Splash Media Uses Social Media – And Running Shoes – To Help Wipe Out Kids Cancer

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Help Wipe Out Kids Cancer

Help Wipe Out Kids Cancer

The “social” in “social media” is all about building communities, and this year Splash Media used its social media skills to help the North Texas community in the worthiest of causes – aiding children who are facing serious illnesses.

That community effort also included a little physical exertion in addition to all that social media strategy.

On Saturday, members of Splash Media – management, social media managers, listeners, production staff, as well as their families – took part in the 26th annual Tom Thumb Wipe Out Kids Cancer Oktoberfest Run For The Children, a combination 5k race and 1 mile fun run/walk. The run was part of the annual Addison Oktoberfest celebration, one of the largest in the world. The WOKC run is one of its major fundraisers, and the proceeds  – as well as additional funds raised by individual and teams – are part of the non-profits group’s efforts to raise money for pediatric cancer education, research and treatment, which has been its mission since it was founded in 1980.

This year Splash Media entered into a partnership with Wipe Out Kids Cancer by providing a pro bono social media campaign to help raise awareness and participation for the WOKC Oktoberfest Run For The Children. ““Due to the partnership of Wipe Out Kids Cancer and Splash Media, and the support of our sponsors, we saw an increase of over 15 percent in participation,” Evelyn Costolo, Wipe Out Kids Cancer CEO, told Splash Media.  That increase translated into approximately 2800 runners for this year’s event, compared to 2400 in 2010.

“WOKC is thrilled with this success, which takes us one day closer to our vision for a day when children are living cancer-free,” Costolo said.

As mentioned, teams were formed to honor those who have battled, or are currently fighting, pediatric cancer. This year’s Spirit Award went to Team Amanda for registering the most runners in honor of Amanda, a former WOKC Ambassador.

“In the end, it turned out to be a humbling and blessed experience for the Splash Media team,” said Morgan Arnold, Splash social media manager who led the Facebook campaign. “In addition to broadcasting the details of the event, we made the decision to also help raise overall awareness of kids cancer by ‘putting a face on the race’.  Each day, we posted real-life stories of incredible families and courageous kids who are currently fighting pediatric cancer.  Fans and followers of WOKC did a wonderful job of sharing these stories with their social networks. In the end, Facebook ‘Likes’ for the WOKC page increased by 170% in 4 weeks, and on a personal note, our team received as much of a blessing as we had given.”

Those wanting more information on Wipe Out Kids Cancer can visit the organization’s website at www.wokc.org.

The Nielsen Q3 Social Media Report and Stories You May Have Missed, Sept. 16, 2011

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It's a Facebook world and we're all just living in it

It's a Facebook world and we're all just living in it

Maybe it was the movie. You know, the one with the kid from “Zombieland” and the kid who’s going to be the next “Spiderman.” And Justin Timberlake. And the cool Trent Reznor soundtrack.

Facebook had already gone mainstream in 2010 thanks to the Oscar-nominated “The Social Network,” founder Mark Zuckerberg’s cameo appearance on “Saturday Night Live” and countless news stories on broadcast and cable networks. But now more reports and surveys are rolling in proving that it’s a Facebook world and we’re all just living in it (and updating our statuses). Not only that; small businesses are about to have a prime opportunity to find out the starring role Facebook can play in their social media marketing strategies.

Nielsen is a very credible name in the measurement/data analysis category, and this week it released a Q3 2011 Social Media Report that further cemented Facebook’s position as the mother of all social networks. Among Nielsen’s data points: despite reports of slowing user growth, American web surfers spent more time on Facebook than any other web brand, with 53.4 million minutes during the quarter (the Blogger site was the closest to Facebook with 723,00o minutes).

Splash Media social media manager MacKenzie Garfield will have more analysis of the Nielsen findings during next week’s SplashCast. But it’s becoming clearer for businesses that social media is a target-rich environment for them and Facebook should still be at the top of their Social Media Marketing to-do list.

If it’s more traditional-type advertising they seek, then Facebook wants to remain in the business game plan. Next week, the social network is expected to roll out a new incentive program to encourage small businesses to try out Facebook’s ad platform. The promise of specific targeting of ads to users, combined with a $50 advertising credit offer, may be too good to pass up. Stay tuned; Splash Media will be taking a look at this development as well as we continue to track Facebook’s domination of life, business and our Farmville strategies.

That’s just our take. Feel free to share yours in our Comment section below.

In other news…

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand….Business Leads?

Rudi Leung of ClickZ Asia offers up a great primer on some very smart business use of the smartphone application Instagram, which blends photography and location tagging.

