A Look at Social Media Stocks

Well we've reached the end of July, which means all the companies have reported their Q2 earnings. We thought it would be interesting to take a look at some social media related stocks, and see how they've performed in the last 12 months (8/1/13 - 7/31/14).

The Heavyweights

Let's start with the ones we all know and that need no introduction: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google (for Google Plus and YouTube.)

Facebook

Those who doubted Zuckerburg were punished by the market. FB stock is up 248% over 2 years and 94% over the last 12 months.

Twitter

Unfortunately our 140 character friends did not have the same success. The stock is flat over a 12 month period, but with ups and downs so you might have made or lost a lot of money depending on when you got in and out.

LinkedIn

It's been a solid performer for years, but ran into some problems this year. If you got in 2 years ago, you are still up 88%, but if you bought 12 months ago, you're down by 15%. Hopefully you didn't get out at the floor in May.

Google

Even though most of Google's revenue comes from AdSense, it's worth including here because of YouTube and Google+. It's had a pretty good 12 month run, up 28%, but has been pretty flat since the beginning of 2014.

Foreign Social Media Companies

It's easy for Americans to forget there's a whole world out there, with social networks catering to gigantic populations. Here are a couple of companies you can consider investing in.

Tencent

This Chinese holding company provides online games, community value-added services, and applications across various Internet and mobile platforms, such as QQ Instant Messenger, WeChat, QQ.com, QQ Games, Qzone, 3g.QQ.com, SoSo, PaiPai, and Tenpay. This stock is cheap enough to get into, and has provided a stellar 72% return in the last 12 months.

Sina

Sina.com is less of a pure social media play. It's described as "An online brand advertising portal that provides region-focused format and content, including multimedia news, sporting events news, automobile-related news, business news coverage and personal finance columns, entertainment news and events, technology updates, digital products reviews, luxury goods and services, collectibles, and video products, as well as an interactive platform for fashion-conscious users to share comments and ideas on health, cosmetics, and beauty topics." Like some U.S. media companies, it's struggled over the last year, down 34%.

Renren:

They want to be the Facebook of China, and are described as "A social networking Website that enables its users to communicate and stay connected with their friends, classmates, family members, and co-workers; 56.com is a video service that allows its users to upload, view, and share user generated content videos." Unfortunately, it hasn't seen Facebook's returns, and is down about 17% for the year.

Other Large Tech

The rest of the companies we looked at are large enough to play an important role in social media, but do not fall directly into the category of social network.

Apple

It's everyone's favorite company to adore. And if you bought $5,000 in Apple stock a year ago, your 46% gain would have covered the cost of your new Macbook Air, iPhone and iPad.

Microsoft

It was a busy year in Redmond, and I hope you took advantage of all the positive change. If you did, you're up a healthy 36%. 

Yahoo

Well, they've been busy, buying Tumblr and anything else that seems for sale. But it could be said that the most profitable part of the company is their investment in Alibaba. The market doesn't seem to quite know how to value the company now. After a run up from 28 to 40 from September to January, it's jumped back and forth between 33 and 39 since then. If you got in a year ago, you are up 28%. if you got in at some other time, you could be up or down.

Yelp

We can't forget everyone's favorite review site. So how does the market rate Yelp? I guess you could say it gets 4 stars, up 30% for the year. However, it was up at 5 stars in March before the stock plummeted from about 95 to 52 over the course of 2 months.. It's rebounded since, sitting around 66. But it's been a wild ride for anyone whose held it a long time.

AOL

And finally, AOL. What list of online stocks would be complete without the venerable grandfather who has seen booms, busts and everything in between. People forget that at one time AOL basically was the internet for millions of people. The Facebook generation may find AOL irrelevant, but it's still a company with a $3.1 Billion Market Cap and $2.36 Billion in Revenue. After watching it bottom out below $34 in October 2013, some of you might have taken some money off the table when it rebounded up above $50 in January. The rest of you may have watched that spike and were biting your nails when it fell back down to $35 in May. If you did nothing, you broke even except for the cost of the antacid and heart pills. At least you didn't lose money.

 

Join us Thursday 6/19 to Talk About Booze

Ok, we're not going to just talk about booze. We're going to talk about how to market booze. Specifically, how to build a brand if you run a distillery.

I'll have the chance to moderate a panel featuring executives from four of Seattle's small craft distilleries. 

Learn more about the event and buy tickets here. But here's the general overview:

Panel

Agenda

  • 6:00-7:00 - cocktails, get comfortable
  • 7:00-8:15 - topic presentations
  • 8:15-8:30 - Q&A
  • 8:30-9:30 - socializing

Cocktails: Spotlight Cocktails from each of the distilleries will be provided by Hand Crank Films. Light food also provided.

