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?


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.


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, 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. 

Wednesday May 06, 2015

So You Think You Can Be a Senior Technical Writer?

Look, we get it- you think you can write. You write obnoxiously long messages on birthday cards. You post your away message as “word smithin.” You may even spit some sick rhymes on the weekends. But before you craft your cover letter in iambic pentameter, read a day in Alyssa Jackson’s life… 

What do you do? 

I’m responsible for all of the copy that appears in the Oracle Social Relationship Management (SRM) platform, as well as all the help articles and customer communications about the platform. That means error messages, emails to our customers, help docs… if it is the written word, it (mostly) came from me. 

How did you get started? 

I previously worked for a children’s electronics company as an Assistant Product Manager, which mostly involved writing Quick Start Guides for our products. That’s really how I learned to write well for customers - writing for an 8 year old audience will teach you really quickly how to be concise and clear. I was an English major in college, so don’t let anyone tell you that’s a pointless degree! 

What are some writing guidelines you follow?

I try to keep it simple - use as few words as I can, while still giving detail and context. We are working in social media, so I like to keep our tone conversational. We want to sound relaxed and easy-going, because that’s the kind of people our customers are. 

This sounds straightforward, but gets a bit more difficult when you’re trying to explain a very complicated technical idea. In a way, I’m acting as a filter between the engineers and our customers. I do this by breaking complex ideas into smaller chunks, using regular language, and posting lots of screenshots. Business-speak is the devil! At the end of the day, keeping my customer in the front of mind keeps my writing tight.   

What’s the hardest part of your job?

Definitely juggling all of the requests that come in. I’m technically a member of all of the Oracle Social scrum teams, so I get a lot on my plate. 

How do you stay focused?

Noise canceling headphones and Spotify. Peppy music keeps my energy up and my emotions in the “happy customer” place. Currently, I’m listening to "Make You Better" by the Decemberists... and Taylor Swift. <laughs> I’m like an onion, I have many layers. 

What’s your favorite part of your job? 

I really like working directly on the platform and being the customer’s representative. I’m not a coder. I’ve worked on the platform for four years, but I’m still a fairly non-technical person. I’m not afraid to speak up when I think things are confusing. A lot of software companies don’t use technical writers, but at Oracle Social I get to work with the engineers and our creative team directly to design software that is intuitive, so our customers won’t need to go to the help files.

Still think you have what it takes? Apply at

Wednesday Apr 29, 2015

Social Media Case Study: Head Case Designs

Doug White, CMO, Ecell Global

It’s all fun and games to talk about social marketing strategy, but when push comes to shove, we learn the most from real life experience. We spoke to Douglas White, the CMO of Ecell Global (which owns and operates Head Case Designs) about what works for them in social media marketing.

Who Is Head Case Designs?

They create personalized cases for your mobile device. Founded in 2005 in England, the company has over 350 employees around the world, with a strong presence in the US, UK, Germany, Italy, Australia, Hong Kong, and Japan. According to their website, “Head Case is the global leader in custom mobile case designs, with more than 3 million product offerings shipped to the hippest cats worldwide.”

Up until a year ago, their cases were sold exclusively on eBay and Amazon. They decided they needed to establish a direct-to-consumer selling strategy, and that’s when their social media marketing kicked into high gear.

Social Strategy - Marketing and Selling

Most importantly, Head Case Designs knows their customers. They primarily serve 18-24yr old millennials, with 75% of their customers under the age of 30. They skew female. These people are cool. They’re unique. They don’t want what everyone else has - they want to stand out. They view their phones as an extension of their brand identity.

Building off of that knowledge, Head Case Designs created a brand personality that is “someone you would want to hang out with at a party,” says White. “We’re friendly, jokey. Not too serious.”

Developing their brand identity and tone guided their hiring decisions as well, White adds. They’ve hired three new people who mirror their clientele and have experience cultivating a following in their personal life.

