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Just about three years ago, I sat down with my good friend and fellow location-based services nut, Mike Schneider, to write a book titled, Location-Based Marketing for Dummies. The book was decidedly before its time and was hard to write because the space was still evolving rapidly (in fact, it’s still evolving rapidly). But for that very reason, it was a fun, rewarding and challenging exercise — not necessarily in that order.

Fast forward three years and Mike and I are both still passionate about mobile and location-based marketing. I work for an agency and mainly focus on digital and social strategy but stay current by writing a monthly mobile column on MarketingLand. Mike took a different path and ultimately became the head of marketing for a company called Skyhook Wireless that focuses solely on mobile and location-based solutions. To that end, I thought it was about time the two of us sat down and compared notes (with me as writer and Mike as marketer).

Aaron: You recently took over marketing at Skyhook Wireless. What does your company do and how long has it been around?

Mike: Skyhook is location. We have been around since 2003. We are constantly reinventing how location is obtained in apps, devices and online and then we go to great lengths to add context to make it useful. We care about providing the means to capture and then use massive amounts of location data to give developers, devices, advertisers and more the ability to create and optimize awesome user experiences.

Aaron: A lot of marketers are trying to figure out what the future of ad-tech looks like. Obviously your view will have something to do with mobile/location. Can you give us some of your thinking on how those two connected forces will change marketing?

Mobile is advertising’s best friend because nobody knows a consumer better than their phone. The future of advertising delivered by ad-tech is “relevant content delivered everywhere”. When consumers makes their location known, publishers, brands and ad networks need to be ready to provide them with the best possible experience. The difference between now and then is scale. Getting precise location and tying behavior context to venues is easier than it was when we thought it all up because of the amount and quality of data we have. Concepts that everyone loves to talk about, but have been traditionally more challenging to implement, like geofencing and geo-conquesting can now be done through mouse clicks instead of lines and lines of code.

Aaron: It’s been said that the future of computing is wearables/the Internet of things. Can you tell us more about what this means and why they are so important?

Mike: Let me address them as two separate entities.

  • Wearables
    The wearable market is the collision of technology and fashion. Consumers are going beyond our phones to make “the quantified self” easier by wearing things that capture information about us that we can analyze. You’re a runner, Aaron, and you and I both use MapMyRun and RunKeeper and Nike+ to track our progress and tell our friends how amazing we (or you, I don’t do much more than 3 miles to your 10-15!) are. We then use this to analyze our progress, set goals and push ourselves to be who we want to be. A person’s activity level is a really interesting piece of context. Add this to moods, interests, foods and location and we have some really rich context around a person at a given time. The promise of wearables is that we get all of this information from a low powered, good looking, less noticeable device that means we can leave our phones at home and still capture and use the data we care about. Right now we track steps and calories in most devices, but the future is the addition of exertion and location.
  • Internet of Things
    Human behavior plus connected devices means a greener planet, better customer service and more reliable products. Warehouses are using indoor location to track human behavior and optimize lighting and heating. Thanks to location tech, products that could communicate with beacons and sensors so we know when they are entering a cart and leaving the aisle or the store. They also could know what’s in the cart with them. The communication with other things that are nearby allows us to build profiles of product behavior, attach that to venues for content creation purposes, optimization of energy consumption, finding lost items, inventory optimization and a lot more.

Aaron: Will marketers ever be able to detect users location when they are offline? If so, how do they use it?

Mike: We can do this today. A phone doesn’t need to be online (all of the time) to capture location. We can capture location and then based on where the device moves, capture further data points and trigger geofences or decode them and use them later. Devices like the Eye-Fi card can capture access points when a photo is taken and then attach location to photos in cameras that are not connected. Add this ability to armbands or clothing and we can capture your running route when the device doesn’t have GPS and isn’t connected to a wireless or cell network.

Aaron: Robert Scoble and Shel Israel just wrote a book called The Age of Context. Tell us more about the importance of “context.”

Mike: It’s all about context and context comes from people, places and things that share their data. The collision of people and things data makes place data incredibly rich which allows us to create better experiences for people without knowing exactly who they are. Time makes things extremely interesting. Who we are and what we need on a weekday morning where we might be a “coffee drinking, business traveler obsessed with Spotify” is different than a weekend afternoon where we’re a “coffee drinking, dad of three coaching soccer and looking for baked goods”. Aaron, we are always drinking coffee.

