5 ways brands can use Emerging Platforms better

Originally posted on 1000heads.com

Continuing our newest blog series aiming to polish up your community management tactics, this week we’re discussing emerging platforms and some best practices for discovering as well as leveraging them effectively.

When it comes to social media, emerging platforms tend to vary significantly in terms of quality and value propositions. Often the result of a small, passionate team at an unknown startup, identifying what is actually relevant to your brand has become increasingly challenging. How do you know what is worth your time? Here are a few points that should help guide your thinking.

1. Look in the right places, reach out to the right people

You can’t rely solely on a Mashable or TechCrunch to keep you up to speed. Dig deeper. Challenge yourself to uncover platforms before they hit the tech press circuit. Keep a close eye on accelerator programs, hackathons and local startup Meetup groups for standout prospects. Reach out directly to co-founders over Twitter and offer to provide them with valuable product feedback. You’ll likely receive early-access instantly. Establishing a network of respectable early-adopters over time who share your hunger for innovation will obviously help you cast a much larger net.

2. Avoid shiny-object syndrome

Learn when to ignore the “hype” and always take a look for yourself before making assumptions. Understand that there is likely a hidden agenda and plenty of extreme biases in tech press regardless of how much credibility a publication or blogger may have. Do your own research and form your own opinions over time.

3. Think like a VC

Think about if the platform is truly a solid investment for your brand. Is this an actual product or simply a feature that is highly vulnerable to larger competition? Look beyond the current offering and examine the addressable market size. Feel confident that enough users will also appreciate the unique value proposition. Why will this be disruptive and to who? Discover key synergies with other platforms, identify potential suitors and anticipate an acquisition long before it happens.

4. Learn the signals to watch for

What sort of user traction has it received? Who are the co-founders and what else have they accomplished? Make use of Crunchbase and AngelList. Who led the most recent round of financing? Sequoia Capital or ScrubFund XYZ? Although it may not always be relevant, offering an API (or at least plans for one) can say a lot about the roadmap and vision. A thriving ecosystem of passionate developers leveraging the platform to innovate on their own is generally an ideal scenario.

5. Prove how it will impact business objectives

Most importantly, you must always attempt to find the best way to tie the platform to actual business objectives for your brand. This can often be a struggle initially, however, it will guarantee that you receive long-term buy-in from above. Get creative with your metrics. Consider how the platform helps to boost your efficiency or how it exposes your brand to key target audiences that can be translated into a high media equivalent value.

Never rely exclusively on others to push the envelope. Have the confidence to engineer unique approaches for leveraging new platforms and don’t be afraid to be the first one to jump in when it makes complete sense for your brand. You’ll likely be rewarded for your ambition and thought leadership.

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Stay aHead Series (cont)

Flattr, Critterism and Aviary

FlixMaster, Scriball and Winston

Swipp, Ditlo and Hipmob

Vinepeek, Cube26 and Tinder

Fleksy, Branch and CouchCachet

Leap Motion, Unpakt and Grokr

Videogram, Gyft and Tred

SeatID, HERE Maps and LearnStreet

Shareist, Eta Devices and OffersBy.Me

Pinbooster, Chirpify and Icenium

SeeSaw, Peek and Pinalytics

WebPlatform.org, CloudAxis and Shelby Genius

StyleSaint, TypeScript, and Wantful

MindMeld, YourMechanic and Memstash

Dekko, Livebolt and HeatData

Referly, Flightfox and Lumia launch

Branch, Google Octane and HTML 5

Originally posted on 1000heads.com

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Stay aHead Series

Survata, ThinTouch and Bootstrap 2.1

Microsoft Dev Center, Wolf Repellent and SoundWave

Facebook Content Targeting, Same-day eBay and Nina

Flag Tags, Homescreen.me and Pinfluencer

Vyclone, Ptch and Meograph

Office Hours, Brewster and StoryBox

Tablets, SnipSnap and Condition ONE

SongPop, Viggle and RebelMouse

Surface, Battery Science and Twitter Polling

Apps, Efficiency and Notable Disruption

Facebook IPO, Apps and Color

Originally posted on 1000heads.com

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Calling All Storytellers

With Wednesday’s fMC event, Facebook officially kicked off the latest iteration on its quest for advertising revenue. The new “Premium” suite of offerings is a solid strategy to capture ad spend from marketers who would clearly be willing to buy any sort of inventory thrown their way from the social giant. Unfortunately, Zuckerberg was not there himself to tell everyone that THESE are no ordinary ads. These are unique chances to create “compelling experiences” with “engaging content” and (INSERT additional Facebook propaganda HERE). The introduction of Timeline for Brands was the perfect opportunity for Zuck & Co. to reveal its true identity: Storytellers.

