Social media hacking and how your organization can protect itself

Broadcast Dialogue – The #Podcast:

With two incidents that saw hackers gain control of the Twitter accounts of Rogers Radio stations News 95.7 Halifax and News 1130 Vancouver, Momentum Media Marketing’s in-house digital experts James Wallace and Christian Lind offer insight into how the hacks occurred and how media organizations can take steps to protect themselves.

How Canada’s Anti-Spam Law Impacts Your Social Media

Canada’s Anti-Spam Law (CASL) will come into effect on July 1st. It prohibits sending Commercial Electronic Messages (CEM) to electronic addresses unless those message follow three simple rules:

  1. Identify the sender
  2. Obtain consent
  3. Provide an unsubscribe mechanism.

If you are doing business in Canada or if your customers are accessing their emails in Canada, CASL applies to you. But it applies not just to email but to social media as well!

In other words, CASL’s effect on your communications is likely broader than you may think. The Government of Canada’s website for CASL states that “Canada’s anti-spam law takes a technology-neutral approach, so that all forms of CEM sent by any means of telecommunications are captured under the new law.” Furthermore when listing the list of potential violations, “social networking” is mentioned.

To add to the confusion, the CRTC previously stated that, “Whether communication using social media fits the definition of ‘electronic address’ must be determined on a case-by-case basis, depending upon, for example, how the specific social media platform in question functions and is used. For example, a Facebook wall post would not be captured. However, messages sent to other users using a social media messaging system (e.g., Facebook messaging and LinkedIn messaging), would qualify as sending messages to “electronic addresses.” Of course, you didn’t expect the government to make anything easy did you?

To make sure your interactions with potential customers on social networks comply with CASL, one solution would be to include the following in the communication: “Could we send you a DM so we can discuss this with you in more detail,” as it is asking for consumer’s consent prior to encouraging them to engage or participate in a commercial activity.

If in doubt, and to make sure you don’t run afoul of the regulations, reach out to the marketing and media pros at Momentum Marketing for advice on your campaigns.

Happy CASL-Compliant Messaging to You!

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Understanding the Difference between Google Local and Google Places

Currently Google Local and Google Places are two different Google products each with different data sets. They compete against each other and, in some cases, display duplicate results when those sets are not perfect matches.

Google is in the process of merging Google Places with Google Local. But until then, you need to make sure that your business is up-to-date for both. In the meantime, information submitted on Google Local overrules information listed on Google Places IF the location has been verified.

How will you know if the data for your business has been merged already? The only way to know for sure is observing carefully to see which dashboard appears when logging into Google Places. If the latest dashboard is displayed, then the Google account is already a merged data set. If the older dashboard is displayed, you must still update both listings.

Old Dashboard
screen3

New Dashboard
screen1

Being moved to the newest dashboard is a computerized, automated, process that no one, not even Google employees, can speed up.

The most important thing to remember is that without going through the verification process, it is impossible to change or edit any information on Google Local as well as Google Places.

Localization is as easy as #1, #2, #3

Need assistance? Reach out to the pros at Momentum Marketing for more information!

Why B2B Marketers Love To Hate Google

The Key to Understanding Google’s Robots

It’s virtually impossible to avoid using Google as part of any marketing strategy.

But as every business that uses Google knows, the rewards to be reaped from its services are huge yet dealing with the technology behemoth can be absolutely infuriating. This frustration with Google often reaches its crescendo when it comes to dealing with Google Reviews.

There are a lot of things for the marketing pro to explain. Some helpful tips might even help understand how Google works, but they may not totally remove that feeling of frustration.

Things to know about Google and the online/tech industry in general:

    • Tech giants are not like traditional industries. They never release a finished product. Everything is a big test. They launch broken services (beta) and fix things along the way. New products and services almost never provide a seamless working experience. For example, Google Places, Google Maps, Google+, and Google Reviews were conceived as separate services and when Google decided to merge them the result was complete chaos. Google tries to prioritize and fix problems according to what brings them the most revenue, not what is the best for the users of the service. Frustrating, but understandable.

 

    • Google (the company with employees) is different than the Google we all use every day. The Google we use to search or post a review is really made up of a bunch of computers that work using algorithms that are so complex they would confound us mere mortals. To the average human being, the logic seems completely random and without sense. But there is logic to it. Thousands upon thousands of people at Google work on those algorithms and nothing else. But once the algorithm is instituted, as it were, the robots make decisions about content posted by humans (posts, reviews, etc.) and those decisions are made without any human intervention.

