Tuesday Jul 28, 2015

Employee Advocacy, Part 2: Putting Employees in Motion

In the second installment of this series on Employee Advocacy (EA), we are discussing strategies to  engage employees in advocacy. Part one discusses what EA is and why it’s important.


It’s really lovely to talk about how 500 employees could relay your message to a potential audience of 50,700, but it’s a lot harder to make those numbers happen. Here’s how we do it:


Begging is not a good look (unless you have fur).


1. Executive Buy In

This topic alone could be a blog post in and of itself, but suffice it to say that no one will do extra work for free without the boss saying, “This is a priority.” Some quick suggestions to make this easier:

A. Show them the numbers: if you have 500 employees, you can generate 50,700 potential impressions. Present clear goals: Show how social posts can impact revenue. For X amount of time and money, we can expect Y more earned media, which will then convert to Z more sales.

B. Show them how easy it is: If your executives are not social media savvy, the idea of letting their employees run wild on social media can be terrifying. Present a social media policy that clearly outlines employee conduct on social media. Introduce them to the platforms so they feel comfortable with the technology.

C. Show off your company culture: If you’re a great place to work, your employees will naturally be jazzed about sharing their experiences. Happy employees are genuine and effective ambassadors for your company.


2. Employee Buy In: What’s In It For Me?

Now that the C-Suite is on board, there are several different approaches to enlist your employees as advocates: 

A. The “Personal Branding” approach: Let’s be honest - the days of staying with one company for 30 years are over. It comes down to this: establishing your personal brand online will help you find your next job. Leaving a digital footprint that demonstrates your expertise in professional areas that matter to you will provide you with more opportunities than an employee who just posts pictures of their cat.

B. The “Incentives” approach: Who doesn’t love a gift card? Or perhaps a preferential parking spot? Lunch with the CEO? There are plenty of ways to reward positive behavior. Many EA tools come with a “leaderboard” that will track which employees are having the most success advocating for your company. Unleashing your employees’ competitive spirit can be very effective. If you don’t want to pit individuals against each other, you could also evaluate groups of employees as a team.

C. The “Performance Review” approach: Unlikely to be successful, and here’s why: no one wants to be forced to advocate for something they don’t believe in. If you’re mandating that your employees post once a week, that could lead to resentment. Don’t do it.



3. All Aboard!

Great! You’ve got the C-suite and (some) of the employees on the advocacy choo-choo train. Here’s how to roll out of the station:

A. Cover your legal bases first: make sure everyone knows your social media policy. You want your employees to feel comfortable posting online; knowing what they can’t say goes a long way.

B. Offer social media training: no question too small, no idea too dumb - let ‘em rip. You’re the social media expert, so teach your employees what works best. 

C. Content Distribution/EA tool: You’ve got to get your content to your employees. There are several options available for EA. Most tools will offer a mobile app, an email alert, and some sort of leaderboard. If a formal tool seems too expensive, perhaps an email blast to your advocates works best. Just be sure to figure out a way to distribute content (and pre-populated posts) to your advocates, so they don’t have to work too hard. Make it as easy as possible for them to share your content.



I’m having some problems!

Don’t worry - everybody will. In the final part of our series, we will discuss tips and tricks that we’ve learned from our own experience in EA. Stay tuned…

Wednesday Jul 22, 2015

Employee Advocacy, Part 1: What Is It, And Why Does It Matter?

We’re diving deep into the topic of employee advocacy (EA) during July. The first in a three part series, this blog explores what EA means, and why it’s an essential part of your social media strategy.


What is Employee Advocacy?

Simply put, EA is when your employees champion your company. It can take many forms - everything from a discussion at a dinner party (“I’m so excited about our new product!”) to a formal content-sharing program.

The Arthur W. Page Society’s “7 Principles” expresses this idea beautifully:

Realize a company’s true character is expressed by its people. The strongest opinions - good or bad - about a company are shaped by the words and deeds of its employees. As a result, every employee - active or retired - is involved with public relations. It is the responsibility of corporate communications to support each employee’s capability and desire to be an honest, knowledgable ambassador to customers, friends, shareowners and public officials.”

Do you know what he's telling his friends? 

Why is Employee Advocacy important?

