Top Ten Social Media Resources

Top TenWe’re pleased to share our latest “top ten” collection of social media resources – a carefully curated list featuring a valuable mix of tools and checklists, practical guides, and insights and case studies from leading industry pros.

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Top Ten Resources:

1. Facebook Marketing Goals for 2014 – Now more than ever, success in Facebook marketing takes strategic planning and execution, and a working understanding of the many tools and resources Facebook makes available. In this post, Jon Loomer does a great job in identifying, outlining and explaining 14 key Facebook marketing goals for the new year. A great resource. >> READ MORE

2. Three Questions to Answer Before Your Social Media Campaign Launch –  What is the objective of this campaign, what are my key performance indicators, what does success look like? This post from Ignite Social Media provides a valuable walkthrough of these three important questions you should ask and answer before launching any new campaign.  >> READ MORE 

3. The Social Experience: 12 Leading Brands & Visionaries Explore the Elements of Great Social Programs – Social media leads from Whole Foods, RadioShack, Caterpillar, ARAMARK,, and industry pros such as Jay Baer and Ann Handley provide valuable insights in this free e-book from Social: IRL partner, Spredfast. A highly recommended download covering issues such as content marketing, building engaged communities, social customer care, and converged media strategies.  >> READ MORE

4. Ten Tips for Reputation and Crisis Management in the Digital World – In the online era, it becomes critical for businesses of any size to have a social media crisis management plan – or even better, a crisis prevention plan. In this post, Ekaterina Walter discusses some key ways to avoid social media disasters, prevent them from escalating, or even to handle things if everything goes sideways. >> READ MORE

5. Influencer Outreach and Employee Advocacy – One of Social: IRL’s most popular interviews from 2013, features our in-depth discussion with Walmart’s Senior Director of Digital Communications, Chad Mitchell. Chad shares valuable insights on creating meaningful influencer relationships and outcomes. He also discusses the power of employee advocacy and steps Walmart is embarking on to engage, activate and empower their associates.  >> READ MORE

6. Digital Transformation and Disruptive Trends: What to Watch in 2014 – As we’ve headed in to the new year we’ve been bombarded with the typical “predictions posts.” Two we would recommend come from Altimeter’s Brian Solis and Charlene Li.

In his post, Brian shares his agenda for 2014, with some key issues around social business, customer experience and digital transformation. >> READ MORE 

In her post, Charlene discusses disruptive trends she is watching in 2014, and shares thoughts on the implications for organizations and actions they should take. >> READ MORE

7. Social Pros 100th Episode  – Convince & Convert President and Youtility author Jay Baer, recently celebrated the 100th episode of his popular Social Pros podcast. This 50 minute Google Hangout features great conversation and valuable insights from Jay and special guests including Brad Walters from Lowe’s, Jessica Gioglio from Dunkin Donuts, Vanessa Sain-Dieguez from Hilton Hotels, and more. Highly recommended viewing.  >> VIEW VIDEO

8. Digital Marketing Lessons Nonprofits Can Learn from charity: water –  charity: water, a nonprofit that brings clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations, is leading the way when it comes to redefining nonprofit marketing; they are exceptional at inbound marketing, focusing on creating powerful content to inspire people to join their cause. This post from Beth Kanter’s blog shares nine valuable marketing lessons from charity: water that other nonprofits (or really any business) can take and apply in their own organization. >> READ MORE

9. Building an Audience-Centric Content Distribution Strategy  –  To fully harness the power of content distribution, brands should shift from serving internal executives with branded key messages to serving journalists, influencers and advocates with relevant information focused on the end reader. >> READ MORE

10. Monitoring and Measuring Social Media: A Practical Guide – Eight practical applications for social media monitoring are highlighted (with examples for each) in this presentation from Social: IRL partner, Sprial16. Applications include competitive intelligence, industry research, market research, lead generation, customer service, crisis management, and campaign monitoring.  >> READ MORE

Social Media Marketing: Storytelling in 140 Characters

Guest post by Jessica Best, Community Director at emfluence, a full service interactive marketing company based in Kansas City.

In the last half of 2012, buzzwords like “content marketing” have been flying around and industry articles tell us to think more like publishers instead of like marketers. No longer can we simply share our product, its price and where to buy it. Our products solve problems. Our services provide solutions. And when we are great it, it makes for good stories. That’s what social media marketing is really about.

But how? 140 characters isn’t even enough for an introduction to your first chapter… Is it? The Salvation Army recently used a single tweet to tell a story and draw donors into their mission.

Telling a great story in just 140 characters >>  READ MORE

Uncovering The State of Corporate Social Programs: The Spredfast Engagement Index Benchmark

Guest post by Jordan Slabaugh, Director of Social Media at Spredfast, a Social: IRL sponsor providing an enterprise-class social media management system that allows organizations to manage, monitor, and measure their voice across multiple social media channels.