 

  • Let’s just scratch the surface on the review algorithm, for example. The Google computers do a deep background search on the person posting the review. They look for information such as:
    • Is the person posting related to the business in one way or another?
    • Where is the location of the computer used to post the review?
    • How many reviews has that person posted before?
    • Is that person actively using other google products (like YouTube or Gmail)?
    • Does the review contain a specific sequence of words or turns of phrases that have been deemed of low value by Google?

There are literally millions of questions like these that the algorithm is trained to consider when analyzing a review.

The previous paragraph may help to explain why it takes so darned long for Google to post reviews and also why there isn’t really an ETA on when reviews might be posted. All the reviews written about all the businesses on the planet are put on a giant queue. It is impossible to know how long it takes for the Google robot to analyze a review as it depends on all of the above factors, and no human eyes, to know how many reviews are waiting to be posted ahead of the one submitted for your business (could be three thousand or five million).

Then there’s the robot factor. If the review contains something that the robot has been programmed to recognize as spam (not what we think of as spam as the Google definition is a very broad and generic term), it will be dismissed without any notification and without a way to appeal. The algorithm is literally judge, jury, and executioner.

Is the Google system perfect? Absolutely not.

Is Google broken? It sure seems like it sometimes, but let’s not go that far.

Is someone working on it? Yes the humans working at Google understand the value of reviews and their impact on businesses. Furthermore, as the whole, Google Places and Google Reviews represent a HUGE vector of growth for THEIR business and they are working hard on refining the process and making it more efficient for everyone. It might not be relevant to your business in particular, but as an example the Google Places batch verification process is something that didn’t exist not so long ago.

The whole notion of Google is hard thing to wrap one’s head around. Imagine driving a car that is morphing as you hurtle down the freeway. It’s a sedan then it’s a convertible. The size of the wheels is randomly changing. You have no control on the accelerator or the brakes. You’re just a pair of hands on the wheel, doing the best to maintain keep it between the ditches and moving forward. You’re not really the driver.

Frustration with this opaque process is completely understandable.

But there are concrete things you can do to best position your business for success in a Google world. It begins with a basic understanding that the internet is a great equalizer – which puts the start-up, the independent, and the big guys equal footing. There us a huge opportunity for all businesses to reconnect with their customers in a whole new way that inspires engagement and sharing, organically, naturally, and in a way that earns attention of the robot.

In the meantime, talking with experts who live and breathe this connected environment can often make this process smoother and be that missing human link you’re looking for while figuring out how to deal with that faceless monolith.

We speak robot. Let’s talk!

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3 Reasons Why Pinterest is a Female Marketing Dream

Pinterest describes itself as a simple “Virtual Pinboard.” But don’t let this modesty fool you. Pinterest is the second most influential social networking site (behind Facebook) among women. It is also one of the fastest-growing with over 27 million unique visitors and 220 million page views per day. Here are some more reasons why it makes sense to use Pinterest as a marketing vehicle to reach women.

1. Pinterest Fosters Unique Shopping Behaviors

One of the key factors in the success of Pinterest among women is that they use the network in very specific and different ways than men. According to Edison Research, men utilize Pinterest boards as shopping carts to display what they have already purchased whereas female Pinterest users view the platform as wish lists filled with items they are exploring with an interest in buying. According to a recent Women’s Buying Behavior Index survey of thousands of online women shoppers, 36% of women shoppers use Pinterest to research items they are already considering buying and 60% use Pinterest to get gift ideas.

2. Google Doesn’t Understand Fashion and Beauty

When it comes to fashion, the purchase trigger can be discovering and viewing a special item you didn’t even realized existed. Google is the biggest search engine on the planet. It offers an image search but lists every result without the benefit contextualization, which is Google’s downfall. For instance, according to BuzzFeed, a woman looking for “ruffles” on Google image search would end up with these results:

enhanced-buzz-wide-26081-1370014256-5

Whereas searching for the same term on Pinterest yields the following results:

enhanced-buzz-wide-27148-1370014249-5

Pinterest virtual pinboards and women go together like sugar, spice, and everything nice because content is contextualized and curated by its users. What could seem to be a flaw, is actually its greatest strength: Female users are making Pinterest a better visual search engine for women than Google.

For example if she is looking for “trendy shoes,” she’ll see this:

shoes2

3. Pinterest Followers Cost Less and Spend More

The last and probably most compelling argument in favor of utilizing Pinterest as a marketing tool to reach women resides in the quality of the users. According to Reuters, women Pinterest shoppers spend an average $170 per session. That is double the average of Facebook shoppers.

Also women utilizing Pinterest follow more retailers than they do on any other social site, according to Google Ad Planner. Women shoppers who use Pinterest are informed customers that do not fit the typical social networker profile.

