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Giving social media users a voice helps them adapt to changes

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

By Matt Swayne

FacebookSocial media companies that give users a greater sense of control can ease them into interface changes, as well as curb defections to competitors, according to researchers.

“Several studies have looked into how social media companies have failed,” said Pamela Wisniewski, a post-doctoral scholar in information sciences and technology, Penn State. “What we need to think about is how social media companies can be more adaptive and how they can improve the longevity of their sites.

In a study of the reaction to the introduction of Facebook’s Timeline interface between 2011 and 2012, researchers found that users considered the mandatory transition to the new interface highly stressful. They also found evidence that suggests that giving users a voice can give them a sense of control to better adapt to new online environments.

Facebook’s Timeline interface allowed users to access posts by date, highlighted certain events and set privacy controls to remove, modify visibility or hide posts on their page.

Feeling out of control

The company initially provided a blog to release information to users, but then closed the blog, said Wisniewski, who worked with Heng Xu, associate professor of information sciences and technology, Penn State, and Yunan Chen, assistant professor of informatics, University of California, Irvine.

Denying users the ability to use the blog as a place to voice their concerns and give feedback may have thwarted one of the positive strategies people use to cope with changes in their environment, the researchers said.

People who feel more in control become focused on solving problems and adjusting to the change, while those who do not feel they have control tend to focus on their emotions and resort to more negative coping strategies.

The researchers, who presented their findings at the Association for Computing Machinery’s Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, said that 67 percent of users’ coping strategies in the Timeline transition were negative.

The users complained, threatened to switch to another social network and urged others to drop Facebook.

No feedback led to negative response

“Without giving people a way of offering feedback, you make them feel less empowered and they have more of a feeling of hopelessness,” said Wisniewski.

Some users did adapt more successfully and took positive steps to use the new interface, including learning about Timeline and finding new ways to customize it.

Companies that halt communication run the risk of allowing false information to circulate among users.

“Without providing more users feedback, not only was there more negativity, but a lot of the information that was causing the negativity was actually based on misinformation,” said Wisniewski. “Being more responsive and sharing information with users can stop some of this misinformation.”

Changing too many features leads to backlash

The researchers also said that changing too many features at once can confuse users and may lead to a harsher backlash.

“In the Timeline rollout, they added several other features at the same time as Timeline,” said Wisniewski. “These weren’t necessarily part of Timeline, but were thrown in at the same time.”

The researchers examined users’ perceptions and signs of coping strategies by reviewing 1,149 comments posted to Facebook’s Timeline release blog from September 2011 to April 2012.

 

For insights into social media, mobile strategy, digital technology, marketing and much more, join top thought leaders from brands that include Google, Yahoo, and Twitter – as well tech icon Steve Wozniak at the upcoming Digital Summit Atlanta, May 20-21.

 

opt-in feature. The interface became mandatory for Facebook users on May 21, 2012.

The National Science Foundation supported this work.

Retailers see less Facebook fan engagement, numbers, despite more posts

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

FacebookFacebook saw the slowest growth for retailers during the first half of 2013, with a decline in fan engagement and numbers despite increasing numbers of brand posts published, says Expion’s Social Retail report.

 The report analyzed the top 50 retail brands performance in H1 2013, identifying two luxury brands, Tiffany & Co. and Victoria’s Secret, as leaders in Facebook engagement across the retail industry.

“Expion analyzed more than 16,000 posts from retailers in the first half of this year to take a deep look into which brands, and which content, are leading on Facebook today,” said Peter Heffring, CEO of Expion.  “Key findings showcase that compelling content is still king, and brands that organically are tied to style and pop culture, like luxury brands, tend to benefit from the strongest engagement with their fans.”

The repor unearths key social trends in the retail industry, as well as winners and losers across brands, posts and post types in terms of both engagement and volume. Walmart, Victoria’s Secret and Tiffany & Co. were the big winners.

  • 2013 is Slow Going: In H1 2013, the retail industry had its slowest growth period since 2011, with an actual decline in engagement and volume, despite an increase in the number of posts that were published.
  • Quality versus Quantity with Content Strategies: The report shows that brands publishing fewer highly effective posts are creating nearly as much volume as brands relying on a quantity-driven approach. We expect to see a greater dichotomy between these two strategies, and as Facebook becomes more saturated, the quality-driven approach should overtake the quantity-driven approach.
  • Growth Regression: While there was an even split across the 50 retailers in social volume growth – 25 saw positive growth and 25 saw a decline – eight of the top 10 brands experienced a decline, showing that the top retailers took a step backward during H1 2013.
  • Video Did Not Kill the Image Star…Yet: Despite video popularity across social media platforms like Vine and Instagram, posts with images still dominated Facebook. Images represented 80 percent of posts while video posts accounted for a meager 3 percent.
  • It’s a Luxe Life for Retail Fans: When looking at industry sectors, luxury brands were the highest performing in terms of total fan engagement, driven by captivating product images, often tied to pop culture.  Retail sectors such as drug stores, supermarkets and small-format value, which depend on mass appeal, fell to the bottom of the list.

To read the full FAVE 50: Social Retail Report, please visit: http://www.expion.com/retail-index-data-report/

Microsoft’s Balmer lowest paid CEO but still the wealthiest

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

MicrosoftMicrosoft Corp. may have stumbled with Windows 8 and the Surface tablet, but that didn’t knock CEO Steve Balmer out of the top spot as the wealthiest CEO amongst those heading the 30 largest publicly-listed US firms. This comes despite Ballmer being the lowest paid Dow Jones CEO in 2012, taking home US$1.3 million in total compensation compared to peers who earned up to US$40 million. Balmer’s is worth $17 billion.

Meg Whitman spent a bundle on her political campaign, but the Hewlett-Packard CEO, who earns a salary of only a buck a year, earned $15 million in compensation nonethe less, is second.

The former eBay chief was brought in to help turn the company around and has joined other “dollar-a-year” tech executives such as Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Google’s Larry Page and Oracle’s Larry Ellison, who have agreed to tie their compensations closely to company performance.