Over the years, we’ve asked as social practitioners how to quantitatively gauge our social programs. The surge of social business has left many questions about the dynamics of companies’ social. How many people are active across the company? How often are companies publishing? What level of engagement are they receiving from audiences? In short: how do you as a social brand stack up next to your peers?

It’s something we’ve discussed at great lengths at Spredfast. And now, we’re excited to announce the launch of the first Spredfast Social Engagement Index Report.


The Spredfast Social Engagement Index Benchmark Report defines the current state engagement across social brands by looking at quantitative data from real social brands from Q2 of 2012. The data uncovers how brands are engaging internally – people, business groups, activity and publishing – and how they are building external engagement – network size, interactions and social reach. We looked at data from 154 Spredfast customers, captured within the Spredfast social media management system (SMMS), which was analyzed by market research firm, Mindwave Research. The 30-page report focused on the following key indicators of internal and external social engagement:

  • Number of users
  • Number of groups
  • Number of messages published across all channels
  • Total activity
  • Current network size
  • Total reach
  • Total engagement


The Social Engagement Index Report breaks down each area of social programs, highlighting the averages across brands, and then segmenting out three groups that emerged based on their level of engagement –“Activating”, “Expanding” and “Proliferating” (more detail on this in the Methodology section of the report).  The goal was to pinpoint levels of engagement and plot current trends across actual companies running social programs. Below, you can see where the 154 Spredfast customers analyzed fall. Organization represents users, publishing, activity and groups where Audience represents network size, external engagement interactions and social reach.











The data validates the growth of social business and the findings point to a few key trends across the industry:

  • Social media is no longer one person’s or one team’s job. On average, 29 people are participating in social programs within an SMMS across 11 business groups and 51 social accounts. Gone are the days when one social champion or social media team is expected to “own” all social activity. The trend is to activate more people to have more targeted, relevant conversations.
  • Companies are expanding social engagement opportunities through increased publishing and activity. Companies published an average of 4,924 messages over the quarter, averaging engagement of 2 million interactions during Q2 of 2012.  These messages, or social content, each provide new opportunities for audiences to engagement with social brands. These messages, or social content, each provide new opportunities for audiences to engage with social brands. While quantity doesn’t equal quality, the Social Engagement Index shows that as brands increase contributors, groups, and activity their external engagement rises disproportionally.
  • Social is allowing companies to communicate directly with an “opted in” network. Companies have an average social network size of 1.8 million people, potentially reaching 47 million impressions over one quarter. Pair the increasing pace of audience acquisition with a high level of activity, and brands are increasing the chances of being seen in coveted news feeds.
  • Publishing is heavier on Twitter, engagement is higher on Facebook. Companies are publishing nearly three times as often on Twitter compared Facebook. Yet Facebook yields 9x the engagement for each message published. However, some brands found the opposite, highlighting that determining goals and audience preferences are mission critical to success.
  • Corporate social programs are multi-channel, requiring employees to participate in multiple roles. It’s no longer a debate on which one network to adopt. Companies are utilizing at least three social networks and assigning up to five levels of roles to employees to allow the right people to focus and engage their audience in the best way.











The report is chock full of data and insights. And while there’s more to be said for each specific area, a few key opportunities and takeaways emerged.

Engagement is the name of the game.
Social brands are vying for both placement in a news feed and validation that their audience is actually actively participating. These interactions – Comments, Retweets Likes ,Clicks, etc. – prove message resonance and relationship intent with a brand.

Orchestrating the outliers.
The truth is, a good percentage of brand activity is still being published natively or through disparate applications. Meaning: brands have an opportunity to “reign in” social accounts, content and users currently active outside a centralized system. Without this, aggregate reporting, orchestration and brand protection oversight are nearly impossible.

Technology is a friend.
How can a brand be efficient with 29 users, 51 social accounts and publishing around 50 messages a day? Similar to how Content Management and Marketing Automation Systems help coordinate, centralize and measure other communication efforts, the exponential growth of social business is emphasizing the need for technology like an SMMS.

Low hanging fruit, ripe for the picking.
Personalized approach and goals aside, tactical opportunities surfaced as opportunities for social brands.

