Socialnomics with Suzanne Downing

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Category: Social Media

How Your Creativity Can Bring Positive ROI in Social Spaces: A Staples Case Study

Believe it or not, there are still non-believers and skeptics in most corporations when it comes to the validity of social media.

Yes, it’s true! In a recent seminar I attended in Chicago, “Levering Social Media to Increase Sales,” 80% of professional students requested “take away” tools to sell social media to upper management. They needed proof that social media can work. They needed real-life examples. They needed buy-in.

As you read the Staples case study below, put your own business on the forefront of your mind.Think outside the box. Think creatively.

Jot down your thoughts. Any thoughts. Make of list of what’s important to you and your organization. Create a napkin sketch of what comes to your mind. The more the better. Just write. You can always erase and edit later. Sometimes ideas that seem crazy or off the wall, may just work!

Case study: Staples Social Media Outreach Enhances Teen-Focused Cause Marketing Campaign


In 2008, Staples, the world’s largest office product retailer and expert on back-to-school retailing, worked with, a national not-for-profit organization that empowers teens to take action in their communities, to create “Do Something 101,” a national school supply drive.

The inaugural campaign raised more than $150,000 for local charities to purchase back-to-school supplies for students who need them and generated more than 211.8 million impressions. For 2009, Staples aimed to make the second Annual Do Something 101 National School Supply Drive bigger and better than the inaugural campaign. Staples and wanted to inspire more teens to “do something” by collecting new school supplies for underprivileged kids, connect with teens in a unique and meaningful way, and increase donations and impressions over the previous year.


The strategy was to conduct ongoing conversations about the need for school supplies for undeserved youth, and how the Do Something 101 campaign can help. In addition to the traditional marketing tactics of in-store signage, customer e-mails, public service announcements, and media relations, Staples launched a social media campaign to reach teens where they spend the most time: Facebook.

Staples recently launched its own corporate Facebook page geared toward its core audience of small business customers. Rather then trying to retrofit the Staples corporate page for teens, Staples developed a fan page focused entirely on the teen audience, as well as a new Facebook application, to raise awareness of the Do Something 101 school supply drive.


Staples worked with a social media agency, Mr. Youth, to develop the Facebook fan page for Do Something 101, and create the new “Adopt-a-Pack” application. With Adopt a Pack, teens could tag their friends to fill virtual backpacks with school supplies to raise awareness for the cause and effort. With every backpack filled, teens could enter a sweepstakes for various prizes, including a trip to New York City to participate in a bag-stuffing event with the campaign’s spokesperson, Grammy-winning Ciara.

Staples spread the word about the fan page and application to cause-related and teen-focused blogs. It also worked with Mr. youth’s RepNation network to create a task force of students to spread the word through their existing online networks.


To connect with teens where they already lived online, allow them to show support for a worthy cause in a fun, unique manner, and build a foundation of teen engagement for future campaigns.


The Second Annal Do Something 101 national school supply drive raised more than $630,000 in customer cash donations, compared to $125,000 in 2008. Staples customers also donated thousands of items such as notebooks, calculators, and other supplies for students in need. The program received editorial coverage in outlets ranging from the New York Times to, and resulted in 484.8 million media impressions, more than doubling 2008’s results of 211.8 million media impressions.

In addition, the Do Something 101 Facebook Fan page secured more than 6,000 fans (back when likes were fans) who still continued to engage with the page well past the end of the 2009 campaign, and served as a base for the 2010 school supply drive. In addition, through the Facebook Application (a.k.a. App), Staples achieved 211 million teen impressions (compared to 13 million teen impressions from a 2008 teen marketing program.)

Staples, Inc. PR team,

Love that case study, and it makes me want to get on board with Staples and gives me a sense of community.

“Daring ideas are like chessmen moved forward; they may be beaten, but they may start a winning game.” -Goethe

Socialnomics: a perpetual wave.

Happy creative thinking!


Do you know your website “grade”? Hubspot reveals opportunity for all things social.

So you use Google Analytics – good. You have a social media presence – good. You pay attention to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to get your Google rankings high – very good. You have a successful blog – even better.

So what does all that mean? 

How do you measure your website and social media platforms as a whole?

