Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bit.ly announces beta launch of search platform, reputation monitoring

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AppId is over the quota
Summary: URL shortening service bit.ly takes URL click data to another level, offering their own search platform and reputation monitoring service.

Last week URL shortening service bit.ly announced the launch of their social search platform and reputation monitoring service. Used by all of us online over-sharers to shorten 80 million URL’s a day, bit.ly now has the ability to tie-in a more in-depth set of their own search results by keyword/phrase and sentiment/tone with their already existing data set attached to short URL activity.

You might ask yourself why not just use Google search for a lot of this stuff but the problem is that trending topics across Twitter, what bit.ly is mostly used for, are so real-time and new that their true buzz/readership value can’t be captured by sites like Google until later after they’ve been indexed. In addition to several other factors, Google search results are influenced algorithmically by page rank. Because many tweets and blog posts haven’t even had the chance to establish any page rank yet due to how new they are, bit.ly now offers a way to monitor trending activity via search results using their own data, served up on their own platform.

Since high volume link activity monitoring is already part of their DNA, these tools will serve as extremely useful because they can tie in all of the other data they already collect about their URL’s - clicks, geographical location, sharing, etc.

Reputation monitoring, sentiment & tone

The first product layered on top of their new search platform is the reputation monitoring service that attaches sentiment and tone to search results with a really nice dashboard for monitoring keywords over time. They made sure to include the ability to set up email alerts to help you get in front of any negative conversations that are rising about your brand, products or applicable industry.

Bit.ly’s new offering will be part of their Enterprise 2.0 suite of applications and will be rolling out only to their enterprise customers over the next two weeks.

More information

If you’d like to participate in the beta test for reputation monitoring, just send an email to beta@bitly.com.

For more information about Enterprise or to schedule a product demo go to http://bit.ly/EnterpriseSignup

Rich Harris has been a web marketer for over 10 years, with over 14 years experience in high-tech, both in the consumer and enterprise spaces.


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Is Google+ putting Facebook's Terms Of Service to the test?

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AppId is over the quota
Summary: Facebook may be facing some actual competition with Google+. With many attempts by users to create a digital causeway between the two networks, will Facebook continue to monitor and shut every attempt down?

A couple of weeks ago, when web developer Michael Lee Johnson was trying to figure out how to get some of his Facebook friends to adopt Google+ so he could try it out, he leveraged the most effective tools made available to him by, well, Facebook. He created a Facebook ad asking people to join him on Google+. It didn’t take long for the Gods of Facebook to take notice and shutdown his ad. While this particular ad does violate Facebook’s Terms Of Service and is grounds for removal of the ad, Facebook also cancelled his entire advertising account which contained several non-Google+ ads that he was paying Facebook cash-money to run.

Also back in July, an app called Google+Facebook was created by an Israeli company aimed at solving the problem of users wanting to share content and friends lists more easily across both networks. It was only a matter of time before Facebook blocked it. This comes as no surprise since Facebook was already rumored to have been actively blocking third party exporter tools designed to dump a user’s contacts into other sites similar to Google+.

While blocking the opportunity for competitors to capitalize on a social network’s own user base, one has to wonder about the premise behind social networks whose existence is based on the concepts of sharing, transparency, openness and other kumbayas. It seems that those concepts ONLY matter as long as it’s within the confines of Facebook’s own ideals. Sound familiar (ehem, Apple, cough)?

Google covers this in their policy as well for AdSense but it comes off as more of a subtle recommendation: “Promoting your site on third-party sites not designed for site promotion, or where such promotion is unwanted, such as classifieds or social networking sites” falls under the “Things to Avoid” section. It’s standard to protect your business but I wonder if Facebook, or Google for that matter, are approaching their policies the best way. Do you think we still have work to do to create better standards or is this as good as it gets?

Can Facebook handle competition gracefully?

