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#reachhack: @marshallk on your Personal Brand

How can you participate best on social media to support your business goals? In a SXSW 2014 workshop, our CEO and cofounder Marshall Kirkpatrick outlines his own experience that made him a successful data journalist and inspired the technology and practices that Little Bird brings to the world.

Marshall was recently honored to be named one of the top 25 B2B Marketing Influencers in the world by leading CRM company InsideView – so this is the real deal.

Marshall’s recipe is straightforward. Raise your own game on social with three simple focuses and generate real benefits for yourself and your business, whether you are a solopreneur or working for one of the world’s largest corporations.

  1. Curate effectively
  2. Narrate your work openly
  3. Make social engagement a habit

Diving down on Marshall’s first point, effective curation can also be broken down into a simple recipe: don’t just parrot the popular stuff that flows by, but instead use the following strategies:

  1. Be first
  2. Say it best
  3. Aggregate viewpoints
  4. Bring a unique perspective
  5. Be funny

Explore Marshall’s complete presentation below (slides 78-96) and as a bonus, browse the wisdom from the rest of the 4-hour workshop on digital marketing with Heroku‘s Margaret Francis and Annalect‘s Israel Mirsky and Blake Robinson.

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Little Bird Update: 14 Mar 2014

See Any User’s Standing in a Topical Community

Our customers have been asking for easier ways to quickly see how connected any person or company is within a specific topical community. For example, you could enter the Twitter username of a potential event speaker, sales prospect, hiring candidate, or acquisition target to quickly see their standing in a community central to your business. Today we added an additional feature—Standing—to show you exactly that information, even if that user isn’t included in the report.

You’ll see this new Standing feature at the top of Little Bird’s existing Discover Connections view, which gives you a current, detailed look at any Twitter user’s stature, savvy, and connections in the community of topical Insiders delivered by a Little Bird report. This Standing feature adds new, summary information to the existing details already included in Discover Connections, like topic Insiders identified as Missed Opportunities, Not Yet Converted, Most Recent Insiders, First Insiders, and Most Recent Following.

Screen Shot 2014-03-13 at 5.22.49 PM

Additional Updates

  • Our Share & Engage view in every report now updates with new and trending content every thirty minutes.
  • Spreadsheet Exports now contain structured location data for easier sorting by continent, country, region, and sub-region.
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The Top 500 People at SXSW 2014

Meet Little Bird at SXSW 2014: Three of our team members will be on the ground in Austin, including cofounder and CEO Marshall Kirkpatrick (@marshallk), our new CTO Michael “MJ” Jones (@mjfreshyfresh), and me, Little Bird’s Doorman, Nate Angell (@xolotl). Reach out to us on Twitter if you want to meet at SXSW and talk about Little Bird.


Let’s face it: SXSW is an overwhelming carnival, whether you’re in Austin with 72,000 other attendees or tuning in from afar on the social web. How will you make sense of it all? Where will you focus your attention?

2014 Keynotes

Little Bird is proud to see our own cofounder and CEO Marshall Kirkpatrick (@marshallk) in the top 20 SXSW 2014 people, but where do 2014 SXSWi keynoters Austin Kleon (@austinkleon), Dr Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson), Anne Wojcicki (@23andme), Adam Savage (@donttrythis) & Chelsea Clinton (@chelseaclinton) fit in the SXSW community? You can bet after they keynote at SXSWi, they’ll gain stature among other SXSW insiders and move to the center of the SXSW community.

SXSW 2014 Keynoters

At Little Bird, we believe the best way to make sense out of a complex experience like SXSW is to learn who is at the heart of the community around it—and then explore their connections and conversation. That’s what Little Bird delivers for any topic and so to help you focus your SXSW experience, we proudly present the leading 500 people of SXSW 2014, as measured by the attention they get from their peers.

Tweets from SXSW 2014 Top 500

Last year, there were over 250K people and 750K tweets using the #SXSW hashtag: are you ready to read all that? This year, focus your attention on the center of the SXSW conversation: tweets by leading 500 SXSW people past and future.


Who’s on the SXSW 2014 Top 500 List?

