Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Welcoming MedCity Capsules and what it means for you

This is with great pleasure that I am announcing that the Spoke Intelligence Network has a new member. As of today, MedCity News is launching MedCity Capsules, the first Healthcare Business Intelligence Website powered by the Spoke Intelligence Network technology and content.

 We are very proud to partner with MedCity News as MedCity News is one of the most (if not the most) thoughtful and interesting blogs in the Healthcare Industry. Entrepreneurial at its core with a great leader at its helm, MedCity News is the type of companies we strive to partner with. MedCityNews is also very complementary to VentureBeat in term of Industy and Geographical coverage. It covers the Healthcare Industry in depth and given its location, it has a strong following in the MidWest and the East Coast.

 This partnership has several dimensions:
1) As already mentioned, MedCity News is launching MedCity Capsules, a website dedicated to Healthcare Business Intelligence based on the Spoke Intelligence Network content and Technology;
2) MedCity News will actively promote MedCity Capsules to its community and will link their articles to our content;
3) MedCity News will start populating the Spoke Intelligence Network automatically with their thoughtful content
4) MedCity News is contributing content beyond news by creating lists and Industry Trackers for the Healthcare Industry. Of course those lists and industry trackers will be available on all sites of Spoke Intelligence Network;
5) Lastly, MedCity Capsules will promote the lists created in the other part of the network as well.

 For the Spoke Intel community, this is the best of both worlds as you get more content and more reach without any work. If you have content on one of our existing sites, this content will now reach more and different type of users through MedCity Capsules. And it is not going to be another site to maintain either, as the content you have created on one site will automatically update the others. Same if you are monitoring your pages or lists of pages on one of the SpokeIntel sites, any time that there are updates from any other sites, you will be alerted as well directly within the site you are a part of.

 For Spoke Software, this is of course a major evolution, as MedCity Capsules will cover HealtchcareIT, Medical Devices and Biotechnology. With VB Profiles, Spoke Intel and MedCity Capsules, we are now covering 5 of the 6 most important verticals in term of Business Intelligence and now addressing a potential market of more than 100,000 companies.

 We look forward to hearing from you….

Monday, August 19, 2013

Real Estate Professionals Need a Solid Foundation Online

Real Estate And Marketing
Realtors and brokers have a long-standing relationship with brand marketing, both at the company and personal levels.  They were early adopters when things began to move online, and today's consumers know they can just as easily find realtors on Google or Yelp as they can by driving past park benches and for-sale signs.  However online, the velocity of change continues to increase, as new tools are being released that provide a richer and far more functional experience to the consumer; and those realtors who take advantage stand the best chance to thrive.

Let's look at 2 examples of realtors doing an excellent, and not so excellent, job of using online tools to build their reputation.  Think of Spoke.com as the scorecard by which to compare these examples, because it's a powerful place to store all the different pieces of your reputation puzzle.

A Great Example:   Danny Evatt

A quick glance around this page and it's clear that Danny knows what he's doing.  Consider the mix of tools he employs, ranging from familiar things like a website and linkedin page, to things like a trulia presence, a company blog, a facebook presence, and even an active twitter feed where he posts great pictures of his locality (nice!)  One of my favorites is a link to the Wikipedia history of his last name -- for the sheer creativity!

Danny's page is 80% complete which is quite good; though 
if we were to offer some advice, it would be (a) to include an already existing YouTube presence to the page, and (b) to take greater advantage of the 'Achievements and Recognition' section to post links to milestones and press mentions (maybe he sold a flagship property and could add a link to the successful listing; or perhaps he was mentioned in the paper, or won an award from his company or an association.)

A Not-So-Great Example:  Jesse Continental
Unfortunately, this is a much more common story.  An office or realtor will begin to work on their online reputation, but stop before they have a chance to realize the huge potential upside.  30 seconds on this page is illustrative that Jesse has lots of real-world experience and understands his market niche, but that's where it stops.  With only a 40% completion rating on Spoke--by posting a name, summary, industry, website and (discontinued) facebook link, Jesse is leaving real value on the table!  He could invest a very minimal amount of time to learn and deploy industry-specific tools lik trulia.comzillow.com, and even the more general yelp.com.  If you're in the real estate business, make sure you understand these at the very least.