From a policy perspective, the way Michael Lee Johnson’s case was handled seems a little ridiculous to me. It smells a little juvenile and reactionary to also shut down the rest of Michael’s paid ads that had nothing to do with Google+ or any other competing sites. If you check out the Facebook Advertising Guidelines, you’ll see the one statement that says it all: “Facebook reserves the right to reject or remove advertising that we deem contrary to our ad philosophy. These guidelines are subject to change at any time and Facebook may waive any of these guidelines at its discretion.” I read this as — “Welcome to Facebook. You have no control, even if you follow the rules. We can change those rules. We can delete your account at will or any of your activity at anytime.”

Admittedly, Facebook reserves that right. It’s their website. However, in cases like Michael’s, where he is a paying customer, wouldn’t it be more appropriate for Facebook as a company with paying customers to have some type of system in place for communicating a heads up via private message that they had violated the ad policies, providing them with a notification and a reason, instead of bluntly convicting them in the form of a full shutdown? My guess is that the reaction to this web developer’s Google+ ad campaign on Facebook revealed at a least a little pretentiousness and insecurity on the Facebook side of the fence.

I’m not convinced that behind closed doors at Facebook, the comfort level is high with the quick adoption of Google+ by techies and others, pushing its user base to well over 10+ million accounts in a very short amount of time. I have a feeling there are going to be some missteps in moderator behavior on the Facebook side as Zuckerberg and team put on their big boy pants when real competition rears its imminent head.

Rich Harris has been a web marketer for over 10 years, with over 14 years experience in high-tech, both in the consumer and enterprise spaces.


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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Good storytelling and why "commodity" is a state of mind

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AppId is over the quota
Summary: There is so much content being shared by our favorite brands but do they have a compelling story to tell, ensuring that the customer experience is meaningful?

Humanizing a product or business is one of the biggest challenges for companies, especially the big ones. I’ve been keeping an eye on many brands I like, some old, some new, some that “get it,” some that obviously struggle with the storytelling concept for whatever reason. Some folks view their company as more of a commodity. Others can’t seem to figure out how to make their marketing, sales, and PR efforts more “human” in tone and delivery. There are also those companies that have figured out the tonal issue but as a brand, it comes off fake and bloated with “Look at me!” content plugging up everyone’s Facebook News Feeds, forcing people who “Liked” their page to now hide their content, which is essentially the same as “unliking” them or opting out.

My observations got me started drafting this post last week, and then low and beyond yesterday morning, Brian Solis (working with Jess3), released a new infographic/wheel emphasizing the current state of how brands can be more effective at getting their message across various social media channels and mediums in a way that makes sense and builds relationships with consumer. I admit to feeling some validation in my philosophy seeing this come from Brian.

Good storytelling is becoming a lost art, with social media partly to blame.

Social media is about the humans. It’s about emotional resonance. It’s about what people love, hate, analyze, cry about, make fun of and respond to. The one major thing that makes a good brand real for people, is a fantastic story. The good news about social media and storytelling is that it has made it possible for anyone to have a unique voice when telling their own story by giving them easy-to-use platforms and channels for doing so. I credit colleague Violet Blue for bringing up that point in a side conversation.

A story is what defines your place as an individual in this world. It’s what makes you unique and sets you apart from everyone else. This is no different when you are talking about business. However, social media can be damaging to a brand if they are mislead to believe that drowning their audience in noise and self-promotion is the way to go. Brands new to social media want so bad to know how to leverage social media for their business and are being shown by consultants (who spend too much time talking about themselves and their own blogs) that they as a brand should also talk about themselves constantly using Twitter, Facebook, Posterous, Google+, Tumblr and others.

This is a very real problem that has been the genesis for a very broken definition of what social media actually is.

Who needs to have a good story?

EVERYONE.

You might be a B2B company. Regardless, there are still humans involved right? Whether you sell directly to your customers or you sell to a guy who sells to your customers, in the end, your customer needs to feel great about your brand and your product. If you are B2B, you want to make sure everyone in the chain understands your brand’s compelling story and how to repeat it to those they sell to directly so that the sales cycle is solid and built on pure satisfaction and transparent understanding. If the middleman in the B2B sales process doesn’t do a great job of telling your story to it’s customers, then your company is not doing a good enough job communicating and inspiring them to consistently convey the right message.

