Today, I took the stage at Internet Week NY to talk about Brands in a Social World. As attention continues to shift to social globally and brands are more popular than ever, the enterprise needs to build systems to scale their operations. I discussed that in detail as part of my five takeaways for the audience that included:
You can watch it in its entirety here:
And, the Q&A session here:
Noah also took the stage on Tuesday for the Internet Week NY panel: How New York Brands are Reinventing Social with our friends Linda Boff of GE, Dipayan Gupta of New York Life, Abe Burmeister of Outlier and moderated by Digiday Editor in Chief, Brian Morrissey. It was a great session and you can check it out here:
And, tonight, we’ll be hosting a special version of our monthly community happy hour SPEAKEASY in partnership with The Webby Awards.
If you have any questions about the above, please get in touch.
On Friday, the teams at Percolate – business and product – assembled for #hackpercolate 2013.
Nourished by a delicious and healthy breakfast and raring to go, we divvied up into teams to work on projects ranging from a mobile site to a dashboard view of key metrics in Percolate to an internal website that showed the occupancy state of the bathroom. Yes, you read that correctly and can read the dedicated post for how well that went.
Dispatch from Team Aroma (Arduino Light)
Team Aroma started with the bare materials of Arduino and ended with a product that shows – via LED smiley face – 1. when a client logs in and 2. when a client post is published via Percolate. Erik taught Sarah, Song, and Max to solder, which was key to connecting the circuits so that the display would work. Meanwhile, JOB and Luke worked on programming for the Arduino device (after Max did the original Arduino set-up), enabling it to communicate with the server and display a corresponding bitmap image. On the back end for the server, Danny checked for new posts and logins with Max’s help.
Great news, the team’s prototype worked on the first try–boom! Currently, we are trying to be fancy and get usernames to scroll that will correspond to the login. Sarah christened this project with the name “Aroma.” Erin also made an excellent presentation to showoff everyone’s hardwork. And, in the end, JOB cleaned up our mess. Thank you sir.
Dispatch from Team Perco-Users
The Perco-user team was comprised of two developers, one designer and five business folks with a shared goal of making it easier for all Percolate employees to understand the frequency of client usage. Peter, an account manager at Percolate, tracks and analyzes client usage data daily. He knows this information like the back of his hand. However, Percolators in other functions don’t have easy access to this data. Our goal was to fix that. We set out to build an internal dashboard that easily communicates software usage. The ultimate objective is to understand client behavior to improve our product.
We began the brainstorm to find a balance between business need, creativity and product feasibility. Once we had the general concept, each discipline got to work. With a framework for the dashboard, we needed to understand how to best represent the data to keep it easily consumable. We decided it should be represented in two forms; an aggregate snapshot of all business, and a detailed breakout of each client.
In the end, the output was a blend of our unique perspectives from across the business. Now, everyone can understand software usage and work together – product and business – to get clients Percolating to their full potential. Because the more you Percolate, the happier you are!
And, a very special thanks to Kate Whitlow for her fantastic and healthy catering services.
As a startup grows, so does the bathroom line.
Percolate has outgrown our office space, so the mention of Arduino technology during Hack Day kick-off quickly birthed an idea. We can build a way to check if the bathroom’s vacant from the comfort of your desk.
When Team Bathroom assembled–near the bathroom, of course–the first move was out the door. A shopping trip was in order.
At Canal Alarm Devices, the team picked up magnetic sensors to detect when the bathroom door opens.
Say hi everybody! From left above: April, Percolate office manager; Ian W, ops; Erik, mathematician; and Noah, co-founder and head of product.
There was a moment of reflection on Canal Street: How is this going to work exactly? The magnets tell a website if the toliet was vacant or occupied, if the door is open or closed. Visit a website to see and, if the door is closed, put your name–better yet, your Twitter handle–in the queue. When it’s your turn, you receive a tweet.
Then it was time to execute. Back at the office, April learned to code for the first time.
And Ian and Erik got to programming the Arduino.
Clearly, more field trips were eventually in order.
Meanwhile Brand Strategists Kunur and Jo selected the Twitter handle @PercolateWC and eventually wrangled a designer, Erin, for a crash-course in wireframing.
It took a bit of time for Kunur and Jo to find the wireframing templates.
