In the custom-built Ning community, Black Enterprise developed a rewards program that’s resonating well with the BE Insiders. Cesaire details a contest dubbed “The Elevator Pitch Contest”. Black Enterprise hosts an annual entrepreneur conference, and its sponsors give 5 winning entrepreneurs $10,000 each to put towards their respective businesses. The sponsors also work with the winners to make sure the money is properly invested back into the businesses. Contestants were encouraged to submit their “elevator pitch” via video format on the Ning platform. Cesaire says though YouTube had been used in the past for video entry, the Ning platform allowed for user comments and a more seamless experience. “Folks not only returned to the Ning platform at a rate of 3 to 5 times more weekly; they were also building out convos, discussing strategies of videos and showcasing what they’ve done, business-wise, to enhance their pitch. It became a user-generated video hub, but also a platform for folks to converse and network prior to, throughout and after attending the conference,” Cesaire notes of the contest.Grover says that one of the brightest areas for UBM in the social media community is the ability to integrate media. The newly launched BrainYard, a community for business and technology leaders focused on social enterprise, is constantly fed with content from UBM’s Twitter feed. UBM relates this community back to the Enterprise 2.0 conference, “piggybacking on registration around the conference.”In other UBM social communities, it may be more difficult to grow a larger audience with narrower content feeds, but Grover says that these smaller sites often mean a more attentive audience, “TechWeb Security, which is just our security content and has 800 followers, consistently go deeper into our content when they link to our site.” UBM has also created a central wiki that is used throughout the company, which feeds to about 6,000 users. Grover says that this tool is so successful, half of these users log in to the wiki on a daily basis.The StrategiesAs both Grover and Cesaire point out, the two-way engagement opportunity that social media provides is key to building relationships with users. “You have to watch what happens when the content is out there and see what people do with the content. You also have to have the bandwidth to understand it,” says Grover.The BE editorial staff, from the magazine’s editor-at-large to interns, are consistently engaged in conversations about trends the BE team is seeing in relevant content categories. Cesaire says that the constant evaluation of this dynamic is a big tool in the success of her company.Cesaire also identifies the individualization of social media channels as a key to Black Enterprise’s successes in the space, “Particularly with Ning, the audience (called the BE Insiders) behave as if they’re neighbors and they have storefronts. Facebookers sound off in a one-off fashion, not necessarily engaging in dialogue with each other. We try to engage according to user behavior on each platform.”And just as the social media platform allows a dialogue about content between company and user, businesses are fast finding that users are eager to share the good and the bad of company behavior with staffers. Grover discovered this after a Facebooker commented that UBM “was clogging their feed”; after a Facebook member “likes” a company’s fan page, the company’s content is automatically updated to the member’s home page. Grover’s team put out a survey asking users whether UBM was providing too much or too little information, “We got feedback that we were being too aggressive, and that we needed to tone it down a little bit.”Successes in the Sphere According to Grover, there are 700 million Facebook users, 106 million users on Twitter and LinkedIn currently has 100 million members. This is an extremely large audience to engage with, and one that has a diminishing attention rate as the marketplace becomes more crowded with competitors selling similar wares. Before entering the social media sphere, Michael Grover of UMB TechWeb believes it is of utmost importance to hone in what a company intends as a result from participating in the conversation, “Registrants? Traffic? Are you trying to build a third party community with third party credibility? You need to sluice out the different things you want, and hopefully you’ll find one that will rise to the surface as the prime directive.” Since social media was identified as a relevant tool to the publishing industry, magazine publishers have devoted many resources and an abundance of energy to finding and implementing the best strategies to solidify a presence in the sphere. Here, Michael Grover, UBM TechWeb’s director of content operations & syndication, and Patricia Cesaire, the director of digital PR & marketing with Black Enterprise, share tools, strategies and observations of their successes (and a few missteps) in social media.The Tools Once a publisher has established initiatives and joined the social media community, tracking campaign success and content sharing is often the next step for publishers. These results then become part of a base strategy for content production and distribution, as publishers get to see what is catching on among users.At UBM TechWeb, with products that include magazines, websites and social communities such as the newly launched BrainYard, Grover says a content tagging strategy has been important in guiding their social media strategy. An RSS feed isintegrated into all UBM brands, so staff can track what brand is being promoted and to what channel it’s being promoted to on the back end. In order to keep team members in sync, Grover reiterates how the importance of keeping a consistent strategy when tagging and tracking content, “It needs to be immediately understandable not just by you but by other people in your organization, which will reduce number of questions. Data is only good if you can track it historically; if you change your tagging, data becomes unusable.”UBM also utilizes a free online tool called Twitter Feed, which helps manage flowing information into Twitter. Grover says that while there is a similar service for Facebook from the Twitter Feed group, it is not efficient; instead, UBM uses RSS Graffiti for Facebook posting. While the latest gadgets and tricks may seem appealing, Grover makes it top priority to “to be vigilant to see if they’re performing and how they’re performing; I’m always testing products as they come up. I run into many cases when things seem very promising, and then it stops working or doesn’t work the way I thought it would.”For posting on Twitter, UBM TechWeb worked with URL shortener Bit.ly to produce Twb.io, a custom URL shortener that allows the company to fit an entire headline into a tweet. Twb.io also supplies real time tracking of tweets, and maintains branding the standard Bit.ly shortener does not.Grover points out that while Twitter and Facebook may be the most immediately visible entry ways into social media, often, third party applications (like Tweet Deck) account for the majority of aggregating first party content; only 25 percent of Twitter drives come directly from Twitter’s site, and 75 percent comes from third party applicants. To alleviate this issue, UBM TechWeb utilizes Omniture, which is used to collect stats from UBM’s web properties to track how much traffic came from Twitter and other social media forums, as well as third party applicants.Over at Black Enterprise, Patricia Cesaire says Omniture is used to generate reports concerning hot topics on Facebook, Twitter and Ning (Black Enterprise’s social community for entrepreneurs). Then, content in alignment with these topics is generated by Black Enterprise editorial staff.
