Wednesday Feb 04, 2015

VIDEO: Oracle President Thomas Kurian on the Importance of User Experience in Enterprise Software

When is the last time you read documentation about your iPhone?” That’s the rhetorical question asked by Oracle President Thomas Kurian in this latest video emphasizing the importance of user experience in today’s enterprise software. His quick answer of course: “Never.” Usability and user experience isn’t new for enterprise software providers; it’s just increasingly becoming a requirement and a differentiator. The proverbial bar has been raised.

Consumers today have high expectations from their personal technologies, as they are accustomed to modern, personalized and intuitive experiences. Those expectations don’t change at the workplace. And with the rise of millennials entering the workforce, user experience becomes even more critical.  The Hartford Financial Services Group estimates that by 2025, 75% of the workforce will be millennials. Accounting firm PwC sees it much higher, pegging it at close to 80% by end of 2016.

As Kurian states, Oracle has undergone years of extensive usability testing to create a reimagined and redesigned experience with the user in mind. It’s a transformation that focuses on applications that are simple, easy, intuitive, and optimized for the different devices people use today. It’s a fundamental change across the portfolio of Oracle applications.

The Company’s #UX imperative can be seen on display with Oracle Social Cloud’s SRM workstation called “Social Station,” launched last year. The news of Social Station was covered by several outlets, including ZDNet and The Hub, and the overall tone applauded the development and focus on user experiences and interfaces that are simple, easy to use and deliver value. In fact, Omar Akhthar, senior editor at The Hub, stated the following: “Oracle has an opportunity to prove its value by making sure it keeps its user-interface simple and highlighting its ease-of-use compared to other social media management tools.”

The focus of simplicity brings to mind a quote by Albert Einstein that certainly rings true on this subject:  “Any darn fool can make something complex; it takes a genius to make something simple.” Design and development of UX/UI isn't easy; but it's an absolute priority. 

Enterprise software will need to catch up with the consumer-grade level of #UX… starting now.  

Wednesday Jan 28, 2015

VIDEO: Oracle President Thomas Kurian on the Role of Today’s CIO in Cloud & Business Transformation

Expectations of business-driven IT are higher than ever and changing rapidly.  Words like agility, mobility, digital, data, cloud and customer centricity are common and constant from Line of Business (LOBs) executives like CMOs. Today’s business must move at the pace of – scratch that – ahead of the pace of today’s consumer. Businesses must anticipate customers’ needs to be truly customer-centric organizations.  Innovation through the cloud is a big force driving customer experience and customer centricity.

Here’s another word of importance: collaboration.  And collaboration is essential to make a successful business-led technology transformation. Today’s CIO will play a pivotal role in crafting that collaboration between IT and business leaders. Unfortunately, the process hasn’t taken root just yet.

According to a recent ZDNet article, research shows that confidence and collaboration between LOBs and IT is not strong. The article cites a new CIO Magazine survey showing that 54% of business leaders view IT “as an obstacle to their mission.” Forrester research shows that less than half of marketing managers collaborate with IT when developing a technology strategy. And our Oracle study revealed that less than 1/3 of marketing and IT executives surveyed reported collaborating “frequently,” while at the same time noting greater success when they do collaborate.

Kurian believes the CIO will play a pivotal role with collaboration, cloud and business transformation. In this video he states “cloud actually empowers CIOs to take the lead with innovation.” He goes on to say that today’s CIO role is not diminished just different, requiring a new business mindset. The CIO is very much essential to this new digital, customer-centric business revolution.

ZDNet reporter Dion Hinchcliffe had some great insights on the future role of CIOs: “The CIO should have – or should quickly ascertain – a better sense of how to translate the current business into today’s emerging digital marketplaces and channels. And yes, that means knowing more about how to apply digital to various parts of the enterprise than line of business executives. Relentless education and experimentation is required here to be successful. The CIO should be the visionary and evangelist that can get business – from the management team to the workforce – fully on board with digital business.”

Cloud is the future of business transformation; CIOs will play a key role. As Kurian says, CIOs are extremely important to their executives and businesses, and the cloud empowers them to take the lead.  The best CIOs in the industry are beginning to grasp that and train their staff to become experts in cloud technologies. For more on cloud innovation, read Oracle CEO Mark Hurd's recent piece on how cloud is revolutionizing business in four key areas.

This is just one entry in a series of blog videos with Kurian. Oracle Social Cloud Group VP Meg Bear spent the day recently with Kurian discussing everything from the changing role of today’s CMO and CIO, to data and innovation, to the importance of user experience. Check back each week as we feature a new video with insights from Kurian on how Oracle is partnering and co-innovating with our customers to help pave a path of success and deliver consistent, rewarding and exceptional experiences for their customers.

Tuesday Jan 20, 2015

VIDEO: Oracle President Thomas Kurian on CX, Data & Innovation

Keys to any successful customer engagement and customer experience (CX) program are strategy, integration and data. In our video blog series with Oracle President Thomas Kurian we continue with his insights on Oracle’s commitment to CX and how developing a strategic and innovative CX portfolio that is enriched with data will be Oracle’s differentiator.

Recently noted in an AdExchanger article, Oracle’s focus on data and data integration is no secret, especially with its acquisition of BlueKai in February of 2014 and the more recently announced acquisition of Datalogix. The holy grail of any marketer and business is a complete understanding of your customers and prospects across their online and offline worlds for better engagement and targeting. Oracle’s CX strategy includes integration across CX applications like marketing, service, sales, commerce and social; and enriching those applications with data so businesses have a unified view of people across all the many channels and platforms they access daily.

“Data is a fundamental differentiator… All applications, over time, can become vastly better if they are enriched with data,” noted Kurian in the video.

He also talks about the transition that cloud and CX innovation has had within Oracle. Today, Oracle is leading by partnering with customers to develop modern software that is innovative, integrated and delivers great user experiences. “Look at Oracle in 2007 and look at it in 2014, night and day different as a company.”

This is just one video in a series of videos with Kurian. Oracle Social Cloud Group VP Meg Bear spent the day recently with Kurian discussing everything from the changing role of today’s CMO and CIO, to data and innovation, to the importance of user experience. Check back each week as we feature a new video with insights from Kurian on how Oracle is partnering and co-innovating with our customers to help pave a path of success and deliver consistent, rewarding and exceptional experiences for their customers. 

Wednesday Jan 14, 2015

VIDEO: Oracle President Thomas Kurian on Customer Experience

We recently sat down with Oracle’s newly appointed president of product development, Thomas Kurian, for a discussion on technology, today’s empowered consumer and how a modern customer experience is transforming the way businesses must interact and engage with their customers.

