Social Soojin

First off, you're probably wondering where "Soojin" came from... Well here's the short version: I was adopted from South Korea when I was a baby and Soojin is my Korean name. My parents wanted to keep my heritage with me somehow, so they kept Soojin as my middle name. To this day, many of my close friends use Soojin as my nickname.

I live and breathe social media, marketing and PR. So, I like to keep up with everything current in the all of the above. Therefore, I decided it would a great project to start a blog and compile ideas, articles and anything else of importance in one place. Plus, I'll also post about the latest and cutting edge ideas in technology. Whether it's personal thoughts or re-blogging of articles I find interesting, this is place where you can keep up with all the latest trends!

Also, check out my personal blog where I post about all the things I love, which includes: Providence College, anything New England, books, technology and music. I'll also post about traveling, fashion, tennis, wine and theater... Yes, I'm a sucker for Broadway. You name it, I've probably seen it! If I could dance and sing through life, I would. Once in a while, I'll even have the urge to post about an interesting experience or jot down a thought that's rolling around in my brain, so check it out:

Happy blogging!
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Posts tagged "business"

There’s bad news and good news about the way consumers interact with brands on social media.

The bad news? When customers complain on social media, those complaints can tarnish your brand’s name for a wide audience faster than ever.

The good news? Just as complaints travel at light speed thanks to social media, so do compliments.

If you think you’re not “on” or “doing” social media, you’re wrong. Your company may not be active, but I guarantee your fans and your non-supporters are there. Because of this, it is the brand’s responsibility to create a social media experience that can turn a dissatisfied customer into a raving fan.

To help your brand do this, here are seven ways to create a memorable customer experience on social media.

1. Give Your Customers a Place to Talk

Some companies are afraid to set up Facebook pages because they allow customers to comment, which means someone might write something negative. It seems counterintuitive, but you should actually wantcustomers to complain on your company’s Facebook page. If your customers are complaining about you on their personal, privacy-protected Facebook profiles, you have no way to know if they’re complaining, much less reach out to them and make it right.

When customers complain on your brand’s Facebook page, you can respond and resolve issues. If you do it right (and get a little lucky), unhappy customers will turn their opinions around and recommend you to friends because of your fantastic customer service.

2. Integrate Social Media Into Your Customer Service

Neglecting your social media properties when they’re full of customer complaints is suicide for your brand. It’s like publishing a customer service hotline phone number that no one ever answers. (Except worse, because the whole Internet can see your negligence.)

Don’t open up the floor for complaints without a plan to handle them. Predict the complaints you may get and construct policies for replying to them. You should also plan on responding to fans who compliment you. At the very least, you should thank customers for the compliment. But if you really want to make customers happy, show happy customers your appreciation with coupons or other rewards.

3. Activate Your Existing Customer Base

Most brands have more customers than they do Facebook fans and Twitter followers. Start building your social media fan base by reaching out to your current customers — after all, they already “like” your brand in real life.

Think about how you currently contact your customer base and how you can use those communication channels to draw customers to your social media properties. For example, you could run a contest or promotion on Facebook and then include that promotion on your product’s packaging, in your next email, and in any touch point you have with your customers.

4. Be Proactive

Don’t just wait for someone to post on your wall or tweet your account. It’s especially easy on Twitter to monitor for mentions of your name and reach out when someone has a problem, even if they haven’t mentioned your account. Set your brand apart by proactively interacting with customers who are talking about your brand, whether you’re thanking them for a compliment or helping them solve a problem.

Think about why your customers use social media sites like Twitter — it’s because they want to “connect” and to have a voice out there. Make them happy that someone, most importantly your company, is listening to what they have to say.

5. Reward Influencers

Find the social media influencers for your audience and give them extras. This could be as simple as giving them advance notice of a special promotion, or complex as giving them a free trip and tour of your facilities. For example, check out what Musselman’s apple sauce did for its blogger network. Making people feel special will help turn them into advocates for your brand. Reward your brand ambassadors when they least expect it and you’ll see some pretty phenomenal results.

