Tag Archives: social media

A Social Project Starts with the Business – Sample Stakeholder Questions

By Joanna Belbey,   July 25, 2013

consultantsToday’s post is by Sarah Carter, General Manager of Social Business, Actiance. You may connect with Sarah on Twitter @sarahactiance or via LinkedIn.

As the General Manger of Social Business, my team and I work with many firms across the United States, Canada and Europe while they are making the decision to use social media for their business. Naturally, each firm is different, but they all share the common need to determine how they plan to use social media effectively within their organizations. Here at Actiance, we’ve learned that fully defining those needs and requirements helps support a successful launch of a social business.

Actiance begins each social media engagement and compliance project with a series of stakeholder interviews. These interviews draw out the business objectives for the project, in order that social is not viewed as a separate or an adjunct to the business. These questions are tailored specifically for the business – whether that business is wealth management, business or retail banking, a mortgage or an insurance business. We believe that by including all the relevant stakeholders for the business – from the financial adviser, insurance agent, mortgage broker, social media team, compliance representatives and technology liaisons the business and project will benefit right from the start.

  • Who are your primary competitors? (names of companies)
  • Is there anything that your primary competitors do significantly differently than you?
  • Are they on social?
  • What are your Business Priorities for the next 6 ‐12 months? (Maintain clients? Grow existing clients? Attract new clients?)
  • What is your sales and marketing plan? Who is executing that?
  • What marketing materials are used? (Brochures? Promotions? What about outreach or inbound?)
  • What are the major challenges with the business? (Churn? Attracting new clients?)
  • Are any of your users currently “social”?
  • How “social” are your users now? For example, for users currently using LinkedIn, how would you rank their social media presence on a scale of 1‐4 (where 4 = socially mature)? What about other networks such as Twitter, or a websites, a blogs?)
  • What initial thoughts do you have on which networks might be used for a pilot, and why?
  • What time commitment are the end users likely to give to social per week? (30 minutes? 60 minutes 90 minutes?)
  • How many clients are your users currently connected to?
  • What type of content do you currently share with clients?
  • What medium is used?
  • How often is content shared?
  • Can existing content be leveraged?
  • Does your firm share non business content, such as your philanthropic works? Local events and news?
  • Who creates the content?
  • What does a successful social launch look like?
  • What are your goals? Metrics? ROI?

Of course interpretation of the answers, and building that into a full business plan is what takes experience, but by uncovering the needs of each group, defining metrics for success, and developing a plan that meets the unique needs of your organization, we’ve found that firms are more successful when they launch social business. Is it time consuming? Absolutely. But is it worth it? You bet!

RoadWarrior Tips on #TravelTuesday

By Sarah Carter,   June 24, 2013

#TravelTuesday this week comes from @SarahActiance – and she looks at a few tips if you’re on the road a lot, or even a little..

Before I moved to the USA (just over three years ago now), I worked for Actiance in the UK – living 90 miles from our UK office, I worked from home.  I’d cut my commute to a mere 10 seconds – I could do email to zzzmail in about 10 seconds.  Less if I hurried.  I swore to never again commute.

Roll the clock forward and I now not only commute from my home in Pacifica, CA to our HQ in Belmont, CA, but I also travel quite extensively.  I’ve learned to pack for a two week international trip in 15 minutes flat, to keep a bag packed at all times and that if my passport isn’t with me, then that’s the day that I’ll be heading to the airport.  I’ve also learned great tips on being a regular traveler  and thought I’d share them this #TravelTuesday. Here’s just a few from me.

