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Archive for the ‘LinkedIn’ Category

Linkedin dominates social recruiting, dwarfing Facebook, Twitter

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

LinkedInIf you’re job hunting, LinkedIn is the place recruiters are most likely to find you, not Facebook or Twitter.

According to the 2013 North American Social Recruiting Activity Report, only 22 percent of recruiters are using Facebook for recruiting in 2012, compared to a dominant 97 percent using LinkedIn and even 27 percent using Twitter.

The data, culled from actual social recruiting activity within the Bullhorn Reach user network of more than 160,000 recruiters, also showed that only 12 percent of recruiters were connected to all three major social networks – LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter – in 2012. With 14 percent of recruiters using a combination of LinkedIn and Twitter for recruiting versus eight percent using LinkedIn and Facebook, Twitter is once again more popular than Facebook as a recruiting channel.

Recruiters are more active on LinkedIn than on any other network. LinkedIn has the highest percentage of recruiters with enormous network sizes (15 percent have between 1,001-2,000 connections). Fifty percent of North American recruiters using Twitter for recruiting have fewer than 50 followers, and 26 percent of North American recruiters using Facebook have fewer than 200 Facebook friends.

Social recruiting gains momentum

“Social recruiting continues to gain momentum and it’s no surprise that LinkedIn remains the preferred network for recruiters given its early and fervent adoption,” said Art Papas, president and CEO of Bullhorn. “Social media helps recruiters reach a much larger pool of talent than they would through traditional means. In 2012, when we issued our first social recruiting activity report, it was mainly tech-savvy early adopters using Bullhorn Reach. Now it’s mainstream.”

In terms of views per job post in 2012, LinkedIn again led the pack. For any job posted on Facebook in 2012, Twitter drove 4.3 times more job views and LinkedIn drove 17.2 times more job views. In turn, LinkedIn drove 4 times more job views than Twitter did.

Interestingly, Facebook and Twitter drew a similar number of applications per job post despite Twitter job postings getting considerably more views. This suggests that while Facebook job posts get fewer average views, those who do view them may be more receptive to applying.

For recruiters utilizing all three social networks, the most heavily represented vertical was, by far, information technology. This was followed by recruiters in finance and banking, healthcare, and manufacturing. Information technology professionals are currently in very high demand in North America, which would account for recruiters specializing in information technology trying to reach as many potential candidates as possible through a variety of social networks.

To download the full report, please visit http://www.bullhornreach.com/content/resources/reports. To learn more about Bullhorn Reach, please visit www.BullhornReach.com.

Linkedin offers you a billboard to 20M people

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

By Allan Maurer

Jeff Sheehan

Jeff Sheehan

So, how do you get 195,000 followers on Twitter? Buy them? Bribe them? Offer them ice cream cones?

“Honestly, I worked my tail off,” says Jeff Sheehan, a marketing and social media consultant at  Sheehan Marketing Strategies, who is recognized as one of the Top 100 Marketers to Follow on Twitter, who now has more than 199,000 followers.

Sheehan, who has 30 years of high-tech global sales, marketing, and advertising experience marketing to Intel, Cisco, Apple, HP, and IBM, is a well known speaker in the Atlanta area on the use of Linkedin, Personal Branding, Social Media, and Marketing.

He’ll be talking about Linkedin at the Atlanta Digital Summit May 14-15, joining dozens of other digital media, marketing, advertising, and technology thought-leaders from brands such as Google, Twitter, AOL, Adobe, and many others.

“The power of social media is incredible,” Sheehan tells the TechJournal. “It levels the playing field and gives you the ability to position yourself regardless of your background. So anybody can be a somebody if they’re good at branding themselves online.”

Tips on using Linkedin

LinkedInAn expert at using Linkedin, Sheehan offers these tips on using the social network:

First, he says, “Be credible. Put up the best profile you can.” That means also including appropriate keywords – although he rails against people who overdo it the way sites used to overuse keywords for SEO. On his blog for instance, he cites one unnamed job hunter who was in social media less than a year but includes a whole long paragraph with nothing but the phrase “Social media marketing.”

You should, though, include a professional photo and a complete picture of what you’ve done.

Next, Sheehan suggests, you have to build your network. “Find people with common interests and ask to join their network,” he says.

Once you’ve acquired endorsements and recommendations on LinkedIn, it adds to your credibility, he says, although we’ve heard some dissenting voices regarding the value of endorsements.

Like your own billboard

After you establish your identity, Sheehan notes, Linkedin is “Like your own billboard with a potential audience of 200 million people. You can display your work and provide your network with material you think is relevant, articles, news.”

He warns, however, “Don’t spam people.” One person in his network “Puts out post after post after post,” he says, so Sheehan used the Linkedin “hide” feature. That keeps the person in his network, but he’s not longer bothered by all those superfluous posts.

“You want to keep people in your network,” he says. “The more people you are connected to, the easier you can be found. So it’s important to retain the size and integrity of your network.”

Longer shelf life

On the other hand, used judiciously, you can “Get a lot of visibility via Linkedin updates,” which have a shelf life a bit longer than the rapidly moving Twitter stream.

Twitter bird

Just call me Larry.

Sheehan, who has called himself a “Twitteraholic,” says he also sees great potential in Google+. “Google is going to continue to invest in it,” he says.

Facebook, he says, “Is mostly for friends and family.”

Pinterest, which had quite a buzz last year, “Is not as universal” as the other social networks, he adds. “It’s audience is 85 percent female. But it has benefited a lot of businesses.”

There are so many social networking tools, with new ones such as Instagram and Vine popping up all the time, that no one has time to manage them all.

“Pick your poison and figure out where you’re going to focus,” he says.

 

Mobile phones driving revenue growth for major digital stocks

Monday, April 1st, 2013

smartphonesMobile phones are expected to remain the main driver of advertising revenue growth for Internet information providers such as Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ: YHOO), Zynga Inc. (NASDAQ: ZNGA), LinkedIn Corp. (NYSE: LNKD), Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB), and AOL Inc. (NYSE: AOL).

With more and more people switching to smartphones and tablets, the shift to mobile is expected to grow even more. As a result, advertisers are likely to allocate more of their budgets to mobile advertising.

 

While we don’t generally cover the stock market this specifically at the TechJournal, we thought these reports would be of interest to many of you in digital marketing and other tech areas in which these firms are major players.

On Thursday, which was the final trading day of the month of March and the first quarter, shares of Internet information providers ended on a mixed note even as the broad market posted gains.

StockCall has taken an interest in these companies and you can now sign up to download the free technical research on YHOO, ZNGA, LNKD, FB, and AOL at

http://www.stockcall.com/registration

Yahoo!

YahooYahoo! Inc.’s shares struggled in Thursday’s trading session even as the broad market edged higher. Shares of the Sunnyvale, California-based company closed 0.26% lower at $23.53 on above average volume of 17.61 million.

