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Getting social at South By Southwest: Companies in the spotlight

  
  
  
  
  
  

South By Southwest (SXSW), one of the world's biggest film, music, and interactive conferences gathers some of the most innovative thinkers, creators, and performers for ten days a year in Austin, Texas. The social media industry is no exception – In fact, SXSW is a veritable magnifying glass for social-based companies, start-ups, and apps, the best of which provide new opportunities and ways for conference-goers to connect and converse during the chaotic global scene.

SXSW is "always going to be a launching pad," Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley says. "What better place to test your app in front of thousands of early-adopter beta testers?"

To illustrate just how much visibility companies receive at SXSW, look no further than Twitter, which arguably owes the growth spurt that catapulted it into a household name to the conference. Six years ago, the company upped the traffic to its site – from 20,000 to 60,000 tweets a day – by broadcasting tweets to SXSW attendees on big-screen TVs during the conference. Now the site has more than 500 tweets per day.

In addition to Twitter, last year major brands such as Foursquare, Glancee, and Highlight were under the spotlight for their innovative connecting potential and ability to merge social technology with location. And this year, in the well-stated words of Inc.com reporter Eric Markowitz, “... Expect social apps to continue to dominate the zeitgeist of South by Southwest, but expect the conversation to focus less on the technology's capabilities, and more on the ability for the user to control his or her data.”

The team here at Accolades PR is always interested in innovation, whether in social media, business, or technology – That's why this week we're ready to celebrate innovation in all forms, starting with a few of the biggest up-and-coming social companies that will take the spotlight at 2013's SXSW, including...

Present.me

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“People talk about ‘sending a presentation,’ and then just send the slides. But the slides are only half the story. We need to see and hear the presenter as well, and at the same time. Present.me is the next best thing to being in a room with the people you want to communicate with.”

Essentially, Present.me is a web service that allows you to deliver presentations as you would in person: One half of the screen is the presentation, and the other half is you explaining the presentation. Unlike services such as Skype, WebeX, and Google Hangouts, Present.me does not operate on real-time – So users can access and share the presentation hours, days, or weeks after its creation. 

Nextdoor

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In their words: “Nextdoor's mission is to bring back a sense of community to the neighborhood, one of the most important communities in each of our lives.”

A free, private social network, Nextdoor can enable people to get the word out about a break-in, hire a new babysitter, help find a lost dog, trade household items, put names to the faces you see on a regular basis, or organize a neighborhood watch group.

Click With Me Now

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In their words: “Click With Me Now was created out of this marketplace deficiency: the need for people in different places to share a single web experience.” 

Click With Me Now allows users to simultaneously share screens and browsing experiences. In 2010, the start-ups founders, Brian Handrigan and Mark Comiso, were launching an online-only Seniors Health Insurance plan. In the midst of this, they realized there was no way for senior citizens and their adult children to review a web page together, coordinate a purchase, or communicate in a timely fashion online. Enter Click With Me Now.

Although it started as a way to bridge gaps in online health care, this tool can also be extended to a variety of industries, specifically online retail outlets.

"Whether someone is buying a personal computer, a dress, or a new car, consumers often bring a friend to get a second opinion and have someone to interact with during the trip," Handrigan said."When shopping online, however, consumers are left alone and lose this entire social aspect, leading to anxiety and shopping cart abandonment." 

Koozoo

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In their words: “Have you ever realized that we have all the world’s data at our fingertips, but we don’t know simple things about the real world around us like, “how long is the line at the coffee shop?” or “are there many people hanging out in the park today?” Koozoo asks.

Koozoo is a realtime database of visual content to which members can record and share snippets of things that may be relevant to the public, such as an empty cafe, a long restaurant line, traffic jams on the highway, or a parking space. Koozoo can also be used as a way to connect share a remarkable view with family, friends, and strangers alike.

So even if you can't physically be a part of SXSW this year, check out Koozoo – Perhaps a few innovation-embracing conference goers will have already uploaded footage of the event.

… What do you think of these up-and-coming sites? Tweet your social SXSW experiences (real or virtual) to @AccoladesPR!  

