Category Archives: Social Media

Webinar: Data Visualization and NodeXL and Marc Smith

nodeXLgraphAnalyzing and presenting your data is a daunting task. OfficeWriter makes it easier. Next week, we’re making it easier still with a new webinar on data visualization. Joining us is special guest Marc Smith, creator of NodeXL.

Marc Smith is the Chief Social Scientist at Connected Action Consulting group. Prior to that he worked at Microsoft Research, where he created NodeXL, an Excel add-in, which allows you to import and visualize your social network data, anything from email to Twitter to Flickr and beyond.

In this webinar you will learn:

  • The origins of NodeXL and what it could mean for businesses in regards to social networks
  • How to find the connections and patterns within your social network communities
  • How to use NodeXL to graph the connections between trending Twitter conversations

Q&A with Marc Smith

Leave with new ideas on graphically representing your data, and see how social can impact your business.

When: September 11, 2013 at 1 P.M. EST/10 A.M. PST

*Register early as seating is limited. Can’t attend? Register anyway and we’ll send a copy of the slides and recording following the webinar. Just be sure to write “Request for slides” in the notes section, so we have an accurate head count. Thank you!

#Inbound13: Seek Out the Things That Might Not Work

Be Remarkable
Seek Out the Things That Might Not WorkOne Republic

The sweeping theme of this year’s Inbound conference by HubSpot, a conference dedicated to marketing professionals, was “Be Remarkable.” A show-stopping lineup of speakers and classes covered how to better manage and be remarkable within your inbound marketing. Last year, I felt there was a heavy emphasis on goal-setting in relation to your marketing efforts, whereas this year the emphasis seemed to lie heavily on context – the idea of knowing where your buyers are in the marketing funnel and then creating personalized content accordingly. This ties back to HubSpot’s core emphasis on customer-centricity and keeping the customer and their needs at the center of all of your marketing efforts. Delight and surprise. Using that school of thought, you will create relationships with your audience/customers, who ideally will become advocates for your brand and product because you provided them with something of value.

The one downside of the conference was the long lines to attend the classes the first day. However, in true HubSpot fashion, they listened to the attendees gripes and opened up more conference space along with repeating some of the popular classes. HubSpot’s main focus is on education – educating and empowering the customer. With a ton of classes and three days worth of learning, it’s easy to get lost in the swamp of information, which is why I did the heavy lifting for you. To better manage the onslaught of information and help myself put it into context (See what I did there? Heavy sigh. I know, bear with me. No more cheesy references. I promise.), I like to look for patterns and group items into categories. These were the large umbrellas I found the talks and classes fell under, along with the big ideas to take with you from the conference.

Inbound13: Nate Silver

Overarching Themes of the Conference:


Content is a staple to your marketing, bar none. However, context is not to be overlooked. It is the framework upon which you build your content. Context allows you to take into consideration the buyer’s experience at every stage in the buyer’s decision model. Use context to be a resource. Just as HubSpot is a resource for marketers and marketing strategies, so too should you be for your customers. You need to keep your customer at the center of your marketing. “Engaging with context” is key to building those customer relationships. In other words, you need to take into account where that person is in the buying cycle, how they have interacted with your site, if they want to talk to you right now or if they are just researching. You need to take into account who they are, what their needs are, what content they’re interested in, what information they’re seeking, and how they want to be interacted with. You can’t treat every person the same, because everyone is different, with differing needs.


This falls within the realm of providing context to your content marketing. Put your customers at the center of your marketing efforts. Solve for the Customer (SFTC) was a phrase which popped up over the course of the three-day conference. In other words solve for the customer versus solving for the transaction. In the algebraic sense, solving for “X” puts “X” at the focus of the equation. That is what you are basing all of your moves around, all of your content around. Instead of approaching the marketing/sales process as a transaction, as a means-to-an-end, approach it with the customer at the center.