6. Create Compelling Content

Give your fans something of value on your page. For example, Nordstom’s “Beauty Central” on Facebook provides a ton of relevant, useful content. You can do something similar to this in every industry. If you’re a movie producer, post behind-the-scenes photos, and if you’re a bank, write money saving tips. It’s hard to get people to engage with your brand when you don’t have anything interesting to say. Every brand can (and should) create quality content.

Social media can be a channel to make customers or followers feel special, like they’re in an exclusive club with your brand because they follow you. Make them feel this exclusiveness whether you have ten social media fans or 100,000.

7. Stand Out From the Crowd

Some of the most memorable social media experiences are created by going beyond text. This can be as complex as Starbucks’s Pumpkin Picture app, or simple as using voice applications to let your brand’s spokesperson actually speak to your fans. The more interactive and engaging your social media presence, the better. In part, social media is a little anti-social because there can be a lot lost in plain text. By giving your fans a true voice on social media, or encouraging participation through photos and videos, you humanize the experience that much more. You’ll be doing so when most of the other companies out there aren’t really participating effectively this way. 

Dave Toliver is the Director of Corporate Marketing at Angel, a leading provider of cloud based customer experience solutions. By developing innovative IVRcall center and voice applications that put the customer first, Angel is changing the way enterprises serve their customers.

In 2010, women became the majority of the U.S. workforce for the first time in the country’s history. Also, 57% of college students are now women. While men continue to dominate the executive ranks and corporate board rooms, women now hold a number of lucrative careers: they make up 54% of accountants, 45% of law associates and approximately 50% of all banking and insurance jobs. These statistics, which appeared in Hanna Rosin’s Atlantic article “The End of Men,” have prompted considerable attention and debate.

Women are advancing in entrepreneurship as well. An American Express OPEN State of Women-Owned Businesses report found that between 1997 and 2011, the number of businesses in the U.S. increased by 34%, but the number of women-owned firms increased by 50%. That compares to a growth rate of just 25% for male-owned firms and has allowed businesses owned by females to reach 49% of U.S. firms — near parity with their male counterparts.

Why exactly are women advancing so quickly as business owners? Are women better equipped to thrive in this digital age? Is today’s business climate more inviting for aspiring women entrepreneurs?

The “Man-cession” and the Fall of the Single Income Household

The growth in women-owned businesses can partly be attributed to sheer necessity. Increasingly, families must rely on a dual-income household. Following increased unemployment rates and a higher cost of living, women stepped in to supplement household income, often to compensate for an out-of-work spouse.

Men took a bigger hit in the employment market during the recession. Traditionally male-dominated industries, like construction and manufacturing, have been severely affected by the economy. On the other hand, fields traditionally dominated by women, such as healthcare and education, have added jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics calculates that women make up more than two-thirds of employees in 10 of the 15 job categories projected to grow the fastest in the coming years.

As the recession hit, job-holding women worked more hours to support their households; and more women became the family’s sole wage-earner. In 2008, employed women contributed to 45% of household earnings — the highest figure in that decade.

The Digital Age and Childcare

Entrepreneurship in the digital age lends itself to childcare, a consideration that affects any discussion of women in the workforce. Young, single, urban woman are outearning their male counterparts; however, this trend reverses as workers age and start families. And even though many companies are replacing “maternity leave” with more gender-neutral “flex time,” it’s clear that working women will always be seeking that balance of career and family.

Virtual workplaces and digitally mobile lifestyles give aspiring women entrepreneurs the flexibility to achieve that balance. Digital tools mean that women can now build a business from home and create unique work schedules.

Essential Skills in the Digital Age

Do women’s strong communication and social skills make them more equipped to thrive in our post-industrial digital age? In short, do women have specific skills — whether the result of biology or social conditioning — that can help them succeed as entrepreneurs? In my experience helping entrepreneurs and small business owners launch their brands, I believe there are several traditionally “feminine” leadership qualities that are more significant now than ever.

1. Women possess strong communication skills and social intelligence. The digital economy requires these skills, and women enjoy a slight edge over their male counterparts (according to numerous studies). Rosin’s article discusses a Columbia Business School program that teaches sensitive leadership and social intelligence, including a lesson in reading facial expressions and body language. “We never explicitly say, ‘Develop your feminine side,’ but it’s clear that’s what we’re advocating,” says Jamie Ladge, a business professor at Northeastern University.

