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Monthly Archives: August 2012

3 Shocking Social Media Stats That Will Amp Up Your Marketing

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We recently uncovered some seriously shocking social media statistics – take this one for instance – it’s said that more than 600 million people who own a mobile phone don’t own a toothbrush. Crazy, right? Beyond ‘shock-value,’ these stats lead to targeted, insightful lessons that marketers can apply to their own business strategy. At their core, these statistics speak to the potential that social marketing holds. We’ll share 3 stats below and their implications for marketers. For even more stats and marketing implications, pick up our newest whitepaper, 6 Mind-Blowing Social Media Stats (And What They Mean for Marketers).

Keys to social media

1. Nielsen estimates that social media and blogs reach 80% of all active US Internet users (of which there are 245 million).

 If you’re not there, you’re missing out on plenty of potential opportunities to increase brand awareness, identify prospects and strengthen relationships with existing customers. The vastness of that statistic indicates that if you aren’t on social media or actively blogging, your competitors probably are, forging relationships that could be yours.

Leverage the Stat:

1. Locate your prospects: Perform a social audit to find out where your customers and prospects spend their time online.

2. Secure channels: If you haven’t already done so, secure your place on social media channels and start a blog. Fill out each profile completely to answer the basic questions your audience may have: who are you, what are you about and how can they contact you.

3. Develop a content strategy and content: What themes will you own? What non-promotional content will you share with your audience? Develop engaging, relevant content themes that support your brand.  Read More

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Google+ Launches Business-Savvy Social Networking Tools

Google Plus

Google on Wednesday got dressed up in its best suit and tie and grabbed its briefcase to head to work, rolling out new Google+ tools and features tailored for businesses that will be free through the end of 2013.

Google is no stranger to business-ready applications, having built up an impressive enterprise portfolio in recent years with its Gmail and Google Apps offerings.

“Every day, more companies are going Google. We’re excited to help them take advantage of modern, Web-based tools and give their employees new ways to connect and collaborate,” Google Apps product management director Clay Bavor said in a blog post.

All Google Apps users can get a sneak peek at the new features in full preview mode, a step up from Google’s beta testing format. Pilot customers, including Kaplan and Banshee Wines, have been testing the new site by engaging and connecting employees, according to Google. Early feedback is crucial for Google to tailor its new features to organizations, the company said.

Google+ for businesses is defined by three features that differentiate it from the consumer platform– private sharing, video integration, and administrative controls.

Google Apps users get more control over the content they post to Google+. There’s a new option to mark posts as restricted, which keeps them private within an organization and bars another user from re-sharing them with outsiders. Businesses can also share a message only with specific partners or colleagues outside of the organization as well.  Read More

Samsung Updates Galaxy Note Phablet

Ignoring the wailing of pundits who complained that the Galaxy Note phablet with its 5.3″ HD screen was too big, Samsung instead chose to listen to the purchasing power of its customers, who have snapped up over 10 million units of the giant phone-tablet hybrid in the year since its introduction.

On Wednesday Samsung announced the Galaxy Note II, which increases the screen size to 5.5″, adds a quad-core CPU, the Android 4.1 (a.k.a. Jelly Bean) operating system, a battery more than 20% larger, and an improved S Pen, all in a package that is only slightly larger than its predecessor and weighs just two additional grams. The announcement also claims 4G LTE which, if released in the U.S. in this configuration, would be Samsung’s first quad-core phone here. (The U.S. version of the Galaxy S3 uses a dual-core Qualcomm SOC, not the quad-core Exynos SOC found in the international phone, in order to provide support for 4G LTE).

 

Walking through the differences between the two devices we can start with same 2GB of RAM, and a 1.6-GHz quad-core CPU instead of the 1.4-GHz CPU in the original. As for the case, it’s overall roughly the same size–151.1 x 80.5 x 9.4mm vs. 146.85 x 82.95 x 9.65mm–but sports a metal back plate as opposed to the original plastic one. Placement of the ports on the phone has been changed slightly, and the battery has been upped to 3100 mAh from 2500 mAh. The .2-inch larger screen is still Super AMOLED but the resolution actually has been reduced slightly from 1280 x 800 to 1280 x 720 (which is the pixel resolution of 720p HD).  Read More

‘Lazy’ Employees Can Fix Your Social Woes, Says Yammer CTO

By Brad Chacos

If your organization’s social media initiatives have fizzled more than fostered debate, don’t despair: yours isn’t the only one. Social media has taken the mainstream by storm, but its adoption in the business world has been more uneven. Why is the road to better internal discussion often so rocky?

