Using Social Media Archives - Page 8 of 18 - Splash Media

Social Media Recommendations Heat Up Goodreads’ Summer Reading

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Maybe it’s the fact that Splash Media co-founder Paul Slack is getting ready to publish his first book  – “Social Rules! For Entrepreneurs and Small Business” and we’ll have more on that development this week in our SplashCast – but it got me to thinking about books in general, technology’s disruptive impact on publishing and what role social media is playing in the business.

Social Media Recommendations via Goodreads

Social Media Recommendations via Goodreads

Here’s one thing you can read into all this: publishing in particular helps highlight the power of the recommendation engine that is social media.

My Kindle helps illustrate this point. Like a lot of other people, Amazon’s wildly successful e-reader has boosted my consumption of books. A lot of it has to do with convenience; my latest download, the next volume in Robert Caro’s biography of Lyndon Johnson, weighs in at 736 pages. But my Kindle sure didn’t feel any heavier after the book wirelessly arrived on its hard drive last week, so it and other books-slash-doorstops on my reading list all fit neatly into my backpack.

Yet Amazon also knows only too well that reading is now a solitary and social activity. When you finish a book on a Kindle, its software gives you a chance to tweet/share your thoughts on it. And a lot has already been written about Amazon.com’s user-generated reviews, which can be interesting reading on their own. (The comments on Caro’s new book, as of this writing, are split: half love the book, the other half are giving it one star because they believe LBJ was behind John F. Kennedy’s assassination and Caro apparently refuses to address that in the book. As I said, interesting.)

Goodreads.com is the latest example of real-world book clubs morphing into powerful online communities. Goodreads, which launched in 2006 and bills itself as the world’s largest site for readers and book recommendations, has received a lot of publicity in recent weeks for its part in discovering “Fifty Shades of Grey,” E.L. James’ soft-core S&M fantasy that is the latest bookselling sensation.

According to Goodreads features editor Jessica Donaghy, that ability to influence the overall discussion on books is due to the online discussions happening between bookworms. “One of the top pieces of feedback that we hear from our members is how much they trust the book reviews on Goodreads,” Donaghy told Splash Media in an email. ” Because they are written by fellow book lovers, there is this sense that the reviews are written by people you can relate to.”

Indeed, Goodreads (with 8 million members who have added 280 million books on the site) was founded on the belief that some of the best book recommendations come from friends: when you check out a book on the site, reviews from your friends are shown first. When you first sign up at Goodreads, rating books on a five-star scale gets you recommendations from the site’s algorithms. Adding friends puts the human touch into the mix.

The social touch comes with the ability to follow those whose reviews are trusted.  This has expanded the Goodreads universe Donaghy said. “Members have connected all over the US and also internationally as a result. All of this was not possible before the existence of Goodreads, which offers the chance to find book recommendations from readers outside your immediate social circle.”

And of course, you can sign in to Goodreads with your Facebook, Twitter or Google+ accounts. “We designed Goodreads to be social from the start.  You can share your reviews (and reading status updates, books you are adding to read and book ratings) with your friends on Facebook and Twitter.  We were also one of the companies invited to create an app for the launch of Facebook Timeline.  All of this increases the conversation about books.”

Donaghy says she and her editorial staff always see an increase in those conversations at this time of the year, as the buzz starts to build for the summer reading season. Generating early interest on Goodreads’ communities: Tana French’s “Broken Harbor,” Chris Cleave’s “Gold” and Robert Goolrick’s “Heading Out To Wonderful.”

All of this, of course, actually plays into a key theme in Slack’s “Social Rules!” – people buy from people they trust. Whether it’s books or your business’ products/services, social media is writing a new chapter in the Big Book of Recommendations.

Renay San Miguel is the Chief Content Officer at Splash Media and On-Air Talent and Host with Spark360.tv. You can find him on Twitter @PrimoMedia. Click here to see all of Renay’s blog posts.

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SplashCast From The Past: SpyderLynk’s SnapTags Make Mobile Marketing Crackle And Pop

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The Denver-based mobile marketing company SpyderLynk has spun quite a web of activity since Splash Media interviewed CEO Nicole Skogg in August 2011.