2. Women make good listeners. One study found that the collective intelligence of a group rose if the group included more women. Anita Woolley, assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon University, asks, “What do you hear about great groups? Not that the members are all really smart, but that they listen to each other. They share criticism constructively. They have open minds. They’re not autocratic.”

Whether due to biology or cultural conditioning, women tend to be better listeners and are stronger at drawing people into conversation. This translates to several advantages for the entrepreneur, who can better attune herself to customer needs and build more effective teams of employees, contractors and partners. In fact, many women entrepreneurs often describe building their business as building a team.

3. Women collaborate. Women have worked well together since the earliest female enterprises, whether dividing grains in the village or working in quilting bees. Even some of today’s cultural stereotypes have legs, for instance, women’s joint trips to the restroom!

A 2009 Time magazine article by Claire Shipman and Katty Kay says, “[Women are] consensus builders, conciliators and collaborators, and they employ what is called a transformational leadership style — heavily engaged, motivational, extremely well suited for the emerging, less hierarchical workplace.” The article, entitled “Women Will Rule Business,” cited projections from the Chartered Management Institute in the UK. Looking ahead to 2018, CMI believes the work world will be more fluid and virtual, and the demand for female management skills will be stronger than ever.

4. Women prefer lower risk. Researchers have begun focusing on the relationship between testosterone and excessive risk, thus evaluating whether groups of men spur each other toward reckless decisions. Whether testosterone influences decision-making or not, research shows that, as a whole, women prefer lower risk opportunities and are willing to settle for lower returns.

Risk aversion may go hand-in-hand with motivations for starting a business. A 2007 study from the Small Business Administration (Are Male and Female Entrepreneurs Really That Different?) observes the differences between male and female entrepreneurs in the U.S. The results found that male owners are more likely to start a business to make money, and have higher expectations for their business. Women are more likely to prioritize that business and personal lives work in harmony.

The digital age offers a wealth of low-risk opportunities. Ventures like blogging, web-based services, ecommerce and software development require smaller upstart costs than manufacturing-based, brick and mortar type businesses. Cloud-based tools and virtual workforces further lower the cost of entry, making the idea of starting a business more feasible and/or palatable for risk-averse entrepreneurs.

But a strength can also be a weakness. Yes, the tendency to minimize risk can lead to higher success rates for female entrepreneurs (that 2007 SBA study linked above found that woman-owned businesses were more likely to have positive revenues). However, risk-phobia can also mean women are more likely to limit the size of their businesses, and less likely pursue outside funding from investors to fuel growth (which might partially explain the abysmal discrepancy in VC funding between the sexes).

On average, men-owned firms are larger than women-owned firms. In firms owned by men, twice as many have 10 or more employees, and three times as many have reached the $1 million revenue mark.

Article by: It’s up to each individual business owner to define the goals of his or her business. If a woman chooses to pursue a smaller business venture that lets her balance her business and personal life in more harmony, more power to her. For now, I think we should celebrate the growth in women entrepreneurs, but also wonder if woman-owned high growth startups are an under-utilized resource in our economy. It’s time we made space for the underdog — if that term even applies anymore.

Article by: Nellie Akalp is CEO of Since forming more than 100,000 corporations and LLCs across the U.S, she has built a strong passion to assist small business owners and entrepreneurs in starting and protecting their business the right way. To learn more about Nellie and see how she can help your business get off the ground quickly, visit here or “Like” on Facebook.

Images courtesy of Flickr, www.jeremylim.caBertelsmann Stiftung

Slowly but surely, business leaders are shifting their attitude toward social media — from seeing it as a threat to discovering its very real opportunities.

And their attitude matters, a lot. Social media is about people, not technology. Its business value does not come from social software or a snazzy website, even one with 800 million users. Its value stems from how business leaders, from senior executives to managers, use it to foster new collaborative behaviors that materially improve business performance.

Leadership attitudes, and the organizational culture they spawn, are critical to social media success. They are among a company’s most fundamental social media assets — or liabilities. Here are the six basic categories that business leader attitudes toward social media fall into:

Leaders with this attitude consider social media a source of entertainment with little or no business value, and they typically ignore it. Where a folly attitude prevails, the approach to a social media strategy must emphasize direct business value tightly tied to well-known and recognized organizational goals or challenges — and it must avoid flabby value statements around improved collaboration and stronger relationships.

