Harvard Business Review Social Media Blogger & VP Social Media, Vision Critical
Alexandra Samuel is VP Social at Vancouver-based research and tech company Vision Critical, where she leads projects such as From Social to Sale, a recent groundbreaking study of the online buying habits of 80,000 social media users. She commands the company’s efforts at integrating social media into the development of customer intelligence and works with top brands to provide and interpret data that increase business success. She is the author of Work Smarter with Social Media, a series of practical books from Harvard Business Review Press that offer guidance on how to make effective use of social tools like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Evernote. Formerly the director of the Social + Interactive Media Centre at Emily Carr University, Samuel also co-founded Social Signal, one of the world's first social media agencies. A regular blogger for the Harvard Business Review, she has also been a regular contributor to publications like the Wall Street Journal, TheAtlantic.com and Oprah.com.
What Big Data Can't Tell You
Organizations have embraced the analytic power of big data, drawing from large datasets extracted from the digital footprints of citizens and consumers. But this quick embrace has led to organizations overlooking—or, worse, even obscuring—crucial aspects of consumer behaviour and attitudes. In this talk, Alexandra Samuel illustrates the limitations of big data by taking a second look at one of the most compelling forms of data to emerge in recent years: social media analytics. Drawing on her groundbreaking work at research tech leader Vision Critical, Samuel shows how the combination of social media and survey data challenges the conventional wisdom on what social media analytics can tell you, and offers a new framework for thinking about what questions big data can and can't answer.
From Social to Sale: How Social Media Drives Purchasing
Today's social media users love to tweet about the latest gadget, Facebook the deals they've turned up, and use Pinterest to catalog the design objects they're lusting after. But how does all that social media activity translate into actual purchasing? In this data-driven talk, Alexandra Samuel shares the results of a ground-breaking study that shows how social media users go from pinning, Facebook, or tweeting to online or in-store buying. As featured in the Harvard Business Review, this research provides unprecedented insight into key factors like the way consumers say social sharing influences their purchase decisions, the length of time between sharing and purchase, and where social networks diverge in how they drive spending. These insights come from a series of seven surveys conducted over 18 months, including a study of 80,000 social media users (the world's largest to date.) Drawing on her own experience as a social media marketer, Samuel shows you how these insights can drive your own social media strategies and increase the ROI on your marketing efforts.
Telling Stories with Data
The advent of big data has challenged organizations to gather and analyze tremendous volumes of data on the people and communities they serve, as well as on the members and donors that support that work. But whether we’re dealing with big data or “little data”—smaller, more manageable datasets that can nonetheless provide deep insight—we need to develop the capacity to not only understand and learn from it, but to tell effective stories with it. In this talk, Alexandra Samuel will help you work more effectively with data in your organization by mapping out the steps to developing an effecting data strategy. We’ll look at what data you need to gather, and which competencies you’ll need on your team in order to read and understand the data you collect. We’ll examine the opportunities to turn that data into compelling content that builds your audience and tells your story. Finally, we’ll look at what’s at stake for your organization and your industry as a whole.
Sharing is the New Buying: Profiting from the Collaborative Economy
As more and more sharing startups like Airbnb, Etsy and Kickstarter crowd into the space of the collaborative economy, big brands are starting to get in on the action, too. Staples sells products developed on Quirky; Avis has acquired Zipcar; Walgreens has partnered with TaskRabbit for delivery. And those ventures are likely to be just the beginning, given how many people are already participating in the collaborative economy, and how much that’s likely to grow. In this talk, Alexandra Samuel draws on her groundbreaking report conducted by Vision Critical and Jeremiah Owyang's Crowd Companies, Sharing is the New Buying. Based on data from more than 90,000 people in three countries, it's the first study that shows who is sharing and why—and what brands can do to join in this disruption of traditional business models and revenue streams. Engaging with this nascent market must go beyond latching onto a few hot sharing startups by buying them or partnering with them. Established companies must grasp the core drivers behind this new economy—units used instead of units sold; less consuming, more producing; less full-time employment, more freelancing; less regulation, more risk—and understand how those drivers fit into their already established models. Only then will they be able to address, and accelerate to meet, the competitive pressures of the collaborative economy.
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