Tag: Social Media

Spredfast Opens an Office in London

77489v4-max-250x250Austin-based Spredfast, the social media marketing firm, keeps on making news.
The company announced on Thursday plans to open its first European office in London. The company has customers in more than 20 different countries. It has 150 employees nationwide with 110 of those in Austin. It expects to hire 120 people this year.
The expansion follows a record funding round for Spredfast in January when the company announced it raised $32.5 million.
Spredfast named Oana Neumayer, formerly vice president of EMEA, to lead its U.K. operations.
“Spredfast experienced unprecedented growth in 2013, as did the social media market itself — changing from a mere broadcast medium to one that is much more targeted,” Rod Favaron, CEO of Spredfast, said in a news release. “With this in mind, our company is committed to providing every brand, worldwide, with the most robust, social relationship platform on the market so they can reach their customers in a highly targeted, effective way and build lasting relationships. By opening an office in the U.K. and bringing on Oana, we are taking our first step — of many — towards global expansion.”
Spredfast has created a software platform that allows companies to communicate with customers across all kinds of different social networks from Twitter to Facebook to Pinterest to Youtube.

Social Media Tips and Tools for Startups

Christie St. Martin, community manager and digital media specialist for HeroX

Christie St. Martin, community manager and digital media specialist for HeroX

Founder of Silicon Hills News
Geekdom, the collaborative co-working space in downtown San Antonio, kicked off a new speakers event Thursday called The Master’s Series.
“Our goal is to pummel you with amazing information,” said Lorenzo Gomez, director of Geekdom.
The first speaker, Christie St. Martin talked about social media tips and advice for startup companies.
Martin, formerly social media manager for JPMorgan Chase and L’Oreal, currently serves as community development and digital strategy manager for HeroX and is from Toronto. She’s helping to kick off HeroX’s first local prize San Antonio Mx Challenge.
It’s really important companies manage their social media presence online, St. Martin said. The job is one of the most important for companies and it should not be regulated to the social media savvy intern, she said. Tools like Hootsuite, social media management software, can help.
In the past, customers with a complaint would call or write a company, but today’s consumers often go directly to complain on Twitter or Facebook, she said.
“Real time interaction is 100 percent where you need to focus your time,” St. Martin said.
In her PowerPoint presentation, peppered with pictures of LOL Cats and dogs, St. Martin advised companies to be honest, be you, don’t panic and listen to customers.
“The stuff that is super important is you being a real human,” she said.
She advised companies to brainstorm all of the frequently asked questions from customers and to put them into a document. She tells them to use that document as a guidepost in answering queries online. But don’t just regurgitate the stock answers, she said. Personalize each answer and tailor it to the particular customer, she said.
St. Martin also advised startups to cultivate their influencers, which she defined as “someone who is active online and followed by your target audience.” These people can drive traffic to your website and ignite interest around your brand. She listed five common types of influencers:
1. The Networker (Social butterfly)
2. The Opinion Leader (Thought leader)
3. The Discoverer (Trendsetter)
4. The Sharer (Reporter)
5. The User (Everyday customer)
St. Martin also advised companies to post regularly on all of their social media channels. But she advised quality over quantity of posts. The social media checklist St. Martin shared with the audience is listed below. She also gave away copies of Rohit Bhargava’s book: likeonomics: the unexpected truth behind earning trust, influencing behavior and inspiring action.


NowCastSA livestreamed the presentation, which is embedded below.

Watch live streaming video from nowcastsa at livestream.com

Randi Zuckerberg Navigates the “dot complicated” World

Founder of Silicon Hills News

Moria Forbes, publisher of Forbes Woman, interviewing Randi Zuckerberg, author of dot complicated: Untangling Our Wired Lives

Moria Forbes, publisher of Forbes Woman, interviewing Randi Zuckerberg, author of dot complicated: Untangling Our Wired Lives

Randi Zuckerberg navigated the early years of social media at Facebook and remembers a pivotal moment while working on the 2008 election.
“We obviously were drinking the Kool-Aid of social media in Silicon Valley,” Zuckerberg said.
But she was shocked at how the presidential campaigns weren’t using Facebook and social media. She remembers calling the McCain staff and the Clinton staff and begging them to use Facebook and social media. But it was the Obama campaign that got onboard early and they did so without Facebook even reaching out to them. The Obama campaign’s site on Facebook contributed a significant part to that election, Zuckerberg said.
“For Facebook, people stopped thinking of it as just a college site and really starting thinking of it as a meaningful platform for political change,” she said.
From there, Zuckerberg started specializing in global politics, elections and media partnerships at Facebook.
At Dell World, Moira Forbes, publisher of ForbesWoman, interviewed Zuckerberg, now CEO of Zuckerberg Media, during a Thursday afternoon session. Zuckerberg is a former marketing executive at Facebook and author of dot complicated, a book on navigating the online world.