Fearful leaders see social media as a threat to productivity, intellectual capital, privacy, management authority, regulatory compliance and a host of other things, and often discourage and even prohibit its use. This attitude can reduce the potential risk, but it also stifles any possible business value. To counteract fear, the strategic approach should focus on relatively low-risk initiatives, even if other, higher-risk opportunities might offer greater business value.

These leaders may not ignore or fear social media, but they don’t take it seriously, either. This typically leads to a technology-centric approach where the company simply provides access to social media and hopes that business value will spontaneously emerge. This rarely bears fruit. Important in countering this attitude is convincing leadership that purpose matters, and that they should progress beyond the technology and identify good purposes for social media — causes that are strong enough to catalyze and mobilize communities of people to act in a way that delivers value to the community and the organization.

Formulating leaders recognize both the potential value of social media as well as the need to be more organized and strategic in its use. The right approach here should build on this positive foundation, emphasizing the broader strategic value of social media and mass collaboration, with a succinctly expressed set of business opportunities that (1) demonstrates social media’s potential impact across many areas of the business, and (2) is strong enough to capture the attention of the most senior leaders.

In companies where leaders have a forging attitude, the whole organization is starting to develop competence in using social media to assemble, nurture and gain business value from communities. To keep progressing, leaders should recognize previous successes, capitalize on growing momentum, advocate continued evolution and increase investments. They should also promote additional grassroots social media efforts as critical in becoming a highly collaborative social organization.

This is the most advanced attitude, and still rare. Fusing leaders treat community collaboration as an integral part of the organization’s work, ingrained in how people think and behave. This is a description of a social organization, and in such organizations the need for an explicit vision and strategy subsides — all business strategy and execution already include community collaboration where it’s appropriate.

How do most leaders shape up? Right now, our analysis indicates that leaders of most organizations have yet to progress to the Formulating stage, which accounts for the high social media failure rate. We know treating social media as strategic can lead to tangible business value and competitive advantage, so the goal is for business leaders to move quickly past the Folly, Fearful, and Flippant stages and get right to Formulating. Ignoring social media, or throwing it over the fence to Marketing or IT could create serious business risk.

Where does your organization stand?

Post a Company Status Update on LinkedIn.

Joshua-Michéle Ross (@jmichele) is SVP and director of digital strategy, Europe with Fleishman Hillard and anO’Reilly Radar blogger. His free ebook on social media architecture is available here.

While the pressures on large organizations to use social media have gone up, creating a social media presence has reached one-click simplicity. The result is a sprawling mess.

Take one look at the social media footprint of any large brand and you find dozens of social sites that lie abandoned with no active engagement. Many are redundant, fracturing the same potential audience into separate, so-called “communities.” And the bigger the organization, the bigger the problem. In one recent project, my company found our client had close to 150 Facebook pages, more than 65 YouTube channels and 100 Twitter feeds. Recent data from the Altimeter Group confirms the issue, with the average organization maintaining 178 social accounts.

This is unsustainable and counterproductive.

The solution is a “social media architecture” — a structure that brings harmony, utility and durability to the diverse elements of an organization’s social media presence. Here’s how to build it.

1. Visualize Your Social Media Footprint

A proper footprint uses a few data points (site name, platform, size, recency of moderator activity) to visualize your social media presence. Below is a generic example of an organization’s social media footprint on Facebook. The graphic below shows community (by page name), size (by size of dot) and recency of moderation (green is recent, yellow is not very recent and red is inactive).

Click to enlarge

Without diving into details, big green dots at the center are good, indicating larger communities with active client moderation. Red dots anywhere (no moderation activity in 60 days) are bad.
Immediately, this allows the organization to begin having serious discussions that no Excel sheet will provoke. Any spread of red dots creates a conversation: Are we abandoning our customers with on/off campaigns? Are we fragmenting the same communities across multiple resource-intensive efforts? Are there big green dots in the center that can represent best practices or serve as great places for valuable content from other parts of the organization? Are there any patterns to the successful sites?

Visualization is the first step in recognizing you have a problem.

