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: caitlinboyles.com

Happy blogging!
Recent Tweets @SocialSoojin
Posts tagged "social media"

The explosive growth of social media over the past four years has drastically changed how the Giants and Patriots market themselves and connect with fans compared to the two teams’ most recent Super Bowl trips.

“It’s a whole new world compared to last time,” Nilay Shah, the Giants’ director of digital media, said in an interview.

When the Giants and Patriots reached the Super Bowl in 2008, Twitter barely existed, Facebook had less than 100 million users, and Google+ wasn’t even a gleam in Larry Page’s eye.

Today, Facebook has grown to more than 845 million users, Twitter has become an integral communication tool of the sports and media worlds, and Google+ now claims around 100 million members. Other sharing sites such as YouTube have swelled in popularity too.

“Last time we were here, the social world was still sort of new for us, and our main communication method was email,” Shah said. “We didn’t focus on it a lot back then, but coming back now we knew we had to place a lot of emphasis on it, find a way to incorporate our fans as much as possible and make them a part of the experience.”

“We didn’t focus on it a lot back then, but coming back now we knew we had to place a lot of emphasis on it, find a way to incorporate our fans as much as possible and make them a part of the experience.”

The Giants are among professional sports’ most social media-savvy teams. But Fred Kirsch, the Patriots’ vice president of content, said that growing social networks have played a real role in fan outreach and marketing during New England’s Super Bowl run as well.

When the team won the AFC Championship, it decided to run a contest giving away free trips to the Super Bowl for fans who worked in healthcare, law enforcement, the military, firefighting or education. Kirsch said that the team was able to promote the contest effectively in a short time thanks to Facebook and Twitter, gathering about a thousand nominations.

“It made it tough to choose the winners but it was well worth it,” Kirsch told Mashable in an email.

The Giants, meanwhile, have run a number of promotions built entirely around social media. They installed a button on the team website to allow fans to follow more than a dozen players on Twitter before Super Bowl XLVI with one click. They have a player shooting behind-the-scenes footage — but 10,000 new fans have to “Like” the team’s Facebook page to unlock each day’s content. They are even hosting a “Social Media Night” on Thursday, in which a number of players will participate in a live webcast from the team hotel, answering fan questions sent via Twitter and Facebook. Four more players are hosting exclusive Google+ Hangouts, each with five chosen fans who joined their Google+ Circles.

“It’s more relaxed, more informal, a chance to know the guy behind the uniform.”

Tyson Goodridge was one of the fans selected for a Hangout with linebacker Mark Herzlich. Goodridge, who works as a social media director for a marketing agency, told Mashable his two young sons wanted to ask what players eat before games, while he wanted to ask what goes through the players’ minds in the moments before the ball is snapped.

“It creates a level of intimacy that is so cool,” Goodridge said. “Anyone can know all his stats, but in this case it’s a private session where he’s not in the locker room. It’s more relaxed, more informal, a chance to know the guy behind the uniform.”

That, said Shah, epitomizes the wealth of new engagement possibilities opened up by social media’s maturation since 2008.

“We’ve always tried to provide the best content possible, but before that might have meant just putting up exclusive-access videos and that was it,” he said. “Now we’re able to give the fans more and make them feel like they have a voice.”

If popular websites were magazines…

mashable:

How One Company Saved Thousands of Dogs Using Social Media

The folks at Best Friends Animal Society have used the power of social media to save thousands of dogs. They have introduced the Invisible Dogs Campaign, which helps save pets in city shelters who face tremendous odds to get adopted. Through the use of Twitter hashtags, Foursquare check-ins, and Meetup’s, Best Friends is well on their way to mobilizing people to take action in the real world.

Image courtesy of Flickr, Kazeeee’s

It’s easy to get into social media for the wrong reasons and to post too much or too little. Here’s how to balance out your social media efforts.How to Find Time to Market Your Company Using Social Media

Why have you joined the social media world?

Some social networkers are there for purely egotistical reasons. They don’t want to engage in the conversation. They simply collect followers and friends in order to have bragging rights every time they collect another thousand. But connecting, following or befriending just anyone dilutes your influence and standing among those in your audience.