Big Blue Goes Big On Social Business

Fast Company blogger Drew Neisser interviews IBM social strategist Ethan McCarty and shows how the longtime computer industry giant is navigating the new social business waters.

Pinkberry’s Sweet Lessons For Social Media Success

Be real, and don’t be afraid to learn. Those are just two tips on social media marketing from Pamela Naumes, director of digital for the frozen yogurt chain Pinkberry, as told to Business Insider’s Kim Bhasin.

Those are our top social media marketing stories for the week, and we’re sticking to them. Have yourself a great weekend and let’s convene here again on Monday, shall we?

Presidential 2012 Candidates – Facebook vs. Twitter

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Presidential 2012 Candidates

Presidential 2012 Candidates

The Presidential 2012 Candidates are battling it out through debates right now, trying to get a stronghold in each of their respective parties, and what a breathtaking debate they had the other night on TV!  Wait a minute… you missed it?

You missed a debate from the potential new leaders of the free world?  You missed it when the one candidate said America is going to get rid of cars and only use unicorns and flying ligers (half lion/ half tiger) as the primary mode of transportation to cut down on global warming?  You missed it when the one republican candidate did a breakdance and then slapped Mitt Romney across the face with a delicious smoked ham?  You missed it when the crazy democrat said legalized marijuana is going to become the state flower for every state in the country except for Utah (you can never get anything by them)?  You missed it when Michele Bachmann and Obama had an arm-wrestling match and Bachmann slammed Obama’s arm down, threw her hands in the air, and exclaimed, “Booyaa, Grandma! IN YOUR FACE!”  How did you miss all of that?

Oh that’s right… you get all of your election information off Facebook, Twitter, the Drudge Report and the Huffington Post.  You get all of your election information from the Presidential 2012 candidates’ Facebook statuses and Tweets.  You get your election information from words being typed in by some unpaid intern who only took the job so he could pay for his girlfriend’s monthly botox treatments.  You get all of your election information from the most “reliable” source in our society, social media.

Do you really think Obama, Bachmann, Romney, Perry, or any of the other Presidential 2012 Candidates actually typed those updates, statuses, and tweets themselves?  I guarantee you 75% of them don’t even remember their Facebook password, let alone how to update their status or poke each other.

Why has the Internet taken over how we learn about our political leaders?  I’m not going to lie to you, I’m an Independent voter.  In the last election, I probably saw about 20 minutes of face-time on TV of actual speeches and “promises” from the hopeful candidates before I voted.  20 Minutes!!  And don’t sit there and call me stupid because I know that half of you out there probably saw less than me before you voted!

Facebook and Twitter are great ways for us to find out what our friends, family, and colleagues think about the election taking place, but are definitely not the way we should be learning about their promises, hopes, dreams, and stances on the issues.  Why can’t our society take some time out of their stressful day to actually watch them on the good old-fashioned news on TV?  The human mind understands and processes things a lot better when we actually see and hear what people say instead of reading them in 140 characters or less.

These people are about to lead the free world.  The free world.  Shouldn’t we be spending a lot less time reading biased reports and articles online and more time watching what they’re saying and how they’re saying it?  Shouldn’t we be spending a lot less time seeing which candidate has the most Facebook Fans and Twitter Followers, and more time researching whose views we want running our lives for the next four years?  Shouldn’t we be spending a lot less time crying, arguing, and fighting with random trolls just trying to pick a fight online and more time figuring out how to fix what is wrong with our society?  Shouldn’t we attempt to at least “pretend” like we really care?

I’m not trying to start a political debate with this, but I am wondering what you think.  Maybe I’m wrong.  Maybe the Internet is the best way to get our information.  Maybe I’m totally in the dark on this whole subject and playing in a one man band.  But then again, maybe I’m not.  Feel free to tell me what you think in the comments below.

SplashCast: NetProspex Talks About Its 2011 Social Business Report

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San Francisco is the most social media-savvy city, The New York Times is the most social media-savvy company, and computer technology is the most social industry. Those are just a few of the key findings in the 2011 Social Business Report, compiled by NetProspex, a leading business-to-business sales and marketing contact database company.

NetProspex analyzed the social media habits of 12 million employees in that database, making this fourth edition of the Report its most comprehensive yet.

NetProspex chief revenue officer Mike Bird talks to SplashCast host Renay San Miguel about how the advertising and marketing industry ranks in its Report, why CEOs still lag behind rank-and-file employees in adoption of social media, how social networks are impacting the way people are hired in the U.S., and what small businesses can learn from its Social Business Report.