2. Creation, Consolidation & Closure of Social Media Properties

The social web is driven by groups of like-minded people gathering together to connect and share information — “communities,” as they are commonly known.

Whenever a company assumes its own organizational structure is the defining logic for what constitutes a community, you see the problem right away. Every product line warrants a Facebook page, every marketing campaign deserves a Twitter account, a new YouTube channel and so on. As a result, an organization’s social media presence becomes a mirror into the structural divisions of the organization itself.

The current explosion of corporate social media accounts splinters like-minded communities into dozens of smaller groups, which in turn decreases the potential of that community to generate value through sharing and connection. Instead, a company should create a clear, prescriptive checklist that answers these three questions:

  • What warrants creating a new social account?
  • What minimum resource commitments are required to service a social account?
  • What are the criteria that will govern closure of a social media account?

The effectiveness of your checklist will be derived from adhering to the principles above and developing it in a spirit of cooperation within your organization. No one appreciates being handed a checklist and told that this is his new measure. Employees will be much more willing to own a checklist when they see it as a result of fair process and their valued input. Cross functional workshops are a great way to get this done. If you put these three questions above into a structured conversation, you might be amazed at the agreements (and the checklist items) that come out of the discussion.

3. Formalize Your Link & Like Structure

Envision the social web, with its constellation of sites and platforms, as one distributed website (albeit a more dynamic one), where your brand is spread across a vast, disconnected set of pages. Establishing your link and like structure is a basic exercise in information architecture that defines how people will navigate (link) to find the communities where they belong (like).

A proper link and like structure formalizes the purpose of each property (the community you are serving, the audience needs you are addressing, and content you are producing) and its relationship to other properties (i.e. how content will flow between sites). A proper link and like structure allows your organization to make the most of its content — repurposing it across formats (text, video, tweets, etc.) to optimize its utility and lower your operating costs.

We Need Social Architecture Now More Than Ever

The decentralized nature of social media is its greatest strength. Anyone can participate. Everyone has a voice. This is also the greatest challenge for brands that must manage the inherent conflict between empowering their own organization to participate while still maintaining continuity and quality of customer experience. The current sprawl represents a great waste of energy and resources. As organizations continue to invest in social media, and the market continues to demand a “social media strategy” articulated in every board room and annual report, the terms of success will move from isolated pages and campaigns to connectedness and coordination. For that, we need social media architecture.

PALO ALTO, Calif. – Sheryl Sandberg wants to do for Facebook what she did for Google.

 At Google, Sandberg served as vice president of global online sales and operations in a role that helped build the company’s money-gushing search-advertising business.

Now, the chief operating officer at the world’s largest social network wants the same for Facebook. She envisions those small businesses that joined Google’s ad program spending their advertising bucks at the social-networking giant.

The advertising charge from Sandberg, a Fortune 50 listed (most powerful women in business) D.C. powerbroker, comes as the social network has swelled to some 750 million, representing an eye-popping advertising bonanza.

"My dream is really simple," said Sandberg, 42, seated near a framed graffiti rendering of co-founder Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook’s headquarters here. “I think every small business should … be using Facebook. We’re not going to stop until all of them are using it to grow their business.”

Next week, Facebook will unveil a plan to get small businesses hooked. The company plans to offer free $50 advertising credits for up to 200,000 small businesses. When a person clicks on an ad, there’s a set rate predetermined for that click through — 5 cents or 25 cents, for example — the advertiser has to pay. Facebook will pick up the tab for the first $50 of such ads delivered under its offer.

This may seem like small stuff, but it’s the core to an ad revenue strategy that could justify a monster IPO.

"Credits like that can go a long way," she says. "For $50, most small businesses can target every single person they need to target at least once, and then they can grow their business from there."

With Facebook, businesses can target their paid advertising with a precision not found in most other forms of advertising.

A wedding photographer, for instance, could advertise just to women in a specific ZIP code who list on Facebook that they are engaged. A movie chain could talk just to film fans.

Sandberg estimates that of the nation’s nearly 30 million small businesses, 9 million are using Facebook to speak to their customers, and “hundreds of thousands” are spending money on ad campaigns, as well.

While at Google, she used to say that about 50% of small businesses hadn’t bothered to make a website yet — a number she says is still in the 40% range.

