Five Favorite Social Media Marketing Tools
SEPTEMBER 03, 2012 · BY PAUL CHANEY from:
1. Sprout Social – Social Media Management
Sprout Social is a low-cost tool for social media mangement.
I have reviewed quite a number of social media management tools during my tenure as a Practical EcommerceI contributing editor, many of which offer highly useful features. Though none of them handle every task equally well, for my own purposes Sprout Social has become the “goto” application.
It’s a low-cost tool – subscriptions start at $9.00 per month – that enables me to manage most of the social networks in which I actively participate. Not only that, it serves as a social listening tool, facilitates scheduled content publishing, keeps track of new fans and followers, and provides real-time reporting of my social network engagement activity. There is a mobile version, too, so I am not confined to a desktop or laptop when doing so.
2. Bottlenose – Social Listening
Bottlenose makes sense of social media conversations and trends.
I’ve always said “listening is the new marketing,” and where social media is concerned, truer words were never spoken.
A recent find is Bottlenose, which is a social listening platform that tracks in real-time what’s happening around the web on topics of interest to me. In fact, Bottlenose refers to itself as the “Now Engine.” Though its interface is reminiscent of Tweetdeck or Hootsuite, Bottlenose was built for the express purpose of making sense of all of the conversations you and I follow, and the trends they relate to.
3. WordPress – Business Blogging
Of all the blogging software platforms I’ve ever used – a list that includes Typepad, Blogger, Posterous, Tumblr – I continue to come back to WordPress. No other platform offers the same degree of rich functionality, extensibility, and design flexibility. And while it’s not the easiest platform to use, for long form blogging WordPress can’t be beat!
4. RebelMouse – Content Curation
RebelMouse is a content curation platform.
A prevailing trend in social media is content curation, which is the filtering of content based on topical categories, industries and tags.
A new curation platform, and one that I’ve really come to favor, is RebelMouse. Its ability to automatically capture, display and organize content from my Facebook and Twitter accounts have made it my “social front page.” I can also edit content, highlight particular entries, and even move them around the page with drag-and-drop ease.
Due to its visually-oriented, Pinterest-like interface, it’s also a tool that merchant’s could easily use to aggregate and filter content from their e-commerce sites.
5. Jing – Screenshots and Screencasts
In addition to my own blogging and social media engagement activities, writing “how-to” articles for Practical Ecommerce often requires that I grab screenshots from sites I review. Of all the tools created for that purpose, no other accomplishes the task as easily as Jing.
Screenshots can be “marked up” with text boxes, arrows, highlights, or captions, and users can automatically store screenshots and screencasts at Screencast.com, a free file storage service.
Those are the five social media marketing tools I can’t live without. What’s yours? Feel free to comment.
Hashtag recruitment and the social network’s global reach
A US study downgrades the importance of agents. Elizabeth Gibney and Jack Grove report
Social media generally reach a wider range of US-bound international students than recruiting agents, a report produced by US non-profit research agency World Education Services has found.
Among respondents to a survey of nearly 1,600 prospective students from 115 countries, 56 per cent follow social media accounts managed by US institutions before making application choices and 32 per cent use social media to source information. Just 16 per cent use agents.
The survey also found that social media are useful for targeting all kinds of student, whereas affluent but less academic ones are most likely to use third-party agents.
US social media do not penetrate all nations equally, however. Although 88 per cent of Indian social media users log on to US-based platforms such as Facebook and Twitter daily or weekly, only 22 per cent of Chinese users do the same, opting instead for local alternatives.
The most widely used channels for gaining information about US colleges are institutional websites or networks of family and friends (used by 90 per cent and 67 per cent of those polled, respectively).
Rahul Choudaha, director of research at WES, said that many institutions needed to update their recruitment strategies to take into account the increased use of social media. However, he added, the survey also shows that they need to use such platforms more effectively.
“A lot of the time social media usage is just reposting the links from institution’s websites, but that’s not…engagement,” he said.
Dr Choudaha added that the report highlights the differences among international students, so institutions must tailor their recruitment to the kinds of student they want and are likely to attract.
Not All International Students Are the Same, published on 28 August, aims to help institutions distinguish between applicants by splitting them into four profiles: “strivers”, those with high academic preparedness but low financial resources; “strugglers”, those with low preparedness and low resources; “explorers”, those with low academic preparedness but high financial resources; and “highfliers”, who have the best of both.
The people termed in the report “highfliers”, for example, are generally attracted only to a narrow band of top-ranked institutions, whereas “explorers” and “strugglers” are less selective but require more academic assistance. “Strivers”, meanwhile, are academically well prepared but may not enrol in the US unless they receive financial aid, the report says.
The survey also found that different nations have different student profiles, with Indian students most likely to be “strivers”, Chinese students most likely to be “highfliers” and Koreans most likely to be “explorers”. Different nationalities also have different priorities, it says.
Career prospects post-graduation take precedence for around half of the students from India and China, suggesting that institutions that want to maximise their intake from those countries should highlight services such as internship opportunities or career counselling.
With many US public institutions facing cuts, universities are looking to reduce their deficits by increasing their intake of overseas students, Dr Choudaha said.
If a university wants to recruit more Chinese students, “what they can do is look at where ‘highfliers’ and ‘explorers’ go to look for information first”, he said.
The report’s conclusion that agents tend to recruit “strugglers” or “explorers” with weaker academic backgrounds has not been universally welcomed.
Will Archer, chief executive of i-graduate, a firm that tracks student perceptions on behalf of university and government clients, said its “headline-grabbing conclusions should be taken with a pinch of salt”.
“Many of the best and most selective universities use agents. Many of the best prospective students need advice on where to go,” he said. “The claim about lower academic ability is incorrect.”
Agents play a vital role in helping students to reach university, he argued, as “for the countries referenced, the vast majority of students will be coming from families without prior experience of international study”. In addition, he said, the report’s claim that high barriers of engagement are caused by agents charging substantial fees is “misleading” as “most do not”.
Mr Archer labelled the report “lightweight”, with “superficial insights. To put [its] scale into context, we’ve just taken feedback from 180,000 international students on behalf of universities that are serious about international recruitment. The report itself acknowledges its own significant limitations.”