There you have it. Some wise words from a wise man. It’s been a while since Mike and I caught up but it looks like he hasn’t missed a beat. By the way, you can see what Mike and some of my other mobile/location-based savvy industry friends predicted for 2014 here.

I am thrilled to welcome Michael Brito, former Senior Vice President of Edelman Digital to WCG as one of the senior leads on our Media and Engagement team. Michael brings a wealth of knowledge to the team that will strengthen our technology practice, social commerce and digital strategy offerings. Not only is Michael a friend but he is one of the most respected guys in the business. Oh, did I mention that he wrote two books (details in the image capsule below).

To help you get to know Michael better, we decided to revisit our interview series from this summer (during the series, we interviewed new employees Mike Hartman, Lionel Menchaca, Dean McBeth, Annalise Coady and others). We hope this will give you, the reader, a better sense of who we are and the type team players that make up the W2O Group family.

Click here to listen to my full interview with Michael


Thank you, Michael. For more information, join his 100,000 followers on Twitter.

 

It’s no secret that our parent company, W2O Group, has deep ties to Syracuse University and their Newhouse School of Public Communications. It all started with our CEO, Jim Weiss, who is not only an alumni but who was also inducted into the Newhouse Hall of Fame last fall along with notables such as foursquare co-founder, Dennis Crowley and Sports Illustrated writer, Pete Thamel.

Given the synergies between our two organizations, Newhouse and W2O Group went ahead and launched a Social Commerce Center last fall and celebrated the creation of the new center with a Social Commerce Day” on campus earlier this spring. The purpose of the Center is for W2O and to Newhouse to train and cross-pollinate learning among professors, students and W2O employees and to ultimately impact the curriculum for future members of the school and to teach one another about the future of social.

In light of our relationship with the bright minds at the Newhouse School, we are excited about their recent announcement that they were now offering social media training via 15 self-paced lessons in partnership with social media engagement tool provider, Hootsuite. This is in response to the fact that so many companies — large and small — are in need of better skill sets for applying social media to their marketing and communication efforts.

The course is taught by Newhouse Social Media Professor, Dr. William J. Ward, and participants will have the valuable opportunity to engage directly with Dr. Ward through personalized feedback and assessments. Upon successfully completing the course, participants will earn a Advanced Social Media Strategy Certificate.

Course topics will include:

  • Situation and Environment Analysis
  • Strategic Planning Process
  • Content Strategy
  • Information Management and Threats
We here at W2O Group would like to congratulate Dr. Ward, Dean Lorraine Branham, Professor Maria Russell and Adjunct Professor, Kate Brodock and the folks at Hootsuite on this endeavor and look forward to growing our partnership over time.

It’s that time of the year again. Time to pour through the thousands of South by Southwest (SXSW) conference panel submissions and decide which — if any — you want to vote for. This year, we here at W2O Group are fortunate to be a part of 10 different panel submissions either as participants or submitters on behalf of our clients/friends of W2O Group. To that end, we certainly do not want to bombard all of our friends, family, employees, partners, customers, etc. with dozens of disparate asks. Instead, we have tried to make it easy but providing the titles, descriptions and suggested panelists for all 10 of our submissions.

If we are lucky enough to earn your vote for any/all of the panels, simply click the “vote here” link next to the panel titles. That will take you to the full description of each panel. Once you get there, you need to create an account/login to vote. It may seem like a lot of work but it only takes about 45 seconds and once you do, you stay logged in for any other panel you wan to vote on.

HINT: If you’re looking for mine, I’m in the mix on numbers 6 and 10.

1. Community-Building: Better Than Chemo (vote here)

On Independence Day 2011, the first-ever #BCSM tweetchat for those affected by breast cancer took place. Less than two years later, the group had attracted thousands of participants, spawned a website and a YouTube channel and earned an extensive feature in USA Today. Not bad for a group of tech novices in a space hardly wanting for pink-ribboned advocates.

#BCSM isn’t a prototypical breast cancer organization. It’s not your usual support group. And it’s not the kind of online community that makes headlines at Mashable.

