A Little Help From Your Friends: Bringing Brand Ambassadors on Board

By perksconsulting |

In his classic self-help book n his classic self-help book How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie lays out his multi-part system for getting people to like you, getting people to agree with your ideas, and getting people to follow your leadership. Surprisingly, it’s not that complicated. The entire 300-page book can be boiled down, roughly, to three simple (and, honestly, kind of obvious) guidelines.

  • Empathize with people, recognize their accomplishments, and make them feel valued.
  • Don’t make it all about you.
  • Be cool.

You could apply this wisdom to almost any social or professional exchange. Most people do it without even realizing they do it. But when it comes to their customers, some brands forget to follow these rules. Granted, some brands don’t need to. In fact, some brands would consider it bad for business. Comcast, for example, is totally fine with being decidedly uncool and treating its customers poorly, all while making it entirely about Comcast. They are repeatedly voted to the top of Worst Company lists, they do nothing to change public opinion, and yet they continue to prosper. But that’s the exception to the rule.

Your brand isn’t Comcast (thank goodness). Your brand understands that its customers can be its greatest asset. Your brand knows that — if you apply some of the TLC that Mr. Carnegie highlighted when his book was published way back in 1937 — regular customers can be converted into mighty brand ambassadors.

Brand Huh?

A brand ambassador is a customer or user from your community that has agreed to take action in order to contribute to your brand’s prosperity. They do this partly because of the brand love you’ve helped stir within them, but also because you have agreed to reward them in some way. The specifics vary from brand to brand, but many huge companies have activated brand ambassadors with great success.

Hootsuite launched its “Hootup” program, encouraging users to organize free events for fellow social media enthusiasts, where they’d learn about best practices for Hootsuite and the various social media channels that plug into it. The reward? More visibility and leadership opportunities in members’ local communities, and a chance to do some networking with folks in your field. It’s not the most enticing benefit, but it worked because Hootsuite got out of the way, and made the event about its users. They also made users feel important, by handing them the reins in planning the Hootups.

Whiskey label Maker’s Mark recruited its ambassadors to spread the word about its product to bar owners and patrons, as well as friends, family, and coworkers. How did they turn Maker’s Mark fans into walking advertisements? They offered entry into an exclusive online fan club called The Embassy, where members received their own business cards along with a variety of great perks; their names engraved on a whiskey barrel, invites to VIP tastings, free swag, and tons more. Again, the brand strengthened the trust and loyalty of scores of customers by making them feel like equal partners. They also offered some generous rewards to make their ambassadors’ work feel worthwhile.

Winning Over the Skeptics

Once your ambassador program is in full swing, you’ll likely have a large group of customers that are on the fence about getting involved. This group could be all yours — all you need to do is get out of the way, and let your ambassadors do the talking.

Give existing ambassadors a forum to share their stories. Let them explain why the ambassador program is a win for fans of the brand. Let them point out reasons why it’s worth their valuable time. And let them give a glimpse at the cool perks they’ll have access to. Remember: 43% of consumers are more likely to try a new product when learning about it on social media, and 77% are more likely to try a new product when learning about it from friends or family. Thanks to that nifty evolutionary skill known as “mirroring,” we humans feel much more at ease with a choice when we see our peers making that choice too. When they see their fellow fans acting as ambassadors and endorsing your program, they’ll hop off the fence and join the party.

Converting the Naysayers

Under every bridge there inevitably lurks a few trolls. No matter how much good you think your brand is doing through your community outreach and ambassador program, there will always be naysayers — people who seem dead set on dissing your brand. How do you get rid of them? You don’t. You convert them.

The key to changing the hearts and minds of the haters is to get to know them. Reach out to these malcontents on Twitter, Facebook, or even over the phone (if they’re amenable to it). Break the ice by showing them the actual humans behind the brand. Find common ground between you and them. Listen to their complaints — really listen, and refrain from arguing when they voice their grievances. That display of respect and understanding can go a long way in turning detractors into evangelists. It may not always work how you want it to, but it’s nearly guaranteed to extinguish some of their ill feelings toward your brand.

