Monthly Archives: April 2013

Understanding how ‘we’ feel today: Automated Social Sentiment

I wrote last week about TapDinGo, an online travel concierge that uses social media sentiment to go beyond curated content to build an instant, personalised itinerary. Being able to draw out the overall trending mood expressed across the cacophony of social media channels (tweets, blogs etc) is very exciting but also quite challenging. The recognised powerhouse of social media analytics, Radian 6, blogged that “There will always be a need for human review and involvement to verify automated results, and ensure that sentiment levels are tagged within the context of individual and unique business goals and agreed upon criteria.” (emphasis added)

To be fair, the Radian 6 blog was posted eons ago in Dec 2009 but there has not been a follow-up since to instill more confidence in the automated sentiment technology offering. A subsequent post in 2011 walks the user through the tool but does not touch on how much weight should be given to these results.

Social Eyez is another heavy hitter in the social media analytic space with a focus on the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region. The promising claim that “..Socialeyez effectively identifies, monitors, and analyzes the most important and relevant social media content in virtually all languages, including Arabic – perhaps the most linguistically complex language in the world.” seems to be the holy grail but I missed the first part of that sentence “By using human experts..“. Social Eyez notes further that “Technology plays a key role in our everyday lives, and is key to the success of SocialEyez. However, we do not believe that today’s technology has reached the levels where a fully automated report can offer accurate and truly actionable insight.

Automated analysis of social media sentiment is certainly not easy!

Drawing on my personal experience in enterprise BI and reporting however, the goal is not 100% accuracy. Rather, it is the capability to discern an overall sentiment & trend and associate this with a level of confidence. According to comparative review by toptenreviews, Sysomos is one tool that stands out with a perfect 10 for Sentiment Accuracy (ahead of Radian 6 at 9.4).

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Unfortunately, the demo seems to be for enterprises only so I could not personally review Sysomos. The samples provided seem promising however with the screenshot below from recent news:
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Then of course, after NLP is mostly solved, the next challenge will be to be convincing.. http://bit.ly/10qMpOz

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SiteTrail – Trailing Your Favorite Website!

SiteTrail is a website analysis platform for social media and technology news on the web.  SiteTrail enables its users (“trailers”) to subscribe to or “trail” website specific news content that is categorized by the site’s domain name. This trail feature allows users to easily create an aggregated news stream of only the sites that they find interesting and filter out ones that are unexciting.

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There are 7 categories on SiteTrail.com:

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All users need to do is 1) pick out the websites that they found interesting. 2) click on the “TrailSite” button next to the sites they wanted to subscribe to. 3) see an aggregated news stream of all the sites they are trailing.

Besides website trailing, SiteTrail also compiles easy to understand reports at no cost. This allows users to see quick snapshots of their favorite (or competitor) websites. For example, if users want to learn about a site’s traffic patterns and how well it ranks on service, they can use SiteTrail Analysis tool for that.

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Likealyzer – Simple tool to analyze your Facebook page’s performance

Likealyzer is a very simple tool that lets you analyze your Facebook page and identify action items that will help you improve your performance.

Using Likealyzer is simple – Just go to www.likealyzer.com and type in the URL to your Facebook page.

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You are immediately presented with stats on how well your page is doing. Your page is graded on a scale of 0 to 100. The higher you get, the better. You are also provided with stats on your page. There is a green tick mark on things that you did well and a red cross on things that are not done well. Clearly, the immediate action item for you will be to address the issues highlighted with red crosses.

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Another pretty useful feature with the tool is to be able to view some of the top pages on Facebook. All you need is click on the TopList button on the landing page and it brings you a list of pages that have great scores after being analyzed by the tool. This is a great opportunity for all you social media enthusiasts to check out how some of the top performing pages have managed to get things right.

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All in all, optimizing your social media pages is essential to have a successful social presence for your business. Likealyzer is a very handy tool that is both simple and free to use. It is definitely worth using for every business that wants to make its presence felt in the market.

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Filed under 2013 - Post 3, Analytics

Screenr – Sharing screen captures with audio

 

Screenr helps businesses build and promote their web presence. It’s a free online service that lets you create screen capture videos. You can also add audio to it and is fairly easy to use. Creating an instructional video on Screenr is just about as easy as it gets, allowing you to record, pause (while you rearrange what’s on your screen) and then simply click “Done” when you are finished. With a few clicks, you can post the video plus your comments to your Twitter account, or download the file as an MP4.

 Screenr

 

Screenr offers the service through 4 plans that encompass a plan for $19 a month called ‘Lite’ that allows for private sharing & is good for small team collaboration to a plan for $289 a month called ‘Enterprise’ for business that need enterprise level solutions and they include analytics along with support. They do offer a 15 day trial version which requires you to provide them with your email ID. Overall an easy to use program for sharing on social media outlet such as Facebook & Twitter. http://www.screenr.com/

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Pinning your growth on Pinterest

Pinterest’s growth story is now well known. It is one of the top few social networks and is seeing considerable interest from the retail industry. Thanks to its picture focused design that makes sharing really easy, Pinterest has become the most convenient social medium to talk about products and deals – an opportunity that a shrewd retailer must never miss.

Comscore did a study on the buying power of pinterest and here are the results:

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Clearly, Pinterest is the most attractive social media strategy for retailers. Read more on this here.