Let’s talk numbers for a second. Let’s assume your company has 500 employees. Of those, let’s assume that half are happy. Of the 50% that are happy, let’s assume that 60% are on social media. (It’s probably higher than that, but we’re going with averages here.) That means that you have 150 people who can possibly be advocates for your company online. And if those 150 people have 338 friends (again, on average) that means your potential audience is 50,700.

Let me repeat that: your potential audience is 50,700, from just 500 employees.

Do you have 50,700 followers on your branded pages?

In addition, “brand messages are re-shared 24x more frequently when distributed by employees” compared a corporate handle, says MSLGroup. That leads to a 561% increase in the reach of your messages.

EA is the cheapest and most effective way to share your social media content. You don’t have to pay for advertising; your content is shared more frequently. What more could you want?

How Can Advocacy Help?

Employee advocates are brand ambassadors. They can help make your company appear like a place people would want to work; they can raise awareness of products and services; they can even share good news and praise. 

One part of our EA strategy at Oracle Social Cloud is “Fancy Friday,” a tradition where we dress up in costumes and take photos. (Read more about it here.) Our employees love it. Several of us have received comments like, “Your job is so cool- I want to work there!”

What is the benefit for our employees? We’re a creative bunch who want to show off our unique style- exactly what Fancy Friday does. It’s fun. It’s morale-boosting. Who wouldn’t want to wear a pirate costume to work?

Those are some pretty happy pirates! #LifeAtOracle

What’s the benefit for Oracle? We’re establishing ourselves as a fun place to work. Recruiting talented employees will be easier for us. As Oracle CEO Mark Hurd says, “I’m a big believer that he who hath the best people usually wins.”


In closing…

- Happy employees are more likely to advocate for your company. Make sure you’re meeting their needs.

- When you’re hiring, ask yourself, “Is this a person who I want to represent my company?” Even if they’re not in a client-facing or PR position, they’re still a face to your team.

Assuming you’ve hired good people, the next question is: how can I encourage my employees to advocate for our company?

… Stay tuned for part two!

Monday Jul 20, 2015

Congratulations, Brand Networks and Oracle Data Cloud!

Facebook recognized the Oracle Data Cloud and Oracle Social Cloud partner Brand Networks with “Excellence in Innovation” for their creative programs to assist marketers. 

The Oracle Data Cloud was recognized for the Datalogix Relevancy Engine, which Facebook highlighted in saying: “[Oracle Data Cloud] helps grocery stores reach existing customers on Facebook with personalized coupons, recipes, and deals. Advertisers use information about past aggregate and anonymous purchases in stores along with dynamic product ads to deliver promotions to actual and likely customers on Facebook.”

In a blog post from July 7th, 2015, Facebook also recognized Brand Networks’ Collision Management tool for Excellence in Innovation, which “tells multi-tiered brands and businesses with multiple retail locations if their Ad Sets are competing for the same audience in the ads auction. Collision Management shows businesses the audience overlap across their Ad Sets and enables them to set sequencing and frequency parameters for each Ad Set to ensure their ads tell a cohesive brand story and don’t compete for delivery.”

This is exceptionally cool for Oracle Social Cloud customers because Brand Networks joined forces with Oracle Social Cloud in March of 2015. Brand Networks has an award-winning social advertising platform that will help customers get the most out of their paid social media campaigns. 

Congratulations to Oracle Data Cloud and our excellent partners at Brand Networks! We are proud to work with you to deliver an exceptional CRM and CX experience for our customers. 

Thursday Jul 16, 2015

How Businesses Can Market on Live Streaming Apps (Like Periscope or Meerkat)

Oracle’s Senior Content Manager, Maggie Schneider Huston, discusses how brands can get the most from the live-streaming apps.  


While watching the All-Star game a few nights ago, my husband’s phone pinged with an alert.

“What’s that?” I asked, perpetually curious (and slightly nosy).

“Periscope alert,” he responded. “Aaron Paul is live streaming.”

He clicked on it, and we watched Aaron Paul show us a bird’s nest that was hanging under the eaves in his house for five minutes.

Pretty stupid, right? It wasn’t riveting TV. It wasn’t breaking news, or a viral video, or even particularly funny.