Selling Social to the CEO
You’re sold on the power of social business, but your CEO isn’t buying. You’ve done your homework and formulated a plan to put your organization on the social map, but you still can’t garner the executive support and resources you need to implement your vision.
Now what? How can you tell the social media story in a way that will resonate with your company’s senior executives?
HootSuite University is proud to host Selling Social to the CEOwith Greg Verdino, author of the book microMARKETING and founder of VERDINO LLC. In this practical lecture series, you’ll learn hands-on strategies and tactical tips for getting to yes by exploring…
- How to craft arguments and create influence for different types of CEO’s
- Top reasons why CEO’s kill the social conversation, and how to avoid them
- The anatomy of a C-Suite “influence campaign” powerful enough to sway even the biggest skeptic
- The proof points that matter… and the proof points that don’t
- … and more!
As founder of VERDINO LLC, Greg Verdino delivers marketing consulting, executive coaching, and learning programs, empowering organizations to keep pace with disruptive changes in technology, media and culture.Greg’s book, microMARKETING is a must-read for anyone in marketing, discussing how to get big results by thinking and acting small. Greg also writes a popular and influential marketing blog, that has been profiled in many business and news media, including Advertising Age, Forbes, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal.
Brands and businesses are certainly making a stronger push than ever on social media, which makes sense — that’s where the people are. Figuring out just how much social media marketing returns on investments of time and money, however, is harder to do.
Facebook marketing company Pagemodo recently pulled research from sources around the web to produce the infographic below, looking at just how much faith marketers have in social media. The aggregated data shows a sense of conservative optimism.
Sixty-four percent of business owners say social media marketing is a promising tactic and they believe it provides returns — but they aren’t willing to go all in with it just yet and favor a more cautious approach. Another 20% are more bullish on its potential, according to the same study, while just 6% are hardcore skeptics.
How do marketers and entrepreneurs measure whether social media marketing pays off? Most do so by measuring the accumulation of friends, likes, followers and other online connections. Thirty-nine percent look at shares of brand content, while 35% measure actual leads from social media. Just 18% measure success by overall brand awareness and favorability as gauged by consumer surveys.
Check out the infographic below for more on how much faith businesses put in social media as a marketing tool, and for tips on additional ways to maximize results and measure influence. Then let us know in the comments — do you think social media marketing provides real results?
Thumbnail image via iStockphoto, courtneyk
The Modern Media Agency Series is presented by IDG. Both marketers and users are very interested in social media. Buyers told IDC that less than one in five use social media to make purchase decisions. To learn more about the research, click here.
Whether your company is just getting its social sea legs or excelling in the digital world, there is a niche and opportunity for every brand on social media.
OMD, one of the top media agencies in the world, works with clients of various size and social media exposure. Within the agency, OMD Word is the social intelligence arm that helps amplify clients through social media. The department ensures the client’s social channels are leveraged and optimized to support traditional and digital solutions.
According to Word’s U.S. Director Colin Sutton, your level of understanding impacts your brand’s ability to perform on social media. Generally, this is the first thing that brands should be thinking about when they want to launch a social campaign.
“Social is touching so many pieces of a business these days that I’d be remiss to say it’s just about the person we’re interfacing with,” says Sutton. “Even at the CMO or CEO level, we’ve started to see examples of how the level of understanding can really change how businesses are thinking about their product all the way down to the marketing.”
Setting goals ahead of time is another important factor. Sutton says that brands just starting out on social media should focus on acquisition and filling their channels with the appropriate community. Meanwhile, more savvy brands should look for engagement, awareness and advocacy.
Mashable spoke with Sutton about the OMD Word team’s top 10 social media tips for brands at any level.
1. Don’t Be an Island
If you’re planning a social campaign that’s not connected to the rest of your communications, marketing and media plans, then rethink it. Traditional and digital media need to support an integrated campaign that has social media at its core.
2. It’s a Brave New World — Accept It
Don’t try to approach, execute or measure campaigns or strategies like traditional planners. More data is available than ever. The opportunity now is to connect through two-way communications with your customers across devices and media, and to time your messages accordingly.
Your content can, should and will be your ad. Is it strong enough to break through the clutter?
3. Listen Up — and Not Just at the End of the Campaign
Social listening can and should impact planning, execution, optimization and results measurement. Automated tools and reliance upon technology is not enough.
True value from listening data comes from your analysts, so make sure they are involved and prioritize what you are listening for, how you are going to capture it and how you are going to share the results.
4. Connect the Dots to Win
Content is king and media is amplification. Make sure your teams are connected and working together on the same agreed-upon goals.
5. Goals Can Unite and Ignite Your Efforts
Agree to goals across agencies and confirm how you are going to measure them. Listen again to make sure they make sense.
Volume is an important goal, but not the only one. Engagement as a goal is nebulous, so identify the most desired social actions, and design the user flow and related metrics accordingly.
6. Benchmark Relentlessly
Data is available. Find it and ensure your media teams and clients are working towards realistic goals. Past campaigns are the best way to set benchmarks.
If this is the first campaign, look to the publishing partner and find out what other campaigns have been run in a similar field or with a comparable objective.
7. Long-Term Value Exchange Is Paramount
Quick hits are good, but meaningful experiences drive long-term relationships and build advocacy and love. It’s okay for campaigns to have disparate goals, but overall there should be a guiding principle that governs your efforts.
8. Understand All of the Social Channels You Are Targeting, or Get Familiar With Them Fast
Nuances exist everywhere, so if you don’t understand how each channel works and how your customers live and breathe there, make sure you ask someone who does.
9. Optimize Ruthlessly and Intelligently
Data should be consistently understood and learned. Know its availability and optimize it with each campaign not only in real-time, but also over the long term.
10. Think About Eyes, Minds and Wallet When You’re Evaluating Success
A lot of clients put a media or dollar valuation against earned media. Generating $100,000 worth of value through monthly engagement on Facebook is putting a media value on what’s earned.
Think about what customers have seen. There’s a lot of value in that, but it doesn’t help measure perception. Consider the consumer’s minds, brand health, net promoter score and measurements to gain a more complete understanding of your perception.