Instead, the group has been, since its founding, focused on attracting a diverse and inclusive group who shared not only cancer, but a set of shared values — particularly a commitment to evidence — that created a sense of authority even as it built community.

Those are lessons that can and should be adopted by those looking to connect with similarly isolated communities, and the founders of #BCSM look forward to sharing what they have learned. (vote / learn more)

  • Organizer: Brian Reid, W2O Group
  • Speakers:
    • Jody Schoger
    • Alicia Staley, Staley Foundation
    • Deanna Attai, Center For Breast Care
    • Xeni Jardin, BoingBoing.net

2. Hacking your life for better health (vote here)

Every healthcare organization must evolve its commercial strategy within a transformed health system that rewards prevention and punishes waste, and patient engagement is critical to this shift. Additionally, with more patients covered by insurance under the Affordable Care Act, an already strained healthcare system will become even more stretched and organizations will need to figure out how to activate and empower the most prevalent and available resource for patient care – at home caregivers.

For every engaged patient, there are far more who are ambivalent about their care, or lack the necessary information or encouragement to get involved. This panel features speakers representing the payor, big pharma, enterprise IT enabler, and e-patient activist perspectives to discuss relevant digital tools and services that are gaining traction or still to come that could bring to life the vision of the actively engaged health consumer. (vote / learn more)

  • Organizer: Carolyn Wang, WCG
  • Speakers:
    • Rick Valencia, Qualcomm Life
    • Michele Polz, US Sanofi Diabetes
    • Dr. Charles, Saunders Aetna, Inc.
    • Fred Trotter, O’Reilly Radar

3. What Happens when Health and Tech Meet Up? (vote here)

For the first time in 50 years, the health care industry is facing a major disruption and is moving toward an at-risk/ACO model where opportunities are driven by transition. With the growing aging population and increase in chronic diseases in the U.S., health service providers are focusing on collaborated and coordinated care to create efficiencies, reduce readmissions, and ultimately, lower costs. Innovative medical technologies and big data will play a key role in the continuum of care, providing a real-time and holistic view of the patient’s health history to better inform decisions and help manage care.

As health and technology continue to merge, investors have become more interested in funding digital health, giving startups a great opportunity for growth. In this panel session, some of the most prolific investors in digital health will discuss what excites them about the future of health care and why now is the time to reinvent the industry through innovation and collaboration. (vote / learn more)

  • Organizer: Jennifer Davis, WCG
  • Speakers:
    • Jack Young, Qualcomm Life Fund
    • Nina Nashif, HealthBox
    • Ted Maidenberg, The Social + Capital Partnership
    • Christiaan Vorkink, True Ventures

4. Forget big data, it’s all about individual data (vote here)

Through digital health, near real time patient data is generated from individual medical devices and securely aggregated. The insights generated from this data drive more efficient and effective care as health providers are presented with a more holistic view into a patient’s health and can identify patterns across patient populations.

UCSF has undertaken an ambitious registry that rivals Framingham Heart in scope, leveraging mobile health tools to track biometric information, and social media to observe personal communities of care. The findings of the registry will ultimately drive population-based predictive models and individualized strategies of care.

Helius, the first commercial product from Proteus Digital Health, leverages ingestible and wearable sensors developed by Proteus to provide insights about patients’ actual behaviors and how their bodies are responding; enabling more informed therapeutic decision-making to improve patient outcomes.  (vote /learn more)

  • Organizer: Robin Suchan, Proteus Digital Health
  • Speakers:
    • David O’Reilly, Proteus Digital Health
    • Dr. Michael Blum, UCSF

5. The Secret Weapon of Mobile Marketing: Photos (vote here)

Every day 500 million photos are shared online – and that number is expected to double by next year.
On the surface, the reason for photography’s exponential growth seems obvious: with smartphones, snapping and sharing pics has never been easier. But the real reason has almost nothing to do with ultra-modern technology, and almost everything to do with something far more primal: our insatiable need to connect, and our innate desire to share stories.

As such, mobile photography has confidently joined ranks with the most popular, most efficient communication mediums of our time – and advertisers are scrambling to understand where they fit in. Do brands have a role to play when it comes to smartphone owners, their cameras, and the stories they tell through them – and if so, what are the rules of the game?