Shares of the company had an excellent run in the first quarter of 2013, gaining more than 18%. In the last one year, the stock has now gained more than 50%, which makes it one of the best performing technology stocks. Yahoo’s shares are currently trading well above their 50-day and 200-day moving averages. Sign up today to read the free research report on YHOO at

http://www.StockCall.com/YHOO040113.pdf

Zynga

Zynga Inc.’s shares posted modest gains in trading on Thursday. The stock closed 0.30% higher at $3.36 on volume of 9.38 million. Shares of ZNGA are trading nearly 75% below their 52-week high of $13.15. However, the stock has had an excellent run in 2013, gaining more than 42%. The company’s shares currently face stiff resistance at around $4. Register to download the free technical analysis on ZNGA at

http://www.StockCall.com/ZNGA040113.pdf

LinkedIn

LinkedInLinkedIn Corp.’s shares fell sharply on Thursday. The stock touched an intra-day low of $175.12 before finishing the day 1.02% lower at $176.06 on volume of 1.23 million. LinkedIn’s shares fell nearly 3% last week even as the broad market posted gains for the week.

For the first quarter, however, shares of LNKD gained more than 53%, compared to a gain of more than 10% for the S&P 500. The company’s shares are trading above their 50-day and 200-day moving averages. However, the stock’s MACD has slipped below the signal line, which suggests that market sentiment is bearish on the stock. Free report on LNKD can be accessed by registering at

http://www.StockCall.com/LNKD040113.pdf

Facebook

FacebookShares of Facebook Inc. tumbled in trading on Thursday even as the broad market posted gains. The stock ended the day 1.95% lower at $25.58 on volume of 28.59 million. Facebook’s shares finished nearly 0.60% lower for the week. Its shares are currently trading below their 50-day moving average. The stock currently faces resistance at around $26. Register with StockCall and download the research on FB for free at

http://www.StockCall.com/FB040113.pdf

AOL

AOLAOL Inc.’s shares struggled in trading on Thursday. The stock fell to an intra-day low of $38.14 before finishing the day 1.81% lower at $38.49.

Despite the sharp decline in the session, AOL’s shares have gained more than 7% in the last three trading days. The stock has gained nearly 30% in 2013 so far, easily outperforming the broad market. Read the full free research on AOL by signing up to StockCall at

http://www.StockCall.com/AOL040113.pdf

LinkedIn broadening its appeal, boosts page views, revenue

Monday, March 11th, 2013

LinkedInLinkedIn is no longer just for older established pros and younger professionals should be taking advantage of it, says the marketing agency fishbat.

According to the The Wall Street Journal, LinkedIn’s page views for the recent quarter rose 67 percent compared to a year earlier, which was “the company’s highest growth rate in 2012. Data from comScore shows that LinkedIn has bounced between 40 million and 43 million U.S. unique visitors since August.”

The Wall Street Journal reported that “LinkedIn released several content-related products last year, such as an updated home page and news feed and a new publishing platform for “influencers” like Virgin Group’s Richard Branson, all geared toward keeping users on its site.

LinkedIn said it has rolled out more significant changes to its site in the last two quarters than the six previous quarters combined.”

The new classified section of social media

If you’re already on LinkedIn, you no doubt noticed the new endorsement feature, which lets people endorse the skills of others in their network. Personally, we’ve seen significant activity with that feature.

It’s also extremely useful for contacting almost anyone in a given industry if you’re a paying member and for gleaming basic information about people and companies, even if you aren’t.

“LinkedIn is the new classified section of social media,” comments fishbat CFO John Monderine. “LinkedIn used to be for professionals looking to network. Now, more college graduates are signing up to gain networking experience. LinkedIn’s not just for old people anymore.”

LinkedIn revenues exceeded expectations

The Wall Street Journal reports that LinkedIn has reported revenues that exceeded expectations for seven consecutive quarters, “with an 81% revenue increase to $303.6 million.”

According to the article, the company’s revenue growth is still surpassing that of other industry giants like Facebook, Zynga and Groupon – all of whose shares “tanked after their rocky stock-market debuts,” while LinkedIn stock is “still soaring, closing at an all-time high of $168.55.”

“I see LinkedIn keeping a steady growth over the next few years,” adds Monderine. “LinkedIn is a professional hunting ground for talented professionals hot out of college. There is no recruiting site or headhunter more qualified than LinkedIn.”

fishbat, Inc. is a full service online marketing firm.

Social media drives investor decision making, research says

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

social media logosOne-third (34%) of affluent investors are using social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and company blogs specifically for personal finance and investing (PF&I) purposes.

While most investors continue to rely on a variety of resources for investment information, nearly 70% have reallocated investments, or began or altered relationships with investment providers based on content found through social media, thus reflecting the importance of a strong social media strategy for asset managers and distributors.

These and other findings are included in a new report, Social Media’s Impact on Personal Finance and Investing, recently released by Cogent Research. The report is based on a nationally representative survey of over 4,000 investors with more than $100,000 in investable assets.

Investors using social media for research

Investors who use social media for PF&I purposes are using various platforms to form first impressions about providers, and their decision to use a firm’s investment solutions. Regardless of the platform, investors primarily turn to social media to conduct research on investing, products, and companies or to seek advice regarding investment decisions.

“Today’s investors’ are scrutinizing ‘traditional’ sources with content and commentary they are finding through social networks, and are becoming much more critical and conversant when it comes to their investment choices,” said Remy Domler Morrison, Project Director and co-author of the report.

A double-edged sword

“On a positive note, social media is also motivating investors to engage more with their advisors and investment firm representatives, which can lead to more asset gathering opportunities for providers.”

For financial companies, investors’ use of social media for PF&I can be a double-edged sword. While engaging in social media presents the opportunity to increase and develop relationships and trust, it also presents the risk of getting negative feedback.

“For every positive comment and favorable investment decision comes the possibility for damaging content. However, the larger risk to a firm is ignoring negative comments that may already exist.

Overall, there are significant opportunities to strengthen brand equity for firms that regularly pursue strategies to foster positive relationships with brand followers and address negative sentiment,” says Tony Ferreira, Managing Director at Cogent Research.

In general, investors recall a higher ratio of favorable to adverse brand-related content for several firms on social media, including Fidelity Investments, ING, and Vanguard.

Top 10 Brands with the Highest Ratio of Positive to Negative Impressions Via Social Media
BASE: Among investors exposed to respective brands on Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, and/or Twitter

Rank Provider
1. Fidelity Investments
2. ING
3. Vanguard
4. USAA
5. Charles Schwab
6. John Hancock
7. American Funds
8. Wells Fargo
9. T. Rowe Price
10. Janus

Small & medium sized businesses embracing social media marketing

Monday, February 4th, 2013

socialmediaopolisSmall and medium size businesses are embracing social media as a key strategy in their marketing programs internationally, according to SocialMediopolis.com, a website for social media marketers.