  1. Always travel with spare power.  No matter where you find yourself there are never enough power sockets – airport, hotel room, conference – and they’re always strategically located just out of stretch for your laptop/ipad/phone.  Check out @VictorGaxiola showing his #roadwarrior status at the 2013 SIFMA Social Media Compliance seminar.
  2. Always have an emergency shirt/blouse/spare undies.   Seriously.  You never know when you’ll be delayed or stuck in transit.    And when that happens, its usually the middle of the night and there’s no laundry service going to turn around your requirements in the short time frame that you have.    And while I applaud anyone who’s prepared to wash out their blouse/shirt in the sink in the room, drying it with the hairdryer and then ironing is surely some kind of endurance sport that doesn’t burn enough calories to be interesting.
  3. Plan time into your schedule to eat properly.   Living off fruit and cheese plates on @united or pizza on @Amtrak might save you time short term, but it’ll cost you in nutrition and indigestion afterwards.
  4. Get local social knowledge.  If your network is like mine, it will be varied and you’ll always have someone in that city that you’re traveling to who knows more than you do.  Take advantage of that social knowledge.    Whether it’s dinner companions, or simply advice on transit (subway or taxi?, which hotel? how long to the airport?) use your network to help you out.  Whether its publicly or privately.   I’ve never had someone say no, when I’ve asked for local advice on how, what, when.
  5. If you’re a social being – then share on social  – I’ve tagged my check in clerk at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Vegas (and got an upgrade as a result), I’ve met folks in person that I’ve only known through social networks by letting them know I’m in town, I’ve got foursquare offers, check in deals, new followers, friends and connections all by sharing reviews, comments and content.

So there you go, that’s my five tips on being a road warrior – what are yours on surviving the miles,  keeping your sanity and avoiding jet lag? – I ask this question as I sit at home with no travel planned for the next four weeks… but you never know….

@VictorGaxiola demonstrates how to make friends with power

@VictorGaxiola demonstrates how to make friends with power

Amtrak Pizza - not a balanced diet

Amtrak Pizza – not a balanced diet

Experience Matters: Working with Actiance

By Victor Gaxiola,   June 13, 2013

Today’s post comes from Victor Gaxiola, Social Media Subject Matter Expert at Actiance

cropped.standingI recently celebrated my one-year anniversary as part of Team Actiance and was reflecting on how much change I have seen in the approach financial services organizations are taking with regard to social media.  Whereas before most companies approached social media as an obstacle to be tacked, today they are more inclined to see it as an opportunity to adopt.

This shift was validated for me this past month at our recent Unleash Summit in New York City.  On Friday, we held a separate breakout we called the “Social Media Un-Conference” that was facilitated by our Social Business Team.  The purpose of the un-conference was to allow our participants to drive the agenda and the topics we would discuss as a group.   During the session I noticed that the conversations centered less and less on WHY organizations should be part of social media and focused more on HOW they could be better.   There was a curiosity to exlore best practices, and who is doing it right in the financial services space.  What stories are being told, who’s having success, and what’s next?  This isn’t new news and I’ve written about this before, however the reality is that more and more stakeholders  have bought in and are understanding the the need to embrace a social strategy.

Those of us with experience know that social does so much more than provide an additional channel for your branding message.   Used right, social helps organizations provide better customer service, bridge the advisor and client relationship, and position professionals to be more competitive in the marketplace. I see this shift as encouraging, and working with a leading provider of compliant social media solutions, I  look forward to working with more firms as they seek a partner to help them with the creation and deployment of their strategy.

Undoubtedly many questions still remain as advisors explore how a digital strategy will make a difference in the development of business that will lead to an increased bottom line.  Some of the questions we heard at our summit include:

What are the best practices for social engagement?

How can you create and manage content for different audiences?

What are some of the case studies of success that illustrate the true ROI of a social strategy?

How can you leverage social media to find high net worth individuals?

Over time we will address questions like these on our blog and will likely find them within the collective intelligence of those organizations that are already leveraging social media. Remember, within financial services social media is VERY new and there will be more questions than answers. This is to be expected.

In reality, social media in general is still a very new field.  LinkedIn just celebrated it’s 10th birthday so that makes it a pre-teen or tween.  Facebook and Twitter are not too far behind.   Corporate marketing and sales departments in the retail and entertainment sectors have had the most success thus far in building a loyal following among social media users.  The collective body of knowledge on what works, and what doesn’t is built on experiences shared in webinars, ebooks and by industry speakers.  I participate regularly in these events to learn what is happening in social media in general and then apply what I’ve learned to this unique financial social media eco-system.   As much as I stay in touch and learn about the advances in existing platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, new platforms like Instagram, FourSquare and Vine continue to challenge the status quo.   We are all learning as move forward….together.