  • Content. If engagement is the name of game, content is the secret weapon. Ensuring that messages appear in a user’s news feed so that they can engage depends on the fact that your content is compelling and resonates.
  • Contextual insights. Great moments in engagement are exciting. But realizing how to learn from these and optimize for future content is key. Findings ways to use labels and add context to social activity helps percolate up insights.
  • Segmentation and focus. Your audience wants more, quality activity. Getting the right people internally (your 29 users) sharing the most relevant and targeted activity with your external audience allows brand to stop marketing by megaphone.
  • Coordination. It may not be an attractive area of focus, but it’s crucial. 29 users across 51 accounts that need to respond to 2 million user interactions each quarter signals the need for concerted coordination and internal planning. What content does each user focus on? Who will respond to what? What is the escalation process?
  • Conversion. Not all engagement is equal. And interestingly enough, the data showed Clicks outperformed any other interaction type. Regardless of industry, brands have a keen opportunity to actually convert social users from a social site to a corporate website, landing page or even point of purchase.

More thoughts and insights to come about Spredfast Social Engagement Index. In the meantime, get a copy of the report, digest the findings and share your thoughts and feedback.


Spruce up your social this spring – Register for this valuable three-part webinar series

We’re excited to share details of this upcoming webinar series being offered by Social: IRL partner Spredfast.

The webinars feature industry thought leaders such as Jeremiah Owyang, Jason Falls, and Michael Brito and will provide valuable insights on key issues such as creating and sharing great social content, delivering unique customer experiences, and creating social programs that are optimized for maintenance and growth.

Click here for full details and free registration.

The webinar is the latest free resource offered by our friends at Spredfast. We’ve enjoyed sharing many of their whitepapers and best practice documents, all of which are available for free download (registration required) via the Spredfast website.


Creating and Using Great Social Content

Jason Falls, May 15, 1pm CT

A well-manicured social presence blossoming with great content is what draws people to your gate. Join us to examine the continued importance of great content and how to keep your social fresh and engaging.

Details and free registration.


Knowing and Delighting Your Social Customer

Michael Brito, June 5, 1pm CT

To set the hive buzzing you need to provide a consistently compelling social experience. Join Michael Brito and social business leaders as they discuss the importance of knowing and understanding social customers and how to use that knowledge to deliver value, provide unique experiences, and constantly exceed expectations.

Details and free registration.


Organizing and Creating Social Program Processes

Jeremiah Owyang, June 26, 1pm CT

Plotting your social presence and implementing processes for maintenance and growth can be the most difficult parts of undertaking social initiatives. They are also the most crucial steps to guarantee success. Listen to thought leaders as they provide advice and key insights into organizing social at scale.

Details and free registration.

The seven whiteboard sessions every social strategist needs to have in 2012

We’re excited to be able to share a valuable new resource – “7 Whiteboard Sessions for Every Social Strategist.

Click to Download

This dynamic new whitepaper discusses seven key areas that all social media practitioners and organizations should be thinking about to help businesses continue to grow and thrive their social media programs throughout the year.

The paper was produced by Spredfast, a leading provider of Social CRM software for social media monitoring, engagement, coordination, measurement and integration.  Spredfast is also a  Social: IRL sponsor.

In preparing the paper, Spredfast spent a great deal of time talking with customers, partners and industry leaders from organizations such as Altimeter Group, Edelman Digital, MarketingProfs and Social Media Explorer to identify the biggest areas of opportunity in social media for enterprises and agencies. From those discussions, seven key areas of opportunity emerged:

1. Gaining Insight About Your Social Customer
Your customers are at the heart of everything you do – or should be doing – in social media. How are you learning about their preferences, activity and interactions to help inform your decisions?

2. Adopting Social Media Company-Wide
Social media has moved far beyond just social media marketing.  How are you planning to help roll out social media beyond just Marketing efforts to achieve business goals in departments throughout the business like Sales, R&D, Customer Care, HR or Public Relations?

3. Operationalizing Social Media with Workflows and Processes
Expanding social media throughout the your business is complex. How are you planning to operationalize social media with internal processes, communication standards and workflows to make the activity seamless between teams and people?

4. Getting the Most out of Your Great Content
Content is at the heart of everything you do in social media. But that doesn’t mean it has to be all new content or that it should exist in a vacuum. What content do you have that should be used across you social channels and how can this be used in an engaging way?

5. Delivering Better Customer Experiences
Creating good experiences is the key to successful social media programs. What do your customers want or need to experience to make their interactions positive and unique with your brand?

6. Integration
Social media initiatives are one part of a greater business initiative. And because of that, they need to be integrated into greater systems and reporting dashboards so that they can add context to overall goals.

7. Showing a Return on Social
What are your social media programs yielding in terms of social impressions, activity from your internal teams and engagement from your target audience?

Regardless of where you are in your social planning and strategy efforts, these seven areas are key to hone in on from a social media perspective. They can help make your current social programs richer and also ensure you are planning with an eye toward future social business success.

In preparing this whitepaper, Spredfast took a creative approach in presenting each area of opportunity as a “whiteboard session”, with ideas on how to approach planning and assessment and an action plan to get started. Importantly, the “whiteboard sessions” can be used as the foundation for a series of meetings designed to foster discussion and secure the buy-in needed to make your efforts successful.

