What brands are winning in social media

Facebook has increased its user base from 58 million to 1 billion over the past five years. Twitter has exploded from 1 million registered users to more than 500 million over the same time. Other social media sites like LinkedIn and Google+ have also attracted large followings. The proliferation of social media has every company reconsidering marketing strategies and how they sell their products or services.

With that in mind, global consulting firm Vivaldi Partners has published a new study measuring the impact of “social currency” and which brands are using social media effectively to target consumers. Vivaldi defines social currency as: “The degree to which customers share a brand or information about a brand with others.”

The complete top ten in the Vivaldi study is below. Click here for the full study.

1. Subway (Social currency score: 712)

Subway not only benefits from a large Facebook and Twitter audience but it also gets very high engagement scores. Subway fans and followers are very active.

2. Google (709)

Google’s success follows from its large branded ecosystem of products that consumers access in their daily lives.

3. Target (688)

Target succeeds because it attracts consumers using a 360° presence through numerous channels and in different functions to create buzz and awareness.

4. Heineken (665)

Heineken continuously creates high visibility for its brand through social media. Its users engage with its viral campaigns and innovative concepts. 5. (tie) Verizon (661)

Verizon ranks high because of its presence in classic social media channels like Facebook and Twitter. Presence includes running customer support and engaging with customers’ social behaviors.

5. (tie) Dunkin’ Donuts (661)

Dunkin’ Donuts invested heavily in social media support with dozens of people engaging with customers and tracking responsiveness via social analytics and monitoring tools.

7. Home Depot  (652)

Home Depot tries to get customers to think about home improvements, materials and renovating ideas. This happens successfully through Facebook quizzes or innovative design ideas on Pinterest that draw customers back into store. Competitor Lowe’s finished No. 12.

8. Amazon (649)

Amazon has high social features implemented on its site that enhance the shopping experience, resulting in very high affiliation scores that drives repeat purchases

9. Microsoft (647)

Microsoft has integrated itself across social platforms with its push in the mobile operating system market.

10. Wal-Mart (646)

Wal-Mart’s engagement with its customers focuses on a social media strategy, which aims at building local communities to deliver shoppers more personal and targeted deals, as well as information about its stores.

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14 Things Successful People Do On Weekends

14 Things Successful People Do On Weekends

Forbes Magazine – Jacquelyn Smith

1. Make time for family and friends. This is especially important for those who don’t spend much time with their loved ones during the week.

2. Exercise. Everyone needs to do it, and if you can’t work out 4 to 5 days during the workweek, you need to be active on weekends to make up for some of that time, Vanderkam says. It’s the perfect opportunity to clear you mind and create fresh ideas.

“I know an owner of a PR firm who takes walks in the park with his dog to spark ideas about how to pitch a new client, or what angle to take with the press for a story,” Kurow says.

Cohen suggests spin classes and outdoor cycling in the warmer months. “Both are energizing and can be organized among people with shared interests. For example, it is not uncommon for hedge fund folks and Wall Street professionals to ride together on weekends. It is a great way to establish and cultivate relationships based on membership in this elite professional community.”

3. Pursue a passion. “There’s a creative director of a greeting card company who went back to school to pursue an MFA because of her love of art,” Kurow says. “Pursuing this passion turned into a love of poetry that she now writes on weekends.”

“Successful people make time for what is important or fun,” Egan adds. “They make space for activities that add to their life balance.”

4. Vacation. Getting away for the weekend provides a great respite from the grind of an intense week at work, Cohen says.

5.  Disconnect. The most successful people avoid e-mail for a period of time, Vanderkam says. “I’m not saying the whole weekend, but even just a walk without the phone can feel liberating. I advocate taking a ‘tech Sabbath.’ If you don’t have a specific religious obligation of no-work time, taking Saturday night to mid-day Sunday off is a nice, ecumenical time that works for many people.”

6. Volunteer. “I know a commercial real estate broker who volunteers to help with cook-off events whose proceeds are donated to the Food Bank,” Kurow says. “The volunteer work provides a balance to the heavy analytical work she does all week and fulfills her need to be creative — she designs the promotional material for the non-profit.”

Cohen says a lot of successful people participate in fundraising events. “This is a great way to network and to meet others with similar interests,” he says. “The visibility also helps in branding a successful person as philanthropic.”

7. Avoid chores. Every weekend has a few have-to-dos, but you want these to take the minimum amount of time possible, Vanderkam explains. Create a small window for chores and errands, and then banish them from your mind the rest of the time.

