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Social Media: Creating a Voice and Personality for Your Brand

Gilbane Conference Workshop: Social Media: Creating a Voice and Personality for Your Brand

Instructor: AJ Gerritson, Founding Partner & Social Media Strategist, 451 Marketing
November 27th, 2012 at the InterContinental Boston Waterfront

For consumers, brand interaction on social media platforms is no longer the exception, it’s the expectation. In order to stay relevant, companies must develop digital tactics that boost the brand’s overall communications strategies and marketing campaigns. When utilized effectively, social media marketing enhances your brand’s voice and personality, making you more approachable and transparent to your target audience. But, how can your company devise a social media strategy that entices audiences and encourages interaction? Which platforms make sense for your brand? How can you monitor the effectiveness of a social media campaign?

In this interactive session, 451 Marketing founding Partner and Social Media Strategist, AJ Gerritson, will outline the major social media platforms, strategic approaches, best practices, time commitment, and measurement tools and techniques necessary as part of an effective social media strategy. Using industry statistics and case studies, AJ will teach attendees how to structure a successful social media strategy that can be easily integrated into your brand’s existing communications campaigns.

See the full pre-conference workshop schedule at Gilbane Boston, then Register.
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W3C Web Platform Docs – a new resource for web developers

Web Platform.orgW3C announced Web Platform Docs, which promises to be a valuable new resource for web developers of all levels. Imagine a single site that you can depend on for up-to-date, accurate, and browser and device neutral answers and advice for both simple and complex questions. It is brand new and “alpha” but already useful. Below is info from their announcement and a short video. For those of us that prefer textual info see this blog post from Doug Schepers: http://blog.webplatform.org/2012/10/one-small-step/

W3C, in collaboration with Adobe, Facebook, Google, HP, Microsoft, Mozilla, Nokia, Opera, and others, announced today the alpha release of Web Platform Docs (docs.webplatform.org). This is a new community-driven site that aims to become a comprehensive and authoritative source for web developer documentation. With Web Platform Docs, web professionals will save time and resources by consulting with confidence a single site for current, cross-browser and cross-device coding best practices.

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Gilbane Boston Early Discount Deadline Extended

Gilbane Boston content management and technologies conference banner

 

Plan to be in Boston for the 9th annual Gilbane Boston Conference and you still have time to SAVE!

Save up to $400 for Three Days, Four Tracks, 45 Sessions & Labs, 6 Workshops with One Objective: to help you understand what technologies can and can’t do, what practices succeed or fail, and how to plan for the rapid changes in market and technology evolution.

Today, you need to be flexible, agile, and ready to incorporate web and multiple mobile platforms with different form factors and capabilities, and you need to combine engaging content and interfaces with small devices and big data - this is not the same challenge you had last year.

To help you keep pace and be able to cut through hype and make informed decisions we bring together a diverse audience of technologists, marketers, strategists, business managers and analysts to learn, share, and debate best practices and strategies. Our conferences have sessions designed for attendees in marketing, technology, business units, as well as analysts and consultants.

Just sign up by October 31st and use discount code GILBANE. Learn more http://gilbaneboston.com/conference_program.html

2012 Technology Showcase Hours
Wednesday, November 28: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Thursday, November 29: 10:00 am – 2:00 pm

See the conference program:
http://gilbaneboston.com/conference_program.html

See the current list of speakers:
http://gilbaneboston.com/speakers.html

See this year’s in-depth pre-conference workshops:
http://gilbaneboston.com/workshops.html

See the current list of Sponsors & Exhibitors:
http://gilbaneboston.com/exhibitors_sponsors.html

Sign-up today to make sure you receive your $200 discount! Just use discount code GILBANE

Or sign-up for your free Keynote and Technology Showcase Pass.

 

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So You Want to Build a Mobile Content App? or a Better App?

Gilbane Conference Workshop: So You Want to Build a Mobile Content App?

