Archive for “September, 2011”

Social Media Roundup for Sept 30th

As Facebook has been on our front page for the past two weeks,we feel like we’ve missed out some big movements in the social media world.  We certainly have some catching up to do, so does Google.

On September 20th, two days before Facebook’s f8 conference, Google+ announced it is now open to the public, and has 9 new features, which added up a  total of 100 updates since it launched three months ago.

  • Hangouts on your phone finally works on Android(version 2.3 or greater) powered mobile phones. We can now video chat with friends from our Circle or join other people’s conversation while on the go.
  • Hangouts On Air allows us to speak to a large audience, or alternatively, view as a spectator.
  • Hangouts with extras include several net new functions which enable us to do things more than chatting.
    • Share screen with our friends through Screensharing
    • Draw, doodle or just scribble together on Sketchpad
    • Google Docs is now supported on Google+
    • Named Hangouts for when we want to join or create a public a private hangout about a certain topic
  • The Hangouts API is now available to developers to build new apps and games off of
  • Search in Google+ lets us search for relevant people and posts, as well as popular content from around the web

After Google+’s announcement,  research estimated that the site has received about 15 million U.S  visitors last week, which was 13 TIMES more traffic then the week before!  Furthermore, according to a Google+ statistician Paul Allen:

“The growth rate has skyrocketed to rates we only saw during the first week of its field test”

Registered users on Google+ went up 30% in two days to an estimated 43.4 million – the biggest growth since its first beta launch three months ago.

Now let’s get back on Facebook,  as today is the day Timeline is going to be rolled out to regular users (if you have signed up earlier).  Be prepared!

Social Media Group’s upcoming webinar with Social Media Today!

We are proudly to present our next webinar with Social Media Today. Tom Foremski and Steven Rosenbaum will join us to discuss:

Is Curation the New Journalism?

Where journalists used to be the trusted agents for reporting on the ground and fact-checking stories before publication, every Web user is now a potential journalist.  And as the deluge of user-generated information gathers strength, finding out what’s important to people in their private and working lives becomes more and more challenging. How to sort between truth, half truth and falsehood? Technical filtering can’t (yet) match human capacity to discriminate between useful content and garbage. This is the increasingly vital role of the online curator. The discussion will examine to what extent curation is becoming integral to journalism, and whether bloggers and tweeters can adequately play the the reporting role of journalists.

We’ll cover the following questions, as well as your own:

  • What’s the difference between curation and journalism?
  • How does factchecking work in the blogosphere?
  • What are emerging best practices for online curators?
  • Can the hive mind of the Internet match the formal editorial structure of a traditional news organization when it comes to producing accurate reporting and analysis of current events?

Register to the Webinar and  join us on October 4th  at 12pm EST/9am PST. It’s free!


The New Facebook – Social Media Roundup for September 23, 2011

With the recently passed F8 Developer Conference, Facebook’s spotlight from last week has continued into this week and I think it may hold onto that spotlight for a little while longer as the new features roll out, which started happening on Tuesday night.

New Features:

#1) Top Stories

Facebook has replaced the old News Feed with a smarter feed. Whether you are on Facebook every day or not all that often, the new feature will let you know the “top stories” since the time you last logged on, so you don’t have to go through everything or miss out on important news. How does it do this? By simple actions such as hiding something on your News Feed and using the new control in the top right of each story to unmark something as a top story, Facebook gets a better idea of what you want to see. In other words, it starts thinking, “What would Kirsten be interested in seeing?”

#2) Timeline

The old Facebook didn’t seem to have the best representation of an individual, as it only offered a snippet of our current life. Say, if I added a new friend, they would only be able to easily see what I have been up to within the last week or so but the new Facebook Timeline allows for friends to see the highlights of my life (whatever I choose to share of course) and this can be kept on my Timeline forever, dating back all the way to birth!

Check out this video for a little introduction to the Timeline:

#3) Real-Time Ticker

You never have to leave; it’s a one-stop shop! With newly formed partnerships, you can watch a show on Hulu, listen to a song on Spotify or stay updated on current events with Yahoo News and you can let all of your friends know what you are “watching,” “listening,” or “reading.” These types of notifications will show up on another one of the new features, your real-time Ticker. This sounds like a great marketing opportunity. If you see that a lot of your friends are “watching” the Grey’s Anatomy premier, maybe you want to tune in too?

