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Alexandra Samuel  

Harvard Business Review Social Media Blogger & VP Social Media, Vision Critical.

Alexandra Samuel has been involved in social media long before it had a name. And from her unique perspective as an educator, an entrepreneur, and a blogger she continues to chart social media's potential for political, social, personal and business change better than almost anyone else.

At Vision Critical—a Vancouver-based research and technology solutions company—Alexandra Samuel leads the company’s efforts at integrating social media into the development of customer intelligence and works closely with the company’s product development and marketing teams. 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. An articulate voice on new social technologies, Samuel has an infectious passion for the Net's potential as a tool for community-building and civic participation. She has mapped the effect of technology for both the non-profit sector (through her work on projects like NetSquared) as well as with governments (as Research Director for Digital 4Sight's Governance in the Digital Economy, where, along with Don Tapscott, she researched the future of democracy). She also works with a long list of corporations, giving talks, running workshops, and talking to them—on whatever level they are comfortable with—about how they can best use social technology tools for their specific business.

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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.

Work Smarter with Social Media

Does social media feel like one more thing on your already-crowded plate? Then it's time to take control of your life online by harnessing Twitter, LinkedIn, Evernote and other social media tools to your professional goals. Get a complete system for using social tools to advance your business and your career, and learn the strategies, tools, and workflows that social media pros use to manage their own work and online presence. Alexandra Samuel gives you time-saving tips that you can implement right away, while helping you develop a long-term strategy for focusing your online attention on what matters to you.

Meet your Invisible Audience

Do you really know your social media audience? Social media monitoring can tell you about people who post and tweet. But how do you get to know the lurkers who aren’t tweeting, liking, or sharing your content? Gain insights into your invisible online audience in this first look at the largest-ever survey of social media users. Drawing on a recent survey of social media users in Canada, the U.S., and the U.K., Alexandra Samuel will show you what’s different about lurkers, and what you need to know about reaching them.

The Internet: What to Pack

The current shift from offline to online life represents the biggest migration in human history. While many people worry about how this transition is affecting our work, our relationships and even our brains, we still have the opportunity to make choices about how to live online: choices about what parts of offline life we want to bring with us, and what we leave behind. In this thought-provoking talk, Alexandra Samuel maps out the way we can "pack" what we know about values like attention and connection, and helps today's Internet users recognize their influence on the online world of tomorrow.

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