Work/Life Balance:

We are multitaskers. We are constantly innovating. With so many news sources and fragmentation of media/products, we’re challenged to be on the forefront of these trends. With the abundance of information and ease of access, there is a fear you will miss out on the latest-and-greatest. Arianna Huffington, Editor in Chief of the Huffington Post, as well as several Bold Talk speakers addressed this FOMO (Fear of Missing Out, for all those out of their teenage years). Connection is at the core of what we do. However, Arianna Huffington said we are in a constant state of motion, running ourselves ragged in an attempt to keep up. Huffington along with several Bold Talk speakers emphasized the need to disconnect and reconnect with your wellbeing so that you can grow and use your leadership skills to your full potential. By first taking care of yourself, you are better able to lead and care for others.Inbound13: Arianna Huffington

Failure is Inevitable:

Failure is part of the process. Best selling author and renowned speaker, Seth Godin, addressed this in his keynote. He said, “If you’re not willing to fail, you’re not willing to succeed.” Leaders/CEOs need to foster an environment where failure is accepted as part of the road to success. Everything is built upon everything else, just like Jenga, as another conference speaker pointed out. You learn from your mistakes. Godin gave the example of a company that sunk $2 million into an unsuccessful marketing project. The CEO’s response? I just spent $2 million dollars learning what didn’t work. Now let’s learn from it and find what does. This way of thinking about a project was exactly something our CEO told me. Now, don’t get me wrong. This does not mean Continue reading #Inbound13: Seek Out the Things That Might Not Work

Conference Recap: PubCon New Orleans 2013


From the Pubcon New Orleans (2013) Trenches

PubCon (New Orleans, LA) – So many sessions, so much to consume and share. Where to begin? My week in New Orleans flew by as I soaked in both sessions and sightseeing. This was my first time attending Pubcon as well as my first time in NOLA. The first 48 hours were filled with numerous firsts: my first beignet, first walk down Bourbon St and the French Quarter, first tornado warning, and first full day in the SEO Masters Group Training. The conference sessions mainly focused on SEO, social media, and marketing. While I attended mostly the sessions in the SEO track, I did bounce around a little. The only way to try and recap the week effectively is for me to give you the top 5 areas from which I took the most away and what those in part covered.


There were endless sessions on SEO, including tips, tricks, and tools. I heard multiple times a good way to rename “Search Engine Optimization” would be to start calling it “Search Experience Optimization.” Understanding the relationship between what people are talking about and how they’re searching is very important.

Top 5 takeaways:

  1. Create partnerships with other businesses and get your own company page on their sites. Then link back to a subpage of yours rather than a main page to boost rank on lower ranking pages.
  2. Build your own dashboards for compliance and performance so everyone is accountable for their part. Utilize Google webmaster tools and analytics to aid in this.
  3. Set up your own Google alerts to track your industry, keywords, and competitors.
  4. Use various tracking tools such as 3rd party sites or Firefox add ons like disabling JavaScript to literalize the page and see exactly how Continue reading Conference Recap: PubCon New Orleans 2013

Crowdsourced: Apps You Should Know About

Once a week I snoop around the office, bothering my coworkers with questions on what they’re reading, listening to, consuming, or any other random inquiries I’d like to subject them to. Sometimes they even respond.

The question:
 1. What is your favorite app and why?
The answers:

David, CEO

Evernote – Best practical app. Couldn’t live without it now.

pwSafe – Keeps hundreds of passwords secure and syncs with PC version.

Atomic Web – Truly private browsing. Most googling done here now. (Bing is default on Safari.)

Leafsnap – Identifies and geotags tree species by taking a picture of a leaf.

LiveATC – Allows you to listen to ATC around in the world in real time. Nerdy pilot stuff. Continue reading Crowdsourced: Apps You Should Know About

Ad Club EDGE 2012 Conference Recap

Monday the AdClub EDGE Conference rolled into town and consumed (see what I did there) the Institute of Contemporary Art. When I walked into the auditorium, The Ad Club’s Big Orange Couch was front-and-center, though it remained mostly untouched by the speakers, who elected to stand while presenting. (Sidenote: My coworker Paula pointed out the couch reminded her of our famous nap room couch here at SoftArtisans.)

Eleven speakers in rapid succession made for an engaging conference and a ton of fascinating insights surrounding the advertising realm including issues of privacy and big data. While the majority of the speakers focused on B2C marketing as opposed to B2B, (which is what we focus on with OfficeWriter) the insights proved to be extremely valuable. I wish I could cover it all, but in the interest of (your) time, I’ll just leave you with the key takeaways I gleaned from each speaker. As a bonus though I’ve also rounded up a few of the most interesting tweets from the conference to give an inside look at the conversations it sparked.

The Topic: Consumed (although the power of storytelling snuck in on more than one occasion)

The Gist: To steal the words of @SchneiderMike – Exploring “how brands and marketers are approaching this collision of media and data to better understand how their audience consumes content and what consumes them.”