Instructor: Jonny Kaldor, Managing Director, Kaldor Group (creators of Pugpig)
November 27th, 2012 at the InterContinental Boston Waterfront

With the continuing and massive adoption of tablet devices, content owners have a dizzying myriad of ways to disseminate content to employees and customers alike in a way that is faster, broader, more engaging and more actionable than ever before. Business models for content owners are being revolutionised, and tablets are now offering a truly viable alternative to print. But it doesn’t stop there – whether you’re pushing content to consumers or disseminating information across your enterprise, you can reap tangible benefits from publishing on tablet devices. This session will dive into the key aspects of conceiving, designing, building and launching your mobile content app, whether you’re targeting your employees, clients or consumers. We’ll cover both the opportunities and the many pitfalls that you will encounter (and nimbly jump over) as you set off of your content app journey…

Key topics:

  • Where to start?
  • Translating print or web to mobile – it’s not so easy
  • Designing an engaging and really useful user experience
  • Avoiding building a whole new team to manage the mobile channel
  • Aligning your web and mobile strategy and operations
  • Webapp vs native vs hybrid – which should I go for?
  • Adaptive design / responsive design”
  • Business models that work
  • Making sense of multiple devices and marketplaces
  • Using the big players to your advantage (Apple, Google, MS, Amazon)
  • Keeping your users happy
See the full pre-conference workshop schedule at Gilbane Boston, then Register.
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Frank Gilbane on Gilbane Boston 2012

Frank Gilbane describes Gilbane Boston 2012 in a short off the cuff video after being caught walking by the studio. See the Gilbane Conference program.

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Why Big Data is important to Gilbane Conference attendees

If you think there is too much hype, and gratuitous use of the term, big data, you haven’t seen anything yet. But don’t make the mistake of confusing the hype with how fundamental and how transformational big data is and will certainly be. Just turn your hype filter to high and learn enough about it to make your own judgements about how it will affect your business and whether it is something you need to do something about now, or monitor for future planning.

As I said yesterday in a comment on a post by Sybase CTO Irfan Khan Gartner dead wrong about big data hype cycle (with a response from Gartner):

However Gartner’s Hype Cycle is interpreted I think it is safe to say that most, including many analysts, underestimate how fundamental and how far-reaching big data will be. How rapidly its use will evolve, and in which applications and industries first, is a more difficult and interesting discussion. The twin brakes of a shortage of qualified data scientist skills and the costs and complexities of IT infrastructure changes will surely slow things down and cause disillusionment. On the other hand we have all been surprised by how fast some other fundamental changes have ramped up, and BDaaS (Big Data as a Service) will certainly help accelerate things. There is also a lot more big data development and deployment activity going on than many realize – it is a competitive advantage after all.

There is also a third “brake” which is all the uncertainty around privacy issues. There is already a lot of consumer data that is not being fully used because of fear of customer backlash or new regulation and, one hopes, because of a degree of respect for consumer’s privacy.

Rob Rose expanded on some specific concerns of marketers in a recent post Big Data & Marketing – It’s A Trap!, including the lack of resources for interpreting even the current mostly website analytics data marketers already have. It’s true, and not just for smaller companies. In addition there are at least four requirements for making big data analytics accessible to marketers that are largely beyond the reach of most current organizations.

Partly to the rescue is Big Data as a Service BDaaS (one of the more fun-sounding acronyms). BDaaS is going to be a huge business. All the big technology infrastructure firms are getting involved and all the analytics vendors will all have cloud and big data services. There are also many new companies including some surprises. For example, after developing its own Hadoop-based big data analytics expertise Sears created subsidiary MetaScale to provide BDaaS to other enterprises. Ajay Agarwal from Bain Capital Ventures predicts that the confluence of big data and marketing will lead to several new multi-billion dollar companies and I think he is right.

But while big data is important for the marketers, content managers, and IT who attend our conference because of the potential for enhanced predictive analytics and content marketing. The reach and value of big data applications is far broader than marketing – executives need to understand the potential for new efficiencies, products and businesses. The well-known McKinsey report “Big Data: The Next Frontier for Innovation, Competition, and Productivity” (free) is a good place to start. If you are in the information business I focus on that in my report Big-Data: Big Deal or Just Big Buzz? (not free).

Big data presentations at Gilbane Boston

This year we have six presentations on big data, two devoted to big data and marketing and all chosen with an eye towards the needs of our audience of marketers, content strategists, and IT. You can find out more about these presentations, including their date and time on the conference program.