“While most people think of major consumer marketers as driving the growth of social media venues such as Facebook, Twitter Pinterest, Google+, YouTube, Twitter and other platforms, the reality is that many more small and medium size businesses are now successfully driving social media marketing programs,” said Michael Crosson, who publishes the site.

Crosson states that a key venue leading this increase is LinkedIn.com, which recently passed the 200,000,000 member mark. “We have seen a significant increase in companies from one to 100 joining the Social Media Marketing group over the previous year. More importantly, these companies have expanded their use of social media into other services besides Facebook and Twitter. We have seen incredibly strong growth in Pinterest, Instagram, Google+ and Tumblr, for example.” Said Crosson.

The survey can be seen in its entirety here: http://www.SocialMediopolis.com/resources/research

Some of the highlights from this study include:

  • The U.S. represents 65.7%, and the rest of world is 34.3% of responses. (Infographic #1)
  • Independent consultants and Small/Medium Size Businesses (up to 100 employees) comprise the large bulk of the responses: 80.4%. (Infographic #2)
  • The various social media venues such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and others are fairly even divided, but MySpace continues to lag far behind at 4%. (Infographic #4)
  • 54.7% are primary decision makers. (Infographic #4)

“This survey is a good snapshot of the international social media playing field at the moment. Members of our Social Media Marketing group on LinkedIn.com, which has over 500,000 members, participated. The group is growing by an average of 1,100+ new members every day, and we poll them annually,” continued Crosson.  The full results of the survey are available at http://www.SocialMediopolis.com/resources/research

Social media drives business technology buying decisions

Friday, February 1st, 2013

social mediaSocial media not only influences IT purchase decisions, it drives many of them, according to UBM Tech‘s annual Social Media @Work research. The study found that social media now plays a critical role in the business technology market.

Study highlights include:

  • Social media influences and drives IT purchase decisions: 66% of tech professionals say that they have used social networking sites to obtain information for a technology purchase.
  • 92% of IT respondents have taken one or more actions as a result of using social media, including visiting a vendor web site, or contacting a vendor directly for more information, and registering to download content such as research or a white paper.
  • Social media is gaining credibility among IT professionals:  42% of respondents say that social media is “productive” — an increase from 36% two years ago. The percentage of respondents who describe it as simply “fun” decreased by 6 points.
  • Social media has also gained credibility with tech marketers – the majority of tech marketers surveyed now have a business presence on all four of the major social networking platforms, with close to 90% maintaining a business presence on Twitter and Facebook, 84% who have a business presence on LinkedIn, and about three-quarters on YouTube.

“Social media is now completely ingrained into the workflow of business technology decision makers,” said Scott Vaughan , UBM Tech’s Chief Marketing Officer. “This poses challenges for tech marketers who lack resources to develop and execute effective, cohesive social media strategies. Our report incorporates practical tips to help even the most time-strapped tech marketers leverage social media as part of their overall marketing strategies.”

The full report, including strategies that marketers can use to maximize social media to engage IT decision makers, can be downloaded from CreateYourNextCustomer.com, an online resource for technology marketing best practices, research and solutions.  Access the free report at http://bit.ly/WzkiMy; registration is required.

Net-go-round: video console resurgence? Connected cars, social media stock tracker

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

Sony game consoleInternational Data Corporation predicts that video game sales for console systems will rebound from a tough 2011-2012 as new platforms hit the market.

“2011 and 2012 were tough for many console game disc developers and publishers,” says IDC’s Lewis Ward, manager of its gaming service.

“With the advent of eighth-generation consoles, starting with the Wii U, historical norms strongly imply that game disc revenue will stop bleeding in 2013 and rise substantively in 2014.”

“The console ecosystem is in a state of flux since these platforms need to support an ever-growing array of non-gaming features and services at the same time that game distribution and monetization is moving in a digital direction,” said Ward, research manager of IDC’s Gaming service.

“At the same time, it doesn’t appear that alternative platforms — set-top boxes from cable companies, Web-connected smart TVs, and so on — are positioned to materially disrupt the trajectory of the ‘big 3′ console OEMs in 2013 or 2014. Discs will remain the console game revenue mainstay for years to come.”

Key takeaways from the new forecast include:

  • In December 2012, PS3 system shipments eclipsed the number of Xbox 360′s shipped worldwide, despite the PS3 launching a year later than the Xbox 360 (an estimated 77 million bundles versus approximately 76 million bundles shipped)
  • Nintendo’s Wii U will find an audience; global bundle shipments will exceed 50 million by year-end 2016
  • The volume of packaged game discs shipped will decline an average of roughly 3% per year through 2016, as console spending shifts into digital channels

Consumers want car connections

hi-tech carConsumers want digital connections in their vehicles, says a study of more than 2,100 US adults by Johnson Controls.

Some of the key findings from the study include:

  • Interest in greater connectivity via one’s vehicle is high. 84% of vehicle owners1 would like to control the features in their vehicle via a touch-screen infotainment system; 83% want to get updates to vehicle infotainment systems delivered wirelessly; 76% would like to connect to the Internet using their vehicle as a Wi-Fi hotspot; 67% would like to download applications directly to their vehicle; and, 61% would like to pay for something using a debit or credit card linked to the infotainment system in their vehicle.2
  • Safety is the single most important feature3 in the selection of a vehicle (75%). The delivery of vehicle infotainment safely will be critical to consumer adoption and consumption. The second tier of important features includes vehicle diagnostics (49%) and navigation (42%).4
  • Smartphone apps most associated with a vehicle include: Maps/navigation = 52%; News = 45%; and, finding locations = 34%.
  • When it comes to downloading smartphone apps to a vehicle via an interactive screen, vehicle owners who use downloaded apps on a weekly basis would prefer traditional channels. 62% have a preference for where they would download an app for their vehicle, and of those with a preference, 60% would prefer downloading from an existing app store (e.g., App Store for iOS, Amazon Appstore for Android), 38% would prefer a new app store for vehicle-specific applications, and 37% would prefer the app maker’s website (e.g., Pandora, Google Maps).
  • When it comes to accessing a vehicle app, vehicle owners who use downloaded apps regularly want apps they know and are comfortable with. Two-thirds (64%) want the menu options in their vehicle to be the same as on their smartphone (i.e., a full list of menu options available).

Social media stock tracker launched

Google+WebMediaBrands Inc.’s (Nasdaq: WEBM) SocialTimes launched the Social Media Stock Tracker covering the weekly stock performance of companies within the social media and Internet sectors such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, Zynga, and Groupon.

Each weekly report, published on Saturday mornings, discusses key developments and provides analytical commentary on the most interesting and controversial events that impact the public companies in these sectors.