BUT WE STOPPED WATCHING THE ALL-STAR GAME TO SEE IT.

That’s the power of live streaming video.

How to capture this power

Live streaming video apps, like Periscope or Meerkat, are incredible tools for storytelling. Marketing is about telling the story of your brand, and social media is the medium. Live streaming apps are just one way of getting your message across. If you choose to broadcast, it’s important that it fits into your overall marketing strategy clearly. You can see some of Oracle Social's first forays into live video here and here

How Live Streaming Fits Into Your Social Strategy


Let’s say you run a cupcake shop. The goals of your social strategy would probably look like this:

1. Drive Sales

2. Build Customer Loyalty

3. Increase Brand Awareness

Therefore, you would probably use the other major social platforms like this:

1. Facebook: offer discounts to drive sales and increase brand awareness

2. Twitter: promote your blog, offer coupons, and engage in cupcake conversations to build loyalty

3. LinkedIn: post articles about how great it is to work at your company to build brand awareness

4. Pinterest: post pictures of your cupcakes, engage online orders to drive sales

5. Instagram: post glamorous cupcake photos to increase brand awareness, link to website to drive sales 

Go Behind the Scenes

Periscope and Meerkat offer a unique avenue to allow brands to build customer loyalty and brand awareness by allowing customers unprecedented access to their company. For our cupcake shop, it would be a great opportunity to take the customers inside the kitchen and demonstrate how they make 500 delicious cupcakes per day. Customers value up-close and personal access to their favorite brands… like Aaron Paul.

Live streaming gives businesses an opportunity to literally put a human face and personality to their brand. This is especially important for small businesses, who may be struggling to build a customer base. If you have an engaging person showing the viewer how they make these yummy cupcakes, you’re building brand awareness, increasing customer loyalty, and driving sales.


Breaking News

Most small businesses are unlikely to have breaking news, but if you do, these tools are great for that too.

Let’s say our cupcake shop built a steady following on social media. We’ve decided to announce a new flavor, raspberry lemonade. Across our other social media channels we can promote, “BIG announcement Tuesday at 3pm. Watch us live!” Once Tuesday at 3pm rolls around and the new flavor is announced, you can offer a special promotional code for the live stream viewers.

Now let’s imagine that our cupcake shop is visited by a 2016 Presidential candidate. That would be a great opportunity to showcase our cupcakes and join a mainstream news event. You could take it a step further by promoting their flavor choice across other social channels.

Parting Thoughts

As with any new social platform, it is wise to observe before joining in the conversation. Spend time watching a diverse group of broadcasts so you can learn what looks good and sparks engagement before putting yourself out there.

Good luck, and have fun!





Friday Jul 10, 2015

So You Think You Can Be a Software Engineer

As part of an ongoing series of profiles of Oracle Social Cloud employees, we spoke with Sriti Kumar about what it takes to be a Software Engineer, Global Team Lead.

Sriti Kumar, Software Engineer, Global Team Lead, Oracle Social Cloud


First of all, what do you do? 

Fundamentally, I’m a problem solver. I lead the teams in China and India. Our primary responsibility is to triage problems and fix those that don’t need a code fix. (Our engineering team handles the coding.) We handle everything else: data problems, API issues, etc. Given our domain knowledge of the platform, we work with the development operations team to investigate and solve the problem in production. 

Can you give me an example of what that looks like? 

Sure! Let’s say the database has allowed special characters in a form where it should not have been allowed. Due to this anomaly it creates an error for the user which in turn leads to the webpage erroring out. So we’ll do the investigation, figure out what’s wrong, fix the issue for that user and work with the engineers to implement the code fix. 

What’s it like leading an international team? 

Well, the time difference is a factor. I have to schedule meetings for my India team at 8amET or 9amET in the morning. For my China team, I’m usually scheduling meetings for 8pmET or 10pmET. It makes my work day a bit longer, but if a 15 minute call removes their blockers, it’s worth it. They’re my team! I want them to succed and work as efficiently as possible. If I have to take 15 minutes out of my night, so be it. It saves multiple hours of work for my team mate. This also fosters a helpful team culture.

We also have a rule that we all speak English during the meetings to increase communication.

