Category Archives: Social Networks

Social Networks

The True Dangers Of Allowing Social Media In The Workplace

The True Dangers Of Allowing Social Media In The Workplace

Social Media In The Workplace

Would you let your employees use social media on company time? The response to this question is usually an emphatic no. The reasons given make sense, at least on the surface: “People are here to work, not to play.” “We cannot trust our employees to not waste the entire day playing around online.” “The optics would be very bad for our customers.”

Indeed, people are hired to contribute their skills for the advancement of their employer. But there is a significant distinction between time spent at the desk and actual productivity. The end results of a task assignment are not a factor of the amount of time spent in front of a computer screen, but the quality of the effort exerted by the individual. That can vary greatly depending on time of day, stress levels, even what the employee ate for breakfast.

Productivity is a result of physiology, not of face time.

socil media

The Health Aspect

Access to social media during the workday offers at least one improvement, and that is in the area of mental focus and stamina. The human mind and body were never designed to work at a consistently high level of output for a sustained number of hours. We just cannot do that. Instead, we work best in bursts of energy punctuated by rest. By visiting a favorite social media site for just a couple of minutes per hour, employees benefit from a rhythm that feeds the mind and allows for greater amounts of productivity, accuracy, and creativity.

social-media-best-practice

(Image Source: Shutterstock)

The crux of the issue becomes one of definition: what does “access” mean? Those who push back against the idea of social media in the workplace maintain a perception that employees will spend their entire day with one eye on their favorite web site, and their attention permanently divided. But that‘s not the only way. Companies that have succeeded in allowing social media into the workplace are those that have established a “best practice,” such as allowing just a few minutes per hour, with the employee accepting the responsibility of returning to work without needing to be told.

This brings forth two profound benefits.

The first is that this type of mental break fits in with the body’s natural rhythms and the individual employee’s personal attention span. Some people have attention spans of an hour or more, and can work for extensive periods. Most however have a limit that is well inside a one hour block, and exceeding it simply results in distraction, delay and/or procrastination.

Secondly, allowing access contributes to employee engagement and loyalty, whereas an outright ban damages the trust relationship. Employees like to feel respected, and being locked out of social media simply results in diminished motivation paired with an increased desire to move to greener pastures.

There is also a growing demand for employee wellness and work-life integration. With recent discoveries demonstrating that sitting for long periods per day presents the same types of health dangers as smoking and overeating, the pressures mount on employers to offer a balanced working environment, and this includes mental health as much as physical.

The Literacy Aspect

The term “literacy” in the current era encompasses more than just reading and writing. It involves the intellectual ability to parse information; to sort through huge amounts of incoming data, to determine what is relevant and what is not. People who are capable of doing this become capable of handling the high-speed, multi-level pressures of the modern workplace. Those who can produce the work required of them while having access to social media are generally going to be more agile and productive employees. For them, deprivation leads to distraction and frustration. The multimedia workplace is actually where they thrive.

The Optics

What about what the customers might think? If a customer walked through the office, and if they were to see a computer screen that had a social media site on it, what would they think of the organization?

Socil Media

This is a matter of great concern for employers. However, more and more businesses are answering this question by pointing to the quality of their products and their customer service. A growing number of modern businesses are succeeding not by caging employees, but by letting them live “free range,” working according to their personal and physiological needs. Customers need to experience– if they have not already– that environmental amenities such as social media contribute to quality rather than detract from it. And that is what customers seek.

It is a natural response from business owners to envision the risks in every new development that comes along. But so, too, their capacity for steering their company through the wind and waves of the marketplace demand agility and awareness. This includes recognizing the benefits in an upgraded workplace – one that includes access to social media.

This post is sponsored by KPMG LLP and The CIO Agenda.

KPMG LLP is a Delaware limited liability partnership and is the U.S. member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. The KPMG name, logo and “cutting through complexity” are registered trademarks or trademarks of KPMG International. The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of KPMG LLP.

By Steve Prentice

Facebook M And The Social Cloud

Facebook M And The Social Cloud

Facebook M

Virtual Assistant Technology provides us with cost savings and performance enhancement, and so it should come as no surprise that Facebook has just launched its own digital assistant, M, to a few hundred people – a new competitor to Microsoft’s Cortana, Apple’s Siri, and Google Now. According to David Marcus, head of Facebook Messenger, “M is a personal digital assistant inside of Messenger that completes tasks and finds information on your behalf.” Powered by artificial intelligence that’s trained and supervised by human intelligence, M is purported to be unlike any other AI-based services currently available in that it actually completes tasks on behalf of its users, purchasing items, having gifts delivered when necessary, making restaurant reservations, travel arrangements, appointments, and “way more.” M’s ambition, however, is greater than being only a personal assistant but is hoped to be a one-stop shop for mobile discovery.