In this panel, we’ll dissect the surge in mobile photography through the lens of real-time culture, creativity and commerce, with a takeaway of how-to’s and best practices. (vote /learn more)

  • Organizer: Dorothy Jean, dorothyPR
  • Speakers:
    • Carmel Hagen, Aviary
    • David Fossas, W2O Group
    • David Teicher, Advertising Age
    • Leigh Lucas, Path

6. Brands, be journalists – errr vice versa? (vote here)

Should journalists be more like brands, or should brands be more like journalists? In order to make social media more human, it’s about telling good stories. Brands can learn this from journalists, but at the same time, journalists need to carve their niche and define their credibility — like a brand. Where is the happy medium and how has social media, especially with the use of video, changed the delivery of a concept?  (vote /learn more)

  • Organizer: Colleen Hartman, Mitsubishi Electric
  • Speakers:
    • Rick Kaplan, Kaplan Media Partners (former president of CNN)
    • Jeben Berg, Google, head of Youtube Brand Lab
    • Aaron Strout, W2O Group
    • Colleen Hartman, Mitsubishi Electric

7. Social Disruption (vote here)

What does the world’s sixth-largest pharmaceutical company have in common with one of the most respected multinational mutual fund and financial services groups? A ton of regulatory roadblocks.

While companies everywhere have jumped head-first into 21st century technologies, regulated industries have been slow to dip their toes in the water – with health or money at the center of business, every @mention is a liability. But with big risk comes bigger reward. Channel by channel, these companies are convincing their legal counterparts to take the leap – neon floaties and all.

So, you think you can’t innovate? In this presentation, two women living in a corporate, cubicle-filled world discuss how they are breaking barriers and overcoming conservatism in the name of customer engagement – one tweet at a time. (vote /learn more)

  • Organizer: Vicky Lewko, W2O Group
  • Speakers:
    • Stacy Burch, Sanofi US
    • Lori Johnson, Fidelity Investments

8. Supercharging HC Funding (vote here)

When we think about the best examples of crowd-funding, Kickstarter rises to the top. The technology community has arguably given Kickstarter a ringing endorsement ever since its launch. The result? A gathering place for entrepreneurs to gain funding for projects that might otherwise die on the workbench.

The projects, while creative, don’t typically solve for the biggest problems, and that’s where Kickstarter can fall flat. For all its success, Kickstarter can’t provide all the entrepreneurial opportunities, especially financial ones, that health care offers. This is particularly true with respect to involving online and offline communities to solve tremendously difficult health care challenges, including the clinical trials that are essential to drug approvals. (vote /learn more)

  • Organizer: Christian Clymer
  • Speakers:
    • Christian Clymer, PhRMA
    • Stacy Burch, Sanofi US

9. Crowdsourcing Physicians in Digital Health (vote here)

Changes in the Affordable Care Act are now placing an emphasis on insurance compensation for the relative health of patients instead of the decades-long practice of paying for illness. The Accountable Care Organization (ACO) is emerging to address these changes in the law. 95% of physician organizations intend to become ACOs, and will be incentivized to leverage remote monitoring and digital tools to stratify and prioritize patient care. ACOs will be accountable to the patients and the third-party payer for the quality, appropriateness and efficacy of the health care provided.

In order to monitor the relative health of patients and measure improvements over time, ACOs must have the resources to collect data on patients regularly and cost-effectively. Crowdsourcing can improve efficiency, effectiveness and cost by directing physicians to appropriate solutions, reducing the number of unnecessary tests, ineffective treatments and unnecessary office visits with patients. (vote / learn more)

  • Organizer: Tracy Garcia, WCG
  • Speakers:
    • Donald Jones, Qualcomm Life
    • Mark Winter, XPRIZE
    • Jeff Arnold, Sharecare

10. The Social Media Wish Factory (vote here)

What will be the next big thing social media will help you with? This panel will bat around ideas for things that social platforms do not yet do, but could or should do. It will be an interactive panel with the moderator inviting each of the panelists to come up with a short wish list of ideas they would like to see executed and then the audience will be invited to weigh in on these ideas and to offer their own. This panel will be a free-for-all that allows those looking for inspiration to interact with those looking for solutions. (vote / learn more)

  • Organizer: Mike Johansson, Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Speakers:
  • Deirdre Breakenridge, CEO Pure Performance Communities
  • Mike Johansson, RIT
  • Aaron Strout, W2O Group
That’s it! If you have a panel you want us to vote for, leave the URL and title in the comments.