You’ll see everyone from Internet stars like a @scobleizer, @garyvee, @ev, @briansolis, @jowyang and @pistachio, to celebrities from other venues that have intersected with SXSW like @aplusk, @neiltyson, @kanyewest, @pattonoswalt, @shaq and @sethmeyers.  We are proud to see our own cofounder and CEO @marshallk at number 17—he’s been a part of SXSW for years and it shows! Dig down a little further in the list and you’ll find a lot of well-known and less-famous folks who have done some of the hard thinking and work to build today’s digital culture. There are a few music and film folks represented, but we have focused our lens here on SXSW Interactive because music and film are two big, big communities of their own.

Explore the List on Silk

Little Bird is excited to collaborate with a new partner to give you rich ways to explore our list. Silk is a powerful new platform for sharing collections about anything. We used Silk to highlight some interesting ways you can explore our collection of SXSW 2014 People, but you can also create your own views into our collection. Learn more about using Silk.

Top 20 SXSW 2014 People

Click Explore to view our entire list on Silk.

Why So-and-So Is (Not) on the List

Little Bird doesn’t decide who is on this list: you do! Or people just like you! Little Bird looks at a variety of social signals made by real humans and puts them together to deliver a dynamic snapshot of the community and conversations that attract the attention of SXSW insiders. There’s undoubtedly some very worthy people that belong on this list and aren’t on it—and maybe even some folks on the list that don’t make sense. Overall though, this list represents the SXSW people that other SXSW community members have raised to our collective attention. Want to be on the list? Engage authentically with SXSW community members to create your own trail of social signals and you will reap the benefits of connecting to this diverse and amazing collection of people, which is way more valuable than just being on a list.

How We Did It

We used Little Bird to find the insiders in the SXSW community and then surfaced just the people (businesses and organizations are another topic). To make sure the list reflected this year’s topics, we added in all the keynote and featured speakers from SXSWi 2014. Then we sorted all these people by Little Bird’s “Insider Score”: a simple but strong signal showing who has earned the attention of their peers—in this case other SXSW insiders. The result: 500 very interesting personalities that have been or will be central to the SXSW conversation.

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Little Bird Levels Up With New Funding and Senior Hires

The company announces $1.7m in Series Seed financing to start scaling its network-based influencer engagement technology for sales, marketing and other smart businesses

Coverage of this announcement:

A message from CEO Marshall Kirkpatrick

Two years ago my wife Mikalina Kirkpatrick, our technical collaborator Tyler Gillies and I started the first stage of Little Bird on the couch in our living room. (A coffee shop near Saint Stephen’s Green in Dublin, Ireland was an important spot too but that’s another story.)

Our goal was to turn our thinking about data-driven discovery of new voices and emerging news on the social web into a product we could scale further than a one-on-one consulting practice – and to have the adventure of building a business while doing it. The social web is a transformative, powerful thing and we want to help more people use it more effectively. Little Bird is a tool for businesses to access the best parts of the social web quickly and efficiently.

From the very beginning, our technology was different from other peoples’ – we don’t look at keywords people post online. Instead, we look at the connections between people: like Google analyzes the connections between web pages to find the best documents, we analyze the connections between people to find the most trusted and influential people in any field. (Like “9 out of 10 dentists recommend.”) Those people are valuable not just because of what they can do today, but because they’re a high-probability source of early knowledge about the future of your industry. Just like when I was a journalist, I had an unfair advantage of using systematic approaches to discover niche sources to monitor for breaking news – our users now have an unfair advantage of using our system to jump over the learning curve and engage right at the heart of their markets’ best minds.

 

Above: Mapping the connections inside the social sales community online.
The second stage of Little Bird unfolded at Wieden + Kennedy’s startup incubator PIE, with the awesome support of Mark Cuban and a stack of other awesome angel investors. That’s where we changed our name to Little Bird and discovered that there really is an incredible demand in the B2B world for the technology we’re building. We do almost no marketing at all and continue to get 30 to 50 inbound requests for information almost every day, more than a year after announcing what we’re building. It’s really exciting and the past year has been a period of big growth (we’re now a team of 14) and lots of learning.