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Social oomph lacks oomph

SocialOomph is a great free product that does a good job with basic features to manage your twitter presence.  It’s free version allows you to delete all your tweets and purge your inbox.  This is a good feature to be able to re-brand your Twitter profile.  This is especially helpful for those companies that are just starting up and may need to pivot their focus.  It allows all of the standard features you would need.  Many people feel that the UI is a bit clunky but I didn’t get enough usage to substantiate that claim.  You will need to buy a professional license to be able to connect multiple social sites to your account so you can have central management.

All and all a good free tool to get started with

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Sendible – a social media software platform

If you are a marketer who want to read and respond to what people are saying about your products, service or brand across the web, Sendible is a great management tool. With Sendible, you can engage with new and existing customers across multiple platforms, analyze and track your social media and email campaigns, measure the success of the content you share and the like.

Also, if you want to be more proactive, you can monitor what people are saying about your competitors’ products, too. I found out that Sendible is one of the leading social media marketing platforms many agencies use as well.

Here is some of the features that Sendible provides:

  • Ÿ   Manage Multiple Accounts: Manage multiple Facebook, Twitter and Blog accounts.
  • Ÿ   Tracking and Analytics: Track the success of your social media and email campaigns.
  • Ÿ   Brand Monitoring: Read and respond to what people are saying about your brand.
  • Ÿ   Message Scheduling: Send your messages ahead of time or on recurring schedules.
  • Ÿ   RSS Posting: Post to your social networks automatically from an RSS feed.
  • Ÿ   Free Blog Hosting: Create a Sendiblog and drive traffic to your site.

Sendible offers 4 different plans at varying prices ranging from $9.99 per month for individual up to $499.99 for advanced users and agencies which includes unlimited custom report, dedicated support.

I’ve tested with their 30-day trial account. The sign-up process was very easy and simple. I found their dashboard designed like an email inbox user friendly and easy to navigate to manage multiple social media accounts. I’m sure that many marketers would see Sendible a great and powerful tool.

 

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AgoraPulse: Put the CRM into your Facebook Page

agorapulse01AgoraPulse is focused just on Facebook, and whilst HootSuite is great for all around, multichannel monitoring and scheduling, AgoraPulse digs deep into your Facebook page and gives you very granulated feedback on your campaigns and provides a great toolkit to raise your profile’s interactivity.

1)  Applications:

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You have options for quizzes, photo contests, sweepstakes, rewarding top fans with acknowledgement, coupons and more.  It seems to me that some of these approaches violate Facebook policies, but AgoraPulse has somehow gotten around the fine print as they are used by given top marks by many legitimate business (Virgin, PlayStation, McDonald’s) and reviewers (AllFacebook, AppAppeak, SocialMedia Examiner).

2)  Statistics

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Get the stats on your fanbase over time (when you’re losing, and when you’re gaining). Measure the impact of your posts, so you know when you’re putting them to sleep and when they’re engaging with your PR teams.  You can even get data on your competitors by comparing your page against theirs, and track your Facebook ROI.

3)  Moderation

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AgoraPulse gives you some great tools to monitor and moderate your account when you’re not sitting in front of your managing devices.  You can keep comments in purgatory until you approve them to mitigate “flamers” damage, monitor and flag key words as priority responses when you get back, and get instant notifications to your mobile devices.

4)  Qualifications

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AgoraPulse gives you great tools to classify and export the data on your fan base with the data collected from your apps so you can target them specifically in your next ad campaign, or give your top fans special consideration and acknowledgement.  Most excitingly, you can export your opt-in fans into your CRM system to add them to your traditional marketing channels as well.

For confidentiality reasons, I won’t post the results of AgoraPulse from our page, but I want to comment on what I’ve found useful so far.  I like the idea of seeing when (time window) your posts are most effective, I like the statistics on what was your “best reach” and “worst reach” posts.  I like the idea that they have algorithms (adjustable) that will predict the generated value of your page based on the interactivity you are getting.  It has a great calendar that is very helpful to see when and how many posts are being added.  You can see who your top fans are, and what they are saying at a glance.  And their overall dashboard start page is easy to read and provides key metrics at a glance.

Yes, AgoraPulse is only tied into your Facebook social media presence, but like so many other tools that just give you an overview summary, AgoraPulse does an outstanding job of converting your otherwise hit-and-miss attempts to capitalize on that channel and really brings home the statistics you need to optimize your Facebook teams’ contribution to your bottom line.

Eriel Nash is:
eriel.comhttp://www.eriel.com

http://www.eriel.com/resume

http://www.erielnash.com

http://www.shayne.ac

http://www.shaynenash.me

http://www.linkedin.com/in/eriel

http://www.facebook.com/eriel.nash

http://www.twitter.com/erielnash

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Putting your social media away via Pocket

