Archive for the ‘Jon Stokes’ Category.

Adzuna: Using your Facebook and LinkedIn contacts for job hunting

Logo for job search engine AdzunaToday saw the launch of a new job search engine Adzuna, which integrates Facebook and LinkedIn contacts to help job hunters get ahead of the competition.

Adzuna works by aggregating existing job postings from sites such as Monster, TotalJobs and LinkedIn, which in itself is a great time-saver for job hunters.

Where Adzuna really shines though is by “connecting” your LinkedIn and Facebook contacts, helping you get the most from your friends and connections on both social networks.

So how does it work?

Once you have shared your contact details, the search engine pulls up any of your contacts who work at companies which have vacancies on the Adzuna database. You can send a message directly from within Adzuna to your connection, with a link to the job details, and get the ball rolling from there.

It’s quite unobtrusive and you don’t have to create a new social network, unlike on  BranchOut and BeKnown, the other job hunting and professional networking tools on the market at the moment.  In fact the only time you need to contact your friend through Adzuna is to make them aware of your intention to pursue a job once you’ve found something that you’re really interested in.

We spoke to Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna and formerly of Qype and Gumtree, to learn some more about the social integration:

Could you tell us a bit about how and why you decided to develop Adzuna Connect in the way you have?

We want to make the job search experience much, much better.  Social is a key part of that and we believe a social layer gives job seekers a distinct advantage in the market. Understanding where you can get a quick intro through a friend to an employer or even get the low down on what it’s really like to work at a company is incredibly valuable job seekers – we want to make this a seamless part of our search.

Currently Adzuna seems to be geared primarily for job hunters. Do you have plans to offer services for recruiters to help them search for candidates?

Not for the time being. In the short run, we want to focus our efforts on building the best possible search experience for job hunters. Recruiters will benefit naturally from the traffic we refer to them immediately and in the future we will provide services to allow them to showcase their vacancies to a wider audience. For now though, it’s all about the job seekers.

Currently the LinkedIn jobs are just for your first-degree connections - are there plans to have the option for broader searches?

Absolutely. Watch this space, as what you can see now is only a beta version.  We see huge value in being able to leverage your friends’ networks as well as your own to find the perfect job.

You have stated that the job ads are just the beginning, and that you intend for Adzuna to serve property and car classifieds too. How will Adzuna manage social search for these listings?

There will be obvious differences and we’re keen to only make social connections where users find the connection / information genuinely useful. There’s no point in ‘doing social’ for the sake of being cool. So to take property as an example, users looking for a house in a new area might be interested in which of their friends live in the local area and what people on twitter say about it. We hope to fold relevant social signals like this into all of our verticals to ensure the best possible search experience.

Finally, is there anything else you would like to add about Adzuna?

For those of your readers who are wondering where the name “Adzuna” comes from, “Zuna” means “abundance” in a number of African languages. We aim to be the most abundant classified ads site on the the web, and to bring you the best ads sooner than anyone else. Hence the name Ad-zuna.

Oh, and make sure you try the connect feature here – http://jobs.adzuna.co.uk/connect.html

Adzuna is currently in beta and already has over  300,000 live UK job vacancies listed. We’re looking forward to seeing how it develops.

When social media impacts search – 3 areas to think about

Search button - now more social and influenced by word of mouthToday I attended an event hosted by WOMMA UK which covered the ways that word of mouth is impacting search and looked at how search and social media are overlapping more and more.

Search and social are becoming increasingly intertwined, especially with the arrival of Google+, a clear indication of the search giant’s intention to further develop and improve the social nature of search results.

There are several important areas brands should consider when thinking about how word of mouth affects their performance on search engines. Here are three areas that brands should keep in mind when looking at their social and search strategies:

1. Word of mouth drives search traffic - be ready

  • People that “hear” about your brand (online, face to face, or otherwise) will want to search for you, for convenience, for education and for learning about new opinions. This means you need to cater for all the various different ways people will search for your brand and cover all the possibilities that  misspellings or misperceptions may cause.
  • “Reviews” is a very popular search term, so hosting these on your own site is a great way to generate authenticity and long-tail search terms.