What social media advice does your company go by? Let us know in the comments.
Pete Cashmore (@mashable)
3/1/12 10:35 AM
“What You Need To Know Before Running a Promotion on Facebook” – bit.ly/wNv9O6 by@christerickson
Mastering Social Media
Mastering Social Media to Market Innovation
Social media is an economic and fluent way to build awareness, and a return loops with your customers.
It enables accurate shots, targeting successive online communities, with creative opportunities at limited expenses: Facebook “like” and Twitter can contribute strongly to spread the virus of your innovation pool by pool.
Early Adopters and Curators
An environment where your early adopters are overwhelmed with request and lack time to talk positively about your product, social media is a fine approach to save their time. You need to support them with tools that will facilitate and value curation of early adopters influencers. “Create, update and distribute bundles, reorder things, editorialize, add participation widgets, and track the audience” are some needs of real-time curators or influencers, that will relay positive (hopefully!) opinions about your innovation.
Context and Dialogue
Social media is not like traditonal marketing, pushing a message in a one way path: social media is centered around the digital user, not around the product. Create context: social media stages an interactive story about your product, enabling multi way interactions, from sharing, commenting, to playing with the story, testing on line or creating content. Set a place to hold the conversation with users, not only between your innovation and them, but also between users.
A conversation needs a good story, and a good story includes an ideal: true innovators want to change people’s life. Check how society needs could be filled with your innovation. It needs a structure, managing progressive engagement of the viewer from passive to active listening and key influencing.
Social media is a switch from monologue to dialogue: therefore, consumers expect to be listened and answered. Complaints, ideas, comments, all need to be processed and addressed in a timely manner, monitored and measured through dashborads: the help of a community manager is not a superfluous commitment.
You don’t need to start everything in parallel like on TV, where spots are concentrated in a narrow window time: social media enables to progressively scale desire toward your product, and it’s better to speak up regularly and clearly rather than loudly and noisely. Don’t forget social media strategy is part of a more global and comprehensive e-marketing strategy.
Corporate social media can also be useful to reinforce the links between sales, customer care, marketing, and innovation teams. It might be wise to open the network to partners involved in the marketing campaign and distribution. Matt Heinz considers “three distinct” audiences and contexts you should separate and consider with a unique strategy to engage, influence and mobilize: employee network, customers network, and product network”.
As during the innovation design, handle openly knowledge circulation in short cycles (Berkhout) through an holistic approach involving multiple communities is the best lever to ensure consistency and cohesion of your marketing launch. “The way ideas are spread is changing” says Seth Godin, “and the way we make change is by leading”. We leave massive marketing, and hypnotization: “Tribes are what matters now: it’s about telling a story, connecting a tribe, leading a movement, and making change.”
Finding the Right Balance
“Leadership needs to be immersed in the deployment zone” says Paul Hobcraft. Marketing launch involves close monitoring of sales and relevant collect of qualitative feedback, to gauge issues in real-time, adjust your campaign properly, and fine tune your product offering like “heavier advertising, repackaging, repositioning or product adaptation”.
As a new entrant, you’d better keep the sense of endeavour, avoiding exhausting market evangelisation, aligning constantly your marketing steps to the unique selling points of your innovation: stick to your identity.
Marketing your innovation successfully through social media is about finding the right balance between your belief and market feedback, keeping up to your personality, and being permeable to comments at the same time, leading and letting-go.
If your web travels are anything like ours, it seems like every day someone’s pitching a new online tool that’s going to “triple productivity!” or “help you scale your business quickly!” or “make doing payroll more fun than 10 barrels of monkeys!” OK, maybe not that last one. Payroll is never that fun.
But if, again, you’re like us, you rarely get around to implementing that tool. Why? Because you take one look at the site, shake your head in confusion at the seemingly extensive steps to get started, and go back to canoodling with the Excel spreadsheet you rode in on.
Or, perhaps you actually do try and get started, but the FAQs don’t shed too much light on how you actually use these tools. So you sort of try to teach yourself, and everything you ever end up doing seems like it might be correct. But it also seems like your efforts might lead to the eventual implosion of your site, because, well, you don’t really know what you’re doing.
What’s an entrepreneur to do? As with learning any other skill, practice helps, but so does good instruction. Check out these resources that can help you develop skills you need to run your business — so that next time, you know how to get the job done right.
Pete Cashmore (@mashable)
4 Ways Colleges Can Take Their Social Media Presence to the Next Level – http://on.mash.to/mYZ09v
Is your college or university really doing a great job with social media? Lists like Student Advisor’s “Top 100 Social Media Colleges” and USA Today’s “20 colleges making good use of social media” point out the growing role social media plays in higher education.
We’re now at a point where almost all schools have a social presence, but many have yet to fully embrace the spirit of social media and tap into its potential. Social media presents a wealth of possibilities for engaging prospective students, current students, alumni, and other community members.
Here are some big-picture ideas for taking your school’s social media presence from good to great.
1. Coordinate Your Strategy Across Campus
Social media management can’t occur in a vacuum. While social media roles are often housed in a central marketing or communications office, it’s imperative that social media managers have strong relationships with departments across campus and that they keep up constant communication.
When an alum announces on Twitter that he or she just landed an exciting new job, his alma mater’s social media manager might reach out with a quick, congratulatory tweet. But what happens after that? Does the social media manager alert the school’s career center that the alum has a new job and might be in a position to mentor current students (or even hire them)? Does the social media manager relay to the fundraising/development office that the newly successful alum might now have the financial resources to give money?
Imagine another scenario: A high school freshman asks a question on a university’s Facebook Page about an academic program, indicating that he or she can’t wait to apply for admission in three years. Does the school’s social media manager simply answer the question and offer a friendly, “We’d love to have you!” or does he or she alert the admissions office that a particularly enthusiastic high school freshman has made an inquiry via Facebook?
In these examples, many schools would just keep the dialogue on social media. Forward-thinking schools, however, have systems to mine the conversations already taking place and to proactively help departments across the institution to leverage the insights therein.
2. Invest in Education and Training
Having lots of Twitter followers and a high Klout score is great, but a more important measure of a school’s success with social media is whether its alumni and students can use the school’s social platforms to connect with each other.
