By now you've likely heard about Twitter
. TIME let us know why everyone was talking about it
, BusinessWeek told us why it mattered
, and Forbes named a Twitter King
. After reading Federal Computer Week's cover story on Twitter
earlier this week, and excellent posts from social marketing guru Chris Brogan
and Forrester analyst Jeremiah Owyang
on the value of Twitter for business, and how to jump in (here
, respectively), I decided to pull together some ideas for the use of Twitter as a corporate tool
But first, some Twitter love from businesses who are already using Twitter to communicate.37signals
, the software company behind popular Web-based applications like Basecamp, Highrise, Campfire, and Backpack, shared their benefits with Twitter
"We're able to see what people are saying about us or our products, and if they report a problem or slowness with Basecamp, immediately twitter them back. If they have contact information on their profile page, we send them a direct email from our support address asking for more info so we can troubleshoot the problem for them. It opens up this whole new level of contact with our customers and we're able to proactively handle support requests within seconds of problems being reported."
Last year, the CEO of calendaring startup 30 Boxes weighed in with their goals
for communicating via Twitter:
1. keep those people who are interested literally in the development loop
2. provide an offsite status location in case there are any site issuesso bookmark http://twitter.com/30boxes.
3. provide a direct and instant feedback mechanism in case any of you find something drastically wrong, have a creative impulse, or just want a private channel (add 30boxes to your twitter account and you can message us directly)
Want other examples of who's doing this well? Check out Dell
, Southwest Airlines
, and Intel
Back to the point of the post. How can you
use Twitter for your business?1) LISTEN.
Want to know what your customers, partners and target press/analysts are saying on Twitter? Use tools like Twitter Search
(formerly Summize) and Quotably
to not only find, but track conversations. If you want to be notified every time somebody tweets about your company, product, competitor or market, set up Twitter alerts (similar to Google News Alerts) via TweetBeep
Using Twitter for business is about more than just observing what people are saying about you. Use it as a tool to communicate with customers, partners, media, analysts and your broader community on the trends impacting your industry, product / service news, or company culture. Respond to the questions and feedback you receive. Above all else, make sure that the company voice is authentic, and that if you are hearing customer feedback via Twitter (even bad) that you take the opportunity to actually help
.3) SPOT TRENDS.
Use tools like Twist
to compare the relative popularity of words and phrases (similar to Google Trends
to track the latest popular links, and Tweetmeme
to identify hot trends.4) REPURPOSE YOUR CONTENT.
Use tools like TwitterFeed
to feed your blog (or other corporate RSS feeds) directly to Twitter.5) ENGAGE YOUR INFLUENCERS.
Just like the rest of us, an ever-increasing number of analysts and journalists are using Twitter to communicate, source stories
and stay in touch with their communities. Follow those people for the same reason you want to engage with customers and partners - to observe what trends they are watching and what they are working on, to engage in a dialogue on industry trends, and - above all else - establish an authentic and personal relationship with those contacts. SageCircle maintains an excellent Analyst Twitter Directory, and Twellow
is a people search engine
that will help you locate other influencers.6) PROVIDE REAL-TIME UPDATES DURING EVENTS.
During its annual user conference in June, SpeakerBox client Red Hat used Twitter to keep attendees up to date
. For Red Hat Summit attendees who were not Twitter users, Red Hat took advantage of a large, open wall in one of the convention center's central areas and projected the Summit feed onto the wall. Each time I walked past, large groups of attendees were gathered around the Twitter wall catching up on the show's real-time updates. Industry conferences are using it to communicate as well. Check out the RSA Conference's Twitter feed
for one of my favorite examples in action.
At the end of the day, the true value of Twitter for businesses is the forum it it offers to create authenticate relationships. Don't think of it as another place to test marketing messages or sales pitches; its not. Twitter is your opportunity to show brand transparency, authenticity and sincerity by listening to and communicating directly with your community.
- Stephanie Stadler
OPNETWORK 2008s theme was Indiana Jones.
This past week, SpeakerBox client OPNET
held its 12th annual user conference, OPNETWORK
, at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C. OPNETWORK focuses on analysis and solutions for networks, applications, and systems, and attracts more than 1,200 thought leaders
from around the world. Different than many user conferences
we've attended, OPNETWORK is free for all OPNET customers and includes all conference materials, sessions, meals and nightly entertainment.