Final Thoughts
There are two important takeaways from this analysis.  First, remember that each outside presence and link that you add to your Spoke page represents a unique channel to attract new clients, and impress existing ones.  For example, many realty offices are great sources of local market news and conditions.  Have you written articles or blog posts?  Add a quick link to the notable links section of your Spoke page.

And secondly, think about the broader implications of having a rich and varied reputation on the internet:  Danny is clearly a quick-study when it comes to learning and taking advantage of new tools and technology; and when you look at all of these on something like his Spoke page, it can send powerful subconcsious signals that he has the creativity and tenacity to represent a client extremely well.  So push yourself to new levels this year, because more and more people rely on these channels everyday for increasingly important information (like finding a real estate agent.)  

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Verdict: Lawyers need help with Online Reputation

Legal Reputation Building 101

Let's jump right in and look at 2 examples of firms doing an excellent, and not so excellent, job of reputation building.  Think of Spoke.com as the scorecard by which to compare these examples, because it's simply a place to store all the different pieces of the reputation puzzle.

A Great Example:  Douglas J. Smith Law Office
30 seconds on this page is all it takes to see the variety of reputation tools at legal firms' disposal.  Mr. Smith's page has a 90% completion rating thanks to presence of a website, a blog, a facebook and twitter presence, and he has even produced a few YouTube videos.  Now, none of these is overly difficult to establish, and they all represent unique channels to attract new clients or impress existing ones.  He has also used the 'Notable Links' section to link to his other web-presences:  merchant circle, insiderpages, yahoo local, etc; though if we were to offer some advice, it would be to take advantage of the 'Achievements and Recognition' section to post links to major milestones or press mentions (maybe Mr. Smith won a major case, or won an award within his industry circle, or was mentioned in a local news outlet -- those kinds of things)

A Not-So-Great Example:  Offices of Johnny Law
Unfortunately, this is a much more common story.  A law office will begin to work on their online reputation, but stop before they have a chance to realize the huge potential upside.  30 seconds on this page is illustrative that Johnny Law has a great niche to share with the internet audience, however has only taken enough digital strides to reach a 15% completion rating on Spoke--by posting a name, summary, address, and phone number.  This may have been valuable information in 1995, but today it's not even enough to be taken seriously, we hope that they just haven't updated their Spoke page lately.

Now to clarify, we're not saying that everyone needs to have a universal internet presence.  Our view is simply that it's important to push yourself to new levels in the year 2013, because more and more people rely on these channels everyday for increasingly important information (like finding a lawyer.)  Even if you don't have a website, get creative!  I'd be willing to bet that clients have left reviews on Yelp about your office -- and you could post that link to your 'Notable Links,' or make it your 'website!'  You could even use your avvo.com page.  (Oh, if you haven't heard of Yelp or Avvo, go check them out this second, they're critical to your firm.)

So go experiment with these important digital tools, and send us messages on twitter or facebook when you do!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Understanding Digital Reputation

Though people are spending more time on Social Networks such as Facebook or LinkedIn, the web is still the main place where people search for information.

Digital Reputation Management requires understanding what tools and services are available to monitor your personal online brand and promote the good content that shapes your identity.
What is Digital Reputation

Wikipedia describes Reputation as a commonly-held opinion, or a social evaluation based on a set of criteria. It is important in business, education, online communities and many other fields.  Online, information is being published all the time: by us on our social profiles, by others on blogs or their social profiles, and by professionals on news sites and across the internet as a whole. 

 Our digital reputation is being shaped as much by us as by other people; and as a result, checking frequently what is available online and making sure that the good content appears first is important for somebody conscious about their personal brand.

Simplified, Digital Reputation Management involves both a discovery element, and a curation element.

