Tag : Social media

New best practices paper on social media monitoring, engagement, measurement

We’ve just release a new study on emerging best practices in social media monitoring, engagement and measurement based on interviews with large corporations like Cisco, Intuit, GE and with the top monitoring technology providers (Visible Technologies, Radian6, Cymfony, Market Sentinel), who have fascinating stories based on existing clients and from the RFP/sales process.

(Economy be damned, one technology provider even had to fire a big brand company because its agency was basically spamming bloggers and Tweeters.)

The report includes sections on:

  • Guidelines for responding, engaging, working with legal, staffing
  • Measurement
  • Biggest surprises
  • Most common mistakes
  • Advice
  • Next steps

What I found especially interesting:

  • Universal agreement that people in companies should be engaging in social media conversations– NOT outside agencies.
  • Creating monitoring systems is straightforward; developing engagement strategies is much more complex, requiring a lot of employee education and process redesign (ex: customer service)
  • The stronger the corporate culture of trust and employee empowerment, the easier it is to implement and scale enterprise-wide monitoring and engagement approaches.
  • Insights from social media monitoring are extremely valuable, but creating the right reports to glean that value for different functions is challenging.
  • For most companies legal has not been an obstacle. But collaborating with legal is essential. (See tips on dealing with legal in the report.)
  • How few conversations require or could benefit from a response. Many companies think the cost would be exorbitant to assign people to respond to Tweets, blogs and forums, but once they analyze the data and do a business case analysis the investment for the value provides a good return on investment, whether it’s for customer service, sales, or reputation management.

To get a free copy of the report, click here.

Would love to hear  your thoughts about these best practices based on your experience. What’s missing?

8 ways to "social mediafy" marketing, PR campaigns

Creating marketing and public relations campaigns within a social media context requires some new steps– and greater attention to steps that hopefully have always been considered.

Here are eight ideas to “social mediafy” your campaigns.

1. Know what’s relevant and current: First, know what your audience cares about. What issues, topics, ideas are front of mind.  Not what your company wants to talk about, which is usually your own products and service features/functions (boring), but what people are already concerned about and interested in. Do this by analyzing the digital ecosystem for your category — blogs, tweets, news articles, YouTube videos,  Digg posts/rankings, Google searches, etc. What’s most popular, triggers the most responses?  If you have a corporate blog or a customer forum — what are the most popular topics?

2. What’s the business goal: Before doing anything, clearly understand the intention of the campaign. Is it to develop preference for your brand vs. another? Change a perception about your company? Make people more aware of the company’s expertise in a particular area? Help people understand an issue that is an obstacle to sales? Generate leads? Make your brand more likable?  The more specific you can be, the more effective your program will be — and the easier it will be to measure it.  I see far too little time spent on this important step. “General Awareness” is too superficial — nor does it guide how to execute.

3. Formulate a provocative point of view: What’s your take on a topic of current interest to your audience — and how does your point of view connect with your goal? Make the point of view is fresh, thought-provoking and even provocative.  As word of mouth author Emmanuel Rosen points out in an interview with Sean Moffit of BuzzCanuck, one of the worst practices in marketing is having nothing interesting to say. My research has found that there are nine themes that people like to talk about; here’s more on “The Nine Best Story Lines for Marketing” from Guy Kawasaki’s blog.  My favorite is taking a contrarian or counterintuitive view. Done right, this approach creates interest, debate and longevity — and can help address a number of goals.

4. Put that point of view together in a shareable form: Take your point of view and develop it in a form (or multiple forms) that people can easily share with other people — eBooks, videos, ChangeThis manifestos, blog posts, presentations, white papers. And put those not just on your own site but where people are browsing — YouTube, SlideShare, Delicious, etc.  Some recent examples of content easy to share: Disney Park’s “make your own personalized video,” which you can then share with friends. IBM’s “Art of the Sale” mainframe videos by Tim Washer. And a great white paper, “EMC/One: A Journey in Social Media” by Chuck Hollis. Having some thing makes it easier to share. Of course, it needs to be interesting enough that you want to share it with your colleagues and friends.