How Running a Social Media Campaign is Like Coaching Little League

It's a signal of the beginning of summer. Across the country, dads, friends, uncles and even moms embark on the enjoyable, maddening and always unpredictable adventure of coaching a Little League baseball team.

Other than stories about the bad beat at the poker table, there may not be an activity that is so mind-absorbing to you - and that absolutely no one around you wants to hear about. No one outside your cocoon of youth baseball fanatics cares about little Johnny's double play. 

That being said, here are a few thoughts about how coaching 9 year old baseball players is a lot like running a social marketing program.

1) Every channel / kid is different: Coaching would be easy if you could just say the same thing to everyone. Just explain how to turn your hips when swinging, and watch everyone execute the call to action perfectly. But one player is going to interpret that message as, "Pretend like its a hula-hoop" and another is going to hear, "Keep my feet perfectly still like they are in cement and turn my hips." The message may be the same on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, but the way you present is going to be a little different, the same way you have to nuance your message differently for different kids.

2) No matter what you do, some audiences are just not going to do what you want them to do: You can test visuals, posts, tweets, videos and more. You think your creative is amazing, and yet there are still potential customers who will ignore anything you try to tell them. You can explain over and over again, "Run through first base." You can do drills in which they run through first base. You can have quizzes and ask them what they are supposed to do when they get to first base. During the game, 11 out of 12 kids will run through first base. And the 12th kid is still going to slide, come up short, be out by 2 feet, end the rally and the coach will have to resist throwing his scorebook through the fence.

3) You will have some successes you shouldn't have, which makes it hard to change: A 9 year old doesn't think about how good he can be someday. He sees that he hits better than most of the kids, and doesn't care that he only keeps one hand on the bat. To him, it's good enough and he's comfortable with it. You reason with him to use two hands. You bribe him. You tell him. "You will be a better hitter if you keep that 2nd hand on the bat." He finally agrees to take a swing in batting practice, keeping both hands on the bat. Of course he misses the ball. Now he's convinced that your way is dumb and never going to listen to you again. By all accounts, there's no way he should be able to hit with one hand, but since he can, he won't change. We have social marketing campaigns that are "above average" that we are scared to optimize. Maybe we know we are doing some things that aren't perfect, but the client thinks they are good enough so we don't want to rock the boat. If we dip our toes in the water and have a day of less success, we hear it from our stakeholder, and quickly we revert back to what we know. But we know we should carry forward with the "right" way to do it, even if it hurts at first.

4) There is always a team with greater resources who looks impossible to beat: There's a team in our league that has a pretty significant advantage over the rest of us due to some back room wheeling and dealing. The team knew of a stud player, told him to skip the draft, and then had him join their team later while no one was paying attention. Plus, the coaches' kids are all studs that got placed on the team with their dads. So there's a team in the league stocked with  4 first round quality players and everyone else has one or two. Your social marketing team has less people than Starbucks, less brand power than Coke, less executive buy-in than Ford, and can't afford RedBull's space shuttle. So you have to be smarter, like Dollar Shave Club, or more creative, like BlendTec. You need to see who you can beat head on, and understand where you might have to accept finishing second or third.

5) The losses will be hard to take but the wins will be fantastic: Something is always going to surprise you. The kid who never swings will somehow hit a grounder, make it to first - and even run through the bag! The center fielder who hasn't caught a pop-up all year will chase down a bomb in the gap and make an amazing play. The right fielder staring at the flowers will field a base hit and inexplicably throw the batter out at first. You just never know where these unexpected wins will happen. You'll want to take credit for them, but instead, just enjoy them. It doesn't matter if the idea for the Facebook post that went viral came from you, your CEO, the customer service rep or the janitor. When it works, we all feel good. 

Those are 5 takeaways. We could come up with more, but like most Little League baseball games, this post has dragged on pretty long. Happy to hear your insights on the topic.

In Case You Missed It

It's been a busy couple of weeks in the Online Marketing world. I suspect it has something to do with Memorial Day being right around the corner and the start of summer vacations.  Here are some stories you probably want to make sure you didn't miss

1) FCC chairman reportedly revises net neutrality proposal after public outcry

Net Neutrality was a hot topic the last two weeks. At least for now, it appears the FCC is bowing to public pressure to re-think their stance. The Wall Street Journal reports that "The WSJ says the altered report will offer "assurances that the agency won't allow companies to segregate web traffic into fast and slow lanes," but may not appease the huge number of people who feel the FCC's plans will allow internet service providers to dictate consumer web usage."

2) Google Sets up First Retail"Glass" Display at PGA Event

Just a short while after releasing Glass to the public (at $1,500) Google set up a table at the Players Championship PGA event at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. It was the first such time the company has "sold the device in a public, face-to-face setting," reports Marketing Land. Interestingly, news of the display was first captured by potential customers on, where it was then picked up by news outlets.