How did you get this job? 

I was introduced to computers through my brother. He was always on the computer. He really got me interested in what he was doing. He studied computer science at undergraduate school and showed me some stuff when he came home - it really blew my mind. So I got a Master’s in computer science at UGA and started at Vitrue as a software engineer. After Vitrue was acquired by Oracle, I was able to work on all the Oracle Social Cloud Products. So with this diverse experience, it was a natural fit for me. 

If I’m a student and thinking about becoming a Software Engineer, what should I study? 

Definitely study computer science, but more importantly, never stop learning. Don’t be afraid of questioning what already has been done. Keep experimenting - you never know where the solution will come from. 

What’s the most challenging part of your job?

Not getting distracted! I get pulled in 100 directions. I have to find that quiet time when I’m actually just concentrating on getting to the crux of the problem. Most of the time, the solution lays in minor details. 

What’s your favorite part of your job? 

I love working with my team. We have such diverse backgrounds, everybody brings a different perspective. I also love solving problems. Sitting with one thing and trying to figure out why it’s happening is so much fun. 

Think you have what it takes? Apply here

Wednesday Jul 08, 2015

Lovin' on the Haters

Sooner or later, you’re gonna have a hater. 


In fact, it probably means you’re doing well - if you’re popular enough to get a troll, that means you’ve got a lot of visibility.


But that doesn’t stop the haters from hating publicly. And since you’re the social media manager, it’s your responsibility to diffuse the situation. Here’s how:


1. Assess the situation


Does the hater have a legitimate complaint? Or are they trolling just to get a rise out of your audience? If you’ve got a real PR situation on your hands, consult your corporate communications team, determine what the official response is and stick to it. Be clear, concise, and honest. See this post on how to handle a social media mistake.


If you’ve got a troll (someone who says inflammatory comments just to start an argument) there are a few ways you can handle it. You could delete, respond, or ignore. Here’s how to determine which action to take:


2. Action Plan for Trolls


A. Delete: If there’s any vulgar or racist language, delete and block the user. Ain’t nobody got time for that!


B. Respond: Only if it’s a highly visible post (for example, someone with a lot of followers tweets at your brand) and only if you can kill them with kindness. Don’t ever engage in a negativity battle with a troll - you will only get dirty in the process.


C. Ignore: Usually the best action plan with trolls. If they’re not getting the agitation they want, they’ll get bored and move on.



3. Look Back and Laugh


“They hate us cuz they ain’t us.” - The Interview


“Haters gonna hate!” - Taylor Swift, “Shake it Off”


“Love thy enemies.” - The Bible, Matthew, 5:44


In the big picture, it’s just not that serious. But you are the overseer of your brand online so you have to approach it professionally and intelligently. There are some angry people in the world, and some of those angry people like to take it out online. Throw a little compassion in their face and just be grateful that you aren’t one of them.

Thursday Jul 02, 2015

Why We Do "Fancy Friday"

It started out innocently enough: One person wanted to bring back “Fancy Friday,” a tradition from the pre-acquisition days of the startup Vitrue. Since the dress code was relaxed, they decided to dress up on Fridays.

Seems simple, right?


It was - in the beginning. One person did it, then a few more joined in, and before we knew what was happening, we were dressed up as pirates.

Wait, what?


Yes, we’re dressed as pirates. Intentionally. (Shockingly, several people had full pirate costumes in their closets already. But that’s neither here nor there.)

How we went from suits to pirate costumes

By using Oracle Social’s SRM tool, we discovered that these posts were performing very well on our social networks, especially Facebook. This was due to three factors:

1. We put a personal face behind our brand. Our customers relate to individuals. By showing the creative, goofy, and glamorous sides of our personalities, we became real to our audience. Takeaway: Show your humanity.

2. Employee Engagement: Our employees were jazzed to see themselves looking glamorous and shared it with their friends. This is an incredibly simple concept but it’s surprisingly effective. Who doesn’t like seeing a great picture of themselves? When our employees share the Fancy Friday photos to their friends, Facebook’s algorithm makes it more likely that our future posts will show up in their newsfeeds as well. When we started creating videos around our Fancy Friday shoots, the numbers really skyrocketed. Takeaway: Employee engagement is critical to increasing overall engagement.