It’s easier for small businesses to turn to Facebook, she says, because they don’t have to pay for building a site, and most people can make a Facebook page, or could learn within minutes.

Sandberg says Facebook allows businesses to interact with customers and create viral marketing campaigns. “Facebook takes word-of-mouth marketing and makes it work at scale.”

Greg Sterling, an analyst with Opus Research, says most small businesses resist using ad programs such as Facebook’s because they’re too busy running their business to devote the time.

"Facebook has multibillion (dollar) advertising potential," he says. "But right now, small businesses don’t see the need for spending the money. They have their free page, and they’re happy with it."

The credits will help, he says. “It gets people to at least try it.”

Sarah Loveland, owner of Daddies Board Shop, a skateboard shop in Portland, Ore., began using paid advertising with Facebook in 2010, in hopes of growing her business more quickly. She targeted fans of extreme sports and friends of those who ride skateboards and longboards. The result: She says her business shot up, and she attributes much of it to Facebook.

Small businesses could just continue with the free business pages, “but if you really want to grow, and reach a wider community, you need to have at least 10,000 fans,” says Loveland. “Once you’re there, you get tons of response every time you post something. You’re looked to as a valuable resource to the community, and sales really start to increase.”

Sandberg says the social-media giant has created 250,000 jobs — engineers, developers and others who work on Facebook-oriented projects and related social-media jobs at companies. Facebook has 3,000 employees.

"We feel really good about our contribution," she says.

(Click the link to watch the interview with Sheryl Sandberg.)

Google Acquires Zagat

Google has placed one of its biggest bets on location to date, acquiring local reviews giant Zagat.

Writing on the company’s official blog, Marissa Mayer, Google‘s vice president of Local, Maps and Location Services, wrote, “Moving forward, Zagat will be a cornerstone of our local offering — delighting people with their impressive array of reviews, ratings and insights, while enabling people everywhere to find extraordinary (and ordinary) experiences around the corner and around the world.”

Zagat is far cry from the startups you typically talk about in the location space. The company was founded 32 years ago and started as a printed guide to restaurants, with “Zagat Ratings” becoming an industry standard.

More recently, however, Zagat has reinvented itself on the web and with mobile apps, bringing it into competition with the likes of Foursquare and Yelp.

Location has been a tough nut for Google to crack. The company acquired early location-based social networking service Dodgeball in 2005, only to eventually shut it down and see founder Dennis Crowley leave to start Foursquare. More recent attempts include Latitude, a largely forgotten Foursquare competitor, and Hotpot, a recommendation engine that’s baked into Google Places. The company also appointed Mayer, one of its most prominent executives, to lead its location efforts in late 2010. (Click the link to read on)

What Facebooks Latest Changes Mean for Businesses

Facebook recently made a number of product and platform changes that affect companies and brands that market using the world’s most popular social utility. Here are five of the latest changes you need to be aware of:

1. Privacy settings for sharing: Privacy has long headed the list of concerns expressed by users of Facebook. As a result, Facebook has made a slew of changes that give users more control over who sees the content they create and post.

What this means for your business: Facebook wordsmithed the default sharing prompt that alerts users about who sees what they’re about to post. The default setting “Everyone” was changed to “Public,” and that subtle change taps into the human psyche surrounding issues related to privacy. “Public” clearly demonstrates that the public at large can view your updates, photos and more, whereas “Everyone” is ambiguous, or even folksy. That, of course, worked to the advantage of social media monitoring tools that rely on lots of public-facing content to fill their dashboards and analytic reports. The new “Public” label will likely result in fewer public-facing citations, which means businesses may have less to listen to…. (Click the link to read more!)

How Businesses Use Social Media for Recruiting [INFOGRAPHIC]
Savvy job seekers have turned to digital and social media tools to help them in their job searches, and now recruiters are on board with the power of social media as a recruiting tool. LinkedIn isn’t the only social network that helps in the job search process — Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and…

Google+ Brand Accounts: What Social Media Managers Want to See
As Google+ continues to grow, most recently by adding games and verification badges, one much-talked-about feature remains in question: brand accounts. We know it’s on Google’s radar. About a week after the service launched, the company told businesses not to set up accounts on Google+. Christ…