Making It WORK

Even though your brand ambassador initiatives are not about you, realistically the program must offer some measurable business benefits in order to get your stakeholders to sign off. Luckily, there are lots of pluses to highlight. Hootsuite, for example, gained entry into new markets and spread its product far beyond is original North American base thanks to its Hootups, according to its CEO Ryan Holmes. He also points out that the company’s user base grew from zero to 5 million people in its first three years without a marketing budget — thanks in large part to its brand ambassadors. And it isn’t an isolated case; a recent study concluded that live branded experiences drive 65% of people to recommend a brand to others, and 59% to shop a brand in the future. The takeaway is that brand ambassadors can help you do a whole lot with very little resources (which is music to stakeholders’ ears).

Above All, Be Cool

Your brand ambassador initiative could be a meet-up program, an exclusive club, or something completely unique — the specifics depend on your brand identity, your business needs, and the desires of your community. But as long as you begin with a desire to recognize your most passionate advocates and make them feel like equal partners, you’re already on your way to success.

Keep checking back here for more in this series.

READ MORE HERE: https://medium.com/@laurenperkins 

Sources:

http://thenextweb.com/entrepreneur/2014/04/03/need-brand-ambassador-program-4-companies-right/#gref

http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2013/a-multi-mix-media-approach-drives-new-product-awareness.html

http://business.financialpost.com/entrepreneur/fp-startups/five-million-customers-no-ad-budget-how-hootsuite-used-a-freemium-model-to-build-its-business?__lsa=c49f-b87f

Thanks to our community of savvy marketers for sharing their expertise showcased in this piece


Laetitia Gales

By perksconsulting |

Experience: Laetitia brings the French touch and her creative skills to Perks Consulting. While earning her masters degree in Applied Arts from the Professional University of Montauban, France, she learned the fundamentals of visual communication applied to graphic design & branding. Her past experience includes cultural/event publishing, packaging, branding and graphic design. Through her early training in experimental design, combining graphic design, art and photography, she developed a career-long passion for conceptual structure and expressing the personality of lifestyle brands.
Guilty pleasure: Talenti Gelato salted caramel ice cream. Art books & magazines
My Game Changing Moment: Coming to the North American continent. Packing my life into one bag helped me focus on my priorities, and live in the moment.


4 Lessons on Global Community Management from WOMMA’s School of WOM

By Perks |


At WOMMA’s School of WOM conference, 360i’s Sarah Hofstetter (SVP of Emerging Media & Brand Strategy) joined Jessica Robinson, Associate Director of Consumer & Customer Engagement at Kraft Foods, to lead a session on how Oreo manages its global social community on Facebook.


Snapshot: Oreo’s global Facebook community

The session uncovered the best practices that have catapulted Oreo to global success on Facebook – the brand currently has 19 million+ highly engaged fans from all over the world – and answered a series of key questions along the way.

1. What does global community management require of marketers? Managing a global community requires marketers to be able to articulate their brand’s universal truth AND their brand’s role in digital and social media.

2. What are the key challenges in managing a global community? Beyond the operational challenges of balancing local content with global page management and moderating user-generated content, one of the core challenges for many global communities is how to bring people together across geographic and cultural lines. One way to do this is to invite fans to become a part of a large, community-building initiative that transcends local market discrepancies and emphasizes on the brand’s universal truth. An example of this is Oreo’s Guinness World Record event, which brought thousands of fans together from around the world to participate in something BIG.

3. What if something unexpected happens? The beauty of social is its ability to take new shapes based on community and public response. Whether or not the dynamic nature of social helps or hurts your efforts is in large part up to you. For example, during Oreo’s World Record attempt, the brand was dealt a significant curveball when rapper Lil Wayne entered himself into the race for the record. Oreo saw this as an opportunity to bring its community even closer together, as fans rallied around the beloved cookie brand. And although Lil Wayne eventually broke the record, it was a win-win as his unexpected entry brought more attention to Oreo’s effort and generated tremendous buzz around the event.

4. How do you craft content to connect with brand fans around the world? A key question for brands managing social community is how to capture the interest and imagination of tens of millions of people who hail from dozens of nations and cultures. The answer for Oreo is to focus on brand love and community – the very things that brought its fans together in the first place.

Check out Oreo’s global community at http://facebook.com/oreo.