Wealth-X, the ultra high net worth (UHNW) intelligence provider, compiled the list from proxy statements filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission regarding firms listed on the Dow Jones Industrial Average benchmark index.

Ballmer received a 2012 fiscal bonus of US$620,000, less than half the possible maximum bonus of US$1.37 million. Microsoft trimmed pay for its executives last year, citing slower-than-planned growth in its online services division and aUS$732 million fine for failure to comply with European regulators.

Rank Name Company Net Worth

(US$ million)

2012 Total Pay

(US$ million)

2012 Salary

(US$ million)

Salary % of Total Pay
1 Steve Ballmer Microsoft 17,000 1.3 0.685 52.0%
2 Meg Whitman Hewlett-Packard 1,200 15.3 US$1 0.1%
3 Stephen J. Hemsley UnitedHealth Group 480 13.8 1.3 9.4%
4 John T. Chambers Cisco Systems 430 11.6 0.375 3.2 %
5 Louis R. Chênevert United Technologies 430 27.5 1.7 6.2%

Jamie Dimon, JP Morgan Chase CEO, is the only banking executive to make the list with a fortune estimated at US$340 million. His pay packet was halved in 2012 to just under $19 million following the 2011 ‘London whale’ trading debacle that triggered aUS$6 billion loss at America’s largest bank by assets.

For the full top ten list, visit http://www.wealthx.com/articles/2013/microsofts-ballmer-tops-wealthiest-us-ceos-list-despite-reduced-2012-bonus

More small businesses using social media but most unconcerned about customer data

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

social mediaMore small businesses are taking to social media, according to Newtek Business Services, NASDAQ: NEWT, The Small Business Authority, with a portfolio of over 100,000 business accounts.

Newtek says 57 percent of more than 2,000 businesses it polled  have a Twitter or Facebook account. The findings from last year compared to this year show 10 percent  more business owners are using social media.

The poll also reveals a potential problem. Only 30 percent of those polled are concerned about Twitter or Facebook using their clients’ data. That reminds of how cavalierly restaurants and other retail businesses often treated credit card receipts and point-of-service records, which often had unfortunate results.

The full July 2013 results showed the following:

Poll Question Poll Answer 2013 Percentage
Does your business have a

Twitter or Facebook account?

Yes 57%
No 43%
Are you concerned about Twitter or

Facebook using your client data?

Yes 30%
No 70%

Barry Sloane, Chairman, President and CEO of The Small Business Authority commented, “Our poll recognizes that not only do small businesses underutilize a great marketing tool in social media, most do not worry about the risks or trade off inherent in social media. We do see a year-over-year increase in total utilization of social media by 10 prcent.

“This is a good trend for small business, however we are amazed that, while consumers are outraged at the concept of the federal government having access to personal phone and internet data, businesses and consumers regularly share their most sensitive information such as customer lists and other data with Google, Facebook and Apple while using “free” social media services. Further education in the use of these tools should broaden their usage and educate independent business owners about its positives and negatives.”

Marketers: how to reach the teenage audience (infographic)

Monday, July 15th, 2013

student with mobileIf you want your marketing to appeal to teens who might become brand customers for life, a new study by digital marketing agency iProspect suggests you have to find content that helps them say something about themselves and prompts them to share it. Where and how you deliver the content is much less important than the message.

The study found that while 90 percent of teens view television as the top source of entertainment information, they’re also watching programming on Netflix, YouTube, and other channels where they can watch on their own schedules.

A fragmented social ecosystem

But they share their thoughts and feelings via a somewhat fragmented “social ecosystem” that presents an opportunity for brands to reach them.

“Even with the exponential growth of new media channels, it’s not the particular app or platform that teens are loyal to, it’s the content,” said Danielle Smith, group account director, iProspect. “Marketers need to focus on developing the most relevant content that helps teens make a statement about themselves or pushes them to share with others.

“To do so, we recommend that brands create visual messages that can be consumed quickly on social networks, where nearly 80 percent of teens get entertainment information. Brands also should develop humorous messaging or cause marketing to spark interest, and crowdsource projects when possible to encourage a sense of belonging among teens.”

It recommends marketers:

Be flexible and fast. Tweak and test. Move quickly

Be current. How are teens messaging about current trends?

Always crowdsource: help teens feel connected to unique groups.

Spark their interest. Use humor, cause marketing.

Create visual messages they can consumer (and share) quickly.

Personally, we think those constitute good advice for digital marketing in general, not just to teens.

Here’s an infographic on the study findings: (click link for the full infographic)

Top ten viral infographics in June focus on Google, the Internet, Facebook

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

Infographics fit the Internet’s image-friendly ecosystem so well that many go viral and appear on multiple social networks, news sites and blogs. We’ve seen many hit our monthly top ten story list here at the TechJournal. Now,  Customer Magnetism, a digital marketing agency headquartered in Virginia Beach, has released the winners of its “Top Ten Most Viral Infographics” for the month of June, 2013.

Customer Magnetism used the total number of likes and shares from the social media signals of Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn and Facebook to rank the infographics.

Batman

Technology and the Internet itself are often the subject of these infographics. Customer Magnetism’s list includes inforgraphics on A Day in the Internet, Google, Texting, Awesome workplaces in Silicon Valley, Everything you wanted to know about Facebook’s IPO, and Don’t Lose Your Caffeine Buzz to Cybercrime.

Others focus on “The Cost of Being Batman,” “The World as 100 People,” and “What are the odds?”

While we find infographics both fun and informative when they’re done well, we also see many with the same problems: the creators try to stuff way too much into them – particularly text. Many times this makes the text hard to read. Infographics should be graphic, not short books with illustrations.

 

Customer Magnitism offers these samples of its own infographics.

Customer Magnetism offers this on “What is an infographic.”

What is an Infographic?
Created by Customer Magnetism, an award winning Digital Marketing Agency.

Who are the top 50 brands on Instagram?