How do you measure up to competitors?

Well wonder no more.

A Hubspot Analysis tells you how you rank.

Simply enter a URL into the tool at and review the results. (You can even enter a competitor’s URL to compare.)

Hubspot measures your social media presence and your website using a unique algorythm. It looks at your blog, RSS feed, Facebook page, Twitter page, SEO metrics, internal web pages, mobile presence, marketing automation, analytic tools used, and much more!

Hubpspot even gives you your mozRank. “My what?” you ask…

mozRank – On a scale of 1 to 10 and is SEOmoz’s 10-point measure of link authority and popularity. It’s similar to the old Google Page Rank and is logarithmic, so bear that in mind, too. (That means it’s ten times as hard to move from a 3 to a 4 as it is to move from a 2 to a 3.)

Yes, knowing your website grade is key to continuing improvement.

Happy learning!

Socialnomics: a perpetual wave

In love with Prezi: Creative outlet for the business professional

My first visit to was after a professor mentioned it in a recent Effective Executive Speaking management course. I was hooked! I read tutorials, viewed Prezi presentations on You Tube, read reviews, researched zoom technology, and began creating a Prezi from scratch on one of the techniques I learned in that course. How to effectively introduce a speaker.

You can use Prezi on your ipad, share through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more.

So what about Power Point? Well, they both have their place. For me, the creative outlet from Prezi is worth it in itself. The countless boring Power Point presentations I’ve done have left me non-excited to create another one.

Prezi makes preparing to present fun! Yes, you can have fun in the work place. Also, I found myself more engaged in the content using Prezi, and retaining more. And of course the novelty of something new makes Prezi my new love. Everyone I’ve shown wants me to teach them how to make one. Love it!

If you want a creative outlet as a business professional, then Prezi is for you.

Socialnomics: a perpetual wave.


Social Media and the Press Release: 5 SEO Quick Wins

Yes, the letters S-E-O still cause press release writers to shudder when mentioned. Getting ranked on internet search engines for the purposes of online marketing is now a skill itself, requiring immense planning and knowledge of terms like ‘keyword density’.

There was a time when writers had to resort to producing two article versions; one that was written for the purposes of SEO and one constructed making it noticeably newsworthy.

Thankfully, search engines have begun to recognise the value of press releases that contain ‘quality’ content over articles that are mass-produced simply to score high rankings.

So how can you benefit from these changes?

#1 – Make your press release engaging – The majority of search engines now emphasise the importance of press release content that is posted constantly on social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Therefore, it is imperative that press releases written for the purpose of SEO contain information that is valuable to readers. When considering what to feature in your next press release, try to avoid ‘telling’ potential customers about your company, product or service.

Instead, consider what prospective customers will ‘want’ to read. If they consider something worth reading, they will discuss it with friends and colleagues, expanding the reach of your release.

#2 – Use ‘natural’ language – Avoid industry jargon and construct copy that is used in ‘everyday’ discussion. The importance of creating natural flow will make an article much more captivating and compelling as opposed to trying to force your content to work around ‘unnatural’ SEO phrases.

#3 – Keep it short, keep it simple – Pick out the unique points that you want to cover in your SEO press release and form one clear and concise story over 1 or 2 pages based around these points. Don’t clutter your press release with too many themes and topics, search engines are unable to identify what the article is about. From a human perspective they will simply not engage if an article fails to ‘get to the point’ quickly.

#4 – Create an eye-catching headline – A strong, clear headline attracts readers and is more likely to inspire people to share on social media sites. Research suggests that headlines should use no more than 120 characters, which is just as well, as search engines only tend to index the first 65 characters of article headlines. Therefore, be sure that your priority keyword features within the recommended character range, especially for SEO purposes.

#5 – Don’t ‘link litter’ – Providing a link to a website within an article is not bad practice, but don’t go ‘over the top’. Search engines are immediately suspicious of articles that feature too many links. In some cases, SEO press releases with too many links in are often considered to be spam and will not be acknowledged by search engines. Furthermore, some websites convert content to plain text. This means that your article could end up containing long URLs, which are an ‘eyesore’ to human readers.

Happy press release writing! Remember, keep it real.
Thanks to PRWeb for this informative information.

