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A Day in the Life of a Social Media Manager

In the BufferSocial blog, Kevan Lee posted an article for Social Media Managers.  The post takes a look a “typical” social media manager’s day and breaks down that day into many different activities, represented in the info graphic here.   

Mr. Lee also provides several different views on how other people spend their days managing social media.  One person, Finola Howard, manages to compress all her daily activities into just one hour per day. Her tasks include:

  • Use SocialOomph to figure out which new twitter followers to accept
  • Measure which posts are performing the best so you can take advantage of them
  • Schedule tweets and posts for the day.  She uses Buffer for this, other use tools like Hootsuite.
  • Find content
  • Respond to others
  • Monitor engagement of fans and followers

In general, the post identifies 12 tasks of a social media manager.  The twelve tasks are shown here and the article does a great job of explaining each of them.

If you manage social networking within your company, say using IBM Connections, Yammer, Jive or others, you should also pay attention to the tasks.  Each of these 12 tasks apply to internal as well as external social managers.

In addition, Mr. Lee provides a series of checklists for the social media manager.  These lists come from places like Mindbrew Creative, HeroX, Hootsuite and others.  Even by itself, the various checklists are well worth your time to understand.

Overall, A day in the Life of a Social Media Manager is extremely valuable and full of great information.

The Ideal Length of every Tweet, Facebook Post and Headline

I think every writer at one time or another has thought about how long is too long for a post, tweet or headline.

WordPress Title Length

As I typed my headline into WordPress, it was kind enough to tell me that my headline is 59 of 65 characters. I never understood if WordPress thought 65 was the max or the ideal size for my headline.

Reading through Zite (soon to be Flipboard) today, I came across this article by Kevan Lee at Fast Company: The Proven Ideal Length of Every Tweet, Facebook Post, and Headline Online.  Mr. Lee did the research to find out best practices and here is what he came up with.


100 Characters.  This is according to Twitter’s best practices.  Twitter found that there was spike in retweets for tweets between 71 and 100 characters. So if you want your tweets sent around by others, don’t take up all 140 available characters and don’t send short tweets.

Facebook Posts

Remember seeing a Facebook post that takes up the entire screen?  Unlike Twitter, the ideal Facebook post size is only 40 characters!  What?  You have so much more room to type in Facebook.

Ideal Facebook Post Size

Jeff Bullas found that posts of 40 characters received 86% higher engagement. Since Bullas’ sample of Facebook posts of 40 characters was a small sample, Facebook suggests 80 characters or less is good too. At 80 characters, Bullas found those posts has 66% higher engagement.

Google+ Headline

On Google, you have a headline and the body of your message.  If people only look at headlines, how long should they be?  How about 60 characters or less!  So maybe WordPress’ suggestion of 65 or less is not so bad.   Why 60 for Google?  Demian Farnworth found that more than 60 characters will likely split your headline into two lines in Ideal Google+ Headline SizeGoogle+.  Mr. Farnworth says that if you can’t get your headline under 60 characters, then make sure your first sentence draws the reader in quickly.


So what about headlines in general.  This blog post has a headline that WordPress suggested I limit to 65 characters or less.  According to Mr. Lee, 6 words is the ideal length.  Rats – his headline and my copy of it are both more than 6 words.  This number comes from research done by KISSMetrics.

What about Blog Post Length?

According to WordPress my post is 367 words long right now.  Mr. Lee says that my post is too short!  The ideal post length – according to Medium – is 7 minutes.  That is, people pay attention for about 7 minutes.  Anything longer and they stop reading.  It turns out that 7 minutes is about 1,600 words long, or about 4 times the size of this blog post.  Ideal Post Size

I hope you enjoyed reading this since I kept it under 7 minutes.  Have a look at all the links I included because they all have additional information that you may find interesting.  If you made it this far into my post, tweet a link, post a message on Facebook or leave a comment to let me know what you think about ideal tweet, post and headline size.


Has the Knowledge Worker finally arrived?

IBM has a fantastic explainer video this succiently explains what a connected knowledge worker (to borrow from the late Peter Drucker) is. Check it out.

Infusing Social into Digital Experiences

Adding social capabilities to your digital experience site can bring some nice benefits. One benefit that is often overlooked is the multiplier effect of social sharing.  If you can can get people to promote your brand or product, you can reach larger audiences and save advertising costs as well.  A single “Like” on your product page can translate into millions of people seeing that someone they know endorses you.

