Tag Archives: twitter

Financial Industry Is Slow To Get Social, Restrained by Regulation

Series 1 on Social Media in Highly Regulated Industrieslocked keyboard

Some in the financial industry think it simpler to abandon social media, but for most, they are stuck in a difficult juxtaposition as they are expected to grow their book of business, but then told they cannot use all the tools available to do so. My Edwards Jones money manager is forbidden to use Facebook for business, and the company won’t allow her to have access to the site from her office.  Merrill Lynch just recently began allowing their employees to use LinkedIn, but under strict guidelines.

With social media in full swing these days, what is it that keeps the highly regulated industries from swimming with the rest?  The difference might be in the government regulations rather than in the social medium.  Banks are regulated by the OCC, investment firms are regulated by the SEC and other industries like legal and real estate are heavily regulated at the State level.   The biggest challenge is that companies would need to monitor online activity for all of their employees and make sure no laws are broken, or invest in social media training as a matter of prevention. This costs money, but does the cost outweigh the benefit? Facebook and Linkedin have already been shown to be rich oil fields of prospects and clients, so how can these companies maneuver safely and confidently within those realms?

For several years, I worked with a large family owned real estate company headquartered in Connecticut, where we immersed more than 2000 agents in social media training. This occupation is about relationships, yet agents were fearful of the platform, mainly because they could not grasp how to use it. I heard more than once, “I don’t want people to know my phone number, my address” To which I replied “isn’t it the same as posting a sign with your face and phone number in front of your customers’ houses?”

On a similar level, companies are fearful of employee missteps online where everything published can be tracked.  Every highly regulated industry has guidelines for conduct, but now these guidelines must be extended to social media channels.  Training on acceptable use of social media, and monitoring, must be implemented to ensure those guidelines are followed.

Social media has already knocked on the door of each and every company and will not go away. Time will tell who manages to work within strict regulations to take advantage of the growth opportunities of social media, and who gets left behind.

Thanks to contributing writer Lori Vintilescu.

How Social Media Enabled Egypt’s Revolution: Part Three

"Freedom" photo by Gigi IbrahimIn the last of our three-part series on the role of social media in Egypt’s ongoing revolution, we speak directly with Amr Abouelleil, who is one of the growing number of international Egyptian Youth Movement members.

Abouelleil is a 36 year-old Egyptian-American writer and bioinformatics analyst living in Massachusetts with his family. He lived  his early life in Egypt, and  returns every year to visit family, including a female cousin who is active in the revolution. His most recent trip was this past April, where he witnessed the effects of Egypt’s revolutionary activity first-hand.

His take: social media has been the cornerstone of communications during the revolution. Without social media, access to factual information would be limited, and more than likely colored by government spin and propaganda. It has enabled international supporters like Abouelleil to connect first-hand with other Egyptians, and to reach out to a broader audience to both gain support for the revolution and address the misinformation that abounds in traditional media and on the internet.

We hope you find yourself as inspired as we have been by the power of social media, and the strength and passion of those using it to build a better future for their country.

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How Social Media Enabled Egypt’s Revolution: Part Two

Two Can Play at this Game: World Governments’ Responses to Social Media as a Revolutionary Tool

"Mute," photographed by Gigi IbrahimIn the first part of this series, we explored how social media enabled and facilitated Egypt and Tunisia’s revolutions. By using Facebook and Twitter to broadcast their beliefs, find like-minded individuals the world over, and organize protests in near real-time, the revolutionaries were able to stay one step ahead of their governments. But now, it seems, the governments are catching up.

In Egypt, segments of the government and army are now on Facebook, using it as a means to spread their own propaganda and to keep an eye on known activist communities. At one point during the revolution, the Egyptian government even shut down internet access, fully aware of the threat it posed to the government. Amr Abouelleil, an Egyptian-American bioinformatics analyst and writer who is actively involved with the Egyptian Youth Movement at the heart of the revolution, says the government was aware that without the internet, people would have to turn to state television (which is government-censored) for their news. The government used this opportunity to up their ante, broadcasting pro-government programming to the unwired masses, which in many cases, appeared to work. “The government got some people to change their tune in just a matter of days,” Abouelleil says. “It brainwashed them to go back on Facebook in the government’s favor instead.”

Egypt is not the only government in fear of the power social media and the internet provides its people; China recently came under fire when Google reportedly foiled an alleged Chinese attempt at stealing the passwords to hundreds of Google accounts, including those of government officials, Chinese human rights activists, and journalists. The Chinese government has since denied involvement, but is well known for their censorship of the internet and television. Whether or not the government is responsible for the hacking attempt, it’s safe to say that they are well aware of the power of the internet and social media, and doing all they can to control it.

Government reactions to the use of Google and social media have been so extreme in recent months that Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt has said he fears for the safety of Google employees in certain parts of the world. “There are countries where it is illegal to do things that Google encourages. In those countries, there is a real possibility of (employees) being put in prison for reasons which are not their fault,” Schmidt told attendees of Google’s Dublin summit on militant violence this past Monday, June 27.