You might be a B2C company. Some might say B2C and social media are a drop in the bucket. Well, I’ve tried selling ideas and products to consumers before and it almost always comes down to: “Why should I buy from you and not a competitor?” (an appropriate question for a consumer). The only time I didn’t have an answer was when the brand I represented didn’t have a story to tell that made them and their business connect and relate to their customers in a unique and personal way. One of my first entrepreneurial adventures just had a product and no story and I felt ridiculous representing my own brand at a trade show years when I realized this was missing.

Smoke and mirrors, polishing a turd, putting lipstick on a pig….whatever you want to call it those methods do NOT have the life span they once did in business because customer loyalty has become more fleeting. You know why? Social media. Just as social media has enabled us get even more personal with the brands that tell a great story, it has also dissolved the already fickle relationships that exist with brands that don’t have a good story to tell. Those with no story will always stay status quo in the business world, if they aren’t already on a light-speed trajectory to the place where businesses (and investors) go to die.

The process of being sent to an early grave will continue to be WELL on its way if we don’t all work together to help brands focus on the most important part of their business: their story. Content is only king when there is a good story behind it. If the priority of storytelling within marketing is new to you, I’d recommend checking out “Brand Narrative: How Story Gives Meaning to Marketing” by a friend of mine @JonnyBint. It very simply explains the importance and the impact of a great story.

Why “commodity” is a state of mind

Obviously there are products and services that touch customers directly and indirectly but more often than not, companies have missed opportunities to humanize their business, ONLY because they made the decision to do so. If you the nature of your business is B2B, and while there’s a possibility that the products or services you are pushing could be considered a commodity in the traditional sense (pre-social media), the relationships you maintain to do business are not. Even in the B2B world, a brand has to have a great story to back up and justify all the infrastructure and systems put in place to run it. If there’s no creative foundation for the brand, then all minutiae required to run a big B2B business will come back and drain the life out of the brand. They say that crap rolls down hill, but so does a great story and good products so focus on maintaining those. Gravity doesn’t discriminate.

The secret to resonating with social media audiences for the long term is letting them know first how you understand their lives, what’s important to them, and how valuable their needs and ideas are. In your messaging, approach, PR practices, visual appeal, etc. you need to recognize that at the end of the day, customers are people, not just entries in a spreadsheet contributing to the bottom line. Tailor everything about your business on the front-end to this ideal and tailor the relationships on the backend to it as well. You decide if your business is to be viewed and experienced as a commodity or not.

Yeah, but businesses need to make money

Precisely!

The reason all of this is important is that by approaching it this way philosophically, you will intrinsically contribute to the bottom line anyway. Great products and a personal connection generate sales, regardless if they are B2C or B2B in nature.

Your social audience is the fuel behind what decisions you and your company make when it comes to delivering whatever it is you deliver and you should let them know this in the content you create, share and discuss with them publicly. It has already been said a thousand times before in a thousand different ways that, if in your social media channels your focus is your brand, your products, your services, your media coverage and your news, most social network audiences tune you out faster than deer guts slidin’ off a doorknob (insert cartoony southern drawl voice here).

Storytelling is why Apple is where it is today. Their technology is great and all but if you take the soccer mom demographic for example, she doesn’t buy the iPad because of how sophisticated its technology is. She bought it because she already believed the iPad was part of her life and the lives of her loved ones.

Where should you start?

If you don’t have a story, create one. Successful businesses exist because they fill a need. If a customer’s need was filled, you have yourself a great starting point. Collect individual stories from your customers about how your product/service made their lives easier and then build your brand around it.

If you already have a story, it’s always good to re-evaluate it to make sure it reflects your current customer’s needs and to check all layers of marketing, PR, sales, etc. ensuring that everyone is on the same page and is telling the same story.

So, what’s your story?