3. Morale building: There’s nothing like looking ridiculous to bring a group of people together. These type of events are a great way to break outside your bubble and meet other people around the office. We started off looking sharp… and then our creative juices started flowing, and we came up with a lot of great ideas. Takeaway: Happy employees produce better results.


We’ve been hipsters: (arial font used here ironically, of course) 



We’ve been Ladies of the 80's:



We’ve been in black tie:



We’ve been “Mad Men” style:



And we’ve got more planned. Stay tuned...

To see all of our Fancy Friday photos, check us out on Pinterest.




Tuesday Jun 30, 2015

How to Take the 4th of July Off

We’re less than a week away from celebrating our freedom, barbecue and fireworks. Your coworkers are probably on vacation or day-dreaming about their weekend plans. Too bad social media never sleeps, right?

Right.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t partake in the festivities, too. Because of the pervasive nature of social media, it’s exceptionally important for social media managers to balance their professional and personal lives.

Basically, you need to unplug. Here’s how:

1. Schedule your posts:

Duh. You’re probably already doing this anyway, but it bears repeating. Using a tool like Oracle Social Cloud’s SRM will allow you to schedule custom posts for LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Time your posts to peak visibility hours, and keep in mind major events. For example, it’d be a bad idea to schedule a post on LinkedIn on the 4th of July at 9.30pm - most people will probably be watching fireworks. However, it would be a good idea to schedule a post on the 4th at 9.30pm on Facebook or Twitter that echoes the fireworks theme. Each platform is different - meet your audience on their terms.



2. Designate someone as a “Comment Responder” for the weekend:

If you’ve got a team of social media managers, this is pretty easy - just have one person monitor the handles for any fires that may erupt. If you’re flying solo, pick a few times per day to check for comments. Depending on the volume of comments your handles receive, this could be once a day or five times per day. Either way - be sure to keep it short. 

3. Put your phone away

When you’re not “on,” be off. Put the phone away. Close your laptop. It’s easy to get sucked into social media, so physically remove yourself from the temptation. Turn on the “Out of Office” notification on your email.

4. Relax

Enjoy. You’ve earned it.





Tuesday Jun 23, 2015

So You Think You Can Be A Social Cloud Architect


What is a Social Cloud Architect? 


With so many development teams working on different parts of the Social Relationship Management (SRM) platform, it’s easy to get lost amongst the technical details. My role is to find a unified vision for where the product is, where it needs to be, and keep everyone moving towards that goal. 


Andy Ioannou, Social Cloud Architect, Oracle

When people hear about “architects” they often think that it’s someone who has a singular vision of the product, but in reality, good architects draw from the people around them to create a long-term picture of the product. We try to balance out the immediate needs with the longer, strategic vision. In the end, your platform needs to be organized in a way that can be maintained at low cost and easily extended. Without the focus on structure that an architect can bring, you increase the risk of spending ever-increasing amounts of time dealing with the complexity that comes from incremental changes.

What skills do you need to be a Social Cloud Architect? 


A good architect requires decent people skills. I’m communicating with developers, technical leads, product management, and senior management every day. Architects need to advocate for the long term path, so the ability to persuade is crucial.


Management skills can be useful, too. I have a couple of people working directly for me. But a more important skill is the ability affect change through the larger organization, without relying on hierarchy.  


I’d also encourage potential architects to think about what they like to do. Of course, a technical background is essential, but beyond that, if they like thinking about the big picture and working with people to achieve larger goals, this could be a good fit. Try convincing people to make changes that go beyond immediate needs. If you enjoy seeing something become, more organized, more elegant, then this is a cool job. I believe that there’s no set “path” to becoming an architect; whilst you can acquire the technical credentials, that’s less than half the story.


What’s the most challenging part of being a Social Cloud Architect? 


I need more time! If I had an extra five hours in the day, I’d be just fine. I’m usually in the office from 8a-5p and then back at it after the kids are in bed. I’m always backed up on email. I do try to carve out "thinking" time - it doesn’t happen as often as I would like, but it takes time to synthesize ideas from customer calls, technical leads, management, etc. into concepts and ideas that you can communicate to other people. 