Payment Platform

Payment processing

Marcus, formerly of PayPal, is using his expertise to increase Facebook’s payment platform. As he told Wired magazine, “We start capturing all of your intent for the things you want to do. Intent often leads to buying something, or to a transaction, and that’s an opportunity for us to [make money] over time.” If Facebook is about to make online purchasing transactions as quick and easy as they’ve made general web login (complete this three-page form, or sign in with Facebook), I’d say we’ve got a serious new e-commerce player in a prime position.

Best Friends Forever!

BFF

Another key quality that Facebook has is the amount of data we’ve all offered up. Undoubtedly, Facebook knows more about us all than any other social network platform, and all of this information is precisely what makes a digital assistant so useful. Google, Microsoft, and Apple certainly have access to some of our going-ons, and we’re always able to input that which they don’t, but Facebook is a veritable wealth of personal habits, likes and dislikes, spending behaviors, location minutiae, and more – there are many actual PAs who don’t have as much information about their bosses as Facebook has, and probably don’t want it, either.

The Human Element

Uniquely, the artificial intelligence aspect of Facebook M will be supervised by human beings, allowing it to do more than a standard digital assistant could. According to Dave Lee for the BBC, M’s work will be automated more over time as the system learns, helping expand the service, speed it up, and make it available to more people. It’s speculated that, for now, a team of people handles the more difficult and complex queries, explaining why increased automation will allow greater access to M.

How It Works

virtual-assistantTo access M, users will tap a button in Facebook’s Messenger app and send a note to M – as you might to any other Facebook friend. Thereafter, either M’s artificial intelligence or human colleague decodes the message, asks follow-up questions, and sends updates until the task is complete. Currently, M doesn’t use social data from Facebook, so tasks are completed based on answers users provide. After internal tests with Facebook employees it’s been found that one of M’s most popular functions was calling the cable company’s automated setup line, or HBO’s cancellation center, abandoning the long holds and automated messages to M’s patience.

There hasn’t yet been a date set for public rollout, but Facebook has said that their more than 700 million users will have free access to M via Messenger at some point. If you’re considering the benefits of this technology for your own organization, take a look at this free guide to Virtual Assistant Technology and the Contact Center.

By Jennifer Klossterman

Ecommerce and Social Media: Shopping In The Cloud

Ecommerce and Social Media: Shopping In The Cloud

Ecommerce and Social Media

By 2018, retail ecommerce will reach nearly $2.5 trillion worldwide, according to eMarketer’s forecasts. Currently, China tops the ecommerce markets, followed closely by the US, the UK taking a distant third. With over 60% of consumers researching products online before making purchase decisions it’s no wonder online sales are climbing and unsurprising that ecommerce retailers are doing their best to make purchases happen online.

In 2014, Social media sites with the highest influence include Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter – with peak volumes of traffic in that order. Facebook dominated the realm last year sending 60% of all ecommerce referrals. Thanks to its broad accessibility and user-reliance, social media’s influence on ecommerce continues to rocket, and Shopify’s analysis of 37 million social media visits resulting in 529,000 orders further illuminates this power.

Social Media Shopping

(Infographic Source: Shopify)

Why such clout?

Though some may dismiss social media as a frivolous pursuit of the idle, it’s proved to be much more than selfies and gossip. It provides an effective manner for retailers to connect with their consumers personally and individually, and in 2015 it’s predicted that over 5% of online spend will be directed from social media sites. The top social network platforms further provide suitable consumer engagement platforms and an array of marketing tools. Add to that the fact that there are over 100 million mobile shoppers in the US alone, and the projection that this total will increase by 49% by 2018, it’s clear the social media is a formidable tool.

Statistic: Number of mobile buyers in the United States from 2013 to 2018 (in millions) | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista

Who Benefits from the Affiliation?

Everybody benefits. Consumers want the ease and convenience, and businesses large and small know that social advertising is a key driver of growth. The National Retail Federation’s 2015 study shows that 58% of small businesses are increasing their yearly social media marketing, with a quarter of retailers naming Facebook as their top customer acquisition channel. Moreover, 60% of consumers have made purchases from small businesses thanks to Twitter.