3) Record Number of Underage Children in India Using Facebook Thanks to Mom and Dad

This seemed to be a strange story to me. As we in the United States are concerned about keeping our kids off of social networks, parents in Tier-1 and Tier-2 Indian cities are helping their toddlers and tykes get on Facebook. 73% of these kids in Tier-1 and Tier-2 cities now have active accounts.

4) European Court Rules Against Google In "Right to Be Forgotten"

The most ludicrous court ruling in some time came out of Europe this week. According to the ruling, Internet companies can be made to remove irrelevant or excessive personal information from search engine results. In what is almost the definition of the word, "irony," a Spanish man sued Google because he did not want anyone to know that his home was foreclosed up in 1998. And now, because he won the suit, everyone in the world knows about it.

5) Oh, and Pinterest Raised $200M in a New Round of Funding

At a $5 Billion valuation.

Did the Twittersphere Make #BringBackOurGirls a Top News Story Again

Last Saturday, a friend of mine asked, "How come when 200+ people died on a Malaysian airliner, CNN ran the story for 60 straight days. But if 200+ Nigerian girls are kidnapped and turned into sex slaves, the news media forgets about it 24 hours later?"

I thought he had to be exaggerating, but sure enough, on my BBC app, there was no coverage of the story - not even in the "Africa" section.

This week, we began to see more coverage. Why is this?

I went to Topsy.com and checked out the data on the hashtag "#BringBackOurGirls."

Between April 22 and May 8, there have been more than 1.7 Million tweets with that hashtag, and the momentum continues to grow. Unsurprisingly, now the BBC has a headline on its home page.

 

I believe we have to credit the influence of the international social media community to drive this story back to the top of the Broadcast news cycle. Any story that Michelle Obama, Piers Morgan, Patton Oswalt, Unicef, Peter King, and Kim Kardashian can all get on the same side of, must be compelling.

Now with the right amount of mainstream media pressure, maybe we'll see more government interaction as well.

The Do's and Don't of Food Porn

Spring is in the air. The sun is shining, the weather is warming and we’re escaping our homes to eat, drink and be merry with our friends.

From rooftop decks to backyard bbq’s, we’re going to have a few months filled with frosty margaritas, colorful salads, giant racks of grilled meat, and lively looking vegetables. And what’s the first thing we do now before enjoying the taste of the food?

No, not pray.

We shoot it.

Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat and more. We all believe our food deserves to be famous. It’s not enough that it’s going to delight, nourish and sustain us. This food needs to help brand and identify us in our social channels as well.

Never before has food carried such a responsibility with it. Tasting great is a nice afterthought, but first and foremost, it must LOOK fabulous.

With all the opportunities you’ll have this spring and summer, we’ve put together a short list of some Do’s and Don’ts of Food Porn.

Don’t: Take a picture of a ham sandwich.

When Twitter first launched, the joke was that people were tweeting things like, “I just had a ham sandwich.” Instagramming your ham sandwich means you are either incredibly ironic, or out of touch.

Do: Make the scenery part of the shot.

Is your delectable dinner on a bridge, on a boat, on a mountain top, or on the 45th floor? That’s cool. I didn’t get to eat my watermelon from the top of the chair lift at Squaw Valley. I’m jealous. Show me that picture please.


Don’t: Impress us with the restaurant you’re at.

Good for you. You are rich enough to go to Canlis. Well, those who can afford Canlis don’t tell people they are at Canlis. If you take a picture of your $250 tasting plate, we’ll assume you are with your rich uncle or you hit the lottery on Match.com.

Do: Show us something we wouldn’t order ourselves.

You’ve channeled your inner Andrew Zimmer and are eating shaved foie gras with lychee, whale meat hamburgers or Feijoada. You win. I wouldn’t order it and I wouldn’t want my fellow diners to order it, but I’m actually curious what it looks like. I’ll check out that photo.

Duck Meatloaf Sandwich

Duck Meatloaf Sandwich

Don’t: Add a filter to a shot of a Red Robin hamburger and think you are impressing us.

Come on. We all know how to scroll over and press, “Sepia.” It doesn’t make your trip to a national chain any more interesting.

Do: Show us crazy drinks

They make us thirsty.

Do: Include visually exciting background pieces such as plates, place settings, glasses and anything else that enhances the photo.

Whether we’re at our friend's house or an eclectic bistro, the accessories are an important part of food presentation. I may not be able to replicate Bobby Flay’s ribs, but I may want to buy the same plates he uses. That’s Instagram content I will scroll through.

 

The list of Do’s and Don’t of Food Porn is much longer than this. If you have any favorite suggestions or pet-peeves, let us know in the comments section below.    

