Help find Skie!

15 February, 2014 | Karen Snyder | No Comment

Skie is a timid black Lab who was last seen on Thursday, Feb. 20 in McLean, VA. She ran out the front door of her new owner’s home on Tuesday, Feb. 11. She is 6 years old, weighs about 50 pounds and is tall and lanky, and her tail curls (if it’s not between her legs.) She has some gray on her muzzle. Skie does not have a collar but is microchipped.

She seems to be moving west along 123 near 495.

She is friendly but very timid: please do NOT chase her, please call the number on the flyer.

If you live near RT 123, Langley, McLean WE NEED YOUR HELP. Please share this post, and share her info with your neighbors, and post on the neighborhood listserv. To volunteer in the search efforts please email info@lab-rescue.org

If you would like to help find Skie, there are a couple of ways you can help:

1. Tell your friends and family, the more people who are on the lookout for Skie the better.

2. “Like” Skie’s Facebook Page and check in for the latest updates

3. Donate! You can make a tax-deductible contribution to Lab Rescue that will help to cover our search expenses. After we bring Skie home, any remaining funds will be used to help other Lab Rescue dogs in need. You can make your contribution via: http://www.lab-rescue.org/skie

4. Download the PDF file from the link below, print on heavy paper, cut into business-sized cards and distribute in the McLean area

Click here: Skie_Cards

AND / OR

5. Download and print the Word Doc Flyer below, and post it in the Langley / McLean area.

Click here: SKIE_FLYER

Here is the map of recent Skie sightings

Don’t Just Measure, Measure *Everything*

1 February, 2013 | Karen Snyder | No Comment

OK, maybe Ivana wasn’t talking about social media metrics, but I like saying the title to this post in my best Ivana Trump accent.

Managing a large federal social media program has been a learning process. It’s all well and good to think up clever posts and tweets, monitor daily, and engage with fans. But if you can’t demonstrate the value of your program to management, then eventually nobody will see the point in keeping your program around.

There are lots of conferences and Web seminars that promise how to teach me how to demonstrate ROI to management (for a hefty price tag). I’ve been to some of these, and they’re a waste of time. There is no “one size fits all” method to metrics, it’s really all about what matters to your management.

For example, one of our clients is all about numbers, she really likes the solid quantitative metrics. Her boss is more interested in the larger buzz trends and the top influencers. And yet another program has very high visibility (and is a critical client for us.) We always need to be ready to show wins there.

So, how do we prepare for the periodic (inevitable) call to present our success? We keep track of everything. Because you never know exactly where the wins are going to show up and what trends are going to emerge. One month we might see a record number of Facebook clicks. The next month might be the biggest jump in YouTube views ever. Another month might be the highest Twitter reach…you get the idea. And those are just the quantitative metrics, there’s also the anecdotal. We constantly take screenshots of interesting user comments. Sometimes we’ll use them, sometimes we won’t, but we never know what we will be able to use.

I have a monster Google Doc spreadsheet that I keep updated every month. Some of the running metrics I tally are:

  • Number of tweets per month
  • Total reach of tweets that month
  • Average Reach Per Tweet
  • Number of Facebook Fans Talking about us this month
  • Reach of Facebook Posts this month
  • Facebook clicks
  • YouTube minutes watched
  • YouTube engagement
  • Bitly clickthroughs
  • my monster spreadsheet

    My monster social media metrics spreadsheet: it keeps growing!

    Is Twitter Finally Ready for Its Close-Up?

    3 May, 2011 | Karen Snyder | No Comment

    In this story:
    Osama Bin Laden Dead, The Story Twitter Broke we learn that the first person to break the news of Osama Bin Laden’s death was Keith Urbahn (chief of staff for the office of the former Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld). He posted it via his @KeithUrbahn Twitter feed 20 minutes before any other source confirmed the story:

    But as it turned out, Sohaib Athar, a technology manager at Really Virtual, was liveblogging the raid on Osama without realizing what was going on. Twitter was the only medium to capture the action as it was actually happening.

    And all this adds up to what Matt Rosoff describes as “Twitter having its CNN Moment” He says:

    Remember CNN when the Gulf War started in 1990? Before then, it was watched mostly by obsessive news followers — people in finance and government, political science professors, insomniacs. Then Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait and suddenly CNN was everywhere. Even in bars. That’s what’s going to happen with Twitter after tonight’s announcement that U.S. Special Forces killed Osama Bin Laden…

    But, even more importantly, when our parents ask us why Twitter is useful, we’ll now be able to point to this example. Rosoff says it beautifully: “Twitter was faster, more accurate, and more entertaining than any other news source out there.”