5. Get your views out into the ecosystem: Now stir things up and let people know about your point of view– and where they can go to learn more.  Use Twitter, Facebook, blogger outreach, Slideshare.net, YouTube, Digg, Sumbleupon and all the many, many other places out there.

6. Stay in the conversation: As people start talking about the topic, stay in the conversation, adding new perspectives, answering questions, providing other people/places about the issue. Set up Google alerts at a minimum to keep up with the conversation and post responses to what;s being said. The days of dropping a press release, talking to some media, and calling it a campaign are over.

7. Repackage: Take the highlights of what ensued and repackage them to further achieve your goals — use for customer newsletters, sales presentations, management reports, in employee communities/Intranets.

8. Measure what sticks: Lastly, learn from all the issues you initiate. Which garnered the most interest — and why? What fell flat? Was it the topic — or was it the execution. This execute-and-measure-and-learn is the only way to find what works for your audience — and is an ongoing education for you.

Community of Sweden

Here’s a great example of a online community that delivers on its business objectives.  I just got back from Scandinavia (Denmark) and want to go back after joining CommunityofSweden.com, the community that is part of VisitSweden, the official Swedish tourism site.  Community of Sweden,  developed by Tommy Sollen, does several things right:

Co-creation: First, Tommy co-created the community with people.  He started out with a development blog asking people to share stories and pictures about Sweden — as well as for their ideas on the design of the community.

Design reflects brand: The community was designed to be clean, tidy, bright, positive, warm and friendly — the same feeling people say they get when they visit Sweden.

Photos! The purpose of the community is to inspire people to travel to Sweden. There’s no better way to inspire travel like great photos. The community makes it easy for people to upload and tag photos. I especially like the map feature where you can click on a location and up comes photos tagged with that location. (As well as stories from that area.) The tagging feature also minimizes the back end administrative work.

Board of directors’ fears unfounded: Tommy said that the board’s biggest concern was that people would post negative or inappropriate comments. Since its launch in Nov. 2007 there have been no issues.

Empowered users: the community’s easy-to-use tools allow users to be in control. They can rate content, take down content they might feel is inappropriate or misplace, create profiles, start discussion threads.  Everything is published immediately, furthering inspiring trust. And members can create widgets to put on their own blogs and social networks. In other words, the community belongs more to the community than the tourism organization.

Integrated into the tourism Web site: the community is now also part of the official VistSweden Web site, embedding social intelligence into a marketing web site.  Embedded reviews and recommendations soon will become a fundamental feature of all web sites. Sweden is ahead.

One interesting factoid about the community: Italians are the most active members.

Creating new categories: social marketing delivers needed trust, emotion

Marketing as usual when you’re trying to create a new product or service category is doomed to fail.

The ads, the messaging, the press releases, the events are likely to fall flat for two reasons — people don’t trust information from companies and most marketing information is factual, filtered and rational.

Social scientists have proven that logic is ineffective in getting people to change their behavior and adopt new types of products. Similarly, so are most marketing campaigns. Harvard Business School professor John Kotter has said:

“Behavior changes happen mostly by speaking to people’s feelings. In highly successful change effort people will find ways to help others see the problems or solutions in ways that influence emotions, not just thoughts.”

As for trust, the 2009 Edelman Trust Barometer finds that people’s trust in companies, the media and CEOs is at an all time low. Approximately 62 percent of the 25 to 64 year-olds surveyed in 20 countries said they trust companies less than they did a year ago. In the U.S. trust in a company’s CEO is at an all time low — just 17 percent  trust what a CEO has to say. Trust in business magazines is also down, from 57 percent to 44 percent.

I believe that social media and its first cousin, word of mouth marketing, are critical for a company intent on creating a new product category. All too often, however, companies spend more on mainstream marketing when building a new category because it feels safer, the tactics are more familiar, you can create “things” like brochures and advertisements, and you can make sure the “key messages” from the research are included.