 “Customer Experience” or #CX has become a highly cited industry buzzword for good reason—it’s the major competitive battleground for most every company. Digital, social, mobile and cloud has empowered consumers and completely turned the traditional business to consumer relationship on its head. In fact, Gartner researcher Laura McLellan predicts that in only two short years 90% of companies expect to compete almost entirely on the basis of customer experience. Not price. Not product. Customer experience. That is causing business disruption globally.

But with every major disruption comes incredible opportunities to reimagine business operations, customer engagements and relationships. In this short video, Kurian explains today’s changes and how Oracle’s commitment to CX is helping businesses transform to succeed.

This is just one video in a series of videos with Kurian. Oracle Social Cloud Group VP Meg Bear spent the day with Kurian discussing everything from the changing role of today’s CMO and CIO, to data and innovation, to the importance of user experience in today’s enterprise software. Check back each week as we feature a new video with insights from Kurian on how Oracle is partnering and co-innovating with our customers to help pave a path of success and deliver consistent, rewarding and exceptional experiences for their customers.

Tuesday Jan 06, 2015

The Diversity Cure: How Startups Are The Key

By Reggie Bradford and Horace Williams

(Originally posted on Reggie Bradford is senior vice president, product development, Oracle; and Horace Williams is director, user experience design at Oracle Social Cloud.)                                                                         

It’s clear that diversity in the workplace is more important than ever—crucial, perhaps. Workplace diversity reinforces how people from different backgrounds can communicate and cooperate, with common purpose and good will.

We wanted to craft a column, based on personal experience, about an effective way to create a diverse workplace. In particular, we’d like to show how startups benefit from a proactive strategy to enlist a wide variety of talent and experience.

We’ve been colleagues and friends for several years. The startup company where we first worked together, Vitrue, was acquired in 2012 by Oracle, where we now work together.

At Vitrue, we created a successful—and much-needed—workforce diversity program. A poll we took before we embarked on our effort established the extent of the problem: less than 20% of the workforce was non-white-male (including senior management, which was all white male). Right before the company was acquired, an eyeball scan of Vitrue’s open floor plan would have put that number closer to 50%, with minorities and women represented on the senior management team.

Here are several important lessons learned, and key takeaways, from our experience.

**There is a strong comfort level when different people work together.

This may seem counter-intuitive to conventional wisdom that people are more comfortable with their peers. But, in fact, a kinship develops within a diverse workforce, a feeling of family. It’s inviting. It’s energizing. It fosters an atmosphere of social responsibility and higher purpose. And it contributes to job satisfaction and company loyalty.

** The key to prioritizing diversity is awareness (also humility).

Vitrue was headquartered in Atlanta, which bills itself as “the city too busy to hate.” African Americans represent about a third of the population of the city, yet were under-represented at Vitrue, particularly in management.  A literal “awakening” on the part of the founder and CEO (Reggie) to the “sameness” of his executive staff set off the diversity imperative in his head. Then, it took humility for the CEO to approach a colleague representing a minority (Horace) to ask for advice and help.

** The natural byproduct of hiring diverse managers is diverse staff.

This may be the most important takeaway, and it encapsulates the approach we took to fostering diversity. It wasn’t a mandated, hard-structured program, deliberately so. Such a forced-march strategy might work for some companies, particularly in the short-term, but there’s a big potential downside to it: resentment.

Instead, we decided to build out our workforce organically, by approaching managers representing minority groups for their recommendations on new hires. It’s a matter of propinquity. Minorities, racial, sexual or otherwise, have access to the communities they associate with, and are the best ambassadors to them. That “trusted network” approach then builds on itself, literally “growing” a diverse workforce.

Let’s be clear: We’re not recommending that poor performers be approached to help in hiring just because they represent minority groups—quite the opposite. The “trusted network” applies in terms of performance, in the sense that high-performing managers will seek out the highest performing candidates from their communities.

** If you don’t put this into practice early, it’s hard to fix later.

And this is why a startup, short on history but long on seeking the best talent, provides a good platform for establishing an inclusive organization and work environment.

Diversity is not just a “soft” culture sell. Entrepreneurs should take note of the “hard” ROI diversity can provide.

1) The earth is flat. If you plan to go global with your startup, you need a workforce who will embrace and exploit that geographic, multi-cultural challenge. And you have to go global with your startup.

2) Diversity opens new markets you might never have heard of otherwise. At Vitrue, which offered cloud-based social marketing tools (now a part of Oracle’s Social Cloud), we were tipped to a potential client that was marketing to a minority group on Facebook—by a minority manager who was being marketed to.

3) Ensuring diversity means that you’re committed to the best talent. Take a simple example: language. Native speakers can help broaden your company’s reach in all areas of business: sales, marketing, support, development, strategy, etc.

It’s not hard to calculate that the advantages diversity offers—talent, vision, and opportunity—extend all the way up the workforce ladder. Indeed, the insight and experiences women and minorities bring to the table are must-haves at the executive table.

As well it suggests, for those individuals and organizations that provide support for entrepreneurs, diversity should be a strong factor in their decision-making. Unfortunately, the opposite is the case. A new study concludes that female- and minority-run startups “are significantly less likely to raise venture capital or private equity funding than their white male counterparts.”

It’s worth noting that an industry group, the National Venture Capital Association, announced it was establishing a “Diversity Task Force” to explore ways to increase opportunities for women and minorities as entrepreneurs and in venture capital.

It remains to be seen what impact a task force will have on such an insular society. But the effort does point out one important element of a diversity strategy: You have to want it. If you treat diversity as a novelty, you won’t prioritize it and do what needs to be done to make it succeed.

Which is another reason why entrepreneurs might be our best hope here: the good ones are smart enough to know how to make things happen. Diversity is a goal that rewards—and deserves—that kind of effort.

Tuesday Dec 23, 2014

Oracle Social Cloud Ranks Highest in SiriusDecisions’ Latest Industry Report

It is widely known that third-party validation is the most influential and important. We couldn’t agree more. So we are thrilled that Oracle Social Cloud has come out on top in SiriusDecisions’ latest report on social media intelligence, “SiriusView: Social Media Intelligence 2015”.

SiriusDecisions, the leading global B2B research and advisory firm, examined many social media intelligence (SMI) platforms and ranked each according to key areas like Functionality, Features, User Experience, Vision and more. Oracle Social Cloud scored highest with an overall 11.2 score, highlighting specific strengths and differentiators in the areas of Global Focus, Functionality, Vision and Vendor Strength. You can access the full report here.