Zuckerberg launched her own media company

Zuckerberg got her start as a journalist working at Forbes on Fox.
Several years later, she launched her media company at Facebook, which held hack-a-thons every few months at its headquarters. People stayed up all night long and the only rule was that they had to work on a passion project outside their day jobs. And one of Zuckerberg’s passion projects was to start a television network inside Facebook. They had hundreds of millions of people using the platform at that time. She wanted to reach that audience with her own television show.
At one of the hack-a-thons, she launched her show from inside a broom closet at Facebook. She turned on a camera and began broadcasting live online. For the first show, she had six viewers and two of them were her parents.
About a week later, representatives from Singer and Songwriter Katy Perry contacted her and said Perry wanted to be on her Facebook television show.
“Then I had to pretend it was an actual television show,” Zuckerberg said.
During the next few months, she had so many celebrities and people who appeared on the television show that it showed her the power of social media and live content.
“So when President Obama asked if he could come on this Facebook television show and talk to all of America, I thought this is the moment and this is what I clearly love to do,” Zuckerberg said.
That’s when she quit her job at Facebook and launched her own media company. And she was pregnant, but she knew what she wanted to do and she wanted to take a big risk. She sold her house and put all her assets into the new company.

Navigating the dot complicated life

imgres-2Forbes then asked Zuckerberg what dot complicated meant to her and why she decided to write the book.
“Ask any random person on the street if they’ve had a “dot complicated” moment recently, you don’t even have to describe what that means, and they’ll probably say yes, let me tell you about it,” Zuckerberg said.
It might be about posting something inappropriate or someone else posting something objectionable online, she said. Mobile devices have become pervasive in our lives and they have changed every aspect of it, from finding love to parenting, Zuckerberg said.
“I have a very complicated relationship with technology, if I have this very complicated relationship, surely millions of people around the world do too. They feel like their lives are a bit overwhelmed and maybe they can learn or laugh at my story and maybe we can navigate this world together,” she said.
Zuckerberg detailed many of the most dot complicated moments of her life in the book in hopes that people can learn from them.
For example, she recounted a time when she was playing with her six month old son, she was also answering emails and texting. Then she noticed her son pick up the remote control and act like he was text messaging on it.
That’s when she realized she needed to manage her relationship with technology so she wouldn’t teach her son that technology was competing for her time with him.

The quest for privacy in an increasing transparent online world

Forbes said Zuckerberg wrote a lot about privacy in her book. She asked Zuckerberg how she managed to maintain her personal privacy and keep it separate from her public persona.
Zuckerberg recounted that last Christmas she was with her family and they were all standing around the kitchen table texting on different devices and she took a picture. She posted it to her friends on Facebook. A few hours later she saw it on a bunch of tech blogs. One of her friends had leaked the photo. She was disappointed. She knew that she shouldn’t post anything online, if she wasn’t comfortable with it going viral, but she didn’t think her friends would betray her trust.
“In our real lives, we have three levels of privacy – we have things that are super private for us and our spouses, things that are super public like announcing a new career move, but most of our life, the vast majority, lives in the middle, it’s personal,” Zuckerberg said.
“But online you really only get private and public, you lose personal and we live so much of our lives in there,” she said.
In the book, she wrote about how to get that back and what happens when a person loses that.

Being a leader in a world filled with social media

Photo courtesy of Zuckerberg Media

Photo courtesy of Zuckerberg Media

Zuckerberg also discussed the different generations of management in the workforce. Older workers tend to be more conservative and don’t share as much and millennial workers feel comfortable sharing their lives online, Forbes said. But now more than ever, being authentic is increasingly important to building a following, to getting people inspired by your mission and to becoming an effective leader, Forbes said.
The professional and personal identities have been blended, Zuckerberg said. Companies need to provide social media training to their employees when they hire them, she said.
Millennials want to be posting all the time, Zuckerberg said
“It’s better to arm them with things that they should be posting about rather than letting their imaginations run wild,” she said.
Today, every single employee is an ambassador for your brand, Forbes said.
And every company is a media company, Zuckerberg said.
That can be quite a challenge, Zuckerberg said. She’s had some awkward conversations with people about things that they’ve posted that she never thought she would have to have.
“People have freedom of speech,” she said. “You can’t tell them don’t post things on Twitter, nor would you want to govern who they are. That’s why you hired them in the first place.”
But data does show that it makes you more likeable if you share personal things online and Facebook friend your boss, Zuckerberg said.