This is all great but that real-time Ticker will keep changing as updates keep happening. How does a brand become important enough to a find a permanent place in your timeline? This is the real opportunity for a brand to build a relationship with you and get on your Wall so that your friends can see the brands you are loyal to. This is the challenge that seems to be ahead of us.

Here’s the results from a Mashable poll asking people how they feel about the new Facebook:

How do you feel?

Finally, check out this video of Andy Samberg impersonating Mark Zuckerberg at the F8 2011 for some end of the week giggles.



Social Media Today Webinar: WTH is Marketing Automation?

What is marketing automation, and why should you care?

Marketing automation is highly controvesial; it refers to a new class of software designed to lower costs and increase revenue by automating both marketing and (gasp) customer engagement processes. There are a number of different solutions in the market, but in all cases they generate massive amounts of data that need to be crunched.

Can software do as good a job as a person? By making an effort to streamline efforts and boost revenues, do we risk losing the human touch, and does that even matter? It’s a hot debate that will only get hotter as more MA software hits the market.

Join me and find out next week on the latest installment in the Social Media Today Best Thinkers Webinar Series, Tuesday September 27th at 12EDT/9PST. Click HERE to register.

We have an impressive panel set up to debate the pros and cons of marketing automation – representing the pro-MA perspective will be Lisa Arthur, CMO of Aprimo, a marketing automation company.  Arguing the “con” case will be Mike Volpe CMO of Hubspot, an inbound marketing software company.

Join us next week on Tuesday for this free webinar – register here!

Facebook Rules, Rolls Changes: Social Media Round Up for September 16, 2011

This past week in the world of social media was all about Facebook

Facebook rules. Stats released this week show it continues to be the dominate social network. According to the latest Nielson Social Media Report (Q3, 20011) released this week, U.S netizens have spent over FIVE MILLION minutes (equivalent to approximately 102 years) on Facebook up until May, 2011. Time spent on Facebook is far more (100 times) than the time spent on Twitter, or any other websites.

This week, Facebook introduced several significant updates on their social network services in order to keep its crown as the top social social network in the world. From the Facebook blog:

#1 Improved  Friend Lists

Smart Lists are a new improvement to the existing friends list feature on Facebook. It helps to easily group friends into different lists, and receive updates from or share to different lists of friends. The best part is, Facebook even does the grouping for you!

  • You will see smart lists that create themselves and stay up-to-date based on profile info your friends have in common with you – like your school, work, family and city.

Facebook will also allow you to create your own Close Friends and Acquaintances lists, which allows you to see more updates from your best friends, and see less from the not-so-close ones.

The platform now makes Better Friend Suggestions for you to add friends into your  friend lists.

#2 Subscribe button

If the new friend lists are Facebook’s answer to the Circles from Google+, then the brand new Subscribe Button would be their move against Twitter. The Subscribe Button allows users to do three things:

  • To choose what type of content you want to see from your friends news feeds
  • To see certain types of updates from people whom you are not friends with
  • To share content with people whom you not friends with

Generally speaking, the Subscribe Button is very close to the functionality of  the “Follow” Button on Twitter.

#3 “View Share” button

The View Share option hasn’t been officially announced by Facebook yet, however, we heard that Facebook is currently conducting closed testing of this feature. The View Share option will appear on the comment box which allows user to see how people shared your content.

It is not hard to recognize that Facebook forward looking and gearing itself  up for the long haul . What do you think, should we now call it Facebook+?

Webinar: Defining and Building Online Influence

Social Media Today logo

We’ve partnered with Social Media Today on an ongoing (more or less weekly) webinar series, moderated by yours truly. Next week is our second: join us on September 20th at 12pm EST / 9am PST for a an exclusive, live discussion about online influence! Here’s the official blurb:

“Over the past few years the application of analytics to social media activity has generated a new metric: Influence. The assumption behind influence is that the more of it you or your business have, the more value and leverage you possess in the eyes of your audience and customers. But is this really so? In this webinar – moderated by Social Media Group Founder and CEO Maggie Fox with panelists Megan Berry, Marketing Manager at Klout and Vanessa DiMauro, CEO of Leader Networks – the concept of influence will be examined deeply. The questions to be addressed will include:

  • How do you define online influence and what is its relationship to “off-line” influence?
  • Is online influence valuable and to whom?
  • What does online influence have to do with ROI?
  • Is online influence different in B2B and B2C?
  • How do you build online influence and can it be gamed?
  • What examples can you offer about the value of online influence?

