Archive for August, 2012

Michael Westgate of Microsoft: Leveraging Participatory Marketing

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Social media has opened up many new marketing doors and along with it, new marketing perspectives. Michael Westgate, Sr. Marketing Manager and Social Media Lead at Microsoft, joins Brent Leary to discuss a concept he calls participatory marketing.  Tune in as Michael discusses how to best leverage social media using this concept.

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Michael Westgate of MicrosoftSmall Business Trends: Can you tell us a little bit about your background?

Michael Westgate: I’m part of the small and mid-sized business organization and I manage our customer acquisition efforts, which includes social media and digital media.

Small Business Trends: Can you tell us what behavioral marketing is and how social and mobile has impacted that area?

Michael Westgate: I don’t think behavioral marketing necessarily is a new term, but maybe a more relevant term for the social media space would be participatory marketing.

How do we not only engage audiences, but allow them to share news, reviews, attitudes and ideas about products and services? How do we get them engaged in not only conversations with us, but activities that might be a value-add. That’s what I’m referring to with regards to behavioral.

Small Business Trends: Are we getting to the point where companies look for how social media is translating into long term advocacy from customers as opposed to how many followers they have, etc.?

Michael Westgate: We think about social media and how we can attribute different actions back to either “likes” or engagements. We are looking at easier ways to track things such as “likes.”  We’re also trying to dive a bit deeper and segment how different engagements look.

What types of users are engaging? Who is more active? Who might be advocates?

Small Business Trends: What are some of the things Microsoft is doing?

Michael Westgate: Microsoft might be unique in this as we do have a social presence for a lot of different products.  I’m in an audience team. So, Microsoft’s SMB team has social profiles on Twitter and Facebook.  We also have a YouTube channel because we believe that is where our community, our target audience, resides and shares ideas.

There’s enough proliferation in Facebook and Twitter, where we don’t need multiple accounts. But if they’re serving a distinct purpose, for instance, specific to Microsoft for small and medium business, it makes sense to have conversations there.  Because we find a lot of small businesses are looking for ideas on technology, listening to thought leaders, following particular conversations and hash tags.  To understand what is the latest and greatest in productivity, networking, and so forth for their business.

Small Business Trends: How do you measure if you are hitting the mark?  If you are using the right channel?  Or if you’re using the right kind of content?

Michael Westgate: What we’re trying to understand best is not only how can we use the right property, but what is the right way to measure that property? We feel if we have been able to develop a dialogue and solve a customer service issue, answer a product question, or maybe even connect a customer to a local partner that needs technology support and deployment and services, those are the metrics that we’re most interested in.

It’s an amplification of the rest of our marketing efforts really. To once again engage that customer make sure we’re meeting their needs no matter where they find us. If they found us on our website or if they happen to come across us in Facebook, it’s a consistent experience.  They’re able to either connect to a partner or find answers to the questions that they have.

Small Business Trends: How would you recommend a new company try to figure out how to leverage social media to engage their audience?

Michael Westgate: The most important thing is to identify who your target is and then ask yourself, “Where do they go for information, and reviews, and ideas?” If you can identify in the social space that there are specific locations, conversations and groups, go and participate there.

I think that’s a great place to start, whether it’s Facebook or it’s a LinkedIn group. If you’re continually delivering value and creating a strong network with engagement and response, and you’re human and relevant, then your community will build in size.  You can continue to liberate even more value there.

We sponsored a service called Brandify.com.  It’s basically a free online tool for small businesses to understand their Web presence and search ability, their social media foot print. It will find your Facebook page or your Twitter location. It’ll find your Bing local ad business listing and then tell you, based on search engine optimization principles, this is how searchable you are in this category. Here are the sites you have. Here’s your score today. Here’s some very easy steps to how you might improve it.

It’s for those of us with small businesses that are just getting into the game and really want to understand how better to market in the modern age of social media.

Small Business Trends: Klout has recently updated their formula. What role do they play?

Michael Westgate: I think it depends on how Klout scores are viewed. They could be very helpful to a business.  Because it takes you one step deeper into not only understanding how many in aggregate followers you might have, Facebook likes for instance.  But what are the network effects of those particular users? Especially those that are taking action. I also have heard detraction as well.

I heard that in London, Big Ben has a Klout profile and a score higher than everybody else. Because every time you log in, it tweets a tweet giving the time. A lot of people share that and the Klout score is through the roof.

So you have to ask questions and understand, “Now what is this metric?  Is it most relevant to what I’m trying to measure here?”