Apple and Samsung's Buzz Marketing Battle Escalates

Ellen's Grammy selfie lives on.

This week we heard that Apple was adding a new "Buzz Marketing Manager" to their team. Some of the core responsibilities include the following:

  • Product placement in film & television.
  • Work with the creative side of film & TV to place Apple products. 
  • Build and maintain relationships with high-profile influencers. Influential Apple users could be directors, actors, artists, athletes, designers and select brands or institutions. 
  • Leverage relationships to book events at Apple Store Soho.
  • The position works primarily with outside partners but also cross-functionally with PR, iTunes, Product Marketing, Marcom, and Apple Retail.

Samsung, who manufactured that famous celebrity selfie, has shot back to Apple's expansion into Buzz Marketing with news of another celebrity endorsement. Mashable reports that Lebron James will be releasing less content across social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, and keeping his best stuff for a mobile app available exclusively to Samsung users.

LeBron App Samsung Mashable.jpg

The Buzz Marketing teams are being drawn up. Should be a fun set of campaigns to keep an eye on.

A Lesson in Backing Up Content

We should be ashamed of ourselves. We know better.

Over the last 3 or 4 years, we've gleefully opened our Wordpress Dashboard, typed out our thoughts and filled our blog with what we think was interesting content.

Why would we back up the content in a shared folder, Google Docs or Dropbox? We naively ignored the laws of nature.

Web sites get hacked by people who hack web sites for a living. And it's just a matter of time before these hackers find your site and take a crack at it.

Our hackers were pretty tame. They dropped in a virus that put a Viagra ad on each page. Not life-threatening, but annoying.

But worse, the virus seemed to infect almost all of our posts and pages on Wordpress. We couldn't clean it all up. And so we lost a ton of our work from over the last few years.

Yes, it's ironic that a Content Marketing company had all their content wiped out. But rather than fret about, we get to use this as a learning exercise.

We've built a new temporary site on Squarespace, and we'll get some more content filled in. In the meantime, the cupboards are pretty bare.

 

Congratulations Relaborate for Unveiling New Product

We'd like to congratulate our friends across the hall, at Relaborate, for unveiling the new version of their product today. Way to go guys!

Relaborate actually spun out of Social3i a little more than a year ago. As an agency, we were looking for tools that could help us create blog posts, newsletters, and other long-form content more efficiently and with better results. We weren't able to find a tool that we liked, so we raised little bit of money, hired a development team and spun out a new company which we called Relaborate.

Since the product has been in its infancy, Social3i has been using Relaborate for our clients, to create more interesting content, more often, and involving more people in the organization. It's helped us transform from being a social media agency focused only on engagement, to a complete content marketing firm driving traffic and leads.

Relaborate Questions
Relaborate Questions

With this latest version of Relaborate, which we've been testing about the last month, we see even more opportunity for companies and brands to produce outstanding long-form content. Since we've been able to work so closely with Relaborate over the last year, we've really been able to see how the product has developed. The team has been incredibly responsive to customer feedback, and writing content has never been easier.

Relaborate Photo Search
Relaborate Photo Search

Now this doesn't mean that any agency's role is diminished. Not at all. In fact an agency can actually produce more blog posts and content, and provide better results for their clients using Relaborate. The questions and answers, workflow and collaboration tools, and especially the opportunity to use email to contribute to a blog post, are all super helpful and generating content from across the organization, and establishing a social culture.

By using Relaborate, agencies like us are able to provide you content marketing services at rates that may surprise you. Please give us a call or shoot us an email if you'd like us to give you a demo of how we can help you with your content marketing needs.

Congratulations again to the guys from Relaborate. Nice work.

A Journey Through Spain - Sangria, Twitter, & Spanish Markets

Today I'm back to technology. I have my phone connected. I'm tweeting up a storm. I'm tired from a 30+ hour trip home. I have my 20oz Starbucks that is making me shake from caffeine overload. I'm surely not in Spain any longer. The past three months, I spent living in Leon, Spain and working remotely with Social3i.

The months I spent in Spain were wonderful and are something I will look back upon with fond memories.

Why was this possible? Technology and Social Media.

Technology advancement in the past few years has been amazing. Not only can you email back and forth from anywhere in the world, but you can video chat, collaborate on documents, and make international phone calls for nearly nothing. Working from Spain felt almost as if I was working remotely from home, or as one of our clients put it "It's like you were never gone."

My time spent in Spain taught me many important lessons. Not only were there cultural differences to adapt to, but also many aspects of professional life.

What did I learn in my time spent there?

Relationships Are Key

Slowing down can be a good thing. From siestas to long meals, the Spanish know how to enjoy life and each other. In Spain, business relationships stem from long term relationships with one another. Trust is a key part of doing business and building the foundation for successful professional connections.

