Monday, 31 October 2011

5 Halloween Social Media Horror Stories!

Whether it’s on Yelp, Amazon, or anywhere else that potential clients see your business, a negative review can have scary consequences. It’s also a dirty trick that competitors can use to slag your company; all they need is to set up a personal account on a site that looks like it's from a regular customer and bingo, your reputation is toast.
Luckily we have a guide for dealing with Yelp disasters, and you can apply many of those lessons to other sites as well. My favorite technique for managing an online reputation is to cultivate testimonials. If a customer tells you they're happy with your work or product, ask if they're willing to pen a testimonial on a review site. Send people links to where they can add a positive review so they don’t have to dig.
You can even include requests for reviews in email blasts and other communications that you regularly send out. After all, unhappy clients generally don’t stay on newsletter lists. Follow-up emails after a product purchase are always a good idea; from there, you can include a link to a review site.
1. Unhappy customer websites
Nearly anyone has the capacity to put up a website. If your business has grievously wronged someone, chances are good that they will seek their revenge with a site
You can deal with this well - as Sears did by offering a sincere apology and a refund for the freezer delivered on the truck that killed a family pet. If, however, you litigate every time a customer publishes a complaint website, you're an example of how to compound the problem. There are many channels online for someone to complain, and a lawsuit will just make an angry customer go over the edge.

2. Unfair competitive comparisons

In the United States, it's illegal for a competitor to jump up and down on your product, break it, and call it poorly manufactured. True story: I worked at a company this happened to. One of our competitors posted a video of our product being jumped up and down upon until it split in half.
We thought this may push the boundaries of being legal, and according to expensive lawyers, we were right. Turns out a competitive comparison can be very problematic in the legal world, and you have a good case against a company defaming your product, especially if they're using trademarked terms. If you have the same sort of situation going down, have your lawyer draft a letter to your competitor and their ISP citing the infringement.

3. Daily deal downers

Groupon and its spinoffs are fabulous for consumers getting the deals. Yet, there are a number of pitfalls for businesses offering deals on daily deal sites; see our guide on how to avoid them. As a consumer, you’re pretty much protected if there's an issue with a deal. I received a refund from Groupon as soon as it learned that one of the companies I’d bought a deal from went out of business. The first I heard of it was Groupon’s email notifying me of my refund. If you're with a business, structure your deal carefully so that you're either aware that you’re losing money for marketing purposes, or not losing money at all.

4. The death of your job and reputation

Hopefully, we all know to lock down our Facebook privacy settings, don't let our employers see what we write there, and don’t say stupid things on Twitter. Nearly everyone routinely ignores all these things, as a quick search of the Internet will show.
One group that yo'dd think would have this sewn up would be tech writers. While we're not flawless, we don’t usually take to Twitter to bash people - usually.
That's unless you’re talking about this tech reporter from a Canadian newspaper - then you do that stuff all day. Specifically, you use Twitter to publicly curse out a PR person who didn’t call you back. If I did that to every PR person who didn't reply immediately, my Twitter account would be a steady stream of expletives. Not surprisingly, the reporter in question left the paper to work in Abu Dhabi. Having to translate your swearing does give you a moment to think twice before tweeting.
5. Poorly executed social media plans
If your company is going through the trouble of setting up social media profiles, use them well. Don’t just push out boring press releases or pat yourselves on the backs for hiring yet another executive. Talk to your prospective customers, ask and answer their questions, and use the tools to become a better business. The only time wasted on social media is time spent using it poorly.
Target is a good example. While its employees are trying to answer customer concerns on its Twitter account, the sheer volume of customer concerns are troubling to the casual observer. I would direct-message any customer communications that include private data such as reference numbers rather than broadcasting them on a public Twitter account. In this case, Target doesn't push out enough engaging content to balance out the customer service concerns. With the sheer volume of products it sells, this should be easy to rectify. Many companies have separate customer service Twitter accounts, which helps to divert such queries while still dealing with them in a timely manner.
What social media nightmares have you had to deal with? Sound off in the comments below.