Monday, June 24th, 2013

InstagramIt seems as if marketers have to consider a new social tool about every ten minutes. For those who are image-oriented, Instragram, which is up to 130 monthly active users, plays a strategic role.

While some big brands want ads on the photo service, owner Facebook says it is focused on growth right now.

Which brands are using Instagram already? Nitrogram, which is an Instagram analytics and engagement platform for brands, has named the top 50 brands on Instagram.

Overall winner is a social media superstar

It used two factors to compile its list: the number of followers on the brand account and the number of photos posted on the brand’s hashtag.

Nike sneakers

Nike Olympic inspired sneakers.

The overall winner has been a social media star from the get-go: Nike. In addition to its own activity on Instagram and the @Nike account, the company also created campaigns to get their fans creating content.

But others among the top 50 also tend to show up when top social media players on Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms are named: Starbucks at No. 2, Addias at 4, Victoria’s Secret at 6, and Red Bull at 8, for instance.

The Nitrogram data provided some other insights: eight of the top 10 brands by followers are related to fashion or footwear.

The top 50 brands also publish about twice as many photos to their Instagram account as they have followers.

Here’s Nitrogram’s lists:

THE NITROGRAM TOP 50 BRANDS ON INSTAGRAM

  1. Nike
  2. Starbucks
  3. Forever 21
  4. Adidas
  5. Topshop
  6. Victoria’s Secret
  7. Vans
  8. Red Bull
  9. Michael Kors
  10. Converse
  11. H&M
  12. Go Pro
  13. MTV
  14. Burberry
  15. Audi
  16. Louis Vuitton
  17. Hollister
  18. BMW
  19. Gucci
  20. Louboutin
  21. Zara
  22. Sephora
  23. Marc Jacobs
  24. Asos
  25. Playboy
  26. Beats by Dre
  27. Steve Madden
  28. Youtube
  29. Roxy
  30. Monster Energy
  31. National Geographic
  32. American Apparel
  33. Abercrombie
  34. Urban Decay
  35. Disneyland
  36. American Eagle
  37. Disney
  38. Coachella
  39. Volkswagen
  40. Juicy Couture
  41. Armani
  42. Urban Outfitters
  43. Free People
  44. Taco Bell
  45. GQ
  46. Oreo
  47. Versace
  48. Brandy Melville
  49. Mercedes-Benz
  50. Guess

TOP 10 INSTAGRAM BRANDS BY FOLLOWERS

  1. The Ellen Show 2.3MM
  2. Victoria’s Secret 2.1MM
  3. National Geographic 2MM
  4. Nike 1.6MM
  5. Louboutin 1.3MM
  6. Forever 21 1.3MM
  7. MTV 1.3MM
  8. Starbucks 1.3MM
  9. E! Online 1.2MM
  10. Topshop 1MM

 

 

Ebook guides SMBs to effective social media listening

Friday, May 31st, 2013

 social media“The Art of Social Media Listening: How to Use Social Media Listening to Build and Manage Your Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest Pages,” by Jennifer Finke ,  available via Amazon.com Kindle Edition, offers readers an overview of how to manage and grow a social media presence through active listening online.

Finke says she was annoyed when small business owners told her that they thought “managing” a social media page meant simply pushing out posts, tweets and pins.

“Clients and prospects would ask me to manage their social media efforts, yet they had little knowledge about the effort it took to do so properly. I delivered a presentation on this topic a few months ago to share my insights on the efforts involved in social media management, specifically social media listening.

Several of the participants encouraged me to turn my presentation into an eBook so I could share these practical social media tips more broadly,” says Finke, who is also founder of the Denver PR agency, Red Jeweled Media.

SMBs getting it wrong

Another motivation in writing this eBook, says Finke, is that she says she believes many small businesses are doing social media themselves and getting it wrong.

“The push out a Tweet and a Facebook post and then say, ‘I’m done with my social media efforts today,’ isn’t how social media management is done,” says Finke. “Social media takes time and active listening,” says Finke.

In the Art of Social Media Listening, Finke teaches small and mid-sized business owners and PR professionals how to:

  • Create social media objectives
  • Identify key influencers within their social eco-system
  • Actively listen online
  • Prioritize their social media listening efforts

“This eBook was written for the up-and-coming social media enthusiast, PR freelancer, and do-it-yourself entrepreneur in mind,” says Finke.

Finke adds that the eBook is a quick read because, “Social media listening shouldn’t be an arduous task.” Plus, she adds, “All the recommendations in my eBook are free to implement; I do not push expensive monitoring tools that entrepreneurs and PR freelancers can’t afford and may not need.”

To download a copy of the Kindle Edition of, “The Art of Social Media Listening: How to Use Social Media Listening to Build and Manage Your Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest Pages,” ($2.99), visit Amazon.com.

How small businesses grow their email lists

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

email graphicAmid cries that email is on its deathbed comes new data reinforcing the notion that email is indeed alive and well. According to a recent study from Constant Contact®, Inc. (NASDAQ: CTCT) building email marketing subscriber lists shines through as a consistent priority for small business owners.

In the survey of more than 700 small businesses and nonprofit organizations, almost 60 percent of respondents said they are trying to grow their email subscriber list “at all times.” When ranking the reasons why, 44 percent cited bolstering repeat business or donations as the primary reason, while 39 percent said customer relationship building and 12 percent said engaging customers for referrals.

Here at the TechJournal, we’ve seen the idea that email is fading disproved by a multitude of studies. It’s still the number one digital marketing tool for many brands, products and services. Social is no where near it in effectiveness.

On the minds of small business owners

“List growth, and the business benefits that come with it, are clearly on the minds of small business owners today. They realize that engaging customers is a key aspect of both maintaining relationships and finding new ones – and one of the best ways to do that is through email marketing,” said Christopher M. Litster, senior vice president, sales and marketing at Constant Contact.

“More than two-thirds of the survey respondents said that they train employees to request customer contact information at points of interaction. As email maintains its central position in small business marketing, list growth is becoming a company-wide initiative that small business owners are passing down to all their other employees, from marketers to cashiers to servers.”