Pocket

Social media tends to be about data that is in there here and now. But what if you view a post or a link that you want to read, but you don’t have the time? Normally you’d have to remember that you saw the link, or even have to search for it. Of course, that is assuming you even remember that there was an article you wanted to view in the first place.
Pocket is the answer to this problem. With Pocket (http://getpocket.com) one can add a link to tweets articles, videos, and more! The big advantage is that I can view this list from any device I own: My Laptop, cell phone, and tablet can all either access the website or download the app. Sign up was easy. However, I did have some issues on my laptop installing the read widget to my internet explorer toolbar. Perhaps this was user error, but it was disappointing that this did not work.
The actual program seems to work fine. It walked me through how to connect Pocket with my existing Twitter account on my smart phone. After browsing my Twitter feed I used the user interface in to set aside some tweets to be read later. The process was painless and I was able to pull up the information within seconds on my laptop’s Pocket webpage.
Another interesting feature was the ability to e-mail data to myself. By e-mailing any link to add@getpocket.com from a registered e-mail address the data will be stored for me to view at a later point. The site actually supports getting e-mails from multiple e-mail addresses the process was very easy and I added an additional e-mail address. When I accidently sent an e-mail from an unconfirmed, I received a bounce back e-mail letting me know to add the address. Super easy!
Overall I think Pocket is a great tool to hold data you may want to review later. The user interface is easy, the product is available across multiple platforms, and the set up was painless. I think I’ll be using Pocket a bit to catch up on all my social media reading come June once I’ve graduated.

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So you got hooked on the social media train but do you have time to monitor all of the sites?

As any good marketer can attest, the power of brand equity and customer awareness is critical for the success of a product or service. With the ever increasing amount of social media sites, individual are finding it hard to manage, view and respond to all direct customer feedback  while ensuring the company is delivering a strong return on its social media campaign. One solution to this problem is sprout social, an integrated social media management tool. Sprout Social offers a free 30-day trial for those that prefer to dabble with a product before they shell out the cash. The best part about the offer is that it doesn’t require the submittal of a credit card number before you start. You can find the product at sproutsocial.com. After you sign up for the software, the Sprout Social tutorial shows you how to add in your social media accounts. Once that is completed, Sprout Social will take a few minutes to compile your social analytics data for the sites you have incorporated. It then spits the data out in a clean and easy to manage visual Dashboard.

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The main functions of the tool include:

Aggregation of Social media accounts- Sprout Social allows a user to view Facebook newsfeed, Twitter feed, LinkedIn feed and Goggle + accounts in one easy to view screen.  The site allows uses to view all of their social media updated feeds in one location, saving people from the pain of scrolling through multiple sites.

Publishing- Sprout Social allows a user to post directly on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn profiles from the Sprout Social dashboard, saving people the hassle have having to re-post similar message on multiple social media platforms.

Analytics – The analytics dashboard is extremely user friendly and allows an individual to simultaneously view impressions and followers.  This tool can be utilized to evaluate posts and determine what activities on your many sites are bringing you the greatest bang for your buck. Users can also print reports off the site that show demographic details for individual who follow your company’s social accounts. Some of the many reports that sprout social produces include group stats, engagement reports, twitter stats (follower and daily tweets) and Facebook stats (fan and page impression data).

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While I think that the overall structure of the product is great, the tool isn’t the “be all end all” to having your accounts on one tool. A major problem I see with the product is that there are very few social media sites that you can link to the tool. The only networks that the product currently supports are Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+. While I think it’s great that Sprout Social has hit the major social media sites, I’m hoping that the company will diversity its linking capabilities soon. The only other issue I have with the tool is that it will only allow you to add up to 9 different networks to the tool. I’m unsure if this is due to the tools capabilities or if the company thinks that 9 is all a company might need.

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Filed under 2013 - Post 2

A little bird once told me

Little Bird is yet another social media analytics tool for researching a topic and promoting yourself as an influencer in your area of interest. They are still in beta mode but you can sign up for a limited time and get access to the tools. In the world of social media there is massive content being generated every day, this tool gives you the ability to sift through the noise and focus on the most relevant and influential content in your area of interest. It allows you to ask questions and interact with influencers. The tool set includes the ability to create custom reports, for e.g. I created one for product management and it generated a list of the top influencers on this subject. You can then track the influencers and emerging contributors on this subject, follow what they are reading etc.

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You can also run comparison reports to compare a person to one of their “experts”

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The down side is that its not free, it is a paid subscription (they have both individual and enterprise models).

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Canadians Finally Get Something Right!

If a Canadian tells you that he was “grabbing a double double at Timmy Ho’s and found a machine in the washroom that sold his favourite colour touque for only a loonie” you would likely be confused, eh? However, when you log onto Hootsuite (a Vancouver, BC–based social media management system) you will find an interface that is crystal clear. It also might be able to help your business.

McDonalds, Sony, Lamborghini, and 6 million other users are already taking advantage of Hootsuite. If it is so big, why haven’t you heard of it? Here’s why: Hootsuite isn’t a social network, it is a brand management system that helps companies manage their accounts on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and a bunch of other social networks.

My favourite example of how this Canadian product can help my business is that it can time my posts and tweets. This means that I can have an employee work for 3 hours creating posts and then have them post automatically every 6 hours for the next 5 days. It also means that posting something after an event (like the beginning of St. Patrick’s Day or midnight on New Year’s Eve) no longer has to be done in real time. You can set a facebook post or a tweet to go off whenever you want!

Founded by CEO, Ryan Holmes (a Canadian), Hootsuite is a product that American’s are actually using (unlike Poutine, Coffee Crisps, and Katchup flavoured potato chips.) In addition to helpful tools like a “link-shortener” and custom analytics, Hootsuite’s main draw is that companies are able to distribute content and receive feedback from all of their social media outlets through one, simple dashboard. It doesn’t just save time, it enables companies to see a much clearer picture of what is going on in their social networks.