Also check out…

Storytelling a Start to Engaging Action, not the End

Storytelling, Brand Identity and the Power of Context

Why consumers won’t buy tablets (unless they’re iPads)

Campfires. Not Communities.

[image source]

Rich Harris has been a web marketer for over 10 years, with over 14 years experience in high-tech, both in the consumer and enterprise spaces.


View the original article here

Why Google should give up on social

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AppId is over the quota
Summary: Google launches the Google +1 button in order to participate in the social media landscape, but are they wasting their time?

It’s clear that Zuckerberg sits on top of something that other leading companies want and they want it bad. After all, who wouldn’t want to get a piece of an almost billion person pie that is superbly ripe for monetized business and contextual marketing?

Last year, Steve Jobs tried his hand getting into the social/sharing game by infusing Ping into the iTunes offering. Jobs and Zuckerberg tried to get cozy over dinner early on but after eighteen months of trying to strike a technology partnership, it fizzled. Apple claimed that Facebook insisted on “onerous terms that we could not agree to” so they launched Ping without a Facebook tie-in. The Facebook/Apple relationship was further strained when Apple attempted to install Facebook’s public “Connect” login interface without inking a deal with Facebook first, so Facebook blocked them. After Ping’s launch, it never really took off. Why? Well, for a couple reasons. First off, we were already sharing music in a more open environment with sites like Blip.fm, which of course plugged right on into our Facebook and Twitter accounts no problem. Second, no one cares about Ping. Social media is based on a premise that goes against everything Apple’s business is about - sharing and openness. Why would the social media population adopt a social effort by a company that is already known for putting guard rails on everything in their ecosystem so that you do everything you do online but only on Apple’s terms?

Apple isn’t the only frustrated behemoth.

Google tries again with Google +1.

With the latest push of Google +1, Google’s own version of a “Like” button and their third attempt (remember Buzz and Orkut?)at riding the social media wave (pun intended), it’s clear that Google is still an engineering-centric company in their approach. They’re known for having some of the most intelligent brains behind what they do but their philosophy has always been “algorithm is king.” This is why Google is amazing at search. Algorithms are in their DNA. The problem they face with social network customers is that while Facebook’s backend might run on algorithms, its customers and the social media culture don’t.

Here’s why I think Google’s social efforts are gonna matter about as much Apple’s Ping did in social media:

1. The people have chosen their platforms. The mainstream isn’t interested in, nor has the time, to maintain multiple networks. Almost a billion people worldwide on are Facebook. Every new generation that comes online starts with their first email address and then signs up for Facebook. It was one of the highest priorities for my teenagers to get an account and they pushed me every month until they were 13 when I could legally cave. Just like the Starbucks appeal with a bazillion locations always packed with people looking for the same coffee experience over and over, people use Facebook so much that it has essentially defined what the social network experience should be.

2. People don’t want multiple “Like” buttons. If Google was really smart, they would’ve partnered with Facebook to allow Facebook’s own Like buttons to be part of Google search results instead of using their own. I think it actually would’ve worked out amazingly for both Facebook and Google. It could’ve been seamless AND familiar for content consumers and would have resulted in much more overlap traffic-wise for Google. Facebook is currently bedding with Microsoft/Bing though for their “web results” within their search results template so maybe the Google/Facebook love fest wasn’t possible to begin with. Honestly, I never click on Like-esque buttons that aren’t Facebook because the result of that action doesn’t go anywhere since all of my friends, family and business networking constituents are all on Facebook! If I “Like” a blog post on the Disqus network for instance, using their proprietary “Like” tab, no one but Disqus and those on the Disqus network really see what it is I liked unless I follow through with the two additional steps during the “Would you like to share” process in their widget to publish to Facebook or Twitter, hence my point.

3. Stick with what you know. Successful companies should avoid getting into online spaces that others already clearly own and are better at. Apple makes premium consumer technology products that work amazingly and integrate with our personal lives better than almost any other. Google is the master at search, having hired the world’s top engineers and data/behavioral scientists. Apple and Google should just stick to those and they’ll be fine.