With these fundamentals in place, they’re creating content that is specifically tailored to their customers. White says “we used to post photos of the front and back of cases, but that was not engaging. You’ve got to make sure your products are presented in a way that consumers can relate to it. People need to be able to see themselves using it.” They started posting photos of the phone cases on desks, with jewelry and papers strewn about. This type of content created a new level of customer engagement and support.

Social Strategy - Customer Experience

There’s something special about being able to say “I made that.” Head Case customers are proud of what they have created and they want to share it. Head Case uses the Oracle Social SRM Media Mixer tool to create their “Cool Case Wall” on Facebook. White adds, “It only took 30 minutes for us to set it up. We search #headcase and #headcasedesigns, find the good photos and then add it to the wall. Then we direct message the people who posted it and say, ‘Hey, thanks for posting that great picture of your Head Case, we’ve highlighted it on our Cool Case Wall, go check it out.’ And then they feel closer to the brand.”

Customers also need to know that their concerns are being heard as well. “Social is the place where we need to engage the consumer,” says White. Head Case prioritizes responsiveness on all platforms because they know that “if one customer complains on social, you’ve lost 10,000 customers. Social has shifted the power from the brand to the consumer.”

Best Practices

The first thing White said was, “We’re learning our social strategies every day.” That’s not to say that they’re amateurs; rather, it means that Head Case maintains a “beginner’s mindset” every day. A beginner is unbiased and open to new ideas. They’re creative. They think differently. Keeping a fresh perspective allows you to create fresh and original content, which is what resonates with customers.

Of course, not everything is going to be a winner. Head Case has set up specialized analytics dashboards within Oracle Social’s SRM to analyze what content is doing well on each platform. “We would prefer to grow our fan base slowly and stay engaged,” says White. “Wouldn’t it be better to have a small number [of fans] that is engaged and sees everything you post, than a big number that never hears your message?”

White also mentioned “proactive marketing,” a relatively new strategy that utilizes Oracle’s listening capabilities to capture when a customer is having a problem with a competitor. For example, if someone posts “ugh my case just broke again!” this message would be flagged for Head Case’s team to reach out and say, “Hey, we hear you’re having a problem, how about you try us for a discount?” This strategy also has the added benefits of creating a metric that will show directly how social media drives the bottom line.


“Social marketing is built to break rules and operate quickly,” says White. Check them out on TwitterFacebookInstagram and Google+ to follow their social progress in real time.

Monday Apr 27, 2015

What Does Facebook’s API Change Mean?

By now you’ve probably heard that changes are coming to Facebook’s API. Not to worry though - Oracle Social Cloud’s got you covered. Here’s what’s going on:

What is happening?

Lots of things. In April, Facebook is updating the Newsfeed to reflect user feedback. Under the new changes, you’re more likely to see content that is posted by friends you care about higher up in your news feed. You may see multiple posts from the same source in a row. You will be less likely to see posts about friends liking or commenting on another story.

In October, Facebook is changing the way marketers “listen” to public posts. Right now, with Oracle’s Social Relationship Management (SRM) tool, we can listen to all public posts on Facebook. After the change, 3rd parties will not be able to search Facebook’s public data by keyword any more. Marketers will be able to listen to only the pages they have selected within the SRM.

For clarification:

- Public Facebook Data = what you can see on Facebook without logging in
- Non-Public Facebook Data = anything you must be logged in to Facebook in order to see

Who will this affect?

Both consumers and marketers will be affected by this API change. For consumers, it increases your privacy because 3rd parties (outside of Facebook) won’t be able to capture comments that you make on any given page unless they were specifically listening to that page. For marketers, it means that you have to be smarter about which pages you monitor.

I’m an Oracle SRM customer. How will this affect my company?

Oracle customers will configure the Listen tool in the SRM to capture what people are saying on specific pages.