The company’s chief products – SnapTags and Social SnapTags – are QR codes on steroids: they allow marketers to embed barcodes into logos and social media icons, thereby taking interactive marketing to another level. That technology has proved attractive in terms of new projects and partnerships for SpyderLynk, according to an update email Skogg sent Splash Media:

  • In perhaps the most important development for SpyderLynk, the U.S. Patent Office has approved a patent for SpyderLynk’s SnapTag technology. “Our solution is now officially recognized for its unique value and as a key differentiator in the marketplace,” Skogg told Splash Media. “We’re delighted to reach this next step in our business evolution.”
  • SpyderLynk’s new Snap-To-Buy technology – shoot a SnapTag to instantly buy a product – is such an attractive option for mobile e-commerce that Glamour Magazine partnered with Skogg’s company for a couple of special projects. Glamour has also used Social SnapTags.
  • Bestselling author Jeffrey Hazlett used SnapTags at the beginning of each chapter of his new book “Running The Gauntlet” as a way to expand content offerings for readers.
  • Just a sampling of SnapTags’ major brand partnerships: Wrigley, Office Depot, Casa Noble Tequila, Bud Light, Coke Zero, Toyota.
  • Skogg and SpyderLynk continue to rack up major speaking engagements and awards. Skogg will be presenting at the Mobile Marketing Association Forum NYC event in June and just spoke at the Ad: Tech conference in San Francisco in April. She was also named to the Producers Guild of America’s 2011 “Digital 25″ list, joining the like of Lady Gaga and Alicia Keys.

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Social Media and Customer Service: An Update On “United Breaks Guitars” and Dave Carroll

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George Harrison’s guitar may have gently wept, but it was Dave Carroll’s $3500 Taylor six-string that wailed the loudest.

United Breaks Guitars

United Breaks Guitars: A lesson in Social Media and Customer Service

The result was one of the best-know instances of a consumer using social media to level the playing field with a large company. But that broken guitar also changed Dave’s life, and his forthcoming book about his experiences, “United Breaks Guitars”  has a subtitle that provides a musical lesson of sorts for companies of all sizes: “The Power Of One Voice In The Age Of Social Media.”

The story has been told many times in the social media marketing blogosphere, and there are great details in David Meerman Scott’s latest book, “Real-Time Marketing and PR.” The short version: back in 2008, Dave and his band were flying United Airlines from Nova Scotia to Omaha. They had checked their guitars in baggage. When they changed planes at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, they noticed the ground crew carelessly tossing their guitars around. His Taylor was badly damaged. When he complained, United not only took its time responding, but ultimately refused to pay for the damage.

So Dave wrote a humorous protest song, “United Breaks Guitars” and shot a YouTube for it. In less than a week, the video registered millions of views with the help of bloggers. It hit another level of publicity as Dave’s story hit the mainstream media. Dave not only got a new guitar from Taylor Guitars, he got a model of guitar named after him, and United ultimately apologized – but not before learning a harsh lesson on what YouTube can accomplish in the hands of an irate, albeit musically-gifted, customer.

United now uses “United Breaks Guitars” in its customer service training. Dave now uses “United Breaks Guitars” as the basis for an additional career as a consumer advocate. He is a co-founder of Gripevine.com, a website that aims to make it easier for customers to vent their complaints, and also attempts to help companies become more transparent and respond faster to those gripes. And his first book comes out in mid-May, featuring a forward from noted Forrester Research social media analyst Josh Bernoff.

“United Breaks Guitars” happened three years ago. What grade would Dave give corporate America in 2012 on its use of social media to resolve customer service issues?

“I think that embracing social media is a process just underway,” he told me in an email, “but as more companies accept that social media is here to stay, that consumers have the ability to expose poor products or services, and that brands are co-created more than ever, their grades will rise. The companies that hold onto old paradigms and don’t change will become irrelevant and disappear, I believe.

“Opening up a Facebook page and Twitter account is the tip of the iceberg. There are still many large corporations holding onto the antiquated notion that they can still control the conversation about their brand when in actuality, social media dictates that leading the conversation is the new reality in brand management.”

Gripevine is helping moderate that conversation. Carroll said the site is exceeding his expectations, given that it’s only two months old; more than 25,000 visitors a month stay for more than 7 minutes at a time, and more than 500 consumers have opened accounts. But perhaps more importantly, more than 100 companies, including some Fortune 1000 brands like Coca-Cola and Verizon, are participating in Gripevine’s Resolution Platform which monitors social media conversations.

“What makes us unique for businesses is the ability to engage offline with customers as opposed to having to engage on a message board, and companies like that,” Carroll writes. “What I’m most proud about Gripevine is our goal of solving problems between consumers and companies, as opposed to helping people bash companies, or aid companies in avoiding taking responsibility for bad service.  We don’t choose sides in a confrontation.  We choose to see conflict as something negative and resolving conflict as a win-win for both consumers and companies.”

Small and large companies would do well to reacquaint themselves with “United Breaks Guitars.” It might help them from singing their own version of the customer service blues.

Are you familiar with “United Breaks Guitars?” How well do you think major brands are doing in their use of social media to right customer service mistakes? Let us know in our Comments section.

Renay San Miguel is the Chief Content Officer at Splash Media and On-Air Talent and Host with Spark360.tv. You can find him on Twitter @PrimoMedia. Click here to see all of Renay’s blog posts

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Don't Be A Klouchebag: Klout as Social Media's Whipping Boy?