Keynote

Bill Simmons, CTO, DataXu
Why Marketing Needs Big Data

Main Conference Presentations

Tony Jewitt, VP Big Data Solutions at Avalon Consulting, LLC
“Big Data” 101 for Business

Bryan Bell, Vice President, Enterprise Solutions, Expert System
Semantics and the Big Data Opportunity

Brian Courtney, General Manager of Operations Data Management, GE Intelligent Platforms
Leveraging Big Data Analytics

Darren Guarnaccia, Senior VP, Product Marketing, Sitecore
Big Data: What’s the Promise and Reality for Marketers?

Stefan Andreasen, Founder and Chief Technology Officer, Kapow Software
Big Data: Black Hole or Strategic Value?

Update: There is now a video of me being interviewed on big data by CMS-Connected.

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Appearances Matter – Simple Solutions for Creating Engaging Web Content

When not busy working with The Gilbane Conference I spend my time working as a CMS editor. As a CMS Site editor I often times feel torn between my responsibility to preserve the integrity of my employers website by focusing on the content (I.e text) and my desire to enhance the more superficial elements such as the background, graphics, and fonts. 10/10 times I choose to tweak the text as our current software has been fixed to only offer 3 color options and only one font…

While ultimately the content on a site is more important than its overall appearance, I believe that in an age where analytics show that the majority of website viewers spend an average of only 10 seconds on a site they are visiting for the first time, that appearance cannot be ignored. Those statistics are not only discouraging to the average CMS editor, but further proof that in order to make an eye catching site to get viewers to explore and spend time on your site you’re going to need a bigger arsenal then a three choice color palette.

Although many are in the same position that I am in, working on company websites that have pre-programed fonts and colors, and in some cases graphics, there are several simple ways in which to make a big statement without straying to far from what is deemed acceptable and professional by your employer.

  • Add an Infographic

 

(http://www.manmadediy.com)

Adding infographics to your website is not just an easy way to display relevant company data in an engaging manner, they are also great in adding a much needed pop of color and excitement sure to make even the most casual of browsers stop and take a look.

While several companies will make custom infographics for you company at a price there are several websites that will generate them for free. Some notable options are Visual.ly and Piktochart. If you’re feeling especially creative and have time on your hands try creating your own using PowerPoint.

 

  • Avoid large StockPhoto sites whenever possible

 

How many times have you seen a photo on a companies website that looks exactly like this. While we can appreciate the fact that somewhere out there, there may be an office full of people that are always camera ready and enjoy each others company so much that they can’t get rid of their ever present  grins, this is simply not the case for most workplaces. If possible get real photos of real people in your office, and include pictures of your headquarters as well. These are the types of photos that will engage viewers and create a certain level of trust and comfort that stock photos cannot.

  • Make your Headlines and Titles Bold.


As Simple as it may sound by making the text of your article titles and headlines bold you are  creating a natural focal point for site browsers to focus on when scrolling through your website. When there is text to focus on within a sea of words people will be able to identify the content they are looking for easier, making them more likely to read what comes after the title.

 

  • Add a Social Element


It has become the norm for companies to be connected on at least one Social Network, so there is virtually no excuse why this fact should not be advertised on your website. Add a “social bar”, a twitter feed and of course share buttons to all of your blog and article entries. People are apt to feel more comfortable sharing and reading your information when they have visual proof that other have done the same before them. The upside to this is that when people share your content on social sites, it will inevitably lead more viewers back to your web page.

Utilizing even just one of these tools is a sure to expand not just your website viewership, but also the amount of time they are browsing as well. These which will all eventually lead to increase in clients and customers!

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For more information on The Gilbane Conference please visit our website @:

http://gilbaneboston.com

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Do Google Yourself – Preserving and Protecting your Companies Online Reputation

With The Gilbane Conference just a few short months away, I’ve been thinking a lot about the evolution of themes and topics covered over the past few years. This year we are pleased to have a session lead by Russ Edelman and Toby Bell on Two Key Management Concerns About Social Media :ROI and Reputation Management. This is an increasingly important subject especially when it comes to the enormous impact online reputation has not just on an individual but a company as well.

