Archive for the ‘Social Media Trends’ category

What’s The Buzz About Facebook’s Graph Search Tool?

February 18th, 2013
Facebook's Graph Search

Graph Search – personalized search results

Facebook currently has 1 billion users. The forum that started as a social platform for friends to connect has evolved into a lucrative tool for many businesses and brands, and has provided a much-needed space for companies to communicate and interact with customers.

On January 15, Facebook announced an upgrade featured called Graph Search that acts as a search tool in partnership with Microsoft’s Bing.  Graph Search’s functionalities are in beta and somewhat limited but focus on four main areas: people, photos, places and interests. Graph Search enables its members to sift through Facebook’s data indexed by interests, locations and recommendations via a search bar located at the top of a Facebook profile.


Graph Search is available now in a very limited beta program for English (US) audiences.

Graph Search is available now in a very limited beta program for English (US) audiences.


Privacy & Best Practices

Searches can be very simple questions like “friends who like dogs” or “Italian restaurants in NYC liked by my friends”. These searches are defined by your friends and their friends’ interests and activity but are limited by users’ privacy settings, which prevents certain items from being shared. According to Facebook, Graph Search will only share content that was previously made public.  For businesses with a storefront, searches help generate traffic, both digital and to the actual location, based on the number of existing recommendations and check-ins. Any searches that Facebook doesn’t understand or those that are irretrievable within the Graph Search’s parameters will be redirected to Microsoft’s Bing to browse via public websites.


Bing Social Sidebar on Facebook’s Graph tool.

Bing Social Sidebar on Facebook’s Graph tool.


Facebook users concerned about their privacy on the social media network may take some steps to further protect photos. Take five minutes to review your Facebook settings to ensure that all content being shared, including photos, is only visible to the connections you’ve intended to share them with. However, if you are open to embracing the possibilities of this communal online space, updating your settings won’t be necessary; you can simply untag yourself from a friends’ photo or change your settings so that all images of you have to be approved by you first. If you want to go even further, reporting a photo is an option, too.

Getting Facebook’s Graph Search

Facebook Graph Search is in beta and users must get on a waiting list to have access and see how this tool actually works.  Facebook is analyzing its user experience before making Graph Search available to all Facebook users.

To try Facebook's Graph Search, one must get on a waiting list

To try Facebook’s Graph Search, one must get on a waiting list


Your Thoughts

Something to think about: Do you think this is another sign of Facebook’s quest to become the one-stop destination on the Internet? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Using Google+ Hangouts to Connect our 3 National Offices

February 6th, 2013

The Annual Digital Retreat

This story is about a meeting, but not just any typical meeting. Three teams met for the first time, “face to face,” across three states a cumulative 3,000 miles apart.

While Columbus, OH is our largest office, we have a number of employees in both our Phoenix and Miami offices that made it appropriate for us to see each other, albeit virtually, during the meeting.

The purpose of the meeting was to establish our first annual retreat for all employees of DK Web Consulting and Social Media Spanish.  It was a Saturday morning in early January where team members from all three offices got together via Google+ Hangouts to get to know each other on a more personal level, brainstorm ideas and discuss where the team is headed for 2013 and beyond.

Members of the Miami team gathered for the annual meeting

Members of the Miami team gathered for the annual digital retreat.

So why Google+ Hangouts?

The choice of Google+ Hangouts is an interesting topic as we habitually use Skype each and every day for our internal communications.  We have also recently begun to use for many internal meetings but for this retreat we felt we needed more of a personal experience; we had to see each other.  In came Google+ Hangouts.  It was suggested by Social Media Spanish co-owner Natasha Pongonis as she had heard much about it in recent months and had seen its capabilities and interactive functionality during President Obama’s re-election campaign.  We knew Google+ Hangouts would allow all three offices to easily see each other and interact with the numerous features the application offers such as chat, sharing screens, and joint working on Google Docs.

google hangout view - social media spanish team

The view on Google+ Hangouts: The Columbus office featured at top while Miami and Phoenix offices observed below.

Technical issues?