At lunch, the team got a visit from Noah’s wife Leila. Clearly the Twitter bathroom reporter idea was born years ago: At Naked Communications, back when Twitter was first taking off, Noah sat near the loo and kept the office informed: “available,” “not available,” “hold off, someone took a while in there.”
Soon enough, Ian got the hardware working. Kunur, otherwise useless in these situations, put it on Vine.
And a working prototype was born in one working day. Awesome job Team Bathroom and on-the-fly recruits Doug and James OB.
A few months ago, Percolate launched SPEAKEASY, a monthly happy hour for community managers, to bring the community together. Tonight, we took it one step further and debuted the SPEAKEASYCM blog to educate, inspire and delight community managers.
SPEAKEASYCM celebrates the great work community managers do everyday and shares inspiration, the latest updates from social platforms and tips and tricks to make their job easier. We’ll be featuring great events and job openings, too. On the site, you can submit to our job board to post great opportunities at your company.
Monday marked a day that many who live on the internet have had on their calendars for months, Community Manager Appreciation Day.
It’s the little things that make a community manager’s job worthwhile and on the fourth Monday of January 2013, those little things transformed into a flowing river of appreciation if you followed the Twitter hashtag #CMAD.
Percolate celebrated community managers by hosting #SPEAKEASY #CMAD. A mix of brands, platforms and agencies presented their learnings on community building and social to a room full of eager community managers.
If you weren’t able to join us or want to review the presentations once more, we’ve archived the slides below with links and brief descriptions of the presenters and their presentations.
Noah Brier, Percolate co-founder, presented the Evolution of Social Content.
Summary: The endless information ‘stream’ which has proliferated across social channels means that no one thing defines a brand anymore. Social platforms are mirrors reflecting consumer attention in real time, and good content lives at the intersection of brand message and cultural relevance.
Keith Cowing from LinkedIn presented marketing solutions for brands on the LinkedIn platform.
Summary: LinkedIn has evolved from being “who I am at work” to a much broader personalized professional content source. In fact, LinkedIn content creates five times the activity that job postings do. LinkedIn’s newest features, like LinkedIn Today, Groups, Slideshare and Network Updates, all aim at bringing the platform towards recognition as a community for professional content.
Tyler Fonda, Strategy Director at Gotham Inc., presented on the learnings of Denny’s social strategy “Cats and Babies.”
Summary: To create content, community managers and all social publishers need to optimize through experimentation: the risk is simply too low not to (no one will view the content). Gotham was able to experiment with content creation for its client, Denny’s, by creating memes around cats and babies. Here, and on other campaigns, Gotham has successfully used memes as trojan horses for getting into people’s facebook feeds.
Danielle Strle of Tumblr presented “why Tumblr should be your brand’s social hub”.
Summary: Tumblr is a special platform because brands can post anything they want and customize the look and feel. Many brands are seeing unmatched longevity and engagement around their content on Tumblr and the best examples of brands using the platform are available at http://brands.tumblr.com/.
Adam Sandler of American Express presented on how they’re building a community from scratch.
Summary: While a community is united around a certain shared interest, a social network is defined by shared existing relationships. The purpose of Amex’s OPEN Forum was to create a community of thought-leaders to drive “engagement, endorsement, and loyalty” around topics relevant to small businesses and entrepreneurs.
Jon Lombardo of GE presented on “How General Electric became a content company”.
Summary: GE has fascinating social content across virtually all the platforms and they achieved this by knowing their context, thinking about why people share and letting go of the brand (kind of). The result has been increased engagement and content creation across all their social presences.
Jennifer Stalzer of MasterCard talked about the evolution of their corporate newsroom.
Summary: Corporate Communications is currently at the intersection of content and code. In its strategy for building its own corporate newsroom, MasterCard focused on integrating its various social channels, curating content to fuel conversations around context, and creating content with third-party validation. For Mastercard, content creation is never a “one n’ done” process, and MasterCard uses the Percolate Brew to syndicate its content around owned media, bringing new relevancy to dated stock media content.
Matthew Murray of Getty Images showed how brands can co-create with Getty Images. To view please enter your email and password Percolate2013.
Summary: Getty Images now provides brands with a digital, rights-free multimedia library to assist in the content creation process.
Kristin Maverick of The Barbarian Group discussed how Pepsi NEXT and TaskRabbit tested the boundaries of community sampling in their latest campaign.