Apple and Microsoft meet the personal computing needs of the people. Google and Bing meet the search needs of the people. Facebook and Twitter meet the online social needs of the people.

Let’s keep it that way.

Also check out…

The official Google +1 video on YouTube

Rich Harris has been a web marketer for over 10 years, with over 14 years experience in high-tech, both in the consumer and enterprise spaces.


View the original article here

Monday, November 28, 2011

Humans first, technology second. Why Facebook will win.

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AppId is over the quota
Summary: Facebook’s understanding of what strikes an emotional chord with people will keep them ahead. Can Google learn how to do this or will this reinforce their heavily discussed inability to be a real competitor in social?

Here’s a old video from 1997 where Steve Jobs is responding to complaint from the audience. At about 1:50 in, he makes the most important statement about technology and innovation if it is to successfully find its way into the hearts of its users. (Thanks Stephen Chapman for sharing!)

After the launch of Timeline, it was made perfectly clear that Facebook knows that the golden nugget of marketing is an amazing story that resonates with other humans. Their biggest announcement at f8 demonstrates that they understand this better than most. Make the personal human experience amazing and the business opportunities will fall into place because you already have the people. It also clearly shows the difference between the way Facebook and Google create new products. When it comes to a deeper, richer experience, Facebook has it. Facebook makes things feel good. Google makes things efficient.

Why Google’s only competition will be itself

Google is a tech company made up of brilliant engineers and scientists. It’s more like a giant company comprised of inventors. They build amazing ideas all the time but the problem is that they seem to start with technology first and then they try to sell it to the humans after the fact. When you build stuff for humans, Google should be taking a cue from Apple. If you want to build something that humans will naturally gravitate towards then you start with people’s wants/needs/desires and you build technology around that. Google is and will always be about data and innovative technology. They were founded on it. They are the masters at it. They had one of the biggest technology IPO’s in Silicon Valley because of it. They may be sitting on top of some of the most amazing human behavioral pattern data sets with regards to search queries, advertising, email use and video consumption habits (thanks to YouTube), but those are used to serve technology advancement and innovation on their end, not really to build personal relationships across a digital landscape in a way that is more sentimental than it is functional.

Facebook is the opposite.

Facebook isn’t trying to be the expert in online music consumption. They don’t want to run their own video rental service from scratch or be the experts at video content delivery, etc. They’re choosing to partner with and leverage the brand equity and third-party technology of other brands that are already experts in these specific space. This makes the integration and value proposition SO easy for them. Google tries to claim things as their own - Google Books, Google Maps, Google Music et al. Even though YouTube and Picasa are the exceptions there and Google Maps/Earth are a big hit, they’re still either functional in nature or are more of a ‘wow’ factor as in, “wow, Google Earth is really cool!” There is value for a big brand to claim something as their own but more often than not, you have to be the first out of the gate to pull that off. In Google’s case, by not partnering with brands the way they did with YouTube (which was in reality an acquisition, but at the surface of the user experience, it feels more like a partnership), they are going to struggle.

Look what happens when Google comes up with great ideas. Facebook steals them and makes them their own. Facebook users don’t care where the idea came from. In fact they are stoked! Now instead of signing up for Google+, rebuilding an entire online profile from scratch, learning a new thought process, reconnecting with people yet again, waiting for the rest of the world to adopt a new platform, they get to enjoy more great features (thanks to Google), keep their profiles, friends and the same old website that they are familiar with already. It’s a lose-lose for Google+ because Google will help Facebook innovate, doing tons of the R&D for them. Google will release a new feature in Google+. If it takes off, Facebook will add the successful feature to their user experience, if it fails, they’ll ignore it and take note. All of this on Google’s R&D dime, blood sweat and tears.

You can’t sell a social platform on features alone, even if you are the biggest name in email and search. :-)

Also check out…

Facebook Timeline: Personalization without all the mess

Facebook is finally getting redesigns right with Timeline

Rich Harris has been a web marketer for over 10 years, with over 14 years experience in high-tech, both in the consumer and enterprise spaces.