With all of the hiring W2O Group/WCG have done recently, we wanted to take a little time to let our partners/customers/employees get to know some of these new employees better. To that end, we are conducting a blog series that asks some of our new employees to answer five questions — some straightforward and some that show our more playful slide. Via this process, we’re hoping to give our readers a little better sense of who we are. In the sixth installation of our series, we talk to our newest Director of Search, Sri Nagubandi.

  • [Aaron] Welcome to the W2O Team. We’re looking forward to working with you. For our first question, talk a little bit about your past experience.
    [Sri] I’ve spent 13 years in the digital marketing and analytics space, most recently at Razorfish where I led Organic (SEO) and Paid (SEM) Search and Social Optimization.  Prior to that, I was a Director of SEO at Rosetta. 
  • [Aaron] What is your “super power?”
    [Sri]  My super power is making the complex simple and the simple understandable and actionable. 
  • [Aaron] If you could work with any company as a client, who would it be and why?
    [Sri] Trek. Would have to be Warby Parker. They enter markets ripe for disruption, are willing to take risks, and they always give back while making a profit.
  • [Aaron] How do you stay up to date on latest trends/industry news?
    [Sri]  I read The Moz Blog, The PPC Hero Blog, Marketing Experiments Blog, and SEO By The Sea
  • [Aaron] Finish this sentence… “The agency of the future is ________.”
    [Sri]  The agency of the future is able to challenge clients, embraces change as a way of life and culturally entrepreneurial at the core.

Thank you Sri. To learn more about Sri, follow him on Twitter.

A few times a year, there are certain publications that do annual directories (and sometimes rankings) of key players in the areas our company cares about — marketing, healthcare, technology, PR, etc. Here at W2O Group, those outlets include the likes of AdAge, PRWeek, Holmes Report, O’Dwyers and MM&M among many others. To that end, while we don’t get too hung up on where we are ranked, we do like to take a step back and “smell the roses” as our CEO and Chairman, Jim Weiss mentions in one of his answers below.

In light of the recent MM&M listings where the editors provided a review of their top 100 agencies (we are on page 184), I sat down with Jim and to ask him a few questions about the past, present and future of our firm:

  • [Aaron] Jim – we’re in our 12th year of being in business. Rewinding back to your early days of just a few of you working out of a single office in NYC, did you ever imagine that you’d be leading a nearly 400 person agency with 7 offices in the U.S. and London?
    [Jim] Well, it was actually only a few folks in San Francisco not New York City when we started over a decade ago — New York only came online as an office around 2005 or so in the second bedroom of Hala Mirza’s New York apartment — and no, I actually envisioned 350 people or so.  So, we are now beyond what I had imagined it to be and will now be working off a next 5-year strategic plan which doesn’t look all that different from the one from the prior 5 years. 
  • [Aaron] What is the one thing that gets you up every day in the morning?
    [Jim] My family and the promise of a new day.
  • [Aaron] What’s the one thing that keeps you up at night?
    [Jim] Real Housewives & MadMen episodes. But in all seriousness… it’s usually about feeling I or we are falling behind in some way vs. Going and staying ahead.  I have a great fear of becoming obsolete or irrelevant.
  • [Aaron] From whom do you get your inspiration?
    [Jim] Anyone who gives it their all all the time usually against the odds or expectations.
  • [Aaron] Seeing where W2O Group falls in the rankings or learning that we’ve made it onto the listing of the top 100 agencies in publications like MM&M every year serves as reminder of the progress you’ve made. Do you use these opportunities as motivation?
    [Jim] Actually the listings/rankings are a “stop and smell the roses” opportunity for all of us to step back and see the bigger picture accomplishments versus day to day minutiae and fire drills.  I am fortunate to sit in a place where I get to see the whole organization and the many ways we have gone ahead, especially in the last few years, where the change and accomplishment has accelerated and compounded more rapidly and markedly than ever before.
  • [Aaron] You’ve talked a lot about building the agency of the future that focuses on delivering “next practices” to clients. What’s next in this evolution for the firm?
    [Jim] Combining the power of our data-driven insights with automated marketing in the cloud with our human expertise and talents as the way the world does business changes.  I feel our business purpose going forward is to help corporations, organizations and brands evolve the way they do business and relate to customers and constituents in the modern digital age driven by mobile and online media.  Integration and collaboration are now the keys to our future with the same goal of becoming the best in the industry at what we do.  We will do this by hiring the best people, doing the best work and working with the best clients as well as through education, thought leadership, flawless execution, co-innovation with our clients and taking calculated informed risks where we fail and learn fast.
There you have it. Inspiring words from Jim Weiss, leader of W2O Group (parent of WCG, Twist and Brewlife). Lots more to come over the coming weeks. We hope you’ll join us in our brief “smelling of the roses.”

