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What does Salesforce's ExactTarget buy mean for social sales? What does great branded content look like? How do you pick the right Twitter name, or tweak pictures for maximum Pinnability? And can you really brand a mixtape? Skim for enlightenment!

Twitter's gone Mad. Madison Avenue, that is. The socnet's inked a deal with WPP, the mother of more ad agencies and comms firms than we can count. It's a push to make data—and Twitter—a "key ingredient in many of our disciplines," says WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell... who doesn't Tweet (although this guy does). The partnership provides incentive to WPP units GroupM, Kantar, and Wunderman, among others, to more aggressively use Twitter data for clients and campaigns. Staff will be trained to use Twitter and cultivate partnerships around it. Guess we've got more branded hashtags in our immediate futures.

Moving with a (musical) bang. NPR's Tiny Desk, which hosts little in-office concerts, recently moved and wanted to share it in grand style. So it contracted OK Go, the band darling of viral, to move with them... while singing. The result: a video worthy of your Facebook wall. Why we love this branded content: it's fun by itself, the collaboration feels natural and unpretentious, and Tiny Desk's brand values shine through brilliantly and unmistakably.

Get a bigger budget. Gail Moody-Byrd explains how to score more dosh for social media efforts: Use market data to back requests, demonstrate the reach you get on social channels versus traditional media, and carefully document positive effects from social as you go. Read on for more, and rake in needed resources!

Photoblogging your layoff. This week in powerful social storytelling: Rob Hart, a photog hurting from the decision of the Chicago Sun Times to fire all its photographers (and instead relying on reporters with iPhones!), has launched a Tumblr, Laid Off from the Sun Times. Using an iPhone, his trained photographer's eye, and storytelling skills, he's photoblogging his life post-layoff... while demonstrating the difference between a photojournalist and an iPhone user with an Instagram fetish.

Getting to Tweet you. With the patience and pace of a Jedi knight, AllTwitter is publishing a 10-part series, "The Newcomers Guide to Twitter." If you're having trouble grasping the swanky blue bird, these step-by-step articles will walk you through it so thoroughly you'll be swinging lightsabres when you're through: Part 1 is about setting the right expectations for yourself. Part 2 will teach you how to choose a username you won't regret later. Isn't it nice to take your time?

What women want. Ginger Consulting's compiled a big report on what women want from social media. 76% consider photos of kids and pets acceptable on social, and 65% are keen on hearing good news. Just please... please don't share your emotional state. Or needlessly spam Twitter with your Foursquare location. (Can we add Demi Moore-style maternity portraits to this list?)

Priorities, priorities. E-tail conducted a study that uncovered the top 10 digital priorities of retail execs. They include social media, mobile, omnichannel (a fancier way of saying multi-channel) commerce, conversion optimization, and user experience enhancements. Fun example: Top Shop's use of augmented reality dressing rooms. One surprising entry: email! It's not sexy, but people love 'em—especially when you use them to remind customers that they're special. (Strong hint: personalize and provide add-on services.)

Branding your ear candy. Pandora's diving into "native" advertising: collaborations with brands to create music stations that users will (hopefully) love. Gatorade is hosting three workout stations on the music network: "Warm Up," "Workout," and "Cool Down." For two months, it ran a half-million station ads. The target audience—fickle teens—listened to its stations for over an hour on average—and over 96% of those listens happened on mobile... which means Gatorade goes everywhere they do.

CMOs, start your software. Salesforce just bought software company ExactTarget for $2.5 billion. ExactTarget's software lets you run, optimize and track email, social media, and mobile campaigns. It's the biggest acquisition Salesforce has made to date. Along with other recent buys, like social listening site Radian6 and social publishing platform Buddy Media, the buy signals the importance of social marketing for the future of traditional sales... and the changing role of the CMO, who's increasingly involved in technology purchase decision-making, says Lyris CMO Alex Lustberg.

The perfect Pin. Did you know that reddish-orange images get two times more repins than bluish ones? Or that images without faces get 23% more repins than images with them? Now you do! Learn more from Curalate's "The Eyes Have It," a delicious infographic that shows what qualities improve Pinterest engagement. This is the (vivid!) fruit of studying 500,000 images posted by brands on Pinterest. Find out how lightness, background, saturation, and even aspect ratio affect repin-worthiness. Bonus: here's the Pinterest image that captures all characteristics described by Curalate (it's been repinned 307,000 times).

How to measure your e-commerce. It isn't always easy to tell how well your e-store is faring, so Lexity and Mad Mimi explain what you should measure and why. Visitor type and engagement, website quality, and traffic sources all crop up as important, as they yield crucial details on how you can better improve your marketing and reach. Of course, measuring overall revenue and ROI are givens. (But nobody had to tell you that.)

Social customer service for pros! Econsultancy explains how to deliver excellent social customer service—a priority for 80% of surveyed companies, and for good reason: 71% of customers want brands to provide "quick and effective" social media responses. Because we're all tired of the hold music.

The most-viral ad ever? Dove's "Real Beauty Sketches," launched on April 14, has generated 54M views and counting, compelling Unilever to call it the most viral ad of all time (toting results from two analytics firms). Analytics firm Visible Measures begs to differ; its ranking, based more on shares than on views, sets Real Beauty Sketches behind Volkswagen's "The Force" and TNT Benelux's "A Dramatic Surprise on a Quiet Square." Still, 54M views isn't bad for a month and a half, and the success of "Real Beauty Sketches"—however way you measure it—can really be attributed to brands' investing more in branded content: Real Beauty Sketches is touching, suspenseful, universally appealing, and has a "pop science" quality that makes people feel informed when chatting over drinks.

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image of Angela Natividad
Angela Natividad is a social media strategist, copywriter, and journalist based in Paris. A Bay Area native and lover of vending machine candies, she co-founded and is a frequent guest on marketing podcast The Beancast. You can follow her on Twitter at @luckthelady.

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