When you have a chance try out Hootsuite PRO. It offers a free 30 day trail and even if at the end of the trial you don’t think it is worth the $10 per month (USD) that they Canadians will charge you to use it, you get to keep all of the social networking content and feedback that you generated during these 30 days. Hootsuite also offers a free version with limited content and a vast “Enterprise” solution that 79 of the fortune 100 companies already use.

So next time someone tries to convince you that nothing good ever came from Canada, remember Hootsuite! This post dedicated to Pavlos Tomaras, a Canadian.

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Filed under 2013 - Post 2, Social Media Strategy for Companies

“put the internet to work for you””

This is the tagline for IFTTT.com (pronounced like Gift without the G), which stands for “If This, Then That”.  This site enables users to monitor their e-mail, social media profiles/pages, physical house, etc.; if its on the web, it can probably be used with IFTTT.  

The system operates exactly like an IF statement: the user identifies a Trigger, the “if”, and an Action, the “that”.  It connects social media in new ways, not just re-tweeting a post or just sharing a link.  IFTTT calls these if statements, Recipes.

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The recipes can be shared between users which is great because as a newbie, I didn’t know much about what I even wanted.  Browsing through some of the recipes has enlightened me to the possibilities, like automating your home based on the weather or streamlining your social media campaign.  A simple one that I found helpful in keeping a consistent brand is the “When Facebook profile picture changes, update Twitter profile picture” recipe:  https://ifttt.com/recipes/90877

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By using that recipe, I only have to update my facebook profile picture and my twitter picture automatically be updated to the same image.  I’m sure this can be expanded to update all profile pics but you get the point.  I’m going to keep exploring the recipes and you should too

https://ifttt.com/

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How engaging is your video? – YouTube Audience Retention Report

YouTube is one of the top social media tools used by organizations and individuals to engage audience. When you wonder if YouTube could be cooler, it just surprises you! Audience retention report is a data analytics tool offered by YouTube for video content creators. The Audience retention report is an overall measure of your video’s ability to retain its audience. This feature could be a boon for video advertisers and demo creators. With this new feature, YouTube has made an effort to reward engaging videos that viewers keep watching. You can now see what kind of retention you’re getting from your videos and how it compares to everyone else’s.  Want to get to the top of the results?  Study this report in close detail and update your video making strategies accordingly. Page rank has traditionally been Google’s secret sauce to rank websites, but ranking videos is a whole new game. I think audience retention tool is a clever way to optimize and rank videos that generate and hold audience’s interest, while eliminating mind-numbing ones that viewers don’t really care about.

Audience retention report

This video illustrates how YouTube’s audience retention report can be used to evaluate demo videos and how your content can be improved.

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weibo.com looks like Twitter, but not so much

Micro-blog service and one of the most popular website in China. By the end of 2012, weibo.com has 500 million registered users and over 100 million posts per day.

The initial of Weibo.com is simply a local copycat of Twitter. It has similar concept, broadcast message within 140 characters; similar features, such as, follow, reply, retweet and “@” and “#”. However, with time passing, the website is evolving to a different direction. This diverse evolution reflects the difference of custom and interest between US and Chinese users.

Today, weibo.com is much more “rich” in its contents posted. It allows to embed pictures, music and videos in the post, and allows user review the full size picture and play music or video in the webpage. It also supports online chatting between people who follows each other and “like” feature similar to Facebook.

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Weibo.com has become the hottest social media in China. (Facebook like services have not become as popular) 

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Social Media Client Consolidation and Scheduler – HootSuite

Hoot Suite is one product that I have started using recently. HootSuite is a “Trillian” from the Instant messaging space. Mainly it is used as a client(dashboard) to consolidate all your social networking accounts, be it LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook. Other than just a client consolidator, it is also a analyzer. HootSuite can do custom analytics for your social media needs. All the analytic reports can be shared within the HootSuite community. HootSuite client is available for almost all the platforms be it PC, Android and iOS interfaces. HootSuite can be utilized within the organizations to build separate teams and the teams can be organized at more granular levels. HootSuite can be scaled throughout the organization. There are other features available within the HootSuite dashboard – Organizer and Message schedulers to custom csv up-loaders and RSS feed.

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Filed under 2013 - Post 2

Newsle

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Do you ever find out something about someone that you have known for a long time that surprises you? I just plugged in to Newsle and found out many things about many people whom I count among my friends. Well “friends” may be bit strong a term for some of them. I would say hello if I saw them on the street, let’s go with that. What kinds of things? There is the VP I worked with for seven years who is now an EVP and rated as a “Woman of Influence” according to bizjournals.com. And a woman I graduated high school with who brought a whistleblower case against pharmaceutical giant Amgen, Inc. that was settled at $780M. And my favorite coffee barista who spends his spare time as an auctioneer for notable charities. These intriguing tidbits of knowledge about my good friends and sort-of friends were obtained through the social media source known as Newsle.

How challenging is Newsle to use? Super simple. Falls more into the so-simple-I-wonder-why-I-haven’t-used-it-until-now category, actually. When signing in for the first time, Newsle gives the user the option to sign in through a Facebook or LinkedIn account or to sign up without either. I signed in using my LinkedIn account, and Newsle gave me the option of setting a time limit to how long the Newsle site can access my information. I was then given the option to add my Facebook friends, which I did. I was also given the option to import my personal email contacts, which I did not do. In no time I had a fairly impressive list of news features about my friends. As a bonus I was also given a list of news features about my friend’s friends too. My friends have some very interesting friends, something I always assumed but now know for sure. The option is also given to “follow” other people (politicians, celebs, etc).