Today we announce the next stage of Little Bird. The company has raised $1.7 million in new financing, made two key leadership hires of smart people who’ve scaled up startups successfully before and is now aimed for major growth in 2014. Michael Jones, formerly of StepChange and Dachis Group, is now Little Bird’s CTO. Ben Kaufman, formerly of AuctionPay and Monsoon Commerce, is now Little Bird’s COO. Both have grown startups from 5 to 10 people up through 70+. Having them on the team is already making the day to day around the office really different – we’re leveling up in a big way. Experience is like a super power. As Ben Horowitz says, he likes to know what a founding team has done before because everything else takes twice as long. Only twice as long is being generous, too, Mr. Horowitz. MJ and Ben have done all of this before and it’s super empowering to have them on our team now.

MJandBen

New Little Bird CTO Michael Jones and new COO Ben Kaufman
This new financing comes from new and existing investors, and is led by the Oregon Angel Fund (OAF). Howard Lindzon’s Social Leverage fund has also been particularly helpful to us throughout our work. OAF’s Drew Bernard has been our champion and with his help we’ll take things up to the next level still. OAF has been really enthusiastic and we’re proud to work with them.

In 2013 we learned that enterprise scale companies, sales and marketing departments are places where there’s great interest in social media influencer discovery and engagement. We still sell to others (SMBs, researchers, investors) but that clarity has been super helpful.

As the new year kicks off, we have three primary goals:

  • Increase regular user engagement with the platform. Little Bird does a lot of things but these three are the most fundamental: 1. we discover who’s at the top of the field in your industry, 2. we figure out who you are and aren’t already connected to and then 3. we help you get in the game to build new connections with power-tools for engagement with hot conversations online. In 2014 we’ll be making dramatic changes to our offering to help expand regular use of the platform beyond the first step of list-building and the early adopter power users so that the rest of the Little Bird value proposition is more easily integrated into the everyday workflow of many more people.
  • Commercialize our API. We’ve got a lot of companies interested in using our data to enrich their applications and we’ve got some really good data, both harvested and original, to offer up. We’re currently talking to prospective first partners for our API launch.
  • Grow our sales and marketing capacity. You’re going to hear a lot more about Little Bird this year and if you’re interested in helping run the sales processes we’re putting together, being part of the sales team we’re building is an incredible opportunity. Get in touch if you’re interested.

We’ve been able to get in front of lots and lots of businesses already in large part thanks to our friends who share their excitement about Little Bird across the social web. People like Matt Heinz, Jill Rowley, power Little Bird user Ian Goldsmid, Mike Maney and many others. Thank you. Our advisors Joe Chernov and Aaron Fulkerson have shared hours of their expert knowledge with us as well. Thank you.

Thanks to the team

New office projector? Gotta test it out!

Little Bird is often associated with my name as CEO, but I’m working with a growing team of people who are bringing incredible energy and intelligence to our shared effort. People love working at Little Bird, I regularly get told this is the best job people have ever had, and it’s because of the team that everyone loves working hard together. You can connect with everyone on the team via this Twitter List.

Over the past two years, Mikalina Kirkpatrick, my wife, has been Little Bird’s leader in operations and an essential contributor of strategic thinking. She’s built the internal culture of the company. Mikalina and I are still married! (I think we’re doing better than ever, in fact, if you’d like to know!) With this financing, Mikalina has stepped down as COO of the company and moved into a more strategic role. I want to thank her publicly for the incredible contributions she’s made over the years and continues to make now.

Nate Angell, Little Bird’s Chief Growth Officer (or Doorman as he calls himself) has brought us to where we are today, having secured deals with and trained some of the biggest, smartest enterprise companies in the world who want to be more effective on social networks. Nate joins Little Bird’s Board of Directors with the new financing; we’ve worked him way too hard over the past year but somehow he’s managed to think with great clarity despite an inhuman number of hours.

Lead developer Devin Gaffney has made magic happen at Little Bird and we are super pumped to have him on our team. Look for him to invent some really mind-blowing data science projects this year.