You can acces PDFs here of our listing on MM&M and Jim’s recent write up on PRWeek’s Power list.

We are excited to be partnering with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to present a five part webinar series on social media and some of the key topics that support it (blogging, mobile, content creation, influencer outreach). A recap, recording and slides from the first webinar on Getting Started with Social Media can be found here. You can also access the recording and slides from the second, Blogging 101 — Helping You Get Started, third, Creating Content and Engagement for Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter, and fourth, Managing and Connecting with Your Influencers webinars via the links to those posts.

During the webinar, Getting Started with Mobile and Location-Based Marketing, Stephan Merkens of the W2O Group spent time addressing key trends and best practices on mobile and location-based tools and marketing techniques . Because Stephan had some technical difficulties with the questions module, he took some time to answer a number of the submitted questions below.

As promised, the full recording of the webinar is embedded below. You can also find the transcription here. You can also click through to see the video on Youtube

In addition, the slides from the webinar are below on Slideshare.

As promised, here are the answers to the questions Stephan wasn’t able to get to during the webinar:

  • I have more than one business. Would you suggest trying multiple platforms for testing?
    I would suggest treating each business individually. Each brand will probably have its particular audience that will probably gravitate towards a particular platform. If each business has a separate location, I would set them up in Foursquare and look at how people engage with them.
  • I have a mobile business; I actually have a trailer I take to an event. Any different thoughts from what you’ve already presented?
    Mobile businesses like food trucks have paved the way for other mobile businesses with the innovative ways that they use mobile marketing. Consider these options:

    • Allow users to follow you on your twitter handle along with a link to google maps to update your location while on the road.
    • Use SMS with an autoreply to share your next location
    • Use a mobile payment system with WIFI to handle your transactions and send email receipts to your customers.
    • Also, if you’re looking to invest in something more permanent, take a look at mobilemeteor.com they provide mobile tools for vendors like you who make their living in more than one place.
  • If you are a mainly web based business don’t you think most of this would apply?
    Depending on the business model and product, it might make sense to offer your products in a mobile optimized form if your audience thinks about your product while away from their computers.
  • Are QR codes still a viable mobile marketing tool?
    While QR codes still account for the majority of print to mobile conversions, the desire to use them in marketing campaigns is slowing.