Etiquette lessons learned along the way

Forbes asked Zuckerberg about the toughest online social etiquette lesson she had to learn.
Zuckerberg recounted a time when she and her friends couldn’t get into a bar in New York because they didn’t look cool enough.
“I desperately wanted to be so cool even though I was a Silicon Valley geek and we got rejected from this really cool bar. It sucked,” she said.
Twitter had just launched as a platform. She took out her mobile phone and she tweeted wouldn’t it be bad if that bouncer’s Facebook profile went down.
“Wow, really bad thing to say, very irresponsible and the tech press really took me to storm about that,” Zuckerberg said. “It was ironic because I had been spending the last few years educating celebrities, politicians and business leaders about how all of our voices travel faster and farther than ever thanks to this megaphone of social media. But what I hadn’t realized, I hadn’t stepped back and thought, gosh, I have a megaphone too. All of us are sort of mini-celebrities in this world. All of us could go viral at any moment.”
Everyone needs to be very vigilant about their reputations and how they manage social media, Zuckerberg said.

Unplugging from technology

Forbes asked Zuckerberg about managing the constant flow of technology and doing “digital detoxes,” in which people disconnect from their devices.
People are connecting around the clock and people must set boundaries on their own personal time.
“Set some firm rules,” Zuckerberg said. “The more you start setting those rules, the more you’ll train the people around you to respect those times too.”
She has a rule in her house: no tech in the bedroom.
She also said studies show that people who don’t connect with technology whether it’s Facebook, their mobile phone, texts, email, voicemail, first thing in the morning, are happier. She said it’s best to manage the technology and not let it manage your life. She avoids her mobile phone for the first 40 minutes of every day.
“All devices have a curfew in our house for that reason,” she said. “You need that moment of clarity and unplugging in your day.”

Mass Relevance closes on $3.3 million in venture financing

Mass Relevance announced Wednesday that it has closed a $3.3 million venture capital funding round.
Austin Ventures led the series A round and other investors included Battery Ventures, Floodgate Fund, Allegro Venture Patners and Metamorphic Ventures.
Mass Relevance plans to use the money to accelerate its growth. Sam Decker, the company’s founder and CEO, said the company planned to triple in size this year in an interview with Silicon Hills News late last year.
Mass Relevance has 120 clients that use its real-time social media curation platform. It also signed a deal with Twitter last November that officially made Mass Relevance Twitter’s first curation partner licensed to re-syndicate Twitter content.
“The financing comes as leading brands, ranging from Madonna and MTV through Target and Purina, turn to Mass Relevance to use real-time social content to drive engagement on television, web and mobile,” according to the company. Its clients include the “Big Four” television networks, 7 of the top 10 2011 cable networks, as well as top brands like Target, Cisco, Ford, Samsung, New York Giants, Pepsi, Purell and Victoria’s Secret.
“People around the world are actively participating in social conversations about brands, media and entertainment, and this content is passing us by faster than ever before,” Decker said in a news statement.
A year ago, Mass Relevance raised $2.2 million in a large seed stage round of funding from Austin Ventures, Floodgate and angel investors.

CrunchFund invests in Socialware

CrunchFund announced its investment in Austin-based Socialware in an extension to a $7 million venture capital round.
Michael Arrington, founder of TechCrunch, created CrunchFund along with Patrick Gallagher and MG Siegler, to invest in early stage startups.
Socialware, which was founded in 2008 and has raised $14 million, is a mature company with 50 employees and 125 customers, according to this story in the Austin American-Statesman.
But the investors reported they see potential in Socialware’s business. The company provides software and services to businesses that allow their employees to post to social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
Other investors in Socialware include Floodgate, G-51 Capital, Morgan Stanley Expansion Capital and Silverton Partners.