Infusing Social Into Digital ExperiencesIBM spoke about combining WebSphere Portal and IBM Connections into a Social Digital Experience.  Traditionally, IBM Connections has been seen as an internal social tool that works on the intranet.  But, in fact, Connections can be useful on your external site as well.

  • Support communities are often a way to engage with customers and then direct them to your other sites.
  • Blogs on your external site can attract visitors
  • Innovation or ideation capabilities let people give you input and can cause those people who engage to reach out on other social platforms.  On twitter:  “Hey Perficient is looking for ideas about enhancing X, go to their site and weigh in…”

WebSphere Portal now exposes and seamlessly integrates all IBM Connections features making it easy to infuse social capabilities in your Digital Experience site.  Portal also has the ability to publish content directly to social media networks such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and internal Connections.  You see a video of these capabilities

What’s coming in WebSphere Portal and WCM

Rob Will, Chief Architect at IBM, presented the future vision for Portal and WCM today.   He started out talking about how the concept of customer experience has been evolving over the past few years.  A core shift has been to enable non-technical users to do more and more with less reliance on IT.

What's Coming in WebSphere Portal and WCMA slight change with profound implications has been the change from a Web experience to a Digital experience, which implies support many more devices and output streams.   Portal and WCM has always been about web sites, not mobile applications.  Portal is now in the mobile web site business to enable multi-channel web site business.  Portal is still the integrating platform for content, applications, etc.  Everything done in Portal and WCM is now done with mobile in mind.

IBM Worklight is the hybrid application platform that integrates with Portal and WCM.   Worklight enables access to all the mobile device features through portlets.  Its easy to create a Worklight adapter to grab content from WCM to display in a native application.  WCM’s personalization engine can also be leveraged from Worklight so you see the same promotions on the web as you see in the mobile app.

Mobile Directions

  • Improving integration to support device classes
  • Fine tuning seamlessness of the theme integration
  • Co-deploy Worklight on Portal

Content and Rich Media

  • More and more convergence between portal and content management
  • Projects and Templates (in Portal 8) are heavily relied on in future releases
  • Content Template Catalog 4.1.2 came out last week – uses latest CKEditor for inline editing
  • Vanity URLs- in beta now.  You can completely control the URL.  URLs are stored in WCM to support Syndication.  This feature will deprecate URL Mappings in Portal.
  • WCM Content Security is more seamless with Portal.
  • Attribute based security means you can control access to content based on Attributes.
  • Project templates make it easier to set up projects, including predefined workflow
  • Now everyone is entitled to EditLive! Enterprise version
  • Customers on have entitlement to WebRadar which is content reporting and analytics
  • Cross Version syndication is supported to ease content migration.  You can syndicate from WCM CF26 or higher to WCM CF09 or higher
  • Syndication – improvements in error messaging, error handling, more retry capabilities.  Also in the Authoring UI, you can see a status of each object’s syndication.
  • Rich Media Edition seamlessly integrates with MediaBeacon.
  • Deliver and Stream HD Videos – this includes integration with BrightCove

Personalization and Targeting

  • In 8.0 IBM added in-context rules editing.  New minor enhancements are coming here.
  • Marketing Management is more of a focus for a richer experience, including Unica Marketing Center and IBM Interact.
  • New Portlet allows user to enter a few details about the spot and the portlets does all the work to bring in offers from Interact.  This reduces the rules that you have to write in portal.

WCM and Commerce

  • This is available now.
  • You can link content from WCM directly into a commerce site.  This also includes preview capability


  • Social rendering in takes content from connections and delivers them inside portal mixed with other content and applications. WCM presentation templates are used to make the social content look like other content on the page.
  • In the next version, IBM provides a bunch of enhancements.  Discussion threads hosted on IBM Connections, but linked to WCM content.   Here the visual experience of the discussion is controlled by WCM.
  • Now you can Like, create posts, comment, etc right in line.
  • Dynamic filters for social lists – these lists cooperate with other page components to filter content and drilling down in lists.
  • This is all available in mobile web too.