Additional survey results indicate that the manner in which customer information is collected remains varied. Sixty-four percent of respondents indicated that they actively ask customers for their contact information directly, but only 35 percent use a sign-up sheet at the point of sale.

Host of ways to grow lists

Additionally, of those using online list growth tools, 92 percent of respondents collect email addresses via sign-up forms on their website, and 46 percent offer similar capabilities on their Facebook business pages.

“There are a host of ways that small businesses can grow their contact lists, both online and offline,” said Litster. “From Join My Mailing List forms on websites and social media pages to simply asking for business cards at events, the more willing you are to ask customers to stay in touch, the better relationships you will build, and the chance for repeat business increases.”

Key findings include:

  1. 57 percent of small businesses actively try to grow their email lists at all times.
  2. 44 percent of small businesses say repeat business is the primary reason for email list building.
  3. 39 percent of small businesses say relationship building is the main reason for email list growth.
  4. More than two-thirds of small businesses train their employees to request customer contact info.
  5. 92 percent of small businesses gathering email addresses online use sign-up forms on their website.
  6. 46 percent of small businesses using online sign-up tools collect email addresses on Facebook.
  7. 64 percent of small businesses ask customers for contact information directly.
  8. Only 35 percent of small businesses use an email sign-up sheet at point of sale. (
  9. 42 percent of small businesses collect business cards for contact list-growth purposes.
  10. Almost six in ten small businesses collect contact information at events via sign-up sheets.

Facebook or face time? Give them the personal touch

Friday, May 24th, 2013
Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey, authors of The Barefoot Spirit.

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey, authors of The Barefoot Spirit.

It’s official: Email, texting, and social media are no longer just helpful supplemental business tools. They’ve taken over the whole game. Yes, technology has made many aspects of modern living more convenient and “connected,” but the pendulum has swung too far.

Now, people are reluctant to do something as simple as picking up the phone, preferring to shoot off an email instead. And face-to-face meetings—well, they’re almost unheard of.

This “technology takeover” is not without consequence, says Michael Houlihan. Misunderstandings abound. Relationships stagnate. Trust is at an all-time low. And all of these issues are at least partially due to the fact that genuine human connections have been replaced by mouse-clicks and keystrokes.

social media“Social media and technology do have their place, but they are not, and never will be, a substitute for in-person interaction,” confirms Houlihan, coauthor along with Bonnie Harvey of The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand (coming in May 2013 from Evolve Publishing)

Having bootstrapped a business from the ground up, Houlihan knows what he’s talking about. He and Harvey are the founders of Barefoot Cellars, the company that transformed the image of American wine from staid and unimaginative to fun, lighthearted, and hip.

BarefootSpirit_3D_3402When they started their company in the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse, they knew almost nothing about winemaking or the wine business. The Barefoot Spirit tells their California-style rags-to-riches story in compelling and colorful fashion, and reveals just what it takes to succeed as an entrepreneur.

“I can’t tell you how many retailers, suppliers, and potential customers I visited in person during those early years,” Houlihan admits. “What I can tell you is that I would have never gotten satisfactory results if I had tried to build those relationships via email and social media. The Barefoot brand would never have become a national bestseller without meetings, phone calls, and recurring personal visits that kept relationships all over the country healthy and up-to-date.

“People don’t just buy your product; they buy you,” he concludes.

SmartphoneandShoppingHoulihan worries that young people’s dependence on virtual communication has stunted the social skills they’ll need to attract customers. Through no fault of their own, they have inherited a world that provides a comfortable firewall insulating them from personal rejection—one in which they simply don’t have to communicate in real time. (“Could you learn to walk if you were handed a crutch at birth?” he asks.)

Of course, in a global economy, face-to-face meetings are expensive. When clients, vendors, and even employees are on the other side of the world, it’s not economically feasible to hop on a plane every time a meeting is needed. In these cases, says Houlihan, Skype is the next best thing to being there.

videoconferencing“Live video streams allow you to do just about everything short of shaking hands,” he notes. “I have begun to use Skype frequently in my own business dealings. I love that I can make eye contact with someone who is sitting on the opposite side of the country. We accomplish so much more when we become more than ‘just’ an email address or a disembodied voice to one another!”

If you make the time necessary for personal meetings—if not in person, then via Skype or, at the very least, on the phone—Houlihan says others will not only remember you, but they will appreciate the effort you put forth. Read on for seven specific advantages of real-time, in-person, face-to-face relationship building:

The time investment shows you really care. It’s a fairly universal truth that human beings want to be valued and appreciated. Spending time with someone else, whether that’s in person, face-to-face on a computer screen, or, if all else fails, via a phone call, is one of the best ways to convey these things.

In essence, an investment of time says, “While there are many other things I could be doing, I’m choosing to spend my time with you. That’s how important I think you are!” Minutes and hours spent with another person have the power to create a bond that money can’t buy.

“When you spend time with others, you find out what you truly have in common and you have an opportunity to share your opinions,” Houlihan explains.

“Plus, visiting someone repeatedly over a period of time can also provide valuable non-verbal clues to his or her values and concerns. In my own experience, I have been amazed by how helpful it can be to travel with someone, whether it’s a colleague or client. On any trip there will probably be instances that cause stress and anxiety, which presents an opportunity for both of you to see how the other handles a variety of situations and to learn to work together more effectively.”

You’re better able to give personalized attention. According to Houlihan, this is perhaps the biggest key to successful sales and the establishment of any long-term relationship. Think about it: It’s hard to multi-task on something unrelated when someone is physically planted in front of you, demanding your attention.

Unless you have no problem with blatant rudeness, you’re focusing on the other person, responding not only to what they say, but also to their mood, movements, and many other non-verbal signals. You will read these signs and adjust your behavior accordingly.

“Letters on a screen can’t compete with the personal touch,” Houlihan assures. “In my experience, when you use someone’s name along with eye contact and an attentive demeanor, they’re more likely to be agreeable and to give you the benefit of the doubt.