Web Analytics Standards: 26 New Metrics Definitions

By Perks |


via kaushik.net

Here are the new terms that have been defined:

Building Block Terms:
        Page, Page Views, Visits, Unique Visitors, New Visitor, Repeat Visitor, Repeat Visitor & Returning Visitor

Visit Characterization:
        Entry Page, Landing Page, Exit Page, Visit Duration, Referrer, Internal Referrer, External Referrer, Search Referrer, Visit Referrer, Original Referrer, Click-through, Click-through Rate/Ratio, Page Views per Visit

Content Characterization:
        Page Exit Ratio, Single-Page Visits, Single Page View Visits (Bounces), Bounce Rate

Conversion Metrics:
        Event, Conversion

Here very briefly are the definitions (the real gold is in the comments that you see in the document for each definition, make sure you download it and read it carefully):

Page: A page is an analyst definable unit of content.

Page Views: The number of times a page (an analyst-definable unit of content) was viewed.

Visits/Sessions: A visit is an interaction, by an individual, with a website consisting of one or more requests for an analyst-definable unit of content (i.e. “page view”). If an individual has not taken another action (typically additional page views) on the site within a specified time period, the visit session will terminate.

Unique Visitors: The number of inferred individual people (filtered for spiders and robots), within a designated reporting timeframe, with activity consisting of one or more visits to a site. Each individual is counted only once in the unique visitor measure for the reporting period.

New Visitor: The number of Unique Visitors with activity including a first-ever Visit to a site during a reporting period.

Repeat Visitor: The number of Unique Visitors with activity consisting of two or more Visits to a site during a reporting period.

Return Visitor: The number of Unique Visitors with activity consisting of a Visit to a site during a reporting period and where the Unique Visitor also Visited the site prior to the reporting period.

Entry Page: The first page of a visit.

Landing Page: A page intended to identify the beginning of the user experience resulting from a defined marketing effort.

Exit Page: The last page on a site accessed during a visit, signifying the end of a visit/session.

Visit Duration: The length of time in a session. Calculation is typically the timestamp of the last activity in the session minus the timestamp of the first activity of the session.

Referrer: The referrer is the page URL that originally generated the request for the current page view or object.

Internal Referrer: The internal referrer is a page URL that is internal to the website or a web-property within the website as defined by the user.

External Referrer: The external referrer is a page URL where the traffic is external or outside of the website or a web-property defined by the user.

Search Referrer: The search referrer is an internal or external referrer for which the URL has been generated by a search function.

Visit Referrer: The visit referrer is the first referrer in a session, whether internal, external or null.

Original Referrer: The original referrer is the first referrer in a visitor’s first session, whether internal, external or null.

Click-through: Number of times a link was clicked by a visitor.

Click-through Rate/Ratio: The number of click-throughs for a specific link divided by the number of times that link was viewed.

Page Views per Visit: The number of page views in a reporting period divided by number of visits in the same reporting period.

Page Exit Ratio: Number of exits from a page divided by total number of page views of that page.

Single-Page Visits: Visits that consist of one page regardless of the number of times the page was viewed.

Single Page View Visits (Bounces): Visits that consist of one page-view.

Bounce Rate: Single page view visits divided by entry pages.

Event: Any logged or recorded action that has a specific date and time assigned to it by either the browser or server.

Conversion: A visitor completing a target action.

There is a lot more value added content in the document, it lays out key context that will help you think through and understand these definitions. Please download the WAA standards document.

 


Eventbrite Weighs In on Social Commerce Value of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn Shares

By Perks |

ROI this, ROI that. Eventbrite has analyzed their inbound links from Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin to find that Facebook has the most call to action when it comes to social commerce. While this is great news for marketers and brands everywhere, we would advise you to not use these numbers and only these numbers. This should be more of a guide. It goes without saying that if you have a larger more engaged audience that reacts quick on Twitter then put more of your energy there.

Could the native multimedia nature of Facebook have to do with higher ticket sales? Possibly. Could it also be because Facebook has that many more users than Twitter does? Probably. Remember, everything you do in social media should be measurable and actionable. Always make sure to have your KPIs in place before you start any engagement otherwise you won’t know if your efforts have been successful or not.