Learn Another Language - Pronto

In high school, I took my Spanish class for granted. Little did I know it would be a huge chapter of my life, allowing me to connect with people from all around the world. The world is quickly globalizing, thus making it important for business professionals to speak not only their language proficiently, but that of another country. %%anc%% if (1==1) {document.getElementById("link140").style.display="none";}

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By 2050, 10 percent of the world population will be speaking Spanish, spurred mostly by its growth in the United States. For many companies, the Spanish speaking demographic is a huge part of their market.

Today we Skype with China, we import from Spain, we trade with Russia - learning a second language is become even more pertinent than ever before. Not only does being bilingual help our clients, but it has opened many doors both professionally and personally.

Jamon, Paella, and Sangria Are Delicious.

Also so is the beer, the tapas, and the pastries. Not that I ate these everyday or anything....

Spanish Markets Are Open For Business

Though right now the unemployment rate is nearly 25%  in Spain, the country presents a plethora of business opportunities. Why? In the United States we have everything. From 52 flavors at the local ice cream parlor to 100 cereal boxes down the breakfast isle, we are clearly lucky. Though Spain has much to offer, there are many items that would do well not only in the United States, but overseas. From marketing services to exporting commodities, there is much opportunity for United States businesses to do very well in Spain.

Social Networking Is Great

Each time I have lived in a new place, I have used Twitter to help me connect to the marketing and technology scene. From London to San Francisco, Twitter is one of the best ways to easily connect with professionals and friends in your new zip code. Going to a new place? Use FollowerWonk.com to find people in your area. Next, follow them and start up a conversation.

Jamon, Paella, and Sangria Are Delicious.

Oh wait..... I already said that.

Though I already miss the delicious food and buena gente, I am happy to be back in the land of plentiful coffee. I am looking forward to seeing everyone around the marketing and social media events in Seattle.

Have you lived in a foreign country for an extended period of time? Would love to hear your thoughts on professional life in the comments below.

A Look Back In Social Media - 2012's Biggest Moments

The year 2012 has seen an array of digital trends, a number of successful social media campaigns, and various changes to the social media world. Here is our look back on social media this year.

MySpace Makes A Comeback

In 2012, the once forgotten MySpace revamped with a new logo, new design, and a new outlook towards the future. In 2013, it will be interesting to see whether the social network can compete with the social media giants of 2012.

Facebook Hits 1 Billion Users During 2012 and IPOs

This massive number is the largest a social network has yet to experience. In the months to come, we'll see whether more flock to the platform, or choose to abandon it.

Facebook remains the most-visited social network in the U.S. via PC (152.2 million visitors), mobile apps (78.4 million users) and mobile web (74.3 million visitors), and is multiple times the size of the next largest social site across each platform.  The site is also the top U.S. web brand in terms of time spent, as some 17 percent of time spent online via personal computer is on Facebook. via Nielsen's Social Media Report 2012

The Facebook IPO was another key milestone in 2012 social media. On May 18th, the networking giant held its initial public offering.

In 2012, Pinterest Became The Fastest Site To Ever Reach The 10 Million Unique Visitor Mark.

As we enter 2013, Pinterest will be a platform that many marketers choose to utilize in their marketing mix. As digital platforms become more visual, marketers will need to adapt their marketing strategies to encompass these changes.

LinkedIn Launches Business Profile Pages

This year, LinkedIn pushed a number of updates to the platform making it even more valuable to employers and potential employees. One of the most important updates of 2012, was the launch of business page. Now businesses have the tools to make their profiles more appealing to prospects and new employees.

Instagram Is Sold To Facebook

This year one of 2012's biggest acquisitions was Facebook buying Instagram for 1 billion dollars. This acquisition continues to help Facebook maintain it's competitive edge as the web's biggest social network.

Both smartphones and tablet sales rose above PC sales in 2011. In 2012, this trend continued to remained consistent blowing PC sales out of the water. Brands have will need to adapt to these changes by making their websites mobile and tablet compatible and releasing branded applications.

Twitter Adds Their Own Image Filters, Competing With Instagram

Twitter, in response to Facebook's aquisition of Instragram, no longers posts the application to tweets. Twitter has added their own filters.

And one of our favorite's : PSY's Gangam Style, surpasses Justin Bieber as the #1 video on YouTube.

What do you think were the biggest social media moments of 2012? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Big Moves to the Big City

There are many great things about working in this industry, and one of them is the ability to work with people across the map.  In fact, it wasn't long ago that we noticed that we had spent the week talking with clients and potential clients in New York, Ohio, Oregon, Florida, the Bay Area, Seattle and Spain. It dawned on us that with all the work we were doing, relatively little had to be done in the city we where had our desks. It wasn't very much longer before the bright lights of San Francisco caught Arianna's eye.  The lure of a new adventure beckoned.