Take LinkedIn, for instance. With the job market in such an unsteady state, professional networking is more important than ever. Students graduating from college should be able to easily connect with successful, established alumni. By that same token, alumni should equally be able to contact one another for job leads and business opportunities.
Despite the fact that some schools boast tens of thousands of alumni on LinkedIn, many may not know how to conduct advanced searches, join groups or ask for introductions. This makes networking difficult.
The answer to this problem? Training. Progressive schools offer workshops and webinars not only for their current students, but for alumni decades out of college. Sessions cover everything from searching for alumni to the etiquette of reaching out and writing an introductory message. Schools that offer education and training programs have strong, thriving networks where students and alumni can turn to each other for advice and connections.
3. Get Students Involved
Students are the lifeblood of academic institutions, so they should also be an integral part of any school’s social media strategy. Students have the ability to connect with their fellow students, compel prospective students to enroll and tug at the heartstrings of alumni who wish to relive their glory days on campus. They know the school personally, and they’re familiar with student activities and traditions, giving them an authenticity that resonates especially well in social media.
There are some great examples already out there. At Stanford, a team of digital media interns curates content for the school’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. Cornell features a group of student bloggers delivering an “uncut, uncensored glimpse at life on the Hill.” At Villanova, students star in YouTube videos promoting use of their school’s career center.
Think of other ideas like having students live-tweeting campus events, doing online Q&A sessions with prospective students, or interviewing successful alumni to feature on YouTube. Lots of schools already involve students, so there are plenty of strong examples to learn from. The key is for school administrators to loosen the reigns just a bit, allowing for students to express their own school spirit and get creative.
4. Put Your School’s President/Chancellor on Twitter
For the “old school” institutions out there, this must seem like an absurd suggestion. University presidents are too busy to eat meals, let alone tweet! But the truth is that dozens of presidents already have Twitter accounts and many of them are already tweeting effectively.
At UW-Madison, outgoing Chancellor Biddy Martin tweets to more than 5,000 followers about campus events and meetings, frequently responding to questions and comments from her community. Ohio State President E. Gordon Gee tweets to more than 18,000 followers about faculty and student accomplishments, university news and his perspective on happenings in the world.
There is a lot of room for growth here. University presidents might even start hosting “Town Hall”-style meetings (as Barack Obama recently did) to answer questions from students, alumni, faculty and parents.
When a president tweets (or blogs), he or she sets a tone of transparency and signals a genuine interest in communicating with the school’s community. Whether the president tweets about what was for breakfast, shares interesting tidbits from daily meetings or raises questions for the community to answer, just the fact that those comments are online makes the college seem friendlier and more open. Additionally, it sends the message that the school values innovation and modern means of communication.
These are just a few ideas for strengthening your school’s social media presence. As we look to the future of social media for colleges, what do you think is the next step? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Prof Patrick McGhee (@VC_UEL)
22% of students influenced by social network of target univ http://j.mp/oWHfoQ < the shape of things to come. UK univs are so not ready.
Social media play an increasingly important role in the college search process
, DC College Admissions Examiner
When it comes to choosing a college, social media are playing an increasingly important role in facilitating connections between institutions and students.
Earlier this year, Maguire Associates, a consulting firm used by educational institutions, and scholarship-search website FastWeb surveyed over 21,000 high school seniors to determine the most important factors influencing college enrollment decisions.
Not surprisingly, students consider social media or networking sites “most important” for getting news and announcements about upcoming events and activities, including those posted by colleges and universities.
When asked how such a presence affects interest in applying for admission, 22 percent of the students reported being influenced by something they saw on a social network or other online resource. In fact, over half recall:
- using a web service to explore their “fit” with colleges and universities (59%);
- watching a YouTube video created by a school (57%);
- Searching for scholarships using social media or networking sites (56%);
- reading posts about a school on a social networking site (53%); and
- reading student blogs or other posts on a college or university website (51%).
Fewer, but still significant proportions of students became fans of or friended a college or university on a social networking site (44%) or chatted online with students enrolled at a particular school (39%).
Most importantly for admissions gurus, nearly a quarter of the seniors surveyed (22%) admit “they more strongly considered applying to a college because of a recommendation read on a social media site.”
And colleges are responding by upgrading their web presence through the use of Facebook “fan” pages, creative videos, and blogs produced by students, faculty and administrators.
For example, students interested in keeping up with admissions at local colleges and universities can choose from an impressive menu of social media offerings including Dean J’s UVa Admissions Blog or a host of promotional videos posted on YouTube by GMU, GW, or the University of Maryland—Fear the Turtle!
All this goes to support earlier findings from similar studies including one from the UMass Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research titled, “Social Media and College Admissions,” which found that higher education continues to beat business in the adoption of social media tools.
And they’re getting a head start engaging a whole generation of loyal fans.
Pete Cashmore (@mashable)
5 Legal Considerations for Your Social Media Campaign – http://on.mash.to/nL8FCh
Need for Systematic Innovation Collaboration
by Debra M. Amidon
Having been able to participate on this Panel for the AAAS Forum on Science and Technology Policy, I can attest to the relevance and timely value of the strategies offered by both Rob Atkinson and Richard Bendis – building a National Innovation Strategy and leveraging a cluster strategy across the nation. These are necessary baselines should America even want to remain on the global innovation playing field.
Leadership in the Knowledge Economy, however, will require even more…
Simply stated, we have reached the law of diminishing returns on competitive strategy. There is a new game in town – the art of ‘collaborative advantage’. Some nations and regions are already learning how to harness this kind of positioning in the new networked interdependent world. China enjoys over a decade of experience with their Knowledge Innovation Program (KIP) – a cornerstone of their economic strategy. India – via its Confederation of Indian Industries – seeks to become the ‘crucible of global innovation’. The inauguration of KAUST – King Abdulla’s University of Science and Technology –sent overnight shockwaves across their region and the world.
This does not mean that we do not compete; we do. But now, we need to collaborate to compete.
Here’s the Problem:
We are living in an era of ‘kaleidoscopic change’. It is not the change of multiple variables, nor the speed of change of those variables; but it is the compounding effect creating a global management landscape with which we are unfamiliar. In this global economic meltdown, we are suspended – like in a trapeze parable. The old rules do not apply; and the new ones have yet to be innovated.