Social media is an essential part of an organization’s operations today. And it’s not just marketing, as social insights and engagement opportunities extend to sales, service, product development and even HR. With the vast and growing social web, and explosion of social and digital conversations, organizations today need social media listening and monitoring solutions that can automate and scale the social data and intelligence process.

Below are some highlights from the report about the Oracle Social Cloud offering.

  • “Oracle Social provides users with robust functionality, including monitoring more than 40 million social media channels, blogs and web sites, and its semantic API allows users to analyze unstructured data.”
  • “Oracle is moving aggressively to expand the [global] functionality and footprint of SRM and SE&M. A large part of this strategy is making both monitoring and user interface in a growing number of languages.”
  • “[Vision] Oracle continues to pursue an active acquisition strategy to enhance its Marketing and Social Cloud offerings.”
  • “[Vendor Strength] With enhanced capabilities and integrations planed for SE&M and an increased focus on Oracle Marketing Cloud, Oracle’s market standing, experience and strong partnerships reinforce its standing in the SMI space.”
  • “Large enterprises that are currently Oracle customers can benefit from the native integration with Oracle Marketing Cloud, Oracle Commerce Cloud and future integrations with Oracle Marketing Cloud and Oracle Sales Cloud.”
  • “Oracle has a feature-rich tool suite targeted at large, international companies with complex SMI needs, including a need for localization.”

Friday Dec 19, 2014

3 Ways Social Media Can Grow Your B2B Business

By Pat Ma, Product Marketing Director, Oracle Social Cloud

Did you know that 83% of B2B marketers invest in social media to increase brand awareness? And 69% use social to increase web traffic while 65% use it to gain industry insights? Additionally, a whopping 91% use social media for promotion and awareness during events. Social is definitely a B2B thing.

Traditionally a B2C play, B2B businesses are increasingly seeing the value in social for business, particularly with the rise of B2B-specific social networks like LinkedIn, Slideshare, and Glassdoor. Furthermore, B2B companies understand that their buyers are using consumer social networks like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. These buyers are influenced by the content they see on these sites. 78% of B2B buyers and 84% of VPs and C-level executives use social media to make purchasing decisions.[1] B2B companies must incorporate social media into their business strategy in order to stay relevant with their customers and grow their businesses.

In working with B2B customers on their social media strategy and execution, we see three prominent use cases for using social media. B2B companies use social media to increase thought leadership, drive brand awareness, and discover competitive insights.

Increase Thought Leadership

B2B companies want to be perceived as thought leaders in their industries. They do this by producing and publishing content that helps establish their expertise in a particular field. This content can come in many forms, including white papers, webinars, executive bylines, infographics and much more. Companies create thought leadership content and use social media to distribute it.

For example, an identity management company uses social media as a vehicle to publish thought leadership content, leveraging Oracle Social Cloud capabilities. They publish engaging articles about their industry, offer tips about corporate identity management, promote their presence at industry events, and showcase industry awards they have won. They do all this to show their thought leadership in the identity management industry.

Drive Brand Awareness

B2B companies use social media channels to increase and drive their brand awareness. B2B companies are already using web, email, and mobile to communicate their message to customers. Now companies are adding social media channels to help distribute their content and drive brand awareness.

For example, a document processing company uses social media to plan and launch multichannel campaigns across the web, email, mobile, and social using Oracle Marketing Cloud and Oracle Social Cloud. Their content consists of thought leadership pieces, job postings, company awards, event promotions, employee recognition, and photos from company events. The goal of these activities is to generate brand awareness, which aids sales of their services. Social media helps this company get additional reach for content they have already created.

Discover Competitive Insights

B2B companies use social media to conduct competitive research. Specifically, companies use social listening software tools to monitor conversations on social networks, spot potential threats, see industry trends, get brand and industry insights, and use those insights to optimize their marketing and business growth strategies.

For example, an enterprise software company uses social listening to monitor industry buzz. They track competitors, when those competitors launch products, and press sentiment on competitive product reviews. When the company is ready to launch new products, they use social listening and analytics to get insights on market conditions and whether the new product will sell or not. When executives join or leave the company, they want to know where the story breaks, how fast the story is spreading, and if the story is affecting their stock price. B2B companies should harvest and analyze public social conversations for competitive research that fuels data-driven business decisions.

Although there are many more, these are the three most popular use cases we see for B2B companies using social media to grow their business. Through strategic use of social media, B2B companies are increasing their thought leadership, driving brand awareness, and discovering competitive insights.

How are you using social media to grow your B2B business? Please let us know by leaving a comment below. And check out our latest
Oracle Social Cloud video on B2B social media.

[1] DC, “Social Buying Meets Social Selling: How Trusted Networks Improve the Purchase Experience,” 2014.

Friday Dec 12, 2014

Five Big Ideas for Becoming a Customer Centric Organization

Customers have changed

The reality is that life on this planet is changing. It’s more connected, more empowered and more impatient. We are all part of this change and the pace of acceleration is giving Moore’s law a run for its money. Rights and privileges once taken are never returned. While digital music might have been a disappointment for Neil Young, it still disrupted analog distribution because the consumer wanted music to be more portable and more readily available. We might long with nostalgia for turn tables and record stores, but we are not giving up our iPhone/iPod any time soon. Time to face the music, the nature of being a customer has changed, and by extension, business has changed.

What it means to serve a customer, who is changing out from under you, becomes an exercise in business model agility. The most critical success criterion for business agility is clarity of vision. When you understand how your customer shapes your market, the business tactics become very clear and the organizational complexities become less confused (note: I never said easy). Customer centricity is a CEO and Board level discussion because it is directly tied to business strategy.

Here are five best practices I’ve seen with companies taking a more modern approach to their business.

1) Listen more than you talk – What is true in life, is even more so with customer relationships. You are way more likeable if you listen first and talk second. You have more useful things to say and you are [generally] less annoying. In the era of 24-hour news cycles and social media, this is hard. Technology can help but only if you let it. It is possible to get big and small insights but you need a structural way to leverage them. Too often I see customers listening and only leveraging a subset of the insights, because the group in charge of technology is tied to a single business function. Building an organization that is intellectually curious, that seeks understanding, and respects the wisdom of the crowds, even when [especially when] it is unpleasant, unclear and unvarnished.