Small Business Trends: Where can people lean more?

Michael Westgate: Go to Microsoft for SMB on Facebook or on Twitter @MicrosoftSMB.

This interview is part of our One on One series of conversations with some of the most thought-provoking entrepreneurs, authors and experts in business today. This interview has been edited for publication. To hear audio of the full interview, click the right arrow on the gray player below. You can also see more interviews in our interview series.

Whether you’re growing your business or starting a new venture, BlackBerry solutions provide you with the freedom you want and the control you need. [Series sponsor]

From Small Business Trends

Michael Westgate of Microsoft: Leveraging Participatory Marketing

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It’s Official: Berbatov Joins Fulham

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Fulham has announced the signing of Dimitar Berbatov from Manchester United on a two-year deal for an undisclosed fee.

The 31-year-old forward moved from Bayer Leverkusen in 2006 when he signed for Tottenham Hotspur, managed at the time by Martin Jol, Fulham’s official website has reminded. In two seasons at White Hart Lane he made 102 appearances and scored 46 goals in all competitions.

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Berbatov Called Up for National Team, Coach Says

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Dimitar Berbatov has been called up for Bulgaria’s national team, Bulgaria coach Lyuboslav Penev has confirmed.

Penev has sent a call-up to Berbatov to play for Bulgaria in the World Cup qualifiers against Italy and Armenia on September 7 and September 11, it was reported earlier on Friday.

“That’s true, a call-up has been sent….

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Turkish Travelers Congest Bulgarian-Serbian Border Crossing

Friday, August 31st, 2012

A large number of travelers from Turkey have congested the traffic at the largest Bulgarian-Serbian border crossing – Kalotina / Gradina, the Bulgarian Border Police announced.

“The traffic through the Kalotina border crossing point is extremely busy,” reads the statement of the Bulgarian Border Police issued Friday afternoon.

The traffic jam started at around noon, with many Turkish guest workers returning from Turkey to Western Europe, the border police say, adding that the processing of the vehicles at the Serbian border crossing Gradina is going very slowly, which slows down the letting through of the travelers on the Bulgarian side of the border.

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7.9 Magnitude Quake Jolts Philippines, Triggers Tsunami Alert

Friday, August 31st, 2012

A powerful 7.9 magnitude earthquake has struck off the coast of the Philippines, some 93 km east of the city of Sulangan, according to the US Geological Survey.

The quake was about 20 miles deep.

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Bulgarian PM Keeps Comparing Sofia Metro and Belene NPP

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov has boasted that the newly opened second line of the Sofia Metro costs about half of the money spent by Bulgaria on the unrealized project for a second nuclear power plant in Belene.

Borisov opened the second line of the Sofia Metro – built with EU funding – together with EC President Jose Manuel Barroso.

He reiterated his “apples-and-oranges” comparison of Sofia Metro and the Belene NPP project in an apparent attempt to justify his government’s decision to dump it at the end of March 2012 after years of squabbling for strategic investors.

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Bulgarian Rulers Jubilant over Sofia Metro Line Opening

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov and President Rosen Plevneliev are extremely excited over the opening of the capital Sofia’s second metro line.

The second line will have 11 stations and will connect the districts of Obelya and Lozenets. The line has a capacity of 130 000 passengers a day….

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Prices in Free Fall at Bulgaria’s Roma Bride Market Too

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Good looks and virginity may have commanded so far high prices at Bulgaria’s Roma bride market, but not any more as the crisis has pushed them further down than ever before.

The tinkers of Thrace, semi-nomadic Roma who in the early 21st century are among the few in Europe hewing to ancient ways, gathered together this August at what is known locally as the “Gypsy bride market near Bachkovski monastery.

But teenage girls in skimpy outfits and flashing gold on necks, fingers, ears and teeth were fewer, while the negotiated prices – lower than in previous years.

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Bulgarian Scientists: Beer Makes You Younger, Kills Stress

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Beer can rejuvenate the human organism and defeat stress, a team of Sofia-based scientists has stated.

However, beer should only be consumed in small quantities – up to one liter per day for men and half a liter per day for women, according to the scientists from the Bulgarian Institute of Cryobiology and Food Technology.

If consumed healthily, it can decrease the mortality rate by 10% to 20%, they believe.

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Staggering Unemployment Hits EU, Bulgaria 8th

Friday, August 31st, 2012

The Eurozone seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 11.3% in July 2012, stable compared with June, but much higher, compared to 10.1% in July 2011.

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