“This enhancement will allow fine control over the data that flows into the system, and make source restrictions very clear as well as providing certainty in the comprehensiveness of the data that can be expected from this API. In some respects, this provides even more useful capability than the previous API” says John Nolt, Senior Director of Product Management at Oracle Social Cloud.  

Non-public messages will appear in Engage if the page in question is an Owned Channel.

When does it take place?

Oracle’s SRM features are targeted for release in September 2015. In October 2015, Facebook’s current functionality for Public Data will no longer be supported. 

Real Life Example:

Up until October 2015, if brands want to hear what people are saying about Game of Thrones on Facebook, you would be able to hear anything that was publicly posted. So if I, Maggie Schneider Huston, posted on my public page “WOW I can’t believe #GoT!” it would have been captured by our listen capabilities. After the update in October, businesses will only be able to hear my comment if they have selected to monitor my public page.

If you have a personal Facebook page with strong privacy protection and posted “WOW I can’t believe #GoT!” this comment will be captured and aggregated via DataSift’s recent partnership with Facebook. This relationship will allow for aggregation and insight around all topics on Facebook. Oracle is partnered with DataSift in this effort and we look forward to bringing this new capability to our customers as well.

It’s important to remember that these changes will only affect Facebook. Your data from other networks (Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+) will not be affected.

Wednesday Apr 22, 2015

So You Think You Can Be A Product Owner?

Let me paint you a picture: Cassie Powell, one of our fearless POs, suggested that I write a “day in the life of” blog for the Social Spotlight. I volunteered her as our first subject, because I really don’t know what she does all day. We set a meeting, and I asked for a rundown of her schedule to help me fill in the blanks. Not only did she provide me a minute-by-minute accounting of her day IN ADVANCE, she also had had her boss approve the schedule that she emailed to me.

Clearly, this lady is on her game.

Cassie Powell, Who Woke Up Like This

So What Do You Do?

Cassie: The best way to describe my job is like this: let’s say you go home and use X’s software. And the software works well, but you really want a button in the software that will produce a dancing unicorn every time you click it. That’s when you call me. I work with our people to give you a dancing unicorn button.

So How Do You Get That Done?

Cassie: Organization is essential. I’m extremely organized. There are lots of things that keep shifting and you can’t let anything fall through the cracks.

Good communication skills are a must: I need to be able to speak with executives to give them updates and also talk to our developers effectively. <laughs> Those groups speak differently, and I’ve got to reach them all.

Finally, I think you need to be able to see the big picture. It’s easy to get lost in the weeds (which is really important, actually) but you also need to see the forest, too. You need to see it all: weeds, trees, and forest.

So What Does an Average Day Look Like?

9:00 - 9:30am - Arrive into office

9:30 - 10:00am - Looking at any new bugs that came in over night. Figure out where they need to go in the queue to be fixed.

10:00 - 10:30am - Write proposal to Creative giving them two options on how we want to display something in the product

10:30 - 11am - Two daily stand ups with my development teams. Figure out how things went over the last 24 hours... if they are on track, if they have any questions for me on things they are working on...

11:00 - 11:30 - Prepare for a presentation I am doing later in the day on a new feature we are going to release soon

11:30 - 12:30 - Team demo. Team shows me everything they have worked on during the last two weeks. I see for the first time a feature that is coming out in a few months. Very exciting! Have some feedback and have some to dos for myself that came out of this meeting. Followup with our doc writer and get some copy approved.

12:30 - 1:00 - Eat while perusing emails

1:00 - 1:30 - Demo our new feature to our internal folks

1:30 - 2:00 - Meeting with my development manager to go over a couple technical tickets that she put in. She explained what was going on and my action item is to write the stories and prioritize in the team's backlog.

2:00 - 3:00 - Release meeting where we go over releases from last week and releases that are coming up in the next few weeks. We update if they are on track and if we have any risk to sort through.

3:00 - 3:30 - Meeting with my Product Manager for one of the teams that I work on. We review the current features that are in the works as well as what is coming up. She gets updates on if everything is on track.