2) Employee Engagement matters – Customer centricity requires every part of the organization to participate as it’s the mission critical. Organizations that don’t invest in their employees are going to experience breakdowns. Engaging the employees first, so that they can reflect your brand vision, is the most critical investment you can make. Sharing with your employees your vision, your plans and how you are listening to your customers, makes them better equipped to support your mission.

3) A dose of humility is a good thing – This bit is probably the most controversial but also the most powerful. As power shifts so does the value of humility. Instead of shouting out what’s so great about your product or your company, how about talking about your customers and what is great about them? How about making the customer the hero of your product story, not the product itself. This kind of thinking opens up whole new opportunities on how you service, promote and build products. How you think about the sales lead funnel and how you see market opportunity. Humility. It’s really a big idea. What this does is open up opportunities for vulnerability and transparency. It allows you to share things that didn’t work so great and show how you are trying to improve. It suggests you could be imperfect and it leaves room for the customer to step up and advise and support your company. Hint: They already are pretty clear on where you need to improve anyway.

4) Trade control for co-creation – Since we already have acknowledged that control is no longer an option for business, how about opening up to the idea of Co-creation. Modern companies are leveraging customer feedback at the large and small scale, to help prevent problems, improve outcomes and even take new products to market. The opportunity to leverage the community to help you serve them better, is a virtuous cycle that benefits everyone. Today the best examples of this are often based on serendipity, but I am hopeful for a day where this becomes the norm and not the exception. As an innovator, I see this as very exciting to create better products more quickly, leveraging the value of the network.

5) Review your KPIs – Now that you know there are new business opportunities available to you in this era of Customer Centricity – you need to think about how to drive this strategy to operational effect. Examine your key performance indicators (KPIs). Are they optimized for alignment to your business objective of customer centricity? Are you able to measure the real top and bottom line impact of putting the customer first? Are you capturing the evidence that helps you build lasting value for your business? It’s time to make sure you’re investing in the right things to make your business grow, and we all know we can’t manage what we don’t measure.

The business of business is getting more complex every day, but so are the innovations. Letting your customers become part of your competitive advantage is how you will win.

Tuesday Dec 09, 2014

Celebrating Social Campaigns with Michelle Lapierre of Marriott Rewards

Have you checked out the best and brightest in marketing? The recent Global Markie Awards honored excellence in marketing across a whole range of marketing categories. We are so happy that Marriott Rewards, an Oracle Social Cloud customer, won the Markie award for Best Social Campaign. The category was based on: 1) Effective use of social marketing as a strategy to build brand awareness or turn customers and prospects into advocates; 2) Social media used in new and interesting ways or as the centerpiece of a successful new program; and 3) Seized social media opportunities and generated proven results.

So we connected with Michelle Lapierre, Senior Director, Customer Experience and Social Media at Marriott Rewards, to hear about this award-winning campaign and what Marriott Rewards is doing next on social.

Oracle Social: Congratulations on recently winning a Markie Award for Best Social Campaign! Before we dive into the campaign specifics, can you describe your organization’s overall social media strategy? How has that strategy evolved?

Michelle: Marriott Rewards joined Facebook in December 2011 and quickly grew to be the largest and most engaged hotel loyalty brand on Facebook ( The continuing mission of Marriott Rewards is to engage target audiences around the world through social media channels in a consistent, authentic and meaningful way. The Marriott Rewards social media philosophy is to keep life at the center of the story, not hotels or programs or deals. We believe that our Facebook fans are not only our fans, but they are a diverse community of travelers, dreamers and storytellers. We see our social media channels as an outlet for their stories, not just our own.

Through an emphasis on compassionate and authentic community management and content development, we seek to engage, inspire and keep our Facebook friends coming back to the page on a regular basis. As such, we engage in extended conversations with our Facebook friends and listen to what they have to say, not just when they’re angry with us, but for all the reasons friends speak with each other.

Oracle Social: Can you tell us more about your award-winning campaign?

Michelle: The “30 Beds In 30 Days” sweepstakes was the second Facebook promotion in which Marriott Rewards gave away 30 Marriott Beds to 30 Facebook fans in 30 days. It’s great how much people love these beds! The sweepstakes was hosted on a Facebook enabled microsite, which was responsively designed for desktop, mobile and tablet users. It also lived on the Marriott Rewards Facebook page as a tab. As with the 2012 sweepstakes, it was co-sponsored by partners and the Marriott Rewards Credit Card by Chase.

Oracle Social: What were your goals for this campaign?

Michelle: Our primary goal was to increase fan acquisition and engagement on Facebook and also to drive traffic to partner sites like Chase Marriott Rewards Credit Card and Secondarily, we hoped to drive enrollments into the Marriott Rewards program.

Oracle Social: Clearly, this campaign was successful – not just for the award you won, but for the connections you strengthened with your Fans and Rewards numbers. Can you tell us about the results of this campaign?

Michelle: The 2013 “30 Beds in 30 Days” sweepstakes surpassed the results of the 2012 campaign in virtually every way, including Facebook fan acquisition, Rewards program enrollments, and traffic to our partners websites ( and the Marriott Rewards Credit Card by Chase).

The “30 Beds in 30 Days” sweepstakes increased our Share of Voice compared to our competitors during the campaign. It also generated more positive sentiment around the program in general outside of the contest. According to Oracle Social Cloud’s sentiment analysis, mentions of the Marriott Rewards program and the campaign outside of Marriott channels with a clearly defined sentiment ran 90% positive during the 30 Beds campaign.

Oracle Social: It was great to follow along with this campaign on your Marriott Rewards Facebook page. How did the campaign get started?

Michelle: The original idea actually came from a fan raving about our beds on the Marriott Rewards Facebook page. Our Marriott Rewards Facebook community is an extremely engaged group of fans. Since the idea for the “30 Beds in 30 Days” sweepstakes came from a Facebook fan, we decided to host the sweepstakes through Facebook. It was a perfect opportunity to thank the fans for their engagement, and give them the opportunity to engage with the brand every day on Facebook during the promotion, since fans could enter every day.

Oracle Social: That campaign was a great success. We’re happy for everyone who won a bed, and everyone who was more exposed to Marriott Rewards through this campaign. So what’s next for Marriott Rewards on social? We are followers of Marriott Rewards’ new Twitter handle: @MarriottRewards. What are your plans for that?

Michelle: It’s true – we are on Twitter now! We hope everyone reading this starts following us on Twitter, too. We know that Twitter is another great way for us to connect with our customers and hear their stories. We have also used it as a great way to get out news – like did you check out #SayHiToWifi? One of our first tweets from the new handle announced the news that Marriott Rewards members will receive free in-room WiFi. And, my best advice is to stay connected – something very fun is coming soon! 