    Your Employees are Your Biggest Advocates

    14 February, 2010 | Karen Snyder | No Comment

    Are you still pummeling the public with your ads and messages? Have you noticed that nobody is paying attention?

    What people care about most now is what their friends and acquaintances say about your brand. So stop wasting your money on short-lived campaigns or what you hope will be the next “viral video” – even if you garner millions of views on YouTube, you’ll never see it translate into sales. As the saying goes, “Social Media is not a campaign, it’s a commitment.”

    In today’s market where you are competing for consumers’ precious attention, you need to cultivate relationships. Those relationships already exist – in your employees’ personal networks. That doesn’t mean every employee needs to blog about how much they love their work. It could be as simple as posting a job opening to their LinkedIn and Facebook Networks. That tells their friends and family “come work at Company X – we’re good people.”

    Empower your employees to talk about your brand. They’re your most powerful advocates. Authentic interactions with your employees can go a long way towards building trust in your brand. Paying an agency to Tweet or Blog or Facebook on your behalf betrays that trust.

    You have to plant the seeds now for a lush and healthy garden — and stop wasting your money on what seems like a quick and easy fix.

    But don’t just take my word for it. Gia Lyons (aka Social Media Evangelista Extraordinaire) presented this at Social Fresh:

    "Do Social Media" = "Collect Underpants"

    31 January, 2010 | Karen Snyder | 4 Comments

    The hype around social media just seems to be growing. But as the initial glow of this new medium wears off, it’s going to be up to us to prove the ROI of social media. (Thanks to Steve Mann for showing me some great case studies about smart companies who are doing it right). But the trick is finding the formula that clicks for each individual company. There is no “one size fits all**” when it comes to social media – you need to tailor the solution to your particular needs. This is not an easy task and it’s not easy to demonstrate ROI while you are formulating and executing your strategy.

    Have fortitude, my social media kindred. Refuse to let your stakeholders consider number of HITS a metric (they are “How Idiots Track Success,” according to K.D. Paine). Help them understand the real social media metrics like buzz volume, buzz sentiment and engagement (Mike Manuel, social media genius, can teach you more about metrics). But at the same time, realize that as cool as it is to show how many followers you have on Twitter, how many fans you have on Facebook, and how much buzz you’re generating, at the end of the day, the people who write your paycheck will want to see the impact to the bottom line.

    **Speaking of one size fits all…

    The daily influx of invites to Webinars and conferences promising to show me the Holy Grail of Social Media Success remind me of the South Park episode about the “Underpants Gnomes” that are stealing Tweek’s underwear. One of my favorite South Park moments is the Gnomes’ business plan:

    We all get the endless invitations to paid Webinars claiming to teach us how Social Media will make us successful. The truth they don’t want you to know is that nobody can give you the magic formula to “do social media.” STOP WASTING YOUR MONEY. You just need to figure out how to listen to what people are saying about you, and then how to join the conversation. Yes, there are lots of ways to do this, and it’s not always easy to figure out which way is the right way. It takes some time and effort. There is no quick fix or easy salvation — if anyone suggests you do a “viral video” run the other way – FAST! With all the tools and technologies out there, the task is daunting. But if you go for the quick fix, you may as well use this as your business plan:

    Capturing Leads and Tracking Conversations on Twitter

    19 July, 2009 | Karen Snyder | 2 Comments

    Here at VeriSign, we’ve proven that Twitter can be used to capture sales leads and make sales. But we are also seeing all kinds of other interactions that happen on Twitter. These include:

    • Requests for information / help with products
    • Suggestions for product features (e.g., “VIP iPhone app should work on iPod Touch!”)
    • General industry questions
    • Media inquiries and commentary
    • Customers needing some TLC
    • Interesting news articles or Tweets to share

    Getting Started

    Before you start, you’ll need to do a search on your brand to see what kind of mentions it is getting. http://search.twitter.com will find all mentions, which you may want to catalog in your own spreadsheet because it only seems to archive about a month’s worth of data. But you can still find a Tweet using more specific keywords on Google to find tweets, because, much like a diamond, a Tweet is forever! (even if you delete a Tweet from your Twitter stream, it’s going to show up on Google!)