View the original article here

Why social media books and 'breaking news' don't mix

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AppId is over the quota
Summary: Chris Brogan just announced his new book-in-progress about Google+ and business but is it too early to be relevant being that Google’s business page/platform has not yet gone full scale?

Just like the tech boom in the late 90’s, the social media era has spawned a new movement of book authors covering every possible facet of the social landscape. Social media in the current sense of the phrase really didn’t take off until the MySpace rush during the early part of the previous decade. Nowadays, with companies and individuals alike vying for eyeballs and interactivity on Twitter and Facebook, it’s been great seeing so many professionals help us make sense of it all. Early on, innovative books by folks like Brian Solis (Engage!), Chris Brogan (Trust Agents), and Seth Godin helped to pave the way for more recent releases by folks like my pals Aaron Strout (Location Based Marketing for Dummies) and Michael Brito (Smart Business Social Business).

The above mentioned authors wrote those books after a decent amount of time had passed with plenty of data, case studies, customer stories, interviews and analysis to back up what they had to say.

The race to stay relevant

I have always looked up to Chris as one of the original gangsters of big picture thinking when it comes to social media and still do to some extent. I know he’s a good guy and has helped many folks get started in understanding where social media fits into their business and marketing mix. He has also really helped us understand a deeper tie-in with human behavior and its role in marketing, which is the real premise behind social media. However, a post on his blog about his next literary endeavor was a little surprising. Yesterday he announced his next book: Google+ for Business: How Google’s Social Network Changes Everything, complete with it’s own placeholder Amazon link.

My first reaction? Ridiculous.

According to his recent announcement, he has been ‘furiously writing for weeks’…about a platform and a concept that has not yet launched. How is that possible? There’s no data, no method, and no examples on how to use Google+ wisely for business. Brand pages aren’t even available yet to anyone other than big players like MTV and Ford, and even then, it’s very much in the development phase. Scott Monty commented on a previous ZDNet Social Business blog post that he is working closely with Google on this as a long term ongoing project but Google+ is barely a zygote in the social media realm let alone the business world. I have a ton of respect for Brogan as one of the first successful social media leaders, speakers, and book authors but this seems a little silly being that Google+ has really only been out a month or so. While it’s member registrations have crested 25 million users in a very short amount of time, the reality still stands:

People still aren’t sure if they want to make the switch OR if they just want to use both simultaneously for different purposes. (A little too much of a time-sucker for my taste)We are all still kinda sitting here going, “Google+ is here! Ok, now what?”The business platform has not even fully launched yet!

In all honesty I interpreted Chris’ move as an attempt at guaranteeing one’s relevance as an author in an industry that lives, breathes and thrives on the premise of breaking news. Trying to write a book about a relationship that hasn’t even happened yet (Google+ and business) is ludicrous. When the platform actually launches it’s imperative that we have at the bare minimum six months of data to work with, case studies, conferences, discussions and real world examples. Then and only then would it be possible to create a book of real substance.

My biggest problem with what Chris did here is that social media already gets a bad rap from skeptics and seasoned business people alike who are still trying to understand its value outside of just being an individual’s personal brand popularity contest. When I see announcements like this I cringe as the perpetuation of rolling eyes and skepticism about social media viability continues.

This is the kind of thing I had hoped someone in Brogan’s position would never do. Sigh.

Also check out

Social media books: Can they stay relevant in a fast-paced industry?

Google +: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Rich Harris has been a web marketer for over 10 years, with over 14 years experience in high-tech, both in the consumer and enterprise spaces.


View the original article here

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The End of Business As Usual: An interview with Brian Solis

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AppId is over the quota
Summary: Brian Solis’ new book, The End of Business as Usual, is now available. In a quick email interview, Brian explains the focus of his book, the shift from Social Media 1.0 to 2.0, and the transition from hype to real value.