Michelle Lapierre

Senior Director, Customer Experience and Social Media

Marriott Rewards, Marriott International 

Thursday Dec 04, 2014

Business Insider’s #BI_IGNITION2014 Recap in Twenty-Five Tweets

One of the industry’s most anticipated conferences came to a close yesterday in New York City after three days of jammed-packed industry experts and insights. Produced by Business Insider, one of the fastest-growing digital-media companies in the world, and hosted by Henry Blodget, Business Insider's Editor-in-Chief and CEO, IGNITION: Future of Digital brought together 700+ of the brightest minds in technology, media, entertainment and finance to share what they see on the horizon.

Topics included everything from social to mobile to wearables to big data to digital payments to Internet of Things and even drones. The speaker lineup read like a who’s who list with Chris Anderson, Tim Armstrong, Jeff Bezos, Mark Cuban, Barry Diller, John Doerr, David Karp, Bob Pittman, John Sculley and many others providing their experiences and thoughts on our new and emerging digital world and what it will mean for our lives, businesses and culture.

There’s way too much information to pack into a concise blog so we’ve decided to share the flavor of #BI_IGNITION2014 in twenty-five tweets. These are in no particular order, and if it leaves you wanting more, check out the hashtag on Twitter.


Drones are flying off the stage at the Times Center, amid talk about "people-based" marketing and the art within gaming. #BI_IGNITION2014 - @LiquidThread

"We're in Day Zero, or the early innings, of how 6-8 billion people are going to live." @johndoerr #BI_IGNITION2014 - @kpcb

Exceptional customer experience, customer-centric business will always win in the long run. @johnsculley #BI_IGNITION2014 - @oraclesocial

Middle class I grew up with kept score by what they owned, the new middle class won’t. #sharingeconomy @johnsculley #BI_IGNITION2014 - @socialmediamos

Can’t make a great games company without making great art. Games are art. Quality is crucial. Nexon’s @owenmahoney #BI_IGNITION2014 #gaming - @oraclesocial

.@cyberdustapp created by @mcuban so that your messages disappear forever #BI_IGNITION2014 - @ConferenceBites

Google now dwarfs traditional media; Facebook reaches more young people than TV #digital @hblodget #BI_IGNITION2014 - @socialmediamos

#Digital is the new medium and we’ve got lots of room to grow; It's like the cable industry in the 80’s. @hblodget #BI_IGNITION2014  - @oraclesocial

.@BenedictEvans on #mobile payments: Think how long we’ve had credit cards and yet we still use cash. Adoption will take time. - @oraclesocial

Jeff Bezos: Focus on genuine customer obsession; adding our own, unique twist; focusing on long-term; and operational excellence. #BI_IGNITION2014 - @oraclesocial

Jeff Bezos on drones: Long pole in this tent will be regulatory. Sad but possible that US will be late. I hope I’m wrong. #BI_IGNITION2014 - @BI_Events

.@brianboland from Facebook – we believe people-based marketing is the future. Personalization across all your devices. One you. #BI_IGNITION2014 - @PeteSpande

5X traffic comes from #social over search on BuzzFeed @jyarow #BI_IGNITION2014 #digital - @oraclesocial

Impressive: 2 years post-@WIRED, @chr1sa has built the biggest U.S. drone-maker. #BI_IGNITION2014 #drones - @MichelleTalbert

It took 150 yrs after the printing press to invent the newspaper. We don't know what the Internet is yet @jeffjarvis #BI_IGNITION2014 - @BI_Events

.@chr1sa is creating entirely new opportunities because of the innovation opportunities that comes w/ technology #BI_IGNITION2014 #drones - @PandoraPulse

3 factors growing the IoT: more mobiles devices, sensor costs are dropping, and more Internet users #BI_IGNITION2014 - @BIIntelligence

the idea of the 'smart home' is interesting for this millennial when thinking about aging boomer parents & future care #BI_IGNITION2014 - @ydlr

‪Recurring theme in every panel #BI_IGNITION2014 Future of Digital is the focus on personalization and customization - @HelenaVerellen

.@lisaweini on #programmatic #advertising: The old currency was scale, the new one is access to inventory, data, & tech. #BI_IGNITION2014 - @BI_Events

‪CMO's to do list for 2015 - cross device linkage, measuring impact of ads in-store. shifting from anonymity to identity #BI_IGNITION2014 - @ChristopherSRya

Tumblr CEO @davidkarp: the whole creative stack- software, hardware, distribution, commercialization -has been democratized #BI_IGNITION2014 - @craigett

Scale matters: HuffPost wouldn’t be able to compete without scale they now have. Scale and capability @timarmstrongaol #BI_IGNITION2014 - @BI_Events

Future of TV is more fragmentation, bundled system has no more elasticity in it - Barry Diller #BI_IGNITION2014 - @lisahopeking

1B daily left/right swipes on @tinder - great example that big companies can #incubate #BI_IGNITION2014 - @laurenperkins

Wednesday Nov 26, 2014

A Thanksgiving to Our Technologies

On this Thanksgiving Eve, we thought it only fitting to make today’s Oracle Social Spotlight a holiday themed version. So in the spirit of expressing gratitude, we offer up thanks around some of our most favorite and essential technologies—straight from the Oracle Social Cloud team members.

As you can imagine, our ever-present smartphone got many nods with several team members giving thanks to their iPhones. On the list was everything from electric cars to Instagram to fitness trackers to the Internet in general. Even our own Oracle SRM made the list, thanks to Reggie Bradford.

So below is our thanksgiving to our technologies, in no particular order. Enjoy! And have a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving.