Summary: To introduce Pepsi NEXT on digital channels, the Barbarian Group partnered with an up-and-coming startup called TaskRabbit, an online marketplace for users to outsource their simple errands and tasks to local trustworthy people. Select contest winners outsourced their errands/tasks for an hour and spent their newfound extra time sampling Pepsi’s new low-sugar product.
Jack Pollock of IPG Media Labs talked about how they’re employees are signals for innovation externally.
Summary: Building an internal community within your own company can be difficult, yet it relies on bringing together technology, content, and audience and avoiding the challenge of diversification. IPG Media Labs consists of 60 thought-leaders across five continents vetting potential media technologies for use at scale.
After a day full of information sharing, Noah concluded with the following threads for the audience to consider: the evolving role of the community manager; the proliferation of new platforms; the diversification of social media presence; how brands are turning user-experiences into user-generated content; and how the industry has moved away from talk of ‘influence’.
Did you attend the event? Let us know your thoughts.
Thanks again to those who attended, presented and our friends, partner and sponsor Tumblr for helping make #SPEAKEASY #CMAD a success. We’re looking forward to doing it again next year and we’ll be post details for the next #SPEAKEASY community manager happy hour soon.
Last night we held our first happy hour specifically for community managers, SPEAKEASY. We had an incredible turnout at Percolate HQ, especially for a night packed with holiday parties across the city.
Our celebrity photographer Dom Goodrum was on hand to document the night’s festivities:
Thanks to everyone who came out including our co-hosts Kristine Michelsen-Correa, bitly; Lauren Cucinotta, TEDx; and Allie MacPherson, TEXT100. We hope you enjoyed meeting team Percolate and other like-minded folk.
We’re busy planning the next SPEAKEASY so look for invites just after the New Year.
As the brand pioneers on Facebook and Twitter, community managers have it tough. Yes, running social pages for the world’s biggest brands looks like warm-fuzzy photos and thousands of likes on the outside, but it’s also uncharted territory, new questions and new paradigms in marketing.
Knowing that, we’d like to share a few things we hope can make their jobs easier and more fun.
First off, our friends over at 360i have posted some great tips for community managers. It’s an excellent guide on how to equip yourself to build compelling, human brands in social.
Next, to bring a sense of community to the growing ranks of community managers, we’re kicking off a monthly happy hour specifically for this set at Percolate HQ called SPEAKEASY. Please join us on Thursday, December 6 from 7-9pm for the first of many happy hours hosted by Percolate. We’ll feature special guest hosts so community managers can have a drink on us and talk with like-minded folk.
All the details are available at http://percolate.eventbrite.
The Feast hosted a hackathon as part of their conference at the end of last week here in New York City (at the Eyebeam Art + Technology Center). I was invited to participate in this awesome experience, along with about 15 other designers, engineers, and thinkers.
The two days of hacking and conferencing (shared via livestream around the world) were almost overwhelming, but after digesting the event I can tell you that there’s nothing like spending time trying to think outside the box.
There were two “personas” presented to the hackathon participants. One was an elderly person living alone. The other was a single mother in the inner city. We were asked to break into teams that each targeted an aspect of the solution.
Here was the challenge:
“Each of us is creating data at a faster rate than ever before. Meanwhile cities and governments are making more and more civic data freely available. Help people reveal the opportunities hidden at the intersection of these two emergent forms of data.”
And the question:
“what data could we use (or collect) to help these people?”
The hackathon started off slowly – it took a really long time to digest the two personas and outline a plan of action. I suspect that this is because these are “edge-cases” for the tech community – not ones we think about often – so approaching them with tech required a lot of thought.
Two groups attacked the “elderly” persona. One came up with an iPad app that enabled people to record their stories using prompts from the children/grandchildren/friends. This came out of conversations in which the idea of leaving a legacy and recording your story was the kind of data that people had trouble with.
Another group tried to liberate some data from the “social web” (facebook/twitter/flickr), where young people participate and elderly don’t (as a rule) – they made a simple iPad app to share photos from these services with an elderly friend or grandparent without requiring any knowledge of these social services themselves.
Two projects addressed the “single mom” persona. One participant courageously struck out on her own and made “EduHack” – a place where you could mash-up API’s that served after-school programs with your location to find child care options near you. The team I partnered with came up with “PenMoms,” a pen-pal matching site where moms with knowledge in their community were matched with moms that needed help.Our team developed a “social calculator” of questions to match up people who might be able to help each other. In the end, we guessed that trust in the available solutions was the limiting factor in getting help from the resources in the community, and so we tried to create a pathway for data to travel along trusted networks instead of only through “official” channels.