The challenges are operating on all levels simultaneously – the micro-, meso- and macro-economic levels. What we do as enterprises (or sectors) individually does and will affect what might happen regionally, nationally and internationally. In fact, as suggested by Tom Friedman, we need to focus on the unit-of-one – the entrepreneur.
But if nations in every corner of the globe are developing national innovation strategies – and they are; then the United States is playing catch-up to do so. This is not bad; it just means that we need to take a bigger picture perspective of the emerging global innovation landscape and our role in that future. The distinctive competence we have is not what made us successful in the past. Other countries have already learned from us; and they have moved on. One only needs to look at the plethora of global rankings – the ITIF Atlantic Century being the most compelling – to witness our slippage. So, shaping a National Innovation Strategy is essential; but not enough.
Similarly, if regions in every corner of the globe are developing cluster strategies – and they are; then, clusters alone are not enough to provide the necessary leap-frog positioning for the United States. Again, this kind of local interaction across the sectors is fundamental to being in the innovation game. In fact, if not executed well, these can become counterproductive. In Latin America, countries adopted competitive strategies against one another and – with few exceptions such as Brazil and Peru – do not even seem to be on the global playing field. If our states – as appears to now be the case – develop competitive cluster strategies, they end up competing with one another instead of harnessing collective innovation value. We’ve tracked the economic development initiatives across the nation and have found precious little interaction across the (arbitrary) state – or even national – boundaries. Where we do, some exciting things can happen.
Here is a Solution:
We know how to compete; we do not know very well how to collaborate – at least systematically. We have numerous boards, councils, and commissions – even legislation with the America Competes Act – on competitive strategy. Maybe we need just one which explores, in earnest, the art of collaboration – the real competence of the 21st Century. To our knowledge, there is no World Knowledge Innovation Collaboration Index.
For 25 years, we have researched what might be the new innovation indicators of intangible/intellectual wealth. We’ve analyzed all the comparative ranking reports and competitive indices. Including those produced by the World Bank, the OECD, regionally like the EU and by think-tanks such as Milliken and INSEAD. Our conclusion is that in spite of commendable efforts, noone yet has the answers. For example: it is not the number of patents one has, it is what is done with those patents. It is not the number of graduates as much as it is what those graduates do with their degrees. It is not the number of entrepreneurship programs but the entrepreneurs themselves and their success in starting new companies – small business generation, as we all know, being the prime element of an economic engine.
Our global experts have been exploring how knowledge flows, not technology or finances. We’ve been analyzing Knowledge Innovation Zones [KIZ] worldwide – hundreds of examples form 40+ nations. We’ve developed a proof-of-concept cultivating zones of innovation across the Ministries of Egypt and discovered a P7 Blueprint of managing from purpose to prosperity.
In the process, we have evolved a Triple Knowledge Lens – the triangulation of the Knowledge-based ECONOMY (Markets, Business, and Commerce), Knowledge-based SOCIETY (Networks, Communities and Culture), and Knowledge-based INFRASTRUCTURE (Organization, Environment and Technology). We can now differentiate 15 value capital drivers and distinguish between brand capital, reputation capital, network capital and more – IP being only one variable.
This is the essence of The Innovation Superhighway – how the Internet and social media technology have enabled links across traditional geographic, company and virtual boundaries. We’ve discovered examples such as the new AaltoUniversity where three of Finland’s prestigious institutions have merged into a regional innovation ecosystem. The Øresund Region – including the construction of a bridge across the sea – now links Malmö, Sweden, and Copenhagen, Denmark, into a vibrant economic community yielding innovation ranking results. The Baltics Dynamics has managed an annual dialogue of innovation experts for over 12 years across Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.
Similar efforts can be traced in unexpected nations from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe.
Here are the Potential Benefits:
Knowledge – in the form of Intellectual Capital – is recognized as the asset to be managed – beyond land labor and financial capital. It is a multiplier asset – the more it is shared, the more it grows. Originally, the Knowledge Economy referred to high technology Companies or those in the Services Sector; but every company is a knowledge-driven enterprise – from the individual entrepreneurs to the large-scale multi-national company. Every worker is a knowledge-worker; so we have the chance to apply learning and developmental theories to the economic impact of society.
Innovation has been redefined according to the flow of knowledge – from the point of origin to the point of use or opportunity. What is less understood is how knowledge flows within the innovation system – how it is created, exchanged and applied (or commercialized) to create value. At least now, we are focused on the right questions rather than having precise answers to the wrong questions!
We can now move beyond benchmarking efforts into a new practice of ‘benchlearning’. Instead or rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic or learning what is already being practiced – a prescription for mediocrity, we have the impetus to create the conversations which innovate new ways of harnessing resources – technical, financial and human. We can activate what John F. Kennedy  described as “an interdependent world – an age of internationalism as well as nationalization” and what Derrick de Kerckhove  suggested: “Our future can and should be more a matter of choice than destiny”
The Lisbon Agenda has failed – even in its new iterated versions. Why? The core strategy is to build the most competitive region in the world. The reality is that the answers to Europe’s woes – in spite of valiant efforts to cerate the European Innovation Union – are likely to reside outside the confines of the region. Who is likely to provide help? Instead, they should focus more on what has could become a strategic advantage – as painful as all may have been to-date – building collaboration across boundaries.
The World Bank provided a refocus on Knowledge for Development in 1999. The UN activity to-date seems to launch compacts and campaigns in schemes for the redistribution of wealth when the real secret to global prosperity lies in how we learn with and contribute to the success of one another. In economic terms, we are still only as strong as our weakest link; and this has never been more true than today.
The focus, therefore, needs to be on how best to create and leverage collaborative advantage. Competitive strategy on the Olympics playing field is welcome; but the ultimate form of competition is war – not an admirable goal. With knowledge as the asset to manage and innovation now creating the common language, perhaps a shared vision will emerge.
A Millennium Bretton Woods is inevitable. Our goals should be that the right people are at the table – those who have a fundamental understanding of the new game in town – how enterprises thrive and nations prosper.