That being said, the growth of financial social media and the attention it generates has brought new risks. I am not talking about the risk one would normally consider from a compliance or regulatory perspective because that’s well documented and understood.  The additional risk that it poses is that newness of social media in financial services is attracting a wave of social media “gurus” and “‘experts” that are looking to gain your attention and business to show you the way.  Buyer Beware!   Many of these self proclaimed “experts” do not have a real understanding or appreciation for the challenge of working withing the framework of our regulated financial services world, and as such are likely to distract you more than help you.

One of the benefits of working with Actiance is that our social team was created by the careful selection of individuals with a deep understanding of the challenges of the industry.  As many of you may know, I used to work as a financial consultant and in my six years working in the field learned what it means to prospect and work with clients in a challenging and often shifting financial market.   This experience has helped me provide better guidance on how to approach social media and leverage it to improve customers service and the bottom line.


Some of you may also know my colleague Joanna Belbey who worked with FINRA and is our resident expert on all things dealing with compliance and regulations. I like to think of Joanna and I as the yin-yang of the client experience. Whereas she is focused on risk mitigation, I am focused on opportunity.  We work well together, and as a result can address most client concerns.


Earlier this year we welcomed Greg Lowe to our team who has made an immediate impact by providing a high level review of our processes and streamlining our approach to the Actiance pilot program.  His background in the collaboration space has helped provide the structure necessary to manage the opportunity with the delivery.   He’s a straight shooter and the backbone of our team, keeping us focused and grounded. Not an easy task.

Finally, many of you know the fearless leader of our social team Sarah Carter, who is an encylopedia of knowledge and understands this business inside and out. Sarah fully understands how to balance the needs to address technical concerns as well as those from various lines of business. Her passion for social media is only second to bacon and a strong breeze when she sails the San Francisco Bay.

Collectively our team is aware of the regulatory, business, and back-office challenges that any organizational faces with the adoption of social strategy. It is one of the reasons why we are heavily involved in the initial discussions with multiple stakeholders to understand the business needs and requirements of an organization as it considers and devlops its social media strategy.

Implementation of the solution requires an understanding of this environment and the challenges you are likely to face. Given our experience of working with multiple clients we understand the tools necessary for effective training, best practices for increased adoption, and how to work with multiple stakeholders across different lines of business in the rollout and adoption of a social plan.

If you look through my resume you will discover that I have always worked for large organizations where the management structure defined processes.  Often there were multiple layers or stakeholders to reach a decision, and that required time to take action. Actiance has been the smallest company I’ve worked for, and I relish the opportunity to work with our team to react to customer needs and enhancements much quicker than a larger organization would. At Actiance we’ve been working to provide solutions and processes to assist regulated industries for over a decade and the creation of a social solution was the natural evolution of our existing platform. The strength of our collaboration and teamwork has fostered an environment that operates like a startup, however enjoys the legacy and experience that makes us the best in this space.

So as I celebrate one year with Team Actiance, I just thought I’d share why I think we are special.  I had some reservations posting something that would come across as overly commercial and self serving, but it’s what I am most proud of when I share what I do and who I work for at conferences or  with new prospects.  I think people want to know what makes you special.  At Actiance- it’s the people, it’s the experience, and it’s the breadth of knowledge and understanding of what it means to work in this challenging and constantly changing industry.

So if you are exploring a social strategy and are serious about making a decision to move forward, I invite you to consider us- Team Actiance.  We are ready to take you to the next level of social adoption.  Are you?

SEC Clears Social Media for Use: What does it mean?

By Sarah Carter,   April 16, 2013

SEC_Oks_SocialOn April 2nd the SEC issued a press release, which has been widely reported in a number of ways, as to what this actually means for organizations.  In this blog, lets take a look at what it actually means.


Here’s what the SEC actually says “companies can use social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter to announce key information in compliance with Regulation Fair Disclosure (Regulation FD) so long as investors have been alerted about which social media will be used to disseminate such information”.

The exact text is on the SEC website:   http://www.sec.gov/news/press/2013/2013-51.htm   We’re pleased to see that the content was tweeted as well.  Interestingly, it was in 2008 that the SEC actually cleared the use of websites for the dissemination of key information.  It feels like its been a long five years to get the same clearance for social media.  But perhaps not.   On August 6th 1991, some 17 years earlier the first website was born, at CERN – the first URL for that website was http://info.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html in case you want to check it out.  So, it appears progress is being made.  Our world is speeding up.