Accolades PR client addresses real-world challenges with innovation

  
  
  
  
  
  

The ultimate freedom for creative groups is the freedom to experiment with new ideas. Some skeptics insist that innovation is expensive. In the long run, innovation is cheap. Mediocrity is expensive — and autonomy can be the antidote.” TOM KELLEY General Manager, IDEO”

Daniel H. Pink, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

Accolades PR is proud to give its latest higher education client, The Human Dimensions of Organizations (HDO) Master's program at The University of Texas at Austin, the recognition it deserves. This first-of-its-kind executive education program is designed specifically for professionals in a variety of business and non-profit sectors, focusing on understanding the human element of organizations to bring smart thinking and innovation to real-world challenges in the global marketplace. 

This year’s greatest business challenge will be how to avoid the fiscal cliff. Innovating will be crucial for many companies to succeed. But the challenges businesses face are people challenges, not just numbers and linear issues. The issues are having solid leadership, building the right team, and understanding consumers,” Cynthia Baker, President and Founder of Accolades PR says. “HDO is using innovation to build stronger business leaders, and ultimately, stronger, more successful businesses.”

Students in the 18-month HDO program will have access to world-renowned faculty who are tackling these business issues by applying the principles and lessons from the liberal arts and social sciences. They will learn how to navigate and manage the process of innovation, directly impacting companies that need new products developed, cultural clashes solved, smarter communication strategies, streamlined project management and new answers to old problems. 

Dr. Art Markman, Ph.D., founder of the new program and the Annabel Irion Worsham Centennial Professor of Psychology and Marketing at The University of Texas at Austin, is nationally recognized for his knowledge of the creative thinking process, interdisciplinary analysis and out-of-the-box thinking. He is a regular contributor to the Harvard Business Review, Psychology Today and the Huffington Post, and is the executive editor of Cognitive Science. He has been published in more than 125 journals and is the author of the scholarly works Knowledge Representation, Smart Thinking, and the forthcomingHabits of Leadership.”

The idea is to teach people about people at all levels,” Dr. Markman said during a recent interview with FOX news. “I think more and more people in the business community are recognizing that the most difficult problems that they face are having to do with people. Some of those people are inside their organization – How do you motivate people to work harder, how do you do more with less? And some of it has to do with the people outside the organization – How do you communicate effectively with your potential customers and clients, how do you make sure you keep them happy? So being able to deal with those people, both inside and outside, is crucial to success in business.”

Watch the rest of the FOX news video to learn more about the Human Dimensions of Organizations from Dr. Markman: 

Optimizing Social Media Content For Maximum Results

  
  
  
  
  
  
Businesses, organizations and individuals the world over have turned to social media to stay in the proverbial loop. In fact, these days it almost seems crucial to have a social media presence, especially for businesses. Still, not everyone is adept at creating compelling social content that is quick, concise and relevant year-round.

Whether it’s on a Facebook page or on Twitter, any content posted must fit the needs of the audience. Frankly, this is the most important part of any social media strategy. The way users share content on Twitter is different from the way it is shared on Facebook. so your messages must be valuable to the group and fit the format of the communication channel.

Stimulate, Don’t Saturate

  • Stand out among the flood of tweets with personal engagement and relevance such as retweets, mentions, new blog posts, contest giveaways, special offers and event updates.
  • One report revealed that more than one tweet an hour actually hurts click-through ratings by more than 200 percent. Too many posts make an account seem fraudulent and drive followers away.

  • Use a tool like Hootsuite to pre-schedule Facebook and Twitter updates at a later time but separate scheduled posts by at least an hour, duplicating as little as possible.

  • Facebook pages must be maintained with more frequency than Twitter but without overkill. Facebook measures how many and how often users interact with a page, and how often a company updates their status so take advantage and provide at least four updates a day with new and engaging information.

Size Matters

  • Tweets should be short, to the point and as genuine as possible.
  • Tweeted links should be shortened and include a brief description. (Sites like bit.ly are great for shortening links and can often track the number of clicks per link.)
  • Spelling, grammar and punctuation are not scrutinized so much on Twitter. Use the extra space for links to new blog posts, photos, and allow for retweets from other users.

  • Facebook includes a ‘See More’ link after 3-4 lines of content. As convenient as that sounds, status updates should not be a short story. Three lines or less is a good rule of thumb.
     
  • A recent study shows Facebook posts containing less than 80 characters had increased interaction by 27 percent. The same study shows that full-length URLs on Facebook have better reception than shortened links.
     