The cherry on the cupcake: acquiring a Pinterest follower costs between a 1 penny and 50 cents, which is considerably lower than Facebook (50c to $2.50).

Are you leveraging all the marketing power that Pinterest can offer?

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How Analyzing Big Data Can Lead To A Big Payoff For B2B Companies

Sharability. Reshare. Retweet. Likes. Inbound links. Page views. Social CRM. All of these digital metrics, and many more, when combined, can be described as “Big Data.”  Big Data is more than the latest tech meme. When mined and measured by marketing specialists and then translated into meaningful information that can be used to move a business forward, Big Data can be a goldmine.

But first we have to knock big data down from its scary overlord perch in order to avoid analytics overload. Then we can view Big Data as a delicate gemstone, a collaborative tool to give business access to the most accurate information about its customers and to develop a targeted, data-driven, marketing strategy.

So let’s break down Big Data shall we.

An Engaged Community Can Drive Re/Branding

The best way for your brand to avoid stagnation is to ask yourself these questions:

  • Does my brand generate organic buzz?
  • Where can I reach my customers?
  • What compelling messages are we delivering to our buyers?
  • Are we giving them reasons to come back?

Finding out what brand characteristics resonate with consumers can diagnose your brand health and prescribe ways to strengthen the relationship with consumers therefore increasing brand loyalty and making customers less vulnerable to competitive marketing.

Example: Samsung Galaxy S4

When Samsung launched their Galaxy S4 smartphone, their keynote was all about services and hardware specs were left on the sideline. This strategy was a direct reflection of the data gathered from their consumers’ use of the previous model: S3 adopters cared more about the Samsung’s software prowess than the number of cores their devices had. To become what some are calling “the hottest smartphone company on the planet,” Samsung had to rethink their brand and evolve to become what their consumers expected it to be.

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/how-samsung-became-the-hottest-smartphone-company-on-the-planet-2013-1

Content Marketing Builds Brand Equity

Word of mouse is the new word of mouth. Producing valued content is the best way to get consumer attention. By monitoring real time social media conversation it is possible to target affluent brand advocates and learn what will reinforce the brand image and make the public remember it. Creating a water cooler moment is a science, not a lottery.

Example: House of Cards only on Netflix

When Netflix produced the 13 episodes of House of Cards, the company delved into the information it gathers from its users in order to identify what type of content as well as who would be the lead actor its consumers would pick. Investing millions on the show was not a gamble, but a sound investment.  Since its release February 1st 2013, House of Cards has become the most watched piece of content on the streaming service and has been the first show watched amongst the vast majority of new subscribers.

Source: http://www.salon.com/2013/02/01/how_netflix_is_turning_viewers_into_puppets/

Engaging The Next Generation of Consumers/Brand Advocates Starts Now

In a world where social media is driven by consumers, not businesses, coping with change isn’t the problem. It’s our behavior. Online strategy needs to be tailored to our customers. The strategies to engage baby boomers are not efficient when it comes to engaging millennials. Building trust with customers is fundamental to business success. Observing trends and their evolution is key in optimizing the reach and success of a social marketing campaign among the target.

Example: NASA’S Curiosity

To gather public support in order to keep its government funding, NASA decided to learn about the online behavior of its future brand advocates and turn the launch of the Mars-bound probe Curiosity into an event engaging audiences across all platforms. From hyping and then live streaming the “7 minutes of terror” to posting tweets and broadcasting the new tune from Will.i.am from the surface of the red planet, Curiosity has had the same impact on the public perception of NASA as the Moon landing.

Source: http://www.technewsdaily.com/17274-mars-curiosity-social-media-secrets.html

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The Rebirth of the Living Room Screen = Christmas for Content Providers

Industry publications love predicting the decline of the living room screen. Sure network television channels suffer from declining viewership, but the living room flat panel has never been more popular with audiences and, especially, advertisers. Even despite the proliferation of a myriad of media content playing devices.

Declines for Networks

Since the arrival of television sixty years ago, the networks have controlled the living room set and enjoyed a monopoly over the advertising shown on it. However, things are changing fast.

When an advertiser buys airtime on a television network, the sole way to measure the effectiveness of the campaign is to rely on Nielsen ratings.

Nielsen ratings are based on a representative sample that is composed of just 25,000 homes (5,000 for national programming and 20,000 for local stations). Collectively they reflect the viewing habits of over 106 million U.S. households in 210 markets. Because TV ratings are based on samples, it’s possible for shows to get a 0.0 rating, despite having an audience (Example: CNBC’s talk show McEnroe). No matter how the sample is selected and how the habits are representative of the population, sample based ratings always are approximations.

