Yesterday I was contacted by a reporter from a major media company, to contribute to a story. (Want to watch some of my advice on social media success? Scroll below to see the video for you)
This is not the first time I’ve been contacted by a journalist online – but most of the time I’m called directly or emailed. But this was the first time I was contacted by “major media” through Twitter. It was pretty exciting.
You must be frequent on social media. Just posting to Google Plus is not enough.
You must be relevant. Do you think that people give a darn about your cat or your kids? No. Tweet about what YOUR AUDIENCE is interested in.
You must be engaging. “Social” media is all about social, all about sharing with others. People share what’s interesting to them.
You must measure. You must measure what you do on social media so you know what works and what does not work. Maybe Facebook is not for you? Maybe it’s Google Plus. Maybe Twitter is indeed better for you, instead of LinkedIn. You won’t know this unless you measure what you are doing.
A bit more about measurement: Below is a screen shot of Dlvr.it a social media management tool we use to post on social media abut also to MEASURE what posts are most engaging and what networks are most active. You can also use the measurement tools of Facebook (Facebook.com/insights) and the emerging analtyics tools of the other social networks to see what posts are gaining traction – or not.
Finally, remember that social media alone is NOT enough. You must ensure your DRIVE your social media traffic to something that can lead to a sale or at least lead to further marketing to interesting prospective customers or to get your current customers to buy more. This is where CRM comes in. There’s a lot of great CRM tools on the market – one of the best for marketing campaigns is Infusionsoft (my employer).
Gary Vaynerchuck is famous for saying “what’s the ROI of your mother” to clients who ask him over and over again if social media is really that important and how to measure the ROI. He’s right – in a way. But when you add CRM to social media – the ROI and knowing what works is much more clear!
Watch out LinkedIn! Facebook is coming in on the hiring and recruiting turf!
Facebook’s new Graph Search marks a major change in social recruiting, says enterprise software company, SAP. Employers can now harness their entire Facebook network for recommendations on who to hire. Through phrases (for example: “my friends in New York who like engineering” or “photos liked by java developers in New York”), employers can comb through people, places, photos or other content that’s been shared on Facebook to find the right candidate.
With 92% of employers using social networks for recruiting, Facebook Graph Search is undoubtedly going to impact talent acquisition strategies. But will social collaboration transform recruiting and mark the end of job boards? How much emphasis should employers put on what people post and “like” on Facebook?
LinkedIn made its name as a sort of Facebook for professionals, staying away from the junk the piles up on your Facebook wall or newsfeed and keeping things related to careers and skills. But Facebook is well-placed to snatch some of that market.
The main problem I foresee is that most Facebook users regard Facebook as an extension of their private social lives. The clear demarcations between LinkedIn and Facebook allow users to talk on Facebook as if they’re at a casual party with friends, versus being at a never-ending job interview on LinkedIn. That’s essentially how things break down for me. LinkedIn is for professionalism, Facebook is for connecting with friends, and Twitter is kind of in between.
A new startup launching today called Everwise is looking to help. The San Francisco and New York-based startup, which was co-founded by tech industry veteran and current Yahoo board chairmanMaynard Webb and former Audium founder and Cisco executive Mike Bergelson, has built a tech-powered platform for matching “protégés” with the right mentors and shepherding them through a six-month-long advisory relationship.
In an interview this week, Bergelson, who serves as Everwise’s CEO, said the service plugs data from a participant’s LinkedIn profile as well as a personalized questionnaire into its matching algorithm (which is based on Everwise’s studies of some 60,000 mentoring partnerships) to pair him or her with a volunteer executive from another company with complementary skills to serve as a mentor. The idea is that sometimes people aren’t always the best at choosing the right mentor on their own.
“Mentor marketplaces as they exist today aren’t always working, because the people with most compelling titles and sexiest businesses get all the attention, even if they aren’t the right fit,” Bergelson said. “Everwise is like the eHarmony for mentoring… Our aim is to build longer lasting relationships that span with interactions over months.”
In addition to the software, Everwise provides a human element here too. The company has contracted live “relationship managers” who help shepherd the mentoring relationships from day one, checking in with phone calls and surveys to gather feedback and provide guidance.
There’s a price to this. Everwise charges each protégé $150 per month to use the site, and mentors, which are heavily vetted by the site, participate as volunteers. That might seem expensive, but at an enterprise level it’s been received well: Over the past year in Everwise’s private beta, companies such as Hewlett Packard, Direct Energy, and Sigma Aldrich have paid for their employees to find mentors through the program. “When we talk to companies about the pricing, our monthly price costs about the same as one day of management training,” Bergelson said.