We did not experience many technical difficulties.  It seems that with a little practice, anyone can put on a Google+ Hangout.  We had one trial run earlier in the week to test out the various Hangout tools.  This was an important step as we made sure we all knew how to use each tool including sharing a screen, muting the microphone, and working in Google Docs simultaneously through the Hangout.

A small issue that came up was that we found the camera switching feature to be a bit annoying and slow down connections at times.  We had to mute one of the lines for a portion of the call so as to keep the display from shifting and slowing down the connection.

Additionally, we recommend using a separate webcam, and not using a built-in laptop camera for a team Hangout.  The main reason for this is that to be able to show the entire team via the built-in webcam we had to set the computer far away from the group, which caused us to be short one computer for note-taking.  Additionally, a separate webcam will typically have a better resolution than a built-in webcam.


Feedback from the Team

Overall it seems people really enjoyed getting to see each other “face to face” through Google+ Hangouts.  During the meeting, New Media Manager Virginia Gil mentioned that, “It was so nice to finally meet Kate face to face,” referring to being able to see Account Executive Kate Zajc via the Hangout.

We coordinated an online survey following the event in which everyone was asked to share their honest, anonymous feedback.  Almost all comments were positive and included, “I really enjoyed meeting every one,” and “I think the team really gains from the interactions and conversations of working together.”

Another person mentioned, “I love group meetings; it is the creative lifeblood. I think we should keep them (virtual team meetings) on a schedule.”

With feedback like that, we probably will.


Overall Experience with Google Hangouts

Despite our lack of consistent use of Google+ as a social tool, we have found Google+ Hangouts to be a very good way to hold an online meeting.  Besides a few small issues with the display-shift causing a slower connection, the application worked error-free.  A good webcam is recommended as well if you are going to be using Hangouts often.

Have you used Google+ Hangouts?  What was your experience? Do you recommend the tool?  Let us know in the comments section below.

Members of the Phoenix team smiled for the Google Hangout camera

Members of the Phoenix team smiled for the Google+ Hangout camera.

Marketer’s Perspective: LATISM 2012 Conference

November 20th, 2012

As mentioned in my recent post on the Hispanic Retail 360 Summit, marketers must often make tough decisions on which conferences to attend, given that there are time and budget constraints.  While LATISM 2012 was not the best conference I’ve been to, it still held its value.  The content was solid and the people that I met also made the trip worthwhile.

Houston Calling

Having never been to Houston, I was excited to visit Space City.  The conference definitely had that “big city” feel, as it was held at the Downtown Hyatt near many Houston attractions. My business partner and Social Media Spanish co-owner Natasha Pongonis joined me for the conference too, which allowed us to have internal meetings in our off time from the conference.

Social Media Spanish team at the Toyota red carpet opening for LATISM 2012

Social Media Spanish team at the Toyota red carpet opening for LATISM 2012.

And the Bloggers came out in Force!

LATISM is known for bringing out bloggers, and this year was no different.  Two out of three people I met was a blogger it seemed, which was great as I frequently work with bloggers and always enjoy connecting with a new one.  I specifically enjoyed connecting with Holdin’ Out for a Hero, Web City Girls, Hispana Global and Cuponeando.  Additionally, I was able to meet and network with for the first time with bloggers Christy Wilson Nutrition (from Tucson!), Spoiled Latina, and Bloggers of Health.  I was impressed with the blogger turnout and many of the other marketers there expressed the same feeling.

Mario and tech blogger Alberto Saldamando dressed in traditional Peruvian wardrobe.

Myself, Mario and El Mundo Tech blogger Alberto Saldamando dressed in traditional Peruvian wardrobe.