Making It Simple

Bigcommerce states that 43% of SMBs report they want more help with generating ROI from their social advertisements. Because the social media audience is so large, targeting the right audience can be difficult. Facebook’s Custom Audiences advertising platform has 145 separate targeting groups and success metrics available for optimizing advertising, and in the past manual A/B testing has been the only way to test its most suitable usage. Built in partnership with Boostable, Bigcommerce recently announced Product Ads which automatically optimizes ads for highest ROI.

Product Ads by Bigcommerce

With native support on Facebook and Twitter, Product Ads provides many advantages including:

  • Tools to gain & retain customers.
  • Driving revenue through automatically optimized campaigns.
  • Dynamic ad creation and integrated management for cost and resource savings.
  • Improved marketing investment ROI through robust reporting.

Product Ads uses sophisticated targeting techniques to help find new customers, and helps generate traffic and maximize promotions while increasing awareness of underperforming inventory. Automated audience targeting, bidding and optimization ensures marketing investments are fully exploited and revenues amplified, while the ability to automatically import product images and details, tailor-make ads for Facebook and Twitter, and manage numerous campaigns from a single unified dashboard ensures resources are put to their best and most efficient use. Additionally, the ability to monitor campaigns through solid reporting tools allows users to extend campaigns which are performing well while ferreting out hidden opportunities to garner value from products performing inadequately.

The simplified process provides all of these benefits (and more) in four easy steps:

  1. Select your advertising networks and choose the products you’d like to promote.
  2. Ads are automatically created using your product names, descriptions and photos.
  3. Edit, if you wish, and submit.
  4. Your advert runs as soon as the network approves it.

Bigcommerce’s Product Ads are available to all US-based clients in the Bigcommerce Marketplace for no additional fee. Tim Schulz, chief product officer for Bigcommerce, states, “The global reach of social platforms like Facebook and Twitter present a massive opportunity for our merchants to promote their products and attract new customers. This unique, integrated advertising solution is an example of how we continue to invest in building the industry’s best platform for merchant success with a comprehensive set of tools designed to help our clients grow and scale their business.” The head of SMB at Twitter, Russ Laraway, has expressed excitement for this new platform and remarks that, “It will without a doubt enable advertisers of all sizes and verticals to more efficiently manage and optimize their campaigns on Twitter.”

Take a look at some of Bigcommerce’s effective solutions with a free 15-day trial now. Already powering some of the world’s most successful online stores, it won’t take long for them to bowl you over and sign you up to a powerful ecommerce solution perfectly suited to your needs.

Sponsored By Bigcommerce

By Jennifer Klostermann

Conference Call Survey In The Cloud – The Waiting Game

Conference Call Survey In The Cloud – The Waiting Game

Conference Call Survey

Online conference calls using Cloud and Connected devices have become a norm in most modern businesses. As long as employees can access a computer, or have a smartphone or other mobile device available, they can make the meeting.

With the plethora of available cloud-based conferencing and collaboration tools available, getting together with clients, company executives and co-workers is a breeze. It saves time and energy, and should improve productiveness in all business environments. But when dealing with people, even the best cloud-based conferencing services can fall short of expectations, with some employees calling in late and others hanging up before calls even begin.

A major problem is that there doesn’t seem to be any accepted etiquette when it comes to the dial-in and on-hold behavior of those attending cloud-based conferences. However, it does appear that women have more patience, joining conference calls earlier and waiting longer on hold before hanging up. It is also clear that very few people waste the time spent on hold while hanging around waiting for other participants to get online.

Conferencing and collaboration provider, InterCall has released an infographic that reveals what US employees do when placed on hold, waiting to join a conference call, as well as the changing habits of those joining online conferences.

On-Hold-Habits-Infographic1

They surveyed around 200 full-time employees who join one or more conference call each week, in an endeavor to more about dial-in behavior. They wanted to know how proactive and patient conference call attendees are when waiting for other attendees, and what if anything they do while kept on hold. They also wanted to know whether habits changed in relation to those involved in a particular conference.

From the survey, two areas that appear to need attention are the integration of video conferencing tools to improve punctuality of attendees, and swapping out pre-conference and on-hold background music in favor of company news or current events.

While conference calls have become an essential part of doing business, this shouldn’t preclude companies from “refining their tools or processes to match evolving employee habits,” says InterCall’s executive vice-president of conferencing and collaboration, Rob Bellmar. “We believe that with a better understanding of current conferencing behaviors, companies can start taking strategic steps to change them.”