Mass Relevance plans to triple in growth in 2012

In the old days, people yelled at their TVs.
In the digital age, people can tweet their opinion to a television show.
And the show just might tweet back with a special offer or advertisement.
That’s the sweet spot of an Austin-based startup called Mass Relevance.
“It’s a growing trend to integrate social conversations into content streams and advertising,” said Sam Decker, the company’s founder and CEO.
Recently, Mass Relevance worked with Paramount Pictures for the release of Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol movie with a “Flock to unlock” social media campaign. People who shared content about the movie on Twitter or Facebook earned a reward. They got to watch a special clip of the movie in advance of its release. That kind of campaign can increase brand awareness while engaging an audience, Decker said.
Mass Relevance, which has 20 employees, now has 100 clients that use its real-time social media curation platform. It also signed a deal with Twitter in November that officially made Mass Relevance Twitter’s first curation partner licensed to re-syndicate Twitter content.
“We’ve been working with them over the years, working with them in parallel,” Decker said. “For us, it just formalized the relationship.”
In addition to publishing Twitter content, content publishers working with Mass Relevance can earn money from the content through sponsorships and advertising.
“Media companies are tied to creating and curating an audience,” Decker said. “Twitter can be part of their audience to drive advertising dollars.”
Mass Relevance’s platform allows content publishers to create new revenue streams around curated and integrated experiences on TV, web, mobile and large screen displays. Mass Relevance’s platform allows publishers to aggregate; filter and moderate content in real time and then broadcast it to an audience.
Mass Relevance’s clients include NBC Sports, NFL Football, Cisco, Samsung, and Pepsi and media companies like CNN, Boston Global, New York Times and Washington Post. Sports teams using the platform include the New York Giants, San Francisco Giants and the Boston Celtics.
President Obama even used Mass Relevance’s platform when he did his Twitter Town Hall last July. And television shows like NBC’s The Voice and Fox’s The X-Factor used Mass Relevance’s platform to get real-time feedback on air from the at home audience.
“The whole idea here is there are more and more people participating and creating real-time content,” Decker said.
But the advertising networks have not kept pace with new ways of delivering content, Decker said.
“This is just the first inning for media companies to create much more integrated social experiences for their audiences,” Decker said. “They haven’t maximized the potential of the platform yet.”
Working after hours in Austin coffee shops, developers Barry Cox, Brian Dainton and Eric Falcao started TweetRiver, a social media curation platform, in 2009, according to Mass Relevance’s “Our Story.” Then Decker, who had left his job as chief marketing officer at Bazaarvoice, joined them. All of them became founders of what evolved to become Mass Relevance except Cox who remains a strategic advisor.
A year ago, Mass Relevance raised $2.2 million in a large seed stage round of funding from Austin Ventures, Floodgate and angel investors.
In 2012, Mass Relevance plans to seek another round of funding, but Decker declined to state the amount. The funds will go to expand Mass Relevance’s business.
“We’re looking to roughly triple in growth,” Decker said.
Mass Relevance plans to hire 20 to 30 people in 2012 including developers, sales people and client account managers.
“We’re nearing profitability and forecast to be so next year,” Decker said. “We’ve proven out the model and now it’s about scaling it and growing it much bigger.”

Innovation in Austin: Sam Decker from Springbox on Vimeo.

Hurricane Party reinvents itself as Foreca.st

Eric Katerman, one of the founders of Austin-based Hurricane Party, spoke at Austin Startup Week at the Tiniest Bar in Texas. He said the team at Hurricane Party spent a year building a product that no one really wanted. They’ve since created Foreca.st, which is in Beta testing.
Hurricane Party was party of The Capital Factory’s startup class of 2010. The founders, Rene Pinnell and Katerman received $20,000 in seed stage funding to develop their idea.
At South by Southwest 2010, Hurricane Party generated a lot of buzz. It’s free app for smart phones that helps people plan parties on the fly.
But as Katerman explains in the video, they created something that didn’t gain enough traction in the marketplace.
So they went back to the drawing board to look at what worked and what didn’t work. (The whole adage about failing and learning from it in a startup environment.) That’s when they came up with Foreca.st, an app that lets a select group of friends know where you’re heading for lunch or a party or any kind of get together.

Austin-based Mass Relevance partners with Twitter

Twitter wants to harness the power of TV to encourage people to log on to the micro-blogging site.
To that end, it struck up a partnership with Austin-based Mass Relevance today. Mass Relevance created a content curation system for an estimated 250 million tweets each day.
For example, NBC’s The Voice used Mass Relevance’s platform to feature tweets about its show during its live broadcast. The ability to get real-time feedback from viewers during the show made it edgy, fresh and plugged in.
Mass Relevance also worked with E! Online during the Oscars to publish the best and most relevant tweets to a microsite the broadcaster created for the show.
The startup works with companies to curate Twitter streams about their brand, product or show and display the content on TV and other devices.
Sam Decker, CEO of Mass Relevance, left another Austin startup Bazaarvoice, to found the company in 2010.
Twitter published this blog post about the partnership saying it extends Twitter’s reach and fills the need from brands, publishers and TV networks looking to expand their content. Twitter also announced a partnership with Crimson Hexagon, which created a social media monitoring and analysis system for brands.

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