My Newsle page -
newsle

Most of the information that Newsle found about my friends is professional, which is not surprising of course. I thought it *might* find something like an obituary of a friend that recently passed away, since it has her location and combs “over 1 million articles daily”. But it didn’t. A quick review of the “About Newsle” blurb shows that Newsle “does not search personal records, criminal records, phone numbers, addresses or other private information.” That is reassuring. Also reassuring is that Newsle promises it will never make entries on your Facebook or LinkedIn accounts without permission, and that it won’t share your personal information such as name or email address (though it might share your IP address). Access to Facebook and LinkedIn can also be closed at any time by the user.

All in all this is a tool that could prove to be very useful professionally, particularly if you don’t really know how far your professional network might reach.

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Go Crazy with the Data!

In this 21st century, we are surrounded by data. Gathering and accessing data become easier as technology continues advancing but analyzing available data and making sense out of it are getting harder. Data analysis is the lifeline of any business. Whether one wants to arrive at some marketing decisions or fine-tune new product launch strategy, data analysis is the key to all the problems.

Simply Measured Inc was founded in 2010 and is based in Seattle. The company offers RowFeed, a social media measurement solution that enables enterprise marketing, public relations, and social media professionals to create meaningful custom reports in Excel and online. It is now the only enterprise social measurement platform to integrate YouTube analytics with engagement data for Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

What I love about Simply Measured are –

  • Instead of trying to persuade users to get away from Excel or PowerPoint, Simply Measured does a wonderful job allowing users to export beautifully done reports or graphs into Excel and PowerPoint in one click!Image
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  • Centralize all social media data so anyone can look at and analyze the data across all any major social media channelsImage
  • In-depth analysis. From some of the sample reports Simply Measured provided, you can see very detailed analysis based on any criteria or data dimension that matters to the end users. It filters out casual conversation and focuses on meaningful and measurable outcome

Simply Measured is an effective tool that eases some craziness of not knowing how to use tremendous valuable data!

http://simplymeasured.com/about/

http://thenextweb.com/socialmedia/2013/02/13/the-crew-at-simply-measured-have-released-a-vine-analytics-tool-to-help-you-grok-your-video-prowess/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kellyclay/2013/02/13/simply-measured-launches-first-analytics-tool-for-vine/

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Filed under 2013 - Post 2, Uncategorized

Cluster

Cluster is a picture sharing application with a focus around groups and privacy. It does a lot of things differently than Facebook’s built-in picture but the most important is shifting private and personal pic sharing away from traditional SMS methods and into the application realm.

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What’s cool and unique about Cluster is sharing and tagging with friends who also have the app is really straight-up – they simply appear in the users app and can be transported from there to other platforms as needed. The biggest win, however, is the location-based pic tagging to determine which friends should be included (tagged) within each pic; automatically populating that user’s app with the pics snapped from a friends phone.

NEW-Cluster-View

This could be helpful for small teams / workgroups who need to share quick screens of some business planning or project meeting with each other – one person can simply snap and then it’s auto-shared with the rest of the team if they are within a certain location and also have the app.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/cluster-for-iphone/id596595032?mt=8

Check it out, yo.

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Keep Track of What’s Being Said on the Web About Anything Important to You

Mention

Like many of us, I use social media everyday in both my personal and professional life.  Working in Software Sales for most of my career, it is imperative that I’m not only aware of what’s being said about my own company, but also about my competitors and related technologies. What’s equally important is the source of this outgoing information. I was recently turned on to Mention which I discovered via an article on LinkedIn, entitled :  7 Essential Social Media Tools to Stand Out Online“ http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20130328122015-15077789-7-essential-social-media-tools-to-stand-out-online.

Mention is a tool that allows you receive alerts or “mentions” when your name, your company’s name, or anything you’d like to monitor is mentioned anywhere on the web.  The alerts occur instantly and are displayed in your “Mention” feed.  I have used Mention on both my laptop and mobile device (iPhone5) and I find the app to be user friendly and efficient. I’m currently use the Free addition which gives me 500 mentions per month. The paid subscription for individuals is $19.99 per month and provides 50,000 mentions. There is also a team version for  $99.99 per month that provides unlimited mentions. Both paid subscriptions provide statistics and other analytical information. Mention has been a great tool so far, but I’m not sure if I will be upgrading my subscription to paid as 500 mentions is about all I can handle!

 

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Twitter

I have been aware of twitter for quite some time, but never really saw the value in it.  Although I signed up for a twitter account several years ago, I did not actually use the service.  It wasn’t until a couple months ago that I actually saw how Twitter can be useful. 

I realized that different media outlets use twitter to update followers in real time regarding important news events, like traffic conditions, breaking news, etc.  I decided to follow a couple news and government units to see if the information was valuable.  I discovered that, as long as I remembered to check my twitter account, the updates were useful/interesting.  It is my opinion that the value comes from instant updates.  If the information is even a couple minutes old, it is already disseminated on the internet or picked up by other media.  The benefit with Twitter is that it allows for instant updates and thus needs to consistently be kept up to date for it to be useful.