They know that your time is valuable and that you chose to give it to them. The next time they see you, they will be more relaxed and familiar in your company. And the more visits you have, the more your relationship with that individual strengthens. Trust me, people want to do business with people they know. You can get to know them much better offscreen.”

You’re more effective in general. When you’re talking to someone else in real time, you can make progress in real time and solve problems in real time. (Believe it or not, lobbing emails back and forth isn’t always the most efficient method.)

Thanks to facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice (see below for more information on each), you’ll usually find out more than just the basics when you have a verbal conversation. In fact, if you’re really observant, you may notice things about the other company or clients that they themselves aren’t even aware of!

“Always meet in person if you can,” Houlihan confirms. “When an important client or critical team member is on the other side of the globe, a face-to-face meeting once or twice a year can often be a smart investment.”

The rest of the time, if your communication is anything beyond a simple FYI, be sure to Skype or call.”

Facial expressions help get your message across… Did you know that the human face has at least 20 muscles that work in concert to create a myriad of telling facial expressions? When you put it that way, the process sounds complex, but amazingly (as you know!) we don’t have to consciously think about forming those expressions at all. This is a powerful argument for face-to-face meetings, whether they’re in person or via Skype.

“Observing those expressions during verbal communication can give you instant feedback about how your message is being received,” Houlihan points out. “You can quickly adjust your message on the spot to make it more meaningful or agreeable, and avoid possible misunderstandings. Facial expressions are also an invaluable way through which to express sincerity, interest, curiosity, happiness, and more.”

…So does your body language… Unlike looking at a posed profile shot or any still image sent over email, being face-to-face with another person gives you the opportunity to see the other person’s dynamic reaction and make adjustments to your own message. Real-time body language provides tons of non-verbal cues that are impossible to convey in a text or email.

“As humans and social animals, we are naturally wired to get this feedback instantly,” Houlihan says. “We’re also equipped to share our own feelings and attitudes through the way we stand, sit, gesture, and more.”

“It’s a good idea to spend a little time learning the basics of body language. For instance, if you know that hands in one’s pockets indicate boredom or disinterest whereas leaning slightly forward indicates interest, you’ll be able to respond more accurately to others and avoid sending messages you don’t mean to.”

…and so does your tonality. It’s happened to everyone: You send an email that’s laced with sarcasm or humor…which the recipient totally fails to pick up on. Oops! Now you’re left frantically doing damage control. According to Houlihan, that’s one major reason why texting, emailing, and friending can be great ways to communicate while failing to succeed at relationship building.

“When spoken, the same words used in a text or email can have a very different meaning based on the tone, inflection, and the emphasis that the speaker gives,” he says.

“It’s much easier to ‘get’ intentions behind the spoken word. And if the other person sounds reluctant, uncomfortable, or guarded, for instance, you can take advantage of the opportunity to ask why and discuss ideas that might never have been brought forward over email. So the next time you find your mouse hovering over the ‘compose’ button, think about reaching for your phone instead.”

Your vulnerability shows (and that’s a good thing!). In the virtual world, you can almost totally control the image you show to other people. You choose the pictures you post on your profile. You censor the information you do and don’t want to share in your messages, posts, and updates.

And usually, you can think about and edit what you want to say before pressing “send.” But in a real-time, face-to-face relationship, the other person can see you in 3-D and observe your dynamic, spontaneous behavior, including tone of voice, expression, dress, and body language. The other party sees your human imperfections and is aware that you are vulnerable to potential personal rejection.

“Imperfections and vulnerability make you appear more believable and sincere,” says Houlihan.

“Most people will overlook minor foibles in appearance and speech because you are literally there for them. It’s special! This can be a big advantage in the long run. And in the short run, you take precedence over all their virtual relationships.”

Despite his belief that people want in-person attention, Houlihan says Barefoot didn’t avoid technology as it developed—far from it. What’s important is to use these tools appropriately and not let them become crutches.

“A relationship can start through text, email, or social media; in fact, I encourage entrepreneurs and other businesspeople to utilize those resources,” he explains. “But in order to be lasting and dependable, a relationship has to grow in person. Yes, developing your face-to-face social skills will make you feel vulnerable at times. As is the case with learning to walk, though, feeling vulnerable is why we get so good at it!

“Like any skill, becoming personable takes practice,” he concludes. “A good way to start is to eliminate virtual communication when in-person communication is possible or more effective. So shake hands and come out a winner! Remember, genuine, lasting, and dependable relationships take time and physical presence. High touch beats high tech every time.”

Consumers do respond to online & TV ad calls to action

Monday, May 20th, 2013

social mediaThe effectiveness of social cues in advertisements varies by the medium the ad appears in, according to a Burst Media survey revealing how and why web users interact with brands via social media.

Among respondents who recall social media prompts in advertising, digital ads (61.0%) and television ads (58.7%) are most effective at driving interaction with a brand’s social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

These are followed by print ads (52.4%), radio ads (41.5%) and outdoor ads (39.4%).

Notably, two-thirds (67.6%) of 18 to 34 year-old respondents—including 73.9% of 18 to 34 year-old women—say digital ads that feature prompts to social media assets are effective at inspiring them to take action.

“We found that marketers who use social sharing and action prompts within advertisements create authentic interactions that drive further engagement,” said Mark Kaefer , marketing director, Burst Media.

“On the digital front especially, display, mobile and sponsored online content campaigns that include social media prompts can virally and exponentially extend campaign reach through consumer status updates, likes, tweets, pins and more.”

Survey Highlights

Web users interact with brands on social media for a variety of reasons.

  • More than one-half (53.8%) of women and 44.1% of men who interact on social media via cues in advertising cite “to show my support for a brand that I like” as a reason for doing so.
  • The gender divide is even wider with the next most-cited reason, which is to access special offers, coupons and/or promotions: 53.2% of women versus just over one-third (35.5%) of men cite this as a reason.
  • Notably, two-thirds (66.7%) of 35 to 44 year-old women cite the access to offers/coupons as a reason to interact with a brand’s social assets.