And suddenly, all the pieces fell into place for Social3i to expand to New York.

We're sad not to have Arianna's creative brainpower stimulating conversation in the Social3i office, but it's exciting to think about all the new people she'll meet and all the new things we'll learn from her experiences in New York City.  We're a digital agency and now we're living that philosophy in every sense of the word, adopting a truly digital culture.

So if you are in New York and meet Arianna, please say hello.  The only thing left for us up here is to figure out where we want to go next.

Congratulations to All Winners at UW Business Plan Competition

Last night, The University of Washington's annual Business Plan Competition (BPC) finished its final round, awarding a few lucky companies some fabulous cash prizes. This year, the BPC had 101 entries from teams all around Washington State - a record number for the competition. More entries and more sponsors meant more prize categories were added to the competition. Not only did students compete for the $25,000 prize but also in the following categories:

  • New Prize from the AARP Foundation
  • DLA Piper BEST SERVICE/RETAIL Idea
  • UIEvolution BEST TECHNOLOGY Idea
  • Fenwick & West BEST CLEAN-TECH Idea
  • Gist/RIM BEST CONSUMER PRODUCT Idea
  • Sensors in Motion MOST SUSTAINABLE Idea
  • Perkins Coie BEST INNOVATION Idea

The UW BPC is one of my favorite events of the year.  As a former competitor (who won a little money), it brings back great memories.  As a faculty member at the UW, it's fantastic to see your former students up on stage holding the big check.

University of Washington BPC

A big congratulation goes out to all of the teams who put in many long days and nights prepping for the competition. But I'll admit, I clapped a little harder for the teams with people I knew.  So extra congratulations to the following:

$25,000 WRF Capital Grand Prize: UrbanHarvest, UW, will grow the healthiest, tastiest, and most environmentally-sustainable produce available anywhere, all on a rooftop near you. Team: Chris Bajuk, MBA/M.S. Real Estate and Chris Sheppard, MBA/Juris Doctorate

Follow them here at @urbanharvestwa

$10,000 Herbert B. Jones Second Prize: Xylemed, UW, is a cloud-based electronic patient tracking and operations management system that leverages existing information systems to manage hospital workflows—improving communication and safety, while reducing expenses. Team: Ben Andersen, TMMBA; Marc Brown, TMMBA; Anoop Gupta, TMMBA; Jason Imani, TMMBA; and Glen Jensen, TMMBA

$3,000 AARP Foundation Prize: Flash Volunteer, UW.  Offers a set of mobile and social tools to create, discover, track and easily share volunteer service events via a variety of integrated channels. Brad Wilke, MBA 2012; Damon Gjording, EMBA 2012; Logan Buesching; and Janis Lee

Follow them here at @FlashVolunteer

UIEvolution Best Technology Idea: EchoGuide Medical, UW, is developing a disposable ultrasound based catheter guidance technology that will address the current high rate of error in placement of catheters during ventriculostomy procedures while reducing cost.  Team: Daniel Butts, Evening MBA; Edward Lo, PhD Bioengineering; Molly Moore, Evening MBA; Revathi Murthy, MS Bioengineering; Michael Robinson, Graduate Chemical Engineering; Ryan St. John, Evening MBA; and Anning Yao

Gist Best Consumer Product Idea: GroBox, UW, aims to make it super easy to grow your own fruits and vegetables in a small amount of space. Team: Amador Abreu, TMMBA; Jared McInelly, TMMBA; Aaron Parsley, TMMBA; Steve Stroberger, TMMBA; and Murat Yanar, TMMBA

Follow them here at @Growspaces

Perkins Coie Best Innovation Idea: SuperCritical Technologies, UW, provides a compact power solution that will revolutionize the way we generate and distribute electricity. Team: Chal Davidson, Evening MBA; Max Effgen, Evening MBA; Nico Spitz, Evening MBA; Brooke Macomber; and Josh Walter

Follow them here at @sprcriticaltech

The CIE will have a full list of winners up soon

B2B & Social Media - Why Would I Do That?

Social media is not only a great way to promote a consumer brand,  but a digital strategy can also be incorporated into the marketing mix of a business to business company. Around the web, we have seen some great examples of social strategy in this industry. Today, we'd like to share with you two of the best B2B social presences we have come across.

But wait...what are B2B companies using social media for?

In a recent study, Kemp Goldberg found that "Top use for using social media in the supply chain is to stay on top of industry trends. Current users also cite connecting with industry experts and peers, while potential users have more business focused secondary objectives like obtaining pricing" Read Full Study Here

Who are our favorite B2B social presences?