  • It means that, so long as a public company announces in advance, what social outlets they will use, that they are able to disseminate key information through these channels.
  • In general, key information is usually mailed out or put on a wire service like Marketwire or PR Newswire and also onto the company website.


  • Not necessarily, it doesn’t meant that individuals in companies will necessary be all now posting content through their individual network updates.
  • It does mean that firms will need to open up access to social media so that Financial Advisers, Relationship Managers and those assisting clients with investment information can access this information – it really IMO opens the floodgates for firms now saying, that if you have financial professionals who need to keep up to date with key publicly traded companies, then they need to see this information.  If you don’t, then it would be like forbidding a professional to read the newspaper or watch TV.
  • Usually when public companies distribute key information like this, they distribute it through a “corporate property” – in social terms this would be the company Facebook page, or the company Twitter account, or the company page on LinkedIn.
  • Record retention requirements means that companies will have retain records of what they posted.  i.e. LinkedIn company updates.


  • It means that they will require access to social in order to conduct their work effectively.
  • As a result of the SEC’s ruling, anyone that needs to keep an eye on key information from public companies will NEED to have access to social in order to remain competitive.
  • The socially savvy public company will use individuals to push this content out, along with corporate brands. Take Reed Hastings of Netflix for instance – this whole thing started because it was HIS Facebook page, not the company page.


1)      Archiving company updates for public companies will become a must have.  Public companies will need to archive the company updates and any other updates that are related to Regulation FD.

2)      Ensuring that the right person / people approved this content is key.  They will need to prove that it was approved by the relevant individuals/groups in the organization.

3)      Companies may choose to share content to a “Shareholders Group” on LinkedIn, a group on Facebook, or a private feed on Twitter, thus requiring that content is approved and archived, is again key.

4)      Some companies might select individuals to share this key information – so ensuring that the content is again approved and archived is key.  However, the SEC points out, that “The report of investigation explains that although every case must be evaluated on its own facts, disclosure of material, nonpublic information on the personal social media site of an individual corporate officer — without advance notice to investors that the site may be used for this purpose — is unlikely to qualify as an acceptable method of disclosure under the securities laws. Personal social media sites of individuals employed by a public company would not ordinarily be assumed to be channels through which the company would disclose material corporate information.”  So ensure prior notification has been made – and that it is clear, which channels and which accounts will be used to disseminate this information.

5)      Those firms that block social access for the wider team will not be evaluating their policies, in order to provide open access to at least view for instance LinkedIn news and company updates while on corporate machines.

6)   Social networks outside of Facebook and Twitter should be lobbying the SEC – who referenced only Facebook and Twitter – but not LinkedIn as social channels.    LinkedIn is the network that most business professionals feel comfortable with and with whom they connect with business colleagues on much more than Facebook and Twitter.  It’s clear that the SEC needs to understand the company area of LinkedIn, but also the value of the personal network – using the Reed Hasting’s example – if he had used his LinkedIn network update to push this out, it would have had the same effect as he did with Facebook.


1) Review your social policies, both for listening, and for distributing content.  This great move by the SEC has opened the way for “no business reason for social” to be removed.  Ensure that you’re including all the stakeholders into this review.

2) Ensure, if you are a public company, that any content you are sharing on social – goes through the same approvals that content for other mediums does.  Archive it and retain it.

3) Embrace this new communications modality approval by the SEC.  Those who disseminate key information in compliance with Regulation FD, through social channels, will certainly be in the forefront of the press and generate those softer elements of ROI, that we all strive for.  So make sure you take this into consideration when you’re looking at the benefits of social.

Let me wrap up by asking a question.  If you were to choose one social channel to share key information.. what would it be?

Social Media Risk Mitigation? Just Do It!

By actiance,   March 20, 2013

These days the number one risk associated with social media for business is doing nothing at all. The old excuses of not enough people use it for business, and all I ever see on social is pictures of kittens are over. In fact, today 7 out of 10 Financial Advisors using social networks for business; LinkedIn gives us the opportunity to form or join groups of like-minded customers and colleagues for discussions pertinent to our business, Facebook allows us to connect with colleagues on a personal and business level, and Twitter keeps us all connected and informed in real time. Social is here to stay. Recently Actiance Social Media Expert, Victor Gaxiola, stopped by the BrightTALK studios and filmed his thoughts on why you need to embrace social for a competitive edge.