For a sample of how well Portal, WCM and Connections are integrated together, take a look at the Connect 2014 Site:

  • News and updates are blogs in Connections
  • Events are in WCM.
  • Session info is in WCM,
  • Speaker profile is in Connections.
  • Downloads are in Connections Files.
  • Session add is a DB2 application

Digital Data Connector (DDC) – this is a new concept and we’ll more information on this shortly.

  • Extends social rendering and WCM to any type of data source.
  • Can take most data source and bring into Portal through social rendering

I had to leave this session early, so I will follow up with another post on the rest of the new features coming in the future.

A beta version of Portal is now available if you want to try out some of these features.




Kudos introduces innovative Kudos Boards for IBM Connections

Kudos is best known for providing add-ons to IBM Connections that help with and encourage adoption of the social media platform. Kudos Badges is a gamification system that includes missions, rewards, ranking and leaderboards.

Just ahead of IBM Connect 2014, Kudos has announced a new product called Kudos Boards. Boards is targeted at the Activities feature of IBM Connections. Activities is a key project management feature that allows teams to create tasks, share content, track progress, and so on. If you get involved in many projects or even one big project, you can end up with long lists of activities to track. Just as with a long list in your inbox, you may start to ignore tasks further down the list. The image below shows a typical Activities screen with lots of tasks.

Kudos Boards aims to help you stay on top of your activities by visually organizing Activities into boards. Kudos describes their boards as being like Kanban boards. I also liken them to Agile story boards.


In addition to displaying the Activity Board, you will be able to drag and drop activities around on the board, create new activities, and instantly update when other people work with their activities. Kudos Boards can be linked together.

Kudos is going to be announce more information on January 21, 2014 and you will be able to see Kudos Boards at IBM Connect.

Microsoft Windows Azure Announces Key Updates

Microsoft recently announced several updates to Windows Azure. You can read about all the details on Scott Guthrie’s blog (ScottGu’s Blog), but there was one item that really caught my attention: Active Directory Application Access Enhancements. This feature (or collection of features) was previewed over the summer and is supposed to be available by the end of this year. Azure Add Application

With this service you get Single Sign On (SSO) to a bunch of internet systems like Office 365, Salesforce, Workday, Box, etc. Microsoft announced additions to this service include enhancements to SAML federation capabilities, integrated the new password vault system, supports multi-factor authentication, and have turned on outbound identity provisioning.  These features allow Azure to provide SSO to hundreds of SaaS applications, which is absolutely necessary to support out collaboration needs.

According to Scott, Microsoft also announced the following features would be available in a free tier, which is really cool:  Read the rest of this post »

Thank You IFTTT for Making Our Lives Easier

I am enamored with IFTTT (pronounced as IFT).  IFTTT is like that parent or spouse that does things for you.  If you are sitting on the couch, you can call out, “Can you turn the lights off?” and that person will do it for you.  You want a sandwich?  “Honey can you get me sandwich?” and whoosh there it is.  IFTTT is like that.

You haven’t heard of IFTTT? It is an internet service that you lets you connect systems together to do something for you using the simple logic of “If … then do …”.


As shown in the diagram here, IFTTT consists of recipes that take a trigger and then performs an action. As an example, say you create a blog post like I’m doing right now. Every time you create a new article you also send a tweet to your followers.  As a recipe that can be written as “If I post a new blog entry, then tweet it with a link.’  Here is how that looks in IFTTT:


When I create a new blog post, I have IFTTT automatically create a new entry in Yammer, Chatter, LinkedIn and Twitter to get the message out.  This is also really useful when I schedule an article to post on a particular day in the future.  I don’t have to remember to go Yammer and Chatter to post the new entry – IFTTT takes care of it at that time.  Too bad it can’t deliver me a sandwich – maybe the IFTTT can hook up with Jimmy John’s to deliver a sandwich when I tweet “I’m hungry”.

The power of IFTTT comes in the number of systems that can be a trigger and the number of systems that can be an action.  The more systems that can be connected together, the more powerful this tool becomes.  At the same time, the more these triggers and actions are open, the better.

In these two aspects IFTTT is diong a great job.  The list of systems that can be interconnected is already long and growing by the day.  While many of the systems are social based systems, like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. there are quite a few other systems in the list, including email, SMS, RSS, a clock, etc.  A good example includes the Hue lightbulbs from Philips.  These lightbulbs connect to your wireless network and can be controlled remotely. There are recipes to turn on the lights at dusk, change the color when its raining (Purple Rain!) and more.  The one I liked blinks the light when you receive an email from a specific person.  Today I see there are 400 recipes dealing with Hue.