The opportunity that “open data” presents to do social good is unprecedented. The main point that I took from my experience at The Feast is that we cannot forget that humans are both the terminal consumers of the data and the metric by which we judge our success in using it. As a technologist, one must not forget that the technology exists to make our own lives more interesting, even if the internet sometimes seems to be coming alive on its own.
I recently attended the Financial Communications Society’s social panel on the roof of the National Geographic offices. Against a beautiful NYC summer sunset, Pepper Evans of American Express, Michael Ma from Vanguard and Percolate’s own James Gross discussed the marketing importance of social media, with an appropriate emphasis on financial services.
Each panelist shared a wealth of insights, but what struck me the most was that above all else, brands need to be alert, authentic and adaptable to succeed in social media.
Both Pepper and Michael revealed how their respective brands approached social planning with a thoughtfulness that allows them to incorporate the above requirements. For American Express, an alert social media strategy is part customer service and part customer engagement, where ultimately the customers become brand advocates. ‘Will customers care, and will they share’ is the motto for the @Amex social approach.
Michael Ma stressed that social media is a business strategy and the content on these channels should inform customer’s days and change their lives. By Ma’s reckoning, most brands are over-thinking social and not focusing on the importance of authenticity and “being on message.”
The necessity to take a proactive approach and avoid being reactive was raised a number of times during the panel. Additionally, what works today in social media isn’t necessarily going to work tomorrow. Despite frequently shifting challenges, brands must adapt accordingly, always remembering what defines them while keeping consumers at the core of their social strategies.
Of course, no panel on social media (especially one with a financial focus) is complete without the question – “What is the ROI on social?” Both American Express and Vanguard shared that Net Promoter Score was the key measurement for ROI, but they emphasized that ultimately, if fans are engaged, social media has been a success.
Social marketing needs to be an integral part of corporate strategy. Two of the largest financial services companies in the world are focused on engaging with their consumers as a socially centric business objective. By being alert as a brand, authentic with what you proactively share, and adaptable to a shifting environment, you can develop an engaging relationship with your.
Below are some short clips from the panel. Thanks again to FCS, National Geographic and Y INTERACT for throwing a great event.
Photo Credit - Y Interact Flickr
I started this year with a mission: revive likemind.
In 2008, when the NYTimes wrote about it (and took the photo below), likemind was fresh, energetic, filled with ideas. It was the place to be – places, really, since there are chapters all over the world.
By January 2012, likemind had lost a bit of its momentum. It needed a new direction to reflect the current state of the media and tech community.
When Noah and James asked me to help revive likemind, I have to admit, I had doubts. I went to the likemind site and read the about section:
who: people like you
what: an opportunity to enjoy coffee and conversation
why: because drinking good coffee with likeminded people is fun
when: the third friday of every month (just about)
I reread the section a number of times and I found myself asking: What is this morning meet-up all about? Do people really show up in the morning on a Friday? Will I really meeting interesting people?
And so I proceeded with the task at hand – revive likemind globally and get likemind active again here in NYC. Fast-forward to the February edition of likemind. 6 people showed up and I knew 4 of them (thanks for coming, Percolaters). But a good idea with interesting people is evergreen. Fast-forward one more month to March edition of likemind. Roughly 50 people attended! I met a likeminder from Sweden who was in town visiting and decided to join the NY chapter to meet new people. We chatted for 2 hours, sharing stories, ideas and interests. Doubts completely eliminated, I left this likemind with a new friend and a feeling of inspiration!
Let me take this opportunity to give you a little more intel on likemind from my point of view.
What is likemind?
likemind is a morning coffee meet-up that occurs globally on the 3rd Friday of every month. The mission is to bring together people from a variety of industries to share ideas and have great conversations with new people with some good coffee.
Why should I go to likemind?
The power of likemind lies in the people. We are all busy in our lives with work and personal activities. This is a time to step outside of your routine, meet someone new, and open your mind to ideas and people.
I encourage everyone to come this month to likemind and experience it for yourself. It’s awesome.
Here are the details for NYC:
Where: ‘sNice Café – 45 8th Avenue
When: Friday, April 20th, 8am – 10am
See you at ‘sNice!
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