Adam Pisoni, Yammer CTO

Adam Pisoni, Yammer CTOYammer is a freemium enterprise social networking tool with 5 million users across 200,000 companies, and a $1.2 billion sale to Microsoft under its belt. Company co-founder and CTO Adam Pisoni says that all-too-frequent communication issues stem from the predictable, hierarchical mindset found in many businesses. The solution lies in listening to “lazy” employees, he says–and applying “bring your own device” (BYOD) principles to software as well as hardware.

“I was speaking to a very senior IT leader at a large Fortune 500 company, and she was telling me that they had spent a lot of money on a content management system for their employees,” Pisoni told me in a telephone interview. “They had this large, complex, difficult to use CMS, and for some reason, her employees were ‘too lazy’ to use it, and instead they were bringing in their own tools.

“I couldn’t help but be struck that this seemed totally backwards. She was saying that because her employees wouldn’t use this byzantine thing that wouldn’t work very well, they must be lazy. And I was thinking that the reason they weren’t using it is not because they’re lazy, but because they’re essentially trying to innovate” and work around artificial limitations imposed by officially sanctioned social media tools.  Read More

The Kindle Wants To Be Free

Next week or next year, Amazon will start giving away its e-reader. Here’s why.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos holds the new Amazon tablet called the Kindle Fire.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos holds the Kindle Fire on Sep. 28, 2011 in New York CityPhotograph by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

My record on predictions about Amazon is mixed at best. Two summers ago, I guessed that “before the holidays,” Amazon would cut the price of its cheapest Kindle e-reader to $99. My logic was solid—the cost of the Kindle’s parts kept declining rapidly, and Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO, seems to be happiest of all when he’s slashing prices—but my timing was off. Amazon’s cheapest Kindle didn’t break the $100 barrier until last year, when the company lowered the price to $79.

Being wrong doesn’t deter me, though, so last month I reported on another vision in my Amazon crystal ball. The company was moving toward offering same-day shipping to people in large metro areas across the country, I said. But a few weeks after my piece, Tom Szkutak, Amazon’s chief financial officer, pooh-poohed the same-day shipping plan during a call with stock analysts. “We don’t really see a way to do same-day delivery on a broad scale economically,” he said. To me, that sounded like a bluff meant to throw off competitors. Amazon already offers same-day shipping on select items in 10 American cities, and shipping things faster has always been one of its primary corporate missions—that’s why it’s building dozens of new shipping centers across the country. I’m still sticking to my guns—I believe that over the next few years, Amazon will offer same-day service on more items in more places. But until I’m proven right, you can go ahead and call me wrong.

Keep that record in mind when you hear my next report from Amazon’s future. Next week, the company is holding a press event in Los Angeles to introduce some new stuff. Many observers believe that we’ll see upgrades to the firm’s Kindle lineup. These include, according to All Things D, a new Kindle Fire that has a camera and a better display and, per TechCrunch, a “front-lit” E Ink Kindle, meaning one that you can read at night. If that’s the case, I’ll be ecstatic.  Read More

U.S. Embraces Arms Control by Social Media

August 28, 2012 12:00 PM

The U.S. State Department is now banking on the possibility that the rise of social media may offer a new means of monitoring for arms-control violations. Imagine an army of sensors made up of ordinary citizens willing, in theory, to keep their governments in check and prove they aren’t violating arms-control treaties. That’s the concept behind the State Department’s “innovation in arms control challenge,” a contest that will offer a cash prize of $10,000 to the best idea, or ideas, for using social media to spot arms-control violators.

The contest, which the State Department is set to announce today, is the brainchild of Rose Gottemoeller, a State Department official known lately as much for her embrace of social media as for her longtime expertise in arms control.

Gottemoeller, the acting undersecretary for arms control and international security, told Popular Mechanics in an interview that the department will be open to any approach, but she suggested some possible apps. For example: something that mines social media data, such as Twitter feeds, to spot evidence of a banned chemical weapons stockpile or an undeclared missile plant. Or, perhaps compiling data from tens or even hundreds of thousands of iPads, which are equipped with accelerometers that could be used to monitor for ground tremors to detect a possible nuclear event.

Those who follow social media and data mining expressed enthusiasm about the State Department’s challenge while also pointing out some of the unique difficulties such an application could pose. Social media can prove a boon for uncovering intelligence, but it has to be monitored and analyzed by experts in the context of other sources of intelligence, says Gareth Ham, the head of insights at Brandwatch, a U.K.-based firm that performs social media monitoring. “We can’t simply hold a finger in the air of social networking and obtain noteworthy findings,” he says.   Read More

Amazon’s Zappos Combines Pinterest And E-Commerce In New Site

Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN)’s Zappos online store has created a service that recommends purchases based on what users post on Pinterest, a move to parlay the popularity of the social-sharing site into e-commerce sales.