To watch more episodes of our weekly SplashCast, visit our YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/splashmedialp

Four Reasons NOT to Fear Social Media: A Must-Read for Your Boss

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Don't fear social media!

Don't fear social media!

Our guest blogger this week is Natalie Bidnick, a social media manager with Splash Media.

Tell Your Boss to Read This: Four Reasons Not to Fear Social Media

One of the most commonly asked questions I hear from my client base at Splash Media is one regarding how to deal with a reluctant executive. It usually goes something like this:

“My boss doesn’t like social media and thinks it will cause more problems and work for our company. How to I convince him/her that there’s nothing to be afraid of?”

You can’t blame your boss for being concerned. After all, from their perspective, social media is what their teenager uses to chat with their friends instead of doing homework. So I’ve put together four responses you can use to give bosses some food for thought before they nix the idea of bringing in social media as part of the overall marketing plan:

•           Your customers actually like using social media to talk to companies.

Whether you are a restaurant or a manufacturing plant, people will use social media to compliment or complain about your business. If you don’t have a social media presence, you have no way to respond. If you DO have a social media presence, then you’re ready and able to address customer service concerns or thank customers for their business—and you can do so in real time with no delays.

 

•           Social Media is the most cost-effective form of digital marketing.

Setting up a social media company page is free. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn all provide extra places for your business to thrive and grow. Even if you hire an agency or have a staff member run your social sites, the numbers speak for themselves. Facebook has over 750 million accounts, Twitter has over 100 million, and LinkedIn has over 35 million. Your boss, and your company, can’t afford to miss out on an audience this size. When’s the last time your direct mail campaign reached a billion people?

 

•           Social media makes your company look good.

Yes, even if you’re a B2B; actually, especially if you’re a B2B. Social media is your chance to be ahead of the curve and sophisticated compared to your competition. While other companies are taking out ads in the newspaper or running commercials, you’re directly interacting with your client base in real time. You don’t need to wait for the phone to ring after your commercial airs. You can make your phone ring simply by being available to your customers in a medium they enjoy and trust.

•           Social Media takes less time than traditional marketing.

Think about your most recent marketing meeting. Chances are, your team spends at least an hour or two planning a long-term strategy. With social media, you can take action today. No need to wait for a printing press or TV station. In just a few minutes, you can set up your profile, search out your customers, and begin meaningful conversations about your brand.

 

At the end of the day, social media is designed to be fun. Companies use it to connect with their current customers and find new customers in an enjoyable environment.  So the next time your boss questions social media’s effectiveness, you’ll have answers ready to go… and you could soon be working up a social media marketing strategy for your company.

 

Editor’s Note: Need help starting or managing your social media presence? Splash Media can help! Let’s get started today!

Social Media and the Health Industry: The Mommyblogging Doctor Will See You Now

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Seattle Children's Hospital has a Mommyblogging Doc

Seattle Children's Hospital has a Mommyblogging Doc

Like most other physicians, Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson doesn’t have a lot of down time. The Seattle pediatrician spends two to three days a week at the Everett Clinic in Mill Creek, Washington, is on the staff of Seattle Children’s Hospital (as is her husband) and is also a clinical instructor at the University of Washington.

But Dr. Swanson is also the mother of two young boys, and they they are why she has added the title “mommyblogger” to her crowded resume’ with her Seattle Mama Doc blog.  For Dr. Swanson, blogging and social media are the best prescriptions for providing the most up-to-date, accurate health information to patients and parents, and she would encourage other doctors to follow her lead – as long as they can commit the time.

“My goal is to make this part of an overall service to patients,” Dr. Swanson told Splash Media. “That’s what people want. That’s what patients want. Our patients have less and less time with us these days. We need to do this more. Social media affords us an incredible tool to help us share and help us educate outside of the exam space.”

Dr. Swanson says she dove into social media because of her concerns over misinformation regarding children’s vaccines that was showing up in mainstream media. She wanted to provide “a voice of reason,” from the perspective of a pediatrician and a working mom, when it came to controversial parenting topics.  So she approached Seattle Children’s Hospital two years ago about starting a blog. “I decided a mommy blog was the way to be the most effective,” she said. “I wanted it to be very authentic and very organic, and it remains that way. Nobody edits what I do. I take all the photos, I approve and moderate all the comments. It has been a true partnership because Seattle Children’s supports me. They’ve been a great sounding board.”

She posts 2-3 times a week, including videos. She reads the latest research studies to help her decide on blog topics and calls upon her circle of physician friends and colleagues to get more information if she doesn’t have the right training or background. She loves to write but knows that not every doctor has that ability. “If you like to communicate, on whatever channel – Facebook, Twitter, blog – and you can figure out what’s easiest and what you enjoy, that’s great. If it’s using your iPhone to do a video, great.”