Little Bird’s unofficial logo: the flying robot librarian with laser vision, by Lucy Angell

Danish Aziz came to us having built customer support systems at Google and has grown his responsibilities at Little Bird to include support, services, QA and now with increasing focus, product management. Danish and Little Bird are growing really well together. Thank you, Danish.

Darby Burn Strong helps things run really well while we face an overwhelming wave of opportunities and learning – and now she’s engaging with customers and helping us tell our story in marketing as well. That’s really important work.

Shelby La Croix is a hustler who provides much of customer support that Little Bird is becoming known for and is also starting to help us tell our story with marketing.

On the development team Jeff Goddard brings a wealth of experience to helping us scale, technical co-founder Tyler Gillies continues to blaze new trails and learn about new technologies just like he did when we started the company and new developer Adam Jetmalani is responsible for our awesome new front end. (More on that later.)

Little Bird Team Pictures 2014

The title of “newest member of the team” belongs to Noah Siekmann. Noah’s only been with us for a matter of days, but if you use Little Bird, you’ll likely be in contact with him sometime so he can help you rock it.

I like to tell my team about research finding that subject matter experts have been found most effective in building influence when they can nail all four of the following practices: tool building, trail blazing new opportunities, translation of concerns across departments and team work. We’re all learning how to do those things every day.

Here at Little Bird, we’re just getting started. We hope you’ll come along for the journey with us.

 

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Klout and Little Bird: The Difference in 3 Sentences

Klout, the biggest name in influencer metrics, is reportedly being acquired by corporate social network vendor Lithium Technologies. We’re often asked about the difference between Klout and Little Bird, and we expect to be asked even more in the coming weeks. Here it is in three sentences.

Bonus: Coming soon…the Little Bird API. More data, better data and more actionable information, inside your application.

1. Influence in Context
Little Bird’s metric of influence isn’t about popularity with the public at large like Klout’s; we measure influence among people and organizations who are relevant to a particular topic or industry.

2. Actionable Information
Little Bird makes it easy to engage with the people it discovers, by analyzing your existing and potential connections and by delivering the hottest conversations for you to engage with influencers and their knowledge. Klout tells you who is influential and then leaves you to your own devices to take action—at best helping you send them “perks” or free stuff to try to win them over as advocates. We believe meaningful advocacy is one byproduct of effective, authentic engagement—not something you can buy. (Sorry for two extra sentences in this one.)

3. Discovery for Business Utility
Klout’s keyword-based discovery of topics and new people returns limited and noisy information; at Little Bird we specialize in analyzing the connections between people in order to discover who influences the influencers, on almost any topic, on demand—delivering information that drives real results for business in marketing and sales.
We’ve got great data and great tools for leveraging it. We hope you’ll sign up to request access and try Little Bird out for yourself.

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The Only Thing Faster Than Real-Time: Watching the Right People

Twitter announced a new partnership today with CNN and a startup called Dataminr, which will deliver breaking news discovered on Twitter to journalists. It looks incredible.

Perhaps the only thing that could be faster than real-time like this is zeroing in on the key sources of new developments before those developments occur. That’s what we help you do here at Little Bird: in minutes, easily and reliably. What could be faster than that? I’m not sure.

In news, you can make a really big impact by being the 2nd, or the 10th, or the 20th person in the world to see something, on Twitter for example, and then taking that story out across other media like TV and the web. An automated system like that is really well suited to journalism. (I used lightweight systems like this myself to break a whole lot of news in my previous career.)

But if you’re not a journalist, if you’re in other businesses doing marketing, sales or research – then you’ve got a business interest that goes beyond hearing about what’s just happened. The very recent past is cool, but finding the place where the future will be born is an incredible competitive advantage.

Here at Little Bird, we believe that the best way to discover where the future of your industry is most likely to emerge, and to be there to co-create it, is not by looking at hundreds of millions of messages posted on the social web – but by looking at the people who are trusted and watched by other experts in your field.

It’s not about what people say, it’s about who you know. Little Bird helps you find out who to know and then it helps you develop relationships with them, so you can influence the future – not just react to it quickly.