Article Courtesy of TechWorld.

Facebook’s Zuckerberg: If I Were Starting A Company Now...

Yesterday, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg took the stage at Y Combinator’s Startup School in a candid interview with Y Combinator Partner Jessica Livingston. You can watch the full interview here, and it starts around the 43 minute mark, and lasts for roughly 40 minutes. If you have some time to spare, it’s well worth a look.
Zuck revealed a number of fascinating things about entrepreneurship, founding Facebook, and product development, but one of the more interesting (and surprising points) came at the end of the interview when Livingston asked him what he would do different if he could go back in time. Zuck replied: If I were starting now I would do things very differently. I didn’t know anything. In Silicon Valley, you get this feeling that you have to be out here. But it’s not the only place to be. If I were starting now, I would have stayed in Boston. [Silicon Valley] is a little short-term focused and that bothers me.
He explained that he had a conversation once with Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos about this, and the average time someone stays in job at Seattle is twice as long than it is in Silicon Valley. “There’s a culture out here where people don’t commit to doing things, I feel like a lot of companies built outside of Silicon Valley seem to be focused on a longer-term,” he explains. “You don’t have to move out here to do this.”
“There’s this culture in the Valley of starting a company before they know what they want to do. You decided you want to start a company, but you don’t know what you are passionate about yet…you need to do stuff you are passionate about. The companies that work are the ones that people really care about and have a vision for the world so do something you like.”
Zuckerberg also talked about the early days, when he was at Harvard, thinking of the idea for what would become Facebook. I was in denial that we were going to make a company early on. When I was in college, I had a lot of conversations with my friends about the direction the world was going to go to and we cared more about seeing this happen. We built it and we didn’t expect it to be a company, we were just building this because we thought it was awesome, he explained
When Zuck moved out to Silicon Valley in his sophomore summer, he thought that maybe one day he and his team would develop a startup, but didn’t think Facebook was that startup. “It was not like in the movie, there was no drinking. We all just lived in a house, iterated, kept going,” he said candidly. “It wasn’t until we got our first office in Palo Alto where things became more like a company. We never went into this wanting to build a company.” But a company is the best vehicle in the world to align a lot of people to achieve a mission, he said.
Livingston asked Zuckerberg about how he pitched Facebook when he first pitched the business to Battery Ventures in Boston in 2004. “I barely remember that but I agree that it happened,” he recalled. “I don’t think I said anything and Eduardo said some things but it was fine because I didn’t want to do that anyway.”
Zuckerberg said that Eduardo early on said that Facebook needed to raise money, and he was skeptical of VCs. “That was one of the reasons that we accepted from Peter Thiel, because he could relate to us on a founder level,” he explained, referring to Thiel co-founding his own companies, including PayPal. Zuck said that in Silicon Valley, everyone was talking about flipping companies and he found that to be unattractive. Another potential investor Zuck really was passionate about was Donald Graham, CEO and chairman of The Washington Post. He explained that he came close to taking money from Graham, but Graham actually encouraged Zuckerberg to take money from Jim Breyer at Accel Partners. Zuck saw this as the “best of both worlds.”
He also gave startup founders advice how to guide on how to handle acquisition offers, and gave interesting insight on how he look at Facebook’s own acquisition offers. We really had one phase of this and the only reason why its’ this big story that everyone knows about us turning down a lot of money is because I messed up the process. It’s one of the biggest management mistakes I made through Facebook’s whole history. I learned a lot about the team at that time, and ended turning over a lot of that same team. I wasn’t in it for the acquisitions, and I wanted people around me who were in it for the long-term, he said.
It’s not clear that you should turn down offers, he explained but you should take it if it means the company can go in the direction you want it to go on. “If you go through some big corporate change, it’s just not going to be the same,” Zuck said.”If we sold to Yahoo, they would have done something different, if you want to continue your vision of the company, then don’t sell because there’s inevitably going to be some change.”
One of the key parts of operations is a ‘growth team,’ which is a centralized team Facebook set up to help its users stay connected an engaged. For example, Zuck said that through this team, the company found that members need to have at least ten friends to have enough content in the news feed to come back to the site. So Facebook reengineered the whole flow of the site when someone signs in to focus on having people find other people to connect with, so that people can get connected with friends (and meet that minimum) right away. Zuckerberg said that the company has exported this idea to another startups, including Dropbox. “Once you have a product that you are happy with, you the need to centralize things to continue growth.”
When Livingston asked what surprised Zuck most in the history of building Facebook, he replied honestly, “most things were surprising.” “I don’t pretend that I had any idea that I was doing. I always felt like we were so close to dying in the first years, and were afraid that Google was about to build our product and we were going to be screwed, and look how long it took for them to build our product,” he said laughing, referring to Google’s newly launched social product Google+. “You are going to make a ton of mistakes, you don’t get judged by that.”
As for what Facebook’s future is, Zuck shed some light on his vision for the network. “I think the story that we look back will be the apps and things that are built on top of Facebook. The past five years have been about being connecting people and the next five to ten years are about what are all the things that can be built now that these connections are in place.”
And I’ll leave you with one of Zuck’s more memorable quotes from the talk, “The biggest risk is not taking any risk…In a world that changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.”