Watch Victor Discuss Social Media Risk

We’d love to hear your thoughts on how social has given you a competitive edge, please leave a comment below.

Social media, ROI and the C-Suite

By kailashambwani,   February 27, 2013

KailashAmbwani_HighResThe buzz about social media ROI is getting louder and nowhere is this more apparent than with the C-Suite, who live and die by understanding results against costs. And with organizations of every size, in every market, acknowledging the benefit of being able to communicate with customers and build business online, the need to measure impact is critical.

Social media ROI is often part of a larger goal. For example, it might be used to support an email marketing campaign or it may be used to gather qualitative customer response to a product launch.  So it’s easy to understand that each company’s ROI will depend on their unique social media goals. For example, Actiance customer CIBC Wood Gundy, a major Canadian brokerage firm, wants to build the personal brand of its advisors and help deepen their client relationships, while another firm may wish to use social to launch new products to targeted audiences.

We recently published a white paper on this topic. In it, Actiance examines the potential for ROI measurements of social media usage, and leverages real-world examples.

While the goals for social media are initially based on engagement, a company must first determine its strategy.  A proper plan will ensure all content and response map back to the initial goal. One of the best ways to begin crafting an ‘on target’ strategy is to know which channel your audience ‘lives’ on for business.

Take a large financial institution we work with who wanted to use social to sign-up new clients. When they examined their current social network use they quickly ascertained that their audience was mostly on LinkedIn. Knowing this, they worked to build a rapport with both prospects and customers through LinkedIn by engaging them with consistent and useful educational content; which built credibility and respect.  For this organization, Facebook, (although popular with financial advisors), would not have been the correct network. Ultimately this customer brought more assets into the firm to manage. Millions of dollars later in stock, 401k rollovers, annuities, insurance policies and large trusts, this bank couldn’t ignore the impact of LinkedIn. And their C-level executives took note.

Once ROI is achieved, the focus for any executive will to not only match that return, but surpass it. Platforms like Socialite® help organizations boost their ROI by honing in on the metrics that provide actionable insights. This enables constant improvement; by acting on the insight, results improve even more. It’s not difficult anymore to prove ROI, thanks to these tools. It’s just a matter of starting off with a strategy, which the C-level typically appreciate as well.

We’re interested in what strategies you’ve employed to leverage social media ROI. Why not leave a comment below?

A serious consideration of Social Media ROI

By Sarah Carter,   February 14, 2013

HyounParkThis week’s thought leader Thursday commentary comes from our good friend Hyoun Park .    Hyoun is a veteran of baseball, moneyball and telecom-related startups,  a trained social scientist with experience in cross-cultural gender studies; Boston University MBA-trained marketer; and an industry analyst covering analytics, mobility, and enterprise communications.  He’s currently principal analyst at Nucleus Research .

Social media, which I’m going to describe as public-facing social technologies that allow you to both converse and network with the outside world, is described as a new technology where best practices are still emerging and the value is difficult to quantify.  Because of this, companies shy away from discussing the value and ROI associated with social media.  To see if this is really true, think a bit about the history of social media.

Although there are new social media platforms that come out, such as Pinterest, Instagram, and Vine, the truth is that most of the core social media platforms used today have been around for nearly a decade and are based on technologies that are even older than that.  Twitter was started in 2006 and, in functionality, has a lot in common with Internet Relay Chat, which was started in the late 1980s.  Facebook started in 2004 and the friending aspects date further back to earlier networks such as Livejournal, which started in 1999, and the threaded comments associated with conversations, which date back to USENET and the bulletin board systems which were started in the early 1980s.

So, in some respects, social media has multiple generations: 1) the digital savvy, who started using social media tools in the 1980s and pre-Internet Service Provider world 1990s; 2) the ISP generation of AOL, Compuserve, and Prodigy; 3) the Geocities and early bloggers generation of web page creators, and then 4) the modern generation of Facebook, Twitter, and other emerging social networks.

With each generation, the value of social media activity has slowly shifted from a purely personal value proposition to one where online branding, network quality, and broadcast have become increasingly important.  As these external measures have become increasingly important, social media ROI has become something that can potentially be calculated.