The Little Bird method: finding the people at the center of the graph.

Below: Dataminr’s awesome looking methods of analyzing content. As contrasted with Little Bird’s method below that.


img via The Verge

Here at Little Bird we’ve made it easier than ever to use social network data to discover business opportunities before they emerge. You can request access to a trial account here.

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Meet 2014's Top 100 Community Managers on Twitter

Community Manager Appreciation Day (CMAD) 2014 is upon us! This year, in celebration of #CMAD2014 (yes, that’s the official hashtag!) My Community Manager has teamed up with Hootsuite and a handful of other community-oriented companies to celebrate the all-stars who keep our social networks running smoothly. They’ve collectively organized 24 hours of live hangouts, to begin on January 27, 2014 beginning at 00:00 EST (05:00 GMT). They’ll also be announcing 8 unique awards to peer-nominated community managers across several different categories.

Here at Little Bird, we think the inspiration behind CMAD is awesome! It’s all about practitioners celebrating their own—with results much like Little Bird finds by analyzing real human activities in context and the peer-to-peer relationships those activities build. For the second year in a row, we decided to put our Little Bird discovery engine to good use for CMAD, to further uncover and recognize the most connected community managers of today.

We used Little Bird to discover the widest possible online network of community managers, with the intention of sharing another lens through which we all can identify and celebrate this thriving community. We then trimmed our list to remove the companies and organizations, leaving just the humans who represent the top 100 community managers most followed by their peers. The result: 100 awesome people engaging communities on social media from all over the planet! We hope to see some insightful overlap between the community managers in this Little Bird report and CMAD’s nominees and award winners.









Want to create and explore your own Little Bird report on community managers or any other topic?

Little Bird’s influence ratings are based solely on the level of interconnection that topical insiders have with their peers, rather than an abstract measure of intrinsic value. These insiders are those who have built up sufficient peer recognition through their own personal engagement on social media with the other insiders in their community.

Little Bird Community Managers Visualization

Little Bird Community Managers Network Visualization

We also recognize that many community managers devote a lot of their online energies to brand accounts, and their personal identities might not always benefit from the same attention. To those who were not represented on our report: We encourage everyone to give some love to your own social presence online. With all that you have to teach us, we’d all love to hear from you personally, too!

There’s much knowledge to be gleaned from these savvy folks on the front lines of social media marketing and relationship management. Want to take in the CMAD community for yourself? Check out the Community Managers Appreciation Day website to learn about events being hosted around the world in celebration of this day.

Congratulations to Community Managers everywhere for your efforts and hard work—We salute you!

Little Bird’s Top 100 2014 Community Managers

Visit our Twitter list to browse all 100 top community managers, read the stream of their Tweets below, and download a feed bundle (OPML file) of the 70 blog feeds we found related to these 100 community managers and import it into your favorite feed reader.

 

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New: Little Bird recommends the topics that matter to you

magic

We’re excited to unveil the first iteration of a big new feature here at Little Bird. We’ve been using the code name “Magic” while building it.

Here’s the magic: when you visit the new report creation page on Little Bird, we’ll now give you a series of personalized topic selections you can click just once and get a great Little Bird report.

These are topics you know and love, ready for you to turn up your game, find highly-relevant content on subjects that matter to you, and jump efficiently into making connections with the most influential people online. Now Little Bird makes it even quicker and easier to  build expertise and connections to increase your stature and sales or curate and create content to inspire your audiences.

The recommendations are powered by the people you’re already following on Twitter. Based on what we can learn about those people, we figure out which topics or industries we can analyze for you to engage with.

Senior developer Devin Gaffney, who built the feature, says “Little Bird is getting to a scale where we can start looking inward at our own data to provide totally new insights, far beyond what we can get from outside sources alone.”

General trend: Discovery through analysis of data – not just for advertisers, for users too!

Beyond what we’re doing here, we believe that there’s a general trend across the internet where people are beginning to discover opportunities for discovery in analyzing peoples’ data. In this case, we’re analyzing the people you’ve chosen to follow on Twitter – but there are lots of other people doing discovery based on the trail of data we leave everywhere we go.