What is the value of a Facebook share and how does it compare to Twitter? Those are questions online event service Eventbrite asked in 2010 and came up with the following numbers: one share on Facebook equaled $2.52 and a share on Twitter equaled

Six months later, in March of 2011, the company took another look and determined a Facebook share drove on average $1.34 in ticket sales compared with a tweet that drove on average $.80

Now that Eventbrite has opened a UK office and is expanding globally, the company asked those questions yet again, comparing both the US and UK markets. Here’s a rundown of what it discovered:

Facebook users in the US and the UK look similar demographically, with roughly 50% population penetration in both countries.

Facebook has the highest value per share in the UK compared to other social networks, which mirrors the US. On average a Facebook share generates £2.25 in additional gross ticket sales, while a share on Twitter drives an average of £1.80.

When someone shares an Eventbrite event through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn in the UK, it generates an average £1.77 in additional ticketing revenue for the event organizer, while in the US, one share generates an average of £1.42 across the three platforms.

When the numbers are converted to Pounds Sterling, the social commerce impact from Facebook is stronger in the US, while Twitter and LinkedIn are stronger in the UK

In summary, a Facebook share in the US is 56% more impactful than in the UK. Twitter is nearly 10% more impactful in the UK than the US, while LinkedIn is 95% more impactful in the UK.

Regardless of how they break out, what these numbers really tell us is that social sharing results in sales transactions taking place. “When someone shares an event with their friends through social media, this action results in real dollars,” said Eventbrite on its blog.

In addition, Facebook sharing creates stickiness, which contributes to discovery. Not only is Facebook the #1 referring site for traffic to Eventbrite’s website, but shares from the social network result in clicks to the site by a 11:1 ratio (11 visits per share according to the 2010 report).

Value per share comparing US and UK markets Pounds per share in US versus UK


Twitter opens up Twitter advertising for select small businesses

By Perks |

Recently Twitter opened up it’s advertising products of Promoted Tweets and Accounts to more than just large businesses. While you have to be an American Express cardholder to access this, this is a great first step to building a larger advertising platform much like Facebook’s. The partnership with American Express makes sense as they have a whole division dedicated to small business, OPEN, as well as Small Business Saturday.

It will be interesting to see how this takes off as prices for Twitter’s Promoted products can start in the tens of thousands and skyrocket upwards into the hundreds of thousands. Prices like that aren’t really small business friendly. In order to be competitive Twitter will have to lower their prices drastically. To do that they could possibly change the frequency in which people on Twitter see your ad i.e. if you pay more they see it more and vice versa. Only time will tell if they get it right, but we at Perks are rooting for them since this is one of the main platforms most of our clients use.


Opening up Twitter advertising for select small businesses

Last month, we partnered with American Express to offer its small business Cardmembers and merchants the chance to use Twitter advertising to better engage with the people they want to reach.

Today, American Express will begin to notify eligible Cardmembers and merchants that they can now start advertising on Twitter. Initially, only a small group of businesses will have access to this new advertising opportunity — we will steadily increase the number of participating small businesses over the coming weeks.

In the short video below, you’ll see just how simple we’ve made it for small business owners to grow their businesses using our Promoted Tweets and Promoted Accounts products.

Highlights:
  • Get started in minutes: we provide ongoing management of your advertising.
  • No previous advertising experience is required. If you can tweet, you can advertise on Twitter.
  • Gain new followers: Promoted Accounts helps your small business connect with new people who want to hear from you and can spread the word about your business to others.
  • Amplify your Tweets: Promoted Tweets helps your small business get your messages in front of more of the right people. Twitter will take out the guesswork by automatically identifying and promoting your most engaging Tweets.
  • Pay per follower for Promoted Accounts and per engagement (click, retweet, reply, and favorite) for Promoted Tweets.
  • Target the whole world, specific countries, or limit your reach to specific U.S. metropolitan areas.
If you are an American Express Cardmember or merchant, it’s not too late to register for this unique opportunity on Twitter.

For tips and best practices on using Twitter for your small business, download our Twitter for Small Business guide.

From the start, small businesses of all types have made their homes on Twitter, using the platform to interact with current customers and market to new ones. We are excited to offer small businesses the chance to create even more marketing success as advertisers on Twitter.