While those elements certainly play a role in a marketing strategy, think social first. Here’s why:

  • People trust other people like them more than marketers, CEOs, governments, analysts. (See Neilsen Buzz metrics trust research) Why not sponsor an online community where people can share experiences and get and give help from people they trust?  This is likely to speed trial, if not adoption. As importantly it will help you as a marketer better understand obstacles and objections — and see the arguments people use to overcome those obstacles.
  • After people like them, people next trust outside subject matter experts. Why not sponsor an editorially-independent blog/community and invite outside experts to share their views of the new product or service category?  They’ll be much more believable than your company blog. According to the new Edelman research, 59 percent of those surveyed said an academic or an independent expert on the industry or issue would be very credible.
  • Most marketing communications is based in logic, and that  doesn’t work when trying to change behavior.  The passionate, real, credible conversations are happening among people in new social forms.  The emotion infused in these conversations is what influences change and adoption.  Yet marketing and advertising agencies tend to filter and focus on key messages, and too often  advertising designed to trigger emotion comes across as phony.

Social media conversations are unfiltered, trusted and genuine.  And that’s what you need when taking on the formible challenge of creating a new category.

Community Conference 2009 (Copenhagen) presentation

Wanted to share the personal and pragmatic presentation about how communities changing how we work, buy, believe and effect change from this week’s Community Conference 2009 in Copenhagen.

Thanks also to The Guardian online journalist Kevin Anderson for his post about my remarks — as well as his inspirational speech about the enormous possibilities available to all businesses.  “The tools are avaialable and inexpensive or free. It’s what you do with them,” he told the group. Yes.

Most valuable and under-used social media strategy

“What’s the best social media investment? Where we can really see a good ROI?”

The answer is easy. Getting companies to implement it is not. The most valuable and under-used social media strategy is embedding customer reviews in your Web site.  Not blogs, Twitter, communities or tagging.

An eVoc Insights study found that 48% of consumers need to read reviews before making a purchase decision. Neilsen’s research has found that consumer recommendations are the most credible form of advertising among 78% of study participants.

What gives? Fear of having negative reviews on the company Web site.  According to Sam Decker, CMO of BazaarVoice, companies have three options if they’re selling a bad product and are afraid of negative reviews:

  1. Without reviews, you keep selling the product and risk costly returns and low customer satisfaction
  2. With reviews, you can use the leading indicator of negative reviews and quickly remove this product from inventory to reduce returns and improve satisfaction
  3. Or, just allow the negative reviews to steer customers to a more satisfying purchase within the category. Let the best products win, and you will win.

“In cases 2 and 3 you remain a trusted editor of the best products; customers are happy; you maintain their loyalty, and avoid a return,” says Sam. For more on overcoming this obstacle, check out this classic article “Positives about Negative Product Reviews.”

Example: Consumer reviews on Panasonic.com

Responses to Marketing News Radio questions

Really enjoyed the great questions from Wednesday’s  AMA Marketing News Radio program, “Beyond Buzz: Succeeding in a Conversational Marketing 2.0 World,” hosted by the gracious and smart David Kinard. Here are responses to questions that we didn’t have time to get to during the show. Thanks for tuning in!

Can social networking marketing strategies work for B2B industries?  If so, how do we find the relevant networks for our industry (in my case, it happens to be architectural and commercial development)?

Absolutely. Set up several Google Alerts with key words about your industry to begin to see places. Think about using key words that will bring up social networks, like “Industrial architect forums” or” industrial architect blogs.” To see how large the community or blog might be go to Compete, plug in the URL and it will tell give you the # of unique site visitors. Another tip: when using Google use search term “top ten architecture blogs.” I find those top-ten lists a good way to find good sites.

Is there somewhere I can go to learn the practical how-to’s for setting up Twitter, Flickr, YouTube and other similar web programs?  Every talk I hear seems to say how important they are, but none take the time to walk through exactly how to set them up or use them.

Here’s a great list of “how to” blog posts on those topics. Very detailed.   Another source can be found here. (Great little instructional videos.)

I work for a contemporary art gallery and our Internet service currently rests on the city’s server. Therefore, we are blocked from such sites as Facebook and MySpace. We’re not even allowed to post pictures on flikr or Kodak gallery, etc. The city sees them as non-work related sites, understandably. Any suggestions on how we should “pitch” to the city how necessary it is for us to have access to these social communication tools?