Every year, attendees wait until their arrival at the conference to discover the theme, and this year proved not to be a disappointment. In anticipation of the release of the movie Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, OPNETWORK 2008s theme was all things Indiana Jones. Safari hats, whips and rubber snakes served as both décor and accessories for the conference facilities and attendees.
Along with attending several conference sessions, SpeakerBox was on hand at the ever-popular OPNETWORK casino night to administer a customer survey and rub elbows with OPNET employees and customers. Until next year!
- Jamie Nolan
OPNET takes over the Ronald Reagan Building for OPNETWORK 2008. On day 1, conference attendees listen to a keynote presentation by Deepak Kakadia, IP Network Architect for Verizon Wireless. OPNET employees and customers enjoy casino night.
If youre unlike the 130 million Facebook
users out there and have successfully managed to shy away from the popular social networking site, its time to throw in the towel. Soon, the online giant will be showing its face at movie theatres around the country, a move that will most likely invade your television, radio and weekly newspapers. InternetNews.com
(and a number of other sites) has recently confirmed
that writer Aaron Sorkin
has been hired to illustrate Facebooks history and controversies, details of which are unknown.
Ironically enough, Sorkin, who is well known for his Broadway and feature film writing, has admitted that hes not a Facebook user and has since set up a page
asking the online community to explain the phenomenon and share their experiences.
Regardless if you plan on spending a weeks worth of your salary to see this movie (ok, so tickets only cost $10, but its expensive nonetheless), I have to hand it to Facebook they have a good thing going for themselves. From education
, to corporate
and now to Hollywood the social guru is tackling audiences never before intended.
Theyve even gotten our attention here at SpeakerBox check out our Facebook page
, and if youre done so already, show us your love and become a fan!
- Mary Evans
Sponsored search engine marketing
is one of the biggest online advertising revenue generators for search engines and a great tool for companies looking to target web users searching for information.
Sponsored search results are advertisements that are populated on search engines after a user enters a search query. These sponsored results are intended to be relevant to the query and help the searcher connect to products and/or information that they are looking for. For example, if a user enters iPod in a search engine, sponsored results for the Apple store and other iPod related advertisements populate the page. Sponsored search results have made search engines billions and aided companies expand their reputation with consumers through the Internet.
However, as search engine marketing has grown, opportunists have started to create deceptive sponsored search results (scam ads or scads) that misrepresent to the user the relevance to his or her search. These ads take searchers to sites that are not relevant to their searches and can subject them to fraud, spam and viruses. Deceptive search engine ads are hurting the end user and diluting brand value
and company reputations.
Organizations like the Alliance Against Bait & Click
are working to stop deceptive sponsored search and ensure that users do not tune out and brands do not continue to be abused.
Online marketing is great way for brands to positively increase their reputation, but brand owners must understand that there are pitfalls to online. Companies need to look out for deceptive practices trying to take advantage of their brands and ultimately dilute their value.
- Drew Krejci
My guilty pleasure is trashy reality TV. The more catfights, tell offs, hook ups, and acts of debauchery, the more likely I am to tune in. One of my new favorite reality TV shows is I Want to Work for Diddy.
Produced by Vh1
, the show tracks 20 contestants competing for the job of a lifetime: personal assistant to Diddy.
For the reality TV and pop culture challenged, Sean Diddy Combs
, who youve probably seen featured in Burger Kings latest TV ad campaign
, is one of the richest people in the hip-hop entertainment business. Banking in $35 million from revenue streams (Sean John clothing line, Bad Boy record label, Ciroc premium vodka
and two reality TV shows), Diddy ranked No. 3
on Forbes.com's 2008 Hip-Hop Cash Kings list of the top-earning people in the business.
The fourth episode
of I Want to Work for Diddy aired on Monday night and featured a viral video challenge
. Diddy instructed contestants to create 90-second videos that were out of the box and creative to help promote the launch of Diddy.com
. The videos would be release online, and the team with the highest number of views would win.