Article courtesy of TechCrunch - The Best in Social Business

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Why Digital Talent Doesn’t Want To Work At Your Company

Why doesn't digital talent want to work at your company? It’s not because you’re a consumer packaged goods company, rather than Google. It’s not because you’re in Ohio instead of Silicon Valley. It’s not because your salaries are too low, or because you don’t offer free food and laundry services.
It’s because you’re not providing them the right opportunity. The talent you want would be happy to work in an un-air-conditioned garage in New Mexico if it meant the chance to change the world.
This, the opportunity to do great things, to make a real difference, is what drives most digital talent--whether they’re developers, designers, producers, marketers or business folks. 
Most companies don’t offer this, so they skip your company and work somewhere that’s more innovative and exciting. End of story. But the good news is that you can offer them something exciting and great. The promise of changing a giant, behind-the-times organization into an Internet-savvy business is an incredibly exciting challenge and a big way for ambitious people to make an impact.  
But it takes more than lip service to make the sale. Job candidates and new hires with digital chops must truly believe in the company’s dedication to digital transformation and they must see that they are empowered to make this change. Trouble is, many big businesses aren’t structured to deliver on this type of opportunity. The attributes of a soul-crushing, Sisyphean, anti-digital workplace run deep.  
Digital talent won’t want to work at your company if:  
  • Every element of their work will be pored over by multiple layers of bureaucracy. Even if that’s how the rest of the company operates, it can’t spill into the digital department. In a technology environment, new products and businesses spring up daily and a new endeavor can go from conception to launch in a matter of months. Reining in the momentum will be read as inaction and a clear signal the company isn’t willing to grasp the new way of the world.  
  • Mediocre is good enough. While clocking out at 5 p.m. is attractive to some, it will discourage digital talent. They want to be expected to do something great. They want to be pushed. They care about their work. Their leadership, and those they rely on to get things done, must match their appetite for success.   
  • Trial and error is condemned. The freedom to try out new ideas allows employees to take initiative, make decisions, and learn from their mistakes. It also demonstrates an attractive and inspiring entrepreneurial spirit.
  • Your company is structured so it takes a lifetime to get to the top, and as such there are no digital experts in company-wide leadership positions.Digital talent--often in their 20s and 30s--need to see a clear path for uninhibited career development that’s based on merit, not years spent, and that’s beyond the confines of the digital department. If they don’t, they won’t see a reason to stay with the company in the long term.  
  • Your offices are cold, impersonal and downright stodgy. It may sound like it conflicts with the “you don’t need to be in Silicon Valley point,” but appreciate the nuance. A traditional office layout is designed to communicate power among certain individuals and barriers between departments. This does not support the collaborative ethos which is intrinsic to the web. Companies should do everything possible to provide the digital team friendlier, open office space. A location in a hip, young neighborhood (which surely exists in every mid- to large-sized city) is also a big plus.  
When all of these digital-talent deterring points are addressed, company leadership has effectively and proactively demonstrated the company’s dedication to a digital transformation. It is at this time that their words, a broadly communicated firm stance on the significance of the company’s digital goals, will make the most impact. Without this conspicuous top-down support, politics in the organization or simply one influential disbeliever can hinder the effort, limit the extent of digital integration possible, and discourage valuable employees.  
You need them more than they need you. Demand for their services is so high, they can afford to be finicky. If they don’t like where they’re working, another firm with a more attractive culture and more grand opportunity will quickly swipe them up. That could be your company. But it could just as easily be someone else.
Adapted from Users Not Customers: Who Really Determines the Success of Your Business (Portfolio), by Aaron Shapiro, CEO of HUGE, a digital agency that helps companies including PespiCo, Comcast, Target, HBO, and Unilever reimagine how they interact with their customers and manage their business in the online economy. - The Best in Social Business

