San Francisco, 06/19/15 - "Content is the Fuel, Social Media is the Fire" - By learning who your audience is and how you can provide value to them, identifying additional distribution channels, integrating SEO, and creating a solid plan for measurement, you can ensure your content has enough fuel to inflame across social media and other digital marketing channels. -By Phil Mora (@orsusvirtum)
Content is the main substance in any digital marketing campaign; social media channels ignite that content and help it to spread. What this means for marketers is that content must be at the core of your digital marketing initiatives. Content is what people find when searching on Google. Content is what people share on social media channels. Content is how brands tell their story and connect with customers. And content is what ultimately drives leads and sales.
But you can't just create a video, post it on Facebook, and expect it to generate tons of awareness, engagement, and sales. You need to put thought and structure behind the content you create and share on social media profiles. Start with these seven tips for managing and maximizing content in social media.
1. Know Your Audience
If you don't know who your audience is, how will you ever connect with them? Most brands have an understanding of their audience's demographics - age, gender, HHI, ethnicity. But you have to go beyond these statistics to get a better understanding of their interests, needs, mindsets, and behaviors to truly make a connection and become an important part of their lives.
In addition to the standard methods of audience discovery - industry research, focus groups, and brand surveys - you can also use social media data to build audience personas. Social monitoring software, Facebook Custom Audience, social referrals to your website, and question-and-answer sites are just a few of the sources you can use to learn more about your audience.
2. Provide Value
Your content must provide some type of value to your audience. That value could be education, increased productivity, entertainment, or cost savings. To the consumer, it shouldn't seem like marketing, even though we know it is by nature. It's providing long-term awareness and brand recall. It's making sure your brand is right there with the consumer at each step along their path to purchase so that when it comes time to make a decision, you're the first brand that comes to mind.
Take Charmin's Sit or Squat app, for example. This Seinfeld-ish app allows you to find which public restrooms in your vicinity are clean (i.e., safe sitters) and which are dirty (i.e., strictly squatters). Any user can add and rate public restrooms, include a review, tag various amenities (e.g., handicap accessible, free), and upload photos.
Charmin isn't selling anything with Sit or Squat. Not one roll of toilet paper can be purchased through the app, and they do not try to push any sales messaging. The purpose of the app is that when a consumer is standing in front of the wall of toilet paper at Target, desperately trying to figure out if they need grandma-quilted, ocean-breeze-scented, quadruple-ply, or pillow-top TP, they'll reach for the Charmin because they remember that Charmin helped them find a clean bathroom on their last vacation.
3. Expand Your Conversation
Brands, especially B2B brands, have a tendency to be egocentric. They talk only about themselves ad nauseam - their products, services, features, benefits, staff, culture, financials, and on and on. Customers don't want to hear about this. They're egocentric, too, and want to know what else your brand can do for them.
To broaden the conversation and take the spotlight off your brand, you should create content pillars. Content pillars provide a creative filter and platform that is rooted in customer needs, brand voice and personality, and business objectives. These pillars represent a starting point that allows you to live within your brand's core environment - your products/services - while also stretching into adjacent, relevant, and credible aspects of your customers' lives. An example would be Whole Foods talking about fighting poverty in the United States, or General Electric providing fascinating content with their #6SecondScience campaign. Or even Method's fun and engaging #DirtyLittleSecrets campaign. These topics are not directly about their core products, but they are compelling to the brands' core audiences.
4. Look Beyond Facebook and Twitter
Creating content doesn't automatically mean users will come consume it and engage with your brand as a result. You must draw attention to the content through owned, earned, and paid methods across a variety of channels, not just the big ones.
Ask yourself how else you can maximize the value of each piece of content and each campaign: Can you make the content more visible and sharable on your website? What other social channels does your audience use besides Facebook and Twitter? Can you use sites that accept submissions of specific content, like Visual.ly for infographics or Online-Sweepstakes.com for contests? How much are you able to pay to distribute your content on sites such as Outbrain or Taboola? Are you using Google+ to link to content on your website? (If the answer is no, I urge you to start today. Google+, while lacking in the engagement department, has a major impact on organic ranking.)