Socialnomics: a perpetual wave.

How to Claim Your Business Online

Remember the phrase, “Let your fingers do the walking?” This used to refer to the Yellow Pages, but now this phrase applies to your computer keyboard.

Think about it. When was the last time you plopped a bulky yellow page book on your kitchen counter to  find a plumber? Realistically, you used your smartphone, PC, or iPad and Googled away. This is exactly what your potential customers do.

In today’s world of technology, more than 70% of inquiries about local businesses come through search engines and online business listings like Google Places, Yahoo Local, Bing Local and If your business isn’t listed online, you are invisible to potential customers. And you don’t want to be invisible to potential customers.

Start by implementing a process called “Business Claiming.”

Business claiming allows you to gain control of online listings, maintain them on a consistent basis and match them with your current promotions. You can post hours, correct website links, coupons, category and brand listings, and more. All for free.

Top 8 places to start:

Google Local, Yahoo Local, Bing Local, Yelp, Facebook Places, Gowalla, FourSquare, and City Search.

But wait…there’s more!

Since we live in a world where navigations systems are the norm, you need to publish your business information to GPS and Navigation systems like OnStar, Navteq, infoUSA, and multiple Portable Navigation Systems.

Why? So your customers can find you on whatever device they use to navigate the city streets.

It just makes sense. Don’t be invisible online.

Socialnomics: a perpetual wave.

Social Brand Monitoring: 3 Quick Wins

Yes! People talk about you and your brand across the ever-expanding World Wide Web. It’s like the question, “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it does it make a  sound?”

Brand monitoring is simple. People are talking about you and your brand. You want to know what they are saying. You want to be proactive, capitalizing on key influencers and responding to negative comments.

When trees fall…you must be there to hear them!

You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars for an agency to monitor your brand. Here are some FREE sites that do the work for you.

Brand Monitoring: 3 Quick Wins

1. Google alerts is simple. Just type in a keyword or phrase you want to receive alerts for (email or RSS). Then, Google’s fancy virtual spiders crawl through blog posts, news articles, videos (You Tube), and even various social groups to spy for you. They report back via email or your RSS fees so you know what people are saying about you and your brand. I have alerts set up for my organization via my Smartphone. So when I’m on the go, I am connected.

2. Yacktrack is a searchable site. Just type in your keyword(s) and Yacktrack does the work for you. It searches sites like Blogger, FriendFeed, Stumbleupon, and WordPress blogs. So when people comment about you and your brand, you can join the conversation. Yes, you can search social media sites too using the “Chatter” feature. Just type in keywords in the search and Yacktrack will notify you when someone mentions your brand.

3. Social Mention also searches blogs, news, You Tube, Flickr, Digg, Delicious, microblogging services (Twitter), and allows you to track any mentions of you and your brand. Social Mention is easy to set up and use.

So start listening to what your constituents are saying about you and your brand! It’s easy.

However, what you do with the information you get is also key. Make sure you have a strategy in place to handle both positive and negative brand feedback.

Socialnomics: a perpetual wave.

Creative meshing of social and traditional media

Think about it. When was the last time you actually sat through a TV commercial and watched the entire commercial. Most likely you sent a text message, played Scramble with friends, updated your Facebook, or tweeted about the show you were watching.

That is exactly what TV shows are banking on. They are on to you. They are listening.


The “Tweet” TV generation is here. Now you can  watch Drop Dead Diva and discuss what’s happening in real-time on your mobile device right on the couch. You can make new friends interested in the ongoing suspense of Grayson not knowing his ex-fiance is inside Jane’s body. Will they ever discover the true love or will Jane’s guardian angel always stop them from being together? Why not tweet about it?

But is this really a new concept? Think about radio campaigns. They lead you to a website to give money. Now, they lead you to a blog or a Facebook page. Or, they reward you for tweeting or texting. Think about American Idol voting by text message. That was only the beginning. Look at Twitter hashtags like #americanidol or #thevoice. Using social and traditional media will only continue to get more creative over time. And it should. The way we interact with media is ever-changing.