The majority (65.4%) of all survey respondents have at least one social media account set-up for personal use.

  • Facebook—at 53.0%—is by far the leading provider. Google+ follows a distant second, with one-quarter (25.6%) of respondents reporting they use the up-and-coming platform.
  • Three-fifths (58.6%) of respondents with social media accounts use them at least once a day, and another one-fifth (22.3%) check accounts at least once per week.

Interestingly, Pinterest and Instagram—as image and photo-driven social platforms—skew towards a female audience.

  • InstagramOne-fifth (21.9%) of all female respondents have a Pinterest account, versus only 4.8% of men. The disparity of Pinterest use between the sexes is even greater among 18 to 34 year-olds: 1-in-4 (25.5%) women in this segment have a Pinterest account, versus just 3.6% of men this age.
  • Instagram’s audience also skews more female than male—10.4% versus 5.8%, respectively. Again, the gender gap is biggest among respondents aged 18 to 34, as 20.8% of women this age have Instagram accounts, versus 8.4% of men.

Download the full “Expanding the Conversation: Leveraging Social Media for Brand Interaction” Online Insights report (PDF) athttp://burstmedia.com/pdf/burst_media_online_insights_2013_04.pdf.

 

 

Nike has most socially devoted fans on top ten list

Friday, May 17th, 2013
Nike sneakers

Nike Olympic inspired sneakers.

Nike is the U.S. brand to beat for Socially Devoted fans, dominating Socialbakers top ten U.S. list with four different Nike handles in Q1 2013.

Socialbakers, the global leader in social media measurement and analytics, monitors the most responsive brands on social media each quarter.

While @JetBlueAirways, representing airlines, and @NokiaCareUS, for telecom, take the #2 and #4 spots, respectively, they are surrounded by brands in banking, sporting goods, food, cloud computing and, a Q1 favorite, tax prep.

On Facebook, the most Socially Devoted U.S. brands in Q1 2013 were uniformly telecoms and airlines, industries where online customer service has become critically important to their business.

“Twitter enables a certain open conversation, and allows brands to address their customers’ needs immediately and directly.

More brands using social, Twitter

Twitter birdMore and more brands are appreciating the value of utilizing social media, and Twitter in particular, to relate to their customers and address their concerns.  These companies should be celebrated,” says Jan Rezab , CEO of Socialbakers.

Interestingly, @NikeSupport can also be found at #4 on the Worldwide list of Socially Devoted Twitter Brands, which is otherwise all telecom and airline.

Overall, worldwide, there has been an incredible increase in response rates on Twitter since Socialbakers began measuring (see graphic). Although the telecommunications, airline and finance industries tend to always score highly, the fashion and retail industries have been gaining traction too. It shows that companies now take Twitter seriously as a communication channel.

Here are the quarterly results:

Social media and review sites play major role for car buyers

Friday, May 17th, 2013

FacebookWith any luck, we won’t have to buy another car for a while, but when we do, we’ll definitely do online research before heading out to dealer lots. We have lots of company doing that.

Online dealership reviews on social media networks are now playing the most important role in the dealership selection process, according to the Spring 2013 Automotive Social Media and Reputation Trend Study released by Digital Air Strike, the nation’s leading automotive social media, online reputation and digital response company.

The bi-annual study included an in-depth analysis of how 650 U.S. dealers use social media and an online survey of 2,000 consumers who purchased a vehicle in the last 6 months.

The majority of car buyers said they consider review sites as “helpful” in their decision as to where to purchase a vehicle. The study found that 24% of consumers consider online review sites to be the “most helpful” factor, exceeding all other factors including the 15%of car buyers who consider dealership websites “most helpful”.

The study also showed that review sites are becoming increasingly important in organic search. 81% of car buyers who use review sites said they look at review scores in search results.

The dealer component of the study revealed that, on average, five review sites show up in search results. Car buyers use the top five sites 13% more than just 6 months ago.

Most popular review sites

The most popular review sites are Cars.com (61%, previously 55%), Edmunds.com (54%, previously 50%),), Google+ Local (37%, previously 44%), Yelp (14%, no change), and Yahoo (11%, no change) – the same rank order as the October 2012 study.

The study went on to reveal that there is a 43% probability that a consumer will search for a local dealer on Facebook using Facebook’s new Graph Search. The study revealed 67% of car buyers search for local business using mobile devices with 41% having “checked-in” to a local business using their mobile device.

Additional Facebook findings include:

  • There is a 59% probability that a consumer will trust a review from a Facebook friend more than reviews on other sites.
  • 27% of car buyers click on mobile ads on Facebook.
  • There is a 45% probability that a consumer will view the dedicated feed for brands in the forthcoming Facebook News Feed.
  • Clicks on automotive dealership Facebook ads more than doubled from October 2012 to April 2013 – from 16% up to 39%

How TV viewers really use social media

Monday, May 13th, 2013

social mediaDifferent media channels drive different social media behaviors.

The findings were revealed today from the TVB (www.tvb.org), the not-for-profit trade association of America’s commercial broadcast television industry, in the organization’s 2013 Cultural Currency study.

In conjunction with Colligent, a social affinity mapping company, TVB married Nielsen Media Research and Kantar Media data with social media behaviors (not conversation) across Twitter and Facebook to identify the quantity and intensity of behavior for broadcast and cable TV, radio and newspapers at the national and local level.

The study has important implications for how TV programmers and marketers can effectively synchronize social media with their traditional media investments.

Twitter bird

The Cultural Currency research analyzed social media behaviors among 167 million Facebook and Twitter users across 4400 primetime television programs, 540 consumer brands, 570 TV stations, 1823 radio stations and 358 local and national newspapers.

Roadmap to social media experiences

As more content producers and advertisers turn to social media to build and engage program and brand fans, this study provides a roadmap on how to build social media experiences that will maximize consumer engagement and help programmers and advertisers set the right action standards for success.

