per message and understand what times of day work best for which kinds of communication. MediaLeaders, working on behalf of The Palms Hotel in Las Vegas, ran a compelling pilot study of this capability in 2011 where they were able to directly link room reservations to individual tweets.

Reporting is important. With HootSuite you can use data gained from Adobe SiteCatalyst, Webtrends, Facebook Insights, Google Analytics, Google+ Pages Analytics, Twitter Profile Stats, our own custom ow.ly Click Stats to generate easy, drag and drop social analytics reports shared easily by email. More importantly, you can analyze that data to optimize future programs and messaging.

 

Article written by Evan LePage and originally posted on HootSource.

Image source: Creative Commons