What’s your favorite part of being a Social Cloud Architect? 


I love seeing the results from my work. If I can look back and see something that looks more elegant or organized than it would’ve been… that’s awesome. I also really enjoy learning about new things. Everyone I speak to knows more about something than I do. I enjoy having the support of a network of like-minded people from across the SRM platform who share similar goals. My job could never be described as dull. 


Still think you have what it takes to be a Social Cloud Architect? Apply at Oracle.

Friday Jun 19, 2015

How HSSV Turned $45 into a Viral Marketing Campaign and a Shorty Win

Have you heard of “Eddie the Terrible?” He’s not just a bad dog - he’s The Worst Dog That Ever Lived.


The Humane Society Silicon Valley, California was having a difficult time finding Eddie a home. He had been there for two years and nobody wanted him. They called a meeting. Big wigs appeared.


“What are we going to do with Eddie?”


“Well… he doesn’t like other dogs.”



Photo: Humane Society Silicon Valley


“He’s not really cute, either.”



Photo: Humane Society Silicon Valley


“What about if we’re just honest?”


Thanks to the “no guts, no glory” attitude that pervades Silicon Valley, the big wigs agreed to run with it. A volunteer, Elizabeth Laverty, created two videos highlighting Eddie’s bad behavior. The first, a pun on the “Breaking Bad” series, now has over 66,000 views on Youtube. The second, set to the tune of “Bad to the Bone,” has almost 65,000 views on Youtube. They posted the videos to their Facebook page, wrote a funny blog, monitored the data from all platforms, and once they realized they had something special, they added $45 of promotion to the campaign.


Eddie was adopted within three days.


What are the lessons for me?


Not everybody can sell kittens and puppies. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t several lessons to be learned from this campaign:


1. Don’t be afraid to be a little edgy:


Finnegan Dowling, Social Media Manager at HSSV, attributes a large part of their success to the risk taking nature of their management. Since they’re located in Silicon Valley, many of the marketing team members spend their days in creative, envelope-pushing positions. When it came to Eddie, they weren’t afraid to toe the line to accomplish their goals. Takeaway: Take smart risks.


2. Watch your numbers:


The moment HSSV saw their posts were gaining speed, they threw money at it. Why? Because Facebook’s algorithm strongly rewards paid advertising. This is a good example of how even a little bit of money can go a long way. Takeaway: Monitor your the performance of your posts closely with a tool like Oracle Social’s SRM and reward the ones that are succeeding.


3. Speak your audience’s voice:


Finnegan knows HSSV’s audience: they want happy, uplifting photos of animals. They like humor. She knows what TV shows they’re watching, what songs they listen to, and how to make them pay attention. Her blog posts are timed to major cultural events, and her tone is easy to read. By understanding her audience and speaking their language, she is building a relationship with her readers - so even if they’re not in the market for an animal at that moment, they will think of HSSV when they are ready to adopt. Takeaway: In a long term sales cycle, building relationships with your audience is critical.


4. Follow up on your successes


After the success of Eddie’s campaign, HSSV kept the ball rolling with blog posts like, “I’m Kind of Crappy, Too!” and “Cat Shaming: HSSV Edition.” They have plans for another bad dog post in the future. Takeaway: If you find something that works - build upon it!






Tuesday Jun 16, 2015

2 Lessons Learned from the Social Shakeup

Oracle Social Cloud’s Senior Content Manager Maggie Schneider Huston reflects on what she learned at Social Media Today’s “Social Shakeup” in Atlanta.


What was one of the overarching themes of the conference?


Content, content, and more content. That was the first thing that NASA’s social media manager John Yembrick mentioned during the opening keynote and it reverberated through every session I attended.


It’s like this: we wouldn’t put the same advertisement on television and radio, right? So why would we put the same content on different social media platforms? Just because it is on the internet doesn’t mean it’s the same audience.


This thought was echoed by one of the young millennials that spoke with Holly Spaeth of Polaris.



Bob Gilbreath, co-founder of Ahalogy, broke down the newer platforms like this:


+ Pinterest is for living in the future - users are seeking information to help them plan ahead.

+ Instagram is about living in the present - users are seeking status.


Creating great content, though, is the hard part. It starts with knowing your audience and listening to what they’re passionate about.