Others join because they feel they must. They spend a few days setting up their profiles and then abandon them when other tasks call.

The real motivation for any business social networker is connection: You should want to connect with like-minded people who can help your business and whose businesses you can assist. You want to add to the conversation, and not come across as desperate, spammy or a waste of time. If you develop a bad reputation in these communities, it will be hard to shake off.

But making such strong, real connections takes time, effort and thoughtfulness. If you never return to your profiles, you and your business will be forgotten (best case) or seen as unconnected, clueless or lazy (worst case). If you post too much, people might consider you a pest and stop following you.

Some social networkers are the worst of both worlds: They don’t post to their blog or text their friends or colleagues for weeks at a time. They don’t reply to messages sent to them, and the company site looks like it has gone out of business. Then, without any warning, they’re back … alive … and conversing. Was the organization’s social networking person out of the country? Did they suffer a grave illness? Nope. They were just distracted, disorganized, sidetracked or overworked. There’s no method to the company’s madness in being a social networking participant. Not committed. No strategy. Its influence will never be felt. The competition will soon fill the void.

Whether your company is a one-person business or a large organization, your commitment to social networking should be consistent, compelling and informative. The social networking community is a fragile, collaborative ecosystem. Make the commitment. People will follow a trail of dependable, exciting, instructive news. But once the trail goes cold, they’re gone and likely never to return.

Being a social media maniac isn’t the right persona either. You know who we’re talking about. These people can answer emails on their laptops with one hand while texting friends or colleagues on their iPhones with the other. They can’t be looked in the eye when talking because their heads are always looking down at some screen. This behavior may be seen as goodtechnology gone bad.

The key is to strike a balance somewhere in the middle. Avoid becoming a social media ignorer or a social media maniac. Develop a social networking schedule that does not run your life but does keep you accountable. The goal should be consistency. Choose a schedule and stay the course for at least six months. As you find success, you can slowly grow your social networking persona.

The sample social networking agenda below can be used as a springboard for designing one that suits your schedule and the community channels you’ve joined.

Twice Daily in the Morning and Afternoon

  • Check Twitter via a program like HootSuite. Respond when necessary. Follow the @replies that make sense.
  • Check LinkedIn. Reply to emails and comments when appropriate.
  • Scan Twitter followers for relevant conversations to join.
  • Check your business’s Facebook Page for questions and respond when necessary.
  • Scan Google Alerts for brand and company mentions. Respond as appropriate.

Weekly or on Weekends

  • Build Twitter Lists to better organize ongoing discussions and special interest groups. Set up saved searches in Hootsuite to find out if people are talking about you or your company.
  • Scan LinkedIn questions from network connections and respond when appropriate.
  • Catch up on LinkedIn discussions. Add to discussion when appropriate.
  • Send LinkedIn invitations to connect with clients when beginning a new assignment.
  • Ask for LinkedIn recommendation after successfully completing a project or engagement.
  • Add new content to Facebook like videos or photos.
  • Think of ways to repurpose this content and energy to reach a larger audience with the social networking gospel.
  • Keep an eye open for new social networking venues, tools, and functionality that will make the social networking experience more enjoyable and easier to traverse.
  • Identify new social networking influencers and build relationships where appropriate.

Through the Week

  • Mondays: Schedule tweets through HootSuite to go out three times per day at regular intervals.
  • Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays: Join one hot trend conversation on Twitter, if appropriate, and add new content to Facebook (new items you are selling, photos, discounts and other promotions).
  • Tuesdays and Thursdays: Respond to blog comments.
  • Fridays: Check traffic at your blog or website.

Obviously, your daily social networking to-do list will be much different, given your available time and commitments. Just be sure to make the schedule livable. If it’s not working, change it. Keep making modifications until it works for you.  

In the real estate world, there is a saying: “The three considerations that most impact value are location, location, and location.” In the world of social media, they are purpose, purpose, and purpose.

Nothing impacts the success of a social media effort more than the choice of its purpose. Because purpose becomes the cause around which people will rally and be inspired to act, it is also the source of social media’s business value.