Posted by @TwitterAds at 9:01 AM


The Impact of Facebook Timeline for Brands [Study]

By Perks |

As of March 30th all Facebook pages need to be updated to the new Timeline format. We at Perks Consulting decided to take some time and plan an integrated cover and profile photo for the new Facebook Timeline. You can take a look at it here. Besides just looking better, the new Timeline is also better for engagement. Here are some stats from a study that SimplyMeasured conducted:


New Facebook Pages Drive Higher Engagement Rates

On February 29th (just over three weeks ago!) Facebook announced the upgrade that brands had been eagerly waiting for: Timeline. As with all major Facebook launches, marketers had big expectations. Facebook promised that Timeline would help “showcase brand’s unique stories and identities” and improve how consumers interact and engage with their favorite brands.

This study aims to get beyond the hype and measure the real impact of this change by analyzing the Facebook Fan Pages of 15 early adopters from a variety of industries. We measured Timeline’s impact by comparing engagement rates before and after Timeline was implemented for these pages.

Brands Get 46% More Engagement Per Post With Timeline:

Looking at our complete sample of early adopters shows the following increase in engagement when you compare averages before Timeline vs averages after Timeline:

1. 14% Increase in Fan Engagement
2. 46% Increase in Content Engagement
3. 65% Increase in Interactive Content Engagement (Video and Photo)

Looking at each individual brand in our samples shows that nearly all have had an engagement lift since Timeline launched. Livestrong, Toyota, Humane Society, and Red Bull showing the largest percentage increase within this group, all with dramatic lift in their per post averages.

How Timeline is Changing the Game for Brands

Facebook Timeline presents Fan Pages in a totally new light. This redesign is much more visual, focused on interactive content, and provides new features that give brands more control over how their Fan Page looks and feels. All of this is playing a role in how brand and consumers can engage on Fan Pages.

Disproportionate Engagement Growth for Multimedia Content

One key promise of Facebook Timeline is that fans should have an easier time finding and engaging with compelling content posted by the brands they care about.  Based on our initial findings related to engagement, this is exactly what is happening, and it’s particularly relevant for multimedia content (photo and video).

Photos and videos tend to drive positive engagement. Now that this interactive content has the ability to stand out even more on a page — with the new features like starring and pinning — it is not surprising that engagement is also on the rise. For example, looking at this starred Red Bull photo, it is easy to see why fans are drawn to engage with it, particularly in this new, larger, format.

Content Discovery is Becoming Easier

Fan Engagement is up 14%

Another key component of Timeline is the ease at which fans can discover content about a particular brand. This allows brands to tell their story and turn their page into a more deeply enriched and engaging experience.

Again, we can start attributing this increased exposure to the new features, particularly pinning. Looking at this Toyota example, they are continuing to raise awareness and draw attention to this event they are sponsoring. This piece of content was posted on March 10th, over ten days ago. And it is still receiving engagement, even within the last 24 hours.

As all of these are early findings, we’re going to update this over the coming months and continue to track the impact of Facebook Timeline. Be sure to check back!

Have questions about this data? Email Libby[at]simplymeasured[dot]com or post them in the comments below.

Want to start analyzing your Facebook Timeline?
Sign up for a free trial of Simply Measured.
Try one of our free Facebook reports.


Turmoil Breeds Opportunity: Greece Entrepreneur Week

By Perks |

Originally from Entrepreneur Week’s press release

ATHENS, GREECE, February 27, 2012

greek-entrepreneursIn the face of economic, social, and political turmoil, Entrepreneur Week initiated its first parlay into Europe with Greece Entrepreneur Week (@EWgreece) to educate more than 650 aspiring and early-stage entrepreneurs. The event was planned purposefully in just 20 days to provide the framework of entrepreneurship as a viable long-term solution for solving the financial crisis.

“Greece has a robust and proud culture. It’s time we wake up to the new reality of doing business and operate from a stance of strength through global collaboration, networking, and interconnection. It’s imperative we embrace a new way of thinking and building relationships. For too long Greece has been an insular economy. CoLab, exemplifies the abundance of entrepreneurial opportunity we have here. The first two spaces we launched sold out in less than three months each and we are now expanding geographically outside of Athens,” stated CoLab Athens co-founder Stavros Messinis.

Greece has the opportunity to reclaim its ancient glory as a hub of global innovation. Archimedes’ creation of the Antikythera mechanism – an ancient mechanical computer from 100BC – shows Greece’s history of innovation in computing. As the originators of democracy, coined money, and central banks, Greece has a chance to capitalize on their rich history to move forward proactively with entrepreneurship, particularly in these troubling times. The debt crisis Greece is experiencing has been positive because it exemplifies that their current economic infrastructure was unsustainable, which opened a door for transparent discussion necessary for change.