The Social Media Stock Tracker is prepared by Nathan Drona, a former senior analyst in equity research with coverage of the Internet and media sectors and the former director of a global hedge fund focused on technology and life sciences.

He was also a senior investment banker focused on M&A for international companies in technology and life sciences, and has been a board director for several public and private companies.

Are social networks good for society or harmful?

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

social mediaNearly half – 47 percent – of Americans use social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn and spent billions of minutes social networking in 2012. The research organization ProCon.org asks, is that good for society?

Pro: Proponents of social networking sites say that the online communities promote increased interaction with friends and family; offer teachers, librarians, and students valuable access to educational support and materials; facilitate social and political change; and disseminate useful information rapidly.

Con: Opponents of social networking say that the sites prevent face-to-face communication; waste time on frivolous activity; alter children’s brains and behavior making them more prone to ADHD; expose users to predators like pedophiles and burglars; and spread false and potentially dangerous information.

What do you think?

What do you think? We find social networks alert us to news, ideas, and people we wouldn’t encounter otherwise. We work from a home office and they serve as the water cooler, break room, and gossip hotline as well as a source of information we find useful or entertaining.

In addition to in-depth pro and con research, the ProCon.org social networking website contains a historical background section, videos, photos, over 200 footnotes and sources, and Did You Know? facts including:

  1. Social networking sites are the top news source for 27.8% of Americans, ranking below newspapers (28.8%) and above radio (18.8%) and print publications (6%).
  2. Students who used social networking sites while studying scored 20% lower on tests, and students who used social media had an average GPA of 3.06 versus non-users who had an average GPA of 3.82.
  3. 35 global heads of state, every US Cabinet agency, 84% of US state governors, every major candidate for US President, and more than 40% of top global religious leaders are on Twitter.
  4. 10% of people younger than 25 years old respond to social media and text messages during sex.
  5. In July 2012 Americans spent 74.0 billion minutes on social media via a home computer, 40.8 billion minutes via apps, and 5.7 billion minutes via mobile web browsers for a total of 121.1 billion minutes on social networking sites in one month.

Digital marketing: build relationships rather than buying eyeballs

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

By Allan Maurer

Adrian Parker

Adrian Parker

Looking at the future of digital marketing, social and mobile technologies are creating many opportunities for real people to connect, So, it is less about buying eyeballs or paid media buys and “More about  building out authentic relationships and trust,” says Adrian Parker, head of social, mobile, and emerging media at Intuit’s accounting professionals division.

Traditionally, Parker says, “Marketers invested in scale, frequency, ROI. But what builds trust are peer recommendations, referrals, blogs, editorial, forums. Those can build a significant amount of trust among your consumer base. You can’t buy a relationship.”

Parker’s work has spanned client and agency-side strategies for Foot Locker, ESPN, Nike, adidas, Liz Claiborne and Body Shop and he served as director of social media and digital strategy at Radio Shack, where he launched its social practice across 35,000 employees in 27 countries. In 2011 he won a Forrester Groundswell award, recognizing him for top-performing B2C digital campaigns.

Discussing the “Relationship Era” at Dallas Digital Summit

Parker will join speakers from brands that include Google, AOL, Twitter, Stumbleupon, PBS, reddit, Cheezeburger Network, Oracle and Vistaprint, among others, at TechMedia’s Dallas Digital Summit Dec. 4-5 at Union Station, Dallas, TX.

He’ll be discussing what some have called “The relationship era.”

The relationship era changes the game, Parker notes. “In the past,” he says, “the big brands had all the power. That’s shifting. Now a lot of smaller brands are faster and nimbler.”

At Intuit, Parker’s goals include building out channels such as Twitter and LinkedIn, creating content to “allow consumers to use our products,” but also “how to make you a promoter,” he says.

So far Intuit’s efforts are working extremely well. “We’ve had significant success even in the last couple of weeks,” Parker says.

“We launched an enhanced Facebook and YouTube presence and website. We’ve seen a 5X increase in Facebook reach since launching with a mix of paid media, contests and promotions to speak to influential businesses. We’re also targeting them with video and rich media content.”

Three ways to build social relationships

We asked Parker what the top three things you should consider when building digital relationships.

First, he says, “Less is more. It’s not really about the volume or quantity of communications but about being simple and authentic.”

Second, “Think mobile first. I know that 70 percent of my accounting customers use a smartphone and can be reading my marketing message or email on a phone. It’s now the first screen of preference, surpassing the TV screen, laptop or desktop. So think of the mobile screen first.”

Progress over Perfection

Third, he says, consider “Progress over perfection. Things are changing so fast there is no way to be perfect. You have to improvise and test. We did a series of tests and experiments before achieving that 5X increase in Facebook reach.”

Parker predicts we’ll see a pivot away from “Big Bang Campaigns” to smaller test campaigns. “You always have to move forward,” he says, adding, “That’s easier said than done.”

A regular speaker at events such as the Dallas Digital Summit, Parker says the number one question he hears is how to translate social and digital campaigns into something a marketing team of one can handle as opposed to big brands with million dollar marketing budgets.

How smaller businesses can play

“How do I translate your marketing strategy into something actionable for me?” they ask.

“Before Radio Shack, I had my own business,” Parker says. “I learned from the ground up – some of the best social campaigns are not the ones that cost the most money. You can be creative on Facebook and Twitter with pictures and posts that cut through the clutter. It does take time to manage those things. But there are a host of free and automated tools people can use to optimize their presence and make it a meaningful experience.”

He advises, “Do a little with what you have. Pay for expertise when you can. Choose the best channel and go all in. If you’re a B2B company, LinkedIn may give you the best bang for the buck and you may not need a Facebook presence.

 

Don’t let traditional marketing co-opt your social media campaigns

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

Social Media MarketingOn the surface, Facebook seems like a marketer’s dream. It has on the order of one billion users around the world. It’s particularly popular with younger users (read, enthusiastic buyers with disposable income).

Best of all, they share an ocean of individual information about the places they travel, movies they like, clothes they’re buying, gadgets that interest them, and more. And yet the firm is having substantial problems monetizing its business.

According to Bill Lee, this points to a fundamental disconnect between established companies and the customers they’re trying to reach.

“Executives from powerhouse advertisers like Walmart, Unilever, Coca-Cola, and others are pushing Facebook for access to more user data,” explains Lee, author of The Hidden Wealth of Customers: Realizing the Untapped Value of Your Most Important Asset (Harvard Business Review Press, 2012, ISBN: 978-1-4221723-1-5, $27.00).

“Problem is, users don’t want them to have that data and are highly sensitive when it’s used to market to them. Facebook risks a consumer—and perhaps a legal—backlash if it provides the data, anyway. The result is poor ROI results for advertisers who ‘make do’ with what little information they can glean.”