While I cant give the episode a five-star rating on my trashy scale, I can commend Diddy for recognizing the impact
of the digital era
, the importance of an online presence
in todays marketplace, and for using the Internet as a resource
and marketing communications platform.
Diddy creates amateur promotional video (low production cost makes ROI easy) thats short, interesting, humorous, and sometimes edgy (produces something people will want to watch and talk about/share); optimizes the video by adding a URL (helps people find, save, and share); and then leverages the power and popularity of YouTube and trendy, user-generated content sites such as his blog and MySpace page (makes the video viral) to drive traffic to Diddy.com (profits from Web site traffic). And there you have it. A successful e-marketing campaign
thats recession proof.
- Lisa Wells
On Monday, Valleywag
reported that 80 percent of Facebooks users have not moved over to the new Facebook, much to the great chagrin of Mark Zuckerberg. I am an old school user (my university
was one of the first schools that Facebook targeted at launch) and have not migrated
mainly because I thoroughly like the old Facebook, and dont see much of change in the redesign from a functionality standpoint.
That being said, I find the spin Facebooks PR team
is putting the redesign slightly disheartening, stating that 20 percent of their users have migrated. Great, but how do you hide the fact that 80 percent are content to stay with the old Facebook? This is one of those examples where numbers do not help public relations teams get their job done. Usually, data points make our jobs easier: ROI, ease-of-use, analyst statistics, the list goes on. But showing that an overwhelming majority of your audience refuses to try out your latest-and-greatest product
thats the kind of number you want to downplay.
Im not saying that Facebooks redesign is going to fail. Far from it. I just think that they will end up forcing users onto it
that happened to me recently, when I installed the Tiny Adventures
application (which I highly recommend). I was immediately bounced to the new Facebook
so I guess I had better get used to it.
Last Thursday evening I attended Startup Rockstars Demo DC Night
for the first time. My understanding is there have been a couple of these such gathering of the last couple of years organized by various people that are part of the DC New Media technology scene. Paul Worsham a local entrepreneur in the social media space was the organizer and Viget Labs
hosted the event.
There were five companies plus one last minute walk on that is not worth naming that were given 10 minutes each to make their pitch to the audience of about 35 people that seemed primarily comprised of new media technologists. I did not recognize any VCs in the group. The presenters included
(a site that allows you to easily communicate with your friends on their terms) - Ahson Wardak
, Luc CasteraContribune
(a site focused on spreading the stories that cause people to contribute to political campaigns or charitable causes) - Michael MayernickDiditz
(a social media website where you can get popular by sharing your did-its: the coolest experiences and achievements of your life, and discover the incredible experiences of people from around the globe on topics that you are passionate about) - Sohit KarolMixedInk
(A free collaborative writing tool) - David SternMyDealBook
(the world's largest interactive directory for commercial real estate professionals) - Mark Shacknies
There were two that got my attention and I thought may have potential of survival. Im not sure if I would invest in them, however.Diditz
is a social media website. It is for people who want to share their did-its and connect with other people who have similar experiences globally. Its a blog architecture thats an alternative to the more common ways to participate and interact with people sharing similar such as online groups, forums and communities. Someone having different interests has to manage different accounts, across different social networks, and more often than not, many such communities are segregated and require active participation for content to be visible.
As stated by Diditz the purpose is threefold: (1) To provide a simple interface where users can publish their own experiences and discover a community based on their interests and locations, without the hassle of joining different groups or forums. (2) Giving an opportunity for an average blogger to decide their audience, interact with them and get regular traffic for their best content, even if they publish it infrequently. (3) Create a collection of peoples experiences for the most happening things around the world.
You can check out Diditz without signing up for an account, however having an account gives access to more content, networking options and ability to publish content.
MixedInk is a collaborative tool built on blog architecture. It reminds me of a very light version of Quarks workgroup publishing software. With MixedInk, groups can collectively write
aggregate and mashup content
such as reviews, op-eds, letters to the editor, petitions, mission statements, questions & comments for public personalities, news articles, blog posts, and lots more
Details were sketchy as of this presentation. They expect to launch in the next 60 to 90 days. Maybe one to watch.
Reflecting its commitment toward building communities in the Washington-DC region, SpeakerBox co-founded a technology marketing alliance
) that brings together senior technology marketers (VP-level and above) in the region that provides a forum for education and networking.