2. Social and your online reputation

  • Consider the implications for reputation management. Is “scam” a prominent result on the suggestions for your brand in Google? Nobody wants to see that, but instead of covering it up, ask yourself why this is such a dominant sentiment. Maybe there is a miscommunication and customers are not fully informed as to what your provide? Treat this as an opportunity to intercede and communicate.
  • You can be proactive by using third party sites such as Yahoo! Answers, which generally ranks well and gives you a neutral platform to respond to negative sentiment.

3. Conversions and social media

  • Retailers – price is no longer a USP. Your customers will be seeking deep content, such as user reviews and friend’s recommendations. It is important for users to trust your site, or they will go elsewhere to research and/or purchase.
  • Remember that peoples’ decision making can be rational, but is predominantly emotional. Having social recommendations appear in search results and on page will appease the latter.

SoDash: bringing artificial intelligence to social media monitoring

Screenshot of SoDash - social media monitoring tool with artificial intelligenceKeeping track of discussions surrounding your brand or competitors is crucial for successful social media monitoring and listening. One challenge is the sheer range and volume of conversations that take place online, and determining what to do with them.

Sentiment analysis is a difficult task to automate as irony and sarcasm can generate false results, affecting accuracy. Being able to identify what action a posting needs, if any, is also difficult, as spam or bot messages might drown out genuine users.

We spoke to Simon Campbell about the exciting approach SoDash has taken to social media monitoring. SoDash uses artificial intelligence which means the tool can be “trained” into determining the sentiment and category of a social media posting. This advanced approach to social media monitoring can potentially result in greater effectiveness at gathering intelligence from online conversations, and reacting to them appropriately.

What do you feel is the most accurate definition of a social media management tool?
I think the key is how you define “management”. There are a lot of social media monitoring and reporting tools, but I think the real value comes from engagement, which is something the traditional offerings in the market do quite poorly. I think the most accurate definition for the perfect social media management tool would be: A tool that helps you “monitor”, “filter”, “engage with” and “report on” social media in the most efficient way by automatically identifying opportunities and reducing workload through improved workflow.

Why do you think they are valuable to brands or businesses (ie, time savers etc)?

Tools by definition are there to make life easier and the good ones will cleverly filter all of the noise out there in social media, deliver just the relevant messages and provide a much improved work flow so that social media can be managed with minimal resource and maximum efficiency. Businesses need to be able to simply monitor and engage with their customers and prospects within social media as this represents how their brand is viewed and can relate directly to the bottom line.

What do you think is the most accurate way of tracking social media activity without using a tool?

It is a fairly laborious task without using any tools at all as it involved creating individual searches in things like Twitter and manually monitoring them, and setting up Google Alerts for numerous phrases and again, manually checking them all in the different places. There are some free tools that go some of the way to help monitor (such as TweetDeck) but they still rely on someone sitting in front of it all the time and it does not do anything especially clever except for pulling in the information to one place.

Explain how SoDash works and why it is an effective tool for social media management.

SoDash is a social media dashboard for brands and organisations to monitor and interact with the market. The reason it is unique owes to its artificial intelligence algorithms that learn what is important to your business through tagging. Once trained, it will automatically tag messages that are sales leads, positive or negative comments about your brand or competitors, deliver market information, ghost write and send responses and much more. Whilst some tools out there are good for monitoring social media, SoDash enables you to take control of social media and make it work for you with minimal resources.

What platforms does SoDash cover?

SoDash currently covers Twitter and Facebook with full monitoring of blogs, forums, YouTube, LinkedIn and others coming in September. We can currently also link to any specific source if requested. It is important to understand about engagement in the different platforms. Twitter is by far the most engaging, as it is an open platform. Facebook is great if you have a page with lots of fans that you need to manage but you cannot access and engage with private profiles.

How are you different from other social media management tools on the market?

SoDash is unique because it has in-built artificial intelligence which enables it to be trained to filter, recognise and tag messages based upon the criteria that is important to your business. Due to the artificial intelligence algorithms, it is also much more accurate when looking at things like sentiment analysis as again it is trained in relation to all aspects of the messages, including the structure, punctuation and person messaging, not just positive or negative words as with other tools. Essentially, other tools on the market have been developed to focus on monitoring whereas SoDash is built for engagement with monitoring as a given.

Who do you see as your main competitors?