Punctuality Joining Conference Calls

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On average, most employees seem to give themselves more than enough time to log into conference calls on time, with 55 percent dialing in one to three minutes earlier than required, and only 10 percent joining as the conference starts. Interestingly, 13 to 14 percent of employees dial in at least five minutes earlier if they are “meeting with” clients or supervisors. They seem to have less respect for co-workers with 20 percent dialing in as the calls start.

When conference calls are delayed, attendees do sometimes hang up, but the survey showed 54 percent would wait six minutes or longer before doing this. Again they are usually more willing to wait longer if conference calls are with customers or company leaders – with 31 percent being prepared to wait at least 10 minutes.

Generally employees say they are courteous if they find they cannot attend a conference call or are running late, with 93 percent notifying other attendees.

Another interesting result was that 63 percent of respondents believed attendees would be earlier if the it was a video conference call rather than simply an audio meeting, implying that visibility has an impact on accountability.

What Employees Do While Waiting On Hold

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Waiting for a conference call can waste a lot of time, particularly if meetings are running late. But results of the survey show that generally employees don’t waste time while waiting. In fact a very large percentage (76), use the time to carry out other work.

While not all these activities relate to work:

  • 65 percent check email
  • 35 percent send text messages (it doesn’t state whether these are business related or personal)
  • 33 percent check out their social media accounts (probably personal)
  • 26 percent take the opportunity to read
  • 21 percent stretch
  • 16 percent eat
  • 8 percent shop online or gossip

Often those waiting for conference calls to begin are subjected to music. While half the respondents said that the music played affected their attitude in the following conference call, 47 percent said they’d rather listen to news than music. Nearly a quarter (21 percent) reported negative vibes towards pre-conference music.

Gender and Age Implications

Above all else, the survey found that “women prove to be more prompt, patient callers than men,” with more women consistently joining conference calls early, regardless of who was in involved in the call. Further, women are twice as likely as men to join at least five minutes early. Women are also more likely to hang on longer on hold before leaving. On average, it seems that 21 percent of women will wait at least 10 minutes before leaving compared with 14 percent of men.

Perhaps oddly, while millennials (born between the early 1980s and early 2000s) are the least likely employees to dial in early, it’s the 46- to 60-year-olds who tend to dial in at the last moment, with 16 percent admitting they dial in as meetings are starting. However older folk are more likely to wait on hold for longer before hanging up. Only 45 percent of 18- to 25-year-olds will wait six or more minutes; 53 percent of 26- to 35-year-olds; 62 percent of 36- to 45-year-olds; and 63 percent of 46- to 60-year-olds. At the same time, older employees are more likely to hang up without contacting other callers.

One statistic that was particularly unsurprising was that more than half of the 18- to 25-year-olds admit they check social media while on hold, while only 17 percent of 46- to 60-year-olds bother.

(Image Source: Shutterstock)

By Penny Swift

10 Trending US Cities For Tech Jobs And Startups

10 Trending US Cities For Tech Jobs And Startups

10 Trending US Cities For Tech Jobs And Startups

Traditionally actors headed for Hollywood while techies made a beeline for Silicon Valley. But times are changing, and with technological job opportunities expanding (Infographic), new hotspots are emerging that offer fantastic opportunities for tech jobs and startup companies in the industry.

ZipRecruiter, an online recruitment and job finder business, has identified the top ten cities that are poised to become the new tech capitals of various US states. They tracked hiring patterns, and analyzed the various metropolitan areas that currently show positive employment growth and appear to be on the verge of a boom in the tech industry.

silicon-valley

(Image Source: Shutterstock)

They also identified common factors these cities share including:

  • A cost of living that is lower than usual, and therefore affordable
  • Reputable colleges and universities that provide an entry level workforce continuously, and also offer good resources for research

Additionally, the company reports that the tech industry as a whole is revitalizing economies that were previously depressed essentially refocusing what has been referred to as the Rust Belt at the forefront of the American economy.

One of the top ten tech cities is Indianapolis, and today we spoke to two Indy-based startups to get an indication of how successful they have been. We also tracked the top tech cities listed by ZipRecruiter, to see which tech jobs are on offer.

Top Ten Tech Cities and Their Top Five Tech Jobs

startup

Business is booming in these ten cities:

1. Austin – Round Rock, Texas, known as “Silicon Hills”, where companies including Google, Facebook, and eBay are currently offering more than 50,000 tech positions for Java developers, development analysts, technical writers, software engineers, and network administrators.