To truly measure social ROI, companies must equate social activity to a financial business outcome such as increased deal size, customer churn, or service costs.  Reverse-engineering this SaaS figure from David Skok’s http://www.forentrepreneurs.com/ is a good start. By doing so, companies can start to identify the actual contribution of social media to improving business goals and creating dollar values based on increased productivity, reduced service escalations, lead generation, and other key metrics.  The numbers and technology to understand true social ROI exist already, but how long will it take for marketers to catch on?

Hopefully we are starting to turn the corner and will think less about social media as a pure broadcast media mechanism or a pure service channel and more as a set of interactions associated with business outcomes.  Once we do so, we can finally stop talking about social media ROI as some sort of myth and start getting to the financial cost/benefit relationships associated with social media that justify the establishment and growth of social media endeavors in the enterprise.

I Can See Clearly Now, The Blur is Gone…

By kailashambwani,   February 6, 2013

KailashAmbwani_HighResPersonal vs. private. Open vs. closed.  Freedom of speech vs. limited expression. These are just a few debates that are shaping the personal and professional lives of today’s worker; increasing in intensity as social media becomes more prevalent in the workplace. As IDC asserts, the worldwide enterprise social software applications market will grow from $788.1 million to $4 billion in revenue by 2016, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 38.5%.

A recent article in the New York Times discusses the blurring of lines between personal and business use of social. Judging by the 125+ comments to date it struck a chord with many readers. And Forrester Research recently published a survey which reveals that 43% felt that social was something they used in their personal life and wanted to use at work.

 Forrester survey

 This new social business paradigm affects every organization, regardless of industry, as written by Steven Greenhouse: “Schools and universities are wrestling with online bullying and student disclosures about drug use. Governments worry about what police officers and teachers say and do online on their own time. Even corporate chieftains are finding that their online comments can run afoul of securities regulators.”

 The last category is something that I’m personally familiar with, as I work with customers in regulated industries on a daily basis that are subject to fines and requirements from FINRA, IIROC, the SEC and others. As social channels have become a natural communication method in both our personal and professional lives, the blurring lines between acceptable personal and corporate use can be challenging to navigate. Compounding this further is the blurring of boundaries between corporate content, distribution of that content and compliance requirements. The result: professionals, from C-level staff down to compliance managers, are having a tough time defining and enforcing policies.

However, a solution was also mentioned in the New York Times article: the social media policies that companies can develop. Here’s the bottom line- If you’re not forming policies to provide governance for your employees, your use of social will come back to bite you. These policies need to be specific to the company and industry, and should outline what employees can, as well as what they can’t, communicate or say online. The policy should contain:

  •  The company’s social media objectives
  • Appropriate social networks that would align with personal and professional use
  • Best practice guidelines, along with examples on how to build social networks
  • Ways to integrate social activities within corporate systems for each department. For example, how marketing can leverage

This clear level of guidance, combined with education, will go a long way in helping employees’ better tap into the benefits of social for personal and business purpose while keeping regulators at bay.

This approach is a good start in allowing your company to successfully unleash social business. In my next post, we’ll dive into the importance of compliance in social business. In the meantime, you can download our six principles of social success whitepaper here, and get started on developing a winning strategy to reduce the blur between personal and professional use of social at your company.

Super Bowl Reflections

By actiance,   February 4, 2013

superbowlToday’s blog is a mashup of experiences from our social network – as we weren’t lucky enough to score tickets to the Super Bowl #47, we all experienced it in digital format.  Here’s our mashup…

Sarah: General Manager, Bay Area resident, 49ers fan by virtue of locale

Football for me is soccer.  I neither understand the rules nor the hype around the NFL.  But on Super Bowl Sunday while living in the USA, I feel compelled to watch. Of course I’m watching on the Internet..it saves the embarrassing yells at the wrong time at a party and the inability to have meaningful conversations with other folks in a bar. And of course as a resident of the Bay Area,  I felt compelled to support the 49ers and my colleagues, but more than that I’m intrigued by the social hype and the ads.

I’ve been voting on Facebook for the Doritos ads for a week or so now.. Love them.. Great campaign.  I’ve been intrigued by Twitter friends who tell me they’ve had early access to ads, but who won’t tell.I was appalled by the Audi ad, thought that California pistachios took a step backwards and that I’ll never buy a Samsung.  Overall, that spending $4m on ad space for something so generally uninspiring, well, a compete waste of money.