A prime example of this is Wael Ghonim, the Egyptian Google executive who is now one of TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people of 2011. Ghonim was held captive by the Egyptian government for eleven days in early 2011 due to his involvement in using Facebook to organize protests via a page called “We are all Khaled Saeed,” which exposed and raised awareness of the military’s cruel and inhumane murder of Khaled Saeed.

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How Social Media Enabled Egypt’s Revolution: Part One

Twitter, SMS, Facebook by Gigi IbrahimFor hundreds of years now, the printed word has given a voice to the people. It has enabled repressed religious groups to establish their freedom and independence, and allowed fledgling countries to organize the support and manpower needed to break free from their oppressive overlords. There are centuries of evidence that the pen is indeed “mightier than the sword;” but in our age of technology, it appears that the Tweet may be mightier than the pen.

We all know by now about the recent social-media fueled upheavals in Egypt and Tunisia; protestors took to the web to voice their views and organize protests, acts which ultimately led to a successful revolution. Social media has given people a larger, louder voice than ever before. It allows them to reach the like-minded in both their own country and across the world. And perhaps more importantly, they are able to do it INSTANTLY. Revolutions that would have taken 10, 20, 30 years in the days before social media can now occur in that many months. Protests that would have taken weeks or months to organize can now happen in hours.

Let’s take a look at historical past revolutions. The Protestant Reformation, for example, would never have been made possible without the invention of the printing press. Johannes Gutenberg’s invention allowed Reformation leader Martin Luther to write and publish his beliefs prolifically, without Church censorship, and to distribute them to his followers and like-minded individuals, thus thrusting the reformation to the forefront of the public consciousness. Within 6 years, half of the printed works in Germany were written by Luther.

Then there is the American Revolution. Without Benjamin Franklin’s postal service, would missives have had such wide-spread reach? An organized means of distributing written information was essential to the fledgling colonies breaking free of British rule, and again in establishing the United States as a nation.

So we can see that the printed word has long played a role in disseminating information about dissidence and revolution to the people of the world and inciting the public to action. The difference between then and now is that now the people have the ability to instantly act on that information and reach a global audience.

It is important to note that, contrary to what the media and some extreme social media advocates are saying, the recent uprisings were not, in fact, “caused” by social media. They were caused by political unrest, government and military abuses of power, and poor treatment of a country’s citizens, and those citizens being unwilling to stand for it. The revolutions were, however, enabled and facilitated by social media, and quite possibly might not have been successful without it.

Stay tuned in the upcoming weeks as we post parts two and three in this series, where we’ll explore the government’s reaction to social media’s involvement in the Egyptian revolution, and speak with an Egyptian-American who has been active in using social media to advance the revolution from his home in the United States. And as always, we welcome your opinions and comments on this post and the topics it covers!


Part 2 is now up. Two Can Play at this Game: World Governments’ Responses to Social Media as a Revolutionary Tool

Image: Gigi Ibrahim via Flickr

Social Media Leaders and Laggards: Healthcare, Retail Sprint Past Financial Services, Energy

It may be early on in the race to Social Media marketing success, but there are already some notable leaders and laggards emerging.  Which industries are the ambling tortoises, and which are the speedy hares?

In this post, we will review the findings of a recent report from intelligence provider Social Media Influence (SMI), and share our own analysis to help you handicap this race to success.

In their June report entitled “The State of Social Media Jobs 2010,” SMI surveyed the marketing departments of all Fortune 100 companies, to find out whether they have in-house social media resources, outsource their social media campaigns, or have little to no investment in social media marketing.

The graph below shows the results of their survey.  The blue line represents the total number of companies in that industry, while the red line represents those companies in that industry that SMI deems “social media-savvy” (i.e. they devote significant in-house resources to social media marketing efforts).  As you can see, the leaders of the group include Tech/Consumer Electronics, Healthcare, Retail and Automotive.  On the flip side, the laggards are Petroleum/Energy, Financial Services/Insurance and Utilities.  (Click to enlarge image.)

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Gather Ye Social Networking Profiles While Ye May

If you spent 2009 making a business case for using social media marketing here are some tips to help you create your social networking profiles.

Before you begin it’s always a good idea to plan your pages in advance and gather the company information, usernames, profile images and other assets you will need.

For one thing the number of characters in usernames differ from network to network, the size of profile images are different dimensions, and some pages are more forgiving in terms of editing than others. Below are some guidelines for pages as well as a list of helpful resources.

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Make Every Tweet Count: A Month Long Focus on Socialnomics

cover socialnomicsSeveral months ago, Weber Media Partners initiated our “Make Every Tweet Campaign.” We took on the challenge of truncating messages from noteworthy books and reports about social media marketing and business.