(Here is Part 2 of this blog post on optimizing social content for maximum results.)

Learn how to build consumer trust through honesty.

  
  
  
  
  
  

Audiences have grown tired of traditional push marketing.  After generations of forced commercial breaks and sales pitches behind every one of life’s corners, the public now views outbound marketing as noise in an already overactive media sphere.  As the internet continues to become a customized experience, consumers are avoiding advertising as a source of information on the products and services they need.  Simply put, these changes have led to a breakdown in consumer trust.

Today consumers value the opinions and suggestions from friends and family.  People trust these sources, because they understand the perspective their friends bring to a conversation.  Consumers pick out useful information from these trusted sources, even when personal values and perspectives clash.  It is very difficult for companies to develop that level of rapport through telemarketing or traditional ad campaigns.

The answer to this communication dilemma is honesty in the digital sphere.  Bazaarvoice, an internet marketing company, works to draw out ratings and reviews from consumers.  This insight helps companies tailor products and services that meet the needs of their target audiences. One of the biggest benefits of this method is that by allowing consumers to express how they feel, the company fosters a stronger bond of trust.

As digital communications change, companies must be willing to adapt to keep their voices heard.  At Accolades PR, we help clients earn trust using the latest Web 2.0 tools and techniques.  We want to know, how is your company working to build trust within your consumer base?

Texans for Stem Cell Research announce "Learn for Life" event

  
  
  
  
  
  

describe the imageThis week Texans for Stem Cell Research announced the annual "Learn for Life" educational event, to be held on August 16, 2011 from 5:30 PM to 9:00 PM at the LIVESTRONG Headquarters in Austin, Texas.  The event will focus on recent clinical trials using stem cell therapies and is open to the public and the medical community.  Registration for the event is free and can be made online at: http://conta.cc/kRs6qw

This year's event will feature Roger S. Gammon, M.D., Medical Director of Research & Interventional Cardiologist with Austin Heart.  He will discuss the types, sources, and functions of stem cells and review progress gained in using stem cell treatments for vascular disease, heart attacks and limb restoration. Golf pro, artist, and cancer survivor Eddy Davis will also be a guest speaker. Davis will share his personal experiences in battling lymphoma while being treated with stem cells.

Texans for Stem Cell Research is a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of stem cell clinical applications for the treatment of Texans living with disease and debilitating injury.  Accolades PR is proud to support Texans for Stem Cell Research.

Accolades PR Client Tocquigny Earns CNN Coverage For BuzzBrawl

  
  
  
  
  
  

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CNN recently featured Accolades PR client Tocquigny on its What’s Next blog. Tocquigny, a leading interactive agency, continued its innovative efforts by unveiling BuzzBrawl, a means of using analytical data to determine what the top interactive trends were during South by Southwest.

Craig Saper, one of the bright minds at Tocquigny, is quoted on the blog as saying, “We want to create a single repository, a single resource for identifying trends at any given moment for the audience who finds relevance in analyzing what matters – making sense of what matters.”

In other words, BuzzBrawl revealed exactly what the biggest buzz topics were at the exact moment that they were happening during SXSW by analyzing tweets and media mentions. The real-time data even broke down the interactive conversation by PC and Mac, showing that PC users’ top three most-read blogs were All Things Digital, The New York Times and TechCrunch, whereas Mac users preferred All Things Digital, Mashable and TechCrunch.

According to BuzzBrawl, the top five terms during SXSW were Hipstamatic, Google Latitude, geolocation, Zynga and FarmVille. Find out more at buzzbrawl.com.

Congratulations to Tocquigny!

An example of a BuzzBrawl screenshot is below:

buzzbrawlSIZED

Read entire article here...

Grow Your Local Business: Austin Population Keeps Booming

  
  
  
  
  
  

Austin has long been the best of both worlds—a small town with big city resources. You can drive across town in any direction in half an hour (save rush hour). Just try that in Houston or Dallas. But at the same time, you have access to a first-class research university, the state government, any shopping you could need and every service imaginable, not to mention the headquarters of business heavyweights like AMD and Dell.

With such benefits, it’s no wonder that people keep flocking to Austin, both to visit and, of course, to move. Austin Business Journal reported recently that Austin in now ranked 34th nationwide in terms of population. Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston rank fourth and fifth, respectively. According to the article, the Austin metropolitan area is home to 1.8 million people, with another 4,000 people projected to move in before April.