Over 100 members have heard from a Pragmatic Marketing
strategist, who discussed being a market-driven company versus a technology-driven or sales-driven company, venture capitalists
that shared perspective on what they look for from a CMO of a technology firm, and authors of marketing-centric business books, among many other topics.
At the two-year anniversary of the founding of TMA, the organizing board
conducted a survey of its members with an objective to gauge sentiments about the economy, budgets, levels of optimism, etc. The findings are positive for this region and are insightful for what is on the minds of marketers.
In general, the majority of respondents cited a positive outlook in 2008 as evidenced by increased marketing budgets, increased outsourcing of marketing services and cautious optimism about the economy.The highlights summarized:
* 48% of respondents said their marketing budget is more than 10% higher this year than in 2007.
* Almost half of respondents (48%) indicated that their biggest challenge is hiring the right people. Numbers two and three on this list were Aligning with Sales Initiatives (45%) and Seeing a Return on Investment (33%).
* TMA members are feeling bullish on the economy. Approximately 42% describe themselves as optimistic, with 33% feeling cautious. Only 18% say the economy is limiting their ability to execute on their marketing plans.
* 67% of TMA respondents claim that they'll be outsourcing more to agencies and freelancers this year.
* The most frequently outsourced tasks are public relations and design work (both 61%), followed by SEO/SEM (42%) and Website design (39%).
* The election is not seen as a contributing factor to marketing strategies: 79% of respondents say the election will not affect their marketing strategies or plans at all.
* The demographics of the respondents: 64% startup or small business, 18% mid-market and 18% large business or publicly traded companies.
If you're interested, take a look at the entire report
(Photo credit: Mashable)
Anyone who knows me knows that I am a Summer Olympics junkie. While I favor swimming, gymnastics and diving, I’ve been known to watch coverage of sports as obscure as team handball or trampoline simply because they are Olympic.
Now that the Beijing Games have come to an end, I’m forced to re-entered the real world. This morning, I changed my Firefox default home page back to my Google reader…for the past fourteen days, the default was www.nbcolympics.com
. I was pleasantly satisfied with NBC’s coverage
of the Games this year, especially since Beijing’s 12-hour time difference allowed for live prime time coverage of Michael Phelps and Nastia Luikin. For the evenings I simply couldn’t stay awake any longer, I relied on my Charter Communications DVR system, which I’m sorry to report did not take away any medals from my technology assessment podium. On countless occasions, the DVR ended the given recorded segment just seconds into the medal ceremony (by all accounts, my favorite part) because it aired at 12:01. I’d like to ask that the technology become a bit smarter and realize when taping should actually conclude.
However, the gold medal technology winner in my book is by far NBC’s
streaming video of event coverage, medal ceremonies and athlete profiles. The HD quality only required a simple Silverlight
2.0 plug in, and I could catch highlights of anything I missed (like the conclusion of the beach volleyball tournament) or mishaps I wanted to review (such as the USA track team’s failed baton pass.)
And by all accounts, NBC's investment in a multimedia approach to the 2008 Olympics were more than a success. According to The Financial Times
, more than 50 million visited NBColympics.com, and 6 million tried NBC's mobile content
. According to the New York Times
, NBCOlympics.com streamed more than 2,200 hours of live content, "served up more than 1.2 billion pages and 72 million video streams through Saturday, more than doubling the combined traffic to its site during the 2004 Games in Athens and the 2006 Games in Turin", and pulled in $5.75 million in revenue from online video ads alone.
Here’s looking ahead to London 2012…as I anticipate the new technologies that will continue to enhance my Olympic experience
Today, in an effort to create buzz and push out news
, Obama supporters (or anyone else who has signed up) will receive the announcement
of who his running mate will be by text message or email
. This decision to text supporters is being seen as a way to boost his appeal to younger voters who want to be the first to know.
Obama, whether you like him or not, has used technology to his advantage
in his campaign to reach his database of supporters for whom text and email are 24/7 realities. You can sign up for e-mail notes, text messages about a number of topics and/or become a fan of his on Facebook
. Many voters of any age use email on a daily basis but adding text messaging and social networking to his campaign is aimed at reaching millennials
who are always looking for the fastest and easiest ways to communicate.
