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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Reviewing Paper.Li

paperli_social3i
paperli_social3i

There are a lot of semi-useless social media tools out there. One that we are liking more and more is Paper.li.In a nutshell, it takes your Twitter feed, and distills it into a front page of a newspaper, so you can scan all the important topics you care about in one shot. It even splits them into categories like Sports, Media, Politics, Technolgy, etc....

Now, it only grabs feeds from the people you follow, so if you are one of those "uber important" types that only gets followed themselves, then it's not going to be much good. And if you follow a bunch of people that tell you about their sandwich, then you'll have a boring paper.li as well.

Here's part of the Monday morning grab from http://www.paper.li/social3i

A New Social Media Toy - Flavors.me

flavors
flavors

Nothing revolutionary here, and I may be a little late to the ballgame on this one. But I'm having a lot of success working with Flavors.me as a super simple, 10 minute way to build out nice looking web properties. There's nothing genius in the concept, but the execution is unbelievably quick and easy. In about 20 clicks, you can aggregate together all your social feeds, upload background pictures, change the font colors, and - if you choose too (I haven't yet) - grab a custom url. So if you publish for multiple blogs, in theory you could grab all the rss feeds from those blogs, and suck them into your single Flavors.me page.

There's real value in the system if you are struggling with clients who have multiple locations, and can't decide if they should have different url's, different Facebook pages, etc... This gives you a nice aggregation capability.

For personal branding, I can't think of anything much easier. Get your resume, photos, designs, feeds, reading lists, etc... all dragged into one place for an employer / client to look through, and save them the hassle of google.

Give it a whirl and let me know what you think.

Cleaning Up vs Starting Over

A continuing theme on this blog, as well as in our service offerings, is that social media is no longer new. In fact, many companies are on the 2nd, 3rd or 4th CMO's since someone launched the first social page for the brand.

As a matter of due process, we encourage our clients to do a comprehensive listening and monitoring exercise before getting started on a social program. We like to find out where the brand already has influence, fans or at least a presence. Once those presences are identified, the people who are now "officially" in charge of the social program need to determine what to do with them. You can embrace these rogue presences, blow them up, or figure out how to make them an extended part of an overall campaign.

Consider a few case studies from the past.

1) The flagship product of a huge technology company decided to start a Facebook page. Lo and behold, a young man in Europe had already started a page, and had more than 7,000 fans. The brand could have shut him down. They could have called Facebook directly. But instead, we did the smart thing, and worked with the young man. He was thrilled that he had been noticed. He didn't want money or product. He just wanted access - and to be "part" of the program.

Starting a 2nd page to compete with him would have been a time intensive effort. Shutting him down could have been a PR debacle. But honestly communicating with him allowed us to partner together, and use his 7,000 Fans as a starting point for a Page that will soon eclipse 100,000 Fans. Over time, the original Fan lost interest, and the Page is now cared for by a host of other agencies and community managers.

2) Chex Mix is not and has never been a client. But a while back, I wrote about a very clever Twitter account, in which @Chex_Mix had become prolific in his/her tweeting about what is basically a very boring brand. Later that week, I received an email from @Chex_Mix who confessed he/she did not work for General Mills or Chex. He/she just liked the snack and wanted to be part of the extended team. Soon, General Mills reached out to him/her. He/she was willing and ready to work with their team. But then communication stopped. It appears General Mills will go out and hire some social media coordinator to try to replicate the role that they already have someone volunteering to do. Why not bring @Chex_Mix to the payroll, provide some guidance and coaching, and leverage this opportunity? Seems to me that Gen Mills is being pretty silly.

Rogue presences:

Now what about the less successful presences? Suppose somewhat has hijacked a url and has 14 people and 23 bots following you. I don't think it's brain surgery to suggest rounding up all of those presences and trying to blow them up. You might start by asking the owner for log-in credentials, sweetening the offer with a gift card or something just to be respectful. If they refuse to reply, you might try to go directly to the channels. You'll need to show you are an official representative of the brand. In most cases, the channel has no reason to allow a dead profile to take up valuable real estate on a url that you want to drive traffic to. A side door in these situations is the ad sales team. Few people in the world are more motivated to help a marketing person than an ad sales rep who is one favor away from a deal. Sure, it stinks that you need to sink some money into it, but consider it your "slow tax." If your company was on the ball 3 years ago, you'd have locked down the profile. Sometimes it's good to save the brain damage and lawyers fees and just buy an ad.

We'll add more case studies to this post in the future. Let us know if you have any stories of you own.