My Next Adventure: Janrain’s Huge Social Media Vision

Over the past several years, I have seen a variety of organizations wrestle with the enormous implications of social media. Nothing less than the very DNA of the company must shift in order to take advantage of the power of your own customers.

The most advanced organizations are working through Jeremiah Owyang’s 8 steps of integrating social media into a corporate website. Step 7 of 8 is using social sign on, which allows users to log in with existing identity providers, like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google, Yahoo and others.

Social sign on is, in fact, the core functionality that opens the corporate website to true social media experiences.

That’s why I’m excited to join the team at Janrain, as their digital marketing and social media strategist. Janrain has been the pioneer in social identity management for years. They understand better than anyone how crucial social identity management is because they have been focused on creating huge value for their clients by bridging the fluid, quicksand of social media fashions (since before My_____ was called MySpace) and real marketing challenges.

So far, most brands have just toyed with the idea of bringing social functionality into their websites, and those early experiments have not gone very far. But Janrain’s partners are different – they have a deep, institutional understanding of how social media is reshaping customer relationships, and therefore, marketing strategy. Janrain stands at the front door of creating social experiences, with critical technology for nearly every website.

Janrain Engage, their social sign on solution, makes it easy for digital marketing teams to integrate existing identity providers into their website. That means more sign ups, more sign ins, and more conversions. It means more opportunities to personalize messaging. It means a more relevant and useful site experience for every visitor.

And that’s just the start.

Janrain’s other products aggregate social profile data to feed into existing CRM systems, and create single sign on for website networks.

This is infrastructure that must just work – marketing teams need to focus on creating experiences, not on the plumbing. And Janrain has built the tools to take the pain out of creating social experiences.

I am incredibly proud of the Emerging Media practice I built at White Horse. The social media methodologies and the mobile marketing resources I created there will continue to move forward with a strong group of marketers, creatives, and problem solvers. And White Horse’s clients will build even more successful marketing programs than ever.

Thank you to everyone I worked with at White Horse. Your passion, commitment, vision, and downright grit got me to dig deeper than I ever have before.

And, I expect to dig even deeper still at Janrain. The solutions are real, and substantial. The biggest challenge now is seizing the fullness of the opportunity. Janrain is ready to deliver outstanding solutions to all of the marketers who can benefit from our technology – which is every website in existence. A tall order, to be sure. But that’s just how I like it.

Onward!

Build Geolocation Strategy from Social Initiatives

This is  cross-posted from the White Horse blog.

If you’re trying to develop your geolocation marketing strategy, but don’t know where to begin, look no further than your social media strategy. These two components go hand in hand, and spending energy on geolocation without tight social integration will lead to a marketing program that’s dead on arrival.

White Horse recently conducted a survey of smartphone users to determine how geolocation apps like Foursquare and Gowalla were being used by consumers, and how marketers should integrate check-in functionality and location information to their marketing plan.

The results were clear: Facebook Places was, far and away, the most utilized geolocation check-in service. And that has big implications for every brand with a digital presence.

Facebook Places is deployed on far, far more phones than any other geolocation service. Foursquare has about 7.5 million mobile usersFacebook Places has well over 150 million mobile users (this number is from July, so it’s a bit outdated). You are 20 times more likely to find your prospects on Facebook Places than on Foursquare.

For marketers, then, the choice is clear. When looking to build out a location-based marketing strategy with a strong digital component, Facebook Places will yield the greatest success right now.

By leveraging your existing investment in social media, to promote your location-based touchpoints, you will also ensure that there is strong brand affinity and purchase intent with your geolocation initiatives.

When a marketing geolocation strategy starts with your existing Facebook Fans, it’s easy to build successful engagements with an incremental, test-and-learn approach. It also provides valuable insight into your social media community and drives additional value for your most connected and most important customers.

This is just one of the insights from our new webinar on mobile marketing strategies. We’ll review original, proprietary research on how consumers are using location-based applications, and how to show quick results in mobile marketing initiatives. Sign up for the March 30 5 Breakaway Mobile Marketing Insights webinar now.

 

Downy Blows A Huge Social Media Opportunity

This is cross-posted on the White Horse blog – go there for all types of digital marketing goodness.

Recently, Downy fabric softener and Macy’s bedding department sponsored an event where comedian Mike Birbiglia slept in a Macy’s store window display for a week. People all over the world could watch “Mike in the Window” on Downy’s Facebook page, and see videos of him trying to sleep.

If you’re asking “why?” right about now, you are not alone. Continue reading “Downy Blows A Huge Social Media Opportunity”

How Social Media Marketers Lie

There are a lot of things that get my goat – but people that claim that social media is solely responsible for getting social media results is probably the worst.

In fact, there’s an entire marketing campaign ecosystem that goes in to pushing consumers into social channels, and then, if it’s good, they will share it with their friends.

That’s the subject of my new webinar with Lisa Osborne, White Horse’s Director of Media Services. Lisa and I approach marketing campaigns with an integrated mindset from the start – and we don’t get bogged down in territoriality between what is paid and what is social.

We talk through the benefits of this approach, and how to structure your own marketing efforts this way in our new webinar – which you can join for free tomorrow!

Register for the big event, and I look forward to the conversation!

Beckett-Style Ad Agency Pitch

This really happened to a friend of mine, who wishes to remain anonymous.