  • iPhone – “It stays glued to me and connects me with everything from work to personal.” - Mike Strutton
  • Lfyt – “Lyft… because everyday I get to meet two new people in my community that I’d otherwise not have ever met.” – Rahim Fazal
  • Facebook – “The one technology that I’m most thankful for is Facebook. The reason why is because it keeps me up to date and in constant contact with many members of my family that live both near and far. :)” - Tonya Wright
  • Mophie - “Mophie case and Mophie charging pack. I cannot live without them if I am going to stay ALWAYS ON!” – Erika Brookes
  • iPhone – “I’d have to go with the iPhone for sure. Outside of the Internet itself, it has been the most transformative technology to really change our lives.” - Brian Culler
  • Electric Car – “My electric car (Nissan Leaf 2003 S, 5 door hatchback) because it is saving me money and is good for the environment. And I like to drive it because of the great features: proximity-based unlocking and locking, backup camera, Bluetooth, steering wheel stereo controls... and I could go on : )” – Lisa Black
  • Fitbit – “The most recent piece of technology that I am very thankful for is my Fitbit… Fitness trackers will track how far you have walked, how many floors of stairs you have climbed, and your hours of sleep… So if you want to lose weight, gain weight, become more healthy/active, or simply want to see how you are living your life... the Fitbit provides the most transparent illustrative feedback that I know of. The power of fitness trackers can revolutionize public health.” - Clark Phillips
  • Tablet Computer – “I’d have to say the tablet computer. It will empower and inspire the generation of people who are children right now, just as the LED and the first generation of console video games and home computers inspired mine.” – John Nolt
  • iPhone – “My iPhone, because without it I would feel disconnected.” - Joshua Davies
  • Instagram – “Hard to choose one, but I’ll go with Instagram. I can simply and effortlessly share with family and friends a task I’d be doing anyway – taking photos. It’s worth a thousand words, right?” – Amy Sorrells 
  • TiVo – “TiVo is still my favorite ;-)” – Meg Bear
  • SnapChat – “SnapChat. It helps me share those everyday moments with my girls!” - Sharon Miyakado 
  • Internet – “The Internet!” - Vinaya Shrestha
  • iPad – “My iPad for keeping my two boys entertained on the long drive to my in-laws for Thanksgiving.” – Angela Wells 
  • Oracle SRM – “I will say the SRM – it keeps on innovating and giving to all.” – Reggie Bradford
  • iPhone – “I'm thankful for the iPhone. I can carry one device for phone, calendar, music, run tracker, access to Google to answer questions and maps when I get lost. I forgot my iPhone at home last Saturday and could NOT function...” – Sandy Yu
  • GPS: “For me it’s GPS-based navigation. I don’t get lost anymore.” - Scotland Stephenson
  • Facetime – “It feels like my family, who is on an another continent, is just one button away. Facetime being free and very easy to use became a preferred communication line between first my parents and then rest of the family who wants to talk to me.” – Sriti Kumar
  • iPad - “I’m thankful for my iPad. It cooks, it cleans, it slices, it dices. I use it for recipes, house projects, reading, and more. It entertains and educates the kids at home and on the road. It’s an alarm, a calorie counter, a financial advisor, and a baseball scorekeeper.” – Jason Reynolds
  • Digital Media Player – “The digital media player; in my case, the Apple TV. It’s allowed me to ‘cut the cord’ with cable. I don’t watch a lot of TV… but when I do, at least I can choose what I want to watch and when. It’s also great because I can stream music through it… or stream video from my phone or computer to my TV. All that for under $100.” - Arturo Rodriguez
  • Travel Apps - “I love travel ecommerce sites/applications like and weather apps so I can plan a memorable getaway at a great price:)” – Chaundera Wolfe •
  • Calendar Apps: “Calendars and to-do lists on my phone. Without them, my life would be chaos.” - Salman Ansari
  • Internet – “I'm thankful for the Internet because it's a platform that allows us, and our customers, to innovate, stay connected, and get more done.” – Kevin Middleton
  • iPhone – “I am most thankful for my iPhone. It is my phone/GPS/alarm clock/calendar/notebook/eReader/music/time manager/video camera/WiFi hotspot all in one device.” – Laura Ivey
  • Internet – “I'm thankful for the Internet, since it enables most of the technology we use today.” – Brian Weichel
  • Kindle – “My Kindle! It’s made reading on the go so much easier and more pleasant. :-)” – Lacey Bousquet
  • Internet - “Internet in general - it allows me to work from home!” – David Borchert
  • Kindle - “Kindle!” - Lia Schiza • Goggle Plus - “Google+. It’s still my most used social network. I like that it lets me share specific content with the appropriate circle of friends or family.” – Darren Cato
  • Facebook - “Facebook because it makes it easy to keep up with friends and family that live out of town.” – Cassie Powell •
  • Pregnancy App: “Pregnancy app, I love seeing how big the little one is each day! :)” – Amanda Crocker
  • iPhone – “If I have to pick just one, I will say my iPhone because it keeps me connected to all of my favorite apps and keeps me connected to my friends and family. :)” – Tiffany Thompson
  • Mobile Networks – “I'm thankful for mobile networks that enable us to stay connected to the world at large at any time. They really help us live a more fluid life where work and life don't have to compete with each other for our attention.” - Patricia Pichardo
  • Uber - “Well to be brutally honest for me its Uber...” - Amir Hoagland
  • Kindle – “It’s my Kindle.” - Olaf Kowalik • Heroku – “I am thankful for It allows me to launch my little projects to servers in seconds (for free) so that they are accessible to anyone with an Internet connection.” - Patrick Bradley
  • Podcasts - “I am most thankful for Podcasts. Podcasts fulfill the promise that satellite radio was supposed to fulfill - content targeted at an extremely narrow niche. Because podcasts are relatively easy and cheap to produce and distribute, there is a lot of content out there for just about any interest. Podcasts fill my commute with content that is very relevant to me.” - Scott Wright

Friday Nov 21, 2014

Insights Straight From #WOMMASummit

Author: Erika Brookes, VP, Oracle Social Cloud 

I attended this week the annual #WOMMASummit in Hollywood, California. As usual, it was a lively event full of industry thought leaders, informative sessions, engaging conversations, quotable tweets and more than a few innovative ideas.  I had the pleasure of speaking with LinkedIn executive Deanna Lazzaroni on the topic of B2B social marketing. Only we took a different stance on traditional “B2B” marketing with the session titled “B2B Social Media Made Simple: Hint, it’s All About P2P”. Meaning it’s all about people connecting to people.

By now, I hope you understand you aren’t “marketing” to broad-brushed, generic audiences anymore. You are trying to develop relationships with people. And that takes understanding those people—their likes, dislikes, desires and needs—accomplished through active listening. Once you understand someone better, you can engage and respond to that person in a more relevant and authentic manner. You’ll understand how to develop better content for them; interact at the appropriate time; educate and provide information; and ultimately help meet their needs.

Your business today must operate as a people-centric organization. It must be the guiding principle to your strategy and ultimately how your strategy is executed via your culture, people, processes and technology. It’s the right strategy that will help businesses succeed with today’s ever-changing world driven by empowered people.  