Can Social Networks Really Influence Purchasing Decisions

If you read about the impact of social networks and deal sites on how people shop and what they buy when they are shopping, you would think that everyone is doing it on a regular basis.
study conducted by Performics and ROIresearch gives the impression that while many people are using social networks and other online shopping options like deal and shopping sites to influence purchases, it may not be as prevalent as we might like it to be. Look at the results that examine what percentage of those surveyed use any of the mentioned techniques on a daily basis to influence their shopping activities.
Granted, there are a lot of people using social networks so upwards of 19% of a very large number is still a very large number. It’s just that the hype around social networks’ influence on purchasing decisions would have you believe that everyone is involved in this activity all the time. That’s just not the case …. yet.
Another interesting piece of data shows the influence of social networks at the point of sale. This is the retailer’s “make or break” moment so knowing that there could be 1 in 4 of your customers looking for last minute validation of their purchase through social networks is important. The second piece of this slide shows that people are willing to wait for an answer. In this day and age, that is saying something.
So yes, social networks are influencing purchases on a daily basis. What is important to understand is that marketers need to keep the actual impact in proper perspective. Sure it seems like everyone is go-go-go all social all the time especially when it comes to commerce, but the impact on sales is still only felt by a minority of customers.
What is your take on these numbers? Are they what you expected? Do you think they truly reflect what is going on in the marketplace?
Frank Reed is the managing editor of Marketing Pilgrim. He also provides consulting, speaking and education services relating to local Internet marketing through Local Basix. Frank contributes weekly to Mike Moran’s Biznology blog and he writes even less frequently at his original home base, Frank Thinking About Internet Marketing. - The Best in Social Business

Social Media In UK Politics (Infographic)

Read more: - The Best in Social Business

5 biggest social media myths

Whether we like it or not, Social Media is here to stay. With the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Google+, Social media is all around us.
Merriam-Webster defines a myth as “a usually traditional story of ostensibly historical events that serves to unfold part of the world view of a people or explain a practice, belief, or natural phenomenon.”
Like common society, social media has it’s fair share of myths. Here is a list for you to consider. This list will clear up some of the Social Media Myths floating about.

1. You have to be on every social media network

There are so many different types of social media sites. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, are not the only social media site, but they are perhaps the more famous. Don’t try and be on every social media network known to man. It’s not the number of social networks you’re on that matters, it’s how effectively you use them that’s important.

2. Social media will replace your website

While social media has it place in the grand scheme of things, nothing can replace your website. Search engines are driven by fresh quality content. While your social network profile might be great, and you might have some awesome discussions, nothing quite compares to the unique content on your site.