What was the best piece of advice you heard?


Too many to count! Here’s a list of some of my favorites:


+ Anne Murray of Southwest Airlines: “Decide how you want to show up every day.” Your personal brand is built on your daily actions - not one giant event.


+ Doug Busk, Coca-Cola: “Never be afraid to fail and learn from your failure.” Often, the fear of failure can hold people back from making big strides - just go for it, and if it doesn’t work, learn from it.


+ JD Doughney, Facebook: “Be an expert. Be the best at something. Be helpful by knowing something. If you’re an expert, you’ll see insights that other people won’t.”



Tuesday Jun 02, 2015

So You Think You Can Be a Software Developer

As part of an ongoing series of profiles of Oracle Social Cloud employees, we spoke with Vinaya Lal Shrestha about what it takes to be a Software Developer. 

Vinaya Lal Shrestha, Software Developer at Oracle Social Cloud


First of all, what do you do? 

I am a software developer. I have two primary roles - I write well-tested code to add new features to our platform, and maintain what’s already there.

How did you learn programming? 

I started programming while I was in high school in Nepal. We were taught QBasic as a part of our curriculum, and I really enjoyed it. When I was young, I used to try to mock existing applications, which I thought was a good way to learn programming.

If I’m a student and thinking about becoming a software developer, what should I study? 

You should have a very good grasp of at least one programming language, object oriented programming techniques, and data structures and algorithms. It is very important that you practice, not just read. Also, these days, since software development is mostly done for web and mobile, it would be beneficial to learn web or mobile development. We use Ruby on Rails/Sinatra for back-end development, and Javascript, HTML, CSS for front-end development here at Oracle Social. It’s always a plus if you have a good knowledge of the technologies that a company uses when you apply for a job there.

What’s the biggest challenge you face in your job? 

We have a number of applications in the Oracle Social platform, and our team works on a product that has presence in most of those applications. So, we need to ensure that our code is working seamlessly across the platform all the time.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

I get to do what I love.

Still think you have what it takes to be a Software Developer at Oracle Social Cloud? Apply here.

Wednesday May 27, 2015

3 Lessons Learned from Internet Week New York

Last week, Oracle Social Cloud sent Senior Content Manager Maggie Schneider Huston to Internet Week in New York City. Below are her thoughts from the experience: 

1. You were Periscoping like crazy! What happened?

I confess - this was my first experience with Periscope, and it was pretty cool. Coming from a broadcast news background, I was very familiar with live video but unsure how well it would play from our @OracleSocial handles. I discovered viewers really liked seeing interaction on the floor of the conference, but not the panels. I spent about an hour and a half walking through the conference, going to exhibits, and talking with the representatives. People loved it! We had over 600 viewers and 3000 hearts. It was a huge success. 

I built on that idea by grabbing the keynote speakers AFTER their panels and conducting my own interviews with them. It got a lot more interaction than the static shot of their panels, and it allowed me to tailor questions for my audience. My favorite part was when our viewers told me questions to ask the people I was interviewing - I really felt like I was being useful for our customers.

2. What were some of the main themes from the conference?

First and foremost, privacy and big data dominated nearly every conversation. As consumers, we’re generating a lot of data points across multiple platforms and devices. Oracle Social Cloud Group Vice President Meg Bear summarized this concept as “audience of one,” where marketers combine these data points to paint a complete portrait of a customer. With this audience of one, consumers will receive highly targeted marketing.

On the flip side of this, however, is privacy concerns. At what point does it become creepy that a company knows intimate details of your life? How do you keep private information private? FTC Commissioner Julie Brill raised a very interesting example: if you’re a woman and using an app to track your menstrual cycle, that information can be sold to third parties. When paired with other data points, it’s possible that a company could send you specific marketing based on when you are ovulating, PMSing, or whatever.

Nuala O’Connor, President and CEO of the Center for Democracy and Technology, expanded on consumer privacy as well. As consumers become conscious that their digital footsteps are being tracked and marketing becomes more targeted, our society at large becomes more siloed. Intellectual exploration will be limited, as we are not forced to go beyond our comfort zone. 