  1. Be People-Centric: Put people at the center of everything you do. This goes beyond being customer-centric. This includes your employees and partners – groups of people that are equally important in creating a customer-centric organization. Learn, engage and empower your employees and you can create an army of walking brand ambassadors. This is also true for your partners. It’s like amplifying your brand marketing power threefold. Drill into your organization the importance of being people-centric—across customers, employees and partners.
  2. Listen to Learn: The old adage that “we have two ears and one mouth so we can listen twice as much as we speak” has never been more applicable than in today’s socially enabled digital world. The greatest “focus group” we’ve ever imagined exists today with our social web, if only we leverage its incredibly insightful data. Customers and prospects—people—are out there having conversations that could yield you real business value. But you have to be listening. This listening extends to all of your employees and even your business partners. Make listening your organization’s new best practice. You’ll be amazed at how much you learn that can be put into action to drive real business objectives.
  3. Get a Handle on Your Data: Chances are you have incredibly valuable data on your customers… in incredibly siloed systems accessed by different departments for finite reasons. Data is the lifeblood of your organization: CRM data is essential. Social is insightful. Marketing transactional data is vital. Service activity is critical. And all those other owned sources—call center transcripts, customer reviews, forums and more—offer you a 360 view of the customer, but all too often is lying untapped or limited in its accessibility. Imagine if you can get a handle on it all; aggregate it, analyze it, and find actionable insights. That’s power. That is bottom line. It’s doable, but it requires next-generation technology systems that communicate and share. Your cloud technology solutions like CRM, marketing, commerce, service and social should be integrated and interoperable to tie together all of your customer data to power your customer engagements.
  4. Think Mobile First: This is best captured in the form of a Tweet from BuzzFeed executive Terry City during his WOMMA session: “If it doesn’t work on mobile, it doesn’t work.” And that about sums up where we are headed. Smartphones are changing our daily behaviors making activities like social networking, shopping and search increasingly mobile. Smartphones aren’t just lighter computers with smaller screens. They require a different approach than traditional laptops/desktops. You are dealing with a different mindset when someone is mobile… and yes, less real estate in which to engage. So you have to approach timing, content type and delivery, and the value prop differently. Smartphones also offer untapped and transformational potential—think sensors, beacons, location-based recognition. These powerful little computers can bring hyper-local targeting, personalization and contextual marketing to life.
  5. Be Human, Be Authentic: It’s amazing we still have to reinforce this one because it’s the most obvious, no-brainer advice of all. But everyday we see examples of organizations failing here. Want to see what a win looks like? Check out how General Motors handled the #ChevyGuy #technologyandstuff situation. A potentially damaging situation turned into gold simply by swiftly reacting at the right time and in an authentic, human and brilliant manner. Today it is about right time and real time content. And given that it is a person-to-person world, it should also be uniquely human, real and authentic.

Of course, this lists only five ways to succeed in today’s rapidly changing digital world, and it could easily be expanded to 10, 15 and 20 + advice points. As you think about your customers, employees and partners, try to keep this in mind: Our digital world might make it harder to remember there’s a person behind that email, Tweet, post, comment, or text. But your connections are being made with people. People with valuable information and insights; People wanting to be engaged and empowered; People wanting to interact with people. Welcome to the new world of P2P business—people connecting with people.  

Tuesday Nov 18, 2014

And Two Become One: The Convergence of Social & Mobile

Author: Amy Sorrells, Oracle Social Cloud

By now everyone should understand the importance of all things mobile. Yesterday at the annual WOMMA Summit, Terry City from BuzzFeed said the following that quickly garnered lots of Twitter love: “If it doesn’t work on mobile, it doesn’t work.”  And with every new smartphone sold this becomes increasingly right on.

(Image courtesy of WOMMA Summit)

The shift to social media being consumed on mobile devices is very real. But many brands’ existing strategies are based on the wrong assumption that social is still a desktop/laptop thing.  Do people still use desktops and laptops for social networking? Of course they do. It’s just that social media usage is rising and it’s being driven by the proliferation of smartphone adoption.

And it is not just social activities; mobile is driving changes across many behaviors from shopping to service to search.

Comscore says we in the U.S. spend 52% of our “digital time” on mobile apps. Mobile comprises 60% of digital media usage…a percentage that’s rising at a rapid clip. Social, along with games and music, dominate mobile app usage, with Facebook the clear #1 for audience size and time spent.

When you drill down to how the individual social networks are predominantly engaged, 98% of the time U.S. users spend with Instagram is on mobile. For Pinterest it’s 92%, Twitter 86%, and Facebook 68%. So taking these kinds of statistics into consideration, an aware social marketer would have no choice but to start thinking about social solely in terms of how it plays out for users on mobile.

Brands and advertisers start doing damage to their company when they don’t stay in step with real changes in consumer behavior.

And here’s what that behavior looks like: There are more people in this world that own smartphones than own toothbrushes. Four out of five consumers use smartphones to shop. 52% of Americans use mobile for in-store research. 70% of mobile searches lead to online action within an hour. People that find you on mobile convert at almost 3x the rate as those that find you on desktop/laptop. Those using mobile are out and about, living their lives and ready to socially engage.

Smartphones aren’t just lighter laptops. They are enabled with innovative and valuable opportunities—think sensors, beacons, location-based recognition. They can bring hyper-local targeting, personalization and context marketing to life.

Mary Meeker’s State of the Internet report brought us some curious figures that illustrate a disconnect between where the public is spending their media time, and how much ad spend goes there. For instance, print usage is at 5% and dropping, yet the spend by advertisers comfortably jogging behind consumer behavior is 19%.

Looking at overall mobile ad market trends, however, things look like they’re heading in a reasonably right direction. BI Intelligence says it will grow the fastest amongst digital options, going over $32.6 billion in 2018 with social leading the way. eMarketer thinks mobile ad spend will surpass desktop PC advertising by 2016, then TV advertising by 2018, with Facebook controlling at least 71% of the mobile ad market.

Today businesses need a strategic social paid, owned and earned strategy – and it needs to be a mobile-first strategy. Do you forget about desktop/laptop usage? Of course not, you are still reaching and engaging there, but it’s dwindling. Mobile must take priority. The relationships you’re building with your customers on social, using the data they’re handing you via social + other enterprise data, with content served up at a time and place of convenience and high relevance, targeted and amplified with mobile ad options, is the increasingly obvious path to pursue. 

Friday Nov 14, 2014

The Power & Engagement of Social

The customer is always right. If there had been any doubt about the truth of that adage, social networking has eliminated it completely. While delivering a satisfying experience has always been important, social networks make it more vital than ever.