What is a good purpose for social media? Would you recognize one if you saw it? And if you could identify a good purpose, would you be able to mobilize a community around it and derive business value from it?

If you’re like most executives (and you’re being honest), probably not.

No wonder most organizations struggle with gaining tangible and significant business value from social media. This single most important criterion for success is also the biggest leadership skill deficiency.

That deficiency often leads to a worst practice we call “provide and pray.” Leaders and managers provide access to a social technology, and then pray that a community forms and that community interactions somehow lead to business value. In most cases, adoption never really materializes; communities may form, but their activity is not considered valuable to the organization.

The lesson? People rarely rally around a technology. Success in social media needs a compelling purpose. Such a purpose addresses a widely recognized need or opportunity and is specific and meaningful enough to motivate people to participate. Every notable social media success has a clearly defined purpose:

  • Facebook’s core purpose is for people to easily track what their friends are doing.
  • Wikipedia’s purpose is for the masses to collectively build an online encyclopedia.
  • LinkedIn’s purpose is for people to leverage their professional networks for employment and hiring.

Yes, some social Web environments have strayed from their original purpose. But they made a name for themselves because they started with a clearly defined and tightly scoped purpose, gained critical mass, and mobilized their respective communities.

Choosing the right purpose is difficult (much harder than providing the technology). It requires a new management approach we call "purpose roadmapping" — planning how to use purpose to engage and sustain productive communities. A purpose road map shows how community collaboration and related business value can evolve over time, and provides critical guidance on the required investments and risks. It also informs all lower-level implementation decisions such as technology selection, content seeding, policy, moderating, and tipping-point marketing.

Purpose is a business decision. And business leaders must get involved in strategically choosing and pursuing the right ones. This is why success with social media is primarily a leadership and management challenge, not a technology issue.

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 CorpNet.com. 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” CorpNet.com on Facebook.

Images courtesy of Flickr, www.jeremylim.caBertelsmann Stiftung

Social Marketing Is Best Served on a Marketing Combo Plate

If you’re accountable for the dollars your company spends on social media-related marketing and you’re looking for evidence that socially engineered content and engagement marketing lifts sales, here’s some good news.

A just-released study shows that consumers — patrons of five fast-food franchises in this case — are much more likely to pull out their wallets and purses after being exposed to social content on sites like Facebook and Twitter than those who aren’t. Moreover, when exposed to socially engineered content and other types of media (e.g., television ads, billboard campaigns and public relations efforts resulting in earned media placements) the likelihood for a bigger spend, consumption or brand perception is increased by a whopping two to seven times.

These findings — from the latest Social Media Sales Impact Study (published by Ogilvy & Mather and ChatThreads) — reinforce the importance of having an integrated multichannel marketing campaign that includes creating and leveraging conversational and user-generated content.

The study also shows that you shouldn’t put all your eggs into one basket. Exposure to several fast-food brands via social media reached only 24 percent of the consumers involved in the exercise. That’s low when compared to 69 percent of survey participants who reported having taken note of a TV ad for one of the restaurant brands during a weeklong test period. Billboards for one or more of the five chains (KFC, McDonalds, Subway, Taco Bell and Wendy’s) caught the eye of only 37 percent of consumers.

But the study shows that exposure to multiple channels — a combo plate involving social media along with television exposure, billboards, public relations or other advertising avenues — positively impacts sales. For instance, consumers exposed to social media combined with public relations showed a 17 percent increase over purchases without such dual exposure. Those who experienced social media exposure along with a TV ad were two times more likely to purchase more that they did the week before. And brands that combined social media mentions with billboard advertising increased sales by one and a half times.

What are the implications of this study? First, it suggests that those who employ social content should increase customer and prospect exposure in order to impact sales and brand perception. Even more important, the report shows that integrating other media channels into your content results in the biggest impact on consumers.

Use surveys, loyalty program tracking and coupons when evaluating the sales impact of your social content. Don’t depend solely on direct clicks. By monitoring your social media closely, you can also discover and remedy any negative press about your brand, product or service, because these certainly affect brand perception. In fact, Taco Bell had a 220 percent lower shift in consumer perception of the chain providing a “great dining experience,” — a direct result of a socially charged news cycle involving ingredients used in Taco Bell’s meat products around the time of the study.