5. Know Your Dimensions
People share things not only because those things look good, but because those things make them look good.People share things not only because those things look good, but because those things make them look good. If your content is cropped inappropriately or appears blurry and pixelated, it's probably not going to get shared by users on social media channels. Be aware of how your content will display on different social networks and devices by understanding the various dimension of each channel, and how your audience most often finds that content.
6. Don't Ignore the SEO Impact
It's no longer accurate to talk about the "intersection of social and SEO." These two services don't just intersect; they coalesce into a united effort to increase findability across all digital platforms. Therefore, separating these efforts into siloes and different departments will not only hurt you today, but certainly in the future.
Google's Matt Cutts has indicated that social signals - Facebook Likes, retweets, pins, LinkedIn shares - don't directly impact the ranking of content, but they do help to increase traffic and generate links, which are key factors in ranking. Cutts has also stated that they are working on weighting the ranking of identities, meaning that a thought leader in a particular vertical would receive higher ranking for queries on that subject.
What Google has not openly addressed is how much weight they are giving to Google+ pages and posts. But they are - a lot. Enough so, that I had to mention it again in this article. The key takeaways for Google+: Create a Google+ page. Add publisher markup to your website. Actively post links back to your site content (at least once every 72 hours). And increase your circle count.
7. Measure Success
Before creating a single piece of content or posting one Facebook message, determine the objective of your content and what metrics you will use to measure performance.
Start by identifying the important metrics within five buckets: awareness, consumption, engagement, actions, and SEO impact. While the specific metrics in each bucket will vary based on your strategy, objectives, and resources, some common ones are:
San Francisco, 06/18/14 - Conflict at work, either open or shadowed will wreck your health, physical and mental, for the long term. And why you'll eventually end up being bullied, with almost sure certainty. You will have to navigate a mine field of passive-agressiveness, of being careful about not making this all about you, which is actually a very easy trap to fall into.
My advice: run. It's not about avoiding conflicts or becoming a lemming that everyone will abuse, but contrary to high-school, you can always quit.
So let me repeat: when you see that a situation, or people, or both, are becoming very toxic for you and your well being, do not even think twice: quit. Leave the toxicity behind. You're more powerful than you think. -By Phil Mora (@philippemora)
Disagreements and debate at work are healthy. Fighting is not. That’s because fighting with one’s boss is just as confusing and destructive as fighting with a powerful family member. Fighting with a colleague feels like fighting with a friend or a sibling. Fighting with people who have more or less power than we do feels like bullying.
Naturally, we have to learn to deal with aggression at work. But first, we need to understand the real sources of conflict—not the textbook “struggle over resources” issues—but the underlying psychological reasons why people fight. Then, we can develop ways to engage in conflict that keep us sane, help others, and hopefully support the organization.
What does conflict at work look like?
Conflict at work comes in several forms. First, there are the people who pretend there’s no problem when there’s an obvious problem. They may say something like: “I don’t see an issue here.” When you try to explain, you’re hit with: “You’re being illogical.” When things escalate, this becomes the ultimate insult: “You’re too emotional.” (Women, beware.) Turning the conflict around so it’s about you is a tactic—a crazy-making tactic. No matter what you do, you’re seen as unreasonable or you’re labeled as the one picking a fight. In this scenario, they win and you lose.
Another common approach to conflict at work is outright aggression. People who habitually choose this approach are bullies. They are the hyper-competitive, anything-goes, take-no-prisoners, narcissists among us. These people prove their worth by dominating. They’re especially dangerous because they often have vicious followers who do their bidding. When these bullies get mad, watch out.
Then there’s my least favorite tactic of all—passive aggressiveness. Passive aggressive people seem to be supportive, logical, and even helpful—until you read between the lines. Their attacks don’t seem like attacks because they are so good at hiding their word-weapons. Sometimes, you don’t even know you’ve been hit until later. Fighting with these people is like shadow boxing.
Why do people fight at work?
Disagreements and even true conflict are inevitable at work, for some pretty good reasons: the constant flood of information means that we are always touching different parts of the elephant and constant change requires constant debate. In a perfect world, we follow the textbook advice, treat these sources of conflict logically, behave like adults, and get on with it.
The problem is, we’re not working in a perfect world, and none of us is perfect. We each bring our own baggage to work each day. And, some of our issues rear their heads again and again. At the top of my list of sources of work conflict are: personal insecurity, the desire for power and control, and habitual victimhood. Let’s take these each in turn.