Then I saw the scheduled tweet from @followandretti – about the game being over, when it clearly wasn’t. (now deleted of course).  And that’s when it came home to me.   The winner for me in this Super Bowl wasn’t the best ad, or the Ravens, it was actually social.

Beyonce crashed Twitter for the half time show.  @oreos just amazing social team blew me away with their superb “you can dunk in the dark” @etradebaby and their sarcasm kept me amused throughout! Mostly though, I loved interacting with friends near and far through social about something that was happening thousands of miles away from all of us.

Augie, what do you think?

augie.rayAugie Ray, resident NJ, Social Media author, blogtheexperience.com:

I’ve found that commenting on and engaging about the game, the ads and the halftime of the Super Bowl is a great time on social media because everyone is doing it. Social media comes alive during big events, and there are few events larger than the Super Bowl. (Well, most social media comes alive, anyway; Twitter died due to the volume of Beyonce tweets at the end of halftime.)

So, I had a blast during last night’s game, as I knew I would. Super Bowl social activity is more evidence of how deeply social media has become part of our world, and it makes me wonder where brands get the most cost-effective boost–from the expensive ads executed during the game or the dirt-cheap tweets and posts.

Sure, people talk about the ads, but do they buy? I wish the USA Today Ad Meter measured effectiveness and not merely popularity. Remember the Pets.com sock puppet? A Super Bowl ad didn’t do much to keep him employed.

And then there are the brands that rocked it on social media at .000001% of the cost of a Super Bowl ad. Oreo’s spectacular real-time tweet was awesome and Buffalo Wild Wings laying claim to the power outage in a perfect fit with their campaign was funny. Hats off to them for being smart and fast, two necessary (and often lacking) attributes to social media success. I don’t think either brand post will deliver the brand lift of even the worst Super Bowl ad, but I would not doubt if the outcome-to-cost ratio of either beat the pants off of whatever ad is at the top of the Ad Meter, this morning.

Hope you enjoy the thoughts! Have a good start to the week, everyone and I’ll hand off to my neighbor in social.. Joanna Belbey..

pic_JoannaJoanna: New Yorker (well, actually New Jersey), Giants fan, even knew Big Red (Alec Webster) growing up “down the shore”

I skipped Super Bowl and went out to dinner on the Upper West Side with @randikopp. We saw the “Ice Theatre of New York” at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. Mostly old footage of the history of ice dancing followed by a panel. Don’t groan, it was great! The best part? One of the presenters was 84 year old Dick Button. Dick Button won Gold Medals in figure skating at the Olympics in 1948 and 1952. He introduced the flying camel and was the first to complete a double axel. Still feisty as ever! Funny, when he dished about other skaters (from all eras), he said. “I hope there are no Twitterers here!” Not a football fan in site.

What about you Victor?

thumbnail.crop1Victor: California native and 49er Fan

This year we hosted a small Super Bowl party with close friends to celebrate our 49ers in the big game. The kids decorated the house with red and gold streamers and we purchased mardi gras beads in honor of the host city- New Orleans.  To prepare for the game, we slow cooked a homemade chili and prepared burgers and hot dogs on the grill for the traditional food coma to follow.  Cold beers in the fridge, appetizers on the table and the laptop firmly planted on TweetChat with the #49ers hashtag streaming the constant flow of tweets.

We were impressed by the performances by Alicia Keys, Jennifer Hudson with the Sandy Hook choir, and of course Beyonce.  We were not so impressed with the 1st half performance of our beloved 49ers.  It was not until the power outage that things started to change, and the fortunes of the 49ers improved, especially when Rose Meagor shared her Red Velvet Chocolate Chip cookies.  Throughout the entire game, I was sharing my thoughts and observations with my social community on Twitter and Facebook.  A small core of friends and family would share with other and thereby bridging the miles between us and allowing the Super Bowl to be a communal experience.  The Super Bowl party extended beyond my walls and each groan and cheer in pixel form.