Mining social media to target customers: high risk, low reward

The message is clear: Despite their propensity for splashing the details of their lives all over the Internet, people balk at having that information used to sell them what they may not want. It’s true that TV watchers tolerated (for a time) interruption advertising based on broad demographic data—but mining personal information from social media sites to target ads to consumers is high risk, low reward.

The problem, says Lee, is that marketing departments are trying to apply traditional marketing approaches to an entirely new environment—and it’s not working.

“Why fight nature?” questions Lee. “Why not instead work with what users of social media are looking for rather than try to shoehorn old marketing methods into an entirely different kind of environment?”

He offers the following suggestions:

Build your own customer communities. “Salesforce.com’s Marc Benioff recognized early on that Facebook is how people, including his customers and prospects, want to communicate online,” says Lee. “So his team developed a ‘Facebook-like’ platform called Chatter.

Among other uses, it serves as a superb customer community-building tool. For example, it’s used by attendees and employees prior to and during the firm’s annual user conference, Dreamforce, to reach out, establish connections, and form personal interest groups prior to the conference.

“That has substantially raised participation in Dreamforce,” Lee continues. “Since 2009 when they started using the Chatter platform, attendance at Dreamforce has grown about 50 percent per year—except this year, when it nearly doubled from the previous year. And this has been during what we’re now calling the Great Recession, when conference attendance in general has significantly declined. Salesforce gives a great deal of the credit to its Chatter platform.”

Restore community marketing. Used properly, social media is accelerating a trend in which buyers can approximate the experience of buying in their local, physical communities. When you contemplate a major purchase, such as a new roof, a flat screen TV, or a good surgeon, you don’t go looking for a salesperson to talk to, or read through a bunch of corporate website content. Instead, you ask neighbors or friends—your peer network—what or whom they’re using. Companies should position their social media efforts to replicate as much as possible this community-oriented buying experience, says Lee.

“In turn, social media firms, such as Facebook, should become expert at enabling this experience,” he adds. “They can do this by expanding the buyer’s network of peers who can provide trustworthy information and advice based on their own experience with the product or service.”

A new firm, Zuberance, makes it easy and enjoyable for a company’s loyal customers to advocate for it on their social media platform of choice, says Lee. At the moment one of these customers identifies herself as a “promoter” on a survey, she immediately sees a form inviting her to write a review or recommendation on any of several social media sites.

Once she does, the Zuberance platform populates it to the designated sites, and the promoter’s network instantly knows about her experience with the firm.

Find and leverage your customer influencers. Many firms spend lots of resources pursuing outside influencers who’ve gained a following on the Web and through social media. A better approach is to find and cultivate customer influencers and give them something great to talk about online. This requires a new concept of customer value that goes way beyond customer lifetime value (CLV), which is based only on purchases.

“There are many other measures of a customer’s potential value, beyond the money they pay you,” Lee explains. “For example, how large and strategic to your firm is the customer’s network? How respected is she?

“One of Microsoft’s ‘MVP’ (Most Valuable Professional) customers is known as Mr. Excel to his followers,” says Lee. “On some days, his website gets more visits than Microsoft’s Excel page—representing an audience of obvious importance to Microsoft, which supports Mr. Excel’s efforts with ‘insider knowledge’ and previews of new releases. In return, Mr. Excel and other MVPs like him are helping Microsoft penetrate new markets affordably.”

Help them build social capital. Practitioners of this new, community-oriented marketing are also rethinking how they repay such MVP (or “Customer Champion” or “Rock Star”) customer advocates and influencers. Traditional marketing often tries to encourage customer advocacy with cash rewards, discounts, or other untoward inducements. But a better way is to help advocates and influencers create social capital: help them build their affiliation networks, increase their reputations, and give them access to new knowledge—all of which your customer influencers crave.

“National Instruments used an especially creative approach with its customer influencers, who were mid-level IT managers at the companies they did business with,” says Lee. “NI engaged them by providing powerful research and financial proof points they could take to senior management, showing that NI solutions were creating strategic benefits. That got NI into the C-suite. It also increased the reputation of the mid-level advocates, who were seen as strategic thinkers bringing new ideas to senior management.”

Use advocacy to improve demand generation. With the rise of the Internet, demand generation has gone from a marketing backwater to a multi-billion-dollar industry in itself. One of the challenges facing the demand gen industry now is developing a steady stream of interesting content that will attract buyers and move them through the sales funnel. Increasingly, companies like Intel, Hitachi Data Systems, Procter & Gamble, and others are bringing customer content into their demand generation efforts—in the form of customer communities, customer videos, customer success stories and case studies, and the like.

Another challenge is to tease out where the buyer is in her “buyer’s decision journey,” as well as what her specific need is. Software at firms like Eloqua is helping to guide buyers to the content they want to read or watch, or even the person they may want to talk to—in both cases, that will often be a current customer.

“Social media marketing is actually much more appealing than traditional marketing,” says Lee. “Rather than trying to persuade people to buy what you want them to buy, you’re giving them information to help them make informed decisions on what they need and want. For many marketers it’s a whole different way of thinking—but once you make the switch, you’ll find it far more rewarding.”

About the Author: 
Bill Lee, author of The Hidden Wealth of Customers: Realizing the Untapped Value of Your Most Important Asset, helps organizations reinvent customer relationships and accelerate growth through the creation of engaged, passionate customer advocates and communities. He pioneered the concept that return on relationship is the key to organic growth in organizations of any size, public or private.

Telling a corporate story online takes persistence and time

Monday, October 1st, 2012

By Allan Maurer

Hilton Worldwide HQ

Hilton Worldwide HQ

Telling a corporate story online and engaging consumers can be a challenge in the digital age, especially if your corporation is Hilton Worldwide and has to compete with individual Hilton hotels and…Paris Hilton, who has nothing to do with the brand.

Chris Brooks plans to tell the audience at Digital East in Herndon, VA, (which is going on Oct. Tuesday, Oct. 2 and Wednesday Oct. 3) how his efforts helped Hilton Worldwide differentiate its brand with a cohesive digital strategy.

Chris Brooks

Chris Brooks

Brooks, manager of social engagement at Hilton Worldwide, is actively building its online voice and digital footprint as well as driving the business integration of the organization’s corporate responsibility strategy including its strategic partnerships, employee volunteer program, corporate philanthropy and community engagement.

Things have changed a great deal since Conrad Hilton founded  original company in 1919 with The Mobley Hotel in Cisco, Texas. “He first planned to buy a bank,” says Brooks, “but turned away when they raised the price, walked down the street with cash sewed into his suit, and bought a hotel.”

According to Wikipedia, “Hilton Worldwide (formerly, Hilton Hotels Corporation) is a global hospitality company. It is owned by the Blackstone Group, a private equity firm. As of August 2012 Hilton brands encompass 3,897 hotels with over 642,000 rooms in 91 countries. Hilton is ranked as the 38th largest private company in the United States by Forbes.