Insecurity. We are all insecure about something. And when insecurity gets triggered, we can find ourselves behaving in ways that don’t make us proud. We try to hide our mistakes, avoid healthy debate, shy away from disagreements and even lash out unnecessarily, just to protect ourselves. Sometimes we even start fights just to distract people.
Nobody’s perfect. So why spend so much time and energy trying to prove that we are? Wouldn’t it be better to just work with our shortcomings, rather than create complicated work-arounds that confuse people and inevitably cause conflict?
Desire for power. Most people want to feel that they have some control over their lives and actions—at work as well as at home. We want to have impact. We want to help people achieve goals, and we want the recognition we deserve. This is natural and healthy: proactively looking for ways to influence and impact people for the sake of the group is the epitome of good leadership. Unfortunately, many people are at the mercy of this very human need. Instead of working withothers, the goal becomes to position ourselves above others. When it’s pathological, shared goals don’t really matter anymore, and shared credit isn’t an option. This stance, however well hidden, puts everyone on high alert and on the defensive. This is because we know that even normal disagreements about things like resources are actually primal struggles about who has power over whom.
Habitual victimhood. Insecurity can be a good thing—it can mean that we are in touch with our shortcomings and that we are ready to learn. And many people use their power well, for the good of the group. Habitual victimhood, however, has no redeeming value whatsoever. Still, it is all too common to find perpetrator-victim pairs in organizations. The script is so predictable: “He does thus-and-so all the time and I can’t do anything about it.” Really? You can’t do anything about being metaphorically kicked to the ground over and over again? Why do people put themselves in this position? It’s deep, for sure, and quite honestly if you find yourself the victim over and over, it wouldn’t hurt to talk with a good therapist. Or at least a good friend. You need to figure out how being a victim serves you. For example, giving up control means that we have a ready-made excuse and can’t be held accountable.
What can you do about conflict at work?
The first thing we can do is to admit that conflict at work is real and pervasive, and just as painful as fights and struggles in other areas of life. Let’s stop pretending that somehow it is more rational, more sterile than conflict elsewhere in our lives.
Second, we need to cultivate real empathy and compassion for others. What drives them? What are they insecure about? How would it feel to be them? This kind of reflection isn’t easy, and it is tempting to let your biases and stereotypes guide your conclusions.
Finally: Our feelings matter, and they need to be attended to first and always, not as an afterthought. So, dealing with conflict at work starts with self-awareness. What are you insecure about? Why? Is it rational, or are those old tapes from childhood still there, playing long after they stopped being true or useful? How do you feel about power—yours and others’? What happens when your freedom is threatened, or when someone tries to control you? And…do you make yourself a victim? Why? How does this serve you? Where else in your life do you do this? Is it really working?
This kind of self-awareness isn’t superficial—it’s deep. And it will help. Not just you, but your colleagues and your organization, too.
[Read More Here > Thank You HBR 06/13/14]
San Francisco, 06/16/14 - "Go You Chicken Fat Go" !!! Apple is in the business of lifestyle - because technology is so last century. The hire of Angela Abhrendts makes this obvious and the latest "You're more powerful than you think" commercials explain this perfectly: Apple products are at the heart of everything that you do. And what matters is the DO, not the HOW: The Copy Machine (aka Samsung) and The New Xerox (Aka Google) still need to figure this out, as they are still stuck in hardware and software technology prowess demonstrations reminiscent of Intel and Microsoft of the 80s and 90s. And one more thing aimed at the anti-apple blogosphere: I am hoping that one day you'll understand that drastic changes to an ecosystem do not work (example: what is the penetration rate of kit-kat in the roboworld? 1%? uh?) - the way to go is to have tiny incremental changes. Of course this does not make for great headlines leading to many clicks, but this explains why each time there is a new WWDC, the devil is in the details (aka workshops), not the keynote. -By Phil Mora (@philippemora)
About mobile health: Chronic health issues are a significant economic burden. Over the past 6 years, there has been significant investment in mobile health, mainly positional sensors and tracking software. That was a good start and doctors are already using the data as diagnostic tools. But the ecosystem is very fragmented (everything is proprietary more or less) and thus does not allow for a thriving back-end structure to be implemented. This is where the golden nugget lies: to be able to interact in real time and automatically with your doctor on your lifestyle progress and foster a new era of "automatic" preventative care based on real data. Oh I see the privacy trolls weaving their red flags already .... thing is, voluntary, pro-active preventative health care will foster great lifestyles, and principle and dogmatism are in the way. Apple is going to foster a healthy lifestyle ecosystem and penetrate the medical industry on the back-end side using iCloud. If I was bold, I would totally see an offering down the line such as "iCloud Pro" - a totally secure private cloud for businesses with of course all the secure hooks to harvest voluntary data harvested by their customers with safe data transfers (take that amazon web services). Of course the medical industry would totally benefit from this, provided that there are a few modifications to HIPAA guidelines.