In an era of self-proclaimed gurus and experts, there are only few that spend less time talking about themselves and more time focusing on getting down to business. Brian Solis has spent most of his time in social media leading the pack with his focus on big picture thinking and how the necessity for adaptability in business should not be taken lightly. In this quick hit email interview, I managed to get some his time and feedback on his new book, The End of Business as Usual. Brian explains the focus of his book, the shift from Social Media 1.0 to 2.0, and the transition from hype to real value.

You have just put out your new book, The End of Business as Usual. What’s it about and why so soon after Engage 1 and Engage 2?

Engage was aimed at social media professionals and forward thinking executives looking for a deep dive in social media. The End of Business as Usual is aimed squarely at change agents and business leaders. It isn’t about social media as much as it is about building a business that connects with a new generation of connected customers.

Think about the ties that bind in social media for a moment. Everything and everyone is connected by shared experiences. What you’re doing, what you’re witnessing, what moves you, what you’re learning, what you love, what you hate, you are compelled to share your experiences. When it comes to businesses, shared experiences assemble to form a brand that’s co-created by the consumers who experience it. Connected customers see this pool of experiences within their social streams or in the results of a social search. Experiences are influential and they are absent from a traditional Google search.

When we think about the consumer, buyer or influencer, whether it’s B2C, B2B, etc., it is no longer just a collection of one type of persona or segment. We are witnessing the emergence of a new class of consumerism, individuals that are far more connected than many of the businesses that attempt to reach them. They require a different approach.

This book deconstructs a new era of business, shares how to connect with connected consumers, and helps you rebuild your organization to be relevant as you compete for the future. It’s hard work. It’s important work. The stories and lessons I share are told through the businesses that are doing this successfully today.

It’s been a couple years now since you came out with the first “Engage!”. Between that book and this latest one, what are some of the most crucial shifts in social media that you’ve seen?

Between the release of version 1 in March of 2010 and version 2 in March of 2011, I learned quite a bit about how organizations were or were not changing to adapt to market opportunities. Engage inspired success within departments and also empowered change agents to make social media matter across the entire organization. To help, I decided to give them a bit of air support. Neither book focuses on the technology. The coming change in business is taking place not because of social media or the likes of Facebook or Twitter, but because of what they represent to the connected customer. Expectations are now heightened because of the empowerment these networks offer. Decision making is connected and becoming much more efficient.

I believe that we’re at the end of what I call Social Media 1.0, an era of networking and engagement that really was about the hype and not the value.

When you study many of business case studies for social media, you actually find that even though they were successful, they were also very antisocial in their approach. Social media is meant to be just that, social. Yet social media is run within marketing departments in over 50% of businesses out there. The consumer sees one company and expects a holistic presence, meaning that what’s next for social media is that regardless of the hot network of the month, businesses need to be present and engaged where their customers are and provide the value necessary to them whether it’s marketing, sales, service, R&D, HR, finance, etc.

What do you think the biggest challenges will be for brands during the Social Media 2.0 era?

The biggest challenges start with recognizing that there’s a different breed of consumer. How businesses are selling, marketing and servicing customers assumes that all are created equally and that all behave similarly. You and I know that this isn’t the case. It requires a new approach, a new philosophy and a new infrastructure to support new engagement.

The book examines how leading companies are finding success with connected customers. The lessons, case studies, and best practices contained within will help readers earn the support of organizational leaders by identifying growth opportunities and prioritizing where to invest time and resources. The end result is creating an adaptive foundation for businesses to not only build relationships with connected customers, but improve customer AND employee relationships overall.

What types of takeaways do you hope your readers will get after reading your new book?

The book is divided into two key parts…

In the first half, The End of Business as Usual looks at the entire new media landscape and explores its effect on consumer behavior, how they find and share information, how they make decisions and influence the decisions of their peers, and how they expect companies to compete for their business.

In the second half, executives learn how to recognize both the short and long-term business impact, how to prioritize opportunities among traditional and connected customers, bring together cross functional teams, and beginning the inevitable process of change toward true customer and employee centricity.

