New POV: Facebook’s Recently-Launched Global Pages Feature

November 18, 2012 Leave a comment

Just finished a new POV on Facebook’s recently-launched  “Global Pages” feature and implications for global brands. Essentially, it’s a great way to target content and uncover more specific insights for your audience, but it comes at potentially a much greater management cost. 

Click here to read



Categories: Uncategorized

Investor Relations and Social Media: Five Key Takeaways

February 14, 2012 2 comments


Cross posted on Social@Ogilvy’s blog.

As part of Social Media Week in NY, I attended a panel with six different investor relations communicators who were leading the adoption of social media within their IR groups.

With 63% of institutional investors reporting social media to be an input that will have increasing importance in investment decisions, it has quickly become a channel that the IR industry can no longer ignore, despite compliance concerns present in any Reg FD communication.

Surprisingly, the discussion around compliance was limited – the group has taken steps to mitigate risks while focusing on innovation in this space. We have started to see this from our clients more frequently now – where previously, regulated communication groups have been unable to overcome the compliance concern, they are now focusing on the opportunity that innovation in social media can provide.

Some other points that the panel agreed on during the conversation were:

1)    Context is key for investors to find signal in social media

In order for investors to find value in IR comms through social media, they need a way to cut through the noise of consumers talking about the same brand. StockTwits’ development of the “$” in tweets has helped bubble stock and earnings information to the top of the pile and IR communicators are actively using this in their information releases.

This is one of the great differentiators of Twitter as a platform compared to Facebook. Whether a poster uses a hashtag or a dollar sign, it enables you to push your message into any niche group that you want to be in. It also creates an efficient way for searchers to find this specific content through the competing noise.

2)    Curation of content is an art, not a science

Howard Lindzon of StockTwits says that his company focuses on four components to ensure effective curation of stock-focused content not only for the internal StockTwits community, but also for the top-tier media partners using this consumer generated content: Community self-policing through user flagging of off-topic content, an internal StockTwits moderation team, automatic keyword filters, and technology to pull in the right content from the right contributors from the outset.

While today’s technology is powerful and automatic filters efficient, we’ve found that nothing beats having a human looking through content. StockTwits’ use of community alerting as well as a moderation team is a model we roll out for our clients in many projects as well – often in conjunction with automatic filtering. This lets us be as efficient as possible without missing out on the value that experience around a topic can provide in curation.

3)    Retail investors can be as well informed as their institutional counterparts

Friederike Edelmann, Director of Investor Relations at SAP (an Ogilvy client), spoke about how social media has helped her company maintain its commitment to treat all investors in the same way. When SAP releases a news bulletin, the IR department starts with a typical PR Newswire release, but follows immediately with a tweet through its corporate Twitter handle.

68% of surveyed companies do the same thing as SAP, which makes sense since this platform helps companies not only reach the retail investor, but also financial writers. In fact, according to the Financial Media Conference, 60% of financial bloggers use Twitter as their primary news source.

4)    Social media still presents IR communicators with challenges

At the end of the day however, the panelists weren’t willing to say that social media didn’t present risks for IR communicators. Paul Dickard from AECOM said his biggest concern was the lack of control of his message and where the message could appear. Of course, Dickard was quick to acknowledge this risk exists through almost every other communication platform.

Gene Marbach from Makovsky and Co. also reported the need for clearer guidelines from the SEC. This makes sense – uncertainty around SEC and FINRA (for broker/dealers) regulations continue to cause pause for our clients – it’s only by walking them through a process to select the right social media compliance platform, establishing risk response guidelines, as well as moderation and escalation protocols do they feel ready to move into this space.

5)    Investor Relations must become more socialized with the rest of the enterprise

John Bell, Global Managing Director of Social@Ogilvy, said in his keynote address that enterprises are quickly becoming socialized in every department. Our IR panelists agreed with this statement and were firm in their stance that their industry can’t lag behind the rest of the organization, in spite of the risks that are inherent in this niche space. Their organizations are quickly moving forward from pilot programs into operationalizing social media as part of their everyday communications tactics – and it’s showing value for them almost immediately.

