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Perspectives on decentralized organizations at South by Southwest Interactive Festival

As technology has increasingly created a number of self-organizing online or real communities, companies are also experimenting with cultural changes such as  decentralization.

This trend was discussed in depth at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival, led by Amgen, Inc. Executive Director James Taylor, Burning Man Human Resources Manager Kat Steinmetz, and Second Life Founder Phillip Rosedale.  These professionals discussed the burning question of “Decentralized Organizations: Do They Really Work?” Highlights …

Thought leader and author of The Future of Work Thomas Malone shared insights into why things are changing

  • “For the first time we can have big business economy of scale and small business human culture.”
  • “We’re in the early stage of change in business, similar to change we saw in democracy/government”
  • “Old structure for corporations are based on efficiency. Today’s is about innovation; new focus is intelligence”
  • “Benefits of decentralized decision-making are exactly the same as drivers for business success-innovation and flexibility”

Exploring and using non-traditional techniques to structure their organization

  • It’s not just about cool tech startups (example Zappos model), huge productivity boost
  • Burning Man has no CEO. Instead 6 execs who decide by consensus. Slows decision-making, but speeds up implementation
  • We need to rethink the efficiency metric, place more emphasis on collective intelligence
  •  The point is to build community, not to be efficient

The future forecast for organizations is uncertain

  • In a few years maybe no one will work for technology companies. Employment is going to change so substantially.
  • Anonymous surveys, voting systems for both customers and internal employees, organic management, and peer-based recognition systems are becoming more commonly used

Thanks for your insight, @bombaycowgirl, @ACoulton, and @CofoMan!

From Fans to Advocates: Creating an Active Fan Base | OMMA Social

We have all used it: The Like button on Facebook.  This simple button allows you to publicy share your interests in everything from hobbies, to music, to brands.  The Like button is great for exposure, but how do you, as a brand, get your fans to go beyond the Like and become a more outspoken consumer?  Through engaging them with carefully crafted content!

Dr. Augustine Fou, founder and CEO of Marketing Science Consulting Group, moderated OMMA Social Panel, “From Passive to Active: Stimulating Your Fan Base Into Social Action.”

Use these tips to learn how to rile your fans and consumers to be active and long-term spokespersons for your brand.

The Panel

Social media

  • Drives brand strategy
  • Engages consumers & promotes conversation:  Ask questions, get answers
  • Informs brands of consumers behaviors
  • Reduces risk through consumer behavior study
  • Adds another dimension to your campaign(s)

Best practices

  • Focus on community
  • Enable communication/peer research
  • Give advice and reviews
  • Give audience some control
    • Social amplification is done best when carried out by the audience, not the brand
  • Handle your own social campaigns

How Intel uses social

  • To identify and learn consumer needs
  • Then use insights to feed product innovation
  • Intel is always keeping conversations and content flowing


  • People share to feel that they matter: Brands should do the same on social
  • Educate your team to be content creators & get over one-way advertising
  • Find social influencers who are passionate about your brand!


  • Look at your content process:  Content planning is essential
  • Share things that are relevant and grasp attention
  • Social is one-to-one conversation
  • Focus on Facebook content strategy more than ad strategy

In social, content is KEY!  This cannot be stressed enough.  When ‘doing’ social, create content that is compelling and conversational: Make your fans more than an audience: advocates for your brand.

See footage of the panel 

Thanks for your Tweets


Social targeting, Without Being Creepy | OMMA Social

Do you ever get that creepy feeling that every move you make on the Internet is being watched?  Do you find that the ads that pop up alongside your e-mail and Facebook are strikingly familiar to things that are on your mind?  Creepy, right?  This “creepiness” is because marketers are able to collect social data online to create personalized ad experiences just for YOU!

How, as marketers, should audience data be gathered to create personalized ad experiences without seeming creepy?

This OMMA Social panel, “Invade My Privacy, Please: How to Use Social Targeting Without Being Creepy,” discusses how to gather social data and present it without invading people’s privacy, or seeming “creepy.” Use the insight from this panel to guide you as your generate social data for your brand.

Panel Moderator


Creating that creepy feeling

  • Marketers are targeting consumers at the wrong time
  • Is trigger by poor data collecting practices
  • Tracking and targeting are war terms; this doesn’t help when seeking buy-in from consumers

Facebook is.. . creepy?

 Ads on social platforms

  • Ads are an intrusion in a social environment because people are not seeking brand engagement there
  • Search environment ads are less intrusive: Is that because we’re simply more tolerant/trained to expect it?
  • Retargeting is commonplace for ads
  • Data is collected so marketers can monetize the web through ads and continue to provide a free service

Don’t creep

  • The key (and dilemma) is finding a way to collect data without alienating  users
  • Only 1 in 2,500 people opt out of data collection after reading privacy policies
  • Why don’t we educate consumers on what they opt into?
  • A privacy policy should be copy-written, not lawyered
  • Have  copy-writers and community managers produce “non-creepy” practices and content
  • Be strategic: Know when, where, and how to deliver ads

As consumers, the Internet is a vast and open plain where strangers have the ability to access your information.  Panelist John Montgomery warns users against being ignorant: Be aware of the volatility of online information sharing and carefully read privacy policies.

As marketers, use tact and appropriate online etiquette to prevent from being that “creepy” presence on the Internet.  Use copy-writers and community managers to establish privacy policies and share proper information with your consumers.  Further, be a friendly presence; let your audience know when, why, and how you are collecting their information.