As our excitement grew in anticipation of a possible win, we could not stay seated.  We yelled at the screen, made our own armchair play calling, and in the end were deflated with the outcome.  In our exhausted state we admitted it was a good game none the less.I thought the commercials were OK- although most of the favorites I had already seen online BEFORE the Super Bowl.  I thought the best commercial was the unscripted one by Oreo.  As Sarah has shared, during the power outage the clever and fast thinking people at Oreo managed to take advantage of the situation to promote their beloved cookie and crate social media magic.  It was brilliant.

Here is a link to the storify of online activity before, during and after the game.

Super Bowl Tweets  http://storify.com/victorgaxiola/superbowl-tweets via @victorgaxiola

Jeff was part of the conversation.  What say you Jeff?

617009_10151138840289767_808874225_oJeff:  Football Fan

Here were the top three moments for me in regards to the Super Bowl 47.

First,  Not winning, but enjoying the friendly competition amongst co-workers that won our pool. Second, supporting a local family owned Pizza Place, Santa-Clara Pizza-Party, and Third, saving over $100 on not needing to buy Championship T-shirts for me and the kids (Okay I wouldn’t have minded that one). Lastly, yes I know this is number four, watching with my family of five and my virtual party of thousands, by reading posts and thought of plays, the entertainment and of the commercials.  All an all this rates up as one of the best games I have participated in as a fan.

Which brings us to Carol.

carolalexanderCarol:  San Francisco Sports Fan

My husband and I stayed home to watch on our new TV this year.  Mostly, we wanted to be able to watch the game and the commercials without interruption.  Made the chili just in the nick of time before kickoff. My Mom and her dog came over.  Recorded the game in case we missed anything.  We are very serious.  My first favorite commercial – Taco Bell senior citizens party.  Who says you’re too old to have fun :)  Spent the first half yelling at the TV since the real Niners had not yet shown up.  Was too nervous to write anything but watch the play by play comments by my Facebook friends.  Thought the Beyonce half time show was great, but seemed somewhat unreal.  Wow can they dance, though!

Second half, more yelling at the TV but this time it was the real Niners that were catching up.  Saw my friends William Graham and Drena Large post on nearly every play at that point.  Had to close my iPad mini…..needed to focus on sending good Karma to the Niners.  Watch all the game and all the commercials.  Was interested to see that Mercedes used Daniel Dafoe as the devil.  But by in large, not the best year for commercials.

Niners came up short so that was sad.  But the Ravens won fair and square in spite of the bad holding “no call”.

Looking forward to my SF Giants World Champion baseball.  Pitchers and Catchers show up for spring training next week.  Hubby and I show up first weekend in March!  Can’t wait.

How about you?  What was your Super Bowl experience?

Keeping it clean

By actiance,   February 1, 2013


Two freedom of information requests reported in the last couple of weeks reveal that in the last few years staff at both the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Department of Transport (DoT) have been fired for social media misuse. Whilst the details of the exact circumstances have not been revealed, the UK Government does seem to be sending out mixed messages.

On one hand in its guidance to civil servants issue in May last year it cited it wanted to encourage direct conversation over social, but in response to these recent reports the DWP said that only personnel that had an absolute need were able to use it. Whilst there is definitely an argument for not enabling everyone within an organisation to have access to social media, there has to be a balance of conversation to engage with a community.

According to The Guardian, the DWP has taken disciplinary action over actions on Facebook and Twitter on 116 members of staff since 2009. Most received a warning of some type, but 11 were fired. The DoT, which has a much smaller staff level, had 25 incidents of social media misuse, which resulted in five staff being sacked.

While all employees must behave appropriately and follow guidelines, the immediate nature of social media can mean that sometimes the brain’s discretion filter isn’t always on. Organisations and businesses need to protect both themselves and their employees by ensuring that inappropriate content doesn’t end up online.

A comment made in the heat of the moment, can take on a whole new life of its own. UK PM, David Cameron only joined in the Twitter conversation late last year to a torrent of abuse in response to his first tweet. Wisely did not respond, perhaps as a result of already having to apologise in 2009 when he used bad language just talking about Twitter on live radio, the ultimate real-time communication.

Many major live broadcasts have a few seconds delay to ensure that nothing untoward goes out and enterprises have been using filters in corporate emails for over a decade. Isn’t about time we stopped sacking people for their own stupidity on social and try and provide them with tools to ensure they don’t cause offence in the first place?