2. Raleigh – Cary, North Carolina, in the so-called research triangle where companies are looking primarily for infrastructure architects, design engineers, tooling engineers, Java developers, and SQL developers.

3. Provo – Orem, Utah, where many software companies operate and which is a pilot location for Google Fiber. There are currently about 8,570 jobs available in IT, the top one offering positions in technical support, and as Python developers, field technicians, software engineers, and net developers.

4. Fort Collins – Loveland, Colorado, that is home to computer companies including Hewlett Packard and Intel. Fort Collins’ top five tech jobs are software QA, SQL server database developer, application software developer, test engineer, and lead systems programmer.

5. Hartford (West and East Hartford), Connecticut, where the top tech jobs are applications engineer, systems analyst, infrastructure engineer, Java developer, and data architect.

6. Indianapolis – Carmel, Indiana, that boasts a high quality of life coupled with a low cost of living, and has recently attracted numerous tech companies to the area. Top tech jobs are available for senior Java developers, infrastructure architects, Java developers, operations managers, and net developers. Startups are more varied (see below).

7. Boise City – Nampa, Idaho, that currently has about 8,180 IT jobs available, the top five being positions for application engineers, firmware engineers, software engineers, mobile software developers, and net software engineers.

8. Manchester – Nashua, New Hampshire, which seems to have an increasing number of tech jobs available. The top five here are for UI software engineers, systems architects, Java developers, senior IT project managers, and sharepoint administrators.

9. Nashville – Davidson – Murfreesboro – Franklin, Tennessee, which while number nine on the list, has more than 20,000 tech jobs available right now. The top five are for senior programmer analysts, information security engineers, systems administrators, IT managers, and iOS developers.

10. Eugene – Springfield, Oregon, known as the Silicon Forest because they manufacture a great deal of tech hardware and they emphasize clean, renewable technologies.

Indy Tech Startups

The two startups interviewed by CloudTweaks were Formstack, an Indy business that provides data capture solutions, and Roust Community, a social network that connects like-minded people.

Formstack started out nearly a decade ago, in 2006, and has subsequently become very involved within the Indy tech community, recognizing the importance of giving back to the city in which they are currently based after relocating from San Francisco.

The company has subsequently experienced a 110 percent increase in new revenue over the last year, and it expects to see a further 80 percent year-over-year revenue growth in 2015. This illustrates how a successful startup can – and has – helped the Indy community develop, and how it is operating on what has become one of the top ten havens for tech startups.

An advantage of headquartering out of Indy, says Ade Olonoh, (Founder of Formstack), is that the city has the ability to “bring in members from all over the world, but still help increase the overall revenue of the city and have an impact on our city’s economy.”

form-stack-ade-olonohRoust Community, created by Mark LaFay to move dialogue off Facebook and provide real value for those wanting “good conversation” relating to polarizing topics including politics, religion and social issues, also has it’s heart and soul in Indianapolis. “Indiana continues to become not only the crossroads of America, but also a growing technology metropolis,” says LaFay.

Certainly these are two startups that are doing their best to nurture talent within their own fast developing tech communities.

By Penny Swift

5 Steps To Effective Social Media Marketing

5 Steps To Effective Social Media Marketing

Push Your Cloud Startup Using  Social Media Marketing

We’ve talked on a number of occasions about the Social media cloud as well as topics such as Social listening and would like to a bit about Marketing in the social cloud.

Social media marketing can be a cost-effective and prolific tool when used correctly, and considering the continuing boom in the social media space, developing a robust strategy should be a top priority. Below is a condensed approach for creating your own successful plan, with The 2015 Social Media Marketing Start Kit offering additional resources that help you get started with social media, discussions around big data’s usefulness in social engagement, and insights into advocate marketing.

Provided is an example of the number of tools existing today in the (Infographic credit: http://chiefmartec.com) Social cloud marketing landscape.

Click to zoom 

marketing_technology_jan2015

1) Pay Attention

Companies that are successfully using social media to market their brands are listening to their customers first. By reading and joining your target market’s online discussions, you’ll learn what they value, what they require, and what they’re missing. This aids you in creating a focused and constructive campaign that targets the right people most effectively.