    Tools for Tracking Conversations

    1. Bit.ly: Bit.ly can be used for shortening any URLs. You can even create custom Bit.ly Urls, but keep track of what you create because Bit.ly won’t track those for you. And beware the inflated Bit.ly stats which do not filter out hits from bots / spiders, etc. More on that here from Hutch Carpenter. And Tac Anderson is a great blogger to follow if you want to keep up on the latest cool tools – he is great filter for the (too much) information that’s out there.
    2. Tracking Codes: We use Visual Sciences on our VeriSign.com so if we append an “SL code” to a URL that we send out, and someone visits the VeriSign.com site, we know where they came from. So, the URL we send looks like this: www.verisign.com/industrybriefs?sl=12345. Using these helps us keep track of traffic that we send over from Twitter.

    Capturing Sales Leads

    Our leads from Twitter were getting lost in the Siebel Sales database becuase we had no way of tracking. The “traditional” way of capturing leads is that a prospective customer fills ut a landing page. We persuaded the Direct Marketing team that people engaging with us on Twitter are in no mind set to fill out a form if they wanted more info, and they are allowing us to fill in the form ourselves, as long as the potential customer approves it. Now that’s progress! Now all we need is our own cool little “Twitter Leads” form. I’ll keep you posted on how it’s going.

    Keeping track of Resources

    Many of the interactions I mentioned above need to be shared internally with the right people, and then communicated back out. We’re talking a serious time commitment here. But how to show the “higher ups” what resources are necessary? I’ve worked with my colleague (@AllenKelly) to come up with a system that should help us with this. More on this after we try it out for a bit.

    Reaping the Rewards of your Blogging Efforts

    6 July, 2009 | Karen Snyder | 2 Comments

    You’ve been valiantly foraging through the social media wilderness, publishing blog posts and Tweeting your heart out. Wouldn’t it be nice to see the fruits of your labor? Here are a few tools I use to track blog success. I started using these methods for our Corporate Social Media efforts but they work for personal blogs and Tweets, as well. Don’t forget: the key social media metrics are sentiment and level of engagement (e.g., number of blog post comments, trackbacks.) Or are you simply wondering “why do I need a Web site, a blog, and a Twitter account?

    Tracking “Micro-Metrics” for Blogs

    1. Feedburner allows me to see how many subscribers I have, enable blog subscription via email, and add the “share this” feature for each post. They provide a snippet of code for me to insert into the blog template, and instructions for Moveable Type and Wordpress.

    2. Google Analytics offers a myriad of data, but I usually focus on the following data points:

    • Percentage of readers arriving through search. If it’s below 30% we need to better optimize the blogs for search: I remind bloggers to focus on the keywords in the post title and body, leverage the “categories.”
    • Keywords bringing people to the blogs. This data usually provides a nice ego boost for our bloggers, since the primary keywords bringing traffic to each blog are usually the bloggers’ names. Ideally the top keywords would be industry / product terms. Or simply “VeriSign.”
    • Time spent reading posts. Less than a minute means the user found little value in the content. I like to see readers spending at least 2 minutes on each post. One blogger had readers spending about 6 minutes on each post, which I shared with all of our bloggers. Another blogger (jealously?) pointed out “his posts are really long.”
    • Referring sites. Is there some site helping you out that you did not know about? Where are users coming from? This will help you tailor your content to appeal to those folks.
    • Bounce Rate and Exit rate. A high bounce rate means the content on the page the user landed on was not interesting to them. They came, they saw, they left your domain. Conversely, the exit rate is the measure of how many people left a page, and then went elsewhere on your site – that particular page was not too exciting, but they were interested enough to look further. You should worry about a consistently high bounce rate and consider how to make that landing page a little juicer. This is why it helps to know what keywords people are searching on, and what the referring sites are. There is a nice explanation of these terms on SEOlogs.com.

    Coming soon… “Capturing Sales Leads and Tracking Conversations on Twitter”

    Making sense of the social media landscape…

    5 May, 2009 | Karen Snyder | No Comment

    In February, a friend who is an excellent personal trainer asked me how she could use social media to improve her business and attract clients. “What’s the difference between a Web site, a blog, Facebook, LinkedIN, and Twitter?” she asked me. She already had a Facebook account to connect with friends and family. I remembered an anecdote I heard at a conference, a clothing analogy for some of the social networking tools:

    LinkedIn is like your “business attire” for your professional contacts. Twitter is your “business casual” wear. For example, you can use it to make informal connections with colleagues you meet at conferences to get to know them better. And Facebook is “weekend wear” — flip flops and shorts, meant for your friends and family.