Here’s a BBC report on why “Bosses should embrace Facebook” based on a new study.  To make your case find additional data and examples to show how governments – city, state and local – are using social media to be more effective, responsive and citizen-friendly. Build they case for the trend; create a Google Alert “Government use of social media.” (Here’s one example)  Gather the best facts and examples and enlist other organizations like yours who feel the same way. Maybe even start a local social movement, using a blog or Facebook, to raise visibility of the issue. Get some ideas on how to force change from this post, Social media lessons from union organizers.

What tools do you use to track conversation re: your product on the web?

There’s a whole host of tools you can use to track conversations, from the free Google Alerts to Radian6 (low-to-mid) to TruCast from Visible Technologies (mid-to-high). The right choice depends on your business needs. If you’re not doing anything yet, at a minimum set up Google Alerts about your company, your category, industry trends in your field.

And to track conversations on Twitter try services such as Twilert, which will email you once a day with mentions of the keywords you care about, or set up a dashboard on Tweetdeck or Tweetgrid which you can configure and bookmark in your browser to track keywords about your company, products and competitors.

Once we’ve established a presence on a social network, and have the current social networkers buzzing, how do we drive potential customers to that network?

Promote the value (and URL) of the social network to your customers in all the ways you communicate with them.  Emails, brochures, sales presentations, “on hold” telephone message, on employees’ email signatures, etc. Also make it easy for people to tell others about the network by including a lot of social sharing tools in the network to- email, delicious tags, Digg, Twitter, Stumpleupon, Facebook.

Also keep an eye out for particularly engaged members who you can enlist and empower to act as ambassadors for the network.

You referred to the Air Force formula to use as a guideline. Where would I locate that?

You can find it here.

What the pitfalls or key things to look our for when using Facebook or LinkedIn for recruiting and positioning/branding?

The pitfall is using it as a one-way message board promoting your company.  The way to get value is to provide value. You have to give to get.

Use these networks to provide information that’s helpful and interesting to your audience. Or use it o ask questions, like “we’re looking for a sales executive with xx years experience in the xyz industry; compensation: $120-150k.  Know anyone?”    Guy Kawasaki offers this good advice, “Ten Ways to Use Linked In for Business.” Note, however, that Facebook and LinkedIn do have their limitations. For many businesses, there’s not a whole lot of value for them with Facebook.

I suspect that there will be discussion about social networking sites and their effectiveness as a relationship building/marketing tool.

Most definitely. You can find much more information about this topic in this free e-book, Marketing in 2009.

Any other questions? If so, please add them here and I’ll get back to you. Again, thanks for listening.

Simple social media predictor

Why do some ideas catch in social media and others go no where? Why do some videos get passed around and reach that coveted “viral” status? Why do some crisis issues have a blip and disappear and while others keep getting talked about?

One of the simplest and best indicators is this: the more widely and/or deeply felt the issue or topic, the greater its life and “social effect.”

One big reason the Ketchum @keyinfluencer Twitter gaffe this month was a big deal was because of the extraordinary growth of Twitter, and the equally extraordinary skepticism about the role of Twitter in business.  There’s no denying the widespread interest in seeing a Twitter “business case study” played out before our eyes. It’s a widely felt issue.

Tim Washer’s hilarious IBM Mainframe videos were such a hit because so many of us have either worked for an incompetent boss or we’ve sat through painful sales meetings, like the ones depicted in the video.

Jeff Jarvis was able to light up Dell Hell a few years back because so many people shared similar frustrations about Dell.

Think about other popular issues — some positive and helping a company’s reputation, others hurting — and you’ll see the pattern. Deeply and widely felt. The Motrin Moms. Obama’s change platform.

As you look at how to “social mediafy” your marketing and communications, a helpful first step is asking: “what do our customers deeply and widely care about?”

Marketing News Radio

Next Wed., Jan 28 at noon EST, I’ll be interviewed by David Kinard on Marketing News Radio, AMA’s online talk radio program.  I’m kind of tired of all the hype and buzz around social media so you won’t hear much of that.

But I do want to share observations about the big challenges people in companies are wrestling with in creating new types of marketing strategies, and offer pragmatic ideas on where to focus and what to forget about (for now.)  A big part of the radio show is call in questions, so fire away.