Cue Rihanna’s bouncy “We Found Love” for walkout music as Kathy Kiely (@MadamePrez), President of The Ad Club kicked off the event. Continue reading Ad Club EDGE 2012 Conference Recap

Consumed: SoftArtisans News & Music

With Boston’s Ad Club EDGE conference* still fresh in my mind and inspired by Riparian Data’s (shout out to the talented Claire) blog post on what they’re reading, I set out to discover what consumes SoftArtisans.

The questions:
 1. What article did you read this morning?
2. What are you listening to right now?
The answers:
Jim, Systems Administrator
Offloaded Data Transfer in Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Beta – Dell TechCenter blogs
TechEd North America 2012 Keynote
Christina, UX Engineer
What the Rise of Depeche Mode Teaches You About the Rise of Digital Design – Fast Company
We are Beautiful, We are Doomed – Los Campesinos!
Dan, VP of Operations
WSOP Day 17 Recap: Ohel, Gathy Win Bracelets, Ivey Leads Omaha Hi-Lo
Tear It Up – Jerry’s Kids

Continue reading Consumed: SoftArtisans News & Music

Twitter Roundup: Life of a Coder

As I’ve been perusing the Twittosphere, I’ve run across several entertaining tweets about the frustrations of coders everywhere bemoaning relatable #ProgrammingProblems and #CoderProblems.  A few made me chuckle out loud, and I hope they bring the same amusement to you on this Monday morning.  [ To see the story on]

This Twitter Roundup brought to you by the frustrations of coders everywhere bemoaning relatable #ProgrammingProblems and #Coderproblems. You’re not alone!

#Meme15 Assignment 2: All A’Twitter

sqlfamilyA new monthly blog series has entered the #sqlfamily. The brainchild of Jason Strate (b|t), “#Meme15” focuses around the ways social networks can further our professional development.  This month’s assignment is one dear to my own heart (and brain. And fingers): Twitter. I’ve written before about what Twitter can do for your company—how it can give high-tech B2Bs personality, credibility and new leads. What I haven’t covered as much is what it can do for you, the employee. There are two questions in the assignment:


  • Why should average Jane or Joe professional consider using twitter?
  • What benefit have you seen in your career because of twitter?

As a person whose primary job responsibilities involve social media, I’m going to go with the first option—for an excellent answer to the second, check out Stacia Misner’s response.

So, why should you, the non Social Media Marketer/Specialist/Strategist etc use Twitter? In short, there are three main reasons: build relationships, gain knowledge and enhance your public image.

In slightly longer, Twitter is a public conversation, a place to learn, share and connect. Someone posts a link to a blog post about Power View; you read it and learn something new about Power View (animated data points, oh my!). Someone asks a question about stored procedures, aka your pride and joy, and you answer them. Bonds form between the teachers and the taught, the @er and @ed, tweeter and retweeter—but they can also form, albeit more loosely, between all of the above and their networks of listeners. When you perform any activity on Twitter, from favoriting a Tweet to organizing a Tweetup, it deepens your digital profile to anyone who thinks to look or happens to listen at the right time.

Twitter allows you to join  (or start!) non-geographically-restricted communities grouped around any interest or combination of interests. It lets you play pin the avatar on the body at conferences. It’s a virtual kickstarter for eventual IRL relationships. For all the banality of some of its content, Twitter’s function as a connector is far from trivial.

 [#Meme15 logo by Matt Velic]

SPC11 Tweeting Guide: How to Use Twitter to Become Rich, Attractive and Popular

[Image via  Renegade HR]

  1. Do you currently own or have you ever owned a twitter account? If yes:
  2.  Do you use it more than once a month? If yes:
  3. Do you use it as a therapist? If yes, you might want to tone it down a bit.  No one likes a whiner! If no:
  4. Do you use it because you read/heard/saw on The Today Show/Tosh 2.0 that it offers a lot of networking opportunities? If yes:
  5. Do you think you’ve taken advantage of these networking opportunities? If yes, why are you still reading this article? Tweet my headline and get back to networking! If no: read on.

So here’s the deal, would-be networkers: SPC is a huge conference stuffed with “influencers” and “inventors” and “evangelizers” and other people of import. Unless you snag a front row seat at one of their sessions or have a honing pigeon ability that tends to kick in da club, you may not be able to meet these poobahs in real life. But you can meet, shoot the breeze, swap Qwickster jokes and photos of the grandkids, divulge industry secrets etc… with them on Twitter.

“But howwwww do I do that no one likes me sad face going to cry into my spplatypus now,” you say? Here are the steps: Continue reading SPC11 Tweeting Guide: How to Use Twitter to Become Rich, Attractive and Popular