Combine these statistical imperfections with the availability of more choices in the living room, and no wonder network is struggling.

Boon for Content Providers

Meanwhile bleeding edge content companies and ad agencies are utilizing the same techniques that have made web advertising a force with which to be reckoned to take over advertising on living room screens.

These content providers have leveraged the smart screen to become an advertising platform that can better target demos and deliver a more reliable set of analytics when it comes to measuring success.

For instance, there are over 27 million Xbox Live subscribers who provided a wide array of information when signing up for the service (name, age, location, etc.). By using their Xbox, and services attached to it, they are constantly providing more data regarding their interests, spending habits, etc.

The way ad placement is sold on screen is not by length of airtime, but per impression, the same way ads are sold online. In the same way that BBC Kids Television can accurately target moms aged 25-54 on Facebook, Nike can target men 25-35 interested in soccer on Xbox Live.

And they have done it! In June 2012, when the NHL Stanley Cup and the UEFA Euro 2012 were overlapping, Nike maximized the efficiency of its ad budget by directly targeting potential customers using Xbox Live. Soccer fans only saw ads relevant to them, and hockey fans weren’t bothered by soccer ads.

In March 2012, The LA Times reported that the amount of time Xbox Live subscribers spent streaming media surpassed the amount of time playing games. Furthermore, Xbox Live media streaming usage was growing 30% yearly, with users spending 84 hours per month connected to the system. This has grown very quickly and now represents more than half the 150 monthly hours the average American family spends watching television networks (according to Nielsen).

Penny Arcade reported that, according to Microsoft, a single ad placement on its console dashboard receives an average 9 million impressions on a weekday and over 15 million on a weekend. Furthermore, their advertising business has grown 142% yearly since 2010.

Lessons for the Networks

Some of the most forward thinking television companies are beginning to see that in order to compete they have to change their ways of targeting and selling advertising.

Tivo’s recent purchase of TRA, a research company that has found success in recent years with a system that matches up television viewing with consumer buying habits, is a clear indication of where things are moving: increasing ad effectiveness.

Evolving Model

The influence of set-top boxes is helping to shape the new business model. Marketing directly to the audience and the harnessing the way in which consumers interact with their televisions is a top priority for agencies and content producers.

Contemplate the opportunity for a moment. Netflix claims that its subscribers viewed over a billion hours of content in the month of June. HBO GO, the streaming video-on-demand app, has achieved success so overwhelming that the premium network is considering offering a streaming only subscription.

Bottom line? The living room screen is new again. It presents a whole new opportunity to connect directly with individuals within the context of the content they choose at the moment they want it with an engagement or offer that’s unique to them. That’s revolutionary.

The living room screen is not only alive and well… it’s where the action is!

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How OUYA Created a Trending Brand in Less than a Day

[infobox]UPDATE – June 26th 2013

The day after the crowdfounded Ouya hit retail; the console’s launch could be considered a commercial success. Sold out at Gamestop and on Amazon in many countries, yet some shipping issues regarding the Kickstarter units could jeopardize Ouya’s future.

Many early brand advocates have questioned Ouya’s apology about shipping their product:

– why did retailers get their units prior to early kickstart backers?
– why Ouya’s team has only acknowledge a breakdown with their shipping partner on the day the console hit retailers’ shelves?

If there is one important marketing lesson we can learn from Ouya’s troubled launch it is that catering to your brand advocates is key to growing a community, and that openess and honesty trumps opaque communication.

Is Ouya’s communication going to be its downfall? How many units did Gamestop and Amazon have in stock? Is the “sold out” status of the console another marketing ploy?[/infobox]

Hold on one minute – what is, who is OUYA?

OUYA (@PlayOUYA) is “A New Kind of Video Game Console” – an example of disruption at its finest.

From an unknown name a few weeks ago, OUYA has written the blueprint for what can only be describe to as “viral community branding.” If you do not recognize the name, you’re not alone – OUYA has just had the most successful launch in Kickstarter history by raising over a million dollars in less than 8 hours! Since the fundraising program was unveiled and launched they’ve been trending worldwide on Twitter, have been one of the most searched terms on Google and Bing and the subject of countless articles.

What they accomplished in less than 24 hours is phenomenal. They have now raised more than 5 million dollars in just a few short days.

So what’s the secret behind such a monumental marketing success? There are a lot of factors to consider but all of them have one thing in common: Community.