8. Plan. “Planning makes people more effective, and doing it before the week starts means you can hit Monday ready to go, and means you’ll give clear directions to the people who work for you, so they will be ready to go, too,” Vanderkam says.

Trunk agrees. She says successful people plan their month and year because “if you get stuck on short-term lists you don’t get anything big accomplished.”

9. Socialize. “Humans are social creatures, and studies of people’s experienced happiness through the day finds that socializing ranks right up there, not too far down below sex,” Vanderkam says.

Go out with friends and family, or get involved in the local community.

“It has been demonstrated that successful people find great satisfaction in giving back,” Cohen says. “Board membership, for example, also offers access to other successful folks.”

10. Gardening/crafts/games/sports/cooking/cultural activities. This is especially important for those cooped up in an office all week.

“For the pure joy, some folks find great satisfaction in creating beautiful gardens,” Cohen says.

Kurow knows an attorney who uses her weekends to garden and do mosaics and tile work to satisfy her creative side. “Filling her life this way enables her to be refreshed on Monday and ready to tackle the litigation and trial prep work. Artwork for her is fulfilling in a way that feeds her soul and her need to connect with her spiritual side.”

Bridge lessons and groups can also sharpen the mind and often create relationships among highly competitive smart professionals, Cohen says. “I once saw a printout of a bridge club’s membership list; its members were a who’s who of Wall Street.”

Theatre, opera and sporting events can also enrich one’s spirit, he adds.

11. Network. “Networking isn’t an event for a successful person, it’s a lifestyle,” Trunk says. Wherever they go and whatever they do, they manage to connect with new people.

12. Reflect. Egan says truly successful people make time on weekends to appreciate what they have and reflect on their happiness and accomplishments. As Rascoff said, “weekends are a great chance to reflect and be more introspective about bigger issues.”

13. Meditate. Classes and private instruction offer a bespoke approach to insight and peace of mind, Cohen says. “How better to equip yourself for success in this very tough world?”

14. Recharge. We live in a competitive world, Vanderkam says. “Peak performance requires managing downtime, too–with the goal of really recharging your batteries.” That’s how the most successful people get so much done

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55 Ways to Build Trust and Credibility

55 Ways to Build Trust and Credibility

trustI borrowed this list from @FSonnenberg. It is amazing how simple and yet trued these are. It is also amazing how easy these basics are to forget.

1. It takes many years to become an overnight success.

2. Good intentions are just the beginning.

3. Your reputation is their first impression.

4. Show people that you care about their needs.

5. A promise should be as binding as a contract.

6. Never sacrifice a long-term relationship for a short-term gain.

7. Don’t expect people to look up to you if you look down on them.

8. Give credit where credit is due.

9. The danger of shooting from the hip is hitting yourself in the foot.

10. Be knowledgeable and remain current in your field.

11. Follow through on every commitment that you make.

12. Take the time to provide the rationale behind your recommendations.

13. Stay focused. Trying to be all things to all people is a guaranteed recipe for mediocrity.

14. Be objective.

15. Opinions held in secret never make a difference.

16. Never cut corners.

17. Stand up for the things that you believe in. (Waffles are for breakfast.)

18. Be a thought leader.

19. At the end of the day, you’re judged by the value that you provide.

20. Be straight with people. Tell it like it is.

21. Don’t be afraid to present bad news. It’s worse to sweep it under the rug. (People appreciate honesty.)

22. Remain calm, cool, and collected during difficult times.

23. Present both sides of an issue. (Let them judge for themselves.)

24. Be a good listener.

25. Disclose potential conflicts of interest.

26. Even a tiny exaggeration can destroy your credibility.

27. Once you make a decision, don’t look back.

28. Always tell the truth or the truth will tell on you.

29. Surround yourself with people who have a high degree of integrity.

30. Your actions “off-stage“ (i.e., at an office party or on Facebook) impact your trust and credibility.
31. Typos and grammatical errors loom larger than life.

32. Remain transparent. (You’ll never be faulted for communicating too much.)

33. Never ask someone to do something that you’re not willing to do yourself.

34. Reliable and consistent behavior on your part allows people to anticipate what you’ll do in the future.

35. Do what’s right, even if nobody is looking.

36. You are judged by the company that you keep.

37. Your actions must match your words.

38. Being an expert in one area doesn’t make you an expert in everything.

39. Admit when you’re wrong.

40. Don’t submit unfinished work as complete.

41. Never confuse quantity with quality.

42. Think before you open your mouth.

43. People who “hard sell” don’t always have the facts on their side.

44. You gain more by making others look good than by singing your own praises.

45. Trying to be excellent in everything leads to mediocrity.

46. “Everybody does it” is a poor excuse for doing it yourself.