Please join us in this conversation about what could be the most relevant and useful measurement we have for the value of our online involvement!”

You can register for this free webinar here. I hope you’ll join us!

Over 23,000 Page Views! SMG's Adam Zhang's "Social Media in China" Deck Rocks Slideshare- Most Popular of the Week!

Clearly SMG’s Adam Zhang’s insightful presentation has wowed the social media community as much as it wowed us internally at SMG. We’re thrilled to see that so many have reposted Adam’s work, and are so interested in better understanding what is happening in the Chinese market. We’re starting to have serious conversations about how to integrate social marketing strategies into this dynamic and compelling market, and are extremely excited about the possibilities for globally integrated social media campaigns. Stay tuned for more!

Check it out:

Social Media Support for Mayor Ford – Not So Much!

We recently completed some analysis for the Toronto Star about social media perceptions of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.   Here is a quick summary of our findings:

There’s no questioning Mayor Rob Ford’s popularity among Torontonians.  He received 53% of the popular vote in last November’s municipal election, and approval polls conducted early in the summer showed that at least 57% of Torontonians think that he’s doing a good job.  But if that base of support is still holding, their voices are being drowned in social media, where Ford detractors consistently share the outrage and scorn for Toronto’s top civic leader.

In the last 9 months,  the Mayor was mentioned roughly 43,000 times over a variety of social media channels, with  Twitter being the primary channel, home to 70% of all mentions.  Fewer than 7% of the posts were positive. The largest spikes of online mentions  were brought on by this summer’s biggest controversies, like Ford’s decision to skip the Pride Parade, his suggestion that citizens call 911 if they witness graffiti artists defacing property just to name a few.  Negative mentions about the civic head hit record highs in July spurred by Doug Ford’s dust up with Margaret Atwood about the potential closing of public libraries and other cost-cutting measures being discussed at the time.

Looking at approval polls or election results, it’s clear that Rob Ford has the support of Toronto voters. However, these supportive voices seem to be overshadowed in social media where Ford detractors continually dominate the conversation landscape.   Politics are fueled by passion, which makes social media the perfect outlet for people to express their unvarnished opinion.  Time will tell if the increase in negative online sentiment is reflected in future approval polls.

A quick look at Social Media in China

Working at SMG has given me the opportunity to learn from some of the best people in the western social media industry. Luckily, my Chinese background also allows me to experience and observe the difference between western social networks and their Chinese counterparts. And now,  I feel like it is time to share my unique experience.

I put together a simple deck hoping to give you a quick overview of the Chinese social media landscape, as well as the two biggest social platforms in (the Facebook of China) and Sina Weibo (a microblog).

Some highlights:

  • China is the biggest Internet nation in the world with nearly 5-billion netizens.
  • Social media is now the fastest growing and hottest topic in China’s IT and business worlds. As some of the major western social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Youtube are blocked behind the Great Firewall of China, local IT giants battle for the ever expanding social space in China.
  • As China rapidly becomes the most important global market, more and more foreign businesses are starting to explore marketing opportunities online.
  • Chinese social networks provide many innovative features for marketers and advertisers. For example, Sina Weibo, the biggest microblog in China, offers corporate account to companies with more customizable features on their profile page and advertising opportunities. The NBA has an official Sina Weibo account with over 5-million followers (about 3-million more than its followers on Twitter);  A-list celebrity  Tom Cruise‘s Weibo account has almost 3-million followers; Even Bill Gates is on it!

Please view the complete PPT deck for more interesting insights, I hope it will give you some inspiration 🙂

Work: You're Doing It Wrong

As is fitting on Labour Day, I’d like to draw together some threads I’ve seen over the last week, all relating to work. They may not seem initially to be connected, but don’t worry – I’ll get there!!