3. Social media will replace Face-to-Face networking

Too many people are hiding behind the social media veil and think that this will work. People always have and always will prefer face-to-face communication over all other forms of communication. It’s in our DNA. Social networking is advantageous but it will not replace human interaction.

4. Your business does not need Social Media

This might sound true. Many have said that their type of business does not warrant social media interaction. Well here are a few things to consider.
  • Does your business need to generate new Leads?
  • Does your business need to generate Traffic?
  • Does your business need to Build your brand?
  • Does your business need to Strengthen your SEO efforts?
  • Does your business need to Provide customer support?
  • Does your business need to give your customers a platform to give Feedback and Suggestions in real-time?
If you have answered yes to any of these, your business needs Social Media.

5. Anyone can succeed at social media

This is perhaps the hardest pill to swallow. But not everyone has the aptitude for social media. Just like not everyone can be a doctor. Not everyone is good at Soccer, Baseball, Rugby, or what ever sport. Not everyone can be a Bio-Chemist. The same applies to social media. While the experts make it look easy, to most of us it is hard arduous work. Not everybody has what it takes mentally, physically or psychologically to succeed with social media. That’s a fact of life.


To sum up, we see that social media is viable, it is perhaps a necessity to business. Done right it will improve your bottom line, increase your traffic and build your brand. How are you using social media today? Leave us a comment below. - The Best in Social Business

Facebook’s cyber-security system checks 650,000 actions every SECOND

Facebook’s cyber-security system processes and checks 650,000 actions every second to keep its users safe from spam and cyber-attacks on the social network.
This fact is one of a number of details that the company has released about the system, called The Facebook Immunity System (FIS). Results have shown that it is highly efficient too, with just 1% of users reporting issues around spam.
FIS was developed over a three year period and is robust enough to handle the estimated 25 billion actions that are made by the social networks 800 million plus users every day. According to Facebook, the system has seen spam drop to account for less than 4 per cent of its total messages affecting less than 0.5 percent of its users.
Details of how the system works come from The New Scientist:
It protects against scams by harnessing artificially intelligent software to detect suspicious patterns of behaviour. The system is overseen by a team of 30 people, but it can learn in real time and is able to take action without checking with a human supervisor.
The FIS is also backed up by a team of 30 security experts, each of whom helps hunt for spam across the network leaving no status update, like, share or comment unturned.
Despite the technology, users should be aware of the growing threat of “socialbots”, fake users which look and behave like ordinary people on Facebook. Socialbots issue a high numbers of friend requests as they attempt to friend users to get access to personal information that could be used for phishing, identity fraud or other schemes.
Data from the social network suggests that as many as 20 percent of those targeted by socialbots accept such requests, putting their information and themselves at risk.
Socialbots are difficult to detect, even for the FIR, but those behind the system are working to cover the threat. Even though Facebook is doing big things to keep its site safe, users should remain vigilante and careful of links and suspicious behaviour. - The Best in Social Business

Lenardo DiCaprio joins social media firm

New York: Leonardo DiCaprio is the latest Hollywood star to move into social media after signing up as an advisor for a start-up company.

The 36-year-old actor's new role will see him advise bosses at Mobli, a visual media firm which was introduced to him by a friend while the technology was still being tested several months ago, reported Huffington Post.

"Leo is not a tech guy and we're not looking for advice on technology, but he is a very, very smart guy concerning marketing, so he will be advising us in this territory - branding marketing and stuff like this. Leo is very excited.

He believes in the vision of the company and thinks that this is the future of media. He wanted to get on board in the beginning, influence it, and give his input into the company," said Moshe Hogeg, Ceo Mobli.

Other stars who are investing in technology include Ashton Kutcher, who has funded companies including Flipboard, Chegg, GroupMe and Hipmunk, and Justin Timberlake, who is working to revitalise social networking site MySpace.