The End of Business as Usual explores the rise of the connected consumer and how organizations can in turn adapt to effective compete for their attention, their business, and most importantly, their loyalty.

This book serves as the manifesto for the change agent giving them everything they need to make the case, make decisions, and bring about meaningful change.

#AdaptorDie

Also check out…

The official book website

Brian Solis’ blog

Rich Harris has been a web marketer for over 10 years, with over 14 years experience in high-tech, both in the consumer and enterprise spaces.


View the original article here

Saturday, November 26, 2011

LulzSec leverages social media, touts self.

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Summary: LulzSec and other hacker networks are leveraging social media channels to rally support. Should they be shutdown or allowed to continue feeding the frenzy?

The hacker community has mostly lurked in the shadowy caverns of the IRC where the less techie mainstream is typically absent. It makes sense. I mean, why would a hacker syndicate operate in a forum like social media bragging and explaining all of their covert operations making it more possible to find out who they are, where they are, their behavioral patterns and what they’re working on?

The individuals behind LulzSec’s Twitter account can’t help themselves. LulzSec’s activity was getting some more-than-normal airplay as of late in the news which lead to thousands of mentions on Twitter and blogs plus the added bonus of a jump in Twitter followers. Who doesn’t like to feel like they’re in the running for the ultimate popularity contest, with hopes and dreams of one day showing up on Twitter.com as one of the top trending topics?

Freedom of speech versus safety

LulzSec continues to leverage social media channels to build a foundation for a public rallying cry to help save us all from ourselves and…well…any government. At some point hiding in the IRC chat rooms wasn’t satisfying enough so they started tweeting. The problem with social media sometimes is the false sense of validation that one can get just by saying, well, pretty much anything, especially if they are part of a controversial group, effort or movement. This validation eggs on the desire to post more, do more, interact more, track more and so on. You know that one kid in your neighborhood growing up that only got attention when they acted out and rebelled? In this case, Twitter is the perfect platform for those types of individuals.

I’ve seen some of their data dumps and announcements at pastebin.com and immediately wondered what the value is in showing personal contact information for people in law enforcement and various levels of government. Is the goal just to prove it can be done? Hacking has been going strong for years and we all already know this so what gives?

Is it appropriate for sites like Twitter and Facebook to team up with Federal, State and local governments to shutdown these accounts? The argument between what is censorship versus the importance of protecting public officials from angry misguided citizens misusing their personal information is a tough one apparently.

Can or should anything be done with hacker accounts?

One theory I have is that social media channels run by hacker networks are intentionally untouched in hopes that if we give them enough public conversational rope, they’ll hang themselves with it. Law enforcement authorities probably love nothing more than a criminal that can’t stop opening his mouth as the detectives sit there and log everything, slowly putting all the puzzle pieces together.

Part of me thinks that Facebook and Twitter are afraid to participate at all, just from a PR/business standpoint, in dealing with hacker accounts, pages and channels. Facebook in particular is trying to take over the world at the moment so why mess with the momentum?

As we’ve learned in the post 9/11 world, dredging up fear in the heads and hearts of the general population is all you need to make serious waves, drive news interest, and upset a lot of people. All it takes is a 19 year old with superior computer skills, sitting at a Starbucks in Ohio, grepping and catting your personal information to a text file so that it can spread around the Twitterverse for all to see.

How do you think these accounts should be handled? Are social networks themselves doing enough or should they not bother doing anything at all so not to validate the subversive intent of certain hacker communities and networks?

[image source MICHAEL GOTTSCHALK/AFP/Getty Images]

Also check out…

LulzSec leaked AT&T documents outline LTE rollout and iPad 3

As LulzSec disbands, threats remain

LulzSec disbands: Final cache includes AT&T internal data and 750,000 user accounts

Rich Harris has been a web marketer for over 10 years, with over 14 years experience in high-tech, both in the consumer and enterprise spaces.


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