Dr. Swanson says becoming a mother changed her as a pediatrician. “It made me understand just how much we love our kids. And I learn all sorts of ‘mom’ stories being a mommy blogger. I get to laugh and cry with these stories and I don’t feel so alone.”

Other than devoting the time and discovering their best form of communication, Dr. Swanson would encourage other physicians considering blogging and social media to diagnose in themselves the right reasons for doing so. “For me, this is not about creating more business for (Seattle) Children’s Hospital.  I want parents and patients to have great information. I don’t think you start a blog just to start a blog. You start a blog to solve a problem.”

Where Were You 10 Years Ago?: Remembering 9/11 and Healing with Social Media

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Where were you 10 years ago?

Where were you 10 years ago?

I remember a perfect late-summer sky on the morning of 9/11. My New York City apartment was on the 32nd floor of a building at 43rd and 10th; the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood. It was my last week there; I had just accepted a job in Atlanta and was in the process of boxing up my stuff. I was emailing friends and contacts my new address when my phone rang. My buddy Eric in Dallas told me to turn on the TV; someone had just flown a plane into the World Trade Center. I turned it on just in time to see the second plane hit.

Even if you weren’t in New York, you have a 9/11 story. Social media, which has transformed these times into the Age of Sharing, is giving us all the opportunity to broadcast our thoughts about that terrible day as we get ready to observe its 10th anniversary. If you’re on Facebook, you’ve no doubt already seen some of those stories from family and friends. By the time Sunday gets here, your social networks may be overloaded with memories, depending on whether or not you’re ready to move on by then.

Me? I think it’s a positive thing to have this social media-based power at this time in our history because of something a grade school teacher once told me: joy shared is doubled, sorrow shared is halved.

Various media outlets and other organizations have set up special commemorative sections that include social media and technology for people to tell their stories about Sept. 11 and voice opinions about what’s happened to our world in the decade since then. The New York Times’ impressive “9/11: The Reckoning” section includes “Where Were You?,” a Google Maps portion that lets you pinpoint your location in the world on that day, post a brief comment, and then share it via Facebook or Twitter.

Broadcastr, a smartphone app, mixes a similar location-based approach with audio files.  A partnership with the 9/11 Memorial Museum allows users to dial a phone number and record their stories, which can be listened to on your iPhone, Android phone or the Broadcastr website.

There have already been several blog posts and other analysis of 9/11 that ties in social media’s rise in the world since then. In my opinion, the best one yet is courtesy of Peter Stringer, the director of new media for the Boston Celtics and a contributor to BostInnovation.com. He asks how different things would have been if Facebook, Twitter, smartphone cameras and text messaging had been in wide use on that day. It’s a fascinating read, and I can picture my own actions on that day using his examples.

I would have used my smartphone to send Facebook and Twitter pictures and videos of what I was seeing and hearing from my mid-Manhattan neighborhood – streams of people on 10th Avenue, some of them crying, who had walked all the way from downtown; the view from further down the West Side Highway of the destruction, which make it look like a volcano had erupted in the Financial District; the snippets of conversations and curses from deli customers.

And that night. Usually, the New York skies are buzzing at all hours thanks to three major airports and a smaller one at Teterboro, N.J. On the night of Sept. 11, nothing moved in the skies. I knew there were military jets patrolling the city, but I don’t remember hearing them.

I do remember hearing sirens all night long.

Where were you 10 years ago?

SplashCast: Google/Facebook Traffic Tie-Ups And The Impact on Social Media Marketing

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If you need further proof that the worlds of search engines and social media are colliding with more frequency, a new study from PageLever provides more evidence: Google, Yahoo! Bing and other search engines are sending more and more traffic to Facebook.

What’s the lesson here for social media marketing for this Google/Facebook traffic jam? Splash Media vice president of technology Josh Team discusses the implications – and also looks at the YouTube/Facebook connection – with SplashCast host Renay San Miguel.

Why Social Media Marketing = Online Reputation Monitoring: Nasty, Anonymous Commenters

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your online reputation

Does this guy affect your online reputation?

You’re a business owner, and you are working harder than ever to succeed in this challenging economy. And while the overwhelming majority of your customers swear by your product/service/tuna salad sandwiches, someone out there in the darkest recesses of the internet is trying to make your company and its brand sleep with the fishes.

So they use a flaw in the Google Places service to list your business as “closed” even though you just celebrated your third anniversary. Or they trash-talk your business on TripAdvisor, Yelp or other consumer review website, all while wearing the coward’s cloak of anonymity. Or they jump on your company’s Facebook page and rip you and your sandwiches to shreds.