Using Technology to Solve Latino Problems

I was chosen to moderate a panel titled, Using Technology to Solve Latino Problems, and was very pleased to have the chance to meet some very talented young women.  My panelists collectively took on the topics of education, health, immigration, labor equality, and voting, which can be pushed forward through the use of technology.  Jazmin Chavez of Latino Justice shared several very interesting mobile apps including PollWatch USA that can quickly help identify polling issues, and the Department of Labor’s  Time Sheet app that can be used by hourly laborers to ensure they are not getting underpaid by their employers.  Laquitta DeMerchant of FuzionApps in Houston shared her Aequitas career management app, which helps users find what expected salaries should be regionally for specific roles.  Additionally, Mazie Soto of the Technocratic Learning and Collaboration Center of Chicago shared her thoughts on a number of topics including how to get youth to utilize their smartphones for more than just socializing and gaming.  Overall, the audience enjoyed a thoughtful panel that described numerous ways that technology can be leveraged to advance Latino causes.

Panelists Laquitta DeMerchant, Maizie Soto, and Jazmin Chavez at the session: Using Technology to Solve Latino Problems.

Panelists Laquitta DeMerchant, Mazie Soto, and Jazmin Chavez at the session: Using Technology to Solve Latino Problems.


Best Session: Coca Cola’s Adelante Movement

Wow.  What an amazing event.  While I did not attend the whole session, what I saw was memorable for everyone in the room.  In a crowded ballroom, serial entrepreneur and media maven Nely Galan and the Adelante Movement team hosted an event aimed at inspiring Latina women to take action, and to connect them with financial opportunities that will ensure wealth and prosperity for their families and their communities.  The highlight of the event was when the Adelante team gave women in the audience an opportunity to approach the mic to explain their goal and how they planed to reach it.  The Adelante team then critiqued the brave souls publicly one by one, providing them feedback and advice to help them achieve their goals faster. All very inspiring.

About as Interesting as my Tia’s Vacation Photos

The awards ceremony had a lot of promise but wound up falling short.  It kicked off with a carnivale style entrance featuring scantily clad performers (below), which captivated the audience and dropped a few jaws. Overall, the session was good, but there were a few shortcomings.  I felt there were a few too many awards given out, which made the evening drag.  Another problem was that there was no emcee so transitions between awards were strangely silent and awkward.  Top that with no open bar, and it had all the makings of a snooze-fest.  Somewhere between the 15th and 20th award I decided to join the masses that had made their way to the lobby bar.

The opening of the awards ceremony hosted by Toyota

The opening of the awards ceremony hosted by Toyota

Looking Forward to Next Year

Overall, LATISM was a good conference.  I think next year will be much better.  LATISM has a lot of volunteers behind it and some very strong sponsors as well, including Toyota and Johnson & Johnson.  I believe next year will be better organized, feature more relevant content and have a heavier turnout.  I’m looking forward to LATISM 2013 in NYC.

Truth is, as long as we get to make more memories like the ones below with fellow marketers and bloggers, I will be happy :-)

LATISM Marketers and Bloggers

Fellow LATISM Marketers and Bloggers.

Does Your Campaign Need a Network of Bloggers? Part II

April 2nd, 2012

Last week we introduced you to Romina, a 31-year-old Latina blogger from New York City. As the author of Mamá XXI, a Spanish-language source for coupons, deals and general interest for Latino families, Romina is one of the 3.9 million women with children who write blogs in the US—a number estimated to increase by 500,000 in the next couple of years. Even though only 2 percent of bloggers belong to the “Mommy bloggers category,” this small sector of the blogosphere represents a huge platform for brands seeking to reach a powerful, niche market. These bloggers receive more than 500 pitches a day and in turn produce focused content that arguably helps disseminate a brand’s message better than other sources.



As an influencer and pivotal member of the Latina blogging community, Romina offers valuable insight into why companies should not only seek out bloggers but also consider blogging as part of their overall marketing strategy.


Interview with Romina Tibytt of Mama XXI


Why should large companies trying to reach the Latino market consider bloggers as part of their overall Web strategy?

Blogs are all the rage right now and the preferred medium for users to get recommendations and information. Bloggers are up to date with all social networks, tools, tips, and the Web in general, therefore prove very influential in this area.