SalesForce - "CRM software and cloud computing for the social enterprise from salesforce.com, the leader in CRM solutions"

Salesforce displays all social channels prominently on their home page and encourages others to friend and follow. Often, a brand may have social channels, but fails to incorporate them on their website. Eliminating a hunt for social allows the customer to easily connect and engage.

SalesForce Google+
SalesForce Google+

Not only does the brand have social presence on Google+, but so does the company's CEO.

Twilio Logo

Twilio - "Twilio provides infrastructure APIs for businesses to build scalable, reliable voice and text messaging apps."

Twilio has done a great job of establishing themselves as a leader in the tech scene. By contributing relevant information, their blog posts, tweets, and Facebooks posts are shared around the web. The Twilio blog offers great information about industry events, product demonstrations, and acts as a hub for developers and customers to connect with the brand.

Twilio Blog
Twilio Blog

Social media can be a great way to put a face behind a B2B company, as shown by both Twilio and Salesforce. Through social media, both of these companies have established themselves as leaders in the software industry. 

10 Creative Uses Of The New Facebook Timeline

Today, Facebook's new Timeline is made mandatory for all brands. Though the new timeline has only been around for a short period of time,  brands have already adapted the new feature and have began to use the Timeline in a variety of creative ways. Here are 10 brands that we think are doing a great job telling their brand story and history :

Sears

Sears Facebook Timeline
Sears Facebook Timeline

Starbucks

Starbucks Facebook Timeline
Starbucks Facebook Timeline

Tiffany

Tiffany Facebook Timeline
Tiffany Facebook Timeline

Coke

Coke Facebook Timeline
Coke Facebook Timeline

Barack Obama

Barack Obama
Barack Obama

LiveStrong

Livestrong
Livestrong

BMW

BMW Facebook Timeline
BMW Facebook Timeline

Manchester United

Manchester United Facebook Timeline
Manchester United Facebook Timeline

Fanta

Fanta
Fanta

Macy's

Macy's New Facebook Timeline
Macy's New Facebook Timeline

Have you seen any brands utilizing the new timeline in a creative and innovative way? Tell us about it in the comments below!

3 Contest Applications Your Brand Should Be Using

Driving engagement on social channels at times can pose a challenge. Whether you are a brand looking to increase your numbers or you are looking for a way to engage your current fans, contests and giveaways can be a great way to create buzz and excitement. Here we'd like to share with you three great tools we use to run contests and promotions.

Strutta :

Strutta Contest Applications
Strutta Contest Applications

What is Strutta? Strutta makes it easy for marketers to build, launch and manage social brand experiences that create content and stories worth sharing. With this application, brands can launch a sweepstakes or contest in under an hour. This application allows you to create a page with minimal coding and allows for a great deal of customization.

-via Strutta.com

Features :

  • Launch full-featured promotional campaigns with flexible DIY tools. No coding required.
  • Create professional looking sites and apps to ensure a seamless and positive brand experience.
  • Time for your campaign to go viral with Facebook integrations and built-in share tools.
  • Track key social metrics in real-time and export data for campaign management.

Pricing : Strutta has two pricing options ranging from $298 for the basic version to over $2,000 for the pro-account.

Rafflecopter - Contest Applications
Rafflecopter - Contest Applications

Rafflecopter :

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What is Rafflecopter? Rafflecopter makes it crazy-simple to create, run, and enter online giveaways and sweepstakes. With Rafflecopter, you can easily embed a contest onto a blog post or Facebook page.

-via Rafflecopter.com

Features:

  • Turn an ordinary visit into a fun, engaging experience.
  • Expand your reach and keep visitors coming back.
  • Get creative. Award points for anything you dream up!
  • Verify winners and squash cheaters with 1 click.

Pricing: This widget is currently free and is a great product to test out.

WildFire
WildFire

WildFire :

What is WildFire?

With Wildfire you can build and track powerful custom promotions across multiple social networks.

-via wildfireapp.com

Features :

  • Simple Sign Up
  • Social CRM
  • Fan Gate (Like Required)
  • Ease of Use
  • Analytics
  • Design and plugin variety

Pricing:

Wildfire has a few tiers of pricing that range from $6 per day to $250+ depending on what kind of customization you'll be needing.

Whether you're looking to host a quick t-shirt giveaway or run a month long promotion, we recommend these tools for your endeavors. What contest tools have you tested? Found an even better option?  Let us know in the comments below.

Climb the Social Business Hierarchy of Needs: LeWeb Keynote, 2011

It figures that the day we give an all-day workshop on B2B Social Marketing, Jeremiah Owyang posts his keynote presentation from LeWeb. What took us about 7 hours and 200 slides to explain, he can concisely get through in one keynote slot and 45 slides. It's like the guy is a researcher and analyst for a living or something... Anyway, he's kind enough to post it to his blog with an embed link, and so we are embedding it below as well. Take a few minutes and run through it. Definitely worth reading and sharing with your team.