So yes, Go You Chicken Fat Go, and Absolutely, You're More Powerful Than You Think! Have a Great Day!
With the launch of a health app and data-sharing platform, Apple is betting that tracking your vital signs via smartphone is about to become a booming industry.
The number of apps available for health tracking has grown in the past few years, although adoption of these apps has not grown significantly. Clinicians are, however, starting to explore the benefits of using such apps to keep track of patients’ health indicators and offer advice. If this strategy proves helpful and both doctors and patients are comfortable sharing data, mobile health tracking could indeed become big enough to produce significant revenue for companies like Apple.
The new app, called Health, was unveiled last Monday at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco. It will show data from third-party devices and apps in one place—including steps taken, as measured by some sort of wearable device, and heart rate, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels (which would have to be entered manually). It will be possible to share this data with other apps, as well as health-care professionals, through a platform called Healthkit.
Apple’s announcement comes on the heels of a demonstration by Samsung of a similar data-sharing platform and a prototype wristband called Simband. The band would track biometrics such as heart rate and skin conductance, which can reveal stress.
By some measures, Apple and Samsung’s plans might seem ill-advised. Previous efforts to aggregate health-care data, including Google Health and Microsoft’s HealthVault, have had little to no success, in part because of privacy concerns but also because the benefits weren’t clear. But those earlier efforts were not aimed at mobile health monitoring, as the new ones are.
Mayo Clinic, one of Apple’s key partners in this new health project, has been at the forefront of digital self-tracking for patient care. In March, the hospital announced the results of a cardiac rehabilitation program in which patients used an app to input daily measurements of variables such as weight, blood pressure, and physical activity. The app then provided advice on how to stay healthy. Among patients hospitalized following a heart attack, only 20 percent of those who used the app were readmitted to the hospital or visited the emergency department within 90 days of discharge, compared with 60 percent of those who didn’t use the app.
Mayo Clinic plans to upgrade its health app later this year to coincide with the launch of Apple’s Healthkit. The clinic’s app is expected to offer additional services, including ways to monitor patients with asthma or diabetes. “If you see the glucose levels rising … you could interact with [the patient] if they had a question, intervene appropriately, and then decrease the need for an emergency room visit or a hospital admission, which we know drives up hospital and patient costs,” says John Ward, Mayo’s medical director for public affairs.
To address privacy concerns, Healthkit aims to give users plenty of control. Patients could choose to share blood pressure readings with their doctor but not with another app, for example. Even so, patients are sure to be particularly sensitive about who has access to such information.
“I think that the people doing these integration platforms need to have a privacy mechanism that is believable,” says George Westerman, a research scientist at the MIT Center for Digital Business. “That takes not only a good policy but a brand people trust.”
It may also prove difficult to motivate relatively healthy people to input data. One study found that a third of those in the U.S. who bought an activity-tracking device stopped using it after six months.
“Expecting people to have an ‘aha’ moment because you’ve created a place where they can store data—you’ll be disappointed,” says Joseph Kvedar, director of the Center for Connected Health at Partners Healthcare. “It needs to be much more compelling.”
[Read More Here > Thank You MIT Tech Review 06/09/14]
San Francisco, 06/12/14 - Is #purpose the new black? In the real world of small business entrepreneurs and startups, not really. Hard Work is. Balance is. Try to explain that to pontifiers who have only contributed to fortune 20 companies desperately searching for echo chambers. -By Phil Mora (@philippemora)
As a corollary to my other post this week, it is critical that we understand that working too many hours with not enough sleep is very detrimental to well-being, productivity and in the end, the business' bottom line. There is plenty of research that backs this up. In other words, CFOs who brag about understaffing as a good way to manage cash are incompetent at best. As Margaret Heffernan writes in her book "Willful Blindness": "People are obedient; they will follow instructions even when they're unethical."