It’s sad (or hilarious, actually), but true – this stuff happens every day. You have to love the creative process to keep going back for more punishment.

It’s Not My Fault You Are New to Quora

This is cross-posted from the Quora Review, a blog about Quora.

A lot of people – especially new users – think Quora is hard to use. And the sign up process is not as easy as it could be (as David Pogue recently pointed out). But Quora’s initial wonkiness actually helps it be a better site.

Because when something is great, you should have to work a little bit to get it. Continue reading “It’s Not My Fault You Are New to Quora”

Groupon Locusts and the Coming Small Business Apocalypse

Here’s my latest post on the White Horse Blog.

At the dawn of 2011, the hottest trend in social marketing is the “daily deal” Web site, of which Groupon is the poster child. I’m not restricting my ire to Groupon alone here, but since they are the best known, you can take every instance of “Groupon” in this post to mean “any daily-deal Web site.”

Groupon is terrible for small business. Continue reading “Groupon Locusts and the Coming Small Business Apocalypse”

Welcome, Social Media Examiner and TechCrunch Visitors!

If you’re visiting this blog for the first time, welcome!

I wrote a guest post on Social Media Examiner on curing social media management pains just before gorging my face with turkey and giving thanks for the internet (among other things).

And, then my post on social media content curators was referenced in Guillaume Decugis’s post on social media content curation on TechCrunch.

If you’re interested in connecting on social media strategy, I work for White Horse, and we do amazing work there. Tons of digital marketing resources in the White Horse resource center, too.

So, if you’re poking around here, you might enjoy:

-White Horse landscape review on social media management platforms

The challenge of increasing quality for marketers

-Why Quora is great for content marketing

-And, why marketing ninja Seth Godin is wrong about content curation

-Lots more digital marketing thinking on the White Horse blog

-And subscribe to the RSS feed for all the ongoing goodness.

See you around!

Trust in MSM Falling, in Blogs Climbing. Is Anyone Surprised?

By now, the idea that blogs and mainstream media create a more complete media ecosystem is well established amongst bloggers.

But, it’s still frighteningly absent in the minds of most journalists.

Now don’t get me wrong – journalists will let bloggers make their own research easier by sorting through thousands of documents, digging into stories that don’t get play in the MSM, and pulling interesting blog threads into the big leagues when the story merits it.

But that doesn’t mean that journos think of themselves as part of the same information system as bloggers. By and large, journalists have been focused on saving their own dying newsrooms, which means protection, stonewalling, and entrenchment.

The scary thing is that mainstream press exposure still pushes so much of the context and nuance of a topic. This was apparent in this past Monday’s Op-Ed page of the New York Times. David Brooks wrote (presciently, given that the election was not even concluded) about how the Republicans would move their economic agenda forward once they took the House.

In that column, Brooks does his readers a disservice – not because he is wrong on the facts – but instead because he is wrong in the context and nuance.

Brooks mischaracterized the new health care law provision requiring businesses to file a 1099 form for purchases over $600. Here’s the passage:

The new health care law has a provision that forces companies to file a 1099 form to the I.R.S. every time they pay more than $600 a year for goods or services from any individual or corporation. If you’re a freelancer and you buy a laptop from an Apple store, you have to file a 1099. If you spend more than $600 per year with FedEx, you have to file a 1099. Republicans are going to make this an early target (for repeal) — an example of the law’s expensive interference in business life.

All of these facts are true – there is a new law. But, it is unlikely that his readers know that this new provision will take effect in 2012, but before it does, another law takes effect in 2011. That law will exempt credit card purchases from this type of 1099 reporting.

Therefore, buying a laptop from the Apple Store would place no additional burden on the freelancer, provided they use a credit card for that purchase (when was the last time anyone you know used cash or a check for a purchase totaling $600?).

There are literally hundreds of articles online that discuss how these two regulations go hand-in-hand. Brooks’s piece grossly overstates the burden this will have on small businesses and freelancers, and unfairly legitimizes the point of view that this section of the recent health care needs to be repealed.

For journalists to thrive in the digital age, they need to be able to use the blogosphere for research, yet still be able to get complete, quality information. Otherwise, already-shaky trust of the media will continue to erode, even as we continue to build greater trust in bloggers.

Personally, I get more than 90% of my news from the blogosphere. How credible is your news consumption? And where is it from? Let me know below.

Fast Company’s Influence Project Can’t Track Influence

The proliferation of social media has discombobulated all traditional forms of measuring influence. PR practitioners are among the first to realize this, because suddenly, their jobs are radically more complicated. Instead of just mainstream media journalists and producers, suddenly there are renegade bloggers, YouTube video creators, and Tweeters that all can drive people to action.

The old forms of PR don’t work in this context: a Rolodex of a few hundred people (and yes, there are still some dinosaurs that have Rolodexes) is not going to cut it against millions of influential Facebook accounts.

The world has shifted, but the tools have not kept pace. Klout is perhaps the most robust service for measuring influence yet, and that only looks at one outpost: Twitter.

So, the come on I received in my inbox recently was enticing: “How influential are you online? Click to find out!”

The possibilities are exciting. Perhaps there was some new algorithm to analyze social media presences. I wondered if a new site would use cookies to see which recommendations I left across the web were influencing purchase decisions.

So, I clicked. Continue reading “Fast Company’s Influence Project Can’t Track Influence”