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HootSuite

Hootsuite Twitter Stream

My first thought was – you have got to be kidding me!  This dashboard is like mission control for someone with a job in social media. With Hootsuite you can set up various streams for social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Foursquare, WordPress, mixi, and yes – they even have MySpace!  Once you have added a social network to your account, you can easily click through the various tabs to see all of your social media activity (in real-time) at a glance.  You can see your news feed, mentions, wall posts, sent tweets, events and just about any other type of activity you would have for any of the social networks.

In addition to being able to see all of your social media content from a single site, another advantage of Hootsuite is that it allows you to schedule messages to be sent out.  Simply schedule it and forget about it!  This is sounding more and more like my kind of tool.  Yet, I don’t know when the best time to schedule my message is.  If this tool has all my social media history, why can’t it tell me when to send out my updates so I can get the largest possible reach?  Now that would be a useful feature!

Hootsuite also offers analytics.  Now, I must confess that I am only using the free version of the program so unfortunately I don’t get the reports with all the bells & whistles.  However, I was not terribly impressed with the reports that I could gain access to.  It seemed like there were a lot of reports specific to Twitter and I could also get access to Facebook Insights (which I can already access through FB) so I’m not really sure how valuable these reports are.  Seems like it would be more helpful to have a consolidated view showing highlights of all your social media channels combined.  This could help tell you which channels may need more focus.

In short, this tool does have some useful features (aggregation of social network feeds + message scheduling), but I think it still has a ways to go to before it could become the de facto standard for social media  publishing AND analysis.

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Filed under 2013 - Post 2

Manage Social posts with Yoono

I am not that active in Social media but I have account on Faceboob,Google+,Youtube, Twitter etc.So when I was looking for what social media tool to review I was looking for something which managed my Social interaction on different channels easily without any hassles. Yoono claims to fit that need so I thought of trying Yoono  ,http://www.yoono.com/

It supports both Brower(plug-in) and desktop based version. The setup is pretty simple and fast.

Access multiple social networking accounts all in one place with Yoono. This  desktop application provides a dashboard where you can manage, interact with,  and browse a handful of sites and IM platforms including Facebook, Twitter,  Flickr, YouTube, and AIM. If you have multiple social and instant messaging  accounts, Yoono provides a great way to use them all at once. With its organized  user interface, alert system, and ability to turn into a fast browser, this  application is a must-have for anyone who spends a lot of social Web time.

After Install You can different accounts or channels to sign in for to manage your interaction.

From the top, this view tells me which account I’m viewing, gives me an update box, displays a row of icons for Updates, Friends, DM’s, Replies/Mentions, Lists and a Search Button.

If I have unread DM’s or Replies/Mentions a count will appear beside each icon and I can click on the icon to respond.

So I have everything I need to know at a glance.

If you want to reply to a tweet, hover over it and three options appear: Reply, ReTweet and More.

Clicking the reply option brings up this screen:

On the web page in the browser window two options will appear, allowing me to share either the entire page or just portions of it.

Make your choice and the link is automatically shortened and inserted into the tweet.

This compact application can save you some time spent clicking through  windows and tabs.

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Yoono keeps track of your social and IM accounts in a  streamlined view, eliminating hassle and clutter for users immersed in the  social stream.

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Filed under 2013 - Post 2, Social Media Strategy for Companies

Bottlenose – Live Social Intelligence

Bottlenose is a powerful analytics tool for social media marketers, advertisers and publishers.It provides a live update on the trends around topics from your social accounts.

Bottlenose’s SaaS (Software as a Service) offering makes it easy to create an account and setup the monitoring. The website offers a customizable dashboard to manage your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Buffer and Bitly accounts or content from any of your RSS streams.

Bottlenose Accounts

Add your social accounts to bottlenose

I created an account in just one click and added PlasticFreeSeattle’s facebook page and Twitter account to my dashboard. The Bottlenose engine quickly analyzes the accounts and data feed and generates a report around trending topics and people based on the topics of discussion and posts in your accounts.

Bottlenose Dashboard

Bottlenose Dashboard

Bottlenose also provides an at-a-glance dashboard of each of your social accounts, a feature provided by several other social media aggregator tools.

Bottlenose Twitter Activity

At-A-Glance Account Activity

A great visualization of the trending topics is provided by Sonar which updates live to provide the latest action. An awesome feature within Sonar is the visualization of trends capturing positive, negative and neutral sentiments based on the number of posts and topics of discussion.

Bottlenose Sonar

Sonar displays a live view of the trending topics

Bottlenose Pro provides advanced analytics and rich visual data on engagement, sentiment, demographics, psychographics, geography, influencers, topics and links across all forms of social media.

Bottlenose Pro Analytics

Rich Analytics with Bottlenose Pro

Bottlenose’s technology discovers correlations with any time series data set, such as sales results, stock prices, web site traffic and engagement, television ratings, box office sales and online transactions in order to make predictions on future trends and monitor the impact of your marketing initiatives.

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Filed under 2013 - Post 2

Business intelligence goes social

With advent of social media sites such as Facebook, twitter, Google and other publically available internet resources, vast amount of data about people’s interests, activities and preferences can be found. Businesses can make use of such data to decide their social media strategies, business partners and collaborators and their promotional strategies. However, the data available on internet is in unstructured format. It needs to be compiled and presented in a way that is useful for such marketing analysis.

