Social media is now entwined into the everyday activities of consumers. It is a comfortable environment for consumers where they are not afraid to be candid about their opinions. If a diner has a fantastic, good, mediocre, or bad experience at a restaurant — the chances are high that they are going to share their experience on social for everyone to see.

The uncontrolled environment of social media is often construed as a double-edged sword for businesses. But if restaurants can make sense of this unstructured social data, it can be used to better understand their customers and ultimately cater the dining experience to what their diners want and expect.

So which restaurants are performing the best by social consumer sentiment on food and service? Foodable has been releasing the Top 25 Restaurants monthly by city for over a year now. These rankings are determined by the organic social data pulled from 17 different social media platforms by the Restaurant Social Media Index (RSMI), a comprehensive database proprietary to Foodable’s sister agency, DigitalCoCo.…

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Everyone goes through what Lulu Gephart, REI’s manager of social and earned media, calls “content deserts.” There aren’t any campaigns or promotions going on, you’ve got nothing from your creative department, and finding something compelling to post is difficult. But, Lulu explains, at REI, they’ve developed a hashtag strategy that’s helped them capture user-generated content to use for the long haul.

For REI’s 1440 Project, they asked fans upload photos to a microsite or Instagram, tagging what outdoor activity they’re doing, where, and what minute of the 1440-minute day they’re doing it using #REI1440Project. And Lulu says, in just a few months, they gathered over 10,000 photos and over a half-million visits to the microsite.

Here are three key points from her presentation at our SocialMedia.org Brands-Only Summit:

  • Your fans show the true side of your brand. The variety and authenticity of user-generated content they received couldn’t have been recreated by REI’s creative team.
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Many people and companies remain pessimistic about the economy and how they’re doing, particularly those who look to the bubble of 2004 and 2005 as a baseline or who have houses that have failed to recover their value from before the recession.

Those people are wrong, at least in terms of the state of the U.S. economy, said Alan Beaulieu of ITR Economics on Wednesday at the NAW 2015 Executive Summit in Washington, D.C.

“These are the good times,” he said, and returned to that theme repeatedly during his presentation. As he argued, 2014 was a good year — just as his company predicted. The U.S. economy, despite reports to the contrary, remains the world’s largest and is growing in terms of GDP and industrial production. Employment is up, as are most leading indicators, and no one in D.C. is looking to impose austerity. 2015 will be a good year, if softer for many in terms of growth.…

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Do viewers really tune into the Super Bowl each year just to see the ads? How engaged is the audience during the game?

Crowdtap polled more than 6,000 Super Bowl viewers to get their take on Super Bowl as it relates to advertising and social media.

Some key takeaways:

  • Thirty percent of respondents said they watched the game for the ads, up from 25% in 2014.
  • Nearly three-quarters of respondents said they were somewhat or extremely likely to take action if asked to by a Super Bowl commercial.
  • Eighty-five percent of respondents said humor would make them remember an ad, while just 16% said crowdsourced content would do the same.
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If someone were taking inappropriate or illegal actions in your organization, you, as a business leader, would hope that another employee who was aware of these actions would report the matter. You strive to set up an organization in which reporting a concern could be done without fear of retaliation.

But what if an employee believed that any action taken by someone higher on the corporate ladder was, by default, appropriate; or blindly assumed that senior management was aware of these questionable activities?

Individuals occupying a lower-ranking position tend to form highly positive perceptions of their superiors’ competence, leading them to believe that those individuals should make more of the contributions. Chris Argyris, a Harvard professor and business theorist, argued that employees in lower-ranking positions become more dependent on their superiors and defer to them more, similar to the way children become dependent on and defer to their parents.

Research has shown that individuals with higher rank are viewed as more intelligent and task-skilled, independent of their actual competence levels (Darley & Gross,1983; Sande, Ellard, & Ross, 1986).…

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