47. Words spoken in confidence are words spoken in trust.

48. Learn how to disagree without being disagreeable.

49. Repeating a rumor is as vicious as starting one.

50. People will test you in small ways before trusting you outright.

51. The only thing worse than talking about others is talking about yourself.

52. Great talent means nothing if you’re not dependable.

53. Few people will fault you for being tough, if you’re fair.

54. It’s not only what you bring to the table but how you serve it.

55. REMEMBER, trust and credibility take years to develop but can be lost in seconds.

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The 10 rules of modern marketing

I came across these ten rules for building relationships with customers in the modern age. It is quite basic – but also insightful.

1. Marketing ≠ Advertising. Advertising still is important but marketing today is much more about conversations, not shouting out messages – it’s bringing the customer with us. Building customer love is about engagement and relationships. Connect to an emotion, give customers a reason to believe or care about you.  Learn about your customers and how they want to interact with you.

2. Participation is the 5th P of marketing. Today we live in a world where connected consumers want to have a say, want their voice to play a role. Participation is not about letting go of your brand, but instead it’s a willingness to let others in. Give customers the means to play with your brand and make it their own.

3. Always be listening. Online communities, ratings and reviews, Twitter, call centers, all provide opportunities to learn and innovate. There are more opportunities now than ever before for channels to listen to your customers, you will be amazed at what people will tell you if they think you are listening.

4. Talk is cheap (media). Empower your customers to talk to their friends about your products, their influence is far greater. Provide ways for them to spread the word, enlist in your cause, share what they learned.

5. “Me-Commerce” is better than E-Commerce. Create digital experiences and interactions on a mass scale make them feel like they are 1:1.  Digital technology has enabled this – personalized discovery, product customization and stellar customer care. There are a few great young companies in Boston, like Gemvara, Blank Label and CustomMade that are working on this.

6. Think mobile first. According to the Pew Internet Project, 88% of adults carry a mobile phone, 50% of which are smartphones; 19% have tablets. Mobile devices account for 30% of email opens. Thinking mobile first means understanding how the consumer is experiencing your brand on the go, when it’s convenient for them. The rise of mobile should encourage you to rethink the role of Location. Even better, reinvent your offering to make location matter – how can it change the game?
7. Content is king. Be relevant, meaningful and helpful and people will come to you. What are you expert in? What do you know about better than anyone else? Share all the facets of this. Think about how your product fits into people’s lives – business, personal whatever – and build a content strategy around it.
8. Every employee is a brand manager. Marketing, capital M means that your customer service department, your innovation or R&D group, your retail clerks – anyone that has a touch point with the customer all know and understand how to communicate what your product means, what the brand stands for and can bring it to life in their work every day. This isn’t a new idea. But what is new is the way that customers and employees can interact and be very connected because of social media and the internet.

9. Two parts here: Use technology to simplify and measure everything. Can technology help me do this better? Think about user experience through the entire purchase path and how technology can make it better, help us learn what our customers want and give it to them. Technology can also help track how we are doing. There are so many options and channels, links and levers – you need to be sure you know what is working well and what is not.

10. Don’t be a lemming. It can be so tempting to try each bright shiny object that comes along that’s the darling of the moment. Do not do this. Ask yourself how this would fit your customer and if the answer isn’t obvious right away, it’s probably a bad fit. For most products, you can’t and shouldn’t be everywhere online.

Bonus Rule: Change is the norm. Be ready for anything.

Debi Kleiman is the president of MITX, the Massachusetts Innovation & Technology Exchange, the nonprofit trade association focused on digital marketing and Internet business in New England and the creators of FutureM Boston, Oct. 23-26th.


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Until one is committed . . .

Until one is committed . . .

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now!”

220px-Goethe_(Stieler_1828)Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (German: [ˈjoːhan ˈvɔlfɡaŋ fɔn ˈɡøːtə] ( listen), 28 August 1749 – 22 March 1832) was a German writer, artist, and politician. His body of work includes epic and lyric poetry written in a variety of metres and styles; prose and verse dramas; memoirs; an autobiography; literary and aesthetic criticism; treatises on botany, anatomy, and colour; and four novels. In addition, numerous literary and scientific fragments, and more than 10,000 letters written by him are extant, as are nearly 3,000 drawings.

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