2) Strive for Worth

Consumers are bombarded with advertising on a minute-to-minute basis, and much of it becomes disregarded white noise. Entrepreneur notes that effective social media strategies tend to be 80% quality and 20% quantity. Provide your carefully chosen market with tailored and engaging content that does more than flog your products and services. Less is more when your message is reaching the right people and making a positive impact, and the value of providing quality content additionally encourages your audience to follow your future broadcasts, and share your communications with their own networks.

3) Peer Pressure

An inherent quality of social media is the influence it offers, both through you and through your customers. Once you’re appraised as a respected and attractive authority, your influence is pervasive. Furthermore, Oracle considers social influence the holy grail of social marketing, and the social influences that branch through your network invaluable.

4) Relationships

Making your customers feel like individuals is possibly the greatest benefit of social media marketing. No one wants to be a number, and no one thinks of themselves as an invisible part of the wider market. By responding directly to customers and engaging them in discussions, loyalty is generated. Customer service takes on a more personal role, and the engagement from both the business and consumer side tends to evolve into a stronger, subjective connection that benefits everyone.

5) Share

Social Media Examiner reveals social sharing habits that show mobile sharing has doubled, Facebook dominating the share market, as well as insight into the types of posts most shared. Since you’re hoping to have your broadcasts spread through consumer networks, remember that everyone else is hoping for the very same support. Sharing and responding to consumer discussions not only tells your customers that you appreciate them but encourages them to talk about you.

By Jennifer Klostermann

Social Media A New Military Battleground

Social Media A New Military Battleground

Social Media Warfare

As an increasing number of militaries worldwide use social media to recruit soldiers, gather intelligence, spread propaganda and even communicate with their own and other military groups, the broad spectrum of social media has been identified as the newest international military battleground. And as the battle intensifies, more countries join in.

Earlier this year the British army created its own special force of what The Guardian called “Facebook warriors,” and Sky News called “Twitter troops” responsible for “non-lethal warfare.” Known as the new 77th Brigade, the original 77th having used unorthodox tactics in Burma during World War II while fighting the Japanese. It is based in Berkshire and comprises reservists and regulars with journalistic skills who are social media savvy.

The Israeli military are pioneers of using social media going back as far as 2008 during its war on Gaza. It is believed to be active on 30 social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, and operates in six different languages. This way, the Israeli army says, it can engage with an audience it wouldn’t reach any other way.

military-social-media

The Islamic State, ISIS continues to use social media hugely successfully to recruit fighters internationally and increase its propaganda efforts.

And the US Defense Advanced Research Project Administration (DARPA) agency, which commissions advanced research for the Department of Defense and creates “breakthrough technologies” for national security, has included Kickstarter and Pinterest in its studies.

The Role of Social Media in Defence and Military Sectors

While the military might not be considered the easiest “sell” on social media, the use by military organizations, armed forces, and defense contractors of social media across the board is growing exponentially. The “enemy” of conventional military groups, including ISIS, has also harnessed its power and is exploiting its possibilities on a daily basis. ISIS, and other extremist groups, use social media to spread their brand or image, and are succeeding on a global scale at a rate most would call alarming.

In November, the fifth annual Social Media Within The Defence And Military Sector will be held in London, to explore developments within the social media arena as it relates to the defense and military industry.

Motivation behind the conference is that all industries have been forced to both acknowledge and embrace social media, and evolve with it to “survive in this new age of digitization” that has revolutionized the world and all its sectors.

Asking the question, “who is winning?” the conference will cover all aspects relating to social media, including:

  • Cyber security
  • Extremist and cybercriminal threats
  • Strategy communication
  • Recruitment and propaganda
  • Intelligence
  • Data sensitivity and management
  • Ethics
  • Creating effective content
  • Public

There will be discussions that focus on the impact of social media on military operations that will be led by industry experts, as well as a spotlight session on law enforcement that will look at counter terrorism, policing and the impact social media has had on “civil liberties.” Case studies will include the Ukraine crisis and how it has changed the “face” of social media.

There will also be two half-day workshops prior to the conference:

1. Building and Managing Social Media Communities
2. Social Media: Content Creation & Delivery In the Military

Speakers have been sourced worldwide and include military experts and social media professionals from the UK, US, Canada, Italy, the Netherlands, and Norway.