You should also plan your social content in a manner that best emphasizes the qualities with which you want the public to be aware. The goal is to reinforce your brand’s uniqueness, and that means promoting broad discussion on your brand in order to keep your social content fresh and up-to-date.

Check out this great social following site: fullyfollowme.com. Follow me!

Sunday football is typically an American ritual — but it won’t be for long if NFL Digital has anything to say about it.

The 150-person team, led by Jeff Berman, is working to establish the league and its 32 teams as a 24/7, nonstop topic of conversation, not just on Sundays but in the off season, midweek, and around the world. Sports teams are a natural fit for social media — impassioned fans have something to band together and rally around, and the NFL is no different. The NFL itself has nearly 4 million Facebook fans, and then there are individual teams that have upwards of 2.5 million fans each. There are 474% more active users on the NFL Facebook Page than there were in 2010, and NFL fans generate 144% more content than they did last year, according to NFL Digital. So, it looks like the engagement strategy is working.

Mashable spoke with Jeff Berman, GM of NFL Digital, to learn more about the league’s efforts, what he learned from his MySpace days, and the importance of empowering your engineers.


Q&A With Jeff Berman, GM of NFL Digital


You spent a few “hypergrowth” years at MySpace, and I imagine you learned a few things while on the inside. What lessons did you bring to the NFL from MySpace?

I think we could spend six hours on the lessons from that experience, but there are probably four that are the most relevant as we move forward with the NFL.

The first is, focus and execution matter just as much as strategy. You have to be able to say “no” so you can focus on the right things, and you have to make sure that you execute relentlessly.

Second, there’s a Patton quote: “The good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.” The lesson there is that for most digital products, you’re better off getting it to 80% and launching it, knowing that the users will teach you more about where it should go than you’d be able to figure out on your own — and then it’s just iterate, iterate, iterate.

Third, no one bats 1000. Google doesn’t. Facebook doesn’t. MySpace certainly didn’t. Even Reid Hoffman doesn’t. So you have to throw some bombs and know that not all will connect, and if you fail, fail fast and move on to the next thing. Lastly, it’s just amazing what happens when you empower talented engineers. I think in a lot of organizations, especially media companies, engineers are handed a spec and expected to code to it. … The engineers usually know the product best, so to get the most from them and to build the best products for your consumers, you’ve got to empower your engineers.

NFL Digital broke some records at the 2011 kickoff — what are some new initiatives for this season?

The thing about media and social media is how fast it changes. … We’re looking at what we’re doing literally on a weekly basis and tweaking it. We’re developing our own strategy, but we’re also looking at what others in the sports category and [and elsewhere] are doing, and borrowing lessons wherever we can.

In the past, we were really focused on driving traffic — the purpose of every post was just to bring people back to NFL.com. And while that’s still a priority, we’re increasingly focused on engagement, acquisition and community. How do we engage fans in a conversation, whether it’s serious or fun or controversial? And then how do we lead them to engage their friends? We’re rebuilding the fan base and the avidity of the fan base — if non-fans get engaged, casual fans get more involved and avid fans become super avid fans — then we’re doing our jobs. And social can help enormously with that.

We’ve implemented a social content management system — not just for the league, but for the clubs — and we’re using Buddy Media for that. That’s a new thing that I think is going to drive a lot of what we do in social, and it really gives us an advantage because it’s essentially a federalist model, which the clubs or states have broad latitude to experiment. So if a particular club tries something new and it sticks, we can quickly leverage that knowledge across the network. We very much follow the data — data tells an objective and compelling story and can help us get better.

It’s a broad change in terms of how we approach social — it’s not just a marketing platform but an extension of our publishing platform and a way to engage fans in much deeper and more meaningful ways.

Are any particular teams really excelling in social? In August, it was found that almost 12% of social media buzz was for the Jets — who’s else is nailing it?

