Well it has been quite a year in the worlds of Tech and Social Media. We have seen it all from the rise of micro-video to the fall of Google Reader, so we thought it would be fun to take a stroll down memory lane to visit the Top 10 blogs put out by our team this year. We can’t wait to get started on strategy for the 2014 …
We met writer Camille Dodero at an event we co-organized called Abstract Austin. It was an art show and auction to benefit The Progeria Foundation in the name of Adalia Rose. If you don’t know the story of Adalia, it’s heartfelt, gripping, sad, happy and all of the emotions in between. Adalia Rose is an inspiring young girl that became the target of online trolls because of the fear and misinformation surrounding her and her disease. It was a Social campaign that we happily took on for the good of helping protect an innocent child from online bullying.
There are many CEOs who never speak on behalf of their company, let alone take to the marketing airwaves. Where is the study on the number of CEOs who don’t show up in their own TV advertising, or those who don’t share their opinions on talk shows, or on the radio? It’s not necessarily a CEO’s job to represent the company publicly. If it was, they’d find ample time to fit it in, and companies would only hire supremely polished personalities for CEOs. How does a CEO benefit from splitting time and focus between marketing and innovating? This is why (for every year leading up to now) companies employed marketing and PR departments to handle these jobs. Why wouldn’t Social Media fall onto the shoulders of those departments just the same?
If you’re an avid follower of Speak Social, you might remember a story we published a few months back about our leaders, Brad & Adam, meeting with a group of Pakistani delegates at the request of the U.S. State Department to discuss our methodologies in Social Media. Well we must have pleased someone (or at least didn’t tick off the U.S. State Department too much) because they invited us back … and they packed the house with some truly amazing people! The topic of discussion was Rise of Social Entrepreneurship in the U.S., and the attendees represented 20 different countries, including: Armenia, Bahrain, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Chile, Czech Republic, Kenya, Mauritania, Mexico, Nepal, New Zealand, Nigeria, Palestinian Territories, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Turkey, and Yemen … whew!
Thanks to Instagram, the world I live in (Facebook) has become obsessed with filtering photos to look like a Polaroid snapshot from 1978. Unfortunately, Instagram’s capabilities stopped at still pictures, leaving the live-action world to dream of the day they could apply the same 70s-esque filter to their video posts, capturing the wonderful aesthetic of “Xanadu” from their smartphones. That dream has come true. Beginning, well … right now, Instagram is rolling out a new video-feature to its popular app for both iOS and Android (Windows Phone continues to be ignored).
One benefit of analyzing companies from the outside-in is that I pick up on many things in an organization that often go un-noticed by leadership. For instance, I can assess what’s wrong with a marketing strategy in a way that a CMO cannot, because I have an unencumbered perspective. I most often observe that the Sales and Marketing Departments are operating almost entirely independent of one another. It’s perfectly indicative of the old adage “the right hand doesn’t know what the left is doing.” Before I address how to fix the problems, let’s discuss how to identify you have a problem. This is a somewhat loaded point, in that most of you will find you have this problem to a varying degree. How do you know?
I was watching my favorite political talk show the other day, and they did a segment on Millennials (my generation). The main thesis was that we are lazy, entitled do-nothings; and as I listened, I began thinking, “I’m none of those things!” One guest on the show was an advertising mogul who talked about how this is the worst generation he has ever seen. I was taken aback not by what he said – I get that every older generation looks at the younger generations with a hint of disdain – but by the fact that it came from a man who makes his money from advertising. I just started screaming at the TV, “YEAH, WELL YOU CREATED US! Your industry is the one that sold us on the dream that we can be anything!” Now, some will think I’m just another Millennial shirking responsibility, and you may be right. However, I know that my generation is extremely talented, overly informed, and have realized the dream we were sold is a big pile of crap.
Facebook is in the midst of an interesting saga. They went public with Google–like expectations, but not the strategy in place to fully capitalize on the amazing amount of data that they captured. In a move that some might call “if you can’t beat them, steal a couple of their guys and copy them,” Facebook announced its new graph search, not so much as a Google clone, but as a re-interpretation of online search itself. This is actually where I, and many others, predicted early on that Social Media would go. The Facebook graph seems like an obvious evolution, even though it is still very much in Beta.
When I get to the Speak Social office in the mornings, my routine is simple: I take my laptop out of my black messenger bag, plug it in the outlet behind my desk, and open Internet Explorer (no judgments please). I have three homepages that I check regularly: CNN, Facebook and Gmail. Normally, very little piques my interest on these pages and I proceed to my daily tasks of tweeting and blogging for clients. However, yesterday morning was different. As I scrolled quickly through my Facebook feed, seizure-inducing flashes of red boxes housing pink equal signs met my eye. I’m a bit of a news junky, therefore aware that yesterday was a big day for LGBTQ Rights … and equal rights in general for that matter. I knew Washington would be bustling with protesters as the U.S. Supreme Court listened to arguments from both sides of the hot-button gay marriage issue. What never occurred to me was the tenacity with which this court case – taking place 2,000 miles from where I live in Austin – would spread through Social Media. I knew I would see a few posts from my more politically active friends (many of whom refuse to lay the Occupy Movement to rest). However, what I saw yesterday morning was not a grassroots viral movement, but a strategically initiated virus campaign.
One major rule of Social Media marketing is to track everything, and at Speak Social we take that responsibility very seriously. When certain content goes out for clients that I suspect will perform well, I monitor its performance closely. I pride myself on knowing when and where every click happens. That is where this story of discovery begins …
Google Analytics, for most people, is the end-all-be-all to traffic numbers. People rely on this data to prove the worth of their online campaigns because Google Analytics provides very useful metrics. It gather clicks, web traffic, time-on-site, bounce rate and other data points into one place for content managers to monitor. It measures success, and it measures failure, and (theoretically) you can use that data to adjust your strategy accordingly. For many, it is the most trusted source for analytics out there. Recently, however, we found a very serious chink in the Google Analytics armor.
Last Thursday, the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a Civil Antitrust Lawsuit against Bazaarvoice Inc. (Austin, TX), challenging the company’s acquisition of competitor, PowerReviews Inc. The DOJ said that the $168.2 million transaction substantially lessened competition in the U.S. Product Ratings & Reviews market; thus resulting in higher prices and diminished innovation.
However, Bazaarvoice expects to win the anti-trust case because, as Bazaarvoice Executives stated, the DOJ doesn’t understand the complexities of the Product Ratings & Review market; a major reason as to why they don’t understand how easy it is for many tech companies to offer similar services.
Indeed this claim brings up an important question: can you own the market on an “open source” service that anyone (and everyone these days) has to offer? According to Bazaarvoice documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the company provided the DOJ with extensive documents, data, and information demonstrating that the acquisition of PowerReviews was pro-competitive and did not result in a lessening of competition.