The findings showed that fan behaviors that drive Cultural Currency activate a different set of personal interactions and necessitate different strategies for brand engagement. Local broadcast TV viewers are 85% more likely to post photos and videos than users of all media (radio, newspapers, broadcast and cable television), primarily because of their strong connection to community.

Samsung Smart TV

A Samsung Smart TV.

Local newspapers outperform all other media in generating retweets (54% more likely), while radio and cable TV users are avid content likers (each 46% more likely).

Across all media channels, broadcast television offered the most balanced set of social media behaviors to activate across content offerings.

Brian Wieser, a leading media industry analyst at equity research firm Pivotal Research Group, highlighted the study’s importance. “This important research from the TVB highlights the growing inter-relationships between television, social media and second-screen content more generally.”

The study unearthed critical insights for programmers and advertisers who build complementary social media experiences to enhance their media investments, including:

  • Broadcast TV Builds Brand Fans With its Combination of Big Audiences and Deep Engagement.
    Broadcast TV at the national and local level is still the dominant brand-builder in the media landscape, generating as much as192X more brand fans within social media than advertisers in the same category who only purchased cable. The use of social media to prove the correlation of actual media investment with brand affinity is a game-changing insight that provides marketers with the ability to target their most engaged brand fans using the efficiencies of mass reach media.
  • Social Media Platforms Are Not Equal Across the Television Landscape.
    There is a polarization of platform preference depending on the programming genre. Viewers of mainstream primetime genres, driven by big hit programs, exhibited more active behaviors on Twitter than on Facebook, suggesting that Twitter has established itself as the “in-the-moment,” simultaneous platform for cultural currency traders and that “appointment viewing” is now an interactive “appointment experience” that offers advertisers more opportunities to engage in real-time.

“Mass culture that is accessible to many and used in social exchanges both online and off, provides the Cultural Currency needed to attract, maintain, and grow our relationships with others as well as with brands,” explained Stacey Lynn Schulman (formerly Koerner), Chief Research Officer at TVB.

“In our eagerness to embrace technologies that enhance personalization and customization, our society has become more isolated, and mainstream media products, particularly broadcast TV, provides the glue that connects our virtual and physical lives. Just like monetary currencies, different cultural products provide different value in this new eco-system, and it’s not surprising that Broadcast Television – from local stations to national networks – excels in this regard.”

Facebook may start running autoplay video ads in your newsfeed

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

FacebookFacebook is intent on making money, but also, it seems at times, on alienating its consumers. Are you ready for video ads in your newsfeed that play automatically?

Starting in July, Facebook plans to start running auto-playing video ads in your newsfeed.

Ad Age originally reported that Facebook was considering the video ads.

The company may start the videos without audio and give the user the option of playing it with audio.

Reports say it is leaning toward 15-second rather than more traditional 30 second ads.

It’s clear that Facebook needs to come up with ways to generate revenue from its hordes of users. But with all the social networks out there now chipping away at its base, it might want to think twice about alienating users with intrusive advertising.

I don’t know about you, but I’m already a bit flummoxed when I see newsfeed ads when I’m trying to catch up with friends. They’re tolerable, but I suspect autoplay video ads might push some users over the desert the platform edge.

So what do you think? Is this a good move for the social network, or will it just cause more trouble for the already troubled top dog in the social networking kennel?

–Allan Maurer

 

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.

 

Facebook, Youtube, Twitter dominate social media brand ranking

Friday, April 19th, 2013

social mediaThe four most valuable social media brands in 2012 were able to defend their leading positions and increase their brand values, with Google+ rising fast.

The rankings are from the Department of Social Media Management of HWZ University of Applied Sciences in Business Administration Zurich, in cooperation with BV4 Certified Brand Valuation Experts.

Facebook takes the top of the current ranking with an estimated brand value of $ 34.320 billion, followed by YouTube with a brand value of $ 26.824 billion, and Twitter with $ 23.656 billion.

Less well known in the Western world is the Chinese network Qzone which, with a brand value of $ 16.336 billionn, is in fourth position.

Google PlusTop winner of this year’s ranking is Google+, which gained 14 ranks ($ 5.878 billionn).

Together, the thirty most valuable brands have a monetary value of nearly $ 200 bn

Trends positively influenced brand value growth

Actual social media trends had a positive influence on the strength and value development of the analyzed brands, fueling a growth of 59% compared to the top 30 brands in 2012: on one hand, the most successful social media brands such as Facebook and Twitter were able to further develop their dominance with regard to their financial brand values.

On the other hand, Chinese social media brands expanded their strength and value thanks to the impressive Chinese Internet usage statistics that are characterized by a rapidly increasing number of Internet users and an intensive daily use of social media networks.

Furthermore, the new brand arrivals Instagram ($ 2.101 bn, position 22) and Pinterest ($ 1.987 bn, position 24) clearly benefitted from users’ augmenting need to share pictures among their digital peers.

Finally, the trend of increasingly using mobile devices rather than PCs to access social media platforms is an additional factor that positively influenced the strength and value development of the most valuable social media brands in 2013.

The growing importance of social media brands

Brands are important intangible value drivers for consumer goods and service companies. Compared to corporate values, intangible values like brands are continually increasing.

This is also true for social network brands, which have spread rapidly throughout the world and were able to continue on this path to success. Some of the important value drivers of social media brands are global awareness, growing user numbers, omnipresence in the day-to-day life of consumers, as well as facilitation of simple and efficient communication.

The detailed report “The Most Valuable Social Media Brands 2013″ can be obtained free of charge at http://www.fh-hwz.ch/fsmmand http://www.bv4.ch . Follow the hashtag #socialbrands13

What drives decisions in the Enterprise data center market?

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

How do Enterprises make decisions about where to locate their data centers and what drives their growing need for them?

Facebook data center

Facebook’s air-cooled data center in Forest City, NC.

A new study of the data center industry commissioned by Compass Datacenters has identified a number of emerging factors that are shaping the data center strategies of enterprise companies in the United States.