IFTTT has also made the recipes open, so you can create your own recipes, keep them personal or share them, and use recipes that other people have shared.  Recipes use standard notation to grab data from the underlying system.  For example, in my If WordPress Then Twitter recipe, I tell Twitter to use the title of my post and the url to my blog as part of the tweet.  At the same time, you can customize recipes based on your needs by adding your own text or including additional predefined tags.

Finally IFTTT has mobile versions that work with your iOS and Android devices.  You can use these mobile apps to IFTTT pictures you take, take actions on contacts and more.

Here are a few recipes that I think are pretty useful:

Want to save email attachments outside of email?  This one copies email attachments to Dropbox automatically.Email to Dropbox


iOS Contact to Linked In  When you create a new contact in iOS (iPhone, iPad), invite that person to connect through LinkedIn


Copy Dropbox files to SkyDrive for your intranet.Dopbox to SkyDrive



Let me know your favorite IFTTT recipes.

Consumers are more open to sharing some data about themselves

Here in the U.S. we take privacy seriously and often go to great lengths to avoid asking customers for personal information. It appears that global consumers are more open to sharing personal information about themselves than maybe what everyone assumes. Sandy Carter recently posted on her blog Social Media to Social Business about an interesting study  IBM recently conducted on this topic.  Global sharing trends

According to the study, 75% of consumers are willing to share data about their media usage and demographics.  60% are even willing to share lifestyle and location data.    In the image shown here, it is important to note that these numbers hold true when consumers perceive there is a benefit to sharing that information.

Its not clear what benefit a consumer would want in exchange for sharing personal information, but having a personalized experience may be something worthwhile.

As we look to personalize content more and more, this is good news. You can use this survey data to justify asking your web customers for additional personal data.

But you better make it clear how they will benefit.  If you fail to complete this two-way implicit transaction, customers will stop providing you with their data and business.

Community done right: Eloqua Topliners for marketing

Marketing automation is a hot topic today, but can be very confusing.  There have been a lot of entrants to the market in the last few years, with lots of features coming online daily.  In addition, marketing tools rarely stand alone and need to be integrated into your website, your portal, your social communities and other systems.  If you are interested in digital marketing, you may feel overwhelmed by the amount of content and vast number of products available to you.

One excellent marketing automation system is Oracle Eloqua.  Eloqua provides many, many features for marketers, including campaign management, targeting, tracking, etc.  Eloqua also has app store with hundreds of applications that can add on to Eloqua or enable Eloqua to integrate with other systems.  Even if you are working just with Eloqua, it can be daunting to understand all that you can do in this area.

This is where a Community can come to your rescue.  Traditional in-person communities are all about sharing experiences, tips, techniques and best practices.  But getting masses of people together is hard and happens infrequently.  Online communities are supposed to solve that problem, but often online communities tend to be confusing to navigate and don’t have enough content to truly help out.

Topliners, a community for Eloqua users,  is an excellent example of an online community.  When you go to Topliners, you are immediately presented with five main tabs: Imagine It, See It, Do It, Code It and Know It.  These tabs make it pretty clear what content is available in the community; its not just about posting and responding to comments.  You understand that you will be able to get help with ideas, execution, and knowledge.

Topliners navigation

Topliners navigation

This community is not just about how to use Eloqua, either.  For example, on the main page you can see how to get started with the community by asking marketing strategy questions, which jumps you into the Imagine It section.  If you are not sure about what rookie mistakes to avoid, someone started a topic on that.  If you want help with figuring out the best way to score leads, there are many people who have responded to that topic.  These are not necessarily Eloqua topics, but marketing topics in general.

Of course, this is an Eloqua community, so there are plenty of how-to’s specific to Eloqua, including videos, code samples, etc.  Eloqua recently moved their app store to Topliners to provide a more seamless experience.  So while you are looking for advice and viewing help videos, why not explore the app store to see what else is available for Eloqua?  And Oracle wants to sell you more Eloqua, so there are bits of marketing there too, but not too much.

If you are looking at building a community for your product, your services, and your business, take a look at Topliners and learn from their example.  I suspect that Topliners is helping Eloqua expand and gain customers.