How do I use Social Media in Higher Education?
Richard Hayes is the Marketing Assistant at The University of Salford’s School of Art & Design, he co-ordinates the School’s digital marketing strategy. Richard is also researching “Fear Marketing”, his blog can be read at www.fearmarketing.co.uk.
What are the Higher Education digital marketing plans?
Education marketing is starting to change and Higher Education institutes are finally embracing the use of Social Media as way of directly contacting University applicants. Higher Education digital marketing plans now include the use of sites like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, YouTube, Bebo and Flickr and many other social networking sites.
It has been shown that these Social Media sites can be a good communication method for Higher Education Institutes as it enables direct contact with Applicants and so (hopefully) increasing applications.
The audience for Higher Education, and so Education Marketing, is students between the ages of 16 – 21 and it has been shown that 75%(1) of that target market regularly use Social Media as a way to communicate.
Higher Education institutes such as University of Salford are using Social Media within it’s digital marketing plan in a number of ways; hosting videos on YouTube, running their own Twitter page, a profile on Facebook, campaigns through Bebo and profiles on LinkedIn.
Though it should be said that these digital marketing campaigns should focus on communicating through social media to potential students and not as a means to communicate to existing students.
Martin Weller, professor of educational technology at the Open University, said that “students do not want their professor as their friend on Facebook”.
Digital marketing plans are becoming mainstream
The 2009 Higher Education in a Web 2.0 report showed that these digital marketing plans are coming from the early adopting few and has little of the systematic and coordinated approach of the more traditional communications media.
The nature of the using these media are that they encourage social networking and should be presented within any digital marketing strategy as elements of a single plan. Too many higher education institutes allow different people to use different tools to reach the same audience, not presenting the cohesive education marketing plan.
Social media are infinitely adaptable to higher education’s changing digital marketing needs and the new way in which it’s target audience communicates. Not only should higher education institute change it’s digital marketing strategies, but also they way that social networking is used.
For any higher education institute the bottom line for any marketing strategy is applications. Education marketing should always focus on the needs of these applicants and use their digital marketing to communicate to them effectively.
The guidelines for the use of Social media for higher education for digital marketing would then be:
1. Listen to your applicants; 75% use social networking and social media, but which ones do your applicants use?
2. Use a coordinated approach for Education Marketing plans and utilise the strength inherent in social media. Don’t just do the check of Facebook, Twitter, etc make sure they are all working together, save time and effort.
3. Use it as a two-way conversation, remembering the social in social media. Remember to reply in good time though, check the sites regularly.
4. Do something different. Using the Social Media is just a start; no one is coming to your University just because they liked you on Facebook. You still have to populate it with great content, stories, videos, images, etc
5. Create some ground rules about what is communicated through the Social Media sites. Getting some boundaries in place before setting it up and communicating to all staff involved is good practice.
(1) Higher Education in a Web 2.0 World, Committee of Inquiry into the Changing Learner Experience, March 2009
Social media presents challenge to universities
Universities have a new weapon in the battle to protect their reputations: the friendly student blogger
A few days ago, Vshuf, an international student, posted a message on the Student Room discussion site. He/she wanted to know which university – Glasgow, Birmingham, Warwick, Nottingham or the Institution (sic) of Education would be the best place to study business. The academic reputation of the institution was important, but there was another consideration: “How are people like in these universities?” the post asked. “I have watched some videos about Warwick on YouTube and it seems to me that the people are snobby and arrogant in contrast to those from Nottingham.” Members were quick to defend Warwick, but Vshuf remained unconvinced.
The thread highlights the difficulty that universities face in the age of social media. At a time when reputation is more important than ever because of higher student fees and greater global competition, the ability to manage their reputations is increasingly falling out of their hands.
How to reach an increasingly networked generation that is more inclined to trust the opinion of their anonymous peers on the internet than official bodies such as universities was a problem discussed at last week’s Youth Strategy Marketing Conference 2011.
Helen Pennack, head of marketing communications at the University of Leicester, says students now post queries on Facebook or the Student Room about open days or where to find their timetables, rather than simply contact the university directly. “When we do relationship marketing communications, we are trying to strike up a two-way dialogue with students and they are taking the conversation away from us and having it with other people,” she says. “How we make ourselves part of that conversation again is quite a challenge.”
Her university has responded by setting up a system that allows students to sync communications from Leicester with their Facebook account. But she says universities also need to be present in other web spaces used by students, such as Twitter.
Warwick, which appointed a digital and online communications manager last year, knows well the benefits of having a social media presence. “A year ago, an applicant tweeted, ‘Oh, no. I hear the University of Warwick is closing, what am I going to do?'” says Warwick’s spokesman, Peter Dunn. While this tweet could have caused huge problems if spread, the university was able to tweet back, “We’re still here, honest”.
He says the communications team check what is being said about the university on social media once or twice a day, and responds if someone is confused or asking for information. But it depends on the forum. “If they are on the Student Room we assume they want to bitch about us behind our backs,” he says. “If it is on a much more public space like Twitter or Facebook, someone like us can see it and respond.”
The challenge for universities is not only to know where to respond but when, and getting the tone right. “We are always careful about proactively intervening in the conversation because that would be seen as rude,” says Pennack. “What is much more effective is if one of our students wades in there and puts somebody straight.”
Some universities have already responded to this, she says, by having a group of students “primed to some extent to join the conversation and correct people where it is appropriate to do so”. It is not something Leicester has tried yet, but, she says, “we may consider it”.
While Imperial College does not prime students, it does recruit a team of official student bloggers to write regularly about their experiences at the university. They are not paid or moderated, and are free to blog about whatever they like. But there are occasional prizes for the most frequent bloggers. Pamela Agar, head of digital media at Imperial, says the college could potentially ask them to blog on a particular subject, but had not done so yet.
“They can and do say negative things about us,” she says. “When they do, it’s useful feedback.” It can also make the blogs more authentic, she says – something that is particularly important to the social media generation.
Chris Fonseka, a third-year information systems student at Imperial, says he applied for a student blogger role because he was attracted by the idea of having a voice around campus. He blogs about his general activities at the university, including his membership of the chocolate society. He also receives regular emails from students and prospective students anxious to put queries about accommodation or finances to a real student.