Brooks, who calls the company “the oldest startup in the world,” says “It’s literally rebuilding from the ground up, but that makes my job fun.”

Refreshing its digital footprint meant redoing the web site, which was basically a four-page brochure and developing social media as a key component.

Be wise about the platforms you choose

For others working on corporate branding, he advises, “Be wise about which platforms you use to engage customers. New ones pop up every day, a lot die and others take off quickly. You’ll need a strategic plan for each.”

Hilton Worldwide uses five: LinkedIn, Flickr, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

“We focus on those. They have the audience we’re trying to reach.”

Twitter is a great platform for the company’s chat series with thought-leaders and executives, but also carries conversations about guest assistance and real time matters.

YouTube and Flickr help it “Make sure our photos are getting out there and they are great SEO opportunities,” says Brooks.

The company integrates its social media into all its marketing materials such as press releases and its media center, and “makes use of all our social platforms to amplify our communications.”

What does success look like?

Then, “We measure. What does success look like?”

In the case of Hilton Worldwide, it was starting to own conversations about the company and build its digital footprint so that “It’s not just Paris Hilton and the other clutter that was out there before.”

That, Brooks says, “Requires a combination of persistence and understanding of the different platforms and their capabilities. You need to know what goes on behind how Google ranks content and where your links and meta data appear.”

It takes time and doesn’t happen overnight, Brooks adds.

“Be really strategic,” he suggests. “A page on Facebook or Google+ may or may not be where your brand needs to be. Some people have the idea they have to be on every network, but that’s not the case. The world I live in has limited resources and limited budgets.”

Ten most common mistakes in using social media for business

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

When a business leader calls for the creation of a Facebook page and a witty Twitter handle, he often believes the social media strategy is in place and he returns to his “core” duties.

The problem with this is that for any business in 2012 and beyond, social media needs to be considered a core part of your business plan and it must be implemented at the senior level and trickle down into the DNA of the entire organization.

Steve Nicholls: author of Social Media in Business, international speaker, and social media strategist has noticed a recurring list of misconceptions when it comes to the use of social media in business.

These common mistakes hinder an organizations ability to maximize the use of social media while mitigating risk.

Here are the top ten most common mistakes companies make when trying to use social media to grow their business:

1. It is all about social networking. Social networking websites such as Facebook are just a very small part of social media. Social media is much more for business, providing four main benefits: communication, collaboration, community and collective intelligence opportunities, however, companies are still not fully aware of all of these.

Iconic organisations operating in different industries such as The Times, Accenture, Salesforce.com, Starbucks, Cisco, NASA, Groupon and Coca-Cola have all made use of social media in very different ways to gain competitive advantage, and understanding the various opportunities social media provides for business is the first step towards capitalizing its potential.

2. It is simple. Social media is mostly user-friendly, but embracing it in business is far from being simple. There is a huge difference between using Facebook and bringing the right aspects of social media into the DNA of a company.

The larger the company is, the more complex the task of bringing it in successfully. As the amount and depth of information relating to social media is overwhelming, capitalizing on the right combinations of social media tools for the company can be intricate.

3. It is free. One aspect that makes social media for business a very attractive avenue is that many tools are free to use, providing excellent cost-effective solutions to business. However, the cost of bringing social media within a company is not completely free. Time is the key resource. Going too fast and adopting social media hastily in an organization can bring more risks than benefits. Doing it well requires learning and training processes that will need time, and investing in that time is key for success.

4. It is not important. Social media opens doors to enormous markets. For instance, there are 850 million Facebook users and 50 million business people on LinkedIn, including the CEOs of the 500 top companies in the world; thus the business opportunities a company can get by connecting to only 0.1% of those are extremely valuable. (Editor’s note: we suspect that Google+ is going to be an increasingly important channel for business social media).

Markets like these simply cannot be ignored, thus businesses that are still hesitant as to how useful or important social media can be for them need to consider this aspect strategically. Social media is no longer a choice; it is a strategic resource and a new dimension to corporate strategy.

5. No need for policy. Having a solid social media policy when incorporating social media within an organization is crucial as it will allow the mitigation of potential risks. Social media can open a company to different types of risks including security issues, PR issues and HR issues. While these risks are very real, it is essential not to let them inhibit progress, thus the key is to develop a sound social media policy that identifies the risks and mitigates them.

6. Having a negative mindset. It is common for managers, employees and other players of an organization to have some prejudice against adopting social media within their organization, thinking it will mostly bring problems and waste company time. What is important to keep in mind however is that benefits far outweigh risks, thus having the will to invest time and mitigate possible risks through a clear social media policy will allow a company to increase its competitive advantage on the long-run.

7. No structured implementation process. It is easy to go enthusiastically in the wrong direction with social media. To prevent this from happening, managers need to have a step-by step formula in order to analyze their internal and external business environments and develop a systematic, contextual approach to bringing social media within the realm of their organizations. Bringing social media in the company needs to be done through a systematic model that will work to optimize benefits while mitigating risks along the way.

8. Identification of constraints. Many constraints to adopting social media are invisible and as a result, these are the hardest to identify. People issues are often the biggest obstacle to the implementation of social media, but these are often hidden from view. Thus making sure that all invisible constraints are also identified is crucial in order to prevent them from erupting later on and undermining the project.

9. No clear goals. Perhaps the most important aspect to keep in mind when using social media for business is that it constantly needs to be fitted into the more general business goals of the company. Using social media just for the sake of using it will not have any positive impact, but instead might create more problems than benefits. Having a focused strategy that will incorporate social media within general goals is thus key.

10. No ongoing strategy. Social media is a constantly evolving avenue of opportunities; the tools that are useful today might not be useful tomorrow. As tools change, a winning social media strategy will be one that is able to capture all these innovations and constantly create the right combinations of tools for your business, according to the general business goals.

Steve Nicholls is the author of the best-selling Social Media in Business, international speaker, and social media strategist who helps business executives implement a winning social media strategy into their organization.  

Where do your social media consumers hang out?

Monday, August 27th, 2012

social mediaIf you are using social media to target consumers, the age, sex, education and other demographic information on your buyers is essential in choosing which social network to use.

The differences among the sites are greater than most would think, according to Black Box Social Media.

“Depending on the type of product you are offering, you will yield different results from different social media agencies,” says says Black Box Social Media Co Founder Nick Bridges.

facebook demographics chart “For example, marketing on Twitter will yield you a younger demographic, while marketing on LinkedIn will find you older males.”

He adds, “Facebook is probably most valuable for the 18-44 female demographic as they are not only most prominent in such demographics but they are also much more active in interacting, engagements, and visiting the social media site multiple times.”

Black Box gathered statistics on users of the various social media networks to compare demographics.

The chart on the left shows that more women than men are using Facebook and the average age of users is 38.