As we celebrate the launch of Social@Ogilvy, Ogilvy’s new global social media practice, it’s exciting to feature the an industry that is mitigating its risk in order to reach its stakeholders in a meaningful way – through social media.

Categories: financial services

Financial Services Firms Cannot Participate in Social Media

July 29, 2010 Leave a comment

It’s a fact.

Despite how effective social media has been at creating  awareness, growing preference, and ultimately driving conversion, Financial Services firms have mostly stayed out of social media:

  • Only 48% of asset management firms engage in social media today (source: Kasina)
  • 66% of firms have no current or planned budget to engage in social media (source: Kasina)
  • Fewer than 7% of financial advisers are blogging (source: American Century Investments)

So this is a strategic decision, right? This industry isn’t exactly the most forthcoming with new thoughts and ideas, so we would expect stats like these, right?

Let me show you some more numbers:

  • According to Spectrem and Investment News, more than one-third (36%) of investors say they are interested in receiving information from their advisers or corresponding through social media. When looking at investors under 35, this number rises to 53%.
  • 77% of investors who read blogs are more likely to consult them for information on new financial products and services
  • 69% of LinkedIn users reported likely to consult their networks on this platform for investment advice

So, let me restate the irrefutable fact again: Financial services firms cannot participate in social media. Right? Well, no. While this has been a mostly untapped communication channel for these firms to date, it’s more important than ever for this industry to jump into social media. Here’s why:

  • 31% of affluent investors (using social media) “rely less” on information from investment firm representatives
  • 19% of them are less reliant on advice from their financial adviser
  • (source: Cogent Research)

As people are connecting with each other at deeper levels through social media, they’re reverting back to the oldest form of marketing: word of mouth/third party recommendations. Friends and family or even strangers that have  experience are seen to have the same authority as more traditional financial experts — even in this complicated arena.

Financial firms have to take swift action to connect with their audiences in these new channels — both individual investors as well as analysts and IR practitioners. Of course, I’m not promoting the idea that an asset management firm should line up a campaign with a flash mob, but there are definitely ways for these companies to start to draw insights and have direct engagement in this space.

Social media continues to grow rapidly, but is still at a basic level in the financial industry. Trust me though, social media is an imparative for these firms now and will continue to be. Here’s the proof:

  • 84% of asset management firms believe social media is here to stay and will have a lasting impact on the industry (source: Kasina)

What do you think? Can this highly-regulated and risk-adverse industry successfully participate in social media?

Categories: financial services

Guaranteed Social Media Success for CNBC

September 22, 2009 Leave a comment

At The Motley Fool, we (the marketing team) watch CNBC constantly. When we moved to our new office last summer, we switched over to their “HD+” channel. It was a little disappointing — I was excited to watch Cramer in all his hi-def glory, but quickly realized their HD feed is actually pathetic standard def with an info sidebar on the right side (see pic).

As you can see, the sidebar is filled with current quotes and historical data — all important information for people following the market. However, if you think about it, it’s a complete waste of space.

The thing is: all the data that is shown on the right hand side of the screen is repetitive. Currency info and indices information is all available on the top of the CNBC screen on a rotating basis. Also, the historical info is something that can be easily found through Google or Yahoo Finance, Bloomberg, or even the iPhone stocks app. In my opinion, it really doesn’t add much value for the amount of space it takes up on the screen.

In a world where information equals profits, CNBC could easily use this space to track what the community is talking about at any given point. They could pull in StockTwits about the companies that are being discussed at that given moment, monitor the #CNBC discussion thread on Twitter or start a Facebook page where (similar to CNN’s coverage of Michael Jackson’s memorial concert or the Inauguration) people could comment in real-time about the market or CNBC’s coverage, or even pull in YouTube videos that viewers create to comment on the day’s events (and put the audio on the SAP channel).

If news organizations are looking for ways to stay relevant, a simple mantra comes to mind: “If you can’t beat them, join them.” Old-school news coverage is quickly being eclipsed by real-time community reporting. With this simple change in its sidebar, CNBC could take a major step toward joining the “new world” while providing more complete and interesting coverage for its viewers. Seems like a much better call then what they have now.