15 Minutes. 15 Minutes is all it takes for an angry customer to chip away at the integrity of your businesses’ reputation by casting an instant smear campaign across all of your social networks. In some cases that 15 minutes is a generous figure as today’s internet users are more savvy than ever ,especially when motivated by what they deem to be an unfair experience.

Kasio Martin, a self proclaimed internet professional and blogger recently related in one of her entries how a series of bad experiences with local businesses and the subsequent online smear campaigns she launched against them received very different responses, prompting both positive reactions and further negative behavior from her.

“After the bad transaction I googled the business again. I left negative reviews on Insider Pages, City Search, Yahoo, Google Pages and Yellow Pages. These review sites outranked the businesses own Facebook Page in Google. The next time someone googles that business they will find my review 5 times before they get any other information about the company. This took me about 15 minutes to accomplish.”

The part of this scenario that strikes me the most is not just the short amount of time it took this customer to cause a major headache for the offending business, but also that the popularity of these sites she targeted make them the first picks in online search results. The company’s lack of response to her complaints showed even less integrity as it showed they either had a poor social media strategy or none at all. As to the effect they had on the business itself there is no mention but one can imagine that it served as a major discouragement towards attracting new customers.

Ms. Martin recounts an additional story in which her online complaints against a large chain restaurant were not only heard but resolved before the day was through:

“Because the restaurant was a large corporate chain, I didn’t really expect anything to come of it. But I received an email response within the hour. They informed me that they were getting that store on the phone and fixing this immediately. . . Within only a couple of hours they responded to me on Twitter and offered to help. . . Before the end of the workday they had resolved the issue and I didn’t have a bad thing left to say on any channel.”

While the Ms. Martin’s of the world may scare the faint of heart away from attempting to grow their business through social media, both scenarios show that regardless of whether or not you have made pages on these sites, that a Social Reputation is being made for your company whether or not you’re the one facilitating it.

Social Reputation can not be ignored, but it can be preserved and even strengthened through early intervention and constant diligence.

Here are a few Do’s and Don’ts for getting you started:

  • Do Google yourself: This is simply the easiest way to find what’s being said about your company around the entire internet. For faster results try signing up for Google alerts for your company.
  • Do check your @mentions on Twitter and Wall on Facebook: See what’s being said about you both good and bad in seconds. This is a great public forum to address questions, comments and complaints from your customers.
  • Don’t ignore negative online comments: While the easiest solution to a jaded customer review may be to delete it or simply ignore it, this sends an undeniable message to others that either you don’t care enough to answer the complaint or that you’re not on top of your online presence at all.
  • Don’t let third party sites and blogs outrank your own in search results: If third party pages such as yelp, hub pages, and Wikipedia are the first returns when someone searches for your company then your customers/potential customers will receive biased opinions before they even make it to your own site. Stay active on all of your websites and social media outlets and you’ll be sure to have your companies mission and services heard first and foremost.

And finally,

Don’t let negative opinions get in the way of your business’s goals: There will always be critics of the work you do and the worst thing you can do is let it get in the way of the doing a good job. Stay true to your companies mission and purpose and ultimately that work will speak for itself, hopefully in the form of good reviews for a positive Social Reputation.

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For more information on the Gilbane Conference please visit our website @:

http://gilbaneboston.com/12/index.html

To read more about Russ Edelman and Toby Bell’s Session at Gilbane Boston you can find out more @:

http://gilbaneboston.com/12/conference_program.html#c4

http://gilbaneboston.com/12/speakers.html

 

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Gilbane Conference program and speakers posted

The Gilbane Conference program and speaker list are now available in addition to the conference schedule and pre-conference workshop schedule and program – there are just a few details to be added. Other changes between now and the conference will be minimal and will be reflected on the site if/as they occur, so check back once in a while.

The schedule for the product labs/case studies presented by sponsors will also be posted shortly.

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Gilbane Conference schedule posted

We have published the conference schedule for Gilbane Boston. We’ll be publishing detailed conference session descriptions with speakers in the next week or so including details on the keynote sessions. It is very tempting to provide more details right here but we are still in the process of a few speaker placements we want to finish up first.

The pre-conference workshop schedule, including detailed descriptions and instructors is also available. If you registered for a conference pass that included a workshop before the workshop options were available, you can make your choice now and contact customer service to have your registration updated.

 

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