It’s one thing for that discovery to be done for the benefit of advertisers – but that’s not all there is here at all! There are huge opportunities for this discovery to be done for the benefit of end users ourselves. Other cool examples of this kind of work I’ve seen lately include Intel’s analysis of car and phone location data in conjunction with ethnographic research (see researcher Rachel Shadoan’s work, for example) and Mind Meld’s neat (if beta) iPad app, which recommends links online based on the words you use in a web conference. There’s huge opportunity to learn more about the world by illuminating knowledge hidden in our data!

Mind Meld is an interesting example because that app tries to serve up information you might find useful without your even having to ask for it. That’s a paradigm people have begun referring to as Anticipatory Computing, and one that Little Bird finds some inspiration from in our Magic feature as well. Look for more of this from us…when you expect it least! ;)

What are some other examples you’d recommend we check out?

About Little Bird again…

Our new “Magic” feature is pretty awesome and it’s getting smarter every day. I love seeing people get recommendations like 3D Printing, Inbound Marketing, or this morning I was recommended a report on Postmodernism. Cool!

This is just the first iteration of this feature but we think there’s a ton of value for everyone here.

So give your magic recommendations a click and come see what Little Bird can do to help you grow your business every day. Check out the Share and Engage page, sign up for daily mission emails and more.

Together we’ll use data to help you learn from and do business with the smartest people in the world, faster and easier than ever before!

How do your recommendations look? Let us know!

Overview__Magic_-_Little_Bird_and_Skype-2

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Salesforce 1: Salesforce to Commercialize the Internet of Things

Salesforce made a huge announcement tonight, just ahead of Dreamforce. Its new Salesforce 1 platform will support Internet of Things connected device apps. That’s really big. Most coverage of the news so far isn’t focused on the IoT part of the announcement, probably because the idea of a web-connected consumer package good or piece of heavy machinery is hard to imagine in reality, but based on my previous reporting on IoT and using data from Little Bird to catch up quickly on the state of the art, I’ll put what I think is going to be the biggest news of Dreamforce in context below.

Conclusion: If Salesforce can move the needle towards popularizing connected devices and integrating them into the larger sales and marketing suite, would it be too bold to say that such a move could change the world even more than the move to cloud computing has?  The potential impact here certainly seems comparable.  Moving computing into the cloud vs the instrumentation of the physical world? Once you can connect your connected devices to your CRM, you’re going to connect a lot more devices to the web.
 

Below: The Internet of Things is already flourishing, imagine it getting turbo-charged by Salesforce as a commercialization platform. (Little Bird screenshot)


 

Salesforce lifted the press embargo tonight on a major announcement it will make at the massive Dreamforce conference this week: the new Salesforce 1 platform will combine all the CRM giant’s existing offerings with technology that can tie into what’s called The Internet of Things.  Connected devices and sensors that send data about what an object is doing in the real world back to a server in the cloud – like a Salesforce server.    Or a device tracking company’s servers that sync that data with sales tracking technology on Salesforce.  This could be really, really big. Marc Benioff will say a lot more on stage, I’m sure.

Al Falcione, head of corporate messaging at Salesforce was quoted by Larry Dignan saying, “Salesforce 1 is the way of connecting things in a flexible way to transform sales, service and marketing.” Don’t let the sometimes underwhelming word things in that sentence underwhelm you. Falcione doesn’t mean “some stuff” he means, a huge amount of real-world, previously off-line physical objects! Like heavy machinery from Caterpillar and MRI machines from medical tech companies.

I’m not a journalist anymore so I didn’t get briefed on this, but I used to write about the Internet of Things a lot.  I’m going to Dreamforce and I find all of this absolutely fascinating.  I’ve spent my career thinking about how data can yield insight and this sure smells like an incredibly powerful move by Salesforce.

Here’s how I understand it could work.