Microstrategy has come up with a product Wisdom, an analytical tool for processing the publicly available information from big data cloud networks. Wisdom network processes the raw information available on Facebook, Google, census data and other public sources and builds “wisdom” from the raw information by creating powerful market segments and classifications.

What can businesses do with acquired “Wisdom”?

Business can generate revenue with new promotions to upsell/cross-sell products to different consumer segments. They can increase fan engagement by providing relevant posts, tweets and updates, based on the targeted audience psychographics. In addition, it is easier for businesses to identify other products / businesses that exhibit a high affinity with their brands and co-market the product with them. In addition, it is effective in figuring out appropriate media channels for advertising based on media channel affinities of various consumer segments. Businesses can also decide on the strategic locations for brick-and-mortar stores based on the where the targeted customers are likely to visit most frequently.

The following video demonstrates power of micro segmentation with “Wisdom”

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Filed under 2013 - Post 2

Tweetlevel

When I was evaluating social media tools for review, I was looking for a tool that will help me identify who I should follow on Tweeter. That is, who are the influentials for my cause? If I could identify them, I could try to interact with them and leverage their influence to promote my own Twitter feed. To that end, I found TweetLevel.

TweetLevel, http://tweetlevel.com, is a website that provides analytics for Twitter. In particular, it helps Twitter users:

-          Measure how much people are talking about their brand

-          Analyze conversations about their brand

-          Helps in identifying what weblinks are shared the most

-          Gauge how influential their twitter account is, including influence, popularity , engagement, and trust

-          Finds the most influential tweeters

I found all these features well implemented and easy to use. Using this site enable me to gain a lot of insights into my cause and our Twitter account. Of the above features I was drawn especially to a word map that Tweetlevel generates automatically based on topics or hashtags. This allowed me to identify what people are saying around my cause. A few examples of queries I ran:

#plasticfreeseattle

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#bottledwater

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#plasticfree

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For each of those hash topics, Tweetlevel displays basic analytics such as number of times the topic was mentioned in Tweeter over time and provides graphical illustrations, such as this graph:

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More actionable for my needs was that Tweetlevel displayed a list of Twitter accounts it thinks are the most influential for the topic. For #plasticfree:

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This functionality was exactly what I was looking for – a way to identify the influentials as a first step towards engaging them and driving traffic to my own site.

Tweetlevel also provides more detailed information on a per Tweeter account basis. Running a query on #plasticfreeseattle, I was given a score:

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Along with this score, I was given detailed information on what the different levels mean. Tweetlevel has these levels:  Idea Starter, Amplifier, Curators, Commentators, and Viewers.

Its definition of Commentators, below, was I feel, quite accurate for our account, given the status of our Twitter efforts:

Commentators – these people individually have little influence. Their behavior often resembles little more than adding a comment without contributing greatly to the conversation. Their influence should not be ignored but should instead be viewed as a collective to measure the trend of opinion around a subject. An interesting factor is that this group are often self-moderating – when negative comments are posted often these contributors will often intervene to correct inaccuracies or a unfounded negative views.

Besides analytics, Tweetlevel also devotes a page to “Influence tips.” Some of the tips were basic, such as using URL shorteners. Others were a bit more insightful, such as advice to treat Tweeter as a conversation and to be interaction.  One tip was interesting in noting you should create value when you Tweet. The example they gave was, “Just saw Watchmen” could be extended to “Saw Watchmen movie. Graphics brilliant! Great action scenes, you should see it!”. I feel this tip in particular is quite useful for my team’s own @pf_seattle account (as well as to a lot of other accounts I’ve seen) and will be helpful in making us more influential.

Lastly, it also gives a handy summary of our engagement level:

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Filed under 2013 - Post 2

Add rocket power to your blog with Jetpack!

I have a blog, now what? Who is reading my blog and how much traffic do I get? How can I optimize my blog? Is it easy to allow people to make comments? 

wordpress-jetpackIf you’ve ever started a blog, some of these questions are likely very familiar. There’s an exciting new tool from WordPress which makes running a blog much easier by boosting what blow authors get out of the box with WordPress – Jetpack.

One of the awesome features of WordPress is its extensibility via plugins. Plugins have traditionally allowed blogs to do everything from easily capturing analytics with Google Analytics to facilitating feedback via feedback forms. In the past, however, there was no single plugin which tied together so many additional features many blog owners commonly want, including:

  • Notifications on blog events, such as comments and new posts
  • Statistics of blog readership and where readers are coming from
  • Subscriptions allowing users to easily see new blog content
  • Galleries for images and other rich media
  • Contact forms which allow users to contact blog owners easily
  • Mobile themes which make WordPress sites look great on mobile devices
  • JSON API which allows blog owners to integrate with their site

The group behind the WordPress platform created the Jetpack plugin for WordPress which contains many of these commonly requested and much-needed features all in one simple to use and easy to install package. As a WordPress Blog owner myself, I can attest to the utility of having one plugin handle so much of the work needed to expand the usefulness of my WordPress blog. To underscore how awesome Jetpack is, I want to call out three of its nice features.

Statistics

Knowing your blog’s audience is extremely useful and Jetpack makes it easy to caprture how many people visit your blog and from where they come. The following example shows the Jatpack statistics for this very blog; notice how detailed and accurate the metrics are.

Jatpack Statistics

No Google Analytics needed here. Jetpack makes it easy!