Categories: Online Communities

Leveraging the Power of Communities

September 10, 2009 Leave a comment

A few years ago, I got into an argument with someone about the importance of choosing news sources wisely. He’s from the school of thought that says news should be delivered with context and analysis from an expert or a reporter quoting expert sources. Of course, he knows not to believe everything he reads, but he wants to get the story from the experts.

This makes sense to a lot of people — you do have to be careful about where you get your information from these days, but the ironic thing is that because we’ve learned to be careful, we’ve become smarter in our consumption of information. We’re now able to provide the context of a story, confirm the facts, and decide for ourselves what this means to us as individuals without it having to be told to us through a news reporter.

The coolest thing is that this new found ability can help us live our lives smarter as a community. We can now seek out information from multiple sources, evaluate it for ourselves, and find a more accurate or more informative answer than if we had gone to a single source.

Almost everything in our lives can be improved by leveraging the power of (usually online) community knowledge. Here are a couple places that you can start leveraging the power of community intelligence right away:

Community-powered Investing

  • CAPS: Shameless plug for The Motley Fool here, but our CAPS service can really become a valuable resource to add to your investment research. Users make a call on how they think a company’s stock will perform in relation to the S&P 500 Based on that data, each stock is given a star rating that you can use to grade your next investment idea. We’ve seen some pretty amazing results when we simply let The Fool’s community rate stocks — it turns out that a greater number of votes on where a stock is heading will provide a more accurate result.
  • StockTwits: For those of you who understand the value of information (and getting it immediately after a story breaks),  you have to check out StockTwits. Simply put, this is just people using Twitter to share information about specific stocks. The tweet can be a news rumor, a recent trade that was completed, or any other thoughts they have on that stock. StockTwits makes it easy for you to monitor the flow of information for important stocks to you, but you can simply search Twitter using “$” in front of the ticker symbol to see the raw flow of tweets. Do a search for “$appl” and see the ridiculous amounts of tweets that almost brought down Twitter today as a result of Apple’s iPod announcement and Steve Jobs’s return.

Community-powered Shopping

  • Online Reviews: There are just so many sites for you to find great information on the product or service you want to purchase. Check out CNET for electronics reviews, for car reviews, Yelp for restaurant reviews… the list could really go on and on. You’ll find that when individual users post their thoughts on a particular product, they often will have a more insightful review than a professional reviewer. Multiply that level of detail by the hundreds of reviews you’re likely to find on any number of products, and you’ll be in review heaven.
  • Community Coupons: Sites like GroupOn use collective buying power to get deals from local businesses for members. This means they promise a certain number of buyers for a particular deal and if that number of promised buyers is reached, then the group as a whole will get that killer price or offer. If there aren’t enough purchasers, then no one gets that great deal.
  • Let the Community Find the Best Deal: People love to search for the best deals online, and sites like Slickdeals give them a place to post a deal they found so that everyone can use it.  There are also sites like RetailMeNot that let you search for coupon codes for online vendors and provide feedback on the success rate of those codes (some expire quickly…). I find now that I don’t purchase anything online without first searching these sites.

Community-powered News

Like I mentioned earlier, old-school news organizations are on their way out the door. You want to find out the most-current information as soon as it happens? Check out Twitscoop or simply watch Twitter’s own trending topics to find out what people are talking about right now. These tools will also give you a better sense of what the real story is. For example, when the story of Michael Jackson’s collapse and subsequent death broke, it first broke on Twitter. People were reporting their own observations from his house and from the hospital. By monitoring Twitter, I found out he died more than three hours before CNN reported it on air. Of course, this story could have gone the other way — stories that break on Twitter can turn out to be simply rumors or hoaxes, but as you use this news source more, you’ll find that it becomes quite easy to figure out which stories are true and which are false.