    • Brands are realizing that QR codes take up a lot of valuable retail space
    • Technology has advanced enough where barcode scanning and image recognition that can take the place of a traditional QR code.
    • Content tends to be non mobile optimized and unimaginative, which has led to consumers ignoring them
  • Do I think they will ever go away?
    No, but we will see many more ways for consumers to connect with a brand in more meaningful ways.
  • Can you detail more local mobile search?
    Mobile search is not that different from a typical local search. People do however use mobile search at different times and for slightly different things. Mobile search typically happens when people aren’t at their computers, so evenings and weekends see the biggest numbers for searches. Also, search on mobile typically comes from people that are looking to take action immediately (Google reported that on Mother’s Day, 33% of searches for “flowers” were from mobile devices).
  • What’s your timeline expectation to see that 56% go to 75%?
    1 year ago, the industry projected that smartphone adoption would hit 50% in the U.S by around 2014. I would expect smartphone adoption to hit 75% early 2015.
  • How would you tell a small business to start, from square one?
    • Make sure that your address information is up to date so that people can find you
    • Engage with Foursquare and Yelp to set up small local marketing efforts around your location.
    • If your audience is suited to it, set up a twitter account to communicate with your clients on the go.
    • Buy local search.
  • Can you further explain Nerdwallet?
    Nerdwallet.com is a site that provides reviews of mobile payment processing as well as credit cards and personal finance options.
  • Why we need an extra apps or devices on the smartphone for payments if we can directly pay from the vendor’s webpage?
    Mobile payment systems like square are for retail locations that don’t want to go through traditional methods of setting up a merchant account to sell their products. While people can still go online and purchase a product, these tools make it easy to take a physical credit card as payment in a retail location.
  • Any pros and cons to using Paypal mobile
    Paypal mobile uses a phone dongle to allow users to scan cards similar to Square and NCR. Nerdwallet profiled the service along with others in the space and had this to say: “PayPal Here is best for merchants who:

    • Do less than five figures or more than six figures in monthly sales AND
    • Have an average transaction amount under $26 and take American Express OR
    • Have an average transaction amount under $17”
    • They also provided this chart listing service fees. As you can see Paypal here falls near the higher end of the spectrum.

We are excited to be partnering with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to present a five part webinar series on social media and some of the key topics (blogging, mobile, content creation, influencer outreach) that support it. A recap, recording and slides from the first webinar on Getting Started with Social Media can be found here. You can also access the recording and slides from the second, Blogging 101 — Helping You Get Started, and third, Creating Content and Engagement for Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter, webinars via the links to those posts.

Yesterday’s webinar on Managing and Connecting with your Influencers was an hour long with the first 50 minutes spent addressing key trends, best practices on techniques for identifying and engaging with a company’s influencers. The last ten minutes were spent answering questions. To that end, I’ve included answers to three more questions from the webinar at the bottom of this post.

During the presentation, I (Aaron Strout) was joined by influencer and Syracuse professor, Dr. William Ward. Dr. Ward is a professor of social media at the prestigious Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse.

As promised, the full recording of the webinar is embedded below. You can also click through to see the video on Youtube.

In addition, you can access slides from the webinar on Slideshare here.

We also mentioned that we would answer some of the questions that we didn’t have a chance to cover during the webinar here. Three more questions and answers from the webinar are here:

  1. Is there one application to help me manage al these tools for the sake of time management?
    Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet when it comes to identifying and managing your influencers. However, if you do test some of the light (and free) social influence tools like Kred and SocialMention to identify your influencers, tools like Hootsuite make it easy to follow and track interactions with your influencers across multiple social networks.
  2. Is networking a great way to build your brand?
    Yes, offline and online networking are closely related activities. And if you are doing a good job networking, you should have an easier time identifying and connecting with your influencers. Doing this well will inevitably lead to better brand building.
  3. Can you elaborate on how to identify your influencers?
    Identifying your influencers starts with creating a list of key words (the same words that you might use to optimize your website for search engine optimization or that you might be purchasing as part of a paid search campaign). Try searching on these keywords in places like Kred and even on social networks like Twitter to find people that seem to be relevant and possess some level of reach (reach isn’t synonymous with followers as some people can game the system but often influencers will have a decent number of followers AND a high level of engagement like retweets, comments, shares and likes).

We are excited to be partnering with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to present a five part webinar series on social media and some of the key topics (blogging, mobile, content creation, influencer outreach) that support it. A recap, recording and slides from the first webinar on Getting Started with Social Media can be found here. You can also access the recording and slides from the second webinar, Blogging 101 — Helping You Get Started.

Yesterday’s webinar was an hour long with the first 45 minutes spent addressing key statistics, best practices on how to create content and engage your audiences on key social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. The last fifteen minutes were spent answering questions.

During the presentation, I (Aaron Strout) was joined by small business owner, Jim Storer of the Community Roundtable and colleague/social media pro, Greg Matthews.

As promised, the full recording of the webinar is embedded below. You can also click through to see the video on Youtube.

In addition, you can access all of the key slides on Slideshare below.

And last but not least, you can access a PDF copy of Greg’s Online Activation 21-Day Plan.