The Gamification of Social Media

Empire Avenue is the new game in town. It sits squarely in the social networking space, but it has a different twist – one from which I think businesses may be able to gain valuable insights, all while allowing people to enjoy themselves.

What is it?

Essentially, it is a rewards system that makes what we already do on the web   – create and share content – fun by making it a stock market-like atmosphere. You can earn money (their currency is “Eaves”) by buying other people and you can see your own worth rise by getting other people to invest in you. When tied to other accounts such as Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, LinkedIn and blogs, your net worth rises based on the content you either create or share. But like the other sites, it’s also a social network itself. It’s a chance to connect and brainstorm with others by finding affinity groups (“Communities”) within Empire Avenue.

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Facebook: The Social Accelerator?

image by @EricaGlasier 

We live in a world of accelerating change. As our communication technologies evolve, it becomes easier to connect more and more of us around the planet to each other. The web collapses space and time, dissolves geographic boundaries, and gives us windows into each other’s worlds.This is causing shifts in the way individuals perceive themselves, their immediate relationships with friends and communities, and the context of how they relate to society at large. 

David Kirkpatrick, author of The Facebook Effect, prognosticates, “Just by increasing the efficiency of communication and reducing friction in relationships between people, particularly on a global basis, it will lead to a more integrated sense of humanity.”

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If they can do it…

Yesterday, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney announced that it would allow its advisers to use social media platforms, providing all 18,000 advisers access to LinkedIn and Twitter in June and graduating to Facebook soon after that.

It is the first large financial firm to do so, marking a sea-change in the industry’s resistance to adopting potentially confidentiality-threatening tools. Morgan Stanley’s only real social toe-dipping to date was the infamous report on How Teenagers Consume Media they commissioned from a 15-year-old on work experience.

However, Andy Saperstein, head of wealth management says, “Many of our clients have been demanding social media. Many of our advisers have been demanding it.”

Of course, it’s the clients that probably made the most impact. Staff are one thing, but when the guys who pay you big bucks start to demand something, you sit up and listen.

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Live From the War Room April 19th

In case you missed the news, McDonald’s had a National Hiring Event April 19th when they recruited 50,000 new employees from the front counter to the home office. We are tremendously excited for this event and the overwhelming response that we’ve received from prospective employees and media.

With this post, I wanted to lift the tent slightly and share a little about how we are managing the communications for this event. As you can imagine, the planning and communications out to the Field (McDonald’s speak for the 14,000 restaurants and thousands of employees around the country that make our operations run smoothly) has been going on for months.

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How to get the results you deserve for your business

How to get the results you deserve for your business

If you’re like most people, you suffer from information overload.

There is so much information online about how to grow your business, improve your blog and sell more stuff that it’s enough to make your head explode, right?

Because there is SO much information to churn through, you tend to shut it all out. Or, maybe you digest a lot information online, but you never put it into practice because you just simply don’t know which direction is the right one for you.

After all, should you spend your money on advertising or a new website? Or, what about this whole social media thing – Is that even worth your time?

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Customer-centricity Begins with Creating a Culture of Change

Customer-centricity or getting closer to customers is often the focus of many executive meetings I attend these days. The question always arises, “how can we use new media to get closer to customers?”

The answer is not, develop a social media strategy to start engaging with customers. The answer is, change. Any organization that focuses on operations, margins, and efficiencies over customer experiences will find itself unfavored by tomorrow’s connected customer. It’s difficult to see the customer or empathize with them if you’re focused on a spreadsheet. It’s impossible to change if you can’t see what it is they value.

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What is Your Social ID?

Brand identification is changing right along with the other shifts social media has brought about.  It is no longer as much about  the company logo, the colors or whether we use our middle initial in visual materials or not; it is now about “Social I.D.” – our voice and the way we socially present ourselves online.

What is your Social I.D.?  What identifies your brand (personal or corporate) throughout your social media interactions and offerings? If your answer includes the colors of your website, you need to think very carefully about where you are focusing your brand identity efforts.  I am not suggesting that colors and logos and graphical elements are not important, but I am suggesting that the way you interact with others online is the identification that will catch the most attention… and hold it the longest.

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World’s Largest Brokerage OKs Social Networking by Financial Advisors

Memo heralds new media breakthrough

New York-based financial services powerhouse, Morgan Stanley, the world’s largest brokerage firm, announced, not in a tweet or a blog, but in an old-fashioned, internal memo, plans to “begin a staged, roll-out for Advisors to use Social Media.”

Mincing no words about the implications of the announcement, the memo’s author, Andy Saperstein, who heads the brokerage’s U.S. operations, observed: 

“This will be a significant competitive advantage.”

Morgan Stanley’s decision to invest in social media by allowing, initially, a select group of about 600 of its financial advisors to use social media, will undoubtedly leave others in the highly-regulated financial services sector scrambling to follow the leader.

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Legacy issues

What does your organization do with legacy products and services? Things you started that never really caught on, or died out slowly over time?

That’s a very easy way to judge the posture and speed of a brand. If there’s a one-way track–stuff gets added, but it never gets taken away–then the ship is going to get slower and heavier and become much harder to handle until it eventually sinks.

How long did it take Detroit to take the ashtrays out of cars? The single-sex admission policy at the club? How many people who use your website need to speak up on behalf of a button or a policy for you to persist in keeping it there? How long before you cancel the Sisterhood meetings that are now attended by just three people?

Either you’re focused on maintaining the legacy features or you’re focused on figuring out how to replace them. Driving with your eyes on the rearview mirror is difficult indeed.

In a world of little competition, legacy features are something worth keeping. No sense alienating loyal customers.

But we don’t live in a world of little competition. The faster your industry moves, the more likely others are willing to live without the legacy stuff and create a solution that’s going to eclipse what you’ve got, legacies and all.

Seth Godin

Quick Tips on How to Get Your Startup Noticed

I had the chance to sit down with Adarsh Pallian, the CEO and Co-Founder of Geotoko, a Vancouver-based startup that measures location based deals, to ask him how startups should begin marketing their new products.  Pallin did not hold back, and left me with some fantastic tips to kick start the marketing engine.

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