Greece Entrepreneur Week launched in partnership with Ministry of Development, Competitiveness and Maritime, Ministry of Education, Life-Long Learning & Religious Affairs, CoLab Athens, Virtual Trip Group, Startup Greece, National Bank of Greece, Hellenic Startup Association, Young Confederation of Entrepreneurs, Athens Chamber of Commerce & Industry, American Hellenic Chamber of Commerce.

To infuse fresh perspectives and ensure diversity of opinion, Entrepreneur Week curated a 36-member delegation from 10 countries – Australia, Belgium, Hungary, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Spain, Russia, UK, and USA. The delegation held panels, keynotes, roundtables, and a succession of pitch events for entrepreneurs that was highlighted by an intimate meeting on educational reform with Minister of Education, Anna Diamantopoulou as well as Constantine Michalos, President of the Athens Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

The renowned entrepreneurs and thought leaders who were a part of Entrepreneur Week Greece included:

  • Alex Mitchell, Vice President at YES (European Confederation of Young Entrepreneurs) & President at G20 YEA (UK)
  • James Allworth, Fellow at Forum for Growth & Innovation of Harvard Business School (USA)
  • Ksenia Khoruzhnikova, Founder & Chair at G-20Y Summit IOC (Russia)
  • Alvaro Cuesta, President  at Asociacion Jovenes Empresarios de Madrid (Spain)
  • Omar Al-Madhi, Assistant Deputy Governor at SAGIA, Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (Saudi Arabia)

With an additional $170 billion bailout package announced this past week, the biggest sovereign debt restructuring in history, consensus opinion is quite possible – full default. However, the energy and passion of the local Greek startup community, anchored by Greece Entrepreneur Week curator Dimitris Tsigos, exhibit a surprising pent up yearning for change. Over the course of the past three years, the culture in Greece for startups slowly progressed toward acceptance as the country continues to undergo a mental model shift toward global perspectives for business and the need for economic dynamism.

Top Ministry officials directly supported the five-day event in a focused effort toward developing concrete actions steps for Greece to evolve out of its current deadlock. Five systemic barriers to fostering a healthy startup ecosystem in Greece were identified: overly conservative culture, lack of risk financing, deficient opportunity for alternative education, and a vastly unstable regulatory environment.

Entrepreneur Week CEO, Gary Whitehill, believes, “as Greece moves toward significant change culturally and economically, now is the best time to create a presence because unstable times create incredible opportunities. History is quite telling, the Greeks were the first explorers of the world – entrepreneurship is in their DNA. Our mission is to develop a local brick and mortar presence, drive global partnerships, and educate the Greek startup community on building scalable and actionable outcomes through the tools and resources of our platform.”

This is just the beginning for Entrepreneur Week in Greece and its three core pillars of education, mentoring, and inspiration as critical first steps toward ensuring stability in the region and a cohesive understanding on how to create scalable and sustainable businesses.

The schedule for Greece Entrepreneur Week can be found at: http://www.entrepreneurweek.net/greece alongside commentary from the event on twitter via @EWgreece and its corresponding hashtag #EWgreece

ABOUT ENTREPRENEUR WEEK

Entrepreneur Week is a global event series bringing seasoned entrepreneurs, accomplished thought leaders, and early-stage investors to local entrepreneurial ecosystems.  Through its international network, Entrepreneur Week develops opportunities and creates solutions for entrepreneurs in local communities by providing a global perspective, entrepreneurial best practices, and an action plan for implementation.  Entrepreneur Week continues to bridge connections between stakeholders around the world, building a global portal of access and collaboration for communities to foster entrepreneurship and innovation.


2011 Sharing Statistics Holiday Card Infographic

By perksconsulting |

Last year we created a playful video based on How The Grinch Stole Christmas. This year we thought we could still keep that playfulness by incorporating our signature design elements to create a fun and informational holiday greeting. There’s been so much growth in online sharing that we decided to create an infographic about social media network sharing and general online digital sharing statistics. From Facebook and Twitter to Wikipedia and Youtube, online sharing in 2011 has exploded.

We hope our holiday greeting makes you smile and gives you something to think about over your holidays. Seasons Greetings, from the Perks team!