Right now Salesforce tracks relationships one-to-one with individuals and with companies made up of individuals.  Imagine the company creating a platform for 3rd party app providers to build plug-ins where instead of a phone call or email exchange you had with a sales prospect being tracked, you were able to record (automatically) things all the way down to how much cereal was left in a consumer’s cereal box.

 

As I posted on Alex Williams’ coverage on TechCrunch:

Mobile analyst Chetan Sharma and I talked about connected cereal boxes a couple of years ago and that vision seems perfect for what Salesforce is doing as a platform. “P&G ships 40 trillion some objects per year, imagine them all connected,” he said in an interview we did at CTIA.

What do you do with a connected cereal box?

“With a cereal box? You’ll communicate about health related issues, add social elements, easy ordering. A brand can build a direct relationship with the consumer without relying on retail stores. Look at the aftermarket, 30% of the diapers ordered are now ordered online. There’s no reason why that can’t happen on other objects. I think the chance for the brand to interact with consumers directly is huge.”

The granularity may be a mismatch there, but it may not be.  In Salesforce’s own slides the company shows a backhoe as an example of a connected product that could tie into Salesforce1.  Also in 2011, I wrote about a company called Axeda that powers M2M (machine) connectivity like this:

Axeda works primarily with B2B companies, traditionally in the form of asset management. One company that provides high-end industrial equipment for cutting fabric, outside the price range of many small firms in the clothing and apparel industry, has begun using Axeda’s technology to embed a “pay as you go” model. A sensor takes data off the equipment, sends it to the equipment provider via cellular connection and then sends a monthly bill charging for the amount of use the machine saw.

Likewise, there are places around the world, Zujewski says, where fabric cutting machines get used in excessively high heat and humidity. The machines keep breaking and it’s expensive to repair them under warranty – so machine manufacturers find it quite valuable to be able to monitor that the conditions their equipment is being used in are compliant with the terms of those warranties. All it takes is a USB port. It’s too bad they can’t monitor the working conditions of the factory wetware the same way. There may be eternal judgement for that, though.

Where Does Little Bird Come Into Play?

Our influencer and expert discovery and engagement technology here at Little Bird isn’t directly related to Salesforce, the Internet of Things, or cereal boxes that spy on you.  What we do is map out communities of influence and expertise for our customers (like Matt Heinz did with Little Bird for Dreamforce) and we do make a very nice report and set of engagement tools on the IoT, for one thing.

Someday, we might just tell our customers where interest and influence and expertise intersect with the tidal waves of customer and device data they are tracking in their CRM.  Someday, maybe.

IoT specialists know that the debate over privacy and connected devices is likely to be big (they’re talking about this article tonight, for example) and I expect that Salesforce making a big entry into the space will be a key milestone in the growth of that debate.

I’ll be watching my Little Bird report on IoT’s Share and Engage hot content page tomorrow (screenshot) to see what the Internet of Things influencers are saying about Salesforce – if you’re a Little Bird customer you can run a report on IoT and do the same.  I’ll probably spin up reports on M2M, sales tech and privacy as well. If you’re at Dreamforce, we’ll be happy to show you any of those.

This is Going to Be Big

As Alex Williams said tonight, “It’s a big promise, especially considering that most companies are still finding their way with how to use mobile apps and services for marketing and sales.”  (See also Larry Dignan’s post for more details.) I agree with Alex and think that exploration for finding out how to integrate all of this together is going to be incredibly exciting.

If Salesforce can move the needle towards popularizing connected devices and integrating them into the larger sales and marketing suite, would it be too bold to say that could change the world even more than the move to cloud computing has?  At some point there’s no sense comparing, but the potential impact here certainly seems comparable.  Moving computing into the cloud vs the instrumentation of the physical world?  What have you got to match that, Google Self-Driving Cars?

 

 

 

 

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7 Ways Heinz Marketing Uses Little Bird Every Week!

The following is a guest post crafted by Matt Heinz, Founder and President of Heinz Marketing (in the great state of Washington). Matt is a Little Bird customer and continues to be one of our biggest advocates. His insights help us learn things about our product and social media marketing every day. Find him on Twitter at: @HeinzMarketing

How Matt Heinz Uses Little Bird

Months after I first started using Little Bird, my man-crush continues. Little Bird is still one of the top three social marketing tools I use on a regular basis, and I’m surprised when I occasionally hear people question the value of this tool, especially after reviewing an initial set of reports. I use Little Bird on a weekly basis. Here’s how I use it, and why.