As a mother of three, I asked her how she teaches her children about data privacy. Here’s what she said:


In short - what are you walking away with?

Gary Vaynerchuk said it best: “Be a doer.” Be a practitioner of social media. In an environment that is new and rapidly evolving, the only way to stay on top is to keep trying. You can’t sit back and observe social media - you need to participate.



Thursday May 14, 2015

Brand Networks Acquires SHIFT

In March of 2014, Oracle Social Cloud announced our open API strategy to deliver more choice, flexibility and ongoing expertise for our customer's paid social media solutions. SHIFT was one of our inaugural partners. Earlier this year, Brand Networks became part of our ecosystem as a new partner. Today, Brand Networks announced their acquisition of SHIFT. We couldn’t be more thrilled as these two complimentary companies can together offer better solutions, scale, analytics and innovation for customers. 

At the heart of Brand Networks is the Relevance Engine, which is designed to help marketers be more efficient and effective across earned, paid and owned channels.

SHIFT is a social advertising platform that offers workflow automation, data analysis and easy campaign execution.

Together, they now power $500 million in advertising spend for the world’s best known brands and agencies, including half of the Fortune 100 and 17 of the 25 largest U.S. advertisers (AdAge). 

While both of these companies were partners with Oracle Social Cloud independently, their merger will offer Oracle Social Cloud customers the ability to reach more customers and drive innovation more quickly in the social market. In order to deliver the right content, to the right person, at the right time, on the right device, you need a deeply integrated platform that incorporates listening, publishing, and big data - exactly what Oracle’s Social Relationship Management (SRM) platform does. 

Meg Bear, Group Vice President of Oracle Social Cloud adds, “As social becomes more mature, it is increasingly important to have a comprehensive social business solution. We believe a complete platform, along with a powerful ecosystem, provides our customers best-in-class capabilities to drive superior customer engagement. Partners like Brand Networks and SHIFT allow us to deliver on that promise and continue to innovate at the speed of social.”

Read more from SHIFT and Brand Networks.

Friday May 08, 2015

Oops! How to Recover from a Social Media Fail - and Prevent One in the Future


Face facts: we’re humans. We make mistakes. Here’s how to recover (and prevent) social media mistakes.

Breathe. 

First things first - take a deep breath. You probably made the mistake in the first place by going too fast. Slow down. Don’t compound the mistake by reacting impulsively. 

Acknowledge it - publicly, clearly, and honestly

This is not the time to exercise your pre-law degree. We know what the definition of “is,” is, thank you very much. Be clear about your mistake, and apologize sincerely. Be candid with your readers about what went wrong. Pre-scheduled tweet take on a new meaning in light of breaking news? Social Media Manager accidentally mix up their personal and professional profiles? An attempted joke fall painfully flat? Hacked? Explain. It’s always best to be honest with your readers. It builds trust and reminds them of your humanity, too. 

Fix it - and follow up on it


If it’s a systemic problem (for example, a prescheduled tweet gone awry) give your readers an action plan on what you’ll do to prevent this in the future. If it’s an employee gone rogue, it may be appropriate to mention the disciplinary action that was taken, and steps that you’ll take in the future to prevent this type of mistake.  

General Guidelines to Avoid a Derpy Situation

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of gold. Follow these rules to help stay employed. 

Don’t jump on the bandwagon

#RoyalBaby is trending? That’s nice. Unless you’re selling baby products, there’s really no reason for you to chime in on this conversation. It’s obvious pandering, and it can really only hurt you. In that same vein, research your hashtags. For example, #LetsDoThis is associated with a twitter party, an encouragement tweet, and a picture of a dog in a sports jersey. #BeSmart

Be careful with your puns

You may crack yourself up, but you also might be offending a lot of people. Remember - sarcasm doesn’t have a special font (much to our chagrin) so readers may not understand what you’re trying to say.

Cinco de Mayo is a good example. Many brands thought it would be cute to use “Juan” instead of the word “one” in their posts. To some, it’s cute. To others, it’s racist. Avoid questionable racism whenever possible. 

Proofread

Proofread, proof-read, proof read. Do you know which version is correct? (It’s one word, no hyphen, for those playing along at home.) Read your posts out loud - it’s a great way to catch any mistakes. 

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