Blog Posts - Ms Julie Shaffer


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  • 06/28/2012 by Ms Julie Shaffer

    When I speak to groups of print and marketing service providers about why it’s important to engage through social media, someone invariably asks a question along these lines: “I’m so busy already, how will I manage to carve out the time to do this too?” There’s no denying that it does indeed take both time and effort to kick off and manage a real social media program. Saying that, it’s also entirely possible, with the right tools and an intelligent plan, to do so with minimal effort each day. This is the first in a series of stories about social media management tools that can help you maximize your outreach and impact while minimizing your effort to do so.

    Determining the tools you should use and how much time you’ll need to invest depends to a large extent upon what it is you hope to accomplish through social engagement. Do you want to use it to promote your brand in general? Do you simply want to stay in touch with others? Do you want to use it to prospect for new customers? Do you want to use social platforms as part of a specific marketing campaign? Do you want to be seen as a thought leader on a particular subject or industry? Are you interested in linking back to your ecommerce storefront or website? There are dozens of ways a business can use social media to interact with the huge potential audience they offer.  Some social media management tools were created to enhance specific social platforms while others offer a dashboard interface to help users management engagement on a number of platforms from a single user interface. A few, like Involver, do a bit of both.

    Involver is a social marketing platform and the company is recognized as a Facebook Marketing Developer, providing technology for Facebook’s own marketing team. In addition to Facebook, the company claims to enable over 100,000 global brands, including Best Buy, Sony/RCA Records, Target and The White House. I recently spoke with Involver’...

  • 03/29/2012 by Ms Julie Shaffer

    So you have a Linkedin account, a Facebook Page and a Twitter account. Maybe you check in to your gym or the place you have lunch on Foursquare, post videos on YouTube and try your best to figure out how to fit Google Plus into the mix. In short, you’re doing what people like me have been urging you to do — you’re engaged in social media conversation. Congratulations. Now, what do you know about your social standing? Do you have Kred? Do you have Klout?

    Just as a bank uses your credit score to measure your financial soundness, and Google Analytics measures your website’s reach, services Klout.com and Kred.com measure your social media influence. If you haven’t used either of these services, it’s worth the time to head over to each site and check it out. But be warned, once you sign up and see your scores odds are human nature will kick in and you will become obsessed with improving them.

    Klout measures, as the language-distorting name implies, your social “clout.” When you sign up, you authorized the service to connect to at least one of your social accounts (Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus) and linking to more will yield a more accurate measure of your influence across the entire social web. Klout can also connect to Linkedin, YouTube, Foursquare, Instagram, WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, Last.fm and Flicker with half a dozen more on the way. Klout uses these connections to come up with your Klout Score, reported as a number on a scale of one to 100. The average score is in the 20s and as one’s score moves up the scale, it’s much more difficult to increase one’s Klout Score. Klout defines influenced as “the ability to drive action” and looks at interaction through social networks over a rolling 90-day period. Engagement is key, and Klout will rank a person with fewer connections but more engagement (via Retweets, Mentions, new Follows, Likes, Wall Posts) higher...

  • 03/08/2012 by Ms Julie Shaffer

    The “Cloud” once the purview of IT geeks and software developers, has gotten personal. For several years there’s been a movement to transition software from the desktop or local server to the Cloud (which most broadly defined just means the Internet, enabling on-demand network access to a shared pool of computing resources that can be rapidly accessed and used with minimal management effort.) On example is web-to-print software, typically offered as Saas (software-as-a-service) but which has more recently been referred to as cloud-based. But in the past year, especially with the introduction of iCloud, Apple’s foray into offering cloud-based services to individuals, the Cloud is getting decidedly personal.

    Two days ago, Google joined Apple (iCloud) and Amazon (Whispersync) with it's contribution to the field of personal Cloud-based file saving and sharing called Google Play. Google is marketing the free Google Play as a way to share all of one's personal digital stuff—music, books, movies, apps—across all of one's digital devices instantly. They've built a very iTunes-like store where one can find all of the above mentioned digital stuff, sans iPhone/iPad apps (Android-only thank you very much!) Cloud printing is another player in this area, a place where Google plays as well with Google Cloud Print. Google isn't the first or only vendor in this space, printing industry familiar EFI offers EFI PrintMe®, and Xerox...

  • 02/23/2012 by Ms Julie Shaffer

    You’ve probably been hearing a lot about The “Do Not Track” movement in the past week. While it kicked off a couple of years ago (the Internet equivalent of the “Do Not Mail” program that so raised hackles in the print world) it hadn’t been a top-of-mind issue for many until last week when the White House and the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA) both issued major announcements that are likely to have far reaching effects for anyone engaged in integrated/online marketing (or even just with a website.)

    On Thursday, February 23rd, the Obama Administation published its ‘blueprint for how to protect privacy in a networked society,” in the report Consumer Data Privacy in a Networked World: A Framework for Protecting Privacy and Promoting Innovation in the Global Digital Economy. The report states that while consumer data privacy protection is strong in the U.S. there are two exceptions, including “a clear statement of basic privacy principles that apply to the commercial world, and a sustained commitment of all stakeholders to address consumer data privacy issues as they arise from advances in technologies and business models.” Meaning, of course, data collection and tracking on the Internet.

    To address this, the report sets forth a Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights. This Bill of Rights applies to personal data, meaning any data that can be linked to a specific individual. These key rights include:

    1. INDIVIDUAL CONTROL: Consumers have a right to exercise control over what personal data companies collect from them and how they use it.

    2. TRANSPARENCY: Consumers have a right to easily understandable and accessible infor­mation about privacy and security practices.

    3. RESPECT FOR CONTEXT: Consumers have...