For a brief overview of the whitepaper, check out the Executive Summary embedded below.

To access the complete 36 page whitepaper click here. You’ll just need to complete some very basic registration information and will then receive a free PDF download.

Kudos Spredfast. A great resource with a practical, fun and creative approach.

Who owns you? Content and community in an interactive world

On February 9, Social: IRL will host a special interactive workshop in Kansas City, “Rethinking Business in the Age of the Social Consumer.”  We’ll be joined by a strong group of both local and national businesses and agencies, including AMC Theatres, Nebraska Furniture Mart, emfluence, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Intouch Solutions, Boulevard Brewing Company, UMB Financial, Sprint, Howerton White, Ameristar Casinos, Bass Pro, Edelman, and H&R Block.

The foundation of the event is a half-day session lead by “Conversation Agent” Valeria Maltoni, who brings a wealth of experience overseeing engagement and executing growth strategies at global Fortune 500 corporations, mid-sized businesses, and small start up companies in five industries.

Jeff Schultz

The event also feature sessions looking at the intersection of social technology and social strategy, including some of the latest developments in social CRM, monitoring, and influencer marketing.  Also a valuable session taking a pro-active look at how to protect your online content and community, with Jeff Schultz, a leading social media lawyer with Armstrong Teasdale joining us to discuss potential legal issues both brands and agencies are facing on an increasing basis.

With these type of legal issues becoming more prevalent, the need for a pro-active approach is critical so we’re especially grateful to Jeff Schultz for joining us in Kansas City, and are taking the opportunity to highlight the valuable content he will be sharing with attendees.

Join us in Kansas City on February 9 to hear from Jeff, Valeria Maltoni and our other speakers, and for a valuable day of learning and networking. For a limited time attendees can register using discount code IRLNEWS and receive a specially discounted registration rate of just $95.

Who Owns You? Content in an Interactive World

Businesses and individuals alike are utilizing social media to develop their “brand” and connect with others. Today, almost everyone has a book, blog, podcast or video format which spews content (and also generates content from third parties). And every day, it seems, new online tools, platforms and advances introduce new opportunities to build your virtual footprint. But while they say that possession is 9/10 of the law, that may not be correct in the social media world. The answer to who “owns” content and community is not clear cut and the law in this area is not well developed. Users often overlook the legal ramifications that could arise. Armstrong Teasdale social media attorneys will discuss the legal aspects of content and contacts, including non-compete and fiduciary duties. Tying the presentation to the most active social media platforms, they will show you how to make sure you know who owns your work and community, and how to avoid potential legal problems.

 Jeff Schultz, Partner and Chair of the Social Media Practice Group, Armstrong Teasdale

Jeff Schultz is a business and commercial litigator and chair of Armstrong Teasdale’s Social Media Practice Group. Much of his practice focuses on counseling individuals and organizations through complex disputes involving the misappropriation of trade secrets, computer tampering, non-disclosure agreements, non-compete agreements, commercial contracts and social networking law. Mindful that one of the primary assets of any business is the proprietary information that makes it unique, Jeff helps clients develop and implement programs to safeguard against employee theft and defection and to minimize risks that arise when hiring employees from competitors. With the explosion of social media, social networking and online sharing, such as the use of blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and texting, Jeff advises companies regarding efforts to protect their brand online. Although social networking can be beneficial to maintain personal and business relationships when used properly, it can quickly become a legal minefield for those who are unprepared.

Extend the life of your Tweets with Twylah or Timekiwi

Great content can be shared in 140 characters, but can soon disappear in the Twitter timeline.

Two tools we recommend for extending the life of your Tweets and adding value to your brand: Twylah and Timekiwi.

Both tools aggregate your tweets into a single page that you can attach to your website or otherwise promote as home of your latest social media content. Apart from extending the life of your tweets, the content is also presented in a clean and easy to read format that is accessible to non-Twitter users as well as your regular followers.

Twylah presents your latest tweets in a single landing page. Your tweets are sorted and grouped by subject matter, and links are extracted to highlight the content you’re sharing, not simply the tweet itself. Twlyah also provides a Twitter client giving you the option of sharing content direct through the application. In that case, click thrus take users to your Twylah landing page to view the content, along with other similar content you have previously shared. The service is free for personal or business users.

Rather than a landing page format, Timekiwi aggregates your Tweets in to a timeline. With Timekiwi you can also incorporate Tumblr, Posterous, WordPress, and Instagram into a single timeline. Links are not extracted but photos are, and it’s photos that really add visual impact to the timeline. The timeline is easy to scroll through and can be displayed in either a vertical or horizontal format. Timewiki is free for personal use. Business plans are $5 per month or $50 per year.