To learn more, check out the Reputation Management topic page on spoke.com to dive in!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Reputation Management Lesson 1: The Professional Picture

When it comes to online reputation, no matter the medium, you'll often be leading with some kind of profile image or logo; yet this is often one of easiest aspects to overlook--to just grab something off of your desktop and think "I'll get a better one later."

No more! Spoke wants to put you on the offensive. Whether you already have Spoke pages built with images, or you haven't added your page yet (by using the big Orange "Add Page" button on spoke.com.)

Selecting the right image (for a person or company page,) is all about 3 things:

1. What level of professionalism are you trying to convey?

This seems like a no-brainer, but in reality, people often don't take that extra minute to really question what their current image says about them as a professional. Are you an undefeated trial lawyer? A no-nonsense corporate accountant? Chances are you're professional persona will benefit greater from a serious portrait in a business suit, while someone in the marketing/creative or service industry will want to find ways to inject a bit of warmth or even quirkiness.

2. Is there a uniqueness or special sauce

Think about how you can personify your competitive advantage, as a person or as a company. One of the best examples of this is Apple. Their guiding principle in hardware and software design is simplicity--design so complex and so intuitive, that the end result is something simple and beautiful. And their entire corporate brand could not be better suited: a beautiful neutral-colored apple. No fireworks, no flashy colors, no crazy fonts, etc; just an elegant piece of fruit.

3. Technical attributes: dimensions, good focal point, and color contrast

Think of these as things to check off, once you've selected an image. Does your image fit the dimension requirements for the location you are posting it? Some websites will want your image to be a perfect square (such as Spoke,) while others allow for elongated images in either orientation. Next, is the most important part of your image the sole focus of it? Don't use a busy image for a professional application--either your logo or your face should be front and center. And finally, does that focul point blend into the background of the image or the webpage itself; or rather, do the colors pop out and draw the eye?

Give yourself and your company a quick visual audit. A great way to start is by visiting your Spoke pages and applying these criteria, or creating new ones.

And Look for more lessons in Reputation Management in the coming weeks!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Spoke Users Take Advantage Of Big Offer

Two weeks ago, we presented our Spoke users with a special offer: to update or build their page for them, to tell their story and serve as the cornerstone of a rich online presence. And the response was impressive! Many asked us to update company and person pages that were already started; but some even had us create brand new pages!

Here are examples from some great new company pages:
Commonwealth Capital Advisors received a new company page that opens with a nice mix of profile data

We also pulled in their video presence

Himalayan Glacier Trekking has an extensive social media presence, which was well highlighted on their new company page

And Puritan Automation received a diverse set of links 
to display information about their company as well as 
technology they use to create a competitive advantage

And in taking advantage of this offer, not only did these users get a free content, but we provided custom advice to each on how they could take their digital reputation to the next level.

For a taste of that insight, see a guest blog post by Rebecca Haden (an expert in digital reputation, and prominent Spoke member.)

Look for similar promotions in the future, and in the meantime, start your own page on Spoke -- it's an opportunity to tell your unique story that only takes a few minutes.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Unlock The Power Of Lists

Ever get the feeling you spend far too much time reading news? Or even worse, that no matter how much reading you do, you'll never catch all of the important market intelligence happening every day. We know the feeling, and we built a solution!

We're flipping the flow of news on it's head, and in case you haven't had a chance to try it yet, go create a list on spoke.com. By following very specific companies, people, and topics, you can simply sit back and let us watch everything for you. And we'll simply deliver the important stuff to your inbox -- daily or weekly -- laser focused on just the information you really want!

How To Quickly Get Started
Visit spoke.com, find the pages you are interested in, and click "Follow" on each. At this point you can create lists, and organize pages for more efficient news consumption. Perhaps you want to follow all of your competitors, clients, or sales leads -- you can do this in minutes and then sit back while we feed you all of the valuable information happening to those pages.

Want a visual example of how to do this? Here's a brief instructional video.

We want you to spend less time becoming more informed than ever!