The Jets are doing a terrific job and I think they’re really engaging fans in conversation in a really meaningful way, and obviously they have terrific assets, given the number of personalities on the team and the coaching staff. They’re giving fans a reason to engage with the Jets in social media and engage their friends in the conversation. The Jets are certainly a club we look at as a leader. The Patriots have done a lot of smart stuff, the Cowboys, the Redskins — we have a number of clubs that are being very aggressive about trying new things in the space and understanding that not everything is going to work, but if we can engage the fans not just on Sunday but midweek and off season, then we’re going to make the NFL bigger across the board.

Fantasy Football gets people cheering for more than just their favorite team and also gets non-fans totally engaged. How have fantasy and social grown in tandem?

Fantasy football is really the originally social media. It is an insane engagement engine, and fantasy players drive a massive amount of our engagement in season and in particular on Sundays, and that’s true on every platform. The growth curve for fantasy on mobile is off the charts, and the Red Zone channel is a fantasy player’s dream come true. You have a rooting interest in literally every single game across the course of a weekend, so you’ll see us engage fans in more “games around the games” as we go forward.

Is the digital audience skewed toward the coasts, or in major cities? What demographic is driving the digital growth?

Our demographic is the United States of America, and increasingly, outside of the U.S. When you get inside the research, it just blows your mind. The power of the NFL brand, the power of the affinity for the teams — it really knows no geographic boundaries. Our audience is young and old, it’s male and female, it’s white, black, brown — everything. And that’s one of the things about working at the NFL. There is so much passion and love — for the game, for the players, for the teams — that you just can’t help but love to work on it.

You mentioned the “federalist” model before, so I’m curious about your role. Are you more concerned with the league, or do you work with the individual teams?

On the digital media side, we’ve actually built and manage the platform on which the club sites sit, so we handle the product and technology side of it, and then we work with the clubs on content strategies. Some of the clubs have robust teams that are very involved and are looking at data on a minute-by-minute, real-time basis. For other clubs, we provide a little more support for. But really, the clubs decide how they want to program not only their sites, but also their social media, and we are in a position to support them with that. At the end of the day, if the Patriots are doing something really smart, then we’re certainly going to take it and leverage it with the NFL league assets, and we’ll share it with the other clubs so they can grow as well. It’s essentially a friendly competition among the clubs to build their media assets.

What platforms are working especially well for the NFL? Have there been any surprises?

Facebook is massive scale, Twitter is now at massive scale as well, so obviously those are the primary places we look. Google+ is very interesting and something that we’re taking a look at. I think you’ll start seeing a few more [clubs] on Tumblr. And we’re also really interested in emerging platforms and taking advantage of them. One that I think has enormous potential is Pinterest, and I see a lot of things that we could do in Pinterest that could be really fun for fans. We’re not going to limit ourselves to just one or two platforms, but we’re also not going to scatter ourselves across 50.

Tell me about your Twitter presence — you have a lot of experts and analysts and audiences that are part of the NFL brand.

We’re at an interesting moment on Twitter where we’re becoming more specialized. We have the primary NFL.com account, but if you’re a fantasy junkie, you can follow @NFLFantasy or one of the fantasy experts, like @Michael_Fabiano and get firehosed with fantasy updates while our primary account, @NFL, offers more of a blend. Giving fans more of a range of options on that platform in particular is a priority as we go forward. And of course, all of the NFL media are on these platforms, so we work very closely with NFL Network, and we’ll work them to drive tune in to Football Life or Gameday Morning. So we’ve got a nice ecosystem of Twitter accounts that are supporting each other and engaging fans in the conversation.

The Super Bowl is the Holy Grail of advertising. Now that ad campaigns are so integrated, how has NFL Digital benefited?

The power of the Super Bowl is just unmatched. We set a record for tweets per second on Twitter — at least until Beyonce announced her pregnancy — but I would expect this Super Bowl to set a new record as Twitter grows and the global scale of our game grows. We did a partnership with Twitter around the Super Bowl last year and had millions upon millions of fans engaging with us and driving the conversation on that platform. In terms of the advertisers, we do put all the Super Bowl ads on NFL.com, which drives a huge amount of engagement and conversation. A number of Super Bowl advertisers are also league sponsors, so we’re constantly looking for ways to work with companies like Pepsi to support their media efforts around the Super Bowl.


Series Supported by Discover Digital Group