A recent Pew Internet study also revealed the following Facebook user statistics:

Education:

  • Some college / trade school:  34%
  • Bachelor’s Degree:  20%
  • Graduate School:  15%

Race:

  • White- 78%
  • Black- 9%
  • Hispanic- 9%
  • Other- 12%

User Frequency:

  • Multiple times a day: 31%
  • About 1 time a day: 21%
  • 3-5x a week: 15%
  • 1-2x a week: 17 %
  • Every few weeks: 11%
  • Less often: 5%
  • Never:  1%

We think it is interesting that more than 50 percent of Facebook users check in at least once a day, with 34 percent using it multiple times daily.

Twitter has far fewer users

Twitter still has a long way to go. Less than 10 percent of the U.S. population uses the site.

It too has about 10 percent more female users than males, and a huge majority of its users (83 percent) are between the ages of 18-49, split about evenly in the 18-29 and 30-49 segments.

One statistic we think stands out: 39 percent of Twitter users have a bachelor’s or graduate degree.

LinkedIn the most male dominated

Of the three major social networks Black Box looked at, LinkedIn has the most male users at 58 percent compared to 42 percent female.

You might want to be more careful about your spelling, grammar, and sentence structure when you post on LinkedIn. A whopping 75 percent of its users have either a bachelor’s or graduate degree.

It’s also interesting to note that all three of these social networks are predominantly white. Will that change as the nation’s demographics change?

 

Atlanta’s Social123 funded, provides tangible ROI from social media

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

By Allan Maurer

Social123Atlanta-based Social123, a social media management and lead generation company, has received $500,000 in Series A funding, led by  Linch Capital. Its CEO and founder says it provides that actual tangible return on investment businesses want from their social media activities.

“The amount of data and content that Internet users are creating and sharing through social media is expanding exponentially―by the hour,” says Aaron Biddar, chairman and CEO at Social123.

“Social data is more complicated to process and analyze because it’s so unstructured. We are  providing innovative social media tools that enable sales and marketing professionals to turn this rich source of data into actionable intelligence.”

Biddar, who previously co-founded Atlanta-based Controlscan and ran sales and marketing for the CRM firm, the Port Network, started Social123 about two years ago.

Investment will fast-track the firm’s marketing

“This investment will not only allow us to scale our IT infrastructure, but also to fast-track the introduction of our Social123 family of products into a marketplace that is moving at the speed of light where gaining valuable insight from social interactions will be a key differentiator for conducting business―both online and offline.”

Social123 plans to expand marketing and sales initiatives with the funding. Biddar says the company has just hired two people in Charlotte, NC and is also hiring one in Charleston and three in Roswell, Georgia where it is based. It currently employs eight.

Social data platform connects firm with contacts

The company’s technology is a easy-to-use social data platform that offers sophisticated tools that collect, filter and analyze social data, giving sales teams an intelligent way to connect with contacts.

For years, Biddar notes, “People have been coming up with their own metrics – such as return on engagement – because they couldn’t get true ROI for their social media marketing. At some point, you have to stop making things up and analyze your true return.”

Only social influence score on the market

The  SocialData+technology provides Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter information for companies’ contact lists. “We use their APIs and its all publicly available data, but we do it a lot faster than someone could without our technology. What might take you all day takes us 30 seconds.,” Biddar says.

Social123 screen shotWith the only customizable social influence score on the market, SocialPoints+ gives sales professionals the ability to rank their most influential contacts so they can focus on the ones who matter most. 

SocialLeads+  searches millions of records on all the major social media platforms, based upon specific search criteria.

 SocialCRM+ seamlessly integrates with popular customer relationship management systems (CRMs), such as Salesforce, so that all data is housed in one location and is accessible when companies need it most.

“Social CRM is the new frontier for organizations that want to get closer to customers,” said David Linch, managing director at Atlanta-based Linch Capital.

“Social123 is one of the first companies to develop a reliable and cost-effective means to optimize the power of social interactions and extract true value from social data specifically for sales and marketing professionals.”

We have covered hundreds of tech startups in the last decade and the ones that enjoyed the most success often did so because they solved a real problem with an elegant solution.

Linch says “The Social123 team has a customer-focused product strategy with three of the four products developed as a result of direct customer requests.”

The holy grail of social media: a tangible return on investment

Biddar says the technology, which sells for a $49 a month for a license that provides 10,000 contacts a month, works best for clients who have been using other emarketing solutions. “They get the fastest return on investment because this is the missing piece They have email and they track who opens it, who’s signing up and so forth, but haven’t had a way to see what they’re doing with social media.”

Social123 currently has approximately 25 customers, including Avectra, a developer of web-based Social Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) solutions for fundraisers, not-for-profits and associations.

Avectra, which is in the association space, resells the Social123 technology. “They’re already seeing ROI from their customers,” says Biddar. “They’re seeing an increase in membership, which is a tangible return.”

 

Social network revenue to grow 43 percent this year

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

social mediaRevenue from social networks will grow an impressive 43.1 percent year-over-year in 2012, putting the total amount of income generated by sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin at $16.9 billion, according to a Gartner Inc. report.

The Gartner report states, “they (Social Media Sites) should also continue to exploit other channels of revenue like mobile advertising and social commerce.”

In addition to the Gartner report, BIA Kelsey predicts a 13 percent increase in local digital advertising with mobile search set to grow by 77%.

More firms using Facebook for recruiting, but LinkedIn still leads

Monday, June 25th, 2012

FacebookA survey by Research Now found that 36% of U.S. corporations plan to use Facebook more for recruiting this year than last. Facebook was cited in the survey as the second most important social network for recruiting — following LinkedIn.

The research, conducted for  Jobscience Inc., which sells talent management solutions for the social enterprise, shows that social recruiting is here to stay, as almost 60% of respondents agree that the next ‘big thing’ in recruiting strategies is reaching a greater number of qualified candidates through social media networks such as LinkedIn and Facebook.

LinkedInMore than half (57%) of the corporations surveyed expect to use LinkedIn more than any other tool for recruiting — more than job boards, email marketing and employee referral programs.

“Using social networks to find candidates for current job openings has become a common strategy for recruiters,” said Ted Elliott, CEO and founder of Jobscience.

“But the real value of social recruiting is when companies continually engage with people through social networking — so when an appropriate job opens up — the person is familiar with the company and has a propensity to want to work there. It’s about social sourcing and building pipelines of talent — so your talent pool never runs dry.”

Social networks are not just important tools for recruiters; candidates are using them to research companies. This study revealed that 52% of U.S. corporations believe that social networks are an important venue for businesses to attract candidates.

“As Facebook becomes the most relevant place on the web — it is also putting a face on the ‘employment brand’ of companies,” added Elliott. “Information about a company is no longer solely controlled by recruiters.