Two recent news items highlight the need for businesses to keep close tabs on what’s being said about them online. And unfortunately, both also underscore just how nasty the business world has become in 2011, since unscrupulous competitors are suspected of being behind both developments.

A New York Times story dated Sept. 5 discovered what tech bloggers like Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan have known about for some time: it’s easy to list a company as “closed” on Google Places – even if you don’t have anything to do with that company. Thanks to the story, Google now says it’s working on a fix, but it brings up how low some people will go to damage a company’s online reputation.

Meanwhile, the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority says it is investigating reports of faked hotel reviews on travel-based website TripAdvisor. The investigation was begun because of complaints from KwikChex, a British reputation management service that has accused TripAdvisor of not verifying the reviews posted on its website. TripAdvisor has denied that, saying it relies on technological tools, its team of experts and its customers to make sure its reviews are real.

As of right now, there are no smoking guns revealing competitors as the source for this mischief. Yet it would be naive not to keep them in mind as the business equivalent of “persons of interest.” And it would be just as naive for companies concerned about their reputation not to do their own monitoring, or hire an outside firm for that service. Yes, companies like Google, TripAdvisor, Yelp, Amazon and others need to do what is within their power to ensure abuse-free services. But rapid responses in the new world of what social media consultant and author David Meerman Scott has dubbed “real-time marketing” are also the responsibility of businesses, and take on more importance than ever.

The business world is a tough enough arena these days without unethical types trying to rig the game in their favor. Companies shouldn’t enable them by closing their eyes to potential problems.

 

 

Social Media Marketing For Small Businesses: Stories You May Have Missed, Sept. 2, 2011

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facebook music

Will Facebook Make Sweet Music?

If you’re a Facebook user, consider the content that’s on your News Feed right now: news headlines, politically-twisted blog posts sent from politically-twisted friends, videos starring the eTrade baby, new friends/profile picture notifications, check-ins from restaurants, bars and busy Starbucks locations, various requests for help or information, birthday greetings.

I’m guessing that there are also one or two songs and/or music videos stashed in your feed by friends who share your tastes, past concert experiences and presumed ability to hit all the high notes in “Don’t Stop Believin’” after several beers. The massive recommendation and discovery engine that is Facebook -and what that means for businesses – may be taken to the same level as Steve Perry’s vocals if recent published reports that the largest social network is getting ready to dip its toes into iTunes-land turn out to be true.

Facebook’s not confirming anything, but several news agencies have been saying the company will be announcing deals with Spotify, Rhapsody, Rdio, Slacker and other music services that the social network will start integrating into user pages. It could be a streaming service, which is what red-hot Spotify seems to do very well. At the very least, the integration should make it easy to share musical finds as well as provide a real-time soundtrack for everything you do on Facebook, thereby getting people to stick around longer on the social network.

Says Splash Media social media manager Holly Rountree: “By deciding to incorporate a music feature like Spotify or Rhapsody, Facebook will be adding another element to their social platform, connecting dots both personally and socially, and encouraging communities by giving Facebookers exactly what they want – a more sophisticated, smarter and better functioning playground.”

Ambitious marketers and savvy businesses should find a way to take advantage of that playground so that it ends up being sweet music to everyone’s ears. We’re talking smart content that plays on customer’s desires to find everything from “Lady Marmalade” to Lady Gaga while exposing said customers to brands in an organic, user-friendly way.

Now it’s your turn at the karaoke machine. Tell us what you think about Facebook possibly getting deeper into music services and the potential for social media marketing in the Comments section. And while you’re at it, consider these selections from this week’s social media news Top Ten:

The Only Company That Can Say Its Social Media ROI is Finger Lickin’ Good

With the conversation in social media marketing circles still focusing on how to measure return on investment, business of all sizes can learn from KFC’s experiences. Rebecca Pollack Scherr of Smart Blog on Social Media gets the scoop.

Throwing Daily Deals, Apps Into The Consumer Goods Marketing Shopping Cart

Alex Palmer of Direct Marketing News does a deep, well-reported dive into how consumer packaged goods brands are incorporating digital technologies into their marketing efforts.

Which Comes First: Social Engagement or Customer Loyalty?

The answer might surprise you, according to Blaise James and Jim Asplund of Gallup Management Journal, who blow up three myths about social media thanks to a recent survey of 17,000 users.

That blur that just flew over your heads? That was the summer saying bye-bye. Labor Day is here; have yourself a safe and happy holiday weekend and we will see you back here with fresh content on Tuesday!