By Penny Swift

Growth Hacking And The Social Media Cloud

Growth Hacking And The Social Media Cloud

Social Cloud Growth Hacking

This week, Apple gave in to Taylor Swift’s demands that artists be paid for trial period streams of their music, thanks in large part to her use of social media. While Taylor Swift has a lot more kick than your average Twitter user, ensuring you actively and effectively utilize all of the social media channels available to you can be the difference between middling performance and spectacular success. Last week CloudTweaks guest contributor Garth Cartman talked about the importance of Social listening and this week we’ve provided an infographic by urbancloud that takes a closer look at the state of social media and the cloud. (Zoom In)

INFOGRAPHIC - Urban Cloud V3

The “Big Four

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ are at the forefront of popular consumer social media platforms. While many small businesses like Black Milk Clothing have utilized the marketing potential of Facebook with extraordinary success, there are as many opponents as advocates for this tool. Convince & Convert Digital Marketing Advisors discusses the pitfalls of employing Facebook ineffectively, noting how detrimental a badly managed page can be. If you don’t have the time and the know-how, you might be causing more harm than interest.

If Facebook Were a Country

Let’s Talk Social Media for Small Business provides some insight into the power of social media and discusses how the wrong approach can alienate your audience. With Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn collectively receiving more than 2.5 billion visits in one month, YouTube providing 375 million unique visitors with more than 75 billion video streams in a year, and an approximate 900,000 blog posts created every 24-hours, the reach is staggering. In January, Huff Post Tech reported that if Facebook were a country, it would be the most populous nation on earth. It might not be a bad idea to make sure you’re successful in that country.

And Then Some

But don’t forget about Instagram, Reddit, Pinterest and the host of other social media tools at your fingertips. As Fortune details, thriving companies like Autodesk, Boston Consulting Group and Genentech use all of the platforms available to them to market to their customers, provide customer support and quickly deal with complaints, and distribute content. Knowing which tools best fit your needs and suit your customers helps streamline your efforts and enhance your impact.

What For?

Aside from increasing brand exposure and opening new communication lines, social media platforms let you share your innovations immediately. The grapevine is long, but the spread of information almost instantaneous. Social media can also put your customers in touch with the people at the top, providing more personalized experiences. If the President of the United States is getting intimate with Google+ and Twitter, so should you. The loyalty created when customers are treated as individuals, thanked directly, or tipped-off with exclusive offers is invaluable and creates a positive word-of-mouth campaign you could never buy.

A lot of these streams are 100% free to use, and in the end the only cost is your time. Your time, however, is exceptionally valuable, so why not make sure you’re making the most of it with John Jantsch’s free guide, Let’s Talk Social Media for Small Business.

By Glenn Blake

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SaaS And The Cloud Are Still Going Strong

SaaS And The Cloud Are Still Going Strong

SaaS And The Cloud With the results of Cisco Global Could Index: 2013-2018 and Hosting and Cloud Study 2014, predictions for the future of cloud computing are notable. Forbes reported that spending on infrastructure-related services has increased as public cloud computing uptake spreads, and reflected on Gartner’s Public Cloud Services Forecast. The public cloud service…

Utilizing Digital Marketing Techniques Via The Cloud

Utilizing Digital Marketing Techniques Via The Cloud

Digital Marketing Trends In the past, trends in the exceptionally fast-paced digital marketing arena have been quickly adopted or abandoned, keeping marketers and consumers on their toes. 2016 promises a similarly expeditious temperament, with a few new digital marketing offerings taking center stage. According to Gartner’s recent research into Digital Marketing Hubs, brands plan to…

Why Small Businesses Need A Business Intelligence Dashboard

Why Small Businesses Need A Business Intelligence Dashboard

The Business Intelligence Dashboard As a small business owner you would certainly know the importance of collecting and analyzing data pertaining to your business and transactions. Business Intelligence dashboards allow not only experts but you also to access information generated by analysis of data through a convenient display. Anyone in the company can have access…

5 Essential Cloud Skills That Could Make Or Break Your IT Career

5 Essential Cloud Skills That Could Make Or Break Your IT Career

5 Essential Cloud Skills Cloud technology has completely changed the infrastructure and internal landscape of both small businesses and large corporations alike. No professionals in any industry understand this better than IT pros. In a cutthroat field like IT, candidates have to be multi-faceted and well-versed in the cloud universe. Employers want to know that…

Smart Connected Cities Must Learn To Efficiently Collaborate

Smart Connected Cities Must Learn To Efficiently Collaborate

Smart City Collaboration A study from research firm Gartner demonstrates how smart and connected cities require a large number of players to collaborate efficiently, in order to unlock the huge potential associated with cities of the future. The study focused on Europe and showed clearly how a number of Northern European and Scandinavian mid-size cities…