We believe tweets should make a difference, have an impact. Tweets can tell a story. Can educate a line at a time. For the user, its an easy way to stay on top of resources they may not have otherwise known about or thought they had the time to read. The hope is that the tweets will spark more interest, be re-tweeted, initiate direct messages and most importantly encourage the user to read the material in its entirety.  As we say, Make Every Tweet Count campaigns should not substitute for buying and reading the entire book!

For the month of October we are excited to bring you month-long tweets from Erik Qualman’s new book, Socialnomics: How Social Media Transforms the Way We Live and Do Business, published by Wiley. Socialnomics was a shoo-in for “Make Every Tweet Count.”  You can open the book at any page and take away a message which will either change the way you’ve been thinking about social media or validate why you’ve been using it in your personal life or at your place of work.

Follow us this month on twitter@webermedia. Join in the conversation, 140 characters at a time.

Make Every Tweet Count Part III

mobile-marketinggoldfishIn September, to continue our monthly “Make Every Tweet Count” twittering campaign we’re sharing tweets about Mobile Marketing. The resource for these tweets is from a new book by Kim Dushinski entitled, The Mobile Marketing Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Dynamic Mobile Marketing Campaigns.

At Weber Media Partners, we’ve been thinking about the implications of mobile marketing. We know sometimes it might feel difficult to keep up with all that’s being expected of marketing these days, which is one of the reasons why it’s good practice to not get too far behind. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and either are good social media campaigns; willingness and a step-by-step approach go along way.

On this topic, Chris Brogan has an interesting post today, “The Building Blocks of Social Media Business” with solid advice about getting out to where your customers are on social media platforms. Along with a great plug for maintaining a email marketing presence, Chris advocates for diving into mobile, “…it’s definitely part of what’s next.”

If you want to start getting your feet wet and learning about mobile marketing a tweet at a time, join Weber Media Partners on Twitter this month as we tweet messages quoted from Kim Dushinki’s book. Like all of our Make Every Tweet Count campaigns, reading these tweets should not substitute for buying and reading the entire book!

140 characters at a time, you too can learn a lot about mobile marketing. More to come on the topic!

The New Community Rules: Marketing on the Social Web−A Book for the Social Media Enthusiast


O’Reilly’s new book by Tamar Weinberg, The New Community Rules: Marketing on the Social Web, is an enthusiast’s dream. If you’ve already crossed the bridge to marketing on the social web, or are still thinking about it, there are many gems waiting for you to discover.

As Tamar writes:
“There are online conversations about your company, product, or service going on right now, and they will happen regardless of your participation. It is your responsibility as a marketer to find out what people are saying and how they perceive you.  By becoming involved, you can facilitate that conversation, sway your audience, and engage community participants in a dialogue that will be beneficial to both them and the entity that you represent. Such an engagement can translate into tremendous successes for your marketing message, from reputation management to increased brand awareness, and then some. What are you waiting for?”

If you’re brand new to Social Media, The New Community Rules will provide you with a comprehensive lexicon of Social Media. Quickly, you’ll become familiarized with the essentials: blogs, microblogging, social networks, and social bookmarking. But where some books stop short, is the very place where Tamar continues.

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Six Tips for Using Twitter for Business

Twitter Book CoverThe Twitter Book by Tim O’Reilly and Sarah Milstein offers six great chapters to get you up to speed on Twitter.  If you’ve already been using Twitter, you’ll still benefit from the more introductory chapters with info on retweets (RT), direct messages (DM), hashtags (#) and much more.  If you’re planning to use Twitter as part of your business communications toolkit, then you’ll want to spend considerable time and focus with Chapter 6, Twitter for Business: Special Considerations and Ideas.

There are many great tips in the business chapter, here I’m going to focus on six which I’ve found most useful (also, because I want to encourage you to go out and get the book, and not tell you everything!)

1. Start using Twitter slowly, posting once a day or just a few times a week. Once you find your twitter account to be proving useful then devote more time and resources to it.

2. Use Twitter as vehicle for holding conversations rather than for making announcements

3. Identify the Person or People Behind the Account: 

According to O’Reilly and Milstein, people aren’t interested in connecting with a “nameless, faceless entity…identify the person from your company doing the twittering on your Twitter account page.” When you have multiple staff twitters you can create a custom background to identify everyone. And you can also individual pages as we do at Weber Media Partners, where CEO Catherine Weber. also tweets messages from her own page.

4. Retweet (RT) your customers. The authors define retweeting as the act of reposting somebody else’s cool or insightful or helpful tweet and giving them credit. For example, Tim O’Reilly recently re-tweeted:
 “RT @pascale: “Her Code – Engendering Change in the Silicon Valley” here is the now public video: http://icanhaz.com/hercode


Not sure about how to retweet, look at the pages of the people you follow to see how retweeting is being used.

5. Offer solid customer support: You can reply in public to customer service messages, e.g. Comcast’s page Comcast Cares, @comcastcares, is referenced as a “gold standard” for this model

6. Post mostly NOT about your company: “…think about Twitter as a way to exchange mutually interesting information…post mostly third-party links, resources and tips that would be of interest to people who follow you.

What tips can you share about twittering for business?