Thanks for the Tweets @GroupMWorldwide, @Berly624, @ellenoppenheim, @JackWagner54, @mtuohy, @momma,  @SocMediaRebel, @jmc_nyc, @piperlynmac

Facebook’s Timeline Lessons for Brands | OMMA Social

Launched at the end of March 2012, the Facebook Timeline is a relatively new feature that was imposed on all business pages.  As a new addition to the digital marketing realm, using the Timeline is still a learning process for marketers and agencies.

This OMMA Social panel, “What we’ve learned from the brief history of Facebook’s Timeline for brands,” instructs marketers, advertisers, and agencies how to successfully use the Timeline for their brand.

Comprising pros in the marketing field and moderated by Catharine Taylor, a MediaPost columnist, the panel shared best practices: including what to post for best visibility, what graphics to use, and how to measure the results.

The Panelists

Facebook Timeline layout and how a brand can use it

  • Timeline moved brand focus from advertising strategy to content generation first and foremost
  • Takes up a lot of time & most Facebook users usually only see your brand in their feed, most won’t visit your timeline.
  • Efficient for direct marketers: Empowers brand marketers to test + optimize
  • Brands can control how to portray themselves
  • Created an opportunity to reward, engage, and discount loyal customers


  • Content is crucial on Timeline
  • Know what you’re selling to optimize social: Dove sells beauty not soap; Starwood sells lifestyle not beds
  • Pick a theme and what’s engaging & share on relevant platforms
  • Great content is critical and goes beyond just article generation

Strong Content Creates Engagement

  • Have a long-term staff/adviser to understand audience better and build community
  • Photos on Facebook create engagement
  • Timeline is a retention tool; use it to keep customers

Social analytics for marketers

American Express best practices

  • American Express creates “content” by asking a question and getting people to talk to one another
  • Amex does all community management in-house OPEN has 2 people on Facebook and Twitter. They’re trained by PR & legal

The creation of the Facebook Timeline has made it very important for marketers, advertisers, and agencies to focus on strong, engaging content generation for their brands.  Content is the best way to keep customers loyal, engaged, and spreading the word for your brand.

Thanks for participating @JackWagner54, @LouiseRobertson, @rpmkel @MovableContent, @justincina, @ellenoppenheim,‏ @seventalentv, @ansleyjo @socmedsoc, ‏@CandaceMarks, @tomgerace

Want to learn more on how to create a killer Facebook Timeline?  Designated Editor will teach you how!

10 Keys to a Killer Facebook Timeline | Webinar Highlights

March 30, 2012, marked the day that all businesses and brands had to switch their Facebook profiles to the Facebook Timeline.  Was there widespead panic?  Since then, brands have had to adjust to the change.  The good news is that there are great ways to use the new Timeline to your brands’ advantage.

The Vertical Response webinar, “10 Keys to a Killer Facebook Timeline,” teaches how to use the Timeline features to enhance business/brand pages.

Webinar presenter Ellery Long, VR social media manager, believes that the Facebook Timeline is important for businesses that use Facebook for marketing; Facebook acts a second website for your business.

The Facebook Timeline offers a linear look to your page, a “story of your brand’s life.”

10 Keys to a Killer Facebook Timeline

1. Strategy

  • Create objectives
  • What are you trying to create with your timeline?  Raise awareness?  Customer Service?
  • Set metrics
  • Select measurement tools, set a baseline
  • Look at competitors & incorporate their ideas
  • Plan content: Build editorial calendar
  • Organize! Create a policy, select staff and contributors
  • Set guidelines, but allow staff autonomy, empower them

 2.  Cover Photo

  • Large horizontal photo on top of page
  • NY Times uses their cover photo to personify the company
  • Sets conversational tone
  • Size: 851 x 315 pixels
  • Eye-catching
  • Rotate photos
  • Facebook does not allow  contact info, prices, “like” us, call-to-actions on cover photo

3.  Profile image

  • Logo, by design
  • 180 x 180 pixels
  • Keep fixed
  • Make it recognizable

4.  About section

  • Brief company history
  • Share links & contact info
  • Put as much information as you want
  • What can you give your fans
  • Call to action

5.  Tab showcase

  • Compelling, fun, engaging
  • Cover photo = show  your customers
  • 111 x 74 pixels
  • Only 4 in showcase
  • Keep tab names short
  • Create compelling a call to action!

6.  Custom apps/tabs

  • 810 pixels wide
  • “Not just another webpage”:  Trigger Newsfeed messages
  • No default landing tabs

7.  Admin panel

  • Provides page tips
  • Enables direct messaging
  • Notifications
  • Insights

8.  Pinned posts

  • Way to drive traffic to custom tab or promotion
  • Post news
  • Timely info/remains 7 days

9.  Highlighted posts

  • Full page view = Visually compelling!
  • When updating status, add photos
  •  Use text & picture = eye catching

10.  Milestones

  • History of a brand
  • Tell the brand’s story; humanize your brand
  • Make them relevant
  • Use for product releases, events, company ‘firsts’
  • Examples:  The Gap, Wildfire, Coca-Cola

Businesses need a Facebook presence, and they need to make it social and fun.  To create a killer Timeline, set guidelines, but also empower staff and users!  Check out NY Times’ Facebook Timeline for a Timeline example.

And finally, the most important resource when it comes to creating the best Timeline is time, so make the time to beef up your Timeline for optimal results.

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