Comments

Jetpack allows visitors to WordPress blogs to log in via their commonly-used social networks (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) to leave comments. This powerful feature makes it easy for users to interact with your content without burdening them to sign up for your site.

Jetpack comments

Mobile theme

Mobile device use is growing immensely year over year and it’s very likely any WordPress blog will see more mobile users over the next few years. Instead of painstakingly designing CSS and XHTML which works on desktop clients and mobile browsers, the Jetpack theme automatically renders your site whenever it detects a mobile device. This means anyone on an iPhone, Android tablet, Symbian phone, or other mobile device can easily access your blog content.

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Filed under 2013 - Post 2

Simplified Video Capture with Vine

Taking Video using your mobile phone is really not a new phenomenon. Ever since a video camera was integrated into the first phones, there has been an app that can take video. However, Vine seems to have hit the sweet spot of exploiting people’s curiosity and desire to share, with the emergence of social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.

Vine chose to share video in a very specific way, in a 6-second video loop that can provides virtually the same viewing experience on mobile devices as well as on web browser. This makes it easier on the viewer since they don’t have to download multiple of megabytes (and use up their data plan) just to see their niece dancing to the tune of Thrift Store. Most people would see the 6-second clip and get the gist of the whole video. This is especially true during the Boston Bombing where most people wanted to see just the moments when the bomb explode, or exactly the moment when the bomber was handcuffed. Simple 6-second video clips would do just fine, reduces the complexity where more mobile devices can view the video, and it is integrated with Twitter and Facebook to make social network posting super simple.

With many companies struggling to provide content for the social media channels, there is no better time for Vine app to fill the gap and be the hero for all social media managers.

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Filed under 2013 - Post 2

SocialOomph – Boost Your Productivity

Are you looking for ways to improve your productivity in social media? Do you want to make Twitter more efficient or even automated (to a degree)? SocialOomph is a freemium-based tool that helps manage multiple Twitter accounts.

There are several useful features, but the one I found most useful was the ability to track key words or industry specific words, key phrases, or hashtags. Other key features include the ability to schedule tweets, auto-follow, direct message inbox cleanup, and vetting new followers between accounts.

The downside is that I found the site a little challenging to navigate. The free version has plenty of options for managing twitter accounts, but the paid version provides support for LinkedIn, Facebook, Plurk, and various blog sites. I plan to try other similar tools such as Hootsuite, Buffer, and TweetDeck before committing to paying for the premium service.

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Filed under 2013 - Post 2

Social Enabled Enterprise – Oracle Connects Social to Enterprise Data

Many social media tools focus on managing content in several social channels. However, nearly all of them stop short of integrating social content with enterprise data.

Social Relationship Suite

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Oracle’s Social Relationship Management Suite provides the bridge between a company’s social media channels and its CRM, marketing, sales, support and other data bases. Forming this connection allows social media to be natively integrated into enterprise applications and business processes. For example, social media activity around a brand can be correlated on a real time basis with a company’s TV advertising schedule to observe the impact of its commercials. More importantly, social media activity can be correlated to sales activity to see if a particular campaign is generating revenue or just a lot of buzz.

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Customer Engagement

The integration of social channels with enterprise data, especially CRM data, allows an organization to more fully understand its customers and interact with them in new ways. This allows the company to move from a primarily transaction based relationship to an engagement based relationship. Ideally, this engagement will grow continuously and seamlessly from initial interest to prospecting, sales, delivery and customer service.  This broader relationship is much more likely to lead to better understanding of a customer’s needs, better service delivery to the customer and a higher probability of customer retention.
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Scalability

The social media efforts of most companies are concentrated on one or two primary channels and contributions are made one-by-one on a transactional basis because of limited personnel resources.  Second tier channels such as Google+, LinkedIn and Pinterest and others are often ignored just because of time limitations. As the marketing importance of social media increases, companies will need the ability to move from one-off execution to centralized management. Companies successfully using Oracle’s Social Relationship Management Suite tools to manage large social projects include PepsiCo and Hyatt Hotels.
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Customer Stories – PepsiCo
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 The goal of Pepsi’s initial project was to improve digital engagement by making tactical adjustments to campaigns based on real-time consumer listening. Pepsi used real time social data correlated with branded events to measure the value of event sponsorship.  Oracle’s Social Relationship Management Suite tools were able to help precisely define signals from consumer conversations, so that intentions, interests and trends could be detected and acted upon.
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Customers Stories – Hyatt Hotels
Hyatt Hotels used Oracle’s Social Relationship Management Suite tools in a project aimed a recruiting future leaders to work for the company.  The endeavor built relationships with a large number of trainees through several social media sites.  Multiple recruiters in the Hyatt system were able to work as a team to develop relationships between the company and a large base of management prospects as they worked their way through training programs. Integration of social media channels with enterprise data made this project possible, despite that fact that the people involved are stationed all over the world.

The Future of Enterprise Social

As social media becomes more important to a company’s operations, the value of its integration with all other aspects of the company’s business will continue to escalate. In its early stages e-commerce was treated as an minor adjunct to a company’s business. Often it was silo’ed from the company’s primary database.  Now, a company typically wouldn’t think of implementing a business transaction process that does not include e-commerce. Likewise social media data integration will follow that same path.  The purchaser of an enterprise CRM system will come to expect social integration as a requirement.

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Filed under 2013 - Post 2, Uncategorized