Cloud Computing Myths That SMBs Should Know

Cloud Computing Myths That SMBs Should Know

Cloud Computing and SMBs Cloud Computing is the hottest issue among IT intellects of Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs). Like any other computer-orientated technology, Cloud Computing has some misconceptions and myths that often kick-start arguments among the two opposing groups: Cloud Supporters and Cloud Opponents. Both of these groups have their own ideology and reasons…

6 Tech Predictions To Have A Major Impact In 2016

6 Tech Predictions To Have A Major Impact In 2016

6 Tech Predictions To Have A Major Impact The technology industry moves at a relentless pace, making it both exhilarating and unforgiving. For those at the forefront of innovation it is an incredibly exciting place to be, but what trends are we likely to see coming to the fore in 2016? Below are six predictions…

Four Recurring Revenue Imperatives

Four Recurring Revenue Imperatives

Revenue Imperatives “Follow the money” is always a good piece of advice, but in today’s recurring revenue-driven market, “follow the customer” may be more powerful. Two recurring revenue imperatives highlight the importance of responding to, and cherishing customer interactions. Technology and competitive advantage influence the final two. If you’re part of the movement towards recurring…

Cloud-Based Services vs. On-Premises: It’s About More Than Just Dollars

Cloud-Based Services vs. On-Premises: It’s About More Than Just Dollars

Cloud-Based Services vs. On-Premises The surface costs might give you pause, but the cost of diminishing your differentiators is far greater. Will a shift to the cloud save you money? Potential savings are historically the main business driver cited when companies move to the cloud, but it shouldn’t be viewed as a cost-saving exercise. There…

Connecting With Customers In The Cloud

Connecting With Customers In The Cloud

Customers in the Cloud Global enterprises in every industry are increasingly turning to cloud-based innovators like Salesforce, ServiceNow, WorkDay and Aria, to handle critical systems like billing, IT services, HCM and CRM. One need look no further than Salesforce’s and Amazon’s most recent earnings report, to see this indeed is not a passing fad, but…

The Future Of Cloud Storage And Sharing…

The Future Of Cloud Storage And Sharing…

Box.net, Amazon Cloud Drive The online (or cloud) storage business has always been a really interesting industry. When we started Box in 2005, it was a somewhat untouchable category of technology, perceived to be a commodity service with low margins and little consumer willingness to pay. All three of these factors remain today, but with…

Three Tips To Simplify Governance, Risk and Compliance

Three Tips To Simplify Governance, Risk and Compliance

Governance, Risk and Compliance Businesses are under pressure to deliver against a backdrop of evolving regulations and security threats. In the face of such challenges they strive to perform better, be leaner, cut costs and be more efficient. Effective governance, risk and compliance (GRC) can help preserve the business’ corporate integrity and protect the brand,…

Beacons Flopped, But They’re About to Flourish in the Future

Beacons Flopped, But They’re About to Flourish in the Future

Cloud Beacons Flying High When Apple debuted cloud beacons in 2013, analysts predicted 250 million devices capable of serving as iBeacons would be found in the wild within weeks. A few months later, estimates put the figure at just 64,000, with 15 percent confined to Apple stores. Beacons didn’t proliferate as expected, but a few…

How Formal Verification Can Thwart Change-Induced Network Outages and Breaches

How Formal Verification Can Thwart Change-Induced Network Outages and Breaches

How Formal Verification Can Thwart  Breaches Formal verification is not a new concept. In a nutshell, the process uses sophisticated math to prove or disprove whether a system achieves its desired functional specifications. It is employed by organizations that build products that absolutely cannot fail. One of the reasons NASA rovers are still roaming Mars…

How To Overcome Data Insecurity In The Cloud

How To Overcome Data Insecurity In The Cloud

Data Insecurity In The Cloud Today’s escalating attacks, vulnerabilities, breaches, and losses have cut deeply across organizations and captured the attention of, regulators, investors and most importantly customers. In many cases such incidents have completely eroded customer trust in a company, its services and its employees. The challenge of ensuring data security is far more…

The Fully Aware, Hybrid-Cloud Approach

The Fully Aware, Hybrid-Cloud Approach

Hybrid-Cloud Approach For over 20 years, organizations have been attempting to secure their networks and protect their data. However, have any of their efforts really improved security? Today we hear journalists and industry experts talk about the erosion of the perimeter. Some say it’s squishy, others say it’s spongy, and yet another claims it crunchy.…