He says he has never felt restricted in what he writes. “I think there’s possibly a line that you cannot cross, but you would have to be pretty determined to cross it,” he says. “If I honestly felt negative about Imperial, I would write about it.”
Tom Ridgewell went a step further. While studying media at the University of Lincoln, he decided to create a television advert for the university and put it up on YouTube. “While television and parents prefer elevator music and false smiles in university propaganda, the internet and those who inhabit it prefer explosions and dinosaurs,” he says. (His advert contained both.) “I labelled the videos as ‘banned’ simply because it’s funnier to imagine that I actually showed them to a board of directors and got thrown out of the room. Also, videos generally do a little better with an exaggerated title.”
Ian Richards, press officer at Lincoln, says the university only became aware of the adverts once they were an online hit and Google alerts showed people were blogging about them. “We didn’t know what to make of them, but when students were talking about them on open days we felt it was something totally left field, but a bit of a blessing for us.” Ridgewell has since been commissioned to carry out work for the marketing department.
How far universities should try to control what members of their community say about them on social media is something some have already faced with academic bloggers. In 2006, Erik Ringmar resigned from his lecturing post at the London School of Economics after the university objected to him posting a speech critical of the university on his blog. A year later David Colquhoun was asked to remove his blog from the University College London site after complaints from alternative therapists.
But, while institutions are paying increasing attention to what is said about them on the web, most recognise that there is little they can do about it. “Is it realistic to control every word that’s out there about us?” asks Richards. “I don’t think so.”
Brian Honigman is a search analyst at LunaMetrics, a Google Analytics certified partner that also specializes in social media and search engine optimization. You can follow him on Twitter @Brian_Honigman and read his blog at brianhonigman.com.
Facebook has a handy feature for Page admins that allows them to better target posts for specific subsets of fans. This allows only certain fans to see particular updates on the Page’s wall and on the targeted user’s news feed.
Page admins can choose to target by location or by language. Targeting is helpful because it allows marketers to sent highly relevant information and updates to their audience and customers.
Below are four ways Facebook marketers can better use targeting to maximize their results.
1. Targeting Posts to Spur Relevant Conversations
Many brands have an international audience that speaks a wide variety of languages. Accordingly, brands will split up their Fan Pages by language or location to meet that particular audience’s needs.
For instance, VH1 has a Facebook Page for its English speaking audiences, as well as VH1 Latinoamérica for its Spanish speaking audiences. The targeting feature allows Page admins to post directly to specific countries, even allowing for state/province and city-specific targeting.
In addition to geographical targeting, you can connect with specific audiences by utilizing any of the 60+ languages Facebook supports. It’s more effective to target posts by language and location than to create different Pages, and will lead to higher levels of fan engagement.
2. Targeting Posts for Contests, Competitions, Sweepstakes & Promotions
Hosting a promotion on your company’s Facebook Page is one of the most successful ways to encourage engagement from existing fans while also driving new users to Like your Page. It’s important to remember, however, that many of these sweepstakes and promotions have a limited geographical reach.
For example, Viking River Cruises is hosting a “Win a Cruise” Facebook competition that is only valid in the United States. They obviously want to promote the competition, but not to their entire international following.
3. Targeting Posts for Product Line Launches
When launching a product line, it’s important to understand which platforms will be the best for gaining traction and buzz for your new merchandise.
L’Oreal Paris USA’s launch of their Infallible Le Rouge lipstick line is a perfect example of targeting updates about a featured product. A brand like L’Oreal has a huge international following. Filling fans’ news feeds with irrelevant updates about products they can’t purchase will merely waste time and become annoying.
4. Targeting Posts For Local Events
Many big brands have product launches, celebrity endorsements, cocktail hours and other types of events that encourage the consumer to come participate in and help spread brand awareness. Post targeting in Facebook can help filter out news about these events to users geographically unable to attend a promoted event.
Steve Madden’s Facebook Page often shares information about promotional events hosted throughout the United States, but without utilizing the post targeting feature. Targeting the proper geographic location goes a long way toward attracting a more relevant audience and higher levels of interactivity when it comes to promoted events on Facebook.
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We’re always on the lookout for innovative social media campaigns at Mashable. This week we scoured the web and our Twitter feeds to find some of the most interesting campaigns out there.
From utilizing online video in an inventive way to creating a unique presence on Facebook, these six social media campaigns are some of the most original pieces of work as of late. Let us know about your favorite recent social media campaigns in the comments below.
1. Intel: Targeting a Digitally Savvy Audience
Ad agency Amsterdam Worldwide unveiled the first in a series of blogger films, called “Visual Life,” for technology brand Intel back in January 2011. The series showcases top bloggers discussing how they use technology and how it has transformed their work.
The first video of the series documented the work of fashion blogger and photographer Scott Schumann, The Sartorialist. The video garnered nearly a quarter of a million views in its first two weeks and has been viewed more than 850,000 times on YouTube and the Intel site, helping increase Intel’s YouTube channel views by 200%.
The video went viral when it was embedded on The Sartorialist blog, but also gained a lot of views from Facebook, The Cool Hunter and mobile devices. This campaign has done quite well, as it targets a digital savvy audience that is interested in learning about how top bloggers are utilizing photo and video technologies. Such viewers are more likely to share the videos with their social graphs, increasing the virality of the series.
This week, the campaign launched its most recent video (embedded above), which documents the role technology plays for two young Chinese wedding photographers, Kitty and Lala.
Overall, the series takes on a lifestyle approach that is uncommon for tech brands, focusing on the effects that technology has had on each video’s featured subject, both personally and professionally.
2. The Century Council: Using YouTube Ads for a Good Cause
In April, The Century Council, a national non-profit organization dedicated to fighting drunk driving and underage drinking, teamed up with a bipartisan group of 23 attorneys general from around the country to release a creative public service announcement (PSA) in conjunction with Alcohol Awareness Month. The attorneys general each taped an animated or radio version of the PSA that encouraged kids to say “yes” to a healthy lifestyle and “no” to underage drinking. The animated version of the PSA leads attorneys general through many scenes depicting the type of behavior that the council is promoting.