New Reports

I create new reports on a weekly basis. Yes, there are the fundamental reports I built in the first couple days, but there are new topics I regularly explore to discover additional influencers. I choose these report topics based on a number of inputs; campaigns other marketing vendors are running, new buzzwords that are emerging or becoming prominent, real-time events and hot topics in the news, etc. Reviewing various reports around similar topics will provide plenty of overlap between lists, but it’s really valuable to know which influencers are higher ranked for particular topics. It’s a great way to engage them and get their response on a topic they are particularly passionate about.

Update Reports

Say you ran a report on Social Selling six months ago, for example. It’s highly likely that the list of influencers from that report has changed significantly since creating that report. People move up, people move down, new influencers join the list. For the topics you care about most, especially those topics that are really relevant in the social sphere now, the lists of influencers can change often. The more you’re up to speed on those changes, the more likely you’re reaching and influencing the influencers themselves. (Note that there ARE dynamic parts of a report on Little Bird, like the Share & Engage feature, which updates the Hot News of a given report in real time, highlighted below!)

Social Selling screen shot Matt Heinz

Events & Conferences

I can’t tell you how often I’ve run a report for a specific conference (for ourselves or one of our clients) a few weeks in advance, and then used that list to generate significant pre-show buzz, news coverage, at-show meetings, etc. Then, after the show, I run the report again to see how the list has changed based on who was particularly active and/or influential at the show itself.  This is a great way to surround and build value with the event’s related influencers, and significantly increase your event ROI with little added cost (in the form of human capital).

Using Hashtags on Twitter to Inform Your Reports

Paying attention to trending hashtags makes for a good source to leverage on a regular basis. Some hashtags are tied to events, but others emerge as themes or memes in a particular industry. For example, Lattice Engines recently launched a highly-effective campaign focused on celebrating “Marketing Nerds,” those who thrive on analytics and data to increase marketing performance. As part of the campaign, they launched and saw a ton of activity using the #mktgnerd hashtag. You can use tools such as Tweepi to get a roster of those participating in the hashtag, but if you want a (socially) ranked list of the most important and influential people using #mktgnerd, use Little Bird.

Engage with Influencers NOT Following You

One of my favorite features in Little Bird (and there are many) is the ability to view the list of Insiders through different lenses. One lens in particular shows you who among that report is following you, and another lens that easily shows you who is NOT following you. This insight is easily gained by using the Discover Connections tool within every report. You can not only discover who is and who is NOT following you, but you can use any Twitter handle to see how your various brands and others are connected to a particular online community. As a brand, you’ll likely want to engage all of the top Insiders on a report, but you’ll want to apply extra attention to those not yet following you (in which case you might not even be on their radar).  Also, if someone at your company is themselves an influencer for a particular category, engaging more of the Insiders not following you will increase your own “insider score” and rankings on the list.

Aggregated Content Feeds

One of the best ways to get an influencer’s attention is to promote their content. For each topic that you run a report on, Little Bird gives you a filtered feed of the content being produced by the Insiders identified from that report.  This alone might be worth the cost of the product, as the stream of content you see is not only a great way to engage the influencers, but feed your own content channels and curation efforts with regular, amazing content from those who know each topic best.

What Are Experts Saying About a Topic (or, Little Bird as a search engine)

I also use Little Bird as a search engine specifically filtered for the most important influencers on a topic.  Within a particular subject area, you can enter a keyword or phrase and get results specifically based on what that subject’s influencers have said or published previously.  This is hugely valuable for accelerating your own “competitive intelligence,” finding new content for curation, being a source of valuable information by answering questions for your own customers, and more.

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Thanks to Matt Heinz of Heinz Marketing for this post. Matt is not paid to say these things. Rather, he pays us as a customer and for that, we are grateful!
— The Little Birds

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