Harnessing the power of Community has been done before but rarely with such successful execution. There are a lot of steps that have been taken to make sure the brand would be successful. When dissecting the brand identity of OUYA it’s clear that their marketing message is crafted to cater to their audience: gamers. The product is indeed filling a void in the gaming industry, yet what made the branding so efficient is the way OUYA positioned itself as a console for gamers that couldn’t exist without their support.

The people behind OUYA are all “rock-star” veterans of the gaming industry. Julie Uhrman is a former digital distribution VP for IGN (a Newscorp owned company). Ed Fries is one of the fathers of the original Microsoft Xbox. Muffi Chadali is responsible for the Amazon Kindle. And designer extraordinaire Yves Behar is considered to be the heir apparent to Philippe Stark.

By using an effective marketing message and harnessing the right channels to talk to their audience, OUYA’s strategy and message was strong from the outset. They also connected with legendary game designers who had recently experienced overwhelmingly successful Kickstarter campaigns. This gave their product “street” credibility by using expressions like “open source”, “hackable,” and “free to play” which implies positive connotations within the gaming community. This turned community influencers into an active component of development. Crowd funding completed the equation.

What can’t be overlooked is the low entry price point of the device. This is a tremendous advantage, but to achieve the exposure OUYA needed and ultimately received it was imperative to appeal to the consumers and the most vocal influencers in the gaming community. The result was like an out-of-control wildfire that spread quickly.

These are smart and experienced people and this was a well thought out plan that likely produced results better than originally anticipated. It should be noted that this technique of branding is not normally utilized to be self-sustainable. It would be naive to think that the all-star industry veteran team behind OUYA is solely relying on the community for developing its offering.

OUYA was most likely just gauging consumer/developer interest, and had Angel or VC Investors waiting to see how well the Kickstarter campaign did before buying in with a more substantial and ultimately dilutive amount. A good influencer/community based campaign can make a brand and therefore the difference between the terms of the deal, or whether it goes through at all.

There’s no guarantee that OUYA will be a success but they’ve completed a critical phase quickly, establishing their brand, and creating a huge buzz in a very specific community. That alone is an impressive feat. By knowing their audience, they were able to cater to it directly, engage community influencers, listen to their needs, and turn potential consumers into community advocates by giving them a crucial role in the product lifecycle.

Quite simply – “The people have spoken. And they want their Ouya”. – Venture Beat

[notice]If you enjoyed this article you may also want to read: The Rebirth Of The Living Room Screen – Click Here >[/notice]

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Two Super Hero Approaches to Social Engagement

When comic book legend Stan Lee wrote, “With great power comes great responsibility,” he most likely did not imagine that in a mutant-free future this quote would perfectly summarize a phenomenon known as social engagement.

Engagement through social media is a powerful way to reach an audience. And when your brand is armed with a strong cohesive strategy, it can be a super hero. But without that “s” for strategy on emblazoned on your chest your brand is less like Superman and more like a guy dressed in tights holding a chunk of kryptonite awaiting a smack down from the dark side.

To avoid such a doomsday scenario let’s look to super heroes as role models when developing an online brand. There are two ways to represent a brand on social networks:

1) As a lone super hero a la Green Lantern, or
2) As a poster-child supported by a team like the Avengers

Green Lantern

The first is to choose a single voice to speak for the brand and make sure that any person writing on the behalf of the brand respects its value and its identity. This is much like the Green Lantern in that every person wearing the ring has to take the oath to respect the values of the Green Lantern.

You must define the social voice of the brand and how it interacts with the audience. Let’s compare two superheroes that have a lot in common: Ironman and Batman. Both are eccentric philanthropist billionaires who wear costumes to fight crime. If you gave them a Twitter account to share you could easily recognize each of the characters by the styles in which they write. Batman would be more introverted and humble. Ironman would be extraverted and at times arrogant.

In this approach you must use a cohesive voice and never let the audience become aware that there may actually be more than one individual interacting with them. Otherwise you would make your audience feel like they are dealing with split personalities, never knowing what to expect. The latter might be a good idea of the brand is the unpredictable Incredible Hulk.

The Avengers

The second approach is for a strong team of social advocates to drive the brand. In the case of The Avengers, Nick Fury is the voice of the group. He deals with the corporate aspect of things and the generic public relations but when it comes to action it’s Ironman, Captain America, Thor, and the others who do the heavy lifting.

In this scenario your main character (Nick Fury) only post news about the overall brand and rarely interacts directly with the audience. That’s a job left to the associates.

This way every member of the audience feels like the brand is dedicating one of its super heroes to them and doesn’t mind the potential difference in tone between the brand identity and the person representing the brand.

But which route to choose?

In social engagement the right way is always the way your audience is expecting you to engage with them.