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Social Media, Social Engagement News & Guidance

5 Minutes with Vala Afshar

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Ask three marketing executives to define "social business" and you'll get three different views.

One may see the potential of using the big data of social media to enhance the customer experience. Another explains how collaborative social tools like Yammer enhance productivity. Some may see social business as a way to enhance brand. And they all may be right in the context of their own experience.

One thing upon which they would probably all agree upon is that we're just beginning to understand social business. To help shed light on the topic, we contacted Vala Afshar, co-author of The Pursuit of Social Business Success.

Mondelez VP Offers Food for Thought on Empowering Customers

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Mondelēz International may not be a household name yet, but its brands are. Think belVita Breakfast Biscuits, Cheese Nips, Chips Ahoy! Cookies, Chiclets chewing gum — and the seasonally appropriate Cadbury Creme Egg.

As vice president of global media and consumer engagement at Mondelēz, Bonin Bough knows them all. But he knows even more about mobile, social and using both to reach and empower customers. He's been described as a leader of the digital marketing revolution —"integrating mobile and social into all marketing campaigns and embarking on the next wave of social – empowering consumers to socially endorse products they love."

At Mondelēz — better known as Kraft Foods until a separation from its parent company in 2012 — he's responsible for leading and developing partnerships and omnichannel customer experiences that span all forms of media. (In case you wondered, monde means "world" in several languages and delez an alternative to "delicious.")

A magazine fanatic and Lego advocate, Bough is Twitter champ, with more than 14 thousand followers. He co-authored the 2010 book Perspectives on Social Media Marketing and has been recognized as one of business' hottest rising stars on lists complied by Fortune, Fast Company, Ebony and The Internationalist.

We're Still Playing at Work - and IT Admins are Still Unhappy

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Knock me over with a feather: A new survey shows a lot of people waste time at the office doing all sorts of things they shouldn't … including playing games, browsing social networks and looking for new jobs. 

Last month, TeamViewer, a provider of remote control and online meeting software, asked 300 IT administrators to list some common behaviors of office workers and explain how those behaviors have affected both IT administration and the company’s bottom line.

The only thing surprising about the resulting IT Admin Behavioral Study is that the company described the results as surprising — and the fact that only 92 percent of IT admins report troublesome habits among office workers using company computers. Are the other 8 percent of IT admins ignorant or just naïve?

Why Can't Lawyers Learn to Use Hashtags?

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Lawyers have a lot to learn about digital content and social media. A second study confirms US law firms haven't grasped the potential of digital and social technologies, as CMSWire reported two months ago.

The new study by Living Ratings (.pdf), a London-based firm that analyzes how financial, professional services, property and technology firms are using digital communications, found most American law firms are struggling with technologies.

It essentially confirms the findings of the earlier report by consulting firm Good2BSocial and Above the Law, which concluded US law firms are beginning to dabble in social technologies, but the practice is still limited and "ineffective."

Can Twitter's New Profile Help Brands?

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In another step towards becoming more Facebook-like, micro-blogging network Twitter has revamped its profile page. How will the change affect Twitter-oriented marketing?

To see some examples of the new profile, check out the pages for US first lady Michelle Obama, actors Kerry Washington, Channing Tatum or Zac Efron or even CMSWire editor Noreen Seebacher (shown at left).

 In a post on its company blog, Twitter designer David Bellona wrote this week that the new profile layout "will be easier (and, we think, more fun) to express yourself through a new and improved web profile."

Wharton Professor Focuses on Strong Brands, Happy Customers

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Barbara Kahn knows a thing or two about marketing. In fact, it helped her earn a unique claim to fame: The former English lit major is ranked as one the best business school professors in the world according to Poets & Quants, a social network for MBA candidates.

Kahn is the Patty and Jay H. Baker Professor of Marketing and director of the Jay H. Baker Retailing Center at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. She also spent three and a half years as the Dean and Schein Family Chair Professor of Marketing at the School of Business Administration, University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla.

An internationally recognized scholar on variety seeking, brand loyalty, retail assortment and consumer decision making, she is also a prolific author. Between 1982 and 2006 she was the world's seventh most published author of articles in the most prestigious marketing journals. She wrote Global Brand Power: Leveraging Branding for Long-Term Growth and co-authored the book Grocery Revolution: The New Focus on the Consumer.

Transforming Social ROI From a Myth Into Reality

Transform Social Marketing ROI From a Myth Into RealityHere’s a question I still get way too often: “What’s the ROI of social media?” It’s usually a B2B marketer that’s doing the asking, someone seemingly resigned to spending valuable time and resources on social media without really understanding why. Or it's a marketer that totally gets the value of investing in the company blog, Twitter profile and LinkedIn groups but still needs help convincing their “old-school” CMO or CFO that investing in social media is worth it. 

Aren’t we marketers now experts at calculating the return on all our online marketing initiatives? Why is social media such a tough nut to crack?