3:30 - 4:00 - Have a meeting with a couple Product team members. We put together a proposal to change something in the product that gives users a better experience.

4:00 - 4:30 - Have a call with another Product team member. He is taking on a new project that I was a part of, and I am giving him a rundown on the backstory as well as where we are now with this project.

4:30 - 5:00 - Head home

5:00 - 6:00 - Answer emails. Do a few action items from meetings today. 

So What Are Some Characteristics of a Good PO?

A good PO is someone that can meld the company vision and the user experience into one. Ultimately, we want to deliver great products AND experiences to the user. Therefore, a good PO needs to be passionate about great products while having empathy for the user. They need to be flexible enough to work with shifting demands but decisive when necessary… which is pretty often. Bottom line, they need to be a “fixer.”

Do you think you have what it takes to be a Product Owner at Oracle Social Cloud? Apply at

Thursday Apr 16, 2015

9 Ways To Spring Clean Your Social Media

Spring is here! Let’s open up the windows and let the pollen-saturated sunshine in to our social media platforms.

Image courtesy of nuttakit at

Technical Updates:

1. Change your passwords
I know, I know… it stinks. However, it’s the single most important thing you can do to prevent someone from hacking into your accounts. Don’t use the same password across all of your platforms, because if one account is hacked, the others will likely be as well.

2. Clean out your photos and videos
Let’s be real - not every photo is a gem. Perhaps it looked great at the time it was posted, but now… it’s not exactly the best representation of your brand. Make sure the most recent photos and videos are in line with your content strategy.

Image courtesy of marcolm at

3. Organize your followers
You know that annoying person who always posts the same stuff? Get rid of them. While you’re doing this, create Twitter lists to organize your influencers, team members, competitors, and listen to industry-oriented news. These lists will help you catch important posts that may otherwise be lost in the shuffle of your feed.

4. Makeover your image
This is the fun part! Change your cover photos, update your contact and biographical information, and ensure that your profile pictures are consistent. Get creative and use eye-catching images.

Strategy Updates:

1. Analyze your customers
This is a critical step. If you don’t know who you are talking to, you don’t know what they will need. Look at the profiles of your customers on all platforms. How old are they? Where do they live? What time of day are they usually on your network? What do they like to talk about? Who else do they follow? It may be helpful to draft a “persona” of your customer(s) to keep your audience top of mind.

2. Dive deep into your analytics

This is technically something you should be doing daily (or at the very least, weekly) but it is helpful to look back over a long period of time to determine what types of content are succeeding with your readers. What topics have earned a lot of engagement? What types of content (blogs, video, images, or links to third party material) are being shared the most? What time do posts perform best? Who are your most engaged users?

At the same time, it’s also extremely important to look at your worst-performing posts. I know it hurts, but you have to understand what made them fail. More times than not, our greatest successes come from our failures.

3. Set Goals and Metrics for your KPIs

Once you have determined who your audience is and what kind of content they like, set reasonable and measurable goals. As tempting as it may be, try to think beyond “I want to get over 1 million “likes” on Facebook.” Your social goals should be aligned with your broader business goals. A better goal would be “I will increase brand awareness by creating posts that average over 3% engagement across all platforms.”

4. Get your employees engaged
One of the most frequently overlooked marketing assets is sitting right next to you - your fellow employees. Tag them on relevant posts, promote their content, or ask them to get engaged!

Image courtesy of photostock at

5. Build a content calendar
You’ve got a lot of information at your fingertips - who you’re talking to, what they want, and when they want that content - so stay organized with a content calendar. Plan blog posts as far in advance as possible. Don’t forget about content that your coworkers create, too. It’s a great engagement tactic. Schedule posts using a tool like Oracle Social Cloud’s SRM. The volume of information thrown at social media managers is extraordinary; don’t let something fall through the cracks by being disorganized.

That’s it! Not too painful, right?


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