Candidates also using social media

Candidates and employees are using social media to gather information about companies. If companies want to attract top talent, they need a strategy for their employment brand — which includes monitoring how their brand is perceived on social networks, facilitating a social dialog and giving compelling reasons for people to work at their company.”

Which Social Network is the most Important?

Within the Research Now survey, LinkedIn was cited as the social network that matters most with 86% of respondents giving it top bill, followed by Facebook at 51% and Google+ at 27%.

Respondents found Twitter to be the least important social network for recruiting — at only 16%. But the gap between Facebook and LinkedIn could shrink, as 36% of companies plan to use Facebook for recruiting more this year than last year.

How to use social media to your advantage in the job market

Friday, June 8th, 2012

social mediaIn recent years, the reference-checking landscape has changed dramatically for prospective employers and job seekers alike. The advent of social media sites like LinkedIn and Facebook allow prospective employers to quickly research reference data on a prospective candidate, says professional reference checking company Allison & Taylor.

This is a boon from the hiring manager/recruiter perspective, as vast personal and professional networks can be accessed – the membership of LinkedIn alone exceeds 135 million members. Social media opens up the candidate pool; estimates suggest that a significant majority of hiring managers recruited through social networks in 2011- and that this trend will continue.

In addition, many hiring managers use social media such using as LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook (in addition to general Google searches) to check a potential candidate’s background.

An employer can type in the candidate’s name, previous employers and dates of employment and might well come up with the names of a wide variety of current and former associates. What’s more, prospective employers can access the information on these sites even before a candidate is interviewed in person.

What are the ramifications for you, the job seeker? For one, a prospective employer might be able to access former references who are not those you would normally provide as references. Simply offering up the name of your former Human Resources representative, or of your immediate supervisor, might not be sufficient if an employer is able to utilize social media tools to access the names of your second-level supervisors or other key associates.

This being the case, what steps should you take now to ensure that your social media data isn’t used against you?

Consider these five proactive steps to manage your references in the Internet Age:

1. Take the time to research yourself online prior to beginning your interview process. (One example: “Google” yourself.) The odds are very high that your application, resume and credentials will be reviewed by prospective employers for inaccuracies – better that you identify them first, if they exist.

2. Consider expanding your reference list to prospective employers beyond simply an HR contact or supervisor.Associates like a supportive second-level supervisor or a matrix manager(s) can be key advocates in your behalf and might be more supportive than traditional references like immediate supervisors.

3. Find out what your references will say about you prior to beginning the interview process. Use a third-party reference verification firm to find out what references at your most recent places of employment (in particular) will actually sayabout you. Increasing the scope of your reference search (to second-level supervisors, etc.) may identify additional favorable references in senior positions whose names you may wish to invoke during the interview process.

4. When negative references are identified during a third-party search, consider taking remedial action intended to discourage such references from ever offering similar negative input to your future employers. Tools such as Cease & Desist letters have proven extremely effective in neutralizing future negative input from unfavorable references.

5. Know your rights. Be aware that employers are legally prohibited from using certain social media data they may discover about you during the hiring process, (e.g. data pertaining to your race, religion, age, sex, sexual preference, etc.). Employers open themselves up to lawsuits if they base their hiring decisions on such discriminatory information.

The ever-increasing prevalence of social media is a doubled edged sword; it has opened up countless employment opportunities, but has also given prospective employers added tools to investigate your background. By recognizing this and taking proactive steps, you use social media to your advantage – and gainful new employment.

Which social sharing sites reach your audience? (infographic)

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

Social Media MarketingReferral traffic is key for marketers of any industry, but which sharing buttons should you use and how should you use them?

The Search Agency has provided insights on how to develop a social sharing button strategy based on the target audience.

With an increasing volume of relevant content gaining widespread exposure through social sharing buttons each day, it’s important to stand out from your peers.

It’s not just about Facebook and Twitter anymore

Utilizing valuable, yet often less notable, social sharing sites like StumbleUpon and Reddit can really increase traffic to a marketer’s site.

Gaining an overwhelming user base this year, niche image sharing site Pinterest now drives more referral traffic than Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube combined.

“There are so many social sites to play with today, and by taking a closer look at the dominant audiences on popular platforms, we thought we could show a clearer vision of where businesses should focus their social media strategy on based on each site’s best-selling points,” said David Carrillo, social media manager, The Search Agency.

“As marketers, we understand the importance of sewing our efforts in the most effective places. This infographic illustrates that it’s impossible to have a successful reach on every social site, so be wise about where you place your approach.”

Here at the TechJournal, we’ve noticed that timing is also important. When you post matters. Retailers need to think seriously about being live on sites relevant to their audience on a Saturday, for instance. Late night posts work better on Sundays and some weekdays.

Men & women use social media very differently

Studies have shown that men and women use social media very differently, which is a crucial consideration to take when plotting your social sharing strategies.

If marketers are speaking to a predominantly female audience, focus on a plan pushing content through Pinterest or Facebook, whereas Google+ seems to be a hotspot for male activity. At the TechJournal, we’ve seen more interest in technology and social network marketing and SEO – topics we cover heavily – on Google+ and Twitter.

The study and corresponding infographic below also reveals additional information about Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, Reddit, Digg, Pinterest, and e-mail.

Each has a sliding scale of the audience – B2B vs. B2C – and shows that only a couple sites are strictly for business or pleasure.

Social Sharing Button Infographic – The Search Agents

Social Sharing Button Playground brought to you byThe Search Agency

Romney trails Obama in “social media brand”

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

SocialMatica, the innovative leader of social media analytics, today released results of over 5 weeks of competitive data tracking, both digital and social, on the 2012 Presidential campaign. Results show Obama with a considerable lead over Republican candidate Mitt Romney, who has been standing still in social ranking since the inception of SocialMatica’s presidential campaign tracking efforts.

Complete dashboards can be viewed on SocialMatica’s website (www.socialmatica.com).

“When Mitt Romney became the inevitable Republican candidate, we shifted our tracking efforts away from the GOP Primary race and onto the 2012 presidential race.

What is surprising is the use of social media by Obama’s campaign, and relative lack of visibility from  Romney. As such, Obama’s brand value, or equity, continues to rise, leaving a serious gap for Romney to contend with,” said Gary Hermansen, CEO of SocialMatica.

“When we review the Top Topics of conversation for each candidate, collected and analyzed with our proprietary web crawling technology, we see some very interesting results. President Obama is trending with topics that more closely align with a national perspective – for example Nation, Economy and Taxes.

Romney’s topics seem to be looking backwards at the Republican Primary.

His social conversations remain centered around his colleagues Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul. What we also find interesting is the dominance of the Huffington Post on social media ranking, out-performing other media outlets by 5x,” continued Hermansen.

SocialMatica provides analysis and rankings of the 2012 presidential election gathered from vast amounts of available online data, including Facebook, blogs, twitter feeds, LinkedIn, online news sites, discussion groups, forums, and web traffic.

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