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7 Social Sites for Music Lovers

Pandora
Pandora

Over the last few years, countless websites have sprung up around the web for music listening and sharing. As logistics and licensing often times pose a  challenge, many sites geared around social listening have been unable to sustain themselves. Even though a difficult field to break into, there are a a few sites that have managed to gain massive market share and succeed. Here we've identified 7 ways to bring music to your ears! Using a different service? Let us know in the comments below! Pandora :"It's a new kind of radio - stations that play only music that you like." For the past few years, I have been an avid user of this service. Pandora allows the user to type in a song or artist that they like and Pandora magically creates a station with similar songs based on an algorithm that takes into account various components of the songs.

Here is what Pandora has to say : "Since we started back in 2000, we have been hard at work on the Music Genome Project. It's the most comprehensive analysis of music ever undertaken. Together our team of musician-analysts has been listening to music, one song at a time, studying and collecting literally hundreds of musical details on every track - melody, harmony, instrumentation, rhythm, vocals, lyrics ... and more! We continue this work every day to keep up with the incredible flow of great new music coming from studios, stadiums and garages around the country. " Pandora is a great way to discover new music with little effort.

Last.Fm - Last.Fm is similar to Pandora as it allows the user to discover new music based on their already existing taste. "Last.fm lets you effortlessly keep a record of what you listen to from any player. Based on your taste, Last.fm recommends you more music and concerts." After using this service for a few years, it's interesting to see how your music habits change across week, months, and even years. In addition to the tracking feature, the ability to find concerts of interest is also another benefit of this service.

grooveshark
grooveshark

Grooveshark - For music listeners who prefer to not have any music on their own personal computer, Grooveshark is a terrific service for streaming music. With Grooveshark, you can make personalized play-lists from an enormous catalog of music. As a consumer, I am sometimes reluctant to purchase music as it takes up so much space on my computer, slowing everything down. I've found Grooveshark to be a great option for music I don't need to sync to a portable device.

YouTube
YouTube

YouTube- Over the last year, YouTube has added the functionality to create playlists from YouTube videos. While many videos have intrusive advertising before every song, this is not the most favorable way to create playlists solely for listening. However, to view music videos, this is a great feature of YouTube that many people are still unaware of.

Turntable.Fm - Turntable, put simply is a chat room where you can play songs with your friends. The room is set up like a club, and you and your friends can take turns DJing and playing songs. In the room, your friends can either “awesome” or “lame” your song, giving the DJ points for whoever put on the song. This gaming mechanism makes the game even more addictive. The ability to "hang out" with your friends in a club like setting is a neat way to explore new music from friends.

Spotify - Recently launching in the US, Spotify is your music in the cloud. Similar to Grooveshark, "With Spotify, creating playlists is as easy as drag and drop. Each new playlist is saved to your account, and will be accessible from wherever you use Spotify. " For a monthly premium, Spotify allows you to have your music anywhere remotely.  If you find yourself without an Internet connection, Spotify Offline keeps the music flowing. " In the next year, it will be interesting to see if Spotify gains as much rapport in the US as they have overseas.

Google Music
Google Music

Google Music Beta- This product of Google is currently still in it's earliest stages, requiring an invitation to use the service. "Upload up to 20,000 songs from your personal music collection to listen from any computer or on your phone, even offline. All for free." Google Music Beta, put simply is your iTunes in the cloud. In the coming months, Google Music looks like a likely competitor that could go head to head with iTunes.

So how much are artists really making from these streaming and sharing sites? Here is an interesting infographic:

3 Must Have Social Extensions for Chrome

If you don't use the chrome browser, than I suggest you at least try it out. In my opinion, Chrome tends to be faster than other browsers, and is now at the point where it has a solid collection of extensions to rivals the others.

Here are 3 extensions that I suggest. You can find them and search for others here.

1) Cortex Add Extension

This extension allows you to quickly share content to your social profiles. All you have to do is hold down the mouse button and choose the platform in the wheel that appears, and you are done. Watch the video below, it is an awesome extension!

2) Facebook Photo Zoom Add Extension

This extension is super simple, but effective. It provides a zoom view of Facebook photos when you scroll over it. It's also very easy to turn on/off, because it adds a little toggle in the bottom right of your Facebook page.

3) Turn Off the Lights Add Extension

Turn Off the Lights is also a very simple plugin that dims the background when watching any video to give a "cinema" feel. All you have to do is click the lightbulb on the top right of your browser screen. I first saw this done on Hulu, and love that now you can use it on all video content.

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