The study also projects a strong wave of new data center construction in 2013 and 2014. The research was conducted by the respected research firm Campos Research, which surveyed senior decision makers who steer the data center strategies at 150 U.S. companies with annual revenues of $250 million or more.

Key findings from the study include the following:

  • 87% of companies will build a data center in next 12-24 months. This represents an acceleration of the trend, with 63% reporting that they completed data center projects in the last 12 months.
  • 71% of companies ranked new applications as the primary reason for needing expanded data center infrastructure—making it the most often-cited driver for data center expansions in 2013 and 2014.
  • Three-quarters of companies reported that they plan to support a combination of new applications, virtualization, Big Data, and Private Cloud with their new data centers—showing a variety of needs behind the expansions.
  • 97% of companies are seeking to locate their new data centers less than 30 miles from their headquarters or major operations center—making geographic proximity a chief consideration in upcoming data center projects.

GoogleHere at the TechJournal, we’ve noted that data center construction barely stalled even during the deepest part of the recession. In North Carolina, where we are headquartered, both Google and Facebook have built data centers and regional data center firms such as Peak 10 have steadily expanded their footprint.

Compass data center

The Compass data center in Raleigh, NC. The company is also constructing a data center in Durham, NC. Other regional data center firms such as Peak 10, have also expanded their footprint substantially in the last few years.

 Chris Crosby , CEO of Compass Datacenters, said, “Our team has worked with Campos for several years, and they have an uncanny ability to identify emerging trends before they reach critical mass and transform the data center industry.

“Their past research was prescient in identifying energy efficiency, wholesale data centers and modular design as important emerging issues well before they gathered steam and were broadly acknowledged as major trends. This new study identifies geographic proximity as a key consideration for the projects that companies are currently planning, and that has the potential to change the landscape of the data center industry, both figuratively and literally.”

He added, “In the past, companies based outside of major data center markets had to sacrifice proximity when it came to the location of their data centers. They had little choice but to put their data center in one of the handful of markets, often placing those IT assets far from the companies’ HQ or major operations center.

“Not only did that increase costs and risk, but it also was inherently inefficient from a long-term operations perspective. This new study makes it clear that enterprises don’t want to make that compromise any more, and that has huge ramifications for data center providers.”

Following are additional findings from the study:

  • Companies who are planning to build in the next 12 months are planning to add an average of 2 facilities. That average increases to 3.5 when the timeframe is expanded to 24 months.
  • The companies who participated in the study currently have an average of 3 data centers. 25% reported that they currently have 5 or more data centers.
  • 96% of companies reported that the size of their data centers will be 20,000 square feet or less.
  • CIOs were identified as the primary executive who determines need for data center expansion. CIOs were cited by 37% of companies as the person who approves the project, with 24% reporting that the final decision is made by the CEO. 44% of companies described CIOs as having the most influence on the purchasing decision with 19% saying that the CEO now has the greatest influence.
  • The most common process for beginning a project is to set the requirements and then look for providers as a second step in the process (71% of respondents).
  • The most important factors cited in the selection process for a provider is Service Level. Green strategy was the lowest-ranked selection factor.
  • 75% of companies will evaluate 3 providers as part of their selection process.
  • Only 44% of companies said that they would consider building the data center themselves, indicating that “do-it-yourself” is declining.

For more findings from this study and analysis from Compass Datacenters, visit http://www.compassdatacenters.com/compass-university/.

In a relationship? 10 things not to do on Facebook

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

FacebookNow that you’re in a happy, healthy relationship, there are some Facebook rules that need following to ensure it stays that way.

10 things to never do on Facebook if you are in a relationship:

1. Hide things from your spouse or significant other.

If you don’t want your partner seeing who you’re chatting with online, that’s not a good sign. Facebook should not be a secretive escape from your relationship.

2. Befriend someone of the opposite sex your partner is uncomfortable with.

If your partner is uncomfortable with you “liking” photos of your ex — or chatting with your super-flirty co-worker online — respect his/her wishes. Don’t engage in behavior that will feed insecurities or threaten your partner. If you’re not currently Facebook friends with an ex, don’t add him. Especially in a long-term commitment relationship, you should each trust and respect each other enough to let each other veto online friendships with members of the opposite sex you’re not comfortable with.

3. Keep up old photos of exes.

Even if you never go back and look at old photos, some of your friends might. Respect your new relationship and delete old online mementos of your past relationships.

4. Change your relationship status without talking to your partner.

Relationship statuses should be discussed prior to any online changes. (Don’t abuse the status, either. Wait until it’s serious enough that most of your friends already know you’re dating someone awesome.)

5. Deny the relationship.

If your Facebook page has zero evidence that you’re in a relationship — no pictures, statuses, links that hint that you’re attached — and your partner wants to be acknowledged, show him/her that you’re proud to be with him/her, and simultaneously let your flirtatious Facebook friends know that certain online behaviors are now officially off-limits, by giving an occasional nod to your significant other.

6. Add his/her friends or family as “friends” before you’ve met them.

This is just creepy.

7. Complain about your partner or make a fight public.

If you’re in a real relationship, have real conversations. Seek conflict resolution in person, not online — and especially not on a Facebook wall. Don’t use Facebook as a place to vent, be passive-aggressive, or to humiliate your partner. Ever.

8. Gush too much.

You’re in love. That’s great. But use terms of endearment and “I have the best boyfriend in the world!” statuses in moderation. Don’t alienate your loved ones — or incite major eye-rolling — by using Facebook strictly as an excuse to brag about your recent endorphin surge.

9. Post racy pics.

Don’t upload on-vacation bikini shots. Don’t share photos of your new man “just waking up.” Keep it classy. Respect your partner by not seeking attention from others with sexy poses and provocative statuses.

10. Have a shared Facebook profile.

Even if you’re married, the whole “2 become 1″ thing does not apply to Facebook. An old classmate might want to say hi without wondering which of you he’s talking to.

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