Bergelson said that Everwise is different from other services in the mentoring space such as Clarity, since it is focused more on people in the corporate world than on entrepreneurs. Looking ahead, though, the company could look to scale out its technology and service beyond the white-collar sphere. Bergelson explained the vision like this:
“If we can figure out a way to provide a service that’s really valuable for really senior, swtiched-on, engaged Silicon Valley people at the HPs and the eBays of the world, and do that in a scalable way, then the platform and the technology could be used in lots of different contexts. Nowadays people have 11 jobs on average by time they’re in mid-thirties. Careers are ending up in places in infinite numbers of ways. The role of the mentor, the role of guidance, is even more important now than it has been.”
Everwise, which has raised just under $1 million in seed funding, has a full-time staff of 14.
One third of the American work force works as freelancers, independent contractors, consultants, part timers, temps and self-employed entrepreneurs. With lay-offs continuing and on-roll jobs becoming harder to come by, the Intuit 2020 report estimates that this figure will balloon to nearly 40 percent of the overall workforce.
For growing businesses, this means being able to tap into a growing talent pool of freelancers at competitive rates, mostly via online freelance job portals such as Elance, ODesk, Guru and Freelancer. But hiring freelance contractors also poses its own set of challenges.
Firstly, businesses looking to hire contractors from any one of these portals are often faced with the problem of plenty, with a single job attracting hordes of applications from all round the globe, making it a time consuming and cumbersome process to select the right candidate for the job.
Secondly, while each portal has its own system of contractor ratings derived from feedback from other clients, these can often be unreliable. Let’s face it what’s average for you, may represent an excellent delivery for another.
And finally, there are the tax implications of hiring independent contractors which are handled differently on these sites and need to be well understood.
Coworks.com an online portal based on network recommendations
Coworks has created a solution to help make the process of finding a qualified freelance worker easier. Coworks is an online portal that combines the features of existing freelance websites with some of the features of LinkedIn. Simply put, it works on the ‘referral model’. What this essentially means is that once you list a job, the website recommends contractors who have been recommended by people within your own network on the site. So instead of having to review several applications, you will receive contractor profiles that come recommended by people known to you and therefore offer the promise of quality and trust, which are vital in any business equation.
You can even login on the site using your Facebook or LinkedIn I.D. and password. The other aspect that works in favor of businesses is the pricing. The premium package of $69 a month lets you list any number of jobs across the four job categories (writing and translations, design and illustration, photo-video and web-apps) with zero transaction fees, compared to nearly 8 to 10 percent that you would normally pay on other sites. So if you are a regular employer of freelance contractors, then this could be a real cost saver.
While the site is still in the beta stage, the model can work successfully for businesses and contractors alike by inviting people within their social circles (LinkedIn and Facebook) to join Coworks.com. The more the merrier and more the chances of doing business with someone who is known to someone you know (inspired by the theory of ‘six degrees of separation’ I suppose), which is at least half the problem solved while hiring a freelance contractor!
Today, Identified has unveiled its patent-pending, artificial intelligence technology called “SYMAN,” which aims to organize the masses of disparate, incoherent professional data that lives in our social media profiles in order to identify new insights into the job market. Essentially, Identified co-founders Brendan Wallace and Adeyemi Ajao tell us, SYMAN is an attempt to provide a solution to a problem many social media companies have struggled with for years: Unstructured, disorganized and inconsistent data.
In November 2011, Identified emerged out of public beta on a mission to create a better professional job search engine. Built on top of Facebook data, Identified set out to nibble at LinkedIn’s lead in this space by giving both job seekers and companies a better way to connect — and find talent. To do that, the startup offered a product that it promised would become something akin to the “Google Page Rank for people,” assigning a numerical rank (out of 100) to professionals and companies based on their education, career path, social footprint and more — a la Klout.
By the following summer, Identified had attracted three million active users and had imported 10 million profiles from Facebook, which it used to secure a sizable $21 million series B financing round, led by VantagePoint Capital and Capricorn Investment Group, along with participation from Tim Draper, Innovation Endeavors, Chamath Palihapitiya and more. After this early buzz and validation subsided, however, Identified was met with the challenge of having to convince and incentivize the younger generations to claim and fill out their Facebook-derived profiles on its platform — not such an easy task when so many people already have a litany of online profiles to manage.
But doing so is critical for Identified, because without users claiming their profiles and adding more data, an Identified profile isn’t worth much more than any other. Plus, it means the company has fewer data points with which to work when trying to assign an accurate score or effectively tracking a user’s career progress. As such, Identified has spent the last nine months in relative silence, hiring data scientists and designers and building out its team in an attempt to create technology that would set it apart from the field and enable it to begin monetizing.
For the enterprise, startups (or really any company) to make use of social media data in a way that’s actually valuable and contains actionable insight, that unstructured, messy social data needs to be cleaned and structured in a way that makes sense. For example, “dirty data,” as the co-founders call it, makes it difficult to deliver high-quality search or analytics products — part of the reason why Facebook’s GraphSearch hasn’t yet seen substantive adoption from recruiters and partly explains why LinkedIn’s career map didn’t take off, respectively.