The first came in the form of a post titled “Are Women Dissatisfied Enough?” on one of the Harvard Business Review blogs, written by Vineet Nayar. Mr. Nayar, a prominent global business leader, is concerned about the ongoing imbalance in the male/female ratio at the most senior levels in business. He wrote a post in which he essentially called for us “ladies” to step it up and get hungrier, indicating that our lack of dissatisfaction with the status quo is why it remains unchanged (and has, in fact, flatlined over the last few years).

The second was the continuing media interest in Social Media Group’s unlimited paid time off policy (a.k.a. “UPTO“). A few weeks ago, renewed curiosity landed us on the front page of the biggest paper in the country, followed by a feature on national television news. This after the initial flurry late last year when we first announced the program and saw coverage by Time Magazine Online, ABC News and a variety of other major media outlets across North America. Something about our policy (one shared by both Netflix and parts of IBM) obviously resonates with people, generating equal parts disbelief and resumes.

The third was a global study that came out last week that showed that 52% of North Americans had called in “sick” to work when they were not, at some point in the last year (an amazing 71% of Chinese workers had done so). In light of our approach to work at SMG, I was interviewed about the study (and our UPTO policy – again) on the national news.

And the fourth (yes, there is a fourth!) was this highly intelligent article by Mathew Ingram of GigaOm, asking whether structured work hours were, in fact, perhaps not something best done away with in a knowledge economy, and which also referenced SMG’s UPTO policy.

So – how people work and how happy they are about it seems to be a pretty hot topic, huh?

And here’s why I think the issue of under-representation of women at senior levels and our empowered approach to work come together. As I said in my comment on Vineet Nayar’s blog post (since voted up for by dozens of readers on the HBR blog, making it the most popular comment so far) I’m not so sure that the gender imbalance is actually the kind of problem we think it is. Men and women have equal intellectual potential and capacity to work hard. 51% of the population is female, and a corresponding number of women make up the average university/college population. So women have the capacity, skills and numbers to be wherever they want to be. And yet – they are not proportionally represented at the most senior levels.

You know what? I think the issue may, in fact, be that, individually, when push comes to shove, many women simply don’t want to be at senior levels, especially once they take a look at the sacrifices required, especially in environments where visible hours at work are somehow counted as indicators of skill, commitment and aptitude (as opposed to a lack of a balanced life, the inability to work efficiently and, frankly, sucking up).

In other words – most workplaces are doing it wrong. With an over-focus on process vs. results (“Did you stay later than anyone in your department last night?” vs. “That was one of the most creative solutions I have ever seen!”) they are alienating at least half of the population (if not more) – a population that is very economically mobile, has significant options when it comes to subsistence income and is one of the fastest-growing groups of entrepreneurs on earth.

So – is it you, or is it us? As 19th-century workforms meet 21st century reality, is the issue not perhaps a lack of opportunity, but rather changing expectations and expanding freedom to choose that account for inequality at the senior-most levels? Could it actually be that women are too smart to take those senior roles? Might it be that what corporate America is selling, women are not buying?

I would love to hear what you think!

SXSWi 2012 Panel: The State of B2B Social Media

Do you want to see a B2B panel at SXSWi this year? We do! Please take a minute to read through the panel description for The State of B2B Social Media and give this great panel including Maggie Fox your vote!

Description: What are the latest developments and trends in B2B social media, how are organizations using social to reach buyers of select products and services and what distinguishes B2B from B2C approaches? Join a panel of B2B experts and find out how social is changing the way B2Bs communicate, and the way business customers research and make purchasing decisions.

Questions Answered:

  1. How are B2Bs using social media differently from B2Cs?
  2. What are the biggest challenges to successful B2B social media outreach?
  3. Content marketing, community management and social automation: What works best in B2B?
  4. How are organizations calculating a return on investment for B2B social media initiatives?
  5. What is the role of mobile in B2B social media communications?


  1. Mark Story – United States Securities and Exchange Commission
  2. Matthias Lufkens – World Economic Forum
  3. Maggie Fox – Social Media Group Inc.
  4. Eric Schwartzman – Schwartzman & Associates, Inc.
  5. Marcus Nelson –

What other questions would you like to see answered as part of this discussion?

Vote for The State of B2B Social Media panel here.