Is the Obama campaign simply catching up with the times
? Or will the use of newer technologies to reach supporters
have an effect on voter demographics in this election? I am very interested to see the results.
- Ali Smith
Were pleased to announce our next event in the SpeakerBox Communications Strategies event series.
Details are as follows:
Measuring Buzz: How to Assess the Impact of Your PR and Social Media Strategies
Thursday, October 2, 2008
11:30 am - 1:30 pm
Tower Club, Tysons Corner
Cost: $50 (includes lunch)
* Steve Harris, Director Performance Insights, Clearspring
* Myra Norton, CEO, Community Analytics
* Jonah Paransky, VP of Marketing, StackSafe
* Dr. Jerald L. Feinstein, Professor at The George Washington University, Former Harvard Fellow, and Managing Partner at Buzz Analytics, LLC
* Elizabeth Shea, CEO, SpeakerBox Communications (moderator)
Were looking forward to an informed discussion by our panel of experts who will discuss strategies for engaging customers, evaluating customer sentiment and determining the most important metrics.
For the complete event description, click here.
To register, https://secure.kinsail.com/results.asp?p=spbox&pt=store&groupid=469[/html]click here.
We hope to see you there!
- Katie Hanusik
We’re pleased to announce our next event in the SpeakerBox Communications Strategies event series.Details are as follows:Measuring Buzz: How to Assess the Impact of Your PR and Social Media Strategies
Thursday, October 2, 2008
11:30 am - 1:30 pm
Tower Club, Tysons Corner
Cost: $50 (includes lunch)Speakers:
* Steve Harris
, Director Performance Insights, Clearspring
* Myra Norton
, CEO, Community Analytics
* Jonah Paransky
, VP of Marketing, StackSafe
* Dr. Jerald L. Feinstein
, Professor at The George Washington University, Former Harvard Fellow, and Managing Partner at Buzz Analytics, LLC
* Elizabeth Shea
, CEO, SpeakerBox Communications
We’re looking forward to an informed discussion by our panel of experts who will discuss strategies for engaging customers, evaluating customer sentiment and determining the most important metrics. For the complete event description, click here
. To register, click here
. We hope to see you there!
- Katie Hanusik
Editor's Note: This entry comes from Lauren Edwards, SpeakerBox's rock star summer intern and rising senior at the University of Maryland. We're sad that she's heading back to school soon, but remain impressed with her whatever-it-takes work ethic and PR and social media aptitude.
(Photo credit: Wall Street Journal)
In the past month, we have been constantly teased about what is really going on.
Bigfoot has been found. Whether Bigfoot is referencing a large creature now stuck in a freezer or a costume found at a local party store is unknown. Will the mystery be solved? Will Mr. Biscardi
end his search?Favre
retired earlier this year and then decided to come back but no one knew which team hed play for. With Rodgers willing, able and ready to lead the Packers in their season, we were left wondering if all his hard work would land him on the bench watching.
The adorable little girl that sang in the opening ceremonies at the Olympics is a fake
. The 2008 Olympics has tried its hardest to be perfect so officials had the cutest girl lip-synch a song previously recorded by a less attractive candidate with a better voice. (Congratulations to Phelps
and all the USA athletes!)
So why does this all matter? It shows the news stories we all read and blog on are all about change. Yes, thats what makes it news but theres greatness in consistency too.FreeRice.com
donates 20 grains of rice to the United Nations World Food Program for every word definition you get right. With over 40 billion grains donated to date, FreeRice.com has been helping feed the world since 2007.Invisible Children
was able to help 570 students in Northern Uganda with its Scholarship Program recently. Through consistent nationwide travel and an inspiring movie, this organization has brought the lives of children affected by the war to the attention of the western world.
True not every organization may be able to directly impact the world in humane ways like this. These organizations are flying under the radar while we continue to blog, read, and analyze stories about a creatures questionable existence.
The power of social media is growing exponentially as newspapers become out-dated
but we shouldnt overlook the news that doesnt make headlines. After all, these every day news items arent highlighted since theyre successfully doing what they had planned which sounds like an absolute reason to celebrate