In a very short time, social networks have fundamentally changed the way many customers expect to interact with businesses. In recent years, if a customer had a support question the person would typically refer to the support site and, if the answer wasn’t easy to find, call the contact centre. Now if a customer goes to the company’s support site or customer forum and doesn’t quickly get the answer, the satisfaction levels dip and the person will search elsewhere to see if others have encountered the same issue. At this stage, customers usually turn to social platforms or forums, which are the biggest source for such answers. The negative impact of dissatisfaction with the online experience cannot be overstated. If customers are not satisfied with the information they find when first arriving at a business website, they are more than twice as likely to visit a competitor’s site as they are to make a call to the company’s contact centre. Further, these customers are less likely to visit the site again to buy online from this organisation.

Reaching out to the customer

No one likes to reinvent the wheel. That is why when we as consumers run into issues, it is our natural inclination to try to find out if others have run into the same issue and what they did to resolve it. Given this, a company-sponsored customer forum can be a great focal point for customers. By creating a vibrant customer forum, an organisation will gain a lot of near-term and long-term benefits. A forum is where a lot of customers start when they need answers. When done right, company-sponsored forums can be the first and best place for customers to go when they want questions answered. With effective moderation, reputation models, and flexible control, customer forums can deliver significant value to the enterprise and customers alike. Organizations can also gain a wealth of insights that can be leveraged to foster improvements in product development, quality control, marketing, and other areas of the business as well.

‘Findability’ is key

Even without social networks in the picture, the challenge of navigating server directories, intranets, websites, e-mail folders and other resources to find useful information can be daunting. Customer forums and other social networks added into the mix can threaten to overwhelm internal and external users with noise, rather than come across as meaningful information.

To meet this challenge, organisations need sophisticated search capabilities that derive the true intent from each search. This requires search capabilities very different from those employed by web search platforms such as Google or Yahoo!. To derive a search as true intent, organisations need enterprise knowledge management that features an integrated combination of natural language processing, information lifecycle management, and analytical insight into user behaviours.

Building brands with social media

Social Media also provides a dais for organisations to connect and interact with their stakeholders directly and instantly. With a large user base, consumers leave vital pieces of information with each like or comment on the various social media channels. Amassing such information can furnish new insights for brand management.

Marketers need to adopt a further strategic form of communications rather than just spamming customers or prospect customers. This can be manoeuvred through communication leadership via forums, portals and even company websites. Being on a digital platform, means working on quick turn-around time and responsive customer communication. A consistency need to be maintained around messaging. Furthermore, when companies engage with customers openly on social media, they fortify a certain level of accountability.

To sum up, organisations can view the proliferation of social networks as a threat or an opportunity. It can be seen as a threat because of the seemingly endless new data streams social networks generate that needs to be sifted and processed for the information that is useful. However, enterprises need to approach social networking as a huge opportunity – a new way to communicate with and learn from customers in a mode that customers have embraced. By interacting with customers in their familiar mode, organisations can realise significant improvements in not only customer service but also product development, quality assurance, marketing, and virtually every other area of the business. By taking a strategic, knowledge based approach, organisations can most fully leverage the potential of social networks to truly enhance the customer experience and improve business performance.

Tuesday Nov 11, 2014

Facebook Allowing Users to “See Less” in Their News Feed

Author: Amy Sorrells, Oracle Social Cloud 

Facebook announced last Friday that it was giving users more control of what they see in their News Feeds with the network’s newly launched “News Feed Settings” tool. The personalized tool gives users better insights to what is taking up space in their Feed, allowing them to take actions like “unfollow” friends or Pages without unfriending them. Meaning, you don’t want to see their content right now but you might come back later and change your mind. The new tool also allows for users to choose to “See Less” content from selected friends and Pages.

Yes, the fight for News Feed real estate just got tougher.

No surprise here as Facebook must prioritize its users’ experience over anything else. That includes businesses and brands. It’s the right move as it’ll keep Facebook users happier and feeling more satisfied with their News Feed flow. That’ll keep users around and engaging more. That’s a win for users, brands and Facebook.

According to Mark Zuckerberg cited in a recent Tech Crunch article, there is on average around 1,500 posts per day that could be shown in a user’s News Feed.  Facebook shows only around 100 posts a day. A number Facebook feels is appropriate for the average user.

Zuckerberg repeated his devotion to users by stating, “we optimize for the readers.” As for Pages, he advises them, too: “Focus on great content.”

Focus on great content. Certainly you’ve heard that phrase one, two or a thousand times. But changes like this one Facebook made last week requires us to underscore the importance of creating and curating really good and relevant content.

Businesses and brands are tasked with generating content that will not only cut through the clutter but also help earn your way into the News Feed. We aren’t saying it’s an easy task, but it’s definitely possible. Here are five tactics to remember that will help you create better content, increase engagement and be more visible in the News Feed.

LISTEN & LEARN: If you haven’t started a “listen first” strategy then please start now. There are social listening and monitoring technologies available that allow you to listen across the vast social and digital web. Want to know what consumers are talking about? How about your customers’ interests and needs? What content does your competition use? How can you provide better value? Start setting up topics, terms and hashtags to follow and learn from the data flowing in. It’s like a giant focus group you should be leveraging every day.

2. qANALYTICS & INSIGHTS: You have access to a vast amount of data…but do you have any insights? Your analytics should tell you what type of content is resonating best. And what time of day gets better engagement. You should also know what networks are performing better and why? Those insights can be incredibly helpful in creating and publishing good content. And that is just scratching the surface of analytics and insights.

3.    INFLUENCERS & ADVOCATES: You should identify and engage with your influencers and advocates. And these are different audiences with different desires and motives. But both can be very powerful in helping share and socialize your content and brand. With the right listening technology, you can identify and learn what motivates them. Engage with them. Entice them. Co-create with them. They’ll guide you. Just listen, learn and activate.

4.   PAID & AMPLIFY: Paid should be part of your social media strategy. What percentage, of course, depends on your business, but at least some of your budget should be devoted to amplifying your message. Whether to support a planned campaign or to boost organic content in real-time that is resonating, you should have a system in place to execute on a coordinated paid, owned and earned social strategy.

5.     REAL & AUTHENTIC: This can’t be stressed enough. Behind every brand or organization, there should be an authentic, real and human voice. And it’s really not that hard. Think about your own personal relationships and how you want to be treated and the things that matter. It’s often just a dose of common sense and humanity. Take off your “selling” hat and just listen, learn, engage and provide some value to the conversation. Be real. Be relevant. Be engaging.


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