Connecting: Dave Kerpen, the Most Influential Guy You Never Met

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It must be nice to be more important than Bill Gates … not to mention Jack Welch, Mark Cuban, and Barack Obama. That's the enviable position that Dave Kerpen is in, at least according to LinkedIn.

Kerpen, an entrepreneur and author, earned recognition as the No. 1 LinkedIn Influencer of all time last summer, ahead of all those other guys. He had the most popular article on LinkedIn at the time — "11 Simple Concepts Become A Better Leader," which had been viewed 1.8 million times and "liked" by 21,000 people.

But that was eight months ago. Today that post has been viewed nearly 2.6 million times and "liked" by 25,500 people.

It's a lofty position for a really down to earth guy. Kerpen is the founder and CEO of Likeable Local, a social media software product for small businesses, and the chairman and former CEO of Likeable Media, an award-winning social media and word-of-mouth marketing firm that has had triple digit revenue growth for four consecutive years. He's also a New York Times bestselling author of three books and an international keynote speaker.

LinkedIn Asks: How Good is Your Content?

LinkedIn is stepping up its focus on content. After releasing a site-wide Publishing Platform last month, the professional social networking site will be launching a Content Marketing Score and a way to measure trending content. 

Lithium has Klout, Wants to be #SeriousAboutCustomers

Lithium Technologies today confirmed what everyone seemed to know already — and acknowledged it has bought Klout. Lithium is reportedly paying almost $200 million in cash and private stock for the social media ranking influencer — twice as much as speculated during the past month.

Speaking at a late-to-start press conference — Rob Tarkoff, president and CEO of the social customer service company, declined to confirm the value of the deal. However, he noted, "If Lithium is paying $200 million for Klout, then it is a very valuable company and I'm happy about that."

Tarkoff described the acquisition as a significant extension to its platform that will offer consumers and brands better ways to engage online. "We're adding the relationship piece into the CRM world," he said. "Together, we could be something incredibly disruptive to CRM."

Lithium is also adding Joe Fernandez, CEO and co-founder of Klout, to the leadership team. He will become general manager and senior vice president of Lithium's Klout business, Tarkoff said.

The Hierarchy of Social Marketing Interaction

The Hierarchy of Social Marketing InteractionSocial marketing has become an integral part of the marketing portfolio ... at least in theory. One of the biggest challenges social marketing faces is the remaining confusion on which metrics are truly important for marketing success and which are more decorative in nature.

Connecting: Sprinklr's Social Nerd Talks Digital Tech

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Two years ago, Esteban Contreras sold most of his earthly possessions on Craigslist, walked away from a city he loved – New York – and moved to Canada. He happily resettled about 30 minutes from Vancouver, British Columbia but stayed connected with his adopted hometown by by advising and working with NYC based Sprinklr, a provider of social media management tools.

We told you about Sprinklr last month when it bought Austin, Texas-based Dachis Group, a social analytics company, and formed the largest independent end-to-end social relationship platform in the market. Contreras is director of strategy at Sprinklr.

He's a native of Guatemala, but he has little concern for geography — and said he's "glad we live in a day and age in which it is possible to work from virtually anywhere."

And he's probably just as glad we live in an age when it's possible for one person to do so many interesting things. Before moving to Canada, Contreras was the first social media marketing manager at Samsung USA.

He's also the author of the book "Social State," founder of Social Nerdia Consulting, which focuses on the convergence of technology, marketing and social, and an advisor to multiple tech startups.

Looking for Value in Social Media Command Centers

Companies and brands are setting up social media command centers to get a better grasp of the unstructured data like status updates, posts and tweets.

PepsiCo's Gatorade opened a Mission Control Center in 2010 and Dell opened a Social Media Command Center later that same year. Since then,  other companies have followed suit, including Hendrick Motorsports, The Oregon Ducks, Symantec, Salesforce and Brandwatch.

Now the Altimeter Group takes a look at the trend in a report called "Shiny Object or Digital Intelligence Hub?"

Searching for Value in Social Media Marketing

When the computing and connectedness industry began its meteoric rise in the 1990s, IT vendors and users alike scrambled for new ways to utilize the growing capabilities provided by the internet and broadband communications. Among the most attractive of these was Customer Relationship Management (CRM). 

Around since the early 1990s, CRM initially focused on the relationship between vendors and their known customer base. It evolved from a one-way gathering of customer information to a two-way relationship in which the vendor could give back to customers in the form of discounts, gifts and special offers. While this growing interaction between vendor and buyer had some of the characteristics of today’s real time marketing world, it was limited by technology to a relatively small share of the overall buying public. That has changed as the world of connectedness has virtually taken over the world of commerce.

Forget Likes, These Are the 3 Facebook Metrics to Watch

Forget Likes, Here Are the 3 Facebook Metrics You Should WatchMarketers nowadays are data driven numbers people. I get it. I consider myself a numbers guy, too. That said, when it comes to Facebook, I think a lot of marketers have it all wrong. The Facebook metric marketers tend to focus on -- a page’s Like count -- does not matter as much as marketers and business owners think it does.

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