    “Well why do I need a Web page?” She asked. I had to think about this one. Did she really need to register a domain name and set up a site, with all these tools at her disposal? The answer is a definite “yes.” I judge a business by the quality of their Web site. Maybe I’m a bit of a snob, with my roots in Web content development, but I usually choose the restaurant or a hotel with a higher quality Web site unless I have a strong reason to do otherwise. I don’t think I’m alone in this. So I explained to her that as a solo practitioner, she needed to establish her professional presence with a Web site. I even suggested “TrainWithJess.com” which she loved.

    Then she asked, “why do I need a blog?” So I gave her another analogy. “Your Web site is like your office building, it’s your home base. Your blog is like the landscaping / garden out front that shows that this building is occupied and cared for.” And then, the final question:

    “Why do I need Twitter?”
    “Twitter serves as a way to meet new prospects and attract them to your manicured blog and professional Web site.”
    “Got it.”

    That was two months ago, and since then Jessica has created her own Web site, complete with a blog and Twitter feed. She even found some new communities to join, hosted on Ning. I am amazed at how much she learned on her own, and she is already attracting new clients who are finding her Web site via Twitter and Google, and complimenting her on “how professional it looks.”

    Jessica is obviously a very smart, ambitious lady, but the fact of the matter is that in a Web 2.0 world, ANYONE can self publish and have a voice on the Web. All it takes is the desire to learn and the willingness to spend some time doing it.

    Help Cookie and Coco stay Together!

    19 February, 2009 | Karen Snyder | 13 Comments

    UPDATE! It appears that Cookie and Coco are actually in CA, not in VA as I had originally thought. They have found a home TOGETHER through lab rescue. My college roommate saw my post on Facebook and gave me this info. I see on my comments from Liz that she saw the same email, but thought these dogs were in Vermont. I think we have a bit of a viral urban legend going on here — not surprising since this story touches all of us who worry about those who are suffering from the bad economy. But these dogs are for real and they have found a real home, so all doggie lovers, rejoice!

    And for you Lab lovers who are looking for a furry friend, why not check your local Lab Rescue?

    ****

    Two young adorable female labs – age 3. Well cared for. Family losing home.
    It’s a sad story that’s probably all too common these days. A Northern Virginia family is losing their home and the family dogs aren’t welcome at the new apartment.

    Already housebroken, trained, love kids, neutered, up to date on shots. Must stay together!
    Contact: Katherine at: kjmorris74[at]yahoo[dot]com

    Here is a letter from the owner:
    “As many of you know, we are moving in just 2 weeks Unfortunately, I have still not been able to find a good home for Cookie and Coco. We’re not able to take our beloved doggies with us and I’ve been desperately trying to find a home for both of them ‘together’. They were raised together and pine without each other. The Lab rescue have already said that they would probably separate them, so this is my last resort.

    Recently I tried to take Coco out in my car alone and she TOTALLY refused to even get into the car without Cookie…..!!!! She absolutely pulled back on her haunches until Cookie was by her side. Both doggies are in great health, have been spayed and have ID chips implanted under the skin.

    Cookie turned 3 December 10th and Cookie is my mellow-yellow, and just loves her tummy rubbed. Coco is adorably funny and lives for her “ball”. She also loves the water….. Cookie loves lots of attention.
    Both doggies are loyal and love to walk. They have been raised with my 3 kids running around all over the place, and have survived Sammy’s constant hugging and love of ‘dress-up’, so they are fantastic family dogs. This is by far one of the most difficult decisions I have ever had to make, but under the circumstances I have no choice.

    Please, Please forward these pics to all you know and help me find a great home for these fabulous doggies. They are just adorable and it’s heartbreaking to let them go. In a perfect world, I hope that we could find someone local so that we can still keep in touch and visit them.

    I pray that someone somewhere can help us keep Cookie and Coco together, and love them just as much as we do. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.”

    Iran: A Nation of Bloggers

    3 February, 2009 | Karen Snyder | 1 Comment

    It took something exceptional to snap me out of my several-month blogging slump. I found this on twitter from @marshallk Iran: A Nation of Bloggers a powerful 2 minute video.

    Half of Iran’s population is under 25 and they are not happy with the oppressive regime. They blog about it, most anonymously for fear of imprisonment, but some are bold enough to speak out. I did not realize that Iran is the third largest blogger nation.

    Check out this video.

    Good stuff! Let Social media bring democracy to the masses, Obama style!