The new Web page, created by a team at Zappos Labs in San Francisco, is called PinPointing and suggests Zappos products, such as shoes, dresses and swimsuits, based on Pinterest posts. Consumers can see suggestions that correlate with their own personal pins or those of other Pinterest users.

Pinterest Inc., based in Palo AltoCalifornia, operates a social-networking site that lets users collect and share photos on the Internet by pinning them to a virtual bulletin board. Zappos is using the social site to help shoppers discover its breadth of products through friends and celebrities and debunk its reputation as solely a seller of shoes.

“Social shopping is a total buzzword that people throw around, but I don’t think any big brands have cracked it,” said Will Young, director of Zappos Labs, a group of developers in charge of spearheading online projects to improve the Zappos user experience. “When we talk to people and ask what they think is the best social-shopping experience, they say Pinterest, and it’s not even a retailer.”

Pinterest has seen a surge in user growth since it was introduced in 2010, and had 11.7 million visitors as of January. It raised $100 million in a financing round that valued the company at about $1.5 billion, a person with knowledge of the matter said in May. Investors include Max Levchin, a founder of EBay Inc. (EBAY)’s PayPal; Bessemer Venture Partners; and Japanese e- commerce site Rakuten Inc.  Read More

Not a Small World, After All: New Site Brings Social Networking to the Luxe Crowd

A social network for finding honeymoon locales and nannies–but you might not be on the list.

In 2011, Harvey Weinstein wrote in Newsweek that“one of my all-time doozies” was buying a controlling interest in the social network A Small World. Gawker described the site, in 2004, as an “online VIP club,”noting that its members looked for “highbrow fun: Argentinian polo horses for sale, New Delhi club recommendations, and Thanksgiving in London.”

Mr. Weinstein said his mistake was bombarding his upper-crust audience with advertising. “I ignored the technology and went after the bottom line,” he confessed.

A Small World founder Erik Wachtmeister, who is launching a new social network today called Best of All Worlds, would be inclined to agree with that reading. “A Small World had a European soul and it was very delicate,” said Mr. Wachtmeister, who left the company’s board in 2010. “It needed to be tended to.”

His new site, Best of All Worlds, caters to the same sort of people as did A Small World: those for whom social networking is as likely to take place in, say, Gstaad or St. Bart’s, as it is to take place online. Mr. Wachtmeister, the son of a Swedish diplomat who attended Georgetown University, then traveled the world as an investment banker, describes them as “three million people connected to three degrees of separation–counter to the common notion of six billion people connected by six degrees.  Read More

How Nintendo’s Social Play is a Big Deal

By:  Colin Campbell
Is Nintendo’s Miiverse a reflection of the company’s relative sluggishness in grappling with the social networking problem, a ‘Mii-too’ play? Or is there something much, much smarter going on here?

Nintendo is one of the biggest entertainment brands in the world but unlike many of its rivals, it didn’t embrace Twitter and Facebook. Here is a company with a long and notorious history of splendid isolation, of doing things at its own speed and eschewing much of what goes on outside its own direct interests. Witness the company’s incredible tardiness in modern online play and the move from cartridges to disks.

However, at E3 Nintendo showed us a few glimpses of Miiverse, its online social community for the Wii U, and planned also for 3DS and even (in some capacity) non-Nintendo devices.

In a recent interview with Kotaku, Nintendo chief Satoru Iwata spoke about his vision of Miiverse, and it’s clear that he and his cohorts have been doing what Nintendo does best – thinking hard about how people like to play and about how they connect emotionally with games.

In the past, this was a one-on-one transaction; we each bonded individually with Nintendo characters, games and mechanics. Playing with other people or talking about Nintendo games on, say, the school bus were ancillary social activities, connected tenuously with the activity of playing.  Read More

Oil company network done in by hackers

Politically motivated hackers shut down the computer network of the world’s largest oil company for more than 10 days this month, the first time such a group has employed the kind of sophisticated cyberweapons typically used by national governments.

Saudi Arabian Oil Co., the national oil company of Saudi Arabia, said over the weekend that it had restored its network following the Aug. 15 attack, which affected more than 30,000 computer work stations.

The company said in a statement that its production and refining systems were unaffected by the attack because they are walled off from the main computer network.

“We addressed the threat immediately, and our precautionary procedures have helped to mitigate these deplorable cyberthreats from spiraling,” said Khalid A. Al-Falih, president and CEO of Saudi Aramco.

But at least one website the company operates, aramco.com, remained down Monday.

“We are working diligently to restore services to normal as soon as possible,” said a statement on the website.

The company’s Houston-based U.S. office referred requests for comment to its headquarters in Saudi Arabia. But emails sent there bounced back, suggesting that work to restore the company’s computer system was still ongoing.

The hackers have not been so tight-lipped. Read More

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