On the other hand, the fury of social networks and the Internet cannot be denied— stars are born on YouTube, Pinterest, etc. Adele, a singer whom I adore, was discovered after a friend uploaded songs to her MySpace profile, and there are many others who’ve had the same experience. A blogger is someone who is versatile and efficient; they can just as easily write a review as they can upload a video to Youtube, host a Tweetup, or generate “Likes” on Facebook. Their most important attribute is the level of commitment they maintain to their readers, which leads to the discussions and user feedback so useful to companies.

And finally, as mentioned above, the presence of Hispanics in social networks is very important and is growing second by second.

What’s the difference between a blog campaign and a Facebook or Twitter campaign?

There are many differences, as they are two different platforms that make use of very different tools. A blog is the ideal space to discuss an issue in one or multiple articles while Facebook is an excellent platform to promote a topic, generate conversation, make a post go viral and publish visual content. The latter, however, doesn’t fare well in terms of providing a lot of details or information. Twitter is similar to Facebook in that it’s useful in generating conversation, interacting based on a topic and help the message spread widely.

From my point of view, and I think most bloggers would agree, for the success of a campaign, you should employ a combination of all three platforms.

When you’re trying to send a message to your audience, be it health-related or about a product, how many blogs should you publish on the same subject?

This is a very good question too. You could say that the answer depends on the subject, focus, and many other things—but not really! It’s simple; as the saying goes, “the more you fill the pitcher, the faster it will break” (tanto va el agua al cántaro que al final se rompe). The more you insist on a topic, the more impact it has. To this end, there are many factors that influence the outcome: firstly, the reader is more engaged when we report frequently on particular topic, secondly this continuity generates new interested readers and at the same time, allows bloggers to tackle topics from different perspectives, deepen and diversify the conversation.

The number of articles (posts) or notes depends on the campaign, some lasting weeks, others months and some even a year or more, hence campaigns enact ambassadors or elect representatives for particular brands.

What recommendations would you give to brands and organizations that are considering campaigns with bloggers?

I would recommend they that take into account all the extra benefits offered by blogs, as they are a very different source of media—blogs are innovative (and therein lies the secret to their success). Brands should look beyond numbers and site statistics and look towards the influence the blogger has over communities, followers and the public, which is generally stable. They should be open to working together with blog management companies like Social Media Spanish because they are generally very creative and have many ideas to contribute.

I can attest to, as well as the bloggers with whom I have the infinite pleasure of working with daily, the success of new trends and continued effort to seek out ways to bring about new tools and generate interest. We know our audience very well, and we know how to reach them based on their interests, hopes, concerns, needs, etc. Additionally, we practically live on social networks and try to stay on top of trends, which is why we attend national conferences and participate in related activities.

Last, but not least, I wish to emphasize that brands should also take into account that a blogger puts time, effort and energy into a campaign, so they must be compensated well.

What tools do you use to increase traffic to your blog, generate page views, and which social forums do you think are more useful for promotion?

Well, to generate traffic to my blog I mostly use two types of tools, firstly SEO (search engine optimization).  This really just means online positioning and employing best practices, such as titles, spelling, originality, Google, codes, graphics and visual tools, etc. On the other hand, and the tool I like most: social networks—which, with the recent changes Google has made to its algorithms, also influence search engine rankings—like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, e-readers and Youtube.

I think Facebook is the most useful social platform that helps with promotion, dissemination and capturing the audience’s attention.

Tell me about your section of Women Entrepreneurs. What is the goal and what is the goal?

In Women Entrepreneurs I highlight women who have stood out in a specific sector or activity and originality.

The economic crisis has affected everyone without discrimination, but especially Latino families. I have seen many of my readers try to find new ways to generate income based on their particular skills or talents without needing to neglect their families. Most have done very well! That is why I decided to give them a space on my blog in order to recognize them and support them while promoting what these wonderful women are doing.

The second purpose of this section is to inspire and encourage other women who are perhaps a little disoriented and don’t know what to do to succeed or achieve their dreams and goals beyond the household.

Finally, it’s a place to meet and get to know each other better and strengthen our bond as an online community.

What do you do besides blogging? What are some of your other interests or passions?