Seven out of ten American workers struggle to achieve an acceptable balance between work and family life, reports a new study published in American Sociological Review, funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That number has been climbing over time, to a point where employees — especially parents — feel stressed, overwhelmed, and maxed out. In “Changing Work and Work-Family Conflict: Evidence from the Work, Family, and Health Network,” researchers asked what can be changed in the workplace to address this growing health and productivity problem. They conducted a large-scale experiment in a Fortune 500 company and found that work-family conflicts don’t need to be solely employees’ individual, private troubles, but can be resolved systemically with a little management leadership.
Nearly 700 employees from an information technology department participated in the experiment. These were highly skilled, middle-aged workers with professional and technical degrees. They worked long hours, with over 25 percent logging more than 50 hours per week. Some worked remotely but reported pressure to be visible at the office to demonstrate work and team commitment. The research team randomly assigned these employees to two groups. Those in the “treatment” group were then given greater control over when and where they worked, and more supervisor support for their family and personal lives. The control group’s working conditions remained unchanged.
Over a six-month period, the people in the treatment group experienced a significant reduction in work-family conflict — that chronic sense of being pulled in two different directions. Crucially, employees who were more likely to be vulnerable to work-family conflicts (parents and people with less supportive supervisors initially) benefitted most from the intervention. Parents reported working one hour less per week than non-parents, but others did not have to increase their workloads to accommodate parents. People in the treatment group also reported that they felt they now had adequate time to spend with their families while managing their workloads. Overall, they felt more in-control and less overwhelmed.
For people working every day to balance complicated lives, this might not sound like news — but here’s why it is. This is the first study to offer evidence based on a randomized trial that workplace interventions, such as increased schedule control and supervisor support, can reduce employee work-life conflict. The randomized, experimental method allowed researchers to eliminate competing explanations for their findings — explanations, for example, like lower initial stress or the possibility that some workers quit to take less stressful jobs elsewhere. The study is also the first experiment tochange the way people and supervisors work to benefit employees’ work-family balance. By altering factors in entire workplace groups or departments, the research shows that there is a way to move away from “Mother may I?” workplace flexibility — individual accommodations that a person negotiates with his or her boss — and toward systemic change in an organization that benefits all.
Numerous benefits of lowering work-life stress have been documented, in physical health and mental health (including reduced hypertension, better sleep, and lower consumption of alcohol and tobacco), as well as decreased marital tension and better parent-child relationships. So it’s surprising that two other new studies report weakened company commitment to employees working flexibly. While more than 8 in 10 employees in new survey from the Flex+Strategy Group cited negative impacts on worker loyalty, health, and performance when a company does not permit work-life flexibility, almost half of the respondents sensed ambivalence and declining commitment to it from their employers. Further, a Boston College study found that, while telecommuting and flexible hours are often negotiated between individual employees and their supervisors on an as-needed basis, companies have cut back on some critical work-life balance options like reduced hours, part-time work, job sharing, and paid family leave.
What employees sense about their managers’ and companies’ commitment to work-family-life balance reflects the organizational culture and its leadership. Returning to the American Sociological Review study, the people in the experimental group who were given more control over when and where they worked, almost doubled their average hours of work at home (from 10 to almost 20 per week). These technology workers had the tools to telecommute prior to the workplace experiment, but they either had not been given discretion to do so or had not felt comfortable doing so. The “permission” granted by the experiment freed workers to think about new ways of working, and many did so. The experiment also “unfroze” managers from old ways of doing things.
In the end, adjustments in management thinking about when and where work gets done, and about support for employees’ lives outside work, led to the work-life holy grail: design of system-wide flexibility (to relieve pressure for people who need it), without burdening those working conventionally, and without requiring individual workers to figure out alone how to balance everything.
[Read More Here > Thank You HBR 06/10/14]
i blog about the things I love: fitness, hacking work, tech, Experiences and anything holistic.
> Head of Digital Product at Nutrien