Companies that use SoDash might also look at Radian6 or CoTweet. Both were built initially with monitoring and reporting in mind and, as with other tools on the market, they do not incorporate artificial intelligence so are reliant on manual filtering and responses. We have come across agencies who might continue to use something like Radian6 alongside SoDash although SoDash will soon be able to offer the full breadth of monitoring and reporting to cover all angles. Another of the features that customers are highlighting as a strong aspect of SoDash in comparison to other tools is the ease of use.

What sort of future developments can we expect to see from SoDash?

With the core functionality in place, the SoDash roadmap now focuses upon bringing on more channels/platforms and the automation of more specific reporting, especially to cover internal factors such as response times to messages (all of which can be provided now if requested). There are also some really cool advances that no one else has on the radar right now, but you will have to wait to see those!

Professional social networks: 2 Facebook apps that challenge LinkedIn

When it comes to using professional social networks, LinkedIn has long been the original and specialist network. Hot on LinkedIn’s heels are two Facebook apps which aim to take advantage of Facebook’s vast user base. Are these apps a sign of the future of professional networking, or should we continue to keep our personal and professional personas separated?

Both of these apps do stress that they allow you complete separation between your ‘regular’, social Facebook presence, and your professional one. They effectively allow you to create a new profile page, and build a separate network that will never see personal material such as your wall and tagged photos. What else do they offer?

BranchOut professional networking logoBranchOut

BranchOut has been on the scene since July 2010, but has recently gained remarkable growth and increased user activity. The app is arguably very self promoting, verging on the side of spam (see this post for a breakdown of its viral techniques) and having tested it myself I was disappointed to see that the default choice for inviting friends was to post on their wall rather than sending a private invitation as a message.

BranchOut aims to gamify professional networking by using badges as incentives for growing your network. The danger in this is that it will perhaps motivate some people to focus on the the volume of their network rather than the quality ot it. It’s also possible to gift badges to other users, making recommendations and endorsements too easy can perhaps diminishing their value.

Monster.com professional networking Facebook app BeKnown logoBeKnown

Recently launched by job-hunting site Monster.com, BeKnown offers a very similar approach to BranchOut, offering a partition between your professional and social spheres.

BeKnown also utilities badges as an incentive for making connections as well as giving and receiving endorsements. It appears that BeKnown uses a less intrusive approach to inviting friends, and the top badge for number of connections is at 500, which places a cap similar to LinkedIn.

As it is early days for BeKnown we may have to wait and see what the uptake is like amongst users. While the link to the jobs listed on Monster.com will surely be an attractive lure to job hunters, it will be interesting to see how BeKnown handles the headstarts gained by LinkedIn and BranchOut.

Klout coupons for Facebook – will it work?

Audi Facebook content available with Klout score

Score!

A new app for Facebook pages will take a user’s Klout score into account before giving them access to certain content.

While exclusivity is great for generating publicity, could this tool risk leaving some legitimate fans feeling snubbed?

Klout measures activity and influence across Twitter and Facebook, using 25+ metrics, and calculates an overall score on a scale of 1-100. The idea behind the Facebook app is that brands can then offer exclusive content, deals and discounts to users who meet a certain influence threshold. Theoretically, this “gating” should reward and capture the attention of social media users who are more likely to share their experience with their audience.

Audi is the first brand to use the technology, and the first “perk” available is a desktop wallpaper - a relatively minor prize but certainly a gesture that I’m sure Audi fans will appreciate.

Klout, like other influence measurement tools, does have some drawbacks - if you’re not satisfied with your rating you can “game” your way to a higher score  so the accuracy of the number may not really reveal much about how much influence a user genuinely has.

Another difficulty is that the quality and areas of interest for your audience are not indicated. Using Audi as an example, even though I have a score of 38, my involvement with automotive discussions and communities is very low and there are equally likely to be petrolhead types who may already be Facebook fans of Audi but don’t have enough of a social network to be considered worthy of additional content, even if they post in specialist car forums.

As a gatekeeper, using Klout risks letting in the wrong kinds of fans, or worse - it could alienate genuine ones. I’m of the opinion that while rewarding loyal and influential social media users will clearly have benefits for word of mouth, tools such as Klout and others may need to become more refined.

That said, maintaining a user’s interest and engagement requires something in return for their time, so I really do appreciate the direction that this is taking. Brands should always be thinking about what they can offer their fans, friends and followers in return for their interest.