(Follow on Facebook, on Twitter, on YouTube, and on Google+ for updates that you can share with your friends.) - The Best in Social Business

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

TwitFlicks Gets You In The Movies!

Eddy Terstall found a unique way to fund his upcoming movie, Deal, that required making lots of other movies.
As the video above explains, Terstall needed €20,000 to fund his short movie. To achieve that, he initially turned to, a sort of Kickstarter for Dutch filmmakers like himself. But when that didn’t yield enough money, Terstall got the idea of making mini-movies called “Twitflicks” based on fans’ tweets for a fee. €10 got you 10 seconds of video and €60 or more got you a minute-plus. The videos were placed on the donors’ Facebook Walls.
The program worked. After announcing the proposal on his Twitter feed, Terstall made several films (some of which you can see here) and raised €120,000 — enough to make a full-length movie. We’ll see how that turns out, but it will be hard to top the story of this movie’s making. - The Best in Social Business

Announcing the Release of Jaleo, a New iPhone App for Social Networking

SAN FRANCISCOOct. 26, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- What is Jaleo? Besides a Spanish word that can mean "uproar" or "commotion," Jaleo (pronounced Ha-lay-oh) is a new application in the iTunes App Store. This App takes social networking to a new level. Whether the user wants to meet a new pen pal in Qatar, or find a new romance in Rome, or just practice French with a Parisian, the Jaleo App lets you do just that.
The App takes advantage of the iPhone's geo-location features to locate other people anywhere in the world with similar interests as the user. After entering a profile with minimal personal information, the user selects a search criteria, which may include gender, age bracket, and similar interests. The user then selects either his or her current location, a random place in the world, or simply types a specific location in the world. A pin drops in a map of the world at the location the user has selected. The next screen presents a user with a list of people near that location who have also downloaded the Jaleo App. The user clicks the person with whom he or she wants to chat and that's it! A new friendship has been made! Users can swap pictures and their exact locations in addition to text messages. New friends can be added as "favorites," and annoying users can be blocked so they will never bother the user again.
This application has numerous practical uses. For example, students who plan to travel abroad can use it in preparation for their trip by meeting new people in what will be their final destination before they even arrive there. Jaleo is simply a new way to make new friends anywhere in the world.
Another practical use of Jaleo is to practice a foreign language. Among other things, users can enter their native language in their profile, which can be used to select the list of people who will be displayed to the user after a location has been selected.
Of course, another practical use of Jaleo can be to find a new romance in some far away land that one hopes to visit someday. This engaging app allows users to meet other people in a safe manner before planning a face-to-face encounter.
In a world where technology seemingly makes distances appear to be getting smaller, the Jaleo app makes the world appear even smaller. Anyone, anywhere in world, can now become your friend with a simple free download of an iPhone App.
The Jaleo App is available to download free at the iTunes App Store - The Best in Social Business