The campaign, called “Ask, Listen, Learn,” has proven to be an amazing success, garnering millions of views via The Century Council’s YouTube Channel. Much of this success was due to smart ad placements on YouTube.
“Utilizing YouTube’s TrueView ad format, we worked with Google’s specialists to buy keywords likely to rack up traffic fast within our core demographic,” says Ralph Blackman, president & CEO of The Century Council. “For example, two of our top five Ad Group Themes were ‘first dance Justin Bieber youtube’ and ‘Baby lyrics Justin Bieber YouTube.’ Utilizing YouTube’s TrueView format, we were less concerned with ad waste and more concerned with impact, as disinterested users were more likely to skip through the ads, resulting in no cost to us.”
“Our main goals were to get our message across to kids nationwide and to put the participating attorneys general in front of their youngest constituents,” says Blackman. “In that regard, we considered our ad buy an enormous success. We racked up more than 2.5 million views over the campaign, had all of our videos frequently embedded, and had website traffic at 11 times its normal levels. Our view-through rate hovered at around 25%, with daily views anywhere from 60,000 to 125,000. Many attorneys general afterward said they were surprised at the reach it delivered as well — constituents frequently mentioned seeing their PSAs.”
3. Johnson’s Baby Canada: Offering Low-Value Prizes for High Return
Johnson’s Baby Canada tripled its Facebook fan count in just three weeks with a baby photo contest that offered users the chance to have their little ones featured on the Johnson’s site.
For Johnson’s Canada, offering a low-value prize (placing a baby’s photo on its website) yielded high returns in fans and engagement. Besides tripling its fan base, it also garnered more than 1 million visits to the Facebook application, more than 3.5 million photo views, and more than half a million votes. The brand benefited from entrants who shared through their social graphs to rally votes; there was an average of 10 clicks per shared link.
4. Ford Fiesta: Behind-the-Scenes Product Placement
Car manufacturer Ford, product placement company Stone Management and online marketing agency Wpromote, recently teamed up to launch a behind-the-scenes social media campaign in conjunction with the forthcoming Tom Hanks film Larry Crowne.
The campaign promotes the Ford Fiesta via product placement and features Hanks’ assistant Bo Stevenson, also known as “FiestaBo.” During the filming of “Larry Crowne,” Stevenson and Stone Management took videos and pictures of behind-the-scenes action, which would later be used as engaging content for both the movie and the new Ford Fiesta. The content was then posted to YouTube and Facebook. The YouTube channel has received more than 70,000 video views, and the Facebook Page has garnered nearly 16,000 Likes.
In the embedded via above, Stevenson explains the campaign as a “social media experiment” that attempts to give fans a true behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like to work in Hollywood. As Stevenson assists Tom Hanks, viewers get to see what it’s like to drive Hanks to work every morning, fetch a typewriter for Hanks to make old-school script changes and chat with the other actors on set.
While the success of the campaign is mediocre, we’re more impressed with the innovative approach to product placement. As the film wasn’t car-centric, Wpromote and Stone Management needed to launch a creative way to showcase that the Ford Fiesta was key to the movie’s filming. Highlighting the daily life of Tom Hanks’ assistant as he drove around in the lime green Fiesta was an inventive way to do just that.
5. Samsung: Driving Engagement and Sharing
Created by social media agency Ignite Social Media, Samsung TV’s “Like It, Reveal It, Win It” campaign features a weekly product giveaway on Facebook that incentivizes users to participate regularly and invite friends to join them.
After “liking” Samsung TV’s Facebook Page, users are able to enter to win Samsung products by unlocking pixels, which can be done by recommending the contest to friends. The more pixels a user unlocks, the more chances he or she has to win the hidden weekly prize, a Samsung TV-related product. The contest also dynamically incorporates hidden Easter-egg prizes that can be unlocked instantly.
Unlike a standard contest, where users enter once and then leave the page, this campaign actively engages fans on a weekly basis and gives them a reason to invite more of their network to the page.
Facebook fan acquisition is Samsung’s key goal with this campaign. The company saw an increase of more than 12,000 new fans within the first week and a half, and reports that growth seems to be accelerating as the contest continues and entrants reach out to their networks.
6. Mello Yello: Relaunching with an Existing Fan Base
Remember that citrusy soda from your childhood called Mello Yello? Well, it still exists, and it’s doing what it can to make a comeback.
Mello Yello recently relaunched its brand under the campaign “They Call Me Mello Yello,” which circles around retro kitsch and a remake of Donovan’s 1966 hit song. The brand is utilizing social media, especially Facebook, to spread its message.
After discovering a consumer-created Facebook Page for Mello Yello, marketing agency BFG Communications identified the owner of the page, contacted him and worked with him to transition it to an official brand page. At that point, BFG worked with Mello Yello to develop a brand voice by creating a character sketch that would become the framework for the tone, language and topics the brand would use on Facebook. This distinct voice officially came to life as the brand took on management of the Facebook Page in August 2010, focusing on posting fun content, answering fan questions and responding to comments.
The Facebook Page features a Retro Smooth Photo Generator, which enables users to transform a photo of themselves (by uploading or using their webcam) from “not so smooth” to “smooth,” using a hipster-feeling photo filter. The Page also features a Smooth Quiz, where users can find out just how suave they really are. For a limited time, users can also download the free “Mellow Yellow” remix.
“The goal was to reach 10,000 fans by the end of 2010,” a brand representative told Mashable. “Without any gimmicks or ads, we surpassed that goal within one month of content and community management. The Page continues to grow, and currently has around 78,000 fans. It is also notable that about 80% of the Page’s fans are 24 or younger, showing that the brand is reaching a new generation of fans, not just the consumers who remember Mello Yello from the early ’80s. Many brands focus on bells and whistles to attract a social media audience. The Mello Yello experience shows that personality, content and responsiveness, while simpler, can go a long way and lead to long term engagement.”
The Internet is a massive abyss that’s not easily traversed — consequently, it’s inevitable that we’ve overlooked some amazing campaigns. Feel free to school us by sharing the details of your favorite social media campaigns in the comments below.
Disclosure: Ford is a Mashable sponsor.
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