Categories: Online Communities

4 Social Media Ideas to Improve the Fed’s Image

August 27, 2009 Leave a comment

Last year, President Obama’s campaign changed the way political campaigns will be run in the future. He leveraged the power of social media to create a huge online following with many different smaller online networks where supporters could gather in support of a specific cause, a culture, or gender, all the time supporting the candidate. This was a huge social media marketing win. The President continues to use social media to go around the press and communicate directly with the public, specifically in his weekly YouTube videos and White House blog posts.

On the other end of the spectrum, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke hasn’t been the most widely-loved member of Obama’s  administration lately, and the Fed itself isn’t exactly winning popularity contests left and right. The Fed and its chairman are obviously suffering from an image problem — one that could be improved by connecting directly with the public and creating lines of communication back to the Fed. In honor of Bernanke’s recent renomination by the President, I thought I’d provide some social media ideas he could use to improve his and The Fed’s image:

  1. Use social media to announce rate change decisions: Everyone’s affected by the Fed’s discount rate. Why not make it as accessible as possible? In this new environment where news organizations are becoming more insignifcant by the day, take the story directly to the masses: Tweet it, create an RSS feed, or even a desktop widget that people can subscribe to.
  2. Start a weekly YouTube video release: Obama knew that people wanted to be heard. Start a weekly address like the President and invite people to respond with their own videos
  3. Live-blog Fed meeting minutes: Doesn’t it seem antiquated that the Fed waits until weeks after their meeting to publish their minutes?
  4. Start a site that lets citizens post their results after applying for credit: If the Fed is taking significant steps to make sure there’s credit readily available, why not hear the results of these efforts directly from the people that are supposed to benefit from them?

Customer Service Fail: Redskins*

August 14, 2009 Leave a comment

*I mean, are you surprised? Can anyone tell me that they’ve ever had a good customer service experience at any point during their relationship with the Skins?

Anyway, here’s what I wanted to tell you. Check out my new seat at FedEx Field:

Sect 205

This is awesome, especially when you consider that this is where I used to sit:

Sect 443

Let me tell you, this upgrade wasn’t easy. My brother and I tried for years to move down to the lower bowl. Each time we tried, we were met with the usual answer that everyone hears when they have a request for the Redskins Ticket Office: “No.”

Due to the economy (and let’s face it: the Skins’ stellar performance), seats opened up down in the lower bowl. The ticket office called my uncle (who’s been a ticket holder for… 50 years?) and offered him the additional seats. He knew we wanted to move, so he offered them to us. We’re of course paying for these seats, so we wanted to have them in our name. Nope. Can’t be done. Check out the Skins’ ticket transfer policy:

The Redskins season ticket policy allows the transfer of season tickets to immediate family members only (parent, spouse, child, or sibling). Season tickets cannot be transferred between businesses, from a business to an individual, or between non-family members. In order to transfer a season ticket account, please contact the Redskins Ticket Office and request an account transfer form or download the transfer form now. Provide the requested materials (which may include a copy of a death certificate, in the event the account holder of record is deceased) and proof of relationship (birth certificate, marriage license, adoption papers) between the existing account holder of record and the new account holder. The Redskins reserve the right to deny a transfer at their sole discretion. All transfers (if granted) are subject to a non refundable $100.00 per seat transfer fee and remain subject to all other Redskins’ ticket terms, conditions and policies, including but not limited to the following: Redskins tickets constitute revocable licenses and future renewals of Redskins tickets are at the sole discretion of the Redskins.

So, despite the fact that my brother and I are footing the bill for these tickets, and even though we’re Skins season ticket holders already, my uncle wasn’t able to transfer these tickets to us. They’re still in his name and they will continue to be in his name for years to come.

Hey Dan Snyder, I love the Skins. I love them so much, I’m willing to spend a high percentage of my disposable income on a football game. These new tickets cost much more than my old seats (2x) and I even bought two sets of season tickets (the Skins wouldn’t let us drop our old seats this season). But seriously, why do you have to make it so hard to be a fan of the team? You guys were atrocious last night on the field and you don’t care for the customers that pay a big portion of your operating expenses.

I’ll just throw this out there… I haven’t had anything but great customer service from Uncle Ted and his Caps. I love being a Caps season ticket holder.

Categories: Customer Service