During the Superbowl, you can win prizes by entering sweepstakes through social media. This is clever. It makes you listen to the advertisement. Hey, if I can win a giant TV by listening to a secret word or phrase, I just might pay attention during the game. Although, I have to admit, Superbowl commercials are some of the best! I watch them anyway.

Remember the Haiti earthquake? Text to give produced millions of dollars in revenue. People followed updates via social media sites, not just traditional TV.

Look at newspapers and how they reach their readers. I don’t know about you, but I can’t remember the last time I picked up a paper from my front porch step. Antiquated? Sadly, it is.

The possibilities are endless.

Use your creativity to engage your customers online. Spend the day brainstorming. Then test away!

Socialnomics: a perpetual wave

Kickstarter “Fund and Follow Creativity” an emerging social trend

Think of it as an online “Sharktank.”

Kickstarter gives anyone with a project, the opportunity to get that initiative funded by those who choose to (and patrons receive something in return). A crowdsourcing platform for would be inventors called Quirky lets the best product ideas rise to the top and then helps them get produced and sold while the “inventor” takes a cut. Air BnB turns homes into hotels and travelers into guests, providing both parties with an opportunity to make and save money. These examples may point to a new future reality where economic value is directly negotiated and exchanged between individuals over institutions.

So now with the click of a mouse, you can get in front of stakeholders through Kickstarter.

A Kickstarter example: KNUT A WiFi enabled device with interchangeable sensors and a mobile app. has initiated more than $46,000 in funding with just 70 hours to go. This is 184% funding. Emerging trend? You be the judge.

Thanks, David Armano for sharing this content. Good stuff!

15 Shocking Social Media Stats

Shocking? Well, not really. It is the reality we live in. The more I see these kind of stats, the more I am un-shocked at the behavior of the human race. What I take away…you should get your brand out there where people are. And…from these stats, it confirms your customers are spending their time on social platforms. You want to be where your customers are, right? You want your brand noticed. You want to create a buzz in these circles. So, for all those Baby Boomer and Traditionalist executives you are trying to convince that social media is important, pass these stats along. It is no longer a matter of should we be out there on social media, it’s a matter of where and how. If you are not, you will be left behind.

15 Shocking Social Media Statistics

  1. One in every nine people on Earth is on Facebook ( This number is calculated by dividing the planets 6.94 billion people by Facebook’s 750 million users)
  2. People spend 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook
  3. Each Facebook user spends on average 15 hours and 33 minutes a month on the site
  4. More than 250 million people access Facebook through their mobile devices
  5. More than 2.5 million websites have integrated with Facebook
  6. 300,000 users helped translate Facebook into 70 languages
  7. People on Facebook install 20 million “Apps” every day
  8. YouTube has 490 million unique users who visit every month (as of February 2011)
  9. YouTube generates 92 billion page views per month (These YouTube stats don’t include videos viewed on phones and embedded in websites)
  10. Users on YouTube spend a total of 2.9 billion hours per month (326,294 years)
  11. People upload 3,000 images to Flickr (the photo sharing social media site) every minute
  12. 190 million average  Tweets per day occur on Twitter (May 2011)
  13. Twitter is handling 1.6 billion queries per day
  14. Twitter is adding nearly 500,000 users a day
  15. Google+ has more than 25 million users

Socialnomics: a perpetual wave.

Everyone is in the media business

I’m jumping into chapter two of Levinson and Gibson’s Guerrilla Social Media Marketing.

Great section on realizing that everyone is now in the media business. This is key to remember!

“Today, there are an unlimited number of media outlets. Everyone is his or her own media company.” Remember when big companies could operate unethically and still manage to maintain a good image? There were hardly any media outlets back then. We are now on stage all the time. Anyone can take a photograph or video clip and post it online. Or a product review? They are out there instantaneously, good or bad.

Remember, there is the possibility for someone to have a positive or negative branding experience.

“At that interaction point, armed with their smartphone, camera, or video recorder, they will also have an opportunity to impact the brand. In seconds they will tell the world the truth or just their opinion of what you are really about. We can no longer claim to be one thing in public and another in private; with one click or one Tweet, the world can see our true brand identity.”

What are people saying about you and your brand?

How can you take advantage of the shift in the social media tide?

Embrace that everyone is now in the media business!