“The essence there is to try to create a really compelling daily content snacking experience that leverages the breadth of our brands,” says Beagley. “We’re working on what content will be there and how it’s packaged, but we really want to make this into a compelling content experience for consumers using the SprintZone.”The deal, which has been several months in the making, will also include advertising and retail integration. When it comes to mobile advertising, Time Inc.’s mobile network of 20 million users, and Sprint’s targeted advertising service, Pinsight Media+, will be leveraged for collaboration, though specifics are still being worked out, Beagley says. “We want to collaborate to create new mobile advertising solutions for our respective customers and leverage the breadth of our networks,” adds Beagley. Beagley pointed to Time Amplify as one example where the company is already doing this. Time Amplify provides opportunities to maximize the sponsorship experience by including the advertiser’s message with Time Inc. content in a large format ad unit, which is then distributed on other third-party sites.Time Inc. already has a relationship with Apple’s iAd, which is built into the iOS operating system that powers iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch, allowing brands to incorporate a variety of rich interactive experiences in an ad.“This additional relationship with Sprint will give us an opportunity to extend this even further across Android and Sprint devices,” says Beagely. Time Inc. will also provide content for Sprint’s retail stores—the device and network provider will use branded content to demonstrate the capabilities of their devices in-store.“There is a lot of work to be done here and different pieces will be moving at different speeds,” he says. “We certainly want to take this app opportunity to drive people to subscriptions, additional paid content offerings or paid apps, though we’ll have to figure out exactly how that flow works as we develop it with Sprint.”Stay updated on the latest FOLIO: news, follow us on Facebook & Twitter! Time Inc. is becoming evermore bullish in the mobile space—and a new strategic alliance with the Sprint Nextel Corp. will put its content front-and-center for millions of mobile users.“This is a deal with multiple prongs,” Cyrus Beagley, SVP and general manager of Time Inc.’s Advertising Sales & Marketing Group, tells FOLIO:. “There are three main pieces, and the first is content. We’re going to be working with Sprint over the next several months to create a customizable mobile app within the SprintZone, which comes pre-loaded on Sprint phones and will leverage our brands to provide the latest in entertainment, lifestyle, sports and business news.”The content within SprintZone will be updated in real time, pulling stories, photography and video from Time Inc. brands, with users able to customize their experience by brand.
Abdul HamidPresident Abdul Hamid returned home on Tuesday night after attending ‘The First Summit of the OIC on Science and Technology’ in Astana, Kazakhstan.A regular flight of Biman Bangladesh Airlines carrying the president landed at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport at around 10:25pm.On his arrival at the airport, the president was received by finance minister AMA Muhith, the dean of the diplomatic corps, cabinet secretary, chiefs of the three services, principal secretary to the prime minister, inspector general of police and high civil and military officials.The president went to Astana on 9 September to attend the summit.
Dave FehlingTexas requires oil & gas drillers to pay a bond to cover plugging costsIn March we reported how Texas lawmakers were concerned that with the downturn in the oil economy, operators were “walking away” from wells and not plugging them. That could lead to leaks and environmental damage.The next month, a legislative commission found that one problem was that the state wasn’t requiring drillers to put up enough money to cover proper plugging in case they went bankrupt.Then, last month homeowners from the Chasewood subdivision in Fort Bend County told lawmakers they feared inaction by the state was putting their health at risk from abandoned oil & gas wells near a well they use for drinking water.“The Railroad Commission dropped the ball in its failure to closely monitor these abandoned wells and it has placed us all in jeopardy,” said Phyllis Bailey, one Chasewood resident who testified.The Railroad Commission of Texas regulates the drilling industry. A commission spokesperson said in an email to us that it would be up to the legislature next year to decide if more money is needed to tackle a backlog of 9,715 abandoned wells statewide.“The OGRC (Oil and Gas Regulation and Cleanup fund) is funded by the oil and gas industry, not taxpayers, through fees for permits, oil and gas production regulatory fees, sales of salvageable equipment, reimbursement for plugging and remediation costs and surcharges,” wrote Gaye Greever McElwain, Railroad Commission communications. To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: Share Listen X 00:00 /01:03