9 LinkedIn Etiquette Tips

Consider this advice on how to put your best foot forward on the most business-like of social networks.
LinkedIn hangs its hat on being the most business-like of the major public social networks (although Google+ is gunning for the title). As such, you can't behave the same on LinkedIn as you do on Facebook, where social rules the newsfeed. Consider this advice from social media experts and practitioners for minding your manners on LinkedIn.
Ask For Recommendations
"Instead of asking everyone you work with [to recommend you], choose a few people who can highlight the different services or experiences [you provided]. Ask Client A specifically for a recommendation on your speed of service; ask Customer B to write a recommendation mentioning your helpful staff. If you are a freelancer or are trying to fill your past work history, ask people for specific recommendations for specific projects you worked on with them. A recommendation that says, 'John is a really good worker,' doesn't hold as much weight as a recommendation that says, 'I worked with John on a project where his project management skills kept a large project on task and delivered the final project early.'"
--Amanda O'Brien, Hall Internet Marketing
10 Smart Enterprise Uses For Twitter
10 Smart Enterprise Uses For Twitter
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
"References shouldn't be requested until after you've been working in a position for six months or more. You don't want to pressure your colleagues to write a reference about someone they hardly know. This results in a poorly written, formulaic response that is not impressive or useful for your job search."
--Robin Reynolds, community manager,
[Through savvy use of LinkedIn, you may soon be on your way to a better job. Learn How To Catch Recruiters' Eyes On LinkedIn.]
"Don't just ask for recommendations. Be sure you write recommendations for people you can recommend highly."
--Wayne Breitbarth, author of "The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success: Kick-start Your Business, Brand, and Job Search"
Maintain A Professional Posture
"LinkedIn is not Facebook. Post updates and photos based on your job or profession. ... Please let what happens in Vegas stay in Vegas."
--Jenson Crawford, software engineering manager (job found via LinkedIn)
"In professional networking, it is better to give than to receive. LinkedIn is another avenue where one can practice generosity. You can help your colleagues by personally forwarding job vacancies to those connections where there's a good fit. This will broaden your company's hiring pool for talent while also [helping] your connections discover job opportunities. But this generous act also works to your benefit. It signals to your connections that you have an abundance of opportunity and there is enough to go around."
-- Jonathan Potter, IT delivery manager, Ford Motor Co.
Make Connections
"My one pet peeve on LinkedIn is receiving a connection request from someone who hasn't personalized the connection request template. That leaves me in the awkward position of having to ask them where or when our paths have previously crossed. A good example would be, 'We met a few months ago at the Marketing Association meeting, and I'd like to keep in touch.' I personally think LinkedIn would be better if they didn't provide that template at all, so people would have to write something."
-- Lauren Milligan, ResuMayDay
"I try to connect with people I've actually dealt with in a business context. I don't accept anonymous connection requests, nor do I accept connection requests from salespeople or recruiters who I haven't actually done business with. Just a short phone call is not a sufficient basis for establishing a connection in LinkedIn."
"Use LinkedIn messaging sparingly. Depending on how much mail a connection receives from LinkedIn, they may see it as spam and automatically delete. Better to utilize their email address, which is often visible on the profile page after connecting."
--Kelly Lux, online community manager and social media strategist, school of information studies at Syracuse University
"I suggest making status updates no more than a few times per day. This is not Twitter. The updates should provide helpful information to your network: interesting articles, websites, videos, events you are attending/hosting that your connections might be interested in attending, etc. If you have or know of a job opening, feel free to share this with your network.
-- Breitbarth - The Best in Social Business