 

2011 Social Digital Online Sharing Statistics Holiday Infographic

2011 Social Digital Online Sharing Statistics Holiday Infographic


End of year round-up: Must-have apps & accessories – The 11 things for your business you didn’t know you couldn’t live without

By Lauren |


(Originally posted on vator.tv)

Most of us have figured out the go-to, day-to-day gadgets we rely on for our work – a smartphone, tablet, or laptop. But the array of accessories and apps out there for the enterprise user can be an overwhelming one.  Here’s a quick list of the on-the-go apps and tech accessories that have now become must-haves in the entrepreneur’s arsenal.

Accessories

Mophie – for iPhone (case) and PhoneSuit Primo Cube Battery Pack – Android (snap on)

It seems that the better battery life gets on newer devices, the more we use our phones since subconsciously we know we can. To help fight battery drain every entrepreneur should have a quick back up to reach for in their pocket or bag that will allow them to go on and at least finish out the day without needing to run to the nearest Starbucks for an inconvenient power pick-me-up.

No one wants to be caught without any power at a crucial moment – whether trying to pull up an email for reference or finding directions for the next destination.

Square

Not every entrepreneur needs a Square attachment but for those who do need instant payment options for clients and customers, Square is revolutionary.

Think of the time that’s saved not waiting for a check to come in the mail once papers have been signed in person or taking in business for a quick turnaround with deposits in hand instantly.

Square has proven to be fruitful for those needing payment options on site and immediately without the entire setup of a point-of-sale terminal.

 

Mifi and Personal Hotspots – Prepaid plans

If you travel a lot you probably already know that internet service can be spotty at best, and security is a concern when connecting through open wifi access points. A MiFi portable personal wifi access point will wipe these concerns away. Having a monthly plan may not be the most logical depending on your travel frequency but luckily there are a couple of prepaid plans out there with various service providers.

 

Neat Receipt 

Neat Receipt is a fantastic addition for anyone who has to expense or keep track of receipts for tax purposes. It allows you to scan these paper documents and then saves them in a format that is accepted by the IRS. Bonus – your now scanned and digitized information can be imported to Salesforce easily!

 

 

Dockable Keyboard

If you’re going to be doing any sort of writing that goes beyond a myriad of notes then you absolutely need a keyboard that docks your iPad or tablet, essentially turning it into a notebook. Anyone who has tried to type out long documents on the touchscreen knows that our wrists just weren’t built that way. Do yourself a favor and get one.  Fellow Vator.tv writer Krystal Peak shared her favorite one here.

 

 

Applications

Cardmunch

Linkedin recently purchased Cardmunch to further build out their offerings for professionals everywhere. Cardmunch allows you to scan someone’s business card with your smartphone camera and then converts the image to the appropriate text. It automatically searches LinkedIn for their profile in order to connect right away.  What better way to keep in touch than to socially connect on the professional social network? Your new contact will find your follow-up to be refreshing and thoughtful.

Gist & Rapportive

Gist and Rapportive both keep you up to date with all of your contacts’ updates, like a personal CRM tool. The Gmail plugin for Rapportive keeps you in the loop about the person that you’re emailing with. From this sidebar you can find out their latest social network updates, recent email interactions, vital contact info extracted from signatures, and other social network links so you can connect further. Gist offers a similar feed of your address book all at once on a dashboard or organized by your tags and preferences.

 

Evernote & Dropbox

Don’t trust documents and platforms to save your original work? You can use Evernote for syncing your thoughts, ideas and bits of  information. Evernote recently launched Evernote Hello so you can remember those you met and organize the context of how you met them.

For small companies, Dropbox has the added benefit of supporting your hardware server and backup so it is accessible and constantly synced no matter where you are. Besides using Dropbox as cloud storage, documents can be accessed remotely and accidentally deleted items can be restored.

 

QuickOffice Pro

While we wait for the next iteration of the netbook and tablet hybrid to be able to fully compute on-the-go, QuickOffice Pro bridges the divide with the much needed document creator and editor compatible with Microsoft Office.

Investing a little bit of money into this app will go a long way for your business; integrating your mobile experience with the productivity tools offered here frees you from the burden of the laptop.

Think of how much a desktop version of Office costs and then relate that here. It’s well worth it.