By putting social media data in a clean, organized format, companies can more effectively ingest this data to power recruiting, human capital management, CRM, marketing and a host of other enterprise products. To help solve this problem, Identified partnered with a team of former LinkedIn data scientists to develop SYMAN. Inspired by some of the early work that LinkedIn did on its professional dataset, the startup is applying that methodology to a much larger trove of professional data: Facebook.
While one might not think of Facebook as being the go-to site for professional information (especially as many are keen to keep their social and professional profiles separate), with over one billion people on the social network, there’s still an enormous amount of professional data to be gleaned from its profiles. Facebook’s dataset is, as one might expect, more than five-times the size of that of LinkedIn, far less structured and much less complete.
That’s all well and good, but how does it work? Without revealing all the nuts and bolts behind the patent-pending technology, SYMAN’s data architecture enables a machine to draw inferences about the meaning of a particular data entry based on context in much the same way the human brain does. In other words, knowing that someone wrote “Analyst” as their job title on Facebook might not be of much help when making predictions about their ideal professional career. However, by considering complementary and related data, like their education, company and friend, SYMAN can infer that the person is in fact a “Systems Analyst” at Cloudera.
Comparing biographical, professional and educational data against the career path of a “typical” systems analyst, Identified can now predict that Palantir, for example, might be the best (and most logical) next step in the career path for that particular analyst. The data schema and learning algorithms behind SYMAN, Wallace says, are inspired by pioneering neuroscience research proposed by Jeff Hawkins (the founder of Palm and Handspring) and Ray Kurzweil, who recently joined Google to develop a similar technology and apply it to pattern recognition.
Identified has also developed SYMAN to create and inform a new product, which is currently in beta and being tested by 30 or so clients, called Identified Recruit. Just as LinkedIn used its enterprise recruiting tools to begin monetizing its dataset, the startup hopes to use its new product to enable recruiters to more easily and effectively search and identify candidates based on professional information culled from Facebook. In other words, Identified wants to turn Facebook into a candidate database just as LinkedIn has converted its own for similar uses.
The product is currently being used by enterprise health clients, like Kaiser Permanente for example, to find healthcare candidates who traditionally have shied away from building LinkedIn profiles, like nurses and patient care professionals, in particular. To give an example of how its new product is being applied in this context, SYMAN was able to find 562 ways in which nurses self-identify on Facebook (how they say “I’m a nurse,” in other words).
The technology then maps these 562 different terms to 15 unique categories or “15 different types of nurses that recruiters are actually looking for,” Wallace explains, enabling recruiters to find more in one search than they would be able to otherwise, using GraphSearch, for example. At present, Identified has only “cleaned” healthcare data via SYMAN, but going forward, the company intends to apply the technology to other industries, like finance, education and life sciences — to name a few on the near-term roadmap.
Moving forward, the co-founders tell us that they’re also keen on integrating other datasets, applying SYMAN not only to Facebook, but to LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Quora, Github and others. Though this will take some time, one can also see the company using its new tech to develop analytics products for professionals and companies, like, say, products that would them optimize their workforce and view leads, candidates and more in a centralized dashboard.
Also on the roadmap, Wallace says, is the development of an API for a variety of social media sites, which would allow companies to use SYMAN to clean and organize their data, on-demand. Data-cleaning-as-a-service, in other words. The founders also hope that, through its future API, SYMAN could enable companies to monetize their data for enterprise applications in a way they’re currently unable to do, as well as allowing developers and third-parties to build B2B tools, apps and tools on top of SYMAN’s technology.
Of course, in the big picture, the applications for SYMAN are just beginning to take root, so it’s still too early to say just how effective and attractive this kind of technology will be to other companies. But, based on where Identified was a year ago, it certainly feels like a step in the right direction, especially if it means to monetize in any significant way. Sure, it’s easy to talk about what could be, making Identified’s future plans for its technology seem like pie-in-the-sky-type conceptualizing at this point.
However, the startup does seem to have assembled a team of experienced data scientists and engineers, and the recent addition of two new board members from well-known recruiting and human capital companies may be a sign that the startup is at least moving in the right direction. To that point: This quarter, Wallace says, the company officially added Jobvite CEO Dan Finnigan and Max Simkoff, the founder and CEO of Evolv, to its board of directors.
As to what he sees as the potential for SYMAN, Simkoff says that he thinks the technology could solve a problem “that plagues big social data and which no other social or professional network has really been able to solve effectively,” and as such, could “uncover powerful insights and relationships buried deep within the Social Web, which have the potential to change how companies pursue talent, manage their workforce, and understand their competition.”