Timeline for Brands is the next chapter of Facebook marketing and, for many, it may be the last. Being able to express your brand in a more visual and engaging way certainly has its perks. However, what if you have no story worth telling? Or what if it’s just not worth the extra energy?

At the end of the month, when all pages are automatically converted to Timeline, the glory days of “Like”-gated default landing tabs will have ended. With a wider real-estate to work with (810px), developers will need to step up their game as a new generation of branded Timeline apps will emerge. Tabs can remain gated, but getting noticed will be a serious challenge. Facebook’s solution: buy their ads. Continue reading

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Social Media Monitoring: Return On Ignorance

Gary Vay*ner*chuck recently declared that there is “no such thing as social media”. Did he just say this to get a rise out of people? Probably, but his point is well taken. I’d take this a different direction and make the argument that there is no such thing as “social media monitoring”.

Call it whatever you want: monitoring, listening, measurement, intelligence, etc. The fact is that the majority of the snake oil being pushed today in this space is laughable. Actionable insights? Social Media ROI? More like vanity metrics and fancy visualizations. Simply aggregating social data and shoving it in a “dashboard” is far from adequate regardless of how elegant the UI/UX may be. The meaningful analysis is just not there and yet people continue to throw money at these scrubs. Continue reading

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Review: “Social Media Analytics” by Marshall Sponder

Marshall Sponder is a passionate thought leader who consistently asks the right questions and never holds back his views for anyone. Having been an avid reader of WebMetricsGuru.com for years, I highly value Marshall’s opinion and proven expertise in the field. This book comes at just the right time and doesn’t overextend itself at all. It provides a much needed wake-up call for both the skeptical gatekeepers and shiny-object bandwagon riders. Additionally, it is a great place to start for those just looking to jump headfirst into measuring the effectiveness of emerging technologies.

Providing in-depth case studies with well-articulated examples, Marshall showcases why the real power exists in the minds of the analysts rather than simply the tools being utilized. He shares his best practices for how to identify the precise data to pull, filter out the signal from the noise, and extract the relevant intelligence aligned with strategic/business objectives. He thoroughly examines some current challenges facing this dynamic frontier and offers his predictions on the future state of affairs with adequate rationale. The age of the Chief Analytics Officer is rapidly approaching and it is critical to be prepared for the evolving landscape.

With a detailed account of several prominent tools as well as some lesser known players, Marshall conveys the importance of crafting a tailored approach for the task at hand and empowers you to sift through the false claims of vendor sales pitches. This includes valuable methodologies for everyone from heavy enterprise users to SMBs.

A very easy read, I strongly recommend this book to anyone looking to remain relevant when it comes to digital strategy. It is much less of a how-to guide and probably more of an eye-opener for most. Having been deeply engrossed in social media monitoring and measurement for years, this book really helped to validate my understanding of the space as well as spark new ideas to explore.

Buy it here and feel free to let me know what you think about the book. What were some of your major takeaways?

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Fishing for Insights: Twitter Lake

It’s been an #epic 5+ years of tweeting. What started as a micro creek quickly flooded its banks from the exponential downpour of 140-character drips to generate a blue ocean with powerful waves, innovative currents, and trendy metrics (insert additional buzzword/metaphor here). Twitter has successfully progressed.

“What are you doing?” –> “What is happening?” –> “Follow your interests”

However, when it comes to processing the data, we seem to recognize the potential, but still struggle to navigate these waters. Continue reading

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Webdoc: Too Early for Disruption?

Everyday I make an effort to uncover emerging technologies, how they can be utilized, and if I feel like they are sustainable over time. Over the past few years, I have made a serious effort to avoid shiny object syndrome and clearly separate the “me-too-regurgitation” from true innovation. Having an adequate understanding of the tech behind these entrants generally makes this a much easier task. However, it is impossible to predict additional factors like funding, strategic partnerships, acquisitions, lawsuits, etc. Regardless, every now and then, I will come across something I believe has the potential for instant disruption. A recent example of this is Webdoc and the only thing I question is if the timing is right? Continue reading

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Get Noticed with BO.LT

Tired of getting dissed by recruiters? Let’s be real…sending out resumes and cover letters are just no longer an effective strategy, particularly when attempting to land a position in social media or IT. Depending on the organization, getting noticed may vary from difficult to nearly impossible. Leveraging your digital assets is essential, but what can you do to really capture some immediate attention? Here’s something to consider… Continue reading

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A Second Chance at Social?

The highly anticipated next chapter in “The Social Iteration” by Google (+) has finally emerged. Let’s avoid wasting time talking about beta invites or criticizing its current functionality. Take a step back from the hype for a moment and think about what this ambitious play really means. Could this shiny Facebook alternative deliver just the “second chance at social” we need? Continue reading

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