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Klout is now the Most Evil Thing in Social Media, the Loki to all the other superheroes in the social network universe. (Facebook as Iron Man? Discuss.) We know it”s official because Klout now has a parody site of sorts – Klouchebag.com, whipped together just this week by Tom Scott, a UK-based web and social media observer/speaker who”s fed up with the controversial influence-measurement service.

Klouchebag vs Klout: Social Media Influence

Klouchebag vs Klout: Social Media Influence

Klouchebag purports to measure “how much of an asshat you are on Twitter,” in a satirical take on Klout”s mission to measure your social media activity and engagements. Using Klout-like graphics that stop just this side of copyright infringement, Scott has you enter your Twitter username so his site can use his ARSE rating system to determine your Klouchebag score. What”s ARSE, you ask? It”s described on the website as: “Anger: profanity and rage. Retweets: “please RT”s, no or constant retweeting, and old-style. Social Apps: every useless check-in on FourSquare or its horrible brethren. And English Usage: if you use EXCLAMATION MARKS OMG!!! or no capitals at all, this”ll be quite high.”

Klouchebag gives you your score and also calls you names based on those figures; “a bit of a prat,” “facepalm central,” that kind of thing.

Scott told Splash Media in an email that the website only went live Friday morning and it”s already burning up his servers. “It took off like a rocket!” He doesn”t have any traffic figures to share yet, but if links to coverage in stories on The Next Web and Mashable are any indication, he”s definitely hit an online nerve. When it comes to anecdotal reactions, “the comments I”ve got have been almost entirely positive. I had one mostly-incoherent insulting response, but other than that everyone seems to like the joke. And fortunately no one”s taken it seriously!”

Not that he”s using Klouchebag as a way to diss all social media, mind you. “Social media”s brilliant, provided you realize that you can always turn it off. Nothing important ever happens solely on the internet. And there”s no such thing as being “famous online” – that”s like being “famous on the fax machines!

“Klout, though, is one of the worst ideas ever put online,” Scott said. “Klout annoys me for the same reason that search engine optimization annoys me: it”s an enormous amount of effort designed to game an arbitrary and often-changing system. Imagine if all that time went into actually making interesting things, or caring about the people around you.”

Klouchebag is a fitting capper for an interesting week for Klout. Wired published this profile piece that revealed some companies are asking for Klout scores in their hiring, which got the same negative reaction as the recent news that some businesses were asking job applicants for their Facebook passwords. The company also released an iPhone app and Brand Squads, its version of brand pages. I blogged about those developments on the SplashCube website this week; I found the iPhone app lacking in terms of content and features, but Brand Pages show promise as long as Klout can figure out a way for smaller businesses to play.

Others have been piling on Klout since the company angered its users last fall by tweaking its influence-ranking algorithms, lowering scores in the process. This week alone, Forbes and the have detailed why Klout has become the social media service you love to hate.

I like the idea of Klout democratizing influence, giving average users a chance to rank as high as Justin Bieber. And as Wired reports, big brands are starting to reward high Klout scores with discounts and giveaways. There”s nothing wrong with loyalty and incentive programs, but it shouldn”t be limited to large companies; again, Klout needs to get busy with SMB”s the way FourSquare and Facebook have. But the company now has a serious perception problem in terms of its algorithmic credibility. Too many people are just fine with not knowing their Klout score, despite the obvious appeal many of us have with knowing how we rank in various aspects of our lives. That”s the behaviorial temptation Klout is feeding off of, but indifference to Klout scores are becoming a badge of honor in the social mediasphere.

As Klouchebag”s Scott says, “to quote the WOPR computer from “War Games:” “the only way to win is not to play.”"

Renay San Miguel is the Chief Content Officer at Splash Media and On-Air Talent and Host with Spark360.tv. You can find him on Twitter @PrimoMedia. Click here to see all of Renay’s blog posts.

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SplashCast From The Past: BranchOut App Keeps Reaching Out To New Users

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BranchOut App Makes Changes

BranchOut App Makes Changes

If you’re a Facebook user and you are also on the BranchOut App – which targets professionals and sits inside your Facebook account – you may have seen that you’re now getting email notifications from FB friends who have joined your BranchOut network.

The notifications are evidence that the BranchOut App continues to scale in ways that are surprising to social media observers. Last week Forbes.com, in a story headlined “BranchOut Looks To Dethrone LinkedIn,” reported that the San Francisco-based company recently landed another round of venture capital financing and has now hit the 25 million-user mark.

When Renay San Miguel interviewed BranchOut CEO Rick Marini in this SplashCast from August 2011, the speculation was that his company had less than 10 million users, which should give you some idea of the rapid growth achieved by the app. At the time of the interview, Facebook was reporting 750 million users; it recently updated that figured to 900 million, so BranchOut seems to have chosen the right partner for its future.

In this SplashCast, Marini talks about how the company differentiates itself from LinkedIn and details his long-term goals for BranchOut.

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