A growing population no doubt translates to growth among industries. It also translates to a growth in the number of potential consumers or customers you could reach, both in sheer number and in diverse niches. To target that population, you should come up with a strategy to bring that community focus to the largest community in the world – the Internet. Through social media, you can build connections and networks with the exact sector of people in Austin that your business serves.

To get started, we suggest looking for local LinkedIn and Facebook groups that are Central Texas or Austin-specific in your sector of interest. Also, follow the Twitter feeds of local users who are in your industry and expand your connections from there.

What are your top tips for thinking locally and acting globally in terms of social media?

Accolades Client Tocquigny Celebrates SXSW Interactive Finalist Status with View512 Happy Hour

  
  
  
  
  
  

Accolades Public Relations’ client Tocquigny, a nationally recognized interactive agency, celebrated its status as a finalist for the 2011 South by Southwest Interactive Award in the Kiosk/Installation Category with a kick-off happy hour for the festival.

On Friday, March 12, Tocquigny opened its doors on the 17th floor of Austin’s iconic Frost Tower to SXSW Interactive badge holders and invited guests to watch the sunset over Lady Bird Lake while sipping martinis and beers. Tocquigny, an active presence at SXSWi, was honored during the festival for work on Teradata Partners “At the Moment” Video Wall, a groundbreaking multi-platform video installation project developed for the 2010 Teradata Partners Conference in San Diego.

Founded in 1997, the SXSW Interactive Awards is the centerpiece of the SXSW Interactive Festival, honoring the best new digital work for sites or projects that were launched or redesigned in 2010. Finalists represent the cutting edge of trends, products and overall developments in new media. At the Moment competed against such prestigious entries as Showtime’s Dexter, TED and Unilever. Winners were revealed at the 14th Annual SXSW Interactive Awards Ceremony on Tuesday, March 15, at the Hilton Austin Downtown.

Check out photos from Tocquigny’s View512 Happy Hour:

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Last Day to Register for the Austin Business Conference

  
  
  
  
  
  
Cynthia A. Baker - Speaker at Austin Business Conference

Feb. 8, 2011, at Norris Conference Center

1 Day - 100 Sales and Marketing tips

Use the promotion code APR5537 and registration is discounted to $75!

The Austin Business Conference will focus on the critical challenges of sales and marketing to help local businesses grow revenue and profits in 2011. Each session will be led by an expert who will facilitate an interactive discussion. All attendees will receive a conference directory with 100 Sales and Marketing tips.


Presentations include:

  • Building A Simple And Sustainable Sales Process
  • Build Your Platform, Build Your Revenue
  • Leveraging your position as CEO to Drive Sales
  • Traditional PR...Does It Still Exist?
  • 7 Steps to Marketing Success
  • Practical Marketing - Get The Most From Your Budget
  • Content Marketing
  • Online Advertising For Local Businesses: It's More Than Search

Check out the conference at www.austinbusinessconference.com.
Registration is $85 and includes all presentation, refreshments, access to the exhibit area, lunch and parking.


Marketing, Social Media and PR For Entrepreneurs

  
  
  
  
  
  

As an endlessly innovative and creative city, it should come as no surprise that Austin is a hotbed of entrepreneurship. Austinites have a particularly strong commitment to supporting and patronizing local and locally owned businesses, which gives entrepreneurs an extra boost on the road toward success.

Another accelerator down that road would be a strong campaign of marketing, social media and PR for entrepreneurs. The Austin Business Journal dedicates its E-Street Chatter blog toward entrepreneurship, and when a post discussed a survey focused on which business factors entrepreneurs should carefully consider, I immediately thought of marketing, social media and PR.

Including these needs in the budget from the get-go will ensure that once entrepreneurs launch their business that they will have the means to make sure their market, whether it is the public or another area of the business community, knows about it and, more importantly, hears the message you WANT to project about it.

Even before a business officially launches, establishing a social media presence can be beneficial for entrepreneurs. Setting up Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts are fairly straightforward. From there, entrepreneurs can focus on building a slow burning campaign leading up to an official launch or opening. Developing a simple social media strategy can help with messaging for marketing and PR efforts down the road.

What elements do you think are most important for developing strategies in social media, marketing and PR for entrepreneurs?

 

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