Social Login Offers New ROI from Social Media

In the last few years, most companies have realized that social media is more than just the latest fad in communicating to the under-30 demographic, and is instead a generator of real dollars and cents value for their businesses.
Fewer companies, however, are aware of the value of a new technology called "social login," which allows visitors to a website to log in using their Facebook, Google, Twitter, or other social media account rather than having to register a new one. In fact, social login can be a huge marketing "force multiplier" in every business's two core tasks: acquiring customers, and selling them products and services.
Take customer acquisition. Most companies today require visitors to their websites to register — i.e., create an account — in order to purchase products or services or post comments. Registering is essential for online businesses because it's the only way those businesses can learn about the needs, interests, and desires of their customers. And besides, advertisers demand it.
Yet as Blue Research found during a study we commissioned (and as the trade journal eMarketerand other news sites reported earlier this year) three out of every four Internet users leave a website rather than take the trouble to register a new account. Among those who do register, 76 percent say they give false or incomplete information, which, of course, defeats the whole purpose of registering. As for those who are already registered but forget their login information, nearly half admit to leaving a website rather than going to the trouble of resetting their password or answering security questions. This is especially true for the lucrative new segment of smartphone users — 40% of all social media users — for whom registering would mean having to awkwardly thumb-type data on a tiny virtual keyboard.
That's a lot of potential customers walking out your door (or refusing to come inside in the first place) — three-quarters of them, to be precise — all because they hate to register.
Social login, which is available from a variety of vendors or can be custom-built in house, provides an alternative, and a highly-profitable one at that. With one click, the more than one billion people using social networks today can enter your website or online store with no new registration, no need for a new password, and no hassle.
Not only do you potentially gain many more customers, but research by ForresterNielsen andothers shows that each one gained via social login is far more valuable than traditionally-registered users. Indeed, social login boosts conversion rates up to 50 percent, and, though the data comes from Facebook itself, it appears that these users tend to spend more time on a website and purchase more than non-social login users.
But even more important, social login gives retailers and marketers access to very rich demographic and psychographic data from visitors' Facebook or LinkedIn accounts that they can't get anywhere else, including the user's location, interests, hobbies, purchasing habits, and cultural tastes — as well as those of everyone in his or her social network. Although each user has the right to control which social profile data is given to any one company, the data shared gives companies a potent advantage in personalizing content and product recommendations to each user's interests and in targeting their marketing efforts more successfully.
But the greatest advantage of social login for businesses may be something called "social sharing." This is not limited simply to "liking" a product within the Facebook network, but rather allows users to share something they have done on your site with a wide range of friends across multiple social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Yahoo. Additional value comes from giving the user the ability to add personal commentary to what they are sharing — in other words, endorsements in their own words.
This obviously generates a lot of word-of-mouth referrals. In fact, our data shows that each login visitor using social share generates an average of 13 referral visitors to a website.
This is why we call social login a marketing "force multiplier." In a world in which people spend more time with peers on social networks than in any other online activity — and in which 58 percent of consumers research products online before buying — the indicator of a trusted product has become "a person like you" rather than corporate advertising and promotion.

Just ask Interscope Geffen A&M Records, the division of Universal Music Group that hosts such powerhouse artists as Lady Gaga, which used social login so successfully to attract more visitors to its artist websites that it stopped using traditional registration methods entirely. Or ask Citysearch, which found that each user comment shared back to his or her social network was viewed by an average of 40 other people and generated 28 clicks back to Citysearch.
It's not just entertainment companies or online guides, of course, that are beginning to deploy social login. Although available for less than three years now, social login is gaining rapid penetration among web businesses, even among retailers like Sears who have sometimes been be cautious about deploying a technology that might theoretically leave them vulnerable in the event of an outage at Facebook or one of the other social login origin sites.
To be sure, while the Facebooks and Googles of the web are investing a lot more money in bullet-proof data centers than your business is, this still leaves you theoretically vulnerable to a service interruption on one of these heavily-trafficked networks. Also bear in mind that when users opt for social login, they are presented with a permissions screen that explicitly asks for access to certain types of information about them, and some users may feel that sharing such information is not worth the benefit of easier login and a more personalized experience on your website, where products can be tailored to their interests. That's why many sites also offer traditional registration via the user's own site-specific login name and password to keep them within the fold.
In terms of penetration to date, Facebook reported last year that its social login option was already deployed on 2 million websites. Our own platform, Janrain Engage, which allows users to login not only with Facebook but via 21 additional social networks as well, is deployed on more than 350,000 websites. There is no reliable data on how many websites have undertaken the non-trivial challenge of building their own interfaces to even one social network, let alone enough of them to encompass the fragmented social media preferences of users today, where even the largest social network (Facebook) garners only 39 percent of all social media logins.
But what is clear is that social login is rapidly accelerating the greatest shift in the way business is conducted since the emergence of e-commerce itself 15 years ago.
As a new study by e-commerce pioneer IBM noted, "The inflection point created by social media represents a permanent change in the nature of customer relationships. [Companies that] successfully harness this new source of insight will be in a strong position to increase revenues and build new brand value."
Social login is the latest tool for leveraging the enormous power of social media. - The Best in Social Business