In addition to publishing my blog Mom XXI, I’m a Blog Guide for’s Blogs (a New York Times publication), I write weekly for Moms Blogs by Jeanette Kaplun and Todobebé, I contribute regularly to the Blogger Friends of Maseca section of Maseca, and I have also contributed to Plaza Familia’s monthly print magazine and a number of other projects. I’m also a homemaker, wife, mother of three adorable children, and I love to dance. To destress, break the routine and move around a bit I go to Zuma two to three times a week.



Press Release: The Power of Social Media, from The Defense Logistics Agency

November 8th, 2011

Columbus, Ohio – DK’s own Natasha Pongonis was the featured speaker at a Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) workshop in October in which she talked about the strong influence of social media, especially when working with Hispanics.

The first workshop in the “Professional Enhancement Series” provided an overview of the positive and negative aspects of social media.


“The Power of Social Media,” held Oct. 11 as part of the DLA Land and Maritime Hispanic Heritage Month celebration, explained social media,
security settings to protect yourself, and the do’s and don’ts of personal and professional profiles.

Instructor Natasha Pongonis, a native of Argentina who is fluent in four languages, has been the social media director at DK Web Consulting
since 2009. The company’s mission is to provide clients with modern and creative web solutions in a sustainable way.

Pongonis said the term “social media” refers to the use of web-based and mobile technologies to turn communication into an interactive
dialogue. Social media and networking has become a versatile tool and can be accessed by anyone, she said, noting that one person can post or share information with hundreds, even thousands, of people across the world in a matter of seconds. Three out of four people in America use social media technology.

Some of the most popular social media forums are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. Other social media forums include Que Pasa, Orkut, Hi5, MiGente and Batanga.

“Social media channels offers good opportunities to interact with people and build relationships largely due to the real time, interactive nature,” she said. “Everyone can communicate information in a flash, regardless of geographical location.”

Pongonis said Hispanics are a very social group with high usage of social media, with 61 percent of U.S. Hispanics online. She said Hispanics are 14.5 percent of the total online market and that 19 percent of U.S. Hispanics are Twitter users and 54.2 percent of Hispanics online regularly use Facebook.

During the workshop, Pongonis mentioned that 57 percent of Hispanics learn more about brands, compare prices and make final decisions online compared to 43 percent of the general market. The purchasing power of the U.S. Hispanic market is projected to reach $1.3 trillion by 2015, she added.

Pongonis said there are a lot of advantages in the use of social media, but added that people need to be “extremely careful” about the type of information they provide or share in social media websites. She told audience members to think before posting anything in any of the social media forums and recommended they create separate private and professional accounts, don’t share too much personal information, build quality relationships and respect the web community.

DSCC MWR marketing manager Jennifer Russell said she tries to stay on the cutting edge of social media trends.

“We were the first DLA MWR site to have a fully functional Facebook page. Now we have over 400 ‘likes’ and are continuing to grow,” she said.

Social media has served us very well; we use it every day to get new information out to our associates,” said MWR Office marketing assistant Dana Thornbury, who spoke briefly at the seminar about MWR’s social media outreach efforts.

The workshop series is an initiative of the DLA Columbus EEO Hispanic Employment Program (HEP) and the Morale, Welfare and Recreational (MWR) Office to help DLA associates achieve their professional goals.

The next workshop is “Professionalism in the Workplace,” which is scheduled for Nov. 8 in the Building 20 auditorium with speaker Robert Boggs, chief of the DLA Land and Maritime Human Perfomance Division. This workshop will address important aspects of professionalism such as interaction and communication with others.

In addition, a seminar on “Choosing Words Effectively” is scheduled for Jan. 18, 2012 in the Buckeye Room with HEP manager Maria Buch Castillo. This workshop will focus on techniques to improve word choice.

DLA associates interested in participating in these seminars can register online at There is a limit of 60 people per seminar. For more information about the workshop series, call Castillo at 614-692-9704 or MWR Relocation Assistance Program manager Lisa Passalacqua at 614-692-7220.

PSA by Mislin A. Perez-Fernandez, Hispanic Employment Program Public Affairs Liaison